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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT

Donald Trump Flying Over Alabama Stadium in 757; Awaiting Donald Trump at Alabama Stadium Pep Rally; Official: Two U.S. Marines Subdue Gunman On High-Speed Train; Stocks Plunge, See Biggest Loss Of The Year. Aired 7-8:00p ET

Aired August 21, 2015 - 19:00   ET

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


[19:00:09] JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: OUTFRONT next, Trump storms Alabama. Donald Trump arriving for a rally in high style. A dramatic flyby of his private jet buzzing a football stadium he had been hoping to fill for a big rally.

Plus, the Dow plunges more than 500 points in a massive sell-off. What's behind the markets worst week in years?

And a source tells CNN that two U.S. marines overpowered a gunman on a passenger train. Did those marines prevent a massacre? Let's go OUTFRONT.

And good evening. I'm Jim Sciutto in again tonight for Erin Burnett. And OUTFRONT tonight, breaking news. Donald Trump's grand entrance. Trump arriving for a rally in Alabama in what can also be called true Trump fashion. His private jet a Boeing 757 roaring over a Mobile, Alabama, football stadium just moments ago. Just hundreds of feet off the ground, circling the stadium several times. The dramatic flyby kicking off what Trump tweeted out earlier today as, quote, wild time in Alabama tonight. And just a short time ago, the GOP candidate tweeting again saying, "can't be late." Trump campaign hoping to fill the place for the biggest political event of the year. People started lining up at 6:00 this morning.

By late this afternoon, a long line still snaking around the stadium. But you are looking now at live pictures of the crowd in that stadium. And it is nowhere near capacity at this point. In fact, many of those seats when you get on a wider shot are empty, as is much of the infield of the stadium. In just a few minutes, Donald Trump will be speaking here. The campaign has been hoping for a huge crowd saying that they got more than 40,000 RSVPs. But so far again that crowd still filing in is much, much smaller. We will take you there live as soon as Trump starts speaking.

Ryan Nobles is OUTFRONT tonight in Mobile at that rally. Ryan, what does the scene look like? Certainly not the crowd at least yet that the Trump campaign had been talking about.

RYAN NOBLES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. That's right, Jim. I mean, this is a pretty incredible spectacle, no doubt. But keep in mind, for quite a while the Trump campaign had been boasting that they had RSVP-ed at somewhere around 40,000 people to attend this event here tonight. But even though there were about 6,000 people waiting to get in before the doors opened, there's less than an hour before this event starts and there's going to have to be a whole lot more people that show up here before Mr. Trump comes to the stage to speak and for those crowds that they predicted would be here would show up. Regardless, this is still a pretty big event in a state that's become pretty important to Donald Trump and even if he doesn't pull in 40,000 people, this will still be the biggest event of his campaign to this point.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You are here to see the next president of the United States.

NOBLES (voice-over): It's not football fans tailgating in the parking lot of this Alabama stadium. Fans of Donald Trump waiting in long lines for his Friday night pep rally in Mobile.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We need a true leader like Mr. Trump.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He is literally talking about the things we here in America are all saying at the kitchen table in our living rooms at work. Everybody is talking about this because he is actually going to do something for the common Americans.

NOBLES: Mobile is home to Senator Jeff Sessions who helped advice Trump on his immigration plan, calling it, quote, "exactly the plan America needs." Alabama though is not traditionally an early stop for presidential candidates. But with the state joining other southern states holding early primary contests on March 1st of this year, it's gotten more attention. Ted Cruz campaigned in the state early of this month and Scott Walker will tomorrow. This gathering could be Trump's largest yet. His campaign is saying that due to an overwhelming response, they have had to change the venue twice.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It's the summer of Trump.

NOBLES: First, scheduled in Mobile Civic Center, in a theater with room for only a couple of thousand. Then moved to the large main arena that could hold 10,000. Now moved blocks away to this college football stadium with a capacity of 50,000. The Trump campaign saying they have received 42,000 RSVPs.

TRUMP: They are going to end up to be 30,000 to 40,000 people in Alabama.

NOBLES: Many of his GOP rivals struggling with smaller turnouts, including Rick Santorum who only had two people show up at this Iowa diner in June. Democrat Bernie Sanders holds the record for the biggest crowd so far, with more than 19,000 people in Portland.

TRUMP: He is getting the biggest crowds and I'm getting the biggest crowds. We're the two getting the crowds.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

[19:05:02] NOBLES: And I talked to quite a few people that were lined up early here today to get into this event. They told me they are not here just to gawk or to catch a glimpse of a celebrity. They genuinely want Donald Trump to be the next president of the United States -- Jim.

SCIUTTO: Ryan Nobles right in the middle of it there in Mobile, Alabama. And as he was saying, Donald Trump making quite the entrance tonight. He actually flew by the stadium, even flew around it, a few laps of the stadium packed of people.

CNN's aviation correspondent Rene Marsh is OUTFRONT with us tonight. You know, Rene, looking at this and as the plans were being made, it did strike us as highly unusual. What are the rules with the FAA with this kind of flight?

RENE MARSH, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: Jim, you are right, it is very unusual. It's not every day you see a 757 flying a presidential candidate over a stadium with people down below. This is a pretty big plane. If it was outfitted to fit passengers, we're talking about fitting some 228 passengers on board. The span of this or the length of this aircraft, about 155 feet long. So, this is not a small aircraft here that's doing this flyby. As far as the rules go, there are very strict rules on the books as far as the FAA goes. You have to be within a certain altitude above a stadium or any congested area. You have to be above 1,000 feet of the highest point. We know that. We also know that it has to be about 2,000 feet away from this congested area.

Now, it's hard to tell from that video though there, you know, where this aircraft is in relation to this stadium. Did it fly over it? Did it fly around it? And it's also hard to tell what altitude that aircraft is at this point. But again, Jim, to be very clear, the FAA does have very strict rules about how high it would have to be if it is flying over a congested area. And I just got off the phone with the FAA. And they tell me that Trump's people simply told air traffic controllers what they planned on doing. The FAA telling me just a few moments ago, they did not grant any special permission for this flyover.

SCIUTTO: Up 1,000 feet, I mean, that's nearly around as tall as the Empire State building, which doesn't seem particularly high to me. Are there any safety issues with flying a large plane like this over a heavily populated area?

MARSH: Well, you know, because -- there are. And that's why they don't want aircraft flying over any area where you have lots of people congregated -- congregating in one area. But what I do want to make clear is because of the angle of this video here, we don't know if any rules were violated. That we don't know at this point. But it is safe to say because there's a potential safety issue of a huge plane flying over a congested area, the FAA does have rules on the books that people have to follow. And again, just want to highlight, we don't know if this is in violation of that. We don't have any word that that is the case at this point. SCIUTTO: Okay. Rene Marsh, keeping it close. Thanks very much

from Washington.

Now, moments ago, I spoke to Adam Strange, he's the vice chair of the Mobile County Republican Party. And I began by asking him why he thinks that the Trump campaign chose Mobile for tonight's rally.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ADAM STRANGE, VICE CHAIR, MOBILE COUNTY REPUBLICAN PARTY: There's a lot of good reasons why they chose Mobile. Mobile is a beautiful historic city. It's centrally located on the Gulf Coast. They have Pensacola to the east and you have Biloxi to the west, New Orleans and so forth, Birmingham in Atlanta north northwest. So it's centrally located for a lot of people to attend.

SCIUTTO: I wonder, as you are watching and you are among the crowd there today, are the people you are talking to, the people you know, are they coming out to show their support for Trump for president or are some people coming for entertainment?

STRANGE: I think it's all of the above. I think you have people that are generally curious about Trump or generally come out here to support him. Well, I think, you know, he is a celebrity as well. So people are coming to, you know, hear what he has to say.

SCIUTTO: Well, I wonder, hear what he has to say. What do you think people want to hear from him tonight? You know, we have been watching some of the earlier events. He is very entertaining. Are they going to be looking for detailed policy plans tonight or more just a general kind of rallying of the crowd, rallying of his supporters?

STRANGE: Well, I think a lot of people I had talked to, I think the general consensus is that they want to hear what Trump has to say, what his particular plans are and what he intends to do as president.

SCIUTTO: And you have been in the Republican Party down there for some time. Have you seen excitement about a candidate like the excitement you are seeing now for Donald Trump?

STRANGE: No, not in some time. Of course, we don't get a lot of presidential candidates too much. We had a few in 2012 election when of course we had Newt Gingrich and some others. So, there was a lot of excitement with those. And there's a lot of excitement here today.

SCIUTTO: Adam Strange, Mobile County Republican Party chairman, thanks very much for joining us.

STRANGE: Thank you so much.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[19:10:22] SCIUTTO: And OUTFRONT now, CNN political commentator Ben Ferguson. Ben, you look at that stadium right now. We got about 50 minutes to go before the scheduled start. But that is not nearly full at this point. It may get more full, but it doesn't look like it's going to fill up. And I supposed that's the risk when you pick a venue this big that you might not fill it. Is that a problem?

BEN FERGUSON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I think, look, you want to control the narrative. And if you are a politician, you would rather have people waiting outside than have a bunch of empty seats that looks like a really bad high school football stadium on a Friday night when the team is not doing very well. I don't understand why they thought they needed to go this big this early on, because it's setting yourself up for failure. Reminds of the democratic convention when they realized that Barack Obama probably wasn't going to fill a massive stadium for the second time.

So, due to weather, they pulled it back into the convention center where they were having the DNC convention, because you never want to have an empty seat on TV. And when Donald Trump talks as big of a game as he talks, you better fill up the stadium if you're claiming you're going to fill it up. Otherwise, that make sure campaign look like it might be losing momentum. I don't know why they took this risk. It just wasn't a big enough payoff.

SCIUTTO: Now, to be fair, it is a big crowd. And I just wonder as --

FERGUSON: Sure. But imagine --

SCIUTTO: What does this mean for the Republican Party? Do you think his narrative now is a good one for republican's chances of winning back the White House?

FERGUSON: I think many of the other candidates are saying no, it's not a good narrative. I think people love Trump because he is big, he is bold. He is not backing down. If he says anchor babies and you tell him he shouldn't say it, he says I'm going to say it and I'm not going to be politically correct because you are telling me too. And that's why they like him. But when you are running this type of campaign, again, why not fill up 10,000 people or 8,000 in a smaller stadium enclosed and make it look massive?

SCIUTTO: Ben Ferguson from Memphis, we appreciate you joining us tonight as we continue to watch this event.

And OUTFRONT next, we are standing by for the Trump rally. Trump about to speak at this Alabama Football Stadium. The crowd still filing in. We are going to take you there live.

Plus, in other news, a gunman opens fire onboard a passenger train wounding three people. But a source tells CNN that two U.S. marines took him down, preventing a possible massacre. We have a special report.

And the market in freefall today. The Dow closing down 531 points, its worst day in years. We will tell you why and what to expect, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [19:16:01] SCIUTTO: We are following multiple breaking news

stories tonight. We're waiting for Donald Trump to take the stage before a crowd of thousands at a football stadium in Mobile, Alabama. We will take you there live as soon as he starts speaking.

But moments ago, we saw this, Trump flying his private jet past the stadium. In fact, around the stadium a few times where his fans are now gathering.

But first to our other top story tonight, and that is an amazing two stories. Two U.S. marines credited with preventing a massacre today onboard a packed train. A heavily armed gunman tackled as he was loading his AK-47. At least one of the marines wounded, that's according to a counterterrorism official.

Paul Cruikshank is OUTFRONT. Paul, truly an incredible story. You have you been talking to your sources, what have you been hearing about how this happened?

PAUL CRUIKSHANK, CNN TERRORISM ANALYST: Truly incredible. A massacre was prevented, more than 500 people traveling on this train. But two U.S. marines surprising this gunman as he was in the train toilet loading his --

SCIUTTO: They heard him loading the weapon?

CRUIKSHANK: Preparing for the attack.

SCIUTTO: It's incredible. Incredible because only marines presumably might recognize that. We were just hearing now that President Obama has thanked the marines for what they did there. It's just curious to me, he was on the radar screen, was he not, of European authorities? So, was this a miss that he was allowed to get this close to carrying out an attack?

CRUIKSHANK: We will have to find out the details first. He was clearly on the radar screen. So, any time someone on the radar screen carries out an attempted attack like this, there are obviously a lot of questions. But European security agencies, Jim, they're overwhelmed right now. There are just too many radicals, too many of them are going off to Syria and Iraq, too many of them are coming back. They can't do surveillance of all of them at the same time. They can't do that kind of 24/7 surveillance. Because it just requires too much manpower. So, in the words of one official, this is the new normal.

SCIUTTO: And it's a nervous one. Paul Cruikshank, thanks very much. Incredible detail.

And now the massive sell-off on Wall Street today. That's the closing bell there. The Dow plunged 531 points, that its biggest loss of the year, the biggest loss in fact in several years. Tech giants, Apple and Microsoft, biggest two losers. This capping off what has been a terrible week for stocks. The Dow suffering its worst weekly loss in four years.

Cristina Alesci is OUTFRONT tonight with Tonight's "Money and Power." Kristina, why is the market coming down so hard right now?

CRISTINA ALESCI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's really a witch's brew of factors. We have concerns over China, a plunging oil prices and question marks over what the fed is going to do. Now, on China, there's been question marks about China for some time now. And the growth prospects for the country, obviously a very big economic driver of global growth. Right?

SCIUTTO: Right.

ALESCI: The problem is that the -- it's just not growing at the pace that investors would like it to grow.

SCIUTTO: We came to expect this sort of seven to eight, nine, ten percent growth every year then.

ALESCI: Exactly. And then overnight last night, we had some manufacturing data that disappointed. So, that did not help things this morning. When I walked into the stock exchange this morning, it was just doom and gloom. Right? Then you have the fact that if you have slower economic growth on a global scale, there's not going to be as much demand for oil. So, oil takes a beating.

SCIUTTO: Yes.

ALESCI: Then investors are questioning whether or not the Fed is going to do a rate hike. And potentially getting nervous about a rate hike in the middle of a global sell-off. Remember, this just isn't in the U.S. This is worldwide. It's just come to our shores in the past couple of days. But Asia has been selling off. The U.K. is already in correction mode. So, we have had this going on. And this is against a backdrop of many people saying that we have been living in a fantasy land for a couple of years because we haven't had a correction since 2011.

SCIUTTO: And that's a big percentage drop. Something people are going to notice in their 401(ks). Cristina Alesci, thanks very much for joining us.

[19:20:08] And OUTFRONT next, we're awaiting Donald Trump's appearance in Mobile, Alabama. He's going to be speaking to a growing crowd at a football stadium there. We are standing by for that.

Plus, the phrase anchor babies, it has been defended by some, vilified by others. Ahead, our report on the campaign's latest war over words.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:24:43] SCIUTTO: And right now, thousands gathering at a football stadium in Mobile, Alabama, waiting for Donald Trump. Just moments ago, we saw this, Trump flying his private jet past the stadium, around the stadium a few laps where those fans are gathering. The GOP frontrunner expected on stage just a few moments from now. A big crowd there, not quite the crowd he had talked about. We will still have about a half hour to go. We're going to take you there as soon as he starts speaking. One major topic sure to be on his agenda tonight, and that is immigration. Already today, a major war of words on the issue heating up between Trump and his GOP opponents.

Jeff Zeleny is OUTFRONT tonight.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TRUMP: I will use the word anchor baby. Excuse me. I will use the word anchor baby.

JEFF ZELENY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): That single phrase from Donald Trump that many consider offensive is now setting the agenda for the whole field. Ted Cruz, who hopes to siphon some of Trump's entire establishment momentum, said today it was political correctness gone wild.

SEN. TED CRUZ (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The focus on language and p.c. and bickering back and forth, most people I think don't give a flip. They're interested in solving real problems.

ZELENY: Cruz is holding a rally in Iowa tonight as he tries to tap into the Trump phenomenon.

(on camera): Some of your rivals are trying to figure out how to run against Donald Trump. You seem to be running with him.

CRUZ: I am a big fan of Donald Trump. And I think it is a mistake for other Republicans to try to take a stick to Donald Trump and whack him.

SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Are we prepared to do what it takes to remain the greatest nation ever?

ZELENY (voice-over): For Marco Rubio, a candidate who the GOP hopes can repair its image with Latinos, the anchor baby fight is a chance to take a stand.

(on camera): People are talking about anchor babies.

RUBIO: Well, these are 13 million -- those are human beings. And ultimately, they're people. They're not just statistics.

ZELENY (voice-over): And for Jeb Bush, the term became a problem of his own making after he used the phrase himself in an interview.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Governor, do you regret using the term anchor babies yesterday on the radio?

JEB BUSH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: No, I didn't. I don't. I don't regret it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You don't regret it?

BUSH: No. Do you have a better term?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm asking you. BUSH: You give me a better term and I will use it. I'm serious.

ZELENY: Trump was quick to seize on what he called a Bush flip- flop. Tweeting, "Jeb Bush signed a memo saying not to use the term anchor babies, offensive, now he wants to use it because I used it. Stay true to yourself." But that tweet, not exactly true. This is the memo. It does say to not use the phrase anchor baby. But it's not signed by Bush. Simply issued by a group he was co-chair of. So, Bush fired back with his own swipe at Trump. "His massive inconsistencies aside Donald Trump's immigration plan is not conservative and does not reflect our values."

CRUZ: I will not engage in the personal attacks.

ZELENY: Cruz says, he has differences with Trump but now is not the time. He is waiting and watching, making sure no bridge is burned.

CRUZ: Do I want Donald Trump supporters to support me? Absolutely.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZELENY: The republican primary has now essentially become the Trump primary. All republican candidates are trying to decide if they should mix it up, sit on the sidelines and watch or get in the middle of it. But tonight that big rally in Alabama, all republican eyes are on that to see what Donald Trump does next -- Jim.

SCIUTTO: The Trump primary, Jeff Zeleny following it tonight. Thanks very much.

And OUTFRONT next, we are standing by for Donald Trump. He will appearing at that rally in Mobile just moments away. The stadium holds 43,000. Will he be able to fill all those empty seats?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:32:13] JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking news, Donald Trump about to address his largest crowd to date. You are looking at live pictures of a packed football stadium in Mobile, Alabama.

The campaign had been claiming 42,000 people were going to show up to see the surging GOP frontrunner in person. Though, as you can see there, there's still a lot of empty seats with minutes to go before Trump is due to start speaking.

The GOP leader had his private 757 jet do a flyover of the stadium, really a fly around the stadium several times so he could see the crowd for himself and show off for the crowd as well, and undoubtedly show off for the crowd as well.

We're going to bring you Trump's remarks live as soon as they begin. But, first, our Ryan Nobles is OUTFRONT live in the middle of the

stadium.

Ryan, as you look at that crowd now, it looks relatively light when we spoke to you last time. Is it filling up? Are there still lines? Are the seats getting filled?

RYAN NOBLES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Jim, this probably isn't as big a crowd as we expected for this stage of the event. As you can take a look, we're going to show you how big this football stadium is. So, there's going to be a lot of empty seats.

Keep in mind that this is about a 50,000 seat stadium. If they were going to deliver the 40,000 people that they claimed they were going to deliver, all of these seats that you are seeing here on the back end of the stadium would have to be filled. And we're not anywhere near that yet.

But I should point out that there is still a pretty long line outside of the venue. They are only allowing people to come in through one gate. So, that's probably another reason that it's taking so long for people to trickle in.

I still think it's going to be a really tall order for them to get 40,000 people into this venue by the time Trump speaks. Regardless, this is still going to be an impressive showing. We probably are talking somewhere 15,000 to 20,000 people that are going to show up, which is going to make it one of the biggest campaign rallies so far.

And the idea that a presidential campaign can draw this early on in the race is large of a crowd is impressive. But Trump playing the expectations game here today. Easily probably could have filled a 10,000 seat arena which they were going to be in. Now moving to this big stadium, the crowd doesn't look quite as impressive. Regardless, it's a big crowd here tonight.

SCIUTTO: And just a few minutes to go now before Donald Trump is scheduled to speak. Ryan Nobles, he's going to be there in the middle of it.

Among those at the stadium tonight, former marine and Trump supporter, Keith Quackenbush. He got to the stadium at 6:00 this morning.

I spoke to him earlier and asked him why he is so excited about Trump's campaign.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KEITH QUACKENBUSH, DONALD TRUMP SUPPORTER: For the first time in my lifetime, I actually am hearing somebody who is running for political office and he is not a politician. His lips are moving and he is saying something. He is saying what the average American wants to hear, because you know we're sitting around the kitchen table, the dining room table -- I work in a retail outlet. [19:35:09] All the customers are talking about this. He is

actually saying things that nobody else is saying, point-blank, and he's going to get things done.

SCIUTTO: One of the things he is saying is that he would put 25,000 troops back on the ground in Iraq to fight is. You are aware of the enormous price that many U.S. servicemen paid, including U.S. Marines. Do you want to see the next president send more Americans off to war in Iraq?

QUACKENBUSH: Well, the first thing is the things I heard from Mr. Trump say was that he wants to have the strongest military in the world and hopefully we will never have to use the military. When you bargain from a position of strength, there's a huge difference.

Right now, our military, our navy in particular -- my son is in the United States Navy. We are the smallest we have been since before World War II. Frankly, that scares the heck out of me.

I do not believe he is hell bent on getting people on the ground, getting marines on the soil. I don't believe they are getting boots on the ground. I do believe he is the one person who was against going into Iraq in the first place. And right now, we have a mess. I truly believe he is the one man that can clean it up.

SCIUTTO: You are right to note that, he was opposed to the Iraq war. He has been on the record saying he would deploy U.S. ground troops to Iraq, which is something that other candidates have said they would not. You have a son who is currently in the military. Is that something you want to hear from the next president?

QUACKENBUSH: Well, what I want to hear from the next president is that if we're going to go in and do something and if we're going to use our military, that we use it effectively, we use it efficiently. Let's face it, we defend the world now.

Do I want to see troops on the ground? Of course not. If you have been in combat, you don't want to be in combat. But the reality is that you have to be able to have the ability to do it or nobody is going to take you seriously.

And right now, the United States of America is a joke on the world stage. Without a doubt, we're a joke. And Mr. Trump is going to change that.

SCIUTTO: Keith Quackenbush, thank you for taking the time tonight.

QUACKENBUSH: Thank you very much. I appreciate it.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SCIUTTO: And OUTFRONT now, CNN political commentator Ben Ferguson, Jeffrey Lord, he's a former political director for President Ronald Reagan, and Douglas Brinkley, he's CNN presidential historian. Doug, I wonder if I begin with you, because when you look at this

early crowd here -- granted there are a few minutes to go. It does not look like he will fill the stadium. This is an expectations game. Was this a mistake to aim so high for a venue like this tonight?

DOUGLAS BRINKLEY, CNN PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: Yes. Donald Trump made a big mistake saying over 40,000 people. At this juncture, I think he will hope to say 20,000. At least he could get a Bernie Sanders like number. Otherwise, it will seem like another rally. It will make people question whether Donald Trump exaggerates or lies about things.

I mean, here we are on CNN treating his arrival almost like the pope with the Trump plane flying around and all that. It's a lot of -- they say in Texas, a lot of hat and no cattle.

(LAUGHTER)

SCIUTTO: Jeffrey Lord, I have to ask you if you agree it was a mistake to choose a stadium like this and he will pay for it to some degree in the public perception.

JEFFREY LORD, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I don't think so. I'm not familiar with Mobile. I'm wondering from the descriptions I have been listening to whether or not they had no choice but to move it to a larger place and this was the only larger place available other than the ones they were going to fill.

I really disagree with Professor Brinkley on this. I just -- this is the largest audience I have to believe of any Republican presidential candidate this far this year. That's what's really going to go on here. You know, it's not like if he exaggerates -- I mean, President Obama said he was going to lower the seas when he gave speeches. I imagine the public takes some of this with a grain of salt, anyway.

SCIUTTO: This was no accident that this venue was chosen. Donald Trump himself spoke about how they had to constantly ratchet up the size of the stadium because of the number of people responding saying they were going to come.

LORD: Right, right. I mean, my question is, was there another venue other than the one that they obviously couldn't use because there was so many people.

BEN FERGUSON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: There was.

LORD: Was there another venue between that one and that one. I don't know the answer.

BRINKLEY: There were.

LORD: I mean, they may have --

FERGUSON: This is -- this is -- there were plenty of venues. This is politics 101. You always want to say, look at how many people are here and there are still people waiting outside and we're so sorry you couldn't get in tonight. This is a huge campaign.

LORD: Well, Ben --

FERGUSON: To be honest, hold on one second, tonight is a really big night for Donald Trump. It is amazing that he has 20,000 people in Mobile.

When you say you are going to have more than 40,000, it's no longer amazing.

[19:40:02] It's a bad political mistake. It's a rookie mistake. You always fill the room and you go a little smaller.

(CROSSTALK)

FERGUSON: Yes, it is. Name another person that did something like this.

LORD: Jeb Bush was supposed to have this nomination wrapped up because he had raised so much money. What's happened to that?

FERGUSON: He never said that. He never came out and said I will have it wrapped up by August.

LORD: He was the odds on guy because he raised all this money. All of his supporters were saying it. They say it over and over and over again.

FERGUSON: Jeffrey, there's a difference between --

(CROSSTALK)

SCIUTTO: Doug, I want to ask you, because there's disagreement here, Jeb Bush's name mentioned. I want to show you how Jeb Bush tried to match, maybe poke a little fun at Donald Trump's arrival tonight in his private jet.

Jeb Bush -- this was treated by a supporter, a little small there in the picture. What that banner says behind that plane is, Trump is for higher taxes, Jeb Bush for president.

Doug, was that a little way to maybe steal some of Donald Trump's thunder tonight and make your own point?

BRINKLEY: Absolutely. Every Republican that's running right now is seeing that Trump has made a misstep here by claiming 40,000 people and not delivering an audience near that. That doesn't mean that he can't deliver a good speech. It doesn't mean that he may say something that Trumps that lead.

Right now, the story is not a lot of people showed up compared to what Trump said they were going to show up. Now --

(CROSSTALK)

LORD: Twenty thousand people, that's a lot of people. BRINKLEY: If it hits 20,000.

(CROSSTALK)

BRINKLEY: I'm not trying to be argumentative with you.

SCIUTTO: We're going to have a lot of time to look at this. It's a few moments before Trump was scheduled to speak. Doesn't mean he will be on time.

I want you to stay with us. We will have you back when we return. Donald Trump about to speak to at least a good-sized audience in an Alabama football stadium. We have been keeping an eye on the crowd. Can he fill all those seats?

We will be back after this break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:46:01] SCIUTTO: Welcome back. I'm Jim Sciutto in New York.

Breaking news: we are standing by for Donald Trump to take the stage at what he says will be his biggest campaign event to date. Moments ago, we saw this, Trump flying his private jet, a 757, past and around the stadium a few times as crowds are still filing in at this hour.

According to campaign, 42,000 people are expected to hear Trump speak. The crowd doesn't quite look that big yet. But more people are coming in.

And back with me now, Ben Ferguson, Jeffrey Lord, and Douglas Brinkley.

Ben and Jeff, I wonder if I could begin with you.

We just heard from the Trump campaign that they will delay his speech a little bit. They say to allow all the people in line to get inside the stadium.

Ben, do you see an effort there to pump up those numbers in there?

FERGUSON: It's a smart move. I mean, if there are anybody outside that you can get in there, maybe people are watching the local news covering this or watching CNN right now, you are hoping they will jump in the car and run down there so that your 20,000 can become 23,000 or 25,000 or whatever, because the story ultimately will be half full, Donald Trump overpromises and under-delivers.

And he didn't have to do that. They could have standing room only and people outside of a 10,000 or 12,000-seat arena and he would have looked like a rock star. And no one would be having this conversation.

But when you do things like this and you don't deliver, it puts your campaign at risk for negative news cycles of, are you really what you say you are? Can you really deliver what you say you will deliver? Do you overstate things? And if you overstate things like this, are you going to overstate policy decisions and ideas? And that's all coming up because of this when they didn't have to overreach.

SCIUTTO: Jeffrey, how do you fight that narrative?

LORD: Well, you know, number one I would say that Donald Trump has already been through several experiences here where everybody in the media or lots of people in the media, let's say, and lots of people in political circles said you can't do that, it's over, he is toast. And it never happened.

I would suggest this is what happens, this is the latest incident here. He's got more people here than any other Republican candidate has had, period, probably all combined. So, I just -- I understand -- I take Ben's point, sure. I mean, you know, this rule of thumb was invented by Jerry Bruno, who was an advance man for John F. Kennedy decades ago.

And the role is, you know, if you've got ten people showing up, you rent a room for three people. I understand the concept here and there might be a negative story. But, frankly, I don't think Trump supporters are going to go anywhere. I don't think that's the story they see here.

SCIUTTO: Doug, I want to ask you, get away from the numbers for a moment, to one of the issues that has dominated the campaign, continues to dominate it this week, that is Donald Trump's immigration proposal. You had Senator Lindsey Graham, a Republican, also a candidate for the presidency, telling reporters that Trump's immigration proposal is, quote, "going to kill the Republican party."

We know after 2012 that Romney's poor showing among Latinos was a problem that the GOP wanted to correct. Now you have really kind of competing language, the candidates competing to be tougher on immigration.

Is this a crisis point for the Republican Party in terms of their chances to win, to actually win in 2016?

BRINKLEY: Well, obviously, people in the Republican Party are worried about this. But Trump's coming to Alabama because Senator Jeff Sessions embraced his idea of the wall, embraced Trump's policy of dealing with immigration. So, I think it's one of the reasons you are seeing Donald Trump there in Alabama tonight.

And I do feel the speech tonight is going to be significant. I'm curious what Donald Trump will talk about. Will he hit that immigration bell again or will he talk more about wounded warriors.

[19:50:00] You know, the military is very popular in Alabama. It's an opportunity for him to perhaps bring some foreign policy into his speech. I'd be curious to see whether he takes a swipe at Democrats only

or decides to use the opportunity to go after Jeb Bush, like he's been jabbing all week. But the Latino vote is abandoning Donald Trump if they're ever for him, but there is a possibility that the Republicans might be able to try to find some way to get a little bit of that back. It is too early to tell. But it doesn't look good for Republicans with Latino votes.

SCIUTTO: Just a reminder to our viewers, we are waiting here for Donald Trump in Mobile, Alabama. It's meant to start a few minutes. Trump campaign is telling us that they are delaying the start a bit because they say there are still lines outside the stadium. They want to give everybody a chance to come in and perhaps fill some of the empty seats you saw there when we had the live picture of the stadium up.

Ben, I want to give you a chance to pipe in on the question I asked Doug about, and that is -- is the nature of the debate about immigration, not just alienating, but antagonizing Latino voters in the United States who we know that, that a presidential candidate needs to win to win the White House.

FERGUSON: Well, I think, ultimately, Mitt Romney was not that inspiring candidate against Barack Obama. That was his biggest liability. It wasn't immigration.

And I think if you have a candidate that comes out and comes through this. Let's look at Marco Rubio, for example. Is Marco Rubio going to be able to connect with Latino voters? I think the answer would definitely be yes. I think in many ways, Jeb Bush could also connect especially because of his wife and background and how he's able to talk about that issue.

So, I don't -- I think right now it isn't helping if the election, the general was tomorrow. But I think depending on who gets this, they will have plenty of time to overcome this. And more than likely, the last thing any will talk about if they do beat Donald Trump, is anything that he ever said or talked about they're going to move forward and move on past it.

SCIUTTO: Jeffrey, let me ask you the question. Mitt Romney had 27 percent of the Latino vote in 2012, of course, he lost. George W. Bush had 40 percent when he won. How does the GOP candidate get closer to that number based on the kind of, not just proposals coming out of Donald Trump, but the words, the language he uses to describe immigrants, et cetera?

LORD: Yes, one of things -- I think I am correct in saying this, that the largest group that might affect the presidential election is not Latinos, it's senior citizens. I would also add in the 1950s, Dwight Eisenhower did exactly what Donald Trump is advocating. This has already been done. He used planes, buses, trains and deported just as Donald Trump is suggesting to, troops to, illegal immigrants out of the country, and he won re-election in a landslide.

SCIUTTO: That was a few years ago, but fair point. Jeffrey Lord, Ben Ferguson, Douglas Brinkley, thanks for staying

with us.

OUTFRONT next, we are standing by for Donald Trump. He will be speaking to a big crowd. We are live in Alabama.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:57:41] SCIUTTO: Breaking news -- we're watching live a Donald Trump rally now under way in Mobile, Alabama. The GOP candidate expected on stage any minute now. His largest crowd to date according to the campaign.

While we wait for Trump, here is Jeanne Moos on how to put on a good Trump face.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DONALD DUCK: Donald.

JEANNE MOOS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Everybody's doing Donald.

DONALD DUCK: Oh, shut up.

MOOS: Not that Donald, the Donald.

JIMMY FALLON, HOST, THE TONIGHT SHOW: It was fantastic. The ratings were huge.

MOOS: We're not just talking professional comedians like Kyle Dunnigan.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Gandhi.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Loser.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mother Theresa.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Idiot.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Jesus.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hippie loser.

MOOS: Comedians can't resist doing Trump.

MEGYN KELLY, FOX NEWS: Rosie's a loser. She's been a loser for a long time.

MOOS: Even presidential candidate, Rand Paul, made a lame effort at imitation.

SEN. RAND PAUL, (R-KY), KENTUCKY & PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm rich.

(LAUGHTER)

MOOS: While actor, Bryan Cranston, barely bothered with the voice.

BRYAN CRANSTON, ACTOR: I actually like his candor. You are an idiot. I'm a winner, you are a loser.

MOOS (on camera): One of the most memorable impressions helped to fuel the Rosie O'Donnell feud.

ROSIE O'DONNELL, ACTRESS: There he is.

(LAUGHTER)

MOOS (voice-over): Impersonators have posted how-to videos.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Always see those teeth, those bottom front teeth. He's always --

MOOS: Some limit themselves to the Donald's face.

(APPLAUSE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Next, make your Donald Trump face.

MOOS (on camera): The Donald doesn't seem to mind being imitated. He mentioned a couple of impersonators he finds funny.

(voice-over): For instance, Darryl Hammond --

DARRYL HAMMOND, COMEDIAN: I'll tell you who will be a loser on any team, that Sasquatch, Rosie O'Donnell.

(LAUGHTER)

MOOS: Trump also likes Frank Caliendo.

FRANK CALIENDO, COMEDIAN: I'm so excited I think my hair just moved, really.

MOOS: Conan chose impersonator John D. Domenico (ph) to do the voiceover on a bit featuring the Donald Trump ovulation kit.

JOHN D. DAMINICO (ph): If you are not ovulating, you are a loser. Your eggs are losers.

(LAUGHTER)

MOOS: But this baby is a winner.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Show us.

MOOS: After egged on to give Donald Trump lip.

Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SCIUTTO: The sincerest form of flattery. Thank you for joining us tonight. Have a great weekend.

"AC360" starts right now.