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AT THIS HOUR WITH BERMAN AND MICHAELA
Clinton Hits Trump on Taxes; Trump Defends "Service" in Birther Conspiracy. Aired 11:30-12p ET
Aired September 27, 2016 - 11:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[11:30:20] KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: "Show me your e-mails, I'll show you my taxes" -- one of the counterpunches from last night's debate. Hillary Clinton challenging Donald Trump's refusal to make his tax returns public, something every major candidate has done over the past 40 years, as we've discussed several times.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Trump claims he will not release them because he is under audit. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON, (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The only years that anybody's ever seen were a couple of years when he had to turn them over to state authorities when he was trying to get a casino license and they showed he didn't pay any federal income tax. So he --
DONALD TRUMP, (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: That makes me smart.
CLINTON: It sounds like you admitted you hadn't paid federal taxes and that was smart. Is that what you meant to say?
TRUMP: I didn't say that at all. I mean, if they say I didn't, I mean, it doesn't matter.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: It doesn't matter.
All right, let's talk more now with David Fahrenthold, of the "Washington Post." He has been looking into Donald Trump's charitable giving and the Trump foundation extensively.
David, thanks so much for being with us.
Hillary Clinton pointed out that one of the things that we did not know because Donald Trump will not release his tax returns are the details of his charitable giving. In broad brush strokes, because you've been looking into this extensively, what don't we know? What would you like to learn from those returns about charities?
DAVID FAHRENTHOLD, REPORTER, THE WASHINGTON POST: Well, the most important thing is that Trump says he's given tens of millions, hundreds of millions of dollars out of his own pocket to charity over the years. I've been looking hard for any evidence of that. If it exists, I haven't found it. I've called 340-something charities that seem closest to Trump looking for any evidence any of them got a donation from Trump's own pocket over the last few years. I haven't found anything since 2009.
BOLDUAN: David, you have new reporting about the Donald Trump Foundation. What are you learning now?
FAHRENTHOLD: One of the big mysteries of the Trump foundation was Trump himself has not given any money to it since 2008. It's unusual for a rich person to have a foundation with their own name on it and not put money into it. And have other people, which is the case here, pay in. Why would anybody else give their money to prop up a very wealthy man's foundation? We found out the answer to that or partial answer. These -- more than $2 million of the money that's gone into the Trump foundation from other people is money that was owed by them to Donald Trump for a business deal, an appearance fee or something like that. Trump directed that instead of paying it to him, they pay it to his foundation. Now, that's legal, that's a legal arrangement, but Trump would probably have to pay taxes on that money himself, and we don't know if he did.
BERMAN: It's interesting because just that one sentence -- and I read your article a few times before it really sunk in. Donald Trump didn't want to take that money himself, he wanted it instead. That, in and of itself, doesn't sound damning but I think you just explained why there could be questions.
FAHRENTHOLD: That's right. There's two questions. One, should he have paid income taxes on this money, which, by law, was his income, if he directed it to the Trump foundation. But there's also a question of, it's not Donald Trump taking this income that was due to him and giving it to the American Red Cross or the American Cancer Society. He's giving it to a charity that he himself controls, so the money is still under his control. We've shown he's used the money in that charity to buy things for himself, paintings for his walls, an autographed Tim Tebow helmet, money to settle his business's legal disputes. If he's using this foundation as a way of taking income untaxed and then using it as he would have used his income anyway, that's a bigger legal problem.
BOLDUAN: One you're continuing to look into.
David, great to see you.
You can probably guess the Trump foundation and the Clinton Foundation will be part of the upcoming debates.
Thank you so much, David.
Coming up for us, the Birther conspiracy, let's call it round 5,000. Trump and Clinton sparring over the debunk theory questioning President Obama's birthplace. Trump's new defense and Clinton's response, coming up.
BERMAN: Plus, law and order, Stop-and-Frisk, gun violence, race relations. Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump battle over it all. That's next.
[11:38:37] BERMAN: At long last, Donald Trump does say he thinks President Obama was born in the United States but he will not say why. Nor will he apologize for helping lead the Birther movement for several years. He was given the chance to do both last night, explain and apologize, and he chose not to, even though he knew the question was coming.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LESTER HOLT, DEBATE MODERATOR: We're talking about racial healing in this segment. What do you say to Americans --
TRUMP: Well, it was very --
HOLT: I say nothing, because I was able to get him to produce it. He should have produced it a long time before. I say nothing.
But when you talk about healing, I think that I've developed very, very good relationships other the last little while with the African- American community. I think you can see that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: Joining us now, CNN political commentator, Alice Stewart, former communications director for Ted Cruz, who's now supporting Donald Trump; and CNN political commentator, Angela Rye, former executive director of the Congressional Black Caucus.
Guys, great to have you here. Thanks so much.
BOLDUAN: Alice, he knew this was coming at him.
ALICE STEWART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: You think?
BOLDUAN: Yes, well, I wonder, with the response we heard. He said his answer to, "when did you reach this conclusion," essentially was, "I did a great service. I'm very proud I forced Barack Obama to produce his birth certificate." Shouldn't he have a better answer prepared at this point?
STEWART: I think he has answered that as he did just a week or so ago where he said yes, Barack Obama was born -- you know, is a citizen of the United States --
BERMAN: That's a statement though, not an explanation.
[11:40:04] STEWART: -- and put it to rest. I don't understand why this continued to be talked about. Because clearly he's proud of the fact he was able to get the president to produce his birth certificate. Yes, he did acknowledge the president was born in this country and he is not the one who continues to bring it up. He continues to be asked about it. I think the accusations that he continues to bring it up over all these years, that's not --
BOLDUAN: He did bring it up. He's now running for president and faces questions. You don't get to decide what questions are asked. That's kind of the way the world works.
ANGELA RYE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: What you heard from Donald Trump last night was the equivalent of I have black friends, right? He said for last little while, he has black friends, who have advised him that it's probably not best to continue down this path. I think, quite frankly, the reason why Birtherism is a problem for many of us is because otherism is a form of racism and that is what Donald Trump has engaged in up until the last minute of this campaign. We're literally in the final stretch. And he finally acknowledged something that we've known from the very beginning, from before Barack Obama was running for president, before he ran for the United States Senate, before he was Illinois State Senator. That is the fact this black man, the 44th president of these United States, is an American citizen. That is why --
STEWART: OK, then let's quit talking about it --
RYE: No, because he needs to apologize for it.
STEWART: He has acknowledged this and it's time to move on.
RYE: It's not.
STEWART: I can guarantee you, I've been on the campaign trail for 18 months and I can promise you the American people are more concerned with our national security --
STEWART: -- keep us safe, and this is not of the top of mind of people.
RYE: I can promise you otherwise because I've been out there talking to people, too. There are black Americans in this country who are just as American as the people you're talking about who are very concerned about it. And that is the biggest reason why they can't support a Donald Trump candidacy. That is why his numbers are single digits with African-American support. That is the problem.
BOLDUAN: Angela --
BOLDUAN: I'm sorry, go ahead.
BERMAN: No, I was going to ask about another aspect of the debate last night. This morning, Donald Trump supporters and surrogates are talking about President Hillary's performance, saying wooden and robotic, which by the way, you can't be both wooden and robotic.
It didn't connect with voters there. Is that a fair criticism, Alice, or did she had a strong performance?
STEWART: I think she did well. I think her ability to put the issues talking about her grandchild in the beginning, her father and grandfather, and bringing the human element in. I think she did well. I think, however, I wish we had gotten into some of the more substantive issues that people are concerned with, such as her e-mails and Benghazi. But I think from the standpoint of her ability to connect with people, I think she showed a human element I think people wanted to see. Well that, with regard to that.
BOLDUAN: Do you think she was wooden? Do you think she was robotic?
RYE: I thought she was phenomenal. Now I'm at the point where I can say I'm not just an anti-Trump person. I'm excited about the Hillary Clinton be who showed up yesterday.
BOLDUAN: That changed last night, Angela?
RYE: Yes, it did. I was just talking to John about it this morning. It was such a moving performance to me. I saw a completely different side her. Members who I used to work for the CDC have been out on the trail for her for months. I saw the person they've known for years last night. That was the first time for me. I'm excited about it. I don't just think she did well. I think she rose above all of Trump's nonsense. The reason why we don't ever get to talk substance is because of how he answers questions and she continues to stay on point on her message. She was clear. She was to the point. She acknowledged Donald Trump even when he failed to. At the very beginning of the debate, she recognized who he was. She said it's great to be on stage with you. He didn't say anything similar to her. I thought she had a great performance.
STEWART: I think as I said, I think the human element I think came across very well, but I do think there were some parts, as I mentioned, explain more about the e-mails. She had the opportunity to do so and she didn't do that. That's going to be a recurring question. Talk about something that's going to come up in these debates --
BOLDUAN: Thankfully there are two more debates. BERMAN: Indeed, indeed.
All, right, Alice, Angela, great to have you with us.
BOLDUAN: Thanks, guys.
BERMAN: You know what came up? A 400-pound hacker on a bed. That's who Donald Trump said could be the culprit behind some of the hacks that have been going on in the United States, including to the Democratic National Committee. We're going to talk to a former CIA officer who is, in fact, running for president right now, to see what he thinks about it. Evan McMullin joins us next.
[11:48:28] BOLDUAN: They came, they fought, and now they fight on. Both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, after the big debate last night, are back on the campaign trail today in battleground states trying to grab the momentum from the big night.
BERMAN: One man who was not on stage, but who joins us now, Independent presidential candidate, Evan McMullin.
Evan, thank you so much for being with us.
I should say, a former CIA officer, former chief policy director for the House Republican Conference.
Evan, I want to know the answer to this question. An acceptable answer is not "no one." So who won the debate last night?
EVAN MCMULLIN, INDEPENDENT PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE & FORMER CIA AGENT: Well, look, I think both side's supporters will feel their candidate did the best. They'll feel like they were both talking to their bases.
I can tell you more easily who lost, all of America. It was so uninspiring last night what we heard. Both candidates were looking backward both on policy, both in terms of tone. We see -- we see candidates here who are representing ideas from the past, Donald Trump and his bigotry and misogyny, Hillary Clinton with her ideas of big centralized government in Washington, D.C., unaccountable to the American people. We heard more of that. What we didn't hear is an inspiring vision for the future, a future in America where Americans are more unified, us, where the opportunity of our economy extends to all Americans. We didn't hear that sort of thing.
We also didn't hear any sort of real plan for securing America. We heard ideas about turning America in on itself, isolating America in terms of trade and defense. Neither of these candidates I believe are prepared to lead the way forward in our country.
BOLDUAN: Let me ask you about your security. You're a former CIA guys. One of the questions last night, they were talking about cyberwarfare, security.
[11:50:11] BOLDUAN: And both candidates were asked after the hacks that's been happening in the country, who's behind it. Hillary Clinton pointed to Russia and Donald Trump answered it this way. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: It could be Russia but it or China or it could be a lot of other people. It could also be somebody sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds. OK?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: Are you looking for people weighing 400 pounds?
BERMAN: I think he meant that person.
BOLDUAN: I want to check that. Your thoughts, Even, when you heard that explanation on the stage.
MCMULLIN: All the indications that we heard about pointed back to Russia and Donald Trump in the past has defended Russia's hacking activity in the context of this election. How do we have a Republican nominee who is defending Russian government hacking and undermining of our democracy. How is it that Republicans and the Republican leadership won't stand up and repudiate this, as well as Donald Trump's racism, which needs to be done still? How did we find ourselves in a place like this? I look at the Republican Party and I wonder what relevance can it have as a party that promotes the security of this country and providing leadership.
BERMAN: So you think unless than 400 pounds guy whose name is Vladimir Putin that Donald Trump is wrong about this?
MCMULLIN: All indications are, and Donald Trump accepted the reality that Vladimir Putin and the Russians are undermining our elections in part of hacking activities, clearly designed to promote his candidacy. This is something Donald Trump -- I see the responsibility fall on the Republican party more than anyone else to stand up to this and repudiate Trump's troubling relationship with Vladimir Putin. Vladimir Putin is the greatest sources of instability in this world. He's a violator of human rights and he undermines democracies across Europe and elsewhere. And now he's doing that to us. Meanwhile, Republican leadership sits silently.
BOLDUAN: Evan McMullin, thank you for being us.
MCMULLIN: Thank you.
BOLDUAN: Thank you so much.
BERMAN: Just into CNN, one of Chris Christie's former aides, the one standing trial for the Bridgegate incident, just testified that he told Christie about the lane closures as it was happening.
BOLDUAN: In fact, the former port authority chief, David Wildstein, suggests that he bragged about the closure to Christie. The New Jersey governor, of course, has denied any involvement or knowledge of it as it was going on. We'll have more of this breaking details involving Bridgegate ahead.