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AT THIS HOUR WITH BERMAN AND MICHAELA
New Poll: Trump Ahead of Clinton in Ohio; Melania Trump: Proof Her Immigration to U.S. Was Legit; N.Y. A.G. Looking into Trump Foundation Activity. Aired 11:30a-12p ET
Aired September 14, 2016 - 11:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[11:30:38] KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Do you wonder what the impact is of Hillary Clinton's terrible, horrible, no good, very bad weekend? A new poll might offer a first look. The Bloomberg poll out this morning shows that Donald Trump is five points ahead of Hillary Clinton in the battleground state of Ohio. This on the heels, of course, of Clinton's "basket of deplorables" comment from Friday and being reveal she's fighting pneumonia over the weekend and the fallout from that.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Let's bring in Patrick Healey, CNN political analyst and "New York Times" political correspondent covering the 2016 presidential race; and Jackie Kucinich, CNN political analyst and Washington bureau chief for "The Daily Beast."
Patrick, I want to start with you.
One poll is one poll. There are other polls that have been taken recently which show different numbers in Ohio, but this is the first one. This was Friday to Monday, so two days that include the deplorables thing and also the pneumonia diagnosis and her near fall on Sunday. Is this a sign perhaps that voters have sort of taken a step back and are thinking of him?
PATRICK HEALEY, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: John, I think whenever something like "basket of deplorables" or one of these kind of flare- ups happen, you are going to see some adjusting in the polls. But I know the Clinton side at least is in the no-bedwetting-yet mode. They really are putting out the message the debates will be everything, that those are high stakes for Hillary Clinton. She has to really deliver there. They, John, just think these sorts of ticks in the polls, couple points here, couple points there, really aren't going to be solidified until people see Hillary Clinton and Trump on the same stage.
That said, they are pouring so many resources into places like Ohio to create the kind of a ground gamed ground operation, a voter registration effort, to start taking advantage of the early voting that starts in Ohio in October to try to solidify things. I don't get the sense one poll is going to be panic.
BOLDUAN: But, Jackie, what is your read on what's going on, on the ground, in your home state? Donald Trump is happy to tout this poll and he is heading back there tonight. What's your read?
JACKIE KUCINICH, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I was talking to some Republican members of Congress from Ohio last week. What they were saying was that what you are seeing is a lot of the suburban and ex- urban parts of Ohio, they're getting -- there's a lot of people out there that really support Donald Trump. That's a lot what are you seeing in the polls. In suburban areas, the more city areas, Republicans there aren't sure yet. They are not sure what to do. They don't like Hillary Clinton. They don't really like Donald Trump. And they are sort of throwing up their hands. Maybe they are the ones that are fluctuating at this point.
But there certainly is, in terms of when you look at part of the states that tend to be more Republican, you are seeing that come out right now.
BERMAN: No Republican has ever won the White House without winning Ohio.
KUCINICH: It is true.
BERMAN: In case you have never heard that before.
Patrick, Ohio is one of the states where President Obama will apparently be campaigning. We are also told Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Florida. He was out in Philadelphia yesterday talking about Hillary Clinton, talking about Donald Trump. Here's a little excerpt of what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Every time I thought I had that race won, I was like going up the rocky steps, you know. I was like --
I was about to celebrate and then I look and she's right there.
And I got whooped here in Pennsylvania. She whooped me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: There you have it right there, President Obama kind of encapsulating a whole lot of themes into one there, working hard for Hillary Clinton, and he plans to in October. But, Patrick Healey, do we have any proof that Barack Obama is good at electing other people? If he were so good at electing other people, would you have seen the Republican waves of 2010 and 2014? HEALEY: Great point. He's very good at electing himself. He's very
good at putting together what we famously call the Obama coalition. And what he's trying to do for her, for Hillary Clinton, is in states like Pennsylvania and Ohio that he carried to energize young voters and African-American voters who, while certainly African-Americans voted for Hillary Clinton in the primary over Bernie Sanders, there's concern that there's not that same level of enthusiasm where they are going to go -- start going to early voting in October to help her run up early numbers of votes against Donald Trump that basically President Obama may not have had coattails for other members of Congress, but that in a general election, he can help sort of energize that coalition better than she can on her own. And in some ways, John, like in Ohio, President Obama may be helpful to Hillary Clinton in the same way that someone like Rob Portman may be helpful to Donald Trump. Rob Portman, the Senator from Ohio, Republican, is doing sort of better and better in Ohio, and he may be someone who frankly is the guy who may have coattails that really helps Trump there.
[11:35:51] BOLDUAN: Guys, lot to watch in Ohio, as always, as John so ingenuously pointed out.
BERMAN: The first to note.
BOLDUAN: Yeah. The first to note the importance of Ohio.
Thanks, guys. Great to see you. Thanks, guys.
BERMAN: Coming up, Melania Trump now says she has proof that her immigration to the United States was totally legit. Is this proof legit? Details ahead.
BOLDUAN: Plus, charities under the microscope. First, it was Hillary Clinton. Now, it is Donald Trump. New York's attorney general is now looking into reports that Trump spent money from his charity on himself. Coming up.
[11:40:47] BERMAN: This morning, Melania Trump tweeted what she claims is proof that she came to the United States legally. You may remember there have been questions about whether the native of Slovenia worked in the United States as a model without a proper visa.
BOLDUAN: Melania Trump tweeted, "I am pleased to enclose a letter from my immigration attorney that states with 100 percent certainty I correctly went through the legal process when arriving in the United States."
Let's bring in senior investigative correspondent, Drew Griffin.
Drew, you have been digging into this. When the questions first surfaced, how did this start, how did we get to here?
DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: More proof this is an election like no other. We are talking about nude photos that Melania Trump, then Melania Knavs, took in New York. Were the photos taken in 1995 or 1996? That is the question.
Melania has often said she first came to the United States in 1996. There were questions about the timing of the shoot because, if it happened in 1995, she would have been here, many believe, working without an H1B visa, the type of visa she says she had at the time in 1996. So we have been asking for records to see when they would release, when this controversy first bubbled up. This has been nearly two months ago now. The Trump campaign promised that Melania would have a press conference to clear it all up. The press conference didn't happen.
But today, we got this tweet that you mentioned and this detailed letter -- and this is a letter from this attorney that says, "It's been suggested by various media outlets that in 1995, Mrs. Trump illegally worked as a model in the United States while on a visitor visa." This is the attorney writing. "Following a review of her relevant immigration paperwork, I can unequivocally state the allegations are not supported by the record and are, therefore, completely without merit."
The attorney goes on to say that Melania arrived in the United States for the very first time in her life August 27, 1996, on a visitor's visa, and then got what's called an H1B visa in October, which would have allowed her to work.
BERMAN: So you also spoke to her modeling agent, the person who hired her when she came here to the United States.
GRIFFIN: Right. Here's the problem. Like all things involved in investigating Trump matters, there's a lot of vagueness. The modeling agency head couldn't really nail down the date. The photographer who took the very photographs we are talking about, he's in France, couldn't nail down the date, couldn't even remember what issue the magazine was in.
So we went back to the Trump campaign just this morning after this letter and said let us see the visa. Let us see the visa stamp. They will not release it. So we have a letter from an attorney, the attorney reviewed the records. Trump's position is my attorney's telling the truth.
BOLDUAN: Seems like it is easy to clear up.
GRIFFIN: It's a fact. It's a fact. It can be solved in an instant.
BOLDUAN: All right.
BERMAN: Drew Griffin, keep us posted when it is resolved.
BOLDUAN: Thank you, Drew.
Also, right now, the Trump Foundation is facing new scrutiny. New York's attorney general is investigating the organization to make sure, to look into if the foundation was complying with the laws governing charities in the state of New York. BERMAN: "The Washington Post" reports that Trump spent money from his
charity on himself, and made contributions by others appear to have come from him.
Let's get reaction to this from the Trump campaign. Leslie Rutledge is the attorney general from Arkansas and a Trump surrogate.
Attorney General, there are reports out today, Kurt Eichenwald of "Newsweek," reporting about possible conflicts of interest between Trump business interests and a possible Trump White House.
Let's start with Eric Schneiderman, in New York, saying he might investigate the Trump Foundation. Your reaction?
LESLIE RUTLEDGE, ARKANSAS ATTORNEY GENERAL & DONALD TRUMP SURROGATE: Well, I think from my colleague in New York, Attorney General Schneiderman, this is a very weak statement that he has put out that he might investigate, that he might look into the Trump Foundation. This is -- unfortunately, this is a big supporter of Secretary Clinton doing a hack job for her. It's unfortunate for the profession of the attorneys general around the country that Attorney General Schneiderman has chose to do so.
But I can assure you that the Trump Foundation is fine, that this issue has been laid to rest. And it's just unfortunate that my colleague in New York has taken it to this level in putting out a weak statement about a Trump Foundation which has done so much good across the country over the years.
BERMAN: One of the reports is the charity money, they spent charity money on a six foot tall --
BOLDUAN: Painting of him.
BERMAN: -- painting of Donald Trump. You OK with that?
[11:45:11] RUTLEDGE: Well, as someone who is only 5'2," I'm a little astounded at a six-foot tall painting. That would be pretty large for any living room that I own. I don't know what exactly the Trump Foundation, the specifics of what they spent money on. Bit I know they have done so much good over the years. And again, this is another political hack job by --
BERMAN: But a painting, should a charity spend money on a painting? Just yes or no?
RUTLEDGE: Well, I don't know what the charity's motives were for doing that, and so I think that would be a question for the foundation, not for me as the attorney general of Arkansas.
I know we should be asking a lot of questions about Hillary Clinton and the support she is receiving from Democrats across the country, including Schneiderman, who is doing nothing more than a political hack job by saying he might investigate the foundation, they might have done something wrong, when in fact he knows they haven't. This is just pressure that his receiving from the Clintons in order to do so.
We have seen this time and again with Hillary Clinton. We saw it throughout President Obama's career and leading up to his election. This is what Americans are tired of. They are tired of the same old hack job and political pressure from Chicago-style politics. We saw it with President Obama. We are now seeing it with the Clintons. Believe me, in Arkansas, we have seen plenty of it over the years from the Clintons. That's all this is, a hack job by one of their -- one of their political supporters.
BOLDUAN: Attorney General, we're running short on time. I do want to ask you about this "Newsweek" report. A lot of people are talking about it in terms of Donald Trump's business interests overseas, his partnerships that people don't know about, and what that would mean if he would win the White House. How will Donald Trump prevent a conflict of interest between his business empire, between his business empire and his White House?
RUTLEDGE: Donald Trump is a very successful businessman and that's why people are attracted to him in this election cycle. Of course, we would expect that he would have business interests, which he does. He's created thousands and thousands of jobs. What we don't know is why the Clinton Foundation received millions of dollars while Hillary Clinton was secretary of state.
BOLDUAN: Right. But in Donald Trump, Donald Trump -- if people are saying that Clinton Foundation should be shut down because there's a conflict of interest with Hillary Clinton, should the Donald Trump organization be shut down because of a conflict of interest when he enters the White House?
RUTLEDGE: Well, that will be a decision, once he is elected, of what part he will take in those businesses and if he will have any control over them. Again, that's a business decision --
BERMAN: Hang on, Attorney General. Why should the American voters --
BERMAN: Why should voters have to wait until he's elected to find out how he will separate his business interests from national interests? Particularly, when he's got so much money involved in so many different places?
RUTLEDGE: Well, I think that Mr. Trump will be very up front just as he has been this entire election. What voters need to know are, where are the 30,000 e-mails that Secretary Clinton disappeared on her watch? Why was the Clinton Foundation receiving millions and millions of dollars from foreign donors while she was secretary of state? When are those questions going to be answered from Hillary Clinton's campaign?
BOLDUAN: As you well know, we do ask those questions. We also are not getting any answers, not cleared up --
RUTLEDGE: From the Clinton campaign. I know you are not
BOLDUAN: -- about what Donald Trump will do with his business empire. And saying he's going to put it in a blind trust, which his children will run, does not make a blind trust. These are real questions that voters probably should have answers to before they start voting.
BERMAN: Right. And the answer is not Hillary Clinton. The answer to how Donald Trump will separate his business interests if elected, it's not Hillary Clinton.
But, Attorney General, thank you so much for being with us. Appreciate your time.
RUTLEDGE: Thank you.
BOLDUAN: Thank you very much.
So it's a stunning -- it is stunning video that is difficult to watch. Important, though, to point out a car plowing into three police officers, throwing one of them straight into the air. Officials say it was likely intentional. The status of the officers there and what they know about the man who did this, coming up.
[11:53:16] BERMAN: All right. You want the most empty statement ever? 55 days until someone loses the election.
BOLDUAN: Pretty half empty.
Tonight, CNN looks what happens after the loser leaves the spotlight. In Mitt Romney's case, he and his wife went from the campaign to Costco.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAMES CARVILLE, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: All of a sudden, that's it. You're a joke. You're going to Costco.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST (voice-over): Costco is exactly where the Romneys went.
MITT ROMNEY, (R), FORMER MASSACHUSETTS GOVERNOR & FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Refrigerator was bare.
ANN ROMNEY, WIFE OF MITT ROMNEY: Life goes on.
MITT ROMNEY: Go to the market. Get some food.
ANN ROMNEY: There are a lot of tears.
MITT ROMNEY: It's very hard. It's a real -- it's a real heart- wrenching experience to say we just didn't get the job done. Tens of thousands of people, hundreds of thousands of people, and you think, they cared. I feel -- I wish we'd have succeeded, for them and for the country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: CNN's chief political analyst, Gloria Borger, put together this special report titled "Almost the President: The Agony of Defeat." It airs tonight.
Michael Dukakis summed it up, saying, to be blunt about it, "Losing sucks."
BORGER: Yes. He was pretty blunt about it. And they all kind of say that.
I mean, the thing that struck me, one of the reasons I decided to do this I saw the picture of the Romneys going to the Costco and I can't imagine any more public failure in American life than losing the presidency. And one day you've got the adulation. You've got the crowds, the staff. You've got the Secret Service. And the next week, you're at the Costco. And you're alone again. And so it's really a human story as much as anything else, more of a human story than a political story, although each of these candidates who I interviewed remember every minute of the campaign and how they went wrong, and why they lost. And in reflection -- and you know politicians are not usually the most reflective people -- but in reflection, they actually talked about their own mistakes, and what they should have done better. John McCain, for example, said to me, you know, one of my problems was that I always second guessed myself. After I didn't perform at a debate, I couldn't sleep at night. I'd go back and say, why didn't I do this right, why didn't I do that right? So it was just fascinating to listen to these people tell you their stories about the campaign from their end.
[11:55:44] BERMAN: And got to tell you, the most reflective politicians on earth are the ones who lose the race to the White House.
BERMAN: It's fascinating.
Gloria Borger, thank you so much.
For the record, I love Costco. Mitt Romney didn't lose everything.
BORGER: By the way, me, too.
BERMAN: Gloria Borger's special report, "Almost the President: The Agony of Defeat," airs tonight at 9:00 eastern. Do not miss it.