Return to Transcripts main page


Chaos Erupts as Migrant Trains in Hungary Halted; Hillary Clinton Aide to Plead the Fifth; Trump Expands Poll Numbers, Meets with RNC Chair; Bush Responds to Trumps Criticism of Bush Speaking Spanish. Aired 1:30-2p ET

Aired September 03, 2015 - 13:30   ET


[13:30:00] BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: Arwa, why are authorities holding up the trains?

ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Well, Hungary has maintained it's simply abiding by the Dublin Agreement and appealing to European Union laws when it comes to the whole asylum process, dictating an individual needs to apply for asylum at their first point of entry. The problem is no one wants to fight for asylum in Hungary because they don't have a say in Hungary.

The other problem is going to the camps. At this stage, this is even more important that many of them are traumatized by the experience that they had when they went to the transit camp that is located on the Hungarian border where everyone tells you about the conditions that they were meant to live in. They say they were treated like animals, that the conditions they were in were inhumane, that their treatment was inhumane, so they can't really stand the idea of going back into these camps.

Now we're on one train stopped here for about seven hours. There's a second train that just arrived on other tracks. Families were taken off of that train. It's less crowded than the one I'm on right now and they were marched away.

Earlier, too, a very dramatic scene play out where one family that was caught by the police -- because the minute you break away from the main crowds that are on the train and on the platform going to the front of it, the police will try to grab you. They sat down and refused to move, and the police had to, it seems, carry them away.

The children on this train are exhausted. They're hungry. They're tired. They're crying. Their parents don't know what to do. It's so hard for the parents. They keep telling us, because they can't understand that they're having to look at their children living like this, this was not what they thought Europe was going to be. This is not how they thought Europe was going to receive them.

KEILAR: What are other countries like Germany and some of the European countries, who have said they will welcome some of these refugees, what do they want Hungary to do, Arwa?

DAMON: Technically, they are supposed to register all of these refugees here. That's the Dublin Agreement. That's E.U. law. Germany has said they will take refugees in but has said all nations must abide by the Dublin Agreement which lends itself to a confusing atmosphere and mixed messages being given to these people. They are following what's happening closely and they've all latched on to the words of German Chancellor Angela Merkel when she said Germany was ready to receive hundreds of thousands of refugees and asylum seekers. So there's this desperate belief if they can get to Germany things will be OK, but then you also have the German government coming out and saying, no, all nations must abide by Dublin, and Dublin effectively is what Hungary is saying is not allowing them to let the refugees move on. So they're stuck in this game of political ping- pong at this stage.

KEILAR: And these images that we are seeing are horrifying and also so important to watch to understand what's going on, Arwa. It's such an important story you're covering there at this point of transit. We will continue checking back in with you throughout the day.

Next, a former State Department employee who worked on Hillary Clinton's e-mail server says he's going to plead the Fifth to avoid testifying about her e-mails. How Clinton's campaign is reacting to that, next.


[13:37:53] KEILAR: Hillary Clinton's former State Department chief of staff appeared today before the House Select Committee on Benghazi. That would be Cheryl Mills, who is expected to face questions about Clinton's e-mails. This was during closed -- a closed-door session there on Capitol Hill. Another former aide, a key aide, has indicated he's not going to answer questions. He will instead plead the Fifth Amendment. This is a former I.T. staffer. He helped with the private e-mail server Clinton used as well as her e-mail account.

Joining me to talk about this from New York is Brian Fallon, the press secretary for Hillary for America.

Thanks for being with us, Brian. Really appreciate it.

I do want to read a statement from Nick Merrill. This is Secretary Clinton's traveling press secretary. And Nick says, "She's made every effort to answer questions and be as helpful as possible, and has encouraged her aides, current and former, to do the same, and that includes, Bryan Pagliano."

So why is he ignoring that encouragement, do you think?

BRIAN FALLON, PRESS SECRETARY, HILLARY FOR AMERICA: He's not a part of the campaign. He's a private citizen and so we can't require him to do anything. He's represented by his own lawyer. All we can do is give the same advice and recommendation and encourage as Hillary Clinton has done with all of her aides, current and former. You mentioned Cheryl Mills, she's testifying at a long session today with the Benghazi Committee, Jake Sullivan, her former deputy chief of staff from the State Department, is testifying tomorrow. She's personally testifying herself in October. I believe there will probably be other aides that come forward and are willing to answer questions. So in every instance, so far, she's encouraged everyone to cooperate because we want to make every good faith effort to be transparent and answer any questions people have.

But with Mr. Pagliano, we encouraged him as well because we don't think he has any reason to not be transparent about the help that he provided from an I.T. perspective, but, unfortunately, it's his choice what to do. And I think that I can't speak for him, but I can only speculate, and from the words that have leaked out from the letter that his attorney sent to capitol hill, it suggests that he was afraid of being caught in a partisan swirl that now consumes three different committees on capitol hill where Republicans are trying to take this fact-finding expedition into a partisan exercise meant to hurt Hillary Clinton's campaign.

[13:40:27] KEILAR: So let me ask you about that because certainly, and I think observers will say, look, there is clearly a political aspect to this but there are also questions that need to be asked and need to be answered.

FALLON: Sure. Absolutely.

KEILAR: You said she's done everything to be transparent, but I personally asked her about deleting her e-mails, how she came to that decision, how it was executed. That was two months ago. She did not answer that question when I asked, and she hasn't answered it since. How is that transparent?

FALLON: I disagree with that, Brianna. We've been pretty clear, and actually all of that information is posted on our website. She answer it had when it's been asked on the trail. After she turned over all 55,000 pages of her e-mail that could have been remotely deemed work related, they made the decision to not retain any of her e-mails. That was her decision.

KEILAR: But why? Why did she decide to delete the e-mails?

FALLON: Well --


KEILAR: And how was that process executed? It's not even clear who went through the e-mails, the actual time line for when those were deleted. We've got a range but it's kind of vague.

FALLON: OK. So I'll tell you. 55,000 pages of work-related e-mails, her legal team did extensive key word searches, went e-mail by e-mail, related as work based was handed over to the State Department.

KEILAR: So it was just her legal team? Was she involved or her aides involved?

Fallon: I don't know what you mean by aide. She has personal attorneys who are well known.

KEILAR: David Kendall, yes. FALLON: David Kendall, Cheryl Mills, her personal attorneys. Cheryl

is testifying or giving an interview today on Capitol Hill. The personal e-mails, the ones that were personal in any nature, were hers, to do with what she wanted. And quite understandably, I think the public agrees that even politicians and public officials are entitled to privacy. And her daughter's wedding --


KEILAR: The work e-mails, Brian, deleted as well. Now I know --

FALLON: That's right. They had already been provided.

KEILAR: But, for instance, a judge said in the case of Cheryl Mills with her attorney who said, hey, Cheryl Mills is turning over her paper e-mails and I have advised her to delete them, the judge said, oh, no, no, no, no one is deleting anything, and many legal experts say if you're facing scrutiny, you don't delete e-mails and that's the question that I sort of want to get at here.

FALLON: Sure. So let me try to be as clear as possible and you can follow up and ask if anything is unclear. She provided 55,000 pages of e-mails. It's true she provided them in hard copy. That's what the law required. If the State Department asked them to be provided electronically, we would have done that. The law required them to be in paper form. She made the decision after that to not retain those other than a copy that was kept --



FALLON: It wasn't kept on the server, Brianna, but a copy was kept by her personal attorney.

KEILAR: Why didn't she keep them on the server?

FALLON: I don't know what the relevant -- the pertinence of that would have been. She kept a copy in the possession of the electronic copy in the possession of her lawyer.

KEILAR: Cheryl Mills keeps hers in her e-mail account. Many records experts say that --


FALLON: Brianna, the same e-mails were kept in electronic copy of them were kept by David Kendall and then last month we provided them to the Justice Department, so no e-mails were lost in the process. I think people are focusing on the wrong thing. The State Department had them in paper copy and then last month the Justice Department received an electronic copy.

KEILAR: Just to be clear, Brian, this is an electronic company, I imagine in PDF form, or is this the actual e-mail with the data on it? FALLON: So, the Justice Department, in addition to having the

electronic form of the PDFs provided to the State Department, also now have the server. I don't know what the FBI is going to do with it but they may seek --


KEILAR: The wiped server. The wiped server, right, Brian?

FALLON: I don't know what wiped means. The e-mails were deleted. The e-mails were deleted --


KEILAR: But I'm asking you about the thumb drive. You said David Kendall had the electronic copy of the e-mails. Those were PDF copies. These were not the actual e-mails that had the metadata. These were not the e-mails as you would see them on a server if they hadn't been -- do you see what I'm saying?


[13:45:15] FALLON: Right, but I'm not sure what point you're making. They're PDFs.

KEILAR: More information, and a judge said Cheryl Mills shouldn't delete e-mails.


FALLON: That's a separate case.


FALLON: I'm not sure why you're asking about Cheryl Mills.

KEILAR: If you follow certain standards of preservation.

FALLON: She followed -- no, no. Brianna, she has followed every request. The State Department asked for e-mails in paper form, she provided them. They were asked on a thumb drive, she provided them. She also provided the server. I don't know what wiped means. The e- mails were deleted off the server, that's true, but it's quite possible, I don't know that any steps were taken to remove any metadata. So to the extent that there is a further inquiry with respect to the server, they won't find anything other than what we've represented is all the work-related e-mails were turned over. And, in fact, Hillary Clinton herself has signed a declaration asserting that. So even if somehow they were able to look at any of the e-mails that were not retained, they wouldn't find anything than what we've always said which is all the work related e-mails are in the possession of the State Department already.

KEILAR: I just wanted to take the opportunity to get to some of the decision making processes, Brian. And I certainly appreciate you coming on to talk to us about it. FALLON: I hope I answered them.

KEILAR: I have some more questions but I'll follow us because we're out of time.

FALLON: OK, We'll follow up off line.

KEILAR: All right. Well, thanks for coming on.

FALLON: Thanks, Brianna.

KEILAR: Coming up, Donald Trump meeting with the RNC chairman right now. We're going to talk about that.

Plus, Jeb Bush is back, after Trump says he should be speaking English while in the United States. Stay with us.


[13:51:02] KEILAR: There is a new poll out today showing Donald Trump is expanding the lead over the Republican field. The poll shows Trump at a new high, 30 percent. Ben Carson at 18 percent. That is up 13 points since a poll before the first debate. Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz, they're tied at 8 percent. And then you have Marco Rubio there at 5 percent.

Trump, this hour, is meeting with Reince Priebus, the chairman of the Republican National Committee.

I want to bring in CNN political commentator, Jeffrey Lord, a former White House political director for Ronald Reagan. I also want to bring in CNN political commentator, Ana Navarro.

And, Ana, what do you make of the latest poll shows Trump at 30 percent?

ANA NAVARRO, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think Trump has been able to consolidate his segment of the vote, the vote that's very frustrated, concerned. I think he is doing a remarkable job in dominating the press. He continues to do it today with what's turning into a press event with the signing of the pledge. And I think that's what you are seeing. Ben Carson's numbers to me are, frankly, a little bit more surprising and evangelical vote with him but he hasn't had the media coverage, hasn't spent the time in Iowa and New Hampshire that Donald Trump has so those numbers to me are a little bit more surprising and the voters want somebody that's an outsider and sending a strong message with the poll.

KEILAR: Ana mentioned the poll there, Jeffrey, we are expecting from source that Donald Trump will sign. When's in it for him? And can he just change his mind?

JEFFREY LORD, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, he can -- I mean, he can change his mind. As best I understand, this is not legally binding. Now, there may be a situation here where if he doesn't get along with it, getting on the ballot in different states might be a problem. I don't know. I'm not a legal authority on this kind of thing. But, you know, frankly, I think this is a bit silly, although, I will say it pushed Governor Bush to say, yes, if Donald Trump is nominated, he would support him. In that sense it perhaps wound up putting Governor Bush in a box on this kind of thing.

KEILAR: All right. Live pictures of Trump Tower awaiting Donald Trump possibly to -- we expect him actually, actually, not possibly, to do a press conference.

I want to get both of your perspective on the back and forth of Jeb Bush and Donald Trump. Trump criticized Bush for speaking Spanish to reporters and to students at a town hall meeting. Here's how Bush responded on "Good Morning, America."


GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC HOST, GOOD MORNING, AMERICA: What was your first thought when he criticized you for speaking Spanish?

JEB BUSH, (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE & FORMER FLORIDA GOVERNOR: I laughed. I mean, this is a joke. I was in a press gaggle where people asked me a question in Spanish. I answered it in Spanish.

Part of it is you laugh because it's bizarre but hurtful for a lot of people, and he knows this. He is appealing to peoples' angst and their fears rather than their higher hopes.


KEILAR: Ana, what do you think?

NAVARRO: You know, I -- I think it's enough. I think it's enough by Donald Trump of picking on Latinos, picking on Mexicans, our language, our culture. We are Americans. We are proud Americans. But we speak Spanish. People are able to speak more than one language is a good thing.


KEILAR: Ana, I'm so --


NAVARRO: Yeah, I get it. Trump needs to pick a fight every now and then. I wish he would find somebody else to pick it with.

KEILAR: Jeffrey, you have 20 seconds. Final thought on this.

LORD: Yeah. Rush Limbaugh was on the air today talking about exactly this and said he was astounded at the thought that speaking English is controversial. And I would suggest that Governor Bush made a mistake. And the fact that he thinks it's humorous is only going to, you know, add to the fire.

[13:55:07] KEILAR: OK. OK. We are going to leave it right there, Jeffrey. And I want to report CNN has learned that Donald Trump and Reince Priebus are meeting one on one. No staff there.

So thank you so much, Ana and Jeffrey.

LORD: Thank you.

KEILAR: That's it for me. I'll be back at 5:00 p.m. eastern in "The Situation Room."

"Newsroom" with Ana Cabrera starts right after a quick break.


[13:59:53] ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, and thanks for joining me. I'm Ana Cabrera, in for Brooke today.

We begin with breaking news. In just moments, we'll hear from Donald Trump. Perhaps the most anticipated news conference of his campaign so far. He's expected to address whether he's going to take a pledge of allegiance in writing to the GOP, something the Republican National Committee has never asked for before now.

Now, as a billionaire businessman, Trump, he, of course, can be called the king of contracts.