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THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER
Clinton: "I May Have Short-Circuited" Answers on Emails; Poll: Trump Trailing Clinton By 11 Points In Pennsylvania; State Department: U.S. Plane Did Not Deliver Money; Stocks Close At Record Highs After Strong Jobs Report. Aired 4:30-5p ET
Aired August 5, 2016 - 16:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Every time I have done a job, people have counted on me and trusted me.
[16:30:02] 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.
SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As the Democratic nominee picked up another high profile endorsement. In a "New York Times" op-ed today, former CIA Director Mike Morrell said he'd be voting for Clinton in November and warned of Trump's impact on the world stage, saying, quote, "Mr. Trump has no experience on national security. Even more important, the character traits he has exhibited in the primary season suggest he would be a poor, even dangerous commander in chief."
Morrell also slammed Trump's praise of Russian President Vladimir Putin, saying, quote, "in the intelligence business, we would say that Mr. Putin have recruited Mr. Trump as an unwitting agent of the Russian Federation."
The Clinton campaign also releasing a new television ad, featuring conservatives critical of Trump's foreign policy views.
MICHAEL HAYDEN, FORMER CIA DIRECTOR UNDER GEORGE W. BUSH: If he governs consistent with some of the things he said as a candidate, I would be very frightened.
MALVEAUX: Nationally, Clinton's lead over Trump continues to widen, an upswing helped perhaps by President Obama's rising job approval rating, and a positive jobs report.
MALVEAUX: And also some national polls showing that the gap is widening here. She is gaining ground on Mr. Trump. Also in the state of Georgia, a four-point margin between the two, four points ahead, within the margin of error. But certainly, that red state Georgia not electing, not voting for a Democratic nominee since Bill Clinton in 1992. That is a good sign that she is so close in that race in Georgia, Jake.
TAPPER: All right. Suzanne Malveaux, thank you so much. Let's now discuss all of it with my political panel. We have with us
CNN political commentator and Donald Trump support, Kayleigh McEnany, Jennifer Granholm, the former governor of Michigan, and a senior adviser with Correct the Record, which is a pro-Clinton super PAC, and also with us, Michael Steel, a former advisor to the Jeb Bush presidential campaign and the former press secretary to vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan.
Michael Steel, thanks for being here. As well as you, Governor Granholm and Kayleigh.
Let me start with you, Kayleigh. First of all, Governor Kasich once again saying that he doesn't know who he's going to vote for, expressing a lot of disapproval of Hillary Clinton, but really disappointment in Donald Trump.
You must know other Republicans who feel that way, what do you tell them?
KAYLEIGH MCENANY, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I tell them that this is a binary selection. Either you select Donald Trump or you select Hillary Clinton. There is no other viable choice. And, you know, by sitting it out, you're essentially allowing Hillary Clinton to become president.
But, you know, with regard to Kasich, I think a lot of this has to do with the internal feuding between the campaigns. You mentioned in the other portion of your interview, talked about was he extended the vice presidential opportunity or was he not. And there was a lot of feuding there.
So, I really wish that the Trump campaign would make an overture to smooth things over, because while endorsements are not important, I do think that this one is rather important, given that he is governor of Ohio and has close ties with the state GOP. So, I do wish that this one endorsement would happen and I think it will in time.
TAPPER: Michael, as you know, no Republican since Abraham Lincoln in 1860 has won the presidency without winning the state of Ohio. How damaging is it that Donald Trump is not supported by John Kasich and the support at least what's stated by Governor Kasich is based on really just doesn't like what Donald Trump stands for.
MICHAEL STEEL, FORMER JEB BUSH PRES. CAMPAIGN ADVISER: Yes, I think it's hugely damaging. It's yet another example of Donald Trump not doing the things that are necessary to bring the party together and beat Hillary Clinton. And if he wants to accomplish that goal, which is the point of this exercise, beat Hillary Clinton, elect a Republican to the White House, then he needs to start reaching out to other Republicans, knock off the kindergarten crap, and actually bring our party together.
TAPPER: Governor Granholm, let me ask you, once again, Secretary Clinton today suggesting that FBI Director Comey said that what she told the American people about classified information on her server was true. That is not what the FBI director said. He said that what she told the FBI was true, but then when asked about repeated claims that Clinton had made to the American people, he said that's not true, that's not true, that's not true.
Why the self inflicted wound here? Why not just be honest and say the FBI director said some things, I'm taking them to heart and moving on and learning from them. Why continue to keep this alive by not being honest about it?
JENNIFER GRANHOLM, SR. ADVISER FOR PRO CLINTON SUPER PAC: Jake, Jake, she was totally honest today. She said, and she's been honest. You have construed this and twisted it in a way that is -- just listen to it carefully. She said, one, the FBI director said she told the truth to him. She told him and the American people what she told the FBI.
[16:35:01] So, she was making the leap, as she said, that what she told the FBI was true because that is what she has been telling the American people. She was not distorting anything. In fact, she made it super clear today. Boy, does she want to move on, and, boy, do the American people want to move on?
This little e-mail thing is irrelevant to their lives. We would rather talk about what she is out there talking about today, which is creating jobs, and making sure that Republicans like John Kasich understand that she's talking about small business creation, infrastructure investment, advanced manufacturing, things that Republicans and Democrats care about.
TAPPER: Governor, with all due respect, I didn't misread anything or misrepresent anything. Every fact checker agrees with me. What she has been saying is not true.
GRANHOLM: No, I'm telling you what she said, Jake.
TAPPER: A candidate's honesty is important. A candidate's honesty is important.
GRANHOLM: Totally agree. Totally agree
But my point is, today, Jake, she clarified what the fact checkers had given her Pinocchios for. What she said today is that A, it's true and you agree the FBI director said what she told him was true. What she is saying is that she told the FBI what she told the American people. So, yes, there was a leap in the past conversation that she had with Chris Wallace, saying that what she told the American people was true.
She didn't say that today. She said what she told the FBI was the same thing she has been telling the American people.
TAPPER: All right. Well, I don't think that is true, but I want to move on.
TAPPER: Michael, what do you make of the fact that Donald Trump has gotten into this fight about whether or not he's going to endorse Speaker Ryan, John McCain, and Kelly Ayotte.
STEEL: Well, this is monumentally frustrating about this situation. Secretary Clinton is repeating a falsehood about an important national security issue. She's done it again and again and yet, instead of talking about that, instead of prosecuting the case that she had shown poor judgment in this critical area, we're talking about these stupid internecine battles that Donald Trump is bringing on himself.
That's why he needs to grow up and become the leader this party needs because the stakes in the election are just that high.
TAPPER: Kayleigh, last word, this has been a bad week by however you measure it for Donald Trump. Is he capable of turning it around? Is he capable of the kind of discipline that people like you and other supporters of his wants him to have?
MCENANY: Yes, I think he is, and I think the tweet this morning admitting that he was mistaken about the video was a big step. You know, it's really the first time we have seen him kind of acknowledge this error, you know, in a public manner. So, that was an example.
And I think, you know, if he does endorse Ryan, I don't think he needs to, I think he should re-empower the American people and allow Republican voters to decide. But if he takes that step, it is a signal that he is listening to advisors around him.
So, those two indicators suggest that he is trying to reboot this and that's an encouraging thing.
TAPPER: Governor Granholm, Michael Steel, Kayleigh McEnany, thanks one and all. Appreciate it.
GRANHOLM: All right, Jake.
MCENANY: Thanks, Jake.
TAPPER: Donald Trump's electoral path to victory includes winning this state, Ohio, as well as the state just next door, Pennsylvania, which has not gone for a Republican presidential candidate since 1988. Can Donald Trump pick the lock of the Keystone State? That story next.
[16:42:39] TAPPER: Welcome back. We are live in Ohio.
Let's stay with politics right now. Right now, Donald Trump is holding a rally in the swing state of Iowa before heading to the battleground state of Wisconsin this evening. Those two are part of the key group of battleground states that the Republican nominee is banking on winning.
I'm here in one of the biggest prizes of them all, beautiful Ohio. Just next door is all important Pennsylvania. Now, a poll out yesterday painted a rather bleak picture for Donald Trump in Pennsylvania, with Clinton leading Trump there by 11 points. CNN's John King is at the magic wall to breaking it all down for us.
John, take us through the numbers, because Trump needs to win Pennsylvania to win the White House.
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Twenty electoral votes, Jake. It is very hard to get Trump to 270 without Pennsylvania. So, let's just first just look at the threshold number. It's the Franklin and Marshall College poll, as you mentioned yesterday. Forty-nine for Secretary Clinton, 38 for Donald Trump. Six percent split between the third party candidates.
Eleven points right there in a state Donald Trump very much needs. Now, it's August. But if you look at these numbers, Donald Trump has a problem with key voting groups. We'll get to the regions in a minute.
But just among groups, you were just talking to Michael Steel. Why is he in the fight with John Kasich? Why is he in a fight with Paul Ryan?
Look at these numbers right here. Hillary Clinton is getting eight in 10 Democrats, 78 percent of Democrats in Pennsylvania say, I'm with the Democratic nominee. But just 70 percent, only 69 Pakistan of Republicans say they're with the Republican nominee.
So, Donald Trump still has a problem in the family. She has largely consolidated support, he has not. That's part of his problem.
The second problem, Jake, among independents. In all of these swing states polls by a big margin here in Pennsylvania, 45-29, Hillary Clinton beating Donald Trump among independents. What does that tell you? You know the state better than I do, it's your home.
If she is doing well in inner city Philadelphia with the African- American constituency and that she's also doing well, she's getting a little bit of the Republican vote and the Republican vote, that means she will be doing well in the suburbs as well. You win Philadelphia, you win the suburbs right around there, guess what? You'll probably going to win Pennsylvania.
TAPPER: And, John, the question, of course, do these numbers suggest that this just a temporary bounce for Hillary Clinton post-convention, in a bad week for Mr. Trump? Or is Trump about to join a long line of Republican nominees who vowed to win Pennsylvania and end up being disappointed?
KING: You went through this as I did with George W. Bush, right? Mitt Romney thought he could do it in 2012. John McCain made an effort in 2008.
I wanted to bring up the regional breakdown in this (inaudible) that tell you a lot. Right now in Philadelphia, Hillary Clinton is matching what Barack Obama got in 2012. In the southeast, this is where the suburbs around Philadelphia, she is matching essentially what President Obama got and what the Democrats have gotten in elections.
If you want to see one plus for Donald Trump, Jake, he is running pretty well in the southwest part of the state, down here, doing about the same or a little better than Mitt Romney.
In the central part of the state, though, he is under performing as well in the more conservative central part of the state. If you look at it right now, Donald Trump has dug himself a ditch. He better climb out quick or else he will join that long list of Republicans who tried but failed.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: All right, John King, thanks so much. Is it the money? Iran-state television showing a pallet of cash raising new questions about that $400 million cash payment to Iran the same day U.S. prisoners were released. But now the State Department revealing new information about the money transfer, stay with us.
TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper in Ohio, battleground state, where we are covering the presidential contest. But let's turn to our World Lead today, continued outrage and controversy over that $400 million cash transfer to Iran by the Obama administration on the same day four American prisoners were released by Iran.
[16:50:14]The White House denies that the money was a ransom payment. Footage aired on Iranian television however purports to show the money arriving in Tehran and that is raising renewed questions about whether this was a quid pro quo.
CNN chief national security correspondent, Jim Sciutto, has been digging into the mystery. Jim, you're learning new details about how the cash was delivered?
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Jake. A senior State Department official tells me that it was not a U.S. plane that delivered that cash, but this official, the president himself acknowledged that cash was sent and we are now seeing what Iranian state television says what all of that money, in cash, looked like.
SCIUTTO (voice-over): A pallet loaded with what Iranian state television claims is cash sent by the U.S. The narrator says to pay back Iran's money after 35 years. This video which CNN cannot authenticate aired in Iran just days after the release of four American prisoners.
At the Pentagon Thursday, President Obama dismissed any connection between the cash payment, which he acknowledged, and the prisoners release saying the negotiations were entirely separate.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: We announced these payments in January. It wasn't some nefarious deal. And at that time, we explained that Iran had pressed a claim before an international tribunal about them recovering money of theirs that we had frozen.
SCIUTTO: Until today, Donald Trump repeatedly claimed to have seen what he called secret video of cash being unloaded in Iran just as those American prisoners were freed.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The tape was made, right? You saw with that airplane coming in, nice plane, and the airplane coming and the money coming off, I guess, right? That was given to us, has to be, by the Iranians, and you know why the tape was given to us? Because they want to embarrass our country.
SCIUTTO: But this morning, Mr. Trump withdrew that claim tweeting this reversal, quote, "The plane I saw on television was the hostage plane in Geneva, Switzerland. Not the plane carrying $400 million in cash going to Iran."
Trump apparently referring to this entirely different video showing the plane that carried the freed Americans. However, the timing of the two transactions, U.S. prisoners going out, hundreds of millions of dollars going in, still raises the question of whether that Americans' release was condition on the payment of money.
Saed Abedini (ph), one of the freed American prisoners told Fox News that he and his fellow Americans waited at the airport in Iran for hours the night of their release. When he asked an Iranian intelligence officer why --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (via telephone): He told me we are waiting for another plane, and if that plane takes off then we'll let you go.
SCIUTTO: CNN asked a U.S. State Department official whether Iran would have freed the prisoners without that payment. This official told CNN it is, quote, "unknowable."
SCIUTTO: To be clear, this new video of what appears to be this money, Jake, is not the same video that Donald Trump claimed to have seen. He now claims to have seen no video of that money. He just saw video of the prisoners going free -- Jake.
TAPPER: Also curious. Jim Sciutto, thank you so much. New jobs numbers were out this morning. What does it mean for you? What does it mean for your wallet? That story, next.
TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD. You want some good news today? All right, some good news from the Labor Department. Hiring surged again last month and that had stocks surging close the week, but does it mean American are actually seeing more money in their paychecks?
It is our latest installment of "America's Debt and the Economy." CNN's chief business correspondent, Christine Romans, has the answer.
CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Job creation and you can see the trend here, it's pretty definitive, June and July, the best months this year, and you can see after a stumble in the spring, it looks as though hiring has really picked up speed.
Unemployment here incredibly important, too. This number has gone down, down, down. Sitting here again at 4.9 percent. Some economists consider this almost full employment quite frankly when you have an unemployment rate below 5 percent.
What about the sectors? We saw broad based hiring, Jake, that's important here. We saw additions in health care. We saw business and information services. We saw computer and technical jobs that tend to pay more, those jobs are doing better.
In terms of wages, a really important part of this recovery, 2.6 percent. The fed and frankly workers would like to see more, but wages are going in the right direction sp basically here, the summer, firing on all cylinders for the job's market -- Jake.
TAPPER: All right, Christine Romans, thank you so much. Tune in this Sunday to see more of my exclusive interview with former presidential candidate and Ohio Governor John Kasich. That is on "STATE OF THE UNION" at 9:00 a.m. and noon Eastern.
That's it for THE LEAD live in Ohio. I'm Jake Tapper. I now throw back to Washington, D.C. to "THE SITUATION ROOM" where we find Mr. Wolf Blitzer. Have a great weekend.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now, breaking news --