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THE SITUATION ROOM
Trump Hardening, Not Softening Immigration Plan?; Trump, Clinton Trade New Accusations of Bigotry; Interview with Jack Kingston; U.S. Army General Steps Down Following Sex Scandal; U.S. Medics Volunteer in Anti-ISIS Battle; Aired 5-6p ET
Aired August 26, 2016 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[17:00:00] SCIUTTO: I now turn you over to Brianna Keilar, she's filling in again for Wolf Blitzer. And that of course in "THE SITUATION ROOM."
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now, breaking news. Klan values. Democratic running mate Tim Kaine ties Donald Trump to white supremacists and says Trump's values are not American values. As Trump and Hillary Clinton step up their accusations of bigotry and new video messages.
Back flip. Donald Trump does acrobatic contortions as he tries to define and re-define his stance on immigration. After saying his position on deportation could be softening Trump now says it's hardening. And he vows to expel millions of what he calls "bad dudes."
Vulgar voicemail. Maine's GOP governor leaves a stunningly obscene message for a Democratic lawmaker and challenges him to make it public. He also said he'd like to challenge the lawmaker to a duel with guns.
And compromising position. A senior Army general is removed from a sensitive post after a decade long affair and a swinger lifestyle. Could his secret life have jeopardized American secrets?
Wolf Blitzer is off today, I'm Brianna Keilar. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
KEILAR: Breaking news, Democratic vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine accuses Donald Trump of pushing the KKK values of white supremacist supporters and he says Trump's values are not American values.
Kaine calls Trump the main guy behind the campaign denying that President Obama wasn't born in the U.S. That comes as Trump attacks Hillary Clinton on the issue of race. A new video revives her now controversial 1996 speech on super predators. Clinton is firing back with a new ad accusing Trump of bigotry and slamming his "what do you have to lose" appeal to minority voters.
Donald Trump zigzags on immigration leaving confusion in his wake. After gaining the nomination by pledging mass deportation of undocumented immigrants, Trump recently backed off, hinting at a pathway to legal status and how he backtracks saying those in the U.S. legally must leave and that he intends to start by deporting millions of, quote, "bad dudes."
And a top Army general loses a top post and likely much of his pension after his secret life as a swinger is laid bare. Could his sexual adventures have compromised U.S. security?
I'll also speak with senior Trump adviser and former U.S. congressman Jack Kingston. And our correspondents, analysts, and guests have full coverage of the day's top stories.
We begin with Donald Trump's twists and turns on immigration, and CNN's Sunlen Serfaty.
It seems a bit like Trump is now back where he started on the issue.
SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's exactly right, Brianna. Trump is preparing to give a big speech next week to try to give some clarity to his immigration position and clarity is exactly what is needed here because this week he has been all over the map, inconsistent in his policy with almost daily recalibrations to his position.
SERFATY (voice-over): Donald Trump's rapidly evolving position on immigration seems to have come full circle.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: There is no path to legalization unless they leave the country and come back.
SERFATY: Trump is now ruling out a pathway to legal status for the nation's undocumented immigrants, a sharp departure from his comments made just two days ago.
TRUMP: There certainly can be a softening because we're not looking to hurt people.
SERFATY: On Tuesday Trump seemed open to providing legal status for undocumented immigrants, who had not been convicted of crimes but is walking that back now.
TRUMP: I don't think it's a softening. I think it's --
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST, "AC360": But 11 million people are no longer going to be deported.
TRUMP: I've had people say it's a hardening actually.
SERFATY: The GOP nominee is not clarifying how he would deal with those in the country illegally and whether he still intends to follow through on his pledge during the primary to deport all undocumented immigrants from the U.S.
TRUMP: We're going to see what happens, but there's a very good chance the answer could be yes, we're going the see what happens. Before I do anything, I want to get rid of the bad ones.
SERFATY: While he tries to define an immigration stance that can at best be described as moving target.
HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: From the start Donald Trump has built his campaign on prejudice and paranoia.
SERFATY: Both Trump and Clinton are taking their bare-knuckled fight over racial politics to new levels.
TRUMP: Hillary Clinton is a bigot who sees people of color only as votes.
SERFATY: Trump is standing by his labeling of Clinton as a bigot without specifying which policies of hers he believes have failed minorities.
TRUMP: She comes out with policies and others that believe like she does also, but she came out with policies over the years. This is over the years, long time. She's totally bigoted.
SERFATY: And digging in even more, resurfacing old comments of Clintons from the '90s in this Instagram video, the Democratic nominee has since said she regretted.
[17:05:07] CLINTON: They are often the kinds of kids that are called super predators. No conscience. No empathy. We can talk about why they ended up that way, but first we have to bring them to heal.
SERFATY: All this as the Trump campaign is facing scrutiny over its newly minted CEO, Steve Bannon. The newly surfaced revelations first reported by "Politico" that Bannon was charged with domestic violence in 1996 in a case involving his then wife. Bannon pleaded not guilty and the charges were later dropped.
The Trump campaign is also adding to its team today bringing on former Chris Christie aide, Bill Stepian, as national field director. Stepian was fired in the wake of the infamous Bridgegate scandal.
SERFATY: And reacting to the news that Bill Stepian was hired says that the Trump campaign must have confidence in him if they ended up hiring him and wished his former aide good luck -- Brianna.
KEILAR: Sunlen Serfaty, thank you.
Let's turn now to CNN senior White House correspondent Jim Acosta. He is on the campaign trail for us.
And, Jim, the latest person to weigh in on his heated race exchange is Clinton's running mate Tim Kaine. JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right. Both
of these campaigns, they're not trading barbs at this point, Brianna. They are throwing mud as you heard in Sunlen's piece. Donald Trump referred to Hillary Clinton earlier this week as a bigot. Her campaign fired back obviously linking Donald Trump to white supremacists in that Web video yesterday. And then earlier today and in Florida, her vice presidential running mate Tim Kaine likens Trump's values to KKK values. Here's more of what he had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. TIM KAINE (D), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Yesterday Hillary Clinton gave a speech in Reno, Nevada, calling out Donald Trump on a lot of things on this equality idea. Calling him out on the fact that he has supporters like David Duke connected with the Ku Klux Klan who are going around and saying Donald Trump is their candidate because Donald Trump is pushing their values. Ku Klux Klan values, David Duke values, Donald Trump values, are not American values.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ACOSTA: Now so far the campaign has not responded to what Tim Kaine had to say. As Sunlen pointed out in her piece, Brianna, there is a Web video on Donald Trump's Instagram page that talks about Hillary Clinton's comment about super predators back in the 1990s. But we should also point out the Trump campaign's media -- social media director was tweeting out a video just a short while ago, talking about the racial undertones of Hillary Clinton's 2008 primary battle with Barack Obama that got very ugly at times.
So it does seem very clear that this battle, this war of words over race is going to continue. Donald Trump has a fundraiser later on tonight here in Nevada so we may be hearing more on this subject from him later on tonight -- Brianna.
KEILAR: And Jim, tell us how Republicans -- I guess establishment Republicans are responding to Donald Trump. Are they defending him? What are they saying about his calling Hillary Clinton a bigot?
ACOSTA: You know, I think it's worth noting, Brianna. We have not heard a lot of top Republicans come out and race in front of the cameras to defend Donald Trump against these charges. Sean Spicer, a top official at the RNC, was asked in an interview earlier today why this was the case, and he responded that perhaps it's because they're in August recess. So the explanation from the campaign, from top Republicans at this point is that they're all on vacation. Of course they have to come back from vacation at some point, Brianna. Nobody asked when they do that -- Brianna.
KEILAR: Yes, they sure will be. All right. Jim Acosta, in Las Vegas, thank you.
And joining me now is Jack Kingston. He is a senior adviser to the Donald Trump campaign. He's also a former member of Congress.
Congressman, thank you so much for being with us. JACK KINGSTON, SENIOR ADVISER, TRUMP CAMPAIGN: Yes.
KEILAR: I want to talk about what Trump is saying about immigration because on Tuesday he was talking about a softening. And that was his word. And then last night he talked about a hardening in his stance. So which is it?
KINGSTON: Well, I think as a businessman he's trying to transition to political speak. And he's not as careful as a seasoned politician like Hillary Clinton but he has always been consistent in that he wants immigration reform, he has driven that issue as a candidate both in the primary and now in the general. He said to enforce -- we need to consistently enforce existing laws, we need to secure the border with a wall, no amnesty, no sanctuary cities, and we need to protect American jobs.
And this is something that Hillary Clinton and some of the Democrats seem to miss, is that when you have illegal workers in the country they undermine the wage scale. And so if you want Americans to have these jobs and these opportunities, you've got to enforce laws that will prevent employers from hiring illegals.
KEILAR: But when he's asked about what you would describe as amnesty, which is allowing someone who is undocumented and in the country to remain in the country, when he's talking about a softening on that demand, how is that any different than putting amnesty as you would see it on the table?
[17:10:07] KINGSTON: Well, I think what he has said also that's kind of got lost here is he wants to start with the bad guys, and remember Barack Obama has actually deported 500,000 illegals himself. So it's not like Donald Trump has invented deportation. Barack Obama, again, half a million people. That's a size of a large city in the country. But the reality is the idea was let's start with the bad folks first and then work our way down, and let's be humane, let's remember to protect American jobs and American workers along the way.
But I will say this. If immigration reform was easy, Congress would have dealt with it 15 years ago. Ronald Reagan actually had the last major immigration reform law. And since that time Congress has been trying to do something but it's a difficult issue. And so I think that we have to credit Donald Trump for making it an issue, making a commitment particularly as oppose to Hillary Clinton who's talking about bringing in 620,000 refugees, unvetted. She's talking about open borders. She's talking amnesty.
KEILAR: But he's -- he is talking about -- when he talks, you mentioned President Obama's deportation, he's criticized President Obama as basically unkind or lacking compassion in that, and then he says he would do the same but with more energy. So the murky part here is not he seems to be standing by the build a wall, but when it comes to how you deal with undocumented immigrants, can you just sort of concisely explain what his plan is?
KINGSTON: He is saying enforce existing laws. And frankly that's the biggest criticism. Not only of President Obama, but President Bush as well, is the inconsistent enforcement of the rule of law in the United States of America. And so I think if you do that, which you'll find out, you'll have more deportation.
KEILAR: How is it -- if you're saying that President Obama, you're pointing to his deportation --
KINGSTON: Sometimes he says --
KEILAR: -- then how are you saying --
KINGSTON: Well, because sometimes he does and sometimes he doesn't. And a case point, sanctuary cities. When a city says if you're illegal, come here, we're not going to prosecute you, the federal law should supersede the local mayor's edict. But the president is reluctant to do that particularly in cities that have been politically important to him. So I think what Donald Trump is saying is so important here is let's have a whole new approach. Hillary Clinton's approach is amnesty in its open borders, in its sanctuary cities.
So while we're talking about immigration, I think it's a great issue for us, we're winning. The reality is, she has been very inconsistent and all over the board on it.
KEILAR: All right. I have to get a quick break in, Congressman. I'm going to do that. We'll be right back in just a moment with more from former congressman Jack Kingston, an adviser to Donald Trump.
[17:17:09] KEILAR: And we are back now with Jack Kingston. He is a senior adviser to the Trump campaign and he is also a former member of Congress.
Congressman, one of the things that stood out in Donald Trump's interview last night with Anderson Cooper was Anderson asked him, do you stand by this statement that Hillary Clinton is a bigot. And he said yes. Personally he said she is a bigot because of her policies but then he didn't name a policy. He didn't pick one. What do you make -- why isn't he pointing to something to make his point?
KINGSTON: You know -- you know he may be talking about the statement bigotry of low expectations. That Hillary Clinton often looks at minority votes as a voting bloc rather than hey, this is may be an area in which we could come together on a bipartisan basis and work for better education. Reunite the families, give job opportunities in cities like Milwaukee or Baltimore, or Chicago, on so many of the failed cities.
And I think that if you look at all the names Donald Trump was called, in Philadelphia, Democratic National Convention, I think we saw a harbinger of what was going to be expected. And Donald Trump has proven if you push him he's going to push back. Hillary Clinton spent yesterday, what, 45 minutes basically calling him everything but a Nazi but she had shared and call him a Nazi. She's the chair actually at a Hillary Clinton event called him Donald Trump Stalin would have been proud of him. He called him a child murderer. I mean, what kind of stuff is that? But Hillary Clinton stood by quietly and didn't say a word about it.
You know, Hillary Clinton had Omar Mateen's father at one of her events and she did not denounce that until she really had to. Donald Trump did denounce David Duke's support. Maybe not on -- you know, instantly but --
KEILAR: But -- it did take him a while.
KINGSTON: But Mateen, the same thing with Hillary Clinton.
KEILAR: No. Hillary Clinton -- it did not take her quite as long. I'm sure that you are aware of that.
KINGSTON: But remember here is a guy who was pro-Taliban and his son had just killed 49 people in that very town and Hillary Clinton should have instantly said he shouldn't be up here on the front row. And I've been to lots of rallies, how a pro-Taliban terrorist father can sit on the front row of a Hillary Clinton --
KEILAR: In the same that Mark Foley sat right behind Donald -- I mean, that was like literally --
KINGSTON: Well, Mark Foley didn't -- hasn't killed anybody.
KEILAR: OK. He's not done -- he's not done great things, let's be honest. OK. Let's just move on from this, though, because when he is doubling down on that, calling her a bigot, I mean, she has real liabilities, Congressman. The paid speeches, the e-mails, the Clinton Foundation, is it really politically smart for him to be going in that direction when he could be going in a direction -- a different direction?
KINGSTON: Well, I think the reality is we spent a lot more time talking about the economy, we talk about national security, and we talk about the Clinton Foundation and the e-mail issues, and now we have a new word in our American vocabulary called bleach bits, which we did not know about but it's a super purging of e-mails which apparently Hillary Clinton knew that long before the rest of us did.
[17:20:09] But, you know, we talk about those things, but sometimes in a campaign there tends to be press coverage of those more guttural exchanges between the candidates. And I understand that's sometimes what the audience wants is a good food fight --
KEILAR: But I mean, when you look at how she's doing with African- Americans and Hispanic Americans, she's doing very well. Why would he go down that road when he's not going to make very much progress on it where he could go down a different road?
KINGSTON: Well, I think what he is doing is very beneficial to all voters. He's saying, I'm not going to concede any voting bloc. I'm not afraid to go there. He went to Milwaukee, he went to the flooded zones, she did not. And so I think the challenger on that is good for the electorate for both parties.
KEILAR: He did speak to a white crowd in Milwaukee. We go -- you and I go back and forth on this over and over so I'm going to say that.
KINGSTON: But he's closing that gap, though, and he's been talking to a lot of other groups. So --
KEILAR: All right. All right. Congress Jack Kingston, thank you so much. We always appreciate you being with us.
And coming up, a top army general loses his post after his secret life as a swinger is exposed. Could his sexual escapades compromise U.S. security?
And Maine's Republican governor leaves a vulgar voicemail for a Democratic lawmaker and dares him to make it public. Well, he did. Now the obscenity-laced tirade is now out there.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. PAUL RICHARD LEPAGE (R), MAINE: I would like to talk to you about your comments about my being a racist, you (EXPLETIVE DELETED) sucker. And I want to talk to you. You want -- I want you to prove that I'm a racist.
I've spent my life helping black people and you little son of a (EXPLETIVE DELETED), socialist (EXPLETIVE DELETED) sucker.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[17:26:13] KEILAR: The presidential campaign is heating up with new rhetoric about race and bigotry, and joining me to talk about it, CNN political analyst Rebecca Berg, of RealClearPolitics, CNN senior Washington correspondent Jeff Zeleny, CNN's Sunlen Serfaty and CNN political director David Chalian.
So, David, let's just start with where the race is at the end of this week, at this point in time. It seems like it's evolved into name calling at this point.
DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Well, we know we have two nominees who have historic levels of unfavorables, right? That the country doesn't really like them very much. I don't think either one of them did very much this week to alter that for themselves necessarily because they both are really trying to frame the other in the most negative light possible. That was their mission this week. And so it's about trying to jack up the opponent's unfavorable. So I don't think we leave the week with some hopeful uplifting 2016 campaign, and I don't know that we're going to see an entirely different tone in the weeks to come.
KEILAR: Sometimes people say that, you know, politics is a popular contest. In this cycle, it might be an unpopularity contest, in a way, right? REBECCA BERG, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: It is. And so the concern among
many strategists is that this is going to be a very low turnout election because you have two of the most up popular candidates in the history of elections. It's really remarkable. But what's interesting is that you don't see an effort by either of these candidates, and particularly not this week, to really improve their favorable ratings. They're both focusing on how terrible and unfit for the presidency the other candidate is.
Now the exception I would note is that Hillary Clinton, a lot of her advertising has focused on positive biography sports, highlighting good things that she's done over the years but of course Donald Trump is not spending really any money on advertising and beyond this week, he doesn't have any more reservations. So we'll see if he tries to put a little more effort into portraying himself as a good candidate.
KEILAR: You have Hillary Clinton saying Donald Trump is the candidate favored by racists. Hillary -- Donald Trump is calling Hillary Clinton a bigot. And what's interesting, Jeff, is when you look at the Republican response, right?
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: I mean, after that major speech yesterday in Reno, Nevada, that Hillary Clinton gave, really a takedown of Donald Trump in every shape of the world, nothing from Republicans. Largely, no one wants to talk about race. If you're a Senate candidate running in a tough race in Pennsylvania, in North Carolina, in any of the swing states, you don't want to get anywhere near this. And --
KEILAR: But do they think -- do they think that what she is saying is true? Are they just -- they don't want to touch it with a 10-foot poll.
ZELENY: Well, there is some of that, I mean, not a lot of mainstream Republicans want to run to Donald Trump's defense. I mean, look at the context of the speech there. She came to Ted Cruz's defense in the speech. She came to Speaker Paul Ryan's defense in the speech. George Bush, John McCain, and Bob Dole. So it's sort of the reverse here. So it is -- you know, the -- Republicans know they have to deal with Trump. That does not mean they want to stand up to him and say anything that can come back and hurt them.
But it is very unusual. I can't think of a time when the opposition party was so silent after a major speech giving a major takedown like yesterday.
KEILAR: We could be moving into a more substantive week. I think that's important for anyone who may be at home and disheartened by the mudslinging. It's possible that we're moving into more discussion about immigration proposals next week. Donald Trump is expected to lay that out. But it's confusing at this point in time because he was talking about a softening on his stance potentially a pathway to legalization. And then last night he told Anderson Cooper that it was a hardening.
I just spoke with former congressman Jack Kingston, and he said that, you know, maybe you're not -- don't take that softening as a policy stance.
[17:30:02] That's not something that was meant to be taken as written in stone or a real indication. What are you hearing?
SERFATY: Well, it's really interesting. It's almost like we're watching Donald Trump in real time trying to make up his immigration policy and going through different shifts every day. And that's I think very much fallows his kind of off-of-the cuff speaking styles. He says one thing one day, the other thing another day. We do know he's going to give somewhat of an immigration address. Next week, potentially on Wednesday, in Arizona, but there needs to be more clarity because he was a presidential candidate, especially 70 plus days out to the election need to have a coherent, substantive immigration policy and that's something he does not have right now.
ZELENY: Some Republicans think he is trying to have it both ways here by kind of muddying this message so much that people who thought he was too rigid on this, you know, perhaps some white suburban voters but gosh, we don't like the word deportation force. Now it's so like muddled, maybe that's -- but at the end of the day, Sarah Palin told the "Wall Street Journal," this is a problem, if she starts talking about this and if they start --
KEILAR: She said he's wishy-washy.
ZELENY: If they start sounding the alarm on this, it's a problem for him for his base.
CHALIAN: His hardening line, I actually think is helping him -- you know, I think it's why he said it to Anderson, quite frankly. I think it's helping him fortify any of those concerns, not just from the high profile names, but concerns from some of his core supporters.
KEILAR: Maybe --
BERG: But the underlying problem, of course, is that Donald Trump has never been a policy driven candidate on anything. In particular immigration even though it's been his signature issue. So that becomes more complicated as we go into the fall.
KEILAR: All right, you guys, you're going to stick around for me. You stay with us as well because after the break we will talk more with our experts about really a shocking obscenity-laced rant by the governor of Maine.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LEPAGE: I've spent my life helping black people and you little son of (EXPLETIVE DELETED), socialist (EXPLETIVE DELETED) sucker.
(END VIDEO CLIP) KEILAR: And senior Army general is removed from a sensitive post after a long affair and a swinger lifestyle. Could his secret live have jeopardized American secrets?
[17:36:37] KEILAR: Donald Trump is on the attack. He's calling Hillary Clinton a bigot and just released this video which shows Clinton using the term super predator, a word that many believe is racist.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CLINTON: They are often the kinds of kids that are called super predators. No conscience. No empathy. We can talk about why they ended up that way, but first we have to bring them to heal.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: Clinton is firing back at Trump with an advertisement that's going on the air in some key swing states.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I have a great relationship with the blacks, I have -- I've always had a great relationship with the blacks. What the hell do you have to lose?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: All right. Let's get reaction now from our political experts.
OK, Rebecca. Is she vulnerable on this? She did say this in the '90s. She's apologized for it because obviously it was offensive, especially now. But is there something to this? Because I've heard some African-Americans who really take issue with the fact that that was her position in the '90s?
BERG: Sure, but the climb for Donald Trump is persuading African- American voters that Hillary Clinton is worse than he is. And so far there's no evidence that they are thinking this way in terms of the polling and focus groups that we've seen so far. And the "New York Times" reported about a week or so ago that two of the words that were showing up consistently and Donald Trump's internal polling, internal focus grouping about him were that he was unqualified and that he was racist.
And so for him to shed that image is really going to be the key here, and the fact that we're having this discussion regarding Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton around Labor Day is really remarkable, that Donald Trump at this stage has not shed that image and worked to.
KEILAR: She must be cringing, though, when she sees this. I think she probably always has when she sees it. ZELENY: There's no doubt. At the end of the clip, we actually
stopped it just right before this, she says bring them to heal. That was --
KEILAR: That is -- yes. It's been on signs and things.
ZELENY: That was so offensive.
ZELENY: And actually the South Carolina fundraiser, during the South Carolina primary just earlier this year, there was a couple protesters who held a sign up and said, "I will not heal." And Bernie Sanders also jumped on this during one of the debates and said it was a racist remark. So, look, she has said, looking back I shouldn't have used those words. I wouldn't today.
It does, A, strike you what a different moment in time it is, and A, the Democratic Party, and B, just the country's conversation if you look at campaigns being about the evolution of the country. But of course she has repeated her own words. I'm not sure that that ad -- that Instagram actually, a video is that persuasive to people like you said. African-American voters know she's been there. But it is a bad moment for her and it reminds you that, you know, she has not always been pure on these issues here.
And it's just uncomfortable to watch. And that's not all. There are other videos and other things that she has said over the years. It's a reminder the next couple of months we're going to see a lot of old Hillary Clinton words as well as Donald Trump's words.
KEILAR: Sure. And Tim Kaine might have said -- I mean, Hillary Clinton was obviously pretty strident yesterday when she was talking about Donald Trump and she mostly just used his words to illustrate her point, but you saw Tim Kaine today go a little further where he was saying in Florida, linking Donald Trump to Ku Klux Klan values, David Duke values, and then in the next breath he talks about Donald Trump values and how that's not -- those are American values. He's -- I mean, he is really making this connection in a way that her videos have as well.
[17:40:07] CHALIAN: Without a doubt. They put out that Web video yesterday. This is a continuation of the argument she was making. But it is an odd strategy to see Donald Trump try to drive a wedge between African-American voters and Hillary Clinton because as Rebecca was saying, it's not going to be an easy sell. That's why I thought, you know, yesterday he was just talking about blanket policies. Today he did use the super predator language, so I'm curious to see what other things will Donald Trump be bringing up to try to drive this wedge in what is going to be a very uncomfortable situation for him because remember the relationship between African-American voters and the Clintons.
African-American voters saved Bill Clinton's presidency during impeachment in 1998. African-American voters even while Barack Obama was running for president initially, for most of 2007, were actually supporting Hillary Clinton. This is a core part of the Clinton base. And I don't know that Donald Trump is going to find the right way to navigate to be able to drive a real wedge there.
KEILAR: Let's talk about the holy cow moment of the day. All right? Shall we? This is the Maine governor who is a Republican. Paul LePage, known for -- I will be generous in saying that he is known for being colorful at times and frequently having to apologize for himself, but this is a voicemail that he left for a Democratic lawmaker.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LEPAGE: Mr. Gattine, this is Governor Paul Richard LePage. I would like to talk to you about your comments about my being a racist, you (EXPLETIVE DELETED) sucker. And I want to talk to you. You want -- I want you to prove that I'm a racist.
I've spent my life helping black people and you little son of a (EXPLETIVE DELETED), socialist (EXPLETIVE DELETED) sucker, you -- I need you to just friggin -- I want you to record this and make it public because I am after you. Thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: He ends with thank you. I will give him that.
KEILAR: But that is -- that's about it, right? And he apologizes. He says, "When someone calls me a racist, I take it very seriously. I didn't know Drew Gattine from a hole in the wall until yesterday. I apologize for that to the people of Maine. But I make no apology for trying to end the drug epidemic that is ravaging our state. Legislators like Gattine would rather be -- pardon me -- politically correct and protect ruthless drug dealers than work with me to stop this crisis that is killing five Mainers a week."
All right. So he's sort of -- pivot back to the right thing but this is pretty -- it's pretty unreal for a sitting governor to do something like this.
SERFATY: It sure is. It is almost unprecedented. You know, this sort of language first and foremost. But I think it also reminds us that in this sort of campaign, we're seeing these things get recorded and replayed, and the state representative in essence challenged him to make this public. That's exactly what the governor -- what was done. But you know, you have to wonder, voters, people, they're representative in the state of Maine, what are they thinking about this sort of language? You know, it should be noted he is a Donald Trump supporter, his daughter recently went to work on Donald Trump's campaign. So again --
CHALIAN: And this may not even be the most outrageous thing LePage has done.
SERFATY: Yes. KEILAR: No, that is a very -- that is a very good point.
All right, you guys. Thank you so much for being part of this wonderful panel. I do appreciate it.
And coming up, a senior U.S. army general is out of a job after revelations of a swinger lifestyle come to light. Did his decade-long affair put sensitive American secret at risk?
[17:48:04] KEILAR: A U.S. Army general with access to some of America's most sensitive information has been forced to resign following a sex scandal.
Our global affairs correspondent Elise Labott has been following the story. And Elise, we should note that this report may contain some details that are not appropriate for young children. I certainly want to say that. But what have you been learning here.
ELISE LABOTT, CNN FOREIGN AFFAIRS REPORTER: Well, that's an understatement, Brianna. The Army general -- Major General David Haight commanded elite units in Iraq and Afghanistan before landing a key post in Europe on the front lines of America's fight against Russian aggression.
But tonight it appears from a government report that the married father of four was leading a double life including pictures posted on swingers Web sites and visits to sex clubs with a secret girlfriend all the while using government phones and computers to cover up the affair. And we once again want to warn our viewers this material is not suitable for young children.
LABOTT (voice-over): The Army Inspector General's report reads like a salacious novel, including allegations of group sex, an illicit affair, and tawdry talk over government e-mail, all involving this man, Major General David Haight.
Tonight Haight is out of a job as experts questioned, why it took 10 years for the government to uncover his double life and only after someone filed multiple complaints against him.
MAJ. GEN. JAMES "SPIDER" MARKS, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: When you talk to the guys who knew him as an officer in combat in very tough circumstances, he was calm, he delivered, he was a great commander. So it truly was a conscious decision on his part to create this other existence.
LABOTT: According to the inspector general, Haight's double life began in 2005 while serving in Iraq. That's where he allegedly met this woman, Jennifer Armstrong, whose name was redacted from the government report but who confirmed her identity to "USA Today."
Armstrong told "USA Today" that she and Haight carried on an extramarital affair lasting more than 10 years, backed up by e-mails, photographs and other documents.
[17:50:04] Affairs are against the Army's Code of Conduct and are especially frowned upon when they involve officers, but sources tell CNN it wasn't just the relationship that drew the interest of the Pentagon.
According to the inspector general Haight and his girlfriend exchanged explicit e-mails over Haight's government account. At times discussing specific types of sexual activities and making quote, "naughty movies." Haight is also accused of using his government cell phone 84 times to call her, racking up 1400 minutes at the Pentagon's expense during just one six-month period. But the most damming allegations revolve around the couple's, quote, "swinger lifestyle," which the report goes as far to define as, "engaging in group sex."
It says the couple's photographs was posted on this Web site for swingers. That same photo was later found in Haight's e-mail. And the government report said the couple visited swingers' clubs as far back as 2012 when Haight was stationed at Fort Banning, Georgia.
Experts say Haight's alleged behavior could have put U.S. national security at risk because Haight held several important positions in the military, including running America's response to Russia in eastern Europe, sources say that if the affair and the swinging had been discovered by another country, it would have left him vulnerable to blackmail and espionage.
MARKS: Russia, as we know, has an incredible intelligence collection mechanism and would exploit behavior like this in a heartbeat. Number one, he should have been smart enough to realize that. Number two, he should have realized that even if he is going to have this double life, he becomes extremely vulnerable.
LABOTT: Now the Army pulled David Haight from his post at European Command for failing to, quote, "exhibit exemplary conduct and army values." Now he's set to retire but could be forced to do so at a lower rank. Haight refused to answer questions of the Army Inspector General but in a statement -- today he said, quote, "I'm truly sorry for the pain I've caused my wife and family."
Now we tried to reach both Haight and Jennifer Armstrong, but we were unable to reach either one of them today -- Brianna.
KEILAR: All right. Elise Labott, thank you for that report.
Now to an exclusive look at the battle against ISIS in Iraq. Our senior international correspondent Arwa Damon talks to two American medics working with Kurdish forces on the front line as they struggle to save lives against daunting odds.
ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's early morning and the Kurdish Peshmerga are launching a major push into ISIS controlled villages.
JON RIETH, U.S. VOLUNTEER MEDIC: We're looking for a place to set up our medical triage area.
PETE REED, U.S. VOLUNTEER MEDIC: We have five dead, eight wounded.
DAMON: Jon Rieth and Pete Reed are two Americans on the medical frontline.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right. We have two casualties. Let's treat them appropriately. Stop playing with leverage. Get him on.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Jack, black box. Black box.
DAMON: It's a chaotic frantic effort on this day, compounded by a language barrier, different culture and significant lack of resources.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I need four plastics. Four (EXPLETIVE DELETED) plastic.
DAMON: John, a trained emergency medical technician from Syracuse, New York, is volunteering. Pete of Bordentown, New Jersey, is a former Marine turned medic who works with a nonprofit providing medical training and assistance.
There is no advance warning when a casualty is coming in. No time to prep before the next one arrives.
RIETH: The toughest thing about being out here as a combat medic is when your patients don't live.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Come on, man, stay with us. Come back to us, man. Come on.
RIETH: Sometimes, you know, we can't fix everything. So I think that's the hard part for me personally. You know you want to save everybody but you can't.
REED: There's a breakdown in communication between us, coalition forces, Peshmerga. It's difficult when you're trying your best to work on someone but just the rest of the system isn't there or it's not working properly.
DAMON: They both say they have comfortable happy lives at home.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right here. Right here.
DAMON (on camera): Was it a guilt?
REED: Guilt or sense of purpose. Sometimes those overlap somewhere in the middle.
RIETH: I can help people at home, for sure, and I do and I feel -- I feel good for what I do there but here that feeling is much greater.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get two feet. RIETH: The Peshmerga need significant help. They need training.
They need an actual combat medical unit. People are throwing ammunition and guns at this place all day long. That's not saving lives.
REED: When I think of ISIS, I think of Khmer Rouge, Nazis. I mean, there are few times in history there's such a black and white, good versus evil situation. They've been carrying this war in this region on their backs with not nearly enough support.
[17:55:05] And people back home are upset about shootings and things like that and ISIS is involved there. And they don't have a clue what it's like a day here or a day in Baghdad or in Syria. It's pretty horrible.
DAMON (voice-over): Arwa Damon, CNN, Kazak, Iraq.
KEILAR: Coming up, as the presidential campaign heats up with race and bigotry, Hillary Clinton's running mate accuses Donald Trump of pushing Klan values.
And the scantily clad intruder breaches airport security and slammed a stolen truck into an airliner as passengers board.