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Donald Trump Battling Fallout From Second Amendment Comments; Clinton to Supporters: Words Matter; Trump's Media Strategy; Trump Supporters React to Trump's Comments. Aired 11p-12a ET

Aired August 10, 2016 - 23:00   ET


[23:00:00] DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Donald Trump's still battling the fallout from his Second Amendment remarks against Hillary Clinton. This is CNN TONIGHT, I'm Don Lemon.

The Secret Service talking to the Trump campaign about the comments, but Trump denying in a tweet that any conversation took place. Clinton, meanwhile, slamming Trump on the campaign trail in the key battleground state of Iowa, telling supporters that words matter and that Trump's remarks crossed a line.

A lot to get to tonight, but the first person I want to talk to is Dan Rather, host of AXS TV's "The Big Interview." I almost said CNN's Dan Rather, AXS TV's "The Big Interview."

I want you to listen to the man who is behind Donald Trump at the rally, Darrell Vickers what he told my colleague Brooke Baldwin earlier. Here it is.


HILLARY CLINTON, (D) PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Say something about what I think is a critical ...

DARRELL VICKERS, TRUMP SUPPORTER: Well, Trump has got a very unique personality, and he makes jokes off the cuff. And one of the things had -- we had a chance to talk to him, I would have taken him to the shed.

Down here in the south, we don't curse in front of women, we don't drink liquor in front of the preacher and we don't make jokes like that in public. Now, you may do things in private, we may go to the shed and drink some moonshine or something like that, but we would have taken Mr. Trump to the shed and said, "Don't say things like that because people will misconstrue it."


LEMON: So he said he thought it was a joke. You didn't find that a joke, even if there was one particularly funny?

DAN RATHER, HOST OF AXS TV'S THE BIG INTERVIEW: No. And I think most people do not see it as a joke, even people who inclined to like Donald Trump. It's under the heading of, you know, I don't mind you serving me broccoli, just don't try to convince me that it's bacon. It was another way of saying, people see to this. It was not a joke. It was not intended as a joke.

And words do matter. Each time Donald Trump says one of these outrageous things, there's a tendency on some people's part to take the view, well, he didn't mean that, he didn't think that through.

Look, words matter. The rhetoric is the candidate. This is where the candidate lives. Make your judgment accordingly but don't kid yourself that it's a joke or something that will just be brushed aside.

LEMON: Paul Ryan last night, you know, he won his primary, gave a speech and said, you know, "I didn't see it but I thought it was a joke." He sort of brushed it off as a joke gone wrong. And then the campaign isn't saying it's a joke. Some of the surrogates have said it's a joke, for the official response is that, he was trying to motivate support Second Amendment voters. Does that pass a smell test to you?

RATHER: No, and I don't think it will pass the smell test to any, really, intelligent person. You know, Paul Ryan, we understand his trying to walk a plain line, but at some point, he has to acknowledge that what Donald Trump is saying, he doesn't agree with it, either that or he has to undergo history's judgment.

LEMON: Yeah. Here's some of what you wrote. You wrote about this on your Facebook page, right? You wrote about this. You said, "By any objective analysis, this is a new low and unprecedented in the history of American presidential politics. This is no longer about policy, civility, decency or even temperament. This is direct threat of violence against a political rival. It is not just against the norms of American politics. It raises a serious question of whether it is against the law. To anyone who still pretends this is a normal election of Republican against Democrat, history is watching and I suspect its verdict will be harsh."

Listen, you covered a lot of presidential campaigns, and in this one I just read an article that said the media is going to be judged on -- and I'm sort of paraphrasing on, make objectivity, that when someone is outrageous, we have the responsibility to point out the outrageousness and not necessarily point to the other side as if there is equivalency. This is false equivalent, so what do you think?

RATHER: Well, I believe that's wrong way. Don't misunderstand me, I've made my mistakes over the years. But one reason I wrote this piece on Facebook was that, everything that I try to be an objective and fair reporter. I try to pull no punches, play no favorites.

But in a campaign, particularly in a campaign such as this and, in fact, this campaign is unique so far in its incivility, uncivility (ph) and its lack of decency.

[23:04:57] In just regular American values, that it come to time you have to say, "Folks, this is not usual for presidential campaign", that's point one. Point two, any time you talk about violence, even suggest gun violence, there is this long swath of American history.

It didn't begin with but John Kennedy was assassinated, Martin Luther King was assassinated, then Robert Kennedy was assassinated, goes on. Attempts against Gerald Fold ...

LEMON: Reagan's attempted assassination.

RATHER: Ronald Reagan almost killed by an assassin. And each time it only took one gunman. Who know what is rhetoric or who knows what motivated those people. But we know that this kind of language is simply unacceptable.

And by the way, part of this is that, you know, I grew up in Texas. I grew up in a gun culture. I had guns in my hand since I was 5 or 6 years old. And for a lot of people, are very strong for this Second Amendment, what Donald Trump said reflects so badly on them because it plays into the stereotype that everybody who supports the Second Amendment is gun crazy, some sort of nut job just looking for a target, and that is not the case.

LEMON: Here's what Hillary Clinton says about the comments that they've crossed the line. Here it is.


CLINTON: let me say something about what I think is a critical difference between my opponent and myself. Words matter, my friends. And if you are running to be president or you are president of the United States, words can have tremendous consequences.

Yesterday, we witnessed the latest in a long line of casual comments from Donald Trump that crossed the line, his casual cruelty to a gold star family, his casual suggestion that more country should have nuclear weapons, and now his casual inciting of violence. Every single one of these incidents shows us that Donald Trump simply does not have the temperament to be president and commander-in-chief of the United States.

LEMON: As you have said, this is anything but a normal election. Is Hillary Clinton now running this the right way to win in November?

RATHER: Well, we'll see in November of course. She's made her mistakes. I expect she'll make mistakes ahead. I said to you before that I thought Donald Trump could win. I still think he could win. I do agree ever since what she called the cruelty to the family who lost their son in Iraq, beginning with that, I do think some things beginning to turn.

LEMON: We spoke about that. Is that the turning point you believe?

RATHER: Well, I think it was the beginning of a turning point. And I think what he said about, you know, gun violence is also part of that turning point. I don't think the turn has been completed. This is a guess on my part. Because remember that Trump stands apart from what the Wall Street Journal calls Trumpism. He still has touched a nerve in the country of people who are angry, fearful, resentful, demanding change.

And as long as that's out there, and if you dig enough in the poll, you will see there's still a strong feeling about that that we have to have change and Hillary Clinton doesn't represent change.

But all of this, we still just in August, we'll see, but this much I can say. Looking at Donald Trump's campaign anywhere near an objective analysis how different it would have been if he had apologized to the Khan family almost immediately and said, "Look, I said something I shouldn't have said, I'm sorry, and said something very respectful.

And if he had turned around yesterday, you know, in the hours after he said the gun statement, if he said, "Look, I shouldn't have said that. That's a dangerous thing to say, I apologize for it and move on." It wouldn't erase it all but it would have helped him tremendously.

What I can't figure out for someone as smart as Donald Trump is, and I knew him for years, he's pretty smart guy. He keeps doing these things that make you think he's parachuted into the land of the stupid. And I don't understand that.

LEMON: I think what he doesn't realized is just because he's touched the nerve of a country with people who, you know, who feel they're underrepresented. It doesn't inoculate him from criticism and responsibility.


LEMON: I want to ask you though, I want to talk to you about the Hillary Clinton, judicial watching certain legal group that is suing the State Department now, release another batch of e-mails that many people believe, it's just too cozy relationship between Hillary Clinton state department and the Clinton Foundation. The Trump campaign says that this is corruption. Do you agree that it's corruption?

RATHER: I'd leave that to the voters to decide. I do think it's a problem for Hillary Clinton and I don't think this is last we've heard the e-mails thing. Among the negatives, there's a prospect of Hillary Clinton get elected.

These e-mails and the dribbling out of details about the e-mails have been hurtful.

[23:10:00] This is hurtful and the e-mails to come will no doubt be hurtful.

LEMON: Yeah. I want to get your reaction of what happened with Mark Foley tonight at a Trump rally. Let's look at it again.


DONALD TRUMP, (R) PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Do you think you have the best location, right, and do you in one way. But the people behind me, they're all on television. They're going to be famous. They're going to be famous. They're going to be famous.

And by the way, speaking of that, wasn't it terrible when the father of the animal that killed the wonderful people in Orlando was sitting with a big smile on his face right behind Hillary Clinton. And by the way, including a lot of the people here, how many of you people know me? A lot of you people know me, right? When you get those seats, you sort of know the campaign. So when she said, "Well, we didn't know," he knew, they knew.


LEMON: This -- I mean, why do you think this is happening just a couple of days after the Orlando shooter's father was in -- right behind Hillary Clinton in the very same spot?

RATHER: Well, I have no explanation for that. The best you can say, it's certainly not helpful. But with Donald Trump, anything to change the subject from his statements about guns he thinks is helpful to him and I think in this case it is at least marginally helpful.

LEMON: You think that he may have -- because he's known him for years. He's known Mark Foley. Mark Foley wrote about knowing him for years. Do you think he did that to change the subject possibly?

RATHER: I do. I think it was all about he's desperate to change the subject. He knows what he said about guns and the Second Amendment is extremely hurtful. And you know, you've had him on this program a number of times. Donald Trump is all about changing the subject and commanding every new cycle. So anything, no matter how outrageous and ridiculous, and frankly, it's pretty hard not to laugh at that, what we just saw.

LEMON: Yeah.

RATHER: But ...

LEMON: If it wasn't for the severity of the two men who were sitting behind them or what they did and their actions.

RATHER: Well, exactly.

LEMON: Right. Thank you.

RATHER: Thank you, Don.

LEMON: It's always a pleasure. Mr. Dan Rather, thank you so much.

RATHER: Thank you.

LEMON: Up next, Trump's Second Amendment remarks appear to be part of a maneuver he has been using throughout his campaign.


[23:15:48] LEMON: Donald Trump's remarks about Second Amendment people and Hillary Clinton causing a lot of uproar and -- but maybe that's intentional? Here's Tom Foreman. Tom?

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Don. Once again, Donald Trump has released scalding headlines with one of his comments and once again he has an explanation.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She is one of the wealthiest women in politics.

FOREMAN: Even as the NRA rolls out, a tough attack on Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump has stolen the spotlight with his own comment about how she might regulate guns.


TRUMP: If she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks, although the Second Amendment people, maybe there is. I don't know.


FOREMAN: Now, he's insisting that was no call for violence, but this is a maneuver Trump has used repeatedly, make an explosive statement, watch headlines erupt, then play defense. Method one, declare it was a joke.


TRUMP: I will tell you this, Russia, if you're listening, I hope you're able to find the 30,000 e-mails that are missing.


FOREMAN: He did that when challenged over what appeared to be an invitation for a foreign power to hack into Clinton's e-mails.


TRUMP: Of course I'm being sarcastic.


FOREMAN: Method two, say it was a misunderstanding. Remember his dispute with Fox News Host, Megyn Kelly?


TRUMP: So you could see there was blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever.


FOREMAN: Trump later tweeted he meant her nose and dismissed critics who thought otherwise as disgusting. He took a similar attack when he wanted an American judge of Mexican descent off of a lawsuit involving Trump.


TRUMP: Yeah, this judge is a Mexican heritage. I'm building a wall, OK? I'm building a wall.


FOREMAN: Once again, Trump argued his statements were misconstrued as racist. And method three, deny any ill intent. A new poll shows no Trump attack has troubled voters more than when he mocked a disabled reporter.


TRUMP: Now, the poor guy, you got to see this guy. Oh, I don't know what I said. I don't remember.


FOREMAN: But Trump insists he never did what so many thought they saw.


TRUMP: I didn't know that he was disabled. I didn't know it. I didn't know it at all.


FOREMAN: Through it all, Trump has complained he is being hammered by a double standard. "If I say something that's off one way or another, it gets massive publicity. If somebody else does it, nobody cares."


To be fair, these defenses are used by almost all politicians at one time or another. It's just that Trump seems to be doing it more often than usual and after much more incendiary comments. Don?

LEMON: Tom Foreman, thank you very much.

I want to bring in Tim O'Brien, the Executive Editor of "Bloomberg View" and author of "TrumpNation: The Art of Being the Donald". Boris Epshteyn is a Senior Advisor to Trump's campaign and Michael D'Antonio is a Donald Trump Biographer who's the Author of "The Truth About Trump."

So, I want to start with you, Boris, I want you to respond to this piece that you saw. I mean, can you admit that it seems that this is a pattern with Donald Trump that he says these things and then he doesn't own up to them?

BORIS EPSHTEYN, SENIOR ADVISOR, TRUMP CAMPAIGN: Well, we could dissect each one but that's probably not a good use of anyone's time. New York Times said politicians, you know, definitely have a way of hawking and conducting themselves. And for a year now, Donald Trump was a politician. But again, each one of those things on its own was not that big of a deal. Many Republicans moved on. But of course, it's a narrative that's being driven by the media and each one gets stressed up (ph) over and over again.

LEMON: So what's the big deal about John McCain as a war hero because he was captured, Megyn Kelly had blood coming out of her wherever, you know, this Second Amendment thing that those weren't big deals, the Khan family, that's not a big deal?

EPSHTEYN: If you look at each one of those, for us, the Khan family goes utmost respect to Captain Khan and the family for their lost and for his sacrifice, they (inaudible) to the DNC and attacked Donald Trump. He has the right to respond as he did, so no issue there.

If you want to talk about what he said about Megyn Kelly, all you could do is take him on his word for what he actually meant, right?


LEMON: My initial question was, it seems to be some sort of pattern that he says these things and he doesn't own up to them, that you and the surrogates and he does too, have to come out and then explain.

[23:20:09] EPSHTEYN: Listen, he clarifies the Second Amendment. He gave an interview within hours of that speech and said exactly what he meant that he was meant that he was calling for political action so ...

LEMON: So it's not a pattern, it's not a pattern?

EPSHTEYN: Even the pattern is saying things and being ask to about him and explaining what you have done ...

LEMON: I think it's a very simple question, is it a pattern that he doesn't own up to?

EPSHTEYN: Would -- he doesn't have to own up to anything or own it up and itself is a narrative of that I couldn't agree of.

LEMON: I know that's one of the really respectful voice, that are not an answer to my question. Is it a pattern he is owning up to or not owning up to?

EPSHTEYN: What does owning up mean? What do yo mean my owning up?

LEMON: It's self-explanatory.


LEMON: Yes or no? If you can say, yes, it is a pattern, no it's not a pattern? Does he own up to, no, does he own up to, yes. Very simple.

EPSHTEYN: If you look at each one of those examples that was used, you have to own up to anything, if he explained it the way he knows how and from the best of his abilities.


TIMOTHY O'BRIEN, AUTHOR: Don, what are we going to talk about now?

EPSHTEYN: What about ...


LEMON: It is look an Olympic challenge or routine getting people to just answer questions directly when it comes to Donald Trump.

EPSHTEYN: I think I did that --

LEMON: No, you didn't. I asked you if it was a pattern that he was owning up or not owning up to.

EPSHTEYN: Owning up means -- owning up sort of in itself suggesting that's something wrong. I'm not going to tell you he did any wrong because in each one of those he's explained.

O'BRIEN: He did something wrong. He's clearly done and said something wrong, it's not just ...

EPSHTEYN: It's not what the people thought of.

O'BRIEN: It's not that it's just a pattern, it's that he's been doing this for about a part of 40 years which is he plays with sensationalist issues, he appeals to bigotry, he appeals to violence and he walks, right, he walks -- in a lot of scenario, the fact are -- and he walks things right up to that point and then he'll deny them later. But what he's made possible is for people to be comfortable with racist remarks, comfortable with the notions of violence, is he responsible, if he is responsible ...

EPSHTEYN: Give me an example.

O'BRIEN: A racist remark?

LEMON: Yeah, a racist remark.

O'BRIEN: I think everything he said about Judge Curiel was racist. He basically ...

EPSHTEYN: You know, he's not a race.

O'BRIEN: Bigotry, racism, sensational, you -- define it any way you want.

EPSHTEYN: Of course, you're going to be up here.

O'BRIEN: Boris, give me a chances to speak.

LEMON: Boris, let him speak for it.

O'BRIEN: You know, I think that he exploits some of the electorate and his supporters and his audience's worst sentiments about race and violence, and he knows he's doing it. What he does is ... LEMON: How do you know what he knows?

O'BRIEN: Because he'd been doing it for so long, he's a master at it. He's a master at exploiting negative ...

EPSHTEYN: 14 million GOP voters in the primary, more than ever in the history of the primaries.

LEMON: That doesn't mean they're right.

EPSHTEYN: You think 14 millions voters ...

LEMON: No. It doesn't mean they're all right doesn't mean that all those 14 million voters agree with everything that he does and have people to come on and who say you know, I don't agree with everything he say. And then, to you point where you say oh, you know, as leftist or a liberal, he said things not -- there 50 Republican people who were, you know, security expert you've come out there, many Republican who have come out and denounce Donald Trump's statement, yeah.

EPSHTEYN: Senators are supporting, over hundred congressmen are supporting him.

LEMON: But then, that -- but that doesn't -- you can't deny that there are other conservatives who are not supporting him.

EPSHTEYN: Just blatantly and overarching saying that they are racist statements or statement that uphold bigotry without giving concrete examples.


LEMON: I don't think all -- all of them were saying but there are some ...

EPSHTEYN: I disagree with the term ...

LEMON: There are some that can be deemed if you take them on them -- on the merit. That can be deemed as racist. There are some that can be deemed as misogynistic. There are some that can be deemed as, you know, whatever phobia you want to put on it.

EPSHTEYN: Any individual way that could be construed one way or another, right? But ...

O'BRIEN: No, nut he's introduced a whole ...


LEMON: Any individual horse is not running for president of the United States. When you're running for president of United States the standards are here and not here.

EPSHTEYN: So, let's talk about Hillary Clinton.

LEMON: Michael, you spent time with Trump. You followed him and studied him for years. When did he get into this habit of making unsubstantiated claims and accusations?

MICHAEL D'ANTONIO, DONALD TRUMP BIOGRAPHER: At least, as far back as the 1980s. And, you know, anyone who's dealt with a child who is a bully understands what Donald does. He says something terrible then, he says I didn't mean it, it was joke, what I really meant was X, Y and Z. And if that doesn't work, he trots out someone to make excuses for him as we're hearing Boris do tonight.

This guy has been bullying people ...

EPSHTEYN: I don't make money ...

LEMON: Boris, let him finish.

D'ANTONIO: Bigoted things, he's been saying bigoted things for at least 25 years. He's a guy whose entire rest on deck (ph) politically has been to challenge Barack Obama's legitimacy as president of the United States. Long after everyone else gave up the birther non- sense, he pushed it and that was a blatantly racist campaign.

LEMON: Yeah. Boris, I'm going to let you get in, but let me followup with him on that. Because Trump sued you, Tim, for defamation -- I want Tim to followup on that.

[23:25:00] So, the defamation after you wrote a book that was -- he's estimated wealth was not nearly what you thought what his claims were. And then, went on to lose the case. And you say here, you said, "It's very clear and visible side effect of my lawyers questioning of Trump, is that he was revealed a routine", you call them the habitual fabulist.

O'BRIEN: Fabulist.

LEMON: Fabulist, excuse me, why is that?

O'BRIEN: A routine and habitual fabulist. I mean, he's told stories about his business record, his wealth, his family history that is completely out of sorts with reality throughout his whole career. This isn't a new phenomenon and actually, I don't think, can help himself. He's gotten a lot of traction ...

D'ANTONIO: About 30 years, he's been weird.


O'BRIEN: He's got a lot of attraction out of you know, spinning tall tales about his record and attacking pretty viscerally (ph) anybody who opposes him.

LEMON: OK. Boris, you'll get a chance to respond when we come back, also, Michael as well. We'll be right back.


LEMON: Donald Trump volleying the fallout over his Second Amendment comments, Hillary Clinton calling him out saying words matter and he cross the line. Back to with me now, Tim O'Brien, Boris Epshteyn and Michael D'Antonio.

[23:30:01] Trump Second Amendment remarks, isn't the first time that he explained his comments were misunderstood? All of his next comments are things he later said that he didn't say or we're taking out of context or he had to walk back or obfuscate later. Listen.


TRUMP: She gets and she starts asking me all sorts of ridiculous questions and, you know, you could see there was blood coming out her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever.

And now the poor guy, you got to see this poor guy, oh, I don't know what I said, ah, I don't remember.

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: Do you believe in punishment for abortion? Yes or no, as a principle?

TRUMP: The answer is that there has to be some form of punishment.

MATTHEWS: For the woman?

TRUMP: Yeah, there has to be some form.

MATTHEWS: Ten cents? Ten years? What?

TRUMP: I don't know. That, I don't know.

Russia, if you're listening, I hope you're able to find the 30,000 e- mails that are missing.


LEMON: OK, Michael first. You call this Trump's way of weaseling.

D'ANTONIO: Well, this guy, it's almost as if he doesn't understand that he's running for president of the United States and that people are going to keep track of this stuff. And that was just a small sampling of it. He once replied to a man in New Hampshire who questioned him about terrorist camps in the U.S. as if he agreed that, yes, there are terrorist camps.

So he lets us think that he's saying one thing. He appeals to a certain segment of the electorate with that appeal. And then the next day or the day after that, somebody walks it back and they clean up after him. But when you're president of the United States, there are certain things that can't be cleaned up and that's what I think worries a lot of people.

LEMON: Boris?

EPSHTEYN: Well, Michael and Tim obviously speaks over life's work and made a lot of money I'm sure writing books about Donald Trump. So, you know, both absolutely welcome to their perspectives. I support Donald Trump because of his views on national security. We need to protect this country. I disagree with Hillary Clinton on national security.

LEMON: You support him for everything?


LEMON: When I asked you before, you said none of things you thought were mistakes.

EPSHTEYN: Listen, as somebody who's been a politician for only a year, he said things out on the trail that ...

LEMON: It was only a year.

EPSHTEYN: ... with him on the issues, absolutely, on immigration, foreign policy, national security, on economy. The issues that voters, actually the voters will actually go to the ballot box to vote on ....


LEMON: Absolutely. No one is right all the time. No one is -- are you right all the time? Do you say the right things all the time?

EPSHTEYN: Well, I'd like to think so. But I don't think so ...


LEMON: I'm willing to admit that about myself. Why can't you admit that about somebody else?

EPSHTEYN: I just said that if somebody was only a politician for a year, of course, in the campaign trail, he said things that he himself stated.

LEMON: How is it an excuse that he's only been a politician for a year?? Decency has nothing to do with being a politician for a year.

EPSHTEYN: Well, I'm not questioning his decency, you are and as well as these men are ...


LEMON: Was it decent what he said about the Khan family?

EPSHTEYN: What he said about the Khan was a response and observation. It wasn't ...


O'BRIEN: It was an attack.

EPSHTEYN: It was not an attack.

O'BRIEN: No, it's not an attack

LEMON: Let him finish, go ahead, Boris. O'BRIEN: Yes, it was an attack.


LEMON: Going off to Donald Trump, your statement of Trump Tower is wrong.


EPSHTEYN: 666 Fifth Avenue traded for -- I'm in real estate. 666 Fifth Avenue, a took a couple of bucks from Trump Tower traded for $3 billion. If you think Trump Tower is only worth 250 million ...

O'BRIEN: How much is Trump Tower ...

LEMON: And all of these things would we ...

O'BRIEN: ... in your career?

LEMON: Would we know these things?


LEMON: Would we not know these things if he released his tax?

EPSHTEYN: Actually, it's 104 pages of financial disclosures.

LEMON: Would we know more if he released his tax returns?

EPSHTEYN: No. And again, for being in business, financial disclosures are much more complete than taxes.

LEMON: OK. Would you like him to release his tax return?

EPSHTEYN: That's up to him as a private individual.

LEMON: He's not a private individual. He's running for president.

EPSHTEYN: He's a private individual.

LEMON: He's in the public relation now.

EPSHTEYN: There's no regulation that maintains you have to release your tax returns running for president. He has done everything ...

LEMON: There's no regulation that says you have to run for president. When you run for president, don't you do all the things that most people do or everyone else has done when they're running for president?

EPSHTEYN: File a financial disclosure form, he's absolutely done that, 104 pages. It's pretty in depth.

LEMON: That was a good pivot but that's not necessarily true.

EPSHTEYN: It is true. O'BRIEN: And the financial disclosure form is ...

LEMON: Michael, I'm going to ...


EPSHTEYN: ... statement that you have absolutely no basis.

LEMON: Michael, I'll give you the last word here.


LEMON: We're getting into the lead. Michael, I'll give you the last because you're not sitting at the table. So I don't want you to get short here. Go ahead.

D'ANTONIO: Well, one of the things that I've always believed is that people tell you who they are. And one of the first things Donald Trump told me is I don't respect most people because most people are not worthy of respect. I think that's how he's treating the American voter and that's how he's treating the facts in this election.

EPSHTEYN: Well, the voters disagree.

LEMON: Gentlemen, thank you very much. Coming up, Donald Trump veers off course yet again but does he even have any intention of speaking to a script?


[23:33:49] LEMON: One of Donald Trump's supporters hearing the Second Amendment remarks first hand is Darrell Vickers who was sitting right behind Trump and he joins me now on Skype. He's the famous man in the red shirt and there he is.

Thank you so much for staying up late to talk to us. I want to play the comments and your reaction and then we'll talk.


TRUMP: Hillary wants to abolish, essentially abolish the Second Amendment. By the way, if she gets to pick if she gets to pick her judges nothing you can do folks. Although the Second Amendment people, maybe there is, I don't know. But I'll tell you what, that will be a horrible day.


LEMON: So you turn to the person sitting next to you Mr. Vickers and your jaw dropped. What were you thinking at that moment?

VICKERS: Exactly what I told her, I said I can't believe he said that. The news media is going to have a heyday out of this one.

LEMON: Yeah.

VICKERS: It was -- quite a jaw dropper.

LEMON: What is he thinking then at the moment, at that moment?

[23:40:00] VICKERS: He's was trying to make a bad joke. And everybody around me laughed. Some of them nervously, but everyone realized what Donald Trump's personality that when he has an opportunity he pursues the joke that will perhaps get him another laugh.

LEMON: Yeah. You told my colleague this morning, Brook Baldwin, this afternoon, that you were -- you wanted to take him out to the wood shed after that comment?

VICKERS: Yeah, that's what we do here in the south, you know. I think a lot of us would like to get hold of some of the news media and do the same thing. But in the south, you know, we don't curse in front of ladies and we don't drink in front of the preacher and we don't tell those kind of jokes in public.

Might do it privately but Mr. Trump needed to be taken to the woodshed and have a few things explained to him and told not to make those kind of jokes because in this day and age, people construe them and then it's just not -- it's just not a good idea.

LEMON: As a Louisiana boy, I've been taken out to the woodshed by my parents.

VICKERS: Oh, around here we use a hickory loud (ph).

LEMON: Yeah, well, yeah, I used to have to go and get my own switch but that's neither here nor there. But what would you have told him in that woodshed if you had a conversation with him one on one?

VICKERS: We don't need to say things like that. You see, the problem is that he's got a very strong message the Republican platform is excellent. It's a superior platform quite capable of correcting the problems here in the United States. And if he would just stay on script it would be fine. When he gets off script and gets a laugh and the crowd encourages him then he takes and goes a little further.

But he's -- he should not do that, stick to the script. The message that we have to give to the American people is a very strong message and we all stick to it.

LEMON: Hey, I want to ask you because there's been controversy about who is sitting behind the candidate, were you vetted or to sit directly behind Donald Trump?

VICKERS: No. There were a bunch of people who received VIP passes to sit in the back row and there were probably 2,000 or 3,000 people there. I learned something from a friend of mine, George Brees, and he always told me to find the news media, find out where their cameras are and see where the speaker's podium is and sit in back of that.

Well, I didn't want to do that but my friend, Connie, was setting up and she says I don't want to sit up here by myself. So she invited me up and I sat down there. And all during the speech, I looked up at the -- or you call those, the big screen TV up in the center of the auditorium and I could never see my picture. So I wasn't aware that I was going to get the kind of the picture that I did.

LEMON: Well, I have to tell you Darrell Vickers, thank you and I really enjoyed having you on. And for -- you're so candid. Thank you so much for coming on.

VICKERS: Well, it's my pleasure. Thank you.

LEMON: All right. So, let's just bring in the panel now, Kayleigh McEnany is there, Matt Lewis is here, Van Jones and Bakari Sellers here as well.

So he is a delightful man. Is that right? He is an American. He's voting for Donald Trump as his business. If it's (vulnerability) Clinton has his business, it's great.

He was honest. He's not spinning. He's been saying exactly what everyone else has been saying, advisors of Donald Trump, critics of Donald Trump, people who would come on the show, Republicans. If you would just stick to script, Kayleigh, what do you say about that? And he knew exactly what Donald Trump meant but I comment, yet, everybody else is pretending like they didn't know what he meant.

KAYLEIGH MCENANY, TRUMP SUPPORTER: Well, there were two ways to interpret the comment. He interpreted it one way. I head the comment. That was -- they're live on Brook set. I heard it one time I didn't think anything of it. I know the NRA the powerful lobby they will ensure that their guns aren't taken away, be it through, you know, amicus brief and the Supreme Court be at they're putting cases before the Supreme Court. He uses it as very liberal justice there. The NRA ...


LEMON: That's our willing to but your argument point about taking guns away. That's not going to happen. But, what do you make of what he said? He said if you would just stick to the script.

MCENANY: Well, I don't consider this not sticking to the script. I understand liberals have interpreted this and some conservative in a way that is unseemly but that's their fault for interpreting it that way. And I don't think he's to apologize. And by the way, it's worth mentioning within 27 minutes of him making the comment when he realized there are people taking out of context, he immediately clarified and did exactly we he needed to do ...

LEMON: Someone from the campaign clarify it?

MCENANY: ... all week -- yes.

LEMON: Go ahead, Van.

[23:44:55] VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Yeah, you know, I think that you could interpret it the way that you do. I think if most people would hear something like that and think even if he didn't mean it it's so close to the line. And here's my concern.

He has become like the Andrew Dice Clay of politics. It's like you windup in the situation where you're so interested and appealing to the crowd. And listen, I get it. You can in front of the wild crowd, he want to keep it interesting. He want to keep them happy. But sometimes that performance for the crowd, crowds not everything else for this guy, and it's -- why go to that -- listen, that was not on paper. You said stick to the script.

LEMON: Yeah.

JONES: No matter what that line, that comment I guarantee you was not on paper. And I think what's interesting now ...

LEMON: Because it was edited out in the air.

JONES: Yeah, exactly. It's a conflict in this guy between, do I want to be president which requires discipline or do I want to be a good performer right now?

LEMON: Yeah.

JONES: And I think until the results conflict we got to have this over and over again.

LEMON: Bakari Sellers.

BAKARI SELLERS, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I think that the comment was so outlandish that we couldn't even get to the root of the lie which he's been perpetuating through the campaign which is somehow Hillary Clinton wants to take away your guns.

We're seven and a half years through the Obama presidency and we're still waiting on the 8th yet to come knock on doors and confiscate all there guns. But to the issues that we're talking about with this remark and I understand what Kayleigh's talking about what she did not hear. But that's not necessarily the problem.

The problem are those people that did hear it. The problem are those people who may take that comment the wrong way. I can't help but think of somebody like Gabby Giffords and I'm not saying that Donald Trump have any intent behind that because honestly I don't think he did have the intent for someone to go out and assassinate Hillary Clinton. That was his isn't intent at all, but he should at least own that.

When he says something like that, he has to own it and say I understand that some people may take it this way. But I apologize, that is not what I meant and that type of language has no place in the political discourse. That's the definition of leadership not just simply put, I mean, disregarding than to saying, "Oh my God, I can't believe you heard that."

LEMON: So now Mr. Vickers was on. He clearly heard something. He said it want to take Donald Trump to the woodshed, what your comment?

MATT LEWIS, AUTHOR "TOO DUMB TO FAIL": Well, first of all, the wisdom of just an average guy who happened to be in the crowd.

LEMON: Isn't it great?

LEWIS: He was perfectly authentic, perfectly awesome. I think his analysis was actually spot on. I think that it was a bad joke. I think that he's right and Van agrees with this part that it's about -- Donald Trump has this narcissistic need to please the immediate crowd and that comes of the expense of what Mr. Vickers said he ought to be doing which is staying along script.

Don, you remember I was on your show a couple days ago the day that Donald Trump gave his speech in Detroit about the economy and I said, its' great. You know, Trump, if he does this for the next three months he could actually win the election.

LEMON: You did.

LEWIS: And he lasted less than 24 hours.

LEMON: Yeah. And then, let's see, this is what he said about -- but Matt, let me get your take while you're here. This fallout over the Second Amendment here's what he tweeted and we can put the tweet off he said, "Media desperate to distract from Clinton's anti-2A stance. I said pro-2A citizens must organize and get out and vote to save our constitution". And then he -- but then he went on again to day 2 attacked the media that still not on message.

JONES: Yeah, I mean, I'll put this way. If you are talking in a way that someone might think ...

LEMON: And how you explain it?

JONES: I mean, just to be fair, if you're talking in a way where someone might think you're saying assassinate my opponent, you're doing it wrong. That's all. You're just don't it wrong. You shouldn't do it that way. Do it a better way.

MCENANY: But we do have to apply the same standards to other candidates. Barack Obama in 2008 said if you're in a knife fight, bring a gun.

LEMON: But Barack Obama is not running again.

MCENANY: Because people here ...


MCENANY: But it doesn't matter. If you think ...


LEMON: No, no, no.

MCENANY: And Hillary Clinton is running.

SELLERS: But that's absurd.

MCENANY: No, but, hey, people can interpret that way and you have to be ...

SELLERS: That's a scene from a movie.

MCENANY: It says no one. He said that people here in Philly likes to get (rowdy) and have brawls. That part is not from the movie. So it could be interpreted that way and the same standard has to be applied to everyone.

SELLERS: No. In fact, let me help you, Kayleigh, let me help you actually give something that actually is a parallel. We actually have this incident in 2008 and nor it was not Barack Obama, in fact ...

MCENANY: Hillary Clinton.

SELLERS: ... the candidate I'm supporting now, Hillary Clinton who make this very crass remark about Kennedy and the Kennedy assassination. No, she wasn't mentioning anything to say go assassinate Barack Obama. But yet the -- the remark was very crass.

And I beat her up on it. I know the media beat her up on it and took it a task going -- you know, what she did? She owned it. She apologized. She moved forward. She lost the election. But at least she saw leadership and said, this remark was something that was beyond the bounce. It was out of bounce. That's the better parallel but one candidate show you as leadership by owning it and the other one by simply trying to tell people you didn't hear that.


SELLERS: What is wrong with you?

LEMON: We'll be right back.


[23:53:47] LEMON: And we're back now with my panel. This one goes to Kayleigh.

First, Kayleigh, you know, we've been talking about the father of the Orlando shooter sitting right behind Hillary Clinton the other day, and then we have the disgraced Congressman Foley who resigned in 2006 sitting behind Donald Trump. He resigned after they discovered that he was -- he had sexually explicit text messages with teenager boys. We heard Mr. Vickers saying he was not vetted to sit behind, you know, the candidate. So, what do you -- do still maintain your statement that these people are vetted?

MCENANY: Well, I definitely think both campaigns are going to be vetting now as they should. But, hey, I mean, having Seddique Mateen sit behind you who is pro-Taliban, but not only that very anti-gay and says gays will be punished. This is not the person you want sitting behind you. And I have to wonder why this person -- I'm asked constantly, you know, why does David Duke support your candidate?

And I think Clinton supporters should be held to the same standards of being asked why Seddique Mateen with this radical views, was sitting behind their candidate in support of Hillary Clinton.

LEMON: So that's a good question. So, then why was someone who sent sexually explicit text to teenagers, why he was sitting behind ...

MCENANY: He was the former Republican congressman I assumed he still support the Republican Party but I wouldn't want either sitting behind me.

[23:55:03] LEMON: Is there a difference here?

JONES: Look, I think that sometimes the imperfect happens on these campaigns. The problem is Donald Trump decides to make this massive deal about it and just to rub her nose in it and jump up and down and turn around and say, "Oh, you people are my friends. All you people know me."

And when this people raising their hands, one of them is a pedophile, so it just -- its' like, you know what? Maybe we should stick to the issues. Maybe we should stop this little gotcha stuff, maybe on all sides. But I just think it was a very unfortunate moment for the Trump campaign.


LEWIS: Well, I just think it's also a microcosm, we've got two bad candidates and apparently two bad campaigns. There's no way George W. Bush would let his team, you know, Ken Meleman (ph) or whoever, Carl Row (ph), they wouldn't let this happen.

Barack, it's would not have happened to Barack Obama. I would cute a highly unlikely that that very competent team would allow this to happen. It's malpractice.

LEMON: And Bakari Sellers, I would say I'll give you the last word here.

SELLERS: No. I mean, I think, you can't defend Mateen sitting behind Hillary Clinton just the same way that you can't defend Congressman Foley sitting behind Donald Trump. I think that anyone who tries to say that one is better than the other in any type of situation just simply isn't paying attention.

I think both the campaigns have to tighten up. And I think they will. But for the Hillary Clinton campaign, I will say that this has been a campaign unlike in 2008 where many people have had a lot of issues that's been running a tight ship. That is yesterday's occurrence or what whatever day it was occurrence, was so out of the ordinary and out of the realm. But I'm glad that she disavowed those -- his remarks. And it's about his supporter says she wanted nothing to do with it.

LEMON: We'll be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: Thanks to my panel and thanks for watching. "AC360" starts right now.