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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL
Clinton, Trump Debate Begins at 9PM Eastern Time on CNN; Trump Appears With Bill Clinton Accusers Before Debate. Aired 7-8p ET
Aired October 9, 2016 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[18:59:48] ANNOUNCER: Tonight, a presidential debate rematch in an exclusive moment in the campaign.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: I said it, I was wrong and I apologize.
ANNOUNCER: Donald Trump facing a fire storm over his shocking comments about women captured on video. Renewing his threat to ratchet up his attack on the Clintons and their past.
TRUMP: The American people have had it with years of Clinton corruption and scandal.
ANNOUNCER: Hillary Clinton riding new momentum after her first face off with Trump heading into this crucial night with new fuel for her attacks.
TRUMP: This is a man who has called women pigs, slobs and dogs.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN's coverage of Clinton versus Trump in their second presidential debate.
TRUMP: Her run for the presidency will never, ever work out.
ANNOUNCER: This time, they'll be eye to eye with undecided voters, as well as each other.
HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Friends don't let friends vote for Trump.
ANNOUNCER: Two nominees, one stage and America's future up for debate.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton about to walk on to this debate stage with Donald Trump's campaign in crisis. This debate could be Trump's last and best chance to rescue his embattled bid for the White House.
Good evening. We are live at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. We have a loud and excited crowd here as we are awaiting the arrival of the presidential nominees here on the campus of Washington University. Welcome to all. I'm Erin Burnett. This is a special Sunday edition of OUTFRONT on this debate night in America. Both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have so much on the line tonight. The stakes though for Trump have skyrocketed even higher since the
leak of that video. Trump caught making sexually aggressive comments about women. Tonight, we expect that Donald Trump will talk about those remarks directly, going beyond his scripted apology that he posted late Friday evening. He heads into this debate with more top Republicans around the country abandoning him, formally withdrawing their support and some want him to quit the race entirely.
He has come out and responded to that saying, there is zero chance of it happening. Clinton meantime has refused to publicly talk about the Trump video, but she will be doing that tonight. She has saved her fire for this evening. We're told she made it a big part of her debate prep once the news of the tape broke Friday night. She's already ready for the possibility that Trump will attack Bill Clinton's history with women and her response to those women.
Now, let's go inside the debate hall to my colleague, Wolf Blitzer, who is in the room. Wolf?
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Tonight's format, Erin, will be very different than the other debates. Town hall events are all about connecting with the real voters. Candidates usually try to avoid full-scale attacks, but tonight, all bets, I think it is fair to say, are off. Take a look at the stage behind me, it is a more informal setting. Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have stools instead of podiums. They're free to move around the stage during the 90-minute debate, as they take questions from uncommitted voters.
About 40 voters were selected by the gallop polling organization to be on stage. CNN's Anderson Cooper is moderating the debate with Martha Raddatz of ABC News. They'll be on either side of the auditorium. They'll choose which voters get to ask questions, and ask questions themselves, including topics raised on social media. Crowds are gathering here in Washington University in St. Louis with the debate now less than two hours away. Just ahead, we'll going to bring you an exclusive interview with Hillary Clinton's running mate Tim Kaine. We'll also get his take on the Trump video and how Clinton will respond to it.
Let's bring in CNN's Dana Bash. She's getting some new information on the RNC Chairman Reince Priebus. What are you learning now about where he stands in all of this?
DANA BASH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, one of the key questions, Wolf, is whether or not Donald Trump is going to keep Republicans from completely abandoning him. Most importantly, the Republican National Committee, which has been doing a lot more of the leg work than any other candidate we've seen in the past. I'm told that Jared Kushner, who is Donald Trump's son in law, but most importantly, he has been effectively running Donald Trump's campaign, said to Reince Priebus, the RNC chair, was pressuring him, saying this isn't as bad as you think it is.
Maybe you shouldn't be so negative, referring to the fact that Priebus put out a pretty harsh statement Friday night when all of this broke. Trying to kind of make clear to the RNC that it behooves him not to abandon Donald Trump. And that kind of gives you a sense, Wolf, of how much of a tipping point we're potentially at right now. My understanding is that it is very, very possible for the Republican National Committee and all of its tentacles get up the vote operations, everything else, can cease to help Donald Trump if he doesn't do well tonight and somehow find a way to turn things around. Because the rank and file Republicans, people who are running down ballot are going to say, come on, guys, why waste time and money and resources on somebody who is not going to win? Let's focus on the Senate and the House and everything else.
[19:05:14] BLITZER: Stakes are clearly enormous.
BASH: Very high.
BLITZER: Couldn't be higher right now. Dana, thanks very much. Erin, back to you.
BURNETT: And Wolf, enormous. And of course, Donald Trump's ex- campaign manager moments ago telling us that Reince Priebus was weak, a failed leader. Perhaps an indication that they see where this is going. We're going to talk more about that. But we're getting some new information about the candidates' strategies to prepare for tonight.
And I want to go to Sara Murray first. Sara, what are you hearing from the Trump campaign?
SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Erin, the preeminent concern is Donald Trump calls after this video (INAUDIBLE), it's very effective to a lot of people. And look, there are plenty of people in the Trump campaign who believes that if he delivers a flawless debate performance tonight, he could mount a comeback. But there are other Republicans in leadership, other Republicans who were close to that campaign, weren't so convinced. And one of them told me that this debate will be -- that the video will be a crippling blow when supersized by the debate.
Meaning anyone who hasn't seen the footage or anyone who hasn't heard about the footage will know about it by the end of this debate. Donald Trump could still mount a comeback by delivering a contrite apology. They say he knows what to say but are just not sure if he'll actually say it or he'll address it well on the debate stage -- Erin.
BURNETT: All right, Sara. And now, let's go to Jeff Zeleny. And Jeff, what are you hearing about Hillary Clinton's plan, specifically for responding to this tape tonight?
JEFF ZELENY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Erin, Hillary Clinton is planning for several scenarios but they all include Donald Trump being contrite and offering an apology from the beginning. She spent seven hours yesterday in debate preparations with her team. This is a lot of what they went over. But another theme emerging, I am told tonight, she's going to tie this into his broader conduct. She's going to use this latest example we've been talking about all weekend long as a way she believes he does not have the temperament for office. She's going to run through a litany of sort of his greatest hits and controversies from this campaign, but try to broaden it out here, all about temperament, about fitness for office.
And Erin, this is interesting. A target audience tonight, not just women, also men. Men who are offended by this as well and have been having these conversations in their living rooms, around their breakfast tables for the last two days. That is a key part here. And Hillary Clinton also, Erin, I'm told, is going to bring Republicans into this. Saying it is not simply to disavow him now. This is all about the fight for the Senate tonight, as well, which Democrats are trying to win control of. So, those are her basic themes. But temperament is something we're going to hear over and over tonight -- Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Jeff Zeleny, thank you very much.
And my panel here with me for the hour. Michael Smerconish, let me start with you. The significance here of this rift within the GOP and particularly the establishment now formally running away from Donald Trump. Reince Priebus was with him this weekend. Reince Priebus was with him on the plane. Reince Priebus is with him, and yet you had Donald Trump's former campaign manager just call him weak, feckless and a failed leader. You heard Dana Bash's reporting. Possibly, the Republican National Committee could be about to pull all their assistance to Trump. How significance is this moment?
MICHAEL SMERCONISH, CNN ANCHOR, "SMERCONISH": It's very significant. I don't think you can't overstate its significance. And I'm reminded of a quote from 2013, from Reince Priebus when he said, Erin, the Republican Party needs to stop talking to itself. And what he was saying at that time, in line with touting the need for immigration reform and the need to grow the tent, is that too much of that which this GOP has been doing energizes the base without an eye toward growing the tent to win a general election.
And that's t issue for Donald Trump tonight, right? Because he's got to decide. I think he is itching to talk about Bill Clinton and what went on in the past. And that will appease the 40 percent who are already in his column. But it will not win anyone over. And frankly, I think it could fall like a dud in a room full of folks who are self- described independents who are undecided.
NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: Yes. It also, I think it speaks to how little Donald Trump has changed over these last many months that he's been campaigning. This is where he began his fight right, talking about the Republican establishment, being the outsider, having to answer also for some of the off caller remarks he's made. And here we are again. A year later, he's still fighting the primary fight. He hasn't made a pivot to the general election. And I think now, here we are looking to see if he's going to change in this debate. We haven't had much evidence so far that he will.
BURNETT: So, Gloria, is that what's at stake tonight though? Is this a decision as to whether this is a formal rift of losing all of these funding and all of these backing which is so crucial? Does it get decided based on whether he can perform well tonight?
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I think they want him to perform well. Reince Priebus would like to see him perform well. And I think divorce is very often about money. And I think what this is about in this divorce is, as Dana Bash was reporting, is about money and the funding from the Republican Party, whether they're going to start focusing on the Republican House and Senate races if Trump doesn't do well this evening. And that is why you see Corey Lewandowski upset about Reince Priebus.
[19:10:22] They feel they haven't had the backing. So, you have this picture of an increasingly isolated candidate up in the Gilded Tower, while the party runs away from him. And what he is saying is, I'm going to be the outsider. This is where I started, to your point. This is where I started. I'm the outsider. This is how I won. And this is how I'm going to win the presidency. And all of you can go you know what.
BURNETT: So, David, is this his campaign ends tonight or he continues and can rise like a Phoenix? Is it that crucial of a moment that we're looking at?
DAVID AXELROD, FORMER OBAMA SENIOR ADVISER: I've never experienced anything quite like this. I know I'm not the resident historian on this but --
I think the closest thing to this as an event in an American politics may have been the checkers speech in 1952, when Richard Nixon was being threatened with ejection from the Republican ticket because of a scandal involving campaign finance. And he gave a speech to the nation. Eisenhower watched that speech to try, to decide whether he was going to keep Nixon on the ticket. I think this reaches that magnitude. But here is the problem for the Republican Party. Donald Trump may have damaged himself with large numbers of voters. He did not damage himself with most of his base.
BURNETT: Yep. Right.
AXELROD: Very, very committed to him. So they are trying to save their candidates here, who have to reach these marginal voters, but they don't want to lose the Trump base. And this has been the challenge throughout this campaign. And now, they may have to make a choice.
BURNETT: And so, Jeff, what is at stake tonight though for him, especially when it comes to women?
JEFFREY LORD, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, I mean, sure, of course, he's got to appeal to women. And I think one of the things that is going to happen here, he has been tweeting tonight.
LORD: He's been tweeting out links to two Breitbart video interviews. One of Juanita Broderick and the other of Juanita Broderick, Paula Jones, and Kathleen Willey, all of whom have gone after Hillary Clinton for her conduct in treating them with their different situations.
LORD: So, I think he is probably going to talk about that and say, listen, here are three women who are coming forward to share their stories about Hillary Clinton. Not just Bill Clinton but Hillary Clinton. The other thing I want to respond to with David, he's correct about the checkers speech. But --
BURNETT: I knew that would get you.
LORD: But, but, but, you're leaving something out. And it wasn't Dwight Eisenhower totally. Nixon very cleverly at the end of his speech said, wire or write, the appeal to the audience, the wire or write the Republican National Committee and let them know. Therefore, lifting the decision out of Eisenhower's hands and handing it back to the public. The public overwhelmed --
BURNETT: Quickly, yes.
AXELROD: Can I just say, I think it would be a dreadful mistake if Donald Trump believes that by raising these other issues relative to Bill Clinton --
AXELROD: That he somehow exculpate himself. He needs to show genuine remorse, genuine sense of why this was offensive, genuine regrets, something that he has a hard time -- well, that would be a newsmaker right there.
BORGER: Total contrition.
BURNETT: Yes. And Paul, what about though when this comes up to Hillary Clinton? What is the response that she should give if he goes after her and says, oh, but you were so angry at these other women. You tried to undermine them, as well. Women who slept with her husband. What does she respond to that? Does she say, I was hurt as a woman? How does she handled it?
PAUL BEGALA, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: The best advice is from actually the person on the national stage who is not a politician. Michelle Obama who said, when they go low, we go high. That's what she needs to do. She will be in a room full of people. In this city, the unemployment rate is higher than the national average. The murder rate is the highest in the country in St. Louis.
BURNETT: So, she ignores it.
BEGALA: She needs to talk to those folks. Hillary has had pain in her life, OK? It's nothing compared to the pain that middle class Americans are feeling. She's going to be fine. Donald Trump, let's say whatever he wants about Hillary and Bill Clinton, they've been called worst things by better people. She needs to bring her focus back to the citizens in that room who have real needs, real challenges and real pain. And show them why she can help and improve their lives and change our country for the better. Whereas Donald Trump just wants to spend all this time in politics of personal destruction and wallowing in the mud. I think that is what she is going to do.
KAYLEIGH MCENANY, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, Hillary Clinton did wallow in the mud last time. She brought up a plethora of personal as she used in scandals. You know what, I think the candidate that's going to win tonight is going to be the candidate that focuses on the issues. We have seen every single focus group, voters express their frustration. I didn't hear from either one of these candidates how my situation is going to improve economically and on the foreign policy front.
Tonight, the candidate who talks about the issues and stays away from the personal attacks is going to win. And for Donald Trump, it must begin with an apology. A heartfelt apology, one that doesn't mention Bill Clinton, one that just expresses remorse. One that asks the American people for forgiveness. If he does that, he will be the next president of the United States, but only if he does that.
[19:15:10] BURNETT: Van?
VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think that is mostly right. Listen, these two candidates are in very different positions. Hillary Clinton had to do something very difficult, which is to put down an insurgency in her own party, the Sanders rebellion, but do it on terms that let the most people come to her. She has largely succeeded in that. The Millennials are still a little bit grumpy but they're moving her direction. Trump had a tougher challenge, which was to actually win an insurgency, grab the party assets and then use them to take power.
He has failed in the fundamental leadership challenge of this campaign, which is to capture the party. So now, he's in a situation where he's trying to make it a virtue. His failure a virtue. And he has to do something else. The idea that he -- and by his tweets, he thinks he can just Bill Clinton sucks, too, therefore, I get to be the president. It's absurd. First of all, what he has actually confessed to, not been accused of, but confessed to is a crime. If I were to go to Donald Trump and grope him and try to kiss him, I would go to jail. That's called sexual assault. It is a crime.
But you have someone who has confessed to a crime, who now wants to be able to say that I'm the law and order candidate, which is now bizarre. He came to prominence by attacking five African-American young men who were falsely accused of being sexual predators. He came to promise by attacking immigrant Mexicans and saying they are rapists. It turns out it was all projection. He is a sexual predator.
LORD: That is s not true.
JONES: He is a super predator. And he cannot attack Bill Clinton and get out of it. Period.
BURNETT: What does he do if she uses those words, if she calls him a predator tonight? What is she supposed to say? Because the other context here, of course, is that Donald Trump has been on television for a long time.
BURNETT: We know one person who worked for Mark Burnett who of course is the producer of "The Apprentice" says they signed an agreements where you have to pay a lot of money if you leaked anything. But he has that hanging over his head. There could be something else out there.
LORD: And she has, per these videos at the Breitbart situation, at the Breitbart site, she will have to deal with being an enabler to a predator. I mean, sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander here. So, if she goes down the path --
SMERCONISH: Who is the undecided voter? Paint the picture for me. Describe for me the demographic of the individual tonight that doesn't know for whom to vote and hears that pitch and then says, oh, my God, I guess I have to go for Donald Trump.
BURNETT: Fair question.
LORD: Yes. Sure. What you're saying when you hear that is, she's not what I'm thought she was. She doesn't have the temperament.
SMERCONISH: What is he then, he is still the same thing that we just heard in that video.
LORD: Yes. And so is she. So is she. So then in that sense, it's probably a wash. Right?
BORGER: But Jeffrey, he also --
LORD: And removed from the board.
BORGER: But Jeffrey, he is also on the record having praised how she handled herself during her husband's extramarital affairs, during impeachment, et cetera. Donald Trump is on the record saying that he was against impeachment.
BORGER: So if she wanted to, and from my reporting today, I will tell you that I do not believe she will do tit for tat here, I don't think she wants to go there. I think what she wants to say is that this is a pattern. It's not just 11 years ago. It is 11 days ago with Alicia Machado. And she wants to go through, if you are going to apologize, apologize to the Gold Star mothers, apologize to Alicia Machado, apologize to women you've called names. I don't think she'll get that specific but she could if point out that he actually praised her.
MCENANY: To which he could reply, apologize to the Benghazi families. Who two of them come out --
BORGER: That doesn't get either of them anywhere.
MCENANY: -- falsely blamed the death of my son --
BURNETT: OK. We are going to hit pause. We are going to talk more. We're all going to be back. I want to take a break. Because as we count down to the start of this crucial debate, everything on the line, we have an exclusive interview with the Democratic vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine.
Does he know what Hillary Clinton is going to say about the Trump video? More of our special edition of OUTFRONT coming up.
[19:23:22] BURNETT: Washington University pop band playing our music and doing a fantastic job at it. We are back in Washington University in St. Louis for the second Clinton-Trump debate. Now, the coming hours, of course, could be the most consequential yet in this astounding campaign. We have to always try to find the right words for it at this point. Right now we want to hear another voice. From Hillary Clinton's running mate Tim Kaine, to get his controversy going through the Trump campaign and the Republican Party.
Our Jake Tapper has this exclusive interview.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: So, let's start with this new Donald Trump tape that came out on Friday, in which he exhibits a casual attitude towards sexual assault. Is Hillary Clinton going to bring it up at the debate Sunday night, and what's she's going to say, if so?
SEN. TIM KAINE (D-VA), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, I don't exactly know what she's going to say about it during the debate. I imagine some of the undecided voters who are part of this town hall forum will have questions about it. And I really think it's for Donald Trump to try to answer it and take responsibility.
His statement trying to say, look, I regret these words, it's not just words. It really is talking about a pattern of sexual assault. And so I just -- I can't imagine that undecided voters that are part of this town hall will not want to hear him explain why he thought that was acceptable behavior. TAPPER: A pattern of sexual assault is what you said. And that
certainly sounds like what he's saying, but do you know of any evidence that he actually acted in that way?
KAINE: My understanding is that there are stories in some papers today with individuals basically saying that they were subject to exactly the treatment that he describes on the tape. So, you know, this would be a question for Donald Trump to answer. If he says, "I may have said those things, but I never did them," that's one thing. But, you know, I think the tape raises an awful lot of questions. And if you take that tape as Donald has accurately describing his actions, then, yes, it is a pattern of assaultive behavior, and it's much more than words.
And I think the issue, Jake, that it raises is not just a question for Donald Trump to address as he talks to the voters during the debate, but it's also something that candidates who stood with Donald Trump have to address. If you are a GOP officeholder or candidate, and you stood with Donald Trump, people ought to be asking you now, do you still think he's qualified to be president and do you still support him? A number of people are withdrawing their support, but anybody who hasn't declared where they are on that question needs to be asked that question.
TAPPER: I'm sure you know Donald Trump put out a video message on Friday. He said -- quote -- "I was wrong, and I apologize." But then he called this a distraction, and he criticized Bill and Hillary Clinton.
Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: I have said some foolish things, but there's a big difference between the words and actions of other people. Bill Clinton has actually abused women, and Hillary has bullied, attacked, shamed and intimidated his victims.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: I'm sure that Hillary Clinton is preparing for that charge to be leveled Sunday evening. What's your response?
KAINE: Well, you know, there was some chance this was going to come up at my debate earlier this week, because Donald Trump, after he lost the first debate, went to the spin room and said, OK, now the Clintons' marriage is fair game. And, you know, I can't -- I can't say how Donald Trump should run his campaign, but I can say this. The Clinton/Kaine campaign is not about this. It's not about the marriages of folks at the top of the ticket. It's about issues that voters care about.
TAPPER: There's a "Richmond Times-Dispatch" story from 2002, when the Republican speaker of Virginia House of Delegates, Vance Wilkins, was facing allegations of sexual misconduct. And it says that you were quoted saying, "'If the allegations are true, he should definitely resign,'" Kaine said." And then it says that you held the same view about President Clinton during the Lewinsky scandal. Is that describing your view accurately? And, if so, is that at all relevant, do you think?
KAINE: Not my feelings back in the '90s. We're in 2016 now. And there are two names on the ballot for president, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. And that's the choice that voters have to make.
TAPPER: Let's turn to the latest revelations from WikiLeaks. We finally got a glimpse at excerpts from those famous paid speeches by Hillary Clinton that Bernie Sanders wanted released during the Democratic primaries. In one of them, in a closed-door 2013 speech to a Brazilian bank, Secretary Clinton said this.
Take a look -- quote -- "My dream is a hemispheric common market with open borders sometime in the future."
Is that her dream? Is that what she wants, open borders, an open market?
[19:28:15] KAINE: Yes, Jake, I'm glad you asked it that way, because I don't think we can dignify documents dumped by WikiLeaks and just assume that they're all accurate and true. Anybody who hacks into get documents is completely capable of manipulating them.
But you asked a question about, what is her position on policy? Hillary's position on policy, on markets and trade is very plain, which is, we will do trade deals, but only if they meet three criteria. Do they increase American jobs, do they increase American wages, and are they good for national security? And, if they are, and if we can enforce them, then trade deals are OK.
But, if they're not, we can't embrace them. And, as you know, when Hillary was a U.S. senator, she voted for some trade deals when they met her standards, but she voted against others when they didn't. We're going to fight so that the only trade deals we will contemplate are ones that have the high standards that she set out.
TAPPER: Right. But, Senator, I mean, first of all, are you disputing the accuracy of this? Did Hillary Clinton not say to these Brazilian bankers that she had this dream?
KAINE: I have no -- Jake, I have no way of knowing the accuracy of documents dumped by this hacking organization. But I just -- I think it is really important. This hacking has been connected -- much of the hacking has been connected to the Russian government. Yesterday, the director of National Intelligence indicated that this kind of hacking has been traced directly to the Russian government, and there is a direct intent to influence the outcome of an American election. If that is, in fact, true, you cannot accept as gospel truth everything that they might put in a document. But you didn't ask about the document. You asked me what Hillary Clinton's position was.
TAPPER: Right. That's fair. Is this document then -- is it accurate? Did she tell Brazilian bankers that her dream is --
KAINE: I have no way of knowing that. I have no way of knowing that.
TAPPER: Well, you could ask her.
KAINE: But the documents are in the thousands. I haven't asked her. But you asked me about her position on trade. And her position on trade is very clear. TAPPER: What about her position on borders? She says her dream -- in
this document, her dream is a hemispheric common market with open borders. Is that something that, in the Clinton/Kaine administration, we would see, open borders?
KAINE: We believe in comprehensive immigration reform that would -- with the pillars that we have described, where we would have more border security. Jake, as you know, I voted for significant investments in border security in June of 2013 and continue to believe that's part of a comprehensive immigration reform plan, along with the value of keeping families together and providing a path to citizenship for those who work hard, play by the rules and pay taxes.
TAPPER: All right, Senator Tim Kaine, thank you so much. We always appreciate you coming and answering our questions. I appreciate it.
TAPPER: And good luck on the campaign trail.
KAINE: Very glad to, Jake.
BURNETT: All right. And you saw Tim Kaine there. As we're counting down to this crucial night, debate night in America, why the timing of the Trump tape is as bad as it could get for the candidate and frankly, for the GOP. Will it influence early voting? Did you know that people in state after state are already voting and voting this weekend?
John King coming up.
[19:35:35] BLITZER: Just getting in some videotape. Very fascinating videotape. Because it sets the scene, Dana, for what could be an extremely contentious debate tonight. Look at this. There you see in the middle of your screen, Donald Trump. From left to right. Kathleen Willey. Juanita Broaddrick. Then Donald Trump in the middle. Kathy Shelton. Paula Jones. These are women who had made very strong accusations against Bill Clinton, except for Kathy Shelton. She has accused -- she was a rape victim. And Hillary Clinton has a public defender represented the man accused of raping her.
Donald Trump is speaking of these women. I don't know if our audio is good enough. But we really can't understand what he's saying, but this sets the stage for what can be a really ugly and contentious debate tonight. The fact that he has brought these women, here to a hotel in St. Louis, has invited cameras in there to see them, to hear them. And I can only imagine what's going to happen later tonight.
BASH: What they're saying is almost irrelevant because it is the picture that Donald Trump and his campaign clearly want to get out here. Paula Jones you see on the right side. As you mentioned, Kathy Shelton in between that she's kind of a little different than the others. The key point that Donald Trump has been trying to make on Twitter and has been trying to use Breitbart news, which is a conservative news outlet, the head of which -- a former head of which is effectively running Trump's campaign.
They've been all day long pushing out the notion that Bill Clinton had these women -- these women are out there, rather, Wolf, and they have made allegations that he attacked them, that he went well beyond harassing. Now, we should underscore that in a lot of these cases, nothing happened. No charges were brought. There is a lot of evidence that Republicans looked into these real time, particularly in the early '90s, when Republicans were working through the impeachment process, and for whatever reason, they didn't continue down the path of pursuing Juanita Broderick, in particular, who alleged that she was raped by Bill Clinton.
BLITZER: It brings back a lot of memories for those of us who covered the Clinton White House back in the 1990s. Jeff Zeleny, you're getting some reaction from the Clinton campaign. What are you hearing?
ZELENY: I am indeed, Wolf. I was actually standing with a couple top officials from the Clinton campaign outside this debate hall when this news came over, the Donald Trump had indeed held this press conference. And Jennifer Palmieri, the campaign's communications director told me this. She said, if that's the kind of campaign he wants to run, that's his choice. Voters aren't interested in this kind of campaign.
Wolf, I can tell you for all the planning and practicing that Secretary Clinton has done, seven hours alone yesterday, they were not at least expecting Donald Trump to go specifically with names of individuals on the stage. And he may not tonight, but they were a bit jarred by seeing those ladies here in Dt. Louis -- Wolf.
BLITZER: It truly is a shocking development. Setting the stage for what will be a very contentious debate here tonight. Let's take a quick break. More of the breaking news right after this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We'll see you at the debate.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[19:42:55] BURNETT: And welcome back. We are counting down to the debate. And now, the breaking news. Donald Trump, just moments ago in a hotel right here in the St. Louis area, appearing with four of Bill Clinton's accusers. Obviously, being very clear about what he intends the message to be tonight. Let me just play for you exactly what just happened here in St. Louis with Donald Trump and these four women. Here it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TRUMP: Thank you very much for coming, and these four very courageous women have asked to be here and it was our honor to help them. And I think they're each going to make just an individual short statement and then we will, we're going to have a little meeting and then we'll see you at the debate. Perhaps we'll start with Paula. PAULA JONES, FORMER ARKANSAS STATE EMPLOYEE: I'm here to support Mr. Trump because he's going to make America great again. And I think everybody else should vote for him. And I think they should all look at the fact that he's a good person. He's not what other people have been saying he's been, like Hillary. So, think about that. TRUMP: Kathy Shelton. KATHY SHELTON, RAPE VICTIM AT THE AGE OF 12: So I'm also here to support Trump. I -- at 12 years old, Hillary put me through something that you would never put a 12 year old through. And she says she's for women and children. And she was asked last year on what happened and she says she's supposed to defend whether they did it or not and now she's laughing on tape saying she know they did it. TRUMP: You went through a lot. SHELTON: Yes, sir. I did. TRUMP: OK. JUANITA BROADDRICK, FORMER NURSING HOME ADMINISTRATOR FROM ARKANSAS: Hi. I'm Juanita Broaddrick. And I'm here to support Donald Trump. I tweeted recently and Mr. Trump re-tweeted it -- that actions speak louder than words. Mr. Trump may have said some bad words, but Bill Clinton raped me and Hillary Clinton threatened me. I don't think there's any comparison. KATHLEEN WILLEY, FORMER WHITE HOUSE VOLUNTEER AIDE: I'm Kathleen Willey and I am here to support Donald Trump. The reason for that is the first day that he announced for president, he said, I love this country and I want America to be great again. And I cried when he said that because I think that this is the greatest country in the world. I think that we can do anything. I think we can accomplish anything. I think we can bring peace to this world, and I think Donald Trump can lead us to that point. TRUMP: Thank you very much. OK. Thank you all very much. We appreciate it." REPORTERS: Mr. Trump you touched women without consent. Mr. Trump,
why did you say you touched women without consent, Mr. Trump? JONES: Why don't you all ask Bill Clinton that? Why don't you all go ask Bill Clinton that? Go ahead and ask Hillary, as well. (LAUGHTER)
TRUMP: Thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: And you just heard that right there. And we have some breaking news right now on where those women will be tonight. As we said, they just appeared with Donald Trump at a hotel near here. Sara Murray, they will be in the debate hall tonight, you're learning?
MURRAY: Erin, that is what the Trump campaign is telling me right now. That those four women will be in the debate hall. Now, even though Trump's advisers have not admitted one way or another whether all of this would come up on the debate stage, obviously this sends a very strong signal. And Erin, I can't tell you how many Republicans have been telling me they did not want to see Donald Trump go this route. They believe that Hillary Clinton could get the best of him on this. They believe that it could backfire on him, particularly in light of the tape that's come out about him this week. So, there are certainly going to be plenty of nervous Republicans seeing this video and also seeing these women in the hall tonight -- Erin.
[19:47:05] BURNETT: Sara, thank you very much. Gloria, a pretty stunning development. This is something nobody expected to happen.
BORGER: It's kind of dark and, you know, in a way, very sad. And I think that politically, it's particularly stunning because I'm not so sure what this does for Donald Trump, if you look at it just purely politically. I don't know whose mind he changes with this. And, of course, if you're, you know, an undecided voter, will you then suddenly say Donald Trump is a champion for women? And does this suddenly erase what occurred on the videotape? I don't -- I don't think so.
I think that it shows you that Donald Trump is willing to do anything to kind of win. And this is not, you know, just to finish for one sec, as Sara is saying, and the Republicans that I've talked to, and you've heard from Newt Gingrich today and others, this is exactly where they did not want him to go. Now, maybe he won't do it in the debate. And he did it here, and it's a head fake and it got it out of the way. That's a possibility.
BURNETT: They're going to be in the room.
AXELROD: And I quite agreed with her that what he needed to do was offer a statement of genuine contrition, and then address himself to the issues that were important to people in their lives. If he goes this route, this becomes a major part of his evening, then I think the answer to your question earlier, is this the day the campaign ended officially, you know, I would say yes. Look, the question has always been, how does a reality show star get himself elected president? Apparently, he feels it is by turning a presidential debate into a reality show. And I don't think the American people are going to react well.
SMERCONISH: Can I say that I think the commission on presidential debates is now in a very awkward position? And I remember, Erin, at the last debate, when Mark Cuban was coming and said that he was invited to sit in the front row, I had Frank Fahrenkopf who is one of the co-chairs on my program here on CNN and he said, we're not going to let that happen. We're not going to allow that kind of a distraction to take place. Cuban can be there, but not in the front row.
I'd be very interested to see if these women are permitted in. I'm also wondering whether Trump really says anything tonight about it. He just had his moment on this issue. And the third point that I would make, because I invested more time than I would have cared to today investigating each of these cases and reminding myself what went on and what do we really know.
SMERCONISH: I watched the Juanita Broderick video earlier today that Trump tweeted. By the way, Trump found it very compelling. But they're two different issues. You know, one has to do with the bad behavior on Bill's part, which I think there is a presumption of evidence one could say. He was impeached for crying out loud. But Trump is now trying to thread a different needle, of her having been an enabler. And that is a much different evidentiary hill that he'll need to climb if he goes there.
MCENANY: But I'm uncertain as to why these women wouldn't be permitted in. These women are American citizens, these women have been relegated to telling their story on Breitbart News because other outlets won't pick them up. These women have a right to speak out. Their attorneys --
SMERCONISH: Kayleigh --
MCENANY: Hold on! I let you finish. Their attorneys have obtained a deposition that says Hillary's attorneys hired private investigators to go after the three women on the left. Now, it's important that these Millennials behind me, who care deeply about sexual assault, I've been on a college campus the last seven years of my life. And I can tell you this, sexual assault is a big issue. The three women on the left, Hillary hired private investigators to look after. The woman on the far right, Hillary Clinton has an audiotape laughing at the girl, bragging about how she got the innocent rapist off who raped her --
SMERCONISH: Can I respond to that?
BURNETT: Go ahead and respond.
SMERCONISH: They all have a right to be heard. I want to hear their stories. I want to know all the facts.
MCENANY: And now we do --
SMERCONISH: Now let me finish. But as my parents raised me to say, time in a place. And a debate, which is about -- supposed to be about independent voters and a variety of issues, will become a blank show. I'd say it, it would probably end up on a Trump audio if I said it. And I don't think that is necessarily the best --
MCENANY: But Michael, he might not bring it up. These women got to speak for themselves tonight without Donald Trump having to say a word. That is a victory.
BURNETT: So, Jeffrey, what about this now, you have -- let's just say he doesn't bring it up. Who knows what (INAUDIBLE) that David suggested, say that's what it is. You now have them sitting in the audience. With Bill Clinton sitting in the same room -- LORD: Right.
BURNETT: -- that they're sitting in. How does that play?
LORD: Well, this is what I find so fascinating here. The age old allegation having nothing to do with this campaign, everything to do with it. But goes back decades, is that the media, writ large, the mainstream media is always giving an unfair shake to Republicans. What they've just done here is get this out into the conservative media stream, whether it's picked up and obviously it is picked up, right here on CNN, and to get this everywhere. You can be guaranteed that tomorrow morning or tomorrow noon when Rush Limbaugh hits the airwaves, that this will be topic A.
BEGALA: Speaking to the people --
(TALKING OVER EACH OTHER)
LORD: But no, no, no. Wait!
[19:52:19] BURNETT: Hold on. Paul, you were there during all of this. I mean, you were there. You were advising. What is the significance of this moment to Hillary Clinton tonight? She sees this. But you saw her senior campaign staff were there.
Jeff Zeleny were there when they heard about this, they were surprised. Does this affect her performance, her psyche, what she does tonight?
BEGALA: I don't think it does. I think it says a lot about Donald Trump. He has got a campaign in crises. He's got a party in chaos. Sixteen incumbent Republican senators have now said they're not voting for him. It is unprecedented in the modern era. And so he's got to do something to get right. He clearly thinks this is the strategy. I disagree I don't think it work. But especially in a town hall, the tussle is, whose election is this? Does this election belong to Donald Trump, does it belong to Hillary Clinton, or does it belong to we the people? This, I think, Trump is definitely trying to make a play to hijack the election away from the needs and concerns of those voters and make it about himself, him about Hillary, make him about Hillary's husband. I don't think that is a winning strategy.
JONES: So this is a character test for Donald Trump. And it's an inkblot test, whether he passed it. What you believe is that Republicans just get rolled all the time and, you know, you want somebody who is going to fight until the end, who is willing to hit the nuclear button. He's your guy. Because what you just saw from my point of view was horrible. Because these are very serious issues. And the pain in those women's lives is very real. And for someone to use that, to my side of the inkblot test, was a massive failure on his character. I would have hoped that tonight he would have done what Kayleigh said
and mainly come forward and be contrite. Show contrition. But he chose to do something not that. So, here's the deal. It's an inkblot test. Somebody is going to say, look, he is a champion for women, he is giving them a voice, et cetera, et cetera. So, people see it that way. I think more people will see this as a cynical move and a --
AXELROD: Can I just say one thing?
BURNETT: Very quickly and then final word to Nia.
AXELROD: One guy who can be watching with interest is Mike Pence, who laid down a challenge yesterday to Donald Trump that he come here, he show what is in his heart and find that he should show remorse, show contrition. I'm wondering what Mike Pence thought when he was watching those women in the press conference.
HENDERSON: Yes. And the Republican Party leaders. I mean, that is a real important audience for Donald Trump tonight. They're trying to decide whether or not they'll going to hang with him or they'll going to cut off money. I'm sure they were disappointed by what they saw tonight. But Listen, I think it is victory for the conservative press. They've been talking about this for 20 years. And I think Hillary Clinton is going to be prepared for it. Because they've been talking about this for 20 years.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you, all. And let's go inside in that debate hall to Wolf.
BLITZER: Erin, thanks very much. We're here with Nancy Pelosi, she's the top Democrat in the House of Representatives. The minority leader, high profile Hillary Clinton supporter. These are breaking news developments.
Dana, I know you want to start the question there.
BASH: Well, I just want to get your thoughts watching this. It's obvious why Donald Trump did this. He wants to change the subject but he also wants to rattle Hillary Clinton in this incredibly important debate hall. How do you think she should handle it?
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), MINORITY LEADER: Well, I think she should just handle it with the usual strength that she has and ignore him. Because what he has done, what we've seen in the statement, the audio videos that we saw, what we've heard here tonight, is so beneath the dignity of the office of the President. It is so beneath the dignity of the American people. I would hope it would be beneath the dignity of his family, but that's up to them to decide. So Hillary has to be herself, with her vision, her strength, her knowledge about our country. Because look, people want to hear, it's not about distractions from Donald Trump but what this election means to them. Their job security. The education of their children. Whether they can own a home.
BASH: And it's unclear if he's actually going to talk about these women or whether or not their presence and this photo op that he staged right before the debate was in order for him not to have to talk about it on the stage. But if he does, and you were Hillary Clinton, or she called you and said, how do I handle this, what would you say?
PELOSI: I would just ignore him because, again, and this is beneath the dignity. These members of Congress can run from Donald Trump but they cannot hide. The American people see what is happening here to a presidential race. The world sees. This is the greatest Democratic function that happens. The election of the Democratic president. And he's taking it into the gutter. Always detracting, always making it about him. And we know he has defined himself by his own words.
[19:57:11] BLITZER: Is she going to go after him on that videotape that was released Friday night, in which he said some vile things about women?
PELOSI: Well, I don't know. I've not been part of her debate preparation. But I hope that she goes after him in terms of saying, this disrespect for women is awful. But it has an impact on their lives when they disrespect the value of women's work by saying, no equal pay for equal work. Disrespect women's judgment in terms of the women's right to choose. Disrespects women in their retirement in terms of Medicare and the rest of that, which the -- there's not a dime's worth of difference in terms of policy between Donald Trump and Republicans in Congress. They tolerated all the trash that he dished out for a long time. And now all of a sudden, it is impacting their political future so they're sanctimonious about it. But as I said, they can run, they can hide --
BLITZER: These women are going to be sitting inside here. He has invited these women who have accused Bill Clinton of sexual abuse, if you will, rape in one particular case, these women are now going to be sitting in there. The suspicion is he invited them here to rile, to get her nervous.
PELOSI: Now, look, Hillary Clinton is running for president of the United States. When she wins and walks into that oval office, she'll be one of the best prepared people. Her strength, her knowledge, her judgment, her vision. And she's not going to be rattled by a joke or -- I mean, this grotesque clown. She's not going to be rattled by that. Whether she brings it up is up to her. But I think she should connect it to the disrespect that the Republicans in Congress have had for women.
BASH: You have seen a lot of your counterparts on the other side of the aisle flee Donald Trump --
BASH: -- over the past 24, 48 hours. Do you think that they are going to be able to kind of cocoon themselves away from him or are you -- or is that something you think is too late?
PELOSI: Well, some of them had been saying the things that Donald Trump has said about Mexicans, about immigrants, about Muslims, about women, about LGBT people. Pence and Trump for a very long time. It's only now that it is politically consequential.
BASH: For that part, I mean, those are issues, but this far different than the kind of thing we heard on that tape, of him, you know, suggesting some kind of assault on a women.
PELOSI: You're right. It is really disgusting, beyond comprehension, about how this person could envision himself as the president of the United States. But let's, on the positive side, we have a very strong candidate. She's not -- look, she wants to be president of the United States. She will be dealing with consequential problems in the world, not dealing with somebody who thinks that -- like a bitchy born and sucker is born every minute and he is going to exploit those people.
BLITZER: Nancy Pelosi, thanks very much for coming in.
PELOSI: Thank you. My pleasure.
BLITZER: Nancy Pelosi, the top Democrat in the House of Representatives. We're only an hour away right now from what could be the most crucial 90 minutes of this entire presidential election. Donald Trump is about to debate Hillary Clinton for the second time and respond to the most damaging controversy of his campaign.