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Obama and Trump Face-Off on Trail with Four Days to Go; Trump Falsely Claims He Didn't Say U.S. Should Shoot Migrants; Michael Cohen Says Trump has History of Racist Remarks; Oprah Invokes Memory of a Georgia Man as Voting Inspiration. Aired 3:30-4p ET
Aired November 2, 2018 - 15:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[15:30:00] BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST:
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: I've lost track of time, after a pipe bomber targeted people, including the media, including CNN because the President has been screaming about fake news. And it seems that that is now sort of out of his mind, as is the call for civility, et cetera, et cetera. And we're back to the blame game here. And, you know, I hesitate sometimes to pick up on everything he throws at us because we ought to maybe move beyond to the actual things he said about other things, which is he said he never said that the military should shoot at the border.
BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: Let me just -- I agree. And that was my other -- I do think we have to function in fact and in truth and I do think we have to call people out for when they are not speaking that way. And so, to your point, he said -- the quote was I didn't say shoot meaning shoot members of this caravan. Yes, he did and we have the tape. Let me roll that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We will consider that the maximum that we can consider that. Because 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're going to consider it -- 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)
BALDWIN: Kaitlan, I want you to pick up Gloria's point. It's like, no, you said it last night, we even have the video of you saying it last night so how can he do that?
KAITLIN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Brooke, he seems to be trying to walk back those comments and reverse what he seemed to say, as you just showed. He kind of trailed off and said when they throw stones and rock rocks, he expects it to be treated is a firearm. Now Brooke, in the hours since the President made that remark yesterday, several former retired generals have criticized the president for saying as much. And we also saw the Nigerian army use it as justification for them firing on protesters in recent days, killing dozens of them. So, those are the two things that have occurred in the last 24 hours.
A lot of criticism of that remark. So now President Trump is saying that is not what he meant. He did not mean they should shoot when these migrants throw rocks or stones, whenever that does happen as you said. Has been reported that instead he believes they should be arrested and prosecuted immediately. So, Brooke, he did seem to be trying to walk that back after getting some criticism, even from members of the military for that remark over the last 24 hours.
BALDWIN: Maeve, to you, I'm not sure if walking it back is the right way to characterize what Trump is doing. He's lying straight up.
MAEVE RESTON, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER: Yes, that was just claiming that he didn't say something that he absolutely did. There's no other way to interpret saying "consider the rifle". So, I just think that contrast that we just saw was so interesting because President Obama was really speaking to not just those people in Florida, but voters all over the country who are fed up with Trumps rhetoric. Especially the way that he's ratcheted it up the rhetoric on the caravan over the last week. And President Obama really calling him out for the line and also for, you know, politics of division and hatred. And there will be a lot of people that will listen to that speech.
So, if President Trump was indeed trying to walk back his statement about the throwing rocks, it's in part because he is putting his party in jeopardy with his rhetoric right now. He is making it very difficult for other Republicans around the country to hold on to their seats in Congress. And that's going to be to his detriment -- Brooke.
BALDWIN: Kaitlan, what did you make of when President Trump said it was the media creating the violence?
COLLINS: Well, Brooke, that's interesting because Sarah Sanders, the press secretary, not that long ago was saying that the President wasn't blaming anyone for what happened when those pipe bombs, those explosives, were sent in the mail to his political targets. She said, he was not placing blame at anyone. But, Brooke, we saw the President lay the blame for violence in the country at the media's feet right there. That reporter asked him if he felt that he was inciting violence, creating some kind of political violence with the rhetoric that he uses, that very often heated rhetoric. And he had said -- pointed his finger at the reporter and the reporter said on Twitter, and that it's you that's the one that's creating the violence. Of course, Brooke, it's not true that it is the media that is responsible for the violence. But it is a twist of what the President's own spokesman said on his behalf just not that long ago.
BALDWIN: By the way, the music behind Kaitlin -- obviously, she's in Huntington West Virginia ahead of the President stumping for candidates there. Just to explain the noise, [15:35:01] Gloria, I want to come back to you though on Maeve's point on contrast of all of this. I mean, just to watch TV for the past 25 minutes you saw former President Obama and President Trump and the one thing they agree on is that this is the most important election of their lifetimes.
BORGER: Right. It was very interesting for me to watch Obama because we haven't watched him like this for a long time. And he said the character of our country is on the ballot this election. I think that might be something that both of these men could agree on. Except they see the character of the country in a very different way. And Obama even slipped back into the hope and change thing a little bit, if you noticed.
But you heard Obama sticking to the Democratic talking points, which are preexisting conditions, such an important issue for Democrats. Pointing out that when Republicans had an opportunity, they tried to take them away. They were one vote short of repealing the Affordable Care Act. They're not defending the Affordable Care Act in court. Taking at home to Democratic voters, making that the issue. Reminding them of pictures of the children separated from their pictures at the border, for example.
And then you saw Donald Trump talking about, yes, his accomplishments on the economy, which, of course, he ought to be able to do. But then he slips back into the old grievance pattern. And so, instead of continuing to talk about what he's achieved. Which is good economy, tax reform, he can brag about. He talks about all the other things he throwing against the wall, sanctions against Iran. And we know the entire list that we've heard for the last week and a half, birthright citizenship, a new tax cut for the middle class, et cetera, et cetera.
And then he slips. You know, he kind of -- he invents these things. He starts a little higher because I'm sure they told him to. Then, you know, he talks about what he's going to do with Iran, and what's happening with China -- which may be a good thing. And then he slips into that grievance.
And what Obama is saying is, don't be bamboozled by the grievance candidates here. He said to the folks who are out there why are you so mad when you won the last election, the ones who were heckling him, right? So, it was a real interesting, interesting study because I think Trump understands that he can win with fear.
BALDWIN: And that's what he's hoping he'll be able to use to accomplish to bring home the "W" on Tuesday. Ladies, I will see all of you in Washington next week. For now, thank you very much for wrapping all of that up with me. These two Presidents out here on the trail.
Just in, by the way -- have you heard about this? President Trump's former lawyer and fixer, Michael Cohen -- he's already flipped on his former boss -- he's talking to special counsel Robert Mueller. Now Cohen is revealing how Trump used racist language long before he became the President of the United States. We have those new details just coming in next. [15:40:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
BALDWIN: Just in, President Trump's former personal attorney, Michael Cohen, is now saying the President repeatedly used racist language in the past. Cohen just shared that information in an article that's just been published in "Vanity Fair." And MJ Lee is joining me now with what exactly he purportedly said.
MJ LEE, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, so Michael Cohen is unloading on Donald Trump in this new interview with "Vanity Fair." And it's not pretty. I want to go through just a couple the examples and they used some very colorful language. He basically said that in the years of working for Trump, he heard the President using racist language. Including in 2016 when they were having a conversation about one of Donald Trump's rallies and the audience members being mostly white and Trump said this in response, quote, that's because black people are too stupid to vote for me.
Another example, after Nelson Mandela's death, Michael Cohen said that Donald Trump said to him name one country run by a black person that is not a [ bleep ] hole, name one city.
Another and last example, in late 2000s in Chicago Michael Cohen says that they were driving from the airport to the hotel and they went through a pretty rough neighborhood and Donald Trump said this, "only the blacks could live like this."
Now, Michael Cohen says the motivation here and him speaking out and giving this interview and sharing these details is because he believes voters should be equipped with this knowledge and should know about Donald Trump's real character as we head into the midterms. And this, of course, follows on some of the other reporting that we have done over the last few weeks where we know Michael Cohen says he changed his party registration from Republican back to Democrat. He says that he now wants to campaign for Democrats and against the President.
Of course, last month we actually caught up with Michael Cohen, and in that brief interview in Manhattan, Michael Cohen told me he wants everybody to get out and vote against Donald Trump. So, he is basically openly now campaigning against his former boss. Now there are going to be a lot of people obviously rolling their eyes at this idea that Michael Cohen can now suddenly be the person telling the truth about the President's character because he was with him for so long --
BALDWIN: He stayed with him.
LEE: Right. For so long he was his staunchest defender and he said that he was the smartest, most talented, brilliant person. So, this sudden about face is not going to sit well with just anybody.
BALDWIN: Consider the character of both men involved. MJ Lee, thank you very much for that.
[15:45:01] Coming up next, Orpah shares her personal inspiration for voting in an emotional speech. She references Otis Moss senior, a black man who was denied that right to vote in the Jim Crow South. His son, a well-known pastor and activists joins me live to explain what it means to have Oprah keep his father's memory and lesson alive.
BALDWIN: No matter where you stand on the issues dividing our country so deeply, this next story is one that every American needs to hear right now. And it comes from Orpah Winfrey. And yes, she was campaigning for a Democrat running for governor in Georgia. But this story isn't about party. It isn't about the President. Instead, it is a reminder that voting for many, many Americans wasn't always a right they could exercise.
OPRAH WINFREY, MEDIA MOGUL: I didn't take voting seriously until around my mid-20s. And around my mid-20s, I had the privilege of hearing Reverend Otis Moss Jr. Who is a preacher. Y'all know him? Preacher. Preacher in Cleveland, Ohio. And I heard him tell the story of his father. Of Otis Moss senior. Who right here in Georgia's Troup County got up in the morning and put on his only suit and his best tie. And he walked six miles to the voting poll location he was told to go to in LaGrange. And when he got there, after walking six miles in his good suit and tie, they said, boy, you at the wrong place. You at the wrong place. You need to go over to Mountville.
So, he walked another six miles to Mountville. And when he got there, they said, boy, you at the wrong place. You need to go to the Rosemount school. And I picture him walking from dawn to dusk in his suit, his feet tired.
[15:50:00] Getting to the Rosemount school, and they said, boy, you too late. The polls are closed. And he never had a chance to vote. By the time the next election came around, he had died.
So, when I go to the polls and I cast my ballot, I cast it for a man I never knew. I cast it for Otis Moss senior, who walked 18 miles one day, just for the chance to vote.
And for anybody here who has an ancestor who didn't have the right to vote, and you are choosing not to vote, wherever you are in this state, in this country, you are dishonoring your family. You are disrespecting and disregarding their legacy. Their suffering and their dreams when you don't vote.
BALDWIN: Joining me now, the Reverend Otis Moss, Jr., the man who shared the story about his father that you just heard Orpah retell. Reverend Moss, an honor and a pleasure, sir. Welcome.
REVEREND OTIS MOSS, OPRAH INVOKED HIS FATHER STORY OF VOTER SUPPRESSION: Thank you. Good to be with you.
BALDWIN: Your father's story, obviously, has so resonated with Orpah Winfrey that I know she has shared it on more than one occasion. And I'm just curious what it means to you that she wants people, she wants Americans to hear your father's story.
MOSS: It is amazing and fulfilling, honoring, and it is an honor and humbling that after 72 years, my father's struggle, my father's walk is relevant in this very hour and every nation in every state of our nation, in every precinct, in every voting place. What my father experienced 72 years ago, we sought to overcome in the civil rights movement with the voting rights act. But all over the country now, we are facing voter suppression. We must overcome that here and now.
BALDWIN: 72 years ago, when your father took that walk, reverend, I understand you were 11 years of age. And I'm wondering, when he came home, did you know something had happened? Did you understand the significance of his walking and walking to no avail, and what lesson did you take from that?
MOSS: We understood it then and we understand it now. We were eagerly awaiting his return home, and we were hurt, we were pained. We were saddened that he had not had the chance to cast his vote. But it also built within his children and now his grandchildren and great grandchildren the determination to be a part of the voting rights process in every election.
And I am pleased to say that our children, our father's grandchildren and our great grandchildren, have that legacy, that memory, and all over this nation, even though at this very hour hate is on the ballot throughout the country, we must keep hope on the ballot. 72 years ago, voter denial was on the ballot. 72 years later, voter suppression and voter oppression is on the ballot. But we must keep hope on the ballot. To quote my friend Jesse Jackson, we must keep hope alive. So, as we move toward election day on Tuesday, we must remember what our parents and ancestors have gone through, what they have suffered. And we must be on point, on the case, every day.
BALDWIN: You mentioned the hate. And before I ask you about just the state of America right now, I know you have been a counselor to former Presidents jimmy carter, the Clintons, Obama. You have been the leader of one of Cleveland's largest and most powerful churches. You, sir, lived through the civil rights movement. And to see a country today so divided, the rhetoric so heated, several examples of hate- laced violence last week alone. Reverend Moss, last question. What is your message to America at this troubled time?
MOSS: We must never surrender to hate.
[15:55:00] We must never surrender to violence. No matter how pervasive, how powerful, we must continue to lift up that which is good, just and right. We must be liberationists. We must be prophets. We must be carriers of hope, even when we have to bear the cross of disrespect and violence and denial.
Right now, people are talking about rescinding the 14th amendment. That language itself is dangerous. And we have a moral responsibility to teach, to preach and practice that which is good, right and just, here and now. Every day. We can win this fight, but it will be a struggle for the rest of our days, and for years to come. But we can make sure that we leave what we touch better than we found it.
BALDWIN: Reverend Moss, what a message at the end of this week for me and for everyone watching. Thank you so much.
MOSS: Thank you.
BALDWIN: We'll be right back.
BALDWIN: We just heard from Reverend Otis Moss about his father's struggle to vote. But the fight to make sure every vote counts is far from over. CNN's Kyung Lah has been investigating voter suppression tactics in the 2018 midterm elections. Do not miss this special report. It's called, "DEMOCRACY IN PERIL, THE WAR ON VOTING RIGHTS". It airs tonight at 11:00 eastern.
And before we go here, this final weekend ahead of the midterm elections, a quick look at the Dow moments from the closing bell. It's down about 155 points. Despite a better than expected jobs report out this morning, and really some solid news on wages.
Hope you all have wonderful weekends. But don't move a muscle. You want to watch "THE LEAD." In the meantime, I'm Brooke Baldwin. Thanks for being with me. "THE LEAD" with Jake Tapper starts right now.