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AT THIS HOUR WITH BERMAN AND MICHAELA
Jeff Weaver Talks Trump Using Sanders Against Clinton; Federal Judge Sets Deadline for Release of Clinton E-mails; Maine Governor Leaves Expletive-Filled Voicemail for Rival. Aired 11:30-12p ET
Aired August 26, 2016 - 11:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[11:33:02] JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Racism and bigotry, two words now dominating today's presidential discussion, shall we say. This morning, there's a brand-new video posted by Donald Trump on Instagram, taking aim at Hillary Clinton, invoking criticism from her former primary opponent, Bernie Sanders. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON, (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: They are often the kinds of kids that are called super predators. No conscience, no empathy. We can talk about why they ended up that way, but first we have to bring them to heel.
Unidentified DEBATE MODERATOR: You called out President Clinton for defending the use of the term "super predator" back in the '90s when she supported the crime bill. Why did you call her out?
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS, (I), VERMONT & FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It was a racist term, and everybody knew it was a racist term.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: Joining me now is Jeff Weaver, the former campaign manager for Bernie Sanders, now head of the political group, Our Revolution.
Jeff, long time, no see. Great to have you here with us.
JEFF WEAVER, DIRECTOR, OUR REVOLUTION & FORMER BERNIE SANDERS PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN MANAGER: Nice to be here, John. How are you?
BERMAN: I'm doing great.
You just heard Donald Trump, his new video on Instagram, which uses Bernie Sanders own words, Hillary Clinton used racist terminology. Your reaction to seeing that now?
WEAVER: Clearly everybody I think including the secretary believes that the use of the term super pr predators in the '90s was inappropriate, a term that should never be used and it is very regrettable she did that. Let's look at what we have here. We have an election coming up between Secretary Clinton and Donald Trump. Donald Trump has engaged in the most outrageous race and religious baiting in this race. The question is for people out there in the world, who is going to make your life better who is going to make your children's life better, who is going to create the jobs that pay the wages you need that's going to help get your kids to college? And on that basis I think, look, it's hands down, there's no real choice.
[11:34:53] BERMAN: What is Our Revolution, which is the now Bernie Sanders political operation, which you're running? What is that going to do about this? What are you going to do in the presidential campaign going forward to help?
WEAVER: Our Revolution actually is not a Bernie Sanders organization. It's certainly inspired by the message he laid out in the political campaign we just had with an independent board. We have a very diverse board which is going to be announced next week. We're very excited about that.
But we want to carry on the vision laid out by Bernie Sanders in the presidential campaign. We want to help progressive candidates up and down the ballot. We want to create a progressive bench so we help create the future of progressive leaders of this country. We want to fight on issues that are of importance to the American people, like defeating the TTP this fall, making sure that people have access to the wages they deserve. And the other initiatives that Sanders laid out, including dealing with the crisis of climate change, which Donald Trump, as you know, called a hoax invented by the Chinese.
BERMAN: Jeff, I want to play a little more of Bernie Sanders's words during primary, matter because it has to do with what's being discussed now it the Clinton Foundation and concerns about the overlap between the State Department and the Clinton Foundation. Here's what Senator Sanders said about it during the primaries.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SANDERS: Do I have a problem when a sitting secretary of state and a foundation run by her husband collects many millions of dollars from foreign governments, governments which are dictatorships -- you don't have a lot of civil liberties or Democratic rights in Saudi Arabia. You don't have a lot of respect there for opposition points of view, for gay rights, for women's rights -- yeah, do I have a problem with that? Yeah, I do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: A lot of questions now, saying there are blurry lines between the State Department and the Clinton Foundation. Senator Sanders had some issues with it during the primary. Do you still think these are legitimate questions?
WEAVER: I share the Senator's views on this. As said, the question now becomes, I mean, we're no longer in the primary environment. You have two choices for president of the United States. You have Hillary Clinton and you have Donald Trump. You know, you played this clip obviously, and the Senator raised some valid questions about the foundation. As you know, John, he really ran a campaign focused on the substantive issues facing the American people. You'll remember his very famous "I'm tired of hearing about your e-mails" line at the CNN debate in November of 2015. But Bernie Sanders focused on is, how do we create a government and economy that works for all of us and doesn't just benefit those at the top. And that's what Our Revolution --
BERMAN: Jeff, are they still --
WEAVER: -- will be focusing on. That's what people should be focusing on in this election, John.
BERMAN: Are they still valid questions, Jeff?
WEAVER: Yes, I think there are questions no doubt about it. But what's important is, how will your family benefit from a Trump presidency versus a Hillary Clinton presidency. And that's what Bernie Sanders talked about in his race, how we're going to create an America that represents middle income people and working people and not just people at the top. And that's what people have to ask themselves in this race.
I know there are, you know, obviously the scandal today is very important to the media. But what is really important is how we create a country in which all people have a decent standard of living, and how we address the real needs of the American people in their day-to- day lives.
BERMAN: Jeff Weaver, just starting your new job. I know you'll be busy the next few months.
Thank for being with us. Appreciate it.
WEAVER: Any time, any time.
BERMAN: Plus, you've got some voice mail and it's not pretty. We'll tell you about the governor who left this message for a rival lawmaker.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED GOVERNOR: I would like to talk to you about your comments about my being a racist, you (EXPLETIVE DELETED), and I want to talk to you. You want -- I want you to prove that I'm a racist. I've spent my life helping black people and you little son of a (EXPLETIVE DELETED) Socialist (EXPLETIVE DELETED).
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[11:43:10] BERMAN: A federal judge has set September 13th as a deadline for the State Department to begin delivering e-mails uncovered by the FBI. This has to do with Hillary Clinton's private e-mail server. The order is limited to documents concerning the Benghazi attacks.
But this morning, Clinton said when it comes to the e-mails and the Clinton Foundation, she is confident no further revelations will damage her presidential hopes.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CLINTON (voice-over): I have a very strong foundation of understanding about the foundation, not to have a play on words. That the kind of work that the foundation has done, which attracted donors from around the world, is work that went right into providing services to people. As we have said before, you know, neither my husband, my daughter, nor I, have ever taken a penny --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: All right, she went on to say, "I am sure that the e-mail issues won't be an issue."
Joining me, Ron Brownstein, CNN senior political analyst and senior editor at "The Atlantic; Lanhee Chen, Mitt Romney's former policy director; and Michael Nutter, former Philadelphia mayor and Hillary Clinton supporter; And Amy Kremer, co-chair of Women Vote Trump, a super PAC.
Mayor Nutter, Clinton says I'm sure no further revelations will damage me or my campaign. I'm not sure she's the one who gets to declare this, is she?
MICHAEL NUTTER, FORMER PHILADELPHIA MAYOR & HILLARY CLINTON SUPPORTER: She's not saying she is going to decide. She was asked a question and she gave a direct response. I think more than likely no one probably knows more about her written or what people did or didn't do then she would about herself. She wasn't trying to decide. She was asked a question, she answered the question very directly. That's what you would expect from Secretary Hillary Clinton.
[11:45:06] BERMAN: Lanhee, I was listening to Republican Party officials were saying, and part of it was spin. They were saying the last two weeks have been great weeks for Donald Trump. He's won the last two weeks. Because they think what happened with the e-mails and the Clinton Foundation issues, that that was good for them.
I want to ask you -- I'm not sure you have a dog in the fight necessarily -- is that true? Because as we sit here on Friday, there's a lot of talk about what Donald Trump's immigration position is. There's a lot of talk about who is the bigot. If the discussion is about bigotry and immigration, is Donald Trump winning that discussion?
LANHEE CHEN, FORMER POLICY DIRECTOR, MITT ROMNEY PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN: Yeah, John, look, I think that's exactly right. It's the right way to frame this. It was a low bar for Donald Trump to stay on message. I think overall he's done OK in that regard. I think the problem is there are two big deficiencies that Hillary Clinton has. One is her untrustworthiness and the other is the softening of the economy. Instead of being focused on the anemic GDP growth numbers or the fact the Clinton Foundation looks awfully suspicious, we're talking about bigotry and changing immigration positions. That framework is right. I think Donald Trump needs to not just stay on message but stay on message consistency, and that's been the challenge to date.
BERMAN: Ron Brownstein, czar of demographics, the discussions about immigration and bigotry, that's the what, but where's the why, and who's -- the who, where, why are they saying this, and who are the targeted voters?
RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: The "who" for Donald Trump are these college educated white voters where he is underperforming any Republican nominee ever, right? I mean, no Republican nominee in the history of polling in 1952 has lost among college educated whites and Trump is running even polls is trailing. The Quinnipiac poll, which came out yesterday, I mean, Trump is facing a significant consolidation of what I call the coalition the ascendant. The core groups in the Democratic coalition. All of which will be a bigger share of the electorate in 2016 than in 2012. Millennials where he has over 70 percent saying he's not qualified and saying they view him as appealing to bigotry. Those college educated white women in particular. Over 60 percent of each of them say he is not qualified and he is appealing to bigotry. Some of the college white men who are the least stable part of the Hillary Clinton coalition in this Quinnipiac poll but those other groups remain locked against him with impressions that have built up over 15 months and it's a big challenge to undo those impressions in 10 weeks.
BERMAN: Amy Kremer, Sarah Palin, who you were supportive of in the past, she warned Donald Trump about being wishy-washy when it comes to his immigration position. How would you characterize his movement, at least in his words, about immigration?
AMY KREMER, CO-CHAIR, WOMEN VOTE TRUMP SUPER PAC: John, I think he's going out there and talking and listening to the American people. With don't have an actual policy yet. A written policy set in stone that he has put out there. We know he's going to secure the border. We know he's going to deport the 86,000 criminal illegal aliens that were released and didn't deport them in 2014 and 2015. And we know that he put -- he's going to put Americans first. Other than that, we don't know. And everybody's speculating here. I'm not even sure that everybody is going off the same definition of amnesty. Some people think amnesty --
BERMAN: Amy, does Donald Trump know? Does Donald Trump know?
KREMER: I'm not part of the campaign. I don't communicate with the campaign because I'm a super PAC and I'm not allowed to. I don't know what the conversations are. But I do think we should wait and let him put his policy out. I know he has Jeff Sessions and Sheriff Joe Arpaio. They're on board with him. They fully support him. You haven't seen them back away. I think he's listening to his advisors and reaching out to people in the community. He is a passionate and caring person, and I think that's what we expect of our leaders.
BERMAN: Great to have you with us. Thanks, guys.
KREMER: Thank you. BERMAN: All right, a U.S. governor, a sitting U.S. governor, left a
voice mail you may not believe, for a political rival. The sound and the man behind the message coming up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[11:53:17] PAUL LEPAGE, (R), MAINE GOVERNOR: Mr. Gattine, this is Governor Paul Richard Lepage. I would like to talk to you about your comments about my being a racist, you (EXPLETIVE DELETED), and I want to talk to you. You want -- I want you to prove racist. I've spent my life helping black people and you little son of a (EXPLETIVE DELETED) Socialist (EXPLETIVE DELETED). I need you to, just frigging, I want you to record this and make it public because I am after you. Thank you."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: Dirty language from the governor of Maine. Paul Lepage left a voice mail with a lawmaker who allegedly called Lepage racist for comments the governor made earlier this week about drug dealers in the state.
We're joined by Phil Mattingly who can explain some of this.
PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wait there's more. Let's track back a little bit to what this all stems from. This stems from January when Paul Lepage was talking about the opioid crisis which had hit the entire northeast and pinned it all on African-American and Hispanic people. This has trailed him over the last couple of months. He's doubled down on it. He was asked about this, again, in a town hall earlier this week, and he said he was right, "90 percent" -- his words -- 90 percent of those he sees arrested are black and Hispanics.
That is drawing rebukes from Democratic lawmakers, human rights groups who are saying these are racially charged comments that are unnecessary. One of those people was the lawmaker who Paul called and left a voicemail for.
Paul Lepage was asked about that voicemail by five Maine political reporters. This was his response. He wasn't apologizing for it. He actually challenged Gattine to a duel: "We would have a duel. That's how angry I am. I would not put my gun in the air. I guarantee you I would not be Alexander Hamilton. I would point it right between his eyes."
[11:55:] So Paul Lepage is not backing down at all. His office just released a statement trying to clarify a little bit. At the core, Paul Lepage is upset that he was called a racist. He said when he said he would stop and go after Gattine in that e-mail or in that voicemail, what he means is he would try to defeat every single thing he does politically going forward and legislatively going forward from her on out.
But we know Paul Lepage, second-term Maine governor, the man who said, I was Donald Trump before Donald Trump. These are certainly explosive issues, explosive comments, but for Paul Lepage, not necessarily out of the ordinary, if you have been following his career.
BERMAN: No, not out of the ordinary. But I don't think even Maine -- are duels legal in Maine?
MATTINGLY: Would have to check the state laws. It is not the 19th century any more. I'll say no, but I'll double check and report back.
BERMAN: All right, Phil Mattingly, thank you for being with us. We appreciate it.
All right, we'll be right back.
[11:29:51] ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everybody. I'm Ashleigh Banfield. Welcome to Friday's edition of "Legal View."
74 days and counting before someone, someone is elected president. The nominees of the two major parties each say the other is prejudice against tens of millions of his or her fellow Americans. That's the truth. At least that's what they say if the truth.
And the signature policy of the Republican nominee, a policy that --