Return to Transcripts main page
ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
Awaiting Donald Trump at Colorado Rally; Trump Defends Tax Strategy After Documents Leaked; Clinton: "Trump Contributing Nothing To Our Nation"; Clinton: "What Kind of Genius Loses A Billion Dollars?"; Giuliani Attacks Clinton Over Husband's Infidelities; LinkedIn Co-Founder Weighs in On Trump's Taxes Aired 7-8p ET
Aired October 3, 2016 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[19:00:10] ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: OUTFRONT next, the breaking news. Donald Trump bragging about using tax laws, quoted, "brilliantly," as a new CNN poll shows the debate took a toll on the Republican nominee.
Plus, how did Trump declare almost $1 billion in losses and what does that say about him as a businessman? My guest LinkedIn co-founder, Silicon Valley billionaire, Reid Hoffman.
And Hillary Clinton's leaked comments about young people living in their parents' basements. Will it hurt her? Let's go OUTFRONT.
Good evening, I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight, the breaking news, Donald Trump about to rally supporters in a crucial swing state. Colorado. Trump fighting back against "The New York Times" story charging that in 1995 he reported a nearly billion-dollar loss, a loss that could have meant that Trump paid no federal income tax for years and years and years. Trump has not denied the "Times" report and today doubled down on his defense.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: I have legally used the tax laws to my benefit, and to the benefit of my company. My investors and my employees. I have brilliantly used those laws. I have often said on the campaign trail that I have a fiduciary responsibility to pay no more tax than is legally required.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: With just 36 days until election day, Trump is on defense because a new CNN national poll breaking tonight, taken after the first presidential debate, shows Clinton with a five-point lead over Trump. Now, that's a seven-point swing from our last poll one month ago. So, seven points in just one month. In four of five new state polls today, Clinton came out on top. Moments ago, Clinton campaigning in battleground Ohio trying to build her advantage. Hammering home the report about Trump's taxes.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: He then has taken advantage of every single element of our tax code, of our economy, that he could. And along the way, along the way, he has stiffed people, small businesses and workers and contractors.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Sara Murray is OUTFRONT tonight. She's at the Trump rally in Loveland, Colorado, as it's about to begin. Sara, Donald Trump on the defense about those taxes spending a lot of time talking about it today.
SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICS CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Erin, and he didn't go so far when he was in Pueblo earlier today to say or to admit that he's not paying any federal income taxes but instead you heard him talk about how he has worked the tax laws to his benefit and even made the somewhat questionable argument that he has a fiduciary responsibility to keep his personal taxes low.
MURRAY (voice-over): Donald Trump stumbling from an underwhelming debate performance, straight into a firestorm over his finances.
TRUMP: The unfairness of the tax laws is unbelievable. It's something I've been talking about for a long time. Despite, frankly, being a big beneficiary of the laws. But I'm working for you now. I'm not working for Trump.
MURRAY: Today, Hillary Clinton is seizing on a "New York Times" report that reveals a portion of Trump's 1995 tax return. Showing the billionaire businessman declared a $916 million loss, a loss so large it could have allowed him to avoid paying federal income taxes for nearly two decades.
CLINTON: While millions of American families, including mine and yours, were working hard, paying our fair share, it seems he was contributing nothing to our nation.
MURRAY: Today, Trump slamming the tax code. Even as he admits it has given him a boost. Arguing as a businessman, it's his responsibility to pay as little to Uncle Sam as possible.
TRUMP: I have brilliantly used those laws. I have often said on the campaign trail that I have a fiduciary responsibility to pay no more tax than is legally required. Like anybody else.
MURRAY: And dismissing his 1990s losses claiming the eight-month recession of the early '90s, a decade marginally known for its economic boom was far worse than the 18-month-long great recession.
TRUMP: The conditions facing real estate developers in that early '90 period were almost as bad as the great depression of 1929 and far worse than the great recession of 2008. Not even close.
MURRAY: Trump's vigorous defense of his business practices comes as he faces a new wave of scrutiny over his charitable foundation. The New York Attorney General has ordered the Trump Foundation to halt its fund-raising. Amid reports it failed to participate in routine audits required by state law. While Trump's campaign questioned the attorney general's political motive, they said the foundation will cooperate with the investigation.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Go Donald!
MURRAY: In the midst of a tumultuous stretch, the GOP nominee is embracing his underdog status.
TRUMP: When people make the mistake of underestimating me, that's when they are really in for their biggest surprise.
[19:05:10] MURRAY: And looking to turn up the heat on Clinton.
TRUMP: Hillary Clinton has never created a single job in her entire life.
MURRAY: Now, Donald Trump touched another nerve earlier today when he seemed to suggest at a veterans event that veterans who commit suicide when they have PTSD when they come home from war can't handle the stress of war. Now the Trump campaign quickly tried to clarify that remark. Michael Flynn, the retired lieutenant general who's supporting Donald Trump said that he was simply trying to highlight the challenges that veterans face when they come home and accused the media of trying to take Donald Trump's words out of context.
BURNETT: All right, Sara, thank you very much. We're going to play that in just a couple of moments. First, though, the polls. New CNN poll showing a solid gain for Hillary Clinton. As we said, it was a big swing from a month in our poll.
Sunlen Serfaty is OUTFRONT in Farmville, Virginia. And Sunlen, what are you seeing in these polls?
SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's interesting here, Erin, Hillary Clinton still seems to be drawing a majority of her support from female voters, although that support has largely stayed intact. And stayed the same over the last month. Donald Trump gaining about a few points, but still very behind Hillary Clinton in terms of the women vote. But the good news for here for team Clinton within these poll numbers, is really if you look at the male vote though, that's where she really does seem to be expanding her support and drawing her biggest boost in the last month.
If you look at the numbers from early September, she was so still far behind Donald Trump in terms of support from men. Only about 32 percent support there. That has jumped eight percentage points to 40 percent in just the last month, and it's important to see these side- by-side comparisons to this big jump by team Clinton in the past month in terms of men. Really shows that she's really closing that divide, really catching up to him in terms of support from men. He's now only ahead by five percentage points.
BURNETT: And obviously that's significant, Sunlen. Now, in terms of the tax issue, I know the poll also looked at whether voters believe Trump should release his taxes. What did the results show?
SERFATY: They absolutely showed that voters want to see Donald Trump's taxes released. Seventy three percent, nearly three-fourth of voters say that they want those returns to be released. And this is where it actually gets a little more concerning for team Trump here. Fifty seven percent of those polled said that they believe that he's withholding his tax returns because they believe he has something to hide. Only 33 percent say they believe it was because he's under this audit which, of course, is what Donald Trump says, why he explains he can't release his tax returns.
And the majority of voters, 79 percent, believe that it is someone's civic duty to pay taxes and important to note that 79 percent majority among Trump supporters, too. So his supporters are saying, this is someone's civic duty to not only release their tax returns but pay taxes.
SERFATY: Again, this was all done before "The New York Times" story this weekend. Certainly amplifies the issue before, certainly on voters' minds before now and more so.
BURNETT: All right, Sunlen, thank very much. OUTFRONT now, Corey Lewandowski, former campaign manager for Donald Trump. Nayyera Haq, former State Department's spokesperson under Hillary Clinton. Philip Bump, "Washington Post" political reporter. David Gergen, former presidential adviser for four presidents. Let me just talk first, Corey on this -- the crucial issue here of time. OK. That is what this is what this is a lot about now. You have 36 days left. This is a poll that shows a seven-point swing in favor of Hillary Clinton in just one month. Do you have enough time?
COREY LEWANDOWSKI, FORMER DONALD TRUMP CAMPAIGN MANAGER: Look, the national polls are important. But what's most important is the state- by-state polls. And that's really what you have to focus on.
BURNETT: Four, five of those today.
LEWANDOWSKI: You have to look at the states of North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida. Those four states make up the backbone of the Trump campaign. And if he's going to be successful and actually get to 270 votes, he needs to win all four of those states. If he isn't going to win Pennsylvania based on what the numbers say, then he has to set a separate path forward. That looks like the 2nd district in Maine, it looks like New Hampshire, it looks like Nevada, looks like New Mexico, places like that. So right now, the national polls are important but not as important as the state-specific polls.
BURNETT: All right. And as we said, those -- other than Ohio, he was ahead in Ohio today, but behind in Pennsylvania, Virginia, the other ones. The issue of time here, 36 days left. One month after the conventions, Clinton was solidly ahead. A month later Trump had taken a lead in several national polls. So, it had turned quickly. Are you worried that the pendulum now could swing the other way just as quickly? NAYYERA HAQ, FORMER STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESWOMAN UNDER CLINTON AND
KERRY: Absolutely not. Because just what Hillary has been doing is not really taking anything for granted. She has made an extensive effort to reach out to swing voters. She's not only doing rallies with people who have voted for her in the primaries. So, women's issues about women, minorities, millennials and now even white men are coming around to an understanding that there was a reality here outside of the reality show that was the Republican primary and quite entertaining and it's hitting home to people, not the next few weeks we'll be electing the next president of the United States.
And do you want somebody who's prepared for the job or do you want somebody who words don't necessarily matter and says, whatever he wants to say within the moment? And that's -- the reality is setting in and I think people are starting to become aware particularly in swing states where you will see that Hillary is up except for Ohio, and she has a much stronger ground game and more extensive ground game and field operation to actually turn out these voters on Election Day.
[19:10:27] BURNETT: So, let's talk about the words he said, Philip, today, Donald Trump was speaking at a veterans event, a veterans rally and he was talking about PTSD. You hear Sara say that it seemed to imply that he was saying people with PTSD couldn't handle what they've seen in combat. Let me just play as full words so everyone can hear what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: When you talk about the mental health problems, when people come back from war and combat, and they see things that maybe a lot of the folks in this room have seen many times over, and you're strong and you can handle it, but a lot of people can't handle it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: That's the full context of what he said. They're now trying to say he wasn't saying that some weren't strong enough to handle it. It is of course, that sounds like what he was saying there. Will that hurt him?
PHILIP BUMP, POLITICAL REPORTER, THE WASHINGTON POST: I think the thing to keep in mind here is that the problem Donald Trump faces is he needs to expand his base of support. And the reason he's not being able to expand his base of support is because people are concerned about his temperament. They're concerned about his qualifications. I think that what you just saw there which seems to be at the very best a poorly phrased expression of support for veterans, at the very best it's poorly phrased, it again will reinforce for people who are concern, about Donald Trump's candidacy, is this a guy we want sitting down across from Vladimir Putin or across president of some other nation who may say the wrong thing in that moment?
I think that this, what Donald Trump needs to do moving forward, is read off the teleprompter as much as possible, avoid making missteps and making statements that can be interpreted in the wrong way, that's the problem he's having. BURNETT: The issue with the taxes, though, here, goes to this.
Right? Because the core of what he has said, Corey, the argument you made for him is, he is a businessman. He knows the tax laws, he knew how to avoid them. He knows how to do business in China, he knows how to make others not do business. That's always been the core of his argument. And on this tax issue now, it's not that he avoided paying taxes which perhaps may be the problem, it's the fact that he lost a billion dollars that may be the problem. Here's how he's talked about his business acumen, David.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I'm really a good businessman. I'm still good in business. I'm in business. I did a very good job, but I will say this, and people are very, very impressed with what I've done, the businesspeople. I was a world class businessman. Now I'm a politician.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Does the loss, the $916 million loss which he does not dispute at this point, does that hurt him?
DAVID GERGEN, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL ADVISER: Absolutely. I mean, this is the first time we've had a real look into his taxes. He's been resisting that all along.
GERGEN: And what do we see? Yes, I think we should concede upfront he did not do anything illegally. Yes, I think we should concede upfront that it was illegal for the person who gave these forms out to get them published. Not "The New York Times" but the person who gave them out. Having said that, you know, he just claimed today that he did this, you know, because he did great things for his stockholders. He did great things for companies. You know, "The New York Times" report, itself, said, look, while he was avoiding taxes, losing almost $1 billion, and basically in the year or two, his stock price went from $35 to seventeen cents.
The shareholders took more than a haircut. They were devastated by it. Small contractors who were working in these casinos, what happened to them? They got pennies on the dollar. Employees, they got hurt. Now since that time, give him credit, he has rebuilt his business.
GERGEN: But if you look at that, I mean, then claim this is a genius at work when you lose $1 billion? Hillary had every right to make that comment.
BURNETT: Very, very quick response, Corey.
LEWANDOWSKI: Two important factors. Number one, "The New York Times" wrote on October 25th, 1995, Donald Trump is back where he was to where he then became in 1995. Moreover, Warren Buffett, many people consider to be the oracle of Omaha, the greatest businessman in the country. You noticed tax loss was in 2014, $873 million. Eight hundred and seventy three million dollars. You're dealing with a world-class businessman in Donald Trump who in 1995, they say is what his loss was. Warren Buffett this year --
(TALKING OVER EACH OTHER)
GERGEN: He's not running as president.
LEWANDOWSKI: Donald Trump wasn't running for president of the United States -- George Soros took a billion and a half dollar loss.
(TALKING OVER EACH OTHER)
HAQ: Warren Buffett is one of the first people, including Bill Gates, several billionaires who win the estate tax was eliminated --
BURNETT: Right. That's a separate issue.
HAQ: In terms of civic responsibility --
BURNETT: You're right. People aren't saying he's a bad businessman. I mean, this point of business --
GERGEN: George Soros lost a billion of half dollars last year.
BUMP: But we're also taking Donald Trump's business acumen on faith. Release your taxes. If that's what you're saying, if you're saying --
(TALKING OVER EACH OTHER)
BURNETT: We're going to talk much more about this. The report that Donald Trump may have paid no federal income tax for years, how did he actually do it? Well, the reporter who broke the story who knows it all, my guest OUTFRONT.
Plus, America's mayor to top Trump defender. Why some are saying this isn't the Rudy Giuliani they know.
And Jeanne Moos at debate night at "Saturday Night Live."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALEC BALDWIN, AS DONALD TRUMP: My microphone is broken.
She broke it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[19:18:15] BURNETT: Breaking news tonight at a rally, Donald Trump fighting back over a report he declared a nearly billion-dollar loss in 1995 that could have enabled him to avoid paying any federal income taxes for nearly two decades.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: It's my job to minimize the overall tax burden to the greatest extent possible which allows me to reinvest in neighborhoods, in workers and build amazing properties.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: The tax issue raising new questions about Trump's success as a businessman. And we're going to talk to "The New York Times" reporter who broke the story live in just a moment.
But first, Drew Griffin is OUTFRONT with a closer look at Trump's taxes.
DREW GRIFFIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They are just three pages of what appears to be Donald Trump's state tax returns from 21 years ago. Hardly enough to know the real picture of Donald Trump's wealth and taxes. But it is this stunning figure that has led to massive speculation and almost $916 million loss. For what? Trump isn't saying. But in the backwards logic of real estate developers, complex tax laws and the lawyers who exploit them, it could be that Trump has become wealthy, that he wins by losing.
STEVE ROSENTHAL, TAX EXPERT: Mr. Trump was a spectacular loser. He lost a lot of money from the casinos. He lost a lot of money from Trump shuttle. The airline shuttle. And he lost a lot of money from the plaza hotel in New York. Across the board, losing money, apparently. Now, some of those losses may have been inflated by the generous tax sheltering that's afforded real estate developers and active managers of businesses.
GRIFFIN: We can't see Donald Trump's tax records, but experts speculate the $916 million loss may not exactly be a loss at all. At least not a loss of Trump's money. Richard Lipton, a real estate tax expert in Chicago, says a quirk in an old law since changed in 2002 so favorably benefited real estate developers that it is highly likely Donald Trump's 1995 write-off was actually a write-off of borrowed money.
RICHARD LIPTON, TAX ATTORNEY: There was basically a real estate depression at that time, and the way the law worked at that point in time, if the losses were funded by debt, the losses would flow through to the developers so you could easily see big numbers. I had one client who had a loss over $950 million during that timeframe. Individual. Just like Mr. Trump.
GRIFFIN: How did it work? Take this simple example. A real estate developer wants to build a $100 million building. He puts up just $1 million of his own money then borrows 99 million from a bank. If the entire project goes belly-up, the bank losses its $99 million, the developer losses its one million. But on his tax return, that real estate developer can write off the entire $100 million loss if the bank writes off his debt which happened a lot. Lipton interviewed by speaker phone from Chicago says, it was an unintended gift from a poorly written tax code.
LIPTON: That was the quirk in the law, Drew. The taxpayer did not have to pick up the cancelation of debt income. He just got the loss.
GRIFFIN: I'm gasping.
LIPTON: I understand why you're gasping, but it is just what the law said.
GRIFFIN: Erin, the bottom-line is, we really don't know what this loss was all about. We don't know if Trump was a genius or a terrible businessman based on these three pages from state tax returns two decades ago, but what is clear in so many cases like this involving Donald Trump, if he wanted us to know, we would. Not just have to speculate. He could come forward with his tax records and explain this. Obviously, that's not happening. He's refusing to release any tax returns while he claims to be under an IRS audit -- Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Drew Griffin. Pretty stunning when you see the law. How broken our tax system is.
Suzanne Craig broke this story for "The New York Times." You got the pages from the 1995 tax returns anonymously. So, let me just start with this. Donald Trump saying he brilliantly used the tax returns. He's not disputing your report in any way. A question for you, though, because you've looked at these returns. The pages that you have. Do you have any doubt in your mind that they are authentic?
SUZANNE CRAIG, NEW YORK TIMES REPORTER: No, we don't.
BURNETT: So you're sure this is the real deal.
CRAIG: We got them, and obviously it took a lot of work to get to the point where we were willing, we were ready to publish them --
CRAIG: -- but we did a lot of reporting around it and we had the accountant who signed the documents, who signed them along with Marla Maples who signed her name Marla Trump and Donald Trump verified them for us. We went and met with him and they were very familiar documents to the accountant.
BURNETT: So you know these are real. Now, a few questions about what's in them. And when you talk about, you said he could have avoided paying taxes for 18 years. This a statutory thing, right? You got that many years at that time to use against the law --
CRAIG: Yes, we haven't seen what he did with the loss that he had that he could use, we don't have those taxes going forward.
BURNETT: Right. CRAIG: "The New York Times" often, they don't put the word "could" in very many list. But in this case, we were very careful because we simply don't know how --
[19:23:27] BURNETT: Right. So, you don't know, he could have earned $1 billion the next year and it was one year or he could have earned it over ten years or could have been up to 18 years.
CRAIG: That's right.
BURNETT: That's the big question right now, how many years.
CRAIG: So, we were very careful, but we knew that he had that in that year and he was able to carry that massive almost $1 billion forward and could have used it in future years to avoid income tax.
BURNETT: So did you see anything in the documents that gave you any inkling of how much he gave to charity. The big question mark out there still.
CRAIG: We don't have the full return so we had three pages and there were some boxes that were checked no that were, you know, there's a lot, everybody's looked at the tax return. You can check, do I want to give $5 to this charity or the veterans fund or the wildlife and there was nothing checked yes on those boxes but we certainly do not have a full picture and there were other pages where most certainly we would get a better idea of what he gave to charity and we just didn't see them.
BURNETT: So, the return address. I mean, here's the thing. This is -- I mean, I remember seeing, you said you actually check your mail and a lot of people don't.
CRAIG: I do.
BURNETT: And this came in a paper -- manila envelope, return address was written from Trump Tower which of course does not mean it came from Trump Tower, it could mean that, it may mean no such thing.
CRAIG: An anonymous envelope with three pages in it.
BURNETT: So, do you think this came from someone in their campaign, from someone in the campaign, from someone who works in that building? Do you have any sense at this point?
CRAIG: We have been, you know, we made a list and we just -- there were so many people and it was just so hard to even begin to wonder where it came from. Our job became after we realized that that was going to be a very hard task was simply to verify it or tear it apart, one of the two. And we just started of this track of how can we verify it and also, you know, what's here that doesn't make sense and what does make sense. We hired tax experts to come in and take a look at it and phoned a lot of people.
BURNETT: All right. Well, Susanne, thank you very much. Pretty stunning report that you came out with live. CRAIG: Thank you.
BURNETT: Susanne Craig as we said broke this story.
And OUTFRONT next, billionaire investor and LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman on what Trump's taxes tell him. Is Trump a genius or a bad businessman? >
And Rudy Giuliani, why is he attacking Hillary Clinton for Bill Clinton's infidelities?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHUCK TODD, MSNBC HOST, "MEET THE PRESS": You have your own infidelities.
RUDY GIULIANI, FORMER NEW YORK MAYOR: Everybody does.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[19:29:33] BURNETT: Tonight Hillary Clinton hammering Donald Trump over a report that he may not have paid federal income taxes for nearly two decades.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CLINTON: Today in Colorado he claimed he brilliantly used the laws to avoid paying taxes. Well, that just shows, number one, he is the poster boy, the poster boy for the same rigged system that he would make even worse.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[19:30:00] BURNETT: This as a new CNN poll shows Trump supporters are still more enthusiastic about voting for Clinton's. The Democrat, though, has closed the all-important enthusiasm gap.
Suzanne Malveaux is OUTFRONT.
HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Here's my question, what kind of genius loses $1 billion in a single year?
SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Hillary Clinton delivering a one-two punch at Donald Trump today, over his 1995 tax returns, knocking the GOP nominee on the trail today in Ohio over a bombshell report in "The New York Times" that Trump claimed a loss of $916 million that year, which could have allowed him to avoid federal income taxes for 18 years.
CLINTON: Seems he was contributing nothing to our nation.
MALVEAUX: And blasting her rival in a national TV ad. CLINTON: He didn't pay any federal income tax.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: That makes me smart.
CLINTON: If he's paid -- if he thinks that makes him smart, what does he think of you?
TRUMP: How stupid are the people of the country?
MALVEAUX: Clinton is campaigning in Ohio for the first time since Labor Day. With new Quinnipiac University poll showing her tiling Trump by five points in the Buckeye State.
Today, she basked in the endorsement of one of Ohio's favorite sons, Cleveland Cavaliers superstar LeBron James.
CLINTON: I hope to be elected president, but I know, here in Ohio, LeBron will always be the king.
MALVEAUX: The Democratic nominee is trying to draw a contrast with Trump on the economy, portraying him as out of touch with hardworking Americans.
CLINTON: Trump represents the same rigged system that he claims he's going to change.
MALVEAUX: Trump is also seizing on an audio recording of Clinton's comments from a February fund-raiser, obtained from a hack into a Democratic staffer's e-mail in which Clinton tries to explain Bernie Sanders' appeal to his supporters.
CLINTON: They're children of the Great Recession and they are living in their parents' basement. That is a mindset that is really affecting their politics.
TRUMP: Hillary Clinton thinks Bernie Sanders' supporters are hopeless and ignorant basement dwellers.
MALVEAUX: Sanders says it's important to look at Clinton's entire message.
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D-VT), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: There are young people who went deeply into debt, worked very hard, they got a good education, and yet they're getting out of school and they can't find decent paying jobs.
MALVEAUX: Hillary Clinton and her team are not taking Donald Trump's bait. Those I talked to today say they're not addressing any of his talk regarding infidelity. Clinton has identified what she sees as a real opportunity that is continue to hammer him over the tax issue, which she believers is a window into his character, his sense of civic duty, and his business skills -- Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Suzanne, thank you very much. My panel is back with me.
David, let me start with you. You know, people took to Twitter immediately when the news broke and started using #basementdwellers.
DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Right.
BURNETT: She didn't actually use those words. She said people living in their parents' basement. But that was the one that sort of caught on with people.
The question is, will this hurt her?
GERGEN: Well, once again, it's Bernie Sanders who's come to her rescue. You remember that first debate, when he said, I'm sick of these damn e-mail stories -- and sort of took it off the table for her. It was an enormous gift to her.
He could have just kept on ramming her with it throughout the campaign and he came out rapidly in her favor and took a statement that could have been turned into a charge against her, and, you know, she was belittling these people and all the rest of it and took it to a higher level. I think as a result, he gave her another gift. I think --
NAYYERA HAQ, FORMER STTAE DEPARTMENT SPOKESWOMAN UNDER CLINTON & KERRY: It's more than just taking it to a higher level, though, because it's looking at the context of the entire statement in which he talks about a generation, frankly, my generation, that is struggling with having a college degree, not being able to -- having no access to affordable housing, jobs that have helped the bills.
I mean, this is the modern reality of people in their 30s who are supposed to be the future back -- economic backbone of our country. These are not people who are getting $13 million small gifts from their parents to get started. These are not people who can even imagine the idea of having $1 billion to squander, let alone to not pay taxes for 20 years.
So, she was expressing empathy for exactly this group of Americans that Bernie is also been speaking to. So, it's less of a rescue and more of -- let's put this in perspective of what's actually going on.
COREY LEWANDOWSKI, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I don't think it's empathy in the hidden tapes. If you look at where her poll numbers are, compared to where Barack Obama was, she's getting absolutely destroyed. Seventeen percent of the people in the CNN poll that are under 35 are supporting Gary Johnson.
If I were Gary Johnson, I'd be hitting those college campuses, I would be distributing, you know, leaflets about how bad Hillary Clinton has been. And if she wants to blame someone for the poor performance of the economy, why those people are living in the basement, she has to blame Barack Obama because he's the president of the United States.
She's not willing to do that. She needs him as a surrogate. So, right now, she's in between a rock and hard place, because the bottom line is, she can't blame Barack Obama for these people living in the basement.
And if this was really her position, come out and say that publicly as oppose to another hidden which is now released.
BURNETT: So, Philip, on the issue, though, of young people -- and Corey is right, she does lag with young people. It's a big issue for her. But on the enthusiasm front, I don't want to say just young people.
[19:35:01] Obviously, it can be people of any age.
But on enthusiasm, she has risen, all right, in the most recent polls. She's now up to 50 percent. It was 46 percent earlier this month. So, that's a significant jump and Donald Trump was at 58 percent, now down to 56 percent. So, still significantly stronger than she is, but that gap is not moving in a good direction for Donald Trump.
Does the enthusiasm gap mean votes? More people are excited to vote for her as opposed to against him?
PHILIP BUMP, POLITICAL REPORTER, THE WASHINGTON POST: Theoretically, I wouldn't put too much stock into it. You know, first of all, those aren't huge changes. Plus when we see a poll where Hillary Clinton is rising and Donald Trump is falling, one would expect to see more enthusiasm for Hillary Clinton.
I mean, the real question for the Democrats is the longstanding question for Democrats, which is can they turn people out? Democrats tend to vote less frequently because the people who vote more are older and tend to be wealthier, right? That's not the Democratic base.
So, the Democrats have to do everything they can to get out the vote come November. Regardless of what those enthusiasm numbers are. That's a long standing problem that will be a problem again this year.
BURNETT: Quickly before we go, I want to play one Trump campaign ad. I want to play one for Trump, because -- this is using all of Clinton's own words against her. Here it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CLINTON: Fifty points ahead. You might ask.
AD NARRATOR: Maybe it's because the director of the FBI said you lied about your e-mails.
JAMES COMEY, BFBI DIRECTOR: There was classified material e-mails.
AD NARRATOR: Or maybe it's because your policies have allowed ISIS and terrorism to spread. Or maybe it's because you call Americans deplorable.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Effective? GERGEN: Yes, I think it's pretty effective. But that's not the point
I want to make.
This is the fifth anniversary of your show tonight, right? All of us want to congratulate you.
BURNETT: Well, thank you to all. It's a pleasure to have you with us on our fifth anniversary. I can't believe how time flies.
All right. Thanks to all.
And next, we are awaiting Donald Trump who will be rallying supporters shortly in Colorado. Will he address the controversy over his taxes?
Plus, Rudy Giuliani, remember when he was America's mayor after 9/11, now a lightning rod on the campaign trail stumping for Trump.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUDY GIULIANI (R), FORMER NEW YORK CITY MAYOR: There is just America! What happened to it?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: And Jeanne Moos on bad microphones, sniffing and the "Saturday Night Live" debate.
[19:41:07] BURNETT: Rudy Giuliani fast becoming Donald Trump's top attack dog. The former New York mayor unleashing a series of personal and controversial attacks on Hillary Clinton. But is this the same Giuliani once known as America's mayor?
Kyung Lah is OUTFRONT.
GIULIANI: It shows you what a genius he is, how smart he is, how intelligent he is.
KYUNG LAH, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Rudy Giuliani, Trump supporter, defending the presidential candidate on his taxes. Giuliani then said this.
GIULIANI: Don't you think a man who has this kind of economic genius is a lot better for the United States than a woman?
LAH: Making the Sunday morning show rounds, the former New York mayor frustrated moderators, on "Meet the Press" contending Bill Clinton's affair in the 1990s is fair game even for him, a man with his own checkered past.
CHUCK TODD, MEET THE PRESS: You have your own infidelities, sir. GIULIANI: Everybody does.
LAH: This weekend, just another day in months upon months of logic- defying sound bites, and personal attacks against the Democratic nominee.
GIULIANI: If you didn't know the moment Monica Lewinsky said that Bill Clinton violated her and she was telling the truth, then you're too stupid to be president.
LAH: The Giuliani of today, unrecognizable to longtime "New York Times" columnist Clyde Haberman who's followed the mayor for two decades. His speech at the RNC, for example.
GIULIANI: What happened to it? Where did it go? How was it thrown away?
CLYDE HABERMAN, FORMER NEW YORK TIMES COLUMNIST: With his arms raised, his mouth contorted. He looked, frankly, crazed. A lot of New Yorkers including many who long admired him are really doubting who this guy is now. I do think what he's doing these days threatens his legacy.
GIULIANI: The situation is that two airplanes have attacked apparently --
LAH: A legacy best remembered after 9/11, America's mayor, a steady hand for his city and his country who sounded a powerful note of unity and tolerance at the United Nations. Now working for a man who vows extreme vetting of Muslim immigrants.
GIULIANI: This was not just an attack on the city of New York, or on the United States of America. It was an attack on the very idea of a free, inclusive and civil society.
LAH: But Giuliani remains a man who "Daily Beast" editor-in-chief John Avlon respected and continues to respect. He was Giuliani's chief speechwriter in the mayor's second term and says politics may be in the present, but history should recall the man of decades ago.
JOHN AVLON, FORMER GIULIANI SPEECHWRITER: I don't think Rudy is being his best self and very often he's being called on to defend the indefensible. But I don't think it should define the totality of his career. I think that's a disservice to history.
LAH: Avlon also adds this, that when election 2016 is over, when we have turned this page, that he will be remembered, his legacy will be defined not by these recent years but by those events like 9/11, by cleaning up New York.
Now, plenty of his critics certainly disagree, Erin. They say, hey, look, we have 36 days left in this election, what is Rudy Giuliani going to say next?
BURNETT: All right. Thank you so much, Kyung.
And OUTFRONT next, what do Trump's taxes say about him as a businessman? Well, we're going to ask entrepreneur, LinkedIn co- founder, billionaire Reid Hoffman.
And Jeanne Moos on the most eagerly anticipated "SNL" debate in years.
[19:48:08] BURNETT: Donald Trump about to rally his supporters as you can see on the screen in Loveland, Colorado. Earlier today, addressing the controversy over his taxes, insisting that he's brilliant for using the tax laws to his advantage.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I have legally used the tax laws to my benefit and to the benefit of my company, my investors and my employees. I have brilliantly used those laws.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: And OUTFRONT now, billionaire Reid Hoffman, the co-founder of LinkedIn, a Hillary Clinton supporter. He's also offered to donate up to $5 million to veteran groups if Donald Trump releases his tax returns before the final presidential debate in 16 days.
Reid, thank you so much for being with us again.
And Trump reportedly declared, and he does not dispute this, $916 million loss back in 1995, that could have enabled him to avoid paying federal income taxes for nearly two decades. What's your reaction to that?
REID HOFFMAN, LINKEDIN CO-FOUNDER; PLEDGES TO DONATE $5 MILLION FOR TRUMP'S TAXES: Well, a couple of things. I mean, the first is how important it is that we have that transparency, precise reason why every credible presidential candidate over the last few decades has released their full income tax returns so people understand, you know, what their actual state of public affairs is, what their conflicts of interest is, what their charitable is, where they are.
And this is the classic thing because my first reaction was, so, $916 million loss, that equals very, very successful businessman? That doesn't quite go together. And we'd love to see the whole picture to see what is actually true.
BURNETT: So, as an entrepreneur, you know, you sit here in a unique position, right? You made your billions, yourself. Does the absolute size of the loss, itself, say something to you about Donald Trump and his business acumen?
HOFFMAN: Well, no one says I'm a successful businessman and then turns around and goes, and I lost nearly $1 billion, right?
[19:50:03] The whole goal is to make money. You know, that is what successful business looks like. Successful business looks like, you know, paying your suppliers, not offloading debt to the public markets and declaring bankruptcy.
BURNETT: So, Donald Trump spent almost ten minutes responding to the tax returns that were released in just one of his rallies today. Here's a quick clip of what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I have often said on the campaign trail that I have a fiduciary responsibility to pay no more tax than is legally required like anybody else or -- put another way, to pay as little tax as legally possible.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: He went on, Reid, to say he brilliantly used the tax laws. Is there anything to that?
HOFFMAN: Well, I mean, he hires a whole bunch of accountants, wealthy people can do things with net operating losses, you know, tax deduction, et cetera, things that are not available to your average American -- you know, not available to the people who, you know, put in their, you know, eight hours a day of hard and to say that's brilliant is not brilliant.
Nevertheless, the key point is losing nearly $1 billion actually, in fact, doesn't make you a very successful businessman and doesn't actually make you brilliant.
BURNETT: So, today's tax code is about 3,000 pages, which is its own massive problem in and of itself. But putting that aside for a moment, it's 3,000 pages so that to your point, accountants can read it and people can use whatever is legal to pay as little tax as they are legally required to pay.
Look, you know, your company, LinkedIn, has been criticized. Citizens for Tax Justice has criticized you for a similar situation to Donald Trump there a sense that the company ended up paying little to no taxes. Different reason, obviously. I know it was stock option related.
But I guess the question is, would it be irresponsible for Donald Trump to not take advantage of tax breaks if they are legal, if they are in the IRS code?
HOFFMAN: Well, so, obviously, following the law and taking advantage of loopholes, you know, it makes sense to do that as an individual, as an individual trying to minimize your own tax burden. However, it's really awkward, almost indecent, to be claiming "I am a great public servant, I want to serve you, and by the way, I go through enormous amounts of expense and energy to avoid contributing my fair share into the common coffers." It's not to say you can't do it, it isn't to say it's legal, but it's to say that it is really actually, in fact, not continent with the claim that I care about all of us, I care about contributing my fair share. That's the disconsonance. BURNETT: So, you specifically offered, Reid, to donate up to $5
million to veterans groups which Trump has said is a cause near and dear to his heart. You're doing it in the form of a match. So, as we get closer to your deadline, which, of course, is the final debate, October 19th, where do things stand right now?
HOFFMAN: Well, so, Crowdpac has raised over $1.2 million from 11,000 people in all 50 states including some of those key states like Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania, because Americans do care about openness and honesty and transparency in the taxes.
And so, all it requires now is for Trump to do the right thing. And essentially say, no, let me reveal my taxes, let me be open and transparent, let me actually be, you know, a partner with the American people so that they can see who I am and they can make an informed judgment.
And then all of that money would flow to the various veterans organizations that Pete Kiernan has selected.
BURNETT: All right. Well, thank you very much. I appreciate it, Reid.
HOFFMAN: Thank you.
BURNETT: And OUTFRONT next, Jeanne Moos with some of the great moments from "Saturday Night Live's" Trump/Clinton showdown.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Picking up somebody's sniffing here. I think it's her sniffs. She's been sniffing all night.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[19:57:48] BURNETT: The debate everyone was waiting for. In one corner, Alec Baldwin's Donald Trump. In the other, Kate McKinnon as Hillary Clinton. And when it came to separating the real from the fictitious, can you tell the difference?
Here's Jeanne Moos.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: From the Donald's sniffle --
ALEC BALDWIN AS DONALD TRUMP: Can you hear that? Picking up somebody's sniffing here. I think it's her sniffs.
MOOS: To the Hillary shimmy.
CLINTON: Whew, OK.
MOOS: "SNL's" debate was like the real one, but on steroids. The real Donald kept interrupting.
CLINTON: The invasion of Iraq --
CLINTON: That is absolutely --
CLINTON: -- proved over and over again.
CLINTON: He actually --
MOOS: While Alec Baldwin in his debut as Trump did more than just wrong Hillary.
KATE MCKINNON AS HILLARY CLINTON: Unfit to be commander in chief.
MCKINNON: He is a bully.
BALDWIN: Shut up.
MCKINNON: He's either not that rich --
MCKINNON: Not that charitable.
MCKINNON: Or he's never paid taxes in his life.
MOOS: The reviews for Alec Baldwin's first ever Trump impression were, in the Donald's --
BALDWIN: The best.
MOOS: Critics said Baldwin was spot-on. Perfect. Totally nailed Trump.
On his show, "30 Rock" he once tried to nail Nixon.
BALDWIN: It's purgatory, Tracy.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Richard Nixon?
MOOS: Kate McKinnon as Hillary coughed her way on stage then paid homage to the late Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka.
The real Trump waited until after the debate to complain about his microphone.
TRUMP: They also had, gave me a defective mike. Did you notice that?
MOOS: The "SNL" writers noticed.
BALDWIN: She broke it with Obama. She and Obama stole my microphone. They took it to Kenya. They took my microphone to Kenya. They broke it. And now, it's broken.
SNL DEBATE MODERATOR: Secretary Clinton, what do you think about that?
MCKINNON: I think I'm going to be president.
MOOS: "SNL" picked some low-hanging fruit, mocking Trump's pronunciation.
BALDWIN: They're going to jina (ph).
TRUMP: China. China. China. China. China.
MOOS: Alec Baldwin's Trump was like a bull in a China shop.
BALDWIN: It's pronounced jina.
MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN --
MOOS: -- New York.
BURNETT: And thank you so much for joining us. We'll see you back here tomorrow night.
"AC360" starts now.