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CNN TONIGHT

Trump In Massachusetts Tonight; Trump: "This is Not A Fund- raiser"; Trump Speaks At $100-A-Person Event; Campaign Cash; Killer Storm; Cruz, Trump To Join Forces Against Iran Deal

Aired August 28, 2015 - 21:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[21:00:00]

ANDERSON COOPER, AC30 HOST: And yes, that's a washboard he is playing which is why they call him "Washboard Jazz". That does it for us tonight. "Cnn Tonight" with Don Lemon starts now.

UNIDENTIFED MALE: This is CNN Breaking News.

DON LEMON, CNN TONIGHT HOST: The breaking news tonight -- Donald Trump speaks at a fund raiser just outside Boston. This is "CNN Tonight." I'm Don Lemon.

Supporters of the $10 billion man, greeted by this sign tonight. It was taken down later. Yes, at $100 a payment reportedly digging in to striped bass, lobster, and fried clams, and listening to the cover band fortune aptly named cover band "Fortune". But the main event, Donald Trump himself.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONAL TRUMP, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You look at trade pacts, China eating our lunch. Japan like we're children. Mexico both in trade and at the border, what they're doing to us is terrible. I have great respect for China, for Japan. I love the people. I love the people of Mexico. I love Hispanics. Nobody, nobody loves Hispanics like I do. I probably have more than almost anybody working for me. They come in, they buy apartments they give me a fortune. I love them. I love them.

We're the one that takes the lead. We take the lead on everything. We take this -- he said we're the suckers. Who said that. Who said that?

Very good. Smart guy. I probably went to school with him. Smart. He shouts out "We're the suckers." Hey, we want Ukraine to come through. We think it's great. But why isn't Germany that making -- who has a Mercedes-Benz right now? Raise your hand.

Look, they're making a fortune. They're a very, very great nation. They're a money machine. We get nothing. They say, go in and take care of Ukraine. OK, fine.

The other day, we were in Iowa where we are leading in the polls. And we had in a room that never had this many. We had 4,000 people. They went wild. And they're great people. Then we went to New Hampshire, where by the way the poll just came out -- 35 percent. Can you believe, 35? 35.

And, you know, we have some low energy people. They're really low. I'm not going to say Jeb is low energy. But he's pretty low. Who would you rather have negotiate with Iran Trump or Jeb? How about this -- Trump or Hillary?

Get out there. Vote. Give the good polls. You must vote. You must vote. We are going to do something special. I love you. Thank you very much. Make America great again. Make America great again. Thank you. Thank you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: So that is a day in Trump.

CNN's M.J. Lee is live for us at the Trump event tonight. Hello, M.J. There's been some dispute whether this was a fund raiser or not. Here's what Trump said about that. Listen and then we'll talk.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFED FEMALE: What happened?

TRUMP: This is not a fund raiser tonight. Just so you understand. We are -- I guess they're paying for some of the basics in terms, you know, we have food. We have -- I guess, 1,500 or 2,000 people. But this is not a fund raiser. We are not doing anything in terms of fund-raising.

UNIDENTIFED FEMALE: What about the checks payable to you?

TRUMP: I think what they're doing is some of the people -- many people are coming in. They can pay whatever they want. But I think they're doing something to offset the cost of food for 2,000 people. This is not a fund raiser.

UNIDENTIFED FEMALE: How's your money situation for the campaign? You're expecting donations, obviously.

TRUMP: it's going great. I'm turning down millions of dollars for the campaign. Millions.

UNIDENTIFED MALE: For who?

TRUMP: Everybody is offering me money. And I don't want it. So I am turning down millions of dollars and no interest. No interest.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: So, M.J., what can you tell us? Fund raiser? No fund raiser?

M.J. LEE, CNN POLITICS AND FINANCE REPORTER: Well, Don, there seems to be a lot of confusion as to whether or not this was a fund-raiser. When Trump got here, the first question he was asked was "So what is it? Is it or is it not a fund-raiser?"

And we were entering the event. There were signs that said, "The $100 per head fee should be made out to the Trump campaign." So it certainly looked like a fund-raiser to us. But as you heard, Trump making it very clear that it is not a fund-raiser. In his opinion, that the expenses will actually get covered by the money that the campaign has taken in. But that he is not beholden to big donors.

That has obviously been the big appeal that people have found in Trump. That he's so wealthy that he can fund his own campaign and that he doesn't have to answer to donor's special interests or lobbyists.

[21:05:03]

LEMON: M.J., I understand you were able to speak with Donald Trump after his remarks. What can you tell me about that?

LEE: So while this was a crazy, and fun, and colorful event like most of the Donald Trump's event are. There was a sobering meeting trump had with family members of victims killed by illegal immigrants. He met with them a few minutes before getting into his car. The victims were upset about their stories. Wanted to tell trump he had their support.

And this is because immigration and fighting illegal immigration is very important to these family members. And we were able to ask Mr. Trump about this very briefly before he got in the car. Take a listen to what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Thank you. Thank you. They're incredible people who have been devastated by the crime of -- the crime wave of the illegal immigrants. These are incredible people. And I'll tell you what, the lives that have been lost, they deserve a very, very important fact.

I mean what's happened, to these people, is just a shame. These are great, great people. And it's not going to keep -- we are not going to allow it to continue. There's a crime wave like nobody's ever seen before. We're not going to let it continue. Thank you. Thank you, everybody.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEE: Immigration has been a central part of Trump's candidacy. And I was actually able to speak to family members after their meeting. And they told us that, they were very moved by the way that Trump has talked about this issue. And they really feel like he could bring some sense of justice to the fact that the family members that were killed, never got what they deserved. That, you know they feel their stories have not been told and certainly not covered by the media in their opinion. And they feel that Trump is giving them a voice.

LEMON: So M.J., I have to ask you. It was quite a scene there. You know, you can't get the feeling overall on television. But being there, what was the reaction like to his remarks?

LEE: Well, this was quite the festive event. There's a lot of champagne flowing, a lot of good food. You can still hear the band playing behind me.

There's a lot of enthusiasm in crowd here tonight. Not everyone I spoke to were Trump supporters. However, even the folks who said that they were still undecided, they just love the fact that the 2016 campaign cycle has gotten this boost of energy.

I spoke to one man who said, you know, he probably wouldn't even watched the first Republican debate had it not been for the fact that he wanted to see what kind of performance Donald Trump would give. So a lot of excitement here. I almost got trampled trying to get a question into Trump. So everyone is very excited.

LEMON: Be safe. Be safe. You know, he's got a big entourage and lots of security. So we want you to stay safe. Thank you, M.J. Lee. Appreciate it.

Looks like a nice night in Norwood, Massachusetts. Now, I want to bring in the man hosting tonight's Trump bash, Ernie Boch Jr. He's a legend in Boston in the Boston area, the CEO of a billion dollar car dealership business. He has played in a rock band. And he's famous for throwing a big summer bash every year.

But this year's event is the biggest ever. And, you know, all because of Donald Trump. Ernie Boch Jr. joins me now. Hello, sir. How are you?

ERNIE BOCH JR, BUSINESSMAN: I'm great. I'm great. We're having a good time here in Massachusetts.

LEMON: Yeah. It looks like a beautiful night there. It looks like you got a nice, big, beautiful tent. You know, Donald Trump seemed to have a great time at your event. How do you think it went?

BOCH: Say that again.

LEMON: He seemed to have a great time at the event. How do you think it went?

BOCH: He had an excellent time at this event. And I think it went great. He thought it went great. And it is actually going great right now.

LEMON: OK. So he said, you know, there has been some, you know, confusion about whether it was a fund-raiser or not. He's saying that it was possibly to offset the cost of food and drink or what have you -- was it a fund-raiser?

BOCH: OK. Here is the deal. It started out as a fund-raiser. It started out as, a much smaller event. And then, as I got closer to the campaign and I got closer to his campaign manager, it evolved and became more. It's -- I would say it is not a fund raiser now because the cost -- what people paid to get in will not even cover the cost of what is happening here. And he is funding the campaign himself. And he really doesn't want the money. And he is -- it was a great event.

LEMON: OK. So how much then -- how much do people pay? And where does the money go?

BOCH: They paid the $100. And it will go to his campaign. And he will pay it back for the cost of the event.

LEMON: All right. That sounds like a fund-raiser but anyway, you know. How did this event come about because I understand you only recently met Donald Trump, is that correct?

BOCH: Yes, this fund-raiser came.

[21:10:01] I was watching T.V. one night. And I had seen -- I was watching T.V. one night. And I saw the news. And I had seen the clip of Donald Trump. So I changed channels. And Donald Trump was on the next channel. And I changed channels again.

And I saw Donald Trump all over the place and I said to myself, "I live in Massachusetts, the Republicans basically do a fly-by, they don't even consider Massachusetts -- they, you know, very rarely does a Republican win Massachusetts I think the last one was Ronald Reagan." And I said to myself, "Well, what if I bring this guy to Massachusetts, bring together some people, and listen to him up close in personal sass him out and see if he is for real."

LEMON: Yeah.

BOCH: And one thing led to another and what I thought was going to be about a 150 people turned over to almost 2,000 people.

LEMON: So, listen, I -- do you feel that some sort of because you say you just saw him on television, right? Was there some sort of kinship that you felt or did you think he was saying the right thing or just because you saw him on every channel? Explain that to me.

BOCH: Well, I'm a business guy and I have been a fan of Donald Trump's since the '80s. I mean what business guy isn't a fan of Donald Trump? So it really -- to get a person that is in the news all the time, and is running for president, why not bring him to a place that most of the people write off. So I think that bringing him to Massachusetts is a -- was a great thing and people were impressed with him. My girlfriend was saying that, that she wasn't really, you know, she was on the fence with him but after seeing him she said, "Wow, I could change my mind."

LEMON: Yeah, so the people who were there, are they all fans, were there people who were on the fence like your girlfriend?

BOCH: No, absolutely not. No, no, no. This is not a Republican, rah-rah thing. There are many, many democrats here it's probably 50/50. That's -- I'm not a political guy, you know, I'm socially liberal and I'm fiscally conservative. I'm a capitalist with a conscience. I believe that the right guy should be there no matter what party he's from.

LEMON: Yeah. And so you said it was Democrats, the kind of people showing up is it all wealthy people, you know, its $100 a plate, you know, that...

BOCH: No.

LEMON: ... money doesn't come so easily to everyone.

BOCH: No, not all wealthy people. No. Right. And that was the point that the campaign made to me. They said listen, we don't want to charge some crazy amount of money. Why don't you charge $100 and we will not -- people won't come for lack of having enough money to come.

LEMON: Yeah, so you said they are going to reimburse you the money that you whatever money. But you don't thing it will be enough to cover the cost of the event, right? So the...

BOCH: No. Not...

LEMON: ... campaign -- hang on, hang on. Let me just explain. So the campaign gets the money and then they give the money back to you to cover whatever costs?

BOCH: Yes.

LEMON: OK. And you say it's not going to be enough to cover the cost, correct?

BOCH: Well, I don't know, we'll see but I mean probably not.

LEMON: OK, how much do you think was taken in?

BOCH: I don't know. I don't know, you know, do the math, do the math.

LEMON: How many people showed up?

BOCH: 1,000 people -- about a -- I think between 1,000 and 2,000.

LEMON: OK, that's a lot of money.

BOCH: Not everybody paid though.

LEMON: Not everybody paid.

BOCH: There were a lot of people that didn't -- there were a lot of people that didn't pay.

LEMON: OK.

BOCH: They were guests of mine.

LEMON: So it wasn't mandatory then to pay for the event?

BOCH: No, it was not mandatory to pay for the event, absolutely not.

LEMON: OK, thank you, sir. I appreciate you joining us and for coming on CNN...

BOCH: Thank you.

LEMON: ... for letting us inside the event. Thank you very much, Mr. Boch.

BOCH: Thank you.

LEMON: Thank you. We come right back Donald Trump supporters clamoring for chances to give money to him -- to the $10 billion man. Is he changing his mind about taking campaign contributions?

Plus, the killer storm that could be taking aim at South Florida, we have the latest for you.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[21:17:52]

LEMON: Our breaking news, an event near Boston tonight for Donald Trump's presidential campaign. Trump's not calling it a fund-raiser. Remember he'd launched his campaign saying that he fund it with his own fortune that he didn't want anybody else's money. So is that changing?

Joining me now is political analyst, Bob Beckel, columnist for USA Today. It so good to see you on television, I miss you on the tube.

BOB BECKEL, POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, you know, Don. I miss you too and now we're back, reunited together I think it's a very important day for America.

LEMON: So we'll call this little statement it too.

BECKEL: Let's just talk about this for a second.

LEMON: Yeah.

BECKEL: How many people predicted the demise of Donald Trump in the last six or seven months? And I...

LEMON: Yeah.

BECKEL: ... he's still around as far as I know.

LEMON: Yeah.

BECKEL: And it's a phenomenon in politics, I've not seen since Ross Perot. I mean, you know, it's amazing.

LEMON: You know, you're right and I always say that if anybody is running for president, they're running for office, I always take them seriously and I've always taken Donald Trump seriously and I think people really have underestimated him.

BECKEL: Absolutely.

LEMON: And now they're -- it's coming around. So I got to ask you then Mr. Beckel, did you watch the interview earlier, the fund raiser to night? What did you think?

BECKEL: I watched it -- I was just stunned. Look, the -- Trump is getting money. Forget this thing for a second, whoever that dude was who sells cars. The fact to matter is that Trump is getting money from blue-collar workers who send him checks for $250. Why, because who is Donald Trump it's not who Donald Trump is, it's who he isn't. He's not politician.

Is what he's for is not what he's for is what he's against which is everything Washington is doing. And he defies gravity in politics, because there is this group of people in the Republican Party who just are so tired of the Republican establishment and Trump has gotten into that very much like Perot did, like George Wallace in the '60s and '70s when he split up to Democratic Party. Trump is going to be around a while.

LEMON: Don't you think this is different though I mean look at how much money he has and all you have to do is look at the amount of media time. I mean the guy is -- he is relentless. He's like the ever ready bunny.

[21:20:00] He's always on television, on the radio, wherever. I mean he's all over.

BECKEL: It's like -- it gets little scary. I start to dream about Trump at night. You know, a few business website called Mediaite, which is a lot of us follow, every story is about Donald Trump.

LEMON: Yeah.

BECKEL: But, let's give him some credit here. This guy is a brand maker, that's what he's done. He knows how to sell a brand and his done his own brand very well and he still here and he's still ahead.

LEMON: OK, Bob. Let's talk about the some of the issues and more about Donald Trump. He used the occasion tonight to talk about Jeb Bush, listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Well I would say Jeb Bush is a frequent target because when this whole thing started I thought he was going to be the primary competition. But he's drifted very much to the middle of the pack and his rapidly disappearing. So, we're going to have to start looking at somebody else.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Is he right, Bob, is Jeb Bush legitimate competition for or no longer legitimate competition for him anymore?

BECKEL: He's always going to be legitimate competition because he's raised a lot of money and he's got a name factor that matters. Look Trump is jumping on Bush because he wants Bush out of the way before Florida. There Trump thinks that Florida is going to be a just a pass of delegates for him, but here's what is going to happen. The Republicans have got so many people in this field.

Four of them probably will emerge from New Hampshire. The rest will want to stay in and they'll always do until a treasurer shows up and says you're $10 million in the hole and then go home. Well there's going to be four coming out and then you got to worry about South Carolina and then the big one which is Florida. And it could be that Bush and Rubio are both alive going into Florida and whichever one the two of them wins that state the other one is out, so it will be over by, you know, super Tuesday whatever day after that.

LEMON: So you don't think Donald Trump can take it all the way to the nomination?

BECKEL: I don't know, Don. I, you know, I don't buy into what all these convention of wisdom people say that he can't do it. He keeps doing it, you know.

LEMON: I think he can.

BECKEL: Yeah, then I give you credit for saying that. It reminds me of what's his name the Teflon Don in New York. Not, you know, not suggesting anything, but to give Trump, somebody start giving him his dues politically. He understands that he's got a base of supporters out there that nobody else could touch.

LEMON: Yeah. I have been saying he -- I mean he also understands media very well.

BECKEL: Exactly.

LEMON: As a manager he knows to -- he understands how to deal with people. I mean if you just at Jorge Ramos who ways and you weren't called yet right. A lot of people would have been taken a back by that but he was quick like you weren't called yet, wait your turn, and some people are taken a back by those things. But he's very sharp when it comes to dealing with the media. I think he deserves a lot of credit for that.

BECKEL: You know, how many politicians should get with this...

LEMON: Why do you agree with him or not, go ahead.

BECKEL: Yeah. I was saying how many politicians get away with saying what Donald Trump says...

LEMON: Yeah.

BECKEL: ... and survive? Well he can. And he just sort of takes it the rolls off his back and keeps going. But then again, if you've got $1.8 billion in your campaign that's lot a give you a lot of fuel for your jet.

LEMON: So we talked about the republican side, we talked about Jeb. Let's -- he talked about Hillary Clinton yesterday. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I don't wear a toupee, it's my hair. I swear. Come here come. Is it mine? Look.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It is.

TRUMP: It is. Say it, please.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, I believe it is.

TRUMP: Thank you.

HILLARY CLINTON, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I do kind of know what Donald is going through. And if anyone wonders if mine is real, here's the answer. The hair is real, the color isn't. And, come to think of it I wonder if that's true for Donald too.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: OK, OK. I got a little confused there. They were joking abut the hair. So -- but he is also taking on Hillary Clinton...

BECKEL: Sure.

LEMON: ... as well.

BECKEL: Sure. Yeah, well look, she's been a punching bag now for a lot of years. And one of the things people better be careful about Hillary Clinton, she is not a dynamic campaigner we've seen that. She made a terrible mistake when she ran against Barack Obama which was she didn't organize in caucus states, she beat him in primary states but he just whooped her in the caucus states.

And so, I think that all the stuff they talk about, about her e-mails and the rest of it. She's taken more hits, you know, than Sumter took in the civil war, I mean -- so I don't, the people who say she's in real trouble, I don't buy that. She's got a lot of money and she got a strategy. And the strategy she is going to compete in caucuses this time around. She's got a firewall that she's building on Super Tuesday which is 11 states. She got the money to run and campaign in those states.

LEMON: Yeah.

BECKEL: And I can tell you having been involved in managing a presidential campaign and watching seven others or being in them. This is about money, who can stay alive and keep moving on to the next Tuesday.

LEMOMN: Can Joe Biden do that if he decides to get in? BECKEL: I think Don, it would be very difficult. A lot of the democratic fundraisers are pretty much in picked up now the big ones, you know, the ones you can bundle a lot of money. I just don't think Joe is going to do that. I mean I worked on his first campaign.

[21:25:00] He was 29 when he won the senate. And I don't think he wants to go out is done this twice and his lost twice.

LEMON: So you don't think he's not going to do it.

BECKEL: I don't.

LEMON: So let's get our predictions in, who do you thinks going to at the end of the day, who's going to be the top, who's going to battle it out on the Republican side, top three or four.

BECKEL: I would say, come out of New Hampshire now, Iowa-New Hampshire, I would say it probably be Rubio, Bush, Trump and Walker. And then, the nice thing about that is it won't have Lindsey Graham in that pack, which means they go to South Carolina...

LEMON: OK.

BECKEL: ... where nobody can get any headway because everybody is committed themselves to the Lindsey Graham and that it -- that dog is not going to hunt too long.

LEMON: Yeah.

BECKEL: So that's what I would say there and democratic side, two people are going to come out of New Hampshire. And, right now, my guess would be, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. And -- but here's something to keep in mind front-runners historically have not been able to run wire to wire in first place. They stumble, people like Muskie stumble and never come back. People like my guy Mondale in '84 stumbled and came back and got the nomination. Bill Clinton the same thing. So for this two, Trump and Hillary to run wire to wire they're going to have a problem. Some where they're going to trip.

LEMON: Bob Beckel, thank you for joining us here on the too.

BECKEL: My pleasure, my pleasure. It's nice to be with you, Don.

LEMON: Is good to be -- is good to be...

BECKEL: Yeah.

LEMON: .... with you as well. And I've always...

BECKEL: You want to take a trip to Massachusetts? No why don't we go to Colorado?

LEMON: OK. If you say so, Bob. Happy Friday. Thanks you for joining us.

BECKEL: You too, buddy. LEMON: Sincerely. When we come right back, you're going to hear more from Donald Trump's -- more from Donald Trump's event tonight. Bob Beckel, everyone.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[21:30:06]

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: We going to fight in Massachusetts and in New Hampshire. And we're going to fight in Iowa and we're going to fight -- I will tell you what, South Carolina, 30 percent and more. South Carolina is amazing. The way I look at it Iowa is so great, incredible people. New Hampshire, so great, incredible people. Winning there, winning there, winning in South Carolina maybe at some point people are just going to give up. I don't know.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Back with our breaking news at Donald Trump tonight on his possible path to victory. Joining me now is Ryan Lizza CNN political commentator and Washington correspondent but a New Yorker, Jamal Simmons is a democratic strategist and former Apprentice contestant Katrina Campins is here. Also with us, you got to watch out for this guy, Rick Wilson, Republican strategist. I've wonder what he is going to say tonight. That's where we'll start with Mr. Wilson.

RICK WILSON, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Whatever happens here can't be as much fun as your segment with Bob Beckel. I'm just saying that for the record.

LEMON: I mean, you know, it's Bob. I have people texting me and e- mailing and there Bob! hype, you know, exclamation point. I want to get your reaction Rick to this Donald Trump fund-raiser tonight and what you just heard. Is Trump going to steamroll everybody you think until they give up?

WILSON: No listen. There may be a few people who flake out of this thing and I think some of the lower tier were already kind of doomed to collapse anyway. That's just the organic process of the campaigns but I love this -- I love this fund-raiser tonight that isn't a fund- raiser maybe it is. It's not a fund-raiser. They're just transferring their resources to Donald Trump, I mean somebody right now in Trump's world.

LEMON: It's a fund transfer.

WILSON: Yes it's a modality by which to reallocate their resources in the Trump's campaign. It astounds me that this people are, you know, that they're waiting into the quick sand of campaign finance law which is just fantastic but it's a part of the Trump mojo that he's got so far is he doesn't seem to worry about these like petty little things like the laws, and regulations, and campaign finance rules. These things are going to be --you're going to see the things accrete over time. And I think cause him little more heartache than he expects. But right now tonight which you saw is a guy, you know, passing the hat like a hobo, outside the gray hound station. Not, you know, you can't, just -- you can't quick tell him as just people randomly giving him money. When it says on the sign, Trump can't -- make checks payable to the Trump campaign.

LEMON: OK. Ryan Lizza, you are not -- you don't look like you are smiling about any of this?

RYAN LIZZA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Not at all. I didn't smile. I said that what Rick said is funny. I too think it's a ridiculous that we've got have a sign outside of the fund-raiser, telling people to give money to the Donald J. Trump campaign and then Trump people taking the sign down say its like a fund-raiser and also the guest you had on before, made it clear they raised as much as $200,000.

LEMON: That's right.

LIZZA: You know, I don't throw a lot of parties but I think that could more than cover the cost of a dinner of couple that people.

LEMON: I don't know did you see that a state in a tent and I mean if got champagne, they have a band, I mean come on. They did say that he is going to get the money and then the campaign is going to pay back to reimburse them for the party if they don't raise any money technically is that a fund-raiser?

WILSON: Well, that has to happen.

LIZZA: I don't think that's how it works. But wait -- and I know Jamal knows more about the details of the campaign finance law. But can I just rise in defense of Donald Trump on one point here.

LEMON: Go for it.

LIZZA: You know, we rarely are allowed to actually go into these fund-raisers. You rarely have the person running it come on live T.V. and talk about it so just and, you know, I think what Rick said is 100 percent right and it's a little ridiculous the denying this is a fund raiser. But let's at least give the Trump people a little bit credit...

LEMON: For transparency.

LIZZA: .... for transparency.

LEMON: Yeah, OK, Jamal, quickly before I get to Katrina. Is this a technically a fund raisers, you know, he (inaudible).

JAMAL SIMMONS, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: No, I'm sure it is a fund- raiser. But there is actually this rule if they gave this event and Donald Trump's campaign didn't pay for it, it would count an in kind contribution which would then...

WILSON: Right. SIMMONS: ... trigger, you know, be over the cap and wouldn't be able to do it, so I don't know, they're probably figuring that out. The passing the hat for cash is certainly not the way you raise money legally in the FEC and that thing was more like a carnival more than a fund raiser, I mean they had music going and people were drink and hanging out in front of the cameras, looked like a fun time.

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: Guys I mean it looks like a lot of fun, if I wasn't working at night I would love to go just to be a fly on the wall I mean why not.

SIMMONS: Sure.

LEMON: But Katrina, whether or not this is a fund raiser. They clearly, you know, still want to preserve this idea that Donald Trump it's not beholden to special interests and how long do you think that is going to last, does this change anything with that?

KATRINA CAMPINS," THE APPRENTICE" CONTESTANT: No and Donald Trump is not somebody that needs anybody's money to make it into the White House, and he is committed to funding -- self-funding his own campaign to the White House. I think that, these events, where voters want to got to know him better, are completely, being misconstrued.

Like for instance tonight, the gentleman from Massachusetts was saying that he wanted the voters to get to know Donald Trump because they wanted to know if he was for real.

[21:35:02] They wanted to really get to know the man behind what the media is portraying. And the events started off with 150 people and now we're saying that is about what, 2,000 that were people are estimating.

So its not -- and the contributions were about $100. I was told a story by the campaign that some lady wanted to donate $5, and now he donated her if his declined her donation of $5 then he would be called an elitist.

And so, people are so passionate about the Donald Trump campaign that what they're finding in that campaign is that people want to donate $5, $7 and rather than turning them down, he is allowing them to basically donate that money to a political action committee and be part of the Make America Great campaign again. He doesn't need their money lets face it, he has $10 billion.

What is he going to do with $5? But at the same point by the same matter, should say he wants people to feel like they're part of that campaign he wants them and Americans are so passionate about him.

(CROSSTALK)

SIMMONS: Well one thing about this...

LEMON: Jamal first in line, go ahead. SIMMONS: ... is that let's remember that again it doesn't matter, right, because the reality is these voters feel like Donald Trump is on their side. So they kind of really care about the details of where he stands on issues or way does according to the rules. They think he's fighting for them and as long as they belief that, they'll give him a lot of leeway.

LEMON: Yeah, two things Ryan fast. Quickly.

LIZZA: Too quickly. What I want to say I think there's an open question about whether Donald Trump if he continues here can actually self-fund a primary and general election. He says he is worth $10 billion. Bloomberg, says its more like $3 billion, this is dispute about that.

A presidential campaign in 2016, it can cost you $1 billion. Does Donald Trump actually have $1 billion in liquid asset that he can spend to run in the primary and general election? I think that's an open question.

Number two, on Sunday night, he has a super pac called the great -- you know, the Make America Great Again super pac that had a that he attended, a high dollar fund-raiser, that the Kushner's, his family members held in New York.

So he's now helping super pacs and by the way that super pac is run, or at least advised by two lobbyists out of Colorado. I am saying all this to point out that Trump is sort of, you know...

LEMON: Rick is clenching these referrals

LIZZA: ... you can't take politics -- you can take politics out of politics. And Trump has sent himself up as this businessman who doesn't do the lob, you know, doesn't get in bed with lobbyists and won't take money...

LEMON: Yeah.

LIZZA: ... and he's learning that that's probably not in the long run going to work for him. I think this is the first time he's actually have to deal with this sort questions of whether he is a hypocrite or not on these issues.

LEMON: When we come right back, Rick is going to tell us why he has the vapors and also we're going to talk about Donald Trump and his act plan, he unveil part.

LIZZA: I hope you're not a lobbyist Rick I apologize if you are.

LEMON: We'll be right back.

WILSON: Not at all ever.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[21:41:33] LEMON: Donald Trump leading the polls leaving his rivals scrambling to figure out what they can do to knock him down. Ryan Lizza is back with me, Jamal Simmons, Katrina Campins, and also Rick Wilson. So let's talk about this. Trump announcing his tax plan soon. He talked about it tonight. Here it is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: We will be announcing a tax plan over the next four weeks, probably sometime during the month of September. Who knows taxes more than me? I know the taxes very well. I would say that probably before the end of September we will have a very comprehensive plan. And one of the things will be simplification and I believe will end up with a tax reduction which to me is very important.

You know, the United States, we pay the highest taxes in the world. We are going to be asking for a reduction. So I think overall it will be very -- people are going to be very happy.

I know Hedge Fund guys that pay almost nothing and they make a fortune. I want to see lower taxes and I'm going to make a determination but on some people they're not doing their fair share.

These Hedge Fund guys -- I hate to say many of friends of mind and most of them support Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush just so you understand. They're not supporting me because I told them I don't want your money. But the Hedge Fund guys have to pay up.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: I mean Katrina, he says he is going to lower taxes but he says he said he wants Hedge Fund guys not to pay up. You don't really hear that from a Republican. You can probably see in some of the Hedge Fund guys at that big event tonight are out in there hands going, "What? What's going on? You don't hear that from a Republican?"

CAMPINS: But I think it does show that Donald Trump -- no one's going to force him to say something that he doesn't believe. He doesn't -- as far -- and he's never going to be swayed by someone giving him money. I mean, he is what he is even if you try, you can't control what he says.

You know, I think we have seen that throughout the campaign. And so, with regard to that even if they are his buddy, he's going to say what he feels and he's going to do what's right for this country whether they're friends or not. And I think that's why so many people understand that he is so passionate about making America great again.

And that's why even if they can only afford to give $5 they want to give $5 because they want to feel like it's more symbolic.

LEMON: Yes.

CAMPINS: They want to feel like they're part of this movement and they did their part to make America great again but whether he accepts money or not I think at the end of the day, Donald Trump is somebody that is never going to pay attention to what somebody else tells him to do.

LEMON: All right. Lets talk about more to go that guys here in the studio they make said...

SIMMONS: It doesn't matter. No it's not a problem.

LEMON: Yeah, hang on, so hang on Simmons. The guys here in the studio tonight said if he was -- he would have gotten last at Caroline's tonight. He was on fire tonight even when he was talking about John Kerry, the secretary of state and talking about the Iran deal, the crowd was right there with him. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Well, look at Iran now, what about the pact? Did you see the other day they are going to inspect their own site? The worst site, the most important site, they're going to self-inspect. Can you believe it? It's -- can we even, are we even saying this? Are we even saying this?

He just said John Kerry's a joke. No, he's a bicyclist, OK. No, think of it. He is 73 years old and he goes into a bicycle race. He's got the helmet, the whole thing. He is negotiating a very important deal. He falls, he breaks his leg. And he's gone.

Now, he walks in the next, on crutches they say what the hell happened to you? The Iranians can't believe what's going on. They can't believe it.

[21:45:02] So, the deal with Iran, you know, we're going to have in two week with Ted Cruz and some other great folks. We're going to have a rally in Washington against the Iran deal.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: So, he's good. Come on.

SIMMONS: He's good.

LEMON: He is good, you know, the lot of...

SIMMONS: He is America's...

LEMON: Go ahead, what were you saying?

SIMMONS: He's America's greatest insult comic Don.

LEMON: Jamal, a lot of Democrats aren't supporting the Iran deal either. How does this resonate do you think with voters on both sides of the aisle?

SIMMONS: I think he, you know, because it was done with Carolina last weekend and I have some friends down there, 40 something old African- Americans, who kind of like go Donald Trump, he is funny like or I watch him more on T.V., you know, they've kind of, they got into it.

So I think people are enjoying the show but it just sort of sober up. What was interesting about that...

LEMON: Jamal? Jamal, I think you has -- I think you have your talking about something here that is very important that I hear from all different demographics including ethnicity and also political affiliation. That there is something about Donald Trump that draws people even if you don't like him, right? There is something going on. And so, whether I think you're going to whether or not that translates into votes we will have to see.

SIMMONS: We'll see.

LEMON: But it's interesting to watch. Complete your thought I think it's very important what you were saying.

SIMMONS: I just want to say this at the end which was -- I was very struck by when he mentioned Ted Cruz, the amount of cheers Ted Cruz got in the same crowd. There is something going on between Donald Trump's campaign and the Cruz campaign that's a lot of simpatico there.

LEMON: OK. See, I wan to talk about this. Tonight he was asked about gun laws by reporters in light of this week's attacks by two journalists, hear it is. Look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Chicago has the strictest gun laws in the world they say and certainly in the United States and look what's happening over there. You take a look at Baltimore, tremendously strict, so many of the places are so strict. Those are the places that have a biggest problem. We have a mental health problem. We also have an illegal immigrant problem, you know, a lot of the gangs -- it's true.

A lot of the gangs in St. Louis, in Ferguson, a lot of the gangs in Chicago, and the toughest, and the meanest, the worst dudes in Baltimore, you've seen it, they are illegal immigrants. And I'll tell you one thing, if I get in they are going to be gone so fast out of this country. They're going to be gone so fast.

Who likes the idea of the wall? I love it. Somebody said you can't build the wall, you know, the Great Wall of China is 13,000 miles. This wall is 2,000 and surely less but you really need a thousand so they could do 2,000 years ago, they could build the Great Wall of China but then they say how do you build the thousand mile? Give me a break, so easy and it will be great.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Ryan, you say, we all said he is good. That was a direct question about guns and immediately he pivots right back to immigration?

LIZZA: So I think like we -- for a second we have got to put aside the fact that it is really fun to cover Donald Trump and he says a lot of outrageous things and we are all amused by it and just take a step back and realize what we are experiencing in America right now is something we haven't seen in a long time and that is a candidate, you know, in Europe you have a lot of far right parties that are frankly OK with bashing immigrants with scapegoating people who don't look like the majority.

And we really haven't seen that in this country at this kind of level in a long time. The Pat Buchanan campaign frankly in 1992, was the last time we saw anything that close. We haven't seen someone who immediately when they are asked the question starts talking about illegal immigrants from Latin-America being the crime problem in this country which the statistics don't actually bear out.

Talking about building a giant wall to block Mexican immigration, it's something we haven't seen in a long time and it's a -- frankly I think this is a major, major problem for the Republican Party because it goes against everything that Republican strategists have been preaching against since they loss in 2012 and frankly a lot longer than that.

WILSON: I think that, well Ryan...

LEMON: All right, listen we've got to run but don't estimate his appeal -- underestimate his appeal. I'm telling you here, a lot of people who are not necessarily Republicans saying, you know what, hey...

CAMPINS: They just like him.

LEMON: Yeah, they like him it's...

LIZZA: I'm not and I'm not disagreeing with that at all. The polls bear that out for sure, Don. I'm just pointing out that we were talk -- he is running a candidacy that is based on resentment of nonwhite people in this country. And I think it is important to note that in the mix with the other kind of amusing things.

LEMON: We'll continue to talk and Rick, we'll actually give you a chance to talk next time. Thank you. Have a great weekend everyone. I appreciate it.

WILSON: Good night.

LIZZA: Thanks Don, bye bye.

LEMON: Coming up, state of emergency in Florida as a deadly tropical storm approaches. We're going to have the very latest. That's next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[21:53:48]

LEMON: Breaking news tonight, a state of emergency in Florida as tropical storm Erika closes in, CNN's Jennifer Gray has a very latest for us at the CNN severe weather center. So Jennifer this storm has already claimed a number of lives, what's the very latest?

JENNIFER GRAY, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yeah, we just got word Don that the death toll in Dominica has risen to 20 people. They had a foot of rainfall in just a short amount of time and it caused flash flooding and it causes landslides and unfortunately 20 lives lost. The reports previous were 12 and so we hear that entire towns are cut off from searchers get -- to get to those cities. And so it is bad news across the island.

However, the storm is starting to weaken just a little bit. Puerto Rico, as well as the Dominican Republic didn't have quiet the problems that we saw in Dominica, Don.

LEMON: You know, but the storms weaken and they gain strength and then they weaken so the governor of Florida, Rick Scott has declared the state of emergency, Jennifer, as the storm heads in that direction. How bad is it expected to be in Florida?

GRAY: Well, and you make a good point because you said that they intensify, they weaken, they intensify. This storm has been very, very difficult to pin down with an actual track as well as intensity.

[21:55:00] The models have been all over the place. One thing they are agree on -- agreeing on will be the rainfall. And so, it is now heading over Haiti and we are expecting anywhere from 2 to 6 inches of rain in that area.

However, we are going to see isolated amounts, even higher. It's a very mountainous terrain and so we're going to see the possibility of flooding as well as landslides in that area as well. So it is going to weaken over this mountainous terrain. It will shred the storm apart. Right now, the storm has weakened to about 45 miles per hour with gusts up to 65, moving to the west at 21 miles per hour.

You speak of Florida. Florida has the huge interest in this because the entire state is in the cone of uncertainty and has been for the last couple of days. The problem will be with the storm, which is actually good news for Florida, is the more land interaction that the storm has, the more it's going to break apart.

And you can see this track over Haiti and over to Cuba could possibly weaken to a tropical depression that is the latest forecast. In fact, with the 11:00 advisory, I wouldn't be surprised if this storm has already become a tropical depression which will be good news. But then Florida could possibly be impacted by a tropical storm if, in fact, it does gain a little bit of strength over this open space waters in between Cuba and the (inaudible), Don.

LEMON: Jennifer Gray and our entire weather team will be watching. Jennifer, thank you very much. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[22:00:06]

LEMON: That's it for us tonight. See you back here on Monday have a great weekend everyone and a safety.