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THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER

Trump Finally Admits Obama Was Born in U.S.; Crisis in Syria: Ceasefire Holding But Aid Not Getting In; U.S. Troops Helping to Retake ISIS Strongholds; 3-D Printers Helping To Make Drones For Military; CNN Gets Rare Look At New Battlefield Technology; Kidnapped Woman Calls 911 While Captor Inches Away; Pipeline Leak May Drain Drivers' Wallets; Bank Fraud Fallout. Aired 4:30-5p ET

Aired September 16, 2016 - 16:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Olivier, you'll remember this, Mitt Romney's former body man Garrett Jackson tweeted a few months ago, I recorded a lot of the real -- "I recorded a lot, the real Donald Trump better hope I didn't record him telling us to use the birther argument because, quote, 'right wing crazies will believe it'."

[16:30:08] So, which is -- which is worse I guess is the question, that Donald Trump believed that President Obama want born in this country or that he never believed it, but that, quote/unquote "right wing" crazies in his words, according to Garrett Jackson, would believe it and he was just trying to appeal to them?

OLIVIER KNOX, CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT, YAHOO NEWS: Well, it was pretty terrible, but I have to lean on the idea that manipulating something you know is not true for political advantage, especially something quite this disgusting. I think that's probably worse.

TAPPER: If you were -- let me -- I'm going to appoint to be a Trump adviser and you also have the skills of time travel.

JACKIE KUCINICH, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Wow.

TAPPER: But you start last year, how would you have him handle the birther thing? Would you have him get rid of it right off the bat, or would you do it as he did today, or would you have him stick it with? I mean, what would you?

KUCINICH: I don't think it would matter what I would do, because it's all about Donald Trump. It's what he wants to do. Both of these campaigns to a large extent are not about the advisers. It's about the top of the ticket and what they want do. And that has been the problem for both of these campaigns.

Some presidential candidates actually listen to their advisers. I don't know that either of these do. I think at the end of the day, it's their decision.

TAPPER: That's an interesting point because I do think that and we're not -- there's no false equivalence going on here, I'm just changing the subject to Hillary Clinton, which is, do you think there is anybody around Hillary Clinton who can say, you know what, let's just tell the press that you have pneumonia and disclose? Or does she run an operation where there is no one there that can tell her that?

KNOX: It's a really good question he. There is not really a great precedent for president or presidential candidate to disclose something like pneumonia. Typically, these folks really will only disclose something if there is visible evidence like a bruise. George W. Bush pretzel, or the surgery to remove their pre-cancerous legions.

When there is visible evidence that is coming or if by tradition they're required to release their medical records, there's not really a lot of precedent. What struck me was less the lack of disclosure on Friday when the diagnosis occurred, then the sudden unexplained disappearance of the Democratic nominee which is only explained eight hours later with the pneumonia diagnoses. That was the bigger error there.

TAPPER: Yes, and I guess one of the questions that a lot of people wonder, if videotape, the smartphone videotape hadn't emerged of her having the near collapse, would we even know the truth right now?

KUCINICH: It certainly doesn't seem to because it's actually very similar language Hillary Clinton used with the e-mails. I didn't think it was a big deal.

TAPPER: Yes, let's go back to the birther thing because I think it's a fairly huge development. Do you think now -- obviously the Trump people want this to be over. My suspicion is that now every Republican candidate out there running for Senate, running for house is now going to be asked about this and I don't think it's going away. I suspect Lester Holt might have a question or two for Mr. Trump about why did you tell this lie for so many years?

KNOX: You can hear a lot of liquor bottles being unscrewed in the headquarters of various Republicans campaigns around the country. Yeah, of course they will be asked what they think. And this is the Trump headline of the day.

Not quite sure he wants this to get rid of it. If he wanted to get rid of it, he wouldn't have thrown in the false allegation that Hillary Clinton was behind the rise of birtherism.

TAPPER: Well, what do you mean? What do you mean you don't want him to --

KNOX: He doesn't want to. If he wanted to, he would have stopped there. He wouldn't have thrown in these other allegations that will give a couple more cycles.

It gives her a chance to respond. We dissect this a little bit more. I'm not completely sure that he wants this to go completely away.

But you're right for, for a lot of Republican candidates, they're all sitting in their headquarters, looking at their TV screens, hurling maybe a half empty beer bottle at your head right the now.

TAPPER: Why he wouldn't want it to go away? Do you have a theory? KUCINICH: Because Donald Trump, because this is what -- his supporters, a lot of them feed on this. They really like him because he stuck to his guns and he wasn't going to be pressured by the mainstream media or facts to retract what he --

TAPPER: You're not going to win Pennsylvania with birtherism, though.

KUCINICH: You won't win Pennsylvania with a lot of the things that he's saying. So I think that this is something -- he really went for broke on this. For five years he's been going after this. So Donald Trump doesn't like saying he's wrong. Ever.

TAPPER: I remain more confused than ever.

KNOX: There was like the one day where the wall, the signature policy proposal here, for one day the wall suddenly became a virtual wall or an electronic wall or maybe a notional wall and then the candidate -- you're right, candidate came in and said it's a wall, a real wall, we're going to build it.

TAPPER: Right.

KNOX: He could have softened. There are a lot of things he could have dialed back. The Muslim ban which then turned into an expanded ban of Muslims and Christians. I don't think he wants these things to go away.

TAPPER: Olivier and Jackie, thank you so much. You're living me more confused than I've ever been. I appreciate it. The whole point of the cease fire in Syria was to get aid to people who desperately need basics such as food, water, medical supplies. It's been five days but the aid is still not arriving.

We're going to go live to Aleppo, next.

[16:35:01] Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD.

Our world lead today -- desperately needed aid has yet to reach hundreds of thousands of Syrians caught in the middle of the country's five-year long civil war. With no safe way out, a cease-fire has held this week, but more than a dozen trucks remain stuck at the border awaiting the Assad government's permits to enter the country.

CNN senior international correspondent Frederik Pleitgen is one of the few western journalists actually in Syria right now. And he joins me live from Aleppo.

Fred, is the Syrian government purposely refusing to allow the aid to get in?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, that could potentially be one of reasons why it's not getting in, but there also, Jake, seem to be obstructions really coming from all sides of the equation.

[16:40:04] The U.N. says right now trucks at any point are ready to go, but they're still stuck in customs at the border between Syria and Turkey and awaiting the permission from the Syrian government to be able to move.

But there is also a lot more to it. They also have to get security permissions also from the many rebel factions that hold a lot of the territory leading up to Aleppo. And so far the U.N. says it hasn't gotten the adequate security guarantees and also guarantees of safe passage. And then of course you need negotiations that basically also involve both the regime and as well as rebel forces to make he transition from rebel-held territory to the government held part of Aleppo and then back in to the rebel held areas.

So, it's a very, very complicated negotiating process that the U.N. is going through. They thought that they would be able to deliver some of the aid happened. They said right now they are still waiting it out and they want to make sure that they can do it as fast as possible, Jake.

TAPPER: And, obviously, the ceasefire is fragile. Right now, Russia and the U.S. both accusing one another of not holding the other end of the ceasefire. Do either of them have a point?

PLEITGEN: I think both have somewhat of a point. There have been major infractions on both sides. Syrian government says in the Aleppo area that the rebels keep opening fire on government-held positions.

And I was down in the southwest of Aleppo earlier today and you did hear some shelling that was it wasn't constant. But some of the firing that was going on seemed to be pretty heavy.

And then you have the Damascus area where a district was hit by government warplanes. And so both sides, there seem to be infractions there of the ceasefire. So far, it hasn't caused a cease-fire to totally derail. But certainly neither the U.S. nor Russia very happy with the way things are going at this point.

I think one thing we need to point out, the longer it takes for the aid to come through, because remember that was one of the reasons why the cease fire was put in place in the first place, the longer it takes for the aid to come through, the more difficult it will be to keep the cease fire going.

TAPPER: All right. Frederik Pleitgen, thank you so much for the reporting. Please stay safe, my friend.

Syria's ceasefire does not include ISIS, of course. Hundreds of U.S. forces are right now supporting their Arab counterparts in trying to recapture the terrorist group's stronghold, which includes Mosul. CNN was given rare access to the state-of-the-art technology that could soon potentially save American lives on the battlefield.

Let's bring in Barbara Starr. She's at the Pentagon.

And, Barbara, we're learning that the U.S. took out another top ISIS leader. What can you tell us about that?

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Jake.

Not just any top leader, but this man was the chief of propaganda and according to the Pentagon, is someone who had direct access to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, direct access that is very rare. This is someone they wanted to get very badly.

As you say, the pace of the activity, the pace of the fight for U.S. troops is picking up and that means they are looking for every piece of innovative technology they can.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

STARR (voice-over): More special operations forces may head to Iraq and Syria to advise local forces in upcoming battles to retake Mosul and Raqqah, CNN has learned. As troops move closer to the front line dangers, they need every advantage.

To get that advantage, students, professors and military personnel are working in this very nontraditional military lab on cutting edge gadgets. They could mean the difference between life and death.

JAMES GEURTS, U.S. SPECIAL OPERATIONS COMMAND: We found a thing called Gotenna which is an antenna you can clip your cellphone and turn into a radio. So, if you lose a cell tower, you can still communicate.

STARR: At this converted tattoo parlor of all places in Tampa, the special operations command is running an innovation project that seems more like a startup tech company than part of the U.S. military.

GEURTS: What we wanted to create was an inviting place, somewhere that you would want to come to work where if you're a 19-year-old and you got a great idea, you'd be happy to come here.

STARR: It's not just about winning the fight, but surviving it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is actually a pellet that expands up to 20 times its size when it reaches fluids. So what you do is inject this into a wound, all these pellets will expand and clot the wound and quickly shut off the bleeding. So, previously they would have been packing pieces of gauze into that wound in order to try to stop the blood flow.

GEURTS: So, a lot what we also do is rapidly prototype things, get the idea flowing and trying to get it from cocktail napkin to here is an actual thing we're thinking about temperature.

STARR: 3D printed drones also show promise for Iraq and Syria. Imagine getting the part you need by printing it right on the battlefield.

GEURTS: If something breaks, they can repair it themselves and not have to keep coming back to us for parts.

[16:45:04] STARR: With a 3D printer and, yes, Play-Doh, a standard issue weapon can be molded to the individual.

GEURTS: Our operator asked us, was - "Hey, can you customize a grip and when you do that, can you embed buttons and switches, so that I can control all the things I need without taking my hands off the weapon and what my eyes off what I'm looking at in the weapon.

STARR: So, you know, typically, when the military needs some new piece of gear, a big contract goes out. It takes years, millions of dollars are spent. This is a project in a very historic area of Tampa, Florida. An old tattoo parlor that they converted where they're bringing a lot of people together to see if there is a different way of doing business. Jake?

[16:45:47] JAKE TAPPER, CNN's THE LEAD ANCHOR: Fascinating. Barbara Starr at the Pentagon. Thanks so much.

A woman kidnapped, being held in an abandoned house while her alleged captor sleeps next to her.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I've been abducted.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you know what color the house is?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No. Please hurry.

TAPPER: The chilling life-or-death call for help, next.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

[16:50:19] TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD. An incredible story of survival in our "NATIONAL LEAD" today. A woman is kidnapped, sexually assaulted and tied up, but somehow managed to break free and call the cops with her kidnapper just inches away, according to the police. CNN's Jean Casarez is in New York filing the story for us. And Jean, police say this man allegedly murdered three other women.

[16:50:40] JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, there were two murdered women in the same house that the alleged kidnapping victim alive was and he has been charged in those murders. Another woman he led authorities to, that was near a burned house, he's not been charge with that, but what you are about to hear is chilling. And the alleged victim says that it took everything she had in her to untie herself to even begin to make this call for help.

911 DISPATCHER: 911, what is the address to you emergency?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right across from the 4th Street Laundromat.

911 DISPATCHER: What's the problem?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I've been abducted.

CASAREZ: A chilling 911 call of a woman whispering with fear in her voice.

911 DISPATCHER: Who abducted you?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Shawn Grate.

CASAREZ: She made the call as she was help in an abandoned home in Ashland, Ohio.

911 DISPATCHER: Where's he at now?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Asleep.

911 DISPATCHER: Where's he sleeping at?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In the bedroom.

CASAREZ: The woman on the phone keeps her voice quiet as her alleged captor sleeps next to her.

911 DISPATCHER: Does he have a weapon.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's got a Taser.

911 DISPATCHER: Are you injured?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A little.

CASAREZ: Being held since Sunday, the woman told police she was forced to commit sexual acts by her captor.

911 DISPATCHER: Is there any way you can get out of the building?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't know without waking him and I'm scared.

CASAREZ: The woman is afraid to move.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: His bedroom is closed, and he made it so it would make noise.

911 DISPATCHER: If you told him you had to go to the bathroom, he would do something to you?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yeah. Because he had me tied up.

911 DISPATCHER: Are you tied up now?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, I am, but I kind of freed myself.

CASAREZ: The 911 dispatcher keeps the woman on the phone while police make their way to the abandoned home.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are they on the way?

911 DISPATCHER: Yeah, we have officers we're sending.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Please send them up. Oh, shit! I woke him up. 911 DISPATCHER: OK. Just set the phone down.

CASAREZ: Three minutes of silence passed, and the dispatcher checks if the woman is still there.

911 DISPATCHER: Are you still there?

CASAREZ: Another minute passes.

911 DISPATCHER: Are you still there?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How much longer?

CASAREZ: She finally responds trembling.

911 DISPATCHER: Do you hear any officers outside?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.

911 DISPATCHER: OK. They're in the area.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: See if they can come in the side.

911 DISPATCHER: Can you get out of the bedroom?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I can't. The door doesn't have a knob in it.

911 DISPATCHER: Can hear anybody right now?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I heard the side door open.

CASAREZ: After 20 tensed minutes.

POLICE: Come out. Come out. Hurry up. Hurry up. We got her. Where is he?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think sleeping.

POLICE: Still sleeping?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. They have her.

CASAREZ: And bail was set this afternoon for the amount of $1 million. Shawn Grate has been charged with two counts of murder, one count of kidnapping. Those charges, of course, could escalate. And when bail was set, the judge listed all the conditions, you know, in case he would make the bail, and his response to the judge, "Sounds fair." Monday, they'll be another hearing on the criminal complaint. There also, Jake, will be a competency hearing. In other words, is he able to assist and understand the charges to help his attorney?

TAPPER: A horrific story. Jean Casarez, thank you so much. Summer driving season is over, but gas prices are about to soar in one part of the country. Is it where you are? That story next.

(END VIDEOTAPE) (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

[16:58:18] TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD. A critical fuel pipeline has sprung a leak, and now experts say your wallet may start draining as well. That's today's look at "AMERICA'S DEBT & THE ECONOMY." The Colonial Pipeline stretches from Houston to New Jersey and supplies gasoline for an estimated 50 million people. A spill of roughly 250,000 gallons of fuel was discovered in Alabama earlier this month. Repairs are under way, but when supply goes down, prices go up. So, until that pipeline can be fixed, your trip to the pump might not be pretty. Prices could go up as much as 20 cents a gallon in some states according to experts. Fuel distributer Mansfield Oil says it is treating the incident, "With the same importance and urgency as a national disaster," and it's not alone. States of emergency have already been declared in Alabama and Georgia.

And our "MONEY LEAD" today, the fallout for Wells Fargo continues. The bank is now facing an investigation and a hearing from the House Financial Services Committee, and the Committee Chairman says Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf will be called to testify. Stumpf is also slated to face a senate banking committee hearing on Tuesday. This comes after employees secretly open the millions of unauthorized accounts, gathering fees and boosting sales figures. More than 5,000 employees were fired and the bank was fined $185 million. Be sure to follow me on Facebook and Twitter @jaketapper or tweet the show @TheLeadCNN. Be sure to tune in Sunday, CNN STATE OF THE UNION, 9 am and noon Eastern. My guest will be Democratic vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine and New Jersey Governor and Trump supporter and head of his transition committee, Chris Christie. That is it for THE LEAD. I am Jake Tapper. I am wishing you a great weekend. I will see you Sunday morning. And I now turn you over to one Mr. Wolf Blitzer. He's right next door in THE SITUATION ROOM. Thanks for watching everyone.