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THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER

Trump Calls Crowd "Patriots" After Chanting "Send Her Back"; Harris & Biden Gearing Up for Rematch at Second Dem Debate; Trump Accusers Feel Left Behind The #MeeToo Movement; Crowds Gather To Call For Puerto Rico Governor To Resign. Aired 4:30-5p ET

Aired July 19, 2019 - 16:30   ET

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


KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's really what we've seen play out at the White House, because we went from the president saying, oh, I tried to stop it, I started speaking quickly when he was one-on-one with a reporter who was asking why he would let his supporters go on and chant something like that.

[16:30:09] And then today the president stuck a much more defiant tone, talking about how his supporters are patriots, the people of North Carolina were patriots. While yesterday, he was telling reporters to drive back to North Carolina and ask them why they made those comments. So you are seeing him change his tone after the coverage.

And Abby said that Melania Trump was also frustrated by their comments, which is interesting because she was standing over his shoulder today in the Oval Office. But, yes, it seems you're seeing the president back off his seeming distancing himself from the comments from yesterday.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: That is exactly what we saw with Charlottesville riots.

COLLINS: And same with the "lock her up", he distanced himself from that originally and then became a staple of his rally.

TAPPER: Toluse, the president said he doesn't know whether this is good for him politically or not. He's not focused at all on the politics of it. Do you buy that?

TOLUSE OLORUNNIPA, WHITE HOUSE REPORTER, THE WASHINGTON POST: This is a president that is always focused on politics. He's looking at 2020 and you could look at anything he does through the lens of 2020 and whether or not he thinks it is good for him. Now, he and some of his advisers think it is good for him to able to elevate some of these congresswomen who they believe are too far left for the country and would paint the Democratic Party as being socialist party and that is what he's trying to do here.

Now when he sort of walks back his comments and then doubles down, it sort of gives his supporters what they want, it gives the people who are concerned about what he said, what they want as well, because they could say the president disavowed those comments, you know, let's move on, and then the supporters say he's fighting for us and sticking with us.

So, we've seen -- so as Kaitlan said, we've seen him do this before like Charlottesville where his supporters heard what they wanted to hear, the people who were Republicans and concerned with his initial response also heard what they wanted to hear and they were able to say, you know, the president has condemned the neo-Nazi and white supremacists and let's all move on.

So, it is a strategy the president is using to play both sides of the aisle and all of it is politics and looking at 2020.

TAPPER: Let's be clear, these congresswomen have said things that are critical of the United States. The president also completely, continually misrepresents what they say. They have not called the United States garbage.

But, Tara, take a listen to what President Trump said just a few moments ago in response to a question from Abby Phillip.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN WHITE HOUSE PRESIDENT: Why is it OK for you to criticize America but not Democratic congresswomen?

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I believe all people are great people. I believe everyone is great. But I love our country.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TARA SETMAYER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Kudos to our colleague Abby Phillip for asking that question because it really put him in a situation where he should have answered it and didn't, he deflected, because he can't. That was half a step away from there is good people on both sides right there.

You know, this president has disparaged this country time and time again. He went after John McCain who was an unquestioned war hero in this country. You tell me that was patriotic, when he went after Gold Star families, that's patriotic? When he sat there he let those -- those people who chanted "send her back", those are examples of patriots? No, they are not. Would he feel the same way about the people back in the civil rights era that were chanting send them back for African-Americans during segregation? Or what about the brown shirts in Germany who were chanting God knows what about the Jews, people would think they were being patriotic.

I mean, this is ridiculous for the president to continue using these examples that these people are patriots by sending them back. Was it patriotic when the Ku Klux Klan had billboards in the South saying love it or leave it? They could say they were being patriots and they didn't want those people of color there.

I mean, this is absurd. It's asinine of the president to use it as an excuse and frankly the Republicans who came out who said this is not a good thing, the nativist approach, not only do they thank god recognize the dangerous slippery slope but they also know the numbers. We have 22 million naturalized citizens in this country, including 400,000 in the state of Pennsylvania which he only won by 44,000.

TAPPER: And, Jen Psaki, let me ask you, the politics of this? The president ran a campaign that was -- that was racially tinged at the very least in 2016. In 2018, he had the whole caravan thing. 2016, it worked electorally at least. 2018, it definitely didn't.

Are there fears in the Democratic Party about what this might mean, the immorality of racism that it might be effective?

JEN PSAKI, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I think what President Trump is look back at 2016 as you touched on and decided that is his playbook. 2018 doesn't matter and that wasn't about me, I wasn't on the ballot.

That is true historically for past presidents and past midterm elections and he's trying to run the same playbook. So, as Kaitlan has touched, and as the whole panel touched on, we've seen this playbook before. This is almost like his security blanket and his safety net to go back to racially-tinged and racial language in order to satisfy his base.

Now, that doesn't mean it's the right strategy because he's betting on getting the exact same group of people out to vote. He has not expanded it at all and that is not a way to win election when you are president.

[16:35:02] TAPPER: All right. Everyone, stick around, because we got a lot more to talk about. What front-runner Joe Biden might want to practice as he gets ready for the CNN debate?

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

TAPPER: In our 2020 lead, our match-ups are set. Presidential hopefuls are now gearing up for the second presidential debates hosted by CNN. On night one, Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren will take center stage, along with Pete Buttigieg, Senator Amy Klobuchar and others. And the next night, Wednesday, it's a highly anticipated rematch between former Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Kamala Harris, as well as Cory Booker and seven others.

Let's chew over this.

Jen, you're looking for Biden and Harris to have another confrontation or at least discussion about ways they disagree.

[16:40:04] You also say that you expect Biden will be better prepared this time?

PSAKI: I think so. I've talked to a lot of members of his team and they feel like it was a wake-up call for him, which ultimately could be a good thing in a primary campaign, when you realize you didn't have a good performance, you need to be more prepared, you need to bring your best game to it.

So, hopefully that is -- I think they're hoping that's the Joe Biden that he brings to the debate stage and he'll be more ready. Also you can't, if you are Senator Harris, repeat the same attack. So obviously she was quite strong throughout the debate, but she's not going to do the same thing on busing, I would assume, so she'd have to go after him with a different tact.

TAPPER: On Biden's other side, Toluse, is going to be Senator Cory Booker, Democrat of New Jersey. After the draw, Booker's deputy communications director tweeted: Mark the day, July 31, 2019, Joe Biden gets his own Senate Judiciary Committee hearing.

Now, here is the back story here. Cory Booker and Kamala Harris both known for being on the Senate Judiciary Committee asking tough questions, and, you know, the suggestion, of course, is that Biden might face some tough questions of his own, at him, from Harris and Booker, ala Anita Hill, ala crime bill.

OLORUNNIPA: Yes, Booker was at "The Washington Post" earlier this week talking to my colleague about what he plans to do during this debate and he wants to be able to show a contrast between him and Biden. He didn't have that chance during the first round of the debate on different nights. This time, he has a chance to not only confront Biden specifically over the issue of segregationist and Biden saying, oh, Cory should apologize and also the issue of the crime bill.

Cory Booker has the First Step Act that he was able to help pass with the Trump administration and he said that the 1994 crime bill which was spearheaded by Joe Biden was one of the worst piece of legislation ever signed. So, he may be able to confront him on that issue and we'll see whether or not Joe Biden has a good comeback.

SETMAYER: I just hope that Cory Booker who is desperate for a moment because he's trailing in both money and support, I hope he doesn't overstep now also. If he pulls --

TAPPER: You thought Kamala Harris overstepped?

SETMAYER: Yes, I thought it was a cheap shot at Biden. Unfortunately, he wasn't prepared for it and he admitted as much because he thought she wouldn't go so personal but it hasn't been sustaining for her. OK, so she flipped on the busing issue and with that kind of went away and now flip flopped on health care and so, it really hasn't -- it improved for her.

But I think it was more of a shot in the arm for Biden to realize that this -- he has to be a bit more aggressive. I appreciate that he wants to be the gentlemanly guy there and said he doesn't want to attack people, but he has to show the American people not only that he's pragmatic and that he could unify the country, but that also he'll fight for them. That is something a -- a hallmark of what Biden has been known for and I'm looking forward to him doing that and making sure that Cory Booker doesn't kneecap him the way Kamala Harris did. TAPPER: So, on Tuesday, the 30th, that's first night of debates,

Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders will be on the same stage, along with eight others. Elizabeth Warren has been eating into Bernie Sanders' voters. I mean, she's basically passed him in a lot of polls. But listen to Warren's response when told she is on the same stage as him.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I am delighted. Bernie and I have been friends for a long, long time. We've worked on a lot of issues together.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COLLINS: They have been friends for a long time. They did make a pact not to attack each other individually but, of course, they're going to be on stage with a bunch of other moderates and it is the two of them competing for the same kind of voter in this race. So in Bernie Sanders made clear how he felt about that if recent weeks with the statements he's made.

So, it's going to be interesting to see them watch and see how they try to edge the other out for the really liberal left-leaning voters.

TAPPER: And it's going to be tough for Bernie, because you can't attack Elizabeth Warren but she's taking your voters away from you. So, what do you do? And it is challenging for a male candidate going at a female candidate as Barack Obama and Rick Lazio and others have learned.

COLLINS: Maybe, but I think Elizabeth Warren will hold her own in that sense. I mean, she works with these people every day in the Senate, so I think that will be -- I don't think that it will be an issue.

TAPPER: Not that she can't hold her own but that the guy could risk looking like a bullying, at least historically that's been the risk.

And just a reminder, the CNN Democratic presidential debates are July 30th and 31st moderated by Dana Bash, Don Lemon and myself only on CNN.

Coming up, three women, three different allegations of sexual assault, misconduct, all involving Donald Trump, and all three sit down with CNN in a rare interview. That's next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[16:45:00] JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Time for our "BURIED LEAD." That's what we call stories we think are not getting enough attention. Are they the Forgotten women of the MeToo Movement? Three women who accused President Trump of sexual misconduct have sat down with CNN's M.J. Lee. They say they feel left behind. They're still waiting for their moment. And they share the struggles they face since coming forward calling for President Trump to face what they see is justice. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

E. JEAN CARROLL, ACCUSED TRUMP OF SEXUAL ASSAULT: He managed to penetrate me against my will completely.

JESSICA LEEDS, ACCUSED TRUMP OF SEXUAL ASSAULT: And then all of a sudden I realized that he was putting his hand up my skirt.

MINDY MCGILLIVRAY, ACCUSED TRUMP OF SEXUAL ASSAULT: Donald just grabbed my ass.

M.J. LEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: These three women say they were sexually assaulted years ago by Donald Trump.

So this would have been at Mar-a-Lago?

MCGILLIVRAY: Right.

LEE: Mindy McGillivray says it was at a concert at the Mar-a-Lago Club in 2003 when she was a photo assistant.

MCGILLIVRAY: A hard like grab on my right side. So I jump up. I'm startled.

LEE: Jessica Leeds says it was on an airplane when she was traveling for work in the early 1980s.

LEEDS: We're struggling. I'm trying to push him off of me.

LEE: Author E. Jean Carroll says it happened inside of a Bergdorf Goodman dressing room in the 1990s.

CARROLL: The minute I was in that room, boom, the door closed and he shoved me against the wall, bang my head.

[16:50:02] LEE: Two of them say they decided to go public with their allegations after this exclusive Access Hollywood tape leaked.

TRUMP: Grab them by the (BLEEP). You can do anything.

LEE: Their tipping point, this moment at a presidential debate on October 2016.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Are you saying that what you said on that bus 11 years ago that you did not actually kiss women without consent or grope women without consent.

TRUMP: I have great respect for women. Nobody has more respect for women than I do.

COOPER: Have you ever done those things.

TRUMP: And women have respect for me and I will tell you, no I have not.

MCGILLIVRAY: I jumped out of my seat and I pointed to the TV and I'm like you son of a bitch, you're a liar.

LEE: For the past few years, a reckoning has roiled the nation as women have spoken out under the banner of MeToo. Powerful men in media, entertainment, business, and government have been forced to reckon with allegations of misconduct and violence.

The woman who spoke out against Trump has been cheering on the movement but they have also watched their alleged attacker get elected president of the United States.

TRUMP: She would not be my first choice, that I can tell you.

LEE: And deny all of their allegations.

LEEDS: Trump really is Teflon. It just slides right off of him. Things that he has done, he doesn't seem to pay the price for it.

MCGILLIVRAY: How can he serve the United States of America as the president when he has hurt countless women, countless?

CARROLL: Nobody has held him accountable yet, not one person.

LEE: More than a dozen women have come forward with a wide range of accusations against Trump.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was forcibly kissed --

LEE: From unwelcome advances to sexual harassment and assault.

LEEDS: He was all over me, hands everywhere.

LEE: Trump's most recent accuser detailed her alleged assault in a new book. Since coming out, these women say they have received support but also furious backlash. One even described death threats.

CARROLL: I'd seen what happened to Jessica Leeds and Mindy. I had seen it. Vehement denials and how dare they come forward.

LEE: The question these women are grappling with, what does justice or accountability look like.

TRUMP: It's a totally false accusation --

LEE: When the accused is the most powerful man in the world.

CARROLL: Oh total jail time, total jail time for the rest of his life. Absolutely.

LEEDS: For him to lose the election in 2020.

MCGILLIVRAY: I would like him to say I'm sorry. I'm sorry if I'm making you uncomfortable. I'm sorry for disrespecting you or hurting you in any way.

LEE: Some worry that they will be entirely left behind by the MeToo Movement. MCGILLIVRAY: We are the forgotten ones. I feel like we have been brushed aside and forgotten about.

LEE: But Trump's latest accuser says she is more hopeful.

CARROLL: There is a way. I know there's a way because women are angry.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LEE: Now, all three of these women have such different stories but they all have a number of things in common. They all say they remember exactly what they were wearing at the time of the alleged assault. None of them went to the police. And, Jake, all three women telling me they would love to someday meet one another. Jake?

TAPPER: All right, M.J. Lee with that report, thank you so much. And we're just minutes away from what is expected to be the largest protests yet in Puerto Rico. We're going to go live on the ground there next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[16:55:00] TAPPER: In our "NATIONAL LEAD," any moment protests begin in Puerto Rico and it could be the biggest demonstration we have seen yet. Crowds are demanding that Puerto Rican Governor Ricardo Rosello resign over private chat messages that were leaked to the public. The messages at best is homophobic and vicious and cruel and at worst, pointing to corruption.

CNN's Leyla Santiago is on the ground in San Juan. And Leyla, crowds are beginning to gather behind you.

LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That is right. Crowds are not staying home even though it is raining right now, Jake. I'll sort of try to get right in there so you could see what it's like. This is right at La Fortaleza, that is the governor's mansion, and this is sort of the center. We are now on day six of protests.

And while this is peaceful, this is even somewhat festive with drums and music, you could expect that this will be very, very different in a matter of three, four hours. That is what we've seen over the last few days.

So why are these people here? They will tell you, it is more than vulgar language in a chat. This is about getting rid of corruption on the island. I have spoken to so many people who are saying that the governor must resign now. He can no longer govern. But the governor, I just checked in with his office and they say he has not even considering it at this hour.

TAPPER: All right, Leyla Santiago, thank you so much. Stay safe in that protest. Coming up this weekend -- oh, actually, something else. In the "MONEY LEAD" today, President Trump is insisting that the Democrats cannot use the debt ceiling as a negotiation tool with the president as the administration works to try to reach a deal on the debt ceiling before the August Recess.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I can't imagine anybody ever thinking of using the debt ceiling as a negotiating wedge.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TAPPER: Don't use it as a negotiation -- negotiating wedge. He said this is the fun part, a game we always like to call "There is always a tweet for it. In 2012, as a citizen, Mr. Trump tweeted "the Republicans must use the debt ceiling as leverage to make a great deal." There is always a tweet for it.

This week on the "STATE OF THE UNION," Democratic Presidential Candidate Sen. Cory Booker, we'll also have Republican Senator Ron Johnson. That's Sunday morning at 9:00 and again at noon.

You can follow me on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter @JAKETAPPER or you can tweet the show @THELEADCNN --

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