Return to Transcripts main page
Vice Presidential Debate; Stealing Classified Material; Florida Awaits Hurricane Matthew. Aired 1-1:30p ET
Aired October 5, 2016 - 13:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, I'm Wolf Blitzer. It's 1:00 p.m. here in Washington, 8:00 p.m. in Moscow. Wherever you're watching from around the world, thanks very much for joining us.
We're following two major stories this hour. Hurricane Matthew is taking direct aim at the Bahamas and the United States after pounding Cuba and Haiti. The Florida governor, Rick Scott, gave an update on the situation just moments ago. Listen to this.
GOV. RICK SCOTT, FLORIDA: First, Hurricane Matthew is a category three hurricane and deadly. At least 17 people have already been killed by this major hurricane. Seventeen people have already died. We do not want to see another loss of life and protecting life is our number one priority. If Matthew directly impacts Florida, there will be massive destruction that we haven't seen in years.
Again, this is a deadly storm approaching our state and our number one priority is the individual's life. We are preparing for the worst, hoping for the best, and not taking any chances. I just spoke with the national hurricane center in all 67 Florida counties. I've been in contact with sheriffs, mayors, utilities companies, the Red Cross, emergency management and officials across our state.
Here is what we now know. Hurricane Matthew made landfall on Cuba last night and is headed north towards the Bahamas. Matthew has maximum sustained winds of 120 miles per hour. It is still a slow- moving storm and continues to move northwest. It is suspected to strengthen as it approaches Florida, but we should not focus on the exact track.
The eye of the storm continues to move closer to our state. There are now some forecasts that put a direct hit on Florida. Based on the current forecast, the center of the storm will be close to Cape Canaveral on Friday morning.
Regardless if there is a direct hit or not, the impacts will be devastating. I cannot emphasize this enough that everyone in our state must prepare now for a direct hit.
Just remember, with a storm going up along our coast, a small deviation from this track can mean a catastrophic storm along our east coast. We have to prepare for a direct hit. We will likely start to see the impacts on our state within the next 24 hours and last through the weekend. This is a slow-moving storm. That means we have less than 24 hours left to prepare, evacuate and shelter.
Having a plan in place could mean the difference between life and death. When it comes to a storm of this magnitude. Right now, we expect to see impacts all along Florida's east coast, ranging from the upper Keys to Nassau County. We are still focused on the I-95 corridor.
The impacts of Hurricane Matthew could be heavy rain, forecast project four to seven inches from the upper Keys northward to the coastal east central Florida. It could be up to ten inches in some -- in some areas. And let's remember, when you get a band, as we've done in prior storms, you can get even more rain than that.
Storm surge, highs are expected to be above ground. Forecast project three to six feet, three to six feet. From North Palm Beach to the Flagler Volusia County line. This surge can be deadly. Please, do not risk by going out surfing during this storm. Again, this can kill you. We're going to see rip currents. We're going to see beach erosion. We're going to see tornadoes and hurricane force winds.
BLITZER: Rick Scott, the Governor of Florida, with some very, very strong words, a powerful warning. And just a little while ago, President Obama here in Washington urged people up and down the southeastern coast of the United States to get ready.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This is a serious storm. It has already hit Haiti with devastating effect. It is now in the process of moving through the Bahamas. Because it's not going to be hitting enough land, it is going to be building strength on its way to Florida. We anticipate that by tomorrow morning it will already begin to have significant effect in Florida.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: We're going to keep you, of course, updated on where this hurricane is heading and how the United States, right now, is preparing.
Our other big story we're following, the race for the White House. In the first and only vice presidential debate, Mike Pence scored points for style and edged out Tim Kaine. But did either running mate do enough to influence the overall race? Now less than 34 days until the election.
[13:05:14] In our CNN-ORC instant poll, 48 percent of debate watchers said Governor Pence, the Republican, won; 42 percent thought Senator Kaine, the Democrat, did.
The two sparred over everything from the U.S. economy to foreign affairs to abortion rights for women. Kaine was criticized for frequently interrupting his opponent. Pence was more calm, more composed. But neither hesitated to mix it up. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. TIM KAINE (D), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Donald Trump started this campaign 2014. He said, if I run for president, I will absolutely release my taxes. He's broken his first promise.
GOV. MIKE PENCE (R), VICE PRESIDENT CANDIDATE: And he will.
KAINE: He's broken his first promise.
PENCE: Donald Trump supports our veterans.
KAINE: He won't pay taxes.
PENCE: Donald Trump has paid all the tax -- do you not take the --
ELAINE QUIJANO, REPORTER, CBS NEWS: Gentlemen, this is not about --
KAINE: How does that work?
PENCE: Just trying to keep up with the insult-driven campaign on other side of the table.
KAINE: You know, I'm just saying facts about your running mate.
PENCE: Yes, well --
KAINE: And I know you can't deny it.
PENCE: -- I'm happy to defend him, Senator. Don't put words in my mouth that I'm not defending him.
KAINE: You're not.
QUIJANO: I would please ask you trying to wait until it is -- that the other is finished.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right, we're having fun up here.
BLITZER: Both vice presidential candidates are back on the campaign trail today. Pence is rallying supporters in Virginia. Kaine has an event later this afternoon in Philadelphia.
Now, the focus shifts to the next presidential debate. The showdown between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton only four days away.
Let's bring in our Correspondent Phil Mattingly. He's covering the Trump campaign for us, and our Senior Washington Correspondent Jeff Zeleny covering the Clinton campaign.
Phil, how is Trump preparing now for this next face off, the second face off with Hillary Clinton? Is he taking any pages, for example, from Mike Pence's playbook?
PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think Donald Trump advisers have made it clear. He kept a very close eye on Mike Pence last night. I do think one of the interesting elements, Wolf, about this second debate is the format. It's a town hall. It's the type of thing that Donald Trump has done a number of times on the campaign trail.
Now, keep in mind, one-on-one debates were something Donald Trump did not experience when he was in that primary. He always had 10, 11, 12 other people sitting beside him. That was very different for him in that first debate. The second debate, not so much.
And we're actually going to get a test of sorts. Donald Trump heading to New Hampshire tomorrow where he will have a town hall, a bit of a practice run, if you will, going forward.
But the big question remains, Wolf, will he do the preparation behind the scenes? If you look at what happened with Mike Pence last night, if you talk to Republicans who were watching and comparing and contrasting Mike Pence's debate to Donald Trump's debate, the one consistent thing you heard over and over again, Mike Pence was prepared. The big question now, will that resonate with Donald Trump? And even if it does, will he do anything about it -- Wolf.
BLITZER: And, Jeff, you cover the Clinton campaign. Do they think that Tim Kaine did enough to help Hillary Clinton in this very, very close race?
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: The advisers to the Clinton campaign were very upbeat about the reaction publicly. Privately, thought Tim Kaine could have done a little bit better there. The interruptions were one thing. But they thought that he -- you know, did not really show his true self as much as he sometimes does.
But the reality here coming out of this, the one thing that they were actually pleased about, the Clinton campaign, is that Tim Kaine continued to raise questions about Donald Trump. After all, this campaign is about Donald Trump and the Clinton campaign. It's not about Mike Pence and Tim Kaine as much.
So, they believe that he was really able to continue scoring some points here. But the Clinton campaign, Hillary Clinton herself, Wolf, is not taking a moment's rest off that Sunday debate. She, right now, is preparing for the debate, locked with her advisers in her home here in Washington, doing debate prep sessions.
She's not scheduled to be on the campaign trail at all until after the debate. That is a notable difference from Donald Trump, who is out campaigning in Nevada. And, as Phil said, will have that town meeting in New Hampshire. She is treating this so seriously because it is indeed serious. So much early voting going on. Sunday is probably not an overstatement to say the most important moment of this campaign.
BLITZER: Yes, and there's a new poll just released this hour.
BLITZER: This is a poll in Ohio, a Monmouth University poll. It has Hillary Clinton slightly ahead over Donald Trump. You can see it, 44 percent for Hillary Clinton, Trump 42 percent. That's pretty good news for Hillary Clinton since earlier polls showed she wasn't doing that great in Ohio.
ZELENY: Yes, it is. If this poll is true, the Clinton campaign will be very happy by this. This is only one, so far, that shows her ahead of Donald Trump. Ohio is a tough state for them. It's a close state. But it's actually one that they do not need because they can get their path to 270 without that. But they certainly are watching that.
But, Wolf, it is -- again, she is preparing as seriously, I'm told, for the second debate as she did that first debate.
BLITZER: And as we always point out, no Republican has ever won the White House without taking Ohio.
ZELENY: It's so important.
BLITZER: That's a key state for Republicans.
[13:10:00] Thanks very much, Jeff, for that.
CNN polled a group of debate watchers and found that by the end of the night, people viewed Senator Tim Kaine more unfavorably than before the debate started. That number growing from just 28 percent to 40 percent throughout the evening. And this is with a Democratic-leaning audience of debate viewers.
To talk more about Senator Kaine's performance, I want to bring in Jamie Rubin. He's a senior media adviser to the Clinton campaign. Jamie, thanks very much for joining us.
JAMES P. RUBIN, SENIOR MEDIA ADVISOR, CLINTON CAMPAIGN: Good to be with you, Wolf.
BLITZER: So, why do you think our poll showed Pence won over Kaine?
RUBIN: Well, I think a lot of people have talked about the style issue. But the real question is, was it good for Trump-Pence? Was it good for the ticket? And what Tim Kaine was able to do last night I think is extremely important. Wolf, you and I have talked about big issues, like Russia, for 20 years.
Last night, you saw something that I've never seen before in the modern era. The vice presidential candidate did a 180-degree turn on a central foreign policy issue of Russia. Donald Trump said he wanted to sit down and negotiate the removal of sanctions on Russia. Donald Trump said he would accept Crimea being part of the Russian government. Donald Trump's team removed from the platform the idea of helping Ukraine against Russia. Now, what happened last night? Pence did the exact opposite. He suddenly said that he'd never said Putin was a strong leader. Suddenly, he wanted to be very tough and strong on Putin. Talked about the need to stand up to the Russians.
Now, Wolf, this isn't just a subtlety. This isn't a narrow difference on one aspect of a policy. The U.S. policy towards Russia is one of the two or three most important things in our foreign affairs. And the candidate at the top took a soft on Russia position. The candidate number two, Mr. Pence, took a hard on Russia position.
BLITZER: That --
RUBIN: Which one is it? And that's really important. It's not a nuance.
BLITZER: -- and maybe that's one of the --
RUBIN: This is one of the biggest --
BLITZER: -- reasons --
RUBIN: -- foreign policy flip-flop I've ever seen.
BLITZER: -- maybe that's one of the reasons why by Governor Pence did well, because he was tough on the Russians. But he also pointed out, Jamie, that on so many issues, especially in the middle east, Syria, Iraq, Iran for that matter, Libya, hot spots around that area, the situation today is worse than it was when President Obama took office, when the secretary of state was Hillary Clinton.
Now, those were tough statements that Governor Pence leveled against Tim Kaine, and Hillary Clinton for that matter. You're a national security adviser to the Clinton campaign. Respond.
RUBIN: Well, look, the vice president did what Republicans used to say Democrats did too much. It was the blame America first strategy. Everything that's gone wrong in the world, Mr. Pence blamed on Washington. Even when, in some of those cases, he brought up Georgia last night and he forgot that Georgia was invaded by Russia during the Bush administration, not the Clinton or --
BLITZER: But what about -- what about --
RUBIN: -- when Clinton was secretary of state.
BLITZER: -- what about Libya and Iraq and Syria? All those areas, for example, are a lot -- a lot more deadly, worse shape today than they were seven, eight years ago?
RUBIN: Now, Wolf, you know these are very difficult, complex issues. If you cut me off after six seconds, I can't explain Libya. Let's take Libya. If Donald Trump and the -- supported the same idea of overthrowing Gadhafi -- let's take Iraq. Donald Trump favored going into Iraq, and then he lied about it. Donald Trump also favored, and this is really important, rushing U.S. troops out. In 2007, when George Bush was president, Donald Trump called for the immediate withdrawal, call it a victory and pull out. Those are Donald Trump's position. And so, what Mr. Pence was doing, in fact, was criticizing either of the positions of George Bush, which happened before Hillary was secretary of state, or attacked positions that his very man on the top of the ticket had as well.
The Middle East is very complicated. If you were listening to Trump and Pence, everything that happens there is Washington's fault. That is a juvenile, junior league foreign policy. There have been difficulties but the -- Clinton, as secretary of state, worked very well on Iran. She gathered a coalition together from all over the world, that had never happened before, to put sanctions on Iran. That's why we got the Iran agreement.
On Iraq, when the -- when the Clinton administration came in, Iraq was already a mess because of the invasion in Iraq that George Bush, Mr. Pence and Donald Trump all supported.
BLITZER: All right.
RUBIN: So, these are not simple matters. They can't just be thrown out. But I wouldn't stop talking about Russia. Remember, Russia is the issue that Mitt Romney said was the most important national security issue and his ticket just did a giant flip-flop.
[13:15:07] BLITZER: All right. Jamie Rubin is the senior media advisor for national security affairs to the Clinton campaign, former U.S. assistant secretary of state.
Jamie, thanks so much for joining us.
RUBIN: Thank you, Wolf.
BLITZER: It's no surprise Republicans are praising Mike Pence's performance in the vice presidential debate, but did Governor Pence do enough to defend the man right at the top of the ticket? We're talking about Donald Trump.
Let's bring in a Trump campaign senior adviser, Boris Epshteyn.
Boris, thanks very much for joining us.
BORIS EPSHTEYN, SENIOR ADVISER, TRUMP CAMPAIGN: Of course, Wolf. How are you?
BLITZER: All right, so Tim Kaine repeatedly brought up Donald Trump's own words to Mike Pence, challenging him to defend the comments. Listen to this exchange last night, for example, on immigration and what Donald Trump previously said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. TIME KAINE (D), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: These guys, and Donald Trump has said it, deportation force. They want to go house to house, school to school, business to business, and kick out 16 million people. And I cannot believe - I cannot -
GOV. MIKE PENCE (R), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It's nonsense. It's nonsense.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: They're illegal immigrants. They came over illegally. Some are wonderful people and they've been here for a while. They've got to go out. They've got to leave.
CHRIS CUOMO, ANCHOR, CNN'S "NEW DAY": But how do you do it in a practical way? You really think you can round up 11 million people?
TRUMP: They've got to leave. And you know what, at some point we're going to try getting them back, the good ones.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: All right, Trump did call for rounding up, deporting undocumented immigrants here in the United States, before sort of muddling his position, if you will, in subsequent interviews. So how do you reconcile that with Pence's denial?
EPSHTEYN: Well, there's a couple of things there, Wolf. First of all, Tim Kaine, as he was on a million different things yesterday, was wrong on his attack. There's no 16 million. To get to that number, the Democrats are adding 5 million of U.S. citizens. Those are children born here. Nobody's talking about having those children, who are citizens of United States, leave. So that's one. Two, we've been very clear -
BLITZER: Well, let me ask you - are you sure - are you sure, Boris, about that, that Donald Trump wants these children who were born to undocumented immigrants, born in the United States, they should have U.S. citizenship? He's onboard with that?
EPSHTEYN: Well, if you have - listen, if you're a U.S. citizen now, you're a U.S. citizen. What we're going to do with that policy going forward, that will be under consideration after we deal with the priorities of illegal immigration. And the -
BLITZER: So you want to change that birth - you want to change that birthright citizenship? In other words, if - if illegal -
EPSHTEYN: Well, I'm not saying -
BLITZER: Go ahead.
EPSHTEYN: I'm not saying that we want to change that. What I'm saying to you is that we're going to deal with the priorities first. The priorities are the illegal immigrants who have committed crimes in this country. Those will be deported right away. Then those who have overstayed their visas and who are breaking the immigration policies of this country. Those are next. And once we do all that, then we'll deal with the rest. And we'll do it humanely and within the Constitution.
You know, Tim Kaine, yesterday, used all these canned attacks against Donald Trump and against Governor Pence, but they all fell flat. Why? Because he didn't bring anything new to the conversation. In the discussion you just had with Jamie Rubin, he said that - talk about the biggest flip-flop he's ever seen on foreign policy. Well, that's called the TPP. Hillary Clinton was in favor of the TPP about 45 times. Now she's somehow against it. And -
BLITZER: All right. Let me -
EPSHTEYN: Go ahead.
BLITZER: I want to get your - give you an opportunity, Boris, to respond to what we just heard from Jamie Rubin, because Governor Pence, he did take a different position from Trump on the issue of Vladimir Putin and Russia. This is what Jamie Rubin said. But let me play the clip.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PENCE: The small and bullying leader of Russia is now dictating terms to the United States, to the point where all the United States of America, the - the great effort nation on earth, just withdrawals from talks about a cease-fire while Vladimir Putin puts a missile defense system in Syria, while he marshals the forces and begins - look, we have got to begin to lean into this with strong, broad-shouldered American leadership.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: That certainly sounded different than what we've heard from Donald Trump over these many months. Pence, he denied for example, that Trump praised Putin, even though Trump has repeatedly called him a strong leader. So is there some daylight here, based on everything you're seeing, between Trump and his vice presidential running mate?
EPSHTEYN: Absolutely not, Wolf. Both Donald Trump and Governor Pence have been consistent in saying that Vladimir Putin has allowed for the U.S. - for Russia to lead and Barack Obama has allowed for the U.S. to lead from behind. So Vladimir Putin has been a stronger leader for Russia than Barack Obama has been for the U.S. That's not a - in - at all somehow support for Vladimir Putin or a compliment of Vladimir Putin. That's an indictment on the reckless and failed leadership of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.
BLITZER: But did you ever hear - Boris, did you ever hear Donald Trump - did you ever hear Donald Trump call Putin "small" and "bullying," a "small and bullying leader"? Have we ever heard that kind of statement from Donald Trump about Putin?
EPSHTEYN: Donald Trump was very specific actually and he said that he will be strong against Putin. That he doesn't care about what Putin says about him and that he will lead through peace, through strength. That's what we have to do as a country. That's what we used to do. But because of the Clinton foreign policy that Jamie Rubin was a big part of, the failed North Korea deal under Madeleine Albright, all the failed foreign policy adventures that you spoke of in the previous segment, Syria, Libya, Iraq, everything that Hillary Clinton has been a part of in foreign policy has been an utter failure. We cannot allow for that to continue. We need to be strong on foreign policy, we need to be strong on the international stage. That's what we used to be under Ronald Reagan and will be under Donald Trump.
[13:20:26] BLITZER: All right, Boris Epshteyn, thanks very much for joining us.
EPSHTEYN: Thanks so much, Wolf.
BLITZER: All right, coming up, after a strong debate performance, some Republican leaders tell CNN they wish it was Mike Pence actually on the top of the Republican ticket.
Plus this, Donald Trump, he's getting ready to go to a school in Las Vegas, have an opportunity to speak with some teachers, some parents, some students. We're going to have coverage of that.
And Hurricane Matthew taking direct aim now at the southeast coast of the United States, prompting evacuations. Where is it heading? When will it get there? Stay with us. We'll update you when we come back.
[13:25:52] BLITZER: We've got some breaking news. A government contractor, a U.S. government contractor, with top secret national security clearances, has been charged stealing information while working at the National Security Agency, the NSA.
Our justice correspondent, Evan Perez, is joining us with details.
Evan, what's going on?
EVAN PEREZ, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, this contractor was arrested back in August, August 27th. And the arrest had been secret until today when the Justice Department announced it.
He's accused, according to the Justice Department, of stealing important, secret - top-secret documents that belonged to a federal agency. We're told by sources that this is the NSA. So we have, again, a person who's a government contractor who has stolen very, very top- secret information from sensitive information from the NSA. Again, a contractor, just like Edward Snowden.
So the question now for the government is, what are they going to do about this? The fact is that, you know, the insider threat, as they call it, is a perennial problem for them. They've been trying to address it, but clearly not in time to catch this guy. So, according to the Justice Department, he, in a search of his house, they found these documents that belonged to a federal agency. Again, we're told that that agency is the NSA.
Now, the criminal complaint that's been filed against him, Harold Martin is the name of the contractor, doesn't really specify what exactly these documents are, these classified documents that he stole. It appears to be, Wolf, these documents that made their way on to the Internet a few months ago. They appeared to be really a top-secret hacking codes that the NSA uses to target countries, other countries including Iran, Russia, China and so on.
So that appears to be what this is about. Again, the documents in the criminal complaint do not specify what exactly these documents are, except to say that the publication of these documents or these documents getting out would cause grave danger to the national security of the United States.
BLITZER: Any indication this suspect was working with a foreign government?
PEREZ: It's not clear yet. I mean he was at home when he was arrested. It's not clear if he was working for anybody. That is, obviously, part of this investigation right now.
BLITZER: All right, very disturbing information indeed. Evan, thanks for that report.
We're also following the breaking news on the southeast coast here of the United States. We're keeping a very, very close eye on Hurricane Matthew. Right now it is a category three storm, and it could get stronger as it gets closer and closer to Florida. Florida very much on high alert right now as that state remains under both tropical storm and hurricane watches and warnings.
Joining us on the phone right now from Fort Pierce, Florida, is the governor, Rick Scott.
Governor, I know these are very, very dangerous moments for you, for everyone in Florida right now. What is the biggest worry you have for which part of your state?
GOV. RICK SCOTT (R), FLORIDA (via telephone): Well, Wolf, the problem with this - with this hurricane, it is right now going along the coast and I'm working to get everybody prepared. I want to keep everybody alive. So we've done a variety of things. I'm traveling the state, you know, making sure people get informed. I've eliminated the tolls on the roads where we're doing to be doing evacuation. We have already prepositioned resources, food and water, things like that, three different spots, central, north and south Florida. I've already prepositioned 500 National Guard members to help in north, central and south Florida. I've already prepositioned high-water vehicles from our water management district, our Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
So we're getting everybody ready, but we - I mean, this is going to be a category four it looks like and it's coming very close. And, you know, this could change at a moment's notice and have a direct hit on our state. So I'm trying to get everybody ready and make sure we get our evacuations done, make sure everybody is safe.
BLITZER: So where are you telling people to evacuate from? What part of the state? Would it be down, what, say the southern part of Florida, Miami-Dade, Broward County or further up?
[13:29:54] SCOTT: Right now we've already started evacuations in a variety of counties and starting with, you know, Broward going north and they - you can evacuate in our state in the same county. You don't have to go that many miles in. Even though the storms could have three to six feet of storm surge, you don't have to go very far in. But we've got to get off of our barrier islands. We've got to get - look at our low-lying areas.