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THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER
Trump Under Fire; Clinton Campaigns in Battleground States; More Republicans Coming Out Against Trump, for Clinton. Aired 4-4:30p ET
Aired August 3, 2016 - 16:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We have been humiliated by President Obama, and his policies. We have been humiliated by the Iran deal to start off with, where they get back $150 billion.
We have been humiliated as a country, when they took our sailors. They forced them to their knees. And the only reason we got them back is because we hadn't paid the money yet. And that's the only reason we got them back. Otherwise, they would have had to wait until I became president. Believe me, they would have come back fast.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
TRUMP: They would have come back very fast. You look at our numbers. Just take a look at the numbers. Home ownership, the lowest number, the worst number that it's been in 50 years.
Home ownership. You look at everything that is going on, we have doubled our debt during the last eight years of the Obama administration.
TRUMP: Our taxes are through the roof. And, by the way, Hillary Clinton wants to make your taxes much higher. I'm cutting taxes, big league, big league. Very, very big. It's very, very big.
Look, America has been -- again, it has been humiliated in so many different ways. But just take a look. In Libya, take a look, Libya, look at that mess. That was Clinton telling Obama what to do. I guarantee, if he had his choice again for secretary of state, he would love to have a do-over. That , I can tell you.
You have Libya. You have Cuba. Look at China building massive fortresses in the South China Sea, and just taking your jobs. Taking your jobs in Daytona. Taking your jobs. Look what is happening, look what is happening in Mexico. I will give you an example.
A friend of mine builds massive plants. That's what he does. He builds plants. That's all he wants to do. And I see him recently and he said, we are building the biggest plants, the most impressive plants you have ever seen. I said, oh, that's good news. He said, no, no, they're being built in Mexico. I said, what about in this country? What about in Daytona? Forget about it.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
TRUMP: You have to get me elected. We will be building in Daytona. We will be bringing jobs back. We will be bringing jobs back again. We will be bringing jobs back.
So, by the way, look at your space program. Look what's going on there. Somebody just asked me backstage, Mr. Trump, will you get involved in the space program? Look what's happened with your employment. Look what's happened with our whole history of space and leadership. Look what's going on, folks.
We're like a Third World nation, and then you get back to crime. You see what's happening with the police. You see what's happening with -- take a look at Orlando. Take a look at San Bernardino. Take a look at the World Trade Center. Take a look at what's going on. And then worldwide, and we let ISIS take this position.
It was Hillary Clinton that she should get an award from them as the founder of ISIS. That's what it was. That's what it was. Her weakness. Her weak policies.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: All right. We just listened to Donald Trump live from Daytona Beach, Florida.
So far this week, he has kicked up a lot of intraparty chaos, and in the view of some Republicans, the Republican nominee has damaged his chances of winning in November by doing things such as standing by his decision to get into a feud with Gold Star family, going on a tweetstorm against the media, going out of his way to attack three Republican officials facing reelection challenges, including House Speaker Paul Ryan.
Many Republicans around him saying, reportedly, there is a way for Trump to win in November. But Mr. Trump needs to realize he is not running against the Khan family, or the media, Paul Ryan, John McCain or the fire marshals of Colorado Springs and Columbus, Ohio. He is running against Hillary Clinton.
We just heard Mr. Trump. He seemed to be on message this afternoon.
CNN correspondent Phil Mattingly now joins me live from outside Trump Tower in New York.
Phil, from the few minutes we just listened to, Mr. Trump seemed to be on message, talking about the economy, talking about Hillary Clinton, but away from Daytona Beach, some of the most frustrated people in politics right now are the men and women trying to get Mr. Trump into the White House.
PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, no question. The men and women have been trying to get Donald Trump on message not just for the last couple of days, but really the last couple of months.
As you noted, that was on message as Donald Trump ever gets. It's what his advisers said he was going to do tonight. But the question becomes when you talk to those people, some of whom are very frustrated that they have had to grit their teeth and support Donald Trump as their Republican nominee, they wonder if it is too late.
PAUL MANAFORT, TRUMP CAMPAIGN MANAGER: First of all, the candidate is control of his campaign. That's number one.
MATTINGLY (voice-over): Donald Trump's top advisers moving quickly to push back on talk that has dominated GOP circles this week, that their campaign is in turmoil.
MANAFORT: I'm in control of doing the things he wants me to do in the campaign. The turmoil -- and this is another Clinton narrative that has been put out there and that the media is picking up on.
MATTINGLY: As sources close to the campaign tell CNN that top Republicans have been calling for a sit-down meeting to get Trump back on track, Paul Manafort, today, shot down the idea of a formal intervention.
MANAFORT: The campaign is focused. The campaign is moving forward in a positive way. The only need we have for an intervention is maybe some media types who keep saying things that aren't true.
MATTINGLY: Sources close to the campaign tell CNN senior officials are growing increasingly frustrated with the GOP nominee, as his focus, according to one, has -- quote -- "strayed miles away from his message, from the economy, national security and on Hillary Clinton."
TRUMP: I'm afraid the election is going to be rigged. I have to be honest. I always wanted to get the Purple Heart. This was much easier.
There's no greater sacrifice than you lose a son or a daughter and, you know, in the way that this happened. And I understand that. But regardless, I was viciously attacked. So I think I have the right.
MATTINGLY: Instead, the week has been defined by a feud with the parents of a killed-in-action Muslim American soldier who heroically saved the lives of other soldiers, as well as fresh intraparty battles.
RNC Chair Reince Priebus described by one adviser as furious after Trump told "The Washington Post" Tuesday, he is "just not quite there yet" in supporting Speaker Paul Ryan's reelection bid, a not-so-subtle jab at Ryan, who said this on THE LEAD in May.
REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: I'm not ready to do that at this point. I'm not there right now.
MATTINGLY: Even as Trump holds off, his running mate, Mike Pence, moving to ease the damage with an endorsement of his own. GOV. MIKE PENCE (R-IN), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I strongly support Paul Ryan. Strongly endorse his reelection. He is a longtime friend. He is a strong conservative leader.
MATTINGLY: That all comes as Trump has in some ways actively moved to fracture party unity, telling "The Washington Post" that along with Ryan, he also wouldn't support Arizona Senator John McCain.
TRUMP: I'm only thinking about it. I mean, you know, I have never been a big fan of John McCain.
MATTINGLY: And he criticized New Hampshire Senator Kelly Ayotte, who like McCain is up for reelection this November, as weak. Trump tweeting Wednesday morning that there is -- quote -- "great unity in my campaign, perhaps greater than ever before."
MATTINGLY: Jake, that was a message you just heard him repeat at his rally. Perhaps inside the campaign, that may be true. That's at least publicly what Trump's advisers are trying to convey to us, convey to the public.
But there's no question, Jake, across the Republican Party right now, there is a lot of frustration. A lot of real concern that they have kind of passed a point of no return. The big question, I was just e- mailing with a Republican who is watching the rally right now and saying, look, he is on message. Does it stick?
It hasn't stuck before. Is this something he can keep doing going forward, Jake?
TAPPER: All right, Phil Mattingly, thank you.
Joining me now is Ed Brookover, now a former adviser to Donald Trump's campaign.
Ed, thanks so much for being with me, as always.
ED BROOKOVER, FORMER SENIOR DONALD TRUMP ADVISER: Good to be here, Jake.
TAPPER: Why are you a former adviser? Why are you no longer with the campaign? I know you had a contract they did not renew. But was this part of a falling out with Paul Manafort, the campaign chair? Why?
BROOKOVER: No, my mandate, when I joined the Trump campaign, was to help them get 1,237 votes at the convention.
It was a very convention-focused role. It is one that we succeeded in, I'm happy to say. And they then put together a general election team that they feel is going to be very strong and experienced, good team, and I wasn't part of that. That's part of the business. That's fine with me.
TAPPER: You wanted to be part of it, though? BROOKOVER: What's that? If it was asked, I would have been. The fact I'm not is -- I have made decisions on both sides of that.
I have been the campaign manager making those hard decisions and I have been on the other side of that. It's part of how we put teams together.
TAPPER: I know you signed a nondisclosure agreement, which I believes prohibits you from saying anything about confidential information from the campaign or saying anything disparaging about Mr. Trump. That's right?
BROOKOVER: I am a Trump supporter. I was going to be supportive of him, regardless of an NDA.
TAPPER: But you did sign...
BROOKOVER: I did sign, sure did. Sure.
TAPPER: I just want to ask you, Newt Gingrich just said to "The Washington Post" the following. And I want to get your reaction.
"The current race is which of these," Obama -- I'm sorry -- Clinton and Trump -- "which of these two, Clinton or Trump, is the more unacceptable, because right now, neither of them is acceptable. Trump is helping her to win by proving he is more unacceptable than she is. Anyone who is horrified by Hillary should hope that Trump will take a deep breath and learn some new skills. He cannot win the presidency operating the way he is now. She can't be bad enough to elect him if he is determined to make this many mistakes."
Now, you want Trump to win.
TAPPER: Do you agree with what Mr. Gingrich is saying. He is somebody who also wants Mr. Trump to win, that if he keeps on acting the way he has been acting the last few weeks, he will likely not win?
BROOKOVER: I think you heard Mr. Trump in Florida just launch into a pretty aggressive attack on both the administration and on Mrs. Clinton.
I think the bottom line here is that the country is ready for big change; 70 percent of the people are unhappy with what's going on. People don't trust Mrs. Clinton, a very basic tenet of what people want in their officeholders. If Mr. Trump continues to tap into the veins of frustrated Americans who doesn't trust Mr. -- Mrs. Clinton, then he will be the president.
TAPPER: Right. But he can be on message for a speech and he can be on message for a day or two, but do you think he can stay that disciplined from now until November 8, or is he so accustomed to just being himself that he might not be capable of it?
BROOKOVER: You know, first of all, he is not afraid of controversy. He realizes that as a leader, you have to be willing to step in and take on tough issues. And so he's not afraid to do that.
TAPPER: Like attacking a Gold Star family?
BROOKOVER: To be fair, he called the son a hero consistently.
And he was attacked and he was going to defend himself . I think many American people would hope that in the same way, if America is attacked, he is going to stand up and defend America as well. He is trying to show the kind of leader he is going to be to help the American people.
TAPPER: I mean, you're drawing a comparison between a criticism from a grieving family who opposed Donald Trump's policies and an attack from terrorists.
BROOKOVER: ... attack, you know, in the country.
Here is what we know. Mr. Trump is a fighter. He is frustrated with what is going on in Washington. Many American -- the American people are too. I think that's what he wants to try to get out there is that he is going to be Donald Trump. It has gotten him this far. And he believes that will take him onto the presidency.
TAPPER: Right. But there are a lot of wise people who want Trump to win who think that the same skills that got him the nomination and got him this far need to be changed at least a bit so that he is not spending his time fighting with the Gold Star family or fighting with CNN or fighting with Speaker Ryan, but that he is fighting for the voters and against Hillary Clinton.
BROOKOVER: And I think today is showing that that's what he is back to doing. So it will be the kind of thing that in the next 97 days, staying on -- staying with the American people and their frustration is what is going to get him elected.
TAPPER: But you agree if he isn't able to be as focused and disciplined as we saw him today, that that might be a tougher task?
BROOKOVER: No, I'm one of those who thinks that Mr. Trump being Mr. Trump is -- should continue.
And now, should it continue, what vein should it continue in, we want to get focused on the problems facing America. And the more we're focused on the problems facing America, the better off we would do.
TAPPER: Ed, I want to get your reaction to a tweet from Dakota Meyer. As you know, he's a Medal of Honor recipient. He also happens to be the son-in-law of Sarah Palin.
"If Donald Trump wants to the commander in chief, he needs to acts like one and that can't start until he apologizes to the Khans."
This is not a member of the liberal media. This is not a member of the Republican establishment. This a Medal of Honor recipient and the son-in-law of one of Mr. Trump's biggest supporters, Sarah Palin.
BROOKOVER: There are many folks who have a variety of opinions on this. There are other military leaders, military medal winners who have come to support Mr. Trump as well.
Listen, this fight was provoked not by Mr. Trump. This fight was provoked by the Khan family on the floor of the Democratic National Convention. They went there with a purpose and they tried to -- and they were going there to attack Mr. Trump's Constitution -- and not having read the Constitution.
TAPPER: I think they were attacking Mr. Trump's proposal that Muslims be banned from entering the country.
BROOKOVER: Well, but his proposal is that he wants to ban people from countries that support terrorism and that are exporting terrorism.
TAPPER: The ban has changed a number of times. When he first...
BROOKOVER: It has evolved.
TAPPER: When he first talked about it, he talked about there being a religious test, a ban, a complete and total ban on Muslims entering the United States until we figure out what the hell is going on. That's pretty much an exact quote. That's what the Khans were objecting to.
BROOKOVER: But that's not his current position.
And I think that his current position has gotten to a place where most people agree with the fact that we have got to protect our country and we don't know who is coming in from some of these countries, and we should take a look at it.
TAPPER: I guess my only point is that the Khans, very patriotic Muslim Americans whose son sacrificed everything...
BROOKOVER: Sure. Yes.
TAPPER: ... felt like they were being attacked first. But you maybe disagree.
BROOKOVER: Yes, I do disagree.
TAPPER: All right, Ed Brookover, thank you so much. Good to see you, as always.
BROOKOVER: Thanks, Jake. Good to see you.
TAPPER: Instead of focusing his attacks on Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump has spent the past four days feuding with this Gold Star family.
[16:15:01] How is Hillary Clinton spending her time? That's next.
TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.
Let's stick with our politics lead.
As Hillary Clinton picks up the support of prominent Republicans, she and her running mate are hitting two different battleground states today. Tim Kaine is in North Carolina. He held a rally there earlier this afternoon. Clinton herself visited a clothing factory in Colorado today to highlight the fact that Trump clothing is not made in the United States.
With me here is CNN senior Washington correspondent, Jeff Zeleny.
Jeff, a Clinton super PAC is now cutting back its ad buy in Colorado. Is this confidence they're going to win, or is it oh, maybe it is not worth our time or money, because there is no way we're going to win?
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it is confident that they're going to win and they're not seeing any movement from Donald Trump. But the Clinton campaign is more confident about Colorado. They pulled their ad buy to that state, but there will still be ads during a national buy during the Olympics. Increasingly, Colorado is one of those states with a high Hispanic population, they believe is out of reach for Donald Trump.
[16:20:00] She is campaigning there right now, this evening as well, and making her way to Nevada tomorrow. The Clinton campaign is spending so much time watching Trump and the disarray in his party.
ZELENY (voice-over): Hillary Clinton is blazing through battleground states, today in Colorado. Her eye is on the spectacle surrounding Donald Trump.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I always wanted to get the Purple Heart. This was much easier.
ZELENY: She is trying to lure away furious and frustrated Republicans.
HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I will be a president for Democrats, Republicans, independents.
ZELENY: Her biggest catch so far --
MEG WHITMAN, HEWLETT-PACKARD CEO: Thank you, guys, very much.
ZELENY: Meg Whitman, at top GOP fund-raiser. In a statement, Whitman says, "To vote Republican out of party loyalty alone would be to endorse a candidacy I believe has exploited anger, grievance, xenophobia and racial division. Donald Trump's demagoguery has undermined the fabric of our national character." Whitman is urging other Republicans to reject Trump. Joining several other GOP defectors, including retiring Congressman Richard Hanna, and former top aides to Jeb Bush and Chris Christie.
The Clinton campaign is carefully tracking the fallout.
JOEL BENENSON, CHIEF STRATEGIST, HILLARY FOR AMERICA: What we see is the party nominee unraveling on almost a daily basis, behaving more erratically.
ZELENY: As Republicans wince and worry, she is using them against him, in this new campaign ad today, hitting Trump hard on outsourcing.
DAVID LETTERMAN, TV HOST: As a line of clothing, where were these made?
TRUMP: These were made, I don't know where they were made, but they were made someplace.
LETTERMAN: Where were these shirts made?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bangladesh.
TRUMP: Well, it's good. We employ people in Bangladesh.
LETTERMAN: Ties, where are the ties made? These are beautiful ties.
TRUMP: They're great ties.
LETTERMAN: The ties are made in where, China?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: China.
LETTERMAN: The ties are made in China.
ZELENY: It's part of her one-two punch against Trump on the economy.
CLINTON: Everything Donald Trump makes in China, Mexico, Turkey, Slovenia and elsewhere in the world, Bangladesh, could be made right here in America.
AD NARRATOR: How do we make the economy work for everyone? Hillary Clinton's plan starts here.
ZELENY: These new commercials are bankrolled by her muscular fundraising. She raised nearly $9 million alone in the 24 hours after delivering her convention speech. It's part of her biggest month of fundraising yet, $90 million in July.
ZELENY: CNN has learned that Whitman could campaign with Clinton or appear in TV ads, along with all these business leaders already behind Clinton -- Michael Bloomberg, Warren Buffett and others. It's one way also to get under Donald Trump's skin, they believe, and possibly pick up some Republicans along the way.
TAPPER: Of course, the Trump campaign will say it is the establishment against him, as they have been saying all this time.
Jeff Zeleny, thanks so much.
The start of an exodus? Another Republican former government official joining me live to explain why he is with her, as in Hillary Clinton.
Then, a transit police officer, right here in our nation's capitol, has been arrested and charged with attempting to help ISIS. That story, ahead.
TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.
Sticking with our politics lead, more Republicans coming out against Donald Trump and for Hillary Clinton.
Just in the last day, we've heard from former Hewlett-Packard CEO, Meg Whitman, who was the 2010 Republican gubernatorial candidate in California, as well as the former finance co-chair for New Jersey Governor Chris Christie's failed White House bid. Whitman telling "The New York Times" that Trump is a demagogue, and promising to raise millions for Clinton's campaign and for super PAC supporting her.
There is also outgoing Republican Congressman Richard Hanna, Republican from New York. And Maria Comella, former spokeswoman for Chris Christie and for Rudy Giuliani, both current Trump supporters. Comella is also backing the former secretary of state.
And then, of course, there's also Sally Bradshaw, a top former advisor to Jeb Bush. She says she left the GOP because of Trump and if it is close in her home state of Florida, which let's be honest, it usually is, she'll vote for Clinton.
With me now is another Republican who says he will vote for Clinton, Matt Higgins. He's a businessman and served as a spokesman for former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani.
Thanks so much for joining us, Matt. Why are you voting for Hillary Clinton?
MATT HIGGINS, FORMER PRESS SECRETARY FOR MAYOR RUDY GIULIANI: Well, because "none of the above" is not an option. And I think there are too many Republicans who have a strong conscience and a strong sense that the party is going in the wrong direction and are caught between a rock and hard place. And I believe that we have an obligation to speak out, if you don't agree with the policies of Donald Trump.
TAPPER: But just to be clear, do you support the policies of Hillary Clinton?
HIGGINS: I don't support everything about Hillary Clinton. But I don't share the animosity that is directed toward her that I think is unfair. I think she is probably one of the most qualified candidates to ever run for office. She has done some amazing things as secretary of state.
If you've read Bob Gates book, "Duty", he says some amazing things about her, that she is idealistic and pragmatic. That she's indefatigable, and that she was a, quote, "superb representative for this country."
Those are some pretty strong words for me. I didn't agree with everything John McCain said when I supported him, nor did I agree with everything that Mitt Romney said or Rudy Giuliani. But you have to take the totality of the candidate and make a decision.
TAPPER: Here is what your former boss, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani had to say about Donald Trump at the convention two weeks ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUDY GIULIANI (R), FORMER NEW YORK CITY MAYOR: Washington needs a complete turn around, and Donald Trump is the agent of change, and he will be the leader of the change we need. He will make America once again -- like the president I worked for, Ronald Reagan --