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THE SITUATION ROOM
Pence Breaks with Trump, Endorses Paul Ryan; Trump Campaign in Disarray?; DC Transit Cop Charged with Aiding ISIS; New Questions About Trump's Foreign Policy. Aired 5-6p ET
Aired August 3, 2016 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[17:00:00] WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now. Donald Trump's campaign is in disarray after a series of blunders by the nominee. Staffers and GOP leaders are said to be frustrated as donors flee, and even close allies are voicing alarm.
Or in control. Trump just said his campaign has never been more united. But his running mate is splitting with the nominee and endorsing Paul Ryan. Is the candidate in control?
Cash withdrawal. The Obama administration admitting secretly flying $400 million cash into Iran at the very same time a American prisoners were freed. Was it ransom?
And terrorists underground? A D.C. Metro transit cop accused of aiding ISIS. The first U.S. police officer to be charged in such a case. He allegedly bought gift cards for the terror group and reportedly stockpiled weapons. Was Washington's subway system at risk?
I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
BLITZER: Let's get to the breaking news. In a rally just now, Donald Trump said his campaign has never been more united. But sources paint a picture of disorder and disarray. They say staffers are increasingly frustrated with the nominee, who can't seem to stay on message.
Just a day after Trump refused to endorse Paul Ryan, infuriating Republican leaders, Mike Pence broke with his running mate and announced his support for Paul Ryan.
GOP heavyweight Newt Gingrich tells the "Washington Post" Trump is proving himself, quote, "more unacceptable than Hillary Clinton." And top Republican donors are fleeing. Silicon Valley CEO Meg Whitman saying she'll help and vote for Hillary Clinton.
At a rally only moments ago, Trump focused in on a $400 million U.S. payment to Iran. The White House admits the United States secretly flew cash aboard an unmarked cargo plane to Iran the very same day that Iran freed American prisoners. Despite the timing, the Obama administration is denying that the payment was ransom money. I'll speak to Trump supporter and former Navy SEAL Carl Higbie. And
our correspondents, analysts and guests, they will have full coverage of the day's top stories.
There are growing accounts of disorder and despair within the Trump campaign, which sources linked to the candidate himself.
Let's begin with our senior White House correspondent, Jim Acosta. Jim, all of that is leading to some growing anxiety within the Republican establishment. What are you hearing?
JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right. Donald Trump will be here at a rally in Jacksonville, Florida, later on this evening. He just wrapped up an event in Daytona Beach earlier this afternoon.
At that event, he said that the entire Republican Party, his campaign, is united right now behind his candidacy. But that is not the case. He has ignited a firestorm inside the Republican Party.
Once again, his comments on House Speaker Paul Ryan have high-level Republican officials, including his running mate, rallying behind the speaker, while some in the GOP are starting to back 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.
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. And we started on June 16. I would say right now, it's the best in terms of being united that 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 his reelection battle, Trump's V.P. pick, Mike Pence, is going his own way, announcing he fully supports the House speaker.
GOV. MIKE PENCE (R-IN), VICE-PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE (via phone): I strongly support Paul Ryan, strongly endorse his reelection. He's a longtime friend. He is a strong conservative leader.
ACOSTA: Trump's battle with Ryan, which comes on the heels of the family of a fallen Muslim-American soldier slamming the GOP nominee, has the Republican Party on its heels. RNC Chair Reince Priebus is said to be outraged over Trump's comments on Ryan and is now planning to show his own support for the speaker.
It's another crisis for Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who's leading a staff that sources say is growing increasingly frustrated with its own candidate.
PAUL MANAFORT, TRUMP CAMPAIGN CHAIRMAN: The candidate is in control of this 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.
MANAFORT: The campaign is focused. The campaign is moving forward in a positive way. The only need for an intervention with some media types who keep saying things that aren't true.
ACOSTA: But Gingrich, who is one of Trump's V.P. 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 is acceptable. Trump is helping her to win by proving he is more unacceptable than she is."
[17:05:03] 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 (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He's very pro- unity in the party. And you know, he will be obviously on board with Paul Ryan.
ACOSTA: Ryan's GOP opponent for next week's primary in Wisconsin, Paul Nehlen, is milking the tension, in hopes Trump will endorse him.
REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: I formally declare Donald J. Trump...
ACOSTA: GOP insiders are cringing over that prospect, especially after Ryan endorsed Trump and took on a prominent role at the party's convention in Cleveland.
PAUL NEHLEN (R), WISCONSIN CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE: If you're Republican or a Democrat, it's hard to disagree with the fact that Ryan's efforts to undermine the Republican nominee, who he pretends to have endorsed, is exactly the kind of two-faced dishonest politics that represents what's wrong with Washington today.
ACOSTA: Now, we should point out in the last several minutes, former House speaker, Newt Gingrich, has been trying to walk back some of his comments. He now says that he does believe Donald Trump is an acceptable candidate for president.
And Wolf, we should also point out the Trump campaign, in the middle of all this turmoil, is trying to project some strength. It released its fundraising numbers for the month of July, saying it raised a combined $80 million along with the RNC.
And I talked to a top Trump supporter earlier today who said that this person received one of those surrogate memos that gets circulated around inside the campaign. That memo apparently says that they would like to see, inside the campaign, people talking about Hillary Clinton. But this one source inside the campaign conceded that is difficult to do right now with all of this talk of turmoil inside the Trump campaign.
Wolf, if Trump is going to get back on message, Wolf, it's going to be a work in progress.
BLITZER: Impressive fundraising numbers, though. I must say that. All right. Thank you very much, Jim Acosta.
Despite the growing accounts of disarray and deep frustration in the Trump camp and deepening worries within the Republican Party leadership, Trump and his senior aides insist the campaign is united.
Our chief political correspondent, Dana Bash, has been working her sources. Dana, has the storm surrounding Trump's latest comments subsided a bit?
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: They're trying. They're trying very hard to get them, and a lot of that depends on the candidate.
Today, as Jim was just reporting, he gave a speech, did a rally, where he did talk at the top not just about the fact that he insists that the party is united around his campaign but also some of the important topics for Republicans to hit Hillary Clinton on. Whether it is what she did or didn't do with her e-mails and whether or not they were classified. And also, this new bit of information that they think is very potent, politically, that the Obama administration allegedly was giving cash, $400 million, in exchange for -- for the U.S. prisoners who were in Iran.
We did hear from Donald Trump on that. He didn't, as one source close to Trump to me said just a -- a source close to Trump said to me just a few minutes ago, he didn't pick any fights, so that's a start.
But I thought it was really unusual, the fact that, as we talked about earlier, Wolf, several senior aides, pretty much his whole senior team, got on a call with me to push back on report that I had that they were frustrated, even including Paul Manafort, who effectively runs the campaign. He insisted to me it's not true, that the frustration is with the media; predicted that Trump would stay on message today, and so far, he has.
BLITZER: What about Reince Priebus? He's in a delicate, very sensitive position, the chairman of the RNC.
BASH: This is part of the fight-picking conversation that is going on within the Republican Party.
Reince Priebus feels like he has gone out on so many limbs for Donald Trump, trying to unite the party behind Trump at a time when the party didn't want to, and still, many people do not feel comfortable doing that.
And the fact that Donald Trump didn't -- actively did not endorse Paul Ryan in his primary fight yesterday sent Reince Priebus into kind of spiral -- spiraling in anger. Because the two of them, Reince Priebus and Paul Ryan, have been good friends for a long time. They go back. They kind of grew up together in Wisconsin politics. He thought this was personal. It personally hurt Priebus. And I'm not sure that the two of them have kind of gotten together to try to bridge that fracture, because it was pretty deep.
And you know, we'll see what happens. Look, the two of them need each other at this point. But particularly, Donald Trump needs the RNC. He's relying on them not just for cash but for field staff. That's a whole other story. It's a different kind of approach for a Republican presidential candidate.
BLITZER: If he is going to be elected, he needs help from the Republican National Committee. Are there some serious Republicans out there who think it's possible that Trump could actually drop out of this race?
BASH: There are people who think it's possible. Not probable. And we should underscore that we don't have any reporting that Donald Trump is even considering this.
But because of Donald Trump's mercurial nature and especially what we have seen over the past maybe four or five days, I am told by at least one Republican official that he's sort of working on a plan if Donald Trump were to drop out to how they could replace him on the ballot. Don't expect it to happen. But they want to be prepared.
BLITZER: Thanks very much, Dana Bash, for excellent reporting.
Joining us now is Carl Higbie. He's a Donald Trump supporter and former U.S. Navy SEAL who served two tours in Iraq. Thanks so much, Carl, for joining us. And thanks for your service.
CARL HIGBIE, FORMER U.S. NAVY SEAL: Thank you.
BLITZER: Is Donald Trump causing some serious division within the Republican Party right now by refusing to endorse Speaker Ryan, Senator McCain, Senator Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire.
HIGBIE: Well, it's causing a little bit of a rift here, but then again, this is a guy who, you know, has been on the fence of the Republican Party for quite some time now. And I think he's coming around. And like you said, I think ultimately, he'll get on board and he'll go -- he'll work with Paul Ryan and Senator McCain. There's been some hiccups recently, but I think that, you know, Paul Ryan was hesitant to endorse Donald Trump at first. And Donald Trump might just be wanting to make sure that he is making the right decision.
BLITZER: Trump's running mate had no hesitation at all. Mike Pence saying he not only supports but strongly supports Speaker Ryan, a day after Donald Trump said he's not there yet. There seems to be a split there between the presidential nominee and the vice-presidential nominee, right?
HIGBIE: Well, yes, but you know, this is why Mike Pence is such a great candidate for V.P., because he's willing to stand up and say, "You know, this is what I believe, and just because Mr. Trump doesn't believe the same thing doesn't give him -- doesn't give me not the right to go out and endorse who I see fit."
And I think Speaker Ryan has done a lot for -- a lot for the party, but if Mike Pence wants to endorse him, I think that's a great decision by him.
BLITZER: So you don't care that these two candidates are in different pages, at least for now?
HIGBIE: Well, I don't think they're on totally different pages. I just think Trump hasn't said he's not ready to endorse him yet. So we'll see. I think we'll see an endorsement coming up soon here.
BLITZER: Sources are also telling CNN that even Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort is frustrated. He's denied this publicly, but is it time, from your perspective, for a campaign reset?
HIGBIE: Well, I don't know about a reset. But look, Paul Manafort has done -- as you know, I'm with the super PAC, so I don't correspond directly with the campaign. I'm with Great America PAC.
But Paul Manafort publicly has done a fabulous job. He took over a turbulent (ph) campaign where they turned over ownership from Corey Lewandowski. And he's taken a big charge. He's really done a lot to take the campaign from where it is to where it is now.
So I don't think they're going to need a reset. Some things are still tweaking, but there's always tweaking in a political campaign, especially with a candidate who's only been in politics for only 13 months.
BLITZER: As you know, the Trump supporter, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich called Donald Trump self-destructive, and said this to the "Washington Post." I'll read it to you. "The current race is which of these two is the more unacceptable -- unacceptable, because right now, neither of them is acceptable. Trump is helping her to win by proving he is more unacceptable than she is." Those are blunt words, and they're coming from Newt Gingrich.
Is Donald Trump helping Hillary Clinton right now?
HIGBIE: Well, I think Donald Trump had a recent hiccup, and I certainly wouldn't have said it the same way he did. But I think things are going to turn around. As soon as we get back on message here and talking about the fact that what he's done for this country in creating jobs and things is far more than Hillary Clinton has done in her 30-year tenure in public service.
BLITZER: But it is awkward right now. It's a sensitive moment, and it's pretty frustrating these days, following the two conventions. I think you've got to agree.
HIGBIE: Yes. No, there's a lot of tension right now, but it makes for good news. I'll tell you that, Wolf.
BLITZER: All right. Stand by, Carl. We have more to discuss, including some national security issues that are coming up in this campaign, as well.
Much more with Carl Higbie right after this.
[17:17:56] BLITZER: Breaking news. Amid growing insider accounts of disarray, Donald Trump says his campaign has never been more united. We're back with the Donald Trump supporter, Carl Higbie. He's a former Navy SEAL. He's involved in a pro-Donald Trump super PAC, as well.
Carl, why is Donald Trump blaming Senator John McCain for the problems veterans, veterans like you, are having in this country?
HIGBIE: Well, I think with respect to John McCain, he's been in office for quite some time now. He did have a terrible V.A. scandal, unfortunately, in his home state, and understand that there's a human bureaucratic mess with fixing anything in the V.A. But it did happen in his home state, and they weren't able to fire anybody or anything like that. And I think that that's created a lot of tension, because Trump has a great deal of respect for the veteran community, as does Senator McCain.
But I think like I said, with Paul Ryan, they're going to patch up their differences pretty soon here, and they've both made comments against each other. So...
BLITZER: Do you think that eventually Donald Trump will endorse, support John McCain in his bid for reelection?
HIGBIE: I'm sure he will at some point. But the fact is, we're divided; we're not as strong. So I think that they're both going to come see eye to eye. They're probably going to have a meeting pretty soon, coming up here, and hopefully, they can get everything back on track, because we need it for the election.
BLITZER: Donald Trump has been publicly feuding, as you know, with the family of a fallen U.S. Army captain, Captain Khan, who was killed in Iraq, died heroically back in 2004.
Sarah Palin's son-in-law, a Medal of Honor recipient, tweeted this: "If Donald Trump wants to be the commander in chief, he needs to acts like one, and that can't start until he apologizes to the Khans."
Should he apologize? Should Donald Trump apologize to the Khan family?
HIGBIE: Well, I'll say the -- at Great America PAC, we believe that it should be smoothed over. It absolutely should be. We thank the Khans for their son's service.
But this is an issue that is just clouding the judgement of the -- not the judgement, but it's clouding the issues of the serious campaign here going forward. And I think Donald Trump needs to come around. He was given a Purple Heart by a veteran the other day. He's been endorsed by a number of veterans. And the veteran community is strongly behind him. This is -- this is an easy fix for the campaign, and I'm sure Paul Manafort will push him in the right direction.
[17:20:00] BLITZER: But do you think he should apologize?
HIGBIE: I think he needs to smooth things over. I don't know what the answer to that is. Like I said, I don't speak for the campaign. I speak for Great America PAC. But I think that he will -- he will do something to -- to make this right.
BLITZER: So what does it mean, smooth -- smooth things over? Why not just say to the Khan family, "I'm sorry"?
HIGBIE: You know what? To be honest, if it was me, I would. I would just say, "I'm sorry for any offense I've caused you. I thank you for your son's service. Our politics may not agree," and they should move forward from there.
BLITZER: Because it's pretty shocking to a lot of people. He's been so critical of a Gold-Star family. And you know these Gold-Star families. You can understand that, right?
HIGBIE: Oh, absolutely. And look, I'm very close with a number of Gold-Star families, as I've lost some brothers overseas. And people like Karen Vaughn are strongly in support of Donald Trump still, and they're part of this Gold-Star coalition.
So I think this came down to -- to standing on a political stage and taking a swing at Donald Trump, and maybe it wasn't responded to in the best way possible.
BLITZER: Because a lot of people are giving him the same advice you're giving them publicly right now: go ahead and say you're sorry, apologize and move on. Why do you think he's reluctant to do so?
HIGBIE: Well, Donald Trump is a very, very strong character. You've seen it throughout the race. He's taken on one person after another. To be honest, I think the DNC teed this one up for Donald Trump, and unfortunately, he kicked a field goal with it.
But Donald Trump is a strong fighter, and he's going to fight that strong for America. Once he gets all these knick-knacks sorted out here, I think he's going to be -- be back on message really soon.
BLITZER: You say the DNC teed this up by inviting this family to speak at the convention? Is that what you're saying?
HIGBIE: Yes, I believe so. I believe it was, you know, a political statement.
And my heart goes out to the Khan family, because I believe they were taken advantage of by Hillary Clinton on this one and put onstage and willing to ridicule. And you've seen even Mr. Khan now. He said in an interview he wants to get back out of the spotlight, because I don't think he anticipated this level of scrutiny.
BLITZER: Scrutiny, but he didn't anticipate, certainly, the criticism that he's getting from Donald Trump, and some of Donald Trump's supporters.
At that Trump campaign event with Mike Pence this week, the mother of a U.S. Air Force service member was booed when she asked a critical question of Donald Trump. Do you worry that Trump supporters potentially could be becoming increasingly antimilitary?
HIGBIE: Absolutely not. No, I think Donald Trump supporters, his support is so strong in the military. I mean, I am among myself, I haven't talked to a single person -- I take that back. I've talked to one person in the military, who's a friend of mine, who is not for Donald Trump. So an overwhelming majority of the military is.
I think what I would say to the Trump supporters out there -- and look, these rallies get -- they get emotional; people get involved. I wouldn't boo the service -- a service member's family or a service member, or anybody related to a service member, just because of their political view. I'd boo them on the content of their character. But I would prefer for them not to do that anymore. Let people speak freely, because that's what this country is about. That's what Trump stands for.
BLITZER: It's hard -- it was difficult to watch. I'm sure difficult for you. The mother of a member of the U.S. Air Force, who's serving right now, gets up, asks a serious question to Mike Pence, and because it involves the Khan family, she starts getting booed by Trump supporters in that audience at that rally. You must have been -- you must have been pretty upset about that.
HIGBIE: Well, it's irritating to see the division right there. Look, I may not agree with the Khans' politics or the way they've chosen to live their life or anything to that effect, but I do respect their son for his service, and they get my respect for that, too. That said, I think that the military will always stand firmly behind Donald Trump, because I don't think they have any faith in Hillary Clinton, judging by her track record.
BLITZER: Carl Higbie, thanks for joining us.
HIGBIE: Thank you, sir.
BLITZER: Coming up, Donald Trump says his campaign has never been so well united. But in a minute, I'll ask our correspondents what they're hearing from their sources inside the campaign.
And later, for the first time, a United States police officer is accused of trying to provide help to ISIS. We have new details.
[17:28:26] BLITZER: We're following the breaking news. Donald Trump, just now insisting his campaign is unified, united, doing well despite sources describing some serious disarray and frustration among his top staffers.
Joining us here in THE SITUATION ROOM, our chief political correspondent, Dana Bash, is back with us; our chief political analyst, Gloria Borger; our senior Washington correspondent, Jeff Zeleny; and our CNN political director, David Chalian.
Dana, you did a lot of excellent reporting, getting information from inside the Trump campaign. Take us inside that conversation that's ongoing right now.
BASH: It's trying to get back on track, trying to focus their candidate, most importantly, on the issues that Republicans are desperate for him to focus on.
No. 1, Hillary Clinton, and then any other issues that come up, like today, the Iran issue and others. And trying very hard to avoid him picking fights with people like, I don't know, the House speaker. And/or crying babies, or Gold-Star parents, things that they believe are just unavoidable.
But also, look, it's in Donald Trump's DNA to, when he feels that he is insulted or challenged, to fight back. We've seen that for over a year now. And so I think that they -- my understanding and my impression is they understand that inside the campaign. It's just the challenge is trying to kind of focus and to channel that energy and passion in a different way.
BLITZER: As you know, the vice-presidential running mate of Donald Trump, Mike Pence, today strongly endorsed the House speaker, Paul Ryan. Yesterday, Donald Trump refused to do so. Is there some disarray going on there between these two men?
[17:30:09] Well, and Mike -- and Mike Pence just tweeted about this to clarify things. He said, "I just talked to @RealDonaldTrump this morning about my support for Paul Ryan and our longtime friendship."
Look, as we've known all along, and Trump has encouraged this, he and Trump don't agree on everything. I would argue that the question of whether you endorse the speaker of the House is something that was never in question for Mike Pence.
And I think that it's not within Donald Trump's kind of frame of reference to understand what a real ruckus he has caused by not only not endorsing Ryan, but talking about Kelly Ayotte, et cetera, et cetera, and that Pence is just trying to kind of, you know, right the ship to, you know, to a degree.
So is there this terrible split between Pence and Trump? Probably not. Does Pence want to kind of get everybody off talking about that subject and move on and support his friend, Paul Ryan and do Reince Priebus, the chairman of the RNC a favor, because Reince was so upset, according to Dana's reporting? Yes.
BLITZER: But it's not just that he's not endorsing Paul Ryan. He's tweeting and saying all sorts of nice things about the man challenging him for the Republican nomination, and that primary is next Tuesday.
BORGER: Right. And that's where the party disconnect is. Because how can a candidate of the party say terrible things about people who are current governors or people who are running for Congress? I mean, either you're a party person or you're not. And I think everybody knows, Donald Trump is not about the Republican
Party. Right? There is no question about that.
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: But he's supposed to have a relationship with Speaker Ryan. Like, they've had meetings and other things. I'm not sure that he's met this other candidate.
BASH: No, but he has tweeted nice things about him, which is how he operates.
ZELENY: The reality here is, I could say I find it hard to believe that he doesn't know that he's putting the finger in the eye of the establishment. He knows exactly what he's doing. You know, and it's -- I don't see how it helps him sort of expand his popularity among the people he needs to.
BLITZER: You know, David, Trump opened up his speech just a little while ago at this campaign rally. First words out of his mouth, basically, was the campaign is more united, more unified than it's ever been before. You heard him say that just now.
DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: I did. It was also the first thing he tweeted when he opened up his eyes this morning and got out of bed. He absolutely is trying to portray this image that there's nothing to see here, and everything is OK. I just don't know who is going to buy that, when you read Newt Gingrich's comments in the "Washington Post" today.
I mean, this is one of his -- one of the people he actually listens to, one of the final contenders for his vice-presidential nomination, who is saying that Donald Trump is basically handing this over to Hillary Clinton right now, by proving himself to be unacceptable.
So clearly, it's not completely unified. They're working to get there. Donald Trump wants to portray that.
And listen, right after that, Wolf, he tried to hit some message points he wanted to hit today. But you're not going to be able to completely box Donald Trump into the way that the RNC or the speaker of the House would have him run this campaign every day from now through November, because that's not Donald Trump.
BLITZER: It certainly wasn't the way he ran a year to get the nomination. I suspect he feels it worked then; it's going to work for him now. He may be right.
Jeff, he also is suggesting now increasingly the whole system is rigged, and if he doesn't win this election, it's because it's rigged. Is he setting himself up, if he loses, for this excuse, if you will?
ZELENY: It sure sounds like that's what he's doing, by saying, "Hey, don't believe in the system." It's also a way to fire up his hard- core supporters that, look, you know, these rules are against us and things. But there's been a lot of chatter: "Oh, is he going to get out?" We
have no suggestion or real evidence of that. But it does seem that he is setting himself up for some type of expectation game here in terms of failing.
Of course, it's far too early for any of this. If you talked to anyone in Brooklyn at the Clinton campaign, they do not believe that -- that this race is over here. So if he is saying it's rigged, I think at this point, trying to sort of bring people to rally behind him, more than making this argument that he's going to lose.
BORGER: But this is the Donald Trump game plan that we've seen time and time again: "The system is rigged." OK, we heard that during the primaries. People who are running against him, or who haven't endorsed him, you know, he'll say, "I'm going to shove it right back at you."
So he is saying to himself, "This is a game plan that worked for me." But he had 17, 16 other candidates running against him at the time. But we shouldn't be surprised that this is what Donald Trump is doing, because this is -- this is what he has done, and it was successful for him the first time around.
BLITZER: What are you hearing about these reports this morning that there will be some sort of intervention by some of Donald Trump's advisors, including maybe members of his own family, trying to get him back on this different path?
[17:35:19] BASH: The people I'm talking to have sort of intentionally not used that word, "intervention," which is loaded.
Having said that, I have talked to a source who is familiar with conversations that happened last night, reaching out to some of Trump's nearest and dearest. I call them the political Trump whisperers. People he who will actually listen to on matters of politics.
One of those people has been Newt Gingrich, though. Newt Gingrich decided to give his opinion to the "Washington Post," which I don't necessarily think works with Donald Trump. It tends to work more one on one, eye to eye: "Listen, this is the way it's going to be. You've got to think about doing it this way, not that way."
So those conversations, I think, are happening, but probably not in, like, the way you would think if it was, like, the intervention that you see on reality TV.
BLITZER: Hurry up.
BORGER: I just want to add to Dana that I've been told by a source close to the campaign, when Dana talks about people who are the Trump whisperers, it's really the family. It's really his adult children who are very much involved in helping to run this campaign, and he listens to them. The question is for how long. Right?
BLITZER: All right. Everyone, stand by. There's a lot more to assess and discuss.
Also, coming up, amid all this turmoil in Donald Trump's campaign, more big-name Republicans are endorsing Hillary -- endorsing Hillary Clinton. She's campaigning right now in a crucial swing state. We're going there next. Stay with us.
[17:41:09] BLITZER: Despite the drama engulfing Donald Trump's campaign, Hillary Clinton is trying to stay focused on the crucial swing states that could decide this election. She also keeps picking up endorsements from big-name Republicans who don't like Donald Trump.
Our senior Washington correspondent, Joe Johns, is over at a Clinton rally in suburban Denver right now.
We hear, Joe, she's focusing in on jobs and Trump's record on outsourcing. Is that right?
JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: That's absolutely right. And she hit it very hard just a couple minutes ago here, Wolf. She's been hitting him on economic policy, outsourcing, contrasting her record with Donald Trump. And pointing out the fact that he makes a lot of his products overseas, including neckties.
She went to a necktie manufacturing company today, using as a prop a Donald Trump necktie, what she said was made in China.
Meanwhile, the back and forth over trying to get Republicans to abandon the Republican nominee, continued behind the scenes.
JOHNS (voice-over): The Democratic ticket barnstorming swing states today, blasting Donald Trump on the economy.
HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: If he wants to make America great again, he should start by making things in America.
JOHNS: But behind the scenes, her campaign is trying to capitalize on her opponent's stumbles, stepping up efforts to encourage disaffected Republicans to renounce Donald Trump.
The biggest prize so far, Meg Whitman, Hewlett Packard CEO and former Republican gubernatorial candidate. "To vote Republican out of party loyalty alone would be to endorse a candidacy that I believe has exploited anger, grievance, xenophobia and racial division," she said in a statement.
Whitman is the latest in a growing list of Republicans switching parties to support Clinton. Today, running mate Tim Kaine shot down Trump's record with small businesses during a factory tour in North Carolina.
SEN. TIME KAINE (D-VA), VICE-PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Hillary Clinton would be a "you're hired" president, and Donald Trump will be a "you're fired" president. He has a track record with small businesses. Small businesses are looked at as kind of expendable.
JOHNS: The campaign is out with a new ad in battleground states, using a Trump appearance on David Letterman to slam him on outsourcing his clothing line.
GRAPHIC: He knows where they're made.
DAVID LETTERMAN, FORMER HOST, CBS'S "THE LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN": Where are the shirts made?
LETTERMAN: In Bangladesh.
TRUMP: It's good. There are poor people in Bangladesh.
LETTERMAN: The ties? Where are the ties? They're beautiful ties.
TRUMP: They are pretty ties.
LETTERMAN: These are made in where, China?
LETTERMAN: The ties are made in China.
JOHNS: It's something she consistently hits him for on the campaign trial.
CLINTON: I really would like him to explain why he paid Chinese workers to make Trump ties. This is one of them. It's got his name on it, of course. And instead of deciding to make those ties right here in Colorado.
JOHNS: Clinton held a fundraiser in Colorado last night as the campaign touted a record month in donations, raking in nearly $90 million in July, with an impressive $9 million from the 24 hours after she accepted the nomination last week.
JOHNS: Those numbers from the campaign can't be independently verified by CNN until the disclosure records come out in the middle of the month.
The campaign does say the majority of donors to Hillary Clinton have been women, a fact they see as very significant. After this, she heads on to Nevada.
Wolf, back to you.
BLITZER: Joe Johns, Commerce City, Colorado, at that Hillary Clinton rally. Thank you.
A quick programming night. Tonight, the Libertarian Party's nominees for president and vice-president, Gary Johnson and William Weld, they take the stage for a live CNN town hall hosted by our own Anderson Cooper. Tune in tonight, 9 p.m. Eastern, right here on CNN.
Coming up, new questions about what Donald Trump is saying about U.S. Foreign policy if he's elected president and vital problems around the world.
[17:45:00] Also, we have new details about the first case of a United States police officer to be charged with trying to help ISIS.
BLITZER: For the first time a U.S. police officer has been arrested and charged with aiding ISIS.
CNN justice reporter Evan Perez is with us.
Evan, explain what you're learning about this D.C. Transit cop who was just charged.
EVAN PEREZ, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: His name is Nicholas Young, Wolf. And he is a 13-year veteran of the Metro Transit Police Department and he's now the first police officer in this country to be charged with providing material support for terrorists. For the past six years the FBI has keeping a close eye on him using informants and undercover agents.
[17:50:02] Prosecutors say that there's no indication that he's plotting to attack the D.C. Metro system. He was focused overseas -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Well, if there was no active plot, how was he charged?
PEREZ: Well, undercover agents and informants have been recording all conversations over the past few years, including threats that he allegedly made against federal agents but none of that crossed the line to merit charges until last week when he bought 22 gift cards for use in messaging apps and he sent them to someone he thought was working with ISIS overseas in Syria.
Now back in 2011, Young told the feds that he traveled to Libya to fight against the Gadhafi regime and he's now facing 20 years in prison if he's convicted in this case -- Wolf.
BLITZER: And we understand he was actually interviewed by the FBI as far back as 2010. What do we know about that?
PEREZ: That's right. Two of his associates have now gone to prison on terror charges during the time that the FBI has been looking at him. One is Zachary Chesser. He's serving time for supporting the Somali group Shabaab. And he's known for making threats to the creators of the TV show "South Park." Now Young was interviewed about Chesser. And another acquaintance who's now in prison is , Amine El Khalifi. He was arrested in a plot to blow up the U.S. Capitol -- Wolf.
BLITZER: This transit cop was a convert to Islam, is that right? PEREZ: He was a convert to Islam. He has a very confusing
background. He also has a tattoo that is associated with neo-Nazi so very confusing background picture in this case.
BLITZER: Evan Perez, good reporting, thanks very much.
Donald Trump is taking heat for his struggles on foreign policy like Russia, NATO, nuclear weapons. President Obama has accused Trump of ignorance on key issues calling the Republican nominee woefully unprepared for the White House.
Brian Todd is looking into this part of the story. What are you learning, Brian?
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, Donald Trump has said he could get along well with Vladimir Putin. He's expressed grudging admiration for Kim Jong-un. And that was before we got a lot of detail on how he changed America's foreign policy, before we saw how oblivious Trump seems to some world events.
Tonight, serious questions are being raised about whether Donald Trump has the temperament or even the basic knowledge to navigate America's place in the world.
TODD (voice-over): Tonight just days before he will begin to receive classified intelligence briefings, critics from both parties are continuing to question Donald Trump's "America first" foreign policy proposals. Trump raised eyebrows this week when he didn't seem to know Vladimir Putin had already invaded part of Ukraine.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Look, you know, I have my own ideas. He's not going to go into Ukraine. OK. Just so you understand. He's not going to go into Ukraine. You can mark it down. You can put it down. You can take it anywhere.
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC NEWS: Well, he's already there, isn't he?
TRUMP: Well, he's there in a certain way. But I'm not there yet.
TODD: Later in that interview with ABC Trump acknowledged Crimea, quote, "has been taken." That was after Trump became seemingly the first major presidential candidate to condition defending America's allies with their ability to pay.
Trump told "The New York Times" if NATO was attacked he would decide whether to defend the alliance, quote, "if they fulfill their obligations to us." Trump later said he's in favor of NATO and stressed some NATO countries aren't meeting their obligations to devote 2 percent of their economies to defense.
The Obama White House has also complained about NATO states failing to pay their fair share but President Obama didn't hold back on his feelings about Trump's grasp of foreign policy, unleashing a blistering attack while standing next to Singapore's prime minister. BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think the Republican
nominee is unfit to serve as president. The fact that he doesn't appear to have basic knowledge around critical issues in Europe, in the Middle East, in Asia, means that he's woefully unprepared to do this job.
TODD: Lieutenant General Michael Flint, a Trump adviser, insists Trump has the temperament to be president.
LT. GEN. MICHAEL FLYNN (RET.), TRUMP ADVISER: No doubt. I mean, in terms of the decision making ability, his strategic vision for the direction of this country needs to go. His ability to listen to advisers around him when we have these kinds of discussions.
TODD: But then there's the North Korean nuclear threat. Trump's gone back and forth on whether Japan and South Korea should be allowed to arm themselves with nuclear weapons. In March, he seemed open to the idea.
TRUMP: We're better off if Japan protects itself against this maniac in North Korea. We're better off frankly if South Korea is going to start to protect itself.
TOM WRIGHT, BROOKLYN INSTITUTION: It would be a calamity, historical sort of catastrophe, and it would be the reversal of 70 years of U.S. foreign policy. But it is sort of logical from his perspective as someone who wants to have a more independent, you know, isolationist United States that isn't committed to other countries.
TODD: We asked the Trump campaign repeatedly to respond to the criticism of his foreign policy ideas. We asked the campaign for an interview with Senator Jeff Sessions, Trump's top foreign policy adviser, or anyone on his foreign policy team. The campaign never got back to us and a Sessions aide said he was not available for media interviews today -- Wolf.
[17:55:05] BLITZER: Brian Todd, reporting, thank you.
Coming up, Donald Trump says his campaign has never been more united while close allies are voicing very deep frustrations.
BLITZER: Happening now, breaking news. Frustration. Donald Trump's aides are said to be distressed by his chaotic campaigning. And sources now telling CNN the GOP is pleading with Trump's top allies to get their candidate back on track.
Can Donald Trump pull his White House bid back from the brink?
Friends like these. Trump supporters break with the candidate. Newt Gingrich says Trump is helping Hillary Clinton wins. Chris Christie calls Trump's criticisms of the Khan family inappropriate, and a top Republican donor endorses Hillary Clinton. Is Trump becoming increasingly isolated?