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Trump Claims If He Loses Pennsylvania Clinton Cheated; Clinton's Blurred Lines Between Foundation and State Department; Is Trump in Trouble with the GOP? Aired 9-10a ET
Aired August 13, 2016 - 09:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[09:00:19] MICHAEL SMERCONISH, CNN HOST: I'm Michael Smerconish live from Philadelphia as all election eyes are again on Pennsylvania.
Donald Trump said last night that the only way he will lose this state is if the election is stolen from him.
No, Mr. Trump. If you lose here, it will be due to my suburban neighbors, and I'll explain.
Is Trump melting down as "TIME" magazine claims? The candidate seems caught in an endless loop of disturbing statements, back pedaling and then blaming it on the media. But meanwhile Hillary Clinton's campaign also takes a hit from those damn e-mails, raising new questions about the cozy relationship between the Clinton Foundation and her State Department.
To my mind, the only candidate who had a good week was Libertarian Gary Johnson who continues to climb in the polls.
But with every poll now trending huge in Clinton's favor a new GOP PAC fundraising letter says it's time to panic. This is a disaster. And some are still seeking to dump Trump.
But first, Donald Trump said last night that the only way that he will lose Pennsylvania is if the election is stolen from him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The only way we can lose, in my opinion, I really mean this, Pennsylvania, is if cheating goes on. The only way they can beat it, in my opinion, and I mean this 100 percent, if in certain sections of the state they cheat.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SMERCONISH: No, Mr. Trump. I'm a life-long Pennsylvanian. The way that you will lose the Keystone State is by failing to carry where I was born, raised and still live. The Philadelphia suburbs. And right now you're getting trounced.
I predict that when asked to back up his accusations of cheating, he'll cite a widely misreported incident from the 2008 presidential election. You'll remember, it happened at a Philadelphia Public Housing Development known as the Richard Allen Holmes. Two members of the new Black Panther Party stationed themselves in front of a polling place. I have no doubt that they were up to no good, but was it there intention to intimidate and suppress John McCain voters as widely reported?
I seriously doubt it. It seemed more like a stunt to get a reality TV show. Consider that these two men chose a voting division in which only 84 of the 1,534 registered voters were Republicans. Not exactly a locale where an African-American running for president would seem to need their help.
Now the lead story of today's "New York Times" has a "Dateline" from Doylestown, Pennsylvania. That's my hometown. And the story says this, "To carry the state, pollsters say Mr. Trump would need to beat Mrs. Clinton here in the Philadelphia suburbs where President Obama defeated Mitt Romney in 2012 by about 9 percentage points. Mr. Obama carried the state by about five points. Yet Mrs. Clinton holds a wide lead in those suburbs. 52 percent to 26 percent according to an NBC News/"Wall Street Journal"/Marist poll published on Wednesday.
Look, Bush 41 was the last Republican to win Pennsylvania in a presidential election. We really aren't the purple state we're made out to be by the pundit class. We've been consistently blue every four years since 1988.
Might I suggest, Mr. Trump, that as the campaign unfolds, you employ a Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, litmus test. Ask yourself whether your statements, your positions will play in this community and not just with your base because if you win a general in suburban Montgomery County, you'll win the White House.
But go too far in placating your base, you may as well not run. In 2004 George W. Bush lost Montgomery County to John Kerry 44 percent to 56 percent, and lost the state. In 2008, 60 percent of the county's voters went for Barack Obama and he won Pennsylvania. He held the state four years later when he took 39 percent of the county.
You have to resist the temptation to appease the loudest voices. What excites your base won't work here. Even if it draws crowds. The week before their elections both Romney and George W. Bush played to big crowds in suburban Bucks County. But both lost the state. Yard signs don't vote. Suburban Philadelphia does. And we pick presidents.
Joining me now, Mitch Stewart, the battleground states director for Obama for America in 2012 and former Georgia congressman, Jack Kingston, a Trump supporter.
Congressman, I'll give you the first word. They say all politics are local. And I just described in detail what is going on in my backyard. In your home state of Georgia, which ought to be in Donald Trump's category, he's struggling. Why?
[09:05:04] JACK KINGSTON (R), FORMER CONGRESSMAN FROM GEORGIA: Well, I don't really believe he is struggling. And I'll tell you why, Michael. And you've just run down how well you know the Keystone State. Well, I know a lot about the Peach State and I can tell you this, from the governor to the lieutenant governor to all the statewide officials, two senators and so forth, the majority of our congressional delegation, the state house and the state Senate overwhelmingly Republican.
The statewide candidates never even had serious opposition. But that same poll from the Atlanta Constitution said Michelle Nunn is going to beat David Perdue for the U.S. Senate. They said that Jason Carter was going to beat Governor Nathan Diehl for the governorship, and it did not happen. We hear this, how Georgia is turning purple but if you look at the political reality, it isn't. And I have said many times of someone who's active in the Georgia Republican politics, I'm the finance chairman, I hope Hillary Clinton spends money in Georgia because that will mean she'll have less to spend in Pennsylvania and in Ohio and in Florida. So, you know, I welcome her campaign.
SMERCONISH: But even -- even Donald Trump acknowledged on the stump this week that he's got problems in Utah. That he's got issues in Arizona. He's got issues in Georgia. And I guess my point, Congressman, is that if he can't chalk up in his red state category those areas that ought to be his, there's just not a part for him to get to 270.
KINGSTON: Well, I don't think George Washington could have survived the 10 days of bad press that Donald Trump has had. And some of it has been self-inflicted but majority still has been a media feeding frenzy piling on. I think as long as we talk about the economy and foreign policy and the corruption of the Clinton Foundation, we're going to win. I mean, the reality is you still have 94 million Americans who are out of work, 43 million on food stamps. Median household income which has fallen in 18 years from $57,000 to $53,000.
This is serious stuff. And the people out there and in the Keystone State as well, Michael, as you know, particularly in the heartland, they are suffering right now. And if they want a third term of Barack Obama, they need to vote for Hillary Clinton. If they want change, if they want somebody who's going to deregulate businesses and expand jobs and lower their taxes, they need to vote for Donald Trump.
And I believe with the 67 percent of the people of America who are saying we are on the wrong track, that Donald Trump's message is being listened to. And I think that what --
SMERCONISH: I have -- I just have to note, because I've studied the internals of those polls, and many people who believe we're on the wrong track believe we're on the wrong track because of their perception of Republican obstructionism of this president's agenda.
Mitch, let me say to you that Democrats ought not to count all their chickens before they're hatched. Let me roll a piece of sound from 1988. It was Garrett Utley talking about one Michael Dukakis. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GARRETT UTLEY, NBC NEWS ANCHOR: Michael Dukakis got the boost he wanted from last week's Democratic National Convention. A new NBC News/"Wall Street Journal" poll conducted right after the convention shows Dukakis leading George Bush by 50 percent to 32 percent. An 18- point margin.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SMERCONISH: Eighteen points. Look, we're not at Labor Day yet and we're all a bunch of political junkies. We love this stuff, but I guess we need to keep in mind that it really doesn't matter until we get beyond that milestone.
MITCH STEWART, FORMER BATTLEGROUND STATES DIRECTOR, OBAMA FOR AMERICA: Well, the one thing I'll say is, if was one outlier poll in Georgia that had -- as a tossup, I think you'll probably disqualify that. But there's another data point that I think is more compelling that does prove that Georgia and Arizona are battleground states this year. And that is the national head-to-head.
Barack Obama won the election in 2008 by about 6 percentage points. And Georgia was a targeted state until about 60 days before the election.
I was the Virginia Obama director in 2008 and we had hundreds of staff in -- excuse me, Georgia, doing massive amounts of voter registration. And the president came up two or three points short in Georgia in 2008. So if you add three or four percentage points where Secretary Clinton is right now versus Trump, Georgia all of a sudden does become a tossup. She's winning by eight to 10 points nationally. So of course Georgia is a tossup. Of course Arizona is a tossup. And instead of looking at 270, Secretary Clinton and her campaign are playing at the -- at the 370-380 electoral range as opposed to 270. I think one for all of us if we want to take a step back --
SMERCONISH: But Mitch?
SMERCONISH: Maybe there's something you're overlooking. Let me say something on Jack's behalf and on Donald Trump's behalf. Passion. In the end, it all comes down to turnout. And if I can put something on the screen relative to social media engagement, I think it'll make my point because when one looks -- there it is. Facebook, Instagram, Reddit, Twitter, by any of those measures, he dwarfs her. I mean, look at Facebook. He doubles the number of likes. Look at Twitter where by more than two million he exceeds her number of followers.
In the end, isn't there something to be said for Donald Trump's passion and ability to get newcomers to the polls?
[09:10:05] STEWART: No.
KINGSTON: Michael --
(CROSSTALK) STEWART: If you look at the American population right now, in 2008 about 26 percent of the population was non-white. In 2012 28 percent of the population was non-white. In 2016 it's going to be 30 percent or 31 percent non-white. We're becoming more diverse, younger and those voters are rejecting Trump.
KINGSTON: And those are the people who want jobs. Those are the people who have seen the falling household income. Those are the people --
STEWART: And they know that Donald Trump is not the right answer.
KINGSTON: -- who don't have the opportunity. They do not want a third year of Barack Obama.
STEWART: Yes, they do, Congressman.
KINGSTON: Look at Obamacare. The premium of health care skyrocketing --
STEWART: Look at the polling. They actually do want a third term of President Obama.
SMERCONISH: Hang on, guys. One at a time. One at a time. Jack, you go ahead. Jack.
KINGSTON: If failed economic policies which Hillary Clinton has given a huge bear hug to and given Barack Obama an A-plus. But again, 94 million Americans who are underemployed or underemployed, 43 million Americans on food stamps. The slowest economic recovery in 50 years. The lowest household income or -- excuse me, household ownership in 50 years and income has dropped from $57,000 to $53,000.
Why in the world would anybody, regardless of race, want that kind of economic picture in America? They don't. They want jobs. They want opportunities. Besides, Hillary Clinton is very dull. I mean, you know, her speech --
SMERCONISH: Mitch. Mitch, can I ask -- Mitch, may I ask, are you nevertheless worried as a Democrat about the enthusiasm gap? Here's another measure, and this is a Trump tweet that pertains to rally size. I mean, the guy has a point, does he not when he talks about how he's been able to engender passion unlike any candidate we've seen in the modern era? Look at those photographs.
STEWART: No. The very last event that President Obama had in 2008 in Virginia, 100,000 people showed up for. And if crowd size actually related to electoral success, Senator Sanders would be our nominee and not Secretary Clinton. And so I think it's really an apples to oranges comparison.
The one thing I will say, though, as a Democrat, Michael, is I'm always worried. And so, you know, no one is complacent on our side of the aisle here. We're going to work very hard until Election Day.
KINGSTON: And that's one thing we both have in common.
SMERCONISH: Mitch, Jack, thank you so much for being here. I appreciate your time. And I wish we had more.
Tweet me your thoughts @smerconish. I'll read some of the best later in the program.
Coming up, Hillary Clinton's damn e-mails are back in the news raising new questions of conflict of interest when she was secretary of state.
Here's an early tweet. Matt Ditch says, "Smerconish, WTF." Can I say that out loud? "Are you on the Trump payroll? Are you telling him how to win?"
It's so funny, by the end of the show, you're going to think I'm on everybody's payroll.
[09:16:56] SMERCONISH: Hillary Clinton's e-mails stream surged again this week. Newly released e-mails from her tenure as secretary of state raised questions about the relationship between the Clinton Foundation and the State Department. The conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch released 296 pages of e-mails that it obtained through the Freedom of Information Act including 44 that it says were not previously handed over to the State Department by Clinton.
In one of those e-mails Clinton Foundation official Doug Band lobbied Hillary's aides to get somebody a State Department job saying it was, quote, "important to take care of the person," whose name was redacted. Hillary aide Human Abedin then responded, quote, "Personnel has been sending him options."
In another e-mail, Band directs her aides to put Lebanese Nigerian billionaire and Clinton Foundation Gilbert Chagoury in contact with the State Department's, quote, "substance person" on Lebanon calling him, quote, "a key guy there to us and is loved in Lebanon., very IMP." Important. Abedin gave the name of Jeffrey Feldman, then U.S. ambassador to Lebanon. Feldman now says he was never contacted.
The Trump campaign says these e-mails are evidence of Clinton being corrupt. Clinton's campaign says the e-mails didn't relate to her work at the Clinton Foundation.
Also, a CNN investigation has found that Cheryl Mills, a top State Department aide to Hillary Clinton, interviewed job candidates for a top job at the Clinton Foundation.
So who is right?
Joining me now, both points of view, Lanny Davis who served as special counsel to President Bill Clinton from 1996 through 1998, and Peter Schweitzer. Peter is the author of "Clinton Cash: The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Help Make Bill and Hillary Rich," which just came out in graphic novel form.
Peter, let me start with you. First question is, isn't this all too damn confusing to permeate the consciousness of voters? This is not Watergate, which was a break-in, we all get that. This is more Whitewater, which was much more confusing.
PETER SCHWEITZER, AUTHOR, CLINTON CASH: Yes, I mean, complexity is a problem here. But in very simple terms, this is the way that I think people need to think about it. We all know that in politics a guy on Wall Street raises money for a candidate, sometimes because they want access and they want favors. But federal law prevents foreign nationals from doing that.
If you're a guy like Gilbert Chagoury, you cannot put money in a campaign to get access because we don't want foreign entities getting access and influencing our policymakers. The Clinton Foundation and the Bill Clinton speaking fees are a way around that. That's why you have guys like Gilbert Chagoury and Frank Giustra and others sending them large checks. So now we have influencing our policies and getting favors and access foreign oligarchs, not just American businesses and citizens.
SMERCONISH: In the case of Chagoury, let's drill down on that example. What's wrong with someone who has Lebanese expertise wanting to be a contributor to our State Department? On the surface, is that not a good thing?
[09:20:05] SCHWEITZER: Well, I don't think he is being suggested because of his Lebanese expertise. He's being suggested because he's a major Clinton Foundation donor. By the way, he is somebody with a criminal record, convicted in Switzerland for aiding and abetting a criminal enterprise, and money laundering because he had this slight problem. He helped the Nigerian dictator Abacha smuggle billions of dollars out of the country into Swiss bank accounts. And he's also very controversial in Lebanon. He does not represent a mainstream view of Lebanese opinion.
So, you know, let's be honest, he is being thwarted by Doug Band from the Clinton Foundation to Huma Abedin as somebody who's a key person because he's giving the Clintons money. And I think anybody who suggests otherwise is either being naive or just not being honest.
SMERCONISH: I think you're referring to that part of the Doug Band e- mail which says, with regard Gilbert Chagoury, he's key guy there and to us. What's meant -- in your mind, what is meant when he uses the words that he's a key guy to us?
SCHWEITZER: Well, I think he's talking about the Clintons and he's talking about the Clinton Foundation. Look, Barack Obama in his wisdom insisted on a couple of key things as a condition for Hillary Clinton to become secretary of state. And it was spelled out in a memorandum of understanding. Number one, they were to disclose all contributions on an annual basis from the Clinton Foundation. We now know they didn't do that.
There's more than a thousand foreign donors, we don't know their names, we don't know how much they have given to the Clintons. Part of the agreement number two that there would be no overlapping of the Clinton Foundation and the State Department. Huma Abedin, Hillary Clinton's top aide at the State Department, was also on the payroll of the Clinton Foundation at the same time.
So us refers to the Clinton apparatus. And what you saw was a melving of the Clinton Foundation with the State Department.
SMERCONISH: But, Peter, in this instance, you've got Doug Band at the Clinton Foundation. I'm trying to keep it very simple for viewers who might not have gotten into the weeds thus far. Band is saying to the State Department, hey, give this guy access, this guy meaning Gilbert Chagoury, but Chagoury never got a meeting. So what is the big deal?
SCHWEITZER: Well, here's what I say. There's going to be more e- mails coming out, I've seen some of them. And look, you know, call me skeptical but team Clinton does not have a great track record of telling the truth on the e-mails. All you need to do is look at the FBI director's testimony of the repeated deceptions and lies. So you know, count me skeptical when they come up and say, oh, well, there wasn't a meeting or this never happened.
This is precisely why we need to have an independent investigation into this. As I have taught my kids and I'm sure other people did, too, if you tell your kids when you're young, if you lie repeatedly, people are not going to believe what you're saying later on. And that's part of the problem that Hillary Clinton has right now.
SMERCONISH: Final question for you, you just told me that you -- I think you just said that you've seen some e-mails that have not yet been released. Do tell.
SCHWEITZER: I can't. These were obtained by Citizens United and by Judicial Watch. They did the heavy-lifting. But they relate to the Clinton Foundation. And it's going to be further evidence of this overlap.
I'm not trying to tease you, Michael. It's just they did the work for it and they are the ones that should release it and get the attention.
SMERCONISH: Sounds like more to come. Peter Schweitzer, thank you.
Now let me turn to Lanny Davis, former White House counsel to President Bill Clinton.
Lanny, first of all, I'll give you the chance to respond to what you just heard from Peter Schweitzer.
LANNY DAVIS, FORMER WHITE HOUSE SPECIAL COUNSEL, CLINTON ADMINISTRATION: Well, Mr. Schweitzer does speculation. I do facts. So let's go back to the facts about these two e-mails and the three individuals that you just mentioned on national television. E-mail one involved a young person who was a volunteer in Haiti, and Doug Band forwarded his name to two friends from the Clinton White House days and from friendships relating to their work for the Clintons. One Huma Abedin and another -- I believe it was just Huma in this case, saying, take a look at this kid. He's done work in Haiti. And that's all I know. And there's never been the slightest suggestion of any quid pro quo wrongdoing involving that e-mail by Doug Band.
Secondly, there was an e-mail referring Mr. Chagoury to the State Department because he had information to impart to the State Department. That e-mail sent by Doug Band was sent over to the State Department, I believe it went to Cheryl Mills as well as Huma Abedin to close aides to the secretary. And all that Mr. Chagoury wanted was to impart, not obtain information, that is a fact. The meeting never happened. All the rest of what you just heard from Mr. Schweitzer is what he does in his book.
[09:25:04] He lines up two facts and he then speculates that there's a causal relationship between those two facts. As in the sun rises after the rooster crows. Therefore, the rooster causes the sun to rise. When I asked Mr. Schweitzer when I was on "FOX News Sunday," has there been any instance that you cite in your book where you have evidence, facts that show Secretary Clinton was influenced or changed her policies because of donations to the Clinton Foundation?
The answer was no. So he speculates. He's skeptical. I allow him to draw his own conclusions from my facts but he can't disagree with my facts.
SMERCONISH: But, Lanny, when Doug Band, who is an aide to Bill Clinton and is at the Clinton Foundation, sends an e-mail to the State Department and says this guy, Chagoury, is important, IMP, important to us, is that in and of itself not a violation of the agreement that Secretary Clinton made, that the Clintons made when she took that job, which was there would be a wall erected between all things foundation and all things State Department.
DAVIS: The answer -- so you're asking me to draw a conclusion from the fact of Doug Band's e-mail. My conclusion from the fact of the e- mail asking a young person who is a volunteer in Haiti to be looked at by the State Department does not, repeat, my conclusion. Does not violate anything between the State Department, the White House and Secretary Clinton nor has there been one word uttered by the White House or the State Department to support the conclusion that there was a violation. In my opinion, my opinion is right based on the facts, they are recommending somebody to be looked at by the State Department, doesn't violate anything, doesn't raise ethical standards and is perfectly appropriate.
Now may I address the --
SMERCONISH: But you -- wait a minute, you didn't answer my -- I know you went to the Yale Law School and you've got a couple of notches on me intellectually.
DAVIS: I do not.
SMERCONISH: But come on, you have to answer my example, which is the example of recommending that Chagoury be given a seat at the table to impart his advice or otherwise.
DAVIS: I was about to get to Chagoury. There's only two e-mails. The whole story was about two e-mails. That was the first one.
By the way, my wife Carolyn is listening. She wants me to tell you she's a fan of yours more than she is of me. So I just want you to know that she's listening and she's agreeing more with you than me.
On this Chagoury example, no, it doesn't violate anything because recommending that somebody in part information, not ask for a favor, not have a conflict of interest, not a quid pro quo, but in part information, not even seek information, has no violation by anybody's standard at the State Department, the White House or myself. If you think it's a violation, I respect your opinion the way my wife does but I just disagree with that.
SMERCONISH: I have a final question for you. FBI director James Comey said, and I'm paraphrasing, that we can't know whether Secretary Clinton's private e-mail servers were hacked. But he said we do assess that hostile actors gained access to the private commercial e- mail accounts of people with whom Secretary Clinton was in regular contact.
Do you know whether your communications with Secretary Clinton were hacked by any hostile actors?
DAVIS: I don't know that. And I don't speculate, I only do facts. What is really interesting is that the inspector general said after his investigation there's no evidence whatsoever that Secretary Clinton's server was hacked. The FBI director after engaging the forensic experts that were available to the FBI, which you have to assume are one of the best, who examined the server, who looked for evidence in hacking, who thought there might be hacking from some of her aides, found no evidence of the Hillary Clinton server being hacked.
And the third fact, which is indisputable, is that the State Department address that everybody says Hillary Clinton should have used, state.gov, we know definitively, factually, has been hacked repeatedly by the Russians and Chinese. So as between the State Department server and the Hillary Clinton server, we can certainly say factually that the State Department server that everyone wanted her to use was less secure.
SMERCONISH: OK. Are you saying that she was actually more secure going with private servers than relying on the government?
DAVIS: I can't say more secure because I don't have enough facts. I know that as of now we have no evidence of her being hacked. I also know the secretary has said she made a mistake and using a private server and not having two devices, one personal, one official. And that mistake she has acknowledged many times. I wish that her Republican opponent just once would say, I made a mistake in saying the president of the United States was a founder of ISIS or that the secretary was a founder.
[09:30:03] He repeated it three times and then he said he was sarcastic. I had to get one shot in of Donald Trump. Sorry about that. SMERCONISH: That's fine. On that you and I can agree. Thank you,
Lanny Davis. I appreciate you being here as always.
DAVIS: Thank you.
SMERCONISH: Still to come, some people say the media helped Trump vanquish his GOP rivals but Trump now sees the media as his enemy. Is that a good strategy?
Here's another of your tweets @smerconish, keep them coming. Let me take a look.
She's for Trump, but one thing we agree on, we are so over the e- mails. "Just a distraction tactic from true issues." I don't agree with that. I think this story has yet to see its final conclusion. And I'm going to stay on it.
[09:35:04] SMERCONISH: For all of Donald Trump's unpredictability, his campaign has taken on a distinct pattern, making egregious statement, claimed to be misunderstood and then railed against the media for either misquoting him or not realizing that he was just being sarcastic.
Last night in Pennsylvania, Trump doubled down in his attack on the media. Here's what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Did I say that? I say that all the time. So they knew I was being sarcastic. But now, they're analyzing it. Did I really mean that? How could I say that?
These people are the lowest form of life. I'm telling you.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
The lowest -- they are the lowest form of humanity.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SMERCONISH: He's also still battling his own party over funding with some GOP leaders still lobbying to replace him at this late date.
To discuss this and more, joining me now, Kellyanne Conway, the Trump campaign senior adviser and pollster, and Tom Coleman, former congressman from the great state of Missouri who signed an anti-Trump letter to the RNC.
As a matter of fact, Congressman, let me begin with you and show the audience some of the elements of the letter of which you affixed your signature. You noted that he attacked Gold Star families, urged Russia to intervene in the election, urged gun owners to take action against Secretary Clinton, repudiated our NATO obligations, has interest in preemptive use of nuclear weapons. And there's more to it -- ignorance of basic foreign policy, you
alleged, admiration for violent foreign autocrats. Refusing to disclose any of his past taxes. Repeatedly lying about scores of issues, and vicious and vengeful attacks on Republicans.
Is it all not too little and too late? What's the outcome you're looking for?
TOM COLEMAN (R), FORMER CONGRESSMAN SIGNED ANTI-TRUMP LETTER TO RNC: Well, thank you, Michael, for having me on.
I think the bottom line is that Donald Trump is emotionally and mentally unfit to be president. And that obviously comes through every day in his statements you just referenced some of them -- you referenced them before on the media. He is a troubled person, individual, and he's a running a troubled campaign.
And what we see is that he's going to have a significant destructiveness on down ballot candidates, people who are running for the House, the Senate, the state legislatures, the governors. It could be an enormous wipeout.
So, we have asked the Republican National Committee to pull back any funding, discretionary funding that they were going to give to that presidential candidate, and instead spend it on people who are running for Senate, running for the House, and other important positions.
SMERCONISH: Are you seeking to have him removed? You would want Rule 9 invoked? And are you seeing a change in the ticket?
COLEMAN: The letter does not express that. I have my own personal feelings. If you are a flawed candidate like this and you're emotionally and mentally unfit to be president --
KELLYANNE CONWAY, POLLSTER: Wow.
COLEMAN: -- I think people should consider replacing him.
But that's not what this letter is about. And it's not about somebody else coming on. It is about trying to change -- giving money to a losing candidate, to somebody who is going down the drain and taking the Republican Party with him, a person who has never been a Republican until he announced for president, who has given money to his opponents and contributions through the years. It just is unreal.
SMERCONISH: Kellyanne Conway, by all means respond.
CONWAY: Oh, yes, where would I begin?
Well, first of all, Congressman, I know most ex-congressman become lobbyists, but apparently, someone like you becomes an armchair psychologist. You're actually calling somebody mentally and emotionally unfit, I think you're totally unqualified to do so.
And let me add that you're Republican Party helped to create the candidacy of Donald Trump. Where were you on immigration reform when people are looking at it through an economic lens as well as a security lens? Where was this party in pushing back on President Obama's agenda for seven-and-a-half years, letting him do basically whatever he wanted many times over? Anything he can claim as a success, he did with the exception the first two years with the Republican Congress, and the last year and a half with the Republican Senate.
So I know a lot of people are sanctimoniously riding on their high horses, but the fact is that you should support the Republican nominee, or you should do what all our grandmothers said to do, which is -- go find -- be quiet. You know why, sir? Because this specious attack on the Republican nominee, instead of going inside as so many of us have done to try to help, you can help.
You want to remake the United States Supreme Court in the likeness of Hillary Clinton? I'm not willing to live with that for my four children. It's very simple. The next president of the United States adds to the four Obama and Bill Clinton appointees to the United States Supreme Court. And I don't want it to be Hillary Clinton.
And just one last thing, Michael, since he raised it, please. Thank you. This idea that Donald Trump is going to drag down these other down ballot candidates, I home the Republicans run the table, but please go back and look at the --
[09:40:03] SMERCONISH: I've got to let the congressman respond, Kellyanne.
CONWAY: But he talked about dragging down the ticket. Hold on, he talked about dragging down the ticket. Hold on, he talked about dragging down the ticket.
CONWAY: These people were in trouble a year ago. They reelect numbers were poor a year ago. Back and look at the Real Clear Politics from 2015.
COLEMAN: Michael, thank you for letting me stop that --
SMERCONISH: Please, go ahead.
COLEMAN: -- nonsense.
CONWAY: Oh, that's not polite.
COLEMAN: It's not just me saying that -- I'm sorry, what was that?
CONWAY: What a gentleman, calling me nonsense.
COLEMAN: I'm not going to get into personal attacking, please.
SMERCONISH: Whoa, whoa, stop, Kellyanne. I want him to respond. I gave you your chance. Now give him his.
COLEMAN: There are plenty of opinion writers in the United States in the major newspapers of this country who have said that Donald Trump is emotionally and mentally not fit to be president. It's not just me.
CONWAY: Opinion writers.
COLEMAN: There's a lot of people who do have this feeling.
Sixty percent, over 60 percent of the American people by national polls fear a Donald Trump presidency. Everything that I said you have not refuted. You start talking about Obama and other things that are completely irrelevant to his candidacy.
COLEMAN: You cannot defend, you cannot defend all the things that he has said and done. I think a fourth grader would not conduct themselves like this.
COLEMAN: Let alone a person who is running for president.
CONWAY: You know what Chairman Reince Priebus response apparently was to your letter?
COLEMAN: Well, I'm not thrilled about Reince Priebus as the leader of the Republican Party.
He's embraced Donald Trump and he's taken the party down.
CONWAY: I was with him and Mr. Trump yesterday and they flew to Erie, Pennsylvania.
COLEMAN: Yes, great. He's taking the party down with him.
CONWAY: You have no evidence of that.
SMERCONISH: Kellyanne, I have a specific question in your wheelhouse that concerns polling. You just made reference to Pennsylvania. So, here's the front page story of today's "New York Times". Interestingly, it has a dateline, Doylestown, Pennsylvania, which is the town I was born and raised and my parents still reside.
SMERCONISH: In the Philadelphia suburbs, Donald Trump is getting shellacked 52 percent to 26 percent, according to the latest survey. You would have to concede to me that if that's the ultimate margin in the Philly burbs, he has no prospect of winning Pennsylvania and no prospect of winning the White House.
SMERCONISH: Michael, I'm glad that it's August and not October. And the fact is, we're going to campaign really hard. We have a lot to do between now and November 8th. And Pennsylvania is very much in our sights. Earlier polls showed him very competitive with Secretary Clinton in Pennsylvania. And we expect to get back to those margins as well, the pre-convention margins.
But that's how you earn people's votes.
I would just point out with all the never Trump, never happy people on the Republican Party, with all of, I think many people doing Hillary Clinton's bidding by shrouding her and protecting her and propping her up out there, why is this woman only at 52 percent in Bucks or Montgomery County where I also have family members? (INAUDIBLE) family.
SMERCONISH: Well, I'm not propping her up.
CONWAY: No, you're not at all. You are actually very fair.
SMERCONISH: I just did a whole segment on the e-mails. So, I'm all over everybody. I'm an equal opportunity offender.
CONWAY: Well, you are an equal opportunity journalist, that's for sure.
I would like to say to your audience how much I appreciate your show today because you have absolutely covered both sides from the moment your show started. And I just want to commend you for that because we don't always see that in the Trump campaign.
But look, we are going to earn those votes.
SMERCONISH: Congressman --
SMERCONISH: Guys, I'm out of time.
Congressman, thank you so much for your time.
Kellyanne, I appreciate your being here.
Still to come, what I was up to last week. A visit to the new Cuba which turns out to be more Gary Johnson-ish than Bernie Sanders.
Here's another of your tweets about the candidates' popularity on Twitter. "Smerconish, I follow both of them and definitely am voting for one and following the other for entertainment." You know, I think I know which is which.
[09:47:50] SMERCONISH: Hey, today is Cuba's President Fidel Castro's 90th birthday. You'll pardon me if I don't extend any greetings.
Coincidentally, when I was off last week with my family, I traveled to Cuba and I found may surprises where I expected to see shades of Bernie Sanders socialism, I instead found Gary Johnson's entrepreneurship. That might seem like an odd word to associate with Cuba. But it seems increasingly apt. From the tobacco fields, three hours outside of Havana, to the downtown restaurants that rival the finest in the States, one can find the seedlings of capitalism and businesses built for profit sprouting everywhere.
Don't misunderstand, Cuba remains a nation of disappointment and contradiction. Friendly people, live amid spectacular scenery, but are nevertheless trapped in a socialist system that never delivered on the promises of the revolution. So often on the same residential block, I was transfixed by both natural and architectural beauty while distressed by the sight of squalor and blight.
And yet, amid the decay, there are remarkable signs of initiative and optimism, people who represent hope and the prospect of freedom to come. Take tobacco. For 30 years, I have nursed a cigar a day habit that made my keenly interested to visit the farms in the legendary Panar del Rio province, which generates the world's finest smoking tobacco.
Here, Alejandro Rubina (ph) was cigar royalty until his passing in 2010 at age 91. Today, Alejandro's grandson Hiroshi (ph) overseas the family farm. So, imagine my surprise when Hiroshi Rubina greeted me at the home, his home, by handing me a cigar bearing his initials, but made not in Cuba, in Nicaragua.
The 40-year-old heir to his family's dynasty told me that his chief priority is the future he can provide for his four daughters. So when 90 percent of what he grows on his Cuban farm near San Luis automatically goes to the Cuban government for the cigar monopoly, some of which presumably ends up in the Cuban cigars that the government brands with his family name, he's eager to promote his cigars that are made in Nicaragua, and are more profitable for him.
[09:50:07] No one I met in Cuba was more knowledgeable about the changes on the island the spirit there than Christopher P. Baker. He's a swashbuckling travel journalist who has authored six books on Cuba alone. Baker told me the pace of change is astonishing. He said he's seen more change in the last two to three years in Cuba than he saw in all the prior 20.
Baker reminded me often in the last 50 years it's been said that Cuba is ready to take off. But this time, it feels for real. And yet, prior to departing Havana's Jose Marti Airport, my eldest son dropped into the cyber cafe. The logo on the glass was of a computer mouse. Inside there was no Wi-Fi and the clerk seemed befuddled as to why my son expected to find an Internet connection.
Whatever the outcome, the ride is going to be bumpy. That's the only Cuban guarantee.
Still to come, your best and worst tweets like this one. Let me take a look here. "Love your show", says Joany D'Agostino, "you lowest form of humanity you." Yes, I guess that's what Mr. Trump would say. "West is best," she must be a classmate of mine.
[09:55:29] SMERCONISH: Hey, remember you can tweet me @smerconish as long as you can spell Smerconish. Here's some of what came in during the course of the program. Let's all look together.
"Smerconish, act like a professional, you are clearly a Trump surrogate." Hey, learn how to spell surrogate, "and an Obama hater." That is a ridiculous charge. Why? Because I told Donald Trump he's losing the Philadelphia suburbs?
How about this one? From bestselling author Lisa Scottoline. Lisa, you're great for my demo. "Well said about our home state." That's high praise coming from you.
Continue to tweet me all week long @Smerconish. I'll see you back here next week.