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CNN NEWSROOM

Secret Service Talks to Trump Campaign Over Second Amendment Comments. Aired 15-15:30p ET

Aired August 10, 2016 - 15:00   ET

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


[15:00:00]

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

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ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Here we go, top of the hour. You're watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin. Thank you for being with me.

Any minute now, Donald Trump will take to the stage at this rally there in Abingdon, Virginia. Meantime, Hillary Clinton, she is holding a rally as well in Des Moines, Iowa. We will take that.

Listen, make no mistake today, both candidates are in damage control. With Hillary Clinton, she embroiled in yet another round of her private e-mail server e-mail woes. This time, a new batch is raising questions about this alleged cozy relationship with the State Department when she was at the helm and her Clinton Foundation.

Then you have Donald Trump today. He's made this off-the-cuff comment that his critics say is a veiled incitement of violence against Hillary Clinton. Here's what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Hillary wants to abolish -- essentially abolish the Second Amendment.

(BOOING) TRUMP: By the way, and if she gets to pick -- if she gets to pick her

judges, nothing you can do, folks, although the Second Amendment people, maybe there is. I don't know.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: Let's begin with our chief national security correspondent, Jim Sciutto, who has some breaking news Trump campaign meeting with the Secret Service.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Brooke.

An official from the United States Secret Service tells me that it has contacted, it has spoken with the Trump campaign regarding those comments, his comments yesterday on the Second Amendment. In fact, I'm told there has been more than one conversation about the campaign since the candidate made those comments.

In addition, I'm told by the Secret Service, that the Trump campaign's response was that Donald Trump did not mean to incite violence. But I'll tell you, Brooke, as well, I have been speaking to former United States Secret Service agents who say a couple of things, one, that if a private citizen, you or I, were to make comments like this, we would certainly be interviewed by the Secret Service, with this added detail.

And that is that someone like Donald Trump, because of the following he has and the many public events he has, there is greater concern with comments coming from a public figure like that because it is possible, whether it is a deranged person, that someone could be influenced by those comments.

And that helps inform why the Secret Service would have a conversation like this with the Trump campaign following public comments like this.

BALDWIN: OK. OK. Jim Sciutto with that. We will see where we go from here.

We have got a panel to discuss all of that coming up, but, meantime, the reaction to Trump's comments has been swift from talking about that's just a bad joke to labeling it a dangerous call to arms.

Here is just some of the fallout.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: It sounds like just a joke gone bad. I hope he clears it up very quickly. You should never joke about something like that.

GEN. MICHAEL HAYDEN (RET.), FORMER CIA DIRECTOR: If someone else had said that outside the hall, he'd be in the back of a police wagon now with the Secret Service questioning him.

By the way, this might be really important. I used to tell my seniors at the CIA, you get to a certain point in this business, you're not just responsible for what you say. You are responsible for what people hear.

RUDY GIULIANI (R), FORMER MAYOR OF NEW YORK: I was there. I would like the people at home to realize that the time that any of us had any idea that that is the way it was interpreted is when the Clinton spin machine interpreted it that way. That is not what he intended. What he intended is very, very simple.

What he intended was that they should vote against it.

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: That is like dog whistle. Most of us know what sound like dog whistles sound like in politics. It's one of the clearest ones we have ever heard.

I worked for two presidents, one of whom almost lost his life, Ronald Reagan, at the hands of an assassin. You do not raise the issue in such a way that is open to a reasonable interpretation that you're trying to say, if this person gets out of line, we will take care of them.

DAN BONGINO, FORMER SECRET SERVICE AGENT: It is clear he is trying to motivate people to go out and vote based on the potential for an open Supreme Court seat. How that's clear to you that was some kind of call to an open revolution and to start firing your weapons at public officials is utter absurdity.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BALDWIN: But the reaction everyone is talking about today is the one that actually happened just behind Donald Trump at that rally as the cameras were rolling.

So I am going to replay Donald Trump's comments, but I want you to look not at Donald Trump, but at the man in the red just to the right of your screen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Hillary wants to abolish -- essentially abolish the Second Amendment.

(BOOING)

TRUMP: By the way, and if she gets to pick -- if she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks, although the Second Amendment people, maybe there is. I don't know.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[15:05:07]

BALDWIN: The man in the shadow, out of the shadows today, we found you, Darrell Vickers. We have found you in Oak Island, North Carolina.

Welcome, sir.

DARRELL VICKERS, ATTENDED TRUMP RALLY: Thank you, Brooke.

BALDWIN: All right, so the world watched your jaw drop. I want you to tell me, what was -- what were you thinking?

VICKERS: Well, I was thinking exactly what I said to my neighbor, Connie. And that was, I can't believe he said it. The media will have a field day with this one.

(LAUGHTER)

VICKERS: I was just absolutely taken aghast.

BALDWIN: Said it, meaning what? What was your immediate visceral interpretation, without hearing everyone chatting about it?

VICKERS: Well, Trump has got a very unique personality. And he makes jokes off the cuff.

And one of the things, had we had a chance to talk to him, I would have taken him to the shed. Down here in the South, we don't curse in front of women, we don't drink liquor in front of the preacher, and we don't make jokes like that in public.

Now, may do things in private. We may go to the shed and drink some moonshine or something like that. But we would have taken Mr. Trump to the shed and said, don't say things like that, because people will misconstrue it.

But it was clear to my mind, and to the people around me, that he was trying to make a joke. And, unfortunately, people, like some of the media, for instance, like Huffington Post, will take that and screw that up and distort it. And it was not meant to be that way. No one...

BALDWIN: OK, I'm not trying to talk about distorting. I just really -- I thought it would be fascinating to talk to you, sir.

And I hear you. I'm from the South. I understand what taking someone out to the shed means. But just so I am crystal, crystal-clear, you know, you thought he was making a joke about being violent?

VICKERS: Well, he wanted to make a point. And the point is that Hillary Clinton is going to cause us to have problems with the Second Amendment and with gun rights, et cetera.

And it was a joke, clearly a joke, and not something that I would have taken seriously. There's no one that I know would have taken that seriously.

BALDWIN: You know she's never actually said she wants to abolish the Second Amendment?

VICKERS: I understand that. I understand that. But there are so many people that are -- believe that the solution is

to control the guns, and there are many of us who believe that the solution is to control the people who have the guns. We don't like people who don't have clear mental faculties being allowed to have guns. And that's some of the things. We have laws in the country that will take care of that. Let's enforce the laws. Let's don't eliminate them.

BALDWIN: Mr. Vickers, let me ask you this, because I know you are a staunch Republican. You live in North Carolina. I understand you wanted to go to this rally, you wanted to see the man in person, because you had not yet made up your mind. Is that correct?

VICKERS: That's correct.

My family has been Republican since 1854. And I will support the party. I think the Republican Party has got a superior platform, a platform that's beyond doubt the best solution to our country's problems.

BALDWIN: Why hadn't you made up your mind yet?

VICKERS: Because I wanted to see the man's character. And there were two questions that I actually wanted to have answers, and, number one, from whom will he seek advice? And, number two, when the Secret Service agents write their inevitable tell-all 10 years from now, what are the headlines going to be?

And I really want to understand the character. In the South, we shake your hand, look you in the eye and make a determination whether you're a good person or not. Trump is a good...

BALDWIN: Did you get those answers, Mr. Vickers?

VICKERS: I did.

BALDWIN: Are you saying yes to Trump?

VICKERS: No, I did get those answers, and I listened to him for over an hour. And 23 seconds of that were -- caused my mouth to drop, obviously.

But I did listen to him for over an hour. And I'm convinced that he's very intelligent, he's very astute as a businessman.

BALDWIN: Are you voting for him?

VICKERS: Yes, I will. I absolutely will, because I believe he has the kind of integrity that we need in this country. And he's honest. And I am convinced he has the moral fiber to lead this country.

[15:10:04]

I'm not convinced that the moral fiber exists in the other candidate.

BALDWIN: Darrell Vickers, I appreciate you. We found you. We saw your jaw drop. And now we have heard from the man himself. Thank you so much. I appreciate it.

VICKERS: You're quite welcome.

BALDWIN: Thank you.

So, with that, let me bring in my panel, Ana Marie Cox, senior political correspondent for MTV News, Boris Epshteyn, senior adviser to the Trump campaign, CNN chief political analyst Gloria Borger, and Susan Page, the Washington bureau chief for the "USA Today."

Welcome, welcome to all of you.

And just can we take a minute, and talk about Mr. Vickers and what he made of all of that? Beginning with you two on set with me. You have got the smile, you not so much. Eenie meenie, you first. Ladies first.

ANA MARIE COX, MTV NEWS: OK. Well, I think the most important thing about that interview was his concession that he did believe it was a joke about assassinating...

BALDWIN: He wanted to take him out to the shed.

(CROSSTALK)

BORIS EPSHTEYN, TRUMP CAMPAIGN ADVISER: That's what was most important?

COX: Yes, do I think that's what's most important about what he said.

Second most important is that he has agreed to support the guy even though he said that. I guess -- and you tried to push him on also the factual claim that Hillary Clinton is going to somehow repeal the Second Amendment, which is not a part of what she says.

BALDWIN: And he agreed. He said, yes, she's never said.

COX: Right. Right. But that's a little bit getting lost right now.

But I think what's amazing about this whole controversy is that he gets up there and says things that are not true, that are demonstrably false. He's had more flaming Pants on Fire -- I hate that designation -- by PolitiFact than any other candidate.

But it takes him threatening violence for us to actually talk about him going over the time.

BALDWIN: OK, Boris.

EPSHTEYN: It's obvious where you stand.

What I thought was the first interesting thing is that she interviewed a man who was just a man, a voter, a citizen on air.

BALDWIN: We need more of those on TV.

EPSHTEYN: And his Chyron said man at rally. I thought that was actually the most interesting thing.

As far as what his interpretation was, that's again one individual, one person. I don't think we could place -- Rudy Giuliani was there as well.

(CROSSTALK)

BALDWIN: He said, despite the joke, that he would have taken him to the shed, he's voting for him, he thinks he's intelligent, he has character.

EPSHTEYN: We're glad for his vote and we welcome Mr. Vickers to the Trump team.

But more broadly, it's interesting we're talking about a man in a rally. What we should be talking about is a man at Clinton's rally, and why Seddique Mateen was right behind Hillary Clinton at her rally.

BALDWIN: We talked about that 24 hours ago and agreed it is embarrassing and they didn't know.

(CROSSTALK)

EPSHTEYN: This is my third campaign. They knew. This is my third presidential campaign. The presidential campaign knows...

(CROSSTALK)

COX: You're suggesting they intentionally did that? Wait. Wait. Wait.

(CROSSTALK)

EPSHTEYN: I'm suggesting that somebody there either had him behind a rope line, maybe didn't know his background or did know his background and had him behind there. We need an answer from the Clinton camp. We don't have one.

COX: What are you trying to imply about what they were doing?

EPSHTEYN: I'm trying to imply that the Clinton camp has not answered. If you have an answer for me, I would love for you to give one. Do you have one?

(CROSSTALK)

BALDWIN: I'm going to pivot to you, Gloria Borger. I'm going to let you two hang on a second.

And, yes, folks do see people behind the candidate when they are speaking, but again the Clinton campaign saying they had no idea who he was.

On all of this and also on this man, we just thought it would be fascinating to find the guy sitting behind Trump who had the visceral reaction before the 24-hour news cycle and everyone talking about it. What do you think?

GLORIA BORGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Look, I thought that he obviously thought it was a bad joke, as Paul Ryan said. That's why he whispered to his neighbor and said to you, look, I would have taken him to the woodshed because here in my state we don't joke about that kind of thing. We take it very seriously.

Having said that, he still likes the guy better than he likes Hillary Clinton. And he's going to vote for him because he still would rather put his trust in Donald Trump than in Hillary Clinton.

I think the question that this raises overall -- and he was an undecided voter -- but it raises questions for other undecided voters about an issue which six in 10 Americans believe Donald Trump doesn't have the temperament to be president. Just as many believe they don't trust Hillary Clinton, right, so this is a choice that people are not thrilled about, but it is the choice they have.

And he obviously made the choice to go with Donald Trump on this.

BALDWIN: Susan Page, let me quote our friend Ana Navarro, who called this Groundhog Day, right?

She's a Republican in Florida who said that she feels like this is all part of a bigger pattern. Right? Trump says something controversial. Doesn't totally own it. Doesn't apologize. We chat about it for 24 hours and that's that.

SUSAN PAGE, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, "USA TODAY": But in another way how this is like Groundhog Day is that we are talking about this instead of things that would be harmful to Hillary Clinton's campaign that have come out during the same period of time.

That includes the person at the rally. It is hard for me to imagine the campaign intended for that to happen. But it would also include the disclosures on her e-mails, which are a serious issue involving the appearance of conflict of interest with the Clinton Foundation contributions in his -- her work at the State Department.

[15:15:06]

That is a serious issue that is in large part overshadowed because we are debating whether he was joking or not about assassination. That is the kind of opportunity costs that we have seen over and over again with the Trump campaign.

BALDWIN: We have an entire segment -- you all are sticking around -- to talk about Hillary Clinton and being dogged yet again by these e- mails from Judicial Watch.

But before we do that, the man himself, Donald Trump, he is now at the podium in Virginia. Let's take a listen.

(JOINED IN PROGRESS) TRUMP: And I fully understand that. But it's been an honor. We just

met with some of the folks who are really representative I would say, I would say representatives from every aspect of the business, right?

And it was amazing. It was really amazing. These are great people. They're great Americans. They love this country. And if I get in, if I get in, if I get in, this is what it is. OK?

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: And other forms of energy, all forms of energy. But what they have done to the miners is incredible and the Obama administration.

And do you remember -- and I think you might have just seen it. Know what they have done. And nobody knows. Clean coal? Nobody knows why. You look at what's happening with China, the amount of energy they are producing and what they're using coal for, tremendous amounts of -- just tremendous. It's like incredible.

And they're not cleaning it. Believe me, they're not cleaning it. We have a small, very, very small planet compared to the universe, right? And that stuff is going up and they're not cleaning it. And here we produce great stuff. And we're not allowed to use it and it is getting worse and worse.

They're going to be out of business soon. Hillary Clinton will be worse than Obama. You know it. She will be worse.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: Don't forget, when she made the statement essentially going to puts mines -- essentially going to put the mines and miners out business, going to put them out of business. And I guess she forgot about West Virginia, right? She was going to West Virginia. She forgot about Virginia, too, in all fairness.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: She had West Virginia right after, a short time after that. And you remember when she went into West Virginia? She met with that wonderful family and the man, a miner for many years, and he was trying to explain to her, and she was trying to say, well, you know, I really want to keep it.

She didn't know. She was groveling. She was groveling. She didn't know what to say. I don't think he was going to be easily convinced. Do we agree? Because she said it. Just like she said -- she said it was a mistake that she's going to raise taxes on the middle class. You saw that one? Maybe she misspoke.

We have to get them a break. But it did come out awfully loud and clear. I don't know. Hey, look, hopefully, it won't matter. OK? Hopefully, it's not going to matter because she's not going to get there.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) TRUMP: But what I told the folks before we were over at Peterbilt, the plant incredible, but what I told the folks before is you have to get out and vote, because the miners, to a certain extent, they're so down and they have been treated so badly, that they haven't been voting.

They haven't been going out and voting like they can, and that includes members of their family that have left the mining business, members of the family, they have left coal. They have left everything and they have gone into something else, and that's fine, that's great.

But they live in Virginia, and they vote. And their parents are still in the coal world, where they want to be, and that's where they want to be. But everybody has to get out and vote. If you get out and vote, we're pretty close in Virginia, and she's spending a fortune on ads.

A friend of mine said he can't see television without seeing anti- Trump ads. And they're not even true. My friend actually said they're not true. I said I know. I could go over those ads one by one and show you the -- it's fraudulent, actually. But what are you going to do?

She's spending Wall Street money on ads. And it's just one after another after another, and this guy, kiddingly, said, I just want to see one Ivory Soap ad, one, just a break-in.

(LAUGHTER)

TRUMP: And we haven't spent anything yet. We will be, because we're doing well. But we haven't spent anything yet. We're holding it. But it's really -- it's really a shame that they can say whatever they want to say.

They try and demean and defame. And then you look at what she's doing with her e-mails, 33,000 missing e-mails, yes, 33,000.

[15:20:07]

AUDIENCE: Lock her up! Lock her up! Lock her up!

TRUMP: Yes.

It's very sad. And then I guess, yesterday, 1,000 came out or something, some fairly vast number. Oh, I want to see the ones -- what I really would like to see, though, we have to see the 33,000. Can you imagine? Remember she said, I think it was for her wedding, the wedding of Chelsea, and it was for yoga classes, 33,000 e-mails.

(LAUGHTER)

TRUMP: That's a lot of yoga. That's a lot of yoga.

But a couple of very bad ones came out. And it's called pay for play, and some of these were really, really bad and illegal, if it's true. It's illegal. You're paying and you're getting things. I watched yesterday, because of "The Apprentice," Blagojevich, right,

Governor Blagojevich, 14 years in jail. And you know some people think OK. Some people think it's crazy. Look at what she's done. Nothing. She's running for president.

But it came out that her people pay for play and very big stories today. The problem is, it will be big stories for about two minutes, and then they're going to drop it, because the media is so totally dishonest, so totally dishonest.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: If that were me -- if that were me, the story that just came out this morning and, really, hidden from some of the major newspapers, hidden, if that were me, that would be the biggest story in the history of the various papers.

They'd go quadruple spacing, boom, Trump. But with her, it's just terrible. Some of them covered it big league, but some of them are just refusing to really report the facts. And I think it's going to get worse and worse, though, because I assume more stuff will come out. But this was big stuff. Pay for play.

It's illegal. I mean, it's illegal, and we will see what happens with it, folks. We will see what happens with it, but it's very serious stuff. It's very, very serious.

I don't know that it can be any more serious than deleting or getting rid of 33,000 e-mails and all of the other things, the server, the server, which you're not allowed to have, the information gotten off that server by who knows who, probably many people, many countries potentially, secretary of state, to put us all in that position.

So I think it's a very sad thing, and they give her a pass on everything, give her a pass. It's so sad when I watch that, and it was point, after point, after point, and everybody was saying, wow, they're really going to do it. And then they go, however, as soon as I heard -- when you hear the word however, but it's just -- it's just so incredible that a thing like that could happen.

So let's see what happens. Let's see what happens. In the meantime, we're doing very well. You saw the polls over the day or two have really tightened up a lot. I think we're going to have a great victory. I really feel that.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: One of the things I suggested is your ballots, you go and sign, do it early, so you don't have to, because on November 8, and if you go in and sign, we have some people in the room that I met before that are going to be pushing hard, but put in your ballots.

They have certain requirements, and you live by those requirements perfectly. Make sure they don't lose your ballot, make sure they don't lose your vote, which I'm sure -- I just left a great place, North Carolina. And they just had a tremendous lost, voter I.D., voter I.D. They lost voter I.D. How do you lose voter I.D.?

You mean you don't have to show identification, you don't have to show, that, hey -- and then you say -- I have been talking about the rigged system for a long time. And I get hammered in the press for talking about -- oh, I can't believe he'd be talking about the rigged system.

But then, in the meantime, voter I.D., you don't have to do. And I'm sure none of those folks would be voting 10 times during one day, right? I'm sure a thing like that -- and really a big part of the rigged system is the press itself, because they can take a little story that isn't a story and make it into a big deal. Happens so much. Happens so much.

And speaking of that, remember this. We have so many things that we have to protect in this country. We have to protect our Second Amendment, which is under siege.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

[15:25:05]

TRUMP: Remember that. Remember that. It's under siege.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

We have to -- you know, I see -- and, by the way, we have a lot of unity in the Republican Party, but nobody talks about it. If one senator says, we're not voting for Trump, never Trump, some people were beaten so badly that they just can't get -- and I understand that. I can see how that can happen.

They have won throughout their lives politically, and then they lose an a election by a lot to a guy that never ran before, OK? I never ran before. Never thought I would be doing it this time either, but I watch what's going on, and I say, it's time. It's time.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: Boy, is it time, right?

You know, I look at the Iran deal. How about the $400 million in cash? How about that? How about that? The $400 million, do you know what that is? Do you know what -- does anybody know what that would even look like, 400 -- and did you see Iran actually finally did do what I thought they were going to do.

They released pictures, because they want to embarrass the United States, just like they took the 10 sailors and they made us look so bad. They made us look so bad. It was like a humiliation of our country, OK?

This is horrible. And then we keep going and going. And you saw what their so-called leader, somebody would say the supreme leader. I refuse to use that term. President Obama would say the supreme leader. What is going on, folks? What is going on with our leaders, and with our leader in particular? He's grossly incompetent, OK?

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: Grossly incompetent.

So, there have $400 million in cash going. It happens to be the same day as the hostages were released. The hostages were in the airport for massive amounts of time. I mean, I guess one of them said they wouldn't let us go because they were waiting for a certain plane to come in, and I just can't imagine what was on that plane, right? We can't imagine. Sure it had nothing to do with the $400 million.

But isn't that unbelievable? And then he will stand up and he will say that one thing had nothing to do with the other. And they're practically -- I guess you could say there's a 1 percent or 2 percent chance that what he said is right. But that's about it.

They would practically -- they're saying they're waiting for something else on a plane to come in, right, and they were at the airport forever. And they say -- and President Obama said, no, this had nothing to do with the hostages.

And if you remember with Obamacare, he said you can keep your plan, you can keep your doctor, you will have your doctor, you will have your plan. How many times? He said it 28 times or something?

And many Democrats approved that disaster. It's a disaster. We're going to repeal it and replace it.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: But many, many Democrats, many, many Democrats would not have -- it won by almost nothing. The margin was almost nothing. And a lot of Democrats approved it. They didn't want to approve it.

But with the doctor and the plan and over and over again, a lot of pressure put on, and it's out of control. Premiums are going up at a rate that nobody has ever seen before. You know, in Texas, through Blue Cross/Blue Shield, they just had almost a 50 percent increase.

And they -- the big increase is now going to come on November 1. And they're trying to delay it until after the election, because it is catastrophic. It is going to be an increase like never before.

I'm hearing numbers that I don't even want to say because the press will say, oh, that's terrible, he exaggerated. It's not going to be an exaggeration.

It's going to be election-changing. And we can't let those numbers be released on another date some time after the election, because it will show what a total disaster Obamacare is. So important.

So, I just say to all of the politicians in the room and your great congressman, who is a terrific guy -- where is he, by the way? He's here.

Oh, Congressman, stand up. Stand up.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: Vote for him. He's our guy.

Senator, stand up, Senator. Come on, Senator. Good.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: No, we have -- we have great people here.

So, right now, they're swimming uphill.