Return to Transcripts main page


Ryan Lochte Controversy; Clinton Foundation Damage Control; Trump Campaign Chairman Resigns; Trump to Black Voters: 'What the Hell Do You Have to Lose?'; Feds Investigate Manafort Firm as Part of Ukraine Probe; Judge: Clinton Must Answer Written Questions on E- mails; U.S. Swimmer Ryan Lochte Apologizes for Behavior in Rio; U.S. Moves Special Forces After "Unusual" Attack. Aired 6-7p ET

Aired August 19, 2016 - 18:00   ET



BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now: A real reboot? Donald Trump working to stay on message in Michigan tonight, just hours after his campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, calls it quits. We're learning more about this shakeup and why Trump is suddenly expressing regret for some of his past remarks.

Disaster politics. The Republican nominee makes a surprise stop in flood-ravaged Louisiana, and soon after President Obama puts a visit to the flood zone on his calendar.

Damage control. Hillary Clinton takes new steps to tamp down controversy surrounding her family's foundation, as a new ruling by a judge could pour more fuel on a firestorm over her e-mails.

And sorry swimmer. U.S. Olympian Ryan Lochte is now apologizing for his behavior at a gas station in Rio. But is he telling the full story after police say that he and his teammates lied about being robbed/

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.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

KEILAR: We have breaking news tonight, Donald Trump making a new appeal to African-American voters, asking them, what the hell do you have to lose by supporting his campaign?

Trump speaking to a mostly white audience in Michigan as his new campaign chiefs work to sharpen his message. The Trump team even more shaken up tonight with the resignation of its controversial chairman, Paul Manafort. Earlier, Trump and his running mate, Mike Pence, took a detour to Louisiana and meet with flood victims and also to take a jab at President Obama for remaining on vacation during the disaster.

Tonight, the White House says the president will visit the flood zone next week. Also breaking, a federal judge rules that Hillary Clinton must answer

written questions from a conservative watchdog group about her use of private e-mails, the judge giving Clinton 30 days to answer under oath in a move that could fan the controversy.

And a new apology tonight from U.S. Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte. He says he takes responsibility for his role in what happened at a gas station in Rio. Police say Lochte and three teammates committed acts of vandalism and then fabricated a story that they were robbed.

Our correspondents, analysts, and guests are standing by as we cover all of the day's top stories.

First, I want to go to CNN's Sunlen Serfaty. She has more on Donald Trump's remarks in Michigan just a short time ago -- Sunlen.

SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Brianna, Donald Trump appears to at least be showing some consistency here and staying on message again tonight in Michigan.

This is likely a reflection of the influence of his campaign's new leadership in place and their stated new direction. His newly minted campaign manager, Kellyanne, said one of her main roles would be to sharpen the Trump campaign's message in part with these sort of scripted speeches. This is exactly what we saw Trump do tonight in Michigan.

He used a teleprompter. He largely stayed on script. He didn't touch on any of the controversies of the day and he hammered down again at this new line that he's recently revealed trying to reach out beyond his base and court African-American voters, even though the audience was largely white. Here is what he said moments ago.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: What do you have to lose? You're living in poverty. Your schools are no good. You have no jobs; 58 percent of your youth is unemployed. What the hell do you have to lose?


TRUMP: And at the end of four years, I guarantee you that I will get over 95 percent of the African-American vote. I promise you.


SERFATY: This is exactly the kind of messaging strategy the Trump campaign is now trying to prioritize and would like to see going forward beyond tonight.

But, of course, the big question, Brianna, is, will the candidate let this sort of strategy stick and stay in place?

KEILAR: Yes, he hasn't been able to before. We will see if he can this time. Sunlen, thank you so much. Let's go now to Michigan and CNN's Jessica Schneider there live for

us. She has more on new developments in the Trump campaign -- Jessica.

JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Brianna, the tone of the Trump campaign has turned markedly disciplined and different over the past 24 hours.

Donald Trump just wrapping up about his 45-minute speech right here in Michigan tonight. He used it to rail against Hillary Clinton and also to talk about his trip to Baton Rouge today. He used that trip to hearken on his line that a lot of people in the United States are facing tough times.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're glad you're not playing golf in Martha's Vineyard.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Somebody is that shouldn't be.

SCHNEIDER (voice-over): Donald Trump touching down in Baton Rouge and criticizing the president for staying on vacation, the flooding the worst natural disaster since Superstorm Sandy in 2012.

TRUMP: The spirit of the people is incredible. The devastation, likewise, they have never seen anything like it. But the spirit of the people is incredible, and honestly, Obama ought to get off the golf course and get down there.


SCHNEIDER: The White House announcing this afternoon President Obama will visit Baton Rouge next week. Meantime, Donald Trump appears to be softening his tone after his latest campaign shakeup.

TRUMP: Sometimes, in the heat of debate and speaking on a multitude of issues, you don't choose the right words or you say the wrong thing.

I have done that. Believe it or not, I regret it, particularly where it may have caused personal pain.

SCHNEIDER: Trump never actually saying I'm sorry, but asking the electorate to consider a vote for him a vote for a shakeup of the system.

TRUMP: What do you have to lose by trying something new? I will fix it. Watch. I will fix it. You have nothing to lose, nothing to lose.

NARRATOR: In Hillary Clinton's America, the system stays rigged against Americans.

SCHNEIDER: Trump's first ads hit the air today. The campaign spending $4.8 million over the next 10 days for ads in the battleground states of Ohio, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Florida.

NARRATOR: Donald Trump's America is secure, terrorists and dangerous criminals kept out.

SCHNEIDER: Clinton's camp already on the attack, campaign spokesman Brian Fallon tweeting: "In case you thought for a split-second Trump was genuine about feeling regret, he is back to demonizing immigrants again in his new ad today."

Trump's sharpened tone comes as a new team takes over and Paul Manafort resigns as campaign chairman. Sources telling CNN Manafort told Trump he was becoming a distraction and wanted to end it.

Former right-hand man Corey Lewandowski says Trump is finally taking charge.

COREY LEWANDOWSKI, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN MANAGER: He did not like the direction where the campaign was going. The polling data in the key battleground states, he wasn't pleased with that.


SCHNEIDER: And Donald Trump has not spoken about the departure of Paul Manafort, only releasing a statement. But the Clinton campaign has pounced. They released a statement saying that Paul Manafort's departure does not in their words end the odd bromance between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin -- Brianna.

KEILAR: All right, Jessica Schneider, thank you so much in Michigan for us.

And joining me now, we have Trump senior adviser Jack Kingston. He's a former U.S. congressman from Georgia.

Thank you so much for being here with us, Congressman.



KEILAR: So, we heard a lot of new things in this address that Donald Trump gave on teleprompter tonight in Dimondale, Michigan, and one of the main parts of his speech was an appeal to black voters.

I want you to listen to really the crux of what he said there.


TRUMP: What do you have to lose? You're living in poverty. Your schools are no good. You have no jobs; 58 percent of your youth is unemployed. What the hell do you have to lose?


TRUMP: And at the end of four years, I guarantee you that I will get over 95 percent of the African-American vote. I promise you.


KEILAR: He's polling right now at 2 percent with African-American voters. Is that the right way to attract a voting bloc that obviously favors Hillary Clinton much more than him?

KINGSTON: First of all, our internal poll show us doing better than 2 percent.

But the reality is he's going there and he's taking it to them. He's giving them a proposal. He's saying, you know what, I'm interested. I went to Milwaukee. I'm here tonight. I want to talk to you. One of the things he actually said last night in North Carolina that kind of went uncovered, but he said I don't want to preside over another generation of children who are left out of the American dream.

KEILAR: I have to stop you, just because you say he's going there. But he's not. He's in Dimondale, which is 93 percent white. When he was in Milwaukee the other day, it was a part of Milwaukee that wasn't dealing...



KEILAR: It's almost completely white.

KINGSTON: Yes, but, Brianna, maybe it would have been nice if he went and had a backdrop with a burning car, but the reality is...

KEILAR: I'm not -- no, no, no, no.

Look, just to be -- I'm not talking about a burning car. I'm talking about meeting with black voters.

KINGSTON: Well, me met with David Clarke, who, as you know, is the African-American sheriff of Milwaukee. And he's engaged with him.

And his rallies are open to the public. Last night in North Carolina, we saw a lot of African-Americans. I wasn't sure about the crowd content tonight, the reality is...

KEILAR: It's white. We checked.

KINGSTON: But they're open to the public.

And there's nothing exclusive. But the reality is what he's saying is, I want to talk to you. And I want to say this, because it hasn't been covered that much. He actually set up a diversity committee a year ago in the primaries. It's headed by Bruce LeVell out of Atlanta, Georgia. And it's a racial and religious diversity community -- committee.

[18:10:08] And no one else in the Republican primary had such a thing. So, he is

real about this. And I want to say if he had a bad track record on racial discrimination, we would know about it. There would be court records, there would be employment records.

He's sincere in reaching out. And the reality is, if you look at the Democrat mayor of Milwaukee and programs that have kept a group in poverty, a group unemployed, a group in bad schools, you say, you know what? Why not change your voting habits and try something different? Maybe you can get to a better place.

But I can say this, that in terms of the African-American community, they should send a signal to Hillary Clinton that saying, hey, we're interested. Come talk to us. She hasn't even been close to Milwaukee. I think it would be very good for the African-American community and really anybody to say, we're hope for ideas. Competition is good.


KEILAR: She's gone to black churches. She's spoke to the NAACP. He refused to speak to the NAACP and the National Association of Black Journalists.


KINGSTON: She didn't go to the Fraternal Order of Police. She won't say three words, blue lives matter.

I think that Donald Trump is a different sort of candidate. He's a non-Beltway candidate. He's going to different communities. He's saying different things. He is reaching out. And, again, if I was an African-American leader, I would be very tempted to say, you know what? I want to sit down, I want to hear, I want to listen.

The invitation is there. And I think that that is very significant.

KEILAR: OK. So, you said he doesn't have a record of racial discrimination. We did see something at one of his events that was -- this is pretty eyebrow-raising.

You had Donald Trump's security team -- and I want to go ahead and show this video. This was an Indian American man from -- it's a picture here -- from a rally last night, and he was removed under the assumption that he was a protester.

He was wearing a Trump shirt. His name is Jake Anantha. He's 18 years old. He's a registered Republican and a Donald Trump supporter, and he's pretty sure the only reason he was kicked out was someone took a look at him and made a decision that he didn't look like a normal Donald Trump supporter.

How does Donald Trump effectively reach out to minority voters if this young man isn't even welcome in his event?

KINGSTON: Look, Brianna, we can't litigate that based on the film. I don't exactly know what the circumstances are.


KEILAR: Let me tell you. He wasn't doing anything. His parents are Republicans. He's a Republican. He's wearing a Trump T-shirt.


KINGSTON: Who was it's who removed him? Was it local security? Was it the Secret Service? Or was it a Trump employee?

KEILAR: Why does that matter?

KINGSTON: Because local security doesn't work for Donald Trump. And Secret Service doesn't work for Donald Trump.

So, I think it matters a lot. The reality is, I know Donald Trump would love to have that young man on the front row cheering. If something like that happened, I can promise you it didn't happen with Donald Trump or any of the management of the Trump team saying, yes, get rid of this guy, because we don't like the way he looks.


KINGSTON: They absolutely would never do that.

Remember, he has 15,000, 20,000 people at his rallies. There's all sorts of people there. So, they're used to the crowds.

KEILAR: But there are not many people of color. And when there's a chance to have someone who is genuinely interested in his candidacy, they are made to feel unwelcome.

KINGSTON: I think there were dozens and dozens of people who -- probably first-time Trump rally participants who felt welcomed and liked it.

And I think that it could be a little bit of let's find this one incident. If there were dozens of dozens of people who said we weren't allowed in there, I think, yes, you could argue, well, there seems to be a pattern.

I have no idea what the background is. But I can tell you, looking you in the eye, Donald Trump would love to have him on the front row of the rally, if he's there to support Trump or just to listen, particularly, as you pointed out, he's wearing a Trump shirt.

You know, if he wants to call me, I will be glad to see what I can do to find out the background on this. But the reality is, again, Donald Trump is reaching out. He's talking about jobs. He's talking about economy. He's talking about a failed system that which brought us Milwaukee. It brought us Baltimore. It brought us Ferguson.

It's something that every year the Democrat Party takes the black vote for granted and never delivers. KEILAR: And we have many more questions ahead. I will tell you, I

don't think that gentleman is going to talk to you, because it sounds like he's about to wear a Gary Johnson T-shirt by the way he described it to people.

But if you can stand by with me, Congressman Jack Kingston, We have much more to talk about ahead. We will be right back.



KEILAR: We're back now with Donald Trump senior adviser and former Congressman Jack Kingston and also some breaking news, that Donald Trump is appealing for the vote of -- quote -- "every single African- American," asking -- quote -- "What the hell do you have to lose?"

Some very strong words that he put out just a moment ago in Dimondale, Michigan.

But there's something else he said last night that also caught the attention of many people, because we heard him express regret for sometimes saying the wrong thing and for causing people pain. Those were his words, but he's also made it a signature of his approach to not really apologize for things.

This -- it was not a full-throated apology, but it was also uncharacteristic of Donald Trump. What do you think he was talking about?

KINGSTON: I think it was sincere.


And I think that you just have to take it for face value that he was apologizing for things that he had said and things he had caused.


KEILAR: Like a blanket apology?

KINGSTON: I think somewhat, because reality is, it's ridiculous to say, oh, he needs to address every single thing every time he bothered something.

He went out on a limb and apologized. Now, it would be nice for Hillary Clinton to say, I apologize for lying for people. I apologize for the behavior that I had in front of the U.S. Congress.

KEILAR: But that would be specific. He wasn't specific.

KINGSTON: Well, perjury is pretty specific. She could say, let me just start with saying -- or start with some the Clinton Foundation...

KEILAR: Why doesn't he say then that I apologize to the Khans, I apologize to -- for calling some Mexicans rapists? KINGSTON: I think he apologized, and I think it was a very good,

positive set.

I think, frankly, last night was probably the most significant speech of the entire campaign season, including all the primaries. It was sincere. He talked about jobs. He talked about opportunities. He talked about problems and he talked about the future.

And here we are, we're coming off a really strong week, as you know. We have an agile campaign, made some campaign adjustments. We talked about the economy, we talked about jobs and opportunities, we talked about foreign policy. He went to Milwaukee. He went to Louisiana.

We're still waiting to see if the president of the United States going to go to Louisiana. I think his plane ticket disappeared with some e- mails of Hillary's.

KEILAR: He's going on Tuesday.


KINGSTON: Finally. But remember all the hell George Bush caught. And excuse me.


KEILAR: Oh, sure. It's always a question of, should you go? The Democratic governor saying that he should wait for some time.

KINGSTON: You know, I was on the Appropriations Committee. Every fire, flood, every disaster comes to the Appropriations Committee. And I can promise you, governors want elected leaders to come down there because it's moving to see it firsthand.

The president of the United States to be playing golf while you're having one of the worst floods in Louisiana's history, it's an absolute insult to them and all Americans.

KEILAR: We heard -- and I'm going to leave it there with you.

But I will add, I talked to Democratic Senator -- former Senator Mary Landrieu earlier. And she said, come. We need the money. We need the attention.


KEILAR: So, you make a good case there.

Congressman, thank you so much. Really appreciate it.

KINGSTON: Thanks, Brianna.

KEILAR: And just ahead: new details on Hillary Clinton's interview with the FBI and Colin Powell's connection to her e-mail controversy.

And is an apology enough for U.S. swimmer Ryan Lochte to put an Olympic embarrassment behind him? We will have the latest on a gas conference confrontation.



KEILAR: Well, tonight, we got a sample of Donald Trump's new pitch with his new campaign management, Donald Trump ramping up his appeal to African-American voters at a rally in Michigan just hours his embattled campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, resigned.

Let's bring in "Washington Post" national political reporter Abby Phillip, "TIME" political reporter Zeke Miller, and CNN politics executive editor Mark Preston.

OK, so first, let's listen to what Donald Trump just said. This was a bit of a new pitch and we're going to discuss this.


TRUMP: What do you have to lose? You're living in poverty. Your schools are no good. You have no jobs; 58 percent of your youth is unemployed. What the hell do you have to lose?


TRUMP: And at the end of four years, I guarantee you that I will get over 95 percent of the African-American vote. I promise you.


KEILAR: He says that you're living in poverty. Your schools aren't good. What the hell do you have to lose? Is that something that is effective for someone who is polling at 2 percent with African- Americans?

ABBY PHILLIP, "THE WASHINGTON POST": I don't know. I think they're going to have to go back to the drawing board on that one.

To begin with, starting with the assumption that all African-Americans fall into those categories is, I think, not a great place to start. But I think, by and large, people, voters across the board, whether you're black or white or Hispanic or whatever, they want to be spoken to.

And Donald Trump is speaking to white people about black people. And if he wants to talk to black people, he may need to start there first.

KEILAR: And to that point, he's in Dimondale, 93 percent white, according to the last census. This is not a diverse community. And he could have five minutes down the road to Lansing and had a much more diverse audience.

ZEKE MILLER, "TIME": But we have seen that throughout the last few weeks, as Donald Trump -- and this week, as Donald Trump has adopted this message, he's been on the outskirts of cities with large African- American communities, and he's not gone. It was in Milwaukee. And his crowds are almost uniformly white. You will very rarely find any people of color inside those rallies. And often, when they're there, they are protesters. And it's a very interesting -- he could do a better job of recruiting people to his rallies even before he gets them to vote for him.

MARK PRESTON, CNN POLITICAL EDITOR: Can I just tee off on his idea that after, four years, he's going to get 95 percent support or...

KEILAR: He's polling at 2 percent.


PRESTON: Can we just go back four years to the groundbreaking -- or eight years to the groundbreaking election of the first African- American president, in Barack Obama, who then got reelected in 2012 with 93 percent of the African-American vote?

So, Donald Trump is going to come in and totally flip our whole political system on its head and come out...

MILLER: Donald Trump is that...


PRESTON: ... and exceed, and exceed that? That's not even exaggeration. That's just -- that's insane. It's insanity to come with up that number.

[18:30:13] PHILLIP: The other thing is that this "What do you have to lose argument" seems to really open a very wide door for the Clinton campaign. I mean, they are ready to jump in there and tell everybody what they think they have to lose with Donald Trump. So it's sort of an interesting -- it's an interesting way to phrase his candidacy, because I think it actually creates that -- it creates a different problem for him.

KEILAR: Can't you see the ad being made, where -- because the Clinton campaign does this. It's not even a voice other than Donald Trump's. They'll put up the "What do you have to lose?" Then they're going to have a picture, no doubt, of that African-American protester at one of Donald Trump's rallies who gets punched in the face by a Donald Trump supporter. They're going to have Donald Trump saying, "I'm going to pay for that guy's legal bills" and so on. And they're just going to pick different things that Donald Trump has said. Isn't that damning?

ZEKE MILLER, POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, "TIME": That's even before they get to the policy proposals that the Clinton campaign has been using.

KEILAR: They're going to go for the visceral.

MILLER: Yes, they're going to go for -- they've found -- they've found the right tone of emotions against Donald Trump. The last few weeks it worked very well.

Just like this campaign has -- the policy for Donald Trump has not been particularly robust, that has given the Clinton campaign the opportunity to make those emotional arguments with voters, and I think we'll see a lot more of that.

PRESTON: You know, Brianna, I do think that there's -- let's take Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton out of the equation and just talk about this fictional Republican candidate, Democratic candidate. Every four years the Democratic Party does come under criticism, you know, for proposing that they are going to help African-American communities and urban communities and cities, you know, get out of the quagmire that they're in economically, and they are criticized for it, though. Because there are a lot of promises that are made that are not always fulfilled. And there is something to be said that Washington, as a whole, makes a heck of a lot of promises, certainly in inner city, and never follow through on them.

And I think Donald Trump is trying to tap into that.

MILLER: This is the message we heard from the Republican Party after Mitt Romney lost in 2012. We saw Paul Ryan go into the inner cities, meet with black pastors, trying to find ways, this whole opportunity agenda. We've heard this spiel. This is the growth and opportunity part of the report that Donald Trump has essentially been handed in this cycle.

KEILAR: Sorry. Final word to you.

PHILLIP: Just the last thing. I mean, African-American voters are particularly sensitive to losing ground in terms of political power. So that's another reason why this "what do you have to lose" argument is really dangerous for him with black voters. They feel very viscerally that the Democratic Party has made space for them politically. The Republican Party over the last four years and beyond have not.

So it's going to be a pretty clear -- it's going to be pretty clear for many African-Americans concerned about sort of consolidated political power in the system that currently exists.

KEILAR: Abby, Zeke, Mark, stand by for you guys. We have much more ahead on this breaking news. Donald Trump with a new outreach to African-American voters. We'll be right back.


[18:'37:47] KEILAR: Right now, we are getting breaking news about Paul Manafort just hours after he resigned as the chairman from Donald Trump's campaign.

Let's go right to CNN justice correspondent Evan Perez.

What are you learning?

EVAN PEREZ, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Brianna, this is not going to go away, despite Manafort stepping down from his role in the Trump campaign. We've learned that there's an ongoing investigation into possibly U.S.

ties to alleged corruption surrounding the former pro-Russian president of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych. The FBI and the Justice Department have been looking at the work of several U.S. firms, including the firm of Paul Manafort, that were hired by the Yanukovych political party when he was in power.

Yanukovych was ousted in a popular revolt in Ukraine in 2014.

Now, this is a broad investigation. It's looking into whether U.S. companies or the U.S. financial system were used to aid the alleged corruption by Yanukovych's party.

Manafort resigned today, as you know. But he's not been the focus of this ongoing probe, according to law enforcement officials we've been talking to, but it is still on ongoing investigation; and prosecutors haven't ruled anything out, Brianna.

KEILAR: And the probe, though, is also looking into the Podesta Group, right, the company run by the rather colorful brother of Hillary Clinton's campaign chair.

PEREZ: Right. And it appears the Ukraine party was, frankly, hiring, you know, bipartisan group of firms here in Washington. And so the investigators are looking at all of these U.S. companies that were linked to the former Ukrainian government. And that includes the Podesta Group, which is the lobby and public relations firm that's run by Tony Podesta, the brother of the Clinton campaign chairman, John Podesta.

Now, the anti-corruption investigators in Ukraine have long said that Yanukovych and members of his political party ran a corrupt regime. And Yanukovych ran -- fled from Russia -- fled to Russia, following that public uprising in 2014.

I should mention that we reached out to an attorney that represents both Manafort and Yanukovych, and they did not respond to a request for comment. We did hear from the Podesta Group, which issued a statement saying that they've hired a law firm here in Washington to examine this relationship that it had with a not-for-profit organization that's linked to the Yanukovych regime.

[18:40:10] The Podesta Group said that it -- it was assured at the time that it was hired that its work was not on behalf of a foreign government or a political party, and it says it's going to take whatever measures are necessary at the end of this internal review, Brianna.

KEILAR: So it's one lawyer who represents both Yanukovych and Manafort or separate lawyers?

PEREZ: That is one -- it is one lawyer who's representing both Yanukovych and Manafort in this investigation.

KEILAR: All right. Evan Perez, thank you so much. Now to the breaking news on Hillary Clinton. A federal judge ruling

tonight on a conservative watchdog group's request to get answers from Clinton about her private e-mails.

Let's bring in our senior Washington correspondent, Joe Johns.

This is something that will not be very welcome to the Clinton camp, Joe.

JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: That's true, Brianna. Another development keeping the e-mail story alive but a small victory for Hillary Clinton.

A federal judge in Washington ruling that she must respond to questions in writing in a Freedom of Information lawsuit over her e- mail server. Lawyers for the conservative group Judicial Watch had asked for permission to interview her under oath.

The campaign tonight saying it's actually happy with the court ruling but calling out Judicial Watch for pursuit of the Clintons in the 1990s and describing the case as just another lawsuit intended to hurt the Democratic nominee's campaign.


JOHNS (voice-over): Former president Bill Clinton trying to avoid the appearance of conflict, announcing he will resign from the board of the Clinton Foundation if his wife, the former secretary of state, wins in November. He's already stopped giving paid speeches, and a spokesman says he'll keep it that way if she's elected.

And the foundation announcing it will no longer accept corporate or foreign donations.

BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa.

JOHNS: The Clintons have amassed a whopping $155 million combined from paid speeches since leaving the White House in 2001.

TRUMP: The book "Clinton Cash" by Peter Schweitzer documents how Bill and Hillary used the State Department to enrich their family and America's --at America's expense. She gets rich making you poor.

JOHNS: The foundation has come under scrutiny for its close contact with the State Department while Hillary Clinton was secretary.

TRUMP: Has Hillary Clinton apologized for turning the State Department into a pay-for-play operation where favors are sold to the highest bidder, which is exactly what's happening?

JOHNS: The Clinton campaign flatly denies any pay-to-play allegations. In fact, the candidate has defended the foundation's work.

HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: We have so much that we're proud of, and I will put that up against any of the innuendo and accusations coming from Donald Trump, because the work that has been done has garnered accolades and appreciation from every corner of the world, because it has been so far-sighted, visionary and effective.

JOHNS: But Republicans jumped on the new announcement. The RNC releasing a statement saying, "If everything was above board while Hillary Clinton ran the State Department, as the Clintons have said, then why change a thing?"

Clinton today trying to steal Donald Trump's spotlight as he visited the flood-ravaged regions in Louisiana. After calling the governor there, Clinton taking to Facebook to plead for help for the flooding victims, writing, "My heart breaks for Louisiana, and right now, the relief effort can't afford any distractions."

All this as new details are emerging on Mrs. Clinton's controversial e-mail server. "The New York Times" reporting that she told the FBI it was Colin Powell, her predecessor in the State Department, who advised her to use personal e-mail.

"The Times" cites an excerpt from Joe Conason's new book about Bill Clinton, saying that at a 2009 dinner party hosted by former secretary of state Madeleine Albright, Powell recommended Clinton use her own e- mail as he had done, except for classified communications which he had sent and received via a State Department computer.

Today, Powell's office responding in a statement that he had no recollection of such a conversation but did write Clinton a memo regarding his uses of a personal AOL account, saying, "At the time, there was no equivalent system within the department. He used a secure state computer on his desk to manage classified information."


JOHNS: Of course, there are a couple of big differences between Powell and Clinton's e-mail. Powell entered the office in 2001 when e-mail wasn't as popular as it was in 2009. And Powell never had his own private server.

KEILAR: Yes. Important differences. Joe Johns, thank you so much.

Still ahead, U.S. Olympian Ryan Lochte now says he's sorry, but will he suffer consequences for this Rio gas station debacle?


[18:49:10] BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: Tonight, U.S. Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte is apologizing for his behavior during a night out in Rio that turned into an international incident. He still doesn't seem to be backing away from his claim that he and his teammates were robbed -- an allegation that Brazilian police have called a lie.

CNN senior international correspondent Nick Paton Walsh joins us live from Rio with the latest -- Nick.

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Brianna, after four or five days of this rather vulgar mess, frankly, there are facts that everyone agrees upon. Yes, they did urinate behind the building of that gas station, yes, they did tear off a poster off a wall, but it's the moment in which guns were involved and the conversation about handing over money because of that earlier damage that is unclear, Mr. Lochte still claims he was traumatized and threatened and the Brazilian police say the whole thing has been amicable. We'll never really know what happened, but, boy, what a mess it's been for Team USA.


[18:50:00] WALSH (voice-over): Gold medalist Ryan Lochte took to Instagram today saying he apologizes, quote, "for my behavior last weekend for not being more careful and candid in how I described the events of that early morning and for my role in taking the focus away for the many athletes," unquote, fulfilling their Olympic dreams.

Lochte and three of his teammates stopped at the gas station in Rio early Sunday and surveillance video appeared to support police accounts that at least one of them vandalized the station, urinating outside and damaging property.

The men then get into their taxi and are confronted by security officers off-camera, money reportedly changed hands.

Lochte had publicly described the encounter as an armed robbery.

RYAN LOCHTE, U.S. SWIMMER: They pulled us over. They pulled out their guns. They told the other swimmers to get down on the ground and then the guy pulled out his gun and he cocked it, put it to my forehead and said, get down.

WALSH: The police say the American swimmers reached an agreement with the armed guards to pay for damages while the gold medalist has now apologized he stopped short of entirely changing his story, quote, "It's traumatic to be out late with your friends in a foreign country with a language barrier," he posted, "and have a stranger point a gun at you and demand money to let you leave."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We obviously accept his apology.

WALSH: The International Olympic Committee chiming in, as well.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's clear that the Brazilian population felt humiliated.

WALSH: Lochte has been back in the U.S. for days, one of his teammates bore the brunt in Brazil. Rio's mayor saying he feels, quote, "pity and contempt for all of them."

James Feigen was not allowed to leave Brazil until he paid nearly $11,000 to a national sports charity. Civil police say Feigen and his lawyer agreed to the donation during a court appearance. Jack Conger and Gunner Bentz returned to the U.S. just this morning. The two were pulled off their original flight by Brazilian authorities Wednesday. They were given their passports back only after giving statements to police.

All this as the U.S. Olympic Committee tries to clean up the mess left behind. In a statement, he said, quote, "The behavior of these athletes is not acceptable nor does it represent the values of Team USA." But the USOC also stopped short of saying its athletes lied. Their security guards, quote, "displayed their weapons and ordered the athletes from their vehicle and demanded a monetary payment," the statement reads.

The question now is what comes next? Major sponsors including Speedo and Ralph Lauren say they're following the developments closely.


WALSH: There is a silver lining to these mad, vulgar days. Jimmy Feigen, the swimmer who returned home soon we think has to give $11,000 to a charity funding a judo school for these games that led to a phenomenal Brazilian gold medalist and at least we'll see more success for Brazil whose image has been heavily damaged by this very strange story -- Brianna.

KEILAR: Indeed. Nick Paton Walsh in Rio de Janeiro, thank you so much.

Let's dig deeper now with CNN legal analyst and former federal prosecutor Laura Coates, and we also have CNN sports analyst and "USA Today" columnist Christine Brennan, who I want to start with because you said earlier that you think Ryan Lochte will certainly be suspended.

What are you hearing?

CHRISTINE BRENNAN, CNN SPORTS ANALYST: Yes, Brianna. My reporting which includes several sources and also just having covered the Olympics and knowing what U.S. Swimming and USOC are going to do, I believe that Ryan Lochte will eventually be suspended. We don't have a timetable yet on when that will happen.

Sources have told me U.S. Olympic Committee is going to look at this. The USA Swimming will look at it. It could well be that they work together in suspending not only Ryan Lochte, but the other three swimmers. It could be that they work separately and whatever happens in terms of a length of time is added together.

But there is no doubt in my mind from covering the Olympics since 1984 that this will happen. It has not happened yet. Obviously, these people have to start talking and they have to get them back to the United States and look at the situation. The USOC is not happy, Brianna. USA Swimming is not happy, and I am very confident that there will be suspensions at some point and hopefully, we'll be able to break that story relatively soon.

But I would -- I would guess it would be within the next week or so that we'll be hearing what the number is, how long it will be and whether it will be another piece of the puzzle and lifetime ban has been discussed for Ryan Lochte, absolutely it has been discussed. In initial conversations and one of my sources told me that he needed to apologize to make sure that didn't happen and sure enough, of course, he's apologized today.

KEILAR: So he did apologize. He said he acknowledged that he should have been more responsible, that was the quote that he used, but he doesn't take back allegations about being robbed. So he's kind of sticking to his story, right?

[18:55:00] LAURA COATES, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: He is. That statement in Instagram has a lawyer's hand all over it and what he doesn't do is accept responsibility and have accountability in it, and the apology has as many caveats and explanations, as Lochte's original story has holes. That's a problem for people, what it does is deflect.

The issue with Ryan Lochte was whether or not -- not whether or not there is semantic argument about whether he was robbed, it was about what you told the police. And your story has shifted significantly, and you gave a false statement to police officers that allowed them and forced them to divert resources and attention away from other security concerns. And yet and still you failed to take responsibility and you named sponsors before the people of Rio as an apology person.

KEILAR: There is a -- there was the gun cocked and held to my head, he said. No mention of the fact that there appeared to be some vandalism and it seems like a very different story when you're talking about a security guard who had a gun who was dealing with unruly guys who were urinating and kind of trashing the side of a gas station.

COATES: Exactly. I mean, he painted the story and gave the snippet that made him look great and forgot everything else that actually happened. And the most damaging part of this is the other two swimmers who gave statements to the police saying that, look, this wasn't totally truthful and that's very damaging not only to the swimming team, but also Ryan Lochte personally.

KEILAR: Yes. Such a shame.

COATES: It is.

KEILAR: All right. Laura Coates, Christine Brennan in Rio for us -- thank you so very much to both of you.

We are also following some ominous developments that have the potential to drive U.S. and Russian military jets into direct conflict in the skies over Syria.

CNN Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr reports on this.


BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This video is said to show Kurdish fighters in a running gun battle with Syrian regime forces in the northern Syrian city of Hasakah. Syrian fighter jets also bombing the area, alarming the Pentagon which secretly then ordered the hasty withdrawal of nearby American Special Operations Forces.

SETH JONES, RAND CORP.: We've got aircraft flying in those areas. We've got forces on the ground including U.S. Special Operations Forces and certainly may well be U.S. intelligence folks on the ground. So this increases the possibility of direct conflict.

STARR: The building smoldering from the air strikes. Hasakah is normally relatively calm and largely under Kurdish control. U.S. forces are training Kurds and Arabs to fight ISIS. Until now the Syrian regime had steered clear of where the Americans operate.

The Pentagon is furious with Damascus and Moscow. When the Syrian attack came, the U.S. military scrambled, trying to contact the Syrian aircraft, there was no answer, warning the Russians and the Syrians, the U.S. will take whatever action is necessary to defend U.S. forces, and sending more U.S. aircraft into the area to patrol the skies.

There is now the real possibility of the U.S. and Syria squaring off in the air. A senior U.S. military official telling CNN if the Syrians try this again, they are at great risk of losing an aircraft. Dozens of additional U.S. Special Operations Forces are still in other areas of northern Syria. To protect them, the tough U.S. line will continue.

JONES: If U.S. ends up leaving hot, what is meant is that they were coerced to pull back by a combination, one would strongly suspect of Syrian, Iranian and Russian efforts.

STARR: But the Russians are stepping up their action. These cruise missiles launched at what Moscow said were al Qaeda targets and five- year-old Orman Daqneesh wounded by air strikes in Aleppo, now recovering, another tiny victim of yet another bombing.


STARR: And tonight, Brianna, CNN has learned that two U.S. fighter jets a short time ago swooped in within one mile of two Syrian warplanes that were again, a of northern Syria. Look for tensions to stay high. Look for the U.S. to keep beefed-up air patrols in that region to try to keep the Syrians back -- Brianna.

KEILAR: All right. Barbara, thank you for that report. I am Brianna Keilar. Thank you so much for watching.

"ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" anchored by Poppy Harlow starts right now.

POPPY HARLOW, GUEST ANCHOR: "OUTFRONT" next. Breaking news, Donald Trump making an all-out appeal to African-American voters in Michigan. Just moments ago as another major campaign shake-up rocks his staff.

Also, Ryan Lochte with what some are calling a half-hearted apology. Tonight, we're learning the punishment that he will face.