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THE SITUATION ROOM
Chicago Police Shooting; Interview With Congressman Darrell Issa; Putin Playing Trump?; Trump Admitting Mistakes?; Police Release Video Tied to Shooting of Unarmed Man; Ex-CIA Chief: Trump Being Played by Putin; Sources: Trump to Endorse Ryan Tonight; Clinton Repeats Claim about Email Probe. Aired 6-7p ET
Aired August 5, 2016 - 18:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Russian doll? A former CIA chief warns Vladimir Putin is using his intelligence training to exploit Donald Trump's weaknesses and make him an unwitting agent of Russia. Is Trump being played by Putin?
Fanning the flames. Hillary Clinton reignites the e-mail controversy dogging her campaign by repeating misleading statements that already have been widely debunked. How much damage is she doing to herself?
And hail of bullets. Chicago police release dramatic video showing police officers firing at least 15 shots at a young unarmed young African-American man. The shooting has been deemed in violation of department protocol. Will it lead to civil unrest?
We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
BLITZER: Breaking news. We're standing by for a Donald Trump campaign rally where the Republican presidential candidate is expected to make a rare and major reversal.
Sources now telling CNN Trump will endorse House Speaker Paul Ryan in his reelection bid after publicly snubbing him just days ago. Trump has also backtracked on his claim that he saw video of a massive U.S. cash payment to Iran.
Meanwhile, a former CIA chief says Trump is being played by Russian President Vladimir Putin. In an op-ed endorsing Hillary Clinton, former CIA Acting Director Michael Morell said Putin is exploiting Trump's weaknesses, making him "an unwilling agent of Russia."
Also breaking tonight, graphic and very disturbing video of a deadly police shooting. It's just been released. The victim, an 18-year-old African-American, was shot in the back by Chicago police in violation of department policy during a chase. Tonight, police are warning of possible civil unrest and violence against police in response to the video. We're covering all of that and much more this hour with our guests,
including Republican Congressman Darrell Issa. And our correspondents and expert analysts, they are also standing by.
Let's begin with Donald Trump's expected endorsement of House Speaker Paul Ryan. A major reversal from his position just days ago.
Our senior White House correspondent, Jim Acosta, is in Des Moines, Iowa, where Trump spoke a little while ago.
Jim, this endorsement, I take it, is an attempt to get Trump's campaign back on track after a very difficult week.
JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Wolf.
It was a day of backsliding for Donald Trump. But he's backtracking to correct all of that. As you said, we expect Donald Trump later on this evening to go ahead and reverse himself and offer that endorsement for House Speaker Paul Ryan after he said earlier this week that he was not ready to do so.
Wolf, this comes as Donald Trump just wrapped up a rally here in Des Moines, Iowa, where he tried to refocus his attention on the topic that seems to unite all Republicans. That is Hillary Clinton.
ACOSTA (voice-over): For a candidate who rarely admits he makes a mistake, it may be the most un-Trump moment yet.
Just days after Donald Trump said he wasn't ready to endorse Paul Ryan, CNN has learned the GOP nominee is changing his mind and will back the House speaker in his reelection campaign.
The move comes after Trump gave his blessing to his running mate, Mike Pence, to get behind Paul Ryan.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He came to me. He called me the other day. He said, do you mind? Because he likes Paul Ryan. Paul Ryan is a good guy actually.
TRUMP: Paul Ryan is -- no, he's a good guy.
ACOSTA: The change in course follows days of panic inside the GOP over Trump's tanking numbers and concerns he could do serious damage to candidates down-ballot. Top Republicans were furious that Trump appeared to be playing games and double-crossing Ryan, who had already endorsed him.
The speaker was barely containing his own feelings.
REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: Heck if I know, Jay. I'm not going to try and psychoanalyze this stuff. I'm just going to rise above this stuff and I'm not going to get involved in some sort of petty back and forth. I see no purpose in doing that. I'm going to be me and do my thing.
ACOSTA: In another uncharacteristic move, Trump has also walked back his claim that he had seen video of that U.S. shipment of $400 million to Iran that happened around the time American hostages were freed from Tehran. Even after his own staff was telling news outlets that Trump was mistaken, he was repeating the claim.
TRUMP: You know, it was interesting because a 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.
ACOSTA: But in the morning, a correction in a Trump tweet. "The plane I saw on television was the hostage plane in Geneva, Switzerland, not the plane carrying $400 million in cash going to Iran."
Democratic V.P. pick Tim Kaine says there's a pattern of confusion.
SEN. TIM KAINE (D-VA), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It doesn't exist. He might be thinking about Iran-Contra from like 35 years ago or something like this. He recently criticized me, saying I was a bad governor of New Jersey.
QUESTION: Confused you with Tom Kean.
KAINE: Tom Kean was governor of New Jersey 26 years ago.
ACOSTA: In Iowa, Trump trying to make the case that it's Clinton who is erratic.
TRUMP: She's really pretty close to unhinged. And you have seen it. You have seen it a couple of times. But people in the background know it. The people that know her know it. And she's like an unbalanced person.
ACOSTA: Also raising questions is Trump's comment on whether he is considering any women for his Cabinet. Trump apparently could only think of his daughter, telling a local station: "Well, there are so many different ones to choose. I can tell you everybody would say, put Ivanka in, put Ivanka in. You know that, right?"
That prompter a zinger from Hillary Clinton, referencing 2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney's gaffe about binders full of women. "We know a guy with a binder, @realDonaldTrump. He might not take your calls, though."
ACOSTA: Now, aides to Paul Ryan say they are unaware of any plans for a Donald Trump endorsement at this really that's coming up in Wisconsin later on this evening.
They will essentially believe it when they see it, Wolf. But there was some other backtracking that took place at this rally here in Des Moines, Iowa, Donald Trump referenced that crying baby that he said he wanted to toss out the rally in Virginia earlier this week. Donald Trump said at this rally that he loves baby, that he was only kidding about all of that.
At one point, he seemed to acknowledge all these negative feelings he's getting from people inside the Republican Party about him, about his campaign. He said at one point at the end of this rally, Wolf, if you don't like me, vote for Pence. He still wants people to vote Republican even if they don't like him, and consider his running mate is still a good option -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Good point. Thanks very much, Jim Acosta.
Let's go to Wisconsin right now, Paul Ryan's home state, where Donald Trump is expected to endorse the House speaker at a rally in Green Bay.
Our national correspondent, Jason Carroll, is on the scene for us.
Jason, Trump will be taking the stage, what, in about two hours, is that right?
JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, just about two hours from now.
What we expect to hear here in Wisconsin is much of what Jim Acosta heard there in Des Moines. What's interesting, Wolf, is when you listen to that speech that he gave in Des Moines, some of the adjectives that he used to describe Hillary Clinton are some of the same ways that Trump's critics have used to describe him.
I have written them down here, unhinged, dangerous liar, unbalanced person, lacks integrity, lacking temperament. These are some of the same criticisms we have heard lodged at Donald Trump. But this is what works. Going after Hillary Clinton and staying after Hillary Clinton is what those in the GOP say that -- what Donald Trump needs to do.
They need to have him stop going off message. But, look, Trump wouldn't be Trump if he didn't go off message at least once. That's what he did in Des Moines. You heard Jim Acosta, my colleague, refer to it talking about that incident with that baby and the comments he made at that rally in Virginia.
Listen to what he said in Des Moines just a short while ago about that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: At one of the events, a beautiful baby was crying. And I mean crying like you wouldn't believe. This baby could have been Pavarotti.
In fact, I'm going to find out who that baby is. I'm going to make a deal with the parents, because we can take that baby to training school and it will be the next great Pavarotti. This was a beautiful baby and beautiful mother. And the baby was crying. And I jokingly said, you know what? That's OK. Let the baby cry. We love babies. Something to that effect. Love babies.
Then, about two minutes later, it didn't stop. It just went on. And I'm trying to speak in front of thousands. We had thousands of people in the room. And I said, all right. I actually said the first time, all right, keep the baby here. Don't worry about it. Then, after two minutes, I said, you know what, I'm going to counteract my order.
Beautiful baby, if you take her outside, that's not so bad. That was it. The whole place laughed and we had a good time.
The press came out with headlines, Trump throws baby out of arena. So dishonest. I have heard so much about that beautiful baby, beautiful parents. So much. I don't throw babies out, believe me. I love babies. I love my children. I love babies. I don't throw babies out, believe me.
We have a very, very dishonest media. I do want you to remember that, because when you read, like you will read this story tomorrow. And you will hear everything very different from what we all know it's like, like the baby, like that beautiful baby. I love that baby. I love that baby.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARROLL: Ah, yes, the beautiful baby.
Wolf, I was in that room at that rally in Ashburn, Virginia. I believe it was on Tuesday when Trump initially made that comment. He says it was a joke. I want you to listen for yourself. Make your own judgment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Don't worry about that baby. I love babies. I love babies. I hear that baby crying, I like it. I like it. What a baby. What a beautiful baby.
Don't worry. Don't worry. The mom's running around like don't worry about it. It's young and beautiful and healthy. That's what we want. OK.
Actually, I was only kidding. You can get the baby out of here.
TRUMP: That's all right. Don't worry. I think she really believed me that I love having a baby crying while I'm speaking.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARROLL: You can see, Wolf, clearly, there are a number of folks there in the audience. We all heard them. A lot of folks were laughing.
Trump again trying to make the point this is again the media bias against him. Look, at the end of the day, Trump wouldn't be Trump if he didn't go off course at least a little bit. Obviously, those within the GOP establishment want him to stay on course all the time. But perhaps he wouldn't be himself if he didn't go off the course at least a little bit.
I have to tell you, some of those folks, like here in this room here and in Des Moines and there in Virginia, this is what they like about the man. They like when he goes off course, but just a little bit -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Maybe that's why he got the Republican presidential nomination because he's willing to go off course. He certainly did throughout the primaries and the caucuses. Jason Carroll, thank you very much.
Let's get a little bit more on all of this.
Republican Congressman Darrell Issa of California is joining us.
Congressman, thank you very much for joining us.
REP. DARRELL ISSA (R), CALIFORNIA: Thank you, Wolf.
BLITZER: What do you think happened between Tuesday and today that helped Donald Trump change his mind about endorsing the House speaker, Paul Ryan?
ISSA: I think it's the Mike Pence factor.
Mike is a solid conservative, thoughtful, and I think he went to his running mate and told him the real story of Paul Ryan as a uniter and a key element in bringing together a very diverse party. The one thing that I think people do like about Donald Trump is that he does and is willing to change his mind.
He's maybe not great at admitting it publicly, but he has evolved in a lot of his thinking. I would suspect in the days to come, he is going to announcing some potential Cabinet officers, including some very talented women.
BLITZER: I want to get to that in a moment.
But you believe he will change his mind and formally publicly endorse Republican Senator John McCain, Republican Senator Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, both of whom are facing tough reelection campaigns?
ISSA: I think he will.
I think that he recognizes that these are important leaders in the party. They represent two very different states and they have both been stalwarts of the Republican Party. Both of them have campaigned around for a lot of people over the years and done a lot of good for the party. And I think tonight the Paul Ryan endorsement will be a beginning of
that unity that his team needs to bring to the party.
BLITZER: Trump, as you know, still doesn't have the endorsement of the Ohio governor, John Kasich. That's a key battleground state. Any Republican candidate needs to carry Ohio if he or she is going to win the presidency. Can he win in Ohio without Governor Kasich's support?
ISSA: Well, I think there's a couple of things. And you know a lot more about politics than many of your viewers, all of your viewers.
John Kasich needs to endorse the nominee. He also needs to help Rob Portman. Ohio is a swing state. We have to be united to be there. John Kasich was at all the fund-raising parties around the convention. I ran into him a couple of times just a few miles from the convention. It is time for him to put behind him the hard feelings and do what you do to move a movement, in this case toward liberty, something he strongly believes in.
BLITZER: He told our own Jake Tapper today he's not yet ready to do that, not yet ready to endorse Donald Trump. We will see if that changes.
As you also know, Congressman, the former CIA Acting Director Mike Morell, he today endorsed Hillary Clinton. He wrote an article saying that Donald Trump would be potentially dangerous as commander in chief.
You know this subject well. Has Donald Trump shown the consistency, the temperament to prove Mike Morell and other national security officials wrong when they say Trump doesn't have it?
ISSA: It is interesting that somebody who leaked secrets publicly this Texas one time -- I remember it very vividly -- now is supporting Hillary Clinton, somebody who mishandled highly classified records.
I take this as a partisan endorsement. And I'm not surprised that Hillary is getting a number of endorsements by people who, quite frankly, like her politics, even if they don't agree with her handling of national security and foreign affairs.
BLITZER: What secret did Mike Morell leak in Texas?
ISSA: He declassified on the fly, along with the then Texas chairman -- and I have to be honest, I don't want to get into the particulars on what he felt he could talk about that has been previously exposed to us in classified sessions.
But this is a very political atmosphere. His is a political endorsement. And I think when we look at these endorsements, you should take them as that. Are these people that know somebody very well and work with them and are really endorsing or are they picking political sides? And I think they are picking political sides.
BLITZER: Was he ever charged with any crime by leaking classified information, any rebuke at all?
ISSA: The amazing thing was, when we asked the question, he said the administration can choose to declassify at any time. Well, it was actually rather shocking to those of us who were serving on the committee. Having said that...
BLITZER: You are talking about the Intelligence Committee?
ISSA: Yes, sir.
The fact is that one of the challenges we have is the administration can play down classified material any time they want. The president, Obama, even went on national television and said there's classified and then there's classified.
Well, if somebody he didn't like had mishandled classified information, it wouldn't be classified and classified. It would be secret and top secret and you're going to jail. There's no question there's a double standard based on how the executive branch wants to treat somebody's activity.
BLITZER: I think the president was suggesting there are various levels of classified information. There's confidential.
BLITZER: There's secret. There's top secret. There's secure, compartmented information.
BLITZER: Various levels of classified information.
ISSA: Wolf, I normally agree with you. But I took it as he was denouncing essentially that these documents -- well, many of them turned out to be secret and top secret. I think there were eight that turned out to be at a very high level.
But mishandling of documents at any level is wrong. And the president making light of it was a terrible statement, because the fact is a lowly 2nd lieutenant or Army captain, like I was, you mishandle even confidential information and you will lose your commission.
The president denouncing that is just not wrong -- right. And I will tell you one thing from experience. We had thousands and thousands and thousands of documents that were denied to my committee that had been subpoenaed, some of which didn't even reach the level of confidential and yet the U.S. Congress was not able to see them or make copies of them.
And that's the double standard during -- in Fast and Furious, they are still withholding documents today that are classified below confidential, meaning they're not official classifications, but the administration is withholding them.
There's a double standard. It's one of the things the American people will have to decide is, are the rules the same for everybody?
And, by the way, overclassification may lead to some of that where somebody says, oh, that's not really classified, but then that begs the question of, why do that so often overclassify?
BLITZER: Congressman, I need you to stand by. We are going to take a quick break. Much more information that we need to discuss. We will be right back.
BLITZER: The breaking news tonight, sources telling CNN Donald Trump will endorse the House Speaker Paul Ryan's reelection bid at a rally later tonight in Green Bay, Wisconsin.
Trump outraged a lot of leaders in the Republican Party this week when he said he wasn't ready to support Paul Ryan.
We're back with Republican Congressman Darrell Issa of California.
Congressman, the poll numbers right now show Donald Trump in a clear deficit nationally, but also in some swing states, in Florida, for example. Look at this, he's behind by six points. Look at Georgia right now, usually a very, very loyal Republican state. He's down by four points in Georgia. And a new poll in New Hampshire shows he's trailing Hillary Clinton by, what, 15 points right now.
What does he need to do to make that up?
ISSA: Well, I certainly think you mentioned earlier Kelly Ayotte. The senator there is extremely popular. They need to run together.
They need to run on the same principles of jobs, and the economy and strong national defense. That's something the senator believes in and has been campaigning on. And they need to work together. That's one of the challenges of bringing together a diverse party is you need to have all of these factors pulling the same way.
I think we can do it. I certainly think tonight with the endorsement of Paul Ryan, he's going to have pushed together, if you will, what was previously an unnecessary strife, one in which the most admired person in the House of Representatives needs to be on his team.
BLITZER: He made a mistake earlier in the week when he really attacked Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire?
ISSA: Look, she's a great senator. I was in New Hampshire, as you know, quite a bit.
But I also worked with her in the Senate. She's one of those people that I would think anybody would be happy to have on their team and in their Cabinet, the same as Shelley Moore Capito in West Virginia, or if you wanted a CIA director, you could go to Heather Wilson, former congresswoman and a very distinguished national security expert.
There's a lot of very talented women and men. And they need to be part of a united team that talks about what the Republican Party will do if given an opportunity to fix what's wrong in our government.
BLITZER: Carl Paladino, who is Donald Trump's New York campaign co- chair, said yesterday that President Obama is not a Christian, that he's a Muslim.
Speaker Ryan's opponent, Paul Nehlen, who Donald Trump has praised, said that there should be a discussion, a discussion on whether or not to deport all Muslims from the United States.
Are these kind of statements in line with, you think, what Donald Trump actually believes?
ISSA: Well, I certainly don't think so and I hope not.
I have traveled overseas, met with our Marines in Afghanistan and Iran over the years. And there are Muslims fights with us that are not Marines and there are Muslims who are Americans among the Marines.
As somebody who signed more than a hundred letters to the loved ones of lost Marines from Camp Pendleton, I think we have to realize that we're a nation of Christians, Jews, Muslims and many other faiths. And they fight as Americans. They live as Americans. And that's what America's all about and has been for 240 years.
BLITZER: Congressman Darrell Issa, thank you very much for joining us.
And just ahead, a former CIA chief says Russian President Vladimir Putin is using his intelligence training to exploit Donald Trump's weaknesses.
Plus, the moments around a deadly police shooting all caught on tape.
BLITZER: We're standing by for a Donald Trump campaign rally in Green Bay, Wisconsin, where sources are telling CNN Trump will endorse the House speaker, Paul Ryan, who he publicly snubbed just a couple days ago.
[18:31:06] Let's dig deeper right now with our senior political analyst, Ron Brownstein. He's a senior editor at "The Atlantic." Also joining us, our political director, David Chalian; and Julia Ioffe. She's a contributing writer for "Politico" magazine and a columnist for "Foreign Policy Magazine," as well.
Guys, thanks very much for joining us. Was this a missed opportunity? He knew he was going to be in Green Bay, Wisconsin, tonight. A couple days ago, he had an opportunity to endorse the speaker, Paul Ryan from Wisconsin. Didn't do it.
DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: I mean, yes, Donald Trump invited a headache that he didn't need this week, because he launched some infighting among Republicans. And it caused consternation inside the party about full confidence in Donald Trump being disciplined moving forward. So in that sense, it's a missed opportunity.
Do I think there's any real impact on whether he endorses Paul Ryan or not, on Paul Ryan's race, on Donald Trump's race? No. I think, though, that what we have seen now is critical for Donald Trump, is to have a fully-unified Republican Party. So picking a fight with the House speaker is not the way to get that.
RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: I disagree. I disagree, I think, David. Because I think -- I mean, I think the signal of disunity is there and irrevocable at this point. I mean, what you've got is these constant feuds between Trump and Republican leadership make it easier for the Clinton forces to kind of -- it amplifies the impact of the Clinton forces, able to drop out after the other. The Republicans are saying -- Sally Bradshaw, Meg Whitman, Brent Scowcroft, Richard Armitage. You know, one after the other.
CHALIAN: Those folks aren't doing that, Ron, because he didn't endorse Paul Ryan.
BROWNSTEIN: No, I'm saying -- I'm saying the backdrop creates the image of a Republican Party that is splintered in an unusual way. And I think what the Clinton people, I think, are right about is the idea that all of this is creating the phrase that people use all the time now: a permission structure, not necessarily hard-core Republicans, but for right of center voters, particularly those college white men, I think, above all, who usually vote Republican, to feel more comfortable saying this time you don't have to.
BLITZER: Julia, is Trump doing this flip on the speaker because he's under so much pressure from Republican leaders?
JULIA IOFFE, CONTRIBUTING WRITER, "POLITICO": I don't know why he's doing it. But I -- I would have to say that it plays well with his base. I mean, he's -- he's sticking it -- he's flipping the bird to the Republican establishment. He's doing exactly what his voters have always wanted him to do.
And, you know, how many times have we been sitting around this table or have been reading, you know, hot ticks about no, really we need Trump to get disciplined. We need him to get -- you know, get behind the party or have the party get behind him. We need party unity. This is just like -- this is the leitmotif of this whole election.
BLITZER: That's a good point. He's doing now what he did for a year in getting the Republican nomination. It worked well for him then. And he presumably thinks it's going to continue to work well for him. CHALIAN: Of course, it's an entirely different electorate that he's
trying to court now, and that's -- that's the problem . He's not running to win Republican primaries. He's running to win the presidency. So he has to expand that.
That's why I think that the Khan controversy is far more complicated...
BROWNSTEIN: Yes, I agree.
CHALIAN: ... and it gives the permission structure than this kind of in-fighting that seems to be an unnecessary distraction.
BROWNSTEIN: Well, his...
IOFFE: This is a personal tit for tat, too, right? Ryan has titted in endorsing Trump, so Trump has titted in endorsing Ryan.
BLITZER: Ryan eventually came aboard. And...
IOFFE: So Trump is about to, as well.
CHALIAN: The brand has change. That is his brand. The brand is someone who will go and rattle the pillars. And that is something that allows him to appeal to a certain portion of the electorate.
But I think all of this tension, all of these fissures within the Republican Party, whether it's Trump feuding with other elected officials or John Kasich, you know, saying, "I still don't know who I'm going to vote for" or the procession of Republican or independent figures saying that they are not going to vote for Donald Trump. All of it sends the same message, I think, to voters that they can break from their usual partisan inclination here. And this is not one where you go over the line.
IOFFE: Or that -- or that they can continue voting for Trump, because he continues to be the outsider candidate. He hasn't gotten on board.
BLITZER: Take a look at the new national polls.
BROWNSTEIN: Right. And that's 42 percent.
BLITZER: The new national polls, David, you looked at them closely; all of us looked at them closely. The McClatchy/Marist poll shows Clinton up right now nationally by 15 points. That's a pretty significant number coming out of these two conventions.
[18:35:14] CHALIAN: I don't think the Clinton campaign could have asked for a better position to be in after the conventions for this August period and trying to set the stage for the fall campaign.
We'll see if she maintains that kind of margin after the fade of the convention and the immediate controversy this week for Donald Trump, but indeed, this is now a new world order for Donald Trump. He now -- when he decides to go up with television ads, to get more serious about a ground game with the RNC in some of these battleground states, he's doing it from now a further back position of weakness than he would have a month ago. So this is the best position possible for the Clinton campaign.
BLITZER: Stand by. Everyone stick around. We've got a lot more to discuss. We'll take a quick break. We'll be right back.
[18:40:33] BLITZER: Hillary Clinton doubling down on her claim that the FBI director says she was truthful in discussing her e-mail controversy. CNN and other news media organizations have found her claim misleading, at best.
Our national correspondent, Suzanne Malveaux, is covering the Clinton campaign for us tonight.
Suzanne, this happened in a rare question-and-answer session with reporters.
SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right. It's been nearly seven months, wolf, since she held something that was close to a press conference, and about 1,400 black and Hispanic journalists gathered there.
She started remarks talking about comprehensive immigration reform, a Twitter account that was in Spanish that her campaign had developed; and black and Latino unemployment.
But as soon as the questions were fired, there were questions about her authenticity, her honesty and, of course, what she is now calling her short-circuited explanation regarding the e-mail.
HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: America is better than Donald Trump.
MALVEAUX (voice-over): Hillary Clinton laying into Donald Trump today at a conference for black and Hispanic journalists in Washington.
CLINTON: We need to stand up as a country and say that Donald Trump doesn't represent who we are and what we believe.
MALVEAUX: Clinton was asked about her claim in a pair of recent interviews that FBI Director James Comey said her public answers about her e-mails were truthful, a statement ruled false by fact checkers.
CLINTON: I was pointing on -- in both of those instances, that the Director Comey had said that my answers in my FBI interview were truthful. That's really the bottom line here.
But I may have short-circuited it, and for that, I, you know, will try to clarify, because I think Chris Wallace and I were probably talking past each other, because of course, he could only talk to what I had told the FBI. And I appreciated that.
MALVEAUX: Clinton also addressed questions with her struggles with voters, who do not see her as honest and trustworthy.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How would you lead a nation where a majority of Americans mistrust you?
CLINTON: Every time I have done a job, people have counted on me and trusted me. I take it seriously. You know, it doesn't make me feel good when people say those things, and I recognize that I have work to do.
MALVEAUX: As the Democratic nominee picked up another high-profile endorsement. In a "New York Times" op-ed today, former CIA director Mike Morell said he'd be voting for Clinton in November and warned of Trump's impact on the world stage, saying, quote, "Mr. Trump has no experience on national security. Even more important, the character traits he has exhibited during the primary season suggest he would be a poor, even dangerous commander in chief."
Morell also slammed Trump's praise of Russian president saying, "In the intelligence business, we would say that Mr. Putin had recruited Mr. Trump as an unwitting agent of the Russian Federation."
The Clinton campaign also releasing a new television ad featuring conservatives critical of Trump's foreign policy views.
MICHAEL HAYDEN, FORMER CIA DIRECTOR UNDER GEORGE W. BUSH: If he governs consistent with some of the things he said as a candidate, I would be very frightened.
MALVEAUX: Nationally, Clinton's lead over Trump continues to widen. An upswing helped, perhaps, by President Obama's rising job approval rating and a positive jobs report.
MALVEAUX: And Hillary Clinton also seeing a widely significant lead in key battleground states, including Michigan, Pennsylvania, as well as New Hampshire. This is central to Trump's campaign, also typically not a battleground state.
That is the red state of Georgia. That is where the latest poll is showing 44 percent to 40 percent. That is within the margin of error but still just a smidge ahead. That, of course, significant. Wolf, the last time that Georgia actually voted for a Democratic nominee was Bill Clinton back in 1992.
BLITZER: And Bill Clinton won that election, as we all know.
All right, Suzanne. Thanks very much.
Ron Brownstein, you study these polls all the time. What can Donald Trump do now, because he's way behind nationally and in these key battleground state, including a state like Georgia, which few thought was a battleground.
BROWNSTEIN: Look, they move together. Right? All the battleground states are part of the U.S., and they're affected by the same things. This race is acquiring structure. Donald Trump, in most polls
nationally, is still performing very well among his core of blue- collar white voters. But he is struggling enormously among minority voters. You know, Republicans don't win a lot of them. Democrats have won between 78 and 82 percent of the two-party minority vote in every election since 1976.
[18:45:00] Donald Trump is going to have to struggle even to hold Hillary Clinton to 82. He's at 2 percent in the poll today in Michigan, among African-Americans, or polls in Ohio and Pennsylvania, where he was a zero among African-Americans.
So, the critical third piece are these college educated white voters who usually leaned Republican, especially the men, and Donald Trump is significantly under performing with them. They tend to view him as unqualified and many of them tend to view him as racially divisive. And unless he can overcome those doubts, it is very hard for him to make the numbers add up.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: So, are we going to see more down ballot candidates running for re-election, the Senate and the House, distance themselves if this continues for Donald Trump?
DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Well, I think we've got a perfect example of that this week in New Hampshire. When that poll came out in New Hampshire that showed Kelly Ayotte ten points behind Maggie Hassan, the governor there who was running as a Democratic Senate candidate, that was a clear warning sign that the Donald Trump effect could be problematic down ballot in a serious way.
And you see Kelly Ayotte is not embracing Donald Trump in any way but doing her best not to reject him entirely because she needs some core of the Trump supporters as part of her base and support. So, it's a very tricky position. I think in these Senate races, it's going to be hard for these candidates to distance themselves from Donald Trump.
BLITZER: Julia, among other things, you're an expert on Russia. When you see Mike Morell, the former acting director of the CIA, write in this "New York Times" op-ed that Putin, quote, "recruited Mr. Trump as an unwitting agent of Russia." You study this all the time. Is there reason for concern based on what he's just charged?
JULIA IOFFE, COLUMNIST, FOREIGN POLICY: I think there is. There was a lot of speculation the last two weeks about whether or not Trump is a Kremlin stooge, if he's a Putin plant. I think that's really pushing it too far. The facts don't really support it.
But I think that Trump has always sought Putin's approval when he went to Russia to host the Miss Universe pageant a couple of years ago. He tweeted that he really wanted to meet Vladimir Putin, that he wanted to be his best friend. So, he's doing everything he can to suck up to him. He is being kind of a useful idiot.
We ran a really interesting piece in "Politico" last week by a Russian journalist who recently wrote a bestseller in Russia about the Kremlin. He talked to some Kremlin officials past and present who said, you know, he -- they said something along the lines of what Morell said, which is Putin is a trained KGB operative, and you're courting a source, when you're trying to flip somebody, you don't immediately ask them to do something. You don't saddle them with baggage, or unrealistic expectations.
When the time is right, they'll come to you. They'll do what you want without you even having to ask.
BLITZER: It's a pretty serious charge.
BROWNSTEIN: It's one of the most serious charges we've heard, yes, I think, about Donald Trump. When I read that this morning, I was like whoa. I mean, that is as serious as it gets.
Look, part of the doubts that Trump faces is on foreign policy. He leads on terrorism often but Hillary Clinton has a big lead among these college-educated white voters on who can handle foreign policy.
Can I just amplify David's point? It's really important how difficult this may be for Republicans no matter what they do to separate themselves from Donald Trump. The last four decades we have seen a steady decline in split-ticket voting. The correlation the way people vote for president and Senate has been growing since the '70s. Maybe they can separate, maybe they can say Donald Trump is so unusual, but they are running against four decades of history here.
BLITZER: Much more coming up, guys. Stick around. Stay with us.
Just ahead, another story we're following, very dramatic video. A young, unarmed African-American man shot and killed by police. Tonight, there's graphic, new video raising troubling questions about why the police officers opened fire.
[18:53:07] BLITZER: There's more breaking news.
Chicago police have released body cam video of the deadly police shooting. The victim, a young, unarmed African-American man who was shot in the back following a car and foot chase. Police officials say the incident violated department protocol.
Let's dig deeper right now with the former FBI assistant director and senior law enforcement analyst, Tom Fuentes.
Tom, I want to show a little bit of the video to get a sense of what's going on. It's pretty graphic and it could be disturbing to some of our true viewers, but let's play some of it right now.
(VIDEO CLIP PLAYS)
BLITZER: All right. So, Tom, from what you see, you've looked at this video very closely. Did police officers act appropriately?
TOM FUENTES, CNN SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT: Well, I think, Wolf, when it's told that they violated department policy, it probably has to do with shooting at the vehicle in the first place. Normally, it's against policy to shoot at a vehicle when it's leaving, mostly because it's almost impossible to stop the car, the tires are made out of Kevlar like the bulletproof vest, the body of the car is hard to penetrate with a handgun. So, normally, you don't want bullets being sprayed all over the neighborhood.
Now, in this case, the first shots you see, the subject vehicle is lateral, so it's passing the officer that's shooting. So, it is possible to shoot through a side window and stop that car which has just rammed a police car, which has deliberately basically been used as a weapon against the police. So, the first couple of shots may have been justified, later as the vehicle's fleeing. It's pretty much, at that point just the adrenaline of the officer to not stop shooting.
BLITZER: That can endanger passersby, innocent people walking on the sidewalk. For example, he starts shooting at a fleeing vehicle.
[18:55:02] BLITZER: That's a serious problem.
FUENTES: Even if it's legal to try to stop that vehicle, departments ban the policy because it's just dangerous to the rest of the public.
BLITZER: It was an 18-year-old who was shot and killed. So, what happens now? They've got the video. What happens next?
FUENTES: Well, there is an independent review group in Chicago that looks at police shootings. So, it will be up to them to do the rest of the investigation, and there is a great deal of investigation to do in this case. You know, were any weapons in that Jaguar, the stolen vehicle? Did anybody shoot from the vehicle that may have created the impression on the officers that when they took off running, they possibly had a gun with them?
BLITZER: The new police chief in Chicago and the Mayor Rahm Emanuel are getting a lot of praise for releasing this video, but you agree with them it should have been released?
FUENTES: Well, I think they have to. I mean, you're going to have to release it, and the longer you delay and it looks like you're covering up. However, they also need to say that there's a lot of investigation that needs to be done still into this whole matter, not just the actual fatal shots of the subject. But the vehicle, the theft of that vehicle, the three subjects involved that they have records.
You know, obviously, they're resisting arrest when they rammed that car into a police car.
BLITZER: Tom Fuentes, thanks very much.
FUENTES: You're welcome.
BLITZER: A former CIA chief who says he's always remained silent on presidential campaigns is speaking out decisively in favor of Hillary Clinton and warning Donald Trump could pose a threat to national security. He also says that Russian President Vladimir Putin is using Trump as, quote, "an unwitting agent of Russia".
Our global affairs correspondent Elise Labott is over at the State Department.
Elise, this op-ed by Mike Morell is an indictment of Trump and it's about as serious as we've seen.
ELISE LABOTT, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Wolf. Mike Morell says that Trump is not fit to be commander in chief, but he goes on to say that Trump's flirting with Vladimir Putin and his pro-Russia policies could be the work of Putin himself and he's not alone.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think I would have a great relationship with Russia and with Putin.
LABOTT (voice-over): Vladimir Putin has been labeled one of the greatest threats to U.S. national security, but Donald Trump continues to double down on the Russian strongman.
TRUMP: Putin has much better leadership qualities than Obama, but who doesn't know that?
LABOTT: Tonight, new questions about whether Trump is being played. In a "New York Times" op-ed endorsing Hillary Clinton, former CIA Director Mike Morell warns Putin, a former KGB officer, is using his intelligence to identify and exploit Trump's weaknesses making him, quote, "an unwitting agent" of Russia, and writing, "Mr. Putin played upon Mr. Trump's vulnerabilities by complimenting him. He responded just as Mr. Putin had calculated."
A fear now being expressed by members of Trump's own party.
REP. ADAM KINZINGER (R), ILLINOIS: Now, you have Vladimir Putin pull out the old KGB playbook on how to manipulate Donald Trump, and it appears he's fallen right into it.
LABOTT: Putin has made no secret of his preference for Trump, telling reporters, quote, "He's a really brilliant and talented person without a doubt." He backpedaled slightly in an interview with CNN.
VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): I only said he was a bright person.
LABOTT: But Trump has happily taken the compliment and embellished it.
TRUMP: He said I'm a genius.
LABOTT: Since hitting the campaign trail, Trump has attacked NATO.
TRUMP: NATO is obsolete.
LABOTT: And suggested he might break with U.S. policy and recognize Crimea which Putin seized from Ukraine by force.
TRUMP: The people of Crimea from what I've heard would rather be with Russia than where they were.
LABOTT: And after allegations Russia hacked the Democratic Party, Trump urged Moscow, jokingly, he said to go after Hillary Clinton.
TRUMP: Russia, if you're listening, I hope you're able to find the 30,000 e-mails that are missing.
LABOTT: In turn, Putin's propaganda machine has welcomed the Russia- friendly stance, heaping praise on his pledge to improve ties with Russia. One former CIA operative calls the strategy right out of the KGB playbook.
ROBERT BAER, CNN INTELLIGENCE AND SECURITY ANALYST: Everything that I've seen from the hacking to Trump's statements to Putin's statements that this is some sort of concerted intelligence operation against the United States and frankly, I've never seen one of this magnitude.
LABOTT: Now, Trump's running mate Mike Pence shot back today, saying that Trump is a strong leader who will stand up to Putin, but the Clinton campaign is seizing on the controversy with a new ad about Trump's connections to Putin, drudging up his old statements about Putin, and questioning whether Russia is interfering in the U.S. election, Wolf.
BLITZER: There's a bunch of other top national security officials and former officials, including a lot of Republicans.
You speak to them all of the time who agree with Mike Morell, right?
LABOTT: Well, there are a lot of people that are concerned about these statements back and forth between the two leaders and saying, pointing to the Kremlin's intelligence operations and saying that as a former KGB officer, Putin knows how to play Trump.
BLITZER: Elise Labott reporting for us, thanks very much. That's it for me. Thanks for watching.
"ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.