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THE SITUATION ROOM
Louisiana Flooding; Did Trump Campaign Chair Take Illicit Cash?; Donald Trump Delivers Address on Terrorism; Trump Dropping Hints He May Lose the Election; Pentagon Announces Guantanamo Detainee Transfer; 20,000 Rescued from Louisiana Floods. Aired 6-7p ET
Aired August 15, 2016 - 18:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now, breaking news: Getting extreme, Donald Trump promises tougher tests for immigrants to enter the country, as he outlines his plans for fighting terror and blames Hillary Clinton and President Obama for the rise of ISIS.
Torching Trump. Vice President Biden teams up with Clinton on the campaign trail to deliver a blistering argument that the Republican nominee is unfit for the presidency and a danger to America's security.
Shifting battlegrounds. New polls show Trump losing ground to Clinton and crucial swing states. Does he still have a path to get to those 270 electoral votes that are needed to win the White House?
And under investigation. Ukrainian officials say Trump's campaign chairman is the subject of a probe into alleged influence-peddling. We're getting new information about Paul Manafort, his ties to a Putin ally and millions of dollars listed in a secret ledger.
We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. Wolf Blitzer is off. I'm Brianna Keilar. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
KEILAR: And breaking news tonight, Donald Trump is promising to subject immigrants to new ideological tests that he calls extreme vetting as part of his plan to fight radical Islamic terrorism.
Trump says only people who "share our values" should be allowed in the country. In his speech on national security, Trump blamed the rise of ISIS on decisions made by President Obama and Hillary Clinton when she was secretary of state.
And Vice President Joe Biden says Trump's dangerous comments are putting America's security at risk right now and it would only get worse if he's elected president. Biden campaigned with Hillary Clinton for the first time in this campaign, appearing in the battleground state of Pennsylvania.
And also tonight: new developments in the Clinton e-mail controversy. The State Department has agreed to give a conservative watchdog group all official e-mails recovered from Clinton's private servers, this as the FBI is expected to provide members of Congress with notes from its interview with Clinton.
Another investigation is unfolding, this one involving Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort. Ukrainian authorities say they're trying to determine if Manafort received millions in illegal payments from the country's former pro-Russian ruling party. Manafort calls the allegation unfounded.
Senior Trump campaign adviser and former Congressman Jack Kingston is standing by for us, along with our correspondents and our analysts, who have full coverage of the day's top stories.
First, I want to get to CNN political reporter Sara Murray. She is in Ohio with more on Trump's speech on terrorism - Sara.
SARA MURRAY, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Brianna, today, Donald Trump is not reiterating his claim that President Obama and Hillary Clinton were the co-founders of ISIS, but as he was here in Ohio laying out his philosophy for how to combat the terror group, he did not hold back on highlighting what he views as Hillary Clinton's foreign policy failures.
MURRAY (voice-over): Donald Trump's battling to take control of his own campaign message by laying out his vision to defeat ISIS.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: 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 onto the world stage. Things turned out really to be not so hot for our world and our country.
MURRAY: Even questioning whether she is 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 its attempts at nation-building and saying it is time focus on fighting ISIS on all fronts.
The GOP nominee framing it as an ideological war hearkening back to the days 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 fleshing out his plan to block immigrants from countries he claims breeds terrorism, proposing a test to determine whether immigrants they 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.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
TRUMP: In addition to screening out all members of the sympathizers of terrorist groups, we must also screen out any who have hostile attitudes toward our country or its principles or who believe that Sharia law should supplant American law.
MURRAY: Trump's policy-focused address the latest attempt to keep the freewheeling candidate who refuses to stay on message, on message.
On Sunday, "The Wall Street Journal"'s editorial page tweaked Trump further, calling on him to turn his campaign around by Labor Day as proof he can behave like someone who wants to be president, or turn the nomination over to Mike Pence.
MURRAY: Now, that call for extreme vetting is already catching some criticism from some outside groups.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations came out today and said an ideological test violates American values. They said Donald Trump himself would not be allowed in this country if we tested for -- quote -- "basic American values of tolerance" -- Brianna.
KEILAR: Sara Murray for us in Youngstown, Ohio, thank you.
And we want to talk now about the Democrats and Vice President Joe Biden. He had a new warning today that Donald Trump cannot be trusted with nuclear codes or with anything involving America's security.
CNN senior Washington correspondent Joe Johns is live for us in Pennsylvania. He has more on Biden's campaign appearance with Hillary Clinton.
He really went after Donald Trump today, Joe.
JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR CORRESPONDENT: That's for sure, Brianna.
Vice President Joe Biden back here in his hometown of Scranton, Pennsylvania. Of course, this is his first campaign appearance with Hillary Clinton on the trail in what can only be called a blistering attack on Donald Trump, calling him, among other things, totally unqualified to be president. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
JOHNS (voice-over): Joe Biden on the trail for the first time with Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, channeling his blue- collar roots in his hometown of Scranton, Pennsylvania.
JOSEPH BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Hillary understands the hopes and aspirations of the people in Claymont and Scranton and every Scranton and Claymont in the United States of America.
JOHNS: Hammering away at GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump.
BIDEN: This guy doesn't care about the middle class. And I don't even blame him in a sense, because he doesn't understand it. He doesn't have a clue. No, no, he really -- I mean, he really doesn't.
JOHNS: Saying Trump is the most unprepared nominee ever for the job of president.
BIDEN: I have worked with eight president of the United States. I have served with hundreds of senators, dozens of secretaries of state and secretaries of defense of both parties. And I can say, without hesitation, my word as a Biden, no major party nominee in the history of the United States of America has -- now, don't cheer or -- just listen -- has known less or been less prepared to deal with our national security than Donald Trump.
JOHNS: And repeating a line of attack Clinton's campaign has focused on for weeks: Trump cannot be trusted with the nuclear codes.
BIDEN: He is not qualified to know the code. He can't be trusted.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
BIDEN: In a raw moment, the vice president even hitting Trump for comments the Republican made about dictators, like former Iraq leader Saddam Hussein, suggesting the Republican would even admire the former Russian ruler responsible for murdering millions.
BIDEN: He would have loved Stalin. He would have loved Stalin.
JOHNS: Biden joined Clinton in an appeal to white working-class voters of Pennsylvania, a demographic Clinton has been struggling with.
HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I always remember I am the granddaughter of a factory worker and the daughter of a small business owner, and I am so proud of it.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
JOHNS: Trump is struggling in the latest polls in Pennsylvania, trailing by nine points. He continues to tell voters he's worried the election could be rigged against him.
TRUMP: The only way we can lose, in my opinion, I really mean this, Pennsylvania, is if cheating goes on.
JOHNS: Not a mention of the FBI notes that could be turned over to congressional investigators today, the Clinton campaign preferring to stay on offense and going with things that work.
They made it clear earlier today that they wanted to stay on foreign policy, putting out a Web ad once again questioning whether Donald Trump should be entrusted with the nuclear codes -- Brianna.
KEILAR: Really trying to shift the focus away from her e-mail issues.
Joe Johns in Scranton, thank you so much.
And joining me now is a senior adviser to the Trump campaign. He's also a former U.S. congressman from Georgia. We have Jack Kingston with us now.
Thank you so much for joining us.
JACK KINGSTON (R), FORMER U.S. CONGRESSMAN: Thank you.
KEILAR: He's talking about extreme vetting, so ideological vetting. Make sure that people who are coming into the country share our values, as he put it in a quote. How does that work?
KINGSTON: Well, what he was talking about is countries that we know have inadequate vetting, that we want to have more scrutiny.
Now, the Department of Homeland Security, which he brought into the loop, would be in charge of this. But it's just saying that if we know that you are an exporter of terrorism, then we want to be very careful about who comes into the country.
And keep in mind, he pointed out that Hillary's plan calls for 640,000 new refugees. And he paralleled that to what happened in Germany. And I don't think anybody would say that the Angela Merkel experiment in Germany has been a good one.
And so what he's talking about is let's just be careful who comes to our country. Nothing radical about it. But what he does know is, what's going on right now under Obama and Hillary Clinton has not been working.
KEILAR: But DHS is already vetting like that right now.
KINGSTON: Well, you know what? A lot of this, we're hearing from the Clinton campaign, well, we're already doing this, we're already doing this.
KEILAR: No, this isn't from the Clinton campaign. We actually looked into it. And the DHS is actually already vetting.
KINGSTON: OK. No, well, I mean, there's a lot that's already going on now.
But I think a new sheriff in town, new emphasis, one of the things he said is, everybody in my administration will know keeping America safe is a top priority to win the war on terrorism. So I think while they may be doing it now, he wants to have more energy, more emphasis on it.
KEILAR: I guess we want to know what it is beyond emphasis, because, look, we have frequently, you know, the campaign, the Trump campaign saying, we're focused too much on politics, not on policy.
I mean, we're trying to focus on that. So, I guess more than just saying I'm going to emphasize that, there has to be something else that he's going to do other than just say hey, do better, DHS.
So what is that?
KINGSTON: Well, I think, number one, you have to remember, take it very -- to the beginning.
Donald Trump was against the war in Iraq. Hillary Clinton was for it.
KEILAR: Can I -- I have to stop you there. Congressman, I have to stop you there, because he said that today, except we fact-checked him.
He was for it in 2003, and he wasn't against it until August 2004, which, as you know, just a few months before the election. So many people were against it.
KINGSTON: As a private citizen, he would not have the information that Hillary Clinton had. And Hillary Clinton had all kinds of information as a U.S. senator.
KEILAR: You just said he was against it. And he wasn't against it.
KINGSTON: He had said consistently, publicly, he was against it. Now...
KEILAR: He had not.
KEILAR: Congressman, he had not. In August of 2004 was the first time he said that.
KINGSTON: On this show...
KEILAR: In 2003, in 2003, he said publicly on radio: I'm for it.
KINGSTON: Well, let me just say, I don't believe it was a statement of position.
On this show, they have shown repeatedly interviews of 2007, where he said he was against the war in Iraq. But let's, you know, fast- forward. If you think where we are now, that is, the fall of Syria, the destabilization in Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan, unfinished business, ISIS now that's created under Hillary Clinton's watch has already killed 25,000 people since 2013, and they're in 18 countries.
If we are saying that's the status quo and Hillary Clinton keeps coming out with plan after plan and Barack Obama has all kinds of meetings on this, nothing has happened. Brianna, what it's like is that ice skating rink in New York City. New York was doing their best to renovate the ice skating rink, but they needed new leadership.
And they got Donald Trump in there, he got it done. And I'm not saying an ice skating rink is similar to foreign policy. But you know what? Leadership is. And what I saw today is Donald Trump showing international leadership, showing ownership, and showing commitment.
And that's a lot different than Barack Obama going around the globe apologizing for the United States of America.
KEILAR: But you're saying he was consistent in saying he was against Iraq, which is not true. And in -- you're citing 2007. I mean, with all due respect -- and I say this -- I don't mean to be facetious, but who wasn't against it? That was a time where, really, a lot of public opinion had turned on Iraq.
You even had Republicans who were coming out against it.
KINGSTON: Well, let's say this. He was a private citizen. Hillary Clinton and John Kerry...
KEILAR: But he's not being accurate about -- that's -- and I hear what you're saying. But he is touting his position, which means that it needs to stand up to scrutiny. And it doesn't.
KINGSTON: You know, I'm sure there are a lot of different interviews with a guy like Donald Trump along the way. It still doesn't detract from the fact that he was a private citizen.
Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have owned our war against terrorism since 2008, or 2009, when they were both sworn in. And what we have now is a destabilized Middle East. You look at the failures in Libya. Look at Yemen. Look at Syria. Look at Iraq. Look at Afghanistan.
This is all Hillary Clinton's design. And when she talks about a plan, we are already seeing the Hillary Clinton plan. What Donald Trump is talking about is reinvigorating our allies, getting people working together, cracking down on cyber-security. And I think being very careful about who comes to the United States of America is a good thing and something the American people want.
KEILAR: All right, stay with me, because we have much more ahead, former Congressman Kingston from Georgia.
We will be back after a quick break.
KEILAR: We are back now with a senior adviser to the Trump campaign, former Congressman Jack Kingston.
He's going to stand by for us as we get some new details now from Ukrainian authorities about their investigation into Donald Trump's campaign chairman, Paul Manafort.
CNN senior investigative correspondent Drew Griffin has been digging on this.
And, Drew, this involves Manafort's ties to an ally of Vladimir Putin and also what is being called by officials there a black ledger. It's a secret cash ledger.
DREW GRIFFIN, CNN INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: That's right, the black ledger investigation.
This entire story comes from Ukraine's anti-corruption bureau, which, Brianna, is specifically investigating the excesses and corruption of the former and now hated government of Ukraine.
Well, Paul Manafort was a campaign adviser for the party that ran that former government. And that is why his name is being wrapped up in all of this. They're getting the information from 841 pages, all handwritten documents, which seemed to be a record of party expenditures.
So far, the actual documents with Manafort's actual name on it have not been released. But we do have these to show you. These are handwritten ledgers. This is what they look like. This is what the black ledger is, names, dates, amounts, and even reasons for expenses like phone bills, seminars, car insurance.
Again, what we don't see yet is Manafort's name. But we are told by the spokesperson for this Ukraine agency, a government agency now, that, in fact, in the hundreds of pages, there are 22 mentions of Paul Manafort's name linked with corresponding payments of $12.7 million designated payments.
There's no proof so far that any payments were actually made to Paul Manafort. And they're being quite clear on that, because, Brianna, they have actual places where people have signed for this cash, but next to Paul Manafort's name, there is no signature. KEILAR: OK, so we don't know if he was paid this. There is no
signature. You point that out. But would it be illegal if he were to have been paid this cash?
GRIFFIN: Manafort worked for the political party in Ukraine. It's no secret. And that is not illegal.
So, unless it's proven this money is illicit money or that it involves some kind of under-the-table payments in cash, I don't think we can draw the conclusions yet. The anti-corruption bureau is not drawing any conclusions yet either. They're only saying that Manafort is part of this investigation because his name is on this ledger.
Now, Manafort himself is calling this entire report silly. Here's his statement.
It says: "The simplest answer is the truth. I am a campaign professional. It is 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, "The suggestion that I accepted cash payments is unfounded, silly and nonsensical."
CNN, Brianna, has asked for the specific documents that would show cash payments paid to Manafort. We haven't received them yet. The national anti-corruption bureau spokesperson, though, does confirm Paul Manafort, Trump's campaign adviser, part of this investigation into potentially illegal payments in Ukraine.
KEILAR: All right, Drew Griffin, thank you so much for that report.
I want to go back now to a senior adviser to the Trump campaign, former Georgia Congressman Jack Kingston.
You heard Drew's report there. And I think the key thing, I'm sure, from your perspective, is there's no proof that he received this cash. And Paul Manafort is certainly denying that.
But, aside from that, this was his main client, Viktor Yanukovych, the president who was ousted by an uprising in Ukraine and someone who was backed by Russia, who was backed by Vladimir Putin.
Does that concern you, that this is sort of coming to light, especially as Donald Trump deals with the sort of allegations that he admires Vladimir Putin, that this is unseemly?
KINGSTON: Well, let's say this.
In a campaign, there's all kinds of things that are swirling around. It's sort of become a food fight, if you will. He has said he never worked for Ukraine or the Russian government. He has not received any illegal... KEILAR: But he worked for the party. That's like someone saying, I didn't work for the U.S. government, but I worked for the Republican Party.
KINGSTON: Well, if we're going to start resurrecting things, let's talk about things that we know far more of, and that is the Clinton Foundation cash.
And, by the way, who was it that had the infamous press conference resetting our relationship with Russia? And who was it who really lost Crimea? It was Hillary Clinton as secretary of state. She was the one who started playing footsies with the Russians again.
She was the one that, when they were down, their economy was down because of oil prices, ran to their aid. So if Hillary Clinton wants to bring up Russia and try to wrap Putin around Donald Trump, bring it on, because we're glad to talk about it, because it was the Obama- Clinton administration who resurrected Russia and Putin.
KEILAR: Congressman, Donald Trump has been encouraging his supporters. He actually spoke to them in Pennsylvania, and he said, you should be on the lookout for voter fraud on Election Day. I want you to listen to what he said on Friday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: The only way they can beat it, in my opinion -- and I mean this 100 percent -- if, in certain sections of the state, they cheat, OK?
So, I hope you people can sort of not just vote on the 8th. Go around and look and watch other polling places. And make sure that it's 100 percent fine, because, without voter identification, which is shocking, shocking that you don't have it -- many states, it gets approved, and some states, they don't get approved.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: Voter observation, and he's recruiting volunteers to do this. It sort of feels almost like a corps of observers that he's trying to recruit.
Some people say, this is not too far or this gets a little too close to the idea of voter intimidation, which is illegal.
KINGSTON: That is absurd.
I have been on the ballot for over 30 years in the state level and on the federal level. I always wanted people to be poll watchers, because you never know, particularly in precincts where they don't have voter I.D. It's always good to have somebody keep an eye on it. And, Brianna,
you would not believe the stories that come back. And they're not necessarily ones about fraud. They're ones about voting machines that are turned off until 10:00 in the day, or people not showing up, or people -- all kinds of confusion, showing up at the wrong precinct and having fights about, this is where I'm supposed to vote.
KEILAR: But why have someone with a perspective doing that, and not perhaps call for a third party?
KINGSTON: Well, that's what America's all about, Democrat poll watchers, Republican poll watchers.
And I promise you, this is all about integrity for the system. In fact, I think, if there's one thing that Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump should agree on is, let's have integrity at the polls. And let's have observers there. I mean, I don't see any big deal about it.
And, again, I have run for the statehouse. And back in the 1980s, I used to do this. And so did my Democratic opponents. And it gave us both a comfort level, because you do hear all kinds of stories. And, again, some of the problems that happen are totally nonpartisan and just innocent. But other times, you just want to make sure you have an eye on things.
KEILAR: He is talking about cheating in Pennsylvania. We're still quite a ways out now, a little less than three months from the election.
Does he have a reason to believe there's going to be voter fraud? I mean, some people are looking at this and they're saying it's almost like someone who's building a reason for why he might lose in case he does. Why does he think that there's going to be voter fraud?
KINGSTON: Well, there was a report in 2012 about voting irregularities in Pennsylvania, and they weren't really bad ones, but there was about voting confusion.
And it was -- it was a nonpartisan government report, if you will, 2012. So I think what he's saying to our people is, look, let's all plan to go to the polls. Let's keep an eye on them, make sure nothing happens during the day.
KEILAR: Congressman, thank you so much. Really appreciate you being here.
KINGSTON: Thank you, Brianna.
KEILAR: And just ahead: Donald Trump stumbles, and the battleground state map shifts. We will get an update on his fight to get to 270 electoral votes. Does he still have a path to win the White House?
Plus, deadly flooding, dramatic rescues, these bird's eye pictures for you. We will take you live to Louisiana for the latest on this disaster that is still unfolding right now. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
[18:32:52] BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: We have been hearing something new from Donald Trump. He's opening the door to the possibility that he may lose the election. His remarks coming as his poll numbers slide in crucial battleground states.
CNN chief national correspondent John King is at the magic wall.
And, John, you have been looking at all of the polls. Where is the fight right now?
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Bri, if you look at our traditional battleground states, Donald Trump is in a ditch. A ditch so deep, even many Republicans are wondering if he can get out of it in the 85 days between now and Election Day.
Let's just look at some traditional presidential swing states, in Florida, the Real Clear Politics average, Clinton plus three. That's being favorable to Trump. The more recent polls had Clinton up more. We're averaging polls over the last month or so here, Clinton plus three in Florida. Clinton plus two in Ohio. Again, by average, more recent polling has a bigger lead. Clinton plus four in North Carolina, plus eight in New Hampshire, plus 10 in Virginia, plus 11 in Colorado.
These are six states, Bri, we usually watch closely right up to Election Day. If Hillary Clinton is leading in all of these states right now, Donald Trump has a problem.
Now, he says he has a plan B, but right now, he better focus on some plan A battlegrounds especially Florida, Ohio, and North Carolina.
KEILAR: And he has talked about turning blue states red this cycle. How -- when you look at those polls, what are they telling you about that?
KING: So, remember, when you look at this, again, 85 days to go, time to turn this around. But this is bleak for Donald Trump in the traditional battleground states. So, what does he say he'll do, he says he will make Michigan red. Well, right now, plus six for Hillary Clinton. He says he'll turn Pennsylvania and its 20 electoral votes. Right now, plus nine Clinton.
And again, we're using the average polls and more recent polls actually show a bigger Clinton lead in both of these states. He says he'll turn blue Wisconsin red. Well, she's up nine there by average.
And he even says, Bri, he'll win his home state of New York. One poll out this recent day says it's a 25-point lead for Hillary Clinton. If you average them out, it's a 17-point lead.
So, quickly, something, we'll show the map -- again, it's 85 days. Here's where we rank it now in terms of the toss-ups. I won't waste too much time here. But if those polls held and she won Michigan, she won Ohio, she won Pennsylvania, she won New Hampshire, she won Virginia, she won North Carolina, and she won Florida, then she beats Donald Trump by even more than President Obama beat Mitt Romney.
Again, 85 days to go, but if you're Donald Trump right now, you're looking at those polls, you're in a very deep ditch.
[08:35:03] KEILAR: That would give her many electoral votes to spare.
John king, I want to talk more about this with you and I also want to talk about this with CNN chief political analyst Gloria Borger, "Washington Post" assistant editor David Swerdlick, and CNN political director David Chalian.
OK. So, you look at this pathway, which seems to be narrowing, to say the least. This is an uphill battle for Donald Trump -- talk about how after the convention, and yes, it was earlier than usual, how hard it is to be at this point, to be down like this, and to come back.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Look, it's very hard to turn the battleship around. I remember during the primaries, we were saying, you know, it's the math. It's the math. It's the math.
Well, it is the math. And if you look at the states that John was talking about, you also look at reliably Republican states, like Arizona. Like Georgia. If they're moving to the toss-up column, then to John's point, he's got to flip a lot of these blue states -- Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania.
And they have voted for Democratic presidential candidates for more than two decades. So he's going to have to perform a little magic here, which maybe he can do. But it's going to be magic.
DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: I think the biggest takeaway, looking at John and all those numbers, is that every one of the states that he went through, the numbers were blue, not red. Everything was advantage Clinton.
So, show me the state right now that Donald Trump needs to win to put together 270 where he is leading right now. This is what the problem is, is that there's nothing -- it was astonishing watching John go through that, because nothing on the board was in his favor. Everything from traditional battleground to nontraditional places, he's got to upend where it is right now.
KEILAR: And the thought was some of these states that maybe wouldn't be in play for a Republican that is more, you know, Mitt Romney-ish, John McCain-ish, that Donald Trump might be able to put those in play.
DAVID SWERDLICK, WASHINGTON POST: Right. Trump's campaign is sort of banking on this idea of being nontraditional. It's like he's holding the inside straight and betting big on things going differently than they have for the past several elections.
But as Gloria said, it's the math. And now that he's got states like Colorado, Arizona, Utah, even potentially as states that he has to defend, even if Clinton doesn't win those states, the fact that he has to spend time on them is problematic. KEILAR: I think some of the numbers that are most troubling, and,
John, you know more about this than anyone, the suburban Republican women that Donald Trump is having some trouble with. That should be in his corner. And have trended away from him. And we have to see whether we can get those women back.
KING: You go deeper beyond the horse race numbers, you want understand the depth of the ditch. Again, he has 85 days. Donald Trump has defied logic, history and gravity before. So don't count him out.
But Hillary Clinton can play defense now. They understand what these polls say. So, they can block him. They can invest more in Ohio. Invest more in North Carolina. Invest more in Florida and Pennsylvania. Keep the double-digit Electoral College states away from Trump and you block his path to 270.
To Gloria's point, if you look at the education cutoffs. Hillary Clinton is now at least even with Donald Trump on the question of who would best handle the economy. She's about even with him on who would best handle terrorism.
So, all of the underlying dynamics are bending her way right now, too. He has to grab a battleship, as you said, and spin it. And it's hard to -- he has to do it quickly.
KEILAR: So, how does he do that, when you look at a campaign, normally a campaign would be investing resources, they would have a ground game. He's relying very much on the RNC for that. He's not in the ad game.
And Hillary Clinton -- I mean, she just -- she had a huge Olympics ad buy nationally.
Where -- what does he need to do to change this, and where should he be focusing?
KING: Again, there are a lot of complaints from Republicans, get on television and get on television in these states. And again, Trump says --
KEILAR: And not in a way that's like get on television with saying something. Get on television with an ad about Hillary Clinton.
KING: Start making your case. In his view -- and again, he did win the primaries without doing much television. So Donald Trump's view is -- you people are all wrong. This is how you ran the last campaign. You're the same people who worked for McCain, who worked for Romney, and you lost this election.
So, Trump's view is he can do this differently. There are a lot of Republicans that acknowledge a general election is very different than a volatile civil war Republican primary, if you will, but that's one of the questions. Get on television.
Number two is be consistent as a candidate, talking about the economy, changing Washington, and then crooked Hillary. Republicans are fine with the crooked Hillary refrain. They want it to come after changing Washington and creating jobs.
KEILAR: David, he seems to be in a way saying things that tell us he has thought about the fact that he might lose. I mean, that's very -- the thing I think as political reporters, we watch candidates who can be down -- I mean, they can be down 17 points, I've seen them down so much in a race, and they'll say we're taking it to the end. And you know they know. So a lot of times, a candidate doesn't break. They say they're going to win even when they know they're not going to.
But he has actually said, he's talked about the possibility that he could lose. What does that tell us?
[18:40:00] SWERDLICK: Well, at a big level, he's been so invested. Especially throughout the primaries in his own ascendance, in his own good poll number months ago, that I think he's having a hard time letting go of the idea that this is tightening up, that he could lose. And that, you know, when you're explaining a race, or when you're handicapping your own race, I think it's a signal that you're not doing well.
I was just going to add, you know, part of Trump's problem, I think, is that he's never run for office before. You learn how to run for president when you run for senator or governor. Learn how to run for senator or governor, when you run for county commissioner, he's never done it. The idea that he could have just sort of done all of this, you know, starting from scratch, it's tough.
BORGER: But he's trying to motivate his base, you know? If you say oh, we might lose, that means to your voters, we better get out there.
The same way if he says, you know what? Hillary Clinton might be cheating in Pennsylvania, that's another way to get your voters out there. And I think he's being honest about it. I think he looks at the polls.
But it is a motivating thing, because this is going to be about getting out his voters and nothing so motivates your voters and your ardent supporters when they think you might lose it.
KEILAR: Let's talk about that, David, this -- the idea of cheating. Donald Trump talked about this in Pennsylvania, and he said if we lose, it's going to be because people are cheating. What is he down, nine in Pennsylvania?
KING: That's according to the average.
KEILAR: That's according to the average.
KING: More recently, she has even a bigger lead.
KEILAR: It's even bigger. That is significant.
So he is there. But he's saying it will be cheating that will cost him Pennsylvania. What does that tell you? CHALIAN: Do you think if his average was plus nine instead of minus
nine that he would be saying the same thing? Probably not.
He -- listen, he is clearly laying some groundwork here of an argument to be made if needed later on down the road. There's no doubt about that.
But the problem with that is that if he calls into question the legitimacy of the election at all, that -- he's calling into question his own ability to perform in that election, because it's not just illegitimate on one side. If the election is illegitimate, it's illegitimate. So, he has to be very careful about walking that line.
The other point is the math, to go back to the math, it just doesn't add up. If you want to add up every voter fraud case ever in the state of Pennsylvania, it's not going to equal the number of votes he needs if he's 12 points behind Hillary Clinton in this state.
KEILAR: All right, I want to change the subject a little bit, talk about Hillary Clinton. She had a big day today, campaigning with the Vice President Joe Biden, and he offered a lot of praise for her. But he seemed most passionate going after Donald Trump. He said that no major party nominee, quote, "has known less or been less prepared."
How effective was he? How effective can he be for Hillary Clinton?
SWERDLICK: I think he was effective, especially for just getting out there on the stump. And as many people have said, Trump is making it so easy for people like Vice President Biden, people like Secretary Clinton, people like all her other surrogates, to go after him and make this about him, because he keeps making this about himself instead of going on the attack against Clinton's vulnerabilities.
KEILAR: I want to talk about Bill Clinton, another one of Hillary Clinton's attack dogs or surrogates. He is proving to perhaps cause some issues on the campaign trail. Here's what he said in response to a question about Hillary Clinton's e-mail issues.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL CLINTON, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: Wait a minute. That's not true. The FBI director said, when he testified before Congress, he had to amend his previous day's statement, that she had never received any e- mails marked classified. They saw two little notes with a "C" on it -- this is the biggest load of bull I've ever heard -- that were about telephone calls that she needed to make. And the State Department typically puts a little "C" on it to discourage people from discussing it in public in the event the secretary of state, whoever it is, doesn't make a telephone call.
Does that sound threatening to national security to you?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: OK, so he sounds defensive. That's not good. But he's also trying to be an explainer. So how is this working for Hillary Clinton?
KING: Look, this remains the biggest flashing red light for her campaign. A, the questions about will we learn more about her e- mails, about whether it's -- the notes being turned over now from the FBI to Congress. Are there more e-mails to come as we go through what the State Department now says it will turn over to this conservative group Judicial Watch in a lawsuit? Is there something in the DNC hacking?
So there are questions about the specifics of the e-mails. And then there's the broader question that she has her one big problem, is honesty and trustworthiness. And so, it's best for the Clinton campaign to talk about this as little as possible, number one.
But it would be easier if she would say, I heard Director Comey. He said some pretty damning things about me. Maybe I don't agree with all of it, but this is a bigger problem than I thought it was in the beginning and I'm really sorry and it will never happen again.
If she could do that, there will be less questions about this, but she can't bring herself to do that, so here we are.
KEILAR: We've certainly seen her struggle on this, haven't we, Gloria?
BORGER: Yes. I don't think Bill Clinton should be talking about it. But I honestly believe that he has explained things better than I've heard anybody else explain it.
[18:45:02] He's sort of tried to make it sound innocent in his own way. You know, they put a C next to it. That's because they don't want anyone to talk about it. And at least he was trying to explain it. And I think that explaining has been a problem.
SWERDLICK: I think you're right, Gloria. The only problem I have with it, from a campaigning perspective, is that it's like he's trying to lawyer this, instead of just trying to level with the average voter who is coming at this as a common sense issue.
SWERDLICK: Yes, on the merits --
KEILAR: Yes, that's been a struggle.
All right, John, Gloria, Davids, I should say, stay with me. We have much more ahead after a quick break.
[18:50:40] ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
KEILAR: Right now, we are getting breaking news out of the Pentagon. CNN's Barbara Starr is there for us.
And, Barbara, there's an announcement about terror detainees at Guantanamo Bay. What are you hearing?
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Good evening, Brianna.
Just a few moments ago, the Pentagon announced the single largest transfer of detainees out of Guantanamo of the Obama presidency. There are three men from Afghanistan, 12 from Yemen, 15 in all that are being transferred to the United Arab Emirates in the Persian Gulf.
Now, these men had been under review for some time. Some of them had approval reviewed some time ago. But now, they had found a country willing to take them. It is not so much about the men themselves, though they stand alleged of various crimes. It is about what happens with Guantanamo.
The Obama administration very committed to trying to get as many out of there as possible. It is down to 61 men at Guantanamo Bay. In the height of it during the Bush presidency, over 600 or so.
So, the Obama administration wanting to shut it down. Donald Trump, not related to this, but reiterating, he -- if elected -- would keep Guantanamo open. He's talked recently about sending American citizens accused of terrorism to Guantanamo Bay.
No indication really that the president's plan to shut it down is going to move through Congress anytime soon. But, President Obama, by bringing the overall numbers down to 61 and maybe down further before he leaves office leaves a dilemma for the next Congress and the next president.
Do you really spend the money to keep a handful there for an indeterminate amount of time or do you bring them to the United States? Brianna?
KEILAR: Barbara Starr at the Pentagon -- thank you.
And, just ahead, more on Donald Trump's plans to combat ISIS. Could some of his controversial ideas like extreme vetting of immigrants really be carried out?
And we are following breaking news in Louisiana where new rain could add to the danger and misery caused by historic flooding.
[18:57:12] KEILAR: We are following breaking news in Louisiana where thousands of homes are under water amid extensive flooding caused by almost two feet of rain. At least five people are dead. The coast guard and other first responders rescued at least 20,000 people over the weekend.
CNN meteorologist Jennifer Gray is in Baton Rouge for us.
Is there any relief in sight?
JENNIFER GRAY, CNN METEOROLOGIST: A little bit. Yes and no, Brianna. We are starting to see the water recede little by little. But we have been here all day long.
You can see the water mark behind me on the fence where the water was earlier this afternoon. It's dropped four to six inches, depending on where you are. It has a long way to go.
We are talking about feet here, not inches, feet. There are some areas that are 12 feet deep. There's water up to chest high inside people's homes. The street behind me is just one of those residents here saying the water came up so quickly, they had to gather what they could carry and leave. That's how fast the water rose, two feet in less than 24 hours. In fact, we have drone footage we got earlier.
Keep in mind, this is an area that just six months ago had an historic flood and now we are talking about it again. This exact neighborhood wasn't flooded six months ago, but in general, this portion of the state, within six months to have two historic floods is really unprecedented. This is called a 1 in 1,000 year flood. This is devastating for the area.
But I will tell you, Brianna, I'm from Louisiana. I know the pulse of this state. You are seeing it with the people in this area. They are coming together. Neighbors have been helping each other.
Twenty thousand people were rescued, can you imagine that? It doesn't count the Good Samaritans around here. There's a tent set up where we are standing and they are cooking food for more than 200 people and asking anyone to come get food. It really does warm your heart when you see people coming together in a time of need like we see too many times, unfortunately, with disasters like this.
But people really are helping each other out. They have a long way to go. It's going to be many days before this water recedes, Brianna. So, people have a long road ahead.
KEILAR: It is good to hear those good stories, though, coming out of this tough time.
All right. Jennifer Gray, thank you so much.
And, finally, I am happy to tell you, we want to talk about the very important assignment Wolf Blitzer is working on right now. He is getting to know his first grandchild. Robin Daniel Schneider (ph) was born on Friday evening. He weighed in at a very healthy 7 pounds, 5 ounces. Wolf's daughter Ilana and her husband Dave now are home from the hospital with little baby Ruben. And Wolf tells us that they are all feeling great and that he and his wife Lynn are thrilled.
So, Wolf, if you are watching all of us in THE SITUATION ROOM and CNN couldn't be happier for you and your family and your newest addition to the Wolf pack.