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THE SITUATION ROOM
Fallout Over Donald Trump's Second Amendment Controversy; Climber Scaling Trump Tower; E-mails Tie Clinton Foundation to State Department. Aired 5-6p ET
Aired August 10, 2016 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[17:00:00] TAPPER: I'm jealous. Be sure to follow me on Facebook and Twitter @jaketapper, or tweet the show, @theleadCNN. That's it for THE LEAD. I turn you over now to Wolf Blitzer.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now, the art of denial. Shockwaves are still spreading after Donald Trump's stunning comment that Second Amendment people could stop Hillary Clinton. The Republican nominee insists it had nothing to do with encouraging gun violence. So why is the Secret Service been talking to his campaign about this?
Clinton e-mails. A new batch of e-mails surfaces raising new questions about the Clinton Foundation's influence on the State Department during Hillary Clinton's time as secretary of state. Did big donors get special access to government officials?
And racial bias. Just days after charges were dropped against the last police officers in the Freddie Gray case, the Justice Department issues a blistering report showing routine discrimination within the Baltimore Police Department targeting African-Americans. What's the city doing about it.
I'm Wolf Blitzer, you're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
The U.S. Secret Service has spoken to Donald Trump's campaign about the Republican nominee's stunning remark that Second Amendment people might be able to stop Hillary Clinton's appointment of Supreme Court justices. That's been widely seen as an incitement to gun violence. The campaign in a major cleanup operation after that comment.
But Trump himself is denying that he was suggesting violence, insisting he was referring to the political might of the Second Amendment lobby. He's out on the campaign trail once again today. We'll get an update.
Hillary Clinton is also feeling some serious heat today as more e- mails surface from her time as secretary of state. The e-mails raise questions about possible influence on the State Department by big donors to the Clinton Foundation. Donald Trump is seizing on the e- mails claiming they're evidence of corruption, but the Clinton campaign says they have nothing to do with Clinton's work at the foundation or her work as secretary of state.
I'll speak with Donald Trump supporter Carl Higbe. He's a former U.S. Navy SEAL. And our correspondents, analysts, and guests, they will have full coverage of the day's top stories.
Let's start with our senior White House correspondent Jim Acosta.
Jim, the Trump campaign trying to clean up the nominee's stunning Second Amendment comments. Donald Trump himself, though, is not backing off, right?
JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: No, he is not, Wolf, and Donald Trump is back in a familiar position today, defending himself against charges that he's gone too far at a campaign event with comments that he's made to supporters. But Trump and his top surrogates are all offering different explanations as to what he meant when he suggested that Second Amendment people could do something about Hillary Clinton.
ACOSTA (voice-over): Meeting with minors and campaigning in coal country, Donald Trump is once again trying to dig himself out of trouble.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We have to protect our Second Amendment which is under siege.
ACOSTA: One day after the GOP nominee said Second Amendment supporters could do something if Hillary Clinton was elected, top officials with the U.S. Secret Service contacted the GOP nominee's campaign to discuss the candidates' comments. A rare move. Trump is pushing back on any notion that his jaw-dropping remark was aimed at encouraging gun rights activists to take up arms against Clinton.
TRUMP: 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.
ACOSTA: Now Trump and his backers are scrambling to contain the fallout. Trump insists he was merely touting the power of Second Amendment supporters.
TRUMP: There can be no other interpretation. Even reporters have told me. I mean, give me a break.
ACOSTA: House Speaker Paul Ryan thought Trump was kidding but added this was no laughing matter.
REP. PAUL RYAN (R), HOUSE SPEAKER: It sounds like a joke gone bad. I hope he clears it up very quickly. You should never joke about something like that.
TRUMP: Blood coming out of her wherever.
ACOSTA: But GOP strategists fear Trump's Second Amendment will soon find its way into another Clinton campaign ad, using the GOP contender's words against him. Democratic vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine says the remark is just the latest example of Trump's dangerous rhetoric. SEN. TIM KAINE (D), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It just revealed a
sort of complete temperamental misfit with the character that's required to do the job. And in the nation -- we've got to be pulling together and countenancing violence, and so it's not something any leader should do.
ACOSTA: Republicans have seen this movie before. Six years ago Nevada GOP Senate candidate, Sharron Angle, talked about Second Amendment remedies. The damaging comment that helped lead to her defeat against Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
If this Congress keeps going the way it is, people are really looking toward those Second Amendment remedies. They're saying, my goodness, what can we do to turn this country around? And I'll tell you, the first thing we need to do is take Harry Reid out.
[17:05:05] ACOSTA: Now privately top Trump supporters and even some surrogates are shaking their heads privately over what Donald Trump said about those Second Amendment people maybe being able to do something about Hillary Clinton, Wolf. One of those supporters texted me a picture. It was a bottle of pain reliever for migraines -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Jim Sciutto is Sunrise, Florida, thank you.
I want to bring in our chief national security correspondent Jim Sciutto, who's working the story as well. He's insisting -- Donald Trump, he wasn't hinting at anything, he was just trying to get a political -- some political action going for those who support the Second Amendment to the Constitution. But the U.S. Secret Service you've learned doesn't necessarily see it like that.
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, whatever his attention, I'm told by an official with the U.S. Secret Service that it has contacted the Trump campaign regarding Trump's Second Amendment comments. I'm told as well that there has been more than one conversation regarding those remarks. I'm also told by this official with the U.S. Secret Service that the Trump campaign's response was that the candidate did not intend to incite violence.
And, Wolf, I should add, that Donald Trump, just in the last few minutes, responded and denied that any meeting or conversation took place, in his words. He's done that via Twitter.
BLITZER: I think he said no such meeting or conversation ever happened. But your sources are saying there was a conversation between the U.S. Secret Service and officials in the Trump campaign?
SCIUTTO: That's right. I'm confident in my source and I'm confident in the story.
BLITZER: The Secret Service protects Donald Trump, protects Hillary Clinton, protects the president of the United States and their respective families. They don't ever want to get involved in politics. SCIUTTO: I mean, I think you could say they're one of the most
apolitical organizations in Washington. They do not want to get involved, but I've spoken as well, in addition to this official with the Secret Services, to many former Secret Service agents, just to ask them what the protocol would be. I asked them, for instance, if a private citizen were to make similar comments, if you or I, Wolf, would have made these comments, would we be interviewed by the Secret Service, and they said yes, you would likely be.
But the difference with a public figure is that it's more impactful because a public figure like Donald Trump has many followers so the danger becomes among those followers, could there be someone who is unhinged who takes that, who arguably misinterprets it, right? If we take Donald Trump's explanation of his intentions at face value, they can arguably misinterpret it and then use that as some sort of spark to act on it. That is their concern. There is no -- so when you speak to the Secret Service, they're not in the business of interpreting the remarks. They're trying to protect the people that they are entrusted to protect and taking steps for the possible danger that remarks like this might cause.
BLITZER: Yes. It's a legitimate concern that the Secret Service has. They're goal is to make sure that people they're protecting are safe and secure.
BLITZER: That's their significant job.
SCIUTTO: They have a duty of care there.
BLITZER: It certainly is. They're doing a magnificent job, I must say, as well. Thanks very much for that, Jim Sciutto.
Joining us now is Carl Higbe. He's a Donald Trump supporter. A former U.S. Navy SEAL who served two tours in Iraq.
Carl, thanks very much for joining us.
CARL HIGBE, TRUMP SUPPORTER: Thanks for having me, Wolf.
BLITZER: So when you heard Donald Trump make those comments about Second Amendment people, stopping Hillary Clinton, did you think he was joking? What was your reaction?
HIGBE: Well, I think what he was talking about, and he was referring to the gun lobby. We have 100 million people in America who own guns. We have millions if not billions of dollars spent on lobbying by the NRA every year. And that's what he was referring to. He was referring to the power of the two-way supporters. There are a lot of two-way supporters out there who don't own guns. Never have and never shot a gun. And I think that's what he was trying to rally up a base to try to somehow defeat Hillary Clinton in this next election, defeat her talking points, and really understand that she is antigun and we need the support of the Second Amendment people to come to this -- come out in November and really drive it home. BLITZER: But what he was talking about, and he was obviously not
precise because what he was saying was if she were to go ahead and name Supreme Court justices, that means she's already elected, so it would be beyond what's happening right now leading up to the election. He was talking about if she names these judges, then maybe the Second Amendment types could do something about that. So this isn't going into the election. It's what would happen after an election.
HIGBE: Right. No, and I think it was a political talking point gone bad. I mean, look, Donald Trump has had a number of gaffes, and I don't think this is one of them. I think this is just, you know, some sort of bad interpretation. And I'm not hitting the media on it. I just think that what I talked to about a number of Secret Service agents today was, is Donald Trump -- is his comments investigatable? Is it worth investigating? Is it a threat? And they said no. It's not a credible threat.
But what they're worried about is the interpretation of a crazy guy from that -- from his comments. So they probably -- if they have interviewed -- I'm on the super PAC side, I can't say if they've interviewed him, but they are probably looking into saying, please don't give anybody any reason to incite any type of violence against Hillary Clinton, which is a logical explanation. I would do the same.
BLITZER: Here's Hillary Clinton reacting to this uproar earlier today, listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[17:10:05] HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Words matter, my friends.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
CLINTON: 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 countries 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.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Sort of to underscore, Carl, the role that the Secret Service plays, look what happened earlier today on stage at a Hillary Clinton event. She was in Des Moines, Iowa, and some protester rushed the stage. And you see those Secret Service agents rushing on stage to protect the Democratic presidential nominee.
They've got a really tough job. And you make a really important point that even if he didn't mean what has been interpreted as his meaning, there are some crazy people out there who could misinterpret what he's saying and that could make the job of these Secret Service agents so much more difficult.
HIGBE: Absolutely. And the one thing I'm glad Hillary Clinton clarified that that temperament is maybe not presidential or something like that. The fact is, in 2008, Hillary Clinton made much worse allegations regarding a potential assassination of what happened before the California primary. And it was investigated, she apologized to the Kennedy family, but she never apologized to the American public. So by that logic she should dip out of the race herself.
BLITZER: Carl, hold on for a moment. We have more questions, much more to discuss.
We're also watching, look at this, this is -- these are live pictures, you're seeing what's happening at Trump Tower on 5th Avenue in New York City, where a climber, look at this, he's scaling the outside of the building. It looks like police are getting closer and closer. He might be arrested very soon. But he is using suction cups to climb up on Trump Tower. The building in New York City where Donald Trump has his offices, of course. We'll watch this.
Police are there. They're on the scene. It looks like they're getting closer and closer to making an arrest of this individual. We'll have more on this and all the day's news right after a quick break.
[17:17:12] BLITZER: Look at this, we're continuing to watch what is happening at Trump Tower in New York City. You see a climber there scaling the outside of the building using those suction cups. Police are standing by. We're told he might be arrested very soon. And you see that window there that's been smashed with that blanket over the bottom of the window. It looks like someone is trying to talk to this individual who is climbing Trump Tower right now.
We're back with Carl Higbe. He's a Donald Trump supporters. He's a former U.S. Navy SEAL, who served two tours in Iraq. We're talking about threats out there, the Secret Service got their own problems protecting Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, the president of the United States, their families, you see this, you see this going on over there, Carl. This is a worrisome development.
HIGBE: Yes. These are the nut jobs that the Secret Service is worried about. Who climbs a building? I mean, come on.
BLITZER: Yes. He's been there, we're told, Carl, for about an hour he's been climbing Trump Tower, which as you know, you've been there, it's a huge, tall -- very tall building. A big crowd has gathered on 5th Avenue below.
HIGBE: Yes, I mean, like, come on. Why would anyone do this? It's obviously a publicity stunt. BLITZER: He's looking for publicity. Maybe he wants to make a
statement about something, we have no idea. There you see the wide shot.
HIGBE: Right. But once again going back to the Secret Service --
BLITZER: The New York City Trump Tower -- the headquarters of the Trump Organization, certainly the headquarters of the Trump political campaign as well.
By the way, Donald Trump, Carl, is not in the building right now. He is out campaigning, as you know, heading to Florida right now. You can see 5th Avenue outside of Trump Tower. This is a worrisome development not only for this individual who's trying to climb Trump Tower using these suction cups. He could clearly fall and in the process kill himself, but it really forces firefighters, police, other first responders to gather, to shut down traffic. It's a big disruption right now.
HIGBE: It sure is. And the thing is, with the threat assessment is here, and the Secret Service, God bless them, because what they're looking at here what is this guy's intent, and we were going back to the previous segment where the intent of Trump's comment. This is something that as a Secret Service agent, they are looking at this, is this a diversion? Are they saying, well, this guy could be doing so someone else could sneak in somewhere? These are all angles they have to cover. And was this guy trying to get into the campaign headquarters? Was this guy trying to plant a device? These are all questions that the Secret Service now has to waste resources trying to figure out.
BLITZER: You look at this, Carl. This is a huge air bag that's just been placed below on the sidewalk outside of Trump Tower in New York. Right below where this individual is in case he falls or whatever. That air bag is there presumably that would protect him if he were to fall right now. But you see the resources and you make an excellent point. You see something like this. Secret Service and local law enforcement and others, they possibly think this could be a diversion to some other sinister thing going on.
[17:20:06] So they've got to go on a higher state of alert because of an individual like this.
HIGBE: Yes. Resources, money, it takes all the -- all the men and women we have here protecting him, because even though Trump is on the campaign trail right now, they still have to guard his headquarters just in case something were to happen there. You never know what kind of people are going in and out of there every day with vendors and consultants and things like that.
BLITZER: And family members.
HIGBE: Yes. BLITZER: His sons, his daughters might there as well, other family
members. His wife. So, you know, this is a significant problem for the U.S. Secret Service. For New York City police, New York City firefighters. One individual decides he's going to try to climb Trump Tower. I don't know how many stories it is but it's a lot. And you see him stall there. It looks like someone is trying to talk some sense into him from that window where that blanket is. It looks like they broke that window and they're trying to talk to him to stop this.
HIGBE: Wolf --
BLITZER: It's 58 stories, I'm now told, Carol.
HIGBE: This guy is climbing -- yes, he's climbing a building. He already doesn't -- it's clear that he doesn't have any sense in him. Let's shoot him with a tranquilizer, let him fall onto the bouncy pad below and then take him into custody.
BLITZER: Yes, but there's no guarantee, if you shoot him with a dart -- a tranquilizer, he's going to survive a fall like that --
HIGBE: That's true.
BLITZER: To that protective -- that mattress if you will. That safety mattress that they put at the bottom there.
HIGBE: Yes. This guy is clearly not in the right state of mind. I don't think breaking a window in Trump Tower and talking him down is going to do anything. I think this guy is trying to make some sort of -- some sort of media press or he's probably going to release a documentary after this. I think this is just a stunt. It has nothing to do with the political scene, but it is -- it is consuming resources and costing the taxpayers millions of dollars.
BLITZER: By the way, that window we're told has been broken by authorities now who are trying to talk some sense into this individual.
If he were to fall on that air bag or that huge mattress that they've placed on 5th Avenue, do you think he would survive a fall like that?
HIGBE: Well, I mean, you go into Hollywood they are doing these multi-stories stunts where they're jumping off buildings and falling on these airbags. They wouldn't put it there if they didn't think it was going to do something, I don't think.
BLITZER: It's the 16th floor, Carl, we're told.
BLITZER: Right now where they cut that glass and they're to talk some sense into this individual. If he were to fall 16 flights, 16 floors, that would be a huge, huge fall into that airbag that may or may not protect him and save his life. I have no idea.
HIGBE: Yes -- no, that's a big fall. But then again we did have a guy jump out of a plane without a parachute and land in a net. So the possibility is there that he could survive.
BLITZER: Yes. It looks like he's trying to move up even though they're trying to talk him out of this right now.
All right. Let me quickly get your thought on the other news. This -- the uproar that -- as we watch that picture, I want to get your thought of the uproar that has been created by Donald Trump's remarks about the Second Amendment individuals trying to stop Hillary Clinton if she were president and she named various individuals, justices to the U.S. Supreme Court.
I want to read to you Thomas Friedman, the Pulitzer Prize winning columnist of the "New York Times." He wrote a column, a blistering column today saying that what he heard from Trump reminded him of the rhetoric that actually did lead to the assassination back in '90s, of the Israeli prime minister, Yitzhak Rabin, back in 1995.
Friedman writes this, and I'll read it to you, "Trump knows what he is doing and it is so dangerous in today's world. In the last year we have seen a spate of lone wolf acts of terrorism in America and Europe by men and women living on the fringes of society. Some with petty criminal records, often with psychological problems, often described as loners and almost always deeply immersed in fringe jihadist social networks that heat them up. They hear the signal and the noise, they hear the inspiration and the permission to do God's work. They are not cooled by unfinished sentences."
That's the big concern that the Secret Service has right now. And the criticism of Trump is maybe he didn't understand the possible consequences of his comments on that fringe element out there.
HIGBE: Well, you know what, and the thing is, look, Donald Trump may thoroughly dislike Hillary Clinton, but I know the guy. And he is a very nice, good-hearted person. There is no way in his right mind at all that he would ever wish bodily harm on Hillary Clinton. Even though he's running against her, he doesn't like her that much, there is no way that he would wish bodily harm on her.
I think this is just political spin on a -- on a different issue, different size, taking -- just like it did when Hillary Clinton made the -- essentially an assassination remark about Barack Obama in 2008. I mean, I think that this is just something that spun into another talking point and it will pass its way in the media and everything like that.
BLITZER: Carl Higbe, thanks so much for joining us.
HIGBE: Thank you, sir.
BLITZER: We're watching that situation at the Trump Tower in New York City. This individual climber outside the building has made it up to the 16th floor, past the 16th floor right now. He's still moving up. Police are trying to talk some sense into him.
[17:25:01] We'll take a quick break, much more in a moment.
BLITZER: Look at this live pictures coming in to THE SITUATION ROOM from outside Trump Tower in New York City. A climber, you can see him right there, scaling the building. It looks like he's now up to the 17th floor of this 58-story building, even though authorities broke a window and tried to talk some sense into this individual. We're told he is adamant according to our sources. He wants to climb to the top. Authorities, firefighters, police, they're hoping he tires out. They have no intention of trying to pull him in right now. Clearly that could be very dangerous, although they're -- you know, they're doing their best they can to talk some sense into this individual.
[17:30:12] We don't know what if any political motive he might have in this decision. Maybe he just wants to climb to the top of Trump Tower right now. But clearly he is going to be in major legal trouble once he is arrested.
Let's bring in our CNN political commentator, Real Clear Politics national political reporter, Rebecca Berg, who's watching this story unfold with us. Olivia Nuzzi is with us as well. She covers politics for the "Daily Beast," and our CNN senior political analyst, Ron Brownstein, a senior editor for the "Atlantic."
You know, it's -- as we were talking, Ron, it's scary stuff for the U.S. Secret Service. They're trying to protect Donald Trump and his family, and all of a sudden an individual starts climbing this building where the Trump family obviously spends so much time. It's a very worrisome development especially coming on the heels of what the uproar yesterday over Trump's remarks about the Second Amendment.
RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, it's a reminder of just -- you know, this election is drawing more media attention for longer than any, I feel confident in saying, ever. It is functionally a black hole that kind of has this incredible magnetic pull or gravitational pull to extend the metaphor, kind of pulling in everyone. You know, whether people see it as a way to advance an agenda or perhaps in this case no agenda at all, other than being possibly, you know, in the media and on television.
But it's just an extraordinary -- another demonstration really of how this campaign has kind of expanded and exploded into something that is much more of an ongoing media phenomenon really than any we have ever seen. And it's not entirely shocking that someone would try to kind of ride that current for whatever their own purpose may be in this case.
BLITZER: And we saw that huge airbag that has been placed on the sidewalk there on 5th Avenue, right below this individual in case he were to fall or whatever. Maybe it would save his life, maybe not. This huge mattress or airbag.
It's a very disturbing development. Obviously, Rebecca, this Secret Service police, local authorities, they're trying to protect Donald Trump and his family. I should point out Donald Trump is not in New York City today. So he's not there. We don't know if any -- if this individual has a political motive right now, but it looks like he's determined to try to move up floor by floor.
REBECCA BERG, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: It does look that way at this point, Wolf. And of course we don't know what his political motivations are, for certain, but because this is a presidential election, Donald Trump is very often in the news and Trump Tower has been of course at the center of his political universe, home to many of his political events. Of course his announcement speech as well, when he decided to run for president. We can probably discern that there is some political motive at work here. It would not be surprising if that were the case.
I tweeted just before I came on air that I imagine Trump at least, a very small part of him, has some respect for this tower climber because the man knows how to grab media attention. There have been plenty of protests against Donald Trump in this election cycle. Now we have one that's really grabbing our interest, capturing our imagination so to speak in spite of the obvious security concern. So we'll have to see how this all plays out, but one small distraction may be helpful to Donald Trump after the 24-48 hours that he has had in terms of the news cycle.
BLITZER: We don't know, Olivia, whether he's protesting anything. Maybe this individual is just seeking publicity for whatever crazy reason he's risking his life to do this.
OLIVIA NUZZI, JOURNALIST, THE DAILY BEAST: Which would be very Trump- like. But to Rebecca's point about the security concern, I think if anything this should make Donald Trump more cautious with his words. Obviously yesterday he said something that made a lot of people concerned about the safety of Hillary Clinton, whether or not a crazy person might hear what Donald Trump said and do something insane. This is proof that there are crazy people out there who are willing to do all sorts of different things and Donald Trump should probably pay attention to that.
BERG: And a very volatile electorate as well. People who are very impassioned by this election and willing to go to great lengths to make their voices heard and their points across.
BLITZER: And Ron, we have no idea if this individual is doing the stunt right now because of what Donald Trump said yesterday or not. He may have been planning this for awhile, but you see him placing those suction cups and climbing methodically. I think he is on the 17th floor right now. But this is something that clearly causes enormous concern for the U.S. Secret Service. They're not political. They protect Democrats, they protect Republicans, they've got a major job.
If he's at the 17th floor, it's 58 stories all together so this guy has got a long way to go unless he comes to his senses and decides it is time to move on.
Tom Fuentes is joining us right now, our senior law enforcement analyst, former assistant director of the FBI.
Tom, this is going to cause concern not only for the Secret Service, for New York City police firefighters, but for the FBI as well.
[17:35:06] TOM FUENTES, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: I don't -- you know, Wolf, I don't know what serious concern they're going to have with this guy. He's going up the building and, you know, I think unless they think he's got explosives or something, you know, I don't think he's going to get anywhere near Mr. Trump or anyone else. But I think that, you know, their decision now looks like is just let him climb and see if he makes it or not. And if he doesn't make it, he comes flying off that building, the only one he's going to hurt is himself.
BLITZER: You raised an important question, Tom, whether or not he's got explosives. You see he's got a big backpack there. So I'm sure the authority have no idea whether he's got anything dangerous in there.
FUENTES: Well, they don't. But what I think is they have at this point, you know, it's extremely dangerous to try -- for them, for the authorities themselves to take him off of that building. And, you know, they can't just, not knowing what's in that backpack just shoot him for the heck of it. Just -- you know, so I think they're kind of stuck here to almost let him keep climbing, see if he tires out and wants to give up, or what he wants to do. I don't know if they're going to make another attempt to open up windows, break open windows in front of him as he's climbing up and cut off his rise up that building.
That may just cause him to move laterally around the building and go up a different direction so I think that in a way it doesn't appear to me, and I'm not, you know, an experienced climber like that, but it does appear to me that they have a very safe way to get him off that building that doesn't endanger the firefighters who would be trying to get him off that building.
BLITZER: In other ways, if they break a window just above him, it means, if he's climbing up, they could grab him, is that what you're saying?
FUENTES: Well, if that's -- if that was their idea they'll try to do that. Cut off his rising ability, to attach suction cups to glass. But then the question is, I don't know if he's in a position to just move sideways and go around whatever window they open up. You know, and I can't -- you know, and that's risky, too, just taking out those windows. Will the glass fall down to the sidewalk below? Will it fall on him and cause him to be dislodged off the building, in which case he might get killed from that?
So I think that, you know, they really have a difficult decision with him to stop him. I think it's really hard to stop him without a serious danger.
FUENTES: Not just to him, but to the firefighters that would try to get him.
BLITZER: Air bags have been deployed there on the sidewalk below. Huge airbags in case he were to fall, Tom.
Let me take a quick break. We're going to continue to stay on top of this story. We're following the breaking news. This climber trying to climb up Trump Tower in New York City. We have no idea why this individual is trying to do this. We'll be right back.
[17:42:26] BLITZER: Looking at live pictures now from outside Trump Tower in New York City. A climber is scaling the 58-storey building. He's made it up to at least 17 floors right now. Authorities broke a window. They tried to talk him into -- talk him into coming inside but he's adamant, apparently, by going all the way to the top.
CNN law enforcement producer Shimon Prokupecz is in New York, he's watching what's going on. What are you learning right now about this individual, Shimon?
SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT PRODUCER: Well, we know his name. He's told police that his name is Steve, and he is from Virginia. And they've been sort of communicating with him through the window where, as you say earlier, they've sort of cut out some of the window. And they've been talking to him. And he basically told him that his name is Steve. They've subsequently identified him. They know who he is. They're looking at a YouTube video that he may have made yesterday indicating that he was going to do this and sort of explaining why he was doing this, and basically saying he wanted attention.
So they're looking at the YouTube video and then they're now going through his history to find out more about him. You know, he's been talking to the police and he's told police that he wants to climb to the top, and they're sort of letting him do that. They have no intention on pulling him in or grabbing him or doing anything that could possibly endanger him and I think really the hope here is that he gets tired and sort of just surrenders. But right now, you know, as long as he's on his own and is climbing, they're just going to let him do it, sort of, you know, hoping that he just tires and gives up.
BLITZER: How do they know, though, he's not a threat, Shimon?
PROKUPECZ: Well, I don't think that they know that for sure, but I can tell you, you know, the NYPD is outside this building every day. It's pretty amazing that he was even able to do this. And I think they're going to look at that and figure out how this happened. But I mean, there's nothing definitively to say that he doesn't have something in his bag, an explosive or whatever it may be, or maybe some kind of a weapon. They don't know that.
But because they really can't do anything to stop him right now without either endangering him or endangering themselves, they're just not going to -- they're just not going to engage him. They're going to keep letting him do what he is doing and just hoping, really, that he just gets tired. But they don't know. I mean, we don't know what's in his bag. We don't know what he has on him. You don't have to go through a metal detector necessarily to get into the Trump Tower. You know, they believe what happened was, he got into the building and there's like this sort of -- on the fifth floor, there is this outside area, and that's where he sort of started his climb.
[17:45:05] BLITZER: So he climbed starting on the fifth floor as opposed to the sidewalk, is that what you're saying?
PROKUPECZ: Yes. That's what they believe. They believe that there's an outside kind of garden area and he went in and went into the building, to the garden area, and then started his climb on the fifth floor.
BLITZER: Because I know when you walk into the main lobby at Trump Tower -- I have walked through that lobby several times, I'm sure you have as well, there are now Secret Service agents who are stationed in there and other security guards who are stationed in there, who monitor people walking in and out.
PROKUPECZ: That is correct. Not only that, I mean, the NYPD is there. They have their critical response team, these are these counterterrorism units. They're all over that building. I mean, they've been there for quite some time now. I mean, they have long guns, they're in helmets, they're wearing those heavy vests, so they're there. You know, and they're there 24 hours a day. And there are police cars outside. There are police cars on the side. So, I mean, it's a pretty secure building considering, you know, how easy it was for this guy to get inside.
But, look, I mean, there are stores in that building. There is a Starbucks, there's coffee shops, there's a restaurant. So I think, you know, they have to sort of make it easy for people to get into the building. And you know, it is also a huge tourist destination now. I mean, people come in there to take pictures, people outside taking pictures. So it's a, you know, fairly secure building.
I can tell you they are not happy that this happened. I mean, it's probably a huge embarrassment for them and they're going to look at this hard. They're going to really look at this hard, and I bet you there is going to be some changes made to that building after this.
BLITZER: I'm sure there will be. Shimon, good reporting. We've got more. We're going to take another quick break. We're also watching those newly revealed e-mails raising some serious questions about Hillary Clinton's finances. Donald Trump already is calling the disclosure, and I'm quoting him now, "really really bad and illegal."
Much more on the breaking news when we come back.
BLITZER: We continue watching as a climber makes his way up the outside of Trump Tower in New York City. Stay on top of this story, update you with more. But we're also following some other new developments in the presidential race.
Hillary Clinton this afternoon slammed what she called Donald Trump's casual inciting of violence saying his remarks about Second Amendment people crossed the line. But Trump is on the attack as well today. He says newly disclosed e-mails reveal what Trump calls a pay-for-play scheme involving the Clinton Foundation and the State Department. The campaign strongly denies any wrongdoing by Hillary Clinton.
Let's bring in our senior Washington correspondent Jeff Zeleny. He's got more on the -- on this e-mail story that has surfaced. What is the latest, Jeff?
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, the Clinton campaign is denying that there was any impropriety between the secretary of state and any of these friends and donors. But this latest group of e-mail really shines the light on how closely connected all of the contributors and old friends of the Clintons' actually were with the State Department.
And, Wolf, frankly it's the last thing that the campaign wants to be talking about now. They prefer to keep the focus on Donald Trump.
ZELENY (voice-over): Old e-mails causing new trouble tonight for Hillary Clinton. As she campaigns in Iowa, a new batch of messages from her time as secretary of state is raising fresh questions about the influence and access donors to the Clinton family's charitable foundation had on the State Department.
The e-mails released Tuesday after conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch filed suit. It's adding new fuel to a controversy hanging over her campaign.
CLINTON: I know people have raised questions about my e-mail use as secretary of state. And I understand why.
ZELENY: In one exchange, a long time aide to President Clinton, Doug Band, lobbied Secretary Clinton's aides to find a job at the State Department for someone who was important to take care of. The name of the person Band is trying to help is redacted. He made the request to Huma Abedin and Cheryl Mills, two top Hillary Clinton aides who remain among her closest advisers. Abedin reassures Band personnel has been sending him options. There is no indication he was a donor.
It's the latest chapter in a long saga over the Clinton Foundation and her e-mails particularly her decision to use a private server as secretary of state. The FBI did not file charges but it's taken a toll on her credibility.
CLINTON: And I want to be as transparent as possible.
ZELENY: In another e-mail, Band tries to connect a Clinton Foundation donor, a Lebanese Nigerian billionaire, with the State Department's substance person on Lebanon. "As you know, he's a key guy there and to us is loved in Lebanon. Very important," Band wrote.
Donald Trump is seizing on the disclosure calling it an example of a cozy and corrupt relationship between Clinton donors and the State Department. TRUMP: It's called pay-for-play. And some of these were really,
really bad and illegal.
ZELENY: A Clinton campaign spokesman brushed aside the criticism, saying, "Hillary Clinton never took action as secretary of state because of donations to the Clinton Foundation."
Campaigning in Iowa today, Clinton kept her focus on Trump.
CLINTON: Yesterday we witnessed the latest in a long line of casual comments from Donald Trump that crossed the line.
ZELENY: Her campaign is raising money from his incendiary comments Tuesday, asking supporters to have her back.
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.
ZELENY: Trump's rhetoric is turning more Republicans against him.
[17:55:03] The Clinton campaign unveiling a new list of GOP supporters, including former Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez, former director of the National Intelligence John Negroponte, and former Connecticut congressman Chris Shays.
CHRISTOPHER SHAYS (R), FORMER CONNECTICUT REPRESENTATIVE: I'm going to vote for Hillary. I didn't -- I didn't imagine that, but it's -- frankly it's become an easy decision. Trump lost me months ago.
ZELENY: Now Hillary Clinton is doing extensive outreach to Republicans, including, Wolf, writing an op-ed in the Salt Lake City newspaper, reaching out to Mormon voters there, talking about religious freedom, and how Donald Trump simply isn't acceptable.
And, Wolf, she's headed to Michigan tonight. She'll be giving an economic address tomorrow. Right in Mitt Romney's old backyard. Those Reagan Democrats she's after. The Clinton campaign clearly wants to put this e-mail controversy aside and focus back on the economy where she's leading Donald Trump in most polls.
BLITZER: Jeff Zeleny, reporting, thanks very much.
We'll continue to monitor this climber going up Trump Tower. Much more on that. All the day's important news right after this.