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THE SITUATION ROOM
Clinton's New Warning: Trump "Can Still Win"; Father of Deceased Muslim U.S. Soldier Slams Trump; Trump's Brand Takes a Hit During Campaign; Trump Opens New Hotel Amid Signs His Brand is Hurting; Trump Predicting 'Tremendous Victory'; Trump Calls CNN Question "Very Insulting." Aired 5-6p ET
Aired October 26, 2016 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: That's it for "THE LEAD." I'm Jake Tapper. Turning it over to Wolf Blitzer in THE SITUATION ROOM. Thanks for watching.
[17:00:10] WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now, breaking news, shrinking margin. As new polls show the gap may be closing in key states, Donald Trump is predicting victory. Hillary Clinton is warning we can't take our foot off the gas. The candidates are slugging it out in crucial battlegrounds this hour.
Willing to spend. Trump tells CNN he'll put $100 million of his own money into the campaign. But that's $40 million more than he spent so far. And if he antes up the rest at the last minute, can it make a difference?
No good answer. Stolen e-mails stolen by WikiLeaks show Clinton's campaign aides admitting there's just no good for why she used a private e-mail server as secretary of state.
And brand canyon. Trump cuts the ribbon at his newest hotel amid signs that bookings and rates are down at some properties. Are Trump's campaign comments and the allegations of sexual misconduct putting his brand in a deep hole?
I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
BLITZER: Breaking news. Donald Trump campaigns this hour in the crucial battleground state of North Carolina, after taking a time-out to cut the ribbon on his new hotel here in Washington, D.C. There, Trump told CNN's Dana Bash he expects a tremendous election victory and that he's willing to put more of his own money into the campaign to make it happen.
Trump says he'll have $100 million invested, although campaign records show he's only put in $60 million so far.
New polls show Trump may be closing the gap with Hillary Clinton. One shows him with a slight edge in Florida. Another shows Clinton's lead narrowing in New Hampshire. Our own average of national polls shows Clinton with a 7-point lead.
Clinton today told supporters that every vote counts, saying, "We can't take our foot off the gas." She's focusing in on Florida, where voters are forming long lines to cast early ballots.
It's Clinton's birthday, by the way, but her present from WiliLeaks is another stolen campaign e-mail in which a key aide acknowledges, quote, "There is just no good answer for why Clinton used the private e-mail server as secretary of state."
I'll speak with former Congressman Pete Hoekstra. He's a Donald Trump supporter. And our correspondents, analysts and guests, they will have full coverage of the day's top stories.
Let's begin with Donald Trump. After showing off his new hotel as an example of what he said he can do for the country, he's back on the campaign trail in North Carolina. This hour, our national correspondent, Jason Carroll, is traveling there with him.
Jason, what's Trump's message today?
JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, part of his message, Wolf, was clearly to get out and promote his own business, even for a little while. But also, part of his message, something that we've heard before. Not only does he say he's going to win the state of North Carolina; he says he is going to win this election.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: I'm tired of the excuses from our politicians. I'm tired of being told what cannot be done.
CARROLL (voice-over): Donald Trump taking a brief break from the campaign trail to promote his new hotel in Washington, D.C., and striking an optimistic tone.
TRUMP: There is nothing we cannot accomplish. The United States is great. It's great. Its people are great.
CARROLL: Trump's brief detour from the campaign trail, not the first time the real estate mogul has showcased his properties as campaign settings. Trump says his business acumen is what the country needs from its president.
TRUMP: This is what I want to do for our country, and that is what we're working so hard to do. Right now, just about everything our government touches is broken or they break it. It's always over budget, behind schedule, and simply nothing works.
CARROLL: And Trump took an opportunity to again take aim at the media.
TRUMP: By the way, congratulations, Newt, on last night. That was an amazing interview. We don't play games, Newt, right? We don't play games. CARROLL: The GOP nominee referring to FOX News's Megyn Kelly's
interview with Trump advisor and former House speaker Newt Gingrich. Gingrich losing his cool when Kelly pressing him about the women accusing Trump of unwanted sexual advances.
NEWT GINGRICH, FORMER SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: You are fascinated with sex, and you don't care about public policy. That's what I get out of watching you tonight.
MEGYN KELLY, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: You know what, Mr. Speaker? I'm not fascinated by sex, but I am fascinated by the protection of women and understanding what we're getting in the Oval Office.
KELLY: And I think the American voters would like to know...
GINGRICH: Therefore, we're going to send Bill Clinton back to the East Wing, because, after all, you are worried about sexual predators.
KELLY: He's not on the ticket.
GINGRICH: He'll be in -- he'll be in the East Wing.
KELLY: And the polls also show that the American public is less interested in the deeds of Hillary Clinton's husband than they are in the deeds of the man who asks us to make him president, Donald Trump.
We're going to have to leave it at that. And you can take your anger issues and spend some time working on them, Mr. Speaker. Thanks for being here.
GINGRICH: And you, too. And you, too.
CARROLL: Gingrich firing back today.
GINGRICH: I don't have an anger problem. I have a media bias problem. And I believe the media bias in this election is the worst in modern history.
CARROLL: and Trump taking offense when CNN's Dana Bash asked if today's hotel ribbon cutting was worth it.
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: So to people who say you are taking time out of swing states to go do this, you say?
TRUMP: I say the following. You have been covering me for the last long time. I did yesterday eight stops and three major speeches. And I've been doing this for weeks straight. I left here -- I left there for an hour and a half. I'm going to North Carolina right now. Then I'm going to Florida. I'm going up to New Hampshire.
For you to ask me that question is actually very insulting, because Hillary Clinton does one stop, and then she goes home and sleeps. And yet, you'll ask me that question. I think it's a very rude question, to be honest with you. (END VIDEOTAPE)
CARROLL: And Trump also saying, for all those who were criticizing him for making that stop in Washington, D.C., as you heard there, Wolf, he says that he keeps a much more rigorous campaign schedule than Hillary Clinton. He also took aim at Hillary Clinton for attending that Adele concert yesterday. As for tomorrow, he says he'll be making three stops in Ohio -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Another key battleground state. Jason Carroll, thank you very much for that report.
Our chief political correspondent, Dana Bash, as you just saw, she caught up with Donald Trump today as he cut the ribbon on his new hotel here in Washington.
Dana, Trump told you he may dig a lot deeper into his own personal pocket to get some cash into his campaign?
BASH: Well, that was based on some questions I was asking about some frustration I've heard from Republicans that he hasn't done that enough, given the fact that he says he's worth billions and billions of dollars, in order to be more competitive in television ads against Hillary Clinton. Here's what he said.
TRUMP: Let me just tell you that we have -- I'll have over $100 million in the campaign. Hillary Clinton has nothing in the campaign. She's all special interests and donors. And they give her the money and then she will do whatever they tell her to do. But I will have over $100 million in the campaign, and I'm prepared to go much more than that.
Now, here's the question. New polls are coming out. We're leading Florida. We're doing great in North Carolina. We're doing great in Pennsylvania. We're doing great all over. We're doing really well in New Hampshire, Ohio, as you know, and Iowa are doing fantastically well. I'm telling you -- CNN doesn't say it, but I think we're going to win.
BASH: So, but to do that, you have a pretty big bank account. You can -- and time is running out; the clock is ticking. Will you write a check?
TRUMP: I've already done it. I've already written a number of them.
BASH: Specifically -- specifically to get up on the air to combat the ads that you say Hillary Clinton is running against you.
TRUMP: Well, in Florida she has 50 to 1 against me. Fifty. You were the one that reported that.
BASH: But you -- but you have the means to combat that.
TRUMP: In the meantime -- sure I do. But in the meantime, 50 to 1 and I'm leading. How would you like to have spent -- you know, the old days you would get credit. If you would spend less money and have victory, that would be a good thing. Today, they want you to spend money. I'll have over 100 million. I'm willing to spend much more than that if I have to.
BASH: Can you just be specific? How much are you willing to put down in order to put up new ads?
TRUMP: No, I already -- I will have over 100 million in. I'm willing to invest more than that.
BASH: Like how much?
TRUMP: Don't. Let's just go for your next question, Dana.
BASH: OK. Well, my last question, because I'm getting the hook over here, in the speech here you talked about the fact that this is the second-best piece of real estate on Pennsylvania Avenue. In 14 days, are you hoping that you're going to be spending, after that, more time here or down the street?
TRUMP: Well, look, I just hope that -- you know, I built a great company. This is truly a great company with some of the great assets of the world, not only in our country but in other countries. And I predicted Brexit. You were one of the people that asked me about Brexit. And I said it's going to happen. And I'm not even saying this is Brexit, but I think the result is going to be the same, if not more so.
We are going to have, I think, a tremendous victory. People don't want four more years of Obama. They don't want Hillary with all of the corruption and all of the problems. And you see all of these WikiLeaks coming out, and they're a disaster. And when you see John Podesta, who I think is terrible the way he speaks about her, but that she has bad instincts. John Podesta saying that the person he works for has bad instincts, I think it's terrible. But so many other things, even worse than that, are out about their honesty and their dishonesty.
I really think that we're going to have a tremendous victory. And you know what? If I didn't think that, I wouldn't say it. I'd say, "Well, we're going to be fighting hard." Now, we will be fighting hard, but I believe we're winning. I actually think we're winning. I don't even think it's a question of we're going to try and win. You start looking at the polls, what's happening, and more importantly start looking at all the people going to vote and sending in their ballots. We're way ahead on virtually every state, every area. And I think we're going to have a great victory.
[17:10:10] BASH: And Wolf, back on the question of money. He says he's going to have spent $100 million. The last FEC report, the government report that campaigns are required by law to put out there, it said that he had spent $56 million of his own money, which means that he's saying that since then, in the last month, he has written a check for more than $40 million. We'll see if that's true.
But I think the key thing -- and I will give you some new reporting that I have -- that I'm told that Reince Priebus, the RNC chair, went to him earlier this month and specifically said, "Can you please write a check, get up on the air? You need to do this in order to be competitive." And it didn't happen, I'm told. That just kind of gives you more of the context of some of the frustration that I've heard from Republicans about the fact that he does have a pretty big bank account, and more importantly, they are feeling like they're getting closer, the polls are tightening, and if only they could be more competitive with their paid advertising. they think that they could get over the top in some of these swing states.
BLITZER: The $40 or $50 million in paid advertising at this late stage presumably could make a difference.
BASH: Yes, sure. I mean, that would be -- depends on where it is, and it depends on the cost of the media markets. Some of these markets like Florida, south Florida in particular, and in Pennsylvania, outside of Philadelphia, they're expensive. But still, it is possible.
BLITZER: Dana is going to be back with us later. Good work, Dana. Thanks very much.
Joining us now, former Republican Congressman Pete Hoekstra of Michigan. He's the former chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. He's a Donald Trump supporter.
Congressman, thanks for joining us.
PETE HOEKSTRA (R), FORMER MICHIGAN CONGRESSMAN: It's good to be with you. Thank you, Wolf.
BLITZER: So you think he's going to put up another $40 or $50 million and contribute more than $100 million? He's contributed, as we just heard from Dana, $56 million so far. You think he's actually going to deliver?
HOEKSTRA: Well, he's been very generous so far. Fifty-six million is a lot of money. I think, by being evasive with Dana, I know he didn't answer her question. But if I'm in the last week, two weeks of the campaign, I really wouldn't give her a straight answer either. Have -- you want the Clinton campaign guessing. Is he going to put in 20? Is he going to put in 40? Is he going to put in 60 or 80?
You know, this is one where, you know, it's his -- you know, we're going to keep you guessing. But I think he's going to invest the money that he believes he needs to invest to win this race.
BLITZER: Trump also told us -- told Dana that he thinks he's winning. He says he's winning. In his words, "I'm way ahead in virtually every state."
But based on all the scientific polls, that's not necessarily true. He's ahead in some of the battleground states, but he's not ahead in virtually all of the battleground states right now. Right?
HOEKSTRA: That's correct. But you know, we're seeing a tremendous amount of momentum here in Michigan in the last week to ten days. He's cut the lead in half. We're down to low single digits. We're at 5 percent in the latest poll and still with a significant number of undecided voters. For the first time in quite a while, Michigan is in play.
BLITZER: When was the last time Trump...
HOEKSTRA: And that's a very good sign for the campaign.
BLITZER: When did Trump go to Michigan lately? I haven't necessarily seen him or Pence, for that matter. Either one of them campaigning there? Either -- is the campaign spending money -- really, money -- any significant amount of money in Michigan?
HOEKSTRA: Absolutely. Mike Pence was just here last week. Did an event over in Cobb (ph) County.
BLITZER: What about Trump?
HOEKSTRA: Ben Carson -- Ben Carson will be here on the weekend. Donald Trump, it's been -- it's been longer. I'm trying to think, because I was at the rally where he was at. So that's probably been three, three and a half weeks since Donald Trump has been here.
But you know, if those numbers stay where they are, I expect that we will see Donald Trump in the last two weeks.
You do. All right. Let's see if he shows up in Michigan. If he does, that would be significant, because the polls I've seen from Michigan show that I think she has, like, a double-digit lead right now. But maybe you're right; maybe that is narrowing as we get closer and closer.
Let's get to this other very sensitive issue. A man you know well, Newt Gingrich, he was the speaker when you were in Congress. Trump congratulated Newt Gingrich today for sparring with FOX News anchor Megyn Kelly. And you saw the exchange that Megyn Kelly and Newt Gingrich had.
Why do you think he would bring that up in his speech? It was a very, very awkward moment. Instead of simply staying on message.
HOEKSTRA: Well, I think what Donald Trump consistently likes to see and wants to demonstrate -- because a lot of people have been frustrated. Republicans but independents. Because no one is fighting Washington. No one is fighting what some believe is a biased media.
And so Mr. Trump himself is a fighter and wants to demonstrate that he is a fighter. And he likes to see when there's fight in the people that are supporting him.
[17:15:08] BLITZER: You think Megyn Kelly is biased? HOEKSTRA: The -- I didn't see the whole interview. I didn't see what the whole show was last night. Obviously, Newt had been watching the show earlier on, and by the time, you know, he was on the show, it appears that he thought, at least the first part of the show prior to him and maybe all of his interview, was, you know, was biased.
I know that many of us are frustrated, Wolf, that there's a continual -- a continual fixation on some of the issues when we really want to be talking about other issues, whether it's national security, whether it's getting this economy moving again, whether it's the sky-rocketing premiums on Obamacare and those types of things. Those are the things that are going to make a real difference to the American people over the next four years.
BLITZER: You make a fair point, but it's Donald Trump who keeps bringing up this issue. For example, today when he went out of his way to give a shout-out, a nice shout-out to Newt Gingrich at the expense of Megyn Kelly. That's Donald Trump who did that. The news media is simply reporting what Donald Trump did. Right?
HOEKSTRA: The news meeting -- the news media picks and chooses exactly what they're going to pick up of Mr. Trump's message on any given day. Today they focused on that.
And I've got to give you credit. You also talked about other things in an earlier segment on CNN, you know, where they were saying why is he at an opening? And your analysis team said, "We're cutting him some slack on this. This guy has been out. You know, he's been working hard. He's doing five, six rallies a day. He's traveling around the country."
And being at an opening, that demonstrates that he is a business guy and he has created jobs in America is very consistent with his campaign. But you know, you're reporting on his day today, I think has been very fair.
BLITZER: And the fact that he wanted to go support his kids, especially his daughter, who played a very important role in that hotel. That's a point he keeps making, as well. Take a little time out, go and do that.
But you're right. He has been a lot -- he's done a lot more rallies out there in recent weeks than Hillary Clinton has been at rallies. He's been a lot busier out there on the campaign trail.
Let's talk about Donald Trump and the Republican Party leadership. You were once a member of that House Republican leadership. He attacked the party leadership saying he would be doing better if they had supported him. He said this in an interview with Reuters: "If we had party unity, we couldn't lose this election to Hillary Clinton. The people are very angry with the leadership of this party," referring to the Republican Party, "because this is an election that we will win 100 percent if we had support from the top."
He seems to be blaming the House speaker, Paul Ryan, setting the stage for blaming him if he doesn't win the election. Is that fair? HOEKSTRA: Well, I think this is going to be, I think, as someone else
I've heard discuss this -- this is going to be -- this is an election unlike anything that we've ever seen before. Yes.
I don't think -- party unity for Republicans at this point in time would be absolutely invaluable I terms of making sure that we get the right result on November 8. I think there are still a lot of Republicans who are in that undecided mode in terms of figuring out exactly what they're going to do on election day.
What Donald Trump wants and I think what Paul Ryan wants, what Mitch McConnell wants, we want all Republicans to come home to vote for the ticket so that we can send Donald Trump to Washington and Paul Ryan back as speaker of the House.
BLITZER: Congressman, we're going to take a quick break. We have more questions for you. We'll resume the interview right after a quick break.
[17:23:12] BLITZER: We're back with former Republican Congressman, the former Intelligence Committee chairman Pete Hoekstra. He's a Donald Trump supporter.
Congressman, I want to talk to you about some -- put on your hat as a former Intelligence Committee chair. The House Homeland Security chairman, Mike McCaul of Texas, Republican. You know him, right?
BLITZER: He's a serious guy. He says he told Trump -- and he's a national security advisor to Trump, as well, supports Donald Trump. He said that Russia was, in fact, behind the election-related, the hacks of the Democratic Party, saying this about Trump.
Quote, "I think he has in his mind that there is not the proof. I have briefed the nominee on this. This is a nation-state attack to undermine the integrity of our democratic process."
He also said this: "I think he has in his mind that there's not the proof now. Now, he hasn't had the briefings -- the briefing I've had.
Do you accept what Mike McCaul is saying? And if you do, why doesn't Trump?
HOEKSTRA: Well, I think accept that what Mike McCaul is describing is very, very accurate. That he has had the briefings, that he has briefed Donald Trump. Mike and I have been in some of the same meetings with Mr. Trump. Mr. Trump hasn't had the full benefit. He hasn't had the full experience of the briefings.
And as you and I have covered before, what the DNI has come out and said is, No. 1, we believe or we're confident that this was a Russian hack. Most likely, it was directed by the highest levels of the Russian government. The third point that they make is there have been other hacks going on
against our electoral system, the electoral process and systems in the various states. They do not know who has conducted those attacks.
And perhaps most importantly, our two final points that don't get a lot of attention. They haven't said exactly what the objective of these Russian attacks or other state actors may be, what kind of outcome are they going towards and trying to achieve?
[17:25:08] And the other thing that, you know, I'm surprised, you know, Joe Biden a couple of weeks ago hinted that there was going to be a counter attack, a cyber-attack, against the Russians. That's something that, especially in cyber-space, I would never acknowledge.
That's one where someday, if something happens in Russia, I'd like the Russians scratching their head saying, "Wow, I wonder who did this, and I wonder if this is retaliation for what we did to the Americans." Personally, I think we're talking about this a lot more in public than what we should be.
BLITZER: All right. We're going to leave it on that note. A very serious note indeed. Pete Hoekstra, thanks so much for joining us.
HOEKSTRA: Always good to be with you. Thank you, Wolf.
BLITZER: The former congressman from Michigan.
Donald Trump says he'll spend $100 million on his campaign, but his race for the White House is proving costly in another way. Coming up, how Trump's campaign is hurting his brand and his businesses.
BLITZER: Donald Trump is back out there on the campaign trail right now. During an interview earlier in the day with CNN's Dana Bash, after that ribbon-cutting ceremony at his new hotel here in Washington, Trump predicted -- I'm quoting him now -- he predicted a tremendous, tremendous victory on election day.
[17:30:52] Let's bring in our political experts, starting with Dana right now. Dana, you spent some time with him. Did he seem more focused on winning this election or having a wonderful opening for his hotel?
BASH: I have to say he did seem more focused on winning the election -- winning the election. In his actual event in and around the hotel, obviously, he was talking a lot about his hotel, but he was much more mellow, much more subdued. Dare I say, a little bit more introspective than I've ever heard or seen him before.
But when he and I talked briefly, there's no question that he sounded more upbeat, and it seemed to me that he truly believed more than he was letting on even a couple of days ago that it was more possible. And it's probably because of things like the new poll from Bloomberg this morning that showed him up a couple of points in Florida. Never mind that yesterday or the day before he was talking about all these polls being dark polls. But we'll leave that aside.
BLITZER: We're going to have more of your interview coming up later here in THE SITUATION ROOM.
Mark Preston, let's take a look at that new poll in Florida. This is the Bloomberg poll. Trump 45 percent, Clinton, 43 percent. Gary Johnson, 4 percent. Jill Stein, 2 percent. Does he really have a shot of winning in Florida?
MARK PRESTON, CNN POLITICS EXECUTIVE EDITOR: I think in this election, absolute declarations are probably wrong to do, because there are so many surprises. But if you look at the state of Florida, it really is a snapshot of the whole nation, you know, with the northern part of Florida, specifically the panhandle, tends to be a little more Republican, rural. You work all the way down to Miami, a little bit more diverse. And if you look at how it's broken up that way, Hillary Clinton I doing well in the south. In south Florida. And of course, Donald Trump is doing well in the north.
Where he is gaining ground or, which is going to be critical in this election, is that he's winning independents right now in that state. And people are wondering why. And they forget the fact that Hillary Clinton's disapproval rating, her unfavorable rating right now is 52 percent. Now, Trump's is 57 percent, but she's over 50 percent.
So could Trump win the state? Yes. But here's the bottom line. He needs to win the state in order to continue on through election night.
BLITZER: Olivia Nuzzi, but now, I think all of us have seen that exchange between Newt Gingrich and Megyn Kelly on FOX. It was pretty brutal, I must say.
But today Trump went out of his way at this opening ceremony, and Newt Gingrich was there with his wife, Calista. And he praised Newt Gingrich. We heard that exchange, as well. Does it help or hurt Trump right now with 13 days to go?
OLIVIA NUZZI, POLITICAL REPORTER, "THE DAILY BEAST": I think it absolutely hurts him, but he doesn't seem to know that. I mean, obviously, as you said, he praised Newt Gingrich today onstage. He thinks it's a good thing to have his surrogates doubling down on his message, which is anti-women in a lot of respects and certainly anti- Megyn Kelly. So I don't think it helps him at all, but I don't think he really is aware of that and I don't think he really cares.
BLITZER: Well, he did give a nice shout-out to Newt Gingrich today.
Julia Ioffe, he criticized Hillary Clinton's policies as far as Syria is concerned. Here's what he said in an interview with Reuters. This is Donald Trump.
Quote, "What we should do is focus on ISIS. We should not be focusing on Syria. You're going to end up in World War III over Syria if we listen to Hillary Clinton." All right. That's what he said in the interview with Reuters. Now, a Russian political leader -- and you're an expert on Russia --
Vladimir Zhirinovsky, he suggested that Hillary Clinton could spark World War III, as well. This is what Zhirinovsky said: "Americans voting for a president on November 8 must realize that they are voting for peace on planet earth if they vote for Trump. But if they vote for Hillary, it's war."
So it sounds like Trump is saying what Zhirinovsky was saying.
JULIA IOFFE, JOURNALIST: There's so much to unpack there, starting from the fact that, in Russia, Zhirinovsky is often compared to Trump. He is called the Russian Trump.
And this is a line that we've heard throughout the presidential campaign in Russia. Or our presidential campaign, when it's talked about in Russia, that Hillary is -- Hillary Clinton is a warmonger. And Donald Trump is for a healthy isolation and that he is going to bring peace to the world by basically pulling America back and letting -- giving Russia more room to maneuver. And as we know, Vladimir Putin is a big peace-maker.
What's interesting about Donald Trump's comment is, where does he think ISIS is? I mean, they're partly in Iraq, but they're also partly in Syria. Where is Raqqah? Right? But I guess he's never been strong on Middle East geography.
BLITZER: Interesting point.
[18:35:00] Julia, Dana, the e-mails that have been hacked by WikiLeaks, the John Podesta e-mails. He's the campaign chair for the Hillary Clinton campaign, one of the -- in a just-released batch.
Her former spokesman acknowledges that there is, quote, "No good answer for the mess her private e-mail server created." How damaging are these latest batch of stolen e-mails that have been released?
BASH: It's not good. I mean, there's no question about it. And the fact that you have the private e-mails of Democrats and not just, you know, Democrats who may have been for somebody other than Hillary Clinton -- these are -- these are very big supporters of Hillary Clinton e-mailing John Podesta, saying, "This is, you know -- maybe she thought she would get away with it. There's no way to explain this. They need to clean it up. That was a little bit different. That was about the president kind of getting his facts wrong inadvertently."
It's bad for that reason, in the content of it. But it's also bad, because we're talking about it. We're 13 days away from the election, and this is hitting straight on her sweet spot.
And the thing that makes -- one of the things that makes people so -- it makes it so hard for people to get around the idea of voting for Hillary Clinton, because they think that she's not trustworthy. But more importantly, it's the insider versus outsider. She's part of the game. She's part of the Washington establishment, and Donald Trump, for all of his foibles, isn't. BLITZER: Manu Raju, our correspondent, is reporting that the Clinton
campaign wants the big donors out there, the Democratic Party big donors, super PACs and others, to donate to the Senate candidates who are in tough battles. She really -- if she's elected president, wants to have a Democratic majority in the Senate. Does it sound like she thinks it's over?
NUZZI: I mean, when you look at that, certainly. And I think she's looking ahead and thinking it will be definitely difficult to govern with all the animosity towards her. It seems premature with all the WikiLeaks things coming out.
At the same time, Donald Trump is not talking as much about WikiLeaks as you suspect that he would be right now, 13 days out. He's talking about his hotel. He's talking about all the things he's been talking about really since the Republican primary. Is don't think he's really using this to his advantage.
BLITZER: All right. Everybody stay with us. Don't go away. We've much more, a lot more news coming into THE SITUATION ROOM. We'll take a quick break and be right back.
[18:42:11] BLITZER: During a rally that ended just a little bit ago, Hillary Clinton warned her supporters that Donald Trump is right when he says he could still win.
Clinton spending her birthday in one of the most important battleground states in the country. We're talking about Florida.
Let's bring in CNN's Pamela Brown. Pamela, what else did Hillary Clinton say today?
PAMELA BROWN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's clear, Wolf, that Hillary Clinton is not taking anything for granted. She's on day two of her swing through Florida. Her campaign believes winning Florida is key to winning the election.
CLINTON (voice-over): There are only 13 days left in this important election. And I have to tell you, it is so clear how high the stakes are.
BROWN: Today Hillary Clinton continues crisscrossing the Sunshine State, trying to lock in its 29 electoral votes and taking aim at Donald Trump as he opens his new hotel in Washington, D.C.
CLINTON: While the hotel may be new, it's the same old story. He relied on undocumented workers to make his project cheaper. And most of the products in the rooms were made overseas, and he even sued to get his taxes lowered.
JOHNS: As Clinton celebrates her 69th birthday on the trail with a cake and a song. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Happy birthday, happy birthday.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Happy birthday, happy birthday.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Happy birthday, happy birthday.
CLINTON: Thank you!
BROWN (voice-over): Her campaign is welcoming the early-voting numbers rolling in, with more than 7 million votes cast, there are more registered Democrats voting in battleground states. North Carolina, Nevada, and historically Republican Arizona. And a new CNN poll of polls shows Clinton holding a seven-point lead over Trump.
But a new Bloomberg poll finds Trump narrowly ahead of Clinton percent to 43 percent, within the poll's margin of error. The Clinton camp using everything in its arsenal, blasting battleground state air waves with a new ad narrated by Morgan Freeman.
MORGAN FREEMAN, ACTOR: A woman who spent her life helping children and families, or a man who spent his life helping himself? Our children are looking to us. What example will we set?
BROWN: Despite Clinton's lead, she is still plagued by the constant drip of hacked e-mails from her campaign chairman John Podesta released by WikiLeaks. In the latest one Clinton's former spokesperson, Philippe Reines, acknowledges the mess her private e- mail server created, saying, quote, "There is just no good answer."
CLINTON: We can't take our foot off the gas, even for a short time. Every vote counts. Just ask my friend, former vice president Al Gore.
BROWN: Meanwhile, the current vice president, Joe Biden, and Donald Trump are talking about resolving their differences the old-fashioned way.
[17:45:08] JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The press always asks me, don't I wish I were debating him? No, I wish we were in high school, I could take him behind the gym. That's what I wish.
TRUMP: Did you see where Biden wants to take me, to the back of the barn? Me. He wants me. I'd love that. I'd love that, Mr. Tough Guy.
BROWN: And another one of Clinton's surrogates trading jabs with Trump today. Khizr Khan, the Gold Star father who found himself in Trump's cross hairs after his DNC speech, you may recall, made his first campaign trail appearance for Clinton in Virginia and said Trump doesn't understand the grief of a Gold Star mother. Wolf.
BLITZER: Pamela Brown, thanks very much for that report.
Donald Trump's newest hotel is just blocks from the White House, but his campaign for president has proved costly in more ways than one. Up next, Donald Trump's brand, The Trump brand, takes a hit as annoyed voters avoid his hotels and casinos.
[17:50:33] BLITZER: Donald Trump formally opens up his newest hotel, calling it an example of what he can do for America. But there are signs that business is off at some Trump properties.
Brian Todd has been taking a closer look into all of this. Brian, is Trump's brand being tarnished by his campaign rhetoric and some of the allegations of past misconduct?
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: There are strong indication tonight, Wolf, that it is being tarnished. We have looked into the hotel bookings, the traffic at Trump's other businesses, the analysis for market trackers, they all point to some critical mass indicating that the Trump name, at least right now, is toxic.
TODD (voice-over): A high-end ribbon cutting at Donald Trump's newest hotel in Washington.
TRUMP: We turned a property that had been neglected for decades and which was losing huge sums of money for the federal government into a major revenue producer and job creator. This is what I want to do for our country.
TODD (voice-over): But outside, a different take.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Shout hey.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No Trump.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No Trump.
TODD (voice-over): Protesters call for a boycott. The hotel has had a bumpy start. Two star chefs quit over Trump's controversial immigration statements, and a vandal spray painted "Black Lives Matter" at an entrance.
Tonight, after 16 months of campaigning, new signs that Trump's brand is taking a significant hit.
MICHAEL D'ANTONIO, THE TRUTH ABOUT TRUMP: Bookings are off. At some of his properties, he is lowering rates because they're just not getting the traffic they should get.
TODD (voice-over): CNN found that a stay at Trump's new hotel in Washington costs up to $200 less than comparable luxury hotels in D.C. Some of his closest rivals were booked out, while Trump's was not.
And bookings by millennials at Trump hotels has decreased nearly 60 percent since 2015 according to the travel site Hipmunk. In August, foot traffic was down at least 16 percent from last year at Trump hotels, casinos, and golf courses according to Foursquare, a location intelligence firm.
Trump hotels does not provide occupancy information, but it's not just hotels. Some residents at Trump Place Apartments in Manhattan have started a petition to change the name.
BRIAN DUMONT, TRUMP PLACE RESIDENT: We're uncomfortable with it because it really doesn't represent who we are at this point. That man, we have found, does not represent our values.
TODD (voice-over): Analysts say Trump's businesses were slowly declining through much of the campaign. Then came the crisis that would threaten any brand.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Grab them by the pussy.
TRUMP: You can do anything.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TODD (on camera): Was that a game changer for the brand?
DAN MCGINN, BRANDING CONSULTANT: There's no question "Access Hollywood" changed the campaign and changed the brand. For women, for, you know, a large percentage of people, I'm not comfortable being associated there. I don't want to spend my money there. I don't want to look I'm endorsing that behavior.
TODD (voice-over): There's also a campaign to boycott Ivanka Trump's clothing and accessory lines. But so far, analysts say Donald Trump's controversies haven't hurt Ivanka's business and she may be counted on to resurrect her father's brand.
IVANKA TRUMP, DONALD TRUMP'S DAUGHTER: My brand was launched far before the presidential cycle commenced and will continue long afterwards.
TODD: Now, responding to the reporting on the lowering of rates and booking problems at Trump's new hotel in Washington, a Trump hotel spokesperson told us that hotel has been the most successful in terms of opening bookings and event marketing.
The spokesperson also said the reports on sites like Hipmunk and Foursquare of declining traffic and bookings at Trump's hotels are, quote, manipulated to appear meaningful and they don't accurately reflect their performance. Wolf.
BLITZER: Still, Brian -- and I know you know this -- there's a new Trump hotel chain that won't even bear his name. Is that right?
TODD: That's right. This is a new line of Trump hotels, Wolf, that's aimed at millennials. It's billed as a lifestyle brand rather than a luxury brand. It will be called "Scion," with no reference to the Trump family name. The new line was announced last month by his daughter, Ivanka.
BLITZER: And did they give an explanation why it's Scion as opposed to Trump?
TODD: They want to appeal to millennials, Wolf. The spokesperson telling us tonight that's really what their aim is here, and just kind of appealing to the market value of millennials. They did not really indicate this had anything to do with campaign controversies. They are indicating this decision was made some time ago.
BLITZER: Brian Todd reporting for us. Brian, thanks very much.
Coming up, as the battle for an ISIS-held city in Iraq develops, the U.S. says it's only a matter of weeks before the U.S. and its allies are ready to drive ISIS out of its symbolic capital inside Syria.
Also ahead, Donald Trump talks to CNN at the ribbon cutting ceremony for his new hotel here in Washington, but why is he so upset with one of the questions from our own Dana Bash?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[17:55:08] TRUMP: For you to ask me that question is actually very insulting because Hillary Clinton does one stop and then she goes home and sleeps, and yet you'll ask me that question. I think it's a very rude question to be honest with you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[17:59:45] BLITZER: Happening now. Tightening race. There's new evidence that Donald Trump may be gaining steam in a key battleground. Hillary Clinton is warning against complacency. Is the campaign getting more competitive with the election less than two weeks away?
Personal investment. Trump tells CNN he's willing to open his wallet wider and put more of his own money into the campaign. Will he live up to his claim that he'll ultimately spend $100 billion or more?