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THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER

New Trump Tweetstorm; Mike Pence Running Shadow Campaign for 2020?. Aired 4:30-5p ET

Aired August 7, 2017 - 16:30   ET

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


[16:31:06]

JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: We're back with our politics lead.

President Trump is taking an extended stay at this resort in Bedminster, New Jersey. And just like every American taking a little time away from the office, he began his Monday morning by tweeting angrily about the news -- quote -- "Hard to believe that with 24/7 #fakenews on CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS, 'New York Times' and 'Washington Post,' the Trump base is getting stronger."

Of course, recent polling actually show the president losing ground with base. In addition to that dismal 33 percent approval rating overall, a Quinnipiac poll last week found that the president is underwater when it comes to white non-college educated voters, a key part of his base, 43 approving, 50 percent disapproving.

A word or two about the president railing against #fakenews. Almost every single time he's used that term, the news has been accurate. It's just been news he does not like.

You can go with his I think very first usage of the term, that CNN scoop that intelligence chiefs, specifically then FBI director, briefed then president-elect Trump on that existence of that dossier which had made unsubstantiated claims about leverage Russians claimed to have on the president-elect.

This was the president-elect's reaction to our report.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

QUESTION: Can you give us a question? Can you give us a question?

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Don't be rude. I'm not going to give you a question. You are fake news.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TAPPER: Now, every word of that CNN report has been proven to be true as verified eventually by James Comey and President Trump.

Or you can take reports by CNN and "The Washington Post" and others of that tense conversation between President Trump and the Australian prime minister in January. On February 3, the president tweeted: "Thank you to prime minister of Australia for telling the truth about our very civil conversation that fake news media lied about. Very nice."

But we now know from the leak last week of the transcript in "The Washington Post" that the president did not have a civil conversation with the Australian prime minister.

He told him -- quote -- "I have had it. I have been making these calls all day and that is the most unpleasant call all day. Putin was a pleasant call. This is ridiculous."

All of this prompts the question, what does the Trump team think is real news, using this Orwellian nomenclature?

We found out yesterday when President Trump's Facebook page unveiled a mock newscast from former contributor and longtime Trump supporter Kayleigh McEnany.

The conservative Web site RedState.com called this -- quote -- "propaganda straight out of North Korea's playbook."

Obama's former ambassador to Russia said it -- quote -- "feels eerily like so many state-owned channels I have watched in other countries."

But take a look and judge for yourselves.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KAYLEIGH MCENANY, TRUMP SUPPORTER: Hey, everybody. I'm Kayleigh McEnany.

Thank you for joining us, as we provide the news of the week from Trump Tower here in New York.

Overall, since the president took office, President Trump has created more than one million jobs.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TAPPER: That's interesting language. She claimed that President Trump himself has created more than one million jobs, not business owners, not Congress, not Wall Street, not investors, not hardworking small business men and women. President Trump created those jobs. That's their idea of real news.

The Trump weekly news roundup is being funded by President Trump's reelection campaign.

Now, McEnany, who was just named spokeswoman for the RNC, signed off her broadcast like this:

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MCENANY: Thank you for joining us, everybody. I'm Kayleigh McEnany.

And that is the real news.

(END VIDEO CLIP) TAPPER: Now, empirically, there is nothing journalist about a political organization that exists to support a politician cheering on that politician.

It's not real, and it's not news, and it's definitely not real news.

Let's dive right in with my political panel.

We have with us Robby Mook, former campaign manager for Hillary Clinton, and Mary Katharine Ham, senior writer at "The Federalist." The paperback addition of her book "End of Discussion" is out. It's a great book and I recommend it highly.

Mary Katharine, that's not real news.

MARY KATHARINE HAM, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: No, that's not real news.

I do want to say, the media makes mistakes and the inability to grapple with that I think on the media's part sometimes furthers this rift between Trump voters and makes it easier for him to say everything is fake news, because some of it is wrong. And that should be admitted to.

(CROSSTALK)

[16:35:05]

TAPPER: Sure.

HAM: But, look, obviously, this is a propaganda production. That's the whole point of it.

It is a cruder version than what the Obama administration did, which was called "West Wing Week." And it was a video production that was slicker. I'm not sure that I prefer a slicker version or I prefer the really obvious propaganda.

It's not controversial that this kind of production is part of a political organization, but it is different to refer to it as news, although like I said, "West Wing Week" was packaged like a news production and sometimes they would do video and photo sprays that press was not allowed in on.

TAPPER: Absolutely. I thought "West Wing Week" was insidious at times when they wouldn't let us have the same access. But they didn't say, we're the real news and they're the fake news, Robby.

ROBBY MOOK, FORMER HILLARY CLINTON CAMPAIGN MANAGER: Yes.

I think that's what's a little disturbing about this, is it has the look and the feel of a newscast. I don't feel like the materials that came out of President Trump's White House purported to be news. They didn't have that feel.

I actually thought the only good part about this is that they have actually Trump's name is in the background, so it's at least branded. I actually was concerned when I first heard about it, before I saw it, that it somehow had some fake news network sign on there.

But I think what the Trump people need to think about going forward is, this is a good strategy for keeping their base. This is really good content that their supporters will share with each other on social media.

That was an OK strategy for them in the last campaign. But an important thing to note is, Donald Trump didn't actually get more votes in Wisconsin than Hillary Clinton -- or, rather, than Mitt Romney. He got the same. It's just that so many people were voting third party.

The president he needs to grow his base. He needs to grow. And what is really scary for them, you had that poll number that he's underwater with non-college educated white voters.

This appeal to his base is not going to solve that problem. He's got to start to expand.

(CROSSTALK)

TAPPER: Go ahead.

HAM: I was going to say, and his inability to grapple with the polls when they're not working well for him or when they're not coming out in his favor also doesn't get him anywhere strategically, because if you're not recognizing people aren't -- are turning their backs, then you're not going to try to win them over.

TAPPER: Let's talk about Vietnam for a second, because President Trump was feuding today with Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal from Connecticut, who, when he was running for Senate in 2010, misrepresented and made it sound as though he had actually been in Vietnam.

He had not. He did apologize for it. The president called him a phony Vietnam con artist after Blumenthal appeared on CNN.

But what's interesting is this whole subject of Vietnam if you're President Trump, because President Trump, like Blumenthal, sought deferments, except unlike Blumenthal, never joined the military. Blumenthal did join the Marine Reserves.

And there are these quotes about him joking about Vietnam in '93 and '97 on "The Howard Stern Show."

"If you're young and in this era and you have any guilt about not having gone to Vietnam, we have our own Vietnam. It's called the dating game," President Trump said once.

And then another time: "I have been so lucky in terms of that whole world. It's a dangerous world out there. It's like scary. It's like Vietnam."

Stern says: "It's you're my personal Vietnam."

"It's my personal Vietnam. I feel like a great and very brave soldier."

That's him talking avoiding venereal diseases or sexually transmitted diseases.

If you're Donald Trump, and Vietnam is not something, like for John McCain or for so many others, there's really nothing to criticize about your service, why even bring this up?

HAM: Because he just wants to hit Blumenthal.

And, frankly, I'm not mad at Trump being called on this being and I'm not made at Blumenthal being called on it. If you tell a lie about your service that is designed to get you forward in your career -- this is what annoys people about Trump. He's not used to getting called on it.

(CROSSTALK)

HAM: Senator Warner is not used to getting called frequently on the fact that she faked some stuff about her heritage.

And they get called on it. They don't like it.

Trump has plenty of vulnerabilities. He's also president of the United States and became president with those vulnerabilities. He's sort of in this weird way bulletproof in that position, and he doesn't care. He just goes after Blumenthal. And I don't care if either one of them has to answer for this.

TAPPER: I have no issue with somebody who told a lie being called on that lie, especially when it's a lie like that that's like a stolen valor type thing. You're claiming something, some service, that people actually went through, and it was horrific, and it's searing, and many of them never survive from it. And you're actually appropriate in that.

But at least he joined the military.

MOOK: Yes.

This has always mystified me. I will be honest. It just has always mystified how the president is so inclined to affiliate himself with those who have served our country. He loved to surround himself with people who received medals in combat.

And any objective analysis of his own record is that he dodged the draft. Now, a lot of people -- there are a lot of different sides. I have never had to face that choice, so I am not going to judge.

TAPPER: Nobody at this table has served in the military.

MOOK: I'm not going to judge anybody on that.

But I hope -- I think this whole thing is silly. He's bullying a senator. And I don't even know how much time it's worth considering.

But I just -- I don't know understand how someone who stepped up and served our country can think that our president is an honorable man, when he did not.

[16:40:08]

TAPPER: I want to tell you about this "New York Times" story that said that aides to Pence have been reaching out to donors and other people in the Republican Party, saying if Trump is not on the ticket in 2020 -- and that's 3.5 years away and who knows what is going to happen -- Pence is there and he's ready.

Not inherently an offensive thing, but, boy, the Pence team has been pushing back on that. He issued a statement calling it's fake.

Go ahead.

HAM: Because I think in the Trump White House, Pence's path to self- preservation and ambition is the same path.

Like, you cannot be stealing Trump's spotlight, and then also hope to be in the position that he perhaps would like to be in at some point. It's perfectly rational for him to make some sort of plans for that or have that thought on his mind, but he has to communicate that that's not part of it.

MOOK: I think he doth protest too much.

He's doing everything that a sitting vice president who is planning to run for president would do, setting up that political action committee, the amount of political events he's been doing, how much he is traveling around.

You have to imagine people are whispering in his ear or even joking with him all the time, you might be president within the next four years.

Look, we have been around this stuff. The detailed reporting, the specific conversations, the specific things that were said, you don't get that out of thin air. This is clearly happening. He is clearly planning to step in, if needed.

I don't imagine that he would run against Trump in a primary. But I think he's getting ready...

(CROSSTALK)

HAM: The protesting too much is part of what he must do in order to get there.

TAPPER: But don't you think Pence's aides would be committing malpractice if they're weren't saying that to people?

HAM: Yes. And there's also the part where Pence's aides are much more

traditional GOP aides who know that world in a different way than the Trump folks do. So, having those kind of connections is their job, and having those kind of conversations is their job, unlike, say, a Scaramucci, who was not plugged into that world and who was no naturally having those conversations.

TAPPER: But you need to be there to beat back -- if something happens and President Trump decides not to run or whatever.

HAM: And he's caught flat-footed?

TAPPER: You don't want Nikki Haley heading to South Carolina.

MOOK: The other reality is, this is the same wing of the Trump administration, right?

If you want someone who you can objectively go speak to, I would argue that some of Mike Pence's ideas are not that sane, but they are -- you can deal with them in the normal manner. You can't do that with...

(CROSSTALK)

TAPPER: All right, Mary Katharine and Robby, thanks so much for being here. Appreciate it.

Not even a pastor is immune from being detained for being in the U.S. illegally, even if he's trying to make it right. And now there are calls evangelicals are turning a blind eye to what is really going on under Trump's immigration policy.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[16:45:00] JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Welcome back. Our "WORLD LEAD" takes us back to Venezuela where more unrest and violence is unfortunately erupting. This was a scene yesterday as the military clash with anti-government activists who tried to attack a military base, two were killed and eight detained by government forces. And now a manhunt is under way for ten paramilitary men who managed to escape capture. President Maduro is calling an attempted terrorist attack. CNN's Leyla Santiago is on the ground in Caracas and she joins us live. Leyla, this is a strong language for the Venezuelan government to call them - calls them attempted terror attack. What are oppositions group saying today about the incident?

LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, opposition leaders aren't buying it. They're not buying the account of the government for what occurred at that military base. And they're actually calling for a full investigation of what occurred - of what occurred. Now, what we have seen as a result of this revolt is a strong show of force. And here's just one great example of that, Jake. Standing in front of hundreds of armed soldiers, standing in front of tanks, the defense minister took to not only social media but also the airwaves here in Venezuela and basically said, we're on the hunt. They have eight people detained right now, but they're still looking

for who they call is the mastermind behind this plot, a plot they call a terrorist attack that is backed by the right wing in Miami. So what do we know about this group? Well, on a video posted on social media showing some uniformed men claiming responsibility for this, they call this a legitimate rebellion, and they want to restore constitutional order, Jake.

TAPPER: And Leyla, why are these anti-government forces specifically protesting the election outcome?

SANTIAGO: Right. So, let's put this into context. This election was for more than five hundred representatives of President Maduro's new constituent assembly, this is an assembly that would have a lot of power set to possibly extend the powers of President Maduro and it is also filled with President Maduro's supporters. So there has been controversy not only in Venezuela but also in the international community over the weekend when the first thing this constituent assembly did was oust the attorney general, someone who was once a supporter, now a very vocal critic has asked for investigations dealing with fraud as well as human rights abuses. So many in the opposition are concerned that they could be next when it comes to who they're targeting. Jake?

TAPPER: All right, Leyla Santiago in Caracas, thank you so much. He's a pastor and an undocumented immigrant. Last week, he went into - with federal immigration officials to check in and he never left. And now, some evangelicals are saying others within their faith are turning a blind eye to this. That's next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[16:50:00] TAPPER: We're back with the "NATIONAL LEAD." Chicago is now the first city to sue the Trump administration over its policy penalizing so-called sanctuary cities. The Justice Department says it will hold back federal grants from cities that do not comply with federal immigration enforcement requests. Chicago received $2.3 million to that funding last year to buy items such as SWAT equipment or police cruisers. With applications for new funding due next month, the Justice Department is now adding stipulations. Cities must give feds information on undocumented immigrants, let them access local detention centers and give Homeland Security 48 hour notice before releasing a wanted undocumented immigrant. Chicago's Mayor Rahm Emanuel calls the new policy an unlawful misguided action that undermines public safety.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[16:55:11] MAYOR RAHM EMANUEL, CHICAGO, ILLINOIS: The federal government cannot coerce a city to change its policy. That's what the court has already ruled on. The second piece, as you just noted, is we don't run a jail. We do lock-up and in 48 hours if there's not a case, we'll let you go. You cannot ask this to whole people (INAUDIBLE) in 48 hours. It's both a legal piece and a constitutional piece, and the city is on firm ground on that basis.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TAPPER: The Justice Department responded to Chicago's lawsuit saying in a statement and referenced the city's homicide rate saying, "it's especially tragic that the Mayor is less concerned with that staggering figure than he is spending time in taxpayer money protecting criminal aliens and putting Chicago's law enforcement at greater risk." The Trump administration has stepped up raid on undocumented and although the President has assured the public raids are focused on bad hombres, that is clearly not always the case. Today one California father of two young children is praying a miracle will help his status. He admits he's in the country illegally but had been doing everything he could to try to correct his situation despite his clean record and his day job as a church pastor. He is now sitting in a California detention center. CNN's Kyung Lah brought us this report.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, I'm Kyung.

Inside this cramped room in an ICE detention center in the middle of the California desert, we're given 20 minutes to talk to Noe Carias, undocumented immigrant, father, and pastor.

NOE CARIAS, ASSEMBLIES OF GOD CHURCH PASTOR: I love my family. I love this country. I love this church.

LAH: Carias is the evangelical pastor for this Los Angeles church. Last week, he went with ICE check-in and never came out. The Guatemala native crosses illegally in the 1990s and was working to fix his immigration status. He has no other criminal record. So for the past three years, ICE allowed Carias to stay.

CARIAS: I'm a man of God, I'm a man of faith, I'm a pastor. I never committed any crime in this country.

LAH: What do you say to the people who say that you came here illegally.

CARIAS: I have two kids. I'm working in this country. I support the economy of this country and I'm paying my taxes.

LAH: So if they're going to do this to you, what does this say about the other 11 million undocumented people in this country?

CARIAS: That's the thing, they want to remove every people who do good things and right things in the United States of America.

LAH: The pastor's arrest comes as part of the Trump administration's policy shift on immigration. ICE guidelines now state officers will take enforcement action against all removable aliens. Arrests of undocumented immigrants with no other criminal convictions are up 50 percent as compared to last year. At the pastor's home, his five and six-year-old children struggle to understand that government policy in their life. VICTORIA CARIAS, PASTOR'S WIFE: He's been here long enough and he's done nothing wrong. We should get (INAUDIBLE) the opportunity to make things right.

LAH: To the President, she pleads.

V. CARIAS: He has grandchildren and they hurt the same as mine. Please, to have mercy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is not political, this is about my faith and it's about the family.

LAH: These ministers leading churches across California say White Evangelicals are turning a blind eye when it comes to immigration even as their faith is a surge in Latinos. 80 percent of White Evangelicals voted for Trump.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Today, we have a choice and we need you to choose to stand with us.

LAH: Are White Evangelicals doing enough?

ZACH HOOVERM PICO NATIONAL NETWORK: No. No, it's not enough until it stops. That's when it's enough. It's not enough until we aren't sitting here talking about a pastor sitting how many miles it is from here in a terrible detention center.

CARIAS: I love my wife, I love my two kids. And hopefully we're going to be-soon we're going to be together.

LAH: ICE calls Pastor Carias a repeat immigration violator. ICE also says in the 1990s, he did not tell the truth that he was from Guatemala, but rather from Mexico. JAKE?

TAPPER: All right, Kyung Lah, thanks so much for that report. Be sure to tune into CNN tonight for a special report, "WHY TRUMP WON." CNN's Fareed Zakaria takes a look at President Trump's election victory. It all starts at 9:00 p.m. Eastern and Pacific. Be sure to follow me on Facebook and Twitter @JAKETAPPER or you can tweet the show @THELEADCNN, we actually read them believe it or not. That's it for THE LEAD today, I'm Jake Tapper. I now turn to one Mr. Wolf Blitzer. He's right next door in place he likes he calls "THE SITUATION ROOM." Thanks for watching.