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AT THIS HOUR WITH BERMAN AND MICHAELA

Is Trump Backpedaling on Immigration; Trump, Clinton Calling Each Other Bigots; Jeb Bush Comments on Trump's Shifting Immigration Plan. Aired 11-11:30a ET

Aired August 26, 2016 - 11:00   ET

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


[11:00:00] ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks so much for being with us today. I'm Erica Hill, in for Carol Costello.

AT THIS HOUR with Berman and Bolduan starts now.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HILLARY CLINTON, (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Donald Trump has built his campaign on prejudice and paranoia.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST, A.C. 360: He directly called her a bigot.

DONALD TRUMP, (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: She is a bigot.

CLINTON: He is taking hate groups mainstream.

TRUMP: Extremely, extremely bad for African-Americans. Extremely bad for Hispanics.

CLINTON: Described black communities in such insulting and ignorant terms.

TRUMP: There's no path to legalization.

COOPER: You're talking about 11 million people are no longer going to be deported.

TRUMP: You want take 11 at one time and just say, boom, you're gone.

JEB BUSH, (R), FORMER FLORIDA GOVERNOR & FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: All the things Donald Trump railed against, he seems to be morphing into. Kind of disturbing.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm John Berman. Kate is off today.

Is it possible to back pedal your back pedaling? Is that back-back pedaling? Donald Trump is trying to achieve this. Just 74 days before the election, the Republican candidate for president is adjusting his adjusted stance on undocumented immigrants, yet again, telling CNN there will be no path to legalization. This, just days after he seemed a little open to the idea. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: If they haven't committed a crime, is there going to be a path to legalization?

TRUMP: First thing we're going to do --

COOPER: I'm talking about citizenship, legalization.

TRUMP: No, there is not a path. There is no path to legalization.

COOPER: You talked about paying back taxes.

TRUMP: Unless people leave the country -- well, when they come back in. If they come back in, then they can start paying takes.

COOPER: So they still have to leave the country?

TRUMP: There's no path unless they leave the country and come back.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: Different from what he was saying in the last few days. Confused? It's hard to tell where Trump stands on the major issue of his candidacy. Right now, there seems to be a wall, all right, but it is a wall of confusion.

I want to bring in CNN chief political correspondent, Dana Bash.

Dana, what's Donald Trump's immigration policy?

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: You want me to explain it? Look, one of our colleagues said it another way, which is yesterday with be Anderson, he back flopped. We don't know where that back flop is landing except it seems to be where he started at the beginning of his primary run. Policy-wise, sounding very similar. Which is everybody be who is here illegally has to go. But, in his words, good ones can come back in.

Let's listen to a little more to get a better sense of what he's saying.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: If somebody hasn't committed a crime, will they be deported?

TRUMP: Let me explain. Let me tell you what. We know the bad ones. We know who they are, where they are. We know the drug cartel people. We know the gangs and the heads of the gangs and the gang members. Those people are gone. That's a huge number.

COOPER: But that's Jeb Bush's policy.

TRUMP: I don't know anything about Jeb Bush. He wasn't building a wall.

COOPER: Well --

TRUMP: Jeb Bush wasn't building a wall. Jeb Bush wasn't making strong borders. I'm not knocking Jeb Bush but I was with him for a long time --

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: Right, but he was mocked for saying, look, you can't deport 11 million people. I know you're not really focusing --

(CROSSTALK)

TRUMP: First, I want to see what's going to happen. We're going to deport many people. Many, many people.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BASH: So here's what I believe is the best interpretation of this right now. Again, if it turns out to be different in five minutes, don't hold me to it. But it's basically that he is coming in to this with his new campaign team wanting him to be more appealing to not just minorities but, more importantly, to moderate Republicans, Independents, even some Democrats potentially, by sounding more tolerant. And this is the next phase of doing that.

The challenge he has though, John, is doing that while not angering the people who really do want everybody to go. Whether they're good citizens, whether they've got families of 14 who -- maybe not citizens but good members of society, families of 14 who are doing quite well here. They do want them to be pulled apart. So he's trying to balance between those things.

BERMAN: If we take him at his words last night to Anderson, he sees no path for legalization, doesn't want any path for legalization for people to stay here. But he won't commit to the fact those who are here illegally should leave. That's an interesting position. We'll talk more about that. As a political position here what are the people who have been supporting him all along who feel very strongly about immigration? Particularly, prominent ones? Now saying about all this?

[11:04:42] BASH: To me, one of the most fascinating things was Sarah Palin. We haven't heard much from here at all. She's been AWOL from the campaign trail after her big splash endorsing him.

But she came out on this issue. She was giving him a warning. I want to read you what he told the "Wall Street Journal": "If Mr. Trump were to go down a path of wishy-washy positions taking on things that the core foundation of his support has so appreciated, and that is respecting our Constitution and respecting law and order in America, then, yeah, there would be massive disappointment."

So, you know, she, as I said, she has been very quiet, which has been a mystery I itself. Putting that aside, the fact she designed to come out and say this gives you a sense of the fact that the core supporters for whom immigration is a very big issue. Anything that even remotely looks like you're letting people stay legally is amnesty, a little bit of that territory.

BERMAN: That was before, we think, before Donald Trump told Anderson he doesn't think there should be a path to legalization. So it will be interesting to see.

Dana, great to have you here. Thank you so much.

BASH: Thank you, John.

BERMAN: The immigration debate, discussion, internal debate within Donald Trump's own head, is just one side of what's fascinating on the campaign now. Because the candidates, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, are debating who's the bigot. Donald Trump says Hillary Clinton is a bigot. Hillary Clinton says Trump is making hate-fringe groups mainstream.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CLINTON: From the start, Donald Trump has built his campaign on prejudice and paranoia. He is taking hate groups mainstream and helping a radical fringe take over the Republican Party.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: All right. I want to bring in CNN's political director, David Chalian, right now.

This is a really interesting discussion. We've covered a lot of campaigns. It's not exactly one I've heard right now. "You're a bigot. No, you're a bigot." What's going on?

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: It's not the most uplifting campaign message. You heard Hillary Clinton with a different tone than we normally hear on the campaign trail. This was not a rallying cry and firing up the troops. She was treeing to take an extremely sober and serious approach to what she believes is another piece of argument she's prosecuting. That he's unqualified for the job of president. In the past, she's talked a lot about him and will continue to talk about his temperament as one reason he's disqualified to be commander-in-chief. Now, she's prosecuting the argument that says he's embracing these ideas and speaking this language that really makes him on the fringe outside of the mainstream of American politics.

Another piece of this, John, that she's trying to appeal to some moderate Republicans in the middle who are totally reluctant to Donald Trump at this stage of the game. She's trying to say, you don't have to think about voting for me, but this is not a representative of your Republican party. She evokes some pretty big names when she was making that point. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CLINTON: 20 years ago, when Bob Dole accepted the Republican nomination, he pointed to the exits in the convention hall and told any racists in the party to get out. The week after 9/11, George W. Bush went to a mosque and declared for everyone to hear that "Muslims love America just as much as I do." In 2008, John McCain told his own supporters that they were wrong about the man he was trying to defeat. Senator McCain made sure they knew Barack Obama, he said, is an American citizen and a decent person.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHALIAN: Now, John, you tell me, when you were thinking through what Hillary Clinton might be doing in the closing 75 days of her presidential campaign as the Democratic nominee, did you think she would evoke Bob Dole and John McCain to bolster her argument?

BERMAN: It is a common line of argument dating back decades. No, it's very, very unusual, very important to point out how Hillary Clinton is trying to other-ize Trump now. We'll see if that lasts.

David Chalian, great to have you here. Thanks so much.

CHALIAN: Sure. Thanks, John.

BERMAN: We'll talk more about all this now with our panel. Joining us, Michael Nutter, the former mayor of Philadelphia, a Hillary Clinton supporter; CNN political commentator and Donald Trump supporter, Kayleigh McEnany, is here. CNN political commentator and former Republican National Committee official, Doug Heye, joins us. And CNN political commentator and Hillary Clinton supporter, Maria Cardona, is here as well.

Kayleigh, I want to start with you on immigration.

My understanding what Donald Trump told Anderson last night, and is this is his current position on undocumented immigrants, he sees no path to legalization for the 11 million undocumented immigrants here. No path to legalization. However, he won't commit to the fact that they all should go.

KAYLEIGH MCENANY, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: What he's saying is they have to go back and return if they want any chance of legalization.

(CROSSTALK)

BERMAN: But he isn't committing to forcing them to leave, correct?

MCENANY: He's committing to removing the criminals. He's starting there. After that, it's a negotiation with Congress. That's how these things work. It's a compromise.

[11:10:13] BERMAN: So the criminals will go. The non criminals, he's not committing to the fact that they have to go.

MCENANY: He's saying -- his starting point is with the criminals, which is what he's always said. Here's the thing with Donald Trump. His position is one of security.

If we want to talk about flip-flop, let's talk about Hillary Clinton, who went last November at a New Hampshire rally, said and praised the fact she voted for a bill to put a barrier on the border. That happened at just November at a New Hampshire rally. 2005, she said, I am adamantly against illegal immigrants. If you want a flip-flop on the issue of immigration, we have to look at Hillary Clinton, who at one point was for securing the border, but now is for --

(CROSSTALK)

BERMAN: I don't think she backtracked on the fence she supported, where she supported putting it up.

Doug Heye, the point I was making with Kayleigh, and you've been part of the immigration battles for a long time, is it a thing? Can you allow for the undocumented immigrants who are here who haven't committed a crime, can they stay without legalization? What's that? Isn't that just a status quo?

DOUG HEYE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think it's a status quo. Probably some form of purgatory as well. One of the things House Republicans tried to address when I was working in the House of Representatives, we tried to put up some ideas, solicit ideas. What we were told is anything short of a full deportation was amnesty. So by that definition, by Trump supporters now, is amnesty. What we've also seen, it sounds like Donald Trump is not just embracing the Jeb Bush position, but Mitt Romney's self-deportation position.

BERMAN: He no longer says there should be a path to legalization. He seemed to suggest that for a few days. But he made clear he sees a path to legalization for people who are here. However, he didn't commit to the fact they should leave.

Maria Cardona, I want to give you some credit here, because you said yesterday on this show, you said you did not think, you did not believe Donald Trump when he was thinking maybe he thought there should be some legal status.

MARIA CARDONA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Exactly. He did exactly what I knew he was going to do. I love the way you guys put it. He backtracked on his flip-flop. Because this is a man who has -- not only does he have no idea where he stands on this and he just kind of puts his finger up in the wind to figure out what his supporters want. He read them very well in the Republican primaries when he focused on the draconian position of deporting them all and putting up a wall and putting a deportation force in order to do it. And he got the majority of his votes during those primaries from people who loved that position.

But now I think he is in a pickle, because he doesn't know how to move forward to try to attract other moderates. Forget the Hispanic vote. I think that he knows that is dead in the water for him, and for the reasons that I have spoken in abundance of on this program and others. There's no trust there. They don't see him as somebody who understands the Hispanic vote. Who even cares about what we want? And so this is his opportunity, at least in his mind, to try to get more moderate Republicans to not think of him as such a racist and such a bigot. One of the most important pieces of information in all the polls that

have come out is more than two-thirds of Americans overall believe that he holds racist views and that he holds bigoted views. And that's what he's trying to change.

BERMAN: All right, Maria, hang on. You just dropped the "R" word and the "B" word, which is a good segue to the other part of what's going on out there now.

That Hillary Clinton, Mayor Nutter, gave a speech where she accused Donald Trump of associating with racists, and Trump responded, calling Clinton a bigot. You're a bigot. Now, you're a bigot. He's a bigot. No, she's a bigot.

This is unusual, Mayor, in a campaign season. Why are we seeing this?

MICHAEL NUTTER, FORMER PHILADELPHIA MAYOR & HILLARY CLINTON SUPPORTER: Well, I mean, I said earlier, it really goes back to as secretary Clinton laid out yesterday in very measured remarks that were presidential in stature. She laid out the case for how this got started. It started with the ban on Muslims, started with insulting the Mexican community, started with insulting the physically disabled individuals. It starts the concept of Donald Trump is to insult as many people as possible, say anything you want and create an environment of fostering this hate. The secretary didn't accuse him of associating with these people. It's a fact he associates with them or encourages their support. Does not denounce people like David Duke and others. Brings on Bannon. These are facts. He can't escape these things --

(CROSSTALK)

MCENANY: We have a lot of facts on our end, Mayor Nutter.

NUTTER: Kayleigh, let me finish --

(CROSSTALK)

MCENANY: -- you're talking about associate, well --

NUTTER: Kayleigh? Kayleigh?

MCENANY: -- why did Clinton go to his wedding if he was such a bad guy? Answer that question.

NUTTER: You have to talk to him about that. I don't control his schedule and who goes to what weddings.

MCENANY: I'm talking about her schedule.

NUTTER: What I'm saying here is --

(CROSSTALK)

MCENANY: She went to his wedding --

(CROSSTALK)

NUTTER: What I'm saying -- Kayleigh, cut it out.

What I'm saying here is he has created an environment where all of this hate and controversy gets created. He's tangled himself up in it. And he has no pathway out.

The reason you can't understand his immigration position is because he doesn't know what his immigration position is from time to time until he gets advice from someone else.

BERMAN: Doug --

(CROSSTALK)

[11:15:32] MCENANY: Can I just quickly say, Mayor Nutter, I'm befuddled at you telling Trump supporters to cut it out. Your candidate put up an ad comparing him and allying him with the KKK --

(CROSSTALK)

MCENANY: -- when we can do the same thing to you. We can talk about Robert Byrd, a KKK grand dragon, who Hillary Clinton embraced --

(CROSSTALK)

NUTTER: You mean later a great civil rights champion.

MCENANY: -- we can talk about Bill Clinton leaving the Confederate star on the Arkansas flag. We can talk about Bill Clinton going to an all-white golf course and being excoriated by the NAACP. We can talk about all those facts. But you guys do not want to talk about them --

(CROSSTALK)

NUTTER: Love talking about facts --

(CROSSTALK)

BERMAN: Doug, I was talking --

(CROSSTALK)

BERMAN: It's an unusual campaign where the augment is, who is the bigger bigot. Since Hillary Clinton gave this speech that I've heard Paul Ryan stand up and say, you know, no, Donald Trump's not a bigot. I haven't heard many senior Republicans defend Donald Trump from what was a pretty scathing speech. Why?

HEYE: I think what you've seen, and CNN reported on this earlier, you look at a lot of the Senate races and House races. They're fighting for themselves right now. Donald Trump is a massive distraction that every Republican candidate has to deal with.

But I can tell you, John, my first campaign was for Jesse Helms. I worked for Michael Steele and I worked for Eric Cantor. That's a lot of diverse cast of characters. There's been one consistent thread. This is something Donald Trump said was true, the call of racism is a cornerstone of the Democratic playbook. I've seen people's race used against them, whether they're Jewish Republicans or African-American Republicans. The challenge is for a lot of Republicans the rhetoric that Donald Trump has used over the past year, the comments on Muslim s, on the Khan family and on and on. It's why I came out against Donald Trump in January and so many other Republicans are hesitant to not only defend him but even vote for him.

BERMAN: All right, Doug, Mayor Nutter --

(CROSSTALK)

NUTTER: -- African-American community and those remarks --

(CROSSTALK)

BERMAN: Thank you so much.

A lot more to discuss. A lot more to discuss coming up. We're going to talk about Donald Trump's immigration position. If parts of it sound familiar, it's because you heard similar proposals from people, like, say, that guy, Jeb Bush, who lost. So what does Jeb Bush have to say about all this? That's coming up.

Plus, a federal judge sets a deadline for the State Department to start releasing Hillary Clinton's private server e-mails uncovered by the FBI. We have details ahead.

Plus, a sitting governor leaves quite a voice mail for a rival lawmaker. This one is a doozy.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED GOVERNOR: I would like to talk to you about your comments about my being a racist, you (EXPLETIVE DELETED), and I want to talk to you. You want -- I want you to prove I'm a racist. I've spent my life helping black people and you little son of a (EXPLETIVE DELETED) Socialist (EXPLETIVE DELETED).

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[11:22:22] RUSH LIMBAUGH, CONSERVATIVE RADIO TALK SHOW HOST (voice- over): Who knew?

(LAUGHTER)

Can you imagine what it's like to be Jeb Bush today? Who knew?

(LAUGHTER)

I'm sorry, folks. (END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: So that's conservative radio host, Rush Limbaugh, trying to compose himself after Trump's shifting views on immigration. A plan that, 48 hours ago, at least, sounded a lot like that of his former rival, Jeb Bush. Today, frankly, is a little more unclear where he stands. Bush himself called Trump's shifting stances abhorrent and disturbing.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BUSH: Sounds like a typical politician, by the way, where you get in front of one crowd and say one thing, and then say something else to another crowd that may want to hear a different view. All the things Donald Trump railed against, he seems to be morphing into. Kind of disturbing.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: All right, joining me now is Charlie Spies, the treasury, was the treasury and counsel for the pro-Jeb Bush Right to Rise super PAC. Obviously, a big Jeb Bush supporter.

Charlie, thanks for being with us.

Based on what we heard last night, based on what Donald Trump told Anderson Cooper, he now no longer sees any path to legalization for undocumented immigrants who stay in this country, but do you think you have clarity on what Trump's immigration position is?

CHARLIE SPIES, FORMER TREASURER AND COUNSEL, RIGHT TO RISE SUPER PAC: The reason I supported Jeb Bush is because he had studied issues and took coherent positions on them and stuck with them, even if they weren't popular when demagogued in a primary.

I have no idea where the hell Donald Trump is on immigration. 48 hours ago, it looked like he had read Jeb Bush's book, immigration wars, which talked about securing the border, rounding up illegal -- people who had been -- committed crimes in the country. National security being a priority, but then a path to legalization, not a citizenship, but legalization for the other, you know, of the 11 million, those who have not committed crimes while in the country. That's what Donald Trump said 48 hours ago. Now it sounds like his key supporter, Ann Coulter, threw a fit because she wrote a book on the position based on what he said in the primary and now he's done a what you're calling a back flip on his flip-flop or something.

BERMAN: Hard to figure out. I've heard some argue immigration's not the number one or two issues for most voters out there so maybe we're focusing too much on this shift or this inability to stick with would be position from Donald Trump. Does it matter for a candidate to have a firm set in stone position on an issue like immigration?

[11:25:11] SPIES: Well, there's two key issues that Donald Trump -- if you looked at focus groups -- that he did the best in the primary on. The first is he said that he was going to self-finance his campaign, and because of that, he couldn't be bought off by special interests. And then the second thing was that he was going to have a deportation force. And have no amnesty for illegal immigrants. Hel he has flip-flopped on both of those issues.

On the first one, he's not self-financing. He's asking for $400,000 checks from major donors. And only put about $50 million into his campaign, which is the same amount Mitt Romney put in, in 2008. On immigration, I applaud the fact he seems to be studying the learning that his demagoguery about a deportation force is impossible to do. It's bad policy and bad politics.

But if I'm a supporter of his, I would be furious that he's now 180, it looks like.

BERMAN: Charlie, there was a lot of discussion, there has been, over the last 24 hours about bigotry. Hillary Clinton gave a scathing speech about Donald Trump and ties to organizations she considers racist, also a record she considers suspect at best. Do you think that her speech yesterday was fair? And why haven't I heard the likes of Paul Ryan, some establishment Republican, stand up and defend Donald Trump over the last day?

SPIES: He's made it very hard to defend himself. Look, he needs to repudiate his anti-Semitic and racist and frankly I would say anti- American neo-Nazi supporters. I don't think he necessarily shares all their beliefs, but he's done something to inspire their support. And he needs to clearly repudiate them. It's not the rest of the Republican's job to defend him. It's his job to do that and make it easy. 30 percent of Republicans don't support him right now. He's got to bring us on board. And that's his job to do.

BERMAN: Just to be clear, he said last night to a New Hampshire station he doesn't want racists to vote for him, so at least a form of repudiation here. You have not committed to voting for him yet. Is it better than a 50/50 chance you think you'll vote for Donald Trump?

SPIES: Look, we have two bad options. I think if he wasn't making this whole policy mishmash, we'd be talking about Hillary Clinton scandals with the Clinton Foundation. I don't like either of my options. But I hope that -- for the same of the down-ballot tickets, I think it's critical the Republicans keep the Senate, and we can't have Trump get crushed if we're going to keep the Senate. So he has to straighten out his campaign and do a better job of articulating commonsense policies.

BERMAN: Charlie, come back. Great to have you here with us. Really appreciate it.

SPIES: Thank you.

BERMAN: All right, Donald Trump is now invoking Bernie Sanders in his ongoing effort to paint Hillary Clinton as a bigot. The Trump campaign even used Sanders' own word in a new video. We're going to talk to Sanders' former campaign chief, next.

Plus, a judge set a date for the release of Hillary Clinton's private server e-mail uncovered by the FBI, at least some of them. We'll hear details ahead.

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