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Hurricane Joaquin Now Category 2 Storm; Russian Warplanes Launch Air Strikes Inside Syria. Aired 8-9:00p ET

Aired September 30, 2015 - 20:00   ET

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


[20:00:00] JOHN BERMAN, CNN HOST: Good evening.

Breaking news tonight that could effects tens of millions of people, New York City, Philadelphia, Washington D.C., not to mention places like Jersey Shore, still dealing with the after effects of super storm Sandy, now bracing for a possible rerun. This time, it's hurricane Joaquin. And right now, at least, it seems to have the most densely populated part of the country directly in its path.

Late today, Virginia's governor declared a state of emergency to prepare. President Obama was briefed. New York governor Andrew Cuomo was urging people to get ready now.

In just a few moments ago, the National Hurricane Center put out some fresh information on this gathering storm. Meteorologist Jennifer Gray is in our own weather center crunching numbers. She joins us now.

Jennifer, what's the latest? What is happening to Joaquin right now?

JENNIFER GRAY, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Well, the latest advisory came down about two or three minutes ago. This is now a category two storm, sustained winds of 105 miles per hour. And we now have an eye. This storm is strengthening. It is going to sit over the warm waters around the Bahamas for the next couple days. It is going to allow more strengthening. It's in very rich environment for tropical development. So we are going to expect further strengthening over the next couple days. But the big question mark is where is it going to go from here? And I want to show you the track on the floor.

This is the latest track from the national hurricane center, another track will come out around 11:00 p.m. But right now, this has it sitting over the Bahamas, at least through Friday and then taking a dramatic turn to the north, could strengthen to a major storm and then possibly making landfall somewhere along the Carolinas, the mid- Atlantic. However, anywhere from say South Carolina all the way up to the northeast needs to be on the lookout from this storm, John.

BERMAN: Breaking news, category two storm right now. That just happened about two minutes ago. And where you're standing, Jennifer, a very densely populated part of this country, Philadelphia, Washington D.C., Virginia, New Jersey all problematic, no?

GRAY: Yes, absolutely. And there is still a lot of uncertainty with this storm. Is it going to take a turn to the west? Some models even have it staying out to sea and so a lot of question marks. I want to show you back on the wall what exactly we're looking at.

The forecast models all agree that it's going to take a turn to the north except for maybe one outlying model. We're also looking at most of the models taking it to the west and this is quite a bit farther south than some earlier runs. You remember New York City was well into the center of that cone. Now it's sort of shifts back down to the west.

However, one model that we look at very, very closely, the European model, has it over Bermuda Sunday afternoon while the GFS model has it over North Carolina. There is about a thousand miles between the two. And so, we're hoping in the coming days, they are going to come and agree a little more. The problem is this area of low pressure over the southeast, if this decides to deepen, then that storm could take that path and it will just more or less get sucked back into the mid- Atlantic. However, if that low decides not to that, it could allow that storm to travel a little bit farther to the north and then boom, get carried out by this high and swept out to sea.

And so, that's one of the things we're trying to distinguish between over the next couple of days to get these models to agree a little better. If it does travel to the west and take how most these of the models portraying it now, as well as the National Hurricane Center, we're looking at massive amounts of rain. The mid-Atlantic seen over a foot of rain in the last several days. In some places, we could see additional eight to ten inches which will cause major flooding across the mid-Atlantic. We are also talking about storm surge, beach erosion and also those damaging winds, as well, John.

BERMAN: All right. So stay tuned over the next 24 hours, we are going to have a much clearer picture of what the storm, a potentially very dangerous storm just ahead.

Jennifer Gray, thank you so much.

We have more breaking news on what is starting to look like an old fashioned super power standoff except during the cold war, the U.S. and Soviet Union never openly dropped bombs on the same country at the same time. Now, U.S. and Russian planes, both flying missions over Syria. Missions apparently with different targets and different goals and perhaps dangerous complication complications.

Today, Russian war planes launched the first airstrikes there with almost no warning to the U.S. and reportedly hit non-ISIS targets. Late today after an urgent meeting at the U.N., secretary of state John Kerry and his Russian counterpart announced that their respective military commanders could be sitting down perhaps as early as tomorrow to make try to make sure things don't get out of hand.

CNN's Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr keeping an eye on the developments and joins us with more.

Barbara, the Russian air strikes, what's the latest tonight? BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: John, a day of high drama.

This all began earlier today when a Russian general showed up at the U.S. embassy in Baghdad and said we are going to start airstrikes in one hour, get your planes, your U.S. war planes out of Syria.

Tonight, the Pentagon insisting it will continue airstrikes that it chooses to do inside Syria. U.S. war planes not going anywhere. The big concern right now from defense secretary Ash Carter is how to keep U.S. pilots safe in the same air space as Russians, but also what are the Russians really up to? Where they struck is not an ISIS stronghold. That's very concerning to the U.S. They struck in areas where there are anti-regime forces, militias fighting Bashar al-Assad. Russia appears to be doing exactly what the U.S. doesn't want to see, propping up Assad, John?

[20:05:42] BERMAN: And as of now, what is the U.S. doing besides just watching, being a spectator as it were in the region? I know U.S. is continuing its own airstrikes against ISIS and thousands of them over the last year.

STARR: Yes, that's right. More than 7,000 strikes. So number one, continuing with the strikes that it wants to do that the U.S. and the coalition want to do. But in his press conference where we are today, defense secretary Ash Carter was pretty clear that one of his next steps is to be able to actually sit down with the Russian military. He's a assembling a team to do that. They want to want this sit down as soon as possible, talk to the Russians about procedures for both sides, keeping their pilots safe, what kind of information they need to share, how they can stay out of each other's way while at the same time the state department is going to pursue the political track to try and see if they can get the Russians convince that Assad has to go - John.

BERMAN: Right. Barbara Starr at the Pentagon, thanks so much.

STARR: Sure.

BERMAN: All right. We have big campaign news tonight. Donald Trump speaking with fresh signs that he's still packing a polling punch. New numbers from U.S. today showing him far out ahead of his GOP rivals, Ben Carson and Carly Fiorina with Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush back in fifth place in single digits.

CNN's Sara Murray joins us from Key New Hampshire where a Trump town hall just wrapped up.

And Sara, we are watching it here. Trump seemed loaded for bear tonight in attack mode.

SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: Yes, John, I'm calling it something like a Trump-tat classic mix in IT (ph) with heavy on the polls, pointing out he is leading, going after Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush marking their sort of friend-enemies attitude, the way they stated they are always friends, but also going after each as you saw a little bit of the Jeb here tonight. But Trump also took on kind of a more serious note. He was in a very

crowded gym but he went in detail when he was talking about what he would want to do with ISIS, when he talks about his tax plan, when he talks about immigration, even talked about the Syrian refugee crisis saying if he wins this election, he will send all of the Syrian refugees home, John.

BERMAN: And this is one of the first real town meetings, one of the first public appearances since that tax plan was announced and we saw him again with notes laying out details.

MURRAY: Yes, you're exactly right. And this is not something we usually see from Donald Trump. It tends to be a very free-wheeling speech tonight. He had notes. He talked at length about the tax policy really digging into details here.

Now, as you might imagine, this is not exactly what gets the crowd roaring but were here. They were engaged. And this is a much more substantive teach than we are used to seeing from Donald Trump.

I was just speaking to his campaign staff and they said, look, this is a policy speech. We want to keep you guys on your toes but we came here at the New Hampshire in a place where voters really care about what candidate are going to do as president and then laid out details whether it came to tax poll easy, immigration or even veterans affairs. Trump sort of broke a little news saying in the next couple weeks he will come out with additional policy how to deal with the VA and long backlog you have seen there.

BERMAN: And he swore at least twice, which is something you don't hear often in the campaign stomp.

Sara Murray, thank you so much.

We are going to hear some of those words and perhaps one of those swears coming up. We're also going to talk to two reporters who spent hours and days recently up close with Donald Trump. You'll hear what he thinks off the stomp about his rise at the top of the polls and how long he now expects to stay there.

And later, was it boasting a confession or something else with the leading house Republican said about the Benghazi hearings that has spun nearly all of Washington into a tizzy and could have pretty big implications for Hillary Clinton.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:12:51] BERMAN: Donald Trump making news tonight in New Hampshire possibly sparking some controversy as well not just because we swore, but what he said about refugees from the war in Syria. More on that tonight as well as his conversation earlier with CNN's Don Lemon.

Don, joins us just a bit.

But first, some key moments from Donald Trump's remarks in New Hampshire. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Two weeks ago, I was making a speech and said I respect women, I cherish women. I do like - cherish women. And Hillary said we don't want to be cherished, we want to be respected. I said I said that. I think you want to be cherished, too. It's better than respect. It's everything. You want to be respected, loved, cherished, everything.

I'm putting the people on notice to the people coming here from Syria as part of mass migration, if I win, if I win, they are going back. They are going back. I'm telling you. So Bush is the mentor of Rubio and everybody said Rubio will never run because it would be disrespectful to his mentor and I understand that. It's called loyalty, right? He runs. And they ask Bush what do you think of Rubio? He's my dear friend. He's so wonderful. I love him so much. So they ask Rubio, what do you think of Bush? Oh, he's my dear friend, wonderful. They hate each other. Hate. Trust me, I know. It's political bull. Do you understand? It is true.

One of my opponents, not in a bad way but I a very respectful way said, you know, the thing about Trump that's really hard, he is so damn unpredictable. We don't know what the hell he's going to do. And I said I want to be unpredictable. I want to be. So when they ask me and so does the Patten and so does McArthur. So when they asked me about like what do I want to do with Syria? I know what I want to do. Believe me you are going to be happy, but I don't want to tell. I don't want them to say Trump is going to do this so we'll do this. I want to be unpredictable.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BERMAN: A lot to talk about there. Joining us CNN political commenters Jeffrey Lord, Ana Navarro, Kevin Madden. Jeffrey is a Trump supporter, former White House political director in the Reagan administration. Anna is a Jeb Bush supporter, a close friend of Marco Rubio. Kevin Madden is a Republican strategist and former campaign aid to Romney.

Kevin, we heard Donald Trump. He swore at least twice, Hillary Clinton imitation and Jeb Bush imitation there. He also was kind of gloating about his new poll numbers seen in "USA Today" shows him out in front of the field by at least ten points. Ben Carson in second place there.

This is bigger margin that we have seen in the last few days. What do you make of the event tonight, though? I have to say, you know, we've heard Donald Trump say things that are controversial before but swearing like he did and talking about Syrian refugees saying he's going to send them back?

[20:15:45] KEVIN MADDEN, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Is that OK, by the way? We can use the bull word, because, you know? I didn't know that and Donald Trump is by far the greatest BS artist in this race right now. Look. I mean, this is a vintage Donald Trump speech. It's this

ranting and raving and winging it from one top pick to the next where he just offers not a vision where he wants to take the country but this, you know, this running commentary on the state of the race. If you look at the polls that he is talking about and look, at a certain point that's a problem for Donald Trump should those polls change when you are always touting the polls? But if you look at some polls, some of the respondents when they were asked to describe Donald Trump, they use words like arrogant, out of touch, crazy.

Those are not the type of words people use when they are going to select a nominee. Look, this speech again last night, this shows that we are still in the entertainment portion of our program. This is not -- we're not going through the process of voters selecting a nominee. Right now, they are selecting a mood and that's why I think Donald Trump is at the front.

BERMAN: So Jeffrey, let's pick up on that because Kevin brought it up. Yes, the polls show him in front but the same poll that show him with the ten-point lead and asked voters the first word they would use to describe Donald Trump. Let me tell you the first words they came up with, idiot, jerk, stupid or dumb, apparently that was combination right there. So idiot, jerk, stupid or dumb. You know, he is winning but you don't want to be described like that, Jeffrey, do you?

JEFFREY LORD, FORMER REAGAN WHITE HOUSE POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Well, you know, John, I think that something that happened today illustrates exactly why Donald Trump is so popular. We had the president of the United States sit down with Vladimir Putin yesterday. And Putin never said what he was about to do in terms of sending in the Russian air force to bomb the (INAUDIBLE) out of Syria. Never said a word. We're finding out today they find out by sending a general to the embassy in Baghdad. Now, toes anybody seriously believe that Vladimir Putin would have treated a president Donald Trump that way?

BERMAN: Jeffrey, but Jeffrey --

LORD: I don't think so.

BERMAN: But Jeffrey, those voters think he's an idiot, a jerk, and stupid or dumb. Does that help Donald Trump's polls?

LORD: Well, you know, they called Mitt Romney nice but he's not president, is he?

BERMAN: All right.

Ana Navarro, let me ask you about the Syrian refugee thing because in between the swears and (INAUDIBLE) on the poll talk he did say that any Syrian refugee who leaves Syria right now because of the crisis in that country with bombs dropping and God knows what else is happening right now, if they come to the U.S. when Donald Trump becomes president, they are all going home.

ANA NAVARRO, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well, I think what he's doing there is expanding on a point that has brought him to this place which being very hard lined, absolutely no exceptions on immigration. It's what brought him to the limelight to begin with. And that speech that he gave in June when he announced for president. He has said he wants to build a wall, a big, beautiful wall because we all know he is great at building things and can build a beautiful wall and he's going to keep immigrants out and I think that includes Syrians.

So I think he's being very consistent with a theme and a theme that worked for him in the past. John, I just wanted to tell you something, there is a lot of cussing in politics. It is usually not in front of cameras.

BERMAN: It is not usually in front of the camera. I've been to a few campaign events and I don't think I've heard of a candidate swear -- except Dick Cheney. I heard him mutter under his breath (INAUDIBLE). Yes, that happened.

But Kevin, let me ask you think because there is breaking news elsewhere in the political words tonight. It has to do with Ben Carson who is running second in the polls, his campaign just released a fundraising figure for this quarter, $20 million. They have done in $20 million this quarter. That is a lot of money. Apparently, I think it's a record for Republicans in this specific quarter. What do you make of that?

MADDEN: Yes, it is a very impressive number. I think I expect that once we find out where that money came from, they are going to be able to point to a type of grass roots fundraising success with small donors. A lot of Ben Carson support right now is coming from a lot of evangelicals or others within the party at the grass roots that feel like an outsider like him is probably the best position to help represent the party and help change the party.

One of the other things I'll be looking for, though, is it costs a lot of money to raise that type of money. So Ben Carson may have raised $20 million but did he have to spend, you know, 10, 12, $14 million in order to do that and doesn't have a lot of cash on hand?

[20:20:22] BERMAN: We don't know that. And to be clear, the campaign says they are getting a lot of money from small donors. That's Ben Carson says he is getting all along.

Ana Navarro, quickly, your boss or your friend Jeb Bush, will he raise more than $20 million this quarter?

NAVARRO: I have no idea. I will tell you that I also heard that Bernie Sanders raised something like $24 million. It tells you that outsiders are in vogue right now. And yes, we have to see what the cash on hand is and what kind of operation they are building with the money.

But Ben Carson's numbers are very impressive because there has been 17 people running in the Republican field so that one of them is able to get that much money, yes, sir, it's impressive.

BERMAN: All right. Jeffrey Lord, Ana Navarro, Kevin Madden, thank you so much and thanks for keeping it clean. Coming up, what does Donald Trump make of the Russian airstrikes in

Syria? "CNN TONIGHT's" Don Lemon asked him about that today. Trump answered by saying they don't respect President Obama. We're getting much more of what he said next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:25:14] BERMAN: Don and Donald one on one. "CNN TONIGHT's" Don Lemon sat down with Donald Trump today. I'm going to speak with Don Lemon in a moment.

First, take a listen to what Trump had to say to Don Lemon when he asked about Russia conducting airstrikes in Syria.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Well, number one, they don't respect our president. They really don't respect us anymore and that's why they are doing this. At the same time, if they want to hit ISIS, that's OK with me. I'm not going to say we have to do it all. You know, we're like the policemen of the world.

DON LEMON, CNN HOST, CNN TONIGHT: But according to U.S. officials, the areas that are being hit are not ISIS strongholds. These are areas propping up Assad.

TRUMP: Right. And I'm hearing that. And I hear they are hitting balls. But I'm hearing that and then you say to yourself, Assad bad guy killed hundreds of thousands of people but you wonder what is going to happen with the other people that we don't know who they are. We always give weapons, we give billions of dollars in weapons and then they turn them against us. We have no control. So we don't know the other people we're supposed to be backing. We don't even know who we're backing.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: All Right. Don Lemon joins right now. And Don, you know, Donald Trump has run into issues with foreign policy, interview with Hugh Hewitt in the past. But today with you, he seemed to jump right in.

LEMON: He did and, you know, he gave a couple more specifics. But he still relying on listen, I don't want to give it away. If people tell me all the time that I'm unpredictable and that's what you have to do with foreign policy. You must be unpredictable. You cannot let the enemy where you're going. And I pushed back and said but if you're voting for president, right, you need to know the American people need to know where at least they think you're going in this, with foreign policy especially when it comes to what is happening in Syria.

BERMAN: Yes. Unpredictable and knowledgeable don't necessarily --

LEMON: He said look for specifics to come as he put out his specifics in regards to his taxes. BERMAN: Right. And he did make some specifics, didn't get specifics

on the issue Syrian refugees today. We heard him tonight at the news conference, but you pressed him to the issue of the conflict in Syria and what to do with the people suffering and leaving that country.

LEMON: Well, I asked him a question and he sort of turned it into that. I asked him about, I said, should there be rules of engagement because you have Syria, you've got Russia flying there, the U.S. flying there. You know, one false move, right, who knows what can happen and he said well maybe it would World War III. But I tell you the people who are coming over from there, they are going to go back. Listen this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: A couple of bad moves, maybe not one, couple bad moves, you have World War III over Syria, right? I don't think so, alright. I don't think so. Look, if Russia wants to go in there, it would have been nice if we went in as a unified front to be honest with you. But if Russia wants to go in there and knock the hell out of ISIS and maybe stabilize, this big migration, well now, they are talking about bringing 200,000 people into the United States. And I will tell you, if I win, I'm going to say it right now and I'll say it to you, those 200,000 people, they have to know this and the world will hear it are going back. We're not going to accept 200,000 people that may be ISIS.

You know, when you look at the migration, there are so many men and there are so men that look strong to me, I'm pretty good at analyzing things. I say where are all the women? You see some few women. And they look strong and they are young.

Number one, why aren't they fighting for their country? Number two, what is going on? Why are we accepting all of these thousands? Now, I heard a number today, 200,000. That's almost like are they bringing, are these people ISIS? We have no idea who they are. We have no idea where they come from. And I'm just telling you right now, they may come in through the weakness of Obama. But they are going out if I become president. They will not stay here. They are going back to Syria whether it is safe zones or whatever, but they are going back to Syria.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BERMAN: Refugees going back to Syria making news today. Don Lemon stick around with us right now. I want to bring in someone who recently spent a lot of time with Donald Trump as well for a "New York Times" magazine cover story with the headline "Donald Trump is not going anywhere," Mark Leibovich, the chief national correspondent at the "New York Times" magazine or research in the story. He got to watch Trump watch himself on TV a lot. Mark joins us now.

Hey, Mark, I want to read you one of my favorite quote from your story right now because it has to do with something you saw tonight. You said that Donald Trump is incendiary match with this political moment. And tonight, we saw Donald Trump swear on this stuff throwing. He was throwing BSs around. He was imitating Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush. Is that what this moment calls for?

MARK LEIBOVICH, CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, NEW YORK TIMES MAGAZINE: Well, specifically swearing, I don't think he'll lose any votes because of that. But I also think that that is emblematic of everything that Trump does, which is, you know, in some ways unpredictable. But also something that flies very much in the face of normal politics. I mean, he has been very, very depth and very, very effective and frankly with a lot of credibility been able to post it himself as opposite anyone who has been in in politics. And he can say that I'm above the false gentlemanness (ph) that Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush might engage in when really they hate each other, let me tell you, they really hate each other. You know, frankly, this is part of the larger message, which is clearly resonating and clearly going to a moment and going to electorate that is just starving for someone different.

BERMAN: One of the reasons your piece is so great marked, because you pressed on one of the big questions that people have been asking for months here, which is where is this going? How does this end? And you kept asking Donald Trump that.

LEIBOVICH: Yeah, he always, would just say I have no idea, he would add a profanity at the end. I won't - I would say that he modified the word idea and I won't tell you what profanity is, but you can probably guess. But no, I mean, I think he is very much making this up, as he goes along. I don't think he expects to know - he knows where he will be one month from now, one week from now and that's part of what is so fascinating about this whole thing to watch. Now, I mean there is no precedent. I mean so many people in my business and politics have been wrong about so many steps of the way of this process. I mean he wasn't going to run, to begin with. He ran. He wasn't going to file. He filed. He wasn't going to go anywhere in the polls. He almost, you know, went almost immediately to the front and he stayed for three months. And still to this day he is all we're talking about. So, who knows where it ends. I mean I think that's the ongoing question, and he keeps, you know, kind of raising the stakes as he goes along.

BERMAN: I want to put this to both of you. Don, first. One of the things that happened after the big CNN debate. He looked tired after those three hours on stage, and when he walked off the stage, you commented on how long the debate was, and the week following the debate, his poll numbers plateaued and he didn't have it seemed quite as much energy as he had had before. Today as I was looking at him in New Hampshire, it seemed a little different. So, Don Lemon, when you were with him today, was he full of the fight that we saw early the summer?

LEMON: He was and he said I want to - I hope you run all of that because I think we had a good back and forth. He was very energetic, and he was heading, you know, to this town hall where we caught up with him today where you guys showed him today. But I have to - can I speak about what Mark said? I asked him specifically about what Mark said. I said do you, did you think that you would go this far, be honest with me. And we were walking out of the interview, just sort of talking. And he said I thought that I would go this far, but I didn't think I would be this popular. And I said do you think come this time next year, will you be the nominee? And he said I don't know, but if I could move the election up right now to this point I would and he says he only gets four hours sleep a night because he loves life, he knows people who get 12. And they are miserable.

BERMAN: So, four hours sleep a night, Mark Leibowich, and according to you, doesn't eat particularly well, doesn't exercise, 69 years old. Can he keep this up until Iowa in New Hampshire in February?

LEIBOVICH: Unclear. I mean again, I mean this pace and this sort of - this style has never been attempted before. He's never run for anything before. So I mean, it remains to be seen whether his metabolism is built for this. But now, I mean again, he is very, very different. He's very unabashed about the fact that I don't work out. I have all these friends who work out and they have knee replacements and hip replacements and they are disasters. I mean there was some really long kind of unplugged "Seinfeld" like moments with him. That was, you know, frankly, very entertaining, but mostly just to be around him ...

BERMAN: Right.

LEIBOVICH: At a moment when he's just, you know, going through this now is pretty amazing.

BERMAN: Mark Leibovich, Don Lemon.

LEIBOVICH: He needs this.

BERMAN: Thank you so much -- I'm in favor of exercise and eating right.

(LAUGHTER)

BERMAN: A quick reminder.

LEIBOWICH: And sleeping.

BERMAN: You can see Don's full interview with Donald Trump at 10:00 P.M. Eastern Time. That's on CNN tonight. Do not miss it.

Just ahead for us, Melania Trump breaks her silence and opens up in her first interview since her husband announced ...

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:37:00]

BERMAN: The words Trump and silence really get mentioned together, but one Trump has remained largely silent this campaign. Donald's wife Melania. We saw her when he announced his candidacy, but since then she's been flying pretty much under the radar. Today Mr. Trump told CNN's Don lemon that may be about to change.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) LEMON: We saw her, you know, coming down the escalator with you when you made your announcements standing by your side. Are we going to see more of her on the campaign?

DONALD TRUMP (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think very much so. She's very much into the whole women's health issues. I think she'll be amazing.

LEMON: Melania Trump keeps a fairly low profile, but in the current issue of "People" the private half of the power couple opens up. Here's Randi Kaye.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MELANIA TRUMP: We met in New York 1998.

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: When Donald Trump first laid eyes on his future third bride back in 1998 she refused to give him her number, but Melania Knauss, the former super model, tells "People" magazine she thought Donald did have "sparkle". She eventually called him and the rest is history. "People" magazine interviewed Melania at the couple's 66th floor penthouse apartment in Manhattan's Trump tower. Politics was off the table. "I'm not ready to go political yet. That's his job and I'm supporting him." She also told "People" "I'm my own person, I'm not a yes person. I tell my opinions." When asked about giving Donald advice, "even if you give him advice, he will maybe take it in, but then he will do it the way he wants to do it."

This was Melania's first interview since her husband declared his candidacy. Until this cover story, she's been seen barely, but never heard. Remember, it was Donald's daughter Ivanka who introduced him when he announced his run for president.

IVANKA TRUMP: My father, Donald J. Trump.

(CHEERS)

KAYE: Melania attended the recent CNN debate, but her husband never acknowledged her in his opening remarks.

TRUMP: I'm Donald Trump. I wrote "The Art of the Deal,"

KAYE: And in a recent "60 Minutes" interview with the candidate, Mr. Trump was also visibly absent. "People" magazine senior editor Charlotte Triggs who wrote the article says Melania's had a busy summer traveling with the couple's nine-year-old son Barron for whom she's the main caregiver. "Barron needs somebody as a parent, so I'm with him all the time." She told "People". The Trumps reportedly have a cook, but no nanny.

[20:40:02]

KAYE: Donald talked to "People" about the challenges.

TRUMP: Running for office has impacted the family in that I just don't have the time that I would love to have to spend with my children and my wife, and but it's something they understand how important it is what we're doing.

KAYE: Melania is a Slovenian immigrant who became a naturalized citizen in 2006, the year after she married Donald. When asked about becoming a citizen, her response was, "I went through a whole long process. It didn't even cross my mind to just stay here. I think people should follow the law."

In her free time Melania tells "People" she enjoys tennis, pilates and fashion. She also works with the American Red Cross. Does she imagine herself as first lady? Maybe not as clearly as her husband does, acknowledging it's a long road saying that her husband has a lot of people cheering for him but she takes it day by day.

If they do reach the White House, Melania is sure to request her own space. She told "People" the secret to a happy marriage is simple, have your own bathroom and your own TV. "It's a great relationship," she says. Randi Kaye, CNN New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BERMAN: Our thanks to Randi. Coming up for us, man, are the political put downs flying tonight? Just moments ago, Jeb Bush said that Donald Trump needs to put on his big boy pants and he sat down with CNN's Dana Bash. We are going to have the interview coming up. Also, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy under fire from Democrats tonight after he kind of bragged about how he believes the House Committee investigating Benghazi, you know the incident in which four Americans die. How it helped bring down Hillary Clinton's poll numbers.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:45:27]

BERMAN: New sharp language on the campaign trail tonight, a jab from Jeb. Jeb Bush spent the day campaigning in New Hampshire, a town hall he held tonight ended just a short time ago. A new Suffolk University poll released today shows him in fifth place nationally down at 8 percent. Fair to say probably not where he wants to be or expected to be. His former protege, Marco Rubio has now edged past him in most polls. Rubio served as speaker of the Florida House when Jeb Bush was governor, they were allies back then, now rivals. In an interview today with CNN's Dana Bash, Mr. Bush took some shots at Rubio. So Dana, I understand that you had a chance to sit down with him today and you also asked about the tax plan, yes?

DANA BASH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I did, and, you know, he was very interesting when it comes to the tax plan and a whole host of issues, but on the Rubio issue, what is most fascinating and you know this, John, that the two of them were close and they apparently still are friends, but it is really, really personal that not just Donald Trump is doing better than Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio is. So, I was frankly a little bit surprised at how tough he was on his former protege. Watch this. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BASH: We are talking about - why should they choose Jeb Bush and not Marco Rubio?

JEB BUSH, (R ) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Because I'm a proven leader. I disrupted the old order in Tallahassee. I relied on people like Marco Rubio and many others to follow my leadership and we move the needle, led the nation in job growth, reduced the role of government, reformed the things that were broken, took on some very powerful interests and we won. And I could be that disruptor in Washington D.C. Look, we've had a president who came in and said the same kind of thing, new and improved, hope and change and he didn't have the leadership skills to fix things. In fact, he's been the greatest, most divisive president in modern history. What we need is someone with proven leadership to fix things and I believe I have those skills.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BASH: Now, if you didn't catch that, John, I'm sure you did, he was pretty clearly comparing Marco Rubio to Barack Obama, which is, you know, the biggest no-no you can do if you're a Republican. And it's not just that. Here at this town hall earlier, he was saying that people in Congress who don't show up for votes should get their pay docked. Guess who hasn't showed up, I think, for just about more absentee votes than any other senator? Marco Rubio.

BERMAN: Yeah, thinly veiled insults, which is to say, hardly veiled at all, right there. Now, Dana, Donald Trump just a short while ago was talking about the Marco Rubio Jeb Bush relationship, how both men still say, they are great friends and Trump called it political B.S. except he didn't use the initials there, he said the actual words. What does Jeb say about that tonight?

BASH: You know, it happened while Jeb Bush was talking so, you know, I think hats off to his staff because between his town hall here and I guess ten feet over to where, from where I am, he actually gave a gaggle talk to reporters, myself included and I asked about that moment. I tried to be a lady about it. He wouldn't let me get away with it, but then he had some pretty interesting words for Donald Trump. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BASH: You and Marco Rubio and your ...

JEB BUSH: I will not answer that question until I hear exactly what he said and the terminology he used.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We can read it. [ laughter ]

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: that was it. All right.

JEB BUSH: I'm not going to answer it until you ...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Political you know what.

JEB BUSH: No, no, you got to say it. If you want me to ...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He said political bull shit. Political bull shit

JEB BUSH: Now, what's the question? I just wonder - I wanted to hear it.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Between you and Marco Rubio, that it's not a real friendship, you don't have a real relationship, you really hate each other?

(LAUGHTER)

JEB BUSH: Well, first of all, I'm pretty sure Marco can put his big boy pants on, I know I can and I don't like - we're friends and I can take criticism, he can, as well. Donald seems to have a harder time taking criticism and he probably needs to put on his big boy pants, too. He's running for the president of the United States. He only take a little income, and he's great at the giving it out. But we're close friends and I admire him greatly and it's a little awkward as I've always said that he's running for the same spot I am, but he has every right to do it, and I'm a friend and every debate we have, it turns out we're going to the same church to pray at noon and I love his family, I love his kids, Janette is a great person.

[20:50:00]

Donald Trump has no knowledge about my relationship with Marco Rubio.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: All right. Dana Bash, first of all, you have a potty mouth. Second of all, politically speaking, what are ....

BASH: It was a direct quote. I just want to say that for the record.

BERMAN: It's o0n the record right now. What are big boy pants when you are speaking about politics right now?

BASH: You know, kind of stiffing your spine and, you know, suck it up. That's basically it. You know, you got to - If you are going to play in the big leagues you got to know how to do it, and obviously, the point he was making there is something that Donald Trump himself has admitted. He's got thin skin. He doesn't like to be attacked. He doesn't like to hear criticism of himself and when he does, he hits right back and the point Jeb Bush was making was you heard that in my interview, he said some not so easy things about Marco Rubio who's his friend. Rubio has said - things about Jeb. They can take it. Donald Trump should be able to, as well.

BERMAN: That's as loose as I've seen Jeb on the trail for some time.

Dana Bash, thanks so much from New Hampshire. I really appreciate it.

We have even more election heat and a burning question did the top Republican in line to be speaker of the House just admit to using the investigative power of the House for a political hit job on Hillary Clinton over Benghazi? Some believe House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy has indeed done just that. Last night he told Fox News Sean Hannity, "Everybody thought Hillary Clinton was unbeatable, right? But we put together a Benghazi special committee, a select committee. What are her numbers today? He goes on to say, no one would have known any of that had happened had we not fought. Now, might imagine, reaction tonight from the Clinton camp, but also from a leading member of his own party. CNN's Jeff Zeleny joins us now with the very latest.

Jeff, these comments from the House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, the Democrats for years, they've been saying the special committee is basically a political witchhunt.

JEFF ZELENY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: John, they've been saying and now they have reason to sort of prove that. I mean Trey Gowdy, the chairman of this committee, a prosecutor from South Carolina, has been working overtime to show that this committee is going to be as fair as possible, all that blown out of the water now, with Kevin McCarthy saying, that this essentially has been a political exercise. Now, of course, this is like one of many things in Washington, John. It confirms sort of the obvious, what a lot of people suspected. But by Kevin McCarthy saying this outright, it really draws his leadership potentially as a next speaker into question, and also it undermines the entire work of this Benghazi committee.

BERMAN: Yeah, the thing, the really interesting thing over the last several hours not just Democrats talking about this, but Republicans, too. Congressman Jason Chaffetz has essentially called this an inappropriate statement, and he said it right on CNN to Wolf Blitzer.

ZELENY: He did. And Chaffetz is hardly anything but a rock ribbed conservative Republican from Utah. So he said that Kevin McCarthy should apologize for this, should retract his statement. We have to watch this very carefully here. The House leadership elections are October 8th, that is coming, this could undermine Kevin McCarthy, but also it could cause Democrats to rally around Hillary Clinton. She is scheduled to testify before that committee on October 22nd. It could be one of the biggest days in her campaign, at least in the fall campaign, and now this is all definitely being viewed under a political lens. Big surprise perhaps, but his own words on it.

BERMAN: Big moment following an even bigger moment, the CNN debate October 13th. Thanks for being with us. Appreciate it.

ZELENY: Thanks, John.

BERMAN: Coming up, new accusations against jailed sect leader Warren Jeffs. Two of his many children now saying he sexually abused them.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:57:00]

BERMAN: In just a few minutes, right here on CNN, the premiere of a new season of "This is Life with Lisa Ling." In tonight's episode, Lisa spends time with two adult children of jailed polygamist sect leader Warren Jeffs. For the first time, they are speaking out about the abuse they say they suffered, we'll speak to Lisa in just a moment. First, a preview of the episode.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One of my earliest memories of him sexually abusing me. I was about four or five years old, and this is where my dad did it. I remember him telling me you should never do this. Then he did it to me.

LISA LING, CNN: It was not an easy endeavor to try to get them to speak. They are two of Warren Jeff's many children, two of four who have escaped from the FLDS.

How many kids do you think your father has molested?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't know, sometimes I think ten, 20. I hope it's not more than that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: Lisa Ling joins me now, and I should say she'll be live tweeting tonight's episode, which starts in just a few minutes. Lisa, these kids have never spoken about this before publicly. Why did they decide to come forward now?

LING: It truly is so courageous for them. Roy Jeffs left the FLDS less than two year ago and Becky less than one. They want to tell the world this story, which has been very difficult to talk about, because their father still controls thousands of people inside the FLDS, and they desperately want those people, many of them include family members, to know that their father is a fraud, and they want them to know what he did to them before he became the prophet, that he had this nature about him even before he became the hand of God.

BERMAN: He may be behind bars, but his presence still there in a very real sense, and I understand they wanted him to see this show. This episode.

LING: Becky just called me two days ago, and said can the prison play this episode, because the only person who can change things for the people is Warren Jeffs. He is the only person who can tell the people inside that he is not the prophet and that he is a fraud.

BERMAN: Will they play it?

LING: We're not sure. We hope that they do. We're not sure.

BERMAN: So that's this episode. Quick preview of what's coming up next, biker gang? LING: Next week, the Mongols Motorcycle Club, the club that the

federal government has been targeting the hardest, and after Waco, there has been heightened surveillance on motorcycle clubs around the country. We also spend time in a jail in Richmond, Virginia that has this incredible fatherhood program that culminates in a father- daughter dance inside the jail, and it's just a beautiful, poignant episode.

BERMAN: I can't wait to see that. Lisa Ling, thank you so much for being with us. Big night tonight. Appreciate it. That does it for us. We'll see you again at 11:00 p.m. Eastern for another edition of "Ac 360," and the season premiere of "This is Life with Lisa Ling" starts now.