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THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER
Interview With South Carolina Congressman Mark Sanford; Zika Fears; Trump Flip-Flopping on Immigration?; Judge Gives State Department One Month to Review Clinton Docs; Source: Trump Campaign Pushing Back Immigration Speech. Aired 4-4:30p ET
Aired August 22, 2016 - 16:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Is Donald Trump on the fence or, in his case, the wall, about his own immigration policy?
THE LEAD starts right now.
TBD, to be determined, that's how Donald Trump's campaign chief described the nominee's commitment to follow through with his campaign promise to deport 11 million undocumented immigrants. So, is Donald Trump's immigration plan now negotiable?
Today, a judge orders the State Department to review nearly 15,000 documents from Hillary Clinton's time as secretary of state, turning over these new previously unturned-over e-mails. Now the State Department has a month to come up with plan to sort through it all and make it public.
The next Zika no-go zone. The CDC says parts of Miami should be off- limits for pregnant women. Now a top health official warns two other states might become the next flash points for the virus.
Welcome to THE LEAD. I'm John Berman, in for Jake today.
We begin with our politics lead. Donald Trump denies he is reversing course on his signature plan to humanely deport 11 million undocumented immigrants from this country, humanely by force, if necessary. The Republican nominee now claims he is working with members of the Hispanic community who support candidacy on a -- quote -- "very fair, but firm answer to the problem."
But in an interview with a very own Dana Bash, Trump's new campaign manager seems to suggest the Republican Party's standard-bearer may not stick to his original promise.
CNN's Jessica Schneider joins us now from outside Trump Tower.
Jessica, Trump is expected to deliver a major immigration policy speech this week. Do we have any more clarity on exactly what that policy is or if it has changed?
JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, John, rather than clarity, Donald Trump's immigration status right now seems to be a bit murky.
He doubled down on his plans to deport millions of undocumented immigrants over the past year. But now some are questioning, has he softened his stance?
SCHNEIDER (voice-over): Donald Trump insisting he is not changing course when it comes to immigration policy.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: No, I'm not flip-flopping. We want to come up with really fair, but firm answer. It has to be very firm. But we want to come up with something fair.
SCHNEIDER: But it was a different Donald Trump during primary season, declaring over and over that if elected he would immediately deport estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants.
TRUMP: They are going back when they came. If they came from a certain country, they are going to be brought back from that country. That's the way it is supposed to be. Now, they can come back, but they have to come back legally. They will go out. They will come back. Some will come back, the best, through a process. They have to come back legally.
SCHNEIDER: This weekend, his campaign manager marked Trump's promises with a question mark.
DANA BASH, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Will that plan include a deportation force, the kind that he just -- you just heard in that sound bite and that he talked about during the Republican primaries?
KELLYANNE CONWAY, TRUMP CAMPAIGN MANAGER: To be determined.
SCHNEIDER: The apparent change after Trump and members of the RNC met with a handpicked group of Hispanic supporters Saturday at Trump Tower. It's part of his outreach to minority communities that some have questioned for its tone.
TRUMP: I say again. What do you have to lose? Look, what do you have to lose? You are 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?
SCHNEIDER: Trump's surrogate, Rudy Giuliani, still pushing those untrue rumors that Hillary Clinton has health problems, pointing to Internet backed his debunked claims.
RUDY GIULIANI (R), FORMER MAYOR OF NEW YORK: So, go online and put down Hillary Clinton illness, and take a look at the videos for yourself.
NARRATOR: Our border open. It's more of the same, but worse. SCHNEIDER: Donald Trump launched a new set of TV ads over the
weekend, but he is still being outspent by Hillary Clinton. Her campaign announcing $80 million in ad buys in eight states through the general election. Trump's campaign so far spending $4.8 million in a 10-day ad blitz. So, has Trump really reset his approach?
His campaign manager made this promise Sunday.
CONWAY: He doesn't hurl personal insults.
SCHNEIDER: But first thing Monday, Trump went back on the personal Twitter attack against the hosts of MSNBC's "Morning Joe." But running mate Mike Pence defends Trump's style.
GOV. MIKE PENCE (R-IN), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Donald Trump is not an experienced politician who carefully selects his words. He speaks right from his heart, right from his mouth.
SCHNEIDER: And when it comes to ground game, the Trump team is leaning heavily on the RNC, using it, instead of building up its own ground operations and infrastructure. Field offices are just now opening around throughout the country.
And in addition, the GOP's top strategist, Sean Spicer, will now be working increasingly with the Trump camp, in fact, working several days a week or very often right here out of Trump Tower -- John.
BERMAN: He is in New York today.
Jessica Schneider, thanks so much.
Here to talk now about Donald Trump's comment on immigration, the Clinton Foundation and much more, South Carolina Congressman Mark Sanford, who has said he will vote for Trump, but feels conflicted about the whole thing.
Congressman, thanks so much for joining us right now.
So, yesterday, Donald Trump's campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway -- and I know you know Kellyanne -- said that his pledge, Donald Trump's pledge to form a deportation force to send undocumented immigrants back home was -- quote -- "to be determined."
This morning, Donald Trump insisted, "I'm not flip-flopping" on this issue.
But if he did decide against using a deportation force, wouldn't that be a flip-flop?
REP. MARK SANFORD (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: Yes, it would. And you would have a lot of people really upset. I think that the energy behind the Trump candidacy has not been Donald
Trump himself, but has been people's dissatisfaction with Washington and the normal course of things in politics. So, you know, saying one thing in a primary process and then equivocating when you get to the general election, I think, would not bode well, based on how fired up people are out there and how much they want to see change.
BERMAN: There are a lot of people, though, who think it may be a smart move for him to soften, even if it is, as you put it, a flip- flop. Do you that kind of softening would be smart?
SANFORD: Well, not for his base.
The base -- again, I spend a lot of time out in the field talking to voters. And people are fed up. They are at the breaking point. You know, if they don't get change now -- they hoped for hope and change when Obama came along. They don't feel like they got it. The Trump candidacy has represented a new version of hope and change, and certainly different in terms of philosophy, but hope and change nonetheless.
And if they don't get it this round, I mean, you are going to see people in the streets. I mean, people are really frustrated. They feel like their incomes have stagnated. They feel like their prospects for the kids are not where they would like to see them.
And so, yes, in a traditional political sense, it might make sense, but given the fervor and the foment that I see out there, I don't think so. I think it would be a real problem.
BERMAN: I want to talk to you a little bit more about what Donald Trump is saying today. He is calling on the Clintons to shut down the Clinton Foundation altogether, he says, to address any concerns about possible preferential treatment for foundation donors.
Now, it is interesting, because I know that you disapprove of Donald Trump's refusal to release his tax returns. You wrote an op-ed on the subject. Does the fact that he refuses to release his tax returns, does that undermine his credibility when it comes to transparency?
SANFORD: I would think so.
You know, again, it is a tough spot to be. But I think we need to keep in mind the fact that Kellyanne herself back in the spring was saying that Trump ought to release his tax returns. It is not an unreasonable position, when you have more than almost 50 years worth of tradition in presidential candidates releasing their tax returns.
And I think the important part is the trickle-down effect. I ran for governor of South Carolina twice. I had to release my tax returns. And we do that at the state level because it is done at the presidential level. If you discontinue that tradition now, not only will you see it disappear at the federal level, but I think, equally important, in a whole host of states across this country, gubernatorial candidates or other high-ranking candidates won't release their tax returns. And I think that, as voters, that is something we want to determine,
whether you're voting on the Republican or the Democratic side.
BERMAN: On the substance of what Donald Trump is calling for, the Clinton Foundation to shut down, do you support that?
SANFORD: It is creepy, the connection. Clearly, there is some pay to play. I think it really bothers people. I think that there ought to be more disclosure.
I think that, Hillary's, for instance, speeches to the Wall Street groups ought to be -- those transcripts ought to be made public. I think that on both the right side and the left side, Republican and Democratic side, there is a bit more to go from the standpoint of transparency.
On the Clinton side, from the standpoint of foundation and some of her speeches, and on the Republican side, Trump needs to release his tax returns.
BERMAN: All right, since you are such an active observer and analyst in this presidential campaign right now, I'm going to try to go one more to the well here.
Donald Trump's campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, said that Donald Trump doesn't hurl personal insults, at least not anymore. I want to show you a tweet, though, from Donald Trump just this morning. He was writing about "Morning Joe" on MSNBC.
He says: "Tried watching low-rated 'Morning Joe' this morning. Unwatchable. @morningmika is off the wall, a neurotic and not very bright mess."
I have to tell you, he actually wrote far worse things than this.
These clearly seems like the kinds of personal attacks that Kellyanne Conway says that Donald Trump doesn't do, doesn't it?
SANFORD: Yes, that's the world of political doublespeak that drives everybody crazy, whether they're in South Carolina or California.
I mean, it is what it is. He has hurled a whole number of different insults, whether he's talking about Carly's face or talking about the latest with "Morning Joe." I don't get it. I think it is destructive. I think it is against the kind of bearing and demeanor you would like to see at the presidential level.
I think, again, it sends a bad signal to young kids out there that that's cool. So I think most people have a problem with it. Most of the Republican voters I have talked to have said they don't like that part, but they will put up with it based on the fact that they really don't want to see Hillary elected.
BERMAN: Last question. Are you any less conflicted about Donald Trump, voting for Donald Trump than you have been, Congressman?
And, again, a big deal for me is the tax returns. Again, it's a promise he made. I didn't make the promise. He said he would disclose his tax returns. He could disclose again the portions not under audit, the years not under audit right now, even if he held back year for audit.
It is something that, again, I think would be disastrous if we discontinue a 50-year tradition from the standpoint of presidential candidates disclosing their tax returns. It gives insight into what that candidate has or hasn't done, the truth of certain promises that they have made, the truth of certain claims that they have made. I think it is very, very important and would be disastrous to discontinue.
BERMAN: Congressman Mark Sanford, Republican from South Carolina, thanks so much for being with us. Appreciate it.
SANFORD: Yes, sir. Pleasure.
BERMAN: All right.
Political injury by 15,000 more paper cuts. A judge tells the State Department to review thousands of additional documents from Hillary Clinton's personal e-mail server, ones she did not turn over. That's next.
[16:15:52] JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOIR: All right. Welcome back to THE LEAD. John Berman here, in for Jake.
Continuing with the politics lead. Hillary Clinton now facing a new round of scrutiny related to her e-mails. A judge's order brings to life a new batch of documents, nearly 15,000 of them. Now, a judge wants the State Department to figure how to make these public. It only has one month to do so.
This order does come as the Clinton campaign and pro-Clinton super PAC roll out new ads attacking Donald Trump.
I want to bring in CNN's Jeff Zeleny in Washington.
Jeff, let's start with these new documents, 15,000 of them. What exactly are they?
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Well, John, we don't know exactly what is contained in this new set of documents and that is the root of the question. And, frankly, the mystery here.
Now, the FBI found these documents during its investigation of Hillary Clinton's private e-mail use. Now, the ball is back in the State Department's court to try and review them. They could be like many of the other thousands of e-mails we've seen or they could be something else all together.
That's why a judge said today he wants to plan to release them in the month.
One thing here is clear, his political drip, drip, drip will keep dripping until Election Day.
ZELENY (voice-over): Hillary Clinton wants voters to focus on Donald Trump's words.
AD NARRATOR: In times of crisis, America depends on steady leadership.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Knock the crap out of them, would you?
ZELENY: In this new campaign commercial, she is playing some of his greatest or most controversial hit.
AD NARRATOR: And calm judgment.
TRUMP: And can you tell them to go and (EXPLETIVE DELETED) themselves.
ZELENY: But tonight, her message is competing with new developments in old controversies. Her private e-mail server at the State Department and the Clinton family's charitable foundation. A federal judge said today the State Department has one month to come up with the plan to release 15,000 new documents, discovered by the FBI between Clinton and her top aides.
Republican Chairman Reince Priebus seized on the ruling, saying, "The emails in question should be released in full before Election Day."
A Clinton campaign spokesman said if they're related to her State Department work, "we support those documents being released publicly as well."
The judge's ruling comes as former Secretary of State Colin Powell is pushing back on suggestions he gave Clinton the idea to use private e- mail in the first place, telling reporters over the weekend, "Her people are trying to pin it on me."
In 2009, he said he talked to Clinton regularly. But he used a private e-mail address. Not a private server.
COLIN POWELL, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: I was having dinner with Secretary Clinton two nights ago, three nights ago in Washington, with all of the other, most of the other secretaries. And I stay in regular touch with Secretary Clinton and with Secretary Gates and with the president. ZELENY: As Clinton steps off the campaign trail to raise money in
California tonight, new questions also being raised about the Clinton Foundation. In a letter to donors today, former President Bill Clinton said the foundation will no longer accept foreign contributions. He wrote, "While I will continue to support the work of the foundation, I will step down from the board and no longer raise funds for it."
But that's not enough for Trump who called the foundation corrupt, saying it should be shut down immediately.
Today in Nevada, Clinton's running mate Tim Kaine firing back at Trump.
SEN. TIM KAINE (D-VA), VICE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Before you go about attacking a charity, why don't you come clean about your own business dealings and tell the American people who you are in debt to.
ZELENY: Now, some of these questions about the Clinton Foundation are being fueled by another batch of e-mails released by the conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch. Some include conversations between Hillary Clinton's top aide Huma Abedin and long time aide to President Clinton, Doug Band.
In one of these conversations, Band is trying to schedule a meeting between a crown prince of Bahrain, a major foundation donor, and Secretary Clinton. He got his meeting, John, but a Clinton spokesman said Hillary Clinton never took action of secretary of state because of donations to the Clinton Foundation.
BERMAN: All right. Jeff Zeleny, thanks so much.
More questions about the Clinton foundation plus impact of these 15,000 unseen documents. What might they reveal and when?
Our political panel is here. Former New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, and veteran of two Republican presidential campaigns, Margaret Hoover.
[16:20:09] We will get their thoughts and more, next.
BERMAN: All right. Welcome back to THE LEAD.
We have some breaking news here. A campaign source tells CNN that Donald Trump is going to push back a speech that was supposed to be on Thursday to lay out his immigration policy. The campaign now says it wants to fine-tune the policy and work on the speech's language.
This is a big deal because, of course, Donald Trump's position on immigration, there has been cloudiness about whether or not, it has been changing.
[16:25:05] Our panel is here to discuss.
And, Corey Lewandowski, former Trump campaign manager, I want to start with you. You know, you were the campaign manager, still receiving severance. You're still in frequent contact with the campaign. Any word on why they moved the date of the speech?
COREY LEWANDOWSKI, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Look, I think what we have seen from Donald Trump over the last week is that he has outlined a series of speeches that had been very specific on policy topics. He will continue to do that today. He's speaking in Ohio. I think you will see him out with specific topics in that speech and I don't think any time that there is going to be a specific speech on immigration, but the real question is --
BERMAN: No, no --
BERMAN: Trump said this morning that he was giving a big immigration policy speech on Thursday. We've all been pointed to this. We're told every week, they're going to have a new policy, they're going to talk about new subject and it was all starting through Thursday and now it's not.
LEWANDOWSKI: What is Hillary Clinton talking about on Thursday? Where is Hillary Clinton this week?
BERMAN: It's a different subject. We're talking a lot about Hillary coming up.
LEWANDOWSKI: Right. You'll see Donald Trump talk about immigration. The bottom line is on this topic, his position has not changed. What this entire reporting has been about is a BuzzFeed article that says Donald Trump is rethinking his policy.
BERMAN: Kellyanne Conway, your double successor as campaign manager, said that deportation force --
LEWANDOWSKI: What did Donald Trump said today, though?
BERMAN: She said to be determined. So, it's not to be determined.
LEWANDOWSKI: What did Donald Trump say today on "Fox and Friends"?
BERMAN: He said he hasn't flip-flopped. He wants a firm and fair policy. But they never asked the follow-up, which what is a firm and fair policy on a deportation force. Do you know for a fact that he still supports the deportation force?
LEWANDOWSKI: What he said was he is going to empower immigration and customs enforcements to do their job and make sure that people who are here illegally first and foremost, they are felons, are shipped out of the country. That's a given. Second and very importantly, make sure we know who's coming into the
country, and empowering individuals who are attached to the immigration policy of making sure that we know who is coming into the country first and for most.
BERMAN: Deportation force? Yes or no?
LEWANDOWSKI: You heard Donald Trump say, he never used that term today.
BERMAN: He never used it today but he did before, which is why we're curious about where he stands now.
LEWANDOWSKI: He will power the immigration and naturalization service to make sure we know who is here on the country and find the solution what to do with 11 million or potentially 30 million illegal immigrants.
CHRISTINE QUINN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: So, what I think I just heard Corey say is that he's going to pass the buck. And say to the, you know, to the INS and ICE, you figure this out. Which seems super odd for a presidential candidate who made building a wall and to basically quote him, rounding up every person who he believes was not here illegally and sending them back to their country. And to quote him, they would be happy about it.
That's -- so what we are seeing here is that Donald Trump in full freefall, coming, trying to reshape what he has done to be more palatable to those outside his bloc and it's not working. Now, the campaign has detracted.
MARGARET HOOVER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I mean, if we're being real here, everybody who's following this understands Donald Trump has a new campaign team. They are looking at numbers. Do they want it win or do they want to sort of hunker down and be surrounded by people who agree with them only and sort of trip over the finish line in November?
Clearly, they are trying to change what the bedrock of his candidacy has been in the hopes that they can soften his image and potentially make some gains on their, what is looking like a catastrophic failure for November right now. That is what is happening.
You have sophisticated pollsters, sophisticated campaign operatives who are in there right now trying to fine-tune his language to actually try to nuance his position on this. Look, I'm delighted as a Republican that he is going to change his position on this. I don't think building a wall and deporting people first and foremost is, A, how you speak to Hispanics in this country, B, representative of the values of this country, or C, how the majority of Republicans think we should handle the immigration situation, let alone all the Democrats.
If he wants to have a prayer in November, he has to nuance his position.
QUINN: But what they are also seeing, I believe, is the impossibility of kind of threading the camel through a needle given all that he said over and over and over.
BERMAN: We'll see. We'll see.
LEWANDOWSKI: He has not changed his position on building a wall. What he says is he is going to enforce the laws out of here and he will deal with people in a humane way. He said that from the very get-go. That has not changed at all.
BERMAN: We want to know, Corey, what we don't know right now because there is some cloudiness of it, is does he plan -- does he plan to allow for any kind of legalization possibility for the 11,000 undocumented immigrants in the country right now? Up until today, the answer was no.
QUINN: Round them up.
BERMAN: Up until this weekend, I should say -- the answer was no.
Now, it's not too sure. Let's wait and see what he says when he says it, because right now, we don't know.
I want to change the subject, Christine Quinn, and talk right now about the e-mails and there is 15,000 pages of documents that we're going to see maybe at some point.
And then there is Judicial Watch which released e-mail that they already have. Now, look before you tell me Judicial Watch is a right leading group, I know that already. But the emails themselves are the emails themselves.
I want to read you an exchange with Huma Abedin that she had with Doug Band, who's in charge of the Clinton Foundation. Huma Abedin worked in the State Department, closer to Clinton. This is what it says.
Here, take a look at this. Huma Abedin -- Doug Band trying to get a meeting with the crow prince of Bahrain and Hillary Clinton. Can we put the graphic up so people can see it?