Return to Transcripts main page

ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT

Mexican President: I Told Trump Mexico Wouldn't Pay For The Wall; Trump, Clinton Neck-and-Neck in New National Poll; Interview with Vicente Fox. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired August 31, 2016 - 19:00   ET

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


[19:00:08] ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: OUTFRONT next, breaking news, Donald Trump one-on-one with the Mexican president. Did he ask Mexico to pay for the wall?

Plus, Vicente Fox versus Donald Trump, the former president of Mexico in a fierce war of words with the Republican nominee. Fox is my guest tonight.

A new polls in the key swing state show the race is tightening. Is Trump making a major comeback? Let's go OUTFRONT.

And good evening, I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight, the breaking news, Donald trump face to face with the President of Mexico talking about the core campaign issue that he has had since the beginning, that is the wall. Major questions tonight about what really happened behind those closed doors. Trump sharing the stage afterwards with President Enrique Pena Nieto. The Republican nominee speaking in softer tones about the relationship between the two countries calling Mexicans tremendous, even though as he stood by his call to build the wall.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: We did discuss the wall. We didn't discuss payment of the wall. That will be for a later date.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Trump's surprise visit came just hours before he's scheduled to give a major speech outlining his immigration policy, that is tonight.

And as we count you down to that, Jim Acosta begins our coverage OUTFRONT tonight in Mexico City. He was there and Jim, you have some breaking news about what the President of Mexico told Trump about that wall.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right. You remember during this press conference Donald Trump said that they did not discuss who would pay for that wall that Donald Trump wants to have along of the U.S.-Mexico border. Well, in just the last few minutes Enrique Pena Nieto, the president of Mexico on his official twitter handler tweeted, "At the beginning of the conversation with Donald Trump, I made clear that Mexico will not pay for the wall." That directly contradicts what Donald trump told reporters and told the world during that press conference and obviously, that wall is a big subject in tonight's speech on immigration.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ACOSTA (voice-over): It may be his most Donald Trump move yet, flying to the capital of a country he has slammed time and again, today Trump met face to face with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto to talk, what else, immigration.

TRUMP: We recognize and respect the right of either country to build a physical barrier or wall on any of its borders.

PRESIDENT ENRIQUE PENA NIETO, MEXICAN PRESIDENT (through a translator): The Mexican population in the United States contributes to development in both Mexico and the U.S. They're honest people, working people, people of good will who respect family. Mexicans deserve everybody's respect.

ACOSTA: But after their meeting, Trump told reporters he and Pena Nieto never discussed whether Mexico will indeed, pick up the check for the GOP nominee's signature proposal, a wall on the Southern U.S. border.

TRUMP: We did discuss the wall. We didn't discuss payment of the wall and that will be for a later date. This was a very preliminary meeting. I think it was an excellent meeting.

ACOSTA: The jaw-dropping images of Trump's trip to Mexico featuring his first meeting as the head of state as the GOP nominee may well overshadow his own speech on immigration later tonight.

TRUMP: Big speech on immigration. We'll be talking about that in Arizona.

ACOSTA: And that appears to be just fine with the campaign which quickly scrambled to arrange the visit just days after receiving Pena Nieto's invitation against the advice of U.S. Embassy staff who said the trip would be a logistically difficult on such short notice.

GEN. MIKE PENCE (R), VICE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: He gets an invitation late last week from the president of Mexico and essentially drops what he was doing to sit down.

ACOSTA: But this was no love fest. Trump's incendiary comments on Mexico and tweets on Mexicans have enraged this neighbor to the south.

TRUMP: When Mexico sends its people they're not sending their best. They're bringing drugs. They're bringing crime. They're rapists, and some, I assume, are good people.

ACOSTA: His immigration speech set for tonight Trump is expected to steer clear of highlighting his original proposal for a deportation force to round up the nation's undocumented in favor of prioritizing the removal of unauthorized immigrants who have broken the law and aides say, he will push hard for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border standing by his signature pledge to voters.

TRUMP: We will build the wall 100 percent and Mexico will be paying for the wall!

ACOSTA: Even though Trump's son and other aides stressed Trump is listening to advisers who want him to moderate his tone.

DONALD TRUMP, JR., SON OF DONALD TRUMP: Correct, but again, you have to start with baby steps.

ACOSTA: That shift isn't selling well south of the border where former Mexican President Vicente Fox has blasted Trump's views.

VICENTE FOX, FORMER MEXICAN PRESIDENT: I am not going to pay for that (bleep) wall. He should pay for it. He's got the money.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ACOSTA: And as it turns out, exactly who is going to pay for that wall is still an issue between Donald Trump and the government of the Republic of Mexico, Erin. Another thing that came up during this press conference, I asked Donald Trump whether he and Pena Nieto exchanged apologies for the tough words that they said about one another over these last several months. Donald Trump said no apology was ever issued during this meeting although Pena Nieto did say during this news conference that the Mexican people have felt hurt by Donald Trump's comments -- Erin.

[19:05:13] BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Jim.

Sara Murray now is OUTFRONT in Phoenix because that's where Donald Trump is going to be giving his much-delayed but very, very important address on immigration tonight. So, Sara, what are we going to hear in this speech? Obviously now that this is going to become a big issue as to the payment of the wall or whether it came up today or not. What are we going to hear tonight?

SARA MURRAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Oh, absolutely. And I think the big question is if Donald Trump is seeing these reports and if he's going to come out here and address what President Pena has said since Donald Trump left Mexico. What we were hearing from advisers in the lead up is that Donald Trump is of course going to talk about what they see as the signature of his border security plan building the wall along the border with Mexico. And then he would talk about how he would pay for it.

Not just as what he sees as Mexico's contribution but things like defunding sanctuary cities in the U.S. Things like stripping benefits that they believe go to undocumented immigrants in the U.S., all of that would be used, advisers believe, to help pay for a portion of the wall. But again, that tone could change in the wake of what we're hearing now from President Pena. I think the other key issue, Erin is what we've been talking about over the last week. The way Donald Trump's tone has waffled on how you deal with 11 undocumented immigrants in the U.S. Now, advisers are saying he will address that tonight, but the question is, is he going to lay out a clear plan for how he will deal with these 11 million people as president or is he simply going to gloss over this issue and say the most important thing is border security and after we deal with that, we'll deal with the 11 million -- Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Sara, thank you very much. And of course, border security i.e., the wall when you're talking to Donald Trump.

OUTFRONT now, Mark Preston, executive editor of CNN Politics, Clinton supporter Maria Cardona, her firm currently does work for a pro- Clinton Super PAC. Trump supporter Kayleigh McEnany. Ari Fleischer who served as White House press secretary for President George W. Bush. Senior advisor to the Trump campaign Boris Epshteyn and presidential historian Tim Naftali, former director of the Nixon Presidential Library.

All of you with me. Ari, let me start with you. This was Trump's first meeting with the head of state --

ARI FLEISCHER, FORMER WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY UNDER PRES. BUSH: Right.

BURNETT: -- it was very head of state sort of thing, they were both at the two podiums, he had a very subdued tone. Now, of course, you have this controversy growing over, who's lying? He says paying for the wall didn't come up. And the President of Mexico said one of the first things he did was said, Mexico won't pay for the wall.

FLEISCHER: Well, let me start with the trip and the picture itself. This is a very good day for Donald Trump. The fact of the matter is, any time a presidential candidate can travel and be on the stature of a president with all the pomp and circumstance that that picture presented and especially for a candidate like Donald Trump who has seen as so bombastic many people say, I can't even see him being presidential. Today people saw him at that level. As for the wall and the payment, I have never taken that seriously. I've never understood what Donald Trump said if he gets Mexico to pay for it. I've never believe Mexico was going to pay for it. But the argument on who's going to pay for it, they already conceded that the wall is going to be built. So, I just don't think it's an important issue in any substantial way.

BURNETT: In any substantial way. Boris, but if it comes to somebody lied then it could become very important and all of a sudden this big day for Donald Trump, what if he's a liar. The President of Mexico is calling Donald Trump a liar.

BORIS EPSHTEYN, SENIOR ADVISOR, DONALD TRUMP CAMPAIGN: Let's not jump to any conclusions here, right? First of all, I always say, it was a great day. It's about leadership. Donald Trump is once again shown that he was the true leader of this country, just like when he went to Louisiana first and just like when he was to first to respond to the horrible attack in Brussels, Nice, Paris, San Bernardino and Orlando. Donald Trump has repeatedly over the last year shown the kind of leadership we have simply not seen from Barack Obama and definitely not from Hillary Clinton who is sipping the champagne cocktails in the Hamptons most of the time. So, that's one. That is very important to know. As far as she says,

listen, the wall is going to be built. As far as who pays for the wall? That's a negotiation and this sort of he said/she said can be part of it but -- this is just the start of a long-term discussion that will happen once Donald Trump is president.

BURNETT: OK. But, Tim, Tim, Donald Trump says, they did not discuss paying for the wall. The president of Mexico says he said Mexico are not paying for it. That means somebody is lying.

TIM NAFTALI, FORMER DIRECTOR, NIXON PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARY: There's a problem here. This should have been Tel Aviv (ph) three minutes ago, this was a great day for Donald Trump because he's already said, that's why you know, when people ran for re-election, they don't want the other candidate to debate them because they're on the same stage. This is a summit for Donald Trump. Great. Here's the problem.

One of the first rules of international diplomacy is you do not embarrass your host. Clearly, Pena tweeted that because he felt embarrassed when Trump said we didn't even talk about the wall. There are a lot of people in Mexico who expected their president to make clear to Mr. Trump that you do not force Mexicans to do that. I think that was a huge error on his part. So despite the fact the optics looked great at the time, this tweet is a big problem for Donald Trump.

(CROSSTALK)

BURNETT: Kayleigh? Kayleigh?

KAYLEIGH MCENANY, DONALD TRUMP SUPPORTER: No, exactly. That is exactly right. And first of all, I don't think Donald Trump discussed this with the President. Maybe the President made a passing remarks. Who knows? Donald Trump did not discuss it and you know why he didn't discuss it? Because when you go on his website, he has five revenue sources that he's drawing from -- Mexico will pay for the wall that don't require the consent of President Nieto. Those revenue sources are halting remittances, raising ports --

[19:10:09] BURNETT: Which might be unconstitutional.

MCENANY: Raising port fees and increasing the fees for visas, temporary visas issued to Mexican CEOs. He doesn't need the approval of the Mexican president to do that. What happened today was historic because for the first time you saw the Mexican president essentially consenting to a border wall. You saw him agreeing to renegotiate parts of NAFTA and this was a huge day for Donald Trump. Hillary Clinton by the way, everyone go on her website, there's no immigration plan to be found.

BURNETT: So, Mark, what's your takeaway? Did it all change three minutes ago when the President of Mexico put out a tweet saying essentially Donald Trump is lying.

MARK PRESTON, CNN POLITICS EXECUTIVE EDITOR: Let me parse some words here, right? Because it could come down to that. Donald Trump said who pays for the wall? We didn't discuss. So, as we're sitting here, I looked up what the definition of discussion was. So, what's Merriam-Webster said, and this is what the definition of the discussion is, the act of talking about something with another person or a group of people, a conversation about something.

So, to Kayleigh's point that could have been a passing comment or certainly a very --

BURNETT: Right. To which Trump did not --

PRESTON: -- did not respond to and kept moving on. So with that case, in that definition, he's not lying. It doesn't put a dark cloud over what we saw today which is exactly what you're saying. Because now Donald Trump, we knew this was going to happen, by the way. I mean, who is kidding that we thought that they would both going to walk away from this and knock it into some kind of, he said/she said moment.

MARIA CARDONA, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: I actually do think it puts a dark cloud on a day that I actually don't think was a good day for the Trump campaign because it was also seen by many as a desperate act. He needed to change the conversation. He has seen the national polls.

BURNETT: He was at a podium with the President of Mexico. His arch enemy by the way --

CARDONA: Right. Right.

BURNETT: -- and the guy actually took a meeting with him. How is that bad?

CARDONA: Because he needed to change the conversation and the fact of the matter is, is that he needed to go there, and if he did not discuss the wall which is something that he has put front and center, you have people at his rally saying build the wall, deport them all and if he's now saying we didn't discuss the wall. What are --

BURNETT: He said he discussed the wall, but not payment.

CARDONA: The payment for the wall which is something again, he has put that front and center. And now, Pena Nieto is saying that they did talk about it and Mexico is not going to pay for the wall. So, is now Donald Trump going to call him a liar?

EPSHTEYN: Maria, you won't find anything in that meeting to say it was bad. So, let's just be fair about that.

BURNETT: No, no, no. I do think though, when one person says something happen and another says it didn't --

CARDONA: Yes, that's a problem, Boris.

BURNETT: It's semantics but it's a very fair question.

EPSHTEYN: It's semantics but the bottom line here is, Donald Trump when he is the president, he is the leader he will not need President Nieto's approval or consent to build the wall and for Mexico to pay for the wall and there were a lot of ways for them to pay for it.

(TALKING OVER EACH OTHER)

EPSHTEYN: Hold on!

BURNETT: -- Remittances, serious constitutional issues which is beyond the scope of what we're going to talk about right now, but far from easy to --

EPSHTEYN: Just to say, sure, we're going to pay for it. Would you expect him to do that?

CARDONA: They're not going to pay for the wall, Boris. I mean, that is as ridiculous as Ari said and it was never realistic.

(TALKING OVER EACH OTHER)

CARDONA: OK. But can I just say this?

BURNETT: Very quickly.

CARDONA: Hillary Clinton did not have anything to prove.

MCENANY: She didn't go to Louisiana --

(TALKING OVER EACH OTHER)

CARDONA: She knew Pena Nieto, she has met with him before, she has met with world leaders and she has nothing to prove. Donald Trump has everything to prove.

BURNETT: You guys -- you are all going to stay with me because next Clinton's big lead in the crucial swing state of Wisconsin gone, poof, what's happened? Trump comeback or not?

Plus, Trump taking on former Mexican president Vicente Fox. Their war of words getting very ugly tonight. Vicente Fox is my guest.

And Trump's campaign chief under fire amidst allegations of anti-gay and anti-Semitic comments in the past. Our report coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:16:52] BURNETT: Breaking news. A brand-new poll showing a dead heat in the race for the White House. A national Fox News poll showing Clinton with just a two-point lead over Donald Trump. Now, that is within the margin of error. It is closer than any recent national poll. In Wisconsin, a Marquette University Law School poll finds Clinton ahead of Trump by five points among registered voters, that is half a point outside the margin of error and what is significant in that is that earlier this month, that lead was nine points. So, it's an incredible narrowing in this race that had been very positive for Hillary Clinton just a few weeks ago.

Joe Johns is OUTFRONT.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Hillary Clinton today dismissing Donald Trump's meeting with the president of Mexico.

HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: And it certainly takes more than trying to make up for a year of insults and insinuations by dropping in on our neighbors for a few hours and then flying home again. That is not how it works.

JOHNS: Clinton's remarks today come after she spent much of the last week focusing on fund raising and debate preparations.

CLINTON: The stakes this fall are as high as any election in our lifetimes.

JOHNS: But Trump was her focus today in a speech to the American legion in Cincinnati.

CLINTON: You don't build a coalition by insulting our friends or acting like a loose cannon.

JOHNS: The Democratic nominee hammered her rival on veterans issues calling out Trump for insulting the Khan family and Senator John McCain.

CLINTON: I will never ever disrespect Gold Star families who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation or prisoners of war who endured so much in our name. To insult them is just so wrong and it says a lot about the person doing the insulting.

JOHNS: Meanwhile, team Clinton is bracing for the FBI's public release of its report investigating Clinton's use of her private e- mail server as more uncovered e-mails are making headlines and giving Trump fresh lines of attack.

TRUMP: Hillary Clinton said under oath that she turned over all of her work-related e-mails, but we now know that is just one more Clinton lie.

JOHNS: The State Department announcing Tuesday it may have uncovered additional e-mails related to the Benghazi attack. The 30 e-mails in question could include duplicates and are now being examined.

TRUMP: These were e-mails about Benghazi. It just never ends with the Clintons.

JOHNS: Amid the ongoing questions about Clinton's e-mail practices during her time as secretary of state, a new Washington Post/ABC News poll shows her unpopularity reaching an all-time high in that survey. Among registered voters 59 percent say they have an unfavorable view of Clinton while 60 percent say the same about Trump.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

JOHNS: Hillary Clinton's campaign chair John Podesta put out a statement tonight on Trump's visit to Mexico. It says in part, Donald Trump has made an outlandish policy enforcing Mexico to pay for its giant wall. The centerpiece of his campaign but it's the first opportunity to make good on his offensive campaign promises. Trump choked. What we saw today from a man who claims to be the ultimate dealmaker is that he doesn't have the courage to advocate for his campaign promises when he's not in front of a friendly crowd -- Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Joe Johns, thank you very much. And of course, all eyes on Donald Trump tonight and what he's going to say to a friendly crowd about the wall and immigration.

My panel back with me and also with me now the executive New York State Democratic Party, Basil Smikle. Basil, let me start with you. Pretty significant here. Because a few weeks ago, I think it's fair to say a lot of people in this country thought this race was widening to a point of no return for Donald Trump. Here we are, nine points in Wisconsin. Down to five. National poll up for Fox News, two points. Her post-convention bounce according to this latest polls and we need more to see if it's true, appears to be withering.

BASIL SMIKLE, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, NEW YORK STATE DEMOCRATIC PARTY: Well, you know, I've always said and I think most folks will always say, everyone gets a bounce from their convention. As we get into September, these polls tighten. And that is typical and I expected it. But I would also say that if you, number one, look at some of these important states, Pennsylvania, Ohio, among others and the swing states, I think you see a different story, number one, number two. I think she's actually gaining -- and the Democrats actually gaining among constituencies that perhaps at some point in history have not sort of skewed in our favor like highly educated white men. Certainly I think in communities of color, the Latino voter, African-American voters were still doing very well and we can feel confident about that.

[19:21:24] BURNETT: Ari, what do you say, though? I mean, are you surprised to see polls doing this? I mean, this really looks like it was running away.

FLEISCHER: No, I think if I were a Democrat what will scare me is the natural trajectory of this race is when Donald Trump stops making terrible mistakes like attacking the Khan family and an American judge from Indiana, calling him a Mexican, when Trump stops making mistakes, if the race naturally tightens it shows the only person the Democrats can nominate and lose to Donald Trump is Hillary Clinton and vice versa.

The only person that Hillary Clinton can beat is probably Donald Trump. So that's the odd state of the race. But let me give you some numbers, and I think this is telling. Trump is not in trouble because of how he's doing with Hispanics or blacks interestingly. He's doing it out of par with your typical Republican.

He's in trouble because Mitt Romney who lost of course, won white women by 14 points. Trump's down nine. Mitt Romney won white college graduates by 14 points and Trump is down 12 and finally white college graduate women, Romney won them by six, Trump is down by 27. BURNETT: Well, which makes it incredibly hard. OK. Maria, when you

look at the unfavorable rating for Hillary Clinton, we are getting a new poll from ABC today, all-time low, 41 percent of Americans have a positive few of her. I mean, that's pretty stunning. That's down seven points in the convention, enough. Fifty six percent of people in this country who don't like her. The only person that they might like least is Donald Trump. I mean, we've talked about this. These are the two most hated candidates, possibly in American history. But it's pretty stunning that as he has made mistakes in August that hurt him in the overall polls, people liked her less and less.

CARDONA: Well, again, they have been hammering -- the Trump campaign and Republicans have been hammering her consistently on all of this email stuff and on everything else. But this is a natural tightening of the race. I have always expected this. I agreed with Basil. I have been of these Democrats and I've said it here many times that we should not expect this to be a landslide. We should not expect for that ten-point lead that Hillary had and might still have that for some point. For that to continue until November. This is a very divided country that we live in. We're still a very polarized electorate and this race has gotten and will get uglier.

And so, I also think that the more that she fights back, that helps in terms of her overall standing among Democrats and among the constituencies that she is winning to Aris point. But I think that to some other people, it could be a turnoff because she's a woman and because she's fighting back.

BURNETT: Can she win? Mark, at this point? I mean, can he win? Can he come back? I mean, these polls here are pretty tight tonight.

PRESTON: I mean, look, if you look at the battleground states right now, Donald Trump is going to lose, that's why going to Mexico is a smart move on his part whether it falls apart. You know, he needed some kind of game change. He needed to try to soften his image. He needed to try to get disaffected voters that Ari just laid out right there. His play is not Hispanic voters. Mitt Romney lost his --

BURNETT: Well, that's the point.

PRESTON: Right? I mean, it's about -- it's trying to get these white voters, but isn't it an amazing statement -- let me leave it on this -- an amazing statement that this race is going to get uglier than we are right now. I mean, it's pretty darn ugly right now.

BURNETT: But Tim, let me just ask you a question because today this meeting with the Mexican president happens. OK. Take aside discussing the payment of the wall, why in the world would the president of Mexico want to do this meeting?

NAFTALI: I haven't the faintest idea --

BURNETT: It doesn't make sense.

NAFTALI: He may actually be more unpopular in his country than a certain politicians are in ours. Pena did something remarkable for the Trump summit. They should really thank him. He gave him a summit, he gave a man who spent his campaign showing disrespect for the Mexican people a summit and Trump did exactly what he needed to do. The problem is, how he handled the wall question. I wanted to raise something about coalitions because for our viewers, one of the things that we all ought to keep in mind is when we talk about Hillary, we talk about her winning the Obama coalition and holding it. Because with the Obama coalition, you win. You become president. What Trump has to do is he has to hold the Mitt Romney coalition plus because you can't become president with the Mitt Romney coalition given the demographic change.

BURNETT: No.

NAFTALI: When in 2012, and you could now. So, the issue for Trump and Ari, I'll see if you agree, Trump, he could bring new people to the Mitt Romney coalition but he had to hold --

MCENANY: And he's doing that.

NAFTALI: Well, no, no, no, the issue is --

MCENANY: Wisconsin is not just an out there polls --

NAFTALI: Kayleigh --

MCENANY: Let's also look at the rest though. Let's look at, I want to say, other two other polls that came out this week. Pennsylvania and Michigan. State Republicans haven't won since 1998. The Emerson polls this week shows him within three points in Pennsylvania, five points in Michigan. That is historic. These are states where Mitt Romney lost and or McCain rather by 16 points --

FLEISCHER: Trump is not doing it with enough --

BURNETT: Ari, final words.

[19:26:07] FLEISCHER: Trump is not doing it with enough numbers yet to make up the difference and he has to do it. Romney in losing took white, non-college voters by 18 points and Trump has them now by 19. That's not enough of a gap. Trump has got to accelerate that lead. And Pennsylvania I have to say is always the football. Charlie Brown --

(CROSSTALK)

-- For Charlie Brown to kick. Republicans, George Bush we thought we could have taken Pennsylvania in 2004 and we fell way short. He's got a tough road to climb.

MCENANY: It feels much different.

FLEISCHER: My advice to Donald Trump is to be less bombastic and more thoughtful.

BURNETT: All right. MCENANY: And he's done that. We've seen it for two weeks. He's been

an absolutely excellent candidate. He is going to win this race, within two points in the Reuters poll, in the Fox poll. He is going to win this race. The momentum is in his direction. There is no doubt about that.

BURNETT: All right. Thanks to all.

And OUTFRONT next, we are standing by for a major speech by Donald Trump, a crucial night for him. This is the big immigration night.

And the breaking news, the president of Mexico saying, he told Trump Mexico will not pay for the wall. The Trump campaign has just responded, that is next.

And the former president of Mexico, our guest. And Steve Bannon, Trump's third campaign chief in two months. Tonight, new questions about his past.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:31:21] ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking news: as we count you down to Donald Trump's highly anticipated speech on immigration, including his plan to build a wall and have Mexico pay for it, moments ago, the Trump campaign responding to the Mexican president's tweet. In the tweet, the Mexican president said he told Donald Trump or he made it clear Mexico would not pay for the wall.

Now, according to the Trump campaign, quote, here is their response to that tweet, "Today was the first part of the discussion and a relationship builder between Mr. Trump and President Pena Nieto. It was not a negotiation and that would have been inappropriate."

The wall obviously an issue of emotion and passion, it is one that makes Trump very unpopular in Mexico.

John Vause is OUTFRONT.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JOHN VAUSE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Donald Trump following his meeting with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto, his words and tone of his words remarkably different from what he said over the past 15 months.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: A strong, prosperous and vibrant Mexico is in the best interest of the United States and will keep and help keep for a long, long period of time America together.

VAUSE: The announcement of Trump's surprise visit met with anger across Mexico. Many took to one of Trump's favorite weapons, Twitter, from top Mexican politician Miguel Barbosa. You are not welcome in Mexico, get out.

To Mexico's former first lady, Margarita Zavala, "We want you to know you're not welcome. We Mexicans have dignity and we reject your hate speech."

Historian Enrique Krauze challenged Trump, "Apologize for calling us rapists and killers, guarantee that you won't build a wall or deport 11 million Mexicans."

Even months before announcing his candidacy, Trump previewed what would become the cornerstone of his campaign to a group of Texas donors.

TRUMP: Everything is coming across the border. The illegals, the cars, the whole thing, it's like a big mess. Blegh. It's like vomit.

VAUSE: Following that, the now familiar string of one-liners that has fueled Trump's base while infuriating Hispanic voters.

TRUMP: They're bringing crime. They're rapists.

We're going to build a great wall. The wall will be paid for by Mexico.

And who's going to pay for the wall?

AUDIENCE: Mexico!

VAUSE: Just two months ago, Mexico's president, Trump's host today, slammed Trump with the most scathing comparison.

PRESIDENT ENRIQUE PENA NIETO, MEXICO (through translator): In the past, some leaders address their societies in those terms, Hitler and Mussolini did that, and the outcome is clear to everyone.

VAUSE: Trump's occasional attempt to connect with Hispanics like his taco bowl post on Cinco de Mayo often backfired. Angry protesters took to the streets, and Trump became an object of ridicule. Trump Halloween masks flew off the shelves and Trump pinatas, the subject of some serious beatings.

But perhaps no one is more incense at a prospect of a Trump presidency than former Mexican President Vicente Fox.

VICENTE FOX, FORMER PRESIDENT OF MEXICO: The democracy cannot take us to crazy people that doesn't know what's going on in the world today.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VAUSE: We're still waiting to see the reaction here in Mexico to the new, kinder, gentler, softer Donald Trump. But given the level of anger and loathing so many have for the Republican nominee, it seems unlikely that one news conference would change many opinions.

And we are also waiting to find out what Donald Trump has to say about Mexico and the wall when he delivers that major policy speech to his supporters in Phoenix later tonight because in the past, Donald Trump has been known to change his message, sometimes depending on the audience -- Erin.

BURNETT: All right. John, thank you very much.

[19:35:01] My panel back with me.

Mark, as we count down to the speech, it's a crucial night for Donald Trump. You know, he's got to talk about paying for the wall. He's got to talk about deporting 11 million people.

This morning, Mike Pence, the vice presidential candidate, said they are going to deport 11 million people. You're going to have to go, whether it's some kind of touch the line, and come back, whatever it is. That they're sticking with that.

MARK PRESTON, CNN POLITICS EXECUTIVE EDITOR: Touch back in --

BURNETT: The reality of it is, that's impossible to do, all right? So, how is he going to --

PRESTON: This infuriates the viewers out there when I say this because it's realistic.

The fact of the matter is Donald Trump has been getting away with saying one thing and then changing his mind and not really being called on the carpet, not by the media, but the voters himself, that he still has the support of his core supporters and, by the fact that he is, quote/unquote, "softening" his position or moderating his position, or whatever you want to say about his position, by doing so, he's opening himself by being accepted by more voters. I mean, that's the basic reason --

(CROSSTALK)

MARIA CARDONA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: That's if these other voters believe him, and I think what they're seeing is, I mean, they're seeing a transparent Trump that went to Mexico out of desperation because they -- he knows that he had to prove at some point that he could be presidential, that he did have the temperament to be president because he has also seen these polls where poll after poll after poll, most Americans don't believe that he has the temperament to be president.

Hillary Clinton had absolutely nothing to prove and tonight is going to be another huge test for Donald Trump because he has to continue to talk about deporting the 11 million, but he has to try to attract some other independent, college-educated women voters who at this point don't see him as realistically, someone who could be commander in chief.

PRESTON: Right. Just very quickly, Donald Trump has proven to all of us, and certainly has in the past couple of months, what he is, he's a politician. He says he's not a politician, that he's outside the system. He's a politician. He's acting like politician.

BURNETT: Yes.

PRESTON: I'm sorry, Kayleigh, the stare of death at me. He is a politician. KAYLEIGH MCENANY, CNN POLITICAL COMMENATOR: No, because --

PRESTON: The fact of the matter is -- but the fact of the matter is right now, if he wants to win in November, he better start moderating his positions and trying to open himself up.

(CROSSTALK)

BURNETT: Let me go to Basil, though, here because Jorge Ramos came out, all right? Whether today was a huge day for Donald Trump or not, interesting what he just said. He just said the president of Mexico looked weak and shy next to Donald Trump.

That's a very significant thing to say. There is no more important meeting that Donald Trump could have had and in his dreams he never would have had a chance to have the meeting. The Mexican president for some bizarre reason gave him the summit --

BASIL SMIKLE, HILLARY CLINTON SUPPORTER: Well, the Mexican president --

BURNETT: And you have Jorge Ramos saying the Mexican president looked weak and shy.

SMIKLE: I don't know if he looked weak, but he did demure somewhat, I would agree with that. But I also think that Donald Trump also looked unprepared. He looked uncomfortable.

BORIS EPSHTEYN, DONALD TRUMP CAMPAIGN SENIOR ADVISOR: Of course, you're going to say that.

SMIKLE: There's no of course about it. I think eh looked unprepared. I think it wasn't sort of his forum, while we talk about the optics. I actually would take that the president went at him and said, that you need to treat Mexican immigrants as real people that are actually contributing to your economy and you also need to be mindful of the fact that the number of Mexicans crossing your border have actually decreased quite significantly.

So, to me, what that says is that Donald Trump is unfamiliar with what's going on in this world.

BURNETT: Kayleigh?

MCENANY: Because you see on the other side, however, for the first time the Mexican president saying hey, yeah, I'm willing to put up a barrier on our border. You have him saying for the first time, yeah, I'm willing to renegotiate parts of NAFTA. He moved the president of Mexico before he's even commander in chief.

And what we've seen this week and last week is him riding to the commander in chief challenge. He took the invitation to go to Mexico. Hillary Clinton was in the Hamptons all week. He went to Louisiana and the floods while Obama was in Martha's Vineyard.

SMIKLE: Commander in chief, you call your Democratic opponent a bigot? That's commander in chief? That is not -- there is nothing commander in chief about that.

(CROSSTALK)

EPSHTEYN: Listen, the Democrats on this panel obviously are desperate and probably paranoid at this point because they've seen the polls. You want to talk about the polls? We are down by just two points in the FOX News poll. We're up in North Carolina. We're close in Ohio and Florida and closer in Pennsylvania and Michigan than any Republicans in a long time.

We're doing great. We don't have anything to prove. Donald Trump is the real leader in this country.

(CROSSTALK)

EPSHTEYN: And Hillary Clinton is lagging in the polls as you just saw.

BURNETT: Listening to us right now is former president of Mexico, Vicente Fox. He -- why did he apologize on behalf of his country for Trump's visit? He is my guest and he is right after this.

And Trump's latest campaign chief, new questions tonight about his past.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:43:24] BURNETT: And the breaking news, we are awaiting a major speech from Donald Trump tonight. The topic: immigration. Lots of questions about what happened behind closed doors in his meeting with the Mexican president.

OUTFRONT now, the former president of Mexico, Vicente Fox.

President Fox, thank you so much for being with me tonight.

I know, you know, of President Pena Nieto. He says he made it clear that Mexico would not pay for the wall. Donald Trump says the payment of the wall was not discussed. Could they both be right?

(INAUDIBLE)

FOX: Hello?

BURNETT: Can you hear me, President Fox?

FOX: Yes. Now, yes.

BURNETT: Let me try again.

I was just saying President Pena says that he made it clear that Mexico will not pay for the wall. Donald Trump says they didn't talk about payment of the wall. They didn't discuss it. Could they both be right?

FOX: Having trouble with the sound, but if you can hear me, yes. A lot of contradictions out of this meeting. I think Trump came for what he wanted, just a picture and go back.

He played the violin to Mexico, to Mexican music, saying exactly the opposite he is talking about in United States. And I'm sure tonight, he will be in Arizona playing the violin to those followers and he's always lying and always insistent, and always out of the play.

BURNETT: Now, you know, you say that he's lying.

[19:45:00] You said earlier today that you rejected Donald Trump's visit to Mexico and obviously you and Donald Trump have been battling over whether you invited him to come to Mexico. You said no. You called him a liar. You said you only invited him to come to Mexico to apologize to the Mexican people.

Let me just play exactly what you said, though, in May to Donald Trump.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FOX: I think it is very important to invite Donald Trump to come to Mexico and to learn about the real Mexico that is -- I would think, totally different.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Isn't this meeting today exactly what you wanted, President Fox?

FOX: Yes, exactly what I mentioned that first, he learns about what Mexico really is which he doesn't seem to know anything about it. And today, he learned a little bit.

But number two, my request was for him to come and apologize to Mexico, to Mexicans in Mexico and to Mexicans in the United States. That was my demand from him which, by the way, that's what Pena didn't do today, and I think he was wrong.

I think he was not correct to invite him, to not commit him for nothing, just to let him play the violin here and let him go back with his picture that he wanted back to the States. What we learned here is the most inconsistent man I have ever met. He lies every other minute of the day. He changes his position.

Now, what he told Mexicans is that he likes us very much, that we are great people, and that we are going to work together. That's not what he said all along the last 14 months. So, it's incredible that he can change, that he can lie and be such a hypocrite.

BURNETT: He has, though, been consistent on one thing when it comes to Mexico day in and day out, every other minute of the day and that is that he is going to build the wall. Do you accept that he would build that wall? Because it seems like the president of Mexico today accepted that. That wasn't a question. The debate seemed to be how to pay for it, not whether it would be built.

FOX: Well, a lot of the things that they discussed we don't know about, but what I clearly saw is that Pena denied to pay for that wall. And number two, the one that had stated that he would keep on his idea of building the wall is Donald Trump, but instead of that, he changed the position of kicking out the 11 million Mexicans here and they didn't even talk about it.

He had mentioned before that he would quit NAFTA, that he would get out of NAFTA which today he denied. He says it needs some improvement and that we're going to work on improvement.

So, he is just playing the violin to Mexicans in Mexico and then he goes to Arizona, and he will come with a different story. I think it was a historical mistake on the side of President Pena. Maybe, he's too desperate to improve the public opinions here in Mexico and the same reasoning applies to Trump. He's on an urging me to pull down of his position in all polls in the United States.

BURNETT: All right. Well, President Fox, thank you very much. I appreciate your time tonight.

And, OUTFRONT next, Donald Trump --

FOX: A pleasure.

BURNETT: Thank you, sir.

Donald Trump's third campaign chief in two months. Tonight, new details on Steve Bannon's troubled past.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:52:21] BURNETT: New details tonight about Donald Trump's trip to Mexico. "The Washington Post" reporting that the new campaign CEO Steve Bannon was a driving force behind the visit, which comes as new revelations about Bannon's past are coming to light tonight.

Sunlen Serfaty is OUTFRONT.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Fresh scrutiny for one of the key players in Donald Trump's new inner circle, newly minted campaign CEO Steve Bannon. A series of controversial incidents from Bannon's past are now coming to light, including this radio interview from 2011 where Bannon uses an anti-gay slur referring to progressive women.

STEPHEN BANNON, TRUMP CAMPAIGN CEO: The women that will lead this process would be pro-family, they would have husbands, they would love their children. You know, they wouldn't be a bunch of (EXPLETIVE DELETED) that cam from, you know, the Seven Sisters schools in New England.

SERFATY: And allegations of anti-Semitism made by his ex-wife in 2007. That's part of a court dispute over child support, she claimed that Bannon did not want their daughters attending a private school the family was considering in California because, quote, "He said he doesn't like Jews and he doesn't like the way they raise their kids to be whiney brats, and he didn't want the girls going to school with Jews.

The Trump campaign did not respond to CNN's request for comment. But a spokesman for Bannon disputes the allegation, saying in a statement, quote, "At a time Mr. Bannon ever said anything like that," noting that Bannon "proudly sent the girls" to the private school in question for middle school and high school.

Bannon is also facing new attention for this 2005 lawsuit brought against the company he worked for. Bannon is not named as defendant in the suit, but the allegations stem from a former employee who reported to him, who suffered from multiple sclerosis and claims that she was laid off while on maternity leave because of her and her disability.

That employee appearing on CNN's air about the suit in 2006.

JULIA PANELY-PAGETTI, FORMER AMERICAN VANTAGE COMPANIES EMPLOYEES: I went from being the right-hand person to my boss, A very close relationship where we would be on the phone sometimes ten different calls a day, working on things of the highest priority to not even being able to get my boss on the phone, or not being able to ask help a question and I felt that because they didn't know how to deal with my pregnancy.

SERFATY: The case was dismissed after a settlement was reached.

All this comes just days after other negative headlines for Bannon featuring an incident in 1996 with his then wife hen he was charged with battery and domestic violence. According to the police report obtained by CNN, she claimed Bannon grabbed her by the neck and wrist, pulled her down and left red marks.

[19:55:02] Bannon pleaded not guilty and the case was eventually dismissed, but these questions over his personal life are ones the Trump campaign has had to face in recent days, including by Trump's running mate.

GOV. MIKE PENCE (R), VICE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: I know Steve Bannon has denied those charges. I know he enjoys a very strong relationship with his ex-wife and their two wonderful kids.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Does it bother you at all, those charges?

PENCE: I also know one other thing. I know the media loves to chase after these process stories and these staff stories.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SERFATY: And there is also some additional scrutiny over Steve Bannon's voter registration. Reports about what home in Florida he actually lives in, questioned if he's in violation of election laws and the Florida Department of State tonight tells CNN that they will review complaints they've received from local residents.

But, Erin, just this adding one more potential distraction tonight for the Trump campaign. BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Sunlen.

And next, standing by for Donald Trump's major immigration speech in Arizona just hours after his major meeting with Mexico's president.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BURNETT: And Donald Trump will soon be taking the stage as you see at a rally in Arizona to deliver a major speech on immigration. And on Monday hear personal presidential candidates from those who know them best. That's Labor Day right here on CNN starting at 8:00 p.m.

Thank you very much for joining us.

"AC360" starts right now.