Return to Transcripts main page

WORLD RIGHT NOW WITH HALA GORANI

The Final Presidential Debate; Iraq Tries to Wrestle Mosul From ISIS; CNN Interviews the Freed Chibok Girls. Aired 3-4p ET

Aired October 19, 2016 - 15:00:00   ET

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


HALA GORANI, CNN HOST: Tonight, the final face-to-face showdown -- Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump will make their closing arguments to the American

people. They will take the stage as new undercover footage appears to show Democrats making plans to rile up Trump supporters.

We'll have all the latest in politics, also this. The latest from the battlefield as Iraq tries to wrestle Mosul away from the grip of ISIS.

Plus this hour, CNN speaks to the newly freed Chibok girls. We are live in Abuja, Nigeria.

Hello, everyone. I'm Hala Gorani. We're coming to you live from Cnn London. Thanks for being with us.

This is "The World Right Now." Hillary Clinton is ahead in the final stretch and wants to make sure it stays that way. But Donald Trump is

determined to make a comeback.

A dramatic turnaround really is what he needs. Tonight could be his last best chance to turn things around as the clock runs out on the presidential

race. And the stakes are very high, of course.

There could be high drama as well when Clinton and Trump take the stage in Las Vegas just a few hours from now. Manu Raju kicks off our coverage of

the final debate.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MANU RAJU, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Ahead of tonight's final debate, Donald Trump throwing a hail Mary, going after Washington and intensifying his

unfounded claim that the election is rigged.

TRUMP: They even want to try and rig the election at the polling booths.

RAJU: Even calling on his supporters to monitor polling places.

TRUMP: People are going to be watching on November 8.

RAJU: And doubling down on his media conspiracy theories.

TRUMP: There's a voter fraud also with the media because they so poison the minds of people by writing false stories.

RAJU: The GOP nominee pledging to shake up Washington.

TRUMP: It is time to drain the damn swamp.

RAJU: Now promising, if elected, he will push for term limits for members of Congress, a populist (ph) proposal that has yet to succeed.

TRUMP: Decades of political failure and special interest collusion must and will finally come to an end.

RAJU: Trump opting not to respond to President Obama who ridiculed the billionaire's voter fraud accusations.

OBAMA: You start whining before the game's even over? If whenever things are going badly for you and -- and you lose, you start blaming somebody

else?

Then you don't have what it takes to be in this job.

RAJU: Instead announcing that he's bringing Obama's Kenyan-born half- brother, Malik (ph), a Trump supporter, to tonight's debate. Trump and Hillary Clinton head into tonight's final debate with looming

controversies.

Undercover videos released Tuesday produced by discredited conservative activist, James O'Keefe suggests it was democratic operatives working for

the Clinton campaign, instigating violence at some Trump rallies.

(UNIDENTIFIED MALE): I mean, honestly, it is not hard to get some of these assholes to pop off.

RAJU: Both the DNC and the Clinton campaign deny any involvement. And those on the tape deny any of the proposed schemes ever took place.

Meanwhile, Trump is facing accusations from at least nine women who say he made unwanted advances without their consent.

REID: These are people who are trapped, puts his hands under somebody's skirt in an airplane.

RAJU: Trump rejects those claims, but Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid blasting Trump's behavior.

REID: It is kind of a sickness.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

GORANI: All right, well, let's bring in CNN's Phil Mattingly live in Las Vegas. We're also joined by Rebecca Sinderbrand, political editor for the

"The Washington Post."

Phil, I want to start with you. Let's talk about what Donald Trump needs to do. He's of course behind in the polls, the latest poll of polls shows

him trailing by several percentage points nationally.

What is going to be the Donald Trump strategy tonight?

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I think Manu put it best, Hala, and that's hail Mary. But I think the question is how does Donald Trump define

hail Mary.

If you look at the last debate, a debate that Donald Trump and Donald Trump's staff (ph) advisers believed he crushed, they think he did great in

that debate. His poll numbers in the wake of that debate have cratered.

And when you talk to Clinton advisers, with poll numbers they're looking at, don't show that he did well at all. They believe the way he's

attacked, he scorched earth (ph) campaign, some of the theatrics before and after the debate ended up hurting him greatly.

So if that's the case, then Donald Trump needs to focus on him being the change agent, him being the one that, as he says, drain the swamp in

Washington. That's an effective message.

The question is, is that the message Donald Trump is actually going to take? It doesn't appear that way when you're bringing President Obama's

half-brother to the debate in advance.

So I think that's the big question, Hala. How does Donald Trump define this hail Mary and is that definition one that's actually going to work?

At this point, nobody really knows.

GORANI: And Rebecca, Hillary Clinton -- we haven't seen her. We're -- we're told she's been preparing for the debate. We haven't seen her in the

last few days.

What is her -- what does she need to do? She's ahead of the -- in the poll. But I guess importantly, she shouldn't feel too confident, right?

REBECCA SINDERBRAND, POLITICAL EDITOR, THE WASHINGTON POST: Well, absolutely not. You know, her people have prepared for just about every

scenario, right now, tonight, promises to be as it has for most of the past few debates, the Donald Trump show.

And so she has to be ready for whichever Donald Trump shows up. You have to remember, there's two different priorities for Trump tonight.

On the one hand, he's got to throw that hail Mary. He has to have a game- changing moment at this debate. If the trends continue as they currently are, he's going lose this election.

On the other hand, what we've seen in the poll numbers is that the majorities of the American public, including majority of Republicans, don't

think that he has a presidential temperament.

GORANI: Right.

SINDERBRAND: So at the same time, he's going for this game-changing moment, he also has to project gravitas and all sorts of steadiness that he

has not been able to demonstrate so far. So Hillary Clinton has to be prepared for either one of those Donald Trumps.

GORANI: But, Phil, by bringing Malik Obama, for instance, this is theatrics. I mean, this is the way to try to throw off, I guess, Hillary

Clinton by bringing Barack Obama's half-brother who expressed his support for Donald Trump over the summer.

This is giving us sort of an indication of how he plans on behaving, right?

MATTINGLY: Yes, and I think what you've seen over the last couple of weeks is giving you an indication on the campaign trail. And it's giving you an

indication of the Donald Trump we're going to see.

This is Donald Trump, as he said, unshackled. This is Donald Trump going to the place where he's most comfortable, a place that worked great in the

Republican primary, a place that works positively terribly through a general electorate.

I do think -- and Rebecca nails it -- he needs a game-changing moment. But he also needs to prove to people that he's fit for the office.

So how do you combine those two elements there? And frankly, when you look at the top advisers around Donald Trump right now, who seem to be the ones

that he is listening to, the whole showing the temperament to be in the oval office, the type of temperament that would reach out to these people

that have so many concerns and doubts, that's not really their model.

And so I think what you're watching right now, what you're seeing right now in the lead up to this debate is not saying, or is not showing any type of

hint that he's going to do as Rebecca outlined what he needs to do to reach those folks.

GORANI: And you know, Van Jones, one of our commentators, the -- in the show before ours, "State of the Race," said something interesting. And

this will resonate with our viewers as well.

But the Brexit problem might be something that the Democrats will confront in that -- in the weeks and even days proceeding the Brexit referendum here

in Britain. There was so much confidence on the side of those who supported the remain (ph) camp that they were then absolutely blindsided by

the final result. Is there a possibility, or is there the sense in the United States that some of these polls might be overstating the support for

Hillary Clinton, and that there might be a surprise in the end?

SINDERBRAND: Well, certainly, if you talk to Donald Trump, that's what he'd say. And that's what he said for a while. He's been promising a

Brexit-style surprise.

Of course, the thing to remember, when you actually go back and you look at the pre-Brexit numbers, the polls were a lot closer than people after the

vote seemed to remember. They were fairly evenly divided in terms of the polls that showed remain (ph) being ahead in the polls that showed (ph)

leave being ahead.

In the case of the presidential race here, you have two candidates where one has consistently polled ahead of the other through much of the year.

That's been a trend that has not changed from the very beginning.

So it's not quite the same situation as much as Donald Trump would like it to be.

GORANI: Rebecca Sinderbrand of the "The Washington Post," thanks very much, Phil Mattingly in Las Vegas, thanks to both of you. And we'll catch

up with you soon with more politics, coverage, and analysis.

The final presidential debate is just hours away. You can see it of course on CNN live in Las Vegas. We will bring you full coverage.

It starts at 11:00 p.m. Wednesday here in London. That's 2:00 a.m. over in Abu Dhabi if you're watching us in that part of the world. That is right

here on CNN.

Let us turn our attention now to our other big story this hour out of the Middle East. Just three days into the battle for Mosul, Iraqi forces say

they're sweeping towards the city.

An Iraqi commander tells CNN his troops are only a few kilometers from its edge. But it's far from over. And those kilometers might be hundreds of

kilometers.

ISIS militants are fighting back hard. This video shows an apparent ISIS attack against Kurdish soldiers.

For a sense of how intense things get, take a look at this battle footage, taken by a Peshmerga fighter. Some serious fighting going down, an

extremely dangerous situation as you might expect after seeing that video.

Thousands of people are packing up everything they have and trying to get out of the way if they can. CNN's Ben Wedeman is in Erbil for us, in a

region where a lot of people are trying to escape, too.

Ben, what did you see today?

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, what we saw is that they're not just coming from Mosul. They're also coming, many of them, from Hawija, which

is in Central Iraq near Kirkuk.

And what's striking is that what we have seen over the last two and a half years is this triumphalistic (ph) propaganda from ISIS. But when you speak

to people who come as I did, they come from Hawija, come from Mosul.

And you really sense the juxtaposition between that triumphalist propaganda and the fact that now and for the last few months, ISIS has experienced

only defeat.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

WEDEMAN: The so-called caliphate is a land of peace and plenty as recently posted ISIS propaganda video from Mosul would have the faithful believe.

People are coming and going, says this man.

People are happy. Ask those who fled the city, however, and it's a different picture. "From the outside, it looks nice -- nice pictures,"

says Salam (ph). But in reality, it's a life of fear and hardship.

Salam (ph) is waiting for security clearance from Kurdish intelligence officers at Dibuka (ph) camp, south of Erbil. Anyone coming from ISIS-

controlled territory is suspect.

While yet another truckload of women and children arrives, they escape the ISIS-controlled town of Hawija in central Iraq.

(UNIDENTIFIED MALE): Johanna probably will die (ph).

WEDEMAN: Ibrahim (ph) from Mosul didn't want to show his face on camera. I asked if he'd seen the ISIS clip portraying Mosul as a paradise.

"In the beginning, it was all right," he says. But then they started ordering around and killing people. Everyone is afraid of them.

Relief workers set up a school in the camp. But there are no classes here. The school now shelters hundreds of women and children whose main focus is

still in (ph) security detention.

When ISIS leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared the reestablishment of the caliphate on the 29th of June 2014, he called upon the faithful to rush to

his new realm. You'll own Rome and conquer the world, he said.

This is what's become of that delusion. The war with ISIS has driven around three and a half million Iraqis from their homes. As yet, another

generation grows up amidst death, destruction, and displacement, the bitter fruit of the delusion that has ended in disaster.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WEDEMAN: And of course, what we've seen is that this whole image of a paradise for true believers is starting to really crumble as one city in

Iraq after another falls to the government.

Hala?

GORANI: All right, Ben Wedeman in Erbil, thanks very much for that reporting. And it's not just about fire power on the ground.

Washington is leading a big coalition of war planes to help out as well. I spoke to U.S. Air Force Colonel John Dorrian (ph), a spokesman for

operation inherent resolve.

And I began by asking him about three days in to this operation about progress so far.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DORRIAN: What we've encountered so far is a lot of what we expected to encounter. We've expected the Iraqis to be able to advance.

And that's exactly what they've done. So far, we've seen the moderate resistance from Daesh. They don't have any answer for the Iraqi security

forces right now.

We do thing (ph) -- expect things to get tougher as they move closer to the city.

GORANI: And we understand some of these internally displaced have been providing information about ISIS inside Mosul. Is that correct?

DORRIAN: We -- we have seen instances where internally displaced persons were able to provide useful information to the Iraqi security forces. We

think that this is a condition that Prime Minister Abadi set forth whenever he was doing his radio address a few days ago.

He asked the people of Mosul to cooperate with the Iraqis as they moved forward. And so far, that's what we've seen.

GORANI: And let me ask you a little bit about the Peshmerga. You referenced them. I understand they've advanced pretty much as far as they

want to go at this stage.

Will they go any farther in terms of territory? Will they enter Mosul at all? I know they have an agreement with the Iraqi security forces that

they won't.

But will they be needed?

DORRIAN: Well, the Iraqi security forces have been able to advance along multiple axes as have the Peshmerga who have reached their forward line.

They've stopped.

And the Iraqi security forces continue their advance. This is an agreement that was worked out between the Iraqi government and the -- the Kurdish

regional government.

GORANI: So they're -- they've stopped basically, the Peshmerga?

DORRIAN: They have. The Peshmerga have continued to do back-clearing in the area that if -- they've liberated and to find those pockets of Daesh

fighters and try to make sure that they haven't left any sleeper cells that could cause security problems later.

GORANI: But one has to wonder, though, if the Iraqi army will need back-up here from the Peshmerga. Is that a possibility?

DORRIAN: Well, the Iraqi army has been on a winning streak for more than a year. They've defeated Daesh in every significant engagement that they've

encountered them in -- for more than a year.

So this is in Ramadi and Fallujah. They were able to liberate those cities and more recently in Kayara and Shirakat (ph).

So we expect them to be -- continue to be able to impose their will on Daesh and to take away the second largest city in Iraq for their control.

GORANI: All right, that's certainly the hope for -- for many. You -- you mentioned, by the way, Ramadi and Fallujah.

But in the aftermath of the liberation of those cities, there were accusations and reports that some of these Shiite militia fighters who

helped the Iraqi army committed some pretty terrible atrocities there. Any concerns that this might happen again with Mosul?

DORRIAN: Well, there is a political dimension to the planning for Mosul. And the Iraqis have been working on this for months.

Prime Minister Abadi has been very clear that he won't accept human rights abuses. We've worked with him very closely to come up with a plan that

understands the -- the political dimension as well as the operational dimension of liberating Mosul.

So there is a political agreement that the Iraqi security forces and police will be the ones that go in. And they'll be the ones who are also

screening internally displaced persons.

Think there were some lessons learned in -- in Fallujah and we don't expect to see that again.

GORANI: To screen them for potential ISIS fighters trying to slip out?

DORRIAN: Well, anytime you have internally displaced persons, you can expect Daesh to try to slip out with them. This is a -- a task that the

Iraqis have been trained to deal with and to try to keep the Daesh from being able to -- to escape.

GORANI: And if Mosul or when I should say Mosul falls, or is taken, retaken from ISIS, is that the end of that terrorist group in Iraq?

DORRIAN: Well, Mosul is what Daesh consider their capital city in Iraq. So we expect them to fight very hard to retain it.

Once it's been taken away, we don't think that that's the end here. They still do control some other areas.

And we're going to help the Iraqis to make sure they establish security throughout the country, not just in Mosul, but all around Iraq.

GORANI: Yes (ph).

DORRIAN: The job isn't done until all of Iraq is Daesh-free.

GORANI: All right, until all of Iraq is Daesh-free there, according to the spokesperson for operation inherent resolve joining us from Baghdad. Still

to come, we'll have a lot more on Mosul.

And also in the Philippines, the police van mows people down at a protest - - a dramatic and disturbing video coming up next. Then for the first time, we hear from some of the Chibok girls kidnapped and released by Boko Haram.

We are live in the Nigerian capital with a special report. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

GORANI: Now, to some incredible moments in Nigeria, the 21 Chibok school girls released by Boko Haram last week have been meeting the president of

the country. They were kidnapped two and a half years ago and most of their classmates are still missing. Our Isha Sesay was at this meeting

with the girls.

And she's been following the story very closely. She comes to us live from Abuja, Nigeria.

You were able, Isha, to meet some of these girls. What did they tell you after this -- this tremendous ordeal that they went through?

ISHA SESAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I mean, Hala, let me first let of all say, it was incredibly emotional for me personally as someone who's covered

this story since the very beginning to be up close with most of the 21 and to actually be able to just ask them how they're doing, to which most of

them said they were fine. I asked them how it felt to be back.

They were happy about that clearly. But they were so, you know, shy and withdrawn also with that. One thing, let me just say to you, Hala, before

you even roll some of the sound from a brief conversation I had, the pictures do not do justice to how emaciated these girls are.

I mean, as I held them just to kind of say welcome and it's good to have you back, they are literally just skin and bone. And I was -- I was

really, you know, taken aback by that.

But, you know, they were still just girls. They giggled quietly. And they muttered to themselves, clearly shocked by all the attention.

But the Nigerian government is trying to limit access to them --media access. And they say, it's because they need time to recover.

I was able to speak to one of the girls as she was heading out, just to get a sense of what she thinks about her future. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SESAY: Happiness.

(UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE): Yes, happiness. It's wonderful.

SESAY (ph): Very, very happy?

(UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE): Yes, very happy.

SESAY: Will you go back to school? You will go back to school?

(UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE): Yes.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SESAY: She said she wanted to go back to school. She said I asked her what she wanted to study. She said that she wanted to study sciences.

She wasn't the only girl I spoke to among the group of 21 that I asked about the future and going back to school. And a number of them said yes,

indeed.

They wanted to continue those studies that were interrupted by Boko Haram. You know, as they made their way to the waiting bus that the government had

-- had laid for them to go back to where they're being kept, you know, they were just so sweet, Hala.

I mean, for everything that they've been there, you know, they -- they smiled broadly. And many of them, they -- they wanted to -- they were open

to being spoken to by complete stranger.

It was really, really an incredible day to see them up close and to be there with their parents as they met the Nigerian president.

GORANI: And I wonder, I mean, did they give -- I know it was only a handful of the girls and so many more were kidnapped two and a half years

ago. But do we have any indication of the -- of what the others are -- where the others are, how they're doing, their treatment, et cetera?

Have we learned anything from them on that?

SESAY: No, I mean, listen again, the access to them is limited. CNN has been able to speak -- speak to some of their parents.

And we are getting a little bit more detail. But one thing that has come through over and over again is that the girls who were married off to Boko

Haram commanders were taken away from the main group. So they -- they -- they were moved away literally, and that the rest who were unmarried, who

were mainly used to do manual labor were kept together as a group.

I spoke to someone who was involved in their care, their aftercare now that they're back in Abuja. And -- and the individual said to me, they are

doing remarkably well considering the trauma and the terrors they have clearly witnessed.

This person said to me that the focus right now is on getting them to eat and sleep and just rest. But we all saw the pictures from the weekend when

they were reunited with their families and other -- other government ministers.

And the girls were just overjoyed and singing and just rejoicing. So this person is making the point that they've been through a lot.

But they're still -- their spirit is still intact. This is what that person said.

GORANI: All right (ph), well that's -- it's good to see and it's good to see even just a small group released and hopefully more will follow.

Thanks very much, Isha Sesay in Abuja.

Now to that shocking new video out of the Philippines, showing a police van just ramming straight into protesters. Our Alexandra Field has a report.

But first, though, a warning -- some of the video that you're about to see is quite disturbing.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A frightening scene in the Philippines as a police van plows into protesters during an anti-U.S. Rally outside the

U.S. embassy. The van first backs up into the crowd and then quickly pulls forward, catching demonstrators under the wheels.

(UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE): They were, say, about two meters from the main entrance gate of the U.S. embassy. At that point, police fired tear gas to

disperse the crowd.

The crowd got even more violent and at that point, a police mobile started backing up against the crowd.

FIELD: Manila police say rowdy protesters were trying to topple the van, telling CNN Philippines the driver may have panicked. Dozens of protesters

and police were injured in the chaotic rally.

About a thousand protesters gathered to demonstrate against what they call an unequal foreign policy between the U.S. and the Philippines,

traditionally staunch allies. President Rodrigo Duterte aims to distance the Philippines from the United States.

He's currently in China trying to forge closer ties there. The Manila demonstrators hurled red paint at the U.S. embassy logo.

Twenty-one people were arrested. Police say they're investigating the confrontation. Alexandra Field, CNN, Hong Kong.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

GORANI: Unbelievable images there. To a controversy now dominating headlines here in the U.K., the home office has ruled out dental checks to

verify the ages of child refugees from the Calais Jungle camp. That's after a lawmaker in this country called for the tests, suggesting some of

the migrants could actually be adults, that you need to check their teeth to make sure they're not over 18.

A lot of people were outraged about it. Issa Soares has this.

SOARES: Fourteen unaccompanied minors have been arriving here in the U.K. this week from the Jungle camp in Calais, which is being demolished. Now,

on arrival in Croydon, they were greeted by British media, some of which have been raising questions over the age of some of these children.

Now, under E.U. legislation, minors can come to U.K. if they're under 18 years of age and if they have family here. But many of these migrants

don't have documents to actually prove their age.

And so the home office is basically looking at their appearance as well as their demeanor to determine how old they are. Here lies the problem.

After seeing these pictures and after visiting the Jungle camp in Calais, himself, member of parliament, David Davis says, these children should

actually undergo mandatory dental tests as well as bone density tests, he says. He says they should be undergoing this so they can check their age

because he believes they don't look like they are children.

But the British Dental Association is vigorously opposing this as an actual assessment. And in a statement to CNN, is the (ph) following, "It's not

only an inaccurate method to assess the age but it is both inappropriate and unethical," it says.

But M.P. David Davis disagrees.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAVIS: The BDA seems to be saying it's unethical. Well, you know, I beg to differ. One, you know, we -- we can beg to differ about what's ethical

and what isn't.

I think it would be unethical to allow people to come in here, claiming to be children when they're not. And I think it would be unethical partly

because that clearly will present risks to other people.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SOARES: As you can imagine, the reaction to using dental assessment has prompted widespread outrage on social media with some saying, it's both

callous, heartless. And it's (ph) actually vilifying migrants.

But the route (ph) is intensifying. The home office has today revealed that in 2015, nearly two-thirds of child refugees quizzed about their real

age were deemed to be adults. Isa Soares, CNN, London.

GORANI: Thank you to Isa. Still to come, with Donald Trump sticking -- will he stick to his scorched earth strategy when he takes the stage with

Hillary Clinton? We'll have a preview of the final U.S. presidential debate now just hours way.

We'll be right back. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

GORANI: Welcome back. Iraqi-led forces are closing in fast on Mosul. But they're coming up against fierce pockets of resistance from ISIS.

So far, the coalition has freed just over a dozen villages since Monday. But commanders say taking back full control of Mosul could take months.

Also in our top stories, we're keeping an eye still on Aleppo. The Syrian city is getting a much-needed reprieve from a bombardment of air strikes.

Those who live in rebel-held East Aleppo say there have not been any air strikes there since early Tuesday morning. Moscow announced Russian and

Syrian forces would stop the bombings in order to allow rebels and civilians to leave.

And also, just a few hours away, the third and final debate between the U.S. presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton will face off

in Las Vegas. It could be the best remaining chance for Trump to stage a comeback against Clinton who is ahead in national polls.

It's been an extraordinary presidential race for better or worse, full of unexpected twists and turns and ugly scandals and sometimes ugly talk. No

one knows for sure what to expect when Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton face off in their final debate.

But we want to give you some idea of what to watch out for and what each candidate needs to accomplish. CNN Senior Political Analyst Ron Brownstein

is live in Las Vegas. He's senior editor of "The Atlantic."

And we're also joined by CNN Political Analyst, John Avlon in New York, editor-in-chief of "The Daily Beast."

We have john and Ron with us for this panel. And we couldn't be happier.

John, I want to start with you. What does Trump needs -- what does he need to do to stage a comeback? I mean, he's inviting Malik Obama, Barack

Obama's half-brother in order to try to throw off Hillary Clinton.

I mean, is this kind of a taste of what we could expect for this debate?

JOHN AVLON, POLITICAL ANALYST: I mean, presumably it is. But, you know, trolling your way to the presidency generally doesn't work.

It -- it rallies the base. But what Donald Trump really needs to do is stop the bleed with swing voters, with suburban women, with independent

voters.

He needs to reach beyond his base if he's going to have a prayer of winning this presidential election. And tonight is really the last best chance to

do that.

He needs to convince voters who are watching, the few remaining undecideds that he can be trusted in the oval office. That means not playing to the

base, not playing to the cheap seats but reaching out beyond his base to try to build a broader coalition.

GORANI: And the suburban women, there's ban lot of talk of how he needs to reach out to them. Melania Trump's interview defending her husband might

have been part of that strategy.

Ron, will it change anyone's minds in terms of that particular tranche of the electorate?

RON BROWNSTEIN, SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Look, it's a very difficult position to put the spouse in amid allegations like this. And everyone can

kind of feel for that position.

But no, I don't think that interview really did much of anything. It was kind of a -- a big nothing-burger in the sense of her essentially repeating

campaign talking points without offering much more insight.

You know, for all of the twists and turns, there is a lot of core stability in this race. I mean, Donald Trump is on track to equal or exceed the

usual strong Republican performance among blue-collar whites.

But he's facing deficits of 50 to 60 points among minority voters. And in the key change from the past, as John was alluding to, he is

underperforming literally every Republican nominee ever in the history of polling among college-educated white voters, those white collar, swing,

suburban votes.

And it's not only women, although he is facing the widest deficit a Republican has ever confronted among college-educated white women, but

he's also underperforming among college white men, both around the belief that he is not qualified, doesn't have the temperament to be president and

his bias against women and minorities. The first debate, Hala, was really his chance to change that -- hard to undo that writing on the wall at this

point.

GORANI: So what's his strategy then, John? I mean, is he -- is this basically planning for the post-election Trump brand? I mean, what is it

that he's going to try achieve this evening?

AVLON: Well, that would be the tragic in terms of the opportunities of an electorate. I think he still has a chance to try to make the case that his

talk about a rigged system is more than simply trying to delegitimize the next president, that it's actually about a reform agenda.

And he as an outsider can come in and shake things up in a substantive way. But every -- every time that the campaign has tried to put him on firmer

policy footing with, he -- he throws it off.

It's simply not his instinct. But he needs to try to take that outsider her (ph) status, that change-maker status that his campaign keeps pushing

and rooted in concrete proposals that can actually be enacted.

If he's -- if he's content simply to sort of say whatever comes to his mind in -- in the thrust of the debate and -- and play offense without any idea

about what the follow-through will be, that's going to be totally insufficient to the opportunities of the night. But as in all debates,

Hala, he -- he is going to be held to a lower standard.

He always wins the expectations game because they're terribly low where Hillary Clinton is graded on a curve as it were.

GORANI: And Ron, by the way, we were talking about how Donald Trump needs to make -- stage a dramatic comeback. That's because the most recent

numbers are actually giving Hillary Clinton a much bigger lead than they were just a few weeks ago.

Here is the latest national poll of polls, Hillary Clinton at 47 percent, Donald Trump under 40 percent at 39 percent.

BROWNSTEIN: Yes.

GORANI: So what does Hillary Clinton need to do because, I mean, the biggest mistake she could make presumably is to get a little bit too

comfortable here?

BROWNSTEIN: Well, you know, look, even in that last debate, she was a little bit running out the clock. I mean, there wasn't really a lot of

intent on her part.

There was not a lot she was trying to do. She was more trying to get through the evening without any stumble. And at this point, I think that

is kind of where they are.

They are trying -- I think their -- their -- their main task is to reassure, at this point, those center-right voters who ordinarily vote

Republican but are breaking from Donald Trump in record numbers, which is why, by the way, as you point out, in virtually every national poll in the

last week except for one, the ABC, Washington Post, he's been under 40 percent.

Even before all of this happened, he was looking at a ceiling of around 42. Now, he's struggling to get to 40 and the slugs (ph) that includes a lot of

-- that means a lot of voters who have doubts about Hillary Clinton, particularly these college-educated whites who doubt her honesty, aren't

sure they are favorable toward her (ph), they're voting for her now.

I think she's got to kind of make them feel a little more comfortable with that, or Donald Trump will have the opportunity to pull at least some of

them back simply by emphasizing a small government Republican argument...

GORANI: But...

BROWNSTEIN: ...which usually works pretty well with those white-collar men.

GORANI: OK. All of that being said, I remember covering the Brexit referendum. And we were discussing this a little bit earlier as well...

BROWNSTEIN: Yes.

GORANI: ...where there was a lot of confidence that one side was going to win every single poll except for one or two indicated that the remain camp

would win, and then everyone got blind-sided on the day of the vote. Is there a possibility...

BROWNSTEIN: Right.

GORANI: ...Ron...

BROWNSTEIN: Yes.

GORANI: ...that many of these polls might be...

BROWNSTEIN: Yes.

GORANI: ...overestimating support for Hillary Clinton?

BROWNSTEIN: No, I don't - I think, look, I think the one thing that could be -- first of all, the Brexit margin was much narrower than the margin

we're seeing in the U.S. polls now, where we're talking about seven to 10, 11 points. So that's -- even though, you know, Brexit was narrowly ahead,

was narrowly behind in the -- in the polling, yes, there's one way, I think, the polling could be wrong.

And that is that Donald Trump fundamentally changes the composition of the electorate. If, in fact, he inspires a huge turnout among culturally

conservative, heavily blue-collar, non-urban white voters who don't usually vote, and they comprise a bigger share of the vote than anyone's model (ph)

now, assumes yes, then things could be different.

But if we're looking at an electorate that roughly models what the pollsters are projecting, it's very, very hard for him at this point.

GORANI: All right. Thanks to both of you. I'd -- I'd love to talk longer. Unfortunately, I can't this time. John Avlon and Ron Brownstein,

thanks as always to both of you. We'd...

AVLON: Thank you.

GORANI: ...love to be able to continue this discussion tomorrow. Don't forget...

BROWNSTEIN (?): You will.

GORANI: ...you can get all the latest news, interviews -- we certainly will -- and analysis, facebook.com/halagorani, CNN. After this, we return

to our stop story, the battle for Mosul in Iraq.

We'll be right -- no, we are actually doing that right now. CNN has gained rare access to a web of underground tunnels near the city used by ISIS to

launch surprise attacks.

We've been talking a lot about these tunnels. They're a crucial resource for the terrorist group.

Arwa Damon shows us now. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ARWA DAMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Take a look at this. It's an entrance on the side of a hilltop, an ISIS tunnel, actually, a fairly common tactic

that they do use, digging well into these hills.

Some of these tunnels that we've seen before are more complex than others. Some actually have small rooms, living quarters, that are dug off to the

sides.

This one, we're having to crouch a bit lower than at least I have had to than some of the other ones that we have been through. But it winds its

way.

And then it comes out on the other side of the hill where we were standing. And as the Iraqi and Kurdish troops have been pushing towards Mosul, they

have actually come across ISIS fighters popping out of hillsides, popping out of what seems to be relatively flat and non-descript (ph) terrain and

firing upon them.

And it's pretty much because of these tunnel systems that they have dug, like the one we just walked through. And if we turn around, the entrance

that we came through is just right there.

And this entire landscape here is very similar, wide, rolling hills. We've come out just right here, and then, it keeps going, not only deeper into

the hillside, but at multiple points.

The ISIS fighters have dug this out in such a way that it would actually give them different vantage points from the entire surrounding of the hills

so that they would be able to both hide from and jump out and surprise any potential attackers. And this entire tunneling complex just weaves its

way through going further and further back.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

GORANI: All right, Arwa Damon there in one of those ISIS tunnels. It's been a tactic that they've used. We, in fact, saw a suicide bomber used

one against Peshmerga forces just a couple of days ago when the operation started.

Commanders say fully reclaiming Mosul could take months as Iraqi and Kurdish forces face pretty fierce resistance in some pockets at least.

Let's get more on this with Michael Weiss, senior editor for "The Daily Beast," and also the co-author of "ISIS: Inside the Army of Terror."

Good to see you here in London.

MICHAEL WEISS, SENIOR EDITOR, THE DAILY BEAST: You, too.

GORANI: So we saw those tunnels. They also use suicide car bombs, typical terrorist group tactics. I wonder, though, how that changes the calculous

of the military strategy on the ground with conventional armies and groups of fighters.

WEISS: Yes, so I mean, with Mosul, they've had two and a half years to prepare for what they knew was going to be a retaking of the city or an

attempt at retaking the city. So you've got this sort of honeycomb structure beneath the earth -- tunnels, networks that they've used to

smuggle people, material, weapons -- you name it.

And one of the things I've noticed in the reporting, you know, yesterday, in the last 48 hours, there's been this (ph) lightning bliss. It's (ph) --

we were face no resistance.

It's so easy. We've taken dozens of villages. Well, yes, but hang on because you know, it's true. The Peshmerga and the ISF, the Iraqi security

forces have booted ISIS out of multiple villages in the lead-up to the outskirts of the city.

But what they've noticed is, ISIS has left so many booby traps along the way. Even when the -- the area is clear, they find that even just 10 or a

dozen ISIS militants come out. And they start waging these -- these suicide bombings one after another.

GORANI: Right.

WEISS: So everything in Mosul and in the environments (ph) is lethal.

GORANI: Yes.

WEISS: I mean, prayer beads on the ground, they've turned into IEDs -- house-borne (ph) IEDs. The KRG, the Kurdistan regional government, one

official told BuzzFeed this week, we anticipate six months of house-to- house fighting.

Now, that might be, as we say, managing expectations. That might be too long of an estimate. Martin Chulov at "The Guardian," was embedded with

the Peshmerga right now and on the frontlines told me he anticipate four weeks until they enter the city, and then at least two or three months

before Mosul is completely liberated (ph).

GORANI: And it's one of those things -- how long is a piece of string in terms of estimating how long fighting (ph) and...

WEISS: Yes.

GORANI: ...and is entirely on how much resistance there is...

WEISS: Exactly.

GORANI: ...how many booby traps, how many civilians are left they use potentially as a human shield as well. One of the interesting things that

I spoke with the spokesperson for operation inherent resolve today, I -- I asked him about the Peshmerga.

They have a clear agreement with the Iraqi army. They seem to be sticking to it.

WEISS: Yes.

GORANI: They've advanced as far as they can go. Now, it's up to Iraqi security forces to do the rest.

But one has to wonder, won't they need back-up at some point? This is a long and drawn out (ph) struggle.

WEISS: Yes, so there are entire brigades that have been cobbled together whole cloth (ph) by the Americans and the Brits. You know, I mean, we all

remember those images in Mosul, to (ph) June 2014, the Iraqi army just banished, right?

They laid down their arms. They abandoned their bases and evaporated into thin air. So the Americans have tried to put a concerted effort into kind

of rehabilitate and professionalize the Iraqi military.

The problem, Hala, is it's not just the ISF. There are a few good divisions brigades. The golden division, for instance, is multi-

confessional, multi-ethnic.

You've got Christians, Sunni, Shia -- these are the hardest of the counterterrorism forces -- well-respected.

GORANI: Yes.

WEISS: They don't go in and do ethnic cleansing or pragram (ph). But then, within the -- the ranks of the Iraqi military, especially within the

ranks of the federal police and those that fall under the jurisdiction of the interior ministry, you have guys who may wear the uniforms of the Iraqi

states and with the flag. And -- but they moonlight as Shia militia men.

And this is what is -- is so problematic about Mosul. It's a -- a city of -- they estimate about a million civilians left inside. We don't really

know.

GORANI: It was two million before, yes.

WEISS: It was two million before, about a million. That's a huge population, mostly Sunni Arab, right?

Sunni Arabs do not want to have allowed into their city what they consider to be sectarian Shia. And whether you're doing with the Iraqi military or

you're dealing with the so-called Hashad al-Shabi (ph), the popular (ph) mobilization units, the Shia militia men, their -- this is going to lead to

a -- a major political and social conflict.

GORANI: Yes.

WEISS: So that the issue for Mosul is not even getting rid of the takfir, is (ph) the ISIS militants. That'll happen. It's what comes next and

who's going to come in and occupy the city next.

GORANI: Yes, absolutely. You're -- you're correct. This is just the beginning of a very long process.

WEISS: Yes.

GORANI: And certainly, many complications ahead as we've seen in other parts of Iraq as well. Michael Weiss, great to have you here in London.

WEISS: Great to see you.

GORANI: And we will speak to you again soon, I'm sure. This is "The World Right Now." Still ahead...

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(UNIDENTIFIED MALE): It is not hard to get some of these assholes to pop off.

(UNIDENTIFIED MALE): Right.

(UNIDENTIFIED MALE): It's -- it's a matter of showing up to want to get into the rally in a Planned Parenthood t-shirt.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GORANI: The undercover video that appears to show democratic strategists calling Trump supporters psychos and making backroom plans to disrupt

Trump rallies. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

GORANI: Back to the race for the White House and a potential wrinkle for one of the presidential candidates. A democratic operative working with

the Hillary Clinton campaign says he's, quote, "stepping back" from his responsibilities, his announcement following the release of an edited video

which suggested he and others hired people to incite violence at Trump rallies.

Senior Investigative Correspondent Drew Griffin has this report.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DREW GRIFFIN, SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: The undercover videos produced by discredited conservative activist James O'Keefe suggest it was

democratic operatives, hired political activists, working in coordination with the DNC to instigate violence and incite reactions at Trump rallies.

And in one of the undercover videos, Scott Foval, a subcontractor for a DNC-hired firm called Democracy Partners, supposedly explains just how he

does it.

FOVAL: The script.

(UNIDENTIFIED MALE): OK.

FOVAL: The script of engagement -- sometimes the crazies bite, and sometimes, the crazies don't bite. When they're outside the rally...

(UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE): For more effective (ph) -- they're harder to get in.

(UNIDENTIFIED MALE): The media will cover it no matter where it happens...

(UNIDENTIFIED MALE): I assume it's always in the rally...

(UNIDENTIFIED MALE): ...initiating the conflict by having leading conversations with people who are naturally psychotic. And honestly, it is

not hard to get some of these assholes to pop off.

(UNIDENTIFIED MALE): Right.

(UNIDENTIFIED MALE): It's -- it's a matter of showing out to want to get into the rally in a Planned Parenthood t-shirt saying for, you know, Trump

is a Nazi.

You know, you get -- you get message to draw them out and draw them to punch you.

GRIFFIN: According to the undercover videos, it was this man that Democratic National Committee turned to to organize the work. Bob Creamer,

the husband of Illinois Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky.

He's part of a group called Democracy Partners. And he, too, was caught on undercover video, here explaining how he was hired by the Democratic

National Convention to stage counterdemonstrations and press conferences wherever the Trump campaign showed up.

CREAMER: Wherever Trump and Pence are going to be (ph), we have events.

(UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE): OK.

CREAMER: And we have a whole team across the country that does that, both consultants and people from the Democratic Party and the Democratic Party

roles (ph) and people from the campaign, the Clinton campaign. And, you know, my role in the campaign is to manage all that.

GRIFFIN: Creamer stepped down from the campaign today and announced his subcontractor, Scott Foval, was no longer working for his firm. Both the

DNC and the Clinton campaign deny any coordination with anything involving the incitement of violence. Creamer himself told CNN, his former

contractors were committing barroom talk, insisting none of what is being described by Foval ever actually happened.

In his statement, Creamer writes, we regret the unprofessional and careless hypothetical conversations that were captured on hidden cameras of a

regional contractor for our firm. He is no longer working with us.

The Clinton campaign responds, while Project Veritas has been known to offer misleading video out of context, some of the language and tactics

referenced in the video are troubling, even as a theory or a proposal never executed. We support the Democratic National Committee's appropriate

action, addressing this matter and look forward to continue waging a campaign of ideas worthy of our democratic process. James O'Keefe is a

convicted criminal, they add, with a history of doctoring video to advance his ideological agenda.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

GORANI: Well, Drew Griffin joins me now. So the campaign -- what is now - - I mean, going forward, their relationship with some of these organizations?

GRIFFIN: Yes, well, they say it's going to end. We're not clear exactly, Hala, what portion of this is going to end.

It -- there's no doubt that the DNC hired this group to do this kind of work. And there is no doubt that the Clinton campaign was advised and even

worked with this group to do this kind of work.

What the Clinton campaign and the DNC is saying is that none of this work involved what these people are actually saying on the tape. They didn't

incite violence.

They say, they didn't inspire people to incite violence. Violence was never part of their plan. Right now, we don't have any evidence that that

is the case as well.

But of course, like everything else in this campaign, we'll see what happens after the tape gets out and people come forward.

GORANI: Right, certainly. Thanks very much, Drew Griffin for that report. We'll take a quick break and we'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

The presidential election has provided tons of material for comedians, especially on late night television in the United States. And Melania

Trump's appearance on CNN this week was too good for the late show with Stephen Colbert to resist.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP (ph): Stephen, my husband is kind. He is a gentleman.

COLBERT: OK, if he's a gentlemen, then why did he say he didn't do it because they were too ugly?

TRUMP: He's raw. He tells it like it is. And these women, woof, am I right, up top.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GORANI: Stephen Colbert there, poking a little fun at Melania Trump. The real Melania made a rare public appearance this week on CNN to defend her

husband.

You may have seen that interview with Anderson Cooper. And that inspired a hashtag that has gone viral. Jeanne Moos has that.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: On SNL...

(UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE): You're beautiful, dutiful, Melania.

MOOS: Melania trump was portrayed as if she were ready to dump the Donald. But in real life, Melania didn't just stand by her man.

She partially blamed Billy Bush for leading her husband on.

TRUMP: Lead on like egg on (ph) from the host to say dirty and bad stuff.

MOOS: But nobody had to egg on the Internet. Instantly, a new hashtag was born, hashtag, #billybushmademedoit as in when Trump cheated on his first

wife with his second, hashtag, #billybushmademedoit, or Ryan Lochte just changed his story.

He now says, hashtag, #billybushmademedoit. You know how Trump is always saying...

TRUMP: This whole election is being rigged.

MOOS: So of course, someone tweeted, now we all know who's rigging this election, hashtag, #billybushmademedoit. Even noted Hillary supporter,

Cher, got into the act.

How can Trump stand up to Putin if he couldn't stand up to Billy Bush? This four-year-old pug tweeted, hashtag,

#billybushmademeputthispapertowelovermyhead.

Billy is being bushwhacked. John Oliver show did a segment.

(UNIDENTIFIED MALE): At Billy Bush being creepy with everyone.

(UNIDENTIFIED MALE): How do you feel about your butt?

LOPEZ: Are you kidding me? You did not just ask me that?

(UNIDENTIFIED MALE): I did.

MOOS: Now, they can add the 2005 bus scene.

(UNIDENTIFIED MALE): Let the little guy in there, come on (ph).

(UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE): Yes, let the little guy in.

MOOS: Melania had a game for what her husband engaged in on that bus.

TRUMP: They were kind of a boy talk -- boys talk.

MOOS: With a 59-year-old boy -- blame it on the 33-year-old. President Trump, why did you nuke Brussels, hashtag, #billybushmademedoit, though the

Donald sure seems to be the alpha...

TRUMP: Hey, come on, Billy, let's go.

MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN...

TRUMP: That's better.

MOOS: ...New York.

BUSH: If you had to choose, honestly...

(END VIDEOTAPE)

GORANI: Well, the final presidential debate is just hours away. CNN is live in Las Vegas to bring you full coverage.

That starts at 11:00 p.m. Wednesday here in London, midnight across Europe. This has been THE WORLD RIGHT NOW.

I'm Hala Gorani. Thanks for watching. "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS" is up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

END