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AT THIS HOUR WITH BERMAN AND MICHAELA
Clinton Topping Trump in New Poll; Barack Obama, Singapore Prime Minister News Conference. Aired 11-11:30a ET
Aired August 2, 2016 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[11:00:00] CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: Delia Gallagher, many thanks.
And many thanks for joining me today. I'm Carol Costello.
AT THIS HOUR with Berman and Bolduan starts now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON, (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE & FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: Donald Trump is wrong. America is not weak.
DONALD TRUMP, (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE & CEO, TRUMP ORGANIZATION: She's the devil.
WARREN BUFFETT, INVESTOR: I asked Donald Trump, have you no sense of decency, sir?
TRUMP: She's got to do right for her donors. I'm going to do right for you.
CLINTON: We are going to support the small businesses that Donald Trump has consistently stiffed.
TRUMP: And I'm afraid the election is going to be rigged. I have to be honest.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Hello everyone. I'm John Berman.
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm Kate Bolduan.
It's live events-paloosa this hour. We're going to show you live pictures from Briarwood High School is Ashburn, Virginia. Donald Trump has a rally there, set to start any minute.
BERMAN: Then the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
BOLDUAN: Stop it.
That's up next.
By our count, it has been about 12 hours since Donald Trump's last commented on the feud with the family of the fallen U.S. soldier. We'll have to see what he says when he takes the stage.
BERMAN: We're also watching the White House right now. President Obama about to hold a joint news conference with the prime minister of Singapore. That's the main subject. But you can bet the president will be asked about Donald Trump and about Gold Star parent, Khizr and Ghazala (ph) Khan. It will be interesting to hear what he has to say about that.
But first, the Donald Trump rally. In the shadow of a new CNN/ORC poll, showing Trump losing ground. After the Republican convention, Trump was ahead of Hillary Clinton, 48 to 45 percent. Now, after the Democrats had their turn, Hillary Clinton is on top, 52 percent to 43 percent. Maybe this explains why Donald Trump is calling Hillary Clinton the devil and claiming that the election could be rigged.
CNN national correspondent, Jason Carroll, is live at this Trump rally in Virginia.
Jason, what do you see?
JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the rally is about to get under way any moment. Before things have started to get under way, a few protesters have been escorted out of the venue.
First, we should talk about, you mentioned them, the first time we've heard Donald Trump refer to Hillary Clinton the devil. Certainly in the past, we've heard him say that Bernie Sanders sold his soul to the devil by endorsing Hillary Clinton, but that was the first in terms of him directly referring to her as the devil. Another first, when he said the general election might be rigged against him. We heard him say that yesterday in Columbus. Certainly a number of people in this room agree the system is stacked against political outsiders like a Donald Trump.
Trump is expected to speak on a number of issues when he takes the stage a few moments from now. And we've got poll numbers to suggest where the candidates stand on some of those issues that Trump will be talking about. Want to share some of that with you. The first one has to do with the economy. $ a lot of folks thinking that perhaps Donald Trump is a businessman, he would be better equipped to handle the economy. A new CNN poll shows that 50 percent of people feel Clinton would be better to handle the economy rather than Trump at 48 percent. The next issue is terrorism. Because of Clinton's foreign policy experience, former secretary of state, she would mp in terms of better handling that particular issue. Recent CNN polls, they're both tied, both at 48 percent. The next issue being illegal immigration, a cornerstone of Trump's campaign. Every time you come to a rally like this, you hear about build the wall, build the wall against Mexico. We have Clinton at 55 percent, Trump at 43 percent in terms of who would be better able to handle the issue of illegal immigration.
Again, Trump expected to take the stage in just a few minutes, expected to talk about issues such as immigration, illegal immigration, the economy as well. Again, he will be expected to go after Clinton. How he ends up doing that, that remains to be seen -- John, Kate? BOLDUAN: Jason Carroll, some pretty dramatic lead-up music.
BERMAN: Background music for Jason, which he deserves.
BOLDUAN: Jason, thank you so much.
Let's talk more now with Alice Stewart, CNN political commentator and former communications director for Ted Cruz's campaign; Alex Conant, from Marco Rubio's campaign and now a partner with Firehouse Strategies; Emily Tisch Sussman, a Democratic strategist and Hillary Clinton supporter; and Alex Burns, CNN political analyst, national political reporter for "The New York Times;" and John Phillips, CNN political commentator, talk show host on KABC and a Donald Trump supporter.
Great to see you all. I think I got everybody in. I love the "Brady Bunch" effect.
BERMAN: We're smaller than everyone else. Everyone else gets their own box. We have to share.
BOLDUAN: John Phillips, first to you.
As we said, by our count, it's been about 12 hours since Donald Trump has commented on the feud with the Gold Star family. He was asked about it in an interview and that's why it was brought up. He did not talk about this from the stump yesterday. Do you get any sense that Donald Trump in the campaign is trying to move on from this?
[11:05:12] JOHN PHILLIPS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, as soon as he stops talking about it, it's going to go away. I've never been more of the belief that Melania should tell him it's time to go on vacation. Let's go on one of these Kathie Lee cruises, let this thing blow over and talk about something else. He's the guy making sure this story stays in the news.
I was on with John in the morning the day after the father spoke at the Democratic convention. We talked about it. But it wasn't the story. It didn't become the story until Donald kept talking about it and advancing it. So I would advise him to shush.
BERMAN: Alex, Eric Trump, son of Donald Trump, said on CBS today, he said this is something blown hugely out of proportion. The Trump campaign saying it's all the media making this up right now.
You heard John Phillips, a Trump supporter, is saying Trump should just shush. How responsible is he that the story has the life?
ALEX CONANT, PARTNER, FIREHOUSE STRATEGIES & FORMER COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR FOR MARCO RUBIO PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN: Absolutely, he's responsible. Khan spoke Thursday night. Friday morning, really bad GDP numbers came out. Yet they spent the morning talking about the speech on Thursday night and not the GDP numbers. They need to be talking about the middle class, about jobs. Instead they're talking about what Clinton wants them to talk about. People spoke at his convention rather than at his convention d his message.
BOLDUAN: One thing people are talking about, one again, Alice, is the system is rigged. He said last night he's afraid the system is rigged. We thought it was interesting because there's no suggestion that there is fraud that is going on, but that he's returning to a theme that worked in his favor in the primary. What do you think is behind it?
ALICE STEWART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: The more things change, the more they stay the same. This is exactly how he carried out during the primary when Ted Cruz beat him at the Colorado convention. He said it's a crooked system, a rigged system and played off that to distract from the fact that he lost. This is exactly what he's doing. He's had a terrible several days with the media starting with the Khan story and his inability to understand the Ukraine and also several other stories that just won't die because they continue to feed into them. What he's doing, classic Trump. He'll call the system rigged and crooked. Now he's calling Hillary names like the devil. It's unfortunate -- he's talking about a different electorate here. He needs to broaden the base and bring in independents and start focusing on the issues people are concerned with. That's jobs, the economy and national security, and stop blaming the system and stop calling names, and stick with the issues. That's going to go a long way.
BERMAN: I suspect we will see some of that when he takes the stage in Virginia. He had two events yesterday where he didn't bring up the Khans. It seems the campaign is making an effort not to bring it up.
Alex Burns, where are we right now in this race? The Hillary Clinton campaign released fund-raising numbers. To put it in clinical tense, it's a blank-load of money they raised.
BOLDUAN: Very technical.
BERMAN: -- $98 million combined with the DNC. A lot of that -- I think, $58 million of it --
BOLDUAN: I think I wrote it down, John Berman. $63 million.
BERMAN: $63 million just for the campaign, $58 million in the bank. Our new poll has Hillary Clinton up nine right now. Where do things stand?
ALEX BURNS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I think you have to say right now at the outset of the general election where each candidate has had the biggest opportunity they will have to make their case until the debates, assuming that they happen. We have to say right now that Trump enters that phase of the campaign as an under dog. It's why you start to hear him talking about things like a rigged election. I was at a Trump event last night in central Pennsylvania where he was saying the polls, you can't really believe the polls, because back during the primaries the polls always underestimated my support. He said some of his supporters are embarrassed to tell a pollster they like Donald Trump. But in the pricy of the voting booth, nobody is watching and they can vote for it.
BOLDUAN: I've heard that -- I don't know if you call it a voter conspiracy theory. But I've heard that, too.
BURNS: But this is how a guy who is down in the polls and looking at potential defeat tries to keep his supporters energetic and engage engaged so they --
BURNS: Probably, a little bit of both.
BOLDUAN: A little bit of both?
, So, Emily, when you look at the polls with the Clinton convention, which I know you're going to say you think went off perfectly, with this huge fund-raising haul and this feud with the Khan family exploding, and you look at the poll numbers, Trump is down anywhere -- when you look at a four-way race, between four and eight points. Some might say why not 10 to 20 points down. Do you see a sign of trouble here for Hillary Clinton?
[11:10:06] EMILY TISCH SUSSMAN, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Trump did start the week after his convention with above after his convention as well. What I think people are feeling is not just the convention bump, but it really was a very different vision for the country and a very different vision to vote for each candidate. Trump went in. It was about himself, about him, nothing else, as he runs everything else. It was about inciting fear. If you're fearful enough, I will be the guy for you. He just posed that to the Democratic convention. Look, the thing Clinton had to do, she did accomplish. She didn't put herself in as an alternative to Trump, but having a positive vision for the country. For the economy, it was inclusive, diverse. People felt positive about it. The reason we were talking about the Khans on Friday is because it was an incredibly powerful moment. I've experienced almost nothing like that, where everybody in the room said, this is the kind of America I want. Clearly, people at home felt that well. When Trump turned around and attacked them, people you would never expect are coming out of the woodwork saying totally unacceptable, he's totally unfit to be commander-in-chief. John McCain, VFW, today the first currently elected Republican House member is endorsing Clinton against Trump.
BERMAN: John McCain didn't say he was unfit to be commander-in-chief, to be clear. John McCain --
(CROSSTALK) BERMAN: -- did not un-endorsed him.
BERMAN: He was not happy about it.
TISCH SUSSMAN: And I think it hurt him in the end. How much do you respect do you have for a candidate when you say -- when repeatedly say his actions are totally irresponsible and really offensive to a lot of people? It's not just that it's the left coming after Trump on this. These are Gold Star families. These are people that have lost their children in honor of the country. To try to write them off or say you can change the narrative, which is I think that's what he's doing by saying, oh, she's the devil, it's rigged. He's used to being able to control the narrative. And he's trying to change it again. But this is not who you mess with. These people are not political. It's too much.
BOLDUAN: Alex, let me ask you this. This episode, I think we can call it, this feud, it has columnists -- we saw this morning -- both liberal and conservative, openly opining, wondering, asking the question if Donald Trump is dealing with a mental illness. You've seen that from Republican and liberal columnists today. What does that say about this conversation?
CONANT: In fairness to Trump, he's never been the favorite of columnists.
CONANT: Alex Burns had a smart piece this weekend, saying the only way Trump can win is Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida, he has to win those states. To me, this is pretty simple. You go to those three states, find issues that motivate voters in those states, figure out a way to get to a majority, you hammer that message and you hammer --
BOLDUAN: You make it sound so simple, Alex.
CONANT: It is pretty simple. Instead, he's in New York, Virginia.
TISCH SUSSMAN: Says he's going to win California.
CONANT: Right. So he needs to -- I think this is very simple. Needs to figure a way to get to a majority in those states and go do it. Stop wasting time talking about other things.
BERMAN: To be clear, praising -- Alex Burns, praising the media is a dangerous tactic.
BURNS: I should say the failing "New York Times."
BOLDUAN: There you go. (LAUGHTER)
BURNS: I was looking at several of the states that Alex just mentioned. Military families and veterans are a giant constituency. You look at north Florida, North Carolina and Virginia, you can't win those states if the military community turns against you.
BERMAN: We're about two minutes away from hearing President Obama take the stage. He has a joint news conference with the prime minister of Singapore. But we can bet he'll take a question or two about the presidential election right now.
John Phillips, Trump supporter, you can see the almost joy that President Obama takes in engaging in this election, engaging with Donald Trump. For Trump supporters and the Trump campaign, what kind of opponent do you think the president poses?
PHILLIPS: He's looking for Hillary Clinton's first term, which would essentially be the third term of the Obama administration, his affirmation that he's done a good job. He wants voters to give him that pat on the back.
That being said, 69 percent of the public think the country is going in the wrong direction. I don't know how effective that's necessarily going to be. I guess the Hillary campaign would assume that he can help drive up turnout among minorities, which was so effective for them back in 2008. I don't think that's necessarily transferable to her.
BOLDUAN: And, Alice, while you're critical of how Donald Trump is handling this feud with the Khan parents. What do you think of how his running mate, Mike Pence, is handling it? He's taking a very different tactic in responding to questions about it from a military mom at a rally and also to reporters where he sticks very firmly on message, saying the same thing, that Donald Trump and I have said Captain Khan is an American hero, and we honor the service and sacrifice and honor his family. And he said that over and over again.
Oh, let me stop myself and let's go to the White House with President Obama taking the microphone right now.
[11:15:08] BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Hello, everyone. Please have a seat.
Once again, I'm honored to welcome my good friend, Prime Minister Lee, and his delegation back to the White House. I have been fortunate to work with the prime minister throughout my presidency and I always value his insight, his counsel and his outstanding partnership.
Let me say that our thoughts today are also with former President Nathan and we join the people of Singapore in praying for his full and speedy recovery.
As president, I have rebalanced American foreign policy so that we're playing a larger and long-term role in the Asian Pacific, a region that is critical to our security and prosperity. And as I said this morning, Singapore has played a vital role in that rebalance. With Singapore's support, the United States is engaging more deeply than ever across the region, including through ASEAN and the East-Asia Summit.
Given its strategic location, Singapore is an anchor for the U.S. presence in the region, which is the foundation of stability and peace. And Mr. Prime Minister, I want to thank you for the invaluable contributions that Singapore has made to a central pillar of our foreign policy.
Today, we agreed to continue building on this progress. The U.S. and Singapore are united in our commitment to advancing regional security and stability. Our defense relationship remains one of the closest in Southeast Asia, with hundreds of American ships and aircraft rotating through Singapore each year. As I told the prime minister, we welcome Singapore's interest in purchasing the F-35 aircraft and we'll also explore the possibility of Singaporean troops training on Guam.
At the same time, we'll continue working to strengthen regional institutions like ASEAN in line with the principles we agreed to at Sunnylands earlier this year. And we are reaffirmed our shared commitment to building a regional order where all nations play by the same rules and disputes are resolved peacefully, including in the South China Sea.
We agreed to do more to encourage economic growth and innovation among our economies. With a little over a decade, the trade between our two countries has grown more than 50 percent. We are collaborating to jumpstart greater digital innovation, including research and development into technology and data to prove (ph) and promote smart cities concepts that can improve the daily lives of our citizens.
We'll do more to connect our vibrant startup communities so that an engineer in Singapore can collaborate more easily with an entrepreneur in Silicon Valley or Austin, Texas.
With respect to trade, this is an issue that stirs great passion. Globalization means economies around the world are more integrated than ever and jobs and capital can move cross borders. Automation means that goods and products can be produced with fewer workers, and these forces of globalization and technology have not always benefited everybody evenly. There are fears and anxieties that people may be left behind.
These anxieties are legitimate. They can't be ignored; they have to be taken seriously. As I've said before, it means that we have to do everything we can to make sure that everybody shares in prosperity, that we have strong rules to protect workers, to promote high wages, to make sure that our citizens are getting the education and the training that they need.
But the answer cannot be to back away from trade in the global economy. It is here to stay. It's not possible to cut ourselves off, given how integrated our economies are, and trying to pull up a draw bridge on trade would only hurt us and hurt our workers. So the answer is to make sure that globalization and trade is working for us, not against us.
That's why today, we are reaffirming our commitment to the Trans- Pacific Partnership. I am a strong supporter of TPP because it will reduce tariffs, taxes basically, on American goods, from cars to crops, and make it easier for Americans to export into the fastest- growing markets of the world. TPP levels the playing field for our workers and helps to ensure countries abide by strong labor and environmental rules.
So this is an opportunity to grow our economies and write the rules for trade in the 21st century in a way that's equitable. It gives us a chance to advance American leadership, reduce economic inequality and support good-paying jobs, all while strengthening critical strategic relationships in a vital region.
[11:20:01] So I think not only is TPP important, but the prime minister and I agree that we need to extend our partnership beyond just regional efforts. We have work to do on a global scale.
Singapore was the first country in Southeast Asia to join in the global coalition to destroy ISIL. And we are grateful that Singapore is making new contributions to this effort by providing valuable medical support to coalition forces.
As two nations on the forefront of digital innovation, we recognize the growing threats of cyber attacks, and we're going to continue to work to strengthen cyber security and to promote peaceful norms on how nations should operate in cyberspace.
Singapore, the Garden City, helped to achieve the Paris Climate Agreement last year. And Mr. Prime Minister, thank you for your commitment to work towards joining the Paris Agreement this year. We're also working closely with the international community to reduce harmful aviation emissions and phase down HFCs.
And our two countries will continue to work together to advance global health security, so that the world is better prepared to address the threat of pandemics.
Last point. We agreed to keep promoting people-the-people ties between our two countries. We are expanding our Trusted Travelers Program to make it easier for Americans and Singaporeans to visit each other and do business together.
I welcome Singapore's announcement of a new Exchange Program which will include scholarships for students of our two countries, and through our Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative, we're going to keep empowering young people in Singapore and across the region to become the leaders of tomorrow in their own communities, in business, and in civil society.
I'll note that I had a chance to meet one of those young Singaporean leaders at a (inaudible) summit in Kuala Lumpur last year, a remarkable young woman named Carrie Tom (ph), who is helping underprivileged women become financially self-sufficient.
And Carrie (ph) talked about coming together with young people from across Southeast Asia. She said, "We bonded in our common endeavor to seek, to understand and learn from one another in pursuit of our aspirations to a better world. Young people like Carrie (ph) give me hope, and Prime Minister
Lee, based on our work together, I am confident that Singapore and the United States will continue to advance our shared aspirations for a better world for many years to come.
With that, let me turn it over to you, Mr. Prime Minister.
LEE HSIEN LOONG, SINGAPOREAN PRIME MINISTER: Well, thank you, President Obama.
President Obama, distinguished guests, I am very happy to be here for -- on an official visit for the 50th anniversary of our diplomatic relations. I would like to thank President Obama for his gracious hospitality and for his attention to our bilateral relations, as well as to the wider Asia-Pacific. And specifically also for his good wishes on the condition of our former president, Mr. S.R. Nathan.
The president and I had a substantial conversation on the wide range of issues. We affirmed our strong, multifaceted and long- standing partnership. Our strong economic ties are underpinned by the U.S.-Singapore Free Trade Agreement.
Singapore is America's largest trading partner in Southeast Asia. Where U.S. is Singapore's largest foreign direct investor. And many American companies run their regional headquarters in Singapore. And many Singapore countries also which are in America. And the relationship deepens year by year.
In the defense area, we have robust cooperation under the ambit of the -- MOU in 1990, and the strategic framework agreement, which we concluded in 2005.
Last year, we concluded the Enhanced Defense Corporation Agreement, which expands cooperation into new areas, like humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, cyber defense and counterterrorism.
We are also deepening security cooperation between our agencies in areas like counterterrorism, cyber crime, corruption transportation security and illicit trade enforcement, and expanding into new areas like cyber security, where our agencies are signing a MOU to work together to protect national security and our economic interests against cyber attacks.
We also share an interest in smart cities, so we have discussed how cities can use technology to track those problems, from health care to transportation, to delivery of public services. And there is a lot of interest from companies on both sides.
Underpinning the ties between the two countries are the friendships and the relationships between our peoples. Thousands of American students are studying and working in Singapore. Thousands of Singaporeans are studying and working in America.
And last Sunday, I hosted the National Day (ph) reception, for Singaporeans in our embassy here, and 600 people showed up.
It is fitting to mark this special occasion of our 50th anniversary that we are launching a scholarship for Singaporeans and Americans to enable undergraduates to do some exchanges in each other's country, and draw our young people closer together and to get to know each other's societies, cultures, strengths and opportunities to cooperate together.
[11:25:23] We've recently implemented a trusted traveler program that will also facilitate travel by Singaporeans to the U.S.
The president and I also discussed the TPP, and just now you heard the president give an eloquent explanation of why it is important to America and also to Asia.
It's an integral component of America's rebalance to Asia. Apart from the economic benefits -- trade, market access, standard setting -- it's also vital from a strategic point of view, and a strong signal of the U.S. commitment to continue its deep engagement in the region.
We greatly appreciate the efforts of the president and his team to push for the TPP, which grew from a small FTA, which Singapore had started together with Chile, Brunei and New Zealand -- the P4 Group -- and now the TPP will be a free trade agreement encompassing 40 percent of the world's population and one-third of the world's GDP.
We are near the finish line, and we hope that the countries, particularly the U.S., will be able to ratify the TPP as soon as possible.
Finally, the president and I discussed our partnership in tackling global challenges like counterterrorism. It's a problem for all countries. Every day in the newspapers you read of new attacks somewhere, America, Europe, the Middle East, closer to home in Indonesia and Malaysia.
We in Southeast Asia are very concerned about this, because the terrorists are active in many countries in the region. Several hundred, perhaps a thousand, from Southeast Asia are in the Middle East fighting ISIS. And we have witnessed attacks in both Indonesia and Malaysia that were mounted by ISIS followers under orders from ISIS operatives in the Middle East to launch attacks in their home countries.
So the efforts to counter ISIL or ISIS are crucial, and that's why Singapore is a member of the coalition, and we are making a modest contribution to the effort. And we're going to be sending a medical team to Iraq. We have already been participating with air-to-air refueling, image interpretation and in other ways, and now we are going to send a medical team into Iraq.
It is also important to fundamentally address a root source of violent extremism in order to counter the underlying ideology of ISIL, as well as to address the issues of extremist and exclusive (ph) views being propagated by ISIL.
So these are major issues which we have discussed amongst our two countries, and we look forward to working together and taking our relationship even further forward.
OBAMA: First question is Margaret Brennan (ph).
QUESTION: Thank you, Mr. President.
Given the Republican nominee's recent comments about the Khan family and his statement that if president he would consider recognizing Russia's annexation of Crimea, does it make you question his fitness to be president?
And secondly, sir, on Libya, you said in the past that the worst mistake of your presidency may have been your failure to plan for the aftermath of that 2011 NATO intervention in Libya. Do you see your new decision to bomb ISIS there as a direct result of that?
OBAMA: Yes. I think the Republican nominee is unfit to serve as president. I said so last week and he keeps on proving it.
The notion that he would attack a Gold Star family that had made such extraordinary sacrifices on behalf of our country, the fact that he doesn't appear to have basic knowledge around critical issues in Europe, in the Middle East, in Asia, means that he's woefully unprepared to do this job.
OBAMA: And this is not just my opinion. I think what's been interesting is the repeated denunciations of his statements by leading Republicans, including the speaker of the House and the Senate majority leader and prominent Republicans like John McCain.
[11:30:11] And the question I think that they have to ask themselves is, if you are repeatedly having to say in very strong terms that what he has said is unacceptable, why are you still endorsing him? What does this say about your party that this is your standard bearer?