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THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER
Coming Up: Clinton, Trump in Final Showdown on CNN; Interview with Sen. Amy Klobuchar; Undercover Video Gets Dem Operative Fired; What To Watch For In Tonight's Debate On CNN; Source: Trump Says He's Prepared As Much As He Can. Aired 4:30-5p ET
Aired October 19, 2016 - 16:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to a very special, an extremely special edition of THE LEAD. We're live from Las Vegas, Nevada.
It's debate night in America, and we're just hours away from the third and final face-off between Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump right here on CNN. The stage is set. And how they do could make or break the last few weeks of their campaigns?
Sunlen Serfaty is inside the debate hall right now.
Sunlen, we're hearing that Hillary Clinton won the coin toss.
SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Jake.
Hillary Clinton will kick off the night tonight, getting the first question. And as you can see from this debate stage behind me, this is a return to the largely more formal podium-style debates that we saw at the first debate. Donald Trump will be standing right there at his podium, Hillary Clinton's right over there.
I want to flip this camera around and show you the view that the candidates will be taking in as they stand up here tonight. Their families, each of their families will be in their line of sight tonight, so that means the Trump family will be sitting in this line right over here, the Clinton family sitting right here.
As you can see, a rather large audience tonight, 1,000 people, 1,000 seats here in this audience. Here is how this will all go down. There will be six 15-minute segments, each with a particular focus. Those topics are debt and entitlements, immigration, the economy, Supreme Court, foreign hot spots, and fitness to be president.
Each candidate has two minutes to kick off each of those segments. Then that leads to the open discussion and debate for the remainder of that 15-minute segment. There will be no bathroom breaks, no commercial breaks. This will be a solid 90-minute debate tonight, Jake.
TAPPER: All right. Sunlen Serfaty, thanks so much.
And joining me now, senior communications adviser to the Trump campaign Jason Miller.
Jason, thanks so much for joining us.
JASON MILLER, TRUMP CAMPAIGN SENIOR COMMUNICATIONS ADVISER: Thank you, Jake.
TAPPER: So, what's the basic strategy for Mr. Trump this evening? is
It to try to undercut Hillary Clinton's credibility, or is it to present his own plans and own agenda?
MILLER: First and foremost, Mr. Trump is going to come out tonight and give people a reason to vote for him.
I think that's a big difference between the candidates. We don't see that with Hillary Clinton. Everything from the Clinton camp is attack Trump, attack Trump. Trump is the only candidate who has a plan, who has a vision for this country. And I think you're going to see that tonight.
TAPPER: Well, you say that, but, as you know, your campaign has leaked that Malik Obama, President Obama's somewhat estranged half- brother, is going to be a guest. Patricia Smith, the mother of Sean Smith, who was killed at Benghazi, is going to be a guest.
We're also told -- Steve Bannon told Brooke Baldwin earlier today that Malik Obama is just an appetizer. There's going to be an entree. Who is the entree?
MILLER: Well, I'm not going to give anything else away in advance of tonight.
But, look, with regard to Malik Obama, even the president's half- brother thinks the country is going in the wrong direction and needs a change. That's exactly why we need Donald Trump.
TAPPER: But, I mean, why bring him? It just seems like you're trying to like air somebody's dirty laundry, the fact that President Obama doesn't have much of a relationship with his half-brother.
MILLER: No, I disagree completely.
I think this shows just how much people want to take this country in a different direction. The other thing tonight is, Hillary Clinton is going to have to answer for her failed 30-year record in politics as a senator, as secretary of state. She is going to have to stand up and answer that, the bad trade deals, the terrible job in the Middle East. That will all be on display.
TAPPER: OK. So, you say that about Hillary Clinton now. But listen to Donald Trump in 2008 talking about Hillary Clinton.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: She is also a very nice person. I think she is going to go down, at a minimum, as a great senator. I think she is a great wife to a president.
And I think Bill Clinton was a great president. A lot of people hated him because they were jealous as hell. But Bill Clinton was a great president. Hillary Clinton is a great woman and a good woman.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: I mean, that was after Hillary Clinton had been a senator for eight years. It was after the Clinton presidency.
MILLER: It was before Hillary Clinton helped put the Middle East into chaos. Look at Libya, look at Syria, look at Iraq, look at the nuclear deal with Iran. The world is a much more dangerous place, Jake.
TAPPER: So her tenure as secretary of state made him go from thinking she is a very nice person and a great senator and that Bill Clinton was a great president and she is a great woman and a good woman, because she was secretary of state, and he didn't like the job she did?
MILLER: And her terrible personal attacks.
This entire campaign has been one big attack on Donald Trump. And Hillary Clinton has been -- when she talks about the low road and the high road, she's been taking the low road the entire time.
That's a much different opinion of Hillary Clinton.
TAPPER: You really think that Donald Trump has not been leveling personal attacks on his rivals, whether in the Republican primaries, when you worked for Ted Cruz, or in the general election?
At the last debate, he brought accusers of Bill Clinton as guests to the debate. I mean, you don't think he has been attacking people too?
MILLER: Jake, Donald Trump is going to stand up and defend himself, absolutely.
TAPPER: No, you didn't answer. No, no, he has attacked people, though. You're not even going to acknowledge that he's attacked people?
MILLER: Look, campaigns are tough. A lot of punches get thrown in campaigns. Donald Trump is going to stand up and defend himself. He's definitely going to do it against Hillary Clinton.
TAPPER: I think one of the questions is -- no, I don't think anyone begrudges him attacking Hillary Clinton or even Ted Cruz, but he has attacked reporters by name. He attacked a Gold Star family. He attacked a Miss Universe. He has one personal attacks. He has been punching down for a long time.
And I don't think anybody cares if he attacks his rivals, but why punch down?
MILLER: So, here is the thing, Jake.
Tonight, what the American people are going to want to see is, who has a vision for the country? I understand you want to get into a little bit of the palace intrigue and the inside baseball, but tonight you have a lot of undecided voters who are going to be watching this debate, trying to make a decision about who they want to get behind for president.
A lot of people up there haven't made up their minds. But the one thing that we know is upwards of 76 percent of the people out there think the country is going in the wrong direction. Hillary is running as the status quo candidate, the candidate who wants to keep the Obama agenda in place and in fact take it even further. Donald Trump has a much different vision.
That's what people are going to be looking for tonight.
TAPPER: President Obama has a 55 percent approval rating. If you want to run against President Obama, that's fine.
But let me ask you one quick question. If he loses in 20 days, if he loses, is he going to concede? A lot of people are very concerned that he is not going to concede and that is really going to be horrible for the country, if he loses.
MILLER: Well, so let's talk about the rigged system for just a moment.
First and foremost, we see the media, the very biased media. A number of polls have come out over the last couple of days even showing that the American public agrees with Mr. Trump that the media is biased. We saw the study last week with the 96 percent of all contributions from members of the media to a presidential...
TAPPER: Those are from like restaurant critics. They're not political reporters.
MILLER: Came from people in the media. Actually, it was 96.7 percent.
TAPPER: It's from TV critics. It's not political reporters and editors.
MILLER: And last week, we saw 23 times more attention paid to these baseless accusations against Mr. Trump than we did talking about the WikiLeaks and the FBI and everything, all the scandals going on with Hillary Clinton.
So, I mean, we're seeing this culture that the media is bringing into this campaign. That's when we are talking about the rigged system.
Now, specifically on Election Day... TAPPER: You think the media -- you think nine women coming forward and saying that Donald Trump acted on the words that are in that "Access Hollywood" tape when he said that, as a star, he could just kiss women if he wanted to, he could grab them by the P-word, and then he says he -- that's not true, it was just talk.
Nine women come forward and say, no, it is true, that's his behavior. You think that that is baseless and the media shouldn't cover it?
MILLER: I think it's 23-1 on the time ratio. That is ridiculous.
When we talk about the collusion, the corruption that we are seeing at the FBI, the State Department, the Clinton Foundation, that's real bias, Jake, 23-1. I mean, that's ridiculous.
TAPPER: I don't know what this 23-1 is. This is from studies -- a study I don't know anything about.
But people have been covering Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton and all sorts of charges against them for decades, including the Clinton Foundation for the last two years has been under scrutiny.
MILLER: Well, not near as much attention as it should be.
Jake, why have five people taken immunity in this cover-up? And there is real criminal activity here. And I think that's -- the American people need to know about that.
TAPPER: OK, but just a quick question. Is he going to concede if he loses?
MILLER: Well, first of all, I think Mr. Trump is going to win. Mr. Trump is a closer.
TAPPER: OK, but...
MILLER: I don't think that's going to be the case.
But short of rampant, widespread voter fraud, then of course, if the other candidate wins, then we will uphold that.
MILLER: But, I mean, that's -- that's very clear.
But again, our goal leading up to then is to make sure that we have ballot box integrity, voter integrity. And I think that's common sense.
TAPPER: We all want integrity at the ballot box.
Jason Miller, thank you so much. Good luck at the debate this evening.
Coming up next: a video apparently showing a Democratic operative apparently talking about inciting violence at Trump rallies. Should Clinton address this, this evening?
And what's the one thing our panel of experts are watching for tonight? That's coming up. We are just a few hours away from that historic debate.
You are watching a special edition of THE LEAD. Stay with us.
TAPPER: Welcome back to a very special, an extremely special, a momentously special edition of THE LEAD.
You're looking inside the debate hall at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Just hours from now, the final debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump will be right here on CNN. It will be their last chance to go head to head and maybe one of their last chances to win over those undecided voters out there.
Joining me now, the senior Senator from Minnesota, Amy Klobuchar. She is a Hillary Clinton supporter.
Senator, thanks for joining us.
So, it looks as though there will be some attempts to cast aspersions on the Clintons, Bill and Hillary, and their behavior by Donald Trump. How would you recommend that she react to that if he does it during the debate?
SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D), MINNESOTA: Well, I think this is a debate where Chris Wallace, as you know, is someone of substance. And he wants to keep it on substance, my guess, just how the debate in structured.
And I hope that we're going to talk about the real issues that Americans are facing. I think that it's Donald Trump that has the burden here to somehow turn the page on what has happened with this campaign, where it's turned into nothing on his part but a bunch of insults at everyone he can find and the tape, which just really was an eye-opening moment for American women and really the entire country.
TAPPER: Let me ask you about that, because you have a daughter who is a millennial.
Do you look back at the '90s? And you were not a U.S. senator, OK, so I am not holding you responsible. But do you look back at that year and think, boy, Democrats and progressives in the media really didn't behave the way, when it came to accusers of Bill Clinton, the way that we now deal with people who make accusations like this?
KLOBUCHAR: Well, what I most remember from that time, honestly, is when Bill Clinton was president, we added a ton a jobs to economy.
TAPPER: That's a nice pivot. But come on, I'm trying to -
KLOBUCHAR: -- to this. I was - I'm being honest. I can be honest with you.
TAPPER: Yeah, yeah.
KLOBUCHAR: And I remember this, but I mostly was focused, as our politics were back then, on the issues. It was a different time. I think the key is tonight is that Americans are just thirsting to talk about the issues. And we did some of that in that first debate where we heard about the fact that he wasn't putting out his tax returns and we talked about the economy, some. And we're in Nevada. We need to talk about immigration reform in this campaign. And it's been literally hardly a word about it in any of the debates. So, I was very glad there was a section of the debate devoted to that. So, whether how women were treated in the 90s versus now, I think the women of America listened to Donald Trump's own words, he's the one on the ballot, Hillary Clinton is the one on the ballot, and they'll make a decision on that, but I hope tonight, they're also going to hear some other things that we're used to talking about in debates. So, they can make a decision on economic policies, where Hillary Clinton has put out a strong economic policy.
TAPPER: Let me ask you also, I mean, one of the knocks on Donald Trump this election cycle has been about the violence at his rallies. James O'Keefe, who is this Guerrilla conservative activist filmmaker, interviewed some democratic operatives and there seems to be some suggestion that they were bringing in people to incite violence at some of these Trump events. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SCOTT FOVAL, AMERICANS UNITED FOR CHANGE: There's a script.
JAMES O'KEEFE: Oh, there is a script.
FOVAL: There's a script. There's a script of engagement. Sometimes the crazies bite and sometimes the crazies don't bite. When they're outside the rally --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They're more effective out. They're harder to get in.
FOVAL: The media will cover it no matter where it happens.
O'KEEFE: I assume it's always in the rally.
FOVAL: It's initiating the conflict, by having leading conversations with people who are naturally psychotic.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: So that individual, Scott Foval, has been fired by Americans United for Change, but this is a group that had a relationship with the Democratic National Committee. And I'm wondering - I mean, there was actual violence at these rallies. If democratic operatives played any role in ginning any of up - any of it up or baiting, that must concern you?
KLOBUCHAR: You know, of course, it would concern me, but I don't know what the facts are. I don't know if he's just boasting. The point is that they were immediately fired, that they are no longer working for that outfit, that in fact, there's no proof that Hillary Clinton had anything to do with this or knew it was going on. And just my hope, again, is we have one more debate here tonight. And you're someone of substance yourself, and we are used doing campaigns of hearing what one candidate's economic plan is versus the other. What are they going to do on foreign policy? And I think, for a closing argument here, it's important for Americans to hear that., because, in my mind, all I keep hearing from Donald Trump is, "I have a plan, I have a plan." Hillary Clinton has put out some pretty detailed proposals, and I think she'll be very good when she gets on the issues, and that's what I want to hear tonight.
TAPPER: Well, I hope there's going to be a lot of substance this evening. I agree with that. Senator Klobuchar, it's always good to see you. Thank you so much.
KLOBUCHAR: Thank you, Jake.
TAPPER: Appreciate it. Coming up next, our panel weighs in on what they're looking for in tonight's debate. That's just a few hours from now. You're watching a special edition of THE LEAD. Stay with us.
[16:50:00] TAPPER: I don't know. Welcome back to THE LEAD. Debate night in America. We are live in the beautiful sight of University of Las Vegas, Nevada. It's the final debate in the 2016 presidential race. We're just learning some new details about what Donald Trump is doing in these hours leading up to the debate. A source telling CNN that he had lunch at his hotel with his family, advisors and some big donors including Sheldon Adelson, from the City of Las Vegas and Foster Freeze. Trump says he's prepared as much as he can be prepared for tonight.
My panel is back with me. Guys, we just have time to do a whip around, so let's go around. What are you looking for tonight Mary Katharine?
MARY KATHARINE HAM, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Look, I think Trump has to do better than he's done in the past, he can marshal a bunch of the stories about WikiLeaks, about the FBI quid pro quo and he can land some punches on her, but he has to do a lot better than he has in the past. And that can only give him a spring-board in what needs to be a perfect couple of weeks to close this thing.
KIRSTEN POWERS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, we've been hearing a lot of (INAUDIBLE) he's actually preparing this time. That you actually had Chris Christie blame Hillary Clinton something that Trump has not wanted to do before, so I'm interested to see if it made a difference, that he's actually is going to come in and we're going to see a different kind of debater and somebody who is going to be able to more stay on the issues. TAPPER: David?
DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: I think that Chris Wallace has a section called "fitness to serve." And I think that that is going to be the most important section of the debate. I think Donald Trump has not practiced, not yet with the American people, and he must leave this debate tonight, if he has any chance of turning this around with the American people thinking, "Hey, I can see him in the Oval Office. He does have the temperament to serve as president."
GLORIA BORGER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I want to see Hillary Clinton make the final closing argument to voters who don't like her but are thinking about voting for her, about what she can do to help them and their families, and why they should go into that booth and decide that she's going to be the one. She hasn't done it yet.
JEFFREY LORD, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Hillary Clinton's judgment, why she keeps making mistakes, why she keeps getting into these controversies and scandals throughout her entire career, and imagine what the first six months in the White House would be like.
TAPPER: You're looking for Donald Trump to bring that up or for Hillary Clinton to defend herself?
LORD: No, for her. For him to bring it up about her, and then, tie this all together with the corruption in the administration.
TAPPER: OK. Governor?
JENNIFER GRANHOLM, FORMER MICHIGAN GOVERNOR: I think it'll be a study in contrasts. People are going to be able to see who do they want as their president that would make them proud and not make them embarrassed both in the U.S. and globally.
ANDRE BAUER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think he needs to be firm, and again, say, "I'm taking on the D.C. cartel, I'm taking on the media, I'm taking on the establishment, and I'm the one that actually understands what you're going through. I've created a small business, I've created jobs." And I think he needs to touch on something I hadn't seen covered at all yesterday when he talked about term limits. He talked about disallowing people lobby the government that it served in congress. All of those are things that the average person on the street is frustrated with and thinks are wrong. And those are what can actually move numbers for him.
PATTI SOLIS DOYLE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I'd be curious to see what Donald Trump's actual goal is tonight, is it to win the presidency and broaden his base as we've all talked about here today, or is it to, you know, lay the groundwork for what could be a very brutal loss. You know, the system is rigged, the media is in the tank for Hillary. I want to see what the goal is.
TAPPER: All right. Thanks one and all. We are counting down to the final debate. We're just hours away from it on CNN. Stay with us.
TAPPER: That's it for THE LEAD. You'll see me back here at 7:00 p.m. Eastern. For more of our continuing coverage, I now throw you to Anderson Cooper and Wolf Blitzer. They are in "THE SITUATION ROOM."