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THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER
Ex-Apprentice Contestant Now Accusing Trump; Trump Accuser Describes Alleged 2007 Encounter; Trump Accuser: I Tried To Push Him Away; Two More Women Accuse Trump Of Groping; Washington Post: New Accuser Claims Trump Assault; Trump: Groping Allegations "Totally, Absolutely False"; Clinton Off the Trail, Lets Obamas Fill In Gaps. Aired 4-4:30p ET
Aired October 14, 2016 - 16:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BROOKE BALDWIN: Love that. I'm Brooke Baldwin. Thanks for being with me. THE LEAD STARTS NOW.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN BREAKING NEWS.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN THE LEAD ANCHOR: BREAKING NEWS in our "POLITICS LEAD" today, I'm Jake Tapper here in Los Angeles, where yet another woman in now coming forward making what could be the most serious claims yet against Donald Trump, the Republican Presidential Nominee. This woman says, Trump touched and kissed her against her stated wishes. Her name is Summer Zervos. She's a contestant from season 5 of Trump's NBC show, The Apprentice. She held a press conference just moments ago with her lawyer Gloria Allred. Zervos started by describing an encounter, she said, happen with Trump in 2007.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SUMMER ZERVOS, FORMER THE APPRENTICE CONTESTANT: When I arrived, he kissed me on the lips. I was surprised but felt that perhaps it was just his form of greeting. We sat and spoke. He was extremely complimentary. He said that he was impressed with how I handled myself on The Apprentice. He said that he had never met anyone with my combination of being smart, attractive and with the largest set of balls as I had. He was - he said that he would love to have - he said he would love to have me work for him. Mr. Trump said he would be coming to Los Angeles soon, and he would contact me. I felt as though I was reaching for my brass ring. I was very excited. I felt as though my dream of working for Mr. Trump might come true. As I was about to leave, he again kissed me on the lips. This made me feel nervous and embarrassed. This is not what I wanted or expected.
TAPPER: Her charges got even much more serious from there. Let's bring in CNN'S Paul Vercammen who was at the press conference here in Los Angeles. And Paul, what else did Summer Zervos have to say?
PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, at one point, there was what you might call quick draw core. At least, she's alleging that. She said that Trump and she were talking about a job in a gold course. And at one point, she was offered that job for half the salary that she'd been asking for, and she felt that that was because she did not sleep with Donald Trump. Let's take a listen. There's more to this press conference.
ZERVOS: I stood up, and he came to me and started kissing me, open- mouthed, as he was pulling me towards him. I walked away, and I sat down in a chair. He was on a low seat across from me, and I made an attempt at conversation. He then asked me to sit next to him. I complied. He then grabbed my shoulder and began kissing me again, very aggressively, and placed his - placed his hand on my breast. I pulled back and walked to another part of the room. He then walked up, grabbed my hand, and walked me into the bedroom. I walked out. He then turned me around and said, "Let's lay down and watch some telly- telly." He put me in an embrace, and I tried to push him away. I pushed his chest, put space between us, and I said, "Come on, man. Get real." He repeated my words back to me, "Get real," as he began thrusting his genitals.
He tried to kiss me again with my hands still on his chest, and I said, "Dude, you're tripping right now," attempting to make it clear, I was not interested. He said, "What do you want?" And I said, "I came to have dinner." He said, "OK, we'll have dinner." He paced around the room. He acted like he was a bit angry. He pointed out that someone had delivered a fruit basket. I felt that it was to show me how important he was.
As we were waiting for dinner, I sat across the room from him as far away as possible. He started saying that he did not think I had ever known love or had ever been in love. I did not want to discuss my personal life with him. Then, just before dinner arrived, he transformed into being all about business and began questioning me as though I was on a job interview.
VERCAMMEN: We've reached out to Trump campaign for comment, we have not heard anything yet. By the way, Zervos, season 5 The Apprentice, first person fired, at one point owned a restaurant in Orange County, California, therefore he called her his "OC Angel" in her statement.
TAPPER: And this is the 7th woman to come forward, I believe, with charges like this. Paul Vercammen, thank you so much. At an event last hour, Mr. Trump strongly denied other allegations that had been waged against him and she - he had harsh words for the accusers. He's on a swing through North Carolina today. CNN's Senior White House Correspondent, Jim Acosta is live in Charlotte, North Carolina. And Jim, this morning, Trump's running mate, Mike Pence, Governor of Indiana, said, quote, "More information going to be coming out that'll back Mr. Trump's claim that this is all categorically false." Is there any word on when we're going to see that information?
[16:05:01] JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: No word on an exact time, Jake, but the Trump campaign says it is preparing material to refute these accusations one campaign official says they are doing it, "strategically." But Jake, it is hard to keep up with this campaign as more allegations keep surfacing.
Every day it seems Donald Trump faces more accusations. The latest Kristin Anderson, he tells the Washington Post, Trump reached up her skirt and groped her at a nightclub back in the 90s.
KRISTIN ANDERSON, TRUMP ACCUSER: He did touched my vagina through my underwear.
ACOSTA: Anderson said she came forward after seeing Trump brag about grabbing women's genitals in a hot mic moment caught on camera.
DONALD TRUMP, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You can do anything.
BILLY BUSH, THE BILLY BUSH SHOW HOST: Whatever you want.
TRUMP: Grab them by the pussy.
ACOSTA: And after other women surfaced to share their stories of abuse as Jessica Leeds did on AC360.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANDERSON COOPER 360 HOST: Did he actually kiss you?
JESSICA LEEDS, TRUMP ACCUSER: Yeah, yeah.
COOPER: On the face, on the lips?
LEEDS: All - wherever he could find a landing spot, yes.
ANDERSON: After that, I was like, "OK, you know what, let me just back these girls up." You know, that's not OK.
ACOSTA: A Trump spokeswoman says Anderson's account is false, "This is a total fabrication. It did not happen." No apologies and no admission of guilt from Trump who also dismissed Anderson's accusation.
TRUMP: One came out recently where I was sitting alone in some club, I really don't sit alone that much. Honestly folks, I don't like sitting alone. I go in with groups of people. I was sitting alone by myself like this, and then I went, "Whoa, I have no idea who these women are." When you looked at that horrible woman last night, you said I don't think so. I don't think so. Whoever she is, wherever she comes from, the stories are total fiction. They're 100 percent made up, they never happened, they never would happen. I don't think that happened with very many people, but they certainly aren't going to happen with me.
ACOST: Instead, Trump is trying to shift the focus back to Hillary Clinton, attacking her on trade in the crucial swing state of North Carolina.
TRUMP: Hillary Clinton said my dream is a hemisphere of common market with open trade and open borders. There go the rest of your jobs, by the way.
ACOSTA: Trump's running mate, Mike Pence says he has faith in the man at the top of the ticket.
MIKE PENCE, REPUBLICAN VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Donald Trump has asserted that all of these recent unsubstantiated allegations are categorically false, and I do believe it.
ACOSTA: And Pence politely pushed back on First Lady Michelle Obama who denounced Trump's behavior.
MICHELLE OBAMA, UNITED STATES FIRST LADY: I can't believe that I'm saying that a candidate for the President of the United States has bragged about sexually assaulting women.
PENCE: I have a lot of respect for the First Lady and the job that she's done to the American people over the last seven and a half years, but I don't understand the basis of her claim.
ACOSTA: But the firestorm touched off by Trump's comments to Access Hollywood or drawing the nation's attention to sexual abuse, including the issue of sexual harassment, a problem the candidate's son downplayed three years ago.
DONALD TRUMP, JR., DONALD TRUMP'S SON: If you can't handle some of the basic stuff that's become a problem in the workforce today, like, you don't belong in the workforce. Like, you should go, you know, maybe, you know, teach kindergarten. I think it's a respectable, you know, position.
ACOSTA: And the Trump campaign is brushing off any notion that there's been a drop off in support since the candidate's hot-mic moment. If anything, the campaign says, the crowds are getting larger and more enthusiastic because they are now supporting this candidate in a time of need. And Jake, we have witnessed that ourselves out on the campaign trail, his die-hard supporters are not backing away, they're not skipping these events, they are flooding in to these events to stand behind him. Jake?
TAPPER: All right. Jim Acosta, thank you so much. Let's bring in retired pediatric neurosurgeon and Trump campaign advisor, Dr. Ben Carson. Dr. Carson, thanks so much for joining me. I appreciate it.
DR. BEN CARSON, RETIRED PEDIATRIC NEUROSURGEON AND TRUMP CAMPAIGN ADVISOR: Absolutely. My pleasure, Jake.
TAPPER: So, there are now two new accusations against Donald Trump this afternoon. I should point out CNN has not been able to independently verify one woman telling the Washington Post that Mr. Trump put his hand up her skirt and touched her private parts in the early 1990s. Another woman who you just heard, she was a contestant on The Apprentice. She said in 2007, Mr. Trump kissed and touched her against her will and against her stated wishes. That is seven accusers who have come forward publicly, what's your reaction, Sir? CARSON: Sexual abuse is a horrible thing, it's an abominable thing, I've said that many times, but I believe that the place where this kind of thing is to be handled is in our court system, it's not to be aired out in public on television. That's not the appropriate mechanism for dealing with these kinds of things.
TAPPER: This morning you seemed frustrated when you were asked by Katty Kay of the BBC if the women accusing Mr. Trump of sexual assault were lying, you said, quote, "It doesn't matter whether they're lying or not. What matters is that the train is going off the cliff," a reference to your larger concerns about what's going on with the United States of America. There are a lot of people out there, however, who think the issue of sexual assaults and sexual abuse as you just stated is very important. Do you think whether Mr. Trump did these things is unimportant?
CARSON: No, I think that's a misunderstanding of what I'm saying. What I'm actually saying is, we have amazingly important issues going on right now. You know, a 20-trillion-dollar national debt and even bigger, you know, deficit that is continuing to go on and it's going to terribly affect our children and our grandchildren. The immigration issues, the terrorism issues. I mean, isn't that what presidential election is about? It's not about these other issues. Now, you know, I welcome -
TAPPER: Well, it is about the character of the candidates.
CARSON: And I've said this many times, I welcome - I welcome a discussion about character, about morality, about right and wrong, and I think we should be doing that all the time, not just at the time of a presidential election, so yes, it's incredibly important. It's what my life is built around, but I think it's - I think we owe the American people an opportunity to talk about the two extraordinarily divergent pathways that these two campaigns are moving at. They need to be able to understand that in order to make an appropriate choice.
TAPPER: I understand that, Sir, but what's going on right now is that there are women coming forward, seven by my count, that are saying that the candidate you're advising, the Republican Presidential Nominee, Donald Trump has regularly committed sexual assault against them. In a speech last hour, Mr. Trump mocked some of the women who would accuse him. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: When you looked at that horrible woman last night, you said I don't think so. I don't think so. She would not be my first choice, that I can tell you. You don't know, that would not be my first choice.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: So this is the second day -
CARSON: And I would say -
TAPPER: -- Mr. Trump has suggested that these women are not attractive enough for him to sexually assault?
CARSON: I think we have a court system to take care of these things. If these women have an issue, I think they should hire a lawyer and they should seek to have that issue redressed in the appropriate way that's set forth in our society.
TAPPER: Well, do you think that, for instance, Juanita Broaddrick or Kathleen Willey who have not gone to the police with their charges against former Bill - former President Bill Clinton, do you think that they're handling this improperly?
CARSON: I -- what I say applies to everybody. We have a mechanism for dealing with these things, you know, dealing with them in the - in the court. A public opinion particularly at a time like this, only distracts us from the issues that are so important, and that our people have the right to be able to hear a fair discussion of the two sides. Hillary Clinton should be able to explain why she believes that we should have open borders, Donald Trump should be able to explain why he believes we shouldn't. Hillary Clinton should be able to explain why she wants to raise taxes, Donald Trump should be able to explain why he wants to lower taxes. These are big issues. You know, it's not - it's not that character isn't important -
TAPPER: I understand that - I understand you want to talk about these other issues.
CARSON: It's not that character isn't important.
TAPPER: But my guess, Dr. Carson - Dr. Carson, you've been married for 41 years, as far as I can tell, you're a good man, and you've been a good husband, and good father, does it not bother you at all to hear these -- this rising group of women talk about the sexual assaults they allege that Donald Trump committed against them. It must bother you?
CARSON: Of course, it bothers me. All of it bother -- there's so many things in our society that bothers me. Some of the music, some of the lyrics, the things that we're putting out in front of our young people all of the time, that is eroding our sense of morals and values, of course, it bothers the heck out of me. But at the same time, it also bothers me that our country is in such trouble and people don't seem to care.
TAPPER: All right. Dr. Ben Carson, thank you so much. I appreciate your time, Sir. Have a good weekend.
CARSON: Thank you.
TAPPER: While Donald Trump denies accusations from more alleged sexual assault victims, Hillary Clinton is staying off the campaign trail and avoiding questions about hacked e-mails, but that doesn't mean her message isn't getting out there.
[16:15:02] Stay with us.
TAPPER: When your opponent is blowing himself up, get out of the way.
Right now, Hillary Clinton has precisely zero public events scheduled on the books between now and next Wednesday. Her absence and her hibernation from the press and the public comes as WikiLeaks continues to publish hacked and stolen emails from her campaign chair John Podesta, emails that would no doubt force Clinton to answer uncomfortable questions about her campaign.
So, while the Democratic nominee stays insulated from slip ups and tough questions, both Obamas, her husband, the vice president, her vice presidential nominee -- all of them are out there in the battleground states railing against Donald Trump.
CNN's Joe Johns has filed this report.
JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: With Hillary Clinton off the campaign trail today, she's getting help from two high profiles surrogates, President Obama --
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Hillary! Hillary!
[16:20:00] JOHNS: -- and Bill Clinton.
The current president unleashing a blistering attack on the GOP nominee today in Cleveland.
OBAMA: He's just going to drag this election as low as it can possibly go.
JOHNS: Saying Trump's populist rhetoric is not genuine.
OBAMA: All he had time for celebrities and now suddenly, he's acting like he's a populist out there. "Man, I'm going to work for working people." Come on, man.
JOHNS: And scolding Republicans for standing behind Trump for so long, despite a long list of controversial statements.
OBAMA: I know some of them now are walking away, but why did it take you this long? You said you're the party of family values. What, you weren't appalled earlier?
JOHNS: President Obama making an impassioned plea to preserve his legacy by sending Clinton to the White House.
OBAMA: All the progress we made the last eight years is on the ballot. Democracy itself is on the ballot right now.
JOHNS: The Clinton campaign echoing that message with a new TV ad.
AD NARRATOR: What does showing up when it's time to vote actually mean?
JOHNS: Clinton taking a break from her West Coast fundraising trip to tape an appearance with Ellen DeGeneres.
Clinton needling Trump for pacing around and standing directly behind her at their recent town hall debate.
HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He was really trying to dominate and literally stalk me around the stage. I would just feel this presence behind me. And, you know, I thought, whoa, this is really weird. And so, I was just trying to stay focused.
JOHNS: Clinton also addressing the newest allegations against her opponent, warning her supporters not to become complacent.
CLINTON: Obviously, there's a lot that is coming out which is distressing on many levels. But I don't want anybody to think this election is over.
JOHNS: As Donald Trump threatens to counter recent accusations by highlighting Bill Clinton's accuser.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If you look at Bill Clinton, far worse.
JOHNS: Vice President Joe Biden saying the former president's past should not be a focus of this election.
JOSEPH BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I can't make an excuse for Bill Clinton's conduct, and I wouldn't attempt to making excuses for his conduct. But he paid a price for it. He paid a price. He was impeached.
JOHNS: A footnote on that last comment from Vice President Biden, that old news argument, that questions about Bill Clinton's behavior with women played out during the 1990s was actually proposed as a Hillary Clinton answer to a hypothetical debate question during the primaries this past January and included in a debate prep briefing book for Hillary Clinton, the document was included in one of the campaign's stolen e-mails just released by WikiLeaks -- Jake.
TAPPER: Joe Johns, thank you so much.
A new WikiLeaks dump of hack emails from Clinton's campaign chair, including the campaign talking about what they see as Hillary Clinton's Achilles heel. What could that be? That story, next.
[16:27:31] TAPPER: Welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.
Let's stay with politics. The Clinton campaign strategy of limiting her appearances seems designed to shield her as problematic, questions popped up. Take for instance, hacked email revealing a proposed line of attack from 2008 against then-Senator Barack Obama. They hit that, quote, "Obama's father was Muslim and Obama grew up among Muslims in the world's most populous Islamic country", unquote.
Now, that's from an e-mail stolen from John Podesta's personal account. The subject line of this email was quote, "McCain survey". It was sent by a Democratic pollster to Paul Begala, a long time Clinton consultant. It was also sent to other Clinton allies, including John Podesta, currently Clinton's campaign chair.
Now, Begala, who is now a CNN contributor, and had no official role with the Clinton campaign in 2008, nor does he today, he says e-mail was part of research that was being done as part -- as work for a political action committee supporting whichever Democrat would become the eventual Democratic nominee.
He told me that this research was, quote, "designed to test a attacks that might come in the general election." He added that, quote, "every campaign and every PAC tests potential negatives against the candidate they support." Begala says that the PAC was made up of both Obama and Clinton supporters, Tom Maxie, who ran this PAC tweeted that another WikiLeaks e-mail showed that this group did conduct research on negative attacks against Clinton, a PowerPoint presentation attached to an email dated January 18, 2008 does show attack lines targeting Clinton, although nothing so controversial as holding Barack Obama's father's faith against him.
We should not the date on that graphic said the presentation is from today. Maxie explained the PowerPoint automatically fills in the date on the slide.
Begala also stresses that he could not verify the e-mails' authenticity. CNN's Drew Griffin has been working this for us.
And, Drew, there's a lot of stuff being published by WikiLeaks over which Clinton's own people have expressed frustration at their own candidate.
DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: Exactly. The emails showing also, Jake, just how nervous the Clinton camp was in handling this e-mail controversy and especially the words Hillary Clinton would use and frustration of her aides of trying to make sure the candidate had the right words and tone with dealing with the e- mail server.
Her close aide, John Podesta's frustration was that Clinton herself simply could not apologize for it.
Take a look at his email exchange. It took place right after an interview with NBC's Andrea Mitchell. This was Clinton's first public interview after the email scandal unfolded, Jake.