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Live From Iowa; CNN Interview With Donald Trump; Awaiting Trump Event; Hillary Clinton Campaigns In Iowa; Trump Skips Debate, Holds Separate Event; Trump Holds Rival Event Minutes From GOP Debate; Trump: Fox News 'Apologized'; Trump Vs. Fox; Huckabee And Santorum At Trump Event

Aired January 28, 2016 - 21:00   ET


[21:00:01] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: ... no idea what's going to happen. Quite a night already. It is far from over. CNN is covering all of it nonstop. We'll be back with another Edition of 360 a live one, at 11:00 Eastern. CNN Tonight with Don Lemon starts right now.

DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: All right here we go everyone. Breaking news, it's a big night. There's no debate, Iowa is the place to be the night and we're taking you live to all of these events. Look at all of these events that's happening in Iowa tonight. All the politicos are out. All the people who were running for president.

This is "CNN Tonight." I'm Don Lemon.

Four days to go until the Iowa caucuses where the first votes of the campaign will be cast. Republicans and Democrats making their last- minute speeches tonight. There you see them out in force, from Donald Trump's event just about three miles away from the GOP debate, to Bill and Hillary Clinton's rallies, to Bernie Sanders.

There's a lot going on tonight. So let's get right to it, shall we? CNN's Brianna Keilar really got to be interview of the night. She talked with Donald Trump just moments ago and she joins me now from Iowa.

Brianna, great interview. You talked to Donald Trump tonight on his plane. What did he say to you?

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah we did the interview here at the Des Moines Airport on the torment in his plane with his entire family looking on. What was really interesting was he said right before we did this interview, he said he got a call from Fox News. He also said throughout the day, he was fielding phone calls including from Roger Ailes. He said that he got an apology, he wouldn't say from whom at Fox News. Listen.


KEILAR: You have an issue with one certainly of the moderators of the debate. How is it may different? DONALD TRUMP, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well I'm not a person that respects Megyn Kelly very much. I think she's highly overrated but other than that, I don't care, I -- in fact when Fox called because they very much welcome me then they call me just now, they call me just before you walked into the plane. And they called me and in all fairness, very nicely, but they want me there very badly. And I never once asked that she be removed. By the time they apologized, I said look, the problem is we now have a big events scheduled in Des Moines.

KEILAR: They on the phone apologized? Is that what the phone call was about?

TRUMP: Yes the Fox could not have been nicer.

KEILAR: You got an apology?

TRUMP: Yes and they could not have been nicer.

KEILAR: Who apologized to you?

TRUMP: I don't want to say.


KEILAR: Now I asked him Don, would you have gone if you didn't have this event? He seemed to open to it. But of course he does have this event across town. And he said it was too late to certainly cancel it or to go to the debate because he was doing this event that is at this moment oversold.

LEMON: And as you we're speaking now Brianna, we're looking live at that event where people are getting ready. There's sort of playing to the cameras there at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. We can listen it, oh but we can hear the music is playing, they're getting ready for Donald Trump to come in.

Brianna Keilar just finished up her big interview with Donald Trump on the plane. Brianna, as we look at these pictures, we had a representative on from Donald Trump's campaign, the spokesperson. Couldn't really tell us about which veterans groups this money is going to. So what did he say about the money he's raising for wounded vets.

KEILAR: That's all he said Don, was that he was planning on raising $5 million. He had come under fire certainly because it appeared the money was going to his personal foundation, the Donald J. Trump Foundation. And then it was unclear which veterans groups, and it still is, he's going to be donating the money to.

His son Donald Jr. tweeted out that that is going to be revealed. There have been today those some veterans groups, including the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans Association that have said, you know, we're not going to take this money. We feel like he's playing politics. They're also been vets groups who say we'll happily take this money. We need this. But, you know, I guess we're going to find out at this event exactly where that money is going to be headed. LEMON: All right Brianna, stand by. We're going to get more of

Brianna Keilar's interview with Donald Trump throughout this broadcast. As you can see again, his event getting ready to start just moments from now in Des Moines, Iowa. But in the meantime I want to take you to Hillary Clinton, now you see Hillary Clinton on the left-hand side of the screen. You see Donald Trump has been on the right side. Let's listen in to Hillary Clinton for (inaudible) in Iowa.

HILLARY CLINTON, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: ... because most people think that's where our next problem could come from. So I want to be ahead of the curve. Go after the guys before they hurt us not after. You know, don't close the barn door after the horses run away. Keep the horses in the barn.

And the best evidence, the best evidence that my plan is the toughest plan is the Republicans are advertising against me trying to convince Democrats not to support me. Now you got to give them credit for cleverness.

It's a little obvious. You know, when Karl Rove is running an ad advertising against me, you have to think, what's going on here. Well I'll tell you what's going on here. He and the Hedge Fund guys and the billionaires, there have run $6 million in negative ads against me.

[21:05:01] Why? Because they know that I mean what I say, I will do what I say, and I will come right after them. And they are doing everything they can to make sure I can't. So, these -- I tell people, I find this kind of perversely flattering. You know, they've been trying to kill me for years. Oh my gosh, when I was going after universal healthcare. It was called "HillaryCare" before "ObamaCare," remember that.

LEMON: Hillary Clinton really telling her own healthcare expertise, she is speaking in Iowa. And now, you see -- again, you see the Donald Trump event, you see Hillary Clinton speaking, also her husband stumping for her in Iowa as well. And Bernie Sanders out tonight stumping, we're keeping an eye on the Trump event but let's go to Bernie Sanders now and listen in.

BERNIE SANDERS, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: ... in the entire world, today in Iowa, today in Vermont, women are having babies. And for those of you who are parents, you know what an extraordinary day it is. You never forget it. And it's a pretty big day for the baby as well. But here is the rub. And that is, if that mom and dad are working class people or low-income people, mom will have to separate herself from that beautiful newborn baby and go back to work in a week or two weeks in order to earn enough money to take care of her family.

That should not be happening in America. And that is why I support legislation in the House and the Senate to provide three months of paid family and medical leave. And when real unemployment is close to 10 percent and youth unemployment is off the charts, I think it's a no-brainer to understand that the Federal Government needs to develop a massive federal jobs program to put our people back to work. LEMON: All right. There you have it. Bernie Sanders also speaking tonight in Iowa. And again, there's so much going on, if you are an conservative an establishment Republican or of you are on the fringes, if you are Centrist Democrat, if you are a socialist. Whatever kind of political junkie you are, we have got it for you here tonight on CNN. It feels like, it's election night almost.

I want to bring in my panel to discuss all of these. Bob Cusack is the Editor in Chief of "The Hill". CNN contributor Bakari Sellers is with us. Trump supporter Andy Dean and Bob Beckel, the author of " I Should Be Dead: My Life Surviving Politics, TV and Addiction."

Andy, I'm going to start with. The Trump event is under way. Donald Trump says, he's going to raise millions tonight. Where will this money go?

ANDY DEAN, DONALD TRUMP SUPPORTER: Sure. So, when Donald is speaking tonight, he's going to reveal a list of the wonderful charities that are going to get this great money. So, you know, the American people are deciding, as we speak, whether or not to watch a debate which we've seen six times prior or they can watch Donald Trump celebrate our veterans which is just about to happen as you're about to see it on our cameras here.

So Trump is going to reveal that list. It's going to go all the veterans. Look, Donald Trump doesn't need any more money. The guys got $10 billion. You know, he's not doing this just for his personal gain. The money is going to veterans and this is a an exciting night, a big night and -- for our veterans.

LEMON: Yeah. He doesn't need the money but he needs -- definitely needs the --and people to go out and caucus for him in Iowa. Not a mistake do you think for him, not to be on the stage at an event that's, you know, that's for Republicans, for candidates?

DEAN: Right, well, we're going to learn that after the vote. That's coming up in a couple of days. If he ends up winning, this is a genius move. If he doesn't end up wining, I'll be on next week Don Lemon and I'll be talking about how we're going to win New Hampshire.

LEMON: Yeah.

DEAN: So it just depends on what happens when the people vote.

LEMON: Mr. Beckel, when ...

DEAN: Hey Don, I will say one thing ...

LEMON: Go ahead Andy?

DEAN: ... thanks Don, real quick.

LEMON: Yeah.

DEAN: Remember, if you are in Iowa right now, the odd are that the local news networks, and a lot of people forget this because we're on a national cable channel. But if you're in Iowa, the local news networks in all these different cities in Iowa, the NBC, ABC and CBS affiliates, probably not the Fox affiliates but the other affiliates are going most likely break in for local coverage of the Trump event which they have the ability to do, because they have the ability to air this event. They do not have the legal right to air the debate which can only exclusively air on Fox News.

So your average citizen in Iowa, when they turn on their television, there going to be three networks potentially carrying the Trump event, CNN carrying it and Fox News is the only one that's covering the boring debate.

LEMON: Yeah. Bob Beckel, what's do you make of this? Like I said, if feels like, I've never seen anything like it.

[21:10:03] BOB BECKEL, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I haven't spent the last four days in Iowa many, many times. It is -- it's about -- it picks up like this and it will get more intense as the next days go by. Is now is the time that and get your voters. Get them on the phone. Get a commitment to show up. I don't think he get there. Here is real problem. You look at Bernie Sanders and you look at Donald Trump. Both of them facing audiences to the very young. They are the base of their support in many ways and yet they haven't been out to Caucus before.

So it really is from Trump's standpoint, I've got to think whether he can get his vote out or not is the ultimate question, and turnout.

LEMON: Yeah.

BECKEL: That's the big question.

LEMON: Well and we've seen, you know, we've seen the Sanders and the two Clintons there. We've seen that play out before because that's what happen at the Iowa Caucuses, when you look at the top left of your screen that's never really happened before.

BECKEL: No, it hasn't. No I tell you it is a big roll of the dice. I can't begin to tell you, and I've been around a long time doing this. I don't know if it's going to help or hurt. My own gut tells me it's going to hurt himself. But it's to not show up, something the Iowans take very seriously things like this. And to not show up, I think that's going to be a little bit of a fisher although he's increased in the polls.

LEMON: All right, I want everyone to listen to me because this is just in to CNN. OK. And I'm just getting this as you are and I'm going to read this. This is a statement from Fox News from a Fox News spokesperson, OK. And I'm going to read this for you as we wait for this Donald Trump event you're not going to miss any even any events what's going to on in Iowa.

OK. Again from a Fox News spokesperson says, "Roger Ailes had three brief conversations with Donald Trump today about possibly appearing at the debate. There -- were not multiple calls placed by Ailes to Trump because Donald Trump in the interview with Brianna Keilar said multiple calls were place today they apologized but he said that there were not multiple calls." That's according to a Fox News spokesperson.

"In the course of those conversations we acknowledged his concerns about a satirical observation we made in order to quail the attack on Megyn Kelly and prevent her from being smeared any further. Furthermore Trump offered to appear at the debate upon the condition that Fox News contribute $5 million to his charities. We explained that was not possible and we could not engage in a quid pro quo, nor could any money change hands for any reason. In the last 48 hours, we've kept two issues at the forefront. We would never compromise our journalistic standards and we always stand by our journalists. We would always stand by our journalist Megyn Kelly. We have accept -- we have accomplished those two goals, and we are pleased with the outcome. We're very proud to have her on stage as a debate moderator alongside Bret Baier and Chris Wallace." Bob, react to that. What do you think?

BECKEL: I think they are exactly right. I mean think that, you know, there was they have the apologies that Bush going to be question here. Who said what about? I don't think that's the big issue. I think Fox had every rights to get and try to get him to come on the stage. Trump had every right not to go on. The question is, who is it going to hurt more? And certainly in not going to hurt Fox. I mean Fox is not up for election. But it can hurt Trump.

LEMON: Yeah. And, hey, very quickly I got to ask you this, Andy, since you are, you know, you're Trump supporter. So, what do you make up the statement saying, listen we didn't make multiple calls there is no real apology of any sort of, what do you think of that?

DEAN: Don, I'll be honest. A lot of this is like inside baseball. The American people just don't care about Roger Ailes and how many times he called. Most people don't even know who Roger Ailes is unless you're in the business.

LEMON: But Donald Trump certainly thinks so because he's making it an issue and bringing up Roger Ailes as he has in press conference and making fill it.

DEAN: Making an issue with Fox News. Making an issue with Fox News and everybody knows Fox News. One thing I will say Don, and I think this is the biggest piece of the news of the night and I think it will reveal itself in the next hours to. If it showing up at this event tonight is the winner of the 2008 Iowa Caucus, Mike Huckabee and the winner of the 2012 Iowa Caucus, Rick Santorum.

Together they represent right now about 5 to 7 percent support in Iowa. By them showing up to this event they both realize Huckabee and Santorum that they're not going to be the republican nominee. They'll not going to win this. But by coming here, it's showing that they support Trump. That's a big deal.

LEMON: We're going to talk about all of that and much, much more tonight as we await Donald Trump and others. Here they are all speaking tonight and stumping in Iowa. We will get to it. You won't miss any of it. We'll going to take a quick break and we will be right back.


[21:16:36] LEMON: Back now to Iowa. And there is Donald Trump taking to the lectern. Let's listen in.

TRUMP: Wow. Wow. That's so nice. Thank you. Thank you. That is a vet. There's a vet. We love our vets. Thank you everybody. Sit down, please.

We had about 24 hours to put this together. It was very, very quick. And we're here for some very special people and we're going to hear from some of them, but this is an honor. This is a really honor.

And I didn't wanted to be here, I have to be honest. I wanted to be about five minutes away, and I've enjoyed that. I've enjoyed that. All the online polls said I've done very well with that, with the debates, and I've had a kick with it.

But you have to stick up for your rights. When you're treated badly, you have to stick up for your rights. You have to do it. And whether we like it or not, whether it's something we want to do or not, and that's what our country has to do.

I mean, as an example, Iran. The way they've been treating us with all of this horrible, this deal is one of the worst deals I've ever seen negotiated under any circumstances. And we just take it. We have to stick up for ourselves as people, and we have to stick up for our country when we're being mistreated. Remember that.

And I have to go a little step further and say that Fox has been extremely nice and the last number of hours, actually, and they've wanted me there and they've said how about now? They called a few minutes ago. "How about now, can you come over?" I said, "Hasn't it already started?"

And we actually thought what we do is we'd let them start, and, you know, we wanted to be about 15 minutes into that hour so that by now they're all tuned -- and look at all the cameras like the Academy Awards. This is like the Academy Awards. This is the Academy Awards.

We're actually told that we have more cameras than they do by quite a bit, so that's settled then, I see. And you know what, that's really in honor of our vets. But they have been. They've been very nice and they wanted me to go and apologized and everything else. And they did apologize, and they could not have been -- but once this started, it's for our vets, there was nothing I could do. I don't know.

And you know what, I don't know. Is it for me personally a good thing, a bad thing, will I get more votes, will I get less votes. Nobody knows who the hell knows. But it's for our vets and you're going to like it because we raised over $5 million in one day. Over $5 million! So, that's not so bad.

You know, my whole theme is "Make America Great Again". And that's what we're going to do. And we wouldn't have even been here if it weren't for our vets. And our vets are being mistreated. Illegal immigrants are treated better in many cases than our vets. And it's not going to happen anymore, not going to happen anymore.

So, once this ball started rolling, we couldn't stop it. And you see the house is packed. And literally, this took place less than 24 hours. We had less than 24 hours to do this. Because I said, "Listen, I'm not going to do the debate out of respect for myself. I won't do it because it would just be wrong.

[21:20:01] But, you know, I love Iowa. I'm here. We got to do something. I didn't know we were going to raise $5 million. We actually raised close to 6 million to be totally honest. But -- and I have to say, a lot more to come, you know, we set up a site,, And they've raised almost $500,000 just today. So I think this money is going to continue to pour in.

And we have some incredible, incredible people. I do want to say I don't want to call out some of the folks that gave a lot of the money and then we're going to have somebody come up to speak who is an incredible speaker but much more importantly it's the subject somebody that really, really understands what's the vets are going through.

But first we have to talk about people that made a lot of money, and they wouldn't have made a lot of money and wouldn't even be here if it weren't for the vets and our great military, because the military right bill has a lot more guts than you do. Is that right? We have different kind of guts, right? So Carl Icahn gave $500,000. One quick phone call with $500,000.

Richard Leprak, a great builder in New York gave $100,000. Donald Trump, another great builder in New York, now a politician, I can't stand this. A politician? I don't want to be called a politician. All talk no action I refuse to be called a politician. Donald Trump gave $1 million, OK? The Fisher Family of New York gave $75,000. Howard Lawberg, a great fan and friend of our family, $100,000. A very, very rich man in New York, a very good friend of mine, a very good person and he wants to be anonymous. The first time in his life all his life he was out there. Now, I said do me a favor, could you give me million buck for this? He said why? I said don't worry about just give me a million. No unless you tell me. I said it's for the vets. He said you got it. Is that good?


TRUMP: Right. And he wanted to be anonymous. I don't know he's changed because you know what? You know who I'm talking about. Two years ago -- yes?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Trump! Trump! Trump! Trump! Trump! Trump!

TRUMP: It really is too crazy, right? You know, I tell the story. I love protests. I love protests at my rallies. Because, you know, here, this a beautiful place but we have thousands of people outside that weren't as good as real estate in real estate as you folks. I would say but we have thousands of people outside trying to get in. We set up cameras, we set up screens. We have everything. But I will tell you. You look at that. I love the protesters in the big arenas because the cameras never move. They're always on my face. And I say to my wife, Melania, honey, stand up. She has to suffer through this. She has to suffer through this.

Now, I go home and it's always broadcast. You know they can never let me like they other politicians nobody cares. It's nobody covering them, no cameras, look at this, it's like crazy. But I say, how did I do? She said you were great. Were there many people there? I said what do you mean? There were 21,000. It was like in the Mavericks Arena or, it was I remember, in Alabama, Mobile, Alabama. We had 35,000 people. By the way we get the biggest crowds by far. Much bigger than Bernie, although I have to say he's second, he is second. No other republican.

But we got the biggest crowds and just say but they never show the crowd? And I said, what do you mean they never show the crowd? And I realize they never turn the camera. And I always say, you know, I figured maybe they are fixed, this new cameras, they can't turn.

The only way you find out that they are not fix they're like pretzels the way they can turn them. Is when you can have protesters you can have protesters up in the top and they are turned around sideways. They turn. But they don't want to show the crowd. So it's one of those things.

So we have a rich man from New York, a good guy who has become a little reclusive, obviously, $1 million. He's a great guy. We have another unbelievable man Ike Perlmutter from Marvel he did such an unbelievable job. One of the great, great men of our country in terms of business and talent, and he's giving Ike and Laurie Perlmutter, $1 million.

[21:25:00] J.J. Kafaro from Florida and from Cleveland. He's a man who made a lot of money in Cleveland and does a good job and a fantastic man, $50,000. J J., thank you.

Another great friend of mine, one of the most brilliant men you'll ever meet a phenomenal world class poker player. You wouldn't even know it. He doesn't do that for a living. He makes money for a living in every way. You cannot make a deal with this guy and come out on top. It's impossible. In fact, I'm thinking about him for China. How about him negotiating with China? OK.

You know, China, this year in trade, will make over $500 billion in terms of our trade deficit, $500 billion. That's no partnership. And I'm a free trader, I love free trade but we have to use our head.

And we use political hacks to negotiate with the Chinese. And they have the smartest people. I deal with them all the time. I love the Chinese, they buy my apartments for millions. I have their largest bank in the world from China in one of my buildings. I love them. I'm not blaming the Chinese. I'm not angry at them. I'm angry at our politicians because we have people that are incompetent running our country. Why should we be losing in trade deficits $500 billion a year? So it's not going to happen.

So if I took a guy like this, put him in charge, his wife is so incredible. Would you both come up, Mr. and Mrs. Phil Ruffin. Come on up. Come up. Come up.

He is never had anything. It's like everything he touches turns to gold. Whatever deal he goes into. He bought a piece of land in Las Vegas, spent $110 million. He sold it a few years later and made plenty of money in between for $1.3 billion, right, just about 1.3? I think he said it's more.

Every single -- so when he gives a million it's like, you know what that says, 10 cents, but for him, very important. Phil Ruffin, just say a couple of words.


LEMON: Mr. Bob Beckel, what do you think so far? He's saying that he raised 5 -- almost $6 million for veterans. That's good news for veterans.

BECKEL: Yeah, it is good news and the people he raised it from, the people that he's been in business with, you know, give him credit. He can raise that kind of money. Now I don't know whether he thinks that still that $5 million is going to -- people in Iowa are going to say, "Gee, what a wonderful thing he did and not show up at that debate", because I still believe the people in Iowa want to get down to hear what people have to say. And I think the more longer I sit here and listen to this, the more I'm convinced that he made a mistake.

LEMON: Do you think so? It's Bob Cusack, so again, did he make a mistake? Who is the winner? Bob Cusack is the editor in chief of "The Hill," by the way.

BOB CUSACK, "THE HILL," EDITOR IN CHIEF: Well, listen, I think down when he made this decision, I thought it was a mistake, because skipping a debate is usually not a good move. But he's going to be in every headline tomorrow. They're going to talk a little about the debate but Trump is going to be in every headlines. We won't know until we see what happens in Iowa.

LEMON: Let's listen back in.

TRUMP: ... 20 more of them if you want it, if you need it, and I sent it back. I just can't stand it. You know, I'm self-funding my own campaign, right?

But all my life, I made money. I made money. I've always been good making money. I think I have great imagination but I made money. In all my life I did well. And my father always said, "Everything he touches turns to gold." That's why I used that same expression on him because he is the guy, believe me, and a fantastic guy.

But he always said, "Everything my boy touches turns to gold." And what happened is I turned all this money down. They're calling and calling. They want to give me money because being number one, they all want to control you. They want to give you money. And now they call you. Remember, I gave you $5 million. I told you a story about the Ford plant, about the Nabisco plant.

So what happens is all my life and I'm turning down millions. And I was in Iowa in a different location. We had 4,000 people. And I went to those people, I said, "Listen, I don't feel good about turning down money." Because my whole life I've been greedy, greedy, greedy, I've grabbed all the money I could get, I'm so greedy. But now I want to be greedy for the United States. I want to grab all that money. I'm going to be greedy for the United States.

And it's true. But I always feel guilty inside in this beautiful place and the crowd is lovely. I mean, we have the most incredible people in this country, in Iowa. But in this country it's like a movement going on.

The cover of Time Magazine this week is a whole thing, it's a cover story. In fact, they have -- there it is. Hold that up. They have the back of my head. They have the back of my head with a massive crowd in front of me and they are covering the story. And I said, I didn't even know they were doing this story and it's the cover of Time, they're talking about the movement. It is actually a movement.

[21:30:05] But what's happening is I said to the crowd, "Let me ask you this one thing. Supposing, and I promise you I won't be influenced, could I take all this money?" Because I'm turning with so much money, stand up, please, could I take all this money and everybody went crazy. "No, no, no."

There was only one guy and he was in the back corner of the room. And he was like, crooked looking guy. He was the only guy. He looked like such a crook. And he said, "It's OK to take it." And I look at that guy, I said, "I don't want anything to do with that." It's the only guy.

So, I feel a little bit foolish not taking the money. But, you know, you look at a guy like Jeb Bush. He's taken 100 low energy, he's taking 120 -- extremely low -- oh, I shouldn't say it. He's debating right now. Maybe he's doing great. He's probably looking for me. He said, "Has anyone seen Trump?

LEMON: Donald Trump speaking at Drake University in Iowa. This is the center of the universe tonight in Iowa when it comes to politics.

There you see Hillary Clinton and her husband Bill Clinton, the former president speaking, as well as Bernie Sanders. They're all there.

And Donald Trump holding his own event tonight and not attending the debates just a couple of miles down the road. Continuing coverage, right after this quick break. Don't go anywhere.


TRUMP: So, Rick say a few words, Mike say a few words, I would love it. Come on. RICK SANTORUM, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Thank you so much. Thank you. Not to be offensive, but I'll stand a little bit over here so I'm not photographed with the Trump sign.

[21:35:08] I'm supporting another candidate for president. That doesn't mean we can't work together when it comes to helping our veterans. And that's what Mike and I are here doing tonight.

And, you know, I grew up on a V.A. grounds. My mom and dad worked for the Veterans Administration for 40 years. And I watched it over that time and I heard my parents talk about how the V.A. system has been degraded over time.

It used to be the best healthcare system in the world. It's not the best healthcare system in the world. And we have an obligation to do something to make sure our veterans have the best possible healthcare in the world.

LEMON: All right, that's Rick Santorum speaking on stage. Mike Huckabee also there with Donald Trump. And there you see Hillary Clinton speaking as well.

Let's get back now to our guest Bob Cusack, Bakari Sellers, Andy Dean and Bob Beckel. We'll continue to look at this.

So, Bob Cusack, it seems, you know, sort of incredible that a presidential candidate could be at war with a major cable network. How did we get here?

CUSACK: Well, it all started with that first Fox News debate. And Trump said he felt like he was being treated unfairly, especially by Megyn Kelly. And when I went up to New York and interviewed him earlier this month, I said, listen, are you going to participate in that debate? And he said probably, criticized Megyn Kelly.

But that snarky comment from Fox really -- it's not unpredictable that Trump would say, "Listen, I'm not going to participate", because before that statement came out, he was thinking about boycotting it, skipping it.

And that really, you know, he just didn't like that. He doesn't like when people would go after him, so he counter punch by skipping the debate.

And it is a risk for him, there's no doubt about it, Don. Because remember, he is the (inaudible) and when you do some controversial, when you are the front-runner, you can fall. However, he has thrived on controversy. He has been winning for six months.

So, even if he doesn't win Iowa, he is actually winning every other state. But he has said, he's not downplayed expectations trial. He's actually exceed them and say, "I want to win Iowa."

LEMON: All right. Stand by everyone, I want to bring in CNN's Dylan Biers. And we got the statement just a short time ago. Dylan is the one who got the statement and I was able to put it on the air. Dylan, you know, it's as, "Roger Ailes had three brief conversations with Donald Trump today", about appearing at the debate. There were not multiple calls placed by Ailes to Trump, and then on and on and on. It says they're defending their journalistic standards. They would stand by their journalist, meaning Megyn Kelly. This is a war of the titan.

DYLAN BYERS, CNN SENIOR MEDIA AND POLITICS REPORTER: Yeah, I know it's absolutely a war of the titans. Then I think, look, it was definitely in Fox News interest to try and bring Donald Trump into this debate up until the last minute. That's why Roger Ailes was on the phone with him today. That's why he sub Bill O'Reilly trying to bring him back to the debate, invite him to do so live on public television.

Of course, they couldn't work it out and now, Donald Trump is using that as leverage against Fox News sort of coming out here and saying, "You know, Ailes was begging me to come to this debate."

The question now, what we've got is we got two different. We got a split screen debate going on. We have the actual debate, and then we have this event that Donald Trump is doing on the other side.

And the question is what is going to garner more interest and how is that going to affect Donald Trump's voters and Iowa caucus's goers?

Are they going to be mad at him for cutting and running from this debate or are they going to sort of champion his decision to stand up against Fox News which as of tonight, he's branded as the establishment media.

LEMON: As we're listening here to the other candidates, I think it's interesting that you have two other candidates who are -- saying, Rick Santorum, said he didn't want to stand in front of the Trump sign there, Dylan. But, you got two other candidates who were there. You know, one of their rivals' events.

You got Hillary Clinton out campaigning, you got Bill Clinton out campaigning with, you know, for her. You got Bernie Sanders out campaigning, we'll have you.

But, let's read this statement and go through it with everyone as we look at Mike Huckabee who is speaking at this now.

It says, "Roger Ailes had three brief conversations with Donald Trump today about possibly appearing at the debate. There were not multiple calls placed by Ailes to Trump. In the course of those conversations, we acknowledged his concerns about a satirical observation we made in order to quell the attacks on Megyn Kelly, and prevent her from being smeared any further. Furthermore, Trump offered to appear at the debate upon the condition that Fox News contribute $5 million to his charity. We explained that was not possible and we could not engage in a quid pro quo, nor could any money change hands for any reason. In the last 48 hours, we've kept two issues at the forefront. We would never compromise our journalistic standards and we would always stand by our journalist, Megyn Kelly. We have accomplished those two goals, and we are pleased with the outcome. We're very proud to have her on stage as a debate moderator alongside Bret Baier and Chris Wallace." CNN.

It's so easy, wants to read for these paper statements, it was in this small amount.

[21:40:02] Dylan, this is a very interesting statement because just moments ago, Brianna Keilar had Donald Trump on his plane. And, you know, it was multiple calls and they beg, but they couldn't do it, and then you have this statements sort of refuting some of what Donald Trump said.

BYERS: Well, each side is going to tell different versions of the story, right. They obviously want to play this up to their own benefit.

The most important part of that statement for me is where Fox News acknowledges that the initial statement it had made defending Megyn Kelly was sort of childish and maybe something they shouldn't have done. That's of course the statement where it suggested that Donald Trump, you know, if Donald Trump is scared of Megyn Kelly. How is he going to deal with the Ayatollah and Vladimir Putin.

That acknowledgment there that maybe that was something they shouldn't have done because that was really like a catalyst for why Donald Trump claims that he decided to sit out this debate. And it was really honestly, unprofessional move by a news network to issue such a tongue and cheek statement about the Republican front-runner. So that's a very interesting acknowledgment from the Fox News side.

LEMON: All right. Stand by everyone. Dylan Byers, thank you very much for getting the statement to us from a Fox News spokesperson.

The two front-runners, Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, also Bernie Sanders is very active tonight in Iowa out stumping for the presidency.

We're going to continue with our breaking news coverage of this event coming up right after this very quick break.


LEMON: Back now with our breaking news coverage from Iowa. There you see Donald Trump speaking now. And what he's doing is introducing some veterans who are going to speak and stand at the podium for a moment and talk about their trials and what they've gone through as veterans. And as he does that, he's introducing one of them now.

We're going to continue on with our conversation and then we'll dip in as soon as Donald Trump starts to speak about policy or other issues.

I want to bring in Bakari Sellers. Bakari, we haven't heard from you. I found it very interesting that he has his rivals standing on stage with him in front of a big Donald Trump for president sign.

[21:45:05] BAKARI SELLER, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, they weren't just his rivals, Don. I mean, what people had to realize is that these were the last two winners of the Iowa caucuses. This gave his ploy tonight some validation. Not only did Donald Trump put his money where his mouth is tonight because apparently he raised the money, but he had Rick Santorum and Mike Huckabee get up there and practically erode all their valuables and principles to stand on stage with him, so they would have a camera following them.

I mean, tonight is something that we really haven't seen before. But those two weren't just some average Joes. Those were people who actually have won here in Iowa. And, you know, this is just amazing T.V. to sit back and watch.

LEMON: Bob, erosion of character and values?

BECKEL: Well, you know, look, they'll get more television coverage tonight than they've had in the entire Iowa campaign.

LEMON: Yeah.

BECKEL: Can you guys ...

SELLERS: Exactly.

BECKEL: ... and show at some place, you know where the cameras are.

LEMON: Yeah.

BECKEL: And so, I'm not -- and hey done with Cruz last you're going to a veteran's event, right? But you got a lot of people listen to you.

LEMON: Yeah. But Andy Dean, there is, you know, that photograph of, you know, Rick Santorum and Mike Huckabee standing in front of that sign which could be use in, you know, in a campaign ad which will probably be used by the other people who are up on the stage tonight?

DEAN: It's a big deal. I mean, if we look at the two winners as we said of the past two Iowa caucuses, Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum. These are big names of evangelicals in Iowa as, as Jerry Falwell Jr., who also endorsed Donald Trump.

So, we're starting to see a tidal wave moving in Donald's direction. This is a big deal and I think of anything, as Bakari Sellers said and even though, Bakari's a liberal, once in a while, he's correct. And this is a huge deal because after Iowa, if Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum decide, hey, they, you know, collectively they're only going to get about 5 to 7 percent in the polls after Iowa. If they drop out, well, who are they going to endorse?

And we've seen it tonight on the same stage as Donald Trump. This is a big deal. This is a big moment that we just saw those two candidates with Donald Trump. And I think, that will help him not only in Iowa but more importantly, as we move on to New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada.

LEMON: That was -- that's my question, too bad, you say it. SELLERS: And Don, Don, if I ...

LEMON: Bakari, let me get to Bob real quick. Bob, do you think this will help him among evangelicals in Iowa and beyond?

CUSACK: I think it does. I mean, when you look at Rick Santorum and Huckabee, a big part of the reason why they won Iowa in 2008 and 2012 is because they spoke that language to the evangelicals. And the fact that they're showing up, yes, they get good press because it's a veteran's event.

But at the same time, they decide to stand right beside Donald Trump, the front-runner and talk with him and shake his hands, that does help him. You'd have to think that he's going to get some points from that.

And also, remember, Donald Trump's supporters, they love him. They've seen him debate. He's a good debater. He does not approve he's a good debater. It's just those undecided. If you're trying to decide between Cruz and Trump, does this hurt him? We'll see.

LEMON: All right. Bakari, quickly, I got to a break. Go ahead.

SELLERS: Well, I was just going to say, even more importantly than them standing with Trump tonight, it's a rebuke of Ted Cruz. Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum went out of their way today to simply say, "We really don't like Ted Cruz and we will literally take Donald Trump over to Ted Cruz in any race.

LEMON: All right.

DEAN: That's a huge deal.

LEMON: All right. Standby everyone, we'll be right back. Everyone, standby, because we're going to have lots of conversation, we've got an hour and ten minutes to go and longer here because my colleague Anderson Cooper is going to be here at 11 p.m. and continue our live coverage.

So again, we're live from Iowa, the center of the universe when it comes to politics. Again, as I said, it feels like election night almost. You have Donald Trump speaking at a veteran's event. You have Hillary Clinton, (inaudible) her husband, the former president out speaking as well and Bernie Sanders.

And we'll get to all of it right after this break. Don't go anywhere.


[21:52:29] LEMON: Donald Trump's event is not the only game in town, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders both stumping in Iowa. It is tight race for the Democrats just four days before Iowa caucuses. So back with me now to discuss that and more, Bob Cusack, Bakari Sellers, Andy Dean, and Bob Beckel.

Bob, I want to ask you this question because -- and it's about question as I understand Fox News had two sets of questions just in case. Donald Trump showed up, I guess, you know, it was a doubled research, do you buy into that, they had two sets?

BECKEL: I don't know. Look I, you know, people are giving Fox a hard time about this but the fact is that Trump gets up on that stage and debate after debate after debate and insults people.

LEMON: Yeah.

BECKEL: And then he gets insulted by such a statement.

LEMON: Yeah.

BECKEL: I mean, I don't ...

LEMON: You were surprised by the statement?

BECKEL: I was surprise by the statement -- yes, but I'm also surprised that Trump took it the way he did but that's -- that's raises the questions whether he used it as an excuse or not.

LEMON: Yeah.

BECKEL: And I don't know the answer to that.

LEMON: Were you surprise Bob Cusack by that statement because -- and many people were actually surprised. They thought it was, it tone deaf innocent.

CUSACK: Well, it's highly unusual to put out a satirical statement that attacks the front runner. I think you could have defended Megyn Kelly certainly question to Donald Trump in that first debate. But when they put out the statement whether it's satirical or not you have to ask a question, how could they be fair? And that is -- what was a good point that I think the Trump campaign raised.

But there's no data but I agree with Bob is that Trump doesn't like being attacked. He does give it and sometimes when he takes it, he takes offense but when he put up that statement, I mean who could have been surprise that the took this step.

LEMON: I don't have the statement in front of me. To have somewhere, if you can just put it up, and let our viewer look at, it's something about the Ayatollah, and tweet of our -- "We learned from a secret back channel that the Ayatollah and Putin both intend to treat Donald Trump unfairly when they meet with him if he becomes president. A nefarious source tells us that Trump has his own secret plan to replace the Cabinet with his Twitter followers to see if he should even go to those meetings." Andy?

DEAN: Right. I mean look.


LEMON: Trying to understand where they're going. DEAN: Right. Well, not also it's like there's must be a news organization which is suppose to be somewhat nonpartisan. And they're not suppose to be the story the story, I mean, the real issue here is Fox News, they think they're the 800-pound gorilla. They think they're the star. And when the issue of press release like that, they think they can get away with whatever they want but Donald Trump, he is business person, his not going to allow and I think he is demonstrating strength here and his supporters and the American people like somebody who's going to demonstrate strength.

[21:55:05] LEMON: Andy, let me...


LEMON: ... because I want to ask you this. I want to ask you this quickly before we get to the top of the hour.

DEAN: Sure.

LEMON: Because if you read, you know, any of the trades, if you read the New York Times and other places today, they are claiming -- sources are claiming there is a sort of protracted war against Megyn Kelly going on and Fox News by the Trump campaign and that is much deeper and much more protracted than we might know about in the public. What do you make of that?

DEAN: I talked to Corey and Hope, which are the two keys, the campaign managers and the head of communications, everyday. And honestly, we never bring up Megyn Kelly except for like maybe the past 72 hours. Nobody really cares about her.

I mean, Megyn Kelly with her hatred for Donald Trump, that was what we saw at the first debate when she opened the debate on August 6 and she viciously attacked him about women out of nowhere ...


DEAN: ... and thankfully Donald Trump thought of the Rosie O'Donnell line which ...

LEMON: All right.


DEAN: ... her hatred.

LEMON: I've got to get a break. We'll continue to discuss this. Everyone will get their chance. Don't go anywhere. We're going to continue with our breaking news coverage of this event that's happening.

And Rick Santorum is going to join us as well. Rick Santorum was up on that stage with Donald Trump.

We'll be right back.


LEMON: We get some breaking news, there's no debate but Iowa is the place to be tonight. No debate.

[22:00:01] This is "CNN Tonight.'' I'm Don Lemon.

Four days to go until the Iowa caucuses. And Donald Trump is holding an event just about three miles away from the GOP debate. The debate that he refused to attend. It's a twist that could only come ...