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Clinton's Crawled When Trump Stood behind Him; Sergey Kislyak Downplays Trump Campaign Contacts; Interview with Representative Tom Cole; Aired 10:30-11a ET

Aired August 23, 2017 - 10:30   ET



[10:30:00] HILLARY CLINTON (D), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: -- those moments where you wish you could hit pause and ask everyone watching, well, what would you do? Do you stay calm, keep smiling and carry on as if he weren't repeatedly invading your space? Or do you turn, look him in the eye, and say loudly and clearly, back up, you creep, get away from me? I know you love to intimidate women. But you can't intimidate me. So back up.

I chose option A. I kept my cool, aided by a lifetime of dealing with difficult men trying to throw me off. I did, however, grip the microphone extra hard. I wonder, though, whether I should have chosen option B. It certainly would have been better TV. Maybe I have over learned the lesson of staying calm, biting my tongue, digging my fingernails into a clenched fist, smiling all the while, determined to present a composed face to the world.


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right. With me now to discuss, CNN political commentator, former campaign manager for Hillary Clinton, Patti Solis Doyle.

Patti, just your impressions hearing that? It's almost like if you're a football fan, the analysis, you know, with the video from John Madden there, it was really stunning to hear those words from Hillary Clinton.

PATTI SOLIS DOYLE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes. Yes. Well, I remember that debate, John, and I remember watching it. I'm sure we all remember watching it. And, you know, Donald Trump was like a great white shark, you know, circling her around. It was incredibly uncomfortable to watch. I can only imagine how uncomfortable it was for Hillary to actually be there.

But you know, the only thing I can say about it is, you know, if the shoe fits, he's a creep. I mean, he had bragged about, you know, grabbing women's vaginas. He had called women pigs. He had, you know, demeaned the Miss Universe winner. He has a long history of really sort of bullying women.

So I almost wish that Hillary had said back up, you creep. I think I'm going to get a T-shirt that says, "Back Up, Creep." (LAUGHTER)

BERMAN: Well, but to that point, you say you almost wish it. She raised the question right there. You don't get a re-do on this type of thing but politically speaking in retrospect, would that have been a better decision?

SOLIS DOYLE: Look, I think -- and we've talked about this many times, you and I. You know, and Hillary Clinton was a very cautious candidate and a cautious politician running against someone who -- you know, we're witnessing the unraveling of this presidency because he speaks off the cuff in sort of crazy ways. Going up against someone like Donald Trump I think a little impromptu "back up, creep" may would have helped.

BERMAN: You know, it does sound like maybe she is thinking that. We had Jonathan Allen who wrote the first book about the campaign. And he noted that Secretary Clinton actually rehearsed, practiced for a moment just like this. And what they practiced was for her to keep her cool, for her not to respond if and when then candidate Trump invaded her space.

So this was a choice going in that they thought was the right call. Perhaps it was based on what had happened in the primaries when one Republican after another tried to, you know, go after Donald Trump directly, demean him, confront him on his terms and ended up losing.

SOLIS DOYLE: Well, you know, I have to say, John, after -- first of all, there's not a day that goes by over the last eight months that I don't wish that Hillary Clinton were in the Oval Office instead of Donald Trump. But we have seen sort of Donald Trump unhinged. And I think when you are president of the United States, you need composure. You need calm. You need to be able to prove to the American people that you can handle a crisis.

And so I think that's what the Clinton campaign was thinking. You know, I'm running for president. I'm not running for reality TV show. And I think, you know, Donald Trump, you know, he won. He is there. He was running to be the -- you know, the lead in a reality TV show about the presidency.

BERMAN: And this morning he called it amazing.

Patti Solis Doyle, great to have you on with us. Really interesting to hear that analysis.

SOLIS DOYLE: Thank you.

BERMAN: So he says he is not a spy or a spy recruiter. The former Russian ambassador to the United States really at the center of the entire Russia election meddling scandal. He speaks to CNN. We caught up with him. A remarkable exclusive interview next.


[10:38:41] BERMAN: All right. Just in to CNN, one of the central players in the Russia election meddling investigation speaks to CNN exclusively. This just happened. The former Russian ambassador to the United States, Sergey Kislyak, our Matthew Chance hunted him down for a pretty amazing interview. And Matthew joins us now.

Matthew, what went down here?

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: All the way here to Saransk, which is in the region of Moldova, which is in the Central European part of Russia.

And this is a figure, remember, John, who is the reason why General Flynn, the former National Security adviser for President Trump, had to resign. He is the reason Jeff Sessions, the attorney general of the United States, recused himself from all the Russia investigations.

So Sergey Kislyak is a key figure in those ongoing investigations into collusion between the Kremlin and the Trump team and the Trump administration. So we managed to get face-to-face with him and asked him some of those key questions.


CHANCE: Hi, Mr. Ambassador. Quick question. Did you discuss lifting sanctions with any members of the Trump team when you were in the United States?

SERGEY KISLYAK, FORMER RUSSIAN AMBASSADOR TO THE U.S.: With your respect, I'm here to talk to Russian people.

CHANCE: I understand that. So you've got no secrets --

KISLYAK: I have said everything I wanted prior to this.

[10:40:04] CHANCE: Did you discuss opening secret channels with the Kremlin with Jared Kushner, for instance?

KISLYAK: I have said many times that we do not discuss the substance of our discussions with our American intellects out of respect to our partners.

CHANCE: Fair enough. But when you met Donald Trump, the president, were you surprised when he disclosed secret information to you about Syria?

KISLYAK: I'm not sure that I heard anything that would be secret. But that was a good meeting. And we were discussing things that were important to your country and to mine.

CHANCE: What about this allegation that you are a spy master, a spy recruiter?

KISLYAK: Nonsense. Nonsense.

CHANCE: Did you attempt to recruit any members of the Trump administration?


KISLYAK: You should be ashamed.


CHANCE: Right, so he said we should be ashamed at CNN for sort of propagating that story. But of course it was U.S. intelligence officials that identified Sergey Kislyak as a senior spy and a spy recruiter. And all throughout this story about collusion and these allegations, there's been this sort of underlying narrative that what was he really there for? Why was he meeting all these key figures? Was it to gain sort of information he could take back home with him to the Kremlin? So I think it was an important point to make.

I also asked him about the future of U.S.-Russian relations. He said it was going to be difficult. He said there's a difficult political climate in the United States and he criticized that U.S. sanctions bill, as well, which of course places responsibility for lifting U.S. sanctions away from the president in the hands of the Congress -- John.

BERMAN: Matthew Chance, for us, really, really interesting. And if nothing else, you know, Kislyak smiling the whole time, seeming to enjoy the discussion and all the questions about Russian election meddling, this is not a story that really seems to bother them to talk about.

Matthew Chance, great to have you with us. Thanks so much.

All right. The Navy has officially dismissed the commander of the U.S. 7th Fleet, Vice Admiral Joseph Aucoin just a few hours ago. He was relieved of duty following the four collisions, two of them deadly, on his watch this year. The latest, of course, involved the USS John McCain near Singapore.

The search area is expanding this morning for the 10 soldiers still unaccounted for. Yesterday we did learn that the remains of some of those sailors were found inside the damaged vessel.

President Trump trying to get his base revved but in the process going directly after incumbent Republican office holders. Where does the Republican Party go from here? Stay with us.


[10:46:59] BERMAN: In just a few hours, President Trump heads to Nevada, another controversial stop after raising many questions at an event overnight in Phoenix. Among other things, threatening to shut down the government over funding for the border wall. Listen.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The obstructionist Democrats would like us not to do it. But believe me, we have to close down our government, we're building that wall.


BERMAN: With me now to discuss, Congressman Tom Cole of Oklahoma. He sits on the House Budget and Appropriations Committee.

You have a vested interest in, say, funding the government, Congressman. And do you welcome the president saying he will shut down the government if he doesn't get the funding he wants for the border wall?

REP. TOM COLE (R), BUDGET APPROPRIATIONS AND RULES COMMITTEE: No. I think it's always a mistake to shut down the government. Look, you make life worse for the American people. You put the country at risk. It shows political dysfunction, particularly when you control the presidency, the Senate and the House. So I would strongly advise against any threat to shut down the government of the United States.

BERMAN: You have said the White House needs to be more disciplined. Does that comment from the president -- does that fall within the scope of what you consider discipline?

COLE: No, I don't. Although I must say we saw two different presidents in the last two nights. I thought the president did an exceptional job on Afghanistan and, frankly, was brutally honest with the American people. Told them look, this was actually something I didn't want to do. I went through a lengthy process, which he did, very disciplined process. I relied on the best advice I can get and this is what I think the best thing for the country to do and I'm going to pursue this, even though it's somewhat at odds with my earlier positions.

I liked that a lot that and I respected the president for being straightforward. So I think we would be better served if that's the president we saw more often. But again, you know, he ran as an unorthodox, unconventional political figure and I think he still is.

BERMAN: Right.

COLE: But he showed last night, he can draw an awful lot of support. Has a lot of folks that agree with him.

BERMAN: But you seem to offer up last night as something in opposition to the version of the president that you liked Monday night when of course both you and I, and now everyone, seems to know -- we're in fact talking about one human being. There is one Donald J. Trump who is president of the United States. And all of this is part of him right now, including the part which you seem to think is not disciplined enough.

COLE: Well, I think that's a fair statement. Look, he's a complex person. But he is the president of the United States. And on most issues, we agree. And I'm certainly going to try to work with him where I can.

Yes, I worry a little bit on this wall issue on both sides. If you actually know what's in the bill -- and I do -- it's $1.6 billion in a better than trillion dollar spending bill if you look at all 12 bills. And it's enhanced border security. There is certainly some construction in it. But there's also things like additional judges to make sure we can process cases more rapidly. So you know, this is -- this should actually be a point of agreement.

[10:50:03] We all believe in stronger security on the border. And I think if you focus there and put your rhetoric there, instead of a symbolism you can actually achieve an agreement.


COLE: We did that, by the way, just last May.

BERMAN: You -- a big part of your career now is the budget and spending. An earlier part of your career was all devoted to electing Republicans to different offices and re-electing -- re-electing serving, sitting Republicans in Congress right now.

And now the president of the United States is taking direct aim at Republican incumbents, including Jeff Flake of Arizona right now. Having done what you did, I can't believe that that doesn't go counter to your DNA.

COLE: It does. Look, I think -- it's OK to say where you differ with people. And sometimes that's very healthy. Frankly, I have to tell you, I think the president was right in saying that the failure on health care was a congressional failure. It was primarily a Senate failure. And I think having that discussion and being honest about it is true. And frankly, if they just voted to move the bill, we would have gone into conference.

BERMAN: Right.

COLE: You could have still stopped it later. So he's got every right to be frustrated but I think usually it's a mistake to personalize things in politics because, you know, who is your opponent today can be your friend tomorrow. That's true, by the way, on both sides of the aisle.


COLE: We have some Democrats that could vote with us on a number of things. But if we make it impossible for them to do that, they're going to put their own political survival ahead of, frankly, maybe what is in something they actually believe.

So again, I would just advise a different style. You reach out to people. You know, you are not shy about where you disagree. But again don't make it personal. And remember, these are members of your team and you've got a lot to get done this fall. You're going to need every vote you've got in the United States Senate.

BERMAN: All right. Congressman Tom Cole of Oklahoma, thanks so much for being with us. Appreciate it.

COLE: Thank you. BERMAN: All right. There is a man named Robert Lee who just had a

bit of a job reassignment at ESPN. And boy oh, boy, are there some opinions about this this morning.


[10:57:34] BERMAN: I did not sleep last night because one of the biggest trades in the NBA you are ever going to see. All-star point guards Kyrie Irving and Isaiah Thomas swapping teams or they're teams swapping them.

Coy Wire has more in the "Bleacher Report." Hey, Coy.

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, John. Yes, it's a big trade here. Mark it on your calendar, October 17th, that's opening night of the NBA season when LeBron James and his new point guard, Isaiah Thomas, welcome former point man Kyrie Irving and the Celtics to Cleveland. That's going to be a good one.

Players around the league were shocked about this news. In this trade Cleveland received Isaiah Thomas, a couple other players and a first round pick in next year's draft. Now Boston received only Kyrie Irving. I get the sense Berman is OK with this, though. A lot of folks see it as a win-win for both teams.

Kyrie wanted to be traded from Cleveland and reportedly out from LeBron James' shadow. While LeBron, he gets Isaiah Thomas who is a dynamic player on the court, just as dynamic as Irving. LeBron shared this video that someone posted on Twitter in honor of Kyrie saying, "Nothing but respect." And "What a ride it was over our three years together."

ESPN removed an announcer named Robert Lee from calling a University of Virginia football game in Charlottesville, quote, "simply because of the coincidence of his name," end quote. Robert Lee is Asian. Robert E. Lee was the Confederate general from the 1800s whose statue removal of course sparked the tragic events in Charlottesville.

Now the network said that it made the decision with Lee to switch him to another game citing safety reasons and concerns over his name. ESPN released a statement saying in part, quote, "In that moment it felt right to all parties. It's a shame that this is even a topic of conversation and we regret that who calls play by play for a football game has become such an issue," unquote.

John, as you mentioned earlier, this network receiving a lot of backlash online for what many think is an overreaction to this situation.

BERMAN: You know, and of course Bob Leigh who spells his name differently and is a big time ESPN anchor, he was joking about it, too, this morning. I think ESPN would like a do-over on this one at this point.

Coy, thanks so much for being with us. Appreciate it.

WIRE: You're welcome.

BERMAN: And I do like the Kyrie Irving trade very, very much.

Thank you all for joining us today. I'm John Berman. "AT THIS HOUR" starts now.

CLARISSA WARD, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, I am Clarissa Ward, in for Kate Bolduan. Just minutes from now President Trump heads to a speech in Reno, Nevada. He will be speaking to --