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Roger Ailes Out as CEO of FOX News; Trump Hours Away from Accepting GOP Nomination; Ivanka Trump to Give Speech Introducing Father; Donald Trump to Accept Republican Nomination. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired July 21, 2016 - 17:00   ET


TAPPER: That is it for "THE LEAD" right now. I am Jake Tapper. You can join me on Twitter, @JakeTapper; the show, @TheLeadCNN, or check out our Facebook page. We actually read our messages and tweets.

Wolf Blitzer's THE SITUATION ROOM with Anderson Cooper starts right now.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Jake, thanks very much.

The man of the night right now, Donald Trump. However, the man of the moment right now happens to be Roger Ailes, who created FOX News and years before, helped make another Republican nominee, Richard Nixon, president of the United States. More recently, he's been a subject of sexual harassment allegations, and as of right now, he's out at FOX.

Let's bring in Brian Stelter, our media reporter and anchor; and CNN senior media politics reporter Dylan Byers.

Brian, this is really an amazing, stunning development right now. The man responsible for FOX News and the success of FOX News is out. Tell our viewers what happened.

BRIAN STELTER, CNN MEDIA CORRESPONDENT AND ANCHOR: He was -- until now, he was untouchable, Wolf. He filled a void in television, for better or worse. Some would say worse; others would say better. Twenty years ago, launching FOX News from nothing, creating this conservative public square on television. FOX News is the No. 2 channel on all of cable, behind ESPN. So it filled a void, filled a niche, and seized an opportunity to attract and lead the conversation on the American right.

Ailes, tonight, has resigned, effective immediately due to sexual harassment allegations, which he has vigorously denied. But the Murdochs decided they just could not keep him.

BLITZER: Gretchen Carlson, the former FOX anchor, made the allegation. Her lawyers are now saying that, what, they have 20 other women who have made similar allegations?

DYLAN BYERS, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: That's right. The lawyers are saying they have 20 women, at least 20 other women who made similar allegations. We know that there are more women from inside FOX News that came forward for the investigation, the internal investigation into Roger Ailes' behavior, and that -- that sort of building up of accusations from multiple sources, including perhaps Megyn Kelly, the star anchor at that network, is what tipped the scales here and what made it untenable for 21st Century FOX to keep Roger Ailes in place.

Now, he will continue, at least, in some sort of an advisory role to Rupert Murdoch, who will be stepping in as the sort of interim CEO, or temporary CEO of...

STELTER: Rupert Murdoch, the 85-year-old media mogul now running FOX News. Now only for a period of months, but they've not identified a successor yet. There's a lot of speculation about who will take over FOX.

I think this goes to one other thing. If these allegations are true and there are multiple women that were harassed by Roger Ailes, and it was kept a secret for decades, that is a very disturbing development. The one silver lining might be that other women in other workplaces in the future may feel a bit more comfortable coming forward.

I want to reiterate that Ailes has denied all of this. And some people at FOX don't believe it. Brit Hume, for example, calling the news of the resignation heartbreaking a few minutes ago. But if it is true, what does it mean that this was a secret for decades?

BYERS: And what does it mean that, after Gretchen Carlson came out with her accusations, so many anchors, so many members of the FOX News on-air talent came forward to defend Roger Ailes.

STELTER: Ailes. Not to support Gretchen but to support Ailes.

BLITZER: Not necessarily, as you point out, Megyn Kelly. We didn't hear any support from her.

BYERS: No, we didn't hear any support from her. And of course, her lawyers have said that they cooperated fully with the investigation. From our reporting, what we believe is that she did tell them about some certain episodes in her past, you know, within the first few years after joining the network. And so there's a reason there. You can now see why she didn't speak out.

BLITZER: The whole notion, though, is that there was this law firm that did an independent investigation, that called in people, and presumably, they gave their report to Rupert Murdoch and his sons; and as a result of that, Roger Ailes is gone?

STELTER: That's right. That's what we're told has happened. In fact, the initial review after only a few days had enough evidence that the Murdoch family decided Ailes had to go. Rupert Murdoch was on vacation in Europe until yesterday. He flew back to New York to finalize these exit talks.

But really, this is about the Murdoch sons, James and Lachlan. They're from a younger generation. They're not as fond of Ailes as their father is. And a lot of people believe they're using it as a pretext to move Ailes out. BLITZER: We're here at the Republican convention right now, and Donald Trump is the Republican presidential nominee. The argument you hear from some of the delegates who have been here as this news was breaking, FOX News played a significant role in the rise of some of these Republicans given its conservative bent.

BYERS: You can not overstate the irony of the fact that Donald Trump is going to accept the nomination for the Republican presidential candidate on the exact same day that Roger Ailes is stepping down. He created the environment in which a candidate like Donald Trump could run for the Republican nomination and could get it.

STELTER: There was a moment on FOX News two days ago when the morning host said, "All of last night's theme of the programming here at the convention, the theme, 'Make America Great Again,' about terrorism, about crime, it sounded just like the rundown of our morning show." Well, that's not a coincidence. That's because there is a connection between what FOX says and what Trump says.

BYERS: You referred to it as a public square for a certain conservative base. It was not just that, it was the zeitgeist. In many ways it sort of drove the agenda for what conservatives were talking about for the sort of culture war, the racial divisiveness. All of those things that we're dealing with now, that we're seeing in the 2016 campaign. So much of that came from the environment that Roger Ailes created.

BLITZER: Influential. Such an influential man, indeed. Guys, thanks for sharing the latest on that. Roger Ailes, going to be gone from FOX News.

Now the main event here in Cleveland, the breaking news surrounding the Republican convention. A candidate like now -- like none we've seen before will accept the Republican presidential nomination and officially begin making his case to voters who might not necessarily be Republicans, might be undecided, who might have doubts. He'll be speaking to them. He'll also be rallying his base and, for the very first time, he'll be addressing the world as someone who is now officially one step away, potentially, from the most powerful job on earth.

Donald Trump stepped up to the podium earlier today for a sound check, a walk through with his daughter Ivanka, who will be introducing him. And because the stage comes with the backdrop of the events last night, his remarks on NATO and Russia and more, we'll talk about all of that.

But let's begin with our chief political correspondent, Dana Bash. Got late details on what Trump will be saying tonight. Dana, Donald Trump's highly-anticipated speech is tonight. You're hearing new details. What can you tell us?

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, that, if people have been watching and listening to the major themes of Donald Trump's rallies and, really, his campaign over the past 13 months, then this will sound quite familiar to them. He usually, when he's out on the campaign trail, he kind of, you know,

kind of weaves back in and out of ideas and isn't exactly linear in making his points. That is going to change, assuming that he follows the text that is written before him, in the teleprompter that he will be using, a much more cogent and much more linear. That's a word that one of the sources familiar with the speech used with me. The version of themes like law and order, which we've heard a lot more of recently. Build a wall, immigration, trade deals with other countries have been made horribly, and he wants to change that. The problems with China. All of those themes are ones that we are going to hear. And frankly, those are the themes that they believe that work for him, and not just in a primary.

What is most interesting, Wolf, is that historically, you usually see one set of themes in a primary, and then you move to the middle in a general. Because those themes are more populist and less, sort of party-centric, they believe inside Trump world that they're going to work for him and continue to do so in the general election.

BLITZER: I assume after the drama with his wife's speech the other night, Melania, I'd imagine the vetting, the scrutiny for the speech tonight has been extremely robust.

BASH: We would hope so. We don't have details on exactly how they have scrubbed the speech, in a way that was not done for Melania's speech, but you can sure bet that, if his speech has any issues like -- like the others, it would be -- they understand it would be a complete disaster.

One thing that I do think is interesting and noteworthy is that he started to practice his speech on Sunday, I am told, and obviously, as with most speeches of this nature, went through several drafts and so forth. His children were heavily involved in writing it, especially his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who has had, Wolf, as you know, a much more heavy hand in the campaign but especially on the speechwriting side, Wolf.

BLITZER: Interesting. Dana is on the floor. We'll be getting back to her.

I want to go to Sara Murray right now, who's learning more about what his daughter, Ivanka, will be saying tonight. Sara, as we've said, this convention has been filled with drama, between Melania's speech on Monday, Ted Cruz's speech yesterday. So Ivanka's speech, the introduction to her father, that will be critically important.

SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, Wolf, because like you said, every night when a Trump has spoken, they were all supposed to be designed to flesh out who Donald Trump is as a person, to soften his edges, and every day until now, they've been overshadowed by some other controversy and story line going into the convention. That's makes Ivanka's speech all the more important tonight.

I actually ran into Eric Trump earlier today and was chatting with him about it. And he said that you're going to get a different perspective from Ivanka Trump than you did from him or from Donald Trump Jr., because she's the daughter. She has this doting father- daughter relationship with her father that the boys do not have. He said she does the princess thing very well, which seems to be sort of a reference that, you know, Ivanka is her father's princess.

So she could possibly go even further than some of the other Trumps we've heard in really fleshing out who her dad is as a person and potentially giving some of his more personal anecdotes of what he is like as a man, the kinds of things that could be critical in convincing voters to give Donald Trump a second look.

BLITZER: We saw her earlier on the stage with her dad, moving around, checking it out. They want obviously want to move past the earlier drama of this week. And I understand you have some details on how Donald Trump has been reacting to Ted Cruz's speech last night, during which he refused to endorse Trump.

MURRAY: That's right. What we are hearing is Donald Trump is not happy. He is still not happy. We had heard that last night when he was in the box, he was watching Ted Cruz's speech, that he was livid with what was going on. A couple who were watching thought he was so mad that he might try to storm out to the stage. He didn't do that, but that anger is still kind of there today.

He had a private luncheon with some donors. And I'm told by some people in the room that he took a (UNINTELLIGIBLE) and threw it and said this is a guy who doesn't live up to his word. He was referencing that pledge they all took to support the nominee. So still a little lingering annoyance tonight. Obviously, Trump is hoping to turn the page on that, (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

BLITZER: OK, Sara Murray there on the floor here at the convention. Thank you. Up next, Anderson and our panel on the speech tonight and the remarkable convention that's led up to it. Much more right after this.


COOPER: And welcome back. We're now fast approaching the crowning moment of this convention, the opening moment of Donald Trump's general election campaign. We're learning his speech tonight will be a variation of the stump speech that he's been making to Republican voters throughout the primary, although the stakes now are so much higher. So, of course, is the viewership.

It comes after a week of controversy, unforced errors, distractions from the message, including former rival Ted Cruz on stage last night, declining to endorse him. Cruz came under fire after he had signed the pledge to support the eventual nominee. Cruz fired back.


SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: That pledge was not a blanket commitment that, if you go and slander and attack Heidi, that I'm going to, nonetheless come like a servile puppy dog and say, "Thank you very much for maligning my wife and maligning my father." (END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: With us here, chief national correspondent, "INSIDE POLITICS" anchor John King; CNN senior political reporter Nia-Malika Henderson; XM radio host and anchor of CNN's "SMERCONISH," Michael Smerconish; also CNN chief political analyst Gloria Borger; Trump supporters Jeffrey Lord and Scottie Nell Hughes; also Republican strategist Kevin Madden; and a former communications director for Senator Cruz, Amanda Carpenter.

John, just in terms of what Donald Trump is hoping to do tonight, clearly, I mean, he woke up today to a lot of headlines about party -- lack of party unity, about Ted Cruz. Certainly, they are hoping to turn the corner on this today.

KING: Turn the corner and turn the page. We've been here for four days, but there's really one event that matters disproportionately, way disproportionately, more than anything else, and that's the 45 minutes or so we're going to hear from Donald Trump tonight.

We know basically what he's going to say. He's going to say, "I want to build a wall." He's going to say, "I want to rip up trade deals." He's going to say Washington is broken, and you need somebody new with business experience to fix it. And he's going to say Hillary Clinton is part of the problem, and she's corrupt in his view. We know that.

The question isn't what he says; it's how he says it and who does he speak to. He does have, still, issues in this room. That's a problem for Republicans. They still have a unity crisis within the party. So he's got a little business to do here, but the most important business is out there.

Can he convince all the people? Hillary Clinton has told Latino- Americans, "Don't vote for this guy." She's told African-Americans, "Don't vote for this guy." It is very hard to win the presidency with the numbers Donald Trump has right now among non-white voters.

So can he change that with one speech? Absolutely not. Can he say, "Maybe everything you've been saying about me isn't true" or "Maybe you should take a second look"? That's the big challenge.

NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, and you see them try to do that, I think, turn to the broader country in some of the speeches they had, kind of giving the nod to compassionate conservativism, with some of the speakers, including some of his children. I think he's got to keep that up, because not only does Donald Trump have the problems with the nonwhite part of the Obama coalition and the non-white part of the country, he also has problems with white voters, white women voters, particularly.

And in some ways, Ted Cruz sort of gave Republicans who were reluctant to vote for Donald Trump sort of a roadmap, a way to kind of think about why they might want to stay home, or even vote for Hillary Clinton.

COOPER: I mean, it was interesting, on a day -- earlier on, we saw sort of a brief revival of the "never Trump" movement on Monday. A little bit of sort of a last gasp on Tuesday. By Tuesday evening, people were talking about the death of the "never Trump" movement. Then Ted Cruz come out last night and essentially, to Nia's point, give a road map to those who still have problems with Donald Trump.

MICHAEL SMERCONISH, ANCHOR, "SMERCONISH": I think, on balance, my view is that Ted Cruz helped Donald Trump last night. He assisted Trump in vanquishing, once and for all, that "never Trump" movement. And at the end of the night, it was one man standing, and it was Donald Trump; it was not Ted Cruz. I think he maximized that opportunity. He entered the arena almost on cue, at a time when Cruz was being booed, and it became his convention, and not that of Ted Cruz.

BORGER: You know, I want to see how this story ends. It's been a great show. And, you know, he started out the way -- he picked a fight. They'd picked a fight with John Kasich. Remember, that was a big story.

[17:20:10] The delegates went rogue, as you were talking about. We had Melania Trump's speech and the question about plagiarism. Then we had, of course, last night and Ted Cruz.

And so I want to see what Donald Trump does to see whether he can save this and salvage it for himself or whether it's just one more thing, and we have to stay tuned to next season to start it -- to start it all over again.

BLITZER: Has this been as effective as you wanted it to be, Jeffrey Lord, this week?

JEFFREY LORD, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I wish we didn't have the whole Cruz situation, in all candor. I wish we hadn't had Melania's -- the speech kerfuffle. But by and large, I think fine. I mean, these things are going to evaporate.

The Cruz thing less so, and the Melania thing's already gone. The Cruz thing, that is going to be a problem coming down the road. And I have to say I just posted a column at "Conservative Review" on this, dissenting respectfully from Senator Cruz, whom I like.

And you know, he mentioned a name in there of a Dallas policeman who had been shot to death. There's two more names that he didn't mention, and remember that Newt Gingrich stood up there and said, "We're at war." And those are the names of Sean and Brody -- I think their last name is Copeland. They are the dad and 11-year-old boy from Austin, Texas, who were over there in Nice, France, and are dead today because of an ISIS attack.

And my point is that, with all due respect to Senator Cruz, we are at war. It's time to get our act together. Donald Trump is the person who's going to stop ISIS, and we need to get moving here.

COOPER: Scottie.

SCOTTIE NELL HUGHES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Absolutely. I think it did help. I think it did help for Donald Trump, but the problem was, it actually, I think, killed conservatism. It severely damaged it, at the very least. What you did, you had those who were on the outskirts of conservatism, those that were sort of in the Cruz movement. Now they're saying, "No. This is going to come out of this party all over out of this week as embarrassment. We don't want to be an embarrassment going into the Democrats. We don't want to sit there and be an opera story, like she pointed out, going into the Democrats, who might be more organized than us."

I think today, last night it's important (ph) what Senator Cruz did not only ended his career, but it kind of ended the Tea Party; it ended everything that he represented with those actions last night. And I think, you know, you stay classy, conservatives, because that's not what we saw last night.

AMANDA CARPENTER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: One thing about that, and this has been revealed in the past 24 hours. The Trump campaign is really obsessed with sort of humiliating and killing conservatives, represented by Ted Cruz. And people are just saying his career is over; it's dead; it's -- for 2020. No, no, no.

This is a disciplining exercise in holding the party accountable. We do not know how Trump would keep America safe, truly. We do not know how he would go and kill ISIS. Ted Cruz didn't say, "I will never endorse you." He's saying, "I'm not doing it right now," because he hasn't convinced us that he will uphold the principals of freedom. We don't know who his advisors are. We are going into very dangerous territory, and Donald Trump has to be a better candidate if he wants more Republicans...

HUGHES: What are you talking about, Amanda? He has laid this plan out since day one. Jeff Sessions, he's laid out how he's going to take out ISIS. He's going to take the oil.

CARPENTER: There's a...

HUGHES: He has the policies out there, and I'm sorry that the American...

CARPENTER: What happened with NATO in the last 24 hours?

HUGHES: So what you're doing is you're insulting the 14 million people -- Ted Cruz last night insulted 14 million people, and that was not the right thing. That was not the place.

CARPENTER: We deserve better.

HUGHES: He should have just stayed home.

CARPENTER: Like Scott Walker said.

HUGHES: Well, yes, Scott Walker was a statesman who came out of it. Ted Cruz, unfortunately, was the one that was the sore loser. And...

COOPER: Kevin. KEVIN MADDEN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I'm sorry, you just said that conservativism is dead. And I couldn't -- I disagree with you tremendously. And I think conservativism, it requires -- principles don't defend themselves. So they require people who believe deeply in those principals to defend them. And that is what Ted Cruz believed he was doing last night.

And I think one of the big problems...

HUGHES: You don't think he was being selfish?

MADDEN: No, I think there's -- there's always, you know, self- advancement there. That's absolutely true.

But look, I think one of the big problems and one of the challenges that's going to be here tonight for Donald Trump is he has to come out of this with a sense of unity. He has to try very hard to provide a sense of unity for the party.

And he has to address principled conservatives who right now are in opposition to him or are skeptical of them, as much as he has to go out and go and convince those undecided voters that are going to make or break this election. And to not acknowledge that right now and to dismiss that principled opposition is a huge mistake. He's not going to win...

COOPER: You know...

MADDEN: ... with 80 percent of Republican voters. He's going to win with 90.

COOPER: Amanda was saying, you know, there's a lot we don't know about how is he going to -- he says he's going to defeat ISIS. Scottie says he's going to take the oil. He sort of backed out of that, saying now bomb the oil. We're going to talk about that just ahead.

Donald Trump's controversial comments about NATO made in an interview in "The New York Times." He told "The New York Times" he's in favor of setting conditions for helping NATO allies, no matter what the treaty actually says. I'll talk to Maggie Haberman, one of the reporters who interviewed him in that -- in that article. We'll be right back.


BLITZER: Just hours from now, Donald Trump will give the biggest speech of his political life, and part of the backdrop is the controversy that has developed over his comments involving NATO.

[17:30:11] In an interview with the "New York Times," Trump said as president he would break with U.S. foreign policy traditions. He was asked, can the members of NATO including the new members in the Baltics count on the United States to come to their military aid if they were attacked by Russia, and count on the U.S. fulfilling its obligations. Trump responded that the U.S. has always fulfilled its obligations but they had necessarily have not always fulfilled their obligations to the United States.

Trump replied, "Well, I'm not saying if not, I'm saying right now there are many countries that have not fulfilled their obligations to us." Of course putting conditions on helping NATO allies is at odds with the obligations of the treaty.

Maggie Haberman and David Sanger conducted the interview. Maggie is with me right now.

Maggie, your interview has shaken a lot of the NATO allies out there around the world. First of all, tell us the reaction and the major point he was trying to make.

MAGGIE HABERMAN, NEW YORK TIMES: This is consistent with Trump's world view to some extent. I mean, we have heard him make comments about NATO over many months now. He did it in an original conversation that David Sanger and I had with him months ago. He talked about how essentially a free rider issue. He feels that people are not meeting their obligations. But going to sort of an Article 5 issue in terms of the basic, if you attack one of us you attack all of us and putting conditions on it, was different. But again it all comes back to him as viewing everything through an economic prism and that's what you saw here.

BLITZER: Here's what he said, the exchange I had with him, what, this was back on March 21st. Listen to this.


BLITZER: Do you think the United States needs rethink U.S. involvement in NATO?

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESUMPTIVE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Yes, because it's costing us too much money. And frankly they have to put up more money.

BLITZER: So you're really suggesting the United States should decrease its role in NATO?

TRUMP: Not decrease its role but certainly decrease the kind of spending. We are spending a tremendous amount in NATO and other people proportionately less. No good.


BLITZER: So he wants the other NATO allies, those 28 NATO allies, to pay what they -- what they owe. Only the United States, I think, and Britain paid the 2 percent of its GNP that they're supposed to pay.

HABERMAN: Yes, except what he said back then was, you know, I don't think we should decrease our role necessarily, but this added a different layer to it. But again he views, you know, typical security alliances as it is strictly through an economic context and as if these things can be pulled out, one against the other. They can't and so this is -- this is a different approach but this is consistent with what a basic sort of foundational world view that he has held over many, many decades.

BLITZER: Paul Manafort, the campaign chairman suggested that the "New York Times" was distorting some of what he was saying. The "New York Times" put out the full transcript of their --


BLITZER: That interview. Did the "New York Times" distort anything from what he said?

HABERMAN: Well, you read it so I guess I'll leave it up to you to say whether you think he did. I think the transcript is there and I think we quoted him accurately. We didn't put out the transcripts because Paul Manafort said that to be clear. We were putting out the transcript anyway. It just took longer to get it done.

BLITZER: And the reaction from the NATO -- some of his supporters say, you know what, this is part of his negotiating skill. He wants the NATO allies to pay more, to pay more of their responsibility. So by saying this, he puts pressure on them to up the ante if you will.

HABERMAN: I mean, yes, look. This has been -- there's been something of a seismic reaction to this, right? I mean, and you have seen with the exception of allies to Donald Trump like Newt Gingrich, who essentially did a modified version of well, look, you know, over something like a -- a place like Estonia, I don't think that's worth going to war for. You have had a pretty sharp reaction from world leaders to this, who have said this is just fundamentally different than how we have had foreign policy for 70 years. We'll see how it plays out.

BLITZER: As you know, he says NATO is obsolete right now.


BLITZER: They've got to change. They were built after World War II. They've got to deal with ISIS. They've got to deal with terrorism. They're not doing that.

HABERMAN: And in fact, he says they made changes because of him. He has said that a few times.

BLITZER: Yes, he does.

HABERMAN: He believes that what has happened in recent months was sparked by what he said, others argue otherwise.

BLITZER: Maggie Haberman of the "New York Times." Thank David Sanger for us, as well.


BLITZER: Appreciate it.

A lot to talk about, Anderson, over to you. ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, no doubt about that. It is kind of

fascinating when you look at the number of Republican foreign policy professionals who are against Donald Trump. I mean, Bob Gates, he's written very critically, Michael Hayden, formerly -- former head of the NSA and CIA. I mean, this does add fuel to that fire.

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: -And we focus a lot on the personalities. Now we have Trump-Cruz. And it's great compelling race between two guys who don't like each other. It's kind of a hangover from the primaries. It's become personal. But put the personalities aside, Donald Trump is taking -- trying to take the Republican Party, and he is now its leader, and he's trying to bring the Republican Party to a place that is very different from Mitt Romney, from John McCain, from George W. Bush and in many ways from Ronald Reagan.

[17:35:03] They often make comparison to Ronald Reagan. And from a lot of people in this room and that whole establishment you're talking about.

Donald Trump -- he can make the case to the American people. I'm not saying he is right, it's not my job. But he can make the case about we're going to rip up trade deals and we're not going to go back and negotiate trade deals. He can certainly make the case that the United States should demand and pressure NATO allies to put up more money, to pay their dues, to have as big a defense budget as they promised when they are in the alliance.

President Obama has tried to do that. President Bush tried to do that. I covered the Clinton White House and the Bush White House, thye both tried to do it. So he's on the same ground with the American people. But the idea that if you're late with your rent, essentially, and Russian tanks roll through Estonia and Lithuania, you said, sorry, you have paid up, that is a break -- you signed a treaty.

You said you would do that -- it's almost 70 years old. And so that, everyone says, whoa, you can't do that. Now the Trump people say this is how he works. Read the "Art of the Deal." Throw out a bold proposal. Throw out something that makes everybody go whoa, you can't do that, and then negotiate from there. So this is trademark Trump. It does not fit into how traditional politicians, diplomats, presidents do this, which is why go through the NATO alliance today and in all those capitals, the ambassadors, the foreign ministers, the defense ministers are saying, what?


GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, and John Kasich just tweeted that the only country that would benefit from this is Russia. John Kasich, a Republican, not too popular with the Trump folks not here this week as we know, because this takes what he told Wolf a step further. Right? You know, it's-- and again, as Maggie was saying he sees everything through the economic prism.

So if the tanks are rolling through and, you know, you haven't paid up, well, I think about not supporting you. How do you enter into an alliance and at some point withdraw.

COOPER: And it's also interesting for a candidate who has criticized the current president for weakness.

BORGER: Right.

COOPER: In foreign policy, I mean, the question is, does this -- is this a show of weakness to a Vladimir Putin? Is that how it gets interpreted that the alliance is suddenly weaker today or -- if Donald Trump is elected?

JEFFREY LORD, TRUMP SUPPORTER: I do think -- I do think you have to be careful about this, and Ronald Reagan talked about peace through strength. Donald Trump has talked about peace through strength. You have to be careful when having these conversations. And as he goes along here I am sure he will be mindful of this.

KING: He is the Republican nominee for president.

LORD: That's correct.

KING: What do you mean as he goes along here?

LORD: Well, when he goes along --

KING: We're not -- I'm sorry, but we're not in the Iowa caucuses any more.

LORD: Well, no, no. But as he goes -- when he goes along as the presidential nominee, he has to fully communicate peace through strength. There's no question about it, which I think he has done. But secondly, when Maggie talks about the economic prism.


LORD: I've had conversations with him where he talks about how concerned he is about the national debt. And if we get to a point -- I mean, it's not just NATO, it's all kinds of things that will explode.


LORD: Because we don't have the money to pay for it any more.


COOPER: He's concerned about the national debt but he's also talking about 30,000 troops in -- to fight ISIS which he's now backed off of, saying it's not going to take that many troops.

CARPENTER: Yes. My question -- you know, this is a rare case where Donald Trump really does seem engaged in policy. He's been talking about this particular issue for quite some time, but if this is about economics, why isn't he paying attention to things like entitlements, domestic debt? He has a willing partner, people in the House who are very interested in these issues, but he doesn't want to touch it.

Instead he's playing games with NATO allies? If you want to talk about economics and making America more fiscally responsible you have a lot of Republicans --


COOPER: We're going to take a short here. We're going to talk -- continue to talk about this, what to expect tonight. We'll pick up the conversation when we come back.

Donald Trump now preparing to give his acceptance speech, a culminating moment of what has been a very hard fought campaign and the start of the general election. I'll be right back.


[17:43:40] COOPER: And welcome back. A lot going on heading into this, the last night of the Republican convention. The big news, of course, in the media world, Roger Ailes' resignation after harassment allegations from FOX News. The late details about the speech Donald Trump will give just hours from now, we're told in terms of content it will be much like his stump speeches during the primary election. From building a wall, illegal immigration, trade deals done wrong in his opinion, of course Hillary Clinton.

Again the backdrop tumultuous convention that's underscored party division and Trump's controversial statements or comments just late last night about NATO to the "New York Times," which we're talking about.

It is interesting, Jeffrey Lord, you know, that Trump gives this interview. It's released basely around the same time that his vice presidential nominee is giving a speech, saying that Donald Trump will stand by our allies, and then Paul Manafort comes out essentially saying the "New York Times" got it wrong, and was misquoting Donald Trump, and then the "New York Times" releases the transcript which shows they're not.

LORD: Yes. I confess I get a little frustrated with this kind of thing.

COOPER: I mean, it's -- it just seems like there is a -- for a guy whose whole thing is, I ran a great organization, I hire the best people, and my organization is topnotch, it just seems like the left hand doesn't know what the right hand or what the head is doing.

[17:45:02] LORD: Well, I have a feeling this is going to improve starting today.


LORD: As they come out of this. I mean, it has to. There's four months left -- there's four months left, but let me just -- let me just say -- COOPER: But how -- but, Kevin, you have run campaigns, how does it

improve? I mean, how does it -- if it's not fixed by now, how does it get better?

KEVIN MADDEN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: If it's not fixed by now, I don't expect it to change. Everybody keeps waiting for the new Donald Trump to emerge. This is the Donald Trump we're getting, folks. And --

COOPER: Right. Reince Priebus even last week on a Sunday show was saying that there's going to be a pivot.

MADDEN: Right. Right. And I think, look, one senator today was like responding to the NATO remarks, said well, it's a rookie mistake. And it's like, OK, we're 110 days away from the presidential election, he could be elected leader of the free world. You can't be making -- you know, rookie mistakes about big policies like America's national security postures.

LORD: And one thing I would --


MADDEN: That is -- we have 110 -- 109 days until election day.

COOPER: Right.

MADDEN: And if you count early voting, where every day is precious and so --


SCOTTIE NELL HUGHES, TRUMP SUPPORTER: Then why are we spending our time fighting with each other? Why are we not sitting and actually working together, and sending -- letting our advice, and say, this is where it's wrong, this is where it's right.

MADDEN: Well, I would ask -- I would ask to you. Why would you take the -- why would you take the four days that you have here at the convention to project unity and then spend two days where the campaign chairman is calling the governor --

LORD: That's right.

HUGHES: I agree.

LORD: Let me --

MADDEN: -- of the most important swing state in the country an embarrassment.

LORD: Well, let me -- let me just -- and I'm not --

BORGER: And a popular governor.

LORD: I want to preface by saying I'm not picking on my friend, Kevin, here, but -- I mean, all for months and months and months we've sat on panels saying, well, he can't win, and this isn't going to happen, and that's not happening, and we're nitpicking here. And with all due respect, he ran an absolutely flawless campaign but he didn't win. And ditto John McCain, Bob Dole, I mean, we can go back.

I'm just suggesting here that we need to be careful here about thinking well, he's made a major misstep here and therefore the thing is over because we --

COOPER: No, no. I'm not -- my question is not about running or even winning. My question is about actually governing, and so -- which is what, you know, ultimately concerns I think everybody the most. If your whole brand is I run, I set up a great organization, if you can't set up an organization that runs, while during a campaign, can you do that in the White House? How long does it take you to do that in the White House?

LORD: I mean, I've seen president after president face this issue. I mean, administration candidates that say they're -- you know, they're the person, you know, they don't need any on-the-job training. Then they get in there and the next thing you know there are all kinds of problems. I mean, you have to allow for a little human nature here.

BORGER: But, Jeffrey --

LORD: I take --

COOPER: We've got to take another break, we'll talk more about this.

Just ahead, she helped him fire contestants on "The Apprentice," and tonight her job is to fire up the convention crowd for her father's speech. Ivanka Trump will be taking the stage in just a few hours. We'll take a look at her relationship with Donald Trump as his daughter and business partner in a moment.


[17:52:27] BLITZER: Before Donald Trump gets on the mike here tonight, there will be another highly, highly anticipated speaker who set the stage. Trump's adult children have had a major role in the convention all week long. And tonight Ivanka will be in the spotlight. She has a unique perspective on the Republican nominee. Not only as his daughter but also as his partner in the boardroom on "The Apprentice" and beyond.

Sunlen Serfaty reports.


SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Donald Trump has never left any doubt over how he feels about his oldest daughter.

D. TRUMP: Has anyone heard of Ivanka? Our great Ivanka? We love Ivanka, right? Ivanka. Famous Ivanka.

SERFATY: Ivanka Trump calling her speaking slot tonight intimidating and terrifying.

IVANKA TRUMP, DONALD TRUMP'S DAUGHTER: He's totally left it up to me. I wish he'd give me advice.

BORGER: Right.

I. TRUMP: But he -- I think he wants it to come from my heart. He says, don't worry, you'll do a great job. Don't worry. So I'm trying to take that advice.


SERFATY: It's a role the 34-year-old mother of three has been playing since day one. Introducing her father has he launched his presidential bid.

I. TRUMP: I remember him telling me when I was a little girl, Ivanka, if you're going to be thinking anyway, you might as well be thinking big.

SERFATY: Campaigning alongside her father and stepping out on her own on the trail.

I. TRUMP: He says what he means and he means what he says.

SERFATY: Quickly becoming a key surrogate for the campaign.

I. TRUMP: Please come out and caucus for my father. He will over- deliver.

SERFATY: Widely seen as poised and polished.

I. TRUMP: I can tell you first hand that there's no better person to have in your corner when you're facing tough decisions or tough opponents.

SERFATY: And trying to smooth out some of her father's rough edges vouching for him in personal terms.

I. TRUMP: He is non-gender specific in his criticism of people and people that he doesn't particularly like or people that he does like but thinks they're wrong on a particular issue.

SERFATY: Behind the scene, her impact possibly more significant.

I. TRUMP: He respects me and because I'm candid in my opinions and I share them. Solicited or otherwise.

SERFATY: Serving as one of Trump's key advisers.

D. TRUMP: My daughter Ivanka. She said now, Dad, be presidential.

SERFATY: Giving her father feedback, telling him at times to tone it down.

I. TRUMP: While I do sometimes tell him to withhold some of that sort of fire, I also understand it.

SERFATY: Ivanka also giving input on her father's choice of a running mate and helping to craft key speeches.

GAYLE KING, CBS THIS MORNING: What happens if there's a disagreement because your brothers are also involved in the organization with your dad, your brothers and you?

[17:55:05] I. TRUMP: I win, of course.


SERFATY: Within the Trump family, she is seen as the favorite.

BARBARA WALTERS, ABC NEWS: Who is his favorite?


SERFATY: A few shared by some outside the family considered such a strong asset that her name even came up during the vice presidential search.

SEN. BOB CORKER (R), TENNESSEE: The best running mate, by the way, would be Ivanka. I know that would not pass mustard but she's most impressive.

SERFATY: Sunlen Serfaty, CNN, Cleveland.


BLITZER: And coming up, we have more new developments into Roger Ailes' departure from FOX News. We've just obtained his resignation letter and we'll bring it to you. That's coming up next.

Also, much more from the GOP convention here in Cleveland just hours away now from Donald Trump accepting the Republican nomination for president of the United States.