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Two Men Charged in Killing of NBA Star's Cousin; Latin Death of An American Music Icon; Trump Holding Debate Prep at Golf Club; Pence: Clinton Granted Special Favors For Donors; Trump Challenges Clinton on Medical Records; Tracking Down a Chinese Spy, Tonight 10 PM Eastern Time. Aired 7-8p ET
Aired August 28, 2016 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[19:00:21] JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: You are in the CNN NEWSROOM, I'm Jim Sciutto in for Poppy Harlow. And we begin with one family's agony over the sudden loss of a loved one. You're looking at a Sunday vigil for Nykea Aldridge who was shot and killed on a Chicago Street Friday while pushing her newborn baby in a stroller. You may remember she was the cousin of NBA Star Dwayne Wade. Two men, brothers, are locked up right now charged in this fatal shooting.
Police say Aldridge was not their intended target. They say Darwin Sorrells, Jr. and Darren Sorrells, brothers were shooting at another man when Aldridge was caught in the crossfire. They already say the brothers are career criminals and they were actually on parole at the time of this killing.
CNN's Rachel Crane joins us now live in Chicago. Rachel, you sat down with Nykea's mother, what does she want people to know about her daughter?
RACHEL CRANE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jim, it was a very moving experience sitting down with this grieving mother. She described her daughter as simply amazing. She said that she was a fashionista, that she loved doing her hair. That she was a wonderful writer, she loved writing poetry and that her whole life was about her four children.
Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DIANN ALDRIDGE, MOTHER OF NYKEA ALDRIDGE: Nykea was an awesome, awesome daughter. She loved her kids, loved her kids. And I can go on and on, you know, about Nykea being an awesome mom, you know, trying to move ahead with the kid and, you know, move them to better areas, you know. And she was just trying to make a better life for her and her kids, yes. That's the most important thing in her life was her kids. You know, to make sure that they've got out of situations that she had been in. That's my baby.
CRANE: And how are the children doing?
ALDRIDGE: Summer, the oldest girl, it really hit her really hard. And her son Sincere, he's a ma's boy, so it hit him, too. The little baby, little second to the last child, she is so strong. She's really strong. And it's just, you know, they support each other. You know, they cry to each other. They tell each other, you know, they miss their mom. They want their mom. And it just hurts to hear the kids say they want their mom and there mom won't be in their lives anymore. Only through spirit, only through -- only through pictures, that's the only way they can know their mom for the rest of their lives.
The only thing they have to go on is what they had. And it's just heartbreaking. It's really -- oh, God, it's heartbreaking. To not be here to raise her own children. And I thank God right now for allowing her to be in our lives as long as he did. I thank God for her. And I thank God for the kids because it's going to take all of us to raise them. And like they said, it takes a village to raise the kids, and that's what we are. We are a village. And I truly, truly from the bottom of my heart, I forgive them. I forgive them. I can't bring her back, but I forgive them. And I just pray to God that they pray to God to ask for forgiveness for what they've done. They've taken a person's life senselessly.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CRANE: Jim, really heartbreaking hearing, Jim, of course, that was incredibly heartbreaking hearing the pain that this mother is going through but really remarkable that she's sending out that message of forgiveness to the Sorrels and their family. Also, it's horrible to note that this is not the first time that Diane has had to go through this grieving process. She lost her eldest daughter about ten years ago also to gun violence -- Jim.
SCIUTTO: Right. Just incredible. I mean, it's sometimes easy to get caught up in the numbers. And sometimes easy to remember or to forget that each number is a person. Is a mother who lost her child. Rachel, thanks so much for covering this.
When Chicago's police superintendent announced the arrest of the Sorrells' brothers earlier this afternoon, he expressed his own outrage at the judicial system's inability to stop repeated offenders like the shooters were.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[19:05:16] EDDIE JOHNSON, CHICAGO POLICE DEPARTMENT: When will enough be enough? How often do we have to stand at a podium like this demanding of my judicial and policy partners some type of resolution? This tragedy isn't just noteworthy because Ms. Aldridge has a famous family member. It's noteworthy because these two offenders are the prime example of the challenge we face here in Chicago with repeat gun offenders that don't care who they shoot, don't care whose life they take and clearly, clearly don't fear the consequences of their actions.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCIUTTO: Chicago's gun violence has reached really epidemic proportions. Just listen to the numbers. They are staggering. The Police Department says that at least four people have died, another 24 wounded in shootings that is just since noon yesterday. A little more than 24 hours. It's incredible. One of the reasons this shooting is garnering nationwide attention is because of a controversial, some said insensitive, tweet from Donald Trump in the hours just after when he said it's an example of why African-Americans should vote for him. His running mate Mike Pence spoke about Trump's comments with CNN's Jake Tapper earlier today in an exclusive interview.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST, "STATE OF THE NATION": He talked about the inner cities. There was a tragedy in Chicago on Friday. Nykea Aldridge, the cousin of NBA Star Dwayne Wade was shot and killed while pushing her infant child in a stroller. Donald Trump's reaction to the news was this tweet. "Dwayne Wade's cousin was just shot and killed walking her baby in Chicago. Just what I have been saying, African-Americans will vote Trump." I know that since then he's made an effort to express sympathy and empathy. But that initial tweet, do you think that was a presidential reaction to a tragedy?
GOV. MIKE PENCE (R), VICE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Well, right after that he issued a tweet expressing his prayers and his thoughts and his condolences.
TAPPER: But this is a pattern. When there's a tragedy he sends a tweet talking about how this is going to help his campaign?
PENCE: Look, can I just make a point. A lot of you people in the media spend more time talking about what Donald Trump said and tweeted in the last few days than you do folks than what the Clintons have been up to for the last 30 years. So, let me just stipulate to that. On this, look, Donald Trump has a plain spoken way about him. And the tragedy of a mother pushing her child on the streets of Chicago being shot and killed as Nykea Aldridge was just breaks my heart. You've got a little one at home we raised three kids. It's just unimaginable, but it's on top of the more than 2,700 shootings in Chicago --
TAPPER: Which is why so many were offended when his reaction was vote Trump.
PENCE: Well, the point Donald Trump is making is that we have a choice to make this fall. You can go with the party that has been responsible for the liberal policies that apparently have been content with unsafe streets in Barack Obama's home town of Chicago where 2700 people have been shot this calendar year alone --
TAPPER: Law enforcement in Chicago says, a lot of those guns come from your home state.
PENCE: You have failing schools -- well, you have tremendous gun control in Chicago. Let's be clear --
TAPPER: But not in Indiana, and a lot of them come over the border, that's what Chicago police say.
PENCE: In Indiana we know what most Americans knows that firearms in the hands of law-abiding citizens makes our communities more safe not less safe.
TAPPER: Not the guns that go over the border.
PENCE: I know the President wants to blame shift to second amendment rights.
TAPPER: I'm just saying what Chicago police say. But I want to ask you --
PENCE: The truth of the matter is Donald Trump is laying out in that tweet in short form, there's what, 140 characters, that we have a chose to make as a country. We can continue with the leadership that has left us with dangerous streets in our cities, failing schools, no jobs or we can go with someone who is committed to educational choice for minority families and families all across this country --
PENCE: -- where commitment to law and order and standing by our law enforcement community, committed to bringing jobs and opportunity and hope to every American regardless of race, and creed and color.
TAPPER: Governor, I need to ask you, your newly installed campaign CEO Steve Bannon is coming under a lot of scrutiny. There had been questions about a domestic violence arrest, there's been questions about accusations from his ex-wife of anti-Semitism. Did you know any of this when he was hired?
PENCE: Well, I know Steve. Steve Bannon has denied those charges. I know he enjoys a very strong relationship with his ex-wife and their two wonderful kids. So --
TAPPER: Does it bother you at all, those charges?
PENCE: Well, I also know one other thing. I know the media loves to chase after these process stories, these staff stories. But when I'm traveling across the country, the American people are focused on their future. They're focused on the fact that this economy -- we just rounded down the last quarter's economic numbers to 1.1 percent. Real Americans haven't seen an increase in their wages in real terms for 10 to 15 years. I mean, I have to be honest with you, as I'm traveling all over the country, people are coming up to me, they're responding to Donald Trump's broad-shouldered plain-spoken leadership that we can make America great again.
[19:10:34] We can be strong on the world's stage. We can have an economy that works for every American. And I think all of these process stories go by the wayside and this election's going to be decided on either we go with the status quo, the failed policies or whether we embrace real change and a stronger America.
TAPPER: One more process question, although I think you might enjoy this one more. Debates are coming up.
TAPPER: Are you preparing for them other than going on this show this morning?
TAPPER: Are you preparing for a rigorous discussion of issues and other things?
PENCE: We are.
TAPPER: How are you doing it?
PENCE: We are.
TAPPER: Well, you're just, you know, you have somebody playing Tim Kaine?
PENCE: We're talking to some people about doing that. And we'll be doing probably some practice debates in about three or four weeks, but for now, it's just a lot of cracking the books. You know, I spent 12 years in Congress.
TAPPER: Yes, I know.
PENCE: You know, it seemed longer, but I spent 12 years in Congress. But you know, refreshing and returning to those issues because I'm going to focus on leading the great State of Indiana the last four years. But also just, you know, preparing ourselves to take that opportunity to lay out Donald Trump's vision for this country. It is a positive vision. It's a broad shouldered, optimistic vision. And I look forward to being able to share the stage with Senator Kaine to do just that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCIUTTO: We'll talk more about politics later this hour. But first I want to bring you this breaking news just into CNN. An icon of Latin American music has died. Juan Gabriel, a musician whose songs touched millions of people. More on who he was, his extraordinary musical legacy, that's just ahead.
[19:14:56] ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
SCIUTTO: This just into CNN and the sad news that the Latin American music icon Juan Gabriel has died. He sold more than 100 million records during his career and performed at the forum in Los Angeles just two nights ago. Mexico's President sent his condolences via twitter and said, quote, "His music is a legacy to the world." Juan Gabriel was 66 years old.
Let's go to Polo Sandoval for more. So, Polo, tell us more about the singer, his legacy, and if we know at this point, the cause of his death.
POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, at this point, the L.A. county coroner confirming that he was, in fact, he did pass away this morning at about 11:30 there in California. We understand that he was scheduled for a performance tonight in El Paso. And let me tell you Jim, having grown up in Northern Mexico myself, this man is somebody who was considered a musical giant for people on both sides of the border. He was often referred to as Juarez's native son. As we've mentioned, he was scheduled to perform right across the border tonight there in El Paso.
Sadly that concert will not happen. As we know about this musical legend, he went on to record more than 30 studio albums, and not only the songwriter -- or not only the performer but the songwriter is being remembered today. He was somebody who also wrote music for other giants, like Luis Miguel for example, and even most recently even saying that Creedence Clearwater Revival, "Have You Ever Seen The Rain?" a cover. Just most recently. So, this is clearly an individual who made a tremendous impact and leaves behind a tremendous musical footprint on both sides of the border.
He was scheduled to perform here in Atlanta late next month. And so what's happening here is the entire country, all of Mexico, and many people in the United States are now coming together. And as you mentioned a few moments ago, even the president of Mexico releasing a statement saying that this was a voice and a talent that represented Mexico in music is a legacy to the world. He left us too soon. May he rest in peace.
Jim, at this point we're still trying to get more details on the circumstances related to his death. We do understand that again, the coroner's preliminary findings now shows that it was natural cause of death. But again, still we are still asking some of those necessary questions as Mexico prepares to grieve the loss of a musical giant.
SCIUTTO: Known and treasured by millions. Juan Gabriel dead at 66 years old. Polo Sandoval, thanks very much.
Next, the scandal that continues to cause problems for Hillary Clinton. We have new details surrounding the Clinton Foundation and the allegations of special favors.
[19:20:50] SCIUTTO: We're learning today that Donald Trump spent his Sunday prepping for the upcoming presidential debates. It is now, the first one, less than a month away. And if the back and forth is anything like the nasty attacks that Trump and Clinton have been exchanging this week, you might want to prepare yourself, even brace yourself as well.
CNN's Dianne Gallagher is in Washington. She has the latest on how Trump is getting ready for battles. So Diane, what are you learning today?
DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You know, Jim, this is now the second Sunday in a row that Trump has taken a little time out of his Sunday to practice. A campaign official tells us that Trump and his adviser did some prep at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey today. Now, when we say prep, many of you probably thinking mock debates where somebody plays the other candidate. The campaign says that Trump isn't quite there yet. Campaign manager Kellyanne Conway telling FOX News that he's unconventional and likely isn't going to be prepping in the same way as Hillary Clinton is. Noting that Trump's prep style is going to be very different. Jim, I don't think that many people expect any less from Donald Trump there.
SCIUTTO: Well, one issue that's sure to come up in the debate, is the Clinton Foundation, some new e-mails coming out today. And I know you've been digging into them. What have you been finding?
GALLAGHER: Yes. We actually spent most of the afternoon going through these in particular. They included requests from the Clinton Foundation, to the State Department under Hillary Clinton. And while the State Department does say, no policy action actually took place because of these requests. This is simply going to continue fanning the flames of controversy surrounding whether the foundation tried to receive some special access.
GALLAGHER (voice-over): Conservatives are calling this latest batch of e-mails yet another example of the blurred lines between the State Department under Hillary Clinton and the Clinton Foundation. One particular exchange, between Clinton's top aide Huma Abedin and then Clinton Foundation executive Doug Band includes little list of names that Band seems to suggest as invitees to a State Department lunch with Chinese President Hu Jintao back in January, 2011. Western Union CEO Hikmet Ersek whose representative says, never got an invite, then UBS CEO of Wealth Management Bob McCann, and Rockefeller Foundation President Judith Rodin.
Now, each of those executives headed up companies that have made large donations to the Clinton Foundation. Band asked Abedin in a subsequent email about Rodin, quote, "Can we get her to Biden's table?" To which Abedin responded, "I'll ask." Now, State Department's spokeswoman Elizabeth Trudeau told CNN, quote, "The State Department does not believe it is inappropriate for the administration to consider individuals suggested by the outside organizations when deciding who to invite to an official function." Still, close contact like this has remained a point of criticism from Clinton's opponent Donald Trump.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: It is impossible to figure out where the Clinton Foundation ends and the State Department begins.
GALLAGHER: Clinton has said the foundation donors had no influence on her decisions at the State Department.
HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: I know there's a lot of smoke and there's no fire.
GALLAGHER: Now, we should point out that those e-mails were obtained by the Citizens United Group through a public records lawsuit and they shared them with CNN. There's another one that we should talk about here. Back in January of 2011, Band also forwarded an e-mail to Abedin from an Argentine businessman Gerardo Werthein and calling him a great friend and a big supporter asking Abedin to deliver a message to the ambassador on behalf of -- on behalf of the businessman essentially just putting in a good word for the rabbi that the ambassador was already scheduled to meet with.
Well, Abedin did forward that message to another State Department official using that same language, calling him a good friend and supporter of the foundation. But she did add, I just want to pass along, no need for action. Of course, Jim, the Clinton Foundation and the Clinton camp has maintained that there is no evidence that any action was ever taken by her State Department to benefit a founder donor.
SCIUTTO: Dianne Gallagher, thank you for beginning to them for us. Coming up, vice presidential candidate Mike Pence made some blunt accusations still about the Clinton Foundation today.
Next, hear his comments about the $100,000 that Donald Trump himself donated to that very organization in 2009. You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM.
[19:28:03] SCIUTTO: Vice presidential candidate Mike Pence is calling for an independent special prosecutor to investigate foreign donations to the Clinton Foundation. Pence told CNN's Jake Tapper that he doesn't know of any specific favors that Clinton provided donors while Secretary of State but says the foundation at least was a pathway to access and, quote, access, "he says is a favor in itself."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: What is the point exactly you're trying to make about the Clinton Foundation? And can you point to any actual evidence that as secretary of state she actually changed a policy because of this access that donors allegedly had?
PENCE: Well, it's a fair question, but access is also very valuable. And this week we learned from The Associated Press that more than half of the individual meetings that Secretary of State granted during her tenure --
TAPPER: Not including government officials or foreign officials.
PENCE: Well, of course not. These are individual meetings that she has discretion over. More than half of those meetings were granted to individuals who contributed tens of millions of dollars to the Clinton Foundation. Look, you know, this has been unfurling in front of the American people particularly over the last few weeks. This week we found out 15,000 e-mails she didn't turn over.
We also learned from Congressional investigation that these so-called- mails on wedding plans and yoga she eradicated with some high-tech software called Bleach Bit which completely eliminates the capacity in most cases to recover them. You know, the simple fact is this is becoming more and more clear through direct evidence in these e-mails that State Department officials under-Secretary of State Clinton were extending access and special favors to major donors of the Clinton Foundation.
TAPPER: Can you point to any favors, though?
PENCE: Foreign donors of the Clinton Foundation and major corporations. And your viewers should be reminded here that foreign donors cannot contribute to presidential federal campaigns.
PENCE: And so this becomes a conduit for people to gain access and gaining access is a favor, Jake.
TAPPER: Uh-hm. Mr. Trump's foundation gave $100,000 or so to the Clinton Foundation. Was he trying to gain access? Was he trying to gain a favor?
PENCE: I think Donald Trump's made it very clear through the course of his career, he supported a broad range of initiatives and policies. Just this last week he contributed $100,000 to a little church in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He didn't do it publicly. You people found out about it. But when we were down there visiting families a little more than a week ago, he was impressed with the work that that church was doing.
TAPPER: Right. But why did he give money to the Clinton Foundation?
PENCE: And he just very quietly in the car said to him, I'm going to send $100,000.
TAPPER: But you're not comparing that to Mr. Trump's foundation giving money to the Clinton Foundation.
PENCE: Well, I am just saying, Donald Trump, I know we want to make Donald Trump the issue on every issue.
TAPPER: No. I'm talking about the Clinton Foundation. I'm talking about the Clinton Foundation.
PENCE: I'm talking about foreign donors and corporate donors to the Clinton Foundation who the Associated Press this week was able to confirm were more than half of the meetings, private meetings the secretary of state granted during her tenure and then we found out this week remarkably, and this is just, I think, incredibly troubling to the American people. We found out the State Department now, even though they've been ordered to do it, will not provide the balance of her calendar until after the election. You know, this is -- this is an example of pay to play politics. The American people are sick and tired of and it's what Donald Trump and I are going to bring to a crashing end when he becomes president.
TAPPER: But you can't point to any policy change. You said the access is the important thing. PENCE: Well, I think that's the reason why we need to have an
independent special prosecutor in this case.
TAPPER: You were talking --
PENCE: The FBI, you know, you know, a couple of months ago, the FBI wanted to initiate a public corruption investigation into the Clinton Foundation and senior officials at the Obama Justice Department shut it down.
TAPPER: They said they'd looked into it a year before and there wasn't enough there.
PENCE: Well, we heard it was reported publicly the FBI thought about opening --
TAPPER: Yes, CNN broke the story.
PENCE: And I commend you for that, but my point is that now this is exactly what the independent special prosecutor statute is for.
PENCE: The administration should appoint a special prosecutor. And frankly, one other thing on this, for the Clintons to say that if she's elected president, they would recognize a conflict of interest in the Clinton Foundation and so would be stepping away from it, former President Clinton, if it would be a conflict of interest when she's president of the United States, why wasn't raising money from foreign donors a conflict of interest when she was secretary of state of the United States of America?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCIUTTO: Coming up, Donald Trump has just issued a new challenge to Hillary Clinton on twitter. We're talking about that right after a quick break.
[19:36:05] SCIUTTO: Welcome back. I'm Jim Sciutto in Washington. And this just into CNN, Donald Trump has a new offer concerning his medical records. He tweeted just minutes ago, "I think that both candidates, Hillary and myself, should release detailed medical records. I have no problem in doing so! Hillary?"
I want to talk about this over with our panel. With Donald Trump supporters Jeffrey Lord, he is a former Reagan White House political director. Also U.S. -- also with us, Hillary Clinton supporter Scott Bolden, he is former chairman of the Washington, D.C. Democratic Party. And senior political analyst Ron Brownstein.
But before we go to the panel on this offer, we just want to make clear to our viewers, what health records the candidates have released so far. Hillary Clinton released about two pages from her doctor, he listed three conditions, hypothyroidism, seasonal allergies as well as the fact she takes blood thinners in the past. She had deep vein thrombosis, it's a blood clot in the leg. From Donald Trump, really, it was a doctor's note of a few lines which we learned on Friday that his doctor, at least his doctors said, told NBC that it took him five minutes to put together.
There were no details about conditions in there. So that is -- and in that note he said that he has no medical problems and I think his language, something along the lines says, he would be the healthiest president ever. That's what we have so far from Trump and Clinton. If I can go to the panel now, perhaps, you, Ron Brownstein, what do you make of this challenge from Donald Trump? Shows us that he's willing to release more now?
RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, you know, I think we do, you know, it would be valuable to know more about each of them at this point. Certainly, as you accurately point out, I mean, Hillary Clinton has released somewhat more the letter from her doctor I believe last July was more detailed than this kind of remarkable story of the Donald Trump doctor who says that he wrote this in five minutes while the limo was waiting and that he was the healthiest presidential candidate ever.
I wonder about Teddy Roosevelt having just lead troops in the Spanish American war but we'll leave that aside for the minute. But look, these are two of the oldest candidates. These are two of the oldest candidates who have ever run. And I think that, you know, more rather than less would probably be a good idea. You see where this goes in the next few days.
SCIUTTO: Jeffrey Lord, you heard from Dr. Ben Carson, who is a Trump supporter and also happens to be a doctor. He said just a few days ago, that since both these candidates are elderly, those were his terms, that they should release more records. What are we going to see exactly from Donald Trump here?
JEFFREY LORD, FORMER REAGAN WHITE HOUSE POLITICAL DIRECTOR: I don't know. But certainly in terms of what you're just reporting, seems to me like he's willing to be pretty open with this, which I think is always a good thing. You know, one thing I should say, he's gone after Hillary Clinton on her stamina and there's been great umbrage about this in the media. And I happen to be on my vacation reading Carl Bernstein's book "Biography of Hillary Clinton: A Woman in Charge" which is published in 2007.
And on page 313, not to be precise, is precisely a description from her staff that she doesn't have her husband's stamina and that she goes up to Capitol Hill, makes these appearances and then is so exhausted she falls asleep in the car when she gets back in the car. Now, this was in 1993 when she was 46 years old. I'm imagining things are a little bit different now and perhaps not for the better. So I think the stamina issue is a real one.
A. SCOTT BOLDEN, FORMER CHAIRMAN, WASHINGTON DC DEMOCRATIC PARTY: Oh, listen --
SCIUTTO: Scott, you've known Clinton for some time. Any issues with Hillary Clinton?
BOLDEN: Of course not. I didn't know I was going to be on with Dr. Jeffrey Lord here.
BOLDEN: Listen, let me be real clear here, OK? This is an important issue but it's not dispositive of how people are going to vote but it is important because of their age. And let's note, we have to wait and see whether Donald Trump is going to actually do this. Because he promised to release his tax records a year or so ago. He promised to release his medical records and he did this one pager.
And we'll see if he gives up the details because I really do want to see if he's able to say he's the healthiest president in the history of the world, or in the history of the United States. I want to see how his medical records verify that. I doubt that they can. But I have no concerns about Hillary's health and her stamina. She's up by 10 to 12 points. I think it's going to -- whatever her health is, it's going to carry her to victory in November.
SCIUTTO: Jeffrey, and then I want to go to Ron. Jeffrey, new found transparency here on the health records. How about those tax returns?
LORD: Yes. I for one don't think he should do it -- this is just my personal opinion.
SCIUTTO: Why not? Every president's done it since Nixon.
LORD: Yes. Yes. And I think this has become a political game and, you know, everybody searches through somebody's tax return and says, oh, well, they did this, they did that.
SCIUTTO: Isn't it particularly important if the candidate is a businessman?
LORD: Jim, we had a lot of presidents, Franklin Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, others who did not release their tax returns. I think we were well served even without them.
BOLDEN: Yes. Listen, Jim, it's 2016, right?
BOLDEN: We have a business person --
SCIUTTO: Before we go to that topic, I do want to go to Ron Brownstein on yet another one -- another tweet from Donald Trump. He says that he's going to give his major illegal immigration speech or speech on illegal immigration on Wednesday in Arizona. There have be, some doubt about this. It had initially been scheduled for last week.
[19:41:17] SCIUTTO: Question is to when it was going to happen. Ron, how big a deal is this? BROWNSTEIN: Look, what we're watching here is extraordinary. And I
don't know what Jeffrey will say about this, but if you look at the exit polls, it is very clear that Donald Trump won the nomination largely on the strength of voters who agreed with him that all undocumented immigrants should be deported, which was his position during the primary. He ridiculed others who talked about any kind of legal status for those who are here in an undocumented position. And if you go back and you look at the exit polls, voters who supported mass deportation provided a majority of Donald Trump's votes in every state except Wisconsin and New York.
And in fact, in most of the key early states, he did no better than run even or he lost to either Marco Rubio or Ted Cruz among voters who supported any kind of legal status. He won states like New Hampshire, South Carolina, Michigan, Virginia, Georgia, Missouri, Illinois, North Carolina, all of these critical early contests because of the support he won from voters who expressly said in the exit poll they wanted to deport everyone. And for him to now switch on this is an extraordinary change and also one that I think reflects the reality that the challenge of navigating between his -- more broadly between the appeal that won him the nomination.
And what he needs to do to become more competitive in the general election because I think what Kellyanne Conway and the new team have basically done is they've looked at the numbers and they've added and they've said, wherever Hillary Clinton is, Donald Trump is stuck somewhere around 40 percent. And fact that he feels the need to move in this way is just -- is really an extraordinary kind of indictment or the way, the process has positioned him in the general election.
SCIUTTO: Scott, I want to get your thoughts on that, but I do have to give Jeff a quick chance to respond to Ron's charge there, in effect, that Trump is, indeed, softening.
LORD: Well, I listened to him on Anderson Cooper's show the other night. And he said some people thought it was a hardening. He's very clear that people have to go back.
SCIUTTO: Who thought it was a hardening?
LORD: They can come back to the country after that. He was crystal clear about this. So, I look forward to the speech but I honestly, I don't really think he's changed.
BOLDEN: Listen, can I ask you a quick question?
BOLDEN: Is your standard of not softening that everyone must leave the country and if he comes up with anything short of that, that is, in fact, a movement away from where he ran during the primary? LORD: No. My standard is to get the illegal immigration problem
under control. The end policy, the end goal. And to solve it as best you can. The wall, certainly he's steadfast on this. So, you know, as I believe, as I said, I think on Anderson's show, when you sail a boat, you have a destination, but you sail a little to the left, a little to the right. You tack to get there. You have to do that. And maybe he's doing that to some degree, but I absolutely don't think he's changed in his goal at all.
SCIUTTO: Changing tack, Scott, do you accept that? Is he changing tack?
BOLDEN: Just because the Trump team says he's not changing doesn't mean this isn't a seismic shift. I wish Jim as a part of this piece you just could go to the several videos and interviews as you've done before where he has -- city as a deportation force, he's going to build this wall, it's going to be similar to operation wetback from the '40s. And this is a seismic shift. Now, we're going to keep reminding people of this, one, we're 23 days from early voting.
And it's just simply too late. The die has been cast in regard to these buckets of offensive comments. He's not getting African- Americans, this isn't going to help him with Hispanics and it's certainly isn't going to help him at this late date with educated white voters and that's what he needs to win. And so it is what it is. It doesn't matter what he says on Wednesday, it really doesn't because we're going to call it the way we see it.
SCIUTTO: OK, guys. We're lucky, we got time to come back to the panel right after this break. So I'm just going to ask you both to hold your thoughts, Scott, Jeff and we're going to have at least a few more minutes to get in a lot of these issues. Please stay with us. We'll be right back.
[19:48:17] SCIUTTO: I'm joined again by Jeffrey Lord, Scott Bolden and Ron Brownstein. Folks, thanks for coming back. You ask and you shall receive. Let's play Donald Trump on a deportation force from just the end of the last year.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: You're going to have a deportation force and you're going to do it humanely.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Will they get ripped out of their homes? How?
TRUMP: They're going back where they came. If they came from a certain country, they'll going to be brought back to that country.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Uh-hm.
TRUMP: That's the way it's supposed to be. (END VIDEO CLIP)
SCIUTTO: So Jeffrey, how has Donald Trump not backed off that position?
LORD: I just don't -- I guess I just disagree. I mean, he says they've got to go back. They have got to go back, and then they can come in again legally.
SCIUTTO: Then he was talking about all 11 million.
LORD: Right. Right.
SCIUTTO: He said that in multiple -- that's not the only time.
LORD: Right. Right.
SCIUTTO: We have several. Now he's saying he's focusing on criminal illegal immigrants.
LORD: Right. Well, that's where you start. That's where you start. That's where you start is with the criminal element here. And as he said, you can't round up all however many of them there are, 11 million or however many there are. And I think there's disagreement on that. I've heard as low as five and as high as 30 from different people. So, you can't do it all at once. So you begin in place with the criminal element.
SCIUTTO: Scott, then Ron.
BOLDEN: Yes, Jim, the problem with the Trump campaign is that he's got these 14 million voters who voted for him. He defeated 16 of them. And whatever he's going to say on Wednesday is going to sound a lot like what Marco Rubio proposed, going to sound a lot like Bush, and then he's going to try to convince you that he hasn't changed. He is just -- he's still going to deport 11 million. He's just going to kind of do it differently. But the reality is, is that he is such a divisive candidate and such an absolute candidate vis-a-vis what he was going to do. The wall, Mexico was going to pay for it. Deportation force.
That it's hard to get around, that it's a pivot or an expansion but certainly just a seismic shift. And that's what the voters -- now I think those 14 million who voted for him with the harsher rhetoric are probably going to still going to vote for him because they're never going to vote for Hillary, but he's got a bigger problem, because even if he softens this immigration stance or whatever he is going to do, he is going to be even less appealing to those who he needs to expand his base in order to win in November.
SCIUTTO: Ron, you heard Scott there, you know, those 14 million supporters unlikely to vote for Hillary Clinton whether they come out and vote for him, I suppose, is a different question. But is it possible this works, that he already has that core and that he maybe does draw away some undecideds or independents by softening? BROWNSTEIN: Well, the first thing is, you know, the reason we're
having so much trouble with this is because what Donald Trump said in Austin to Sean Hannity and what he said Friday to Anderson Cooper are very different things and they're not consistent with each other much less with what he was saying originally. So, maybe next Wednesday we will get more clarity. But just to underscore the point, if you go back to the Republican primaries, deportation did not win majority support in almost any state except Mississippi and Alabama were the only two.
But because the people who supported deportation voted for Trump in such overwhelming numbers, they provided a majority of his votes in almost every state. So, for him to move away from this is, I think, an extraordinary break with the coalition who elected him to the nomination. And a statement about whether this is ultimately attainable position for the Republican Party going forward, I would say very quickly, those voters are going to stick with him.
His problem with the swing voters who are in the way between him being stuck in the low 40s and getting to a higher number where he could truly be competitive, he's got two big problems with those voters. These college educated white voters we're talking about. Sixty percent consistently in polls say they do not believe he's qualified to be president. And 60 percent say, they believe he is racially divisive. Could this help a little on the second front? Possibly. But I think very much within limits, he's spent 15 months engraving an image, it's not easy to kind of undo that in ten weeks.
SCIUTTO: All right. Jeffrey Lord, Ron Brownstein, Scott Bolden, thanks very much for breaking it down for us.
BOLDEN: Thank you.
SCIUTTO: Still to come, he came to the U.S. for a better life, but he became what prosecutors dubbed the perfect sleeper agent. It's a real life story that sounds pure Hollywood. You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.
[19:54:08] SCIUTTO: Spies and the people who track them in this next episode of CNN's "DECLASSIFIED." We take you back to 2003 when the U.S. government learned that someone on the inside was leaking the most sensitive naval security secrets to China. Watch as the FBI goes undercover to bring a team of spies to justice.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In the FBI, we have to follow principles, policies and laws. And one of those is we have to have the evidence. Our greatest fear initially was, will we catch Chi Mak doing what he thought he was already doing? The thing that hit me hardest about this case was that we've got a man who came here for better opportunity and, in fact, was the spy sent by China to come here, pledge allegiance to the United States. He took an oath with the full intention of betraying it. He lived in
this country for decades and was willing to put in danger members of our military. There was a lot of pressure on all of us. I wanted to stop that leak. I wanted to stop Chi Mak from providing any more information that would endanger U.S. navy servicemen. That's why I wanted to catch him. And to protect our people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCIUTTO: Joining me now is Mike Rogers. He's the host of the CNN Original Series "DECLASSIFIED." He's a CNN national security contributor as well. Mike, I mean, all the episodes in this series are fascinating. I mean, this one, this spy seems to have been particularly damaging to the U.S. and in particular the U.S. Navy. Can you tell us how much damage he did and his leak did?
MIKE ROGERS, HOST OF CNN ORIGINAL SERIES "DECLASSIFIED": Well, it was pretty extensive. And it would have gotten worse had the FBI not got on to him, done the full investigation proving that he was a spy for the country of China. What's odd and interesting about this case is that he was so under the radar. He was sent here specifically to steal certain kinds of naval technology and then pass that technology back to China, and he was caught red handed but that long process of getting there, this really difficult investigation that went through it to catch a spy who didn't look like a spy. He didn't even act like a spy. But he was clearly stealing really valuable information. So, there's twists, there's turns, intrigue and I hope people tune in tonight to see that whole story unfold.
SCIUTTO: So, I wonder, I mean, having looked into this a bit, one of the things he gave up information on was on the aegis system, navy system that allows ships to track as many as 100 targets at once. Have we seen that China has then used the intelligence that he gained for them?
ROGERS: Absolutely. So, they know that that technology now has been used, it's been re-engineered and used on Chinese -- both weapons systems and for their ability to defeat our weapons system. So, we know that they've used that information that tried to defeat it which puts sailors' lives at risk overseas.
SCIUTTO: That's a shame. Now, Chi Mak kind of amazingly still denies he ever worked as a spy for Chinese intelligence even though his wife and brother admitted to it. Where is he now and what do you make of his insistence that he's innocent?
ROGERS: I think he's waiting for that clock to run out on some hope that he'll get to go home. I don't think he will. He's in a prison in California, federal prison. And he should stay there a very long time. His family was able to get out, unfortunately. But remember, they caught him red-handed. And I don't want to give the whole story away. It was pretty exciting the way they did it. And how he used something in plain sight to try to smuggle his information out. It was really damaging.
And his relationship with his family and how they used their family in Los Angeles to curry information, to curry instructions from their Chinese spy handler in China really a fascinating way. And it will give I think your viewers an opportunity to see what espionage looks like in that slow methodical way that has deadly, really deadly consequences for the U.S. military when they're successful.
SCIUTTO: No question. And it's the FBI's understanding that China dispatched him to the U.S. years before with this intention, right? They didn't turn him later, is that right?
ROGERS: That's correct. They believe that he was sent here for the very purpose of finding the right job, getting the right connection, getting into the right engineering -- and he was, you know, an engineer himself. So he offered the right skill set, but we believed it wasn't very long at all when he got the right job that he started stealing this information. He held some information and then secreted it away and had a way to get it back to China, which was pretty unique. And I think viewers are going to get an opportunity to see that tonight.
[19:59:07] SCIUTTO: That's incredible. And you and I talk so often about, you know, this competition between the U.S. and China. We talk about it today. But this was more than ten years ago, right?
ROGERS: Yes, this was about ten years ago. And what we've seen, Jim, is really interesting. A huge increase in the number of both prosecutions and detections of Chinese espionage activity in the United States. Targeting both intellectual property from businesses and cyber-attacks but also human operations. This was a human operation, I mean, they physically sent a spy here to steal something. But we're seeing this uptick in these operations with Chinese espionage targeting U.S. businesses. And, in this case, it was a defense contractor where they were trying to steal information that would give them an edge on the battlefield.
SCIUTTO: Wow. Mike Rogers, thanks very much. Be sure to watch the drama unfold on CNN's "DECLASSIFIED." That's going to be tonight, 10:00 Eastern Time.