tv Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer CNN August 12, 2016 2:00pm-4:01pm PDT
michael phelps does it again this evening. make sure you tune into cnn on sunday for state of the union. my guests will be paul manafort and a bush administration cabinet secretary now supporting hillary clinton. that is it for "the lead." turned over now to jim sciutto in for wolf in "the situation room." >> hammippening now, the art of sarcasm. saying he was kidding when he called barack obama and hillary clinton the founders of isis. saying he was sarcastic, but not that sarcastic. and hillary clinton widening her lead in critical battleground states as the electoral map seems to shift in favor, donald trump needs to shift his strategy. and reince prebus showing
signs that trump can come together with the party. does excuses that he is under an audit add up. you're in" the situation room." according to donald trump, he says what he means, and means what he says, except when he doesn't. he repeatedly called president obama and hillary clinton the founders of isis. and stood by that label when questioned. after sleeping on it, he walked about the accusation called it sarcasm, but he doubled down. he said i'm being sarcastic, but not that sarcastic to be honest with you. hillary clinton with growing leads over trump in the
battleground states like north carolina. senate republican leader mitch mcconnell warns their chance of keeping control of the senate are "very dicey." a surprise announcement at a trump rally, does it mean a fresh start for the gsm o.p.? hillary clinton put more pressure on donald trump today by releasing her 2015 it tack return. paying about a third of that in federal income taxes. clinton repeatedly called on trump. trump insists he is under awe fit and says he will not go public until the audit is complete. . we begin with donald trump on the campaign trail today, con
futing statements about president obama and isis. jessica, what is trump saying today? >> donald trump focused the bulk of his speech on straightforward messages, but he insisted on referencing the isis comments that made a splash in the last 24 hours. >> he is still criticizing president obama for his handling of isis. >> he let this happen. they had eight states, eight countries, they're now in 28 countries, they're expanding. >> but the gop nominee says he was kidding about his charge that the president created size. >> i'm being scar kas tick. but not that sarcastic to be honest with you. the founder of isis, and in
fact, very soon he is going over to pick up most valuable player award. did i say that? i say it all of the time. so they knew i was being sarcastic. >> that after he repeatedly incested that he was the founder of the terrorist organization. >> i call president obama and hillary clinton the founders of isis. >> e you meant that he created the vacuum and lost the peace. >> i don't care, he was the founder. >> it comes as more evidence surfaces that he wanted to rapidly pull troops out of iraq. >> we should not have been there and i would get them out real fast. >> it is not the first time he has claimed sarcasm to get out of a jam. >> russia, if you're listening,
i hope you can find the 30,000 e-mails that are missing. >> i was sarcastic, everyone in the room was laughing. >> the straight talking businessman being encouraged to be more careful with his words. >> one of the frustrating things is the imprecise language. he uses three words sometimes and he needs ten. he has to use language that is thought through and clear to everybody. >> in an interview with the miami herald, trump took a stunning stance says he would try u.s. citizens suspected of terrorism in military tribunals, that would be challenged as unconstitutional. >> i know they want to try them in the regular court systems but i don't like that at all. >> as the latest wall street journal poll shows trump is lagging in key states, trailing
clinton by 14 points in colorado. five points in florida. trump yesterday saying he is having trouble in utah. >> a tremendous problem in utah. it is a different place, is anyone here from utah? it is -- i didn't think so. we're having a problem. >> and donald trump did stress that we need to win pennsylvania at his last event in erie. he is now here in altoona, and he tamped down on the chance of his supporters at the last event. they were shouting "lock her up" donald trump asked them to chant "let's beat her in november" instead. let's turn now to dana bash. you look at these polls, these are big leads in critical battleground states, why so why
is he going to connecticut? >> it is a good question. it underscores a lot of questions being asked about the trump strategy, the ground game or more. let me give you a little perspective about why connecticut is so perplexing. the last time they went to the republican on a presidential level, people were listening to cassettes in their cars and -- >> i republican that time. >> you're not old enough, but they were also using cell phones the size of shoe boxes. it was a long time ago. the answer according to the trump campaign is they believe it is a state that donald trump can turn from blue to red. not only that, he spent time last week in maine, also been through, blue since 1992. the trump campaign argues the way they proportion their electoral votes, it is possible to get one maybe two, but still,
we are, you know, less than 100 days out from the election, and so the question a lot of people are asking is why go to any blue states like that? why not focus on the battlegrounds like, in fairness to trump, he did today in pennsylvania. he is spending a fair amount of time in other states like that. >> and g.o.p. strategists. so you know well, you done a lot of reporting on this. the campaigns often lost or won on the ground game. is he addressing any weaknesses there? >> they say they are, but why isn't he spending money? at the beginning of the general election, when he was the presumptive nominee, he was nowhere when it came to fundraising because he was self funded in the primaries. it looked like he had trouble at the beginning. he doesn't any more. last month they boasted they
raised $60 million in conjunction with the rnc, but they have not spent a time ontizion advertising. nothing, and hillary clinton spent $42.9 since the general election started. the trump campaign says they have a plan, a strategy, they're not going to share it with us. but a lot of people i'm talking to are saying what are you waiting for? the clinton campaign are defining themselves, and they have a candidate that is not disciplined in message. this is a strategy that worked in the primaries. he won without spending a lot of money. he did earned media speeches and interviews and things like that
he feels probably they can still do that. >> the irony is he has the money. he had a good fund raiding month last mont. dana bash, thank you so much. watch reporting on the ground game. i want to bring in congressman burgess tonight. he is a trump supporter. hillary clinton, $42.9 million spent in ads. donald trump has not spent money. there are weaknesses in his own party in the ground game, why isn't that changing? >> well, this is an unconventional candidacy. i think we both stipulate that. everything that i have said about this race in the last 18 months has been wrong. as a first time candidate, i
learned you spend your money backwards. you save some money for the big fight. >> so let's look at this. $82 million, what will he spend that money on? >> we're talking about him today, aren't sfwhe the thing about this unconventional candidacy is it doesn't run on the same fuel that we have seen others run on. sometimes it seems bumpy. other times, look what he has been able to accomplish. no one would have believed it 14 months ago. >> does that extend from the primaries into the general? he said that he was being
sarcastic when he called president obama the founder of isis. and this match, he said "i'm being sarcastic, but not that sarcastic to be honest with you. was he joking or not? >> i was one of the last congressional delegations, and it was astounding. all of the men, women, and equipment, it was all gone and pulled down. there must have been some thought giving for what coming next, and they just simply didn't. >> that is a different conversation. but that is not what the candidate said, he said
repeatedly he is the founder of isis. then he said he is being sarcastic, and today he says maybe i wasn't being that sarcastic. >> was he joking or not. >> look at how the press vilified george bush. he said we're fitting them there so we don't have to fight them here. you didn't believe that. as a consequence, we have the fight on our hand that's we have now. it is no laughing matter, it is a serious situation and one that requires maximum attention. >> you just said there, it is no laughing matter, so why is it appropriate to joke about it, toechb say you're being sarcastic. >> i don't know that it is a joke. you'll have to ask mr. trump that. >> so you're saying it is not a
matter of sarcasm? >> the stage was set by this administration, and the consequences are because of the decisions made by this administration and by secretary clinton. >> trump had an opportunity to clarify what he meant. so we want to be clear about what he said. let's listen now. >> i know what you meant, he created the vacuum. >> he is the most valuable player, i give it to her too. j but he hates them, he is
trying to kill hem. >> help us rectify that. i don't think there is any question that the conditions were created by this current administrati administration. the one poll that is really striking, 80% of the country does not like the status quo right now. hillary clinton is the candidate. >> but to be fair, that is a different question than i asked. this is clearly an issue you take very seriously as we all do. isis is there threat here and at home. >> and i wish that the administration had taken it seriously in 2011 and 2012, 2013 and 2014. when i asked in a briefing, i said what did you think would happen, and they just had not thought it through.
>> i want to ask because a few of these things he said in the last 24 to 48 hours are creating an environment, he called the president the founder of isis, not that he created conditions for isis. that he founded it. he used his full name, barack hussein obama. is he trying to delegitimatize this presidency? >> no, the president is responsible for the decisions he made. using the president's full name, i fail to see how that is an issue of any sort. i'm rather surprised that you try to make it one. but the president is responsible for the decisions that he made. the secretary is responsible for the decisions she made as secretary. >> please stay right there, a lot more questions on this topic
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welcome back, we're back with michael burgess. secretary clinton now released 39 years worth of tax returns. donald trump says he wants to be transparent with the american people. he could at least release his tax rate, why doesn't he do that? >> you need to ask the candidate that question. he filed his disclosure which many people said he would never do but he did so and showed his
candidacy was serious back in the early days. i have been audited before, it's no fun, and i have every wbit o sympathy for anyone facing an audit. >> but that doesn't prevent you in any way, legally, from releasing those returns. i wonder if you, you're a bub lick official, do you release your returns? >> in general, i think it is a good idea for presidential candidates to be transparent on that point, but i don't know that we ever had a presidential candidate of any party under an active audit that released their returns while that audit is on going. >> but he is running for president, and the defies four deck says of tradition. >> people have to make their own decisions on that.
i think having been through that situation, i'm supportive of him getting through the audit first, and then we'll see what happens. >>. >> can you say if he paid taxes last year? >> can i say? it would be inappropriate for me as a member of congress to look at someone else's tax returns? >> even if they are running for president? >> are you asking me if i went to the agency and asked to see his returns? the answer to that would be no, that is richard nixon enemy stuff. >> no, i'm wondering if as -- trump supporter, do you know if he paid taxes last year or not? >> no, and i don't know how
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introduced by republican national committee chairman reince prebus. this is especially intriguing because of reports that the party hierarchy is alarmed by his drop in the polls. rebecca bergh joining us, along with dana bash. dana, priebus making a surprise appearance today. reince prebus has been upset with donald trump, but he is trying to figure out a way to get donald trump on course. it is not what it was about today. being behind the scenes with
him, but showing everything that it has been tough, we're in this and we'll do it together. someone said to me that the band has to stay together. >> another shot at the media for reporting this wrong. but does that show he is putting those reports to bed? >> he is, but i don't think it is going to work. whether or not he wants to acknowledge it, there is discontent in the american party. you have a group of republican that's have not even sent the later yet to prebus because they're still gathering signatures. so he can say that, but the reality is that this isn't going away because there is a lot of people who are just dissatisfied with how this is going. >> speaking of those concerns, mitch mcconnell speaking those concerns out in public says he may not be calling the shots
next year. that he might be in trouble. chances are dicey. that is a remarkable comment. >> yes, but he is living in reality. a very tough election cycle, and with trump at the top, it becomes even more difficult. so mitch mcconnell knows what we all know, that it will be a very tough uphit climb for him. but what the senate candidates are trying to do at this stage, this goes back to what jackie was saying, being sent to the rnc saying maybe they should redirect their resources to the down ballot races. they are trying their best to separate themselves from donald trump. tell them they are different candidates, that donald trump doesn't necessarily represent the republican party. i have not seen any evidence that voters think of donald as a
figure head for the party. he is in their own party. >> you think maybe it doesn't imagine them. >> not necessarily. if they can persuade voters that he is a category on to himself, and that their down ballot candidates are in a different category as well. we had a moment with isis and obama being the founder of isis. and this morning, that almost expected pull back. donald trump sage it was a sarcastic comment, but not being able to help himself, he says i wasn't being sarcastic there. is this a futile exercise to pin down what he was saying? >> i think so, but it is certainly something we have to continue to do. i think what makes this particular situation different from the other i don't know half a dozen or more times he said something, he god blow back and
then he said just kidding, what made this different is the interview he did yesterday with hugh hewitt who gave him, to use your word, a lifeline, actually two. didn't you really mean was that the peace was there, and by pulling the troops out that isis was created. he left a vacuum. in so many ways, and trump is no no no, what i mean is they were the founders of isis. >> i meant it literally. >> in this case, it is even more perplexing that he is saying nevermind i was being sarcastic. >> this matters, does it not? this is a life or death issue. isis is a threat over there, a threat here to the homeland. and i just wonder, does that have an effect? on this very essential topic in the campaign. >> it matters internationally when we're speaking about our role on the world stage and the effect that our politics have
internationally. this has been a conspiracy theory in the united states before. that the united states is actively supporting isis. >> and this is something that has been around for many years and so to have a nominee for the presidency, from one of the two major parties, saying these things it does have an effect. >> and that is the key, it's not just semantics, it's like international dog whistling, what is going on, right? >> and dana read the definition of founder yesterday. i feel like i should have brought sarcasm with me today. no matter -- you can't do that when you're the commander in chief because of everything you're all saying. some of the things he is saying is in russian propaganda press. that is problematic. you should not have the republican nominee repeating what he says at times --
welcome back, and we're back with our political experts. hillary clinton found new way to put pressure on donald trump today. pamela brown is here. tell us what clinton's move was today. >> today hillary clinton and tim kaine released their own tax returns. a day after blasting him on the kman hammering him for not releasing his own tax returns. >> and hillary clinton is keeping pressure on donald trump to release his tax returns. >> he refuses to do what every other presidential candidate has done and release his tax returns. >> they released their 2015 tax returns. less than the $28 million they
made in 2014. they pay a third of their income to uncle sam. on par with their 32% effective rate in 2013. they also disclosed ten years of returned for tim kaine and his wife. they reported about $313,000 in income and paid about an effective rate of 20%. >> we'll only know if he is a real deal or phoney if he releases his fax returns. >> there is a new video of prominent republicans calling on trump to release his tax returns. trump says he will release his
concerns when an audit is released. as clinton urges transparenctra she is not nreleasing -- >> i will relate all of the transcripts of the speeches i gave on wall street behind closed doors. not for $225,000, not for $2,000, not for two cents, there was no speeches. >> hillary clinton says he will release her speech transcripts when donald trump does. most of it was donated to the private clinton family foundation. >> thank you very much. so dana, hillary releasing those
tax churns, a quick response? >> the first line say it's all. she didn't release what we wanted to see. that is what you expect them do to deflect. but it maybe will be harder for him to do that if she continues to push this, and more importantly you hear from republicans saying -- having said that, at this point there doesn't appear to be any evidence that it is hurting donald trump. at this point there doesn't seem to be any real pressure on him to do this. >> as you say, the pressure is not confined to one party. we just interviewed congressman
burgess and he said it would be a good idea, and how does he defy those choices in his own party? >> when it starts mattering in the campaign trail. i think that is, i don't know that he will still do it, but i think that is more of an impetus than mitch mcconnell. this is a basic pairness thing. you know, to be able to see how much you're paying in taxes. it has been done for decades. >> do independent voters care in that is really what we're about now. >> they may, told drop is trying to argument that hillary clinton is not being transparent. how can he make that argument at the same time that he is not
putting forth all of his financials. >> impactly. we know this has been the subject of a possible investigation. folks have been looking into this. >> and frankly he did criticize mitt romney in 2012 for not releasing his tax returns. not relating a full supply. so for trump now to say it is not necessary is inconsistent. >> how much is it a ganger in the final 80 some od days. >> it is because it feeds into the pre-existing problem she has with voters. just worthiness, honesty, the fact that people see her as more
of the same. if you pick the phrases that donald trump uses on purpose, as long as it plays into those notions and donald trump continues to stay on message with that as pretty much to a person everyone wants him to, it does have the potential to hurt her. >> i completely agree on that. i think if donald trump could not come back with "what are you hiding?" she would have a stronger case. >> coming up, a closer look at the excuses donald trump has used for why he will not release those tax returns.
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hillary clinton, today, released her 2015 tax return. shows she and her husband earned more than $10 million last year paying a third of that in federal income taxes. that putting more pressure on donald trump to release his tax returns. a 40-year tradition for presidential nominees. bryan, we know trump has had more than one excuse through the years for not doing that. >> he has. trump's found several different ways to dance around releasing his tax returns and to avoid a clear explanation of why he hasn't released them. tonight he's under more pressure than ever for a full accounting.
he promised he would release his tax returns to the public. at the start of 2016, he said he was working saying the information was approved and very beautiful. he went from that to down play the impact. >> you can't tell anything from tax returns. there's nothing. >> reporter: what's become a familiar deflection. trump says a long running i.r.s. of his taxes prevents him from revealing his returns. >> i can't do it until the audit is finished. >> reporter: he got defensive about it when speaking to abc. >> what is your tax rate? >> it's none of your business. you'll see when i release. >> reporter: he's floated theories denied by the irs on why he's been audited. >> maybe because of religion or something else. maybe because i'm doing this. >> what do you mean religion? >> maybe because of the fact i'm a strong christian and feel strongly about it.
>> i think he's demagoguing that issue. he's trying to distract from what going on. >> reporter: through the deflections and excuses still no release of tax returns from donald trump. is he legally prevented from releasing them during an audit? >> there's no legal reason why she couldn't release his tax returns now. it's allowable for him to do so. >> reporter: he is really being audited. >> i get audited every single year. >> reporter: he's offered a letter from his tax lawyer sayisay ing examinations are ongoing. is there a letter from the irs to trump specifically saying he's being audited. the irs says it's not allowed to tell us. trump's campaign and his lawyers aren't telling us either. the political pressure on the gop nominee is building. >> i think you'll keep seeing the democrat hit this because they sense there's a vulnerability. >> reporter: his return might confirm whether he's as rich as
he is, gives as much to charity and veals who he does business with. one prominent tax attorney said he'd advise him not to release while being audited. >> millions of people would be looking at it and see transactions that are complicated and legitimate but that look strange to someone who is not trained in the tax field. that could raise a public outcry. >> reporter: he could get around that. he could come out and say what his tax rate is. today we asked the trump campaign and his tax lawyers if they could give us that information. they declined saying the nominee is undergoing a routine audit and he'll release the returns when that is done. jim. >> bryan, we know trump has complained the irs is constantly auditing him every year. you heard him saying even
possibly due to his religion. have you found any evidence of that? >> not really. tax attorneys and other experts say that companies all around the country, all around the world that are as big and complex as donald trump's company, they are always being audited by the irs. there's nothing unusual about being audited every year or for an audit to last a few years. they say that excuse by him doesn't fly. >> thanks very much. after calling president obama and hillary clinton the founders of isis and insisting he meant what he said, donald trump first doubles back and then doubles down. >> so i said the founder of isis. then, but not that sarcastic to be honest with you. running for president means staying in a different hotel every night. so i use the hotels.com rewards program to earn free nights. which i can use for my new friends here. thanks, captain obvious. you're welcome. roger that, sir. my name isn't roger. supported by hotels.com.
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down ballot concerns are growing as trump struggles in the polls. the senate majority leader are warning the chances of keeping control of the senate are dicey. will mitch mcconnell be calling the shots next year? a cnn investigation finds hillary clinton's top aide was involved while working full-time as chief of staff to the secretary of state. was there a conflict of
interest? republican presidential candidate, donald trump is giving mixed messages as he tries to explain his claim that president obama founded isis despite repeatedly using the attack line he later tweeted it was sarcasm and he said it was not that sarcastic. tonight his poll numbers are falling with new surveys showing him trailing hillary clinton in the critical battleground states of virginia, north carolina, florida and colorado. fearing fall out from a trump loss, the majority leader mitch mcconnell is saying that the chances of republicans keeping control of the senate are quote, very dicy. clinton also upping the pressure on trump to release his tax
returns making her most recent filing public today. in response the trump campaign has released statement of accusing clinton of hiding and deleting the only records of what people want to see. we're covering all of that and many more things with our viewers. jim, looks like all these controversies taking a toll in the polls. >> that's right. it's getting hard to tell whether or not donald trump is joking when he says president obama is the founder of isis. what's not a laughing matter is the state of the trump campaign if you look at the latest poll numbers. have you heard the one about the presidential candidate who called president obama the founder of isis. >> so i said, the founder of isis.
obviously, a bit sarcastic, but not that sarcastic. >> reporter: he says that one liner is more stand up than stump speech. >> barack obama is the founder, he got everybody out and he let them know when and we're leaving. he is the founder in a true sense. >> reporter: just kidding sense trump who asked a certain television network, they don't get sarcasm. that follows ample opportunities to clear up what he meant. >> you meant he created the vacu vacuum. >> i meant he's the founder of isis. i do. >> reporter: it's more of a head scratcher than a knee slapper. >> his candidacy is the imprecise language. he sometimes uses three words when he needs ten. i know what trump has in his minds but that's not what people hear. he has got to learn to use language that has been thought
through and that is clear to everybody. >> reporter: the attacks on the president comes as trump also wanted a quick exit from the war in iraq. >> if you were president, would you take all american troops out of afghanistan and iraq? >> iraq we shouldn't have been there. afghanistan is not the bigger problem. the bigger problem is pakistan. >> reporter: his drop in battleground states is no joke. he trails but double digits this colorado, north carolina, virginia. he's hanging on in florida. he asked russia to hack into hillary clinton's e-mail server. >> russia, if you're listening, i hope you're able to find the 30,000 e-mails that are missing. >> reporter: trump said that was sarcasm too. >> i obviously was being sarcastic. the people in the room was laughing. everybody knew that. >> reporter: it's pattern that makes it hard to determine when he's playing it straight on important policy issues like
whether u.s. citizens could be tried for terrorism at the detention center. trump says they should even though that's a departure from current u.s. laws. >> i know they want to try them in our regular court systems. i don't like that at all. i don't like that at all. i would say they could be tried there. that could be fine. >> reporter: donald trump did get a strong show of support from reince priebus who made surprise hearing. he said don't believe the garbage that you're hearing in the news. that was in response to tensions behind the scenes between the trump campaign and the rnc. there was another moment where donald trump said to one of the protesters, go back home to your mama and your mother is voting for donald trump. jim, we expect donald trump to take more serious tone on monday. he is scheduled the give a speech in ohio then on what his plans are for dealing with terrorism. >> we'll see.
thanks very much. the impact of trump on other gop candidates has top republicans anxious. with mitch mcconnell warning his party could lose control of the senate. it's unusual for him to put that out there. >> it is. in some ways you usually hear leaders like mitch mcconnell talking about how great things are and trying to play up the chances of victory. in this case, he's being shrewd politically because he's being real realistic. it is very difficult for republicans to keep control of the senate. this is the point that mcconnell was making when speaking back home in kentucky. take donald trump out of the equation. the republicans are defending 24 seats this election cycle. the democrats are only defending ten. that gives you a sense of how hard it's going to be.
democrat, in order to take control, need five seats. that's all they need to gain. four if hillary clinton wins. if do you look at the map now, two republican seats look like they're pretty much gone. republicans will tell you that. >> they're halfway there. >> there are six toss up seats. not just that, they're also many of these in presidential battleground states where at this point many of these states are showing donald trump is trailing. the map is very difficult and then add on top of that the important layer that we're seeing, the dynamic of donald trump not really being helpful to a lot of candidates. >> when mitch mcconnell makes a statement like this in public, is he trying to send a message to donald trump or is he giving up on him? >> i'm not so sure that he thinks donald trump is going to take a message from him. the way i read it is he's trying to send a message to party leaders around the country, to donors, especially. he was speaking to the chamber
of commerce. we need your help. bring in the cavalry here. there are discussions and pressure on the republican national committee at some point to say, if donald trump is still not doing well in the polls, the white house is a lost cause, we got to do the checks and balances and try to save the senate. >> thanks very much. i want to get more on all of this with trump supporter and arkansas attorney general. thanks for joining us tonight. >> thank you. >> you heard donald trump this morning walking back his remarkable statement that president obama is the founder of isis. then later today at his rally, he said he wasn't being sarcastic. you're a trump supporter, which is it? >> jim, no one in america believes that donald trump actually thinks that barack
obama is the founder of isis. he's saying the policies of barack obama, the same policies that hillary clinton has, the same old, same old. no one believes that donald trump believes that anymore than they believe he wanted russia to hack into the e-mails or wanted violence. >> i have to take issue with that. >> what americans know -- >> listen to the candidate -- >> actions speak louder that words. >> listen to the candidates words himself. not just in rally. he had multiple opportunities to clarify. i want to play, for your sake, how he handled it. >> okay. >> last night you said the president was the founder of isis. i know what you meant. you meant he created the vacuum. >> no, i meant he's the founder of isis. he's the most valuable player. i give him the most valuable player award. >> he's not sympathetic to them. >> he was the founder. >> you heard hugh hewett making
the argument you made. he was talking about policy decisionings, strateghe said no. >> it's about policies and the media and liberal left parsing words. americans know that actions speak louder than words. they know that hillary clinton has kept a server in her basement putting american security at risk and she has the same old policies of barack obama. that's what americans know. americans aren't foolish. >> he's a conservative commentator. you say parsing the words. i'm reading off the transcript here. donald trump said he was the founder. given the opportunity to say, you're really making a point about policy. i'm not parsing the words.
i'm quoting the words. >> right. certainly donald trump missed the opportunity to remind hugh who knows that donald trump was being sarcastic to remind the american public how dangerous hillary clinton is and the same old policies of barack obama are what why we have the dangers of isis and we must have a strong national security and must grow jobs in america. her actions speak louder to americans than donald trump's words will. americans know that time and again she's proven she will lie and she will put a server in her basement. putting our security at risk. >> u.s. forces fighting isis. for the sake of people back home, which statement should they believe from this candidate for the presidency of the united states that he believes obama was the founder of isis or he
was being sarcastic? >> americans know that isis is dangerous and we have seen more danger come to america because of isis under the failed policies of barack obama and hillary clinton as secretary of state and we don't need more of the same from hillary clinton and these failed policies. >> let me ask you this, like you, i take the issue of isis very seriously. i've covered attacks carried out by isis. i've seen the deadly consequences of that and people back home are aware of the deadly seriousness of isis. you're a public servant. do you believe that isis is a topic that should be joked about or had sarcastic comments about if we take the words at face value from donald trump? is this the topic that should be a joking matter? >> it's not a joking matter and neither is putting our national security at risk when you're secretary of state. that's exactly what hillary clinton did. putting each and every one of us
at risk when she had all that information in the server in her basement, putting every single person in the united states at risk. that's what hillary clinton did. that's what we need to befocused on and that's what americans know. >> donald trump, in an interview with the miami herald says he believes that u.s. citizens accused of terrorism should be tried at guantanamo bay, would he take action on this, which would, revoke the constitutional rights of trials here in the u.s. of american citizens? >> i think that would be a policy shift and something that would be taken up and over a long period of time these individuals are dangerous and must be taken seriously. as the chief law enforcement officer of the state of arkansas, i understand the dangers of individuals, but we must not trample upon anyone's constitutional right. i think that would be a shift from where we are now. it would have to be looked at in
the court system and whether or not that's the direction that america wants to go. >> you're an attorney general -- >> about these individuals being dangerous. >> you're attorney general. you know the law well. you're saying to do this, as donald trump said would trample on the rights of citizens? >> that's not what i said. i said this would be significant shift and whether or not that's the direction that the courts that the president, those leaders and the united states congress and senate would want to do. >> would you support that shift? >> that is not a question for attorney general of arkansas. >> you do support a presidential candidate who is just made that position clear? >> i support. let me be clear. i support a candidate who respects the constitution and who will uphold the rule of law. that individual is donald trump. hillary clinton has shown us time and again although she's a
smart lawyer, she does not respect the rule of law. she does not respect the constitution and that's what americans are sick and tired of. the same old power brokers in washington, d.c. trampling over the constitution, upsetting the rule of law. we want a candidate, a president who respects the rule of law. that person is donald trump. >> stand by. we have a lot more questions. we'll be back after this short break. if you have moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis,
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she paid about 30% in federal taxes. do you believe that voters have a right to know what donald trump has been paying in taxes? >> i think more important than her tax returns are those 33,000 e-mails that are missing and deleted that americans would like to know where are the e-mails are. they were on hillary clinton's private server -- >> to be fair. that's a separate topic which i'm happy to ask you about. the question is about donald trump's tax returns. do you believe your -- you're a public servant. do you believe voters have a right to know what tax rate he paid? >> as he's said, his taxes are under audit and he'll be addressing that issue when they're no longer under audit. hillary clinton has absolutely lied and refused to hand over e-mails, had that private server in her basement. she was a public servant when she chose to lie to the american
people and put us at risk by having that server in her basement. >> that's what we're talking about now is taxes. the irs does not prevent anybody from releasing their tax returns when under audit. the fact is, there's other information that this candidate for president of the united states could release, tax rate, details about percentage of money or amount of money he gave to charity donations without releasing full returns. why doesn't he do that? >> again, i think he's said time and again that his taxes are being audited and he's not going to release them during this time. why aren't we talking about the different tax plans that donald trump has about lowering taxes for american versus hillary clinton over increasing taxes.
americans care about having a job for themselves and being able to pay their own taxes. they don't care about whether or not donald trump or hillary clinton paid x amount dollars. >> i'm curious -- >> they cannot do that under hillary clinton's failed policy. >> you're a public servant. i'm sure you talk to a lot of voters there who pay state and federal tax themselves. why wouldn't they then have a right to know if their public servants are doing it, particularly, someone running for president is doing the same thing that they're doing? it's hard to pay your taxes. >> it is. it's hard to have a job in this economy of barack obama. that's what americans, that's what our candidates care about is whether or not they will be able to have a job and fill out that w-2 form. that's what every day americans care about. they know under these failed policies of barack obama and
hillary clinton that jobs are hard to come by. we need to update our resumes and get back to work. his economic plan unveiled was tremendous to what we saw by hillary clinton wanting to raise taxes hurting job growth across our great kun dcountry. >> thanks very much for taking the time and the hard questions. >> thank you. >> just ahead, more on donald trump's mixed messages and a pattern of explaining some of his most controversial comments. >> so i said, the founder of obvious. obviously a bit sarcastic. then, but not that sarcastic, to be honest with you. she spent summer binge-watching.
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donald trump is holding rally tonight in pennsylvania. his second campaign stop in the keystone state today. earlier in erie he was joined on stage by a surprise guest. gloria, we've been following donald trump's evolving comments on calling president obama the founder of isis. he doubled down on founder of isis. we woke up this morning to him tweeting that he was being sarcastic and doubled back and said i wasn't being that
sarcastic. literally seconds ago, he said i was being somewhat sarcastic on that. is there -- do you know what he's saying? that's the simplest question. >> no. we don't know what he's -- what he means. at a certain point you have to stop parsing words. it's never a good idea when you're a presidential candidate for people to have to speculate about what it is you meant to say. >> on a life or death issue. >> on that kind of an issue or any issue for that matter. when you're a presidential candidate, your words matter. you have to be clear about what you mean because people are making decisions about whether they want to vote for you or not. now, this may not mean anything to people who are really committed to donald trump and they may blame the media and may blame everybody else, but at a certain point either he's sarcastic or he's not, this has become a pattern over and over again. at a certain point you say,
okay, that's donald trump. next question. >> ron, i have to ask you. this is connected to other things here. him saying, using barack obama's full name, barack hussein obama yesterday. going back to the birtherism before. these are connected messages, are they not, to delegitimatize president obama and i suppose by association, hillary clinton? >> i think there's a very consistent pattern here. it does require you to think about whether there is in donald trump's mind a method to what seems like madness in the sense that most conventional analysts say the voters in the way to where donald trump is to where he has to be tend to be white collar, in the suburbs who say they don't think he's qualified, erratic and racially biassed. rather than try to reassure them, for months whether it was
with david duke comments, comments about obama, second amendment comments, he puts out something that's the most inflammatory, divisive that reflects the darkest conspiracy theories and he backs off. it does suggest to me, you have to say this is pattern on purpose and trying to activate voters who he thinks will respond to that message and bring in these disaffected voters who don't usually vote and he's willing to take the cost of alienating the actual swing voters who are preventing him from getting where he needs to be. >> let's play there tape. >> so i say, i've been saying, and i'll keep saying but somewhat sarcastically, i've been saying he's the founder of isis and i say she's a close second. >> are you worried about the
atmosphere that that collection, this is one in a series of accusations, that collection of statements makes? >> that's what's troubling about this to so many people. if you think back to late july, sarcasm is the crutch he fell on when he said russians should hack her e-mail and he said i was being sarcastic. i didn't really mean it. i think that's what's troubling is this shows that donald trump has trouble, many republicans fear, and being able to talk to the american people. if he's elected president, i think on issues such as terrorism, like isis that can be troubling. >> on this issue, because there's concern in his own party about this. we see today, reince priebus at two rallies, a visible hug. was that a successful attempt to show party unity? >> i think it's been an open
secret that reince priebus has been privately upset and people knew about it with the fact that donald trump did not come out right away and endorse his good friend, paul ryan. the second amendment issue was very troubling to a lot of republicans and they made no bones about it. he's hearing from a lot of republicans. you have this letter with 75 people signing it. you have the national security people signing another letter. what reince priebus, as the chairman of the party has to do, go out there and say we are on the same team. make no mistake about it. back to the point about mobilizing voters, this is about making sure that your voters get out there. there cannot be any confusion if you're a republican about who you vote for and by the way, what reince priebus is doing is
helping the down ballot. people don't split tickets very often. we'll see if that happens in this election. he's saying to them, you know what, vote republican all the way down the ballot because we're trying to save some ground. >> ron, i want to ask you about that. clearly it's a concern because you have the senate majority leader, mitch mcconnell say as much. he said chances of him holding his seat very dicy. >> in fact, they are. we know we have four decades in which split ticket balloting has been declining consistently since the 1970s. republicans have to reverse that this year. to some extent, they have already cut loose donald trump. when you talk to senate candidates, it's clear that republican senate candidates around the country, when they identify voters who are anti-trump but pro the senate candidate, pro ayotte, pro portman, they are going to turn
them out. in my column this week i looked at in detail the level of republican defection over barry goldwater to compare it to now which is the previous example of the biggest fissures within the party, there's no question there's more open dissension today than it was even then. if you go back to 1964, dwight eisenhower campaigned for him. it's in stark contrast from what you're seeing from the republican father or mother knees and it was nothing quite as pointed as that letter this week from 50 national security officials not that they disagree with the quality but he doesn't have the personal qualifications to be president is the concerns he's exacerbating with this very inflammatory language and he keeps doing it which you have to go past the point of saying this is just random or impulse control. there's something he's trying to do here.
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bill clinton made more than $10 million last year. much of it from speaking engagements. there's growing concern's about clinton's chief of staff while she was secretary of state. is there evidence of conflicts of interest? >> there's not evidence of conflict of interest but the appearance. that's the problem here. the pledge from hillary clinton upon entering the secretary of the state's office at that time was that she would keep state department and clinton foundation business completely separate. the reason was simple. the foundation raises money from across the world from governments and from many, many companies that have businesses across the world. a lot of those companies and foreign entities paid and pay her husband to give speeches. the obama administration wanted to avoid any possible conflicts of interest. now we're learning that hillary clinton's top aide, cheryl mills in 2012 was taking part in a clinton foundation business while still working there at the
secretary of state's office. she was volunteering her time to interview two potential candidates for the position of the director for the clinton foundation. on top of that, we've seen newly released e-mails that show intermingling between state department staff and the clinton foundation. all of this raising the appearance of what the obama administration wanted to avoid, which is that conflict of interest. the clinton campaign, they had a pretty strong response saying cheryl mills was just volunteering her time and the idea there was a conflict of interest is absurd. >> cnn learned that fbi and justice department officials met to discuss a possibly corruption case into the clinton foundation. how serious was that potential effort? >> this appeared to be pretty serious at the time. it took place months ago. we're finding about it from a government official. it appears they were looking
into a case involving a foreigner. he had given money to the clinton foundation. a bank thought it was suspicious and reported this. we're told three different justice department field offices all came to the conclusion that there should be an investigation launched. they came to the conclusion the case was more political in nature than substantive so there was no investigation. >> always judgment calls. thanks very much. i want to bring back our panel now. another likely e-mail server, self-inflicted wound here. you can say on the clinton foundation. >> if there's something that comes out even if there's no wrong doing found, just the
spe specktor of these controversies hanging over her. i think this could be toxic to her perception among voters. hillary clinton, much like donald trump has deeply low unfav unfavorabilities. voters don't view her as honest and trustworthy. this can't help. >> this was the trump's campaign response. they want know about pay for fl play. that's a strategy he will stick with. >> that's what he should be talking about. he doesn't have great trust numbers. she doesn't have great trust numbers. he has to convince people he's not risky and trust him more. how do you do that? talk about the hillary clinton e-mails. the problem with these stories is when you cover these conflict of interest stories, it's as much about the perception of a conflict of interest than a conflict of interest.
this is something the clintons should have known about. it adds to the narrative that they play by a different set of rules and on and on. what a lot of republicans are pulling their hair out about is they don't want to be talking about anything other than this. him responding to the taxes are e-mail, fine. fair game. they want to focus on hillary clinton. they want focus on that narrative. they don't want to move off of it. the problem with donald trump is he keeps getting off that central message and he ought to be talking about jobs and economy and everything else. >> ron, perhaps sensing an opportunity here, hillary clinton is just tweeted the following. many people are saying trump won't release his tax returns because he's hiding something. what do you think it is? many people are saying is they favored expression when he's putting speeches information out there. workable response? >> i think clinton clearly has
major vulnerabilities on all of these issues around ethics and trust. the overwhelming message of the past year and a half has been that clinton world with all of the complex solar system of clinton world with all these institutions and hangers on did not have a clear enough sense of the guardrails or enough respect for the rules. that is something that will have to be substantially different i don't think donald trump can overcome hillary clinton lead by creating more doubt. most electorate says they can't trust her. voters see her as qualified to be president. 60% of voters don't see him as qualified and 60% say he's biassed against women and
minorities. as long as those twin perceptions are there among these white college educated voters who vote republican but are leaning toward her, i don't think raising more doubt solves that problem. he had to resolve the doubts about himself. he's had 14 months to do it. whether you can undo it this 12 or 14 weeks is another question. >> i don't disagree with you at all, but i think that she's going to try and use, talk about him as a risk. people are parsing his words. i'm not sure he can overcome his own negatives. i'm not sure she can overcome her own negatives. >> we're going to have to leave it there tonight. thanks very much. just ahead, would donald trump issue an illegal order and put
americans on trial at guantanamo bay? . >> would you try to get the military commissions to trial court there to try u.s. citizens? >> well, i know they want to try them in our regular court systems. i don't like that at all. i don't like that at all. i would say they could be tried there. that would be fine.
at guantanamo bay. cnn's pentagon correspondent barbara starr has been working the story for us. barbara, to be clear, all these actions that he's proposing they would be against the law. >> they currently are very much against the law, jim. there's been talk in the past about bringing guantanamo detain es to the u.s. for trial. as you say, just one problem. it's not legal. donald trump has new thoughts on how, if elected, he might send u.s. citizens accused of terrorism to the military prison at guantanamo bay. >> would you try to get the military commissions and the trial court there to try u.s. citizens? >> they want to try them in our regular court systems and i don't like that at all. i don't like that at all. i would say they could be tried there. that would be fine. >> a law that created military commissions specifically exempts u.s. citizens from being tried
at gitmo military experts say. >> mr. trump would have to work with congress to establish different laws. >> would that work? >> that would be constitutionally suspect. why? why would it be suspect? it's because current u.s. courts are fully capable and open and available to provide the full panoply of u.s. constitutional guarantees. >> some of trump's ideas including the possibility of bringing back waterboarding are raising critical questions about the authority of the president to order troops to carry out actions which violate u.s. law. simply put, the u.s. military has a duty to disobey illegal orders even when they come from the president. >> it's military adherence to civilian command and control is a bedrock principle of the u.s. military. however, the u.s. military swears to protect and defend the u.s. constitution first and foremost. >> trump says he expects to be obeyed by the troops even on
waterboarding. >> they won't refuse. they're not going to refuse me. believe me. >> a former military lawyer says trump should be refused. >> there's no moral dill emma oa military member to say maybe this is lawful? no. it's illegal. >> the chairman of the joint chiefs has stayed out of the political fray, but even he has made clear some ideas are out of bounds. >> one of the things that makes me proud to wear this uniform is that we represent the values of the american people. that's what we have done historically. that's what we expect to do in the future and again, that's what makes me proud to wear this uniform. >> military experts say if u.s. troops were to obey illegal orders it could open them up to criminal prosecution, even to international tribunals. so what are their options? disobey the order and try and get their new boss to change his mind or even top commanders contemplate resignation. jim? >> barbara starr at the pentagon. i want to dig deeper and cnn
security analyst mike rodgers and chairman of the house intelligence committee and a adviser to the trump team. this is a hypothetical, right? if he's elected he would follow through on these proposals which are currently u.s. law. you've been in the middle of this. would this proposals be a crisis? >> it's shocking to me that it's illegal. the padilla versus bush case showed very clearly that the united states can declare a united states citizen an enemy combatant. that's up to the president of the united states. the court gives huge leeway. if i were in the room i would aren't recommend he do that, but to say it's factually illegal and you might want to change that scroll. >> what about killing the relatives of terrorists and bringing back waterboarding -- >> and you all know how this is going to happen and they're going to walk in his team of advisers including his military and say here are your options.
here are your legal options. these are your choices. and that's why this gets so fuzzy and hazy. even barack obama kept a list of enhanced interrogation techniques that he could use as an option. he didn't take them off the table. now, he didn't decide to use them. i think that was full and appropriate. i'm a fbi guy, and i'm a big rapport building and interviewer and this mad wrush to this is illegal and he'll be -- and it's not blatantly illegal. if the president said that these five people are enemy combatants they can then be handled under the law of war. one of the options could be and remember, padilla -- this happened about 2002, bush actually had him detained under the laws of war as an enemy combatant and that's what created the court case and the president has a right to do it, but they have the right to fight it. it is i fascinating case and
it's not illegal, and i cannot imagine any military officer walking into the office of the president saying i'm recommending you do these three illegal things. >> on another topic. your continuing series, declassified and we have another episode coming up and i want to play the viewers a quick clip of that. have a listen. >> when an undercover is doing his or her job properly they're operating on different levels simultaneously. the first level is we're being cognizant of the cameras and microphones so that the right people are facing the right camera at the right time. >> would you gentleman like tea or coffee? >> another level is performing for the primary audience. that's the suspect. >> whatever you want to drink we'll have the people downstairs make it. >> it is consistent with my role
to be as charming as possible. every case might be very different. i have, on occasion done the exact opposite and tried to raise someone's anxiety level when it served a purpose. >> the work of an undercover is similar to that of a high-priced call girl. i am what you want me to be. >> an iranian plot to buy american military weapons. >> yeah. pretty exciting case. lots of international intrigue, lots of cloak and dagger. the homeland security agent his to set up a company overseas that was interested in selling this iranian who had already expressed trying to purchase this stuff and it had to move around and it was multinational and trying to catch the iranians buying very sophisticated u.s. military hardware that they can take back and deploy against u.s. troops. it sounds like abscan, and clearly a great one. he'll look thea the undercover
sting of an international arms dealer and threatening american troops and a mission that's been secret until now. declassified, untold stories of american spies and that airs on sunday night at 10:00 eastern on cnn. i'm jim sciutto, thank you very much for watching and erin burnett "out front" starts right now. "out front" next, breaking news moments ago. donald trump saying the only way he loses is if hillary clinton cheats. clinton ups the ante releasing her tax returns. will donald trump do the same? and severe turbulence on a jetblue flight. dozens injured and pass efenger flying out of their seats and one man who was on that flight out front. ♪ ♪ ♪ good evening. i'm erin burnett. "out front" tonight, the breaking news, a major hit in the polls donald trump falling behind hillary clintonn