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How Trump Supporters Judged ISIS Speech; Biden: Trump "Totally Unqualified" To Be President; Clinton Leads In Key Battleground State Polls; Trump Campaign Chair Named In Ukrainian Probe; Flooding Rescues; 5 Killed And 20,000+ Rescued In Louisiana Flooding; Trump's Calls For "Extreme Vetting" Of Immigrants. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired August 15, 2016 - 20:00   ET


[20:00:21] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening. Thanks for joining us.

Tonight, Donald Trump on prompter and on message for a second straight Monday, this time laying out his plan for defeating ISIS. And for a second straight Monday, Republicans holding their breath, hoping tomorrow won't be another Tuesday like last Tuesday when Trump got off message and to many campaign watchers, stayed that way all week.

So, this afternoon, under pressure from the party and trailing in a new batch of polling in key battleground states, Trump stepped to the microphone, looked into the teleprompter and started reading.

CNN's Sara Murray reports.


SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICS REPORTER (voice-over): Donald Trump battling to take control of his campaign message, by laying out his vision to defeat ISIS.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: We cannot let this evil continue.

MURRAY: Trump, looking to rebound from a rocky stretch and ginning up doubts about Hillary Clinton's foreign policy chops.

TRUMP: With one episode of bad judgment after another, Hillary Clinton's policies launched ISIS on to the world stage. Things turned out really to be not so hot for our world and our country.

MURRAY: Even questioning whether she's physically fit to be commander in chief.

TRUMP: She also lacks the mental and physical stamina to take on ISIS and all of the many adversaries we face.

MURRAY: The billionaire businessman calling on the U.S. to abandon the attempts at nation building, and saying it's time to focus on fighting ISIS on all fronts. The GOP nominee framing it as an ideological war harkening going back

to the day of George W. Bush as he called on the U.S. to team up with any ally willing to help battle ISIS.

TRUMP: We cannot always choose our friends, but we can never fail to recognize our enemies.

MURRAY: Trump also flushing out his controversial plan to block immigrants from countries that he claims breed terrorism, proposing a test to determine whether immigrants hold extremist views that don't mesh with American ideals.

TRUMP: I call it extreme, extreme vetting. Our country has enough problems. We don't need more. And these are problems like we have never had before.

MURRAY: But such a screening comes with logistical hurdles and Trump offered few details on how he would implement the kind of ideological test he laid out today.

TRUMP: In addition to screening out all members of the sympathizers of terrorist groups, we must also screen out any of hostile attitudes toward our country or principles or who believe that Sharia law should supplant American law. Those who do not believe in our Constitution or who support bigotry and hatred will not be admitted for immigration into our country.

Only those who we expect to flourish in our country and to embrace a tolerant American society should be issued visas.


COOPER: Sara Murray joins us now. So, Donald Trump clearly on message today.

How much concern is there tonight that he can actually stay on message?

MURRAY: Well, Anderson, I think that's always a concern when it comes to Donald Trump, especially since he has this pattern of one day showing up, reading from the teleprompter, sticking to the script and then just 24 hours later, sometimes even less than that, he veers off to the traditional Donald Trump off the cuff message.

And in a sign of that frustration, we saw "The Wall Street Journal" editorial page has been friendly to Republicans came out and go after Donald Trump saying he needs to stop blaming everybody else, saying he needs to turn his campaign around by Labor Day and even suggesting that if he can't pull that off, he should turn the nomination over to Mike Pence -- Anderson.

COOPER: Yes, Sara Murray -- Sara, thanks.

A closer look now, the meat of the speech and substance of the plan. Joining us is Trump supporter, former Trump campaign chairman, excuse me, campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, also CNN senior international correspondent Clarissa Ward, and Democratic Congressman Seth Moulton, who served four tours of duty in Iraq, including two as a special assistant to General David Petraeus.

Corey, let's start with you.

In terms of this idea of extreme vetting, of some sort of a tolerant, you know, a test of tolerance, how would that actually work? I mean, asking somebody when they are coming over the border, you know, do you support women's rights, gay rights, they are all things Trump mentioned. Is that for real?

COREY LEWANDOWSKI, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I think what you have and what Trump was alluding to in this particular case was, when you look at the San Bernardino killer, the woman who came in on a K-1 visa because she married a U.S. citizen. What the State Department said the failures were in her position was, they didn't go and check her social media accounts, because they were precluded by doing that. And I think what he's talking about is extreme vetting, going and looking at social media activities.

[20:05:03] What we know is that the U.S. has accepted 8,000 Syrian refugees to date, which is more Syrian refugees into our country than all the E.U. combined right now.

So, we need to make sure that the people who are coming here first and foremost don't perpetuate or have the same type of mindset that the San Bernardino killer had, which was to come here and commit jihad against our country.

COOPER: Well, Germany has accepted I think almost a million people. I mean, not, maybe formally as refugees, but they allowed migrants in as many as a million, 800,000 to a million. But I get your point.

Congressman Moulton, I mean, the idea of a tolerance test for people that come to the United States, does that make sense to you?

REP. SETH MOULTON (D), MASSACHUSETTS: Well, first of all, there's already extensive screening. It's the toughest route possible to get to the United States as a refugee. Literally, the most strict screening process possible.

We are already doing things to improve it. This doesn't change anything. It might be unconstitutional, but it's not going to make us safer. And the other thing it doesn't address, the fact that what ISIS is trying to do is radicalize people who are right here at home. And they are using, as tools to do that, the rhetoric of people like Donald Trump who want to discriminate against people based on their religion.

COOPER: But, Congressman, you know the concern with the Syrian refugees, certainly the migrants going to Germany. I mean, I was on -- I was in Greece when, you know, on the shores with hundreds coming ashore and you see passports ripped up. How, you know, easy is it to actually vet somebody when you can't work with the intelligence service in their home country, in this case, Syria, to actually look at police records, to look who they are? MOULTON: It's hard to do it. And that's why it takes two years for

someone to go through the refugee process to come to America. It's simply not even comparable to these refugees who are swimming ashore in Europe. It's silly to even compare the two. Migrants are flowing across borders freely into Europe. You mentioned 800,000 into Germany alone. They are very, very few controls.

Totally different when a refugee comes to the United States. They go through the strictest screening of any traveler to the U.S. It usually takes upwards of 18 months to get through the process. Often almost two years. And that is because we are so strict and scrutinizing.

So, honestly, if an ISIS terrorist wants to get to the United States, coming as a refugee is about the worst route possible.

COOPER: Clarissa, you have worked obviously in Iraq and the Middle East. Many of the things Trump is talking about, working, excuse me, with Jordan, working with Egypt, using NATO to fight terror. How many of these things are new ideas or things the U.S. is not already doing?

CLARISSA WARD, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think that's what was really striking, Anderson, just listening to the speech is a lot of it sounded like policies that are already being implemented by the Obama administration. Trump talked a lot about working closely with allies, supporting allies who will fight ISIS, cutting the source of ISIS funding.

He talked about trying to put a stop to recruitment. His suggestion in that case was to shut down the Internet, which I think is probably not only not feasible, but also would be challenging for our security services who get a lot of their intelligence from that.

But then he went one step further. He almost seemed to put the entire Arab Spring at the feet of the Obama administration as opposed at the feet of the brutal dictators who have been in charge in that region, in those countries for many decades. And it seemed he almost had a nostalgia for the sort of heyday of the Middle East dictator. He talked about President Sisi of Egypt, who we know does not aspire too many American values, who has sentenced tens of thousands of people to death, who came to power in a coup.

So, there were a lot of mixed messages. And even in his power he was drawing, putting together or conflating Syria and Libya, calling them both disastrous, that the Obama administration was responsible for. Well, in Libya, you had an intervention that had certain fairly disastrous consequences. In Syria, there's been no intervention and the consequences have been hugely disastrous. In fact, Syria is the giant, festering wound that ISIS really started to thrive in, Anderson.

COOPER: Corey, though, in terms of what Trump said about his own record, I mean, a lot of people are pointing to inaccuracies and things he has said. I mean, he talked about the catastrophic mistake of pulling U.S. troops out of Iraq, he said it happened too quickly, not renegotiating the status of forces agreement. That was something he called for in multiple interviews in 2006, 2007 and 2008 on Larry King, where he said, just get out, declare victory and get out, essentially like we did in Vietnam.

Is it hypercritical and Clarissa mentioned, Libya, he actually attacked President Obama for not going faster against Gadhafi. And so, there were multiple instances where things he was critical of the Obama administration were things he was supporting several years ago.

LEWANDOWSKI: I think you have to remember, right, Donald Trump is a businessman and has been a businessman throughout his entire career and doesn't have access to the same type of information that this administration has access to or the previous administration had access to.

[20:10:06] So, when you look at the things he was calling for like the congressman, you know, Mr. Trump said he was against the Iraq war, you know, the congressman was against the Iraq war but he went to war to fight for his country --

COOPER: But he actually was against -- I mean, on Howard Stern, he said --

LEWANDOWSKI: Howard Stern was, well, okay, maybe. That's not a ringing endorsement. I think that's really overplayed, that he was in favor of the war when he's been on record on multiple occasions saying he hasn't been in favor of the war. The congressman wasn't in favor, but he went and served honorably four tours of duty. We respect him for that.

And I think what you have now is, with the best information he had available, he said, look, you just get out. He said to Wolf Blitzer. He said to Larry King, it's time to get out.

The problem became when the U.S. extracted itself, right? That created a power vacuum that allowed ISIS to permeate and grow to what it is today, which is the single biggest source of terror in our world.

COOPER: All right. But Congressman, I mean, what Trump said on Larry King in particular, is like, even if, you know, there's going to be civil war no matter what, get out, declare victory. Do you think is it hypercritical of him now to attack the Obama administration for not renegotiating the status of forces agreement? Which is a valid position to have, but it's counter to what he used to have. Is that hypercritical?

MOULTON: Well, it is hypocritical. And, look, Donald Trump is not running to be a businessman. He is running to be our commander-in- chief. He is someone that we have to trust him to make the right judgment calls in these situations. They are tough calls. I have been someone, a Democrat who's been critical of the Obama administration on some of that.

But the fact that Donald Trump is so inconsistent, so reckless with some of his recommendations and then hypocritical many times when he criticizes others just shows that he's really not fit to be our commander-in-chief. He might be a great businessman. But the record is a little bit shoddy on that as well.

But, he clearly does not have a temperament or the judgment to be making these tough calls about the national security. And just by running for president and talking about things like banning Muslims which just inflames ISIS recruitment, he's actually putting the troops at risk, he's putting our national security at risk just through the course of his campaign.

COOPER: Congressman, appreciate your time. Clarissa Ward, always. Corey, stay with us. We are going have more with Corey in a second.

And next, what people at the speech thought of what he said and the way he said it, minus all the traditional Donald Trump ad libs. The panel, Corey included, joins us as well.

Later, we'll take you to the Louisiana flood zone where the danger remains, the pictures suggests extraordinary, the death toll, the water keeps rising. A lot of raids, towns and rescuers rising to the occasion to help. We'll show you some incredible rescues.


[20:16:13] COOPER: We are talking about Donald Trump's second campaign the last two weeks and the pressure that he is under to stay focus today in Ohio. He stuck to a script and took the advice to those who wanted him to appear more presidential, advice he's belittled on occasion.

Last April, he told a crowd in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, that one day, he will be so presidential that he will bore people and they will stop coming to his rallies. The question tonight, what did the crowd in Youngstown, Ohio, make of what they heard today?

More in that from our Gary Tuchman.


GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): An invitation only crowd of Donald Trump supporters waiting out in the Ohio rain, waiting to find out how he plans to keep them safe.

ROBIN MCCORMACK, TRUMP SUPPORTER: This has to stop. We've got to stop being victims. We've got to stop being gentle.

TUCHMAN: This woman says America has to do what America has to do. So, does that include waterboarding at your estimation and hence interrogation techniques?

MCCORMACK: I'm not opposed to it.

TUCHMAN: And then, there was this quote from this past December.

TRUMP: Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country's representatives can figure out what the hell is going on.

TUCHMAN (on camera): So, tell me specifically what you want to see.

RON CAPITENA, TRUMP SUPPORTER: Just the Muslims, people, yes, it has to stop. Just until we get it ironed out.

TUCHMAN: What you're saying you want to hear Donald Trump say that Muslims should be banned for the time being.

CAPITENA: For the time being yes, just for the time being.

TRUMP: Only this way will we make America great again and safe again for everyone. Thank you very much. God bless you. Thank you. Thank you.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): The speech was over, the reviews from this crowd were kind. Trump did not specifically mention banning Muslims. But about his newly announced plan of so-called extreme vetting --

MARK WEBB, TRUMP SUPPORTER: I thought it was very inspiring. I think it's what the country needs.

TUCHMAN: What about his declaration that a country that shares the goal of halting, in his words, the spread of radical Islam will be an ally of the U.S.

(on camera): Would it trouble you, though, if Russia was allied with United States in fighting terrorism but it invaded Latvia, Lithuania or Estonia, how could Russia still be a U.S. ally?

WEBB: Well, that's a very good point. But I think there's room for negotiation. I think at least we have somebody willing to talk to all parties to actually get something done that's positive, that's in our interest.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): And on his criticism of Hillary Clinton and President Obama --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I thought he was forceful in what he has to say to America because we are in terrible shape. Our president is a Muslim who hates America.

TUCHMAN (on camera): What did you say?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just said our president is a Muslim who hates America.

TUCHMAN: So, you think Barack Obama is a Muslim?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, yes. I think he's --

TUCHMAN: He's a Christian.


TUCHMAN: He's a Christian.

(voice-over): That wasn't a typical response to the speech. This was.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I thought it was awesome. I loved his speech entirely.


COOPER: Gary Tuchman joins us.

Now, was there anything else that stood out to Trump supporters in particular about the speech?

TUCHMAN: I spoke to a lot of people today, Anderson. One of the more interesting conversations I had was with a woman who was born in Puerto Rico, but has lived in Ohio for many years and loves Donald Trump, loves everything he said today and loves one thing he did not say today, Donald Trump did not talk about his proposal to have a border wall on the border of the United States and Mexico. She doesn't want to see a border wall.

So, I told her, well, there's no indication at all that Donald Trump has abandoned his position to build a border wall between the United States and Mexico. As a matter of fact, that's what he's best known for among some people. But she said it's very significant that on the speech about national security, he did not mention that border wall -- Anderson.

COOPER: All right. Gary, thanks very much.

I just want to bring in the panel. CNN political analyst and "Daily Beast" Washington bureau chief, Jackie Kucinich, Clinton supporter and former New York City council speaker, Christine Quinn, Corey Lewandowski is back with us.

[20:20:01] Also as well, former New York Republican Congressman Rick Lazio, who unsuccessfully run for the Senate against Hillary Clinton 16 years go, also Democratic strategist and former Congressional Black Caucus executive director Angela Rye, and last but not the least, Trump supporter and New York City Council Member Joseph Borelli.

Appreciate you all being with us.

Jackie, let's start off with you. I mean, obviously, for the folks in that room who all Trump supporters, it was very well-received. Donald Trump needs to reach out to other people who haven't been receptive to him, yet. Do you think he did that with his speech?

JACKIE KUCINICH, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: It sure didn't sound like it. Yes, Trump supporters would be very pleased by that speech. But this isn't a speech that really was meant to expand to other people or at least didn't sound that way. When talking about extreme immigration, when you're talking about -- I mean, it already takes 18-24 months to allow refugees into this country. There were a lot of things didn't seem targeted to a broader audience.

COOPER: Congressman Lazio, you have never been on the Trump train. Did this speech reach out to you? RICK LAZIO, FORMER NEW YORK CONGRESSMAN: I think Donald Trump's

problem is, does he appear presidential? So, that is an issue that's been exacerbated from I thought the suggestive prohibition and allowing people based on religious orientation to come into the country, which is completely anti-republic and completely anti- American. Not what makes America great, to the controversy with the Khans through the convention.

And so, his struggle is to really appear to be the commander-in-chief, to be confident enough, to be knowledgeable enough and to have the ability to project American power appropriately.

COOPER: Do you think he came out like that today?

LAZIO: I think he struggles with that. I think he struggles. I think there's something -- I think most Americans would say, do you want to do enhanced background checks for new immigrants?

There's no right for immigration. It's a privilege to come into the country. We should make sure that every immigrant that comes in here has a commitment to America and America's values. I'm completely comfortable with that and I think most Americans are. So, he's right about that.

Where he veers into the religious litmus test is where he loses people, where he gets off message. He's got a fantastic critique against Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama in Libya, in Egypt and among our allies in Israel. A former ally, our so-so ally in Turkey, and what's going on in Syria where over a half million people have been slaughtered. I mean, that's a fantastic critique

He ought to stay on message. He ought to talk about America's power. And I think those things that they have to be careful. It's issue de jure to criticize nation building.

Two of the most successful foreign policy interventions in the post- World War II period were nation-building in Germany and Japan. So, if done correctly, if you can understand the capacity of those countries, their ability to have self leadership and understanding of what those values lend themselves, then there maybe times when you want to do that.

COOPER: Angela, what's wrong with extreme vetting? I mean, why not know everything you can about people who are coming to the country and have them ascribed to American values?

ANGELA RYE, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: A couple things. One is, I find it really challenges that he used the term extreme when talking combating terrorism. I don't know if I'm the only one who struggled with that wording. But when you're talking about extreme vetting again, going back into the processes that already exists, not only under this current administration, but preceding administrations.

What exactly does extreme vetting look like when you're talking about the candidate who also supports waterboarding, he supports torture? So, I want to know what exactly that means, how does extreme vetting pan when you are talking about states that have the same types of sponsored policies and laws on your books, like Russia that are anti- LGBTQ. And I'm just saying to that end, you said a lot of things that were hypercritical about Muslim countries in your speech and they blind the face of what's happening and stays right here --

COOPER: Joe, just to argue the flip side, if President Obama said that they were going to have a litmus test for people coming into the country, that they had to support gay rights or equal rights for women, there might be a lot of folks on the other side of the aisle saying, wait a minute, that sounds like political correctness gone haywire?


JOSEPH BORELLI, TRUMP SUPPORTING: -- supporting gay rights and being out of the post in a sense where you are killing people and jailing them for participating that sort of thing.

But as far as what Angela was saying about extreme vetting, I think a lot of times the Democratic Party loses the regular voters when say -- when they have a problem with someone saying, yes, we want to vet people extremely to make sure those coming into the country are not terrorists.

Look, we look right across the ocean to Europe. You see European already has all the gun control measures that we like to talk about. Now, they are moving towards being stricter on who comes in their border because they have realized that some of the problems that have happened with --

COOPER: Christine, what about that? I mean, for years, it may be on the immigration questionnaire. People were asked to come into the country. Have you been a member of the communist party? I mean, what's wrong with extreme vetting?

CHRISTINE QUINN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I think that you want obviously anyone who's coming into the country to be vetted appropriately, appropriately. And that needs to be a standard that is the same for everyone.

And let's not forget that President Truman vetoed that bill, although Congress did override him.

[20:25:05] And that provision, that bill, the provision that you see where you to fill that out, is a vestige of McCarthyism, one of the really terrible period of American history.

And when I was hearing the introduction, so to speak of Trump's speech this morning before he gave it, people kept saying, we are going to find out if these folks who want to come in ascribe to American values. Well, is that my American values? Is that Donald Trump's American values?

What does that mean? Because -- let me say one other thing, I find it hypocritical on a level -- I find it hard to describe that they are going to say they're going to keep anti-LGBTQ people out of the country when just last week Donald Trump went with Marco Rubio to anti-LGBT event, a stone's throw from the Pulse nightclub and Nike Pence is one of the most anti-LGBT elected officials in the country. So, if he was theoretically to want to come in and was elected official from somewhere else, I guess he couldn't come in because no one is more anti-LGBT than him.

COOPER: Corey?

LEWANDOWSKI: Look, here is what it comes down to, is Donald Trump's message has been and continues to be putting America first. What that means is making sure that we have a full appreciation and an understanding of who is coming into our country.

Rick said it right, coming to this country is a privilege. You don't have the same privileges that you do in other countries when you come here. You have many, many more of those.

COOPER: But there's a lot of people with a lot of different ideas in this country.

LEWANDOWSKI: I understand that. But look, I have the privilege of going to Ellis Island less than two weeks ago and taking a tour, which I've never done. And it was amazing because the rangers down there told us exactly the questions that those people asked as they came into the country.

Will you be a productive member of this country? Do you have a job here? What will you do to contribute to America?

American was a melting pot that they need the immigrants to come and grow. Right? There's no question about that. We have always been that. What we want to make sure we have is, we have the best people, not just anybody gets to come. It is a privilege to be a member of the United States.

QUINN: All four of my grandparents came through Ellis Island. One of them as a 16 year old girl in third class after having survived the Titanic. And let's not forget, more first class men got off the Titanic alive than third class girls.

So, my grandparents were asked those questions and those questions had meaning to them. They came from Ireland. Nobody asked them if they were republicans and Irish sense (ph)? Were they supporters of the Republic of Ireland? No one asked them if they had family involved in supporting the republican cause. Nobody asked them what their perspective was on the declaration from the post office in 1916. No one asked them that.

COOPER: There were a lot of folks who didn't want Irish immigrants in the United States at that time.

QUINN: But nonetheless, no one asked them that at Ellis Island. That's my point. Nobody said this Irish need not apply, no one said some Irish, and not others.

LAZIO: The difference is, they weren't at war with the United States. I mean, that was an internal domestic issue. It was horrible, but you weren't having people threatening to come to the U.S. and attack.


RYE: Muslims are not -- Muslims are not at war with this country, either.

QUINN: Right.

RYE: And I think that we start getting very treacherous when we talk about banning a religion. I know he's dialed that back. But you heard supporters say that a Muslim ban is what he wanted to hear. You heard another supporter says that the president is a Muslim is what she called him. I can't --


LEWANDOWSKI: You can't hold Donald Trump accountable for his supporters. If that's the case, all Hillary Clinton supporters said, she's accountable --


COOPER: You should be careful to take some random person.

RYE: I'm not taking a random person.


LEWANDOWSKI: The father of the killer at the nightclub.

RYE: Tom Foley was behind your candidate. He's a child molester. Child molester.


KUCINICH: One of the other problematic parts of the plan is it was not only immigrants, it was their children, who could be American citizens. I mean, unconstitutional. I don't know how that could be even put into effect. That's a part I would love to ask a question about that.

COOPER: We have to take a quick break. When we come back, new polling. Donald Trump facing a challenge in battleground states. It all boils down to battleground states. How do the numbers shape the electoral map and possibly his path to the White House? John King breaks down for us by the numbers.


[20:33:18] COOPER: Welcome back. Hillary Clinton had some company on the campaign trail in Pennsylvania today, some help slamming Donald Trump, for the first time, vice president Joe Biden hit the trail with Hillary Clinton. They spoke at a rally in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Biden said Trump can't be trusted, and is quote, "Totally unqualified to be president".

Clinton who's already down what she calls the Trump loophole in his tax plan and when she said would only benefit people like him.


HILLARY CLINTON, (D) PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: He would end up paying a rate lower than millions of middle class families. Now that is assuming he pays any taxes at all, because we really don't know since we haven't seen his tax return.


COOPER: While his polling shows Clinton leading Trump by double digits. In Pennsylvania, a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marris poll, in four key battleground states shows an up hill run for Trump. Our "Inside Politics" anchor, John King shows now the breaking "By the Numbers".

So the new battleground state polls, I mean is it all bad news for Trump? Or what do they show?

JOHN KING, CNN INSIDE POLITICS ANCHOR: Yes. In a word, it's all bad news Anderson. It have been 10 or 12 in the past week or so. Let's go through the ones that matter most, these are six states that are almost always are traditional battleground states in the close presidential election.

Florida, Ohio, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Virginia, Colorado. Why are they blue here, Hillary Clinton leads in all six. And this is a presentation, these numbers are actually generous to Donald Trump. When I say Clinton is leading by three in Florida right now, that's an average only in the last month or so.

More recent poll show up more than that, same with Ohio. The average is plus two. Clinton, more recent polls show is a bigger lead. She's ahead in North Carolina. Again some recent polls have a little bit bigger than that. But you look here, one, two, three, four, five, six. And these are bigger leads when you get to Virginia, Colorado, New Hampshire. Six states in a close election are fought to the end, advantage Clinton right now. And Anderson, Donald Trump had said OK, maybe I'm not going to win some the traditional battlegrounds, but I'm going to turn some big traditionally blue states red.

[20:35:00] Well again, not at the moment. Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and New York which he says he can flip. There's a poll out showing at 25 point Clinton lead, the average is 17 in New York, the average is 9 in Pennsylvania, 6 in Michigan, 9 in Wisconsin and again some recent polls have bigger Clinton leads. So you look at this map, this is the Obama-Romney map, Donald Trump cannot win unless he turns some of this big blue prices red. There's not one of them Anderson, not one tonight I can circle and say Donald Trump is turning this state, that state or that state. Right now, he's in a ditch.

COOPER: So, I mean let's translate it out, is the race that matters most in presidential politics, the race for 270 electoral votes.

KING: And that's where you see. If you go by -- remember, 85 days to go a lot can change in 85 days. And Donald Trump is defied logic and gravity many times in this race.

But if you go with where the race is already now, I just showed you Hillary Clinton leading in Ohio. We still already have this leaning in Michigan and Wisconsin leaning her way. Leading in Ohio, leading Pennsylvania, leading in Virginia, leading in North Carolina, leading in Florida, leading in New Hampshire. At least Iowa and Nevada are off the table for now. That gets her to 335. You only need 270 to win.

If those states voted on Election Day where they are right now in the polls, she would win by a bigger margin than Barack Obama beat Mitt Romney and again I'm not even including Iowa and Nevada. If Hillary Clinton is winning Ohio and winning North Carolina I bet you 100 bucks, she's also winning Iowa and Nevada, just because of the demographics of those states.

So again 85 days, a lot can change.

COOPER: Right.

KING: Donald Trump is in a ditch.

COOPER: So what does Trump need to do? I mean is there one big dynamic driving to shift to Clinton?

KING: There's no question Anderson, that the Democrats had very successful convention. There's no question that changed dynamics. There's no question you've been taking about it since the beginning of the program tonight. Questions about Donald Trump's discipline, questions about whether he can stay on message.

So it's complicated, but here's one thing let's take a look at, if you stretch this out, which candidate is best able to handle the economy? Well that's always issue one in presidential polls, and Donald Trump, for months in our polling has had an advantage, a big advantage right around the time of his convention.

In our most recent poll, Hillary Clinton. Roughly even 50-48, that's not a great advantage for Hillary Clinton. But if you look at Trump's lead over the past several months, this is a big changing dynamic in the race. Hillary Clinton at least now running even with Donald Trump on the economy.

If that number doesn't change, given the instruction advantage as the Democrats have in the Clinton campaign has, another warning sign for Mr. Trump.

COOPER: All right, John King, thanks very much. Breaking down numbers just said, Trump's campaign chairman get million of dollars in a legal and secret payments from Ukraine or was he slated to.

There's investigation happening, we'll get the latest on what our Drew Griffin has found. And here from one of the "New York Times" reporters who broke the story, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [20:41:26] COOPER: It's an ominous sounding report that the head of Donald Trump's campaign, and Paul Manafort could have illegally received millions in secret cash from Ukraine's former pro-Russian ruling party. Ukrainian authorities they are investigating.

Hillary Clinton's campaign manager is calling on Trump to disclose any in all campaign connections to Russia and Manafort himself is responded. The "New York Times" broke the story. We'll hear from one of the reporters in a moment.

But first our Senior Investigative Correspondent Drew Griffin has been digging and joins us now with what he has found. Drew, still a lot of unknowns here, help fill in some of what thus reporting about the "New York Times" for show.

What do we know at this stage?

DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SENIOR INVESTIGATOR CORRESPONDENT: This is what we know. Paul Manafort worked for the past government of Ukraine. That past government is now under investigation for what it did with a lot of money, a lot of corruption.

And there's an actual Anti-Corruption Bureau that was began by the government of Ukraine. But look at all this. They began looking and they dug up this black ledger they call it. It's 841 pages, handwritten, Anderson, detailing what appears to be under the table pay offs to various people in and around the former Ukraine government.

Now, on those documents, we are told, at 22 times between the years 2007 and 2012, Paul Manafort's name comes up. He was doing consulting work over there. And correspondent to that name are $12.7 million in what they say designated payments. The issue is, were these payments ever made to them, what do they represent?

We really don't have an answer to that. The cautionary note from the Anti-Corruption Bureau over in Ukraine is there's no signature by Paul Manafort next to these alleged payments. So they believe that there's a chance that he didn't sign for the cash. So it's all part of much, much bigger government corruption investigation going on in the Ukraine. But there he is, Paul Manafort is right in the middle of it.

COOPER: It sounds secret Manafort did work in Ukraine, that's the known doing political consulting. Has there been any definite evidence that what he did was elicit or illegal in any way? I know there's report had lots of, there were shell companies involved and offshore and sort of Cayman Islands and places like that.

GRIFFIN: Well, I mean that's -- Paul Manafort has trashed the "New York Times" and I'm sure the reporter is going to be able to talk all about that, because there actually two separate issues. There's this issue of the payments. Were the payments illegal? We don't know. Were the payments even made? We don't know yet, we don't quite frankly know what these payments were about.

But obviously if Paul Manafort is getting $12.7 million in Ukrainian government funds under the table, that is possibly illegal. But we just don't know that yet. He had legitimate business there, it's wide open. Everybody knew it. And he had the legal right to work there for the party of regions which he worked for many, many years.

COOPER: And we should point out, the president who is working for ultimately fled the country is now living in Russia. What has Manafort said about this?

GRIFFIN: Well he responded harshly when the "New York Times" broke this, he called the whole thing basically silly. But let me read you what a part of his statement was. He said, "The simplest answer is the truth, I am a campaign professional. It's well known that I do work in the United States and have done work on overseas campaigns as well. I have never received a single off the books cash payment as falsely reported by the "New York Times" nor have I ever done work for the governments of Ukraine or Russia." He goes on to say, Anderson, "The suggestion that I accepted cash payment is unfounded, silly and nonsensical."

[20:45:07] COOPER: All right, Drew Griffin, Drew thanks very much.

Barry Meier is one of the reporters who broke the story of the "New York Times", he's also the author of "Missing Man: The American Spy who Vanished In Iran". Barry joins me now.

Thanks so much for being with us. First of all what do you make of what Paul Manafort had said?

BARRY MEIER, NEW YORK TIMES REPORTER: Well just to drain out the bombast a little bit from his statement, you know, the facts in the story are what they are. As Drew mentioned, the ledger show that there 22 payments over five-year period that are related to Mr. Manafort's name. Whether who that money went to it's not clear. I mean its serve analogous to a bookmaker.

You know, the part of regions, Yanukovych ...

COOPER: In RNC, of so called they're calling a black ledger, black book essentially it was found in one of the presidential offices, right?

MEIER: Correct. And so basically, you know, they probably had two sets of books, one said that they showed to the tax people and another set of books said had all this cash payments in it.

And so, the question is, did this money go to Mr. Manafort, to his firm, to his associates. Could -- anybody ...

COOPER: Couldn't have been, I mean he was helping the guy who became president get re-elected, helping, you know, organize, a campaign election stuff like that, which is why I think he said he never worked for the government itself. He was working for the campaign.

Is it possible, this were -- if these payments were actually made it, they were completely legitimate payments for work done on a campaign? MEIER: Well anything is possible. But, I mean, the question is, why were they cash payments? And how do those payments or that sum of money relate to the actual money that Mr. Manafort or his, you know, firm received for the services they provided to Mr. Yanukovych and his party? We don't know what that sum is.

COOPER: Right.

MEIER: And it's only when you know that sum that you could put these sums into context.

COOPER: In his statement, he -- Manafort seems to take issue with the term off the books cash payment. What do you make of that?

MEIER: Well he says I never personally received it. He, Mr. Manafort. So the question was what, did his firm receive them? Did some of its associates receive these payments? That he really doesn't address that in his statement and we have really don't know the answer to that question.

COOPER: The other question of course, is there linkage between his work for the guy, the president of Ukraine and Donald Trump's positions toward Russia? The president -- that as I said, is no fled, he's living in Russia.

MEIER: Right.

COOPER: And that's -- again what makes this kind of another aspect of the story.

MEIER: I have no idea. I mean I have no idea what informed Mr. Trump's positions on those subjects nor do I know the input Mr. Manafort has into those ...


COOPER: What surprised you most about the story, about what you find?

MEIER: That, you know, there would these books showing these payments and there's this money and either that money exists or doesn't exist and somebody got that money. And hopefully in days and weeks to come, we'll know more ...


MEIER: ... where that money went.

COOPER: The investigation continues. And you Barry Meier, thank you so much. Appreciate it.

Up next, historic flooding in Louisiana. More than 20,000 people rescued, including woman and her dog who were trapped in a car. I show you -- it was caught on video. And look at how they got out when "360" continues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [20:52:13] COOPER: A devastating flooding has killed at least five people in Louisiana. The governor expects 30 parishes will be declared a major disaster. That's of half the number of parishes in the entire state. Streets and rivers in some places, homes are now islands.

More than 20,000 people have been rescued. The coast guard first responders, volunteers are helping those trapped in flood waters trying to get to dry land. Take a look.


COOPER: Rescues by boat, from the air, even from underneath the flood waters.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Give me a knife. Give me a knife. Give me a knife.

COOPER: This rescue crew in Baton Rouge found a car which was quickly sinking. The drives was trapped inside. You hear her calling for help.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh my god, I'm drowning.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're coming. We're coming. We're breaking the window.

COOPER: But with the car now almost completely under water, one of the rescuers David Phung jumps in the water. Grabbing the driver's arm and pulling her out of the car up to safety.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Get my dog! Get my dog!

COOPER: As soon as she's able to take a breath she pleads with Phung to save her dog, still trapped inside the car.

DAVID PHUNG, LOUISIANA RESCUER: I will get the dog. Here, here. I can't get the dog.


PHUNG: Then she's gone.

COOPER: So he dives back down under the water.

PHUNG: I got your dog!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh you are amazing.

COOPER: In the end, saving them both. Officials and volunteers in Louisiana are working around the clock to help those stranded by the devastating floods. Those able to walk through the rushing water are given a helping hand to higher ground. Those unable to make it on their own are carried to safety.

GOV. JOHN BEL EDWARDS, (D) LOUISIANA: As of right now, there have been more than 20,000 people rescued from their homes in and around southern Louisiana.

COOPER: Pets weren't left behind in these rescues. This military convoy made room for dogs as well as people. They fled the Baton Rouge area.

The flood waters are not expected to recede for days, with many still trapped inside their homes rescue operations continue.

Images like these evoking memories of Hurricane Katrina which hit this region 11 years ago this month.


COOPER: Over the weekend, more than 20 inches of rain fell in and around Baton Rouge and more is on the way. The water is not done rising in Louisiana.

Our meteorologist Jennifer Gray joins us from Baton Rouge with more. So, almost two feet of rain in just a few days. How is the community coping?

[20:55:07] JENNIFER GRAY, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Well, this is a one in 1,000 year flood. And this comes just on the heels, six months ago, we had a historic flood across south Louisiana and so now, we're seeing another one.

And, you know, the front cover of the "Time" newspaper this morning said like Katrina all over again. And Anderson, I think the images of people climbing out of their roofs to get to safety, to get on people's boats, to get out of their neighborhoods was haunting for people across south Louisiana.

We have drone footage now, and you can see the scope of what we're talking about water chest-high inside people's homes. It's going to be a long time before they are able to get back in, Anderson.

COOPER: That's drone footage from the area where you are in. Jennifer, I mean is more rain expected? What's the forecast?

GRAY: Well, we are looking at a little bit more rain each day. We're not going to see some widespread all day rain but we will see pop-up showers that it shouldn't do too much as far as worsen the flood but lot of the rivers have already crested. But keep in mind this is going to be a very slow climb downwards.

We are talking about days, not hours. So some of these rivers could sit at where they crested for several days. So we're talking about these houses behind me with water inside. It could be the end of the week before they're able to get in their front door, Anderson. COOPER: Just terrible. Jennifer Gray, I appreciate you being there. Thank you.

In the next hour of "360", Donald Trump proposes what he calls extreme vetting of immigrants and other steps as he unveils his plan to defeat ISIS.