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Trump: "Large Scale Note Fraud" Going On as Clinton Leads Polls; N.C. Republican Party Field Office Firebombed; "Rigged" Claims Stoke Anger Among Trump Supporters; WikiLeaks Releases More Clinton Hacked E-mails. Aired 11-11:30a ET

Aired October 17, 2016 - 11:00   ET


[11:00:00] CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: Thank you for watching today. I'm Carol Costello.

AT THIS HOUR with Berman and Bolduan starts now.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm Kate Bolduan.


We begin with things that are not true. Just a short time ago, Donald Trump tweeted, "Of course there is large scale voter fraud happening on and before Election Day. Why do Republican leaders deny what is going on? So naive."

To be clear, there is no evidence of large scale fraud on or before Election Day. Also, to be clear, for fraud to sway this election, it would likely have to happen in swing states with Republican governors, Florida, North Carolina, Wisconsin, Iowa, Nevada, Ohio, Michigan, Maine, Georgia, Arizona. Is he saying these Republican executives would throw the election to Hillary Clinton?

BOLDUAN: He did say Republicans. Trump offers zero proof to back his claims of corruption, a conspiracy so vast that he says it now even includes "Saturday Night Live." Try this new tag line for you. Live from New York, it's large scale fraud that doesn't exist.

What does exist? A brand new CNN poll of polls shows Hillary Clinton is widening her lead right now over Donald Trump eight points nationally, 47 percent to 39 percent.

Let's get to CNN's chief political correspondent, Dana Bash. Dana Bash can try on her favorite "SNL" skit attempt right now if she so chooses.



BOLDUAN: What can we say? The campaign is now speaking out. I kind of feel like it's what's old is new again with Donald Trump. He called it rigged. But this is new, the fact he's saying it's widespread, large scale election fraud. Kellyanne Conway is also speaking about that this morning. BASH: That's right. First of all, I think what you guys just showed

our viewers are the map on how many of these battleground states are run by Republican governors is so crucial. I'm glad you're putting it back up for our viewers and voters to remember when they listen to these allegations or predictions of voter fraud.

I will say that I was just talking to a Trump associate, who said, yeah, but it's not just the states, it's the inner cities within some of these states. Pennsylvania is a battleground not listed there, not run by Republicans. But the point is they argue that well, maybe some of the fraud could happen on the inner city level, which is, for the most part, Democratic run.

Having said all that, it is still a very open question where the evidence is on these claims or predictions.

Jason Carroll did catch up with Donald Trump's campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, and pushed for answers to these. Let's listen to this exchange.


KELLYANNE CONWAY, DONALD TRUMP PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN MANGER: So anybody who reads the newspaper online or in print or has a remote control probably has recognized that, in many ways, the fix is in for Mrs. Clinton. We have the mainstream media --


JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: But isn't he also suggesting that it's beyond that, beyond the media, that it's also something about the process itself? Specifically, isn't he suggesting voter fraud or is he just suggesting that it's just the media that he has a problem with in terms of --


CONWAY: There are any number of factors. If there's compelling evidence of voter fraud, obviously as early voting goes on --


CARROLL: But there hasn't been any evidence of that.

CONWAY: I didn't say that. I said, if there is, that certainly we would take action.


BASH: This is making a lot of Republican leaders uncomfortable. This weekend, a spokesman -- spokeswoman for Speaker Paul Ryan releasing a statement saying there's no evidence of this. It is true that Donald Trump is lashing out against the media but he also in at least one tweet talked about the system, which means he's talking about polling places as well. It doesn't take a political expert to know why he is doing this. I

think there's probably two reasons. One is to kind of lay the groundwork for losing. But more importantly, to get his supporters who, somebody said to me, would chew glass for him, a lot of them would, riled up and make sure they go out to the polls to vote. So that's what this tactic is. But again, a lot of -- like many things Donald Trump says, a lot of these allegations are making Republicans uncomfortable.

BERMAN: Again, to be clear, the Republican secretary of state of Ohio told Carol Costello, a little while ago, I see no fraud here before or during election day, and this is a bad thing to be talking about, Donald Trump. This is a guy who says he will vote for Donald Trump.

BOLDUAN: Exactly.

BERMAN: Dana, we know Donald Trump is actually doing debate prep, a little bit more of it this time, at least admitting to more of it this time around than he has in the past. After debate prep, he's got a pretty interesting travel schedule. Where's he going?

BASH: Well, let's just talk about the state that boggles my mind and boggles a lot of people's minds who are looking at the battleground map right now. Wisconsin. He's going to the state of Wisconsin today. You both know Wisconsin is just not really in the cards for him right now, according to polls, both private polling, public polling. Again, I talked to people who are close to Donald Trump, who want him to win, who are saying, what is he doing in Wisconsin today. One even said it was political malpractice for him to be spending time there. A candidate's time in any point in the campaign is incredibly valuable, especially when you are three weeks out. So for him to go there sort of begs the question why. There are some conspiracy theories that maybe he's trying to troll Paul Ryan, who is from the state of Wisconsin. But we are not sure exactly why. But he is going there. Maybe they know something we don't, and we will all have egg on our face on election day, but that's, I think, probably not all that likely.

[11:06:00] BOLDUAN: Wisconsin, Colorado, then to the debate.

Dana, great to see you. Thank you.

BASH: You, too.

BOLDUAN: So a criminal investigation is under way this morning after a scary incident yesterday. A Republican Party field office in North Carolina firebombed. Look at this video. A message also was left with a swastika and the words "Nazi Republicans, get out of town or else." No one was injured in that attack.

BERMAN: CNN's Polo Sandoval joins us with new details.

Polo, what are you learning?

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: John and Kate, at this point, the search for suspects or possibly the suspect still continues in North Carolina. What's important here is that investigators are still trying to get to the bottom of who exactly is responsible for this. As you mentioned, quite disturbing there.

This is what investigators do know. A bottle filled with some sort of flammable material was thrown at the building, into the building itself, and then caused extensive damage there. Also the message written on an adjacent building as well.

I can tell you that local officials are saying this is extremely disturbing and so are at least two of the major presidential candidates. Hillary Clinton, the first to tweet after that incident took place over the weekend. I will read you the message she posted on social media. The former secretary of state saying, quote, "The attack on the Orange County headquarters GOP office is horrific and unacceptable. Very grateful that everyone is safe." Her GOP opponent also taking to Twitter with a message of his own, a bit more direct here saying, quote, "Animals representing Hillary Clinton and Democrats in North Carolina just firebombed our office in Orange County because we are winning. All safe in Orange County, North Carolina. With you all the way. We'll never forget. Now we have to win. Proud of you all." That message again being posted by Donald Trump.

However, we should mention that again, officials and investigators on the ground have not said who is responsible. But it just goes to show really at this point we are seeing these efforts of one party to try to help another on social media, even a GoFundMe account set up by some Democrats to try to help the Republicans rebuild their office -- John and Kate?

BOLDUAN: Polo, thanks so much.

We will speak to a Republican Party executive in North Carolina shortly. Stick around for that for the very latest and what they are doing there, that scary incident.

Now I want to bring in Matt Viser. He's national political reporter from the "Boston Globe."

Matt, you have been doing a lot of writing about anger, palpable anger, you could say, at Donald Trump rallies. Different from this. What are you finding?

MATT VISER, NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER, BOSTON GLOBE: Yeah. We spent some time in Cincinnati at one of Trump's recent rallies to talk to supporters of Trump about what they make of the language about the election being rigged. Very quickly, those conversations turned toward violence of Hillary Clinton. We heard assassination, a coup, a revolution, sort of, if Hillary Clinton ends up winning. So they are very much buying into the rhetoric of it being rigged and even taking it a step further to buying into Trump's language, if you remember a couple months ago, about the Second Amendment people taking matters into their own hands. Trump has insisted that Hillary Clinton's Secret Service detail not be armed any longer and see what happens then. So that language is sort of leading at least some of his supporters to sort of engage in the violent rhetoric. BERMAN: We actually have a bit of sound CNN picked up at one of these

rallies that gets to that a little bit. Let's play that.


UNIDENTIFIED TRUMP SUPPORTER: I feel like Hillary needs to be taken out. If she gets in the government I'll do everything in my power to take her out of power. If I have to be a patriot, I will

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: What does that mean?

UNIDENTIFIED TRUMP SUPPORTER: Take it any way you want to take it.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: That sounds like a threat.


UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Is that a physical threat?



BERMAN: So I guess the question here is what happens on November 9th if Donald Trump doesn't win? In that rhetoric -- obviously there's no place for that anywhere in the political discourse -- but it's hard for me to tell if that's -- look, fringe elements exist on both sides and have for decades. You can go to rallies and find crazy people but has it moved beyond that to the point where it's sort of mainstreaming this outrageous thought?

[11:10:18] VISER: It is right now, but you remember, in 2008, sort of John McCain speaking out against some of that rhetoric. I think a lot of the mood of the country -- this has been a very divisive election -- has to do with what the candidates do in the immediate aftermath. You remember Al Gore giving a speech that sort of allowed the country to move on after a very divisive recount in 2000. 2008, John McCain was very gracious in the aftermath of that election. I think all of this has to do, as you guys mentioned earlier, some Trump supporters would chew glass for him. So what does Donald Trump say if he does end up losing and does he continue to stoke these fires that lot of his supporters have? I think that will go a long way to determining whether or not the country can sort of move on after the election and accept the results of the electorate.

BOLDUAN: At this moment, it kind of seems like an open question of what Donald Trump will do, Matt. Because we heard, I think it was the Hofstra debate, Donald Trump was asked, will you accept the outcome of the election. He said absolutely, I will support her if she wins. We haven't really heard yet from him. We have heard from his running mate, but not him.

VISER: Right. And you notice sort of in the immediate aftermath of the firebombing of the Trump office in North Carolina, Hillary Clinton immediately speaking out against that. Trump usually does not do that with his own supporters who talk about violence against Hillary Clinton. So I think that sort of feeds into the mentality of a lot of his supporters who are prepared to do, sometimes or at least, say they are willing to do violent acts.

BERMAN: All right, Matt Viser, with the "Boston Globe," always great to see you. Go, patriots. Thanks for being with us.


VISER: Right. Thanks.

BERMAN: We want to hear from both sides now, as Joni Mitchell says. Basil Smikle is executive director of the New York State Democratic party. Amy Kremer is the co-chair of Women Vote Trump.

Amy, I want to start with you. To this point, if November 9th, like Donald Trump doesn't win the election, it's a possibility, if he doesn't win, will you accept the outcome of the election?

AMY KREMER, CO-CHAIR, WOMEN VOTE TRUMP: Well, thanks for having me, John. But you know, yes, I would. I would think that we would move forward as a country. But what Donald Trump is talking about is something that many people across the country are concerned about, it's about election integrity, voter integrity, ballot integrity. Are you against election integrity? Because voter fraud is a very real thing and nobody wants to talk about it.

BERMAN: I love, I love election integrity. What I haven't seen is any evidence over the last several decades of widespread voter fraud.


BERMAN: Hang on, Amy. On the other side, you could make a case that for every example, and they are in the tens, literally --


BOLDUAN: Loyola did a study over the last decade.

BERMAN: There are examples of voter suppression. Are you not in favor of registering or allowing everyone who is eligible to vote to vote?

KREMER: Absolutely I am. I'm also in support of voter I.D.

I will say this. In 2000, Al Gore lost by less than 600 votes in the state of Florida. In 2008, Al Franken won by 312 votes, giving the Senate Democrats a majority, veto majority proof, in the Senate. Come to find out 1,099 felons voted in that election. Since that time, 177 people have been convicted.


BOLDUAN: Are you saying -- you think Al Gore should have won in 2000?

KREMER: No. Listen. What I'm saying is, have been convicted. Al Franken in Minnesota, 177 people have been convicted of voter fraud. (CROSSTALK)

KREMER: Let me finish. So in 2014, their watchdog group has said there are over seven million people on duplicate rolls across the country that should not be on duplicate rolls like that.


BOLDUAN: Real quick, Basil, you can weigh in.

But, Amy, the Ohio secretary of state, a Republican who is voting for Donald Trump, was on CNN earlier today and he said that he can promise the election will not be rigged. Ohio is a very important state. And he says it is irresponsible to be talking about voter fraud right now. He says that it actually moves America backwards. This is a Republican who runs the election in his state. Do you not believe him?

KREMER: I'm not saying I don't believe him. But, Kate, if you want to tell me that voter fraud doesn't happen, you are factually wrong. It does happen.


KREMER: It does happen.

BOLDUAN: Go ahead, Basil.

[11:14:59:] BASIL SMIKLE, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, NEW YORK STATE DEMOCRATIC PARTY & CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I would just say this. I think what Amy -- the point to be taken from what Amy's saying is that every vote actually does count. We should be encouraging people to go out there and vote instead of talking about this voter fraud, because the instances of them are so extraordinarily low. And what we are really talking about is voter fraud being used as a proxy for the enfranchisement of communities of color, communities of color that have been mobilized to go out and vote.

If you look at those swing states -- Dana was very keyed in on this 00 they are in inner cities, like Cleveland. We didn't talk about Pennsylvania but Donald Trump specifically talked about place in and outside of Philadelphia.


SMIKLE: So what he's saying is, as a proxy for communities of color, we should be looking more closely at how they vote. That's what's incredibly scary here. That extremist rhetoric is dangerous. He should be looking more at his own campaign, the relationship with Vladimir Putin and the WikiLeaks. That, I think -- because Obama has talked about this, President Obama has talked about this. That is having an impact on how voters feel about this election, not the so- called voter fraud.

BERMAN: OK, Basil, while we have you here, I want to talk about something that Trump campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, said a short time ago -- she was talking about Hillary Clinton's schedule lately. She hasn't done a lot of public appearances or rallies. Listen.


CONWAY: Scarcity is her strategy. The less people see of her, the more they forget they don't like her and don't trust her.


BERMAN: I'm sure you disagree with the way she said that, but the flipside of that is, if the Clinton campaign thought that having Hillary Clinton do rallies right now would help, they would have Hillary Clinton doing rallies. Do they think that having her out there on the trail hurts?

SMIKLE: I don't think so. I think she's preparing for debate. It's clear when you see the way she engages in the debate and the way Donald Trump does that she is prepared and he's not. This is someone that wants to be leader of the free world does. You brush up on the policy issues, you think them through, you talk them through with your key supporters and advisers, and you put the policy around in your head. What Donald Trump does, he just speaks. He doesn't have any real policy commitment. He doesn't really have a command of the issues. And that comes out very clearly in the debates. The personal attacks are not discussions about policy.

I'm OK with Hillary Clinton saying, you know what, this is very important, I'm going to hang back a little bit and I'm going to prepare.

BOLDUAN: One thing we know, Amy, that Donald Trump wants to talk about is WikiLeaks. He's tweeting about it, doing a lot of tweeting and tweeting about it. Just a short time ago, in the hacked e-mails that have come out, what do you think is in there that you think is most disqualifying with regard to Hillary Clinton?

KREMER: I think there's a lot in there. Kate, just the fact it's come out that she has said behind closed doors that she has actually a separate public policy and private policy, different positions publicly and privately on issues. That's a huge thing. That's one thing that Americans are tired of, is these politicians putting their finger up in the wind and seeing which way the wind is blowing. We want somebody that's honest and speaks truth and means what they say. That's actually why, one of the reasons why Donald Trump has come as far as he has.

But there's a number of things in the WikiLeaks. And I imagine that more's going to come out. It's really disheartening to see some of the stuff come out, the way that the media's been involved with her campaign and rely on the media, going to reporters to plant stories, that sort of thing.

I understand some of the stuff that goes on with campaigns. I'm not -- you know, I'm not stupid to that. I know exactly what goes on there. But to the extent that her campaign has planted this stuff and is leading these reporters to write these stories, and a "New York Times" reporter giving her, you know, the freedom to get rid of anything that she wants --


BERMAN: Hang on, Amy. That was an interview that was off the record. You could say you should never do an off-the-record interview with a principal but it was an interview that was off the record and he asked to put some of it on the record. So that was an agreement he made with the campaign before going in. All politicians go off the record. That is something that happens.

BOLDUAN: We can confirm that personally.


BERMAN: Basil, I want you to respond.

SMIKLE: No, just listen, I think that, as I said before, if people are looking at this election and the impact WikiLeaks, because we haven't proved the veracity of these e-mails, quite frankly, but if you are looking at the impact --


BOLDUAN: If they were not real, the campaign would be lighting their hair on fire.


SMIKLE: Even if that's the case, my concern is that if you're looking at anything having an impact on this election, it's the relationship that Donald Trump has with the Russian leader and these WikiLeaks that are coming out. Because we have seen the impact that's had already. And I'm concerned about that going forward.

But, listen, I have worked with Hillary Clinton. I trust Hillary Clinton. The work that she does and the policy commitment that she has, both publicly and privately, not dissimilar, but quite the same.

[11:20:10] Basil Smikle, Amy Kremer, thank you both for being with us. Appreciate it.

BOLDUAN: Thank you.

KREMER: Thanks very much.

BOLDUAN: We were talking about that very scary firebombing of the Republican Party field office in North Carolina. Our next guest calls it political terrorism. What is behind this scary incident as the political tension across the country right now shows no sign of calming down?

BERMAN: Breaking now, a major battle under way against ISIS, finally. Gunfire, explosions as forces close in on the terror group. You can see Nick Paton Walsh right there. Fire fight taking place right as he is reporting. We'll go to the front lines ahead.



TRUMP: The election is being rigged.

RUDY GIULIANI, (R), FORMER NEW YORK CITY MAYOR: Dead people generally vote for Democrats rather than Republicans.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He shouldn't be engaging in scare tactics.

MIKE PENCE, (R), INDIANA GOVERNOR & VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We will absolutely accept the results of the election.

BOLDUAN: The Iraqi government launched an operation to retake Mosul.


ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We have bee seeing air strikes, massive explosions, gun battles, artillery fire.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is the first wave of what they say is the last chapter of ISIS in Iraq.


[11:25:09] BERMAN: New details this morning on the firebombing of a Republican Party office in North Carolina. The interior of the building all but destroyed there. A swastika with a threat against quote, "Nazi Republicans," was spray painted on the building next door. Hillary Clinton called the attack horrific and unacceptable. Donald Trump, without evidence, blamed the firebombing on what he called animals representing Hillary Clinton.

BOLDUAN: Joining US is Dallas Woodhouse, executive director of the North Carolina Republican party.

Dallas, thank you for coming on.

What is the latest? What are police telling you about this incident?

DALLAS WOODHOUSE, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, NORTH CAROLINA REPUBLICAN PARTY: Well, it's still under investigation by the ATF, who handles these kinds of things. We have been in contact with law enforcement. We also are in contact with our roughly 80 counties across the state yesterday. We asked some of them to shut a little earlier. They are all back up and running today, including there in Orange County. We have set up outside, we have a mobile office we brought over via a bus, and we are working to get our county over there and a new headquarters.

There's been a lot of tweeting about this incident. We read you the tweet before from Donald Trump. He said animals representing Hillary Clinton just firebombed our office. Hillary Clinton tweeted, she called it horrific and unacceptable. Democrats have actually started a GoFundMe page to help raise money to rebuild this office. All partisanship aside, that's probably a good thing, isn't it?

WOODHOUSE: Well, we certainly have had a lot of people reach out. We have a lot of people that are not really political that are at the office today volunteering. We had heard from some Democrat groups. We have got lots of Republicans. I agree with both, Mrs. Clinton, and Mr. Trump, that these were animals who did this, whoever they represent, and it's disgusting and unacceptable. So I agree with both of them.

BOLDUAN: But Trump goes a step further saying the animals representing Hillary Clinton and Democrats in North Carolina. Is that a step too far too early, in your mind?

WOODHOUSE: We don't know who's responsible.


WOODHOUSE: We'll let the investigators say what they know about those things. I think it's safe to assume they don't care for Republicans very much. I think it's clear that they were attempting to intimidate. We called this political terrorism because that's what it is. It is meant to scare people away from volunteering for helping with Governor McCrory or Senator Burr or Donald Trump and to keep people away from these kinds of offices, which are all over the state.

But what you have to do is rise up, you have to try to make sure you have security and safety procedures in place. But what you can't do is be cowed. You have to stand down the evildoers and fight back.

BERMAN: No question.

Let me ask you this. Donald Trump this morning was on Twitter. He is saying the election is rigged. Specifically, he says, "There is large scale voter fraud happening on and before Election Day." You are in a state with a Republican governor. Is there large scale fraud happening in North Carolina right now?

WOODHOUSE: We have certainly expressed our concerns about the security of our electoral system. It's why Governor McCrory helped pass voter I.D., which is popular with every segment of society, young and old, black and white, Republican and Democrat. We have also expressed some concerns about the practice of same-day registration --


BERMAN: But is there fraud?


BERMAN: Is there actual fraud right now, before and during election days you've seen?

WOODHOUSE: Well, we do -- we do know that in the primary, the "Charlotte Observer" reported that 520 people were able to vote in this March primary that were not eligible to vote. And because their addresses didn't check out or they didn't say -- they weren't who they said they were. Whether that's fraud or just simply casting a ballot that is invalid, the result is the same.


WOODHOUSE: How widespread it is? I can't tell you. It's an overstatement to probably say there is incredible millions and millions of fraudulent cast votes in North Carolina. But you also can't say there's none. What we tried to do in North Carolina is provide some stability into the system, some confidence in the system with voter I.D. measures. But, unfortunately, Democrats --


BOLDUAN: Dallas, when you have got --


WOODHOUSE: -- our Democratic attorney general helped block it.

BOLDUAN: When you have Donald Trump saying there's already large going on before and on Election Day, what does that mean for Senator Richard Burr, who is in a very tight re-election race in North Carolina for his Senate seat?

WOODHOUSE: You know, I --