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Interview with Donald Trump. Aired 7-8:00p ET

Aired September 28, 2015 - 19:00   ET


[19:00:10] ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: OUTFRONT tonight, my exclusive one-on-one interview with Donald Trump. He talks taxes, as GOP rivals, Vladimir Putin, ISIS and even Bill Clinton.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The economy is going to just be absolutely like a rocket. It's going to go up.



And good evening, everyone. I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight, my exclusive sit-down with Donald Trump. He's still on top of the polls and today he rolled out a tax plan promising massive tax cuts for millions of Americans. He tells me it will make the U.S. economy go up like a rocket. Here's the bottom-line. The plan would cut income taxes for everyone with the richest Americans going from paying only 40 to only 25 percent of their income and apparently 31 million American households will go from paying something to nothing at all.

Earlier, I sat down with Mr. Trump at Trump Tower. We talked about the tax plan. We also talked about the polls and the war of words he's engaged with nearly every single one of thighs rivals.


BURNETT: People say, look, this is a guy who calls someone a loser. He'll say something and they say that that's childish. But they say that that's childish. They say, that's not the temperament of a president.

TRUMP: It probably is childish. But you know, what, this is a campaign.

BURNETT: So you're saying, you're not going to talk about Vladimir Putin, calling him a loser, something like that?

TRUMP: No, I actually say the opposite.


BURNETT: Tonight, our entire interview. We begin, though, by talking money. I asked Trump how he will pay for the trillions in dollars in tax cut he is proposing. And he actually said he will raise more money with lower tax rates.


TRUMP: Well, I think it probably will do even more than before, if you look at what is going to happen to the economy. The economy is going to just be absolutely like a rocket. It's going to go up. This is my prediction. This is what I'm good at. This is really my wheelhouse and I think you're going to create a tremendous number of jobs. You know, part of this, and as you and I were discussing, I'm also going to bring a lot of jobs back into the country because so many other countries have taken our jobs, they have taken our base, they have taken our manufacturing. So, we're going to couple that with this tax plan but we're going to have a country that really is going to rocket again and we haven't had that for a long time, Erin. You know, one of the things I mentioned during the news conference was that phony number of 5.3 and 5.4 and 5.5 percent unemployment. It could be 25 or 30 percent because you know when you stop looking for a job, they consider you for a statistical purpose.


TRUMP: Employed. And you must sort of --

BURNETT: They don't count you as an employed when you are.

TRUMP: Right. We have millions, tens of millions of people that couldn't find a job and they are now considered essentially employed. So, we're going to do something that's really great. And this is the thing I like the most. I'm going to put people to work. I'm going to be great for business. I'll be great for business.

BURNETT: Uh-huh.

TRUMP: And we're going to have an economy that really is going to be hot.

BURNETT: You -- will you pay more money? Will it be millions and millions, hundreds of millions? How much more will you pay?

TRUMP: I will probably end up paying more money but, at the same time, I think the economy will do better, so I'm making up that way. But I will probably end up paying more money. I believe in the end, I might do better. Because I really believe the economy is going to go boom, beautiful.

BURNETT: So, there's a couple of ways when you cut a lot of taxes, you can make up for it, right. You can close loopholes to make up money that way.

TRUMP: Correct. And we are doing that.

BURNETT: Right. And the cuts in and of themselves can generate growth.

(CROSSTALK) But let's talk about these loopholes. Because, you know, I

called up some economists who like your sort of plan and one of them said, I'm really confused by it. It's a bit of a mess because they want to know what loopholes you're going to close. You took the mortgage interests loophole off the table, it benefits almost all American.

TRUMP: I was thinking about --

BURNETT: How can you get there without --

TRUMP: Well, you know what, you have to do that because I will, he would be very concerned. If you do that you're not going to stop housing production and housing has had a lot of problems and you've reported better on it than anybody during the years. But you can't take a chance on that. I mean, people need the mortgage deduction, mortgage interest deduction.

BURNETT: So, where do you get the money if not --

TRUMP: Well -- interest, but one of the ways you're going to get it is, in my opinion, you know, one of the wage you're really going to get is, look, you know, many of your friends, they are hedge fund guys and you have the carried interest deduction. You have a lot of other deductions that frankly, it's a joke. It's tremendous amounts of money and its money that they really don't need. They want it because they are used to paying no taxes. Okay? We're very little taxes.


TRUMP: But it's not money they need. But the other thing, so importantly, and this is something that everybody agrees on, for ten years, for years, the money that's outside of this country, nobody knows how much. They think it's $2.5 trillion. I think it's probably more than that but nobody knows, that money, Erin, is going to come back into the country and it's going to stay here and they are going to invest it here and, frankly, from now on, when people make -- when these companies make money outside of the country, they can bring it back in at a reasonable tax.

The reason it stays there, is the tax is so onerous. As you know, it's a massive tax. And by the way, I have a lot of money outside of the country and the last thing I'm doing is for me because it's not that kind of money. But I have money outside. You can't get it back into the country. You fill out forms, you do this. I think my people have been working on it for like a year and a half. When you make money outside of the country, you can't bring it back into this country.

[19:05:25] BURNETT: So on a carrot interest loophole, you're going to close it. Look, I have to use appropriate word. Campaign about my own show, right? It's a smart thing to do. It's the right thing to do. It's a fair thing to do but it doesn't bring in a lot of money. It doesn't pay for very much.

TRUMP: But it brings in psychologically, when you have the hedge fund guy who is making $200 million a year and he's got this huge loss against it, which isn't a real loss, he's got this huge loss against his income and he's paying a very low rate of taxes, it's not fair. And I think it says a lot. I think it tells people a lot and it's got to end. And by the way, I have friends --


BURNETT: But how do you -- how do you get the money, then, to make up for the trillion of dollars in tax cuts.

TRUMP: Because --

BURNETT: The carried interests isn't going to do it.

TRUMP: Right. I agree with that. We're bringing in tremendous amounts of money into the country and we're going to create jobs. We're going to have an economy that is going to be robust. Right now, there's no one sent there for companies, there's just no, actually you're going to have the opposite. In my opinion, if it stays the way it is, you're going to have people, companies, big companies, and you know the ones that are talking about leaving, they are leaving the country, they're going to other countries to get their money, number one and probably maybe that isn't even number one, it's because they have a better tax rate outside of the United States.


TRUMP: And you have major companies that want to leave our country and it used to be, they leave for Florida or Texas, they are leaving now and they are getting out of the United States.

BURNETT: And they are going to Ireland, they're going somewhere else.

TRUMP: Ireland is a prime suspect. I mean, Ireland is really doing a lot of business.

BURNETT: So Apple will pay more taxes?

TRUMP: Well, Apple is going to pay some taxes.

BURNETT: They are the biggest company with money overseas.

TRUMP: Right. Apple has tremendous money overseas and they are going to bring it back. And, you know, there's going to be a 10 percent tax on that money but at least that's reasonable. They are going to bring it back and then they will going to invest the money mostly here, in my opinion. They're going to -- mostly here. Now, they can invest it elsewhere but mostly here.

BURNETT: How will it be different than when George W. Bush did it. At that time, the estimate are 92 percent of the money that came home, went to shareholders, buybacks, thing like that. Didn't go to factories, new jobs --

TRUMP: First of all, we're going to create a great incentive for the money to be invested. But even if it does go to shareholders, the shareholders are going to spend the money. You're going to have people in this country, stock owners of the company, they are going to get x-dollars, they are going to go out and buy things and that's going to be good. The big surprise, in my opinion, is going to be how much money it is. Because as you know, estimates are from 2.1 to 2.5 and then some people said it could be much higher than that. And I got a nice surprise today. Carl Icahn endorsed me. You heard that, right?

BURNETT: I did. I saw that.

TRUMP: And that's a good endorsement.

BURNETT: He picked on you a few months ago and now he's coming around.

TRUMP: Right. He picked on me too much. I mean, he's a friend of mine. And he knows I know what I'm doing. I mean, look, Carl is no nonsense. One thing about Carl. There's no games. If he didn't think I was good and really good, he wouldn't have done that. But when you get Carl's endorsement in this world that we're talking about, that's a great endorsement. I also have Tom Brady's endorsement. That's a different kind of an endorsement.

BURNETT: That's a different world.

TRUMP: But it's called winners. I like winners and Tom is certainly a winner.


BURNETT: All right. OUTFRONT next, more of our conversation. Trump has taken a recent stumble in the polls and how a President Trump would deal with Iran.


TRUMP: They will find out that if I win, we're not babies. There's no more being babies anymore.



[19:12:42] BURNETT: We are back with more of my exclusive sit- down with republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. We talked about a slipping poll numbers, his controversial campaign style and how he'd handle Russian strong man Vladimir Putin.


BURNETT: Vladimir Putin today was at the U.N. and so was Barack Obama. They could not be more different when it comes to Syria. Barack Obama saying he wants Bashar al Assad removed from power. Putin says, he thinks that's an enormous mistake not to cooperate with Vladimir Putin. Which man is right? TRUMP: Okay, so I've been saying this for a long time and I've

kept it low and I really understand what is going on in Syria. Because you look at it, first of all, it's a total catastrophe, it's a total mess, and we are helping to make it a mess. Now, we have ISIS and ISIS wants to go after Assad. But we're knocking the hell out of them even though it's not a very full blown thing. We're still dropping bombs all over the place. And, you know, look, they are not exactly loving life over in Syria, so we're stopping them, to a certain extent, from going after Assad.

You have Russia that is now there. Russia is on the side of Assad and Russia wants to get rid of ISIS as much as we do if not more because they don't want them coming into Russia. And I'm saying, why are we knocking ISIS and yet at the same time, we're against Assad? Let them fight, take over the remnants but more importantly, let Russia fight ISIS if they want to fight them. Let them fight it. In Syria, now, we can fight them in Iraq but if you think about Iraq, we've spent $2 trillion, thousands of lives lost. Wounded warriors who we love and I love all over the place, what do we have in Iraq and did you see --

BURNETT: You said you'd put ground troops on the ground in Iraq.

TRUMP: Well, we're going to have to do something with ISIS. I was totally against the war in Iraq and I was from the beginning, 2003, 2004 because you're going to destabilize the Middle East and I was right and should be given credit. Because that of everybody running, I'm the one person that said don't do it.

BURNETT: How do you put ground troops in Iraq though but not in Syria? Because there's no border, essentially, between those countries.

TRUMP: Let Syria and ISIS fight. Why do we care? Let ISIS and Syria fight. And let Russia, they're in Syria already, let them fight ISIS. Look, I don't want ISIS. ISIS is bad. They are evil. When they start doing with a head chopping and drowning of -- these are really bad dudes. So, I don't want to -- but let them fight it out. Let Russia take care of ISIS. How many places can we be?

BURNETT: So essentially you're saying, let Russia take care of ISIS. If Vladimir Putin wants Bashar al Assad to stay, it makes sense for him, you're okay with that?

TRUMP: So, I've watched him a lot. And I've made him a lot of money watching people. You know, deals with people. Okay. People say, what is the deal? How do you make good deals? It's all about analyzing people. So, I've watched Assad and I've watched a little bit on the other side. The problem with the other side, we have no idea who they are. They probably arises. I'm saying, are we better off with Assad? We have no idea who these people are. We give them weapons, we give them ammunition, we give them everything. Erin, we have no idea, I mean, maybe it's worse than Assad. So, what are we doing? Why are we involved?

We have to get rid of ISIS, very importantly, but I look at Assad and Assad, to me, looks better than the other side and, you know, this has happened before. We back a certain side and that side turns out to be a total catastrophe. Russia likes Assad seemingly a lot. Let them worry about ISIS. Let them fight it out. Now, in Iraq, we have to do it. We shouldn't have been there in the first place but we left the wrong way. When Obama took us out the way he took us out, that was a mistake. We should never have been there in the first place.

BURNETT: So, when you talk about the Middle East, you know, you've been critical of the Iran nuclear deal. But unlike some, you even said, you threw it out, you've said you'd make it a better deal.

TRUMP: Well, I'm a person, I'm a business person. You just can't do that. But Erin, with that being said, and you've known some of the deals, I've bought into really bad contracts knowingly and I've bought in cheap because of that bad contracts. And I've taken those bad contracts and I've made them great. I've made a fortune. What you have to do is this. I will analyze that contract so strongly. I will go after and believe me, if they violate that contract, they have problems. But what they've done is they have totally out negotiated us. The fact that they get $150 billion, the fact that we have the 24-day wait period and it's actually much more than that.

BURNETT: Before we can inspect, yes.

TRUMP: No, it's crazy. I mean, 24 days before we can inspect? The fact that they self-inspect and how about the prisoners we don't get. We don't get anything. This is one of the thing that nobody talks about. If Israel ever attacks, if they ever attack Iran, there really is a clause in there, the way I read it and I'm pretty good at this stuff, we're supposed to protect Iran from Israel. I mean, we're supposed to fight Israel. It's not going to happen. We're supposed to fight, how do they allow a clause like that in there? So, it's a horrible deal. With that being said, I will police that to a level that they will not believe even exists.

[19:17:32] BURNETT: So Hassan Rouhani just said something which about the GOP insulting pretty much all of you. He said, what the republican candidates are saying are laughable. He said, I'll quote him, some of them would not even know where Tehran was in relation to Iran. Some of them didn't know where Iran was geographically. That's pretty harsh.

TRUMP: Yes. I don't know who he's talking about --

BURNETT: So, you would know where Iran is on a map, right?

TRUMP: I do. I do. But let me just tell you what I said to him. They have so out negotiator, our people, because our people are babies. They have no idea what they are doing. I don't know why Obama wanted to make this deal so strongly because he lost on virtually every point. They will find out. I know he's not talking about me. They will find out that if I win, we're not babies. There's no more being babies anymore. One of the great problem --

BURNETT: Well, you have so many of them that are doing so poorly that didn't expect to do. Rand Paul is doing horribly. You know, he was supposed to be a leader, and he's down to two percent. You have so many -- a guy like Marco Rubio is a lightweight. I can't imagine that he goes anywhere. Who by the way, has the worst voting record in the United States Senate? He's got the worst attendance record. You can't do that. You have a vote. You know, people elect you to a position, you've got to vote. Bush, sadly, I mean, he is a nice guy but he's doing very poorly.

I mean, all of these people -- the interesting thing is, everybody that's attacked me, Bobby Jindal, Perry, every single person that's got Senator Lindsey Graham. I mean, in South Carolina, I'm at 34. He's at three. And he's the sitting senator from South Carolina. But all of these guys are out. Even Walker. And I think he's a nice person but he attacked me. I attacked him. He left the race. So so far, attacking me hasn't been a good idea. I'm not saying they shouldn't do it.

TRUMP: Well, so far, it's been -- I mean, seriously, five people. Every single person that has attacked me is either gone or -- I mean, they've either collapsed, like in the case of Bush, he was at 22, 24, now he's at six or five or something. I don't know what's going on. I don't know. Look, I'm doing this simply -- I want to make America great again. I'm really good at things. I get along with politicians. Believe it or not, I have a great temperament for this kind of stuff. They do respect me. In this building, I have some of the largest Chinese banks in the world and they are very happy to pay me rent every month and yet I'm very critical of China. People say, how can that be? He's so critical and yet he's got --

BURNETT: So when people say the temperament questions, this is a guy who call someone a loser, he'll say something and they say that that's childish, but they say that that's childish. They say that's not the temperament of a president.

TRUMP: Probably it's a little childish. But you know what, this is a campaign. And usually and I think you know this better than anybody. I'm responding to them. I'm a counter-puncher. I think at every single instance I hit. For instance, Walker is very nice to me. All of a sudden, he hit me and I hit him back. All of these guys, Rubio is very nice to me. Could have been nicer. All of a sudden a week ago, he started hitting me, I hit him back.

BURNETT: So you're saying you're not going to talk about Vladimir Putin --


BURNETT: -- calling him a loser or something like that?

TRUMP: I actually say the opposite. I think I would get along very well with him. We were both on "60 Minutes" last night.


TRUMP: Putin and Trump. And it was interesting. I think I'd have a good relationship with him. We have a horrible relationship with Russia right now. We have a horrible relationship with China, even though he's here now and, you know, look, what they are doing to us is amazing. What China is doing to us is one of the great thefts in the history of the world. What they have done. They have taken our jobs and our money and now we're wining and dining them over in Washington. And I don't mind that but they have to understand, we have to renegotiate. We cannot continue to have U.S. trade deficit with China of almost $400 billion a year. We can't do that.

That's going to end. If I'm there, that's going to end. So, I think my temperament is great. You know, I've built a great company and it's because of my temperament. Jeff Bush and Hillary almost in the same day they said, we don't like his tone. I said, tone. They chopping of heads. They're drowning people. We have people in the world that are looking to kill us. We need a strong tone. We don't need that soft, soft group of people. We need something tough. I think I have a great temperament.


BURNETT: And OUTFRONT next, more of my exclusive conversation with Donald Trump. What he says about Hillary and Bill Clinton and Trump's tax plan, he says it's going to make the economy take off like a rocket so we did the math. How does it add up? And his plan cuts taxes for the richest Americans. So, does the $10 billion man get a tax break, too.


[19:22:00] TRUMP: I will probably end up paying more money but, at the same time, I think the economy will do better so I'll make it up that way.



[19:26:02] BURNETT: Tonight, my exclusive sit-down with GOP front-runner Donald Trump.

Our panel with me now to break it down, Jeffrey Lord, the former political director for President Ronald Reagan, a Donald Trump supporter. Bill Kristol, the editor of "The Weekly Standard" and David Gergen, former adviser to Presidents Nixon, Ford, Reagan and Clinton. Let's start with the economic plan as what talked through here. But Trump told me economic growth on his plan is going to be so strong, he's actually going to get more revenue with dramatically lower tax rates. Here he is.


BURNETT: A lot of tax cuts in this plan for individuals, for corporations, for everybody. But you say it will raise just as much money as before. How?

TRUMP: Oh, I think it will probably will do even more than before if you look at what is going to happen to the economy. The economy is going to just be absolutely like a rocket. It's going to go up. This is my prediction. This is what I'm good at. This is really my wheelhouse. And I think you're going to create tremendous numbers of jobs.


BURNETT: Now, Bill, you've been very critical of Donald Trump. You had a Twitter war with him. You've said you'd vote for third party candidate before you'd vote for him. But you are a conservative. This is a plan that some conservatives would love. It says, cut taxes, growth will be great and make up for it. What do you think of what you heard?

BILL KRISTOL, EDITOR, "THE WEEKLY STANDARD": Yes. It's a pretty standard republican type tax plan. We don't have much detail but sounds a lot like Jeb Bush's and Marco Rubio's. It's smart of Donald Trump. Donald Trump, I have my issues with him. And I don't think he should be president, he is a smart politician. And this lets him say, hey, I've got a tax plan just like everyone else. Let's get back to talking what I want to talk about. And I was struck in the interview Erin, that we didn't show that just now. But as soon as he gets through the standard republican talking point about lowering taxes, revenues, what does he say, we're going to bring jobs back from overseas, we're going to compete better with overseas.

This is going to make America great again. He goes back to what his -- I think his core message, which is a very effective message, which is an American nationalist message. That's really what struck me in the interview you did with him. That he keeps coming back to that, you know? We're not going to have these foreign countries taking advantage of us, we're not going to have corporations moving overseas --

BURNETT: Interesting.

KRISTOL: We're going to bring the money back home.

BURNETT: And Jeff, you know, that's the argument he says. That money coming back home, unlike when George W. Bush did, he says, this time it is going to create jobs. Obviously, many people will disagree with that and say it's not possible. But you say that this plan adds up and, in fact, you're equating it to Reagan.

JEFFREY LORD, DONALD TRUMP SUPPORTER: Right. I mean, you know, everything isn't Ronald Reagan, Ronald Reagan is not Donald Trump or Jack Kemp, as it were. However, this is certainly Reagan-esque in fashions. I mean, the top rates comes down to 25 percent. Reagan and Kemp got it down to 28 percent finally. And, you know, here's the point of controversy. When Bill says that this is sort of convectional republican economics, what he's really saying in a sense is that this is Reaganomics, to the extent that Reaganomics produced two decades full of low unemployment that the economy did take off like a rocket. The soviet empire was noted in the Wall Street Journal today by some of Jack Kemp's biographers. It was undermined. It really was quite a magnificent thing. Now, of course, liberals don't agree with this and so I'm sure and I think I've already seen some attacks out there on this. But when Bill says this is fairly conventional, in this day and age, that means that's fairly Reagan- esque.

BURNETT: David, Reagan-esque, you worked for Ronald Reagan. Reagan-esque? I'm sorry, Donald Reagan.


Ronald Reagan, yes.

DAVID GERGEN, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL ADVISER: Jeffrey is right about that. It is Reagan-esque. And I think you do need to do credit with Trump for one thing. We've been pushing him. Where is the substance? Where is your plans? He's finally come forward with a plan. I give him credit for that. It's also true, that I think it has a populist element. Thirty one million households, according to the plan, would no longer pay taxes. That's obviously, you know, attractive. But there are big buts here. And that is, does the math add up? Do the number add up? And not everybody on the right, the economists are already are calling this a fantasy.

BURNETT: The economists, people who would love this kind of plan, they said the same thing.

GERGEN: The second question is, is it a big win fall for the rich with the country is going to ultimately would oppose? But the third thing, who produced -- where are the economists who can come forward and say tonight, I work with Donald Trump on this. Here's how the numbers add up. Why are they anonymous? Why can't we have what is more standard in politics and let us have a real conversation. And say, here's the shiny car but don't look under the hood.

BURNETT: Don't look under the hood.

So, you raised the point about what it's going to do to the wealthy and, Bill, this is a crucial point here. Let me just play this part of when I asked Donald Trump how the plan would impact him, how much more he would pay, this is what he said.


BURNETT: Will you pay more money? Will it be millions and millions, hundreds of millions? How much more will you pay?

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I will probably end up paying more money. But at the same time, I think the economy will do better so I'll make it up that way. But I will probably end up paying more money. I believe in the end, I might do better because I really believe the economy is going to go boom, beautiful.

BURNETT: You're betting on growth.


BURNETT: Jeff, here is the question. Shouldn't the answer to that question, if you're trying to be Reagan-esque, he's a billionaire. Shouldn't it be, absolutely I will pay more, not probably? JEFFREY LORD, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I don't think

Donald Trump likes to do the class warfare thing too much. He does do it a little bit with the hedge fund guys, et cetera. But the objective here is to get us back to the place, again, I refer to Jack Kemp who said, if we get down the road here where we're doing not supply side economics, but the economics of car scarcity, we're going to have politicians pitting one group against another.

Donald Trump is not about that in the sense that he's an outsider, yes, and he's against the establishment. But he's not about pitting race against race, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. Illegal immigration is not about race, it's about illegal immigration. That, again, is a Reagan-esque thing and that's positive.

BURNETT: Bill, in the plan, Trump says fewer people will be paying income tax, right? That's a populist point he's trying to make. He actually noted -- and I thought this was interesting in the press release, that in World War II, only the top 1 percent paid income tax. When I read something like that, if you put it in a different press release, let's just a press release for Bernie Sanders, I might actually think that it belonged there.

BILL KRISTOL, EDITOR, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: Look, Trump is a very smart politician and I think he believes it. Look, I think this was a very effective -- I don't think the plan ultimately is going to matter that much. Trump's appeal is not based on the superiority or inferiority of his tax plan compared to Rubio's or Bush's. But it does check that box. It is a nationalist plan.

And what does he stress? He stressed economic growth and helping the whole country get back on track economically. What are people worried about? Middle class income stagnated for 20 years. They don't care if Donald Trump ends up making money off this plan if they believe that Trump would help their incomes grow.

LORD: Right.

KRISTOL: And I give Trump a lot of credit for focusing on that in the way that you've got all these other elected politicians, they're supposed -- they take polls, they've been in politics for years, they are supposed to know how to appeal to people. How many have a clear message of economic growth as Donald Trump did in his interview --

BURNETT: And I want to emphasize again, and you and Donald Trump, Bill, have not gotten along.

KRISTOL: I'm not on his team, but --

BURNETT: It's a pretty set of positive things that you're saying, given that.

David Gergen, is he going to win any voters by coming out with something, and having a substantive conversation about it, which he just did, and having such a massive tax cut? Does he win anybody over? GERGEN: I think there are preliminary tests one has to pass in

order to become president. They're not just in the ballot box. But they are and do you meet the standards of credibility? Are you a serious person? Are you going to be a prudent managerial and steward of the nation's finances?

And tax cuts, we all agree on this panel, tax cuts are a worthy thing. But for the last ten years, we've been talking a lot about deficits, too. We should not forget, you know, we need a plan. He says it's revenue neutral. It's going to balance. It's not going to cost us anything.

Well, let's see how -- what the arithmetic is that supports that.

BURNETT: We need a lot more on that. That is very clear.

All right. We're going to take a very brief break.

And when we come back, more of our exclusive conversation with Donald Trump. I asked him about his tone and temperament. If he were president, would he call Vladimir Putin a loser? And the Republican front-runner distancing himself from Bill Clinton.


TRUMP: It was a long time ago he called. That was the last time I spoke to him. But I haven't spoke to him for a very long time.



[19:38:12] BURNETT: Tonight, Donald Trump admitting he's been childish on the campaign trail, part of my exclusive interview with the Republican presidential front-runner.


BURNETT: People say the temperament question, they say look, this is a guy who call someone a loser, he'll say something and they say that that's childish -- but they say that that's childish. They say that's no the temperament of a president.

TRUMP: Probably it's a little childish. But you know what? This is a campaign, and usually -- and I think you know this better than anybody -- I'm responding to them. I'm a counterpuncher.

I think my temperament is great. You know, I built a great company and it's because of my temperament.


BURNETT: Back with me now, Jeffrey Lord, David Gergen, Bill Kristol.

Bill, Donald Trump says his temperament is great, perfect for the presidency. What do you say?

KRISTOL: I'm not sure about that, but I will say this, having watched this interview and I watch Bush yesterday and Hillary Clinton and others on Sunday shows, Donald Trump is entertaining. David Gergen prepared a lot of presidents for interviews like the one Trump had with you, and I would bet that David would agree that that was a good interview.

If you start watching it, you keep on watching it, and he seems like a nice guy, little self-deprecating. He's kind of a lot bravado, too, but it seems like it's done with a smile, keeps stating on his core message, economic growth, going to help make America great again.

Trump is underrated just as a political player. You know, he's good at it.

BURNETT: What do you say?

GERGEN: I agree with Bill Kristol. He's right. He's a good entertainer. I mean, he's been a gift to a lot of these candidates. He brought an extra 20 million people to the last debate on CNN.

BURNETT: Which, by the way, not on camera, but afterwards, he made that point to me loud and clear.

GERGEN: Yes. So, if you're Marco Rubio, for example, you had additional 28 million additional people watch you in action. That really helps your campaign if you can catch fire. And Rubio is a guy coming up on the outside lane right now.

So, I do -- he's got a magnetism about him. He's terribly interesting. He knows -- I think -- he's very shrewd.

[19:40:01] He is -- he has got a sense about television, about communication that goes way beyond most people in politics.

BURNETT: All right. So, let me put the question to you, Jeff. Are you surprised to hear David Gergen and Bill Kristol being this positive about Donald Trump? You've been fighting Donald Trump in debates like this for months and you have been the odd guy out.

LORD: You know, I had thought, after I got to know Donald Trump, I thought he was exactly the kind of person that Bill and David had just described. I really do think he is an extremely smart guy, has been unbelievably underestimated.

He's a nice guy. He's a really good human being here. And he's entertaining. He's got all of these abilities.

He does have a temperament. You could not possibly build the Trump Organization if you were erratic and temperamental and that sort of thing. And I think this also will help, you know, down the road in foreign policy, because I think he delivers his message on whatever his subject, he delivers the message loud and clear. And if you're on the other side, you want to be very careful that you don't underestimate him. GERGEN: Yes, what I would be interested, both Jeff and Bill, he

is reining himself in now? The Donald Trump we saw in that interview, to me, is a more measured person, slightly more measured, but doesn't bring the braggadocio, doesn't bring the sort of some other qualities, the brashness, as I wonder if he's reining himself in more in order to be seen as a more presidential cloth (ph).

KRISTOL: I spoke with a Republican operative today, who does a lot of coaching for debates, and for TV, a good guy, a sort of a younger generation David Gergen, maybe, high standard, but I think he's pretty good. He says that he was struck by how Trump has improved as a candidate. You know, the general view is that, and I've had for some degree, that he's this kind of phenomena, you got people interested in him, but obviously he's going to fade, and I still think he will fade eventually.

But, you know, he's learning on the stump and in the interviews. He's obviously -- he watches himself and he talks about himself a lot and I think he's a shrewd guy and modifies them. I wish -- the other candidates -- they should be learning a little bit from watching Trump and I like Rubio a lot, but I'm a little worried -- and I prefer some of the other candidates to Trump. I'm a little worried, they don't seem to be learning as quickly from this campaign as Trump is.

BURNETT: So, in this interview, he was more measured and moderate. I was struck by the same thing. But when Marco Rubio came up, he did call him a lightweight, right? He came after Rand Paul. I mean, there was the Donald Trump that everyone has seen was there. And he talked about -- he claims is the reason other candidates are dropping out or struggling, and that reason, of course, is Donald Trump and here he is.


TRUMP: The interesting thing is, everybody that's attacked me, Bobby Jindal, Perry, every single person that's got -- Senator Lindsey Graham -- but all of these guys are out, even Walker. And I think he's a nice person but he attacked me. I attacked him. He left the race.

So, so far, attacking me hasn't been a good idea. I'm not saying they shouldn't do it.

BURNETT: It's a death knell.

TRUMP: So far, it's been. I mean, seriously. Five people.

Every single person that's attacked me is either gone, or -- I mean, they've either collapsed --


BURNETT: Bill Kristol, that is the Donald Trump you guys have come to see, the Donald Trump at the center.

KRISTOL: Yes, it is. Look, he is an awful lot that way, more than he should be, I think.

But I would say this, Erin, what does he say when he's dumping on poor Scott Walker who left the race last week? He's a nice guy. I mean, Trump is shrewd in the way that he takes the edge off some of the braggadocio and some of insults by sort of a backhand compliment to his rivals.

BURNETT: Now, he did, David, say something today when we talked about foreign policy that I thought was very significant, following up on what he talked about in "60 Minutes," talked about Barack Obama saying that Bashar al Assad has to go, Vladimir Putin obviously supports him in the presidency, and Donald Trump sided with Vladimir Putin, pretty explicitly. Let me just play that and get your reaction.


TRUMP: We have no idea who these people are. We give them weapons, ammunition, we give them everything.

BURNETT: Uh-huh.

TRUMP: Erin, we have no idea -- maybe it's worse than Assad. So what are we doing? Why are we involved? We have to get rid of ISIS, very importantly. But I look at Assad and Assad, to me, looks better than the other side.


BURNETT: Let me just say to you, David, it's not just Vladimir Putin who has said this. It's not the position of the U.S. government.

GERGEN: It's not the business of the U.S. government, nor do I think it should be.

Listen, it's one thing to find ways to beat ISIS, it's another thing to open the door to Putin and the Russians and giving them a larger presence in the Middle East. What we're seeing evolve right now, since the Iranian agreement was signed, if the Iranians are attacking us and that sort of thing but to have the Russians move in more fully and you get an alliance going between the Russians and Syrians, Iranians with help from the Iraqis, as we've now learned, there's intel sharing --

BURNETT: Yes, they are coordinating on intelligence.

GERGEN: -- that is not a helpful and that is not a wise American foreign policy.

BURNETT: Bill Kristol, what do you think about Donald Trump saying Assad is better than the alternative?

KRISTOL: I don't -- well, I think Assad created this terrible alternative. [19:45:02] And I think there's plenty we can do to both go after

Assad and go after ISIS. But I will, again, politically, Trump may be in a shrewd place, which is Americans get nervous by getting in the middle of some really messy civil war in the Middle East. Let them fight it and kill each other, let Russia handle it, and Trump is careful to say, but, of course, we're going to ready to take care of our own interests if we have to be. I don't agree with him. I agree with David Gergen as a matter of foreign policy.

But as a political matter, again, I think Trump has said he's ended up in a place that might not be so bad for him politically.

BURNETT: So, Jeff, when you take this into account, you take an interview where he is trying to make a -- you know, a more substantive conversation. Is this in response to the polls? I mean, you know, he had that surge like a star to the top. He has fallen in the CNN polls, a high of 32 percent and now down to 24.

Is this new Donald Trump in reaction to those polls? He's going to try to be more substantive because he's worried that he could drop?

LORD: I don't think so. I think Bill and David were right in the sense that he's improved as a candidate. I mean, this thought struck me when he signed that pledge there in the Trump Tower. It was after he signed the pledge that he looked presidential.

I think he's improving on this score. I think he knows exactly what he's doing here and, you know, the real Donald Trump comes out as we move along here. So, I think he's pretty -- he's a shrewd judge of people. And character. And I think that will help a lot when he deals on foreign policy issues.

BURNETT: All right. Well, thanks so much to all of you.

And now, a part of this interview we have not yet played for you. Donald Trump next talking about Hillary Clinton. He says he will easily beat her.


TRUMP: She's done such a poor job as secretary of state. She's done the worst job in the history of secretary of state.



BURNETT: Praising Donald Trump, former President Bill Clinton raised eyebrows over the weekend because he did just that in an interview on CNN.

[19:50:05] So I asked Trump about Clinton's comments when I sat down with him earlier today.


BURNETT: So Bill Clinton, obviously, you could be running against his wife if you are the nominee.


BURNETT: He was asked about you this weekend on CNN he said you are a master brander, he said you have a lot of pizzazz and zip and when he asked whether you could be the nominee, he said, "I think so." Obviously, he attended your wedding to your wife, Melania. You have known him a long time.

What do you say to him? I mean, would you go so far as to say he's a friend.

TRUMP: Well, I'll tell you -- no, I haven't spoken to him in a long time. Actually, he wanted to know what I was going to do and, you know, it was long time ago he called, that was the last time I spoke to him. But I haven't spoken to him for a long time.

I always respected him. I actually liked him over the years. But when we look at what's going on in the world, when we look at the job that Hillary did as secretary of state, she goes down as perhaps the worst secretary of state in history. And when I run against her evenly in the polls, I'm doing very well against Hillary and beating her.

Probably, though, I will tell you if you're talking about the Iran agreement, I think that Kerry is maybe going to take her place as the worst because of this agreement. I think it's going to go down as the worst agreement in history.

But as far as Hillary is concerned, number one, if she gets to the starting gate, which is questionable because of the e-mail situation, it really is going to be a big question. But I don't think she'll be very difficult to beat --

BURNETT: Why? Why don't you think she'll be difficult to beat?


TRUMP: She's done such a poor job as secretary of state. She's done the worst job in the history of this country as secretary of state.

Erin, if you look throughout the world during her reign and the reign of Obama, the whole world was blowing up. We've lost our friendships, we've lost everything.

The whole world -- we're talking about Syria. These were things that we wouldn't even be questioning. So many bad -- Libya -- so many bad decisions were made. Go in here, go into Libya. Now, it's a disaster.

Every place that we've touched, every single place, we gave up on Egypt, we didn't back people on Egypt. The people that were relying and back, so many things that we've touched -- the way I look at it, everything. I mean, nobody can tell me one thing that's been done in the last six years foreign policy-wise that worked out. BURNETT: So in the polls you're the frontrunner, right, you're

the frontrunner of the GOP.


BURNETT: When they put you head-to-head with Hillary, though, in our latest poll, you still lost by a little bit. Some of the GOP candidates didn't. What would you do to turn that around?

TRUMP: But in other polls -- other than the CNN poll, I beat her. I think I just have to do my thing.

See, I'm not interested right now in that aspect. Right now I'm --

BURNETT: So you're going to keep your strategy --

TRUMP: -- a certain number of people and you have to get there first. I think Hillary in certain way is going to be easier than anybody else, but in most of the polls, I beat Hillary, and I just -- I view -- look, I have a certain number of people that I'm running against right now. One by one, they dropped out.


BURNETT: David Gergen is still with me, all right? You worked with President Clinton. Are you surprised that he complimented Donald Trump, talking about branding and pizzazz and being the nominee?

GERGEN: No, I'm not at all, because I think Trump and Bill Clinton have been around politics and have been around in ways that they know -- look, guys knocked each other, they elbow each other, but at the end of the day, you get in the locker room and there is a certain amount of respect that goes on. So, I think these are sort of two guys who are forgiving and they don't hold grudges.

But I was surprised about was how he pivoted out. Here is the guy that says I counter attack, I only attack when somebody attacks me, he didn't counterattack against Hillary, he just slugged her. He said perhaps the worst secretary in history. That will tick off Bill Clinton a lot.

BURNETT: To hear the that about her?

GERGEN: Absolutely. Bill Clinton pointed out in an interview this weekend and I think you're interviewing him tomorrow.

BURNETT: Tomorrow.

GERGEN: And welcome back, by the way.

BURNETT: Yes, thank you.

GERGEN: Bill Clinton pointed out that when she left as secretary of state, she had sky high ratings. She had very good ratings in the public. It's been since she turned to politics and she got into this mess over the e-mail.

BURNETT: Right. So, in the CNN poll, other GOP candidates do beat Hillary Clinton.

GERGEN: Right.

BURNETT: Donald Trump does not. Donald Trump, you heard him. No problem, he says he would easily beat her.

What's your take?

GERGEN: I think he would be seen as the under dog going in because he's -- but that's not to say he couldn't win it. I just think his chances have probably gone up. If he becomes the nominee of the party, a lot of Republicans will rally around in. But there is so much resistance in the large parts of the country.

And again, if he wants to go out and attack a woman like Hillary in the way he just did, he's going to alienate -- you can't attack the Mexicans and immigrants. You can't attack women. You can't -- all the different people and expect to win a presidency.

BURNETT: All right. David Gergen, thank you very much.


BURNETT: And tomorrow on OUTFRONT, as David said, I'll be sitting down with the former President Bill Clinton. We're going to talk about Trump, Hillary and the 2016 race for the White House. So much to talk about.

[19:55:00] We hope you will not miss that interview. It is tomorrow night right here OUTFRONT at 7:00. We'll be right back.


BURNETT: Thanks so much for joining us. Be sure to set your DVR. You can record OUTFRONT and watch us anytime. We'll see you again tomorrow night with my interview with President Bill Clinton.

"AC360" with John Berman begins now.