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THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER
Analyzing Trump's ISIS Speech; White Working Class Voters Who Feel Abandoned. Aired 4:30-5p ET
Aired August 15, 2016 - 16:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[16:30:00] JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: I mean, I hate to, you know, to nitpick, but there was a fairly successful attack within the United States in the eight years before President Obama. It was 9/11.
HOWIE LIND, TRUMP CAMPAIGN FOREIGN POLICY ADVISER: Right.
TAPPER: Almost 3,000 Americans died.
LIND: That's right.
And we shouldn't forget 9/11 either. It's 15 years later. But, back to your point, people understand that...
TAPPER: Well, tell Rudy Giuliani not to ever forget it.
LIND: No, I'm saying to say that Obama and Clinton are not the personal -- people -- Americans understand that the massive pullout of the Middle East caused the rise of ISIS.
And we have to go after this terrible ideology that -- who targets women, and gays, and Jews, and not -- and Christians and nonbelievers. It's just this horrible ideology that needs to be eradicated.
MICHAEL STEEL, FORMER JEB BUSH CAMPAIGN ADVISER: Well, I think that is absolutely correct. I think that we should do everything possible to fight smart against the threat of ISIS.
What I'm concerned about with the speech that Mr. Trump gave today is it was a series of slogans without any policy behind it. He favors extreme vetting. As far as I know, that's a skateboarding term. I have no idea what that means in terms of trying to prevent people who mean us harm from coming into this country.
TAPPER: All right, Patti, Michael, Howie, thank you so much. Thanks for joining us. Appreciate it.
TAPPER: Be sure to tune in to CNN this Wednesday night for our Green Party town hall. Voters will ask Jill Stein and Ajamu Baraka questions. Chris Cuomo will moderate. It all starts at 9:00 p.m. Eastern, the Green Party town hall.
Coming up, they're white and they build their lives in industrial towns where the mill or the factory has since closed, and now they are fighting to find work or keep their incomes from shrinking. These are the Rust Belt voters. A look at why they could be the key to the White House for Donald Trump. At least, that is what he believes -- next.
TAPPER: Welcome back.
Bruce Springsteen's haunting song "Youngstown" about factory workers sinking down after the plant closes. "Once I made you rich enough, rich enough to forget my name," he sings.
It is our buried lead. That's what we call stories that are not getting enough attention. And in this case, it's these voters who feel that historically they have been ignored.
Today, Donald Trump campaigned in Youngstown, Ohio, while Hillary Clinton was in Scranton, Pennsylvania, two different towns in two different states. But for Trump, they are key to an electoral victory in November. Trump is banking on high turnout of these voters about whom our balladeers write these gritty songs, white working-class voters in struggling communities that feel abandoned.
Over the years, they have seen their manufacturing or coal mining or steel jobs disappear, their incomes shrink. In some cases, family members struggle with drug addiction. All the while, they feel ignored and sold out.
For these voters, the slogan make America great again, well, it resonates.
TAPPER (voice-over): In places such as Middletown, Ohio, Donald Trump's motto seems more than a slogan.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We are going to make America great again.
TAPPER: Here, where businesses and families are struggling, it is almost as if Trump is talking directly to them.
TRUMP: I want jobs and I want wealth to stay in America.
TAPPER: The majority of residents here are white working-class voters, such as Lori Henning.
LORI HENNING, OHIO RESIDENT: The steel mills are not doing as well as they used to. The paper mills have gone. So, Middletown is a struggling community. But it is a great community. It really is. It has great people here.
TAPPER: And Orie Baker, who is originally from Kentucky, a truck driver at the local steel mill, which is still standing, though its best days are in its rear-view mirror. Orie Baker is a Trump man all the way.
ORIE BAKER, OHIO RESIDENT: He ain't never went downhill at nothing. He's went up at everything he's done. Put him in president, and he will go up. He will take us up. If Hillary gets in, we're gone.
TAPPER: These are the families that too many politicians ignore, hillbillies, according to J.D. Vance, author of the new acclaimed book "Hillbilly Elegy."
J.D. VANCE, AUTHOR, "HILLBILLY ELEGY: A MEMOIR OF A FAMILY AND CULTURE IN CRISIS": My grandma always said that we can call ourselves hillbillies, but nobody else can call us hillbillies. And there's a sense that is for us to use and it's an insider's term.
TAPPER: Vance grew up here in Middletown in the middle between Cincinnati and Dayton. His Kentucky-born grandparents helped raise him after his mother fell into a life of drugs, like far too many people in these communities.
For Vance's part, he credits the Marines and later Yale Law School for steering him on the proper path, though that was far from certain.
VANCE: When you grow up in an area where a lot of other people are doing drugs, where in some -- in my family, a lot of my own family was doing drugs, and, frankly, where I was very frustrated with my own life, I was a really unhappy and resentful kid, it just seemed like the natural thing to do.
TAPPER: Vance does not support Donald Trump, but he understands why so many in these struggling communities seem drawn to him.
VANCE: Even though they recognize, I think, in a lot of ways that Trump isn't perfect, they say, well, at least he is trying. At least he is diagnosing the problems. At least he recognizes the pain that we're feeling.
TAPPER (on camera): There have been cursory attempts by both parties to stop at a mine here or whatever, but, generally speaking, they are kind of -- when they say they feel ignored, they are kind of right.
VANCE: Yes, that's definitely true. People feel neglected, but eventually that frustration catches up to the political moment. And that's exactly what has happened, I think, in this cycle.
TRUMP: How stupid our politicians are.
TAPPER (voice-over): According to Vance, Trump's brash, sometimes offensive approach to politics is pivotal to his appeal. (on camera): Is there something about the fact that Trump pisses off
so many people in Washington, D.C., and New York that people in Middletown like?
If you're from Middletown, you feel like you don't have a voice. Right? What Trump does is take the people who you wish you could say something to, you wish you could insult, you wish you could go after them, and he does it for you.
That's something very, very liberating in his rallies, and frankly even I'm attracted to.
TAPPER: Well, a lot of Americans are very uncomfortable with a lot of the rage that they discern at these rallies, the minority of people that are expressing jubilation at offensive ideas. But they are still there.
VANCE: Absolutely, they are still there. And I think we have to recognize that they are still there and be very aware of it.
But he is also leading people with his rhetoric in a very dark place. And that's ultimately what happens when you ignore people for a very long time. But I also think the extraordinarily optimistic, upbeat message of the Democratic Party just doesn't match the lives of Trump's voters.
TAPPER (voice-over): The one constant here in Middletown is, they need help. And they hope talk about white working-class voters doesn't end on Election Day.
HENNING: I wish we could have better job security. I don't know how the election can work with that. But I don't know. It's a tough, tough thing.
TAPPER: Coming up: thousands of people forced from their homes, others stranded and forced to wait for help, like this child being hoisted to safety from the raging floods.
The water is not done rising in Louisiana -- that story ahead.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Welcome back to THE LEAD. Our World Lead now. The October surprise, the dreaded mythical bomb shell revelation so damaging it could stop a candidate's march to the White House. It's a fear more acute and far less theoretical this year because of Wikileaks, the self-regarded radical transparency group.
They are already responsible in some ways for the resignation of the DNC chairwoman and other senior staffers after they published 20,000 e-mails, many of which showed a coordinated effort within the Democratic National Committee to at the very least discuss ways to smear Bernie Sanders.
A few minutes ago, I spoke with the founder and editor-in-chief of Wikileaks, Julian Assange. I started by asking him about criticism of Wikileaks and other hackers who publish e-mails, phone numbers, and credit card numbers with no discretion. With even Edward Snowden saying Wikileaks' hostility to even modest creation is a mistake.
JULIAN ASSANGE, FOUNDER, WIKILEAKS: Well, they understand what modern day digital creation is all about. It is important not to confuse the information Wikileaks published about the DNC, 20,000 e-mails, and not denied by anyone.
That led to four resignation and material that other people are publishing. We can't comment on what other people do. We can just speak about what we do. And what we do is have a ten-year history of doing, is publishing pristine archives (inaudible) scientific journalism.
Readers can check the accuracy of any story and that material can go on to use in litigation and prosecution. We don't contamination the evidence. There's been no contamination of evidence.
And you know, Hillary Clinton and her team naturally have tried to distract from the very real revelations that led to these resignations of the DNC with anything they can to try and criticize amazingly their opponents as being Russian agents for the media (inaudible).
I think that is extremely worrying in this election that there have been such polarization and use of national security to try and demonize another candidate.
TAPPER: The thing is though, months ago when the DNC hack happened, Crowd Strike, which is the cyber-security company, they said and a number of others have said that the hack appeared to be Russian hackers with ties to the government.
So I know you don't comment on who gave you the documents, but it's not like it was made up out of whole cloth. Russians have been fingered by not just politicians, but people in the cyber-security community.
ASSANGE: I understand. And I'm the security expert for 20 years. Everyone is hacked by, everything is hacked by everyone, basically. If you're a major company, major political party. You end up getting hacked, by criminal hackers, by insiders, by nation states that's very normal.
U.S. intelligence officials have said through the "Washington Post" that there is no evidence of a connection between those hacks and what Wikileaks have published. That said, the "Washington Post" and the head of DNI has also come out and said that the media are hyperventilating about (inaudible). TAPPER: And what is your response to people who say, why are you a non U.S. citizen so seemingly determined to affect the election here in the United States? That's what some critics have asked?
ASSANGE: Well, I mean, it's a Clinton campaign talking point. Once again to distract from the revelations which cause the top four officials including Debbie Wasserman Schultz to resign. They are desperate for everything. Wikileaks is a media organization operating for ten years, operate report on all different countries. We have in the United States and that's what we do for every country.
TAPPER: Your lawyer is going to be writing a letter to Attorney General Loretta Lynch, I understand. What is this letter?
ASSANGE: Yes. Our D.C. lawyers delivering a letter tomorrow to Attorney General Loretta Lynch asking her to explain why it is that the now six-year long national security and criminal investigation being ran by the DOJ against Wikileaks.
[16:50:13]The reason I have political asymlum, has not been closed. Because the DOJ whose action seems to be setting a new standard by closing the Hillary Clinton case.
The Hillary Clinton case has been on for one year and closed under the basis that James Comey said that they couldn't establish that there was an intent for U.S. national security.
In our case, there is no allegation we have done anything as an organization except publish information for the public. That's the only allegation. And so, there's a problem here.
Hillary Clinton's case has been dropped. Wikileaks' case continues. U.S. government had to say under oath in 2013 not a single person has been physically harmed by our publication. You don't have intent. You don't have any serious harm.
So why is it that the, quote, "pending" law enforcement proceedings against Wikileaks continues? The United States government has said that those proceedings continue on May 16 this year in U.S. federal court.
TAPPER: Julian Assange, thank you so much. Appreciate it.
ASSANGE: You're welcome.
TAPPER: A live look in Baton Rouge where streets are now rivers and entire neighborhoods are islands. The rain maybe gone, but the deadly flooding in Louisiana is only expected to get worse. That story next.
TAPPER: We're back with the National Lead today. A state of emergency in Louisiana where devastating and rare flooding has killed at least five people. Authorities say fast moving water is to blame for the death of two women and a man, all swept away in their cars. Other lives have been saved by the help of first responders, the Coast Guard and some good-hearted volunteers.
Let's go to CNN's Jennifer Gray, who is live for us in Baton Rouge. Jennifer, five days of rain dropped more than two feet of water in some spots. The odds of that are remarkably low.
JENNIFER GRAY, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes. Extremely rare, Jake. In fact, a 1 in 1,000-year event. This is an area that just received historic flooding in March. Look around me. Rain falling once again. These are typical summertime showers. It's not going to add much to the flooding but the last thing people in South Louisiana want to see.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're coming, we're coming. We're going to break this window.
GRAY (voice-over): More than 20,000 people have been rescued since last week as deadly floodwaters prompted a state of emergency across South Louisiana.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Get my dog --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Her dog --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Get my dog --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I got your dog.
GRAY: The massive flooding has claimed the lives of least five people, devastating entire communities, which are now under water.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This car is under the water.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's as high as I've ever seen it. I've been in this area since 1983.
GRAY: Tens of thousands have been forced to evacuate their homes and chilling images like this Coast Guard rescue of a child remind many in the region of Hurricane Katrina's horrific aftermath a decade ago.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These are all my neighbors that ended up getting a nice dose of no, this can't happen reality. It can.
GRAY: Reggie Wade has lived in the southeast Baton Rouge neighborhood for 24 years.
REGGIE WADE, BATON ROUGE RESIDENT: I've never seen it get on this yard above the car port and the car ports are all under water along with the entire house.
GRAY: The Louisiana National Guard has deployed almost 2,000 soldiers to assist local first responders with search and rescue efforts. And with more than 24 inches of rain falling in the area since last week, they know they are up again the clock.
MELVIN "KIP" HOLDEN, BATON ROUGE MAYOR (via telephone): It is still very, very dangerous. We still have waters rising and a number of areas all of our people are still on high alert.
GRAY: And Jake, most rivers in South Louisiana have crested the only problem is a lot of those rivers are going to stay at crest stage or near that for several days. Normally it only crests for a couple of hours then will go down. A lot of the rivers will stay at that stage for quite a while.
It could be until the end of the week before people can get back into their homes and even open their front doors. A lot of clean-up here across South Louisiana and like we said an area just devastated six months ago. So a lot of clean-up ahead -- Jake.
TAPPER: All right, Jennifer Gray, thank you so much. Go get dry.
Another state of emergency in Milwaukee and 10:00 p.m. curfew tonight local time after protests turned explosive and violent. Mainly in response to reports of a black man killed bay black police officer.
Police say Silver Smith and another man took off during traffic stop. Investigators say body camera footage not yet made public shows Smith holding a gun, which later turned out to be stolen along with 500 round of ammunition.
Smith's rap sheet includes a conviction for carrying a concealed weapon along with robbery and drug charges. His death sparked two nights of protests. Saturday, just hours after the shooting, crowds set fire to six local businesses and Sunday night into this morning one person was shot.
Fourteen others were arrested. An officer was also hurt when a rock hit his cruiser's windshield. One city leader calling Milwaukee the worst place in the country for African-Americans to live. He called the violence a byproduct of racial problems that need to be rectified.
Be sure to follow me on Facebook and Twitter @jaketapper. You can tweet the show @theleadcnn. You can tweet us anytime you want. We actually read it.
That's it for THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper. I turn you over now to not Wolf Blitzer, but Brianna Keilar, who is filling in for Wolf Blitzer. She is right next door in "THE SITUATION ROOM." Thanks for watching.
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks, Jake. Happening now, breaking news, extreme vetting, Donald Trump talks terror in a closely watched --