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Donald Trump Vows Evidence Against Accusations; The First Lady Trump Takedown; Trump Accuser Speaks to CNN; Dodgers Beat Nationals in NLDS. Aired 5-5:30a ET

Aired October 14, 2016 - 05:00   ET


[05:00:00] JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: To Anderson in the second debate in St. Louis that inspired her to first go public to the "New York Times."


JESSICA LEEDS, ACCUSES TRUMP OF SEXUAL ASSAULT: When you specifically asked Trump had he ever groped a woman or I forget how you phrased it, and he said no, and I literally wanted to throw something at the TV or punch my hand in the TV. And that -- that was Sunday night. And Monday morning, I found myself writing an e-mail. A letter to the editor to "The Times."


BERMAN: We'll watch more Anderson's interview a little bit later. But first, Donald Trump's remarkable defense against these claims and what he considers the conspiracy to defeat him. In Florida and Ohio, he blasted the accusers, he blasted the accusations that he groped and kissed women unwanted. He called it pure fiction. And he promised to produce evidence that these claims were false, though he did not do so yesterday.

CNN's Sara Murray now has the latest.

SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICS CORRESPONDENT: With less than four weeks until Election Day, Donald Trump spent most of yesterday denying allegations from multiple women from different parts of the country who say they were sexually assaulted by Donald Trump. Trump clearly agitated and angry by these accusations insisted they were outright lies.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: These vicious claims about me of inappropriate conduct with women are totally and absolutely false. And the Clintons know it. And they know it very well. These claims are all fabricated. They're pure fiction and they're outright lies. These events never ever happened.


MURRAY: But Donald Trump didn't just take aim at the veracity of their claims. He took aim at the women who were making them. Questioning why they had taken so long to report these and in one instance even seeming to suggest that the woman was not attractive enough to warrant Donald Trump's attention.

Now all this comes at an interesting point for the Trump campaign. Not only is he sliding in the polls but they've pinned their strategy on taking both Hillary and Bill Clinton to task for women who accused Bill Clinton of sexual misconduct in the 1990s. And the Trump campaign has insisted repeatedly that all those women deserved to be believed.

Now he will be back on the campaign trail today in North Carolina. And if last night is any preview, he is trying to transition away from these accusations and back to the issues. We'll see if he's successful. Back to you.

BERMAN: All right. Sara Murray, thanks so much.

"The New York Times" is telling Donald Trump he can go ahead and sue. The newspaper is standing by its story. It issued a scathing rejection letter. The paper's lawyer notes that a libel claim is about protecting one's reputation and ticks off Trump's on-the-record bragging about sexual matters. The attorney writes, "Nothing in our article has had the slightest effect on the reputation that Mr. Trump through his own words and actions has already created for himself."

This morning, President Obama campaigns for Hillary Clinton at an early voting event in Ohio. But it was his wife, the first lady, Michelle Obama, who really sent shockwaves through this campaign. It was an arresting speech in New Hampshire. The likes of which she has never given before. It was really an all-out-takedown of Donald Trump without once mentioning him by name. Listen to a little bit of it.


MICHELLE OBAMA, FIRST LADY OF THE UNITED STATES: 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.

But, New Hampshire, yes, be clear, this is not normal. This is not politics as usual. This is disgraceful. It is intolerable. And it doesn't matter what party you belong to.


BERMAN: All right. New this morning, Hillary Clinton is speaking out about the latest accusations against Donald Trump. This is her first interview since the second presidential debate. The secretary sat down with Ellen DeGeneres. This is an interview that airs today. You can see they actually talked about the shimmy that Mrs. Clinton famously gave in the first debate and apparently she was showing off her ability to do it on call right there.

Now Secretary Clinton says that even facing a barrage of sexual misconduct claims, the campaign, even though Trump is, she says the campaign is far from finished. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: 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 because it's been so unpredictable up to now that I'm not taking anything for granted. We've got to work really hard for the next three and a half weeks because who knows -- who knows what can happen?


[05:05:02] BERMAN: And there are new revelations this morning about Hillary Clinton's e-mail practices. Written answers submitted to the conservative watch dog group Judicial Watch, the secretary had to answer these written questions. She said she relied on advisers to manage her server. She claims she does not recall being contacted by the State Department about preserving her e-mails. Secretary Clinton also said that hacking concerns were never raised and that she chose to use personal e-mail server for convenience. She has since said that was a mistake and she apologized.

Joining us now to discuss CNN Politics reporter Tal Kopan, live for us in Washington this morning.

And, Tal, this was a remarkable moment yesterday. It happened to be while I was on TV anchoring a different show than EARLY START. But you had a split screen between Michelle Obama, the first lady of the United States, in a scathing takedown of Donald Trump and then Donald Trump, moments after she was finished issuing his takedown of the entire national media and all the women who've accused him of sexual misconduct. This was a moment.

TAL KOPAN, CNN POLITICS REPORTER: Yes. Absolutely. And you know what's really interesting about it is to a certain extent both of them were incredibly effective at speaking to their base. And so let's just establish from the beginning that there is about 40 percent of the public that is sticking with Donald Trump throughout everything so far. And they probably hung on his every word and believe his very vehement denials of what took place.

Michelle Obama, also speaking to a particular base. That seems to be a bigger base at the moment, if we believe the polls and we believe her approval ratings and her husband's approval rating. The question right now is who is broadening the tent, who is appealing to the few undecided voters there might out there or someone who might change their mind.

And Donald Trump right now is doubling down on that base. He is definitely speaking to the folks who have been with him along the way and that's probably where he's going to fail in this regard is that he's not doing what Michelle Obama is doing which is trying to make a broader message to the whole electorate at this point.

BERMAN: Want to give you a small taste of each of them right now. First, I want to play a little snippet of Donald Trump. He's been getting a lot of attention right now when he was talking about the reporter from "People" magazine who accuses him of sexual assault and unwanted kissing episode at Mar-a-Lago. This is what Donald Trump said about her. People read it that he was sort of insulting he appearance. Listen.


TRUMP: 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.


BERMAN: Look at her. I don't think so. Let that sink in for a moment. Now I want to play Michelle Obama, the first lady, who was in New Hampshire which is a key swing state yesterday. Michelle Obama said she hasn't been able to stop thinking about Donald Trump and some of the accusations against him in the last few days and that "Access Hollywood" tape that came out last week. Listen to the first lady.


M. 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. We are endorsing it. We are telling our sons that it's OK to humiliate women. We are telling our daughters that this is how they deserve to be treated. We are telling all our kids that bigotry and bullying are perfectly acceptable in the leader of their country. Is that what we want for our children?


BERMAN: Again, you know, the first lady of the United States, she is, you know, a vocal advocate for her husband, and has been on the campaign trail before but I don't believe she has ever been as forceful in a campaign speech as she was yesterday.

And it's telling to me, Tal, that Hillary Clinton, who was actually on the ballot for president, she is more or less off the campaign trail between now and what should be the final debate if it takes place next week. Meanwhile, you know, President Obama, Michelle Obama, others are going to be out there and I think the Clinton team is OK with that.

KOPAN: Yes. And the Democrats certainly have a stable of surrogates right now for their candidate that the Republicans just don't have. I mean, you have current president, a former president, a current first lady, all of whom who have relatively high approval ratings all going out there and speaking for the Democratic candidate. And the Republican candidate who largely is his own best surrogate has sort of a stable of in some ways lesser Republican officials. You don't have the highest ranking members of the party or former highest ranking members of the party out there for him.

And you know, the Democrats all along the way have enjoyed giving Donald Trump sort of enough rope to, you know, kind of get himself in trouble and when he is in a bad back and let the public hear from his own mouth. And it's hard to deny that that's a bad clip that we just played from Donald Trump. Certainly it's not the entire speech. But when he tried to respond to these allegations by implying something about the woman's looks, that's not going to appeal to the middle voter who is looking at him to sort of rise above what is going on.

[05:10:01] And so, you know, in a certain sense, we are seeing that strategy once again from the Democrats. Give Donald Trump the space to sort of do their work for him. At times that has backfired for them. It doesn't seem to be backfiring right now.

BERMAN: All right, Tal, you're going to come back a little bit later. And when you do we're going to talk about President Obama who had I think a very different line of attack. He is trying to do something very different with Donald Trump and the Republicans than his own wife did on the campaign trail yesterday. That's coming up in our next half hour.

Thanks, Tal.

KOPAN: Thank you.

BERMAN: In the meantime the Trump campaign wants to know why now. Why are Donald Trump's accusers waiting until the final weeks of the race to come forward. You're going to hear from one who answers that question in her own words. That's next.



ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: You say his hands were everywhere. Can you be specific?

LEEDS: Well, he was grabbing my breasts and trying to turn me towards him and kissing me and then after a bit, that's when his hands started going -- I was wearing a skirt and his hands started going toward my knee and up my skirt.


[05:15:11] BERMAN: That was Donald Trump accuser Jessica Leeds speaking to CNN, telling Anderson Cooper that Trump groped her, quote, "wherever he could find a landing spot." Her story was first reported in the "New York Times." Now Trump has vehemently denied these accusations. This alleged incident took place in the 1970s and the question a lot of people are asking this morning is why is she coming forward now right before the election. This is what she told Anderson.


LEEDS: I didn't start telling my story until about a year and a half ago when it became apparent that he was making a serious run for the presidency. And I would have an occasion to say to a group of friends, let me tell you my Trump story. Now most of these friends were women. It was my book club. It was this club. It was -- it was neighbors and friends and everything. But a couple of men. My son- in-law, my son, friends, my nephew. The whole thing. And over the year and a half that I've been telling this, it's like it doesn't change it at all. It's still infuriates me when I think about it. But I'm -- you know, it was a long time ago.

It wasn't until Sunday night and all of them, all of my friends would say, you've got to write this story up. You've got to publish it. You've got to contact somebody and make it known. It's too long ago.

COOPER: You didn't want to do that?

LEEDS: No, not particularly. I mean, it was too long ago. So -- but when you at the debate -- well, the Friday night tapes, that whole bus scene, was really annoying. And then the debate when you specifically asked Trump had he ever groped a woman or I forget how you phrased it. And he said no.

COOPER: Yes. I asked him if he had ever -- if he was just bragging about sexual assault or if he had actually done what he said.

LEEDS: Right.

COOPER: Had he kissed a woman without consent?

LEEDS: Right.

COOPER: Has he ever groped a woman?

LEEDS: Right. And he said no. And literally wanted to throw something at the TV or punch my hand in the TV. And that was Sunday night. And Monday morning, I found myself writing an e-mail letter to the editor to the "Times."

COOPER: Something about him actually denying it on that stage.

LEEDS: Yes. Yes. As far -- yes. Yes. That's it exactly.

COOPER: What do you think it was about that moment that made you want to go public?

LEEDS: Because I really would like for the fact that he's lying and he lies about so many things, really brought out. And yes, you did. You asked a very good question. But he's very good at all of a sudden he was talking about ISIS and he was talking about defense and he was talking about this, that and the others. So he manages to change the conversation. And I -- sometimes I think I don't think he's even really aware of -- that he's lying. He's built up his defenses in his head to the extent that he doesn't know.


BERMAN: That was Jessica Leeds to Anderson overnight.

Some sports action, how did the Dodgers close out the Nationals to win their National League Division series? Well, let's just say they had an ace up their sleeve. Get it? Coy Wire with this morning's "Bleacher Report." That's next.


[05:23:20] BERMAN: Bring on the Cubs. That's what the Dodgers are saying after beating the Nationals to advance to the National League Championship Series. Coy Wire with now on this morning's "Bleacher Report." Hey, Coy.

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Hey, John, happy Friday to you. Win or go home game in Washington. The Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw showing why he's considered the best pitcher on the planet. Let's get ahead to the bottom of the ninth inning, Dodgers are up 4-3. The Dodgers close with Kenley Jansen in trouble. He walks Jason Werth to put the tying run on second. So bring him out. Bring him out. Clayton Kershaw comes in to pitch from the bullpen for the first in seven years. He is supposed to be resting. He just pitched on Tuesday. Before the game, his manager said there is no way Kershaw would be available to pitch. But he rallies, he digs deep, he gets the last two outs and the first save of his career. Advancing his team. Dodgers win 4-3. And now they have a date with the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley field on Saturday.


CLAYTON KERSHAW, LOS ANGELES DODGERS: And we're going to enjoy it and we're going to celebrate tonight and have a lot of fun doing it. But tomorrow we're going to Chicago and our mind is completely shifted to beating the Cubs.


WIRE: Now don't forget tonight over in the American League Championship Series is Toronto and Cleveland at 8:00 Eastern our sister station TBS.

Thursday night football. 4-1 Broncos, 1-4 Chargers. Going into this game. The Chargers have blown a fourth quarter lead in four out of the five games they played. So it is looking it's going to happen again. Broncos get an on-side kick late in the game. And they get a shot for the win with a hail Mary. What's it going to be? Will the Chargers fall again? No. Knocks it down.

[05:25:02] Great job by the DB there. The Chargers win 21-13. Broncos have lost two in a row after starting the season 4-0.

The highest profile football game to be postponed by Hurricane Matthew is LSU and Florida has finally been rescheduled. This after days of bickering of where, when, and even if the game would be made up. It's now going to be moved to LSU on November 19th. It was originally supposed to be a home game for Florida. The compromise, LSU plays in Gainesville next season. It was originally scheduled to be played in Baton Rouge.

Now college football action this weekend. Some good games, John. Number two Ohio State at Wisconsin, and number one Alabama at number nine Tennessee. So both higher ranked teams going on the road. See, if they can get it done.

BERMAN: An interesting thing. Several hours in front of the television ahead for both of us. Thanks, Coy.

All right. Dramatic moments on the campaign trail. A face-off not between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, but Donald Trump and Michelle Obama. That's next.