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GOP Natl. Security Experts: Trump's "Dangerous"; Trump Ties Iran Execution To Clinton Emails; Honesty Question Plagues Clinton; GOP Sen. Susan Collins: Not Backing Trump; Anti-Trump Republican Launches Independent Bid; McMullin: Trump Is "Inhuman"; More Accusations Against Ailes; Fox In Settlement Talks With Carlson. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired August 8, 2016 - 21:00   ET



[21:01:02] JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening again. We begin this hour with the national security kneecapping. Donald Trump got late today right in the middle of his attempt to get his campaign back in gear. Donald Trump has had a rough couple of weeks in today's speech in Detroit on prompter, on message, about the economy was step one in trying to put it behind him.

He delivered it, but then this. "Donald Trump is not qualified to be president and commander-in-chief. Indeed, we are convinced that he would be a dangerous president and would put the country at risk our country's national security -- he would risk our national security and well-being."

A letter signed by 50 former Republican National Security experts including former NSA and CIA Director Michael Hayden and two former Republican secretaries of Homeland Security. This evening, Donald Trump reacted.

CNN's Dana Bash joins us again with more on that and some of the other harsh words in the letter itself. Dana, this letter from foreign policy experts, it's pretty stark. What are the main points in it?

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: It is stark. And I think one of the things that is most fascinating about is that, they don't go after Donald Trump for his policy -- for lots of reasons. Maybe a lot of them differ within the Republican establishment, those who signed this letter, but they go after him for his temperament.

Let me show you more of the letter. They say, he lacks self-control and acts impetuously. He cannot tolerate personal criticism. He has alarmed our closest allies with his erratic behavior. All of these are dangerous qualities in an individual who aspires to be president and commander-in-chief with command of the U.S. nuclear arsenal.

If that isn't dire enough, here's the kicker of the letter, John. We are convinced that in the Oval Office, he would be the most reckless president in American history. It doesn't get more jarring than that to be writing that as a Republican and frankly, a lot of these people who are writing it are nonpolitical -- it's not political. They're diplomats. They're kind of walks when it comes to foreign policy.

So, that is certainly why that took Donald Trump off message quite a bit today to have this kind of blind siding him to ...


BERMAN: You know, the Trump campaign basically is denouncing the letter saying the people who signed that are, "Failed Washington elite." What else are they saying?

BASH: He responded exactly how you would expect somebody who is an outsider to respond, somebody who has been really trashing the Bush administration. Many of these experts and officials came from the Bush world, trashing him for the Iraq war and much more. Let me read to you a part of the Trump campaign's response.

I offer a better vision for our country and our foreign policy, one that is not run by a ruling family dynasty. It's an American first vision that stands up to foreign dictators instead of taking money from them, seeks peace over war, rebuilds our military and makes other countries pay their fair share for their protection.

So again, really goes at the theme that carried Donald Trump through the Republican primaries and he's trying to get back to today, which is he's an outsider. They're part of the system which is rigged, which hasn't worked on a whole host of levels.

BERMAN: You brought up what his message was today. This was delivered in an economic policy speech that was very important for the campaign. What did he say there?

BASH: He said a lot and a lot of things that were right on point when it comes to what Republicans were hoping and praying he could do, which is not have any unforced errors, not insult anybody. In fact, he was interrupted 14 times which is kind of astonishing, by protesters at various points during his speech. He pretty much let it go. He had one kind of funny quip, but he didn't go after them.

But more importantly on the substance, he really tried to reach out to some potential middle class voters. He tried to incorporate theories and credo and philosophies from traditional Republican tax plans. He even scrapped his own tax reform plan and adopted the house Republicans' plan.

[21:05:15] So he did everything that he was supposed to do, both in terms of temperament for the speech and in terms of substance and policy. He didn't have, you know, an unforced error on his own. He just kind of again got knocked off message by very influential group of Republicans saying he's unfit to be president.

BERMAN: All right, Dana Bash thanks so much. You know, in a few moments we're going to back check a new tweet from Donald Trump linking Hillary Clinton's use of a private e-mail server to the execution of an Iranian nuclear scientist who helped the United States.

First, though, our panel joining us this hour, New York Times Political Correspondent, Patrick Healy, and all of our friends who have been with us for the previous hour.

Patrick, I want to start with this letter from the 50 national security people who worked in a various Republican administrations over the years. What's the history here? I mean, is this fairly unprecedented to see something of this scope?

PATRICK HEALY, NEW YORK TIMES POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: No, absolutely. I mean, to come out of a convention, two conventions usually you're having the two campaigns that are trying to annihilate each other. Usually we are having that Clinton campaign would be sending missive after missive putting opposition research out on Donald Trump, making various kinds of attacks. Silence from the Clinton campaign.

All of these sorts of other groups now that this is, you know, these 50 who've signed this letter are to some extent sort of doing the work of the Clinton campaign just in terms of overshadowing Donald Trump's day, sort of changing the message, you know, from him. You know, it's creating a dynamic now that really does favor her. She wants this to be an election based on his character.

She wants it to be a character debate, not a policy debate. She doesn't want to talk about free trade and jobs in states like Pennsylvania, where she feels like it's going to be a closer contest with Donald Trump. If it's the issues, she wants him on the character.

BERMAN: You know, Kayleigh, let me ask you about what Patrick started with there, which is the idea that day after day, you know, more and more Republicans are coming out, at least one a day, whether there are 50 today, you know, last week you had Meg Whitman, you had Sally Bradshaw. It just seems to keep on happening. How much of a concern should this be to the Trump campaign?

KAYLEIGH MCENANY, TRUMP SUPPORTER, CONSERVATIVE COLUMNIST: I don't think it's a concern if Donald Trump can breakthrough some of the off messaging he's had and stick to the message we saw today, the economic message he put forth today. That is a message that resonates. The idea that the Washington elite have failed you on both sides is what brought Bernie Sanders to the point of getting 43 percent of the Democratic vote. And it's what won Donald Trump the nomination.

And if he speaks of a real anger in this election against the very same people among Washington insiders who are coming out against Donald Trump, but I think these folks in this letter, some will come around to Trump. But those who don't, I do think that they have an obligation to explain to the American people how they think Hillary Clinton's poor judgment is an acceptable alternative to Donald Trump because at the end it's a binary choice. Someone who spoke about an Iranian scientist in her e-mail, as Senator Cotton pointed out, even if it didn't lead to her execution it's certainly is incredibly irresponsible to do given the vulnerabilities of her server. I do think they have an obligation to articulate a positive message on behalf on Clinton.

BERMAN: Is Gary Johnson and Evan McMullin, to we're going to speak to him a little bit, but we'll save that for now.


BERMAN: Joe Borelli, Donald Trump supporter, you know, if Donald Trump is going to run against the Democrats and also the Republican establishment, the 50 people in this letter and also other folks, Jeb Bush. Are there enough voters to give him 50 plus one on November 8?

JOSEPH BORELLI, TRUMP SUPPORTER, NEW YORK CITY COUNCIL MEMBER: Well, that's the point I was actually going to make. Is that, these are people who are part of administrations, to the most part, Bush people, who Donald Trump has spent most of his time sort of rebuking. I don't think it's too surprising that a lot of them are now lining up against him.

I think a lot of the motivations are questionable because a lot of these people have gone on to different things and are working for different companies. There are companies right now that people work for them are named in that letter, who have close ties with the Clinton campaign. That's all fine. They're entitled to their opinion.

To your question though, you know, he's got to rally people who are disaffected, whether they'll be Republicans, whether they'll be Democrats. He's got to abandon the typical mantra of, you know, solidifying everybody in the Republican side before you reach out. I think he has no choice but to reach out to people who are upset with sort of the beltway elite. These 50 people are the beltway elite.

BERMAN: So Tara, you know, you are a Republican. A lot of these 50 people are people you no doubt worked with when you are on The Hill.

TARA SETMAYER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yeah. I'm familiar with them and it's not just Bush people. They go back many years, longer than working in these areas, longer than some of us here have been alive. So, they're experts in these areas and they should not be dismissed just because they are expressing their opinion.

Looking at their experience in world affairs and they've worked for several different presidents. They've seen world affairs from a front row seat and they are concerned legitimately about Donald Trump's temperament and fitness to be president. He himself has made unbelievable statements that have concerned people.

[21:10:01] The president's number one job is to be commander-in-chief. And when the things Donald Trump has said and done throughout this campaign have been very disqualifying from putting a price tag on supporting our NATO allies for goodness sake, to making up things like the Iranian video, to going after POW saying he likes ones that didn't get caught. I mean, these are all -- there are so many other things that he has said that people don't think are great for the presidency of the United States and to just dismiss these people. That's not fair. (CROSSTALK)

ANGELA RYE, POLITICAL STRATEGIST: Let me chime in here. (Inaudible) really quick.

BERMAN: Angela?

RYE: Really quick. As a former house committee Homeland Security staffer who was on the committee when Secretary Chertoff was serving in Bush's cabinet, I never agreed with Secretary Chertoff. I didn't agree with the levels red, orange, yellow, and anything in between, none of it.


RYE: But what I will say ...

SETMAYER: And he was unfit, right?

RYE: ... what I will say to you is I never thought that we would be in this moment in 2016 when Republicans and Democrats could use language that sounds like unfit and unqualified to refer to the Republican nominee. It is damning and we shouldn't call it anything less than that. This isn't about being establishment.


SETMAYER: I worked on foreign affairs committee. I get it.


BERMAN: Kayleigh, Kayleigh, Kayleigh.

SETMAYER: My goodness.

MCENANY: We talk about fitness over and over again. So your candidate was under investigation by the FBI for crying out loud for making one of the poorest ...


BERMAN: Go Kayleigh. Go Kayleigh. Go Kayleigh.

MCENANY: The imperial national security perhaps even imperiling CIA asset names. We don't know what was on those top secret e-mails. It is dangerous what she did.


HEALY: At this stage of the campaign usually you have a nominee of a party who is being validated ...

RYE: That's right.

HEALY: ... by other leaders and members of his party and it's the opposition, you know, that tries to get headlines about Clinton attacks Trump. Everyday that the headline at the top line is Republican civil war still ...

RYE: That's right.

HEALY: ... that these experts, you know, are not validating him that said, I'm just cutting ...


BERMAN: Bakari, Bakari, today's speech on the economy that Donald Trump gave, he also littered with words like I'm an outsider. I'm coming from the outside. His responds to these 50 people were I'm an outsider, these are insiders. The outsider message could be one that appeals. No?

BAKARI SELLERS, CLINTON SUPPORTER, FORMER SOUTH CAROLINA STATE HOUSE MEMBER: I mean, I think it does, but you just can't look at things in a vacuum. I mean, Donald Trump being an outsider, that's fine, but you can't say an outsider who one weekend plays footsie with David Duke. The next weekend has Carter Page, who is his policy advisor, going out demonizing democracy and praising Putin in Russia.

I mean, you just can't have those things happen. But just to push back on Patrick slightly, I think that Hillary Clinton wants to have a policy debate with Donald Trump. I think that most people want to have a policy debate with Donald Trump because one thing that we've learned, and I said it before is, Donald Trump on foreign policy especially is a shallow bathtub. There's not a lot there.

And one of the things that Hillary Clinton is going to continue to do is press him on those issues. And today's economic speech, one thing he didn't answer is, how do you pay for it?

BERMAN: Hold on guys. I know you have a lot more to say. Luckily we have a lot more time in the broadcast. Stick around.

Just ahead, the new claim that Kayleigh mentioned that Donald Trump linking Hillary Clinton's e-mail server with the execution of an Iranian nuclear scientist. Do the facts support him or is this just a conspiracy theory? We've got the facts.

And next, we're going to turn the spotlight on Hillary Clinton. Her answer to Donald Trump's economic plan and how even some supporters still have questions about her honesty over those same e-mails. A lot more as "360" gets it news.


[21:17:12] BERMAN: All right. Listen, breaking news just moments ago in the "Washington Post" there is a new op-ed that was posted by Republican Senator Susan Collins from Maine. The title of this op-ed is, "Why I cannot support Donald Trump?"

I want to bring in CNN's Jeff Zeleny, who's been covering the campaign for us. Jeff, what can you tell us about Susan Collins and what she wrote? JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: John, an interesting op-ed in tomorrow's "Washington Post", no question. Susan Collins is becoming the first Republican senator to say explicitly she will not vote for Donald Trump. This is one explanation why. She says Mr. Trump lacks the temperament, self-discipline and judgment required to be president.

Now, of course, Susan Collins is a Republican from Maine. She is a more moderate Republican. She is quite close to Hillary Clinton as well when they served together in the Senate. They had a good working relationship here. So certainly she does not speak for all Republicans, John, but you get the sense that this is just the beginning and the continuation of what could be more of a Republican groundswell the closer we get to Election Day, at least among establishment Republicans.

BERMAN: And again, I haven't had time to read this, but Senator Collins doesn't say she's supporting Hillary Clinton, just not voting for Donald Trump?

ZELENY: That's right.

BERMAN: Interesting to see.

ZELENY: That's right. That's what we're seeing right now. Right, exactly. So, I mean, but that's the question here. You know, some Republicans aren't willing to go the step further here so where do they go.

BERMAN: All right. Talk to me about what Secretary Clinton is doing today. She responded very quickly to Donald Trump's speech on the economy. What did she say?

ZELENY: She did, John. I mean, she painted Donald Trump as having old ideas. It almost seemed like a flashback today. This campaign seems so new and fresh. Today it seemed old and stale.

She said his ideas are old. She talked about trickle down economics. But more importantly, she went hard after his business record, again trying to make the point that he is someone who hasn't always paid his bills. He is someone who does not make his products here in the U.S.

So trying to undercut his strength as a businessman, of course it works among her supporters. Doubtful it works among his.

BERMAN: All right, Jeff Zeleny for us, again, with this breaking news, Senator Susan Collins, Republican from Maine, will not be voting for Donald Trump.

So more now on that notion of wherever you stand politically, it is safe to say that Hillary Clinton, she's done well in the polls for the last couple weeks, but there have been some issues. And it goes to one of her biggest weaknesses with the voters, questions about her honesty.

More now on that from "360's" Randi Kaye. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A warm greeting for Hillary Clinton as she swings through the swing state of Florida, where she's leading her opponent by six points.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is history in the making.

[21:19:59] KAYE: History, perhaps, but what about Hillary Clinton's own history? Benghazi, her private e-mail server, false claims about landing under sniper fire in Bosnia. It's all part of the same narrative and why many voters don't trust her.

The latest CBS polls shows just 34 percent of registered voters say Clinton is honest and trustworthy. Compared to 36 percent for Donald Trump. Even among her supporters at this rally in St. Petersburg there were lingering questions about her e-mails.

GLENDA WILLIAMS, FLORIDA VOTER: Of course we have concerns. We would like to know definitively. We may never know definitively.

KAYE: Voter Denise Fowler lost trust in Mrs. Clinton after the attacks in Benghazi.

DENISE FOWLER, FLORIDA VOTER: I thought that was a cover-up so that when my distrust really started to step up.

KAYE: Still, both of these women say they will vote for Hillary Clinton, even despite her repeated false claims that the FBI director had said she told the truth about her e-mails to the public.

The FBI director never actually said she had spoken the truth to the public, which is what she was repeating. So is that OK with you?

WILLIAMS: That's OK with me, because, you know, something, the only other alternative is and that is not an alternative to me.

KAYE: Clinton later walked back her comments saying she had short- circuited her brain in her answer, a comment her critics immediately jumped on. But voters here accepted that explanation.

FOWLER: She could have pack take the story to make it quick and to talk about, but I think she did give the answer and I think it's been beaten to a pulp.

BARBARA SOMMA, VOTING FOR CLINTON: It's a misspoken word, I mean have you ever done public speaking, I have and, you know, sometimes words just flow out. I don't think there was any attempt to lie to us.

CHERYL TOOKER, FLORIDA VOTER: In her heart, she knew there was no ill will on her part. And that was her perception. And I accept that.

KAYE: Voters we met seemed to be OK with a few untruths here and there.

DEREK HAYNES, FLORIDA VOTER: Politics, you have to fudge a little bit but I think on balance, she is truthful, she is honest.

KAYE: And while voter Derek Haynes didn't call Trump a liar, he did call him a few other things.

HAYNES: I think he's a racist, a misogynist, a xenophobe, and homophobe.

KAYE: Most here says Clinton wins the honesty contest against Trump all day long.

AVIVA TIEGER, FLORIDA VOTER: I don't trust him with my children. I don't trust him to lead this country. I don't trust a word he's saying.

KAYE: Trump's latest suggestion that Clinton isn't fit to be president if her brain, "short-circuits", was lost on these voters.

RICHARD ACKERMAN, VOTING FOR CLINTON: I don't make too much of anything that Trump says because if there's anyone that's not fit to be president, it's Trump.

KAYE: Randi Kaye, CNN, St. Petersburg, Florida.


BERMAN: All right thanks to Randi for that. Reaction now from a Hillary Clinton supporter, a pro Clinton Super PAC adviser former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm joins us right now.

Governor thanks so much for being with us. If I can ask you a simple yes or no question. Has Hillary Clinton been honest about her e- mails?

JENNIFER GRANHOLM, SENIOR ADVISER TO PRO-CLINTON SUPER PAC: Yes. She has been honest in the sense that she has not lied. She did not intend to mislead anyone. She honestly believed that she was telling the American people the truth that she did not send any e-mails or receive any e-mails that were marked classified. That was why she wasn't prosecuted because there wasn't intent.

So Director Comey said there were e-mails that were classified. There's a disagreement about whether those were classified or not. But the point is, she has said repeatedly that she understands why people are concerned about this, that she made a mistake and that she is sorry and I don't know how many times she's got to repeat it but she will continue to repeat that.

BERMAN: Well, you know, I was going to ask you, I mean I know you think that Hillary Clinton has been honest about her e-mails. Do you think over the last two weeks she has been as clear as she can be in explaining why she thinks she's been honest?

GRANHOLM: You know, I heard her statements to the journalist on I think if it's Saturday and I thought I was so relieved because I thought it was so clear and then all of this follow-up suggested that it wasn't so clear. So I guess it wasn't. But the bottom line is, she acknowledges that she made a mistake and if you compare this with Donald Trump, who will never acknowledge that he made a mistake. There was a really interesting article on Sunday in the "New York Times" by Nick Christoff which compared ...

BERMAN: Op-ed by Nick Christoff.

GRANHOLM: Right, right. An article on op-ed by him, of course. And he -- but what he did was he went to the fact checkers, the PolitiFact and "Washington Post" fact checker who have evaluated all of the statements by both candidates and what he found is that the most egregious lies, Trump has nine times more egregious pants on fire lies.

BERMAN: But look, comparing who has the worst lies I think doesn't lead to an uplifting election.

GRANHOLM: No, no of course. Of course.

BERMAN: Again, I think our job is to test both candidates and make sure both candidates are telling the truth.

GRANHOLM: Right but and to be fair about it.

[21:25:02] BERMAN: Hillary Clinton got to the short-circuit answer on Friday after having two answers which fact checkers had given four Pinocchios to where she suggested that James Comey had said that Hillary Clinton told the truth to the American people which he never directly said.

And then she had the short-circuited explanation on Friday, where she did explain, if you listen very carefully, how she got to where she was. My question to you, was again, and I hear from Democratic advisors, nonpartisan analysts who all say the issue here, what they can't understand, is why she can't find a way to explain this more clearly and move past it in a way that is more accessible to voters.

GRANHOLM: Yes, I mean, I think that she did on Saturday. But, again, that's me, she has said repeatedly, "I'm sorry, I did not intend to send or receive classified information." She takes it very seriously, lesson learned, she would never do it again.

But when you look at who's most risky to America, I mean, Donald Trump takes the cake as all of your program today has demonstrated, by all of these people who have worked in national security and who believe that he's a danger.

BERMAN: Gov. Jennifer Granholm, thanks so much for being with us ...

GRANHOLM: You bet.

BERMAN: ... appreciate it.

When we come back, the tweet and the controversy surrounding it, Donald Trump is suggesting that Hillary Clinton could be to blame for a man's execution. The question is, do the facts -- do any facts support this insinuation? Answer is next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[21:30:20] BERMAN: We've mentioned it several times already tonight, Donald Trump seems to be trying to link Hillary Clinton's e-mail issues to something new, he tweeted this. "Many people area saying that the Iranians killed the scientist who helped the U.S. because of Hillary Clinton's hacked e-mails."

He's referring to Iranian nuclear scientist Shahram Amiri who was executed over the weekend accused of spying for the U.S. The Clinton campaign says Trump is crossing a line. However, the real question now is, what do the facts say?

CNN political analyst Josh Rogen is written about this controversy extensively for the "Washington Post". He joins us now with the facts he found, and Josh before we fact checked Donald Trump, just quickly, if you can, explain to us again who this nuclear scientist is and what happened him.

JOSH ROGEN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Sure, Shahram Amiri was an Iranian nuclear scientist who -- according to every U.S. official I have talked to, was working clandestinely for the United States giving us information about Iran's nuclear program for many years.

In 2009, he went to the U.S., he was here for about 14 months, which point he decided he wanted to go back to Iran. And the U.S. is trying to help him go back to Iran. He didn't like how it was working out, they hopped in a cab and headed to the Iranian intersection in the Pakistan Embassy. At that point the story became public and everybody became aware of this guy.

He told this crazy cover story about how he was kidnapped in Saudi Arabia and how he wasn't really a double agent. But the Iranians took him into custody, anyway, and put him on trial and then unfortunately, yesterday executed him.

BERMAN: OK. So when Donald Trump says many people are saying the Iranians killed the scientist who helped the U.S. because of Hillary Clinton's hacked e-mails, first of all, the e-mails we're talking about they weren't hacked. These are part of the release ...

ROGEN: Right.

BERMAN: ... that have come out over the last year in the investigation. But is there any truth to the idea that the Iranians killed this scientist because of what was in the e-mails?

ROGEN: Right, so let's unspin this for a second. What he's talking about is that yesterday on "Face the Nation" Senator Tom Cotton pointed to the fact that Clinton's staff had discussed these -- this guy in a couple of e-mails since 2010 as this controversy was coming into the public light, and then he sort of just said it was reckless. Cotton never made an accusation. The Drudge Report put up a banner title that said, was she responsible for the execution and Trump re- tweeted that and then doubled down on that. So, when he says many people he's really talking about himself and Matt Drudge. That's about it.

BERMAN: Yeah, but Josh to the substance of it, to the idea that somehow the e-mails were responsible for the execution.

ROGEN: Right. First of all, we should say that, you know, the pub -- Amiri's identity and the fact that he was most likely spying for us was public six years ago. I covered it at the time. Everyone did. Everyone knew about it. Hillary Clinton spoke about it publicly.

So, the idea that the release of the e-mails gave us any new information is just wrong on its face. You know, also, it's clear that if we knew what he was doing, the Iranians did, too. So, they had a very clear understanding of this. So this, you can't ever say never but if there is simply zero evidence that the e-mails or the release of the e-mails had anything to do with Amiri's fate. He basically outed himself, again, six years ago in public and he just paid the price now. And that's when Donald Trump sort of realized it.

BERMAN: So it was -- the idea, the gist of it is, is that the knowledge was out there, the e-mails weren't saying anything that wasn't part of the public record and you weren't reporting on at the time. They wouldn't have needed the e-mails to find out what was going on. In fact, the e-mails probably post-dated a lot of reporting that was out there.

And when you get to this type of information being tweeted by Donald Trump, whether it be the phrasing many people are saying, you know, there are people who say Donald Trump traffics in conspiracy theories, whether it be about Ted Cruz's father, whether it be about the birth certificate of, you know, President Obama, whether it be about the notion that Ted Cruz -- sorry, that Justice Scalia, you know, may have been murdered, his death was suspicious. This is the kind of thing we hear from Donald Trump.

ROGEN: Well that's exactly the point. He sort of gives oxygen to these rumors and in doing so, sort of poisons the discussion about them and prevents any real discussion of what were the mistakes and trade-offs made in this very difficult case so many years ago.

You know, it's not just a matter of is he right or wrong on the facts. He happens to be wrong on the facts. It's a matter of him sort of, convincing his followers that something happened, that didn't happen, and then it's up us in the media or the Clinton campaign to try to unconvinced them which is a very hard thing to do and in the end the public discussion of important national security issues just becomes impossible and he's done this over and over again. And it's really hurting sort of the serious consideration of these important issues.

BERMAN: Josh Rogen, thanks so much for being with us.

ROGEN: Thank you.

BERMAN: All right, just ahead, were going to hear from Evan McMullin. Now his name may not ring a bell for you, but he has been recruited by some conservative Republicans who try to unring the Trump bell. He is running for president. We will speak to him this long shot video, next.


[21:38:59] BERMAN: All right, not even 100 days to go until the election and we have a new presidential candidate to tell you about. His name is Evan McMullin. He used to work at the CIA, he worked at Goldman Sachs and most recently he was a congressional policy aide for the house Republican conference. A Republican.

Today, a new mission began as he launched an independent bid for the white house. There will be logistical problems getting on the ballot to name one as many states deadlines have already passed but, McMullin says it's never too late to do the right thing. I spoke with him just a short time ago.


BERMAN: So let me start by asking the question that a lot of people were wondering this morning, I think when they first read this in print. Who are you?

EVAN MCMULLIN, (I) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Good question. Well, my name is Evan McMullin. I was born in Utah and raised outside of Seattle, Washington. I served in the CIA for about 10 years, most of that overseas as an Operations Officer Undercover, where I ran Clandestine Operations.

I left and went to the private sector and then accepted an opportunity to return to government service on Capitol Hill, where most recently I was the Chief Policy Director in the House Republican Conference.

[21:40:09] BERMAN: So most of the people running for president got in this race like 14 months ago. There was a higher year long primary process. There was a convention.


BERMAN: A few weeks ago. Why did you wait? Why now?

MCMULLIN: Well, like many Americans, I have been very frustrated with the choices we've been given this year and I hoped for something better for months and months and months, and that somebody would step forward, somebody with national name I.D. who could advance another option for Americans, a better option, but it became clear as time passed that that wasn't going to happen and of course I've been in touch with people who have been trying to organize such an effort and it looked like it wasn't going to happen at this late hour. And finally, the opportunity was given to me and I wrestled with it for some time, for a couple of weeks, and ultimately decided that it needed to be done and decided to move forward.

BERMAN: Republican Party Leadership, Reince Priebus, the Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, other Republicans around the country. In different degrees but they are essentially ling up behind Donald Trump. You just couldn't bring yourself to do it? MCMULLIN: No. I don't think Donald Trump is good for this country, nor is Hillary Clinton. In fact, I think both are dangerous in their different ways, in their unique ways. Donald Trump I believe is a real authoritarian. I believe he has no respect for our system. I believe he's inhuman. I don't think that he cares about anyone but himself.

BERMAN: Inhuman is a pretty harsh accusation. What do you mean by that?

MCMULLIN: I don't think he cares about anyone other than himself. You know, you look at sort of some of his remarks in the past week or couple of weeks, where he's attacked the families and those who have served our country and risked their lives, or even given their lives.

He attacked the Khan family. He of course, he attacked John McCain early on in his campaign. I think these shows -- you have to be a special kind of person to attack those who risked their lives to protect you.

BERMAN: Can I talk about one state which could be a microcosm of what's going on? I hear people say Utah, that you could do particularly well in Utah. You are Mormon, you are LDS, you grew up, you know, near there.


BERMAN: If you split the votes, split the Republican vote in Utah, there are some people who suggest you could actually hand the state to Hillary Clinton. Utah's a state that hasn't voted, you know, Democrat in a long, long, long time. If you deprived, if all you did in this election was deprive Donald Trump Utah, would that be worth it to you?

MCMULLIN: Look, Donald Trump is already losing badly to Hillary Clinton. He is a weak candidate and he's performing that way. And he continues to get worse everyday, every week with the things he says. It seems that he can't control what he says because the things he says don't serve his best interests.

So the big picture is that Donald Trump is already losing badly. He's competing against a Democratic candidate that I think is one of the weakest in decades or if not the weakest in decades and his losing. He was losing before I entered this race.

BERMAN: 50 foreign policy experts, national security officials who worked in past Republican administrations, signed a letter today saying they're not going to vote for Donald Trump. They say they are not necessarily for Hillary Clinton either but they are not for Donald Trump. This are names are quite familiar with them and they say ...

MCMULLIN: I know many of them.

BERMAN: ... National Securities ...


BERMAN: ... aren't focusing in yours, any of these people on board with you right now?

MCMULLIN: Well, we just launched today. And we moved very quickly and didn't share our plans with hardly anyone outside of the team. So I expect to have conversations, especially with all of those who signed that letter as I agree with everything they said in it. But we haven't had a time -- a chance to do that yet. I'm excited to have those conversations.

BERMAN: Evan McMullin, three months until Election Day.

MCMULLIN: It's going to be -- it's going to be an intense three months. No doubt.

BERMAN: Good luck. Thanks for coming on.

MCMULLIN: Thank you very much, John.


BERMAN: All right, back now with our panel. Kayleigh McEnany, Donald Trump supporter, I want to start with you. Evan McMullin, Independent bid and then Never Trump Movement, every time you think it's gone, it just keeps coming back. Any reason for concern?

MCENANY: No, not at all. I mean he is, there's no way he's barred from being on 26 ballots already. The deadlines have already passed. The Never Trump Movement did die. There was always the option to write in a candidate of your choosing but this is a binary choice. And, you know, that's what an endorsement of Hillary Clinton looks like what we just saw, because when you're not with Trump you are supporting big spending liberalism in form policy interventionism. So does is what Mr. McMullin is supporting.

BERMAN: Tara Setmayer, you are a Republican who was not supporting Donald Trump. Is Evan McMullin the answer to your dreams?

SETMAYER: The answer to my dreams, absolutely not. But, you know, I commend him for trying but I've think that just ballot access alone is interminable for him, unfortunately. And, you know, it makes -- it reminds us of why people didn't step up earlier when there was an opportunity to take Donald Trump out. And that hasn't happened.

But I commend him for standing for principle. And that -- No, it's not -- there is not a binary choice.


[21:45:01] SETMAYER: There is Gary Johnson, there is Jill Stein.

MCENANY: There are two variable, so Tara there are two.

SETMAYER: Variable versus binary, it doesn't show ...


MCENANY: It's a binary. SETMAYER: But someone choosing to stand on principle and not sell their souls out to vote for someone they find morally reprehensible like Donald Trump, good for him.

BORELLI: That's nothing against Mr. McMullin, I'm sure he's a wonderful guy but think of how weak the -- he uses the word weak many times. Think of how weak the Never Trump Movement is when they go around in a room they're sitting with think who can run for president and this is the best they come up with. He was a Capitol Hill staffer that even in Congress.

SETMAYER: Like I say


SETMAYER: Hold on.

BORELLI: But this is how weak the Never Trump Movement really is. I don't even know why we are giving this person -- I hope someone signs his book deal so he can just, you know, move on and do something else. I think he just have to get into ...


RYE: John, John I am obligated to respond as a former Hill staffer. What I will say to you is that my friends are better than Evan's friends because they would not let me sign on to run for office this late in the game. I'm not sure who his boss was when he worked for the House Republican conference but it's horribly unfortunate. I thank him for his service but we should move right along.

HEALY: He matters only as much as he can take votes away from Donald Trump ...

RYE: Right.

HEALY: ... and he can get on the ballot important states like New Hampshire, Virginia, Ohio and also I think your point was really right on.

BERMAN: Thank you for that.

HEALY: In Utah -- you're welcome in Utah, he needs about a thousand signatures, pay a few hundred dollars by mid-August and he's on the ballot. And that can Hillary Clinton win Utah? I mean it sort of blows the mind but ...

RYE: It's in play. It's in play.

SELLERS: This is not something that you look at in isolation.

RYE: Right.

SELLERS: You don't look at him in isolation. You look at him and you add him to the list that includes Susan Collins. You add them to the list that includes these 50 others. You add them to the list to include the Hispanic communications director from Florida and Sally Bradshaw, and the list goes on and on and on and on.

And Donald Trump when you are down 10, 12, 13 points in the polls, you have to start adding. You can't just keep subtracting.

BERMAN: Patrick Healy while we were in break, I don't want to quote out of break, but you were saying that Susan Collins from Maine just wrote an op-ed in the "Washington Post," we talked about in a few minutes because saying she will not vote for Donald Trump. Don't say she's voting for Hillary Clinton. But a Republican senator adding to the list of people she's not saying she's not going to vote for Trump.

HEALY: Yes, it's a powerful piece. I mean she basically says that if you -- if Republican values are important to you, if the history of the Republican Party is important to you, that you can't in good conscience vote for Donald Trump, that he's shown himself to be unfit and lacking in temperament and other lines that are right out of the Clinton playbook.

MCENANY: There are a lot of people who would say Susan Collins doesn't know what Republican values are about. She just confirmed a judge, Judge Wright, who called into question property rights. She was fore green energy subsidy, she had a long history of being on the wrong side of conservative issues.

HEALY: She's a moderate, knowingly Republican, no doubt ...


HEALY: ... but also a voice in New Hampshire.

SETMAYER: Yes, but there's also no partisanship in decency and principle which is what she brings up and the fact that Donald Trump is incapable of ever apologizing and that he goes after people who can't ascend themselves necessarily, these are things that are come decency and character and integrity that doesn't have a D or an R.


SELLERS: I mean Republicans are we going to nightly to have the discount? I mean I doesn't matter who the Republican, I mean earlier in the day ...

SETMAYER: So wait a minute.

SELLERS: But earlier today, you were discounting Republicans who worked for Nixon, who worked for Reagan.


SELLERS: Now you discounting Susan Collins, I mean Sally Bradshaw.


MCENANY: She is the only senator who has come out against Donald Trump all many of them are ...

SELLERS: That's not true, Mark Kirk.


MCENANY: And for all of this time about Donald Trump being so bad for down ballot and on and on and on, you had Paul Ryan really lobbying for an endorsement along with John McCain who wanted an endorsement. For being so bad for down ballot ...


MCENANY: ... they wanted Donald Trump's endorsement.

SETMAYER: You think Paul Ryan needs Donald Trump? I don't think so.

BERMAN: Joseph Borelli, I will give you the last 20 seconds right here. What's your message to other Republicans right now like Susan Collins, you know, who might want to come out against Donald Trump? Do you think they should keep their mouth shut?

BORELLI: I think they should. Look, Donald Trump raised $64 million from small donors. It proves he has -- does a lot of Grassroots support on states. You don't want to be able on the wrong side of that in election year. I think even for your own interests alone, come out and support trump this year.

BERMAN: All right guys, thanks so much for being with us. A lot to talk about.

Coming up for us, there is breaking news having to do with Fox News in the Roger Ailes scandal on top of the already damaging reporting from just a day ago. Bryan Stealther, joined us with the very latest, that's next.


[21:53:15] BERMAN: It's been less than three weeks since Roger Ailes resigned after allegations that he sexually harassed multiple women who worked at Fox News. Now, there are new allegations that he also used Fox News' money to try to bring down his enemies including journalists who criticized him.

And now, in addition to that, there is even more. New information breaking tonight, CNN senior media correspondent, Reliable Sources host Brian Stelter joins me now with the latest. And Brian, the latest news is reporting that 21st Century Fox wants Roger Ailes to pay some of the settlement with Gretchen Carlson.

Gretchen Carlson, is Fox News anchor, who brought up this lawsuit to begin with against Roger Ailes.


BERMAN: They want Roger Ailes to pay some of it with his own money.

STELTAR: That's right. This suit one month old, it's in court, hasn't really gone to a jury. I think it's still in the early stages. Now we know, there are settlement talks under way, In a "Vanity Fair", reporting that tonight, and my source confirming.

Those talks are underway. A eight figure settlement, we're talking more than $10 million, some of it possibly to be paid by Roger Ailes who continues to deny all the allegations against him. But these allegations are piling up.

Just today, a new accuser, Andrea Tantaros, she was a boldfaced name on Fox, one of the co-hosts of the show at noon, earlier the show at 5:00 p.m. She says Ailes harassed her. And when she tried to report it, he retaliated against her.

BERMAN: Few things -- but first of all, what are some of the numbers being tossed around in terms of how big the settlement will be. And number two, is it really surprising that Fox is asking him to pay some of it when, in fact, he was the only one who was sued. Really, wasn't Fox News who's name in this lawsuit?

STELTER: That's right. It was only Ailes named in this lawsuit. For weeks ago, this lawsuit then really snowballed, causing other accusers to come forward, resulting in his resignation. And now, a deeper investigation inside 21st Century Fox. The big question is who else knew what -- and who else knew what when? Did the Murdochs who employed Ailes know anything about this? And if they didn't, why the heck not?

[21:55:00] You know, this company was embroiled in a phone hacking scandal in Britain a number of years ago. Group of Murdoch had to testify about it. We all remember his then-wife trying to defend him when a man tried to go and bring a pie in his face. Well, that could've happen in Britain, that kind of corporate culture. People wonder about what the corporate culture was in the United States that allowed Ailes to potentially have this behavior going on for years.

BERMAN: All right. There's another big news reporting at "Vanity Fair" suggesting that there maybe telephone recordings that are pertinent here, explain.

STELTER: Yes. The Gretchen Carlson may have recording Ailes, may have recorded their conversations to prove that he was sexually harassing her.

BERMAN: That would be a big deal, I imagine.

STELTER: Yes. You know, this lawsuit had quotes but we didn't know if there was evidence to back it up or not. This suggests there was evidence.

BERMAN: How deep could this go do you think in terms of how much of an effect he would have on Fox News long term?

STELTER: You know, big question is what other executives may fall as a result. This continues to be a deepening investigation. How far does it go is the question that no one knows the answer too?

BERMAN: And finally, what's the latest comment from Roger Ailes? What is he saying? What is his team saying about all this at this point?

STELTER: He continues to deny the allegations. But "New York Magazine" reports that he was using Fox News money in order to have private investigators tailing some of his opponents. As you mentioned, including journalists and others.

We always knew Roger Ailes as a paranoid kind of guy, a political pro. But some of his tactics now sound downright Nixonian.

BERMAN: Brian Stelter, thank you so much for being with us. We appreciate it. We'll be right back.


BERMAN: That does it for us. Thanks for watching. Time now for "CNN TONIGHT" with Don Lemon.