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Donald Trump Declares War on GOP; Trump Will Not Back Ryan, McCain for Reelection; Trump's Purple Heart Comments; Trump Kicks Baby Out of Rally, Calls Clinton "Devil". Aired 10-11p ET

Aired August 2, 2016 - 22:00   ET


[22:00:00] DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Donald Trump declares war on the GOP.

This is CNN TONIGHT. I'm Don Lemon.

The Republican nominee says he is not quite there yet when it comes to endorsing Paul Ryan. He refuses to endorse John McCain. He calls Kelly Ayotte weak.

And that's not all. I want you to listen to the candidate in his own words after an elderly veteran gave him his own purple heart.


DONALD TRUMP, (R) PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: I always wanted to get the Purple Heart. This was much easier.


LEMON: Then there's this to the mother of a crying baby.


TRUMP: You can get the baby out of here. That's all right. Don't worry. I think she won't believe me that I love having a baby crying while I'm speaking.


LEMON: Also today, Trump tweets President Obama will go down as perhaps the worst president in the history of the United States. And President Barack Obama simply says this.


BARACK OBAMA, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA PRESIDENT: I think the Republican nominee is unfit to serve as president.


LEMON: CNN's Dana Bash is here though with breaking news from the Trump campaign thsi evening. Dana, as I said you have some breaking news on the Trump campaign tonight. What can you tell us? DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, just that I'm

hearing from a Republican source who is knowledgeable about such matters and those matters are kind of the sentiment inside the Trump campaign, is that there's growing frustration about the way things have been going, about the fact that they're having a lot difficulty staying on message, staying on strategy, based really on the past several days.

Starting with Donald Trump's response to the very hard hitting Democratic convention, specifically the Khans, the Gold Star family going after him. And then of course, Trump sort of responding in kind.

That up to today's interview that Donald Trump gave to the Washington Post, withholding endorsement of the House Speaker Paul Ryan, even though Ryan chaired Donald Trump's convention. And was the nominating speech for Mike Pence, Trump's vice presidential running mate.

I'm told that the frustration goes all the way up to Paul Manafort, the person effectively in charge of the campaign. The source said that there's no indication that Manafort wants to leave, he was just expressing his frustration. And certainly, we hear that from others as well.

So, we're going to continue to follow this and just of see how it plays out, but certainly these are not typical times for any presidential campaign, even and especially those who are working for Donald Trump. And expect the unexpected.

LEMON: Yes. And you have to watch press conferences and comments and interviews over the last couple of days and wonder if this was approved by the campaign, especially Paul Manafort who wants to stay in his message but he has not done that.

But this was a big deal as well, because you mentioned Paul Ryan. This came out today. He said "I like Paul Ryan but these are horrible times for our country, we need strong leadership, we need very, very strong leadership and I'm not -- I'm just not quite there yet. I'm not quite there yet."

I mean, Dana, I mean, if we go all the way back, you consider the first, you know, big Donald Trump firestorm came in his criticism of John McCain and that sort of was the thing that stirred it. It sort of went from there, didn't it?

BASH: It did. And remember, that was during the primaries. And it was the fact there was no backlash against Donald Trump was the first big indicator that he was, you know, Teflon, Don when it came to the politics of the Republican primary electorate and he just kind of kept going from there.

Now it seems to be different because not just because of the nature of sort of the controversy, but more importantly because of the electorate that Donald Trump needs to appeal to. He has the supporters that he had before.

He needs to -- in order to win the White House get beyond that, expand the map, expand his base. And so, the question now is whether or not the kind of comment he made about Paul Ryan today is going to help or hurt. You know, we'll see. I think the answer...


LEMON: But, John McCain is speaking out as well. What is he saying?

BASH: Well, John McCain was very critical of Donald Trump. And it's interesting, you mentioned the original controversy when Donald Trump way back when in Iowa, I believe, questioned whether or not John McCain was really a war hero.

At that time McCain was really circumspect, he didn't say very much about it. It wasn't until fast forward to now when the controversy was about the parents of a fallen soldier in the Iraq war, that he decided that he needed to speak out.

That there was no question clearly irked Donald Trump, which is why he said he wasn't going to endorse john McCain's Republican primary, wasn't going to endorse McCain in the Republican primary that he's having in Arizona.

So, look, it's very scrambled, it's very unclear how or if this is going to play out with the voters but what it is doing, I'm told by, you know, Republican sources on Capitol Hill, particularly with the Paul Ryan situation, he's got a big reservoir of support.

[22:05:09] And for people who reluctantly endorsed Donald Trump, they might be thinking, really?


BASH: This is what we get in response? He's got a lot of support, no question. Separate from Paul Ryan. But those who are little bit more reluctant are I'm told by one source hanging on by a thread.

LEMON: Both John McCain -- both that he's not going to support both John McCain and Paul Ryan, and then here's what he said.

BASH: Yet.

LEMON: Yet. Yes. This is -- what he says "I'm not there yet with John McCain." This is his statement with John McCain. "He has not done a good job for the vets and I've always felt that he should have done a much better job for the vets. So, I've always had a difficult time with John for that reason because our vets are not being treated fairly. They aren't being treated fairly."

And it's interesting because Megan McCain tweeted tonight and said, "You know what, character matters." And of course we know Paul Ryan and John McCain still supporting him but denouncing his comments on the Khan family. This is all coming after the Khan family.

BASH: That's right. And look, Megan McCain has never been a fan of Donald Trump and she's been very outspoken about that Megan McCain being John McCain's daughter. I think that the question now is, when it comes to the John McCain's of the world who is running for reelection in the Senate right now will assume he makes at this primary will have a pretty tough fight against his Democratic opponent.

Whether -- and how the Trump factor plays in that case, and also, you know, looking across the country in New Hampshire. Kelly Ayotte, the incumbent Republican Senator there, Donald Trump was really critical of her today calling her weak.

I talked to a New Hampshire Republican todays who said that was a political gift because Democrats are trying so hard to tie Kelly Ayote to Trump. This allows her to kind of, be independent of him saying, look, he doesn't like me, look, these are his own words.

So, there are so many complicating factors, not just about how the presidential race will play out but the next important thing, which is whether or not Republicans will keep control of the Senate, which is a huge focus of a lot of Republicans across the country right now.

LEMON: Dana Bash with a lot of news tonight, including the breaking news out of source knowledgeable of the Republican or Republican source tell CNN that some of Donald Trump's campaign staff, even his campaign manager, Paul Manafort incredibly frustrated with the candidate and they feel that they're wasting their time.

Yes, Dana. Quickly.

BASH: Can I just add one thing?


BASH: Because as we're talking I just a text from Jason Miller who's a campaign spokesperson, talking about the fact that he does not believe that there's anything to worry about with regard to Paul Manafort.

He was responding to another report by our friend and colleague, John Harwood, saying that he heard that Paul Manafort is mailing it in, Jason Miller saying that that report is erroneous.

He's not mailing it in and that talking about the fact that they're experience staffers on the campaign and that he's turning out enthusiastic crowds and doing well in fund-raising.

So, I just want to get that in to make sure that they have their due. Because I asked for a response and I wanted to give it to you.

LEMON: All right. We'll see. Damage control maybe. Thank you, Dana. We appreciate that.

Now I want to bring in now. This is Paul Ryan's Republican primary challenger. The man who has been praised by Donald Trump. So, joining me now is Paul Nehlen, who is running -- who is running against the speaker in next week's Wisconsin primary.

Thank you for joining us this evening. How are you doing?

PAUL NEHLEN, REPUBLICAN CHALLENGER TO SPEAKER PAUL RYAN: Hey, thanks for having me on, Don. Great to be on.

LEMON: You know, as you know, Paul, Donald Trump told The Washington Post today that he is not ready to endorse Paul Ryan yet in the primary race against you next Tuesday. Are you expecting an endorsement from Donald Trump?

NEHLEN: You know, Don, I don't know if that will come. I'm not really expecting it.

LEMON: Do you want it?

NEHLEN: But, you know, I'm here in Parker Park right down the street from Paul -- from Paul Ryan's house. Well, you know, I've been walking around, knocking on all these doors in this neighborhood and in this town and in this district.

And the question I keep asking everybody is when has Paul Ryan worked as hard for Wisconsin workers as he has for his corporate donors. The answer is, he really hasn't. He's never worked as hard for Wisconsin or American workers as he has for his corporate donors.


LEMON: I understand that. I understand that you're running against Paul Ryan.

NEHLEN: And that is a huge problem with Paul Ryan.

LEMON: But my -- the question is so that we could stick to because this is about Donald Trump and about you. He has -- he says good things about you, not about the speaker who has endorse him. My question is, you said that you don't expect him but would you like an endorsement from Donald Trump?

NEHLEN: You know, I don't know. I look at this and I say, why did Donald Trump tweet thanks to me? You know, probably because at every opportunity Paul Ryan had he has gone against...


LEMON: With all due respect, Paul, because we have a small amount of time here. A yes or a no?


LEMON: Would you like an endorsement from Donald Trump?

NEHLEN: This race is not about me. I's not about Donald Trump. This is about Paul Ryan's failed policies of globalization and giving jobs to foreign workers as opposed to creating jobs here at home.

[22:09:59] LEMON: OK. Thank you for that. So, let's move on now. You've heard Dana Bash as reporting that House Republicans are telling that this may backfire. What's your reaction to that? Are you there? OK. Apparently he can't hear me. Paul, can you hear me?

NEHLEN: Now I can hear you.

LEMON: You can hear, OK.

NEHLEN: I lost you there for a moment. Sorry about that. Sorry about that.

LEMON: All right, good. So, as my question -- that's OK. That's OK. It's live and it's technical difficulties. You heard that Dana Bash just reported a couple of minutes ago that House Republicans are telling her that this may backfire. What's your reaction?

NEHLEN: You know, I don't know. All I can -- all I can focus on is what's going on in this district. I will say time and again I've been focused on trade deals, bad trade deals that Paul Ryan is pushing and immigration policies.

Enforcing existing immigration law. I don't know, you know, is a tweet going to turn into a huge problem? Is a comment that Donald Trump is going to turn into a huge problem?

I'm knocking doors and talking to residents here about creating jobs. I've run Fortune 500 businesses all over the globe. I've brought manufacturing back from Mexico. I brought manufacturing back from Canada. I've closed businesses and brought those jobs back to the United States.

Paul Ryan keeps ducking me on having a debate here. He's on a break right now, he's been in the district and he's ducking me on a debate.


NEHLEN: Paul Ryan wants to talk about anything other than his policies. We need to have a debate here in Wisconsin in front of Wisconsinites on this trade deal. It's as terrible trade deal. I can quote it chapter and verse.

Paul Ryan whipped the vote for fast track trade promotion authority and that is going to kill the living wage, that is going to kill the family wage and kill the middle class. Paul Ryan owns that.

LEMON: So, Mr. Nehlen.

NEHLEN: Yes, sir?

LEMON: All right. I have to be honest. So, you're putting me in a position that I have to defend Paul Ryan.

NEHLEN: Please.

LEMON: Paul Ryan is not here, so I can't. So, you're talking about issues on the campaign trail. I'm talking about the national election and the national impact of this, OK?

NEHLEN: Sure. LEMON: So, Trump has been widely criticized...


NEHLEN: Paul Ryan...

LEMON: ... for his remarks about the Khan family. I want to move on now. Do you agree with him or not?

NEHLEN: Look, we lost a hero. Mr. Trump spoke to that. Mr. Trump is a big boy. If you want to ask him about his comments, you ask Mr. Trump. I am focused on jobs for Wisconsin. I'm laser focused for jobs for Wisconsin. I am forcing existing immigration laws. I'm laser focused.

I'm not going to get distracted by the national race because I can't affect the national race. I can affect what goes on here in Wisconsin. And that's what I'm talking to local voters about.


LEMON: You did say, though...

NEHLEN: I'm on local radio. I'm on local TV.

LEMON: You did say that "Paul Ryan's repeated betrayals of the GOP nominee is beneath the dignity of the speaker's office and morally disqualifying. Paul Ryan has shown more passion in attacking Trump than he is ever shown in defending Americans."

So, you are talking about this and you did put out a statement regarding this. How is this morally disqualifying?


NEHLEN: Yes, I did put out a statement on it. Well, it's morally disqualifying because when did -- when did Speaker Ryan ever attack Mr. Obama or Hillary Clinton on any of her policies the way he's attacking Donald Trump right now. He should be trying to unify this party that is his role.

He is a -- he is the top elected Republican in the country right now. Shouldn't he be focused on supporting Mr. Trump and figuring out how he can partner with him? She's trying to tear him down right now. He should be reporting in-kind contributions to Hillary Clinton's campaign for God sakes.

LEMON: Do you think that this shows disunity, this whole thing with Paul Ryan and Donald Trump, that it shows disunity with the Republican Party and that it is tearing the party apart?

NEHLEN: No, I don't. In fact, I think it shows disunity with one person, and that is Paul Ryan, the mercenary champion for working against Donald Trump every opportunity he gets.

LEMON: Paul Nehlen, thank you very much.

NEHLEN: I think the rest of the party is unified. I'm unified.

LEMON: Thank you. I appreciate you coming on.

NEHLEN: Thanks, Don.

LEMON: When we come back, will Donald Trump's war with the GOP derail his campaign or will the candidate rewrite the rules again?


LEMON: This has gone from bad to worse for Donald Trump tonight but will all of this matter to his voters?

Here to discuss now is Republican strategist, John Brabender, CNN political commentator Ana Navarro, and also joining me former Trump campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski who still receiving being severance from the Trump campaign, was the chair of the New Hampshire delegation at the Republican Convention and is a CNN commentator, and has the longest introduction title I think that I ever recall, a contributor.

But I have to ask you about the seriousness. I'm sure you heard Dana Bash reporting tonight that Paul Manafort is saying, another campaign staffer saying they are incredibly frustrated with Donald Trump. What's your take on that?

COREY LEWANDOWSKI, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Look, I don't think that's the case. I know the campaign staff very well. I hired a significant portion of these people. They're exceptionally loyal to Donald Trump. They understand that there are ups and downs to every campaign. They understand that the campaigns is going to have highs and lows. And these people with climb over barbed wire for Donald Trump over and chew on glass to make sure that they get him elected on this.

LEMON: The main character in this, Corey, is Paul Manafort, who took your place, right? So, you didn't hire him. So, would you know what Paul Manafort is.

LEWANDOWSKI: Look, I know Paul well. I worked with him very closely for...


LEMON: You don't think he's frustrated?

LEWANDOWSKI: No. I don't think he is. I think Paul understand that in every campaign, right, you're going to have candidates that do things that maybe you didn't script. That's the luxury of Donald Trump. He goes off-script. He goes off message.

This is what the American people want. They don't want a scripted candidate. They want someone who is going to tell them the truth. That's what Donald Trump does. He speaks from the heart.

LEMON: So, that worked in you. You were with him during most of the primary process, right, pretty much all of it. But do you think that's working for him in the general? Because most people have said he needs and every political expert, I know that he's an unconventional candidate, this is an unconventional campaign.

But he needs to pivot and be more presidential and what worked for him in the primary will not work for him in the general.

LEWANDOWSKI: Look, what he's going to continue to do is delineate the differences between him and what would be Barack Obama's third term under Hillary Clinton. He's going to do that. He's going to do that. He's going to talk about the trade differences that he and Hillary have.

[22:20:01] He's going to talk about the job creation that he and Hillary have, the differences. He's going to talk about the V.A. reform that he and Hillary. Those are the points that are going to get Donald Trump elected president of the United States.

LEMON: Would you prefer that he stuck to message?

LEWANDOWSKI: No. Look, I think the greatest part about Donald Trump is people want to see what he's going to say next. He has an ability that no one else has ever had when they ran for president which is to drive a media narrative every single day and earn that media that nobody else can do.

And they do that because Donald Trump speaks from the heart, he speaks about things that people want to hear about. And he speaks in a way that people understand it and say that's how I talk, too, that's why he's been so successful in driving the media.

LEMON: So, I want to talk to you, guys, and I want to get your response on this. This is Meg Whitman. Meg Whitman who ran for Governor of California, also obviously Republican. Hewlett Packard executive -- Hewlett Packard executive.

Here is what she said. She said, "I will vote for Hillary. I will take -- I will talk to my Republican friends about helping her and I will donate to her campaign and try to raise money for her." Ms. Whitman said that in a telephone interview, and this is in an interview to the New York Times.

I want to ask you, considering, Ana Navarro, you're the Republican on this staff, you hear what happened to Kelly Ayotte, you hear what happened with others. There are other people who are deflecting from the Republican Party saying they're going to vote for Hillary Clinton. Do you think this is the beginning of that?

ANA NAVARRO, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Look, I think different people are going to a different processes. It's frankly, for lifelong Republicans who do not feel represented by Donald Trump, and I am one of them. It is an excruciating process. It is a very introspective one. Some people are choosing...


LEMON: Enough to make you vote for Hillary Clinton like Meg Whitman says.

NAVARRO: You mean me personally?


NAVARRO: I'm not there yet. Right now where I am, is I'm going to go into that voting booth, I'm going to vote for my Republican Congresswoman, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. I'm going to vote for Senate and at the point I am right now, I'm going to write my mom's name in for president.

You know, I just can't quite get there. But I will tell you Donald Trump is making it easier and easier to get there by doing things like attacking -- attacking Mr. Khan.

I know Meg Whitman. I admire Meg Whitman. I was with Meg Whitman just a few weeks ago in Utah and she is -- she is out of her mind. This is excruciating. It is so painful and offensive to see the things that Donald Trump keeps on saying.

At some point, we felt, maybe he'll be more presidential after the primary. At this point, I think a lot of him being more human, more sane, more normal, more humane, more -- having more empathy, having more feelings, showing a heart, showing a brain, knowing that you -- knowing what the situation in Ukraine is.


NAVARRO: Those things would settle a lot of Republican angst.

LEMON: I want to get John Brabender. John, what do you make of Meg Whitman?

JOHN BRABENDER, REPUBLICAN POLITICAL CONSULTANT: Well, look, were' going to see a lot of Democrats, were going to come out and say I'm voting for Trump, I can't stand Hillary, and we're going to see some Republican say the same thing. I think all that is not the problem.

The problem right now is quite frankly, is that the Trump people aren't controlling the message as well as they can. I agree there's frustration. I've never worked at a campaign where at some point there isn't frustration with the candidate.

The biggest problem though is, they're cleaning too message right now and they're not controlling the message. And I think Trump can do that. He doesn't need to seem presidential. Everybody had says be more presidential. It doesn't have to be that.

What he does have to say is, yes, we're going to make America great again. Let me tell you how we're going to get there and what that America looks like. He also has to expand beyond his own base and he keeps playing to that base but he still has a lot of college educated Republican moderate women he has to talk to, a lot of independent voters and keep talking to blue collar Democrats. And I do think they have to make some changes.

But everybody gets frustrated. But more importantly, Don...


LEMON: Frustrated to the level, John, frustrated to the level where they're reconsidering -- they're saying that they feel like they're wasting their time because he has veered off message so much since the Democratic convention, which he had to change, is controlling the message there, had to bump out of the convention, and most prominently by challenging the Khans, the Gold Star parents who attacked Trump in Philadelphia last week -- in Philadelphia last week.

Sources said Paul Manafort had not talked about leaving the campaign but has expressed his frustration.

BRABENDER: Well, he should express his frustration. I mean, the problem is they have a lot on the line. They get up everybody morning just like Corey did and put their heart and soul into this campaign.

The message I think or the problem is Donald Trump the message that he or that the lesson he's learned is that he can just do this and it will play well to his base. I don't think he goes beyond this and I think they should be frustrated.

With that said, you have a Democrat candidate who had a lot of people frankly should think should be in jail. And so, the problem with Donald Trump is he says things that makes us all feel a little funny but he's still, I believe, is a better messenger and a better potential messenger than who the Democrats have right now.

LEMON: All right. Stick around, everybody. When we come right back, the other big...


NAVARRO: Well, let me tell you...

[22:25:00] LEMON: ... hang on, Ana. On the other side -- on the other side we're going to talk about the big firestorm of the day, what Donald Trump said when an elderly veteran gave him a purple heart. We'll be right back.


LEMON: We're back now. Even Donald Trump probably wouldn't say this has been a good couple of days for his campaign. Well, maybe he would.

Back with me now John Brabender, Ana Navarro, and Corey Lewandowski. So, Corey, we're now hearing that Trump says the election is "rigged" against him. Is the way do you think he's hedging his bet if he loses?

LEWANDOWSKI: No, I think what he's talking about is that, you know, look, there's been massive voter fraud reported in the number of states in the past and he wants to make sure that that doesn't happen moving forward.

If you look at my home State of New Hampshire where you don't even need to be a resident to show up and vote. You can just show up and say, hey, I feel like a New Hampshire resident today and what we've seen in the past is people come in from other states.

Because you've got a swing state like New Hampshire, and particularly in a close election like this one is going to be where four electoral votes could make the difference in the outcome of a presidential campaign, you want to make sure that you're doing everything possible so there is no voter fraud takes place.

LEMON: How often has that happened?

LEWANDOWSKI: Well, it happened once.


LEMON: Report to that it's few and far between. I mean, you're talking about an issue that's not really an issue. I mean, that sort of...


LEWANDOWSKI: Look, again, remember, it wasn't that long ago when the Bush/Gore campaign how close the election was in Florida.

[22:30:03] And if one person voted who shouldn't have and say they didn't. But if they did it's one person to many. So, in those states where there is no voter I.D. law or it's not enforce well, or the state allows anybody at the time to at the time to come in and vote, that could be a potential problem. And those four electoral votes will make a difference.


LEMON: What if he wins? Is it still rigged if he wins?

LEWANDOWSKI: Well, look, I mean, if he wins, obviously it's...


LEMON: It's not rigged.

LEWANDOWSKI: ... it's a great system obviously.

LEMON: Oh, yes. Yes.

LEWANDOWSKI: But, no. Either way, look, voter fraud and voter participation is something that's very important. Stop voter fraud, increase voter participation.

LEMON: It's interesting to talk about that because it's also voter suppression, too, that could also, you know, force an election the other way. He doesn't talk about that issue, only the issue that he thinks may affect him.

LEWANDOWSKI: Well, I think what you have is if you look at the success that he's had in the primary contest with 16 other people running, he's got massive increases in voter participation in the Republican primary compared to the Democrat primary. He got 14 million votes in the Republican primary, more than any candidate who has ever run in the Republican primary process.

He is bringing new people into the poll. If you look at the numbers in Pennsylvania today, they say 10,000 new Democrats registered compared to four years ago, 100,000 Democrats have registered for the election process. Clearly, the Democrats have not been as motivated, at least not in the primary process as those people who have joined the Republican Party or voting in the Republican Party...

LEMON: It could be Republicans who are going to vote Democrat. You never know.

LEWANDOWSKI: It could be or it's unlikely.

LEMON: You never know. John, as you know, Donald Trump accepted a Purple Heart today from a veteran. Let's listen to this.


TRUMP: A man came up to me and he handed me his Purple Heart.


Now, I said to him -- I said to him, is that like the real one or is that a copy? And he said that's my real Purple Heart. I have such confidence in you. I said, man, that's like -- that's like big stuff. I always wanted to get the Purple Heart. This was much easier.


LEMON: John, is this just proof that Trump's core of supporters are just extremely loyal? $

BRABENDER: No. Look, you know, sometimes Donald Trump deserves some criticism. In this case he did not. He was actually trying to be I think endearing about it and it's easy to take these things and try to spin them into something they're not.

I'd rather see him do this however, than play political analyst by saying things are rigged or that type of thing.

One is, people do know Donald Trump does stand up for veterans. He's been great about that. He's done events for them, raised money for them. I think continuing -- and he talk about that.

But I'd like to see him also pivot to start talking about how he's going to restore the American dream for middle-income people who have been left on the economic battlefield by both parties, how he is going to envision, how America is going to stop getting sand kicked in our face internationally.

These are the type of things I wish he was talking more about than when he starts to play political pundit, which doesn't do his campaign ever any good. LEMON: Ana, this is the respond from Khizr Khan. He gave that to

Anderson Cooper about the Purple Heart gift just a few minutes ago. Listen.


KHIZR KHAN, HUMAYUN KHAN'S FATHER: Well, you had your chance, you escaped, you dodged the draft and now you want an easy Purple Heart in your pocket? You should have pinned it back, even now. Call that man. I want his surrogates to call that man, thank him and put that Purple Heart back on that person's chest.


LEMON: So, Ana, now day six in the Khiz Khan story. Is this an example of a campaign in upheaval that, you know, that this is still going? What do you make of it?

NAVARRO: It's more of the same. I mean, we have been seeing this kind of behavior from Donald Trump from the very beginning, starting with the part about him claiming something is rigged. He complained and whined that moaned during the entire primary that the primary election was rigged.

He says that if they don't treat him fairly he was leaving the Republican Party. Then he is saying that the debate schedule is rigged. Now he is saying the general election is rigged. This is me playing my little violin for Donald Trump.

Put on your big boy pants, Donald. And listen. On the Purple Heart stuff, here's what's incredible. This comes in a week where he has been digging a deeper and deeper hole with these attacks and the back and forth and controversy with the Khans.

And that clip you just showed of Donald Trump epitomizes what so many of us find troubling about him. It's always just about him. He thinks the planets and the moon and the sun all revolve about -- around him.

He doesn't for one minute or one second say how, you know, honored he is. He doesn't say how humbled he is, he doesn't say thank you for your sacrifice, he doesn't say how hard it is to get a Purple Heart and what it takes to sacrifice. He doesn't honor that. And it comes in a week where he has spent the last six days in a controversy with a Gold Star family.

[22:35:03] So, instead of focusing on, for example, the disastrous interview that Hillary Clinton had with Chris Wallace on Sunday regards her e-mails, we continue digging this hole and talking about this issue.

LEMON: I've got to run, Ana.

NAVARRO: But it's the way he's done it all along.

LEMON: Thank you, Ana. Corey and John, stick around.

President Barack Obama pulling no punches today, calling Donald Trump unfit to serve as president.


LEMON: President Obama unleashing a blistering attack on Donald Trump today. Listen.


OBAMA: I think the Republican nominee is unfit to serve as president. I said so last week and he keeps on proving it.

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? This isn't a situation where you have an episodic gaffe.

[22:40:02] This is daily and weekly where they are distancing themselves from a statement he's making. There has to be a point in which you say this is not somebody I can support.

There has to come a point at which you say, somebody who makes those kinds of statements doesn't have the judgment, the temperament, the understanding to occupy the most powerful position in the world.


LEMON: Back with me now, Corey Lewandowski and John Brabender. And joining me now, Angela Rye, CNN political commentator, and also, Bakari Sellers, CNN political commentator and a Hillary Clinton supporter. What's your reaction to this, Corey, the president bluntly saying that Trump is unfit to serve?

LEWANDOWSKI: Is this a surprise, Barack Obama is out to criticizing the Republican nominee. Is this something that...


LEMON: It is surprising to hear from the President of the United States.

LEWANDOWSKI: It's really not. Look, he's a lame duck president basically at this point, right. He's had no major accomplishment in the last four or eight years of this administration. Our national debt is almost at $21 trillion. He can't point to one major initiative that he's accomplished as the president, even when he had the House and the Senate combined.

So now he's out attacking the Republican front-runner. This is not a surprise. It's just political correctness run amuck on what this is candidly. It's the president trying to make sure Hillary Clinton becomes president of the United States. This is party politics at its worst.

LEMON: Is that all it is, Angela Rye?

ANGELA RYE, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: No, Don. We know better than that. So, the first I will point you to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. I'll point you to Lilly Ledbetter Act. I will point you to ObamaCare. I know you don't like it but my premiums are down there.

We can go to several things, private sector jobs of how many months is it now? So, let's not lie on the president's record. The facts speak for themselves.

LEMON: Bakari?

BAKARI SELLERS, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, it's definitely not partisan bickering for that matter. And I just want to chime in, I believe it's been about 76 straight months of private sector job growth.

RYE: Thank you, Bakari.

SELLERS: But even more importantly, this is not -- this is not just something that the president is doing. He's actually echoing the same sentiments of people like Jeb Bush, people like George Bush, or Republicans who are coming out, Sally Bradshaw who are echoing the same sentiments.

Because what has happened Donald Trump has gone just from being, you know, this xenophobic, bigoted using racist terms and things and especially talking about Judge Curiel, to actually showing that he has no depth and has no understanding about the world around him.

We can talk about the annexation of Crimea, we can talk about the fact that he wants to actually use waterboarding, he wants to just indiscriminately...


LEMON: But, Corey said he's not surprised. But some people are surprised that he actually was in the east room making -- going this far as sitting president and what some would say punching down, Bakari.

SELLERS: It's not punching down. I mean, this is the presidency of the United States. This is the person who wants to be the 45th president of the United States. And I wish more people had courage. I think what the president did was somewhat Machiavellian today because he knows by asking Republicans that they need to disavow Donald Trump, they're less likely to do it so now they're tied to him.

But I really wish that more people -- and this is going to sound really strange to the country, but I really wish more people had the courage of Ted Cruz and John Kasich.

LEMON: John, Trump was on Fox News tonight and responded to President Obama. Watch this.


TRUMP: I think he's the worst president maybe in the history of our country. I think he's been a disaster. He's been weak, he's been ineffective.


LEMON: You say that he gave a -- the president gave Trump an opening here.

BRABENDER: Well, yes. I think, first of all, the president doing this is almost an insult to the presidency of itself. He's playing this type of politics during official business and that's wrong.

Let not forget this is the same president that also went over the Supreme Court justices earlier. The other thing is I think that it does give an opening for Trump to go after the president.

Let's not forget, it's the president who created Donald Trump. It's the frustration with this administration and the concerns that economically he's with the American that's what -- that people...


LEMON: Wait, can you explain that? How did the president create Donald Trump?

BRABENDER: Because the people -- Donald Trump is not getting all these votes through hypnosis. What people are is very unhappy with Washington. They feel disenfranchised, they think we're getting sand kicked in our face all over the world and they're looking for somebody who is going to have the courage to stand up and actually fight for things and they decided Donald Trump is the one who's going to do to this.

LEMON: Go ahead, Corey.

LEWANDOWSKI: Donald Trump...


SELLERS: The president didn't create Donald Trump.

LEMON: Hang on, Bakari.

LEWANDOWSKI: Donald Trump is the exact opposite of President Obama. Donald Trump is strong, decisive, clear about what he wants to accomplish.

RYE: Decisive?

LEWANDOWSKI: He's very decisive. And here's the difference.

RYE: Absolutely not.

LEWANDOWSKI: When you look at who is best on issues of national security, Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump he continues to it. Who's going to eradicate ISIS, Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton. These are issues that the president...


LEMON: But, Corey, he does say a lot of things and then he takes them back. Or you guys, come on, this is...

LEWANDOWSKI: Well, this is the president saying that ISIS was the J.V.


SELLERS: But, Don.

LEWANDOWSKI: Didn't the president say that this is a J.V. team? I mean...

SELLERS: This is an elementary discussion, Don.

RYE: Wait, Bakari. Bakari, that has to...

LEMON: Go ahead, Bakari.

SELLERS: This is an elementary discussion. Let me just chine in because when we're talking about decisiveness this is a very elementary discussion. We're not talking about the light bulbs in Trump Tower.

[22:45:05] I mean, Barack Obama chose to pull the trigger and kill Osama Bin Laden. So, let's not act as if the president has not been decisive. And that is just profoundly absurd. And I understand that there is some disdain for the president and his policies.

But the comparison between Donald Trump and Barack Obama when it comes to fitness and character, they simply just don't add up. They're not in the same category.

LEMON: Angela, here's what Ryan Lizza tweeted today. He said, "Obama's comments today probably make it more difficult for Republicans to un-endorse Trump." I wonder if that was his intention. What do you make of that?

RYE: I definitely think that's fair criticism. We know that even though Corey said that Donald -- or I'm sorry, John said, that the president created Donald Trump. We know that the Republicans actually created Donald Trump based on this narrative. And all of the visceral attacks they launch against the president.

I think that it wasn't necessarily his intention. I hope that wasn't his intention. I think that he was actually trying to be nonpartisan in saying this is an American problem at this point. That is consistent with the Washington Post editorial we saw last week. It's also consistent with several editorial boards' comments. The L.A. Times and the Sacramento Bee. We can on and on.

In addition to that, Congressman Richard Hanna today, a Republican from New York saying that he cannot in good conscience endorse Donald Trump. So, this is not a partisan issue. So, I would argue even it isn't the east room at this point, this is an American issue and we have to vote our conscience and our conscience is not Donald Trump.

LEMON: All right. We'll continue our conversation on the other side of the break. Don't go anywhere.


LEMON: Back now with my political panel, John Brabender, Corey Lewandowski, Angela Rye, and Bakari Sellers.

OK. So, you want to get in on something Angela says.

LEWANDOWSKI: Well, I just think it's important to remember, right? That the president of the United States has an obligation to still govern the country. And if he wants to engage in personal politics I think this is the right thing for him.

If he wants to go on the campaign trail with Hillary Clinton, absolutely he has the right to do that. But that also means he becomes fair game for any retort that Donald Trump wants to put on him. And I just think that in the decorum of the presidency of the United States, the East room is not the place to engage in those person's attacks.

LEMON: That was my...


RYE: Don, let me just -- let me just...

LEMON: Go ahead, Angela.

RYE: ... respond really quickly to this. Let me be very clear. Donald Trump has been attacking the president long before he began campaigning for this important office. He is the one who was the spokesperson for the birther movement and was calling for transcripts -- transcript for -- and saying that the president was an affirmative action admitted of Harvard. So, let me...


LEWANDOWSKI: So, did he ever release his transcripts of Harvard?

RYE: By the way, tell me about those tax returns, Corey why you edit.

LEWANDOWSKI: Well, you raised the issue. I'm just asking you. You raise the issue. Did he -- did he ever release his transcripts or his admission to Harvard University. You raise issue so just yes or no. The answer is no.

RYE: Corey, in this moment I'm going to say you? Boy, bad. You saw (Inaudible) right now tell your candidate to raise his tax return.


LEWANDOWSKI: Well, don't raise the issue if you don't want to address it. That's what happened.

RYE: Tax return. Two words. Tax returns.

LEWANDOWSKI: Harvard University, transcripts. You raise the issue. Did he ever release...

RYE: Law review -- law review editor. Law review editor.

LEMON: OK. Let me ask you something. Let me ask you something. Let me ask you something.

RYE: Law review editor, the first black one.

LEMON: What is the importance of Barack Obama's Harvard transcript.

RYE: Thanks.

SELLERS: It's not...


RYE: Corey, that's for you.

LEMON: I'm asking you Corey.

LEWANDOWSKI: She broke the issue.

LEMON: I know that. I'm asking you how is it --how is it...

LEWANDOWSKI: She said -- she said...

LEMON: Hold on. How is it germane to the election in the American people?

LEWANDOWSKI: Well, look, the only reason it's germane is because she brought the issue up. And said Donald Trump raise the issue of this Harvard transcripts. And I simply said has those -- have those ever been released?


LEWANDOWSKI: And the question was, did he get in as a U.S. citizen or was he brought in to Harvard University as a citizen who wasn't from this country.

LEMON: By the way, George W. Bush -- George W. Bush did not release his...


RYE: Oh, my God.

SELLERS: No, no, no, no, Don.

LEMON: Go ahead.

LEWANDOWSKI: That's fine. He doesn't have to release his transcript.

LEMON: So why does Barack have to release his?

LEWANDOWSKI: He doesn't have to. I didn't raise the issue. She raises the issue.

LEMON: Ok. Go ahead. Go ahead.

RYE: I raised it to say that Donald Trump has been attacking the president since before he was ever running for this office, Corey. You went off on this tangent just like your candidate does and you're off message. This is why this is a second grade election.

LEMON: Go ahead, Bakari.


BRABENDER: Look, the problem is that, you know, frustrated of broken white...


SELLERS: I just have to say that the reason...

RYE: I'm not. Listen.

SELLERS: The reason -- the reason that this is important to Corey, the reason -- the same reason it was important to Donald Trump is because they've made this effort, which I think is blatantly disrespectful to delegitimize Barack Obama.

The fact is that what Barack Obama did while he was at Harvard was become the first African-American law review editor. Angela just stated that and I think that's very important.

But to question the qualifications and to say that somehow he was some foreign enrollee or because he was an African-American and did not belong is I think is blatantly disrespectful.


LEWANDOWSKI: Well, nobody raise the issue of what germane in you.

SELLERS: Well, what is germane?

LEWANDOWSKI: You made the issue of this race.

SELLERS: But you think he's Kenyan. You think he's not from here.

LEWANDOWSKI: I didn't say that.

SELELRS: You just said that. You said that you think he's not from this country.

RYE: Corey, where is he from? Where is he from, Corey? If he's not from the United States, where is he from?

LEWANDOWSKI: Hawaii. RYE: Hawaii isn't a country!


SELLERS: But let me get back on message.


SELLERS: But let me just -- let me just...

LEWANDOWSKI: You're the one who raised the issue of his race. So, if that's the issue that you're still dealing with, that's your problem, not mine.

SELLERS: So, let me just bring this back really quickly. And one of the things that has occurred throughout the history of American politics is not people releasing their college transcripts but what has been common practice is people releasing their tax returns. Because I think that's necessary. I think that's germane to being president of the United States.


LEWANDOWSKI: No one else is in common practice is not having classified documents on a private servers. That's been common practice.

RYE: Congratulation. You're second tangent of the night, Corey.

LEWANDOWSKI: And guess what? Hillary Clinton -- Hillary Clinton chose to do that anyways.

BRABENDER: Yes, everybody is missing the point.

LEMON: Go ahead, John.

BRABENDER: You're missing the point. Number one, he's using the office of the presidency in a way that's wrong.


SELLERS: That's not the first time.

RYE: It's not wrong.

BRABENDER: Second of all, it makes Hillary Clinton -- it makes Hillary Clinton look weak and, third of all, he's wrong most of the time. So, I think...


RYE: Who's wrong?

SELLERS: But, John -- John, you're factually inaccurate.

RYE: Who's wrong, John? BRABENDER: Which part?

SELLERS: You're factually inaccurate because you want to know who used? You want to know who used the presidency to actually campaign for their candidate, the last time it was done on this level, it was actually in 1988 when Ronald Reagan went to bet for his vice president, George H.W. Bush. And yes, he did it from the East Wing, yes he did it from the White House, and yes, he did with...


BRABENDER: Not on official business like this.

SELLERS: It was official.

BRABENDER: But the good news for Republicans every time Obama attacks Trump, it just unifies the party so I kind of hope he keeps it up.


RYE: So, you know what's going to unify the country?

SELLERS: Well, that's your hope in unifying the Republican Party...

[22:55:02] RYE: His attacking this Muslim man's parents. That's what's going to unify the Republican. Don't worry about the Republicans -- the Republicans are on our side with this. Your candidate is wrong as two left shoes.

BRABENDER: Well, I guess the concern is that Hillary Clinton can't defend herself so Obama has to play tag team.

RYE: Well, you know better than that. Hillary Clinton has been defending herself for 30 years. So, there is nothing new to this one here. She's going to be just fine. She doesn't need to be defensive, but it doesn't hurt...


BRABENDER: I agree, she's been -- she's been a defendant for 30 years. I agree with you.

RYE: I didn't say -- I didn't say been a defendant. You're taking my word all the way out of context and that's not what I said, but nice try.

LEMON: OK. All right. That's going to have to be the last word. That was very interesting. I was going to talk about the baby that got kicked out of the rally, the most unusual heckler I've ever seen but you know what, que sera, sera.

RYE: You just get heckled.

LEMON: Yes. Thank you.

When we come back, we're going to talk about Ivanka Trump and damage control motive of what her father said sexual harassment. Will that put out the firestorm? We'll discuss. We'll be right back.


LEMON: Donald Trump to the GOP, drop dead.

This is CNN TONIGHT. I'm Don Lemon.

The Republican presidential nominee is refusing to back Paul Ryan and John McCain. He calls Kelly Ayotte weak. Today, he has also kicked the crying baby out of his rally, made a joke about the Purple Heart, insulted President Obama and told an interview where he doesn't think he went too far when he called Hillary Clinton the devil.

[23:00:01] And it weren't over yet. It was a busy day for the Republican candidate.