Calling Trump ‘dangerous,’ former CIA director endorses Clinton

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WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 02:  Former Deputy CIA Director Michael Morell arrives for testimony before the House Select Intelligence Committee April 2, 2014 in Washington, DC. The committee heard testimony on the topic of "The Benghazi Talking Points and Michael J. Morell's Role in Shaping the Administration's Narrative."  (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

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JUDY WOODRUFF:  It’s been just one week since the Democratic Convention ended, and Hillary Clinton has surged to big leads over Republican Donald Trump in virtually every national poll.

Today, new numbers put her ahead by as much as 15 points, and found her trying to win over doubters.

Hillary Clinton ended the week on a high note, but she acknowledged today that many voters say they still don’t trust her.  She spoke to black and Hispanic journalists in Washington.

HILLARY CLINTON (D), Presidential Nominee:  It doesn’t make me feel good when people say those things, and I recognize that I have work to do.  I’m going to work my heart out in this campaign and as president to produce results for people.

JUDY WOODRUFF:  At the same time, Clinton secured a major endorsement from former acting CIA Director Mike Morell.  He wrote in The New York Times that Donald Trump has no experience in national security, and, worse yet — quote — “The character traits he has exhibited during the primary season suggest he would be a poor, even dangerous, commander in chief.”

Morell said Trump’s praise of Russian President Vladimir Putin suggests he’s become a — quote — “unwitting agent of the Russians.”

But on NBC this morning, Republican vice presidential nominee Mike Pence dismissed the Morell endorsement.

GOV. MIKE PENCE (R), Vice Presidential Nominee:  Truthfully, honestly, the comment by the former CIA official, I suppose this is the same CIA that told the president that ISIS was the J.V. team.

JUDY WOODRUFF:  The back-and-forth came as Trump admitted he’d been mistaken in saying he’d seen video of Iranians unloading a U.S. cash payment this year around the same time four Americans were freed from Iranian prisons.

Today, Trump tweeted: “The plane I saw on television was the hostage plane in Geneva, Switzerland, not the plane carrying $400 million in cash going to Iran.”

Later, Trump and Pence linked up in Des Moines, Iowa, as they work to rally the heartland against Clinton.

DONALD TRUMP (R), Presidential Nominee:  If Hillary Clinton becomes president, you will have — you will have terrorism, you will have problems, you will have really, in my opinion, the destruction of this country from within.

JUDY WOODRUFF:  Trump also holds a rally in Green Bay, Wisconsin, this evening, amid reports he’s about to reverse himself, and endorse House Speaker Paul Ryan in his primary election, after all.  But intraparty divisions will still be on display, with Wisconsin’s top Republican officials.

Ryan, U.S. Senator Ron Johnson, and Governor Scott Walker all planning to be somewhere else instead.

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