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THE SITUATION ROOM
Interview With New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio; Hillary Clinton Under Fire; Clinton and Trump to Release Medical Records; U.S. Official: Iran Threatened to Shoot Down Two Navy Planes; Fear of New North Korea Nuke Test, "Worst Case Scenario"; Lawmaker: "Absolutely Possible Russia Targeting U.S. Election; Campaign Manager: Clinton Tried to Power Through Pneumonia. Aired 6-7p ET
Aired September 12, 2016 - 18:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now, breaking news: health scare. New questions about Hillary Clinton's physical condition after she falls ill and stumbles as she's forced to leave an event. Only afterward does the campaign disclose she has pneumonia. Now both she and Donald Trump are saying they will release more health information. What will it reveal?
Basket of deplorables. Donald Trump seizes on Hillary Clinton's critique of half of his supporters. He's accusing her of slander and demanding an apology from Hillary Clinton while highlighting Clinton's remark in a new attack ad. How will it impact the campaign?
Mosque fire. An arson attack on the building where the Orlando nightclub gunman once prayed. Dramatic video captures the suspect fleeing the scene as flames erupt. Was he injured in the attack?
And worst-case scenario. Warnings that another nuclear test by North Korea could imminent, with South Korea fearing dire consequences. Washington and Seoul are planning a major show of military force in the skies over the Korean Peninsula at any time. Will it deter Kim Jong-un?
We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
BLITZER: We're following breaking news tonight. Hillary Clinton's campaign is on the defensive for waiting two days to reveal that the candidate has pneumonia.
The announcement came only after Clinton was forced to leave an event and cameras caught her appearing to almost collapse. Campaign manager Robby Mook just told CNN that Clinton was trying to power through her illness and that the staff is to blame for slow disclosure after Clinton left a 9/11 ceremony.
Mike Pence, meanwhile, is joining running mate Donald Trump in demanding that Hillary Clinton apologize for calling half of their supporters a -- quote -- "basket of deplorables."
Pence was here in THE SITUATION ROOM just moments ago, keeping up the campaign drumbeat of criticism of Clinton's remark. When I asked Pence if he would call supporter former Klan leader David Duke deplorable, Pence said he was -- quote -- "not in the name-calling business," although he totally disassociated himself from David Duke.
And new tonight, South Korea's defense minister is warning of a -- quote -- "worst-case scenario" if North Korea conducts another nuclear weapon test. Officials in Washington and Seoul believe the Kim Jong- un regime may detonate another nuclear device at any time. The U.S. and South Korea will be flying warplanes over the Korean Peninsula as soon as tomorrow in a show of force.
We're covering all of that, much more this hour, with our guests, including the New York City Mayor and Hillary Clinton supporter Bill de Blasio. And our correspondent and expert analysts, they are also standing by.
Let's begin with the presidential campaigns.
CNN senior Washington correspondent Joe Johns is in Chappaqua, New York, where Hillary Clinton is at home recovering from pneumonia.
But we begin with our senior White House correspondent, Jim Acosta, in Asheville, North Carolina.
Jim, Donald Trump is holding a rally there right now. What's the latest?
JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Wolf. Donald Trump is once again hitting Hillary Clinton for her basket of deplorables comment.
He just invited some of his supporters on the stage to join him. Each of those supporters had told this crowd here in Asheville, North Carolina, they are not deplorable.
The Trump campaign is treating Clinton's comment as a gift basket in and defining moment of this campaign.
ACOSTA (voice-over): Donald Trump didn't have to dig deep into his basket of attacks today on Hillary Clinton.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: After months of hiding from the press, Hillary Clinton has revealed her true thoughts. That was her true thoughts. She revealed herself to be a person who looks down on the proud citizens of our country as subjects for her rule.
ACOSTA: The GOP nominee devoted a huge chunk of his speech to a military audience today to a line Clinton delivered Friday, when she referred to Trump supporters as a basket of deplorables at a fund- raiser in New York. HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: To just be
grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump's supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables, right, the racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic, you name it.
ACOSTA: By the next day, the damage was done and Clinton backpedaled, releasing a statement saying: "I regret saying half. That was wrong."
But she added, "It's deplorable that Trump has built his campaign largely on prejudice and paranoia and given a national platform to hateful views and voices."
Now Trump is accusing Clinton of slandering more than just the people backing his campaign.
TRUMP: You cannot run for president if you have such contempt in your heart for the American voter. And she does. You can't lead this nation if you have such a low opinion for its citizens.
ACOSTA: The Trump campaign is also using the moment to power new ads in four key battleground states.
NARRATOR: Do you know what's deplorable? Hillary Clinton viciously demonizing hardworking people like you.
ACOSTA: Clinton's comment instantly drew comparisons to Mitt Romney's infamous gaffe from four years ago, when he slammed supporters of President Obama as the 47 percent who don't pay taxes, a defining moment that painted Romney as out of touch.
MITT ROMNEY (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: There are 47 percent who are with him who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has the responsibility to care for them.
ACOSTA: But Democrats counter Clinton has good reason to cast some Trump supporters as deplorables, noting the Confederate Flag on display at the Trump rally over the summer, not to mention the GOP nominee's own comment on Mexican immigrants.
TRUMP: They're bringing drugs, they're bringing crime, they're rapists, and some, I imagine, are good people.
ACOSTA: The Trump campaign argues Clinton's remarks were much more revealing.
KELLYANNE CONWAY, TRUMP CAMPAIGN MANAGER: She is reading scripted words, and then they call it a gaffe. It wasn't a gaffe. She had said it before.
ACOSTA: But history shows voters can look past candidates' tone-deaf moments. Barack Obama's comment on bitter voters who cling to their guns and faith didn't cost him the election in 2008. BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It's not surprising
then that they get bitter, and they cling to guns or religion or antipathy toward people who aren't like them or anti-immigration sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.
ACOSTA: Of course, Donald Trump has shown he has the ability to reshape the narrative of this campaign with his own controversial comments.
Earlier today, he said he wanted debates with no moderators. That of course raises questions as to whether or not he will actually square off with Hillary Clinton at these debates starting later on this fall.
Wolf, just a few moments ago, Donald Trump accused Hillary Clinton of waging a campaign of hate. So he's certainly not letting this basket of deplorables out of his hands any time soon -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Doesn't seem to be the case. All right, thanks very much, Jim Acosta.
Hillary Clinton's campaign is facing questions about why it didn't reveal the candidate has pneumonia until she was forced to leave an event and stumble on the way out.
Our senior Washington correspondent, Joe Johns, is joining us now from Chappaqua, New York.
Joe, Hillary Clinton's campaign manager, Robby Mook, just told CNN that she was trying to power through her pneumonia. What else are you hearing?
JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR CORRESPONDENT: Well, the campaign also admitting that essentially mistakes were made on this, and promising to put out more medical records of Hillary Clinton. The candidate herself tweeting just a little while ago that she's doing well, getting better: "Like anyone who has ever been home sick from work, I'm just anxious to get back out there. See you on the campaign trail."
That's what Hillary Clinton is tweeting tonight.
JOHNS (voice-over): Tonight, Hillary Clinton's campaign is dealing with the aftermath of her weekend health scare. Clinton is off the trail today after making an early exit at a 9/11 memorial service in New York City, where she was caught on camera stumbling while being helped into a van.
Her campaign now says she's been diagnosed with pneumonia. It's a moment that's put her campaign on defense over her health.
QUESTION: How are you feeling, Secretary Clinton? HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm feeling
great. It's a beautiful day in New York.
JOHNS: But also transparency.
BRIAN FALLON, CLINTON CAMPAIGN SPOKESMAN:In retrospect, I think we should have provided more information more quickly.
JOHNS: Press Secretary Brian Fallon tells Wolf, that some on the campaign knew about Clinton's illness Friday.
FALLON: The senior staff was aware on Friday and then word spread in the campaign after that.
JOHNS: Sunday, after the video of her leaving Ground Zero surfaced, the campaign released a statement from Clinton's doctor that said she had been diagnosed with pneumonia two days earlier and was put on antibiotics and advised to rest and modify her scheduled.
Clinton is spending the day preparing for her first debate with Donald Trump, the face-off coming in just two weeks.
She had planned to go to California today for big ticket fund-raisers and a rally, but that trip has been canceled. Instead, the campaign said would call in to the San Francisco fund-raiser.
FALLON: I think, if she had her druthers, she would already be on a plane out to California today.
JOHNS: In another change of plans, the Clinton campaign now says it will release more information about her health this week. Neither Hillary Clinton nor Donald Trump have released comprehensive medical records.
FALLON: We are going to take the added step of getting additional material together and releasing further information in light of yesterday's incident.
JOHNS: In the midst of a rough week...
CLINTON: Every time I think about Trump, I get allergic.
JOHNS: ... several of Clinton's top aides have been sick with respiratory issues, too, one even hospitalized and treated for dehydration.
Her campaign is also calling for the same level of health scrutiny to be directed at Donald Trump. Trump has been critical of Clinton's health on the trail.
TRUMP: She doesn't have the strength or the stamina to make America great again, believe me.
JOHNS: But in an interview today, he wished her well. TRUMP: Something is going on, but I just hope she gets well and gets
back on the trail, and we will be seeing her at the debate.
JOHNS: And vowed to release his medical records later in the week.
TRUMP: This last week, I took a physical, and I will be releasing, when the numbers come in. Hopefully, they're going to be good. I think they're going to be good. I feel great. But when the numbers come in, I will be releasing very, very specific numbers.
JOHNS: And a little more news tonight about what happens during Hillary Clinton's recuperation period. Her husband, the former president, expected to fill in for her at an event in California on Tuesday, and another event on Wednesday in Nevada. No word on what happens after that -- Wolf.
BLITZER: All right, Joe, thank you, Joe Johns reporting.
Let's get some more on all of this.
The Democratic Mayor of New York City Bill de Blasio is joining us. He's a strong supporter of Hillary Clinton.
Mayor, thank you very much for joining us.
BILL DE BLASIO (D), MAYOR OF NEW YORK: You're welcome, Wolf.
BLITZER: You were at the 9/11 memorial services yesterday. Did you have a chance to speak with Hillary Clinton there before she left? And if you did, how did she seem to you at that event?
DE BLASIO: Wolf, she seemed good. I spoke to her for a while.
Look, it was a very crowded space. It was very hot, and people were coming up to her, conversation after conversation. She seemed good. I can tell you something I know about Hillary. I have known her for 16 years. I was her campaign manager when she first ran for U.S. Senate.
She has extraordinary stamina, extraordinary work ethic. It does not surprise me one bit that even though she wasn't feeling well, and she could have said, hey, I need a few days down, it's just not like her to do it. She tries to work through everything.
And she was greeting everyone, perfectly energetic. But, look, the bottom line here is, we know a lot about Hillary Clinton health. She's been very transparent about her health. She has had some challenges, she has addressed them. And she's done well. And she continues.
As secretary of state, she traveled all over the world, did an amazing job on issue after issue, crisis after crisis. We don't know anything about Donald Trump's health, except for a letter where his physician said he would be the healthiest president we have ever had, as if the physician knew George Washington personally.
So, we just don't know about Trump. We have never seen him in public service. We have never seen him have to perform years and years of consistent work like we have seen from Hillary Clinton. So the reason question is, what is the reality of Donald Trump? We know that Hillary Clinton has got the stamina and the energy.
BLITZER: He said he had a physical checkup last week and the numbers, the results would be released later this week. We will see how much detail they do provide.
And we also heard from Hillary Clinton's campaign that more information about her health will be released later this week. You wanted to make another comment?
DE BLASIO: And we will see if he does it. He hasn't released his taxes. We will see if he actually releases that physical.
BLITZER: And we will see, if he does release the results of the physical, what else releases and to what standard both of these candidates will release information.
As you know, she was diagnosed, Hillary Clinton, with pneumonia on Friday. Shouldn't she have been transparent and released that information to the public right away?
DE BLASIO: I don't think having a diagnosis like that requires public disclosure.
I think she had every right to spend a few days recuperating, just like anyone else who is sick. As you know, she had allergy issues, as so many of us do. She was taking antihistamines for that. That may have been one of the things that dehydrated her.
I don't think you have to alert the public every time you're sick, you go to a doctor, they say here's a medication you have to take. I think that's more of a perception question than an actual values question.
The bottom line here is, is she someone ready for the rigors of the presidency? She lived it for eight years, obviously, as a very energetic, active first lady, four years as secretary of state. There's no question she's ready for it, and the way she's been comporting herself in this campaign now, for a year-and-a-half crisscrossing the country.
Look, Donald Trump is trying to create a health scare around Hillary Clinton. The irony is, we don't even know how healthy Donald Trump is. So I think some of this is the posturing of the Trump campaign that's caught a little bit of fire now. But I don't think the essential truth is actually a concern.
We know a lot about Hillary Clinton. We know she's healthy.
BLITZER: But we all were alarmed when we saw that video. I'm sure, Mayor, you were alarmed as well. We will show it one more time to our viewers right now.
She left the 9/11 event early. She got there. She was being escorted. And as she begins to walk into that van, she collapses. There you will see it right there. She goes down. They carry her into the van. And we saw that video. And I'm sure you agree, it was very, very disturbing.
DE BLASIO: Well, Wolf, you know, we have seen over the years leaders who were dehydrated or had been working too hard.
Remember once when George H.W. Bush was on that presidential trip to Japan and had an episode at a state dinner in Japan. It's not unheard of for people who work this hard to have these moments.
But, as you saw, an hour or two later, she was out waving to the cameras and her old self. And 10 minutes earlier, as I said, I was right next to her at the time she left the event and she was chatting with everyone. I just think the heat got to her and the fact that she was obviously dealing with this condition for a few days.
But we shouldn't make more of it. We have to get to the core issue here. Is she someone well-qualified to be president of the United States? In every sense, probably one of the most qualified ever, including having actually lived the lifestyle and exhibited the stamina you need for that job.
She's a known quantity. My question is, since Donald Trump has never been in public service, he's lived a very pampered lifestyle of a billionaire, is he the one who can keep up with the rigors of the presidency? We don't have a lot of evidence about that.
BLITZER: Presumably we will get some more later this week, let's hope.
Back in 2008, John McCain, the Republican nominee, he allowed reporters to review eight years' worth of his medical records. He was 70 year old at the time. Reporters were also allowed to interview his doctors.
Should Hillary Clinton, who is almost 69, and Donald Trump, who is 70 years old, do the same thing right now to make it clear to the American public, the voters out there who have to elect the president of the United States that they have nothing to hide?
DE BLASIO: Look, I think disclosure is always helpful. I think there's still some issues of privacy that people have a right to, even when they run for office.
I think it's different than taxes, where the question is whether there might be a conflict of interests. Obviously, Hillary Clinton has released her tax returns going many years back. Donald Trump has not.
On health records, Hillary Clinton's already provided the level of health records that we have seen from Republican and Democratic nominees for presidents in recent years. And she said that more is coming. And I believe her, because she has a history of providing these kind of records.
So, I think we will have all the information we need. The question is, again, I don't take it on face value that Donald Trump will release anything. I think it's an open question. And he has no experience with having to be transparent, because he's been someone who, in all of his business dealings, benefited from keeping a lot of things secret and lived the life of, again, a billionaire in the private sector.
I think we know a lot about Hillary Clinton. The big question for me, what is the truth about Donald Trump?
BLITZER: Well, we will see what he releases later this week.
As far as she's concerned, does it hurt her with voters who a lot of them already are having trouble trusting her, for example, if she isn't more forthcoming? She's certainly forthcoming on her tax returns. She's released 20 years worth of her tax returns. Donald Trump has released zero of his tax returns.
But one the issue of her health, should she be more forthcoming?
DE BLASIO: Look, again, I think there's a level of transparency that helps, and there's still some right to privacy that every human being has, whether in public eye or not.
I think it was very good, for example, when this came up to acknowledge that she was suffering from pneumonia and that there was medication she was taking. And, obviously, we expect a very quick recovery.
The bottom line on all of these things is, how do we get to know a candidate and what they're going to do for us? One of the things we seen about Hillary Clinton is, if she's got a challenge, if there's a problem with Hillary Clinton, it is, she works too hard. She doesn't take the time always.
I can say this from personal experience, and someone who used to advise here. She doesn't always take the time she should for herself. it's not surprising she tried to power through this.
As president of the United States, my advice to her would be, you deserve a little downtime. But I would rather have someone running for president whose problem is they work too hard and who tries to power through a disease and keep doing what they are supposed to be doing. I actually think that's a very presidential attribute. And I have a lot of faith that she's ready to run this country.
BLITZER: Mayor de Blasio, we have more to discuss, including Hillary Clinton's use of that phrase basket of deplorables.
Stick around. We will continue the conversation right after this quick break.
BLITZER: The breaking news this hour, Donald Trump, his campaign is blasting Hillary Clinton for saying half of his supporters are -- quote -- "a basket of deplorables."
Trump is demanding an apology, as is his running mate, Mike Pence, who was here in THE SITUATION ROOM with me in the last hour.
The campaign is also using Clinton's comment in a new ad airing in some of the key battleground states.
We're back with the Democratic mayor of New York City, Bill de Blasio.
Mayor, so Hillary Clinton likened half of Trump supporters to a basket of deplorables, calling them, in her words, racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic.
She later said, well, that was a mistake to say half, but she didn't back away from the notion that a lot of his supporters are part of this basket of deplorables.
Governor Pence just called her comments deeply offensive to millions of Americans who support Donald Trump, say she expressed contempt for these millions of people.
Does he have a point? Was it a mistake for her to generalize his supporters like that?
DE BLASIO: Look, she obviously apologized for the way she phrased it.
And I don't think this is about millions of people. I think this is about Donald Trump and his values, and some of the people he's associated with. Remember famously when Donald Trump was asked about David Duke and about the Ku Klux Klan, and he would not disassociate from them. It took him days to decide to do that.
Mike Pence just moments ago on your show, when you said, is David Duke deplorable, and he wouldn't say, yes, he is? Come on. The Ku Klux Klan and the white supremacist movements, the violent movements that have been a stain on our history, well, they're just plain deplorable.
So, now we have both Trump and Pence who can't say that out loud. Trump, what said about Mexicans, what he said about our Muslim community, he brought a racist element into this campaign. He brought a xenophobic reality into the presidential campaign in a way no other candidate did. That's what she was talking about.
BLITZER: Should she have been more specific, Mayor? Because when she said half, and then she backed away from the half. He's got millions of supporters out there who are decent, hardworking Americans.
DE BLASIO: That's absolutely right. Wolf, I know a lot of Trump supporters I have met along the way. And
I think a lot of them are very good people who we just happen to have a disagreement.
But I also know there are some Trump supporters who have said and done deplorable things, and no one more so than Trump himself. I think this is what this comes down to. So, I think what she will -- and I think it's the smart thing going forward -- is focus on the candidate.
Donald Trump has changed the American discourse for the worse. He's cheapened the discussion in this country. And I have to tell you, I think we're seeing people across the political spectrum. You're seeing how many Republicans, how former military officials have come out and said there's no way they can accept Donald Trump as their leader because of the way he's cheapened the American political debate, because she's brought so much negativity, so much anger into it.
That's what we should be talking about. To his supporters, I think there are some, unfortunately, who share those attributes. There are others who are people just looking for an answer.
And we as Democrats have to constantly remind Trump supporters and people who haven't made up their mind the real issues in this election, which dominated most of this election, are whether we're going to have a fairer economy, whether we're going to help people back on their feet economically, better wages, better benefits, more jobs.
That's what people really want to talk about. And Hillary Clinton has a platform to actually do that.
BLITZER: Mayor de Blasio, thanks very much for joining us.
DE BLASIO: You're very welcome, Wolf.
BLITZER: Just ahead, we will have more on the Clinton campaign under fire for waiting two days to reveal her pneumonia. Will that crisis lead to more transparency?
Plus, new questions about Donald Trump's charitable contributions. Is his charitable foundation giving away other people's money?
BLITZER: Breaking news this hour. The Hillary Clinton campaign facing new questions about transparency after waiting two days to reveal the candidate has pneumonia. It was only after she appeared to nearly collapse at a 9/11 ceremony that her condition was announced.
[18:31:14] The campaign manager, Robby Mook, tells CNN Clinton was trying to power through her illness.
Let's discuss this and a lot more with our political panel. They apparently made a mistake in this. They should have come clean, announced it right away. I assume, David Chalian, you agree. Brian Fallon, the press secretary, told me earlier today that the senior staff knew on Friday that she was diagnosed with pneumonia.
DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Right. And Robby Mook, the campaign manager, said, "I don't want to discuss which staff knew what and when exactly," but clearly people knew on Friday, and Jen Palmieri, the communications director, said, "We did not do everything right on this yesterday."
Listen, they went an hour and a half of radio silence. We didn't hear a word other than we knew that she had left. Then we finally heard the word "overheated," and then it was still hours after till we finally got word that she had pneumonia. So it is -- and that she got that diagnosis on Friday, two days prior.
So it was not a smooth dissemination of information, if you will, from the Clinton folks.
CHALIAN: And that's clearly part of the price that they're paying here.
I really do believe part of the reason this has become such a big story today is because, and again, we should say we have more information about her than we do about Donald Trump, but still not to that McCain level of here we are, one of the oldest nominees in history, to sit down. Here's everything you need to know about her medical history. We haven't had that on either side. And I think that's why a lot of these questions came up.
BORGER: And I would ask the question, if we hadn't seen that video, how much would we know? You know, I don't -- I don't know the answer to that.
We do know that she was diagnosed on Friday, and only after we saw the video and she left the memorial service, the 9/11 memorial service did we find out a little bit more.
But clearly, you know, this is something that Donald Trump has been talking about. Her stamina, her health, et cetera. And this is something that they were very sensitive about, obviously. And that's one of the reasons they -- they held it so tightly. I guarantee you that now they wish they hadn't.
BLITZER: Yes. The one tweet, Olivia, from David Axelrod, our CNN political commentator, retweeted this about Hillary's -- Hillary's health issue. "Antibiotics can take care of pneumonia. What's the cure for an unhealthy penchant for privacy that repeatedly creates unnecessary problems?"
A point made by others, as well.
OLIVIA NUZZI, POLITICAL REPORTER, "THE DAILY BEAST": Right. Well, you can certainly look at this and say it is indicative of the Clinton camp's inability to be transparent. I think that's very fair.
But history would suggest that most potential presidents or presidents were not always transparent about their health. So I don't think this is anything completely new, unique to Clinton. But with that said, it was political malpractice to have waited so long to give an answer where she was yesterday and then to disclose the pneumonia.
The whole notion of transparency right now has become a major issue for both of these campaigns. Hillary Clinton has released all of her tax returns; Donald Trump has not. That's one issue.
On the issue of how much do we really know about their health, there's a lot more information, certainly, I think that the American public deserves to know.
DAVID SWERDLICK, ASSISTANT EDITOR, "THE WASHINGTON POST": The American public does deserve to know, but I think it bears saying, even though people have already said this, that both Secretary Clinton and Donald Trump are keeping up a campaign schedule that is very taxing for anybody, not just people of their age or running for president.
So I think that because they're running for president, it's such a -- it's such a position of importance to all Americans -- they both should be more forthcoming about their medical records.
You know, Donald Trump had that letter from his doctor that was almost cartoonist -- cartoonish. He said he was the healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency. That's ridiculous to say that without providing information to back it up. But I do think that both candidates should be held to it.
BLITZER: Gloria, you just wrote a new article for CNN.com, calling on both candidates to be more transparent. You say that -- you say this: "Hand the voters a Rosetta stone, not a blindfold."
ALLRED: All right.
[18:35:07] BLITZER: Why is it this -- why is so important that voters out there right now know what her health, for example, is, what his health is, and all these other issues?
BORGER: Well, you know, and we've been talking about this today, which is if you go back to John McCain 2008, 71-year-old candidate with a history of melanoma. And he brought in all the medical reporters and said, "Take a look," including our own Dr. Sanjay Gupta. Right? And they sat down and looked at a stack of over a thousand pages of medical records. And they were able to write about it because of his particular circumstance.
In this case, we have two candidates, as David was saying, who are older. You know, Donald Trump is 70. Hillary Clinton has a complicated medical history. And I think that, given that case, we ought to -- we ought to know more.
And I think that, you know, we fell down on the job. I would argue now, looking back on it, that with Barack Obama, who was young and vigorous when he ran, we didn't really know much about his health either. And Mitt Romney, 65 years old, you know, the picture of health, we didn't know much beyond, you know, a letter -- a doctor's letter either. I think that we should know more. I do, and...
BLITZER: Do you think we will know, David, more later this week when Hillary Clinton's medical report comes out? Will it really be detailed, specific, with a lot more information? When Donald Trump releases the results of his physical exam last week, will we know a lot more about his health? And just what Gloria said, he's 70 years old; she's 68. Next month, she'll be 69 years old.
CHALIAN: That's right. We'll know more than we know today, that's for sure. I don't know how much more, but we do know that Donald Trump said he had a physical, a complete physical last week. Hillary Clinton's campaign manager said that she is expected to have a complete physical this week. The results of their current state of their health will come out in some more detail than we have from either one of them. That's a good thing.
I do think we are at this phase now where these candidates are really trying to close a sale with the American public. And I think the American public has to be able to assess what they're purchasing in this. And I think this is important.
SWERDLICK: I agree with that. I just think if that's the standard, then we have to do a better job in the future of holding that standard to everybody. If someone who's a Generation X, if it's a Marco Rubio, runs for president four years from now...
BORGER: I agree.
SWERDLICK; ... they have to have the same scrutiny.
BORGER: I agree. And I also agree that the kind of scrutiny should be on your tax returns, as well as on your health. And there's no, not an equivalency there between what Hillary Clinton has disclosed and what Donald Trump has disclosed, you know, beyond his election records. Right?
BLITZER: And when we hear these politicians say, Olivia, you know, you guys in the news media, you're the only ones who are interested in these subject. The American voter never comes up out there on the campaign trail. Nobody is interested in this. You make this a big issue. What's your answer?
NUZZI: We are interested in this on behalf of the American voters. It's our job; it's to ask these question so that voters have enough information to go to the polls and make an informed decision. So it's not about our egos and us feeling like we need information and we deserve it. It's about our jobs and trying to do it properly.
CHALIAN: And there was a reasonable -- 62 percent of Republicans said that they would like Donald Trump to release his tax returns. So it may not be something the candidates hear themselves on the campaign trail. I'm sure that's true. They have loving supporters to show up at their rallies. But it doesn't mean that the American people aren't interested.
BLITZER: I agree totally. All right, guys, stand by. We have much more to discuss right after this quick break.
[18:43:12] BLITZER: We're back with the breaking news. Republican vice-presidential nominee Mike Pence is slamming Hillary Clinton for her dig at Trump supporters, like Donald Trump, as well. Pence was just here in "THE SITUATION ROOM." Let's talk about that, and more.
But David Chalian, there was a long story in "The Washington Post" about Donald Trump's charitable foundation going back to 2008, in which they discovered that Donald Trump actually didn't give any money to his own charitable foundation; other people gave money to that charitable foundation. He would then release money; give it out; and make it seem like this was his money. You saw that long piece. It's generating a lot of commotion out there.
CHALIAN: It is. And you asked Mike Pence about it. He said Donald Trump has given tens of millions of dollars to charities, to causes through his charities. And of course, the question that you asked is sort of like, well, where is the proof or the documentation?
BLITZER: Let's listen -- let's listen, David. Let's listen to what Mike Pence just told me.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. MIKE PENCE (R-IN), VICE-PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Anyone who knows about Donald Trump and his career knows that this is a man who's given away tens of millions of dollars to charitable causes throughout the course of his business life. He's been incredibly generous.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: David Swerdlick, you work for "The Washington Post." You read that long story, and it's very detailed. The writer of that story worked on it for a long, long time.
SWERDLICK: Yes. No, my colleague, David Bernal (ph), has dug into Donald Trump's charitable giving. He found in this piece, right, that there were a couple of instances where organizations have said that they don't have any record of a donation from the Trump Foundation. He also found that the Trump Foundation hasn't -- Donald Trump hasn't given money to his own foundation since 2008.
I don't know that this is going to be a pivotal, deciding issue in the campaign ultimately, but it go to this idea that Donald Trump is not always forthright about his charitable giving and also goes to this narrative about the idea that Donald Trump sort of has said in the past that he knows how to game the system.
[18:45:11] And now he's trying to fix the system. But, you know, it doesn't look good when there is some suggestion that he did. BLITZER: The whole issue of "basket of deplorables", a phrase that
Hillary Clinton used to describe initially she said half of Donald Trump supporters, later she issued a statement saying she regretted saying "half," but then she went on to say there are so many of his supporters that are engaged in all the -- in racism and bigotry and all sorts of other forms of horrible behavior.
The Trump campaign is effectively going out there and arguing this was awful, she should not smear millions of hardworking Americans who support Donald Trump.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Right. Yes, and I think -- I think Donald Trump is doing it quite effectively, honestly. I think that they have found an issue that they know resonates with their base. I'm not sure it will convince a persuadable voter one way or another, but it sure is a motivator for people who support Donald Trump to get out there and vote because they feel that they were being dismissed by Hillary Clinton and, by the way, they're not deplorable and not racist, et cetera, et cetera.
So, you know, I think Hillary tried to walk that back to a degree.
DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: It puts her on defense.
BORGER: Yes, it does.
BLITZER: Listen to what -- Olivia, listen to what Mike Pence told me on this issue. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE PENCE (R), VICE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: I'm not really sure why the media keeps dropping David Duke's name. Donald Trump has announced David Duke repeatedly. We don't want his support and we don't want the support of people who think --
BLITZER: You would call him deplorable? You would call him that?
PENCE: No, I don't -- I'm not in the name-calling business, Wolf.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: He's getting some heat to refuse to call David Duke deplorable in that specific segment, although earlier, he did say, you know, I don't want his support or the support of his supporters. But he's getting some grief for that.
OLIVIA NUZZI: Well, I understand why a politician might not want to feel like they can just be baited into saying anything by a journalist on a live TV interview. But if David Duke is not deplorable, who is? That word ceases to have meaning if you cannot describe David Duke in those terms. And, frankly, it took Donald Trump a very long time on this network to say whether or not he disavowed David Duke. He has a lot of supporters who are Nazi sympathizers, white nationalists who really do believe these things and he needs to do everything in his power, including calling him deplorable to set himself away from that. BLITZER: Hillary Clinton has tweeted about that exchange saying --
complaining that he didn't call David Duke deplorable.
CHALIAN: Right. She said basically, the point that Olivia is making, if you can't call the KKK deplorable, what can you call deplorable? I don't think that's going to be enough to completely erase what Hillary Clinton said.
Again, Hillary Clinton immediately came out to say I did something wrong. I used a word I shouldn't have. I regret that word. That is the clearest indication you had the -- she made a foot fault on that and one I don't see the Trump campaign letting their foot off the gas pedal on this one.
BLITZER: Guys, hold your thoughts. More coming up, including troubling new details of Russian interference in the U.S. election. Will there be more cyber attacks?
Plus, a warning of, quote, "a worst case scenario". Is another North Korean nuclear test imminent?
[18:53:17] ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
BLITZER: There's breaking news coming into THE SITUATION ROOM right now about a very scary incident involving Iran apparently threatening to shoot down two U.S. planes.
Let's go right to the Pentagon. Our correspondent Barbara Starr has got the latest information.
What have you learned, Barbara?
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, these details are just coming in but the first reports from a U.S. official are indicating over the weekend, a provocation by Iran again, two U.S. Navy planes were flying in the northern end of the Persian Gulf. They were near Iranian airspace but not in it when they got a radio call from the Iranians saying you're getting close, back off or if you enter our airspace, you risk being shot down.
There was no incident, we're told. The U.S. planes proceeded in international airspace over the gulf. Iran, of course, several recent provocations.
The other country that is causing the U.S. a lot of concern, North Korea, and its effort to march towards a nuclear weapon.
STARR (voice-over): Kim Jong-un's largest nuclear weapons test ever soon may be followed by yet another test of a nuclear device, according to U.S. and South Korean officials. An unprecedented action by the regime, it would be the sixth test overall and the third this year. South Korea is getting ready for the worst-case scenario, says its
defense minister. The more than 28,000 U.S. troops on the peninsula remain, as always on high alert. The Pentagon promises an umbrella of protection, including American nuclear weapons.
ABRAHAM DENMARK, DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF DEFENSE FOR EAST ASIA: The United States remains committed to the defense of the ROK against the North Korean threat, with all aspects of conventional missile defense and nuclear capability.
[18:55:07] STARR: U.S. B1 bombers capable of carrying nuclear weapons and other U.S. and South Korean aircraft are expected to fly over the Korean peninsula as soon as Tuesday in a symbolic show of force, according to U.S. officials.
But for now, a U.S. military response seems unlikely because Kim appears unwilling to back off and no one knows how he might respond.
VICTOR CHA, CENTER FOR STRATEGIC AND INTERNATIONAL STUDIES: The risk and the cost in this case is that they could retaliate in nuclear terms which would be disastrous or they could retaliate in conventional terms which would be as dangerous in terms of the thousands of artillery tubes on the border.
STARR: Last week's nuclear test may have been a game changer. U.S. officials believe it's likely the regime did test a nuclear warhead.
CHA: Now they seem to have made smaller and more powerful warheads, and their statements come near to perfecting a design that they can now mass produce.
STARR: Kim may now have several critical components: a miniaturized warhead that can be put on a missile, hard to track submarine and road mobile launchers for those missiles, and missiles powered by solid fuel which allows for little warning time of a launch. All of this giving Kim Jong-un exactly what he wants, to demonstrate to the world he has a nuclear weapons capability that can survive a first strike by the U.S.
STARR: And the other question is, is Kim Jong-un doing some of this to strengthen his hand against the next president of the United States? Wolf?
BLITZER: Barbara Starr reporting, thank you.
We're also learning tonight new information about the threat of Russian cyber attacks disrupting the upcoming U.S. election.
CNN's Brian Todd is here in THE SITUATION ROOM.
Brian, experts and officials are warning we could see some more online attacks.
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Wolf. Top members of Congress tonight were briefed by U.S. intelligence and law enforcement, they are issuing fresh warnings concerned about Vladimir Putin's hackers potentially disrupting the results of America's presidential election, about eight weeks from now. Putin's motive according to experts not to get a particular candidate elected but to cause chaos and create widespread doubt about American democracy.
TODD (voice-over): Fresh warnings tonight that Vladimir Putin's hackers could wreak havoc on Election Day in America. The House Intelligence Committee chairman tells CBS News the Russians have a motive and the know-how.
REP. DEVIN NUNES (R), INTELLIGENCE CHAIRMAN: They try to do it all over the globe. They tried to do it in Ukraine. Would they try to do it here? Absolutely.
TODD (voice-over): U.S. intelligence and law enforcement officials tell CNN they believe there is near certainty that Russian intelligence is behind the recent hack of the Democratic National Committee's computers, the theft of thousands of documents and e- mails, which led to embarrassing revelations forcing the DNC chair to resign, and there's increasing confidence that recent cyber attacks against election registration websites in Illinois and Arizona link back to Russian government hackers. Putin denied all of it.
PRES. VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIA (through translator): I don't know anything about it, and on a state level, Russia has never done this.
TODD: But U.S. officials and experts say Putin's hackers did disrupt Ukraine's elections in 2014, destroying servers, installing viruses which could have changed results but the attack failed. Officials say the American voting system would be harder for the Russians to hack into and actually change voting results voting machines in the U.S. aren't connected to the Internet and they're not centralized. Each state has a different voting system.
But Putin's army of cyber warriors experts say still have ways of disrupting the American vote.
JOE HALL, CENTER FOR DEMOCRACY & TECHNOLOGY: The first would be to selectively remove 5 percent of Republicans or Democrats from the voter registration rolls which would mean people would show up and not be registered. They would have to cast provisional ballots and in some places that's going to create quite a backlog in terms of lines and disruption.
TODD: Another hacking method that concerns experts, in the Russians revealed bugs in the American voting system, show how easy it would be for results to be falsified. Analysts say disruption, raising doubts about the American system, not actually changing voting results, is what Vladimir Putin is after the most.
MATTHEW ROJANSKY, THE WOODROW WILSON CENTER: If that happens, then the elections, themselves, are called into question and that cedes chaos in the American politics and most importantly for the Russians, it undermines the argument that American democracy is the model.
TODD: Now, one of the risks for Vladimir Putin if these hackers try to interfere with the U.S. elections and they're publicly exposed for doing that, analysts say a retaliatory cyber operation is possible, U.S. and NATO could escalate military presence on Russian's borders and some of Putin's stronger allies like Iran and China could become more suspicious of Vladimir Putin and they could distance themselves from him.
Wolf, he is not without risk in this equation either.
BLITZER: Brian Todd reporting. Good report. Thanks very much.
That's it for me. Thanks very much for watching. I'm Wolf Blitzer in THE SITUATION ROOM.
"ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.