Return to Transcripts main page


NY Times: Roger Ailes Now Helping Trump Campaign; Boat Rescues after Deadly Flooding in Louisiana; Clinton Speaking in Philadelphia; New Hampshire Senate Race Intensifies; Russia Negotiates with U.S. on Syria. Aired 1:30-2p ET

Aired August 16, 2016 - 13:30   ET


[13:30:00] SUSAN PAGE, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, USA TODAY: younger voters by double digits, that starts to set precedents perhaps for a lifetime in the biggest voting bloc in American history.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: I remember talking to one person an expert on the matter, who said look, for Millennials. An expert said there is a litmus test when it comes to any sort of perceived exclusion of people or discrimination and I wonder if that isn't something that's turning off a lot of young people.

REBECCA BERG, NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER, REALCLEARPOLITICS: Absolutely. Inclusivity is a value among many Millennials, relative to especially past generations. We have seen a much more diverse country for Millennials growing up than it has been in the past. And Donald Trump is speaking to a totally different segment of Americans, who want America to go back to how it was before in the past, whether a real or imagined version of the country, how it used to be. And Millennials are pretty happy with the way things are now and the country they have grown up in. And it's a different sort of value system that they have and that's who he's speaking to.

KEILAR: Thank you guys so much, Rebecca, Susan, Gloria. Really appreciate it.

Coming up, so far 20,000 people -- this is number that is so hard to wrap your head around. You're looking at live pictures coming from Louisiana where there's been devastating flooding. All of these folks have had to be rescued. We're going to get an up-close look as first responders search neighborhoods hoping to rescue even more victims.


[13:35:51] KEILAR: Much of Louisiana is in recovery mode right now after catastrophic flooding. We're getting a better look now at the devastation. You can see the streets, the homes, submerged under water. There are eight people who have died as a result of this flooding.

In the meantime, Louisiana's governor says that eight additional parishes have been the declared disaster areas. Right now, though, he's focused on search-and-rescue efforts. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JOHN BEL EDWARDS, (D), LOUISIANA GOVERNOR: We're still very much in an emergency search-and-rescue response mode for much of the Florida parishes. Saving life is the most important priority that we have. We're going to dedicate every single resource to that effort until it's no longer required.


KEILAR: Our Rosa Flores just got back from a trip with first responders who are searching neighborhoods.

Rose, when I saw that number that at least 20,000 people had been rescued misread it, that the number was uncorrect. Just the side of this operation and the size of this flooding is almost unimaginable.

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, Brianna. We're live here. This is the command center. This is where these emergency calls are coming in. And as you mentioned, we just got off a boat a little while ago, we were with first responders while they were knocking on doors. Some of the guys are still out here, they're having a short lunch break, but literally a call could come in at any moment, and they are ready at a moment's notice ready to respond, and other boats that you see around here. You can see the command center, there's generators, there's other boats in the back, but the important thing is to have these resources in the ready, to make sure that they can go out and respond to these calls.

You're looking at the video that we took about an hour ago, people were out there checking on people, they were logging that information. In situations like this, the sharing of information is so important. Imagine calling in to dispatch, or an emergency number, asking about your family members, and trying to get information, that's what some of these guys are able to do, they're able to deliver information.

Some of those neighborhoods that we were in are completely submerged by water. We would see street signs or no trespassing signs that are in the trees. That gives you a sign of the devastation there. Some of the people saw the water rising very quickly, they had to leave. We met other people who were coming back in, in boats, to check for their houses, to check for their belongings, or salvage whatever they could from inside their houses.

But my team right now, we're on stand by. If a call comes, we're able to hop on this boat and we would be able to go on that call.

As a matter of fact right now, I believe what happening is they're actually getting a call. So we may have to jump in our vehicle and head out there, Brianna. So I'll let you go. But I promise you if we're able to get something, we'll bring it to you.

KEILAR: Head out there, Rosa. Report back to us. We do appreciate that.

Rosa Flores out there in Louisiana, riding along with the first responders and the rescuers out there in Louisiana.

I want to take you to Philadelphia. Hillary Clinton just began speaking, taking on Donald Trump:

[13:39:30] HILLARY CLINTON, (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE & FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: I was in up in Scranton yesterday with Vice President Joe Biden.


CLINTON: And we had a great day. Both Joe and I have roots in Scranton, so we saw a lot of people that were related to, a lot of people who tell us we're related to them.


CLINTON: But it just reminded me of how lucky we are to be part of a country that has provided such opportunity. It's not perfect. We know that. But there is no place that has provided more opportunity to my grandfather who came here as a young immigrant, worked in a factory, created a great life for his family and then my dad who was a small businessman in Chicago, worked hard. And I want that story to be true for every American family. And that is --


CLINTON: And that is the principle motivation that I have in this campaign. People say to me all the time, I mean, how do you do it? They see me on TV in one state, then I'm in another state, then I'm in another state. And I'm lucky I can sleep on planes and in cars, so that helps. But what it's really all about is getting up every day and being motivated to make sure person in this crowd and every person in this person in this commonwealth and every person in this country has the same chance to live up to your dreams, the same opportunities that previous generations of Americans enjoyed.


CLINTON: And that's why we're going to keep talking about what kind of jobs we're going to create. I met the principal of this beautiful school a little earlier.


CLINTON: And I met two of her students who are about to graduate right there.

Thank you both.


CLINTON: Young man is going into the Navy.

Congratulations. We need you.


CLINTON: Young woman wants to be a surgeon. Thank you. We need you.


CLINTON: I met another young woman -- I met another young woman who told me she wanted to be a surgeon, and people told her, oh, she can't be a surgeon. I don't remember where she went, this young woman, but don't you believe it. Don't you believe it. We're going to lift people up. We're going help every single person in America live up to those dreams.


CLINTON: And we're going to do it by creating --

KEILAR: All right, Hillary Clinton in Philadelphia. We're going to be monitoring her comments there. She's at a voter registration event in a key state. We'll monitor and bring you what's happening in the event.

There's a politically vulnerable Republican Senator who says she's going to vote for Donald Trump but she's not going to endorse him. How do you square that? We'll tell you if there's really a difference, next.


[13:47:03] KEILAR: The Senate race in the battleground state of New Hampshire is intensifying. You have Republican incumbent, Kelly Ayotte, who is in a tense battle with the New Hampshire Governor.

But as CNN's Manu Raju reports, she is not leaning on the Republican presidential nominee for help.


MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER (voice-over): Six years ago, New Hampshire Senator Kelly Ayotte rode an anti-Obama wave into office. Now she's battling headwinds caused by her own party's nominee, Donald Trump.

(on camera): You're saying you support Donald Trump, but you do not endorse him?

SEN. KELLY AYOTTE, (R), NEW HAMPSHIRE: I have actually said I'm going to be voting for him, but I do have significant disagreements with him, which I have been very clear on. So I won't be endorsing him.

RAJU (on camera): What's the distinction between endorsing and voting?

AYOTTE: There's actually a big distinction. Because everyone gets a vote, I do, too. But an endorsement is one where I'm out campaigning with someone and so while he has my vote, he doesn't have my endorsement and I'm going to continue to focus on really my race. RAJU (voice-over): And she is aggressively campaigning up and down

the state, key for saving her seat and helping Republicans hang on to the Senate majority.

With Democrats only needing a handful of Senate seats to take back power, they're seizing on Trump's growing unpopularity. That has Democratic Senate candidate, Maggie Hassan, linking Ayotte to Trump.

(on camera): She's going to vote for him but she's not endorsing him.

MAGGIE HASSAN, (D), NEW HAMPSHIRE GOVERNOR & SENATE CANDIDATE: People should see that statement as it's been said, I don't think anybody who's is supporting Trump for the presidency should be in office.

RAJU (voice-over): Meantime, Hassan, who has served as state governor since 2016, is eager to align herself to the top of her ticket.

HASSAN: Onward to victory in November.

RAJU: Speaking this weekend at a rally in Manchester for Clinton's running mate, Tim Kaine. Yet, 54 percent of voters in a recent CNN/ORC poll believe Clinton is not honest or trustworthy. And when asked three times, Hassan would not give her opinion.

(on camera): Do you think Hillary Clinton is trustworthy?

HASSAN: I support Hillary Clinton for the presidency because her experience and her record demonstrate that she's qualified to hold the job.

RAJU: Do you think she's honest?

HASSAN: She has a critical plan, among others, for making college more affordable.

RAJU: Do you think that she's trustworthy?

HASSAN: I think that she has demonstrated a commitment always to something beyond herself, bigger than herself.

RAJU: After this interview, Hassan's campaign clarifying that she does think that Clinton is honest.

For her part, when asked, Ayotte will not say if she trusts Trump with his finger on the nuclear button.

AYOTTE: What worried me and what I don't trust is continuing the foreign policy that we've been under, under this administration, and that will be continued by Hillary Clinton.

RAJU: Ayotte has sparred periodically with Trump on issues like his call for a Muslim travel ban and his fight with the Gold Star family, so much so that Trump recently called Ayotte "weak," only to backtrack and announce his support for her a few days later.

AYOTTE: And when he criticized me, I just said very clearly, which I will continue to do, whether I have his endorsement or not, it is going to be about calling it like I see it for the people of New Hampshire.


[13:50:33] KEILAR: Thank you so much, Manu Raju, for his reporting on that.

Coming up --




KEILAR: We are getting new images from inside the war-ravaged city of Aleppo, Syria, very rare images you will want to look at. Millions of residents there are cut off from food, water, medical expertise, medical supplies. Why the U.S. and Russia may be closer than ever to bringing help to this besieged city.





[13:54:57] KEILAR: Russia says it's in, quote, "very active negotiations" with the U.S. to find common ground in their response to the Syrian conflict. And Russia has announced, for the first time, that it has launched air strikes against targets in Syria from a base inside of Iran.

Joining me now to talk more about this, we have CNN Pentagon correspondent, Barbara Starr. We also have CNN's senior international correspondent, Fred Pleitgen for us.

Barbara, we know the U.S. and Russia have been in these negotiations for months now. What does this mean, very active negotiations?

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: That's a pretty interesting phrase from Moscow. It may be very active in Moscow's mind. I have to tell you, from talking U.S. officials here in Washington today, not so active maybe not just yet. The U.S. has been talking to Russians for some weeks and months now about some kind of agreement. Could they reach on sharing some of their activities? But not sharing information per se about air strikes, not conducting joint operations.

The U.S.'s priority right now is to get the Russians and the Syrians to stop bombing civilians in Syria, especially in these areas in Aleppo and northwest Syria where tens of thousands of civilians are just in dire, dire circumstances. And these latest air strikes that the Russians say came out of Iran -- the U.S. agrees they came out of Iran. Russia says they were going after ISIS. The U.S. says in many of the places the Russians struck, there is no ISIS, and again that Moscow was going after civilians. So don't look for any agreement to come very fast. That may be in Moscow's mind at the moment.

KEILAR: Fred, to that point, you heard Barbara saying that because the U.S. is looking at what Russia has been doing. They're saying they are more about backing up Bashar al Assad. They're not about necessarily -- they're not necessarily in line with the objectives of the U.S. So when you look at this, that the military of Russia for the first time has launched these air strikes against Syrian targets from a base inside of us about that and what does that really mean for U.S. objectives?

FRED PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think it is hugely significant for U.S. objectives. It also shows you're probably going to see more of an alignment between Iran and Russia as far as the battlefield is concerned. They're both essentially fighting on the pro-Assad side of the equation. You will see a lot more of that. And I think you will also probably see an escalation of the Russian air campaign in Syria not just as the Russians say against ISIS, but also in areas around Idlib and Aleppo that we've been talking about so much as well.

One thing about this base the Russians took off from, it is very close to the border between Iraq and Iran and very much closer to Syria than they've had before. It cuts the time of these bombers from two and a half hours from inside Russia to 30r 45 minutes. So they can get there much faster and take a much larger payload because they can take off with much less fuel. So it makes them a lot more deadly. So the Russians will be able to do that a lot more.

At the same time, I traveled a lot to Syria. You always had the impression that while the Russians and the others were fighting on the same side, they weren't necessarily on the same page, the Russians and Iranians. It seemed as if they sorted those differences out and they are aligning their interests, and that is something, of course, that could become a big issue for the U.S.

KEILAR: Barbara, how big of a shift is this when you are talking about serious negotiations between Russia and the U.S.?

STARR: Well, as we've all been talking about, these so-called negotiations have really been going on for quite a while, led by the State Department. It would be very interesting and a big shift if this led to some agreement that really changed the facts on the battlefield. Whether that happens, I think, remains a very open question for one major reason, the Pentagon, led by Defense Secretary Ash Carter, is very skeptical an agreement with the Russians. Carter has been very open that he is not in favor of it. He understands the State Department's negotiating. He knows the White House would like to see something happen. But Carter is raising a red flag here saying that the Russian military, the Russian leadership, still very much would have to be trusted on these key questions that we're talking about. For now, the Pentagon is not so sure it feels it can trust the Russians. KEILAR: Barbara and Fred, thank you so much to both of you for your


That is it for me. I'm going to be back here at 5:00 eastern on "The Situation Room."

For our international viewers, "Amanpour" is next.

For our viewers in North America, NEWSROOM with Brooke Baldwin starts right now.

[14:00:06] BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Thank you so much, Brianna.

Great to be with you on this Tuesday. I'm Brooke Baldwin. You're watching CNN.

First up, Donald Trump. He's expected to make a stop in Milwaukee in the next --