Return to Transcripts main page
ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
Emails Show Steve Bannon & Roger Stone Discussing WikiLeaks; Trump on Migrants Throwing Rocks: "Consider It a Rifle"; Interview with Chuck Hagel; Trump Uses White House Podium to Hype Fear Tactics Repeated at Rallies; GOP Leaders Silent After Trump Tweets Racially Charged Video. Aired on 7-8p ET
Aired November 1, 2018 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks very much for watching. ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT starts right now.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: OUTFRONT next, Trump gives a campaign speech falsely billed as an official White House policy speech. A speech filled with misleading statements and in some cases flat out lies.
Plus, the President's racially charged closing campaign message and ad, preying on fear of undocumented immigrants. A man who advised the President on immigration and led a prayer at the Trump inauguration speaks out against it. Reverend Samuel Rodriguez will be my guest.
And the commander in chief says that if migrants in the caravan throw rocks at U.S. soldiers at the border, U.S. soldiers should return fire with actual bullets. Former Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Vietnam veteran will weigh in. Let's go OUTFRONT.
Good evening, I'm Jake Tapper in for Erin Burnett.
OUTFRONT tonight, the fear factors, the President not letting up, holding what was essentially a campaign rally of sorts, falsely billed as a policy speech at the White House, the falsehoods were plentiful. The claims were contradicted by facts and expertise in many cases. And the message was loud and clear.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: No nation can allow itself to be overwhelmed by uncontrolled masses of people rushing their border. That's what's happening.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are they firing upon any of these people?
TRUMP: I hope not. I hope not. It's the military. I hope there won't be that but I will tell you this. Anybody throwing stones, rocks like they did to Mexico and the Mexican military, Mexican police, where they badly hurt police and soldiers of Mexico, we will consider that a firearm. We have thousands of tents. We have a lot of tents. We have a lot of everything. We're going to hold them right there. We will end catch and release. We're not releasing any longer.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: Much of what the President claimed during that 32-minute campaign speech was not true. But it was all of a piece. The President has decided to close out this election season not by bragging about the economy or low unemployment but by demonizing undocumented immigrants and claiming they pose an existential threat to the United States of America, which they do not.
Perhaps even more shocking than the White House misrepresenting what the speech would be was this 53-second -- piece of propaganda that the President tweeted yesterday, pinning it to the top of his Twitter feed. It features an undocumented immigrant who, in April, was sentenced to death for killing two California deputy sheriffs and the ad suggests that this cop killer is representative of undocumented immigrants writ large.
The clear message of the ad, vote for a Democrat and Central American invaders will overrun the nation with violent criminals and cop killers. In point of fact, the undocumented immigrant came into the United States during the Bush administration but forget the facts for a second, Republican Senator Jeff Flake tweeted, this is a sickening ad. Republicans everywhere should denounce it, but Republicans everywhere, not so much on the denouncing.
So far, only a handful of moderate Republicans, many in swing districts, have distanced themselves from the video. Republican leaders on Capitol Hill and across the nation, silence, crickets. And the clear message from the President today was Pretty Stark. He suggested that this caravan is full of Latin American men who pose a specific threat to American women.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I don't want them in our country. And women don't want them in our country. Women want security. Men don't want them in our country, but the women do not want them. Women want security.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: None of this, of course, is surprising, that the President is ending the midterm campaign the way he started his political career, really, pedaling racially charged conspiracy theories such as, oh, I don't know, the first African-American President was born in Africa and is and other and not like the rest of us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: A lot of people feel it wasn't a proper certificate.
Who knows about Obama.
BLITZER: His mother was a U.S. citizen, born in Kansas.
TRUMP: Who knows? You know, can I tell what --
BLITZER: So was he a natural born citizen? TRUMP: Who knows? Who knows? Who cares right now?
I hope he was born -- because if he wasn't, it's the greatest scam in history, not political history, in history.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: President Obama, of course, was born in the United States and, you know, don't forget that this was part of his first campaign speech.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: They're bringing drugs, they're bringing crime. They're rapists and some, I assume, are good people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: Jeff Zeleny is OUTFRONT live in Columbia Missouri where the President is going to be speaking shortly. And Jeff, President Trump turning what was supposed to be a policy speech at the White House, essentially making a campaign speech with no actual policy specifics at all.
[19:05:04] JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Jake, usually those type of words, usually that type of rhetoric comes here at a rally like this. You can see behind me thousands of people, of course, Air Force One will be pulling up here, but the President was doing it today in the Roosevelt room of the White House.
As you said, the White House aides promised new policy. There was none of that. But it is part of this daily plan to talk about the border, to talk about asylum, to talk about sending thousands of troops to the border. It is all designed to really inject a sense of urgency that the President clearly thinks is not there among his supporters.
In the last week or ten days or so, there has been some concern in the White House and elsewhere that the Trump voters are not sufficiently fired up or excited about these midterm elections so the President is trying to do what has worked for him before, talk about all of these issues with urgency and fear and scare mongering tactics.
Jake, the difference now from those clips you played before, this is the President of the United States doing it from the White House. That's why it was a bit more jarring than before. But I can tell you, I've been here for a few hours now listening to Republican congressman after Republican senator and others firing up the crowd, not a mention, as you said, about anything. They, in fact, believe that this will be good, particularly here in Missouri.
Claire McCaskill, Democratic senator, is one of those Democrats in a red state that is certainly in a tough race. So, that is why this immigration rhetoric, at least the President believes it will be helpful. The question is, will it be helpful in suburban swing districts in the House? Almost certainly it will not be. But never mind the pure politics of this. The fact that he said divisions are being sown now, what does that mean long-term here, the President certainly not thinking about that, but Jake, they are thinking about those midterm elections five days away and I can promise you, he'll say much of the same, perhaps even more, here tonight. Jake?
TAPPER: Jeff Zeleny and the dulcet tones of Guns N' Roses.
OUTFRONT now, Reverend Samuel Rodriguez. He is the President of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership conference. He is an informal evangelical faith adviser to President Trump and of course he led a prayer at President Trump's inauguration.
Thanks so much for joining us tonight. I appreciate it. What do you make of President Trump's closing argument in which he seems to be focusing quite a bit on undocumented immigrants?
REVEREND SAMUEL RODRIGUEZ, INFORMAL EVANGELICAL FAITH ADVISER TO PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, a couple of points here first. The closing argument, in my opinion, should focus on the lowest unemployment rate in the generation. The best GDP we've had in years and the lowest Hispanic and African-American unemployment rates ever. So, I can't embrace or affirm the immigration ad -- by the way, Jake, the vast majority of undocumented individuals in America and in all probability those in the caravan are good, god-fearing people looking for a better day.
I am a Christian, first and foremost. I'm an American second, and of Latino descent. With that being said, I want you to hear me carefully. I want people coming here legally. Let me reiterate.
RODRIGUEZ: I want people coming here legally, not illegally, and that doesn't make me a racist, it makes me an American.
TAPPER: No, no --
RODRIGUEZ: I believe we have the right to protect the sovereignty of our nation. At the same time, Jake, at the same time, the majority of people in the caravan, these are not bad people. There are people, by the way, according to the Mexican ambassador recently on NPR --
RODRIGUEZ: -- there are people who are violent in the caravan.
RODRIGUEZ: There are. But I would argue the vast majority are good, god-fearing people, looking for a better day.
TAPPER: Yes, so, I mean, look, obviously, countries have every right to have secure borders and control of the immigration flow and know who's in their country and want everybody to be in their country legally. I don't think anybody disagrees with that.
My question is --
TAPPER: -- the President is not focusing on the great economy or the higher GDP or the low African-American and Latino unemployment numbers as you wished he would. He's talking about this instead and there are a lot of people who say he is making nakedly racist appeals to people and causing people to fear undocumented immigrants. I don't think you're racist for wanting legal immigration but I wonder what you think about this message.
RODRIGUEZ: Yes, well, I mean, I'm a person of faith, Jake, so faith is the opposite of fear, right? So, as a person of faith, I repudiate fear not just coming from Republicans but from Democrats across the board.
RODRIGUEZ: I want people to see the image of god in every single human being. At the same time, though, at the same time, as an American, I really do have great angst and consternation about thousands of individuals coming to our borders when we don't have the bandwidth or the bureaucratic wherewithal right now to handle these individuals who in all probability will not come in through a legal port of entry but may attempt to come in here illegally.
Listen, there are legitimate asylum and refugee seekers among the thousands that are coming up. I want these people to come through a port of entry and apply legally. And right now, it's all conflated. It's all becoming chaotic.
[19:10:07] Now, does the President have every right to send troops to protect the sovereignty of the nation? I would say yes, he has the right to protect and actually the responsibility to protect our sovereignty. At the same time, I not only -- I'm calling upon the White House, Congress, both Democrats and Republicans to tone down the rhetoric. Stop using immigrants and please do not engage the Latino community in my way, form, or shape as tool of political expediency. These are human beings created in the image of god and we, collectively, both Republicans and Democrats, we can do better.
TAPPER: Well, what'd you think when you saw that ad featuring the undocumented immigrant who killed two deputy sheriffs in California.
RODRIGUEZ: That's not us. Hey, Jake, does not reflect the people in my pews, the people in my community at all whatsoever. I could show you the most beautiful god-fearing hardworking people, people why would love to come in here legally, by the way, legally, again, but that ad does not reflect Latinos or the immigrant community at all. Not one iota reflective of the immigrant or the Latino community.
TAPPER: So --
RODRIGUEZ: And again, I understand it's the midterms. I understand and it's not -- I just can't -- my problem is, if you want me just to say President Trump is guilty of, you know, engaging fear for the purpose of voter -- I know you haven't asked me to, but others have asked. It's not just President Trump. It's both side of the aisle. I've looked at ads across the board and right now, it's a midterm of fear instead of a midterm of hope and faith.
We can do a lot better. It's time for civility. It's time for reconciliation. It's time for a conversation where we can disagree without calling each other terms and words that do carry weight at the end of the day.
TAPPER: What would you say to the President if he asked you for advice on how to talk about this issue?
RODRIGUEZ: Lowest unemployment rate in Hispanic-American history. Put an ad on that. Create an ad on that and that will engage Latinos to say wait a second, hold on a moment, let's think about this. Lowest unemployment? Latinos care about these two priorities, the economy and education. That's according to Pew Research, by the way. The economy and education. And boy, I mean, there's a viable conversation to be had about the economic viability of the Hispanic- American community. So, that should be the ad, not the immigration ad that just came out but that ad. That right there maybe prompt some Latinos to reconsider their vote come next week.
TAPPER: All right. Thank you so much. I really appreciate your time.
OUTFRONT next, President Trump on his relationship with the truth.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I always want to tell the truth. When I can, I tell the truth.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: So, why did he mislead the American people again and again and again from the White House just hours ago?
Plus, a big development in the Russia investigation, newly released e- mails between Steve Bannon and Roger Stone talking about WikiLeaks just days before WikiLeaks released a trove of hacked e-mails from the Clinton campaign.
And President Trump suggesting it's OK for U.S. troops to open fire on migrants if they're throwing rocks at them. Former U.S. Secretary of Defense and Vietnam Veteran Chuck Hagel responds. Stay with us.
[19:16:48] TAPPER: Tonight, President Trump's on again, off again relationship with the truth. We saw it on full display at a White House event today, one that was filled with falsehoods. Let's start here with what he said about asylum seekers not showing up for trial.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TRUMP: It's like a level of 3%. They never show up for the trial. So, by the time their trial comes, they're gone. Nobody knows where they are.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: Not true. According to PolitiFact citing Justice Department data from 2012 to 2016, 60% to 75% of non-detained migrants showed up for their court appearance. And then there's this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We're putting up massive cities of tents. We have thousands of tents. We have a lot of tents. We have a lot of everything. We're going to hold them right there.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: Those tents must still be in the boxes because Pentagon official told us there are no plans right now to build tents for migrants. As of right now, tents that are being built are being used to house customs and border patrol and military personnel, though. That's not all Trump said, though. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Considering the laws are so bad, they're not archaic, they're incompetent. It's not that they're old. They're just bad. And we can't get any Democrat votes to change them. It's only the Republicans that are in unison, they want to change them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: There are plenty of Democrats who want to change the immigration laws as long as it's part of a big package. In 2013, 52 Senate Democrats voted for a comprehensive immigration bill that included, by the way, $46 billion for border security, much more than President Trump is trying to get for his border wall. On the flip side, we should note that if Republicans were in unison on this, they could, of course, do anything they wanted. They control the White House, the House, and the Senate. They're not in unison. In fact we saw that earlier this year. There was an attempt to have an immigration bill and a number of Republicans defected. This is all coming, of course, from a man who just said this last night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I always want to tell the truth. When I can, I tell the truth. I mean, sometimes, it turns out to be where something happens, it's different or there's a change but I always like to be truthful.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: OUTFRONT now, April Ryan, the White House Correspondent for American Urban Radio Network. She's also the author of "Under Fire: Reporting from the Front Lines of the Trump White House." We also have with us our friend Scott Jennings, former Special Assistant to President George W. Bush, and State Senator Nina Turner, a former Democratic Ohio State Senator who I call Senator Turner.
Scott, let me start with you. Illegal immigration without question is a legitimate issue and it's a problem that needs solving. Your former boss George W. Bush tried to solve the problem, it didn't work out. Do you think this path that President is leading us down leads to a solution in any way?
SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I don't know, because as you pointed out, the Republicans have controlled all three legs of the stool and they've not been able to come to an agreement on anything and it's hard to imagine Democrats coming to an agreement on what the President is laying out here.
On the other hand, there are some Democrats in this cycle who are running on immigration issues that sound a lot like Donald Trump. I see Senator Donnelly in Indiana running a lot of ads on building the wall, for instance.
[19:20:05] TAPPER: Yes.
JENNINGS: So, if there were more Democrats like Donnelly, maybe you do come up with some kind of a solution. I do think this. The American people are sick and tired of this issue going unsolved no matter who's in charge and eventually they're going to start taking it out on people who can't seem to get the job done so I've always said if the Republicans are ever to sign off on any kind of comprehensive immigration reform plan, it will have to be the President that leads it. He's the only one that has enough credibility on the issue with the rank-and-file grassroots Republicans to sell it broadly.
TAPPER: Only Nixon can go to China, except on immigration reform. Senator Turner, let me ask you. I want to turn to the President's propensity to not tell the truth. Do you think it matters? I mean, we know that his supporters believe most of what he says, even over what the facts are.
NINA TURNER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Right.
TAPPER: Does it matter that he keeps lying?
TURNER: It should matter. But he knows that it animates his base and he's going to continue to lie because it gets him the political points that he needs to win. If the overwhelming majority of the American people are going to have to decide, do they want a President -- it's ironic that he would call, you know, Senator Ted Cruz, lying Ted, when really that is his nickname. The President has been lying from the beginning. He's continued to stoke this fear and it is vitally important that he tell -- and he tries to tell the truth. Just tell the truth. What's wrong with -- just tell the truth.
TAPPER: April, let me ask you. The President told John Carl of ABC News last night that when he can, he always wants to tell the truth. You heard Nina talking about that. So, what's the problem? APRIL RYAN, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, AMERICAN URBAN RADIO NETWORKS:
The problem is, and we say it over and over again, and people have to realize that the White House is a place that is so serious. War and peace, life and death are written with the pen from the leader of the free world. We have the leader of the free world who also speaks life and death from that Oval Office or from wherever he is in the White House.
It is utterly important for this President to get it right and tell the truth. And the issue is, can you trust him now? You know, he tries to tell the truth where he can. Words mean something. You can change markets by the words, a President of the United States. You can send people to war with words. Words mean something. You can shift -- I mean, just shift nations' thoughts and processes just by words out of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, and telling the truth is something that a president needs to do, and if you can't trust him, the question is, will you trust anything he says or does? He's cried wolf too many times now and people just don't know if he's telling the truth.
JENNINGS: Well, I think Republicans trust him and Democrats don't and this is a sort of a larger issue of the tribalism we face in American politics.
TAPPER: Independents are starting to move away from him, though.
JENNINGS: Yes and that's the thing. Going into a re-election, you know, whatever happens in the midterms is going to happen but going into a re-election campaign, he does have to have credibility with more than just the Republican Party. He needs to capture some percentage of Democrats but a larger percentage of independents, and so hopefully the President will pivot back towards that as he has to his own re-election campaign.
TAPPER: Back to the truth?
JENNINGS: But I would just say, politics is one thing, but where this really -- where the rubber really hits the road is if you had a national crisis and when the President speaks, you need to be able to believe what he says.
RYAN: We are in a national crisis. We are in a constitutional crisis, we're in a truth crisis. We are in a national security crisis. And when you say the Republicans believe him, I don't think so. You had House Speaker Ryan say that the President was wrong about ending the birthright issue.
You also have people who are in the President's space say, oh, you know, they excuse it by saying, you know how he is and what he meant. People understand who Donald Trump is, be it Democrat or Republican. And many people have voted for him believing that he is not truthful. This is not a salesmanship. You're not selling a car here. This is about life and death. What affects people's lives and leadership means service. Is he serving in truth or is he serving in a lie? That's the question we're dealing with right now.
TAPPER: Senator, let me turn to something that Democratic Gubernatorial Candidate Andrew Gillum of Florida said after President Trump labeled him a thief. A lot of Gillum's supporters think the President going at him that way has racial overtones. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAYOR ANDREW GILLUM (D), NOMINEE FOR FLORIDA GOVERNOR: I have not called the President a racist but there are racists and his sympathizers who believe that he may be, which is why they go to his aid, which is why he has provided them cover, and I believe that his cover has led to much of the degradation in our political discourse.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: What do you think of that?
TURNER: You know, I agree with the mayor and the President knows exactly what he's doing when he calls a black man a thief. He's stirring the cauldron of doubt, the cauldron of stereotype, the cauldron of a double standard when you have an African-American leader that you label in that way.
[19:25:02] He's doing this on purpose. He's selecting these words on purpose. I wish he had the same level of emotion when it came to dealing with some of the racial issues we're dealing with, whether it be what happened to our Jewish sisters and brothers and sisters in Pittsburgh, you know, using that level of dedication to calling out that kind of stuff or what happened to the sister and the brother in --
TURNER: Kentucky. He doesn't do that when it's at the hands of white men, but he always has a label for a black or a brown man or woman. It is absolutely wrong. He knows what he's doing.
TAPPER: Scott, the President, I think he was talking to Christian Broadcasting Network, weighed in on the label of racist. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: You know, the word racist is used about every Republican that's winning. Any time a Republican is leading, they take out the "R" word, the racist word, and I'm not anti-immigrant at all.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: This is a more complicated thing. Obviously, there have been accusations of racism that have been unfair about, you know, previous Republican candidates like Mitt Romney or whatever, but you know, I think that this is more complicated than that when it comes to President Trump. Don't you?
JENNINGS: Well, I think that we need to have a sensitivity to these issues because we've had increasing racial tensions in this country for several years now. It's one of the most worrisome problems, I think, we have in our civil society, so our leaders have a responsibility to take extra care and not inflame the issues that have plagued us.
I will say, you know, as you pointed out, I've seen Republicans called this just as the President said, you know, Mitt Romney, of all people, was called a racist in the 2012 presidential campaign. I remember Joe Biden telling African-American voters, he's going to put y'all back in chains. I mean, it was blatant race baiting then to call Mitt Romney that and I didn't think it was right. So, I want the President to lead us on this, because this has been going on for too long. Some day, some political leader is going to lead us out of this and into a better conversation. If it were Donald Trump, that would be great but I hope it's somebody some day soon.
TAPPER: April, I want to play for you what President Trump said to Axios about his continued attacks on the media. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tens of thousands of people go into a stadium to listen to you and then people go on social media and they get themselves so jazzed up. There's got to be a party that's, like, damn it, I'm scared that somebody is going to take it too far.
TRUMP: It is my only form of fighting back. I couldn't be here if I did that.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You won. You have the presidency.
TRUMP: No, no, no but I did this before I won.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: You cover the President every day. What's your reaction to that?
RYAN: It's the only form of fighting back by putting us in harm's way. Well, it's sad if that's the only way he knows how to fight. When you are a President of the United States, you use your big words and you use your big bully pulpit to fight the good fight for people. To call us the enemy of the people is basically putting a target -- it is putting a target on our heads and I am one of those who was targeted by the bomber, and it doesn't feel good. But what I will say is, this President is warring on us. He should not be doing that. You know, he should use that word for the real enemy of the American public.
TAPPER: April, I'm sorry to interrupt.
RYAN: People are not going to believe him. TAPPER: This is news to me and I'm sorry if you've said this on CNN
and somehow I missed it, but you were one of the targets of the bomber?
TAPPER: The FBI contacted you and said you were on his list?
RYAN: I'm not getting into anything, but I'll just say this. Look at the Twitter. Did you say it on Twitter? You even talked about with Don Lemon. So that's all I'm going to say. I'm not going to go any further.
TAPPER: The tweet against you and Don Lemon. I saw that right, yes. Against you and Don Lemon, yes.
RYAN: Yes, you're up next. But, yes. So I'm not going any further.
RYAN: What I will say to you is, this is very serious. There's collateral damage and the problem is the President wants to win and I've said this before. The way this President tries to unify his base is by finding a common enemy, and it's unfortunate that we, the press, are the common enemy to unify the base, but what I will tell you is, this President wants a win regardless of who it hurts. He has this bulldozer and if you're in the way, he doesn't care. You will be road kill, and he's going to keep on just for a win but there's collateral damage and he's got to stop this because it doesn't just breed hate against us. But it breeds hate in other places as we have seen. And I don't want to get in any further but I'm just going to say this. It is ugly. It is very ugly.
TAPPER: All right. I'm sorry you went through that. Thanks one and all for being here. I appreciate it.
OUTFRONT next, significant developments in the Russia investigation, some newly revealed e-mails show Roger Stone and Steve Bannon talking about WikiLeaks just days before WikiLeaks released hacked e-mails from the Clinton campaign.
Plus, President Trump standing by his call to send up to 15,000 U.S. Service Members to the U.S.-Mexico border. Is this really the best use of the U.S. military?
[19:30:02] Former U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel will be my guest.
Stay with us.
TAPPER: New tonight, a significant development in the Russia investigation. New e-mails show Steve Bannon, then chief executive of the Trump campaign, e-mailed with Roger Stone about WikiLeaks just three days before WikiLeaks released those stolen e-mails from Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta. This comes after we learned that Bannon met with special counsel Robert Mueller's team for at least the third time last week in which they talked about Stone and his ties to WikiLeaks.
Evan Perez is OUTFRONT right now.
And, Evan, what exactly do these e-mails show and is there any proof of a crime?
EVAN PEREZ, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, not yet, Jake, but I'll tell you, the bottom line here, simply, is that what this shows is that Robert Mueller is still pursuing the collusion question, which is really what everybody wants the answer to. So, we'll show you some of the e-mails that were published by "The New York Times" first today. One of them comes from October 4, 2016. This is right after Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder, does a video link in which he alludes to some coming e-mails.
Steve Bannon sends an e-mail to Roger Stone and says, what was that this morning? Roger Stone responds, fear, serious security concern. But the important part of this as he says, however, a load every week going forward.
That's, again, from Roger Stone to Steve Bannon. And Bannon responds, he didn't cut a deal with the Clintons?
Now, what these e-mails show, Jake, is that Roger Stone, who is full of bluster and says a lot of things that seems to be all over the place, he was in touch with one of the top people in the campaign, the CEO of the campaign at the time, if you remember. And so, what this tells us is that the Mueller investigators who have these e-mails and have been asking a number of people about roger stone's connections with the campaign, it tells us that they are still pursuing this question and obviously we know that Mueller's not speaking right now because of the upcoming midterms, but certainly after that, everyone is expecting that there is going to be some more action from Mueller.
Does that mean that Roger Stone is next? We do not know. Roger stone himself says that he believes Robert Mueller is going to indict him, so we shall see. But you know, the bottom line here is that Mueller is still pursuing the collusion questions. Certainly the idea of a conspiracy and Roger Stone is the key to that, Jake.
TAPPER: All right. Evan Perez, thanks so much.
OUTFRONT now, former counsel to the U.S. assistant attorney general for national security, Carrie Cordero, and former U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, Harry Sandick.
Carrie, I'll start with you. How significant is this? You have Steve Bannon, at the time the chief executive of the Trump campaign, e- mailing with Roger Stone about what information WikiLeaks might have on Hillary Clinton.
CARRIE CORDERO, FORMER COUNSEL TO THE U.S. ATTORNEY GNERAL FOR THE NATIONAL SECURITY: It's significant because it shows that roger stone, who may have been in direct contact with WikiLeaks, we don't know yet, was definitely in contact with someone who was senior in the Trump campaign. So, now, it's not just a question of Roger Stone perhaps being in touch with then-candidate Trump or someone in the campaign.
[19:35:05] We know that he was.
My guess is that there's a lot more e-mails and other communications that the special counsel's investigators have aside from just these that have been revealed publicly.
TAPPER: So, Harry, let me ask you. So, if Steve Bannon's trying to find out from Roger Stone what WikiLeaks is going to do and when they're going to do it, is there anybody -- is there a crime in there anyway?
I mean, you have Bannon trying to find out what WikiLeaks is going to do. You have stone communicating with WikiLeaks who -- and Assange and WikiLeaks did not steal the e-mails as fast as we know. They may have gotten them from the Russians or whomever, but they didn't steal them.
Where's the crime?
HARRY SANDICK, FORMER ASSISTANT U.S. ATTORNEY, SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK: Well, we don't know exactly where the crime is yet. One possible crime is that if this is being done by people overseas to provide a benefit for the campaign, it would be, in essence, an illegal campaign contribution. It is also possible that there is some sort of possession of stolen property theory that the government could be working on.
It is also possible that there are obstructive crimes. We've seen reporting that, you know, Stone may have been in touch with Credico and other people trying to influence what they would say to the prosecutors so you may have, unrelated to the collusion angle, you may have obstruction crimes as well. But it does seem that if there is a -- an instruction, so to speak, from the campaign about how to use these e-mails, you are benefitting from an illegal contribution of sorts to the campaign.
TAPPER: Carrie, Stone repeatedly made public statements that suggested he knew Assange had dirt on the Clintons. Here's just some of those instances, starting with about August 4, 2016, the same day he e-mailed former Trump campaign aide Sam Nunberg and claimed he had had dinner with Julian Assange.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROGER STONE, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN STRATEGIST: Their defense in all the Clinton Foundation scandal has been, not, we didn't do it. It has been, you have no proof. Yes, but you have no proof. Well, I think Julian Assange has that proof and I think he's going to furnish it to the American people.
Julian Assange -- who say anything you want about him, he's not a fool -- is going to continue to drop information on American voters that are going to roil this race.
I have been communicated with Assange. I believe the next tranche of documents pertain to the Clinton Foundation but there's no telling what the October surprise may be.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: Now, Stone has since claimed that the dinner with Assange never happened. He's denied that he was in contact with WikiLeaks and he said that his past comments were in jest or misunderstood or exaggerated.
But, you know, what he has said on multiple occasions is pretty damning.
CORDERO: Well, and being in touch with Julian Assange and WikiLeaks.
Back then meant something different than it means now, because now, over the course of the last year with the Russia inquiry and investigation and statements that Director of CIA Pompeo when he was head of the CIA has said is that WikiLeaks was connected to a hostile intelligence service.
TAPPER: Russia, yes.
CORDERO: Right. So, back when stone was saying these things publicly, that wasn't known to the general public, but now, having a connection, actually having been in touch with them, if he was, that means a whole different thing.
The other thing I would add on the question of what potential laws might be violated, the special counsel's theory of this entire case is conspiracy to defraud the United States. All the other crimes are ancillary to that big theory, and the defrauding was Russia's intent to affect the election and affect Democratic processes. That's what the special counsel has articulated in all the different indictments of the Russian intelligence officers and the Internet Research Agency.
So, if Stone was actually involved in facilitating the communication from the campaign or to the campaign from WikiLeaks, then he would be part of that overall conspiracy. That's the question that we don't know because his credibility is in such question, and so we don't publicly whether the statements he's made before are accurate or not.
TAPPER: Harry, do you agree that stone is most likely on the hook, potentially, for being part of a conspiracy?
SANDICK: It does seem that way. They keep bringing back in various people who had dealings with him to be re-interviewed or to appear in the grand jury. They're testing the public statement Stone has made and Stone has, as far as we know, has not been interviewed or brought to the grand jury, which is how you would treat the target of an investigation.
TAPPER: All right. Great. Thank you so much to both of you. Appreciate it. OUTFRONT next, the commander in chief sending a stunning warning to migrants in the caravan.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: When they throw rocks like they did at the Mexico military and police, I say consider it a rifle.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[19:40:02] TAPPER: Vietnam veteran and former secretary of defense, Chuck Hagel, will be here to respond.
Plus, Jeanne Moos on the girl who looked up to one first lady so much, she dressed up as her for Halloween.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEANNE MOOS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Was it always Michelle Obama?
UNIDENTIFIED GIRL: Always Michelle Obama.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: Tonight, the commander in chief saying that he wants U.S. troops to fire their guns on any migrant who even throws a rock at them.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: If they're throwing rocks, viciously and violently, you saw that three days ago, really hurting the military. We're not going to put up with that. They want to throw rocks at our military, our military fights back. We got to consider -- and I told them, consider it a rifle. When they throw rocks like they did at the Mexico military and police, I say, consider it a rifle.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: OUTFRONT tonight, the former U.S. secretary of defense in the Obama administration, former Republican Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska.
And, Senator, not only were you secretary of defense, but you carried a rifle in Vietnam as a soldier, an infantryman, I believe. What's your reaction?
CHUCK HAGEL, FORMER SECRETARY OF DEFENSE UNDER PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, my reaction in listening to that, coming from the commander in chief of our forces, president of the United States, is one of disgust. That's a wanton incitement of unnecessary violence. It's a distraction. It's a distortion. It is a rank political purpose to use our military like this and to
say those kinds of things is really astounding. Not in my lifetime have I ever heard those kind of words from a president of the United States.
[19:45:02] TAPPER: The president says that he will be sending up to 15,000 U.S. service members to the border. A lot of them, it looks like, are going to be acting in a support role, not necessarily standing point or, you know, operating as snipers but they will be there, 15,000. Fifteen thousand, as I don't need to tell you, that's more than the number of U.S. service members we have currently in Afghanistan and it's about three times as many U.S. service members as we have fighting ISIS in Iraq and Syria.
What's your response?
HAGEL: Well, this is folly. This is political distraction of the highest magnitude. The fact is, taking thousands of American troops who are trained on the cutting edge all the time and sending them down to a border where there is no need, there is no threat to an invasion of the hordes coming in from Latin America, which is a joke, and they are of limited utility anyway because of the constitutional issues involved here as to what our active military can and cannot do.
And so, it's clear to me that he's using our military and our troops in a very political way that really casts a lot of questions about the competency of his leadership and as a former soldier, someone 50 years ago today, Jake, I was in Vietnam, 50 years ago. I know the kind of sacrifices these men and women are involved with every day and their families, and to use them as political pawns like this, as a complete fabrication, is really wrong.
TAPPER: You mentioned invading hordes and that is certainly how President Trump is depicting the caravan and undocumented immigrants in his new web ad. I want to show you just a clip of it. It features a Mexican man who had been deported and came into the country illegally at least twice. He returned to the U.S. during the Bush administration, ultimately killed two deputy sheriffs during the Obama administration.
Here's a little clip.
(VIDEO CLIP PLAYS)
TAPPER: Democrats let him into our country, Democrats let him stay, et cetera. I'm sure you've seen the clip. It's rather incendiary.
What did you think when you saw it?
HAGEL: Well, it is incendiary and it's for one purpose and it's a political purpose.
I would suggest the president and the Republican Congress that controls our government today focus on immigration reform. We passed, in the United States Senate in 2005, an immigration reform bill with both Democrats and Republicans and with the help of a Republican president, President George W. Bush. In fact, we had him in Omaha to kick off his immigration reform bill, which was the responsible way to deal with these things. Not sending troops to the border to fabricate some potential invasion.
That's what the president should be doing. That's what leadership's about. That's what Republicans who control the Congress should be doing. That's the way to fix some of these problems.
Of course, you're going to secure your border. That's not a question. But let's be smart. Let's be real. And let's be honest. And I haven't seen much of that.
TAPPER: Lastly, sir, you were a Republican senator. You obviously -- you were pretty conservative. I remember when you were in the Senate, you actually were -- you would deviate from your party a bit when it came to U.S. intervention abroad. You sometimes were more skeptical of it than the average Republican senator.
You obviously supported Barack Obama, ultimately, and served in his administration. What do you think of the Republican Party today as somebody who was a Republican senator?
HAGEL: Well, first of all, I didn't take a position in 2008 in that presidential election.
TAPPER: Ultimately, though.
HAGEL: Ultimately, I did, but he was president of the United States and I thought he was a responsible president, doing a good job.
But to your question, I cast my first vote 50 years ago on top of a tank in Vietnam. I voted for Richard Nixon. I voted for a straight Republican ticket. I am a Republican. I'm still a registered Republican. I've never been anything but a Republican.
But there is no Republican Party today. The Republican Party used to be a party that focused on fiscal responsibility, free trade, international engagement, competent governance, national security, all the things that this party today is not focusing on. National security, I'll give him that. But everything else, it's just an amalgamation of special interests.
I'm not sure the Democrats are in better shape. But it isn't the party that I first joined. And I think it's pretty clear, the party leader today is the president of the United States who's really never been a Republican.
[19:50:07] He's never had a political philosophy about anything. And he ran on that campaign, by the way. That was his platform in 2016.
Elect me president of the United States because I know nothing about the job. Kind of a Democrat, I've been a Republican, I've been all over the place.
So I believe that the Republican Party will come back and will be relevant again, and will start to have a philosophy about government, and especially the question, what is the role of government? The role of government is not to displace people or displace any activity or effort to make a better world, but to use government for the right reasons and be smart about it.
We're not doing that today. We'll come back.
TAPPER: Senator Chuck Hagel, always good to see you. Thanks so much for being here.
TAPPER: Tonight, a neck and neck -- tonight, a neck and neck Senate race that should have been a slam dunk for the Republicans. We're talking about the Senate race in Tennessee. Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn right now only holding a four-point lead over former Democratic Governor Phil Bredesen. Trump won Tennessee with 61 percent of the vote.
So, should the Republican Party be worried?
Martin Savidge has this race of the day.
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Even as the new CNN poll shows a slight Republican lead, with less than a week to go, Tennessee Senate race is still remarkably close.
How has a Democrat managed to be so competitive in such a conservative state, where President Trump won 60 percent of the vote?
Phil Bredesen is not your typical Democrat. Widely known as popular as mayor of Nashville, he's credited with bringing professional sports teams to town.
As a two-term governor, he sent National Guard troops to the border with Mexico.
PHIL BREDESEN (D), U.S. SENATE CANDIDATE FROM TENNESSEE: Nobody is going to tell me how to vote.
SAVIDGE: He's rejected national Democratic leadership and agrees with president Trump on some things and pledges to do what's best for Tennessee, not the Democratic Party.
BREDESEN: I think if you ask people for characteristics about me, they'll say moderate. But they'll also say he gets things done. And that's what is really letting me be competitive in a state like this.
SAVIDGE: His centrist message is termed what should have been an easy victory for Republican Marsha Blackburn into a struggle. Blackburn is a fiery conservative who has served in Congress since 2003. She's not as popular as Bredesen but knows someone who is.
REP. MARSHA BLACKBURN (R), U.S. SENATE CANDIDATE FROM TENNESSEE: We love the president in Tennessee! SAVIDGE: Blackburn is a staunch Trump supporter. The president has
twice come to Tennessee to campaign on her behalf and he'll be back this weekend. Blackburn's campaign has largely adopted the Trump playbook. Just this week, as the president railed against the migrants headed for the U.S., Blackburn put the issue front and center in her own campaign.
AD NARRATOR: Gang members, known criminals, people from the Middle East, possibly even terrorists.
SAVIDGE: We reached out to the campaign for an interview but never got a response. Some political watchers suggested Blackburn is relying too heavily on Trump voters.
TOM INGRAM, TENNESSEE POLITICAL CONSULTANT: Trump is still very popular in this state, but I'm not sure that it's a good assumption that every Trump voter is a very conservative or even Republican voter.
SAVIDGE: Being too Trump could turn off independents and moderate Republicans, voters Blackburn still needs. We found several Republicans who say they voted for Bredesen.
HEATHER LYNCH, REPUBLICAN CROSSOVER VOTER: He follows the issues that I'm interested in, and much more aligns with my beliefs. And I don't see that from the other candidates.
SAVIDGE: He's an unabashed moderate, centrist, right down the middle. Does that appeal to you?
JIM TUERFF, REPUBLICAN CROSSOVER VOTER: You bet it does. We need more of that.
SAVIDGE: David Belew is a pharmacist, as well as a Republican.
DAVID BELEW, REPUBLICAN VOTER: This was an extremely difficult decision for me to make.
SAVIDGE: He's a fan of Trump's economy and worries about losing control of the Senate. He just couldn't vote Democrat.
BELEW: It's an extremely close race. I believe in the end, Blackburn will take this race. That's my gut feeling on it any way.
SAVIDGE: Ultimately for Tennessee voters in today's polarized political climate, how they vote may hinge on what matters more, a chance for moderation or party loyalty.
SAVIDGE: Jake, early voting came to an end in Tennessee just a very short while ago. No surprise here, they didn't just break records, they crushed them. And, of course, there is still Election Day to come. Many believe either candidate could easily still win -- Jake.
TAPPER: All right. Martin Savidge in Tennessee for us -- thanks so much.
[19:55:01] Coming up next, the little girl who loved Michelle Obama's portrait so much, she decided to copy it.
TAPPER: A 3-year-old girl has gone viral, twice, all because of her love for former first lady Michelle Obama.
Here's Jeanne Moos.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Meet mini Michelle Obama.
PARKER CURRY, 3-YEAR-OLD: My name is --
MOOS: Actually, you may have met her already. Back in March, Parker Curry's photo went viral. She was staring awe struck at Michelle Obama's recently unveiled portrait, at the National Portrait Gallery.
The former first lady was so smitten by the photo that she invited Parker to her Washington office.
What Parker couldn't shake off was a certain feeling.
JESSICA CURRY, PARKER'S MOM: Do you really think Michelle Obama is a queen?
PARKER CURRY: She is.
MOOS: And you?
PARKER CURRY: I'm a queen.
MOOS: Even as a guest on "Ellen," Mrs. Obama's image on the set blew Parker away.
PARKER CURRY: There I am.
MOOS: So, for Halloween, she ended up being Michelle Obama.
JESSICA CURRY: Whose idea was it?
PARKER CURRY: Me.
MOOS: A company called Magnolia Lake Children's Clothing donated the Michelle custom gown, which sells for 188 bucks.
JESSICA CURRY: Can you shake it up and down a little bit?
MOOS: Off they went trick or treating just outside Washington, D.C.
When you went to people's houses -- wait, Parker, come back.
MOOS: No wonder the 3-year-old first lady needed a police escort, her little sister.
JESSICA CURRY: Once people saw the dress, they knew she was Michelle Obama, or she told them, hey, I'm Michelle Obama.
MOOS: The outfit won Parker lots of candy. But the sweetest reward, a tweet from Michelle Obama: You nailed the look, Parker. I love it.
JESSICA CURRY: She'll see a magazine with Michelle Obama and she will start squealing and screaming and yelling, Michelle, there's my Michelle.
MOOS: If this keeps up, her police escort may have to use those handcuffs to contain her sister's Michelle mania.
Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.
TAPPER: Thanks for joining us.
"AC360" starts now.