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AT THIS HOUR WITH BERMAN AND MICHAELA

Trump Refuses to Say He'll Accept Election Results; Trump to Speak at Even 1st Time after Debate; Candidates Call the Other Putin Puppet. Aired 11-11:30a ET

Aired October 20, 2016 - 11:00   ET

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


[11:00:00] CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: AT THIS HOUR with Berman and Bolduan starts now.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Hello. I'm John Berman.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Hello. I'm Kate Bolduan.

It's 11:00 in the east, assuming you are willing to accept that fact, John. 19 days before America picks a president or, as Donald Trump might say, allegedly picks. Because in front of the entire country, Donald Trump now suggests that, in his view, the presidential election is somehow conditional. He might not buy the outcome. He wants to keep us all in suspense.

BERMAN: He said that, despite the fact his running mate, party chair, campaign manager and daughter all say something different. The question is, will he say it again this morning. He does have an event coming up in Ohio. We'll take you there live.

But first, hear what he said just one more time.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRIS WALLACE, DEBATE MODERATOR: Do you make the same commitment that you will absolutely, sir, that you will absolutely accept the result of this election?

DONALD TRUMP, (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I will look at it at the time.

WALLACE: Are you saying you're not prepared now to commit to that principle?

TRUMP: What I'm saying is I will tell you at the time. I will keep you in suspense.

HILLARY CLINTON, (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Let me respond to that, because that's horrifying. You know, every time Donald thinks things are not going in his direction, he claims, whatever it is, is rigged against him. That is not the way our democracy works.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: I want to bring in CNN's political director, David Chalian.

David, that one moment, the "I will keep you in suspense" moment, casting a huge shadow over the other 89 minutes of the debate.

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Literally sitting in the press filing room last night you could hear the gasps of all the collected journalists in that moment. There's no doubt. Donald Trump, I thought he was having the best debate performance of the fall, so far, and he upended all of that with this one line.

And here's why, John and Kate. This is what's important to understand. There is no doubt in my mind that his supporters will actually love this line of his. They feel that they have fervently joined a movement and they do not want to let go of what. So he will look like sort of the general leading the charge. However, the key fundamental problem that Donald Trump has needed to solve for his candidacy for a larger swath of American voters is that he has the temperament and the right fit to serve as president in the Oval Office. And that kind of line, saying that you are not going to 100 percent say that you will accept the results of the election, it cuts right to that core, and it upends any progress he had any hopes of making on the debate stage last night, because this fits into that problem about not being temperamentally fit for the job.

BOLDUAN: David, you mentioned temperament. There was another moment later in the debate, more towards the end, where Donald Trump said nasty, called Hillary Clinton nasty. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CLINTON: My Social Security payroll contribution will go up, as will Donald's, assuming he can't figure out how to get out of it, but what we want to do is to replenish --

TRUMP: Such a nasty woman.

CLINTON: -- the Social Security Trust Fund.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BOLDUAN: He interrupts her. She's talking about Social Security, calling her such a nasty woman. What do you think the real impact is of that?

CHALIAN: It certainly isn't going to go over very well with female voters, no doubt. Certainly ones that Donald Trump actually wants to bring into his fold. College educated females have sort of been out of reach but even trying to take some Independent women, bringing some Republican women who are no fan of Hillary Clinton, but back into his fold that he may have lost after the allegations of the "Access Hollywood" tape and the women, then I think you will see it makes his ability to woo women that much more difficult. That line certainly won't go over well. Again, his base may like it but clearly, Hillary Clinton was in her role as sort of the aggressor onstage last night getting under his skin a little bit.

BERMAN: David, as we sit here 19 days before Election Day, there's a math issue, a simple issue of math. Donald Trump went into this debate trailing by eight points in the CNN poll of polls. After the debate, the CNN/ORC poll found that he lost the debate to Hillary Clinton. So how does he pick up the ground at this point with no major intervening events between now and Election Day?

CHALIAN: Right. Now he lost all three debates, according to our CNN/ORC instant polls after each one. Those were certainly his best opportunities. And in fact, it's since that first debate that we have really seen the slide for him. Now he's got 19 days to prove that they have some incredible ground game and can turn out his supporters and his voters in numbers that we just haven't seen before, and somehow depress the turnout of the Clinton vote. That's a monumental task ahead of him. So barring any intervening event or some implosion from Hillary Clinton, there's nothing that happened on the debate stage last night where Donald Trump sort of upended the trajectory of the race. That's a problem for him.

BERMAN: The debates are over. There are no more presidential debates, no more conventions, no more moments in this campaign where you can reframe the entire race.

(CROSSTALK)

[11:05:12] BERMAN: David Chalian, thanks so much for being with us. Enjoy the rest of your time in Las Vegas.

Donald Trump's campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, said last night she would accept the results. She also said Trump would, too. This morning, here on CNN, she had a little bit of a more nuanced explanation. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KELLYANNE CONWAY, DONALD TRUMP PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN MANAGER: He has said that he will respect the results of the election but everybody, including Al Gore in 2000, waits to see what those election results are. You wait to see what the results are, if they are verified, if they are certified. Al Gore himself called to concede that race in 2000. He called George W. Bush, congratulated him for being the victor, and then called back and retracted the concession.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BOLDUAN: Of course, a major difference here. Al Gore did not allege voter fraud, widespread voter fraud, three weeks before even Election Day. The extremely close vote in Florida, as you all will remember, triggered an automatic recount by state law.

Joining us now to discuss, former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm, a senior adviser to the pro-Clinton super PAC Correct the Record; as well as Amy Kremer, co-chair of Women Vote Trump.

Great to see you. Thank you so much for being with us. Amy, to you, Kellyanne Conway, not really sure what to make of

it. You hear from her last night and this morning, I think the best way to say is maybe she was trying to play cleanup on what Donald Trump said pretty definitively on that stage. He's going to respect the results, he's not going to respect the results. He says he wants to keep -- he's going to keep voters in suspense. Which one is it?

AMY KREMER, CO-CHAIR, WOMEN VOTE TRUMP: I think that, first of all, I believe he's going to win, so I don't believe it's going to be an issue. But I think he wants to know there is not widespread voter fraud. We have all seen the tapes that have come out recently from Project Veritas and these Democrats, this guy, Creamer that has met with the president 47 times, I believe, been to the White House 300 times, they created all these problems at Donald Trump's rallies, and whatnot, and they are talking about bussing people in and getting cars, it's a serious issue. I think everybody wants us to have free and fair elections. We all do. Absolutely. But why is he going to concede before the contest is even over? It doesn't make sense.

BOLDUAN: Why is he going to prejudge --

(CROSSTALK)

KREMER: He hasn't said he's not going to accept it. He just wouldn't answer the question definitively. He didn't say he would or he wouldn't. He said we'll wait and see.

BERMAN: Amy, let's just be clear. The videos you are talking about, the James O'Keefe videos, don't show voter fraud. They suggest there may have been some effort to incite violence at rallies by Democratic operatives. That isn't voter fraud at polling places on Election Day. There is a difference there.

(CROSSTALK)

BERMAN: I'm not disputing what's on the video.

KREMER: I will give you that.

BERMAN: It's just not voter fraud. You are using it as an example of voter fraud. It's just not true.

KREMER: But, John, what I will say is latest Pew polls showed that one in eight voters, voter registrations across this country, is either from illegal immigrant, a dead person, or somebody that is registered in another state. That's 12.5 percent of voters.

BERMAN: Again, again, you are talking about extrapolation on math. There is no example in the past of large scale fraud tipping an election. It just doesn't --

(CROSSTALK)

BOLDUAN: I believe that's what the Pew study actually said.

BERMAN: But I want to bring in Governor Granholm and ask her about the Al Gore example.

Because a lot of Republicans are bringing that up. We mentioned there's an obvious difference here. Gore, he sat through the recount and waited until the recount verified the results and the Supreme Court ruled, and once they did, he conceded the election. But there were Democrats, there are Democrats, to this day, who say that George W. Bush wasn't elected, he was selected. So is there a double standard here?

JENNIFER GRANHOLM, (D), FORMER GOVERNOR OF MICHIGAN: No. There's not. Because it was a tally different case, as you have pointed out.

This is -- the trouble with Donald Trump is that he is seeding this sort of conspiracy theory about the most fundamental democratic institution that America was founded on, which is the right to vote, and the ability to select our leaders from common people, not born of kings. This -- I'm just blown away by somebody who says he wants to make America great, when what is great about America is our democratic system. 33 states election systems are run by Republicans. What the real big loser of this debate last night is going to be down-ballot Republicans who have to answer to this issue. He has succeeded in dividing the Republican base even further, and all of those Republicans are going to have to answer to that question.

[11:09:48] KREMER: I have to disagree with that. While the lead in the media may say this is a big issue, his base and the people across the country -- on another network this morning, they showed polling, and when he talked about this, the Independents and Republicans were off the charts in agreement with him. This is something the American people are tired of. They're tired of the corruption --

(CROSSTALK)

GRANHOLM: It's a made-up issue, though. It's a made-up issue.

KREMER: How can you say that? It hasn't even happened yet.

(CROSSTALK)

BOLDUAN: Hold on.

GRANHOLM: They have found 33 instances of voter fraud in one billion votes. It is a non-issue. You are more likely to be hit by lightning than to find an instance of --

(CROSSTALK)

KREMER: You can't say this.

GRANHOLM: I can say it.

BOLDUAN: Amy, let me ask you this. You said at the very top you don't think this is actually going to be a problem because you think Donald Trump is going to win. Going into last night, Donald Trump was down in the polls, down eight points in the CNN poll of polls. That's a significant number. If you are down going into last night, how are you better off today than you were yesterday after the debate?

KREMER: I personally think Donald Trump won the debate. I think a lot of people believe he won the debate. If you look at some of these polls -- everybody keeps talking about this Arizona poll where Hillary Clinton is now polling ahead of him. Well, Kate, look at how the sample that was done for that poll, 400-and-something Democrats to 100-and-something Republicans. That's not a fair and balanced poll. Of course it's going to skew to the Democrats.

What I would say to the voters across America, those that support Donald Trump, is that you need to get out there and vote. You need to make sure you vote and take other people with you to vote that support Donald Trump because I believe there is -- that people are trying to suppress the vote and say Hillary has already won it, when she in fact has not. It is very close. It doesn't matter, these national polls. Look at the state polls. In Ohio, he's winning.

(CROSSTALK)

BOLDUAN: National polls actually do matter. If it's closer, then you go back looking at the battleground states, but when you are eight points down nationally --

KREMER: But, Kate, Kate --

BOLDUAN: -- in poll after poll, you do focus.

(CROSSTALK)

BOLDUAN: It is actually smart to focus on national polls.

KREMER: The thing is it's battleground states. It is done state by state. And that's what matters.

BERMAN: OK. In that case, Florida and North Carolina and New Hampshire, you know, Virginia, Colorado, these states, which all show Hillary Clinton now with a lead, and in fact, in some cases, going from a toss-up to leaning blue, they matter, and that's a problem then for Donald Trump.

Governor Granholm, let me ask you about the other moment we talked to David Chalian about a moment ago. When Secretary Clinton was talking about Social Security, she was talking about raising taxes, and made a point to get a little bit of a dig in there on Donald Trump, assuming he pays his payroll taxes, then he made the comment calling her a very nasty woman. What did you think when he said that?

GRANHOLM: Well, I think that he is completely unsuccessful to attract women to his position. The most beautiful answer that was given last night, in my opinion, was when she recited his own words back to him about how he would not sexually assault a woman who was unattractive, essentially, then went into this beautiful exposition about who we are. We know who Donald Trump is, that he makes himself bigger by demeaning women, but that's not who we are as a nation. And that thread of who we are, that we are not divisive, that we are together, that we are bigger than this, she started it in her first answer in talking about and appointing Supreme Court justices that represent all the people. She talked about it in her last answer, when she talked about reaching out to Democrats, Republicans and Independents, and she threaded it beautifully in that answer. Stronger Together is exactly who she is. I think that was an unbelievable performance last night. And I think her performance at that debate will be the performance that debate coaches across the country use as the best example in our lifetime of how you execute on a debate.

BOLDUAN: We are out of time. I promise you this conversation will continue. We will have you back on.

Amy, thank you for being here.

KREMER: Thank you.

BOLDUAN: Governor, thank you so much. We always appreciate it.

GRANHOLM: Thank you so much.

BOLDUAN: Of course.

Also, a focus of last night, a major flash point of last night, Russian president Vladimir Putin. The debate, when it went to that, quickly turned to puppets.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CLINTON: Well, that's because he would rather have a puppet as president of the United States.

TRUMP: No puppet. No puppet.

CLINTON: It's pretty clear --

TRUMP: You're the puppet.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[11:14:24] BERMAN: We are not sure if they will bring puppets but Donald Trump does have an event in battleground Ohio in just a few minutes. You are looking at live pictures. A lot of questions about what he will say when he takes to the stage. Will he continue to say that he wants to keep us in suspense when it comes to whether or not he will buy the outcome of this election? We will bring you those remarks. Stick around.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CLINTON: What we want to do is replenish --

TRUMP: Such a nasty woman. CLINTON: Donald thinks belittling women makes him bigger.

TRUMP: Nobody has more respect for women than I do. Nobody.

CLINTON: I will defend Planned Parenthood.

TRUMP: If you go with what Hillary is saying, you can take the baby and rip the baby out of the womb.

(CROSSTALK)

TRUMP: She doesn't like Putin because Putin has outsmarted her at every step of the way.

CLINTON: Well, that's because he would rather have a puppet as president of the United States.

TRUMP: No puppet. No puppet.

CLINTON: It's pretty clear --

TRUMP: You're the puppet.

CHRIS WALLACE, DEBATE MODERATOR: Do you make the same commitment that you will absolutely accept the results of this election?

TRUMP: I will look at it at the time.

CLINTON: That's horrifying.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BOLDUAN: They had 90 minutes to duke it out last night and duke it out, fight it out, they did. Now Donald Trump is about to jump back on the campaign trail in Ohio this morning. Was anything left unsaid?

BERMAN: I want to get to CNN's Jason Carroll live in Delaware, Ohio, where this event starts in just a little bit.

Jason, what do you expect to hear?

[11:19:42] JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, a couple things. What did he leave unsaid is what Kate said, and I think a lot of his surrogates this morning are thinking to themselves he probably said a little bit too much yesterday during that debate.

But what is he expected to say when he takes the stage here? First, a couple of things. We expect him to say, first of all that he won the debate when he talks to the crowd here in Delaware, Iowa. He usually says that at his post-debate rallies. Also expect him to say that he does not believe all of those polls out there showing that he's trailing Hillary Clinton. Donald Trump saying the only evidence he needs is to see all the crowds that he draws at his rallies and also, we expect him to keep stepping up those unfounded claims that the electoral process is rigged. We expect him to say that again here today and

I have spoken to a number of Trump supporters out here today, guys, and a lot of them who identify themselves as very strong Trump supporters continue to buy into this. I spoke to a couple young women who basically told me that if Hillary Clinton wins, they believe that she would have cheated her way into the election. This is their quotes. When I asked them to provide any sort of evidence, and I said, why you believe this, they said, just based on what Donald Trump is telling you. You know, basically both of them telling me they had read stories about voter fraud on Facebook but neither could provide any evidence.

I also spoke to another Trump supporter who told me she does not believe that t system is rigged and it is her hope that the country will come to some sort of healing after whoever wins this upcoming election. But she didn't think that was going to happen.

So once again, we expect Donald Trump's unfounded claims that the electoral process is rigged when he takes the stage at about 12:30 -- guys?

BERMAN: Jason Carroll for us in Delaware, Ohio.

No question it plays to the people in the crowd at the rally but Trump's at 42 percent. He needs to play to more people than just those in the crowd right now.

BOLDUAN: Addition. Math again.

There is a new "P" word to enter in the conversation after last night's bate, "puppet" more specifically, "Vladimir Putin's puppet." Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: From everything I see, Putin has no respect for this person.

CLINTON: That's because he would rather have a puppet as president of the United States.

TRUMP: No puppet. No puppet.

CLINTON: It's pretty clear --

TRUMP: You're the puppet.

CLINTON: It's pretty clear you won't admit --

TRUMP: No, you're the puppet.

CLINTON: -- that the Russians have engaged in cyberattacks against the United States of America, that you encouraged espionage against our people.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BERMAN: So puppets under attack on that debate stage.

Joining us, CNN chief national security correspondent, Jim Sciutto; and CNN senior political reporter, Nia-Malika Henderson.

Nia, first of all, lost in a lot of the puppet talk, as it were, is the fact that this whole discussion about Vladimir Putin after a question about WikiLeaks, an area that was deemed to be a vulnerability for Hillary Clinton, and she turned it around and made the discussion about Vladimir Putin, setting off this puppet discussion right there. So did she turn a weakness into a strength?

NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: You know, I think it was both a brilliant and obvious pivot. It was obvious, so obvious, that Donald Trump actually brought it up and said you switched from the WikiLeaks and open borders to Putin, but it was brilliant because, in some ways, she was able to permanently frame the WikiLeaks discussion, at least for the duration of that debate, by switching it to Putin, then she was able to entice Donald Trump into talking about Putin. There does seem to be some sort of imaginary bromance at least in Donald Trump's head with him and Putin. He has tweeted about Putin, when he took his beauty pageant to Russia. He talked about, oh, maybe he would get to meet Putin and they would become best friends. In this debate, of course, h, said you know, I don't know Putin, I'm not his best friend. So any time he's on this terrain, talking about Putin, it just doesn't look good for him. She was able to say, well, you don't believe the 17 intelligence agencies that do point to Russia and Russian espionage, you don't believe them, but you would rather sort of side with Putin. I thought it was one of her best moments in the debate.

BOLDUAN: Jim, since Nia brought it up, why don't we talk about that moment. If Donald Trump -- let's play that moment. It's a bit of a back and forth when it comes to the 17 intel agencies and whether or not Donald Trump believes them. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CLINTON: I think it's --

TRUMP: She has no idea whether it's Russia, China or anybody else.

CLINTON: I am not quoting myself. I am quoting 17 --

TRUMP: You have no idea.

CLINTON: -- 17 intelligence -- do you doubt 17 military and civilian agencies?

TRUMP: Our country has no idea.

Yeah, I doubt it. I doubt it.

CLINTON: He would rather believe Vladimir Putin than the military and civilian intelligence professionals who are sworn to protect us.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BOLDUAN: When he says I doubt it, I doubt it, I was wondering if he doubts the 17 -- if he won't believe the 17 intelligence, what happens if he wins? What does that do?

[11:25:06] JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Guys, we have talked a lot about Donald Trump denying the bedrock of the U.S. election system, that he will not accept the results. I think a close second in moments in this debate is this moment here. Donald Trump versus the entire U.S. intelligence and defense establishment that publicly named and shamed with confidence -- that was the intelligence assessment -- that Russia is behind these election hacks. It is just frankly an odd position to dig your heels in on as the Republican nominee for president to question that. Because let's fit it into the bigger picture. It's not just this judgment that Russia has become hostile to the U.S. by really an unprecedented cyberattack on the U.S. election. It's happening everywhere. The U.S. is at odds with Russia in Syria. The U.S. is at odds with Russia in Ukraine. The U.S. is at odds with Russia in Eastern Europe as it is building up its forces and challenging NATO. It's at odds with Russia, as Russia is building up its submarine force and challenging U.S. submarines, fly-bys of U.S. ships and U.S. war planes, hostile, dangerous fly-bys. To in effect run defense for the leader of Russia in the midst of this broad conflict is really just incredible.

I think as a moment in the debate, from a national security perspective, nothing imaginative, but I think it's right up there with that moment denying or at least saying he's going to reserve judgment on the results of the U.S. election, really just an incredible position to take.

BERMAN: Jim, I know we don't know what happens in his intel briefings but can we assume this issue probably came up?

SCIUTTO: No question.

BERMAN: So he's been told.

SCIUTTO: More than once. More than once. In his intelligence briefings, it's almost certain he has, because, listen, the director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, did it again this morning, has publicly said Russia is trying to interfere in U.S. elections. And it's the office of the DNI, director of National Intelligence, that runs these briefings for Donald Trump. So he's certainly heard them. Either he doesn't believe what he's being told or he sees some political benefit in digging in on this. It's just hard to understand. I talked to a lot of folks in the intelligence world, and flabbergasted might be the word to describe their reaction.

BOLDUAN: Interesting stuff. A lot more to discuss. There was a lot of substantive talk. they hit on a lot of topics when it came to foreign policy, relationships with foreign leaders. A lot to go over.

Great to see you. Thanks so much.

SCIUTTO: Thank you.

BOLDUAN: thank you.

It's a key group of voters in any general election that Trump has struggled with this time, women voters. Did he seal his fate with just two words?

BERMAN: It was the one thing that every sort of reasonable person on earth might have been waiting for to happen at the beginning of the debate or at the end of the debate, but it didn't happen. Why not? That's next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)