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AT THIS HOUR WITH BERMAN AND MICHAELA
Major Shake-Up in Trump Campaign; Trump Begins Spending on Ads; Trump Begins Receiving National Security Briefs Today; Brazilian Judge Orders Search/Seizure Warrants for Robbed U.S. Olympic Swimmers. Aired 11-11:30a ET
Aired August 17, 2016 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[11:00:00] JEANNE MOOS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: They even gazed into each other's eyes. This was a hug so novel for these two it looked like the cover of a romance novel.
Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.
CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: Just makes me feel a little creepy.
Thank you for joining me today. I'm Carol Costello.
AT THIS HOUR with Berman and Bolduan starts now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Another major shake-up in Donald Trump's campaign.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's adding two new people to top posts.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The campaign's not going according to plan.
DONALD TRUMP, (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE & CEO, TRUMP ORGANIZATION: I am who I am. I don't want to pivot. You have to be you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Trump will receive his first classified intelligence briefing.
HILLARY CLINTON, (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE & FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: It just absolutely bewilders me when I hear Donald Trump try to talk about national security.
TRUMP: I think her e-mail scandal is one of the worst things I've ever seen.
SEN. HARRY REID, (D-NV), SENATE MINORITY LEADER: Give him fake briefings. Pretend you're briefing. Don't tell him stuff. He won't know the difference.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. John Berman -- I'm Kate Bolduan. John Berman is off today. I just wanted to say John's name first.
83 days until the general election but it is the first day of the rest of Donald Trump's political life, it appears. He's got a new campaign manager, a new chief executive, and I guess that means he hopes a renewed campaign. This is the second overhaul of Team Trump in two months. What does it mean?
Joining me now with all of the answers, CNN's political director, David Chalian.
David, a lot of people don't know these names. Voters don't know the names of these people at the top of the Trump campaign. What are voters going to see? What will this change mean?
DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Well, it seems what Donald Trump is doing now is giving in to his core instinct of surrounding himself with people that will allow Trump to be Trump. Steve Bannon, who comes from "Breitbart News," and this the sort of conservative firebrand, anti-establishment fervor, the online news version of it that we saw play out in the primary process that Donald Trump rode so successfully throughout the primary process. So what you're seeing is the notion of him trying to sort of play nice with the establishment, that is not what Bannon does. Steve Bannon is sort of in Donald Trump's ear every day now. It's not going to be the sort of play nice with the establishment and try to keep things contained. It is going to be street brawling, as politics can become, take it to Hillary Clinton every single day.
BOLDUAN: So it's what's old is new again is a little bit of what it seems. It's let Trump be Trump, which Trump in the primary, which is why folks talked about a pivot. Now Donald Trump says we're not going to pivot. I see.
What is new now, David, is that it the Trump campaign is finally putting money on the air in key states.
CHALIAN: Yes, so five battleground states are going to start seeing, for the very first time, Trump campaign advertising. This is Florida, Ohio, North Carolina, Virginia and Pennsylvania, those five critical battleground states. And quite frankly, you've seen the polling out of those states, Kate. It's not been going well. But he's largely unanswered on -- all the negative headlines since the Republican convention have been going unanswered. Normally, when a candidate faces that kind of onslaught of negative headlines, at least at night, people around the dinner table, TV's on the newscast, they're getting another message as well. No other message was getting through. By going up on the air this Friday -- and we haven't seen how much money is behind this. We don't know how big a presence this will be. Assuming it is significant buy, no matter what the news narrative is of the day, people will start seeing the message Trump wants in their living room. BOLDUAN: At the same time. Donald, Trump announces they're going to
be putting money up in places like Virginia, the super PAC supporting Clinton says they're feeling confident enough they're temporarily pulling ads.
CHALIAN: Virginia, Colorado, Pennsylvania, the Clinton super PAC says, we're fine there, let's spend elsewhere, shore up other states that we want to shore up in order to block Donald Trump. His path is narrow, there's no doubt about that. But if, indeed, he's going to sort of formulate a strategy to fight Hillary Clinton every single day that could get some cheer within Republican quarters.
What is not clear to me yet, how does that add beyond the base in order to actually alter the map and put it into convention for the presidency?
BOLDUAN: You may see just how powerful ads can be in the month of September at least.
CHALIAN: That's right.
BOLDUAN: David is going to stick around. We have a lot more to discuss.
Also happening today, Donald Trump is set to receive his first classified national security briefing. This is standard procedure for presidential nominees. But some Democrats don't think Trump has any business getting briefed.
CNN's Jessica Schneider is at Trump Tower with more of the details.
What are we learning? Probably not a lot, since it's a classified briefing. But what are we learning about the briefing?
JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, that's right, exactly, Kate, classified. The national security briefing will be prepared by director of National Intelligence, James Clapper. Just the first of many briefings Donald Trump will get as the Republican nominee as we head into the election.
CNN's learning that he will be joined by two people, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who's heading up his transition team, as well as retired Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, who's consulting with Trump and preparing Trump for those debates.
These briefings are actually coming as top figures in both parties have questioned both candidates' trustworthiness in receiving such sensitive information. Of course, you'll remember Senate minority leader, Harry Reid calling on intelligence officials to fake it when they met with Donald Trump, saying Donald Trump is too dangerous to receive this sensitive information. And of course, House Speaker Paul Ryan asked intelligence officials, specifically Director Clapper, to deny such briefing to Hillary Clinton because of her mishandling of classified information while she was secretary of state.
That statement and that request were reiterated by Donald Trump in an interview last night. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[11:05:54] TRUMP: I'm worried about her getting it because of her e- mail situation. She can't keep anything private. What she did is a crime. And to think that you have subpoenas and you're deleting e- mails, it's unthinkable. And I think probably her single greatest achievement in her life will be getting out of that mess because -- and I don't think she's really out of it. I can't believe that she's out of it. But justice has to be ashamed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHNEIDER: And of course, the national security briefing today coming on the same day as this big campaign shake-up and, as a result, there's been a flurry of activity here at Trump tower. In fact, just a little while ago, we saw Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions, of course, an ardent Trump supporter, and he said very briefly that this shake-up was a good thing -- Kate?
BOLDUAN: A good thing.
Jessica Schneider, great to see you. Thanks so much, Jessica.
Clearly, a lot to discuss. With me now, David Chalian -- has not run away from me yet -- Mary Katharine Ham, CNN political commentator, senior writer at "The Federalist"; Philip Levine, mayor of Miami Beach and a Hillary Clinton surrogate; Andre Bauer is a CNN political commentator, Trump supporter and former lieutenant governor of South Carolina; and Brian Stelter, CNN's senior media correspondent and host of "Reliable Sources."
Guys, all, great to have you. Thank you so much.
Andre, the shake-up, is this the fix you've been looking for to get this campaign back on track?
ANDRE BAUER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I hope so. You know, some people say that it's a change, but we know the campaign's been understaffed. They hadn't had what they should have had. Now they're ramping it up. We're less than 90 days to go, eyes are starting to pay attention. Holidays are ending. People are going back to school. Now people are going to really start paying attention. They picked a great time to really get focused in and to bring some new blood into the campaign with a different approach. Hopefully, this will be what gets it back to a really tight race.
BOLDUAN: Brian Stelter, is it staffing up or is this a shake-up? For some reason, that's still being debated.
BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT & CNN HOST, RELIABLE SOURCES: I feel like things are still shaking. When I heard this news overnight, it is clear, this is a no-holds-barred campaign. We're talking about the head of "Breitbart" becoming the head of the Trump campaign. "Breitbart," a far right news source, often peddles conspiracy theories. It has a lot of fans among Trump supporters. The question is, is Trump running "Breitbart" now or is "Breitbart" running Trump? I think we'll see Trump talk more about sex scandals, about health rumors, about Clinton being soft on terrorism. That's the kind of message you see everyday from "Breitbart" and it will make sense that we'll hear even more of that from Trump now
BOLDUAN: Mary Katharine, I think on the basic level, are the problems he's facing, like lagging in the polls, is that a consequence of faulty campaign strategy or something else?
MARY KATHARINE HAM, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think this is a battle that's still raging. It's nice to see "Breitbart" and Trump make it official this is going on. This is a tension that's always existed before, between Manafort and Corey.
BOLDUAN: Corey Lewandowski.
HAM: Now, in this forum, where you have Kellyanne, who has a very different tone, who has experience reaching women and pulling specifically about women than Bannon, who is very come-at-you, punch in the face. But the tension is going to remain because half of the campaign seems to be intent on professionalizing the campaign and the other half seems to be pure Trump. The two could be married in a powerful way but we've not seen it happen yet.
STELTER: I had a Clinton campaign source say to me this morning, we're now going to see the full Trump, more offensiveness, more bigotry. That's how they're interpreting this bringing on of Bannon.
BOLDUAN: A lot say of folks say the thing that's helped Donald Trump, hurt Donald Trump the most was the feud with the Khan family. Was that a campaign strategy that needed new leadership to help him or was that just Donald Trump? That's what I'm getting at.
CHALIAN: I get it, and I agree with you. It is about the candidate. At the end of the day, you can put a lot of different staff in place, a lot of people in the ear of the candidate. At the end of the day, what mouth, what the candidate does, day in, day out, is really the thing that dictates. And we know Donald Trump has an unbelievable ability to sort of, no matter what voices are heard in his head, to sort of go his own way when he gets out on stage and talks to a crowd, sometimes to his benefit, sometimes to his detriment, like in the Khan controversy.
[11:10:07] BOLDUAN: Mayor, Robert Costa, of "The Washington Post," we all -- he writes pretty well kind of the palace intrigue of the Trump campaign -- he put this out this morning about what this shake- up means. "Huge rallies, gloves off, brutal fights with Clinton, heavy emphasis on nationalism and populism. That's the Bannon strategy, bare-knuckles brawling."
Does that concern you?
PHILIP LEVINE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: No, not at all, Kate.
LEVINE: What's so interesting about this is very telling about Donald Trump. I'm an entrepreneur, built company, and I look at Donald Trump as a business man, who hasn't been very successful in his life. But let's talk about his management capabilities, his management philosophies. Here's a guy who shakes up management, can't keep on a track. You look at it and you say to yourself, you know, why would you double down kind of -- if you're so far to the right and you're not able to gain any of the center, why would you double down and go so far right again? Obviously, that's his management stable. What we're seeing is a little bit like what he did in Atlantic City. He keeps stumbling, he keeps firing people, he keeps changing people. He only listens to himself. This is what's going on. I don't know. I say to myself, if you want to get African-Americans, what are you going to do, hire David Duke's team? If you want to get Hispanics, are you going to look at Shaza (ph) and Madora (ph)? I mean, why would you bring on these types of people if you want to kind of move towards the center. It's very strange. But this is Donald Trump. We're all seeing who he is.
BAUER: No. Number one, he says he's not a successful businessman. The guy's worth $10 million -- $10 billion dollars, so evidently --
LEVIN: -- $30 trillion --
BAUER: -- the nominee of a major party so he's evidently --
BOLDUAN: He's been successful, yes.
BAUER: So, you know, no matter what you say, some people are just going to say negative no matter what you do, so you can't focus on those people. You got to focus on the folks in the middle that are votes that are attainable. I think he picked two folks that very capably can go after trying to attract them and get a better message to stay focused on.
BOLDUAN: You know, but, Andre, to the point, Donald Trump even said last night to FOX News, he said, I think we're doing really good. I've got the biggest crowds. When you've got two shake-ups, two staff changes, two expansions of your staff, whatever you're going to call it --
BAUER: Couple quick points --
BOLDUAN: -- when you have those in a couple of months, are things going well?
BAUER: Things are going well. A couple quick points. Corey Lewandowski still says positive things about Trump, even though he fired him. It shows the relationship he has with his employees.
Secondly, he is attracting unbelievable crowds I feel will be quite like Brexit in that you'll see a large amount of folks who don't usually vote come out and vote that aren't showing up on polls.
Thirdly, he's been dark while Hillary Clinton has spent tens of millions of dollars on air. He's getting ready to go on air. People, I don't think, have been paying attention until now to what they'll do in the presidential race. So now you'll see candidates both with a message up and you're going to see numbers move. Don't be misled. These numbers will not stay in double digits. You will see parity come back. And this will be a very close race.
BOLDUAN: That gets to an interesting question. Mary Katharine, do you think it makes it more or less likely that the Republican Party will move away from Trump move their resources to down-ballot races? Does this give them confidence or less than that?
HAM: I feel like, if it were just the Conway part of this, perhaps the confidence. The Bannon part of this is a wild card. I think people will react to it that way.
Look, I don't discount what Andre says, there might be missing voters out there who haven't been involved who the Trump campaign could lure in. What concerns people is, and what should concern his supporters, his campaign does not seem interested in optimizing that at all, either with ads to make the argument or with a ground game to bring them in. I think having too many people leading the campaign will continue to be fighting and not actually building that.
STELTER: When everybody's a leader, nobody's a leader.
CHALIAN: I'd be super careful about the RNC all of a sudden backing away from Trump. That would be a really desperate move potentially for the RNC for a lot of the ticket.
CHALIAN: So much of the Republican National Committee, its core reason for being is to deal with the presidential --
BOLDUAN: But we know people have been posing that question --
CHALIAN: No, no, I --
BOLDUAN: -- as in a la 1996 --
BOLDUAN: But do you think it's more or less likely now that you've got Steve Bannon at the top?
CHALIAN: I think we have to see how Donald Trump performs.
Let's be clear about one thing Andre said. You don't make these changes if things were going swimmingly. If the last two months were a huge success, then Donald Trump would have nothing to change. Obviously, this change is coming because the last two months, right now, I think it's a tacit acknowledgement they wasted the last two months.
BAUER: Can I say this?
BOLDUAN: You can say something right after the break.
STELTER: What a great team.
A lot more to come. Stand by, guys.
Programming note to remember as well. CNN is hosting a town hall with Green Party presidential nominee, Jill Stein. You can watch that live tonight at 9:00 eastern.
Ahead, Trump says Democrats have failed the trade and taken African- Americans for granted. Why then, when he was reaching out to the African-American community, did he go to a suburb of Milwaukee with his mostly white crowd in a mostly white town?
[11:15:10] Also this, breaking news, a judge in Brazil has issued a search-and-seizure warrant for two of the four American swimmers who say they were robbed in Rio. Hear why. We're going to go live to Rio, ahead.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) BOLDUAN: This just in from the Rio Olympics. A judge has ordered search-and-seizure warrants for two American swimmers who say they were involved in an armed robbery over the weekend.
CNN senior international correspondent, Nick Paton Walsh, is live from Rio.
Nick, this is confusing. What's going on?
[11:19:28] NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: It is, absolutely. The original story was extraordinary. The idea of Ryan Lochte and three other swimmers leaving a nightclub in the early hours of Sunday morning, being held to the ground by men disguised as police officers, and escaping from that with their major valuables like cell phones not taken from them, just some cash. As you pointed out, we've just heard from a Rio de Janeiro judge here that they have issued for two of those four U.S. swimmers, Ryan Lochte and James Felgen. Now, Ryan Lochte is no longer in the country. We understand Felgen's whereabouts are unclear.
But here's why this extraordinary move was made by the judge. This judge cites differences in the accounts these two men gave to police when they were interviewed. Now, they go on to suggest that these discrepancies refer to whether or not all the armed robbers had weapons or whether they were taken by surprise or not.
We spoke to a police spokesperson who says a lot of people have been asking questions about this, because the two men, the four men, in fact, only report money being taken from them. You could see in a CCTV video released early this morning they return, it seems, to the Olympic Village still with many of the most important valuables upon them, their wrist watches, wallets. Brazilians asking, how come armed robbers don't take those items, because they're normally the key targets? That has led to this bit by the court to seize their passports and to search their rooms.
We've heard from the U.S. Olympic Committee. They won't explain exactly where these men are now. We know Mr. Lochte is back in the U.S. And I imagine his room is empty. So it's unclear exactly what these warrants will be able to look for. The police spokesperson said it's not routine. It happens when they think perhaps there's a bit of information or evidence that they're not in possession of.
I should point out there's no suggestion at this stage anyone has done anything wrong. There's just a huge number of questions that particularly it seems Brazilian investigative authorities want to have answered. Hence, this extraordinary move for an arrest -- sorry -- a search-and-seizure warrant like this.
Now, those four swimmers under intense pressure to explain their exact moves that particular night, never more so after the CCTV emerged this morning of them returning to their Olympic Village looking a little more relaxed then men held at gunpoint. Still, it's just questions mounting here. And now we have this extraordinary move from Brazilian authorities -- Kate?
BOLDUAN: Seemed relatively clean cut at the beginning, not so much now.
Nick Paton Walsh. Thank you so much, Nick
Back to politics now for us. We won't be talking about the Rio Olympics.
The panel is with me. Joining us, as well, Trump supporter, Amy Kremer.
Thanks so much for joining us, Amy.
Talking about --
BOLDUAN: Of course. Before the break, we were talking about the shake-up at the top of the Trump campaign. What does that mean for the campaign? Does that mean we're going to see a new Trump, an old Trump, a pivot.
Donald Trump speaking to a local reporter last night, did not seem to indicate a pivot was in the making. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I am who I am. It's me. I don't want to change. Everyone talks about, well, are you going to pivot? I don't want to pivot. You have to be you. If you start pivoting, you're not being honest with people. Because I've heard this over the years. And, you know, with politics, with general politic also having to do with me. No, I am who I am. I've gotten here in a landslide. We'll see what happens.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: So I think we can no longer say the word "pivot" after we've said it a million times. Pivot has left the vocabulary, David Chalian.
But if there's no change in Donald Trump's campaign, what is the change we're seeing, right?
CHALIAN: What defies logic there, in that moment, is there is a change in the electorate. There's a change in the primary electorate to the general election electorate. That is just a fact. So I take Donald Trump -- I think he's right. I think the most successful presidential candidates, George W. Bush, Barack Obama, to use two examples, the message they launched with when they launched their primary campaign, they rode all the way through to a general election. It was I think key to their success as presidential candidates. But what Donald Trump is struggling with is that, right now, what he's been focused on message-wise hasn't been targeted to the broader general election.
BOLDUAN: Amy, how does the non pivot "pivot" apply now?
AMY KREMER, CO-CHAIR & FOUNDER, WOMEN VOTE TRUMP & DONALD TRUMP SUPPORTER: I think what Donald Trump is saying is he's going to be himself. I think Corey Lewandowski said it, let Trump be Trump. He's going to be authentic and genuine. And, Kate, I actually think the American people appreciate that. We're tired of these politicians that change their mind according to which way the political winds blow.
And I think the important thing is he's bringing more people on to the campaign. We were going into the general election, now the last couple months and I think it is important. He has been a lame campaign and I think that Trump is going to, I hope, stay on message and focus on the differences between him and Hillary Clinton, and do we want four more years of an Obama administration. I think if he stays on message, talks to the American people, and is genuine, authentic, I think he can win this election. I think it's very winnable.
BOLDUAN: The big question is if he stays on message. That's the big "if."
One way they're getting the message out, or they will be, is in ads. David Chalian and I were just talking about it. The fact they are responding to the onslaught of ads that Hillary Clinton and supporting super PACs have been putting out, it's game on. Does that worry you?
LEVINE: No, I think it's important. First, I got to tell you what Donald just said, I agree 100 percent. He is who he is. He's not going to change who he is. This is the product he's selling. It's obviously not a product America's buying. But, you know, it's a product he's selling. And he can't change. I think -- you know, what you see in a campaign, it's very, very interesting. The way you campaign, the way you run a campaign, is near as how you will govern.
[11:25:25] BOLDUAN: Right. But, Mayor, I'm talking about these ads.
LEVINE: He hasn't been able to raise money. He recently has been able to raise money. He's going to spend his money at the end. Kind of in a Hail Mary pass into the end zone. That's what he's going to try to do. But what we're seeing is the real Donald Trump. He's doubling down on Donald Trump. Listen, America needs to see who the Republican nominee is. I think we're seeing it.
BOLDUAN: Katharine, where do you land on this? Is it a Hail Mary now that they're spending money? The 80-plus days left? Or is he out of time? He's got enough time to make a change and bridge the gap in these poll numbers or not.
HAM: I'm not convinced there's a strategy at play here. I think it's not a coincidence there's a flurry of media coverage about how there's no ads and then you hear an announcement there are going to be ads. There's early voting coming up. I get no sense from people in the campaign THAT they feel like turning around an eight or 10 double- digit lead in some of these battleground states. They think the ads will go up and things will change. Now, this is 2016. This may be the case. But it does not feel like there's a grand strategy here.
BOLDUAN: One thing that's also interesting, we'll get a final thought from you, Brian, this Bannon, now chief executive, he hasn't run a political campaign.
STELTER: That's right. He's a media guy. He's made a conservative documentary. He's run "Breitbart's" web site. He has not run a campaign before. But Donald Trump is running fundamentally a media campaign. He's using television, he's using free media, to get his message out. We know the message. He's been on message. The message has been clear since last June. He's making America great again. He's going back to an unspecified time in the past. It mostly resonates with white America. I don't know how that message is going to fundamentally change between now and Election Day. However, there's those three debates.
BOLDUAN: That's true.
STELTER: Anything that can happen --
BOLDUAN: And early voting starts even before the first debate. That's true.
Amy's going to join me in a second. We're going to wrap this up right now, but Amy's going to be coming back with us to continue the discussion a little later on in the show.
Thank you all.
BOLDUAN: Coming up, release it to the public. Hillary Clinton's campaign says everyone should see the FBI report on the investigation into her private e-mails, the interviews that she did with the FBI, not just members of Congress. So what exactly is there to see?
And for the very first time today, Donald Trump is getting access to national security information. What are those briefings like? How many -- how much detail is the GOP nominee going to receive? Ahead, we're going to talk to someone who's been to these top briefings in the past with then-Republican nominee, Mitt Romney.
We'll be right back.