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THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER
Does Trump Suggest Violence with Second Amendment Comments?; Regulating Amusement Parks; Four U.S. Troops Receive Silver Star For Their Valor; Hillary's America: 2016's Top Grossing Documentary. Aired 4:30-5p ET
Aired August 9, 2016 - 16:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANA NAVARRO, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: He seems not to understand the power of words, particularly the power of words used by somebody who is the Republican nominee, the nominee of a major party.
Words matter. There's a lot of people out there who the last thing they need is to get more inflamed, to get angrier. And I think that is where Donald Trump fails so miserably. He can't seem to grasp the importance of his position and the weight and influence he now carries.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Paul?
PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes.
A reasonable person would, I think, take that to mean a veiled threat. Certainly, General Hayden did. He's a very reasonable person.
The question is, how does an unreasonable take it? Today and every day -- and I have for years -- I wear this American flag pin. But it was also given to me by the Secret Service. They protected my boss every day when I worked in the White House. They protected President Bush, enormous threats after 9/11.
TAPPER: They protect Donald Trump.
BEGALA: And thank God they do. They have already stopped one animal who was trying to go after Mr. Trump. And thank God they did. They protect his family too.
This is not something that should be joked about. And I hope at the best case, you could say he was joking. Didn't seem like a joke to me. And Tony Schwartz, the guy who actually wrote "The Art of the Deal," says Trump never jokes.
So, I fear that an unbalanced person hears that, as Ana points out, in this inflamed environment, and God forbid thinks that that was a threat. I certainly take it as a threat. I really do. And Trump needs to apologize.
TAPPER: While we're on the subject of unbalanced people, the Orlando terrorist, his father, Seddique Mateen, appeared behind Hillary Clinton at a rally last night.
He was very visible. He has said some horrific things out there, and talking about gays, about the Taliban. Obviously, he is the father of a terrorist. He says he supports Hillary Clinton.
You can't coordinate with the Hillary Clinton campaign, I don't think. What do you think? What would you advise them, if you were allowed to? What would you say to them to say? Because she has not said anything about this.
BEGALA: Disavow. Disavow him. She doesn't want his support and her campaign doesn't want his support.
It may take a while to get their act together. The candidate is here. The vice presidential candidate is there. The campaign chairman is here. I have run campaigns. At this stage, they're a very big battleship, but they need to go to battle stations here.
They need to disavow this guy. And I guess I can say, because I can't coordinate with the campaign. They need to fire the advance person. Thousands of people came to that rally. You can't screen every one of them to find out if they posted something crazy or their son is a terrorist. I get that. But he was in the shot. He was behind the candidate.
TAPPER: Very visible.
BEGALA: Hate to turn on my own, but that was a bad advance move right there, and the campaign needs to disavow that man.
KATRINA PIERSON, TRUMP CAMPAIGN SPOKESPERSON: Jake, if this were a Donald Trump rally, it would have been breaking news and there would be mass chaos in the media right now.
This man says he was invited by the Clinton campaign, he was strategically placed right behind her, so all the cameras could see. This is a individual who praised the Taliban, which, by the way, just joined ISIS, for crying out loud. And no one is demanding that the Clinton campaign come out and explain or even denounce this person?
NAVARRO: I think Paul just did.
BEGALA: I just said she -- I guarantee you she's going to disavow him.
TAPPER: Well, let me just also say, I have asked for a response from the Clinton campaign, and I have not gotten one.
BEGALA: I bet you do now.
NAVARRO: Well, they should hurry up and do it. And this was an uncommon flaw. But what we have seen is a very well-run campaign. They don't commit these type of mistakes. When they do, they need to acknowledge it. They need to remedy it and solve it quickly?
TAPPER: But what is the problem? Why would you hold -- I'm asking you to speculate, so I won't do that
TAPPER: You just think it's logistics?
BEGALA: It is a logistical thing. It's a huge campaign at this stage. It's not like when you're starting out and it's very, very nimble.
TAPPER: There were 3,000 people there. It was a big rally. But this guy was -- he looked familiar to me the first time I saw a picture of him behind her.
BEGALA: I myself would not have recognized him. But if you're putting someone in the shot, you ought to run a Google or a security or a Social Security check, some sort of check, if they're in the picture. If they're in the auditorium, goodness' sakes, I can't fault them for that, but he was in the shot. And I think an advance person would be in a lot of trouble right now.
TAPPER: All right.
Ana, Katrina, Paul, thank you all.
A ferris wheel accident and a death on the world's tallest water slide are raising new questions about who makes sure these rides are safe. It turns out, in some states, the answer is no one. Riders are actually advised not to get on if they think it looks dangerous -- that story next.
TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD.
We're going to turn to the national lead today, new safety questions after a second incident just this week involving amusement park rides, the latest at a county fair in Tennessee. Three girls fell from some 40 feet from a Ferris wheel, causing serious injuries.
One day before that, 10-year-old Caleb Schwab after riding down the Verruckt water slide in Kansas City, Kansas. Somewhere on the 168- foot ride, the tallest in the world, authorities say little Caleb suffered a grievous neck injury.
Both incident now beg the question, is anyone in charge of ensuring safety on thrill rides such as these? CNN government regulation correspondent Rene Marsh is looking into
Rene, safety standards not the same of course state by state.
RENE MARSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: No, you're absolutely right.
It's a patchwork of oversight. And safety advocates say it's creating a dangerous loophole. Tonight, a child is in intensive care in Johnson City, Tennessee, and a county fair is forced to shut down all of its rides. It's the second amusement park accident in just two days. The concern now, there is no one set standard for safety regulations at these parks.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have three kids that fell from the Ferris wheel. Three kids.
MARSH (voice-over): Monday, three girls fell about 45 feet from an amusement park ride in Tennessee, one of them severely injured.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They have also called for two helicopters, two med units.
MARSH: And just one day earlier, 10-year-old Caleb Schwab died from a neck injury after riding this 168-foot-tall water slide in Kansas City, Kansas, a foot taller than Niagara Falls. It is dubbed the world's largest water slide.
DEBORAH HERSMAN, FORMER CHAIRWOMAN, NATIONAL TRANSPORTATION SAFETY BOARD: What we do know about water parks is there is very little federal oversight or regulations. They're not required to report their injuries, and that much of this is handled at the state and local level.
MARSH: There are more than 400 amusement parks in the United States, attracting more than 330 million visitors per year. No federal agency is responsible for oversight. It is up to the states to regulate, and some are more strict than others.
But the trade group that represents amusement parks tells CNN -- quote -- "Serious incidents are extremely rare."
The most recent data from 2014 shows, of the millions of visitors to amusement parks in the U.S., there were more than 1,100 reported injuries. But that number does not account for water parks or traveling parks, like the Ferris wheel incident in Tennessee. That data is harder to come by.
It also doesn't account for close calls like this, a Texas father forced to hold his 6-year-old son mid-ride after the safety restraint came loose, and fatal incidents like the woman who fell out of a roller coaster car and plummeted to her death at Six Flags over Texas in 2013.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She goes up like this, and then when it drops to come down, that is when it released, and she just tumbled.
MARSH: All raise questions about why there is not one standard to ensure the millions of riders are safe.
HERSMAN: They're expecting to have a safe ride. We need to make sure that all of the work on the design, maintenance, and oversight and inspection is done so that there is a safe ride for everyone.
MARSH: There is some federal oversight for temporary fairs and carnivals. But 35 years ago, legislation was revised preventing the federal government from regulating amusement parks and water parks.
Senator Ed Markey, he blames the revision on the lobbying pressure from the amusement park industry. He's been trying since 1999 to get that federal oversight restored for the amusement park. Has not happened yet.
TAPPER: All right, Rene Marsh, thank you so much.
They could be carrying out a mission as we speak. CNN uncovering amazing details about the special operations teams fighting ISIS and their amazing acts of heroism that remain hidden from the public.
Then, a look at how the sleek style of Hollywood is being used to attack political candidates. But is this a slippery slope blurring the lines between political fact and fiction?
[16:46:03] TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD. The WORLD LEAD now. The American University of Afghanistan today shut down its campus as investigators worked to try to find two professors who were kidnapped in Kabul, one of them American, the other from Australia.
An Afghan security official said stopped their car Sunday night, broke their window, and then grabbed the two men. Recent kidnappings and bombings that already security concerns in Kabul. U.S. workers sometimes travel around town by helicopter to avoid driving on dangerous roads.
Nearly 4,000 U.S. troops are currently in the ongoing war against ISIS. Just in Iraq alone, dozens more special operation service members are in Iraq and Syria. You won't hear much, if anything, about the struggle of these special operators or their near- death experiences or their tales of heroism mostly for security reasons.
Now our Pentagon correspondent, Barbara Starr, however, saw that there were real stories of valor to be told while still not revealing information that could put our troops in any sort of risk and she learns specifically of four brave American heroes, who courageously put themselves in harm's way in the fight against ISIS and were awarded the Silver Star.
Let's bring in her in now. Barbara, what can you tell us about these American heroes?
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jake, indeed, for special operations the fight against ISIS has largely been a secret battle. Many of their operations never disclosed to the public, but now tonight here on THE LEAD, we have new details.
STARR (voice-over): Navy SEALs in a firefight against 100 ISIS operatives in Iraq. This cell phone video captures a rare glimpse into the deadly world of special operations the public is never meant to see.
Navy SEAL Charles Keating was killed here. Across the battlefield, U.S. special operations are engaged in missions so perilous it's become a secret (inaudible) of courage in the fight to kill ISIS.
CNN has learned there are four Silver Stars, the third highest award for valor for combat against ISIS that are so classified, no details are available, none.
But clues on other battles are emerging from documents obtained by CNN detailing the combat awards for missions never fully described in public.
One file details exclusive new information on a July 2014 raid that so far has only been briefly acknowledged. A Silver Star awarded to an Army helicopter pilot for a ten-hour classified high risk mission deep inside enemy territory. The pilot flew overhead for five hours after being wounded during the initial assault.
[16:50:03]The mission, Navy SEALs and Army Delta Force commandos tried to rescue American hostages being held by ISIS in Raqqa, Syria, including journalist, James Foley, later murdered. The Americans had already been moved.
We now know how tough a fire fight that was. A Marine was awarded a Bronze Star as he came into close combat with ISIS and eliminated a grave threat.
And from May 2013, significant new detail about a raid in Syria to capture a top ISIS operative named Abu Sayyaf. He was killed in the fire fight. For that raid, a Silver Star secretly awarded to an Army pilot for a night time high risk mission deep inside enemy territory.
He continued to fly for over an hour despite sustaining intense battle damage to his aircraft during the initial assault. CNN is withholding names of the troops involved at the request of the Pentagon, but we are revealing their valor.
PAT MULCAHY, DIRECTOR, OFFICER AND ENLISTED PERSONNEL MANAGEMENT: Twenty percent of the awards are not in a public domain either the member was in a classified operation or they are a member of the special forces and that's for security reasons, we don't publish.
STARR: Over 240 awards for valor on the battlefield since 9/11 are still stamped classified. President Obama also secretly awarded medals to the Navy SEALs that killed Osama Bin Laden. Former SEAL Jeffrey Eggers was there and recalled an extraordinary scene.
JEFFREY EGGERS, NEW AMERICA FOUNDATION: It was the humility of the military forces that were there. The fact that they were trying to deflect credit elsewhere.
STARR: So it is just worth thinking about over 240 awards for valor to American servicemen since 9/11 are still secret. Their mission so classified nothing is revealed about them. As we talk about this, Jake, the Pentagon is reviewing all 1,200 awards since 9/11, the public and the secret, to make sure that these American service members are being appropriately recognized. They may decide to upgrade many of these awards -- Jake.
TAPPER: All right, someday, hopefully, we can all thank them in person. Barbara Starr, thank you.
I saw it in the documentary, it's going to be true. The proceeding sentence could not be more false as the general election season hits high gear. We'll separate facts, fiction, ridiculousness, coming up.
TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD. Turning back to our Pop Culture Lead, with just 91 days to go before the election, the most successful documentary film of the year is an extended attack on the character of Hillary Clinton.
Now, you might not have heard of the movie, "Hillary's America" and you might not have of its filmmaker, conservative, Dinesh D'Souza. But D'Souza's last effort about President Obama, that's the fifth most successful documentary in history behind March of the Penguins, and that thing about Bieber.
Now you might not agree with Dinesh D'Souza's take on Hillary Clinton, but he is laughing all of the way to the bank.
TAPPER (voice-over): They are quite different from the kinds of political attacks you're probably used to.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The old trump, the new Trump, the same Trump.
TAPPER: Neither TV ads nor stomp speeches, these are skillfully produced feature length documentary films about the two major party presidential nominees.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What if their plan is to steal America?
TAPPER: There is no attempt to balance or fairness like most documentaries, these have a distinct point of view and are blatant in efforts to expose any damaging detail.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We'll show you everything they doesn't want you to see.
TAPPER: And banking on bias can be good for business.
TED JOHNSON, SENIOR EDITOR, "VARIETY": What is a documentary filmmaker? It now is not just the journalist type, it is someone who is an entertainer.
TAPPER: The documentary, "Hillary's America," the secret history of the Democratic Party was released during the political conventions for maximum impact. In it, conservative filmmaker, Dinesh D'Souza uses violent scenes of slavery and dramatic reenactments to try to make his points.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And in just a few weeks, the film has earned more than $11 million making it one of the top grossing political documentaries of all time.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In 1991 we made a documentary about Donald Trump. He threaten to sue and he got what he wanted.
TAPPER: The team behind "Trump What's the Deal" marketed the old film with a modern media blitz. "Trump What's the Deal" was released not in theaters, but on iTunes and given a website, Facebook page, and the Twitter account. But it's Dinesh D'Souza who is taking this to a whole new level.
JOHNSON: The onus is on the filmmakers to kind of come up with a new gimmick. I've interviewed him and he says this is set out to make a horror film.
TAPPER: But can these movies impact the election?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The world could be a pretty scary place in 2016.
TAPPER: Four years ago, D'Souza's most successful film, "2016, Obama's America," aimed at the president's reelection. It was a huge success, but Obama was reelected anyway.
Not unlike Michael Moore whose "Fahrenheit 911" against George W. Bush, broke box office records in 2004. The same year George W. Bush was reelected.
JOHNSON: The audience that you're looking at are probably more often than not the true believes, the people who want to be affirmed. I think it says something about how people like to digest their politics these days, they like to be entertained.
TAPPER: That's is for THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper. Turning you over to Wolf Blitzer in "THE SITUATION ROOM." Thanks for watching.