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AT THIS HOUR WITH BERMAN AND MICHAELA

Donald Trump Goes After Ben Carson, Carly Fiorina; No Change of Venue in Baltimore Police Trail; James Blake Speaks Out on NYPD Takedown. Aired 1-11:30a ET

Aired September 10, 2015 - 11:00   ET

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


[11:00:06] KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Donald Trump on the attack. Less than a week from the CNN debate, the front-runner unleashing on his opponents, including a big dig against Carly Fiorina's looks.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: And he just unloads on Dr. Ben Carson, now rising in the polls, questioning whether he is a good doctor, even a good Christian. A close associate, a friend of Ben Carson's will respond here live.

BOLDUAN: Hello, everyone. I'm Kate Bolduan.

BERMAN: I'm John Berman.

What a day. Donald Trump, he doesn't just cast aspersions, he drops aspersion bombs. With just six days to go before the crucial CNN debate, he questioned whether Dr. Ben Carson was a good doctor and whether a good Christian to boot. He questioned whether Carly Fiorina was a good business person. That's after talking about her faith. And he questioned whether Jeb Bush was funny.

BOLDUAN: Trump's verbal assault against Carson came just a day after Carson took on Trump questioning Trump's faith saying the biggest difference between the two men in Carson's words, "I don't in any way deny my faith in God."

Here is Trump's response just this morning.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DONALD TRUMP, (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE (via telephone): No, I have known Ben Carson, of him, for a long time. I never heard faith was a big thing until just recently.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST, NEW DAY: He's a Seven Day Adventist.

(CROSSTALK)

CUOMO: It's something he talks about a lot.

TRUMP: And all of a sudden, he becomes this great religious figure. I don't think he's a great religious figure and I saw him yesterday quoting something on humility and it looked like he had just memorized it two minutes before he made the quote, so, you know, don't tell me about Ben Carson -- (CROSSTALK)

CUOMO: But Ben Carson is coming at you, too. He says --

TRUMP: He's starting to hit me so I hit back. I only hit back when I get hit. I'm a great counter puncher.

CUOMO: Let me ask you --

(CROSSTALK)

TRUMP: Ben Carson, you're talking about his faith -- excuse me, Chris --

CUOMO: Please.

TRUMP: -- go back and look at his past. Look at his views on abortion and see where he stands. You talk about abortion. I mean, go back and look at his views on abortion. Now all after sudden he gets on very low key. Frankly, he looks like -- he makes Bush look like the Energizer bunny. Who is he to question my faith when I am -- you know, he doesn't even know me. I have met him a few times, but I don't know Ben Carson. He was a doctor, perhaps an OK doctor, by the way. You can check that out, too. We are not talking about a great -- he was an OK doctor.

(CROSSTALK)

CUOMO: I don't know about OK doctor. You know, he was the first man to separate conjoined twins.

TRUMP: Because he's a doctor and he hired one nurse he's going to end up being the president of the United States?

He shouldn't be questioning my faith because, number one, I'm leading with the evangelicals. I'm Protestant, I'm Presbyterian. I have great relationships with the people of Iowa, with New Hampshire, with South Carolina. And he shouldn't be questioning my faith. You know why? Because he knows nothing about me. I met him a couple of times.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BOLDUAN: He's known about him for a long time but he knows nothing about me. That's just the beginning of it.

Keep in mind, Donald Trump and Ben Carson are leading the Republican race for president right now. A brand new CNN poll out just this morning shows that they're the only candidates standing at the moment in double digits.

Trump also slammed the only woman in the Republican field. He suggested that Carly Fiorina's face would make her unelectable. Here is what he said in a "Rolling Stone" magazine interview. This is the quote getting all the attention. "Look at that face. Would anyone vote for that? Can you imagine that? The face of our next president?" Trump --

(CROSSTALK)

BERMAN: Trump was unapologetic about those comments. He denied when he was talking about her face that he was indeed talking about her face. Listen to how he tried to explain this to Chris Cuomo.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: But Carly, the statement about Carly, I'm talking about her persona. Her persona -- she is not going to be president --

(CROSSTALK)

CUOMO: But I don't know about that.

(CROSSTALK)

TRUMP: She had a terrible, terrible failed time.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BOLDUAN: Lots to discuss clearly.

Let's bring in CNN political commentators, S.E. Cupp and Jeffrey Lord.

Great to see you both.

Jeff, first to you --

(CROSSTALK)

JEFFREY LORD, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Is there anything to discuss?

BOLDUAN: I have a big lead up before I get to you. I want to get your take on this whole thing because he calls himself a counter puncher, but when it comes to Ben Carson, he's now questioning if he's a good doctor, questioning if he's a good Christian, and Carly Fiorina, questioning her faith and questioning her business chops. What is he doing here?

LORD: Well, I think, you know, in terms of the thing with Ben Carson, I do think Dr. Carson made a mistake with the questioning faith. I mean, to be perfectly candid, this kind of thing was settled when John F. Kennedy was elected and people were questioning his Catholicism. By the time John Kerry became a nominee and he was a Catholic, George W. Bush got the Catholic vote. I just think that, you know, Americans don't like to go there, and I think that was probably a mistake. But he is -- that said, Donald Trump is a counter puncher, and he will counter punch, and so Ben Carson went after him. And I might add, this is typical of what happens in presidential primaries when --

BERMAN: No.

LORD: -- they really heat up.

[11:05:13] BERMAN: No. No.

(CROSSTALK)

BOLDUAN: Not even close.

(CROSSTALK)

LORD: Jeffrey --

(CROSSTALK)

LORD: -- they go after each other like crazy.

BERMAN: I covered a lot of presidential campaigns, and I haven't seen someone basically question a neurosurgeon who separated conjoined twins whether he's a good doctor. I haven't seen him question his faith.

Ben Carson went after Donald Trump's faith, too, but Trump jumped right back in. I haven't seen a presidential candidate ever call a female presidential candidate ugly, essentially, which is what he did.

(CROSSTALK)

BERMAN: He did.

LORD: John, here is the problem. People have a problem, a serious problem, with little correctness.

BOLDUAN: This is not political correctness, Jeff.

LORD: Wait, wait, wait.

(CROSSTALK)

BOLDUAN: OK, go ahead. Go ahead. Go ahead.

LORD: Kate, note that Donald Trump's numbers went up 13 points in this new CNN poll with women after the situation with Megyn Kelly, and I'm suggesting to you it's because they don't care about political correctness. According to that CNN poll, women said that the economy was either extremely important or very important to the tune when you add those figures together of 91 percent, and I'm saying that when we get into these discussions, they don't care about them. They don't care about them. What they care about is do they have a job? Do their family members have a job? Can they pay the mortgage? That kind of thing. When you have 91 percent of women saying this and 13 percent, you know, go up in terms of being favorable --

(CROSSTALK)

BOLDUAN: Let's let S.E. Get in here.

LORD: -- there's a message. BOLDUAN: S.E., jump in on this.

Can we reiterate the quote from "Rolling Stone"? S.E., I want to get your take on this. Jeffrey Lord says it doesn't matter if you look at the polls. Donald Trump said in "Rolling Stone," "Look at that face, would anyone vote for that? Can you imagine that, the face of our next president? I mean, she's a woman and I'm not supposed to say bad things but really, folks, come on. Are we serious?" S. E.?

S.E. CUPP, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yeah, you know, I don't know envy Jeffrey having to carry Donald Trump's decidedly fetid water every day. It's not an enviable job and he does it very well, but what Donald Trump says is indefensible. It's indefensible intellectually. It doesn't make any sense to call someone like Ben Carson an OK doctor. That's factually wrong. And believe me, I am a huge critic of Ben Carson. There's plenty to go after Ben Carson on. His neurosurgeon skills probably aren't among them. It's indefensible to call Carly Fiorina a very successful woman that a lot of other people admire, who is running for president ugly, and that should disqualify her. These are disgusting, ad hominem, nonsensical, incoherence attacks that we should all universally agree have no place in the political process. This is not an example of political incorrectness and sort of standing bravely athwart P.C. nonsense. This is gibberish. This is beneath the dignity of the office that these candidates are seeking. And --

(CROSSTALK)

BERMAN: Hang on Jeffrey.

CUPP: I hope Donald Trump and Ben Carson end up cannibalizing each other because neither of them is qualified to be president.

BERMAN: S.E., let me ask you this then. What is your message to Republican women in the latest CNN poll?

BOLDUAN: Yeah. Show that poll.

BERMAN: He's leading 33 percent of women. He picked up support among women. He gained 13 percent in the polls. So then you, who have concerns about Donald Trump, speak to the Republican women out there. What's your message to them?

CUPP: Look, I think what conservative women and other Trump supporters are latching on to is a very good message, a part of Trump's campaign I actually like and that is the message of winning, and I wish some of the other Republican candidates would take that up because it's incredibly appealing after eight years of sort of leading from behind, failed policy here at home and abroad, and this sense of resignation from our political leaders. I love that, and that is appealing to me. If you can sort of ignore everything else, I get that being appealing. But I would hope that conservative women and men, voters of every kind, start questioning what Trump stands for --

BERMAN: You guys --

CUPP: -- because it's certainly not the Republican Party and it's not conservatism. It seems to be Trump. He stands for Trump.

BERMAN: Guys, stick around just for one minute because we have some breaking news.

BOLDUAN: We have some breaking news. Let's get over to Baltimore, Maryland. Jean Casarez is on the ground in Baltimore, Maryland, following the situation there.

Jean, what's the very latest?

[11:10:00] JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Judge Barry Williams has just made his ruling, pivotal motion. He has ruled there will be no change of venue in the trial of the six police officers. They will be tried -- they will try to select a jury here in Baltimore. He says that we need to believe in the people of Baltimore, in this community, that they can be fair and impartial. So they will try to seat a jury right here. So the decision has been made. No change of venue at this moment. No other cities in Baltimore will entertain the trials of these six police officers. It will be tried right here in the city of Baltimore. This is what the prosecutor had wanted saying we need to have faith in this community, that they can be fair and impartial. So all of those chanting that they wanted the trials to be here in Baltimore, they have achieved that today. A decision just being announced by Judge Barry Williams on the bench in the courthouse.

BERMAN: All right. Big moment in Baltimore. That trial will not be moved. Those trials will not be moved.

Jean Casarez, thank you so much.

Stick around with us. We have a lot more to discuss. Big political news today. Ben Carson's business manager, a close friend of Ben Carson, joins us to talk about these new diatribes from Donald Trump about his faith, about his prowess as a doctor. You are not going to want to miss this.

BOLDUAN: Also ahead for us, a tennis star, former tennis star, now speaking out after police in New York slam him to the ground, put him in handcuffs, detain him. Turns out, they had the wrong guy. You're going to hear from James Blake coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[11:14:50] BOLDUAN: Back to the big conversation of the day, Donald Trump unleashing a rainstorm of insults this morning. His chief target today, Ben Carson, after Carson questioned the authenticity of Mr. Trump's faith yesterday.

And some important context, everyone, where they stand in the polls. According to a new CNN/ORC poll, Carson is closing the gap a bit. Behind those gains, a rise in support of white evangelical voters.

BERMAN: S.E. Cupp and Jeffrey Lord back with us. Also joining us, David Brody, chief political correspondent for the Christian Broadcasting Network.

David, thank you so much for being with us.

I want to add you to the conversation because there's a battle right now for evangelicals. And Jeffrey pointed out, Ben Carson, in a way, started it vis-a-vis Donald Trump. Let's listen to what Ben Carson said exactly when he was questioning Trump's faith.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BEN CARSON, (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I realize where my success has come from, and I don't in any way deny my faith in God, and I think that probably is a big difference. That's a very big part of who I am, humility and fear of the Lord. I don't get that impression with him. Maybe I'm wrong. I don't get that impression.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: "I don't get that impression from him." You know, obviously Donald Trump responded, questioning whether Ben Carson was a good Christian.

David, how will this play, this battle about who is a good Christian play among evangelicals, particularly in Iowa?

DAVID BRODY, CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, CHRISTIAN BROADCAST NETWORK: Well, it's going to play all right, and I'm sure it's already playing. I have heard from a few evangelicals anecdotally this morning who are actually big Trump supporters. They also like Ben Carson. When they heard Donald Trump say that Donald Trump's an OK doctor, they started shaking their head saying don't go there. It's like saying Gandhi is OK at peace. It's part of what's going on here. There's a situation with evangelicals where there's an overlap between some of the Trump supporters and the Carson supporters. They come from a bracket, these evangelical voters come from an area of I'm sick and tired of it. The problem for Donald Trump is that's the only bracket he's playing in right now and he's doing very well in that bracket. Ben Carson is playing in another evangelical bracket and that's the Christian man bracket, if you will, the guy that wears his faith on his sleeve and talks about God and his faith all the time. That's the bracket that Ben Carson plays in as well. So you have two brackets for Carson, one for Trump. So Trump has to be very careful as he goes on any sort of attack, especially against Ben Carson.

BOLDUAN: Careful going on the attack is not something Donald Trump has been known for but it hasn't seemed to hurt him to this point, David.

S.E., I want to follow up on this exact conversation on faith and questioning and taking on each other's faith in this presidential race. Jeffrey Lord, he brought up in the last block, in our last segment, he said it was a mistake for Ben Carson to attack Donald Trump and to question his faith in the first place. Do you think it was a mistake? Is it a mistake to take that issue on?

CUPP: Well, only because it's not provable. It's sort of a losing argument because regardless of the way that Ben Carson tries to present Donald Trump as lacking humility, which is probably fair, it's just not a provable line of attack. So I don't think it was wise when Democrats wondered if John F. Kennedy would be beholden to the pope as the first Catholic president or whether, you know, Catholics wondered if John Kerry was Catholic enough because he didn't go to mass enough. I don't think those lines of attacks are productive, but I think what's interesting when it comes to the evangelical vote is history. We have to remember that people were very concerned that evangelicals were not going to come out for someone like Mitt Romney who was seen as moderate. He was Mormon. There was all of this anxiety they were going to stay home and, in fact, they came out in bigger numbers than they did for John McCain. So they might be with Donald Trump and Ben Carson now, but I'm pretty confident evangelicals will support the Republican nominee no matter who it is.

BRODY: I don't know about that.

BERMAN: David, you have written extensively about the subject of why evangelicals support Donald Trump. You say they maybe don't care as much about whether he can name his favorite bible verse. You get the sense from people that when they -- when Donald Trump went after Ben Carson, particularly calling him only an OK doctor, you're hearing from evangelicals they think Donald Trump went too far?

BRODY: I think anecdotally at this point, yes. Having said that we'll find out in the poll numbers sooner than later I'm sure. But, look, I think the problem with the OK doctor line is that it goes to Donald Trump's brand. Donald Trump's brand whether you like it or not is he's the, quote, truth teller, right? If he's the truth teller and he's calling Ben Carson an OK doctor, that's not computing with a lot of folks, including evangelicals and that's part of the problem here. Look, Donald Trump plays well with evangelicals, I want to be clear about this and there's a reason he's at such a high number with evangelicals. It's the boldness, folks.

Look, evangelicals have been played like a fiddle for years from the GOP establishment. They're done with it. They're tired of it. And even if Donald Trump goes, quote, "off the reservation," as we like to say, they're going to let him have a few mistakes.

[11:20:23] CUPP: Too late, too late.

BRODY: Here's the thing, a few mistakes. How many mistakes will it take? We'll see, I guess.

(CROSSTALK)

BRODY: That boldness plays well, folks.

BOLDUAN: Jeffrey, I want to return to the attack that Donald Trump played against Carly Fiorina because I really do want to get your take on this one thing. If the "Rolling Stone" article he talks about her face. Today when he was asked about it, he said that he essentially he didn't say he wasn't talking about her face, he just said I'm talking about her persona and then he goes on to attack her. In what you saw in that "Rolling Stone" article, do you think, do you think Donald Trump was calling Carly Fiorina ugly or do you think Donald Trump was talking about Carly Fiorina, her persona? LORD: Well, you know, as we all know, your face is inseparable from

your persona so, you know, I'll leave it to Donald Trump on that, but, Kate, I just really think this kind of thing is not important to people. I mean, what's important to them are their jobs -- when we talk about evangelicals or women or what have you, they're not stick figures. They're human beings with real problems in life and they're looking here to find out who amongst these candidates can, you know, help them. That's what they're looking for, and this kind of constant confetti of what they see is small things I think drives a lot of them crazy and that's why his numbers in this case with women went up.

BOLDUAN: We'll continue to see.

(CROSSTALK)

BOLDUAN: I don't know, though, if we can call it a constant confetti of small things. You surely don't see Donald Trump talking about the looks of other people on the campaign trail.

LORD: People talk about his hair, you know. Why is that OK? Just the other day on "The View," one of the hosts was mocking the looks of Kim Davis, and nobody raised an eyebrow. So --

(CROSSTALK)

BOLDUAN: That host isn't running for president.

LORD: Well --

(CROSSTALK)

BERMAN: Jeffrey Lord --

(CROSSTALK)

LORD: The answer here is there's a double standard when it comes to this kind of thing. It's OK for, you know, some people and not others depending on their political viewpoint. That's I think what cuts to the core of some of this and the reaction of people.

(CROSSTALK)

BOLDUAN: OK. If Donald Trump doesn't think that his hair should be a topic of conversation, then wouldn't you think he wouldn't want to take on someone else's looks in the next breath?

BRODY: And by the way, Donald Trump brags about his hair.

BERMAN: We're going to stop this now because we have to move on.

But among the people who have spoken out against what Trump said today, Hillary Clinton, a Democrat and a woman, Scott Walker, a Republican.

BOLDUAN: And Jeb Bush.

BERMAN: Jeb Bush. I think Bobby Jindal also --

BOLDUAN: Yeah, Bobby Jindal.

BERMAN: The chorus is growing.

David Brody, S.E. Cupp, Jeffrey Lord, great to have you with us.

BOLDUAN: Jeffrey --

(CROSSTALK)

BOLDUAN: I want to continue this conversation, as always.

(CROSSTALK)

BOLDUAN: Great to see you guys.

LORD: Good on J.D. Tippett there, John. Bravo.

BERMAN: He watched the CNN Quiz Show, which I won.

BOLDUAN: Exactly.

(LAUGHTER)

BOLDUAN: Jeffrey ends that segment with a compliment to John.

BERMAN: Appreciate it.

BOLDUAN: Great to see you all. Thank you so much.

A reminder, the CNN Republican debate is less than one week from today. You can see it live here on CNN and streamed online live Wednesday night, September 16th.

And today Democratic candidate for president, Bernie Sanders, is going to be joining Wolf Blitzer, 1:00 p.m. eastern. Jeb Bush will be on "The Lead" with Jake Tapper at 4:00 p.m. eastern.

BERMAN: A whole lot going on.

Moments ago the head of the NYPD, the commissioner here talked about the mistake, the mistake, involving tennis star, James Blake. Was race involved in a takedown? You're going to hear from the commissioner and James Blake, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[11:27:28] BOLDUAN: New this morning, the NYPD commissioner extending his apologies to former pro tennis player, James Blake, after five officers tackled him to the ground and handcuffed Blake outside his Manhattan hotel. It turns out it was a case of mistaken identity.

BERMAN: Blake says that still doesn't justify the way he was treated. This is what he said earlier on "Good Morning, America." (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAMES BLAKE, FORMER TENNIS PRO: I know that a lot of people have no voice to have any recourse and I'm lucky enough to have the opportunity to be sitting here with you to be able to tell this story and let people know this happens too often and most times it's not to someone like me.

Most cops are doing a great job and keeping us safe, but when you police with reckless abandon, you need to be held accountable.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: I want to bring in CNN's Boris Sanchez; and Tom Birdie, former New York police detective.

Boris, let me start with you.

What on earth do the police say happened?

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is what they say happened. They were trying to bust an identity fraud ring that was reportedly buying cell phones with fraudulent credit cards. They say a witness pointed to Blake outside his Manhattan hotel and that's when these five officers approached him. One of the officers was apparently not wearing a badge, and he didn't really say anything to Blake. He just tackled him. That's according to Blake. He says that this was unnecessary, that the officer didn't tell him what was going on until much later. The officer only told him, "We'll tell you soon."

In a press briefing that wrapped up a few moments ago, the NYPD says this was inappropriate and that he was detained inappropriately and handcuffed inappropriately. Essentially, saying that this should not have happened. And their investigation to prove that Blake had no role, that he was totally innocent. The officer has been placed on desk duty. Had his gun and badge removed. They're investigating to find out if the use of force was appropriate. They say, initially, their initial investigation suggests that it was not used appropriately. They have not spoken to that officer --

(CROSSTALK)

BERMAN: He was tackled.

(CROSSTALK)

BERMAN: He was tackled and he didn't do anything. So probably not appropriate.

BOLDUAN: You would know. We haven't seen the tape. Give me all the caveats you're going to, but do you think it was an appropriate use of force?

TOM BIRDIE, FORMER NEW YORK POLICE DETECTIVE: This is a guy who knows how to use a backhand, so I'm sure they were afraid of that. But, you had someone who was identified by someone who says -- and according to the police commissioner, he said this could be a dead ringer for his twin brother. So you have somebody who was positively identified. The police had good reason to get him into custody in connection with this case --

(CROSSTALK)

BOLDUAN: Do you take him down like that?

BIRDIE: Using the element of surprise is always better than saying -- because most people when you ask them, sir, could you please put your hands behind your back, they generally don't.