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THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER

Hacked Clinton Campaign E-Mails; Trump Calls New Sex Assault Allegations False; Michelle Obama Denounces Trump; Trump Derides His Accusers, Promotes Bill Clinton's. Aired 4-4:30p ET

Aired October 13, 2016 - 16:00   ET

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


[16:00:15]

JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Once again, I issue a parental advisory note, because we're going to be talking about the presidential race, and of, course, it's uglier than ever.

THE LEAD starts right now.

Donald Trump on the campaign trail today, his first chance to address the women who came out, some on camera, accusing the Republican presidential nominee of forcibly kissing or molesting them. So, how did he respond?

And, as Trump fights the sexual assault claims, hacked e-mails from the Clinton campaign are piling up, some that could reveal hypocrisy inside the campaign and the party when it comes to some of their most loyal voters.

Plus, if Donald Trump loses, it will be women who beat him. And now some Internet Trump fans are saying -- joking? -- that they want to repeal a woman's right to vote. Is this really where we are in 2016?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Just for the record, though, are you saying that what you said on that bus 11 years ago, that you did not actually kiss women without consent or grope women without consent?

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I have great respect for women. Nobody has more respect for women than I do.

COOPER: So, for the record, you're saying you never did that?

TRUMP: I have said things that, frankly, you hear these things I said. And I was embarrassed by it. But I have tremendous respect for women.

COOPER: Have you ever done those things?

TRUMP: And women have respect for me. And I will tell you, no, I have not.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TAPPER: "No, I have not."

Welcome to THE LEAD. I am Jake Tapper.

Donald Trump right there guaranteeing to the American public at the debate Sunday night, just four days ago, that he never sexually assaulted a woman, as he himself described doing on that 2005 "Access Hollywood" videotape.

He said Sunday simply and unequivocally, "No, I have not."

But, today, at least four women said Trump did, that he kissed them and/or groped them and/or violated them. Two women coming forward in "The New York Times," one coming forward in "People" magazine, and one sharing her story with "The Palm Beach Post."

Donald Trump responded to the allegations earlier today, calling them totally, absolutely false. Mr. Trump also seemed to imply that the writer from "People" magazine who came forward to tell her story was not attractive enough for him to sexually assault.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: You take a look. Look at her. Look at her words. You tell me what you think. I don't think so.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TAPPER: CNN's Sara Murray is in Cincinnati, where Mr. Trump will hold a rally in a few hours.

And, Sara, several of these women cited Trump's comments Sunday night at the debate that he had never sexually assaulted anyone as a lie and the reason they are now coming forward.

SARA MURRAY, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Jake, you're absolutely right.

These women said they were outraged to see Donald Trump insist he was all talk and that he had never actually engaged in these actions. And today Donald Trump responded with some outrage of his own in really what was a stunning and incredible political moment. He spent most of his first event today not only denying those accusations, but trying to undermine his accusers.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TRUMP: These vicious claims about me of inappropriate conduct with women are totally and absolutely false.

MURRAY (voice-over): With less than four weeks until Election Day, Donald Trump is adamantly denying allegations of sexual assault that are emerging from multiple women across the country.

TRUMP: These claims are all fabricated. They're pure fiction, and they're outright lies. These events never, ever happened.

MURRAY: At the presidential debate, Donald Trump insisted his vulgar comments about sexually assaulting women were only words.

TRUMP: I have tremendous respect for women.

COOPER: Have you ever done those things?

TRUMP: And women have respect for me. And I will tell you, no, I have not.

MURRAY: But now women are stepping out to allege that Trump did in fact do the very things he boasted about, one woman telling "The New York Times" Trump groped her on a plane more than three decades ago.

JESSICA LEEDS, TRUMP ACCUSER: He was like an octopus. It was like he had six arms. He was all over the place.

MURRAY: While another alleges that she introduced herself to Trump in 2005, and he suddenly started kissing her on the cheeks and on the mouth.

And a reporter for "People" magazine assigned to write a story about Donald and Melania's first anniversary in 2005 writes that when Melania went to change outfits, Trump offered her a tour of Mar-a- Lago, during which he pinned her against a wall and began -- quote -- forcing his tongue down my throat," telling her, "You know we're going to have an affair, don't you?"

Some of the allegations are strikingly similar to the behavior Trump bragged about in footage from "Access Hollywood" in 2005.

TRUMP: It's like a magnet. I just kiss. I don't even wait. And, when you're a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.

[16:05:01]

MURRAY: Amid the revelations, Trump is fighting back, his lawyers calling for a retraction of the "New York Times" story and threatening to sue. "The Times" has declined to retract the story, saying: "Any harm to Trump's reputation was brought on by Trump's own words," as Trump attacks the credibility of his accusers today from the campaign trail.

TRUMP: Why wasn't it part of the story that appeared 20 or 12 years ago? That would have been one of the biggest stories of the year.

MURRAY: The GOP nominee reserving some of his harshest criticism for the "People" magazine reporter, even seeming to suggest the reporter was not attractive enough for him to sexually assault.

TRUMP: You take a look. Look at her. Look at her words. You tell me what you think. I don't think so. I don't think so.

MURRAY: Trump's approach comes as he and top aides have argued the women who accused Bill Clinton of sexual assault in the 1990s deserve the benefit of the doubt.

TRUMP: Bill Clinton was the worst abuser of women ever to sit in the Oval Office.

MURRAY: And in yet another sign of the Trump campaign struggles, a source confirms the campaign is pulling resources out of the battleground state of Virginia, acquiescing crucial territory at the same time that Clinton is looking to expand the map.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MURRAY: Now, Donald Trump's claim that he would never assault someone because they weren't attractive enough has already drawn the outrage of advocates for victims of sexual assault, who say that that's not only ignorant, but it's also offensive.

As for the Trump campaign, they're shifting into full-on war mode. And despite all of these allegations, they still plan to use Bill Clinton's accusers against not only Bill, but Hillary Clinton -- Jake.

TAPPER: All right, Sara Murray, thank you so much.

As the sexual assault claims stack up against Donald Trump, first lady Michelle Obama today spoke out in disgust after hearing that "Access Hollywood" tape of Donald Trump seeming to brag about committing sexual assault against women.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHELLE OBAMA, FIRST LADY: Now is the time for all of us to stand up and say, enough is enough.

I can tell you that the men in my life do not talk about women like this. And I know that my family is not unusual.

What do you make of that?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TAPPER: Clinton in response tweeted to the first lady -- quote -- "I'm in awe. Thanks for putting into words what's in so many of our hearts."

As Clinton surrogates go after Trump, Clinton herself is courting big- money donors, even with just 26 days to go until Election Day.

Let's go to CNN's Jeff Zeleny. He is in Los Angeles, where Sir Elton John will join Clinton tonight.

Jeff, let's go back to Michelle Obama for a second. She never said Trump's name. But there was no question to whom she was referring.

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Jake, no question at all. She did not refer to him by name, only calling him the candidate.

But Michelle Obama turned a campaign speech for Hillary Clinton today in New Hampshire into an impassioned plea for why people should pay attention to this campaign, no matter how offensive you may find the language.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

OBAMA: I can't stop thinking about this. It has shaken me to my core in a way that I couldn't have predicted.

ZELENY (voice-over): Michelle Obama delivering a blistering rebuke of Donald Trump and his crude comments about women.

OBAMA: It would be dishonest and disingenuous to me to just move onto the next thing, like this was all just a bad dream. This is not something that we can ignore. It's not something we can just sweep under the rug as just another disturbing footnote in a sad election season.

ZELENY: She's weighing in with an unusually pointed and personal denunciation of Trump, a call to arms for women, men and, she said, basic human decency.

OBAMA: We all know that, if we let Hillary's opponent win this election, then we are sending a clear message to our kids that everything they're seeing and hearing is perfectly OK. We are validating it.

ZELENY: A coordinated message with Hillary Clinton.

HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I hope you will see Michelle Obama's speech today in New Hampshire.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

CLINTON: Once again, she not only made a compelling and strong case about the stakes in the election, but about who we are as Americans.

ZELENY: In their fight to hold the White House, Democrats believe Mrs. Obama offers the most compelling argument for Clinton, speaking from the moral high ground, or what's left of it, in American politics. She is wading in deeper than ever before, and far further than she intended to in this campaign.

Aides tell CNN she was disgusted by Trump's words from a decade ago revealed on a tape last week.

OBAMA: Too many are treating this as just another day's headline, as if our outrage is overblown or unwarranted, as if this is normal, just politics as usual. This is disgraceful. It is intolerable. And it doesn't matter what party you belong to.

ZELENY: All this as hacked e-mails from the Clinton campaign continue to muddy the waters, portraying the painstaking calculations behind nearly every move, even sending out a tweet signed by Hillary Clinton herself.

[16:10:10]

Far from spontaneous, Clinton aides engaged in a remarkable back-and- forth about language she should use in a tweet.

In the fight to raise the minimum wage, communications director Jennifer Palmieri writing: "If we tweet, we will immediately get asked if we support 15 and then attacked when we have to answer that we do not. Doesn't seem worth it."

With 26 days remaining until Election Day, Clinton's path to 270 electoral votes is widening. Polls show she has a growing command of the race in most battlegrounds. Yet Democrats are worried about complacency, a point Mrs. Obama addressed head on.

OBAMA: We cannot allow ourselves to be so disgusted that we just shut off the TV and walk away, because remember this. When they go low, we go...

AUDIENCE: High!

OBAMA: Yes, we do.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZELENY: In addition to complacency, the Clinton campaign also worried about voters being -- finding contempt for this whole tone of the campaign, Jake.

So, deploying Michelle Obama is one of the ways Democrats hope to turn out voters. She has never loved the campaign trail at all, but one aide told me today she knows she has a unique voice. She plans to use it for the next four weeks -- Jake.

TAPPER: Jeff Zeleny, thanks so much.

I want to bring in my political panel now, senior writer at "The Federalist" Mary Katharine Ham, national correspondent for "Bloomberg Businessweek" Joshua Green, and Donald Trump supporter Kayleigh McEnany.

Will Donald Trump continue to attack his accusers while highlighting Bill Clinton's accusers? We will talk about Trump's strategy for the next 26 days coming up.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[16:15:41] JOSEPH BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, I'm tired of new politicians who want to go to Washington to demean women. I really mean it. I mean this sincerely. You know, I know you all know. No one ever doubts I mean what I say. The problem is I sometimes say all that I mean.

But here is the deal, guys. This is totally consistent, his admission of what is the textbook definition of sexual assault, I'm talking about Trump, obviously, is not inconsistent with the way in which he's abused power all along.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to THE LEAD.

Sticking with our politics lead. That was the Vice President Joe Biden minutes ago calling the allegations made against Donald Trump, quote, "the textbook definition of sexual assault."

Now, I want to bring back in our political panel.

Kayleigh, let me start with you. Today, Mr. Trump said his accusers, the four women who have come forward and given these accounts, he called them, quote, "horrible, horrible liars." Do you believe the accusers who have come forward accusing Mr. Trump of sexual assault?

KAYLEIGH MCENANY, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, look, I'll start by saying every person who accuses sexual assault should be heard and likewise every person accused of sexual assault should be heard. These are allegations, I can only imagine if I'm Donald Trump and I didn't do these things and I was accused of doing these things, and it's been portrayed all day as if he did do these things, you'd be imminently frustrated. And for him to call out and call them lies I think is the right thing to do.

Certainly, if they are not true, that is the right to do. There are a lot of reasons, the facts that lead us to question these accusations. Why weren't police reports filed by any of these accusers? Why is this coming out in October, weeks before the election? It's all kind of questionable.

And why did the same authors who put forward the story at the "New York Times" also put forward a story in May where their main source came out and recanted the story and said this is absolutely false. I was taken out of context by the "New York Times."

So, I have to question the source and I also have to question the facts around it. And I do believe Donald Trump that he did none of these things.

TAPPER: Well, Kayleigh, I have to say, because we had a conversation on Sunday during the debate after Mr. Trump brought out the three women who have accused Bill Clinton, two of them of sexual assault and one of them of rape. And you didn't go into detail questioning their accounts. One of them signed an affidavit saying that there had not been any nonconsensual sex and then recanted it. You didn't have an issue with that inconsistency. One of them had waited years and years and years before coming forward.

MCENANY: Sure.

TAPPER: It didn't take -- didn't report the alleged incidents to police. You didn't have an incident with that. I guess my question is why do you have a different standard for Mr. Trump's accusers than you do for Mr. Clinton's accusers?

MCENANY: I certainly don't, because these women did wait to come out with their stories. Many victims of sexual assault do wait. That's understandable and there's a lot of psychological reasons behind that.

These women, though, they didn't take their stories and splash them over the "New York Times" right before an election. These women took their accusations, at least two of them did, to a court of law, to a lawyer, to an attorney, as they should have done.

And my problem has never been, and I've said this on the airwaves many times, has never been with Bill Clinton. Bill Clinton is not running in this race. My accusations have been towards Hillary Clinton and the way she treated these women. She was confronted with these allegations on a debate stage, and she didn't deny them.

So, we have one candidate in the race who has fully denied the accusations leveled at him and we have another who hasn't. So, I'm not here to litigate Bill Clinton's sexual past or really Donald Trump's. And I think it's sad for the voters that this is the kind of dialogue we're having right now.

TAPPER: Just for the record, of course, sexual assault is not sex.

But, Josh, let me ask you, because you reported pretty extensively the Trump's campaign chief executive officer, Steve Bannon, is hoping to, quote, "turn Bill Clinton into Bill Cosby". Explain the strategy.

JOSHUA GREEN, NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, BLOOMBERG BUSINESSWEEK: Well, I think the Trump psychology doesn't allow for him to be on the defensive. His motto is, when you get -- when you hit me, I will hit back harder. And because these charges are sexual assault, sexual violence, they have homed in on this idea that, well, you know, Bill Clinton is guilty of the same things and worse, Hillary Clinton enabled him.

Talking to the people in Trump's inner circle, they believe that Trump's strategy of rolling out these people at the debate, making these accusations, basically succeeded. It stopped Republican elected officials from continuing to unendorse Trump, some of them after unendorsing, reendorsed.

[16:20:08] And if you look at Republican voters, most of them have stuck by Trump.

So, Trump thinks that this is his salvation and if they can just hit the accusations harder, they told me they're going to be rolling out new women who have made charges in the coming weeks, that this is Trump's path to climb back into the race, to essentially make Hillary Clinton so beat up and kind of negative over these accusations that people stop talking about what Trump has done and start talking about what they say Clinton has done.

TAPPER: You think that will work?

MARY KATHARINE HAM, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: No, I don't think it will work politically. I think it's fine to examine the circumstances of each of the accusations when it comes to Bill Clinton or when it comes to Donald Trump.

But what is the standard? The Trump campaign is saying that Hillary Clinton is at fault for calling these women liars who accused Clinton and then Donald Trump does the exact same thing. Then who is at fault here? I think the problem is, politically, for him, he is on tape saying that he does things like this, and then women say -- well, he did things like this to me.

And people look at both Clinton and Trump, although they don't seem to hold it against Bill Clinton politically, which I think is a shame. They look at both and they say, is it credible that they could have done these things? They say, I think the technical term is they're a little skeezy and they believe it.

GREEN: One other important point here, too, about the differences of these accusations. By my count and I could have missed something on the way over here, there have been ten women that have come out publicly in the last 24 hours who have accused Trump by name of some kind of unwanted sexual contact.

TAPPER: You're including the women in the beauty pageants in the dressing rooms?

GREEN: Yes.

TAPPER: Who he didn't necessarily touch, but he went in there while they were changing --

GREEN: Unwanted attention toward women of sexual inappropriate nature. In the same time, it's been 24 hours since the Trump people told me, we have new women, we're going to roll out. We don't have any names. We don't have any timeline of who they are.

So, much like the threat of lawsuits, this is just a threat. It's not an actuality, right? So, one group of people have put their name to these charges. Another group has not.

TAPPER: Kayleigh, I want to play one part of Mr. Trump's response this morning to the new allegations of sexual assault. He's talking about a reporter from "People" magazine who wrote a first-person account. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Take a look. You take a look. Look at her. Look at her words. You tell me what you think. I don't think so! I don't think so.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TAPPER: He seems to be saying that this woman is not sexually assault.

MCENANY: That's not what I heard at all. In fact, I saw the lower third on CNN just an hour ago and I said, oh, my goodness, when did he say this? And much to my surprise, he is being accused of -- that one line is being extracted from his speech --

TAPPER: Tell me what "look at her" means. Tell me what "look at her means."

MCENANY: Hold on, let me finish. I listened to the entirety of Donald Trump's speech. My head never perked up of him commenting on this woman's looks because when you listen to the whole entire clip, and you did play the before and after. It was clear as a viewer, he was saying look at her. Look at her story. He was reiterating the sentence, reiterating his first, look at her, look at her story.

And that part has been extracted, but I don't think I can expect much more because we always take a glass half empty approach when it comes to Donald Trump.

HAM: Is that plausible that could be the case? The problem for Donald Trump is always of his own making, which is that he is always talking about women's looks.

TAPPER: What he said about Carly Fiorina. You can't look at her. Look at that face.

HAM: So people hear that and they think that.

TAPPER: Right. It's not like out of character. It's not like Mitt Romney saying it. Mitt Romney wouldn't say something like that, but --

GREEN: No, I mean, it's also just the volume. I mean, if it were one isolated incident, you might think of yourself, is it right? Isn't this in keeping with what we know about Donald Trump. But, you know, we're up into the double digits here, so it seems like it can't possibly be.

HAM: The bottom line is to me, it does not make sense -- it doesn't make sense logically. We're blanket going to believe these guys because they accused a Democrat and we're blanket not going to believe these guys because they accuse the other side. It feels like a political decision unless you're going to take each of these cases.

TAPPER: You and I come at this from a similar point of view, which is, when I hear these stories, I don't care who they are accusing. I don't care the party.

Tell me a story. It sounds credible. That's horrifying.

HAM: Right. I care about due process and I care about the people making these accusations, whether it's a Democrat or Republican we should pay attention and taking it seriously.

TAPPER: Do you think, Kayleigh -- I mean, I understand you think everyone has a double standard here outside of Trump's circle. But do you see any sort of double standard when it comes to both sides believing everything said about either Bill Clinton or Donald Trump, depending on who they support, but believing nothing about the people weighing allegations against the person they like?

MCENANY: Well, I think Donald Trump's always made the focus with Bill's accusers, not about the actions of bill Clinton but about the actions of Hillary Clinton. I do think there is a massive double standard. I think, look, sexual assault is real, real problem in this country.

I find it sad for every victim out there that yesterday on the air waves when it's the Clinton accusers, it's exaggeration is what --

[16:25:05] TAPPER: But who said that?

MCENANY: -- Kellyanne Conway was met with.

The host when Kellyanne Conway was being interviewed. She was told that those were exaggerations and they have been fact-checked.

Meanwhile, when these accusations come out, they're reported on as if they're fact. All sexual assault allegations should be litigated in a court of law. Every victim deserves to be heard. Every accuser deserves to be heard. And I think we've really made a mockery of sexual assault and we should be focusing on real issues that affect the American people, not gossip stories.

HAM: The problem is Trump is doing the same thing that he accuses Hillary of. And I'm not sure how you win that argument.

TAPPER: Right. You're saying Hillary calls them liars. But my accusers, they're liars.

GREEN: Well, and what's more, you know, the quote from Bannon is, we're going to turn Bill Clinton into Bill Cosby. So, they're not going after Hillary. They're going after Bill.

TAPPER: Going after Bill.

Josh, Mary Katharine, Kayleigh, thank you so much. Appreciate it.

MCENANY: Thank you.

TAPPER: Brand new polls just out in two key battleground states. Has the road map to 270 changed? We'll take a look, next.

Plus, Trump needs to win women voters in order to beat Clinton. A new map tweeted by Trump's son is now causing some people to call for the repeal of the 19th Amendment. No, this is not a joke. Or maybe it is a joke. I don't know. But we'll take a look at. Stay with us.

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