Return to Transcripts main page

CNN NEWSROOM

Trump Lays Out First 100 Days in Office if Elected; Trump Says He'll Reform Economy, Create 25 Million Jobs in Decade; Trump Vows to Sue Women Accusing Him of Sexual Misconduct; Trump Vows to Sue Women Accusing Him of Sexual Misconduct; Trump: Suspend Immigration from "Terror-Prone Areas," Build Wall; Trump Again Claiming Election Is Rigged; Brothels Successful, Controversial. Aired 1-2p ET

Aired October 22, 2016 - 13:00   ET

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


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[13:00:00] FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back. This is the NEWSROOM. I'm Fredricka Whitfield.

Just moments ago, Donald Trump laid out what he would build in a lead up to his remarks in Gettysburg as his closing argument to the American people. The Republican candidate using much of the first part of the speech to lash out at political opponents, media, and women who accused him of sexual misconduct, and he also doubled down on his claim the system is rigged against him and the American people, and vowed to, quote, "drain the swamp in Washington." The speech was wide-ranging, covering everything from campaign finance to trade to immigration.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: On the same day, I will begin taking, taking strongly, seven actions to protect American workers. First, I will announce my intention to totally re-negotiate NAFTA, one of the worst deals our country has ever made --

(CHEERING)

TRUMP: -- signed by Bill Clinton. Second, I will announce our withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Third, I will direct my secretary of the treasury to label China a currency manipulator.

(CHEERING)

TRUMP: Fourth, I will direct the secretary of commerce and U.S. trade representative to identify foreign trading abuses that unfairly impact American workers and direct them to use every tool under American and international law to end those abuses immediately.

(CHEERING)

TRUMP: Fifth, very importantly, I will lift the restrictions on the production of $50 trillion worth of job-producing American energy reserves.

(CHEERING)

TRUMP: Sixth, I will lift the Obama/Clinton roadblocks that allow for this vital energy infrastructure projects to go forward. We are going to cancel billions in payments to the United Nations climate change programs --

(CROSSTALK)

TRUMP: -- and use the money to fix America's water and environmental infrastructure.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: Joining CNN correspondent Sunlen; and senior White House correspondent, Jim Acosta; and CNN political analyst and senior editor of "The Atlantic," Ron Brownstein; and CNN political commentator and senior contributor to "The Daily Caller," Matt Lewis.

Good to see all of you.

We begin with you, Sunlen.

Donald Trump began with unfinished business of the women who accused him of sexual misconduct and then he spelled out his first day in office and the first 100 days if elected. What seemed to resonate with supporters there?

SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It was, I think, rather bizarre at the top of the speech. This was a major policy address by the Trump campaign where he would be giving details on policy specifics. While he did get some new details on Donald Trump's immigration plan, most of this was just a repetition of many policy proposals that he has proposed over the course of the campaign. For the first 16 minutes of his speech here, he had somewhat of an airing of grievances, going after Hillary Clinton, saying she shouldn't be allowed to run, going after the establishment saying they are against his campaign, trying to stop him from going forward, bringing up cases of alleged voter fraud. Certainly, trying to get out all of the things that, you know, his complaints over the course of the campaign, first and foremost, and then he shifted to the back half of the speech, talking about his first 100 days, talking job creation, securing borders, tax reduction, the promise to repeal and replace Obamacare. These are largely big issues and broad strokes we have seen so far from Donald Trump already proposed this campaign.

WHITFIELD: Back with me now, also, Jim Acosta.

Jim, you have been familiar with covering the Donald Trump campaign as well. Is there a different tone, you know, in Donald Trump, whereby, in so many of his rallies has been upbeat, it's been -- I mean, almost like a rally at an athletic event. And today it seemed as though he was trying to be more all business. Is there a different tone in what you experienced when following him and his campaign?

JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: It sounds like that, Fredricka. Just to reiterate what Sunlen was saying, it sounded like the grievance-burg address, not the Gettysburg Address. It was Donald Trump running through everything getting on his nerves, whether it's the national news media or women accusing him of sexual assault.

But there were nuances to the policy proposals that he laid out for his first 100 days. One interesting thing to point out is during the speech, Donald Trump said a wall will be built on the U.S./Mexico border and Mexico will reimburse us for it. Not that they will pay for it, but reimburse us. The U.S. would pay and then Mexico would reimburse the United States for that.

There was a proposal that he talked about that creates mandatory minimum sentences for undocumented immigrants deported from the country but then come back again, trying to get at an issue he's talked about on the campaign trail.

And he also talked about ethics reforms and undoing President Barack Obama's executive actions in his first 100 days in office. So there were new things in that speech, but as Sunlen said, it was a rehashing of proposals he laid out before, repackaging the proposals.

Again, Fredricka, I think this goes to the heart of where Donald Trump has been over these last couple weeks and what we should expect in the final weeks of the campaign. This is a candidate who is angry. He is angry he is losing the race. He has a lot of people to blame for it. He was talking consolidation of the news media. He was saying AT&T should not purchase Time Warner and CNN because it would further concentrate control of the news media in the hands of few corporations. So he's really just going through the litany of grievances and stuff that just upsets him during the course of this campaign. And I think we are going to have to see that, we are going to see that over and over again the last two weeks of the campaign -- Fredricka?

WHITFIELD: Let me bring in Ron and Matt on this one as well.

I wonder, Ron, is this a prelude of more to come, a style, to be revealed in a bigger way from Donald Trump, which is, I'm in business, this is the way it's going to look. I want to, you know, kind of punctuate the messaging, as Jim was saying. It's a lot of the same messaging, but packaged in a different way.

RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: No, it was interesting. The speech was revealing on two different fronts. The first 15 minutes, gave you that Donald Trump raised so many questions about his temperament, lashing out in all directions, an assortment of different enemies, airing conspiracy theories about NAFTA and voter fraud.

The second half of the speech, though, was important, even if there weren't that many specific new policies. It showed behind the bombast and the daily pummel, there is a coherent set of ideas that qualify as Trumpism. It's a blue collar nationalism that stands for the working class against elites above, and immigrants and foreign competitors below that are threatening their way, their prosperity.

What I think the question is going to be if he does -- if he's unable to make up the gap, does Trumpism live beyond Trump? What he showed is there is a Trumpism. The GOP is going to have to decide whether this is a dead end or a reconfiguration of the party they can live with.

The other point about this speech, as I said before, it shows what a hybrid he is. There were many conventional Republican ideas: cut taxes, cut regulation and repeal Obamacare. But there were lots of things, like spend more on infrastructure and a sharper protectionism, that takes the party in a different direction. Does the party want to go in that direction if Trump loses?

WHITFIELD: Matt, does the messaging potentially land differently because it was much more organized, was it not, in terms of his, you know, string of consciousness, his thinking out loud here, speaking as opposed to a scattered manner that people are accustomed to seeing on display when he's been at his rallies.

MATT LEWIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: On one hand, I think it does. Clearly, he's reading from a script. He's trying to stay -- you know, he's not engaging in these non-secateurs where he goes on a rift and a rant and tell a random story.

But I have to keep coming back to the thing about giving us in the media a shiny object to talk about. We'll go out of our way to avoid talking about substance if we can talk about something that is more provocative. And it's going to be really -- I mean my prediction is that the headlines tomorrow are going to be more about what he said about Hillary Clinton and what he said about the women who were accusing him than any of the

(CROSSTALK)

LEWIS: Exactly. That is going to the headline, I think.

To Ron's point, I think there's a big conversation to be had about the future of the Republican Party, even if Donald Trump loses. There's going to be a temptation to say, look, take the good parts of Trumpism, the populous pandering. When I say good, I'm using quotation marks. Leave off the unseemly stuff, the racism, the misogyny, the vulgarity. And then we could cobble together a more coherent new Republicanism that can win. That's going to be a big fight for the next couple years.

[13:10:00] WHITFIELD: I think, Jim, what's interesting to hear Donald Trump, you know, say that he is the change agent. He represents change. Change is what the American electorate is looking for. And in this closing argument, you know, that's one of the resonating messages to wrap it all up, wrap up his campaign in a closing argument to say, if you for change, I am your guy.

ACOSTA: Absolutely, Fredricka. I think there are a lot of Americans out there who like that message, drain the swamp in Washington, D.C. You are going to get a lot of "atta boys" if you walk into the local bar in Virginia Beach. People like that kind of message.

Consider this. We are standing in the state of Virginia on the campus of Pat Robertson's university where Donald Trump will be later this afternoon. Donald Trump, unless there is a miracle, is going to lose the state of Virginia, which used to be a competitive state for Republicans by a lot. That shows you where a Republican challenger against somebody like Hillary Clinton, who has fairly unpopular numbers, high unfavorable numbers, as Ron Brownstein can lay out, and that message of being an agent of change is just not resonating here. He has made so many mistakes, said so many outrageous and offensive things on the campaign trail during the course of the campaign. Your last guest was just talking about, well, all of in the news media are going to talk about the headline being Donald Trump going after his accusers at this Gettysburg Address. The campaign said this was going to be a speech about the first 100 days in office. The first eight minutes is about accusers and how he's going to sue them as soon as the election is over. This is not the behavior of a presidential candidate. That's why the message of change hasn't resonated with a lot of people in the state of Virginia where Republicans should be doing better than where Trump is.

WHITFIELD: Jim, you called it not the Gettysburg, but what did you call it?

ACOSTA: I called it the grievance-burg address because --

(CROSSTALK)

ACOSTA: -- it was grievance after grievance after grievance. This was billed as a policy speech. His campaign held a conference call with reporters to say here is what we are doing and what we are talking about. He rolls out, in the first eight or nine minutes, the things that upset him as a presidential candidate. People have to ask themselves, you know, is that normal? Is that normal behavior? A lot of Americans said, no, that's not normal. That's why he's being rejected by people in states like Virginia where a Republican should be neck and neck, as Ron Brownstein would tell you.

WHITFIELD: Ron, --

ACOSTA: This should be very, very close.

(CROSSTALK)

WHITFIELD: -- real quick, very fast.

BROWNSTEIN: Virginia really embodies the core choice Republicans face. It is a state defined by the coalition of growing minority presence and a large white collar white presence. Those are precisely the voters rejecting Trump and Trumpism in the largest numbers. He's doing well with blue collar white voters.

The big question will be, could Donald Trump, could someone like Donald Trump really emerge doing what Matt talked about, the racially bogged elements, or is that intrinsic to this message? It was there. It was a very hard line on immigration. And beyond all the personal issues Donald Trump is reality that that agenda, as well, faces resistance among the kind of voters who define the electorate in Virginia or Colorado or North Carolina.

(CROSSTALK)

BROWNSTEIN: The challenge goes beyond the personal issues he faces.

LEWIS: And the amazing this is seven out of 10 Americans are not happy with the direction of the country. It's a referendum on Donald Trump. He looks like he's going to lose big league in a year that wants a change agent against a candidate who's been in politics.

WHITFIELD: Interesting.

So much to chew on.

Thank you so much. We are going to have you all back. Still a lot more to talk about. Sunlen, Matt, Ron, Jim, thank you so much. Appreciate it.

So, Trump unveiling his economic plan. In all of that as well, vowing to deliver 25 million jobs in a decade. We'll dive into the reality of his promise with Mitt Romney's former economic adviser, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[13:17:16] WHITFIELD: Welcome back. I'm Fredricka Whitfield.

In Donald Trump's speech today, he outlined several key economic points that he sees in his administration if elected. Many have been discussed over the course of the campaign. Moments ago, he revealed a few new details.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Middle Class Tax Relief and Simplification Act, an economic plan designed to grow the economy 4 percent per year and create at least 25 million new jobs through massive tax reduction and simplification, in combination with trade reform, regulatory relief and lifting the restrictions on American energy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: I'm joined now on the phone by "CNN Money's" Cristina Alesci; Matt Lewis is a CNN political commentator and contributor to "The Daily Caller," back with us; and Lanhee Chen is a CNN political commentator and a former policy director for Mitt Romney.

Glad you could all be with me.

Cristina, when he talks 25 million jobs in one decade, how realistic, plausible is that?

CRISTINA ALESCI, CNN MONEY CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Well, the reality is, is we are about on that rate of growth right now, today, under the Obama administration. If you look at the last quarter alone, you are talking an average of about 195,000 jobs. So, you think about that over the next decade and you could see 25 million jobs created if -- and this is a big if -- the economy keeps on the path it's been going on right now, which, a lot of people think, you know, there are major question marks on whether or not this job creation is sustainable.

The reason Donald Trump is focusing on creating so many jobs is because he has to create at least that many, if not many more in order to blunt the negative impact that his tax cuts may have on the economy in the form of increasing the national debt in the long term. Again --

(CROSSTALK)

WHITFIELD: Meaning, when he says -- when he says from cutting back the tax brackets from seven to three and there would be a 35 percent tax cut for the middle class, is that what you are talking about?

ALESCI: Yeah, but if he's talking -- and there's going to be somewhat of a benefit for the middle class. But he's talking cutting taxes across the board. It's not something he highlighted today, but as we have seen him and heard him talk about in his tax plan, has not changed. The benefits of that tax plan would disproportionately fall to the wealthy. And in order to pay for that you have to have economic growth. That's why he's saying he could generate double the economic growth we have today. We have to in order to pay for the tax cuts for the rich.

And, yes, the middle class will be some benefit. Remember, today, he highlighted example of a middle class family with two kids. He doesn't talk about a middle class family with a single parent household. The simplification of the tax to one-parent households may increase that specific person's tax bill.

He's talking simplification of the tax code. Yes, everybody agrees we need a more simplified code, but it could end up hurting people who take the deductions for being head of household. So it's complicated and it seems like he's oversimplifying the points.

The other thing is, too, trade. You know, there's a lot of discussion on whether or not re-negotiating NAFTA is going to create jobs in America or bring back the jobs we lost, whether or not it was the result of NAFTA. You know, you have to look at these things. Job loss and manufacturing is not just the result of possibly bad trade deals. They are the result of technological advancements as well. He's not talking the nuance here.

[13:21:17] WHITFIELD: Lanhee, what Cristina is outlining there and underscoring it is very complicated and perhaps Donald Trump is oversimplifying. When Donald Trump talks about, you know, re- negotiating NAFTA and that he will, you know, announce the withdrawal from the TP Partnership, why are these priorities for Donald Trump that he believes convincingly will sway voters or appeal to voters? Why is that at the top of the list? Is it all an oversimplification and plausible?

LANHEE CHEN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Fred, to a certain degree, you are trying to communicate a message that could be complicated, an economic plan. At the end of the day, a bunch of component parts. They are trying to lay out the contours of that plan. What I would say -- and this has been the challenge with Donald Trump's economic plan the whole time -- you have these tensions within the plan. He proposes to do on trade. I think most economists, center right and left, would agree what he's proposing to do on trade would harm the U.S. economy, not help it. So, on the one hand you have trade. On the other hand, you have things like regulatory reform and energy reform, which a lot of economists think is good for the U.S. economy. So there is a tension at the center of it.

My guess, Fred, the reason they focus on NAFTA and pulling out of NAFTA as well as re-negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership is they are items that poll well. Trade is not a popular policy prescription in this day and age. They recognize in the states they need to win, like Ohio and Iowa, trade is not going to be popular. They lead with a notion of getting tough on trade, while recognizing that is going to cut against the very job creation and economic growth they are looking to get with this economic plan.

WHITFIELD: Matt, how does a voter extrapolate all this and not come close to concluding some isolationism here, when you hear Donald Trump, you know, talking about NAFTA, you know, less trade or reforming trade, not donating to, you know, continued U.N. funding on, you know, for environmental matters, but instead focusing on the U.S., the wall will be built, Mexico will reimburse. Will this translate to an isolationism? I mean, is he advocating that? Is he putting the U.S. in a place on the world stage it's a go-it-alone kind of approach?

LEWIS: Yeah, I think this has been the one and only consistent philosophy of Donald Trump over the years. He's been back and forth on abortion and issues like that. He's been consistently a protectionist guy. There is a sense out there that Americans are getting a raw deal, that we are being taken advantage of. So, this really taps into kind of a deep-seated inferiority complex that we have right now, a sense that our best days are behind us, maybe a sense we want to get even a little bit.

I agree, a lot of these aren't good policies. For example, one of the things we never talk about is the effect this would have on consumers. Right now, one of the things free trade provides is, if you are a poor person that doesn't make a lot of money, you can buy a lot of goods for an inexpensive cost. You can have, you can go to Walmart or Target and get stuff cheaply, in many cases because of free trade.

The other thing that we never talk about is automation. Americans are more efficient than ever. Factories are producing more goods than ever. But it takes fewer workers for that to happen.

Whether it's Bernie Sanders on the left or Donald Trump on the right, nobody gets around to talking about that problem.

[13:25:19] WHITFIELD: All right. Matt Lewis, Cristina Alesci, thank you so much.

Lanhee, thank you as well. Lanhee, you are going to stick around with us. Appreciate that.

Before Donald Trump got to the issue of policies, Trump vowed to sue the women who have come out and accused him of sexual misconduct. We'll talk about that, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WHITFIELD: Welcome back. Besides laying out his plan for the first 100 days if elected, Donald Trump also explained what he plans to do about the women accusing him of sexual assault.

Jim Acosta is following this angle of the story.

ACOSTA: Hi, Fredricka. This was a surprise at the top Trump's Gettysburg speech, which was billed by his campaign as an unveiling of what he plans to do his first 100 days in office as president. He, instead, went after the people accusing him of sexual assault, most notably the women that came forward that said Donald Trump was forcing himself on all of them.

Donald Trump said, during the speech in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, he plans to sue all of them after the election is over. Here is more of what he had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Every woman lied when they came forward to hurt my campaign. Total fabrication.

(APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: The events never happened. Never. All of these liars will be sued after the election is over.

(CHEERING)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ACOSTA: Now, also, during those remarks on this topic, we should point out Trump said he believes that the DNC and the Clinton campaign are behind these allegations that are being made by these women. And he said he's going to get to the bottom of that as well.

We should point out, Fredricka, Donald Trump, not so long ago, threatened to sue "the New York Times" which reported the first woman to come forward to accuse Donald Trump of groping her. That lawsuit has never happened.

You know, you have the legal experts on all the time that will tell you launching a lawsuit against somebody at this point would open up a discovery process. It's worth noting, he is doing it after the campaign is over, not during the election when the discovery process could potentially unearth damaging information against him right before the election. That may be part of the reason he's saying he'll do it after the election -- Fredricka?

FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: All right, Jim Acosta, thank you so much.

ACOSTA: You bet. WHITFIELD: We'll have more on Donald Trump's proposed plan in his first 100 days if elected when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[13:34:57] WHITFIELD: Donald Trump laying out his plan for the first 100 days in office if elected. That includes suspending immigration from, quote, "terror-prone regions."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: We will cancel all federal funding of sanctuary cities.

(CHEERING)

TRUMP: End Illegal Immigration Act --

(CHEERING)

TRUMP: -- fully funds the construction of a wall on our southern border -- don't worry about it, remember, I said Mexico is paying for the wall --

(CHEERING)

TRUMP: -- with the full understanding that the country of Mexico will be reimbursing the United States for the full cost of such a wall. OK?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: Let's bring in our panel. Amy Kremer is a Donald Trump supporter and co-chair of Women Vote Trump; and Lanhee Chen is a CNN political commentator and former Mitt Romney public policy director.

Amy, you first.

On that last note, Donald Trump is talking about the corner stone of his 15-16 month campaign. We are talking about the wall. He says there will be funding, U.S. funding for that wall and there will be reimbursement by Mexico. The language is different. Emphatically, he was saying Mexico was paying for it and brought up the meeting two months ago with the Mexican president, however, reported they didn't really talk about that? This time, he says he had a conversation and reiterated there is a -- or made the point there is a two-way street. What's going on here in terms of whether his address today? Does it offer more clarity or more confusion?

AMY KREMER, CO-CHAIR, WOMEN VOTE TRUMP: I think one of the things he's talking about is the wall will be funded and Mexico will reimburse us for it. He's probably doing that because when immigration reform was passed -- I believe that's when Reagan was in office -- they passed the legislation to build the wall, and it was never funded, so it was never built. Look, it should be built. We should secure our borders. It's going to be a priority. And you are right, his campaign did start with that as one of the top issues. WHITFIELD: Is it your view that Donald Trump is laying out there's

going to be a greater cooperation, if he's elected between the executive branch White House and Congress because some of those things he laid out is really contingent upon whether there is congressional approval

KREMER: Right. Look, I think one of the reasons Donald Trump is where he is because some of the Republicans, especially Republican leadership, has been more pro-globalist instead of pro-American. Donald Trump is more pro-American. He's more concerned about Americans than the global -- than the people around the world who want to put us first. Because of that, he is the Republican nominee. So they can accept it -- when he's elected, they can accept it or not. I would hope they would work together, regardless of who is elected. We have a divided country and we need to come together.

WHITFIELD: So, Lanhee, it is interesting messaging. Donald Trump said he's going to, you know, reverse, remove much of the executive order that was exercised by President Obama, but then when you hear what Amy is talking about, when he says I'm going to make things happen, it's with congressional, you know, approval or not, how is this change, if Donald Trump is saying he is now the change agent with his candidacy?

LANHEE CHEN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: This is always, again, an attention to get attention at the center of the policy agenda that Trump is laying out. On the one hand, I think you are right. A lot of what he's talking about would be best done with the approval of Congress through the standard legislative process. But I think what he's proposing is also the potential to use executive action to enact a broad variety of policy proposals he's talking about. It is a little bit of attention in this message because, on one hand, you are saying, I don't like Barack Obama's executive actions, but I do like my executive actions. There's nothing wrong with it. It creates tension in terms of what he's trying to get done and how he's trying to do it.

The majority of proposals laid out today are not new proposals. They are things we have heard about. It is an effort to package them into a closing argument, something you might have heard tactics by most campaigns three or four months ago. We are getting it 17 days before the election.

WHITFIELD: Amy, did he change minds, solidify support?

KREMER: I think he probably did. From what I'm reading on Twitter, they are saying it's an 11 out of 10 speech. He had me at repeal and replace Obamacare. People seem to be happy with it. It was definitely a different setting in a different, a smaller crowd. He was not yelling, was deliberative and presidential. I think he appeared as a commander-in-chief.

And I want to say real quick, too, I am not one that supports executive action. With Obama, I said it can turn around on be on the Republicans, too. It should be through Congress. It should be through legislation. And I hope that the Congress will come together and fund this wall.

[13:40:20] WHITFIELD: Lanhee, 17 days to go before people cast their ballots on Election Day. Is Donald Trump revealing a new demeanor, taking advantage of this 17 days, or are people going to see a very similar Donald Trump over the next 17 days?

CHEN: This has been a common refrain, Fred. I have heard this a lot. I heard it before the first debate, the second, the third, are we going to see a different Donald Trump? Is he going to have a different mannerism? To quote a famous football coach -- "He is who we thought he was." This guy, this is his nature. This is how he's run his campaign. It's been appealing to some. The notion that we are going to have a sober policy-based discussion over these next 17 days, we are fooling ourselves if that's what we think. This is the same combative campaign we have seen from Trump the entire time. I don't think supporters would see anything less. I'm not sure that's the best way to get across the finish line with the 270 electoral votes he needs. He has a narrow pathway. It's great they want to lay out a vision of what he would do the first 100 days. They probably should have done this four or five months ago. I think it's too little, too late.

WHITFIELD: Amy Kremer, Lanhee Chen, thank you. Appreciate it.

KREMER: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[13:45:16] WHITFIELD: Donald Trump, once again claiming the election may be rigged against him, ratcheting up claims of widespread voter fraud without any proof. Trump reiterated the allegation today during a speech in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, incriminating Hillary Clinton and the media.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: A big part of the rigging of this election is the fact Hillary is being allowed to run despite having broken so many laws on so many different occasions. Why is she allowed to run? The dishonest mainstream media is also part, and a major part, of this corruption.

(CHEERING)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: Many Republicans and Democrats have condemned Trump's accusations of a rigged election, calling his rhetoric dangerous.

Joining me now to discuss this is Scott Thomas, the former commissioner for the Federal Elections Commission, the FEC.

Scott, good to see you.

(CROSSTALK) WHITFIELD: The FEC's role is primarily to regulate campaign finance in the U.S., but as someone who served as commissioner for 20 years, what is your reaction to Trump's claims that the system is broken, that there is widespread voter fraud, that, essentially, any potential outcome may not be trustworthy?

SCOTT THOMAS, FORMER COMMISSIONER, FEDERAL ELECTIONS COMMISSION: Well, Fred, I'm very skeptical of that kind of claim. Our election system is very, very decentralized, and it has many, many checks and balances built into it. You have many, many election officials across this country, who are dedicated public servants, who I think they are especially invigorated to make sure they do the process as fairly and thoroughly as possible. So I think these claims are falling flat. I just don't understand the assertion that there could be a concerted conspiratorial effort to rig the results of the presidential election.

WHITFIELD: You know, in some fairly new Democratic voting elections in other countries, there have been monitors. We know former President Jimmy Carter has been in monitor at some elections overseas. When you hear Donald Trump say that he or his campaign may be bringing out monitors to some of the polls right here in the U.S. to make sure there's no voter, does that seem feasible? Is it possible? Is it necessary?

THOMAS: Well, I would say it is certainly possible. But we do also have a very, sort of regulated system for who is allowed to be a poll watcher. Each side gets to have poll watchers in a polling place. But there are lots of very strict rules about being prevented from interfering with voters while waiting in line. There are restrictions on getting too close, to interfere with the voting process. So I think that, you know, we have seen -- we have to admit efforts over the past to try to intimidate some voters from feeling comfortable coming out to vote. I hope that this suggestion of Mr. Trump is not trying to drift into that category. I'm sure you are aware there's a decree in place against the Republican Party to prevent excessive and suppressive voter intimidation tactics. We hope those kind of systems will work.

WHITFIELD: You were FEC chairman during the 2000 presidential election. Who could forget it? I covered it many, many weeks for the recount. It was very a very critical and controversial time. We are talking about what became the case of Al Gore versus George Bush. Do you see that there is the groundwork in place that there could be a potential repeat of how that election was carried out, with the hanging chads, you know, which led to that Supreme Court involvement?

THOMAS: Well, the one really good thing that came out of the 2000 election is that Congress reacted and passed the Help America Vote Act. They provided funding to states and local jurisdictions to get rid of the horrible punch card machines for the most part. We have a much improved system, technically. So I don't see a lot of complications arising from trying to actually figure out whether a particular voting card or something actually reflects a vote for one candidate. Most jurisdictions are using optical scanning equipment. It is fairly accurate and consistent. And I think in terms of the testing beforehand and the testing

afterwards to see if the machines are counting, the fact that most jurisdictions now have a paper trail in place, which allows you to really check if there is a state where there is a really, really close vote count. It should give us confidence our system will be better than it was in 2000.

[13:50:36] WHITFIELD: Scott Thomas, good to see you. Thank you so much.

THOMAS: My pleasure.

WHITFIELD: We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WHITFIELD: On a new episode of CNN's "This Is Life," Lisa Ling heads to area where brothels are highly controversial and highly successful.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DENNIS HOFF, BROTHER OWNER: This is the only business I know of in America where a girl is going to make 300 percent, 400 percent more than a man in the same business.

LISA LING, CNN HOST, THIS IS LIFE: Isn't that kind of sad the only way women can do that is by selling their bodies?

HOFF: I look at it from a positive perspective. Isn't it great there is a place they can do that.

LING: There are people who will say Dennis Hoff is a pimp that exploits the vulnerabilities of desperate women. How do you respond to those people?

HOFF: In almost 24 years now, Suzette and I have never brought anybody in. They come to us. And we tell them the pros and the cons.

Look, it's not for everybody. People are doing what they have to do to make money. We don't like to think that we hire girls that are desperate. But they don't always tell us either.

[13:55:26] LING (voice-over): Tonight, London is settling in. She has traveled many miles to get here. But of all places, why would a young mom choose to work in a brothel?

(on camera): So how are you feeling about everything?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Of course, there is a little bit of nerves just like any new job. I feel like I'm not hiding. I feel like I'm not doing something bad or illegal, because I'm here at the ranch.

LING: But it is a job where you are going to be having sex with people.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I would rather do this than be back at Walmart. (END VIDEOTAPE)

WHITFIELD: "This Is Life" airs tomorrow at 10:00 eastern on CNN.

Also coming up, more on Donald Trump's plans for his first 100 days if elected.

Plus, the election seems to be turning some red states purple. Why the state of Georgia is seeing more Democratic voters.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If it wasn't for the candidates going now, I probably would have voted for the other candidate.

UNIDENTIFIED CORRESPONDENT: You would have voted Republican?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: More than likely.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: That report.

Plus, comedian, Chelsea Handler, sits down with CNN's Poppy Harlow and gives one-word answers to political figures?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Donald Trump?

CHELSEA HANDLER, COMEDIAN: Yucky.

HARLOW: Hillary Clinton?

HANDLER: Badass.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: How comedy impacts the race. More of CNN's interview with Chelsea Chandler straight ahead when the NEWSROOM continues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)