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FBI Releases Report on Clinton Email Investigation; Scripted Answers Leaked From Trump, Black Pastor Interview; Trump Vows to Crack Down on Undocumented Criminals; Tropical Storm Threatening 30 Million People; Report: Missing American Working As Kim Jong Un's Tutor. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired September 2, 2016 - 19:00   ET


[19:00:11] JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: OUTFRONT next, the FBI releasing its report on the Clinton e-mail investigation. What did she say behind closed doors?

Plus, Donald Trump making a hard sell to African-American voters, but did he make a mistake by scripting his answers?

And a massive storm threatening to spoil the Labor Day holiday up and down the East Coast. Let's go OUTFRONT.

Good evening and a happy Labor Day to everyone. I'm Jim Sciutto in tonight for Erin Burnett. And OUTFRONT tonight, I do not recall. Hillary Clinton gave that answer at least 39 times during an FBI interview about the use of her private e-mail server. Clinton also said she relied on the judgment of experienced staff when it came to sharing classified information over e-mail. All this contained in the report that the agency compiled before, you'll remember, deciding not to recommend charges against her. Republicans of course quick to pounce.

Donald Trump saying in a statement, quote, "Hillary Clinton's answers to the FBI about her private e-mail server defied belief. After reading these documents I really don't understand how she was able to get away from prosecution." Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus calling the report, quote, "A devastating indictment but as you would expect the Clinton campaign is seeing it very differently, saying quote, "These materials make clear why the Justice Department believe there was no basis to move forward with this case."

Phil Mattingly, he is OUTFRONT tonight. Phil, is this report the bombshell that some had been bracing for?

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jim, as you pointed out and it is important to note, this was the baseline for the FBI's decision not to bring charges or at least recommend bringing charges against Hillary Clinton. That said, it was also the baseline for FBI Director Jim Comey to call Clinton and her advisors extremely careless and how they handled classified information and there are plenty of examples not only backing up what Comey said but also giving ammunition to the Republicans and the Trump campaign to continue to attack Hillary Clinton on this issue.


MATTINGLY (voice-over): Tonight, less than two months after the FBI recommended no charges against Hillary Clinton --

JAMES COMEY, FBI DIRECTOR: We are expressing to justice our view that no charges are appropriate in this case.

MATTINGLY: The private notes of the FBI agents investigating her use of a private e-mail server revealed, redacted but unprecedented nonetheless. The notes lay out the probe in details, Clinton's own interview with the law enforcement officials.

COMEY: Although, we did not find clear evidence that Secretary Clinton or her colleagues intended to violate laws governing the handling of classified information. There is evidence that they were extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive highly classified information.

MATTINGLY: The documents revealed that Clinton told FBI agents that she couldn't recall any training or guidance on the handling of sensitive information. Clinton said she relied on her aids to quote, "Use their judgment when e-mailing her and could not recall anyone raising concerns" about information sent to her private account. The notes also showed that the FBI presented Clinton with copies of e- mails discussing the classified U.S. drone program.

Clinton responded that she thought drone strike information classification, quote, "Depended on the context," noting it was a subject frequently in the press. Clinton was also asked about the markings on an e-mail that denoted classified information.

COMEY: I think it's possible -- possible, that she didn't understand what a "C" meant when she saw it in the body of an e-mail like that.

MATTINGLY: Clinton told the FBI she was unaware what the marking meant in question the classification.

COMEY: Do we solemnly swear --

MATTINGLY: The public release comes after the FBI provided the documents to lawmakers. Some Republicans expressed outrage at the Justice Department's decision not to bring charges against the Democratic nominee.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We believe that you have set a precedent and it's a dangerous one.

MATTINGLY: And in the wake of Clinton herself offering her clearest apology yet on the issue on CNN last month.

HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: When I try to explain what happened it sounds like I'm trying to excuse what I did, and there are no excuses. I want people to know that the decision to have a single e-mail account was mine. I take responsibility for it. I've apologized for it. I would certainly do differently if I could.


MATTINGLY: And Jim, as you noted, the Clinton campaign saying they are pleased with this release. Here's why? These documents were already given to lawmakers on Capitol Hill and there's a lot of concern inside Clinton's team, that they would selectively release excerpts to make Clinton look bad. Still, the Trump campaign having a field day with this and with good reason there, as well. One of the issues that was brought up in this report. Clinton used 13 separate devices over the course of this issue. Her advisers and her aides couldn't find any of them. Two of them they said were destroyed by hammers -- Jim.

[19:05:06] SCIUTTO: Phil Mattingly in New York. OUTFRONT now, former federal prosecutor and CNN senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin.

Jeffrey, you've heard a lot of depositions, legal interviews, those answers, I do not recall. I rely on my staff's judgment, what do they say to you?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Well, they say she was carefully prepared by her lawyers says to someone who is being questioned especially by an FBI agent where if you make a false statement, it's a crime is they tell you don't speculate, don't guess. If you don't know say you don't know. If you look at the questions to which she said I don't know is actually pretty understandable. There are very detailed questions about classified information. She did not pay a lot of attention to these issues much to her misfortune and I -- her denials of knowing actually, I think seem somewhat believable.

SCIUTTO: All right. So as a lawyer, you look at these notes, these interviews. We know the FBI already decided not to recommend charges, but as you see their background materials in effect, does that decision not to recommend charges surprise you?

TOOBIN: Not at all. I mean, this does not seem like a prosecutable case. Hillary Clinton seems like a clueless baby boomer who is at sea with technology and who was very careless as Jim Comey said about how she handled classified information. This was a botch from day one, but the idea that she intentionally disclosed classified information which is what you need for a criminal case seems very basically impossible to prove from this information so you can certainly see why the FBI declined to prosecute.

SCIUTTO: And maybe why they released this.

Jeffrey Toobin, thanks very much. OUTFRONT now, senior special writer for the Wall Street Journal, Monica Langley, executive director of the New York Democratic Party. Basil Smikle, he's a Hillary Clinton supporter. Donald Trump's supporter Kayleigh McEnany. Karine Jean- Pierre, she's a Hillary Clinton supporter, also the national spokesperson for Donald Trump supporter Pastor James Davis. And CNN presidential historian Tim Naftali.

Karine, if I can start with you. Because I mean, this is basically a political question now, legal questions has been decided by the FBI, they're not going to recommend charges. But 39 times she says, I couldn't recall. I mean, why not just answer those and the other questions directly, head-on?

KARINE JEAN PIERRE, HILLARY CLINTON SUPPORTER: Well, I think Jeffrey Toobin kind of went into the reasoning as to why not do that. Look, I mean, just to step back for a second. Look, she apologized, she said it was a mistake, she said she wouldn't do it again. And let's be clear here, FBI Director Comey said that there was nothing illegal done here. What we're seeing now is basically we're seeing how the sausage was made, right? We're seeing exactly how it went down and what we're learning is that the FBI did a thorough investigation and there is nothing there.

SCIUTTO: Kayleigh, I imagine you have a different view.

KAYLEIGH MCENANY, DONALD TRUMP SUPPORTER: Yes. She said I do not recall if I used an iPad in the last two years. I do not recall if I used a flip phone. I do not recall if I had classified intelligence briefings. I guarantee you viewers at home can recall if they've used a flip phone or an iPad. That is simply unbelievable. She in my opinion has to see the American public. Not only that, to say that she did not know that "c" stood for classified, after signing a non- disclosure agreement that she understood how she handled classified information, means that she is either ignorant or she deceived us by telling us, she didn't know what "c" meant. So, the choices are not good. It's ignorant or deception, either ones to me is disqualifying to be the next commander-in-chief.

SCIUTTO: Basil, I want to get to another issue there. Because I do want to give you a chance. But I just want to play Hillary Clinton's sound when she first spoke about her private-mail server. Have a listen.


CLINTON: There is no classified material. So I'm certainly well aware of the classification requirements and did not send classified material.


SCIUTTO: So, the FBI, she basically threw it off on her staff. She said I relied on experienced staff in effect to decide what material was shared via e-mail. There she was taking responsibility with the FBI, she seemed to be passing the buck.

BASIL SMIKLE, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, NEW YORK STATE DEMOCRATIC PARTY: Well, even in the CNN interview, she actually, she did take responsibility. She said it's on me. I apologize but I think a lot of what was --

SCIUTTO: To the FBI, she said I relied on my staff.

SMIKLE: And that could be true because, look, two of the things that came out of these reports and these e-mails. One, that she actually works really, really hard. She's an incredibly busy person and it's conceivable that someone in that position of power could say, you know, you guys handle it and let me focus what I need to focus on so on and so forth. That is actually conceivable. It doesn't have to be the either/or that you presented. I understand that some people may take it that way.

MCENANY: What's the third option?

SMIKLE: The third option is that she's actually telling the truth, you know, because I think sometimes we try to find a way for things to not be true. No, you offered the choice of being ignorant or incompetent. I'm offering the option of her actually telling the truth.

[19:10:17] MCENANY: You're secretary of state and you don't know classified markings.

SMIKLE: She relied on her staff in a way that she has ultimately taken responsibility for. And I think that's the point.

SCIUTTO: Monica, you've covered this a long time. You're in deep touch with the Trump campaign. So, you've had Congressional hearings on the e-mails. You've had the FBI investigation decision not to prosecute. You now, in effect looked at the veil and showed all the documents and all the interviews, and all of the data they had to base that decision on. From your perspective, does this diminish this as a campaign issue now?

MONICA LANGLEY, SENIOR SPECIAL WRITER, WALL STREET JOURNAL: I think it heightens it. I was at the Trump campaign headquarters today, and as this was coming out they were salivating. I mean, they view more and more e-mails as evidence that Hillary Clinton should not be president. I mean, this adds to the e-mails about the Clinton Foundation and its ties with the State Department and the fact that Jeffrey just said she was clueless and the fact that the FBI said she was careless and now they're saying, does this mean she's incompetent? Believe me, Donald Trump is going to hammer these points at the first debate.

SCIUTTO: Karine, how do you respond to that and how does the Clinton campaign respond to that? When you look at the numbers, 80 percent, this is a recent Bloomberg poll, 80 percent of voters said they were bothered by how Hillary Clinton handled her used of e-mails and we know that that's been reflected in her trustworthy numbers.

JEAN-PIERRE: Yes. But the polls are also showing that people don't actually care about the e-mails, either. Not when I say, don't care. They're sick and tired of hearing about the damn e-mails, right? As Bernie sanders has told us before himself. And so, what they care about, what voters want to hear about is who is going to take this country in the right direction and when it comes to that question, Hillary Clinton wins that question time and time again.

SCIUTTO: Pastor and Tim, just to be clear, we're going have you back after the break, as well, but do you think that holds up? I mean, that Tim, you've covered a lot of campaigns, you've watched them, that people get kind of sick of it. And the reason there is no smoking gun, do they turn the page on that issue. TIM NAFTALI, CNN PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: Well, the problem is that

for people who watched the Clintons for many years, there's the sense of, oh my goodness, not again. If not necessarily the case that something wrong was done. But the handling of it, you know, the Republicans in Congress have some very interesting bits and pieces in this report. There are examples of nondisclosure. The fact that the FBI was not told that there was a second server, that the things had been moved from one server to another server.

The fact that there were some deletions that occurred after "The New York Times" came out with the story in 2015 and that's not proof of wrongdoing, but it's proof of mishandling and one would think that the Clinton team after all they went through in the '9s would have been better at figuring out how to be transparent. So, I'm not suggesting that the Trump campaign is going to get a lot out of this because national security leaders, Republican and Democrats have also supported Hillary Clinton and they know about classified material. But it does say something about the Clinton team and it does say something about how transparent a Clinton presidency might be.

SCIUTTO: Listen, hold those thoughts, folks. We do have the benefit of time. We're going to have you back after this break.

But OUTFRONT next, controversy surrounding Donald Trump's plan to win black voters in Detroit. Why his preparation for the visit has some questioning whether he is really sincere.

Plus a new report says a missing American could be in North Korea, if you can believe it, teaching English to Jim Jong-un. His brother will join us live tonight.

And breaking news, a deadly storm sweeping up the East Coast with millions in its path this holiday weekend. We will have a live report.


[19:17:12] SCIUTTO: Tonight Donald Trump attempting to court black voters who so far are all but shunning the GOP nominee. Meeting today with community leaders in Philadelphia, tomorrow, traveling to Detroit where he'll attend services at a black church as well as do a taped interview with the church's pastor. That interview raising questions because his campaign according to a document obtained by the New York Times initially scripted his answers word for word.

So, will this new push work? Sunlen Serfaty is OUTFRONT.


SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Donald Trump is making a direct pitch to minority voters. Meeting face to face today with black leaders in Philadelphia. The trip comes a day ahead of a high-profile visit to Detroit on Saturday where he will tour Ben Carson's hometown with his former rival and attended an African- American Church. DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: You have so many in poverty

and the crime is horrible and the education is terrible and they live terribly, and I say what do you have to lose? I say it to them, what do you have to lose? Give it to me. I'm going to fix it.

SERFATY: But the GOP nominee is already facing controversy with his visit. After the New York Times published an eight page Trump campaign internal memo. A draft script for a planned interview with 12 questions the campaign had worked out with the church's pastor and suggested answers for Trump.

One of the questions asking Trump if his campaign is racist. Trump, according to the document obtained by the times is instructed to avoid repeating the word racist in his response and advised to say, quote, "Coming into a community is meaningless unless we offer an alternative to the horrible progressive agenda that has perpetuated a permanent underclass in America." The Pastor Bishop Wayne Jackson tells CNN, he stands by the decision to share the questions in advance.

BISHOP WAYNE JACKSON, INTERVIEWING TRUMP AT CHURCH TOMORROW: I don't see anything wrong with it. I never lied about, you know, or tried to be deceitful about it.

SERFATY: But says he's ready to throw Trump some curveballs.

JACKSON: I have questions that they don't know about no one know about, I changed them after that came out.

SERFATY: Amid concerns about the authenticity of the scripted conversation. The campaign now says Trump will give a short speech to the congregation but even that detail is in dispute. Jackson, in a second interview on CNN today indicating that is not set in stone.

JACKSON: No, he's not --


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Will he be sitting in the service? Will he be sitting in the service, Bishop?

JACKSON: Yes. He'll be sitting in the service.


SERFATY: And campaign events like this are typically very carefully choreographed well ahead of time by the campaign and this is just highlighting how this visit which is now less than 24 hours away still has some major areas of contention and confusion over what exactly Donald Trump is going to do while he's in Detroit. Now the pastor today also emphasizing that he is a Democrat, Jim. He says he wants his church to be inclusive though and predicts that tomorrow Trump will get the embrace of his congregation -- Jim.

SCIUTTO: Sunlen Serfaty, thanks very much.

My panel is back with me. And Pastor Davis, I want to start with you. Scripting answers right down to instructions not to use the word racist and respond to the question about whether his campaign is racist. Why would black voters hear those answers, then and believe that they were sincere?

PASTOR JAMES DAVIS, DONALD TRUMP SUPPORTER: Well, I think that, you know, the intelligent listener to this conversation, they're hearing him. We've had this discussion about venue now for the last two weeks that you have to be in front of black people in order to hear you. It's ridiculous. Because if you're standing in the middle of a cornfield in Iowa, microphones and cameras are going to be pointed at him. And so, as such, you wanted to have -- if it's going to be a ten-minute thing, like with anything, you're going to have some questions that are on there that we make sure we get to in order to make sure that we get the answers that we want. And so, as a result, it comes out to be this nefarious thing and we know Bishop Wayne Jackson, he's a man of impeccable integrity, he would never script something in order to get an answer that was --

SCIUTTO: But the Times reporting is not the bishop scripted but the campaign felt the need to script word for word.

DAVIS: But again, has Mr. Trump ever been kept on script ever even with this immigration speech the last couple of days. I mean, he's always going to put something in there and they wanted to make sure again that we stay on. The campaign issues it and then they come back again. The questions came from the church. It seems that Hillary Clinton was in hiding all this time and she didn't come out until he began to directly go after and say, I am going to cause the, you know, to engage the black vote.


SMIKLE: He's got a multiple decade record of engaging the African- American community. And look, I don't begrudge any leader meeting with a presidential candidate. I don't begrudge that at all. My concern however is that we are less than three months out, just over two months out of this election and he now decides that he wants to go to an African-American church? My concern is that, number one, it's scripted in a way that a television show that his reality show would be scripted and I do not want him to appropriate a political -- an institution like the black church which is a powerful political and social and economic institution in communities of color.

I do not want him to appropriate that for a show. That is my major concern, and the fact that he's gone out there and made these incredible statements about -- and thrown up all these stereotypes about what's happening in the black community and not understanding the nuance and the complexity of the community. That's my concern.

[19:22:38] SCIUTTO: Let me -- because you raise a point. I just want to play some of the statements that Donald Trump has made about the black community since the start of this campaign. Let's have a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TRUMP: What do you have to lose? You're living in poverty? Your schools are no good. You have no jobs. We'll get rid of the crime. You'll be able to walk down the street without getting shot.

I have so many African-American friends where they're doing great. And they're making good money, they're living a good life.


SCIUTTO: Kelly, you know that these comments were criticized at a minimum tone deaf by him. You have those comments and you have this new outreach. How do you expect black voters to turn on a dime and having heard these for months hear a new message or be open really to a new message this time around?

MCENANY: Well, it's really important, I think, to understand who is really kind of leading the effort to introduce Donald Trump to the African-American community and that is Ben Carson. Ben Carson has a personal --

SCIUTTO: I'm asking about the guy running for president now.


SCIUTTO: How do voters respond to that different -- the message they've heard until now and then this new message?

MCENANY: Well, it's the same message. Donald Trump has been saying for months and months and months since he first got into this race and the economy is bad that it has failed all voters and now he's specifically addressing the African-American community. And it's not the first time. I'm sure Pastor Davis can speak to this. He's had multiple meetings with Pastor Darryl Scott, we remember the meetings with the pastor, you can probably speak to this better than I am because you've been a part of it.

MCENANY: But why are the numbers then -- and I want to get your thoughts too Karine, why are the numbers so anemic in terms of the support?

DAVIS: Because there's been this narrative for the last year of painting him in a racist light.

SCIUTTO: But those are words he just said. I didn't take those out of context.

DAVIS: Again, it's because that's how it's taken and that's how it's painted that those words -- because once again, if you're speaking to the people that are suffering the worse, that's who he's talking to, he's not talking to the middle class bhoswasy (ph) sort of speak in the speech. He is speaking to the people that are catching it.


SCIUTTO: Let's give Karine the chance to respond.

DAVIS: And those are the ones that he was speaking too.

JEAN-PIERRE: OK. To me the African-American outreach by Donald Trump is a nonstarter because he lost the African-American vote back in 2011 when he decided that he was going to be the grand wizard of the birther movement which birtherism inherently is racist, right? And it was, he insulted not only the office --

DAVIS: But there was --

JEAN-PIERRE: No, let me finish. Let me finish. He insulted not only the office of the presidency. He insulted the first black president by doing that. And so African-American voters are sophisticated, smart voters. They vote for their self-interests just like white voters and they are not going to vote for someone who stood in front of a white audience and did a character assassination.

DAVIS: Because it came into the political discourse in 2008 from somebody in her camp, and then we just ignored that. Yes, he picked it up in '11 and carried the baton, but it started with Hillary Clinton.

JEAN-PIERRE: That is inherently racist for her because her camp said it.


MCENANY: Pastor Davis is absolutely correct. Hillary Clinton introduced this when she was asked if Barack Obama was a Muslim. She said as far as I know, no. She started this.

SCIUTTO: But when you compare it to the months of perpetuating this myth it's not exactly equivalent.

SMIKLE: He had a movement. It was a movement. It was a birther movement.

SCIUTTO: We'll going to have to leave it there. But again, we have the advantage of more time after this break. And OUTFRONT next, Donald Trump losing support from some of the top Hispanic surrogates after his latest immigration speech. Has Trump squandered a chance to reconnect with Latino voters?

And breaking news, Hermine churning its way up the Atlantic seaboard, more than 30 million people in its path this holiday weekend.


[19:30:13] JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back.

A defiant Donald Trump tonight vowing to crack down on all undocumented immigrants convicted of a crime, meeting today with the mother whose daughter was killed by an undocumented immigrant nine years ago.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SHALGA HIGHTOWER, DAUGHTER KILLED BY UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRANT: You were the first person to step up and actually give her recognition, and I truly, truly thank you from the bottom of my heart that you would help me not let her memory be in vain.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: She will not have died in vain.


SCIUTTO: The big number now, according to immigration officials, of the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S., 121 were charged with homicide between 2010 and 2014.

Sara Murray is OUTFRONT live in Trump Tower here in New York.

And, Sara, what was Trump hoping to accomplish with his meeting today?

SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICS REPORTER: Well, Jim, it certainly gave him an opportunity to call out Hillary Clinton and say this is an issue that she has been ignoring and to say that he would be the candidate who makes this stop, who's going to be tough, who is going to crack down on these things and crack down on illegal immigration. But it also gives him the benefit of having these images of him showing his softer side and seeming like he's sympathetic to a family that is made up of a number of minority voters, people that he's had difficulty relating to throughout his presidential campaign, Jim.

SCIUTTO: Trump's son Eric said he is surprised a number of Hispanic surrogates withdrew their support even just within the last 48 hours. How concern side the campaign about that loss?

MURRAY: I think the campaign is certainly concerned about where their numbers stand with African-American voters and where their numbers stand with Latino voters. But also, Jim, this is important, about the number of white voters who believe that Donald Trump might be racist and that's a reason for him not to vote for him. And I think that what we saw -- we saw Donald Trump come out and say he felt like his speech was misunderstood. I think this gives you an indication that they were a little bit surprised to see this backlash.

But I have to tell you, I've talked to a number of different people who watch that speech and who were activists, who deal with Hispanic voters and they told me after that speech, they just feel like Donald Trump does not have a chance to move his numbers with this community. Even if he does come out in the coming weeks and soften the language, they feel like that speech is what is going to leave the lasting impression with Hispanic voters from now until election day.

SCIUTTO: Sara Murray, Trump Tower, thanks very much.

I want to bring back my panel.

So, Tim, Trump was sort of two days, really, two moments. When Trump was in Mexico, I heard this from commentators on the right and the left and how powerful a moment that was for him, next to a Mexican president, looking presidential. By that evening, you have Twitter fight with the Mexican president over what was exactly said over who was paying for the wall, and then you have the speech with a diametrically opposed point of view with immigration.

A lost opportunity for Trump?

TIM NAFTALI, CNN PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: Oh, huge. When he appeared on Hannity, he met with his, as he says, his Hispanic advisory group, and he said perhaps, we should soften some of the laws and, of course, there was an uproar, people questioned him and he backed away from that.

I would love to know what he said to his Hispanic advisory board. I suspect that oftentimes, Donald Trump wants the people he's talking to, to like him, and I suspect that he had this engagement with them, and he comes out of it and it goes on to Hannity a few days later.

And then there was a strategic discussion in his camp and they must have been trying to figure out, are we going to try to broaden in a way you have to if govern or are we going to stick to the issue that made us the nominee?

Well, I think that the decision was made after President Pena Nieto tweeted a ld Trump saw that tweet and was angry and arrived in Phoenix and said, you know what? I'm going to talk about the wall. I'm going to talk about paying for the wall.

SCIUTTO: Monica, you were with the campaign. You had unique access.


SCIUTTO: Just after, what really happened?

LANGLEY: I was with Donald Trump yesterday in his motorcade, on his plane, after he had come in from Mexico to his speech from Phoenix. It was true he was going to leave out payment of the wall in his big speech Wednesday night, but once the Mexican leader tweeted, "I told Trump I'm not paying for that wall," Trump was very upset.

He was, like, well, I'm not going to let that go and we all know from how he behaves in the primary, if he gets punched he punches back harder.

SCIUTTO: How does that work, Kayleigh, and Pastor James, how does that work for him? There was this moment to be presidential and then you have a tweet and then you change, in effect what sounds like was a agreed-upon softening of the message? How is that a successful strategy?

KAYLEIGH MCENANY, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: He's reiterating and not reneging on his promise that he made through the entire primary and that was to say Mexico was paying for the wall and he didn't need to discuss it. There was an article out today that they're considering taking elicit assets from the --

(CROSSTALK) SCIUTTO: Based on the word "discuss", and apparently, the president said that he brought up, that it was not going to pay for it.

MCENANY: I don't doubt that he made a comment that it's happening, but it was not discussed. Donald Trump did not engage in that discussion because he did not need the permission.

SCIUTTO: He left the impression that it didn't come up and the Mexican president said --

MCENANY: And the president stood by him when he made that comment. If I'm going to believe someone, I'm going to believe the person who said it on stage and was not rebutted by the partner standing next to him.

SCIUTTO: Monica you --

LANGLEY: He was not going to give up on the payment of the wall. He was not going to talk about it in deference to the Mexican president, after their really good meeting, he thought. And then he decided, I'm throwing it in, and thing is, even though you think it was a missed opportunity, the Trump campaign still believes it went very well. He looked presidential and he came back from that day and they had the biggest fund-raising day in the entire campaign, $5 million raised in a single day, and they're saying we have shown by going to Mexico and by going to Louisiana, we are out there taking the big moves and Hillary Clinton is doing her Hamptons to Hollywood fund-raising.

SCIUTTO: The question is does that accomplish the goal of drawing in more Latino voters? That's the question.

Karine, I think I know what your view is, but pastor, I want to hear from you, as well.

PASTOR JAMES DAVIS, DONALD TRUMP SUPPORTER: I think there is a huge cross-section of American voters that are tired of soft leadership and of what Donald Trump represents is someone that says what he means and means what he says and he reiterated and doubled down on his original posture.

SCIUTTO: Karine, pipe in.

KARINE JEAN-PIERRE, HILLARY CLINTON SUPPORTER: When you have David duke, the former grand wizard of the KKK and Ann Coulter celebrating your speech, your alt-right speech that you give after visiting the president of Mexico, that's a problem. That does not mean you're doing good outreach.


SCIUTTO: I want to get your thoughts and I want to play a bit of sound that's relevant to you.

This is the founder of the group Latinos for Trump. A warning he gave last night. Just have a listen.


MARCO GUTIERRZ, CO-FOUNDER, LATINOS FOR TRUMP: My culture is a very dominant culture and it's imposing and causing problems. If you don't do something about it, you will have taco trucks on every corner.


SCIUTTO: Taco trucks on every corner. What's your reaction?

BASIL SMIKLE, HILLARY CLINTON SUPPORTER: I don't know why he's afraid of that. I'm good with that.

SCIUTTO: There appears to be -- racist is not the word, but an offensive message there, an insulting message.

SMIKLE: There absolutely is, and to me, what's interesting is that the speech in Phoenix was of the darkest I've heard from Donald Trump and to me for the Republican Party that talks a lot about family values, what he's doing in his speech and what he's proposing to do with his policies is to break up families all over this country, of multiple ethnicities with his deportation forces.

He's not -- as Hillary Clinton is, he is not in support of the deferred parents.

SCIUTTO: Kayleigh, just a quick response before we go.

MCENANY: Dark is the favorite adjective of the Hillary Clinton camp and what's dark is not Donald Trump's immigration policy. What's dark is the fact that there were parents on that stage who lost their children in the hands of illegal immigrant. Hillary Clinton has no plan for redressing that and making sure that no future American citizens are killed.

SMIKLE: But as the reporting has said of the 11.4 million that was 121 --

MCENANY: One is too many. Ask Kate Steinle's mom, ask Kate Steinle's mom.

SMIKLE: and that is absolutely correct, but you are also condemning the rest of those families because what he's doing --


SMIKLE: Well, actually he called them murderers and rapists.

MCENANY: No, he did not.

SCIUTTO: We're going to have to leave it there.

OUTFRONT next, Hermine packing high winds and rain threatening the Labor Day weekend for millions of Americans, myself included, along the East Coast.

An a stunning new report claims that an American who went missing in China more than a decade ago is now in North Korea tutoring Kim Jong- un. His brother will be my guest. That's live coming up.


[19:43:01] SCIUTTO: Breaking news: a dangerous tropical storm right now roaring up the east coast packing winds of nearly 50 miles per hour. The storm is generating life-threatening conditions, including dangerous surf, damaging winds, drenching rains. The big concern right now for more than 30 million people, major coastal flooding.

This storm already taking the life of one person in Florida, leaving thousands of homes and businesses in the dark and underwater across Florida.

Martin Savidge is OUTFRONT. He's in Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina.

Martin, the storm now bearing down on the Carolinas. What are conditions like where you are right now?

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The conditions have been changing dramatically just in the last half hour. The winds have definitely been picking up and the rain which has been steady all day long, though, is falling now or striking me with a much greater force.

Here's the thing that's unique from what happened 24 hours ago, when it came ashore in Florida as a hurricane. This tropical storm is doing just the opposite now. It is going to pass over the outer banks and go out to sea -- so from land, out to water.

The thing is water is gasoline to a tropical storm like this. So, it's expected that it will begin to intensify, which, of course, for everyone along the Eastern Seaboard, that is not good news. The storm could strengthen from this point on out.

The big concern right now, coastal flooding, six to eight inches projected here, wind speeds of 50 to 55 miles an hour, not a devastating storm but a greatly disruptive storm. Already in South Carolina alone, over 700,000 people without electricity. That number is expected to grow as is this storm.

Back to you.

SCIUTTO: Talking beach closures now as well now. Martin Savidge, thank you.

I want to turn to meteorologist Karen Maginnis.

Karen, this storm expected to cause dangerous conditions for folks really across the eastern seaboard this holiday weekend. Can you walk us through those?

KAREN MAGINNIS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes, between 30 million and 40 million people will be impacted.

[19:45:04] Now, this doesn't look like that robust hurricane that we were looking at just about 16 hours ago, but it's going to exit off the North Carolina coast. As it does that, it's going to encounter that warm stream of water,

the gulfstream just off the coast and it is going to linger and it is going to travel a little bit, but nothing dramatic. As we heard martin just mention and coastal sections of North Carolina, six to ten inches of rainfall. This is low-lying territory, and they're going to see quite a bit of damaging flooding, a heavy coastal flooding and storm surge. You're going see plenty of power outages there, as well.

All right. So, we talk about the spaghetti models and take a look at this and most of them in agreement off the coast of North Carolina, but then it really looks like spaghetti. It's turning around on itself and it doesn't have any particular direction, but what can we expect?

Let's go ahead and show you what's happening on the floor. We take this system off the coast of North Carolina. We could see wind gusts up around 60 miles an hour, but steady winds, 35 to 40 miles an hour, but then racing all of the way up the coast, all the way into Massachusetts. We are looking at what could be a pretty devastating Labor Day weekend.

We head back towards the board. What's going to happen? This post- tropical system will be off the coast of New Jersey and it's going to impact folks there. Could see severe flooding even over the dunes and back bay flooding and it will be quite the system to watch for the next five days.

Back to you, Jim.

SCIUTTO: Karen Maginnis at the CNN weather center.

OUTFRONT next, an American that went missing in China 12 years ago, new reports says he may be teaching English to the North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un. His brother is my guest live coming up.


[19:50:46] SCIUTTO: Tonight, an astonishing report claiming that an American student missing since 2004 is now living in North Korea and working as an English tutor for Kim Jong-un.

David Sneddon, then 24 years old, had worked in South Korea as a missionary for the Church of Latter-Day Saints. He went missing while hiking in China. When investigators failed to find any trace of him, Chinese authorities suggested he may have fallen to his death.

But Yahoo News Japan reports that Sneddon now lives in the capital of Pyongyang with a wife and two kids. The State Department officials tell CNN that they have investigated these claims that first surfaced some four years ago, but have found nothing to corroborate them or this most recent report.

OUTFRONT tonight, we have David Sneddon's brother, James.

James, thanks so much for joining us tonight.


SCIUTTO: So, James, you and your family have always believed your brother to be alive, and I know you've traveled to China several times to retrace his steps. What leads you to believe that there is something to back up and that these latest reports are credible?

SNEDDON: I think it's quite simple, from our perspective. This is essentially the story that we've been told for more that five years, with information given to us by very credible organizations in the international community. And this latest report really came as a surprise to us, and it just echoed things that we've already known. So, that alone for us speaks of its veracity.

SCIUTTO: And the substance, this is based on defectors from North Korea coming to South Korea, who said that they've seen someone who fits your brother's identity?

SNEDDON: I don't know that we have determined the informant, if you will. I think Mr. Choi who provided the information has his sources. We need to determine who those informants are and to determine that credibility. But that's a likely scenario.

SCIUTTO: Now, I know this remains an enormous mystery, and based on the State Department. The State Department says it has looked into these for years and it hasn't found anything to back this up and what's your advice to the State Department when it says that?

SNEDDON: It's a very curious comment, I think, that the family often wonders. You know, I think you have to look at what we set out to do 12 years ago. We went to China literally to find our brother and bring home. We thought we would find him.

And as we got more information about where he went and people that witnessed him, it was very clear that he did not die in the gorge. Hiking it myself having hiked many years with my family in the mountains, it's really kind of implausible. So, we had that information.

And it wasn't until later in time when people came to us with the story that we had presented and they said, hey, you might look into this other scenario and it's very impossible. It's an M.O. for North Korea. We think it could be the solution for David's missing scenario.

And it just grew from there. So, it's nothing that we generated or it came to us from other sources is what folks need to remember.

SCIUTTO: James, is there sport or backing from the U.S. government that you don't believe you're getting?

SNEDDON: It's actually -- I think it's growing. I think the interest and the desire to resolve it is increasing and certainly this latest development improves that. I think it's fair to say we'd like to see more attention from investigative resources or even possibly the State Department, but they have a history of also being very helpful. And so, you know, it's a U.S. citizen. That's the bottom line. He went missing under unusual circumstances. If he is helping this

regime, it should be very concerning that we're empowering and strengthening them with intelligence and expertise that they're operators, and I think it's something that we should look into. It should be I think an easy answer for most people.

SCIUTTO: Now, if it was possible that your brother were to hear you or somehow hear what you were saying to us tonight, what would you want to say to him?

SNEDDON: We haven't forgotten you, David. I think that's what we worry about most, is he has -- there's no communication for him, we believe.

[19:55:03] And we just haven't forgotten and we're not going to stop until we at least know what happened. And we want you to come home.

SCIUTTO: James Sneddon, we wish you and your family the very best. Thanks so much.

SNEDDON: Thank you.

SCIUTTO: And we'll be right back.


SCIUTTO: Thanks for joining us. I'm Jim Sciutto. Have a great weekend for you East Coasters, I hope it's a dry one.

"AC360" with Anderson starts right now.