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STATE OF THE UNION

Melania Trump Defends LeBron James; President Trump in Ohio; Intelligence Disconnect; Interview With California Congressman Ed Royce; Interview With Former Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick; New Poll Shows Tight Race In Ohio Special Election; Melania Trump Praises LeBron James; Senator Kamala Harris Slams Critics Of "Identify Politics"; Manafort's Lifestyle Choices In This Week's "State of the Cartoonion". Aired 9-10a ET

Aired August 5, 2018 - 09:00   ET

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


[09:00:08]

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Campaign fever. President Trump hits the trail in Ohio.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It's driving them crazy.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

TAPPER: Making the case for his candidate in a critical special election, as Democrats lay out a possible 2020 playbook.

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D), MASSACHUSETTS: No, you will not divide us.

TAPPER: Is that the right message to take on Trump?

Potential presidential contender and former Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick joins us next.

Plus: Russia disconnect. As intelligence chiefs issue dire warnings about Russian election interference...

CHRISTOPHER WRAY, FBI DIRECTOR: This threat is not going away.

TAPPER: ... President Trump continues to sow seeds of doubt.

D. TRUMP: We're being hindered by the Russian hoax. It's a hoax.

TAPPER: Is the president taking this threat seriously?

We will talk to the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Ed Royce, in minutes.

And house divided? The first lady sides with team LeBron after the first daughter breaks with her father on the media.

IVANKA TRUMP, ASSISTANT TO PRESIDENT TRUMP: No, I do not feel that the media is the enemy of the people.

TAPPER: How will the president handle the public pushback?

(END VIDEOTAPE)

TAPPER: Hello. I'm Jake Tapper in Washington, where the state of our union is hitting the campaign trail.

After visiting the site of a special House election in Ohio last night, President Trump is back at his resort in Bedminster, New Jersey, and also hate-tweeting against journalists.

Sources close to the White House told me and White House reporter Kaitlan Collins that the president is increasingly worried about his son's Don Jr.'s possible legal exposure in the Mueller probe.

"The Washington Post" reported something similar.

And the president just tweeted a response to the reporting, saying -- quote -- "Fake news reporting a complete fabrication that I am concerned about the meeting my wonderful son Donald had in Trump Tower. This was a meeting to get information on an opponent. Totally legal and done all the time in politics, and it went nowhere. I did not know about it."

President Trump, of course, acknowledging there that that meeting at Trump Tower was to get information about Hillary Clinton from a Russian government attorney.

That's a complete contradiction to the original explanation, that the meeting was primarily about adoption.

Another worry for President Trump? Holding onto the Republican majority in the House in November. Saturday, the president left his golf course and headed to a suburb of Columbus, Ohio, where he's trying -- a Republican congressional seat that should have been safe, trying to keep it Republican.

Midterms are right around the corner, but potential Democratic presidential candidates are already building a case for 2020, looking beyond the midterms, speaking out against the politics of division at the progressive Netroots Conference in New Orleans.

One Democratic leader who's lending his voice to try to help the party 2018 and has caught the eye of Obama world for 2020 is the former two- term governor of Massachusetts, Democrat Deval Patrick.

(LAUGHTER)

TAPPER: Governor Patrick is joining us right now.

Governor, thanks so much for joining us. Appreciate it.

DEVAL PATRICK (D), FORMER MASSACHUSETTS GOVERNOR: You bet. Thanks for having me, Jake. Good morning.

TAPPER: Good morning.

So, I want to start with Don Lemon's interview with LeBron James about LeBron James' new school for at-risk youth in Akron, Ohio.

Take a listen to what LeBron James had to say about President Trump in that interview.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LEBRON JAMES, LOS ANGELES LAKERS: I believe our president is kind of trying to divide us.

But I think...

DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Kind of?

(LAUGHTER)

JAMES: Yes, he is. He is. And I don't want to say kind of.

(LAUGHTER)

JAMES: He's dividing us.

LEMON: What would you say to the president if he was sitting right here?

JAMES: I would never sit across from him.

LEMON: You would never? You don't want to talk to him?

JAMES: No.

I would sit across from Barack, though.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TAPPER: In response, Governor, President Trump, as you know, then attacked the intelligence of both Don Lemon and LeBron James in a tweet.

Now, you're a former assistant attorney general for civil rights. There are a lot of observers out there who saw the president's tweet as yet another example of the president's racism. Do you agree?

PATRICK: Well, you know, it's hard to argue with that.

But it's nothing new. And the -- and the tweets are all the same. They're all about -- they're all about division, and they're often -- or usually about the president.

I think obsessing about the president's tweets and his rants really don't help anything and don't help anyone. I think what we all want, as Democrats and as Americans, is leadership that brings us to each other, rather than on each other, that encourages us to look ahead and to see our stake in each other. And that's why I want to take some time from my day job and

concentrate on the midterms and to help candidates who are focused on voters and on their lives and on helping them help themselves in the way that we can in government.

TAPPER: A few weeks ago, you gave a speech to the NAACP where your message was to bring back -- quote -- "restraint and decorum, kindness and compassion."

There are a lot of people in the Democratic Party who think that this political moment calls for more aggressive tactics than that, especially if there is racism being displayed by the president, as you just acknowledged you think there is.

[09:05:05]

It seems that President Trump has shown that -- that anger and resentment can indeed win elections.

What do you say to people in the grassroots in your party who are gearing up for a fight, and who think that your approach is too soft?

PATRICK: Well, look, I think that there are -- there are lots and lots of reasons to be angry. And there are lots and lots of reasons to be afraid.

And, indeed, social and economic anxiety is -- is widespread in this country, and there are good reasons for it. And it's combustible. Historically, that combustion can be used to -- to fuel fear and division, or it can be used to fuel the future.

And both of those approaches are American, if you -- if you think of it in historical terms, but only one of them, one of those approaches is patriotic.

And I think that what we want in our candidates and the candidates that I think are the most exciting are the ones that are choosing the more patriotic path, the ones that are using that combustion to fuel the future. And there is a way to do that. And there are many, many candidates who are showing it.

I went out to visit Colin Allred, a wonderful young candidate, first- time candidate in a congressional district in -- north of Dallas. He's -- he grew up in the district in modest -- modest background. He went to Baylor. He's a lawyer. He's -- he's working with his neighbors and his community. He's talking to everybody, people who agree with him and people who don't.

His first question is not whether you're a Democrat. His first question is about who you are. Tell me what you need. Tell me what you're looking for in your representation.

And his -- the incumbent, instead of talking to the voters and to residents in the community, is talking to big donors, and has been for many years in the Congress. That's the kind of candidate that I want to try to support and I want

to try to encourage. And I think that's what will make a difference in the midterms in November.

TAPPER: I want to find out what you think about some of the issues that Democrats are debating right now on a national level.

Let's start with health care.

There is a movement, a big push in your party for Medicare for all. Do you support that idea?

PATRICK: I think it's a terrific idea as a sort of shorthand on the basic question on how we get universal care to everybody.

And there's more than one way to skin that cat. I thought the idea of having a public option at the time that the ACA, or Obamacare, was debated was critical. And I think having Medicare for all, alongside various of the -- of the private options that are available under -- under the ACA, is a terrific idea.

That kind of competition, that kind of innovation is enormously, enormously important. And Medicare is a popular, highly efficient way to deliver health care that is affordable and effective to everybody.

And that ought to be the aim. How do we get universal, affordable care to everyone? That is something that Democrats support. And I think we have seen, at least in this administration, and, frankly, from Republicans over the last several years, that that is something fundamentally they do not believe in.

And we ought to call that question in the midterms and beyond.

TAPPER: Another major sticking point in your party has emerged in calls to abolish ICE, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.

Take a listen to President Trump last night:

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

D. TRUMP: A vote for Troy's opponent is a vote for open borders, which equals massive crime. Like, they don't care about it. They don't care about the crime.

The new platform of the Democrat Party is to abolish ICE, and let's not worry about crime. Oh, really? Doesn't work that way.

(BOOING)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TAPPER: Do you support the abolishment of ICE?

(CROSSTALK)

PATRICK: I -- first of all, I think what the president says is silly exaggeration. And I guess that happens in politics from time to time.

I think we clearly need -- we clearly need secure borders. There's not a single Democrat I know or have heard about who talks about...

(CROSSTALK)

TAPPER: But there are Democrats calling -- there are Democrats calling for the abolishing and replacement of ICE, though.

PATRICK: We clearly need some alternative to the policies in ICE, whether you call it ICE or call it something else.

The sadistic policies and practices of ICE today have got to go, separating families, the walking away from DACA, the deportation of spouses of immigrants who serve in the military today. Really?

I mean, we can -- we -- there's -- we are better than that. And the opportunity to have comprehensive immigration reform has been on the table before. There is bipartisan support for it. It needs to come back. We need to be serious about it.

[09:10:00]

And the only reason that it doesn't happen today is because, I believe, our president wants to keep it as an open wound, so he can rally his base, or the extreme of his base, around it for political purposes.

And that's wrong.

TAPPER: Governor, you called -- you called for the abolishment of the policies that are dictating ICE. That -- that's not the same thing as calling for the abolishment of ICE.

Should I interpret that as to say you don't think we need to abolish ICE, we just need to change immigration policy?

PATRICK: I, frankly -- I -- well, we need somebody to do the job of ICE.

Now, whether we keep it as in the name of ICE, or we give it -- give that assignment to some other agency with a different name is not as important to me. We need better policies. I think the name of the agency is less important than getting the policies right.

And what we have today are the wrong policies and the wrong practices.

TAPPER: Let me ask you.

Two in three Democratic voters say Democrats, if they win the House, should begin the process of impeaching President Trump. That's according to a recent poll.

Would you support that?

PATRICK: Yes, if the grounds are there, then that -- then we should proceed. And I think there are a lot of -- there's a lot of basis to believe that the grounds are there.

But I don't think that's the first order of business. I think the first order of business is acting as a real check on this -- on this president, having the -- doing the job that the Constitution requires and expects. That is not happening with the House today.

And there's an awful lot of policy and legislative business that is going undone today because we cannot get bipartisan or nonpartisan behavior out of the House today because of the extreme behavior of a small number or a small minority, a small, but vocal minority of the Republican -- of the Republican Party in the House.

And that's got to change.

TAPPER: All right, Governor Patrick, stay with us.

We have a lot more to talk -- talk about with you, including whether or not you are ready to take on President Trump and all the nicknames that might come with that...

(LAUGHTER)

TAPPER: ... in 2020.

(LAUGHTER)

TAPPER: Stick around. We will be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[09:15:42]

TAPPER: Welcome back to STATE OF THE UNION. I'm Jake Tapper.

We're back with the former governor of Massachusetts, Democrat Deval Patrick, who is being talked about as a possible 2020 presidential candidate.

Governor, you now work at Bain Capital's Double Impact division, which focuses on social and environmental progress.

Democratic Senators Cory Booker and Kirsten Gillibrand reportedly met with workers rights groups this week about targeting major private equity firms such as Bain Capital. These workers are looking for new legislation that would force these firms like Bain to fund severance payments to employees who are laid off as a result of private equity investments.

Do you think that's a good idea?

PATRICK: It might be.

I would want to look at that -- at that legislation. You know, circumstances are different. Not every deal works. Not every company succeeds. That happens in markets. And that's not always because of private equity. I think -- I don't know Senator Gillibrand, but I do know Senator -- Senator Booker, and I know he's smart enough to understand that.

I'm having a terrific time in the -- in this fund that we -- that we launched. It's a fund that invests in companies in order to drive social and environmental impact. And it's part of this impact, investing industry or trend.

One of my partners describes it as -- describes impact investing as the laboratory where capitalists work to reform capitalism. And I think we're doing a lot of good, and we're trying to just demonstrate that you don't have to trade return for impact. And I think we're off to a terrific start.

TAPPER: Now, I know, when Mitt Romney was attacked for his association with -- with Bain Capital in 2012, I know you didn't personally criticize Bain back then.

But given the way -- the way that the Democratic Party went after Bain during that race and the way that Hillary Clinton faced so much criticism from the left for her speeches to Goldman Sachs in 2016, did you have any reservations at all about joining Bain after leaving the governor's mansion?

PATRICK: No.

First of all, we don't have a mansion, but thank you for that.

(LAUGHTER)

PATRICK: I understand your reference.

TAPPER: It's a metaphor, yes.

PATRICK: Yes, I know.

(LAUGHTER)

PATRICK: No, no.

I have -- I have -- excuse me -- many, many longtime friends at Bain Capital, people I know to be highly honorable folks. Mitt Romney hasn't been there for decades, decades now.

I am -- I describe myself as a capitalist. I'm not a market fundamentalist. I don't think markets solve every problem just the right way. But I do believe in opportunity. I think -- I think we need an economy that is expanding and is expanding out, so it reaches people on the margins, not just up, so it's -- it's good for people who already have wealth and have -- and just want more.

And I think there is a right way and a wrong way to do that. And I think impact investing is an incredibly interesting and exciting way to participate in -- in growth capitalism. So, no, I don't -- I don't -- I don't buy all that.

But, look, I have never taken a job where I have left my conscience at the door. And I haven't started now. So...

TAPPER: You know that that Democratic socialists are ascendant in your party. And there are a lot of people on the left who will have a natural skepticism about you if you choose to run just because of everything you just said to me about your belief in capitalism.

Does that concern you at all about the fact that there are going to be so many people who are skeptical of you on the left if you choose to run?

(LAUGHTER)

PATRICK: Well, first of all, Jake, thank you, but don't interview me for 2020 yet.

(LAUGHTER)

PATRICK: I'm not ready to be a candidate for 2020.

But I'm -- I'm used to skepticism. You know, I have been in -- I grew up on the South Side of Chicago, and have had an extraordinary experience living the American dream.

And, as a black man in lots of settings where I was not -- quote -- "supposed to be," you got to know that I'm accustomed to skepticism. And I understand that a lot of people in a lot of settings have a bad habit of looking first at the cartoon of somebody.

[09:20:08]

And I have trained myself to look past the cartoon and understand how I have to invite people to look past the first cartoon they see of me. And that's part of campaigning, should I go there.

It was part of the experience I had in running for governor. I had worked, as you know -- I think you know -- most of my life in the private sector...

TAPPER: Yes.

PATRICK: ... before I ran for governor. I have only run for one thing. And I had some of that. I had to encounter some of that the first time -- first time around.

As I said, I have never left my conscience at the door. I'm proud of my record in business and in government. And so I would just leave it at that.

TAPPER: Well, you know that a lot of powerful members of Obama world, including his senior adviser Valerie Jarrett, have said they want you to run for president.

(LAUGHTER)

TAPPER: You have reportedly spoken with former President Obama about it. Does he want you to run? PATRICK: Everybody's spoken to former President Obama.

He's -- it's -- it's incredibly -- I mean, this will sound maybe a little corny to you and some of your -- and some of your viewers, but, as I said, for a kid who grew up as I did, it's mind-blowing to have -- to have people speak seriously to me and about me that way.

And I wish -- I wish my grandmother and my mother were alive. They would be the ones who would probably be the least believing of something -- of something like this.

(LAUGHTER)

PATRICK: But, right now, my focus is on the midterms, as I said, helping in a small number of races where I can, consistent with my day job, and on my fund, which is doing really well in the -- with the 14 colleagues I work with to advance this mission and to continue to invest in these wonderful lower middle market companies all around North America.

TAPPER: So you have already said that 2020 is on your radar. You're obviously not discounting it right now. I know you're not going to announce a decision today.

(LAUGHTER)

TAPPER: When do you think -- when do you think you will make a decision about this? After the midterms?

PATRICK: In -- in due course, really.

I -- the speculation is -- isn't helpful. It's -- it's incredibly -- it's incredibly touching. And I have had -- I have had messages and encouragement from all over the country and some from around the world, from friends and from total strangers.

And it's -- sure, it's extraordinary, but I'm trying to keep my focus where -- as I said, on my fund, and on these small number of races where I can -- where I have been invited to help and where I think I can be -- where I can be helpful.

And I think it's really, really important for everybody to get off the sidelines and get involved in the midterms in the ways that individuals can, because it -- we get the government we deserve in a democracy. And if we want better government, if we want better representation, if we want -- if we want candidates who are focused on voters not just as a means to get or keep a job, but as a means to have government help them help themselves, then we have to get involved in representatives who are trying to do the job that way.

TAPPER: All right.

Governor Deval Patrick, thank you so much for your time. Appreciate it. Good luck to you out there.

PATRICK: It's good to be with you, Jake. Thank you. TAPPER: What will it take for the most powerful man in the world to

take a Russian threat to our democracy seriously?

We will ask the Republican chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee next.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[09:28:30]

TAPPER: Welcome back to STATE OF THE UNION. I'm Jake Tapper.

We were just warned that democracy itself is under attack.

You would imagine a warning like that coming from inside the White House could send the president directly to the Situation Room and told there was a serious response.

Instead, President Trump hit the campaign trail, continuing to call the Russia investigation a -- quote -- "Democrat-inspired witch-hunt."

Joining me now is the Republican chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Congressman Ed Royce of California.

Congressman, thanks so much for being here. We appreciate it.

REP. ED ROYCE (R), CALIFORNIA: Thank you, Jake.

TAPPER: So, this week, the apparent split between the president and the Trump administration was on full display.

Take a listen to the president's top national security and intelligence officers speaking from the White House podium this week.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WRAY: Russia attempted to interfere with the last election and continues to engage in malign influence operations to this day.

DAN COATS, U.S. DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: We acknowledge the threat is real, it is continuing.

KIRSTJEN NIELSEN, U.S. SECRETARY OF HOMELAND SECURITY: Our adversaries have shown they have the willingness and capability to interfere in our elections.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TAPPER: All right, so, that's all the president's men and women.

But yet the president tweeted -- quote -- "So, President Obama knew about Russia before the election. Why didn't he do something about it? Why didn't he tell our campaign? Because it is all a big hoax. That's why." How do you, as the top of foreign affairs Republican in the House, somebody who clearly believes that there is a threat that needs to be taken seriously from Russia and others, how do you reconcile the -- the division we see between Trump and the Trump administration on this issue?

ROYCE: Well, the president should be straightforward with the American people about the threat to our election process that Russia, or Putin in particular, is engaged in ongoing.

[09:30:10]

And, for years, we have watched Russian interference in trying to undermine our values, using weaponized information against the West, not just here in the United States, but across the entire -- entirety of Europe.

And as a consequence of those efforts, and us not doing enough, not just this administration, but the past administration not doing enough, we are in a position now where we have got to show Putin that he will have to pay a steep price if he doesn't stop this interference now.

I'm the author of the bill that put the sweeping sanctions on Russia. We need to use that more effectively now. And we need, frankly, to be more aggressive in using other tools we have, like the '91 act, where we could go after Russia for their use of nerve agents in the U.K.

Across the board, we need to be pressing right now.

TAPPER: And yet it seems as though President Trump, from his appearance with Putin in Helsinki and his public comments on this, is completely on a different page than you are.

I have heard fellow Russia hawks describe his position as appeasement. How do you explain that?

ROYCE: One of the things we have done in order to try to indicate to the Europeans our position on this, our unified position on this, is to pass legislation out of the -- out of my committee, and then off of the floor, that was unanimous in terms, for example, of our support of NATO and Article 5 in NATO, in terms of specifically focusing on Russian intervention in elections here and in elections there.

And so I think part of the answer right now is to step this up. We have a possibility for legislation that we put out of committee that is going to look at their cyber efforts against our elections here in the United States. And this Cyber Deterrence and Response Act, which passed unanimously, I hope to have it up in September, when we go back into session.

TAPPER: But you take this all very seriously, but the president of the United States is out there undermining the very arguments you're making. He's calling it all a hoax. He's calling the Mueller investigation, which is looking to get to the bottom of this, the cyber-attacks, et cetera, he calls it a witch-hunt. That must bother you.

ROYCE: What -- what I am doing in terms of our efforts on the committee is to form a consensus of opinion about Russians -- Russia's engagement here and a response to it which is overwhelming in terms of support and in terms of where we're leveraging this.

For example, when we had the vote on the floor in terms of a response to Russia for my bill, that vote, that vote -- vote was 430-2. That vote in the Senate was two in opposition and I think 96 in support.

So, what I'm showing you is that our efforts in the committee, not just only here...

TAPPER: Right.

ROYCE: ... but also in Europe in building the case for how it is that Russia is trying to undermine elections, is building a consensus of response that is not only moving legislation...

TAPPER: Yes.

ROYCE: ... getting it signed into law, but laying out a prescription.

TAPPER: But you're not willing to criticize President Trump on this?

(CROSSTALK)

ROYCE: Well, I have already...

(LAUGHTER)

ROYCE: I have already shared that the president should be straightforward...

TAPPER: Yes.

ROYCE: ... with the American public...

TAPPER: But why don't you think he...

ROYCE: ... about the ongoing efforts by Russia to interfere in the elections.

TAPPER: But why don't you think he agrees with you? Why do you think he undermines what you're saying? He's out there telling voters, millions, tens of millions of voters, Republican voters, who -- who are now under the belief that this is all just a hoax, it's all just a witch-hunt, everything you're saying is not true.

ROYCE: What I am talking about specifically is the issue of Russia's ongoing interference...

TAPPER: Right.

ROYCE: ... in our election process. That's the -- that's the issue I'm speaking...

(CROSSTALK)

TAPPER: That's what you want to talk about. All right.

Well, let me ask you...

ROYCE: All right? So, that -- I'm just explaining that that's the specific issue at hand, because the election is 100 days off.

We want the American public understand that. We want the American public to understand that part of that strategy on the part of Putin is to pit -- you know, divide our society. And how they're doing it, we want -- that comprehension to be here. That's why we're holding hearings on this.

That's why we're speaking out. That's why we're passing laws.

TAPPER: I want to ask you about North Korea, because...

ROYCE: Yes. Yes.

TAPPER: ... I know this is an issue that you really care about.

The president's been touting the success of his talks with Kim Jong- un. Obviously, we all want those talks to be successful. A U.N. report just revealed on Friday that North Korea is still pursuing their nuclear program.

The secretary of state says -- quote -- "We still have a ways to go until denuclearization."

What do you make of this major divide between where President Trump says we are, in terms of the threat being over, and where the U.N. and Secretary of State Pompeo say we are?

[09:35:03]

ROYCE: Well, here's -- here's the situation.

The -- the North Koreans have lied in every agreement that they have ever made. They have gone back on every agreement. They have strung out every agreement. They have used time in order to get concessions, to get money to put into their weapons program.

TAPPER: Right.

ROYCE: What's different this time is that we have a maximum pressure campaign on finances, on sanctions that, frankly, make them feel the heat.

And so, in terms of the diplomatic efforts to get them to the table, to get them into negotiations, what's key is that we not let up. And in that, I think we are in concurrence, the secretary of state and me and others in the administration and the president, in terms of continuing to ratchet up those sanctions, as the diplomatic course is pursued.

This is going to require a tremendous amount of pressure, especially on Russia right now, which, as you have seen lately, is trying to figure out ways around those particular sanctions in terms of their engagement with North Korea.

TAPPER: Chairman Royce, always a pleasure to have you here.

ROYCE: Thank you, Jake.

TAPPER: Thank you so much for your time. Appreciate it.

Trumps takes on Ohio icon LeBron James just a few days away from a critical special election in Ohio. Air ball, buzzer beater? Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[09:40:41]

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: We have the greatest economy in the history of our country. We have things that have never happened before. And look, if the Democrats get in, they are going to raise your taxes. You're going to have crime all over the place. You're going to have people pouring across the border.

So why would that be a blue wave? I think it could be a red wave.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TAPPER: That was President Trump in Ohio last night sent in the state in a last minute push to rescue a Republican House seat that is suddenly up for grabs in a special election. The latest polling in Ohio's 12th district has the race down to one point. Let's discuss.

So first you saw the polling, Monmouth Ohio 12th, Balderson 44 percent, that's the Republican; O'Connor 43 percent, that's the Democrat; undecided 11 percent.

This is a seat that Republicans have held for decades. It's a governor John Kasich's former congressional seat. Why is it up for grabs?

RICK SANTORUM, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, a couple of reasons. Number one, it's a district that has a lot of suburban areas and that's an area that we've seen.

I mean, in my district, where the, you know, Conor Lamb now --

(CROSSTALK)

TAPPER: Right.

SANTORUM: -- you know, Rick Saccone did really well in the outside (ph) areas and really did poorly in the near suburbs. In this case the district is more a suburban district than it is even -- and our candidate is from the rural area. So you have -- and their candidate is from where the people are in the suburban area. So it sort of stacks up really well for them.

Having said all of that, I still think Balderson is going to win this thing. There was a very divided Republican primary, 500 votes separated the two. I think there has been a little bit more coming together because the folks who were sort of anti-Balderson were Trump people.

TAPPER: Yes.

SANTORUM: So I think Trump coming there hopefully will consolidate and will pull this off.

TAPPER: What do you think?

KAREN FINNEY, FORMER CLINTON CAMPAIGN SENIOR ADVISER: I think it's a risky strategy because as the senator was saying it is a suburban area but it is also an area where you have white educated -- college educated voters and those are the voters that right now Trump is doing the worst with and particularly women. And I think the district is just a little bit -- like 50.3 percent women. And I certainly think that a rally like where probably a lot people who were there may not have even been from the district.

We were talking about whether or not, you know, those headlines actually help Balderson the next day. It also may remind those voters who are already not with Trump that they don't really want to -- they are not for him. So they may not necessarily vote for the Democrat but they are probably not going to be motivated to turn out for the Republican and Democrats on average have been swinging about 10 to 11 points in these midterm elections where we've seen, you know, energy from the Democrats.

TAPPER: And let's talk about the women vote, if we can bring up the graphic from question number three. CNN did a poll on women.

The 2014 midterms women supported the Democratic candidates by seven percentage points. In June, it's 25 percentage points. Women are flocking to Democrats, at least right now according to polls.

Is this something you're seeing out there when you visit your district?

REP. NANETTE DIAZ BARRAGAN (D), CALIFORNIA: Absolutely. I think we're seeing it across the country. Women candidates, a lot of push towards women and women's issues are pretty big when you talk about health care, when you talk about, you know, the difference between the haves and have nots, those are issues that affect women. I think, you know, as nurturers, as mothers care about -- look, I think we should have LeBron James out campaigning in Ohio.

(LAUGHTER)

FINNEY: Yes.

DIAZ BARRAGAN: I think that's a great idea. Let's take him out and put him up against Trump.

TAPPER: And speaking of LeBron James who President Trump took on after some criticism from LeBron James in a CNN interview, he took him on in a tweet. And there is a statement from first lady Melania Trump's spokesman, speaking of women, Melania Trump spokesperson wrote, "It looks like LeBron James is working to do good things on behalf of the next generation and just as she always has, the first lady encourages everyone to have an open dialogue about issues facing children today."

She will be open to visiting the I Promise School in Akron. What do you make of that?

(LAUGHTER)

BILL KRISTOL, EDITOR AT LARGE, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: I was heartened by that. You know, the women come through again here. It's an interesting administration. They have George Conway, Kellyanne's husband tweeting and commenting in defense of Robert Mueller and the rule of law and chastising the Trump administration for denigrating independence of the Justice Department and so forth.

And now we have the first lady tweeting in defense of LeBron James. But is it -- I've discussed with other people, some people think this is ploy, this is clever actually. Trump is the tough guy but then -- if you are sort of -- if you are a college educated woman who sort of wants to be for Trump. You know what?

[09:45:01]

He's got the show for the base, you know? But Melania, Ivanka they keep it -- they are the same, you know? So is it a -- is it a gimmick or is it that she is actually appalled by her husband and is saying -- and is saying what she believes? I would prefer to believe -- I would prefer to believe the latter because I like to believe the best of people, you know?

FINNEY: Two thoughts. She made -- I think there's two things about this, right? She may be appalled. This is -- you know, Trump has figured it out in an era where we usually say, you know, everything is open and you can't really speak to different audiences how to actually do that and bifurcate the audiences.

He says crazy stuff on the campaign trail and he tweets all of these things and then just as we saw Thursday and then in the interview you just did, you know, Russia is a hoax and then the national security infrastructure comes in and says, no, it's not, we believe it. So everybody is -- there's a little bit of something for everybody, I think.

To me that's how the LeBron piece sort of played out. He says something racist and despicable. He really has to stop insulting the intelligence of African-Americans, it's getting -- it's really getting a little tiresome and it's really -- you know, this narrative of him as a racist is only deepening. So this goes to the second point, Jake, and you and I were talking about this, you know, this goes to so much of his strategy, which is about dividing us as a country, which is about, you know, along racial lines, along ethnic lines, attacks on Muslim Americans, Mexican-Americans, African-Americans, journalists and then exploiting that fear and division in ways that are helpful for him and frankly they actually also remember help the Russians.

SANTORUM: All I can say is the Democratic Party has been doing that for decades. I mean, you even saw it. You know, Kamala Harris defending the dividing -- divisive politics. The Democratic Party -- the party has been -- has been divided along race and class in every other thing you can -- and I understand you guys don't like it. I understand --

(CROSSTALK)

TAPPER: Let me run -- let me run that sound bite that he's referring to, Senator Kamala Harris, Democrat from California spoke at the Netroots convention in New Orleans. She's also possibly running for president and she did talk about those who criticize identity politics.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D), CALIFORNIA: I'm aware that some people would say that what I just said is playing -- quote -- "identity politics." But I have a problem, guys with that phrase, identity politics. Its purpose is to minimize and marginalize issues that impact all of us.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TAPPER: Do you think that that's a problem, that she's doubling down on that?

SANTORUM: Look, the Democratic Party has been a party that has focused on different voter groups, whether it's blacks or Hispanics or whether -- you name it, and they have tried to divide this country along those lines, along class war fare, it's been a warfare game for them. Trump is taking them at their own game.

I don't like it. I didn't like it on either side but that -- I can understand why they are upset. I don't like it either.

(CROSSTALK)

FINNEY: Attacking the intelligence of African-Americans or calling Mexicans racists.

(CROSSTALK)

DIAZ BARRAGAN: That's right. The only one has been divisive here is the president of the United States. He started on day one of the campaign. He has been going on.

If you saw the rally last night in Ohio, it's been anti-immigrants again, painting them as criminals as he usually does. Again attacking African-American women, African-Americans. I mean, this is his M.O.

And the president is the one who has been dividing this country. And I think that's something that we should recognize and I think that is totally appropriate for you to have a candidate who's part of the heritage who will talk about it. I did it on my campaign, I'm the daughter of immigrants, my mom had a third grade education.

That is something that with some of the electorate people love. Even Republicans they love the story of making it, coming from nowhere and making it, going to college and becoming a success story. So I think telling your story is not identity politics and --

FINNEY: Like LeBron.

TAPPER: People have -- people did criticize Hillary Clinton for embracing identity politics too much -- the phrase. I don't want to get in trouble for using it.

What's your take in all this?

KRISTOL: There's normal identity politics which is going on in politics for a long time (INAUDIBLE) is forever. And then there's the president of the United States, purposely intensifying ethnic and racial and other divisions in the country. Attacking the media in a way that really sounds more like Putin honestly than like -- even previous American politicians who were exasperated by news coverage. But actually saying purposely false, dangerous --

TAPPER: He accused us of leading the country into war.

KRISTOL: Possibly leading the country into war.

TAPPER: Yes.

KRISTOL: I mean, that stuff is dangerous, actually. And when the president does it it's more dangerous than the routine things that we all kind of don't really like about politics, which is the kind of ethnic and --

(CROSSTALK)

TAPPER: We unfortunately have to go. Thank you one and all for being here. Appreciate it.

Boogie (ph) nights (ph) called and wants its wardrobe back. President Trump's forever campaign -- former campaign chairman and their glorious gaudiness of his fashion choices, it's the subject of this week's "State of the Cartoonion."

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[09:54:08]

TAPPER: Welcome back. First the FBI. Now the fashion police coming after the former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort. That's the subject of this week's "State of the Cartoonion."

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TAPPER (voice-over): Paul Manafort is on trial and now so are some of my very extravagant lifestyle choices.

PAUL MANAFORT, CAMPAIGN CHAIRMAN, DONALD TRUMP FOR PRESIDENT: Come on. There is not a comparison here.

TAPPER: And to be sure no doubt his former boss, the master of luxury himself may be judging.

TRUMP: There are very, very good looking combinations of things.

TAPPER: Prosecutors say with his secret income from a golden goose in Ukraine, Manafort made purchases the president might approve of such as millions of dollars on real estate and cars.

TRUMP: There is no more beautiful sight than an American made car.

[09:55:00]

TAPPER: Prosecutors introduced evidence of a $10,000 karaoke system for his Hampton's mansion. Manafort also made some more fashionable purchases such as a $15,000 jacket made from an ostrich. He also had an $18,000 jacket made from a python.

It's not an all American look per se but then again Manafort might prefer a more eastern European sensibility.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

TAPPER: Thanks to all of you for watching.

"FAREED ZAKARIA" starts in minutes.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)