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Fires Across California Force 200,000 to Flee Their Homes; Republicans, Fox Hosts Target Mueller as Pressure Builds; E-mail Pointed Trump Campaign to WikiLeaks was sent on September 14, not September 4. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired December 8, 2017 - 15:30   ET



BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: It just won't stop. There are now six wildfires burning in Southern California. The two new fires, the Lilac is in San Diego County, and Liberty is just north of there, together all six account for 160,000 acres of scorched earth. There is a sliver of good news, that being that crews are now starting to make progress on containing the massive infernos in both in Ventura and LA Counties. But the fate of hundreds of thoroughbreds, you know, some of them racehorses seem hopeless. These horses were set free from the barns, so they can escape. Trainers reported hearing the animal scream as they were running away. I actually talk to one owner who says one his is still missing and one was killed. But he had huge thanks for some of the people that jumped in, and especially to the Del Mar Racetrack for taking in nearly 1,000 of these beautiful creatures.

A car slams into a bridge, abutment and bursts into flames, trapping two men inside. Five Atlanta police officers get there before the fire department, but they don't have the tools to get the men out. Dramatic police body cam videos show their determination to keep the flames from the men until the firefighters arrived. Our Martin Savage shows us how these brave Atlanta officers went beyond the call of duty.


MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This body cam video shows the desperate determination of Atlanta police trying to save two people trapped in a flaming wreck.

[16:05:00] The doors of the car are jammed. The fire extinguisher fails to douse the fire. And officer Michael Skillman's baton was just baton bouncing off the windows. Everyone knows those inside are moments from a horrible death.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For me, it was one of the most dramatic scenes I've ever been on.

OFFICER ELIJAH MCCALL, ATLANTA POLICE: Once we arrived at the scene, we realized this was real and we had to act fast.

SAVIDGE: The fire department is on the way, they are just minutes out, only there aren't minutes left.

OFFICER DEREK DANIEL, ATLANTA POLICE: So I was really like, yes let's just get them out so it won't blow.

SAVIDGE: With no equipment to pry open the doors, officers can only try to keep the flames under control until the fire teams get there.

MCCALL: After the fire essentially, we went out instantly.

SAVIDGE: The men never back off or give up. Motivated by the desperate pleas of the trapped victims.

(on camera): It must have been testifying.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was screaming help me please I don't want to die. It was kind of rough at times.

SAVIDGE (voice-over): Finally, they even pour emergency water from a jug stored their police vehicle on to the burning car.

(on camera): But that was key because you bought time.


SAVIDGE: In fact you bought just enough time.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just enough time.

SAVIDGE (voice-over): Firefighters arrived. They put out the flames and free the driver and passenger who survived. Thanks to some determine Atlanta police officers who even reaching the limits of everything they had went beyond the call. Martin Savidge, CNN, Atlanta.


BALDWIN: Incredible.

Coming up here former president Barack Obama invoking Nazi Germany as he warns about today's politics. Also, one thing that Obama used to say ta drove him nuts during his presidency, we have that for you.

Also as developments on the Russian investigation picks up so does the amount of anti-Mueller take on conservative media even from those who called Mueller a suburb choice.


NEWT GINGRICH, (R) FORMER HOUSE SPEAKER: Mueller corrupt. The senior FBI is corrupt. The system is corrupt.



BALDWIN: CNN is learning the special counsel, Robert Mueller, has 400,000 documents that he has to analyze in his case against former Trump campaign officials Paul Manafort and Rick Gates. But Pro Trump media outlets and some Republican lawmakers have been speaking out against Mueller, accusing him of political favoritism. They have also gone as far as attacking his personal integrity. Here is just a sampling of the last 48 hours over on Fox News.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Let's face it, what we are seeing here is a pattern and practice of Mueller hiring known Clinton and Obama political insiders and boosters, supporters, to undo a presidential election. That was the election of Donald Trump.

SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS: Robert Mueller partisan, extremely biased, hyper partisan attack team. We're going to name names tonight and explain exactly who these Trump hating investigators really are and why this entire witch hunt needs to be shut down and shut down immediately.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mueller is inherently compromised on this. And Sessions has recused himself on much of this. So, how does it work? The only logical way to get the answers for the American people is to point a second special counsel.

GINGRICH: Mueller is corrupt. The senior FBI is corrupt. The system is corrupt.


BALDWIN: We all know who the last voice was, former house speaker, Newt Gingrich. Keep in mind this is -- that was just the other day talking. Back in May he tweeted this, Robert Mueller it is a superb choice to be special counsel. His reputation is impeccable for honesty and integrity. Media should now calm down.

Carl Bernstein is with me today. CNN political analyst who won a Pulitzer Prize for his Watergate reporting. Good to see you, sir.


BALDWIN: So, Trump's allies, right. People he listens to and watches. Do they seem to be laying the ground work for a Mueller dismissal, in your eyes?

BERNSTEIN: They are abetting a cover up, not just Fox News, of whom it might be expected, particularly Hannity and some of the commentators. There are some real reporters at Fox I think who feel uncomfortable about this abetting a cover-up, which is what this network is doing at Fox at this moment. But the Republican Party is in danger of abetting a criminal cover up. And this is going to have real consequences.

You know, in Watergate, the heroes of Watergate were really Republicans who said we cannot have a criminal president of the United States. Barry Goldwater, 1964 nominee of his party, led a delegation of Republicans who went to Richard Nixon three days before he resigned and says you must leave office, Mr. President, because of what you have done. There is no interest in the truth that we are now seeing from the organized Republican Party on Capitol Hill. And there could be huge consequences for a long time because of that.

BALDWIN: So, could they be heroes again potentially? But those who are -- to use your words aiding and abetting Republicans, Fox News, do you think that they are the voices in the President's head? Trying to get to the President?

BERNSTEIN: That might be. But the real question is what are the institutions of this country going to do while there is an ongoing legitimate investigation that is trying to get to the truth. Mueller indeed has isolated people who on his staff or the FBI may have had some kind of partisan feelings that were expressed in e-mails. It is a sign of his dedication to isolating those people and continuing a clean inquiry that gets to the facts.

[16:15:00] Look, this is a real investigation. What we know so far is that the President of the United States, his campaign aides, his family, have been had by the Russians. Whether they have been criminally had, in their own abetting of the Russians trying to undermine the election, we don't know. And that's one of the things my guess is that if Mueller finds out that there has not been any criminal abetting, he is going to be the first to shout it from the rooftops, and absolve Donald Trump. Trump and his family and those around him should welcome this investigation. Because it is trying to get to the truth.

And, also, the idea of under mining the FBI, look, the FBI had a terrible history under J Edgar Hoover of abuse of power. We don't see evidence of that now. And indeed, there is plenty of oversight to make sure that there is not. And if there has been here, it will be revealed. But this investigation, which is about a White House swamp, and a campaign swamp that got had by the Russians and there now is a cover up to keep us from learning what happens when that swamp in the White House is drained. And it might not be criminality. But what we now know is the President of the United States, his family, his campaign aides have lied for months and months and months about their relationships to Russians, Russian nationals, and this special prosecutor is determined to get to the bottom of it.

BALDWIN: Back to the media. I'm listening to you, as I always do, but I know you are off on a tangent. That's OK.

BERNSTEIN: I got on a little soap box. I wouldn't call it tangent but a soap box.

BALDWIN: No, it's a soap box and that's why we have you on, Carl Bernstein.

BERNSTEIN: But it's a soap box about what the truth is including the possible exoneration of Donald Trump?

BALDWIN: Yes. But what could be part of this that makes some of what we were discussing so outrageous is this. I want you to listen to the Fox News host comparing the FBI -- what you've been talking about -- to the KGB. Roll it.


GREGG JARRETT, FOX NEWS LEGAL ANALYST: The Mueller investigation is illegitimate and corrupt. And Mueller has been using the FBI as a political weapon. And the FBI has become America's secret police. It's like the old KGB that comes for you in the dark of the night banging through your door.


BERNSTEIN: You know, one of the things about news is there is plenty of room for gray area. What you are watching on Fox News is it all black and white no gray. The FBI, indeed, there was a time in the history of FBI for many years under J Edgar Hoover, when it did look like the KGB. When it did break into people's homes. When it did illegal wiretapping. We don't know that that happens now. We now have a Mr. Ray who was appointed by the President of the United States. Ray sticking up for this investigation, and those people who serve in the FBI.

We have no evidence that this is the old Hoover FBI. We have no evidence of a tainted investigation. We have a special prosecutor who is supervised by the deputy attorney general appointed by President Trump's Justice Department, the Attorney General of the United States, his deputy, Rosenstein. It's supervising this investigation. Has authority over it. Rosenstein is not going to let this become politicized. This kind of commentary and particularly the silence and encouragement of Republicans attacking this investigation in this way is indeed perpetuating a cover up and abetting a cover up.

BALDWIN: Come on my show any time and talk about a soap box, Carl Bernstein. I mean that.

BERNSTEIN: It's about what is true. And we don't know where this is going.

BALDWIN: We have no idea.

BERNSTEIN: We have some -- we actually, we have some idea, but we don't know.

BALDWIN: We really don't know. Carl Bernstein, thank you very much. I appreciate it.

Let's go live now to CNN Manu Raju on Capitol Hill with a development. Manu what do you have?

MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We are correcting a story we have been reporting throughout today about an e-mail that was sent to the Trump campaign, to then candidate Trump, Donald Trump Jr. and others during the heat of the campaign season. This e-mail included a decryption key and also a link to where they could access some of these hacked WikiLeaks documents from the Democrat National Committee. Now we've been reporting that this e-mail came on September 4th, that

was before some of these documents were publicly available. But we have just obtained a copy of this e-mail. And instead, we now learn that this e-mail was on September 14th. So that is ten days later than what we originally reported earlier today. And this appears to change the understanding of this story. Because initially it seemed perhaps they were being offered access to documents that were not yet publicly available.

[16:20:00] But in this e-mail from an individual named Michael Erickson, they do direct the Trump campaign so some publicly available documents, hacked documents from WikiLeaks as well as from the former Secretary of State Colin Powell, saying that those documents are, indeed, available. Now our initial reporting on that September 4th date was based on two sources who had seen this e-mail, but that information was incorrect now based on a copy of the e-mail that we have obtained this afternoon.

So, Brooke, it just shows that perhaps the initial understanding of what this e-mail was perhaps is not as significant as what we know now based on this e-mail. We do know that Donald Trump Jr., when he testified before the House Intelligence Committee, was asked about this e-mail. He said he had no knowledge of it, which we reported earlier as well. And his attorney said he did not act on the offer to obtain these hacked e-mails. That's a statement they continue to say today. But this e-mail came out September 14th, not September 4th as we said earlier -- Brooke.

BALDWIN: OK. Manu Raju, thank you. Back in a moment.


BALDWIN: Voting is now underway for our CNN hero of the year and here is one of this year's top ten heroes. Easy for me to say. This is Amy Wright.


AMY WRIGHT, CNN HERO NOMINEE: People with disabilities, sometimes the world just passes them by.

Having a workplace that makes you feel proud of yourself and gives you a sense of community is something we all want. Most of them are unemployed and we really felt like we wanted to do something about it. It was like coffee shop.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hey guys, good morning. Welcome to Bitty and Beau's. It's open.


WRIGHT: Other than our two managers, everybody that works at Bitty and Beau's coffee here has an intellectual or developmental disability.



WRIGHT: We figured out what their skill set was and we plugged them in. Now we have 40 employees.

We made them feel welcome, that's awesome.

For most of them who have never had a job before, it's really exciting.


WRIGHT: We always say it's more than a cup of coffee. It's a human rights movement. It's given our employees the respect that they deserve. When you just give them a chance, they can do anything you ask them to do.


BALDWIN: So awesome. This is always such a fun time of year when we get to see all of these heroes. Please vote for Amy or any of your favorite top ten CNN heroes. Go to

Now to our CNN series "DIVIDED WE CODE" and the world of the online communities dubbed "red pill," all right. So, these groups think everything they have been told about gender, race, politics, is a lie. Laurie Segall, CNN senior tech correspondent, is with me now with the shocking revelations. Red pill? Teach me.

[16:25:00] LAURIE SEGALL, CNN SENIOR TECH CORRESPONDENT: Very, very interesting forums if you delve into it. And you know look, we hear a lot about these touch points, the politics, gender, the national conversation right now on sexual harassment and gender roles. These conversations, Brooke, are playing out online in these forms that breed misogyny and sexism. And what's interesting and why we have to pay attention is they're also turning into a bit of a political movement. I want to warn our viewers they might find some of the content offensive or disturbing. Take a look.


SEGALL (voice-over): Blue pill or red pill, it's a question made famous in the '90s movie "The Matrix." And it's never been more relevant.

(on camera): What does it mean to swallow the red pill.

You pretty much accept this, quote, unquote, truth, that point of view was that women are having too much power.

SEGALL (voice-over): Now that phrase has been co-opted by communities online. To swallow the red pill is to accept that everything you've been told about society, about gender, race, politics is a lie. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You hear that term used in a lot of different

communities on the far-right and basically it means being awakened to the truth of the way that reality really is. It's actually men who are at a disadvantage and they need to do whatever is in their control to put the women back in their place.

SEGALL: Before taking the red pill became political, it was actually just about picking up women.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They're really feeling lost and looking for advice or guidance or community.

SEGALL: I met up with a man who you could call an ex-red pillar. He's out of the community now but he asked us to keep his identity a secret. Let's call him Josh.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, as soon as I started to continuously not do so well with women, instead of thinking that it was me, I started to in a way, you know, blame them.

SEGALL: In these forums, hitting on women turns into a game.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They do recognize that, you know, women have rights, but only in as much as like these are rights that, like, you know, men have given you.

SEGALL: It wasn't just about misogyny. These forums became political. Sprinkled in between posts on women are hateful comments on topics like race and religion.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was, you know, to my eternal embarrassment radicalized by the right-wing politically.

SEGALL: Red pill groups are scattered across the internet, but they were able to rally around a political mission in 2016.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So, there are people who focus on men's rights. There are trolls who want to trick people and elicit a response. Trump was a way they could all come together and unite around a common goal.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think they like that he kind of barreled in and they thought he was really going to mess up the establishment.

SEGALL: We reached out to the White House and they declined to comment for the story.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He is essentially the alt-right president. He's the president belonging to that reactionary movement.

SEGALL: But that movement no longer includes Josh. He metaphorically spit out the red pill. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As soon as they started targeting like, you know,

people of color and doing so rather, you know, harshly and egregiously, there was this very small voice in the back of my head saying, hey, idiot, wake up, they're talking about you.

SEGALL (on camera): It's interesting you say they're talking about you. I don't think our viewers know, you're an African-American man.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, and proudly so.

SEGALL: Was there ever a point where you heard some of this rhetoric and you believed it about yourself?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I did actually, to my, again internal shame, to my embarrassment.

SEGALL: How are you doing now? Are you OK?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is a lot more of deprogramming, I guess you could say.

SEGALL: We used to program the internet. Now the question, is it programming us?


SEGALL: Right? I reached out to Reddit, they said they updated their policies recently and against any -- they'll take action against any content that encourages violence or incites physical harm. You know, this might seem like such a radical story, but I think it's important to point out this started with a vulnerable lonely guy who was looking for a girlfriend online and just went into these forums. And it led him to such extreme views against women. Also, as you saw in this piece, even against his own race.


SEGALL: You know, before he was able to kind of get out of this. It's important to look at these groups and see, you know, it's not as extreme as you would think.

BALDWIN: I have no idea how you find these people. You seem to each and every time. Peeling back these layers of a slice of, you know, society and technology. I just had no idea. Laurie Segall. Thank you. Please watch so much more of her reporting. She actually has dedicated herself to this entire special. It's called "DIVIDED WE CODE." it airs this Saturday at 2:30 p.m. here on CNN, eastern time. So, Laurie Segall, thank you. I'm Brooke Baldwin. Thank you so much for being with me. "THE LEAD" with Jake Tapper starts right now.