Return to Transcripts main page

AT THIS HOUR WITH BERMAN AND MICHAELA

Clinton Pounces as Trump Denies Women's' Accusations; Tweet During Debate Shows Republican Anxiety; Candidates Debate Putin; Syria; WikiLeaks. Aired 11:30-12p ET

Aired October 20, 2016 - 11:30   ET

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


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[11:32:32] KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: We all expected that the moment was coming. Donald Trump forced to answer for at least nine women now coming forward accusing him of everything from unwelcomed advances to sexual assault. Donald Trump denied all the allegations. Hillary Clinton seemed ready and looking for the moment as well.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HILLARY CLINTON, (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Donald thinks belittling women makes him bigger. He goes after their dignity, their self-worth, and I don't think there's a woman anywhere who doesn't know what that feels like. So we now know what Donald thinks and what he says and how he acts towards women. That's who Donald is.

DONALD TRUMP, (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Nobody has more respect for women than I do. Nobody.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: I want to bring in CNN political commentator, Margaret Hoover, a former George W. Bush White House staff and veteran of two Republican presidential campaigns. Also with us, CNN political analyst, John Avlon, editor-in-chief of "The Daily Beast."

Margaret, it's an absurd notion to think women only vote on so- called women's issues. Women and men vote on all issues. But there's also no question that Donald Trump has weakness among women voters, particularly college educated white women voters. When you look at the debate in total last night, did he help himself?

MARGARET HOOVER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: He did not help himself. I will give you -- put even a finer point on which women he's doing poorly with. We are looking at polls in states where there are key Senate races like Nevada, for example, and the only group of 20 subgroups of women voters that Donald Trump is holding even is Republican women. Hispanic women, African-American women, college educated women, non-college educated women, women with children at home, women with children out of the home, he's doing poorly by high single and double digits in all those subgroups, which has a massive effect for down-ballot candidate. BOLDUAN: John Avlon, you put out a column last night. It was

entitled "Donald Trump's Final Insult to American Democracy." This gets to the other big thing that has overshadowed a lot of the meatier topics, his refusal to promise that he would recognize the outcome of the election, Donald Trump's final insult to American democracy. Tell us how you really feel, John Avlon.

(LAUGHTER)

JOHN AVLON, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: You know I will. Look, this was a true low point. Donald Trump had had a pretty strong opening to the debate last night. He was sober, he was serious, and then you know, somewhere around 30 minutes in, he went back to all his old tricks. But that final insult at the end was when he was asked a very straightforward question, after all the talk about rigged system and the election, raising doubts, would he accept the results of the election. And he refused to answer. He basically teased the opening season of Trump TV. I will keep you in suspense.

It shows that he fundamentally thinks about this election and his candidacy as a reality show. This is deadly serious stuff. And he's simply over and over showed himself not a serious candidate. He plays to the cheap seats, is quick to lie and go to insult comedy, and celebrity demagogued his way into this position. But the joke's on us. This was a dangerous moment. This is a departure from everything that is normal and decent about the best American political traditions. We are in uncharted waters because of Donald Trump.

[11:35:52] BERMAN: Since you brought up decency, let me bring up something that's been bugging us since last night. Why didn't they shake hands, Margaret? I can understand at the beginning of the debate maybe not wanting to mess up your head space beforehand with anything like a handshake but why not after? They had a chance. It's on both of them. She could have walked over to him behind the lectern, stuck out her hand and they could have had --

(CROSSTALK)

HOOVER: I was watching because she left the lectern and walked over to shake Chris Wallace's hand and he stayed behind the lectern. I kept thinking in my mind she's continuing to say, when they go low, we go high. I was hoping to see her walk over to him and stick out her hand. By the way, if he didn't take it, that would have been her win.

BERMAN: We talk about, again, about the system, what matters here. Politically speaking, we're adversaries, not enemies.

HOOVER: Correct.

BERMAN: When you don't shake hands, it's symbolic and silly, but it's important.

BOLDUAN: Also, when you take that, last night, and now, they are both going to be showing up at the Al Smith dinner, at least they are scheduled to be showing up at the Al Smith dinner. This, of course, is a big charity event and every four years presidential candidates show up. It's a white-tie gala and they have fun, poke fun at each other. It's generally there's a line. It's good-humored. I'm having a hard time believing they can be good humored.

AVLON: It's going to be fascinating to watch, because, look, this is much more than the normal bad blood that exists in campaigns and between partisans at this stage three weeks out. This is personal. The attacks have been intentionally personal very early on. That's been part of the strategy. That's another way that this is a departure from our best traditions. Elections are ultimately about the peaceful transfer of power. That seed, that ground is being intentionally poisoned, and that will mean there are problems after the election reunifying the nation. The Al Smith dinner, nothing heals wounds faster than humor. And

if they can show good humor, both about themselves, about the campaign, and gentle ribbing as opposed to real roasting of their opponent, that would go a long way to show that we are political opponents, not personal enemies. But everything of this season of the election indicates that we have crossed into personal enemy territory.

BOLDUAN: I like that, the difference between a rib and a roast. I like that.

BERMAN: By the way, neither candidate has shown an ability for intentional laugh lines. They aren't the jokiest candidates in the world. So that in and of itself will be interesting.

Margaret, John, thanks so much.

BOLDUAN: Thanks, guys.

BOLDUAN: There are Republicans now who are slamming Donald Trump's debate performance. One notable is even calling on Trump to, quote, "Hold it together, man," right in the middle of the debate. We'll discuss coming up.

BOLDUAN: Plus, eyebrow raising tweet that has everyone asking if Donald Trump's campaign manager has one foot out the door. What's next? Does she?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[11:48:03] BERMAN: So there was a remarkable tweet right in the middle of the debate last night that might give you a sense of some of the Republican anxiety right now. Jeff Rowe, who ran the presidential campaign of Ted Cruz, wrote to Donald Trump, "Hold it together, man, it's all on the line, not just you, all of us."

BOLDUAN: Let's discuss this and much more right now. Here, Tim Miller, former communications director for Jeb Bush's presidential campaign; and Harlan Hill, a Donald Trump surrogate and former Bernie Sanders supporter.

Great to see you. Thank you for being here.

Tim Miller, Jeff Rowe saying basically help us help you, maybe that's what he was saying? Help me help you? What is the impact of last night in totality, do you think, of Donald Trump's performance, what Donald Trump said last night, the last three weeks on down ballot races?

TIM MILLER, FORMER COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR, JEB BUSH PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN: I can't get inside Jeff's head. Good man. Probably worried about down because the reality is before the debate even started last night, the campaign was over. Donald Trump does not have a mathematical path to 270 electoral votes. So what, last night, mattered was whether he could maintain any dignity left in defeat -- he cannot, we learned -- and whether he can keep this race close enough to allow us to maintain the House and Senate. I think there a lot of deep concerns about that.

BOLDUAN: No dignity left, Harlan.

HARLAN HILL, DONALD TRUMP SURROGATE & FORMER BERNIE SANDERS SUPPORTER: You know, there's still 20-something days until the election. When we went into Brexit in the U.K. the Remain camp thought they had it in the bag, they had a 10 point lead in the polls. It turned out --

(CROSSTALK)

BERMAN: No. The polls were split. The polls were split. The polls were split going into that.

HILL: No. After --

BERMAN: They were.

HILL: After the assassination of the member of parliament, it was clear, everybody that was commenting on it. I remember sitting on the sets of different TV shows and everybody thought it was a shoe-in for Remain. And it wasn't.

BERMAN: The Brexit betting markets, which is different than the polls, the betting markets thought Brexit would lose, that Remain would win. However, the polls were split evenly going into the debate. It's just a fact.

HILL: This is worth fact-checking because I remember looking at the aggregate of polls and --

(CROSSTALK)

MILLER: Who cares? Who cares what the Brexit was? Donald Trump is getting crushed.

HILL: It illustrates the point the polling may not be accurate because it assumes different modeling that may not pan out.

(CROSSTALK)

[11:45:09] MILLER: Jeff Rowe actually -- Jeff Rowe is a smart guy. Ted Cruz had great data. Jeff Rowe looks at the data. I look at the data. He knows Donald Trump is in deep, deep trouble. So that's what the reality is.

BOLDUAN: What Harlan is saying, I heard very often, they believe one theory is the models are wrong in polling. Another theory is people aren't telling pollsters the answer they are going to give when they walk into a polling booth.

MILLER: Anytime Donald Trump or his surrogates, things aren't going their way, they immediately go to conspiracy theories. The polls are rigged against us, the voting is rigged, the president isn't really an American.

(CROSSTALK)

MILLER: We will know in three weeks.

HILL: It's not rigging to suggest that perhaps the polling is inaccurate. We saw that there were points in even the primary race where the polling was inaccurate.

BOLDUAN: But Harlan --

HILL: It's not a conspiracy.

BOLDUAN: -- you would acknowledge that Trump loves the polls when he's up and quotes the polls when he's up. He even sends around the CNN poll when he's up, then trashes it when he's down.

HILL: I totally understand your point. I don't think it's conspiracy. I don't think there's a concerted effort to manipulate the polls, to suppress the vote for Donald Trump. If anything, I think him being behind in the polls actually works to his advantage because I think a lot of Hillary Clinton voters are going to look at the polls and say, oh, she's a shoe-in, and may not turn out on Election Day. There needs to be a sense of urgency for "get out the vote." It's a double-edged sword for Hillary Clinton. She wants her voters to think she still is in a competitive race.

BERMAN: Let's talk about the substance of what happened last night. You had Donald Trump talking about Vladimir Putin again. The issue of Vladimir Putin came up. The issue of Bashar al Assad came up in Syria. Donald Trump doesn't really condemn them and their actions on the international stage. Is that something you would like to see him do more of?

HILL: Well, look, no, he was. He was condemning or has condemned Putin in the past. I think it's important to say that we have been provided no evidence to substantiate the claim that Russia has participated in the hacks of the DNC and John Podesta's e-mails. Now the federal government says, and Hillary Clinton last night said, 17 agencies said this happened. I want to see the evidence. As we saw with the invasion of Iraq, there have been multiple occasions in which the U.S. federal government has made claims about foreign powers that have not been substantiated and it led to conflict.

(CROSSTALK) MILLER: Harlan can live in an alternative universe. What I want

to live is where Donald Trump actually said last night. What Donald Trump said last night was that Bashar al Assad is smart and tough, and that we can work with Russia and Bashar al Assad. And when pressed about the fact his vice presidential candidate said that we would go after Assad, he corrected in the second debate and said no.

Bashar al Assad is committing the worst genocide of the century. Half a million are dead. We've done nothing. And Donald Trump says I want to work with this guy.

Then when asked about dealing with our allies, like Germany and South Korea, he's like, they may be on their own. They should look at building up their own military.

Hold on, Harlan.

This is Un-American. And when his campaign manager goes on this morning, when Harlan defends WikiLeaks, this is what happens in Russia where your political opponents lose all right to privacy, you can invade their personal correspondence, you can embarrass them, you can jail them. That is not what we do in this country. No.

(CROSSTALK)

HILL: How about with his tax returns? Those were illegally leaked by "The New York Times."

(CROSSTALK)

HILL: It is the exact same thing.

MILLER: That is completely different. It's a foreign government looking at private individuals' correspondence.

(CROSSTALK)

HILL: -- to substantiate that claim. They have made the claim. I have seen zero evidence to substantiate that.

MILLER: All common sense brings evidence.

(CROSSTALK)

HILL: It could be the Chinese.

(CROSSTALK)

MILLER: Julian Assange has been a Russian puppet for years.

(CROSSTALK)

MILLER: Now the intelligence agencies say Russia.

(CROSSTALK)

MILLER: You can pretend it's not Russia. Even if it wasn't, why does Donald Trump suck up to Vladimir Putin?

HILL: He's not sucking up to him.

MILLER: Why does he say we can work with Putin and Assange but I'm not going to help Germany and South Korea? Why does he say it's OK --

(CROSSTALK)

HILL: Do you know why Hillary Clinton --

(CROSSTALK)

MILLER: This is un-American.

(CROSSTALK)

MILLER: The campaign they are running is un-American.

HILL: I'm frankly shocked by the fact you are a Republican defending Hillary Clinton.

MILLER: You were for Bernie Sanders.

(CROSSTALK)

MILLER: Don't lecture me on being a Republican.

HILL: Here's the thing.

MILLER: He's a Socialist.

HILL: The reason Hillary Clinton is pointing to Putin is because she is trying to other-ize him in this race. This is her own way of planting seeds of doubt in the event she were to loose or it is a competitive election and she can contest the validity of the election. That's what this is about. And --

BOLDUAN: Wait, you think this is Hillary Clinton trying to plant seeds in order to contest the election.

(CROSSTALK)

HILL: Absolutely. Absolutely.

(CROSSTALK)

BOLDUAN: This is the first time I think --

(CROSSTALK)

HILL: There have been whispers about it for quite some time. And frankly, it's --

(CROSSTALK)

MILLER: People who are intelligence experts know it's the Russians. Harlan and all the other random --

(CROSSTALK)

MILLER: -- Trump surrogates come out --

(CROSSTALK)

BERMAN: Guys --

(CROSSTALK)

[11:30:01] BERMAN: Will you guys stick around and talk a little more after the break? If you guys will humor us.

We'll take a quick break. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: She has no idea whether it's Russia, China or anybody else.

CLINTON: I am not quoting myself, I am quoting 17 --

TRUMP: She had no idea.

Hillary, you have no idea.

CLINTON: -- 17 intelligence -- do you doubt 17 --

TRUMP: Our country has no idea.

CLINTON: -- military and civilian intelligence agencies?

TRUMP: Yeah, I doubt it. I doubt it.

CLINTON: He'd rather believe Vladimir Putin than the military and civilian intelligence professionals who are sworn to protect us.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: All right, that exchange, mild in comparison to the one just before the break here between Tim Miller and Harlan Hill.

BOLDUAN: Let it continue.

BERMAN: It gets to the issue of, you know, do intelligence issues suggest that the Russians are behind WikiLeaks.

We have a minute left, so 30 seconds each -- Tim?

MILLER: I'm going to trust the intelligence agencies on this. Harlan can trust whoever he wants to. They say it's the Russians. This morning on another network, Kellyanne Conway, Trump's campaign manager, was asked if it would bother her if it was the Russians hacking the Hillary campaign and she said, no, they would continue to do it. That is un-American. It goes against our constitutional principles. The fact that Trump is going to side with Putin and Assad over our military and go against constitutional rights is wrong and it's disgusting.

BOLDUAN: Harlan?

[11:55:13] HILL: The last time I was asked to trust intelligence blindly, was we invaded Iraq. That led to the loss of thousands of Americans lives and trillions of dollars. I'm not going to blindly believe what I'm being told, in an election year especially.

(CROSSTALK)

BOLDUAN: -- and the office of the director of National Intelligence --

(CROSSTALK)

HILL: I don't think it's unreasonable to ask for evidence to substantiate that claim, especially in the media. I think we should be asking --

(CROSSTALK)

MILLER: If it were the Russians, would you be OK to continue using this?

(CROSSTALK)

MILLER: Would you be OK with it?

HILL: Absolutely. Absolutely, because of the revelations that have come out.

MILLER: OK, un-American.

HILL: No.

(CROSSTALK)

HILL: It's not un-American. That's a ridiculous allegation for you to make. That is insulting! That's insulting. And that just perfectly illustrates the degrading quality our discourse in this country. You're going to call me un-American --

(CROSSTALK)

MILLER: -- the constitution and privacy --

(CROSSTALK)

BERMAN: This discussion has to come to an end.

BOLDUAN: Exactly.

BERMAN: Advertising is American.

(LAUGHTER)

All right, in moments, Donald Trump speaks for the first time since the debate. You're looking at live pictures. We will bring you his remarks coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[12:00:05] JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to "Inside Politics." I'm John King. Thanks for sharing your time today.

We're standing by. Donald Trump is in Delaware, Ohio, in his first post-debate rally and a state that is critical to his chances in a dead heat right now. We'll take you there --