Return to Transcripts main page
Presidential Transparency Fight; President Obama Blasts Donald Trump. Aired 3-3:30p ET
Aired September 13, 2016 - 15:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: You're watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin. Thank you for being with me.
Moments ago, President Barack Obama injected his famous "Yes, we can" to help Hillary Clinton's campaign there, speaking in Philadelphia just a little while ago.
This is his first solo campaign appearance for her, stumping for the Democratic candidate in the key battleground state of Pennsylvania, a state he noted that Clinton won. I believe he said she whooped him, but then he was able to win it in November.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: When we see folks talking about transparency, you want to debate transparency? You have got one candidate in this race who's released decades worth of her tax returns.
The other candidate is the first in decades who refuses to release any at all.
OBAMA: You want to debate foundations and charities? One candidate's family foundation has saved countless lives around the world.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
OBAMA: The other candidate's foundation took money other people gave to his charity and then bought a 6-foot-tall painting of himself.
OBAMA: And he had the taste not to go for the 10-foot version, but...
OBAMA: You want to debate who's more fit to be our president? One candidates who's traveled to more countries than any secretary of state ever has, has more qualifications than pretty much anyone who's ever run for this job, and the other who isn't fit in any way, shape, or form to represent this country abroad and be its commander in chief.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
OBAMA: So, somehow, as things go on, because we have become so partisan, our standards for what's normal have changed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: Let's go straight to Philadelphia, where the president just spoke.
Michelle Kosinski, our White House correspondent, standing by there.
A lot of echoes of '08 and '12, don't boo, vote, yes, we can, fire up, ready to go, trying to get everyone out there, to get folks enthusiastic, especially even the millennials who didn't vote last go- around.
MICHELLE KOSINSKI, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Right. Yes, you know what's interesting? Often, you could say, looking at a lot of campaign events, especially this, they might all kind of sound the same after a while, right, and even election to election that it's a lot of the same kinds of concepts.
But President Obama even acknowledged this election has been so different. And here we are at the foot of the art museum steps made famous in the movie "Rocky."
KOSINSKI: And he came out swinging and harder than we expected. So he's not only fighting for Hillary Clinton in this appearance, which is what we sort of expected this to be, but he's swinging against Donald Trump, and pretty hard, using words like crazy.
He said you often hear crazy things during an election year, but this year has been a little more crazy. He's used phrases like reality show and said you can't judge the presidency on a curve and that when you run for president, you have to know what you're talking about.
He also named Donald Trump. That's something we haven't seen him do in every appearance. When you look at the only other campaign appearance he's done, in that one, he was alongside Hillary Clinton in Charlotte. That was more positive and less critical, talking about how qualified she is as a candidate, how he feels she is the most qualified candidate ever, man or woman, and is the only qualified candidate.
But this was really an opportunity for him to also hit Donald Trump, so making the case that he is not qualified to be president. I think this is what we can expect to see more of, especially when he gets out on the campaign trail in earnest next month.
He kind of throws it all in there. He wants to look at his record, talk about how Hillary Clinton is a continuation of the progress that has been made, but now he's made it clear he will hit Donald Trump and he will attack him in these situations -- Brooke.
BALDWIN: Michelle Kosinski, thank you very much.
He talked working class. He talked about the positive economy news and he talked a lot about Donald Trump. And he vented a bit about the media.
So let's talk about all of the above.
I have CNN's political director, David Chalian, CNN political commentator Bill Press on the left, S.E. Cupp, Republican who doesn't support Mr. Trump, and CNN political commentator Kayleigh McEnany, who does support Mr. Trump, and also with us, CNN commentator Hilary Rosen, a Clinton supporter.
Great to see all of you.
And before I get to my partisans, David Chalian, we listened to every word of the president. What jumped out at you most?
DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: I think what you played actually was what I found the most interesting bit.
He was very well-versed in that "Washington Post" story on the Trump Foundation over the weekend. He was also very well-versed in Commander-In-Chief Forum that we saw on NBC last week when he was talking about Trump not being pressed on his stated pre-Iraq War opposition to the war, which is counterfactual from what he told Howard Stern at the time, and we know.
So what jumped out to me was the president is keenly aware of the campaign developments and is watching the campaign coverage pretty closely even over the last week. This guy is dialed into this race, because clearly it is his legacy that is on the line here. That is one reason he feels so invested in Hillary Clinton.
And the other, as we have seen over the last couple months, he is somewhat alarmed at Trump's candidacy. And I think those two things were just clearly present on the stump today.
BALDWIN: He mentioned the T-word being transparency.
And so, Kayleigh, I just want to come to you first on that, because if you woke up this morning, and you flicked on CNN.com, the headline was sort of like the least transparent election of all time. You had Hillary Clinton on with Anderson last night, saying I have given my medical records, I'm giving more this week, I have given my tax returns for a decade-plus.
Why don't we know more about Donald Trump?
KAYLEIGH MCENANY, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I think we know a lot about Donald Trump. He's been the most accessible candidate in political history, giving interviews to friendly news stations, unfriendly interviewers. He's been very transparent in that regard.
BALDWIN: That's not the same. An interview is an interview, and we're grateful for that, by the way, but it's not medical records, it's not tax returns. It's not even proof of an audit to get tax returns.
MCENANY: You're not required by law to release your tax returns. Likewise, you're not required to release your medical records.
What you are required to release and preserve are documents that you produce within the realm of the federal government. The Federal Records Act requires that. And it's very hard for the Clinton administration or future hoping to be Clinton administration to make a transparency argument when they took hammers to BlackBerrys, when they used a software process called BleachBit to bleach e-mails from attorneys that they were required by law to preserve.
BALDWIN: Valid concern, and that is an issue. I heard her trustworthiness, but I'm looking at your face.
BILL PRESS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, when you can't defend, you attack, OK? And that is exactly what Kayleigh is doing.
Let's talk about tax returns. Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton released their tax returns for 2015, which means they have released their tax returns for the last 39 years, 39 years of tax returns.
And from Donald Trump, big fat zero. I have a big question. Why is Donald Trump spending so much time praising Vladimir Putin? Does he have some hotel deal in Moscow? We don't know because he won't release his tax return. You want transparency? Let's see the tax returns, which Mike Pence did for his returns.
BALDWIN: Right. That's exactly right. And we haven't seen that from Donald Trump.
S.E. CUPP, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: This is why I am where I am, supporting neither candidate. It's a race to the bottom...
BALDWIN: You're not alone. Yes.
CUPP: ... when it comes to transparency and, frankly, when it comes to honesty and trustworthiness.
They're really -- it's apples and oranges. On this issue, maybe he wins. On this one, maybe she wins. But these are two of the least- liked political candidates that we have ever had run for president. There's a reason why. They might not be completely comparable.
I happen to think that they're not, but there's a reason why only 10 percent of the American electorate nominated these two people to be their nominees. And I think a lot of people sitting at home are watching someone like President Obama do a great job. He's very charming. He's very good at campaigning, but sort of making fun of Donald Trump and thinking this is serious. Both of these candidates are terrible. Who am I going to vote for? You're not taking this candidate seriously.
A lot of people didn't take Trump seriously and here's why we're here. And a lot of people have given Hillary Clinton a ride, a free pass for too long. So I think there are a lot of frustrated people like me with nowhere to go.
BALDWIN: Go ahead, Hilary Rosen, on the free pass. I hear you moaning a bit over the .
HILARY ROSEN, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: I don't think anyone thinks that Hillary Clinton is getting a free pass.
If anything, I think that people are trying to make equivalency arguments, just like we just heard Kayleigh do about their personal activities over the years.
But here's the interesting thing, because I hear my friend S.E's frustration in her voice, which is one of my other favorite lines of President Obama this year was when he gave a speech recently and said, now, some people might want to pick something off the menu, but we got fish or we got steak. You have to pick one. You have got to engage.
And that's why his argument today about this is -- democracy is not a spectator sport. You have to get into the arena. You have to understand the stakes that are in play here and figure out what is going to matter the most.
So if you're for not raising the minimum wage, if you don't care about the progress on the decisions the Supreme Court have made, if you are worried about health care, you're going to be for Hillary Clinton. Donald Trump has promised to bring people backwards on the economy, on progressive issues, on legal and equal rights. So it's fish or steak. That's what we got. Elections are about choices.
BALDWIN: On the economy, when you listen to these two different candidates, as we all have for months and months and months, they paint two very different pictures of America.
But, David Chalian, it's worth just pointing to the facts today that we got from the U.S. Census Bureau, and this is something that obviously the president touted, as he said, change would eventually come, and it's positive news for him and it's positive news for the sort of proverbial third term, if there were to be a President Clinton, Hillary Clinton, that the median income in the U.S. is up. You got the numbers on the screen. How will all of this play for the
CHALIAN: So you see the trend that it had been trending up, right, what you see there, that line? Now it's at a level where, you know, it was higher. I think it's the fastest we have seen it climb is with the statistic that came out today.
And, Brooke, my question is, are people feeling that? Is that now -- we have talked for a long time about whether or not these economic statistics that we have seen, month-to-month unemployment rate, what have you, and yet we still know that there is a ton of economic strife out in the country and that people aren't necessarily feeling it.
Now that the median income is on the rise, my question is, are people actually starting to feel that now in a way? I don't think we have that answer to that, but if they are, that is the potential for an electoral impact.
CUPP: Can I just point out, on David's point, I think that's exactly right. There was a moment during President Obama's campaign rally where he said $2 national gas, thanks, Obama. And it's a cute line. And I think a lot of people appreciate $2 gas.
But it's also glib, when I don't think everyone feels the effects of an improving economy and I think obviously in Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, people are frustrated.
MCENANY: More than two-thirds of Americans think we're on the wrong track. A FOX News poll from last year said 64 percent of people still feel like they are in a recession. So I think David's question really is the salient one, because for every good economic indicator, I can point to a bad one.
BALDWIN: I think of Trump going to Ohio. I think of Trump talking about his past, his successes, and how he says he will bring jobs and how he will improve the economy, because not everyone feels that way.
PRESS: Yes, a lot of people legitimately feel left behind. They feel left out. That's what fueled the Bernie Sanders supporters. It's fueled a lot of the Donald Trump supporters.
But I think this indicator we saw is very significant, because for a couple of years, we have been saying look at all these positive job numbers, but wages are still down. Now we see still jobs increasing every month and now the wages are starting to lift. That word is getting out there. Not everybody feels it, yet...
MCENANY: Not pre-2007 levels, though. This is the slowest recover that we have had in history.
PRESS: This is the highest that we have mean in the last -- since the Bush recession of 2008. Take credit for it.
BALDWIN: I want ask all of you to stick around. I have so much more.
Coming up next, one of the people who actually set up Hillary Clinton's private e-mail server was a no-show today. His partner did testify. Here what he said.
Plus, you know it's 2016 when Dr. Oz will be hosting Donald Trump to talk about the candidate's medical results on television. We have got all that for you.
You're watching CNN's special live coverage.
BALDWIN: November 8, it's officially less than two months to go. There are still serious questions on the campaign trail for both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump and it really comes down to transparency.
For Donald Trump, it's his taxes, it's his medical records, it's his foundation. For Hillary Clinton, it's her health, what her campaign decides to release and when and some questions on her foundation and the e-mails.
Back in the headlines today, the e-mails here, because this issue is front and center again in Congress.
Let's go to CNN's senior political reporter, Manu Raju, who is on the Hill for us.
All right, so, House Republicans not happy with how the hearing went today, starting with talk to me, Manu, about this no-show.
MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's right.
Bryan Pagliano, who was one of two Clinton aides who helped set up that private e-mail server in 2009, didn't show up at this hearing today, even though he was subpoenaed by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee to show up and testify. This is the second time that he has invoked his Fifth Amendment rights not to discuss anything about what happened here.
But this is the first time he didn't show up. And House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz, who is a Republican of Utah, was furious about this. He said that it's not optional, that people who are subpoenaed have to show up and the committee would look at -- quote -- "all options" in its recourse in going after Mr. Pagliano.
Now, Democrats say that the reason why he didn't show up, according to Mr. Pagliano's lawyer, is that this, they believe, is a partisan witch-hunt. This is something that they believe serves no legislative purpose and they also say that the agreement that Mr. Pagliano reached with the FBI for limited immunity essentially gives him some protection in not to show up.
One person, Brooke, who did show up was Justin Cooper, who was another Clinton aide who set up that private e-mail server. He really didn't give Republicans much, except for this. He admitted he didn't have a security clearance when setting up that private e-mail server. As we know, Republicans have criticized Clinton for passing on classified marked e-mails that were not secure, so that's certainly some more fodder for Republicans as they keep trying to keep this issue alive -- Brooke.
BALDWIN: Manu, thank you, Manu Raju on the hill for us.
Staying in Washington, we will talk money now. The super PAC aligned with House Speaker Paul Ryan has actually taken in a record-breaking haul this past cycle this election season. The reason, Republican donors who normally focus their cash at the top of the ticket in a presidential race, they are worried about Donald Trump at the top of the ticket, and they want to make sure Speaker Ryan hangs on to his gavel.
So they're sending their money to what they hope will be a Republican firewall I believe was the word that was used, the House of Representatives.
So, got my panel back, and joining us, A.B. Stoddard from RealClearPolitics.
So, A.B., let me just jump in initially with you on this Paul Ryan super PAC and all the money going in to make sure the Republicans hang on to the majority. Are there worries at all that the Republicans coming forward doing that would then support Donald Trump? What's your read on this?
A.B. STODDARD, REALCLEARPOLITICS: Well, people who are worried about the Senate races and trying to preserve the Senate majority for Republicans and trying to actively search the country for the resources to fund these campaigns are not at all certain what the turnout model will be in terms of whether Trump voters turn out for these candidates, whether some Democrats vote for Clinton and independent voters vote for those Republicans.
Each state is different, as you know. In Ohio, Rob Portman is running way ahead of his Democratic challenger. Obviously, Governor Kasich is not a big friend of Donald Trump's and his Republican machine has really actively been working to help Rob Portman, who also, by the way, has just run a really, really terrific campaign, focusing on issues of importance to Ohioans and not so much national issues and trying to avoid sort of the national debate.
Over in Pennsylvania, Pat Toomey was helped in the polls a while ago by Donald Trump, now not so much. So things can change so much between the race between Hillary and Donald Trump and sort of what that does down-ballot. But it's hard to say now what exactly is going to happen on Election Day, whether it will be some ticket-splitting, but right now the really endangered Republicans are feeling just a little bit better than they were weeks ago.
Let's move on to a TV star, maybe not the one you're thinking of. Talking about Dr. Oz, like we said a second ago. Listen, we say this tongue in cheek.
Kayleigh, you can laugh, too.
MCENANY: I smiled.
BALDWIN: The fact that we know Donald Trump is releasing some medical records or something with Dr. Oz on TV this week.
Dr. Oz just was on FOX News Radio. Let's hear what Dr. Oz said.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
QUESTION: What if there's some embarrassing things on there?
DR. MEHMET OZ, "THE DR. OZ SHOW": I bet he won't release them.
QUESTION: So, it's still going to be his decision?
OZ: It's his decision. Look, the metaphor for me is, it's a doctor's office, the studio. So I'm not going to ask him questions he doesn't want to have answered and I also don't want to talk about anybody else. We're not going to be talking about Secretary Clinton for sure. And I don't want to talk about things that are outside the health purview.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: OK. OK.
Kayleigh, to you first. What do we know, just on facts and how this is working, what Donald Trump will be releasing to Dr. Oz and when we all get to see it? Do you know anything?
MCENANY: Well, I don't know anything that's not public.
But what he has told is that he will release the latest results of his physical and what this all comes down to is getting those numbers and ensuring he's healthy. And I know he is, because he's the one who wakes up at 6:00 a.m., according to his campaign, and works until 1:00 a.m.
BALDWIN: Why Dr. Oz?
MCENANY: Why Dr. Oz?
BALDWIN: Why Dr. Oz?
CUPP: Why not Dr. Oz?
MCENANY: He's a well-known figure.
Why does Hillary Clinton sit down with late-night comedians? He's a well-known figure that Donald Trump can get his message and deliver what he wants to deliver, which is that he's healthy, he's up for the job and he's the right person.
CUPP: Well, and maybe he will release his tax returns on like Jim Cramer's "Mad Money" or something.
CUPP: And we can laugh about this, and it's funny and it's a perfect marriage, Dr. Oz and Donald Trump.
Dr. Oz has also been sort of discredited as an actual doctor. But it's actually a very serious issue, the health of both of these candidates. And that's why I think you have seen the scrutiny of Hillary Clinton and sort of her stonewalling is so incredibly offensive to a lot of people, and Donald Trump sort of having his doctor scribble off a note that he's going to be the healthiest president ever, not really either of them taking this as seriously as I think our candidates should.
They're both aging. It's not inappropriate to ask if they can handle the gruelingness of this job. And I don't think either of them have been particularly willing.
PRESS: I agree both candidates should release every detail of their medical records to us. We deserve to know.
Two, Hillary Clinton has released a hell of a lot more than Donald Trump and will release more before the end of the week.
PRESS: Three, why Dr. Oz? Because it's a scam. Because we're not going to learn anything.
The next time I go to my doctor for a checkup, I'm going to give him a list of questions that I want him to ask...
CUPP: That he's allowed to ask you, right.
PRESS: He's allowed to ask me. But you don't you ask anything that's not on this list. Come on.
MCENANY: We have no reason to question Donald Trump's health, no reason. He's going to release...
PRESS: What do you mean no reason? He's a doctor. He has got every reason to question.
MCENANY: Whether he does an interview with Dr. Oz, He's allowed to do an interview with Dr. Oz, just like Hillary Clinton is allowed to go on late-night TV and laugh about her e-mail scandal.
PRESS: Kayleigh, don't you agree, to go to a doctor and give the list of questions...
MCENANY: He went to a doctor this week.
PRESS: Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa -- that to go to this doctor tomorrow and give him a set of questions that they're the only ones he's allowed to ask, you have to admit...
MCENANY: You don't know that they have given him a list of questions. You have no proof of that.
PRESS: We just heard Dr. Oz said he's going to ask any...
MCENANY: You have no proof of that.
PRESS: We heard him.
BALDWIN: He used the metaphor of the doctor's office.
CUPP: He's allowed to have this photo-op and he's allowed to do this sort of publicity stunt, but it's not the stand-in for sharing all of his complete medical records.
BALDWIN: Hilary Rosen, let me hear from you, and then we have got to go.
But do you think -- obviously, we wish -- and Donald Trump is included in this -- wishing Hillary Clinton well as she's recovering from her pneumonia, but are you worried at all her being away even for a day, two days, three days -- we don't know totally yet -- could hurt her politically?
ROSEN: Look, 10 million Americans a week catch pneumonia. I think people don't begrudge her a couple of days' rest. So, I'm going to disagree with the original premise, which is that the
issues of this campaign are about health records and transparency and tax returns. Tax returns, I think matter, because it says will Donald Trump scam middle-class voters the way we think he's probably scammed the IRS or not?
I think what this election is going to end up being about and what I hope we're going to see in the debates is, how does this actually affect everyday Americans, who I think we have the candidates we have. They are as healthy as they're going to be, and I don't have any doubt that either one of them will be healthy enough to be president.
What I do have doubts is what kind of president they will be. And I think we would all do well to spend a lot more time talking about what they are going to do for the American people, instead of how we are going to create sort of as many gotcha moments as we can.
MCENANY: Hilary, I have to say, he has not scammed the IRS. He's passed nearly a dozen audits. He's within the bounds of the law. Voters know that.
A.B., A.B., let me just end with this. We're talking about what they could do.
ROSEN: But prove it, Kayleigh. You can't prove it.
BALDWIN: The most important, what they can for the American people, my question is, and S.E. sort of hit on this, just going back to President Obama full circle here, when somebody shouted in Philadelphia in the crowd $2 a gallon for gas, and he said, thanks, Obama.
BALDWIN: And then he also at some point touted health care, touted now under this administration gays can openly serve in the military.
S.E. called it glib. How did you hear that?
STODDARD: Well, Obama's approval numbers have crept into a space we just couldn't imagine a year-and-a-half ago.
In 2014, Obama couldn't help really Democrats campaign for reelection in the midterm elections. And he's now by some polls well over 50 percent, but even at 58 percent, but sort of around 52 percent 54 percent approval.
And so I think he's in his final days making this lap, victory lap and taking some credit for things as he tries to work to campaign to elect Hillary Clinton. And I think that he's hoping that it's going to help her obviously with some people who are sort of undecided, definitely will oppose Trump, but don't know if they will turn out for Hillary, to try to tell them things are really better than they sound.
No Trump supporter is ever going to listen to a word he says. They all think that the country is on a terrible track. But he's really hoping that there are some independents left or some sort of centrist, lean either way, voters who are skeptical of Hillary, but maybe they are not going to come around on Election Day, and he can try to convince them that things are good enough and she can continue what he's done.
BALDWIN: All right. A.B. and Hilary, Kayleigh, Bill and S.E, thank you.
PRESS: Thanks, Brooke.
BALDWIN: Coming up next, Hillary Clinton, she is not backing off her comments that at least some of Donald Trump's supporters are racist, sexist and xenophobic.
My next guest says he has proof in his inbox. Stay here.