Return to Transcripts main page


Trump on Immigration: 'I'm Not Ruling Out Anything'; Reporters Join Clinton on Campaign Plane; Biden: Clinton Know Trust Issue Is 'A Problem' Documentary Looks Into Trump's Business Dealings; U.S. Officials: Russia Trying to Influence the Election; U.S. Condemns Reckless North Korean Missile Launches. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired September 5, 2016 - 17:00   ET


JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: That's it for "THE LEAD." I'm Jim Sciutto. Jake Tapper returns tomorrow. I turn you over to Wolf Blitzer in THE SITUATION ROOM.

[17:00:10] WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now: Russia to blame? A disturbing new report says Russia is actively trying to interfere with the U.S. presidential election through cyber-attacks. The stakes are so high President Obama just raised the issue at a meeting with Vladimir Putin. Is Mr. Obama threatening to launch an online offensive?

Home stretch. The race for the White House kicks into even higher gear, with the Trump and Clinton campaigns aggressively targeting each other while courting voters on this holiday. Both candidates talked to reporters on their planes. Is Trump refusing to rule out legal status for undocumented immigrants? Is he walking back a cornerstone campaign promise?

"Most negative campaign." Joe Biden speaks out about the presidential contest. In an exclusive CNN interview, the vice president talks candidly about the questions of trust plaguing Hillary Clinton's campaign. What is his advice to the Democratic nominee?

And un-abated. North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un launches more ballistic missiles, sending them hundreds of miles into Japan's defense zone without warning. Tokyo sounding the alarm about a serious North Korean threat while the U.S. is condemning launches as reckless. Is all this a new level of provocation by Kim?

I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

With just nine weeks to go until election day, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump is sounding a very different note on undocumented immigrants. After months of vowing mass deportations, Trump now says he's not ruling out anything. And when asked about a possible pathway to legal status, Trump said he'll make that decision in the future.

Hillary Clinton, who's been criticized for keeping news media at arm's length, welcomed reporters on her campaign plane today. Both Trump and Clinton have spent this Labor Day campaigning in the critical state of Ohio. In China, President Obama met one on one with Russian President

Vladimir Putin for about 90 minutes at the G-20 summit. Mr. Obama said he'd talk to Putin about alleged Russian cyber-attacks aimed at influencing the upcoming U.S. election. The president described their talk as blunt.

And Washington is condemning the latest missile launches by North Korea and the dictator, Kim Jong-un. Three ballistic missiles were filed toward the sea of Japan without warning in a move experts say was timed to coincide with the G-20 gathering of world leaders in neighboring China.

We're covering all of that and much more this hour with our guests, including Donald Trump supporter, Republican Congressman Sean Duffy. And our correspondents and expert analysts, they are also standing by.

Let's begin with the Trump campaign. Our political reporter, Sara Murray, is following the GOP nominee for us.

Sara, Trump now seems to be taking a fundamentally different stance on undocumented immigrants.

SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, Donald Trump has been campaigning in the pivotal battleground state of Ohio, but he's overshadowing his jobs focus message by sounding a softer tone saying that he'll deal later with how he will cope with millions of undocumented immigrants living in the U.S., a break from the immigration policy he laid out less than a week ago in Arizona.


MURRAY (voice-over): Donald Trump's muddling his immigration stance even further today, now saying a decision about granting legal status to undocumented immigrants will come sometime down the road.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: We will make that decision into the future.


TRUMP: Good question. I'm glad you asked it. That decision will be made.

MURRAY: As Trump and his team try to win over voters in the final 64- day stretch. They're trying to water down parts of last week's hardline immigration speech.

TRUMP: For those here illegally today seeking legal status, they will have one route and one route only: to return home and apply for reentry.

MURRAY: And give the candidate some wiggle room in dealing with undocumented immigrants.

RUDY GIULIANI (R), FORMER NEW YORK MAYOR: Donald Trump, as he expressed in one of his interviews recently, would find it very, very difficult to throw out a family that's been here for, you know, 15 years and they have three children, two of whom are citizens; and that is not the kind of America he wants.

KELLYANNE CONWAY, TRUMP CAMPAIGN MANAGER: Once you turn off the jobs magnet, jobs and benefit magnet, then we'll see where we are. And we don't know where we'll be. We don't know who will be left.

MURRAY: Today in the battleground state of Ohio, Trump is also taking advantage of the Labor Day holiday to bring his economic argument to union leaders.

TRUMP: Ohio is having its jobs just sucked out of it, going to Mexico and other countries.

MURRAY: His day on the trail almost resembling a traditional politician as he held a roundtable, popped by a local diner, and visited one of the largest fairs in the Buckeye State.

[17:05:03] TRUMP: What an incredible group. Thank you, everybody.

MURRAY: All of this as Trump is betting his surest path to victory comes from hammering his Democratic opponents.

TRUMP: She didn't have the energy to go to Louisiana. And she didn't have the energy to go to Mexico.

MURRAY: While his running mate, Mike Pence, also tried his hand at attack dog, seizing on the FBI's release of documents related to Clinton's use of a private e-mail server.

GOV. MIKE PENCE (R-IN), VICE-PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: It's just more evidence that Hillary Clinton is the most dishonest candidate for president of the United States since Richard Nixon.

MURRAY: But Trump's best chance to take on Clinton is sure to come on the debate stage, events the hard-to-pin-down candidate now says he wouldn't miss.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What can cause you to change your mind, then?

TRUMP: Hurricanes, natural disaster. I expect to do -- I think it's an important element of what we're doing. I think you have an obligation to do the debates.


MURRAY: Now, Trump had been playing it a little bit coy on whether he would participate in all of these debates. This was the firmest answer we've gotten so far, that he will be there for all of them.

In the meantime, it will be a full-on sprint until they get to that debate stage tomorrow. Trump is in North Carolina and Virginia -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Sara, thank you very much. Sara Murray reporting. Hillary Clinton has some new traveling companions: reporters. A group

of journalists is now flying with the candidate on her campaign plane. Our national correspondent, Suzanne Malveaux is joining us from western Illinois, where Hillary Clinton is about to give a speech.

Suzanne, Clinton has been criticized for not answering reporters' questions more often. What's the latest?

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, by our count, Wolf, it's been maybe 270 days since she's actually held a formal press conference. But we did see her go to the back of the plane today, and she made a promise that she would talk to them more in-depth. So we'll see if she keeps her promise when she arrives here at Quad Cities, Illinois. This is a very important region, as you know. Just as -- shares the same media market as the same folks right across the river from where we are, in the battleground state of Iowa; and it is 24 days away from when they start their early voting.


MALVEAUX (voice-over): Hillary Clinton is kicking off the final push to election day.

HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: We believe we are stronger together. And that is in stark contrast to Donald Trump.

MALVEAUX: Campaigning today with running mate Tim Kaine at a Labor Day rally in Ohio.

CLINTON: We need to make sure we have an election that validates the kind of positive future that will make life better for the people of Ohio. And empty promises and racist attacks won't do that.

MALVEAUX: Even managing to swipe at Donald Trump in the midst of a lengthy coughing fit.

CLINTON: Every time I think about Trump, I get allergic.

MALVEAUX: The Democratic nominee also debuting her new campaign plane.

CLINTON: Hey, guys. Welcome to our big plane. So exciting.

MALVEAUX: A Boeing 737 with her signature "H" logos and "Stronger Together" on the side. Clinton greeting the press corps, which will now travel on the same plane as Clinton.

CLINTON: I am so happy to have all of you with me. I've been just waiting for this moment. And I'm thrilled. No, really.

MALVEAUX: Clinton's plane even crossing paths with Trump's on the tarmac in Cleveland today.

SEN. TIM KAINE (D-VA), VICE-PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Shows you how important Ohio is. We're going to be here a lot. MALVEAUX: Team Clinton spending Labor Day blanketing key states with surrogates. Her husband at a parade in Detroit and a picnic in Cincinnati, slamming Trump's recent trip to Mexico.

BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: That damaged America and every serious country in the world.

JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: My name is Joe Biden, and I work -- I work for Hillary Clinton and whatever the hell this guy's name is.

MALVEAUX: And Vice President Biden appearing alongside Kaine in Pittsburgh, riling up the labor base.

BIDEN: There's so many people like Trump who look at us like we're not their equal. I'm sick of it. I've had it up to here.

MALVEAUX: Even former rival, Senator Bernie Sanders, speaking to voters in New Hampshire on Clinton's behalf.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D), VERMONT: There should be no doubt on anybody's mind as to whether -- as to whether Hillary Clinton is the superior candidate, because in every respect she is.

MALVEAUX: But Clinton is still taking fire from Trump and congressional Republicans over the newly-released FBI report on her e- mail server, with Kaine offering this defense.

KAINE: She did make a mistake; and she made it by deciding she wanted to use one device rather than multiple devices. She's apologized for that. She said it is was a mistake, and she's learned from it.

But these notes, which Hillary urged be made public, demonstrate clearly why the FBI saw no need for additional criminal proceeding.


MALVEAUX: And Wolf, while the Clinton campaign is focusing on generating enthusiasm and get-the-vote-out kind of effort and outreach and even attracting some Republicans, as well as independents.

[17:10:10] As for that plane, aboard the plane, they're calling it "Hill Force 1." The configuration very much like Air Force 1 in terms of personnel. With Hillary Clinton, her top staff in the front of the plane, followed behind by communications and then Secret Service and, Wolf, in the back of the plane, the press.

BLITZER: That's the way it always is, Suzanne, as you and I well know. Thanks very much.

The vice president, Joe Biden, is speaking candidly about the trust issue dogging Hillary Clinton's campaign. And he's offering some advice. Our senior Washington correspondent, Jeff Zeleny, is joining us with details.

Jeff, you spoke exclusively with the vice president and the Clinton running mate, Tim Kaine. What did they say?

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, Vice President Tim Kaine was on the campaign trail today in Pittsburgh at a Labor Day rally. And he said he is all in on this campaign.

And we saw one of his central tasks there is taking the message to white working-class voters, calling them out about what he says Donald Trump is misleading them.

But he said both of these candidates have high disapproval ratings, and he had some blunt advice for Hillary Clinton.


ZELENY (voice-over): Why do people have the suspicion about her, though? She's been in public life so long. Is it that she hasn't opened up, or is it because of her own doing?

BIDEN: Look, I have a bad habit of saying what I believe and sometimes saying all I mean here.

The truth is, Hillary knows it's a problem. And she's trying to figure out how to remedy it. And my advice to her, the best way to remedy it is to talk about what you care about. Talk about it with some passion. And people will see through it.

And but this is going to be -- and you know better than I do, Jeff. You've covered this. This could be the most negative campaign in the history of modern politics, I think.

And so my question is, is anybody going to be able to break through what is just, you know, sort of a notion of a pox on both your houses? And that's why you hear her talking more about explicitly what it is she's going to do and how she's going to change things.


ZELENY: And that is a good question, though. Will any of this break through in all this negative advertising, certainly, and negative rhetoric that's out there?

But Wolf, Vice President Biden says that he and the president are fully invested in campaigning here. So he had a lot more to say about the Clinton e-mails, the foundation, other things she can do. You can see this full interview tomorrow on CNN's "NEW DAY" -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Jeff Zeleny, thank you very, very much. "NEW DAY" starts tomorrow morning at 6 a.m. Eastern.

Let's get some more on all of this. Republican Congress Sean Duffy of Wisconsin is joining us. He's supporting Donald Trump.

Congressman, thanks very much for joining us.

REP. SEAN DUFFY (R), WISCONSIN: Hey, it's good to be here, Wolf. Happy Labor Day. BLITZER: Happy Labor Day to you, as well.

Donald Trump has said many times that undocumented immigrants here in the United States would have one route and one route only to obtain legal status. That's actually leave the United States and then apply for reentry.

But today he said that he wouldn't rule out a pathway to legal status. Down the road he will make that decision. How do voters know which policy he would implement as president?

DUFFY: Well, I think we have to go with the most recent statements. And I think, Wolf, that's a right decision on his part. I mean, you look at -- you have little kids that have come at 2 and 3 years old to America. This is the only country they've ever known. You can't deport them, send them home to a country they've never been to.

Even with regard to families where you have kids who are citizens and parents who are not. It makes sense to soften his position on those who are law-abiding citizens, that are working hard, that are participating in the American economy.

If you look at the voters, though, those who support Donald Trump, I think what they want is they want a secure border. They want the American people to decide who comes in and who comes out of the country. They want to do away with sanctuary cities. And they want to make sure that they get rid of the criminal element of the immigrant who's in our country. Send those folks back.

With regard to the softening, I'll just tell you that I think some more of the Democrats are more frustrated with Obama -- or with -- with Trump's position than Trump supporters. Because they see that softening as a better outreach to the Hispanic community.

BLITZER: Well, I understand your position, and I understand very well, but is that really Donald Trump's position? Because lately over the past several days, it's been hazy.

DUFFY: No. Make no mistake, I agree. In the speech he made last week, he left that open for interpretation. And I think all of us tuned into that really long speech to find out what he'd do with the most difficult question, which is, you know, the kids and the families. And he never really addressed it.

But I think what you're hearing now, especially from his surrogates, is that he's softening that position; and I think that is the right tack to take. And I will just tell you, from my most conservative folks in my district and around our state, they would agree with that. As long as you secure the border first and get rid of the criminal element, he is going to do fine with his base.

BLITZER: Some Wisconsin voters, as you know, they go to the polls for early voting in 21 days. Does he need to be precise and explain his policy to those voters right away? Because right now it's still confusing. [17:15:16] DUFFY: Well, I think in regard to -- to the base, he

doesn't really have to do that. They care, again, about the border and the criminal element. They're OK if you do that first...

BLITZER: But let me interrupt you, Congressman. Let me interrupt you.

DUFFY: Sure.

BLITZER: But for a lot of that base, they're not happy if he's going to support some legal path to residents here in the United States without these people leaving the country first. They don't want that. They want all these undocumented immigrants to first leave the country and then go back to their home country and apply for reentry.

DUFFY: Well, I can only tell you, the folks that I've talked to, Wolf, they don't really have a big problem with a pathway to legal status, which is not citizenship. Just the fact that folks aren't going to get arrested in the middle of the night and sent home.

I don't -- I don't see a big uproar in anger and frustration at Mr. Trump on the softening of that issue alone. They do care, again, about the border and the criminal element. And so I'm not seeing that. They also care, Wolf, about the economy. They care about upward mobility. They care about Hillary's e-mails and the dishonesty that she's had with the American people and with Congress about turning over all of her e-mails so we can see them. Now through the FBI, we realize she lied to us and didn't turn over those e-mails.

I think that's why you've seen in Wisconsin here, three weeks ago, Hillary Clinton up by 15 points. Just last week, a recent poll came out and shows that Trump is only down by 3 in the margin of error. Wisconsin is tightening and is going to be one of those key states that Trump has to win if he's going to win in November.

BLITZER: All right. Congressman Duffy, stay with us. We have more to discuss. We've got to take a quick break. We'll be right back.


[17:21:07] BLITZER: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is raising new questions about his controversial hardline stance on immigration. Campaigning in Ohio today, Trump said he would not rule anything out when it comes to undocumented workers, possibly including eventually getting legal status.

Right now we're back with Donald Trump supporter, Republican Congressman Sean Duffy of Wisconsin.

Congressman, as you also know, President Obama's trip to the G-20 summit in China was overshadowed at times by some dust-ups with Chinese officials. For example, when he arrived, the Chinese didn't provide stairs to the main door of his plane. And there were a few issues with reporters not being given access to President Obama.

Donald Trump noted that other leaders were given the red carpet, that he would have simply closed the doors to Air Force 1 if he had been president and left if they did that to him. Is that effective diplomacy?

DUFFY: Well, I don't know if that's effective diplomacy. But I think what you see is there are so many countries out there who don't have more respect for us over the last seven years. They have less respect for America. And I think that comes from at least a perception of weakness, this idea that America can lead from behind and not be a force for good in the world makes those bad actors, and I'll say China oftentimes is one of them, not respect us.

BLITZER: Let me -- let me interrupt, Congressman. What does that say if Donald Trump were serious, that he would simply pack up and leave, not go to the G-20 summit where all these world leaders are, simply because the Chinese didn't provide the appropriate stairs or steps to his plane?

DUFFY: Well, listen, I don't know that that's appropriate diplomacy, packing up the plane and taking off and coming home. But I also think the Chinese are trying to, you know, stick their finger in the president's eye and make him look bad and not show him due respect that a world leader but the most powerful world leader as they come to their country.

I mean, I think that's -- that's shocking that they would treat our president that way. And frankly, I've got to tell you what. I don't agree with President Obama on a lot of things. I'm offended that our president would be treated so poorly by the Chinese.

And again, I think you can't just take it. There has to be some kind of pushback when you're treated bad by leaders like this in China.

BLITZER: Trump also tweeted this about Republican Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona. He said he was a weak and ineffective senator, after Flake sent some less than complimentary words about Donald Trump, as far as November is concerned. He basically said, as of now, he couldn't support Donald Trump.

Is that appropriate for this Republican presidential nominee to speak like that about a Republican senator?

DUFFY: No, it's not. First of all, I love Jeff Flake. I think he's a great guy. Maybe -- I don't know what Jeff is doing, taking shots at Donald Trump; but Donald Trump has to rise above all of this and unify the party. It brings me back in Wisconsin to Mr. Trump taking shots at Paul Ryan or at Scott Walker.

And if you're going to win this race, you have to do it with all Republicans on board. And as we've seen Arizona tighten, he needs guys like Jeff Flake on board if you're going to win. And by -- by responding to the punch that Flake gave him doesn't bring people closer together. It fissures and divides the Republican base, not just in Arizona but around the country.

And so Donald, listen, don't be so sensitive. Take the hit; let it roll off your back; and you know, look forward. Take -- take shots at Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama if you want. But don't take shots at your own party. You have to be bigger than a guy who responds to every little, you know, flick that someone gives you. It doesn't -- it doesn't work for party unity, and it divides our party.

And again, I mean, we don't have enough Republicans to win this race, Wolf. We need all the Republicans and independents and some soft Democrats that Trump is going to win. Don't divide your party. And engaging in these kind of fights doesn't serve the mission of party unification.

[17:25:07] BLITZER: Some strong Labor Day advice from Sean Duffy, the congressman from Wisconsin.

Happy Labor Day. Thank you so much for joining us.

DUFFY: You too, Wolf. Have a good day.

BLITZER: Thank you.

Up next, I'll speak with Democratic congressman and Hillary Clinton supporter Hakeem Jackson. Actually, I'll speak with him later in THE SITUATION ROOM.

But straight ahead, the fight for the battleground states. How important is it for Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton?

Plus, Russia suspected of trying to influence the upcoming presidential elections here in the United States. We're learning new details right now.


BLITZER: We're following a new round of mixed signals about whether Donald Trump would order the deportation of millions of undocumented immigrants, if he's elected president.

[17:30:23] Joining us now with her insights on the state of the race, CNN political analyst and Real Clear Politics national political reporter Rebecca Berg; our political director, David Chalian; "Washington Post" political reporter Abby Phillip; and our CNN chief political analyst, Gloria Borger.

David, so once again we're a little confused where exactly Donald Trump stands on the 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States. Now he seems to be suggesting he'll make a decision about the fate of the so-called good ones down the road.

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Right. Let's just break this apart of what has happened here now, Wolf.

Remember during the nomination season he was for mass deportation and a deportation force. Last week's speech, he had a line in there, even though it was this hardline tone, there was a line of the speech that said, "We'll decide on the disposition" of the, quote unquote, "good ones," not the convicted criminals, of the 11 million undocumented who are still here, we'll decide on those -- on the disposition of them later.

But when -- while he was saying that, he, his campaign manager and everyone else, kept repeating this mantra. No amnesty. No citizenship and no legal status.

Well, today he was asked very specifically about legal status. Can you become legalized in some way without going home first? And he said we'll decide that down the road. So now this was a different piece of it. Not just the deportation piece but about becoming legal that all of a sudden he opened up the door to here.

BLITZER: Because last week he flatly said, Rebecca, if you want legal status or citizenship, you first must leave the United States and then apply for reentry.

REBECCA BERG, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: He did, and so when he and his surrogates are out there saying that he has been consistent throughout this campaign and even throughout the past week on this issue, it just doesn't pass the smell test, because he has not been consistent on this.

And I think it's a question that he's going to need to answer, Wolf. Because he doesn't have any sort of track record on policy issues. There are no votes that he's taken that we can turn to or proposals he's made in the past, because he hasn't been in politics. So we only have his words to go by. And if he's constantly changing what he is saying, it's really hard to know what Donald Trump will actually do.

BLITZER: Because as far as legal status for the undocumented immigrants, Abby, what he said today is clearly a softening of his position.

ABBY PHILLIP, "WASHINGTON POST" POLITICAL REPORTER: Right. And this is this theme that we've actually seen from him throughout the campaign, where when he's on his own and he's asked questions directly, he sometimes says things that are different from the sort of strategy that his campaign advisors seem to want to chart out.

And, you know, the Clinton campaign has been saying in response to this that Trump is trying to confuse everybody about his position. And they may actually be onto something here. He's going back and forth on it, saying different things, and the public is sort of left with their hands in the air wondering what exactly does he believe?

For some people, that could allow them to sort of glaze over this issue and focus on other things instead. Maybe that's what the Trump campaign is going for. But I think it's a risky gambit.

BLITZER: But it is, Gloria, as far as the public out there, including a lot of Republicans, pretty smart to have a little bit of a softening of the position on this sensitive issue.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: If it's a -- if it's a softening. You know, I think Abby is right. I think that, by confusing things, whether or not this is something they're doing because it's planned or because it's not planned, you can read into it whatever you want.

You can say, "Well, maybe there is a path to some kind of citizenship," which by the way if you were running against him in the primaries, you would be scratching your head about, because during primaries he called that amnesty and was calling for mass deportation, as David points out.

So you can -- you can kind of look at it and see what you want. And -- and maybe that does help them with undecided voters, particularly those who think that he might be a little intolerant. And so maybe in the long run, this could work for him in some way, shape or form until, I would argue, he gets to a debate. And then he might have to be pinned down on what he truly believes and will do.

BLITZER: Gloria, you have a major new documentary coming out later tonight on Donald Trump's life. It airs at 10 p.m. Eastern. Let me play a clip from what -- from your documentary. Take a closer look at his venture, Trump's venture into building casinos. Listen to this.


BORGER: How big a risk did you think he was taking?

ROTHMAN: Enormous risk. To be able to make this project successful, to break even, you'd have to generate a casino win of somewhere over $1 million a day. And no casino in the world had ever even come close to anything like that.

BORGER (voice-over): Rothman told the "Wall Street Journal" he saw trouble coming.

ROTHMAN: I said, when this property opens it will break every record in the book. But when the cold winds of October came, it wouldn't make it.

[17:35:00] BORGER (voice-over): Trump wrote a letter to Rothman's boss. Threatening to bring suit, Trump presented them with a simple choice. Fire Rothman or make him publicly apologize and lie.

ROTHMAN: Trump said, "Marvin, you're to call Norman Pearlstine." And he said, "He's a managing editor of 'The Wall Street Journal.' And you're to tell him that that SOB reported misquoted you. And then you're going to write me a paper stating that the Taj Mahal is going to be the greatest success ever, and I'm going to have it published."

BORGER: Rothman refused.

ROTHMAN: Trump responded, saying that "I'll see you in court" or something. I was putting a tarnish on the Trump brand. You don't do that.

BORGER: And then you were fired?

ROTHMAN: On the spot.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BLITZER: Pretty amazing, Gloria. There's so much out there about Donald Trump that we will learn in this two -- two-hour documentary tonight. Talk a little bit more about the people we don't know about.

BORGER: Well, what -- what we tried to do is give you a portrait of a man in full, his life, from his childhood through today. And unlike a lot of political biographies, what I found interesting about this was that I was talking mostly to his family, with whom he is really close, his children. And also to people with whom he has done business over the years. Because unlike a lot of politicians, he is a businessman.

And so we found ourselves not only looking at Atlantic City, but you know, the rise and fall there. His rise in New York City as a -- as a big developer. And also don't forget, Donald Trump is a former reality TV star. And in many ways, that set the platform for him to catapult to -- to the run for the presidency, Wolf. Interesting life.

BLITZER: We're looking forward -- looking forward to the documentary. Gloria, excellent work.

Stay with CNN, by the way, for back-to-back documentaries on both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, starting tonight at 8 p.m. Eastern.

Coming up, President Obama's stern warning as intelligence experts look into what may be Vladimir Putin's attempt to influence the U.S. presidential election.


[17:42:14] BLITZER: Russian President Vladimir Putin says the United States and Russia may reach agreement within days on a plan to ease tensions in Syria. That's a much more upbeat assessment than we heard from President Obama today after what he described as his blunt and candid meeting with Putin at the G-20 summit in China.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We have had some productive conversations about what a real cessation of hostilities would look like that would allow us both, the United States and Russia, to focus our attention on common enemies like ISIL and Nusra. But, given the gaps of trust that exist, that's a tough negotiation.


BLITZER: During his meeting with Putin, the president also brought up recent cyber-attacks widely blamed on Russian hackers. Some of those attacks targeted the Democratic Party and state voting databases, raising concerns the Russians are trying to influence the upcoming election.

Our chief national security correspondent, Jim Sciutto, has been working his sources. What are you learning, Jim?

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, U.S. officials are growing increasingly concerned about possible Russian intrusion in the November election. Multiple law enforcement and intelligence agencies are now investigating, and the president in that meeting with President Putin, delivering another stern warning, as well.


OBAMA: What we cannot do is have a situation in which suddenly this becomes the wild, wild West.

SCIUTTO (voice-over): President Obama warning Russia today about Moscow's expanding cyber-attacks on the U.S. This as U.S. intelligence agencies are increasingly focused, U.S. officials tell CNN, on Russian influence on the upcoming presidential election.

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper recently told CNN he's concerned the Kremlin may be seeking to undermine confidence in the vote.

(on camera): Is it your view that Russia has the intention of, if not influencing this election, undermining confidence in the U.S. political process?

JAMES CLAPPER, DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: They see a U.S. conspiracy behind every bush. They believe that we are trying to influence political developments in Russia. Their natural response is to retaliate.

SCIUTTO (voice-over): Multiple agencies are now accessing the scope of the Russian intrusion, which includes hacking into voting data and systems. Russia's intention is not clear but maybe less to help one candidate over another than to sow doubt in the overall process and final result.

CLAPPER: Was this just to stir up trouble, or was this ultimately to try to influence an election? And, of course, this is serious -- a serious proposition.

SCIUTTO: So serious that today President Obama raised the issue as he and Russian President Vladimir Putin met on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in China.

[17:45:11] OBAMA: We've had problems with cyber intrusions from Russia in the past, from other countries in the past, and, look, we're moving into a new era here where a number of countries have significant capacities. And frankly, we got more capacity than anybody both offensively and defensively.

SCIUTTO: Sources tell CNN the U.S. intelligence community believes Russia was behind the recent hacks of the Democratic National Committee, "The New York Times" and Think Tanks in Washington. Investigators are also looking into who breached voter databases in the States of Illinois and Arizona. For his part, President Putin has denied any tampering.

VLADIMIR PUTIN, PRESIDENT OF THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION (through translator): I don't know anything about it, and on a state level, Russia has never done this.


SCIUTTO: President Putin also said that Russia doesn't care who wins the election. He just wants someone he can work with. But I can tell you, Wolf, that U.S. officials doubt Russia's claims of not being involved here. While they have not publicly fingered Russia, that is the direction they are looking in this investigation.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: It certainly is everything I'm hearing as well. Thank you very much, Jim Sciutto.

As leaders of the world's economic powers gather in China today, North Korea's Kim Jong-un unexpectedly flexed his military muscle. Coming up, we have new details about today's very alarming launch of a series of ballistic missiles.


BLITZER: The United States is condemning what it calls North Korea's reckless launch of multiple ballistic missiles today. CNN's Brian Todd is here on this situation. What's up, Brian? What is Kim Jong- un up to?

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, tonight, Kim Jong-un has taken these threats to yet another level. Now, we know this has become a regular occurrence. Just this year, North Korea has conducted 16 missile or rocket launches. The difference this time, President Obama was not far away meeting with world leaders when this happened.


TODD: President Obama was virtually next door as Kim Jong-un engaged in another provocation against America. While the President met with world leaders at the G20 Summit in Hangzhou, China, Kim's regime fired three medium-range ballistic missiles into the Sea of Japan. South Korean military officials say the missiles flew about 620 miles and were launched with no navigational warning.

Tonight, a senior U.S. official tells CNN they could have threatened commercial aircraft or ships in the area.

THOMAS KARAKO, SENIOR FELLOW, CENTER FOR STRATEGIC AND INTERNATIONAL STUDIES: I would say that that's probably North Korea's intention. Their calculation's a gamble of trying to be provocative, of saying look at me, getting the attention during the G20 Summit.

TODD: Japan's Defense Minister, tonight, calls the launch a serious threat saying the North Koreans have learned from their mistakes with these missiles. The evidence, he says, the three missiles landed at almost the same spot at about the same time.

KARAKO: Three missiles in the same spot, that could have damage on airfield, the kind of concept of operations of lofting one while doing a depressed launch of another. They may have a sophisticated concept of operations for the missiles that this test might have been demonstrating.

TODD: This is the second time in less than two weeks that Kim Jong-un has fired missiles which landed inside Japan's zone for identifying threats from the air.

MARCUS NOLAND, EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT AND DIRECTOR OF STUDIES, PETERSON INSTITUTE FOR INTERNATIONAL ECONOMICS: Japan is an inviting target because they are rich, they're relatively soft -- at least compared to the South Koreans -- and they're the former colonial masters.

TODD: Kim also endangered his own people by firing these missiles. They flew from the western part of the country east, more than 100 miles before they were over the sea. Analysts say Kim cares less about hitting innocent people on the ground than he does about his power circle. Kim's generals, they say, may be pushing him to be more aggressive.

NOLAND: He has to constantly guard himself. He is continuing to purge people, circulate people, create insecurity among the higher ranks of the military and security services precisely so no one gets any ideas.

TODD: Now, just hours before the launch, China's President told his South Korean counterpart that China doesn't want American THAAD anti- missile batteries set up inside North Korea. This system designed to shoot down incoming North Korean missiles is going to be operational soon. Experts tell us with every missile that Kim Jong-un fires, he undermines his ally, the Chinese, and their campaign against this THAAD system. Wolf.


BLITZER: Brian Todd reporting. Thank you, Brian.

Donald Trump is making headlines right now with some surprising new comments about immigration. Is he just softening his stance? Is he walking back his campaign promise?

Plus, breaking news, Hillary Clinton just now took reporters' questions aboard her campaign plane on substantive important issues. Stand by. The video is feeding into THE SITUATION ROOM as we speak. We'll have it for you when we come back.


HILLARY CLINTON, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I don't have a range of issues which I talk about at length. And I think there could be actions taken that would be in America's interests that would raise incomes, produce more jobs for Americans, and further our position and our security in the Pacific. And that's the kind of approach that, I think, we should be taking.


(COMMERCIAL BREAK) BLITZER: Happening now, nothing ruled out. Donald Trump refuses to close the door on granting legal status to undocumented immigrant's contradicting the hard line he took just days ago. Tonight, new layers of confusion about Trump's signature issue.

Ready for take-off. Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, they hopped on their planes and revved up their campaigns using Labor Day to launch the final sprint to Election Day. We're standing by here from Hillary Clinton. She's taking reporters' questions on board her plane.

Disrespected. A world leader calls President Obama, and I'm quoting now, "a son of a whore." As the Commander-in-Chief faces open hostility during a farewell round of global summits, now, there's a new response from President Obama to that stunning insult.

And hidden terrorists. CNN obtains a trove of secret documents about ISIS planning attacks against the West. Tonight, exclusive new details on how the Paris terror attackers traveled among Syrian refugees.

We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer and you're in THE SITUATION ROOM.