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President Obama Celebrates his 55th Birthday; A Look at the Clinton E-mail Scandal; Donald Trump Continues to Speak About a Video of an American Cash Payment to Iran. Aired 9-10p ET.

Aired August 4, 2016 - 21:00   ET



[21:01:33] JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening again. Top of the hour, in the middle of a big night in presidential politics, Hillary Clinton again made a factually challenged claim about the FBI Director and her e-mails. Donald Trump spoke again about a video of an American cash payment to Iran, a video that simply does not exist.

And President Obama celebrated his 55th birthday the way most people do, in a press room at the Pentagon answering questions about ISIS, Iran, Donald Trump and more. Here's a sample.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: 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. 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 have 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.

It should be clear by now and no one knows this better than our military leaders that even as we need to crush ISIL on the battlefield, their military defeat will not be enough. And the international community will continue to be at risk in getting sucked into the kind of global whack-a-mole where we're always reacting to the latest threat or lone actor. That's why we're also working to counter violent extremism more broadly, including the social, economic and political factors that help fuel groups like ISIL and al-Qaeda in the first place.

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 triad.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: With respect, sir, it suggests that you're not confident.

OBAMA: Well, as I recall, I just answered a question about this a couple days ago and I thought I made myself pretty clear. And I don't want to just keep on repeating it or a variation on it. I obviously have a very strong opinion about the two candidates who are running here. One is very positive and one is not so much. What I can say is this is a 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, you know, they are counting on somebody who has the temperament and good judgment to be able to make decisions to keep America safe. And that should be very much on the minds of voters when they go into the voting booth in November.


[21:05:04] BERMAN: Back now with the panel, Richard Socarides, Joseph Borelli, David Gergen, Kayleigh McEnany, Tara Setmayer and Peter Beinart.

David, I want to start with you because it strikes me. This is the last news conference President Obama is giving before he goes off on a two-week vacation, effectively his final summer event, right?


BERMAN: He talked about ISIS. He talked about the Iran cash exchange which has been in the news lately. He talked about Donald Trump. What message do you think he wanted to leave with the American people, with voters, before his vacation?

GERGEN: I think he wanted to leave a message that the country's in safe steady hands. He intentionally chose the Pentagon to make this statement in and that is, you know, about 60 percent of people in this country don't actually think he's been very good in dealing with ISIS. I think he's probably trying to shore that up.

But I also think very strongly that he wanted to present a contrast in personality and temperament to Donald Trump. It wasn't what he said it was the way he was. And that is a, you know, temperament does matter in politics. It matters in the presidency. Oliver Wendell Holmes, Senior, to Kayleigh will know this from her law school days. He famously said of Franklin Roosevelt, he has a second class mind, but a first class temperament. And that was the secret to his success.

And the people judge you by that. Increasingly, I think the problem, we're in a major -- what i sense is we're at a major turning point in this campaign. And a lot of people assume this could close up. It inevitably will close in October. Maybe it will. There's a long time between here and October. But it's very possible.

This is a time when voters after the conventions, they start to crystallize in their views of the candidates. And it's moving in Hillary's direction so forcefully that it's really hard to see how this turns. You know, instead of it turning, it may actually open some more. It's really striking that the Clinton people, now the Clinton forces are pulling back some of the advertising in a place like Virginia. They are not advertising in Colorado.

To what they see is they smell a landslide and they're starting to move their money into other states. They are taking some things off the board like Virginia, starting to move in other states, trying to keep building this up. We may not see a close election it may right now. I don't know which way it's going to go, but it's a fascinating time right now.

BERMAN: So Tara, that's the broader picture. One of the things that the president spent a lot of time defending was this cash exchange with Iran, $400 million that arrived the same day that four American hostages were released. What role do you see this issue playing in the campaign?

Donald Trump has been hitting it very hard. Republicans have been hitting it very hard. But remember, they're running against Hillary Clinton who was not secretary of state at the time and did not specifically negotiate that part of the deal.

TARA SETMAYER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Right. The people still associate the foreign policy failures of the Obama administration to Hillary Clinton. She was the most visible secretary of state, most people forget about John Kerry. He's not very exciting.

This is a huge story, huge, and Donald Trump because he lacks credibility on these issues, running around talking about a phantom video. It hurts the independents who are looking for someone who's going to lead us on this. People should be outraged by what happened here. But Donald Trump saying that "Oh, yeah, I saw the video. It was crystal clear, and because the Iranians want to embarrass us." And he's just fabricating things just like he fabricated the base in Saudi Arabia that we're supposed to pay for -- that we should be paying -- they should be paying us for it.

Like, these he hurts himself where this should be a winning issue for the Republicans and that should be hammering home every single day. This is another example of a failure of his foreign policy. We need to change. We got, you know, Iran is going to get nukes. We've got them, you know, ISIS has, you know, has risen. All of these things they could point to, but Donald Trump is such a god awful messenger on this. It hurts them on it.

KAYLEIGH MCENANY, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: But Donald -- no. Donald Trump, he mentioned the video. He mistakenly saw the wrong video ...

SETMAYER: No he didn't (inaudible) that.


MCENANY: The broader context of what he said today for the entire day was this. $400 million was tied up and in the dead of night after 30 years of being tied up it arrived on the same day the hostages leave.

SETMAYER: So why did he make up the video?

MCENANY: We have a hostage who came on today and said, it was odd because our plane was delayed for two hours because a plane landed. We had to wait on a plane landing.

SETMAYER: I don't think it's a reason. Why does your candidate make up the video? That is so irresponsible. Give me a minute. It's not a mistake if you go into full detail.


SETMAYER: He went into detail and said that it was a top secret video. Did he not say this?

MCENANY: Tara, I know you like to filibuster.


MCENANY: You have got to be kidding me. But you got to let speak.

SETMAYER: You're saying that because you won't acknowledge your candidate's line about that.


SETMAYER: Answer the question I asked you.

MCENANY: Will you let me speak?

SETMAYER: Go right ahead.

MCENANY: Thank you.

SETMAYER: Explain what? Explain to me why he went into detail. How that was a mistake?

MCENANY: Thank you for letting me speak.

SETMAYER: Go for it.

MCENANY: So he saw a video that he thought was the video. It was b- roll instead he made a mistake.

SETMAYER: From Fox News.

BERMAN: Let her finish what she's saying.

MCENANY: You got to let me finish. You got to let me finish.

SETMAYER: Go ahead.

MCENANY: So he went on the rest of the day talking about this issue as he should have. He made a mistake. Yes, but you like to analyze every syllable that he says. SETMAYER: Yes, because he's running for president.


[21:10:00] SETMAYER: Yeah, because he's running for president of the United States that would cause a major problem. And where has his foreign policy advisors? That's right I forgot he gets it from the shows which is what happened today.

MCENANY: Tara, he made a mistake. I know you like to focus on the five words that came out in his mouth that were a mistake, but every other word that came out of his mouth was ...


BERMAN: And I do want to talk more about this, the substance of the Iran issue, but he made the mistake yesterday. There was a mistake yesterday, the "Washington Post" wrote a whole story about how it was a mistake, it was the b-roll. And then he did it again today and today he went into great detail telling a tale about how he did it and describing the video in detail.

A lot of people look and say OK, he made a mistake one day, but then to talk about it again a full day later, it seems hard to believe it's a mistake the second time.

MCENANY: I'm not sure why that Donald Trump is reading the "Washington Post" which has devoted 20 reporters to analyzing him that they're unable to confirm how many they're devoting for Hillary. So he made a mistake with this video. I don't know when he found out that it was mistake.

BERMAN: But the campaign who did it. The whole campaign said it was the b-roll.

MCENANY: Wait. It was a mistake. He devoted the rest of the day to the issue. We can scrutinize of every word of him. They loved to deal every syllable.

SETMAYER: As he should. That a voters care about what happens in Iran? We can analyze everything.


BERMAN: So Peter? Peter? Peter? Peter because here is the thing.


BERMAN: Because we have heard from a number of republicans on this today. They clearly think it is worth discussing right now, the $400 million and the timing of it. Yes, everyone knew $400 million was going to Iran. The president announced that the day the deal was all, you know, culminated in January. But the timing of it and the plane arriving, that is new news.

BEINART: Sure. They had the details in this Wall Street Journal. The truth is that if we have not that this case was going to the Hague. This was money that we owed the Iranians. They had bought something from us and we had never delivered it to them.

The truth is if they had not delivered this problem, we were going to have to give significantly more. We're going to lose that case at the Hague. The larger, it's not ransom if you're giving people their own money, which is what we were doing here. And I think the larger case is that neither Donald Trump nor even a more supposedly sophisticated Republican foreign policy expert like Marco Rubio is going to be able to convince people at this point that the Iran deal was a bad deal, given that they've gotten rid of 98 percent of enriched uranium. They submitted to the toughest inspections ever and they shut down their plutonium program.

BERMAN: Joseph Borelli, I want to bring you into this discussion (inaudible)?

JOSEPH BORELLI, TRUMP SUPPORTER: Yeah. I think this is crazy. Because first of all, let's talk about something that's mostly true that Hillary Clinton said. Even though the Iran nuclear deal has been widely criticized by both parties, widely unpopular, she said she took ownership of it and had a role in it. PolitiFact found that mostly true. So now she gets to own this issue.

And you saw -- in the last video we just saw the ultimate spin of the Obama administration and this is what people are fed up from. You have the Iranian State TV saying this is a ransom. The Iranian public believes this is ransom. Iranian leadership believes this is ransom.


BORELLI: The American public believes this is ransom. For all intents and purposes it's a ransom. You can call it whatever you want, but the American public sees it as a ransom. Other countries see it as a ransom payment and that's the problem. Shame on the president for not seeing that, if he couldn't.

BERMAN: Richard, what's the view in Clinton world of the fact that this has become an issue over the last 24 hours?

RICHARD SOCARIDES, FORMER SENIOR ADVISER TO PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON: Well, you know, I agree with Peter. I don't think it is going to be an issue. I think, first of all, you know, it didn't happen while Hillary was secretary of state. But she was -- she did participate in some of the early stages of the deal.

But I think it's completely right. I mean, this was a separate deal. This was a separate piece of dispute around an arms deal and, you know, I think this -- obviously there was some -- it was an agreement with these people to release our hostages. I don't think it was completely connected with this. But, you know, the amazing thing about this of course now is that, you know, what's the alternative? Do we want to put -- can we put Donald Trump in charge of negotiating a deal with the Iranians?

BORELLI: Well releasing American hostages these have been a precondition to even negotiating with the Iranians.

BERMAN: Yeah, Counselor, I want to ask this question because one of the things David said is that the president wanted to draw a contrast with Donald Trump. President Obama's approval rating's at 54 percent, the highest in his second term right now and keeps on going up and up and up. He's a popular second term president, historically speaking. How difficult is that now for Donald Trump to run against? What challenges does that pose for your candidate?

BORELLI: Well, I think what David also indicated was that he's concern over his public perception over how he's handling ISIS. This is an administration that says ISIS is the J.V. team. They're shrinking. Yeah.

So if you draw a map of Iraq and Syria, maybe it's less painted red, but people are seeing ISIS' ability to project itself to Western Europe and the United States and they're saying the administration is not being truthful. That's the bigger problem that they face.

BERMAN: David, a quick last word.

GERGEN: His biggest vulnerability as president is the economy and Donald Trump has not played that issue well. He ought to be nailing this. We just had anemic numbers come in. This economy is not doing well. It's sputtering and, you know, jobs are not being created -- good jobs are not being created. He'll now be going to be right for the administration.

BERMAN: We need 1.3 GDP last week and the jobs report tomorrow, big, big issue.


BERMAN: Plenty more to talk about with the panel, including truthfulness on both sides. Hillary Clinton's untrue claim about telling the truth about her e-mails, and why is she just keeps double dubbing? Richard Socarides is giving me the evil eye.

[21:15:07] And the claims of both candidates are making about the money they're raising and Donald Trump's case it's a bright spot in a pretty rough week.


BERMAN: Generally speaking, when well-respected fact checkers including our own determine that something that you said is flat out untrue. It might be a good idea to stop saying it, especially when we've got a public perception problem, fair or not, deserved or not, when it comes to being trustworthy. That's the case with Hillary Clinton and a repeated claim she's been making on the campaign trail about her handling of the e-mail scandal.

CNN's Joe Johns is covering Secretary Clinton and joins us now from Las Vegas. Joe, first, lay it out for us. What she has been saying and said again just the other day, and how it fit the facts? JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Well, John, the gist of this boils down to what she said to the FBI in an interview versus what she has said in public. And the FBI director has, in fact, said that Hillary Clinton did not essentially lie to the FBI, but what she said in public is something different. And it all boils down in particular to one question of classified e-mails being sent or received on her private e-mail server. She said she did not send or receive any e-mails marked classified on that server. The FBI director has contradicted her in public in a congressional hearing. Listen.


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

[21:20:02] JAMES COMEY, FBI DIRECTOR: That's not 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: No, there was a classified material e-mail.


JOHNS: So she continues to say what she says that the FBI director said she was truthful, but in some ways, it's been described as parsing, as legalistic, if you will, cherry picking the truth, John, and that's the reason she keeps getting fact-checked on this very same issue.

BERMAN: Her campaign manager said earlier this week that she was slightly misinterpreted after these comments really began on a Sunday show. Any comment from the campaign about this newest iteration?

JOHNS: No comment from the campaign at this time. They have been busy here in Las Vegas, essentially going after Donald Trump on his business practices. This has been swing through Colorado, through Nevada, where she's talked a lot about the economy, her plans for it and contrasting herself with Donald Trump. At the same time working hard to try to cast Donald Trump as a businessman who is very much out for himself and not for the people he would represent if he were elected president.

BERMAN: All right, Joe Johns, in Las Vegas thanks so much.

So, despite stories like that, one doesn't really seem to be hurting Hillary Clinton in the polls. The breaking news tonight the new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll showing Hillary Clinton with a 9 point lead nationally. There's in the McClatchy/Marist poll that has the lead at 15 points.

There's that race and there's also the money race. New claims from both candidates about how much they have been raising apparently a really big boost for Donald Trump. CNN's Tom Foreman has more.


TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The billionaire from New York says he raked in $80 million in July. If so, that's a record for his campaign. He's still trailing Hillary Clinton, who says she pulled $90 million in the same month. But the gap is narrowing and Trump says most of the money he raised was from small donors.

DONALD TRUMP, (R) PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: I think it was $61 each and few Republicans can do that. Maybe no Republican can do that.

FOREMAN: As late as April, Trump had taken so few donations he was still claiming he was paying for the whole shebang.

TRUMP: I'm self funding. All of this is mine. When I ...

FOREMAN: But in May, he finally began actively fund-raising and at first it looked bleak. Late June found him with $1.3 million in the bank for his campaign. Clinton with $42 million. Much of it already earmarked for a plan to pound Trump with ads, especially in strategically chosen states.

TRUMP: Knock the crap out of him, would you? Seriously.


TRUMP: I don't know what I said, aww, I don't remember.

CLINTON: Do we stand together? I know what I believe.

FOREMAN: Still, Donald Trump has remained competitive despite his surprisingly shallow war chest. For comparison, look at 2012. At this point in that race, Mitt Romney had raised and spent a whole lot more money than Donald Trump has, and he was about 3 points behind President Obama.

Now, bring it up to 2016. Same average of polls, not just one but many polls put together and Donald Trump trails Hillary Clinton by about 6 points.

But what about the home stretch? Some major Republican fund-raiser, donors and Super PACs are either turning on Trump or showing little interest in helping him. If that continues those small donors Trump is claiming may have to keep pushing big money his way.

Tom Foreman, CNN, Washington.


BERMAN: All right, our thanks to Tom. Back now with our panel. David Gergen, $82 million is real money in a pretty short period of time. That's an impressive haul for the Trump campaign.

GERGEN: Absolutely. You have to give him credit for that. You know, he started small and he has built it up, he built it up with the Republican Party. And you know, there's obviously good cooperation going on with that level. And it's going to help him in the stretch but he needs to get on the air pretty darned fast. He cannot let this continue to crater.

BERMAN: And Tara Setmayer, you know that a lot of this is coming from small donors, which is a group the Republicans that have had trouble with in the past. Donald Trump is tapping into something here where Republicans have had weakness before.

SETMAYER: Right. We don't know if they are all Republican donors. They could be Democrat donors.

BERMAN: You know, let their money's still good. They're money still good.

SETMAYER: He brought in a lot of Democrats to our side with his very populist message which is not, you know, very un-Republican. But, anyway, yeah, I mean, Mitt Romney brought in $101 million at this point last time around so we still lags behind there, but I would be very curious to see what happens after -- in the next report. Because with people backing away the way they are now and this inexplicable implosion in the last 7 days, that doesn't make people feel confident to give their money. So I would be curious to see what happens after that.

BERMAN: And Kayleigh there's the issue of spending it, right? You have to spend it in a smart way. And there's also the issue of if he did this with the help of the Republican Party which over the last 5 days, he's had a pretty contentious relationship with. But this is, you know, this a party where he's insulted Paul Ryan, the senior elected official in the country by decidedly not endorsing him. Paul Ryan a very close friend of Reince Priebus, the chair of the party.

[21:25:15] You know, does he need to be careful if he wants to keep this successful relationship up?

MCENANY: No, because here's the thing. With Paul Ryan he is in a Republican primary. There are two Republicans running in Wisconsin's first district. So he's not insulting the party by not making that calling in that race. I think that's actually smart. He's leaving into the people, unlike Paul Ryan who he left it to the people. Donald Trump won and he refused to endorse the nominee of the people.

Donald Trump is getting back to what parties are about, which is elevating their voters, elevating the people within the party, not elevating the air stock we see at the top of the party. And it is just worth mentioning, these numbers are phenomenal.

Donald Trump might become the first Republican nominee in history to raise this sort of money on $10 and $25 donations. This is remarkable and already the apocalyptic predictions not too long ago, Donald Trump can't raise money, this is the end, he defied all odds once again, he raise -- now he has $74 million cash on hand. Hillary Clinton has $100 million. This is remarkable.

BERMAN: On the primary thing, though, just, you know, he is not just primaries because he's not endorsing Kelly Ayotte, who is in a general election in New Hampshire. He did endorse Renee Ellmers in a primary. He is endorsing Marco Rubio ...

SETMAYER: Who lost.

BERMAN: ... which is in primary. Right, she did lost, but -- so he's cherry picking which primaries he's endorsing.

BEINART: Can I jump in for a second, because I also -- I think it's really -- it's important to say this that the candidate running against Paul Ryan who Donald Trump is saying all these nice things about today called for deporting all Muslims from the United States. It says a lot about Donald Trump, right that he's not willing to come out and say that alone is disqualifying, right. He's still open to considering to support that guy.

MCENANY: No, he's not open to considering it. He's not endorsing at all.

BEINART: He's not endorsing. He has one man who's calling for mass ethnic cleansing in the United States but he spoke could, you know, he doesn't want -- he won't take a position with him and the opponent, right?

SETMAYER: Just one other quick thing about this. I find it really astonishing that Trump supporters are saying that Donald Trump, he's -- well he's not supporting anyone and that's a good thing, yet it was Donald Trump and the same people who said that Paul -- expected Paul Ryan and everyone to fall in line for party unity.

MCENANY: It's a different scenario.

SETMAYER: This is an acuities argument and it's hypocritical.

MCENANY: No, it's not.


MCENANY: One was the nominee of the party and the other was not yet a nominee.

SETMAYER: Obviously you don't know anything about party politics because that's not how you behave.

BERMAN: Joseph Borelli, you know about party politics, you've worked in the Republican Party here in the state of New York. Would you like to see Donald Trump and Paul Ryan come together? Again, I guess for the third, fourth time, depending on how you're counting? Again, and come together soon.

BORELLI: Objectively, yes, I would like to see it. And I think it's something that we will see. But to some of the points that were raised earlier, when Obama was raising small donations, his average donation was 200. Donald Trump right now is $61. People were falling over themselves how this was a Grassroots movement and how it was the greatest thing in sliced bread. And we have to give the same courtesy and credit to Donald Trump.

I think the other thing is about the spending, ads that he'll now be able to buy in swing states are always on message, are always attacking Hillary Clinton and are always saying the right thing. So I think this is big on two fronts because it shows his Grassroots support and it will allow him to constantly hit her where it hurts.

SETMAYER: But how do we know? We haven't seen any. Donald Trump hasn't run any.

BERMAN: Yeah. He hasn't started spending, you know, the money at any ads get more expensive the long you do it.

BORELLI: I'm sure that's was going to go for now and we can honestly say that this is not going to go for ads.

BERMAN: Richard?

RICHARDS SOCARIDES, CLINTON SUPPORTER: You know, I mean, I just think that these poll numbers, these poll numbers, these poll numbers are bad news for the donations, too, because as Tara said that, you know, some of this came in during the convention when they had, you know, T.V. show four nights in a row. But people, you know, people vote with their pocketbook and if people see a campaign going down like this, they're going to have trouble raising money for much longer.

But, you know, the whole problem is that Donald Trump wants to talk about process, he wants to talk about how much money he raised, he wants to attack people, he wants talk about how well he's doing, he wants to talk about all these side issues.

Hillary Clinton is talking about her plans, where she wants to take the country. They had four days in which they tried to scare people. We had four days in which we talked about the future. That's why I think the poll numbers are turning for Hillary.

BERMAN: Hillary Clinton is also talking about her e-mails in a similar way as she has ...

SOCARIDES: Well, listen. I really think you mischaracterized.

BERMAN: I want to ask David Gergen about this, because we heard your argument. Richard Socarides says that Hillary Clinton continues to be truthful. That's his argument about the e-mail. She says that FBI Director James Comey says that she told the truth to the American people even though FBI Director James Comey said nothing of the sort in his testimony.

SOCARIDES: Well, that's not really not exactly true. But go ahead.

BERMAN: He did. He said he was asked directly, you know, were classified e-mails sent ...

SOCARIDES: I mean, what I think you are trying to split hairs here and what Comey said is that she was completely truthful to the FBI.

BERMAN: Full stop.


BERMAN: He said that.


BERMAN: But ...

SOCARIDES: Yes. And then those are the questions that you played in the setup piece, I mean, I think you said something at the beginning introducing this setup, he's suggesting that she had not been truthful than Joe Johns and the piece explains that there are some nuances here.

[21:30:03] BERMAN: She said twice.


SOCARIDES: He was very clear that there are nuances.

BERMAN: She said two things and she never sent e-mails more classified. Before that she have said she'd never saying classified e-mails, period.


BERMAN: Let me finish, let me finish. Because FBI Director James Comey said flat out she did send e-mails and received that were classified. I just want have one more words in this Richard, because I won't be able to weigh in here because you've observed the Clintons for a long, long time.

You've seen the answers she has been giving this week about this. And it fits a pattern.

GERGEN: I've already come dealing with it, because I do agree with you. You know, there were clearly just wasn't nuisance, but there were discrepancies, there were basic differences.

SOCARIDES: David, three e-mails, three e-mails with a little marking. OK, a million both (ph) the FBI, the FBI Director said could have been ...

GERGEN: It's very hard to have an argument when you yell. OK?

SOCARIDES: Well, David, but it's very hard to have an argument with you when you're not telling the truth.


BEINART: Richard, you're doing a disservice to your candidate by not being willing to acknowledge basic truths.

SOCARIDES: I wish he would confront Hillary like he's confronting David. BERMAN: David, one and I'll leave it.

GERGEN: Yeah. It's my view. You can have your view. It's my view that there are serious discrepancies between what the FBI Director found and what she's been saying publicly and I think it's a fair conclusion that she ought to be much more careful in what she's saying and what she says goes beyond what the facts support on the trail.

I don't know why Peter goes to the question and I have had this issue with for a long time. I think that Hillary Clinton is an admirable person. I think she is -- there are a lot of things about her, I really admire her.

I also think she has a blind spot in some of these areas and I don't know why she can't get off some of these things.

BERMAN: I'm going to stop it right there.


BERMAN: We're going to leave it right there. Everyone has had a say in this discussion and then some. I really appreciate all of you being here with me tonight.

All right, so what happened when Donald Trump's running mate Mike Pence got grilled today by an 11 year old boy? Stay with us.


[21:36:03] BERMAN: Donald Trump's running mate Mike Pence, he's been clocking a lot of overtime lately doing damage control. One of town hall in North Carolina today, an 11-year-old boy flat out asked Governor Pence if he was on the ticket to soften up Trump.


MATTHEW SCHRICKER: I have been noticing that you've been kind of softening up on Mr. Trump's policies and words. Is it your role -- is this going to be your role in the administration?



PENCE: Matthew. What did you say that I have been doing?

SCHRICKER: You've been kind of softening up on his words.

PENCE: Let me tell you, Matthew, number one, this boy's got a future. Nicely done. Let me tell you what. I couldn't be more proud to stand with Donald Trump and we are shoulder to shoulder in this campaign, my friend.

Sometimes things don't always come out like you mean, right? And Donald Trump and I are absolutely determined to work together. (END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: All right, that boy's name is Matthew Schricker and he later told the "New York Times," "I just wanted to make sure he was totally loyal to Mr. Trump and the Republican Party."

At the same time, a lot of Republicans are questioning Trump's loyalty to them. Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona has not endorsed Donald Trump. He joins us now.

So, Senator Flake, we just played sound of this 11-year-old kid asking Governor Mike Pence if his job in a Trump administration will be to clean up after Donald Trump. That seems like something of a problem if that's your job as the number two in an administration.

SEN. JEFF FLAKE, (R) ARIZONA: Well, I think the world of Mike Pence, he's a good friend and a good man. And I think he has a tough job given some of the statements that Donald Trump has made and continues to make. So it's a tough job. I think Mike does it well.

BERMAN: Do you think he should be doing it, Senator?

FLAKE: Well, I don't think that Donald Trump ought to be making the statements that he's been making. I think that he needs to change not just some of his positions, but the tone and tenor of the debate certainly need to change.

BERMAN: Have you seen any evidence he's capable of change? I mean, I'm asking because this could have been a good week for Donald Trump. He had weak GDP numbers coming up. You have Hillary Clinton continuing, you know, to make false claims of what FBI Director Comey says about her e-mail. Do you think Donald Trump is capable of change?

FLAKE: Well, I sure hope, you know, in the next 96 days that he does so, but, you know, hope is dimming I think for those of us who have wanted to see, you know, him pivot after the primary and take a more responsible tone. We haven't seen it yet. I hope we do. But time is growing short.

BERMAN: Again, have you seen anything in the past to make you think that it might happen in the future?

FLAKE: You know, I see hints of it, you know, during the campaign -- I'm sorry, during the convention, people were yelling lock her up, lock her up and he didn't respond to those chants or responded let's beat her in November. That's the right response.

But then later on, he seemed to kind of slip back and says, well, those chants are sounding better I think or something to that effect. So, there are hints every once in awhile that he may be changing and then he seems to snap right back to the old campaign method and it may have worked well in a primary. I don't think it works in the general.

BERMAN: Senator, a slew of polls out today including in battleground states like Pennsylvania, Michigan, New Hampshire, Florida, all show Donald Trump down by a significant margin, national polls out tonight showing him down by anywhere from 9 to 15 points across the country.

Are you worried what his impact will be on the Republican Party at the state and local levels?

[21:40:02] FLAKE: Yes, I am. I think all of us are. Donald Trump likes to say and he's right that one of the most important aspects of this election is what happens to the Supreme Court that's where the real presidential legacy is left. But if Donald Trump continues to take the positions he is taking and say the things that he's said, that not only means that he won't win in November but it will be a drag on races around the country as well.

You maybe able to out-poll the president or I'm sorry, your nominee by a few points. It's tough to out-poll them by 10 or 12. And so if he's down by 10 or 12 points in certain states, those senate candidates in those states are in a tough position. And so that could impact obviously the Supreme Court if you have a Democrat in the White House making appointments and a Democrat Senate confirming those appointments, then yeah, that's a real concern that I think all of us have.

BERMAN: Republican Congressman Mike Kaufmann of Colorado today started running ads not just distancing himself from Donald Trump, basically saying he doesn't like Donald Trump. What's your advice to members of Congress in tough races, senators in tough races in states where Donald Trump might not be polling well?

FLAKE: Well, my advice would be to Donald Trump to change the tone and tenor of his campaign and to stop focusing on Republicans that he doesn't like and focusing on the record of Hillary Clinton. I think that should be the focus.

If he doesn't, if he continues as he is then a lot of Republicans, believe me, are going to be making statements like Mike Kaufmann made in the next hundred days and they will be distancing themselves. So the onus is on Donald Trump to change the direction of his campaign.

BERMAN: Senator, are you getting tired of being asked these questions? Because you have been pretty clear about your position toward Donald Trump for some time. Are you getting tired having to sort of discuss this at length as you are?

FLAKE: Well, I want a Republican in the White House. I think that the country needs that. And I want Donald Trump to change. If he doesn't change the direction of his campaign and change some of the statements he's made and some of the positions he's taken, he's not going to get there and he shouldn't get there if he continues to make these kind of statements.

So I would much rather be talking about Hillary Clinton and her record and why we need a Republican in the White House, but we can't seem to get there.

BERMAN: Sen. Jeff Flake, thanks so much for being with us.

FLAKE: All right. Thank you. BERMAN: Just ahead a life-long Republican was for Trump early in the campaign, has done an about-face. She's now going to vote for Hillary Clinton. So what changed her mind and made her cross party lines?


[21:46:50] BERMAN: As we've been talking about tonight, a string of new polls show Hillary Clinton widening her lead nationally and in several key swing states. And that's not the only thing she's gained since the convention. Some big name Republicans including Hewlett- Packard Executive Meg Whitman have thrown their support behind Clinton.

At the Democratic convention, Clinton and some other speakers they reached out specifically to Republican voters. In Nevada, Gary Tuchman found a Republican who now is a Clinton supporter.


GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Nancy and Juan Jimenez have been married for 35 years. And for each and every one of those years, he's been a registered Democrat and she a Republican. But here she is in Las Vegas at a Hillary Clinton rally.

Initially in this campaign, who did you favor for president?


TUCHMAN: Donald Trump?

JIMENEZ: Donald Trump.

TUCHMAN: Why did you like Trump originally?

JIMENEZ: I liked him because he was different. And I thought he would bring a difference to America.

TUCHMAN: But for Nancy Jimenez, who has long considered herself a Reagan Republican that was then. And this is now.

So do you still support Donald Trump?


TUCHMAN: What changed?

JIMENEZ: When I saw the debate and I saw how he acts and how he comes across, he is not who we want to represent America.

TUCHMAN: It's not easy to find Republicans at a Hillary Clinton rally but as more GOP politicians come out against Trump, so do some Republican voters. Voters like Nancy Jimenez. Midway through this rally, she liked what she was hearing.

CLINTON: I want to be the president of all Americans, Democrats, Republicans, Independents, young, old, everybody in between. TUCHMAN: Jimenez was disappointed she couldn't get close enough afterwards to get a picture with Hillary Clinton. But she says that was her only disappointment.

JIMENEZ: She was so poised and she is so confident and she knows what she wants, and she is not willing -- I mean, she's willing to go out there and fight for the American people.

TUCHMAN: Approaching Republicans is a major goal for Hillary Clinton just like poaching Democrats is a major goal for Donald Trump. But here in this place, score one for Clinton. Nancy Jimenez appears to be one of the poached.

You have a lot of Republican friends and family?

JIMENEZ: Absolutely.

TUCHMAN: If they ask you, listen you got to stay loyal to your party, reconsider Hillary Clinton, go back to Donald Trump, you say?

JIMENEZ: No way. Can't go back to Trump and my whole family is Republican. My dad, everybody is Republican.

TUCHMAN: Still three debates left, three months to go.

JIMENEZ: Nope. I won't go back.


BERMAN: Right, Gary Tuchman joins us now. Gary, you mentioned it's a hard to find a lot of Republicans at Hillary Clinton events but were there others?

TUCHMAN: Well John, we did find others but their allegiances varied. For example, we found a couple of people who say they're still voting for Donald Trump. They like Donald Trump a lot. They just wanted to see their political enemy, Hillary Clinton, in person.

We talked to a woman who doesn't like Trump or Clinton, a Republican, says she's going to vote for Gary Johnson, Libertarian Party. But then we also found a couple other people who are also Republicans who are going to vote for Hillary Clinton but they did not want to go on camera yet because they were afraid of the reactions they would get from their friends and their family. John.

[21:50:06] BERMAN: Full range, Gary Tuchman, thanks so much.

Up next, the sobering new development in the fight against the Zika virus this time in California.


BERMAN: We've learned tonight that two babies have been born in California with microcephaly. This is as Zika-related birth defect. This is the first for the state. Though 13 other babies have been born with Zika-related birth defects nationwide. What's important to know in California and in other states, all of the mothers were infected in other countries, not here in the U.S.

Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta joins us now with more. He's in Rio de Janeiro, which has been dealing with the Zika virus for some time and is hosting the Olympics.

Sanjay, these women who gave birth in California, they were infected outside the United States, they came back with Zika. How worried should pregnant women who have traveled to areas with Zika now be?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you now, there's been a travel warning about this very issue, as you know John, for some time. Basically saying, look, if you are pregnant, you should not travel to one of these areas where Zika is spreading.

And, you know, it's one of the things we're still learning more and more about Zika. We didn't know how significant this virus was going to be. We didn't know about the association with birth defects. This has all happened over the last several months. So, I think some people probably took these warnings more seriously than others. But it's a serious warning.

Now, I want to point out, if you travel to one of these areas, it is not to say that you will certainly get a Zika infection. And even if you did get a Zika infection, it does not certainly mean that your child will have a birth defect. But, you know, there's enough of a risk there. So, I think that's why the travel warnings have been in placed.

[21:55:14] BERMAN: Now you spoke to a fertility doctor who -- what did they suggest people who may have been exposed to Zika and are wanting to have children do?

GUPTA: Well, if you're someone who -- you're a woman who is not pregnant, you're wanting to have children and you think that you've had a Zika infection, there's a couple things to keep in mind. One is that you could potentially get tested. But more importantly, the Zika virus in women is something that's going to leave the system at some point, usually after several days, maybe seven or eight days.

And after that, future pregnancies should not be at risk. So, again, if you've had the infection, you know, that's concerning certainly. But if you're not pregnant, when the virus leaves your system, the pregnancy that you do have should go just fine.

BERMAN: All right Dr. Sanjay Gupta for us in Rio de Janeiro for the Olympics, where hopefully the story as of tomorrow night will be the games and not the Zika virus that everyone's been so concerned about. Sanjay Gupta, thanks so much.

We'll be right back.


BERMAN: It has been quite a day and quite a week on the campaign trail. And tomorrow should be no different. We will, of course, bring you the latest and all of it tomorrow night on "360". [22:00:03] That does it for us now. Thanks for watching. Time now for "CNN TONIGHT" with Don Lemon.

DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Happy birthday Mr. President, top of his game.