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THE SITUATION ROOM
Trump Locked in Bitter Feud with GOP Senator; Mattis to Army; 'Stand Ready' to Deal with North Korea; Sources: Google Finds Russian Ads Tied to 2016 Election; Sen. Graham Praises Trump after Golf Game; New Demands Endanger Deal on Young Immigrants; Details Emerge About Las Vegas Gunman's Unusual Habits Aired 5-6p ET
Aired October 9, 2017 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[17:00:10] WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Happening now, path to World War III. Republican Senator Bob Corker accuses the president of lying and treating his office like a reality show, saying Mr. Trump's reckless threats could set the nation on the path to World War III. Corker says nearly every Senate Republican shares his concerns. A White House official fires back, telling CNN the president is not finished with Corker.
Stand ready. After the president warns that only one thing will work with North Korea, Defense Secretary James Mattis says the U.S. Army must stand ready. As a top military commander warned, there are no risk-free options.
Anxious gambler. The Las Vegas killer gambled all night and slept all day. He took valium and wagered up to $1 million a night. A past lawsuit reveals details about the bizarre life of Stephen Paddock.
And wine country wildfires. Raging fires sweeping through northern California's wine country, destroying some 1,500 homes, businesses and other structures and forcing 20,000 people to evacuate.
I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
BLITZER: The breaking news. Fast-moving wildfires are sweeping through northern California's wine country, destroying 1,500 residential and commercial buildings and forcing 20,000 people to leave their homes. Two hospitals have been evacuated. The fires have burned 57,000 acres with no containment, and in Southern California, a 2,000-acre fire is burning homes in Anaheim.
Meanwhile, President Trump is caught up in an extraordinary feud with a top Republican senator, the Foreign Relations Committee chairman Bob Corker, who suggests the president is running his administration like a reality show. Corker says the White House has become an adult daycare center and warns the president's recklessness could lead -- and I'm quoting him now -- "to World War III."
Corker, who tells "The New York Times" that most other Republican senators share his concerns, can speak freely since he's not running for re-election. The president has tweeted that Corker, quote, "didn't have the guts to run." A White House official says the president isn't finished with Corker.
And as tensions rise with North Korea, the president warns ominously that only one thing will work with Kim Jong-un's regime, and Defense Secretary James Mattis is now telling the U.S. Army to, quote, "stand ready" in case diplomacy does not succeed in heading off the North Korean threat. The Army chief of staff warns there are no risk-free options.
I'll speak with Senator Richard Blumenthal of the Armed Services and Judiciary Committees. And our correspondents, specialists and guests, they're all standing by with full coverage.
Let's begin with the truly stunning feud between President Trump and a top Republican senator, the Foreign Relations Committee chairman Bob Corker.
Let's go live to our senior White House correspondent, Jim Acosta. Jim, the two sides have been exchanging insults. What's the very latest there?
JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, it could be the calm before the tweet storm.
Both the president and the White House have yet to respond publicly to Senator Bob Corker's comments. The battle between the president and a powerful GOP lawmaker, that could create real problems for the White House agenda.
ACOSTA (voice-over): As the president was hitting the Trump golf course in Virginia with Senator Lindsey Graham, all eyes are on another top Republican who's teeing off. Escalating his war of words with the president, Senator Bob Corker issued a dire warning, telling "The New York Times" that Mr. Trump is treating his administration like a reality show. That could put the U.S. on the path to World War III, adding, "He would have to concern anyone who cares about our nation."
And Corker is making the case he's hardly alone, adding, "Look, except for a few people, the vast majority of our caucus understands what we're dealing with here."
The interview followed this Corker tweet: "It's a shame the White House has become an adult daycare center. Someone obviously missed their shift this morning."
The White House is not amused.
KELLYANNE CONWAY, COUNSELOR TO DONALD TRUMP: I find tweets like this to be incredibly irresponsible. It adds to the insulting that the mainstream media and the president's distracters -- almost a year after this election, they still can't accept the election results. It adds to their ability and their cover to speak about a president of the United States, the president of the United States in ways that no president should be talked about. ACOSTA: But Corker, who's retiring, was firing back at the president,
who tweeted, "Senator Bob Corker begged me to endorse him for re- election in Tennessee. I said no, and he dropped out. He also wanted to be secretary of state. I said no thanks. Hence, I would fully expect Corker to be a negative voice and stand in the way of our great agenda. Didn't have the guts to run."
[17:05:04] Corker's office said that's not true, adding, "The president called Senator Corker and asked him to reconsider his decision not to seek reelection and reaffirmed that he would have endorsed him, as he has said many times."
The ongoing feud flared up last week when Corker praised Rex Tillerson after tensions between the president and secretary of state spilled into public view.
SEN. BOB CORKER (R), TENNESSEE: I think Secretary Tillerson, Secretary Mattis and chief of staff Kelly are those people that help separate our country from chaos, and I support them very much.
ACOSTA: It's not the first time Corker has sounded the alarm, after the president's controversial handling of white supremacist violence in Charlottesville...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nazi scum, off our street!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nazi scum, off our street!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nazi scum, off our street!
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Very fine people on both side.
ACOSTA: ... Corker was far more critical than many of his GOP colleagues.
CORKER: The president has not yet been able to demonstrate the stability, nor some of the competence that he needs to demonstrate in order to be successful.
ACOSTA: The question is whether the back and forth will damage tax reform and other items in the president's agenda. They need all the GOP help it can get.
REP. SEAN DUFFY (R), WISCONSIN: I think the president's a little bit frustrated that his own team is taking shots at him, and he's fighting back. So I get the president's frustration, but I don't think that's the best strategy.
ACOSTA: Now, there seems to be a fight over here at the White House as to whether the president should continue this fight. An adviser to the White House blew off the Corker controversy as, quote, "noise and catnip for the media." But aides say the president is likely to respond to Corker's latest
comments, saying Mr. Trump is not finished with the Tennessee Republican just yet. But Wolf, we still have not heard from the president in response to those very sharp comments from Senator Corker saying that his administration could lead to World War III -- Wolf.
BLITZER: I'm sure we will sooner rather than later. All right. Jim Acosta at the White House, thanks very much.
The Trump administration is doing nothing to lower concerns about a showdown with North Korea, after the president warned ominously that only one thing will work with Kim Jong-un's regime.
Defense Secretary James Mattis is telling the U.S. Army to, quote, "stand ready in case diplomacy fails."
Let's go to our Pentagon correspondent, Barbara Starr. Barbara, some very, very blunt talk coming from Secretary Mattis.
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: But I think, Wolf, it's exactly what one would expect, indeed, from a defense secretary or a top commander. Emphasizing diplomacy very strongly, and yet caveating that the military must be ready. Have a listen to exactly what he had to say today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAMES MATTIS, U.S. SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: It is, right now, a diplomatically-led economic sanction buttressed effort to try to turn North Korea off this path. Now, what does the future hold? Neither you or I can say, so there's one thing the U.S. Army can do, and that is you have got to be ready to ensure that we have military options that our president can employ if needed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STARR: But commanders will also tell you all of those options have very dire consequences in terms of casualties and destruction and impact on South Korea.
The president continuing to tweet about all of this. Let's just review the latest from the White House on that. The president tweeting, "Presidents and their administrations have been talking to North Korea for 25 years. Agreements made and massive amounts of money paid, hasn't worked. Agreements violated before the ink was dry, making fools of U.S. negotiators. Sorry, but only one thing will work."
And, of course, the president asked what that one thing was. He did not specify. He would not answer that question.
And that brings us full circle. One of the big concerns here is the president's rhetoric also heard by Kim Jong-un inside North Korea, and nobody knows how he may be taking all of this -- Wolf.
BLITZER: All right. Barbara, thanks very much. Barbara Starr at the Pentagon.
By the way, we reached out to all 52 Republican senators here in Washington to appear on today's program. I got no takers. At least not yet. All of the offices said the senators were either not available or they didn't respond to our requests.
But joining us now, Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, a member of the Armed Services and Judiciary Committees.
Senator, thanks very much for joining us.
SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL (D), CONNECTICUT: Thank you.
BLITZER: Let's start with -- let's start with North Korea.
The president says only one thing will work as far as the North Korean threat is concerned, but doesn't he have a point that negotiations with the North Koreans going back to the Bill Clinton administration, George W. Bush administration, Barack Obama administration, all of those negotiations clearly have failed? The North Koreans now have nuclear bombs. They have the potential to miniaturize those nuclear bombs, put them on warheads. They have intermediate-range and potentially intercontinental-range ballistic missiles. All of that has turned out to be a failure.
[17:10:03] BLUMENTHAL: Certainly, the history of diplomacy has been problematic at best. But the abandonment -- that is completely surrendering the idea of continued negotiation and diplomacy, but most important, economic sanctions -- I think is a mistake.
He has completely undercut his secretary of state, who apparently thought there was something to be gained by diplomacy, because he established a back channel.
He's completely undercut the idea that economic sanctions involving China and Russia imposed on oil and components that are used in missile production would work.
And he really needs to, in my view, show some leadership in alternatives to military force. Which, by the way, are supported by military leaders. Because they know firsthand the dire consequences of armed conflict on that peninsula. It would be hundreds of thousands of deaths of American civilians and military, not to mention the South Koreans and possibly Japanese who would die or be casualties, as well.
BLITZER: Was Senator Corker, the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, correct when he said the president's tweets have undermined the negotiations with North Korea, if there are, in fact, these diplomatic back channels, conversations going on between the U.S. and the North Korean regime?
BLUMENTHAL: He's absolutely right. Published reports indicate that the North Koreans themselves are confused about what he means. The North Koreans can't trust diplomatic efforts, can't rely on the communication from the secretary of state if the president of the United States is undercutting the secretary of state.
So it really is a self-fulfilling prophesy. If the president believes that only military options will be productive, that will, in fact, be true, and that is an extremely disturbing prospect.
BLITZER: Senator Corker also says nearly every Senate Republican shares his concerns, very deep concerns, about President Trump. Have you had private conversations with Republicans that would support Corker's assessment?
BLUMENTHAL: My private conversations very definitely support Senator Corker's assessment.
You know, Bob Corker is one of the most well-liked and respected senators on both sides of the aisle. What he is saying is what his Republican colleagues are thinking out loud in the privacy of conversations with me and others in places where they can express their thoughts freely.
And their concern, indeed, fright is not too strong a term, is reflected in those private conversations with a variety of colleagues on both sides of the aisle. They're fearful about the president's stability. They are apprehensive about the loose talk, impulsive and rash statements on Twitter and elsewhere. The kind of consequences that could result are extremely sobering for our men and women in uniform and for countless civilians on the South Korean peninsula.
BLITZER: So why...
BLUMENTHAL: And that's the...
BLITZER: I was going to say, Senator, why aren't they speaking out if they firmly believe, as Senator Corker does, that this potentially could lead to a World War III? Isn't their responsibilities as United States senators to speak out on these issues?
BLUMENTHAL: I believe my Republican colleagues have a responsibility, all of us do, and I believe that they may well in the future, emboldened by Senator Corker's courage.
BLITZER: Some of them have spoken out on other issues. Senator McCain, Lindsey Graham, he was playing golf with him today. Ben Sasse, for example.
But we haven't heard the kind of assault that we heard from Senator Corker from these other Republicans. As you know, when Senator Corker calls the White House -- and I'm quoting him now -- "an adult daycare center," what message does that send to foreign allies and adversaries?
BLUMENTHAL: Having talked to some of the diplomats, our allies, their apprehension equals many of my Senate colleagues for exactly the same reason. The message from that kind of comment is simply to put in very colorful terms what a lot of people are thinking in perhaps more sober terms. BLITZER: Yes. Lots to assess here. I need you to stand by, Senator.
There's more we need to discuss. We've got to take a quick break. We'll resume our conversation right after this.
[17:19:16] BLITZER: Google is the latest tech giant to reveal that Russian election meddling took place on its platforms. We're talking with Senator Richard Blumenthal.
Senator, stand by. I want to go immediately to our senior media and politics reporter Dylan Byers.
Dylan, we now know that Google has also identified Russian-bought ads intended to spread misinformation and to interfere in American politics. What else are you learning?
DYLAN BYERS, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Wolf. Sources have told CNN that Google, as part of its ongoing investigation -- and I should stress that that investigation is ongoing -- has identified at least tens of thousands of dollars spent on ads by Russians that were intended to amplify political discord and sow chaos in U.S. politics before, during and after the 2016 presidential campaign.
Those ads, similar to the Facebook and Twitter ads that we've already talked about, have targeted issues like race, immigration, refugees, gun rights. They cross the board in terms of trying to drive a wedge between the American people, and they don't just do it in terms of traditional advertising that we're used to seeing online. They've also done it in terms of YouTube accounts, Gmail advertising, Google search advertising, across all of Google's platforms. And, again, this is just the first of what Google has found as part of this ongoing investigation.
BLITZER: Do we know, Dylan, if these Google accounts were actually linked to the Facebook and Twitter accounts?
BYERS: So this is actually the million-dollar question here, because it appears that a majority of these ads may not be directly linked to the Russian government the way that the ads that Facebook and Twitter identified were. Many of these might have been legitimate accounts that were created and ads bought by Russian nationals that don't specifically tie back to the Kremlin.
One of the questions that folks on the Hill are going to have, and certainly that I think we the public have, is how many of these ads were linked to Russian troll farms? How many of these ads were linked to the Russian government? That is something that Google has not come forward and specified yet.
BLITZER: Yes, they're all going to testify, these social media giants, I think on November 1 here in Washington.
All right, Dylan, thank you very, very much. Dylan Byers reporting for us. We're back with Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal, a member of the
Judiciary Committee, which is also investigating all of this. Senator, what new questions does this raise for Google, YouTube, Facebook, these other tech giants?
BLUMENTHAL: First and foremost, what we've seen so far in terms of Google, and very likely Facebook and Twitter, is just the tip of the iceberg. This attack on our democracy through the Internet and digital media seems to have unprecedented in size and scope. The magnitude is breathtaking. And that's why we need to ask key questions about how they are tied back to Russian agents like the Internet research agency that is a tool of the Russian government, whether the Google ads, all of them, can be tied to the Kremlin.
And we need to ask also whether they were aided and abetted by anybody in the United States, because the Russian government will continue this attack on our democracy unless it pays a price and unless anyone who cooperated or conspired with them also pays a price, including members of the Trump campaign.
Did the Russians receive assistance from the Trump campaign in targeting the audiences that they did? I've seen these ads. They are sophisticated and sinister. And in their outcome, possibly very impactful on the outcome of our election. Whether they shifted votes to one candidate or another is another question that may never be known, but we need to inquire the full range and extent of the ties to the Kremlin.
BLITZER: Senator, while I have you, on a different subject, I know you're donating the money you received from Harvey Weinstein to an organization that works against sexual violence. He gave a lot of money to Democratic politicians. Should Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee, other Democratic politicians, follow your lead?
BLUMENTHAL: What I did almost instantly after learning about this absolutely abominable conduct on Mr. Weinstein's part was to donate the money to an organization, the Connecticut Alliance Against Sexual Violence, that does very good work for women victims and survivors. I think any of us who received donations from him should do the same and use it to support the cause of combatting sexual harassment, sexual assault, and also, obviously, domestic violence is a very prevalent problem that should be combatted.
BLITZER: Senator Blumenthal, thanks for joining us.
BLUMENTHAL: Thank you.
BLITZER: Coming up, President Trump locked in a very bitter feud right now with a top Republican senator. Does he risk running his own -- his own agenda completely off the rails?
And we're standing by for a Las Vegas police news conference on the mass shooting investigation. We have new details on the killer, who used to gamble up to $1 million a night and sleep all day. Stay with us. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
[17:29:29] BLITZER: Among the stories we're following this hour, the surprisingly bitter and public feud between President Trump and Republican Senator Bob Corker, who chairs the Foreign Relations Committee.
After the president tweeted that the senator didn't have the guts to run for re-election next year, Corker took to Twitter to complain the White House had become, quote, "an adult daycare center." Corker also told "The New York Times" that the president, quote, "risks inciting World War III."
Let's bring in our political specialists. And Jeff Zeleny, showing some pictures. In contrast to Corker, the president invited Lindsey Graham to go play golf with him on his golf course out in suburban Virginia, outside of Washington. Lindsey Graham tweeted this: "Really enjoyed a round of golf with president Donald Trump today. President Trump shot a 73 in windy and wet conditions."
[17:30:19] Then he added, "how bad did he beat me? I did better in the presidential race than today on the golf course. Great fun. Great host."
Seventy-three, that's pretty good.
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That is pretty good, if accurate. We'd have to verify that with a second source, I think. But look, I think this shows a couple of things.
One, it shows the president, he doesn't stay mad at people for a long time necessarily. This is a -- he has had several feuds with Senator Lindsey Graham and vice versa, but they're out there playing golf, as we can see right now. So I think that may be instructive as we talk about what else is going on, certainly this feud with Bob Corker, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
I was talking to one White House adviser today who said the president is going to keep going on this. He's going to go after Senator Corker again, he believes, to continue this weekend feud here.
But you know, there's some handwringing inside the White House, because the reality is the president needs these Republicans. There's not that wide of a majority. He wants tax reform done. He can't have many defections, in fact, any defections here. So that's the long- term effects, the worry among Republican advisers, the president picking these fights.
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: And on that note, I was told that the whole thing that apparently started as a restart of this was what Corker said last week about the people around President Trump kind of keeping the country from chaos.
The question, of course, was why did it take him four or five days to send the tweet, which he did randomly yesterday morning? I was told that people around him were begging him, at least up until yesterday, successfully, "Please, don't respond to Corker. It's not good for anything."
And he -- they were able to do that until yesterday morning. Either he read something or he saw something on TV, and he just couldn't control himself. And then he lashed out in that series of tweets against Corker.
I thought what was -- what was most interesting about that wasn't that the president is lashing out at a fellow Republican, but how -- how much the -- Bob Corker gave back and hit back harder and said the things that even he told "The New York Times" he and others say privately a lot, publicly.
BLITZER: Yes, I mean, if you take a look, Chris, at what -- I mean, remember, the Secretary of State Rex Tillerson reportedly called the president a moron. Now Corker, a leading Senate Republican, says the White House has become -- I'll read what he tweeted. "It's a shame" -- what he said. "It's a shame the White House has become an adult daycare center. Someone obviously missed their shift this morning."
What kind of message does that send?
CHRIS CILLIZZA, CNN POLITICS CORRESPONDENT AND EDITOR AT LARGE: I feel like we say this all the time, which is, this is unbelievable in terms of thinking of in any other context with any other president.
You just had Dick Blumenthal on. Imagine Dick Blumenthal tweeting "Obama is basically at an adult daycare center." We would go bananas. I mean, giant story.
Now, this is a big story, but it speaks to Trump has made -- everything within the Republican Party, he has broken it; he has torn it asunder. These things fly under the radar. But I think if you ask, there's 52 Republican senators. My guess is if you gave them truth serum, 45 or 46 of them would say something quite similar to Corker. The rest of them aren't retiring.
The question for me is how far -- Jeff's reporting Trump wants to take this more to Corker. We've seen him criticize Mitch McConnell. We've seen him actively criticize Lindsey Graham. We've seen him criticize Jeff Flake. I counted, I think it was a dozen as of August Republican senators he's attacked. At some point, he's at full-out war with roughly the Republican establishment.
ZELENY: You look at the...
CILLIZZA: And where does that come to? What happens?
ZELENY: The adult daycare center. What is he saying there? Is he saying the president's senile? Is he...
CILLIZZA: Or he's a child. It's one of the two.
ZELENY: A child? Or who knows? But I think interestingly the White House also believes, though, there's been silence among Republicans. Yes, some may agree with him, but no one is following suit, at least up to now. BASH: Right.
CILLIZZA: That's totally right.
ZELENY: Because several Republicans, if you're on the ballot next year, you do not want to get into a fight with this president, because the president's base does -- it thinks the president is more popular than any member of Congress here. So it's still risky to pick a fight with this president.
CILLIZZA: Yes, that's right.
BASH: And they're already concerned. When I say "they," I mean incumbent Republican senators. Because you have the president's former top adviser who still very much considers himself working for the president's ideals, Steve Bannon, aggressively trying to recruit challengers, Republican challengers to go after incumbent Republican senators.
So anybody who does want to keep their seat in the GOP Senate understands that, just politically speaking, the more they speak out against the president, the more it will ignite the grassroots in their states to potentially join up with the challenger. And some of these very safe Republican seats could be big problems.
[17:35:13] CILLIZZA: And this is what's so interesting, to Dana's point. I think people have a tendency to split the Republican party: oh, it's conservatives and it's, LIKE, the moderate and the establishment.
Some of the people THAT they're talking about going after, John Barrasso in Wyoming, is not a moderate senator. I mean, he's a Republican senator from Wyoming. He's quite conservative. What's the issue? He's a member of the Republican leadership.
Roger Wicker in Mississippi, this is not anyone who you would mistake for Jacob Javits, a liberal New York senator. This is a conservative but a member off leadership. So that's the split.
ZELENY: We'll see how much Steve Bannon can do this -- with, though. Every state is not Alabama.
BASH: That's right.
ZELENY: And every candidate is not Roy Moore. John Barrasso, senator from Wyoming, is close to this president, actually. So the president will have a decision to make. Does the side with a loyal person who's voted for him, with him, or you know, does he follow Steve Bannon? I'm not so sure he follows Bannon.
BLITZER: We saw what he did in Alabama. It didn't exactly work out the way he was hoping.
ZELENY: It didn't.
BASH: Which could be a lesson learned for the president, because he was very upset about the fact that his -- we were told in our reporting is that the president was very upset that he decided to do something that was out of character, endorsing an establishment candidate, only to basically -- to lose.
BLITZER: To lose.
BASH: To lose.
BLITZER: Everybody, stick around. There's more we need to discuss. I want to ask all of our panelists whether the president's latest demands will kill any chance of making a deal with Democrats over the so-called DREAMers, those young immigrant who's were brought into the United States as children.
We're also standing by for a police news conference coming in from Las Vegas. The latest on the mass shooting investigation. Stick around for that.
[17:41:22] BLITZER: We're back with our political specialists.
Dana, the intention that the president had when he met with Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi to allow those 700,000 or 800,000 so-called DREAMers to get legal status, stay here in the United States, not have to worry about being kicked out.
It seems to have gotten a lot more complicated today, with the White House releasing a set of conditions for allowing the DREAMers to stay here in the United States.
BASH: And the conditions including continuing to build the wall that the president promised to do during the campaign, which he, according to the Democrats, told them in this private meeting wouldn't have to be part of this deal for the DREAMers, which I should add he also -- he, the president, also the day after that meeting said publicly the wall can be dealt with later.
BASH: Later. So what does this mean? This clearly is posturing. But the -- for conservatives who were furious at the notion of the man who created "The Art of the Deal" giving away the store before he even got to the ice cream after the Chinese food that night in the dinner.
But the question is why now? And whether it is beyond posturing. Whether it's something that he actually means.
I was told by somebody who's familiar with these negotiations that it's maybe a little bit of both right now, but at the end of the day, the president really does want to make a deal on this.
And, frankly, the only way that there's even an iota of a chance of something like this getting through a Republican-led house, even though it's an 80 percent issue, 80 percent support for DREAMers staying in this country legally, is if the president uses some political capital to get this over the finish line. Because it's going to have to be bipartisan. There are a lot of Republicans who are never going to vote for this.
BLITZER: What are you hearing, Jeff?
ZELENY: I think that's right. I mean, I think that a lot of Democrats have been waiting for the other shoe to sort of fall here. They were skeptical of the president and the White House, perhaps more than the president, advisers allowing him to make a deal with Senator Schumer and Leader Pelosi on this.
I think that this is something that is -- the end is uncertain on this. We do not know exactly what is going to be in the final -- but this is a sign that there are a lot of advisers, or at least a few influential advisers, telling the president, "You cannot sort of give them everything that they want here."
ZELENY: So this is the beginning of a negotiation. This is Stephen Miller, of course, a top adviser, an immigration adviser here, who was quite upset when the president was essentially agreeing with the Democrats or looking like he was a few weeks ago.
BLITZER: Looks like there was a deal. We'll see if there will be.
Another sensitive issue, the vice president shows up at the NFL game yesterday, the Colts and the 49ers. A bunch of players from the 49ers, they take a knee. The vice president bolts. He issues a statement: "This was disrespectful to the flag." Now the Trump re- election campaign, I see, is raising money on this. They've got a long statement that they put out. So walk us through what has now happened.
CILLIZZA: Well, here's what we know, I think, beyond a shadow of a doubt. This was not impromptu by Mike Pence. Obviously, the protest began, a reminder not about patriotism, not about the American flag, began with Colin Kaepernick, at the time a member of the San Francisco 49ers, to protest ratio injustice and violence committed against African-American men, primarily by the police.
So Donald Trump and Mike Pence spoke beforehand. Donald Trump requested that, if there was any kneeling, which of course, there was almost certain to be, that Mike Pence leave. So there's a lot of things that, by context, we know this was not impromptu. This was planned.
That doesn't mean that it can't be legitimate. Mike Pence has every -- for the same reason that players have the right to protest, Mike Pence has a right to protest the protest, but I think the idea that this was organic...
BLITZER: So you're saying, when he showed up at the stadium, he knew there's a bunch of --
CILLIZZA: Yes. BLITZER: -- 49 players who were going to take a knee. He was going
to leave right away.
CILLIZZA: I think it was very likely that he was going to -- he knew he was going to leave and they knew.
I'd give Donald Trump this. No matter what you think of him, the man knows how to create watchable and buzzable television. It dominated -- I watched the -- just the football stuff during the day, and he -- every post-game, pre-game, talked about Pence leaving, showed the pictures.
Unlike the fight with Corker that Jeff was going back and forth about, which I don't understand what the endgame is for Donald Trump. He -- there is a significant chunk, if you believe polling and we know his base, that views this as an issue of patriotism, despite what the players say.
BLITZER: The fund-raising --
CILLIZZA: And that's potentially winnable politics.
BLITZER: The fund-raising letter that just went out on the Internet, please make a contribution of at least $5 to show your support and our team will send you an "I stand for the flag" sticker.
BASH: Yes. There is no pretense that this is a way to reach the President's political base.
BASH: No pretense at all. Not saying he doesn't believe it, but it happens to be a very, very aggressive wedge issue, frankly.
ZELENY: And he wanted to revive this issue which, actually, again, had gone away. But, you know, another Sunday, this is a pretty high- profile way to revive it, by having your Vice President there front and center.
BLITZER: Yes. All right, stand by, guys. Everybody is -- continue to be with us.
We're also standing by, by the way, for a Las Vegas police news conference on the mass shooting investigation. We also have some disturbing new details about the Las Vegas gunman's prescription drug use and his high-stakes gambling habits.
Plus, a live update on California's wildfire emergency. Hundreds of structures have already burned.
[17:51:36] BLITZER: The breaking news. We're standing by now for a news conference from police and investigators looking into the Las Vegas mass shooting that left 58 people dead and about 500 people wounded.
We're also learning disturbing is new details about the Las Vegas killer. CNN exclusively obtained a 2013 court document in which Stephen paddock describes his lifestyle and his high-stakes gambling habits.
Let's go to our Senior National Correspondent Kyung Lah. She's in Las Vegas for us.
Tell us more, Kyung.
KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, part of this investigation, the key part of it, has been trying to find a motive, build a profile of this gunman. Two sources tell CNN that the FBI now has this deposition as investigators try to get into the mind of this mass killer.
LAH (voice-over): The Las Vegas massacre, a horror investigators call extensively planned, cold and calculating, down to the numbers scribbled on a note recovered on the nightstand in the killer's room.
Calculations, say investigators, the distance bullets would travel from the gunman 32nd floor window to the innocent concert crowd of 22,000 people below. Unsentimental numbers. The center of killer Stephen Paddocks' profession, video gambling.
He called himself the biggest video poker player in the world in this 97-page deposition obtained exclusively by CNN. Paddock's deposition, part of a 2013 lawsuit against the Cosmopolitan Hotel after this moment. Security cameras catching Paddock slipping and falling in a casino walkway.
It's the first time we're seeing Stephen Paddock describe himself four years before the shooting.
Paddock called video poker a game of discipline. At times appearing condescending and sarcastic as he explains to his attorney why he stays sober while gambling: at the stakes I play, you want to have all your wits about you.
Paddock moved from Las Vegas, casino to casino. At one point, staying maybe upwards of three weeks out of a month, he said. A high roller, his hotel stays were comped 95 percent of the time.
Speaking of a peak year, asks an attorney, how many dollars are we talking? I average 14 hours a day, 365 days a year. Over 200 million coin thrill.
When Paddock says, on a given night, he'll bet a million dollars, an attorney replies, that's a lot of money. No, it's not.
Asked if he ever visited the hotel pool, Paddock replied, I do not do sun. Paddock's home in Mesquite, Nevada suggest an upper middle class
retired life. For easy access to a doctor, Paddock testified he paid a yearly retainer fee to Nevada internist, Dr. Steven Winkler.
Paddock says Winkler prescribed him valium. Why? It's for anxiousness.
Rage, aggressiveness, and irritability are among the possible side effects of taking valium, according to the manufacturer of the drug. The "Las Vegas Review-Journal" reported that Dr. Winkler prescribed him valium in June of this year. CNN could not independently confirm that information.
Despite all the claims about his high-rolling ways, Paddock testified, on the day he fell in the Cosmopolitan, he wore his typical clothing -- I always wear black Nike sweatpants that are nylon or polyester. On his feet, black flip-flops that he wore 98 percent of the time.
[17:54:59] Life was better before the economic meltdown, he testified, saying, Vegas casinos comp less and less. Meaning, he visited sin city less.
What happened to the economy in 2007? He said, it tanked. Las Vegas went into the gutter with a lot of other things. They quit giving away freebies. It just wasn't worth coming out here as often.
LAH: Two sources tell us that an arbitrator ultimately found to the Cosmopolitan Hotel's favor in that civil lawsuit that Paddock had filed against the hotel.
We did try to reach Dr. Winkler. He did not reply to our e-mail or to our telephones calls.
And, Wolf, in this deposition, a handful of times, he was asked, any history of mental illness, any addiction issues? He always replied no -- Wolf.
BLITZER: All right, Kyung. Stand by. The news conference is about to begin in Las Vegas. The breaking news. We'll have live coverage. We'll be right back.