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Wolf Blitzer Interviews Donald Trump; Cruz Responds to Trump on Citizenship Issue. Aired 1:30-2p ET
Aired January 7, 2016 - 13:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[13:30:33] WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: In the race for the White House, Donald Trump has some advice for Senator Ted Cruz, go to federal court and prove you're eligible to be president of the United States, the latest in the so-called birther battle between the Republican rivals.
I asked Trump about that and a whole lot more when I sat down with him for a one on one interview.
BLITZER: Let's talk about another issue. Senator Ted Cruz, he's your main rival in Iowa according to all the polls. This whole issue, the fact he was born in Canada, has come up, whether or not he's a natural-born citizen. You know the Constitution says no person except a natural-born citizen shall be eligible to the office of president. Do you believe Senator Ted Cruz is a natural-born citizen?
DONALD TRUMP, (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE & CEO, TRUMP ORGANIZATION: I don't know to be honest. And I like him a lot. I don't like the issue. I don't like even bringing it up. You know, it wasn't me that brought it up, it was "The Washington Post" doing an interview --
BLITZER: They asked you a question.
TRUMP: One the questions they asked me was this question. You know, they went with it. I wasn't very aggressive with the answer, except one thing. You can't have somebody running if the Democrats are going to at some point, and one of them threatens to bring a suit a long time ago. How can you have a nominee running, you know, against a Democrat, whoever it may be, probably Hillary Clinton, because she'll probably escape the e-mail problem, which is disgusting that she's able to, because other people for doing far less have had very, very major consequences. It's been terrible. But it's probably going to be Hillary. How do you run against the Democrat, whoever it may be, and you have this hanging over your head if they bring a lawsuit? A lawsuit will take two, three years --
BLITZER: He says he's a natural born sit step because his mother was U.S. Born, a U.S. citizen, as a result, he's a natural-born citizen.
TRUMP: I hope he's right. I want to win this thing fair and square. I don't want to win on this point. What the Democrats are saying is he had a passport.
BLITZER: He says he didn't have a passport. He may have been eligible for a Canadian passport.
TRUMP: I think it would be wonderful if he didn't. Everybody tells me he had a joint passport.
BLITZER: He had a Canadian birth certificate because he was born in Canada.
TRUMP: Here's what I think. What I think I'd do. I'd go and seek a declarer to judgment if I was Ted.
BLITZER: What does that mean?
TRUMP: It means you go to court.
BLITZER: Which court?
TRUMP: You go to federal court to ask for what's called a declaratory judgment. You seek the judgment of the court. Without a court case. You go right in. You go before a judge. You do it quickly. It can go quickly. I've used it on numerous occasions. So when there's a doubt -- because there's a doubt. What Ted doesn't want to happen is he doesn't want to be in there, I mean, I think I'm going to win. I'm leading in either poll by a lot. But I have a lot of friends in the Republican Party. I have a lot of friends all over the place, all right. If Ted should eke it out, and I hope that doesn't happen, and he's got this cloud over his head, I don't think it's going to be possible for him to do very well. I don't think it's possible for the Republicans to let it happen. Because he'll have this cloud. What you do, you go in immediately, like tomorrow, this afternoon. You go to federal court. You ask for a declaratory judgment. And once the court rules, you have your decision.
BLITZER: That could take a long time. I don't think the Supreme Court has ever really ruled on what is a natural-born citizen.
TRUMP: That's the problem. There's this doubt. People have doubt. Again, this was not my suggestion. I didn't bring this up. A reporter asked me the question. But the Democrats have brought it up. And you had somebody, a Congressman, say no matter what happened, we're going to be suing on this matter. That's a tough matter for Ted. Again, I didn't bring it up, Wolf, this is brought up and this was asked of me as a question. It's not the first time it's been asked but it's being asked by a lot of different people to a lot of different people that are running.
BLITZER: Because you know your critics are saying you're doing to Ted Cruz what you tried to do to President Obama, where he --
(CROSSTALK) TRUMP: Who knows about Obama?
BLITZER: His mother was a U.S. citizen, born in Kansas. Was he a natural-born citizen?
TRUMP: Who knows? Who cares right now? We're talking about something else, OK. I have my own theory on Obama. Some day I'll give -- I'll write a book. I'll do another book. It will do very successfully. Look, with Ted, she should have for a declaratory judgment. I'm doing this for the good of Ted. I like him. We have a good relationship. Go into court. Ask for a judgment. The judge will rule. And once a judge rules that he's OK, then the Democrats can't bring a lawsuit later on.
[13:35:07] BLITZER: He also says he's tougher on illegal immigration in the United States than you are. You say you will deport all the undocumented immigrants in the United States. 11 million, 12 million, as many as there are. But the good ones you say can come back to the United States. He says he's not letting any of these immigrants come back to the United States.
TRUMP: Ted was in favor of amnesty. Him and Marco Rubio have been fighting about who's weaker. Now all of a sudden -- and I was watching Ted the other day and it was very interesting. He said, and we must build a wall. OK. And my wife said, darling, he just said build a wall. That's the first person who said build a wall. I've been saying it for five years. But he said, and we will build a wall. So now he's taking my idea for the wall. I'm glad he's taking it. I think it's the right thing to do. The problem is I'll build a wall. It will be the right wall. Politicians don't know how to build walls. And I'll have Mexico pay for the wall. All of a sudden, they're trying to come over into my territory. No, we will get people out. The people that come back will come back legally. They will come back legally. We'll have a country again. We're going to have strong borders. Border Patrol people are fantastic. I got to know them very well. But we're going to have a wall. I heard just the other day Ted said he never said about a wall before. All of a sudden, he's talking about a wall.
BLITZER: He says he's not going to let any of those illegal immigrants come back to the United States.
TRUMP: I think you should come back if they're very good people. Let them come back legally. I want people to come back. I'm building a wall but I want people to come in. I want immigrants to come in but they have to come in legally. I want a lot of people to in. I want to have really smart people, really good people, really hard workers come back in. But they have to come in legally. So I want people to come back in to the country.
BLITZER: Let's talk a little bit about the wall you want to build. How long would it take to build that wall?
TRUMP: It will go very quickly. I would get the environmental impacts. Part of the reason the wall wasn't built, they couldn't get an environmental impact statement approved. Can you believe it? The environmental impact statement for a wall. We're looking for, you know, almost you could say military purposes. As an example, in the south China sea, China building islands. Massive islands. Military bases. They're taking out and they're drenching the sea. They're dredging the ocean. They don't go about --
BLITZER: You say Mexico's going to pay for the wall?
TRUMP: Mexico's going to pay.
BLITZER: Eventually, you'll send bail, how will they do that?
TRUMP: I'll charge them a tariff. Look, Mexico, I'm very friendly with Mexico. I employ thousands of people that, you know, Mexicans, they're great people. They like me. I'm doing very well by the way with the Hispanics and you saw in Nevada I'm leading in the polls with Hispanics. Because I create jobs. I'm going to take jobs back from China. I create jobs. Here's the thing. Mexico's making a fortune. Look at the trade deficit we have with Mexico. They're making a fortune. Ford's going to build a $2.5 billion plant in Mexico. Nabisco is moving their big plant, their big plant, from Chicago to Mexico.
BLITZER: How do you get them to pay for a wall? Because they say they're not paying for a wall.
TRUMP: Then we'll start taxing their goods coming into this country and they'll pay. They're making a fortune. I no, the wall is peanuts compared to the kind of money they're making. That's why I say they're going to pay. When I say that to politicians, they don't know what I'm talking about. I'm a really good business guy. When I say to politicians that Mexico is going to pay for the wall, they all smile. They think I'm kidding. I'm not kidding. Mexico's going to pay. The reason they're going to pay is they're making a fortune off of the United States, far more than the cost of the wall. They'll pay.
BLITZER: I also asked the Republican presidential front-runner about President Obama's executive actions on gun control, the global unrest right now that's gripping the Middle East and Asia. Much more of my interview with Donald Trump when we come back.
[13:42:16] BLITZER: Republican presidential front-runner, Donald Trump, says the terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernardino California might not have been as bad if more people had been arm. I asked Trump about his views on gun control, his approach to North Korea, the Middle East, other global hot spots. Here's more of my one-on-one interview.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) BLITZER: I've heard everything you've said on foreign policy over these past several months. There seems to be, correct me if I'm wrong, an emerging, let's call it a Trump doctrine. You want China to take care of North Korea. You want Russia to take care of Syria. You want Germany to take care of Ukraine. Basically, you're outsource -- you want to outsource all of these sensitive issues.
TRUMP: Well, I want help. The United States, we're like the policeman the world. We're involved with Ukraine but Germany doesn't care. Germany should care a lot more. Why are we always the ones that's out there? Putin said very nice things about me. He understands I get it, OK, I get it. Most people don't get it. But you look at what's going on in the world. We're the policeman of the world. We owe $19 trillion. We just made a ridiculous, you know, omnibus that just got approved in like 15 seconds. Who would ever believe a budget like that gets approved so quickly? I mean, the only thing Obama negotiates well with, frankly, are the Republicans. He always seems to come out on top with the Republicans. Iran beats him. Everybody beats him. We're the laughingstock all over the world. But the only one he beats are the Republicans. And the Republicans should be ashamed of themselves for allowing that budget to pass. So now we're at $19 trillion plus. We're going to be at $21 trillion right now. So, yeah, I want other countries to get involved.
BLITZER: Let's talk about some other tensions. As bad as the Middle East is, it's getting worse right now. There's tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran. The execution of the Shiite cleric in Saudi Arabia. The ransacking and burning of the Saudi embassy in Tehran. First of all, would you condemn Saudi Arabia for the beheadings of these clerics and these terrorists?
TRUMP: I don't like it. They're supposed to be our great ally. I don't like to see it, you know, they executed all of these people. Who knows? I mean, here in this country, if we execute like one person a year it's a major event. They do it like routinely. Nevertheless, Saudi Arabia is sort of the one we picked and we are there. I have many friends from Saudi Arabia. Very good people. But Saudi Arabia's got to pay. If we're going to protect them from Iran, which we made a superpower, you know, we gave them $150 billion, we essentially gave them the right to make nukes because that's what they're going to do and if they don't make them, they'll just buy them because they have so much money. You know, they'll be doing --
BLITZER: You know, the Saudis hated this nuclear deal with Iran.
[13:44:57] TRUMP: I hated it more than them.
BLITZER: I know you hated it.
TRUMP: Israel hated it.
BLITZER: They all hated it. Are you concerned the Saudis, now given this tension with Iran, Saudi Arabia may decide, you know what, we're going to go buy a nuclear bomb maybe from Pakistan or some place like that? The nuclear proliferation issue is really serious.
TRUMP: I said that that deal, I said it to CNN, to anybody that will listen, is going to lead to great nuclear proliferation and that's what's happening.
BLITZER: Because the Saudi foreign minister, al Jubier (ph), he told me last year he wasn't ruling out the possibility Saudi Arabia could go ahead and develop or maybe even buy a nuclear bomb.
TRUMP: Well, they have plenty of money, believe me. I see Yemen with that long border along Saudi Arabia and I saw the event the other day where, you know, with the -- in Iran, which was caused, in my opinion, by government of Iran, as an excuse -- because they want to take over Saudi Arabia. They want to get the oil. They want to take over Saudi Arabia. And the only reason they wanted Yemen in my opinion is because now they have a nice long border. It's perfect feeder right into Saudi Arabia. And, you know, at some point we have to be embarrassed. We actually pay rent, you know, in Saudi Arabia where we have a base, we pay rent. We pay rent. We're protecting them. Why are we paying rent? They have to pay up. South Korea has to pay up. Germany. We protect Germany. You know that, right? We protect so many different countries. We get nothing.
BLITZER: About 40,000 U.S. troops in Germany right now, 70 years after World War II.
TRUMP: They pay us practically nothing. They are a behemoth economically. They have tremendous money. One of the things I'd do very early, I want to protect a lot of people but they have to help us. They have to help us economically. We are becoming a third world country. We are a debtor nation, $19 trillion. The new very dumb budget that was approved by everybody two weeks ago, that's going to add at least another $2 trillion. So we're at $21 trillion.
BLITZER: You heard the president of the United States, 30,000 Americans die each year from gun violence, about half suicides. What would you do right now to prevent that kind of slaughter?
TRUMP: OK. The first thing I'd do is protect the Second Amendment. The second thing I'd do is I wouldn't use executive orders to do this. You got to get people. You know, our country was founded on the basis that you're supposed to negotiation back and forth with different members of different parties and you come to a conclusion through negotiation and compromise. You don't go and just keep signing orders. All he's doing is taking chunks out of the Second Amendment. That won't happen. You know, if --
BLITZER: -- convicted felons or mentally ill people to be able to go to a gun -- a gun -- any place, online or waver --
TRUMP: Well, when you say any access, we have strong laws on the books but the federal government -- (CROSSTALK)
BLITZER: Can I show this, for example? You don't want bad people to get access to guns.
TRUMP: When you get into the gun show, it's a slippery slope. That stops a father from giving his child a gun.
BLITZER: What about online purchases?
TRUMP: Let me go a step further --
BLITZER: Because background checks make sense, right?
TRUMP: We have to protect the Second Amendment. We have no choice. We have to do that. It's very important. I believe it in from a safety standpoint. And Hillary is a disaster. Hillary wants to take the guns away from Americans. Hillary's going to be worse than Obama. Hillary, I can't imagine this, she wants to take the guns. You know, it's interesting, in California, when you had the two people, those two horrible people, shoot people that gave them a wedding party. These people that got killed gave them a wedding party. Anyway, they went in, they shot. If a couple of people in that room had guns or if a couple of people in Paris had guns, you wouldn't have had 130 people or 14 people in California with more to follow because you have so many people so badly wounded. If people in Paris as an example, which is the toughest gun control place on earth they say, Paris and France, you can't -- if you're a bad guy, you can have a gun. If area good guy, you can't. If they had guns right here on their ankle and those guys walked in there and started shooting, it would have been a much different story. So and, you know, it's very interesting, so many people that believe in the gun control, when we have these debates, they always use the debate to me and then I call them up the next day. So how do you feel about it? Well, I still haven't changed my mind. I don't know what it is. We need the Second Amendment. But if it is going to be changed, it's got to be done through a process, not through executive orders.
[13:49:44]BLITZER: Donald Trump speaking with me.
Remember, later tonight, President Obama will join Anderson Cooper for an exclusive one-hour live town hall on gun control. You just heard what Donald Trump had to say about that. You're going to hear from the president of the United States. He's going to take questions from Anderson, take questions from the live audience, 8:00 p.m. eastern, only here on CNN.
BLITZER: Ted Cruz says Donald Trump's questions about his citizenship are a non-issue. Trump is stirring up the so-called birther issue. Because Senator Cruz was born in Canada may not be eligible to serve as president of the United States.
Let's bring in our chief political correspondent, Dana Bash, who is in Storm Lake, Iowa, for us. Also our chief political analyst, Gloria Borger, here with me in Washington.
Dana, you had this one-on-one interview with Ted Cruz. How is he responding to Trump's suggestions on what he should do?
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, he was trying to laugh it up making pop culture reference saying it was a non-issue. But the bottom line is that it's been three days now and Donald Trump isn't letting it go so I asked him about the legal basis for why he thinks he's OK.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: You're a constitutional scholar. You have argued before the Supreme Court. Why do you think on the legal basis he's wrong?
SEN. TED CRUZ, (R), TEXAS & PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The legal issue is straight forward. The son of a U.S. citizen born abroad is a natural-born citizen.
BASH: But it's never been tested. You have done it on other issues.
CRUZ: The Constitution and laws of the United States are straight forward. The very first Congress defined the child of a U.S. citizen born abroad as a natural-born citizen. By the way, many of the members of the first Congress were framers at the constitutional convention. At the end of the day, this is a nonissue.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: So he's saying it's a nonissue because his mother was and is a U.S. born citizen and he was born to her even though he wasn't born in the United States. The other thing I talked to him about was what you discussed with Donald Trump. The whole question of whether Ted Cruz ever had a Canadian passport. He insisted he did not. He does not. I said have you asked your mother or father. He said, yes, so he hopes at least that part of this is put to bed.
[13:55:15] BLITZER: Dana in snowy Iowa. Dana, thanks very much.
Gloria is with me here in a much warmer studio here in Washington.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: I love the hat.
BLITZER: It's not just Donald Trump. John McCain, the Republican presidential nominee back in 2008, he's also raising questions about Ted Cruz's eligibility according to the Constitution to serve as president.
BORGER: Imagine how much John McCain does not like Donald Trump. Donald Trump was the man who said, if you recall not too long ago, that John McCain was not a war hero.
BLITZER: Because he was a POW, right?
BORGER: Yes, because he was a POW. John McCain was actually born in the Panama Canal Zone and people raised questions about John McCain and whether he was eligible to become president, and that became a non-issue. Now he is saying about Ted Cruz, wait a minute, maybe we ought to look at that. This gives you a sense of the kind of lack of respect that McCain has for Ted Cruz and the way he dislikes him, like a lot of other members of the Senate feel the same way -- Wolf?
BLITZER: John McCain has no great love for Ted Cruz or Donald Trump either.
BORGER: Exactly, but if he had to choose, look whose side he took.
BLITZER: He's raising this. I can only imagine they will continue to be raised not just by Democrats, but others are raising it as well.
BORGER: I do think Cruz is doing the right thing. His interview with Dana, he's trying to deflect it, say it's a nonissue and dismiss it. I don't think he needs to get into a fight with Donald Trump.
BLITZER: See what happens on that front.
Gloria, thank you for that.
That's it for me. I'll be back at 5:00 p.m. eastern in "The Situation Room."
The news continues on CNN right after a quick break.