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STATE OF THE UNION
Hillary Clinton Overheated And Left The 9/11 Ceremony; Interview With CIA Former Acting Director Michael Morell; Clinton Regrets "Basket of Deplorables" Comment; Interview with Jeh Johnson; State of the Cartoonian. Aired 12-1p ET
Aired September 11, 2016 - 12:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking news, just moments ago, we saw Hillary Clinton leaving her daughter's apartment building in New York City waving to reporters and onlookers.
A statement from her campaign says that Clinton went to her daughter Chelsea's apartment after leaving today's 9/11 commemoration event at Ground Zero. She left early because the campaign says, she felt overheated. Sources telling CNN that Clinton was not feeling well even before the ceremony and appeared to have to be helped into her vehicle as she was leaving it.
Listen to how Clinton responded to reporters just now. They were trying to get information about what happened.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How are you feeling Secretary Clinton? Are you feeling better?
HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Yes, thank you very much.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: CNN senior Washington correspondent Jeff Zeleny has been working his sources and joins us now. And Jeff, what have you learned?
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jake, we do know that she was at the Ground Zero ceremony this morning for about 90 minutes or so. And it was 82 degrees or so, very muggy out there we're told. But her campaign says she in fact felt overheated and she left. But it was the -- a very abrupt departure there. But we have a statement from her campaign. Let's take a look at that. From Nick Merrill, her spokesman.
He says this, "Secretary Clinton attended the September 11th Commemoration Ceremony for just an hour and 30 minutes this morning to pay her respects and greet some of the families of the fallen. During the ceremony, she felt overheated so departed to go to her daughter's apartment and is feeling much better." That is the only official word and statement from the Clinton campaign.
We saw her walking out of had her daughter's apartment in the Flatiron District of Manhattan just a short time ago. She said she's feeling great. A reporter shouted a question to her, but she did not come over and answer any questions or in fact explain this morning what happened in her own words here.
And we do know that there have been questions from the other side, her critics from Donald Trump, who says that campaign rally after rally that she's low energy and she's not feeling well here (ph). So this certainly will feed into those sort of lingering questions that are out there. But right now we're told she is heading back to her home in Chappaqua and will be unscheduled the rest of the day on the heels of a three-day west coast swing she's doing tomorrow.
TAPPER: And we should point out one of the reasons why this is becoming perhaps not the kind of headlines that Hillary Clinton and her campaign want is because they were not initially transparent about what had happened.
There's a pool of report that travels with her. They were cordoned off from her and other politicians at the 9/11 commemoration. Clinton had left the event and the pool reporters had not even been informed. And then we didn't roll the tape at the beginning, but at the beginning she walks out of the apartment. Reporter says what happened? Come over here and tell us what happened. And she says, it's a beautiful day in New York, and walks away from them. So there is a transparency issue that's not helping her apparently.
ZELENY: Right. There is a transparency issue. There is a protective pool that is around her as well as around her rival.
Any time a candidate becomes the nominee they are surrounded by a pool of reporters. They were not told what happened and they were left behind not entirely unusual. That happens sometimes with the president and certainly presidential candidates leaving their reporters behind. But they -- it took them awhile to get a statement out here as they were trying to figure out how she was doing.
And Jake, I think, this raises the question of transparency here going forward. She and Donald Trump have been less transparent about their medical records than any other candidates in recent memory. They have released very little information. She has released much more than Donald Trump has. A letter from her doctor saying she is in perfect health to serve, but they have not given their medical records like other recent candidates have. So you have to wonder if they will release more of those records.
We know about her hospitalization in 2013, her blood clot et cetera. The challenge is to be transparent without feeding into these conspiracy theories that certainly are out there.
TAPPER: That's right. She -- her doctor Dr. Lisa Bardack several months ago put out a letter saying that she's a healthy 67-year-old. She suffers from hypothyroidism and has seasonal pollen allergies, is what the campaign blames for her consistent cough she's had. And as you know in late 2012 after a fainting spell and concussion in she suffered a blood clot between her brain and skull, which her doctor says, all that now is clear and fine.
ZELENY: Right. She does said, it's clear an fine, but you have to wonder going forward here will they release more medical records simply to move beyond this here.
Now it's interesting to note the ages of both candidates are quite high, 68 and 69 years old would be the oldest president to serve if -- won (ph) into office older than Ronald Reagan here. So the American voters have less information about both of these candidates, you know, than in other recent memory.
Certainly not in the history of time, but certainly in recent transparent campaigns.
TAPPER: I remember John McCain released a whole bunch of information as did Mitt Romney, as did Barack Obama. Jeff Zeleny, thank you so much.
Today of course is also the 15th anniversary of those horrific September 11th attacks. Americans gathered earlier today to remember and to reflect. Families who lost their loved ones on that horrible day read the names of the dead at Ground Zero. Almost 3,000 of them.
The president honored victims in a ceremony at the Pentagon and in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Bells rang to remember the passengers and crew, those heroic men and women of flight 93. It's an intense emotional day for all Americans and the gatherings through the nation's top officials.
Ground Zero, two New Yorkers Clinton as well as Donald Trump arrived to pay their respects. That of course was before Clinton left the ceremony after being -- quote -- unquote -- "overheated."
With us now to talk about national security and 9/11 is Michael Morell. He is a former acting director of the CIA. He is supporting Hillary Clinton now.
Mr. Morell, thanks so much for being here. We appreciate it.
MICHAEL MORELL, FORMER ACTING DIRECTOR, CIA: It's good to be here.
TAPPER: So do you know anything about Hillary Clinton's health and what happened this morning? I know that you're not a campaign person but you have endorsed her.
MORELL: I'd say two things. One is I was with her on Friday at a national security session in New York. She looked fantastic. She had high energy.
The other thing I'd say is there are times in all of our lives where we don't feel well. I missed some of the briefings after -- immediately after 9/11 because I wasn't feeling well. So let's not make more of this than there is.
TAPPER: OK. I want to -- I want to move on. I do want to talk about one other thing that developed over the weekend which is Hillary Clinton at a fundraiser referring to half of Donald Trump supporters as being in a basket of deplorables. She said that she regrets now saying half, but let's play that sound if we can.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CLINTON: To just be grossly generalistic, you can put half of Trump supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables.
Right? The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic, you name it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: She has since said that she regrets saying half, but she maintains that Donald Trump does have the supporters who are deplorable. It's a pretty, as she said herself generalization -- a gross generalization to describe millions of Americans that way, don't you think?
MORELL: Look, I'll let what she said stand. She said she regrets saying it. I'll just leave it there.
TAPPER: Do you -- are you troubled at all in the same way she seems to be by Donald Trump supporters?
MORELL: Look, I think there are some people who are supporting him because of xenophobic things that he has said, right? And I worry about those people too, right? So I'll leave it at that.
TAPPER: All right. I want to talk about national security issues, which is obviously why you're here. I would also note though and I know I don't have to remind you this in addition to being the anniversary of the September 11th attacks in 2001, it's also the anniversary of the Benghazi attacks in which we lost four brave Americans. Ambassador Chris Stevens, Information Officer Sean Smith, and two CIA operatives, Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods.
You were at the CIA at the time. What lessons would you say you learned from that day?
MORELL: I think the key lesson, and I think this has been lost all the way around, all along, this whole episode, is that because violent extremism, the ideology has spread so far in places like Libya, in places like Syria, in places like Iraq, in places like Yemen where we might have facilities we have to protect them as if they are war zones, right? And that means -- that means ringing them with security. That means having the kind of intelligence you have on the ground in a war zone to protect yourself from people who are trying to attack you. That's the main lesson learned. TAPPER: Is there also a lesson, a lot of people criticize the White House for being focused on the narrative that this wasn't a terrorist attack this was because of the anti-Muslim video? Is there also a lesson in making sure that White House is transparent about what happens and doesn't get swept up in a political narrative? Is that --
MORELL: So I will say two things. One is there is no dichotomy between the video possible causing the attack and it being a terrorist attack. It can be both of those things. And that has been lost on a lot of people. In fact the only guy who has been arrested and, you know, brought to justice for this attack, Abu Khattala, told the FBI that one of the two reasons that he conducted the attack was because of the video.
So there's this idea out there it could possibly have been that video. One of the guys who was arrested said that it was the video.
MORELL: So in terms of the politics of this, you know, for me the lesson is when it becomes political, get all the information out there as fast as you possibly can. That's the political lesson for me.
TAPPER: You have a scathing op-ed in "The Washington Post" this weekend written alongside your fellow national security expert Mr. Olson former --
MORELL: Mike Vickers.
TAPPER: It was with Vickers?
TAPPER: OK. I'm sorry, with Mike Vickers formerly with whom you used to work. And then you had also written one in the "New York Times" previously in which you suggested that Donald Trump was an unwitting agent of Vladimir Putin and the Russian federation.
Are you being facetious there or do you really think that he has been duped by Vladimir Putin?
MORELL: I'm not being facetious at all.
I think Vladimir Putin considers him an unwitting agent, right? An unwitting agent is somebody who does what you want them to do without them knowing that you're doing it on their behalf. Putin played to Trump by telling Trump what he wanted to hear, which is I'm a great guy, I'm smarter than anybody else, I'm a great person. Putin played to that. Putin is a trained intelligence officer. He knows how to play to people.
What was the result of Putin praising Donald Trump? Donald Trump in turn praising Vladimir Putin. Donald Trump saying that we might not defend the Baltics if they were attacked. Donald Trump saying that it might be OK that Putin grabbed Crimea. You know, Donald Trump is a great leader. All of that plays right into Putin's hands. So absolutely I think Putin sees him as an unwitting agent.
TAPPER: Hillary Clinton said something about Vladimir Putin telling Chris Cuomo in an interview that just aired a few minutes ago, Vladimir Putin has tried to disrupt and interfere with Democratic elections here in the United States.
I know that some counterterrorism officials believe that some of the hacks, the DNC one in particular, were done by Russian hackers. But is there actual evidence that Vladimir Putin is trying to disrupt this election?
MORELL: So I have not seen the evidence, right? I'm not in the government anymore. I'm not in the intelligence community. But Putin has a long track record of interfering in the elections of the countries around Russia and former Soviet Union. Using cyber operations, using information operations, paying political parties. He has done some of that in Western Europe.
I believe that he is behind the hack of the DNC. I believe that he has given those e-mails to WikiLeaks and I believe there's a plan to string those out to make her look bad. He wants Donald Trump to win this election. In part because of the romance that we see between the two. And in part because Putin does not believe that Hillary Clinton will be easy on Russia. He believes that she will be tough on Russia.
TAPPER: Can Putin and/or these Russian hackers who you're suggesting answer to him, can he actually affect the election not just in terms of the propaganda or materials or e-mails to come out but in terms of changing the results of the election?
MORELL: No. I don't believe so. I don't believe so. He might think he can have an impact at the margin but I don't believe that's possible.
TAPPER: You know, in 2012 when Mitt Romney said that Russia was the nation's number one geopolitical foe and Barack Obama and Democrats mocked him for it. I think that it's possible that, you know, Romney was right and certainly (INAUDIBLE) and the generals all say that Russia is the number one geopolitical foe.
I think a lot of people out there watching think -- look, you weren't -- you weren't saying that in 2012. You weren't making fun of Mitt Romney but I think a lot of people out there watching are getting a little whiplash. They are saying, wait, now Russia is our number one foe. Just four years ago Democrats and the media were mocking Republicans for saying that.
MORELL: I wouldn't say Russia is the number one foe, right? Counterterrorism, top of the list. Cyber broadly North Korea, Russia, China, you know, they are all in a group at the top. You know, Russia has been -- Russia has been an adversary for a very, very long time. Somebody who has been in the intelligence business knows that. They never stopped playing the intelligence game.
This is a very bad guy. This is a thug and a bully. This is a guy who only understands relative power. This is a guy who doesn't believe it's possible to sit down and have a negotiation with win-win. This is a guy -- this is a guy who if he punches you in the face, you got to punch him back in the face.
TAPPER: All right. Former Acting CIA Director Michael Morell, it's a pleasure to have you on the show.
MORELL: Good to be with you.
TAPPER: I hope it's a meaningful day for you. 9/11 is tough I know for a lot of us.
MORELL: Thank you.
TAPPER: Thank you so much. Stay with us. For the latest on Hillary Clinton's health after she left the 9/11 memorial early this morning. We'll get a live report after the break. Stay with us.
TAPPER: More now on this hour's breaking news.
We have just received some video of Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stumbling as she left the 9/11 commemoration in New York City this morning. A statement from the Clinton campaign said she felt overheated and went to her daughter's apartment to get her bearings. Let's watch this video for a second.
There you see her apparently almost falling but captured -- caught by people presumably secret service agents around her. A little while ago we saw her leave her daughter's apartment building and waved to reporters, and on looking better than she does in the video we're showing right now. She didn't have much to say just now but you can listen to how she responded to reporters shouted questions.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How are you feeling Secretary Hillary Clinton? Are you feeling better?
CLINTON: Yes, thank you very much. Thank you, everybody.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: CNN national politics reporter MJ Lee is outside Chelsea Clinton's apartment where Secretary Clinton went to recuperate.
MJ, Clinton didn't really have much to say when she left reporters, asked her to come over and tell them what happened and she said it's a beautiful day in New York.
MJ LEE, CNN NATIONAL POLITICS REPORTER: That's right, Jake. This has turned into an unexpectedly tense morning for Hillary Clinton. We are outside of Chelsea Clinton's house in the Flatiron District where Hillary Clinton did leave a little bit before noon. You heard her say that she was feeling great. But we don't really know the extent of whatever this medical issue she had this morning. The only thing that the campaign has told us is that she was feeling overheated and that is why she came to her daughter's home here cutting the commemoration a little bit early.
Now to keep in mind that the campaign of course is very much wanted today to be free of politics, but for sure we know that the issues about her health and what happened this morning are certain to fuel questions about Hillary Clinton's health, Trump allies and Hillary Clinton's critics of course have continued to bring up questions about whether she is in a good state of health to assume the White House in the office of the White House. This is something that could be renewed because of what happened this morning.
The other question, Jake, of course is also whether this ends up affecting her travel. Tomorrow she is set to head west to do a west coast swing going to San Francisco, Los Angeles, so we'll be in touch with the campaign to see whether this ends up affecting her campaign schedule this it week.
TAPPER: All right. MJ Leek, thank you so much. Appreciate it.
Let's bring in our panel to talk more about this and other issues. With us CNN commentator Bakari Sellers, Tennessee Congressman is Diane Black, CNN political analyst Kirsten Powers and CNN commentator Andre Bauer.
Bakari, let me start with you and questions about a candidate's health. You know, we would be -- we can talk about Ronald Reagan. We can talk about Bob Dole. We can talk about John McCain, now we're talking about a Democratic candidate. Let's take a look at that video that we just got in a second ago of Hillary Clinton getting in to her vehicle and seeming to have some trouble standing as she gets into the vehicle.
All right. So it looks like somebody having trouble standing and could be explained away -- in an easily way but also, you know, she did have that serious episode when she had the blood clot between her brain and her skull in 2012.
BAKARI SELLERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: She has had -- and Kirsten and I were talking about this earlier when we were watching this. She's had two incidences that have occurred, medical incidence. One she coughed and the other she overheated.
That is the series of incidents she's had that have been medical necessities or medical needs. Look, she's actually provided more information records and more information than Donald Trump has. Does she need to provide more? That is a legitimate question to ask.
But the only time the Republican Party seems to care about women's health is when they're talking about Hillary's health. I think we need to talk about real serious issues that are affecting this campaign. And today is not a day for politics. Hillary Clinton got overhear at a 9/11 memorial and we need to move on. And we need to talk about the issue of (ph) the (ph) day (ph).
TAPPER: Congressman, I'm suspecting you don't agree with that.
REP. DIANE BLACK (R), TENNESSEE: Well, I do actually agree with that. I'm a nurse. And I don't want to speculate with what went on with Hillary Clinton. We don't know. That's up to the physicians to determine.
But what I will say is that I'm concerned about her policies on health care. I look at my state of Tennessee and the Affordable Care Act is imploding there, 63 percent will be the rise in premiums there in the state of Tennessee.. We lost our co-op, 25,000 people lost their insurance in one day. I'm more concerned about what she's saying about health care.
True health care for our nation and in particular for my state. I think that it will be up to the doctors to make that decision. I think as it's already said it's probably legitimate to ask, what is her health? And I think she has to be honest with the American people whether she is healthy enough to serve the country.
TAPPER: Andre, as Bakari points out it is just an accurate factual matter whatever you think of Hillary Clinton's health, Donald Trump has disclosed less information about his health.
He's 70 years old. Hillary Clinton is 68. Would it be a good idea for both candidates just to get all the health information as is normally done as Barack Obama, Mitt Romney, John McCain did?
ANDRE BAUER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: It would be. I think the voters would like to know. It would be interesting -- you know, the fact that we have two candidates that would be the older candidates to serve the presidency makes the question more one that people would be interested in. I think John McCain actually turned over a great deal more...
TAPPER: He did.
BAUER: ... of his health records as well.
TAPPER: Yes, I know. He did absolutely. Absolutely. Although he of course had some cancer scares as well as some fight for cancer that he thankfully won.
Kirsten, your take on this? You're with Bakari? You think that the media is making too big a deal out of her overheating?
KIRSTEN POWERS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: No. Look, I think it's a big deal when this happens to any presidential candidate. If it was Donald Trump I think we'd be talking about it but we have to remember when we talk about her having health issues we really are talking about having a coughing fit. I have had this before my allergies.
[12:25:00] And then this which could possibly be dehydration or being overtired or being in the heat. So, you know, I don't think that necessarily means that she has some serious health issues. I mean, I remember George -- the first George Bush vomiting and passed out in Japan and he's been very healthy and he has lived a long time, and has had no other real health issues. So I don't think we can take away from this because she stumbled that she has serious health issues.
TAPPER: And I do recall and I'm not trying to diminish the importance of what happened today potentially but I do recall George W. Bush, the son of the one who threw up, I do recall him choking on a pretzel and having emerging from the White House with a bruise on his face and there were a ton of conspiracy theories about that.
But, Andre, you want to --
BAUER: Well, I was just going to say what is remarkable in this is that both of these candidates, the schedule they keep is grueling. Bakari and I, all of us have been on, you know, on the campaign trail and they run you just as hard as they possibly can.
The fact that both of them are the age they are, they keep the $ growling schedule and the pressure and stress they are under. I'm amazed when I watch Donald Trump as late as he is and then it's early as he is in the morning and I just -- both of them I have been actually amazed at their stamina that they've had during this election.
TAPPER: So you're a nurse, congressman.. And God bless you. My mom is a nurse too.
So I know how hard a job it is and I appreciate you not wanting to speculate on things you don't know. Do you agree that both Mr. Trump and Mrs. Clinton should get all these health records out there so the voters can make up their minds?
BLACK: I do agree. I think that it is something that we would like to know as we have someone that's going to serve our country. And in really difficult situations as Andre already said, where there is a lot of the physical nature of these jobs that people don't realize early in the morning until late at night, you're going all day. Many times you don't get a chance to eat at normal times or in normal food even. And I do think that we have to make sure that whoever is going to be our commander-in-chief is healthy and ready for that service.
TAPPER: It's funny just thinking about the pictures of John F. Kennedy on inauguration day versus two years later. Barack Obama inauguration day two years later.
TAPPER: They aged like 20 years. (LAUGHTER)
Everybody stay with us. Coming up, the Trump campaign on offense as Clinton tries to defend comments calling half of his supporters a basket of deplorable. But is she backing down or doubling down? That's next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CLINTON: Just to be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump's supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. Right? The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic, you name it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: Hillary Clinton on Friday evening. "Basket of deplorables" entered into the annals of campaign flubs alongside Mitt Romney's 47 percent comments or Barack Obama's remark about some Americans clinging to their guns and religion.
So how bad is this going to be for Hillary Clinton? Let's talk to our panel. CNN commentator Bakari Sellers, Tennessee Congresswoman Diane Black, CNN political analyst Kirsten Powers, and CNN commentator Andre Bauer.
Bakari, you're out there saying that this is not a gaffe in any way.
BAKARI SELLERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: No, I don't think it's a gaffe in any way. I mean, I think there's a clear difference between the 47 percent remark and what Hillary Clinton said. The 47 percent showed Mitt Romney's animus towards the poor. This remark shows Hillary Clinton's animus towards racists and bigots. I mean, it's very clear.
TAPPER: You think half of Donald Trump supporters are racist -- ?
SELLERS: Well, I think that I can show you polls where over half of his supporters believe that Barack Obama is a Muslim informant and over half of his supporters don't believe he was born in the United States. So I can show you polls of that nature.
For many of us, this election is about beating back bigotry. But I do want to clear, because I have two friends on the panel. Not all Donald Trump supporters are bigots. Not all, by any stretch. However, they do have to be OK with supporting a bigot. I think that's an important connotation.
TAPPER: Congresswoman, let me play devil's advocate for a second here. There are a lot of deplorable things being said by Donald Trump supporters on social media and at events. You've seen the shirts that say things that I cant even say. Trump that B-word about Hillary Clinton. I mean, there are horrific things, scenes, that we see at those events. REP. DIANE BLACK (R), TENNESSEE: Let me say this. I don't care what
the title is or the title, whether it's a Republican or Democrat. I don't want my presidential candidates putting people in baskets. I will tell you not 47 percent of the people in my district who support Donald Trump are racists or bigots. And I think that it is deplorable for someone running for president to start out by saying, by the way, if you don't agree with me, you're a bigot or you're a racist. And that's what she's saying. And I'm insulted by that. And I think the American people will be insulted by that.
TAPPER: Just -- she said half and then she took it back. But I didn't make the comments. I'm not going to defend them.
Take a listen to Donald Trump's vice presidential running mate, Governor Mike Pence capitalizing and talking about these remarks.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. MIKE PENCE (R-IN), VICE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: They are not a basket of anything. They are Americans and they deserve your respect.
I have not heard that level of disdain for Americans I can't even repeat since Barack Obama described people that opposed him as people who cling to their guns and religion.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: Kirsten, what did you think of the remarks?
KIRSTEN POWERS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I thought it was a gaffe for sure. And that's why she says she regrets that she said. It's just never good for --
TAPPER: Well, she says she regrets saying half.
POWERS: Right, well, that's what I mean, that half. No, I think it would be right to say that there is a disturbing percentage -- I don't know if we can put an exact number on it, but there is a larger percentage than normal, I think, of Trump supporters who say misogynist and sexist things.
[12:35:01] And I think that it's different than what we've seen with other Republican nominees, the people that he's kind of brought out, the alt-right people, for example.
SELLERS: I don't mean to disagree with Kirsten on here but you're just -- we put that on his supporters, but, no, we're talking about Donald Trump. We're talking about somebody who literally -- Paul Ryan said his comments about the judge were racist. He said Mexicans were rapists.
POWERS: Right but that's --
SELLERS: And then last week -- this is my issue. Just last week he said all African-Americans, you know, you're living in bad conditions, your schools are bad, you may walk down the street and get shot. And we classify that as "outreach".
POWERS: No, no, no, but she's not criticizing Donald Trump. She's criticizing the people who support him. And I think that that's different because I think there are a lot of people who are just your average Republican supporters who aren't racist and misogynist. And I just don't think it's good for a candidate, and a possible President of the United States, to be disparaging American voters, just as a matter of politics.
TAPPER: Andre, let me show you a tweet that I noticed that we can file under "not helping" category. Here's David Duke, the former Klan leader, tweeting an image of "The Deplorables". It's like the movie "The Dependables" except the faces of the stars have been replaced with people such as Donald Trump and the Trump sons, et cetera, and then David Duke on the far right. And David Duke, quoted, "Anti- racist is a code word for anti-white."
David Duke is e deplorable. Right, Andre?
ANDRE BAUER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Absolutely. You know, I can tell you this, Jake. I supported Donald Trump way back when --
BAUER: -- in February. And I feel like we have become the Divided States of America. I don't ever remember a political candidates getting into this much negativity. I hope both candidates will talk more about policy, because the folks I'm talking to, they want to know where the country's going, they want to know what each candidate is going to do to improve their lives. It's not alt-right, it's not alt- left, it's alt-delete. It's get the bums out. It's change the whole process and they're fed up. They really are.
And so this is bigger than her taking a shot or him taking a shot. Even my own candidate, Donald Trump, I want to see -- I think he has so many attributes that he should be talking about instead of talking about Hillary. I want to see him move in that direction.
BLACK: I want to add to what Andre's saying. I'm a mother of three and a grandmother of six. And I have taught my children and my grandchildren we don't call people names. That we allow them to talk about what they believe in. And then we respect what they believe in.
And I think for a presidential candidate, they need to get away from calling names on both sides. This is about teaching our children and our grandchildren of how to act, how to have a healthy relationship with other people that disagree with you, and get away from the names. Let's talk about what it is that we disagree about. We can have strong disagreements on this, but I don't really like calling people names.
SELLERS: I agree with you whole-heartedly, but another part ant being a leader, and something I've been begging the Republican Party and Donald Trump to do, is that, yes, there are factions of deplorables that I don't have much respect for bigots --
BLACK: Would you call our own president for that as well?
SELLERS: I don't have much respect for misogynists, for xenophobes, and for bigots. And for people to actually -- for him to embrace that at certain points. I was backstage on set when Jake Tapper asked him multiple times about David Duke. And he embraced that. He did not repudiate that.
And all I'm asking is --I agree with you about name calling. But there's a certain point when you have to take leadership and say that' is not what this country is built upon. The people who wear confederate flag t-shirts at the rally and say let's make America great again, that petrifies me. It literally petrifies me becaus that is not what our country is about.
TAPPER: Congresswoman, you want to respond to that?
BLACK: I will agree that I don't like it when even folks in my own party call one another names. It's not -- and especially when we get on the national scene where we have children and our grandchildren are watching this and saying, well, look at these leaders that are calling each other names. How can I say when my child gets -- my grandchild gets called to the office for calling somebody a name that they're wrong, when they can point to the leaders of our country that call people names?
Let's not put people in baskets. Let's bring America together. Let's make America great again. When I was not growing up, that was not the thing you were to do, is to call people names. Yes, I might disagree with you, but let's disagree agreeably.
BAUER: Jake, people are desperate. They want to know what the economy is going to do. They want to know if they're going to be able to get a better job. They want to know if they're going to be safe in their own country. And so much of the whole discussion now is about how bad the other candidate is. I want people to be excited vote because they're going out to vote for a businessman who will be something totally different than what Washington's seen in decades of where the direction of the country goes.
TAPPER: Yes, it would be nice to cover a more pleasant race. I appreciate that.
Thanks to the panel. It's really great.
And I want to mention that the video we saw of Clinton getting into her car earlier came from Zenic Gazda (ph). I hope I pronounced that correctly. Zenic Gazda (ph). CNN will continue following that story throughout the day.
Coming up, 15 years after 9/11. Are we safer? We'll talk to the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, next.
TAPPER: It's been 15 years to the day since the 9/11 attacks. Have we become any safer as a nation since then?
Before the start of today's ceremony in New York, I spoke with Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson.
TAPPER: Secretary Johnson, thanks so much for joining us.
JEH JOHNSON, SECRETARY OF HOMELAND SECURITY: Thanks for having me on, Jake.
TAPPER: So I've got to begin with the threat level facing the United States today. Are we on a heightened state of alert?
JOHNSON: I'd characterize it this way, Jake. We're on a constant state of alert against not only the terrorist-directed attack of the 9/11 type, but also terrorist-inspired attacks -- the so-called lone wolf, the home-grown violent extremist of the type we've seen in San Bernardino and Orlando.
[12:45:13] We're in a relatively new environment now where we've got to be concerned about the traditional threat as well as this new threat where al Qaeda , ISIL can literally reach into our homeland through the internet, through social media, to recruit and inspire people here, which makes for a more complex environment involving law enforcement, our intelligence community, and our homeland security people working hard to deal with it.
TAPPER: Do you think that that new threat environment means that we are not safer today than we were 15 years ago?
JOHNSON: Good question. We're safer when it comes to the 9/11-style attack. Our government has become pretty good at detecting overseas plots against the homeland. Our intelligence community, our law enforcement community are pretty good now at connecting those types of dots. But we've got this new environment and new threat, which we just talked about, which makes it harder. And we're seeing now attacks in Orlando and San Bernardino that we've got to protect against, which is why I continue to talk about public vigilance, public awareness, the need to build bridges to communities that we know ISIL and AQ are trying to recruit from within.
So it's a new environment. This is a new phenomenon. And so the answer to your question is really a mixed one. We have -- we're better now at detecting the 9/11-style attack. But it's more challenging with this new environment that we're in.
TAPPER: Because I've noticed President Obama has a new construct when describing how safe we are. It used to be that he would say we are safer than we were six years ago, seven years ago, whatever. Now he says we're safer than we would be if we weren't doing what we're doing. It's almost an acknowledgment of the idea that, because of this lone wolf threat, we really have no idea how safe we are. JOHNSON: Jake, since I've been in national security, beginning in
2009, we have made significant progress in degrading al Qaeda's ability to attack our homeland, through our efforts of the U.S. military, our intelligence community. But there is this new phenomenon now, of the terrorist-inspired attack, the lone wolf, and that's the thing that presents the challenge most directly from -- for our homeland. It's, frankly, the thing that keeps me up at night. And it requires a whole of government response.
TAPPER: Secretary Johnson, you were in New York City on 9/11. Tell us about that day for you.
JOHNSON: Well, 9/11 happens to be my birthday. 9/11/01 was my 44th birthday. And I was a private citizen. I had left the Pentagon nine months before. I was general counsel of the Air Force in the Clinton years.
September 11, 2001, I commuted into Manhattan to work. I was a lawyer in private practice. And from my office window in midtown Manhattan, I pretty much observed the whole thing. And like a lot of New Yorkers, a lot of Americans, I wanted to do something. And so I've spent the last seven and a half, close to eight years now trying to do exactly that.
TAPPER: When you say you saw it, what do you mean? D you mean -- did you see people jumping from the buildings? I mean, how close, how vivid was it for you?
JOHNSON: I looked out my office window on 6th and 51st Street. First thing I saw was the smoke billowing out of the first tower against the backdrop of that beautiful blue sky. And then at some point I looked up and I saw the explosion, the second plane hitting. I was going back and forth between watching it visually out the window and looking at it on TV. And then the thing I'll never forget was to watch that first tower collapse.
For those of us in New York, the twin towers had been a permanent fixture on the skyscape, the landscape, for almost 40 years then. And to see the first tower collapse, it was almost a moment where my mind could not believe what my eyes were seeing. I kept wanting to see that tower emerge from the smoke and the dust. And, of course, that never happened. And it's a memory, frankly, that's burned into my mind. I'll never forget it.
TAPPER: Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson at Ground Zero for us today. Thank you so much, Mr. Secretary. We appreciate it.
JOHNSON: Thanks for having me, Jake.
[12:50:02] TAPPER: Stay with us as America looks back on 9/11. How many are remembering that fateful day.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) TAPPER: As we today remember and reflect, we recall how the nation reacted after the devastation. And today we're also thinking about how editorial cartoonists captured that pain, that confusion, and that resilience. That's the topic of this week's State of the Cartoonian.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER (voice-over): The nation's political cartoonists dealt with 9/11 in very different ways, although all of them tried to rise to the moment -- from feeling the immediate pain to reflecting on the enormity of the tragedy, to looking at loss more individually.
[12:55:01] The facial expression of Uncle Sam here capturing what so many of us felt that day, hurt and angry. Others felt fury and defiance. While still others wanted to we stand for and what we shouldn't.
But it was clearly a new day. No longer did we think oceans protected us. The threat was here.
The heroes of the day inspired other cartoonists, the firemen in particular. The idea that these heroes were headed for heaven, an attempt at reassurance at a time when many of us didn't have much reassurance to offer anyone. We couldn't even offer it to our children. And they couldn't offer it to us.
A few days after the attack, cartoonists started to sharpen their pens and look at issues like intelligence failures. But before the cartoonists and the rest of us were able to get there, there was just the pain.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: Our thanks to those talented cartoonists. Special coverage of the September 11 attacks continue tonight with "9/11: FIFTEEN YEARS LATER" with the only known footage from inside the twin towers. That airs tonight at 8:00 p.m. Eastern here on CNN.
Thank you for watching on this important day.
"FAREED ZAKARIA GPS" is next.