Acting AG criticized Mueller probe, recounts possible for midterm elections

President Trump says he doesn't know Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker after previously saying he had, and some midterm elections are still too close to call.
23:06 | 11/09/18

Coming up in the next {{countdown}} {{countdownlbl}}

Coming up next:



Skip to this video now

Now Playing:


Related Extras
Related Videos
Video Transcript
Transcript for Acting AG criticized Mueller probe, recounts possible for midterm elections
And welcome to bring your mind having a wire on this Friday great to have you with us today at the end of a very busy. Wild historic week in Washington and around the country with his mid term elections great to have just officially here let us our White House producer. And our team in Paris is roaming cats president trump who is in the air right now on Air Force One and before he left today the president. Dropped a whole bunch of bombshells on the south Whitehall and and it's become pretty commonplace now and twenties when he goes on his long trips he likes to. Speak to the press. We think so that he can sit and then watch some of the stuff on Paul perhaps we come here you know that he's watching television tweeting up a storm on the way over. About a top. Think A which is his new attorney general acting attorney general Matt would occur. To replace Jeff Sessions this week stirring up a whole bunch of controversy in last 24 hours Justin because of his. Very controversial comments not only about the Russian probe but about the whole judicial where he he was all he's been all over the place leading up to this has been out here is basically served as the pond and before his role as chief of staff to sessions. And he said a lot of basically disparaging things about the Muller investigations self. Raising questions about whether he should recuse himself now. That would be like re committing the original sentence so he's not going to do that. But it's got him on the defense and then trump now reacting today and the president was asked today before leaving on the south long leaving for Paris whether he had talked to and that would occur. The new acting attorney general on don't the rush of probe he now oversees or and they had that conversation. And here's what the president had to say. Well Matt Whitaker I don't know mad whenever Matt Whitaker work toward Jeff Sessions had he was always extremely highly sought out many still live. But I didn't know Matt Whitaker he worked for. Attorney general says should. I didn't think to match whether there about it I don't know Matt Leonard you're Matt Whitaker has taken great reputation and that's what I want it now in all fairness do. Matt Whitaker will again I didn't know abetted by the that the reputation his reputation is excellent yet I think it's very. At Whitaker is a highly respected man but I didn't know Matt Whitaker. He's a highly respected news. Pilots who instant fact check marriage confessional found her Friday and said he stayed in known four or five times wars 45. I I hope you caught that. I eight. Don't know Matt Whitaker that was is that there's not a matter right now that back that Whitacre is back against law trumps instinct is to distance himself. But just one month ago right. He's sort of contradicted that I think we have that some might as well. Can tell you Matt Whitaker is a great guy I mean I know Matt Whitaker but I never talk about. Conversations that I had. Parts of include the plight as president is playing some games here he knows the man he appointed. To be the attorney general PJ Wright known that would occur that would be. Sorry we also yeah very strange let's bring in Terry Moran senior national correspondent who is over awaiting the president's arrival in the next twenty minutes or so he's. Joins us live from Paris Teri. Great to see you. Unify my hair and an inept curry you hope you're around. Enjoying yourself on the ground. What do you make of the of the president's election and you're a student of the constitution and constitutional law. Tom what do you make of the controversy around this appointment. Well I'm a student for sure it's a really extreme question. Is Matt Whitaker legally does he have the full legal authority of the attorney general and that turned on two questions one. A statute that congress passed that allows the president. To fill vacancies with officers of the United States as Matt Whitaker was. And the way the senate has set up the attorney general and the Supreme Court has interpreted. That anyone who exercises all that power needs to be confirmed by the United States senate. Those two things are clashing. And maybe a court we'll figure it out at at some point but about trump look. Every other president we've had. Has come up to the pinnacle of power through either a political organization. Or the military in other words that had to work with people. They're going to build coalitions that are within the military or sometimes even corporations. Or within a political organization. Trump it believes in personalized. Power it's the Trump Organization he wants his guy now whatever he knows about Matt Whitaker. Whether he knows them well or not remembering claimed he met Putin and he never had. He had been told clearly and they've been communicated them. Whitaker is your guy and so he's put his guy in charge of the attorney Jack I got up first wherever John Kennedy put his brother. In in charge of the Justice Department so it is not a first who Ronald Reagan put one of his cronies from. From California and maze so if if that position which has had in the past very very close. About personal acquaintances rolled relatives of the present a United States and that's when that's what trump has done here whether legally or not remains to be seen. And we do know that some senate Democrats are promising a lawsuit over the legality of the employment that's where one side of this equation. And Terry's you're alluding to there were the president whether he knows that would occur well or not certainly was told this is a loyalist. And this is somebody who I have your back let's take a listen to use some of those. The things that met Whitaker has had to say about the president and the scrutiny he's been under tickle us. The truth is there was no collusion. With the Russians and the trump campaign there is not a single piece of evidence that demonstrates that Strom campaign had any. Illegal or even an improper relationship the Russians it is it's that simple. All he did was make a mere suggestion and not an outright command. I don't think that rises to allow. I do hope that in turn to a fishing expedition because over one of them wants to open up the bell. Oh yeah future with the limitations on the Tibetan did you continue because Buckley -- be. It is not helping this administration and really not helping. The federal government generally to have the president and his associates. Under the cloud of a federal investigation I mean it is. It is very hard. Certainly any kind of use that president trump would like his attorney general to have the person not supervising nurse or pro Terry. Do you think that conflict of interest is going to also be dedicated here the potential that Matt Whitaker should could virtues himself he says he's not gonna do it. Well just for his viewpoints on television programs and talk radio that's right is that. Different between popping off on talk talk radio and taking an oath. The debt to discharge the duties of an office under the constitution. And that is the test of a person's civic character. Can they distinguish the two Whitaker may or may not be in and then you may have an issue just because he's had opinions. In the disqualification for him to be attorney general it seems. And him and at the end of the day. He may be right. You know we have yet to see what if anything Robert Mueller had us. With a Warren the one thing that I picked up on what he said is very trump -- he's there was nothing illegal about the trump. Connections with Russia. Which may in fact turn out to be true and nothing improper. I think we already know the taking a meeting with the foreign adversary who wants to help you win an election against an American. Its citizen is running for president. That's improper so I think I think it's been well established. Then that the trump campaign crossed the line and impropriety. Whether it's illegal or not remains to be seen and in some ways I think the best thing that could happen Delhi Ted Democrats is for the mother thing to be over. It's a huge distraction. From from doing the hard work of politics and figure out where you can work with trump we gonna post up and where you can. The truck and it does sound like from our reporting that Bob Mueller is at least begun right right in the final report. Sovereign quickly before we move on Terry just 10 we'll play for you not sure you caught this boat. The president was asked explicitly today via our colleague at CNN abbey fellow whether. He had directed Matt Whitaker to rein in Bob Mueller to hurry this along to get it done mean here's what he had to say to that question tickle us. What a stupid question. Water is still big question but I watch your lot US got a lot of civic life. And pretty disrespectful. Of the president they are not a stupid question a fair question I want the president seem to eager to answer. By all accounts at least from officials in the White House coming Connolly told us yesterday Terry. He has not directed Matt what occurred when an end but that does seem to be the big question here. It doesn't that was a completely disrespectful thing to do. To a perfectly legitimate question. Asked by a perfectly legitimate reporter. And you know one thing that Donald Trump has done for himself his whole life. And now for many many millions of people in American around the world is give themselves permission to be the worst version of themselves that's what he is doing there. He treat somebody like dirt in front of the nation a woman of color I might happen. That is trumping in politics people love it people hated it is also trumps Carrick. And and it is infectious in the baht body politic right now now whether or not. He's gonna wanna rain and written well he is the chief executive Whitaker who works for him and there there are questions instead. Yet. About Mueller status as well all that can be worked out through normal channels of politics and law. What Donald Trump just did there to that reporter. You know is is one of the things that's wrong with the United States because of the other side can move mob around Tucker Carlson's house and threatened his family. It's just it's a race to the bottom and he. I'm that score certainly wasn't demonstrating what we've come to assume over 200 and some years is presidential leadership. That was not it. Yet Kerry I mean it I completely agree first of all I suggested asking the same question he had to Jon Karl is our per out there it's not a stupid question. It's a critical question the one thing I would point out about the whole question though about whether or where or could be used to rein in. Muller is one of the Paris still had to still be able to block subpoenas potentially. You know he oversee its oversight of this of this investigation and he could. Say you don't Muller and we know Muller wants talked to the present he could stop that from happening. That is one practical effect his appointment as bad temper in Ramallah had it's of course very early in this process just named yesterday's shall have to stay on that closely thanks to Terry and I know he'll be standing by. Meanwhile on the politics of the moment the fallout from an internal elections continuing today in a couple of key southeastern states Florida. Among them ground zero again for another. A series of very close elections in Florida senate race in gubernatorial race now. Tied up in court ahead of a big deadline tomorrow noon tomorrow. It's when the vote needs to be completed and certified and that's for Victor. Of recounts and looks like some protests out there Viktor bring us the latest on the court battle that's going on today. While Devin of course Broward County in the spotlight once again what's happening behind me here we're right in front of the Broward County election headquarters. And you've got protesters on both sides. The Republicans they are upset because they feel like almost every other county Florida has been able to get all their vote totals in. Without a problem however Broward just can't quite seem to figure it out. And they also feel that there might be some I'll play at hand without really providing any evidence of that but. Them more time goes on the more votes are counted. That tight margin for both races for governor in the senate continues to get tighter and tighter we should also mention. That Broward County tends to lean blue eyes for the Democrats their message is simple what they're saying on years. Now every single vote they acknowledge that the supervisor of elections Brenda snipes has not done a great job but they do feel. Every single vote. Should be counted now it's happening inside election headquarters right now we do not have access we did speak to people. Who were inside the building and they are counting all those provisional ballots so people who didn't have the right I dearly do what to the wrong polling place the counting all those ballots. In their. Verifying voter intent. He's what they're telling me so they're stylish and voter intent their handwritten ballots upper any ballots that might have some issues are discrepancies or for example. Let's say a voter out filled in the bubble for one candidate but then drew big accident it. And then filled in a bubble for another candidate they're putting those up on projectors and saying okay this voter intended to vote for this person and they are going through them by hand. Here's the thing went high set to give us a total number of those provisional ballots at the so going to do. They could not provide us with that number now it's happening simultaneously here in our Tony at a nearby courthouse. Florida governor Rick Scott late Thursday night to center to file a lawsuit. And he wants the court to order Brenda snipes this supervisor on election year count counted it turned over silver records detailing accounting. And election of the ballots but at last check. He hearing to salvage the validity of that lawsuit has not wrapped up yet it's something we are closely watching. Wow what a mess victory temple they were here again and I will probably be headed down near where did join you shortly to follow this story. I'm but just for folks at home or looking at this and scratching their heads again I mean we this is the normal course of business right and they were still within the window several days after the election that these these boards you've covered many election in Florida. Victor I mean that this is part of the process they do take several days to count the provisional count the absentees. An in that's why the deadline is tomorrow at noon right. That is correct and at last check they had counted actually all of those absentee ballots and all the early voting. It was just those provisional ballots we should also mention Palm Beach County I kind of in the same boat here. This crowd has been out here all day long guys and they're going about it hard. Despite the Florida sun but again we should mention. Tomorrow at noon that is the deadline for them to get all those ballots in I wish we had a number to give you weaken pressing on them for that but they have not provided us with a number of ballots still remain. And accounted for. All right Viktor can a force in Broward County Florida thank you so much and for those keeping score homework Scott. Leaves. Bill Nelson for the senate race there just by zero point two. Percentage points is about 151000 votes. The Republican Ron Desantis for governor leads by zero point four percentage points 35000. Imus that is really euros. Then there are and they armor are down to the wiring county knows things the president today weighed in on this as well. Before he left in the South Lawn take a listen to what he had to say about what's going on in Florida. Let's get Broward County they have had a horrible history. Out of you look at they'd deaf person in this case a woman involved. She has had a horrible history and all of a sudden they're finding bugs out of nowhere. And Rick Scott who won by you know his clothes but he won by a comfortable margin. Every couple of hours it goes down a little bit. And then you see the people and they were involved or that broad they. This fake dossier the phony does CA and I guess I hear they were somehow involved don't work would. DG PS fusion faithful who. You look at what they've done you look at the dishonesty. So let's go go back to Terry Moran who is with us from Paris Terry you've covered many of these contested elections. You know the president's. Strategy has banned when things impose way to attack the system. Since this is part of that pattern but it does seem to be is sort of dangerous if for the democracy to have the president of the United States. Going after what at this point at least seems to be a perfectly functioning system process. Well I would you call perfectly functioning though it Massimo let us. That they can't they'd have now they have no idea. How many votes are left they have no idea who voter where they are they do keep kind of finding them here on the Republican side that does look weird. On the other hand the basic principle of an American election. Was until bush vs gore in your writing covered that one count all the votes are at when that when that thing came whispering chorus governor's record time. I read all the old cases on seven. The basic principle was count all the votes try to discern the intent of each individual voter so short circuiting account. Is back. But it's also weird that they can't figure out who voted how many votes where the votes we found and and 151000. Look its closest point 2% or whatever. But that's 151000. Votes and fight and and I don't blame the Republicans for the disorder that they're seeing and a heavily democratic county I grew up in Cook County Chicago. Under the all of mayor Daley. My grandfather died in 1971. I think he still votes there. And and there's no question that that back in the day. There today that Cook County results came in last. In the giant state of Illinois. Because my mother's and people would say well they need to see how many they need. An air if you're on the other side of one of these counts. You have a legitimate suspicion however dredging up conspiracy theories about the dossier in GP ME is throws anything he's got. He has no filter of fact when he does attacked things but. But but I think you're here in the Scott camp here you're a little worried about how that count is going down there the basic principle should be just fine the votes and count. All right senior national correspondent Terry Moran thanks so much for journalists from the beautiful Paris tonight and we beyond the president's speech all weekend there can help you get yourself some nice for funerals and a glass of Bordeaux Terry we thank you very much that. Burgundy it was Bergen is very yeah okay John C. Yes that's the problem the president has here it is is he's already cried wolf on this issue once before I mean. It's hard to believe me he. He said in torn 163 million people voted illegally and he said at that commission. Which disbanded over the summer after finding like zero evidence and well every counts as we were talking earlier rarely change the out round the the elections on this case it will be interesting to see if there is any swing. As Terry rescind those are some pretty big margin still very close but a sizable market on Arizona though it's it's actually that the democratic votes have gone up Brian and I gone over we we we talk about mid term madness and it's certainly. Has come full circle for Democrats a little bit I think it's interesting to point out that while on Tuesday night without while Democrats didn't seem to have as good of a night as I had hoped for. Just in the past few days as things have shaken I don't think they have come out on top they won Nevada they looked to be doing well and Arizona Kristen cinema now up. Yeah I'd ask not found that only votes as is very good for her and in Montana John tell yes. That didn't have her. Basically it when we go off fare they're still counting votes out there I mean it's important to remember you know that this this is they're not you can't call all these races much as we'd like to. The days do things happen and that's obviously true hasn't even the most surreal tracking the mid terms into next week of course. Meanwhile some interest seen at a news for ABC an exclusive with Michelle Obama are Robin Roberts. Sat down with the former First Lady recently for her new book out it's called becoming. And Michelle Obama is it revealing things we've never heard from her before including some pain. Of a miscarriage she suffered twenty years ago how she conceived her to. Young daughters now through IVF treatments and she also had some pretty harsh things to say. About president trump what if someone. With an unstable mine loaded gun drove to Washington what if that person went looking for girls Donald Trump. It was louder miraculous innuendoes as putting my family's safety at risk and for this I'd never regrets that this was the big headline from the book and from here she says. It basically. The president the birth or movement shall never forgiven for that. First claiming he wasn't born the United States she says it was dangerous it and heard you sing it is he she said into it could it wrist awakening people. To come after her family and for that she would never forgive him social you know. Harsh words from the president coming right back Michelle Obama we keep the planes sound bites from that press conference he had earlier today on the South Lawn but take a listen. To the president's response to the former first place. I guess you read about she got paid a lot of money to write about. And they always insisted you come up we've got your very shelf plug video of the controversy back I'll never forget him. Thought he did do our united states military by not funding it properly that was depleted. Everything was all good tired and I gay men and I Adaptec said. I'm of the process as spending tremendous amounts of money so I'll never forget them. But what he did. Joseph our military I'll never forgive him for what he did and in many other ways which jumped off the about it. So the president they're going on the attack against his predecessor we yet again in light of the new Michelle Obama comment as to what what of what was missing from. An actual risk response to see Del Mar herself or where the president presents interim reluctant to go after her directly write him in someone we know that the First Lady current First Lady Maloney a trump very close to India two Michelle Obama's a fascinating stuff. Michelle Obama's full interview with our Robin Roberts airs this Sunday 9 PM eastern time. There is a lot of really good stuff in there as you see here they were spent some time in Michelle Obama's. Childhood neighborhood there and they're in their home for the enemy it's cards grace elegance stuff coming up on Sunday night. And we'll be back of course on Monday here in the briefing room full wrap up of the president's trip to Paris will you meet with Vladimir Putin. What we're just. Or over or Emanuel McClellan there will be much to to dissect my name of course the recounts in Florida. And I'll listen and I mean he's he's out find out why I'm Washington just additional time to see it on my.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

{"duration":"23:06","description":"President Trump says he doesn't know Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker after previously saying he had, and some midterm elections are still too close to call. ","mediaType":"default","section":"ABCNews/Politics","id":"59092141","title":"Acting AG criticized Mueller probe, recounts possible for midterm elections","url":"/Politics/video/acting-ag-criticized-mueller-probe-recounts-midterm-elections-59092141"}