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AT THIS HOUR WITH BERMAN AND MICHAELA
Trump to Rally in Florida Amid New Sex Sandals; Rev. Jerry Falwell Jr. Defends Trump Amid Scandals; State of the Presidential Race. Aired 11:30-12p ET
Aired October 13, 2016 - 11:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[11:31:55] JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Woman after woman coming forward to accuse Donald Trump of unwanted kissing or touching.
UNIDENTIFIED CNN CORRESPONDENT: Jessica Leeds and Rachel Crooks telling "The New York Times" they were both groped or kissed by Trump.
JESSICA LEEDS, ACCUSES TRUMP OF INAPPROPRIATE TOUCHING: All of a sudden, his hands were all over me. He started putting his hand up my skirt.
UNIDENTIFIED CNN CORRESPONDENT: The Trump campaign denying all the allegations.
BERMAN: Trump's lawyer says this whole thing is politically motivated.
DONALD TRUMP, (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm allowed to go in because I'm the owner of the pageant and therefore I'm inspecting it.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He just came strolling right in. There was no second to put a robe on.
KELLYANNE CONWAY, DONALD TRUMP PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN MANAGER: I don't know how you want me to comment on it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: You are looking at live pictures right now. That is from West Palm Beach, Florida. In just a few minutes, Donald Trump will walk up to that microphone. This is the first time that he will speak out loud since woman after woman after woman came forward overnight with new allegations about unwanted kissing or touching.
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: This, as the Donald Trump campaign is now pulling resources out of the key state of Virginia. This, according to both the RNC and the Trump campaign.
Let's talk about it right now, with Corey Stewart, the former Trump campaign chairman from the state of Virginia; and Mary Katharine Hamm CNN political commentator, a senior writer for "The Federalist"; David Brock, founder of the pro Hillary Clinton super PAC Correct the Record.
Guys, thanks so much for being here. We will keep an eye on that live picture at the bottom of the screen.
Mary Katharine, new allegations coming out overnight, woman after woman as John Berman says. Trump also in response leveling threats against these publications that lawsuits will be coming if they don't retract. Where are we right now from your perspective?
MARY KATHARINE HAMM, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: That is a great question. So, look, I think it's tricky for the Trump campaign, obviously. Anyone who thought we were getting through October without spectacular oppo dumps on this guy who has been mic, so this should have been anticipated and the Trump campaign looked like it didn't anticipate it because what was the argument they made before? It was they brought up Bill Clinton's very sordid past and tried to transfer it to Hillary Clinton. And for what? For the smearing of the women accusations. Now the Trump campaign is in a situation where they have to call all the women coming forward liars, essentially, is the tack they are taking which is the same thing they were accusing Clinton of. It's a sticky situation to get out of.
BERMAN: David Brock, since Mary Katharine brought that up, David, let me put that to you. What about the inverse there? Why should the public believe these women who have come forward when Clinton supporters like yourself suggest the woman after woman after woman who came forward to make accusations about Bill Clinton shouldn't be believed the same way?
DAVID BROCK, FOUNDER, CORRECT THE RECORD SUPER PAC: I think because what we are seeing here is that Donald Trump is a dangerously unvetted candidate. Wasn't really vetted by his Republican primary opponents, hasn't been fully vetted by the press, obviously, because we are seeing things like the tape from Friday and we are seeing these new accusations, literally, with 20 something days out.
Now, on Bill Clinton's part, let's remember what happened in the 1990s. An independent counsel, Ken Starr, spent $80 million investigating every aspect of the Clintons' lives, including the personal, and found the charges without merit, that are still being bandied about by the right wing almost 20 years later.
Look, Donald Trump doubling down on trying to win this through the politics of scandal is going to end up in the same place they ended up the last time they tried this in the late 1990s, with Bill Clinton's sky high approval ratings and Hillary in the Senate, only this time, we will see Hillary in the White House.
[13:35:46] BERMAN: Just to be clear, the independent counsel the accusations from Paula Jones unmerited, or Juanita Broaddrick, didn't make a ruling on those, David. So when you say he found them unwarranted that's not exactly accurate there.
BROCK: All those charges were considered and none of them were brought against the president.
BERMAN: Different than saying unmerited or unwarranted.
BOLDUAN: That's true.
Corey, you are in an interesting position as well. You are still a very big Donald Trump supporter, the last I heard, but you were also just fired from the campaign for staging a protest outside the RNC, having to do with something allegations that obviously we are talking about right now. Your thoughts on the allegations that are coming out overnight and how Donald Trump is handling it?
COREY STEWART, FORMER DONALD TRUMP CAMPAIGN VIRGINIA CHAIRMAN: Well, I'm just very skeptical of these allegations. I'll tell you why. Look, he's a well-known billionaire. If he had groped so many women over such a long period of time, don't you think they would have sued him instantaneously? That didn't happen.
BOLDUAN: They have given reasons why they didn't. They have all given very sane reasons, separately, why they have not come forward. Because what triggered them coming forward was Donald Trump saying to Anderson Cooper in the debate Sunday, I have not done any of that, and they said they thought that was a lie and that's why they thought I was time to come forward. That's why they're coming forward now.
STEWART: Well, look, this is a lot of he said/she said. At the end of the day this is very much a Beltway story or "The New York Times" story. The average person out there working hard is worried about the economy, worried about a lot more issues, not whether or not Mr. Trump did or said some gross things 10 years ago.
BERMAN: Mary Katharine, that makes my hair hurt. You have the left saying you can't believe the accusers against the Clintons. You have the right saying you can't believe the accusers against Trump. I don't know what to make of it. But got ahead.
HAMM: Let me relieve you by being in the middle and saying many of these women sound credible and have contemporaneous reports where they told friends and other people about this. They did not go to law enforcement, that is true, in the case of the Trump things. But the women for Clinton and for Trump seem credible because these men seem like they do these kinds of things, that have a history of it. And Donald Trump, his problem as usual is of his own making because he said on tape these are the things that I do. So that does add credibility to the charges. And him arguing that nothing of the sort when he says on tape that he has is a problem.
BOLDUAN: David, I want to get your take on this. We just had Joshua Green of Bloomberg on. He said the Trump campaign, they are going to go hard, they are going to go harder. They will try to turn Bill Clinton into Bill Cosby. Are you concerned about that with 20 plus days left?
BROCK: No. Look, I think this is a giant projection effort on the Trump campaign's part. We are seeing in just a matter of days all these new allegations against Donald Trump. I think they are trying to change the story and I think it's an act of desperation.
Politically, look, the Trump campaign is not famous for doing any research, but research has been done by Republican organizations on this issue and they find that it doesn't work. Bill Clinton is not on the ballot. People do not want to hold 20-year-old allegations against Hillary Clinton. It doesn't work politically either. No, I'm not concerned. We will believe when we see what they are going to produce, but you know, no. I don't think so.
HAMM: I agree with Corey that people are interested in other things. I also agree with David that this is not going to work politically. Donald Trump will be talking about Bill Clinton. I don't think he's going to be talking about the other things people care about.
BOLDUAN: We will have the opportunity to hear Donald Trump speak for the first time since all this has come out in just a few minutes. Believe you, me, everyone is very interested to hear exactly what the focus is when he comes out.
Guys, thank you very much for joining us. Really appreciate it.
[11:39:32] BOLDUAN: So as we await Donald Trump to be speaking live, students at Liberty University are now protesting their own school's president, Jerry Falwell Jr, over his continued support of Donald Trump. What they say in a letter they put out. Falwell is here to respond, next.
BOLDUAN: The president of the largest Christian university in the country says he will vote for Donald Trump, saying so, even in light of the new allegations against Donald Trump.
BERMAN: I want to bring in Liberty University president, Jerry Falwell Jr.
Mr. Falwell, thanks so much for being with us.
You were on Erin Burnett last night and made a little bit of news. She asked you outright that if the allegations in "The New York Times," these two women who accuse Donald Trump of inappropriate contact, if they were true, would you still vote for Donald Trump. You suggested the answer to that question was yes. Do you still feel the same way this morning?
REV. JERRY FALWELL JR, PRESIDENT, LIBERTY UNIVERSITY: I told her it was a hypothetical question. I couldn't answer a hypothetical question. That's like asking somebody if the candidate you support murdered somebody, would you still support them. (CROSSTALK)
BOLDUAN: These are actual allegations. No one's accusing Donald Trump of murdering anyone. These are women who have come forward on the record, on camera, making an allegation against Donald Trump.
FALWELL: And there are allegations that the Trump campaign categorically denied last night before I went on Erin Burnett's show. I talked to Mr. Trump later last night and he explained why they were not true. He just -- I think his statement will be very strong in a few minutes when he comes out.
BERMAN: What did he say? How did he explain they were not true?
[11:44:55] FALWELL: He told me about e-mails that he had from these accusers who wanted to work for him afterwards, after the supposed event occurred. He told me about other e-mail evidence that supports the fact that it didn't happen.
And I agree with what one of your other guests just a little while ago said, that Donald Trump's a billionaire. If this had happened, I have no doubt in my mind that the have brought suit many years ago. And I just -- I don't -- that videotape that was released last week, I think there's a different Donald Trump now, unlike Hillary. I believe all people are redeemable. I believe his life has changed. I believe he's a different person now. So that's why I'm still supporting him.
BOLDUAN: Don't want to get lost. Do want to ask you about that, but that is very important what you just said. If Donald Trump told you last night that he has evidence that would be contrary to what these women have put forward, be very interested to see that. And hopefully, he will be putting that out.
You have said this before, that Donald Trump is a changed man. You say he's even a different man than he was two or three years ago. When did this change happen? Where is the evidence that makes you confident of that?
FALWELL: Well, I have seen his relationship up close with his family, with his employees. I have seen -- had long discussions with him. I have heard from people like Dr. James Dobson, one of the most respected evangelicals in the country, over the last four decade talk about how he is personally aware of a conversion to Christianity by Mr. Trump and a rebirth experience. So I'm not sure when exactly it happened, but Donald Trump -- I think just interacting with the American people and saying how much they are suffering and how much they have been betrayed by their leaders and the establishment, I think that in itself has had a big positive impact on him. And I think he's gone from being a New York businessman, entertainer, to being a politician who is completely willing to sacrifice all of that to save the country great things in this nation.
BERMAN: So you said "betrayed." There are some students at your own university right now who say they feel betrayed. A group of Liberty students put out a statement protesting your support of Donald Trump. Let me read you some of it. It says, "We are Liberty students who are disappointed with President Falwell's endorsement and are tired of being associated with one of the worst presidential candidates in American history." It goes on, "Not only is Donald Trump a bad candidate for president, he is actively promoting the very things that we, as Christians, ought to oppose."
Your response to your own students?
FALWELL: We do have a small group. We have 15,000 students on campus, 90,000 online students, who are adults all over the country. We do have a small group of the Never-Trump crowd on campus who would rather see Hillary elected than Donald Trump. But that group, they claim to have 200 signatures, then they claimed they had 1200. I don't know what the number is. But I have received many, many tweets and messages from people who say, I signed it, and I'm not a student, I'm an alumni, or I'm not affiliated with Liberty at all. And some of the things they said in that statement are untrue. They said I have been traveling all over the country promoting Trump and that I had somehow associated Trump with Liberty. I have always been careful to make it clear that my endorsement of Trump is mine only. I'm not speaking for the university.
But I also say this. I'm proud of those students because unlike a lot of ivy league schools, Liberty University promotes free expression of ideas, promotes academic freedom, and I'm proud for speaking their mind, for going against the grain.
Yesterday, when Michael -- when Mike Pence spoke at Liberty, he received thunderous applause when he talked about Donald Trump, and it encouraged the students to vote for Donald Trump. He received five standing ovations. So if there is a group that is embarrassed by my support of Trump, it's very small in relation to the whole student population.
But I am proud of them for being bold enough to speak out. That's not true. A lot conservative students are scared to say what they think.
BOLDUAN: Jerry Falwell Jr, thank you so much. Standing by Donald Trump. Thanks for coming on this morning. We appreciate it.
BERMAN: Let's reiterate --
BERMAN: -- what Mr. Falwell just told us. He claimed that Donald Trump told him overnight and Trump has e-mail evidence that some of the allegations against him either are not true or --
BOLDUAN: Or there's more to the story, than we know now, which -- we'd love to know more of any of the stories.
BERMAN: We're standing by for Donald Trump speaking. That will happen in a few minutes. Will he, you know, reveal what he told Jerry Falwell Jr? We'll see that. [11:50:00] Also, First Lady Michelle Obama, she is going to speak in
New Hampshire. Looking at live blurry pictures from that event in New Hampshire. We will try to take that to you live. This is her first chance to respond to these new allegations last night. She has always said, when the Trump campaign, goes low, we go high.
Stay with us. A lot going on.
BERMAN: Want to show you live pictures right now from West Palm Beach, Florida, where Donald Trump will be speaking shortly, his first time speaking out loud since this new wave of allegations of women accusing him of inappropriate touching or kissing over the years.
BOLDUAN: Here to weigh in on state of the race, where things stand right now with Donald Trump and the Republican Party, David French, a writer for the Conservative National Review. Earlier this year, he very seriously considered launching an independent bid to stop Trump.
David, it's good to see you. It's been a while.
DAVID FRENCH, WRITER, CONSERVATIVE NATIONAL REVIEW: Thanks so much for having me. I appreciate it.
BOLDUAN: Thank you.
So we said it, you almost launched an independent bid which feels like four years ago at this point, because of your disdain for Donald Trump. With this wave of allegations overnight, the "Access Hollywood" video coming out, where do things stand right now? Donald Trump saying he's unshackled and he's going to war with everybody at the end of this campaign. What is this moment like for you?
FRENCH: Well, let's be clear about what this moment is. This moment isn't just a "he said/she said." This moment is a "he bragged/they affirmed." The similarities between what he said that he did to women and the reports that these women have come forward with, it's eerie. And, you know, what it's like for me, to hear it, this shouldn't surprise anyone. It doesn't surprise me. This is an individual -- this is not like a, quote, "family values politician" who is caught living a double life. This is a guy who's proudly flouted Christian morality for his entire life. And he's acting and these reports are consistent with the way he says that he acts. No one should be surprised.
What is only surprising to me are the number of people, including very publicly prominent evangelicals, like the guest you just had, who continue to support him, when they never would have supported a Democrat, they never would have bought the Democrat spin if someone on the Democratic side had done what Trump is reported to have done.
BERMAN: So let's talk about that. Win or lose, for Donald Trump, how does the Republican Party and its various branches, how does it reconcile itself after November 8th? [11:55:23] FRENCH: You know, honestly, it's going to be difficult.
A lot of it will depend honestly about how -- what is the margin. If Trump loses by only a very small amount, which looks increasingly unlikely, it looks like it's going to be larger than smaller, then there's going to be an awful lot of people who blame, frankly, people like me and others like me who said we're not going to support Trump and we're not going to support Hillary Clinton under the circumstances. If the gap is much larger, in many ways, it may be easier to get past this, because it will be easier to repudiate Trumpism and who Trump is. If the gap is wider, you're going to see an awful lot of Republicans who are going to really emphasize how distant they were from Trump and deemphasize how they said they voted for Trump. But a lot will depend on the margin.
BOLDUAN: Kind of maybe at this point, when it comes to a lot of Republicans and what they're -- how much distance they're putting between themselves and Donald Trump at this point, I mean, what do you say to those Republicans who -- we've often asked what do you say to Republicans who are backing Trump. What do you say to the group of Republicans who are in this position of they defected from Trump after the "Access Hollywood" video came out, faced backlash from base voters, and now they're inching their way back saying, now I am still endorsing and voting for him?
FRENCH: Wt is there to say to them? You have no one to blame but yourself. You're coming across as nothing but a political opportunist. Not as a principled patriot but more like a Gollum grasping for the ring of power. This is what we're seeing again and again on the GOP side here in this race, is people are sacrificing principle for the pursuit of power and then trying to cloak that naked pursuit of power in patriotism. And it just doesn't work. You can't sacrifice all of your principles and sacrifice all of the things you said you believe in and then claim that you're doing so for the side of virtue and what's right to protect the country.
BERMAN: David French, with "The Lord of the Ring" reference, the one pundit to rule them all. Thank you very much. Glad you're with us.
BOLDUAN: You won that one, David.
Great to see you. Thank you so much.
Any minute now, what could be a very and likely a very big moment, with just 20-plus days left in this race, you're looking live at West Palm Beach Florida. Donald Trump will taking to the stage very shortly speaking for the first time since these new groping allegations have surfaced. We will take you there live to hear what he has to say today.