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AT THIS HOUR WITH BERMAN AND MICHAELA
Report: Trump Aides Frustrated by Debate Performance; Michelle Obama Featured in Clinton Ad; Howard Dean Asks Is Trump Coke User; Dem. Staffer Phones Hacked as FBI Director Testifies on Russia Meddling in U.S. Election; Trump Made Controversial Comments on Former Miss Universe. Aired 11-11:30a ET
Aired September 28, 2016 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[11:00:00] CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: That will do it for me today. Just one story to send you off.
Thank you for joining me today. I'm Carol Costello.
AT THIS HOUR with Berman and Bolduan starts now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I didn't want to do anything to embarrass her.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He can fling whatever insults he wants.
TRUMP: Hillary Clinton is virtually incompetent.
HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If not paying taxes makes him smart, what does that make all the rest of us?
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Donald Trump refusing to let go of his scathing criticism of the weight gain of a former Miss Universe.
ALICIA MACHADO, FORMER MISS UNIVERSE: He was really aggressive. He was really rude.
TRUMP (voice-over): She gained a massive amount of weight. It was a real problem.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: Hello, everyone. I'm John Berman.
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Hi, everyone. I'm Kate Bolduan.
Less than six weeks to the election, not a moment to lose. Candidates are lighting up the campaign trail. Where are they? In battleground states, shockingly. Donald Trump barnstorming the Midwest. He heads to Iowa and Wisconsin later today. But first, he is speaking in the great state of Illinois before the Polish American Alliance. We will take you there live. You are looking at the podium at the moment. BERMAN: For Hillary Clinton and her team it's like a swing state
sing-along with all sorts of guests. Michelle Obama is in Philadelphia in just a few minutes campaigning for Hillary Clinton. Chelsea Clinton in North Carolina. As for Hillary Clinton herself, she will be in New Hampshire with Bernie Sanders. Bernie Sanders might be her new best friend as she tries to reach out to Millennial voters.
This, as there is a new report of anxiety inside Trump world about his debate performance. "The New York Times" says advisers want to make sure he's more prepared for the next face-off with Hillary Clinton, less obsessed with tangents and also the size of ex-beauty queens, more obsessed with facts, cogent answers and valid points of attack on Hillary Clinton.
BOLDUAN: But does Donald Trump himself think he needs improvement? Debate two is 11 days away. Last night, he said he was unquestionably the winner of the first.
CNN's Jason Carroll covering the Trump campaign this morning in Chicago.
Jason, what are you hearing now?
JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: First of all, let's talk about the beauty queen. The issue that most of Donald Trump's advisers say they wish would just go away, do not want him focused on that. Donald Trump still seemed to double down on this whole sort criticism of the former Miss Universe, Alicia Machado, even a day after the debate. They really want him to move on from that. They feel as though there was some missed opportunities. "The New York Times reporting that there was much talk about whether or not Donald Trump was properly prepared to go into this last debate. Roger Ailes, former head of FOX News, apparently, in the beginning, there was some sort of effort to do more of a traditional preparation by holding mock debates, perhaps, but that was abandoned when, according to the "Times," Donald Trump had problems focusing in that type of particular format.
So moving forward, what are they going to do? More preparation, more focus. According to the "Times," even perhaps holding mock debates. Again, he didn't do that. Hillary Clinton did do that. So more focus and, hopefully, more of an opportunity to really challenge Hillary Clinton on issues that Trump supporters say he does well at, focusing on issues such as the economy, jobs, trade. More focus on that, less focus on the former Miss Universe and her weight issues.
BERMAN: All right. Jason Carroll for us in Chicago.
Again, we are waiting to hear from Donald Trump. He will take the stage there any minute from now.
While we are waiting, as we mentioned, the first lady of the United States, Michelle Obama, she is on the trail for Hillary Clinton. But not just on the trail. You are looking at live pictures from Philadelphia, so she's going to be there. But she's also in the air. BOLDUAN: The Clinton campaign has a new ad out featuring the first
lady. The message, presidents are role models. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHELLE OBAMA, FIRST LADY OF THE UNITED STATES: Hillary will be a president our kids can look up to, a president who believes in our kids and will fight for them every day. That's why I believe in her.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: Let's discuss all of this as we have these live events that are about to begin, Edward Espinoza, Hillary Clinton supporter, former DNC super delegate; Kayleigh McEnany, CNN political commentator, Donald Trump supporter; Mark Preston, CNN politics executive editor; and Alex Burns, CNN political analyst and national political reporter for "The New York Times."
Great to see you and great to have you here.
Alex, to the Trump saga right now, if nothing else, sources tell "The New York Times," you probably heard of "The New York Times," this debate did not go the way Donald Trump's team wanted it to go. Does he see that, though?
ALEX BURNS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I think that's the biggest open question. What several of my colleagues have reported this morning and what I certainly heard from a number of Republicans, in and around the Trump universe, is that there was -- you said the debate didn't go the way they wanted it to. In retrospect, it's not clear that there was a crisp enough plan for how they wanted it to go going into it. It's pretty clear that Hillary Clinton knew how she wanted to prosecute the case against Trump in that debate and Trump was kind of appearing to make it up as he went along, which worked just fine for him in the Republican primary debates, but a one-on-one face-to-face split-screen clash over 90 minutes where you can't just drop back for long periods of time is a totally different beast.
[11:05:31] BERMAN: Remarkable details in this article about how there's angst about the fact he didn't practice enough or didn't practice certain things enough.
Kayleigh McEnany, what would you like to see him do differently 11 days from now?
KAYLEIGH MCENANY, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I do think he had a very good debate but I don't think either candidate moved voters. In order to move voters I think one of the most important things Donald Trump should practice for the next debate is taking those moments where Hillary Clinton brings up tax returns or many of the lines of argument she brought up and taking those moments to not play defense but move into playing offense, bringing up e-mails, the smashing of Blackberries with hammers, the Clinton Foundation. We didn't hear Clinton Foundation brought up to my recollection. Those are missed opportunities. That's something he needs to work on.
BERMAN: At least have an answer. At least have a prepared answer for questions you know are coming. Right?
MCENANY: Right. And learn how to prosecute Hillary Clinton effectively.
BOLDUAN: And make the pivot --
BOLDUAN: -- that difficult word that maybe Donald Trump has had a hard time with that throughout the election.
These are a couple of lines, Mark, that stick out as pretty astonishing. They need to convince him he can do better than he did in the first debate, which indicates that they realize that they have got a problem, one, but also indicates that maybe Donald Trump himself, does he -- does he think he needs change? They need to convince him he needs to do better? That's pretty amazing.
MARK PRESTON, CNN POLITICS EXECUTIVE EDITOR: Yeah, but let's look at who we are talking about. We are talking about somebody who for all his life has been larger than life. He probably is not surrounded by people who tell him no and we know, in politics, that the smartest politician is somebody who surrounds himself with people who are smarter than themselves. That's when you see successful presidential administrations. The defense secretary knows more than the president. The HUD secretary knows more than the president. But Donald Trump is somebody that -- when it comes to those issues, but Donald Trump is somebody who I think says things so many times over and over and over that he believes it so when he goes out and says the polls are showing that I have won, those polls are not scientific to the nth degree. My sixth grader could draw up one of those polls and put it online. I think he says it enough times he believes it and his supporters believe it, which makes it difficult for his staff to get him to change his mind.
BERMAN: Which is why any journalist will tell you they leaked like sieves to "The New York Times" to get a message to Donald Trump while all this is going on.
BURNS: The point about polls, you know, we heard going back to the primaries Trump himself doesn't understand the methodology of polling or what makes a scientific or non-scientific poll, so when he's out there talking about the applause meter essentially on "Drudge," that's not just some act. He really thinks that's a meaningful statement.
BERMAN: On the subject of not understanding, Ed Espinoza, Howard Dean, former chairman of your party, watched the debate and commented on what seemed like sniffles Donald Trump was making during the debate, and he tweeted during the debate, he said, "Coke user, question mark."
BOLDUAN: And he's a doctor.
BERMAN: He's a doctor. This is Dr. Howard Dean said that. Coke user, you see right there. That was during the debate. Yesterday, he went on TV with Kate Snow and didn't back off. Let's listen. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HOWARD DEAN, FORMER CHAIRMAN, DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL COMMITTEE: But I don't think this is a ridiculous idea. Something funny was going on with Trump last night. Do I think it's cocaine? Probably not, but again, the sniffling, the grandiosity, the delusions, the pressured speech. This guy's already proven himself to be unstable. The question is why is he unstable.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: You know, come on, Howard Dean. You can't say that. So the question is, does he need to apologize and does the Clinton campaign need to come out and say look, this is ridiculous, we disavow this completely?
EDWARD ESPINOZA, HILLARY CLINTON SUPPORTER & FORMER DNC SUPER DELEGATE: First of all, I don't know that he should have said it, but in a year where lots of people have said lots of things they shouldn't have said, I don't know that it necessarily stands out any more than any of those other things. Plus, I think that --
BOLDUAN: But the Clinton campaign lights its hair on fire appropriately when Donald Trump or those close to him supporting him say outrageous things and say you need to come out and denounce this.
ESPINOZA: Sure. I don't think that Howard Dean should have said something like that, especially from a doctor's point of view. Plus, I think it's important that America knows that Donald Trump was completely sober when he said the things he said the other night.
I think that that actually has merit to it as well. So think of these things in larger context and --
BOLDUAN: That was a good spin.
ESPINOZA: But if he can't visualize his way during the debate, if he can't visualize his path there, clearly and coherently, how is he going to do it when we are in a time of crisis, when he has to make quick judgments in The Situation Room during an important international situation?
PRESTON: The problem is right here is that Howard Dean just did what we are criticizing Donald Trump for doing every day. Doubling down on --
ESPINOZA: But Howard Dean is not running for president. Donald Trump is. Donald Trump needs to be able to make --
[11:10:08] PRESTON: Howard Dean is a leader in the Democratic Party, former DNC chairman, almost became the Democratic presidential nominee.
ESPINOZA: But that's like a decade ago.
BOLDUAN: Let's talk about -- talk a little more about last night. Donald Trump is at this big rally. He said that he was holding back, he did not want to embarrass Hillary Clinton. Then, his deputy campaign manager came out this morning and went there, and said after -- well, let's also say that David Bossie has been going after the Clintons for years but he used the word "enabler," called her an enabler. Is this where this conversation is headed going into the second debate? Is this where they are going to go?
BURNS: This is maybe one of the most divisive debates within the Trump universe and among Republicans in Washington who don't want to see him go there, this notion that you turn the final six weeks of the campaign into the greatest hits of Bill Clinton's personal scandals of the 1990. There are definitely people very close to Trump and certainly people, thousands at his rallies who would love to see him go there and bring up Monica Lewinsky and the host of scandals we lived through and remember well.
But what Republicans who have run against Hillary Clinton in the past are really quick to remind Trump and folks around him is that Hillary Clinton has typically been seen as sympathetic when those issues get raised and an election that's already expected to have just an enormous gender gap. The idea of staking your campaign on highlighting a female candidate's husband's infidelities and her response to that, that by any conventional political logic that's a really dangerous place to go.
BERMAN: Kayleigh, it's one thing if Donald Trump does or doesn't choose to bring it up next time, and I suppose that's a decision they have to make. What I can't figure out is why there's this public vetting of the notion that Trump himself and Trump advisers are doing. How is it helpful for David Bossie to go out and openly muse about Hillary Clinton being an enabler?
MCENANY: It is an important topic. I would rather see the women come out and speak, like Juanita Broaddrick, who said she was bullied by Hillary Clinton, perhaps Monica Lewinsky, who made a horrible mistake but was on the verge of suicide after the comments made about her by the first lady. If the women come out, I think that is a good strategy. I don't think the candidates should go there. I do agree with Alex, she does tend to look sympathetic in that scenario. Outside of the women making it themselves, I don't think the candidates should go there.
BOLDUAN: The signals from the Clinton campaign, they are happy for him to go there or anyone to go there, because they think they can prosecute that counter attack very effectively.
ESPINOZA: Something they have prosecuted for decades. This is not a new issue for them. For Donald to bring something like this up -- by the way, his surrogates bringing it up in the media right now is their way of getting it out without him having to get it out. We are talking about it right now.
BOLDUAN: Or changing the subject from him not having a good debate? We have seen this tactic in the past.
BURNS: This is the version of changing the subject that worked for Trump so well.
BURNS: He ended up down 12 points in August. When you careen from one fight that's charged with issues of race and gender all summer, that's not what he's been doing the last few weeks, when he has drawn closer in the polls. To return to that, because it changes the subject and feels good in the short term, the people who see him as having made progress in the race, badly do not want him to go there.
BERMAN: Guys, stick around a lot more to discuss.
Coming up next, Donald Trump is getting ready to speak in Chicago. We will take you there live when it happens.
But once again, he continues to attack the weight of a former Miss Universe. We will talk to a different contestant from that pageant about what this means. That's coming up.
BOLDUAN: Also, moments from now, President Obama could be faced with the first veto override of his presidency. We will take you live to Capitol Hill. What's at stake.
And Michelle Obama is getting ready to stump for Hillary Clinton on the trail. And it has to be a coincidence or absolutely not that she also appears in a new ad for Hillary Clinton. Michelle Obama live in Pennsylvania very soon.
[11:18:02] BERMAN: Happening right now, FBI Director James Comey testifying before the House Judiciary Committee. What he is talking about is Russia and the idea that Russia may be meddling in U.S. elections. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAMES COMEY, FBI DIRECTOR: Obviously, as you know, we are doing an awful lot of work through our counter-intelligence investigators to understand just what mischief is Russia up to in connection with our election. That is work that goes on all day, every day, about which I'm limited in terms of answering questions, but I wanted you to know that's a part of our work we don't talk about an awful lot but it's at the core of the FBI.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: This all comes as the FBI's announced it's investigating a possible hack of cell phones belonging to some Democratic Party staffers.
CNN's chief national security correspondent, Jim Sciutto, is following all of this story for us.
A lot coming out. We have been talking about the hack into the DNC and the FBI investigation but James Comey is giving more information, Jim, about really what they think is going on.
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: I've got to tell you, I cannot underestimate the level of alarm and concern, not just in law enforcement, the FBI, U.S. intelligence agencies, as well as lawmakers that have been briefed on the intelligence, the level of concern about Russian activity tied to this election. You're hearing that. They have been saying it in private for some time. The fact that you are hearing it now, Comey on Capitol Hill, Adam Schiff and Dianne Feinstein last week releasing a statement pressuring the White House to really "out" Russia on this, you are hearing that now as we get close to the election because that activity is not abating. In fact, it's getting more serious. And we heard Jeh Johnson yesterday on the Hill saying that some 18 states have now reached out to the Department of Homeland Security for protection from attacks by foreign hackers. And really, the number-one culprit, although they have not publicly identified Russia, and despite Donald Trump saying it could be China, could be a 400 pound man in his basement, the number-one culprit -- and this is a unanimous nonpartisan judgment from the folks I have talked to -- is that it is Russia and they are extremely concerned -- guys?
[11:20:10] BERMAN: Jim Sciutto, unless that 400 pound guy is in Russia, working perhaps for their intelligence services, may not be exactly how Donald Trump portrayed it.
Jim, thanks so much.
SCIUTTO: Thank you.
BERMAN: We have brand new reporting that suggests that advisers to Donald Trump could not get him to focus on debate prep as much as they want. They were particularly concerned when he brought up Rosie O'Donnell at the end of the debate. We will speak to a Trump adviser, next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[11:25:03] TRUMP (voice-over): She weighed 118 pounds, 117 pounds and she went up to 160 or 170, so this is somebody that likes to eat.
MACHADO: He was really aggressive. He was really rude. He was a bad person with me.
I know very well Mr. Trump, and I can see the same person that I met 20 years ago.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: The feud between Donald Trump and former pageant queen escalating, as you see right there, this morning. Venezuelan-born Alicia Machado says Trump led her to develop an eating disorder after she was crowned Miss Universe back in '96, saying he called her Miss Piggy, Miss Eating Machine, and as Hillary Clinton mentioned in the debate, Miss Housekeeping because she's Latina. Yesterday, Donald Trump did not back down. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP (voice-over): She was the winner and she gained a massive amount of weight, and it was a real problem. We had a real problem.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: Joining us now is someone who worked with Donald Trump when she was a contestant in the Miss Universe pageant, Miss Sweden, 2014, Camilla Hansson.
Camilla, thanks for being with us.
Donald Trump hasn't denied he said these things, Miss Piggy and Miss Housekeeping. Do you think that kind of language is appropriate?
CAMILLA HANSSON, MISS SWEDEN & MISS UNIVERSE CONTESTANT: Well, thank you for having me, first of all.
No, absolutely. Every woman needs to be respected, regardless how she looks, if she gained weight, you know, no one wants to have a nickname like that.
Having said that, being in Miss Universe, we know what the role entails. We know we need to be healthy. We have every possible help for us to be so. We have personal trainers. We have nutritionists, et cetera. So, yeah, so Miss Universe is a brand, and they quite like you to follow what's within their sort of brand ethos.
BOLDUAN: But it's not about the weight, this conversation, of course. It's about the words he used. As you said, every woman needs to be respected. What would your reaction have been if those -- if you had been called those words while working with the Miss Universe organization?
HANSSON: I would have been upset, of course. Like you said, no one wants to be called anything like that. And you know, we know Trump is Trump and he has no filter for what he thinks, and that's I guess partly why some people like him.
But at the same time, I guess he says things in the heat of the moment which I think he might not even mean, like this particular comment. But of course, I understand she's upset. I would have been certainly if someone called me that. But like I said, yeah, we need to stay healthy and that's kind of part of the contract.
BERMAN: It's hard to know what he means because he's still saying it all these years later, not maybe using the words Miss Piggy and Miss Housekeeping but still very critical of her weight.
You did work around Donald Trump. Did you ever hear him use this kind of language?
HANSSON: Well, I mean, I met him during the Miss Universe competition in 2015 in Miami and you know, he was there for a good week or so and he was very nice to everyone. He was never disrespectful at any point, certainly, not to me or any of the girls so I can't say anything from first-hand experience. They treated us very nicely. We were very well looked after. And so I can't say that he said anything inappropriate at that time.
BOLDUAN: We know, of course, you can't vote in this election, but from your personal experiences you have had with Donald Trump, and what you have seen in this election, do you think he would make a good president?
HANSSON: Well, it's tough to say. He's obviously a good businessman. He's done well in his life. You have to admire him for his achievements.
I watched the debate a little bit. It was 3:00 a.m. Swedish time. I think they both have some good points. I think I have huge admiration for Hillary standing her ground and being so composed and prepared. I think they both have some good points.
You know, no matter who wins, it's going to be a huge historical moment for America. And, ultimately, of course, it will affect all of us. But I will have to leave that to America to decide who's going to win.
BERMAN: Finally, do you have any message you want to send to Alicia Machado, who is obviously -- who went through this those years ago and is now going through it again, sort of having to relive what she considers to be painful moments right now? Any message you want to send to her?
HANSSON: Well, like I said, I'm sorry, of course, that she had to hear some negative comments about her, but ultimately, I think this title of Miss Universe 1996 is a massive thing. And it's obviously a platform she's been able to use very well for her career. I also understand she's a successful activist, et cetera.