Return to Transcripts main page


Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton Face Off on National Security; Bombshell E-mail Release Showing Colin Powell Advised Clinton Personal E-mail Use; Will Trump Release Taxes?; Interview with Jesse Ventura. Aired 11p-12a ET

Aired September 7, 2016 - 23:00   ET


[23:00:00] DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking news as Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton do battle on national security tonight. Bombshell e- mails were released that show Colin Powell advised Hillary Clinton on the use of personal e-mail without going through State Department servers.

This is CNN TONIGHT. I'm Don Lemon.

We've got all the latest on all of that. Plus, one Republican candidate about to release his taxes and it's not Donald Trump. Trump's running mate, Mike Pence, says he'll release his return this week. Well, the candidate, not so much. Hillary Clinton charges he's hiding something but what is it and do voters really care?

Let's get right to our breaking news now. CNN's Brianna Keilar is here and also Elise Labott. Thank you both for joining me. So Brianna, the Commander-in-Chief forum tonight, both candidates were talking national security. What stood out to you?

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, there were a big number of things, actually a big number of things, but I will say one of the things that Donald Trump said that I think stood out to a lot of people was him having to answer for his comments about he knows more than the generals. This was the exchange between him and Matt Lauer.


DONALD TRUMP, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: So the generals under Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have not been successful ...

MATT LAUER, HOST OF NBC'S "THE TODAY'S SHOW": 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. We have a force of 30,000 or so people, nobody really knows, but probably 30,000 people and I just can see the great, as an example, General George Patton spinning in his grave as ISIS we can't beat.

(END VIDEO CLIP) KEILAR: Now, certainly and we have discussed this, Don, there are some in the military who may want to see more action but Donald Trump did not really answer the question there which was basically saying that he knows more than the military. He did not address that at all. And then the other thing was pretty surprising, it was a tweet that he doubled down on, an old tweet where he had talked about sexual assaults in the military and he had said, "What did these geniuses expect when they put men and women together?" That was the second half of the tweet after a report on sex assaults. He has been struggling mightily with women, right? So it's surprising that he chose to double down on that.

LEMON: To double down, yeah, and said that that was accurate.


LEMON: There was, you know, may have been a better answer. I don't know what would have been but, yeah, you're exactly right. Hillary Clinton, no, I wasn't surprised that she was asked right out of the gate about her e-mails and this private server.

KEILAR: That's right. So she -- and a considerable part of this, maybe about a third of the part of the forum that was Hillary Clinton, she was answering questions about her e-mails, including from a man who had handled, as part of his profession, classified information and he asked her about potentially endangering national security through her practices and she chose to parse her words, talking about classified material, meaning that she didn't transmit classified material, something that would have a header on it that said "top secret", for instance, versus classified information, which doesn't necessarily have to have a header, like you would see on the classified e-mail system. Here was her answer.


HILLARY CLINTON, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: 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.


KEILAR: Now the FBI said classified information was transmitted over that server. So that's really the factual problem here for Hillary Clinton. And it was also that she went against almost her own advice for herself. She had recently said, when asked about this, she said, you know, I find that when I try to explain myself, which clearly she wants to do, right ...

LEMON: Right. KEILAR: I find that when I try to explain myself, it comes across as if I'm making excuses for myself and she sort of fell into this trap that even she outlined recently that some people had said that was really her best answer for the e-mails, which was, you know, my bad ...

LEMON: Yeah.

KEILAR: ... I'm not going to make excuses, I'm not going to explain it, I would have done it differently.

LEMON: Yeah, OK. Let's move on now. I want to bring in Elise Labott now. There's big news tonight about an between an exchange between Colin Powell and Hillary Clinton on the subject of private e- mail use. Talk to us about that, Elise.

ELISE LABOTT, CNN GLOBAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right. Don. Well, two days after she was s worn in as Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton and her predecessor, Colin Powell, exchanged e-mails about communicating outside State Department servers.

[23:05:02] Now those e-mails were released tonight and then Clinton asked Powell what the restrictions were of his a Blackberry and Powell respond here, "I don't have a Blackberry. What I did have was a personal computer that was hooked up to a private line," sounds ancient, that because it is, it was an AOL account, "so I could communicate with a wide range of friends directly without it going to the State Department servers. I even used it to do business with some foreign leaders and some of the senior folks in the State Department on their personal e-mail accounts. I did the same thing on the road in hotels."

Now, Powell goes on to warn that there's a danger that if she uses a Blackberry, it could become a public record. It is subject to U.S. law. Now Democratic Congressman, Elijah Cummings, released that exchange tonight saying that Powell advised Secretary Clinton with what he called a detailed blueprint on how to skirt security rules and bypass requirements to preserve federal records. And he said that Clinton didn't rely on Powell's advice but Clinton has cited Powell's advice to justify her use of a private e-mail server.

And what Powell done has been pretty upfront as you know about his use of this private e-mail, AOL account. He wrote about it in his book. He acknowledged something Clinton memo about it. He hasn't responded to his recent exchange but in recent weeks he's been voicing a lot of frustration that the Clinton camp was trying to pin her e-mails troubles on him. So, not really sure if Elijah Cummings did Clinton any favors tonight, Don.

Lemon: Brianna, any of these regarding the Elijah Cummings that he had circulated between Colin Powell and also Colin Powell and Hillary Clinton, and coming out of this forum, does that change the dynamics of this race at all do you think?

KEILAR: I don't know because -- you mean on the e-mails? I don't know if it does because it seems to me that ... LEMON: Or anything from the forum, what he said about women, what he said about the generals, what she said on e-mails, any of it.

KEILAR: You know, it's hard to know. I would say it was very welcomed that they were there to talk policy. I think there were a number of people who are probably undecided and are maybe in the middle of the spectrum, don't really like either candidate, trying to figure things out. And I think for some people watching both of these candidates answer questions is going to be very important. But at the same time, I think if you talk to people in the Clinton campaign, ultimately they think that it's the economy that's going to determine it. They think their temperament argument about -- against Donald Trump is going to determine it and for Hillary Clinton when it comes to foreign policy, just making the point that she's more well-versed in the issues, that she's more fluent in it.

LEMON: Even Trump supporters have said and not necessarily on air but here as they were either setting up or in the break that it is very difficult because she is so well-versed in policy and he is at the heart of business.

KEILAR: That's right, because whether or not she has one really strong significant foreign policy achievement to Herald which, you know, we haven't really seen one, it seems like every kind of liability might have a little bit of a positive lining and vice versa when it comes to foreign policy and what she has with President Obama. She has a lot of experience and -- compared to Donald Trump, who has said things over time that are outrageous or ill-informed, which Hillary Clinton's campaign loves to highlight, she loves to highlight in ad. You know, she has a leg up on him there.

LEMON: Yeah, all right. Thank you both. Thank you, Brianna. Thank you, Elise. I appreciate it.

Now I want to turn to the issue that Donald Trump has bee trying to put in the rear view mirror for months now and that's his tax returns. CNN's Phil Mattingly has the latest.

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Donald Trump claims he can't release any of his tax returns while under routine audit, even as the IRS has made clear there's no legal requirement for Trump to withhold them.


TRUMP: Just so you understand, I'm under a routine audit and when the audit is complete, I'll released my returns.


MATTINGLY: And even as Trump's own lawyers note the IRS review of this 2002 through 2008 returns, he's complete. Even his own running mate, Mike Pence, preparing to release his taxes this week.


MIKE PENCE, (R) VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'll give mine to y'all this week and he's going to provide his after a routine audit is done.


MATTINGLY: Trump's refusal has drawn sharp attacks from Hillary Clinton.


CLINTON: Clearly, his tax returns tell a story that the American people deserve and need to know.


MATTINGLY: And despite Trump's contention, a series of polls show voters do in fact care about Trump's tax returns. So what exactly aren't voters seeing?


JOSHUA BLACK, NYU TAX LAW PROFESSOR: Voters could see the type of taxable income that he has, whether it's ordinary income or capital gains income. Voters could also learn how much a candidate has given to charity.


MATTINGLY: A CNN review of Trump's available financial document showed four potential areas that may she light on Trump's reluctance. Number one, Trump's charitable giving, inextensive. Washington Post review of Trump's personal charitable donations has raised major questions of what Trump has actually given, despite Trump's bold claims to the contrary.


[23:10:00] TRUMP: This is my check for $1 million.


MATTINGLY: Number two, Trump's tax rate, and issue that dogged the Republican Party's 2012 nominee for months. Trump has made clear as a businessman he's done everything in his power to pay as little tax as legally possible.


TRUMP: I pay as little as possible. I use every single thing in the book.


MATTINGLY: But Trump's involvement with real estate raises the very real possibility he pays nothing at all. According to tax experts ...

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BLACK; An obvious benefit is that a taxpayer who owns property, real estate, a building, can trade that property for another building and as long as that property is going to be used for investment purposes or in business, the taxpayer won't pay tax on the gain at all.


MATTINGLY: In fact, CNN has identified at least three years, 1978, 1979 and 1984, where he definitively paid zero dollars in federal income tax. Documents show another two years, 1991 and 1993, where Trump likely paid little to no income tax as well. And when asked about it during the campaign, he's been hardly forthcoming.



TRUMP: It's none of your business.


MATTINGLY: The third potential area is Trump's net worth. Now to be clear, a few years of tax returns wouldn't shed light on whether Trump is actually worth the $10 billion he claims but it would show Trump's net income and adjusted gross income, providing more detailed insight than the financial disclosure form filed by Trump in May. And last but perhaps most importantly for Trump's opponent, a detailed release of Trump's returns would provide a window into his business connections.


SEN. TIME KAINE, (D-VA), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Maybe he doesn't want people to see that he's got some connections.


MATTINGLY: Trump's own lawyers making it clear that Trump is to quote, sole or principal owner in approximately 500 separate entities. Those entities engage in hundreds of transactions, deals and new enterprises every year. For the moment, however, there is little indication that Trump's returns will be revealed before election day, though Trump himself appears willing to make a deal.


TRUMP: In the meantime, she has 33,000 e-mails that she deleted. When is she going to release her e-mails? She probably knows how to find it. Let her release her e-mails and I'll release my tax returns immediately.


MATTINGLY: And, Don, I asked the Clinton adviser what they thought of that deal if it was a real possibility and the answer was simply a laugh on the phone. So don't expect that to happen anytime soon. But look, the reality of Donald Trump's position here is there is also a political calculation at play. He is running for president after all.

I spoke to one Trump adviser, Don, who made clear, they don't see the upside right now to Trump releasing those tax returns. So, while he can absolutely release them tomorrow if he wanted to or whenever that audit that he's undergoing ends, it's very unlikely it's coming any time soon. Don?

LEMON: All right, Phil, thank you very much for that. When we come right back, Donald Trump says voters don't care about his tax returns, but is he wrong? And could it cost him in November?


[23:17:07] LEMON: Will Donald Trump release his tax returns before election today? And do voters think of all this? Here to discuss is Kurt Eichenwald, he's a senior writer for Newsweek and the author of "500 Days: Secrets and Lies in the Terror Wars", and also Betsy McCaughey, the Former Lieutenant Governor of New York and Donald Trump supporter. So Betsy, let's -- I want you to take a listen to what Trump said yesterday. He was talking to ABC News. Here is it.


TRUMP: As far as my taxes are concerned, the only one that cares is the press, I will tell you. And even the press, I tell you, it's not a big deal.

DAVID MUIR, ANCHOR OF ABC WORLD NEWS TONIGHT: You don't think there are any voters out there who ...

TRUMP: I don't think so, no. I think people don't care.


LEMON: OK. So I want to put up, this is a Suffolk University poll, Betsy, that says to the contrary what Trump has said. Seventy-eight percent say Donald Trump should release his tax returns and 14 percent say he shouldn't. It shows that voters do care. Does that change anything for you?

BETSY MCCAUGHEY, FORMER LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR OF NEW YORK: Well, let me express my view, which is that I hope he does not release his tax returns because if he does, the next 62 days will be spent picking apart his tax returns. I'm much less interested of what he's ...

LEMON: Hold on ...

MCCAUGHEY: ... earning than what's ...

LEMON: But isn't that what ...

MCCAUGHEY: ... his income is going to be.

LEMON: All right, Betsy, all right, all right, all right. But isn't that what -- of course it's going to be spent picking over. That's what ... MCCAUGHEY: But that's not ...

LEMON: We should be. That's what journalists should do.

MCCAUGHEY: No, that's not what we should do because in fact, it's obscuring the much bigger issue which is that this economy is limping along at 1.2 percent and people are suffering. They need more take- home pay.

LEMON: So you don't think we can walk and chew gum at the same time? The whole 60 days is going to be about Donald Trump's tax return.

MCCAUGHEY: I don't think we can. In fact, we haven't had one sentence discussing Donald Trump's economic plan or Hillary's plan.

LEMON: So if there's nothing in the tax returns ...

MCCAUGHEY: I'll tell you why ...

LEMON: ... why wouldn't he do it? Much adieu about nothing, why did release ...

MCCAUGHEY: I'll tell you why they wouldn't do it. It's something called tax shaming that professional politicians love to engage in. They are demanding Donald Trump's tax returns because most politician pay at the top tax rate.

LEMON: Yeah.

MCCAUGHEY: After all, all they get is a paycheck and maybe some speaking fees.

LEMON: Yeah.

MCCAUGHEY: Whereas business leaders like Donald or Mike Bloomberg, who never released his tax returns when he run for major, the fact is that they have income, revenue, then they have depreciation allowances, investment tax credits, capital gains rates, tax reductions ...

LEMON: Betsy, it sounds like you're setting us up to say that he has paid -- he's at zero tax return.

MCCAUGHEY: Not zero, but I suggest it's very likely that he has paid a lower rate than the top rate. And let me explain why.

LEMON: What's wrong with that? I got to get Kurt in. I got to get Kurt in.

MCCAUGHEY: No, but let me just say ...

LEMON: Kurt, what's wrong with -- OK, go ahead, quickly.

MCCAUGHEY: The "New York Times" is all set to pounce. They've already said they want to see whether Donald Trump, and this is a quote from the Times, has used deductions not available to the ordinary filer. Well, they're available to any filer who builds a building or puts money at risk.

LEMON: OK. Kurt, go ahead. I mean if I could pay less taxes, I certainly would.

KURT EICHENWALD, SENIOR WRITER, NEWSWEEK: So let me just ask -- Let me ask Betsy one quick question. Have you seen his taxes?

MCCAUGHEY: No, I haven't.

EICHENWALD: Then why do we care what you speculate is in them?

MCCAUGHEY: Because ...

EICHENWALD: You know, the reality here is -- Betsy, I let you talk a long time.

[23:20:02] MCCAUGHEY: You asked me a question.

EICHENWALD: Now let me talk. The reality is here that Donald Trump has the absolute power. Let's give him the audit argument. He has the power to release the first two pages of his 1040 and his Schedule A. Those are like releasing the list of chapters in a book. You could show that, it would answer 90 percent of the questions. I've asked the Trump campaign for it. They refused. I asked the Trump campaign for the IRS letter notification of audit. They refused to produce it. I've already written a long story about the number of times Donald Trump has lied under oath. I don't believe there is an audit.

MCCAUGHEY: It could be that the man you talked to is Hillary.

LEMON: But, Kurt, he did release a financial disclosure statement last may. Why is that not enough for you/ Betsy has it right here.


LEMON: I mean, there's big ...

MCCAUGHEY: And it's full of information ...

LEMON: So why isn't that enough for you? What's missing?

MCCAUGHEY: ... any attention to.

EICHENWALD: Not to get too technical but that's the equivalent of a balance sheet versus an income statement.

MCCAUGHEY: That's right.

EICHENWALD: You know, what Donald Trump released in his financial disclosure does not get to the issues that are raised by a tax return. And saying that, well, these both have numbers on them, it doesn't get to the very issue. And he can release, again, three pages, that's all we should be pushing for.

MCCAUGHEY: Let me just point what the very issue ... EICHENWALD: Three pages. And if that page is ...


LEMON: So let me ask him one more question before you get in, Betsy. Let me ask him one more thing.


LEMON: What do you have to say about this tax shaming, her argument about tax shaming, and that's all we would do is spend this time up until the election picking apart Donald Trump' taxes and shaming him for having a low tax rate?

EICHENWALD: If Betsy thinks the American people are so stupid that they can't listen to what somebody pays in taxes and can't understand that somebody with deductions gets deduction, well, then that's the opinion of the Trump campaign. I think the American people ...

MCCAUGHEY: I've never suggested the American public is stupid but I just ...

EICHENWALD: I think -- then tax shaming is irrelevant. What's to be ashamed of if people will understand it? People will understand it, Betsy. The Trump campaign needs to give the American people some more credit and release this information and stop this nonsense about tax shaming.

MCCAUGHEY: I know that the American people will be bamboozled by very biased media outlet like the "New York Times" that have already suggested that if Donald Trump uses deductions "not available to the ordinary filer, there is something wrong with that".

EICHENWALD: Betsy, you have no idea.

LEMON: OK, go ahead.

EICHENWALD: OK. Let's stop repeating yourself. The reality here ...

MCCAUGHEY: What a rude man.

EICHENWALD: that there is information. Here are the excuses you've given. There's an audit, there are already financial disclosures, there'll be tax shaming. The "New York Times" is waiting to pounce. Forget it. Do what every other candidate has done since Nixon and he released them and he was engaged in tax fraud.

MCCAUGHEY: Only the professional politicians. Only the professional politicians.

LEMON: But, Betsy, I mean, does that argument ...

EICHENWALD: Only people running for president, Betsy.

LEMON: Because for the last four decades, I mean, everyone person who's run for president has released their tax return. MCCAUGHEY: Well, that's -- what I'm suggesting is the law doesn't require it and there's a reason, because the financial disclosure form really supplies the information that is necessary. This is what he owns ...

EICHENWALD: What's his charitable contributions according to the financial disclosure form, Betsy?

MCCAUGHEY: Oh, then, why do think that's so important, the charitable contribution? Let's talk about ...

EICHENWALD: Because he is the one who claims he's giving so much money. He is the one who is saying he gives millions of dollars to veterans groups. The idea that Donald Trump, a man who lies under oath for a job practically, the idea that we have to trust him and he doesn't have to prove a damn thing is absurd.

MCCAUGHEY: I don't think on the trust issue Donald Trump will ever be the loser compared with Mrs. Clinton. Not a chance.

EICHENWALD: Let's not change the subject.

MCCAUGHEY: I am not changing the subject.

EICHENWALD: Again, we're not ...


MCCAUGHEY: Lying under oath, Mrs. Clinton has set a record for that.

EICHENWALD: Can you let me finish a sentence? Can you let me finish a sentence? You know, playing this I'm rubber and you're a glue nonsense, let's stick on topic. There are three pages he can release. If he doesn't want to release them, he should stop the lie about the audit. You should stop the lie about the tax shaming.

MCCAUGHEY: I haven't lied about a thing.

EICHENWALD: Have some guts.


LEMON: I do have to say, Betsy, I do have to say ...

EICHENWALD: Betsy, let me finish.

LEMON: Hold on, Kurt. Kurt, let me say this.


LEMON: There have been people who were surrogates, who were against Donald Trump, who have said that he should release his tax return. And then ...

MCCAUGHEY: I disagree.

LEMON: And then days or weeks later, they now are with the Trump campaign and they're saying he shouldn't release his tax return

MCCAUGHEY: I can tell you this.

LEMON: I think what the American people want is, and I think what -- part of what Kurt is saying is that the American people want truth and the truth is that every single candidate since the 1970s has released their tax returns, and what is wrong with Donald Trump releasing his tax returns?

EICHENWALD: Betsy, you've talked a lot, Betsy.

MCCAUGHEY: I just explained the tax shaming process.

EICHENWALD: Betsy, you've talked a lot. Let me say something.

MCCAUGHEY: Sir, I was asked ...

EICHENWALD: You're explaining yourself.

LEMON: Hang on, Kurt. Quickly, Betsy and then I'll let Kurt -- I'll give you the last word. Go ahead.

MCCAUGHEY: Tax shaming process is typical in American politics and when Mike Bloomberg was considering running for president ...

EICHENWALD: You've said this already, Betsy.

MCCAUGHEY: Mike Bloomberg is the mayor of New York City, a very wealthy business person.

[23:25:02] EICHENWALD: You're wasting time, Betsy.

LEMON: Hang on, Kurt.

MCCAUGHEY: He pointed out that he would not release his tax returns.

EICHENWALD: Stop repeating yourself, Betsy.

MCCAUGHEY: And he did not when he run for mayor for this very reason that someone said, "Well, why wouldn't you?" And he said, "Because I make a lot of money investing in businesses. Most politicians don't."

LEMON: But, Betsy, he was not running for president.

MCCAUGHEY: He was considering it.

LEMON: He was but he didn't run. It would be different.

EICHENWALD: I just want to point out one fact. I want to point out one fact. The reason why politicians release their taxes is because Richard Nixon was being pushed to release his taxes and when he finally did, he gave the famous statement, "I want the American people -- the American people need to know that their president is not a crook." Well, the reality was, when you looked at his taxes, he had engaged in tax fraud. Donald Trump says trust us. Donald Trump needs to prove that a candidate for president is not a crook. MCCAUGHEY: I'm sorry, that doesn't happen when you release your tax returns.

LEMON: All right. Thank you, everyone. We have now solved the issue concerning Donald Trump's taxes. And that was sarcasm. Thank you, Kurt. I appreciate you for coming on. Betsy, always a pleasure as well.

MCCAUGHEY: Thank you.

LEMON: When we come back, the original Washington Outside, Jesse Ventura, joins me with some unconventional thoughts on Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.


[23:30:05] LEMON: In this year of the political outsider, you could make the argument that nobody is more of an outsider than my next guest. So, fasten your seat belts or maybe I should fasten my seat belt.

He's none other than Jesse Ventura, the former Governor of Minnesota and the author of "Jesse Ventura's Marijuana Manifesto".

Let's talk about that because you're a former Navy SEAL, right?


LEMON: There is a forum tonight ...


LEMON: ... and they're in front of people who were in the armed services.


LEMON: What did you make of this? We're going to talk about your book, but what did you make of this point?

VENTURA: I didn't me anything of it, because I didn't watch it. I don't watch what Hillary and Donald do because I'm voting for Gary Johnson. And I'd like to know why Gary Johnson was not included in this forum. Why isn't he and Dr. Stein being included? Why aren't they being included in the debates? You have two candidates here whose negatives are over 50 percent. They're disliked heavily. Shouldn't it be a time now for people to be offered an alternative? Look what happened in Minnesota. I was polling 10 percent at Labor Day. I was allowed in the debates and in 60 days I was the governor.

LEMON: It says with all due respect, the country is a much bigger place than Minnesota.

VENTURA: Television isn't.

LEMON: And if you'll let me here, there are millions and millions of people voted for Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. There were, you know, a lot of people who didn't vote for Gary Johnson. I like Gary Johnson. He's been on the show. He's a nice guy. He has some great ideas. But in all fairness, people did not -- not enough people supported them in order for them to be on the debate stage or on the main ticket exactly (ph).

VENTURA: Imagine if that held true, I wouldn't have been governor.

LEMON: All right. I'll give you that.

VENTURA: Because Minnesota was at least fair.

LEMON: Yeah.

VENTURA: They allowed me to debate and I defeated them. That's what is really here. You'll see the dems and repubs singing Kumbaya ...

LEMON: Yeah.

VENTURA: ... when it's time to keep out the third-parties. They'll be in bed together, all the way and get along wonderful in keeping anybody else out of the two party dictatorship. Did you catch that ...

LEMON: I heard you.

VENTURA: ... the two party dictatorship?

LEMON: You're a maverick, though. And speaking of the two party dictatorship, you're maverick, you're an outsider.


LEMON: Donald Trump has said he's an outsider.

VENTURA: No, he's not.

LEMON: Do you think he' a republican?

VENTURA: Sure. He's running as a republican. Just as Bernie Sanders isn't an independent. He ran. He's a democrat. I approached Bernie over a year ago just thinking I might support him. I got one minute with him, he shunned me off. But I asked him one important question, I said, "Bernie, if you lose, will you continue the movement as an independent or support an independent?" He said, "No, I'll support Hillary Clinton."

So right there, I knew he's not an independent. He's a democrat. Trump is now a republican. They're running under those banners. I have never been a democrat or a republican.

LEMON: And you're not.

VENTURA: And I will not vote for a democrat and I urge other people not to. They've been in charge 150 years and look at the mess we have. And so we should keep them in? And I'll guarantee you this, elect a democrat or republican, the wars will continue. They will be endless.

LEMON: Regardless, it doesn't matter. Even though tonight Hillary Clinton said we won't have boots on the ground ...

VENTURA: That won't matter.

LEMON: You don't think so.

VENTURA: She voted for the Iraq war and now claims it's a worst vote. Well, imagine that, the most important vote you take as a senator to send our men and women to war, you blew it, and now you want to be -- have the finger on the button when you already blew it with the Iraq war and voted for it? See, I won't support anyone who supported the Iraq war.

LEMON: All right.

VENTURA: Let's skip to my book.

LEMON: I don't like having you on because you never say how you feel. That's why I don't ...

VENTURA: That's why you do have me on.

LEMON: That was my next thing.

VENTURA: And it's called ratings, points.

LEMON: My next thing was I'd like to spend some time talking about your book.

VENTURA: Yes, absolutely.

LEMON: You actually took the words out of my mouth. Let's put it up. It's called "Jesse Ventura's Marijuana Manifesto". You've always been in favor of legalizing marijuana.


LEMON: How would that benefit the country?

VENTURA: It will benefit the country. We're talking jobs. We're talking an entire new industry. We've seen what's happening in Colorado. We're seeing what's happening in Washington. Washington, the first windfall from it, their judiciary budget fell 15 percent statewide. That's mammoth.

Okay. Colorado. They have what, 300 million new dollars to spend on schools and roads because it's legal. You're not spending billions of dollars to stop something that the majority of American people today want legalized.

LEMON: It's legal in a number of states. Why do you think there are so many decisions?

VENTURA: It's not really legal. LEMON: Well, yeah.

VENTURA: No, I'll give you an example.

LEMON: Medicinally it's legal.

VENTURA: No. It's not really legal, because I could go to Colorado tomorrow with a semi and I could buy as many cigarettes as I could fill that semi with. I could go to Colorado and buy booze in liquor stores and fill the semi up, yet I could only go to Colorado and buy one half ounce of marijuana. So, it is not fully legal.

[23:35:01.] It's being regulated. You're being denied, your freedom. And that's the big issue here. The people rising up and demanding from the federal government to legalize it and especially there are people out there that need this for medicine.

I have a personal investment here. My life would not be the same now if it weren't for marijuana, because someone very close to me had an epileptic seizure condition, seizing four times a week. I had to deal with it. The only thing they put this person on four different pharmaceutical medicines, none of them worked, all had horrible side effects, went to Colorado illegally at that time, with that medicinal marijuana, this person has not had a seizure now in over two and a half years.

LEMON: I'm glad your friend is doing well and you've made your case. And the book is called "Jesse Ventura's Marijuana Manifesto". It's available now. Always a pleasure.

VENTURA: Thank you, Don Lemon. It's your last time. I'm with R.T. America.

LEMON: I know you've signed an exclusive contract.

VENTURA: Say goodbye, Don.

LEMON: You'll come back on. We'll have you back. Thank you, Jesse.

VENTURA: When the contract's over. The Russians are calling.

LEMON: Oh, my gosh. It's Jesse. We'll be right back.


[23:40:10] LEMON: Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton doing battle tonight on national security at an NBC Commander-in-chief forum.

Back with me now, Betsy McCaughey, also joining us now CNN Political Commentator Bob Beckel, Andy Dean, the former President of Trump Productions, and CNN Political Contributor Van Jones.

Let's see if you can outdo that last segment with the former Governor Jesse Ventura.

There was -- in this forum tonight, a lot of Donald Trump's comments are making news tonight. And I want to play his remarks about Vladimir Putin and history of praise for the Russian leader.


TRUMP: 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 (inaudible) the man has very strong control over his 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.


LEMON: Bob, what about that?

BOB BECKEL, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I guess it is a different system, but I guess he can't control things a little better and can't get 90 percent in the polls. But, you know, I think this is hooked up with his tax returns. I mean, people wonder about his tax returns, because they wonder whether he gave money to charity or whether he paid taxes at all.

I think his son gave us the answer when he said most of the business deals that they've been involved in recently have been with Russians. And my guess is that he's probably in bed with a lot of Russian business guys, including friends of Putin.

LEMON: Yeah. Andy Dean, I saw your reaction. So, Andy, it's not true and maybe it's probably not true, but how do you debunk that if you don't release it?

BECKEL: How do you know it's not true?

LEMON: Yeah.

ANDY DEAN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Bob, I worked for Donald Trump personally for seven years. I've actually seen parts of his tax returns. I ran Trump Productions, which had hundreds of millions flowing through it. And I can tell you, we didn't do deals with the Russians. There maybe a light and few deals ...

BECKEL: His son said it.


BECKEL: Andy, his son was the one who said it, I didn't say it.

DEAN: OK. Bob?


DEAN: OK. But, Bob -- OK. Donald Trump is not doing business with Vladimir Putin. So that's like crazy. But I mean, as far as Vladimir Putin, I think what Donald Trump was alluding to is that there are some strengths when it comes to foreign policy, for example, when it comes to the Chechens and the radical Jihadists that hang out in Chechnya, Vladimir Putin has no tolerance for radical Muslims terrorism. He destroys them and kills them. And I think that's a lesson of the week to learn when dealing with ISIS.

LEMON: Is that Andy's mic?


LEMON: It must be my earpiece. Sorry about that.

Go ahead, Van.

DEAN. Can anyone hear me?

LEMON: Yes, I can hear you.


LEMON: Go ahead.

VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Unfortunately, Andy, we can hear you.

DEAN: Unfortunately?

JONES: Yeah.


DEAN: That was good, Van.

JONES: I say unfortunately, because, you know, it's shocking to hear one of the leading spokespersons for a presidential contender. I have such kind words to say about a brutal dictator who hates America, who spends his entire time undermining America ...

DEAN: No. I said he's killing radical Muslims. That's all I said.

JONES: And, by the way, you have a president who is killing and frankly a lot of people in Democratic Party are frustrated by it, but who is using drones and every other means, he's liquidated the top one-third of ISIS and you never praised your own president who is doing this but you somehow praise Putin.


LEMON: Let Betsy get in. Let Betsy get in. Let Betsy get in. Andy, let Betsy get in.


DEAN: OK. No, I'm just going to give ...

LEMON: Let Betsy get in.

DEAN: I'm I just going to give Van credit. MCCAUGHEY: One of the most disturbing developments in foreign policy under the Obama-Clinton watch has been the growing partnership between Iran and Russia, particularly since the conclusion of the so-called non-treaty nuclear treaty with Iran.

And so I think it's very clever of Donald Trump, who may be the next president, to say nice things about Vladimir Putin because he is going to be negotiating with this leader. It is far better to set a stage of comity rather than a stage of hostility for these future negotiations.

BECKEL: Betsy, the Russians and Iranians have been working together for 30 years.

MCCAUGHEY: Not the way they are now.

DEAN: Thirty years.

MCCAUGHEY: Not the way they are now.

BECKEL: Yes, they have more, more.

MCCAUGHEY: This is the first time ...

BECKEL: Listen ...

MCCAUGHEY: ... Russian airplanes ...

BECKEL: Have you been to Iran?

MCCAUGHEY: ... are taking off from Iran ...

BECKEL: Have you ever been to Iran, Betsy?

MCCAUGHEY: ... to fly searches over Syria.

BECKEL: Have you been to Iran?


MCCAUGHEY: This is the first time.


BECKEL: Betsy, with all due respect, stick to New York politics (inaudible) because, God, you don't know much about foreign politics.

DEAN: I was going to give Van credit. Could I?

LEMON: Go ahead.

DEAN: OK. Van -- OK. As far as Barack Obama, you're saying we never say anything nice about him. One thing I will say, you brought up a jump program (ph), which has had some success in Pakistan.

The problem with Barack Obama if you want to get very specific is he's been unwilling to kill the economic foot soldiers of ISIS and getting even more specific, OK, and anybody can Google this. The route from Raqqa to Mosul is about 460 kilometers on the M4 highway. It's where the oil economic foot soldiers hangout, they move money, they move oil. And Barack Obama has refused to kill these people.

[23:45:00] He also dropped leaflets because he thinks that they're civilians and they're not. Anyone giving economic comfort to ISIS needs to be killed.

LEMON: Van, you want to respond?

JONES: Well, a couple things that I would say. First of all, the territory that ISIS used to control has been reduced by almost half. And a big part -- what is important that we're actually going to have a real conversation.

Part of the propaganda for ISIS is that they are different than al Qaeda and that they control territory. They are actually building the caliphate. And so the psychological and propaganda advantage are going saying, "We actually have the caliphate. We are actually governing territory. Come here and join us." The president has focused on that primarily.

Some people think that the economic side is more important. But what I will say to you, Andy, is that I never hear you guys giving a balanced assessment of the actual victories on the battlefield by our military against ISIS and the reduction of the caliphate, which is so important.


LEMON: Andy, Andy. Hold that thought. Bob, Andy, Betsy, hold that thought. We'll be right back.



LEMON: All right. We're back now with my panel and here is what Donald Trump said about the intelligence briefings he has been receiving.

[23:50:01] Listen.


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 that 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. And I was very, very surprised in almost every instance. And I could tell I am pretty good with the body language. I could tell they were not happy. Our leaders did not follow what they were recommending.


LEMON: Was that well handled, Bob?

BECKEL: No. Listen, but look, you know, in all fairness, I think the chances of a comet knocking earth off its axis has a better chance of happening than Donald Trump being elected president.

So, I mean, anything the guy says -- what is he talking about? I've had intelligence briefings before when I was at the White House. He doesn't know what he is talking about.


LEMON: Just to get off-topic just a little bit. You still feel that way even though with the poll's tightening and then the latest you've seen in poll showing these (ph) (inaudible)?

BECKEL: More so. More so.


LEMON: Why is that?

BECKEL: If Hillary Clinton is ahead in Texas by one point in the best sample that was done which was not regrettably ours, but with the "Washington Post", 70,000 people interviewed, and Donald Trump is losing with white women by 15 percent and we had Romney win by 15 percent and Donald Trump is losing in Texas, and in Mississippi it's tied. Then what does that tell you? What does it tell you?

DEAN: Bob, look, I don't know what polls you're looking at. CNN just came out with a poll a couple of days ago.

BECKEL: I just said it's ...

DEAN: Hold on -- Bob.

BECKEL: OK. Sorry. Go ahead.

DEAN: That's OK. Forty-five to 43 that Trump is winning and we all know that Gary Johnson is over polling. He ran four years ago and got less than 1 percent of the vote. So, we know that those two French candidates are not going to do well.

But to Bob Beckel's first point about he didn't know what Trump was talking about in regards to the intelligence report, let's be honest. Why can't we just be honest about this whole thing? We're talking about downtown Raqqa. And to Van Jones' point, ISIS hangs out. That's where their territory is. It's in Raqqa in Northern Syria. And anyone can look on Google Street View that the Sharia Law Court, the administrative buildings, the open air sex slave markets, they're all happening in downtown Raqqa and Barack Obama has not destroyed downtown Raqqa. I would like to know why.

MCCAUGHEY: That's right.


MCCAUGHEY: That's exactly the issue that I was raising with Don during the break.

LEMON: Let Betsy get in.

MCCAUGHEY: One of the reasons the military -- many people in the military are so displeased with the current Commander-in-chief is that he has imposed on them rules of engagement that prevent them from winning.

DEAN: Correct.

MCCAUGHEY: For example ...

BECKEL: That sounds like they are winning.

MCCAUGHEY: ... in these targeted bombings, they are prohibited from causing civilian deaths. So, they see an oil truck driving along and it happens to be driven by a civilian, they can't bomb it. That is ridiculous. You cannot wage ...

LEMON: Hold on a second.

MCCAUGHEY: ... a war with any civilian casualties.

BECKEL: Loosing the war? They're losing the war.

LEMON: Hold on a second.

LEMON: Go ahead, Van.

JONES: Listen, first of all, every military in the world that is not a military dictatorship that has civilian rule, which is what we have and which is what we fight for, has a civilian government that puts restraints on the military. That's normal. That's what you want. You don't want the military setting its own rules.

MCCAUGHEY: Of course.

JONES: Let me just finish. Because a war is always partly political and partly military, number one. Number two, the idea that we are constraining ourselves and not killing civilians, will-nilly, is a good thing. It's what makes America, America.

And my point is simply this. You're guys are zeroing in on one section that is a densely populated area that has civilian on that (ph) open air sex slaves. Those sex slaves are innocent civilians.

If you bomb that, willy-nilly, you hurt civilians. What the president is doing is he's rolling them back in the areas where he can without inflicting massive casualties on innocent civilians.


MCCAUGHEY: There is a reason ...

LEMON: Let him finish. Let him finish. Let him finish. Bob, I'm sorry. Van, Van, Van, make your point. Hold on. Van, finish making your point.

JONES: Here is my point. This is actually a very productive and helpful conversation. I wish that in other conversations that we had, we would at least acknowledge as we're doing tonight that the president is waging war on ISIS. You don't like the way he is waging it. But Donald Trump acts like he is not waging it at all and that is not fair.

LEMON: Go ahead, Andy.

DEAN: OK. Van, I will grant you that point. But the idea that anyone likes killing civilians, unless you're completely a sick psycho path, nobody likes killing civilians. But sadly, if you do want to destroy commanding control of ISIS, then unfortunately, a couple of civilians here and there, they won't be targeted but they may have to die.

What Barack Obama is doing is saying, "No civilians." So, we can't take out command and control of ISIS, which just actually means that civilians on our side are the ones that are dying in this war.

[23:55:01] LEMON: Go ahead, Bob.

BECKEL: You've gotten just absurd. The command and control has been taken out day in and day out. And by the way, 50 miles outside of Mosul on the highway has been bombed repeatedly the last 10 days. Will you invest the audit (ph)? At least give this credit to Barack Obama. We are winning the war against ISIS. We are winning it. And you all are losers. You're supporting -- what you're doing is you're basically cheering for the other side.


BECKEL: Be patriotic.


MCCAUGHEY: But we understand that there is a real opportunity cause to letting this war drag on year after year rather than winning it decisively. There is a reason that the poll show ..

BECKEL: Is there a way you could win ...

MCCAUGHEY: ... that military people and their families overwhelmingly support Donald Trump for president as opposed to Hillary Clinton.

BECKEL: What poll is that? Can you show me the poll that that is? And I'll eat it for you.


MCCAUGHEY: Absolutely.

BECKEL: That is ridiculous.

DEAN: Fifty-five percent to 39 percent.

MCCAUGHEY: That is correct.

DEAN: Trump is leading, yes.

MCCAUGHEY: Very much.

DEAN: It came out today, Bob. I'll e-mail it to you, Bob.


LEMON: Pardon?

JONES: Those numbers are ...


LEMON: All right. Van, last word. I'm running out of time. Excuse me (ph).

JONES: Sure. Those numbers are actually consistent with the normal split between republicans and democrats. What I will say is that top -- it looks like the top military officials who are republicans have defected from Donald Trump to Hillary Clinton because they're terrified of what he will do.

LEMON: All right. That's the last word. Thank you very much, everyone. That's I have. I'll see you right after tomorrow night.

BECKEL: Thank you, Don.

LEMON: Good night.