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Trump Admitting Mistakes?; Interview With Ohio Governor John Kasich. Aired 4-4:30p ET

Aired August 5, 2016 - 16:00   ET



JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: THE LEAD, live from battleground Ohio, starts right now.


TAPPER: Have you ever voted for a Democrat for president?


TAPPER: You have only voted Republican?

KASICH: Yes. Well, I'm a Republican.

TAPPER: Right.

Is it possible that you will never vote for a Republican for president?


TAPPER: My interview with former Republican presidential candidate and Ohio Governor John Kasich and his answer to that question in just a few minutes.

Still more questions than answers. Hillary Clinton today says everything she told the FBI about her private e-mail server, she also told the American public, but now she is also going back to a line that fact checkers say is patently false.

And the money shot. What looks like a whole lot of shrink-wrapped sitting on a wooden pallet. Did an Iranian documentary film show what critics say was ransom payment for American hostages?

Good afternoon, everyone. And welcome to THE LEAD. We're live from Columbus, Ohio.

It is called the Buckeye State, but it's also the barometer state. AT the local newspaper "The Columbus Dispatch" points out, no state has been a better barometer of the nation as a whole in terms of who wins the election. In fact, since the turn of the last century, no Republican has won the presidency without carrying Ohio.

If Donald Trump wants to win here, he might want to start by winning over the state's Republican governor, John Kasich. Kasich declined to even attend the Republican Convention held right here in Ohio.

I sat down exclusively with the former Republican presidential candidate to talk about the race and much, much more. We will bring you a chunk of that interview in a just a few minutes.

But, first, the Trump campaign trying to staunch the bleeding largely from self-inflicted wounds, controversies that seem to do little to advance Mr. Trump's chances to win the White House. There are his contributions to the Republican civil war, the nominee not endorsing two Republican senators in battleground states facing tough reelection battles, only to have his vice presidential nominee, Indiana Governor Mike Pence, go his own way and endorse both of them.

The nominee saying he is not there yet when it comes to endorsing Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan, only to have Mike Pence do it first. Sources now telling CNN Trump is set to endorse Ryan tonight, but frankly that cannot undo any damage already done to Republican unity over the past two days.

The nominee claiming he regrets nothing about his feud with a Gold Star family, despite polling suggesting most Americans think that Mr. Trump was "out of line," according to a FOX News poll. And then there's Mr. Trump's repeated insistence that because of courts striking down voter I.D. laws in states such as Wisconsin and North Carolina, the election to be held in 95 days will be "rigged."

Mr. Trump has said this at least four times this week, which leads us to believe it is not a slip of the tongue. President Obama yesterday said that Mr. Trump could not possibly mean what it sounds like he means.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If Mr. Trump is suggesting that there is a conspiracy theory that is being propagated across the country, including in places like Texas, where, typically, it's not Democrats who are in charge of voting booths, that's ridiculous. That doesn't make any sense.


TAPPER: Today, however, Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort once again raising the specter that election could be stolen by Democrats to benefit Hillary Clinton.


PAUL MANAFORT, TRUMP CAMPAIGN MANAGER: If you're relying on the Justice Department to ensure the security of the elections, we have to be worried.


TAPPER: CNN's Jim Acosta is traveling with the Trump campaign. He's in Des Moines, Iowa. Jim, a lot of missteps, a lot of talk about a rigged election this

week. And now CNN has learned Mr. Trump plans to endorse House Speaker Paul Ryan later this evening.


With fears inside the GOP that Donald Trump and his campaign is all but experiencing a moment where the wheels are coming off, there are signs that Republican nominee is making a major course correction.

As you just mentioned, CNN has confirmed that Donald Trump plans to endorse Paul Ryan when he gets to an event later on this evening in Wisconsin. It would be a stunning reversal if he continues with those plans after he said earlier this week that he was not ready to get behind the House speaker.



ACOSTA (voice-over): For a candidate who rarely admits he makes a mistake, it may be the most un-Trump moment yet.

Just days after Donald Trump said he wasn't ready to endorse Paul Ryan, CNN has learned the GOP nominee is changing his mind and will back the House speaker in his reelection campaign.

The move comes after Trump gave his blessing to his running mate, Mike Pence, to get behind Paul Ryan.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He came to me. He called me the other day. He said, do you mind? Because he likes Paul Ryan. Paul Ryan is a good guy actually.


TRUMP: Paul Ryan is -- no, he's a good guy.

ACOSTA: The change in course follows days of panic inside the GOP over Trump's tanking numbers and concerns he could do serious damage to candidates down-ballot. Top Republicans were furious that Trump appeared to be playing games and double-crossing Ryan, who had already endorsed him.

The speaker was barely containing his own feelings.

REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: Heck if I know, Jay. I'm not going to try and psychoanalyze this stuff. I'm just going to rise above this stuff and I'm not going to get involved in some sort of petty back and forth. I see no purpose in doing that. I'm going to be me and do my thing.

ACOSTA: In another uncharacteristic move, Trump has also walked back his claim that he had seen video of that U.S. shipment of $400 million to Iran that happened around the time American hostages were freed from Tehran. Even after his own staff was telling news outlets that Trump was mistaken, he was repeating the claim.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You know, it was interesting because a tape was made. Right? You saw that with the airplane coming in. Nice plane. And the airplane coming in. And the money coming off, I guess. Right? That was given to us, has to be, by the Iranians.

ACOSTA: But in the morning, a correction in a Trump tweet. "The plane I saw on television was the hostage plane in Geneva, Switzerland, not the plane carrying $400 million in cash going to Iran."

Democratic V.P. pick Tim Kaine says there's a pattern of confusion.

SEN. TIM KAINE (D-VA), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It doesn't exist. He might be thinking about Iran-Contra from like 35 years ago or something like this. He recently criticized me, saying I was a bad governor of New Jersey.

QUESTION: Confused you with Tom Kean.

KAINE: Tom Kean was governor of New Jersey 26 years ago.

ACOSTA: Also raising questions is Trump's comment on whether he is considering any women for his Cabinet. Trump apparently could only think of his daughter, telling a local station: "Well, there are so many different ones to choose. I can tell you everybody would say, put Ivanka in, put Ivanka in. You know that, right?"

That prompter a zinger from Hillary Clinton, referencing 2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney's gaffe about binders full of women. "We know a guy with a binder, @realDonaldTrump. He might not take your calls, though."


ACOSTA: Now, aides to Paul Ryan say they are unaware of Donald Trump's plans to endorse the House speaker later on this evening. They are referring any questions about an endorsement, Jake, to the Trump campaign.

It sounds like they will believe it when they see it, Jake.

TAPPER: All right, Jim Acosta, thanks so much.

As I told at the top of the show, I'm here in battleground Ohio today, the beautiful city of Columbus, because I just spoke to the state's Republican governor, and former presidential candidate, John Kasich.

Kasich has notably refused to endorse Donald Trump. He even skipped the Republican Convention held in Ohio in Cleveland.

In his first interview since the convention, I asked what he will do in the voting booth in November?

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) TAPPER: Have you ever voted for a Democrat for president?


TAPPER: You have only voted Republican?

KASICH: Yes. Well, I'm a Republican.

TAPPER: Right.

Is it possible that you will never vote for a Republican for president?

KASICH: Let's not get ahead of ourselves. This is very disturbing and alarming to me. I should not say -- it's not alarming. I wish that I could be fully enthusiastic. I can't be.

So, I don't know what is going to happen at the end.

TAPPER: You talked -- you said you -- you said you didn't watch the Democratic Convention.


KASICH: I watched just a tiny little bit. I watched all of Donald Trump's speech. And I watched -- I did see the Khan speech. I saw -- I was watching with my wife. But I never saw Hillary's speech or Chelsea's. I just a little bit of the convention.

TAPPER: So, the Khans, obviously, Khizr and Ghazala Khan, their son, Captain Humayun Khan, killed in Iraq in 2004.

You tweeted after Donald Trump started attacking the parents and questioning things about the parents, you tweeted: "There is only one way to talk about Gold Star parents, with honor and respect. Captain Khan is a hero. Together, we should pray for his family."

Trump's response was he was viciously attacked by the Khans.


But, look, I didn't see that, but here is what I do want to tell you. As the governor, every year, except this year, because we fortunately have not lost anybody, we have had families of people who have been lost serving their country.


Jake, they come to the statehouse. They gather in the cabinet room. And then, one by one, these families come in to see me.

It is very tough. Usually, there is a picture of their son, or their daughter, or their mother, or their father that is right up there as they come in. I give them a flag. And I sit and I talk to them.

I tell them about the loss of my mother and father in a sudden accident. And I said, you know, let's not compare, but what I can tell you is, I have seen the black hole. I have had the deep mourning and the pain.

But here's what I know. I believe the Scripture when it says those who give up their life or serve someone else will wear a big crown, that their service is marked in the book of life, never to be erased.

I hug them. Sometimes, some few people will sit in the room with me. Sometimes, a tear gets shed. Sometimes, I give recommendations as to how they can find somebody to help them.

It is really tough, Jake. And -- but I am honored to do it, because if there is anything that I can say to these families, anything at all -- and they got kids in there. And their dad is gone or their mom is gone.

It is -- it's just excruciatingly difficult. But I'm so glad I do it. And I'm so glad that they would honor me to come. And then I finally got them to come out here. It's all over, and then they -- then they go through -- we go through all the ceremony that is in addition to that. They come here time, and they will spend time here at the governor's house

And I say, you can stay in the governor's house. You can have it, whatever you want.

So -- and the same is true, of course, with police. It's the same kind of deal. But, in this case, it's with the Gold Star families.

TAPPER: Did the fact that the convention, Republican Convention, seemed so foreboding, if your words, did that reaffirm your decision to not attend? I know you didn't want to go.

KASICH: Well, no, look, I didn't go because I just -- I think it is about manners.

If I wasn't prepared to go there and get up and endorse a nominee, I just thought it was inappropriate to go into that convention hall. Now, I was up in Cleveland. I had been working on it a long time in terms of the security. We had beautiful results up there. People -- now people are saying, I either should go to Maui or maybe Cleveland. It's a hilarious situation, right?

But we showed -- we really -- they did. The people of Cleveland, so fantastic, what they did. But, look, I just believe that there are solutions. I believe that we have to recognize the problems, but we have to be positive.

Now, what no one should be confused about, no one, is that I wrote an op-ed piece about Hillary. I think she is on the bus Bernie is driving, and she is sitting in the back seat. She is no more than big government.

And, Jake, in the 21st century, the answers to our problems is not that we have no government. It's that we have government that is effective. TAPPER: When you were running for president, you said the U.S. should

be aiding Ukraine against Russian aggression.

What did you make of the Republican nominee saying last week that the people of Crimea, from what I have heard, would rather be with Russia than where they were?

KASICH: Well, I don't agree with that.

In fact, I spoke at the convention, not inside the hall, but at one of the events for foreign policy. And my understanding is, we actually withdrew support -- language that supported arming the Ukrainians.

TAPPER: In the Republican platform.


I was really pretty astounded by that. No, I think we should not only arm the Ukrainians, but we should give them the capability to have lethal weapons. And in terms of Crimea, the fact that Russia seized it, forget about it. They need to get out of there.


TAPPER: More with Governor John Kasich, including his take on Donald Trump refusing to endorse Republican Senators Kelly Ayotte and John McCain.

That's next.


[16:18:35] JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper, live in battleground state Ohio, specifically, we're in Columbus.

Donald Trump hopes that what he does this tonight will put to bed an avoidable controversy. Sources telling CNN that Trump will endorse Republican House Paul Ryan after he initially withheld that endorsement earlier this week in an interview with "The Washington Post".

Earlier today, I spoke with Ohio Governor John Kasich and asked what he made of Trump's choice to opt out of endorsing Ryan, as well as two incumbent Republican senators up for reelection, John McCain of Arizona and Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire.


TAPPER: Were you surprised when Donald Trump declined to endorse Speaker Ryan, Senator McCain, and Senator Ayotte?

GOV. JOHN KASICH (R), OHIO: Yes. Well, yes, I thought it was bizarre, right?

Let's talk about each of them. Paul, you know, he is the Jack Kemp mode. He is a guy that's positive. He is a guy who wants to reach out to the people who were in poverty. He is the one that wants to lower the tax code so we don't punish the successful, build entrepreneurship. Great guy, OK? He used to be an aide when I was budget chairman.

Kelly Ayotte, OK? She is a terrific senator. She comes from New Hampshire. I'm going to go campaign for her. I'm going to do whatever I can to help her.

TAPPER: You got to work a lot on these --


KASICH: Oh, yes.

[16:20:00] I'm all over. I was just in Illinois the other day helping Senator Kirk raising money for the House Republicans in Illinois. I have been for Senator Paul, I'm going to Colorado. I mean, I'm doing -- I was in Philadelphia, in a tough race over in Philadelphia. Yes, I'm going to help all House and Senate members, and that's important to me.

Let's talk about McCain. I love John McCain. John McCain is such an amazing guy. Not just an American hero, but here is a guy that served his country well. He is outspoken and takes orders from no one.

As far as I'm concerned, McCain shouldn't even have to run for election in the Senate. He ought to be in the Senate as long as he wants to be. You know, he is in a tough race. I'm going out there, I don't care what it helps I have to go out and help McCain. And he really truly is -- for the people who watch this show, he is a remarkable guy. He so loves his country.

TAPPER: Governor, your admiration for John McCain is moving. Your nominee for president, Republican presidential nominee said he is not a hero, he prefers people who weren't captured.

KASICH: Yes, well, I don't agree -- I don't agree with that, OK? I think John McCain is a hero.

Look, Jake, here's a thing -- all throughout this, anyone can say, OK, Trump said this, you say that. Why don't you slug him over the head? Look, my actions have spoken louder than any words.

TAPPER: And your refusal to endorse them.

KASICH: And think about this -- I want to know when anybody had a convention at their state, when they were the governor, who didn't go in the convention hall. I mean, some people are really furious with me about that.

TAPPER: What does Donald Trump need to do to get you to vote for him? You obviously said that you'll never vote for Hillary Clinton. Is there any way that Donald Trump can change --

KASICH: You know, there is so much water over the dam now, it's become increasingly difficult. But I want, you know, unifying, I want -- I think I have been pretty clear about -- there was a speech I made called two paths. You know, you can either operate on the dark side of the street, or you can operate in the light. I believe that America needs people to operate in the light.

TAPPER: Governor Kasich, thank you so much for your time. I really appreciate it.

KASICH: Thanks for your time. I love it. Thank you.


TAPPER: You can see much more of my interview with Governor John Kasich, including his side of the report that the Trump campaign made outreach to see if he'd be interested in serving as his vice president, and his view of that controversial $400 million cash payment to Iran, all of it this Sunday in an exclusive on "STATE OF THE UNION", at 9:00 a.m. and noon Eastern.

I want to bring in my political panel now: former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm, Trump supporter Kayleigh McEnany, and former press secretary to vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan, Michael Steel.

We'll discuss what Governor Kasich had to say after this quick break.


[16:27:39] TAPPER: Welcome back. Let's stay with politics right now.

It's been a week of favorable polls for the Democratic presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton. But, you know, speaking of self-inflicted wounds, the nominee, Hillary Clinton, still cannot escape the controversy surrounding the untrue claims she continues to make about her e-mail server as she took questions today from journalists during a moderated panel.

Let's get to CNN national correspondent Suzanne Malveaux.

Susan, the FBI director several weeks ago testified that Hillary Clinton told the FBI the truth about her e-mail server, but he also made clear that things that Clinton said to the public about her server were not true. Still, twice this week, Clinton misrepresented that.

What did she have to say about that today?

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You know, Jake, what she said was she called her explanation short-circuited but not untruthful. So, skeptics really looking very closely at that kind of tortured explanation. She started her speech talking about comprehensive immigration reform, that the campaign has set up this all Spanish Twitter account, and dealing with black unemployment. So, clearly, trying to address some of the needs of her audience.

But once as the Q&A started, she was hit with some really tough questions. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: America is better than Donald Trump.

MALVEAUX (voice-over): Hillary Clinton laying into Trump today at a conference for black and Hispanic journalists in Washington.

CLINTON: We need to stand up and say that Donald Trump doesn't represent who we are and what we believe.

MALVEAUX: Clinton was asked about her claim in a pair of recent interviews that FBI Director James Comey said her public answers about her emails were truthful. A statement ruled fast by fact checkers.

CLINTON: I was pointing out in both of those instances that Director Comey had said my answers in my FBI interview were truthful. That's the bottom line here. I may have short circuited it, and for that I, you know, will try to clarify, because I think Chris Wallace and I were probably talking past each other, because, of course, he could only talk to what I had told the FBI, and I appreciated that.

MALVEAUX: Clinton also addressed questions about her struggles with voters, who do not see her as honest and trustworthy.

CLINTON: Every time I have done a job, people have counted on me and trusted me. I take it seriously. And it doesn't make me feel good when people say those things and I recognize that I have work to do.