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THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER

Continued Coverage of Alleged Accusations Against Trump; Iraqi Troops Launch Operation To Retake Mosul; Mission Underway To Liberate Iraq's 2nd Largest City; CNN Crew Caught In Gunfire Exchange With ISIS; Anti-ISIS Coalition Bombarding ISIS on Ground, Air; Iraqi Troops Facing Brutal Resistance From ISIS; Car Bombs; Suicide Bombers Attack Coalition Forces; Conjoined Twins Battle Through First Weekend After Surgery. Aired 4:30-5p ET

Aired October 17, 2016 - 14:30   ET

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


[16:30:02]

ANA NAVARRO, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Is it a perfect system? No, it's not.

But stop calling it a rigged system, so that you can start setting up your alibi. You are inflaming the passions. There's way too much anger out there. And this is not helping. Show the evidence. That's what the secretary of state of Ohio said. Show me the evidence of fraud, and we will deal with it.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Congressman, you're from Georgia. Are you confident that the election process in Georgia is going to be fair and is going to be what our founding fathers envisioned?

JACK KINGSTON (R), FORMER U.S. CONGRESSMAN: I'm a trust but verify guy.

I can say this. I have had my name in the ballot in November elections 15 different times over a 30-year period. I always had campaign poll watchers. I wanted to keep an eye on things, and I had my eyes on the ground. And I think all candidates want to have that. And I think that Democrats and Republicans alike would share that passion. Just make sure things go right.

(CROSSTALK)

NAVARRO: That's dramatically different than claiming that the system is rigged.

I'll tell you what is rigged. It's a rigged system when a billionaire can pay no taxes and get away with it.

TAPPER: Let me let Symone have the final word.

SYMONE SANDERS, FORMER SANDERS CAMPAIGN NATIONAL PRESS SECRETARY: The cornerstone of our democracy are open, free and fair elections.

So, campaigns are about people making their cases, folks going to the ballot and casting their ballot for the campaign of their choice. Donald Trump, I agree with Ana. He is distracting people. And he is not going to get to run away with this come the debate on Wednesday. And this is still going to be something to talk about.

But I do believe that people have to be vigilant when we go to the polls this November, because there is -- it's not voter fraud that we should be worried about. It's voter disenfranchisement of young people, of people of color, of older individuals. And that's what we need to be on the lookout for.

TAPPER: All right, Symone, Ana, Congressman Kingston, thank you so much.

And be sure to tune in to CNN Wednesday night for the final presidential debate, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump coming face to face one last time on CNN. Coverage begins at 4:00 p.m. Eastern right here on THE LEAD.

Accusations of sexual assault impacting both major campaigns. What is a voter to believe? How the court of public opinion may hold the final verdict. That is next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[16:36:22]

TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD.

Staying with politics now, over the past week, the presidential campaign has been consumed by allegations of sexual assault and inappropriate sexual contact, and the women coming forward to share their stories find themselves and their motives and their truthfulness a matter of public debate.

The court of public opinion is not an actual court, but in times like this, we're all asked to serve on something of a jury. Whom do we believe? And do we let our politics affect those judgments?

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: These events never, ever happened and the people that said them meekly fully understand. You take a look at these people, you study these people, and you will understand also.

TAPPER (voice-over): Multiple women have come forward to say that the Donald Trump we heard on that 2005 "Access Hollywood" videotape...

TRUMP: And when you're a star, they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything.

TAPPER: ... was accurately describing his own behavior.

KRISTIN ANDERSON, TRUMP ACCUSER: The person on my right, who, unbeknownst to me at the time, was Donald Trump, put their hands up my skirt. He did touch my vagina through my underwear.

JESSICA LEEDS, TRUMP ACCUSER: I was wearing a skirt. And his hands started going towards my knee and up my skirt. SUMMER ZERVOS, TRUMP ACCUSER: He then grabbed my shoulder and began

kissing me again very aggressively and placed his hand on my breast.

TAPPER: All of which has prompted something of a national conversation about men, especially in positions of power, making unwanted advances and unwanted physical contact with women.

But as noted in "The New York Times" over the weekend -- quote -- "Issues in Hillary Clinton's past leaves her muted in furor over Donald Trump."

The first major party female presidential nominee has been pretty quiet in this important conversation. A stolen e-mail published by WikiLeaks in recent days sheds light on to why that might be. Earlier this year, an attorney for the Clinton's, David Kendall, e-mail Hillary Clinton's campaign chair with information to discredit one of Bill Clinton's past accusers, Juanita Broaddrick, who says that, in 1978, then Arkansas Attorney General Bill Clinton raped her, first telling her story in 1999 to NBC News.

JUANITA BROADDRICK, BILL CLINTON ACCUSER: I told him, please stop. He was such a different person at that moment. He was just a vicious, awful person.

TAPPER: Former President Bill Clinton has been denying that charge for decades.

Broaddrick has come forward, however, in recent days, even appearing at the second presidential debate as a guest of Donald Trump's. And just as Trump's accusers now cite his denial at that debate that he ever forced himself on women...

TRUMP: No, I have not.

TAPPER: ... as their reason for coming forward...

LEEDS: And he said no. And I literally wanted to throw something at the TV or punch my hand in the TV.

TAPPER: ... Broaddrick says it was a tweet from Hillary Clinton declaring -- quote -- "Every survivor of sexual assault deserves to be heard, believed and supported," that convinced her months ago to come forward.

BROADDRICK: I would still be in the woodwork had Hillary Clinton not tweeted what she did. I had to answer her. How dare she tweet something like that after what she did to me 38 years ago? How dare her?

TAPPER: The charge is against Bill Clinton, of course, not Hillary, but Broaddrick says Hillary Clinton is also culpable. She says, not long after the alleged rape, Hillary Clinton thanked her -- quote -- "for everything she does for Bill."

[16:40:02] BROADDRICK: She jerked me back to her where there wasn't two or three

inches between our faces. And her voice changed. It was very angry. Her look changed. It was very angry. And she said to me, "Do you understand everything you do?" And that frightened me.

TAPPER: Clinton attorney Kendall in his e-mail this year to the Clinton campaign noted that Broaddrick had previously sworn under oath that Bill Clinton had not assaulted her and only later changed her story.

Broaddrick says that's because, initially, she just wanted it all to go away.

BROADDRICK: I was not going to allow these people to force me out, and so I did. I very foolishly say it didn't happen.

TAPPER: Without question, Bill Clinton's lawyer and his team made efforts to discredit Broaddrick, just as Donald Trump and his campaign today tried to discredit his accusers, Trump going so far as to suggest some of his accusers are not attractive enough for him to grope.

TRUMP: You take a look. Look at her. Look at her words. You tell me what you think. I don't think so.

TAPPER: Who are we supposed to believe? Can you believe one set of accusers and not the other?

(on camera): Several women have emerged with allegations of Donald Trump sexually assaulting them, sexually harassing them, et cetera.

The Trump response, the Trump campaign response and the candidate response has been to say that these women are liars. And I wonder what you think about that, if that makes you uncomfortable at all.

BROADDRICK: Jake, I don't have an educated answer for that, because I have not read about these women. If these accounts are true, yes. If any possibility of these accounts being true, then I express my sympathy to the women that, you know, anything might have happened to, but I just don't know. I have no idea.

TAPPER (voice-over): At the end of the day, it's up to you to decide.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

TAPPER: Tonight, Donald Trump's wife, Melania, sits down with CNN's Anderson Cooper. It will be the first time that we have heard from Mrs. Trump since the recent controversies concerning her husband became public. You can watch that right here on CNN at 8:00 p.m. Eastern.

The battle to take back Iraq's largest city is under way. Could this be the last stand for ISIS in Iraq? We're live from the ground there next.

Plus, the conjoined twins who survived a marathon separation surgery have made it through the first critical 72 hours -- the latest on the boys' condition. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[16:45:00] TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD. Toping our "WORLD LEAD" today, quote, "The hour of victory has arrived." That's Iraq's Prime Minister vowing ISIS will be destroyed as the operation to recapture City of Mosul from the terrorist group is underway. Tens of thousands of Iraqi and Kurdish forces joining with international paramilitary units and backed by U.S. air power are fighting right now to try to take the last remaining ISIS stronghold, complicating the mission. More than a million innocent civilians are trapped in Mosul which is Iraq's second largest city. Let's get to CNN's Barbara Starr live at the Pentagon. Barbara, the U.S. has thousands of troops on the ground in Iraq. How many are involved in this battle to liberate Mosul, and what exact role are they going to be playing?

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, a couple of hundred troops directly involved, Jake. You know, just weeks before the U.S. election. This is a risky but long planned U.S. military move; help the Iraqis get Mosul back, and hope U.S. troops don't fall into too much danger.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

STARR: ISIS drives a car bomb straight into Iraqi forces. This is the new deadly front line of the battle to defeat ISIS in Mosul, the city where ISIS leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, declared his caliphate.

PETER COOK, PENTAGON PRESS SECRETARY: Americans are in harm's way as part of this fight.

STARR: The Pentagon wants to emphasize Iraqi forces are leading the charge.

COOK: There are Americans at a - on the outskirts of the city.

STARR: The whole area is full of bombs, booby traps and tunnels. The Pentagon refuses to say if U.S. troops will enter the city.

COOK: I'm not ruling it in, I'm not ruling it out.

STARR: It may be their most dangerous assignment yet.

LT. COL. STEPHEN TOWNSEND, COMMANDER OF U.S. FORCES IN IRAW & SYRIA: Iraq is supported by a wide range coalition capabilities including air support, artillery, intelligence, advisers and forward air controllers.

STARR: Iraqi and Kurdish troops backed up by some 200 U.S. Special Forces are working to approach Mosul from all sides. The U.S. has also taken up artillery positions north and south of the city. U.S. forward air controllers on the ground may be calling in locations of ISIS targets for strikes. Near the front lines today, CNN's Nick Paton Walsh and his team came under ISIS fire, on the road into Mosul.

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: A lot of coalition planning, American air power -

STARR: The danger for U.S. troops will grow.

MARK KIMMITT, RETIRED U.S. BRIGADIER GENERAL: The real challenge is going to be when they go inside the City of Mosul, how far back are the U.S. troops going to be? Are they going inside the city, will they be at risk from IEDS, and from land mines that they see along the ground?

(END VIDEOTAPE)

STARR: And as you point out, Jake, the United Nations now says this may be the biggest humanitarian crisis of the year. Some 1 million people are expected to flee Mosul in the coming days as the fight intensifies. Jake?

TAPPER: All right. Barbara Starr at the Pentagon for us. Thank you so much, Barbara. And as you saw in Barbara's report, CNN is right on the front lines of that battle to retake Mosul, coming dangerously close to gunfire in one instance. We have to warn you, some of these wartime images will be disturbing. Let's bring in CNN's Senior International Correspondent Nick Paton Walsh, who is right now near Mosul. And Nick, you've been covering wars for years, but this is one of the most harrowing experiences you've ever had.

WALSH: Not to accept some of the violence today has been extraordinary close to us, we're part of the Peshmerga forces. It seem to have an American presence in their midst advancing five or six kilometers down the road just behind me towards Mosul. But ISIS fighters were absolutely determined not to give up the fight. And in fact, some ready to meet a bitter end.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

[16:50:06] WALSH: They've been waiting years to finally push through the lines and take on ISIS' brutality. And when the day came, it was still a dusty slow grind. Peshmerga into the desert to flank a main road to Mosul. Distinctive American vehicles with Western occupants in their convoy, airstrikes often hitting the places they were headed to first. Hopes ISIS might not fight for the tiny settlements around Mosul quickly dashed. This the first military (INAUDIBLE) they move down the road towards Mosul and they're encountering pretty heavy resistance. A turning thought, this is what they have, which are often blunt and old. They want this over fast. Suddenly, there's panic. They spot a car, a suicide car bomb racing towards them. It's ISIS. One, two rockets trying to hit it. The third is lucky. They pushed on towards the main prize, the road itself to Mosul flanked by all fires lit by ISIS and airstrikes piling in regardless. Shells still landing near the Peshmerga, a casualty taken away. Down on the main objective, the road itself, ISIS sent two car bombs at them and attacked from both sides. They're Iraqi military, too, at some point. We'll have to push down here towards Mosul, but this has been an effort with much international support, a lot of coalition planning, American airpower.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Shut the doors. WALSH: It's best they move. This is yours.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stay in the car now!

WALSH: ISIS still everywhere, even in the hills. They give chase to one man, an ISIS fighter. He shoots a Peshmerga, Humvees rescue him and they hunt on. An ISIS fighter pops up from a tunnel, shoots. And he blows himself up. The tenacity and desire to die that will surely slow the bloody fight ahead.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WALSH: You know, Jake, it's been a quiet night so far overlooking the road down to Mosul with just as you were hearing that report, we've heard the first aircraft in the sky here, most likely coalition airpower. It's been essential in assisting the Iraqi Peshmerga advance today. So far, it will continue to be the case, but as they get closer and closer to that dense urban city of Mosul, this is going to get bloodier with 1.2 million people caught in the balance, Jake.

TAPPER: And Nick, what is the biggest challenge for these forces as they go into Mosul and try to retake the city? Are they having difficulty telling enemy from just normal Iraqi?

WALSH: So far at this stage, it's pretty clear, the areas they're going through haven't only got ISIS (INAUDIBLE) when they get into the city, densely packed with 1.2 million people trying to get out, but potentially caught in there, that's going to be a little bit tough, partly because those people are from the Sunni sect here in Iraq, and they may be facing forces, certainly the Iraqi army and maybe the Iranian Shia-backed militia that are trying to get in with them. They suspect them of having Shia-based sectarian hostility towards them, and that's the real fault lie in here in the violence ahead in Mosul that could turn this from a very messy operation to something significantly even nastier, Jake.

TAPPER: Incredible reporting. Nick Paton Walsh, thank you so much. Be safe out there, my friend.

They're being called little warriors, twin baby boys, once joined at the skull have battled through the first weekend after a miracle surgery. A brand new update on their condition, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[16:55:00] TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD, in our "HEALTH LEAD" today, moments ago, CNN received an update on the conjoined twins who were separated in that marathon surgery last week. For the first time since being born, joined at the head, Jadon and Anias McDonald, are sleeping in separate beds. The doctor say the recovery is going as expected, the boys' scalps and tops of their heads are healing well at this point, they say. More good news, though heavily sedated, both boys have opened their eyes. Now, Jadon has not yet been able to move the left side of his body, but the doctors remain optimistic about his recovery because over the weekend, Jadon did squeeze his father's finger as tightly as he could. For Anias, recovery time maybe longer after a few seizures he suffered on Saturday. We hope to see Jadon and Anias in good health very, very soon and bring you that news. That is it for THE LEAD, I am Jake Tapper. I turn you over to Wolf Blitzer, he is in "THE SITUATION ROOM." Thanks for watching.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN THE SITUATION ROOM HOST: Happening now, "BREAKING NEWS," Melania Trump, Donald Trump's wife sits down with CNN's Anderson Cooper. It's her first interview since the recent controversies concerning her husband became public. We all hear it right here -