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THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER
Zika Virus Funding Bill to be Voted on Today; Chicago Murder Rate Highest in Two Decades; Fox News Sexual Harassment Scandal. Aired 4:30-5p ET
Aired September 6, 2016 - 16:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DR. BEN CARSON, CONSERVATIVE ACTIVIST: And he is talking about policies that will, you know, create an atmosphere that allow jobs to flourish. That's obviously going to help everybody.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: I agree that the outreach is great and it is good for the Republican nominee to be reaching out to communities that don't necessarily historically support Republicans.
One thing that I hear all the time when I talk to African-American voters is they're resistant to Donald Trump because he led the charge to say that the nation's first African-American president was born in Africa and not born in the United States.
Obviously, as a factual matter, President Obama was born in the United States.
Do you think it is time for Donald Trump to acknowledge that all that birther nonsense was a mistake and to apologize, so that African- American voters to whom he is reaching out might be more willing to listen to his message?
CARSON: I think that would be a good idea, absolutely.
I suggest that on all sides, let's get all of the hate and rancor out of the way, so that we can actually discuss the issues. What are the things that will affect the quality of life for Americans, for their children and their grandchildren?
We need to be discussing the incredible national debt, and what the cost and consequences of that are. We need to be discussing how do we secure our nation, you know, from those who want to destroy us. We need to be talking about our prison reform and educational reform. These are the big issues.
And how we get caught up in all this other stuff, you know, is a reason that we will go down the tubes if we don't correct it.
TAPPER: Dr. Ben Carson, always a pleasure to have you on the show. Thanks for joining us.
CARSON: Thank you, Jake. TAPPER: Donald Trump says voters don't really care about his tax
returns, but today Hillary Clinton pushed back, saying Trump has something to hide.
That story next.
TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.
Let's stay with our politics lead.
With polls tightening, twice in two days Hillary Clinton spoke to reporters who are now traveling on her plane, twice in two days.
I want to bring in CNN's Brianna Keilar.
Brianna, why is she all of a sudden being so accessible? Not that I'm complaining, but presumably there is a reason for it.
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Jake, she said that it was because she had so much fun doing it yesterday.
KEILAR: You laugh. You do, right, considering her famous aversion for the press.
But those support Hillary Clinton say this was due, even overdue, and in many ways she is her best messenger. So as the race tightens up with Donald Trump, it's to her benefit.
KEILAR (voice-over): Hillary Clinton taking questions from reporters for the second day in a row.
HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I had so much fun yesterday, I wanted to do this again. Adventures on the plane.
KEILAR: On the new plane she now shares with the press after avoiding a formal press conference for months. With polls showing the race tightening, Clinton has become more accessible and more consistently on offense, Clinton criticizing Donald Trump for not releasing his tax returns.
CLINTON: Truly, the list goes on and on, the scams, the frauds, the questionable relationships, the business activities that have stiffed workers, refused to pay small businesses. So, clearly, his tax returns tell a story that the American people deserve and need to know.
KEILAR: She spent the day in battleground Florida.
CLINTON: His campaign has been one long insult to all those who have worn the uniform to protect our most cherished American values.
KEILAR: And her campaign is out with a new ad.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Donald Trump compared his sacrifices to the sacrifices of two parents who lost their son in war.
KEILAR: Highlighting Trump's comments about the military and veterans.
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC NEWS: What sacrifice have you made for your country?
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think I made a lot of sacrifices, built great structures. I have had tremendous success. I think there's been a lot.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Those are sacrifices?
KEILAR: Clinton is trying to convince voters they can't trust Trump to lead on the world stage. But most voters don't trust her, period, and they trust Trump more. A new CNN/ORC poll shows 50 percent of voters say Trump is the more honest and trustworthy candidate, compared with 35 percent who say Clinton is.
Vice President Joe Biden telling CNN's Jeff Zeleny Clinton needs to pen up.
JOSEPH BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Let them see your heart a little more. She has the heart.
KEILAR: She also, it appears, has allergies.
CLINTON: Every time I think about Trump, I get allergic.
KEILAR: Her coughing fits have happened a few times now on the trail, including yesterday. And Donald Trump, the first nominee in modern history to openly engage in wild and false conspiracy theories, is questioning her wellness, tweeting today: "Mainstream media have never covered Hillary's hacking or coughing attack, yet it is number one trending. What's up?"
Just the pollen count, says Clinton, and she's upped her antihistamine.
CLINTON: Now, the advice, of course, is just don't talk for a day or two.
CLINTON: Yes, that's not going to work. How are you going to manage that?
KEILAR: She is going to get a little help with some of that talking, because we have learned that she will have backup from first lady Michelle Obama, as well as Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, both of whom will hit the trail to campaign for Clinton later this month.
TAPPER: Brianna, thank you so much.
The first presidential debate just 20 days away. What can we expect to see on stage? And how exactly are Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump preparing to go one on one?
TAPPER (voice-over): For months, they have been huffing.
CLINTON: I am looking forward to debating Donald Trump come the fall.
TAPPER: And puffing.
TRUMP: I look forward to that debate. Oh, do I look forward to that debate.
TAPPER: Ready to win the White House showdown. But who can really withstand the pressure of a presidential debate?
DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: A race for president is a long audition for the toughest job on the planet. And these are the final exams.
TAPPER: Donald Trump is predicted to be, well, unpredictable. His fans think this plays to his strengths as a showman, but there are risks, given the majority of Americans concerned about Mr. Trump's temperament.
MEGYN KELLY, FOX NEWS: You have called women you don't like fat pigs, dogs, slobs, and disgusting animals. Your Twitter account...
TRUMP: Only Rosie O'Donnell.
TAPPER: No script could be no problem for the Donald, especially if it causes Clinton to lose her cool.
DONALD TRUMP JR., SON OF DONALD TRUMP: She's not good that way on her feet, so I welcome a one-on-one.
TAPPER: But the Washington outsider will need more than one-liners in the 90-minute lineup.
CLINTON: Senator Sanders did call me unqualified. I have been called a lot of things in my life. That was a first.
TAPPER: The former secretary of state is expected to tout her accomplishments, but, in a way, that comes at her own risk.
QUESTION: Which enemy are you most proud of?
CLINTON: In addition to the NRA, the health insurance companies, the drug companies, the Iranians, probably the Republicans.
QUESTION: Her ad-libbed partisanship last year prompted significant blowback.
LANHEE CHEN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think people can think of her as a little bit of a know-it-all, somebody who is trying to be the pedantic teacher. I think she needs to avoid that persona.
TAPPER: Of course, there is the issue of not knowing enough. Cue Donald Trump's much maligned exchange on the nuclear triad from December.
Do you a priority.
QUESTION: Of the three legs of the triad, though, do you have a priority? I want to go to Senator Rubio after that and ask him.
TRUMP: I think -- I think, for me, nuclear is just the power, the devastation is very important to me.
AXELROD: He is going to have to show mastery and knowledge of issues that he has not shown to date. What plays to his seeing are when he speaks to something where he has a large body of support in the public.
TRUMP: For her part, Clinton in a recent poll was viewed as less honest and trustworthy than Trump.
CHEN: Just as Trump has a character issue, she too has a character issue. Whether she's going to be able to address those in a debate context, I think that is potentially quite problematic for her.
TRUMP: Sometimes memorable debate moments are in the eye of this beholder. Take this refusal to engage her opponent on her e-mail controversy.
QUESTION: Secretary Clinton, do you want to respond?
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
TAPPER: It even earned a "Saturday Night Live" spoof.
UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Secretary Clinton, do you want to respond?
KATE MCKINNON, ACTRESS: No.
TRUMP: One thing the opponents share? They're the two least popular nominees in modern history with just over two months to win you over.
(END VIDEOTAPE) TAPPER: Coming up, after taking a seven-week break, Congress is back, but is the country headed for another government shutdown?
Plus, a high-profile FOX News anchor quits with no warning. Why now? That's ahead.
JAKE TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD. Our NATIONAL LEAD now: Lawmakers are back in Washington today. Welcome back, lawmakers. You're beginning a new session today. Let me give you a quick refresher of what you might have missed during your seven-week recess that you felt you deserved to take, even though you didn't pass a funding bill to fight the deadly Zika virus. While you were sipping lemonade on your lawn chairs and relaxing, the Zika virus has been spreading throughout the country.
Just to bring you up to speed now, there are more than 2700 Zika cases in the continental United States as of now, including 35 people who locally contracted from mosquito bites the mysterious and potentially devastating virus. Also, 624 pregnant women in this country show possible signs of Zika faced with the horrifying possibility that their babies may be born with severe birth defects. The director of the Centers for Disease Control, Dr. Tom Frieden, warns money that is currently being used to combat Zika will run out by the end of this month. Let's bring in CNN Government Regulation Correspondent, Rene Marsh, who is up on Capitol Hill. Rene, the senate's expected to vote on the Zika funding bill moments from now; the one that they failed to pass seven weeks ago. Any indication it's going to move forward this time around?
CNN GOVERNMENT REGULATION CORRESPONDENT, RENEE MARSH: Yes, Jake, that vote is supposed to happen in about another hour from now, and we do not expect it to pass. As you mentioned, lawmakers there are fresh off of that seven-week recess, and they are picking up where they left off with that blame game. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MITCH MCCONNELL, U.S. SENATOR: It's hard to explain why despite their own calls for funding, senate democrats decided to block a bill that would keep pregnant women and babies safer.
HARRY REID, U.S. SENATOR: Democrats pleaded for republicans to cut short the seven-week break and return to Capitol - return to the Capitol in order to pass emergency Zika funding. Republicans said, "No, we're going to stay home some more."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MARSH: Alright, and that $1.1 billion emergency Zika funding would go towards things like creating a vaccine, as well as killing off that mosquito population, but the fight here on Capitol Hill is not really about money. It comes down to abortion politics as well as the confederate flag. That's right. So the democrats are complaining that tied to this republican bill is language that would prevent Planned Parenthood and similar type health clinics from receiving any of that emergency funding, but the democrats are arguing that because Zika can be spread through sexual activity that Planned Parenthood and similar clinics should receive some of that funding. And also the other hurtle, Jake, is the confederal - confederate flag. There is language in this bill that would essentially allow confederate flags to fly at Veteran's cemeteries. Jake? [0:05:16.6]
TAPPER: Rene, Florida is of course the Zika hot zone in the continental United States. What are officials there doing to try to pressure Congress to address Zika funding?
MARSH: Well, we know that Senator Marco Rubio -who by the way is up for re-election - he has really been vocal about getting something done about this, passing this bill; also Senator Nelson, also very vocal on this. We know that the governor of Florida, Rick Scott, was supposed to come here to Capitol Hill to lobby and push these lawmakers to pass this funding bill; however, that trip had to be canceled because of the response and recovery efforts in Florida due to the hurricane that blew through. I spoke with the office - Governor Scott's office today. They say that they do plan on rescheduling that trip. Of course, the push is to get this funding bill passed and until that is done, Jake, the pressure will just mount on both sides because with people going to the polls, the thing that these lawmakers cannot afford is for nothing to be done, for politics, essentially, to get in the way of Congress tackling this public health issue. That is bad optic. They do not want that before people go to the polls, so the pressure is mounting. But again, that vote is expected to happen in about an hour. We do not expect it to pass, Jake.
TAPPER: Alright. Rene Marsh on Capitol Hill for us. Thank you so much.
There were 13 murders over Labor Day Weekend in the City of Chicago, raising the murder count in the nation's third largest city to 500 for the year so far. Two-thousand sixteen has been the deadliest year for the City of Chicago in two decades. This past weekend, the oldest victim of the violence was an 80-year-old man; the youngest was 22. Six days ago, 16-year-old Elijah Sims was shot and killed standing on a street corner in Chicago's Austin neighborhood. His mother gave an emotional plea for the violence to stop.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHARITA GALLOWAY: I don't want anyone else to get hurt. No mother should ever feel the way that I feel.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: No mother should ever have to bury her child, and that has been happening far far too often in the City of Chicago.
Fox News paying $20 million dollars to a former anchor after her lawsuit saying she was sexually harassed by the big boss, Roger Ailes. Could more women be next? That's next.
TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD. Time for our "Pop Culture Lead." Big Lawsuit; big payoff. Fox News said to pay a whopping $20 million dollars to settle a lawsuit with former anchor Gretchen Carlson who accused her old boss and former Fox News CEO and current Donald Trump advisor, Roger Ailes. But even more shocking than the sexual harassment, she also received a public apology from the news network. Let's bring in CNN Senior Media Correspondent, and the host of "RELIABLE SOURCES" on Sunday, Brian Stelter. Brian, $20 million dollars and an apology; that seems an awful lot like an admission of guilt.
BRIAN STELTER: Yes it does. You know the Murdochs who own Fox News have not publicly acknowledged this story, but privately they concluded that, yes, Ailes was harassing women in his office at Fox News; that there was inappropriate behavior going on for years. These settlements today are an attempt to move on. You know, think about this: Carlson lost her job, then she sued the most powerful man in media. Normally we know what happens next, it becomes a he-said-she- said and the allegations are swept under the carpet. But this time, the story ended differently.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GRETCHEN CARLSON: Hi everyone, welcome to "The Real Story," I'm Gretchen Carlson.
STELTER (voice over): The real story behind Carlson's sexual harassment lawsuit against Roger Ailes will now never see a courtroom. Fox's parent company announcing a bombshell $20 million settlement made by the network on behalf of Ailes. Fox issuing a highly unusual statement, saying, "We sincerely regret and apologize for the fact that Gretchen was not treated with the respect that she and all our colleagues deserve." Experts say the eight-figure settlement will have ripple effects all across corporate America.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Multiple women were taping conversations with Roger Ailes.
STELTER (voice over): The settlements mean any audio tapes will now remain secret. So the Murdochs are clearly trying to move on, while Ailes is still fighting. He resigned under pressure in late July and now the GOP strategist turned TV boss is giving advice to Donald Trump, though not formally working for the campaign. Today, Ailes' lawyer, Susan Estrich, pointedly saying he's not helping to pay for the settlement. All told, more than 20 women reportedly spoke with the Murdochs outside law firm about Ailes' alleged harassment.
UNKNOWN MALE: These are stories that they did not even tell their families, their husbands, their children. I mean, these are incredibly personal stories. STELTER (voice over): Ailes has denied it, but the aftershocks continue at Fox. One of the Network's best-known hosts, Greta Van Susteren, exercising the clause in her contract today letting her walk out the door now that Ailes is out. She says on Facebook, "Fox has not felt like home to me for a few years." Now she's looking for a new broadcasting job. And as for Carlson, maybe there's advocacy work in her future. In a statement, she says she will "redouble my efforts to empower women in the workplace."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STELTER: We'll see what happens with them, and we'll see if other people also leave Fox News, but I can tell you, Jake, we're just publishing this story on CNN.com about other settlements. Beyond Carlson, a handful of other women reaching smaller settlements with Fox News today; a source telling that this is all part of the Murdochs' efforts to move on. We don't know how the women are, but we know it shows the extent of this scandal inside Fox.
TAPPER: Wow, Brian Stelter, thanks so much. That's it for THE LEAD. I am Jake Tapper. You can follow me on Twitter at Jake Tapper or the show at THE LEAD CNN. I now turn you over to Wolf Blitzer in THE SITUATION ROOM. [0:05:09.2]