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AT THIS HOUR WITH BERMAN AND MICHAELA

Does Trump Have New Position on Illegal Immigration; Clinton Tries to Link Trump to Alt-Right Movement after Questions on Clinton Foundation. Aired 11-11:30a ET

Aired August 25, 2016 - 11:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[11:00:00] JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Donald Trump seems to have a new position on illegal immigration.

DONALD TRUMP, (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE & CEO, TRUMP ORGANIZATION: They'll pay back taxes. They have to pay taxes.

(CHEERING)

TRUMP: There's no amnesty as such. There's no amnesty.

(CHEERING)

TRUMP: But we work with them.

They're going back where they came.

It's a very, very hard thing.

BERMAN: There is an appearance of a conflict of interest with the foundation.

HILLARY CLINTON, (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE & FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: I know there's a lot of smoke. There's no fire.

TRUMP: She's got bad judgment. She doesn't know what she's doing, folks.

Hillary Clinton is a bigot.

CLINTON: Donald Trump has shown us who he is. He is taking a hate movement mainstream.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: Hello, I'm John Berman. Kate Bolduan is off today.

It is 11:00 a.m. Do you know where your immigration position is? It's a big question for Donald Trump, who is suggesting a major monumental policy shift. I guess a possible monumental shift, because he hasn't said what he believes, at least I don't think he has.

He used to think every single one of 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States has to go, by force, if necessary. Now it's less clear. Listen to the difference.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: They're illegal immigrants. They got to go out.

We're going to have a deportation force. And you're going to do it humanely.

We're going to be giving notice. We're going to be saying you have to go.

They have to pay taxes.

(CHEERING)

TRUMP: There's no amnesty at such. There's no amnesty.

(CHEERING)

SEAN HANNITY, FOX HOST, HANNITY: Right.

TRUMP: We work with them.

I've had very strong people come up to me, really great, great people come up to me, and they've said, Mr. Trump, I love you, but to take a person that's been here for 15 or 20 years and throw them and the family out, it's so tough, Mr. Trump -- I have it all the time.

(SHOUTING)

TRUMP: It's a very, very hard thing.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: So before, "They had to go." Definitively, had to go. Now, he seems to suggest that he might be thinking about allowing some undocumented immigrants to stay if they pay taxes. Certain conditions, he says. This, by the way, sounds a lot like the positions of former Republican rivals, Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush and John Kasich, whom Donald Trump beat, and in some cases, ridiculed for their immigration positions.

All this, as Donald Trump holds a meeting with black and Latino fellows from the Republican Leadership Institute.

CNN's Jessica Schneider is live outside Trump Tower where this meeting has been taking place.

Jessica, what's going on?

JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Donald Trump making a hard push to the minority voters. He's hosting right now his second roundtable here at Trump Tower in just the past week. In attendance, several GOP leaders, like Ben Carson. Also in attendance, black and Hispanic fellows from the Republican Leadership Institute. That's a volunteer organization that looks to recruit young GOP advocates. I talked to a few of them this morning, and they're definitely

youthful and energetic but not telling me much about what they expect to hear from Donald Trump or what they want to hear from Donald Trump.

Just in the past few minutes, Donald Trump has been speaking to them. He's honing in on his message that Hillary Clinton doesn't care about the African-American community.

Donald Trump talking last night in very strong controversial words, calling Hillary Clinton a bigot at his Tampa, Florida, rally.

Also last night, seeming to soften his immigration stance and getting some backing from his supporters in the audience there. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Now we have the person, 20 years, been an upstanding person. The family is great. Everyone is great. Do we throw them out or do we work with them and try and --

(SHOUTING)

(CROSSTALK)

TRUMP: Number one, work with them.

Number one, we'll say, throw out. Number two, work with them. Ready?

Number one.

(SHOUTING)

(CHEERING)

TRUMP: Number two.

(CHEERING)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHNEIDER: Right there, seeming to indicate that immigrant who is are law-abiding, tax paying, will be able to stay in this country as part of his policy, but who knows? Donald Trump alluded at the start of this roundtable about his immigration policy. He said we'll have it on Wednesday in Phoenix, Arizona.

And interestingly, John, he said that he will "be very strong on illegal immigration," in his speech, and he continued by saying, "Don't let the media fool you." So he continues to reject being pinned down on what exactly his immigration stance eventually will be -- John?

BERMAN: I don't know about fooling anybody. I think we want to know where he stands on these issues.

Jessica, thank you so much.

Here to discuss, Amanda Carpenter, CNN political commentator and former communications director for Senator Ted Cruz; Jim Geraghty, senior political correspondent for the "National Review": and Maria Cardona, CNN political commentator and Hillary Clinton supporter; and Joseph Boreli, New York City councilman and a Donald Trump supporter.

Amanda, I want to start with you.

I'm old enough to remember the primaries, where I'm pretty sure that Donald Trump said that every one of the 11 million undocumented immigrants should go. I'm pretty sure I remember him differing from the other Republicans he was running against right now. I know Ted Cruz, the guy you used to work for, he warned that Donald Trump might change his position. Is this a moment when you're saying I told you so.

[11:05:31] AMANDA CARPENTER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: In the most polite way possible, we told you this was going to happen. Yes, we told you so. Donald Trump never had a coherent immigration hearing. The idea you would have deportation forces go around the country, haul people out of their homes and send them back to Mexico was never feasible. We never believed he would ever follow through with something like that.

But what we saw last night was he's opening the door to comprehensive immigration reform by providing amnesty through legal status, not citizenship, legal status, which is everything he demonized Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio and John Kasich, even Ted Cruz, even though he's wrong about it, through the primaries.

But what's fascinating about that interview is he's holding a reality show to decide what his policy will be. Is he going to hold another rally and whoever cheers the loudest gets the policy they want? We have no idea what he really means or thinks. That's been the whole problem through the entire primary process.

BERMAN: Since Amanda brought it up, let's talk another walk down memory lane. Let's remind others what Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush and Kasich said that Donald Trump disagreed with before last week.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. MARCO RUBIO, (R), FLORIDA & FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If you're a criminal alien, no, you can't stay. If you're someone that hasn't been here a very long time, you can't stay.

I don't think you will round up and deport 12 million people.

JEB BUSH, FORMER FLORIDA GOVERNOR & FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You come out from the shadows. You receive a provisional work permit. You pay taxes. You don't receive federal government assistance. You learn English. You earn legal status, not citizenship.

TRUMP: They'll pay back taxes. They have to pay taxes.

(CHEERING)

TRUMP: The bad guys are out of here.

To take a person that's been here for 15 or 20 years and throw them and the family out, it's so tough.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: So, Jim, if his position, in fact, is that he now would allow for some legal status, how will his hardcore supporters, people who are for amnesty at all, as they say, how will they react? Does he risk, do you think there's evidence that supporters of Donald Trump might leave and do you think there's evidence that the new policy could convince swing voters.

JIM GERAGHTY, SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, NATIONAL REVIEW: I guess it's the Gang of Nine now. We're now in situation where you were back in November, when he was on morning show and said there's going to be a deportation force, they're going to have to leave. There was applause. Most of the Trump folks were enthusiastic. Some weren't enthusiastic because they liked it. Some only liked Donald Trump. Look at the reaction of that Hannity crowd. There was a bit of murmuring but he says we're going to let them stay, and most people agreed. He totally flipped his position and most of the people in that crowd were fine with it. This is not a political movement. This is not an ideological force. This is a cult of personality. And whatever Maharishi Trump says, they're going to be OK with. This is not just an anti-Clinton campaign, not just an anti-Democratic campaign. This is an anti-reality campaign. What happened yesterday doesn't matter. It's been air-brushed out of history like a Stalinist photo.

BERMAN: If he's not going to lose support, can you make the case, politically speaking, it's a shrewd move?

GERAGHTY: This is where diehard supporters are anyway. You saw Ann Coulter wrote her book, "In Trump We Trust." You have to tell yourself, he's just lying if you're a diehard. If you're one of those people who are really an immigration hawk, you have to be telling yourself. He's making this up. This is all just an attempt to seduce the center. He doesn't mean any of this. He's just saying it to win over. I'm the one he truly loves. He would never cheat on me. I'm the true love of his life. It's really kind of sad.

BERMAN: All right. Joseph Boreli, first, you're the only one who is polite enough to come here and sit with me. Thank you for being here with me.

(CROSSTALK)

(LAUGHTER)

BERMAN: You're a Donald Trump supporter. How do you respond?

JOSEPH BORELI, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Let's be clear about a couple of things. With all due respect to Amanda and Jim, they're comparing this to the Gang of Eight. That involved amnesty and a pathway to citizenship. One of the things that Donald Trump was clear even last night in Mississippi, saying there is no path way to citizenship. There's no citizenship, there's no amnesty. Those points he hasn't shifted on. I think they are filling in the gray area with some of their own opinion.

(CROSSTALK)

CARPENTER: No. What the debate has been whether legal status qualifies as amnesty. Everyone in the conservative community that Donald Trump said on this particular issue considered legal status a form of amnesty. Citizenship and legal status both considered amnesty.

[11:10:06] BORELI: But, Amanda, let me finish.

CARPENTER: They're both considered amnesty. And now Donald Trump is trying to --

(CROSSTALK)

BORELI: Amanda, Amanda --

(CROSSTALK)

CARPENTER: -- pretend it's not amnesty. That's the lie he's telling.

(CROSSTALK)

BORELI: The three main points has been no citizenship, no amnesty and building wall. On those three points, there has been absolutely fundamentally not change.

CARPENTER: You're dancing around the legal status question.

BORELI: There's no change.

(CROSSTALK)

BORELI: There is no change.

(CROSSTALK)

BORELI: There is no change.

(CROSSTALK)

CARPENTER: When Donald Trump with people that's where he's caught.

(CROSSTALK)

BERMAN: Hang on. Hang on.

I want to talk for a second.

Amanda and Jim, since you're both conservatives, just a quick show of hands, do you think any legal status for any of the 11 million undocumented immigrants, does that constitute amnesty? A show of hands if it does?

CARPENTER: Yeah.

GERAGHTY: I didn't think it did, but during the primary, it did. Not only was it amnesty, you were for open borders, never mind if you supported border security, you were a globalist. You were lots of four-letter words I can't say on CNN.

BERMAN: Back to Joe.

Joe, Donald Trump wasn't for legal status before last week. He really wasn't, was he?

BORELI: He's not saying we're going to offer people a pathway to citizenship.

(CROSSTALK)

BERMAN: Fair enough.

(CROSSTALK)

BERMAN: Does he want legal status for some of the 11 undocumented immigrants?

BORELI: There's social issues if you try to deport all 11 million people at one time. The example --

(CROSSTALK)

GERAGHTY: That was just during the primary.

(CROSSTALK)

BORELI: If someone is a child and their parents are here illegally, what do you do? Do you kick the parents out and throw them in foster care. You have to begin to adapt the policies to the reality of how you would do it --

CARPENTER: He couldn't be realistic during the primary?

(CROSSTALK)

(LAUGHTER)

BERMAN: Let Jim finish. I mean let Joe finish.

BORELLI: Final point, anyone who thinks that immigration is an issue in this race will see a clear and consistent difference between Donald Trump's strengthening of immigration and Hillary Clinton's promise to grant amnesty within the first 100 days.

BERMAN: Maria, I want to bring you in. You are a Democrat. You're a Hillary Clinton supporter. You don't

want to see people deported. You don't want to see families broken up. Why aren't you raising your hand saying this is great news?

MARIA CARDONA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Because I don't believe him, John. Going to Hillary Clinton's quoting, "Let's believe people when they show you who they are." From the moment that Donald Trump announced his campaign, he showed us who he was. Calling Mexican immigrants rapists and criminals, following that up by many times, and we have this on many pieces of video, calling for a Gestapo-type deportation force that would round people up humanely. He even talked about deporting full families. He said it many times. Then he talks about, he went after a Mexican-American judge, saying he couldn't do his job because of his Mexican heritage. This is all things that Americans believe he's bigoted and racist in his statements and actions are not going to un-see and un-hear the last 430 days. He's not going to get any benefit from that. The people who have supported him, we talked about Ann Coulter, who is thinking, what did I do in writing this book. Steve King, Representative Steve king has warned Trump not to soften up his position. He's now trying to play it both ways and he's going to end up with nada.

BERMAN: It's interesting. It's a case where the Hillary Clinton supporters and Donald Trump supporters want to agree he hasn't changed his position and others feel differently.

(LAUGHTER)

(CROSSTALK)

BERMAN: Maria brought up the word "bigot," which is interesting. Last night, Donald Trump had this to say about Hillary Clinton.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Hillary Clinton is a bigot who sees people of color --

(CHEERING)

TRUMP: -- only as votes not as human beings worthy of a better future. She's going to do nothing for African-Americans. She's going to do nothing for the Hispanics. She doesn't care what her policies have done to your communities.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: Now, Donald Trump, Joe, doesn't like Hillary Clinton's policies, but does that make her a bigot?

BORELI: I could give you tons of examples off the top of my head where Hillary Clinton has probably done some things that would raise questions about race. Look a few months ago, to the DNC leaks, where they talk about using Bernie Sanders' religion against him and as a way to undermine voters. There were accusations in 2008 about the Clinton campaign leaking pictures of Barack Obama in African garb. There are instances in praises Senator Robert Byrd, grant. So there are instances where you can point to her and say she hasn't done the right thing, but I think he's talking about how the Democratic Party has taken some voting blocks for granted.

BERMAN: Maria, I'll give you a chance to respond to that.

[11:15:15] CARDONA: That's absolutely ridiculous. Hillary Clinton has nothing to do with what was going on at the DNC and every other piece that you just mentioned has been debunked. Republicans love to bring up Robert Byrd. He's denounced his years in the KKK and has since worked to actually better communities of color, which is what Democrats have been trying to do.

Here's the thing. It's just rich that somebody like Donald Trump is calling Hillary Clinton a bigot when, in 1972 and '73, he was sued by the Justice Department for discrimination in housing against African- American people. What was Hillary Clinton doing? She was going undercover in Alabama and southern state schools to make sure that African-American children were not being discriminated against. Take her record against him, and it's not even a comparison.

BERMAN: I think we're going to hear a lot more about this from both sides today. Stand by for that.

Amanda, Jim, Maria, Joe, thank you all so much for being with us.

(CROSSTALK)

BERMAN: And we might hear more about this from Donald Trump himself on CNN today. This just in, Anderson Cooper will sit down with Donald Trump tonight. Watch it on "A.C. 360," 8:00 eastern. This is important. There's a lot of questions he needs to answer, particularly on the immigration subject.

Also, soon, Hillary Clinton is giving a big, big speech. She's giving a speech about Donald Trump and race. According to the Clinton campaign it will be a tough speech. She's going to try to tie Donald Trump to what she considers extremist groups. We'll bring you that speech live.

Plus, new polls are out. Close in some places. Which places? Why is it important? Stand by for that.

And a bright spot amid the chaos in Italy. Emergency crews pulling a 10-year-old girl from the rubble. This, nearly a full day after the huge earthquake there just destroyed so much. Officials are now rushing to save others as the death toll sadly continues to rise. We're live in Italy, coming up.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(APPLAUSE)

(CROSSTALK)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[11:21:17] BERMAN: Hillary Clinton about to give what her campaign considers a pretty big speech. She'll try to link Donald Trump to so- called alt-right political movements, what her campaign calls a dystopian mix of nationalism, racism and conspiracy theories. You could say Hillary Clinton is going on the offense there.

Last night, she was playing a bit of defense, standing up for her record as secretary of state. This, after the Associated Press reported that more than half of the non-government people with whom Hillary Clinton met or spoke with on the phone during her time at the State Department gave money to her family's foundation. That's only the private meetings. It doesn't include the official meetings with foreign leaders and the like.

Hillary Clinton defended herself in an exclusive interview with Anderson Cooper. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CLINTON (voice-over): I know there's a lot of smoke. And there's no fire. This A.P. report put it in context. This excludes nearly 2,000 meetings I had with world leaders.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: That was Hillary Clinton last night with Anderson Cooper.

Joining us is Democratic Congressman Jim Himes, of Connecticut, a Hillary Clinton supporter.

Congressman, thanks so much for being here.

REP. JIM HIMES, (D), CONNECTICUT & HILLARY CLINTON SUPPORTER: Thank you, John.

BERMAN: You heard what secretary Clinton said last night. Yes, there's a lot of smoke but no fire. This is what she said when she was being confirmed when she was secretary of state because she knew there were questions about the Clinton Foundation back in 2008, 2009. She said, "The foundation and president" -- president-elect, President Obama -- "decided to go beyond what the law and ethics rule call for, even the appearance of conflict."

Isn't that smoke? And didn't she say there's smoke? Didn't she fail the own standard she set?

HIMES: I don't think so. We've been talking about this for two, maybe three days now, and nobody has alleged that somebody who gave money to the Clinton Foundation got something of value from the State Department. There were staffers who were making requests that were probably a perception of a possible conflict of interest, but the meetings never happened. The meetings that did happen, the famous A.P. meetings, the crown prince of Bahrain, they weren't there to get a no-bid contract from the State Department. They were there because they're global leaders. BERMAN: Even if you stipulate that the Associated Press article is

overwritten, leave that article out of it. You said that staffers were talking to each over who shouldn't be. There is no proof that we've seen there was Pay-to-Play. That's a higher standard than the appearance of conflict, which was a standard that Hillary Clinton herself said in 2009. I'm not talking about going to jail or charges. I'm just talking about appearances.

HIMES: You say she. Staffers, and we've seen the e-mails, wrote to each other. That often led to absolutely nothing. What I will concede here is there should have been more been no communication at all on anything official. When somebody said to the State Department that these people are important to us, that's an appearance of a conflict of interest. Again, putting this in context, we haven't seen Donald Trump's tax returns.

BERMAN: We sure haven't.

HIMES: Remember the foundation is 12 million people around the world on HIV meds because of the work of foundation relative to Donald Trump's dark, obscure businesses that he won't talk about.

BERMAN: We ask him about the taxes. I would love to see the tax returns.

(CROSSTALK)

BERMAN: I would like more clarity on how he intended to separate his business from the White House. We've asked about that and will continue to do so.

The "wall street Journal" says today that Chelsea Clinton intends to stay on the board of the Clinton Foundation. Is that just smoke? Does that meet the bar that Hillary Clinton set?

[11:25:15] HIMES: I would hope -- and as you know, this week the Clinton Foundation announced a number of measures they intend to take if the secretary is president. I would hope they would take a "purer than Caesar's wife approach. I don't want to jump in to whether you can set up a system by where the president's daughter is in this. They should take the approach of just being pure as the driven snow.

BERMAN: It doesn't sound to me that you think that having Chelsea Clinton on the board is pure as the driven snow?

HIMES: First, we have a presidential election to have here. If Hillary Clinton is elected president, then this becomes real question. Something they may or may not do and an election, they may or may not win. I think it's premature to be judging.

BERMAN: Let me play another sound byte to something else Hillary Clinton said to Anderson Cooper last night. She gave an answer on the e-mail situation. A lot of people are thinking, in some ways, it's the most convincing, concise answer she's given yet. Let's hear that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CLINTON (voice-over): I've been asked many, many questions in the past year about e-mails. What I've learned is that when I try to explain what happened, it is sound like I'm trying to excuse what I did, and there are no excuses. I want people to know that the decision to have a single e-mail account was mine. I take responsibility for it. I've apologized for it. I would do differently, if I could. Obviously, I'm grateful the Justice Department concluded there was no basis to pursue this matter further.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: "There are no excuses for it." I've heard you say you like this answer. Is this an answer that you would have liked to see from the last many, many months?

HIMES: Yeah. There was a lot of political wisdom in that statement. There's a saying, when you're explaining, you're losing in politics. I can't help but think, and she got there and she got there clearly, that if a year ago the answer had been, this was a terrible mistake, I'm sorry I did it, I wish I hadn't --

(CROSSTALK)

BERMAN: There were no excuses for it.

HIMES: -- there would have been a lot less focus on this issue.

BERMAN: As a Democrat who supports her, a little less --

HIMES: Again, we wouldn't be talking it for a year to a point where, even six months ago, even her Democratic opponent in the primary said I've had enough of these e-mails. I think that would have gone away long ago had that been the initial answer.

BERMAN: Congressman Jim Himes, Great to have you here.

HIMES: Thank you.

BERMAN: Thanks so much.

Hillary Clinton is prepared to give what the campaign considers to be a big speech about Donald Trump. But in some ways, Donald Trump struck first and he'll strike again. He holds a rally this afternoon. We'll bring you both events, live.

Plus, we have new polls that will shock you or at least probably interest you a little bit. We'll show you where Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are running pretty close.

Stay with us.

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