Return to Transcripts main page
AT THIS HOUR WITH BERMAN AND MICHAELA
New Declaration from Donald Trump on Issues; Protests Turn Violent in Ferguson, Missouri; Police Chief Calls Oath Keepers in Ferguson Inflammatory; Lawmaker Apologizes for Fake Male Prostitute Story; Rick Perry Campaign on the Ropes. Aired 11-11:30a ET
Aired August 11, 2015 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[11:00:00] KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Fact checking Donald Trump, impossible, you say? Well, maybe. But that doesn't mean we won't try. Hear what we discovered after his 30-minute interview on CNN today.
And they're armed with rifles, camouflage, and bullet proof vests, and they're roaming the streets of Ferguson. Why is this controversial patriot group on the streets there? And who are they protecting?
And a real sex scandal with a fake cover-up. Why a politician lied, making up an affair with a male prostitute to hide a secret.
Hello, everyone. I'm Kate Baldwin. John Berman is off today.
We begin with new declarations for Donald Trump. The front- runner spoke with CNN just a short time ago calling the Iran nuclear agreement, a dumb deal that would, could destroy the world. Planned Parenthood, he says, is an abortion factory. He declares himself the most fabulous whiner because he is a winner, he says. We're going to look at Trump's most passionate points in the wide ranging interview beginning with women's issues. Trump insists in this interview that he would be better for women than any other U.S. president. And he slams rival Jeb Bush for suggesting that spending half a million dollars to fund women's health is too much. Bush, of course, says he misspoke. Trump isn't letting that go.
Here is Mr. Trump sounding off on CNN earlier today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE & CEO, TRUMP ORGANIZATION (voice-over): Though, I think Jeb Bush owes women an apology because he made a terrible statement about women's health issues, and it was a foolish statement, and perhaps a stupid statement. It's a statement that should never have come up, never have been made and I was shocked that he made it, and I think that'll prove to be his 37 percent when Romney did his famous 47 percent, a lot said his election's over. When Jeb Bush made the statement on women's health issues that he wouldn't -- you wouldn't need the kind of funding they were talking about, you wouldn't need that kind of money. When that actually relatively speaking is peanuts compared to the kind of money spent on lots of other things. I think that was a terrible mistake that he made. And I think he's the one that has to apologize to women.
Now, I will say this, he has gone back, he said I misspoke, he said, meaning, not me, he, he misspoke. Well, that's an awfully big issue to misspoke. I will be so good to women. I cherish women. I will be so good to women. I'll work hard to protect women. And work hard to protect everybody.
CHRIS CUOMO, ANCHOR, NEW DAY: Do you pay the women at the top of your organization the same amount you pay men?
TRUMP: Yes I do, absolutely.
CUOMO: That's what it comes down to.
TRUMP: Yes, it is.
CUOMO: -- you're equal when you deserve it?
TRUMP: Do you do that -- like I pay the women more. I mean, I have women that get paid a lot of money, and I pay them more.
CUOMO: One campaign suggestion for you, you should show those numbers to people and let them say that women don't only make the same, they make more.
TRUMP: But one of the things I'm very proud of is, you know, I was one of the first, I think I was literally the first -- I had a woman in charge of the construction of Trump Tower. And that was unheard of in the construction industry that many years ago. So, I was -- you know, I'm very proud of that fact. And I've gotten a lot of credit over the years. I've gotten a lot of credit, essentially within the construction industry. You didn't have women in the construction industry at high levels. I think I was the first to do it, in charge of major development.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: Well, there you have at least part of it.
Let's bring in Doug Heye, former communications for the Republican National Committee; as well as CNN political commentator, Jeffrey Lord, the former political director in the Reagan White House.
Gentlemen, great to see you.
BOLDUAN: A lot to work through. Let's start right there. Where we heard Donald Trump discussing Jeb Bush, discussing women, saying he's going to be the best woman president there ever was. He sure wants to make Bush's comments on women's health. He's willing them, wishing them to become the next 47 percent, Doug. And so, so does Hillary Clinton. How worried should the Bush campaign be about this new campaign tactic?
DOUG HEYE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR & FORMER COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR, REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE: Well, it's obviously the classic maneuver of trying to pivot away from your own problems. Two reasons I don't think it'll work. One his attack on Megyn Kelly isn't going to sit well with women. Two, you talked about planned parenthood earlier, he talked about Planned Parenthood. He's already been all over the map on it. Abortion factory or something that he's willing to fund? And that shows the soft underbelly for Donald Trump, regardless of what attacks he's going to make on Bush, and Bush was smart to say he misspoke immediately. Shows that politics and specifics are the soft underbelly of the Donald Trump candidacy.
BOLDUAN: I want to get your take, Jeff, and the women issue and the one question. Donald Trump says that he is so good to his female employees. He says he pays his female employees more than most. Should Trump now release the salary list for his employees to prove it?
[11:05:02] JEFFREY LORD, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR & CONTRIBUTING EDITOR & FORMER POLITICAL DIRECTOR, REAGAN WHITE HOUSE: I think we're going to find out more about this as we go along, remembering that the Trump organization is a private company. I don't, you know, it's not listed on Wall Street or, you know, that kind of thing. So, but I do think that as he moves along here, more and more of this is going to come out. Believe me, if at this point he had been unfair to women in his organization, somebody, somewhere, would have popped up and said something. It's notable, of his three older children, the senior executive, if you will, is daughter, Ivanka. I mean, I think he puts his money with his mouth is when it comes to the campaign.
HEYE: It sounds like he's got binders full of women, Kate.
BOLDUAN: There you go, Doug, got to get that in there.
LORD: Doug, you're a secret Democrat.
HEYE: No, I think we have an un-secret Democrat in this campaign, Donald Trump. He donated to Hillary Clinton, donated to Nancy Pelosi. He said Barack Obama would be a great leader.
LORD: Doug, you sound like Gerald Ford when Ronald Reagan was running against him. And the Ford people went nuts.
HEYE: OK, I was four years old during that campaign, but as I recall being from North Carolina that Ronald Reagan ran a conservative campaign and won the state of North Carolina. But again, Donald Trump has said that Barack Obama would be a great leader, that's something to discuss in the Republican primary. BOLDUAN: And it is being discussed. Will continue to be
Something that also a lot of folks say need to be discussed more is specific policies. Trump was pushed this morning about his for more specific policy details that he wants to put forward. Here is what he had to say about equal pay and tax policy, listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP (voice-over): I was asked that same question yesterday, and I'm looking into it very strongly. And a position on it in the not too distant future. Leave the system alone and take out deductions and lower taxes and do lots of really good things. Leaving the system the way it is. And I know exactly what I want to do. I just don't want to announce it yet.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: I know what I want to do, I don't to want announce it yet. We heard him say that on a few different major policy issues.
Jeff, how much longer can Trump keep saying, trust me, I got this?
LORD: You know, I think he can go for quite a while. One of the keys to a presidential campaign, successful campaign is getting over the essential character of the candidate, and clearly, what people are responding to is they think they know, I think they're right, they think they know Donald Trump. They like his, you know, his main themes, his vision, the fact that he stays on message, that sort of thing. So when it gets down to more details, this will be something the press will go after him on, I think, used to sort of derive. The vision thing is important. And people will look at him, and they'll trust him to get details.
BOLDUAN: And quick, it doesn't seem that voters are demanding policies to Jeff's point, why would he get more specific if he isn't forced to, Doug?
HEYE: The conversation he wants to have a not specific. That's why as I've written twice for the Wall Street Journal, getting to Trump is getting at the specifics and the policy. He's received a lot of attention. He's only now receiving scrutiny. As we see, whether we're talking about immigration, whether we're talking about his love of Canadian health care or Scottish health care, the devil are in the details and that's ultimately his downfall.
BOLDUAN: Doug Heye, Jeffrey Lord, great to see you guys.
HEYE: Thanks so much.
LORD: Thanks, Kate.
BOLDUAN: Thank you. Coming up for us, they're called the Oath Keepers. They're
armed, dressed in camo, and this group is walking the streets of Ferguson. As tensions boil across that area, why are they there?
Plus a politician lies saying he paid for sex with a male prostitute. Turns out, he did not. And the bogus message was actually to hide something else.
And three million gallons of waste, toxic chemicals spilling into a Colorado river. Did the government's accident reach the drinking water? We're going to take you there.
[11:12:21] BOLDUAN: Ferguson, Missouri, under a state of emergency. Another day of protest turning violent. The city on edge once again as demonstrators clash with law enforcement. Police say that they've battled bricks, rocks, and frozen water bottles. The St. Louis County police sent out this unnerving message in a tweet last night, saying, "Safety, our top priority, is compromised. This is no longer a peaceful protest. Participants are now unlawfully assembled."
Joining me from Ferguson to discuss the latest there, Chris King, the editorial director for the newspaper there, "The St. Louis American."
Chris, thank you for coming in.
Thankfully, the clashes last night did not end in gunfire like the night prior. What do you think made the difference last night?
CHRIS KING, EDITORIAL DIRECTOR, THE ST. LOUIS AMERICAN: Well the clash Sunday night did not end in gunfire. The box sale of eluded television ended in gunfire, and the people buying and selling television. It was not a protest-related shooting. Last night, no one --
KING: No one shot each other on the fringes of the protest.
BOLDUAN: What do you think made the difference last night that there seemed to be -- while there were clashes and things thrown at police, that it seemed less, less violent than the night's prior?
KING: Well, we're talking about street protests, the draw of crowds. And there are a lot of, there's a lot of gun violence in this region. There are a lot of people on the streets that have bad motives. Some of them sometimes drift to protests and cause trouble and other nights they don't. None of the real troublemakers put the protests on their agenda for the night.
BOLDUAN: One thing that seemed different last night was, among the crowd, there were these heavily armed members of a controversial patriot group known as the Oath Keepers. The St. Louis County police chief called their presence amongst the protesters unnecessary and inflammatory. Did you see them there? Why were they there and what were they doing?
KING: Well, they're intimidating the protesters. They open carry assault rifles, which is their Second Amendment protective right, and Missouri has really liberal open carry laws. But the Oath Keepers really at the center of the debate of the Black Lives Matter movement if you look at them properly. What you have here is a case of implicit bias and threat assessment. You have law enforcement officers looking at these conservative middle-aged white men with assault rifles and not assessing them as a threat because they see them as like them. They like guns, and they're not going to shoot anybody unless they have a good reason to. These same law enforcement officers consistently look at 15 to 25-year-old African-Americans with cell phones or bottles of fragrance and assume they're carrying handguns when they're actually carrying cell phones or bottles of fragrance. It we can get law enforcement to look at the way cops assess the threat of Oath Keepers remarkably and get them to assess the threat of young African-Americans as rationally. If we could get law enforcement to make those decisions the same for those two categories of people, we could get somewhere with this movement.
[11:15:27] BOLDUAN: Chris, that speaks to something you've been talking about all along. You said there's still a very long way to go in terms of repairing damage in the community following Michael Brown's death and the criticism that police department really faced following that. And since then, how do you think the department, as it stands now can go about regaining the trust that it clearly lost in the community?
KING: City of Ferguson should disband his 15-member police department.
BOLDUAN: What happens if they do?
KING: They contract with another police agency. The biggest and most professional agency in the county is the St. Louis County Police Department. This is a flawed police department, but it's a professional and internationally accredited police department. I would like to see many of the municipal police departments consolidate, contract with the county, and then let's put all of our efforts into reforming the county. And by the way, the chief invited the DOJ's cops program into the St. Louis County Police Department for a collaborative review. He's shown he's willing to improve his police department. I personally believe, I've come to believe he's sincere. If we were talking about the St. Louis County Police Department, instead of this 50-member Ferguson Police Department, they're going to spend two or three million dollars a year to monitor a decree to improvement a department of 50 people. It's a waste of money, it's a wasted effort. We shouldn't be talking about the Ferguson Police Department.
BOLDUAN: They continue to be at the center of this. And we'll see what another night brings, uneasy calm there in Ferguson.
Chris King, thank you.
Coming up for us, is Rick Perry's campaign in serious trouble? The Republican will stop paying his staffers in several key states, states that are critical to his race for the White House. So what does that mean?
Plus, a real sex scandal with a fake cover-up. Why a politician is now apologizing for saying that he paid for sex with a male prostitute to hide something else.
And police say a woman who worked for President Obama at the White House tried to shoot her lover. Hear what happened.
[11:20:54] BOLDUAN: New this morning, a bizarre apology from the Michigan lawmaker caught up in an alleged sex scandal. In a 27-minute audio clip posted online, the state representative, Todd Courser, says he is sorry he faked a story claiming he paid for sex with a male prostitute. Well, that story appeared in an e-mail to fellow lawmakers. So why in the world would he make this up? Well, because he says he was being blackmailed by a former staffer over an alleged affair with a female lawmaker. Following all this?
Boris Sanchez joins me now to discuss this.
Boris, talk about a strange way to cover up an affair, it's actually very difficult to follow this wild web that he's weaving. What more are you learning?
BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It is a conflicted story that's difficult to understand, let alone explain. Bear with me. The state representative Todd Courser admitted to launching the self- directed smear campaign, essentially because he says he was being blackmailed. He received text messages this spring saying that his alleged affair with a fellow state representative would be revealed and so kind of to mitigate the public relations damage that might come about because of that, he put out of this e-mail under a fake name alleging that he was a sex addict, drug addict as well because he felt that this would make the affair seem tame compared to the outlandish allegations against him.
He put out an apology yesterday, an audio statement on his website, listen to what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STATE REP. TODD COURSER, (R), MICHIGAN: My actions around these events and the e-mail sent were my doing both in planning an execution. No one else has the responsibility in those actions, they are mine and mine alone. The e-mail in question was really put in motion to try and disrupt this, disrupt the blackmailer into -- to give me some clues as to what their ability was as far as surveillance over my life and the threats that they were making.
(END VIDEO CLIP) SANCHEZ: As you just heard, the second reason why he says he put
out this fake e-mail was to weed out the blackmailers to, to find out exactly what dirt they had and the extent of damage they could cause to him was.
BOLDUAN: The fact is amazing than fiction. How was it eventually uncovered that this lawmaker was the person behind the e- mail? Not somebody else?
SANCHEZ: A former aid secretly recorded a conversation in which Courser tried to convince him to send that e-mail. It's important to note that Courser had three aids working for him, two of them were fired in July, the other one left the campaign in April. They allegedly confronted Courser about the affair, and he refused to resign.
BOLDUAN: That's the big question. State investigators are looking into this, good luck to them, is he actually going to be able to keep his job.
SANCHEZ: Well, he is again and again declined to resign.
BOLDUAN: Very defiant, right?
SANCHEZ: Right. They seized laptops, text messages, e-mails sent between everyone in that office. They're trying to figure out if any state money was used to cover up this alleged affair, and if it was, he could face charges.
BOLDUAN: Right. Because although the most amazing part is the cover-up and the affair, actually, it is in violation of his job. He could keep his job, but if he used state money or state property, that's going to get him.
SANCHEZ: The other representative, Cindy, has not made any public comment about anything in the situation. We're waiting to hear.
BOLDUAN: Thanks so much. Whew.
And then there is this, folks. White House staffer is accused of firing a gun at her lover who happens to be a Capitol Hill police officer. Police say Barvetta Singletary, a special assistant to the president and White House legislative affairs liaison, she pulled the officer's weapon from his bag and fired around him while the two were at his house. She asked him about another woman he was dating and tried to access his cell phone. Thankfully, no one was hurt here. She is, not surprisingly, placed on unpaid leave and her access to the White House revoked while she is under investigation. Strange news today.
[11:25:00] Coming up for us, he is running for president, but he is also, it appears, maybe running out of money. Former governor of Texas, Rick Perry, he stops paying his staff in three key states. What does it mean for his campaign now?
And sleeping on the job. A stunning report about air traffic controllers. Is your safety now at risk?
BOLDUAN: Is Rick Perry's campaign on the ropes this morning? The Republican candidate has now stopped paying staffers in key early election states, South Carolina, Iowa, and New Hampshire. South Carolina state chairman confirms payments have stopped, but that everyone though is still working as volunteers. In Iowa, New Hampshire, officials there confirm to CNN that workers have been informed, informed about the fact that they wouldn't be paid, and they've been asked to stay on as volunteers if they can. The Perry campaign, though, says that they are still in this for the fight and for the long haul. In a statement, the campaign says this, that, "It has tough decisions to make with respect to both monetary and time- related resources." Though they say they're going to fight on.
Joining me now is Bruce Haynes, a South Carolina Republican strategist and president of Purple Strategy group.
Thanks for coming in.
BRUCE HAYNES, SOUTH CAROLINA REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST & PRESIDENT, PURPLE STRATEGY GROUP: Thank you.
BOLDUAN: For lot of folks, this raises eyebrows about the viability of al campaign, because you need money and you need money to stay in the race. The campaign acknowledges now they have tough money decisions to make, but what does that mean for his organization and his chances in places like South Carolina?
[11:30:01] HAYNES: Well, looking ahead, it's not good. You know, Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, these are food, water and shelter if you're running for president. They're the three early states where you have to punch through, you have to --