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THE SITUATION ROOM
Awaiting Trump's First Rally After Campaign Shakeup; Inside Trump's National Security Strategy; Clinton Foundation: Won't Accept Many Donations If She Wins; Trump Campaign Starts Debate Prep This Weekend; Rio Police: U.S. Swimmers Were Not Robbed; Clinton Foundation Won't Accept Foreign Donations If Hillary Wins; Rio Police: U.S. Swimmers Were Not Robbed; Tens of Thousands Seek Help in Massive Flood Disaster; Thousands Threatened By Massive Wildfire; Viral Video of Bloodied Boy Captures Syria War Horrors. Aired 6-7p ET
Aired August 18, 2016 - 18:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN GUEST ANCHOR: Happening now, breaking news, Olympic scandal, police say American swimmers lied when they claimed they were robbed in Rio as surveillance video surfaces from a gas station where officials say Ryan Lochte and his teammates committed acts of vandalism. Will they face criminal charges?
Letting Trump be Trump. We are standing by for his first rally since the big shake up in his campaign. Will the Republican nominee feel freer to adlib and attack?
Flipping the script, Hillary Clinton meets with top law enforcement officers on Trump's home turf. Can she diffuse her opponent's claim that she's anti-police?
Child of war. Heartbreaking video of a dazed and bloodied Syrian boy goes viral. Will this encourage an end to the brutal conflict that's been raging as long as he's been alive?
We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. Wolf Blitzer is off. I'm Brianna Keilar. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
Breaking news this hour, Brazilian police say four U.S. Olympic swimmers were lying when they claimed they were held up at gun point in Rio. Ryan Lochte and his teammates are accused of vandalizing a gas station where a surveillance camera was rolling and then fabricating their story about being robbed.
Police say Lochte was angry, intoxicated, and confrontational when the swimmers were confronted by a security guard who pointed a firearm at them. We'll have more on this breaking story ahead.
Also this hour, we are standing by to hear from Donald Trump and get a first taste of what his campaign is like under new management. Trump holds rally in North Carolina tonight. This a day after adding two new hires who are expected to encourage his combative side. Earlier the Republican nominee visited with local police not long after Hillary Clinton met with law enforcement officials in New York City. Clinton warned against stoking distrust between officers and the public pushing back at Trump's attempts to portray her as being anti-police.
I will talk about the 2016 race with Republican Congressman Peter King. He is standing by for us along with our correspondents and analysts with full coverage of the day's top story.
Let's go first to CNN Jessica Schneider. She has the latest on this retooled Trump campaign. What can you tell us, Jessica?
JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Brianna, Donald Trump will be honing in on a law and order theme at his rally in North Carolina tonight. It's a pointed policy message and it comes as his team is promising that Donald Trump will be digging into details while also staying true to himself in his unique character.
Donald Trump actually spent the day today in North Carolina where he got an endorsement from a police union in that key state.
SCHNEIDER (voice-over): Donald Trump meeting with local police after stopping at a shooting range in Statesville, North Carolina.
SHERIFF DARREN CAMPBELL, IREDELL COUNTY, NORTH CAROLINA: I got to say this man can shoot. I've seen it.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We went down to the range and we had a little shooting practice.
SCHNEIDER: And tonight the GOP candidate holding his first rally since shaking up his team talking law and order and terrorism in Charlotte, North Carolina. Advisers say expect classic Donald Trump style mixed with scripted policy points and possibly on teleprompter. His new campaign manager saying they want him focused on showing he's a leader.
KELLYANNE CONWAY, TRUMP CAMPAIGN MANAGER: We are going to make sure Donald Trump is comfortable being in his own skin. That he doesn't lose that authenticity that you simply can't buy and the pollster can't give you.
SCHNEIDER: The campaign will launch its first round of broadcast ads hitting that air in five key battleground states on Friday. Policy speeches are set for the next two weeks focusing on immigration and education.
Steve Bannon who runs the right wing media site, Breitbart News, one of Trump's top tier additions. Conway says Bannon's no holds barred style is the only way to cut through the Clinton machine.
CONWAY: I'll tell you what Donald Trump needs. He needs people who are like him in this sense. You have to be unapologetically, unflinching afraid of Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton and all that Clinton campaign means.
SCHNEIDER: The Trump ticket fighting sagging poll numbers in key swing states. But good news out west, a new Suffolk University poll showing a tight race in Nevada. Nationally, a Pew survey showing Clinton's post-convention bounce easing with Clinton edging Trump by only four points and Libertarian Gary Johnson in double digits.
But Trump is still behind. A point Trump Organization Executive Michael Cohen refused to acknowledge with CNN's Brianna Keilar.
KEILAR: You say it's not a shakeup, but you guys are down and it makes sense that there would --
MICHAEL COHEN, EXECUTIVE VP, TRUMP ORGANIZATION: Says who? 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.
SCHNEIDER: Today the campaign was more willing to acknowledge they are behind.
CONWAY: I think it helps to be a little behind. It lights a fire under us and reminds us what we need to do to get this done.
SCHNEIDER: Still Trump continues to surprise even his loyal supporters. In a town hall on Fox News, Sean Hannity asked if Hillary Clinton was in the wrong to take money from Saudi Arabia, a country that persecutes gays and treats women as second class citizens. He responded this way.
TRUMP: Let's give them the benefit of the doubt. They certainly knew about it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You will give Hillary the benefit of the doubt. I'm not.
SCHNEIDER: That latest Pew poll actually shows that while Donald Trump support has not gone up, Hillary Clinton support has gone down amongst some key demographics in recent weeks. She's seen a decline in support from men and even Democrats while her support among women, Brianna, have stayed the same.
KEILAR: Yes, very good news for her. Not good news for Donald Trump. Jessica Schneider at Trump Tower, thank you so much.
Let's talk more now about the Trump campaign with Republican Congressman Peter King. He actually took part in -- you saw some pictures of this national security meeting that was convened by Donald Trump in New York yesterday.
He was there. So we definitely want to chat with him about that. He's a top member of the House Intelligence and Homeland Security Committees.
Sir, thanks so much for being with us. We saw you there yesterday in the video. Tell us about that roundtable conversation and how it went.
REPRESENTATIVE PETER KING (R), INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: It was actually very important meeting. You had Attorney General (inaudible) was there. You had (inaudible) McCarthy who prosecuted the first world trade center attack case. You had, obviously Rudy Giuliani, General Mike Flynn.
You had really leaders from the defense and the intelligence and the security fields. Again, Donald Trump wants to zero in on fighting Islamic terrorism both overseas and here at home.
He wants to put aside political correctness. Some like myself stress the importance of getting good intelligence and having surveillance in Muslim communities. Because once they arrive out of sight, once terrorists arrives, no matter how good the police are, it's going to be difficult to stop them.
That's why it's important to have the intelligence to stop the operation before it can start and then also as far as overseas to identify the enemy and again to put aside political correctness, and also, as far as here at home, to stand with the police against those who cause riots and disruption.
KEILAR: OK, let me ask you about that because you said you talked about surveillance specifically that this was something you sort of initiated in a conversation. Did you talk about mosques surveillance? You're talking about surveillance of Muslim communities. Did you talk about mosque surveillance?
KING: Both Rudy Giuliani and I said the importance of surveillance in the community and also within mosques. I'm a Catholic. If the police want to have a police officer in the church to hear what's being said, it's fine with me. If you have nothing to hide, maybe you can make some converts.
But the fact is that you had a number of plots originate in mosques. I know that Giuliani had police officers in mosques. It continued after that. You go where the plots will be formed.
Obviously, you use discretion, but they should not have probable cause. As long as there's some suspicious, yes, absolutely. We're talking about life and death here.
KEILAR: OK, you said it was continued after Giuliani but it's also something, I don't believe it's in effect now. In fact, you have some law enforcement officials in New York saying it wasn't a good idea. It also alienates the Muslim community when what you need to reach out to them and have the try to help end the scourge of radicalization. What do you say to that?
KING: I discard that completely. That's political correctness ran amuck. People in that community may be 1 percent or 2 percent, but that's where the threat is coming from. Certainly when it was the Italian community and the FBI was going after the mafia, they didn't worry about hurt feelings.
They went into the Italian community, surveillance from top to bottom. I'm Irish-American. When they were going after the westies in New York, every Irish bar and Irish club in the westside of Manhattan, Irish neighborhoods, there were undercovers and informants everywhere.
That's how it's done. It's legal. It's constitutional. Whether it's the "New York Times" or people who say we have to reach out a hand to friendship, to me, all Americans have to stand together to fight terrorism.
KEILAR: OK, then I wonder if you think under that judgment of political correctness run amuck, there was actually a pledge that Donald Trump himself put on Facebook Tuesday that said he will, quote, "fight to ensure that every American is treated equally and reject bigotry and hatred." Especially that part of being treated equally, how does that hue with mosque surveillance?
KING: You're treating equally any community where there is a threat coming from will be treated equally. If there's a threat coming from the Irish community or the Italian community or the Jewish community then you have surveillance there. If you're looking for the Ku Klux Klan, you don't go to Harlem.
[18:10:02]You go where the threat is coming from and that is equal treatment. It makes no sense, if you're looking for Islamic terrorists, you're putting them into Jewish synagogue.
You should be putting police and FBI in synagogues or churches if you're looking for Islamic terrorists, when you're looking for Irish terrorists or you're looking for Italian criminals, whatever, you go where the threat is coming from.
KEILAR: Donald Trump said that he does not trust the current intelligence community. What do you think about that? Do you agree?
KING: There have been -- part of it I agree with. Others like for instance -- what happened with Central Command I think was very wrong. There was a tailoring of intelligence.
On the other hand, they are very good people in the CIA and FBI. So again, I wouldn't say across the board. I would not agree that across the board that there is problem with intelligence.
I do think we have seen instances, actually very serious instances where the intelligence on the Middle East especially involving ISIS was being tailored and doctored. That to me is pretty clear.
As far as the -- it's actually policy differences that might be going on in the CIA, but as far as being honest, I think the analysts are very being honest.
KEILAR: Did you get a sense, though, of what he wants to do? Because so obviously he -- you disagree with him on this. He does not like the way the intelligence community is operating. He seems to doubt that he's even now or will get good information from them. Did you get the sense that he wants an overhaul?
KING: Yes, again, we didn't go into great discussion on the intelligence community itself yesterday. I think he wouldn't change it. I think it would change the tone. I'm saying as far as the honesty.
Again, they are having a real issue with Central Command and obviously with some people in various intelligence agencies, but the fact is that I think overall they try to do their best.
I think if you had different direction from the top, maybe looking differently, but as far their honesty or integrity, I partially agree with Donald Trump and I partially disagree.
KEILAR: All right, Congressman King, stay with me. We have much for to discuss including some breaking news, a major announcement coming from the Clinton campaign. We'll have that on the other side of this break.
CUOMO: So we are back now with Republican Congressman Peter King. We're getting some breaking news in the presidential race because the Clinton Foundation has just announced that it will not accept foreign or corporate donations if Hillary Clinton is elected president. This amid growing questions about potential conflicts of interest.
Also, as you know, Congressman King, you had the "Boston Globe's" editorial board that is certainly not a conservative editorial board, that's a liberal editorial board. They have said to Hillary Clinton, you know, that really she needed to think about really shelving the foundation if she's to be president. I wonder what you think about it. Is this change enough to put these concerns to rest?
KING: I think it's the right thing going toward the future, but it raises questions about why it was allowed to go on during the time that she was secretary of state. I'm a little different from other Republicans. I actually have a good personal relationship with President Clinton and Secretary Clinton.
But I think they were wrong on the foundation. She should have known as secretary of state the conflicts or appearance of conflicts being raised by accepting all this money from foreign donors, foreign companies, people had involvement with overseas interest and really sort of raises questions about her judgment.
It is the right thing to do going forward. Again, we'll have to see the fine print, but certainly to the extent they will be stopping money coming from overseas if she is the president is the right thing. Again, why did she allow it to go during the time she was secretary of state?
KEILAR: Donald Trump is someone, obviously, who could have a similar issue because he has very various businesses. What would he do as president to ensure a separation between himself and his business interests?
KING: Yes, first of all, as far as the past, there was no conflict. Donald Trump had no obligation to curtail any foreign involvement before. If he's in the White House, he'll have to make it clear there's an absolute wall between him and anything overseas.
I would urge that he try to phase it out as much as possible. There can't be anything which gives even the appearance of a conflict of interest.
It's not enough just to comply with the law when talking about dealing overseas. It's going to be some kind of a fine line you might cross, but when it comes to dealing overseas, you have to make sure there's a wall, a wall of separation.
KEILAR: You're saying that what he has done in the past should not be scrutinized because he was a public citizen. Why does that erase concerns about what his ties to, you know, foreign entities would be?
KING: No, I'm saying as far as any conflict of interest. It's a different story between Hillary Clinton being secretary of state and the big involvement with overseas countries. That's all I'm saying.
KEILAR: OK, I want to ask you about something that Donald Trump said in a town hall actually with Fox News. He said that he'd give Clinton the benefit of the doubt about accepting donations to their foundation from Saudi Arabia. I suspect you do not agree with him. Maybe you're surprised as I am that he would have said that.
KING: Maybe there's a kinder and gentler Donald Trump. I don't think we'll see too much of that between now and election. I think he will be -- all kidding aside, it's very important to raise issues and even if they seem like they're being personal. As long as they are based on fact and have relations to the government and to the office of the presidency, then I think these type of analysis and criticism is very valid.
KEILAR: OK, debate prep coming up. This is obviously really important because Donald Trump is going to begin this.
[18:20:04]This is such a key moment for him and with his new hire of his campaign CEO, Steve Bannon, do you think he is really going to unleash himself on the Clintons? Is that what we will see him prepping for?
KING: I read about Steve. I don't know him well. I do Kelly Anne Conway fairly well. I think she's going to do an outstanding job. I think that in the debate -- I think it is important make these allegations. There's such a large number, more than 60 percent of the American people have real serious questions about Hillary Clinton's trustworthiness, her integrity.
So it's important I think if Donald Trump focuses on those issues, but in doing it he has to make sure that it's factual and on target and doesn't leave himself open to a counter attack by exaggerating.
There's enough legitimate questions to be raised. I think he has to fine tune those arguments and if it's Bannon or Kelly Anne, whoever is advising him on it, I think it's important that he do it to make sure he does it in factual way, which I think he will.
KEILAR: Congressman Pete King, thank you so much for being with us.
KING: Thank you, Brianna, thank you.
KEILAR: Now just ahead, more on the breaking news on the Clinton Foundation's donations and the Democrat's new way of slamming Donald Trump for ducking the release of his tax returns.
We're also live to Rio for breaking news on U.S. Olympic swimmers now accused by police of being vandals, not robbery victims.
We are also following wildfires burning in California. These are live pictures.
KEILAR: We're back now with more breaking news on the U.S. Olympic swimmers now accused by Rio police of lying when they said they were robbed. We have new details about a key piece of evidence. That surveillance video of the swimmers, at the gas station. This is where police say they committed acts of vandalism.
I want to go live now to Rio. That's where we have CNN senior international correspondent, Nick Paton Walsh. Some new developments here, Nick.
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We're hearing from sources close to the four swimmers who say they've spoken to all men that essentially they believe that CCTV video corroborates Ryan Lochte's original story that he was in fact a victim of an armed robbery by people disguised as police.
Let me tell you how they get to that conclusion. They say that there is a three-minute hole in the time code in which the man leaning into the car used a firearm to make them get out and eventually give them all their money.
They say that's armed robbery, pure and simple and the police are nitpicking facts and lying. Now this comes after very lengthy day. The police still examining that CCTV to see if there's a real three- minute hole there, but we've had a remarkable series of shifting stories here.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): There was no robbery as the way it was reported claimed by the athletes.
WALSH (voice-over): Gas station surveillance video shows Lochte and three other U.S. swimmers the night they say they were robbed at gun point.
RYAN LOCHTE, U.S. SWIMMER: We got pulled over in our taxi and these guys came out with their badge. They pulled us over. They pulled out their guns. They told the other swimmers to get down on the ground.
WALSH: But authorities say that's not true. In a press conference today, the civil police chief say the Americans were probably drunk and vandalized mirrors and signs on the property. The gas station owner claims the athletes urinated on his property.
In the upper left corner, you can see at least one person in the alley way bending over appearing to pull his pants up before an attendant in red comes over.
The men hassled back out from the narrow path as more employees gather. The swimmers attempt to return to their taxi but approach the wrong one at first.
Once all are inside, a gas station security guard leans into the athletes' van and seems to ask them to get out. They exit, some with their hands up. Police saying the guards were likely armed.
FERNANDO VELOSO, CHIEF OF CIVIL POLICE, BRAZIL (through translator): There is the use of a weapon to control probably one of them.
WALSH: Later the group is seen from another angle sitting on a curb together. That's when police say the Olympians came to an agreement to pay for the damages.
VELOSO (through translator): Almost like to pay for the damage that they cause and leave the place before the police could arrive.
WALSH: Lochte's mother first told media the swimmers were robbed at gun point in a taxi. Olympic authorities initially denied any robbery took place. Lochte himself raised the stakes with a chilling account to NBC of men with guns and badges posing as police officers.
LOCHTE: The guy pulled out his gun. He cocked it, put it to my forehead and say get down.
WALSH: Last night, Brazilian police pulled Lochte's teammates (inaudible) and Jack Conger off their U.S. bound flight at Rio's airport and seized their passports. They are barred from leaving the country until they give a statement to officials.
An attorney for the two swimmers said his clients were, quote, "frightened and confuse and did not understand why they were being prevented from embarking."
As for Lochte, he flew back to the U.S. Tuesday joking around in this spacewalk video on Instagram just as the story was unfolding today. The fourth athlete remains in Brazil and is said to be cooperating with police.
KEILAR: That was Nick Paton Walsh reporting for us from Rio. We're actually trying to reestablish his connection. He is at the gas station where this incident involving these American swimmers took place. We'll get more on that for you when we can.
Now back to the presidential race. We have some breaking news there, as well. The Clinton Foundation just announced it will not accept foreign or corporate donations if Hillary Clinton is elected president.
Let's go to our senior Washington correspondent, Joe Johns. This is -- this is quite the capitulation, Joe.
JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: It certainly seems that way. Bill Clinton telling the staff of the foundation about this just today, an acknowledgement that, if Hillary Clinton wins, the foundation is going to have to be retooled and refocused.
And now I'm saying that the foundation will not accept donations from corporate or foreign interests if Hillary Clinton is elected in November.
The move comes as questions have started piling up over potential conflicts of interest between donors and the State Department during and after Hillary Clinton's time as secretary of state.
Meanwhile today, Mrs. Clinton was working on bolstering her credentials on law and order.
JOHNS (voice-over): Hillary Clinton today firing back at Donald Trump's claim that she is weak on law enforcement.
HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: We have to be clear-eyed about the challenges we face. We can't ignore them. And certainly, we must not inflame them. We need to work together to bridge our divides, not stoke even more divisiveness.
JOHNS: Clinton meeting with law enforcement leaders from around the country, billing herself as the pro-police candidate.
CLINTON: I want to support them, our police officers, with the resources they need to do their jobs. To do them effectively, to learn from their efforts, and to apply those lessons across our nation.
JOHNS: Clinton's photo op an attempt to counter Trump's assertion made in Wisconsin earlier this week.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINE: She is against the police, believe me. You know it and I know it, and guess what? She knows it.
JOHNS: Trump even blaming Clinton for the violent protests sparked after an officer-involved killing in Milwaukee.
TRUMP: Those peddling the narrative of cops as a racist force in our society, a narrative supported with a nod by my opponent, share directly in the responsibility for the unrest in Milwaukee and many other places within our country.
JOHNS: And the Clinton campaign today flipping the script on one of Trump's favorite attack lines.
GRAPHIC: Will Donald Trump release his tax returns?
TRUMP: If I decide to run for office, I'll produce my tax returns. Absolutely.
JOHNS: Releasing a new ad zeroing in on Trump's refusal to release tax returns.
MITT ROMNEY (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE (via phone): Either he's not anywhere near as wealthy as he says he is or there's a bombshell in Donald Trump's taxes.
GRAPHIC: Donald Trump. He's hiding something.
JOHNS: Clinton trying to reverse the narrative about trustworthiness and transparency, aiming to paint Trump as the one who has something to hide.
CLINTON: Under his plans, Donald Trump would pay a lower tax rate than middle-class families. 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 release his tax returns, so the American people can't really judge.
And Trump can expect to see a new face around the campaign trail. The Democratic National Committee introducing a new mascot calling himself Donald Ducks, declaring he will show up at Trump events until he releases his tax returns.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What is he trying to duck? Is he ducking because he's not as rich as he says he is? Is he ducking because he doesn't donate to charities like he says he does?
JOHNS: Hillary Clinton's meeting with law enforcement officials today has been in the works for weeks and was made public on the schedule last week. But it did give her an opportunity to push back on the latest attacks from Donald Trump -- Brianna. KEILAR: Joe Johns, thank you so much. Just, you know, when you think
things couldn't get more strange, mascots. Now we have mascots.
All right. Let's bring in Olivia Nuzzi. She's a political reporter for "The Daily Beast." David Swerdlick is an assistant editor for "The Washington Post." And Chris Moody is a senior digital correspondent for CNN Politics.
This is some big news that we're seeing here, Olivia, that the Clinton -- Clinton Foundation is not going to take corporate or foreign donations if Hillary Clinton is president. That kind of seems like it should be common sense and yet I'm surprised that this development has happened.
OLIVIA NUZZI, "THE DAILY BEAST": I think it was Rosie Gray (ph) at BuzzFeed who said that this is something she should have done before she become secretary of state. It just, from a purely political point of view, it just looks bad that she hasn't already done this while she's running for president of the United States if you want to be cynical about it. Just from an optics perspective, it just doesn't look great for her.
But I think it's the right thing to do. I think she should have done it before she started running for president. But I think, obviously, if she gets elected, it's something that she needs to do. You can't have questions raised about her integrity or why she's making the decisions she's making.
KEILAR: Why do you guys think she did this today?
CHRIS MOODY, CNN POLITICS SENIOR DIGITAL CORRESPONDENT: As we were talking earlier, she's backed into a corner, really pressured to do this. But I think it also raises more questions, even if transparency advocates say this is a good first baby step. It's kind of a last- minute...
[18:35:10] KEILAR: What more do they want? Do they want it all together like the "Boston Globe" said? All together...
MOODY: Well, saying this it's only once she's elected. So if you want to donate, donate now. You still can.
KEILAR: An interesting point. Yes.
DAVID SWERDLICK, ASSISTANT EDITOR, "THE WASHINGTON POST": It is a tacit acknowledgement that maybe she should have done something sooner or that maybe the relationship of the foundation should have been structured differently. But I do think the politically smart thing to do is to get past this. They may have to weather the storm from criticism from Trump for a few days, but they will be able to move on from it, rather than letting the story fester.
KEILAR: Did this have anything to do, Chris, you think, with "The Boston Globe"? Maybe it's too soon to tell, but "The Boston Globe" editorial board, which is a liberal editorial board, had said, "Look, you need to -- you need to shut this thing down. There's this terrible conflict of interest. This is the right thing to do."
MOODY: Well, focus like that can become a snowball and you have other people examining it and looking at not focusing just on the wild thing Donald Trump might have said or the little shiny thing on the campaign trail. But you can only imagine, if they hadn't done this, every single donation, if she is president, could be looked into, and then there will be even more stories and more stories. This is cutting it off right now as best you can, even if it's far too late.
KEILAR: Yes. I was thinking, Olivia, there were going to be, if they kept this going, just a lot of House Oversight Committee hearings into this. And it would just be sort of eviscerated.
NUZZI: And if they didn't make this announcement now, I mean, from their perspective, the next thing down the line might be "The New York Times" editorial board coming on to say something like this, and it would just get worse and worse...
KEILAR: Pile on.
KEILAR: OK. All right. So I want to talk a little bit about what Hillary Clinton was doing today. We saw Donald Trump, as well, focusing on law enforcement. Donald Trump is saying to Hillary Clinton, "Look, you're the anti-law and order, and you are not for police."
Hillary Clinton is sort of trying to keep everyone happy, trying to appeal to Black Lives Matter, community activists, trying to appeal, as well, to law enforcement. What is her -- it's sort of a balancing act, right?
SWERDLICK: It's a balancing act. She wants to be seen as an honest broker. And even though Donald Trump has sort of an easy path to hammer her on this by saying over and over again that he's the law and order candidate, I think it's actually a myth that Hillary Clinton has been anti-cop. When she was a U.S. senator, she had a good relationship with police. She's met with police today. She met with Black Lives Matter during the primaries.
You know, Republicans like to chime in on this idea that Democrats are anti-police. But if you look at Clinton, if you look at President Obama, especially in his second term, he has spoken over and over again in praise of police.
KEILAR: And '94 crime bill, which she supported, and part of the big thing she touted was getting more police out there on the street.
I want to talk about this Trump campaign reboot. Still a very interesting topic now as we get into his first public appearance after this happens. You have Stuart Stevens, the former strategist for Mitt Romney's 2012 campaign, saying this on Twitter. He said, "#ILikeCharlieSykes Trump has entered hospice stage of campaign. Wants to be surrounded by those who love him."
NUZZI: Good line.
KEILAR: Is that -- is that the case, that these are sort of "yes men" that are just going to create some group think, that maybe isn't going to yield the best decisions for Donald Trump?
NUZZI: On the surface it certainly looks that way. I think what happened was Donald Trump made a few compromises, just a few, where he would read off of a teleprompter. He could get through an entire day, almost, without saying something outrageous to offend a group of people.
And when that didn't magically result in his luck turning around and those polls going up for him, I think he just started to question the wisdom of the people saying that he should professionalize his operation and pivot to the center a little bit. So people like Paul Manafort, his campaign chairman, who obviously is retaining a title now, I think maybe he's starting to look to Donald Trump like he doesn't know what he's talking about.
KEILAR: They were asking him what we're learning now, and has been clear all along, to play a role he couldn't play, right?
MOODY: Well, if you look at the way he gives his speeches when he's talking on a teleprompter, I've never seen anything less comfortable in a candidate.
MOODY: It's not his natural space. And it seems as though this new team is going to try to find a kind of compromise where he can speak the way he likes to but also focus on topics. Maybe they'll say, "OK, Donald for this week."
But you know what? I'm going to believe it when I see it. Because I've heard so much about a pivot this whole time, whether it's the primaries or now in the general, and it has never come, or it's happened for an hour and we've written a story, we've talked about it on a panel, and then, boom, pivot's over and it's blown up. And then we'll talk about it again next week. Let's see it once.
KEILAR: What do you think?
SWERDLICK: No, I think Chris is right. Donald Trump -- it's all in the control of Donald Trump. Right? His campaign staff can nudge him. He can shake things up. They can change the structure. His kids have gotten involved, but it's ultimately up to Trump. Staying on a message not just for a day or a week but for the next 80 days.
KEILAR: David Swerdlick; Chris Moo -- Moody, sorry about that; Olivia Nuzzi -- I can pronounce your name. It just sort of stuck.
MOODY: Says who?
KEILAR: Touche. Thank you guys so much for being on the panel today.
And just ahead, CNN gets an exclusive tour of the massive flooding disaster in Louisiana. Tonight, tens of thousands of residents are appealing for help as a local newspaper asks, "Where's President Obama?"
[18:40:10] And we'll go live to Southern California, where firefighters are on the attack against this huge and erratic wildfire that is forcing thousands to evacuate.
[18:45:00] KEILAR: Let's go back to the breaking news on the U.S. Olympic swimmers accused of being vandals, not victims of an armed robbery, as they claimed.
CNN international correspondent Nick Paton Walsh is at the gas station where much of this story unfolded.
And you have some new information, Nick. Share that with us.
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. Now, we have two stories. Very different in their tone, but they begin quite similarly. Both the Brazilian police and sources close to all four swimmers.
Let me talk you through the thing they agree on. You see in the CCTV, the four swimmers heading down here. Now, the sources admit the swimmers have come here to go to the toilet and they did urinate just there.
Same sources say it's possible they did, as alleged by the owner and police tear or be involved in this poster coming off the wall. But let me walk slowly with you out this way towards the court again, it's out there where the stories begin to diverge again. The Brazilian police say when they came out here they got the wrong taxi and went to a different taxi and got into that. A security guard is pictured leaning into the car and then apparently police say the negotiation started and they arranged to give some money. Everyone calmed down because of damage done there. The police turned up it was all over.
Sources close Mr. Lochte and the other three swimmers say, oh, no, there's a different story there indeed. They claim that there is a three-minute hold in the CCTV. Police will look at it. During the three minutes the man leaning into the car used a firearm and in the minds of the swimmers presents himself as a police officer. Making them get out of car, walk slightly further away and then give them all their money using this gesture suggesting they need more money, basically saying this was armed robbery, however you want to look at it.
I don't know when the military police turned up or whether they were involved, or felt to be involved in the incidents by swimmers. But they say the CCTV confirms Mr. Lochte's original account, such diverging situations here.
KEILAR: And we're trying to get to the bottom of those. Nick Paton Walsh, thank you so much. Well, tonight, the Red Cross is calling the massive flooding in
Louisiana the worst disaster since Superstorm Sandy four years ago. More than 70,000 people reportedly have asked for federal assistance so far.
CNN's Polo Sandoval got exclusive access as the National Guard surveyed the disaster area.
Polo, tell us about what you saw.
POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A heartbreaking scene, Brianna, as we were flying overhead in these communities just southeast of Baton Rouge. And what's interesting is we looked out the window, we could see what appeared to be small landfills, if you will, popping up on people's front lawns.
But now that we are on what is now dry land, this is really what it is, people's belongings now that the water continued to recede. They are having to pull out what is now destroyed to try to get their lives back on track and rebuild.
SANDOVAL (voice-over): From the air, the scale of the devastation is overwhelming. CNN spending the day with the National Guard to survey the scope and severity of Louisiana's historic flood. Tens of thousands have abandoned their homes and from this vantage point, it looks like very little will be salvaged when the water finally subsides.
General Joseph Lengyel oversees the National Guard, including the estimated 3,800 guardsmen on the ground.
GEN. JOSEPH LENGYEL, NATIONAL GUARD: It's what makes the guard different, you know? Fight the wars is one thing and then you're helping the homeland. That's something special.
SANDOVAL: Some of the national guard members helping in the recovery are also flood victim themselves.
LENGYEL: In many parts of the region, 75 percent of the homes were destroyed and those were the homes of the men and women of National Guard, really of all the people who are doing the response. So, they're affected by it but also have the burden of having to respond.
SANDOVAL: Touring an evacuate center, many flood victims are worried about how long it will take to recover.
LENGYEL: Is there something you need? You got medical, food, clothing?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We do but we're not turning anything around because we don't know how long --
LENGYEL: You don't know how long it's going to go on. SANDOVAL: At the same time, there's growing criticism of President
Obama for vacationing in Martha's Vineyard as the people in Louisiana deal with aftermath. "The Baton Rouge Advocate" writing in an editorial, "If the president can interrupt his vacation for a swanky fund-raiser for fellow Democrat Hillary Clinton as he did on Monday, then surely he can make time to show up for a catastrophe that's displaced thousands."
PETER KOVACS, EDITOR, THE ADVOCATE: This is -- the disaster -- the magnitude of this disaster requires federal leadership and intervention. This is a poor state. A lot of people have lost everything they own. And, you know, we're going to need help just as we did in Katrina.
SANDOVAL: FEMA director Craig Fugate was on the ground here on Tuesday. Today, the Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson.
JEH JOHNSON, HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: The federal government is here. We have been here. We will be here as long as it takes to help this community recover.
[18:50:02] SANDOVAL: Back in the sky, whole communities remain submerged.
SANDOVAL: And back out live to this community, Prairieville, Louisiana, the man who owns this property and has been tossing out all of his belongings here that were damaged, actually a police officer in New Orleans. Over the weekend, he got the call from his wife and several daughter who called this place home that they needed, that they were actually stuck in this home.
And so, this officer actually jumped in a boat, was able to make his way here, rescue his family, rescue his pets and now that those waters are gone, Brianna, now, the tough task of cleaning up and rebuilding is in full swing.
And I should mention, at least 86,500 people will be relying on the federal government for help and many did not have flood insurance.
KEILAR: Yes, it's huge. And very few of them did. It's a really good point that you made there.
Polo Sandoval for us in Louisiana, thank you.
We're also following the breaking news in southern California. A wildfire that is threatening thousands of homes about 70 miles east of Los Angeles. More than 80,000 people have been warned to evacuate here.
We have CNN's Paul Vercammen for us live. And this fire, and we have been seeing these picture, Paul. It's just burning out of control.
PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: As we speak and let's get right to it. If you look over my shoulder, Brianna, you can see on this hillside, this is the most active flank of the flame of the Blue Cut fire that we've seen all day. Firefighters are going to try to make a stand right here.
You can tell that some of that hillside is a purplish color. That's because they have bombarded this hillside right here with a whole batch of airplane drops and retardant.
As we look over other parts of the fire, this news just in, somebody trying to capitalize on someone else's misery. The San Bernardino County sheriff's reporting that three suspected looters or thieves have been arrested by going into this fire zone and allegedly trying to or stealing property.
Now, back to this firefight. You can tell, this is extremely rugged terrain, and it's difficult to get the hand crews up there if not downright risky and life-threatening. So, they're hitting it from the air. You can hear the whirl of the helicopters. They're now trying to drop water on this fire to get a better handle on it.
As bad as this looks, Brianna, they are starting to let some of those evacuees return home, but as we speak right now, this is where there's a pitched firefight and this is the Cajon Pass where they're had trouble with winds and fires before and it's one of several fires burning in California. So, they have to be careful that they don't take too many resources away from this fire and give it to others.
Back to you, Brianna.
KEILAR: Paul Vercammen for us. And we know you'll be following that. This is far from over. Thank you so much for that.
Just ahead, we are standing by to hear from Donald Trump. He's about to hold his first rally since his campaign shake-up plus the heart- wrenching reality of the war in Syria and its toll on the youngest victims.
[18:57:22] KEILAR: Tonight, one boy and a heart-wrenching video are reminding the world of the brutality and bloodshed that's been going on in Syria for years now. Let's get more from our Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr.
This is just something that is so moving and so disturbing at the same time, Barbara.
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Good evening, Brianna.
The images are very disturbing. One tiny face in the middle of a civil war.
STARR (voice-over): Five-year-old Omran Daqneesh carried out of the rubble in Aleppo, Syria, sitting in shock, alone in the ambulance, no shoes, not even crying, wiping away the blood. The Syrian activist who recorded the images says it took nearly an
hour to pull him out.
MUSTAFA AL SAROUQ, ACTIVIST, ALEPPO MEDIA CENTER (through translator): Omran's whole face was blood and his family was und, the rubble and there was no o to help him, but the rescue workers.
STARR: The image going viral capturing the horror of Aleppo and the humanitarian disaster that is Syria.
Evoking another image, that of 2-year-old Alan Kurdi drowned on a Turkish beach.
The impossible choice facing millions trapped in the middle of Syria, stay and try to survive or escape, either way, risking death.
The U.N. special envoy demanding Russia and the U.S. try to stop the carnage and get humanitarian aid into Aleppo.
STAFFAN DE MISTURA, UNITED NATIONS SPECIAL ENVOY FOR SYRIA: I again, insist on behalf of the secretary-general of the U.N. and of all of the Syrian people to have a 48-hour pause in Aleppo.
STARR: But safe passage for relief convoys is impossible as long as Russian and Syrian warplanes continue bombing. More than 4,500 children have been killed in the Aleppo area since the war began five years ago according to an observer group. The last U.S. ambassador to Syria says the U.S. is failing.
ROBERT FORD, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO SYRIA: I think it's important for Syrians such as those doctors in Aleppo to not be waiting for the Obama administration to come to their rescue because frankly, I don't think it's going to happen.
STARR: Viral moments like Omran's image may be fleeting, however. This time will the outrage last? For just a moment, the heartbreak of Omran Daqneesh's 5-year-old life was shown to the world, five years of war and trying to survive.
JOHN KIRBY, STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESMAN: For every day he's been alive he's known nothing, but conflict and war.
STARR: The latest reports from the region, Brianna, are that his immediate family members also did survive the attack -- Brianna.
KEILAR: Barbara Starr at the Pentagon, thank you so much. I'm Brianna Keilar, thank you so much for watching.
"ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" tonight with Kate Bolduan starts right now.