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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT

Awaiting Donald Trump at Texas Rally; Trump Open to "Softening" Immigration Plan; Pence: Documents Show Pay-for-Play Operation at State; FBI Investigating Possible ISIS-Inspired Stabbing; CNN Reports From the Front Lines in Battle Against ISIS. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired August 23, 2016 - 19:00   ET

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


[19:00:09] PAMELA BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: OUTFRONT next, breaking news, Donald Trump about to rally supporters in Texas doubling down on his charge that Hillary Clinton traded favors as secretary of state.

Plus, Trump backing down on his promise to deport 11 million undocumented immigrants. Will the shift cost him with his loyal base?

And Hillary Clinton's longtime aide now front and center in the e-mail controversy. Who is Huma Abedin? Let's go OUTFRONT.

Good evening. I'm Pamela Brown in for Erin Burnett. And OUTFRONT tonight, breaking news, Donald Trump about to rally thousands of supporters in Austin, Texas. And tonight the Trump campaign ramping up attacks on Hillary Clinton pouncing on an Associated Press report that more than half of the private individuals with whom she met with as Secretary of State donated to the Clinton Foundation.

Trump's running mate Mike Pence issued a statement calling that evidence a pay for play and saying, quote, "No one is above the law. The Clinton Foundation must be immediately shut down and an independent special prosecutor be appointed to determine if access to Hillary Clinton was for sale." The Clinton camp responding moments ago charging the A.P. report relies on, quote, "utterly flawed data."

Jason Carroll is OUTFRONT tonight at the Trump rally in Austin, Texas. So, Jason, what do we expect to hear from Trump tonight?

JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, a couple of things. First and foremost, expect Donald Trump to continue to go after Hillary Clinton on the issue of her e-mails, you know, about those 15,000 e-mails that the FBI found that had not been turned over and expect him to hit hard on that point tonight. Also, expect him to talk more about the Clinton Foundation. We've heard him do this before, allegations from the Trump campaign that this was basically a pay for play type of foundation.

Anyone who wanted access to the State Department got their access according to Trump so long as they made a donation. So, expect him to hit home on those issues, as well. One of the big questions that we're wondering about tonight, is Pamela, since we're here in Texas, a border state, what will Trump have to say about the issue of illegal immigration. His position in some ways seems to have changed over time. You remember initially he said that he wanted to deport some 11 million illegal immigrants living here in the United States and then he said he just wanted to get the bad ones out and then most recently saying that he would do much of what the President is already doing except he would do it with more energy.

So, the question is, what will he say about that tonight? Well, he is expected to address that issue tonight, Pamela. Not expected to make any sort of policy speech about that tonight. That will come later. The Trump campaign basically saying that what he is doing at this point is taking advice and talking to people about his proposals and his ideas and how to move forward from there -- Pamela.

BROWN: All right. Jason Carroll, thanks so much for that. And in light of this breaking news about who Hillary Clinton reportedly met with as Secretary of State, it does not look like the Trump campaign is going to stop with this line of attack any time soon.

Phil Mattingly is OUTFRONT.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Hillary Clinton has totally forgot the first rule of public service. The job of an elected official is to serve the citizens of the United States. That's what the job is.

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Tonight, Hillary Clinton facing a series of sustained attacks from Donald Trump on the Clinton Foundation and the lingering controversy over her e-mails. Donald Trump's running mate Mike Pence citing an Associated Press report on Clinton Foundation donor access to the State Department launching this salvo on the campaign trail.

GOV. MIKE PENCE (R), VICE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: This just in, the Associated Press is reporting today that 85 of the 154 meetings and calls of individual meetings that the Secretary of State gave while she was in office were to individuals who contributed up to $156 million to the Clinton Foundation.

MATTINGLY: All in the wake of Trump's call for a special prosecutor to investigate the former Secretary of State.

TRUMP: After the FBI and the Department of Justice whitewashed Hillary Clinton's e-mail crimes they certainly cannot be trusted to quickly or impartially investigate Hillary Clinton's new crime which is happen all the time.

MATTINGLY: Clinton allies are firing back defending the foundation's charitable work as far more important than the political fires it has been engulfed in. None more strongly than the former top adviser to Clinton's husband, James Carville.

JAMES CARVILLE, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Somebody that is shutting this down and they're going to shut it down then people are going to die.

MATTINGLY: And Clinton herself preparing to go back on offense. Aides saying later this week she will attack Trump's new campaign team, specifically CEO's Steven Bannon, as part of the, quote, "alt- right," an ideology described by a Clinton aide as, "A divisive dystopian view of America which should concern all Americans." Clinton throwing her own jabs during her late night talk show appearance Monday talking about her preparations for a debates with the GOP nominee.

[19:05:30] HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: I am drawing on my experience in elementary school.

(LAUGHTER)

The guy who pulled your ponytail.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MATTINGLY: And Pam, you know that the Clinton campaign is pushing back on that Associated Press report and pushing back indeed. National Press Secretary Brian Fallon just releasing a little bit ago a 233rd-word statement that reads in part, "It's cherry picked, a limited subset of Secretary Clinton's schedule to give a distorted portrayal of how often she crossed paths to individuals connected to the charitable donations to the Clinton Foundation." Fallon also adding, "The data does not account for more than half of her tenure as Secretary of State."

Obviously, the Clinton campaign has a real problem with the story and I think they recognize that the story is a real problem. You just need evidence. You saw Mike Pence on the campaign trail. The Trump campaign has already sent out statements about this from top surrogate Rudy Giuliani. They're also fund-raising off of it already -- Pam.

BROWN: Very strong language from the Clinton camp. Thanks so much, Phil Mattingly.

And OUTFRONT now, Donald Trump supporter Kayleigh McEnany. Former campaign manager for Donald Trump and CNN political commentator Corey Lewandowski and Hillary Clinton supporters Basil Smikle and Maria Cardona. Maria's firm also currently works for a pro-Clinton Super Pac.

Basil, I want to start with you here because we just heard Phil talk about this sort of scathing statement coming from the Clinton camp about this A.P. report basically saying the information was, you know, was cherry-picked, but at the same time it seems as though this was pretty straightforward. It says these are only non-government officials and the meetings only cover a specific period of time. So is it still not valid?

BASIL SMIKLE, HILLARY CLINTON SUPPORTER: Well, I don't think it's valid. I think it does omit and undercount the numbers of meeting that Secretary Clinton did during the course of her tenure as secretary of state. Seventeen hundred, at least on that order. So it omits a lot of them, but it also sort of miscategorizes meetings that she took with Melinda Gates who is a world known philanthropist. Muhammad Yunus is a Nobel Prize winner. So, I think it is erroneous and I think it's just sort of one more way

that I think Donald Trump was going to use it among other things he's trying to use. It's just sort of one more attack to miscategorize her time as secretary of state and the fact that she is a world renown leader in her own right as is her husband.

BROWN: So, then what do you think, Corey? Is it not problematic then considering it was just a slice of the people she met with as secretary of state?

COREY LEWANDOWSKI, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Look, I don't think the A.P. is a right wing, alt-right organization. I think that's fair to say. And what they're reporting is very straightforward. It says, 85 of 156 individuals that they looked at contributed at least $156 million. Forty of those donors gave at least $100,000. Twenty of those individuals gave at least a million dollars. And what the A.P. did as I said, 16 foreign governments gave as much as $170 million to the Clinton Foundation but they excluded those from these numbers, because they said those were in the course of a typical diplomatic environment. And so when they exclude $170 million from individuals from foreign governments but they include these other small substance, 85 of 154 meetings totaling $156 million, this is clearly pay for play.

BROWN: But, well, the State Department has come out though and said that, look, this happens routinely that individuals including those who have donated to political campaigns, non-profits or foundation including the Clinton Foundation made contact or had meetings with officials in the administration. So, in light of what you had the State Department saying, what's the problem here Kayleigh.

KAYLEIGH MCENANY, DONALD TRUMP SUPPORTER: Well, that's precisely the reason it is so wrong is because this is typical Washington behavior. Washington is supposed to be the seat of government for the people. But you see the State Department doing what Washington ordinarily does where big donors get access and, you know, the voters do not. So you have a Bahrain's prince, a prince from Bahrain who comes in, can't get an access to the State Department. So, instead he suggested it goes through the Clinton Foundation, through the Clinton Foundation after a $20 million donation and he gets in.

International security advisory board. A man with no experience handling sensitive, nuclear issues is put there simply because he was a Clinton Foundation donor. We can go on and on, there is a Lebanese billionaire on and on and on to suggest this is not pay for play, and it's to dilute yourself from the truth.

BROWN: And Maria, Hillary Clinton did sign this pledge when she first began secretary of state basically cutting her ties with the foundation. She has said over and over again that there was no sort of, you know, combination of the two at the time.

MARIA CARDONA, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: That's right.

BROWN: And yet these e-mails come out and we hear about these meetings. How problematic is this for Hillary Clinton and the optics of it?

CARDONA: Sure. Well, let me say this. This is something clearly that the Trump campaign and the Republicans who oppose Hillary Clinton will continue to hammer at it like a dead horse because they have nothing else. Now the appearance of it, sure, to people who don't understand how these things work, it could be problematic. That's where you have to look at the facts and I understand that Trump has never met a fact that he has liked or that he has used, so that's understandable.

[19:10:21] But facts actually still do matter to the American people and when you look at what the Clinton Foundation has done, the amazing work that they have done around the world. 11.5 million people with access to HIV-AIDS drugs and developing countries all around the world. Literally saving the lives of hundreds of thousands of children and for Donald Trump and his campaign to just off handedly say the Clinton Foundation should be shut down is using -- is literally -- no, no, no. Hang on! Let me finish.

(CROSSTALK)

CARDONA: He has said that.

LEWANDOWSKI: The Huffington Post, it's the Boston Globe and major media outlets.

CARDONA: Well, they are wrong, too.

BROWN: Hold on.

LEWANDOWSKI: Everybody's wrong --

(CROSSTALK)

CARDONA: Let me finish.

BROWN: Hold on. Let Maria finish her point and then I will give you your turn.

CARDONA: Yes, I completely agree that they are also wrong because nothing has come out that has been able to make any real connection.

BROWN: OK. So then on that note --

CARDONA: Between an action and a meeting.

BROWN: So then, let me ask. I actually want to ask Kayleigh because you went to law school, Donald Trump now is taking a step further and insinuating something criminal could be going on here. Have you seen any evidence of anything criminal happening here from what we've seen so far?

MCENANY: Well, certainly if there were favors being gained and special access being given, there is a credible argument under the RICO Statute that Rudy Giuliani has proffered. And what I do think --

BROWN: But hold on, the Supreme Court came out and said just having meetings and that kind of thing is politics as usual. That happens.

MCENANY: You have no proof. You have to prove intent and that's certainly true and that's very hard to prove. But what I do think it matter is Donald Trump's call for a special prosecutor and you appoint a prosecutor when there is an appearance of impropriety.

Bill Clinton, the head of the Clinton Foundation meeting with Loretta Lynch just before the FBI comes out and clears her of charges essentially is an appearance of impropriety. The FBI going to the Justice Department and saying the Clinton Foundation needs to be investigated. And the Justice Department saying, sorry, the FBI is wrong. Nothing to say here.

BROWN: There was a disagreement about it because they didn't feel like there was sufficient evidence. The party looked at everything, but what I will say is clearly, this is creating an issue. You heard the statement and that is an indication the Clinton campaign does not want this out. These every day, these news stories coming out.

(CROSSTALK)

But let me ask you this. Let me ask you this, Basil, because now we're hearing that, of course, you know, the Clintons are going to stop, the Clinton Foundation stop taking foreign donations. And that Bill Clinton will sever his ties if Hillary Clinton is president. But that raises a question, if there is cause to do it now, why wasn't there cause to do it when she was secretary of state?

SMIKLE: Well, because contrary to what was said before, there is no pay for play, there is no quid pro quo. And going back to an earlier point, then I'll answer the question. Is that, if you look at the e- mail exchanges, everyone that asked for a meeting is told they should go through or had already gone through official channels. That's an important -- that's an important point to make because essentially folks are saying no, no, I'm not going to do this.

If you want the meeting, whatever the address -- go through the official channels. Having said that. Look, Bill Clinton is an insanely popular former president who retired or was retired very young relatively speaking and so he had a tremendous amount of good to do in this world. And the foundation, as you said, is doing and has been doing incredible work. So to say shut it down means it impacts build people's lives around the world and that would be unfortunate.

MCENANY: Foreign millionaires get access and the American people do not. It's very simple.

CARDONA: You know what?

BROWN: Guess what? I will tell you guys, you're all coming back. I learned my lesson last night. We have you for three blocks in this show.

So, and Corey, I will let you weigh in after this break, as well. So, be sure to stick with us. OUTFRONT up next, as we stand by for a Donald Trump rally, the

candidate softening his position on immigration. Could this shift hurt him?

Plus, a possible ISIS-inspired attack in Virginia. Tonight, the FBI now investigating the motive behind a brutal knife attack.

And newly released e-mails reveal a top Clinton aide Huma Abedin handling requests for State Department access. We have a special report. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:17:28] BROWN: Right now, Donald Trump is about to take the stage in Austin, Texas and it will be his first rally of the day. One topic likely on the agenda, immigration. Earlier Trump sent out this tweet right here saying, quote, "In Austin, Texas, with some of our amazing border patrol agents. I will not let them down."

But tonight there are new questions as to where Trump really stands on his immigration plan. Dana Bash is OUTFRONT.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DANA BASH, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): These days when Donald Trump talks about deporting undocumented immigrants, he likens his plans to the last two presidents.

TRUMP: Obama got tremendous numbers of people out of the country, Bush, the same thing. Lots of people were brought out of the country with the existing laws. Well, I'm going to do the same thing.

BASH: A far different tone from when he was vying for the GOP nomination.

TRUMP: You're going to have a deportation force and you're going to do it humanely.

BASH: But more important than Trump's immigration rhetoric is his policy which his new campaign manager says is now a work in progress.

(on camera): Will all that plan include a deportation force, the kind that he just -- you just heard in that sound bite and that he talked about during the Republican primaries?

KELLYANNE CONWAY, DONALD TRUMP CAMPAIGN MANAGER: To be determined.

BASH (voice-over): For many, it's hard to imagine Trump even considering backing away from deporting all undocumented immigrants. The core of his campaign since the start.

TRUMP: We have to get them out, the good ones, we're going to let come back --

BASH (on camera): When you say get people out, are you talking about like a mass deportation? TRUMP: We don't even know who these people are.

BASH: How will you find them?

TRUMP: We're going to find them.

BASH (voice-over): And then there was Trump's call to temporarily ban Muslims from entering the U.S. which he has now modified to only certain countries.

TRUMP: From areas of the world where there is a proven history of terrorism against the United States.

BASH: Trump is hardly the first candidate to think about shifting as he moves from appealing to primary voters to the broader general electorate. In 2012, Mitt Romney was slammed after his spokesman was candid about it.

ERIC FEHRNSTROM, FORMER SENIOR ADVISER, 2012 ROMNEY CAMPAIGN: He hit a reset button for the fall campaign. Everything changes. It's almost like an etch a sketch.

BASH: Historically, candidates are pilloried by their opponents for any change in position. In 2004, a big part of George W. Bush's campaign against John Kerry was flip-flopping on Iraq war funding, but Trump won the GOP primary despite the mother of all flip-flops. He donated to Hillary Clinton and supported Universal Healthcare and abortion rights.

TRUMP: I'm very pro-choice.

BASH: Trump's GOP opponents tried and failed to hit him on his 180s.

SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He can change his views on anything.

BASH: And Trump famously said this about his supporters.

TRUMP: I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody, and I wouldn't lose any voters, OK?

BASH: The question now is whether that would still be true if Trump abandons any hard core immigration plans and whether new voters Trump needs would even buy the change.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BASH: Trump is clearly preparing to try. Trump's spokeswoman confirmed to me that tonight in a taping with FOX News and the host Sean Hannity asked Trump if he would be willing to accommodate undocumented immigrants who would contribute to society and Trump replied that there certainly can be some softening because he said they're not looking to hurt people -- Pamela.

BROWN: All right. Dana Bash, thanks so much and our panel is back with us, as promised, and I want to start with Corey. Is there a real difference between softening and flip-flopping?

LEWANDOWSKI: Sure. Look, here's what Donald Trump has said from day one, number one and most importantly, he'll build a wall which means he'll secure our boards so you know who is coming into the country. That's the first problem that we have is really those coming in. The second problem we have is that customs and border protection and immigration and natural service, those people aren't allowed to do their jobs. They want to enforce the laws on the board that currently exist in our constitution, but they can't do that because they're stuck by The Washington bureaucrats.

So, what we see is we see people that are coming across the border and killing U.S. citizens. Now, what Donald Trump has said was, if you're a convicted felon, gone. No question. Right out. The other thing he said is, we'll do it humanely, we're going to make sure we'll put Americans first, we're not looking to split up families and we don't know, right now, the government can't tell us to the millionth of a person, are there 11 million illegal aliens? Are there 12 million? Are there 30 million? So, what he's going to do as a leader --

(CROSSTALK)

BROWN: Maria?

LEWANDOWSKI: They can't, actually.

CARDONA: The 30 million undocumented immigrants or illegals as Trump likes to call them is an outright talking point and comes from Ann Coulter very clearly and it has been debunked millions of times. So, that's number one. Number two, we'll see what he actually says and I would be very interested to see what softening means because up until now the only thing that Americans have heard and within those Americans and the majority of Latino voters, majority of immigrants have heard from the day that he burst on to the scene calling Mexican immigrants rapists and criminals.

The fact that he is going to build a wall. Last night at his rallies, there were people chanting, build a wall, deport them all? So, has he changed? We don't know. He has talked about a deportation force. He has talked about wanting to implement an Eisenhower-like operation called operation wetback. So, if he is going to flip-flop to Latino voters, that is going to fall flat flop.

[19:22:38] BROWN: So, Basil, what about the moderate Republicans, the Independents, we just heard in Dana's report that he has flip-flopped in his life time on Hillary Clinton, abortion, Universal Healthcare. So, could this only help him with those Independents and moderate Republicans pulling them in, widening his base which he needs to do to win this election?

SMIKLE: I don't think so because I think people pretty much know where he stands because he's made it very clear. And look, what Corey said earlier, this is what's key about one of your comments, when you talk about people coming across the border and killing our citizens, that sort of characterization right, where I think folks find these comments galling because, look, we talk about the 11-plus million who are undocumented. But let's talk about 81 million and that's the number of immigrants that live in this country and their U.S.-born children.

So, 77-78 days away from this election, you don't have a policy on dealing with those 81 million people who are here? Your policy is quote, unquote, "to be determined." That, to me, I think is what's problematic. You're the leader of a national party.

LEWANDOWSKI: You have to defund sanctuary cities.

BROWN: But Kayleigh -- I'm going to come back to you. I already gave you a shot. I want to have -- I want to have Kayleigh weigh in. I want to have Kayleigh weigh in. Your reaction to that. Is it too late?

MCENANY: I agree with Corey that the policy is clear, it's not too late. And Donald Trump is pro-immigrant and he wants immigrants to be here but he doesn't want the wrong immigrants loose in society. And I think it's irresponsible to not look at the fact that President Obama released 19,700 illegal immigrants with criminal records and 200 of which were convicted of murder. Eight hundred of which were convicted of sexual offenses. Kate Steinle, a beautiful young girl lost her life at the hands of an immigrant whose released in a sanctuary city. Not a single American should lose their life because of an illegal immigrant who's released and given sanctuary in a sanctuary city. It's wrong and it's irresponsible.

SMIKLE: Well, killing is wrong, yes, but my concern is, when you say the wrong type of people. What does that mean and who gets to decide that? That's my concern.

BROWN: And I'm going to let Corey weigh in, because --

LEWANDOWSKI: Defunding sanctuary cities is a major component of a Trump administration and he's talked about that. And what the different is, this particular killer who killed Kate Steinle had been arrested on multiple occasions and had been deported on multiple occasions and because we don't have any system in place that prevents people from coming in across the Mexican border appropriately, we see this all of the time. We see families hurt by these all the time, U.S. families. A person is deported on multiple occasions and they come back and a major crime is committed whether it's a violent -- look, I've met with these families in California. I understand the pain that they have gone through. The loved ones that they have lost. It's inexcusable.

CARDONA: You know what? Yes, I agree with you. And guess who else agrees with you? President Obama whose policy it is to first and foremost deport criminal documented immigrants that are here. That is his plan. Here's the problem with how Donald Trump talks about it when he talks about immigrants coming here to kill Americans, it is a slap on all immigrants and secondly, it is actually not true, it makes it sound like the majority of murders and violent crimes are committed by immigrants and that's not true. The majority are committed by U.S. Americans and U.S. citizens. BROWN: Certainly immigration is a hot button issue, and it's

complicated. And we hope to hear more specifics from Donald Trump in the coming days.

Thank you all and stick around because we're going to be back right after this break.

And OUTFRONT up next, Donald Trump about to take the stage at a rally in Austin, Texas.

Plus, a brutal knife attack in Virginia and now the FBI is looking at possible links to ISIS.

And she's been in Hillary Clinton's side for two decades. Now Huma Abedin is at the center of the latest e-mail controversy. We take a closer look at Clinton's top aide.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:30:08] BROWN: Breaking news: The Trump campaign leveling a new attack tonight against Hillary Clinton, accusing her of running a pay to play operation during part of her tenure at the State Department. These accusations based off an "Associated Press" analysis that included a majority of people outside the government who met with Clinton were also donors to the Clinton Foundation.

Now, the Clinton campaign just released a blistering statement, saying that the story relies on utterly flawed data. Either way, the person who may have helped facilitate those meetings, Clinton's closest aide Huma Abedin.

Sunlen Serfaty has more on who the woman is who has been in Clinton's side for two decades.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Huma Abedin, Clinton's longest-serving aide, is now finding herself thrust into the center of her boss' most durable controversies.

HUMA ABEDIN, CLINTON AIDE: With that, I'll be making no further comments. Thank you.

SERFATY: A flood of new e-mails from Clinton's private email server during her time as secretary of state revealed this week in and are raising new questions about the State Department's relationship with the Clinton Foundation.

Enter Abedin, e-mails obtained by Judicial Watch, a conservative watchdog group show Abedin e-mailing with a top Clinton Foundation official, arranging a meeting with the crown prince of Bahrain, a foundation donor who was unable to get a meeting through official channels.

Doug Band writing to Abedin, quote, "asking to see her. Good friend of ours." None of these exchanges appear to offer direct quid pro quo, but has

opened the door for criticism.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: No issue better illustrates how corrupt my opponent is than her for pay-for-play scandals as secretary of state.

SERFATY: Huma Abedin has been by Clinton's side for two decades, first working for First Lady Clinton as an intern in the White House, being with her through her Senate run and her 2008 campaign, in the State Department.

HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Unconfirmed. Yes. Unconfirmed.

SERFATY: Rising now to vice chairwoman of the Clinton campaign.

ABEDIN: She's on the road a lot, and I just, you know, I'm there to help keep it all together and help people be at their best including my boss.

SERFATY: Their relationship is close, so close Clinton has known to refer to her as a second daughter.

ANTHONY WEINER: Good afternoon, my name is Anthony Weiner.

SERFATY: And it was Clinton who helped Huma through the public fall of her husband, former Congressman Anthony Weiner over her sex scandal.

ABEDIN: I love him. I have forgiven him. I believe in him, and as we have said from the beginning, we are moving forward.

SERFATY: Abedin is a Muslim, born in Michigan, raised in Saudi Arabia, her father, from India and her mother from Pakistan. Her background and family ties the subject of speculation and scrutiny by Clinton critics. Rupert Murdoch's paper bringing up allegations this week about her association with this academic journal founded by her father that looks at issues related to Muslims living in Western societies to which Huma is listed at one point as an assistant editor.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SERFATY: And CNN spoke to many people who know that publication and know the region and they describe it as a non-partisan, strictly academic journal that does not raise flags in its contents, but the Clinton campaign has had to respond to these allegations over Huma's role in the journal, a Clinton campaign spokesman telling CNN that she was not paid and did, quote, "little to no work" -- Pam.

BROWN: All right. Sunlen Serfaty, thanks so much.

I want to bring back our panel for a third time to talk about this.

So, if people wanted to get access to Hillary Clinton as secretary of state, they had to go through Huma Abedin, Maria. So, you know, in light of that, if these accusations of pay to play

continue to dog Clinton, at what point does it become a liability?

CARDONA: Look, I think people need to look at the facts and what we have seen so far is that you have seen e-mails that describe Huma actually telling people who want access to Hillary Clinton or who wanted access to Hillary Clinton that they need to go through official channels.

Look, as somebody who has been in a top position for three cabinet secretaries under the Clinton administration, I can't tell you how many times people called me and e-mailed me, telling me, hey, the secretary needs to meet with me, or needs to meet with so and so, you know, how -- you know, they go way back. They're really good friends. You know, he's been there for this and that and the other.

And guess what? What you do is you say, OK, you have to go through official channels, I will put it through official channels, or you say, OK, let me take it up the ranks and then you do nothing. So people need to understand.

(CROSSTALK)

CARDONA: In all of the e-mails that we have seen there's nothing to indicate that she did not do that.

BROWN: It's murky, and there are more e-mails to come out.

MCENANY: It's very clear. I encourage viewers to look it up. The prince of Bahrain went through official channels was denied access, went through Doug Band in the Clinton Foundation, gave a hefty donation, gets access within 48 hours.

[19:35:04] That is very clear, and cut and dry. And Huma Abedin, with a (INAUDIBLE) style and the revolving door for foreign billionaires getting into the Clinton Foundation. It's wrong and it's not public service.

SMIKLE: What it said was that when this person went through official channels, that it was already close to resolution, that's what it said. So her presence there was not the catalyst for it happening, number one. Number two, and I do have to say this, I have been in this business for 20 years, and I know Huma Abedin. You could not find a better and more dedicated public servant.

CARDONA: Totally agree with that.

SMIKLE: And to me, I think a lot of this is sort -- if you're not going to get Hillary, you're going get the person next to her. And that is what my concern is.

BROWN: Let me ask Corey, this is my next question, because you were Donald Trump's number two during the campaign.

LEWANDOWSKI: Number one even for a while.

BROWN: Or number one for a while.

Is it fair to pin responsibility on her adviser like Huma Abedin rather than the candidate?

LEWANDOWSKI: Well, no, I think this falls scarily on Clinton. Now, you can blame anything you want. Doug Band requested a meeting from the crown prince when the crown prince tried to both through official channels and, was denied that meeting. He sends an e-mail, it was very clear, we just reported on it, that said, he's our friend, he would like to meet with her tomorrow.

And guess what happened? He gave $16 million as a friend. And guess what? The meeting took place in 24 hours.

Now, the crown prince is absolutely entitled to meet with the secretary of state. There's no question about it, and the proper channel should have been taken. And what happened when the proper channels were taken, the meeting was denied.

So, what happened is, I went to my friend over here, so I just gave you $16 million, can you get me a meeting, of course, I can. It's a pay for play scam. That's exactly what it just said.

CARDONA: It's also rich, that the person who is calling for special prosecutor is the person who has not released his taxes. And guess what? Are there negotiations --

LEWANDOWSKI: What does taxes have to do with this?

(CROSSTALK)

SMIKLE: It's transparency.

BROWN: Bottom line, while the optics may not be good, there is no concrete evidence of any sort of criminal quid pro quo. But again, there are all these e-mails that we expect to come out leading up to Election Day. Not a good thing for Hillary Clinton but nothing showing criminal activity, at this stage -- at this stage.

All right. Thanks so much, guys. We really do appreciate it.

CARDONA: Thank you.

BROWN: And OUTFRONT, up next, we are standing by for a Trump rally starting any minute in Texas.

Plus, a possible ISIS-inspired attack in Virginia, why the suspect in a violent stabbing was already on the FBI's radar.

And an exclusive look inside the fight against ISIS and we are looking in Iraq. We're live in Iraq with the latest in the battle to defeat the terror group.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:41:36] BROWN: New development tonight into a possible ISIS- inspired attack in Virginia. According to officials, the suspect stabbed a man and a woman with a knife as they were entering an apartment building.

Brian Todd is OUTFRONT.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A vicious and apparently random stabbing attack at this apartment complex has investigators looking tonight into a possible terrorist attack. Police in Roanoke County, Virginia, nearly 250 miles south of Washington, say a man and woman were attacked as they entered the Pines Apartment Complex on Saturday night.

911: Going to be a traumatic injury. Two patients, one with a neck lacerations, the other with a leg laceration and PD is applying a tourniquet to tht patient.

ASST CHIEF CHUCK MASON, ROANOKE COUNTY POLICE DEPARTMENT: The male was eventually able to fight off the attacker who fled, but in the meantime, both the man and the woman had been severely wounded.

TODD: Police say while they were at a local hospital with the victims a man now identified as the suspect came into the E.R. with injuries of his own. He is 20-year-old Wasil Farooqui. Tonight, a U.S. law enforcement official tells CNN witnesses said Farooqui shouted "Allahu Akbar" meaning "God is great" as he carried out the attack. Police say they don't believe Farooqui knew either victim.

DAVEED GARTENSTEIN-ROSS, FOUNDATION FOR DEFENSE OF DEMOCRACIES: There is certainly a real possibility here that he could have been inspired by ISIS. But the fact that he screamed out "Allahu Akbar", the fact that he chose apparently random victims, the fact that he was known by authorities in advance certainly raises that question.

TODD: A law enforcement official tells CNN, Farooqui was previously known to the FBI because of concerns over his possible radicalization and because of possible mental health issues. Now, the FBI is trying to determine Farooqui's motive.

GARTENSTEIN-ROSS: If it is linked to ISIS, then one of the things that it shows is that they're able to carry out attacks in the most random cases, places that you'd never think as being hit by an attack.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

TODD: Now, what's not clear tonight is whether the suspect Wasil Farooqui was actually communicating with anyone from overseas, with any operatives from ISIS or another terror group. If he was not and if he was radicalized and inspired on his own, he would symbolize what has become a massive challenge for U.S. law enforcement. FBI Director James Comey said the bureau has a thousand investigations ongoing into homegrown, violent extremists, most of them ISIS-related -- Pamela.

BROWN: All right. Brian Todd, thanks so much.

And OUTFRONT now, Bob Baer, a former CIA operative.

So, Bob, given the current ISIS threat, do you expect more attacks like this, these unsophisticated attacks to happen in the United States?

BOB BAER, FORMER CIA OPERATIVE: Oh, Pam, absolutely. These people identify with the conflicts in the Middle East, with Iraq where a lot of Sunni Muslims have been killed recently in Fallujah, for instance, hundreds and hundreds of them. And they're with a common cause and they don't need to actually go to Syria or Iraq to be indoctrinated. They do it online.

The FBI can't arrest them just because they're looking at sites, so they are really in a tough spot to identify these people and whether they're going to turn to violence.

BURNETT: Well, if there are all these individuals. The FBI has 900- plus cases open, ISIS-related cases. So, if there are all these people in the U.S. like this suspect in the Virginia attack, how much of a concern is that they could find each other, link up a former terror cell and cause even more harm than just one individual can do?

BAER: Well, Pam, I'm worried about this attack itself. If this was a terrorist attack, this person could have beheaded one of those victims and it would have sent panic through the United States.

[19:45:06] Or we also have the Nice problem of driving a car through a crowded area. Any of those weapons are completely lethal and it's so difficult to predict them, but, you know, the FBI is monitoring the best they can, but they just can't predict who's going to turn to violence, as I said.

BURNETT: And just in a nutshell, what are the challenges in tracking these people that are on the FBI's radar, but then go on and launch attack?

BAER: You almost can't do it. You can go interview them and they'll tell the FBI agent, no, I'm not thinking about it, yes, I was thinking at sites, and they just have to walk away until they take one overt act, whatever that may be.

BROWN: All right. Bob Baer, thank you so much for that and we do appreciate it.

OUTFRONT tonight, we are standing by for Donald Trump about to rally supporters in Austin, Texas.

Plus, exclusive reporting from the front lines in the fight against ISIS. We are live in Iraq.

And Hillary Clinton and her healthy twist on a pickle jar.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BROWN: Tonight, the Pentagon confirming that a member of the U.S. military was killed in an explosion in Afghanistan and another service member was also wounded as they were training and advising Afghan forces there. And this all comes as Iraqi security forces and potentially Americans as well, braced for a major battle to regain control of Mosul from ISIS.

Arwa Damon is OUTFRONT.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Under apocalyptic skies, blackened by thick is Qayyarah, the next target for Iraqi forces.

ISIS used to move around 100 oil tankers of crude a day out of these fields, now set aflame by ISIS fighters to decrease visibility from above.

We are some 65 kilometers or 40 miles south of Mosul, lands Iraqi forces have not stepped in since ISIS took over more than two years ago, their corpses left to rot in the sun, and the commander tells us that ISIS appears to be weakening.

GENERAL NAJIM AL-JOBOUN, NINEVEH OPERATIONS COMMANDER: Before ISIS I told you, the majority of fighters attacked us with foreign fighters. And now they put some foreign fighters, local fighters. Now I think they have lack of the foreign fighters.

DAMON: On display, weapons troops found in residential homes, among them homemade mortar tubes and mortars larger than anything the Iraqis have at their disposal.

Another significant gain in this area, the Qayyarah air base, the third largest in Iraq, much of it destroyed by ISIS fighters as they withdrew, leaving, we are told, explosives under piles of dirt on the runways that need to be cleared.

This will be a vital forward base for the Iraqis and potentially U.S. forces.

Families wearily haul what they can, stumbling away from the fighting.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): They took half of our men and they forced them to fight for them. They killed my father.

DAMON: Tears for all that they lost. Loved ones gone in a war that few can fully comprehend. The lives they knew and loved disintegrated years ago.

To the southeast of Mosul, the Kurdish Peshmerga have pushed their front line forward, as well. The Peshmerga defensive berm snakes its way along the east and north. The village is controlled by ISIS visible in the distance. Here, too, they have noticed is weakening, showing us how ISIS moves within nondescript buildings like this.

(on camera): The Peshmerga fighters did initially drop down and take a few steps into what appear to be some sort of tunnel, but rather than take their chances, they decided to then withdraw and seal off the entrance.

(voice-over): The chokehold around Mosul is tightening and the government's pledge to liberate the city by the end of the year is still the goal. The battle there with over a million civilians will potentially be starkly different from the ones out here, but success will be defined and land gained and not lives destroyed or lost.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BROWN: And Arwa joins us now from Iraq.

So, Arwa, how are the people trapped inside impacting Iraqis' ability to move forward here?

DAMON: Well, Pamela, it makes it unspeakably phenomenally difficult and what we have historically seen is ISIS not only using the civilian population that remains trapped inside these areas, villages and towns, as human shield, but in fact, gathering families, forcing them into buildings that ISIS then uses as their own fighting positions. And this is the top concern for the Iraqi commander on the ground in Nineveh Province.

If you look at what's happening in the fighting in the town of Qayyarah, for example, there the officers believe there are 10,000 families that remain trapped inside, children who potentially ISIS is using in the most horrific way possible. And this is especially a concern, of course, as they advance on the city of Mosul where the civilian population there is believed to be anywhere between 1 million to 1.5 million.

And what we are seeing in Qayyarah in terms of the challenges facing the Iraqis militarily and also, we are told this the toll it is going to be having on the civilian population, it is just as fraction of what they are going to be facing as they advance on Iraq's second largest city, Pamela.

BROWN: All right. Arwa Damon, thank you for bringing us important reporting from Iraq.

And OUTFRONT up next, take a look here. You're looking at live pictures of a big crowd in Texas awaiting the start of a Donald Trump rally.

And up next, Jeanne Moos on the nation's leading comedians giving Hillary Clinton a clean bill of health.

We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:58:27] BROWN: At 68, Hillary Clinton still has a pulse in case you were wondering and that's not all.

Here's Jeanne Moos.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know who is making fun of Hillary Clinton's supposed health issues? Hillary.

HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Take my pulse while I'm talking to you.

JIMMY KIMMEL, COMEDIAN/TV HOST: OK.

CLINTON: So -- make sure I'm alive.

MOOS: Jimmy Kimmel even put Hillary to the test.

KIMMEL: Can you open this jar of pickles? This has not been tampered with.

Oh!

MOOS: Pickle jar aside, some jokes are more jarring.

CONAN O'BRIEN, COMEDIAN/TV HOST: Donald Trump has been saying that Hillary Clinton looks unwell. Trump then admitted he thinks any woman over 35 looks like she's dying.

MOOS: But some of the funniest comments about Hillary's health aren't jokes. They're actual theories.

For instance --

(CROSSTALK)

MOOS: The time Hillary acted startled by reporters' questions.

SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS: It almost see seizure-sque to me.

MOOS: What was seizure-sque was how critics seized on it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have seizures, psychotic facial ticks.

MOOS: Putting it to music.

Even if the reporter, some described some described as looking scared said she wasn't and Hillary wasn't having a seizure.

Doctors weren't buying in?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I can't say that's a seizure.

MOOS: Then, there was pillow-gate, photos with arrows pointing at pillows propping up Hillary. There was also the anti-seizure injector pen and the Secret Service agent is clutching something. Is it an emergency seizure syringe?

Actually, it seems to be a flashlight. Watch the agent point it at the floor as Hillary moves to a darker area.

Next thing you know, they'll be saying she's growing a tail. Wait! A few have already said this is evidence she's possessed by the devil.

Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BROWN: Thank you so much for joining us.

"AC360" starts right now.