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Was Trump Inciting Violence With Comments?; Did Trump Cross The Line With His Rhetoric?; Emails Raise Questions About State Department And Clinton Foundation; Why Does Trump Resonate With The White Working Class? Aired 7-7:30a ET
Aired August 10, 2016 - 07:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- and clinching two victories.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Katie Ledecky winning her second gold medal in Rio.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is the greatest gymnastics team in history.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Team USA is on fire.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: We got the best of news coming out of the Olympics, and we've got the worst of news coming out of the election. Good morning. Welcome to your NEW DAY. Alisyn is off. Brianna Keilar here with me this morning. We have a lot for you.
Donald Trump is not backing down. He's igniting another controversy. The issue is whether he is aware but simply doesn't care about the impact of some of the things that he says. This time suggesting that Second Amendment supporters could do something to stop Hillary Clinton. He says he was not calling for violence.
KEILAR: Well, people on both sides of the aisle are condemning Trump's comments. Trump is now blaming the media for twisting his words. Did he cross the line?
We want to begin our coverage with CNN's Jason Carroll live in Virginia -- Jason.
JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning to you, Brianna. You know, this is a bit of two steps forward, one step back. Many of Trump's supporters thought he took a step forward when he delivered that economic speech in Detroit on Monday. Now he's taken a step back. Trump's critics say he has no one to blame but himself. Donald Trump on the defensive again.
CARROLL (voice-over): Donald Trump on the defensive again.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: There can be no other interpretation. Give me a break.
CARROLL: Blaming media bias for the fire storm over this quip at his campaign rally.
TRUMP: Hillary wants to essentially abolish the Second Amendment. 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 but.
CARROLL: Trump doing damage control, claiming he was calling on the political powers of Second-Amendment voters to make their voices heard, not advocating violence toward his rival.
TRUMP: This is a political movement. This is a strong, powerful movement, the Second Amendment. You know, Hillary wants to take your guns away. She wants to leave you unprotected in your home.
CARROLL: Clinton's campaign quickly denouncing Trump, saying he is dangerous and a presidential candidate should not suggest violence in anyway. Other Democrats echoing the same sharp rebuke.
Senator Chris Murphy calling it an assassination threat. Elizabeth Warren slamming him as a pathetic coward who can't handle losing to a girl.
And Gabby Giffords who survived being shot in the head says Americans must draw a bright red line between political speech and suggestions of violence. Republicans blasting Trump as well.
GENERAL MICHAEL HAYDEN, FORMER CIA AND NSA DIRECTOR: That's actually a very arresting comment. 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.
CARROLL: Trump blaming the desperate media for trying to distract from what he calls Clinton's anti-Second Amendment stance, even though Clinton has never called for abolishing gun rights. The NRA and running mate, Mike Pence coming to Trump's defense.
MIKE PENCE, REPUBLICAN VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Donald Trump is urging people around this country to act in a manner consistent with their convictions in the course of this election. People who cherish the Second Amendment have a very clear choice in this election.
CARROLL: Trump has taken heat for violent rhetoric on the stump before.
TRUMP: I'd like to punch him in the face. Knock the crap out of him.
CARROLL: Speaker of the House Paul Ryan once again issuing a tepid defense of Trump.
REPRESENTATIVE PAUL RYAN, HOUSE SPEAKER: It sounds like just a joke gone bad. I hope he clears it up very quickly. You should never joke about something like that.
CARROLL: And Chris, Trump supporters have given various explanations for his comments. Take former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani who said it was very clear Donald Trump was joking, but he also said it was a call for political action.
Certainly got the attention of the Secret Service. That department says they are aware of Trump's comments. Also got the attention of Bernice king, the daughter of Martin Luther King.
She tweeted shortly after Trump's comments, saying, "As the daughter of a leader that was assassinated, I find Trump's comments distasteful, disturbing, dangerous. His words don't #liveup, #mlk."
New Yorkers are waking up this morning to "The Daily News" headline, which reads, "This isn't a joke anymore." "The Daily News" saying that Trump's comments were offensive and reckless, but we should also note that in the past, "The New York Daily News" has referred to Donald Trump as a clown, a racist, and at one point comparing him to Hitler -- Chris.
CUOMO: All right, Jason Carroll. Let's discuss. We have CNN political commentator and former Trump campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski. As you know, he's still receiving severance from the campaign, and CNN political commentator and vice chair of the New York State Democratic Party, Christine Quinn.
We actually have two very good demonstrations of the perceived weakness of both candidates. This one is the obvious one with Trump right now.
[07:05:03]We also have these e-mails that just came out that show an overlap between Hillary Clinton's operations at the State Department and the Clinton Global Foundation.
I want to get to both of these this morning. Let's start with Trump. It seems to be so clear. This is a pattern. We've seen this like ten times in a row, whether it's him making calls as his own press guy a bunch of years ago or the Star of David or whatever he says about Muslims, whatever it is.
The pattern is he says something that shows he's unaware of the sensitivities that he's provoking or he just doesn't care. Then you guys come out as an army and blame it on us or blame it a hundred different ways and he never apologizes. Does this have to stop?
COREY LEWANDOWSKI, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Look, I think in this particular issue, what you have exactly what Paul Ryan said. This was a joke that he made during a rally. This wasn't something serious. He wasn't inciting violence.
What he was talking about was the people who support the Second Amendment, and Mike Pence talked about this as well, have a clear choice in this election. They can vote for someone who supports the Second Amendment and will appoint judges to make sure their Second Amendment place, or you can support Hillary Clinton, who would be anti-gun.
CUOMO: Pence is right. You're right except that's not what he said. Let's forget about the fact you can't abolish the Second Amendment. We'll write that off as political hyperbole. That's what politicians do and that's what Trump is now.
You can't say he's not a politician anymore. He's just much a politician as anybody based on episodes like this. Can't get rid of the Second Amendment. That's hyperbole.
Clinton hates people who have guns and is going to take them from them. That for the voters to decide. She can defend her own position.
Is he unaware that when you say, you people can do something about this, you Second Amendment people, that it will trigger a reaction, no pun intended, even of one of the men sitting behind him who looked at his wife, that this is something he should be aware of or is he aware and he just doesn't care?
LEWANDOWSKI: Look, I think you have what is Donald Trump talking stream of conscience. He understands what he's saying. There' no question about it. What he was asking for specifically was those people to unite.
The NRA has endorsed Donald Trump, the earliest endorsement they've ever made of any candidate before he was even the Republican nominee to ensure the Second Amendment stays in place.
He was trying to bring those people together and say, look, this election is very critical. The Second Amendments issue you care about, make sure you unite at the ballot box and you stop Hillary Clinton.
CUOMO: What did he mean when he said, well, maybe you Second Amendment people, there is something you can do? What do you think he meant?
LEWANDOWSKI: I don't know what he meant, but what I do think --
CUOMO: But isn't that a problem, Corey? Isn't that a problem? If you don't know where he's going when he says something as president of the United States, is that really of no concern? Should that will be of no concern?
LEWANDOWSKI: I think the larger issue is what he was trying to do was to rally those people who believe in the Second Amendment saying, look, your job right now, if you care about this election, if you care about the Second Amendment, if that's your issue, you have to make sure you are united, you are together, and you go to the ballot box and stop Hillary Clinton. That's what he's asking for.
CUOMO: So the Clinton people are unsatisfied with this. You guys are using it as a rallying point, saying, we don't care what do, it's how he was trying to do it. What's your case? CHRISTINE QUINN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I don't think we're using it as a rallying point. I think we're responding to something that was said --
CUOMO: I got flooded by your people for 15 hours yesterday saying why aren't you talking about this? This is what the election is about.
QUINN: Well, you know, it's a day of the week in your life. That's probably happening from candidates somewhere anyway. But we're responding to something that was said by someone running for president of the United States.
With all due respect to Corey, the presentation by Trump supporters that this was meant to get out the vote does not at all jive with what Donald Trump said. He specifically said, if Hillary is elected, when she picks her judges. So in that scenario, he's lost the race.
CUOMO: I can feel people saying, that's not what he said. Let's play it again. Here's what it is. Then you'll know the complete context of what we're discussing right now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Hillary wants to abolish -- essentially abolish the second amendment. 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. But I'll tell you what, that will be a horrible day.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: Christine, I'll give you the point. He wasn't talking about voting up into the election. Once she gets in and gets her judges. So why don't you accept the idea he's just trying to rally them and say, you know, fight for your cause?
QUINN: Because it's not what he said. He didn't say, if you don't want Hillary Clinton to pick these judges then get out and vote. That's not what he said and words matter, particularly from those folks who want to be president of the United States.
And particularly when you add them into a long line of other times, some we just saw on the show, where Donald Trump has said things like, I want to punch somebody in the face, beat them up, things of that nature, I'm paraphrasing.
[07:10:00]We know he said. It's been documented. Those kinds of things unfortunately have happened at some of his rallies. Then you add into that the other kinds of statements he's made, which put people like Corey in a position where they have to spin it around like they're having to do with this comment.
Where he's, you know, called a distinguished judge who happens to be of Mexican heritage, said he can't rule in my cases, where he said things like pregnancy in the workplace is an inconvenience, where he said things that are not at all in line with what who wants to be president of the United States should be saying and really makes it clear that he is unfit to be president.
Because what we don't want is international leaders to have to go, gee, I better call Corey because I don't think he said what he meant. If he meant what he said, we have to get it changed.
CUOMO: What's the other side? Why is this all OK?
LEWANDOWSKI: Look, I don't know if it's OK or if it's not OK. But what he's talking about is -- look, he's tapped into something and it's talked about Hillary Clinton and her honesty. It's talked about her e-mail scandals.
It's talked about the fact that the report today shows that she did not release all of her e-mails, which she was supposed to the FBI investigation, right. This goes to the heart of the Clinton campaign.
It's talked about the fact that yesterday in Florida, Hillary Clinton had the father of a mass shooter sitting behind her at a campaign rally where she is talking about praising the police and the emergency response individuals who helped at that nightclub and the father of the perpetrator is sitting behind her. The campaign says, we knew nothing about this.
CUOMO: Turnabout as fair play. We are talking about this thing that Trump has on him and again, it's about his awareness or his concern for what he says. This matters too.
CUOMO: How can the Clinton campaign say we didn't know that the father of the Orlando shooter was going to be there? The reports that he was invited by the campaign.
QUINN: The campaign has made it clear he wasn't invited by the campaign. The Clinton events are open events. Anyone can come in.
CUOMO: Do you think it's wrong he was there? What if the campaign had invited him? Would that have --
QUINN: Well, they would never have invited him. No campaign should invite someone who said those things to an event. They say they didn't. I know they didn't because they would not have invited someone like that and the campaign has disavowed him and him being there.
Now if you have an open event in a Democratic way, anyone can come in. Does the campaign need to go back and look at, you know, once people get in, vetting, things of that nature, the advanced setup? Absolutely.
But let's be clear, the campaign didn't invite him, and the campaign has disavowed him being there. But I want to go back to the Trump comment for a second because you know, I used to run a crime victims assistance agency.
I work with victims of crime there, I work with victims of crime now in the homeless system. To think joking about any kind of violence could be funny, to make comments about violence that can, even if you don't mean them to, be misinterpreted.
To say things like beat him up, punch him in the face, to make references that can be clearly or misconstrued as violence, simply reflects a disregard for the impact of violence on America and on individuals.
It just -- you can't have someone who has no sense of the reality of violence and crime in people's lives be the commander-in-chief.
CUOMO: That point is unimpressive to you. Why?
LEWANDOWSKI: Because when I look at the Clinton campaign, I look at what she's done with her e-mail scandal and the fact she didn't even know there were classified markings on e-mails that could very well jeopardize individuals and leaked national secrets out to somebody -- multiple servers sitting in someone's bathroom.
I'm more concerned about that. You want to talk about what's bad for America, you've got a secretary of the state who has classified documents being held outside the State Department, who's not been honest about this, who's continuously said that she was honest.
Maybe she was honest to the FBI, but she was clearly not honest to the American people. That's more of an egregious example of a lack of leadership than somebody trying to incite people to come together to stop someone at the ballot box.
This is a serious classified breach of information where the FBI director clearly said he was very concerned about it.
CUOMO: By the way, you know, one general point that captures both of these, this is why voters feel they have such a terrible voice in this election. You have such looming negatives out there.
You know, Trump whether he doesn't care what comes out of his mouth and the implications are all lost because the justification is often that Hillary is even worse and that's what election has come down to.
Let's take on the e-mail thing. One fair point. This is not about Hillary Clinton hiding e-mails. According to the State Department and the review that's been done by many different outlets so far.
These are e-mails we're talking about, about 44 so far, that were released by the State Department that do not include Hillary Clinton on the chain. So they would not have been part of the 55,000 e-mails that came out as part of her disclosure on what she was doing.
Fair point? Fair point. So let's deal with what's in these 44 e- mails. Clear cases of people from the Clinton Global Initiative, the foundation, asking the State Department to do stuff for donors and employees who want jobs.
[07:15:10]Semblance of impropriety is the standard, as you know, Christine, which means outward appearance of stink. This has that in scores. Why do it?
QUINN: Look, I can't speak to why people did or didn't send e-mails. But I think the clear point here on what Corey has talked about is very different than what he is saying. Director Comey of the FBI, someone who's really above reproach by both Republicans and Democrats, as I believe put this to bed --
CUOMO: No, he ducked it about the foundation. He was asked twice in the hearing, and he would not answer as to whether or not they had looked at the foundation.
QUINN: At the hearing, he was clearly asked, could Hillary Clinton have known --
CUOMO: You're talking about the classified information.
QUINN: Which Corey brought up before.
CUOMO: That's fine. That's an issue, but this is an issue too. This foundation has been largely ignored. Why? Is this a media bias? No, because it's private. It's hard to get information out of the foundation. Comey ducked it at the hearing twice. These 44 e-mails come out, and they don't say anything. They show clear coordination between the two sides. Isn't that wrong?
QUINN: First of all, we can't say the Clinton Foundation has been ignored by the media. I'm not criticizing the media for covering it --
CUOMO: It's hard to get as deep in there as you would if it were a public organization.
QUINN: It has received tremendous coverage. Numerous front page stories in "The New York Times." It's received coverage, as it should. I'm in the begrudging the media.
CUOMO: It's hard to get as deep down. It's like Trump and his Taxes. It's a private organization. I can't get in there.
QUINN: I think there's the statement that it hasn't been covered isn't accurate.
CUOMO: We're covering it more right now. These 44 e-mails, you know, many of which show coordination between staffers of one and staffers of the other, it's wrong. She said in 2009 she wouldn't do it anymore and it continued after that.
QUINN: Well, no, what we're seeing here is e-mails she wasn't on, requests from individuals at the foundation or CGI, and we're not seeing those e-mails, any evidence that they were responded to by Hillary Clinton, that anything was done wrong. We can't control what people send to people who work for us.
CUOMO: You don't think Hillary Clinton had any idea that the staffers were working with the foundation?
QUINN: Doug hasn't been in the foundation for quite some time. I want to be clear. Hillary Clinton said in 2009 that wouldn't happen.
CUOMO: But then it did.
QUINN: No, e-mails were sent, not with her on it. There's no evidence that action was taken against it.
CUOMO: So you give her no responsibility for what the people underneath her do.
QUINN: I don't see any evidence to say she instructed them, she knew about it. Again, we're going to see here that other people did things. You can't control -- as you know, somebody on your staff sends an e-mail to somebody, that's not something you can necessarily control.
CUOMO: If they work for me and it's done as something that would be seen in the vein of what I want done, of course, it's going to come back to me. I don't even want to think about it. Corey, what's your take on this?
LEWANDOWSKI: This is what this comes to. This is typical Washington, D.C. bought and paid for. This is everything that's wrong with Washington, which is it's not what you know, it's who you know.
How much money can you give, who do you know in a position of power, what favors can you curry, what can you do while you're in a position of power to then help afterwards?
This was direct coordination, it looks like between the Clinton Foundation and the State Department to do favors for people that are politically connected. This is everything that the American people are upset about.
This is what the average person can't get done anymore. This is why campaign finance reform has to happen. This is the problem with donors who donate millions of dollars to these super PACs.
When it's all said and done, they have access to people that nobody else does. The foundation should be held accountable. The people who receive those e-mail, they opened them and they read them and absolutely unequivocally the buck stops at the top and she knew about it.
QUINN: I want to be clear. We see e-mails sent, we see no action taken. Corey is clearly calling for more transparency in politics, which I could we would all agree with. Let's start with Donald Trump putting his taxes out there.
LEWANDOWSKI: This is an official government e-mail account, which is receiving these e-mails from a foundation asking for a favor from an official government official. Donald Trump is not in any type of official capacity. He is a candidate for office.
QUINN: If we're going to talk about transparency, then what's good for the goose is good for the gander. America knows Donald Trump is holding back his taxes. Maybe for no reason. Although, other people who are billionaires or millionaires who are getting audited said that's not a valid reason. So maybe he's just nervous, but whatever it is, it raises big questions about what he's hiding and why. I want to go back to an earlier --
CUOMO: No, hold on a second. I want to wrap it up. We've take an lot of time to discuss these two issues, and it's been productive, but there's a lot on the table for the voters on this and this conversation will continue. Corey, Christine, thank you very much. I appreciate it -- Brianna.
KEILAR: Well, Chris, Donald Trump's latest controversy, which we've been talking about, suggesting that the second amendment supporters that he has could do something to stop Hillary Clinton from appointing judges.
[07:20:06]Well, Trump says that he was not inciting violence. How do Trump supporters hear what he said?
Joining us now is J.D. Vance. He's the author of this new book "Hillbilly Elogy." It is a memoire of a family and a culture in crisis.
J.D., just give a little background for you, you are now a 31-year-old investment banker, but you came from a poor town in Eastern Ohio in the rust belt where certainly Donald Trump has a lot of appeal.
You talk about your upbringing in this book, a very fascinating book. You also take a bit of an anthropological approach to the experience in general of this region.
I want to talk to you about what some of his supporters. You talk about these folks who he has appeal with. I want to talk about what they are seeing and hearing in these remarks that he has just said. Let's listen to them.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Hillary wants to abolish -- essentially abolish the Second Amendment. 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. But I'll tell you what, that will be a horrible day.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: J.D., how are his supporters receiving this message? And also, they're receiving it as we talk to them in a very different way than certainly, say, Democrats, even Republicans in Washington are receiving it.
J.D. VANCE, AUTHOR, "HILLBILLY ELOGY": Yes, I think that's absolutely true. So if you think about their lives, they feel beset, I think, by two separate crises. One is an economic crises that makes it harder to find good paying jobs, jobs that you're proud of.
Another is a social crisis where they are seeing folks die of heroin doses in record numbers and seeing family breakdown. I think in some ways, the remarks he made, while I certainly find them unacceptable, I think a lot of people honestly feel that it's not that big of a deal.
Because compared to the crises in their lives, whether Donald Trump, you know, what he actually said and the official chatter and I think the concern over what he said strikes a lot of people as a bit of a distraction from the real issue.
KEILAR: Supporters of Donald Trump are at times derided for their support of Trump. I know you are not a supporter of Donald Trump, but you also have insight. You say that you understand really what is motivating people and their appeal for Donald Trump. You say, yes, there is anger, but there is also a lot of frustration.
VANCE: Yes, absolutely. I think to live in these people's lives, you wake up every morning, you open the paper, and you see new stories about jobs going overseas, factories closing down. You see obituaries with kids that are too young to die, and they don't list the cause of death because when the parents put them in the newspaper, they're too ashamed to tell their friends and family and neighborhoods what their kids actually died of.
So what I think that causes is this real sense of extraordinary crises in their lives. They're frustrated at political elites who they feel are not listening to them, who are not concerned about them.
Ultimately, a lot of the political conversation strikes these people as besides the point whether Trump says something that's offensive or inoffensive, I think that conversation is just a little bit too far detached from what they're actually concerned about.
KEILAR: You tell a very real story of your upbringing. Raised by a mom who was struggling with drug addiction. Eventually you and your sister were raised by your grandparents who had a tremendous impact on you. Sounds like your grandma was tough as nails.
But when you look at your upbringing and then you talk about going to Yale Law School and feeling like everything was very culturally foreign, now that you're sort of -- you have a foot in each world, what do you think maybe people who do not understand Donald Trump supporters need to know?
VANCE: Well, I think what they need to understand is that for many of the people who are watching Donald Trump, they don't see him primarily as this existential threat to American democracy. They see him as the first person in a long time who's actually addressing their concerns.
If you think about that social crisis that I talked about and you think about the Republican Party where these people call their home, the response of the Republican Party has been, well, what you need is more tax cuts, more deregulation, and more free trade.
Whether those policies are ultimately good or not, they feel a little tone deaf to people who are really struggling. What Donald Trump has been able to do by showing some real sympathy and compassion for these people is really find a foothold in their hearts and minds and frankly, I don't think that he's going to lose that, at least not over the next few months.
[07:25:11]KEILAR: I think some people look at Donald Trump, and they say, how is it that a billionaire, showman businessman is connecting with people who have these very real kitchen table concerns that you are talking about. But it's something that really doesn't matter to his supporters.
VANCE: Yes, well, I think not just that it doesn't matter, but in some ways it actually enhances his support. If you think about the way people talk about politics, at least the way that people back home talk about politics, it's around the kitchen table. It's at a bar. People are off the cuff. They're not afraid to offend someone.
At the end of the day, that's how Donald Trump talks about politics. Yes, he is a billionaire. Yes, he inherited a lot of money, but he talks about politics in a way that's very relatable.
If you think about the way, let's say, that Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton talk about things. They're very filtered. They're very neutral. They're almost very afraid of saying anything that offends someone.
That's just not the way that I think there's almost a fear that to be part of the political conversation, you have to be like Clinton or Barack Obama, these very well-educated, elite people, but Donald Trump is relatable.
You know, I think people on the coasts often see somebody who's offensive. I think rightfully so, but people back where I'm from see somebody who talks and thinks like they do.
KEILAR: J.D. Vance, author of "Hillbilly Elogy," it is a great book. A really, really interesting read and a look into life in the rust belt through your eyes with your memoir. Thank you so much for being with us.
VANCE: Thank you for having me.
CUOMO: All right. Let's get back to the election on a different level, Donald Trump is trying to expand his base. Minority voters are a big target for him. Up next, a new RNC senior strategist joins us to talk about their plan to win over minority voters.