Return to Transcripts main page


Clinton, Trump Square Off At Commander-In-Chief Forum; Trump: U.S. Generals Have Been "Reduced To Rubble"; Trump Surprised By Details In Intel Briefing; Trump Praises Putin For "Strong Control"; Clinton On Private E-mail Server: "It Should Not Have Been Done"; Trump Asked How He Would "Take The Oil"; Trump Defends Tweet About Military Sexual Assaults. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired September 7, 2016 - 21:00   ET


[21:00:26] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to another hour of 360.

A lot was said about the military today. Now, both presidential candidates just faced an audience of vets and active service members trying to make why case -- why they should be commander-in-chief. Hillary, Donald Trump took questions at the forum live from the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum here in New York City, moderated by Matt Lauer of NBC News.

The candidates were asked about what prepares them to be commander-in- chief. They were asked about judgment, temperament. They were asked specific and tough questions about everything from fighting ISIS to what should be done about PTSD, sexual assault in the military. Throughout this hour, we're going to bring you some of what each candidate said tonight and get analysis from our political panel. Let's get started with some of the highlights from the hour.


MATT LAUER, NBC NEWS ANCHOR: When people like me press you for details like that gentleman just said on what your plan is, you very often say, "I'm not going to give you the details because I want to be unpredictable."

DONALD TRUMP, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Absolutely. The word is unpredictable.

LAUER: But yesterday, you actually told us a little bit about your plan in your speech. You said this, "We're going to convene my top generals and they will have 30 days to submit a plan for soundly and quickly defeating ISIS." So is the plan you've been hiding this whole time asking someone else for their plan?

TRUMP: No. But when I do come up with a plan that I like and that perhaps agrees with mine, or maybe doesn't -- I may love what the generals come back with. I will convene ...

LAUER: But you have your own plan? TRUMP: I have a plan. But I want to be -- I don't want to -- look, I have a very substantial chance of winning. Make America great again. We're going to make America great again. I have a substantial chance of winning. If I win, I don't want to broadcast to the enemy exactly what my plan is.

LAUER: But you're going to ...

TRUMP: And let me tell you, if I like maybe a combination of my plan and the generals' plan, or the generals' plan, if I like their plan, Matt, I'm not going to call you up and say, "Matt, we have a great plan." This is what Obama does. "We're going to leave Iraq on a certain day."

LAUER: But you're going to convene a panel of generals, and you've already said you know more about ISIS than those generals do.

TRUMP: Well, they'll probably be different generals, to be honest with you.

LAUER: ... when you're commander-in-chief, you can spark a conflict, you can destabilize a region, you can put American lives at risk. Can we afford to take that risk with you?

TRUMP: Well, I think absolutely. And I think if you saw what happened in Mexico the other day, where I went there, I had great relationships, everything else. I let them know where the United States stands. I mean, we've been badly hurt by Mexico, both on the border and with taking all of our jobs or a big percentage of our jobs.

And if you look at what happened, look at the aftermath today where the people that arranged the trip in Mexico have been forced out of government. That's how well we did.

LAUER: Back in August ...

TRUMP: And that's how well we're going to have to do, Matt.

LAUER: Back in August, when you admitted that you regret some of the things you said, you also said this, "I can promise you this, I will always tell you the truth."

TRUMP: It's true.

LAUER: So let me read some of the things you've said. "I know more about ISIS than the generals do. Believe me." Was that the truth?

TRUMP: Well, the generals under Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have not been successful. ISIS ...

LAUER: Do you know more about ISIS than they do?

TRUMP: I think under the leadership of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, the generals have been reduced to rubble. They have been reduced to a point where it's embarrassing for our country. HILLARY CLINTON, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We have to defeat ISIS. That is my highest counterterrorism goal. And we've got to do it with air power. We've got to do it with much more support for the Arabs and the Kurds who will fight on the ground against ISIS.

We are not putting ground troops into Iraq ever again. And we're not putting ground troops into Syria. We're going to defeat ISIS without committing American ground troops.

LAUER: Thank you very much ...

CLINTON: We're going after Baghdadi. The leader, because it will help us focus our attention just like going after Bin Laden, helped us focus our attention in the fight against al-Qaeda ...

LAUER: Secretary Clinton ...

CLINTON: ... in the Afghanistan, Pakistan theater.

With respect to Libya, again, there's no difference between my opponent and myself. He's on record extensively supporting intervention in Libya, when Gadhafi was threatening to massacre his population. I put together a coalition that included NATO, included the Arab League, and we were able to save lives. We did not lose a single American in that action.

And I think taking that action was the right decision. Not taking it, and permitting there to be an ongoing civil war in Libya, would have been as dangerous and threatening as what we are now seeing in Syria.


[21:05:09] COOPER: We're going to play a lot more of what both candidates said throughout this hour. But I want to get some quick reaction from our panel, CNN senior political report Nia-Malika Henderson, CNN World Affairs analyst Fareed Zakaria, host of "Fareed Zakaria GPS", CNN military analyst retired Army Lieutenant General Mark Hertling, CNN national security commentator and host of CNN's "The Classified" Mike Rodgers, he's a volunteer adviser to the Trump Transition team and CNN military analyst retired Air Force Colonel Cedric Leighton.

Freed, there was a moment, something that Donald Trump said that really stood out to you. I want play that for our viewers then talk to you about it.


LAUER: Did you learn anything in that briefing, again, not going into specifics that makes you reconsider some of the things you say you can accomplish, like defeating ISIS quickly?

TRUMP: No, I didn't learn anything from that standpoint. What I did learn is that our leadership, Barack Obama, did not follow what our experts and our truly -- when they call it intelligence, it's there for a reason -- what our experts said to do. LAUER: Hallie?

TRUMP: And I was very, very surprised. In almost every instance. And I could tell you. I have pretty good with the body language. I could tell they were not happy. Our leaders did not follow what they were recommending.


COOPER: Fareed, what do you make of that?

FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN'S "FAREED ZAKARIA GPS" HOST: Well, what he's talking about is as a presidential candidate at this stage, you start to get the classified version of the classified briefings that the president of the United States gets. These are called presidential daily briefings. Trump has gotten two of them.

First of all I have never seen a candidate for presidency making use -- making political hay of that. Taking advantage of the fact that they have been given these classified briefings and drawing a political conclusion that the president or the secretary of state did not follow advice.

Secondly, you can read these briefings because the CIA actually just declassified a couple of weeks ago all the presidential daily briefings. I think most from the Nixon and Ford administration. They are not in the form of any kind of advice to the president. They're sort of telling you what's happening in various countries. There is no policy recommendation. In fact, the intelligence community tries very hard to be neutral in that respect. Not to suggest policy. That is the job of the other agencies and the White House.

So first of all, he's doing something as deeply dishonorable in making use of these classified briefings for -- to advance his political course.

Secondly, I'll put this very simply. He is being untruthful in terms of how he's characterizing the briefings. The briefings are intelligence. They are not policy conclusions. It's remarkable that he would say that.

COOPER: Chairman Rodgers?

MIKE ROGERS, (R) FORMER HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: Well, I mean, I disagree. And again, I'm somebody who had access to all of that as chairman. I think what you see happening is in those analytical products, when the intelligence folks show up, they provide their opinion based on their analytical product and information collected on what the situation on the ground is. And I agree. They never come out and say we think you should do this. That's not their place. They shouldn't do that.

But what I think he was getting at, and I don't know, I wasn't part of those briefings, is the fact that intelligence was talking about the growth of ISIS over a period of time. And at least from my understanding from public reports is that that's the portion that was covered in that first briefing extensively. Is ISIS and its formation and how it developed and all of those things. So you can walk away from the briefing.

And by the way, I've walk away from many of those briefings when I was chairman and said, hey, the administration's policy is not jiving with what the Intelligence services are saying happening on the ground. I saw that personally as chairman.

And I think -- I don't know but I'm guessing that's probably what he's talking about when he says they weren't listening to each other. I'm not exactly sure how he said that. But I think that's exactly what he was saying.

ZAKARIA: I would recommend to viewers. It's very easy to get these declassified presidential briefings from the past. Take a look at them and you will see that as Mike Rogers says, the Intelligence community is scrupulous about not recommending policy action. They are simply telling you what is happening on the ground.

COOPER: I want to play something that Trump said about the generals and then talk to our retired military folks.


LAUER: ... when people like me press you for details like that gentleman just said on what your plan is, you very often say, "I'm not going to give you the details because I want to be unpredictable."

TRUMP: Absolutely. The word is unpredictable.

LAUER: But yesterday, you actually told us a little bit about your plan in your speech. You said this, "We're going to convene my top generals and they will have 30 days to submit a plan for soundly and quickly defeating ISIS." So is the plan you've been hiding this whole time asking someone else for their plan?

TRUMP: No. But when I do come up with a plan that I like and that perhaps agrees with mine, or maybe doesn't -- I may love what the generals come back with. I will convene...

[21:10:01] LAUER: But you have your own plan?

TRUMP: I have a plan. But I want to be -- I don't want to -- look, I have a very substantial chance of winning. Make America great again. We're going to make America great again. I have a substantial chance of winning. If I win, I don't want to broadcast to the enemy exactly what my plan is.

LAUER: But you're going to ...

TRUMP: And let me tell you, if I like maybe a combination of my plan and the generals' plan, or the generals' plan, if I like their plan, Matt, I'm not going to call you up and say, "Matt, we have a great plan." This is what Obama does. "We're going to leave Iraq on a certain day."

LAUER: But you're going to convene a panel of generals, and you've already said you know more about ISIS than those generals do.

TRUMP: Well, they'll probably be different generals, to be honest with you.


COOPER: General Hertling when you hear a candidate saying they know more about ISIS than the generals, then, you know, I assume generals who have been, you know, focused on fighting ISIS now for quite sometime like yourself who worked in Iraq for a long, long time. Does that concern you as somebody who would serve for somebody who believes they know more than those who've been studying an issue closely?

LT. GEN. MARK HERTLING (RET), U.S. ARMYNDERSON: It does. Anderson, we have a very strong history of civilian control of the military in the United States. It is one of the things that makes us very different. So we adjust what we do based on some things that the political masters want us to do.

But having said that, we always give strong military advice at the level of the president, at the strategic level. But it takes a very long time to build a general. There's years of schooling, years of experience, years of operational experience dealing with soldiers, knowing what soldiers can do, training exercises and education. And to have an individual who's never done any of those things suggest that he knows more about plans. I'm not even sure Mr. Trump would know a war plan or a contingency plan if he saw it.

Now, certainly, a civilian master will say, "Hey, we want a look at the assumptions a little bit differently or this is the end state I want to achieve." Then it's the job of the generals to give them that as best they can within a feasibility and validity approach.

But to have someone who is a businessman, who has not studied the science and art of war suddenly say, "I know more about the generals." It's -- thriftily, it's flabbergasting to me.

COOPER: Colonel Leighton just in terms of what you've heard tonight, what stood out to you, or concerned you or you like?

COL. CEDRIC LEIGHTON (RET), U.S. AIRFORCE: Well, I think, Anderson, one of the big issues that we have is the fact that we see an evolving nature of -- in Trump's ability to handle national security issues. And in this particular case, when you pick the Trump aspect of things, you look at something that is a bit different from what he said at the very beginning.

So the idea of having a plan and bringing it together with one that is developed independently perhaps by generals in the Pentagon, that has some merit to it actually and it could be used as a way to determine what is the best way forward. So it is perhaps attempt to be a little more collegial in his approach to the Pentagon.

As far as Secretary Clinton's points are concerned, I thought it was very interesting that she seemed to be very much stayed the course a kind of presentation. Both candidates want to say they want to defeat ISIS but it becomes very clear that if that happens in -- under President Obama's watch, it's going to be a very different strategic environment for them and I don't know if they've thought about that challenge if for their respective campaigns.

COOPER: Nia, I mean, in terms of what you heard tonight, I mean, to have both candidates focused on this, it's as close as we've gotten to a debate between these two so far.

NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: Yeah, I mean, I think we got kind of a preview of what the atmosphere and some of the questioning, I will be at a debate.

Apparently, looking at some of the reporting from our very own Dan Merica, he is saying that the Clinton campaign isn't really happy with what went down tonight in terms of the timing of it. I guess each candidate, they've got like 30 minutes. A lot of her time was spent on Iraq, a lot of it was spent on e-mails, as well, they feel like Matt Lauer kind of dropped the ball in terms of follow-up and fact checking.

But listen, this is what a debate is like. And debate moderators or moderators ...

COOPER: They weren't on the stage at the same time debating.

HENDERSON: Exactly, exactly, exactly. But often moderators take a different tact in terms of how they ...

COOPER: Right.

HENDERSON: ... engage with the candidates and whether or not they feel like they want to fact check in real-time.

COOPER: We've got to take a quick break. We'll have more with the panel ahead and more moments from the discussion between these two candidates tonight. We'll be right back.


[21:18:13] COOPER: Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton took their messages in the military tonight at a forum in New York, just a short time ago. Both candidates took questions from current and former military service members about why they should be commander-in-chief. NBC's Matt Lauder asked Donald Trump about getting intelligence briefings. He has had two so far. Here are some of that exchange.


LAUER: Did you learn anything in that briefing, again, not going into specifics, that makes you reconsider some of the things you say you can accomplish kike defeating ISIS quickly?

TRUMP: No. I didn't learn anything from that standpoint. What did I learn is that our leadership, Barack Obama, did not follow what our experts and our truly, when they call it intelligence, it's there for a reason, what our experts said to do. LAUER: Hallie?

TRUMP: And I was very, very surprised. In almost every instance. And could I tell, I have pretty good with the body language. I could tell. They were not happy. Our leaders did not follow what they were recommending.


COOPER: Well, joining me now is CNN Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr. The comments from Trump about the briefings, what do you learning about them tonight?

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, those are extraordinary, Anderson. That the president did not follow what the intelligence community was recommending, it's something that Trump would not have been told in one of these intelligence briefings. He would have been given analysis of problems like Iraq, Russia, Iran, Syria.

We know this over the last several weeks. I have talked directly to experts in the intelligence community who know how these briefings were set up, know how they were going to work. There were about analysis. They are not about recommendations. They are from some of the most senior professional civilian career people in the intelligence community. Not about politics at all.

So I think it remains to be seen, perhaps most charitably, what exactly Mr. Trump thought he was hearing, what he thought the body language was.

[21:20:03] Very clearly, he was not told intelligence community recommendations. That would not have happened.

I think the other really fascinating point that he made is he talked about the generals, very broadly being, in his words, reduced to rubble. Those are shocking words. In all the years I've covered the military, I've never really heard anybody talk about generals being reduced to rubble.

He perhaps might have been referring to the fact there's very strong White House national security process that the military obeys the political leadership. But reduced to rubble, who are the generals he's talking about?

Look, these guys these days, they are mainly combat veterans. They have been in Iraq, they have been in Afghanistan, they have buried their young troops in cemeteries across this country. These are generals who know the business of war.

Trump went on to talk about he might decide to work with other generals. So, I think he's really putting a line out there that if he is elected, he is going to have to deal with. He would be coming into a U.S. military structure he says that he respects. But the general officer corps right now, he appears at least to have a big problem with. Anderson? COOPER: Barbara Starr. Barbara, thanks very much. Back now with our panel.

It was interesting to hear him kind of go full bore on, you know, I'm just saying the generals in general, I'm not sure exactly who he was talking about, but, or if he knows specific generals that he was talking about.

ZAKARIA: You know, Anderson, this is a perfect illustration of what sometimes frustrates me in our discussions about Trump. We try to analyze, and Barbara did a wonderful job of trying to make sense of, you know, a stray comment he makes here or there. My guess is, frankly, he doesn't know what he's talking about.

I think it is very unlikely that he had any thought through idea. He, you know, in a rapid fire format, Matt Lauer puts a question to him. He, you know, he gets flummoxed so he comes back with something. I think it's nonsensical.

You know, Obama's first national security adviser was a general. Obama has promoted lots of generals. He listens to them all the time. There is no great dissatisfaction. You know, they have not been reduced to rubble.

It's, you know, there's just no way to understand this, other than to think, he's just winging it as he does with so many of these things. And then, we, in the media, have to sit and try to pretend that this is a carefully reasoned piece of analysis drawn on years of thoughtful, you know, analysis of the situation.

I think it was something he said by the seat of his pants. I mean, Barbara is right, it kind of doesn't make any sense. And you should admit that.

COOPER: Chairman Rogers does it make sense to you that the generals have been reduced to rubble?

ROGERS: Well, I mean, I think you're arguing about the color of his words and, you know, probably not the words I would have chosen, clearly. But, when you look at the past, I think what Donald Trump is trying to encapsulate there is the fact that he didn't listen to his generals in Iraq. He didn't listen to his intelligence officials in Iraq, on the pullout. Everyone advised he shouldn't do it.

And I think what he's trying to say is you can't lead, you can't walk into the general and say here's the 10 things you can't do and, oh, by the way, the things that you're asking for, I'm going to give you half of it. What happens is, and trust me, those officers were pretty vocal when you put them in places like the intelligence and ask them their opinion about how difficult it was top accomplish their mission. They won't listen. They weren't political. They weren't trying to say they're Republicans or Democrats. They're just saying if you want me to do this mission, if you want me to beat ISIS, if you want me to stabilize Iraq, you can't ask me to pull out some airily. We have to lead forces. They didn't listen to him. They didn't listen to him in Libya. So what I think he is saying is you're telling these generals one mission and then publicly talking about it and the authority and the ability, and the resources you're giving them don't match it. And so, therefore, you have generals trying to, I think, accomplish a mission with one hand tied behind their back. And I think that's what he's talking about when he's talking about this.

ZAKARIA: That's a very cogent thing that Mike Rogers said. It makes -- perfectly coherent. It isn't what Donald Trump said.

COOPER: General Hertling, what about that argument about ...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He said it a lot -- you said it a lot quicker than you ...

COOPER: You've served in Iraq incredibly. Did you have one hand tied behind your back?

HERTLING: Never. Never did I. I always wanted more forces. I needed more forces to do the mission. That was the conditions of the battlefield, Anderson. We deal with that. That's what soldiers do.

But truthfully, it seemed tonight that Mr. Trump had more praise for Mr. Putin than he had for America's generals who've been fighting a war for 14 years. That's disturbing.

You're supposed to build relationships with your staff. It also seems, I don't know, I was listening to the conversation. It seems like he actually thinks he can appoint all the generals. These are guys who have come up, guys and gals, who have come up through the ranks, who have served their country and who've been put under a great deal of pressure.

And to have him say the kinds of things he said tonight were insulting to me as a general officer. And I'm not trying to get defensive. I know there are some things I could have done better in combat and in peacetime. But truthfully, to have a potential commander-in-chief say that the general officer corps has been reduced to rubble, it just -- it goes with the narrative that everything the president, President Obama, or the Secretary of State has touches has turned to mush and he's the only guy to fix it and I don't believe that because generals swear their allegiance to the constitution of the United States, not to the man or the woman in office.

[21:25:28] COOPER: Colonel Leighton, what was your interpretation of that idea, generals being turned to rubble?

LEIGHTON: Yeah, I thought it was very interesting, Anderson, to use that term because, you know, quite frankly, you know, I think General Hertling is right. There is no general that I've ever met here that has been turned to rubble.

I think what -- maybe what Trump is looking at is perhaps the idea of a Patton-like figure. He's looking for somebody that he can find within the military that is going to take forces from A to B and to defeat ISIS in a very dramatic, very World War II like fashion. And, anybody who has studied warfare in the latter half of the 20th century and then the early part of the 21st century is going to turn to this and is going to say, wars aren't fought that way anymore. We are not going to have set piece battles. We're not going to do the things that we did in World War II. There's no D-day invasion that is on the horizon.

And I think Trump is looking at that as being his way of actually controlling the officer corps and perhaps, you know, looking at, you know, things from World War II where they had a little black book that General Marshall carried around that it had names of people that were going to be promoted to general. Maybe he's thinking that's the way it works today and it doesn't work that way.

So there are many different things that have to be learned on the part of, I think, Mr. Trump, as well as the Trump campaign, on how the process actually works. And then they can start making perhaps, you know, some recommendations that have to go through Congress first before they're actually changed.

COOPER: We have a lot more ahead including what Donald Trump said tonight about Russian President Vladimir Putin which General Hertling referenced. We'll bring that to you next.


[21:31:01] COOPER: Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton made the case tonight on why they are qualified to be commander-in-chief at a forum in New York just short time ago. Both candidates took questions from current and former military service members, also from NBC's Matt Lauer who asked Trump about what he said about Russian President Vladimir Putin. Listen.


LAUER: Let me ask you about some of the things you've said about Vladimir Putin. You said I will tell you in terms of leadership, he's getting an "A." Our President is not doing so well. And when referring to a comment that Putin made about you, I think he calls you a brilliant leader, you said it's always a great honor to be so nicely complimented by a man so highly respected within his country and beyond.

TRUMP: Well, he does have an 82 percent approval rating according to the different pollsters who, by the way, some of them are based right here. Look ...

LAUER: He's also a guy who annexed Crimea, invaded Ukraine, supports Assad in Syria, supports Iran, is trying to undermine our influence in key regions of the world, and according to our intelligence committee -- community, probably is the main suspect for the hacking of the DNC computers.

TRUMP: Well, nobody knows that for a fact. But, do you want me to start naming some of the things that President Obama does at the same time? LAUER: But do you want to be complimented by that former KGB officer?

TRUMP: Well, I think when he calls me brilliant, I'll take the compliment. OK? The fact is, look, it's not going to get him anywhere. I'm a negotiator. We're going to take back our country. You look at what's happening to our country. You look at the depleted military. You look at the fact that we've lost our jobs. We're losing our jobs like we're a bunch of babies. We're going to take back our country, Matt.

The fact that he calls me brilliant or whatever he calls me is going to have zero impact.

LAUER: But the fact that you say you can get along with him.

TRUMP: I think I'll be able to get along with him.

LAUER: Do you think the day that you become president of the United States he's going to change his mind on some of these key issues?

TRUMP: Possibly. It's possible. I don't know, Matt. It's possible. And it's not going to have any impact. If he says great things about me, I'm going to say great things about him. I've already said he is really very much of a leader. I mean, you can say, oh, isn't that a terrible thing? The man has very strong control over a country.

Now, it's a very different system, and I don't happen to like the system. But certainly, in that system, he's been a leader far more than our President has been a leader.


COOPER: Back now with our panel. Fareed Zakaria, you interviewed Putin. What do you make of Trump's interest in Putin or comments about him?

ZAKARIA: Trump has long had this quite strange fascination with Putin.

COOPER: He claimed they'd had a -- that they had a relationship of some sort. And George Stephanopoulos very cleanly sort of illuminated the fact that they've never actually met. They never actually talked.

ZAKARIA: Right. He actually outright said that they had met and that they got on very well and it turned out he had never actually met him. You know, one more of those strange things.

I think there is, though, a fascination he has and we can understand it, you know, understanding Trump. Trump likes authoritarians. He likes the idea of having decisive power. He likes the idea of being able to act boldly, not, you know, not have to wait for checks and balances in Congress.

You know, when I interviewed Putin, I asked him what was it about Trump that made Putin say nice things about him. And Putin interestingly took the opportunity to walk back his comments. He started quibbling with the translation. He said I didn't say that he was brilliant. I said he was bright. But what I meant by bright is he's a colorful personality. That's really all I was saying. And if he wants to have a better relationship with Russia, why should I object to that.

Putin really doesn't like Hillary Clinton. So there is a strange attraction between the two of them. But you would think that for Trump whose greatest card is that he is an American nationalist who's going to look out for America, the fact that one of America's principle adversaries, a guy who's trying to do harm to America, to American interests, to American troops, is lavishing praise on him, is virtually endorsing him, would be somewhat disconcerting.

You don't want to be endorsed by -- it would be like the leader of the Soviet Union endorsing one of the presidential candidates and that person being happy about it.

COOPER: One of the service members tonight, a Republican, asked Hillary Clinton about her e-mails while she was secretary of state and why she should be trusted as a commander-in-chief. I want to play that.


[21:35:07] LT. JOHN LESTER, NAVAL FLIGHT OFFICER: Secretary Clinton, thank you very much for coming tonight. As a naval flight officer, I held a top-secret, sensitive, compartmentalized information, clearance, and that provided me access to materials and information highly sensitive to our war fighting capabilities. Had I communicated this information, not following the prescribed protocols I would have been prosecuted and imprisoned.

Secretary Clinton, how can you expect those such as myself, who are and were trusted with America's most sensitive information to have any confidence in your leadership as president when you clearly corrupted our national security?

CLINTON: Well, I appreciate your concern and also your experience. But let me try to make the distinctions that I think are important for me to answer your question.

First, as I said to Matt, you know and I know classified material is designated. It is marked. There is a header so that there is no dispute at all that what is being communicated to or from someone who has that access is marked classified.

And what we have here is the use of an unclassified system by hundreds of people in our government to send information that was not marked, there were no headers, there was no statement, top secret, secret, or confidential.

I communicated about classified material on a wholly separate system. I took it very seriously. When I traveled, I went into one of those little tents that I'm sure you've seen around the world because we didn't want there to be any potential for someone to have embedded a camera to try to see whatever it is that I was seeing that was designated, marked, and headed as classified.

LAUER: Let us now ...

CLINTON: So I did exactly what I should have done and I take it very seriously, always have, always will.


COOPER: Nia, obviously, it's tough questions for ...


COOPER: ... for Secretary Clinton tonight and obviously an issue which is not going away.

HENDERSON: Yeah. I mean, in some ways, this audience, it's an away game for Hillary. These are veterans, she's likely not going to win those folks in 2012. Mitt Romney won them by about 20 point in 2008. John McCain won them by about 10 points.

You know, I think, in that answer, she's sounded very lawyerly. I think, I mentioned that her people are going to back and look at that, and figure out a better answer where she sounds less lawyerly. Maybe even a little more contrite.

So yeah, I mean, I think this was a preview of what we're going to see in these debates. A preview of what we've seen all along, which is the e-mail issue is not going away. She doesn't quite have a good answer. She always sounds defensive, I think, when she's answering these questions about her e-mail and it's just going to continue, I think.

ZAKARIA: The biggest problem is, he had 37 minutes into the program and we've spent two minutes talking about Hillary Clinton.

COOPER: That's a problem for her?


ZAKARIA: That's a problem. Trump is compelling. He is weird, he is authentic, he is -- the contradictions are so bizarre that you end up -- he is a media hog. I mean, he's maybe a natural media hog.

Just think about it, we've spent all this time talking about Trump. Finally we get to Hillary Clinton, and it's, you know, and it's -- compared to Trump, it's a less exciting issue.

COOPER: We're going to continue the conversation.

Next, we'll hear from Clinton and also Trump explaining how the U.S, would take the oil when ISIS is defeated as he often suggest.


[21:42:28] COOPER: We've been listening to what both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump said, just a short time ago at the forum here in New York, the audience current and former members of the military. One former marine captain asked Donald Trump about his, "secrete plans to defeat ISIS," and specifically what happens after that. Here's some of what Trump said in response.


TRUMP: If you really look at the aftermath of Iraq, Iran is going to be taking over Iraq. They've been doing it. And it's not a pretty picture.

The -- and I think you know -- because you've been watching me I think for a long time, I've always said, shouldn't be there, but if we're going to get out, take the oil. If we would have taken the oil, you wouldn't have ISIS, because ISIS formed with the power and the wealth of that oil.

LAUER: How were we going to take the oil? How were we going to do that?

TRUMP: Just we would leave a certain group behind and you would take various sections where they have the oil. They have -- people don't know this about Iraq, but they have among the largest oil reserves in the world, in the entire world.

And we're the only ones, we go in, we spend $3 trillion, we lose thousands and thousands of lives, and then, Matt, what happens is, we get nothing. You know, it used to be to the victor belong the spoils. Now, there was no victor there, believe me. There was no victor. But I always said, take the oil.

One of the benefits we would have had if we took the oil is ISIS would not have been able to take oil and use that oil ...

LAUER: Let me stay on ISIS ...

TRUMP: ... to fuel themselves.


COOPER: Let's to go our military folks and Chairman Rogers. General Hertling, you and I have talked about this before. This is the thing that Donald Trump had said from the beginning, take the oil. I cannot wrap my mind around the concept, just from a military standpoint. Because all I see is you're taking the oil of a sovereign nation which is our ally under this antiquated notion of to the victor goes the spoils. They're supposedly our ally. And for the percentage of the country that doesn't hate us already, wouldn't that turn the -- everybody else against the United States, if we are stealing Iraq's oil?

HERTLING: Well, not if we were in the 16th century, Anderson. But unfortunately we're now on the 21st. And yet, I've heard Mr. Trump say that, it's on a list -- a long list of things that I've heard him say about what the military can and can't do.

Having been in northern Iraq where a good portion of the oil is, for almost two years, I can tell you, I don't -- I can't wrap my head around it either. So I'm glad, he is a businessman. He knows how to do that. I can't figure it out, if it's bringing other corporations in, continuing to pump while the 19 million Iraqis continue to live and allow us to do that, that would be great. But it's just really hard to do.

[21:45:00] COOPER: Chairman Rogers, I mean, what Trump had said -- I mean to me in interviews early on was bring in U.S. oil companies, Chevron and others. Surround them while they steal the oil. Surround them with troops. I mean, does that make any sense to you militarily, strategically, diplomatically?

ROGERS: Hey, look at the time, Anderson. I will -- let me get philosophical about this for a moment.

COOPER: We've got a lot of time. We can go to the 10:00 hour if you want.

ROGERS: Yeah, exactly. Let -- just let me get philosophical for a minute. So, in the early sweep of the war, I will tell you, this was a very popular political position amongst Republicans and Democrats and every town hall I had ...


ROGERS: ... as a member of Congress. This was an issue, people saying, why don't we have ...


COOPER: ... embarrass too, but it doesn't mean that ...

ROGERS: No, but I'm just saying -- let me just get to where we were. And my explanation would -- then, would probably be the same today. We do negotiate a percentage of the revenues from that oil. As a matter of fact, the Saudis were committed so much oil in certain circumstances.

COOPER: Right.

ROGERS: Other countries committed certain amounts of oil in certainly circumstances. So when you say, take it, I never did hear him say steal it. This notion of actually physically taking it out of the ground doesn't make a lot of sense to me. But this notion that a percentage can be negotiated to cover U.S. cost especially ground operations ...

COOPER: Right.

ROGERS: ... is not unrealistic.

COOPER: But that ...

ROGERS: And by the way, that actually happened during course of the war. COOPER: But that is actually not his plan. His plan is to get Chevron, get the American oil companies in, surround them with U.S. troops and take the oil.

HURTLING: So what you meant to say is percentage of the revenue? I think, I heard you say that.

COOPER: Colonel Leighton? I mean, just for my -- you know, again, I just think of the reaction of our allies in the rest of Iraq. How they feel about, you know, us taking the oil which is their future?

LEIGHTON: It would be a nonstarter and for that very reason. You know, what you want to do is you want to build up countries like Iraq where what comes after ISIS in the case of Syria and Northern Iraq. So there are going to be some significant issues with this. This new mercantilist, you know, 16 century, 18th century, whatever century you want to pick, issue here is something that is very similar to what you might expect a Chinese military leader to say in the present day because they seem to be developing this new mercantilist policy as well.

But it is not workable for our particular time and the particular region that we're dealing with here. You want to raise the oil revenues of the countries that are affected by these conflicts and you want to give them a way in which to live their lives and that would be a sustained revenue stream that would allow them to do that ...

COOPER: Right.

LEIGHTON: ... and that would be essential.

COOPER: The idea of General Hertling to the victor goes the spoils, it implies that Iraq itself is the enemy and we have crushed them and now we're taking their oil.

HERTLING: It implies more than, Anderson. It implies that the U.S. military that's there is a mercenary force to do these kind of things.

Look, there were -- there are 18 battlefield cemeteries throughout Europe from World War I and World War II. When you go to those grounds, the people who monitor those cemeteries that have U.S. soldiers in it say, this is the only place that America claims as occupied territory, the places where they buried their dead. We are not -- it is not the American way of war to go and occupy a land, steal its resources, rape its women, and do the kind of things that Mr. Trump is saying. It is again, a simplistic approach that's a feeling to certain percentage of Americans.

COOPER: We got a lot more to discuss. I want to bring in our other panelist. We've got to take a quick break.

Donald Trump was asked what he meant by an old tweet about sexual assault in the military when he suggested the attack should have been expected. We'll about that.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [21:52:33] COOPER: More now with the commander-in-chief forum tonight here in New York. Current and retired military service members asking questions, so the moderator Matt Lauer who asked Trump for clarification on a tweet he posted three years ago. Listen.


LAUER: In 2013 on this subject you tweeted this, "26,000 unreported sexual assaults in the military, only 238 convictions. What did these geniuses expect when they put men and women together?"

TRUMP: Well, it is a correct tweet. There are many people that think that that's absolutely correct. And we need to have a strength ...

LAUER: So, this should have been expected? And does that mean the only way to fix it is to take women out of the military?

TRUMP: Well, it's happening, right? And, by the way, since then, it's gotten worse. No, not to take them out, but something has to be happen. Right now, part of the problem is nobody gets prosecuted. You have reported and the gentlemen can tell you, you have the report of rape and nobody gets prosecuted. There are no consequence.

When you have somebody that does something so evil, so bad as that, there has to be consequence for that person. You have to go after that person. Right now, nobody's doing anything. Look at the small number of results. I mean, that's part of the problem.


COOPER: Back with the panel. Also join the conversation is CNN political commentators, Trump supporter Kayleigh McEnany and Clinton supporter Christine Quinn.

I just got to quickly go to our military folks. On the idea that nobody in the military is doing anything about this, General Hertling, is that the case?

HERTLING: Definitely false. It was usually -- when I was in the division command, Anderson, a few years ago, it was a number one issue in uniform code of military justice.

It isn't a problem and there are ways that the military is fixing that problem. But certainly, when you put young people together, these kinds of things happen to a small percentage. And the good commanders prosecute them with a vengeance and it happens.

COOPER: Christine Quinn, what do you make of what you heard tonight from Donald Trump?

CHRISTINE QUINN, HILLARY CLINTON SURROGATE: I mean, I think Donald Trump was pretty clear that he stands by his earlier tweet, which I find really reprehensible. And he started off his statements by saying, basically, that making the military have men and women in it is what caused this to happen, that we should have expected it. That is, in fact, blaming the women who have gone into the military to serve, to say that they should have expected that if they were going to serve side by side with men, this would happen. When in fact, countless countries have brought women into their military in combat before we did and there is no evidence that that, as a matter of course, causes this to happen.

[21:55:06] So I have to say I do agree with Donald Trump that more needs to be done as it relates to prosecution, but I don't think there is anything out there about what Donald Trump has said about women that if they're not a 10, he has no use for them, he's blaming victim as it relates to sexual harassment and now they stealing, blaming the gender integration of the military as a cause for this, that we should have expected it, you should never any day of the week in America, in our Armed Forces or out of it, expect that you are going to be raped and sexual assaulted. That is an outrageous statement for anyone to make.

COOPER: Kayleigh, is that the statement he was making that this was to be expected?

KAYLEIGH MCENANY, TRUMP'S SUPPORTER: No, Donald Trump has been very clear and an advocate for women who have been sexually assaulted. He said there have only been 236 prosecutions, and yet, thousands had raped. And that's the points he was trying to make is that no one, no sexual assault or should go and punish.

I do think nothing Donald Trump had said tonight, all of it I should say, pales in comparison to what Hillary Clinton said tonight. She actively contradicted which in the FBI notes, the FBI notes, she said, she didn't know about classified markings. Tonight she said she has great experience in classified markings. So I really think Hillary Clinton really dug her grave further this evening. And nothing Donald Trump said was really all that controversial.

QUINN: Well, you know what? This is the one note on the campaign issue for the Donald Trump campaign over and over. But you know what I think? A lot of what Donald Trump said tonight was outrageous. He basically said he's going to try to politicize how we pick general -- how generals and admirals get promoted in the military. That goes against the entire military structure and shows a complete lack of understanding as was said before about how someone becomes a general or an admiral in the United States.


QUINN: But it's going to be different one like it's a flick of his hand.

HENDERSON: And I think -- I mean back to the sexual assault, it's clear that he's missed the entire debate on this.


HENDERSON: And partly it was led by Kirsten Gillibrand, who is a senator from New York. And it's really about -- it's really about whether or not this stays in the chain of command. She has wanted not to be in the chain of command, it to be educated -- adjudicated outside of the chain of command but this was a huge debate ...

QUINN: Right.

HENDERSON: ... on Capitol Hill with Republicans on the same side in some cases of Senator Gillibrand. So, you know, I think again, he hasn't done his homework on this, and speaking I think very generally and offending some people very likely.

QUINN: And in that tweet -- you're absolutely right. That tweet shows no lack -- it shows a complete lack of an understanding of this issue and where really the path to -- is to address this issue. And even we heard in the colonel -- I don't want to demote him, Colonel or General who spoke, who said good commanders take it seriously.

One can infer from that, that bad commanders don't take it seriously. That's why Senator Gillibrand is right and why clearly Donald Trump has no understanding about this issue in any way shape or form in the exact same way his statements about sexual harassment at the workplace were victim blaming and showed no understanding.

COOPER: Chairman Rogers, I want you to comment on this or anything else you heard tonight that you thought was important?

ROGERS: Well, I mean, a couple of things. I saw Hillary Clinton talked about she was going to do more of the same thing. She started out by listing the thing she wasn't going to do to beat ISIS. This is that same reoccurring problem on the policy side that most of the military and intelligence official have been claiming is not allowing us to be successful.

You know, I think this whole notion that everything is outrageous that he says and everything is offensive and everything is oh, my God, I -- the half of the things I just heard the last panel has talked about, I didn't hear him say.

What we do have a problem is we have a high number of reported instances of rape when it comes to women in the military and very few prosecutions. That's a problem. And I think when he says, hey, there's not a lot going on about it, that's what that's what he's talking about, it was talking about that data point.

And so, all of this notion of all this other thing that people are talking about he did or didn't say, he's saying, listen, we've got to do something about it. I guess, I just -- I understand the political tone of that. I don't think it's helpful for the military to have that inflammatory be offended by every third word he says. There are some fact points in what he says.

And clearly, and I believe this, as a former military officer myself that the military must do better on these -- they're not handling it in an appropriate way. And I think Senator Gillibrand has some pretty good understanding of how you fix it. It hasn't been done, which means now you have all of those women who aren't getting the justice that they deserve. So, again, I think the emotion of this -- the emotion of the talk and the debate in this thing is fascinating for me as a political guy, anyway.

QUINN: But you know what? With all due respect, Mr. Chairman, the issue of rape and sexual assault is a very emotional issue. I have worked with survivors of that for many years in my career and maybe you've not had that experience or worried about that in the same way that women do, when we often ...

[21:55:01] ROGERS: This is that seriously ...

QUINN: But, let's be clear ...

ROGERS: This is an accusation thing that I think is so unfair. I used to be an FBI agent to enforce the law, some notion, that because I disagree with your inflammatory notion that we don't care about it?

QUINN: No, because you disagree with the reality that it can be emotional, sir and there's ...