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CNN NEWSROOM

Trump Mocks Congresswoman's Tears After Israel Ban; ISIS Returns, The Terror Group Regaining Strength in Iraq And Syria; CNN Poll Shows Biden Extends Lead, Harris Falls, Warren and Sanders Even; Jill Biden Makes Blunt Appeal to Go with Guy Who Can Beat Trump; Steph Curry Helps Historically Black College Bring Golf Program. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired August 20, 2019 - 15:30   ET

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


[15:30:00] DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I mean Omar is a disaster for Jewish people. I can't image if she has any Jewish people in her district that they could possibly vote for her. But what Omar has said, What Tlaib has said.

And then yesterday I noticed for the first time, Tlaib with the tears all of a sudden, she starts with tears, tears, and I don't buy it, I don't buy it for a second. Because I've seen her in a very vicious mood at campaign rallies, my campaign rallies, before she was a Congresswoman, I said, who is that?

And I saw a woman that was violent and vicious and out of control. All of a sudden, I see this person who's crying because she can't see her grandmother. She could see her grandmother. They gave her permission to see her grandmother. But she grandstanded and she didn't want to do it. So that's a decision of Israel. A lot of people are saying that was my decision.

That's decision of Israel they --

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: And Jim, let's just remind everyone as we just heard him say all of that, just reminding everyone, the ban by Israel came after the President's own urging.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right, he tweeted about and he even admitted to reporters last week, Brooke, you and I remember this, that he talked to Israelis about -- he wasn't specific about who he talked to, but he said he spoke with some of the Israelis about this decision.

Brooke, one thing that people have to understand about what the President is saying about the lawmakers that make up the so-called squad, Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and so on. Is that this very much a tack-to-you thing

I talked to Republican sources recently who said, the President, his campaign, they want to tie the Democratic Party to the lawmakers who make up the so-called squad. Because they see this as a route to success in 2020.

If they can continue to tie Democrats to these four lawmakers, they feel that is going to pay dividends down the road. I think you have to take note of the very superheated, very incendiary rhetoric almost inciting rhetoric that the President was using there accusing Congresswoman Tlaib of violent behavior and that sort of thing.

That is the kind of rhetoric that concerns people in the offices of those lawmakers. They are very concerned of where that rhetoric could lead. And you saw the President just a few moments ago engaging in it once again as he did on Twitter earlier today -- Brooke.

BALDWIN: Calling a sitting member of Congress a disaster. Jim Acosta, thank you.

ACOSTA: You bet.

BALDWIN: Coming up next, the return of ISIS, why and where the terror group is resurging after the President declared them defeated.

[15:35:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: Moments ago, President Trump also made a little bit of news in suggesting Russia could, should, be back in the G-8, the group of leaders that includes the world's wealthiest and most powerful countries. So, Kimberly Dozier is a contributor for the Daily Beast and is a CNN global affairs analyst.

His direct quote, if somebody would make that motion, I would certainly be disposed to think about it very favorably.

Kimberly, do you think Russia should be allowed back in? And if they were to be, what sort of ramifications would that have on the global stage?

KIMBERLY DOZIER, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Well, the other members of the G-7 don't think Russia should be back in, and that's what they told him the last time they met and he brought this up then too. Russia was kicked out of the G-8, because it annexed Crimea from the Ukraine after invading Crimea back in 2014,

That hasn't changed, but this goes back to President Trump's fixation with Russia as a possible future ally for the U.S. and seeing them as a strong man as opposed to seeing them as engaging in dangerous behavior that needs to be checked and punished.

BALDWIN: Also, wanted to talk to you today, just moving on to ISIS in all this reporting of this camp in northern Syria, some 70,000 strong. ISIS family members, this hotbed of ISIS ideology. We know that President Trump declared victory five months ago.

But his Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, acknowledging today ISIS is not only surging but in some cases is stronger than it was a few years ago. If the President withdraws troops, as he said he wants to do, what sort of effect would that have?

DOZIER: Well I think the important thing that happened today is that Secretary Pompeo actually said that out loud in an interview that President Trump might watch. Because his other officials in the State Department that cover this like Ambassador Jim Jeffrey who is the envoy on ISIS has said earlier this month in a detailed but not very well reported briefing, that ISIS is still engaged throughout parts of Syria where the U.S. isn't active.

And also that 15,000 fighters or more are in urban areas and hiding across Iraq and still engaging in terrorism, threatening people, undermining the local government and also providing inspiration to tens of thousands of people who are still in internment camps inside Iraq and Syria, who did favor ISIS before.

[15:40:00] BALDWIN: Yes. Still a massive problem. Kimberly Dozier, thank you for that, and acknowledging that at least Mike Pompeo said it out loud. Appreciate you.

Coming up next here on CNN, the former second lady, Dr. Jill Biden argues the Democrats should vote for her husband even if perhaps he's not their top choice, hear her explain why.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: Former Vice President Joe Biden is at the head of the Democratic pack running for President in this new CNN poll. He has extended his lead actually from the last survey, you can see Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren pretty much share the second-place spot. And then take a look at Kamala Harris dropping a whopping 12 points.

[15:45:00] The CNN poll also found a majority of those surveyed want first and foremost a candidate who can beat Trump. And that falls right in line with some comments from Dr. Biden, the former Vice President's wife, who seemed to say out loud what perhaps many of those polled may be thinking. Here she was.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JILL BIDEN, WIFE OF JOE BIDEN: I know not all of you are committed to my husband, and I respect that, your candidate may be better on, I don't know, health care than Joe is. But you've got to look at who's going to win this election.

And maybe you have to swallow a little bit and say, OK, I sort of personally like so and so better, but your bottom line has to be that we have to beat Trump.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: Jess McIntosh who was director of communications outreach for the Hillary Clinton campaign and Rich Benjamin wrote the book, "Searching for Whitopia -- Improbable Journey to The Heart of White America."

So great to see both of you. Ladies first, so, maybe not a ringing endorsement coming from your wife, but is she wrong?

JESS MCINTOSH, FORMER COMMUNICATIONS OUTREACH DIRECTOR, HILLARY CLINTON CAMPAIGN: Yes. I love Dr. Jill Biden, I'm a huge fan of hers, I have been for a long time. Logically, the reason why she's wrong, is because we are terrible at predicting who is electable.

Mitt Romney, Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, we were wrong on every single one, everyone that was supposed to win lost and everyone that was supposed to lose won. So we're not good at this.

So telling somebody to ignore their gut, don't vote for the candidate you like, vote for one who can win is literally telling them to throw the primary, because we have no idea who can win, we never do. Aside from the logic, telling us to settle now is way too early. Like it's still light out, the bar is still full, there's no need to settle.

BALDWIN: Going by at least the numbers, most folks want to pick the person who will beat Trump, is electability, is that settling though if you want to pick the person who's going to take down the man in the White House? To you.

RICH BENJAMIN, AUTHOR, SEARCHING FOR WHITOPIA -- IMPROBABLE JOURNEY TO THE HEART OF WHITE AMERICA": It's totally settling.

BALDWIN: It's totally settling.

BENJAMIN: We haven't been through the primary yet, and we think those numbers are artificially inflated because of his name recognition coming out of the gate. And I just think those comments, they're not a good look for the campaign. And not a good look for her either.

BALDWIN: You said it was embarrassing? Was something I read.

BENJAMIN: It's embarrassing, it's embarrassing because --

BALDWIN: For whom?

BENJAMIN: For the campaign and for Dr. Biden. And I say that because it sounds a little cocky. As Jess says it's patently not true, but you know I guess they're trying to get inside the other opponent's head and to create this air of inevitability. But a lot of people just aren't buying it.

BALDWIN: What about Senator Kamala Harris, I mean she had that killer first debate, right. She really took on Joe Biden and did well, and then we've watched her do this, given that last poll, down 12 points, what's up?

MCINTOSH: I think so far this poll has seemed like a bit of an outlier for her, so I would like to see more. I mean, when you're polling this early and this many times, I want to see a trend before I can say why she's falling. I'm not sure that I'm ready to say that she's fallen that much.

But I think people really want to hear more from her, she is regularly ranked one or two as the candidate you want to hear more from. So I think she has a real opportunity to come out and sell the holistic case for a Kamala Harris presidency. Which I don't think she's done yet. BALDWIN: What about once the crop of candidates starts to shrink, right, there are fewer on the stage, how then do you that changes the numbers?

BENJAMIN: I don't think it may not change it, in fact, it may make her go even further down. In other words, once she has fewer opponents who can really look at her record and attack her, she could even go further down. But it speaks to an important point which is, she really came out of the gates strong.

BALDWIN: She did.

BENJAMIN: In this race, the Democrats have no margin for error. And Biden keeps making all these errors, and she's made some errors, and your poll numbers are going to reflect that.

BALDWIN: But he's at the top of the heap. At least so far, I hear you saying, it's early, but don't settle.

MCINTOSH: And he was the Vice President for our favorite President. Like of course, he's Democrat's favorite right now. People are still tuning in, it's still August.

BALDWIN: OK.

BENJAMIN: Yes.

BALDWIN: Thank you both very much.

BENJAMIN: Thank you, Brooke.

BALDWIN: Good to see both of you.

Coming up next -- I love this story. NBA star Steph Curry makes a seven-figure donation to start a golf team at Howard University. A historically black university. We'll speak live to the college student himself who inspired this NBA legend.

[15:50:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: Thanks to this chance meeting between a college student and Steph Curry, the Golden State Warriors basketball star, just gave Howard University the gift of golf. Now Curry didn't go to Howard but he was visiting the historically black university back in January, when a student, Otis Ferguson, invited him to hit the links and that didn't happen.

But the two did chat about their love for the game and how Ferguson had to choose between playing golf at the college level or attending Howard, which doesn't have a golf team. So apparently, he made quite the impression that Curry returned to Washington, D.C. yesterday to announce that he's making this seven-figure donation to fund a men and women's team at Howard for the next six years.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) STEPH CURRY, NBA PLAYER: The idea around recreating Howard's golf team and turning it into a division one program for men and women was born on that specific night, and seven and a half or eight months later we are here now announcing the first division one golf program for Howard University all because of this guy right here.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[15:55:00] BALDWIN: That guy right there is this guy, Otis Ferguson. Who finally did get that round in of golf with Steph. In fact, Otis, I wanted to talk to you yesterday but I'm sorry you were busy doing what?

OTIS FERGUSON, INSPIRED STEPH CURRY TO SPONSOR HOWARD UNIVERSITY GOLF TEAMS: I was playing golf all day long.

BALDWIN: OK. With who?

FERGUSON: With Stephan Curry.

BALDWIN: OK. So you were busy. Understand, thank you.

FERGUSON: Just a little bit, yes.

BALDWIN: Thank you for coming on today.

FERGUSON: Thank you for having me.

BALDWIN: But seriously, I mean, you are the reason golf is coming to Howard. How does that feel?

FERGUSON: It is a dream come true. It's unbelievable. And just seeing it and seeing what it has already turned into this soon is just unbelievable. It's awesome.

BALDWIN: Take me back a couple of months and what did you tell Steph and then I know you were sending email after email even though you weren't getting emails back and what do you think clicked for him?

FERGUSON: Honestly, I think it was that initial moment when we met and I just mentioned to him that -- first that I wanted to play golf with him but then that I had already started progress towards creating the club at Howard. And once he heard that he really was engaged in the conversation.

And we talked a little bit more but by the end of the conversation he gave me his email and that's when I -- I mean the conversation was very authentic and very genuine. So it was kind of at that point that I knew it was happening. But I think when it really solidified, it really set in for me was when I received the follow-up email from him.

BALDWIN: Which said what?

FERGUSON: Just like, Otis, thanks for tracking me down. Thank you for getting in touch with me. This is awesome what you are doing, we have a lot to talk about and I look forward to the future. And, yes. BALDWIN: And that's awesome. So I don't have to tell you, Otis, the game of golf is still majority white, right. Even more than 20 years after Tiger Woods became the first black golfer to win the Masters, historically black golf courses have closed down and golf programs at HBCUs are struggling. So what do you think is the solution to reversing all of that?

FERGUSON: Honestly, I think a story like this is huge. It all kind of started with my own situation but just realizing at this point how much bigger it is or how much it goes beyond just my own personal dilemma that I faced. I think just being in a position to take on a challenge where a lot of players who look like us might not get the opportunity to play.

Especially not in an environment where they are surrounded by a majority of people who look like them. So just having golf at Howard University is just -- I think that will be huge just in terms of the opportunities they can create for black and specifically, black golfers.

BALDWIN: And again, let me remind everyone watching, you turned down an opportunity to play collegiate golf so you could be at Howard.

FERGUSON: Yes.

BALDWIN: How do you think this program will change your life and that of future students?

FERGUSON: Yes, I just think for me making that decision to choose Howard over continuing my competitive career or at least putting my competitive career kind of on hold, it just has really been an opportunity to learn more about myself and really learn with all of the things that come to you in the first three years of college. And how great all of that is, especially at a school like Howard.

But still recognizing the kind of -- or the importance that golf has in my life and the impact that it's had on me. And so just learning that about myself and being in a position where I could stick with it and continue on my love for it and have it turn into something like this, that's really what has been amazing for me.

BALDWIN: Well good on you, Otis Ferguson, and I think you're doing -- what you're doing is going to mean bigger things and I think you can comprehend right now. Otis, thank you very much.

FERGUSON: Thank you.

BALDWIN: I'm sure you're better than Steph by the way.

FERGUSON: Oh, I was close. It was close.

BALDWIN: Thank you.

FERGUSON: All right, thank you.

BALDWIN: I appreciate it. And that was Otis Ferguson there talking -- oh, I've still got you on.

Who won between the two of you?

FERGUSON: He ended up getting me in the end but I think we had -- we had a team with me and the CEO of Calloway and him and the president and we ended up going into the last hole all square and we did finish all square --

BALDWIN: I'm sorry, the president as in the president of --

FERGUSON: The University, Wayne Frederick.

BALDWIN: OK. Because I mean there is another president who does happen to golf with quite a bit. Maybe, he'll be your next partner when you're on the links. I've got to go. Otis, thank you very much.

FERGUSON: All right, thank you.

BALDWIN: Barack Obama. You know that guy. I'm Brooke Baldwin. Thanks for being with me. "THE LEAD" with Jake Tapper starts now.