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THE SITUATION ROOM

Hillary Clinton to Accept Historic Nomination Tonight; Interview with Brian Fallon; Trump Says He was Being Sarcastic About Clinton's E-mails; Interview with Michael Dukakis. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired July 28, 2016 - 17:00   ET

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


[17:00:10] WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Hello again from Philadelphia where the country's history began and where tonight it will be made again.

I'm Wolf Blitzer. Anderson Cooper will join us shortly. Welcome to a special SITUATION ROOM.

It's day four, the final day of the Democratic National Convention. It is now officially underway and in just a few hours, the first woman ever will accept a major party presidential nomination here in the United States. It's just that simple. Whether you plan to vote for her or not, history is being made tonight. What Hillary Clinton says tonight and where she goes from here is neither simple nor easy.

So tonight as we bring you all the excitement from the convention floor, we will look at some of the challenges facing her as well.

Let's start things off with CNN's chief political correspondent, Dana Bash.

Dana, the final day. Who can we expect to hear from tonight? What are the major themes the Democrats are trying to hammer home?

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the speech of the night is going to be of course from Hillary Rodham Clinton who will be accepting the nomination of her party to be the first woman of a major party to run for president and to get this position. So that obviously is going to be the culmination of the night and of this entire convention. And she's got a pretty high bar. We have had speech after speech by orators. Her husband, the current president, the current vice president, but they say inside the Clinton campaign she is ready and the theme is going to be stronger together, which we've seen on signs and seen in speeches all night. But that is going to be the thrust of what she's going to talk about tonight -- Wolf.

BLITZER: I know you have some more details on how the secretary has actually prepared for her speech tonight.

BASH: Well, one thing that might surprise you is that she had still been working on it as of about a couple of hours ago. Just kind of putting final touches on it. It was not complete. She started working on it as you can imagine several weeks ago. Her chief speechwriter and also one of her longtime aides who worked with her at the State Department, Jake Sullivan, we're told worked on it but then they also solicited help and ideas from old speechwriters, old friends, people who know her very well.

BLITZER: You've also been on the convention floor all week for us, Dana. What's the mood like today at this, the culmination -- the culmination day, let's say, compared to Monday, day one?

BASH: Compared to Monday, it's very, very different. On Monday, the Bernie Sanders delegates still had kind of their last gasp. Hillary Clinton had not been formally nominated. And so there was a lot more, you know, discord frankly on the floor. You don't feel that right now. There is a lot of excitement. You really can sort of sense that it's palpable. Not to say that the Bernie Sanders delegates aren't here, but since then, of course, Bernie Sanders himself has made a speech and others have been trying to unify them both in public and very, very intensely here on the floor.

So there is no question that there is an intense amount of excitement as you can imagine there is for any convention when the person that they voted for for president accepts the nomination. But especially because they realize how historic this is.

BLITZER: All right, Dana. Stand by. Thank you very much.

Joining us now to talk a little bit more about Secretary Clinton's speech tonight and what her campaign hopes to achieve, our CNN political director David Chalian.

You're getting more information on what we can expect from Hillary Clinton tonight. What are you hearing?

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Well, you know, in talking to some of her senior campaign officials, she's going to try to accomplish two major goals in the speech. One, to explain to the country why she's running for president and really reassert what it is that got her into this race. And then -- this is key because this will be a contrast with Trump -- what she plans do as president. They believe that Donald Trump did in his speech a diagnosis of all the problems in the country right now, but they claim that he didn't offer very specific solutions. So she's going to talk through what she plans do as president.

BLITZER: And there are some who are suggesting we need to know more personal stories about her, get to know her a little bit better. Are we going to be able to do that tonight?

CHALIAN: So you've seen all week long here at the convention, Wolf, that they have brought in everyday Americans, some that know her, some that don't, to talk about the fights of her career and what she has fought for. She is going to cap that off all week long much like her husband started it towards the beginning of the week, connecting her biography each stage of her life with these policy fights that she has fought. And so she's going to take us through those stories in her own timeline as well.

BLITZER: All the polls show her trustworthy numbers not very good. How is she going to try to combat that, improve those numbers? CHALIAN: So, Wolf, you remember a few weeks ago back in Chicago, she

started talking about this differently in a more candid way saying, I understand why you have questions about this. And I am going to work to earn this trust and I'm going to do it by showing you how I'm going to fight for you.

[17:05:04] And I think that's what you're going to hear tonight. She has been acknowledging this on the campaign trail now. She understands there is a question mark about it. And so I think she will walk on this stage tonight and so these delegates who are all with her obviously or, you know, most of them are, she's going to take that on head-on.

BLITZER: David Chalian will be watching together with all of us. David, thank you very much.

Anderson, over to you.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, Wolf, let's bring in the panel. CNN chief political correspondent, "INSIDE POLITICS" anchor John King is joining us. Senior political reporter Nia-Malika Henderson, Sirius XM Radio talk show host and anchor of CNN's "SMERCONISH," Michael Smerconish. Chief political analyst Gloria Borger is here. Also Democratic superdelegate and 2008 senior Clinton campaign adviser Maria Cardona, Trump supporter and former South Carolina Lieutenant Governor Andre Bauer. Another democratic superdelegate and former New York City council speaker, Christine Quinn. Plus talk radio show host Bill Press who came to the convention staunchly behind Bernie Sanders.

Are you now on team Clinton?

BILL PRESS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Four --

(LAUGHTER)

PRESS: For four more hours.

COOPER: OK.

PRESS: I'm sorry, on Sanders team, for four more hours.

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: I see. OK.

So what -- what does -- Bill, what do you want to hear Secretary Clinton talking about tonight?

PRESS: You know what? She's had so much advice from so many people, the last thing she needs is more advice from me, but I want to -- I want to hear who Hillary Clinton really is. You know, it's funny, she's spent 24 years on the public national stage and there is a lot of her we don't know about. We learned a lot from Bill Clinton.

I want to pick up on what David Chalian was saying. I would hope that she would tell her story. Here's who I am. I'm a mom, I'm a grandma, and I'm a fighter and I've been fighting for this group, I'm fighting for this group, this group and this group, and now I want to be president because I want fight for you. I think that would be -- I think that would address the trustworthy issue.

If I were her, I would almost avoid Donald Trump.

Yes, I agree.

CHRISTINE QUINN, FORMER NYC CITY COUNCIL SPEAKER: Yes, I agree.

PRESS: Let's get to know Hillary Clinton and who she is, and I think that's what the American people want.

COOPER: Christine, I mean, as a supporter of Secretary Clinton, I mean, do you worry that she needs to come out of this convention with a clear easy-to-understand message of why she is running? I mean Donald Trump we know make America great again, law and order candidate, if somebody asked that of Secretary Clinton, would they be able to -- would she be able to give that kind of an answer?

QUINN: I think so. I think she would say and I think it's what we've heard all week and we will hear more of tonight. She's running for president to make America better for every single American. You know, we are the greatest count in the world, but that greatness doesn't trickle down to everybody in an equal plate. As Sonia Sotomayor said in her statement around Affirmative Action, we may be all in the same race, but we all don't start at the same starting line.

So she's running for president to make sure everybody who starts farther back so to speak gets to be in the race and win it just like everybody else. You know, I keep thinking when I'm here about the moms and children I work with at the homeless shelters I run. She's running for them. Because one thing that never was thought of in the minds of the people at the RNC in my opinion are those women and children.

She's running for them. So in the greatest city in the world, New York, they can get out of shelter, can get a home and can get a good job. And she's doing it not by trash-talking America.

COOPER: Although, Maria --

QUINN: But by taking America's greatness.

COOPER: I mean, Maria, we have seen time and time again that she seems to have a problem -- or not a problem, but seems reluctant to kind of reveal herself. I mean, she has --

MARIA CARDONA, 2008 SENIOR CLINTON CAMPAIGN MANAGER: Sure.

COOPER: You can argue it's justified after a long time in the spotlight.

CARDONA: Right.

COOPER: You know, but she is -- she's been knocked around. CARDONA: Sure. No question about that. And she actually has

acknowledged that. Probably more so in this campaign that ever when she has said that she's not good at interviewing for a job, if you will. She's great when she has a job, and she's actually very popular whenever she has the job. But she's not good at interviewing for it because of exactly what you said.

I think what you're going to hear tonight to add to what Christine said is this theme that this is an America for all of us. And she is going to be speaking to all Americans because I think one of the things that we've heard in these last three days is, you know, very specific messages to the diversity that is the country, that I think a lot of people worry about, well, what about white working class Americans that she hasn't been really focusing on that much.

She is going to be speaking to all Americans and the theme that's going to come out of this convention is that this is a country that is great. We can do a lot better, but we can do a lot better when we're stronger together.

COOPER: We're also going to be hearing more about national security tonight, which, you know, they attempted to do it last night. There were some demonstrations between, it seemed to me that some of the speakers frankly got kind of thrown by a few people in the crowd.

MICHAEL SMERCONISH, CNN ANCHOR, "SMERCONISH": Yes, I mean, I thought it was a very disjointed moment when Secretary Panetta was on stage and members of -- in particular the California delegation soon after his mention of the Catholic priest whose throat was slit on an altar near Normandy, in France, they started to chant no more war.

[17:10:10] And he looked befuddled. You know, it's hard in this room, the acoustics are not always the greatest.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right.

SMERCONISH: He probably didn't recognize where that was coming from. I don't think that was what should have been presented. They need to address a plan. You know, ISIS has gotten scant reference. What is she going to do relative to the war on terror?

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: General Allen will set that up tonight. And more he will set up his confidence in her as commander-in-chief because he was a general in Afghanistan when she was secretary of state. But let's be honest, this comes down just as the Republican convention came down to Donald Trump, Democrats are thrilled with this convention. They think they put on a good show. They think told a story. They think they have laid out some issues and some contrasts.

That all gets washed away if she doesn't make her case. And to your point about ISIS, that was a center piece. The security, the toughness. And she has to address that.

First woman commander-in-chief, it's part of the package anyway no matter who you're running against. But the idea that, you know, you want me there. I'm calm, I'm steady, but I'm strong and I'm tough. So you want me there, not him. That's part of it.

To the other point, on the domestic side, I talked to a very close friend with her and they try not to over talk to her. They want her to be comfortable with this.

NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Right.

KING: They don't want 10 people telling her do this, this, this. You can't make the trust issue go away in one speech. You can't make the likability. But the point, they're trying to us, make people comfortable with you. When they close their eyes, I'm comfortable with this person as my president and I learned something about what makes her tick that I didn't know before.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: You know, the irony for a woman candidate is that I think she for a lot of Americans is easy to see as a tough, strong commander-in-chief, but, and this is what's ironic for a woman, they don't really feel like they know her or they think she has an edge or they don't -- or they don't trust her. So I think she's got to acknowledge that skepticism to a degree and then talk about it because people don't, you know, normally trust people they don't know.

HENDERSON: Right.

BORGER: They have to get to know them. And she needs to open up a little bit that way.

(CROSSTALK)

HENDERSON: And I think in terms of style, she's got to sound conversational. I think a lot of people who've been at that podium had shouted into the microphone, it doesn't come out as well. I think she's got to figure out how to feel comfortable up there, sound conversational but strong, as well.

COOPER: We've got to take a quick break. When we come back, coming up next, one of our regular panel members, former Philadelphia mayor, Michael Nutter, will be speaking. We'll bring that to you.

Also the question of how to build on President Obama's endorsement of Secretary Clinton last night. We'll go to Clinton's top message shapers to talk about the impression she hopes to leave voters with tonight. A very big night for any nominee, but uniquely so for her. Back in a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[17:17:15] BLITZER: Looking center stage, we're just after 10:00 p.m. Eastern tonight, Hillary Clinton will accept her party's presidential nomination. Daughter Chelsea will introduce her. Chelsea Clinton's remarks expected to be mainly personal and familial in nature, and not political.

Joining us now, Clinton campaign press secretary, Brian Fallon.

Brian, thanks very much for joining us. What's the main message that Hillary Clinton hopes to deliver tonight?

BRIAN FALLON, PRESS SECRETARY, HILLARY FOR AMERICA: Well, first of all, Wolf, we're really proud of how the convention has gone leading up to tonight. So her speech will really be the culmination of what has been for us a very productive and well-produced convention.

In terms of what she's going to do I think there are two goals. Number one is to communicate to all Americans -- I think last week at the Republican convention in Cleveland, you saw Donald Trump really just try to narrow cast to his core supporters. I don't think he expanded his appeal at all to any about of those persuadable voters that will help determine this election. Hillary Clinton is going to appeal to the universal values that define us as Americans and really speak to everyone, Democrats, independents and Republicans alike.

Secondly, she's going to be clear about the diagnosis of the state of the country. Americans out there have a lot of anxiety about, number one, keeping ourselves safe in the face of the ongoing threat that we face from terrorism. And secondly, from an economic standpoint, there continue to be lingering economic anxieties, wages are not rising as fast as we'd like to see. But in her solutions that she proposes there, she's going to have a very different approach than Donald Trump. Donald Trump has suggested that he is the only one that can solve these problems and he has suggested that by dividing each other and pitting themselves against each other turning on each other, that therein lies the solution to our problems.

Hillary Clinton is going to be quite clear that we can only face these challenges together and when we bring everybody together, lift everybody up and allow everybody to fulfill their God-given potential.

BLITZER: We know there were some, not many, but some disruptions during Leon Panetta's speech last night by Bernie Sanders supporters. What if anything can you do to prevent that tonight while she's speaking?

FALLON: Well, we want every voice to be heard here and in some cases there are going to be those folks that continue to express themselves during the speeches. But I think overall we've been very pleased by the amount of cooperation we've been able to have with the Sanders campaign.

Our floor teams here on the floor have really merged their operations and so the Sanders campaign and the Clinton campaign are working arm in arm to try to keep everyone respectful of the speakers. I think that has been large part in the case since Monday night. And overall we've had a great sense of unity achieved here at the convention. We're going to have some additional speakers here tonight like General Allen who helped lead the American fight against ISIS. I hope during the remarks that we hear from him that we get respect from the crowd here. Can't control everybody, but I think by and large we've had a pretty respectful unified atmosphere.

[17:20:01] BLITZER: She's got some tough acts to follow, the first lady, her husband, the president last night. Expectations are pretty high for her. FALLON: Well, Wolf, in one sense all of these speeches, all have had

the same goal which is to talk about Hillary Clinton from the first lady to Vice President Biden, President Clinton on Tuesday night, and of course one of the great all-time speeches from President Obama last night. All these speeches have all been with an eye towards helping people understand why Hillary Clinton is in this race for the presidency. What have been the fights that have defined her throughout her career. Why Americans can trust her to fight on the issues that are most concerning to them.

And so in that sense, this is not a competition of sorts in terms of who's going to give the best speech. The real goal this week is to explain to America why they can trust Hillary Clinton to deliver for them. And so in that sense, I think what she will do tonight, it will be a cap to all those speeches.

BLITZER: During Donald Trump's 75-minute acceptance speech last week, he spent a lot of time going after Hillary Clinton. Will she spend a lot of time tonight going after him specifically by name?

FALLON: She will use his name for the purposes of laying out the contrast that we face. You know, we're at the fork in the road here. We can either give in to the politics of division that Donald Trump represents. He has suggested that the answer to keeping ourselves safe is to turn on each other and block Muslims from entering the country and abandon our allies across Eastern Europe and NATO that we are going to need if we're going to seriously confront the threat from ISIS.

From the economic standpoint, he is someone who throughout his career has proven that when it comes to making himself successful, he doesn't care who he leaves holding the bag. So small business contractors he didn't pay his bills, workers he didn't pay when he declared bankruptcy. Investors he left holding the bag. So this is not somebody who represents middle class workers. I think we've communicated that this week and she's going to explain in clear terms that those are the stakes that we face.

BLITZER: Brian Fallon, the former mayor of Philadelphia, Michael Nutter, is speaking. Let's listen in.

MICHAEL NUTTER, FORMER PHILADELPHIA MAYOR: Philadelphia has always been a friendly place for Democrats. But I have to say that this week there is a little extra brotherly love and sisterly affection in the air.

For eight years, I was privileged to serve as the mayor of this great American city, Philadelphia. I'm very proud that my administration and the host committee brought our convention to Philadelphia. I hope you've had a great time.

Philadelphia is my town. I grew up here. I built my career and raised my family here. And so it's with tremendous pride that here in a city known for its history I cast my ballot for our historic nominee, Hillary Clinton. Now I've known Hillary for decades. I've known her as a champion for

our cities. I've known her as a change maker for our citizens. And I've known her as a leader whose career has been defined by a simple creed, GSD. Get stuff done.

As a city mayor, that is what we're expected to do every day. Our neighbors hold us accountable for our problems, whatever they may be. Complicated problems don't have simple solutions. So we need a president whose ideas and attention span is longer than 140 characters.

Hillary Clinton is a leader who won't let complexity be the enemy of opportunity. When she sees a problem, she makes an action plan and she gets stuff done. She has a plan to make an historic investment in jobs. She has a plan to reform our broken criminal justice system. She has a plan to keep us safe from the epidemic of gun violence that is killing so much of our children. Especially so many young black men who are precious to our country and its future.

What's more, Hillary's plans have details because details matter. Now Trump says he has some plans. But when you're looking down at America from the top of Trump Tower, you can't see the details because there are none.

After eight incredible years of progress under President Obama, we can't afford to hand our country over to a con man who thinks the presidency is an entry-level job on "The Apprentice."

[17:25:06] Hillary is the champion our cities need and she will be the president our citizens and our nation deserve. Hillary Clinton gets stuff done.

Thank you. Love you, Philly.

BLITZER: The former Philadelphia mayor, Michael Nutter, he's a current political contributor.

I'm back with Brian Fallon, press secretary for the Clinton campaign. One of the problems she has is the question of honesty and trustworthiness. 79 percent of independent voters say they do not find her honest and trustworthy. How are you going to be addressing that?

FALLON: I do think in this speech tonight she is going to address that pretty head on. She's done that now over the last few weeks beginning with the speech that she gave at the Rainbow Push Coalition in Chicago a few weeks ago. And she started to address this topic directly. I think tonight the way she's going to go about it is to acknowledge that even as some voters may be turned off by what they hear from Donald Trump, that there is still skepticism that may have about her. And I think that she's going to use that as an entry point to discuss the upbringing that she had in Illinois, growing up with a Republican father and a mother who had been abandoned at age 14.

The values that they instilled in her and what led her to make certain choices in our life including going to work for the Children's Defense Fund after law school. And I think in telling those biographical details about herself and the values that have propelled her throughout her career in public life, it will help communicate the -- purpose and the real motivations that have caused her to devote herself to public service including running this campaign for the presidency.

BLITZER: One final question. Donald Trump now says he was being sarcastic yesterday when he said that the Russians should go ahead and hack and find those 30,000 missing Hillary Clinton personal e-mails. Do you accept his explanation he was joking, he was being sarcastic?

FALLON: No, I don't. And the reason is you've yet to hear him speak out and condemn this act by the Russian government. In fact I have not heard him say a single negative thing about Vladimir Putin in the course of his entire campaign. His fascination and admiration for Vladimir Putin is quite peculiar. He's taken policy positions that are clearly seeking to advance Russia's interests even against the interests of our European allies. He just last week changed the platform at the Republican convention to take a pro-Russia stance with respect to Ukraine. So on issue after issue, he's shown a strange affinity for Vladimir Putin and Putin's Russia. I think that's just the latest instance of why he can't be trusted to be commander-in- chief.

BLITZER: And one final question, do you still think the Russians are intervening in U.S. domestic politics by leaking these e-mails to try to help Donald Trump become president?

FALLON: All the evidence suggests that it is indeed the Russian government behind this hack. And clearly by nature of who they hacked this is clearly an intrusion on the independent U.S. elections. It's very troubling and it should be universally condemned in the way that Speak Ryan spoke out about it yesterday. We've yet to hear that from Donald Trump and it's because he's very cozy with Vladimir Putin.

BLITZER: Brian Fallon, thanks very much for joining us.

FALLON: Thanks, Wolf.

BLITZER: All right, Anderson, back to you.

COOPER: Yes, Wolf. We're back with our panel.

Andre, as a Trump supporter, are you skeptical when you hear Clinton supporters say, you know, tonight is an opportunity to kind of reintroduce Hillary Clinton to the United States? Though she's been in the spotlight for so long. There's a lot of people who don't really know who she is. Do you think opinions are pretty affirmably formed at this point?

ANDRE BAUER, TRUMP SUPPORTER: I think Bill Clinton and President Obama both did it excellent. I don't think anybody could have done a better job than the two of them. It's mesmerizing really. Watching Bill Clinton is actually enjoyable. So I think she's got a tough, tough job. She's defending this function. It's not just about the Democrats. It's the dysfunction and the

distaste of Washington. People are fed up with all of them. It's the throw the bums out year. And so she's got a tough sale. And she's got a 68 percent negative so she's got a lot of things to overcome. There's going to be a lot of warmth in this room, but this isn't where she needs to make any head way. She's got to make it out in the trenches and she's got to convince people that her heart is in the right place, that she can create a better economic situation than they currently have. How she does that, I have no idea. But she's got her work cut out for her.

COOPER: John, I mean, you know the numbers. Are there a lot of people who are still on the fence, who could still be convinced one way or the other?

KING: Often at this point of the election we start talking about this mythical huge poll of undecided voters, even people who describe themselves as independents. Most of them, if you scrub them with follow-up questions, most either lean right or lean left and vote right or vote left in most election. So it's not as big of a middle as we think. And we see the evidence of that because of the direction of both conventions.

This convention is driven almost exclusively, Michael Bloomberg being the exception, General Allen tonight may be to a degree to reach out to Republicans. But this about turning out the Obama coalition, it's about turning out Democratic voters. This is not about, you know, besides a couple of olive branches. It's not about reaching out to some Republicans out there. But --

COOPER: Let's just quickly listen in to the next two speakers who are making history tonight, Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney of New York, his co-chair of Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus, Sarah McBride, his national press secretary for the Human Rights Campaign, and the first openly transgender person to address a major party convention.

REP. SEAN PATRICK MALONEY (D), NEW YORK: Good evening. My name is Sean Patrick Maloney. I'm the first openly gay person ever elected to Congress from the state of New York. The great state of New York.

You know, last week a speaker at the Republican convention called equality a, quote, "distraction." Who cares, he asked. Well, I care. My husband Randy and our three children care. These LGBT leaders standing with me throughout this hall and the country care. The authors of our nation's Declaration of Independence signed right here in Philadelphia, they cared. Americans at Senekal Falls, Selma and Stonewall, they cared. And Hillary Clinton cares, too.

You know, I want to tell you a story. On June 26th, 2015, I was walking to work past the Supreme Court. A crowd was gathered awaiting the court's historic marriage decision. The news hit like a thunder clap. A lot of us wept. Then spontaneously, hundreds joined together to sing our national anthem.

I called Randy. I could barely speak. You see, Randy and I have been together for 24 years. I love you, honey. 23 of those years we've been raising children. You know, yes, our family is a little different, but we read bedtime stories the same. We tie shoes and check homework the same. We dream and we comfort the same. But until that day, we weren't the same. Not really. Not in the eyes of our law. So as I listened to our national anthem, I realized that our family, our love was no longer less than. We were now equal.

You know, it's a beautiful thing when your country catches up to you and when your basic rights and the very family -- your very family are on the line, it matters what happens in those beautiful buildings with marble columns. It matters who's leading the country and it matters if they care.

America, we have a choice. Donald Trump doesn't care about some families. He's against marriage equality. He wants to go back.

You know, when I first met Hillary Clinton in Manchester, New Hampshire, 24 years ago, I was a nobody. I was a nobody. I was some gay kid sleeping on a couch, I was scared to death that who I was wasn't going to be OK, it would mean that I would not be able to be who I was and that no one would ever care about me.

And here was this woman, this incredible woman who was about to become our first lady, and she cared. And over the last 24 years, she's kept right on caring about me, about my husband, about our kids, and she has seen us, really seen us. And I've seen the way my kids look at her. Knowing that she cares about our family, that she cares about your family. That she cares about all families. And that is why we must care about this election.

And now I want to introduce Sarah McBride.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

MALONEY: Sarah McBride is a courageous young leader and she is right now the first trans person ever to address a national convention. Sarah.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

MALONEY: It's about time. Sarah, it is an honor to make history with you because we are stronger together.

[17:35:11] SARAH MCBRIDE, HUMAN RIGHTS CAMPAIGN: Thank you so much, Congressman.

My name is Sarah McBride and I am a proud transgender American.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

MCBRIDE: Four years ago, I came out as transgender while serving as student body president in college. At the time, I was scared. I worry that my dreams and my identity were mutually exclusive. Since then, though, I've seen that change as possible. I witnessed history interning at the White House and helping my home state of Delaware pass protections for transgender people.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

MCBRIDE: Today I see this change in the work of the LGBT Caucus and in my own job at the Human Rights Campaign. But despite our progress, so much work remains.

Will we be a nation where there is only one way to love, only one way to look and only one way to live? Or will we be a nation where everyone has the freedom to live openly and equally, a nation that is stronger together?

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

MCBRIDE: That is the question in this election. For me, this struggle for equality became all the more urgent when I learned that my future husband Andrew was battling cancer. I met Andy who was a transgender man fighting for equality and we fell in love. And yet even in the face of his terminal illness, this 28-year-old, he never wavered in his commitment to our cause and his belief that this country can change.

(APPLAUSE)

MCBRIDE: Andy and I married in 2014. And just four days after our wedding, he passed away. Knowing Andy left me profoundly changed, but more than anything else, his passing taught me that every day matters when it comes to building a world where every person can live their life to the fullest.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

MCBRIDE: Hillary Clinton understands the urgency of our fight. She'll work with us to pass the Equality Act, to combat violence against transgender women of color and the end -- and to end the HIV and AIDS epidemic once and for all.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

MCBRIDE: Today in America, LGBTQ people are still targeted by hate that lives in both laws and in hearts. Many still struggle just to get by. But I believe that tomorrow can be different. Tomorrow we can be respected and protected, especially if Hillary Clinton is our president. And that's why I'm proud to stand here and say that I'm with her.

Thank you all very much.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

COOPER: Sarah McBride, Sean Patrick Maloney.

Coming up next, Donald Trump now he's saying his remarks about Vladimir Putin and Hillary Clinton's e-mails weren't really serious. The latest on the fallout as our convention coverage, final day, continues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [17:43:51] BLITZER: Trump is urging people not to watch the Democratic convention tonight, concerning his latest controversy suggesting a foreign country, Russia, perhaps hack into his opponent's e-mail, Trump now says he was just being sarcastic.

Jim Acosta is joining us now from Davenport, Iowa, where Trump is talking right now.

Jim, so Trump now says he wasn't really being serious, he was joking, being sarcastic. What else can you tell us about that?

JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Wolf. Donald Trump is in Davenport, Iowa, competing for eyeballs in some battleground states over the last several days and doing that tonight and tomorrow as well. He is saying that he was not being serious when he said at a press conference yesterday in Florida that Russia should hack into Hillary Clinton's e-mails and get to the bottom of where those missing e-mails are. But that's despite the fact that his own campaign was saying yesterday, a spokesman was on Twitter trying to explain these comments saying that Donald Trump was only asking the Russians if they had these e-mails to turn them over to federal authorities in the U.S.

But the Trump campaign is still focused on those missing e-mails. As a matter of fact in a Donald Trump statement that was issued just in the last hour in response to what is being said in Philadelphia, Trump again goes after those missing e-mails and he says in this comment, we put it up on the screen, quote, "In the Democrats' fantasy world, there is no problem with Hillary Clinton maintaining an illegal exposed server full of classified information that could have been hacked by any foreign enemy, and in which Hillary Clinton risked prison time to delete 33,000 e-mails that were simply about yoga and wedding planning."

[17:45:21] And, Wolf, we have not heard Donald Trump in any capacity going after Vladimir Putin, criticizing the Russians for what they allegedly did with those DNC e-mails. As a matter of fact what we're hearing from campaign aides is that they like the fact that Donald Trump brought this up yesterday and talked about this at length and stirred up this big controversy because it got all of us talking about it, and they're starting to tell reporters that maybe they'll do this every week, hold more press conferences to get Donald Trump out there -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Jim Acosta, thanks very much from Davenport, Iowa.

Anderson, back to you.

COOPER: Wolf, thanks very much.

Andre, as a Trump supporter, do you think it's a good idea -- I mean, do you think that this is a net positive for Donald Trump that he made these comments yesterday and took 24 hours to then say oh, he was actually kidding even though that seems to go against his previous explanation which was on Twitter after he made the initial comments?

BAUER: You know, I don't know, Anderson. I haven't been anywhere but here in the last few days.

(LAUGHTER)

BAUER: So I can't get a feel of what the -- I work with working people every day and usually I'm out there and I get the different buzz but I did have the guy that was driving me here today, black fellow, said, I consider are Donald Trump -- the people's champion is what he called him. And it kind of caught me off guard a little since he knew most of folks here were Democrats. So it just shows you there is an undercurrent there so strong that a lot of these things Donald Trump is saying anymore don't even matter.

QUINN: Well, my cab driver said he thought, honest to god, he's a prison worker here in Philadelphia, took the week off to drive for CNN because he wanted to be part of history. And to quote him, Hillary Clinton is the bomb. And he just kept saying the bomb over and over again.

BORGER: You know, this --

COOPER: All right, drivers aside --

(LAUGHTER)

QUINN: They are the pulse of America.

BORGER: I think this is a commander-in-chief question. And, you know, he's clearly -- we saw the statement that he released. He's clearly disqualifying her, trying to disqualify her because of Benghazi and because of the e-mails. And all the speakers we've heard this week and I'm sure from Hillary Clinton tonight is disqualifying him because they say he doesn't know what he's talking about.

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: But it's interesting, I mean, it just seems like Donald Trump is clearly a candidate who never will say, I'm sorry.

BORGER: Never.

COOPER: Never will say, I misspoke. And who will just give out multiple explanations. And maybe nobody cares about that. Maybe that doesn't matter.

SMERCONISH: His base doesn't seem to care about it. I mean, because, you think about all the -- what we presume to have been foibles during the course of the primary and caucus season, and none of them have been a setback. We sat here last night and an admiral took the stage and he said that Donald Trump wasn't fit to shine John McCain's boots. And I thought to myself, where was John McCain and saying that back during that primary season.

This is a commander-in-chief moment, but it's a commander-in-chief moment for her, as well.

BORGER: Yes. SMERCONISH: And I maintain that if an e-mail surfaces from her server

that is of the public's interests, and it wasn't released to the FBI and Jim Comey, it's a big issue for her. And I think Brian Fallon was setting a predicate when interviewed by Wolf in saying this is all about Trump and the Russians and trying to portray Trump as more on the side of the Russians than the Americans.

COOPER: We've got to take another quick break. A lot more to come. Michael Dukakis joins Dana Bash next, with some thoughts on the convention. The latest from Philadelphia in just a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[17:53:19] BLITZER: Not long from now, Hillary Clinton will accept the Democratic presidential nomination. Dana Bash is down in the Massachusetts delegation with someone who knows the feeling, the former Democratic presidential nominee, Michael Dukakis -- Dana.

BASH: That's right, Wolf. That's right, Wolf. I am with Michael Dukakis and his wife Kitty in the Massachusetts delegation.

You are one of handful of people on the planet who knows how Hillary Clinton is feeling right now about to give the speech of her life accepting the Democratic nomination. You did it in 1988. What is she feeling right now?

MICHAEL DUKAKIS, 1988 DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Well, it's pretty something. I mean, here I was, the kid of immigrants, my 85- year-old mother is in the hall, came over here when she was 9 and her son is accepting the nomination for the presidency of the United States. It's quite something. On the other hand most of us have been at this a long time. It's not like she hasn't made a speech and Hillary worked very hard at that. It wasn't as if this was something totally new.

We did something new, however. I entered the convention hall from the outside and walked through the convention, and the delegates, which was kind of fun. And it was probably the best speech I ever made.

BASH: Now you had some pretty tough words for Donald Trump this morning and also for your party that you feel the party and the campaign isn't hitting him hard enough. So what do you think she needs to do tonight to accomplish that?

DUKAKIS: I'm not sure I -- that's what I wanted to convey. But if I learned one painful lesson from 1988, it's that my decision not to respond to the attacks from the Bush campaign was just a terrible mistake. And this guy's a screwball. And he's saying things every day that are really nutty, but we have to convince the American people of that.

[17:55:05] And it's not just the candidate. I mean, those folks we listen to last night and the night before have got to be fanning out across the country. And we, rank and file Democrats, have got to be working those precincts very, very hard. BASH: You know full well how angry and upset a lot of people out

there in the country are. And Donald Trump is banking on that, ruling the day as opposed to the message we're hearing here.

DUKAKIS: And by the way, Dana, trying to tell them that the country is in terrible shape. Look, we've come miles from where we were in 2008 when we were in the midst of the worst recession since the Great Depression. I mean, we've made enormous progress. And I thought it was important that both the president and the vice president said we've never been more optimistic about the future of this country. It's important for that message to get out.

BASH: Now when you ran and were defeated in 1988, it was the first time really since post World War II that a party, that time the Republican Party, kept the White House after a two-term president. So George H.W. Bush beat you after Reagan. What lessons do you think there are for Hillary Clinton here in trying to achieve what George H.W. Bush did?

DUKAKIS: The only lesson that I came out of the '88 win were really two. One, you cannot let the other guy beat you up without a good strong response, and secondly, the grassroots make a huge difference. And we've 50 states and we've got thousands of Democrats and we've all got to be out there knocking on doors and connecting with the American people. We do it we're going to win.

BASH: Thank you so much, Governor. Thank you, Mrs. Dukakis.

Back to you, Wolf.

BLITZER: A lot more ahead on this historic final night of the Democratic convention. We'll be right back.

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