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STATE OF THE UNION
Interview With Montana Congressman Ryan Zinke; Interview With California Congressman Adam Schiff; Interview With Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders; Jeb Bush's Rough Week; U.S. Military Kills Top ISIS Leader. Aired 9-10:00p ET
Aired May 17, 2015 - 09:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: The U.S. deals a major blow to ISIS, and a new mystery in the deadly Amtrak train crash.
This is STATE OF THE UNION.
U.S. troops take out a top ISIS leader. Congressman Paul Ryan sides with President Obama, Senator Bernie Sanders on his run for the president -- presidency, and Jeb Bush's rough week on the campaign trail.
Good morning from Washington. I am Brianna Keilar.
And, right now, U.S. officials are analyzing a treasure trove of new information about how ISIS operates, this after a daring raid by American special ops in Syria that left a top ISIS commander dead and his wife captured.
CNN's Nick Paton Walsh is in Beirut with the latest on this.
So, Nick, what do we know about this commander who is known as Abu Sayyaf?
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Very little, frankly, until the news has broken yesterday of his death in that raid.
Now, this is a man who is said to have been at one point running the lucrative oil industry that ISIS had in Northern Iraq, is said to have been a key man in terms of the shipment of money around, and potentially increasingly involved in military operations, though we really only have the U.S.' word for that.
We don't have, for example, many of the key ISIS experts we normally talk to knowing much about this man as all. Some say he was often an associate of the ISIS spokesman Muhammad al-Adnani. One is offering a name, Nabil Saddiq Abu Saleh al-Jabouri. That's not confirmed independently.
He was caught in that building with his wife and killed as he resisted. But you have to bear in mind, Brianna, this is an extraordinary high-risk move, 20 Delta Forces at the White House order breaking through two defensive lines into a multistory building, fistfights, blood on the knuckles, Barbara Starr reported yesterday, of some of these commandos, an extraordinarily high-risk move that could have gone very badly wrong.
Yes, they retrieved laptops here, but there are many questions, Brianna, being asked about exactly who this man was and how come very few apart from the U.S. had heard about him. Entirely plausible they kept his identity and his real name still now a secret, but many questions being asked, Brianna.
KEILAR: Are there any details about the raid that tell us perhaps his importance is -- is greater than perhaps the fact that experts don't know a lot about him will tell us?
WALSH: Well, the fact that they were willing to take this extraordinarily high-risk intervention into Syrian territory, right into the lion's den really here, the al-Omar oil field, where this raid happened, heavily fortified, a three-to-five-kilometer security perimeter around it, a lot of violence inside there when they landed, softened up, say witnesses in the area, by airstrikes beforehand, over 30 dead ISIS militants in this attack, no U.S. casualties that we are aware of right now.
I have to say, given how little information was known about Abu Sayyaf before this particular raid, there is the possibility they may have hoped somebody else was there. I have to say, it's on the far end of probability that they expected to really capture him alive. This was initially a capture mission, U.S. officials say, because ISIS leadership, they worship death, frankly. It's unlikely they would just surrender and hand themselves over.
They now have his wife and his laptop, but on the balance of it all, you're seeing in a very high-risk maneuver here, a rare thing, frankly, that either signifies a whole new era in U.S. special forces operations against ISIS leadership, like we saw in Afghanistan, for example, where night by night by night, what they used to call the night janitors would go out and take out key middlemen to make the command structure almost impossible to keep going, and or they're after else that we don't know about at the moment -- Brianna.
KEILAR: All right, Nick Paton Walsh in Beirut, thank you.
I want to turn now to Congressman Adam Schiff. He is the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee. And I'm also joined by Republican Congressman Ryan Zinke of the House Armed Services Committee, also a former commander at Navy SEAL Team Six.
Gentlemen, thanks so much for being with me.
Congressman Schiff, to you first. You heard Nick's reporting there. So many experts on ISIS are not even particularly -- they don't know Abu Sayyaf all that well. It leads to the question of whether this is really who the Delta Force was going after.
You were briefed, I believe, before this happened, before this operation happened. What were you told about the objective, and was this the guy they were trying to get?
REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D), CALIFORNIA: Well, this is the guy that we were trying to get, but, nonetheless, I think these are very important questions.
And that is, the only reason to take this kind of risk -- and it was a very daring operation in the heart of ISIS-controlled territory -- is either you can't launch a military strike from aircraft because of the risk of civilian casualties, or you think the intelligence value of what you are going to gain is sufficient to merit that kind of risk.
Now, obviously, we had very good intelligence here. You can't do an operation like this without knowing that your target is there, what kind of security they have, what the premises looks like, and enough to know you have a backup plan if things go wrong. So, our intelligence was good.
But, nonetheless, this was an extraordinary risk. If one of our people were captured, if we lost some of our special forces, there would be tough questions to answer about whether it was worth it. And I think not withstanding the success of this operation, we still are going to have to ask those questions. Was the intelligence value that we hoped to gain and the fact that we are gaining worth this kind of risk?
I don't think it signals a wholesale effort to mount lots of special operations efforts like we had in Afghanistan and Iraq. I don't think this is a major escalation, but it's a striking and risky success. And hats off to those that were involved.
So, Congressman Schiff saying there, Congressman Zinke, that this doesn't signal perhaps a whole new era in how to approach ISIS in Syria, in Iraq. How do you see it, as a former SEAL Team -- commander at SEAL Team Six?
REP. RYAN ZINKE (R), MONTANA: Well, first of all, bravo, zuto (ph) Delta. They are outstanding individuals.
And this was a great operation. This is not the first time that we have been in Syria and likely not the last time we will be there. It doesn't change the overall background. We have no plan in Syria what to do overall. You have Ramadi on fire. You have -- in the eastern part of Iraq, you have Iranian forces, senior military leadership.
I am not sure how we are ever going to remove them from the territory of Iraq. And this is going to be an enormous problem for the president, as well as the next president, what to do in Iraq. Our policy of doing it from afar, especially in the territory of Iraq by air operations alone is not working. It won't work. The Kurds are isolated and the Sunnis now seem disenfranchised. KEILAR: You served in Ramadi, if I am not mistaken. Is that
ZINKE: I did, Fallujah and Ramadi. And it...
KEILAR: So, what is it like looking at -- depending on the hour, you are hearing Iraqi security forces having the upper hand over ISIS, but it's this back and forth that is going on.
ZINKE: Well, Ramadi is a fairly large city, about 900,000.
It's enormously difficult in interior to do operations. They left the headquarters, and I think the headquarters more or less is symbolic. It doesn't lead to a greater plan of what to do about retaking Ramadi as a whole.
When you have a script where we say we are just going to do air operations alone within the territory of Iraq, what happens is the forces then that we want to target will move their forces, colocate with hospitals, schools, embed themselves to be very, very difficult to conduct air operations against.
But this is what happens when you don't have an intelligence background, when you don't have embedded troops that can judge what targets are in, what targets are out. In the case of Syria, it was an isolated case. He was not in the top 10. So, it's not going to change the tide and the stem of what is going on in Syria or Iraq or the Middle East, but it's enormously helpful, I think.
And I applaud the administration for going after this individual and looking at operations in the future.
KEILAR: Congressman Schiff, it sounds like you are weighing whether enough was yielded in this operation, or you say that is certainly a question that is worth asking.
But some reports coming from officials say there was information gleaned from how ISIS communicates, how they are funded, how they operate. Was this a great yield, or was this perhaps too risky?
SCHIFF: Well, it was an important yield.
And I don't want to understate the significance of the al Qaeda leader -- or I'm sorry -- the ISIS leader, Abu Sayyaf. This was someone who was responsible for their oil and gas operations. There are some estimates that ISIL derives about $1.5 million a day from oil and gas sales.
This is the best-funded terror organization in history. And drying up those resources, disrupting that organization is an important objective. Now, not withstanding his death, we captured his wife. And she may have a great intelligence value as well. There are reasons to believe that she was active in ISIL operations in her own right.
And, of course, the materials, both electronic and otherwise, that have been seized could present a great value. But I think, when things go well, you don't often tend to question them as much. And I think before we see or embark on a lot more of these kinds of operations, we have to weigh the risk of escalation.
You can imagine what would have happened if one of our people were captured. We would go to move heaven and earth to get them back. And the risk of escalation becomes that much greater. So, we will see what kind of intelligence trove we got. I agree with my colleague that the extraordinary work of our Delta Forces needs to be applauded unequivocally.
But I do think we have some hard questions that we need answered here.
KEILAR: Do you see this as boots on the ground?
SCHIFF: Well, there certainly are American boots on the ground.
I don't see this as the same kind of a massive occupation or the beginning of that, like we had in Afghanistan or have had in Iraq in the past as well, but the risks go up the more you conduct these kinds of operations, the more you see the potential of being pulled in. And the problem with being pulled into this messy civil war, this awful civil war in Syria is that then you take ownership.
It's, as Colin Powell used to say, the Pottery Barn rule. You break it, you bought it. It's already badly broken, and I don't know that we want to take ownership of this. So, I understand the frustration with how long this is taking and the setbacks in Ramadi, which are real and serious.
At the same time, we don't want to get sucked in, in a way that we take ownership of this whole crisis.
KEILAR: What are the risks of that, Congressman Zinke?
ZINKE: Well, there is always risk. And time will tell whether this specific operation yields the type of sensitive information that warranted.
But I think you need to look at what we have in place, the people, the enormous commitment of Delta Force, SEAL Team Six, and all the services. And these are no-go criteria. They look at it. They judge whether they can successfully enter, given the enormity and the complexity of the operation. And so I trust in our senior military commanders. If they say they can do it, then I will stand by -- they are going to do it.
But this is a war. And it's important to look at the intelligence network. If you find a node that you can penetrate, that you can eliminate, and draw more information for future operations, I think it's prudent to do.
But we face a very difficult challenge in Iraq and Syria. Again, but it doesn't -- it's not going to change -- this particular operation, it's not going to change the background. The background is, we need a plan in Syria. Are we going to -- what about Assad? Are we going to let him stay or go? And what is our strategy going forward? And what about Iran?
And now you have Iran in a territory of Iraq, and to a degree, that has heightened the sensitivity of the Sunnis. You look at the Sunnis, what is happening in Ramadi, Fallujah, and the Anbar province is on fire because they feel disenchanted, disenfranchised from the centralized government. That is an issue that you can't overlook.
KEILAR: Yes, it's a bigger question for you of the bigger picture.
Congressman Zinke, thank you so much.
Congressman Schiff, thanks for being with us as well.
And be sure to catch an in-depth look at ISIS when Fareed Zakaria hosts "Blindsided: How ISIS Shook the World." That's tonight at 7:00 Eastern here on CNN.
But, next, new questions about what caused that deadly Amtrak train derailment in Philadelphia. We will have an update on the investigation when we come back.
KEILAR: U.S. transportation investigators have interviewed the engineer of the Amtrak train that derailed in Philadelphia earlier this week, and they're also looking into the possibility that the train may have been hit by an object before it jumped the tracks.
Joining me now is National Transportation Safety Board member Robert Sumwalt.
So, Robert, give us the latest on the investigation. You have gotten a little bit of an assist at this point from the FBI, but the NTSB is really leading this up. Where do things stand?
ROBERT SUMWALT, NATIONAL TRANSPORTATION SAFETY BOARD MEMBER: You're exactly right, Brianna.
We have asked the FBI to come in and provide their technical expertise on identifying this mark on the windshield. But you're right. We're still leading the investigation. We have gotten a lot done already, and there is a lot more that needs to be done.
KEILAR: How much credence do you give to the idea that this projectile -- and tell us if you have any sense of what the projectile might be. Could it be a bullet? Could it be a rock? How much credence do you give to the idea that that may have contributed or even caused this accident? SUMWALT: Well, at this point, we really want to chase this lead
down. We heard from the assistant conductor that that is what she believed she heard, was some conversation about that.
And we see now a mark on the windshield that we want to look at. So, we are going to look at everything at this point.
KEILAR: There was a Regional line train, a SEPTA train that reported something. That is what the other conductor was saying, that she heard the main conductor talking with this SEPTA conductor that his train had also been hit by a projectile.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: An unknown object made contact with that train, shattering the windshield.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
KEILAR: Do you know how many trains at this point were hit by projectiles?
SUMWALT: We don't know how many -- how many trains have been -- have -- were -- were struck.
We did listen to the dispatch tapes between dispatch and the trains, and indeed the SEPTA engineer did report to dispatch that he had been struck by something. But there was nothing, nothing at all from the Amtrak engineer to dispatch to say that his train had been struck.
KEILAR: So you are not hearing that corroboration coming from the dispatch tapes?
SUMWALT: We are not hearing that.
And, furthermore, we have interviewed the SEPTA engineer. And he did not recall having any conversation between him and the Amtrak engineer. But, nevertheless, we do have this mark on the windshield of the Amtrak train, so we certainly want to trace that lead down.
KEILAR: Have you? Do you know what made that mark?
SUMWALT: Tomorrow, the FBI will be on scene to assist us in identifying what that may have been.
KEILAR: OK. And, at this point, have you gotten results from the black box? It's really a data recorder, isn't it?
SUMWALT: It is indeed. It's a black box.
And so there are really two force -- sources of information, forward-facing video camera, which we have looked at, and also the event recorder, so we have obtained data from each of those.
KEILAR: When you look at this locomotive that was powering this train, and we are talking about a train increasing tens of miles per hour in the course of the final minute, what would it have entailed for the train to do that?
Would this have been operator error? Is this something that would have taken a lot of purposeful action? It seems, looking at other locomotive engines, that it would indeed. This is not even a one-step process.
SUMWALT: That's right.
The only way that an operable train can -- can accelerate would be if the engineer pushed the throttle forward. And that's -- we're -- we -- the event recorder does record throttle movement. We will be looking at that to see if that corresponds to the increased in the speed of the train.
KEILAR: You have been getting cooperation from the conductor of the train. What have you been able to learn from him?
SUMWALT: And, to be clear, we have talked to the engineer, the person operating the train, so we have -- he was fully -- he was fully cooperative when we met with him on Friday. And then we have also interviewed two assistant conductors that were on the train.
KEILAR: But he doesn't remember anything, or this is the report. He says he doesn't remember anything after leaving North Philadelphia. Is that right?
SUMWALT: That's right.
KEILAR: So, what does that mean for this investigation? Where do you go from here? And is there any hope that perhaps he will be able to recall -- he does have a concussion, as we understand it. Where do you get those facts, if he doesn't recall them?
SUMWALT: Well, and we have -- we have called for inward-facing cameras. We called for that after a fatal accident in California that killed 25 people.
We want inward-facing cameras. And we have called for that. And we want that to happen.
KEILAR: Robert Sumwalt with the NTSB, we will be looking for more information as the days go on. Thank you so much for joining us. Really appreciate it.
SUMWALT: Thank you, Brianna.
KEILAR: And next up: Congressman Paul Ryan is one of President Obama's sharpest critics, but now he is a key ally on an issue that may shape the president's legacy.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) KEILAR: Politics certainly does create strange bedfellows
sometimes, and the new trade deal that President Obama is trying to sell to members of Congress is very much an example of that.
Congressman Paul Ryan joining me now to talk about this move on trade in Congress.
And, Chairman Ryan, we see the shift now moving from the Senate to the House. You are in favor of this authority for President Obama and this trade push, but a number of your Republicans are not. Do you have the votes you need now?
REP. PAUL RYAN (R), WISCONSIN: We will have the votes. We are doing very well. We're gaining a lot of steam and momentum.
There's a misnomer. It's really not granting the president authority. It's actually Congress asserting its prerogatives, its authority in how trade agreements are done.
KEILAR: Your position is that there are a number of parameters that President Obama will have to adhere to as he uses this -- quote, unquote -- "fast-track authority" to negotiate the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
But you have critics, like Elizabeth Warren, like labor unions, and they say that really some of the parameters are toothless. They look at other trade agreements, like NAFTA, and they say, they're aren't any sanctions or fines that are put in place when you're talking about labor violations by other countries that are parts of these trade agreements.
KEILAR: What do you say to them to assuage those concerns?
RYAN: So, that was -- these are old trade agreements from last century.
This is different, in that this requires other countries to come up to our standards. What labor is concerned about are labor standards. In NAFTA, they were not inside the trade agreement. They were side agreements. They are inside trade agreements in this particular case.
So, we have 150 guidelines that are required to be in any trade agreement to basically bring other countries up to American standards. And if they don't meet those standards, we have ways of getting our disputes resolved, so that we can hold them to account.
The key thing is, is, are these countries that we want to trade with going to open our markets to our products, just like we are already now open to theirs? That's question one. Question two, will they come and work on American standards vs. China trying to write the rules, which degrade the standards of trade? And so that is really what is happening here. The other part is,
there are going to be 3.2 billion people in the middle class in Asia by the year 2030. That's an enormous market for America. And if we want more jobs and better wages, you have to trade. So, we have tough teeth in these agreements that TPA requires.
KEILAR: Do you find it ironic, I wonder, that you have critics here, Democrats, claiming that President Obama is overreaching or this will give him authority to overreach?
RYAN: I know. It's interesting, yes.
KEILAR: That's a criticism you have made of him. And yet here you are...
RYAN: I know.
KEILAR: ... a very prominent Republican, and you...
RYAN: I ran against him in the last election.
KEILAR: And you are paddling in the same boat...
KEILAR: ... with President Obama.
KEILAR: You must commiserate perhaps with that...
KEILAR: ... with that criticism...
RYAN: It's interesting.
KEILAR: ... of overreach.
RYAN: What I would say is, every president since Franklin Delano Roosevelt has had this ability.
There is no way we're going to be able to get other countries to give us their best offer in a good trade agreement if, after getting that agreement, we can just take it back to Congress and rewrite the whole thing.
KEILAR: Hillary Clinton has not taken a position on the Trans- Pacific Partnership, on this trade fight, even though, as secretary of state, she did. What do you make of that?
RYAN: I think she is just being more political and worried about her political base.
I would assume she is in favor of it, given her past comments, given her role. But my guess is, she is worried more about her Democratic primary politics.
KEILAR: I want to ask you about Jeb Bush, because I want your perspective as the former vice presidential candidate for Republicans, who has really withstood the glare that really is unlike no other, the political -- the political spotlight.
RYAN: Yes, it really is.
RYAN: That's true.
KEILAR: He really stumbled this week when it came to answering questions about Iraq. That's a question that seems so obvious that he would have been asked about.
When you were the -- made the candidate, you knew you were going to be asked about your budget. Are you surprised by his stumbles? And, also, what advice might you give him and other candidates?
RYAN: Not really.
I mean, every candidate is going to have this problem. Hillary Clinton is going to -- there are going to be 1,000 of these moments going forward. I watched that tape. I actually think Jeb misheard the question. I don't think he -- he heard the question correctly and therefore his answer was as it was.
Look, we all know -- I was here when we voted for Iraq. I was here...
RYAN: We all know we would do things differently.
KEILAR: But even if he did mishear it, even if he did mishear it, he had a few times to try to fix it.
KEILAR: And it took him some time.
So, knowing that -- knowing that spotlight...
KEILAR: ... what is your advice? And also -- and he -- he could also maybe -- he's been giving a lot of media availabilities.
KEILAR: There's also maybe a risk in censoring oneself too much.
RYAN: Yes, that's -- that's -- so -- so, that's an interesting point. So, watch the Clinton campaign, where they don't do any media
availabilities, to the Bush campaign and Scott Walker, who is my governor, or Marco Rubio, or all the other Republican candidates, who are doing a lot of media availabilities.
I would err on the side of doing more media. I would err on the side of more transparency. I would err on the side of being just more authentic and sincere in who you are. You're going to stumble. You're going to gaffe. The media, that's what they simply -- and it's no offense, but the media tries to get you to gaffe. They try to get you to stumble to test your wares.
And it's good for candidates to go through that process. I was so much better at the end of the process than I was at the beginning of the process, because the media is testing your mettle. And that's what we should do of our presidential candidates.
So, you know, let it go. People are going to make their mistakes. I think Jeb Bush made a pretty good clarification on what it was.
KEILAR: George Stephanopoulos, I want to ask you about him. He is under fire, ABC News anchor, very well-respected. And it turns out that he has donated over the last three...
KEILAR: ... years $75,000 to the Clinton administration (sic). He often engages in some fiery exchanges with politicians, including yourself.
Do you have faith that he will ask just as tough questions of Democrats, of Hillary Clinton? He has recused himself of mediating a GOP debate. But is that enough because he will continue to cover 2016?
RYAN: You are asking a conservative if a well-known liberal is going to be unbiased. That's not (INAUDIBLE) -
KEILAR: But you have had -- but you had a lot of -- you have had a lot of exposure to him.
RYAN: No. I have known George a long time. I have known him a long time.
KEILAR: Do you consider him unfair?
RYAN: I think he has been far more biased on the left side of things over the past. I think the way he conducted the debates with Republicans, I think it revealed a bias.
Look, I've got no issues with George. He is a nice guy but, you know, he has -- everybody has political views. And I think --
KEILAR: You went on his show?
RYAN: I went on his show plenty of times, and, look, I am used to that.
But the way I would look at the situation is, he just basically revealed that he is who he was, and you know, and is that person. Most people, most conservatives expect this, but I think he probably should have used -- exercised better judgment, because he is supposed to be objective, and -- at least appear to be objective, and this doesn't help him do that.
KEILAR: On Amtrak. Funding has decreased over the last years for Amtrak. Do you think in light of this recent crash where the NTSB has said that positive train control, this ability using GPS to slow a train if it becomes out of control, if there is an emergency with a conductor, that this could have prevented this crash?
RYAN: Let me just say this. To suggest and insinuate that this tragedy could have been avoided or would have been avoided had Congress had more spending or had Congress had a different budget, I think is just -- it's the wrong suggestion to make and it should not be in this conversation.
KEILAR: Congressman Paul Ryan, thank you so much (INAUDIBLE).
RYAN: Thanks, Brianna.
KEILAR: Next, is the man challenging Hillary Clinton from the left a spoiler or a shaper of this race? Senator Bernie Sanders, when we come back.
[09:35:46] KEILAR: The 2016 Democratic presidential nomination may be a (INAUDIBLE) for Hillary Clinton, but that certainly is not stopping a senator and self described socialist from challenging her.
Senator Bernie Sanders joining me now.
And Senator, we are expecting your formal announcement into the race here in a little over a week. You acknowledged that you don't have the cash, you don't have the campaign infrastructure that Hillary Clinton, say, has. And certainly as you enter the race, she is the one that you have your sights set on.
What is your path to victory?
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, my path to victory is to talk about the issues that impact the lives of millions of Americans.
Brianna, the reality is that for 40 years the American middle class has been disappearing, the people today are working longer hours for lower wages. While at the same time, 99 percent of all new income is going to the top 1 percent, and the top one-tenth of the 1 percent owns as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent. KEILAR: Hillary Clinton talks a lot about income inequality.
How do you differentiate yourself on this from her?
SANDERS: Well, it's one thing to talk about, it's one thing to act on.
I have been helping to lead the fight for the American middle class for the last 25 or 30 years. We have introduced legislation that would rebuild our crumbling infrastructure and create up to 13 million new jobs. In the Senate, I am leading the effort to raise the minimum wage up to $15 an hour so that people who work 40 hours a week will not be living in poverty. We have presented legislation right now which will say to the wealthiest people and largest corporations, you know what, you can't continue to avoid paying your fair share of taxes.
KEILAR: Your candidacy was assessed by "U.S. News and World Report" like this. It said, "Like Obama in 2008, Sanders can serve to help define Clinton and make her a stronger candidate. Unlike Obama, Sanders can keep Clinton on her game without getting her tossed out of it."
You look at that assessment, and are you a spoiler her? Are you aiming to be a shaper of the debate, or do you think that you really have a pathway to victory?
SANDERS: I think that there is more discontent with establishment politics, with the greed of corporate America than many people perceive. I think we have a good -- I will not deny for one moment I will go into the race an underdog, Hillary Clinton will have a lot more money than we have.
But let me say this even in terms of money. We have been in the race for a couple weeks. We've raised over $4 million, because people are sending on average, not $1 million, not $10,000, $43 per contributor to BernieSanders.com. We have now 100,000 contributions.
KEILAR: I just wonder is this going to be a civil debate with Hillary Clinton? And I ask that because many critics will say, you have to, even if you are talking about issues and not personality or the fact that she's establishment, you have to go after a leading candidate with a hard edge. Are you prepared to do that?
SANDERS: Well, Brianna, let me turn it around to you, OK? I've never run a negative political ad in my life. People in Vermont know that I have run in many, many campaigns, because I don't believe in ugly 30-second ads. I believe in serious debates on serious issues.
I have known Hillary Clinton for 25 years. Maybe I shouldn't say this, I like Hillary Clinton. I respect Hillary Clinton. Will the media, among others, allow us to have a civil debate on civil issues, or is the only way you are going to get media attention by ripping somebody else? I certainly hope that's not the case.
KEILAR: Trade is a big issue...
SANDERS: Trade is a big issue.
KEILAR: ...in the Senate and now we are looking towards the House where Republicans oddly enough may not have the votes along with Democrats for the initiative of President Obama's, something you oppose, you have come out and said, this is a terrible idea. Hillary Clinton has not. She is on the fence. Should she take a position?
[09:39:44] SANDERS: Absolutely. You can't be on the fence on this one, you are for it or you're against it. No fence sitting on this one.
Here is the reality. When we talk about why the middle class is disappearing and why the gap between the very, very rich and everybody else is growing wider, you have to talk about disastrous trade agreements that have allowed corporate America to shut down in this country and move to China, Mexico and other low-wage countries.
KEILAR: I want to ask you about George Stephanopoulos, the host of "This Week" who has been on the news.
You appeared on his show on May 3rd, and on that program he asked you about your concerns over the money raised by the Clinton Foundation. You had said that the Clinton Foundation fund-raising is a fair issue to discuss.
He had donated $25,000 over three years or $75,000 in total, $25,000 each year. He didn't disclose those donations to viewers, to superiors at ABC. He didn't tell you either even though you discussed it.
SANDERS: Well, I think he should have made that public (INAUDIBLE) I mean, it's what he should have done. I have to file a financial disclosure form and I think George should have done that. But I don't -- between you and me, I don't think it's the biggest deal in the world.
KEILAR: Are you eyeing Elizabeth Warren's supporters? If you take her at her word, she is not getting into the race. Are you looking to gain that pocket of support to Hillary Clinton's left?
SANDERS: Elizabeth Warren is a good friend of mine. I have known Elizabeth for many, many years. She is doing a fantastic job in the Senate I think on many of the same issues -- of many of the issues Elizabeth Warren and I come out on the same page.
KEILAR: Overall, I don't hear a lot of forcefulness from you. A lot of people who observe politics say this is a contact sport. You have to have sharp elbows even if it's not going fully negative in character assassination...
SANDERS: Brianna -
KEILAR: ...or maybe somewhere in between. Are you (INAUDIBLE) to do that?
SANDER: Brianna -- Brianna, you are looking at perhaps the most progressive member of the United States Senate.
I have led the effort in taking on Wall Street. I have led the effort in taking on disastrous trade agreements. I have led the effort in fighting for universal health care. I have led the effort in terms of trying to reverse our approach towards climate change and move away from a fossil fuel society. I have led the effort on many of those issues. I have taken on every powerful specialized --
KEILAR: But are you prepared to sharply point out where your Democratic opponents have not in your opinion?
SANDERS: Of course I am prepared to engage in serious debate.
But let me throw it back to you. I will tell you something else. The American people want to hear serious discussions why they are working longer hours for lower wages. They want to know about why year after year why these disastrous trade agreements, why the rich gets richer and everybody else gets poorer.
Are you in the media prepared to allow us to engage in that serious debate or do I have to get media attention by simply making reckless attacks on Hillary Clinton or anybody else? I don't believe in that. I believe in serious debates on serious issues.
KEILAR: Senator Bernie Sanders, thank you so much for being with us. We appreciate it.
SANDERS: Thank you, Brianna.
KEILAR: And speaking of 2016, will family ties sink Jeb Bush, and is Hillary Clinton missing in action? Our roundtable has their take when we come back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[09:47:05] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You lost in Iowa in 2008. How do you win this time? What is your strategy?
HILLARY CLINTON, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I am having a great time. Can't look forward to anymore than I am.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ...regarding the pay-for-play allegations in the latest book emails back in 2012?
CLINTON: You know, those issues are, in my view, distractions.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did foreign entities receive any special treatment for making any kind of donations to the foundation or your husband?
CLINTON: Well, we are back into the political season, and therefore we will be subjected to all kinds of distraction and attacks. And I am ready for that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: Coming up on almost a month since Hillary Clinton answered reporters questions, while Jeb Bush ran into some really big problems this past week with his evolving answer about the Iraq war.
Joining me around the table to discuss this, we have CNN political commentator S.E. Cupp. We have John Stanton, he is "Buzzfeed's" Washington bureau chief. And Mo Elleithee, the communications director of the Democratic National Committee.
So, before we talk about this you have a lot of Republican candidates who are attacking Hillary Clinton as MIA right now. I want to talk about the Friday news dump that we saw from Hillary and Bill Clinton. According to forms filed with the FEC they made $30 million in the last 16 months, since the beginning of 2014. That's $25 million in speeches, $5 million for Hillary Clinton's newish book, I guess you would say at this point.
What do you think, John, about how this is going to affect everyday Americans as she likes to say and their perception and their connection to her as sort of a normal person?
JOHN STANTON, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, BUZZFEED NEWS: You know, I'd be honest. I don't think anybody thinks that she understands what their life is like. I mean, she has been in the public eye for 30 years really and she is clearly a very wealthy woman. (INAUDIBLE) this whole notion that she was attempting to act like she was an every man was sort of a bad idea. I thought -- I'd say that I don't think it does much more than just sort of tell people, yes, in fact she is super rich just like we thought she was. (INAUDIBLE).
S.E. CUPP. CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: It feels less of a campaign and more of -- almost like a royal visit, right? Like when Kate and William come over here they meet with fans, they take pictures, they shake hands, they don't answer tough questions. And I think that also contributes to this idea. I mean, you can say that you are going to care about average peoples' interests and issues, but all evidence to the contrary she is not answering questions. She's -- it's almost remote campaigning and that's -- I think that has got to stop pretty soon.
Is it going to, Mo? You would know?
MO ELLEITHEE, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Look, I think this notion from Republicans and folks on the right, that sort of breathless, you know, reaction to oh, my goodness, the Clintons have money is remarkable to me considering, you know, that the Republican Party forever has been defending wealth. Look, shocker. They have money. They earn that money. Does that really matter at the end of the day?
[09:50:02] KEILAR: But putting it out -- no it --
ELLEITHEE: But let me make the point. But here's the point. But here's the point. No, no, no. But there's the point --
KEILAR: Doesn't the campaign obviously think it does matter if it's put out late on a Friday?
ELLEITHEE: Here's the point. It's out there. It's fully disclosed. They paid ordinary taxes as opposed to Mitt Romney when he put a lot of his money in offshore tax accounts.
KEILAR (ph): And charities.
ELLEITHEE: So here's my point. I think what people are really looking for is you looking out for them, right? There have been a lot of wealthy people who have served in office who did amazing things, right?
John f. Kennedy, FDR, Lyndon Johnson were all wealthy presidents who were known for looking out for the poor, looking out for the middle class.
CUPP: But you know as well as I do that the issue is not that they made money. The issue is that they may have money and so we got to pay the bills somehow. We (ph) got to afford houses. The issue is the disconnect between the message and the money.
ELLEITHEE: The issue is - but not if the message is a message that is backed up with policy, that's backed up with a record that looks out for people.
KEILAR: Let's talk about her availability. It has been some time since she has taken questions. Is this really the lesson is -- learned from 2008, that she needs to be more bold and open when we see her kind of, you know, heading out the back door of her event in Nevada?
STANTON: Well, that's the Friday news dump on this stuff, right? I mean, on one hand, they have hired a bunch of new people to come in to work (ph) communications for them that are very good with the press and (ph) had (ph) (INAUDIBLE). At the same time, they drop this stuff that they don't think is a shock to anybody. But they drop it on a Friday because that's how they always treat the press.
And you know, while I think there is this idea that the press doesn't need to be treated very nicely, we are the ones that tell people what's going on, right? And then we are to a certain degree whether they like it or not, the eyes and ears of the American public and we're there to ask the questions, to help them understand what's going on. And by not talking to us, they aren't talking to the public.
CUPP: Well and this is the problem. If I'm you, if I'm a member of the reporting media, or you, I am indignant that she has been this unavailable. And instead what I'm seeing from a majority of the press is a total willingness to peddle the fluff story she's putting out while simultaneously she is locking them out of stories. If you looked at "Time" magazine this week, the story is that she wants Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill. Who cares? What about the substance?
KEILAR: Trust me. As a Hillary Clinton reporter, I report on her, I could talk about this all day long, but I do want to get in Jeb Bush and his conversation.
Very bad week for him when it comes to his position on Iraq. But, you know, it's so far off from the primary election, I wonder, you know, Mo, you're probably looking at this and sort of salivating, or maybe not because it brings Iraq as it pertains to Hillary Clinton into the debate. Does this ultimately matter this far out?
ELLEITHEE: If you knew -- knowing now what we didn't know then, would you have gone into Iraq? Simple question, not a question he should have had any problem seeing coming. And a question he has been asked in various forms over the past several years.
Before the Megyn Kelly interview, he said yes repeatedly. He would have gone back. And he defended his brother's foreign policy. So the Megyn Kelly interview, the most astonishing thing for me was the reaction after the fact where he said, I misheard it. Did you mishear it all the other times? Did you mishear it over the next few days?
KEILAR: He wasn't (INAUDIBLE) identifying with Hillary Clinton in his answer, though?
STANTON: No, he just forgot what he was supposed to say, I think. I think he was supposed to change his answer and he sort of forgot that he was supposed to. I think also --
KEILAR: Do you think he was so sensitive about there being daylight shown between him and his brother?
STANTON: Again, I think his brother is weighing on him heavily. If (ph) you talk to anybody around him they understand that in a Clinton versus Bush matchup the dynasty question always will come down probably for Hillary as opposed to him. Because we have, you know, now three Bushes and there's on one Clinton. I think, that is a whole -- his name is a problem.
ELLEITHEE: I don't think it's because of who his brother is. I think it's because of who he is.
Jeb Bush has been just as lockstep with all the neocon advisers of George Bush throughout his entire career. They're the people who are advising him. They're the people that are shaping his foreign policy. He has been lockstep with them. He was gung ho on this from the get-go. I'm not -- I don't think this has as much - as much to do with his brother as it does with his own world view.
KEILAR: Mo, thank you so much. S.E. Cupp, thank you. John Stanton, thanks for being a part of the panel today.
Up next, 50 years of intimate moments in politics. The story behind some rarely seen photographs.
[09:58:48] KEILAR: Joining us now is David Hume Kennerly, a Pulitzer prize-winning photojournalist who has covered 50 years of political campaigns.
You take a photo in 2000 on election night of the Bush family. This is an amazing political photo. It almost looks a little bit like a Picasso or something to me.
DAVID HUME KENNERLY, PULITZER PRIZE-WINNING PHOTOGRAPHER: And they all look like a deer caught in the headlights, just the way I shot it. That was about five or 10 minutes before Gore took back his concession. It was really one of the most tense moments I've ever been in in a political situation. And it's on my top five all-time best political pictures because that was a real drama. I was the only photographer in the room. And it tells a story.
KEILAR: Are there any tricks that you have to be unobtrusive or to be very quiet like you're not there and really to capture as genuine a moment as you can?
KENNERLY: Honestly, they were paying no attention to me. I know the people -- the longer I'm around people, the less they notice me, which is a good thing. And that's how I get those pictures.
Those are real moments. It's not contrived.
KEILAR: And you can see more of those photos and the rest of our interview with David at our website, CNN.com/SOTU.
Thanks so much for watching STATE OF THE UNION. I'm Brianna Keilar in Washington.
Fareed Zakaria, "GPS," starts now.