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THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER
Ex-NFL Star Murdered; Democratic Battle Heating Up; Delegate Fight; Trump Slams GOP System After Cruz Sweeps Colorado; ISIS Terror: Cell Planned to Attack Soccer Championships. Aired 4-4:30p ET
Aired April 11, 2016 - 16:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Bill Clinton bringing back another fascinating episode of I love the '90s.
THE LEAD starts right now.
Who knew there could be so much drama when it comes to math? Donald Trump's campaign now accusing the Cruz camp of using -- quote -- "gestapo" tactics to win delegates. Is Ted Cruz breaking any rules?
Hillary Clinton trying to pivot once again to the general election, refusing to go negative on Bernie Sanders today, but Bill Clinton's latest comments may not be doing her any favors.
Plus, a former NFL star gunned down tragically while driving home, but now police say what initially looked like a road rage case might be something else entirely.
Good afternoon, everyone. Welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.
What seems to be an inevitable showdown between the Republican Party and its front-runner is our politics lead today, Donald Trump today blasting the GOP primary process, calling the rules unfair, calling them crooked shenanigans, assailing what he calls a corrupt system.
Trump's criticism coming after he lost every delegate possible Saturday in Colorado, where the rules were announced months ago. Senator Ted Cruz proving he has game or at least a better organized ground game.
Trump's campaign is now accusing Cruz of using -- quote -- "gestapo tactics" to wrangle delegates. How hard will Trump fight the system, as the party marches closer to a contested convention?
CNN's Sunlen Serfaty is traveling with Ted Cruz in Orange County, California, today.
Sunlen, has Cruz responded to Trump's complaints?
SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: He has, Jake. Just moments ago, Senator Cruz launched into a long and mocking critique of Donald Trump's complaints here in Orange County. He called it, point blank, mocking. This comes as Donald Trump really doubled down on those complaints today, blaming the process and claiming the system is rigged.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It's a crooked system, folks. It's a crooked system.
SERFATY (voice-over): Outraged over being outmaneuvered, tonight, Donald Trump is going on the offensive.
TRUMP: We have got a corrupt system. It's not right. We're supposed to be a democracy. We're supposed to be -- we're supposed to be, you vote and the vote means something.
SERFATY: As Trump voices complaints with the GOP delegate selection process, Ted Cruz's campaign is demonstrating its organizational strength.
SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: And the latest thing he seized upon is when people vote against him, they're stealing the election.
SERFATY: Cruz's campaign winning a clean sweep in Colorado this weekend, picking up all 34 of the delegates at stake in the state. But Trump is crying foul on the Cruz campaign's tactics.
TRUMP: What they're trying to do is subvert the movement with crooked shenanigans, all right? And we're just not going to let it happen. We're not going to let it happen.
SERFATY: Trump's new convention manager taking his criticism of the Cruz operation one step farther.
PAUL MANAFORT, TRUMP CONVENTION MANAGER: You go to these county conventions and you see the tactics, the gestapo tactics, the scorched-earth tactics.
QUESTION: Gestapo tactics? That's a strong word.
MANAFORT: Well, you look at -- we're going to be filing several protests, because the reality is they are not playing by the rules.
SERFATY: But the Trump camp gave no specifics or evidence about what those tactics might be, and the Cruz campaign is firing back, rejecting those charges as just sour grapes, adding "We are winning because we have put in the hard work to build a superior organization."
This as the Texas senator is no longer downplaying the chances that the race will be settled at the convention this July.
CRUZ: The odds of going to a contested convention in Cleveland have become much, much higher.
SERFATY: Cruz now openly admitting a contested convention could be his best shot at winning the nomination. CRUZ: In that scenario, I think we will go in with an overwhelming
advantage. I believe the first ballot will be the highest vote total Donald Trump receives and on a subsequent ballot, we're going to win the nomination and earn a majority.
SERFATY: Meantime, "The Boston Globe" launching an attack on the GOP front-runner, publishing a satirical front page in the opinion section of its Sunday edition, warning readers about the deeply troubling risks of a Trump presidency.
TRUMP: I couldn't care less.
SERFATY: Trump brushing it off and blasting the newspaper.
TRUMP: They made up -- the whole front page is a make-believe story, which is really no different from the whole paper for the whole thing. The whole thing is made up.
SERFATY: And in the midst of all this focus on the organizational strength of each campaign, it turns out that two of Donald Trump's children will not be able to vote for him at next week's New York primary.
Both Ivanka and Eric Trump saying that they missed the voter registration deadline to switch from Democrat to Republican. And today Donald Trump commenting on that, saying that they were both unaware of the rules and that they feel very, very guilty. Jake.
TAPPER: Sunlen Serfaty, thank you so much.
Let's turn to the increasingly tense Democratic race now. Hillary Clinton back in general election campaign mode. She's taking a break from only attacking her Democratic rival, Senator Bernie Sanders, and is now going after the man she is most likely to face in November if she gets the nomination, Donald Trump.
Just days before the pivotal New York primary, Clinton has released a new TV ad attacking her fellow New Yorker and campaign contributor whose third wedding she attended.
Let's bring back senior Washington correspondent Jeff Zeleny in Fort Washington, New York.
Jeff, Clinton isn't going after Sanders much these days. What's the thinking, the strategy behind that?
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jake, she's not entirely going after Sanders. On television, she of course is focusing this race, trying to focus on Donald Trump, but when she's meeting voters, she is raising questions about Senator Sanders' record on immigration. And a short time ago here at a town meeting right behind me on that
stage, she raised very pointed questions about his record on guns. So a reporter asked her why she's doing both. And she says, I can walk and chew gum at the same time.
HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Hi, everybody.
ZELENY (voice-over): Hillary Clinton started the day with one rival on her mind.
CLINTON: Trump's rhetoric, his divisiveness, his incitement of aggressive behavior, even violence, is absolutely unacceptable and needs to be called out.
ZELENY: From the campaign trail to a new campaign commercial.
CLINTON: Donald Trump says we can solve America's problems by turning against each other.
ZELENY: But in her fight for the New York primary, Clinton's fixation on Trump is actually all about a far more pressing rival, Bernie Sanders. She's hoping to show Democrats she's the toughest candidate to take on Trump. But Sanders is focused squarely on Clinton, reminding Democrats they have a choice.
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I will be damned if we're going to see the American dream die.
ZELENY: Traveling in Upstate New York today, Sanders said voters should think big and not take no for an answer.
SANDERS: What may have been considered unrealistic or pie in the sky just a few years ago has now been achieved in New York because you made it happen.
ZELENY: He seized on New York's ban on fracking.
SANDERS: On this issue of fracking, Secretary Clinton and I have some very strong differences of opinion.
ZELENY: The sharp differences of opinion will be front and center at their debate Thursday on CNN. At a diner in Queens, Clinton raised questions about how prepared Sanders is for the job.
CLINTON: I have noticed that under the bright spotlight and scrutiny here in New York, Senate Sanders has had trouble answering questions.
ZELENY: But Clinton is also bracing for more attacks from Sanders on her ties to Wall Street.
CLINTON: Let it happen, let it happen. I have the plan that will actually work. Senator Sanders couldn't even answer questions about whatever his plan is, so we will talk. ZELENY: A shift in tone from her appearance Sunday on CNN's "STATE OF
THE UNION WITH JAKE TAPPER," where Clinton downplayed her differences with Sanders.
CLINTON: I don't have any -- anything negative to say about him.
ZELENY: But Sanders has plenty to say about Clinton.
SANDERS: I have my doubts about what kind of president she would make.
ZELENY: He amplified the criticism in a new ad today, raising questions about her ability to stand up to corporate interests.
NARRATOR: Bernie, he can't be bought by them because he's funded by you.
ZELENY: Now, Sanders is fighting hard here in New York. And a new Monmouth University poll shows that he needs to be. It shows that he's down some 12 points or so.
Now, Clinton aides I speak to say they do not believe the race necessarily has that wide of a margin here, but they are definitely fighting for the next eight days, a critical state for the Clinton campaign as well.
And, Jake, Secretary Clinton was also asked if she expected this race to go on as long as it has. And she is like, look, I stayed in until the very end in 2008. So she's not surprised. But this time, she's hoping for a far different ending -- Jake.
TAPPER: Jeff Zeleny, thank you so much.
Starting this evening, CNN will be ho hosting three consecutive Republican presidential town halls. Each night, a candidate and his family will take questions from Anderson Cooper and an audience of registered New York Republican voters.
CNN political director David Chalian has more on what we can expect to see.
David, this is going to be the first time, I believe, that Heidi Cruz will be taking questions from the public on a national stage since she was attacked by Donald Trump. What are you expecting?
DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Well, that's right.
And Heidi Cruz and Ted Cruz will be on the stage on Wednesday night. Tonight, we have John Kasich, the governor of Ohio, and his family that will be on the stage with Anderson. And tomorrow night, Tuesday night, will be Donald Trump and his family, Jake.
Listen, this is a different kind of opportunity, a rare opportunity for voters to see a little bit behind these candidates who are seeking the highest office in the land, what makes them tick, how do they operate out of the public eye?
Nobody can answer that better, of course, than their family members. They will all be out on this stage and they will taking questions from a pretty intimate audience here at CNN, all kinds of questions, we imagine, that the audience has for these family members about, sort of help us get at, how does this person operate? How do they make decisions? What would life in the White House as a family be like?
And it's a real rare opportunity. To your point about Heidi Cruz, you're right, that is going to be a real opportunity to see how she has sort of weathered the storm. We have heard Ted Cruz talk about this, but we're going to see for ourselves when she's on this stage how she weathered that storm of Donald Trump's attacks on her.
TAPPER: All right, David Chalian, thank you so much.
Be sure to tune in to CNN this evening at 9:00 Eastern for the first of this three-night town hall event. Anderson Cooper and voters will ask questions of John Kasich, the governor of Ohio, and his family this evening. Tomorrow night, as David noted, it will be the Trumps, followed by Ted Cruz and his wife, Heidi, on Wednesday evening.
Then it's on to Brooklyn and the Democrats on Thursday, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders facing off in a debate moderated by the pride of Buffalo, New York, one Mr. Wolf Blitzer, all this only on CNN.
Sticking with our politics lead, Donald Trump's campaign handed out ballots in Colorado that contained several errors, so why is a top adviser accusing the Cruz camp of using gestapo tactics? We will ask the Trump campaign next.
[16:15:31] JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to THE LEAD.
The greater possibility of a contested Republican convention, and for the Democrats, the uphill battle for Senator Bernie Sanders against Hillary Clinton, let's discuss it all with our panel.
Joining me now, Stephen Miller, he's senior policy advisor for Donald Trump's campaign. Chad Sweet, he's the national chairman for the Cruz campaign. For the Democrats, we have Hillary Clinton's senior advisor, Jeremy Bird, Nomi Konst, the Bernie Sanders supporter and executive director of the Accountability Project.
Thanks one and all for being here. Appreciate it.
Steven, let me start with you.
Donald Trump's campaign delegate counter, Mr. Manafort, suggested that Cruz's campaign is using, quote, "Gestapo tactics to win delegates." Cruz is following, of course, the rules is what the Cruz campaign says. Now, there was a quote from Molly Hemingway in "The Federalist" basically saying, "Trump says he'll be a great president but how if he can't even get organized in Colorado".
STEPHEN MILLER, SENIOR POLICY ADVISER, TRUMP CAMPAIGN: Well, one of the things we're going to do when we're in the Oval Office is we're going to go back to this insane idea of one person, one vote. That is the kind of policy that we're pushing that differentiates us from the other candidates.
TAPPER: It was a caucus process, though.
MILLER: In Colorado, there was no caucus in Colorado. They cancelled the election. You have this amazing --
TAPPER: Wait a second, there was a caucus.
TAPPER: There was a caucus on the local level. Then, there was a caucus on the county level. And then, there was a caucus on the congressional district level. And there was a state convention caucus, right?
MILLER: I was there. There was no election.
CHAD SWEET, CHAIRMAN, CRUZ CAMPAIGN: In fact, it's one of the most democratic processes that you can imagine because it's done very close to the local level, both at a precinct and congressional level. But let's just take the Trump campaign's argument. They won by 47 percent in Arizona.
Are you prepared, Steven, to hand over 53 percent of the vote that you didn't get?
MILLER: The election --
SWEET: No, you didn't get 53 percent.
TAPPER: It was winner take all.
MILLER: We won two million more votes than you.
MILLER: If you want to do popular vote, we win. If you want to do most states, we win. If you want to do most primaries, we win.
TAPPER: The question is this. I just want you to answer this question, which is, these are the rules. These have been the rules for months. This is not news. And they outmaneuvered you.
MILLER: We have a legitimate and profound disagreement. I think it's shameful and disgraceful that a soldier in Colorado who serves overseas in Iraq cannot vote in the Colorado election. It takes years of inner party workings to become a delegate. I'm changing the subject to what America is --
TAPPER: Jeremy, you worked on the Obama campaign in 2008, right?
MILLER: And had an election in Colorado.
TAPPER: One of the ways you guys won is you dove into every state's weird, arcane caucus and primary rules and figured out how to win. So, for example, the Obama campaign lost the Nevada caucus to Hillary Clinton but won more delegates because they figured out how to do it.
JEREMY BIRD, SENIOR ADVISER, HILLARY FOR AMERICA: I mean, you play by the rules of which that primary or caucus is happening in those states and you have to be organized. And that's how you become the nominee.
MILLER: Wrong is wrong. And I think the disenfranchisement is wrong. A million voters couldn't participate in the process. That's just wrong.
TAPPER: Chad, go.
SWEET: Stephen won't answer the question. So, the problem is he says he's right on every level. Let's start with the macro vote, OK? There have been 21 million votes cast across the entire primary process. Your candidate has not received the majority of those. In fact the non-Trump vote represents over 60 percent of the --
MILLER: You don't work for non-Trump, you work for Cruz.
MILLER: Is there a candidate called non-Trump I haven't met? Where's his office? I haven't met the dude. There's no guy running called non-Trump. The guy doesn't exist. Who's this non-Trump fellow?
SWEET: You only won 47 percent of the vote in Arizona, yet you're accepting 100 percent of the delegates. So your own candidate -- what's changed? The rules haven't changed. The only thing that's changed is Donald Trump is losing. That's why he's whining --
MILLER: You're losing.
TAPPER: I want to bring Nomi into this conversation.
Nomi, Vice President Joe Biden says he's not endorsing a candidate. But in a new interview with Mike, here's what the vice president had to say. Can we roll that tape?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOSEPH BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I don't think she's held to a higher standard and this country is ready for a woman. There's no problem, we'll be able to elect a woman in this country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: Now, he said he wasn't endorsing Hillary Clinton, but I know a lot of Sanders people think that the White House has been tipping the scales. Do you think that the vice president was doing that just there?
NOMIKI KONST, BERNIE SANDERS SUPPORTER: I don't think so at all. I don't think he's probably happy with how Bill Clinton threw him under the bus for the crime bill the other day either in his speech.
So, you know, listen, we're all ready for a woman to be president. It would be great if we had more options. It would be great if the establishment didn't choose, and by the establishment, I mean, the DNC that I once was a part of, if they didn't choose Hillary Clinton and have half of the super delegates chosen in August that prevented candidates like Joe Biden from entering the race.
[16:20:10] I mean, on one hand, you have the Republicans that are fighting over this arcane system at the state party level and on the other hand, we have the DNC which recreated the rules in 1981 after the Hunt Commission that blocked any grassroots candidates from rising up.
And so, Hillary Clinton, who lobbied after the 2008 and Jeremy knows this very well. She lobbied in 2008 so that pledged delegates reflect the population, she's actually hurting as a result of that, and that's why her 200-delegate pledged count has really topped itself. It's really not moving forward.
So, as much as we talk about super delegates --
KONST: -- they're not gaining ground on that side.
TAPPER: Jeremy, I just want to give you an opportunity to respond to that.
BIRD: Yes. I'm not sure exactly where to start. But -- I mean, what she's saying and I think is true in both primaries is you have a candidate in Hillary Clinton on the Democratic side who has a 250- pledged-delegate lead. It's basically mathematically insurmountable. It's virtually over on the Democratic Party side.
And the way that happened is that she went out, and she built an organization in the Iowa caucuses and all of these states and did the kind of organizing that she needed to do to get the 250 pledged delegate lead that's virtually insurmountable for Bernie Sanders.
He's run a great campaign, a great grassroots campaign. Her campaign just happens to have more pledged delegates. And when we go to the convention, she'll be the nominee because of it.
NOMIKI: Well, in that --
TAPPER: Well, I know that everybody has an hour's worth more to say and we will have all of you back, I promise. But we do have more news to cover. Nomi, thanks so much. We will have you back, I promise.
TAPPER: Jeremy Bird, Chad Sweet, Stephen Miller, thanks one and all.
Turning to our world lead: one of the suspects behind the Paris and Brussels attacks says terrorists had plans for one of the world's most popular sporting events. That story next.
Then, America's top spy says it doesn't matter if the next president wants to use waterboarding, the CIA will not follow those orders. A former interrogator, one of the most notorious prisons in Iraq reacts.
[16:26:07] TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.
Topping today's world lead, the terrorists who carried out twin attacks in Brussels had originally planned to launch more devastating attacks in France, ones even more deadly potentially than the November attacks in Paris. Sources tell CNN that investigators believe the initial targets included one of the biggest sporting events of the year.
Let's get right to CNN's chief national security correspondent Jim Sciutto.
Jim, what exactly were they planning?
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's hard to think of a bigger target. They were planning to target the Euro 2016 Soccer Championships, which is really on the scale of an Olympics with multiple games in multiple cities across France over several weeks.
Now, it's not clear what planning they had actually undertaken but what is clear is that the group felt great freedom to pick and choose targets across Europe.
SCIUTTO (voice-over): Mohamed Abrini arrested on Friday on a Brussels street corner now telling investigators that his terror cell was planning an attack on one of the biggest sporting events in the world, the Euro 2016 Soccer Championships in France.
This as Abrini also confesses to Belgian prosecutors that he's the so- called "man in the hat" caught on surveillance video in the Brussels airport moments before the attack -- an attack which investigators say was not the cell's original plan.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): The investigation has established that the group that hit Belgium had originally intended to strike France again. It's further evidence of the high threat to all of Europe and, of course, to France in particular.
SCIUTTO: Investigators believe the terrorists scrapped plans to attack Paris a second time after the arrest of Salah Abdeslam alerted them that police were getting closer.
They then set their sights nearer to home and the devastating attacks at the Brussels airport and metro station followed just four days later.
PETER BERGEN, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: When you arrest this guy, it's not about what does he know about Paris and Brussels. It's what does he know about the next attack.
SCIUTTO: Now, there is growing evidence that the Brussels cell was directed by ISIS in Syria. A computer found in a garbage bin last month belonging to two of the Brussels attackers contained an audio file of a conversation with a senior ISIS operative in Syria, brain storming additional potential targets in Belgium and France.
On the same computer, police found a file indicating that the cell considered targeting the La Defense shopping mall in Paris, as well as a Catholic Association. Investigators piecing together the entire network of the ISIS cell have now identified five members who played a direct role in both the Paris and Brussels terror attacks.
BERGEN: While it's great that this guy is being arrested, the network as we've come to realize includes dozens of people and we may not be at the end.
SCIUTTO: French and Belgian authorities believe they have made substantial progress in arresting what remains of this vast terror cell that carried out the Paris and Brussels attacks. But the fact is, they don't know for sure how far it extends. And the one thing that is certain, you hear this from both European and U.S. counterterrorism officials is that there are many more cells out there.
Jim Sciutto, thank you so much.
An ex-NFL player killed and his wife wounded while they were driving home from a night out in New Orleans. Was it road rage or something else?
Now, investigators are looking at a decade-old lawsuit and the person, Will Smith and his wife had dinner with just before the shootings. That story next.