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Donald Trump's Flip-Flopping History; Trump Finally Admits Pres. Obama Was Born In The U.S.; Trump Drops Birther Conspiracy, Blames Clinton; Michelle Obama Campaigns For Clinton; Donald, Ivana Trump Fight To Keep Divorce Records Sealed; Trump Finally Admits Pres. Obama Was Born in the U.S.; Trump: Clinton's Guards Should Disarm, "Let's See What Happens to Her"; Trump's Flip-Flopping History. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired September 16, 2016 - 20:00   ET


[20:00:21] JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening. John Berman here in for Anderson.

Breaking news tonight, Donald Trump calls on Hillary Clinton's Secret Service details to disarm and seems to raise the possibility of violence against her. Not making it up. That just happened.

And while we're on the subject of making it up, too often our politics could be vulnerable to anyone with a line of bull and the stones to peddle it, no matter how absurd it may be, no matter how little evidence there is. For five years, Donald Trump did just that questioning whether or not President Obama was born in this country. He was. To suggest that is in doubt is simply not true. It is a lie.

Today, without a hint of an apology or the faintest whiff of humility, Donald Trump cast off that falsehood while spreading others.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Hillary Clinton and her campaign of 2008 started the birther controversy. I finished it. I finished it. You know what I mean. President Barack Obama was born in the United States, period.

Now, we all want to get back to making America strong and great again. Thank you. Thank you very much.


BERMAN: So, there is no evidence that Hillary Clinton started this. Likewise, it is untrue that Donald Trump ended it.

Plenty to get to tonight from Donald Trump's non-apology retraction to his veiled reference to violence against his opponent.

Let's start with that. And CNN's Phil Mattingly outside Trump Tower.

And, Phil, these comments from Donald Trump about Secretary Clinton's Secret Service detail, what exactly did he say? PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it's worth noting some

context here. Donald Trump often goes on a riff when he's on the campaign trail talking about the Second Amendment and making a point that most politicians, including Hillary Clinton have body guards that carry guns for safety.

He started down that path tonight and then took a somewhat dark turn. Take a listen.


TRUMP: I think that her bodyguards should drop all weapons. They should disarm, right? Right?

I think they should disarm immediately, what do you think? Yes? Yes. Yes.

Take their guns away. She doesn't want guns. Take them and let's see what happens her. Take their guns away, OK? It will be very dangerous.


MATTINGLY: John, it's the let's see what happens to her that is new and got a lot of Republicans that were hearing these comments scratching their heads, no question about it. And a lot of echoes to the Second Amendment folks comment he made a few weeks back that they would handle these issues, a veiled threat of violence. No question about it, John.

BERMAN: Indeed. Let's see what happens to her. Those are words that stick out.

And meanwhile, what a topsy-turvy 24 hours today. You know, the birther controversy really came to a head last night with "The Washington Post" interview. And today, Donald Trump finally admitted he thinks President Obama was born in the United States.

How did we get here?

MATTINGLY: Yes, look, on this campaign trail over the course of the last 16 months, as you know quite well, there were a lot of days that leave you surprised, shocked. This might have been peek. And it all goes back really it. It's been percolating with advisers talking about this.

But it really gained momentum last night. A "Washington Post" interview with Donald Trump that posted Donald Trump refused to say that he believed the president of the United States was born in the U.S. Obviously, an issue he's talked about repeatedly over the last five or six years.

Shortly after that, a couple of hours after that, John, the campaign put out a statement from an advisor not attributed to Donald Trump saying that Trump believed that in 2011, he compelled the president to release his birth certificate, thus putting this issue to rest, taking a lot of credit for this no longer being an issue and blaming Hillary Clinton for starting this issue. Now, you heard that is something that Donald Trump echoed today.

Couple of things here. First and foremost, this issue wasn't put to rest because Donald Trump continued to bring this up repeatedly over the course of the last five years, John. But also on the issue of Hillary Clinton starting this, there is no legitimacy to the idea that her 2008 campaign started this issue at all, it's something the Trump campaign continues to push. There were some Clinton supporters that talked about this issue on the outside, but Hillary Clinton and her campaign, John, they were not behind this at all.

BERMAN: And I understand the president did weigh in on this today. What did he say, Phil?

MATTINGLY: Yes. Well, he's kind of taken this issue equal parts confusion, a little perplexed and kind of scornful over the last couple of the months and we got a little of that.

[20:05:04] Take a listen to what he had to say.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I was pretty confident about where I was born. I think most people were as well. And my hope would be that the presidential election reflects more serious issues than that.


MATTINGLY: John, here is an important point here. That was a comment was made in the Oval Office and anyone covered the White House can tell you the president doesn't answer shouted questions in the Oval Office at a photo-op unless he wants to make a point. I called a couple of White House aides after this happened today, asked him kind of what he was trying to do here.

First off, they said he's in disbelief, all of them are that this is an issue on the campaign trail, one that is dominating and one that Donald Trump is addressing up front like this. But the other is the president sees an opportunity here, an opportunity to fire up his base, an opportunity to help Hillary Clinton who obviously has seen polls tighten in the last couple of days. That is why he's weighing in on this. And that is why you are going to see the Clinton campaign and President Obama when he's on the campaign trail likely bring this up in the days and weeks ahead, John.

BERMAN: All right. Phil Mattingly for us, outside Trump Tower, thanks so much, Phil.

So much to talk about tonight. With us, Clinton supporters Jonathan Tasini and Van Jones, CNN political analyst and "New York Times" presidential campaign correspondent, Maggie Haberman, also, Errol Louis, who's covered Donald Trump for years as political anchor at the cable channel New York 1. And Trump supporter Scotty Nell Hughes and Jeffrey Lord. Errol, I want to start with you having to do with what we just heard

from Trump tonight at this rally in Florida, suggesting that Hillary Clinton's Secret Service detail give up their guns but then the words, "let's see what happens to her." And again, this is not the first time he's used that type of language. Some people would say he's walking up to the line or walking way past it.

ERROL LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I think it is a step over the line. And those of us who have covered politics for a while and have seen what can happen when reckless words lead to reckless actions. I mean, there are, you know, right here in New York City, we have a city council member assassinated by a political rival inside of city hall. I mean, these things two do happen.

And the notion that you would sort of cavalierly throw it out there, it sounds like the kind of throw away line you might here in the second or third hour of a talk radio show where people kind of say something to be a bad boy broadcaster or something like that.

What Donald Trump has to re step away from becoming the president. He's the leader of a great party. He's talking to tens of millions of people at a time. Some of whom could be confused. Some of whom could be crazy. Some of whom could be taking his words maybe in a way he didn't intend. It really calls for a dialing back of that kind of rhetoric. It's really never acceptable.

BERMAN: So, Maggie, on the one hand, I can hear people say so much for Donald Trump's message discipline. On the other hand, I could hear people saying, well, wait a minute here. What he just did was he pulled the focus away from this entire birther escapade today.

MAGGIE HABERMAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: If your choice is birther versus hinting at assassination, I don't know those are two great choices. I mean, the thing that was very striking about the birther issue today to me is that Hillary Clinton last week stumbled when she was sort of talking about an issue involving race and racial polarization.

And instead, it's almost as if Trump fixed it for her. He made his own mistake talking to "The Washington Post". He refused to say or was unwilling to say the president was born here. This now has been a day of dealing with this. It's not going to be gone before the debate. I know his campaign was hoping it would be but it wouldn't be just on that one statement because he didn't express anything else.

In terms of what he said tonight about guns, he's said something along those lines before. He also had a line about Second Amendment peopling taking matters into their own hands at one point. It is what Errol said, I think an ongoing concern about the language in politics in general.

Donald Trump and his aides have repeatedly refused to hear or at least publicly hear why some language can be offense or concerning or can stir people, and at a certain point, it does matter.

BERMAN: You know, Jeffrey Lord, if I can you bring in you into this conversation right now, you know, Jeffrey, David Gergen, who's worked for four president, right, the last time this happened he came on this show and he said you know what, you just don't do this. I -- he worked for Gerald Ford who got shot at twice. He worked for Ronald Reagan, as did you, who survived an assassination attempt. You just don't do this.

What's your reaction what David Gergen would have to say?

JEFFREY LORD, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, my reaction is this, and I'm not pointing my finger at David in this. I'm just saying in general, that the reaction to this is elitist. I mean, surely, everybody can agree whether Hillary Clinton is the target or some private citizen somewhere in America who is unknown is the target, it's the same problem. It's the same thing.

And to somehow say as in essence the argument he's challenging is that other people should have their guns taken away from them but the people who advocate this can walk around 24 hours a day protected by, in this case Secret Servicemen with guns is the height of hypocrisy.

[20:10:03] Why aren't we applying the same standards to everybody in America, every private citizen and every gun owner America that we are applying to Hillary Clinton.

BERMAN: I think David's point is there is a constant very real threat on the lives of people in office and running for office. George Wallace said they do have to be treated differently. That is his point.

We're going to talk -- Jeffrey, hang on a second. We're going take a quick break and we're going to talk more about this.

We're going to also talk about the birther issue today. How it came to this falsehood by falsehood.

And also ahead, the two women with the most at stake, Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton. Sharp reaction from both of them.

We're going to bring it to you when 360 continues.


BERMAN: We are talking about Donald Trump's sudden acceptance of a simple fact and how it could play out in the remaining 50-some days in this campaign. And that is what President Obama's birthplace is a simple fact.

The repercussions of acknowledging it, though, or of Trump's new and unsubstantiated claims that Hillary Clinton started the controversy and he ended it, they may not be so simple.

First, how we got here, because for almost as long as Donald Trump has been making claims on the subject, 360 has been putting them to the test keeping them honest, with our own Gary Tuchman leading the effort.


GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's been a narrative stoked by Donald Trump for years, hard-baked into the Trump lexicon since spring 2011.

[20:15:04] TRUMP: Why doesn't he show his certificate?

If he wasn't born in this country, which is a real possibility, I'm not saying it didn't happen. I'm saying it's a real possibility, much greater than I thought two or three weeks ago. Then, he's pulled one of the great cons in the history of politics.

Was there a birth certificate? You tell me. You know, some people say that was not his birth certificate. Maybe it was, maybe it wasn't.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You don't believe it was his birth certificate?

TRUMP: I don't now. I'm saying I don't know. Nobody knows.

TUCHMAN: CNN went to Hawaii to investigate the same year Trump made those claims.

(on camera): Have you seen Barack Obama's original birth certificate?


TUCHMAN (voice-over): The former director of the Hawaii Department of Health, Dr. Chiyome Fokino, confirmed emphatically the president's birth certificate and that he was born if Hawaii.

(on camera): As a Republican members of the last Republican governor of Hawaii, do you have any doubt that Barack Obama was born in the United States?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Absolutely not. I have no doubt.

TUCHMAN: And when President released his long form birth certificate that April, Trump had this to say.

TRUMP: I'm very proud of myself, because I've accomplished something that nobody else has been able to accomplish.

TUCHMAN: But it didn't end there. Trump continued to float the birther idea. In 2014, he questioned the release from legitimacy of President Obama's birth certificate in an interview with Irish TV.

TRUMP: I don't know that he do it. A lot of people don't agree with you, and a lot of people feel it wasn't a proper certificate.

TUCHMAN: The issue came up against this year with CNN's Wolf Blitzer, with Trump now running for president.

TRUMP: Who knows about Obama? Obama --

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: His mother was a U.S. citizen -- (CROSSTALK)

TRUMP: Who knows? Who cares right now? We're talking about something else. OK? I mean I have my own theory on Obama. Someday, I'll write a book. I'll do another book. It will do very successfully.

TUCHMAN: And even when recently asked Trump has refused to comment about it.

INTERVIEWER: You don't talk about the birth certificate anymore. Do you regret even bringing it --

TRUMP: I don't talk about it anymore. I don't talk --

INTERVIEWER: Do you regret bringing it up?

TRUMP: I told you, I don't talk about it anymore.

TUCHMAN: It came to a head when the "Washington Post" published an interview where he once again refused to settle the issue, stating, quote, "I'll answer the question at the right time." That sent the campaign into damage control mode, quickly releasing a statement last night saying Trump believes the president was born in the United States and claiming wrongfully that Clinton campaign was behind the conspiracy, stating, "Hillary Clinton's campaign first raised this issue to smear then-candidate Barack Obama in her very nasty, failed 2008 campaign for president."

That was followed up by Trump's one sentence declaration today.

TRUMP: President Barack Obama was born in the United States, period.

TUCHMAN: Gary Tuchman, CNN, New York.


BERMAN: All right. Back now with our panel.

President Obama was born in the United States, period. Those words from Donald Trump today.

Van Jones, after five years, does that settle it?

VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, it doesn't because -- well, first of all, I'm glad. You know, he said I am the most amazing negotiator. I forced Obama do this. So I guess the American people now and the media are the best negotiators. We finally forced Donald Trump to say something that every child in America knows that our president is legitimate president. He's not an illegitimate president.

He's a legitimate president. He was born here. He should have never been forced to suffer this humiliation all this time in the first place, so I'm glad we're making some progress. But the problem we have now is not just the racial aspect of it. It

is that you can't live in fantasy land when you live in the White House.

Your judgment there -- I've worked in that building. You have more coming at you in an hour than comes at a normal person in a year. Your judgment, your sobriety, your ability to stick with facts. You can't spin what's coming to you in those intelligence briefs. You have to deal with reality.

And we have a candidate for president who has shown he's not only incredibly racially insensitive at best, but also wants to live in a fantasy land and that is not a good person for the White House.

BERMAN: Scottie?

SCOTTIE NELL HUGHES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Oh, what's interesting, this is what I caution you for today. You have to realize back in the time of 2010 when this was all going on there were some very high -- of people that doubted that Barack Obama was actually born. And that was amongst Democrats.

Only 85 percent of Democrats say Obama was born in the U.S. That means -- there was quite a percentage of Democrats that even had some doubts. You had 57 percent of Republicans and 27 -- 68 percent of independents. That was it. There was doubt across.

JONATHAN TASINI, HILLARY CLINTON SUPPORTER: Sorry. This is ridiculous. This notion --

HUGHES: Can I answer, please? Can I finish this question please?

TASINI: This notion that Barack Obama is not born was fantasy. If you said the earth is flat and the sun rotates around the earth. It is fantasy.

HUGHES: May I answer please?

TASINI: It's fantasy.

BERMAN: Go ahead.

HUGHES: I did not say it was myself. What I said the question was, you cannot sit here so quickly and insult those people that might have those questions right there. So, I'm not so quick to judge.

But you asked him and after a week of Kellyanne Conway saying she believes Barack Obama is born here, after you had Rudy Giuliani, after you had the press release last night, you wanted a statement of Donald Trump saying Barack Obama was born in the United States of America. He did that today and wants to move on, just like President Obama said in his case that he would like us to move on.

I think we should.

(CROSSTALK) TASINI: How is it that anybody is even thought o as a potential presidential candidate when they held views back as Van said, five years ago, that were fantasy? It is like saying that the earth is flat. It is just false. And it goes to what Van say, you can't live in a fantasy world.

HUGHES: But you're insulting. Even in the spring, 44 percent of Republicans had doubts of his -- you can't sit here and --

BERMAN: Scotty, there are a lot of people who believe Sasquatch roams the northwest and that the moon landing was fake. This guy is running for president. And for five years, he didn't address it.

HABERMAN: John, polling back then didn't show it was that big a number. The polling went up when Trump started talking about it because it was not a mainstream issue before that. It was a fringe issue that barely got --

HUGHES: From 2010, CNN numbers.

HABERMAN: I would have to look at those myself.

But there were a number of conservative whose support Trump today like Ann Coulter who asked him to drop this in 2011 because they consider it to be a plot from the left, essentially as they put it, trying to hook them on something. This was an issue that most conservatives had looked at and dismissed because they didn't think there was anything there.

JONES: Even if Scotty's numbers are right, there's no reason to doubt her numbers, perhaps he was there speaking if for 15 percent of Democrats. Let's give him that. Maybe speaking for 40 percent of Republicans, I give him that.

But then the president of the United States produced documentation in 2011. And he continued and he continued and he continued. And that to me is the problem.

Listen, I think the entire thing was wrong. But once you actually have the documentation from the president from the state of Hawaii, to continue it, that is when a lot of people say, you know, what? This guy will not face reality because he has an agenda beyond just the agenda by --

HUGHES: Let me ask you a question --

TASINI: Part of the pattern, Scottie, it's the same person who denies climate change.

HUGHES: Well --

TASINI: It's the same person who denies climate change. It's the same person who lied about his position, about the Iraq war. It's the same person who's been a misogynist and racist for a very long time, saying awful things about women for years until he decided to run for president. (CROSSTALK)

BERMAN: Pick one.

HUGHES: I'm just going to stick on the same topic we're talking.

Whether you like the tenacity to apply to it, it's still a American right to question. Just as we've questioned John McCain. We've questioned others in the past, whether they can run, their legality ability to run for president. That is what Donald Trump did. It is his right to ask, whether you agree with how aggressive or not. He was exercising his right as American.

BERMAN: The difference with John McCain, the difference with Barry Goldwater, the difference with George Romney, is everyone knew where they were born. Just like in this case, everyone knows where Barack Obama was born. Yet he still questions it.

So, it is a difference there that I think --

HUGHES: But you still have a right to question. There's not disclaimers. There is not A, B and C. You still have a right to question a person's eligibility to run for office.

JONES: And we have the right to question the judgment of him for doing that.

HUGHES: Yes, you do, and that's --

BERMAN: All right, guys. Stick around. There's a lot more to discuss about this, because it was quite a day. Along with everything else, there was a political flip-flop that took place with this issue. All candidates do it. Hillary Clinton has done it, though not quite like this.

So, because Donald Trump is in the spotlight, a closer look at the flip-floppery, that's next.


[20:27:24] BERMAN: There is much to discuss about Donald Trump's statement today, but finally unapologetically admitting that President Obama was born in the United States. He blamed Hillary Clinton for starting it all, which is not true. He congratulated himself for putting the issue to rest, which really is not true.

What is true however is that in a very basic way, it is a flip-flop for Donald Trump. A five yearlong utterly bizarre no basis in reality flip-flop but a flip-flop nonetheless. It is not the first.

360's Randi Kaye reports.


RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Some might call it a flip-flop, others a softening. But whatever it is, Donald Trump seems to have changed his stance on rounding up millions of illegal immigrants and sending them packing.

This is what he told MSNBC in November last year.

TRUMP: You're going to have a deportation force and you're going to do it humanly.

KAYE: But just last month, Trump sounded like a deportation force was no longer when he spoke with Anderson Cooper.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Eleven million who have not committed a crime --

TRUMP: No, no, we then going to see --

COOPER: -- there is going to be a path to legalization, is that right?

TRUMP: You know it's a process. You can't take eleven million people at one time and say, boom, you're gone.

KAYE: That's not the only time Trump has flip flopped.

On the very day Donald Trump announced his run for White House, he made this bold statement about his objection to the Iraq war.

TRUMP: I said don't hit Iraq because you are going to totally destabilize the Middle East.

KAYE: But it turns out back in 2002 in his first public comments about the war, he told Howard Stern he was actually in favor of the war. Kind of. Listen.

HOWARD STERN: Are you for invading Iraq?

TRUMP: Yeah, I guess so. You know, I wish it was done the first time it was done correctly.

KAYE (on camera): On the issue of nukes, he told "The New York Times" in March that the biggest problem in the world is nuclear proliferation. Yet in the same this interview, he also said he wouldn't object to South Korea and Japan getting nuclear weapons for protection against North Korea.

(voice-over): Trump has also done a 180 on abortion. Listen to him on NBC back in 1999, at a time when he was considering a run for the White House.

TRUMP: I'm very pro-choice. I hate the concept of abortion. I hate it. I hate everything it stands for. I cringe when I listen to people debating the subject. But you still -- I just believe in choice.

KAYE: In that same interview, Trump went on to say he'd also support a woman's right to late-term abortion. But that was then. On CNN in recent months, Trump made it clear he's, quote, "evolved" on the issue of abortion. TRUMP: As you know, I'm pro-life. I've been pro-life for a long


I am pro-life. Everybody knows I'm pro-life.

[20:30:02] As you know I'm pro life and I was originally pro choice.

KAYE: Trump now wants to ban all abortions except in the case of incest or rape or if the mother's life is at risk. Trump had even done an about face on Hillary Clinton. She and Bill Clinton were guest at Trump's wedding back in 2005.

On Fox in 2012 he called her a terrific woman, saying she works really hard and does a good job. Now facing Clinton in the general election. Trump is saying something very different.

TRUMP: A lying, crooked, Hillary. Love to say it. And she's liar. She's a bad person.

KAYE: As Trump wrote in his book "The Art of the Deal", he never gets too attached to one deal or one approach. Seems that holds true for some of his policy positions too.

Randi Kaye, CNN, New York.


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: I want to -- thanks to Randi. Back now with the panel.

Errol Louis, I want to start with you, because the Clinton campaign is talking a lot about Donald Trump's statement today. In the flip-flop aspect of it is not necessarily what they're focused on here. How fertile of this is an issue for them now and going forward?

ERROL LOUIS, POLITICAL ANCHOR NY1: I don't think they're going to make much more out of it, because honestly that's -- I mean first of all they've got a target-rich environment, you can call it. And, you know, they've got a lot of different things. A lot of differences that they want to contrast between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

I think their polling would probably suggest something we've all sort of seen over the last year which is that people are not rushing to Donald Trump to the extent that they are because he's so fantastically consistent. That's not what they are looking for. He's pushing a lot of other different buttons and there's a lot of dispute about which button he's pushing and are some of them kind of appeals to the worst in people's nature. But I haven't run into anybody on the campaign trail who said I like Donald Trump because he's consistent. You know where he stands. It all fits together. It is philosophically rigorous. That's not the kind of candidate he is.

BERMAN: No, I'm just curious though what the Clinton campaign or how much they do intend to press the birther issue. You know, Glenn Thrush, your friend from Politico today, he noted something very interesting. He said he doesn't believe that white voters supporting Donald Trump are unaware of these positions. They are unaware of his birther past.

So why would his him saying anything different about it or ng anything at all make a difference to the voters he already has.

MAGGIE HABERMAN, NY TIMES PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I actually don't think that Glenn was talking about white voters just back in Trump, I think he start by white voters in general. And so the question right now is, both Clinton and Trump are appealing to a certain demographic of white voters and that is where Trump needs to drive up the margin thus for Clinton needs to drive up the margin on both sides.

The Clinton campaign has tried for a while to press the case that and demonstrate ways where they would argue that Trump has shown bigoted statements or bigoted behavior and so forth. To try to express concern -- you know, to work on concerns that suburban voters and moderates have about voting for somebody who's been labeled a racist. The concern for Democrats or the thing that is frustrating for Democrats is that ha has not really taken hold despite the number of instances the Democrats have pointed to. And I think that's what Glenn was talking about. It's not really so much the die hard Trump supporters who really -- I mean he has had a basis of support with him this whole time. Its how does she peel off certain voters and what is it going to take?


VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, it's also the Democrats need to keep the numbers of voters of color nailed to Hillary Clinton. She -- and a lot of these polls especially early on, you know, he was getting zero percent of the black vote. No 1 percent ...

BERMAN: It's today mobilizing in that case?

JONES: Well, it's hard to know. There is a lot of shaft right now in the polling so it is hard to now. But part of the Democratic Party strategy has to be to keep voters of color not bolted to Hillary Clinton but also passionate about coming out and to the extent that there are voters who are not passionate about Hillary herself. Saying listen the alternative is someone who has traffic this bigotry is an important point. So whether or not this sort of more white sling voters come this way or that way, a big part is saying hey listen. Don't let this guy off the mat when it comes to voters of color.

BERMAN: All right, Jeffrey Lord disembodied Jeffrey Lord, who is not with us in studio but he was with us in spirit. You know ...


BERMAN: Hang on.

LORD: I want to say something here. This is important, because this is not they mentioned today, late today media I put up on the front page of their site tweets from James Asher who is the former bureau chief of the McClatchy News Service. And Mr. Asher says in two tweets. I'll read part of one, "Sid Blumenthal long time HRC buddy told me in person, Obama born in Kenya. And in the second tweet he says, "That Mr. Blumenthal asked him and asked McClatchy to investigate this."

Now, if that is correct, then what we've got here today is a massive fraud. Is to seek like with a ...

[20:35:04] BERMAN: Yeah, let me tell you what we know about this so far. James Asher of McClatchy did tweet that. CNN reached out to Sidney Blumenthal. Sidney Blumenthal said this is false. CNN is also trying to reach ...

LORD: Well ...

BERMAN: Hang on, hang on, just listen. I'm not saying -- look I'm just being transparent about where we are in the story, right now since you brought it up. CNN is also trying to contact James Asher to find out his side of the story. CNN also reached out to Clinton campaign staffers to say to their knowledge at that time Sidney Blumenthal did not work for the campaign. Yes his a friend ...

LORD: Oh ...

BERMAN: Hey, you know, Jeffrey let me finish. Let me finish. I'm just telling you what we know here. He did not work for the campaign but yes he is a friend of Hillary Clinton.

At this point we're looking into this further but that is where that all is. And I want to put this to Maggie Haberman right now. The qualitative difference. You know, even if you take this all then it happened, even if Sidney Blumenthal did this do this and at this point we don't know. He denied it to CNN. But even if he did do that, is there equivalence between that and Donald Trump for five years talking about this?

HABERMAN: There is not. I mean, if Sidney Blumenthal did that that is something I suspect Hillary Clinton will get asked about Sidney Blumenthal denied it, but I saw that tweet as well, and reach out to the author of the tweet and not her back.

But it is not the same as a candidate saying frontally on stage this is the big question. This is the issue. It's not at all and Hillary Clinton herself never said it. That would be the equivalent.


JONES: It's also just weird that they keep saying well she did it first, so I can do it too. It's like no, you're a grown man. This is not kindergarten. You can't just point to the other kid and say they said it too. If it is wrong, if it shows bad judgment it shows bad judgment and points to some friend of a friend is not a good excuse.

BERMAN: All right guys ...

JONATHAN TASINI, CLINTON SUPPORTR: It's a political hack. It's not a person (inaudible), I think that's the most important point. BERMAN: All right guys, hang on we have a lot more coming up. Hillary Clinton not the only one weighing in on the Trump birther escapade today. First Lady Michelle Obama did her first solo campaign rally for Hillary Clinton. We'll have that next.


[20:41:03] BERMAN: Hillary Clinton said there is no of raising Donald Trump's birther history. She spoke at the Black Women's Agenda Forum in Washington and she said for 5 years Trump lead the birther movement to delegitimize our first black president that he owes both the president and the American people an apology. Secretary Clinton is getting some major help on the trail this week, first it was President Obama campaigning for and today First Lady Michelle Obama did the same.

CNN senior Washington correspondent Jeff Zeleny, reports.


HILLARY CLINTON, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The next 53 days will shape the next 50 years.

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHIINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Hillary Clinton delivering a clarion call to Democrats about the election's steep consequences and a warning not to buy the shape shifting of Donald Trump.

CLINTON: To my friends, there is no new Donald Trump. There never will be.

ZELENY: Tonight Clinton and Democrats across the party are rising up in fury at Trump after he tried distinguishing his long-running effectually incorrect question about President Obama's citizenship. The new wave of controversy could awaken and energize the so-called Obama coalition, which Clinton has been struggling to motivate.

Members of the Congressional Black Caucus came out in full force, calling voter to action.

REP. HAKEEM JEFFRIES, (D) CONGRESSIONAL BLACK CAUCUS: Don't walk to the polls. Don't jog to the polls. Run to the polls, to make sure this hater is not elected as the next president of the United States of America.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama.

ZELENY: In Virginia today Michelle Obama confronting Trump at her first solo campaign appearance for Clinton.

MICHELLE OBAMA, FIRST LADY OF UNITED STATES: There were those who questioned and continue to question for the past eight years up through this very day whether my husband was even born in this country.

ZELENY: The first lady, one of the most popular figures in politics helping a former first lady and making it clear she's personally invested in keeping the White House in Democratic hands.

OBAMA: No one in our lifetime has ever had as much experience and exposure to the presidency. Not Barack, not Bill as he would say nobody. And yes, she happens to be a woman.

ZELENY: She's one of many Democratic stars hitting the campaign trail. A highlight reel from the party's convention last month, now fanning out across the country.

To fire up liberals and young voters, Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders heading to Ohio this weekend. On CNN's "New Day", Sanders offering sharp words to any of his followers who are still cool on Clinton.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS, (I) VERMONT: Please, anybody who supports me, do not think that Donald Trump in any way, shape or form reflects the point of view that I have.

ZELENY: Clinton is trying regain her footing after weathering one of the rockiest weeks of her campaign. Even making political hay with her setback from pneumonia.

CLINTON: The good news is my pneumonia finally got some Republicans interested in women's health.

ZELENY: Back on the campaign trail for a second straight day, Clinton told black leaders they could play a large role in helping stop Trump's candidacy. She noted African-American women vote in higher percentage than any other group.

CLINTON: This year once again, you have your hands on the wheel of history and you can write the next chapter of the American story.


ZELENY: The pointed reaction from Michelle Obama, members of the Congressional Black Caucus and so many other black leaders suggest how personal this is. And now how politically it's become. And this is all happening on a weekend when the Congressional Black Caucus is holding a dinner with African-Americans from across the country tomorrow night in Washington.

President Obama and Secretary Clinton will be on hand to give speeches. Now, the idea was for the president to energize this old coalition that swept him to the White House and transfer that excitement to Secretary Clinton.

Now Trump may have unwittingly fired up that old Obama coalition more than Clinton could herself. John?

BERMAN: All right, Jeff Zeleny. Thanks so much.

Back now with the panel. Errol Louis, let me start with you. Michelle Obama out on the campaign trail today. How much can she do? And I suppose where does she want to go, right. I mean she could have gone a lot harder on the birther issue with Donald Trump today. But she chose to make one reference to it and then move on.

[20:45:14] LOUIS: Part of how she's crafted her public image has been someone not necessarily above politics but a little bit outside of the fray. Not somebody who wants to get in instead of mud wrestle and trade insults and so forth. Even when Melania Trump, you know, plagiarized her speech and so forth she didn't get into the back and forth related. She started had multiple opportunities. She's got all the great speech writers at her beck can call, she could do it anyway she wants, but her brand is somebody who is sort of a stalwart person. Somebody who goes high when others go low. She uses that phrase a lot.

BERMAN: She used it today.

LOUIS: Right, yeah. And then it's a very effective line, you know, I mean. So she is aspirational. And even more so in some ways than her husband can be, he's got to be a political warrior. She is not. I think that's what attract so many people, that's why her numbers are so high. That's why as a surrogate she's going to be devastatingly effective. I mean she really is.

JONES: She is secret weapon. I mean, she's the neutron bomb. Because when she talks, I don't care if you -- if you think Obama, you know, the president is, you, a part of ISIS or whatever.

This woman just connects. I mean, she is a connection machine. Really you got to find almost like an Oprah Winfrey type of person to connect with others when she does. And so was to that mom-in-chief coming out top campaign trail. She's always -- just like mama, has to do a finger wag at the kid and the kid shuts up. She can finger wag Trump. Get all that those headlines she just got and then still give a beautiful speech. She is a secret weapon.

BERMAN: Finger wagging Trump, Jeffrey Lord, is that something that is a concern to the Trump campaign and friends of Obama's including the rating up toward to 50. Go ahead Jeffrey.

LORD: I'll tell you why it has nothing do with Mrs. Obama personally. I think she's a delightful person. I just have to say, the role of first ladies, I mean I think of Barbara Bush who was extraordinarily popular in 1992. It didn't help her husband at all. Laura Bush, very popular, didn't help John McCain at all.

The role of first ladies in this is always challenging. I mean I think frankly it's a miserable position, because you are always dammed if you do and dammed if you don't. I mean I saw that with Nancy Reagan, you see it with Mrs. Obama. But I just really think that when we get to this, it's all about Hillary Clinton and it's all about Donald Trump and that's it.

BERMAN: One of the things that the Clinton campaign is trying to do Maggie and they're not even tightening (ph) it is to reach out to millennial voters. I mean Michelle Obama during her speech all of it said, you know, if you are, you know, younger than 34, I'm talking to you. They are reaching out Michelle Obama on the stump today, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders he was on "New Day" talking about this. They know they have work to do. I mean real work to do. And in some cases it is not just competing against Donald Trump. It's competing against Gary Johnson and Jill Stein.

HABERMAN: Yeah, I mean I think that what you just said I think is the huge concern in terms of millennial voters, and in terms of these third party candidates who you are seeing siphon off. A lot of younger voters and that is where Democrats are worried.

I think Jeffrey is right to generally speaking the appeal not just first ladies but we're talking about a unique situation. This is not Michelle Obama campaigning for her husband. She's campaigning for a different woman. And this is an unusual circumstance.

Some of which she's aiming at is not just generating a younger voter base, but also trying to eliminate stories that I think you are going to see more of, we've seen them throughout the last several years sort of whispers of contention or them or remaining lingering bad blood, between the Obamas and the Clintons, and she's making pretty clear that is not true, don't believe it if you hear that coming forward.

BERMAN: All right, thanks guys very much.

Up next for us, Donald Trump and Ivana Trump separated 26 years ago. They reunited this week to fight effort to unseal their divorce records, the transparency issue, any settle a whole lot of ways.

The latest, next.


[20:52:36] BERMAN: Donald Trump is not, fair to say, publicity shy, with a few rare exceptions, and this is one of them. It's an issue to unites him and his ex-wife, Ivana, in a shared campaign against transparency, namely, a court fight over keeping their divorce records sealed.

Jean Casarez reports.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So what's your feeling ...


JEAN CASERAZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The "New York Times" along with "Gannet Media", are asking a court to unseal the documents, saying Donald J. Trump is now the 2016 Republican nominee for the office of president. The sealed records address issues directly relevant to the presidential election, such as, his credibility, treatment of women, finances, litigious nature may well shed important light on his character and capabilities during an important period in his life.

Unsealing them would assist the American public in making an informed judgment in the presidential race. While the divorce documents may be sealed, there is plenty we do know about Trump's 13-year marriage to his first wife, Ivana. The couple was married in 1977 and led a very public life, while building their brand and raising their three children, Donald Jr., Eric, and Ivanka.

All seemed well, until this. Ivana in Aspen with her husband during the 1989 winter holidays. She overheard a conversation Donald was having with friend about Marla Maples. His then-girlfriend was also on the ski slopes of Colorado when the two actually came face to face. As Trump told ABC in 1994 ...

TRUMP: We're actually standing near the restaurant, getting ready to put skis on, and I was standing there, like an idiot, and Marla and Ivana were here.

CASERAZ: From that point on, the gloves were off. A divorce action was filed and the tabloids had their covers. She wanted half and he wanted to honor nuptial agreements. They eventually settled.

In response to the current court action, attorneys for Ivana say she wants her family life kept private and confidential. Saying the newspaper giants are on a fishing expedition, grasping for information that more often appears in tabloids. But not everything at the time was for public display. Ivana alleged during a divorce deposition that her husband had rape her in 1989.

[20:55:05] The accusation was first revealed in the 1993 book by former "Newsweek" reporter, Harry Hurt III, "Lost Tycoon: The Many Lives of Donald J. Trump." As the book was close to publication, Ivana composed a statement ultimately printed on the book's first page. "I felt violated as the love and tenderness which he normally exhibited towards me was absent. I refer to this as a rape, but I do not want my words to be interpreted in a literal or criminal sense." Trump has denied the accusations.

Ivana commented again on the accusation, as rumors swirled last year after Trump announced his candidacy. "The story is totally without merit. Donald and I are the best of friends and together have raised three children that we love and are very proud of. I have nothing but fondness for Donald and wish him the best of luck on his campaign."

Attorneys for Donald Trump say unbridle disclosure is not required or even expected of political candidates and is not the responsibility of the courts. They cite as an example President Obama not releasing his academic records and Secretary Clinton not revealing her full medical records, even though her medical condition is being raised as issues in the current campaign.

Jean Casarez, CNN, New York.


BERMAN: All right, we'll be right back.


[21:00:03] BERMAN: That does it for us this Friday night. Thanks so much for watching. Time now for "CNN Tonight" with Don Lemon.

DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: So you think you've heard the last that Donald Trump stands on the birther issue. Think again. This is --