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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
Pence Breaks With Trump, Endorses Ryan; Awaiting Trump Rally in Florida; Clinton: Trump Spends Time Insulting Gold Star Families; U.S. Sent Plane with $400 Million in Cash to Iran; Official: 41 U.S. Military Members Infected with Zika. Aired 7-8p ET
Aired August 3, 2016 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[19:00:10] ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: OUTFRONT next, breaking news. We are waiting for Donald Trump live about to rally a big crowd of supporters in Florida. Is his campaign unraveling?
Plus, Trump's running mate Mike Pence breaking with Trump at his battle with Paul Ryan and John McCain. Could Pence dump Trump and Hillary Clinton reaching out to Republicans? Are they crossing over? My guest, a high profile person who has done just so. Let's go OUTFRONT.
Good evening. I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT, tonight, the breaking news. Donald Trump speaking live this hour at a rally in Florida and we are looking right now at live pictures from the Trump rally. Obviously, he's being introduced and he'll be there this hour and we'll going to be watching that. Tonight's rally is coming as a new poll out this hour shows Clinton leading Trump by ten points in the national poll. And as Trump's running mate Mike Pence breaks with Trump strongly endorsing House Speaker Paul Ryan and meeting with Senator John McCain, this coming hours after Trump refused to support either man's primary battle.
It's the latest evidence of a campaign with some disarray. Some members of Trump's team telling CNN they feel like they're wasting their time in a quote, "from one." But this afternoon, Trump denied there's any problem.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: So I just want to tell you the campaign is doing really well. It's never been so well united.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Jim Acosta begins our coverage OUTFRONT with the Trump campaign in Jacksonville, Florida at that rally. And Jim, this was another day of turmoil for Donald Trump.
JIM ACOSTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Erin and the Donald Trump campaign is pushing back on the notion that there is turmoil inside this campaign. As you mentioned Donald Trump said earlier today at a rally in Daytona Beach in this critical state of Florida that his campaign is united but he has ignited yet another firestorm inside the Republican Party, his comments on Paul Ryan have high-level GOP officials rallying behind the speaker and some are backing away from Trump.
ACOSTA (voice-over): Setting off alarm bells inside the GOP on almost a daily basis, Donald Trump's campaign is swirling in an August hurricane of his own making.
TRUMP: So I just want to tell you the campaign is doing really well. It's never been so well united, and we started on June 16th. I would say right now it's the best in terms of being united than it's been since we began. We're doing incredibly well.
ACOSTA: One day after Trump told "The Washington Post" he wasn't ready to endorse Paul Ryan in the re-election battle, Trump's VP pick Mike Pence is going his own way, announcing he fully supports the House Speaker.
MIKE PENCE (R), VICE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: I strongly support Paul Ryan, strongly endorse his reelection. He's a longtime friend, he's a strong conservative leader.
ACOSTA: It's another crisis where Trump Campaign Chairman Paul Manafort who is leading a staff that sources say is growing increasingly frustrated with its own candidate. CNN has learned some supporters and Trump will feel like they're wasting their time. Because they can't stick to the campaign's talking points when he flies off message.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The candidate is in control of his campaign.
ACOSTA: Manafort is pushing back on reports that some of the campaign's top surrogates like former Speaker Newt Gingrich are scrambling to get Trump back on message.
PAUL MANAFORT, TRUMP CAMPAIGN CHAIRMAN: The campaign is focused and the campaign is moving forward in a positive way. The only thing we have for an intervention are some media types who keep saying things that aren't true.
ACOSTA: At a rally in Daytona Beach, Trump once again veered off his attacks on Hillary Clinton by explaining what he meant when he attacked FOX News anchor Megyn Kelly months ago.
TRUMP: Like she's got the one with blood coming out of her eyes and I meant her nose or her ears.
ACOSTA: Gingrich who was one of Trump's VP finalists may be going rogue, too, telling the Washington Post the current race is which of these two is the more unacceptable because right now neither of them is acceptable. Trump is helping her to win by proving he is more unacceptable than she is. But another top Trump surrogate Dr. Ben Carson predicted on CNN that Trump and Ryan will patch things up creating unity in the party.
DR. BEN CARSON, PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: He's very pro-unity in the party and you know, he will be, obviously, onboard with Paul Ryan. (END VIDEOTAPE)
ACOSTA: Now, we should point out the former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is walking back some of his comments that Donald Trump was unacceptable saying earlier today to different publication that he does feel Donald Trump is acceptable as a candidate for President of the United States. And Erin, we should also point out that even though it has been a rocky past couple of days for this campaign, it did manage to put out a statement today revealing it raised some $80 million along with the RNC last month. So it goes to show even though this party is at times very much divided it can still raise huge sums of money -- Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Jim. And I want to go to Dana Bash now in Washington. And Dana, some Republicans are saying despite some of these very serious issues they saw one bright spot from Trump today.
[19:05:12] DANA BASH, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right. You heard Jim report that we still had kind of the Donald Trump show today. Things that really get the people who go to his rallies riled up, whether it is talking about the old stories of Megyn Kelly or even him defending himself saying he didn't way back when make fun of a disabled reporter, but for the most part Republicans I'm talking to tonight are breathing a small sigh of relief because he didn't pick any unwinnable fights with people he shouldn't be.
Whether it is gold star parents or the House Speaker or even a crying baby. That didn't happen, and more importantly, he did start his speech earlier today in Florida the first rally, with more discussion about Hillary Clinton and the reasons why he doesn't think that she should be president than he has done in the past. Those are positives. The bar isn't that high for a lot of these Republicans that I'm talking too but --
BASH: -- they are looking for a bright spot. We do have another rally. We're going to see what he does tonight.
BURNETT: We're going to see what he hasn't just a few moments as you said live this hour. But Dana, you know, there had been talk given the firestorm around Trump among some of saying, how could they get rid of him? Could you change the ticket at this point? Is there even a mechanism to do that?
BASH: There is. Well, sorry, let me back up. There is not a mechanism to get rid of Donald Trump if he doesn't want to go. What I was told earlier today was the concern among some Republicans was that Donald Trump was acting in such a mercurial way particularly after the Democratic convention where he was kind of lashing out at other reasons and all the incidents that you and I just talked about that, you know, and he was talking about the system being rigged going after the media even more.
There was concern among some that maybe he was setting the groundwork, never mind, to potentially loss in November but even more alarmingly for some people to say, you know what? I'm out. I think that those concerns have died down, but still the answer to your question is if that happened, if there was a vacancy because he wants to drop out, there are discussions going on about how that could and would happen. There actually is a rule inside the RNC that sort of speaks to what happens if there is a vacancy, but again, those are not happening within the RNC apparatus which shows some officials who are experts in this trying to kind of be prepared.
BURNETT: All right. Well, Dana Bash, thank you very much. Pretty incredible that we're even talking about people being prepared for such a scenario.
OUTFRONT now, Kelly supporter Kayleigh McEnany, Clinton supporter Basil Smikle, along with David Gergen who served as adviser to four presidents and John Avlon, editor-in-chief of "The Daily Beast."
John, let me start with you. Donald Trump, you heard him. His campaign has never been more well united than it is tonight. Sources inside tell CNN say that some staffers feel like they're wasting their time and incredibly frustrated as Dana and Jim were reporting.
JOHN AVLON, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, "THE DAILY BEAST": Who are you going to believe? Look, the Trump campaign has a Baghdad problem and it's led by the candidate. I mean, there's just obviously, there is discord, obviously there is turmoil because you have a candidate who even today as Dana pointed out low bar (ph) didn't light himself on fire yet today, didn't yell a crying baby but re-litigated the Megyn Kelly incident for no reason.
BURNETT: And the disabled reporter.
AVLON: And the disabled reporter. So, you know, of course Donald Trump's job is to come out and say everything's great, never been better in the whole history of the campaign. But obviously the Republican Party has never been more disunited around a nominee. He went after the Speaker of the House and when you do that people realize that oh, we thought we could channel this kind of crazy? This actually is not channelable. This thing is a dumpster fire.
KAYLEIGH MCENANY, DONALD TRUMP SUPPORTER: Well, I don't mind him not endorsing Paul Ryan, he has a conservative challenger, so does John McCain, there are many Republicans who prefer their alternatives. So, I don't mind him not doing that. But what I will say about Donald Trump is, when you have Newt Gingrich who has been his closest ally, who has stood by him on every single step coming out and saying this needs to change, we need to stay on message.
We are at a juncture where Donald Trump does need to step back and listen to Newt Gingrich who still believes in him. He said today Donald Trump can win this, he can be a historic president, but in order to do that he needs to stick to the issues and I think Donald Trump owes that to himself, to Republican voters and to Newt Gingrich who stood by him, and me, quite frankly as someone who stood by him.
(CROSSTALK) BURNETT: Right. Right. Night after night has stood by him, a countless times.
BASIL SMIKLE, EXECUTIVE CHAIRMAN, NEW YORK STATE DEMOCRATIC PARTY: But I wonder, you know, does he really owe it to them? Because to me, this is a campaign that's been about Donald Trump for the entire time. Does he really care about the Republican Party? My guess is no. And I think he is in it to the end because for him it's about winning. It's not about governing. It's about winning.
SMIKLE: And, you know, I just think it's laughable the way in which he, you know, just sort of to your point that he just can't help himself. Earlier today, at this rally in Daytona, he said that Hillary Clinton should get an award for founding ISIS. I mean, that is just irresponsible rhetoric. And, you know, at some point he's got to become more presidential. I don't think there is a point where he can grow his base of support, but at least sound presidential.
[19:10:11] BURNETT: So, David, head of the RNC, Reince Priebus, we know is now personally angry at Donald Trump over this issue of Paul Ryan, right? A close, personal friend of Reince Priebus sounds like people at the Trump campaign are also angry, you have high profile Republicans now like Meg Whitman of EBay and former obviously GOP candidate for governor in California saying, they're going to vote for Hillary. How bad is this situation for Trump? How bad is the bleeding? Can he still put a band-aid on it and move on?
DAVID GERGEN, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL ADVISOR: Erin, he's had the worst week of any major candidate I can remember in politics. He's gone from being essentially in a tie with Hillary Clinton chance of 50/50 and he can actually win this thing and now, you know, the people who are really smart about this and his chances have fallen to maybe 30 percent at best. I think he's about two to one against him now. It's just been dramatic and it's hard to tell whether he's running a campaign or a circus, and I do think that when you accept the nomination, when you win the nomination of a political party, it's a deal. It's a bargain.
You -- they give you the power, and the capacity to become president of the United States. They really help fuel you and in return to that, you owe them loyalty to the party in helping the party win. And you know, it goes both ways and I think when Kayleigh is questioning him, I think that just shows how far it's gone or I think her comments are on target. They do need to have an intervention with Newt Gingrich and other and say listen, Donald, if you want us to be with you the rest of the ride, you have to get out of the ditch and drive this thing properly.
BURNETT: And on the issue, this issue of whether he wants the job, right, as Dana said, he decides to step down, they could replace him. They're looking at the mechanism to do so just to be prepared. New poll, Clinton leading Trump by ten points, that's just the latest poll to show a big lead, John. Last month "The New York Times" asked Donald Trump about whether he could beat Hillary Clinton and then not take the job.
BURNETT: So, he could and then pass it up. And he responded, quote, "I'll let you know how I feel about it after it happens." Do you think he really wants it?
AVLON: So this is the producer's theory of this entire presidential campaign that he keeps trying to lose and he keeps winning. The problem, of course, is that the primary electorate in the Republican Party is totally different than the electorate and that's the contradiction that the candidate and the party is confronting. And the bargain here is that people like Paul Ryan and John McCain who are responsible Republicans who have top primaries, have been trying to walk a line condemning statements without condemning him. They now realized that they have Churchill's problem with an appeasers, like feeding a crocodile and hoping it eats you last.
It's going to eat you. And if Donald Trump is throwing out this reality TV scenario that maybe he'll abdicate after being elected, I mean this is not a well man if that's being contemplated at any corner of his head and if we're contemplating that as well, that shows a fundamental lack of confidence in the seriousness of the candidate.
MCENANY: He's not contemplating that, though. I really don't think he is. And Donald Trump, he has an unparalleled ability to speak to the concerns of the American voter. He really does. His message resonates and if he can get back on message, he can make up that gap, he can win this. There's a lot going on right now. Four hundred million dollars to a run from the Obama administration. There's a lot going on.
MCENANY: He's got to stick to the message so we can get to those issues.
BURNETT: We're going to talk about the $400 million to Iran whether it was ransom or not later in the program. Next, we're standing by for Donald Trump about to take the stage at that rally in Florida as I said in Jacksonville tonight. As his running mate, Mike Pence, breaks with Trump endorsing Paul Ryan and meeting with John McCain for nearly a half an hour. Can the GOP ticket survive?
Plus, Hillary Clinton scoring a major victory. Which big name is Republican is team Clinton tonight? An outrage over the $400 million in cash flown to Iran the same day the country released American hostages. Did President Obama pay a ransom to a country he calls a state sponsor of terror?
[19:17:01] BURNETT: Breaking news, we are standing by for Donald Trump, live pictures out in Florida where he is going to address a big crowd in Jacksonville. He is though no longer seeing eye to eye with his own running mate. Mike Pence is breaking with Trump today, officially backing the House Speaker Paul Ryan in his upcoming primary election.
Tom Foreman is OUTFRONT.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Only two weeks after Republicans wrapped up their convention like a big, happy family a rip has appeared in the party ticket. Donald Trump says, he's not ready to endorse Speaker of the House Paul Ryan for re-election, but Trump's running mate Mike Pence already has, and now Pence is trying to smooth over the matter.
PENCE: I strongly support Paul Ryan and strongly endorse his reelection. He's a longtime friend, he's a strong conservative leader. And I believe we need Paul Ryan in leadership in Congress of the United States to rebuild our military to strengthen our economy and to and to ensure that we have the kind of leadership in this country that will make America great again.
FOREMAN: It's not the only place Pence is caught in the middle.
PENCE: You have sacrificed nothing!
FOREMAN: Trump's ongoing battle with the family of U.S. Army Captain Humayun Khan, a Muslim killed in Iraq, has infuriated some Republican leaders and voters, too.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Trump has disrespected our nation's Armed Forces and veterans and his disrespect for Mr. Khan and his family -- will there ever be a point in time when you are able to look at Trump in the eye and tell him enough is enough? You have a son in the military, how do you tolerate his disrespect?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's all right. It's all right.
Folks, that's what freedom looks like and that's what freedom sounds like.
FOREMAN: White Trump insists he has nothing to regret, Pence is playing peacemaker, staying close to script.
PENCE: Donald Trump and I both have said that Captain Khan is an American hero and we honor his service and his sacrifice.
FOREMAN: And as Trump reignites his long fight with Arizona Senator John McCain withholding yet another endorsement and saying McCain has not done a good job for the vets, once again, Pence is coming to the rescue meeting with McCain and talking up not only with Trump, but also party unity.
PENCE: And up until very recently it seems like he's been out there doing it all on his own, but now we are united. We have come together.
(END VIDEOTAPE) FOREMAN: The vice presidential nominee is on a very high wire here. He cannot directly contradict Donald Trump without potentially damaging the ticket, but Pence is a key link to conservatives in the party, to the establishment and they also need to know that he's on their side -- Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Tom, thank you very much. My panel is back with me.
And David Gergen, let me start with you. You know, we always say you've been an adviser to so many presidents and you have seen a lot of elections. This, just take the fact that you have Mike Pence endorsing Paul Ryan and meeting with John McCain when Donald Trump came out and said he can't endorse him. Have you ever seen an election where a VP candidate has been in a position like this and done what Pence did?
GERGEN: Never. Never. I mean, Trump and Pence sort of have a good cop/bad cop routine. Except they've got it upside down and normally the vice presidential candidate is the bad cop and the presidential candidate, you know, is the healing party and president of everybody and wants to bring the country together and that's exactly the opposite of what we face here. I'll tell you, the problem is not Michael Pence. If anything, he ought to be the one thinking about whether he wants to stay on the ticket.
And people who have an intervention with Trump, the biggest leverage they had is, if you don't get this straight down, Michael Pence is going to find it very uncomfortable to be your running mate and you might lose him and that would tank the whole thing. So, but the real issue here is whether Trump is going to be loyal to the Republican Party and to his fellow Republicans.
He claims this as his party, he owes it to the party, to support Ryan, and after all if he loses Paul Ryan may be the most important person to bring this party back together and he owes it to John McCain after insulting him frankly because John McCain can become a valuable ally for him. Right now he's going to make John McCain a valuable ally to Hillary Clinton the way he explained it.
BURNETT: So, you just heard what David said, if anything, it's Mike Pence who would consider leaving this ticket, reaching a point where he says, I cannot do this anymore, beyond loyalty.
AVLON: Yes. Look, I mean, Mike Pence is in a very difficult situation, but frankly, he's doing Donald Trump a favor because he's the one who is trying to unite the party after serial gaffes at the top of the ticket. But Mike Pence is in this -- bargain for 2020, let's be real. And if he all of a sudden feels that instead of getting a boost from being part of this ticket that he gets contagion that, you know, it's political kryptonite, then maybe more in his interest to bail. Look, the ticket is probably not going to break up but the reality is that Mike Pence is playing the adult in this relationship and that's the kind of managing up that we've never seen before in modern politics. It's a role reversal as David said. BURNETT: And Kayleigh, you know, the other thing here is in an
interview today. Pence admitted that he and Donald Trump don't even speak every day and granted they're both out talking to different people but not even speaking every day?
[19:22:17] MCENANY: They have busy schedules. I mean, I found a refreshing what happened today because I think it's authentic. You have two people on the same ticket who disagreed and any manikin (ph) politician like Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine would have gotten on the same page and gone to the American people and say face and said, we agree on this. The American people appreciate honesty, and I think it was an honest moment when Donald Trump says, I'm not there yet with Paul Ryan because at the end of the day, it's the Republican voters who get to decide whether Paul Ryan or his competitor Nehlen gets that position. But Mike Pence and I disagree and I find it refreshing --
BURNETT: Because, you know, Tim Kaine switching on the TPP and all of a sudden going to be on Hillary Clinton's side on abortion, personal, he doesn't agree with and nobody is going to go along with her. Does she have a point?
BURNETT: OK. Go ahead.
SMIKLE: With all due respect. Listen, this is -- the President of the United States manages a massive bureaucracy and is charged with pulling the levers of power to make sure that that bureaucracy works for everybody, even if they didn't agree with him or her, or even if they didn't vote for her. That said, what we get is not authentic and is some form of authenticity from Pence and Trump. That to me seems like incredible dysfunction and it's cringe worthy similar to the sort of like the "60 Minutes" interview.
Those are cringe worthy moments when there are two people who are the head of the standard bearers of their party that don't even agree on simple endorsements of members of their own party whereas I think Clinton and Kaine are folks who are two who are actually do see eye to eye, who are activists at heart and Kaine was in civil rights attorney for many years. So I do think there's a -- they can disagree on a certain number of things but the key is for them to go out and be able to understand how to move the bureaucracy.
BURNETT: Can Mike Pence David Gergen help Donald Trump? I mean, after all, Donald Trump is at the top of the ticket and we always hear, nobody votes for the VP. So he can come out and say, don't worry, I'm going to say this and I'm going to do this, I'm going to smooth this over, but does it really matter?
GERGEN: I think -- I think it matters a lot. If you have a second maverick at the bottom of the ticket, I think this thing would be careening all over the place. I think Mike Pence can play the role of an anchoring force in the campaign. He is going to build a lot of respect, but in order to get there, you know, the candidate himself has to settle down, and he has to begin acting, you know, like someone who really cares about the Republican Party. I mean, going to the authenticity question, Kayleigh, do you think Paul Ryan endorsed Donald Trump really endorsed Donald Cain because he thought -- Donald Trump because he thought he's going to be a wonderful president? No, he did it out of loyalty to the party and it does seem to me that Donald Trump owes loyalty to the Republican Party just as he's asked for it from them.
MCENANY: I think his loyalty to Republican voters and I think that's what's been confused a lot in this election is that the will of the Republican voters is what should be lifted up, not the will of the party. These people who are in elected office, Paul Ryan is a public servant and if the public chooses to put Nehlen his competitor there, I fully expect Donald Trump to respect that decision just like people were backing down Trump every step of the way and in doing so insulting Republican voters and saying, you made a stupid choice or why did you make the --
AVLON: In due respect, I mean, you know, that position seems to have been vindicated by the last several days at the very least and I think what's happening at the RNC is they're realizing it. I mean, let's put all the pageantry aside and what happens in closed doors as Republicans are rolling their eyes and they're not outwardly freaking out about the prospect of this guy running their ticket and the down ballot tickets into oblivion. They thought they could make a deal and now they're getting fried. Paul Ryan has been an incredibly responsible, national leader on conservative issues, and for the nominee to say he's agnostic one week out or to say that John McCain doesn't treat his vets well, that's not only 100 days out, that's not responsible, that's not rooted in reality.
MCENANY: It's not about the party, it's about the --
It's very simple.
BURNETT: All right. We'll leave it there for now, thank you all.
And tonight libertarian ticket taking the stage in a live CNN town hall, don't miss Gary Johnson, William Weld making their case for your vote tonight at 9:00.
OUTFRONT next, we're standing by for Donald Trump at that rally in Jacksonville. A big crowd there. Our Jim Acosta is on the ground. We are watching that. We're going to bring that to you.
Plus, Hillary Clinton working the phones calling on big-name Republicans to cross party lines. One who said yes is OUTFRONT next.
And Donald Trump on the $400 million payment to Iran.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: It was being shipped overnight to Iran. Four hundred million dollars. You know, we have a president who frankly is incompetent.
(END VIDEO CLIP) (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
[19:30:51] BURNETT: Breaking news: Hillary Clinton ripping into Donald Trump for attacking the father of a Muslim-American soldier who was killed in Iraq.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Anyone who spends his time insulting our military, insulting Gold Star families, this is not someone who understands the honor, that duty of serving America.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Joe Johns is traveling with Hillary Clinton.
And I know you're OUTFRONT in Commerce City, Colorado, Joe.
Clinton not letting Trump's comments on the Khan family go at all today.
JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: That's absolutely right, and I have to tell you, though, they're walking a line here in many ways, Erin. On the one hand, they want to keep the story going and they're trying to keep the story going and on the other hand they don't want to go overboard with it. So, today, she chose essentially to mention Gold Star families and Donald Trump, but did not mention the Khan family directly.
Listen to how she put it.
Oh, check that. We don't have the sound bite.
Nonetheless, it's important to say there that she -- Hillary Clinton has tried very hard over this period to walk a line, and you ask why. The simple fact is, as many analysts have observed, when your enemy, when your opponent is treading water, the one thing you don't want to do is throw that individual a rope and that essentially is what Hillary Clinton's campaign is trying to do, Erin.
BURNETT: All right. And, Joe, she's also, I know, you've been reporting reaching out to Republicans, making calls. Hewlett-Packard CEO, long time Republican, former gubernatorial candidate in California, Meg Whitman, announced she is now supporting Clinton.
JOHNS: Right. She's the biggest prize and again the Hillary Clinton campaign has been pushing a long time talking about the divisions in the Republican Party and how there are a number of Republicans who do not like Donald Trump.
Interesting, with Meg Whitman she said she's going to vote for Hillary Clinton, but they're also playing up those individuals in the Republican Party who say they're just not going to vote for Donald Trump. Among them, Mark Roscoe, the former governor of Montana, and also former chair of the Republican National Committee, he said in an op-ed on July 1st in "The Washington Post" he cannot endorse or support Donald Trump.
So, that's a completely different category of individuals who haven't said they're going to vote for Hillary Clinton, but say they're not going to vote for Donald Trump. They think that helps them a lot as we move toward the general election.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Joe Johns.
OUTFRONT now, Doug Elmets, former spokesman for the Reagan administration. He is an organizer for Republicans for Hillary Clinton. So, it is pretty clear where he stands, voting for Hillary Clinton.
Doug Heye is a former RNC communications director.
Doug Heye, for those who don't know your position, you are not going to vote for Donald Trump and you've been very clear about that, but you are not voting for Hillary Clinton and Hillary Clinton is trying to get you onboard to try to say, you know what, I've got two choices and between the two, Hillary Clinton is my choice.
You won't do it. You said you're writing in Paul Ryan. Why?
DOUG HEYE, FORMER RNC COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: Well, I'm writing in Paul Ryan for two reasons. One, I can't vote for Hillary Clinton. I watched her record as secretary of state. I thought it was a disaster.
Donald Trump said that he thought Hillary Clinton would be a great secretary of state. I disagree with his analysis of that and many other foreign policy questions. I can't go in either direction.
The other reason is I watched Paul Ryan on CNN last month with Jake Tapper in the town hall. He was frankly the best espousal of conservative policy I've seen in my lifetime most likely if not at least back to when Ronald Reagan first ran in 1980, and that's the kind of conservative leadership conservatives are looking for.
I'm under no illusion that Paul Ryan is going to be the Republican nominee or on the ballot in November, but I've got to look at myself in the mirror in the morning. It's hard enough most mornings for me, Erin, but I need to do that and be proud of who I voted for and that's a constitutional conservative.
BURNETT: So, Doug, let me ask you this question. What do you say to Doug Heye when he says he cannot vote for Hillary Clinton and will you be proud when you look in the mirror that you did so?
[19:35:02] DOUG ELMETS, ORGANIZER, REPUBLICANS FOR HILLARY CLINTON: Right. First of all, I think that Doug, with all due respect, is throwing away his vote and if not really voting for Donald Trump. You know, if he really wants to help Paul Ryan, he ought to move to Wisconsin where Paul Ryan is in a fight for his primary congressional seat.
I think really it's about time for Doug and others to put on their big boy pants and support Hillary Clinton and to look at her through a different lens because honestly, she is more prepared than really anybody in a generation to lead this nation and when one looks at her and contrast to Donald Trump who is unraveling and in the process unraveling the Republican party, there's no contest.
BURNETT: Doug, throwing away your vote?
HEYE: Well, look, I'm never going to say anybody is throwing away a vote. My vote isn't a vote I make at the ballot box. It's a statement that I make for the principles I believe. I'm not going to criticize Doug for his support of Hillary Clinton, or people who vote for Donald Turmp.
BURNETT: But your candidate is not going to win.
HEYE: Yes. That certainly looks to be the case. I understand that. There's also libertarian candidate who are going to be on CNN tonight so it's not merely a binary choice. I reject that argument, as well.
But I'm not going to be critical of Doug for how he votes. If this is important to him, that's how he should vote.
I also have a larger concern and it emphasizes the real problem of how there are no good options for Republicans right now of those down ballot races who will suffer because of Trump's presence as a Republican nominee. I talked to a Republican member of Congress from a not swing district who's private polling shows he's going to lose 20 to 25 percent of Republicans who aren't going to show up. That means he's in a swing district. We need those Republicans to show up (AUDIO GAP)
BURNETT: Doug Elmets, do you think you're causing the harm by having Republicans going over to Hillary Clinton causing a permanent problem in your party?
ELMETS: Well, I think Donald Trump is causing the permanent problem in our party.
HEYE: I do agree with that.
ELMETS: I do think it's important at this point in time to put country over party. Now is the time for everybody to come together and support Hillary Clinton and to look at her through a different lens.
I really do believe that a lot of people who are supporting Donald Trump are doing it because they just don't like what they've heard about Hillary Clinton over the last 30 years. They just need to take another look, just like I have and frankly, a lot of other Republicans who are all coming in with me. You know, you can see the dominos falling and we need to save this country before we save the party.
BURNETT: And you think you're going to get them? Are you out there now trying to get more Republicans to vote for Hillary Clinton, Doug?
ELMETS: Absolutely. And I think that -- as you see, there is a congressman from New York who said he was going to vote for Hillary Clinton. That's a pretty big move when a Republican congressman says he will support Hillary Clinton. You have Meg Whitman, the former of California who was a big GOP fund-raiser.
I think that it's only a matter of time and as Donald Trump continues this crazy behavior that he's doing, I think that more and more people are going to go, whoa, is that really who we want as our nominee, let alone president of the United States?
BURNETT: And, Doug, and the bottom line comes how are you going to feel if you feel your vote did contribute to what you feel is the wrong person?
HEYE: I'm not going to feel that way. I have to vote for a constitutional conservative that I can be proud of. There's not one that the Republicans nominated. I don't agree for how Doug will vote for Hillary Clinton and I respect his right and his decision.
And unlike Doug, I'm not going return his insults. He can make that at me and I'm not going to do that. I need to be proud of who I voted for. I'm not going to be proud to vote for Hillary Clinton. I'm not going to be proud to vote for Donald Trump. I'm going to be proud to vote for Paul Ryan.
He's put an agenda forth for Republicans that the Republican membership is really buying into and advancing. I can tell you from my time in the house how hard that is to do.
BURNETT: So, Doug, I'll give you the last word since Doug Heye had the first.
ELMETS: Well, first of all, I'm not really insulting Doug, with all due respect. And I applaud your position. I just don't believe that voting for Paul Ryan who has no chance of winning is really a smart move.
I really think that Hillary Clinton is better prepared to lead this nation and candidly she is ready for someone who is ready to start on day one. Let's get behind a candidate who can win rather than someone who is struggling in his own congressional district. Paul Ryan, I believe, is really sort of weak-kneed and is treating Donald Trump like a misbehaving toddler. I mean, when are we going to get real here?
BURNETT: All right. Thank you both very much.
We are awaiting Donald Trump live in Florida.
An unmarked plane flying $400 million in cash to Iran, literally boxes of cash, right as Iran releases American hostages. President Obama denies it was a ransom to the supreme leader. Is that true?
And breaking news, more Americans infected with Zika including a pregnant woman serving in the military. Our special report coming up.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [19:43:42] BURNETT: Tonight, the White House denying it paid Iran $400 million in ransom, but the Obama administration secretly sent an unmarked U.S. plane full of cash to Iran in the exact same day four American hostages were released. They say the timing was a coincidence.
Elise Labott is OUTFRONT.
ELISE LABOTT, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Four Americans, including "Washington Post" reporter Jason Rezaian were freed from an Iranian prison on January 17th. But just as the Americans boarded a Swiss aircraft bound for Germany, another unmarked cargo plane was landing in Iran loaded with pallets of $400 million worth of cash -- shrink wrapped euros, Swiss francs and other currencies, skirting America's own sanctions that banned transactions with Iran.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This is a good day.
LABOTT: While the freed Americans were in the air, President Obama announced a historic nuclear agreement with Iran.
The White House insists the money entering Iran within a few hours of the American prisoners leaving was all a coincidence and there was no quid pro quo.
JOSH EARNEST, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: No. It is not a ransom payment. The United States does not view it that way and it's not accurate to describe it that way.
LABOTT: But that's not how Iranian leaders described it at the time and Republicans armed with these new details of the money transfer as first described in "The Wall Street Journal" are outraged.
[19:45:00] REP. ED ROYCE (R-CA), FOREIGN AFFAIRS CHAIRMAN: One of the reasons you don't want to transfer $400 million in unmarked bills in cash to Iran is because it's going to end up in the hands of Hezbollah or it's going to end up in the hands of the other Iranian agents.
LABOTT: While U.S. and Iranian diplomats were secretly negotiating a prisoner exchange, separate teams from both countries were resolving a decades-old Iranian claim before an international tribunal at The Hague. The $400 million, the first payment ending a dispute over a failed arms deal dating back to the 1970s.
OBAMA: Iran will be returned its own funds including appropriate interest, but much less than the amount Iran sought. With the nuclear deal done, prisoners released, the time was right to resolve this dispute, as well.
LABOTT: After the cash-filled plane landed l Iran and the Americans were freed, Iranian military commanders boasted the money was a ransom, but the State Department insists the prisoners would have been freed the same day even without the payment. MARK TONER, DEPUTY STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESMAN: We believe so because
that was worked through a different process and it was concluded successfully.
LABOTT: Now Congress is debating legislation preventing the Obama administration from providing any more cash payments to Iran and also requiring the White House to release all the details publicly of this $1.7 billion settlement.
Now, Erin, just last week Iran arrested another Iranian-American Reza Shahini, two other Americans, Siamak Namazi and his father Baquer, are still in an Iranian prison, and Namazi family fears that the Iranians are going to try and extract another cash payment for his release before President Obama leaves office, Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Elise.
I want to go straight back to David Gergen.
I mean, David, this is pretty stunning -- $400 million in cash on a plane secretly shrink-wrapped and evading U.S. sanctions and our own sanctions, we went out and got non-dollar currency to go around our own sanctions on the same day four American hostages were released and the administration says, this is coincidence? Is there anything this could be anything but ransom?
DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, Erin, you know that old statement, if it walks like a duck and it quacks like a duck it usually is a duck. And here are the Iranians that we know reported in "The New York Times" and "Wall Street Journal" that they demanded this money in the closing days of the negotiations over the nuclear deal and they got the money.
Secondly, we do know the Iranian defense officials have been saying there was a ransom and as you point out their surreptitious nature of it. Yes, I think it was ransom. I think great powers often make side agreements they don't disclose. Look at when we went through the whole Cuban missile crisis and the U.S. made a pledge to get the missiles out of Turkey and the public didn't know that for six months, and here we are six months later and this thing is broken open.
The odd thing, Erin, the odd thing is why the press didn't follow up on this early back in January? On January 17th, David Sanger who is a world-renowned journalist, a very good journalist reported in "The New York Times" that we had agreed to give them the $400 million plus interest and $1.3 billion, $1.7 billion, in all. On the very day the people were released and he printed that in the newspaper and nobody noticed it. It's odd.
It suddenly now come back into play and I think it's a proper subject for Republicans to raise. Absolutely proper.
BURNETT: All right. Well, thank you very much, David Gergen, believing it's absolutely proper. If it walks like a duck and talks like a duck is a duck.
OUTFRONT next, the breaking news: the number of Americans infected with Zika is rising tonight. There are new fears this evening that it is spreading in the United States. Our report on Jeanne Moos on a team who has figured out how to make money off this year's presidential race.
[19:52:28] BURNETT: Breaking news: the number of Americans infected with Zika rising. CNN learning 41 members of the U.S. military including a pregnant woman have contracted Zika. Another seven civilians connected to those service members also infected. It comes amid new fears Zika is spreading in the United States.
Dan Simon is OUTFRONT from Miami, where over a dozen people have contracted the virus and obviously, a crucial situation there in Florida. I want to ask you about that.
But first, Dan, the breaking news, 41 members of the U.S. military have Zika and a pregnant woman among them. What more can you tell us?
DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Erin, they got it overseas and that's an important thing to keep in mind, and officials say they will continue to monitor U.S. military installations to make sure that there are no mosquito-borne illnesses like Zika coming out of those installations. We should tell you about that mother. We don't know her status or her unborn baby and two diplomats have also contracted Zika overseas, Erin.
BURNETT: And also Florida, where you are, right? This unprecedented warning from the CDC for where you're standing that people should not be going there, 15 people infected with Zika.
What is being done to try to contain the spread of this virus which I know you have new information on where it's spreading within this country?
SIMON: Erin, we are in the Wynwood district of Miami. This is ground zero for Zika here in Florida.
Nearly all of the transmissions have taken place here. We know that tomorrow, beginning tomorrow, crews are going to be dumping insecticide over this area with airplanes and hopefully that will make a difference.
And we've also seen a trucks coming up and trying to soak up the residual water on the streets where mosquitoes like to lay their eggs. Hopefully, that will make a difference and it's not just Florida that's on high alert. Texas is on high alert. Officials say that the risk of transmission there is great. They are warning people to pay attention to the local health bulletins. Hopefully, we won't see cases there, but crews fear it is just a matter of time, Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Dan Simon.
Texas now on high alert tonight. And OUTFRONT next, turning votes into cash.
[19:58:09] BURNETT: Buying votes always has been part of American politics say some, but in this most unusual political year some people are selling their vote.
Here's Jeanne Moos.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A couple of street-savvy guys are cashing in on Donald Trump.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm just a regular tall black guy getting money off of this guy.
MOOS: It's sort of bemusing black male, give me $1 or I'm voting Trump. A 19-year-old from Ohio who would only give his first name Josh got the sign idea off the Internet.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just started traveling to the U.S. three months ago and I've made around 12 grand.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Twelve grand? Tax-free.
MOOS: A self-described tall black guy who does most of the talking met Josh shortly after the teen arrived in New York.
We stumbled on them in the shadow of the Trump International Hotel in Columbus Circle which has become a bit of a magnet for protests like this Trump hair hut.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ninety-six hula skirts were made in the shape of Donald Trump's head.
MOOS: Two ad agency guys dreamed this up to protest wealth inequality and matching dog not included.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Touch it, go inside and think about what would happen if that man came to power. Oh my God!
MOOS: The hair hut made from Mexican straw was made to make a point, not a profit. While the sign guys can make as much as 225 bucks a day.
Who would pay to pose in front of it?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK, thumbs down.
MOOS: Maybe someone who felt insulted by the Donald.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: They're bringing drugs and they're bringing crime.
MOOS: The people posing were tourists from Mexico. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No good for Mexico.
MOOS: But he's good for these guys, entrepreneurs who didn't even attend Trump University.
TRUMP: At Trump University, we teach success.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We don't want money.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, we do.
MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.
BURNETT: Does that really mean 12,000 people gave that guy money?
All right. Thank you so much for joining us.
"AC360" with Anderson starts now.