Via America’s Lawyer:  RT Correspondent Brigida Santos joins Mike Papantonio to discuss the worst-ever wildfire season in CA, which is still ablaze and quickly spreading to other states along the West Coast. Also, Media analyst David Lamb joins Mike Papantonio to bring us up to speed on how Biden and Trump continue to claw for battleground states, and how voter polls may not paint a full picture.


*This transcript was generated by a third-party transcription software company, so please excuse any typos.

Mike Papantonio:             Massive wildfires continue to burn across California including the largest in the state history. Brigida Santos, who is out there living through all this, joins me now to talk about the details. Brigida, what’s, what’s the status of, of California’s major active fires? I, it’s almost like the plagues have been unleashed in California. You’ve got, you’ve got blackouts. You’ve got the COVID virus. You got heat waves never seen before. You’ve got these apocalyptic fires taking place and you have an Exodus. People are actually leaving California now. What’s going on, man? What, what’s, what’s the story behind the story here?

Brigida Santos:                   Yeah, it’s absolutely crazy. Fires get worse every single year and unfortunately we’re getting a little bit too used to it. Now the largest wildfire in California history is currently burning across several counties in the Northern part of the state, including Mendocino, Trinity and Humboldt. The August complex fire, which combined several lightening complexes into one giant fire, has consumed nearly 1 million acres of land since beginning over a month ago. As of Tuesday, it stands at 43% containment. Now down here in Southern California, the Bobcat fire has now become the fifth largest in state history. It’s currently tearing through the Angeles national forest, just East of the studio here. And it’s torched more than 106,000 acres in the past two weeks. It stands at 17% containment. While wildfires have ramped up over the summer, this year has been particularly bad overall in California. Since January nearly 8,000 wildfires have destroyed more than 3.5 million acres of land in the state. In comparison, Mike, by this time last year, just 56,000 acres had been consumed in wildfires.

Mike Papantonio:             You know, fires are also tearing through other parts of the Pacific Northwest. What can you tell me about, say Oregon is, is a place I’m seeing that, you know, you’d see it every now and then, but really it’s lighting up in a big way right now in Oregon. What’s your take on that?

Brigida Santos:                   Yeah. Look, this week, at least 80 major fires are burning across a dozen Western States. Some of the most destructive fires though have burned in Oregon where six men have been accused of arson. Now none of these alleged arsonists are suspected of starting fires for political reasons as claimed in widespread online rumors. Those were false. Instead all of the men reportedly suffer from substance abuse, homelessness, or mental illness. Now most of those fires were smaller. They were put out quickly. However, one of them damaged over a dozen homes and merged with a bigger deadly fire. In that case, the suspect has been charged with crimes. The other suspected cases are still under investigation.

Mike Papantonio:             Hmm, well, Brigida, what, what agencies are managing California’s forests and how can, I mean, there’s all this discussion, you know, need to do cut, they need to do under cutting and they need to take care of some of the dead wood that’s out there. Is there truth to that? Or is that just a talking point that we’re seeing emerging for political reasons?

Brigida Santos:                   Of course, there’s a little bit of truth to that, but a lot of this has to do with the federal government and the state government here not cooperating properly when it comes to managing the forest fires. Now the federal government owns and controls 57% of California’s 33 million acres of forests and the federal agencies that oversee the state’s forests include the Bureau of land management, the national parks service and the US forest service, meanwhile, state and local agencies, including Cal fire, park and water districts and land trusts own just 3%. The rest is owned by private families, native American tribes or industrial timber companies. Now in August, governor Gavin Newsom did establish a longterm strategy between the state of California and federal forest managers to reduce wildfire risks, protect the environment and restore watersheds. It outlines key actions to improve cooperation between the state and federal government. And president Trump has just signed the great American outdoors act, which will provide critical funding for the forest services work in California and elsewhere. So hopefully that cooperation is going to improve things, but we’ll have to wait and see.

Mike Papantonio:             Talking point that I hear most is it’s the new normal. It is climate change that’s involved, the media won’t report on it. Every time they do the story, the headline should be climate change. They’re not doing that, but unfortunately that is the reality. It is the new normal, apparently the new normal from here on out. Stay safe out there, Brigida, and thank you for joining me. Okay.

Brigida Santos:                   I will, thanks Mike.

Mike Papantonio:             The race for the white house seems to change by the hour with new polls, new allegations, new attacks, new endorsements, it’s difficult to make heads or tails of what’s going on with all this activity. That’s why we have David Lamb joins us. This is what he does every single day and has for a long time. So, so David, a couple of things, Ginsburg, is it a factor in this race? How is it a factor from the numbers that you’re seeing?

David Lamb:                         It’s it’s, it’s, it’s an interesting question. And the answer is I’m sorry, I don’t know. We’ll find out though. A number of things polling on it shows that 60% of those polled say they would rather this not be rammed through and not take place, but it’s going to take place and there’s going to be a vote. The fallout factor, in the 28 hours after Ginsburg passed away, there is a fundraising site act blue. It’s a fundraising platform. Democrats raised a hundred million dollars in 28 hours. So this is a passion point. You know, it’s a passion point on the right, because of, you know, the, the, the desire for conservative judges also on the left, as well.

Mike Papantonio:             Okay. But I saw that, I saw the big money raised it’s, it’s kinda moot though. Isn’t it? I mean, if they raised a hundred million dollars, it might help Biden be elected, but by then it’s too, it’s it’s really too late.

David Lamb:                         Right. Yeah.

Mike Papantonio:             Okay. Let me run to the swing States. What’s happening? Give me the important talking points in the swing states.

David Lamb:                         Yeah, there are a number. So, so Arizona, Florida, Minnesota, Ohio, Iowa, Pennsylvania, those are all the cases that are kind of in play. Interesting polling coming out recently, a CBS news poll Arizona, Trump carried the state in 2016. Only one Republican has lost the state since Eisenhower. Biden now leads by three, a small move in his direction. And in Arizona on the issues who handles the co, coronavirus better, Biden. Who handles the economy better, Trump. Manufacturing, Trump and, and suburban women, these suburban women voters, you’re, you’re just hearing both candidates court, that block of voters. Moving in Biden’s direction, especially white women with a college degree, Biden now has a double digit lead with that group. And in Minnesota, Trump narrowly lost the state in 2016. The thought was, he’s got a chance there, poured $14 million in television advertising, but a new polling coming out Biden leading 50 to 41 among likely voters.

Mike Papantonio:             Okay. So what you’ve got is you, you certainly have Trump hitting, Trump’s out there every day. There’s a new rally every day. He pulls the, you know, he pulls the jet into the airport.

David Lamb:                         Yeah.

Mike Papantonio:             And everybody’s there at the airport, but he’s out there.

David Lamb:                         Yeah.

Mike Papantonio:             How does that compare with what’s going on with Biden?

David Lamb:                         Yeah. Biden, he has certainly stepped up how much he is out there and his out there, as you know, it looks much different than the Trumps out there.

Mike Papantonio:             Yeah.

David Lamb:                         You know, it’s, it’s more of a, a collection and a, and a meeting. But, but what, what Biden is doing, he is stepping up his appearances, stepping up his media appearances, stepping up any sort of travel that he does. And as we head into this first debate, he had a big CNN town hall where he did better. I think he surprised a lot of folks with how good he did so much so there, there was this kind of conspiracy that CNN fed him the questions.

Mike Papantonio:             You’re seeing that the talking point that you’re hearing from the Republicans, not just Trump.

David Lamb:                         Right.

Mike Papantonio:             Is that they’re shooting him up with Adderall.

David Lamb:                         Yeah.

Mike Papantonio:             I mean, I don’t, I haven’t seen any proof of that one way or the other, but it’s their talking point, they believe in that so much. So if you’ve, I guess their thought is you give him enough Adderall, he’s going to be do, he’s going to do fine in the debates. I don’t know.

David Lamb:                         Apparently.

Mike Papantonio:             So law and order, what kind of effects are law and order having in this whole thing? As you know, that is the, that’s the pillar, that’s the pillar for Trump along with trade, along with bringing jobs back to the United States, along with a fence along the border, but law and order seems to be way, way up there.

David Lamb:                         It is. You hear every rally Trump has, the number of times he says that phrase is, is innumerable. A Monmouth poll, 65% of Americans say that maintaining law and order is a problem in the US right now. So folks do not feel settled about that and are concerned, 60%. This is what’s interesting to me, Pap, 60% of non Republicans who are black feel the same way. So 60% of largely Democrat, democratic voters, feel the same way as well, but, okay. So that’s all good news for Trump. On the issue who is better able to maintain law and order, believe it or not Biden leads in this Monmouth poll, 52 to 48.

Mike Papantonio:             Wow. That’s, those are huge numbers.

David Lamb:                         Yeah.

Mike Papantonio:             Okay. So you’re also hearing that, that, you know, that Trump’s making inroads to minorities, that there’s this notion that the, the African American voter is really upset about police, defunding police. It’s their neighborhood that they call a policemen and they want them there. You’re hearing in the Latinos that, you know, the Latinos that have been here for years are not really embracing this idea of just letting everybody into the country and just saying, okay, just come on in. Are, are these big factors?

David Lamb:                         Well, you have, you have seen numbers recently and you’ve actually seen an effort, both candidates courting the Hispanic vote. Trump is doing better among African Americans than he did in 2016. So that, and, and why that that’s news, first of all, just because Republicans historically and especially recently is not really, have not really done well with African American voters. So there’s some movement there, especially with African American males, Trump does better than, than many previous Republican candidates. And also he’s pulling right at 50% with Hispanic voters. So some of those minorities, Trump is finding some inroads there, but Biden is really hitting hard in terms of Hispanic voters and you’ve seen that partially maybe because he feels he has the, Biden feels he has the African American vote in, in the bag. But more concerned about those Hispanic, especially those Hispanic voters who are predominantly Catholic, you know. So, so.

Mike Papantonio:             Yes. Yeah, or the Cuban vote in Miami.

David Lamb:                         Yep.

Mike Papantonio:             That’ll be the difference. My prediction is Trump wins Florida.

David Lamb:                         Okay.

Mike Papantonio:             If he loses it’s over, don’t you agree? I mean, if you take a look what’s happening tonight, when you see Florida being a loss to Trump, it’s go home time. If he, if he wins, it’s going to be a long night. Don’t you think?

David Lamb:                         Yeah. 48-48 is where they are now. 48% is what Trump carried. He won the state by 1% over Hillary Clinton in 2016, with 48% of the vote. So at this point it’s a dead heat, but, but I, it’s hard if not impossible to cobble together a collection of States and those battleground States for Trump, a Trump victory path, without including Florida in it.

Mike Papantonio:             Yeah, yeah. And it’s hard to have a lot of faith in the national polling.

David Lamb:                         Well, 2016, it was really a disaster.

Mike Papantonio:             Thanks for joining me, David Lamb.

David Lamb:                         You bet. My pleasure.

Mike Papantonio is an American attorney and television and radio talk show host. He is past president of The National Trial Lawyers, the most prestigious trial lawyer association in America; and is one of the few living attorneys inducted into the Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame. He hosts the international television show "America's Lawyer"; and co-hosts Ring of Fire Radio, a nationally syndicated weekly radio program, with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Sam Seder.