Return to Transcripts main page

CNN TONIGHT

Trump Slams Clinton at Rally in Austin, Texas; Clinton Fights Accusations Against Family Foundation, Health; President Obama Visits Flood-Ravaged Louisiana. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired August 23, 2016 - 22:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[22:00:00] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: That does it for us. Thanks for watching. CNN TONIGHT with Don Lemon starts now.

DON LEMON, CNN OW HOST: Breaking news. Donald Trump on the attack.

This is CNN TONIGHT. I'm Don Lemon.

Trump taking aim at Hillary Clinton in his rally in Texas tonight.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, (R) U.S. PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The scandal I speak of is the State Department's pay-for-play. It's right now being looked at seriously. Probably nothing will happen, even though it should happen.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Hillary Clinton fighting accusations against her family foundation, laughing off dubious questions about her health and planning to target Trump's embrace in the co-called alt-right in a speech later this week.

I want to get straight to CNN's Jason Carroll with the Trump campaign in Austin for us this evening. Hello, Jason. I know, it's very loud where you are. What did he say to supporters tonight?

JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, he just wraps up and he went over a number of issues that referred to him addressed before. Of course, he hit Hillary Clinton on the e-mail scandal, the Clinton Foundation once again saying that the Clinton Foundation was nothing more than in his words, a pay-for-play type of foundation, once again establishing himself as the law and order candidate.

At several times throughout the rally tonight, Don, he was interrupted by protesters but he stayed on message, pretty much stuck to the script and then went on to attack Hillary Clinton on an issue that we expected here being in Texas, a border state, the issue of immigration.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: And Hillary Clinton wants a totally open border.

(CROWD BOOING)

She wants catch and release. She wants Obamacare and other things for illegal immigrants, in many cases more than our great veterans get. She has said she's going to give massive amnesty in her first 100 days.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARROLL: So, Don, he certainly sounded like a hardliner tonight. You heard him there addressing the issue of illegal immigration. He also went on to say that this election will decide if the U.S. has a border.

This is in stark contrast to what he said in an interview earlier today in some ways. He was asked a question, Don, about what about those illegal immigrants living here in the United States who just so happened to be contributing to society, maybe they have children.

And he was asked if he would possibly soften his stance on that particular issue and Donald Trump said the following. He said that he would, in fact, soften his stance because he said if it he didn't want to get to the point where he was hurting people.

That is not something he said here in the room tonight. Once again, certainly sounding like a hardliner here when he addressed the crowd.

And just to talk about that just a little bit more, at one point Senator Jeff Sessions, he spoke to -- spoke to the crowd here tonight, was one of those people in helping to introduce Donald Trump, I asked him before he took the stage, Don.

I said, "what are your thoughts about Donald Trump and this whole issue of softening his stance on the issue of illegal immigration." And he really wrestled with the question. he said that, quote, "That Donald Trump was not, quote, "softening" his stance on the legality of illegal immigration."

He was certainly parsing his words, but he went on to say, Don, that this was an issue that, quote, "Donald Trump was still wrestling with."

So, in terms of policy positions, it didn't get something about that on illegal immigration. Campaign says that's going to be coming down the line at a later point. Don?

LEMON: Jason Carroll in Austin, Texas. Jason, thank you very much for that. CNN's Jeff Zeleny is our senior Washington correspondent, I want to bring him in now.

Good evening to you, Jeff. You know, Trump he is launching a new round of attacks against Clinton and her ties to the Clinton Foundation while she was Secretary of State. What can you tell us about that?

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Well, Don, Donald Trump has been calling for the Clinton Foundation to be shut down. And he got some new ammunition tonight in an Associated Press report that really has shaken the democratic side of this campaign.

This Associated Press report they analyzed a lot of the scheduling and the calendars that Secretary of State had with other top officials and they found that more than half of Secretary Clinton's meetings were with people who gave money either individually or as a group to the Clinton Foundation.

So, Donald Trump seized upon that, his running mate, Mike Pence, did as well, saying this is the latest example of pay-for-play. But it doesn't -- it certainly raises some questions about the fine lines, if any lines were crossed between -- in access, in terms of donors and the foundation, but there has still yet been no evidence in our reporting or anyone's reporting about what actions were taken for donors.

[22:04:59] Yes, they may have gotten some meetings, but it certainly raises questions here. Don, I can tell you the Clinton campaign pushed back very hard on that explosive A.P. report tonight.

LEMON: Let's listen to what Trump said about that tonight.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Lie after lie after lie. Hillary Clinton is totally unfit to hold public office.

(CROWD CHEERING)

It is impossible to figure out where the Clinton Foundation ends and the State Department begins. It is now abundantly clear that the Clintons set up a business to profit from public office. They sold access and specific actions by and really for, I guess, the making of large amounts of money.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: So, Jeff, before you respond to that I want to get to Hillary Clinton. This is how the campaign responded tonight saying, "The story relies on utterly flawed data, it cherry-picked a limited subset of Secretary Clinton's schedule to give a distorted portrayal of how often she crossed paths with individuals connected to charitable donations to the Clinton Foundation. The data does not account for more than half of her tenure as Secretary. And it omits more than 1,700 meetings she took with world leaders, let alone countless others she took with other U.S. government officials, while serving as Secretary of State."

So, the question is are the secretary's personal meetings and phone calls all public and will we hear a definitive account at some point?

ZELENY: Don, it's unlikely that we will ever hear a definitive account of al the action that she took, all the meetings she had during her four years as Secretary of State. Everything is not public.

But we do kow some things. There are now going to be 15,000 more e- mails and other documents that will be reviewed by the State Department. Now, this is part of this really, you know, more than a year now this has been underway.

It all links back to Secretary Clinton's decision to put a private e- mail server at her home that she used exclusively. That is really the beginning of all of this. That's why the FBI investigation began, et cetera.

But it is important to point out that the State Department spokesman said tonight, look, a lot of donors to foundations, to humanitarian groups, to other groups do request meetings with the State Departments. These are global activists, these are humanitarians. It is normal and natural for people to request meeting.

The question here is, were they given special access, were they given special treatment because they were donors here. There definitely are blurred lines but, again, in all of our reporting and everyone else's, there are blurred lines but we haven't seen any evidence of quid pro quo, pay-for-play.

But, Don, that may not matter. The politics of this, this has the Clinton campaign on defense tonight, answering questions if it was 50 percent of the meetings or 25 percent of the meetings, she definitely met with a lot of donors to the foundation.

It's why some of her supporters just wonder why they have this foundation open at all, and that's why they decided just yesterday, President Clinton said, look, I will step away from the foundation, I will resign my position should she be elected in November.

LEMON: All right. I want you to stick around because we're going to get back to you. I want to bring in now democratic strategist Maria Cardona, ANN political commentator, Angela Rye, Trump senior adviser, Jack Kingston, a former Congressman from Georgia, and Alice Stewart, a former communications director for Ted Cruz.

Good evening to all of all. Thank you so much for coming on this evening. Jack Kingston, I want to start with you. Donald Trump is seizing on every speck of news about e-mails or the Clinton Foundation donors for obvious reasons but what is the basis for a special prosecutor?

JACK KINGSTON, TRUMP SENIOR ADVISER: Well, I don't know that in this politically charged atmosphere that Secretary Clinton could get a fair hearing and that she said over and over again she wants to cooperate. She says she wants to tell the truth, she says she has nothing to hide, so she should join Donald Trump in calling for a special prosecutor.

Let's find out what's the truth is. I'll say this that if you think access to the Secretary of State is easy to do, I would challenge anybody listening to this to call and see if they can get a meeting with Secretary Kerry. You absolutely cannot.

LEMON: So, the basis for a special prosecutor would be what again?

KINGSTON: That she was selling access, absolutely selling access. She met with 16 countries that gave over $170 million to the Clinton Foundation. I mean, this was absolutely pay-to-play. There's no question about it.

I've been in this town a long time and you can see it, you can smell it, you can feel it and this was absolutely pay-to-play.

LEMON: Let's bring in Maria Cardona now. Why would Hillary Clinton talk and meet with so many donors while, you know, at the State Department?

[22:10:00] Doesn't that appear to be a conflict of interest and it invites scrutiny?

MARIA CARDONA, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, certainly it is something that the Trump campaign is going to continue to hammer like a dead horse because they have absolutely nothing else substantively to go after her on.

Look, the people who were donors to the Clinton Foundation were global leaders in their own right. Absent the Clinton Foundation, they probably would have been meeting with Hillary Clinton in the first place as Secretary of State. And so, that's the first thing.

The second thing is, I think that people need to understand better what the Clinton Foundation does, right? The Clinton...

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: But answer my question.

CARDONA: Sure, sure.

LEMON: Do you think it appears to be a conflict of interest? Does it, and do you think that she invited the scrutiny by the actions that we're seeing with the e-mails at all?

CARDONA: Well, certainly she will be the first one to say that having the private server, which is what started this to begin with was the problem. And she has apologized for it over and over again. So, of course...

(CROSSTALK)

KINGSTON: And lied about it. Not just apologize. She lied about it.

CARDONA: ... of course, that's the case. Of course, that's the case. She has said that it was a mistake, she regrets doing it and certainly would have done it differently.

LEMON: OK. So, again, now to your point, you were saying that the Clinton Foundation does good work. And many have witnessed.

CARDONA: Yes.

LEMON: That many journalists have witnessed what happened in Rwanda and Africa and other -- and other parts of the continent in Africa.

CARDONA: Absolutely. But I think it's important for viewers to hear this. Because I don't think they hear it enough. So, 11.5 million people have access to HIV AIDS drugs because of the Clinton Foundation in developing countries around the world.

Eighty to 90 percent has been of malaria drugs, the cost of it has been reduced of the Clinton Foundation.

LEMON: Yes.

CARDONA: Literally 50,000 African kids are alive today because of the work of the Clinton Foundation.

LEMON: But you can -- you can do good work. But still if there is some impropriety, this doesn't mean that there's not impropriety somewhere. There's no -- there's no direct evidence right now that there is impropriety.

(CROSSTALK)

CARDONA: Well, that is exactly. That is the point.

LEMON: Yes.

CARDONA: That there is no evidence whatsoever in any of these e-mails that any action was taken that was improper.

LEMON: Right now.

CARDONA: That was improper.

LEMON: Yes. OK. I will get you in Alice and Angela after we take this quick break. We'll be right back.

[22:15:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: And we're back with Maria Cardona, Angela Rye, former republican Congressman Jack Kingston, and Alice Stewart.

OK. To you, Angela, there has been no evidence of a quid pro quo but, how much do you think that this can damage Hillary Clinton's campaign?

ANGELA RYE, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, I think we're certainly talking about it and I think that is exactly what republican strategists of the Trump campaign want us to do.

When you are in the court of public opinion and not in an actual courtroom, you are dealing with things that sound damning so obviously you must be guilty. I think the reality of it is they've made attacks on Hillary Clinton's staff, on Bill Clinton's personal assistant, all because of things that are not -- that are not necessarily being there. We are constantly analyzing these e-mails that we have not seen yet.

LEMON: But listen, but this is a fight for the highest office in the land.

RYE: Absolutely. LEMON: Don't you think everything is fair game?

(CROSSTALK)

RYE: I think that...

LEMON: Except for the children and that sort of thing. We know that, right?

RYE: So, let's talk about that, a fair game and game. This game period are very different. And I think, for example, the former congressman here just talked about Hillary Clinton basically breaking the law, paying to play when you have ethics rules in place and you have clear criminal intent of violating a law and conflict of interest policies at the State Department. That's breaking the law.

LEMON: But you don't -- so you don't think that's a fair assessment because nothing has been proven that she -- here was a protocol.

RYE: And the -- there are -- and the FBI...

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: Stand by, Alice. Alice, just one second. Finish the thought, Angela.

RYE: The FBI investigation did not lead to charges so you can't continue to allege that she did anything criminal.

LEMON: OK. Alice, in your response, so these attacks did surely are going to energize Trump's core supporters but do you think that's going to win any new voters, what do you say?

ALICE STEWART, TED CRUZ NATIONAL SPOKESWOMAN: I think it will certainly help sway independents who already have questions about the trustworthiness of Hillary Clinton and question her character. Because yet again, this is another incident where her character is called in to question and to say that there's no evidence of quid quo pro or play-for-pay, that's simply not true.

When we know there's cases base on what the e-mails the fee that we have seen where requests were made for people to meet with Secretary Clinton through the formal channels or the official channels, those requests were denied, and then they send an e-mail to Huma Abedin to remind her...

(CROSSTALK)

RYE: That's incorrect.

STEWART: ... remind her that these are friends of the Clintons and within 48 hours magically there is a meeting.

CARDONA: No, that's not true.

LEMON: OK. Alice, let her respond and I'll let you respond that. (CROSSTALK)

STEWART: No.

CARDONA: Once again, this calls -- this calls in to question that there is no line between the two. There is no magic there whatsoever. What Huma Abedin said is that that request had been going through official channels and had been going through to a result.

And what we saw what resulted was a meeting between the Secretary of State of the United States and the crown prince of Bahrain, one of our closest allies in the Middle East, who we have a lot of dealings with in terms of trying to fight terrorism and other issues.

LEMON: OK. Alice, go ahead.

STEWART: Who made -- who made a huge contribution to the Clinton Foundation.

CARDONA: So what? So what?

STWEWART: Who made a huge contribution...

CARDONA: So what?

RYE: Nut here's my intuitive.

LEMON: Hang on. Angela first. Go ahead, congressman. Go ahead.

KINGSTON: This is why we need a special prosecutor.

(CROSSTALK)

CARDONA: That's not right.

KINGSTON: If Hillary is as squeaky clean as you guys are saying, and I believe that you believe that, if she's that squeaky clean, a special prosecutor could get to the bottom of this very, very quickly.

(CROSSTALK)

CARDONA: Congressman?

KINGSTON: I have big concerns about the Iranian transfer by the way to Russia.

(CROSSTALK)

CARDONA: There's no facts there either.

RYE: Hold on one second.

CARDONA: OK.

RYE: Congressman, let me just ask you this as a former Hill staffer, you're a former member of Congress. You know good and well that if one of your campaign contributors or someone in your district reached out to you for a meeting, sir, you would ensure that that meeting happened.

You'd have conversations with your staff to ensure that friends, your friends absolutely have access to you. That doesn't mean that you ignore your constituents -- wait let me just finish...

(CROSSTALK)

KINGSTON: Let me say...

RYE: Let me just finish weighing this out.

LEMON: Let her finish. Let her finish, Congressman and I let you get in, I promise. Go ahead.

RYE: I really want to you -- and I want you to be honest.

KINGSTON: Again, let me say this.

RYE: Let me finish my scenario.

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: Let her finish and then you can respond. Go ahead.

RYE: So, my only point to you is sometimes you go through the official channels, you go to through the person who answers the phone. They set up a scheduling request, that takes a little long. If someone reaches out to you directly and you ensure that or to your chief of staff, you ensure that meeting happens. Yes or no?

[22:19:57] KINGSTON: If my wife made $100 million...

(CROSSTALK)

RYE: OK. I guess...

KINGSTON: ... because she had an access to me in a seven-period of time, I would say it would raise a lot of questions from democrats or...

(CROSSTALK)

RYE: So, you're just not going to answer that...

(CROSSTALK)

KINGSTON: And it should -- and it should raise...

RYE: That's dishonest, congressman. I'm disappointed.

LEMON: Let him finish.

KINGSTON: Well, I can tell you this. If donors felt like they had particular access to me, that would be an absolute violation of law and you know that.

RYE: And that's not...

(CROSSTALK)

KINGSTON: And remember, but I can tell you this.

RYE: That's why I used the different scenarios for you.

KINGSTON: I tell you this, if I was accused of it by somebody, I would say, you know what, bring in that special prosecutor.

CARDONA: No, you wouldn't.

RYE: No, you wouldn't.

KINGSTON: Absolutely. I would.

RYE: Prosecute me!

KINGSTON: Is it going to be like -- is it going to be like...

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: Congressman, come on, you would bring in a special prosecutor for yourself? Come on. I mean, that.

KINSTON: If my wife had made millions of dollars.

LEMON: That's very magnanimous of you.

STEWART: Let me just say this. I've known Congressman -- I've known Congressman Kingston -- I've known him for 20 years and he would certainly follow the rules. And look, it would be political malpractice if republicans did not ask for a special prosecutor in this case. And it's a good thing that they have and Hillary Clinton and their campaign should welcome this as the Congressman said and put into rest all these questions.

(CROSSTALK)

CARDONA: That's ridiculous.

STEWART: And here's something Jeff Zeleny pointed out, this just takes us back to the where this all began, questions about a private e-mail server at her home, which exposed classified documents, and which came about due to the Benghazi scandal.

And look, this is all once again raising questions about her character and the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. And each and every one of these smells bad but taken in an entirety, it is not a good scenario for the Clinton campaign at all.

LEMON: OK. And I want to move on to immigration now. And we'll discuss this. We have another hour and a half. So, I want to talk now about immigration. But, Congressman to you, for

more than a year now, Donald Trump has been saying all immigrants had to leave. Now he's saying -- or illegal immigrants, now he's saying that, you know, his campaign needs to be more humane, we, meaning the U.S.

And fair, using the words humane and fair, he doesn't want to hurt anyone. Is Donald Trump bending to political correctness here trying to gain voters in the political center?

KINGSTON: No, Don. I think he has been very consistent that we have to, first of all, enforce existing laws. And then secondly, that we've got to -- we've got to get rid of sanctuary cities. And thirdly, we want to get rid of the bad folks first.

And remember, that Barack Obama has deported 500,000 illegal aliens or illegal immigrants as we like to call it these days.

STEWART: Or undocumented immigrants.

KINGSTON: But the reality is George Bush deported people. And what he's saying is let's get through with the bad guys, let's put them at the first of the line. So, I think...

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: You are not making the case that the policy -- are you making the case that Obama's -- President Obama's policy, George Bush's policy and Donald Trump's policies are equal and they are same policy?

KINGSTON: No. You know what, I would say is that I do believe that Bush and Obama have followed the law somewhat but not...

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: And besides...

CARDONA: What?

LEMON: No, no, hang on. I'm just asking for clarification here so I'm not comparing...

KINGSTON: Yes. And, Don, I truly want to...

(CROSSTALK)

CARDONA: I cannot believe what I'm hearing.

KINGSTON: I truly want to clarify this. I do not believe that they have consistently followed the law. And what Donald Trump has said is I want to consistently follow the law and that has not been done really in the last 10 years.

So, I think it's refreshing that he's willing to talk about it. He's also talked about building a wall, which is something that has been passed on a bipartisan level by Congress over and over again, and the wall doesn't necessarily mean a big, you know, concrete structure. It can be a cyber-wall.

LEMON: That's not -- it's really...

(CROSSTALK)

RYE: A big beautiful wall that makes...

(CROSSTALK)

CARDONA: A wall with a golden door.

LEMON: It's really interesting because our Gary -- our Gary Tuchman has done a report -- hold on, Congressman, I'll let you get in.

But Gary Tuchman has done a report on that it's physically impossible to build a wall and now the surrogates are saying, well, we know it's impossible now.

KINGSTON: Don, Don...

LEMON: Go ahead.

KINGSTON: When he has said build a wall, he's talking about border security, knowing who comes in...

(CROSSTALK)

STEWART: He's talking about a big, beautiful wall.

KINGSTON: And we should remember.

RYE: That's right.

LEMON: He said it's going to have a door.

KINGSTON: Well, OK. I may -- you guys, you guys may know more about it than I do.

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: Hang on. One at a time, please.

RYE: We know your candidate's talking points better than you and he actually said a big, beautiful wall that Mexico will pay for and Vicente Fox had choice words for him about the wall that's not paying in.

LEMON: OK. Stand by, Congressman. I got to take a break. I got to take a break. I promise I'll let you guys get in. And we'll be right back. We'll continue our conversation. Don't go anywhere.

[22:25:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: All right. The conversation continues now. Donald Trump at a rally in Austin, Texas tonight, slamming Hillary Clinton on issue after issue, saying she's unfit to be president. Back with me, Maria Cardona, Angela Rye, former republican Congressman

Jack Kingston, and Alice Stewart.

Alice, you're sitting by so quietly tonight. I want you to sit for a moment now and listen to what campaign manager Kellyanne Conway told Anderson about Trump's deportation plan. This is her just a while ago.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KELLYANNE CONWAY, TRUMP CAMPAIGN MANAGER: There could be a way to figure out how to do it so that -- we're not here to harm people.

COOPER: I just got to keep asking this though, because it is important and for those supportive of Donald Trump, who early on loved his hardline stance of 11 million illegals, immigrants got to leave, undocumented workers got to leave. He is no longer saying that. He has changed his position.

CONWAY: I hope that they're saying what he says, Anderson, which is that you just don't look at people and try to harm them and treat them inhumanely. I think it's very important, and frankly, it's leadership and it's presidential.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: So, Alice, do you think that this is a flip flop?

STEWART: I think this is, as Kellyanne said repeatedly, it's a softening of the position. Look, we all knew throughout the entire -- throughout the entire primary process...

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: Even you had to smile about that. You're good, Alice. I've been working, I've been interviewing and working with you for a long time. You're good, Kellyanne, you guys are all great when it comes to this terminology but it is a change in his policy.

STEWART: Softening of the policy. Look, we're going through the primary process that when he said we're going to build a wall and Mexico is going to pay for it, every time he said that on the debate stage, we all rolled our eyes and said that's not going to happen. We also knew when he said he's going to deport all the illegals, that wasn't going to happen. Look, the problem he's going to have...

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: So, you knew, you said you knew it wasn't going to happen, you think his people and he knew it wasn't going to happen.

STEWART: Well, I think he knew what the time during the primary process. The difficulty now is that that was the cornerstone of his campaign, illegal immigration.

(CROSSTALK)

[22:30:02] RYE: It was. That's right.

STEWART: And he talked of repeatedly about carrying the matter on immigration. Now he's in the general election. There's a broader electorate and he does have to soften his tone on some of these issues. And this is one of the issues that he's having to do with.

The difficulty will be that this was -- this was where he got a lot of his support and now he's going to have to soften his harsh rhetoric on this. And that's clearly what he's doing. He just have to find the right way to do it without losing the base that he has but also bringing on the independents and those that he'll need in order to win the general.

LEMON: OK. I'm glad you said that. I'm glad you said that. You said that losing the base that he has. Because that is...

STEWART: That -- yes.

LEMON: That's a possibility for candidates when they have to start to do this pivot. So, this is my question, Maria, you know, he's been saying all along, all the surrogates, Donald Trump is not a politician, he's not a politician, even though he admitted to me almost a year ago...

CARDONA: Yes.

LEMON: ... that he said, sadly I have to say that I am a politician now. So, is he, is this the political reality for candidates who have to turn out their base, and for Donald Trump now that he has to listen to maybe some folks that he didn't want to have to listen to and he has to become a politician?

CARDONA: Absolutely. And Alice is absolutely right. If we're going to be ral here, look, you know, democratic candidates have softened their positions on many issues going into the general election.

LEMON: You mean change their position?

CARDONA: Yes, Absolutely.

RYE: That's what I mean.

CARDONA: Absolutely. That's exactly what I mean, absolutely that's what I mean. But here's the reality that Donald Trump is going to run up against. And Alice mentioned this as well.

He didn't just get a lot of supporters because of his draconian stances on immigration. He got the vast, vast majority of his voters in the primaries in every state except for Wisconsin and New York, they vote the majority like 90 percent of his voters voted for him because of his immigration stance. So, because he wanted to deport them all.

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: Wait, wait, wait. And you have to -- OK, so this is for the Congressman, though. When you have to, you know, and Alice is saying it's a softening. But what is a chant at his, you know, at the campaign rallies.

(CROSSTALK)

CARDONA: I was just going to go for that.

LEMON: You know, "build that wall, build that wall," and that's -- I mean...

(CROSSTALK)

KINGSTON: Don, Don...

LEMON: ... so my question is, I mean, this is -- this is a spot that he has to be careful with as you might say that he's softening his position.

KINGSTON: Don, I think, though, the big banner, which is so important, is that he has driven this as an issue. It would be lost in the shuffle if not for Donald Trump. He's the one that says, no, it's broken and I'm going to fix it.

And in my opinion, he has been very consistent on his discussion of it. But, you know, in contrast, Hillary Clinton is talking about bringing in 620,000 refugees and against his idea of vetting it.

(CROSSTALK)

CARDONA: This is again another lie.

KINGSTON: Well, actually that was from a fact check. I didn't even get that from the Trump campaign.

RYE: That doesn't mean it's not...

(CROSSTALK)

KINGSTON: But, I mean, OK. Let's say -- let's say how many...

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: No, she's saying this means it's not true. It just means that she feels that you're deflecting it.

KINGSTON: But how many -- how many people does Hillary want to bring in if it's not 620,000? You know, he's talking about vetting people, finding out who is coming in your country. He's talking about a broad range of...

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: Listen, I think that you're right about that, but the whole point was the whole wall, building the wall and then not letting -- and then having people deported.

CARDONA: Yes.

LEMON: If we can now, as you guys do, let's pivot, as you guys do wo well. Because I want to turn to Hillary Clinton. Let soften our position here on our talk.

Hillary Clinton's health. Angela, Donald Trump and his surrogates have been also attacking Hillary Clinton's health pointing out about talking about in a conspiracy rumors about her having brain damage, coughs and even -- I hate to say this -- even syphilis. Regardless of the truth do you think that these charges are going to sew some doubt in some people's minds about her fitness?

RYE: I think the only people who will have doubt about Hillary Clinton as a result of these Breitbart conspiracy theories are people who already didn't support Hillary Clinton, people who are already trying to find reasons, additional reasons not to like her or support her.

You know, there's this crazy video going around and then I think to make matters worse, the fact that Rudy Giuliani is using this as if it's common knowledge and telling people to do an internet search, as if you do a Rudy Giuliani head tumor internet search, he doesn't show up with this big knot on his head.

That is the thing that is bizarre to me. This is a type of propaganda we should not push during a general election. It's not healthy.

LEMON: OK.

RYE: And it's not civil discourse.

LEMON: Alice, I want to ask you about that because Donald Trump has opened the door to people asking more questions about his health. The only document he released was a letter from a personal doctor, a gastroenterologist in December 2015.

And that the doctor describes Trump's blood pressure and lab results as astonishingly excellent and says that Trump would be the healthiest individual ever elected. I wish I got that kind of health report from my doctor. How much do we really know about Donald Trump's health?

STEWART: Based on that report and what we're hearing about it, probably not very much. But let me just say this, campaigns are excruciatingly difficult, they're grueling, 24/7 for the candidates.

[22:35:02] And for any of them to be at this stage of the game and be able to put a sentence together, hats off to both of them. But at the same time to your point, if Donald is going to question Hillary's health, he needs to come clean with more than what he's put forth.

And I think to question her health based on a couple video of clips that we may have seen I think it's inappropriate. There's plenty of material for us to attack Hillary Clinton on with regards to the questions of her character, her trustworthiness, and her lack of transparency. We need to leave her health out of it.

LEMON: Let's -- I want you guys to listen to Dr. Sanjay Gupta, to what he said today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: I don't even know what to make of this letter. Look, we -- you know, you're absolutely right. And, you know, whether you're a doctor or not, that degree of hyperbole and these types of words being used is very unusual.

You just -- people don't write like that, that's he's the healthiest ever. First of all, they couldn't substantiate, how do you know that someone is the healthiest ever? But those all sort of language and like that strength and stamina are extraordinary. What does that mean exactly?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Yes, what is that? Congressman, should Donald Trump release more information about his own health?

KINGSTON: I don't think he needs to, Don. I don't think it's a big issue, except for I do think there's questions of where was Hillary during the Benghazi attack. For example, was she in bed or were she in the war room, that's very relevant to voters. You don't...

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: Congressman, what does that have to -- Congressman, hang on. Hold on. Please, stop. Please, stop. Please, stop. Please, stop.

KINGSTON: There is question that this was done this weekend.

LEMON: Congressman, please, stop. What does that have to do we're talking about health?

RYE: Raising money.

KINGSTON: Because let me say, it's very important because I want my democrat friends to hear this. We do not discuss Hillary's health during our calls. The only question that came up that Donald Trump raised was does she have the stamina, she did not...

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: Well, the American people are not on your calls.

KINGSTON: Well, let me finish it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's right.

LEMON: The American people are watching news programs, the news reports where people are uploading...

KINGSTON: No, there was...

LEMON: Hold on -- where people are floating conspiracy theories which has been proven about Hillary Clinton's health. The majority of people in America, 99.9999 percent are not on your calls, they're only hearing what they hear in media reports.

(CROSSTALK)

RYE: They are not yet on the calls.

KINGSTON: But what I'm saying is, I thought somebody just said that there surrogates are talking about her health.

RYE: You are!

KINGSTON: Surrogates are -- as Alice saying, I'm on the surrogate calls, we're here to talk about our health.

RYE: I'm saying on air you all are talking about this.

(CROSSTALK)

KINGSTON: The question is...

RYE: And the thing I would like for you to talk about is why Trump's doctor went to Trump University because that's how he writes.

KINGSTON: I have not talked about it.

LEMON: But Congressman, you must admit there are other people who are talking -- you have to make a point that -- I've got to go.

CARDONA: Rudy Cardona.

LEMON: Very quickly, Congressman, I'll give you the last word.

KINGSTON: Don, here's the question. She has not had a press conference in 260 days. This weekend she was in Nantucket. She took a plane to go 20 miles from Nantucket to Martha's Vineyard. I mean, normal people don't do that. It's more about stamina.

(CROSSTALK)

RYE: Come on.

KINGSTON: I'm not -- I'm not saying she's unhealthy.

LEMON: Yes.

CARDONA: Come on! Don, you know what? She's very (Inaudible) On the stamina.

LEMON: Thank you.

CARDONA: On the stamina, I will put Hillary Clinton's stamina up against Donald Trump's any day of the week and twice on Sunday.

LEMON: I've got to go. Congressman, thank you. We'll see you back here -- we'll see you back here soon. Thank you very much, everyone.

Coming up, Dan Rather says this race is not over and Donald Trump can still win. He joins me next.

[22:40:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: After a couple of brutal weeks and a campaign shake-up, is this a turning point for Donald Trump.

Here to discuss now, Dan Rather, the host of AXS TV The Big Interview. Always a pleasure to have you here. I want to ask you if we're going to find out, look back and think that this is a turning point.

Because Donald Trump's new campaign manager, not so new anymore, just a couple of weeks I knew that is, Kellyanne Conway suggested that the Clinton team should have put Donald Trump away by now, right, considering who she is and that she's shrouded in controversies now.

We're talking about the e-mail scandal, we're talking about the, you know, Clinton Foundation. Is this going to be a turning point in this campaign we're going to look back?

DAN RATHER, AXS TV'S THE BIG INTERVIEW SHOW HOST: It's early for a turning point. As a rule of thumb, I maintain there's no real turning point until at least sometime after Labor Day. And just we have three presidential debates presumably, Donald Trump hasn't agreed yet all of it. It's too early for a turning point.

There's no question that Trump has been hurt and hurt badly in the last three weeks. Now Hillary Clinton can be forgiven for not taken advice from Trump's campaign manager in what she should or should haven't done -- do.

But as we stated before, Don, we have two flawed campaigns and two flawed candidates here.

LEMON: Right.

RATHER: And it's such ball to raise, I agree that a path for Donald Trump to win, I do think he -- I still think he can win but his path is much more narrow now than it has been before. He's been hurt badly beginning with the democratic convention and what he said about the Khan family and what he said about the Second Amendment. So, all are hurting very, very badly.

LEMON: I have to say if we can just talk. Because I'm not a political guy, and I don't work for the D.C. team or whatever. So, I think that -- and I have been, I have to say I pat myself on the back, right about most of this campaign when it comes to Donald Trump.

In the beginning, I thought he was going to be the nominee or should have very good chance, then I thought he was damaging himself by going over the edge by some of his comments. Now he's pulling back. And now he stands a chance, I believe, of not being the original candidate that his people wanted to be and he may indeed turn some of those people off. He's really walking a tight rope right now.

RATHER: Well, I would use a different metaphor. He's doing so many flips, that he's challenges Simone Biles. That he's flipping on a lot of things including the immigration thing.

LEMON: Yes.

RATHER: But, listen, it's common with candidates and particularly candidates who are flawed candidates in one way or the other, let's face it, both of these candidates wear the gray rags of flaws all over them.

It's common for them to do one or two things and sometimes both, do the old political side shuffle or do flip-flops all over the place. And that's what you're seeing with Donald Trump now. Because he reads the polls and he takes the polls seriously, maybe more seriously than you and I do.

Now we'll see, he's in Austin, Texas tonight, Austin, Texas, which is the one place in Texas that no republican has carried since I can't remember when. It's one of the more baffling campaign stops of 2016.

LEMON: Yes.

[22:44:58] RATHER: Now, there are people in Austin who say maybe he confused Austin with Dallas or maybe he was just hankering for some good barbecue. But it's strange almost the point of being weird that he'd choose Austin of all places to hold this rally.

LEMON: Well, that is something that when you talk to the surrogates and even to his campaign manager about places he has been choosing to stop, especially when it comes to talking to his outreach for minorities and people of color and they become very defensive.

Even when people of color say, you know what, you're doing it wrong and they're like, well, no, he's not doing it wrong. Shouldn't at this point in the campaign if there are people who are saying you could possibly get our vote, you're doing it wrong, here's how it might help you do it. Shouldn't he be open to listening to that instead of saying, no, you're wrong?

RATHER: If he was a standard candidate, if he's running a standard campaign, yes. But in his case, no. Because he's not trying to get African-Americans to vote for him. He did like them to vote but he knows he's not doing African-American vote.

LEMON: So, what's he doing?

RATHER: He's trying to position himself with the white voters, which he must have, he must get a bigger turn out with the white voters, he must get a bigger percentage of the white voters who vote then even Mitt Romney got it.

Mitt Romney got I think 57 percent of white males and about 54, 55 of white women. This is moderating, saying to white voters, listen, I'm not a bigot, I'm not a racist and he's appealing to independent and swing voters. He isn't going African-American...

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: For African-American, no.

RATHER: When he says to African-Americans "what the hell do you have to lose," their answer is almost everything.

LEMON: So, I tried to explain that to some of the people who come on, that that's insulting to African-Americans. And as an African-American I see what you're saying so it's like what are you doing? Why can't you just admit that? But, so you don't see him going to black churches or black universities or any of that at all?

RATHER: I don't.

LEMON: Yes.

RATHER: As sure as I say that, if he hears us saying that, he may go.

LEMON: Yes.

RATHER: But, no. Nor do I believe he's going to go to any big places for Latino voters. He may make one or two stops. But he knows when we talk about a narrow path left for him to win. That path is to get overwhelming the totals of whites to the votes.

He knows he isn't going to get the African-American vote and he knows he isn't going to get very many Latino votes. He will get more than he does with African-Americans, but still he can't win that way. The only way he can win is built on his base, get the swing voters and independents who are white to turn out in large numbers in his base.

LEMON: All right. Don't go anywhere, Dan Rather, the president was in my hometown in Baton Rouge today. Is it too little too late? We'll discuss that when we come right back.

[22:50:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: President Barack Obama visiting the flood zone in my home state of Louisiana.

Back now to talk about that is Mr. Dan rather. So, he toured, the president toured the flooding damage in Baton Rouge today, he's in Denham Springs in other parts of Baton Rouge, amid criticism that he should have gone there sooner. Let's look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA PRESIDENT: First of all, one of the benefits of being five months short of leaving here is I don't worry too much about politics. The second thing I have seen historically is, you know, that when disasters strike, that's probably one of the few times where in Washington tends not to get political.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: So, he may not have made this political, but Donald Trump certainly is. He tweeted this today and said "President Obama should have gone to Louisiana days ago, instead of golfing too little too late."

I'm going to ask you if it was too little too late because I had this interesting text back and forth with my mother, who is in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and I'll tell you what she said. What do you think?

RATHER: Well, listen, politically, he should have gone very quickly. Politically. And for him to say by the way, I don't have to worry about politics, I think everyone realizes he's joking about it.

Politically, from the president's standpoint, the case wait until the things settle down a little bit. But you know what, in the long haul, this doesn't matter. All this talk about should he have gone sooner, he go too little, too late it's what your native Louisianans would call alligator dung.

That is not amount of anything as time goes on. What's going to matter is does FEMA stay and do its job effectively and does the money come.

LEMON: Yes.

RATHER: And if that happens, all this talk about when and if he comes will go by the boards.

LEMON: Republicans and democrats have said that, you know, the money, the government exacted swiftly, FEMA acted swiftly, that people are, you know, that they couldn't have done a better job.

But my response to my mother who said, "why couldn't he have done, why didn't he come sooner," this is a fight for the Oval Office, the highest office in the land and everything matters, including optics.

And to have a sitting president, you know, with pictures on a golf course juxtaposed to caskets floating down on the street, it's not good optics.

RATHER: No question. And we know that Donald Trump is the master of optics and he sees the opportunity.

LEMON: Right.

RATHER: And I think he came to appease to it. But I think I come back in the long poll...

LEMON: It gives his critics fodder to criticize him, the Democrat Party and thus Hillary Clinton. So, just looking at it politically, he probably should have gone sooner and it would have helped him and, you know, the candidate that he's supporting.

RATHER: I agree.

LEMON: Yes. And the people in Louisiana. Because the people there, you know, as I said again, I feel like we're just having dinner and chatting here, when you're the president of the country, you're like the daddy of the country, right?

So, if I'm in the hospital, you may not be able to fix my illness but it's great to know that you're there in the waiting room or there holding my hand.

RATHER: Well, the symbolism of it is what matters.

LEMON: Yes.

RATHER: And I agree he lost the battle of the optics. He may have made the right presidential decision in conference with the governors as my understanding.

LEMON: Right.

RATHER: I talked to governor about if I come right away you have taken resources to clear highways and make a way.

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: Nobody cares about that.

RATHER: But, you know, with all what we have to talk about in this campaign unless FEMA makes a big mistake, unless the money doesn't go. And if the president forgets those people in Louisiana, and more important if you and I or what everybody else watching this program forget those people in Louisiana, then this would pop back in the news.

LEMON: I agree.

RATHER: Because that would be outrageous if we forgot, that these people are going to be a long time recovering and going to need a lot of help.

LEMON: Agree. Should she go, Hillary Clinton?

RATHER: Absolutely. I'm surprised she hasn't gone.

LEMON: Yes, same here. Yes. Why? Just because...

(CROSSTALK)

[22:54:59] RATHER: Again, optics. I mean, the idea that, you know, quote, "she doesn't care enough to go," and Donald Trump can play the pictures that they listen. I dropped everything and I went. The president waited a long time and Hillary Clinton still hasn't there. It's not helpful for her.

LEMON: In the long run and you said to me, if you don't me sharing, that you think Donald Trump is playing a long game here?

RATHER: I think he is playing a long game. I think he wants to win, I think he still thinks he could win but he's playing the groundwork. If he doesn't win he'll almost immediately start running for the next time, maybe form a third party and most importantly, to lay the groundwork for a possible impeachment, yes, an impeachment of Hillary Clinton or at the very least damage her so badly that she can't govern.

LEMON: Good analysis.

RATHER: Well, we'll see whether it's good analysis.

LEMON: It sounded good. Thank you, Mr. Rather.

RATHER: Thank you.

LEMON: Always a pleasure.

(CROSSTALK)

RATHER: It's good to see you. Thank you.

LEMON: When we come right back, Donald Trump's fiery speech in Texas tonight blasting Hillary Clinton on her family foundation and demanding an investigation.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: Donald Trump blasts Hillary Clinton over her family foundation.

This is CNN TONIGHT. I'm Don Lemon.

The Clinton Foundation firestorm heating up tonight, that's in the wake of a report that claims more than half of the private individuals who met with Clinton when she was Secretary of State donated to her family's foundation.

[23:00:01] Trump says the foundation should be shut down. Clinton's camp insisting that the report, quote, "Relies on utterly flawed data."