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Trump: Clinton is Reckless and Unfit to be President; Trump Accused of Pay-to-Play Schemes; Calls Grow For Trump to Apologize For Birther Issue; Calls Grow for Trump to Apologize for Birther Issue; FBI Director Defends Clinton Email Investigation. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired September 7, 2016 - 19:00   ET


[19:00:08] ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: OUTFRONT next, Donald Trump flip-flopping on military spending in his plan to beat ISIS. What does Trump really want to do?

And the breaking news tonight, the FBI director saying we don't play games breaking his silence tonight on the Clinton e-mail investigation.

Plus, the debut of the iPhone 7, will customers turn a deaf ear to Apple's newest idea? Let's go OUTFRONT.

And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight, the battle plan, Donald Trump attacking Hillary Clinton in a major speech outlining his plan to vamp up military manpower ships and power jets. Trump charging that Clinton is reckless and in his words, totally unfit to be commander-in-chief.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Sometimes, it seemed, like there wasn't a country in the Middle East that Hillary Clinton didn't want to invade, intervene in or topple. She's trigger happy and very unstable.


BURNETT: Trump is speaking rather softly in his tone for him. He did read off a teleprompter declaring the United States is unprepared to face enormous threats around the world. He is now promising to boost military spending and defeat ISIS by giving top generals 30 days to present a plan to him.

Jim Acosta begins our coverage OUTFRONT. And Jim, Trump has -- today was raising a lot of questions and obviously, his position is very different what we heard today from what we've heard in the past.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Erin. He was on message today. The problem was at times that message was conflicting with previous messages that he's put out there to the public but there was one thing that we saw that was consistent today and Donald Trump was making it very clear today when it comes to national security, when it comes to defeating Hillary Clinton. He believes the best defense is the good offense.


ACOSTA (voice-over): Laying out a national security vision, he dubbed peace through strength, Donald Trump pulled out the heavy artillery on Hillary Clinton.

TRUMP: Sometimes, it seemed, like there wasn't a country in the Middle East that Hillary Clinton didn't want to invade, intervene in or topple. She's trigger happy and very unstable.

ACOSTA: Promising a policy of diplomacy, not destruction under a Trump administration, the GOP nominee pledged to boost military spending and enhanced the nation's cyber defenses and unleashed a state-of-the-art missile defense system and demand a new military led plan to destroy ISIS.

TRUMP: I will ask my generals to present to me a plan within 30 days to defeat and destroy ISIS.

ACOSTA: That's a new approach for Trump who claimed he already had a secret strategy for defeating ISIS earlier this year.

TRUMP: I said I have a great plan. It's going to be great. What is it? I'd rather not say, I want to be unpredictable.

ACOSTA: To achieve his goals, Trump would end the force budget cuts on defense spending known in Washington speak as sequestration.

TRUMP: As soon as I take office, I will ask Congress to fully eliminate the defense sequester and will submit a new budget to rebuild our military. It is so depleted. We will rebuild our military.


ACOSTA: That's a reversal for Trump who said three years ago sequestration didn't go far enough.

TRUMP: Frankly, this is a very minor amount of the cuts that have to be made ultimately and a lot of people are saying that even Democrats are saying that.

ACOSTA: But time and again, Trump tried to chip away at the public perception backed up by poll numbers that Clinton is more fit to be commander-in-chief arguing her use of a private e-mail server was a disqualifying mistake.

TRUMP: Hillary Clinton has taught us really how vulnerable we are in cyber hacking. That's probably the only thing that we've learned from Hillary Clinton.


ACOSTA: Yet it was Trump who once invited Russia to hand over Clinton's missing e-mails, a remark he said was a joke. TRUMP: Russia, if you're listening, I hope you're able to find the

30,000 e-mails that are missing.


ACOSTA: Now, there is one area of defense that he can work on as a candidate and that is his campaign war chest, a Trump campaign official tells CNN that Donald Trump and his campaign raised some $90 million last month, Erin, that is a lot less than what Hillary Clinton raised last month and it is enough to start firing back at all of these damaging ads that she's running all over the country and it seems at this point, the way that his campaign is headed, he's going to need every penny that he raises -- Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Jim, thank you very much. And, you know, Hillary Clinton was off the campaign trail today nonetheless, she was firing back at Trump's hits there.

Brianna Keilar is covering the Clinton campaign OUTFRONT in New York tonight. Brianna, what was she saying?

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, this is her communications Director Jen Palmieri hitting back on what Donald Trump took aim at today, Hillary Clinton's position on national security and foreign policy. Palmieri said, "Like a schoolyard bully who can't rely on facts or issues, Trump has only one way of responding to legitimate criticism of his own vulnerabilities. I know you are, but what am I?" That's the word from Clinton's communications director.

[19:05:10] But Hillary Clinton certainly does have some vulnerabilities when it comes to foreign policy. A lot of experts will look at how closely she's been tied to President Obama, the fact that Syria has been regarded as many -- by many as a black mark on his legacy. She's made the case in the past that she argued to arm the Syrian rebels and she lost that fight, but make no mistake about it she is tied very close to President Obama and questions of this rise from ISIS. The status of Libya is also something that critics point to.

And even just the idea that there isn't a really clear, significant foreign policy success that she can really herald even this pivot to Asia that has been so important to President Obama and that Hillary Clinton was very involved in and included that the keystone of it was the TPP trade pact which Clinton has now disavowed at this point. Instead she really focuses on the fact that she's well versed on issues and tries to really bring up what Donald Trump Erin has said on foreign policy and many of his statements that have seemed ill- informed or outrageous and that has really been where her focus is instead of defending her legacy.

BURNETT: All right. Brianna, thank you very much.

And let's get straight to our panel now. Clinton supporter, Major General James Spider Marks joins me along with Trump's supporter Carl Higbie, a former Navy SEAL. Monica Langley, special writer, senior special writer for the Wall Street Journal. Clinton supporter Basil Smikle. Trump supporter Jeffrey Lord who of course worked for President Ronald Reagan. And Jeff Zeleny, our senior Washington correspondent.

Carl, Clinton calling Trump a schoolyard bully referring to his quote, "taunts and insults" saying his only way of responding to what she dubs legitimate criticism is to say, I know you are, but what am I?

CARL HIGBIE, FORMER NAVY SEAL, DONALD TRUMP SUPPORTER: Well, I mean, when you look at Hillary Clinton is trying to jab Trump at any number of things, but she's the one thing recently, she brought up was the pay to play thing with the Pamela Bondi in Florida. The bottom-line is, she is not one to say anything about anybody doing anything play- to-play, anything wrong, anything immoral or anything so. I don't understand why she would come back with that childish response like that.

BURNETT: General?

MAJ. GEN. JAMES "SPIDER" MARKS, U.S. ARMY (RET.), CLINTON SUPPORTER: I've got to tell you that so are you or what am I, however she phrased that is inappropriate. I don't think that's the type of discourse that we need to have. Look, I've endorsed Hillary Clinton as the potential candidate to be president because I think she has been scarred enough. She's been the one in the arena. She's been in the arena. Donald Trump has not been in the arena so it's very easy to lob these criticisms against her. But she's been in the arena, and I can hope and I feel confident that she's learned from a significant number of mistakes.

If her presidency becomes what I call 03, Obama three she's got big issues. Right now she needs to distance herself from a number of the foreign policy issues that have been in place, and she was an architect of some of those, but she can raise her hand and say, look, I think I made some mistakes.

BURNETT: We don't like her response today. Go ahead, look.

HIGBIE: How many mistakes we allow her to make before he say she's not qualified to run my military?

MARKS: No, I think the military has an incredible number of very senior leaders who know what they are doing and are very, very measured. This military, unlike Donald Trump, this military is the finest military that you've been a part of and I've been a part of that I've ever witnessed in history. It's phenomenal. Capabilities are enormous. Thinking is enormous. We have leaders that really know how to engage at the policy level and the strategy level. I want the President to exist at the policy level and be extremely predictable. I don't want an unpredictable president.

BURNETT: On this point, on this point, what I thought was interesting today is Trump describing her as trigger happy. That does not fit with him trying to portray her as weak as he tries to do day in and day out.

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: I thought it's a little confusing actually that he did that. Because A, most Democrats are not called trigger happy and, in fact, one of the criticisms against her by some part of the -- and she's been too much of a hawk here. So, I'll be surprised if he keeps using that. I think in some quarters that actually could be a helpful thing to her militarily listing.

But this is all about judgment and that is the one thing going forward here that Donald Trump is trying to show that he has the judgment in the eyes of those suburban voters who aren't sure yet. So, it's national security this week the most central issue of our time, really, that it's all about judgment, but calling her trigger happy, I'm not sure that that works.

BURNETT: Yes, I mean, Jeff, it's the opposite. He keeps trying to say she's weak, she's not a campaign trail, she's tired, she's sick, all of these other things he's saying but now today he's turned about her invading, trigger happy, portraying her as a strong leader there.

JEFFREY LORD, DONALD TRUMP SUPPORTER: Trigger happy is a matter of judgment. It's not, you know, one of the things I have to say in listening, peace through strength as he mentioned today is exactly a phrase from President Reagan who used it in 1980 in the campaign against Jimmy Carter and used it throughout.

[19:10:07] BURNETT: He was speaking off a teleprompter so I'm sure they were very careful and make sure that was in it. Right? They want that --

LORD: Yes. I'm sure. There was a deliberate reference to it. And in terms of his reference to Hillary Clinton who is trigger happy, President Reagan invaded in the entire eight years, but one country and that was Granada and that happened to coincided with the weekend that the marine barracks was blown out in Lebanon and he had sent troops there as part of a peacekeeping force. He has later wrote in his memoirs that he regretted it and that he shouldn't have done it and what he learned from this is never commit these troops unless you're committed to victory and that I think is where we get into this prescription of --

BURNETT: But Trump is now saying he's depending on his generals for a plan. Right. Thirty days comes with a plan. Obviously that's different than what he had said before when he said he had a plan but he wasn't going to tell us what it was. But it's also different from what he has said about the generals of this country. Here he is.


TRUMP: I know more about ISIS than the generals do, believe me. They don't know much because they're not winning.


HIGBIE: Look, Donald Trump has a goal, okay? He has had a goal. I think he has misspoken when he said he has a plan. He definitely has a goal but what he needs to do is he needs to take the handcuffs off the military as we both know and let them do their job. Now, he says to his generals, hey, look, in 30 days I want a plan, it's like you bring me your plan, I'll give you the means to accomplish it?

BURNETT: General, are you surprised four four-star generals, 14 three star flag officers in a letter yesterday supporting Donald Trump, does it surprise you?

MARKS: Yes. It does surprise me but it clearly was in response to the letter that was issued to the 58 supporters, national security supporters about a month ago. The issue that I have is that the discussion of taking the gloves off of the military concern me as a guy who had the gloves on and in many case had to take the gloves off is that when we talk about rules of engagement, the payer for the rules of engagement is either the soldier on the ground or there will be collateral damage which is the face of a family. We have to have imposed upon the application of force some measured responses that have to be -- you have to be able to assess.

HIGBIE: General, I think that, you know, I've been at war first hand and I think that those rules of engagement are now killing our troops and I can point to a number of circumstances firsthand that I saw. And I think those measures, those extreme rules of engagement are getting our troops killed and I think I'd want someone like Donald Trump that one to take the gloves off, and accept a higher level of collateral damage that we've seen.

MARKS: But truly there's element of power here. It's not only military but it's diplomatic information and economic that have to be applied in a real synergistic way in order to achieve results, we know that.

BURNETT: All right. All of you staying with me. Next, Hillary Clinton calls it a scam. Bill Clinton says it was a payoff. Did Trump pay to play? We have new details breaking up this hour.

Plus, Trump's running-mate making it clear, he thinks President Obama was born in the United States. Why doesn't Donald Trump say it?

And breaking news, the FBI director delivering an unprecedented message about the Hillary Clinton e-mail investigation tonight. That breaking story ahead.


[19:16:07] BURNETT: Tonight, the Clinton campaign ramping up attacks on Donald Trump's alleged pay-to-play scandal.


BILL CLINTON (D), FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: Her opponent attacked my foundation. I think that's because they knew they were about to report that he used his foundation to give money to your attorney general which is not legal.


BURNETT: This is not the first time Trump has been accused of violating campaign donation laws though. Drew Griffin with our OUTFRONT report.


DREW GRIFFIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The cases may be old, but they point to a pattern. Donald Trump accused of skirting campaign donation laws, skirting lobbying laws, skirting any laws that would get in a way of a contribution in the right hands.

TRUMP: I've given to Hillary, I've given to everybody because that was my job. I have to give it them because when I want something I get it. When I call they kiss my ass, OK? It's true.

GRIFFIN: In 2000, Trump was fined for failing to register a fake institute, as a lobbying group and running what some believed are racist ads, lobbying against a Native American casino in Upstate, New York, a radio ads run by the institute for law and society pulled radio listeners the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe was involved in drug smuggling, money laundering, trafficking illegal immigrants, the ads ended saying, are these the kind of new neighbors we want?

It turns out that the institute had been organized by Roger Stone, Donald Trump's longtime public relations pal and funded by Trump. Both men settled the case against them without admitting guilt but those apologized in print, and in radio ads to the Mohawk Indiana and paid combined fines of $250,000, the largest ever at that time to the New York State Lobbying Commission.

Trump also got in trouble with the Federal Election Commission in 1988 after he exceed the $25,000 donation limit. He donated in excess $47,000 before, according to Trump's attorney at the time, Trump learned he had broken the law. Trump says he tried to get the money back, but he didn't get all of it and wound up paying a $15,000 fine to settle the matter. Trump's attorney stressing the fact that Mr. Trump acted voluntarily and expeditiously to correct an unintentional and unwitting violation.

Trump's case was so bad it made the Federal Elections Commissions selected list of cases and he's right there on page seven, but before you say gotcha, Trump has lots of company much higher on the SEC's list including the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and the Republican National Committee, Obama for America and very near the top the Democratic National Committee. Lawrence Noble, the Campaign Legal Center says Trump may not be the biggest campaign finance violator but he certainly should know enough to follow the law.

LAWRENCE NOBLE, CAMPAIGN LEGAL CENTER: He has made these types of things a serious issue, he has talked about political contributions and how they buy influence and how when he gave them he expected people to respond. So you would think that he would have some sensitivity to the laws involving giving political contributions.

GRIFFIN: Trump's defense over the years including his botched donation to Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi has been they were all mistakes, errors in accounting or not realizing he was violating the rules. (END VIDEOTAPE)

BURNETT: I understand that you find those other examples, Drew, but when you mentioned there that the donation to Pam Bondi in Florida, that wasn't all he did to help her, was it?

GRIFFIN: No, that's not. In 2014 a year after that he opened up the doors of his Mar-a-Lago Club for a big fund-raiser hosted for Bondi. You can see the invitation came from Trump and Rudy Giuliani. Minimum donation was $3,000. Newspapers in Florida say that Trump was able to raise about $140,000 for Bondi's re-election campaign -- Erin.

BURNETT: Hmm. All right. Thank you very much, Drew.

I want to bring back my panel. Jeff, let me start with you, Jeff Lord. Okay. He gave no money, he gave no fundraisers to Pam Bondi and then all of a sudden, in a couple of months before she decides not to go ahead and prosecute Trump University and the couple of months after his daughter donates to her campaign and he donates via his foundation to the campaign and then he hosted the fund-raiser which we understand local reports say, he rented the host for $500,000 when it usually goes for $140,000. Clinton saying, this is a clear pay to play.

LORD: Yes. And I just don't think there's anything there with this. I mean, honest to goodness, politicians, Donald Trump and everybody else get donations from people like Donald Trump

which he has been saying from the get go here. And the case of Trump University, she didn't even know, I mean, as I understand it, her lower level staff never even brought this to her attention here. So, I mean, this just doesn't -- this just doesn't fit, I mean, and to what, to Bill Clinton's credit --

BURNETT: But he knew, right?

LORD: And he self-corrected here on this one. The point here is, I love Bill Clinton because he does exactly this, right? He is -- he is not what his wife is. He is a really good, slick politician and they don't call him slick willy for nothing. And he tries to equate. What he is really trying to do here is take the focus off all of the e- mails and all the Clinton Foundations and say, this is a moral equivalent over here and it's not even close. This isn't even apples to oranges.

[19:21:29] BASIL SMIKLE, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, NEW YORK STATE DEMOCRATIC PARTY: But let's be clear here, Donald Trump specifically said he gives money to get the outcomes that he wants. This -- there was a clear -- it seemed as though this investigation was taking off and all of a sudden it stopped. Mind you, there must have been enough there to initiate this because even here in New York State the Attorney General is prosecuting and investigating --

LORD: I might add --


Is he investigating the Clinton Foundation?

SMIKLE: Well, you know what? It wouldn't have been political if the attorney general in Florida had gone ahead with her prosecution of Trump University, but she did not, why? I don't know. Maybe the charity actually gave her some money and taken it back and all of a sudden there's $100,000 fund-raiser for this individual? Donald Trump said --


BURNETT: He decided not to prosecute. That timing could be significant.

SMIKLE: Right. He said it from his own mouth. He pays for his outcomes.

BURNETT: So, today the campaign manager for Donald Trump Kellyanne Conway of course you all know, her calls it all a coincidence. Monica, here's how she put it.


KELLYANNE CONWAY, DONALD TRUMP CAMPAIGN MANAGER: Mr. Trump and Attorney General Bondi never discussed the Trump University matter at all. It's very customary for him to contribute to Republican candidates across the country and he's been very generous including some of the candidates who don't support him now in his presidency.


BURNETT: Monica, coincidence?

MONICA LANGLEY, SENIOR WRITER, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: Well, that's their story and they're sticking to it. And they argue that the excessive amount of e-mails and the, you know, the people that were able to make donations to the Clinton Foundation and then get special treatment at the State Department is much more excessive and consistent than his occasional mishaps or accidental problems with either the Florida or any other examples, and if this is a changed election, they believe that what Hillary Clinton has shown with the Clinton Foundation and Secretary of State as a Washington Insider is much more problematic for her than it is --

BURNETT: Than an outsider trying to buy influence if indeed that's what people perceive.

LANGLEY: Yes. Yes.

BURNETT: So, Jeff, you know, but the actions here, though, there is something that seems intentional. That wasn't the only thing in Drew's report. Once she said, 18 different subsidiary companies at one point in New York, Trump used to give donations. That made it look like 18 different groups were giving so he could give 18 times what he was allowed to give.

LORD: Look, I don't know. All of the ins and outs of this. All I can tell you is, on the one hand he was a businessman doing business. And this is what -- this is the whole crony capitalist thing. This is why all of this establishment people hate him because he has turned on the system, and he has said it's corrupt, and he is the one leading the charge.

BURNETT: Can he -- can he get away with saying they're going to kiss my, you know what, and that is a good thing?

ZELENY: It definitely makes him look like a politician which is what he's been trying not to, we know of course, he is. But I think one of the things that highlights, he has been giving to a lot of Democrats all these years, including recently to two of the attorneys general, even the Democratic attorney general in California. So I don't know that we can't prove that there was pay-for-play here.

Absolutely not, but we can't prove it in the Clinton Foundation either, so it certainly muddies the water here. But I think since he brings it up in the Clinton Foundation, there are certainly are more examples here or as many examples here. At the end of the day, that's why people hate all of this here. I'm not sure this changes the ball at all, it certainly for the Clinton campaign, it's a distraction --

BURNETT: Quick final word, Basil.

SMIKLE: If I can just interject because we said this and sort of talked around this that he may not be a typical politician and he's trying not to present himself as that, and I hear all this time, this line of reasoning that the bar is going to be set really low for him. My issue is, if you'll going to hold him accountable, hold him accountable to the same way that you hold Hillary Clinton accountable. It's unfair that you sort of lower the bar for him because he has no experience --


But you know what, he's running for president of the United States. If you're going to hold her accountable, hold him accountable the same way.

BURNETT: All right. We'll leave it there. Thanks to all. And next, Mike Pence, as he believes Barack Obama was born in the United States. I guess that still qualifies as breaking news. Should Donald Trump apologize for his birther conspiracies?

And a Republican lawmaker struggling with this simple question about Donald Trump.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you comfortable with him having his finger on the nuclear button?


BURNETT: Breaking news. A growing number of Republicans urging Donald Trump to ditch the birther issue, and admit the truth that President Obama was born in the United States. E

[19:30:05] Even Trump's running mate, Mike Pence, told reporters today, quote, "I believe Barack Obama was born in Hawaii. I accept his birthplace. I just don't know where he's coming from on foreign policy, on economics and on Obamacare."

And here Senator Lindsey Graham's advice to Trump tonight.


SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: Here's Mr. Trump's problem. If you hang on to these views and you can't say, you know, that's not right, then people question your judgment. If you really do believe that this president was born in Kenya, then I'm not so sure I want you to be my president.


BURNETT: Sunlen Serfaty is OUTFRONT.

And, Sunlen, there's no sign that Trump seems to be changing his tune on the birther issue, is there?

SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: No signs at all, Erin, that Donald Trump is backing off in one bit against this as he has in the past and not really walked away from those insinuations that he made in the past or renounced the birther movement, writ large, in any way, and it was very notable not only Senator Graham but one of Donald Trump's chief surrogates and top surrogates, Ben Carson, said that he believes that this is hurting Donald Trump right now especially when talking about how he's trying to court African-American voters.

And Ben Carson notably said that he believes that it would help Donald Trump to apologize for making these charges that President Obama was not born in the U.S. when everyone knows when he was born in the U.S.

Well, Donald Trump did not appear close to an apology and here's what he said recently on FOX.


BILL O'REILLY, FOX NEWS HOST: So you think your birther position has hurt you among African-Americans?

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: I don't know. I have no idea. I don't even talk about it anymore, Bill, I don't bother talking about it. I don't know.

I guess with maybe some. I don't know why. I really don't know why, but I think very few -- you're the first one that's brought that up in a while. I don't think so. I mean, look, I went to Detroit. We had -- it was like a love fest.


SERFATY: It's not really an act of defiance to Ben Carson there by Donald Trump. Ben Carson's voice, of course, carrying so much weight within the African-American community, so Donald Trump just casting this aside, Erin, as a non-issue.

BURNETT: All right. Sunlen, thank you very much.

OUTFRONT now, Pastor Darrell Scott, a Donald Trump supporter, and Bishop Corletta Vaughn, a Hillary Clinton supporter.

Bishop Vaughn, let me start with you. You just saw Donald Trump, he says, you know, look, love fest in Detroit. He doesn't think the birther issue has hurt him that much with African-Americans. He's not apologizing for anything he's said in the past. What do you say?

BISHOP CORLETTA VAUGH, HILLARY CLINTON SUPPORTER: I say what I've always said. Mr. Trump needs to say that he is sorry for making those statements, for being a part of that conspiracy against our president. I think that even when he was with us in Detroit, had he just started with that and said -- you know, maybe I over spoke it, but that's not where my heart is today. That would soothe a lot of feathers, and I believe it would go a long way in the African-American community.

BURNETT: Pastor Scott, Ben Carson, one of Trump's top surrogates said Donald Trump should apologize for the birther issue and you heard Senator Lindsey Graham saying the same thing. Mike Pence says President Obama was born in the United States.

Why can't Trump just say it and apologize?

PASTOR DARRELL SCOTT, DONALD TRUMP SUPPORTER: I don't think he has to apologize. In 2010, "The New York Times" conducted a poll which revealed that 43 percent of all Americans believed President Obama was born outside of the country or they were not sure. Donald Trump was among that 43 percent.

But the thing that people have to realize is that it was not racial. It was political. It was a political move, not a racial move and the Democratic Party has taken something that was political and tried to make it racial.

Now, Trump has grudgingly accepted this citizenship --

BURNETT: Grudgingly, yes.

SCOTT: He has grudgingly accepted it and it does not require an apology. Watch this. The same issue was broached in 2015-2016 with Ted Cruz and his citizenship was questioned and nobody thought it was racial. The race card was not played. It was known to be political, which it was.

Now, did Trump offend Canadian-Americans, does Trump have to apologize to all Canadian-Americans? They took something that was political and made it racial.

BURNETT: Now, Pastor, on your point about the polls, though, when you say he's among the 43 percent, there are many who would say he was the driver of the 43 percent. VAUGHN: Absolutely.

SCOTT: No, no.


BURNETT: He was the guy who many people say the president wasn't born here. He wasn't among, he was the driver.

SCOTT: He couldn't have been because the poll was taken in 2010 and Donald Trump didn't bring up the birther issue until 2011. So, he came in afterwards. He was not the leader. G. Gordon Liddy was the leader of the birther issue and the former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay was a leading proponent of it. Trump came in and he believed it, and that's his right as an American citizen to believe whatever conspiracy theory or whatever it is that he wants to believe.

But once again, it's political.

[19:35:02] And they took something that was political and made it racial. And now, since Trump is making inroads into the black community, Hillary Clinton gets this old argument back out, dust it off and tries to play on the emotions and the sensitivities of black to say don't vote for him because he questioned our president.

BURNETT: Bishop Vaughn?

VAUGHN: Listen, be that as it may. Here's where we are today, with African-Americans now at 2 percent in terms of favoring Mr. Trump as a presidential candidate. If you want to engage us, be that as it may, you can, quote dates, you can quote facts and you can quote names.

The reality is you're 2 percent or less in the polls with African- American. If I think that that is something that can bring more that can engage more people to me, then just make the decision as a leader and say, listen, I'm sorry. You know --

SCOTT: You don't apologize in politics, though.

VAUGHN: But this is what we want. We want the votes. You'd be surprised what has to happen, and I don't think it's just racial. I don't really think it's just racial. I really don't.

SCOTT: It was political.

VAUGHN: It was, but at that point.

SCOTT: Bishop Vaughn --

VAUGHN: Let me finish. At that point he wasn't running for president. Today he's running, so let's gap. Close the gap, and that's not all -- that's not all that the African-American community is concerned about.

BURNETT: Let her finish.

SCOTT: Let me jump in. Political parties always look for a reason to disqualify their opponents.

VAUGHN: Absolutely.

SCOTT: He's looking for a reason to disqualify him and there's nothing unusual about that.

VAUGHN: All I'm saying is now that we are --


VAUGH: And I understand that, Scott, but where we are today with your own surrogate advising you to say it! This is your top surrogate.

SCOTT: So what?

VAUGHN: That is inviting you to say it?

SCOTT: So what?

VAUGHN: Why not just say it? Just say it?

SCOTT: I wouldn't say it either.

BURNETT: What is so hard about those two words?

SCOTT: Why should he be sorry for a political statement?

VAUGHN: Not necessarily sorry for the statement, Scott, but sorry --

BURNETT: He said something that was untrue, Pastor.

SCOTT: If it is racist then he has to be sorry for it, but if it's political.

Why isn't anybody asking him to apologize to Ted Cruz? Why Canadian- Americans in an uproar?

BURNETT: Ted Cruz was born in Canada. That is the difference.

SCOTT: But the citizenship is questioned.

VAUGH: He's trying to win the African-American vote. The point of it is --


SCOTT: Now watch us --

BURNETT: I'm going to hit pause here, but we are going to have you both back on this --

SCOTT: Erin, I've got a point --

BURNETT: I've got to leave it there. Thank you.

OUTFRONT next, we do have the breaking news on the FBI. The director responding to the criticism of his report of Hillary Clinton's e-mails and a very defensive response from the director next.

And I'll report on why it's tough to be a Trump supporter on some college campuses.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How many of you are reluctant to share your political beliefs on campus?



[19:42:12] BURNETT: Breaking news, the FBI Director James Comey firing back in a letter to employees of the agency, strongly defending the FBI's investigation into Hillary Clinton's e-mail. Comey also standing by releasing the investigation over Labor Day weekend saying, quote, "We don't play games."

Evan Perez is OUTFRONT.

And, Evan, obviously, he's on the defense. How unprecedented is this memo?

EVAN PEREZ, CNN JUSTICE REPORTER: Erin, it's extraordinary frankly. You know, there's nothing ordinary about that case and it's not normal for the FBI to release so much information about the case that we decided not to bring charges on, but Comey said in the letter to employees that at the end of the day, quote, "The case itself is not a cliffhanger despite all the chest beating by people no longer in government and there wasn't a prosecutable case", is what he's saying.

You get a sense here that he's not only talking to employees, Erin. He's talking to members of Congress and former FBI officials who are out there criticizing his decision.

BURNETT: And he's being criticized by members of Congress, Paul Ryan among them, saying, oh, the fact that you're putting some information out over Labor Day and you're trying to hide it.

PEREZ: Right. And I think what's happening here behind the scenes is this. You know, the FBI officials know that Republicans are not happy about the decision not to bring charges in this case. But, you know, behind the scenes what they're talking about is this. Do you want the FBI to bring a case against a presidential candidate weeks before an election? Do you want that?

This is not the decision for the FBI to make. This is a decision for voters and that's the decision that they feel that they put in the voters' hands here.

BURNETT: All right. Well, Evan, thank you very much.

And also new tonight in Donald Trump we don't trust. A number of lawmakers on Capitol Hill refusing to say they have faith in a possible President Trump handling the nation's nuclear codes and this is coming from Republicans.

Manu Raju with this OUTFRONT exclusive.


MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER (voice-over): As Donald Trump tries to sell voters on his national security credentials, some Republicans in Congress are struggling with the key question.

(on camera): Do you trust him having his finger on the nuclear button?

SEN. LAMAR ALEXANDER (R), TENNESSEE: I support the Republican nominees.

RAJU: What about the nuclear code? Can he be trusted on that?

ALEXANDER: I support the Republican nominee, and I'm glad to do it.

RAJU: Do you trust Donald Trump with his finger on the nuclear button?

SEN. JOHN CORNYN (R), MAJORITY WHIP: I think he's a better choice than Mrs. Clinton who has proven herself time and time again to be untrustworthy. I don't think -- somebody said she can't even talk truthfully about whether he's telling the truth and that troubles me terribly.

RAJU: What about Trump?

CORNYN: Well, I think he's a better choice.

RAJU (voice-over): But the top Republican in the Senate has no doubts.

(on camera): Do you feel confident that he can be trusted with his finger on the nuclear button?

SEN. MITCH MCCONELL (R-KY), MAJORITY LEADER: I didn't hear the speech today, but the answer is yes.

RAJU (voice-over): Polls paint a different picture, including a recent survey that found 54 percent of voters trust Clinton with the nuclear codes, compared to just 35 percent for Trump.

[19:45:03] Yet, Clinton's lead is just five points when voters are asked which candidate would be a better commander-in-chief.

Other Republicans in tough races this November like New Hampshire's Kelly Ayotte, and Arizona's John McCain, also won't answer directly.

REP. WILL HURD (R), TEXAS: My race is about me.

RAJU: And neither will endangered House Republicans.

(on camera): Are you comfortable with him having his finger on the nuclear button?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've yet to endorse him. I don't anticipate that getting by November.

RAJU: If he had his finger on the nuclear button, would you be comfortable with that?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have strong policy disagreements with Mr. Trump.

RAJU (voice-over): The anxiety showing that Trump still has work to do to convince his own party he can lead the nation's military.

Today in Philadelphia, Trump painted Clinton as the one who was reckless.

TRUMP: She's trigger happy and very unstable.

RAJU: And Congressman Joe Heck, running to be Nevada's next senator, isn't dancing around the question.

(on camera): You're completely supporting him?


RAJU: Do you trust him having his finger on the nuclear button?

HECK: I do.

RAJU: Why do you say that?

HECK: Why wouldn't I?


RAJU: And, Erin, I asked the Trump campaign to respond to the Republicans who won't say Trump can't be trusted with the nuclear codes and the spokesman referred me to the 88 retired admirals and generals saying he's doing better with military families. Plus, the Trump campaign believes voters will ultimately trust Trump over Clinton because of her mishandling of classified e-mails -- Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Manu, thank you very much.

And OUTFRONT next --


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They're going to come after us. We don't belong on this campus. We don't have a place on this campus.


BURNETT: Intolerance on college campuses. Why some young Trump supporters are afraid to admit they're voting for him.

And Jeanne Moos on the newest iPhone. Did Apple make a huge mistake? (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You want to say good-bye to these things?




[19:50:45] BURNETT: Tonight, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton running neck and neck in the polls and a new poll from George Washington University finding 42 percent of voters backed Clinton and 40 percent for Trump, again, a statistical dead heat

But on one of America's most liberal college campuses, Trump supporters are not only outnumbered but scorned for supporting Trump.

Kyung Lah is OUTFRONT.


KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): 1964, the University of California-Berkeley, the birth of an unprecedented student movement.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There are going to be freedom schools conducted up there. We're going to have classes on First and Fourteenth Amendment!

LAH: Decade after decade, Berkeley symbolized free political speech on America's campuses, a bastion of liberalism.

Fast forward to 2016.

TROY WORDEN, BERKELEY COLLEGE REPUBLICANS: My shirt says "Trump make America great again" and my hat says "make America great again".

LAH: The Berkeley Republican Club towing their Trump cut-out. On one of America's most liberal campuses, this is head turning, ridiculed.

THEA MATTHEWS, STUDENT, BERKELEY COLLEGE: It doesn't get any better than this, kids.

LAH: Insults receiving.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm shocked. On campus anyone your age would be doing that. I'm ashamed.

LAH: Claire Chiara says she's heard it all as a Republican student of Berkeley.

CLAIRE CHIARA, BERKELEY COLLEGE REPUBLICANS: They're going to come after us. We don't belong on this campus. We don't have a place on this campus.

LAH: Her attendance as California's youngest delegate at the Republican National Convention led to online threats.

CHIARA: People feel like Republicans don't have a home here and it's a little bit intimidating to have people walk by and want to yell at you or denounce your beliefs simply because you're sitting out there identifying as a Republican.

LAH: It's a feeling shared by others in the club.

(on camera): How many of you are reluctant to share your political beliefs on campus?

So, almost everybody.

KELLYANNE CONWAY, TRUMP CAMPAIGN MANAGER: The undercover Trump voter, but it's real.

LAH (voice-over): Kellyanne Conway called that public shaming the reason why Trump performs better on online polls, more anonymous than telephone polling

CONWAY: It's become socially desirable especially if you're a college-educated person in the United States of America to say you're against Donald Trump.

LAH: Berkeley students say supporting Trump isn't just socially undesirable here.

GABRIEL SANTES, STUDENT BERKELEY STUDENT: If you are going around supporting someone who is known to be an open racist that kind of puts a target on your head, as well.

LAH: Especially if you're club president Jose Diaz.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't know your ethnicity, but none of the racist issues bother you?

JOSE DIAZ, PRESIDENT, BERKELEY COLLEGE REPUBLICANS: They questioned, you're Hispanic, why do I support Donald Trump?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'll tell you, I was kind of stunned.

CHIARA: There's a complete lack of tolerance for the idea that any member of the Berkeley community could hold the beliefs that we do.

LAH: The irony runs thick to these students, a place that forge free speech on campus, uncomfortable, with political speech with which they disagree.


LAH: We spoke with the head of Berkeley's political science department, and he says that these conservative students actually end up thriving on campus because their beliefs are constantly challenged. Those conservative students for their part, they agree. They say they love their campus and they've learned an important lesson, Erin, that it is best in political discourse to have your beliefs challenged and to defend them rather than just to feed into your own biases -- Erin.

BURNETT: The benefit they are getting, and perhaps some of the other students on the other side are not.

Thank you very much, Kyung Lah, fascinating report.

And next, Jeanne Moos on the new iPhone. This time, the news is all about what it does not have.


BURNETT: Apple says it's courageous for making a major new change to the iPhone, but not everyone agrees.

Here's Jeanne Moos.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: If Apple has its way, you can kiss your headphone wires goodbye, gone the way of the tethered telephone because the new iPhone 7 has no headphone jack.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We believe in a wireless future.

MOOS: Meet airpods. Wired said they looked like a tiny space fisherman.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Priced at just $159.

MOOS: No more dancing with flopping wires like in the old iPod ads.


MOOS: You want to say good-bye to these things?


MOOS: IPhone fans of all ages.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am going to miss the headphone jack.

MOOS: Were resistant.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If it's not broken, just leave it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I find the wireless a pain in the neck because you have to charge them.

MOOS: But the new air pods supplied five hours of listening on a single charge. Those watching the iPhone 7 unveiling got a charge out of James Corden, singing carpool karaoke while pretending to transport Apple CEO Tim Cook to the event.

Presenters extolled everything from longer battery life to better cameras to water resistant, allows the new iPhones to survive a dunk in the toilet, while jokesters mocked Apple for its air pods and created parody products like the Apple pencil, writes on things and instant recharging.

This is no parody. Apple introduced two new iPhone colors.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is a second new black. We call it simply black.

MOOS: Wires and headphone jacks only '90s kids will remember.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Infrared sensors detect which each air pod is in your ear.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's one more thing to worry about.

MOOS: The Apple event ended with a performance by the shy to show her face Sia. Unfortunately, we couldn't see whether or not she was wearing AirPods.

Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


BURNETT: And thank you so much, as always, for joining us. We'll see you back here tomorrow night.

"AC360" starts right now.