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THE SITUATION ROOM

Sheriff Still Investigating Prince's Death; Top Aide Says Trump Evolving After Playing a Part; Interview with Representative Peter King. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired April 22, 2016 - 17:00   ET

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


BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now, breaking news. Investigation underway. Tonight, investigators say they have a long way to go before they can be sure why Prince died. There is no reason, though, to believe it was suicide.

[17:00:28] Still unanswered: was Prince self-medicating? What's behind the medical emergency days before his death that caused his plane to make a dizzying descent so he could get treatment?

"When Doves Cry." As the world mourns his death, his friends and associates ask themselves how someone who appeared in such good health and to avoid habits that brought down other rock 'n' roll stars could have died so young.

And projecting an image. Donald Trump's convention manager tells Republican leaders his boss has two personas. The angry outsider he projects onstage and the pragmatic behind-the-scenes businessman who's ready to change. Tonight, Ted Cruz says all of that is proof that Trump is lying to voters.

Wolf Blitzer is off today. I'm Brianna Keilar. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

KEILAR: We begin with breaking news. Investigators just now revealing new details about Prince's mysterious death but leaving many important questions unanswered. The county sheriff says the last time Prince was seen alive was about 8 a.m. Wednesday night. Members of Prince's staff went looking for him after they were unable to reach him yesterday morning, and they found him dressed but unresponsive in an elevator. They called emergency responders. They could not revive him.

The sheriff says there were no obvious signs of trauma on Prince's body, and there is no reason to believe that his death was a suicide.

The sheriff cannot confirm whether Prince was taking any medications. A spokesperson for the medical examiner who did the autopsy says it will take days and weeks to perform tissue, blood and drug tests. Prince's body has now been released to his family.

We're also following important developments in the presidential race. Ted Cruz says new revelations show Donald Trump is lying to the voters. This, after Trump's convention manager assured Republican Party leaders the businessman is projecting an image and is now ready to evolve.

Our correspondents, analysts and guests have full coverage of the day's top stories. Let's begin now with this breaking news about Prince's death.

CNN national correspondent Kyung Lah, who was at the sheriff's office news conference that wrapped up just a few moments ago.

Kyung, there are a lot of questions that are still unanswered from this.

KYUNG LAH, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: A lot of questions that the sheriff's department did not want to delve into. They say that this has only been a case that's been open about 20-plus hours. They don't want and don't simply know the answers to the questions that we all had.

What they were able to detail, though, is the time line. They say the last time that Prince was seen alive was at 8 p.m. the night before. He was dropped off at home by someone. He spent the night alone. This was not unusual. He doesn't have a high security presence. That he woke up, apparently, the next day, they believe. They do not know at this point how long he had been deceased before officers found him but that staffers became concerned when they couldn't reach him.

Here's what the sheriff said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SHERIFF JIM OLSON, CARVER COUNTY, MINNESOTA: They were trying to reach him yesterday morning. They were unable to reach them. Excuse me, reach Prince. So they responded to Paisley Park to look for him and found him unresponsive in the elevator.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So he was alone at home?

OLSON: That is correct. We did not -- we cleared the -- we did clear and go through the residence at the time, and anybody else was there.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LAH: And it was the staffers who did call 911, the officers believe. They would not reveal exactly who the persons were on the phone call. What they were able to say, as well, that CPR was not successful, that the officers did perform that, the first responders. That he had collapsed inside the elevator. He was wearing clothes. They weren't specifying if he was wearing overnight clothes or if he had dressed the next morning.

But that there were no signs of obvious trauma. They do not believe this is a suicide or that foul play was involved. They also would say as far as how long he was deceased, they don't believe that it had happened within a couple of minutes that the officers arrived, that it wasn't something that had happened in the immediate time right before first responders did arrive.

That all of this, Brianna, is a part of the investigation. That they will look into the big questions.

How many doctors was he seeing? They're going to talk to any medical personnel who may have been treating him as well as if he was on any medications -- Brianna.

[17:05:05] KEILAR: All right. Kyung Lah, thank you so much for that.

And again and again today, the sheriff was emphasizing that this investigation in a person's death is only just beginning.

I want to bring in now CNN's Tom Foreman for a closer look at the many unanswered questions. What's the one that sticks out the most for you, or some of the information that we really need to know that we don't really know at this point?

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The biggest thing that is unaccounted for here is this almost 13-hour period of time. The police say, the sheriff's office says at 8 p.m. in the evening he was dropped off and, as far as we know, no contact with anyone until almost 13 hours later when the 911 call is in.

So the question is, was he truly alone all that time? Was nobody in contact with him? Did nobody hear from him? What was going on during that period of time?

The second thing is time of death. Kyung made reference to it a moment ago. We do not know right now if he died early that morning, if he died in the middle of the night, if he died right after being dropped off. And all of that could be important. And again, that also speaks to the question of somebody being with him or not being with him.

If this entertainer, with all of his resources and as many people are interested in him, if he was deathly ill -- and some of the events of the week before suggest he might have been -- that if he was alone the whole time, why was he alone the whole time? There are many normal families out there that wouldn't leave a family member alone.

KEILAR: Why wasn't he being watched?

FOREMAN: Why wasn't somebody with him to attend to him as he's very, very ill? Or it was something else?

And the last big question is the search warrant. We don't have access to that yet. Authorities are not releasing it yet. The search warrant matters. Because if you get the search warrant, you'll have a much better insight into what he may have had in the house, or he might have been using, or he might have misused accidentally or on purpose, or whether that has anything to do with anything. When we get the search warrant, almost certainly we'll know an awful lot more.

KEILAR: We know that they took something, right, but they won't say what it is? Do we know? FOREMAN: That's exactly right. And sometimes -- there are many

reasons they might want to do that. They might truly want to safeguard the investigation. They might want to safeguard the privacy of the family a bit, because if it spoke to some illness that he had that was undisclosed, they might want to just handle that delicately.

But eventually, that search warrant has to come out, and when it comes out, it will tell us a lot.

KEILAR: All right. Tom Foreman, thank you so much.

I want to get more now into the medical investigation. We're looking for insight on that from CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta. He's joining us now from CNN Center in Atlanta.

And Sanjay, even though these tests are going to take weeks -- that's the expectation -- truly doctors doing an autopsy have some preliminary sense about why someone died or certainly why they did not die.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I think that's fair to say. They have some preliminary ideas. They have hunches that they sort of tried to chase down.

But still, what I can tell you is that, given the fact that a complete autopsy was done -- they spent four hours or so doing this autopsy. There was no signs of trauma, as you've heard, obviously, no signs of suicide. They're really not sure, is what this says to me. They really are not exactly clear what happened here.

As Tom Foreman just pointed out, he was out during that evening, Wednesday evening, out and about, sounds like, and then dropped off. So it doesn't sound like he was at least particularly ill at that point. So what exactly happened and when did it happen? These are going to be some of the pieces they are putting together.

I will tell you, as well, you heard that at 9:43 in the morning on Thursday is when they responded to this call, and 24 minutes later is when Prince was actually pronounced dead. It happened quickly. Oftentimes, paramedics will start CPR and transport to the hospital. In this case they didn't do that. They did not give Narcan, which is a medication that can reverse an overdose. It sounds like there was no doubt that he could not be saved at the time that they got there.

And again, they decided to do a complete autopsy, which means that there wasn't enough by looking at Prince, looking at the surroundings to say, "We're pretty sure we know what happened here." Doesn't sound like they had that information.

KEILAR: Twenty-four minutes from the time the call came in until the time he was pronounced dead. In cases, certainly, that you've seen over the course of your career of something happening, how much time can pass before someone is declared dead if there is a shot that emergency responders think they have at trying to revive them?

GUPTA: Well, you know, it's a good question. I think what can happen oftentimes is if somebody has a witnessed collapse, for example, the EMS arrives whenever, 10, 12 minutes later, even if there's no evidence of heartbeat, they may start CPR and start transportation to the hospital simultaneously, defibrillation, all of that sort of stuff would be done. And they would try to get the person to the hospital.

Again, that was not done here. The medical examiner was called and arrived about an hour and a half after Prince had died. And they ultimately did not give this medication Narcan. If you suspect, for example, someone has had an overdose and stopped breathing because of overdose but is still potentially someone who could be saved, you give the Narcan. The sheriff made a point of saying that was not given. They could have given it. Paramedics carry it in Minnesota. They did not give it there.

[17:10:18] He also made mention of the fact because this was an unwitnessed death, they processed the entire area. They looked for any kinds of clues, because it is a death that is unusual in nature. That obviously is what triggered the medical examiner investigation.

KEILAR: All right. Sanjay, thank you so much.

Joining me in THE SITUATION ROOM now, we have CNN anchor Don Lemon; Kerry Gordy, the former executive vice president of Prince's company, Paisley Park; and CNN contributor and "Entertainment Tonight" host Nischelle Turner.

And Nischelle, tell us first what you're hearing. You were there at the site of the press conference. I know you spoke earlier with his former fiancee, Sheila E. What did you find out?

NISCHELLE TURNER, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, of course we were trying to clear up a lot of questions that have not been answered. Of course, there are more questions than answers ta this point, Brianna.

But, you know, there was and there has been this talk about has there been any use of painkillers and things like that. You know, the sheriff today said he could not confirm or deny taking any of that from the home.

But Sheila and I did talk about that. I asked her, you know, if she had any idea of any use from Prince and -- or any injuries from Prince. And she said, you know, he was in pain for a very long time, and he had been for many years. She said that actually stemmed from his performance and the fact that he did wear high heels and he jumped off a lot of tall blocks during his tours and things like that. And she said that did do something to his hips and did cause him to have a lot of pain, prolonged pain for many years.

As far as any sort of, you know, drug use or pain killers or anything like that, she was not aware of that.

You know, but we talked about a lot of things. I mean, she spent 38 years being friends and/or lovers with Prince. They were engaged at one point, and she shared a lot of good memories with -- with me.

I asked her at one point, "What was this like? What did it feel like to be loved by Prince?"

And she said, "You know, it was a little different," because he was all things. But they were also best friends, that they made music together. They joked together and played ping-pong all of the time.

And she said she does remember one funny story when they were just sitting around one night and turned, and she turned and looked at him and she said, "My gosh, you are prettier than I am. Look at your makeup. It's better than mine." It was a really funny moment. It was a very, very funny moment.

But she did get very emotional at one point. I know that Don would like that on. She did get very emotional at one point when I asked her, how was she going to say good-bye to him? And she just looked at me. She started crying and she said, "I don't know if I can. Thirty- eight years. I don't know if I can."

So very emotional time for a lot of people here, Brianna.

KEILAR: And Kerry, I know it is for so many of his friends and associates, obviously his fans. I know that this is something that you are going through, probably shocked at this point.

You heard this press conference, I'm assuming. And we know that he was found by himself in this elevator. I know that you were in this compound there. Can you give us any details about some of the things you just heard Nischelle say and also about where he might have been found? Was this in the residence? Was this near the recording area?

KERRY GORDY, FORMER EVP, PAISLEY PARK: Well, the elevator was kind of in the middle of the compound. So you could -- you would take the elevator up, and you could go to several different places up and down. So it's kind of in the middle.

He had like the -- he had the big stage on the bottom floor and he had a studio down there, as well. But he also had his residence on the top floor. And he had -- he had so many things. He would have this -- where they would manufacture his clothes and all of that kind of stuff. This -- this compound was massive, and it was huge. And so -- so proximity-wise, the elevator was kind of right in the middle.

But I have to tell you, when I was there with him, it was very rare that he would use the elevator. We hardly ever used the elevator. So that's -- for him to even be in the elevator, as far as I was concerned, is an interesting concept. It was like the elevator initially was put there to be a cool thing, as opposed to being something that he actually really used.

KEILAR: So you think, then, that he made -- it sounds like you're saying maybe he wasn't feeling well enough to hoof it upstairs, right?

GORDY: You know, I kind of think so. And it's really funny, because something was said earlier about him wearing high-heeled shoes and having problems. I never knew him to have serious problems enough to be taking pain medications, but I didn't know that side of him. But I do have to say, he did wear high heels a lot, and even when we

played basketball together, he played them in his high heels, which I thought was -- which I thought was, you know, very interesting.

KEILAR: Get you closer to the -- closer to the net, though.

GORDY: You know what? It does. But he was -- I was still taller than him, and I'm a short guy, as well. But I was still taller than he was with high heels on.

KEILAR: Maybe he needed higher heels for playing basketball.

So Don, back to -- I mean..

DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: The higher the heels, the closer to heaven.

KEILAR: I know this is where a lot of people are. They're remembering these moments and these things that really set Prince apart and made him so unique and interesting. But there are still a lot of questions that are unanswered at this point, including one that struck us, which was the sheriff saying just minutes ago that they couldn't answer questions about whether Prince was a healthy person or not.

LEMON: Well, I think that's, you know -- they're guarding his privacy. And he also said in that statement, he is a very private person. And also, giving up people's personal health information, one has to be careful about that, especially with how high a profile case that this is; and the sheriff alluded to that, as well.

By all accounts, Prince -- Prince was a healthy person from the people who are from the outside looking in. We don't know about his personal medical records. We don't know, as Kerry just said, about you know, whether or not he was on pain medication or what have you. Or if in those last days -- and let's be honest about this -- and I'm sure Sanjay is probably not listening right now -- but people have -- people die from respiratory illness all the time. It is one of the leading causes of death in the United States.

And that's why every flu season when we see outbreaks, we hear about all the people who are dying. And more people die from that than die from other things that we -- that we don't consider so shocking. People die all the time.

And something like that come on very suddenly, especially that Prince has been dealing with these symptoms at least for two weeks to cancel concerts. And we don't know the cause of death, but if that is indeed the cause of death, then it's not so surprising that it happens. It is shocking because he's such an icon.

But even if there were something that has to do with some sort of pain medication that he was taking, those sorts of things happen, as well; and we cover them, as well.

And as we know, the medical community is still trying to get their hands around how to deal with certain pain medications. And then so it's still to unfold. We don't know what Prince's health issues were. It's still unfolding, and I think we should be a little bit patient. We'll find out the story, you know, as it unfolds, and everyone will know.

KEILAR: Yes. And Nischelle, we're watching here in the last day all of these fans, the outpouring, the dance parties, the people driving down the street, blaring Prince songs. There is the dressing in purple; there is this great outpouring. I think there is a desire for people to have a moment, which makes me wonder, what would a memorial look like, respecting obviously this need on behalf of the fans, which there's so many of them, but also the privacy, certainly, of someone like Prince, who was a private person? What do you think?

TURNER: Yes. You know, I'm not sure if they'll have a public memorial. I know that plans are being made by the family right now for a funeral. We don't have that specific information right now. I think the fans would love for that to happen.

I think, in some way, they've been having their own memorials already with the dance parties and the gathering at Paisley Park and things like that.

But for something to be organized, I think the fans would really love that. I think people would come far and wide. I mean, there are definitely some award shows coming up in the next couple months. I'm sure you can expect major tributes on things like the BET Awards and, you know, the MTV Music Awards, those types of things.

LEMON: Brianna...

TURNER: I'm sure you're going to have these massive Prince tributes.

LEMON: I have breaking news for you guys.

Yes. AMC is going to bring "Purple Rain" back to theaters. AMC bringing "Purple Rain" back to theaters.

TURNER: Hallelujah.

LEMON: They worked out a deal with Warner Brothers.

TURNER: I am there.

LEMON: Yes. So that's a tribute in itself. It's going to be in limited theaters around the country. Immediately after learning of Prince's tragic death on Thursday, AMC Theaters' special content and programming teams worked together with the Warner Brothers distribution team to bring "Purple Rain" to the big screen. They're going to pay tribute to the music legend by playing the iconic film at 87 of AMC's locations this Saturday, April 23 through Thursday, April 28. There you go.

KEILAR: Kerry, obviously that is going to be one way that fans pay tribute. I mean, they will show up in droves. What do you think Prince and his family would have wanted? GORDY: You know, I can't say exactly what Prince would have wanted,

because he was so eclectic in his thought process; and you never know -- you never know what he was thinking.

But I do think that he would want those songs that people never heard to be heard. But he would want them to be heard in the way that he would want them to be heard, and finding the right person to actually finish those things if they weren't finished would be an issue.

I remember he used to let me remix some of his things, because he trusted me. But he -- he didn't trust very many people. So he would want them to be heard, but I don't think that -- I think that, unless they're finished, which, by the way, they may be, because he was so prolific.

KEILAR: But to that point, Kerry, you said he's so prolific. Tell us about -- it's basically a bank vault right there at Paisley Park that has all of this material that we have never -- that we have never listened to, we've never heard of. What do you expect will come of that?

Did you ever get to see it? Did you know of it?

GORDY: First of all, I have never physically seen the vault. I have heard about the vault. I've heard about the vault from the day that -- I mean, for the last 20 years, right?

KEILAR: Yes.

GORDY: So I just -- I just assumed the vault was a figment vault that was there, knowing that he recorded all of this material. So I'm assuming there is a vault now, because I guess when the masters transferred over from Warner Brothers, they had to put them some place.

But right now everything is in a digital format, and you can actually put a lot of those things on hard drives. So it's not -- you don't really need that big -- that big vault or that big area to store tapes, that now things can be stored in a digital form.

KEILAR: Nischelle, you were going to add something.

TURNER: Well, I asked Sheila -- yes, I asked Sheila about the vault today, because I asked her about the rumors that there was one. She played very coy with me. But she looked and gave me a sly smile and said, "I don't know."

And I said, "Well, is there somewhere that he stores this?"

And she said, "Let me just say this. If there's a tornado, there's a place there that we can all go and be safe."

I said, "Oh, so there's a bunker that houses things?"

And she said, "Yes, there's a vault. There's a vault in that." LEMON: One of his former assistants was on -- I think it was an

assistant, I'm not sure, secretary or something -- manager, I forget her name, but pardon me -- was on with Brooke earlier and said many of them now, much of it is now on a secure server. And as Kerry was saying, it's not a need to have a big vault. But they are on a secure server now.

KEILAR: OK. So then if it isn't digital...

TURNER: But the vault is there. I mean...

LEMON: Yes, the vault is there.

KEILAR: It seems possible.

GORDY: There certainly -- there certainly was enough room to have a vault.

KEILAR: Yes, certainly. And it sounds like maybe there was one at one point. You mentioned that there was this -- you mentioned that there was this -- certainly, these could be digitized, a lot of this music.

When you're talking about how prolific he was, Kerry, how prolific are you saying that he was? How much material do you think that there is when you saw him recording so much?

GORDY: I'm saying that Prince was one of the few people that could actually record a full-fledged album in ten days.

KEILAR: Wow. You mean from conception? From writing it to the execution or...

GORDY: I'm talking about -- well, the fact of the matter is, it's because of the nature of how he did things, he would actually write things as he was recording them. So it wasn't like he had to sit down and write something and then go and record the studio.

It's like, "OK, let's go in the thing. OK, we're going to hit this and it's going to be, you know, C here, F there, blah, blah, blah. Let's go here. Change this, do this, blah, blah, blah. Yes, I like that. Blah, blah, blah." Sometimes he would do it that way.

Sometimes he would do it in a way where he would just play everything and do everything himself. It just -- it just depended on what his mood was. But the fact is, is that he could get a song completed in one day from beginning to end. I'm talking about the concepting [SIC] it to writing it to performing it to producing it to mastering it. It's done.

KEILAR: That's unbelievable.

LEMON: He was the machine, Brianna.

KEILAR: It sounds wonderful.

TURNER: He did "Glamorous Life" in a week, Brianna.

KEILAR: Wow.

So Don, I want to ask you this: as we are awaiting -- awaiting some information about his death, is it possible you think that, as we learn more information, that there are any revelations that could hurt his image, or do you not think so?

LEMON: I don't think so. If you listen -- if you look over the span of his care, he was virtually scandal-free. I mean, everyone has something here and there; and you don't know if it's true or not. So, you know, whatever. People take that with a grain of salt. But I highly doubt it.

And if there's, you know -- we still need to know the circumstances surrounding his death. But regardless of what they are, he's still going to be beloved by many. He's the soundtrack of my youth, including other artists and other people's youth. Even the sheriff, you know, there in Minnesota saying the exact same thing.

I don't think there's going to be any revelation to -- that will hurt him or that can damage him, you know, in any big way.

But I do have to say, we were talking about, you know, him creating music in a short amount of time. He was a machine. And that's why it was so important for him to get the rights to his songs back, to get his songs back. Because he created his own music and could play almost any instrument. He had a recording studio. He would sing it. He would compose it. He would do all of that. And then he owned it.

And then if you think about just over the years, the stuff that he has released, you know, people who had gone to concerts. Anderson said this last night. He went to one of those concerts where he was invited late. I think Anderson said he saw him at the Zanzibar (ph) Hotel. And he was playing from, like, 2 to 4 in the morning. He said, "I have too many hits." And so if you look at it's hit after hit after hit after hit. And just think about all the things that you don't know about, right, on all the "B" side of the record as we used to say in the old days. So I think there's a lot of material out there that we have -- that's yet to be heard.

KEILAR: All right. Don, Kerry, Nischelle, stand by with us as we touch base with you throughout the show. And next, we have continued coverage. We'll have new details on this investigation into Prince's death.

Plus, Donald Trump's convention manager is caught on tape telling Republican bosses that Trump is projecting a persona to win the nomination. His rivals are pouncing. Is Trump just playing a part?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[17:31:35] KEILAR: We continue following the breaking news coming from the investigation into Prince's death. Right now, however, we are going to turn to some important new developments in the presidential race. A recording made during a closed-door meeting captured one of Donald

Trump's top aides attempting to reassure nervous Republican officials that Trump, for all of his bad-mouthing of the GOP establishment, has been playing a part and is ready to evolve and work with the party.

Let's begin now with CNN's Sunlen Serfaty and, Sunlen, as you can imagine, this gives a lot of fodder to Senator Ted Cruz.

SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Brianna. It certainly did. And we saw Senator Cruz jumped so quickly on this today saying that this just shows that Donald Trump, in his words, is putting on an act, pretending to be a conservative in order to fool Republican voters.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It's such a crooked system.

SERFATY (voice-over): As Donald Trump publicly rails against the Republican nominating system --

TRUMP: They take them out to dinner. They send them to hotels. It's such a crooked system. It's disgusting.

SERFATY: Privately, a secret recording reveals, his campaign is putting on a full-court press. Attempting to smooth over relations with GOP party insiders. In the recording obtained by CNN, Trump's newly minted convention manager, Paul Manafort, is heard behind closed doors telling RNC officials that the GOP frontrunner can and will change.

PAUL MANAFORT, TRUMP CAMPAIGN CONVENTION MANAGER: I mean, if you don't know him but when he's sitting in a room, and he's talking business, and he's talking politics in a private room, it's a different persona.

SERFATY: Manafort is heard suggesting that Trump is playing a part for the primary campaign, but he will change as the campaign moves forward.

MANAFORT: That's what's important from our standpoint. For you to understand that he gets it. And that the part he's been playing is evolving into the part that now you've been expecting. But he wasn't ready for it because he had to complete the first stage. Negatives will come down, his image is going to change, but Clinton is still going to be "Crooked Hillary."

SERFATY: Manafort also making the case that in a general election, Trump's vulnerabilities will be easier to address than Clinton's.

MANAFORT: As a campaign manager, as a campaign consultant, fixing personality negatives is a lot easier than fixing character negatives. You can't change someone's character. But you can change the way a person presents themselves.

SEN. TED CRUZ (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: How many of you all here are tired of politicians lying to us?

SERFATY: Ted Cruz is seizing on the comments, saying they prove that Trump can't be trusted.

CRUZ: In the past 48 hours, Donald Trump's lobbyists have taken over his campaign and they've gone down and told Republican Party bosses that everything Donald has said on the campaign is just to show he doesn't believe any of it.

SERFATY: Cruz is rebranding Trump's planned evolution as Trump just flat-out lying to fool his gullible voters.

CRUZ: I will say to the millions of Americans who are frustrated with politicians who are lying to them, Donald is telling us, he's lying to us.

SERFATY: As Cruz launches his attacks, Trump is ratcheting up his calls for Cruz and John Kasich to get out of the race, saying they don't have a chance of catching him in the delegate count.

TRUMP: Cruz and Kasich have no path to victory. It's over.

SERFATY: And pledging that he will tone things down, eventually.

TRUMP: I'm going to be so presidential that you people will be so bored.

SERFATY: But making clear he's not there yet.

TRUMP: I just don't know that I want to do it quite yet.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

[17:35:05] SERFATY: And Senator Cruz really intensified his attacks across the board on Donald Trump today pointing to Donald Trump's new hires and his recalibrations in his campaign saying point blank today that Trump's campaign has now become a Washington campaign.

So, Brianna, kind of trying to tie Donald Trump to the establishment ring of the party.

KEILAR: Yes. Trying to say it's just the usual Washington business. We'll see if it sticks, Sunlen Serfaty, thank you so much there in Pennsylvania for us.

Let's continue this conversation now with Republican Congressman Peter King of New York. He is a member of the House Intelligence and Homeland Security Committees.

We have so much to discuss, Congressman. We'll be back to talk about it after a quick break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[17:40:10] KEILAR: We are following breaking news. Police have just wrapped up a news conference and released new details regarding the death of the music icon Prince. We will stay on top of that story as it develops.

We are also, though, following important political news tonight which includes some controversial remarks made by Donald Trump's convention manager. One of his top aides.

I want to bring in Republican Congressman Peter King of New York to get his reaction to this.

So you have Paul Manafort, this is Trump's convention manager, but it's really his delegate guru for folks who don't know how he's been put into the Trump campaign. It's a very important position that he has. He was down in Florida, he was talking to Republican Party officials and he said that the part that he, that Donald Trump has been playing is now evolving into the part that you've been expecting.

Ted Cruz has jumped on this. He says this means you can't trust Donald Trump. What do you think?

REP. PETER KING (R), HOMELAND SECURITY COMMITTEE: Yes. Listen, I'm not endorsing Donald Trump but Ted Cruz is making too much of this. You expect a candidate to evolve, you expect Donald Trump to tone down his persona somewhat. I think the real issue is, is Donald Trump -- is he going to be able to fill in the gaps? Is he going to be able to show that he understands policy, that he knows what is going on in the Middle East? That he knows what is happening with health care?

I mean, he has -- if he goes from the bombast, then he has to start, you know, filling it in with substance and that's really going to be the challenge. If he can do that, that's one thing. As far as changing his tone, there's always a change in tone when you go from a primary to a general election. So I'm not that concerned about that. My concern is, can he fill in the gaps? Can he show that he really knows what he's talking about?

KEILAR: So then to use this the equivalent of a Romney aide four years ago basically saying, look, you can Etch-a-Sketch this going from the primary into the general?

KING: Well, in that case, I think they were talking more about policy. Here, we're talking about a change in style, a change in form, which to me, you know, doesn't bother me. If he starts changing his views on different issues, you know, that's going to be something -- if he suddenly said he's not going to build a wall or, you know, something along those lines. But I think what he has to do -- the challenge now to Donald Trump is to go beyond just speaking in loud sentences and actually show that he knows what he's talking about.

And so far he really has not given much substance. When it's one-on- one with him and Hillary Clinton, I assume that's who it will be, he's not going to be able to just get away with just talking a lot. He's going to have to show that he knows what he's talking about. And that's the challenge right now.

So look, I understand what Paul Manafort is doing. I mean, Donald Trump, you expect him to try to bring the party together but he has to do that without compromising his principles. But he has to show that he does have a real knowledge of what he's talking about.

KEILAR: So, Congressman, I suspect it -- I suspect I could say, you know, you're not really a Trump guy, you're certainly not a Cruz guy. You've actually said recently about Ted Cruz, I'll take cyanide if he ever got the nomination. I mean, there you go. I don't even need to push on that.

KING: Right.

KEILAR: But you also said in March about Donald Trump when someone asked you from "The New York Daily News" what -- you know, what you would do if he was the nominee and you said, maybe I'll become a reporter for "The New York Daily News," you quipped.

You're not really for either one of these guys but would you take Trump over Cruz?

KING: Yes, I would. I would take Donald Trump over Ted Cruz but Donald Trump to be an effective candidate in the general election has to show substance. He has to show that he's gone just beyond the name calling and the sound bites and, again, he's not my first choice for candidate.

KEILAR: Marco Rubio was.

KING: But again he's got to show that he knows what he's talking about.

KEILAR: But why would you take him?

KING: Yes. Marco Rubio --

KEILAR: Why would you take him over Cruz? You're known as one of the -- certainly the more moderate Republicans who has many friends in the Democratic Party. Why would you choose Donald Trump over Ted Cruz?

KING: Ted Cruz to me is a phony. I don't trust him. I think Donald Trump behind it all is the more reasonable person and I believe that he has enough commonsense but, again, he has to show that. To me, Ted Cruz is hopeless. He's irredeemable.

KEILAR: Those are very strong words. Not as strong as cyanide I will say but we certainly hear you on that.

KING: OK.

KEILAR: OK. The Trump campaign says hey, we can get not just to this important number of 1237. We can get to 1400 delegates. Ted Cruz is saying no one is getting to this threshold of 1237. Who do you think is telling the truth more here?

KING: I would think -- and again, this is just off the top of my head trying to guess what's going to happen over the next few primaries, that Donald Trump will probably be a little short of 1237 and then he will do all he can to get over the top and if he gets over 1200, he should be able to get to 1237 and once he gets to 1237, that's when you go to 1300, 1400.

I don't think there's any way he's going to go to 1400 without first having to struggle to get to 1237.

[17:45:01] But if he hits the threshold of 1237, yes, that's when the votes start coming in and for the purpose of uniting the party.

KEILAR: All right. Stick around with me. We have more ahead after this quick break.

KING: OK. Sure.

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KEILAR: Well, Donald Trump is facing intense criticism tonight after a top campaign staffer suggested Trump is simply playing a part to win votes and will later alter his persona during the general election.

Let's dig deeper now with our political experts. We're joined now by our senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin, our political commentator S.E. Cupp, and our senior political analyst Ron Brownstein, he's also a senior editor at the "Atlantic."

[17:50:11] And we have to listen to this sound from Paul Manafort. This is Trump's convention manager but he's really his delegate guru. It is a very big position that he has in the Trump campaign. Listen to what he said in a private presentation to the RNC yesterday.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PAUL MANAFORT, TRUMP CAMPAIGN CONVENTION MANAGER: Trump is an outsider and that's why many of you don't know him, but when he's sitting in a room, he's talking business, he's talking politics in a private room, it's a different persona.

When he's out on the stage, when he's talking about the kinds of things when he's out on the stump, he's projecting an image that's for that purpose. The part that he's been playing is evolving into the part that now you've been expecting but he wasn't ready for.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KEILAR: The part he's been playing, is this a problem for Donald Trump, Ron?

RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Look, he is walking a very narrow tightrope here because on the one hand, as Pete King said, you know, you would expect if he is the nominee to be dialing back on what we have seen, on the outrageous kind of comments and behavior we have consistently seen and he has to -- if he is going to be the nominee, he has to reassure the party that they're putting -- the party leaders, they're putting the party in the hands of someone who can be trusted with it. On the other hand, when you go in this direction and you say, well,

yes, I've been playing it up, I'm not really that person, you do open yourself to the kind of criticism we've heard from Ted Cruz, especially since on many issues, not all of them, but on many issues Donald Trump is in a very different place than he was 15 years ago when he was looking at running for the Reform Party nomination.

On balance, I think the biggest need he has at this point is to reassure the party that they can trust him with the nomination. But this is a tightrope. No question about it.

KEILAR: Pete King said this is no big deal, this is him talking about changing his tone. Of course Pete King does not like Ted Cruz, right? He'll take Donald Trump over Cruz. But what do you think? Does Pete King have a point? This is just someone altering their style for the general election?

S.E. CUPP, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: A couple of things. If Paul Manafort is the saving grace that the Trump campaign has brought in --

KEILAR: Good point. I see where you're going.

CUPP: It was not a very savvy move for him. But look, no one expects a politician to talk the way they do to 50,000 people the way they would at home with their families. So if Donald Trump, you know, talks a certain way with a certain tone and maybe is thinking about changing it, that's fine. But what we are talking about is whether he's going to have an Obama moment, where he is, you know, telling the Russian head of state, after the election I might have more flexibility.

That's what we are worried about. And when it comes to Donald Trump's positions which have changed over the years, you have to wonder, is he saying one thing to get elected and will do something completely different. It is a fear that both Trump supporters and Trump non- supporters have of his candidacy.

COSTELLO: Jeffrey, what do you think? And then also I wonder what do you think about the idea that there might be some people who say oh, my goodness, I don't know if I can trust him with what he says, and then they may actually take some comfort from knowing that he is playing a bit of a part.

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Well, first of all, in terms of the Manafort comment, respectfully I think it's a big nothing. I just think, you know, he is making a point that people are different in public and private, and I think that's a truism, I think it's true of every politician. It is true of a lot of journalists. I don't really get that this statement is any scandal. However, Trump does have a problem, especially with, you know, hardcore conservatives that he has held these positions that were diametrically opposed to what he is now. So that is a problem.

But this comment I don't think really illuminates that problem in any particular way and I think the fact that Ted Cruz is flailing away at it tells you mostly that Ted Cruz is flailing away, not that Donald Trump is in any sort of trouble because of what Paul Manafort said.

KEILAR: Donald Trump, S.E., has said that he would rewrite the Republican platform on abortion. I know that you have some strong opinions on this. Can he do this?

CUPP: No. Whether he knows it or not or maybe he thinks that once he is president he'll change all these rules like he would change the Geneva convention to allow him to -- you know, maybe he thinks he could do that. But as the rules exist today the committee drafts the platform, the nominee, the president, they really have no influence over how those -- the platform gets written. It is written before the convention. So I'm not sure when Donald Trump, at what stage in his presidency or as the nominee he thinks he will have some influence over the platform. That's just not how it works. But he hasn't spent much time really thinking about, you know, the logistics of this process.

KEILAR: Ron?

BROWNSTEIN: Yes. I was going to say the argument actually, though, is revealing. First of all, in 1996 Bob Dole explicitly renounced the portion of the platform that called for an end of birth right citizenship. So if the platform doesn't change and Donald Trump is the nominee, he could go out and say --

KEILAR: Right.

BROWNSTEIN: Look, I don't agree with that element in the platform. What really this underscores is how many issues Trump represents a revolution from within that's challenging where the Republican Party has been? If you think about his opposition to cutting entitlements, his opposition to free trade, his demand for mass deportation that goes beyond where the party has been?

[17:55:09] And now on abortion and on the same-sex, you know, rights bill in North Carolina, transgender bathroom bill, there are a lot of places where he departs from the -- what has been the center of gravity in the party. And that is why his nomination I think is such a -- you know, historic challenge for Republicans because there's clearly an audience for what he is selling, but what he is selling in many ways is different than what the party has been offering.

KEILAR: Yes. All right. Ron, Jeffrey, S.E., thank you guys so much.

And coming up, police have just finished a news conference on the death of the music legend Prince. We will bring you the latest next.

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