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Report: Trump Used Foundation Funds for 2016 Run; Bill Clinton Takes Heat for Obamacare Comments; Major Hurricane Threatens Florida and Southeast; CNN/ORC Instant Poll: Pence Narrowly Wins V.P. Debate; Clinton Off the Trail Preparing for Next Debate; NSA Contractor Arrested for Stealing Top-Secret Intelligence. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired October 5, 2016 - 17:00   ET


[17:00:10] WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now, breaking news. Mass evacuations. Millions of Americans may be forced to leave their homes ahead of powerful killer hurricane bearing down on the United States. Florida's governor warns of massive destruction. President Obama warns the storm could be devastating.

Top secrets stolen. The Justice Department accuses a federal contractor of making off with highly classified information. He's suspected of stealing a hacking tool used by the NSA to break into a computer system abroad. And he worked at the same firm at notorious leaker Edward Snowden.

The Pence defense. He won the vice-presidential debate on style points. But why didn't Mike Pence do a better job defending the record and harsh rhetoric of his running mate, Donald Trump?

And Buckeye bounce. Hillary Clinton pulls slightly ahead in the crucial battleground state of Ohio. Can she build on her momentum in Sunday's second-round showdown with Donald Trump?

I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

BLITZER: Breaking news. Millions of Americans from Florida through the Carolinas may be forced to leave their homes as a killer hurricane heads towards the East Coast. Hurricane Matthew has left a trail of destruction in the Caribbean and is expected to once again be a Category 4 storm after moving through the Bahamas. Florida is bracing for a direct hit. With the governor warning of massive destruction, and evacuations are under way as far north as Carolina.

President Obama is warning Americans to take the storm very seriously. The latest forecast is just in.

Also breaking, the Justice Department announced the arrest of a government contractor for allegedly stealing top-secret intelligence. The FBI believes he took material the National Security Agency developed to break into computer systems in other countries. He worked for the same firm as the notorious leaker Edward Snowden.

In politics, Donald Trump has pronounced his running mate the victor in last night's vice-presidential debate, saying Mike Pence won on the issues, but Pence was unable or unwilling to strongly defend the attacks on Trump's record by Democrat Tim Kaine.

Trump is hitting back today. He's slamming Hillary Clinton at a rally just now in Nevada. But a new poll shows Clinton has taken back the lead in the critical battleground state of Ohio, and she's off the campaign trail today, preparing for Sunday's all-important second- round debate with Donald Trump.

I'll speak with Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger. And our correspondents, analysts and guests, they will have full coverage of the day's top stories.

Let's begin with the Trump campaign. Claiming a win in last night's vice-presidential debate, even as it prepares for the next rebound. Our senior White House correspondent, Jim Acosta, is on the campaign trail in Nevada.

Jim, is Donald Trump happy with the job Mike Pence did?

JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Oh, he's very happy, Wolf. Donald Trump is latching onto Mike Pence's performance in last night's vice-presidential debate as a major victory for his campaign.

Now the question for Trump is whether he can out do his No. 2.


ACOSTA (voice-over): Donald Trump is taking a victory lap, declaring the bottom of his ticket came out on top in the vice-presidential debate.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Mike Pence did an incredible job. And I'm getting a lot of credit, because that's really my first so-called choice. I'd argue that Mike had the single most decisive victory in the history of vice-presidential debates.

SEN. TIM KAINE (D-VA), VICE-PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Can't meet Nixon's standard.

ELAINE QUIJANO, MODERATOR: Gentlemen, people at home cannot understand either one of you.

ACOSTA: But in the rumble of the running mates, Mike Pence was at times sprinting as fast as he could away from Trump as Tim Kaine was in hot pursuit.

GOV. MIKE PENCE (R-IN), VICE-PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: I'm happy to defend him. Most of what you said is completely false, and the American people know that.

ACOSTA: While the Indiana governor stayed cool, deflecting most of Kaine's attacks, Democrats are seizing on Pence's defense of Trump's past comment that some undocumented Mexican immigrants are rapists and criminals as a defining moment. PENCE: You whipped out that Mexican thing again. He -- look...

KAINE: Can you defend it?

PENCE: There are criminal aliens in this country. He also said, "And many of them are good people." You keep leaving that out of your quote.

ACOSTA: And Kaine repeatedly raised the GOP ticket's praise of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

KAINE: This is one where you can just kind of go to the tape on it. But Governor Pence said, inarguably, Vladimir Putin is a better leader than President Obama.

PENCE: That is absolutely inaccurate.

ACOSTA: But here's what he said to CNN.

PENCE: I think it's inarguable that Vladimir Putin has been a stronger leader in his country than Barack Obama has been this country.

ACOSTA: Instead, during the debate Pence was talking tough on Putin, insisting a President Trump would stare down the Russian leader in Syria. That's despite reservations voiced by Trump himself.

TRUMP (via phone): I would have stayed out of Syria.

[17:05:03] PENCE: If Russia chooses to be involved and continue, I should say, to be involved in this barbaric attack on civilians in Aleppo, the United States of America should be prepared to use military force.

ACOSTA: Still, post-debate polls show Pence's Reaganesque performance carried the night. The Indiana governor shrugged off the likelihood that Trump didn't pay federal income taxes for nearly two decades.

KAINE: He stood on the stage last week, and when Hillary said, "You haven't been paying taxes," he said, "That makes me smart." So it's smart not to pay for our military. It's smart not to pay for veterans.

PENCE: Senator, do you take all the deductions that you're entitled to?

ACOSTA: But, after the debate, when his Trump's son, Eric, was asked by Dana Bash whether his father had, in fact, paid any federal income taxes over the past 20 years, his answer hardly put the matter to rest.

ERIC TRUMP, SON OF DONALD TRUMP: Yes, absolutely. My father pays a tremendous amount of tax. We as a company pay a tremendous amount of tax.

ACOSTA: With the next presidential debate just days away, the pressure is back on the top of the ticket. And this time, Trump's campaign manager says the GOP nominee will be ready.

KELLYANNE CONWAY, TRUMP CAMPAIGN MANAGER: We prepared constantly. And he has gotten very excited about the format, the town hall format. It's really a sweet spot for him.


ACOSTA: And Donald Trump will be holding a town hall event in New Hampshire tomorrow night as sort of a dry run for the town hall debate, with Hillary Clinton coming up on Sunday.

And unlike the way the advisors for Donald Trump were lowering expectations for the last debate, they're doing just the opposite this time, just as Mike Pence did last night. They seem to be raising expectations for Donald Trump for this faceoff with Hillary Clinton.

And Wolf, they are pushing back on the notion that he is taking on a lighter schedule to practice more for this upcoming debate. Kellyanne Conway, the campaign manager for Donald Trump, told me, no, that it's just the opposite. It's Hillary Clinton who has the lighter schedule these days, Wolf.

BLITZER: Jim Acosta in Reno, Nevada, with Donald Trump. Jim, thank you very much.

Tim Kaine, meanwhile, pounded at Donald Trump's record last night. Hillary Clinton is pleased with her running mate's debate performance.

Our senior political correspondent, Brianna Keilar, is joining us.

Brianna, Hillary is off the campaign trail today.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. That's right. She is, Wolf. She is spending the day in Washington, D.C., as she and her campaign say that her running mate got the job done last night.


KAINE: I just want to talk about the tone that set from the top.

KEILAR (voice-over): The night after Tim Kaine's debate with Mike Pence, good reviews from his running mate. Hillary Clinton. She's off the trail, fund-raising and prepping for her second debate showdown with Donald Trump on Sunday. But her big-name surrogates are out in force. One-time rival Bernie Sanders imploring voters to look past Clinton's unfavorable ratings on election day.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D-VT), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Politics is not about personality. I know if you watch the TV and you watch national media, they think that politics is like "Dancing with the Stars," you know. It's like the Super Bowl or the World Series. It's not. It's not entertainment.

What politics is about in a democratic society, and must be about, is which candidate will have a positive impact on your lives. KEILAR: Sanders is trying to rally young voters to support Clinton in

Iowa, where early voting is already under way and Clinton has been trailing Trump in the polls.

CHELSEA CLINTON, DAUGHTER OF HILLARY CLINTON: We don't want anyone to sit out and stay home.

KEILAR: Chelsea Clinton also in the Hawkeye State. But her dad is in hot water after saying this about Obamacare.

BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: All of a sudden 25 million more people have health care, and then the people are out there busting it sometimes 60 hours a week, wind up with their premiums doubled and their coverage cut in half. It's the craziest thing in the world.

KEILAR: That's not what Democrats want to hear from the man President Obama once called...


KEILAR; Today in Ohio, Bill Clinton tried to wall it back.

B. CLINTON: There are problems with it. And everybody knows it. The Republicans want to repeal the law. Their idea of solving the problem is to take 20 million people who got insurance and take it away from them, give it all back to the insurance companies again. Hillary's idea is recognize what the problem is.

KEILAR: Donald Trump is seizing on the assessment of President Obama's signature domestic achievement.

TRUMP: You read Bill Clinton's comments yesterday about how horrible Obamacare is. He's right. He's being honest. He'll probably have to pivot and go back.

KEILAR: Campaign manager Kellyanne Conway making it clear Obamacare will come up at the next debate.

CONWAY: I think it's a huge issue that's been left on the table in these debates. We've got now President Bill Clinton as our best surrogate.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's a good -- that's a good development.

CONWAY: And I'm thinking of having him on the road. I'm thinking of having him in the spin room with us in St. Louis.


KEILAR: In the final five weeks before election day, the Clinton campaign has all of her big-name surrogates out on the campaign trail helping her. President Obama was supposed to be, Wolf, as you know, in Miami today. That was postponed due to Hurricane Matthew. He is scheduled, though, to hit the trail next week in North Carolina and Ohio. And former Vice President Al Gore will also be on the campaign trail very soon, Wolf.

BLITZER: New addition out there on the campaign trail, Al Gore.

Brianna, thanks very, very much.

Joining us now, Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger of Illinois.

Congressman, thanks very much for coming in.


BLITZER: You've adamantly refused, at least so far, to endorse, to support, to say vote for Donald Trump. Did Governor Pence's performance last night impact you at all to maybe change your mind?

KINZINGER: No, not yet. But he did a great job. And it was an amazing debate to hear two people really kind of maturely, to an extent, talk about issues, the issues that are really important.

I thought an amazing thing that came out of that was you had bipartisan agreement that we have to do more in Syria than what's been done. That Aleppo is a tragedy. That we have an ability to do some things. And so I thought Governor Pence performed really well. And I'm Donald Trump, I'm taking lessons now from how Pence performed and the rave reviews he got, and I'm going to try to model my town hall appearance after him.

BLITZER: If Pence were at the top of the ticket, would you vote for that?

KINZINGER: Oh, yes, in a heartbeat.

BLITZER: Really?

KINZINGER: In a second. I think -- look, I think Pence is a -- I served with him for a couple years in the House. Fantastic guy who's got his head in the right spot. And, you know, if he should ever be called upon to be president, I think he'd do a fantastic job.

BLITZER: All right. Speaking of Syria, you raised the issue. I want to play a clip. This is Mike Pence last night at the debate, saying the U.S. should be prepared to use military force against the Syrian government if Russia doesn't stop supporting Assad's regime.

Listen to this.


PENCE: Provocations by Russia need to be met with American strength. And if Russia chooses to be involved and continue, I should say, to be involved in this barbaric attack on civilians in Aleppo, the United States of America should be prepared to use military force to strike military targets of the Assad regime, to prevent them from this humanitarian crisis that is taking place in Aleppo.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BLITZER: All right. So you just heard him suggest that maybe the U.S. should use military force against Russia even in Syria. Do you agree with him?

KINZINGER: Well, I think it's essential that we enact a cost on the regime for violating the ceasefire. I think it's -- we have to have an "or else" out there in order to negotiate the next ceasefire, which is -- or else we will continue to strike more targets. I think it's essential.

And I think the thing people fail to realize in this -- in this debate is this just isn't about humanitarianism in Syria. That's tragic and a huge issue and compelling in and of itself.

But this is about the mass migration of people out of the Middle East into Europe, where now you have a rise of these nationalistic parties. You had Brexit. This is affecting the whole geopolitical sphere. And I remember back in the red line debate, you know, people told me if we attack Syria, it's just going to make the problem worse. We didn't attack Syria, and it has gotten way worse, beyond our wildest nightmares right now.

BLITZER: But you listen to Donald Trump over all of these months, and you listen to Pence last night. These two guys seemed, at least on this specific issue of Syria, to be on different tracks.

KINZINGER: I noticed that. too.

And -- and I hope that Donald Trump takes from Pence's performance last night and what he said -- whether it's pushing back on Russia, whether it's, you know, striking Assad -- and mirrors that and means it and -- on Sunday.

If he doesn't, then that's very concerning to me.

But I thought what Pence said yesterday was emblematic of where America needs to be. And frankly, Kaine agreed. There was bipartisan agreement. We have to do more.

BLITZER: But this could start -- this could start a larger war with Russia. Are you ready for that?

KINZINGER: Well, I think the Russians, if they know we're serious, they're not interested in starting a war with us. They have an economy roughly the size of Italy. They have a military far inferior to ours. But they are able to push right now up to where they hit a stop. And they haven't hit any stops yet.

I think you have to give them fair warning: "Look, there will be a no- fly zone. Look, we are going to strike regime targets." And -- and if they happen to get into the middle of that, that's a decision they make. It's not a decision we're making.

BLITZER: Pence also said the U.S. should be prepared to help, to work with others to establish what he called these safe zones in Syria where refugees, humanitarian assistance could be provided. Potentially, that could be pretty dangerous, too.

KINZINGER: It could be. And you have the Turks right now, in essence, on the border of Syria doing this by de facto. When the Turkish military moved into Syria, you have a little bit of safe zones being established now. But that will take probably American air power and western air power.

But look, there are our friends all over the region that are begging for us to do something and alleviate the crisis. And they're going to be willing to do a lot of the military action, too. Nobody -- I've never heard anybody in five years advocate for 100,000 American military in Syria.

But the inaction, the cost of inaction is beyond what we can imagine, and further inaction is only going to get worse.

BLITZER: There's considerable difference in the words that Pence uses as far as Putin is concerned, the words of Trump. Trump calls him a strong leader. Pence last night called him a small and bullying leader. I assume you agree with Pence.

KINZINGER: I do agree with Pence.

BLITZER: How do you explain the fact that the presidential nominee on the Republican ticket, the vice-presidential nominee on the Republican ticket, they express these different views?

[17:15:04] KINZINGER: Yes, I don't know. And this is what, I think, Donald Trump is going to have to explain it. We're going to see what he says on Sunday. I'm sure he's going to be asked about this.

This is why I've been reticent to support the ticket, is because of the concern with Russia and the concern with what's going on in Syria and foreign policy. We don't want more people to get nukes and everything else. So I think it's, again, all eyes are going to be on the debate on Sunday. Donald Trump has an opportunity to mirror Pence's language and, I think, win a lot of support and gain back in the polls. If he doesn't, I fear it's going to continue as it is.

BLITZER: Congressman, you're a military veteran. You served in Iraq and Afghanistan. We're following some breaking news coming in. New details on another alleged case of a high-ranking U.S. military contractor stealing, allegedly, secrets from the National Security Agency here in Washington. We'll update our viewers on that right after this.


BLITZER: We're talking with Congressman Adam Kinzinger. We'll get right back to him.

But we're getting some breaking news coming into THE SITUATION ROOM right now. The U.S. Justice Department has announced the arrest of a government contractor for allegedly stealing top-secret intelligence.

Our justice correspondent, Evan Perez, is joining us with details. Evan, how serious is this?

EVAN PEREZ, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Very serious, Wolf. Charging documents filed by the Justice Department accuse Harold Martin of stealing some of the nation's most sensitive secrets, some classified at the highest levels.

Now, among the information that the FBI believes he stole were documents detailing a sophisticated hacking tool that the NSA developed to break into foreign computer systems. A couple of months ago, the computer code for the tool showed up on the Internet. Someone calling themselves the Shadow Brokers was offering it for sale online.

Now, the computer code dates back a few years. It's not the latest technology, but it's still considered highly sensitive. The FBI raided Martin's home back in August, and he was arrested then, but the arrest was only made public today.

CNN caught up to his wife outside his home in the D.C. suburbs. Listen to what she had to say.


DEBBIE MARTIN, WIFE OF HAROLD MARTIN: You know, he's a good man. And that's all I can really tell you, OK? I would greatly appreciate it if you guys would respect my privacy and respect my family's privacy, and that's all I'm going to say, OK? And I'm just going to get the rest of my groceries in the house.


MARTIN: OK? Thanks so much.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You said you love him, he was a good man. Would you restate that?

MARTIN: I said I love him very much, and he's a good man.


PEREZ: Martin worked, Wolf, as a contractor for Booz Allen Hamilton. And he had a top-secret security clearance. Booz Allen is the same contractor that employed Edward Snowden, who the government blames for carrying out one of the biggest and most damaging leaks of U.S. government secrets.

The FBI is still trying to figure out what was Martin -- Martin's motivation here? So far investigators don't think that he was working for a foreign government, but that's still something that the FBI is looking at right now.

His attorneys did issue a statement this afternoon that reads in part, quote, "There is no evidence that Hal Martin betrayed his country. What we do know is that Mr. Martin loves his family and America. He served his nation honorably in the U.S. Navy as a lieutenant and has devoted his entire career to making America safe." Now, Wolf, this is another major blow to the NSA, which has been

working to rebuild its reputation after the Snowden leaks. They've been doing a lot of work to try to prevent things like this, the so- called insider threat -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Evan, thanks very much. Evan Perez reporting.

We're back with Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger of Illinois. You know a lot about classified information, the NSA. You served -- still serve in the U.S. Air Force. You served in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The NSA, which is the pinnacle of U.S. intelligence capabilities, electronic intelligence, once again apparently something like this could happen. How do you explain this?

KINZINGER: Well, I don't -- I can't explain it, and it angers me. I think, you know, after the Snowden stuff. And by the way, when it's all found out what Snowden has stolen, which I know a lot of it, and it's not all declassified yet. It was a lot, and it was extremely damaging.

These people that have this idea, whether they're working for a foreign government or whether they're on some one-man crusade, that somehow they're going to determine American foreign policy by going onto a computer and downloading something and releasing it to some crazies on the Internet, is wrong and bad and that needs to stop.

And whatever it takes for the contractor or for the U.S. government to ensure this doesn't happen needs to happen, because we cannot continue in perpetuity creating things that are necessary for statecraft, which is very important for what we do for protecting Americans, leaked on the Internet.

BLITZER: You think there are more Snowdens out there serving in the U.S. government?

KINZINGER: I didn't think so until today when we found out about this arrest. There easily could be. And I think we have to -- and I don't know the process forward, I'm not going to pretend to -- a top-down and bottom-up look at people's clearances, what access people they have and making sure that the wrong people don't have access to the wrong stuff.

BLITZER: I want to play a clip, a controversial clip. Donald Trump said this the other day about U.S. military personnel who come back from Iraq and Afghanistan and have real serious post-traumatic stress problems. Listen to this.


TRUMP: When you talk about the mental health problems, when people come back from war and combat and they see things that maybe a lot of the be folks in this room have seen many times over, and you're strong and you can handle it, but a lot of people can't handle it.


BLITZER: "A lot of people can't handle it." What was your reaction when you heard that?

KINZINGER: My initial reaction wasn't good. And obviously, I thought that that was a very inartful way to say it. But then when I thought about it, you know -- I've been critical of Donald Trump. We know that.

[17:25:00] I think that was something that I don't necessarily put on him as meaning that he thinks there are weak veterans out there. So I'm not going to hit him as hard as maybe some people would on that.

I think he should clarify it, come back and say that he didn't mean that, but I'm not going to hit him as hard as probably some out there would.

BLITZER: I know you're going to be going back on active duty very soon.


BLITZER: I wish you the best of luck.

KINZINGER: Thank you.

BLITZER: Thank you very much. Congressman Adam Kinzinger of Illinois.

Coming up, now that their running mates have set the stage, our political experts look ahead to what we can expect in this Sunday's debate rematch between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

Plus, the breaking news we're following with mandatory evacuations already under way. We're getting the latest forecasts just coming in as Hurricane Matthew threatens tens of millions of people along the U.S. coast.


BLITZER: Breaking news we're following. We're getting in the updated forecast on Hurricane Matthew.

[17:30:14] This powerful, deadly storm is threatening tens of millions of people in Florida, Georgia, and the Carolinas. Within the past hour Florida officials ordered more mandatory evacuations. We'll have more details in just a few moments.

We're also watching important developments on the presidential campaign trail today as Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton head toward their second crucial debate this Sunday night here on CNN.

Let's bring in our political experts. David Chalian, in the debate last night, our CNN/ORC exclusive poll, 48 percent of those who watched the debate said Governor Pence was the winner. But did his performance really boost Donald Trump's chances of getting the presidency?

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: It's a good question. He was clearly was the winner in terms of style and in terms of presentation. I think that was clear across the board.

If you look deeper into our poll, Wolf, you find that a majority of people who were watching the debate actually said they weren't swayed either way to Trump or Clinton because of the debate.

So I don't know that the debate itself moves the needle. I think Governor Pence accomplished something important for Donald Trump last night, which is sort of stabilizing what was a terrible week of a bit of a tail-spin. Sort of stabilizing, giving some hope to people like Adam Kinzinger or others that you have spoken to, to hang onto something -- there's something about this ticket I can actually get on board with.

So I think he gave some calm and ease to conservatives, but I don't think -- I don't think there's anything he could have done to somehow make Sunday easier for Donald Trump. I think Sunday is a big moment for his campaign.

BLITZER: Senator McCain, as you know, Dana, you were there together. He was very aggressive. He interrupted -- interrupted Pence a lot of times. How successful was that strategy?

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: You know, it certainly came across to a lot of people as jarring, because he was a little bit frenetic, because he was so determined to get his points in, that he did interrupt a lot.

However, that was a big part of the strategy going in: to do just that. I mean, we were talking about it before the debate. We were reporting on the fact that the main goal of the Clinton campaign was for Tim Kaine to shine the light on what they considered daylight between Mike Pence and Donald Trump with one important goal: to continue to paint Donald Trump as not ready to be president, out of the mainstream, you know, even by conservative standards, from their point of view.

So, if that was their goal, then there was success. Despite the fact that Kaine sort of fell on the sword a little bit with regard to his performance because those of us who know Tim Kaine and have covered Tim Kaine, that was not Tim Kaine.

BLITZER: Rebecca, Pence according to our poll, he won the debate, but he also contradicted Donald Trump, his boss, on several key issues. Let me play a few of them.


SEN. TIM KAINE (D-VA), VICE-PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Donald Trump, during this campaign, has called Mexicans rapists and criminals.

GOV. MIKE PENCE (R-IN), VICE-PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: He also said, "And many of them are good people." You keep leaving that out of your quote.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: When Mexico sends its people, they're not sending their best.

They're bringing drugs. They're bringing crime. They're rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.

KAINE: More nations should get nuclear weapons. Try to defend that.

PENCE: He never said that, Senator.

KAINE: He has absolutely said it.


KAINE: Saudi Arabia, South Korea and Japan.

TRUMP: Wouldn't you rather, in a certain sense, have Japan have nuclear weapons when North Korea has nuclear weapons?

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: You have no problem with Japan having nuclear weapons?

TRUMP: At some point, we have to say, "You know what? We're better off if Japan protects itself against this maniac in North Korea. We're better off, frankly, if South Korea is going to start to protect itself?

COOPER: Saudi Arabia, nuclear weapons?

TRUMP: Saudi Arabia, absolutely.

KAINE: Governor Pence said inarguably, Vladimir Putin is a better leader than President Obama.

PENCE: That is absolutely inaccurate.

I think it's inarguable that Vladimir Putin has been a stronger leader in his country than Barack Obama has been in this country.

TRUMP: I think Putin has been a very strong leader for Russia. I mean, he's been a lot stronger than our leader. That I can tell you.

PENCE: Donald Trump and I would never support legislation that punished women who made the heart-breaking choice to end a pregnancy.

KAINE: Then why did Donald Trump say that?

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC ANCHOR: Do you believe in punishment for abortion, yes or no, as a principle?

TRUMP: The answer is that there has to be some form of punishment.

MATTHEWS: For the woman?

TRUMP: Yes. There has to be some form. KAINE: These guys -- and Donald Trump has said it. Deportation

force. They want to go house to house, school to school, business to business and kick out 16 million people.

PENCE: That's nonsense.

KAINE: And I cannot believe...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you going to have a massive deportation force?

TRUMP: We're going to have a deportation force.


BLITZER: So Rebecca, these contradictions, does it hurt Trump, what we just saw, that little collection?

REBECCA BERG, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: What's been so tricky about Donald Trump for this whole campaign has been that he's usually inconsistent on a lot of these issues. So he'll say these things that were featured in that very compelling montage. But then he'll say something totally different.

[17:35:05] And so, depending on the situation, he can point to whatever is most politically convenient for him, and that's sort of what Mike Pence was doing in this debate.

I'm sure there are other remarks Donald Trump has made or he has made that he could point to, to back up what he said in the debate. But that's also one of the major problems with Donald Trump's campaign, is that he is so politically and verbally fluid that no one can really know what he means.

And so, fortunately for Mike Pence, it's open to interpretation. He can choose his favorite Donald Trump position. But that makes it difficult for voters.

BLITZER: Jamie, you've been talking to Republican insiders. What are they telling you about Pence's performance?

JAMIE GANGEL, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, what's interesting is he may be a little too much of a good thing.

My mailbox was flooded this morning. I reached out to -- these are veteran GOP establishment people, all of whom have said they will vote for Donald Trump.

And when I said, "What did you think of the debate last night?" "Pence, 2016," exclamation point. They stole Jeb's exclamation point.

"I said do you mean 2020 that he's working on?"

"No, no, no, no, no. If only he were at the top of the ticket."

They think he's the MVP. They were relieved. They were thrilled. We don't know how Donald Trump's going to feel about him getting such good reviews.

BLITZER: It's pretty amazing.

All right, guys. Stay with us. We have a lot more to come up.

Everyone, please stay with us. We're going to take a quick break. I want to ask about Donald Trump's newly-scheduled town hall in New Hampshire. Is this the best way for him to practice for Sunday's second presidential debate?

Also ahead, the updated forecast on Hurricane Matthew, which is now threatening tens of millions of Americans.


[17:41:25] BLITZER: We're back with our political experts as we follow the presidential candidates' preparations for their crucial second debate this Sunday night right here on CNN. You can watch it live here, 9 p.m. Eastern.

Donald Trump is holding rallies in Nevada today, but he just added a town hall tomorrow in New Hampshire to his campaign schedule. Sunday's debate also is a town hall.

Dana, what are you hearing? How is Donald Trump preparing to launch a fresh round of attacks against Hillary Clinton?

BASH: Well, just in terms of the performance aspect, which, as we learned last night, preparation does matter. It makes a big difference, because Pence worked very hard on it.

But Donald Trump, I am told, has -- cannot and will not be convinced to change his prep and the way that he does it. And so he's not going to do a mock debate. He's not going to have a formal person playing Hillary Clinton. It's just not going to happen. He runs the debate room -- the debate prep room, which is basically a conference room sitting around the table, and that's it.

So, as much as they could do with him was this issue that they're going to do tomorrow night. And when I say issue, it's a town hall, a real town hall, in public, in front of real voters. And it's going to be done at the area that Chris Christie started his campaign in New Hampshire in 2016. Because Chris Christie basically lived in New Hampshire all year and used the town hall to connect with voters. He didn't get very far, but he used it.

So look, it's an art. A town hall is an art. And Donald Trump doesn't have the experience doing it. And so they're hoping that this will help.

CHALIAN: It is amazing when you think about it. Any presidential candidate that gets to this point usually has done a ton of town halls. Donald Trump, even things that were billed as town halls during the nomination season weren't traditional town halls. They were basically smaller rallies. It wasn't... And so learning how to be empathetic with a voter, listen to their question or their story and respond to that, that's not something that Donald Trump has had a ton of experience doing at all.

So that is something you do want to practice before you go into this different venue. Because I think Sunday's debate, just because the format is different, will create a totally different tenor to it than their last debate at Hofstra.

BLITZER: What are you hearing, Jamie? Because I know you're well plugged into some of these Republican sources about his preparation, what he should be doing for this big debate?

GANGEL: They're all hoping that he will do everything Dana just said he won't do. I mean, they want him to be -- there was an old Michael Jordan commercial a long, long time ago. Be like Mike. That's what they want. They want him to be like Mike Pence in this case. They want him to prepare. They want him to be disciplined.

No. 1, they don't want him to take the bait, because they know she's going to go after him over and over again. And one thing, I spoke to six different people. These are all experienced veterans. They all said at the end of talking to me, they don't think he's capable of doing any of those things.

BLITZER: Rebecca, you wrote an important article that just came out. It's causing quite a little buzz. A lot of his supporters wanted to really go out and attack the Hillary -- the Bill and Hillary Clinton Foundation on Sunday. But you wrote an article, and you got some new reporting, how Donald Trump has used his own foundation to at least set the stage for his political ambition. Tell our viewers what you learned.

BERG: That's right. Well, I learned that from 2011 through 2014 -- and 2011 is when Trump really started to become politically active, toy with running for president -- he used his own foundation, his charitable foundation, to send almost $300,000 to conservative policy groups, which in turn helped to raise his political profile.

[17:45:00] Now, I talked with sources on both sides of this, on the Trump side and also on the -- the conservative group side, who told me that this was intentional. It was strategic donations.

He wanted to raise his political profile, curry favor with these groups, potentially get speaking engagements at their events, which he ultimately did, events like CPAC or the Citizens United summits across the battleground states. And so it gave him this early political cache that he wouldn't have had otherwise.

In 2013 and in 2014, none of us thought of him as a viable presidential candidate but he started showing up at these political events, and it all started with donations from his foundation that was funded by other people, not by Donald Trump. Pretty interesting.

BLITZER: How big of a blunder was it for Bill Clinton to suggest that President Obama's Affordable Care Act, Obamacare, his great legacy achievement, in his words -- I'm paraphrasing -- "the craziest thing ever"? He was very critical of features of the Obamacare program.

CHALIAN: Yes. You know it's a pretty big blunder when Bill Clinton had to go back out there this morning --

BASH: Exactly.

CHALIAN: -- and say I was in favor of that legislation that got all this people health care. Listen, it's a blunder, it gives an opening, and it is a red meat issue for Republicans. So Bill Clinton gave Trump a huge opening.

Remember in 2012, the Obama campaign called Bill Clinton the secretary of explaining things, and he explained the criticisms of Obamacare really well this week and not to his wife's advantage.

And so I think that it's an opening. The Trump campaign is using it. I don't think it's crushing to her candidacy. I don't think it's something that's going to knock her off course, but it's a distraction. And you talked to John Podesta yesterday, and he had to dance all over it.

BLITZER: He's the Hillary Clinton campaign chair. You know that Donald Trump is going to use this against Hillary Clinton Sunday night.

BASH: He is already using it on the campaign trail. I mean, OK, we say he is not practicing. That is one area where he is kind of practicing his lines that are written in the teleprompter for him about Bill Clinton. And why wouldn't he?

You know, we have been talking about it since Bill Clinton said what he said, that, you know, he had maybe a moment of candor, maybe he kind of forgot where he was in the political calendar, in the political world, that it's actually a Democratic president whose health care plan the Democrats want to say they want to build on, not destroy.

As you said, he cleaned it up and that's all we need to know.

BLITZER: He didn't say he wants to destroy it, but he said it was the craziest thing. You know, he used that word "crazy" twice --

BASH: Right.


BLITZER: -- which I know just from talking to people, White House officials, Hillary Clinton campaign officials, they're all deeply disappointed in what he said.

BASH: Yes.

BLITZER: All right, guys, stay with us. We're getting some breaking news. The National Hurricane Center just updated the forecast for Hurricane Matthew. Tens of millions of Americans are now at risk because of this powerful, deadly storm. We'll give you the latest when we come back.


[17:52:23] BLITZER: Breaking news, a newly updated forecast shows Hurricane Matthew heading for Florida and the southeastern coast. This is a powerful, deadly storm with 120-mile-an-hour sustained winds.

Roads and highways already are clogged with traffic. There are more mandatory evacuations that could be ordered. Florida's Governor says this may force the largest evacuation in the state's history.

Let' bring in our meteorologist Jennifer Gray. Jennifer, where is the greatest danger?

JENNIFER GRAY, CNN WEATHER CORRESPONDENT: Right now, the greatest danger is in the Bahamas but the next step is going to be that southeast coast, the Florida coastline, up and down the Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina coasts.

So right now, winds of 120 miles per hour. Wolf, this is still a Category 3 storm, gusts of 150, moving to the northwest at 12. On the latest forecast track, this could actually strengthen even more over the Bahamas becoming a Category 4 by the time we get into Thursday afternoon.

And you can see that forecast track that has shifted to the west. We could be talking about a landfall in Florida right along the space coast or a storm just offshore. And whether it makes landfall or it brushes by just offshore is going to make the biggest difference, because hurricane force winds, we know the strangest winds are right inside that eye wall right around the center and then they will fan out from there, but they extend out of the center of the storm by about 30 to 45 miles.

So if it shifts a little bit further to the east, that would be best case scenario. A little further to the west, then you're seeing devastating consequences all up and down the Florida coast.

It's expected to bend back to the north and east, and then a lot of uncertainty once we get into the beginning part of next week. Some models bring it back around, hinting at maybe something around Florida once again. And other models are taking it out to sea. So it's going to be something we are really going to watch.

But we always talk about, Wolf, these models that don't agree very much, they are agreeing right now. The European model right now, the center right around Cape Canaveral, and then the American model right there as well. So, Wolf, I think we're very confident, at least for the next three days, where this storm is going to head. Wolf.

BLITZER: All right. Jennifer, we're going to stay in close touch with you. Thank you.

[17:54:42] Coming up, Donald Trump looks for momentum going into Sunday's rematch with Hillary Clinton. We're standing by for his next rally in Nevada.


[17:59:43] BLITZER: Happening now, breaking news. Storm front. Millions of Americans on the path of a killer hurricane packing winds of 120 miles per hour. States of emergency are now in effect. Evacuations are under way. Where will Hurricane Matthew strike?

Grave damage. A government contractor is accused of stealing top secret intelligence, including details of a government hacking tool. The theft is now seen as a potential threat to U.S. national security. What was the motive?