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Paul Ryan To Rule Out Presidential Bid; Cruz States Only Two Candidates Have Credible Path; Kasich Lays Out Two Paths For America; CNN Republican Town Halls For Republicans And Families; Documents Detail Trump-Bill Clinton Interactions; Clinton And Sanders Spar Ahead Of CNN Debate; Worldwide Fight Against ISIS; State of the Presidential Race; Senate Terror Hearings; Interview with Sen. Bob Corker. Aired 1- 1:30p ET

Aired April 12, 2016 - 13:00   ET

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


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, I'm Jim Sciutto. Wolf Blitzer is on assignment today. It is 1:00 p.m. here in Washington, 9:30 p.m. in Kabul, Afghanistan, 1:30 a.m. in Pyongyang, North Korea. Wherever you're watching from around the world, thank you for joining us.

And we begin today with breaking news. Paul Ryan, the former vice presidential nominee for the Republican Party, the current House speaker, will make a statement shortly ruling out being considered for the GOP presidential nomination.

CNN Senior Political Reporter Manu Raju joins us live with more on this from the Capitol. Manu, you helped break this story. What is Paul Ryan going to say this afternoon?

MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: Well, he's going to make it absolutely clear, Jim, that he will not be a candidate, no matter any circumstance, this year. This has been something that has become a big distraction for the speaker, increasing chatter about how he may be positioning himself to run the last second if we head into a contested convention.

And he does not want to make it seem like he is maneuvering behind the scenes and eventually may prop himself up. The speaker has actually been saying this -- his message actually is not going to be much different than what he's been saying publicly for months but he has not been able to quell that speculation.

They hope that right now, when he makes that definitive, sermones (ph) statement that he will not run, that it will finally end that speculation. We'll see if it actually does but expect a pretty definitive statement from the speaker this afternoon addressed at the Republican National Committee headquarters -- Jim.

SCIUTTO: So, Manu, this kind of ruling out happens in politics and sometimes it changes. I want to show our viewers, remind them of a tweet from Ryan back in October. This is when the speakership was in -- up and open. He said, I will not be a candidate for speaker. I continue to believe that I can best serve this country and this conference as chairman of the Ways and Means Committee. We know that that changed. How do we know this one is different?

RAJU: Well, the difference is that it would act -- I talked to Ryan aides about that specifically. They say, look, the speakership was a different race completely than running for the presidency. Ryan made one thing absolutely clear when he ran for speaker that he would only do that if the Republicans united behind his candidacy. That meant all factions, the House Republican conference, the most conservative to the most moderate.

This time, he does not think there is any chance at unity behind his candidacy. Even if figures in the party establishment want him to run, him doing so at the last second would almost certainly cause a bloodbath for his party.

Actually, my colleague, Deirdre Walsh, actually spoke with one conservative House Republican who told Mic Mobani (ph) who told her that running for president -- if Paul Ryan were a candidate, it would, quote, "destroy the Republican Party."

So, you're hearing that coming from the right. I think some folks in Ryan's world believe that would be detrimental, not just for the Republican Party chances in the fall but also for the speaker himself.

And he wants to preserve himself as being neutral in dealing with this messy floor fight because, after all, Jim, he's chairman of the Republican convention and will have to, as his office says, call balls and strikes when things possibly evolve into a messy floor fight.

SCIUTTO: Manu Raju at the capitol. Thanks very much for following this for us.

CNN will bring you House speaker, Paul Ryan's, remarks live. That will be in the 3:00 hour here on CNN.

I want to get reaction now to the news we're expecting from speaker Ryan from all three GOP campaigns. Here with me is Trent Duffy. He's the National Communications Director and Spokesman for the Kasich campaign. Ken Cuccinelli is the delegates operations director for the Cruz campaign. Steven Miller, Senior Advisor to Donald Trump.

Thanks to have -- for having all of you on today. Stephen, I want to start with you.

STEPHEN MILLER, SENIOR ADVISOR, TRUMP CAMPAIGN: Sure.

SCIUTTO: Any sigh of relief in the Trump campaign with Paul Ryan taking his name out of contention?

MILLER: The reality is that only one candidate is going to go into the convention with the most delegates, with the most popular votes, with the most primary wins, and that is going to be Donald J. Trump.

And I would just make the point that Ted Cruz's entire campaign, at this point, rests exclusively on disenfranchisement. He has no Democratic path to the nomination. He's won only three primaries outside of his home state. The only way he can win, the only way, is with an insider deal like the cancel election in Colorado.

And the last thing I'll say about this is this disenfranchisement is on the issues, the donor class and Ted Cruz. One, to off shore jobs, support uncontrolled migration. These are the policies destroying the middle class and these are the policies that Donald Trump is going to stop once and for all.

SCIUTTO: Ken Cuccinelli, I imagine you disagree that Donald Trump is the only credible candidate for the convention.

[13:05:00] KEN CUCCINELLI, DELEGATE OPERATIONS DIRECTOR, CRUZ FOR PRESIDENT: Wow. I mean, he's already a sore loser and we haven't even beat him yet, though I expect we will.

I think the news today isn't really news. Paul Ryan isn't running and was never going to be able to parachute in nor is anybody else. The only viable candidates, at this point, are, I will give this to Steve, are Donald Trump or Ted Cruz.

And Ted Cruz has been demonstrating this whole month on -- in one-on- one contests who the better candidate is on substance, on building a grassroots campaign and on not just surviving on lobbying the kind of name calling you heard from Steve Miller and from Donald Trump, from the candidate himself. And the intimidation and threats from the Trump camp to delegates and to death threats to party chairman in Colorado.

I mean, this is Banana Republic stuff now coming out of the Trump camp which is in complete disarray, all while Ted Cruz keeps pushing his message of economic growth. He's the only one with the best plan for security for this country to increase freedom. And that's what sold in Colorado, along with a strong and traditional --

SCIUTTO: Well, --

CUCCINELLI: -- grassroots campaign.

SCIUTTO: -- hold that thought for a second.

(CROSSTALK)

SCIUTTO: I want to get -- I want to get specifically to the issue of Paul Ryan taking his name out. And, Trent, if I can go to you because --

TRENT DUFFY, SPOKESMAN, KASICH FOR AMERICA: Sure.

SCIUTTO: -- you've heard from Ted Cruz in the last 24 hours that there are only two credible candidates, two candidates with a credible path to the nomination, that being Cruz and Donald Trump. He's clearly taking a shot at your guy.

In our town hall last night, Governor Kasich talked about the possibility of multiple ballots at the convention. I want to ask you, is John Kasich a credible candidate for the Republican nomination?

DUFFY: Yes, absolutely, because it's going to be the delegates that decide. And none of the three candidates is going to have the majority. I disagree with Stephen's observation and analysis. I don't think that Donald Trump's going to be able to get there and neither is Ted Cruz. So, that's why we're talking about an open convention.

And the people who make the decisions at the convention are the delegates themselves. Many of those delegates are unbound. Many have voted for other candidates other than the three men that we represent. And they're going to look at the candidates and decide who best can represent the party going forward.

And pushback to Mr. Trump's guy, I mean, he still doesn't have a majority of Republicans that support him and that's going to be a very interesting dynamic as we go forward.

And John Kasich, today, talked about two paths. One path talks about optimism, bringing the country together which is what you need for a general election. And Kasich's the only person that beats Hillary Clinton in poll after poll after poll and (INAUDIBLE) achievement and accomplishment. And that's why, as we go towards Cleveland, Kasich's going to start to get some traction.

SCIUTTO: I want to -- you bring that up and thanks for bringing that up, Trent. I want to just play a quick clip of exactly how John Kasich laid out that argument this morning on these two paths. Please just have a listen here.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. JOHN KASICH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Some who feed off of the fears and the anger that is felt by some of us and exploit it, feed their own insatiable desires for fame or attention. That could drive American down into a ditch and not make us great again.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCIUTTO: Now, Stephen Miller, I've got to go to you. He did not say the word, Trump, there but it was pretty clear, to his audience, who he was directing that criticism to. What is your response? He says that this is about Donald Trump's ego.

MILLER: This is about 10s of millions of Americans who have had their future stolen from them. Stolen from them because we can't control our borders, stolen from them because we're sending our manufacturing jobs overseas.

John Kasich, like Ted Cruz, supports Obama's trade agenda that will halt (ph) about the middle class so, of course, he will say anything he can to try and lend himself some credibility.

We're running the only issues-based campaign in the race. Everyone else is talking about how they're going to steal delegates, how they're going to play the insider game. We're taking our case to the people and we're going to bring back this middle class.

SCIUTTO: But, Ken Cuccinelli, --

CUCCINELLI: But, look --

SCIUTTO: -- I have to ask you --

CUCCINNELLI: -- hey, wait, wait, wait, look, here.

SCIUTTO: -- because --

CUCCINNELLI: Look, you can't let -- you can't --

(CROSSTALK)

SCIUTTO: -- and then I'll let you respond. But the point is it's directed not just at Trump but also Cruz, this idea that the party and its members of the party itself. The GOP who have said that this campaign has dragged the party down into the muck. How do you respond to that criticism?

CUCCINELLI: Well, first of all, the idea that Steve Miller just put forth that Donald Trump is running an issues-based campaign is a joke.

MILLER: The only issues-based campaign.

CUCCINELLI: It's a joke. They have one issue and it took them 10 months to spell out what any sort of detail on their one issue.

Now -- and Donald Trump's afraid to debate because the minute you get below about two centimeters of depth on any issue, he's wrong. He's just wrong. He's not conservative. He's for bigger government all over the place.

And Ted Cruz has laid out a plan to get government -- shrink government's role in health care, to free us up in health care, to expand economic opportunity and get special interest out of power in Washington. And he's the only one with a track record of doing it.

[13:10:06] Donald Trump's been funding all of these special interests for so long. He's part of it. He's part of it. Ted has a track record and a vision and that's what's appealing to these grassroots Republicans who are the ones who win races for us on the ground in the fall.

And the only candidate building the kind of campaign, on an issue basis and expanding the coalition, bringing in Bush people, bringing in Rubio people, bringing in all of those sorts of folks, Perry, Lindsey Graham, all -- Carly Fiorina, that's Ted Cruz. There's (INAUDIBLE) candidate here who doesn't --

SCIUTTO: Hold that thought there because I want to give Trent --

(CROSSTALK)

CUCCINELLI: Wait, wait, wait, let me finish real quick. SCIUTTO: -- I want to give Trent the final word because you've heard

--

CUCCINELLI: -- uniting. Ted does the uniting.

SCIUTTO: Well, you've had a good chance to lay out the platform.

CUCCINELLI: (INAUDIBLE) splatters his mouth about issues --

SCIUTTO: You've had a good chance to lay out the platform.

CUCCINELLI: -- (INAUDIBLE) actually lays issues out.

SCIUTTO: I want to give Trent the final word here because you've heard the Cruz and the Trump campaigns say that they are issues-based campaigns. I imagine you disagree with that.

DUFFY: Well, for the general election, they're not enough to get us past the hump. And I think that's what Governor Kasich was talking about today. You can only get so far on fear in this country. When you have to get independents and centrics and people that are going to center right, and in addition to Republicans, you need to be for something. You need to need to have an optimistic future. That's always been the history of success in elections in this country. That's going to continue to be the successful path.

And that's why Governor Kasich laid that out because if we go down this other path, we're not only going to lose the White House. We're going to lose the Supreme Court. We're going to lose the Senate. We're going to lose hundreds of down ballot races. And the people that gather in Cleveland know that and they're going to think very carefully about who they put at the top of the ticket.

SCIUTTO: Ken Cuccinelli, Trent Duffy, Stephen Miller, I want to thank you all for coming on today.

MILLER: Thank you.

DUFFY: Thank you.

CUCCINELLI: My pleasure.

SCIUTTO: CNN's Republican presidential town halls with the candidates and their families, that continues tonight. 9:00 p.m., Donald Trump and his wife, Melania, daughters are Ivonka and Tiffany, and sons, Eric and Don Junior, will take questions from the voters of New York. Tomorrow night at 9:00 it is Ted and Heidi Cruz's turn. That's all right here on CNN.

Bill Clinton and Donald Trump are political adversaries in this presidential race but nearly 500 documents released just today repeal past interactions between Trump and Clinton. The documents made public by the Clinton presidential library in response to a freedom of information request.

CNN Politics Reporter Jeremy Diamond, he's down there. He's been digging through these documents by hand.

So, as you look in there, what are some of the most -- some of the most interesting things you've come across so far? Jeremy, are you hearing Jim Sciutto in Washington? We're going to come back to that. Audio problems getting in touch with Jeremy at the Clinton presidential library.

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN POLITICS REPORTER: Hi, Jim. I'm sorry. We're having a little bit of audio problems here it seems. But certainly, we have some findings here from the Clinton presidential library. We had some press conference material come out here.

Donald Trump essentially, his -- some documents coming out from the Clinton presidential library showing that the Clinton White House was essentially considering how they would field questions about Donald Trump, essentially showing that our White House has been dubbed by Donald Trump's potential presidential plans before, essentially preparing President Clinton for the question about whether his scandals in his time at the White House had prompted, essentially, candidates like Donald Trump to consider running for president.

Donald Trump, of course, in October of 1999, was considering a run for president. He formed an exploratory committee to consider that presidential bid. And so, the documents show that Clinton was, essentially, advised to say, well, I think the American people are going to be able to make the right choice.

And we had considerations that the White House was considering sending a birthday note to Donald Trump in 1996. That, essentially, shows you that while they didn't ultimately send the note, they were close enough between the Clintons and the Trumps to be considering that kind of a birthday note. Of course, today, things have very much changed since then.

We do not, anymore, have any considerations of birthday notes to be sent. Donald Trump recently referring to President Clinton as one of the great women abusers of all time and calling Hillary Clinton an enabler, essentially, in reference to those scandals in the 1990s -- Jim.

SCIUTTO: I'm sure a lot of the notes back then had friendlier language. Jeremy Diamond at the Clinton presidential library.

The Democratic candidates are getting ready for a showdown at Thursday's debate. Up next, from gun control to the Iraq War, how they are sharpening their messages and laying the ground work for the fight ahead.

And later, the worldwide fight against ISIS. I'll tell you about the troubling message lawmakers heard today on Capitol Hill.

[13:14:55]

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[13:18:42] SCIUTTO: Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are battling it out in New York, just two days before they square off in a CNN debate. Clinton has stepped up her criticism of Sanders on gun control, specifically foreign policy and his struggle to explain some of his core issues. Sanders keeping -- hammering away at Clinton over her vote for the Iraq War, as well as her ties to Wall Street banks.

Joining me now is Mark Paustenbach. He is the national press secretary for the Democratic National Committee.

So we had that moment last week where the gloves were certainly off in this. You know, she's not qualified and back and forth. Then the globes seemed to be back on for maybe 24 hours and then yesterday you had maybe some antic change in Sanders' language saying, well, it's judgment as opposed to qualification. What kind of debate are we going to see on Thursday? Is it going to be calm and polite, or is it going to be a dog fight?

MARK PAUSTENBACH, NATIONAL PRESS SECRETARY, DNC: Well, I think it's going to be like every other debate we've had, which has been incredibly substantive. You've talk -- seen discussions on health care. You've seen discussions on the economy. And when differences have come up, you've had a respectful, thoughtful conversation, which is really different from the Republican side where you've see insults about each other's spouses. We've seen --

SCIUTTO: Well, there's some insults on the Democratic side, too, let's be honest. I mean she's taking money from the Wall Street banks. You know, she's in their back pocket. I mean this is -- this is fairly personal stuff.

PAUSTENBACH: But you've seen it play out again in a very respectful way. It's not devolved into a long debate that is not worthy of the White House. And I think, on the Republican side, again, you've seen real differences that have exploded in a very personal way, and that's happened, you know, for the last six to seven, eight months.

[13:20:20] SCIUTTO: So we've seen Hillary Clinton as well in the last couple of days begin to pivot from Sanders to Trump. Even in some of her ads. I'm going to play a short clip from that now, but her saying that she can walk and chew gum at the same time. In effect, she can fight for the nomination and take on the Republican frontrunner. But let's have a quick listen to her latest ad.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I don't think the e-mails will take her down because she's being protected by the Democrats. It would take anybody else down, but it's not going to take her down because she's protected by the Democrats, which is a disgrace. But she's going to have to live with that when she runs because everybody knows that she is guilty as hell, OK? Everybody.

Her whole life has ban big, fat, beautiful lie. It's been a terrible, terrible lie. Everything about her is a lie.

(END VIDEO CLIP) SCIUTTO: My mistake there. That clearly, of course, not a Hillary Clinton campaign ad. It is Donald Trump, the Republican frontrunner, laying in to her over the e-mail controversy. How concerned are you, how concerned is the party that this cloud hangs over her campaign, presuming that she's the nominee, and into the general election?

PAUSTENBACH: Well, I think that the key for us is going to be how the American people understand where Republicans are on a number of different issues. And I think that Donald Trump, for example, you just saw his clip right there. You know, the Republicans, the RNC, after the 2012 election, created an autopsy, a report that talked about very succinctly what they needed to do in order to win in 2016.

SCIUTTO: Right.

PAUSTENBACH: And, you know --

SCIUTTO: Try to be a more inclusive party, particularly with minority voters. Yes.

PAUSTENBACH: Exactly. And Donald Trump has effectively buried that report. You know, they said they needed to reach out to female voter. They said they needed to reach out to Latinos. And, as you know, Donald Trump has angered both of those constituents.

SCIUTTO: Well, nice pivot to the Republican Party's problems there, but on that issue of the e-mail controversy, because this is something that feeds into a larger impression among voters, Democrat and Republican, about trustworthiness. And I just -- a recent poll, the most recent poll from CNN/ORC talking about honesty and trustworthy, 43 percent for Clinton, 38 percent for Donald Trump. That's not an enormous lead for Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump on that key issue of trustworthiness. And the e-mail issue feeds into that problem for her. How does she get over that hurdle, not just in the Democratic contest but in a general election?

PAUSTENBACH: Well, I think you've seen, if you look at the Republican side, you've seen a real -- a backlash, if you will, amongst voter against Donald Trump. Voters are not comfortable with his leadership. They're not comfortable with his stance on the issues. And I think that contrasts very clearly with where Democrats are. You saw in exit polls after Wisconsin, for example after that race or that contest, where seven in 10 Democrats were optimistic about Bernie Sanders and Secretary Clinton. So I think there's a real difference and I think that voters come -- the general election, when Trump becomes the nominee, are going to have a real problem with him.

SCIUTTO: Mark Paustenbach, DNC, thanks very much for coming on.

PAUSTENBACH: Thank you so much.

SCIUTTO: In just two days, Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton will have that debate, facing off in Brooklyn for the next CNN Democratic presidential debate. That is this Thursday at 9:00 p.m. Eastern right here on CNN.

It is a daunting assess from the former director of the National Counterterrorism Center.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEW OLSEN, FMR. DIRECTOR, NATIONAL COUNTERTERRORISM CENTER: By all measures, ISIS presents the most urgent threat to our security in the world today.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCIUTTO: That is from a hearing on The Hill just moments ago. The chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, Senator Bob Corker, will join us live to talk about the fight against ISIS, are we winning, right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[13:28:28] SCIUTTO: Turning now to terror. Police in Belgium say they have detained three more people in connection with the investigation into last year's horrible attacks in Paris. The arrest happened in a suburb of Brussels. A judge will decide tomorrow if the three can be held by police. Today's raid follows operations carried out last week where police in Brussels detained half a dozen suspects.

Meanwhile, the fight against terror moved to Capitol Hill today. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee heard from witnesses about the transnational spread of terror, including from Matthew Olsen. He's the former director of the National Counterterrorism Center. Here's what he said about what he believes the U.S. needs to do to defeat terrorism, including stopping attacks here at home.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEW OLSEN, FMR. DIRECTOR, NATIONAL COUNTERTERRORISM CENTER: One is a surge in our intelligence capabilities. A surge would enhance our technical surveillance capabilities, develop sources to penetrate ISIS and form closer relationships with intelligence services. This would address the gaps that exist because of the use of encryption and it would address the gaps that exist because we've -- the legal disclosures of our intelligence surveillance capabilities, which are hampering our intelligence community today.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCIUTTO: Senator Bob Corker is the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee. He joining me -- he's joining me now live from Capitol Hill.

Senator Corker, thank you for taking the time.

SEN. BOB CORKER (R-TN), CHAIRMAN, SENATE FOREIGN RELATIONS COMMITTEE: Thank you, Jim.

SCIUTTO: So we just heard Matt Olsen. He knows the issue very well, he spent a lot of time at the director of the National Counterterrorism Center, talking about this surge in intelligence to combat ISIS, specifically the issue of encryption, terrorists going dark. Do you agree that this is a crisis in terms of putting a damper on the ISIS threat?

[13:30:05] CORKER: There was no question that greater intelligence sharing and gathering is very important.