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THE SITUATION ROOM

Cruz: Trump Fears Being Known as "Losin' Donald"; Trump Holds Rally Ahead of CNN Town Hall; Paul Ryan: 'Count Me Out' of GOP Race; Clinton Aide: Sanders 'Trying to Rig the System'; Mobile Missile Looming from North Korea; Dramatic Details on Pacific Ocean Rescue. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired April 12, 2016 - 17:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: I'm Jake Tapper, turning you over to one Mr. Wolf Blitzer, who's right next door in THE SITUATION ROOM. Thanks for watching.

[17:00:10] WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now, big, fat, beautiful lie. Donald Trump takes aim at Hillary Clinton, saying everything about her is a lie. But is Trump looking ahead too soon to a possible November matchup, when he may be facing a possible contested GOP convention?

Staying home. Worried by the impact of both the Trump and Cruz candidacies and with House speaker Paul Ryan ruling himself out of the race. Some Republican leaders and key lawmakers say they'll skip the convention and focus in on voters back home.

Cry for help. After their boat capsizes at sea, three sailors swim two miles to a deserted, remote, Pacific island. They spell out the word "help" on the beach, setting off an extraordinary chain of events.

And un-precedented. After boasting that he has a miniaturized nuclear warhead, North Korea's Kim Jong-un may now be getting ready for a first-ever test of a quick strike mobile missile that could reach parts of the United States.

I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

BLITZER: Let's get right to the breaking news. As Donald Trump attacks what he calls a rigged GOP delegate system, Ted Cruz now says Trump is worried that he'll become known as Losin' Donald.

Cruise has successfully navigated the system to score a string of victories, and he's trying to deprive Trump of enough delegates for a first-round convention victory.

Not wanting to identify with either Trump or Cruz, and worried about a raucous convention or an open rebellion by Trump supporters, a number of GOP leaders and prominent lawmakers say they will skip the convention. And if some Republicans were hoping he would ride to the rescue and lead the party of out a potential disaster, the House speaker, Paul Ryan, now says, "Count me out," stating he won't seek or accept the GOP nomination.

Our correspondents, analysts and guests, they'll have full coverage of all the day's top stories.

As Donald Trump slams the GOP system and Ted Cruz slams Trump, John Kasich is hoping to pick up the pieces. We begin with our political reporter, Sara Murray.

Sara, Cruz is giving Trump a bit of a taste of his own medicine today. What's the latest?

SARA MURRAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Wolf. Donald Trump has made no secret of the fact that he thinks this whole business of running for president is an unfair process that's stacked against him. And now Ted Cruz is fed up, and he is calling Donald Trump out.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Because we know, in the state of California, whine is something best served with cheese.

MURRAY (voice-over): Tonight, Ted Cruz is on the attack, claiming Donald Trump is whining about the election.

CRUZ: Donald loves to call people a loser. Donald wakes up at night in cold sweats that people will call him Losin' Donald. That is his ultimate fear.

MURRAY: And Trump fires off his latest grievance.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It's a corrupt system. It's a totally corrupt, rigged system.

MURRAY: Saying the GOP primary process is fixed, after he came up short in Louisiana and Colorado.

TRUMP: I end up winning Louisiana and then when everything is done, I find out I get less delegates than this guy that got his ass kicked. OK? Give me a break!

MURRAY: Trump is back on the trail today in New York, where a new Quinnipiac University poll puts him on top, with 55 percent support from Empire State Republicans, compared to 20 percent for John Kasich and 19 percent for Ted Cruz.

But as Trump grows exasperated over the complicated fight for delegates, RNC chair Reince Priebus is weighing in about process, tweeting, "The rules were set last year. Nothing mysterious, nothing new."

Meanwhile, Trump is already eyeing the general election, tearing into Hillary Clinton.

TRUMP: Her whole life has been a big, fat, beautiful lie. It's been a terrible, terrible lie. Everything about her is a lie. MURRAY: And telling "USA Today" he's ready to forgive and forget and

may ask a political rival, like John Kasich, Marco Rubio, or Scott Walker, to join the ticket. A suggestion Walker struggled to take seriously.

GOV. SCOTT WALKER (R), WISCONSIN (via phone): I literally heard it in the car and I laughed.

MURRAY: As for Kasich, he says he has no interest in a V.P. slot.

GOV. JOHN KASICH (R-OH), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I would be the worst vice president the country ever saw. You know why? Because I'm not like a vice president. I'm a president.

MURRAY: The Ohio governor still hoping his on optimistic approach can take hold with a frustrated electorate.

KASICH: For those who are angry or afraid, I want to assure you there is another, better way.

MURRAY: Kasich scolding his GOP rivals in a speech from New York today without ever mentioning them by name.

[17:05:06] KASICH: Some who feed off of the fears and the anger that is felt by some of us and exploited, feed their own insatiable desires for fame or attention. That could drive America down into a ditch and not make us great again.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MURRAY: Now, Wolf, Donald Trump, in the pursuit of this nomination, is campaigning in New York today. And for the first time since his campaign sort of reset they seem to be laying the groundwork for some states a little bit further down the field. He's going to be in Pennsylvania tomorrow. And today the campaign announced a California state director -- Wolf.

MURRAY: All right, Sara. Thanks very much. Sara Murray reporting for us.

And Donald Trump is holding a rally right now in Rome, New York. You know what? Let's listen in briefly, hear what he has to say.

TRUMP: You can do this, this guy gave you $1 million; this guy gave you $10 million. This group or this country gave you $5 million. You can't do it. They say, "OK, I won't do it."

With me, they didn't give me anything, folks. OK? I'm working -- I'm working for you. I'm working for you.

So, our Republican system, our Republican system is absolutely rigged. It's a phony deal. Now what do I know? I started running like nine months ago. Who would have thought I would have been in first place? What do I know, right? What do I know? But I'm in first place by a lot. Millions and millions of votes. That doesn't count. You notice, nobody even talks about votes. I have millions of votes

more, but I also have hundreds of delegates more; but that's not the same thing to me. I think the vote is the thing that you count, right? The vote.

And you look at some of these systems where the people that devise them, and this had to do with Ron Paul. It had to do with -- they wanted to keep people out. This was a dirty trick. These are dirty tricksters. This is a dirty trick.

And I'll tell you what. The RNC, the Republican National Committee, they should be ashamed of themselves for allowing this kind of crap to happen. I can tell you that. They should be ashamed of themselves. Because it has nothing to do with democracy. They took the votes away from the people in Colorado.

People are burning up their Republican cards, because they want to vote. And you've got to see what's happening out there. It's actually a thing of beauty if you want to know the truth. Because they're not going to take it. And they may -- it may be shoved down their face, and who knows? But you know what? They're fighting, and they're all over the place. And they're angry.

Their votes have been taken away. We've already been disenfranchised. Because you look at what' going on, because if you think about it, the economy is rigged. The banking system is rigged. There's a lot of things that are rigged in this world of ours, and that's why a lot of you haven't had an effective wage increase in 20 years, folks. And we're going to change it. We're going to change it. We're going to change it fast.

So, I'm no fan of Bernie Sanders, right? Believe me. Well, we do have one thing in common. What's the one thing? We actually do. Trade. He knows we're being ripped off, and I know we're being ripped off. We're being ripped off big.

The difference is, I'll make unbelievable deals, and he doesn't know what to do. He just knows we're being ripped off.

But Bernie Sanders, I will say this: for the last five weeks, you turn on your television, Sanders wins. Sanders wins. Again, Sanders wins. Like seven or eight or nine, he keeps winning. And then you listen to the people and the pundits, and they say, "He has no chance of winning."

I said what's going on? Because you have super delegates -- by the way, I think the Republicans have a worse system than the Democrats, but they have super delegates. It makes it impossible for a guy that wins to win. It's a crook the system, folks. It's a crooked system. It really is a crooked system.

You know, again, I don't care who wins over there. I'll take on either one of them. I sort of had my heart set on Hillary, to be honest with you. And her whole life -- remember this -- her whole life has been one big lie. It's been one big lie. And you go back and you look at Whitewater and you look at her cattle

deal. Remember the cattle deal? She made the highest percentage practically in the history of cattle making. I wonder why that happened, folks.

[17:10:10] But you take a look, and now you look at this horrible scandal with e-mails, where she's probably being protected, probably being protected, because people who did 5 percent of what she did have had their lives destroyed; and her life is just fine. It looks like she'll be the candidate, and in a certain way, that's really the one I want to run against. We'll beat her so badly. We're going to beat her badly.

You know, when Ronald Reagan -- I've had some -- I had 17 people coming at me. They said, please, please, darling my wife and my daughter, Ivanka, "Daddy, please be more presidential."

I said, "Wait a minute, wait a minute. I've got 17 people throwing barbs at me. I've got to take them out before I become presidential, don't I, right?" You know, they mean be nice, and we can't be nice until then. We have two leftovers right now. We can't be nice, we can't be nice until we win it.

And you know, when I first started, Jeb Bush had it made. He was going to win. He was presumptive. In Florida, speak about unfair. I've got to tell you, speak about what's unfair.

So in Florida you had 99 delegates, and Jeb Bush had it set, Jeb Bush, or Rubio, both of them. They had it set so that the winner takes everything, because they wanted to make sure that I didn't get anything. And so, it was all set; it was set in steel, 99 delegates, winner gets all. and then the first poll came out. Trump, 48, Jeb, 16, Rubio, 12. And they said, "Oh!" Right? They said, "Oh, this is terrible. We got to change it." So they made a move to change it where you get proportion. But it was too late. I said no way you can do it. We put up a bit of a ruckus.

But I will say this: so in Florida, it was set so that I wouldn't get it, and it was set winner take all. Because the governor was going to get it, the past governor, who was pretty popular. The past governor, or the future of the Republican Party, which was Marco, right? I -- I want to be nice. Marco. Only Marco. No first name. We don't do that anymore. You know why we don't do it anymore? Because we won. We don't do it anymore. No, it's going to be Marco. By the way, who's a nice guy. Marco's actually a nice guy. He went a little Don Rickles on me, but then we went heavy Don Rickles back.

But Marco is a nice guy, and I'm sure Jeb is a nice guy. Didn't get to know him too well. He was too busy doing negative ads. The guy spent, like, $48 million on ads, many of them against me, negative ads.

But remember they did Florida. And you remember the outcry when the first poll came out, and I was close to 50 and they were in the teens. And they said, "Wow, what are we going to do"? And I ended up winning by 20 points, by 20 -- we had -- it was a landslide. It was a landslide.

BLITZER: All right. So there you get a little gist of what Donald Trump is saying today. He's in Rome, New York. That's in upstate New York. There's a critically important primary coming up in New York state. He's way ahead in the polls.

He is going, though, very, very harshly on the Republican National Committee, the Republican establishment, saying the Republican system is rigged; it's a phony system. The RNC, he says, the Republican National Committee, should be ashamed of themselves. What's going on in some of these states as far as delegates are concerned, he says, this is not democracy at all. He's also going after Hillary Clinton, saying she is one big lie.

Joining us is a key Donald Trump supporter, Scottie Nell Hughes of USA Radio Network. She's been listening with all of us. Scottie, actually, stand by. I want to continue this conversation. We're going to continue to monitor developments up in Rome, New York, where Donald Trump is still speaking. We'll take a quick break. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[17:18:39] BLITZER: We're back. Joining us now, Scottie Nell Hughes of USA Radio Network. She's a Donald Trump supporter.

Scottie, thanks very much for joining us. You just heard Donald Trump. He really went after the Republican establishment, the Republican National Committee: they should be ashamed of themselves. He said, why do you think he feels like this so harshly against the Republican Party?

SCOTTIE NELL HUGHES, USA RADIO NETWORK: Well, let's look at it. They started off this whole election season by front loading the primary and caucus schedule with hopes that the establishment or the anti- insurgent candidate would never have a chance. Needless to say, they were not expecting a candidate like Donald Trump or even conservatives like Ted Cruz, the silent majority to awaken. So he has due cause.

And as he pointed out in Florida, that was a state that they were hoping was going to be a winner-take-all for a candidate like Jeb Bush or Marco Rubio, and it didn't work out for them.

Now, I'm not so quick to jump on this whole bandwagon of blaming the RNC. I believe a lot of the blame falls on the states. And in the case of Colorado, they did make their rules back in August; 24 unanimous SEC members made that vote to sit there and take away, I think, the voting rights of GOP Coloradans. And that's what's resulted in the frustration today, voters burning their cards and sitting there feeling like they don't have a vote or being a part of the election process of the candidate that represents Colorado.

BLITZER: But, Scottie, you know what the RNC chairman, Reince Priebus, tweeted last night. He said, "The rules were set last year. Nothing mysterious, nothing new. The rules have not changed. The rules are the same. Nothing different." The criticism of the Trump campaign is they weren't prepared for these

rules. They didn't examine the rules. They didn't know, for example, in Colorado what the rules were. That's why they lost.

HUGHES; Well, and that's probably true. But you have to remember, Mr. Trump is self-funding his campaign, Wolf. There's a big difference when they're spending donor dollars and millions of dollars given to you by a PAC fund. You can bloat your campaign full of staff, like I would even say Senator Cruz did. He started filling out his delegation for these states back in January of 2015. He is an excellent politician, someone who is as much establishment as somebody else except for maybe his voting record that seems to be conservative. But he knows how the game is played. And he plays it perfectly, absolutely beautifully.

And I think back in January of 2015 he was even not expecting to run against a candidate that would be a part of the conservative base, and this has taken him by surprise. He's played the game very well in prime -- in caucus states like this, in states like Colorado.

But in the end, Mr. Trump is right. It comes down to votes and delegates, something that Mr. Trump is winning overwhelmingly. I think, you know, 6.2 million people have voted for Mr. Trump compared to, like, 3.5 million for Senator Ted Cruz.

So I don't think necessarily that you could say that Mr. Trump is scared or crying like Senator Cruz tries to make him out to be. Because in every single way, Mr. Trump is definitely winning this GOP presidential race.

BLITZER: I don't think those numbers are necessarily precise. I know he's up by about 2 million over Cruz. I don't think it's 3 million. But we'll double check on that, Scottie.

CNN has learned that several high-profile Republicans, they're now considering the possibility of skipping the Republican National Convention in Cleveland in July to campaign back home instead. What does that say, that House and Senate Republicans, others, would rather stay home than presumably want to be associated with Donald Trump and what they think will be a very messy convention?

HUGHES: I think that is quite foolish of them, even though I can relate, as I wanted to stay home in 2012 when they gave me Romney and when, in 2008, they gave me McCain. And we saw how well that worked out for Republican Party.

However, I became an adult, and I think a lot of people, a lot of conservatives became an adult and realized that anything we had to offer was going to be better than what the Democrat option was. We still lost overwhelmingly, but yet we still had the blame game, that it was conservatives' fault was the reason why Barack Obama was re- elected to a second term.

I would hope that they would grow up and be more mature than that. And if they're in trouble, if they feel like they're worried about their own record and their own voters voting them out, because Donald Trump's going to be the one motivating people to the polls in November, maybe considering we've had -- we've had just absolute record breaking totals at the polls this year, maybe they need to look at their own voter record and decide if they're really representing conservatives or the Republican Party, or maybe they might need to consider switching parties.

BLITZER: Scottie, thanks very much. Scottie Hughes joining us. Appreciate it.

An important note to all of our viewers. Stay with CNN tonight for a truly remarkable town hall meeting. Donald Trump, his wife, his children, all taking questions from New York voters ahead of that state's crucial primary next week. Tomorrow night, Ted Cruz and his wife will do the same, all starting 9 p.m. Eastern only here on CNN. Anderson Cooper will moderate those town halls.

We'll take a quick break. Lots of other news coming into THE SITUATION ROOM right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[17:27:59] BLITZER: As the prospect of a contested GOP convention looms larger, the House speaker, Paul Ryan, has just made it clear he won't be coming to the rescue, saying he won't seek or accept the presidential nomination.

Let's turn to our senior political reporter, Manu Raju, who's covering the story. Any wiggle room at all, Manu?

MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely not, Wolf. Actually, this is not much different than what Paul Ryan has been saying over the last several weeks. He was saying, "There's no way that I'm going to run for president," but increasingly, the chatter has been around maybe Ryan could be a late entrant into this race if we head into a contested convention and we get into a second and third ballot and we need to find -- the Republicans need to find someone who could unify the party.

But he has tried to tamp down that speculation, and he made crystal clear that there -- if there is a second ballot, that it should only be someone who has run for president.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: If no candidate has a majority on the first ballot, I believe that you should only choose from a person who has actually participated in the primary. Count me out. I'll leave it up to the delegates at the rules committee to decide that. I just think honestly -- I really believe, if you want to be president, you should run for president, and when we select a nominee, we should be selecting among people who actually ran for the job.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

RAJU: Now Ryan said that the delegates should actually write a rule, saying that no one who has not run for president can be considered on the floor if we do head into second, third, fourth ballot.

But he did not rule out the possibility of perhaps someone who has run for president but has dropped out since, like a Marco Rubio, or a Jeb Bush, or a Scott Walker, being that late entrant. I asked him that specifically. He said that's going to be up to the delegates. So that's going to be a question going forward.

Very clearly, Wolf, he does not think that he should be considered, even if the party is in disarray during a pretty interesting and unpredictable convention.

BLITZER: And Manu, you're also hearing from some top Republicans. They want no part of what could be a rather messy convention in Cleveland.

RAJU: Absolutely. Republicans who are up for re-election do not want to be tied too closely to the top of the ticket, especially if we head into that scene, that, you know, even Donald Trump suggested perhaps there could be riots if he doesn't get the nomination.

[17:30:10] Actually, I'm hearing from top Republicans who are advising their members to stay home, have rallies back home. Have town-hall meetings. Don't come to Cleveland, is the message that I'm hearing given to some of these folks in tough reelections.

Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire and Richard Burr of North Carolina both told me that they're unlikely to go to the convention. And I ran into Jeb Bush in the Capitol today. And I said, "Are you going to go to the convention in July?" He said no. So you're seeing a lot of folks starting to distance themselves to what could be a pretty messy and ugly fight on the convention floor in July, Wolf.

BLITZER: Could be indeed. All right. Thanks very much, Manu, for that reporting.

Let's bring in our experts: our CNN political commentator, Peter Beinart, is joining us. He's a contributing editor at Atlantic Media. Our chief political correspondent, Dana Bash; our CNN political commentator, Ana Navarro; and our CNN political commentator, Ryan Lizza, who's the Washington correspondent for "The New Yorker" magazine.

Peter, Speaker Ryan has ruled himself out of this presidential race. Many thought he could be nominated from the floor of the convention. He also said he wouldn't run for speaker, but he wound up becoming the speaker. What could running for president right now do to his political future?

PETER BEINART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think Paul Ryan is smart enough to know that his chances of winning would be very slim. That's partly because of the way he could win the nomination. There would be so much anger towards him. Not just from Donald Trump's folks but from Ted Cruz's people, as well. He would have alienated so many of the people that have already participated in this process, who now are invested in the idea of nominating either Donald Trump or Ted Cruz that I think his ability to unify the Republican Party in a very short period of time and beat what will be a pretty unified Democratic Party would be very, very slim.

I think he's right. The wiser play for him is to try to do a good job as speaker. There may be -- you know, he's a young guy. He could be running in 2020. There's no hurry. I think this would be a poisoned chalice to win the nomination the way he could win it now.

BLITZER: Yes, he's got a huge future ahead of him. He's only 46 years old. Good point.

Dana, as you just heard, some high-profile Republicans, they're considering skipping the entire Republican convention, including many of them who are facing tough re-election battles in their home states. What does that signal to you?

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: It actually doesn't surprise me. I should say there's been some great reporting from our Hill team, including Manu and Deidre Walsh.

But if you take a step back, already, if you look at the way that these vulnerable members of Congress have behaved when the primary has been in their state, like Kelly Ayotte in New Hampshire, you know, she could not get far enough away from the narrative and from kind of the blows that were being thrown there.

I mean, yes, she has to be involved in some way, shape or form, because she is a senior elected Republican official. But it does -- it does these members of Congress no good to be in the middle of a political fight when, if they are in a purple state -- just keeping New Hampshire as an example -- all they want to try to do is convince the voters back home that they are not about the party, not about any party. They're about helping their constituents do the best job that they can do. So that doesn't surprise me.

It is a little bit of a shame, considering the fact that it does tend to be a place where party leaders can gather, you know, and really have conversations in a way that only does happen every four years. But you know, again, not surprising to me.

BLITZER: Yes. They want to get themselves re-elected.

Ryan, as you know, John Kasich, he joined Donald Trump in commenting on what he called the bizarre nominating process for the Republicans. While Trump continues to rail against the delegate selection process, we just heard what he had to say only a few moments ago.

The RNC chairman, Reince Priebus, once again, he tweeted last night, "The rules were set last year. Nothing mysterious, nothing new. The rules have not changed. The rules are the same. Nothing different."

Here's the question: has the Republican Party done enough to explain this issue to the public out there?

RYAN LIZZA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I don't think they -- they have. I mean, the truth of the matter is, nobody's had to focus on this for so many elections, because the bound delegates -- the nominees have won on the first ballots by winning primaries and caucuses and winning those -- a majority of the bound delegates for a long, long time. The last really contested convention was 1976.

And the time that either party has had a convention where it went to the second ballot was 1952. So ever since both parties reformed their systems in the late '60s and early '70s, we just haven't had this situation. And so people have to understand that, in the final analysis, delegates choose the party's nominees, not the voters. The relationship is indirect.

[17:35:04] The analogy is with, in our Constitution, if in the general election, the -- there's no candidate gets a majority of the electoral votes, it gets thrown to the House of Representatives, and the House of Representatives decides who the president is. Also something that hasn't happened in a very, very long time.

But it's somewhat analogous here. The voters do not -- do not choose the nominee by giving him or her a majority of the bound delegates on the first ballot, then the convention and delegates decide among themselves. And so I think once people start to focus on that and understand the process, despite Donald Trump's comments, I think people will get it.

BLITZER: Ana, as you know, Trump told the newspaper "USA Today" he could see himself selecting maybe Governor Kasich, Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin, maybe Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, as his vice-presidential running mate. You know Marco Rubio well. Do you think he would do it?

ANA NAVARRO, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: More importantly, Wolf, I know Jeanette, Marco Rubio's wife, well. And no, I don't think Marco Rubio, and I don't think Jeanette would let him do it, if they were in their sane mind.

Look, I think that the things Donald Trump has done, has said, his behavior, the vulgarities, his crassness, I think they go against the grain for Marco Rubio. And it would be very, very difficult for him to embrace a Donald Trump on top of the ticket and be his partner.

Being somebody's vice-presidential nominee really means being in tandem, being partners, being coordinated. You have got to be on the same page, politically, ideologically, and get along. I have a very hard time seeing that happen between Donald Trump and Marco Rubio.

I think you're going to see the opposite. I think you're going to see Marco Rubio try to extort the leverage he can at that convention, if Donald Trump is not the presumptive nominee, and use the delegates he has to try to stop Trump. But then again, Wolf, you know, it's 2016. Never say never.

BLITZER: Good point, Ana.

All right. Everyone, stand by. We have a lot to discuss, including why a top Hillary Clinton aide is now accusing Bernie Sanders of rigging the system. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [17:41:53] BLITZER: We're just one week away from the New York primary, a potential turning point in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination. And tonight, both campaigns are testing new messages.

CNN's Joe Johns reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As the battle for New York intensifies, Bernie Sanders' campaign is hoping to close the gap.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It looks to me like Syracuse is ready for a political revolution.

JOHNS: Today, the Clinton campaign turning to a new tactic, accusing Sanders of trying to make up ground by flipping super delegates.

BRIAN FALLON, PRESS SECRETARY, HILLARY FOR AMERICA: If anybody's trying to rig the system right now to overturn the will of the people, it's Senator Sanders.

JOHNS: With both candidates laying a home-state claim on the Big Apple, enthusiasm is key.

SANDERS: Let us have the largest turnout in Democratic primary history here in New York state. Thank you all.

JOHNS: Sanders is holding three large rallies today, while Clinton held a roundtable on equal pay for women.

HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If talking about equal pay and paid leave and more opportunities for women and girls is playing the gender card, then deal me in, because these are...

JOHNS: Gender and politics on the mind of President Obama today. Though he did not mention Clinton by name at the dedication of a women's equality monument, what he implied spoke volumes.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I want them to be astonished that there was ever a time when women were vastly outnumbered in the boardroom or in Congress, that there was ever a time when a woman had never sat in the Oval Office.

JOHNS: With Clinton leading Sanders 13 points in a new poll, she is heading to Florida for three fund-raisers tonight, leaving her husband to campaign across the state in her stead.

BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We have got to have a big vote for Hillary in New York next week; and if we do, she'll be your president, and you will be glad. Thank you. God bless you.

JOHNS: Meanwhile, Bill Clinton's presidential library released documents suggesting the wariness about the potential of Donald Trump as a candidate almost two decades ago. Even showing the president being prepped to answer questions like this: "Everyone from Warren Beatty to Cybill Shepherd is contemplating a run for the White House. Do you think this trivializes the importance of the office, and do you feel in any way responsible for that trend?"

Answer: "The public eventually sees through all the smoke and mirrors and they, after all, have the ultimate power at the ballot box."

(END VIDEOTAPE)

JOHNS: What these records don't appear to suggest, at least on first reading, is a closer relationship between the Clinton White House and Donald Trump than had been previously acknowledged. At one point in his administration, President Clinton's secretary asked a White House aide if they should send Trump a letter on his birthday. The letter, apparently, was never sent -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Fascinating stuff. Joe, thank you.

And remember, please join us Thursday, when Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders face off for the final time before the critical New York primary. I'll be moderating CNN's Democratic presidential debate. We're live from Brooklyn Thursday night, 9 p.m. Eastern, only here on CNN.

Coming up, a new North Korea missile system is raising alarm. Does Kim Jong-un now have the capability to strike at a moment's notice?

And we'll bring you new details on an incredible rescue mission in the Pacific Ocean. After swimming two miles to a tiny island, three shipwrecked sailors had to take desperate measures. How did they catch the attention of the Navy?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[17:45:01] BLITZER: Kim Jong-Un now have the capability to strike in a moment's notice?

And we'll bring you new details about an incredible rescue mission in the Pacific Ocean after swimming two miles to a tiny island, three shipwreck sailors, had to take desperate measures. How did they catch the attention of the Navy?

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BLITZER: There's breaking news. American officials are tracking a frightening new development in North Korea right now.

[17:50:04] Kim Jong-Un's regime appears to be on the verge of testing a mobile ballistic missile. It's a flexible new asset that would give the young dictator quick-strike capability.

Let's go to our Pentagon correspondent, Barbara Starr. What can you tell us, Barbara?

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, as always, the problem with North Korea, the regime is so unpredictable the U.S. can't be certain what Kim has planned next.

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STARR (voice-over): Kim Jong-Un could be planning an unprecedented military move. U.S. spy satellites have detected early signs that North Korea may for the first time be preparing to test a mobile ballistic missile capable of hitting portions of the U.S. The mobile missiles are mounted on huge vehicles like these shown in military parades. The launcher can move quickly so an attack could come with little or no warning. Even a test launch would have huge international security implications.

BRUCE KINGNER, HERITAGE FOUNDATION: I think that's going to lead to an epiphany for a lot of experts who have been dismissing the possibility that North Korea could have such a capability for several more years.

STARR: If the regime proceeds with a launch, the latest assessment is it's most likely to fire the Musadan missile which the U.S. believes has the ability to potentially hit Guam and perhaps Shemya Island in Alaska.

Two other missiles being watched are Kn-08 and the Kn-14 mobile ballistic missiles. They have a longer range and are potentially able to hit the Pacific Northwest of the U.S.

U.S. officials caution they cannot even be certain if the missiles would work as advertised. Just this week Kim was in attendance during an intercontinental missile engine test. Part of North Korea's effort to constantly refine its technology.

The mobile Kn-14 is especially mysterious. North Korea is believed to have displayed it at this military parade last year. The U.S. is not certain what improvements have been made to this newest weapon, but worry it may have increased precision. The concerns compounded by the belief of some in the U.S. intelligence community that North Korea has some type of miniaturized untested nuclear warhead device that could go on top of a missile.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's the prudent decision on my part to assume that he has the capability to nuclearize -- miniaturize a nuclear weapon and put it on an ICBM.

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STARR: U.S. officials strongly emphasize tonight they don't know if any of this North Korean technology works but they have to assume that it does -- Wolf.

BLITZER: It's very disturbing. All right, Barbara, thank you.

Also tonight amazing new details emerging right now from a dramatic rescue mission in the Pacific Ocean. We're learning more about the incredible efforts undertaken by the U.S. Navy and Coast Guard to find three stranded mariners on a tiny island.

Our Brian Todd has been gathering the latest information. When are you learning, Brian?

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, tonight we have stunning new information on what these castaways and their rescuers were up against. The men were stranded on a remote island that's 2,600 miles southwest of Honolulu. Now the Coast Guard in that region, Wolf, is responsible for covering 12.2 million square miles of ocean. With those challenges in front of them, this rescue was nothing short of remarkable.

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TODD (voice-over): A move of pure desperation with palm fronds, three men spell out the word, help, on the beach of an uninhabited Pacific Island. They swam two miles to the island at night after their small boat was slammed by a wave. The men had been on the island three days when the crew of a Navy P8 Poseidon plane coordinating with the U.S. Coast Guard spotted them.

CHIEF PETTY OFFICER SARA MOOERS, U.S. COAST GUARD: They're really difficult to find, they're very difficult to see especially from the air so any time we're successful, we find folks, it's absolutely ecstatic.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Anybody?

TODD: It was right out of the Hollywood classic, "Castaway."

New details tonight from the Coast Guard on the dramatic rescue. After the men were reported missing on Tuesday of last week by their families on the Micronesian island of Pulab the Coast Guard moved quickly contacting merchant vessels in the area. They searched for 17 hours according to a Coast Guard official. But by Thursday, they needed support from the air. From Masawa Air Base in Japan, about 2400 miles away, the P8 Poseidon crew headed out to start searching in the Pacific.

After a refueling stop in Guam, they started a search pattern based on the skiff's last location. When they passed Fanadik Island, a crewman says he spotted a heat signature on his infrared camera.

LT. CMDR. BRADLEY CONWAY, COAST GUARD SEARCH AND RESCUE CENTER: So in this case the survivors lit a fire. We're assuming this is the fire here. And in that case, once the fire is lit on the beach, the infrared equipment on board the aircraft will see that from a long way off because it's noticing the heat difference between the beach, and water and the survivors.

[17:55:02] TODD: The heat signatures vectored the Navy plane closer to Fanadik Island. That's when the crew saw the help sign and spotted the men waving their lifejackets.

MOOERS: There were some high fives. They were very excited to see these folks there and alive and they dropped smoke to let them know that they'd been seen.

TODD: The Coast Guard sent local island residents to pick up the men by boat. They appeared uninjured.

(On camera): How would they have survived? What would they eat or drink?

CONWAY: So at best they would have gotten on the island, maybe found drinking water, coconuts. Coconuts have a lot of liquid in then that you can stay alive in.

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TODD: But so far, there is no information from the men, themselves, on how they stuck this out or even who they are. We've tried to reach them in the Micronesian Islands but we have not been able to.

Wolf, we can say they're part of a remarkable string of success by the Navy and Coast Guard. Seven major rescue operations in the Pacific since March 28th. And they've saved 15 lives.

BLITZER: Brian Todd, thank you.

Coming up, with the GOP possibly heading towards a contested convention, Donald Trump attacks what he calls a rigged delegate system and Ted Cruz says Trump is worried that he'll become known as Losin' Donald.

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