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Trump Camp Releases Physical Results, Not Records; Clinton Returning to Campaign Trail as Race Tightens; Trump to Deliver Economic Speech Today; Interview with Clinton Campaign Chief Strategist; Trump's Son: American Can't handle Seeing Trump Taxes. Aired 11-11:30a ET

Aired September 15, 2016 - 11:00   ET


[11:00:03] JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm John Berman.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Hi, everybody. I'm Kate Bolduan.

A huge hour of breaking news ahead. So stay here. A big day in the race for the White House. We are watching two live events. The first, the left side of the screen, just a short time from now, Hillary Clinton will be making her return to the campaign trail following a three-day hiatus to recover from pneumonia. She is heading to a rally in North Carolina. Will she talk to the press before leaving, before boarding the plane? We will take you there live.

BERMAN: Plus, moments from now, Donald Trump is set to deliver a speech on economic policy right here in New York. We will take you there as soon as he walks up on the stage.

But first, breaking news, everything you wanted to know about Donald Trump's cholesterol, calcium and testosterone. The campaign just released this letter from his doctor revealing some new details about his health.

Trump first discussed some of this when he taped with Dr. Oz yesterday. We just got a new look at a clip.


DR. MEHMET OZ, HOST, THE DR. OZ SHOW: Cholesterol is -- weighs 6'3," 230 pounds. Cholesterol is 169. HDL, which is the healthy cholesterol, is 63. The lousy LDL is 94. Those are good numbers. Triglycerides, 61. That's the amount of fat in your blood. The PSA, like the other letter that was published earlier, is .15, which is very low. Blood pressure is 116 over 70. Blood sugar, 99.

DONALD TRUMP, (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: That's good, 116 over 70?

OZ: Yeah, I mean.


TRUMP: I have always been lucky with blood pressure. I have always had very good blood pressure.

OZ: Blood sugar, 99. The C-reactive protein is also low. Your liver function, thyroid function is all normal. You had a colonoscopy performed July 10, 2013, which was normal, no polyps. Calcium score in your heart was also low at 98. My goodness. EKG, chest x-ray on April 14th was normal. A normal echocardiogram was done two years ago. Your testosterone was 441, which is actually good.




BOLDUAN: That was the taping with Dr. Oz.

Here's another doctor, Dr. Sanjay Gupta. He is here because that was the information released only to Dr. Oz.

That information is now in a letter from Donald Trump's personal doctor and released to the public. You've seen the letter. What are we learning here?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: This was a letter Mr. Trump pulled out of his pocket and handed to Dr. Oz. It's a letter from his doctor that he then gave to another doctor to sort of interpret.

The numbers, as you heard from Dr. Oz, they look pretty good. There's no reason to suspect there's any problems here. He talked about everything from these cholesterol numbers to testosterone. Got a round of applause, which I thought was really interesting. He's also a heart surgeon, Oz, so he really focused in on the heart. EKGs looked fine. He had an echocardiogram of the heart, a CT scan of the heart as well, and that all looked fine. He has a little bit of elevated cholesterol for which he takes a statin drug, but nothing that was really unusual, certainly not for a man of his age.

BERMAN: He had this one-page letter from Donald Trump's doctor. We got a two-page letter from Hillary Clinton's doctor yesterday. In terms of the amount of information disclosed, how do they compare?

GUPTA: I think there's a little bit more in Secretary Clinton's letter. It goes back further in time. She talks about things even dating back to '98 when she had a blood clot, talks about a CT scan of her brain that she had earlier this year, which was really important, John, because of this incident back in 2012. She had fallen and hit her head at that point, and the CT scan of the brain looked -- had no abnormalities. That was important to see as well.

They are both still just summary letters, though. These are not medical records, neither one of them. That one's slightly more detailed but this is -- has plenty of information, particularly about Mr. Trump's heart stuff.

BOLDUAN: In releasing this when the campaign put this out -- and to be clear, this is the campaign's release, and that is the doctor's letter that we have. But in the campaign's release, Sanjay, there's a line that jumped out at us, when the campaign wrote, "We are pleased to disclose all the test results which show that Mr. Trump is in excellent health and has the stamina to endure, uninterrupted, the rigors of a punishing and unprecedented presidential campaign."

Is that an assessment that can be made from the information the doctor handed out?

GUPTA: Measuring stamina, measuring that degree of physical health, obviously, is a very subjective thing.


GUPTA: But they have both been doing it for some 18 months now. They have both been doing this, crisscrossing the country, lots of rallies, lots of speeches, all that sort of stuff. I guess they have both been put through the rigors of this already and withstood it pretty well.

It's interesting, Kate, because in the previous letter, Dr. Bornstein seems to have learned a little bit about presenting these letters. In the previous letter, he wrote, at the end, "I can state unequivocally Mr. Trump will be the healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency." Now he says he's in excellent physical health. He's toned it down a little bit in --


BERMAN: So the doctor did the pivot, even if the Trump campaign hasn't.


Medically speaking, maybe not politically.

Finally, Sanjay, just to be clear, one of the things Donald Trump has said over time is he's going to release all his medical records. Hillary Clinton has suggested -- this is not all medical records.


[11:05:21] BOLDUAN: When you say medical records that could entail much, much more for both candidates?

GUPTA: Absolutely. My guess is we are not going to see that. This may be it. I think this may be it in terms of what we will see medically.

But the reason I think it's important is not because you want to relentlessly invade privacy or cause embarrassment. It's because if you have independent people looking at these medical records, they may draw conclusions that are different from somebody who is not only a physician of the patient, the candidate, but also in some cases a friend. Sometimes you don't know what you don't know. So looking at those medical records can sometimes be important. Having said that, I think this is all we are going to get. And as I

think both candidates have suggested, this is sort of the standard that has been established over the last couple of cycles.

BERMAN: This is the Romney/Obama standard, not the McCain/Dole standard, which is for older candidates, both of which these candidates are.

BERMAN: Sanjay, great to have you with us.

BOLDUAN: Sanjay, thanks so much.

GUPTA: Yeah. Thank you.

BOLDUAN: Stick around. There's more papers to be released.



BERMAN: All this "doctor talk" is happening as all signs point to this race being tight as a tick, neck and neck, too close to call, or in other words, tied. A brand new CBS/"New York Times" poll shows Trump and Clinton at 42 percent. That's tied. Meanwhile, in a CNN/ORC poll, they have Trump pulling ahead in two key battleground states, a slim lead in Florida and five-point lead in Ohio.

I want to go now to White Plains, New York, Westchester Airport, where we see Jeff Zeleny waiting in front of Hillary Clinton's plane getting ready to go to North Carolina.

Good morning, Jeff.

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, John and Kate. This campaign plane behind me -- you can see the words "Stronger Together" -- has been grounded really for the last week or so as Hillary Clinton has been resting and recovering from that bout of pneumonia. Her campaign trail has been limited to her house in Chappaqua just a short distance from here. The is going to be leaving within the next hour or a little bit more to fly back to North Carolina, back to the campaign trail.

It is significant that the landscape has indeed changed since she has been laid up at her house. The national poll, as you mentioned, from the "New York Times" and CBS shows it a very close race, but it's those battleground polls that is concerning the Clinton campaign even more. They acknowledge they have lost some time, lost some ground. Donald Trump has been able to -- been traveling around all of the country this week. But they believe they can get back on the offensive message this week. Do not look for a tit for tat on medical records. I'm told Secretary Clinton is going to just briefly acknowledge her illness, thank people for their well wishes, but she is going to push Donald Trump on the transparency of tax returns, something she still believes she has higher ground on. And she has indeed released about 40 years' worth. He, of course, has released zero. But she is going to try to reengage in this race today. But the question is, how is her health really? She is still under

doctors' orders, of course, still on that medicine, as we know. And that first debate is in 11 days. So the campaign is going to try and not overwork her, I'm told. That's why she only has one speech today in North Carolina and then an evening event tonight in Washington. Pretty limited schedule for the next coming days here as she tries to get back on her feet and back into this race, which suddenly is a very tight one, some 54 days before election day -- John and Kate?

BOLDUAN: Little bit of a different landscape since she went off the trail.

Jeff, great to see you. Thank you.

We were watching Jeff. We will watch with Jeff to see when we see Hillary Clinton make her appearance.

BERMAN: It's really our first chance to see her since she went home to Chappaqua. So we'll watch for that.

Meanwhile, we are moments away from the big economic speech from Donald Trump right here in New York City. You are looking at live pictures setup right now.

Sara Murray is at the hotel, joins us now by phone.

Sara, give us a preview.

SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER (voice-over): Hi, guys. Well, we are expecting Donald Trump here shortly and he is going to be laying out an economic speech, but it's not necessarily going to be packed full of new policy. It's more a way for him to hash some of the things he's laid out, his tax plan, his plan for child care, his view on trade, and trying to wrap it all together as his economic vision. The campaign does say they are going to put out estimates based on this of how many jobs they expect Donald Trump's economic plan would create and what it would do for economic growth. But they were a little bit hazy on whether Donald Trump is actually going to explain today how he would pay for a number of these things. Remember, the tax plan he proposed, the child care stuff, the immigration plan and his military spending plan all come with very large price tags. We are going to wait to see if he explains how to pay for all that today or if we will get more details in the coming days. The campaign says they are working with an outside organization to help score the cost of these proposals and that's really one of the details they are missing as Donald Trump has been rolling all of this out.

[11:10:15] BERMAN: Sara Murray right here in New York City.

Dueling events today, this economic speech from Donald Trump, and Hillary Clinton, who any minute now will get in a plane to head to North Carolina. Watching both at this very same time.

BOLDUAN: While we wait for that, let's bring in Hillary Clinton's chief strategist, Joel Benenson.

Joel, great to see you.


BOLDUAN: How is Hillary doing?

BENENSON: She's doing pretty well. She's obviously strong enough to go back out there. She was obviously under the weather when she tried to plow through the last weekend that she didn't want to miss the 9/11 event. I think she's strong and feisty and ready to go.

BOLDUAN: Donald Trump --

BENENSON: Hard to hold her back. I got to tell you. That drives her crazy.

BOLDUAN: I would like to see you standing in front of the door. You're not leaving.

Donald Trump last night took to the stage in an event and questioned her stamina. It sounded like he made a joke that she wouldn't be able to withstand the heat of that room that he was in.


TRUMP: It is hot and it's always hot when I perform because the crowds are so big. These rooms were not designed for this kind of a crowd.


TRUMP: I don't know, folks. You think Hillary would be able to stand up here for an hour and do this?



BOLDUAN: That was last night. Just this morning, when they released more of his medical information, they wrote this -- it sounds like a clear dig at Hillary Clinton: "We're pleased to disclose all the test results which show that Mr. Trump is in excellent health and has the stamina to endure, uninterrupted" -- they emphasize -- "the rigors of a punishing and unprecedented presidential campaign."


You laugh. What are you guys going to do about this?

BENENSON: We are not going to do anything. We will keep doing what we have been doing. Hillary Clinton has been outworking him, outhustling him, traveling more than he has ever traveled with all his business dealings and the world, as President Obama noted the other day, she traveled more than any other secretary of state in history. Look, the American people have seen her for 30 plus years right now. She has the toughness, she has the stamina. She's taking him on and that's what's getting under his skin. The fact is we are not going to back down to his tactics. He hasn't disclosed anything. We have a letter from a doctor who admitted the last time -- you should show that videotape all the time to your audience, because he says I wrote a few lines to make them happy while Trump's limo is downstairs. She's released more of her health records, released tax returns.

We learned yesterday from "Newsweek" this man if elected would be the most conflicted president in the history of the United States based on his tangled web of business dealings in countries all over the world, including South Korea, Turkey, where we have national security interests, and he's doing business there and says, I'll let my kid run the company. That's not a blind trust. He needs to disinvest.

Most importantly, he needs to disclose. The man is a walking conflict of interest. He has said to the American people my returns are none of your business. When you are a walking conflict of interest, it is the American people's business.

BERMAN: We will definitely talk more about that in just a second.

BENENSON: Happy to.



BERMAN: Since the convention, in terms of non-fundraising stops, Donald Trump has had more events than Hillary Clinton. You just said she's traveled more. I don't believe that's true since the convention.

BENENSON: Throughout the campaign, look --


BERMAN: Since the convention --


BENENSON: He may have. Here's the reality. What we are doing is very strategic and using her time. We have a map right now in this election, you heard me say the currency of the primary's with the delegates. The currency of this education is the electoral votes. We are pushing and playing offense in more states and putting them on defense in more states than they are doing to us. We are playing in every state we want to play in. We are making them play defense in states they don't --


BERMAN: -- when you said she is traveling more than he has --


BENENSON: I think throughout the primaries and this campaign over the last 18 months, she has been campaigning more days than Donald Trump. She doesn't fly home every night to sleep in her own bed.

BERMAN: He does that. I will give you that.

But again, the last few weeks, he has had more events. He just has.

Quickly on the health records, Hillary Clinton told Tom Joiner, on the "Tom Joiner" radio show. You know what she will release more information. Do you know what exactly she will release in terms of more medical records? Will it involve --


BENENSON: I think they released another letter to update --


BERMAN: This was this morning. This was this morning. The secretary --

BENENSON: I think there will be more information. I think during the last week or two, all of her tests, all of her normal routine checkup and physicals have been repeated and I think you will see that in some fashion.

BOLDUAN: Let's talk about Donald Trump's business empire. On "FOX and Friends" this morning, already mentioned it, he was asked about his business empire. What he would do with it if he became president. Previously he said he would put it in a blind trust his children would run. We have talked extensively about what that would mean. Here's what he said this morning.


TRUMP (voice-over): Well, I will sever connections and have my children and my executives run the company and I won't discuss it them. It's just so unimportant compared to what we are doing making America great again. I just wouldn't care.

Now, I guess you could say there's a conflict because as the company gets stronger that's good for all companies, right? But I wouldn't care. It's so unimportant compared to what I'm doing right now.


[11:15:23] BOLDUAN: Is that question asked, question answered?

BENENSON: No. It shows how little this man understands about ethics.


BENENSON: Here's why. It's not a blind -- disinvestment, it is not a blind trust. He knows all of his holdings. He's run this company with an iron fist throughout his entire adult life. He knows every business interest, including with some nefarious characters, who have been convicted of corruption and are partners in his businesses in places like South Korea and in Turkey. He knows all of those entities. A blind trust takes the money, sells it, you have no idea what they do with it during that time. He's saying I'm going to know all of my interests, where they are, they are being managed by my kids. Why on earth would we trust the man who told the American people he would release his tax returns and now says it's none of your business? And he's the only candidate in four decades who hasn't done this, because he's a walking conflict of interest. We don't know what he's hiding. Just like we won't know what he's hiding when he says his kids --


BENENSON: It's not a blind trust, Kate. That's the reality.

BOLDUAN: But in terms of -- he runs a business, he would have to do something with the business if he went into the White House. You find what his prescription is completely unacceptable. His children could not run a blind trust. His executives couldn't run it. That would be too close for comfort. Is that different than Chelsea Clinton staying on the board of the Clinton Foundation?

BENENSON: Well, totally different. He's got for-profit enterprises with nuclear energy companies. He called for North Korea to have more nuclear weapons -- South Korea, rather, to have nuclear weapons. We learned yesterday in the "Newsweek" piece, he has a partnership with a South Korean nuclear energy company. It would be a windfall for them if South Korea got nuclear weapons. The Clinton Foundation is a charity. Hasn't been used like Donald Trump's to give illegal political donations to an attorney general who is investigating him in Florida.

BOLDUAN: We don't know if --


BENENSON: Every dollar -- the Clintons have never taken a penny from this charity.

BOLDUAN: There's a lot we have to fact-check.

BENENSON: You can fact-check every answer.


BERMAN: He paid a fine.

BENENSON: He paid a fine to the IRS.

BOLDUAN: It was not criminal. He paid a fine to the IRS.

BENENSON: It's certainly not legal or, otherwise, he would not have to pay a fine. Speeding is not criminal but you have to pay a fine because it's against the law.

The Clinton Foundation, neither bill nor Hillary Clinton have ever taken a dime. In fact, they donated personal money to the foundation. It has an "A" rating from every charity watch dog group, including Charity Navigator, higher than the Red Cross. They partner with people across the world to save people's lives, which is what the Clintons are doing. Donald Trump used his foundation to take money from other people and he gave it away in his name to take the credit for it and then buys a portrait for himself.

BOLDUAN: Talking about the business empire.

BENENSON: No, we are talking about ethics. We are talking about ethics, Kate. At every step of the way, through his foundation, he's engaged in unethical activity. And the Clintons have engaged solely in charitable activities, saving the lives of millions of people with AIDS, and helping school children eat healthier food in the United States.

BERMAN: Let me ask about the state of the race right now. If the election were held today, would Hillary Clinton win?

BENENSON: I believe so. Absolutely. I think where, as I said earlier, about the states we are playing offense in, we have to get to 270 electoral votes. We have said from the time the convention ended, before the convention, this is close. We don't have many blowouts in presidential elections.


BOLDUAN: It's close but will you admit that right now, if there's a trend, it's trending towards Donald Trump?

BENENSON: No. I think -- what I will tell you is in the last week or eight days -- we in 2012 called the public polls monkey polls because they jump around. National polls have shown him up in a couple, some showed us up a couple. Yours showed it one way, another entity showed it another way. Some people are looking at registered voters. I'm not focused on that the public polls do as they bounce around every day.


BOLDUAN: If he's so bad, if he's so deplorable, if he's so unethical, if he's so unethical, if he's this, that, and the other thing, why isn't she blowing him out of the water? Why is it so close?

BENENSON: Because we live in a fairly divided country. We live in a country that starts out in every presidential race about 42-42 or 43- 43. This isn't my first time to the rodeo. This is my fourth one. We do not have blowouts in presidential races. Go back and think about the last time we had a big landslide. Now, we have had landslides in the Electoral College. The Democrat-- four Democratic wins, fewest numbers of electoral votes we have had is 370. You can pay attention to national polls. But George Bush lost the popular vote but he got 271 electoral votes and was elected president. So we have that advantage in terms of the map. I believe, if we go today, we win a close election but I believe it's going to be a close election on November 8th as well. That's the nature of these things.

BOLDUAN: Thank you, Joel. BERMAN: Joel Benenson, great to have you with us.

BOLDUAN: Joel, don't come touting polls if you aren't taking the polls when they're not in your favor.


BENENSON: I don't tout them. I don't tout them. Even when you guys showed us up 11 I said I don't think we're up 11. Go back and look at the video.


BOLDUAN: Great to see you. Thank you so much.

[11:20:11] BENENSON: Thank you.

BOLDUAN: Donald Trump's economic speech expected to start any minute now. You are looking at a live picture on that side of your screen of the room. We will bring it to you as soon as he takes the stage.

BERMAN: Plus, you heard Joel talk about it, Donald Trump and his taxes. His son just offered up a new reason why he is not releasing them, and that reason had nothing to do with the audit we have heard so much about.

Also, Donald Trump this morning criticizing a pastor who interrupted him. Why he is now calling her a nervous mess. That's ahead.


BERMAN: In just a few moments, we will get live pictures from the Waldorf Astoria Hotel where Donald Trump will be giving a speech on his economic policy. We'll cover that live when it happens.

Meantime, we want to turn to a new excuse about Donald Trump and why he's not releasing his tax returns.

BOLDUAN: Donald Trump Jr told "The Pittsburgh Tribune Review" that Trump can't release his taxes -- and here's his quote -- "Because he's got a 12,000-page tax return that would create financial auditors out of every person in the country asking questions that would distract from" -- his father's -- "main message."

Here to discuss that and more, Paul Begala, CNN political commentator, Democratic strategist and advisor to the pro-Clinton super PAC Priorities USA; and Jeffrey Lord, former Reagan White House political director and Trump supporter.

Really? That's the excuse now?

[11:25:28] JEFFREY LORD, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Really. I have to tell you, good for Don Trump Jr.

BOLDUAN: Why good? LORD: I have been saying this whole let's release taxes thing, not

just with Donald Trump, but I think this has just become a political gimmick.


BERMAN: Jeffrey, are you on the record prior to your support for Donald Trump any time in the previous 30 years saying candidates shouldn't release tax returns?

LORD: In truth, I was never asked. But, look, we have had 36 presidents of the United States --


BERMAN: Every single one of them since Richard Nixon has released their tax returns.


BERMAN: Hang on. Hang on.

So Donald Trump, up until this interview with his son, his excuse was he was being audited. Now his excuse isn't I'm being audited, it's that, well, if I release them it's going to detract from my message. In other words, there's a problem here that people will see and they will be talking about that rather than what I'm saying.

LORD: No. No. They will make a problem out of something. Be perfectly ordinary and average and they will make a problem out of it. This is what politicians do.

BOLDUAN: Are they the ones to be the judge?

LORD: And I guarantee, my friend, Paul, would have a commercial up in .2 seconds that Donald Trump got some break, tax break in 1963 when he was in high school, and that commercial would be running. That's the way this works.

BOLDUAN: Jeffrey, they are afraid to release it, and that's why they're not releasing it. That's what you're saying?

LORD: What I'm saying is political opponents are going to go through there and look to make issues out of things.

BERMAN: It is detrimental politically. You are saying politically speaking there are harmful things in there to Donald Trump?

LORD: I have no idea what's in there.

BERMAN: That's what you said, it would detract from his message.

LORD: No. What I'm saying that is no matter what's in there, they will make an issue out of it.

BERMAN: No matter what's in there, it will hurt Donald Trump? LORD: Sure. Sure. Because they will try and make it hurt Donald



BOLDUAN: Why are they the ones to make that judgment when it's the American people to shine sunshine on it and have the American people judge?

LORD: I just think this is a function of, you know, the last few decades in American politics, the post-Watergate era, et cetera. I really don't think it has any relevance to anything. Franklin Roosevelt, to be bipartisan, was a great American president. He never released his taxes.

BOLDUAN: Are the American people too dumb to be able to understand tax returns?

LORD: No, no, of course not. But you have all sorts of political operatives out there who are very smart and very crafty who are going to want to distract, look over here at the shiny object and forget what he's saying.

BERMAN: Just one more question before we beat up Begala on something.


Jeffrey, if Hillary Clinton ever came out and said I'm not going to release 30,000 e-mails or turn them over because it would detract --


BERMAN: -- because it would detract from my message, you would go to 11 on a scale from one to 10.

LORD: Because e-mails that she used as secretary of state, government official, X number of person in line for the presidency is a whole different thing. Now if she said that about her taxes, good for her.




PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Sorry. I'm thinking of a compound word baloney sandwich.


BEGALA: It has those two letters, B.S, in it. Donald Trump Jr. told the truth. He committed the sin of candor, which once in awhile rarely in politics people do. He told the truth. We're not going to release my father's taxes because there's bad stuff in there. Good for him for telling the truth, bad for Trump for not revealing it. Two days, "The Washington Post" has a news story that says, despite gestures like going on Dr. Oz, Donald Trump remains the least transparent major presidential nominee in modern history. That's true. He has an obligation to the country to tell us who he's in business with, who he's making money off of and who he owes money to. The fact that he's not telling us, the only reason for it is exactly what Trump, Mr. Trump Jr. says, which is because it's harmful, because he's doing things he doesn't want the American people to know about.

BERMAN: Strategically, I will finish your thought for you. What if he is right? You are saying he's telling the truth there. What if there is no political price to pay for Donald Trump not releasing his tax returns?

BEGALA: That's for the American people and you, in the news media, to decide. An example where Hillary has the gold standard of transparency, 30 years of taxes. The reports from the media and the Republicans, who are in cahoots, is Hillary is secretive. She released 30 doggone years of tax returns. 30 years. Nobody has ever done that before. Trump released zilch-point-nada. We have this false equivalency between the two candidates.


BOLDUAN: Has Donald Trump Jr backed his father into a corner on this? I have this odd feeling that they did not want this to be the way to describe why he's not releasing his taxes.

LORD: I don't think he's backed him in a corner. I have been saying this for awhile. When I was thinking about your question here, while nobody had asked me, I began to think this, when Mitt Romney was having his problems. Here's a pretty upstanding guy --