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THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER
Behind the Curtain; Interview With Mark Ruffalo; Changing the Map; Trump: I'll Teach Military Expert "A Couple of Things". Aired 4- 4:30p ET
Aired October 27, 2016 - 16:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PAMELA BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: The road to 270 shows an open lane for Hillary Clinton, but watch out for those potholes. THE LEAD starts right now.
Breaking news: a brand-new CNN electoral map reflecting gains for Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump in the polls. Could this be closer than some in Clinton camp want to believe?
More hacked e-mails raising serious questions about money, power, influence, pressure and team Clinton. Is this a look behind the curtain at how the White House could operate?
Plus, a showdown happening right now between police and protesters -- actor Mark Ruffalo live on the lead, as Hollywood steps in to block a pipeline from cutting through the heartland.
Welcome to THE LEAD. I am Pamela Brown.
Twelve days until the election, 12 days fraught with danger and possibility for both presidential campaigns. The latest CNN poll of polls, the average of the last five national polls meeting CNN's standards, show Hillary Clinton besting Donald Trump by six points, as you see right here, Clinton 47, Trump 41, Gary Johnson 5, Jill Stein 2.
But, as we know, this is not a national election. It's state by state.
CNN chief national correspondent John King is standing by the electoral map.
John, CNN revising its electoral map showing Donald Trump putting two states back in play, right?
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Pam.
That's good news for Donald Trump. But, as always, looks can be deceiving. Let's go through what we have done. We have changed our electoral map. Hillary Clinton now has 272, Donald Trump 179. The changes from yesterday, let me go back a day.
We had Florida leaning Democratic, we had Nevada leaning Democrat. That had Secretary Clinton at 307 to 179. But because of new polling in those states, we have put them back in the tossup category. If you're in camp Trump, you think this looks better, right, except for this, Pam.
Let me switch maps and show you some brand-new state polls just out this afternoon. Let's start in Iowa, a state Donald Trump is counting on. Boom. New Quinnipiac poll shows a dead heat in Iowa and it also shows Hillary Clinton, who is tied here at 44-44, is doing well in the early voting. So, Iowa looks like it's back in play.
Let's move down to Georgia, one of the reddest states in the United States. Look at this, Quinnipiac poll showing Donald Trump up one. Statistically, that's a tie, 44-43. Again, Quinnipiac saying in its polling those who say they voted early favoring Secretary Clinton.
Now let's move up the coast a little bit here. First, let's go to Virginia. Early on, Donald Trump wanted this state. This is the latest poll to show a double-digit Clinton lead. So, by all accounts here, game over in Virginia, a 12-point lead for Secretary Clinton.
Pam, where was Donald Trump today? He is in Ohio, must-win. Hillary Clinton in North Carolina, where Donald Trump was yesterday. Look at this, yet another poll showing a narrow lead for Hillary Clinton. But this has been consistent, a narrow, stubborn lead in North Carolina, 47-43.
If you flip back the other map and you look at this again, you take those into account, let's go back to the electoral map. Right? Look at this. You could make the argument that maybe Iowa should be a tossup state and we should take that away. Let me come over and will take this off.
If we bring Iowa back to a tossup state and if you bring Georgia back to a tossup state, Donald Trump would actually go down to 157. Now, what would he have to do now, Pam? Look at this map, one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight states, including some traditionally reliably red states, even if Donald Trump went eight for eight and won them all, which most people will tell you is pretty unlikely, it would not be enough. He would still be short.
So, yes, putting Florida and Nevada back in play shows a little bit of slip for Secretary Clinton, but when you go state by state, especially with this new data, the map is still tilted overwhelmingly in her favor.
BROWN: That certainly puts it into perspective.
John King, thank you so much.
On the heels of what we just heard from John, an eye-opening new report out today from inside Trump's campaign data nerve center shows Trump's campaign knows that it's losing, despite the candidate's public suggestions otherwise. The "Bloomberg Businessweek" report also suggests that part of the
Trump plan is to try to discourage turnout among African-Americans, young women and progressives.
CNN's Sunlen Serfaty is in Toledo, Ohio, traveling with the Trump campaign in that crucial battleground state.
So, Sunlen, has the Trump campaign responded to this report?
SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: They haven't yet responded, Pam, specifically to that report, but Trump advisers do openly admit that this is going to be an uphill climb for them in the fight ahead.
That said, they are looking in those battleground state polls, those new polls that have shown a tightening race, and they say they believe now this race is less of an uphill climb than it was at this point last week. That effort for the Trump campaign starts right here in Ohio, a state that is a must-win for Donald Trump.
SERFATY (voice-over): Donald Trump blanketing the battleground state of Ohio today.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: In 12 days, we're going to win Ohio, and we are going to win back the White House.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
SERFATY: The state and its 18 electoral votes critical to Trump's path to the White House.
TRUMP: Hillary Clinton wants to double down on Obamacare a make it even worse.
SERFATY: With less than two weeks left in the campaign, Trump is staying on the attack against Clinton and seizing on the steady drip of hacked e-mails from Clinton's campaign chairman coming from WikiLeaks.
TRUMP: If the Clintons were willing to play this fast and loose with their enterprise when they weren't in the White House, just imagine what they will do given the chance to once again control the Oval Office.
SERFATY: Even as he backs off his recent threat to sue the women who have accused him of sexual misconduct.
TRUMP: All of these liars will be sued after the election is over.
SERFATY: No longer saying he will go through with it.
TRUMP: We will find out. Let's see what happens with the election. We're going to find out.
SERFATY: Trump revealing today his campaign is planning to deploy his wife, Melania, for a series of closing speeches.
TRUMP: She has agreed to do two or three speeches, and I think it's going to be big speeches, important speeches.
SERFATY: Melania has been largely absent from the campaign trail since her convention speech in July. But the Trump campaign is leaning on her voice now to help improve her husband's standing with women.
MELANIA TRUMP, WIFE OF DONALD TRUMP: I support him 100 percent, and I am there for him every time he needs me, and I am going to join him.
SERFATY: Meantime, Trump reclaiming some support in the new tossup state of Utah from Congressman Jason Chaffetz. The Republican withdrew his support after Trump's sexually aggressive comments about women in 2005 were made public.
REP. JASON CHAFFETZ (R), UTAH: I am out. I can no longer endorse Donald Trump for president. We have a 15-year-old daughter. You think I can look her in the eye and tell her that I endorse Donald Trump for president when he acts like this and his apology?
SERFATY: But now, after nearly a dozen women have come forward to accuse Trump of sexual assault or harassment, Chaffetz is saying -- quote -- "I will not defend nor endorse Donald Trump, but I am voting for him. HRC is that bad."
Some Republicans are considering the prospects of a Clinton administration. Chaffetz, chair of the House Oversight Committee, promising years of congressional investigations, telling "The Washington Post" -- quote -- "Even before we get to day one, we have got two years' worth of material already lined up."
And Senator Ted Cruz warning Republicans might not vote on the nomination for the Supreme Court seat vacated by the death of Justice Scalia, Cruz saying there is precedent for leaving the ninth seat vacant.
SERFATY: And in the interview where Donald Trump revealed that his wife would be hitting the campaign trail, giving two or three big speeches between now and the end, his wife almost seemed a little bit caught off guard by that announcement. She seemed a bit surprised that she would be potentially doing that.
The Trump campaign, Pam, has not given any specifics where or when these speeches would be over the next 12 days -- Pam.
BROWN: Sunlen Serfaty, thank you so much for that.
And switching to the Democrats now, the latest from WikiLeaks suggests that, as Chelsea Clinton took on more responsibilities at the Clinton Foundation, she became alarmed at the -- quote -- "hustling" that she saw going on. The trove of stolen e-mails show a number of folks around both Bill
and Hillary concerned about what was going on around them, ranging from Hillary Clinton's use of a private e-mail server to the millions of international dollars flowing into the Clinton Foundation.
In one hacked e-mail, a top Bill Clinton staffer discusses what he calls -- quote -- "Bill Clinton, Inc.," securing not just donations to the foundation, but in-kind services for the president and his family for personal travel, hospitality, vacation and the like.
CNN senior Washington correspondent Jeff Zeleny is covering Clinton in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
So, Jeff, reading through these e-mails, you really get the sense that there was this -- quote, unquote -- "old guard" protecting the Clintons and then there were these newer staffers and Chelsea who come in and say, no, this isn't right.
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: You certainly do, Pamela.
You get just a sense of dysfunction and disagreement and even disgust between the old guard and the new guard. But Clinton world writ large is trying to ignore all of these e-mails. They're trying to look forward to the future some 12 days or so away before Election Day.
To do that today, they brought out the biggest Democratic weapon of all, Michelle Obama.
ZELENY (voice-over): Michelle Obama is making the case again for Hillary Clinton, but tonight she is making it with her.
MICHELLE OBAMA, FIRST LADY: She is absolutely ready to be commander in chief on day one. And, yes, she happens to be a woman.
ZELENY: For the first time, the first lady and a former one on stage together rallying Democrats in North Carolina.
HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Seriously, is there anyone more inspiring than Michelle Obama?
ZELENY: A first lady tag team going hard after Donald Trump in a race divided by deep gender lines.
OBAMA: We want a president who values and honor women, who teaches our daughters and our sons that women are full and equal human beings worthy and deserving of love and respect.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
ZELENY: The Clinton campaign calls her their not-so-secret weapon, a tiring cliche, but a true one, that bluntly acknowledges Secretary Clinton needs Mrs. Obama.
CLINTON: No one knows more about what's at stake in this election than our first lady.
ZELENY: Sixteen years ago, in the closing months of Mrs. Clinton's time as first lady, she was running for Senate in New York. Mrs. Obama has no interest in being on the ballot now or ever, friends say. A comment she made in the 2008 campaign is now being revisited as a swipe at Clinton.
OBAMA: If you can't run your own house, you certainly can't run the White House.
ZELENY: Just last week, Trump raising it in North Carolina.
TRUMP: Wasn't she the one that originally started the statement, if you can't take care of your home, right?
ZELENY: Aides to Obama say she was not talking about Clinton, who they say she respects and has grown fond of.
OBAMA: Hillary Clinton is my friend.
ZELENY: Now Clinton is hoping the popularity of both Obamas rubs off, the president's approval rating at 59 percent in a new CNN/ORC poll, and 54 percent believe things in the country are going well.
The Clinton campaign's new balancing act, projecting confidence and warding off complacency. A CNN poll of polls, an average of the five latest national surveys, shows Clinton with a six-point edge over Trump. Tonight, the campaign bracing for even more hacked e-mails offering an unflattering look inside Clinton world.
After "The New York Times" first reported Clinton's private e-mail server in March 2015, campaign chairman John Podesta sounded the alarm within hours. "Did you have any idea of the depth of this story?" he wrote to Robby Mook, the campaign manager. He replied, "Nope. We brought up the existence of e-mails in research this summer, but were told that everything was taken care of."
Since then, Clinton and her campaign have tried to downplay it, yet Clinton confidants probably knew it was a problem, as former aide Neera Tanden made clear in an e-mail to Podesta last you're: "Do we actually know who told Hillary she could use a private e-mail? And has that person been drawn and quartered?"
ZELENY: Now, these WikiLeaks releases have rocked the campaign, divided that campaign in some respects, but one aide told me it's taken the joy out of this race in the final days here.
Another senior adviser said they are lucky that they were not released earlier before millions of people are voting. But the reality, they believe, is that voters simply are tuning them out, they have made up their mind about this election here. We will find out about that. But the campaign wanted Michelle Obama here, one of the biggest
Democratic weapons of all, to give her seal of approval, Pamela. And she said, "Hillary Clinton is my friend" -- Pamela.
BROWN: All right, Jeff Zeleny, thank you so much for that.
And Donald Trump, by the way, says he could teach military generals a thing or two. Trump's senior communication adviser weighs in on that remark up next.
[16:18:29] JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper. Thanks to Pamela Brown there for pinch-hitting for a few minutes. We had a couple technical problems here.
Let's stick with politics, though. Donald Trump has been making some incendiary charges about the Iraqi/U.S. effort to reclaim the Iraqi city of Mosul.
On Twitter, Mr. Trump called the effort a disaster and also suggested that the campaign is being waged to help Hillary Clinton in the election. He elaborated on his thoughts on the Mosul campaign in a brand-new interview in which it was pointed out to him by George Stephanopoulos that the Pentagon says that the Mosul campaign is making progress and that the former dean of the Army War College said Mr. Trump's comments, quote, "show he doesn't know a damn thing about military strategy."
Here is Mr. Trump's response.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The resistance is much greater now because they knew about the attack. Why can't they win first and talk later? Why do they say three months before the attack we're going in? So, you can tell your military expert that I'll sit down and I'll teach him a couple of things.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: Joining me now, senior communications advisor for the Trump campaign, Jason Miller.
Jason, thanks so much for joining us. We appreciate it.
JASON MILLER, TRUMP CAMPAIGN SENIOR COMMUNICATIONS ADVISOR: Jake, thank you.
TAPPER: (AUDIO GAP) is retired U.S. Army colonel. He's a West Point graduate. He commanded an artillery battalion during the Gulf War. He went on to serve as the dean of U.S. Army War College and also as the director for defense policy and arms control for the White House National Security Council. What kind of military training or expertise does Mr. Trump have where
he feels he has standing to teach that brave veteran anything about military strategy?
[16:20:05] MILLER: Well, Jake, I think your introduction package really set it up for exactly what Mr. Trump believes, which is we should not be going in and telegraphing exactly what we're going to be doing with military actions, whether that's one month or two months or three months ahead of schedule, saying here is exactly what our plan is and what we're going to do. Obviously, you're going to discuss broader strategic objectives and tactics, but to go and say, here is exactly when we're going to go in, here are the fine details, I think that's a fundamentally different world view.
One of the examples that Mr. Trump frequently brings up on the campaign trail is, could you imagine Patton or McArthur saying, here is exactly where we go at the exact time. He has just a fundamentally different world view than that.
TAPPER: Well, military experts say that you can't really compare this to World War II and that the reason that the Mosul campaign was telegraphed to an extent was multi-fold, one to get ISIS leaders to try to flee. Two, there are more than a million civilians in Mosul, to telegraph to them to take measures to protect themselves. Moreover, as I am sure you know, Mosul was a months-long effort to train the Iraqis, get them up to speed and the Iraqis were in charge -- are in charge of this campaign. So, there are a number of reasons for it.
MILLER: I'm sorry. Jake, you cut out there.
TAPPER: Yes, there is -- there are a number of reasons for it. There are a number of reasons to talk about the campaign, and that's what military experts say --
I don't know what Mr. Trump is talking about when he says he is a -- he can sit down and lecture a military expert.
MILLER: Well, Jake, you are cutting in and out during your last question there. So, I'll answer to the best of what I understand, which is Mr. Trump and what his world view is. I think that's been laid out very clearly, that we shouldn't be going in and telegraphing exactly what we're going to do and the exact time. I think, if you take a step back for a moment, the bigger issue here is who best can defeat ISIS and prosecute the case against radical Islamic terrorism. We have to win this war.
And when you look at Hillary Clinton's failed leadership in the Middle East, the way Iraq has disintegrated, the fact that we have a nuclear Iran, that they're on the way to become -- look at Libya, you look at Syria, these are disasters across the board. So when the American voters look at someone like Hillary Clinton, we don't think that she is the right person to go and defeat radical Islamic terrorism.
TAPPER: OK, I'm sorry if we're having technical issues. Obviously, that's our fault.
Jason, let me ask you about another issue. On Monday, Mr. Trump was decrying voter suppression and accusing the Clinton campaign of orchestrating ways to keep voters from turning out. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: John Podesta rigged the polls by over-sampling. He said do this by over-sampling Democrats, a voter -- I mean, you see this, you see it all. A voter suppression technique.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: You know, as you know, according to a brand new "Bloomberg Businessweek" report, a senior official on the Trump campaign claimed, quote, "We have three major voter suppression operations under way." Isn't Mr. Trump and your campaign doing exactly what he is decrying on the campaign trail?
MILLER: Jake, not at all. First of all, whoever gave that anonymous quote or not for attribution quote, either A wasn't qualified to give such a quote, or B, had no idea what they're talking about.
Here's the deal with Mr. Trump. He is running to be a president for all Americans. We saw just this week he had his plan for an American urban renewal. He is running -- he is going into communities that Hillary Clinton and the Democrats have left behind for far too long.
And so, when I hear some of these descriptions, I have no idea what they're talking about. Obviously, we're going to drive our message. But Mr. Trump has made it clear that he wants to represent all Americans and that's our attitude here.
TAPPER: (AUDIO GAP) things in the "Bloomberg Businessweek" report. And this is a report from inside your data center, is that Mr. Parscale, who runs your data shop, he told reporters that your internal polls mirror the public polls, the polls that Mr. Trump and you and the rest of Mr. Trump's surrogates say are rigged. But Mr. Parscale said that they are not according to your own data.
So, when you and Mr. Trump and other surrogates for the campaign dismissed these polls as rigged, that's not true according to your own data. You know that the polls are accurate according to this article.
MILLER: Well, I haven't had the chance to follow up on the article with Mr. Parscale. So, I'm not sure when this was given or what specific polls he might be referring to. But the tracking numbers I am seeing show a very positive movement from Mr. Trump as we're coming down the home stretch here.
We look in Florida where we have both independent and internal numbers are looking very good. We look to North Carolina, where we are ahead of the pace of where Mitt Romney was four years ago for early voting and absentees.
[16:25:04] You look at Iowa, where we're far ahead of the pace and Democrats have really trailed off.
And going back earlier to when John King was showing us the map we're five percentage points better for early voting and absentees and Nevada than Mitt Romney was four years ago. And so, we see a very optimistic picture. Mr. Trump is in Ohio today with several stops. Tomorrow, he'll be in New Hampshire and then in Maine. And we're heading out west and will be in Colorado and Arizona.
And so, we see the clear path. We're energetic. We're optimistic and we feel like things are really coming together, and especially with this news of the Clinton Foundation, these e-mails in this -- Jake, the 66 million for Clinton, Inc., I mean, is nothing more than -- it's corruption. I mean, there's no other way to look at it than just pure corruption and selling an office for personal gain.
And so, there are some real contrasts in this race, and we feel that Mr. Trump is really hitting his stride at the right time.
TAPPER: Jason Miller from the Trump campaign -- thank you so much.
He once said he couldn't look his daughter in the eye and vote for Donald Trump. So, why has one Republican congressman changed his mind?
Plus, tensions escalating as police in riot gear face off with protesters. Actor (AUDIO GAP)