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AT THIS HOUR WITH BERMAN AND MICHAELA

SpaceX Rocket, Payload Explode on Launch Pad; Joe Biden to Campaign for Clinton Today; Trump Rally Today Following Mexico Trip. Aired 11-11:30a ET

Aired September 1, 2016 - 11:00   ET

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


[11:00:00] CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: It is the second spacewalk of its kind in two weeks. These are live pictures from space. Pretty cool, right? Part of their job includes installing HG-TV cameras that will be used to monitor activities outside the station.

Thank you so much for joining me today. I'm Carol Costello.

AT THIS HOUR with Berman and Bolduan starts right now.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We will build a great wall along the southern border.

(CHEERING)

TRUMP: And Mexico will pay for the wall.

UNIDENTIFIED CORRESPONDENT: President Enrique Pena Nieto disputes that, tweeting, quote, "I made it clear, Mexico will not pay for the wall."

TRUMP: We did discuss the wall. We didn't discuss payment.

HILLARY CLINTON, (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You don't build a coalition by insulting our friends.

TRUMP: There will be no amnesty.

CLINTON: Say one thing one day and something totally different the next.

TRUMP: Maybe they'll be able to deport her.

(CHEERING)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm John Berman. Kate Bolduan is off today.

We begin with breaking news out of Florida, a huge explosion rocking Cape Canaveral just a short time ago. It happened on the launch pad used by SpaceX. We know they had a launch set for Saturday. Look at these pictures just coming in. Response teams are at the site. At this point, no injuries are reported. Our reporters are gathering details and we'll get you the latest in just a moment.

In the meantime, one battleground, two dueling rallies about to begin. Any minute now, Vice President Joe Biden will be campaigning for Hillary Clinton in Warren, Ohio. You can expect a sharp rebuke of Donald Trump's big immigration speech in Mexico moment. We will take you there live.

Also Donald Trump, he is in Ohio today. He's got a rally in Wilmington, immigration speech, fresh off his trip down south, way down south, to meet with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto.

One thing Trump and Pena did not agree on, paying for the wall, and whether that was even discussed. Trump says it was not. The Mexican president says it was. Hours later, in Phoenix, Donald Trump reiterated that Mexico will pay for it, 100 percent of it. He also outlined what Hillary Clinton called Trump's darkest speech yet, a deportation task force, no legal status for undocumented immigrants unless they returned home and apply for re-entry.

Want to get to CNN's Phil Mattingly. He's live in Wilmington where Donald Trump will hold a rally in just a short time.

Phil, the Trump campaign, how do they feel about how everything transpired yesterday? It was sort of everything. A lot going on.

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Keep in mind, they're biased. It looks like they're very happy with yesterday. One Trump adviser explained it like this, yesterday showed Trump's ability to straddle both sides of things. Donald Trump, the diplomat, standing side by side with the leader of Mexico, and Donald Trump who can come back and talk policy and not move that far off what has been a permanent hard- line stance over the course of his campaign.

We've heard what the Clinton campaign has said in response. When you talk to Trump officials, they felt a little bit like the trip, particularly on such short notice, was a bit a Hail Mary, and they felt like they completed that pass -- John?

BERMAN: Phil Mattingly for us in Wilmington.

The issue in politics at this point in the campaign is about addition, did you add any voters.

Joining us now to examine that is Anthony Segura, a military veteran, an NRA firearms instructor. He supported Donald Trump beforehand, but was keenly interested in what Trump would say in this immigration speech.

Anthony, thanks so much for joining us right now.

Anthony, you listened to the speech. Give me your general thoughts. ANTHONY SEGURA, NRA FIREARMS INSTRUCTOR & MILITARY VETERAN & TRUMP

SUPPORTER: I did. I thought it was very good. I agreed with probably 90 percent of it. There's a few issues I take exception to. I would actually like to talk to him about it. I thought the speech was very good.

BERMAN: Donald Trump made clear there will be no legal status for any undocumented immigrants, any of the 11 million undocumented immigrants in this country, unless they leave.

This is exactly what he said. I want you to listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: For those here illegally today, who are seeking legal status, they will have one route and one route only, to return home and apply for re-entry, like everybody else, under the rules of the new legal immigration system.

(CHEERING)

TRUMP: There will be no amnesty.

(CHEERING)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: Now, I understand you support some kind of legal status for undocumented immigrants here. So how do you respond to that?

[11:05:01] SEGURA: I do. Yes, well, my wife is a Mexican immigrant who came here illegally, and now she's a brand-new U.S. citizen, is going to vote for the first time. And, you know, we have a lot of friends. She works a lot with the Mexican community. Well, more than just Mexican, immigrants. And there's a lot of hard-working immigrants that are here, that have family here, their kids are here. And I think -- and Donald Trump has said this. He wants to look at some of this stuff, case by case basis. I think that needs to be looked at. I believe Donald Trump, once he becomes president, will actually look at that.

BERMAN: Well, he didn't say that. What he said was no legal status for any of them. So his current position is any one of them could be deported.

Joining us with a different perspective is Artemio Muniz. He is the head of the Texas Federation of Hispanic Republicans.

Artemio you were a "not sure yet" before this speech from Donald Trump. Where are you now?

ARTEMIO MUNIZ, DIRECTOR, TEXAS FEDERATION OF HISPANIC REPUBLICANS: Well, you know, I was in the not sure and I was going to leave my -- the slam blank. But at this point, with what I heard last night, I can't support Trump. I can't sell the product he's trying to give to the Hispanic community. Pretty much he's doubling down on the same losing strategy that has cost us three elections now, with the presidency, with McCain, with Romney, and Romney's self-deportation. Romney has admitted that was a mistake. So, yeah, at this point, I can't support what he's selling. I think he doubled down on a losing strategy.

BERMAN: Is that decisive at this point, nothing else he says can win you over?

MUNIZ: I can't support the removal of DOCA, telling children who right now are going to school and can't be deported that I can't knock on their door as a Republican and say, hey, vote for us, we're going to deport you. It just doesn't make sense.

Also, you know, again there are hard-working people here who are allies, they're wealth creators. George W. Bush understood this, and that's why he was able to win 40 percent of the Hispanic vote. We're going back on that legacy.

I heard the gentleman talk about how his wife was a legal immigrant. My parents were illegal immigrants. I'm proud of that. Because they did what they had to do to give me a shot. Now I just graduated law school. We have one of the largest manufacturing plants in Texas. I say that with pride. Trump should know, of all people, you do what you have to do to make a dollar in this country. I feel the Republican Party is betraying that legacy. We're party of the entrepreneurial spirit, of capitalists. You do what you have to do to make a better life for your family.

We're losing allies today. I want Republicans to be sure when they hear this that they understand, if we do lose, why we lost. We're throwing away the battleground states of New Mexico, Nevada, Colorado. We have a huge opportunity. Hillary is so vulnerable on immigration. We can really beat her up. And right now, I don't have anything to say to win those hearts and minds.

BERMAN: Just to be clear, you are a Republican, yes?

MUNIZ: I am Republican. My first -- I ran a presidential campaign for Alan Keyes, of all people. I'm hard-core conservative. I've run races in an 80 percent Hispanic majority district, a battleground states. Gave the Republican Party its first ever Hispanic state representative. I am as hard-core Republican as you can get.

Look, at the end of the day, the party has to decide, are we going to follow the big-tent compassionate conservative point of view or go with this divisive strategy. I hope we win. I really do. I hope Hillary has some kind of meltdown because that's the only thing that can save us now.

BERMAN: Well, you say we hope we win but you don't want Donald Trump to win, that's what you're saying?

MUNIZ: That's right. Well, no, what I'm saying is I can't advocate for him in the Hispanic community. His strategy, he thinks he does not need the Hispanic vote. Unfortunately, I think the Hispanic community is going to deliver that desire. Trump's strategy is to win the -- a historic number of Caucasian votes. You know, that's the losing strategy. I really believe it's the best strategy from the beginning. He still has a few days. I hope he's listening to this. He can change his mind. But at this point, you're not going to win the Hispanic vote.

BERMAN: You think that speech last night again was a turning point?

MUNIZ: It was. It was. Because, you know, a lot of people were watching. The build-up, the marketing of this event. A lot of people were wondering. When he visited with the president of Mexico, I was getting text messages, I was getting phone calls, like from people who have not voted Republican in a while. They were asking me, wow, is he really going to do this, is he really going to soften, is he really going to pivot. And I kept saying, look, let's wait for the speech. We did wait for the speech. And what he said, unfortunately, is the same old tired losing strategy since McCain and Romney. At this point, the only thing we can hope for is for Hillary to meltdown.

[11:10:01] BERMAN: And, Artemio, Donald Trump says he did soften. He just said that this morning. He had a radio interview with Laura Ingraham. Let me read you what he said. He said, "Oh, they're softening. Look, we do it in a very humane way." He talks about deporting people, I image. "We're going to see with the people that are in this country, we've got a lot of people in this country you can't have. Those people will get out. Then we're going to make a decision at a later date once everything is stabilized. I think you're going to see there's really quite a bit of softening"

You're not convinced there's softening?

MUNIZ: Absolutely not. Three of my friends on the council have resigned from the council. These were guys that were hard-core Republicans. They were ones that helped Trump. They resigned this morning.

It's not softening. It's doubling down. He's going to remove DOCA. We have millions of children who can't be deported, are going to school, are working, they're contributing. Now he's proposing taking that away and only addressing their situation until he does all these 10 steps. We're talking about years. We're talking about leaving people in the shadows. We're talking about being deported any moment.

So, you know, the Hispanic community and those that care about immigration, they know what it adds up to. You can't spin it. I mean, it's simple. Everybody knows what's going on here. Unfortunately, these guys that are in this campaign that went with fair numbers, you would say, it's the same old losing strategy. These guys have cost us three elections. I want Republicans to know, if we do lose this election, this is why, because we give away traditional battleground states.

BERMAN: Anthony Segura, let me ask you, you've been listening to what Artemio has been saying about this, why he did not like Donald Trump's speech tonight. Convincing?

SEGURA: Not for me. I believe that his speech was right on. We do have to have a path for legalization. But if it means that they have to leave, then they have to leave.

We have to take back our country. That's what Donald Trump said last night. We need to take it back. We have so many criminals here.

(CROSSTALK)

BERMAN: Take it back from whom? Anthony, take it back from whom?

SEGURA: Take it back from the criminals. We need to stop the illegal immigration. We need to stop the drugs. You go to northern New Mexico, northern New Mexico is one of the hubs for overdoses of heroin. We need to stop that. I don't know how else we're going to do it, unless we build a wall, and we have to stop the immigration.

(CROSSTALK)

BERMAN: Artemio, last word?

MUNIZ: If he wants to take back our country, he can start by digging up the bodies of American soldiers, who were illegal immigrants, who died in Iraq and Afghanistan for this country. Illegal immigrants have been painted with this brush and, at this point, I think the Hispanic community is fed up with it. You have people who have served this country. And I want to know how much that was. I heard Corey Lewandowski yesterday say some things about illegal immigrants, a Marine who died in Fallujah. These are guys who have served our country. We have guys building, creating wealth for this country. At this point, we better change our rhetoric. If not, we're going to lose the presidency again.

BERMAN: Anthony Segura, Artemio Muniz, thank you so much for being with us. Appreciate your perspective guys.

SEGURA: Thank you.

BERMAN: Any minute now, Vice President Joe Biden will hit the campaign trail. What will he say about Donald Trump's speech last night? My bet, he didn't like it. We'll bring you the remarks live.

And then breaking news this morning, a big explosion on the SpaceX launch pad. This is at Cape Canaveral. Response teams just arriving on site of the blast. We have details ahead.

Plus, other breaking news, just moments ago, a brand-new forecast for the tropical storm heading to Florida and perhaps the entire northeast. This is expected to become a hurricane very, very soon. We'll give you the new forecast next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[11:12:35] BERMAN: Happening right now, you're looking at live pictures from Warren, Ohio. Any minute now, Vice President Joe Biden will take that stage. He's going to have a campaign speech on behalf of Hillary Clinton. You can bet he'll respond to Donald Trump's immigration speech last night. So much to discuss on that subject. Was it a hardening, as some

critics have said? Did he soften his stance as Donald Trump himself just said this morning?

Let's discuss that issue more right now. Joining us is Angie Kelley, former senior adviser on immigration in the Obama White House.

Angie, thanks so much for being with us.

I want to play you, if I can, a key piece of sound that occurred at the end of Donald Trump's speech where he seemed to open the door to the possibility that some, perhaps many, undocumented immigrants in the country might be able to stay. Let's listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: In several years, when we have accomplished all our enforcement and deportation goals and truly ended illegal immigration for good, including the construction of a great wall, which we will have built in record time --

(CHEERING)

TRUMP: -- and at a reasonable cost, which you never hear from the government --

(CROSSTALK)

TRUMP: -- and the establishment of our new lawful immigration system, then, and only then, will we be in a position to consider the appropriate disposition of those individuals who remain.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: Now, this morning, Donald Trump himself called that a softening. Do you see it that way?

ANGIE KELLEY, FORMER SENIOR ADVISOR ON IMMIGRATION IN OBAMA WHITE HOUSE: Wow. No. I don't see it as a softening. I think he's setting up expectations that will never be met. He reminds me of a kid running for class president saying, you know, I'll extend recess and we won't have homework anymore. I don't think it's realistic that we're going to have that kind of wall built immediately by Mexico. It is terrifying, the prospect of deporting 11 million people. And it is -- it's also puzzling to me that somebody who wants to be in the Oval Office says that, down the road, I will work to solve what he has said is an issue that needs attention. So it's a remarkable lack of thoughtful policy, a lot of slogans, scary ones, not a lot of solutions.

[11:20:05] BERMAN: What he says is that the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the country, that that's not the biggest issue when it comes to illegal immigration. He says he wants to deport the criminals first. He doesn't seem to say anymore that he's going to actively force out the non criminals. Is that how you see it? KELLEY: No, I think he doubled down on deportation, because he talked about a great expansion of deportation officers, having local police get involved. He talked about deporting Dreamers. So it felt like on deportation, from beginning to end. I was stunned he didn't deal with the 11 million because that is, again, an issue he has raised and that needs to be front and center in the debate, particularly when you've got, you know, 70-plus-percent of Republican voters saying we support a path to citizenship. I think he is so outside the bounds of what people want to see in terms of solutions, and that he's just throwing red meat to a very small base.

BERMAN: One of the things he brings up is the issue of sanctuary cities. He says President Obama and Hillary Clinton support the existence of sanctuary cities. Is that untrue?

KELLEY: Well, I think what both the president and what Secretary Clinton support is where law enforcement is on this issue, right, because they know best what works in their community to keep the community safe. We love over 300 localities where they have said, look, we don't want to be seen as jumping in bed with ICE agents. We want to be able to have trust in the community. Anyone who has committed a crime, absolutely, we prosecute. If ICE can put a detainer on that person, fine. But what they don't want to be in the position of is having people being afraid to report crimes, people being afraid to come forward, and feel as if they themselves or the their family members are going to be put in removal proceedings. And this is what police officers are saying. And I trust those guys more than I trust Donald Trump to keep us safe.

BERMAN: Angie Kelley, thanks for being with us. Appreciate your insight.

KELLEY: Thanks.

BERMAN: Want to talk more about this. Joining us, our panel, Alice Stewart, a CNN political commentator, Republican strategist who worked for Senator Ted Cruz; Kayleigh McEnany, a CNN political commentator and Trump supporter; Mark Preston, "CNN Politics" executive editor; and Maria Cardona, a CNN political commentator, Hillary Clinton supporter and a Democratic super delegate. She was before the convention. We keep on saying that because it's an impressive title.

(LAUGHTER)

Alice Stewart, I want to start with you.

You know politics, particularly when you're 60-plus days before an election, is about addition, adding votes, gathering support. Did the last 24 hours in the life of Donald Trump do that?

ALICE STEWART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: No, it did not. Look, his speech was very well received clearly by that audience. He stuck by his guns and, some say, doubled down when it comes to build the wall, saying Mexico will pay for it, E-Verify, deporting criminal illegal aliens and the issues he's been saying throughout the primary, issues that all of the Republican challengers say that's not going to happen, that's not going to work. While your rhetoric is good, reality is it's not going to be implemented. He stuck with his guns, followed his gut and his heart, electrified the base. He clearly executed a policy they enjoy.

However, he needs to expand to the broader electorate. He needs to appeal to the Independents and to the white college educated voters out there. This speech, with the harsh tone on immigration, is not expanding his appeal to the broad electorate. While he solidified a base he already had -- all those people in that room were going to vote for him anyway -- the need to appeal to a broader audience, there was no addition there. That's the concern, and his ability to sell that to the broader audience and, in turn, if he wants this to work, he's got to sell Congress on it, and that's going to be the challenge in the days and weeks ahead.

BERMAN: Kayleigh, we heard from Artemio Muniz a short time ago, a Republican who is working to elect Republicans in Texas, who was uncommitted before the Trump speech, and now he says he's a firm no.

KAYLEIGH MCENANY, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I understand Artemio's point, and it's one that Donald Trump echoed, that there are hard- working Mexican-Americans that we love and we respect their values and we want them in this country. That includes many in the illegal immigrant community. What he missed I think is, at the end of Donald Trump's speech, when you had Angel Mom's stand up there and name the name of their child. One mom said in an interview after, my son would be here instead of his ashes if Donald Trump were president because he would not have illegal immigrants into society, many of whom, some of whom, I should say, have committed crimes. He referenced the GAO report showed there are 25,000 homicide arrests in the illegal immigrant community. That is an astonishing number.

My Democratic counterpart says, oh, they served their time, they're allowed to be back in society. That's not the case. One murder is too many. We should not have Kate Steinle's death and her mom having to suffer the loss of her daughter at the hands of someone who is not supposed to be here.

[11:25:11] BERMAN: When it comes to deporting criminals, a lot of that is what is part of the president's policy, felons not families.

MCENANY: He let out 20,000 just last year.

(CROSSTALK)

MCENANY: Criminal illegal aliens.

(CROSSTALK)

BERMAN: I understand that, and Donald Trump thinks the president should do more. He says he wants to deal with criminals in this country. We heard that. But, again, when you're talking about attracting new voters.

MCENANY: I think there are a lot of new voters who looked in the eyes of the parents and empathized with them and saw the reality. It's not statistics. It's not just a number. Obama last year released 200 homicide arrestees. Those parents are the victims of that policy.

BERMAN: Maria Cardona, you heard what Kayleigh said. You can respond to that. I also want you to respond to Donald Trump this morning, who said there is a softening in his policy, the idea that once you secure the borders, in his words, once, later on, down the line, we address the people who are still here.

MARIA CARDONA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Like I said before, nobody believes him. Because, in fact, what he did last night, what most people heard, what the people that he needs to add in order to get to 270 electoral college votes, what they heard was a doubling down of very nationalistic, offensive, restrictionist, nativist policies that he actually started espousing back in June 2015 when he first announced his presidential campaign. That includes Hispanic voters. That includes immigrant voters. That includes college educated white voters. That includes Catholic voters. All of which he is losing in droves, and he needs to add to his base. He needs to add to the people that are going to support him if he's ever going to get to the White House.

BERMAN: Can we --

(CROSSTALK)

CARDONA: It was an incredibly dark speech also, John, that really doesn't reflect the reality out there. And Kayleigh can espouse all of these numbers and they are just wrong. They are not in the right context. It is not the realty.

MCENANY: GAO -- go look at the report.

CARDONA: It is not the reality that most Americans live, which is why most Republicans have always supported comprehensive immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship.

BERMAN: I want to talk about something else that happened today, which is the sort of "we didn't talk about who would pay for it"-gate. It's a clumsy name but it was also perhaps a somewhat awkward diplomatic moment where Donald Trump said they didn't discuss who would pay for the wall. Then the Mexican leader later said they did talk about it.

Mark Preston what effect does this all have?

MARK PRESTON, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, CNN POLITICS: A couple things. One is it really has no effect on Donald Trump supporters about whether or not they actually had the discussion. Kayleigh and I were on last night discussing it. Where I looked up the definition of "discussion," which I came to the hard fact that I'm sure the Mexican president said something to Donald Trump and Donald Trump respond. When Donald Trump was asked about it during the news conference yesterday, Donald Trump said there was no discussion. He wasn't lying because there was no discussion. There was a statement made to him and he did not engage. I think what we saw yesterday was more confusion by Donald Trump. And when I say that, he had a very good trip down to Mexico. A very risky thing for him to do but a very good trip. A few hours later, he went to Arizona, and any of the doors he opened up to try to reach out to voters that are beyond his loyal base, they closed very quickly.

BERMAN: Why was it a good trip to Mexico?

PRESTON: Because not only did he go down there and show he was measured and could stand on stage with a world leader, which he hasn't done in this presidential campaign, but he was also able to talk about the sheer desire to stop illegal immigration. Let's don't forget, we talk about illegal immigration here in the United States. Mexico has a very bad illegal immigration problem with people coming across their southern boarder.

BERMAN: There are critics who say that attendance should not be equated with being presidential, that showing up --

(CROSSTALK)

PRESTON: Right. The critics will say you are grading Donald Trump on a very low bar. I would say we're grading Donald Trump on the reality of this presidential race now and the situation we're in. When Donald Trump went down yesterday, a lot of people thought he would flub, mess it up, but he didn't.

(CROSSTALK)

BERMAN: But if that's the bar, if that's -- I guess, Alice, -- we have to go, but I want to ask you, leave with that last point. If the bar for Donald Trump is not embarrassing himself, what does that mean heading into the debates?

STEWART: Then it's nowhere to go but up. But I think the key with that meeting yesterday, Hillary Clinton dinged him for it being a photo op. She more than anyone knows the importance of foreign relations is building relationships. She learned that as Arkansas first lady, first lady of the U.S. And she said it's about building relationships. He took the first step with that. It was an important first step. He did so. He looked very presidential.

CARDONA: But you know what else happened?

STEWART: And the best way to do that is to take the first step and that's what he did, and I think that was a win.

(CROSSTALK)

BERMAN: Maria, 10 seconds, we have to go.

CARDONA: Do you know what else happened after the meeting in addition to Pena Nieto saying he told Trump that Mexico was not paying for the wall? He said later that Trump policies would be a dangerous threat to Mexico.