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THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER
New Cache of Clinton E-mails; Pentagon Estimates 5,000 ISIS Terrorists Have Been Killed; Philippines' President Insults U.S. Ambassador; Lilly King Spars With Russian Swimmer Over Doping. Aired 4:30-5p ET
Aired August 10, 2016 - 16:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to the lead.
We will stay with politics now. We have a lot to talk about, so let's jump right now in with our political panel, CNN senior political analyst David Gergen and Washington bureau chief for The Daily Beast Jackie Kucinich.
Let's start with this new cache of e-mails.
David, at the very least, it shows Doug Band, who was simultaneously a top executive at the Clinton Foundation and a top aide to President Clinton, putting a very rich man, a donor, who the Clintons apparently had known for a long time, in touch with Huma Abedin, a top Hillary Clinton aide at the State Department, trying to put the donor in touch with a U.S. diplomat.
What do you make of all this?
DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I think it's a piece with the e-mail issue.
And that is, there's a certain sloppiness here and a disregard for normal traditions, that the Clintons would have been far better served had they had walls between things, and had there been careful staff work to establishment what the guidelines would be when you do have donors, because, inevitably, when you set up something like the foundation, you are going to have a stream of donors who are going to be asking for favors.
And the staff needs to know what is in and what is out, what are the ethics of all this. And it is late now to do that. Now, they did bring in Donna Shalala, as you know, Jake, to clean a lot of this up. And I think they run a much cleaner operation.
I don't -- I doubt this is going to make a huge impact on the campaign, but what I do think, it's going to create a lot of questions for Hillary Clinton about, what is the future of foundation if you get elected? There's going to be a lot of pressure to shut it down.
TAPPER: Jackie, this does feed into the narrative out there that the Clintons in general don't think that the rules apply to them and can't understand why anybody would ever question their ethics or their integrity.
This is exactly what the Obama transition team in 2008 wanted to avoid. They wanted a clear delineation between the foundation and the State Department.
JACKIE KUCINICH, THE DAILY BEAST: Well, exactly.
And the fact that these e-mails were not included in the tranches that have been released by the State Department also is questionable. But, again, it's the what are you hiding question that feeds into her honest and trustworthy numbers.
There is data out there that says people are sick of hearing about the e-mails. But, again, to your point, this just reiterates a negative narrative about Hillary Clinton that is very much out there and gives Donald Trump fodder, when -- imagine if this wasn't happening right now and Donald Trump was just out there doing Trump things and he had nothing to respond to, if this e-mail situation did not keep on drip, drip, dripping out.
TAPPER: Yes, that's the other thing.
David you know better than anyone when you have a problem, a potential problem, as a candidate or as a president, you get it all out, you get it all out on your terms, you get it all out as soon as possible, you apologize, and you talk about the lessons learned. And instead it has been years of this.
GERGEN: Yes, that is absolutely right, Jake.
We have seen this pattern for a long time. I have had a hard time explaining it. As you know, I worked for the Clintons, and I have a great admiration for them.
But on these kinds of issues, there is a blind spot. And it trips them up on a continuing basis. I don't understand why it continues. I do think it is damaging. I think it does contribute to the distrust. And we did we not have this controversy raging over Donald Trump, I think this would probably be a much more serious issue with the press as well.
TAPPER: Let's talk about Mr. Trump, as long as we bring up the subject.
Michael Hayden, the former director of the CIA and the NSA under George W. Bush, said to me yesterday if anyone else made that comment he would be out in a police wagon and the Secret Service would be interviewing him.
The comments were clearly interpreted by a lot of people as Donald Trump making a remark -- maybe he was joking, maybe not -- about gun owners taking the law into their own hands.
KUCINICH: It's just not funny. You don't joke about those things, because words matter anyway, but when you're running for president, you want to lead this country, you really do have to watch what you say, because your words mean even more than they did when he was a celebrity and could create news.
Now it matters, people listen to him, and take their cues from him. He sort of needs to internalize that. And also this comes on the heels of all of those Republican national security experts coming out and saying he is dangerous. This just makes their point for them, when he does things like this.
TAPPER: And, David, how did you take the remarks when you heard them?
GERGEN: I was -- I must say, I was really taken aback.
And what you reported at the top of the show, Jake, I think is so important. And that is that the Secret Service has now warned the Trump campaign on more than one occasion since this, these comments, about the danger represented by the rhetoric.
That settles the question, it seems to me, that the Secret Service has stepped in, settles the question of whether we should take this seriously or not, that it was open to the interpretation, like a dog whistle to crazies out there that maybe you ought to pick up a gun and settle this once and for all.
And it comes into context so important to this. I think people in the press would be much more willing to give Donald Trump the benefit of the doubt had there not been this long string of comments in this campaign that is pervaded with aspects of violence. He wants to punch people in the nose. He talks about going out and being shot on Fifth Avenue and it won't matter if she shoots somebody Fifth Avenue, that he would like to take somebody out, calling her a criminal, the crooked Hillary, and then having all these chants, as late as the rally yesterday about lock her up, lock her up.
Tom Friedman, I thought, made an excellent point today in "The New York Times" that that is what we saw, the kind of context what we saw before the assassination of Rabin.
Others have made the point this is the kind of dehumanization that we have seen before people pick up guns and shoot go people at abortion clinics.
That can happen in politics too. We have all lived through this before. And we know there are crazies out there with guns. And if you just give them the excuse or the incitement, terrible things can happen.
So, I think it is appropriate that Donald Trump has been condemned on this. And I also think his campaign is now in crisis.
TAPPER: All right, David Gergen, Jackie Kucinich, thanks to both of you. Appreciate it.
Through rose-colored glasses. A new report obtained by CNN says the fight against ISIS may not be going as well as top U.S. military officials have been claiming -- that story next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.
Let's turn to our world lead. The Pentagon now estimates that some 45,000 ISIS terrorists have been killed since coalition operations began more than two years ago.
This comes as just moments ago CNN obtained a copy of a congressional report that alleges that U.S. military officials as recently as last year were painting a far rosier picture of the U.S.-led fight against ISIS, contradicting what some saw as the battlefield reality.
CNN's Barbara Starr has been digging into this story. She joins us now live from the Pentagon.
Barbara, do we know how high up these reports went, these rosy scenarios?
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Yes, good afternoon, Jake.
That is now the key question. Is it possible that some of this, as you say, rosy intelligence got either to the desk of the secretary of defense or all the way to the Oval Office? Right now, there are no clear questions. There are plenty of questions.
STARR (voice-over): A war over military intelligence about ISIS unfolding.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They showed that failure of a will to fight.
STARR: As ISIS invaded Ramadi last year, and Iraqi troops fled the city, all of it seemed to catch the Pentagon off-guard.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our political leadership believed certain things, and they didn't want to change those beliefs. Intelligence analysts looked at empirical evidence. They tried to bring that intelligence to the attention of senior leaders and that effort appears to have been rejected.
STARR: Now an investigation by Republican congressional members into a whistle-blower complaint has found intelligence was altered to show more progress against ISIS than the intelligence warranted.
Congressional staffers tell CNN senior military intelligence officials at the U.S. Central Command, which was running the war, did edit and change intelligence reports. It's not clear if there was political pressure, but investigators found commanders decided to rely on operational reports from the front lines. The report says, "Deference to operational reporting resulted in analysis that was more positive regarding both Iraqi forces and ISIS." UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The operational reports that are passed up the
chain of command really reflect our side of the battle. They don't necessarily reflect what the enemy is doing. Or if they show that, they're only going to show a part of that.
STARR: Different views of the intelligence have erupted into the public arena, according to the congressional staffers.
March 3, 2015, the then head of Central Command spoke of ISIS in personal terms, referring to it as he.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The fact is that he can no longer do what he did at the outset, which is to seize and to hold new territory. He has assumed a defensive crouch in Iraq.
STARR: Ten days later, the director of the CIA had a more dire view.
JOHN BRENNAN, CIA DIRECTOR: ISIL is well-armed and well-financed. Its fighters are disciplined, committed and battle-hardened.
STARR: Then, in May 2015, ISIS seized Ramadi. It would be months before Iraqi forces got the city back.
STARR: Now, since all of this went on through about the middle of last year, there has been new leadership installed at the Central Command and new leaders also of its intelligence shop.
That, however, has not lessened the concern. There is still an inspector general report to come. And -- pardon me -- in a recent survey, about 40 percent of military intelligence analysts said they thought the system had problems -- Jake.
TAPPER: All right, Barbara Starr at the Pentagon, thank you so much.
Plus coming up, Mr. Trump isn't home. You saw him minutes ago in Virginia, so if this guy climbing Trump Tower is trying to say hello, he might be disappointed. He is on suction cups, trying to climb Trump Tower. Much more breaking news on THE LEAD just ahead.
TAPPER: We have another interesting story for you on our World Lead. This one is a diplomatic dispute between the United States and one of its major allies. The president of the Philippines insulted the U.S. ambassador to the Southeast Asian country on television.
He used a homophobic slur to describe the American diplomat. Now many of us here in the U.S. may not be all that familiar with Rodrigo Duterte, but the newly elected Philippines president is widely popular in his home country despite having a notorious potty mouth, even using profanity against the beloved pope.
[16:50:01]Let's bring CNN global affairs correspondent, Elise Labott. Elise, tell us more about the president of the Philippines and what exactly he said about the U.S. ambassador there.
ELISE LABOTT, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: It is really an unbelievable story, Jake. President Duterte was on the campaign trail. Ambassador Philip Goldberg called him out on past comments saying once suggesting he wanted to rape a woman.
Now that he is in office, Duterte is fighting back with some very undiplomatic language and the State Department wants answers from this key U.S. ally. We have to warn you some of President Duterte's language maybe offensive or obscene to some viewers.
LABOTT (voice-over): Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte under fire for using a homophobic slur against the U.S. ambassador. In televised remarks to the country's troops, Duterte recounting a fight he had with Secretary of State John Kerry of Ambassador Philip Goldberg during Kerry's visit to Manila last month, saying, quote, "His gay ambassador, the son of a whore, he pissed me off."
The State Department threading carefully with the key U.S. ally some in Manila's envoy to explain.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think what we're seeking a better understanding of why that statement was made.
LABOTT: Duterte accused Goldberg, one of the State Department's most senior diplomats of meddling in his country's elections, criticizing this joke Duterte made when he was mayor about the 1989 rape and murder of an Australian missionary.
RODRIGO DUTERTE, PRESIDENT OF THE PHILIPPINES (through translator): I was angry she was raped, yes, that is one thing, but she was so beautiful. I think the mayor should have been first.
PHILIP GOLDBERG, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE PHILIPPINES: Statements by anyone, anywhere, that either degrade women or trivialize issues as serious as rape or murder are not ones that we condone.
LABOTT: Duterte's inflammatory language has earned him the nickname "Donald Trump of the east" by the international media from the "Washington Post" to "The Guardian."
He once cursed Pope Francis over the traffic caused by the pontiff's visit to Manila, and he said didn't care about human rights calling on police to kill drug dealers and other criminals who resist arrest.
LABOTT: And in the same remarks about Ambassador Goldberg, Duterte called Secretary Kerry crazy for giving the Philippines a $33 million aid package during his visit despite that homophobic slur and he joked maybe he should continue to offend the U.S. -- Jake.
TAPPER: What an ally. Elise Labott, thank you so much.
It was an Olympic swim meet featuring an American and a Russian, but one 19-year-old's action turned into a new cold war. That story next.
TAPPER: Welcome back, let's turn to our Sports Lead. Team USA continues to outshine every other country in Rio. The U.S. dominating with 28 medals, total. It's only day five, let's not get cocky, Team USA.
One story that caught our eye, U.S. gold medalist, Lily King and Russian swimmer, Yulia Efimova. After the 19-year-old gold medalist from Illinois famously wagged her finger at her Russian rival who tested positive for doping.
Let's bring CNN sports analyst, Christine Brennan. Kristine, some folks are calling this beef between Lily King and the Russian swimmer a new cold war. Should we expect to see a little bit more of it this evening?
CHRISTINE BRENNAN, CNN SPORTS ANALYST: It is possible, Jake. They are swimming again now in a different event, the 200 breast stroke. They are also be in a relay against each other in a couple days. There is a few more opportunities for that.
This is what happens, Jake, when leaders don't lead. The International Olympic Committee had the opportunity to kick the state sponsored doping machine, Russia out of the games.
And so here's this wonderful breath of fresh air, Lilly King, 19-year- old Indiana University sophomore who takes it upon herself to do what others can't do/won't do, and talk about doping and trigger an international conversation that I think the international sports world needs to have. Good for Lilly King. We'll see how she does in the pool tonight.
TAPPER: And also one of the things that was so exciting last night was seeing Michael Phelps, he might be old, relatively, but he put on his Phelps face and demolished anybody who might have been getting a little cocky in front of him.
BRENNAN: He sure did. Yes, in 70 minutes, he won two more gold medals, but he is 31 now, Jake, and this is a younger person's sport. So after he did that, winning two gold medals, anchoring the relay, the 4 by 200 relay, which is a grueling event, he did have to sit down. The younger guys were whooping it up, but he sat down as if to say, OK, I'm spent, I'm done all I can do today.
TAPPER: They say he's won so many gold medals, 21, that if he were a country, he would rank somewhere between 60 and 70 in terms of gold medals earned as his own country. Tell us about the green swimming pool.
BRENNAN: Yes, well, you know when we were coming into Rio and we talked about this, there was a laundry list of troubles and problems. If we said to you a month, well, it will just be green water in the diving pool, the water polo pool, we may have said that is not so bad.
But now that Rio has actually started and the games have started and they're actually doing OK, this is an embarrassment. It's not the worst thing that could have happened in Rio, but the fact that they ran out of money to pay for chemicals, it is embarrassing for the International Olympic Committee.
So maybe they are having a worst Olympic Games than some others. They'll probably get it cleared up, I would think, and that kind of bad look for these games. I'm sure they want to get rid of that as soon as possible.
TAPPER: All right, Kristine Brennan, thank you so much. Have fun down there, I'm jealous. Be sure to follow me on Facebook and Twitter @jaketapper or tweet the show @theleadcnn.
That's it for THE LEAD. I turn you over now to Wolf Blitzer.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now, the art of denial, shockwaves are still spreading after Donald Trump --