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NEW DAY SATURDAY

Trump to NYT: I Can Be Nastier Than Clinton; New Poll: Clinton 43 Percent and Trump 40 Percent; Hurricane Matthew Heads for Jamaica & Cuba; Trump's Boys Club: Their History with Women; Officials: Russian Operation Targeting U.S. Election. Aired 7-8a ET

Aired October 1, 2016 - 07:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


CHRIS FRATES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it was pretty revealing, Victor. He had a lot to say after what's been really a bad week for Donald Trump, right? He had a lackluster debate performance.

[07:00:00] He had the allegations he called a former Miss Universe "Miss Piggy". And Trump's really been dogged by these bad headlines and really essentially on the defensive.

But yesterday in this interview with "The New York Times", Trump tried to get back on offense, calling Hillary Clinton nasty but adding he can be even nastier. He also indicated he was rethinking supporting Clinton if she does win the White House. Remember, on the debate on Monday he said he would absolutely support her. Now, he's saying we're going to have absolutely see.

And Trump is back to attacking Clinton for what he says was her role in her husband's sex scandal. Let's pull up this quote, he said this to "The New York Times." "Hillary Clinton was married to the single greatest abuser of women in the history of politics. Hillary was an enabler and she attacked the women who Bill Clinton mistreated afterward. I think it's a serious problem for them and it's something I'm considering talking about more in the near future."

So, after a bad debate performance of a week of what were really self- inflicted injury, Trump on the attack here, trying to reverse some poll numbers that are going in the wrong direction, Victor.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Speaking of being on the attack, some of Trump's high profile supporter, advisers becoming critical of how Trump's been handling aspects of his campaign. He's had his Twitter account under control for at least a couple of weeks now, but after Thursday night, not so much anymore.

FRATES: Yes, not so much. What's interesting we saw the Trump try to rein in those surrogates and rein in those aides who were talking mostly on background, anonymously to reporters after the debate suggesting that Donald Trump didn't have a good debate, that they're going to try to almost shame him into practicing for this next face- off with Hillary Clinton. But there are a couple of high profile surrogates that are still speaking out.

And here's what's Newt Gingrich had to say about Donald Trump this week. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NEWT GINGRICH (R), FORMER SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: I think what Trump's got to understand he's either got to sing I've got to be me or learn a new song, I've got to be president. They're not the same song. He's got to become much more disciplined.

For a while there, I thought he really turned the corner. This last week I think has been frankly a lost week, a week which has hurt him, which has shaken his own supporters. And you can't tweet at 3:00 in the morning.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLACKWELL: All right. Chris Frates --

FRATES: I'm not done.

BLACKWELL: Go ahead. All right, I guess he is done.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: He lost audio.

BLACKWELL: Chris Frates, thanks so much.

Christi?

PAUL: Sorry about that, Chris, I think we lost audio. Never failed. Technical, you never know what you're going to get.

So, after Donald Trump's less than stellar debate showing, his numbers have dropped in the polls. We want to show host you a new post-debate FOX News poll that shows him trailing behind Clinton at 43 percent. Trump is at 40 percent.

CNN political commentator Errol Louis is with us.

Errol, as we look ahead, I know we have the vice presidential debate coming up, I believe it's next Sunday. We also have the second debate coming up. How confident are you that we're going to see a different Donald Trump a week and a half from now?

ERROL LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think we'll see a different Donald Trump, in fact, you'll have to, Christi, because the next debate is a different format. It's going to be a town hall-style debate. Those only came really into vogue in the 1990s starting with Bill Clinton, really, 1988. And so, what you see is, you're going to have a lot of different kinds of dynamics that go on that we haven't seen before.

So, for example, during some of these town hall-style debates, you're getting questions from individuals. Very important not to be nasty to those individuals, even if you disagree with their point of view. You have sort of movement on the stage where the candidate that is not speaking can kind of roam the stage a little bit. Some candidates handle it better than others. So, this is going to be a real wildcard. It's not at all clear Donald

Trump, just as he didn't necessarily prepare for last debate is going to be prepared for this.

PAUL: But maybe -- I'm sorry, go ahead. But maybe prepared in a different way, Errol. Because in "The New York Times," he said, I'm quoting here, he told "The New York Times" regarding Hillary Clinton she's nasty. But I can be nastier than she ever can be, talking out how he's looking at bringing up infidelity in the Clinton marriage.

And when he was asked if he ever cheated on his wives. He's never been married three times. He said, no, I never discuss it, I never discuss it.

The question is, do people care about infidelity? Is it in the Clinton relationship, is it a thing of the past?

ERROL LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I have a hard time believing that people would want to relitigate that, because the point that Trump wants to make is that somehow what happened 20 years ago with the infidelities of Bill Clinton, not Hillary Clinton, somehow reflects badly on her.

[07:05:15] To the extent that any of us want to go back to those sordid days, I don't know that women in particular, they're a key voting bloc that Trump needs to do better against, I don't know they want to hold it against a woman, a faithful wife as far as we all know, for attacking the women who her husband was sleeping with.

PAUL: That's what I said. She's thinking the way she dealt with these women is what could -- I want to get this quote here. "The New York Times" said he said he was bringing up Mr. Clinton's fidelities and thought they would repulse female voters and turn them away from the Clintons.

LOUIS: Well, I read that differently pipe say that as somebody that has three sisters, a wife, and five sister-in-laws. No one would hold it against a wife who had an unfaithful spouse for going after a woman that he had cheated with. I think people understand that on sort of a human level.

I was going to say before, though, Chris, the good news for Donald Trump is that he appears to be a fast learner. So, I think he knows in the polls that you just cited beyond any shadow of a doubt, he at least tied Clinton or arguably beaten by her in the last debate so he's going to have to do something differently. And Newt Gingrich talking through the media to his supporters I think should make some impression on him, that you can't just be nasty.

That's maybe how you win the primary debate. That's maybe how you win a primary election. But for the general election, whole different ball game.

PAUL: All right. Errol Louis, we appreciate it. Thank you so much.

LOUIS: Thank you. PAUL: Also new this morning, BuzzFeed has released an adult video from "Playboy." It's from 2000. It includes an appearance by Donald Trump.

I want to point out in all fairness, the headline sounds very intriguing. It's just a shot of Donald Trump pouring champagne on a "Playboy" limo. He's fully clothed. There's nothing lewd about it.

Let's talk about it with Jeffrey Lord, CNN political commentator and former Reagan White House political director, and Maria Cardona, CNN commentator and Democratic strategist.

Good to see both of you. Happy Saturday to you.

MARIA CARDONA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Good morning, Christi.

JEFFREY LORD, CNN POLITICAL COMMENATOR: Good morning, Christi.

PAUL: Good morning to you.

Jeffrey is ready to go.

BLACKWELL: Always ready.

PAUL: As you can tell. OK, so --

LORD: Good morning, Dr. Blackwell.

BLACKWELL: And to you, sir.

PAUL: So, Jeffrey, first and foremost, we were just talking about Trump said -- Hillary Clinton is nasty. But, quote, I can be nastier than she ever can be. And saying he's really considering going into the infidelity route. Should he go there?

LORD: Well -- I half agree with Errol. Bill Clinton's infidelities are old news. And I think it's worthless to relitigate them. The question though is Hillary Clinton's conduct. And I would very much disagree with Errol on this.

Her conduct per the women involved was pretty seriously bad. I mean, hiring private investigators, bullying, threatening. These women are well out there, saying these kind of things. And then when you add that from the latest book from the Secret Service agent who describes her temperament problems -- I mean, this is a big deal.

PAUL: OK, Maria, go ahead. I know you have something to say to that.

CARDONA: Yes, I mean, Republican strategists who have looked at this in focus group after focus group after focus group are cringing that this is something that their presidential nominee is actually thinking of bringing up, because it doesn't work. It not only doesn't work, it backfires.

When this is something that the GOP wants to go after, it actually moves women more quickly towards Hillary Clinton. So, I have three words for Donald Trump and the Donald Trump campaign.

If they want to down that rabbit hole and relitigate all of this with 53 percent of the electorate that are women, many of them who understand Hillary Clinton's position of having been cheated on and then deciding to stay in the marriage for commitment purposes, for the family, because she actually loved her husband, three words for you -- bring it on.

PAUL: OK, Trump we know is trailing the polls, I want to get some of these numbers up here, in one of the latest polls here.

He is -- Clinton is at 46 percent. Trump is at 42 percent. Overall, this is in Florida. Some of these swing states, they have swung in the direction of Hillary Clinton. Take a look at New Hampshire with Clinton at 42 percent. Trump at 35 percent.

Jeffrey, what is he going to do to try to turn this around?

LORD: Well, we still have a month to go here, a little over a month to go.

[07:10:02] PAUL: That's not a lot of time.

LORD: It's not a lot of time. But believe me, these polls can swing back and forth. There's no question about it.

The very fact after this debate, the polls have essentially not moved in some drastic direction indicates how close this is. I would point out that after both President Reagan and President Obama did not do well in their first debates and then rebounded strongly in second debates. So, I think Donald Trump frankly did fairly well in that first debate. I mean, he stood there and took it, and did fairly well. He did have that microphone problem.

CARDONA: Oh, please.

LORD: We have a ways to go. It's not over.

PAUL: Go ahead, Maria.

CARDONA: Jeffrey's right, it's certainly not over. The polls can definitely go back and forth.

I think one meaningful thing happened on Monday night. The first one is that Hillary Clinton trounced him. Didn't just beat him, trounced him.

(LAUGHTER)

LORD: I don't think so.

CARDONA: The second that she demonstrated how easily it was to get under his skin using his own words. Five days after that debate, we are still talking about how he was -- is in complete meltdown with a late-night Twitter rant against a Miss Universe. And what this whole week has demonstrated is how temperamentally unfit and loose-lipped and shoot from the hip this dividing, defrauding, demeaning, birther in chief, misogynist in chief, is wholly unqualified and uniquely unprepared to be commander in chief.

PAUL: All I know is that in some of the things that we've read this morning from "The New York Times", from "The Washington Post", what we've been seeing all week, this is going in the direction, I don't know if anybody anticipated it would go.

Maria Cardona, Jeffrey Lord, as we continue to forge together here. Thank you so much.

CARDONA: Thanks, Christi.

PAUL: Sure.

BLACKWELL: Reports this morning that Russia is trying to influence the 2016 election. But a probe into just what Russia is trying to accomplish is being blocked here at home. Well, we'll try to get an answer why. And how could the breach affect the election.

PAUL: Also, a powerful category 4 hurricane son the move this morning. We have a live update from the CNN weather center.

BLACKWELL: And Bill Clinton in his own words opening about 40 years of marriage and how Hillary Clinton handled heartbreak and disappointment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[07:15:39] BLACKWELL: All right, welcome back. Let's go back to our panel, Jeffrey Lord and Maria Cardona.

Good morning to you both again.

LORD: Good morning.

BLACKWELL: Let's start with Hillary Clinton's effort to win over millennials. There's been a lot of talk about it. She's doing well as it relates to percentage of that vote, but enthusiasm is the challenge here. I want to read you something she said at a February fund-raiser. This is just a bit of it.

Let's put it on the screen, speaking to Sanders' supporters after saying that some are populists, nationalists, xenophobic, discriminatory. She says this, "Some are new to politics completely. They're children of the great recession and they're living in their parent's basement and they feel they got the education and the jobs that they have available are to them are not at all what they envisioned for themselves. And they don't see much of a future."

Maria, is this going to be a challenge for her? It's seen as divisive.

CARDONA: No, I don't think so because if you actually run the whole quote, she actually said later on that we have to understand where they're coming from. We have to empathize where they're coming from. By the way, I want to point out the first part of your quote when she talked about the nationalist, populist xenophobic, she was talking about the discourse on the Republican side. Very clear about that.

(CROSSTALK)

BLACKWELL: Well, let me just read that, "There's a strain of on the one hand, the kind of populist, nationalist xenophobia discriminatory, the kind of approach that we hear too much from the Republican candidates." So, it's a comparison to the Republicans.

CARDONA: Exactly. I wanted to make that clear. The way you said at the beginning it sounds like Clinton was talking about the Bernie Sanders' supporter.

BLACKWELL: Well, from what I'm reading, it was a comparison to the Republicans. But maybe you're right. We'll go back and listen to it, and I'll correct myself if I'm wrong.

CARDONA: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: OK.

CARDONA: I think the important part here is that what she wants to focus on and what Bernie Sanders want to focus on is that it is the Democratic agenda which she put together, along with Bernie Sanders and the Democratic Party, which is -- which in the platform is the most progressive platform that we have had, does speak to all of those issues, that young voters are concerned with. And she's been talking about it ever since.

College affordability, how you actually make ends meet, for young millennials with children, how you're actually able to go to work and care for your child without breaking the bank, housing affordability. Those are the key issues that Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Michelle Obama, the president, Elizabeth Warren, are going to fan out and be talking about. These are the issues that millennials care about, climate change.

BLACKWELL: Yes.

CARDONA: Which are huge contrasts to what Donald Trump and the party are offering, and I think at the end of the day, she already has the majority of Bernie Sanders. She's just got to lock it down and she's got a month to do that.

BLACKWELL: Let me talk about, Jeffrey, something that Bill Clinton said, talking about heartbreak. He said in Hemingway's immortal words, in some way or another, life breaks everyone, and afterwards many are strong at the broken places.

I think she has spent a lifetime of dealing with not only her joys and her blessings, heartbreak and disappointment, sometimes, unfair treatment.

Hearing more now from President Clinton talking about his wife's heartbreak, to be frank, he's responsible for a great portion of that. Does that undercut, though, the effort -- the strategy that we'll likely see out of the Trump campaign?

LORD: I don't think so. I mean, let's just remember, this -- if Donald Trump goes down this road, this is not coming just from Donald Trump, this is coming from women. Women who've been investigated, attacked, had their personal lives turned inside out and upside down.

There's one thing that a common thread here with what you were just talking about with Maria. When you go back and read the speech that Hillary Clinton gave when she was graduating from Wellesley. She's 21 years old. It just reeks what is typical of the liberal world today, this sort of sense of moral superiority. And, you know, we're smarter than thou kind of thing.

Whether she's 21 years old and talking about it, or whether she's talking about this kind of thing now, it's very clear that she believes herself to be above it all and looks down on all kinds of people, particularly middle class people whom she dismissed as, you know, the deplorables and irredeemables.

[07:20:04] She also looks down on the Bernie Sanders people.

CARDONA: No.

LORD: I mean, this is who she is.

(CROSSTALK)

BLACKWELL: We've got to wrap it here.

CARDONA: That's absolutely untrue. In fact, it's completely the opposite. She's the one who is the voice of middle class and working

BLACKWELL: Maria, Jeffrey, thank you so much.

Again, the question was about Bill Clinton talking about heartbreak and disappointment. We'll see if we continue to hear that narrative from the president. Thank you both.

Christi?

PAUL: Thank you, folks.

CNN talking to some pretty wise kids about the presidential race and interesting to hear how they sum it up.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REPORTER: Do you know that we have a presidential election coming up.

KIDS: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED KID: It's very complicated.

REPORTER: It is complicated, but who's running for president? Tell me.

KIDS: Trump and Hillary Clinton.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLACKWELL: Also, Hurricane Matthew barreling towards Jamaica.

Meteorologist Allison Chinchar tracking it from the CNN weather center -- Allison.

ALLISON CHINCHAR, AMS METEOROLOGIST: That's right, it's going to make its track and turn sharply to the north. The question is, where does it go from there? We'll talk about U.S. impacts, coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PAUL: Powerful category 4 hurricane is on the move in the Atlantic this hour. Hurricane Matthew, we're talking about, 155-mile-per-hour winds and the potential to drop 24 inches of rain on parts of the Caribbean.

[07:25:03] BLACKWELL: Right now, the storm is barreling towards Jamaica.

Let's get to meteorologist Allison Chinchar in the CNN weather center.

We wonder, once we hear these Caribbean countries, is Florida next down the line?

CHINCHAR: Well, that's the ultimate question and it looks like it is still an option at this point. Now, winds right now are about 155 miles per hour. I want to emphasize, two miles per hour more at 157 would make it a category 5.

So, even though it came down from a category 5, it's still a very dangerous storm. Wind gusts up around 190 miles per hour, movement still out of the west at 7 miles per hour. But that's going to shift very soon. We'll talk about that in just a minute.

Now, not too far off from Jamaica, this will be the first hurricane to hit Jamaican since 1988. Still technically, a category 4 hurricane as of this point in time. Now, when we look at the track of the storm, notice over the coming days, it's expected to go over Jamaica, then over a portion of Cuba and start to go north.

The key thing is, it has a very narrow path. It's going to sit in between two separate high pressure systems, one on the right and one on the left. That's going to force it to go off this very narrow path. The question, ultimately, when does it start to make the turn? If it makes a turn earlier to the north, it's more likely to have a bigger impact farther east, to the Carolinas, up and down the northeast, New York, Massachusetts, places like that.

But if it delays, if it takes a little longer until it finally makes that sharp north turn, then it's going to make impact on places like Florida, Georgia and also into South Carolina. So, the big question going forward, guys, how quickly does it turn? We know it will turn today. We just don't know when.

So, you'll have to stay tuned and we'll have all the details throughout the day.

BLACKWELL: All right. Allison Chinchar, thanks so much.

PAUL: Donald Trump's boys club. The Republican nominees surrounded by men who have their own complicated history when it comes to women. The question is, does it matter?

BLACKWELL: And remember a couple weeks ago when President Obama couldn't get stairs in China to deboard the plane there. Wait until you see which president kept him waiting there on Air Force One this time.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[07:30:43] CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR All right, right about now, as you wake up and make your way into Saturday morning we're grateful that you're with us. I'm Christi Paul.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Victor Blackwell. So good to be with you.

Now, as we anticipate round two of the presidential debates, the Trump campaign is hinting it might invoke Bill Clinton's sex scandals to turn people against Hillary Clinton.

PAUL: But it's a questionable strategy given Trump's own history with women, as well as the men that he's surrounding himself with during the campaign.

Here's CNN's Kyung Lah.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I do cherish women. I love women.

KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Trump's critics question if that is really true. It's not only Trump facing scrutiny. Some of his closest advisers are well.

STEVE BANNON, TRUMP CAMPAIGN CEO: We need to have a fight in the Republican Party for the soul of the conservative --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I agree with you.

LAH: Campaign CEO Steve Bannon. In 1996, he faced misdemeanor domestic violence charges. His ex-wife and the Santa Monica, California, police report alleging he grabbed her. An incident the officer says left red marks on her left wrist and right side of the neck. Those charges were dropped.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is a FOX News alert -- LAH: The man behind FOX News Roger Ailes is now an unofficial Trump

campaign whisperer, although Trump won't officially acknowledged his role. FOX News ousted Ailes after multiple women accused him of sexual harassment -- most prominently anchor Gretchen Carlson, who received a $20 million settlement from FOX.

NEWT GINGRICH (R), FORMER HOUSE SPEAKER: You're not supposed to gain 60 pounds within a year if you're Miss Universe.

LAH: That's former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich speaking this week, defending Trump's comments about Alicia Machado's weight gain after she won the crown. Gingrich is now a Trump adviser. He and Trump have both been married three times, both accused of infidelity.

And in 2012, Gingrich's second wife recalled this about her former husband to ABC News.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He was asking to have an open marriage and I refused.

LAH: Then, there's Rudy Giuliani, former New York City mayor and Trump backer. After Monday's debate, Giuliani spoke to reporters bringing up Bill Clinton's affair, criticizing not just him but Hillary Clinton.

RUDY GIULIANI, FORMER NYC MAYOR: She attacked Monica Lewinsky. And after being married to Bill Clinton for 20 years, you didn't know the moment Monica Lewinsky said, that Bill Clinton violated her, that she was telling the truth, then you're too stupid to be president.

LAH: But Giuliani should be able to relate to marital strife, married three times, he announced a separation to his second wife at a press conference before telling her. His divorce and affair playing out publicly on New York tabloid front pages.

(on camera): Trump closest adviser, not all male. His campaign manager is say woman Kellyanne Conway. Another person who has his ears, also a woman, his daughter Ivanka.

Kyung Lah, CNN, Los Angeles.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BLACKWELL: All right. Let's bring CNN commentator Errol Louis to talk about this.

Errol, welcome back.

ERROL LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Hello.

BLACKWELL: So, help us understand the strategy here and it's coming from the group of men that Kyung just reminded us up. I want to read something that was in "The New York Times" overnight about Donald Trump is doing this potentially. He said he was bringing Mr. Clinton's infidelities because he thought it would repulse female voters and turn them away from the Clintons, and because he was eager to unsettle Mrs. Clinton in their next two debates and on the campaign trail.

She's ready for this, and do you think it will work?

LOUIS: I don't think it will work, in part, because Hillary Clinton has already heard the worst things you could possibly hear on this particular topic for the last 20 years. So, that part of it, if that is indeed the strategy, that's not going to work. As far as repulsing women, well, you know, that is a sort of two-edged sword.

So, the nine wives between Trump and Giuliani and Gingrich that your reporter just described are also going to repulse people. You know, I think this is an example, Victor, of the kind of alternate reality that exists not just Donald Trump in the organization with his campaign followers as well, but also in the world of right wing radio.

You know, you have this sort of discussion that's been going on for quite a long time about, oh, what a hypocrite she is, she's enabler of this serial abuser, namely, her husband -- OK, that's a point to be made but they've whipped this up as if this is somehow a big, big concern of the American public.

[07:35:11] And it simply is not. You can hear them talk about it day and night on right wing radio and on the blogs and on their websites, but for the rest of the country, it is of absolutely no concern, and the polls suggest that, they really support that.

You know, I wish them good luck with that strategy. I suspect he may drop it, as he did at the moment of truth during the first presidential debate. I think he might have sensed in his gut that it's just not worth it. It's not going to get him the votes that he needs, that's for sure.

BLACKWELL: It's definitely different to suggest it at a phone interview or one of the rallies, compared to doing it especially in a town hall format for the next debate. And this is recent point of contention for Donald Trump.

I want you to listen to what Trump said about Bill Clinton back in 2008. Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I mean, look at the trouble Bill Clinton got into with something that was totally unimportant and they tried to impeach him which was nonsense.

(END VIDEO CLI)

BLACKWELL: Totally unimportant. Do we know what the pivot point was? Is this just purely political now this turn, or was there some moment between then and now that got him to this point?

LOUIS: I think it's more the Donald Trump style. He has said it all the time he's a counterpuncher. You hit him with an issue, he'll turn around and try to throw it right back at you. In this case, his comments about and his policies regarding women have

been a sore point. It's been something that Hillary Clinton has really dug in on. And so, it was the counterpunch that he came up with.

It wasn't a very good counterpunch, and indeed it raises more questions than it answers. But that's what he's decided to stick to. He's got other advisers including Roger Stone, who have really tried to make a big deal of this. And, you know, I think they're making a huge mistake.

I think Kellyanne Conway, the campaign manager, who for the record is smarter than all of those guys combined is telling him that this is not going to go well. Or perhaps they should take this in a different direction or decide to drop that line of counters attacks.

BLACKWELL: Quickly, just three days away from the vice presidential debate. With this drum beat coming from Trump and his allies, do you expect that Mike Pence will touch this despite his persona, that he will introduce this?

LOUIS: My sense is that Mike Pence wants nothing do with any issues related to social conservatism, because Tim Kaine is just waiting to whip him with all kinds of statements and policies and laws that were pressed and even passed, in Indiana, relating to pay equity, relating to women's right to choose, relating to gay marriage. And it's not a winning formula for Pence. I think he's going to try to stay away from it.

BLACKWELL: All right. Errol Louis, thanks so much.

LOUIS: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: Christi?

PAUL: The U.S. and Russia are battling over a political data breach. Why intelligence officials here at home believe hackers are trying to influence the outcome of the election and could they?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[07:41:32] PAUL: More damning reports this morning that Russia is trying to influence the presidential election.

BLACKWELL: According to "TIME" magazine, more than a dozen senior U.S. intelligence and law enforcement officials have seen mounting evidence, suggesting that Russian leaders are, quote, "undermining faith in the result in the democracy itself."

PAUL: This as "The Daily Beast" report claims Republican lawmakers are blocking probes into Russia's connection to their party's nominee, Donald Trump.

Let's talk to Shane Harris, a senior intelligence and national security correspondent for "The Daily Beast" and author of "At War: The Rise of the Military Internet Complex." Also with me, Matthew Chance, our senior international correspondent.

Gentlemen, so good to have both of you here. Thank you.

Shane, let me start with you, I think the first question on most people's mind that they want to know is about the severity of this hacking. Can it truly modify election results here in the U.S.?

SHANE HARRIS, SR. INTELLIGENCE AND NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT, THE DAILY BEAST: Well, the short answer to that is no, thankfully. It would be very difficult for hackers to get into the voting machines and actually re-tabulate the votes or put votes in one candidate's row versus another. But what they can do is start to undermine public confidence in the integrity of the election system and start sowing doubt in people's minds that maybe it would be rigged, which, of course, is something that Donald Trump has been warning about as well.

So, the system itself is decentralized itself to help give it some resiliency but feeding this paranoia and suspension. That what has officials really worried right now.

PAUL: Matthew, what do you know about the Russian connection to these hacks?

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the Russians for their part, they categorically deny there's any connection to them. And they say there's not much technical evidence or motivating evidence to connect them directly to it.

In a sense, they're right. The digital footprint, fingerprints left by these hackers is very difficult to say, look, it definitely comes from Russia, although there are technical experts that have reached that conclusion.

The circumstantial evidence, however, is quite compelling. I mean all of the individuals, the countries, whatever, that have been targeted with the hack attacks or the troll attacks that have seemed to have emanated from Russia, they're always rivals of the Kremlin or critics of the Kremlin. And that in itself is a very powerful circumstantial evidence.

The friends of Putin, they didn't get attacked, they're immune from this. It's just the critics of him.

PAUL: And Donald Trump referred to this in the debate on Monday. Let's listen here.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I don't think anybody knows it was Russia that broke into the DNC. She's saying Russia, Russia, Russia, but I don't -- maybe it was. I mean, it could be Russia, but it also could also be China. It could be lots of other people. It could also be somebody sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds, OK? You don't know who broke into the DNC.

(END VIDEO CLIP) PAUL: Shane, what gives U.S. officials such confidence that it is Russia behind the attacks?

HARRIS: Well, there are particularly Russian groups that have been connected with other attacks in the past, particularly ones on U.S. government agencies and they use network of servers, they use computer malware or code that hasn't been made public yet. It's kind of forensic evidence, if you like. You see the traces and trade trends in other hacks that we've been able to study very recently, and experts have attributed to them.

So, in the case of the DNC hack or the DCCC and some of the leaks that we've been seeing, experts are able to go in and say, ah, we see the fingerprints of these Russian groups. It's true that you never really have 100 percent accuracy with that.

[07:45:04] But there's that powerful circumstantial evidence. Analysis and forensics, going on behind that that has led to what I would say is nearly a consensus in the intelligence community that the Russian government is behind these operations.

PAUL: All right. Well, in an NBC interview back in July, President Obama alluded to Russia supporting Donald Trump. Let's listen here together.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I know that experts have attributed this to the Russians. What we do know is that the Russians hacked our systems. Not just government systems but private systems. But, you know, what the motives were in terms of the leaks, all that, I can't say directly.

What I do know is that Donald Trump has repeatedly expressed admiration for Vladimir Putin.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PAUL: So, Shane, you couple this with "The Daily Beast" report claiming that the Russian, blocking probes into Russia's connection to their party's nominee. What evidence is there to suggest the hacks are being done to benefit a particular nominee?

HARRIS: Well, this has been the sort of evidence has a lot of shake there, to be honest. And what we see right now, though, is the Russian hackers releasing information that tends to be embarrassing to Democrats and to Hillary Clinton. There's a connection, too, between t e-mails that have been hacked and given to WikiLeaks. Many experts believe there's a Russian reaction as well. There that the hackers are giving them to WikiLeaks in order to embarrass Hillary Clinton.

Intelligence officials that I talked to are divided about this idea of whether it's specifically meant to help Trump or meddle with the entire system, but notably, you haven't seen information that's coming out that's damaging to Trump or many Republicans. You haven't seen things like his financial records getting hacked and released or anything like that.

So, it tends to see that it's weighted towards one preferred outcome for the Russian government. And, of course, we know Vladimir Putin has ex pressed his admiration of Donald Trump and is no great fan of Hillary Clinton.

PAUL: OK, Matthew, respond to that and help us understand what motive there might be for Russia to be behind this.

CHANCE: Well, I mean, obviously, the concern is they want to undermine the U.S. political system. You know, to say, look, it's corrupt in the West, just like it is in Russia. But I think it's really interesting that Obama chose his words very carefully there and that the White House has not come out despite all of this mounting evidence that we're reporting that there is now of Russian involvement.

It hasn't come out that said, look, the Russians are responsible for this and we're go going to take action against them, and it may be because that evidence is not there yet, or may be because of desire consequences that could result in the White House actually fingering the Kremlin for this specific hack for specifically trying to intervene in U.S. presidential elections. They've already got a difficult relationship with issues like Syria where they're trying unsuccessfully to cooperate to bring a peace deal there.

And they've got problems over Ukraine where Russia annexed Crimea. If they go further and the White House is look, Russia is responsible for this and we're going to sanction you further, that would make the relationship even more difficult, and that's not necessarily something the White House wants.

PAUL: Shane, I only have a couple of seconds left. But do you anticipate there are more hacks on the way for Hillary Clinton and the Democratic camp and any for the Republican camp?

HARRIS: I think we should probably assume there might be some more leaks coming. There's been a pretty drip of them so far. I believe probably the Clinton campaign is bracing for that as well. Perhaps the Trump campaign should, too. The Russian operator might shift as we get closer to the election.

PAUL: All righty. Matthew Chance, Shane Harris, so grateful you both could join us today. Thank you.

HARRIS: Thanks.

BLACKWELL: OK. So, this next one, kids say the darndest things, this time, about the first presidential debate.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REPORTER: What did you think about the debate? Did you watch any of it?

UNIDENTIFIED KID: I thought it was torture. REPORTER: Why was it torture?

UNIDENTIFIED KID: I don't know. I just --

UNIDENTIFIED KID: All the screaming.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[07:52:33] PAUL: Still remember where you were on Monday night, sitting in front of the TV along with 84 other million people around the country watching Monday's debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump? It was record setting those numbers.

BLACKWELL: Yes, some people watched with it their children, of course. Now, according to those kids who watched, what's the first thing that a new president should do?

Gary Tuchman sat down with some third graders in Georgia to get an answer.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORESPONDENT (voice-over): At the Woodward Academy in College Park, Georgia, we talked to some 8 to 9-year-old third graders.

(on camera): Thank you for welcoming us to your school.

KIDS: You're welcome.

TUCHMAN: It's nice to meet you.

KIDS: You too.

TUCHMAN: Do you know we have a presidential election coming up?

KIDS: Yes.

KID: It's very complicated.

TUCHMAN: It is complicated. But who is running? Tell me.

KIDS: Trump and Hillary Clinton.

TUCHMAN: Trump and Hillary Clinton, which one is the man? Which one is the woman?

KIDS: Hillary is the girl. Trump is the boy.

RIVERLY CARR, THIRD-GRADER, WOODWARD ACTIVITY: I know a little bit about both of their stories a little.

TUCHMAN: Uh-huh.

CARR: Because Trump has a wife and she's like a model kind of. And then Hillary's husband or father was the president.

TUCHMAN: Well, her husband, bill Clinton. So she would be the second president Clinton.

CARR: Yeah.

TUCHMAN: What's the first thing you think the new president should do?

KID: To make an announcement that everything like houses and stuff was half the price for a whole month.

TUCHMAN: Half the price for a whole month. Who agrees with that?

KID: No, half price cars, half price everything.

TUCHMAN: What do you think Lexi about the candidates yelling at each other?

LEXI BLANCHARD, THIRD GRADER, WOODWARD ACADEMY: I don't really like it when they do that.

TUCHMAN: Why don't you like that?

BLANCHARD: Because I don't like violence.

TUCHMAN: They haven't touched each other, which would be really inappropriate or punched each other.

BLANCHARD: Screaming violence. Yeah, that's what I mean.

TUCHMAN: Did you hear they just had a debate?

KIDS: Yes!

TUCHMAN: What did you think about the debate? Did you watch any of it?

CARR: I thought it was torture.

TUCHMAN: Why was it torture?

CARR: I don't know.

KID: All the screaming.

TUCHMAN: I'm going to show you this video. I want you to watch and tell me what you think when we're done.

TRUMP: You were totally out of control. A temperament that's not a problem.

DEBATE MODERATOR: Secretary Clinton.

HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Whoo. Okay.

TUCHMAN: See her little shimmy of her shoulders. What did you think of that?

KID: Cool.

KID: I think she's like -- wait so that --

TUCHMAN: It's like what?

KID: Kind of --

KID: Boogie.

TUCHMAN: Boogie? Time to boogie at the debate.

[07:55:01] What advice would you give Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton if they were at this table.

MAYA STOREY, THIRD GRADER, WOODWARD ACADEMY: They were sitting here. I would say stop interrupting people. Follow the Golden Rule. If you interrupt the other person, then you probably will get interrupted when you're trying to say something.

CARR: It's just that they should just calm down, take a time-out. Talk in a room that's quiet.

TUCHMAN: So your feeling is if Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump were here, you would say take a time out?

KID: No, like just --

TUCHMAN: Chill.

KID: Just relax.

CARR: Take a chill pill. Just take a chill pill.

TUCHMAN: Thank you for inviting us to your school.

KIDS: You're welcome.

You're welcome.

You're very nice.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

PAUL: Take a chill pill, if it were that easy.

BLACKWELL: We should print up t-shirts, take a chill pill.

PAUL: Take a chill pill. They were so sweet.

BLACKWELL: Thanks, Gary.

PAUL: Thanks, Gary.

BLACKWELL: Still ahead, it was a painful week for the third party ticket. First, Gary Johnson failed another -- I don't know if we can call this a pop quiz. It wasn't a gotcha question, just name one world leader you like. And then his running mate is heaping praise on Hillary Clinton. Is their appeal starting to fade here?

PAUL: Also, what do you do when there's two presidents sharing one plane and only one ready for takeoff.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Bill! Let's go, I got to get home!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PAUL: Oh, presidents. They're just like us. Kind of. Kind of.

The cameras catching bit of a funny moment between President Obama and Bill Clinton after the funeral, of course, of former Israeli President Shimon Peres, which was a very serious moment. Look at what was happening as they were trying to get back home.