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President's Lawyers Are Planning To Meet With Mueller As Early As This Week To Discuss The Probe And Hopefully Detect Signs That It Is Ending Soon; Democrat Ruben Kihuen Of Nevada Will Not Run For Reelection; President Trump's Voters Regret Voting Him; Steven Spielberg Reacting In The National Reckoning In The Wake Of The Allegations Against Harvey Weinstein; A Journalist Who Came To The U.S. After Getting Death Threats From The Cartel He Reported On Maybe Deported Back To Mexico; Republican Possibly Just Days Away Now From Handing The President And Their Party Their Biggest Legislative Victory Since The Presidency Started This Past January. Aired 4-5p ET

Aired December 16, 2017 - 16:00   ET



[16:00:54] ANA CABRERA, CNN HOST: You are in the CNN NEWSROOM. Thanks for being here. I am Ana Cabrera in New York. Great to have you with us.

Now a potentially climactic meeting between President Trump's attorneys and the special counsel's team, Robert Mueller's team could be just days away. Sources tell CNN the two sides could meet as early as this week to discuss the ongoing investigations.

I want to bring in CNN justice correspondent Evan Perez who helps break this story on CNN. He is here with me.

So Evan, what do we expect to be discussed this week?

EVAN PEREZ, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, this is a meeting, Ana, where the President's legal team wants to basically have the special counsel team puts their cards on the table. They want to know where this investigation is going. In particular, they want to know obviously whether or not or how much longer perhaps this might be going and whether or not there is any interests in anybody else inside the White House. Obviously, at this point there is been a lot of speculations about whether or not this investigation is going to ultimately target the President. And I think one of the things that they want from this meeting is to get a better sense of not only how much longer it is going to go because this has been such a cloud over the President and the administration, you know, for the past year. But also, you know, how much longer or what avenues are left for this investigation to pursue?

CABRERA: And you have, according to your sources, the reporting that they have reason to believe that this is going to be a good thing for the President.

PEREZ: Yes. They think that, you know, if you talk to the people at the White House, they say that there is no there there. And they are sure that Robert Mueller is going agree with them at some point. So they are hoping that this is a meeting where they can get a little bit of a sign that that is indeed the case.

Now, the problem here is that again this is the President's legal team that is thinking this. And Robert Mueller is a prosecutor who has got a lot of experience in his past. And he is not really, you know, there is a requirement for him to give --


PEREZ: Right. There is no requirements for him to show all his cards at this point. We know for instance that there are attorneys and investigators who specifically assigned to the question of obstruction of justice, right, which is big question and not only the firing of James Comey, the former FBI director, but also this Trump tower meeting last June with Don Jr. with meeting with the Russians who is promising dirt on Hillary Clinton. The White House handling of all of that is a big question that is looming over all of this.

So, look. The President's legal team Jay Sekulow and John Dowd are going to go in there. We expect certainly by this time next week, they are going to have-- they hope that they are going to have a better sense of where things are going. And as you know the President and his supporters are getting impatient. They think that this is gone on long enough. And the iron of that being that, you know, this is only seven months since Robert Mueller have been in charge of this investigation and there has already been four people who have been brought up on charges. So this is actually moving pretty quickly, but not fast enough for Republicans.

CABRERA: Also, important to note in your reporting that the President and the vice President, neither of them have been interviewed by Robert Mueller's team at this point.

PEREZ: Right. Exactly.

CABRERA: OK. Evan Perez, thank you for the reporting breaking it down for us.

I want to go to CNN's Boris Sanchez at the White House now where he now has new reaction from the President's legal team to concerns from prominent Democrats about Robert Mueller's future.

Boris, what can you tell us?


Yes, this concerns dates back to messages that have been coming from the White House and from some of prominent Republicans. Over the past few days specifically about Robert Mueller's special investigation.

Just a few days ago, you had the President saying that what had happened to the FBI was a shame and lamenting the state of the FBI. He was delivering the messages that were exchanged between two top FBI officials during the 2016 campaign in which they criticize the President very forcefully, among others as well. They also criticize former attorney general Eric Holder and Bernie Sanders.

But conservative Republicans have taken these messages that were recently released as a sign that Robert Mueller's special investigation was tainted because one of those officials was actually on Robert Mueller's team initially before it later being reassigned.

So you have now some Democrats including Adam Schiff and Jackie Spear, both from the House intelligence committee, saying that they fear that these growing calls from Republicans for Robert Mueller to resign may ultimately indicate that the White House is planning to somehow dismiss Robert Mueller.

CNN reached out to Ty Cobb, White House council, over why those with the statements just a short while ago. He writes quote "as the White House has consistently said for months there was no consideration of firing the special counsel."

So the White House denying if there is any plan to fire Robert Mueller while Democrats are saying that they believe that the rumor that this is something that may happen. It just makes the meeting this week between Donald Trump's attorneys and Robert Mueller that much more significant, Ana.

[16:05:54] CABRERA: All right. Boris Sanchez at the White House, thank you for that reporting.

Let's bring in our panel now for some more perspective. With us is CNN legal analyst Michael Zeldin. He is a former federal prosecutor who has worked closely with Robert Mueller at the justice department and politics reporter for "the Guardian" Sabrina Siddiqui.

So Michael, "Bloomberg" is reporting that Trump's lawyers, John Dowd and Ty Cobb, they actually have a long standing relationship. The have long standing ties with Robert Mueller and that is part of the reason why they were brought on. I know you know Mueller. How much would he be willing to tell Trump's attorneys about his case and where it is at?

MICHAEL ZELDIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Zero would be my guess. I think that Mueller is not about to reveal anything to John Dowd who I think he does know because Dowd is an institution in Washington as a long time white collar crime lawyer and well respected. But Mueller is not going to tip his hand and it is going to be, you know, I think a disappointing meeting for Dowd if that's what his expectations are.

With respect to the story, I think what's important, Ana, is to know who asked for the meeting. If it is a meeting that Sekulow and Dowd asked for in a sense of status call type of hearing then I think they are not going to get all that much from Mueller. If Mueller requested them to come in, it is more likely that Mueller is going to say this is what I want from you and that might be under oath testimony from the President. Because remember, Dowd and Sekulow only represent the President. They don't represent the White House. They don't represent Pence of McGahn or Hope Hicks or Kushner or anybody else there. They are the private counsels for the President of the United States. CABRERA: Right. They are not the White House's counsel.

Quick follow to you on that front, though. Because we don't know who requested the meeting, but we do know according to Evan's reporting and the sources that he had verified the information with, is that the President have not been asked to interview with the special counsel. The vice President has been asked to interview with the special counsel. And the other reason they are optimistic about the President's situation is because a lot of the documents the special counsel has asked for really has not had a direct connection to the President. What's your take?

ZELDIN: Well, I think that after Evan's reporting which is perfectly agreeable with me, I would just add that all of those instance that you just recited, the word "yet." Because yet is important. The fact that he hasn't ask for the President's testimony yet or the vice president's testimony yet doesn't meant that he is not going to still ask for it. And there are a lot of things that are still in play from what we can determine from the public record, under investigation, most notably in respect to the President personally is obstruction of justice.

And I don't know that Mueller is at a point yet, seven months in that he can make that determination and everything also hinges on what is Flynn telling Mueller and how they completely debrief Flynn to know what they need and still follow up from the White House.

So I think it is still optimistic on the part of the White House that this is going to be sort of the beginning or the end of these inquiries. But, you know, we will have to see.

CABRERA: Sabrina, Congressman Adam Schiff, a Democrat, he is the ranking member on the House intelligence committee. He says he is worried Republicans are going to shut down their Russia investigation. And he goes on to a more reasons why in a series of tweet. He also made comments on our air but he says, you know, there are no witnesses scheduled after next week or in 2018 currently. And one scheduled for next week are out of state during the votes on the tax bill. So Congress members can actually do those interviews. They have to send staff members. Is there evidence that the Republicans are trying to under mind or stop the investigation?

SABRINA SIDDIQUI, POLITICS REPORTER, THE GUARDIAN: Well, I do think that you have seen a shift in the way that Republicans, at least some of them in Congress have talked about the investigation. You are starting to see more and more Republicans in both the House and the Senate suggest that the special counsel is biased. That Mueller is stepping out of his bound, although, they are not really providing any evidence to truly underscore, to truly support the notion that this is some kind of witch hunt. That's actually the terminology that we have seen for the past few months from if President.

I think what was telling with Trey Gowdy who was leaning the House intelligence committee investigation to Russia, when he was asked by "the New York Times" if he was moving to and the investigation quickly, he says he had no reason to apologize for concluding the investigation. So that did sort of suggest that they are looking to wrap this up quickly. I do think, however, that there has been more bipartisan action when it comes to the parallel investigations, by the Senate intelligence committee or the senate judiciary committee. I think the real question will be and there are supporters of the President who tried to delegitimize this investigation entirely are Republicans going to play into that narrative and are being also going to support some of the attacks that have been made against Robert Mueller and the independence of the judiciary branch.

[16:10:57] CABRERA: Michael, on that note, do you think Mueller's investigation took a hit this week with that revelation of those text messages that were are speaking negatively with Trump that were sent last year by one of the investigators on the Russia's team who has since been removed.

ZELDIN: I think it is a bit of red-herring, Ana, to the extent that this special agent of the FBI sending text messages with this Paramour, if they are relevant at all, they are relevant to the Clinton email investigation. This agent was on Mueller's team for a very short period of time. And soon as Mueller was advised of it, he removed this guy.

So I don't believe there is any tank that this guy brings to the Mueller investigation. I understand politically why people might want to, you know, combine the email of Clinton and the Mueller's investigation. But in reality, I think that this is not relevant to the integrity of Mueller's investigation.

CABRERA: All right, Michael Zeldin and Sabrina Siddiqui, thank you both for being here.

Coming up, the Republican possibly just days away now from handing the president and their party their biggest legislative victory since the presidency started this past January. We asked some Trump supporters now in Michigan how they feel about the President's tax bill.

Stay with us. You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM.


[16:16:23] CABRERA: President Trump just a short time ago predicting the tax code plan is about to go before Congress and will strongly benefit people looking for work.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This will be great for jobs. It will be fantastic for the middle income people and for jobs. It will also benefit lots of other things. I mean, we are looking to -- if you look at the whole thing, everybody is going to benefit. But I think the greatest benefit is going to be for jobs and for the middle class - middle income.


CABRERA: Now these are just a few of the main points of this historic tax reform bill that may get a vote in the House and Senate as soon as Tuesday.

CNN's martin Savidge took the final form of the tax compromise to people who have voted for President Trump last year to see if they are still on board.


MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In the motor city, I'm reuniting with Trump voting auto workers talking Texas.

How many of you like the tax plan which you are hearing?

DAVID BELAT, AUTOWORKER: Things start slow. I got one. I guess it is OK. It is not a huge saving but it is a saving.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is a savings. Everyone is going to get a savings.

SAVIDGE: Personally --?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know about me personally, but for the country as a whole it is going to be good thing.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Personally, I believe it is going to be good, too.

SAVIDGE: What do you think you are going to save?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm going to save between $1,000 maybe $2,000 a year.

SAVIDGE: That may sound OK. But --.

It is not a big thing when you spread it throughout the year.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No. It doesn't move the needle.

SAVIDGE: I reminded them what candidate Trump promised reading from a so-called contract with Americans. A middle class family with two children will get a 35 percent tax cut. That is not what you are getting.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't think they are going to achieve that at all.

SAVIDGE: The others disagreed citing all kinds of numbers especially the standard family deductions which is expected to double.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's huge. Actually, huge.

SAVIDGE: Amy, David's wife, isn't an autoworker. She is a teacher. And she did not vote for Trump. She does not like the tax plan worrying for those who are not rich or even the middle class.

AMY BELAT, TEACHER: I believe are going to be hit hard with us, too. I think we are kind of ignoring the population.

SAVIDGE: These factory workers all realize the companies they work will benefit the most and that's OK by that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am hoping in good faith that they will use their money to invest in the people, to hire more people and to expand their businesses.

SAVIDGE: And so, the thinking is if the company does better, you all will do better.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It brings everybody else from the bottom up.

SAVIDGE: Virgil, do you believe that?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I believe it strongly, yes.

SAVIDGE: What about the deficit, I asked which experts say under this plan will balloon by at least a trillion dollars or more. Is this fiscally responsible?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Maybe not short term but I am hoping in long-term.

SAVIDGE: You are taking a risk?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I sure am. I took a risk when I voted for Donald Trump.

SAVIDGE: That exchange led to one last question which was how do the men feel about Trump? And they said well, they wish that he wouldn't tweets. You hear that a lot. They also said they like him to be more of a uniter and less of a divider but they say it is not all just him. They blame the country as a whole as being partisan than polarized.

But every man said they support Trump even more strongly today than they did when they voted for him.


CABRERA: Martin Savidge in Detroit. Thank you.

Joining us now, CNN senior economic panelist Stephen Moore and the CEO of small business who will feel lower taxes at this proposal becomes law, Ravin Gandhi.

So Stephen, explain to me how this final version, where is that right now, is going lead to the kind of middle class benefit the President has been touting. We see there are a lot of benefits for corporations.


Hi Ana. By the way, I agree with that one gentleman in that previous segment who they wished Trump would not tweet so much. I'm with him on that. Look. I also think there was wisdom and the other gentleman who was

interviewed who said look, the idea here what we hope that the businesses and companies that get this tax cut is not just for companies, but they are going to get a sizable tax cut. That that will be used for reinvestment.

Ana, when I first started talking to Donald Trump about this two years ago, that was the whole idea behind this. Let's make America's business is healthy and profitable and that giving them more cash so they can expand their operations, hire more workers and pay them more. We expect that that will happen and we are going to see a very healthy 2018 with a lot more jobs and a lot more opportunities for American workers.

CABRERA: So Ravin, you are one of those business owners. Are you going to reinvest? Are going to hire more workers? Are you going to give pay raises?

RAVIN GANDHI, CEO, GMM NONSTICK COATINGS: No, not with this tax increase. I think that the fiction of the Trump administration is saying, it seems to be written by bunch of people who never run a business.

Every day, 40 million people on this country use my company's products. So I am highly concerned about the middle class. And the thing is every year I already hire people and I invest people. So they are going to give me a ton of money. And the issue is companies like mine and aggregate have $2.3 trillion in cash right now. We have more cash than what we know what to do with.

So I think that when I get the money, I am going to invest more in the stock market. I'm going to buy some more real estate which is going to exacerbate the wealth gap.

My big question is why did the Trump administration choose to give $1.5 trillion to the top one percent like me when we have $22 trillion of debt in this country right now? We have a middle class that is absolutely hurting. Why not take $1.5 trillion investing in healthcare, invest in job or try to invest in education, invest in that holy grail of infrastructure that I remember him campaigning of.

That's what I think the Trump administration should do. I think they got it completely backward. And I think that what we saw last week in Alabama was what we saw in Virginia which is a lot of people who are kind of bamboozled by Mr. Trump in campaign with this, you know, economic demagoguery are starting to realize the emperor has no clothes. Holy cow. And this historically red and Republican districts are going back to the Democrats. And I really hope Congress shifts in 2018 so we can finally get partnership.

CABRERA: So Stephen, how do you respond to what we just heard from Ravin who is a business owner? He says like the theory may not actually be realized?

MOORE: Well, look, I go across the country and have talked to businessmen large and small for the last two years and they say exactly the opposite of what Ravin is saying. That if they have more, you know, cash and they have more profits and they get this tax cut that they are going to flow that money back into the business, expand their operations. That's what small business wants to do, right, is they grow into a larger business.

And so, you know, I think this is an out liar company. Most businesses, (INAUDIBLE) hire an additional three or four workers or paid better benefits or the person that they have more cash, that's what typically they do when they have more money.

Look. When companies are financially stressed, they can't hire more workers. They can't expand operations. They have to lay off workers. We discovered that in 2008.

CABRERA: But. That's not where we are at right now, Stephen. We are at a 17-year low unemployment rate. And the President likes to point out that the stock market is skyrocketing reaching record highs. The fed just raised interest rates for the third time this year. Why does corporate America need the help?

MOORE: I know. Is that a wonderful thing? I remember a year ago being on this show when everyone said that Trump was going to crash the economy and crash the stock market.

CABRERA: But why does corporate American need the help?

MOORE: Well, first of all, so all the critics of Trump were exactly wrong because the economy has boomed. It hasn't crashed. And part of this I think is, you know, there is euphoria out there. You see, for example, one of my favorite statistics, Ana, is small business confidence today. It is through the roof that national federation independent business said last week that they are pay up high smaller business confidence that any time in 40 years. That is I think --.

CABRERA: Stephen, I am sorry to interrupt. I am running short on time. But can you please answer my question.

GANDHI: But here is what Stephen doesn't, I don't think want to say is that I look at the numbers, OK. And the top one percent in this tax plan is an average going to get $32,000 back. The bottom 20 percent of this country that needs so much help, they are going to see a slight tax increase.

MOORE: That's not true.

GANDHI: It is absolutely are.

MOORE: Ravin, I actually wrote the plan. I think I know the plan.

GANDHI: That's why it is unbelievable.

CABRERA: Hold on, one at a time. Finish your thought, Ravin. And Stephen can respond.

Hold on. Hold on. Go ahead, Ravin, finish your thought. Stephen, I will give you the last word. [16:25:04] GANDHI: OK. Here is the thing. What -- I have no problem

if Stephen Moore or Donald Trump wants to give $1.5 trillion to guys like them. I have no problem. It is their purview. Election have consequences.

What ghouls me is just the non-factual statement that we see going up in this administration which are, you know, Mr. Trump is saying me and all my rich funds are going get really crushed. That is just a bold face lie. And I think that what we saw in Alabama is a reflection that people are starting to see. People are starting to realize that wait a second, you know, I voted for Obama twice and then I shifted to Trump, that's why he won the election. And wait a second, I'm actually still sitting here, you know, with my middle class jobs and I got two jobs and no one is helping me with education. They are up to come to take away my healthcare. I think that that is absolutely ridiculous.


GANDHI: And I just wish this administration would be a little bit more honest.

CABRERA: Stephen, we got 30 seconds, finish this up.

MOORE: Everyone who pays taxes, if you pay income tax, you are going get tax cut. Now there is some high income people and high income tax, high tax states that may see a reduction in their tax. We double the standard deduction. We give a thousand dollars per child additional credit. We lower the tax rates. Ravin, I don't understand how that's a tax increase on the middle class.

CABRERA: All right, guys. Got to leave it there. I know this debate could go on. And we will continue.

GANDHI: What I love about America is we get to give our opinions.

CABRERA: No doubt about it.

MOORE: I do too.

CABRERA: Thank you, both.

GANDHI: Thanks. Merry Christmas to you guys.

CABRERA: You, too.

Coming up, in the wake of the national reckoning since the allegations against Harvey Weinstein came to light, legendary director Steven Spielberg is now speaking out. Why he says we have a long way to go with women's rights next.


[16:31:08] CABRERA: A journalist who came to the U.S. after getting death threats from the cartel he reported on maybe deported back to Mexico. Emilio Gutierrez Soto has been seeking asylum since coming here in

2008. Now, earlier this month, he and his 24 years old son were detained and handcuffed by ICE agents and how his very life could hang in the balance of the decision by the board of immigration appeal.

Polo Sandoval is joining us now to discuss this.

Polo, you have been following his story. Just how serious are these threats like if he gets him back?

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Right. (INAUDIBLE) understand, not just a threats but the full scope of this story. I need to take you back to the summer of 2008. That's when Emilio Gutierrez Soto showed at the doorstep of this country seeking asylum, asking for help. You see he is a well-known journalist in the Mexican state too well, close to the border. He was closely looked at after he wrote a series of stories alleging corruption within in the Mexican military.

Well, not well after that, Gutierrez tells me that he was suspected that he would be targeted by some of the drug gangs that you mentioned. Well possibly even the government itself. So he fled to the U.S. with his son, initiated asylum proceedings for almost nine years. He lived technically legally in Los Cruses in Mexico. It was issued by - a work permit by the U.S. government as this whole asylum situation was sorted out.

Nine years later, just last week, an immigration court denied that request. ICE then initiated those deportation proceedings to Mexico, the country that is terrified to be in again. And it was not until last Thursday that state was issued as we were about to hear from his attorney Eduardo Beckett, that he is now working to try to ask that board of immigration appeals to reconsider Gutierrez's case.


EDUARDO BECKETT, ATTORNEY FOR EMILIO GUTIERREZ SOTO: There is no protection by the Mexican government even though in writing they have all these laws to protect journalists, but in practices, there is no resources. And so, therefore, we think that this case has merits and that the appeal's court will see that the judge's decision was erroneous because overwhelming evidence shows that in Mexico, reporters are sensor and are not free to enter the legal way. He basically went to the port of entry and since he had fear. And at this time, I request asylum. So Mr. Gutierrez is always followed the law, entered legally and his case has merits and is credible.


SANDOVAL: And Gutierrez touch an important point here, Ana, which is really have to crocs in this issue, which is journalism in Mexico just behind conflict zone, it is now one of the most dangerous place to practice journalism. The United Nations just put out a report this month saying that there is an actual entity that follows, attacks and murders of journalists that according to (INAUDIBLE) already 11 journalists have been killed just south of the border. So that is a real threat that this man faces, not only to enter the country illegally, seeking asylum, now the U.S. government could potentially send him right back. He says he will not to go to Mexico. He is going to go somewhere else. That's what he is going to do.

CABRERA: Keep us posted.

Polo Sandoval, thank you so much.

Coming up, Steven Spielberg reacting in the national reckoning in the wake of the allegations against Harvey Weinstein. Why he says he was shocked, but not surprise, next.


[16:38:52] CABRERA: One of the biggest names in Hollywood is telling CNN the sex abuse of harassment allegations have been running rampant through the entertainment industry for decade. Director Steven Spielberg sat down for a candid interview actually with CNN's Chloe Melas about the revelations rocking showbizness.


STEVEN SPIELBERG, DIRECTOR: You know, was I surprised? I wasn't. I was shocked but I was not surprised because if you have peripheral vision, you are going to sense these things out of the corner of your eye. You cannot know that this is been going on rapidly for, I cannot even tell you how many decades. But this is something that has been dealt with today and the courage in these women that are coming forward, I have never seen anything like it.


CABRERA: I want to bring in Chloe Melas joining us now.

So Chloe, that interview was so eye opening in the way that he just speaks so candidly, really.

CHLOE MELAS, CNN ENTERTAINMENT REPORTER: It was incredibly refreshing. Ana, this is just a snippet of a bigger interview with Steven Spielberg that is going to air in January for something called "Creators." We sit down with people who have movies coming out during a war season. And it is for the post, you know, about the Pentagon paper and "the Washington Post." And just to hear him talk about, you know, everything that's been going on when it comes to harassment and the rampant issues that we see have been existing in Hollywood for so long. He calls it a national reckoning.

He said that we are living in the midst of a movement. And that he has never seen change happened faster than what he has seen in the past six to eight weeks. And you know, he has been making films, Ana, for 50 years. Soto just hear him talk about this is just pretty incredible, you know.

[16:40:36] CABRERA: Well, and it is interesting the fact that it is somebody in a position of power himself where he kind of put his neck out there to even address the issue. MELAS: I know. Because there is so many ways that he could have just

skirted this question. And I mean you know, he said that when you are on movie sets, you have any sort of peripheral vision, you knew that something was going on. So he said he is shocked but not surprised.

But listen. That's not the only thing that he weighed in on. You know, this movie also doesn't just tackle freedom of the press but, you know, when it comes to women's issues, when you have Katherine Graham plays by Meryl Streep becoming the first female publisher of "the Washington Post" in 1972, you walk away from the movie kind of saying has much changed since the '70s. Do we still have a long way to go for women? And Spielberg had something really interesting to say about that.


SPIELBERG: And many women of different class ceilings over the last couple of hundred years since the formation of our country. But Kate Graham pretty much shattered a pre-important glass ceiling. But we still have a long way to go. I mean, we are not anywhere near where we should have been based on the relationships that men and women have and the way women are perceived basically by men or the way power is used and abused. Things are changing. And they are changing faster than I have ever seen things changed.


MELAS: You know, Ana, the thing is that although we have made us women such a great strives with making our voices be heard, we still have a long way to go and women need to keep on calling out in justices that see with themselves or others because the fight is not over.

CABRERA: Does he talk about why the change is happening now?

MELAS: You know a lot of people are wondering that, you know, since Donald Trump is President right now with these issues have been coming out to surface quickly. Had Hillary Clinton been president, you know, a lot of issues that are tackled right now and it is hard to say why it is all happening as, you know, we are living in this moment. But it is really nice to say people like Steven Spielberg weighed in on issues like this because so many men in positions of power sometimes are not as willing as he was to speak out on such a hit button issue.

CABRERA: Chloe Melas, thank you.

MELAS: Thank you.

CABRERA: Good to see you.

We will be right back.


[16:47:18] CABRERA: So how are President Trump's voters feeling about the Republican Party after their loss in Alabama this week? And how do they feel today about President Trump?

CNN's Alysin Camerota gathered a group of voters from Virginia, New Jersey and Alabama, the states that have recently put the Democrats to take their temperature (ph) and to get their predictions for the 2018 midterms.


ALYSIN CAMEROTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: How many of you think that what happened on Tuesday night in Alabama is part of the so-called blue wave where Democrats base are rising back up and being heard? Saudia, what do you think?

SAUDIA ALLY, VOTED FOR DONALD TRUMP, NOW REGRETS IT: Everyone is saying oh God, what Republicans did on the ground game to get Trump in office, they are taking notes. Those Democrats are finally saying whatever they did we are going to do better.

JIMMY DOZIER, VOTED FOR DONALD TRUMP AND STILL SUPPORTS HIM: The Democrats (INAUDIBLE), they got to get rid of Biden, get rid of Hillary, go out in Midwest, get them or Democrats thinks about jobs, thinks about economy and they can get the workers back. If they keep voting the west coast, east coast (INAUDIBLE), they are not going to win.

MIKE BRINDOCK, VOTED FOR DONALD TRUMP, NOW REGRETS IT: I just don't trust the Republicans period. I think, you know, Republicans shake your hands and stab you in the back at the same time. Donald Trump, Steve Bannon, well are probably one of the reasons why we lost the race.

KIM DOWDLE, VOTED FOR DONALD TRUMP AND STILL SUPPORTS HIM: It is not a party thing. It is a human thing. I think humans in Alabama voted for humans. And Alabama that was not a bigot. That was not full of hate. They did not use God as a weaponry and body shell for himself. Parties need to go away.

CAMEROTA: So the next person who is elected in the midterm for the President, it is about the person and not the party.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It should always be.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In a perfect world.

CAMEROTA: Do you think that this race had national implications?



BRINDOCK: It shows that the people are not really to save other Republicans. I think the Republicans are on their way out, if you ask me. And as long as they have Donald Trump there as their leader, they are going to continue to lose. CAMEROTA: You were all Donald Trump's voters. How many of you today

regretted in part?

Three of you have regrets. Mike, you are interesting, did you really regret it the next day? The day after he won?

BRINDOCK: Well, after hearing about him talking. The way he was coming out of the CIA and he just began to turn me off right there and then.

CAMEROTA: So the day after his inauguration, you regret it.

BRINDOCK: Yes. I began to regret it. Again, I see something wrong with this guy, I think. Donald Trump lies so much, I can't stand him anymore. He changes his lines so often, you know. And he said sometimes he says and does things just to change. He does not think about the consequences.

[16:50:01] DARIUS MAYFIELD, VOTED FOR DONALD TRUMP AND STILL SUPPORTS HIM: Everywhere from Obama to Clinton and to Bush, all of them, it was just the same thing over and over, deeper deficits, more government interventions, more spending, more messing up the world. But I see something different in Trump and he's doing everything he said he would do.

CAMEROTA: OK. Saudi, you changed your party affiliation in order to vote for Donald Trump. You went from Democrat to Republican because you were so inspired by him.

ALLY: I love the fact that he is an outsider and he is not completely embedded in the political existing system. That I give my hat to him.

CAMEROTA: But now you regret your vote?

ALLY: Yes, I have a lot of (INAUDIBLE). I do. It has happened because of some of the things that I disagree with and especially his cuts of the bill in education for the arts. Having grown up in Corona Queens (ph) and then into Long Island, those programs were hugely impact full on my life.

CAMEROTA: The other interesting thing that I should mention about you both is that you are married to each other.


CAMEROTA: So you are now a someone of a regretor, (INAUDIBLE), how is that go over at home?

MAYFIELD: Goes fine. We are two intelligent people that understand that politics is not the end of your and our lives. At the end of the day, we have different opinions, great. We still love each other.

CAMEROTA: Steve, do you tell me yet why you have regrets?


CAMEROTA: But what?

SKIPPER: When it comes to an African-American perspective on race, when it comes to the issue in the NFL, he focus in on something that wasn't even relevant. African- American are being slaughtered in this country by policemen who are not being prosecuted. And to polarize America society and make it look like it had something to do with the national anthem and failed to listen to the reasons why they were protesting.

BRINDOCK: Donald Trump alienates people. He comes out with (INAUDIBLE) on one day, and next day he is trying to justify himself. He just keeps alienate people as he goes along. He alienates people overseas. He alienate people of black movement to Jerusalem. He alienates people on the environment. How do you think Republicans are going to win if there is an election war?

CAMEROTA: That leads me to my next question. 2018, we are going to play a little game. You are going to finish the sentence. Two- thousand, we will start with you.


CAMEROTA: So in the year of 2018 will be the year of blank.

DOWDLE: Well. Humanity. I think that the world needs to take note, we are done. We are done.

CAMEROTA: Done with what?

DOWDLE: Hatred. Pure and adult hatred, just the way you look or because the way you dress, because of how you act, because of what you -- we are done! It is a human thing now.

CAMEROTA: You are hopeful.

DOWDLE: I believe in people.

CAMEROTA: Steve, 2018 will be the year of.

SKIPPER: I think what she just said.

CAMEROTA: You are hopeful, too.

SKIPPER: That's pretty powerful.

CAMEROTA: You are optimistic.

SKIPPER: I think that is pretty powerful, yes.

CAMEROTA: Jimmy, what do you see in 2018?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: House and the Senate.

CAMEROTA: Republicans are going to hold the balance of power in 2018.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't think Republicans are not going to hold the power.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It is the economy. You all understand.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So Mike, 2018 will be the year of what?

BRINDOCK: Of Democrats.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are still thinking of party.

CAMEROTA: You think that Democrats will come roaring back in the midterm.

BRINDOCK: Yes. They can run back in Virginia. And I think the election in Alabama is an indication that they are on their way. So I don't see how people can vote for Republicans.

CAMEROTA: Saudia, 2018 will be the year of?

ALLY: It is going to be the year of progress.

CAMEROTA: Darius. 29018, what do you see?

MAYFIELD: The year of Americanism.


CAMEROTA: What does that mean?

MAYFIELD: Meaning like kind of what she says, there is no parties. Again, you know, me coming up in urban areas, you know, being with a single mother and little sister, I see one side hiding under tables from gunfight outside and then her trying to give us a better life over here. But in both those situations, there is always connections with the people that we are out whether white, black, Spanish. Like we did not have these problems. So I hope, you know, especially with your political talk that we can just kind of tamper it down a little and really start bringing people together and start understanding our similarities rather than focusing on differences and get to a better place.


CABRERA: Some breaking news now, just coming into CNN. Another member of Congress stepping aside amid sexual harassment allegation. We are talking about Democrat Ruben Kihuen of Nevada, who says he will not run for reelection amid the House ethics committee investigation into the accusation that he sexual harassed two women. Kihuen is a first term congressman representing parts of south and central Nevada. He firmly denies the allegations. He says he looks forward to clearing his name.

Coming up, we will have the very latest in the White House where President Trump's personal attorneys are now responding to concerns from prominent Democrats about Robert Mueller's future. That's next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [16:59:26] CABRERA: You are in the CNN NEWSROOM. Welcome to the weekend. Thanks for spending part of it with me. I am Ana Cabrera in New York.

And new this hour, President Trump's attorneys insisting there are no plans to fire special counsel Robert Mueller. The former FBI director now leading the Russia investigation. And this comes as we learn that the President's lawyers are planning to meet with Mueller as early as this week to discuss the probe and hopefully detect signs that it is ending soon.

Let's get straight to out reporters breaking these stories. CNN's Boris Sanchez is live outside the White House and CNN justice correspondent Evan Perez is with me here in New York.

Boris, first to you. What exactly is the White House saying about this idea of firing Mueller? And where is this coming from?

[17:00:06] SANCHEZ: Hi, there. Ana. Well, all of this is coming from several comments that have been made by the President and other Republicans more aggressively than the President --