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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Battle for the White House: Trump Hires "Street Fighter" in Campaign Shake-Up; Clinton Slams Trump's Tax Plan In Cleveland; Was Lochte Robbed At Gunpoint Or Not?. Aired 8-9p ET
Aired August 17, 2016 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[20:00:09] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening. Thanks for joining us.
You picked quite a night. Down there behind me, we are getting ready for another CNN town hall, this time for the Green Party presidential ticket.
Many of the voters making their way into our studio do not like the major party choices they have. Some are leaning toward the green ticket. Plenty still have questions. They and you are going to get a chance to hear answers from the candidates, Jill Stein and her running mate Ajamu Baraka, with "NEW DAY's" Chris Cuomo, hosting. That's at the top of the hour.
We begin this hour, though, with plenty of news with what the Trump campaign explicitly says is not a shakeup, not an overhaul, no big deal, in fact, at all. Whatever you call it, there is a new and aggressive chief executive onboard with a commitment to letting Trump be Trump. This is coming after a rough several weeks for the candidate. The fact the campaign, by the way, also disputes.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: You say it's not a shakeup, but you guys are down and it makes sense that --
MICHAEL COHEN, SPECIAL COUNSEL TO DONALD TRUMP: Says who?
COHEN: Says who?
KEILAR: Most of them. All of them.
COHEN: Says who?
KEILAR: Polls. I just told you. I answered your question.
COHEN: OK. Which polls?
KEILAR: All of them.
(END VIDEO CLIP) COOPER: It is one of the greatest exchanges of this election so far, I've got to say. That was the Trump Organization's Michael Cohen talking to Brianna Keilar, uttering two words, "Says who?", that quickly turned into a Twitter hashtag sensation. We'll talk about that and more seriously, how the campaign shakeup actually might affect Trump's chances with the kind of moderate voters, he has yet to win over.
Later, new questions for Hillary Clinton about the Clinton Foundation or alleged influence peddling.
But, first, CNN's Jason Carroll on the new team now advising Donald Trump.
JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): With a major shake-up in Donald Trump's campaign, he now seems likely to return to the brash style that has defined him so far.
KELLYANNE CONWAY, TRUMP CAMPAIGN MANAGER: I think what he doesn't like is people telling him exactly what to say and how to do --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right.
CONWAY: Maybe that's Hillary Clinton's game. You know, what do the focus groups say?
CARROLL: Republican pollster and former Ted Cruz backer Kellyanne Conway is now campaign manager and media flame thrower Steve Bannon, the executive chairman of Breitbart News is now the chief executive. Bannon, who "Bloomberg Businessweek" dubbed "the most dangerous political operative in America".
Both will work alongside political consultant Roger Stone, who is an informal adviser to the campaign. Also advising Trump, though the campaign denies it, former FOX News chief Roger Ailes. In short, an aggressive mix of operatives.
So why shake things up with less than three months to Election Day? In part, lagging poll numbers in key battleground states. Trump's former campaign manager whose strategy during the primaries was to simply just let Trump be Trump says the campaign needs to let their candidate unleash more on Hillary Clinton in his own way.
COREY LEWANDOWSKI, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think there are missed opportunities from the campaign over the last two to three weeks that have not had the Trump campaign responding directly to the mistakes that the Clinton campaign has been making.
CARROLL: Campaign chairman Paul Manafort stepped in when Lewandowski was let go, and while sources say Trump's relationship with Manafort has soured over recent weeks, the campaign announcing today he will stay on as campaign chairman.
Trump saying in a statement he's committed to doing whatever it takes to win this election and that could mean resisting efforts by some in his camp to make him more presidential.
The campaign moving on to other business, the candidate holding a national security roundtable at Trump tower this afternoon. The meeting focused on counterterrorism. Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Ivanka Trump and New York Congressman Peter King were among those present.
REP. PETER KING (R), NEW YORK: I'm doing very well. I felt as though all of us were part of it and that Donald Trump wants to cut through and it's interesting dealing with a businessman as opposed to a political person and he's able it to weed out a lot of the extraneous matter and get right to the point.
CARROLL: Later, Trump arriving to his first classified intelligence briefing in New York. That, too, creating headlines after Trump questioned the credibility of what he was going to be briefed on ahead of the meeting.
REPORTER: Do you trust intelligence?
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Not so much from the people that have been doing it for our country. I mean look what's happened over the last ten years. Look what's happened over the years. I mean, it's been catastrophic, and in fact, I won't use some of the people that are the standard.
COOPER: And Jason Carroll joins us.
Now, what kind of campaign can we expect moving forward from Donald Trump? Because it's not as if he hasn't sort of been allowed to just, you know, talk off-the-cuff. He did that most of last week.
CARROLL: Right. Right. Well, I think it's going to be a couple of things. First thing's first. I think we'll see more of those large- scale rallies. He continues to draw a large crowd whenever he holds these rallies. He responds well. These are the types of things that he does well at.
I think Kellyanne Conway brought up a good point, his new campaign manager, when he said more policy speeches.
[20:05:05] So, we're going to see more of that as well. You know, he's already given an economic policy speech, a foreign policy speech. So, more of the policy speeches going forward, as well and more of a focus on these battleground states where he's trailing.
You already saw where he's doing very poorly in some of these battleground states. He's done some ad buys in five of the key battleground states. So, more of that. And as you say, Anderson, he's going to continue being himself.
He said in an interview just not too long ago that what he wants to do is continue being himself even if it's politically incorrect. He feels as though this is what is going to work. At one point, he said, even if I don't end up winning, I'm going to go down being myself basically.
But he did say at the very end that he feels as though being himself is what's going to end up leading to a victory -- Anderson.
COOPER: Jason Carroll, thanks very much.
I thought it was Jeb Bush with the backpack behind you for a second here.
Let's bring in the panel. No shake up here. CNN political director David Chalian, Trump supporter and former South Carolina Lieutenant Governor Andre Bauer, Democrat and former Congressional Black Caucus executive director, Angela Rye, and CNN senior media correspondent Brian Stelter, anchor of CNN "RELIABLE SOURCES".
David, what do you make of the shakeup? I mean, the Trump campaign saying don't look here, nothing to see, it's not a shake-up. But it's clearly a shakeup. You now have a guy who has never run a campaign before running the campaign.
DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Yes. No, it's clearly a shake-up because if things were going swimmingly over the last two months, you would stick with the plan that you had. Donald Trump was totally dissatisfied with the way things were going. The poll numbers he was reading every day were not the kind that he wanted to --
COOPER: Says who?
CHALIAN: Exactly. But, you know, we used to see speech after speech take up his polls numbers. That's gone away, right?
So, listen, it wasn't going well. He adjusted now. What -- the question now is, what are we going to see that is different? And as you pointed out, I think it's true. It's not as if he hasn't been free wheeling or free to be himself in the last few weeks, and in fact, if you look at these last few days, I think that's going to be the model for going forward. I don't think he'll always have a teleprompter.
But I think his staff, new team, old team in the larger Republican universe were really pleased with what they saw in the last couple of days of a focus message on law enforcement, on national security --
COOPER: But he doesn't enjoy that, Andre. I mean, it doesn't seem like he hasn't liked that, you know, giving those -- it doesn't seem as if he likes it as much as the more extemporaneous entertaining speeches.
ANDRE BAUER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, whether he likes it or not, he ought to stick to it, because it's definitely more beneficial to it to get new folks to pay attention to him that have a concise message. And so, he might not like it, but I think he did a good job in the last few speeches. COOPER: But it was interesting. Corey Lewandowski was saying that,
just in that segment, that he hasn't been able to kind of make the most of some of the mistakes Hillary Clinton made and some of the very real issues that voters don't like about Hillary Clinton. The question, though, is whose fault is that? Because arguably, he had a real chance to do that, to focus, say, on that interview Hillary Clinton gave to Chris Wallace, which "The Washington Post" said four Pinocchios and what she said, how she characterized what the FBI director said about the e-mails, but Trump didn't focus on that. He ended up going off in the other tangents that ended up eating up the week for him.
BAUER: They were huge missteps, no small ones, huge missteps where the campaign could have been moving forward and they actually moved backwards. So, I don't know who called the shots on that and they were very clearly missed opportunities and so changing the ship, righting the ship, moving towards a new direction and trying to capitalize on these opportunities is what they've got to do.
COOPER: And, Angela, you're obviously not a Trump person and you're a never Trump person.
ANGELA RYE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Ever, ever. Never.
COOPER: But it's interesting, Charlie Sykes talk show host, who we get on the program, he tweeted earlier today that he believes this is the hospice phase of the Trump campaign, that he knows the end is near. He wants to be surrounded by friends and family.
COOPER: Yes. Painful. Snarky. You know, but as far as a Democrat is concerned, is this the best development you can see? I mean, the guy who runs Breitbart now running the campaign?
RYE: Well, here's what we can certainly say. Andre just talks about him broadening the tent. Him bringing in Breitbart does the exact opposite. Breitbart is too right for a lot of Republicans who I worked with on Capitol Hill. It is a very white right-winged media outlet that most often peddles conspiracy theories. These are the things like Hillary Clinton's health, and whether or not, you know, Barack Obama is an American citizen.
This is the type of material they regularly pushed out, and I think more than anything, it demonstrates that he's looking beyond the election. I will be -- I will not be the person that says this is the hospice stages of the campaign because I predicted the end is near, their duration has been wrong the entire time. But what I will say is, it is very telling and for him to be on his third campaign leader in August is also very damning.
COOPER: Brian, I mean, you look at media all of the time. What does it say to you, the fact that he's now reached out to the guy who runs Breitbart, also according to your reporting and others, Roger Ailes?
BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Yes. [20:10:00] Stephen Hayes of "The Weekly Standard" called this an alternative reality for Trump to live in, the Breitbart universe. And those were strong words.
But this is a site that is far to the right, to your point. Some would even call it a white nationalist site.
It's in some ways a knock against Paul Ryan and other GOP leaders to bring in Stephen Bannon given that the site is very much against and opposed to the Paul Ryans of world.
I think that sound byte we were playing from Michael Cohen is actually very revealing, when he says, says who? When he seems to challenge what the polls are showing. Now, he's told me tonight he said he thinks he's being misconstrued. But what he said in the interview with Brianna Keilar is that he doesn't care about the polls and he believes Trump will do much better than the polls are showing.
COOPER: Just because we have it. Let's show it again because it is the most amazing exchange that occurred today. Let's just watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: You say it's not a shakeup, but you guys are down and it makes sense that --
COHEN: Says who?
COHEN: Says who?
KEILAR: Most of them. All of them.
COHEN: Says who?
KEILAR: Polls. I just told you. I answered your question.
COHEN: OK. Which polls?
KEILAR: All of them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: So he's saying it's misconstrued?
STELTER: That's what he's saying. But there's an important point here. He said afterwards to Brianna that that he doesn't care about the polls and they're edging toward us for denialism when it comes to polls. The same kind of denialism we saw in 2012 with the unskewed polls movement. Some Mitt Romney supporters, not all, but some of them, subscribed to the idea in 2012 that the polls were all wrong, the media outlets who's conducting the polls were tilted in favor of President Obama and you couldn't believe the numbers.
To the extent they were the same thing this year, and tonight, Michael Cohen retweeting people who say the polls are rigged, don't believe the polls. That's going to damage the campaign because they're going to live in an alternate reality that's going to hurt them.
COOPER: It is interesting, Andre, though, because they were living by those polls, those very same polls by those very same news organizations for most of the primaries.
BAUER: Well, I've always said this, much like in the primary -- you know, Trump was turning out better numbers than even what the primary numbers were putting out. I mean, most people, that's factual.
And I think there is a movement like Brexit here. There are people out there. They aren't going to tell you they vote for Trump. They're not even showing up on a poll. They are going to come out and they're coming out in these rallies, and that's why he's so energized by the rallies, because these are new voters here, people that don't engage in the process. The other --
STELTER: You can't count rally crowds as a sign of support. We've learned that over the course of decades in political history.
COOPER: Although --
BAUER: The numbers showed Brexit wouldn't win either.
So, I think there is a movement now. People are so frustrated with the system. I could be wrong.
BAUER: And then the other fact I was going to point out is, he hired an individual, not a company. If you're hiring the best it doesn't matter what that person does in the past, he's hiring who thinks that's good of what they do. He's not necessarily adopting their perspective because Trump's going to keep Trump's perspective, I think they can all agree on that. He hired somebody he thought was really good at getting the message out.
COOPER: I want to talk more about this because that whole idea of Donald Trump hires the best people, that was one of the selling points from the get-go. You know, I'm an executive. I've got business experience. If I don't -- I may not know all of the details, but I hire the best people.
This is now what arguably his third shake-up of the campaign, does that kind of certainly raise a question about does he really hire the best people?
We'll talk about that ahead and we have to take a quick break.
Coming up next, a closer look at Steve Bannon and his past.
Later, we'll introduce you to the members of the Green Party ticket so you'll know them better before they take the stage at the top of the hour for the town hall. Also, this is getting global buzz. American Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte said he was robbed at gun point in Rio. You heard that story. There's new video that suggests otherwise. Police are skeptical. So is Ryan lying? Stay tuned.
[20:17:25] COOPER: We're about 43 minute away from the CNN Green Party town hall. Voters are looking at the left-leaning alternatives to the major party candidates. Right now, we're talking about the sharply right-leaning, outspoken, controversial new CEO of the Donald Trump campaign.
Our Gary Tuchman tells us more.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): Combative, unapologetic and a firebrand against the establishment. Meet Steve Bannon, former surface warfare naval officer turned Goldman Sachs banker, turned media mogul and Breitbart News executive chairman and now Trump campaign boss, installed as the campaign chief executive with just over 80 days to go until November 8th as Trump looks to stabilize a campaign that many say is taking on too much water.
STEVE BANNON, BREITBART NEWS EXECUTIVE: I think anger is a good thing. I think if you are fighting, this country is in a crisis and if you're fighting to save this country, if you're fighting to take this country back, it's not going to be sunshine and patriots. It's going to be people who want to fight.
I mean, Breitbart was all about the fight. We call ourselves the fight club.
TUCHMAN: Bannon's "take no prisoners" type of politics has helped spurred an ever-growing fringe voting bloc known as the alt-right, bucking establishment politicians as they see fit and using social media to create political waves including the 2013 government shutdown and later driving out speaker John Boehner in 2015 with the help of anti-establishment Senator Ted Cruz.
The former speaker had this to say about his former Senate colleague.
KENNEDY: How about Ted Cruz?
JOHN BOEHNER, FORMER SPEAKER: Lucifer in the flesh.
TUCHMAN: But Bannon has a special zeal for the Clintons.
Breitbart News has taken every available news to complicate her candidacy, not excluding conspiracy theories, pushing the book "Clinton Cash" to success and bringing up issues about her health just recently. Anyone is fair game when it comes to Bannon.
BANNON: Look, the media is the praetorian guard to the political class. All the consultants are coming after you, and Dr .Carson and Ted Cruz all day long, the permanent political class of consultants, they're all in bed together. Right?
TRUMP: Right. I agree.
TUCHMAN: A populist at heart, Bannon describes himself from a blue- color, Irish-Catholic, pro-Kennedy, pro-union family of Democrats. He tells Bloomberg News he didn't get involved in politics until he served in the Navy and saw how bad things were under Jimmy Carter. Soon after, he became a Reagan admirer.
By bringing Bannon aboard, the Trump campaign hopes to meld Bannon's populist alt-right message to his home, firing up the anti- establishment legions of supporters and propelling Donald Trump to the White House -- a risky strategy but one that Trump knows well.
[20:20:05] Gary Tuchman, CNN, Atlanta.
COOPER: Plenty more to talk about with the panel.
You know, we talked so much about, if you look at the polls, Donald Trump needing to reach out to other voting blocs. He already have to Andre's point earlier very strong support among the folks who wait in line for hours and hours to come to his rallies. The question is, are there enough and does he need new people and are these new people he's hired the ones to get him those people?
CHALIAN: Right. So, a couple -- parts of that. One, there are not enough of them as you said of just the die-hard Trump supporters. He definitely does need more than that.
But he has two missions still, and it's late in the game for the first mission, which is that he is still performing among Republicans at a lower level than he needs to, overall, Republicans overall, not just his die hard supporters, but the broader sense of people who identify themselves as Republicans.
He's not at the level that Mitt Romney was at, or John McCain was at, and, of course, they lost. But he needs to up his Republican game. Hillary Clinton has much higher support among Democrats right now, than he does among Republicans. So, he still has to fortify his own party and then still add to it.
So, usually, by the time the conventions roll around, the candidate is focused on just adding. He still needs to do both. So, I don't think it's necessarily detrimental that people wants to sort of revive the rally cry that he had all primary season long, because I think that can be somewhat beneficial to him, but not sufficient.
COOPER: But all that talk, Andre, of a pivot. You know, early on, even while he was fighting the primaries at some point, I don't think he necessarily used the word pivot, but, you know, yes, I can be presidential and I'll be so presidential it would be boring for everybody, you'll wish I wasn't, and I'm going to basically change -- this doesn't seem to be a sign that he plans, I mean, the whole idea of a pivot seems certainly put away with these hires. BAUER: It doesn't seem like it's come natural for him. It seems like
he's fought it and I think Donald Trump is just a business guy at heart who's run his business pretty sternly, most of the time, may have listened to other people along the way, but in the end, he called the shots. And I think the campaign --
COOPER: If he's going to win or lose, he wants to do it his way.
BAUER: I'm not sure he thinks like that. I don't think winners think like that. I don't think he's lived his life thinking I may lose.
I think he's focused -- and there may be other people saying that. But I don't think he's saying it.
And the other thing is, he's adding to the team. He did say that at some point in time, he'd grow the team. He's probably doing it a little later than most campaigns have done it. But they've raised money. They're going to start spending money. They're going go up on air, and they're growing the campaign staff.
COOPER: You know --
RYE: Isn't it a little -- sorry, Anderson, isn't it a little different, though, that campaign is starting to look really top heavy and while I don't think there are a lot of similarities between a Hillary Clinton campaign and a Donald Trump campaign, this reminds me of what happened with Hillary Clinton in 2008, where they were top heavy. She had informal advisers on the outside who were saying some of the different from the campaign manager, kind of late in the game the campaign manager was replaced.
This time we're seeing not necessarily a new campaign manager but someone who was known as the campaign CEO, and I don't know what the distinction is between a campaign CEO, and a campaign chairman and they still have a campaign manager and a new one, Kellyanne and now, what's next? The campaign president? I'm just wondering what the top heavy --
RYE: No, I definitely am not going to go there.
STELTER: You said earlier thinking about past November?
RYE: That's right.
STELTER: I think we need to keep that in mind. Steve Bannon is coming over from media.
What media and politics have in common is it's all about aggregating the biggest possible audience. That's what Trump is trying to do. That's what CNN tries to do.
Well, what if Trump was -- think about who he has on team now? Steve Bannon, Roger Ailes informally, Roger Stone, the Trump confidante who is know for his dirty tricks, he has all the right people to put in place a new media company, whether it's a television network, something on Facebook, something we can't picture that. I think we have to consider that possibility even if Trump would never acknowledge that's real.
COOPER: The other interesting aspect for all this is for more establishment Republicans, what does this mean? Because -- I mean, Breitbart has had them in their sights a lot just as much as liberals. And so, if you are a Paul Ryan or Mitch McConnell or if you're the RNC and you're looking at this, at a certain point, do you start to think, you know what? We're just going to start putting resources elsewhere or --
BAUER: I keep hearing that, but Donald Trump's their fund-raising mechanism. He's their draw. So, they can -- I continue to hear this discussion only through the media, and I haven't heard the Republican Party talk about it, but without him, they have the funding mechanism, but it's not nearly as powerful as the top of the ticket. And he is an amazing draw, like him or not like him.
RYE: He's an amazing detractor and we know there are a number of RNC folks who left. They had to replace a whole black outreach program, many of which, they were calling them hires, they're actually consultants. So, there is detracting effect that he has. He is a polarizing candidate.
CHALIAN: If the RNC would go away, I think it would be a dangerous move because that is the entire -- as you know, they're relying on him for the ground operation and if that were to fall away, not only is that a dangerous move on the presidential level, but if he began to tank in a lot of these key battleground states, where there also key Senate races, that would undoubtedly have a negative impact on those key Senate candidates and those key states.
[20:25:15] STELTER: But if Ailes and Bannon and Stone and others encourage Trump's worst impulses in September and October, won't more establishment Republicans need to find a way to get out of town, to go over to Evan McMullin, or go over to Gary Johnson, or to try to avoid Donald Trump? Isn't that one possible scenario?
CHALIAN: It's a total risk. I just think one of the things we need to watch for in the next few days is, you know, we're talking a lot about staff. But at the end of the day, it comes down to candidate and if the candidate, and if all he did was do what Roger Stone and Steve Bannon told him to do, perhaps that would be a risk. But Donald Trump doesn't seem to just take someone (INAUDIBLE)
Kellyanne Conway is talking to him now also. That's a different slice of advice that he's getting and his are not just to go to the alt- right. Some of his instincts have proven, as you were saying to try to reach a mass audience.
STELTER: Yes, absolutely.
COOPER: A lot to watch for in the coming days. Do you think we'll see a change in the coming days? I mean, do you
think there will be demonstrable differences that quickly?
CHALIAN: No. I think it will take longer than the next few day, but he does have rallies over the course of the next three days in North Carolina and Michigan upcoming. So, I do think we'll see him in an atmosphere and see if he is, you know, relieved of something and see if he's a little looser.
STELTER: All right. Coming up, what Hillary Clinton has to say about the Trump shake-up, as well as the new questions surrounding the Clinton administration and her time at the State Department.
Plus, a closer look at the Green Party's Jill Stein ahead of tonight's town hall.
[20:30:41] COOPER: Hillary Clinton continues to slam Donald Trump for his tax plan for refusing to release his own taxes, she campaigned in Cleveland today, where she mentioned the Trump campaign shake-up, and saying basically it doesn't matter and still the same Donald Trump.
Meanwhile, there are new details tonight about the controversy surrounding the relationship between the Clinton Foundation and the State Department when she served as secretary of state. Those details don't seem to be derailing Clinton's message on the campaign trail which has been distilled down to a simple friends don't let friends vote for Donald Trump. Joe Johns takes a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Riding high on new polls showing big leads in Virginia and Colorado and tied in Iowa, Hillary Clinton arrived in battleground Ohio today in full attack mode, leveling attacks against Donald Trump once again calling out the billionaire businessman over his failure to disclose his tax returns and repeating the accusation that his tax plan would give the Trump family a benefit of $4 billion.
HILLARY CLINTON, (D) PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: ... he's even created a new tax loophole that we call the Trump loophole, so of course we have no idea what tax rate he pays because unlike everybody else who's run for president in the last four or five decades, he refuses to so the American people can't really judge.
JOHNS: And behind the scenes, Clinton's campaign manager was also blasting the Trump campaign for the latest shake-up, telling reporters on a conference call ...
ROBBY MOOK, CLINTON CAMPAIGN MANAGER: Donald Trump has decided to double down on his most small, nasty and divisive instincts by turning his campaign over to someone who is best known for running the so- called news site that peddles divisive and at times racist and anti- Muslim and anti-Semitic conspiracy theorists. JOHNS: A reference to Breibart News chief Steve Bannon who's taking over as chief executive of the Trump campaign. In her Cleveland speech Mrs. Clinton made a reference to Trump's new CEO.
CLINTON: Donald Trump has shown us who he is. He can hire and fire anybody he wants from his campaign.
There is no new Donald Trump. This is it.
JOHNS: The turmoil in the Trump campaign distracting from Mrs. Clinton's own troubles, including new details that shortly after she stepped down as secretary of state the State Department expressed interest in a Nigerian land deal involving billionaire Lebanese- Nigerian businessmen Gilbert and Ronald Chagoury. Gilbert had given over a million dollars to the Clinton Foundation.
The property in question was one of several on a list of properties, the department was considering for a consulate, ultimately the deal never went through.
The continuing controversy surrounding the foundation and the inference of play for pay which the campaign has denied, prompting the Boston Globe to write in an editorial that Mrs. Clinton shut it down if she becomes president, saying, the inherent conflict of interest was obvious when Hillary Clinton became secretary of state in 2009. If the Clinton Foundation continues to cash checks from foreign governments and other individuals seeking to ingratiate themselves with a President Hillary Clinton, it would be unacceptable.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: So John, is in Cleveland joins us now. What's the Clinton campaign saying about this Nigerian land deal?
JOHNS: Well number one, Anderson, they are pushing back saying there was no quid pro quo whatsoever here and they're pushing back on the conservative group that released this document that started the latest rounds of questions, that statement from the Clinton campaign says citizens united is a right-wing group that's been attacking the Clintons since the 1990s and once again is trying to make something out of nothing.
This draft letter was written after Hillary Clinton had left the State Department and it never led to any deal. Now, Gilbert Chagoury, the billionaire also in the middle of all of this has put out a statement as well which reads sort of like a commercial for real estate on the location in Nigeria that was under consideration. He said, in part, it made sense for the State Department to look at that location because of its security and because it's a new place in Nigeria, just one of several locations that statement says that the United States was considering for its consulate, Anderson.
[20:35:00] COOPER: Joe, Clinton's running mate, Tim Kaine also talked a report say about another Clinton controversy from 20 years ago involving Bill Clinton. What did he say? JOHNS: Well, this statement actually occurred apparently in 2002. This was well after the impeachment of Bill Clinton, but he was weighing in on the issue of whether Bill Clinton ought to have resigned due to the Monica Lewinsky scandal, he essentially was quoted by newspaper at that time saying that if the allegations were true, Bill Clinton should have resigned.
This time around asked by a television station in Iowa he said, essentially that he was disappointed with the former president, but did not want to re-litigate the issue, Anderson.
COOPER: All right, Joe Johns. Joe, thank you.
Coming up, a preview of tonight's Green Party town hall which begins less than 30 minutes from now, here on CNN. And next was Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte robbed at gun point in Rio or not? The plot thickens.
COOPER: Tonight there's a new twist in the reported armed robbery of Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte and three of his teammates in Rio. Today a Brazilian judge gave police the authorities to seize Lochte his passport along with one of his teammates so they can question them to see if they filed the false police report.
[20:40:08] The problem is for the Brazilians, Lochte is already back in the U.S. He returned on a commercial flight on Monday. It's believed the other swimmer, though, James Feigen is still in Brazil. Here's how Lochte first described the incident to NBC News.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RYAN LOCHTE, AMERICAN OLYMPIC SWIMMER: They told the other swimmers to get down on the ground. They got down on the ground. I refused. I was, like, we didn't do anything wrong. So I'm not getting down on the ground, and then the guy pulled out his gun, he cocked it put it to my forehead and he said, get down, and I was like, I put my hands up and I was, like, whatever.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Now initial reports of the robbery, Sunday morning, we're confusing with an international Olympic committee spokesman, first claiming the reports were quote, "Absolutely not true, he later backtracked and apologized."
Joining us from Rio with the latest is Christine Brennan, USA Today columnist and CNN's Sports Analyst.
Christine, so we just heard what Ryan Lochte had to say to Billy Bush there on to the "Today Show", but the Brazilian judge says there are questions about their story. What's the latest on it?
CHRISTINE BRENNAN, USA TODAY COLUMNIST: Yes, Anderson. The judge is concerned. One of the things she said was that one of the swimmers said they were attacked by one person, another said there were several people. There a time lapse of what they were doing when, they seen to a video of what many folks may have seen whether coming into the village at the end of this long night of celebrating, early in the morning hours.
That they seemed to have all of their valuables. So if they were robbed, why do they have their valuables, they seem happy, nonchalant, she pointed all of those things out wondering if they falsified the police report which is a crime here that could be punished by up to six months in jail, and no one thinks that would actually occur and as you pointed out Ryan Lochte said is back in the United States. So he's certainly not going to come back to face the music if there is any music to be faced.
COOPER: Has he commented about this? I mean, as you said, he's back in the U.S., has he made a statement?
BRENNAN: His lawyer has. His lawyer says he doesn't intend to come back to the U.S., Anderson. The lawyer said ...
COOPER: Back to Brazil.
BRENNAN: Sorry, Ryan Lochte is sorry -- yes, excuse me back to Brazil. He doesn't expect -- he says he's sorry that he's all caused this hubbub and obviously taking away from some of the news about the athletes. Ryan Lochte is sorry about that, but the lawyer says Ryan Lochte stands by his story that he was robbed at gun point the other evening.
COOPER: And James Feigen, is he still in Brazil and if so, would his passport be taken away?
BRENNAN: He's still in Brazil, according to all of our sources. We don't know where he is which is a little surprising that with the authorities wanting to speak to him and the U.S. Olympic Committee Anderson, saying that they will cooperate that he has not yet apparently been interviewed although we're not sure what's happened this evening.
But yes, he is till believed to be here and theoretically his passport could be taken, the U.S. Olympic Committee is offering all of its services to James Feigen and his family in case they needed including legal services if he wants them.
COOPER: And, I mean what is so strange about this is the -- I guess flip side of this is why would Ryan Lochte and the other swimmers lie about this?
BRENNAN: Exactly. There are a lot of theories floating around. Obviously, we're journalists and we don't need to get into all of those theories. But the question might be that it was a night out and if something happened that he wanted to tell a story, but what a wild story to tell. And what a damaging story to tell because as, you know, all of the talk going into this Olympic games is about crime, street crime. All of the fears about Rio, how they would pull off the Olympics and if this story is not true, for Ryan Lochte Anderson to say that a gun was pointed to his head what almost 4 days ago now, could be such a damaging thing for the city.
It's already has the games kind of on edge. If that story is not true, well I think Ryan Lochte will certainly never have another sponsor again if it were to come out that he made this up and it would be a horrible P.R. move for him, but the U.S. Olympic Committee and for the entire U.S.-Brazil relations, especially if a -- if it was found out to be not true.
COOPER: You think it could have that severe an impact if it's not true that he could lose all sponsorship?
BRENNAN: Oh, I do, because first of all, this has been such a big story, this is basically a story that's kind of hijacked the second week of the Olympics. Swimming just ended, he is a swimmer, he was out with his buddies, that's understandable, but yeah. I think so. The idea that if he made it up and that -- again, I want to stress, we have no idea.
BRENNAN: But if the judge is correct in looking into this and if he made it up, I can't imagine a sponsor who would ever want to be involved with Ryan Lochte again.
COOPER: We'll continue to follow it. Christine Brennan, appreciate your reporting down there.
We're now just about 15 minutes away from tonight CNN Green Party Town Hall. Coming up next, a closer look at the candidate and her running mate, their background, what they stand for and how they plan to change the country.
[20:48:39] COOPER: In just a few minutes the Green Party candidates for president and vice president will step on to the stage and take questions from voters. Before they do, we wanted to give you a better idea of who the two candidates are.
CNN's Tom Foreman has that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We changed the culture of policing. We demilitarize the police.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: As the Green Party's nominee, Jill Stein is pushing an agenda for the mainstream from the political fringe.
DR. JILL STEIN, GREEN PARTY PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm the only candidate in this race who is not poisoned by corporate money, lobbyists and Super PAC.
FOREMAN: She's a Harvard-educated doctor whose platform revolves around a serious effort to end climate change, including a U.S. shift to 100 percent renewable clean energy by 2030. That means an end to offshore oil drilling, fracking and mountaintop mining.
She wants a $15 minimum wage, guaranteed work for all and more power for unions, a 50 percent cut in what she considers runaway military spending.
STEIN: What do we have to show for it? Failed states, mass refugee migrations and in fact worse terrorist threats.
FOREMAN: She wants universal government provided healthcare, free college tuition, legalize marijuana and a whole new way of doing business in Washington.
STEIN: And the majority of people are calling for something else, something with integrity, something that is nit bought and paid for by the big players, by the big banks and the war profiteers.
[20:50:08] FOREMAN: Stein's questioning of the health effects of Wi- Fi, vaccination and genetically modified crops has raised eyebrows but not nearly as much as her vice presidential running mate.
Ajamu Baraka is a long time human rights advocate who works for a liberal think tank. He is called America a racist, settler- colonialist state waging war against black, brown and poor people. He's also called the current owner of the Oval Office office and Uncle Tom President.
AJAMU BARAKA, GREEN PARTY VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Barack Obama has -- where he engages what I call instrumentalist blackness. He puts on his black acts. He becomes a black person when it becomes important to deliver up that blackness.
FOREMAN: Still, like Stein, Baraka believes the nation and the nature of the presidency can change.
BARAKA: We are going to be there to provide that opportunity for a new day and another way.
FOREMAN: And their message to the major parties?
STEIN: We're saying to them, get out of the way because we've got a future that we got to take back and we are in a hurry to make that happen now.
FOREMAN: Tom Foreman, CNN, Washington.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: And back now with the panel. Joining the conversation, CNN political commentator and the BET. News host, Marc Lamont Hill. Marc, you're a supporter of the Green Party ...
MARC LAMONT HILL, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: And one of the advisers on the campaign, yes.
COOPER: So, this is a huge opportunity for them. Is it probably one the -- the bigger audiences, worldwide audiences certainly that they will have to date. What do you think this candidates need to do now?
HILL: One, they need to really clearly articulate the Green Party agenda, there are maybe people who are excited Bernie Sanders. To excited to hear about economic justice.
COOPER: They're aiming for those Bernie Sanders ...
COOPER: ... disenfranchised Bernie Sanders.
HILL: Absolutely. People who really want to see a change and a shift in the way we do politics, if we do campaign financing, our approach to the Middle East, our approach to trade, our approach to education, our approach to the militarization of police in the United States. We have answers. We have conversations that need to be ahead and we want to get through those tonight.
But we also want to talk about the long term vision of the Green Party. It would be dishonest for me to seat here tonight and say that this is a -- an easy race to win. The argument is why vote Green at this moment in history where the -- when the stakes are so high with Trump versus Hillary Clinton. We have to have an answer to that question.
COOPER: And, and, and what is the answer to that, because there's a lot of folks who will say, well look a vote for the Green Party is a vote away from Hillary Clinton that could help Donald Trump.
HILL: Right, and the -- my answer to that is we have to have a long term political vision. I don't believe that a Donald Trump presidency is good for America. I think anyone left of just about anybody would agree with that.
However, there is a long term political vision that can't be an active, we stay in the same cycle of electing centrist Democrat, neo liberal Democrats. Ultimately we need a bigger political vision when robust when that can't be locked in to the latest news cycle or the latest campaign.
COOPER: And David, I mean there's a lot of folks who point to Ralph Nader as having taking all of significant votes away from Al Gore enough that could have the ballots.
CHALIAN: Yeah, and both in Florida and New Hampshire. People pointed out that rough later but dispute to that.
CHALIAN: Listen, right now in our latest polling Anderson, we see about 70 percent, 7 in 10 Sanders supporters are with Hillary Clinton. So that doesn't leave a huge universe right now of Sanders supporters for them to scoop up. Even if they scoop up the remaining 30 percent, it's still hard to see, you know, how they to at this stage that 15 percent threshold to get into those all presidential debates which would obviously be a huge turning point if they were able to do so. COOPER: Right, Angela, I mean for them just as it is for Gary Johnson and Bill Weld, it's crucial to actually get into those debates, to actually move forward in this -- in this.
RYE: Well, there's no question about that, and I think it is a substantial up-hill chime. I think that Gary Johnson, for example, is polling at around 9 percent and she's at about 2 percent. Jill Stein is about 2 percent.
I think it is very tough. I like a lot of what they say. I just don't think that it is flexible (ph) to see that type of as Marc talks about left agenda, being accomplished with the voters where they are. I think that we are in a very polarized America. I think some of that we can thank Donald Trump for that and I'm sure there is somebody else to blame as well. But the reality of it, I don't see a Green Party ticket really capturing any substantial number of votes. Not even enough interest to even get into the debates. Let alone ...
COOPER: Andre, I've heard some Trump supporters argue that if they were advising Donald Trump, they would suggest Donald Trump try to negotiate with the -- the debate commission to let them in, to let Gary Johnson, to let Jill Stein in, because the more people you have in a debate, they feel might help Donald Trump. Do you think ...
BAUER: I actually don't. I've been in those debates when I was a full panel, when I running for governor for different seats, and you don't get to articulate your message. Somebody else is eating up your time. Donald Trump ...
COOPER: But the argument though is that ...
COOPER: A very intensive, two, you know, just two-person debate back and forth may not be Donald Trump's strength. He did very well in a lot, you know, a supporter believed did very well in a lot of debates when there were a lot of folks on stage.
BAUER: He's got to show the difference between he and Hillary Clinton. This other side stuff just muddies the water. He's going to get in that debate and clearly show why he can lead the country in a better direction that she can't, and that just eats up his time.
[20:55:07] COOPER: It is a jury, I mean give you amount of time before this debates, it is a huge hurdle to try to -- to Jill Stein, I mean -- I don't know, that anybody really think she has a real chance of getting into the debates this.
CHALIAN: Something we have to automatically change, but as you said, this is an opportunity ...
CHALIAN: ... unlike any she's had before. The first debate is September 26, that's a short window of time to dramatically change the trajectory. That doesn't mean that she can't have some sort of an influence on the debate and indeed, we do know one thing this season which is that and we've seen this in the libertarian town halls, with Gary Johnson.
There is a hunger in the country for something other than Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. And so there's a real opportunity for her to speak to that and tap into that outsider thing, that is that fuel that has been sort of animating this entire election season.
COOPER: And Marc for those worried about terrorism, for those, you know, she's talking about a 50 percent reduction in spending on the military. That's going to be a tough, you know, if your -- national security is a main issue and you're not in terms climate change but in terms of actual terrorism.
COOPER: Is that an issue that she's ready to address tonight?
HILL: It is an issue that she is ready to address. I would submit though that if you're worried about terrorism, you know, worried about the kind of fertilization (ph), the more terrorism, Donald Trump's rhetoric is equally is troublesome.
HILL: And Hillary Clinton is rhetorically the last, 8 years and actual the last, that he's also a generated more. So I think we're all despite we have some explaining to do.
COOPER: All right, we're out of time. The CNN Green Party Town Hall starts in just a moment right here.