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AT THIS HOUR WITH BERMAN AND MICHAELA
Another FOX Host Makes New Allegations; ISIS Captured U.S. Military Equipment in Afghanistan; Can New Candidate Disrupt Trump in Presidential Race; Florida, the "Swingiest" Swing State. Aired 11:30- 12p ET
Aired August 9, 2016 - 11:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[11:32:11] KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Some current and former FOX News staffers tell CNN they were worried former chief, Roger Ailes, was listening to their phone calls, even monitoring their e-mails before he was ousted. FOX News employees were tightlipped about allegations of sexual harassment. Since former anchor, Gretchen Carlson, made her story public, others have done the same.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: The latest is Andrea Tantaros, who said she complained several times last year to FOX executives about Ailes' behavior. According to "New York Magazine" she says she was demoted and taken off the air. FOX continues to pay her.
Joining us to discuss CNN senior media correspondent, host of "Reliable Sources," Brian Stelter; and CNN legal analyst and former federal prosecutor, Laura Coates.
Brian, I want to start with Andrea Tantaros. This gets more than just to Roger Ailes. She's accusing others of knowing what was going on.
BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT & CNN HOST, RELIABLE SOURCES: I spoke with her attorney last night. He said Tantaros went to other executives to report this harassment and her reports were not taken seriously. She's targeting Bill Shine as well as Diane Brandy (ph), the head of H.R. at the company. There have been reports about whether other executives will be embroiled in this scandal. So far, FOX has said no. They said it's only Ailes, it's all about Ailes. The Murdochs tried to clean this up by ousting Ailes three weeks ago. There's been a drip, drip, drip of other stories now implicating other executives. We should say, clearly, Shine denies being told by Tantaros that he also harassed her.
BOLDUAN: There's also talk that there are recordings, Laura, when it comes to a case against Roger Ailes or any other executive or FOX, what does the presence of recording do to a lawsuit?
LAURA COATES, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: It's a game-changer. You have an issue where you have proof. Sexual harassment claims are very, very difficult to prove. It's usually "he said, she said." Now you have documentation or proof of an audio recording that says here is what he was saying to these employees and here is how he created this hostile work environment. Brian is dead on, if this is a drip, drip, drip, it's turning into a flood. If there were other execs who were knowledgeable about this work environment, about this open and nefarious comment, FOX News is in a lot of trouble.
BERMAN: Laura, there's one lawsuit right now, only one lawsuit from Gretchen Carlson, and it's not against FOX News. It's Gretchen Carlson against Roger Ailes. That's what I'm confused about. "Vanity Fair" overnight saying FOX wants to get Roger Ailes to pay some of this out of his own pocket.
STELTER: Offered a settlement, yes.
BERMAN: Isn't he the only person being suit. What's the liability?
COATES: The liability would be with the shareholders. It's a corporation. You have Roger Ailes using corporate funding to promote and advance his personal objectives. One of those may, in fact, be the harassment of employees at this corporation. The liability is more of a shareholder issue. But remember, FOX has a very unique makeup of their voting, even though the family only owns 15 percent of the corporation, they have 40 percent in voter power, so they have to actually decide whether or not Roger Ailes' conduct, his corporate spending, and the action he took against Gretchen Carlson and perhaps other people was in the interest of the bottom line for FOX. FOX is very much embroiled even though Ailes was named.
[11:35:43] STELTER: That's the story here --
BOLDUAN: When it comes to the drip, drip, drip you were talking about, it's not over. They're still investigating.
STELTER: They're still investigating, that's right.
BOLDUAN: This is still on going. What happens next?
STELTER: We're on a rival network, on CNN talking about FOX News. This isn't about a television channel. It's about a giant corporation. I think that's dead on about the company and about responsibility that the company had to shareholders. Ultimately everybody had a boss, Rupert Murdoch and his sons, what do they know, if anything, about the harassment claims. If they were in the dark, you have to wonder if they were willfully blind to what may have been going on at FOX News. Ultimately, this story is about a corporate culture, a workplace culture that sounds Nixonian. We know he had consultants doing dirty work for him. I confirmed that five of those consultants were let go last week. There are repercussions for the story.
And there's one other repercussion, victims of sexual harassment. Gretchen Carlson says she hopes this case will help other women come forward. That ultimately is the most important part of this story. BERMAN: Brian Stelter, Laura Coates, thanks so much.
BOLDUAN: Thanks, Brian.
STELTER: Thank you.
COATES: Thank you.
BOLDUAN: Coming up for us, "reckless with a lack of self respect." A leading Republican Senator says she cannot vote for Donald Trump right now. Ahead, an exclusive interview with Senator Susan Collins.
BERMAN: Plus, our next guest doesn't just want Trump to lose, he wants him to suffer a humiliating defeat. He wrote an op-ed littered with words we can't even say on TV. Now he's advising the newest candidate in the race for president.
[11:41:47] BOLDUAN: Breaking news out of the Pentagon right now. Learning ISIS captured U.S. military equipment after an attack in Afghanistan.
BERMAN: Let's get to Barbara Starr at the Pentagon.
Barbara, what are you learning?
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: This has been a tale floating around for a few days. Now some facts are emerging about a photograph we want to show you. This is a photograph ISIS's news agency put out over the weekend of U.S. military gear it claimed to have captured in Afghanistan during a fight with coalition fighters. What you see there, you see a mortar launcher, an American flag. You see some American ammunition, what appears to be American-made military gear, including a military I.D. of a U.S. soldier.
Now we know more about how ISIS got all of this. It was July 25th in eastern Afghanistan. U.S. troops had been battling is in a place called Nagahar (ph) Province. Here is what happened. Very unusual. The U.S. gathered a number of troops at what they call a casualty collection point. It was a point where they were gathering up U.S. wounded, getting ready to evacuate them out, when that collection point American troops came under enemy fire. The U.S. military openly saying it was, and I quote, "an effective enemy fire." Basically, U.S. troops had to bug out very quickly and leave this material behind. Has it happened before in a firefight, they change position and leave some gear behind? Yes, absolutely. But very interesting to note, this was a place where they were going to collect up U.S. wounded. There had been some wounded by all accounts. And this is the spot that came under enemy fire.
ISIS now putting these photos out of what they collected from that very unusual fire fight back on July 25th in eastern Afghanistan -- John, Kate?
BERMAN: Propaganda war continues.
Barbara Starr, thanks so much.
So three months before Election Day, there is a new candidate in the presidential race. Evan McMullin says it's never too late to do the right thing. He says he's an option the American people can vote for instead of voting against Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump. He seems particularly irked at the entire notion of Donald Trump. He called Trump inhuman last night.
Joining us, Republican strategist, Rick Wilson, an adviser to the McMullin campaign.
Rick, great to see you.
RICK WILSON, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST & ADVISOR, EVAN MCMULLIN PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN: Thanks for having me.
BOLDUAN: Very little sleep for the next three months it seems.
WILSON: Don't sleep much anyway.
BOLDUAN: Give us numbers, how much money you've got in the bank?
WILSON: We are raising money at a roaring clip. We are adding followers, adding folks to our e-mail list. We added over 50,000 people to our e-mail list since last night at 6:00. We have people pouring out of the woodwork from all over this country, volunteering, asking how they can work at our state level organizations. We have an aggressive ballot acquisition process going on. We'll push to be on the ballot as widely as possible. We can either appeal some things, be on a third party line, Independent line, legal recourse. I'm not a ballot attorney, but we have hired all the best ones. They are out there kicking butt right now to get us on the ballot.
BERMAN: You know, it's daunting.
WILSON: Of course, it is.
BERMAN: We're not making this up.
BERMAN: -- someone had done it before, instead of having never really done this before.
[11:45:08] WILSON: One of the reasons, when they came to me and said would you like to meet with Evan and talk to this guy, he understood this from the beginning. He knew we're at a point right now in our country where the voters are sick and tired of both of these candidates from the major parties and the Republican candidate they view as crazy and the Democratic candidate they view as ethically challenged and corrupt. Folks in the middle of this country have no one to talk to, no one to be proud of, and knowing they can say, this is where they can wake up the day after the Election Day and say I voted for this guy and I did the right thing.
BOLDUAN: On Donald Trump, you wrote a scathing piece about Donald Trump over the weekend.
WILSON: I tend to.
BOLDUAN: You do. You don't hold back. Here's part of it. You want him annihilated. You said, "We need to ensure that he is on the business end of a decisive humiliating defeat so the terribly divisive forces he has unleashed are delivered a death blow."
Rick, from your view, is McMullin's campaign, this candidacy more about eviscerating Trump or is it about winning?
WILSON: Evan's campaign is about making America something different than what they've got right now. I wrote this piece before I became involved in the campaign, but I still completely agree with everything I wrote. But this is a guy who has been so destructive in this country. If you're a Republican right now, Donald Trump is doing a great job of losing to Hillary Clinton without Evan in the field. He was doing a great job of driving his campaign into the ditch every single day. Every promise Trump pivot turns into a pratfall. Every time they say he's about to improve, he does something else crazy.
BERMAN: A lot of focus on Utah. The ballot access there is fairly easy. For another reason, Evan is a Mormon, maybe better known in Utah. He grew up there. Another reason, Utah is a state where Trump might be underperforming.
WILSON: He's underperforming in the entire mountain west.
BERMAN: But Utah in particular. If all you do is keep Donald Trump from winning Utah, will that be a success for you?
WILSON: Look, we're in this to win. We're in this to push this debate in a different direction, to make it something broader and more accessible to Americans and not be in the two lanes we have right now of Hillary Clinton -- people voting against Donald Trump for her side and on the Republican side, people voting against Hillary Clinton. We want to give people something to vote for, something to aspire to. We want to show somebody who has come out of ten years of public service as a CIA undercover officer, fighting in some of the worst places in this country against terror and willing to sacrifice his life for that, is willing to offer himself up as a public servant. It's a different thing, not a career politician, not the same-old, same-old.
BOLDUAN: Let's talk business. Zero to 100 percent chance you get on the ballot?
WILSON: I'm not an expert on ballot access. I've hired all of them. BOLDUAN: What do they say?
WILSON: We're going to work our tails off.
BOLDUAN: 100 percent chance?
All right, Rick, great to see you.
WILSON: Thank you.
Thank you so much, guys. Appreciate it?
BERMAN: What about Florida? Will Evan McMullin be on the ballot in Florida? Yes or no?
BERMAN: It's one of the biggest prizes of the battleground states. We'll do a deep dive into what's going on there.
[11:52:15] BERMAN: Every once in a while, Florida is an important state in the presidential election.
BOLDUAN: And by that, we mean always.
Martin Savidge reports how the state is changing.
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): With 20 electoral votes, Florida is one of the biggest prizes of the battleground states. But the difference between winning and losing is often really small.
SUSAN MACMANUS, FSU POLITICAL SCIENCE PROFESSOR: In 2012, Obama just won Florida over Romney by 0.9 percent. This is a fiercely fought-for state.
SAVIDGE: There are currently roughly 4.4 million registered Republicans and close to 4.6 million Democrats. But the Florida voters both campaigns want are the nearly three million Independents. Who are they? They're young, part of the new influx of new residents drawn to work rather than retire.
MACMANUS: If you take the Millennials, which are the 18 to 34- year-olds, plus the Gen Xers, they make up around 47 percent of Florida's registered voters.
SAVIDGE: Gone are the days a candidate could only talk Social Security. Younger voters have other concerns, jobs, the environment.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'd say the issue of student loans. SAVIDGE: These swing voters include Hispanics, not traditional
right leaning Cuban-Americans, but Puerto Ricans with different politics. Their numbers growing fast.
(on camera): 67,000 --
JORGE ARVEO, BUSINESSMAN: Thousand.
SAVIDGE: Every month.
ARVEO: Every month.
SAVIDGE: Coming to Florida?
ARVEO: I have to look for opportunities or see what is happening.
SAVIDGE (voice-over): Republican organizers say they have been paying close attention to these new arrivals.
SOFIA HOZA, DEPUTY HISPANIC MEDIA PRESS SECRETARY, RNC: And the Republican Party, we're focused on the economy and really how we can help them really achieve that American dream that most Puerto Ricans are looking for.
SAVIDGE: Hillary Clinton's campaign also is making a big push for Hispanic voters in the state, relying on Hispanic volunteers, and selecting a running mate, Tim Kaine, who is fluent in Spanish.
SEN. TIM KAINE, (D), VIRGINIA & VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)
SAVIDGE: The Democratic ticket holding its first appearance together last month in Miami.
(on camera): One last thing about these critical voters. They all love in roughly the same area, going from Tampa to Orlando and Daytona, the I-4 corridor. It's the battleground of the battleground state.
DONALD TRUMP, (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE & CEO, TRUMP ORGANIZATION: What a crowd. Florida, we love Florida.
SAVIDGE: Donald Trump was there just last week. Clinton was there Monday with appearances in St. Petersburg. But she seems to be there every day on TV.
SAVIDGE: Since early June, more money has been spent on TV ads in Florida than any other state. With Clinton forces outspending Trump and his allies 12:1, that is 20 million versus 1.6 million. HILLARY CLINTON, (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE & FORMER SECRETARY
OF STATE: I'm Hillary Clinton and I approve this message.
[11:55:16] SAVIDGE: But Republicans say the key to Florida isn't going big with TV, it's going small, identifying what they call "turfs," pockets of 6,000 to 7,000 voters where they focus hundreds of local volunteers. It's grass roots politics 101, straight out of the Obama Florida playbook.
The Clinton campaign is also trying to rewrite the playbook going after Republican voters.
SCOTT ARCENEAUX, SENIOR ADVISOR, HILLARY CLINTON FOR AMERICAN PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN: We had a lot of Republicans particularly in south Florida who are not happy with their nominee who we're having conversations with.
SAVIDGE: Wooing voters is one thing, but it takes organization to turn out the vote. The RNC says it currently has over 70 paid staffers with plans for at least 20 offices statewide. Democrats say they're aiming for at least 100 offices. They already ever over 200 paid staffers on the ground.
BERMAN: Thanks to Martin Savidge for that.
Big new, influential Republican Senator Susan Collins says she's not voting for Donald Trump. An exclusive interview next.