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Trump Calls for Protesters to be Arrested; Rubio: Once Again Florida, It's Up to You. Aired 7-7:30a ET

Aired March 13, 2016 - 07:00   ET


[07:00:00] DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: And you know what? I'm going to start pressing charges against all these people.

HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If you see bigotry, oppose it. If you see violence, condemn it. And if you see a bully, stand up to it.


CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: See more anger, tension, and violence at Donald Trump rallies now and the Clinton campaign slamming him for his divisive remarks.

So grateful for your company as always. I'm Christi Paul. Victor Blackwell coming to us from my home state in Ohio.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, your beloved home state.

PAUL: That's right.

BLACKWELL: Good morning, Christi.

PAUL: Good morning, Victor.

BLACKWELL: Yes, at the Mershon Auditorium on the campus of the Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio. We're just two days from one of the biggest days of the election, the voting day here this is season. Super Tuesday 3, we should call it.

Tonight here in Ohio, Democrats will answer questions right here in this room. You're seeing now the stage there in the CNN town hall ahead of Tuesday's critical contest.

Now, for the Republicans, 367 delegates are on the line for March 16th. The big delegate prices: Florida, Ohio, winner-take-all states. Big numbers of delegates there.

GOP frontrunner Donald Trump is escalating his tone against protester who on Saturday interrupted his events in Ohio and Missouri several times. And now he's calling for people who demonstrate at his rallies potentially to be arrested.

CNN senior White House correspondent Jim Acosta has more for us. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Another Donald Trump rally interrupted by protesters this time in Kansas City. There were roughly 30 to 40 demonstrators who were let out of this theater during the course of these remarks from Donald. But unlike the situation in Chicago which exploded into a violent melee, this was a largely peaceful outbreak of demonstrations.

But Donald Trump was showing frustration with these protesters throughout the night, at one point, he said he's going to start pressing charges against these protesters to take make them stop.

Here's what he had to say.

TRUMP: I hope these guys get thrown into jail. They will never do it again. It will destroy their record. They'll have to explain to mom and dad why they have a police record and why they can't get a job. And you know what? I'm going to start pressing charges against all these people, OK?


And then, we won't have a problem. And I don't want to do that. I don't want to ruin somebody's life. They're probably good kids. You know, they're probably good kids. I don't want to ruin people's lives. But the only way we're going stop this craziness is if we press charges.

ACOSTA: Outside this rally, Kansas City police arrested a number of demonstrators, even using pepper spray on some of them. Meanwhile, during his remarks, Trump defended his decision to cancel his rally in Chicago saying it was the right decision to make. He also praised Secret Service agents for protecting him from a protester earlier in the day who had jumped a barricade.

Jim Acosta, CNN, Kansas City.


BLACKWELL: All right. Back with us now, CNN politics executive editor, Mark Preston.

Mark, looking ahead to the Tuesday contest, as what we've seen over the past couple days help or hurt Donald Trump heading into these counties?

MARK PRESTON, CNN POLITICS EXECUTIVE EDITOR: Well, I think hit helps him certainly with his hard core supporters. It's only going to embolden them. I was with thousands of them yesterday. They think that Donald Trump is speaking to power and quite frankly giving voice to folks who have been very frustrated where they are with the economy and quite frankly with any kind of path forward.

However, people who are on the fence, you have to wonder who have been looking at Donald Trump and wondering can I support him, and they see the violence that we saw in Chicago right now. We see him not necessarily trying to lower the temperature of it, you've got to wonder if some of those folks are thinking twice about supporting him.

BLACKWELL: Does that put any of these states in jeopardy? I mean, how far is that or how wide is the margin between Trump and soft of the other contenders?

PRESTON: I think you'd have to go state by state. And, right now, I mean, look, Donald Trump is certainly in the driver seat. I think he's going to come out of Tuesday no matter what, Victor, as a winner. I mean, there's no question about that. The support that he has is so loyal and so fervent right now that, you know, by midnight Tuesday, Donald Trump will be declaring victory whether he wins Iowa -- excuse me, whether he wins Florida and Ohio, regardless, he'll declare victory.

BLACKWELL: Do we except that he will come out and as I spoke with last hour, one of the his supporters, Kayleigh McEnany, who's also a CNN political commentator, do we expect he's going to come out with some moment of punctuation and talk about this violence that is happening at his rallies?

PRESTON: Well, he is certainly shifting blame entirely on to those who are coming and disrupting his rallies and saying that, listen, it's not my supporters who are doing it, these folks are coming and disrupting my rallies.

Now, if you saw what happened in Kansas City last night, he gave a speech and the first 20 minute he was calling people out and pointing at them and saying, get him out, get him out, get him out. It was almost like a sideshow that was going on, and then calling on them to be arrested. But as we saw those pictures as well last night, you know, that pepper spray, you know, being shot like a water canon basically in the crowd. So, you can only imagine things are going to get worse.

BLACKWELL: Are these people who were protesting at the time, who were holding signs, or was he identifying people who he expected would be protesters?

PRESTON: Oh, well, the best part is that he would call them out as they were being pulled away. And then he'd say, who else is out there? Who else is out there? Anybody else want to stand up? And then, of course, what they would do that would incite somebody to stand up and say something, and he'd say, get them out of there. I mean, it really was -- it was a bit circus atmosphere.

BLACKWELL: All right. Mark Preston with us all morning -- Mark, thank you so much.

Trump is doubling down on his response to Friday's events in Chicago after saying he was not responsible for the violence as Mark said. Instead, he's now placing the blame on the Democrats.

Yesterday, Trump accused Bernie Sanders of instigating.


TRUMP: The people that were there, that came there, that were invited there, thousands and thousands of people, they caused no problem. They were taunted. They were harassed by these other people. These other people, by the way, some represented Bernie, our communist friend.

With Bernie, so he should really get up and say to his people, stop.


BLACKWELL: CNN senior Washington correspondent Joe Johns joins me now.

So, we're not talking about issues anymore.


BLACKWELL: The last 48 hours have been about protests and protesters and we're hearing strong pushback from Saturdays.

JOHNS: Yes, we are and it's not surprising. First, you heard Trump call him a communist. Bernie Sanders puts out another statement that said Trump was a pathological liar. So, we're down to that level. It's a lot of name calling quite frankly.

But the one thing that the Sanders campaign is trying to make clear is they say their campaign was not involved in what was going on in Chicago. They also say that their supporters were involved. But this was essentially, you know, a question of Sanders supporters reacting to the rhetoric of Donald Trump.

Hillary Clinton for her part has kind of taken a completely different tact. She put out a statement at first that sounded very conciliatory but later in the day she still managed to get a real zinger directed at Trump. Listen.


CLINTON: You know we will always have our difference, won't we? That's what happens in democracy like ours. But the ugly, divisive rhetoric we are hearing from Donald Trump and the encouragement of violence and aggression is wrong and dangerous.

If you are playing with matches you are going to start a fire you can't control. That's not leadership. That's political arson.


JOHNS: Important also to say that Bernie Sanders for his part is not denying the fact that his supporters were involved in Chicago, and he's not apologizing for it either. I think that's very important to say that Sanders is admitting that some of his supporters, as we can see from the signs on the street and in other places, some of his supporters were certainly involved in all the excitement in Chicago. BLACKWELL: And not just outside. We have video of some of the Bernie

Sanders supporters holding signs and chanting inside of the arena there in Chicago.

Joe Johns, thank you so must have much.

And I told you last hour our schedule was to have Jeff Weaver, Bernie Sanders campaign manager, with us to discuss some of the concerns from the Trump campaign. Also some of those protesters inside that event on Chicago.

But since I told you that, Jeff Weaver called in. He is not feeling well. He is sick this morning. So, he won't be joining us.

We are working feverishly to bring someone else in from the campaign to be able to answer some of those questions and discuss some of those concerns of his protesters and should he having moment of punctuation where and he being Bernie Sanders, speak to his supporters about their protests as well.

So, we're working on that. Also, of course, this would be a topic of discussion tonight during the CNN and TV1 Democratic presidential town hall happening inside this room. Of course, in advance of Tuesday's critical primaries. Ohio voters will put questions to Sanders and Clinton. It's tonight 8:00 p.m. Eastern, right here on CNN.

So, let's broaden the conversation. Why Marco Rubio says the violence in Chicago could be a sign of things to come. Plus, a closer look at the state of his campaign just two days ahead of the Florida primary, his home state. That, of course, playing a crucial role.


[07:12:52] BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell, inside the Mershon Auditorium, the site of tonight's Democratic town hall where Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton will be taking questions from voters. That's at 8:00 p.m. tonight here on CNN.

We'll get back to the Democratic race in just a moment. But now, let's turn to the Republicans. Senator Marco Rubio appearing to waiver on his pledge to support Donald Trump if he is the nominee and he's now telling voters the violence in Chicago could be a sign of things to come. If he doesn't win his home state of Florida on Tuesday, this could be the end of the race for him.

Here's Jason Carroll.


JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Senator Rubio saying what happened in Chicago is just another example of why Donald Trump should not be the nominee, is not prepared to be the nominee, and he says another example of a reason why Donald Trump is not someone who can unite the party. Senator Rubio saying he is the candidate who can unite the party. And when asked a little earlier today about whether or not if Donald

Trump were to become the presumptive nominee, if he could get behind him, well, here's what Rubio had to say about that.

SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I don't know. I already talked about the fact that I think Hillary Clinton would be terrible for this country. But the fact that you're even asking me that question, I still at this moment continue to intend to support the Republican nominee, but it's getting harder every day.

CARROLL: So, what does Rubio do moving forward in terms of strategy? Try to take every vote possible from Trump so he does not become the nominee, and he's going to try to stop him right here in his home state of Florida. As you know, he is trailing behind Trump in the polls here, but the Rubio camp does not believe in those polls, but having said they are working hard for every single vote, telling voters here that a vote for Kasich or a vote for Cruz is essentially a vote for Trump.

Jason Carroll, CNN, Tampa, Florida.


BLACKWELL: All right. Jason, thank you so much.

Marco Rubio's rivals are saying that his campaign has stalled and Marco Rubio needs to win in Florida on Tuesday if he wants to stay in this race and he's saying so himself on the campaign trail. Watch.


[07:15:01] RUBIO: So as usually is the case, Florida, it comes down to you. And I hope I can earn your support so that we continue this campaign moving forward into other states and other parts of this country.


I know what the media says.


BLACKWELL: Joining me now, Blaise Ingoglia, state representative there in Florida, also chairman of the Republican Party of Florida.

Blaise, good morning to you.


BLACKWELL: So, if Marco Rubio does not win on Tuesday, is there a rationale for him to stay in the race?

INGOGLIA: Look, if Senator Rubio staying in the race after March 15th -- whether he wins or whether he loses -- obviously up to the senator. The party, we don't get involved in trying to mandate what candidates should or should not do after these races.

BLACKWELL: You know, what's interesting is that I had a conversation with the Ohio GOP chair. And that state party, here, has endorsed Governor Kasich. And I understand why early on the GOP in Florida wouldn't endorse one or another because Governor Bush was still in the race.

But at this point, why not jump behind Marco Rubio in the contest of four?

INGOGLIA: Well, look, Senator Marco Rubio has a lot of support in the state. He is our senator from the home state of Florida. But the Republican Party of Florida has traditionally stayed out of these races. We just feel in the state of Florida that it is better for all Republicans involved that the party really doesn't weigh in on these races. It's just a preference and that is just what we chose to do.

BLACKWELL: Gotcha. Gotcha.

Let me ask you about this Trump tweet. I'm sure you've seen and asked about it before. But let's put it on the screen.

Donald Trump tweeted yesterday, "Word is early voting in Florida is very dishonest. Little Marco, his state chairman and their minions are working overtime trying to rig the votes."

What's your response to that?

INGOGLIA: Well, when I first read that tweet, I was a little taken aback because I didn't know if he was talking about us, the state party and me personally as the party chairman or if he was talking about Marco Rubio's statewide chairman. So -- but I will tell you that the Republican Party of Florida, we have remained neutral in this race. I have remained neutral in this race.

But the thing that we are most concerned about is making sure that Hillary Clinton does not see the inside of the Oval Office. So I don't know where he got that information. We have checked with the 67 independent supervisor of elections in the state of Florida, we have not heard anything of -- anything improper being done by anyone during this -- during early voting. So, I can't answer that because I have no idea what Mr. Trump is talking about on this.

BLACKWELL: You know, I read an interview in which you said Florida is a diverse state with lots of nuances and the candidate who understands those will win the primary. I mean, as evidenced by Governor Bush having struggled in the polls there in Florida, we see the difficult time that Marco Rubio is having.

I mean, did Bush and is Rubio -- are they out of touch? Are they not aware of these nuances? I mean, these are both who are elected statewide. Why are they struggling in Florida now?

These are both men who are elected statewide. Why are they struggling in Florida now? INGOGLIA: Well, the first thing obviously, it is a year where people

are very, very frustrated with what's going on in Washington, D.C., and I think a lot of that is resonating. But look Florida is important. We are winner take all. We offer 99 delegates to the winner.

And in terms of the state, we are a large -- we have a large state, very diverse, multimedia markets, and the person who can understand those nuances is going to be rewarded with our full slate of 99 delegates.

And what that affords is an opportunity for come Tuesday, somebody to catch up in the delegate race or in the case of Mr. Trump, to expand the lead. So, it's an exciting time, but we believe that the polls are a lot tighter. The race is a lot tighter than what the polls are suggesting and we are looking forward to Tuesday.

BLACKWELL: Blaise, you know what I find fascinating, and I worked and lived in Florida for several years, both in north Florida and south Florida, that this race has been cast as a home turf for Marco Rubio but not for Donald Trump, when Donald Trump has Mar-A-Lago, has many properties all over the state. I mean, how was the Trump campaign able to cast this as a must-win for Rubio and not a must-win for Trump, considering all the investments and property he has across the state?

INGOGLIA: Well, look, I think the state is a must win for any of these candidates. You have to spend time here in Florida, you have to campaign.

[07:20:01] The people in Florida like retail politics. They like when they come and visit their communities. And look, we are a pretty conservative state despite what some people say.

And in terms of the nuances in the state of Florida, you know, northern Florida, people would typically tend to think it would go with Mr. Trump in this scenario and the I-4 corridor and especially down south in Miami-Dade, that is traditionally we think that is traditionally Marco Rubio company.

And when you take both of those into effect, it's going to be a close race.

BLACKWELL: All right. Good to talk to you this morning, Blaise, state representative and chairman of the Republican Party of Florida.

INGOGLIA: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: All right. Don't forget to tune into the town hall tonight at 8:00 p.m. Eastern, here on CNN.

Christi, with that, I'm going to send it back to you in Atlanta.

PAUL: All righty, Victor. We do have some other things to talk about this morning. A riot breaks out in an Alabama prison. Corrections officers are

injured. Why authorities now are doing a sweep for contraband, and one thing in particular they're looking for.

Also, authorities help to search the victims of a tugboat accident today. Details, ahead.


PAUL: All right. Alabama inmates stabbed a warden and correctional officer and then set a fire in the hallway there. This happened Friday night. One inmate shared this cell phone video, this was from inside the maximum security, correctional facility.

I know you are wondering, wait a minute, are they supposed to have cell phones? No, it's illegal for inmates to have cell phones or use social media.

[07:25:04] So, officers did eventually break up the riot and now, they're searching the prison for more phones and other contraband. A prison spokesman says the injuries were not life threatening.

The coast guard suspending its search for two victims of a New York tugboat accident. Three people were onboard that tugboat when it hit a construction barge and sank in the Hudson River yesterday morning. Only one body has been recovered thus far. No one was onboard that barge was injured.

And the Israeli air force has carried out several strikes against several Hamas in the northern part of Gaza. A 10-year-old Palestinian boy and his 6-year-old sister were killed. This is according to Palestinian medical sources. The strikes came after several rockets were launched at Israel. No one was hurt there.

French authorities have not been able to break into the iPhones of the Paris attackers and the French foreign minister says it's because tech companies including Apple will not assist them. An executive for Apple told CNN however that no one has reached out to them for help. This all comes, of course, as the FBI is trying to force Apple to unlock the iPhones of the San Bernardino shooters.

You know, if you go to a Donald Trump rally lately, chances are you're going to run into some protesters.


TRUMP: The signs were professionally made. Bernie, you will have to check. It is probably the same location. Get them out. Get them out.


PAUL: Scenes like this becoming all too common on the campaign trail lately. How is Trump dealing with it now? And does he have any power to stop it even if he wanted to?


TRUMP: Get them out?