Return to Transcripts main page

CNN NEWSROOM

Trump's Self-Made Fortune a Myth?; Trump Mocks Kavanaugh Accuser. Aired 3-3:30p ET

Aired October 3, 2018 - 15:00   ET

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


[15:00:40]

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Top of the hour. I'm Brooke Baldwin. Thank you so much for being with me.

Outrage and disgust from the people President Trump and his Supreme Court nominee need the most right now. Key Republicans speaking out against this president after he openly mocked Christine Blasey Ford and her testimony against Brett Kavanaugh.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: How did you get home? I don't remember. How did you get there? I don't remember. Where is the place? I don't remember. How many years ago was it? I don't know.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: I don't know.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: I don't know! I don't know!

What neighborhood was it in? I don't know. Where's the house? I don't know. Upstairs, downstairs? Where was it? I don't know. But I had one beer. That's the only thing I remember.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: No matter where you stand in this debate right now, the president of the United States just attacked the credibility, the alleged experience of a woman who before a national audience was terrified and described the worst day of her life.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. PATRICK LEAHY (D), VERMONT: What is the strongest memory you have, the strongest memory of the incident, something that you cannot forget? Take whatever time you need.

CHRISTINE BLASEY FORD, KAVANAUGH ACCUSER: Indelible in the hippocampus is the laughter, the laugh -- the uproarious laughter between the two, and their having fun at my expense.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: And now some key voices are condemning the president's remarks.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JEFF FLAKE (R), ARIZONA: I thought it was obviously insensitive and appalling, frankly. It was no time or place, but particularly to discuss something so sensitive at a political rally. It was just -- just wrong.

SEN. SUSAN COLLINS (R), MAINE: The president's comments were just plain wrong.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: Let me add to that Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski echoing those sentiments, telling CNN -- and I quote -- "I thought the president's comments yesterday mocking Dr. Ford were wholly inappropriate and, in my view, unacceptable."

The opinions of these senators are of utmost importance for the president to get his nominee through, and they are just three of the votes that are hanging in the balance right now.

The White House says, no, that the president was not mocking Blasey Ford. Instead, Sarah Sanders offered this:

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

QUESTION: Why did the president say what he did last night and the way that he said it?

SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The president was stating the facts.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: Stating the facts.

With me now, CNN political analyst Gloria Borger and Victoria McGrane, national political correspondent for "The Boston Globe."

So, ladies, thank you for being with me.

And, Gloria, to you first.

In the past 24 hours, the president has been exposed as a liar, Stormy Daniels reporting, a tax cheat, "New York Times" reporting, and he's mocked Ford, thus attacking women in general. Where are we?

GLORIA BORGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, that's a good question, Brooke. I think, unfortunately, we're in a place where none of this seems

surprising to us anymore, where -- where the president mocking Dr. Ford seems somehow something that doesn't shock us coming from his mouth.

And...

BALDWIN: How about the people standing behind him who laughed as well?

BORGER: That was what was stunning to me, was people behind him, including women, laughing.

And I don't know whether it's because they're just Trump supporters and whatever he says -- and he thought it was funny -- they should -- they would -- I don't know. I mean, it was very -- it was hard to watch, because don't forget this is a president who said that he found her testimony very compelling at one point.

BALDWIN: Right, and credible.

BORGER: And now...

BALDWIN: Flash forward, he couldn't hold back.

BORGER: Right. And now he's mocking her because he's so angry about the nomination. And he also understands that he can use this in red states, like the one he was in last night, to propel candidates to victory, particularly with white non-college-educated men.

[15:05:01]

And I think what he's trying to do, as senator Jones said today, Jones of Alabama said today, that he's trying to appeal to his base, as opposed to trying to unite the country. And that's exactly what's going on.

BALDWIN: Well, on the flip side, it's galvanizing a lot of women, a lot of women politicians.

BORGER: Yes, absolutely.

BALDWIN: This is why we wanted to have Victoria on, because of her piece that I read in "The Boston Globe."

The headline, your headline today, "They're outraged, and women politicians aren't afraid to show it."

So, give us some examples of what you mean and why this is so noteworthy right now.

VICTORIA MCGRANE, "THE BOSTON GLOBE": So I was particularly struck by this.

And kind of the inspiration for my piece is, I was at the town hall on Saturday where Senator Elizabeth Warren indicated that she is going to take a hard look at running for president after the midterm elections. And she couched that announcement by talking about how angry she is.

She said, "I am angry and I own it." And that, especially after the election we just went through with Hillary Clinton, who was in this emotional straitjacket, she smiled too much, she didn't smile enough. She was too soft -- she couldn't be too soft, but she couldn't be angry.

It was really astounding to me and made me take a broader look at how other women politicians are talking right now. And it really seems to be there's this crucible of the Kavanaugh nomination that is really at least highlighting this new comfort with owning emotion in a way that women in past cycles who were running for office or holding prominent office haven't felt empowered to do.

BALDWIN: Or they have been told, no, no, no, you will appear angry and like, mm-hmm, if you do that, right?

MCGRANE: Well, the strategist I spoke to said that, yes, you couldn't appear weak, you couldn't talk about certain subjects because you would look weak. You couldn't talk about sexism. You couldn't talk about harassment. You couldn't talk about even your own personal stories, lest you seem too weak or unbalanced or unhinged, all those stereotypes that are attached to women and emotion.

BALDWIN: I want to come back to you on women voters in a second.

But, Gloria, I mean, I keep thinking about Senators Murkowski and Collins, right? Of course, we keep going back to these key senators. I think of these two women in particular, and I'm just wondering, we have heard them say that they're really disappointed in what Trump did last night.

But, at the end of the day, do you think that will affect their vote?

BORGER: No.

Look, I think that I would have to say none of -- neither of those two women are particularly close to Donald Trump, nor do they probably like him very much and nor are they probably surprised by what he did last night. I mean, remember, he mocked a disable journalist during the campaign.

So I don't think they were surprised by it. Murkowski said she would take it into consideration. I think in Murkowski's state, she's got a lot of other things. She's got a substantial number of her constituents, particularly the Native population, who care deeply about this issue and who brought her over the line last time.

And she's listening to them on that, and health care. And they're afraid of Kavanaugh on an issue like health care. So I think she's more likely a no than Susan Collins, although we don't know.

Remember, when this all started, the question was, how would he rule on Roe and how would he...

(CROSSTALK) BALDWIN: Remember that, like all of three weeks ago? Right.

BORGER: Yes. Right.

But that goes to the question of how partisan he is. And I think that also became an issue during the hearing when he started talking about the Clintons, et cetera. It sort of raised a red flag about partisanship and whether he could actually have the temperament as a judge to rule in a nonpartisan way.

BALDWIN: I want to play one more bit from last night, ladies. This is during Trump's rally. In almost same breath of defending his nominee Judge Kavanaugh, he distanced himself from him. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: And I don't even know him, folks. I don't even know him. I met him for the first time a few weeks ago. I don't even know him. So it's not like, oh, gee, I want to protect my friend.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: So, says, I just met him a few weeks ago. And you know what that sounds like? Let me just jog everyone's memories.

So, Victoria, this is for you. Trump on Paul Manafort: "He was on my campaign for only a short period of time." Michael Cohen: "He did only a tiny fraction of legal work."

George Papadopoulos: "Oh, he was merely a coffee boy."

(CROSSTALK)

BALDWIN: I mean, Victoria, do you think that maybe this is Trump's cover if this does not go the way he planned?

MCGRANE: I mean, I certainly think that that has got to be playing into this sort of, as you highlighted, the kind of one day, Ford is very credible, the other day, he is making fun of her, that you just -- he doesn't ever want to be on the losing side of an issue.

But to do it in the same breath, I mean, it's just the state of politics in America right now. You have whiplash within the five minutes of the news.

BALDWIN: Will this galvanize Republicans? How will it galvanize Democrats? What will November 6 look like? That is the money question.

[15:10:03]

Gloria and Victoria, thank you both so much.

BORGER: Sure.

BALDWIN: Appreciate it. Coming up, we have some new reporting just into us here. A friend Judge Kavanaugh's accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, comes to her defense amid this dispute over a polygraph some years ago. So we will dive into that.

Also, a young Brett Kavanaugh in his own words telling his friends -- quote -- "Warn the neighbors, we're loud, obnoxious drunks."

This letter is raising questions about whether he perjured himself before members of Congress.

And tax schemes and fraud. A bombshell report by "The New York Times" on Trump's finances, did it just blow up his claims of being a self- made man?

And later Trump, calling him Lyin' Ted, insulted his wife, accused his dad of helping killed JFK. So why then is Ted Cruz calling in Donald Trump's son for help?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[15:15:18]

BALDWIN: You're watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin.

A dispute surfacing this afternoon between a friend of Christine Blasey Ford, the woman accusing Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault, and one of Ford's former boyfriends.

The former boyfriend claims Ford coached a friend, Monica McLean, back in the '90s on how to take a polygraph test when McLean was applying for jobs with the FBI and the U.S. attorney's office.

Just to jog your memory back to the testimony, Ford's testimony last Thursday, senators had asked if she'd ever had a discussion with anyone besides her attorneys on how to take a polygraph. And Professor Ford answered, never.

McLean today coming forward for the first time to dispute the former boyfriend's accusation. McLean, who is now retired from the FBI, tells CNN -- quote -- "I have never had anyone assist me with the preparation of any polygraph ever, not my entry polygraph, not my five-year re-investigation polygraphs, never. I am extremely angry he would make this up."

CNN law enforcement analyst and former FBI supervisory special agent Josh Campbell is with me.

And you're the one with the scoop on this today, so explain what Ford's friend said to you.

JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: So, as you mentioned, this goes back to last week during Dr. Ford's testimony and this issue surrounding a polygraph.

Now there was an unnamed person who made a statement to the Senate -- this was reported yesterday by FOX News -- essentially saying that he was Dr. Ford's boyfriend back in the '90s, and he had actually seen Dr. Ford coaching the person we just mentioned, retired FBI agent Monica McLean, on the polygraph, how to beat the polygraph.

Now, again, this was unnamed. CNN has since learned that his name is Brian Merrick. This is the former boyfriend. And I spoke earlier today with Monica McLean, who, as we mentioned, vehemently denies these reports and these allegations. And she's actually furious that her name is now being tarnished, her reputation, for reasons unknown to her.

She did know Brian Merrick as being a friend of her -- a boyfriend of her friend. But she said these allegations are completely false, what was submitted to the statement.

What was interesting is that this statement then caused Senator Grassley to really take interest, really try to dig into it. But as we continue to mention on this very high-profile case, when statements come into conflict with each other, it often comes down to who you believe.

And at least according to her case, she's saying that, no, she didn't do it. She would have no reason to say such things or to do such things. And she is really upset that her name has been tarnished.

BALDWIN: OK, that's one piece of this.

I just got handed -- let's see -- White House has not received background investigation, but expect it soon. This is from Kaitlan Collins over at the White House. They believe the timing -- I mean, it's possible that -- I don't know if it's the White House or the Hill -- should get the results or the findings from the FBI investigation as early as today.

Your read on that?

CAMPBELL: Yes.

So this is very interesting, because what is at issue here is whether the FBI review into Judge Kavanaugh's background is going to be comprehensive, is really going to be fulsome. Obviously, there have been a number of allegations that have surfaced that are still being run to ground.

Our reporting earlier today is that the FBI continues to be in receive mode. They're getting tips from the online tip portal, from the 1-800 number, from various field offices, that then they're having to vet.

But, remember, this entire investigation is very limited in scope. And it's being dictated by the White House. So what will be interesting for us to determine is whether the FBI can actually run down all these leads, whether they have the space and time, or whether they're just going to send a report based on what the White House had dictated to them in a limited fashion, which, again, with that clock ticking on this Friday vote, will they be able to complete this by the time the judge is actually voted on for confirmation? BALDWIN: Sure.

Then, of course, I know I'm sure with the FBI and your work and everyone else's, you want to dot the I's, cross the T's on everything. But we're hearing from the White House counsel that they have interviewed a bunch of people, but the two people that they have not interviewed are these two central pieces of this investigate, Professor Ford and Judge Kavanaugh law.

And the counsel is saying that -- to let their testimony, right, from last Thursday speak for itself. Is that typical for the FBI not to interview central players or...

CAMPBELL: Well, this whole thing is atypical, in the sense that there's a one-week arbitrary deadline that's imposed on top of this investigation.

Now, our original reporting was that this was constrained. The White House came out and said, no, the FBI can do whatever it wants. We have learned that there are these caveats where they still have to go back to the White House and request permission.

With respect to Kavanaugh and Dr. Ford, yes, in an FBI investigation,, you would want to talk to these people that are central. What's interesting -- and this is based on our sourcing talking to people familiar with the investigation today. They say that just because the FBI hasn't interviewed either of them now, and that's particularly focused on Dr. Ford, that doesn't mean they won't want to do that eventually.

And, in fact, that investigation, it's not uncommon that you would gather as much information as you can before you move on to the key witness. Again, it comes down to, will the White House permit the FBI to talk to her?

BALDWIN: Right.

CAMPBELL: And will those results be part of this larger investigation?

[15:20:01]

BALDWIN: Right.

Josh Campbell, thank you so much.

CAMPBELL: Thanks, Brooke.

BALDWIN: A stunning "New York Times" investigation shattering President Trump's image of being a self-made billionaire. The allegations of a family scheme to dodge millions and millions in taxes, and the president's move that alarmed his father.

And, oh, what a difference two yours can make. Along with a bitter battle for the Senate, Donald Trump Jr. hits the trail for the man his father once dubbed Lyin' Ted. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[15:25:10]

BALDWIN: The White House today is pushing that hard on this explosive "New York Times" report that suggests President Trump lied about being a self-made billionaire.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HUCKABEE SANDERS: Totally false attack based on an old recycled news story. I'm not going to sit and go through every single line of a very boring 14,000-word story.

But the president's lawyer addressed some of the specific claims and walked through how the allegations of fraud and tax evasion are 100 percent false and highly defamatory.

There was no fraud or tax evasion by anyone. He went on much further, and I would encourage you to read every word of his statement, which completely undercuts the accusations made by "The New York Times."

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: This stunning investigation by "The New York Times" revealed that Trump received $430 million from his father's real estate empire.

Again, just underscoring that number, that is nearly half-a-billion dollars. And just compare that to what we have heard Trump claim over and over again.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I started off in Brooklyn. My father gave me a small loan of a million dollars.

My father gave me a very small loan in 1975.

I got a very, very small loan from my father many years ago.

I started with a million-dollar loan.

I started off with a million-dollar loan, and I built it up to more than $10 billion in value.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: Well, that quote, small loan, very small loan, from Trump's father was more like $60 million.

"The New York Times" reviewing thousands of pages of documents clearly shows Donald Trump was born into wealth. Starting at age 3, Trump was receiving $200,000 a year from his dad. He was a millionaire by age 8.

And as he got older, his yearly from his dad ballooned to $5 million. Gwenda Blair is with me, the author of "The Trumps: Three Generations that Built an Empire."

And, Gwenda, thank you for being with me.

David Cay Johnston name-checked to you last hour as someone who's been on this -- on this for a while challenging the president and this myth, right, that he says he's this self-made billionaire, and his dad just gave him this small $1 million loan, again, according to "The Times."

I mean, what do you make up their findings in their investigation?

GWENDA BLAIR, AUTHOR, "THE TRUMPS": Amazing. It wasn't a silver spoon.

And Donald's always sort of even like downplaying that. It was like a platinum, diamond-encrusted place setting for a hundred people. It's amazing.

BALDWIN: You really get this window into the Trump family, the dynamics, especially when a younger Donald Trump tried to change his ailing father's will.

Can you tell me a little bit more about that and what that tells you about Donald Trump and his relationship with his father?

BLAIR: Well, it sort of boils down to never enough.

His dad was his first mentor. And he got him started on the idea that what you can get away with is the only thing that matters. There just isn't any other standard. That's the standard. You can get away with it, do it.

His dad made a fortune building in the outer boroughs in Queens and Brooklyn, using government mortgages, abatements, all sorts of government assistance, and pushed the written regulations to the limit, a lot of unintended consequences in those regulations that he was able to use and exploit to make a fortune.

He never quite was indictable for any of it. He did get hauled up in front of several investigating bodies. He was never indicted, was never charged, but he certainly pushed it to the limit, and certainly went past the spirit of those various government programs.

And Donald was watching. He was a really good apprentice.

BALDWIN: Yes, apprentice.

David was saying last hour, if anyone is sitting here wondering, well, is any of this prosecutable now, and, really, the answer is no, because the statute of limitations has long since run out.

Gwenda, tell me about Donald Trump's siblings and the role they played in this whole thing. BLAIR: Well, I think the clinical term would be enabling, but they

didn't -- they -- but his older brother, his -- Fred Jr. was -- gosh, I don't want to -- I don't want to sound crass, but he helped by getting out of the way, by dying -- that was helpful -- and, before that, by being just not a contender for being the heir apparent to Fred Sr., Donald's father.

He was not ambitious in the same way. He was not belligerent. He was not aggressive. He was none of the things that Fred was looking for in an heir. And Donald was.