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AT THIS HOUR WITH BERMAN AND MICHAELA
Trump's Narrowing Path to 270 Electoral Votes; Trouble for Bill, Hillary Clinton; Trump's Data Operation Center; More WikiLeaks; Lou Dobbs Attack Independent Presidential Candidate. Aired 11-11:30a ET
Aired October 27, 2016 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[11:00:17] KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everybody. I'm Kate Bolduan.
I'm John Berman.
The big headline this morning is that Donald Trump is winning, and he is winning unless you're talking about the polls, Electoral College map, and what key campaign aides are saying in a bombshell new article out this morning. Stay tuned on that.
Hillary Clinton goes to North Carolina today with special guest, Michelle Obama, while Donald Trump goes to Ohio. He's down six points in the CNN poll of polls. Yet, in the new interview, he seems to suggest down is the new up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think I'm going to win. I really believe that we've gotten a very unfair narrative from the press. I feel the press is very dishonest. I don't feel, I know the press is very dishonest. And I think we're going to win. I think we're going to win Florida. I think we're going to win Ohio. It used to be, if you win Florida, you win Ohio, you win. We're going to win North Carolina.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: But here's the thing about that. Even if he does all of that, he's have to win Florida, win Ohio, win North Carolina, he could still lose and easily. How, you ask?
BERMAN: Well, look at this map right here. This is the current state of play in the country right now. The blue states are for Hillary Clinton, the red states are for Donald Trump. The yellow states are considered toss-ups, including Nevada and Florida, which CNN just moved into the toss-up column.
Just as an academic exercise --
BERMAN: -- let's give Donald Trump every toss-up state. Every single one of them. Then is what it looks like.
BOLDUAN: But still.
BERMAN: Still --
BOLDUAN: He is not winning. He's still at 266. Hillary Clinton is at 272. What does that mean? That means Donald Trump has to flip something that is blue or leaning blue in his direction. Smart Republicans say the easiest path is New Hampshire, the itty bitty state of New Hampshire that will give him plus four. That would get him to 270.
Where do things stand right now in New Hampshire? Right now, Hillary Clinton is at 45-36, but still, he has to flip it. If he doesn't do that -- hold on, I will get there, it's just so fun to flip. If he doesn't do that, if he doesn't win New Hampshire when the path is much more unclear.
BERMAN: Bottom line, he's got to flip a blue state. Not a toss-up state. He's got to flip a blue state, whether it be New Hampshire where he's down by nine, Pennsylvania, where he's down by seven --
BERMAN: -- Colorado down by seven, eight or nine right there. It is a very, very difficult path for Donald Trump to get to 270 at this point.
BOLDUAN: Zero margin of error. That's what everyone is saying. We have that and we are going to get what Trump's team is saying about all of this in just a second.
But what is Clinton facing this morning? More hacked e-mails spelling trouble for the Clinton campaign. A memo posted by WikiLeaks is revealing that while former President Bill Clinton was getting millions of dollars in donations for the Clinton Foundation, some of those donors were also paying Bill Clinton personally.
CNN's Joe Johns is following this side of the story for us.
Joe, what are we hearing?
JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Kate, you're right, the latest stolen WikiLeaks e-mail that's creating a buzz lays out an apparent relationship between former President Bill Clinton, the Clinton Foundation, and something called Tineo Holdings, a consulting company started in part by a guy named Douglas Band, whose name you may have heard before, one of the people whose names has come up again and again in connection with the foundation. The stolen document was written to shed light on the Clinton Foundation's activities, apparently written by Band, who also was once a key assistant to former President Clinton and helped found the Clinton Global Initiative. It suggests that Bill Clinton profited personally from some of the same donors who gave to the charity.
Here's a snippet. "Since 2001, President Clinton's business arrangements have yielded more than $30 million for him personally with $66 million to be paid out over the next nine years should he choose to continue with the current engagement."
Important to say CNN can't independently verify the authenticity of the document. There's been no finding of any type of inappropriate quid pro quo involving any of the foundation's activities.
The eye-catching thing is that some of the deep pocket donors also paid for the former president's speeches and big money. Bill Clinton secured paid speeches -- this is the headline -- on one of those, and donors to Clinton Foundation: UBS, $900,000; Ericsson, $1,150,000; BHP, a mining and petroleum company, $175,000; Lightning, $1 million; Barclays, $700,000. So it kind of goes on and on.
Tineo did release a statement to CNN last night saying it did not profit personally from any of the things that Bill Clinton was doing and that they participated in all of this because of the good work of the Clinton Foundation.
Back to you.
[11:05:18] BERMAN: Joe Johns, thank you so much.
There is a lot to discuss this morning, including this big bombshell article in "Bloomberg," which if the gods are with us, we will get the reporter on the phone in just a moment.
Meantime, we are joined by CNN political commentator, Republican strategist, Kevin Madden; political writer for "The Atlantic," Molly Ball; Trump supporter and member of the Hispanic Advisory Council, Steve Cortez; and Democratic strategist and Hillary Clinton supporter, Hilary Rosen.
Hillary, we ended with WikiLeaks and the Clinton Foundation, so let us begin with WikiLeaks and the Clinton Foundation right there. We know this comes from a hacked e-mail. That is unfortunate. We understand it would be embarrassing to have anyone's e-mails hacked.
That said, this does provide more direct information about how Bill Clinton made money while he was working alongside the Clinton Foundation.
At a minimum, isn't what Doug Band has laid out in here unseemly?
HILARY ROSEN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Isn't this great gossip? I love this story. "New York Post" is having a field day with it. But it's actually completely irrelevant to Hillary Clinton and her run for president. Bill Clinton was a private citizen, doing his own business, working with the Clinton Foundation. There's no connection to what Hillary Clinton has done. I don't really know if this is true but I also know that I don't really care. And I don't think the voters care much. We assume that Bill Clinton made a lot of money when he left office and, as a private citizen as ex-presidents do.
(CROSSTALK) BERMAN: Hilary, if he did this piggybacking on the Clinton Foundation. Again, maybe it's not connected to Hillary Clinton. There's no proof it is connected to Hillary Clinton. But if he made the money piggybacking on the Clinton Foundation independent of this election, is that not unseemly?
ROSEN: No. I mean, I don't even know what you are saying when you say piggyback. The Clinton Foundation is the Clinton Foundation. He started it.
ROSEN: And he's done a huge amount of good works at the Clinton Foundation. All of the activity the Clinton Foundation did, saving hundreds of thousands of lives working in Haiti, working with pharmaceuticals to bring drugs to HIV patients. There are those things and successes the Clinton Foundation are indisputable. The fact that some companies that he did business with also gave charitable contributions, I'm not really sure I see a problem here.
BOLDUAN: Steve, I heard you jumping in. You have a problem with this.
STEVE CORTES, TRUMP SUPPORTER & MEMBER, DONALD TRUMP'S HISPANIC ADVISORY COUNCIL: Yes. I can absolutely explain the piggybacking. It's very simple. I think the American people do care and get it. They get Pay-for-Play. We know from these revelations and from other sources that the Clintons really ran a cartel. And Bill Clinton was not just a private citizen. He was the husband of the secretary of state who now wants to succeed him as president of the United States. So he was hardly a private citizen just out there making money.
The clearest example to me -- and we don't have to rely on leaks for this -- is Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia was applying for a massive purchase of U.S. arms, very controversially so, opposed in large measure by Israel. What did Saudi Arabia do? Tens of millions of dollars to the Clinton Foundation, $600,000 personally to Bill Clinton for a couple of speeches in Riyadh. This is, by the way, one of the most tyrannical governments on earth that helped fund the start of ISIS. What, then, happens? The arms sale is approved by secretary of state --
ROSEN: That is ridiculous. Zero evidence that those are connected.
CORTES: You give money to the foundation. You give money personally, to the Clintons who made $200 million speaking. Does anyone believe they are that good at speaking? Or what was being bought there? It was influence. It was a seat at the table with the Clinton cartel.
ROSEN: That's a serious charge and it's not true. And it has never been proven to be true. There's not even an accusation internally that there are any facts connecting those things. CORTES: Why would they not then at least avoid even the appearance?
BOLDUAN: That's a long-standing question.
BOLDUAN: That is very different than what you are talking about, Steve.
BOLDUAN: Hold on. Stand by.
BOLDUAN: Hold on. Stand by. We'll continue this conversation.
Right now, we want to bring in Josh Green, senior national correspondent for "Bloomberg Business Week. He's joining us on the phone.
Josh, sorry you couldn't be here in person. I know traffic and rain are not good things in New York. We appreciate you jumping on the phone.
We want to get from you as we were talking about at the top of the show, what is Donald Trump's team saying about the path to success to 270? It's very interesting because we heard Donald Trump saying over and over again that Trump is winning. He says it at every stop. He said it to George Stephanopoulos yesterday and this morning. You talked to people inside his data operation, crunching the numbers. They don't seem to think so.
[11:10:01] JOSH GREEN, SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, BLOOMBERG BUSINESS WEEK (voice-over): Well, we got -- my colleague and I brought our "Business Week" cover story out this morning, got invited into the Trump campaign data operation located in San Antonio, where contrary to popular wisdom, they have built quite a substantial data and turnout model that they are going to be focused on, on election day. Part of that is they have simulators that take into effect a lot of polling that's doing various things. The model we saw had them at a fairly low likelihood of winning. Basically, what you see in Nate Silver's models on five thirty-eight. I have since been told by other Trump advisers that they still think they have a clear path to 270 electoral votes that runs through Ohio, Florida, North Carolina and Iowa. In an e-mail it looks tough, but it looks doable. They haven't thrown in the towel, but things look a little grim.
BERMAN: The thing is, we just showed on the map there's a path that goes through Ohio, North Carolina, Iowa and Florida. It's still better to take a big turn toward New Hampshire or it's not getting you to the White House.
Josh, how do they intend to get the votes that they need? There is some fascinating information about your article about the fact, yes, they are targeting probable Trump voters but maybe even more importantly, they are trying to I use the word "suppress," I suppose, with a small "S," but suppress the vote for Hillary Clinton supporters, keep them away from the polls.
GREEN: Yeah. In talking to Trump's advisers, they believe their supporters are more enthusiastic and that will help on Election Day but a positive turnout strategy may not be enough for them to win. So as we say in the piece, they have launched what a senior adviser told me was a three-part voter suppression strategy to drive down the votes of low propensity African-American, liberal and Millennial women voters, who, if they were to show up at the polls, would most likely cast a ballot for Hillary Clinton. They are hoping that through targeted advertising and other things, they can persuade these voters not to vote for Trump, but just to stay home and not vote at all.
BOLDUAN: Josh, what are they going to do with the data operation after the fact?
GREEN: Well, the interesting thing about what Trump has built or what his campaign has built is that, because he's the nominee, the Republican nominee, he was able to take all the data from a four year, $100 million data operation the Republican National Committee has built. He's brought into that his own data components. He has his own data scientists crunching away down there. He brought in tons of supporters through Facebook advertising, and basically owns a list 12 and donors who he's paid to collate through campaign funds.
Why that's important is, regardless of whether Trump wins or loses, his campaign will have easy to envision how this audience if Trump --
BERMAN: We just --
GREEN: -- could become the basis for a Trump TV network or Trump Social Media Network.
BERMAN: Josh Green looking forward. Thanks so much for getting us on your phone to give us that information.
Let's bring back the panel.
Kevin Madden, let's talk about the polls and the state of play Josh just described right there.
One of the things people are saying is oh, the polls are tightening. The CNN poll of polls has it at a six-point margin right now. Just for context, Kevin Madden, and by context, I mean where you were four years ago, at this point, Mitt Romney was down or it was a one-point race or tied race at this point. What does it mean if it is in fact a six-point race right now? R
KEVIN MADDEN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, it means I think they have to put everything on the table. I think that's why you are seeing this infusion of campaign time into some of the states which is why I think the Trump campaign got so much criticism for having Donald Trump in Washington, D.C. Yesterday, for the vice presidential candidate in Utah, for a state that should be -- should already be locked down for the campaign. Now they need to spend every waking moment going across all the battlegrounds that are still potentially -- they can still potentially put in the win column, Florida, Nevada. They need to hold down North Carolina and they need to spend time and resources somewhere like Colorado or New Hampshire in order to get the math equation to work for them to reach 270. This last week, is going to be a breakneck pace for the campaign. They have no choice. They have to try everything if look at the average of being down by about six points.
BOLDUAN: Molly, we find it fascinating the data operation would let in reporters and want to do a piece like this before the election happens. This is one of those times, post mortems that happen. I find that fascinating.
[11:15:09] MOLLY BALL, POLITICAL WRITER, THE ATLANTIC: Yeah. I mean, I think what it shows is that in a lot of cases these are people who haven't really done this before and they are eager to legitimate, because there has been so much talk about the lack of professionalism in the Trump campaign, the lack of a real ground game, the lack of what we would be familiar with as a data operation the likes of which we have seen before. So I think they have something to prove. And they may be doing something really interesting. But what you learn from this great article that Josh and Sasha wrote is that what they are looking to do is mostly to help Trump after the election, mostly to help his bottom line and his future prospects. And it's a really problematic story for the Republican Party, because it means he's not really in this to help the GOP. He's not in this to help get Republican Senate candidates over the finish line, which is what most Republicans are worried about right now, who think the presidential election is effectively over. And what he does with that after the election is potentially make a lot of trouble.
BERMAN: Guys, it is fascinating.
Thanks so much for being with us. Appreciate it.
BOLDUAN: Thanks, guys.
BALL: Thank you.
BERMAN: Hillary Clinton is bringing out the closer today, Michelle Obama. Who does Trump have to seal the deal? His own wife, Melania. Donald Trump is promising some new key closing-day speeches from her. And he promises they will be, his words, important.
BERMAN: Here are some other words, more Twitter words, "A Mormon mafia." That's the latest insult being thrown out, this time, Independent candidate, Evan McMullin. He's here to respond.
[11:20:29] BERMAN: Flat-out shocking Twitter assault this morning on Independent conservative candidate, Evan McMullin, the candidate who could put the deep red state of Utah in play.
BOLDUAN: With that in mind, FOX Business host, Lou Dobbs, is now taking on McMullin directly, starting with a pretty astonishing tweet. Dobbs tweeted this, "Look deeper. He's nothing but a globalist Romney and Mormon mafia tool.
Joining us is Independent candidate for president, Evan McMullin and his running mate, Mindy Finn.
Thanks for joining us.
MINDY FINN, INDEPENDENT VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Thank you.
EVAN MCMULLIN, INDEPENDENT PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Great to be with you. Thank you.
BOLDUAN: Evan, what do you say to Lou Dobbs?
MCMULLIN: I thought it was sort of silly, really. But you know, this is part and parcel for what we have experienced from Trump supporters and from the Trump campaign. Not that Lou Dobbs is officially part of the campaign. But since then, the Mormon mafia attack has picked up online. It's sort of like I said, a silly thing. Really, our team is formed of people from all different faiths and no faith at all, and our supporters are the same. So this is something that happens with Trump supporters or with the Trump campaign. That they attack people based on religion, race, OR who they are, their gender. This is what we stand against. It's sort of fitting they would attack us for us.
BERMAN: Mindy, Mike Pence was in Utah yesterday, attended a big rally there. He said there were only two names on the ballot that have a chance to be president of the United States of America. By that, he meant Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. And the implication there is a vote for Evan McMullin and Mindy Finn is a vote for Hillary Clinton.
FINN: What's your response to the Indian governor? Trump/Pence campaign is concerned about Utah, and rightly so, because here in Utah, voters are standing up and rejecting both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. They are standing on principle. They are saying that standing up for the rights of all people, men and women, people of all races and every religion and for the Constitution is more important than sticking to a party. So I think the Trump/Pence campaign is rightly scared. The reality is that, in Utah, there's actually two people who could win. It's Evan McMullin and our ticket," and Donald Trump. Now, we are leading or tied in most of the polls, to the point where the vice presidential candidate with Donald Trump had to come to this state at a time when, if this was another Republican who was truly a conservative, that would not be a problem. They would be winning this state.
BOLDUAN: Right, but, Evan, you say you win Utah, you have six electoral votes. There's no path to victory after that. Kind of looking broadly --
MCMULLIN: That's not true.
BOLDUAN: When we're looking at the map to 270, you don't get there.
MCMULLIN: Well, that's just not true. Sorry. But if the race is very close, then actually we could block both of them by winning a state or two. That's the truth. That's the math.
BOLDUAN: Then you want to take it to the House of Representatives.
BOLDUAN: And then how do you win in the House of Representatives?
MCMULLIN: Well, we think we have a better chance of winning in the House of Representatives than Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump because the House of representatives will likely still be under the control of the Republicans, where the only and given all the trouble that Donald Trump has given the Republican party during this campaign, I just think we will have a better chance. We align with house conservatives on most issues and unless they are going to be very cynical about their votes, I think we will be in a good place. We have to compete, that's true, but I like our chances in that case.
The reality is now, however, that Hillary Clinton is dominating Donald Trump by such a large margin. He's been such a terrible candidate. Mindy and I warned of this even before he was nominated. We warned the Republican Party not to nominate him because he wouldn't be able to compete eve with Hillary Clinton, despite her flaws, and now that's playing out. He's going to lose likely in a landslide unless something dramatic happens in the next week and a half.
So we're calling on people to vote on principle, vote your conscience. Let's start a new conservative movement, which we have already done, I believe, but let's move that forward. It will be a movement that will welcome all kinds of people into it, people, women, minorities, Millennials, everyone, and we will provide this country the kind of leadership it needs.
BERMAN: You said Donald Trump is losing badly. He did pick up an important non-endorsement in the state of Utah overnight. Congressman Jason Chaffetz, who, if you follow the bouncing ball, at one point, was supporting Donald Trump, then not supporting Donald Trump. Overnight, he put out this tweet. He said, "I will not defend or endorse Donald trump but I am voting for him. Hillary Rodham Clinton is that bad. HRC is bad for the USA."
You know, Mindy, what's your analysis of that move from Jason Chaffetz?
[11:25:18] FINN: First of all, that tweet doesn't make sense. The definition of endorsement means that you support somebody. I think that's really silliness, and voters see through right that. We are endorsed by millions of voters across this country. That's who is validating our campaign. That's who is fueling our movement. That's who is rejecting both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. I think it's really unfortunate that leaders -- these are supposed to be leaders in our country and they are not standing up for the American people. They are not rejecting candidates who don't stand for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for all people and all races. They're not standing up to Donald Trump, who has insulted our veterans repeatedly.
So I think this is just really unfortunate. This is why we are getting so much traction on such a short time and such a low budget because voters are tired of leaders who are not working on their behalf.
BOLDUAN: Evan McMullin, Mindy Finn, thank you both so much for joining us.
MCMULLIN: Thank you.
FINN: Thank you for having us.
BERMAN: Donald Trump threatened to sue all of the women who accused him of sexual impropriety. Will he do it? His latest response ahead.
BOLDUAN: Forget about all this talk of the election matters because the Supreme Court is at stake. Maybe it's not. Ted Cruz now suggesting leaving that vacant seat on the bench vacant indefinitely.