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Clinton in North Carolina, Trump in Florida Today; Cubs Advance to First World Series Since 1945; AT&T to Buy Time Warner in $85B Media Mega Deal; Russia "Disappointed" Over Meddling Accusations. Aired 7-8a ET

Aired October 23, 2016 - 07:00   ET




[07:00:10] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Eleventh woman has come forward today with accusations against Donald Trump.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He grabbed each of us tightly in a hug and kissed each one of us without asking permission.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Every woman lied, total fabrication. The events never happened.

SEN. TIM KAINE (D), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You know, he's losing and he knows it.

HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We're going to see the best days ahead of us.

TRUMP: In 17 days, everything is going to change.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Cubs are going to the World Series!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's overwhelming and it's awesome.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They've been waiting for a long time for it. Best fans in baseball.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Slow the moment down and really, really enjoy it because it is that special.


CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Yes. Congratulations to all you Cubby fans who were up all night. Might still be. We're going to talk about that a little bit later.

But I want to wish you a good morning on this Sunday. I'm Christi Paul.


PAUL: Always grateful to have you with us.

Sixteen days before Election Day, everyone. Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump pulling out all the stops to pick up the undecided voters in key battleground states that could make or break this election. Take a look at the map that we've got for you here today. Hillary Clinton is going to be in Raleigh, North Carolina, Donald Trump in Florida. That's a state most analysts say he needs to win.

BLACKWELL: Yes, both candidates also picking up new endorsements. Hillary Clinton from "The New Yorker," Donald Trump from "The Las Vegas Review."

Trump trying to look forward to his first 100 days in office, if he wins, in Gettysburg, the speech we heard yesterday. But he took a step back again as he is now vowing to sue the women who have accused him of sexual assault or impropriety. Now, this comes as an 11th woman accuses him of sexual misconduct.

CNN is covering the campaigns from all angles, of course. We have CNN politics reporter, Jeremy Diamond, with the Trump campaign in Cleveland, CNN national politics reporter M.J. Lee in Philadelphia.

Let's start with Jeremy.


JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN POLITICS REPORTER: Good morning, Victor and Christi.

Donald Trump on Saturday stumping right here in Cleveland, Ohio, taking the stage just a few hours after yet another woman has come forward to accuse him of inappropriately touching her without her consent.

JESSICA DRAKE, DONALD TRUMP ACCUSER: I said I didn't feel right going alone, so two other women came with me. He grabbed each of us tightly in a hug and kissed each one of us without asking permission.

DIAMOND: But Donald Trump in an uncharacteristic fashion actually not addressing the allegation on stage, instead allowing his campaign to come forward with a statement. This statement reads in part, "This story is certainly false and ridiculous," and it also says that this is, quote, "just another attempt by the Clinton campaign to defame a candidate."

Of course, there is no evidence that the Clinton campaign had anything to do with any of these allegations against Donald Trump but Donald Trump is striking a more combative tone on the campaign trail. Just on Saturday, he was stumping in several battleground states, making the case that he has the outsider candidacy needed to make change in Washington, to bring change to what he says is a corrupt system essentially.

He laid out his plan for his first 100 days in office on Saturday morning and -- but, of course, he was still bogged down by these accusations spending several minutes talking about these accusations saying that they are all liars, fabricating these stories, essentially these allegations of sexual assault or sexual misconduct in some cases and he even said he plans to sue some of these women after the election is over.

TRUMP: Every woman lied when they came forward to hurt my campaign. All of these liars will be sued after the election is over.

DIAMOND: Donald Trump has said many times that he plans to sue various groups from the media, to people who have come out and accused him of various things, and none of those lawsuits have come to fruition, but he's going to continue to push this combative state, continuing to press Hillary Clinton.

And just on Saturday night here in Cleveland, we saw him going on the attack against Hillary Clinton, accusing her of being another all talk no action politician.



M.J. LEE, CNN NATIONAL POLITICS REPORTER: Good morning, Christi and victor.

As the math has shifted in Hillary Clinton's favor, she is now shifting her attention to down ballot races. Over the last couple of weeks, Hillary Clinton has taken a lead in important battleground states like Florida, like Nevada. And then, in traditionally Republican strongholds like Arizona and Utah, those states have actually become competitive. Now, that being said, Hillary Clinton's telling reporters on Saturday that she plans to devote a lot of her energy in the last 17 days of this election, campaigning for Democrats who are in competitive congressional races.

[07:05:04] In Pennsylvania on Saturday, she campaigned with Kate McGinty who is running against Republican Senator Pat Toomey. Take a listen to some of what she said.

CLINTON: Now, how much more does Pat Toomey need to hear? If he doesn't have the courage to stand up to Donald Trump after all of this, then can you be sure he'll stand up for you when it counts against powerful interests?

LEE: Now, that's not to say that Hillary Clinton is taking the pressure off of Donald Trump. Both she and her running mate, Tim Kaine, are pressing the case that Trump is not temperamentally fit to be president. And one thing that they are both focusing on is Donald Trump's warning recently that he will sue women who have recently made allegations against him. Clinton and Kaine both saying that this is yet another demonstration that he is unfit to be president.

We can also expect Hillary Clinton to keep capitalizing on the momentum that she feels she has right now by reaching out not only to Democratic voters but independents and Republicans as well. All of this is a plan for Hillary Clinton to try to expand the map just days before Election Day -- Christi and Victor. (END VIDEOTAPE)

PAUL: M.J., thank you.

I want to talk about the two major news organizations endorsing the candidates.

"The New Yorker" endorsing Hillary Clinton, saying this, "The election of Hillary Clinton is an event that we would welcome for its historical importance and greet with indescribable relief."

And then you've got "The Las Vegas Review Journal" endorsing Donald Trump with this, "Mr. Trump represents neither the danger his critics claim nor the magic elixir many of his supporters crave. But he promises to be a source of disruption and discomfort to the privileged, back-scratching political elites."

Patricia Murphy, columnist for "The Daily Beast" and "Roll Call", and Ron Brownstein, CNN senior political analyst and senior editor for "The Atlantic".

Thank you both for taking the time to be with us.

Ron, I want to start with you and your reaction to those endorsements.

RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, you know, I think this is the first significant newspaper hat Donald Trump has received from a newspaper owned by a big Republican donor and close ally, Sheldon Adelson. It is kind of striking, kind of, you know, as the contrast to what we have seen, this kind of extraordinary recession of Republican leaning newspapers from "The Manchester Union Leader", to "The Cincinnati Inquirer", to "Dallas Morning News", to "The Arizona Republic" that have never failed to endorse a Republican, or endorsed Republican nominee for the past century, not endorsing them.

The Adelson endorsement, though, does under score the one asset, the biggest asset Donald Trump has had in this race, which is despite all of the doubts that voters have expressed about him personally, the one place where he does get good marks is that many voters see him more likely to bring change to Washington. That was always the asset that was there to him. It will be kind of an interesting postmortem if he doesn't win, whether - what a campaign would have looked like without some of the unique elements of not only Trump personally but the Trump agenda.

Is that a path forward for the Republican -- is Trumpism a path forward for the Republican Party without Trump? May be a big question going on forward after this election.

PAUL: Yes. And, Patricia, I wanted to ask you about Donald Trump. Let's listen here real quickly to something that he said yesterday as we were waiting for this -- as we were watching his speech in Gettysburg.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TRUMP: Every woman lied when they came forward to hurt my campaign, total fabrication. The events never happened, never. All of these liars will be sued after the election.


PAUL: Now, this is touted by his top aides as a speech that will be about policy. He spent the first 15 minutes talking about his accusers.

Does it benefit him in some way to keep this in the headlines?

PATRICIA MURPHY, COLUMNIST, THE DAILY BEAST AND ROLL CALL: It does not benefit him in any way except to make himself feel better. We all know and he says this about himself all the time, if I get hit, I'm going to hit back harder.

The problem for Donald Trump is that this election is now about much more than him and much more than his own personal grievances. When you go to Gettysburg, you are really raising the stakes and the expectations that you're going to be rising against politics and starting to talk about policy. You can't say four score in seven years ago, all these women lied about me. You know, that's not how that speech went.

And there's been very little coverage of the policy that he did talk about after he kind of got it on the table that all these ladies lied about me and I'm going to sue them all. There was policy that he discussed but because his own words were such a distraction from his message, it's not getting the play that it should have.

But we've seen that happened time and time again, he steps on his own message that could have been better if he hadn't gone so far off the rails in the first place.

PAUL: Well, let's talk about a message from Hillary Clinton here real quickly because she talks a lot about the gender pay gap. Apparently, there could be some problems with her message when you look at the Clinton Foundation. Some of this from WikiLeaks, but some of the numbers here are from the Clinton Foundation's public 990 tax forms for year 2014.

[07:10:04] I just want to be clear about that. I want to show you what they're saying.

The men averaged in executive positions $291,000. The women in some of those same positions, in the executive positions averaging $210,000. That's 72 cents for every dollar male executives earned and it's below the national average of 79 cents.

Now, I want to take it back to what Clinton said back in April of this past year.


CLINTON: The failure to ensure equal pay for women also impacts families and the broader economy.


PAUL: The pay scale clashes with her speech on equal pay. Ron, how problematic that might be here?

BROWNSTEIN: Look, it's one of the long lists of, you know, kind of questions that arise around a foundation of this magnitude, continuing to operate with someone who is still in the political arena. That's what's so unusual here.

Yes, I think it is going to be an embarrassing question, kind of at the margin. Donald Trump has problems with women. I don't know if this is going to be a big vote mover. But, you know, Donna Shalala, who's the president of the foundation, former health and human services secretary under President Bill Clinton has said this is not an accurate portrayal. But they have not really put out any contrary information.

And so, you know, again, it's one of many reasons. It's similar to the questions about him taking donations from countries that do not provide equal rights to women. I think it's one of many reasons why it's hard to imagine this foundation continuing anything like its present form if, in fact, she is elected president.

PAUL: Patricia, do you think this will hurt her in the polls?

MURPHY: I don't know if it will hurt in the polls. I think it will certainly reinforce the perception among the Clintons that there's one set of rules for the Clintons and one set of rules for everybody else. Anybody who's already listening to that message is probably going to vote against Hillary Clinton, but I think it's a huge problem.

Optically, it's a problem. And I think for a woman who is running a foundation to have this kind of a pay gap when she's way out there on the stump criticizing other companies and private organizations for this same thing, I think it's more than a perception problem. It's a real problem they have failed to address internally or, as Ron said, even externally to say, well, what are the real numbers? If these are wrong, what's right? And they have not told us at all what those might be.

PAUL: Because these numbers reflect an $81,000 pay gap there.

Patricia Murphy and Ron Brownstein, we appreciate you both being here this morning. Thank you.

MURPHY: Thanks, Christi.

BLACKWELL: All right. Let's talk some baseball. Chicago Cubs making it to the World Series for the first time since 1945.

Ryan Young is live in Chicago where fans have been celebrating all night.

RYAN YOUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Oh, Victor, that's the word for it, celebrating here in Chicago. If you look at the sign, they've waited a long time to see that -- 2016 National League Champions. We'll have the story coming up and a live report just about excited Cub fans are.



[07:16:12] SPORTS ANCHOR: The Cubs are going to the World Series!


PAUL: Oh, yes, there they are in full force in the streets of Chicago celebrating. It's a truly historic moment. Chicago Cubs advancing to the World Series for the first time since 1945.

BLACKWELL: It's been even longer since the Cubs have actually won a World Series, 108 years, and now, they finally have a chance to break that curse.

CNN national correspondent Ryan Young is live outside Wrigley Field in Chicago.

I know that you have been out there with people celebrating all night. Tell us what it's like.

RYAN YOUNG, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, you can really feel people really -- you know, they took the deep breath before the game and they let it all out after the game. You can hear the excitement all across the city. In fact, there are people who are still walking the streets right now, excited about the fact that the cubs have won. So many people are talking about this. It's been such a long time for the Cubs going back to the World Series.

Look, it wasn't color television. The ADA wasn't around yet. So, you have so many people who could not wait for this moment.

In fact, we talk to two fans who are just completely excited about this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Coming here, I'm happy for him. It's not about me. And for all the Cubs fans, going for this victory for 50, 60, 70 years.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Unbelievable to share it with my boy and three other boys at whom, that are cheering like crazy. Along with my wife and friends! How many years? He asked me four years ago, why do you stay a Cubs fan? I said, it builds character. Here's the character right here.


YOUNG: Look, last year, Cubs fans were excited because everyone remembers "Back to the Future", they predicted last year would be the year of the Cubbies. But this ends up being the time where they're going back to the World Series.

There's so much excitement. When we first arrived at 4:00 this morning, there were still people walking the street in a daze, just smiling from ear to ear about the fact the Cubs are going back to the World Series. One of the things they do, they fly the W. It's a flag that the have. It's all over the city right now.

People just can't wait to see these games start.

BLACKWELL: All right. We are excited, of course, for Chicago.

But let's not count out the excitement in Cleveland. It's been --

PAUL: That's right.

BLACKWELL: -- a long time since the Indians have won the World Series. So, we'll celebrate Cleveland, too. Thanks, Ryan.

PAUL: So torn.


PAUL: I'm in trouble. I'm in trouble.

All right. I'm from Ohio, my husband's from Chicago. There you have it. One of us will be dead by the time this is over.


PAUL: Listen, this could be one of the biggest media mergers ever. AT&T says it plans to buy Time Warner. Now, this is not necessarily a done deal, so to speak. We'll explain. And what it could mean for you.


[07:22:33] PAUL: It can be one of the biggest media mergers ever. AT&T announcing that it plans to buy Time Warner, CNN's parent company in all transparency, in an $85 billion deal.

CNN's senior media correspondent and host of "RELIABLE SOURCES", Brian Stelter, has been working furiously overnight to tell us what it means.

So, Brian, first of all, will you break it down for us, the deal itself?

BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Yes, indeed. $85 billion for Time Warner, and Time Warner includes CNN, the channel you're watching right now, also HBO, Warner Brothers, TNT, TBS, the Cartoon Network, a portfolio of TV channels and a big movie studio. You think about HBO, and "Game of Thrones," and programs like that, all under the same umbrella as CNN.

All of that is being sold to AT&T for this $85 billion price tag. Now, it will take at least a year for government regulators to review the deal, but the corporate logic behind this deal is pretty simple. It was summed up by AT&T the following way -- the future of video is mobile and the future of mobile is video.

We think about AT&T, it's a mobile company. It lights up people's cell phones with wireless data. Well, Time Warner is a media company. It's been prepping for a sale for years by slimming down just to have all this best in class media assets like CNN. This deal announced last night under regulatory review in Washington.

PAUL: OK. So the breakdown is the benefits money for Time Warner, content for AT&T.


PAUL: You mentioned it's going to take some time because there are government regulators that have to approve it. Let's talk about what Donald Trump says he'll do if he's elected.

Let's listen here.


TRUMP: As an example of the power structure I'm fighting, AT&T is buying Time Warner and, thus, CNN, a deal we will not approve in my administration because it's too much concentration of power in the hands of too few.


PAUL: All righty. And this is a businessman, Brian. So, a lot of people might be listening to him.

STELTER: Yes, it's a topsy-turvy year, isn't it?

PAUL: Yes.

STELTER: Normally, Republicans are the ones that are usually pro- merger. Democrats are the ones who are more skeptical about big business mergers.

In this case, I think Trump is reacting to negative and critical news coverage that he's frustrated by. He's been railing against journalists, railing against the media for months, especially in recent weeks as these accusers have come forward. He says they're all liars. He think the press should not be interviewing them. So, I think his comments about the possible deal are really more related to recent coverage of his campaign.

[07:25:03] But, you know, broadly speaking, it's understandable consumers have concerns about media consolidation. In this case, AT&T is one of the biggest companies on the planet.

But the good news or the more positive way to view this would say, they don't own a news division, they don't own content, programming already, so they're not taking something and squeezing it all together and causing layoffs or things like that. Instead, AT&T is trying to buy something they don't have at all right now and that is programming.

So, like I said, this will take at least a year for regulators to review. The experts I've interviewed believe it will be a Clinton administration reviewing this and they will eventually approve it with conditions.

PAUL: All righty. Brian Stelter, thank you so much for the breakdown. Appreciate it.

And listen, you can catch Brian on "RELIABLE SOURCES", of course, at 11:00 a.m. Eastern today, right here on CNN.

BLACKWELL: We've got new information this morning on the massive cyber attack that infiltrated devices in homes across the country, maybe yours. We now know tens of millions of IP addresses were used to take down popular websites like Twitter, and Netflix, Spotify. That's according to a company that directs traffic when you type a URL into a browser.

Well, hackers used malware to a browser to cause outages of many of the Internet's most widely trafficked sites.

PAUL: Well, experts say Donald Trump has got to win Florida if he wants to win this election. He's making a campaign blitz across that state today. We'll tell you what's happening.

BLACKWELL: Plus, the only thing that might be crazier than this presidential election is being the reporter on the road trying to cover it.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm a veteran at this point. You're so used to working crazy hours and juggling things that I thought motherhood would be easy.



[07:30:14] PAUL: Good Sunday morning to you. We're always so happy to have your company. I'm Christi Paul.

BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell.

Presidential candidates will be out today doing all they can to pick up those undecided voters in the battleground states. You see President Obama will also be out there in Nevada. Today, Clinton will be in Raleigh, North Carolina, and Donald Trump will be in Florida.

PAUL: This, of course, a day after his big speech in Gettysburg where he urged Americans to follow Lincoln's example and, quote, "heal the divisions in the country", before again claiming the elections are, quote, "rigged" and vowing to sue the women who accused him of sexual assault and impropriety.

This is an 11th woman you see there on your right who is now accusing him of sexual misconduct came forward last night.

BLACKWELL: Well, Florida appears to be a must-win for Donald Trump, and his schedule over the next few days makes that clear. Trump will be holding five rallies in five cities over the next three days in pursuit of Florida's 29 Electoral College votes. But that maybe an uphill climb. The latest Quinnipiac poll shows Trump trailing Hillary Clinton by 4 points. That's the latest match-up there.

Let's talk about this with Blaise Ingoglia. He's the chairman of the Florida Republican Party and a state lawmaker.

Blaise, good morning to you.

And I wonder, when you look at the latest Quinnipiac there, Clinton up 4. And let's put the battleground map up. CNN has it in the lean Clinton, lean Democrat column. How does Donald Trump get ahead? How does he turn this around?

BLAISE INGOGLIA, REPUBLICAN PARTY OF FLORIDA CHAIRMAN (via telephone): Well, the first thing is with the Q poll that you cited, a Florida Chamber Poll came out also saying that Hillary Clinton is up four. But, look, I think that is obviously we would love to be up at this point.

But one of the things we have to remember is that when you keep on talking about this shadow Trump vote and a bunch of voters who are going to come out and vote for Trump that have voted before in an election. We've seen that dynamic happen in the presidential preference primary. I think it's going to happen again.

What the size of that vote is I don't know, but I want to remind everybody that the polling in Florida has been all over the map. If you remember in 2012, Romney was up and then Barack Obama pulled out a narrow win. So, we are expecting this race to be close.

BLACKWELL: But in order to bring out that shadow vote, it's going to take some resources. From our count, Clinton has more field offices, larger ground game, more paid staffers, the Florida Dems and the Florida GOP. Where is the ground game? Is that going to grow in the next 16 days?

INGOGLIA: The ground game is in effect right now. Yes, Hillary Clinton has more paid staffers, but we've been on the ground for the better part of two years training a volunteer army through our leadership and initiative program. But one of the things that you have to give Donald Trump credit for is he's going to places that traditionally have not been Republican strongholds, trying to draw out some of the vote that you may not think.

Look, he's going to be in Tallahassee this weekend. Tallahassee is a traditional Democrat strong hold so he's trying to reach out. So, he's trying to get some of the voters that haven't typically voted Republican before and he's been doing a good job with that commitment trying to reach out, not just the Republicans.

One of the things we have to remember is that independents are breaking Donald Trump's way. And we're seeing a lot of independents coming out and ordering absentee ballots and we're expecting that dynamic.

BLACKWELL: Blaise, before we let you go. We're running low on time. I want to get your response to what we hear from President Obama when he was in Miami Gardens this week, talking about Marco Rubio running to keep his seat in the Senate who had some very critical things to say about Donald Trump during the primary but still backing him.

Let's first listen to Marco Rubio and then President Obama.


SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), FLORIDA: Donald Trump is nothing but a first rate con artist who is trying to carry out the ultimate con.

This is a guy, as I said earlier, that has literally one of the worst spray tans I've ever seen.

It's not just absurd, it's offensive, it's ridiculous. I do think it is a disqualifier as commander in chief.

Whenever there's a bad poll, he kind of gets weird and does these sorts of things. He doesn't know what he's talking about.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Marco Rubio said this was a dangerous con artist who spent a lifetime, spent a career sticking it to working people. Now, that begs the question, since we're in Florida, why does Marco Rubio still plan to vote for Donald Trump?


BLACKWELL: Scathing comments and critique there. But still, Marco Rubio is going to vote for him. Can you reconcile those for the voters?

INGOGLIA: Yes, look, it's very clear here. Marco Rubio is voting for Donald Trump because he knows the importance of a federal government that is accountable to the people and it hasn't been.

[07:35:04] Donald Trump -- Marco Rubio also knows that Donald Trump will appoint conservatives to the Supreme Court. Look, Marco Rubio has said this, and I think most people have said this, look, all this may not agree with everything that Donald Trump says and some of his policies. But what we can all agree on is most Republicans, we don't agree with anything that Hillary Clinton is advocating for for this country. That's important.

BLACKWELL: Yes, but Marco Rubio took that extra step of calling him a con man and saying he was dangerous. But he's got 16 days, like Donald Trump, to make his case to the voters there in Florida.

Blaise Ingoglia, thanks so much.

INGOGLIA: My pleasure. BLACKWELL: All right.

1972 a book called "The Boys on the Bus" introduced us to the gritty and mostly male journalists on the campaign trail. Four decades later, the demands of election coverage may be the same but faces have certainly changed.

PAUL: Yes. So, we would like to introduce you to the "Girls on the Bus", series. And today, we go behind the scenes with our national political reporter Maeve Reston, who's balancing being a new mother with the rigors of covering this 2016 campaign.


MAEVE RESTON, CNN NATOINAL POLITICAL REPORTER: I've never wanted to be anything other than a journalist. This is my fourth presidential campaigns, so I'm (INAUDIBLE) is better at this point.

As women in this profession, you're so used to working crazy hours, juggling so many different things that I thought motherhood would just be easy. And it's not easy.

This campaign was kind of different for me because it's so hard to shut out the campaign on, once it's going on. And even in the early stages of 2016, there was just something happening every minute, especially with Donald Trump driving the news cycle.


RESTON: I had to really discipline myself and learn how to shut it off and set it aside because for the first time I had a baby.

Bye, jack.

Who was just a couple of months old when I started covering the campaign.

Quack, quack, quack, quack.

I definitely had to learn a lot of discipline by taking care of Lila and trying to be present with her in the moment and not get distracted by every little thing that happens on the campaign trail.

Look at that!

Figuring out that balance is really tricky.

In 2004, when I was covering the campaign I remember being on the bus and listening to this mom call home, having this conversation with her kid about gymnastics and what she's eating for dinner and all of that, and it kind of blew my mind in the moment. I was thinking, oh, that's just so hard. It must be so hard to be away.

Campaigns are really tough because they are so all consuming -- being on the plane, filing the six paragraph blog item literally as the plane's taking off. But I think one of the most important things in covering a campaign is to get outside the bubble.

Can I have a second to talk about why you're here?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, I'm going to let you talk this time.

RESTON: Going into a state and sinking in and talking to people.


RESTON: Where are you guys from?

Spending lots of time in parking lots talking to voters.

Have you made up your mind on who you're supporting?


RESTON: What is the biggest issue for you right now?

What do you like about Hillary Clinton?

UNIDENTIFIED GIRL: She has a lot of strength in her heart.

RESTON: This year when it's a crazy campaign and there's a lot of travel and you have a new baby, you kind of end up feeling like you're doing everything badly.

I think that was the hardest thing for me was I didn't realize that you would have this gut punch every time you take off on the plane. There are times when I say to myself, why am I doing this? I just want to be home with my daughter. But I love my job so there's the crazy tension between those two things, and I think so many mothers feel that and aren't sure what the right decision is.


PAUL: But she's doing it so well. You can check out the full web series "Girls on the Bus" at

We'll be right back.


[07:42:55] PAUL: Well, Russia is responding to accusations that the country is meddling with the U.S. election by hacking e-mails, and funneling them to WikiLeaks, possibly to tilt the results in favor of the Republican nominee, Donald Trump. Well, the Russian embassy in Washington says, quote, "Overall, we are disappointed with the reaction of the U.S. administration and on top of that, with the unfriendly way it is currently portraying our desire to pursue normal diplomatic work."

A Kremlin-supported media reported on Thursday that Russian officials were upset that the U.S. State Department denied their request to provide poll monitors. But the State Department calls the report false, dismissing the request as nothing more than a PR stunt, saying individual parties are welcomed to applying to state governments to observe elections.

I want to bring in Liz Wahl. She's former anchor of RT America, that's 24/7 television network presenting global news from a Russian viewpoint.

And before we talk to you, Liz, I want to remind our viewers how you notoriously quit the network live on the air back in 2014. Take a look.


LIZ WAHL, FORMER RT AMERICA ANCHOR: I'm the daughter of a veteran. My partner is a physician at a military base where he sees every day the firsthand accounts of the ultimate prices that people pay for this country, and that is why personally, I cannot be part of network funded by the Russian government that whitewashes the actions of Putin. I'm proud to be an American and believe in disseminating the truth and that is why after this newscast, I'm resigning.


PAUL: And I understand there was this five second stare down I think of you at the camera before anybody realized what you had done, is that right?

WAHL: Yes. I haven't seen that clip in a while.

PAUL: So, what do you think?

WAHL: And it kind of brought back some memories.

Yes, you know, I -- it's 2 1/2 years since then and I think it is amazing the rhetoric and the aggressiveness that we're seeing from Russia has only amplified so much since then. Its continued aggression in the Ukraine, its intervention into Syria, its targeting of hospitals of a U.N. convoy, bombing civilians, the white helmets.

[07:45:09] I mean -- and using its media to actually distort what is happening there, which, you know, they've been accused of war crimes. So, it's really just the rhetoric and the aggressiveness has really, really gotten a lot higher just in the past couple years.

PAUL: Right. Yes. It's certainly been part of many conversations.

What does your gut tell you based on where you were because you were there in that media position? Based on that, what does your gut tell you about Russia's involvement or intent in the U.S. election?

WAHL: Well, there the messaging in the Russian media has been the same for years, that some key aspects there of that democracy is a fraud, that you can't trust our institutions, you can't trust the mainstream media. All of these things have been the hallmark of the Russian narrative, and the aim there is to create this division and to play on existing grievances.

And, by the way, this is not just happening in the United States, over the transatlantic. Throughout Europe, Russia is boosting extremist parties and funding them to try to create divisions within society. So, you're seeing this kind of backlash and renewed extremism, you know, in the face of immigration. So, it's not unique to the United States, but what we are seeing here is that Russia now trying to influence our elections.

And you have a presidential candidate who is essentially echoing the talking points of Russian media. And we know that Trump is -- seems to be fond of Vladimir Putin and is happy to -- I mean, he sounds like a guest on Russian media, one of the fringe guests, to be honest with you. It's the same kind of technique, playing into the fears, division, paranoia. And, unfortunately, we're seeing these things happen in real time here in our U.S. elections.

PAUL: OK. With that said, I want to play real quickly this tense exchange at the final debate.




TRUMP: -- from everything I see, has no respect for this person.

HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, that's because he'd rather have a puppet as president of the United States.

TRUMP: No puppet. No puppet.

CLINTON: And it's pretty clear --

TRUMP: You're the puppet!

CLINTON: It's pretty clear you won't admit --

TRUMP: No, you're the puppet.

CLINTON: -- that the Russians have engaged in cyberattacks against the United States of America, that you encouraged espionage against our people.


PAUL: All right. So, Liz, do you think based on what you've seen that Donald Trump is a puppet in this? Do you think Russia has any power or influence to affect this election in any way?

WAHL: Right. I mean, it certainly seems like he is a puppet, whether wittingly or unwittingly.

I mean, he hasn't come out and condemned Russia. During the debates when it comes to foreign policy, he's essentially echoing the foreign policy what the Russian government is saying. When it comes to Aleppo, he's saying everybody in eastern Aleppo basically hinting that they're terrorists.

He fails to condemn Assad who Russia's working with in Syria who's massacred his own people and also he's talked about weakening NATO and this is key to Russian foreign policy. They do not like to see a strong NATO and a strong alliance, and Trump has also -- has also echoed that. He's talked about also recognizing possibly the illegal annexation of Crimea. I mean, it's amazing and it's amazing there he was accused of being a puppet. I mean, we have U.S. intelligence agencies, we have cyber security officials that have said unequivocally that the forensic evidence points to Russia.

PAUL: Russia.

WAHL: He says that. He won't admit that. He's still going along with what Russia's saying, which is it wasn't us.

PAUL: All right.

WAHL: It's pretty amazing. And you've got to ask why. Why?

PAUL: Well, Liz, it has been a pleasure to talk to you, get your perspective, especially with your background in all of this. Thank you so much for taking the time to be with us.

WAHL: Thank you. Thanks. Appreciate it.

BLACKWELL: Could Hillary Clinton turn a red state, maybe several red states blue? We'll take look at the candidate's final battleground blitz.


[07:52:49] BLACKWELL: All right. Sixteen days to go now. The finish line in sight for the candidates, but they've got to go to these battleground states to get there. Both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, along with their surrogates, are making every last moment count across the swing states.

Let's talk about it now with host of CNN's "STATE OF THE UNION", Jake Tapper.

Jake, good morning to you.


BLACKWELL: Let's talk about states. Georgia potentially in play for the Democrats. Utah, Michelle Obama sent to Tucson, Arizona, over the past couple of days.

What's the likelihood that some of these states are going to flip from red to blue?

TAPPER: Well, it depends on state. I think that some of this is about supporting down ticket Democrats more than it is about the Clinton campaign itself, hoping, for example, to turn Missouri blue. I don't think Missouri is going to go blue, but it is possible that if they boost Democratic turn out, that the Democratic Senate candidate there could win and that could be important.

On the other hand, a state like Arizona, which has not voted Democratic for a presidential candidate since 1996, that's a possibility I'm told by Democrats there. You see the reality of it by the presence of big time surrogates like Michele Obama, Bernie Sanders going there.

And the reason that Arizona is in play is because normally the frustration Democrats have there is they have a tough time getting as many Latino voters to the polls as they want. But Donald Trump is a one man get out the vote effort for the Democrats trying to get Latinos to the polls. Also, Arizona has a very significant Mormon population and that's normally a reliably Republican voting bloc that in this instance is having a lot of difficulty supporting Donald Trump.

And that's why Utah is up in the air right now with that third-party candidate Evan McMullin on the ballot there.

BLACKWELL: Yes. Let's talk about who you got coming up on the show. You've got the campaign managers with you.

TAPPER: We do, Robby Mook from the Clinton campaign, Kellyanne Conway from the Trump campaign. We'll be putting a lot of tough questions to both of them about where they go from here, about things that are troubling, about the campaigns being waged by both Democrats and Republicans.

[07:55:01] It should be a good show.

BLACKWELL: All right. Looking forward to it. Jake Tapper, thanks so much.

TAPPER: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: And be sure to catch Jake Tapper on "STATE OF THE UNION", 9:00 a.m. Eastern, right here on CNN.

PAUL: A little satire at the expense of both candidates, coming up next.


PAUL: Two weeks until Election Day, which means just two weeks left of "SNL" skewering each candidate before, of course, one of them becomes president. We know it's not going to stop.

BLACKWELL: Yes. And the final presidential debate provided plenty of material for the show's latest sketch. Watch this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's talk immigration. Mr. Trump why are your immigration policies better than Secretary Clinton's?

ALEC BALDWIN AS DONALD TRUMP: Because she wants open borders and that is crazy. I mean, people are just pouring in to this country from Mexico and a lot of them are very bad hombres.

KATE MCKINNON AS HILLARY CLINTON: Bingo, bingo. I've got bingo. I've got it. I have bad hombres, rapists, Miss Piggy, they're all living in hell, and if she wasn't my daughter.


PAUL: Oh, they just take it there.

Hey, thank you so much for sharing your morning with us. We always appreciate it.

BLACKWELL: "INSIDE POLITICS" with John King starts right now.