'This Week' Transcript: Rudy Giuliani and Michael Morell

A rush transcript for "This Week" on August 7, 2016.

ByABC News
August 7, 2016, 9:46 AM

— -- THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT FOR 'THIS WEEK' ON August 7, 2016 and it will be updated.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Starting right now on THIS WEEK with George Stephanopoulos, Trump's worst week.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: After a series of self-inflicted wounds...

TRUMP: I think I made a lot of sacrifices.

She's the devil.

I always wanted to get the Purple Heart.

This was much easier.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: His own party once again divided.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, he's had a pretty strange run since the convention.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now, can Hillary Clinton capitalize?

HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: I've met people who were destroyed by Donald Trump.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As Trump tries to steady the ship, his adviser, Rudy Giuliani, joins us live.

Plus, our brand new poll -- how much did Trump's stumbles hurt him?

We'll get a real world reality check from swing state voters.

MARTHA RADDATZ, ABC HOST: Do you trust him with the nuclear codes?


Here now, co-anchor Martha Raddatz.


RADDATZ: Good morning. We begin today with new warning signs that Donald Trump's campaign is in serious peril. Yes, it's only August and Trump has time and the opportunity in the upcoming debates to turn it around. But right now, our new ABC News/"Washington Post" Poll suggests he is in a dangerous summer slide.

The top line, 50 percent of registered voters say they'd vote for Hillary Clinton; 42 percent for Trump. That 8 point gap is in line with several new national polls that show Clinton surging.

Trump's worst numbers in a while follow what may be one of his worst weeks ever. It all started with that fight with the family of a fallen soldier.

What looked bad on the news looked pretty bad to some Trump supporters we found in Pennsylvania.


RADDATZ (voice-over): One of Trump's worst numbers, 73 percent of Americans and 59 percent of Republicans disapprove of how he handled the dispute with the Khan family.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It definitely makes me wonder if he could handle being president.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Trump needs to win me back a little bit before I'm ready to vote for him now.

RADDATZ: Those questions about his fitness to serve are serious. Our poll found 61 percent say he is not qualified. Just 31 percent say he has the right kind of personality and temperament.

It's an argument Hillary Clinton and her allies are pounding home.

CLINTON: A man you can bait with a Tweet is not a man we can trust with nuclear weapons.

RADDATZ: That line from her convention speech reframed this week by the president himself.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Just listen to what Mr. Trump has to say and make your own judgment with respect to how confident you feel about his ability to manage things like our nuclear triad.

RADDATZ: Back in Pennsylvania...

(on camera): Do you trust him with the nuclear codes?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know. No, I don't -- I don't know. He's a little -- yes, I don't think -- yes, I guess I do. I mean he's not that stupid that he would just send something off without thinking about it, I think. I don't know.

RADDATZ: Hillary Clinton has her own problems with trust. In our poll, 66 percent say Clinton is too willing to bend the rules.

CLINTON: So I may have short-circuited and for that, I, you know, will try to clarify.

RADDATZ: And with her email server back in the news, there's an opportunity for Trump if he can stay on message.

TRUMP: I think that the people of this country don't want somebody that's going to short-circuit up here.

Honestly, I don't think she's all there.


RADDATZ: With all these questions about Trump's temperament and staying on message, let's get straight to a top adviser to the Trump campaign, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

Mayor Giuliani, your friend and a finalist for Trump's VP slot, Newt Gingrich, told "The Washington Post" this week, "The current race is which of these two is the more unacceptable, because right now, neither of them is acceptable. Trump is helping her to win by proving he is more unacceptable than she is."

Is that the way you see it?


First of all, 8 points down at this stage, of course you'd rather be ahead, but I remember George Bush the first being 16 points down to Dukakis going into September. So let's, you know, calm down. Everyone -- everyone should calm down about it. There's certainly every opportunity for Trump to win this election.

And I think her comments -- Hillary's comments just don't get the same attention that Trump's do. For example, she lied to a Gold Star mother. She lied to pre -- Patricia Smith, the mother of Sean Smith, who -- who was killed at Benghazi, I believe, because of her incompetence, her incompetence in failing to secure that mission.

And she lied to her on September 14th, 2012, right at the coffin. She said it was due to a video.

So I think that's far more serious -- or at least it said get as much attention as all of the attention that was paid to, you know, the comments that were made about -- about the Khan -- about the Khan family.

RADDATZ: Let's go back to Donald Trump for a moment. He -- he is clearly a man who does not want to walk away from a fight. He does not want to apologize.

So how do you keep him on message?

GIULIANI: Well, he -- I -- I think he was. I think his reaching out and supporting John McCain and Kelly Ayotte in particular, and Paul Ryan, who had been critical of him, you know, a couple of days earlier, shows that he has the ability and the understanding to realize that there are going to be disagreements and you've got to be able to reach out to the entire party.

I think you're going to see a lot more of that in his economic message.

I also think you're going to see him hitting Hillary very hard. That -- you know, she short-circuited?

That was a heck of a comment.

I mean, first of all, she lied. She didn't short-circuit. She lied last week when she said the FBI found that she'd hadn't lied. You read Comey's report, he found she lied in about eight different places. So maybe short-circuit is her euphemism for lying.

But I don't know, did she short-circuit when she didn't protect the Benghazi compound, when she got 20 requests for more help?

Did she short-circuit during the Benghazi situation when, if we had gotten people there, we might have been able to save Sean Smith and the other CIA gentleman's life.

RADDATZ: Mr. Mayor, as you know, there have been about 13 investigations into the Benghazi.

I -- I want to go back to our poll.

You've said this week that the fundamentals are still in Trump's favor. But look at some of these numbers from this poll.

Unfavorable view of Trump, 63 percent. Not qualified to be president, 61 percent. Does not have the personality or temperament to be president, 67 percent.

He now seems to be unacceptable to a fixed majority of Americans.

How can he turn that around?

That's exactly what I've heard the voters say this week, as well.

GIULIANI: Well, he can turn it around by doing to Hillary Clinton what the Democrats have been doing to him. He -- he -- he can say hey, did she short-circuit when she reset the relationship with Putin and now Russia is, according to "The New York Times" article today, Russia is in control in Syria?

I mean we turned -- we turned it over to them.

Did she short-circuit when she advocated for the overthrow of Gaddafi and Libya is now an Islamic State stranglehold?

Did she -- did she short-circuit when she said she's going to raise taxes on the middle class?

Well, first of all, she is going to raise taxes on the middle class. I actually think that's the only truthful thing she's said in about three weeks. But...

RADDATZ: Mayor -- Mayor Giuliani, I -- I want to go back to this again and -- and stick with Trump, if we can, because you are on here as a Trump surrogate.

This week, he was called unfit to be the next commander-in-chief by a very long list of people. Let me read it -- President Obama, a group of former cabinet officers, senior officials and career military officials, a veterans organization with 100,000 strong petition said it on Thursday and the former acting director of the CIA, Mike Morell, who is my next guest, said it Friday in an op-ed, saying that Trump is dangerous.

Does that not concern you?

GIULIANI: It doesn't concern me at all. The fact is, I find -- I find it a lot more concerning to me that Hillary Clinton was extremely careless in the handling of national security information, not just one or two, but thousands and thousands of pieces of national security information.

I'm a former federal prosecutor, a former associate attorney general. If I had done that, I'd have been prosecuted. It's a clear violation of 18 United States Code Section 791.

What she did were criminal acts. She has displayed the facts...

RADDATZ: As you know, Mr. Mayor, Mr. -- Director Comey said miss -- he would have to prove that there was intentionally transmitted or willfully mishandled classified information. Our judgment is that no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case.

GIULIANI: And many reasonable prosecutors have come to the conclusion that they would have brought such a case. I would have brought such a case and I would have won such a case. And I've prosecuted cases like that in my years in the Justice Department.

Hillary Clinton skated because she's running for president. She clearly violated the law.

And now, take Comey's words. She was extremely careless with handling national security information.

You know, if that's written in someone's FBI background report, they don't get a top security clearance?

If she were just an ordinary person, she would be denied a top security clearance because she has proved in her past acts that she is extremely careless in handling national security information.

I don't know, maybe she short-circuited when she wiped out 35,000 emails.

RADDATZ: Mayor Giuliani, Donald Trump has been raising questions about whether this election could be rigged. You've lost elections in the past and never really said anything like that.

Is that an appropriate thing for him to be saying?

Do you believe this election could be rigged?

GIULIANI: I think what he's taking about is the very unfair media coverage that Republicans get. I know all of those of you in the media don't believe this but you really don't treat us the same way.

The allegations by Ms. Smith, a Gold Star mother, about Hillary Clinton lying to her, got about 0.1 of the coverage that the Khan situation got. Hillary's situation in which the FBI, in an extraordinary memo, found her to be extremely careless in handling top security information, my goodness, I wouldn't hire a person as an assistant U.S. attorney if that was in their FBI background.

We're going to make her President of the United States?

Nobody raises that. Nobody makes a very big deal about that. That's not on the news for five days, six days.

So I think what Donald Trump is reflecting is -- and I know the media always discounts this because you don't like to get criticized. But you don't treat us the same way that you treat Democrats. Hillary, Bill, Obama, they get the benefit of the doubt.

And I mean if Trump had said something like I'm going to raise taxes on the middle class, it would be all over the news. You would be questioning his sanity.

RADDATZ: Mr. Mayor, we will look forward to the speech this week by Donald Trump on the economy. We thank you very much for joining us today.

GIULIANI: Thank you, thank you.

RADDATZ: One voice broke through this week in his attack on Donald Trump as we showed you just a moment ago. In his fiercely worded op-ed in "The New York Times," former CIA acting director Michael Morell blasted Trump as unprepared and dangerous and endorsed Hillary Clinton.

Michael Morell joins us now.

Mr. Morell, I want to first get your reaction to what Rudolph Giuliani said.

MICHAEL MORELL, FORMER CIA ACTING DIRECTOR: The one thing that struck me right off the bat was what he said about Benghazi. You know, there is this view out there that she lied about what caused the attack, that she said it was the video.

I think one of the really interesting things that is in early 2014, the Federal Bureau of Investigation walked into the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and they said that we believe the video was a motivation in this attack.

Abu Khattala, who is the only person arrested, said that the video was a motivation.

So this idea that the video played no role, which Republicans keep on repeating over and over and over again just isn't --


RADDATZ: But she -- but those parents have said she said those things to them. That has resonated among the voters.

MORELL: You know, she said it was terrorism, right, to Chelsea. She said to them it was the video. Those two things can both be true at the same time.

And it turns out right, it turns out that the video did play a role in that attack. And Republicans don't want people to believe that.

RADDATZ: OK, Mr. Morell, you came out in that strong op-ed -- let's go back to that -- in support of Hillary Clinton, saying Donald Trump would be a poor, even dangerous commander in chief and referencing his comments about Vladimir Putin, you said, "In the intelligence business, we would say that Mr. Putin had recruited Mr. Trump as an unwitting agent of the Russian Federation."

Recruited an unwitting agent of the Russian Federation -- do you really believe that?

MORELL: Yes, I do. And look at it from Putin's perspective, right. He's a trained intelligence officer, worked for the KGB, very talented, manipulated people much smarter than Donald Trump. He played this perfectly, right. He saw that Donald Trump wanted to be complimented.

He complimented him. That led Donald Trump to then compliment Vladimir Putin and to defend Vladimir Putin's actions in a number of places around the world.

And Donald Trump didn't even understand, right, that Putin was playing him. So, in Putin's mind, I have no doubt that Putin thinks that he's an unwitting agent of the Russian Federation, although Putin would never say that.

From Mr. Trump's perspective, right, he simply heard Putin compliment him. He then responded by complimenting him. He never thought that he might be being played.

RADDATZ: OK. Let's talk about what Donald Trump has said and others, many others, have said about Hillary Clinton's judgment, especially in light of that e-mail server. Listen to what you said about that e-mail last year.


MORELL: I don't think that was a very good judgment.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you believe that at least one or perhaps many foreign intelligence servers have -- services have everything that went to and from that server?

MORELL: The good ones have everything on any unclassified network that the government uses, whether it's a private server or a public one. They're that good.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So that's a yes.



RADDATZ: So why should America trust her to be commander in chief since she did expose intelligence to foreign governments and passed classified and very top-secret information back and forth?

MORELL: Yes, just one comment on what I said previously.

Since then, the FBI has said that they found no evidence that a foreign government hacked into her server.

RADDATZ: But they didn't rule it out.

MORELL: But I think there's a bigger issue here. I think there's a bigger issue here, right?

I worked with her for four years very closely when she was secretary of state and I was at the CIA. I provided her -- personally provided her some of the most sensitive information that the Central Intelligence Agency has.

She never misused it. She always protected it. I would trust her with the crown jewels of the United States government. And, more importantly, I would trust her with the future security of the country and the future security of my kids.

RADDATZ: But I've got to say again, this is resonating among the voters. Many, many voters I talked to talk about those e-mails. And this week, when she said that FBI -- that Director Comey said everything she said was OK to the American public, he didn't really say that.

So do you think she's handling this well?

MORELL: So I think there's actually a simple explanation here, right?

You know, when she saw those e-mails, she did not see classification markings.


Because there wasn't any classification markings --


RADDATZ: I know there's no classification markings.


MORELL: -- and there -- they were very small. So when she says there wasn't classified information, that's what she means. It wasn't marked. And the two that were marked with little C's, right, she doesn't remember. So she's not trying to mislead anybody.

RADDATZ: And yet, she was on the Senate Armed Services Committee. She was secretary of state. There were eight I think chains of top secret classified material that went back and forth. Right, those particular ones were not marked.

But shouldn't she recognize those with her background?

MORELL: Martha, I think what is important here is that she has said repeatedly that the private server setup was a mistake and if she had to do it over again, she wouldn't, right?

She has said that.

I think the other important point is that she would be the first to tell you that the processes and systems of the State Department for handling classified information need to be enhanced.

And I'll tell you that they need to be enhanced not only at the State Department but they need to be enhanced across government. And I think she will do that when she's President of the United States.

RADDATZ: OK. The Obama administration announced they're close to completing their goal of admitting 10,000 Syrian refugees. Secretary Clinton wants to increase that number to 55,000.

Mr. Trump warns that ISIS terrorists could be among these refugees and some of your most esteemed colleagues have said the same thing. Listen to this.

OK. James Clapper said, "I don't obviously put it past the likes of ISIL to infiltrate operatives among these refugees."

Comey said, "My concern is that there are certain gaps in the data available to us."

We have heard the warnings about lone wolf attacks.

So why take the risk of bringing in more refugees?

MORELL: So I'm concerned, too, about ISIS' ability, right, to infiltrate people. But we have got some very effective, robust processes for vetting people. We brought in thousands of Iraqi refugees after the Iraq War. Not a single one has ever turned out to be a terrorist because the vetting was so good.

So I want the vetting to be solid. But I also want to bring these people in because not bringing them in sends a message, right, to the Muslim world and plays into the ISIS narrative and the Al Qaeda narrative, right, that this is a war between religions. And we can't have that.

RADDATZ: OK, thanks very much for joining us, Mr. Morell.

And coming up, how Trump's rough week played with voters. Permanent damage or dismissed again as Trump being Trump? More from my trip through a crucial swing state.

Plus: negative numbers for both candidates in our brand new poll. What can each do to turn it around? We'll break down the numbers with our pollsters -- next.



TRUMP: Don't worry about that baby. I love babies. I love babies. I hear that baby crying, I like it. I like it.

Actually, I was only kidding. You can get the baby out of here.

The press came out with headlines. Trump throws baby out of arena. I don't throw babies out, believe me. I love babies.

I did it so nicely. She was happy. Even the baby was happy. He stopped crying.


RADDATZ: Trump and the baby. Turns out he did not throw out the baby, but it's one of many comments the GOP nominee made this week that had people talking. So are Trump's antics wearing thing with voters? We'll hear directly from them, next.



TRUMP: Republicans have not won the state of Pennsylvania and look what you have. You're companies are all gone. Your jobs are all gone. You haven't won the state of Pennsylvania in 28 years.

It's going to happen. My guys are so sure of it. It's going to happen.


RADDATZ: Donald Trump promising victory in a state he really needs to win.

And Pennsylvania, which has been reliably Democratic for decades, is now potentially up for grabs in this wild election year.

We've been paying close attention to the state all along, starting in the west, where voters shared their concerns about trade and jobs. Once the glow from the Democratic convention fades in Philadelphia, we'll go back there for a reality check on the enthusiasm for Hillary Clinton among crucial African-American voters.

But this week, with Donald Trump in the headlines, I went to see how he's playing with the voting bloc he desperately needs: the affluent suburbanites in Bucks County, a mostly white community just outside of Philly. Obama won here in 2012 by a narrow margin.


RADDATZ: The growing concerns about Trump I heard this week are potentially a big deal.

Take Beth Henney (ph).

RADDATZ: You voted in 2012 for who?

BETH HENNEY (PH), PA VOTER: I voted for Romney.

RADDATZ: And who are you voting for this time?

HENNEY (ph): I'm not quite sure yet. Traditionally, I vote Republican, but, I'm a little concerned with Trump's outbursts.

RADDATZ: Is there anything he could do to bring you around?

HENNEY (ph): Yeah. Get serious. Be a little bit more presidential, like he said he would.

RADDATZ: If Trump can combine narrow wins in Bucks county and nearby Montgomery andDelaware counties with big turnout in his rural strongholds, he'll have a real chance to win Pennsylvania. Without these suburbs, the numbers don't add up.

So trump needs white collar voters like Brad Burnstein.

Brad, who did you vote for in 2012, Obama or Romney?


RADDATZ: And who are you voting for this time?

BURNSTEIN (ph): Hillary.

RADDATZ: Quite a change. Why?

BURNSTEIN (ph): Just the policies. And, he's -- Trump's just a little too far out there for me.

RADDATZ: Would this be the first time you voted for a democrat?

BURNSTEIN (ph): In my lifetime, yes.

RADDATZ: But Trump is winning over some former Democrats, like Eric Chamberlain, a Doylestown small business owner.

Tell me first who owe voted for in 2012.


RADDATZ: And have you ever voted for a Republican?

CHAMBERLAIN: I have not. But I am this year. I'm voting for Trump this year.

RADDATZ: And why are you voting for Trump?

CHAMBERLAIN: I just don't trust Hillary at all. She wanted to be a politician her whole career. So, staying in a marriage for that is something that bothered me a little bit, too, I think.

RADDATZ: Does anything bother you about Donald Trump?

CHAMBERLAIN: Well, you know what, I'm taking -- they're both horrible. I don't know who to pick. But they're both horrible. I think that he'll surround himself with great people, that's what I think, because he wants to win. So, I think his cabinet is going to be amazing.


RADDATZ: Still, those comments about the Khan family put veterans and their families in a difficult spot.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was very, very upset. I mean, my dad is a Korean War vet. I -- it just broke my heart.

It's just recent antics have just been really unappealing to me as a mother, a woman, and in general. I'm -- I'm just not sure he's the right man for the job.

RADDATZ: But in classic Bucks County, fashion...

UNIDENITIFIED FEMALE: I'm not really sure that Hillary is the right answer. Now, I would love the see a woman president, absolutely. But, I don't know.

RADDATZ: Door knockers take note.

Rachel McPhilan (ph) of Bucks County, Pennsylvania, like many of her neighbors, up for grabs.


RADDATZ: Let's talk a look now at some of the data behind those stories with the co-hosts of the podcast "The Pollsters" Republican Kristen Soltis Anderson and Democrat Margie Omero Welcome.

And let's get right to the numbers.

Kristen, as you saw, time and time again, I spoke with those voters in the critical suburbs around Philadelphia. And they said again and again, concerns about Trump's temperament. Is that his greatest weakness?


This is an election where voters want change. And Trump certainly represents change. But the problem is, he may represent too much change, too much of a risk, too dramatic a departure.

70 percent of people in this ABC/Washington Post poll said that a Trump presidency, the idea that makes them more anxious. So rather than addressing an anxious electorate with something that says I'll make your future better. You can calm down. I'll be president. It'll be fine. He's making them more nervous.

RADDATZ: And Margie, do you agree?

MARGIE OMERO, DEMOCRATIC POLLSTER: Well, it's not just the anxiety, it's everything that's causing the anxiety. About two-thirds don't feel he's honest and trustworthy. About two-thirds feel he doesn't have the right temperament or personality, about two-thirds feel he doesn't have the right knowledge about foreign affairs. And he is weaker than Clinton on all of those dimensions. And that's been true for awhile.

It's not just this week, the polling has been showing that for awhile. This is something that has really calcified, this image of him.

RADDATZ: I also spoke to voter who are deeply skeptical about Hillary Clinton's honesty, trustworthiness. It's Benghazi, it's the emails and all of that. This has been a theme through her entire campaign. So, how does she get beyond that. How do you read those polls?

OMERO: Well, it -- she's now almost even fave/unfave, which is an improvement over the last poll. It's certainly an advantage over Trump, her honest and trustworthy numbers have improved over the last -- last polls.

Now, it -- the question is, is this something that's temporary, is it because of a bad week Trump had or post-convention bounce or is it something that could be on the mend and now permanent through November.

RADDATZ: Do you read the polls the same way?

SOLTIS ANDERSON: I think the other problem she's going to deal with is, is she in step with the mood of the nation?

You've still got 51 percent of voters that are anxious about a Hillary Clinton presidency. And a lot say that they view her as being optimistic while they themselves are pessimistic about the future of things.

I think she -- she needs to tap into a little bit of the sense that, you know, she may not just be more of the same, she is going to bring about some change to put some of those minds at ease.

RADDATZ: Kristen, you -- you saw some of those voters -- some of them seem to be saying it's -- it's a vote against her.

So what do you see as the positive case for Donald Trump?

SOLTIS ANDERSON: Oh, gosh, the positive case for Donald Trump, at this point, I think is mostly about the economy. It's the issue in this poll where he comes the closest to tying Hillary Clinton on who do you trust more?

And typically, when he goes back to his business record, that's something that at some point in the campaign, is still, perhaps, the strongest point for him.

Now, it also presents a vulnerability. He's not been attacked on it quite strongly enough, I think. I think Democrats are likely to view that as -- as an opportunity.

RADDATZ: And do you agree with that?

OMERO: Yes, I mean the irony here is he has a message that some people respond to, maybe not a majority, but some people. I mean the latest poll shows 40 percent agree with a Muslim ban that he's proposed. We did a poll that showed that -- we tested clips from the speeches in Cleveland and from speeches in Philly. And each candidate moved about the same amount after showing speeches.

So Trump actually has a message that some people respond to.

The challenge is, he steps on his own good news with bad news and then steps on bad news with even worse news.

RADDATZ: OK, you -- you heard that Romney supporter say she'd love to vote for a female president.

Is she making gains there with women?

Is that her greatest opportunity?

OMERO: Well, whether it's her gender or women in general, gender clearly is playing a role. If you look at the recent poll, Trump does about as well as Romney did with men. But with women, Clinton is -- really has a clear advantage over where Obama was in 2012 and with white women specifically. And among white women with a college degree, that's where some of the biggest gains in this poll from before the conventions, that's where Clinton has really moved the most. So gender really is playing a role.

RADDATZ: OK. I want to very quickly ask you to flip hats on this. You're a -- you're a Democratic pollster.

If you were advising Donald Trump, what would you tell him to do?

OMERO: Well, first, I would tell him -- the first piece of advice would be to take some advice from somebody. It's clearly something he's not particularly interested in doing, but when you have a relationship that's damaged or a brand that's in crisis, you want to first acknowledge, hey, I hear you, I'm going to do things differently and maybe that's where he should start.

RADDATZ: And Kristen, your advice for Hillary Clinton?

SOLTIS ANDERSON: I would start really focusing on that business record. That, at this point, is his strongest point. And I think that that's where, if I were them, I'd go after that the strongest and say voting for Donald Trump is a gamble and it's not worth the risk.

RADDATZ: I -- I think you're going to see a little bit of that upcoming.

Thanks very much for joining us.

And coming up, as Trump slips in the polls, he's now angering Republican leaders with his latest comments, from lashing out at allies to calling the election rigged.

Can Republicans put their party back together?

Plus, Clinton's latest email defense -- saying she short-circuited when making another false claim.

Will it convince mistrustful voters?



TRUMP: I'm afraid the election is going to be rigged, I have to be honest.

November 8th, we'd better be careful, because that election is going to be rigged. People are going to walk in and they're going to vote 10 times, maybe, who knows?

OBAMA: Of course the elections will not be rigged.

What does that mean?

If Mr. Trump is up 10 or 15 points on Election Day and ends up losing, then, you know, maybe he can raise some questions. That doesn't seem to be the case at that moment.


RADDATZ: Sharp words from President Obama responding to Donald Trump's preemptive claim that the election could be rigged in Hillary Clinton's favor.

Back to discuss that and more with our roundtable in just a minute.



TRUMP: So in our shared mission to make America great again, I support and endorse our Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan.


RADDATZ: After waffling all week, Trump finally came around to endorse House Speaker Paul Ryan Friday night as well as Republican senators John McCain and Kelly Ayotte, all up for re-election in November.

So was it convincing enough for Republicans?

And can he bring the party together?

Let's bring in our roundtable.

You're all laughing: Republican strategist and CNBC contributor, Sara Fagen; TV One (sic) host and managing editor, Roland Martin; ABC News Cokie Roberts and our chief political analyst, Matthew Dowd.

And let's start with you, Matt. I know. We were all laughing at Donald Trump's smirk. But he has had a rough couple of days, beginning with the Khan family. He went on from there.

Clinton's bounce in the polls; do you think he's changed?

Do you think this has changed anything?

MATTHEW DOWD, ABC NEWS SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: Oh, no. I mean, he hasn't changed. The race has somewhat changed and adjusted. We'll see how long-lasting it is.

I mean, before all of this, before the last two weeks, the equilibrium of this race was about a 3- or 4-point Hillary Clinton lead. Now the question is, is it a 7- or 8-point Hillary Clinton lead in the course of this?

I think the thing about Donald Trump at that press conference, as I said yesterday, he seemed like a tranquilized circus lion that had bitten too many people in the audience. And then watching him "and I endorse, what? Speaker Ryan."

I mean, it was amazing to watch in the course of that. I don't think the voters care about that. The elites do and the chattering class of the --

RADDATZ: But should he be worried?

DOWD: About the election?

Absolutely. I don't think you can find anybody that's won the popular vote that's been in this position after the conventions this far down and actually gone on to win the popular vote.

RADDATZ: And Giuliani said later that someone else was ahead. But that was before the Republican convention.



RADDATZ: -- yes, yes. But it was before the Republican convention --

ROBERTS: -- but the other thing is is that the numbers in this poll that really struck me, other than the fact that white men have a lot of answering to do, is that the cares about people like you, that is a key question. Hillary Clinton was up 20 points on that. And that is often the question that tells you whether somebody is going to get elected.

RADDATZ: But let's talk money, Cokie, let's just talk about money here first: $74 million in cash on hand, raising $82 million last month, he says, including $36 million from small donors. So there's the irony there.

What does that tell you?

ROBERTS: Well, that tells you that the people who are for him are for him and are willing to give him money. But and -- what it also tells you is that the Republican politicians will stick with him a little bit longer because they're worried about those people. They're worried about his voters, they're worried about his money, they're worried about their base.

But you have, at the same time, Republican columnists and commentators, saying your grandchildren will call you wicked if you support him. So it's been a very mixed picture.


RADDATZ: Well, let me go to this: when Trump endorsed Ryan, McCain, Ayotte, he seemed to be staying on message. He really did. So even with the smirk, even with the smirk.

ROLAND MARTIN, NEWSONE NOW: I am endorsing Ryan and Ayotte. I love this here. That wasn't convincing.

RADDATZ: So how does -- maybe -- you know, it's a step in the right direction for him.

So have his advisers gotten to him?

Can he stay on message?

MARTIN: It lasts -- it might last 24 hours. I mean, look, this is a guy who wants to be whiner in chief. I mean, He complains about everything.

The issue is this: can he deal with issues?

Remember, what did Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell saying, he doesn't know a lot about the issues out there. That's what he at some point has to focus on. You can wing this thing. You can just sort of talk in broad terms. But at some point, you have to get down to the nitty-gritty.

When you talk about care about those everyday people, what does he do this week?

He appoints a team of economic advisers, all men --

RADDATZ: Yes, all men, yes --

MARTIN: -- all hedge fund guys.

Tell me how that's going to work?

Clinton (INAUDIBLE) in her speech, where she broke down where his products are made, if I'm a Clinton campaign, I walk on stage with a cardboard cutout and go, tie in this country, you own this country --


MARTIN: You're regular?

RADDATZ: And then everybody's going to look back at her clubbing, Sara, what do you have?

SARA FAGEN, FORMER POLITICAL DIRECTOR FOR GEORGE W. BUSH: The challenge is these conventions are an inflection point in this campaign. And this is when voters start to tune in. And the Democrats had a much better convention than Donald Trump. And he has performed incredibly poorly since his convention.

And so he is not passing an acceptability threshold. She's such a weak candidate. You saw it again just yesterday, where she was stumbling over her answers on how she handled her e-mail controversy.

RADDATZ: And what about him tweeting about her short-circuited brainwashing?



FAGEN: -- unhinged, saying that she -- he -- she -- he questions her mental fitness. Nobody in America questions her mental fitness. They think she's a liberal --

MARTIN: Well, they question his.


RADDATZ: Yes, but they do question her honesty.

FAGEN: -- They question her honesty.


ROBERTS: -- about unhinged and she doesn't look presidential is totally code for we shouldn't elect a woman. That is exactly what that is.


MARTIN: I was there Friday. OK?

Clinton campaign, follow me. Take the loss. You're not going to win this. I don't understand why -- smart people want to somehow think I can convince everybody that what I did right. Take the L. You're not going to win this one. Just simply say I made a mistake.

Comey actually has come out. We shouldn't have done it. If I had to do it again, I wouldn't do it. Next question.


DOWD: To me, if you watched in the last two weeks, demonstrates something very clearly which is when Donald Trump right now is in the news media, he is not doing well.

When Hillary Clinton is outside of the news media and not in the press, she rises in the polls. We've seen that for eight years in the course of her life. She ran in 2008; when she was out of the media, she rose. When she's in the media, she's -- she is a awful candidate. Everybody knows it. The Democrats know she's --


DOWD: -- she's an awful candidate. She's not liked. She's not trusted. The positive for her is she's running against a worse candidate in the course of it. That's why I think, we ought to be paying a lot more attention to the two third-party candidates in this race.

RADDATZ: Let's go back a little during the week. We had some disastrous things said in the beginning, according to critics of Donald Trump. And then there was the pushback; Reince Priebus was said to be apoplectic.

So what does the Republican establishment do now?

Certainly it looked calmed down --


RADDATZ: -- end of the week.



FAGEN: Well, what Republican establishment are talking about ,which is troubling for Donald Trump, is at what point do they publicly and openly start to use as an argument that we need to save the Senate, we need to save the House of Representatives?

And those conversations are happening in back rooms in Washington right now because of the way he's performed. I agree with Matt. I think this week was so bad for him, you have an equilibrium that is about 8 points.

What Donald Trump needs to do and what they need to be talking to him about is he needs to start to think about passing a threshold of acceptability to get this race closer to put this in a position where he can be competitive with her by 2 or 3 or 4 points.

ROBERTS: But he can do that.


RADDATZ: Is the Republican Party falling apart in all this?

ROBERTS: Well, they're not happy, obviously. And they are having tremendous battles within the party. And you have somebody like Paul Ryan, where the voters have been so revved up against him by Donald Trump and his supporters, that his family is being threatened. Now that's a terrible turn of events.

But I think that Trump can bring it back around. A couple of things can happen. Events can happen in the course of the campaign that bring people to him. She can make blunders that can bring people to him. And the debates can make a difference.

RADDATZ: What would bring --

ROBERTS: And that might be the place where he meets the threshold.

DOWD: I think the only point left where he can change this race -- it's not going to be through television ads. It's not going to be through a series of red speeches that look so out of touch. It's a debate.

And the interesting thing now is Trump needs these debates a lot more than she does. I think the first time you're going to see and what Sara is talking about is if I were advising Republican candidates, I would say, put up ads and put out messages that say, I'm here to stop Hillary Clinton.

I'm here to put a brake on the Hillary Clinton presidency.

When you start seeing that, that’s when you start seeing the -- and the Republican Party, it's been hostilely taken over by Donald Trump. There is no national Republican Party anymore.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But there something deeper going on here.

MARTIN: The biggest problem is your candidate has to actually have something to say. And so when you have a candidate who still refuses to break down any policy issue, whether it's education, whether it's the economy, whether it's jobs, blanket statements are not going to work right now. It's not going to work. And that what he's survived on. He goes to those debates, he gets nailed.


FAGEN: There is something deeper going on and Donald Trump is a reflection of what is going within the base of Republican Party, which is -- Charles Murray wrote this book in 2012 called "Coming Apart" which was an analysis of white America. And you see the great divide that is occurring between college educated white America and non-college educated white America. Donald Trump is going the win non-college educated whites by a greater margin than any Republican candidate in previous elections. Hillary Clinton is going to win college-educated whites for the first time in 60 years.

RADDATZ: You're shaking your head, Roland.

MARTIN: I'm shaking my head about those white voters who are not college educated because you're getting bamboozled. You can't have a guy talking about trade and the jobs and you look at the economic team who frankly is totally opposite of what he actually says. And so, I get that people...

DOWD: Listen, there's an understanding of why they're going to Trump, right. They've been lied to and misled by both political parties.

RADDATZ: And I heard again and again, he's telling us what we want to hear. If I say to you -- maybe not.

DOWD: For 40 years they've seen no increase in their pay, for 40 years -- through Democratic and Republican administrations.

RADDATZ: And guess what, black voters can say the same thing.

ROBERTS: Which is why Hillary Clinton should be spending her money almost exclusively on get out the vote of minorities and women. And forget all these TV ads. Look at Jeb Bush, $150 million in TV ads and he got 2 percent of the vote.

RADDATZ: I want to very quickly talk about President Obama this week who said that Donald Trump is unfit to be president. That's unprecedented, isn't it?

ROBERTS: Well, we've seen that from all kinds of people. I mean, you had Mr. Morell on earlier saying the same thing, a former CIA director. You have, you know that -- and you see, as I said earlier, from these conservative columnists.

RADDATZ: Can that backfire?

MARTIN: No. You have got two former presidents both last named Bush who are Republican who will not endorse the GOP candidate. Forget what the president had to say, that's...

DOWD: I have to say it's a little -- Mike Morell and some of the former Bushes who got us involved in the Iraq War, and Mike Morell who actually apologized to Colin Powell for false information, an Iraq War that cost of thousands of lives and trillions of dollars and who actually defended torture, for him to criticize Donald Trump as being unfit from some of the serious errors we've made, I think they ought to just stand down a little bit on that.

MARTIN: But if they've been in the spot, they have credibility, and that...

DOWD: To make huge mistakes like they have before.

RADDATZ: And we're going leave it there. We're going to leave it there. You guys take it out in the green room.

After the break, the man bringing Obama, Trump, and Clinton together. We'll tell you who he is in just a moment.



OBAMA: As far as Mr. Trump, we're going to go by the law. They have been told, these are classified briefings. And, if they want to be president, they got to start acting like a president.


RADDATZ: The president promising both candidates a full security briefing. The briefings are only one part of what our next guest calls the largest, most complicated takeover of any organization on the planet -- thousands of jobs switching hands, not to mention the nuclear codes: life and death decisions made one minute by one team and the next by another.

Max Stier was a government lawyer who saw that there is no room for mistakes. He started the Center for Presidential Transition to help.

Thanks for joining us, Max.


RADDATZ: Tell us about the Center for Presidential Transition. Why does the government need a private organization to tell how to run this process?

STIER: Well, it's fascinating, obviously. Everyone is focused on the horse race. We see all the conversation about who is going to win, but in the reality, for all of us, we need to know who is going to run our government and whether they'll run it well. And the Center for Presidential Transition is focused on trying to make sure that whoever wins has actually got the ability to run the government from day one.

RADDATZ: And we were saying the scope of this is enormous. Is it more than 4,000 jobs and plus how many need senate confirmation?

STIER: There are 4,000 political appointees, there are over 1,100 that need confirmation, a $4 trillion budget. You've got hundreds of different operating organizations. There's no takeover on the planet or in history that is more complicated or more important.

RADDATZ: And one thing that prompted your efforts, I know, and the legislation to a smooth this presidential transition was the terror threat to President Obama's inauguration in 2009. So, did they actually plan out what they would do if there was an attack? Tell us a little more about how that happened.

STIER: Well, again, the transition is not only big and complicated, it's also the point of maximum vulnerability for our country. Post 9/11, everyone has to understand that a smooth hand-off of power and an equipped president is absolutely essential. And as you note, there was a -- a real terrorist threat in the last inauguration. They did get information. There weren't a lot of people in place as a result of the transition taking place, but they handled it well and they did go through scenario planning.

RADDATZ: And they did table-top exercises.

STIER: They did tabletop exercises.

And again, the idea really is to make sure that whoever comes next is actually prepared to run our government effectively starting with the national security establishment, but you know it's everything -- it's our economy. It's all the services that our federal government provides.

RADDATZ: So, this week, you opened up a space for Donald Trump's transition team, Hillary Clinton's transition team. Can you give us a sense of how many people they have in there and what they're doing now?

STIER: So, just to clarify -- and you said it right, we're a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization. The federal government actually runs the transition space for the two campaigns. As of Monday, they were given their keys. Both Clinton and Trump have operating transition efforts going on. Really important, because if you wait until the election, there's no way you can actually be ready to take over the government.

You have to start pre-election. The legislation you mentioned is enabling that to happen at larger scale. And frankly, the voters should be paying attention, because you know promises can't be kept in the candidates are not actually ready to run the government.

RADDATZ: And how does what's happening now with Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump compare with the past?

STIER: So, you're seeing a more active effort than ever been done before. Four years ago, we saw Mitt Romney run at that point the very best transition preparation effort pre-election. Now, we have two candidates who are up and running earlier than historically has been done and that's a good thing.

Again, they can't be ready if they don't start early.

Edison once said that vision without execution is hallucination. The campaign, and the promises you're hearing are only meaningful if the candidates can run the government effectively. That's what transition is about.

RADDATZ: Thanks so much for joining us this morning, Max. That's fascinating.

STIER: Thank you.

RADDATZ: Glad to hear about it.


RADDATZ: And now we honor our fellow Americans who serve and sacrifice.

In the month of July, one service member died overseas supporting operations in Iraq and Syria.

That's all for us today. Thanks for sharing part of your Sunday with us. Check out World News Tonight. Have a great day.