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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES

Donald Trump Lays out His Tax Plan; Carson Tied with Trump; Putin, Obama Meet. Aired 8-9:00p ET

Aired September 28, 2015 - 20:00   ET

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


[20:00:00] JOHN BERMAN, CNN HOST: Vladimir Putin and Trump's tax plan which he unveiled today promising it will help the middle class spare the working poor, take more he says from people like himself and boost the economy.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: There is so much money to be saved. We're reducing taxes, but at the same time, if I win, if I become president, we will be able to cut so much money and have a better country. We won't be losing anything other than we'll be balancing budgets and getting them where they should be.

So this is a plan that's simple, that's a major reduction, I think people are going to be very happy. We've already had some very good reviews. I did the plan with some of the leading scholars and economists and tax experts that there are in this country. They love it. They say why hasn't this been done before and this is my wheelhouse. That's what I do well. The economy is what is do well. Whenever they do polls, I always come out way above everybody else on the economy and on leadership, by the way, but I won't say that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: That's from his news conference today. In a nutshell, his plan cuts the number of tax brackets in half to 10, 15 and 25 percent at the top. There is a down from 39.6 percent, the capital gains tax would drop, the estate tax would vanish and certain hedge fund earnings would be taxed as regular income. Mr. Trump says his healthy friends will not like that part and he says that non-masters of the universal will like what they see promising half of American households will pay no incomes tax whatsoever under this plan. The thing is, most already don't.

And that's not the only way in which this plan opened a question. Erin Burnett, as we said, had a chance to ask some of those questions. She joins us now.

Erin, thanks for being with us. Fascinating interview. A lot of tax cuts for people across the board including eliminating taxes altogether. How does he pay for it?

ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST, OUTFRONT: That's the big question, right, and I kept pushing him on that. Fundamentally, it seems like the way this is going to be paid for. And by the way, we're talking about trillions of dollars in tax cuts, right? This is an incredible amount of money is basically through growth.

His campaign says we only need the economy to grow at three percent and this will pay for itself. A lot of economists think that they would need much more growth than that. But that is the but. This is a classic conservative plan in that one regard if you cut taxes, people are more productive and we will pay for itself. That's the fundamental bet that they are making because these loopholes that he is talking about in closing time, they are very small, right? If you are going to cut what you call the carried interest loophole for some rich hedge funders, they won't like that. He is right. But if you claim their capital gains rates, they probably will end up with a tax cut overall. So it's really about growth.

BERMAN: And that's something you hear from a lot of politicians, particularly Republicans and he said that. He said to you we have sound that right now that basically the economy will be beautiful under this tax plan. So let's watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I think it will probably be more than before if you look what is going to happen to the economy, the economy is going to chase the absolutely like a rocket. It is going to go up. This is my prediction. This is what I'm good at. This is really wheelhouse. And I think you are going to create jobs tremendous numbers of jobs. And you know, part of this as you and I were discussing, I'm also going to bring a lot of jobs back into the country because so many countries have taken our jobs. They have taken our base. They have taken our manufacturing. So we're going to couple that with this tax plan that we are going to have a country that really is going to rocket again and we haven't had that for a long time.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: He said the economy will up like a rock. And economists had a chance to score this? Do they say this might work?

BURNETT: Some do. Grover Norquist, you know, famous for saying any tax hike is a problem has actually enthusiastically endorsed the plan. He's come out. Club for Growth which is of a similar vein of thinking has been (INAUDIBLE) and said that they think it's a secret tax hike.

But I've talked to some economists, John, who are of the elf (ph) that would like a plan like this and one of them described it to me, Jim Bianco, Bianco Research, a mess and confusing. So, it's an overall picture but there is a lot of meat to be put on the bone.

BERMAN: All right. So Donald Trump, you may not know this, he has a lot of money. Everyone knows it because he says it all the time. The question is, how will this affect him, this tax plan? You had a chance to ask him this question. Let's watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: One final question, Donald Trump's tax plan. You, will you pay more money? Will it be million and millions, hundreds of millions? How much more will you pay?

TRUMP: I will probably end up of paying more money. But at the same time I think the economy will do better so I'll make it that way. But I will probably end up paying more money. I believe in the end I might do better because I really believe the economy is going to boom, beautiful.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: Is he right? Will he end up paying more?

BURNETT: Well, what I thought is interesting was his use of the word probably. It is interesting, you will have to see how Americans react to that, right? Some might say well, the answer should have been absolutely, I will pay more. I can afford to pay a little more.

But you heard it right there, he's betting on growth. That is going to be the bet. And it is going to be very hard to pin someone down, John, and say well it won't grow, right? These are hypotheticals. So, instead is a very smart plan in the way, right? No one can come out and categorically prove that it won't work. And that was you could say a shroud political.

[20:05:06] BERMAN: You know, it was really interesting watching him say he has teams and lawyers and accounts trying to help him pay as little as possible in taxes admitting what we all know.

BURNETT: I have to say I think that's very fair.

BERMAN: Absolutely.

BURNETT: Everyone is entitled, that is the point of the tax code, to pay as little as you legally should have.

BERMAN: All right, Erin. Thank you so much.

We'll have more from this interview in a moment including his take on his tone.

First though, let's talk about the tax plan a little more namely the politics of it with Trump, campaign co-chairman Sam Clovis, CNN political commentator Amanda Carpenter, former communications director to Ted Cruz, of course, and our chief national correspondent, I got tongued tied because he is just that good, John King.

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I know that too well.

So Sam, you know, in the Republican politics, offering increases in taxes of any kind can be (INAUDIBLE). Trump says he does want to increase some taxes, closing some loopholes, removing some deductions, changing the carried interest tax. Will Republicans respond to this well, do you think?

SAM CLOVIS, TRUMP NATIONAL CAMPAIGN CO-CHAIRMAN: Well, here is my view on the tax code is that if you take a look at the tax code, it's nine times longer than the bible when none of the good news. So any effort to go in there and modify the tax code to stream line the tax code, to cut it down to size and to make it understandable and usable to the American people I think is a noble effort and I'm on board with it.

BERMAN: So John, one of the criticism about Donald Trump on a variety of issues is that he is short on specifics. Look, I read this plan. I listened to his proposals. This isn't that unspecific. This isn't unserious. This isn't Hermann Cane saying 999 with analyst to how to back it off. Will this help him, Donald Trump?

KING: That's an interesting question to will it help. Because we know and we are going to talk more about this alter. But Donald Trump is in a bit of rut right now, dropping a bit in the polls, plateauing at best. But Donald Trump likes this for a number of reasons.

Number one, we are talking about Donald Trump. We are not talking about Ben Carson's rise and not talking about Carly Fiorina's rise. We are talking about Donald Trump.

Number two, John, the next debate is on CNBC, Donald Trump did well on the first debate, not so well on the second, heading into the third debate, he want to be more of a player. He wants to be more at center stage, more of a driving force in the race. And as he said to Erin Burnett, this is in his wheelhouse.

Look. As this gets analyzed, there will be people who say it explodes the deficit. There will people will say you will never get the economic growth you want for it. So we will see how it plays. That will be the long term. And the short term, though, Trump is trying to get back as the driving force, the driving conversation in the race and at least on this day, he wins.

BERMAN: So Amanda, you know, Jeb Bush released a tax plan. It is not, frankly, that wildly different than this one, but it didn't get nearly the attention that this is getting. So is this the Trump effect we're seeing here?

AMANDA CARPENTER, FORMER COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR FOR SEN. TED CRUZ: Well, certainly, whatever Donald Trump has a way of getting more attention than the others. But I think the easiest way to think about this plan is that a, it's very much like Jeb Bush's plan. It collapses the brackets from seven to four and that has a big healthy dose of populism on top in terms of wiping out taxes for the low income earners, taxing hedge fund managers and the, by the way, punishing companies that go do business in Mexico and China.

This is a very populous plan that sort of covers up a conventional Republican tax agenda. And I think it's kind of interesting because it's almost establishment, right? You have outsiders who are talking about flat tax, fair tax, you have Rand Paul out there putting out a plan that balances the budget in five years and he is going this very traditional route.

BERMAN: John, Amanda used the P word right there. She said it's populous. So you have some people calling this a populous. You have Grover Norquist as Erin told us a short time ago saying this plan is OK. That seems wildly appealing to a broad base of Republicans.

KING: And I think that will get will be the test for it out in Iowa where Sam is, out in New Hampshire, as Donald Trump campaigns and as the whether -- it is the club for growth which doesn't like Donald Trump. Normally, it might like a tax plan like this, but doesn't like Donald Trump, is suspicious of Donald Trump, and said today, well, does he really mean it because in the past he has proposed tax increases. Is there are a lot of the early analysis, John, that said this, yes, might -- you can call this populace, but you couldn't call this populous as Trump's rhetoric as sounded like his tax plan would be because while the little guy does well under this plan, the big guys do fantastic to borrow a word from Mr. Trump.

So we will see how the analysis play out. But that's what Trump is going for. Because if you look at the polling, the base of his support, even though he is the billionaire, are down scale voters.

BERMAN: So Sam, I was listening to the Trump announcement today and Q&A with reporters, he started talking about Marco Rubio. One of the things he said that Senator Rubio of Florida, he could never come up with a plan like this. He's bashing Marco Rubio now. Why?

CLOVIS: I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that we're in a very large race with a large number of people and I think that we often times see the sharp elbows come out when you have that kind of thing. I've been through a couple races myself so I have some experience with this.

But I wanted to get back to a point Amanda made. I think that I would disagree that this is really an establishment plan. And do like the idea of the populace notion here. But I do think, if you take a look at some of this, and I have been through some of my own growth models, in my day job, that title comes professor of economics, so I put it through a couple of my simplistic models and looks to me like we are going to be able to balance the budget a lot sooner than people think if we have good budget discipline and take a look at the spending we're doing now.

So Amanda, disrespectfully disagree on that whole notion that it would not an establishment plan.

[20:10:37] CARPENTER: Well, on that point, I do think that because he's betting on three percent and even as high as six percent growth in order to recover some of the revenues, there is going to have to be strict budget discipline. I saw in the press conference that Donald Trump mentions reducing some government spending, but we're going to have to get more specific.

I would love it if more Republican candidates coupled a tax reform plan with a government reform plan because those two things really have to work together in order to keep everything going the way the that it can. If people could go out and campaign and say hey, if you want a tax cut, we are going to have to get rid of this government agency. I think that would be a very honest way of putting the problems we have to the American people. But we're not there yet with Donald Trump. BERMAN: You know, John, I think the mere fact that we're having a

debate right now between two Republicans about Donald Trump and dynamic growth and deficit reduction as opposed to something he's saying about someone's face, it indicates that Trump is doing something different here.

KING: He's doing something different here. He is a calculating politician and I don't mean that as a criticism. When he has been bumped and bruised in the campaign, he's recalibrated and he has adjusted. And John, if you're an established Republican and you don't like Donald Trump, you're not so opposed to this conversation. If Republicans, you have a conversation about which taxes to cut, how much to cut them? As Amanda said, what are you going to do about spending? What about government reform? Which agencies would you eliminate? Republicans are happy to have Donald Trump in the middle of that conversation. They much prefer that than say talking about birthright citizenship or building a wall or Mexican immigrant rapists or murderer.

So on this issue, Donald Trump is more main stream in the Republican Party and the party is welcoming this debate and on others, he makes them cringe.

BERMAN: All right, Sam Clovis, Amanda Carpenter, thank you so much. John King, stick around a bit longer. I want your take when we come back on some new polls with potentially big implications for Donald Trump, also, Joe Biden.

And more from Erin Burnett's conversation with Donald Trump including how he would handle Vladimir Putin.

And speaking of Vladimir Putin, we want to get the latest on his face- to-face meeting with President Obama was just wrapped up after one of the non-toastiest toasts ever caught on camera.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:16:12] BERMAN: New polling tonight and it shows Donald Trump no longer holds such a commanding lead over his Republican rivals. Plus, a rare concession from Trump on his tendency to answer political swipes with nuclear counter strikes. Erin Burnett asked him about that.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BURNETT: People say (INAUDIBLE) question, look, this is a guy who call someone a loser, he'll say something and they say that's childish, bit they say that's childish they say that's not the temperament of a president.

TRUMP: Probably is a little childish. But you know what, this is a campaign. And usually, and I think you know this better than anybody, I'm responding to them. I'm a counter puncher. I think at every single instance, I've hit for instance, Walker was very nice to me. All of a sudden he hit me and I hit him back. All of these guys, Rubio was very nice to me. Couldn't have been nicer. All of the sudden, a week ago decide hitting me.

BURNETT: So you're saying you're not going to talk about Vladimir Putin calling him a loser or something like that.

TRUMP: I actually say the opposite. I guarantee, I think I would get along very well with him. We were both on "60 Minutes" last night, Putin and Trump. And it was interesting, I think I'd have a good relationship with him. We have a horrible relationship with Russia right now. We have a horrible relationship with China. Even though he is here now and, you know, look, what they are doing to us is amazing. What China is doing is one of the great theft in the history of the world. What they have done? They have taken our jobs and our money. And now, we're wining and dining them over in Washington. And I don't mind that. But they have to understand we have to renegotiate.

We cannot continue to have U.S. trade deficit with China of almost $400 billion a year. Can't do that. That's going to end. If I'm there, that's going to end. So I think my temperament is great. I build a great company and it is because of my temperament.

Jeb Bush and Hillary, almost in the same day they said we don't like his tone. I said tone? They are chopping off heads, they are drowning people. We have people in the world that are looking to kill us. We need a strong tone. We don't need that soft, soft group of people. We need something tough. I think I have a great temperament.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BERMAN: A great temperament. That's what Donald Trump thinks. What do the voters think?

John King is back with a look by the numbers.

John, what does the Republican field look like now?

KING: Let's look at the latest brand new NBC/"Wall Street Journal" poll out tonight. John, just look, first just the Republican numbers right off the top. Donald Trump still on the lead but this is a tie essentially of Dr. Ben Carson. So that's a new dynamic in the race, Trump plateauing a little bit, a tie there. Marco Rubio and Carly Fiorina, both at 11 percent. If you think about this, between Donald Trump and Carson and Carly Fiorina, a majority of Republican primary voters want somebody that hasn't held office. If you look at the support of those three have right now.

Marco Rubio is on the way up. Jeb Bush at seven percent. John, that is going to worry him. These are the people, Rand Paul, Chris Christie, Mike Huckabee, people think how much longer are they in the race but three of them say they aren't going anymore. But if you look at the people to possibly drop out, they would be on the list.

BERMAN: What's the trend like here, John? How is this change from earlier this summer?

KING: That's what gets so interesting. And again, we are using the NBC/"Wall Street Journal" poll here and let's bring up the numbers side by side. Donald Trump wasn't in the race back when they fold in June, got in in July. Now, they didn't poll him in the middle. We had him at 30 percent at one poll but they have him at 21 percent. So in the NBC/"Wall Street Journal" poll he's plateaued. If you look at the national polls, he's down a little bit. Dr. Carson, if you're a stock that's the way to go from 11 percent to 20. Marco Rubio almost back to where he was before Trump got in the race in the national poll. He was at 11. Carly Fiorina, again, if you're a stock, that's the way you want to be going and if you're Jeb Bush, that is not what you want. You're at one-third now where you were just a couple months ago, that is a slide, Jeb Bush needs to stop.

BERMAN: All right. So what about the Democrats, John?

KING: Another interesting race if we move from the Democrats and shift this over. If you look at the -- this is with Joe Biden in the race. And this is what has a lot of people saying wow, could Hillary Clinton be in trouble?

If you look at this, seven-point lead over Bernie Sanders. It is the national poll. Remember, Sanders has been ahead in Iowa. Sanders has been ahead New Hampshire. But in the national poll, that's as close as we've seen it, seven points between these two. That's what Joe Biden in the race.

What is interesting, John, is when you take the vice president out, Hillary's numbers go up, secretary's Clinton's numbers go up to 53 percent. A lot of people would look deep with these numbers, I tell you. At least on paper there is not a great path for Joe Biden to get to the nomination. But on paper, in this polling, he takes some Obama voters and take some establishment Democrats. Biden campaign if you look deep in this poll helps Bernie Sanders get closer to her. We'll see what the vice president's decision is.

[20:20:029] BERMAN: Very interesting, John King stay there.

I want to bring in CNN's senior political reporter Nia-Malika Henderson and CNN chief political analyst Gloria Borger.

Gloria, a lot in these numbers, all very interesting. One thing that caught my eye is with Ben Carson that he does better against Democrats than Donald Trump does. What does that tell you?

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, it tells you that the general electorate really, has an unfavorable view of Donald Trump. And primary voters might like him, but the general electorate doesn't. Fifty-eight of the general population has a negative view of Trump. And if you look at some other polls we've seen, that includes 85 percent of Democrats, and a majority of independents.

Now, somebody like Hillary Clinton also has a high negative, 47 percent, but 58 percent is something that Donald Trump has to overcome that Ben Carson does not. So when you were talking to Erin earlier about the tone of Donald Trump and how he seems to be changing a little bit, you know, I think he is smart, he's looking at these negative numbers, this unfavorable view and saying I have to do something to fix that if I want to win.

BERMAN: So these numbers are sort of the glass half empty view for Donald Trump.

BORGER: Yes.

BERMAN: Nia, let's say that the glass half full because there has been a lot of talk about a slide or plateau for Donald Trump yet, the polls all still show him on top. I mean, isn't there some good news in that? Wasn't some kind of tightening inevitable?

NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: Sure. I mean, I think if you're Donald Trump this continues to be good news for you because we had predicted before that it might be the summer of Trump and then once people start to tune in, they would go to other candidates.

I think those Jeb Bush numbers, right, if you're Jeb Bush, you've got to worry about that slide. We saw before with Scott Walker for instance, he had been ahead in the polls doing really well earlier in this year, particularly in states like Iowa and then he just had a drop and he has unable to come back up.

I think in talking to Republicans, they sort of don't know what Jeb Bush's plan b, plan c, plan d is to say other than they say listen, I've got a pile of money and folks will eventually come around. But so far, that's certainly not bearing out in these polls. He's at seven percent dropping from 21 percent. And now you have sort of donors, also, figuring out maybe Jeb Bush isn't their guy. Maybe somebody like Marco Rubio and then, of course, you still got Donald Trump there with 21 percent. And in this field, you can win with 21, 25, you know 30 percent in Iowa and in New Hampshire. So he's got to feel pretty good about that, Donald Trump.

BERMAN: So John, Nia brings up Jeb Bush here. So let's jump right to the issue of Jeb Bush because when this slide happened to Scott Walker, it wasn't a slide, it was a depth spiral. And as Nia says, John, we're seeing in the "Washington Post," we are seeing donors now leaking that if Jeb doesn't do something soon, they will flee. How much trouble is he in?

KING: He's in a descent amount of trouble. But unlike Scott Walker, he's the Republican Party's $100 million man. He has more money in the bank to whether to snap. Now, some of that is in the super PAC and super PAC can't pay your campaign's day to day bills. But there is no question, he has the money to weather it now but to the point of the donors are making, they are saying to Jeb, you know, you got to be start going back up or you're not going to get much more.

BERMAN: Now, the question is how long does now last? Does now go into November and December? That's an open question.

Gloria, John brought up earlier the point that if you add up Donald Trump, Ben Carson, Carly Fiorina, it's more than 50 percent of Republican voters right now say they support someone for the nomination that never held a day of public office. Never served for a day in public office. Couple that with what is going on in Congress right now with John Boehner, you know, being kicked out or moved out or leaving on its own depending how you look at it now. There is a real outsider movement inside the Republican Party.

BORGER: Right. You know, and - but there is an outsider movement in the Democratic Party, too, John, right? I mean, you know, Bernie Sanders, even though he is a member of Congress, is viewed as an outsider compared to Hillary Clinton.

So the whole dynastic politics doesn't really work this time around. So if you're Jeb and you are looking at it, you're saying, you know, it's a problem. And can I just make one more point about Jeb because I do believe that you never say never in politics and he is at seven percent now and he has gone down from 22 percent in June. But all of us were around when John McCain in December of 2007 was at seven percent. Rudy Giuliani was the favorite at that point. And of course, John McCain became the nominee.

So there a lot of (INAUDIBLE) to go yet in this race. Although, I would say if your last name is Bush, it's kind of tough at this point, but what they are saying is this is a marathon. They are in it for the long haul. They are putting a lot of money into the early states, particularly New Hampshire. And that's how they figure out they can come back. It's been done before. It is not easy, but it is not over.

[20:25:00] BERMAN: John McCain had an infrastructure in New Hampshire. I think that Jeb Bush wish he had right now.

BORGER: Well, Jeb has money.

BERMAN: He sure does. Nia, I want to give you the last word right here because I'm old enough to remember when Donald Trump used to beat up on Jeb Bush, now he's beating up on Senator Marco Rubio. Does that tell us who we think the biggest threat is?

HENDERSON: Yes, I think so. He called him a kid. I mean, he has a way of sort of zeroing in on this candidate's vulnerability and make him strike back at him. Marco Rubio has been doing that. We will have to see in the next debate. And all of these candidates are looking at this next debate to see if they will even make it.

I talked to Republican just a little while ago and he said they might cut this off at seven candidates and with that, you'd have people like Christie probably not in this debate. We'll have to see that.

Of course, the next most important debate is right here on CNN, Democratic debate October 13th. Do not miss that.

Nia-Malika Henderson, Gloria Borger, John King, great to have you with us. Thanks so much.

Carly Fiorina digging in defending her remarks about Planned Parenthood even in the face of non-partisan fact checkers who say the video images she described seeing don't actually exist. I'm going to speak to her deputy campaign manager. And later, the new revolution about Mars that has people pretty

excited. Scientists say it boosts the odds of life on the red planet, but by how much and why?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:31:00]

BERMAN: As we said before the break, a new NBC News -Wall Street Journal poll shows Donald Trump holding to his lead among Republican presidential candidates, with Ben Carson very close behind. He's in second place. Carly Fiorina now tied for third with Senator Marco Rubio. Over the weekend, Ms. Fiorina defended controversial remarks she made about Planned Parenthood during the second Republican debate. As you may recall, she described a scene from an undercover anti- Planned Parenthood video, a description that has been widely questioned. On "Meet the Press," Chuck Todd pressed her on that point. Here is how she responded.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHUCK TODD, NBC: Are you willing now to concede you exaggerated that scene?

FIORINA: No. Not at all. That scene absolutely does exist, and that voice saying what I said they were saying, we're going to keep it alive to harvest its brain, exists as well. Here is the thing. Yesterday I was at a football game--

TODD: So you saw that moment on the tape? You saw that moment on the tape?

FIORINA: Yes, and I would challenge Planned Parenthood. Here is the deal. Yesterday I was protested by Planned Parenthood people who were throwing condoms at me. I don't know what that has to do with this. They are trying to distract the American people from the hideous reality that Planned Parenthood is aborting fetuses alive to harvest their brains and other body parts. That is a fact.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: As you saw, she is digging in and not giving an inch, and today she weighed in on another controversial topic. She endorsed the practice of waterboarding in an interview with Yahoo.

Joining me now, Sarah Isgur Flores, Carly Fiorina's deputy campaign manager. Thanks so much for being with us. Sarah, as you know, it's not just NBC or "Meet the Press," it's nonpartisan fact checkers, other news organizations, including Fox News, which is hardly an enemy of many Republicans, they have all pointed out that Carly Fiorina is misrepresenting the videos. The clip she continues to reference doesn't show what she says it shows. Wouldn't it just be better to admit that she is getting it wrong about this clip?

SARAH ISGUR FLORES, DEPUTY CAMPAIGN MANAGER, FIORINA CAMPAIGN: She's not getting it wrong. It's at the 5:56 mark. It's so interesting is that Chuck Todd never showed the video. In fact, a lot of these folks have never showed the video. They don't link to it. The Washington Post recently said that Carly wasn't a secretary, either.

BERMAN: Let's leave that aside for a second.

FLORES: My point is that non-partisan fact checkers aren't nearly as non-partisan as you pretend they are.

BERMAN: Fox News for instance certainly I don't think is anti- Republican. The clip shows someone describing the scene. You hear someone describing the scene and then you see file video which doesn't show exactly what Carly Fiorina says it shows.

FLORES: To be clear, Planned Parenthood has gone out and said there is no such video showing an aborted fetus kicking on the table. They say there is a stillborn fetus somewhere else in the video. That is not true. That has been widely discredited, but the left continues to repeat it, including non-partisan fact checkers who are not checking their facts. That is an aborted fetus that was kept alive in that metal try to die in that metal tray while kicking for life. So that is ridiculous. It is at minute 5:56, and I think you should show the video before you start saying that it's just widely discredited. That's not true.

Also, Planned Parenthood is not saying this isn't happening. They are not saying that they are not aborting babies alive to harvest their organs. They are not saying that. Instead they are trying to quibble over a video, and yes, it is true that someone is describing how she was told to harvest its brain. That's what is going on.

BERMAN: The video doesn't show what the person is describing and relitigating this point I think probably isn't fruitful, because the bottom line is this: Carly Fiorina is not going to back down on this, let's just be clear?

FLORES: No.

BERMAN: And she can't just take on Planned Parenthood without talking about this video?

FLORES: Absolutely. We're happy to take on Planned Parenthood every day of the week. These are the people who yesterday, sorry, this weekend Carly was visiting a pregnancy center, and they tweeted out ugg, Carly visits pregnancy center. That's disgusting. They can't acknowledge these people are doing good work, bringing people's babies into the world? Their thought was ugg, how dare she visit a pregnancy center, one that receives no public funding, because they don't perform abortions.

BERMAN: So the new NBC News Wall Street Journal poll that just came out today shows that 60 percent of Americans oppose taking away all of Planned Parenthood's federal funding, and I know Carly Fiorina supports taking away that federal funding. I just want to make clear, she would support a government shutdown to do so?

FLORES: We need to remove Planned Parenthood's funding, and Republicans need to stand for this. The majority of Americans believe that we should not have abortions after 20 weeks, late-term abortions.

[20:35:00]

And by the way, speaking of fact checkers, when Hillary Clinton was asked about that this week, she said the only late-term abortions happening are out of medical necessity. That is just patently false, that is provably, demonstrably false. No fact checks available.

BERMAN: I just want to talk about waterboarding quickly in the last few minutes we have. Carly Fiorina was a vocal supporter of John McCain in 2008. John McCain says waterboarding is torture, what's more he says it doesn't work, and he adds to that saying it compromises American moral authority around the world. Yet Carly Fiorina says she has no problem with it to go after suspected terrorists. Am I getting that right?

FLORES: So Carly Fiorina -- let's set up a little bit of where this came from -- has extensive national security experience. She was the chairman of the external advisory board of the Central Intelligence Agency. She has advised the Department of Defense, secretaries of state, the NSA, and after 9/11, Michael Hayden called her for help. President Bush also talked to her, as well.

In that interview, she's discussing that we need to protect our national security, and at the time, that was a way to do it.

BERMAN: All right. Sarah Isgur Flores, I appreciate you coming on, really appreciate your insight. Hopefully we'll talk again soon.

FLORES: Absolutely. Thank you.

BERMAN: All right, just ahead, today's high-stakes meeting at the United Nations. Presidents Obama and Vladimir Putin sit down face-to- face for the first time, first official meeting in two years. So were they able to put aside their tensions and find common ground?

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BERMAN: The annual meeting of world leaders under way at the United Nations, and day one was full of sparks. In their speeches, President Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin blamed each other for the war in Syria and the refugee crisis it's created. They also traded swings over Ukraine and other issues. A toast during the lunch, it was awkward, not a smile in sight. The tensions between the two leaders are well-known. All this buildup to a face-to-face meeting they had this afternoon. Their first official sitdown in more than two years. Chief national security correspondent Jim Sciutto joins us with the latest, and Jim, this was a rare meeting for these two gentlemen. What do we know came from it?

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: First formal meeting in two years. We know it was 90 minutes long. They spent the first half talking about Ukraine and the second half talking about Syria. On Ukraine, the president and the White House expressing some possible progress there on instituting the so-called Minsk peace accords and the fighting there. But on Syria, the White House saying that Putin and Obama have a fundamental disagreement on the role that Bashar al-Assad can play on any sort of political solution to this process. You heard that frankly in their speeches to the General Assembly, with President Obama describing him as a tyrant who has killed tens of thousands of his own people, and Putin calling him a bulwark against terrorism, so you kind of heard that coming.

Where they did have some agreement is that they both believe there is the possibility of a political solution there. How they get there is another story, and also the White House expressing some level of comfort with Russian military operations there, as long as those operations are against ISIS, which is frankly not clear yet. Really their expectations for this meeting, John, were not grand, they didn't expect some grand solution, but they are talking, and they at least have an end goal in mind, which is a political solution to the fighting in Syria.

BERMAN: Interesting because the meeting came after their dueling speeches at the U.N. Which were unusually blunt and pointed about each other.

SCIUTTO: No question. I mean, first of all, on Bashar al-Assad but also taking shots at each other, without naming each other sometimes. President Obama clearly talking about Russia when he talks about countries that imprison their own dissidents, that blame the outside world for revolutions and NGOs even on their land, that coming from President Obama. And then President Putin taking a shot at the U.S. plans to train Syrian rebels, saying that half the weapons end up in the hands of al Qaeda type fighters, which is actually true. They were taking those kinds of shots at each other, so it didn't seem the best diplomatic setup for a diplomatic sitdown on an issue as crucial as Syria. But they knew they had those disagreements going in. The question is, can they find some common ground.

BERMAN: Must have been 90 prickly minutes there. Jim, thank you so much.

I want to dig deeper on the topics that were on the table for this meeting and the stakes. Joining me, Fareed Zakaria, host of Fareed Zakaria GPS. Also, CNN national security commentator Mike Rogers, who is a former U.S. congressman who served as chair of the House Intelligence Committee.

So, Fareed, so much has been made about the body language that Vladimir Putin uses when he meets with President Obama. Or their toast today, the clink, was it a joyful clink or not? But we've gone so far beyond that. I mean, the Russians have planes, warplanes in Syria. They could be about to bomb there. So this meeting between the two leaders is way more significant than body language.

FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN: It is way more significant, and I think we reduce foreign policy sometimes to just like therapy, where we think it's just all about the relationship between these two guys. Obviously, there is a personal element, but fundamentally, the issue is that Russia and the United States have been at loggerheads, have had very conflicting views of the situation, of their interests in the situation in the Middle East, with regard to Ukraine, and there has to be some clarity brought to that. How can you find some areas of common agreement, how can you find some common interest. And I think that is probably where there were -- the serious business of the meeting was.

BERMAN: And Mike, you know, they couldn't even agree on who asked for the meeting. Josh Earnest, the White House press secretary, said that the Russians, Vladimir Putin was desperate to meet. Is that part of the problem here?

MIKE ROGERS, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY COMMENTATOR: I mean, this is almost sophomoric that the White House would even gauge about who wanted the meeting or who didn't want the meeting candidly. This is a serious problem.

So Russia has been very, very clear from the very beginning what they wanted in Syria, even when we had lots of leverage there, or at least more leverage than we do today. They wanted the warm water port in Tartus, they wanted the Syrian president to stay, and they wanted to continue to secure those armament deals, especially on the anti- aircraft stuff.

[20:45:00]

This is exactly what they worked for. I would argue this is the first order problem from the Iran deal. Russia believed after that deal that they had this relationship with Iran, and they already had a relationship in Syria that they could leverage with Iraq. That's exactly what they did. So all of that body language, all of that is saying we're large, we're in charge, and by the way, we're now putting a coalition together. And United States, we'd like you to join us in how you defeat ISIS. That's to me the biggest turn of what happened today.

BERMAN: Fareed, it's interesting, you heard Mike Rogers lay out what he thinks Vladimir Putin wants inside Syria and the region. Is one of the problems right now is that it's not clear what the White House exactly wants inside Syria?

ZAKARIA: That's always been the problem. We have moral clarity on Syria, but strategic incoherence. By which I mean, we're against the bad guys, don't get me wrong. We're against Assad, who is a bad guy, we're against ISIS, al Nusra, al Qaeda, all the al Qaeda affiliates, we are against the Iranian militias there, we're against Hezballah fighters there. But who are we for? What are we in favor of? It's not entirely clear. we have this hope that there is some moderate Syrian force there.

What Putin's strategy is, is basically to say I have an ally and that's Assad. I have an enemy, that's ISIS and the other Islamic terror groups, and that's basically the same view that the Iranians have. That's basically the same view that the Iraqi government has. They all have the same enemy and the same ally. So they are saying let's band together. We can wring our hands, but the problem is, we have a strategically

incoherent position. We're against everybody in Syria, and frankly, I think the advocates of intervention have to explain, who are we for? We're going to go into a country with significant military force. What are we going to do? We're going to fight for the 50 odd moderate Syrians we've been able to find?

BERMAN: Literally 50. Literally 50.

So Mike, Donald Trump today told our Erin Burnett, said, Assad to me looks better than the other side. He's talking about ISIS. If that is, in fact, the case, if Vladimir Putin is willing to fight ISIS in Syria, can the United States get something out of this?

ROGERS: I agree with Fareed. It is incoherent. When you ask our Arab League allies, the first question you get back from them is, hey, what is the United States' policy? What are you doing? Who are we for and who are we against? Listen, Trump has tapped into one thing. It is probably likely that if you want a diminished or at least an accelerated end to the Syrian problem, you are going to have to sit down with the Russians.

BERMAN: Fareed, Mike, thanks so much.

Coming up for us, evidence of flowing water found on Mars. Is life far behind? I'll speak with Miles O'Brien about NASA's latest blockbuster announcement.

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BERMAN: A big announcement from NASA is music to the ears of future space explorers and those who dream of life on other planets. NASA researchers have confirmed there is evidence of flowing water on the surface of Mars. This isn't the first time water has been discovered on Mars, but, this new research suggests it is more habitable than previously thought.

Joining me now with more on what this really means, CNN aviation analyst and bona fide space geek, and I mean that affectionately, Miles O'Brien.

Miles, we talk about flowing, evidence of flowing water, what's the significance there?

MILES O'BRIEN, CNN: When you look for water on earth and you find it in its liquid form, you almost invariably find living things, that includes toxic waste dumps and that includes acid hot springs in Yellowstone. That includes places in the ocean that never see the light of day. So water is a prerequisite for life. If you can find flowing water on a planet, that gets you presumably close to potential life. But we have not gotten there yet.

BERMAN: When we say flowing water, what are we talking about here? Is this like the Hudson on Mars? O'BRIEN: This is water you would never want to drink. That is for

sure. Think about Mars for a minute. Very cold place. Has a very wispy atmosphere. The bandwidth for liquid water on that planet is very narrow, normally, and that's why when scientists first started seeing these streaks down those cliffs in 2010, they were like, what could that possibly be? They analyzed it using a spectrometer, and sure enough, inside that water was a lot of salt, brine, percolates, really salty. So salty that it doesn't freeze up in the cold and harsh temperatures of Mars. That is what we're seeing. The real question, is it so salty that it cannot support life? A lot of scientists believe that may be the case.

BERMAN: What does NASA do next? How do they analyze that aspect of the situation?

O'BRIEN: It's not an easy mission when you talk about water that is dripping down a cliff on Mars, how do you build a mission to go find that and get to it? Btu there will be a lot of people thinking about it, and it also makes them think where did the water come from? Is there an aquifer beneath which caused the water to bubble up, or was it some kind of strange humidity situation on dry Mars? It's possible. There are missions that there are coming down the pike that will start to get beneath the surface in Mars, and you can bet they will be rethinking the architecture of future missions with all this in mind. Because the water beneath the surface is likely fresher, and thus, probably more likely home to tiny Martian microbes.

BERMAN: And quickly, Miles, this is just one more of the stunning successes of the Mars program, the rover program?

O'BRIEN: It's been a great building block program of high-tech divining rods looking for water. Water is the path toward life as we know it, and step by step we're presumably getting closer. I'm just waiting for the day.

BERMAN: In Boston, we like to say I love that dirty water. Miles O'Brien, thanks so much for joining us. Appreciate it.

O'BRIEN: You're welcome, John.

BERMAN: Coming up, the woman who admitted to helping two inmates escape an upstate New York prison is herself heading behind bars. Details on Joyce Mitchell's sentence, that's next.

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BERMAN: Let's get the latest on other stories we're following. Amara Walker has a 360 bulletin.

WALKER: Hi there, John. The former prison worker who helped two convicted murderers break out of a New York prison in June has been sentenced to seven years behind bars. Joyce Mitchell admitted to bringing in tools including hacksaw blades. And she also planned to pick up the escapees, but didn't go through with that part of the plan.

On the plane back to Rome after his trip to the United States, Pope Francis said the warmth he encountered was beautiful. He said New York was exuberant.

And a massive sinkhole opened up near a camping area in Queensland, Australia. No one was injured, amazingly, but the 300-foot wide, ten- foot deep sink hole swallowed several vehicles and (inaudible). Incredible, John.

BERMAN: Amara, thank you so much. Appreciate it.

That does it for us. We'll see you again at 11:00 p.m. Eastern for another edition of 360. "CNN TONIGHT WITH DON LEMON" starts right now.