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Barack Obama News Conference; Trump Says Election Will Be "Rigged"; President Obama Celebrates Birthday; Controversy Over $400 Million Payment To Iran; New NBC/WSJ Poll: Clinton Tops Trump By 9; Trump Stumps At Maine Rally; Trump Repeats False Claim About Iran Video; New NBC/WSJ Poll: Clinton 47%, Trump 38%; Clinton Leads In New Key Swing State Polls; 2 New Polls Show Clinton With Significant Edge; Clinton Repeats False Claim FBI Director Said She Was "Truthful"; Melania Trump Facing Visa Questions; Did Melania Trump Follow Immigration Rules?. Aired 8-9p ET.

Aired August 4, 2016 - 20:00   ET


[20:00:09] JOHN BERMAN, CNN HOST: Good evening, John Berman here in for Anderson. We have breaking news on a very big news night. A new poll, this one from NBC news and "The Wall Street Journal". It shows Hillary Clinton now up nine points nationally versus Donald Trump. This is the third poll in the last 24 hours with an average lead of Clinton plus 11.3 points, to be exact.

And there's other new polling. Swing state by swing state that has to be an eye opener for the Trump campaign. John King will join us for that, but again there is so much more. President Obama weighing in on $400 million in cash landing in Iran on the same day American captives are released. Donald Trump talking about a secret video of it that he says he has seen but by all measures simply does not exist at all.

There's Hillary repeating a factually challenged claim concerning her e-mails and new questions about Melania Trump's immigration status. No shortage of news.

We begin with President Obama's news conference at the Pentagon today. He gave a progress report on the fight against ISIS, but he was also asked to expand on his remarks earlier this week about Donald Trump's fitness for office.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: At the end of the day it's the American people's decision. I have one vote. I have the same vote you do. I have the same vote that all of the voters who were eligible all across the country have. I've offered my opinion, but ultimately it's the American people's decision to make collectively and if somebody wins the election and they are president then my constitutional responsibility is to fully transfer the power to that individual and do everything I can to help them succeed.

I would ask all of you to make your own judgment. I've made this point already multiple times. Just listen to what Mr. Trump has to say and make your own judgment with respect to how confident you feel about his ability to manage things like our nuclear trial. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: With respect, sir. That suggests that you're not confident.

OBAMA: No. As I recall, I just answered the question about this a coupe days ago and I thought I made myself pretty clear and I don't want to just keep on repeating it or a variation of it.

I obviously have a very strong opinion about the two candidates who are running. One is very positive and one is not so much, and I think you will just hear any further questions that are directed to the subject, I think you will hear pretty much variations on the same thing. What I can say is this is serious business, and the person who is in the Oval Office and who our secretary of defense and our joint chiefs of staff and our outstanding men and women in uniform report to. They are counting on somebody who has the temperament and good judgment to be able to make decision to keep America safe and that should be very much on the minds of voters when they go to the voting booth in November.


BERMAN: Speaking of November, the president was also asked about Donald Trump's allegations suggesting insinuation, choose your word to this election might be rigged.


OBAMA: Of course, this election will not be rigged. What does that mean? The federal government doesn't run the election process. States and cities and communities all across the country, they are the ones who set up the voting systems and the voting booths and if Mr. Trump is suggesting that there is a conspiracy theory that is being propagated across the country including in places like Texas where typically, it's not Democrats who are in charge of voting booths that's ridiculous. I think all of us at some point and a lot plays sports or maybe just point in a school yard or a sandbox and sometimes folks if they lose they start complaining that they got cheated, but I've never heard of somebody complaining about being cheated before the game was over or before the scores even tallied. So my suggestion would be, you know, go out there and try to win the election.

[20:05:04] If Mr. Trump is up 10 or 15 points on election day and ends up losing then maybe he can raise some questions. That doesn't seem to be the case at the moment.


BERMAN: No, indeed. He is down 10 or 15 points, the point the president seeing and making with glee.

President Obama, late today, his birthday. Here to talk about it, Chief National Security -- Chief National Correspondent John King, CNN National Security Analyst and former assistant secretary for Homeland Security, Juliette Kayyem, was also the author of "Security Mom". Senior Political Analyst David Gergen plus Senior Political Commentator and of course Former Senior Obama Advisor David Axelrod. You can download his Axe files, podcast to

John King, you know, I want to start with you. When the President of United States says everyone should make their own judgment about whether Donald Trump should be trusted with America's nuclear codes. He seems to be saying I hope you take my judgment for whether Donald Trump should be trusted with America's nuclear codes.

JOHN KING, "INSIDE POLITICS" ANCHOR: Without a doubt. He was standing at the Pentagon today, John. His language was not as political as it been just the other day when he was at the White House and he used the word unfit when it came to Donald Trump. But you didn't have to listen to the president's words. You could see it in his body language. He's made the case against Donald Trump and guess what, when he's out campaigning for Hillary Clinton, he's going to make it an even more pointed in personal terms when he's not in an official government setting.

He has a 54 percent approval rating right now. He thanks, you know, he's talking about serious business there with ISIS. The Republicans disagree with his plan. They've been critical with him tonight. But the president believes he has the high ground right now.

The Clinton campaign believes it has momentum right now. And John, they think that what is shifting in these polls is not just of outside of Democratic Convention. They think because of Trump's, what I'll call detours from discipline in recent days, they think that more and more Americans, and smart Republicans are saying this too when they close their eyes can't see Donald Trump as a president so the incoming president of United States is trying to help his friend, Secretary Clinton, without a doubt.

BERMAN: You know, David Axelrod, there is no security test for incoming presidents. If Donald Trump wins, he gets the nuclear codes whether President Obama likes it or not which is a point he seemed to acknowledge today where the other day he was a little murky on it.

DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I don't think he was murky on it. I mean I -- the president understands that we have a constitutional system and when someone gets elected president that there is a transition to that person. I think he is what he's consistently made clear and yes, he was a little more muted today, though and it was at the Pentagon reminds me of that old thing about as subtle as a screen door on a submarine.

I think he made his feelings pretty clear. He doesn't feel that Donald Trump is equipped to handle the awesome power that a president has to handle and make those kinds of decisions and, you know, in terms of the polling I think this is -- this is really the key question. This is the one that they hit very hard at the convention and then Donald Trump went out and he seemed to prove their point by having this awful five days in which he seemed very erratic and reactive and this is precisely what makes people nervous about this issue of can he handle the nuclear triad.

BERMAN: So, Juliette, obviously, you know, the president says look at Donald Trump's past statements on national security suggesting that he thinks there's cause for concern, but Donald Trump supporters, they don't feel that way. Donald Trump supporters like the way he talks about national security. They think it sends a message of strength.

JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Yeah. So it's been interesting in the last couple of months. There's been a shift in -- for the Democrats, at least. You know, normally we talk about safety and security and now what you hear opponents of Trump saying actually is stability and sanity. I mean that's become the new safety and security. Is that do you actually trust him?

And for those that support Trump at the stage. One of the challenges I think they have in convincing the American public is, you know, for presidents that I've liked like President Obama and presidents that I've disagreed with like President Ronald Reagan, what you can say they both had was an ability to take the long view, right? To sort of look past the immediate insult or the baby crying or the immediate pull and Trump is sort of finding it difficult to sort of look at the long view. So you're going to see lots of people talking about sanity and stability, much more so than safety and security.

BERMAN: You know, David Gergen, the president says that both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton they will get their classified intelligence briefing. Those were -- those will start soon and he said it's up to them to guard the information carefully. Now, is actually -- it seemed like the president was weighing the way he talked about that very carefully because of course, Hillary Clinton, there's been issues about how she handle classified information on her e-mail. But once they start getting and I suppose this debate ends.

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, once they started getting, they continue on so you never know, you know, quite a week, all the way up to election day who is going to say what. And sometimes candidates do either abuse or ignore what's in the briefing, famously John Kennedy got the intelligence briefings back in 1960 and said there was no missile gap an attack with the Russians and he continued to insist during the campaign, we have this terrible missile gap and it magically disappeared after his election.

[20:10:08] But I think what was very important about what President Obama did today, it was not what he said. It was the contrast he presented and just his gravitas. He was subdued. He was muted as David Axelrod said. He was measured, but there was something reassuring about a man who handles complexity the way he does, who is even tempered, you know, doesn't fly off the handle and tries to carefully parse his words so he's got the truth as precisely as possible. And I think that he's benefitting, the president is benefitting and so is Hillary Clinton from a certain nostalgia for President Obama is starting to set in because people are looking at the alternative and saying, you know, Obama was pretty good.

BERMAN: It's for presented the highest approval ratings of his second term right now.

David Axelrod, you know President Obama more than most people. How do you think he wants to engage Trump going forward because today was more muted certainly than he was at the convention? When he gets back from Martha's Vineyard, how is he going to act?

AXELROD: Well, look, I think that John King was right that this was at the Pentagon. It dictated a certain sobriety that he brought to us, but he's clearly going to be out there, and I think this is the issue that he's going to hone in on, this fundamental issue of temperament. I think also of divisiveness is something that personally is offensive, but temperament is the key to this election.

When Hillary Clinton said you if, you know, if you get -- if you can't handle getting gigged on twitter then you can't handle the nuclear codes. That is the fundamental argument that is disqualifying Donald Trump and it is true that his supporters are impervious to those arguments. The problem is they're not numerous enough to win an election. He needs to add supporters and what's happened over the last five days has created greater concern about whether he is equipped to handle this office.

BERMAN: All right, guys. Stick around. We have to take a quick break.

Next, how president Obama handled, what has become one of the hotter topics of the campaign. The cash payment of $400 million that landed in Iran just as American captives were heading home. Was it ransom? A coincidence or just literally old news?

And what about the video of it that Donald Trump says he has seen but nobody else has because it doesn't really seem to exist? We'll talk about all of it tonight.

Later, Hillary Clinton again repeating a line about her e-mails and her honesty, a line that isn't true. That and more when "360" continues.


BERMAN: Donald Trump was been advised many times lately to stay on message briefly did today. He hammered the administration for paying back in January $400 million in cash to Iran. The money, you should know, was part of an arms deal with the Shah, an incompleted arms deal. However, the allegation is it became part of a cash for captives deal with the Islamic Republic. Donald Trump hit it hard today and President Obama hit back.


OBAMA: We announced these payments in January, many months ago. There wasn't a secret. We announced them to all of you. Josh did a briefing on them. This wasn't some nefarious deal, and at the time we explained that Iran had pressed a claim before an international tribunal about them recovering money of theirs that we had frozen that as a consequence of its working its way through the international tribunal. It was the assessment of our lawyers that we were now at a point where there was significant litigation risk and we could end up costing ourselves billions of dollars. It was their advice and suggestion that we settle. And that's what these payments represent. And it wasn't a secret. We -- we were completely open with everybody about it and it's interesting to me how suddenly this became a story again. That's point number one.

Point number two. We do not pay Ransom for hostages. We've got a number of Americans being held all around the world, and I meet with their families and it is heartbreaking. And we had stood up an entire section of interagency experts who devote all their time to working with these families to get these Americans out, but those families know that we have a policy that we don't pay ransom. And the notion that we would somehow start now in this high-profile way and announce it to the world even as we're looking into the faces of other hostage families whose loved ones are being held hostage and say to them that we don't pay ransom defies logic.


BERMAN: Right back now with Juliette Kayyem and David Gergen and also joining us, CNN political commentator, a former CIA counter terrorism analyst Buck Sexton.

David let me start with you. You're the president echoed what secretary of state John Kerry said earlier that the United States does not pay ransom for hostages. Now, ransom is a loaded word, so leave that aside, but the idea that there was no quid pro quo, do you buy that?

GERGEN: I just want to -- I think this is going to come out entirely in the eye of the beholder. People who do not like President Obama are going to say, a ransom here. They're going to say there was quid pro quo, there was secrecy involved here all along.

The president has got this that you just heard. Yeah, it wasn't quid pro quo. We were paying them back money we have to pay anyway and by the way, we got a good deal doing it and it was all wrapped up the first time we had a negotiation.

And the Iranians had another view and they think it is ransom. They've been telling the world. You know, it was ransom. We demanded this as part of the negotiations and they paid up. You know, look at what the good deal we got.

I don't think this is going to go anywhere because it's a muddied situation. The best argument brought here -- there's two good arguments going for President Obama. First, they did announce way back in January in "The New York Times". January 17th has the story David Sanger, four paragraphs down the administration announced they're paying this money.

The second argument is that the nuclear agreement has worked better than people has expected.

[20:20:04] It hasn't stopped terrorism but it has apparently. Even the Israelis, that's the person said -- even the Israeli are saying, hey, this has worked up pretty well in terms of the nuclear deal.

BERMAN: Those are the good arguments. The bad argument though, David, you acknowledge, you know, the U.S. paid $400 million and they got the hostages back all at the same time. (CROSSTALK)

GERGEN: Yeah, maybe, you know. It's the obvious, that's what the Justice Department didn't want to do this. The Optics say it was ransom.

BUCK SEXTON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, the Optics tell us more than that, because if you look at the time line the administration had to be aware of how this would look when people figured it out not just that there was going to be a payment, that the payment occurred within 24 hours or within the same day as the release of the hostages. Why would they take that risk to such a crafted and stage-managed situation unless it was a pre-condition for the release, meaning that even if it was in the matter of hours, if the money was necessary to get to this phase where the hostages were given back to us, then that is in fact, a ransom. There's no way around this.

And to say that it's not a ransom and just able then -- they made this enormous mistake after all of this negotiation. They didn't stop to think that a timeline that have these two things coming so close together would look this way to everybody. That just defies belief.

Earlier in the day they were saying it was coincidence. Now they're saying well, no, we just sort of announced it. They're trying to massage the message here because if you look at this realistically, the Iranians must have said without this money there's not going to be a deal on this day and you're not getting hostages back. That is a ransom. We can call it whatever we want but that is what it is.

GERGEN: But if you already have the money?

SEXTON: Yes, yes. Because of the --

KAYYEM: That's a --

SEXTON: -- appearance of it is all that really matters especially when you take into account the foreign actors who are looking at this and saying, taking American hostages can get you something and the Iranians have taken additional hostages since this occurred by the way. So the lesson that they seemed to have learned this is, it's a great bargaining chip.

KAYYEM: It acts a --

BERMAN: The secrecy aside, to get the president did announce it that day and it was reported that day. But secrecy aside, the Iranians, Juliette say it's ransom. The hostages came back the same day it arrived. The timing of it is sort of new here. So why do you think that's --

KAYYEM: It should not shock you that the Iranians will, you know, create a narrative about how the Iranian Bill benefit the Iranians. That's to me. It's that just sort of irrelevant what the Iranians were saying.

So just to Buck's point, people who are criticizing this are pretending like this $400 million just sort of came out of the blue and oh, what a funny number and we're going to hand it to the Iranians and get our hostages back. This is a well-known, litigated since 1979 payment that we owed Iran based on sort of a deal, right? In 1979 that fell apart because of the Iranian hostage crisis.

So, it's not like this number came out of anywhere and people, you know, there as Buck says, well then the money shows it. The money was known for many, many decades and let me just say, base solely on, you know, the speculation of this entire -- the way -- there's another way to look at it which is a much safer way to look at it for the millions of Americans that work and live abroad that serve in our military and serve in our intelligence agencies which is simultaneously, there were three different negotiations going on. You look at the negotiations going on over the last year, and I call them the past, the present and the future negotiations, right?

So the past was the payment we're talking about. The present was the hostages and the future was the nuclear deal. They're going on simultaneously because guess what? We didn't have negotiations with Iran for many decades. So the idea that we're now going to call it, you know, just because there is a coincidence of timing. the coincidence of timing is because we're finally talking to Iran.

SEXTON: But this is in a massive --

KAYYEM: It's incredibly dangerous. No, I want to make that clear. This is not just politics. To now say that this administration is now willing to put up dollars to get Americans including our military and including our intelligence agencies out of hostage situations is incredibly dangerous because guess what countries do? They take our military.


SEXTON: People would say it's dangerous to do that more than to say that the administration has done it. They're setting a precedent.

By the way, the administration does negotiate. This administration in particular has negotiated with terrorists. Others have by the way before as well. That's a guideline it's not a rule.

GERGEN: I can take we certainly, we're going (inaudible).

SEXTON: No, I understand that. Absolute, you see with Bowe Bergdahl, they're negotiation with the Taliban for release. There was hostage swap in place here. The idea that this all happened on the same day and this was -- there were different arms of government negotiating in it. I mean this is just too much for any normal person to take just based on common sense and the administration is trying to change the messaging about this.

BERMAN: You are in between here, David, a little bit. But you sort of say the idea that there are three separate tracks and they're not connected that's hard to take that that without the money it's hard to imagine other parts. Which indicates there is some quid pro quo here, but on the other hand, this is business, this is how things are done at this level.

GERGEN: It is business. So I come back to the point, they gave us money back in 1979, $400 million which we put in Escrow. The deal fell apart and we refused to give the money back to them. And what they demanded was they wanted $10 billion in sort of interest payments plus a $400 million and out of the negotiation we agreed. OK. We're going to give you your $400 million back plus we're going to give you $1.3 in interest.

[20:25:03] So the administration said we got a good deal. And you can argue that one way or the other.

But this -- I think it's different if you owe the money then if you come up with fresh money and say, by the way, we've come up with some money now give us our guys back. I think there's a difference in degree and frankly, countries do things like this. But in the Cuban missile crisis what was famous in part of about that was that we cut a side deal. This administration cut a side deal with the Russians and kept it secret and six months later came out and people squawked, but you know what, given us a crisis we handled pretty darn well.

BERMAN: Yeah. We got to go. But the discussion of whether or not we should do it is an important one black. We're having it tonight. So Buck, David, Juliette, thank you so much.

GERGEN: Thank you.

BERMAN: Just ahead, the new poll showing Hillary Clinton widening her lead nationally. Also, wider and winning several key swing states. John King breaks it all down for us.

Plus, Donald Trump on the campaign trail in Maine today slamming Hillary Clinton and the cash payment we've been talking to about to Iran and also refusing to let go of this claim that he's seen a video of the cash being delivered, a video that as we said by all measures doesn't exist.


BERMAN: As we said, a new NBC news "Wall Street Journal" national poll shows Hillary Clinton has nearly double the lead she had from before the conventions. And in a head to head match up, Clinton is ahead by nine points. That's up from five points before the conventions. Another speed bump and a difficult week for Donald Trump. For days now, top Republicans and his own advisers have been urging Trump to reset his message to in effect stop shooting himself in the foot. Over the past 24 hours, he has appeared to be listening to a degree, focusing his attacks on Hillary Clinton and the 400 million cash payment of the United States made to Iran the same day that Iran freed four American prisoners. But on the trail today, Trump also couldn't stop talking about a secret video of that payment that by all measure simply does not exist.

Here's Jason Carroll.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Donald Trump looking to steady his campaign after several rocky days by taking aim at Hillary Clinton.

DONALD TRUMP, (R) PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Hillary Clinton, furthermore, can never be trusted with national security.

CARROLL: And attacking the Obama administration's $400 million payment to Iran, but still repeating the false claim that he saw video of the transfer taking place.

TRUMP: The tape was made, right? You saw that with the airplane coming in, nice plane, and the airplane coming in and the money coming off, I guess, right? That was given to us, has to be, by the Iranians. And you know why the tape was given to us? Because they want to embarrass our country. They want to embarrass our country, and they want to embarrass our president.

CARROLL: This as the GOP nominee tries to reassure voters and Republican leaders weary of his recent series of missteps that his campaign is moving in the right direction, helping him make the case, a big July fundraising hall.

TRUMP: Eighty or $82 million, we're raising a lot of money for the Republican Party. But small contributions, I think it was $61 each.

CARROLL: Trump's running mate Mike Pence broke ranks with him when he strongly endorsed House Speaker Paul Ryan Wednesday a day after Trump said he was not ready to do so.

Ryan today shrugged off Trump's non-endorsement.

PAUL RYAN, U.S. SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES: The only endorsements that I want are those of my own employers here in the first congressional district.

CARROLL: Ryan also opening the door of potentially not backing Trump in the future.

RYAN: None of these things are ever blank checks and that goes with any kind of situation in any kind of race.

CARROLL: There was also new evidence of frustration with Trump's candidacy among Republicans; Colorado Congressman Mike Coffman who is facing a tough re-election released a T.V. ad vowing to take on Trump.

REP. MIKE COFFMAN, (R) COLORADO: So if Donald Trump is the president, I'll stand up to him.

CARROLL: A fresh round of poll numbers today show Hillary Clinton leading Donald Trump in three key states, up nine points in Michigan, 13 points in Pennsylvania, and 15 points in New Hampshire where that deficit could also spell trouble for Republican Senator Kelly Ayotte's re-election bid, but Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort says the dip is no surprise.

PAUL MANAFORT, TRUMP'S CAPMAIGN CHAIRMAN: We had a bounce. We knew that Democrats would have a bounce.


BERMAN: All right, Jason Carroll joins us now. Jason, on the subject of the security briefings, the classified intelligence briefings that both candidates will get, do we know when Trump will start getting his?

CARROLL: Well, I think it's safe to say that it will be some time soon, but really have to say it was stunning to hear the president mention that whoever gets these briefings needs to act like a president, clearly that was a shot right at Donald Trump who, as you know, often times responds to criticisms like this pretty quickly. We went to look at his Twitter and no response from him there, no response about the president at all, just a big thank you to the people of Portland.

So what we may be seeing here is a different Donald Trump, one that uses more restraint. We'll see which Donald Trump shows up tomorrow at his rally in Wisconsin. John?

BERMAN: Today and tomorrow often very different for Donald Trump. Jason Carroll, thanks so much.

More now on those new state polls showing Donald Trump trailing Hillary Clinton by pretty big margins in several key states including Pennsylvania, long considered a must-win for Donald Trump.

John King joins us again to break it all down by the numbers. John, the national numbers bad for Donald Trump today and not much solace in the state numbers.

KING: No, not at all, John. And you heard Paul Manafort in that piece there with Jason Carroll saying, it's just a bounce. When you talk to smart Republicans they say it's more than a bounce that these numbers are worse than a bounce.

So, let's look at some of the numbers. You mentioned Pennsylvania, so let's start there. Again, this is a state most people even inside the Trump campaign, they think he needs to win. Pennsylvania's 20 electoral votes, there's an 11-point lead right there for Secretary Clinton right now in the key battleground state. Remember that, 11 points in Pennsylvania. If he can't get Pennsylvania or his dependent on the Roosevelt, he would need Michigan right? Look at that, a healthy lead nine points there for Secretary Clinton in the State of Michigan, in the Detroit News poll, two Midwest battleground polls there.

New Hampshire, only four electoral votes, John, but in a close election that can matter.

[20:35:00] You see a healthy lead there for Secretary Clinton, as well. So we're up here in the north, and now let's go down to Florida. Donald Trump says this is his second home, 29 electoral votes, hard to get Donald Trump to 270 if he can't get Florida. It's a closer race here. This was the closest state between Obama and Romney in 2012 and its closer here, John. But again, four for four, the national polls, these four battleground state polls, Donald Trump's in a bit of a ditch right now.

BERMAN: And as you dig deeper beneath the top lines in these states, John, what do you see?

KING: This is where it gets interesting. Let's pull up some other number here and take a peek at this. I'm going to start in Pennsylvania, but you're going to see a pattern here. Number one, Clinton consolidated the Democratic Party with her convention. We just lost that. Let's see if that's going to disappear. All right, that's the supremacy (ph), it happens sometimes. I'll see if I can get it back while we talk.

One of the things that happened in the election is Clinton consolidated her support among Democrats. She's getting 80 percent in most places in Florida. It's a little lower among the Democratic voters. Let's see if John's technology work, we'll see if the powers back up for me here.

And Donald Trump, the fight with Paul Ryan, I won't endorse John McCain. Do you see him still lagging among Republicans? That's one of the key things. And in every one of these states, she also leads among independents in Michigan, in Pennsylvania, and in New Hampshire. It's a smaller lead among independents of Florida, but she's leading among independents. She's largely consolidated the Democratic Party when Donald Trump still has a problem within the Republican family, that's a big piece of it.

BERMAN: And quickly, John, you don't need a map or polls for this. But without Pennsylvania, without Florida, without Michigan, without New Hampshire, those polls that came out today that Donald Trump really have any reasonable path?

KING: No. The answer is no. We didn't even take in Tim Kaine's home state of Virginia, Hillary Clinton's running mate. What happened there? I saw some data today that shows Trump down in Ohio as well. This not just the bounce, Donald Trump is in a bit of a ditch right now. We'll see how long it lasts as we go forward. Let's see if I can bring this one up for you here.

Here, if you look at it right here, John, I'm just going to quickly go here. So one of the states we were just talking about, if she holds Michigan, wins Pennsylvania, wins New Hampshire and wins Florida, she wins with 19 to spare. And I said, that doesn't even bring in Virginia and Tim Kaine.

So the answer is no, Donald Trump needs to turn that one around, that one around and he could use the others as well with the two big ones especially Florida and Pennsylvania. If Trump doesn't turn those around, game over.

BERMAN: Lot of work to do. John King, thank you very much.

KING: Thank you.

BERMAN: Up next, our political panels' take on all of this. The question, how worried should the Trump campaign be about this polling?


[20:41:11] BERMAN: Now, breaking news tonight, two new polls showing Hillary Clinton currently holding a sizable lead in head-to-head match-ups against Donald Trump nationally. The NBC News/Wall Street Journal Poll has about nine points and a McClatchy/Marist Poll puts her at 15 points. As we said in the beginning of the program, that's three polls over the last 24 hours with an average lead for Clinton of 11.3 points. That's a lot.

There's that and all we heard on the campaign trail from both candidates. Plenty to talk about with Clinton supporter and a former Bill Clinton senior staffer Richard Socarides, Republican commentator and Trump supporter Joseph Borelli, David Gergen is back with us, also here Trump supporter Kayleigh McEnany, conservative Trump critic, Tara Setmayer and Atlantic contributor Peter Beinart, full tables for you.

Kayleigh, I want to start with you, a lot of polls out today, very little good news for Donald Trump in any of the polls. In fact, virtually no good news in these polls today. As a Trump supporter, how worried are you?

KAYLEIGH MCENANY, TRUMP SUPPORTER: Well, I'm certainly worried. Hillary Clinton clearly has the advantage right now. And what's so worrisome are the state polls John King was referring to particularly in the Rust States, states where, you know, Donald Trump as the Republican nominee has an advantage at winning over someone like Ted Cruz. He really resonates with these working class voters, but there, we see him dragging behind double digits in most of those states.

The good news though is that Florida, he's just behind by four points. And I think the really good news is when you look at the Fox News Poll from yesterday on the economy, he's up by five points over Clinton. And on who can handle ISIS, he's up by nine points.

The problem is his message is not getting through. He was off message this week. If this is an election about issues that Americans care most about, which are terrorism and the economy, he wins. If it's a referendum on him and his judgment, which is what Hillary Clinton is trying to make this, he loses.

BERMAN: The other good news, Tara, is that it's August, right? It's not the end of October. However, and you're no Trump supporter here, you have your finger on the polls probably of other Republicans in the country right now. When they look at these numbers in August they get nervous, and they may run away from Donald Trump, which only exacerbates the problem.

TARA SETMAYER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, and actually the McClatchy Poll reflects that. White male voters have been Trump's bedrock. And in that McClatchy Poll where Trump is losing by 15, he's also lost white male voters by a significant amount and lost support.

Last month, he was up plus 14, now with this recent poll, he's on -- he's down eight points. So, that is his bedrock support. So when you look deeper into these polls and you see what's going on here, the people are starting to say, wait, hold on a second, even if he -- even if they think, yeah, he might be better on these two issues, but does he have the judgment, does he have the temperament? The Fox News Poll said 69 percent of the people polled would be -- wouldn't be proud if Donald Trump was the president.

That's a problem. You're going to tap to vote for someone who you feel doesn't have a temperament, the judgment and that does make you proud to be an American. I think these are trends that are problematic for people.

And one last thing, in Florida, there was another poll taken where he shown to only have 13 percent Hispanic support. He's not going to win Florida polling with those kinds of numbers, yet he seems to think that he's going to win Hispanic voters. The polls will show that either.

BERMAN: So, Joseph Borelli, you know, on the sensitive staying on message, today Donald Trump was going after Hillary Clinton on the cash exchange with Iran, which a lot of people think is a good subject for him. It deals with national security work. Kayliegh would like to see the campaign going, but he kept on bringing up this video, this video which doesn't exist of the cash exchange which he says the Iranians filmed and then handed over to embarrass the United States.

Why does he keep doing this? What drives this real to make things up like this? And before you answer by telling about Hillary Clinton's e-mails, just you know Richard is getting the next question about that.

JOSEPH BORELLI, TRUMP SUPPORTER: Did I mention Hillary's e-mails? I think your right. The key -- objectively, even Donald Trump has to realize that when he stays on message and he punches up towards Hillary Clinton to Barack Obama, to drag Democratic politicians in general, he's poll numbers go up.

[20:45:003] I think you saw a very clear effort of him trying to do that today. I think he made an innocent mistake which a lot of people did when they saw the video. If you look at some of the chyrons and some of the news media as they are reporting that when it first came out was sort of unclear what you were looking at and it was an innocent mistake.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That was the first time.

BORELLI: Right. But -- right. But here we go. It's about staying on message and you know, you look at some of the polls in the swing states, I think a lot of that is indicative of the bounce that we expected. And you have the bounce in Pennsylvania and, you know, for example, I think Michigan. You didn't see a poll between the Republican convention and the Democratic convention, had you, you would have saw a bounce in the polls for the Republicans as you did in Ohio. Right now, we're still lingering on some of the polls. It was a big bounce for Hillary. I mean, you can't --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right. BERMAN: If you get on the video, you agree that he's talking about something --

BORELLI: That's probably a mistake.



RICHARD SOCARIDES, CLINTON SUPPORTER: What happened, I want to point out, which that did not even happen while Hillary was secretary of state.


BERMAN: Let's talk about the e-mails, Richard Socarides, since I promised that. Today for a second time, or we learned about it today, it was a video introduced yesterday with local affiliate. She double dipped on this notion. She keeps saying that FBI Director James Comey said she was truthful with the American people in her explanations about the e-mails. I just want to remind you what Director Comey said in his testimony about what Hillary Clinton told the American people. Let's watch that.


REP. TREY GOWDY, (R) SOUTH CAROLINA: Secretary Clinton said there was nothing marked classified on her e-mail either sent or received, was that true?


GOWDY: Secretary Clinton said, I did not e-mail any classified material to anyone on my e-mail. There is no classified material, was that true?

COMEY: There was classified material e-mail.


BERMAN: Now, Richard, FBI Director James Comey says that Hillary Clinton was truthful for the -- with the FBI, that's one thing.


BERMAN: He did not say, he did not say she was truthful with the American people.

SOCARIDES: I mean --

BERMAN: And Hillary Clinton keeps on using language to suggest that he did.

SOCARIDES: Well, I think both those things are true. I think what she said is true and what I think we just heard may have been true also. I mean, mind you, Director Comey is talking about three e-mils that were not properly classified that may have had markings within the e-mail, which he then went on to say that a reasonable person with knowledge of the classification system could maybe not have understood that.


SOCARIDES: I think the thing on the e-mails is that Hillary Clinton has said that she's made a mistake with her e-mail server, but we have to have some sense of proportionality here and some sense of what is equivalence, right? I mean, we're basically talking with Hillary Clinton is, you know, what e-mail server she used and she -- this has been investigated, she's been cleared of wrongdoing otherwise Director Comey's findings would have been different. He is clear that she was truthful in her remarks to the FBI and to him. And so, people are just going to have to judge.

BERMAN: But, but --

SOCARIDES: She said that it was a mistake in judgment.

BERMAN: David, David, when she says that Director Comey says she was --

SOCARIDES: She's not lying to the public, she -- there are no lying involved.

BERMAN: -- that her statements that she's made in the interviews, not true.

GERGEN: Her statements to the FBI were true. What she said to the public, Comey said, was not true.

SOCARIDES: Well, he didn't say that David. David, he didn't even say that. No, no, no.


SOCARIDES: He did not say that.

GERGEN: We just saw it.

SOCARIDES: Well, but you have to take it in its entire context.

GERGEN: We just -- we heard --


SOCARIDES: I mean, the whole tape, John. I think we should play the whole --


SOCARIDES: And this has been analyzed back and forth. And the truth is, is that, is that people are splitting hairs about this. I mean, they're aware of what this comes down to are --

SETMAYER: "The Washington Post" gave her four Pinocchio's.

SOCARIDES: What this comes down to are --are these three-mails that were wrongly classified, they did not have classified written on top of them --

BERMAN: Hang on.


BERMAN: The bottom line is, is that three were marked classified although they were small --

SOCARIDES: And mismarked and misidentified.


SETMAYER: Special access program.

BERMAN: Let's talk about the political issue, Peter Beinart, right now because she keeps on using this explanation for which "The Washington Post" fact-checker gives her four Pinocchio's. You know, other fact-checker say, the explanation she is now giving in interviews is not true. So, why keep on going back to that?

PETER BEINART, THE ATLANTIC CONTRIBUTOR: You know, if you look at the whole history of Hillary Clinton's career in public office, going back to the scandals of the 1990s, most of which I think were pretty picky and things like Whitewater. She's always had a problem really coming clean. She's always tended to parse and not willing to acknowledge when she's made mistake. And I think it's always tended to serve her badly and I think this is part of that --


BEINART: Richard, Richard, I'm a Hillary Clinton supporter who's willing to criticize her, OK? You can be Hillary Clinton --

SOCARIDES: I criticize her all the time, but I will not criticize her about this.

BEINART: What I was going to say is --


BEINART: Richard, Richard, what I was going to say is where she's lucky is that she's running against a candidate so incompetent that he totally failed to use this gift that he gave her by spending his time instead attacking the Khan family.

[20:50:00] So this -- this plan that she made hasn't hurt her as much as what --

BERMAN: All right. I know you have -- all have a lot more to say. The good news for all of these are coming back, so just hold on to it for a little bit. Just ahead, a new controversy for the Trump campaign centering now on Donald Trump's wife Melania and whether she came to the U.S. legally two decades ago. New questions about her visa status sparked by nude photos of her taken in 1995 and plastered across New York tabloids this week.


BERMAN: Donald Trump, as you know, is making illegal immigration the centerpiece of his campaign. His wife Melania, a native of Slovenia, has spoken about being an immigrant and now a proud American.

She'd made point of saying she came to this country legally and followed all the rules. But tonight, there are questions about those claims, questions raised in part by nude photos taken of her before she became Mrs. Trump.

The story now from CNN's Jessica Schneider.


JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The photos fanned across the covers of the "New York Post", a 25-year-old Melania Trump, then known as Melania K posing provocatively for a French magazine. But the photos that raised a few eyebrows are now raising questions about Melania's immigration history.

MELANIA TRUMP, DONALD TRUMP'S WIFE: And I came to United States, to New York, in 1996.

SCHNEIDER: 1996 is the year she stands by, telling CNN's Anderson Cooper and numerous other publications that's when she came to the U.S. But these photos were snapped in New York City in 1995, according to the author of her recent biography.

20:55:03] So, what difference does a year make? Possibly the difference between Mrs. Trump breaking immigration law or not. To understand why, listen to Melania Trump's own words.

TRUMP: I came here on visa. I flew to Slovenia every few months to stamp it, and came back. I applied for green card, and then after few years, for citizenship. I obeyed the law. I did it the right way. I didn't just sneak in and stay here. So I think that's what people should do.