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LEGAL VIEW WITH ASHLEIGH BANFIELD

Donald Trump on National Security. Aired 12-12:30p ET

Aired September 7, 2016 - 12:00   ET

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


[12:00:00] DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: But that's not all. President Obama and Hillary Clinton also have overseen deep cuts in our military, which only invite more aggression. Really, we will have aggression like you've never seen before and you've got it already happening. Our adversaries are champing at the bit. History shows that when America is not prepared is when the danger is by far the greatest.

We want to deter, avoid and prevent conflict through our unquestioned military strength. We have the greatest people in the world. We have to give them the greatest equipment.

Under Barack Obama, and Hillary Clinton, defense spending is on track to fall to its lowest level as a share of the economy since the end of World War II. We currently have the smallest army since 1940. The Navy is among the smallest it has been since 1915. That's 100 years ago. And the Air Force is the smallest it's been since 1947.

When Ronald Reagan left office, our Navy had 592 ships. When Barack Obama took office, it had 285 ships. Today, the Navy has just 276 ships. The average Air Force aircraft is 27 years old. We have second generation B-52 bombers. Their fathers flew the same plane as they are flying right now. This is not the United States.

Our army has been shrinking rapidly from 553,000 soldiers to - in 2009 to just 479,000 soldiers today. That's some decrease. And they want to make it smaller. In 2009, our Marine Corps had 202,000 active marines. Today, it's 182,000. Our ship count is below the minimum of 308 that the Navy says is needed to execute the current missions at a minimal level. President Obama plans to reduce the Army to 450,000 troops, which would hamstring our ability to defend the United States.

It takes 22 years on average to field a major new weapon system. In 2010, the United States spent $554 billion on non-war based defending. In the year - and I have to say, currently, we're spending $548 billion, a cut of 10 percent, and that number is going down very rapidly looking into the future, unless I become your president, I have to say.

This reduction was done through what is known as sequester, which you've all heard about, or automatic defense budget cuts. Under the budget agreement, defense took half of the cuts, even though it makes up only one-sixth of the budget. So they put it all in defense. As soon as I take office, I will ask Congress to fully eliminate the defense sequester and will submit a new budget to rebuild our military. It is so depleted. We will rebuild our military.

This will increase certainty in the defense community as to funding and will allow military leaders to plan for our future defense needs. And, most importantly, we will be defended, because without defense, we don't have a country.

As part of removing the defense sequester, I will ask Congress to fully offset the costs of increased military spending. In the process, we will make government leaner and more responsive to the public.

I will ask that savings be accomplished through common sense reforms that eliminate government waste and budget gimmicks and that protect, absolutely protect, hard-earned benefits for Americas. Government- wide, improper government payments are estimated to exceed $135 billion per year. And the amount of unpaid taxes is estimated to be as high as $385 billion a year.

[12:05:17] We can also reduce the size of the federal bureaucracy through responsible workforce attrition. That is - that is when employees retire, they can be replaced by a smaller number of new employees. That's the best way to do it.

We can also stop funding programs that are not authorized in law. Congress spent $320 billion last year on 256 expired laws. These are laws that are gone. Spent all of that money. Removing just 5 percent of that will reduce spending by almost $200 billion over a ten-year period. The military will not be exempt either. The military bureaucracy will have to be trimmed down. We have to create that strength and sometimes we have to reduce bureaucracy. It just gets in our way.

Early in my term, I will also be requesting that all NATO nations promptly pay their bills, which many are not now doing. Only five NATO countries, including the United States, are currently meeting their minimum requirement to spend 2 percent of GDP on defense. They understand it. They know they have to do it. They can afford to do it. They have no respect for our leadership. They have no respect for our country. They will do it. They'll be happy to do it. They will be happy to do it.

Additionally, I will be respectfully asking countries such as Germany, Japan, South Korea, Saudi Arabia to pay more for the tremendous security we provide them. And they'll fully understand. They're economic behemoths. They're tremendously successful countries, but we're subsidizing them for billions and billions of dollars. I think they'll fully understand.

Finally, we will have at our disposal additional revenues from unleashing American energy. The Institute for Energy Research cites a short-run figure of as much as $36 billion annually from increased energy production. Tremendous amounts of money. Tremendous numbers of jobs and tremendous amounts of money. And, your electric bills will go down. There's something nice about that.

Using these new funds, I will ask my secretary of defense to propose a new defense budget to meet the following long-term goals. We will build an active army of around 540,000 as the Army's chief of staff has said he needs desperately and really must have to protect our country. We now - we now have only 31 brigade combat teams or 490,000 troops and only one-third of combat teams are considered combat ready. That's not good for our country. I actually don't even like saying it, because plenty of countries are watching us right now, but we'll get it shaped up very quickly.

We will build a Marine Corps based on 36 battalions, which the Heritage Foundation notes is the minimum needed to deal with major contingencies. Right now, we only have 23. We will build a Navy of 350 surface ships and submarines as recommended by the bipartisan National Defense Panel. We right now only have 276 ships and it's not enough. And we will build an Air Force of at least 1,200 fighter aircraft, which the Heritage Foundation again has shown to be needed to execute current missions. We now have 1,113. Not enough.

[12:10:14] We will also seek to develop a state of the art missile defense system. Under Obama/Clinton, our ballistic missile defense capability has been degraded, at the very moment in the United States history, and its allies, we are facing the strongest and most heightened missile threat that we have ever, ever had. You look at Iran. You look at North Korea. You look at terrorists. We don't even know where to look. We don't know where to look. But, believe me, you can look all over. So we are going to do that. We need a form of shield. We want to protect our country.

As these potential adversaries grow their missile programs, U.S. military facilities in Asia and the Middle East, as well as our allies, are increasingly in range with the United States homeland and we are really absolutely and potentially being threatened. And within two years, we will absolutely have a real threat. They'll be able to reach us so easily the way it's going right now.

We propose to rebuild the key tools of missile defense, starting with Navy cruisers that are the foundation of our missile defense capabilities in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. The Obama/Clinton administration tried repeatedly to remove our cruisers from service, then refused to modernize these very old, aging, aging ships. They're old. They're tired.

We will start by modernizing our cruisers to provide the ballistic missile defense capability our nation needs. This will cost around $220 million per modernization as we seek to modernize a significant portion of these 22 ships. It will also mean jobs for our country. OK, jobs for our country. And that is one of the big benefits. It's called jobs for our country, which we desperately need.

As we expand our Navy toward the goal of 350 ships, we will also procure additional modern destroyers that are designed to handle the missile defense mission in the coming years. Accomplishing this missile rebuild and our military retooling will be a 50-state effort. Every state in the union will be able to take part in rebuilding our military and developing technologies of tomorrow. In other words, the workers and the jobs will take place throughout the United States.

In addition, we will improve the Department of Defense's cyber capabilities, a new threat, a new problem, very expensive and we're not doing very well with cyber. Hillary Clinton has taught us really how vulnerable we are in cyber hacking. That's probably the only thing that we've learned from Hillary Clinton. Which is why one of the first things we must do is to enforce all classification rules and to enforce all laws relating to the handling of classified information.

Hillary Clinton put her e-mails on a secret server nobody knew about except for the man that was giving the Fifth, remember? What ever happened to him? Where is he? What happened to him? Where did he go? He pled the Fifth. Never heard - that's the end of him. Eye-yi-yi (ph).

[12:15:00] She put her e-mails on a secret server to cover up her pay- for-play scandal in the State Department. Nothing threatens the integrity of our democracy more than when government officials put their public office up for sale. We will also - we will also make it a priority to develop defensive and offensive cyber capabilities at our U.S. cyber command and recruit the best and brightest Americans.

One of my first directives after taking office will be asking the Joint Chiefs of Staff and all relevant federal departments to conduct a thorough review of United States cyber defenses and identify all vulnerabilities. And we have to do that immediately, including to our power grid, our communications system, and all vital infrastructure.

I will then ask for a plan to immediately protect those vulnerabilities and then fix them. At the same time - at the same time, we will invest heavily in offensive cyber capabilities to disrupt our enemies, including terrorists who rely heavily on Internet communications. ISIS is using the Internet to recruit. ISIS is using the Internet to intercept and do all sorts of things to our country. We have to be many steps ahead of them and we will be.

These new investments in cyber security and the modernization of our military will spur substantial new job creation in the private sector and help create the jobs and technologies of tomorrow. That's what we have to do. America must be the world's dominant technological powerhouse of the 21st century. And young Americans, including in our inner cities, should get these new jobs through training, through education. It will happen.

We must also ensure that we have the best medical care, education and support for our military service members and their families, both when they serve and when they return to civilian life. Our veterans are not being treated well. Our veterans, in many cases, are being treated worse than illegal immigrants, people that come into our county illegally. Our veterans are not being treated well.

And, by the way, Hillary Clinton has been doing this for 35 years. Now she says she can do it. She doesn't have a clue. Doesn't have a clue.

Our debt to our men and women in uniform is eternal, always will be. To all of those who have served this nation, I say so strongly that I will never ever let you down. We will protect those who protect us. It's very simple. We will protect those who protect us. And we will follow their example of unity. We will work across all

racial and income lines to create one American nation. Together, we will have one great American future. Our potential is unlimited. We will be one people under one God, saluting one American flag.

[12:20:18] And, by the way, we love our flag.

America will be a prosperous, generous and inclusive society. We will discard the failed policies and division of the past and embrace true American change to rebuild our economy, rebuild our inner cities. They need help so desperately. And rebuild our country. We will bring back our jobs and we will not let our jobs go to other countries.

We will make America strong again. We will make America safe again. And we will make America great again, greater than ever before.

Thank you very much and God bless you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you.

ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Donald Trump to a standing ovation after a military readiness speech in Philadelphia before the Union League in that city, wrapping up about a half hour speech.

Hello, everybody, I'm Ashleigh Banfield. Welcome to our viewers here in the United States and around the world.

If there was one message that he gave, it came in ten points, and that was that the current military, in Mr. Trump's estimation, is insufficient and he's got a plan, ten points worth, that will bone up on the military. As he exits the room, here is just the quick summary of some of the proposals in the policy speech that he just gave.

He wants to build an active Army of about 540,000 members. He wants to build a Marine Crops based on about 36 battalions. He wants to build a Navy approaching 350 surface ships and submarines. And he wants to build an Air Force of at least 1,200 fighter aircraft.

That was just the start, but there was much more as well.

I want to bring in CNN's senior White House correspondent, Jim Acosta, who's standing by live covering that event, in fact. And along with Jim Acosta in Washington is CNN Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr, CNN political analyst and "USA Today" columnist Kirsten Powers, CNN's senior political reporter Nia-Malika Henderson is here in New York, CNN political commentator and political anchor of Time Warner Cable is here, Errol Louis, and CNN national politics reporter MJ Lee.

Not to be outdone in Washington, CNN's political analyst Kirsten Powers is going to join us in just a moment. But I'm going to start in Philadelphia, if I can, with you, Jim Acosta.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Sure.

CAMEROTA: Was this message about the timing or was it about the audience listening to this message? And I mean timing because early voting is starting, especially for military members overseas, and - and the red meat that -

ACOSTA: Right.

CAMEROTA: That that perhaps this audience wants to hear. Take it from there.

ACOSTA: Well, yes, and, Ashleigh, I think a lot of this also has to do with addressing some of these shortcomings when it comes to Donald Trump's poll numbers. If you look at our latest CNN/ORC poll it shows that Americans have doubts about whether or not Donald Trump has the temperament to be commander in chief. And what you heard throughout this speech, while he did lay out some of these proposals for ending sequestration and those forced budget cuts on defense spending, while you heard him talk about how he's going to give his generals 30 days to come up with a plan for defeating ISIS, this was very much a, you know, a laundry list of lines of attack on Hillary Clinton.

At one point he said that Hillary Clinton is, quote, "unstable and trigger happy." That is basically a dog whistle to all of those supporters out there who have been questioning Hillary Clinton's health and whether she, you know, is capable of being a president of the United States strictly from a health standpoint. You also heard at one point Donald Trump go into the Clinton e-mail saga and said that, you know, that Clinton's e-mail saga has revealed to all of us just how vulnerable we are when it comes to cyber hacking as a nation. So - and that was a line that was received well by this audience. I have to tell you, there were a lot of laughs in this room.

So - so, yes, Donald Trump was, you know, going down his list of his defense and national security proposals for the country. But this was also a well-designed and I think well-delivered takedown of Hillary Clinton delivered here in Philadelphia.

BANFIELD: So let me go right to the Pentagon. If we're talking about the current state of the military and what Donald Trump would like to do to change the military, it's best to go to the place where the military actually resides.

So, Barbara Starr, how do you think this is going to be received where you are? And, also, is the state of the union on the military, as Donald Trump just laid out, accurate?

[12:25:08] BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, Trump has been putting out that message in his view that the U.S. military is broken, if you will. That it's too small. There isn't enough capability.

I was listening and, in some cases, you know, he goes back to what the U.S. military was in 1915. Let's be clear, the U.S. military can be much smaller than it was. The weapons, the capabilities are tens of orders, if not hundreds of orders of magnitude more capable. It doesn't need, by any measure, what it used to have decades ago.

Now, military commanders always want more. They've been pushing for more on Capitol Hill. But there's some reality checks here. Think of it this way, Ashleigh. The U.S. military is essentially a manpowered heavy, high-tech enterprise. And if you're going to continue to expand that, you are going to have fixed costs. You're going to have to maintain all those weapons. You may or may not use them. You're going to have to pay people. You're going to have to provide health care. These are huge bills. Is the Congress really going to fund all of this is a big question.

But let's see if we can go back one step further. Trump puts out all these numbers. You had a graphic a minute ago up there of the statistics of the size of what he would like to see, tens of thousands in the Army, thousands of additional fighter jets, that kind of thing. I think most military commanders, when you look at those numbers, would say, wait a minute, those are numbers, but what is it you're trying to do? What is the threat out there? What is the military capability you need to match that threat, to deal with that threat? Capabilities and numbers of aircraft, numbers of ships, numbers of people are two different things. It really has to start, most commanders will tell you, with, what is it that you're trying to do.

Ashleigh.

BANFIELD: All right, hold that thought for a moment. Obviously in anticipation of Donald Trump's military readiness speech, the Clinton efforts were waiting and ready. And, in fact, to that end, there's a new anti-Trump Priorities USA ad that is coming out and it seems to be specifically geared towards Donald Trump and his let's say temperament towards war shall I put it. Let me play a little piece of it and I want to ask a little bit about that in a moment. Here it is. This is the new anti-Trump Priorities USA ad.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: I'm really good at war. I love war in a certain way.

Including with nukes. Ys, including with nukes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BANFIELD: Nia-Malika Henderson, I'm really good at war. I love war, including nukes. Obviously there are some who would say, in the day of ISIS, that's exactly how you need to b, and there are others who would say, wait, nukes, what?

NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: Yes. You know, I think this was part of a Hillary Clinton strategy that she laid out in that DNC address where she said, a man that you can bait with a tweet shouldn't have the nuclear codes. They want to essentially say that he doesn't have the temperament, the discipline, the focus, the knowledge to be a president and have that power to be commander and chief with an army at his disposal.

I thought today's speech really was in some ways directed at the Republican foreign policy establishment. All those folks from the Bush years who have, in many ways, gone to Hillary Clinton. You see she has laid out lists and lists of generals and folks like Brent Scocroft (ph) who are backing her. And I thought a lot of this - it was almost like listening to Mitt Romney from 2012 when he talks about the ships - the - increasing ships to 300 or so, the increase to 500,000 troops. So I think that is what he was doing today. He mentioned the Heritage Foundation, which, of course, is a conservative think -

BANFIELD: Twice.

HENDERSON: Yes, exactly, which is, of course, a conservative think tank. So that's what I thought he was doing. If you talk to Republicans, I asked several Republicans, like, what's the main thing that worries you about Donald Trump? The first thing that many of them say will be foreign policy. So I think today he was trying to shore up that base of Republicans.

You can see some of them coming along in these recent polls. But that's where he's got, I think, some strides to make with Republicans who are doubtful about whether or not he's a real Republican.

BANFIELD: So it's one thing to talk red meat in the military, it's another to pay for all of those things, as Barbara Starr laid out. That's a lot of manpower that you need to operate all that heavy gear, et cetera.

So, Errol Louis, to that end, ending the sequestration, boning up the budget, these are all things that you cannot declare by fiat. They require a lot of bipartisan work. They require Congress. Heavens to Betsy. That's the layer beneath the declarations that becomes a little more complicated.

HENDERSON: Yes.

ERROL LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, that's right. And, in fact, the sequestration didn't just fall out of the sky. It was the result of a pitched budget battle, and it only takes effect if Congress goes ahead and appropriates funds to be spent that go above budget caps that were already set. There's a super committee that's supposed to go and review all of it. There's the budget control act lurking in the background which actually controls a lot of this stuff . And so, yes, the next question for Donald Trump is, who's going to pay for all of this stuff.