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Trump Hits 1000; Anti-Trump Protests in California; Interview with John Kasich; Who Should Be the VP Nominees Be?; America's Most Powerful Voters; Was Hastert Conviction Unfair? Aired 9-10a ET
Aired April 30, 2016 - 09:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[09:00:40] MICHAEL SMERCONISH, CNN HOST: I'm Michael Smerconish.
He's almost there. Donald Trump has passed a major milestone in his pursuit of the Republican nomination. This just as anti-Trump feelings turn into rioting in California, forcing the Donald to jump a fence just to get to his podium.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Oh, boy, felt like I was crossing the border, actually, you know? It's true. I was crossing the border. But I got here.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SMERCONISH: How will this tense climate impact the election? John Kasich is here and I'll ask him.
And though Kasich is on a lot of potential VP lists, I want to know who he has on his list.
GOP rival Ted Cruz named former foe Carly Fiorina his running mate despite having no mathematical chance to win the nomination. Was that just a campaign stunt?
Meanwhile, who should the likely Democratic and GOP nominees be thinking about for VP? I'll talk to the experts.
And why I felt to compel the legal rights of a presumed sexual predator, a former House speaker, no less.
But first, Donald Trump has passed the 1,000 delegate milestone to get to the GOP magic number of 1,237 to secure the nomination. This, after the Cruz and Kasich campaigns brokered a last ditch deal to stay out of each other's way in the remaining states.
That deal seems to have backfired. Kasich is staying out of Indiana where voters are set to go to the polls on Tuesday. That decision just cost Kasich an important endorsement.
"The Indianapolis Star" wrote an editorial explaining that the newspaper wanted to endorse Kasich, but now couldn't because he basically dropped out of the race in that state. Quote, "It's unfortunate that Indiana voters have been given no chance to hear directly from the candidate most qualified to represent the Republican Party in the fall campaign for the White House."
And no matter what the campaigns decide, voters, they have a mind of their own. I've heard from many callers this week on my Sirius XM Radio program and tell me they're Kasich supporters and they don't want to vote for Ted Cruz and surely, there are Cruz supporters who feel likewise about Kasich. And those who don't like Donald Trump are turning actively hostile, like these protesters the past two days in California.
Joining me now Ohio Governor John Kasich.
Governor, I'm looking at the footage of the growing unrest outside these California events for Donald Trump. It looks incendiary to me. What do you make of it?
GOV. JOHN KASICH (R-OH), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, you know, Michael, you know, I made a speech a couple of weeks ago on two paths. You know, you can either take people's frustrations and anxieties and you can drive them deeper into that -- those anxieties and fears, or you can recognize their problems and tell them that together we can fix them, we can solve it. We can make America better.
I've chosen to go of course to the positive side, and when you live in the negative side, I think it has consequences and you know, it's a lot of polarization and it's really, really difficult. I don't watch it but I've heard about it, and it's difficult for me to imagine in the United States of America.
SMERCONISH: You are on everyone's vice president list. I know you've told me you're not taking that job. Here's my question: who's on your list?
KASICH: Well, we just started to vet. We've put a team together and they're beginning to look for people who would be a suitable vice president and, you know, they've just started. We're at the very beginning of it but we know we need to move quickly on that. So, there's no announcement at this point.
SMERCONISH: I wouldn't expect that you would give me a name but tell me the qualities you're looking for.
KASICH: Somebody that can be a good partner, somebody that brings a political advantage and somebody who, you know, is going to work hard and be right beside me as you carry out this job.
A vice president can be turned in to somebody that can have some very solid things to do and somebody that can represent the administration well. I haven't picked a vice president but I've picked a lieutenant governor and it's sort of the same process -- who is it that's smart, capable, who is it that can be a good partner.
[09:05:01] So I've already kind of almost done it once.
SMERCONISH: Was the naming by Ted Cruz naming Carly Fiorina a stunt?
KASICH: Oh, that's up -- I mean, I'm not going to start calling people -- you know, it's a stunt or any of that other stuff. You know, Ted Cruz did what he did, and I've not named anybody yet, and I'm not prepared to name anybody yet. They've got to run their campaign the way they want to. We run ours the way we want to.
SMERCONISH : Well, I've I asked you only because you know Carly Fiorina said a vote for you on Tuesday in Indy is a wasted vote. And I'm thinking to myself she was just named as a running mate by a candidate who mathematically can't get there.
KASICH: Well, you know, the interesting thing is Ted said, when you're mathematically eliminated you ought to leave the race, he's mathematically eliminated.
But, look, I don't want to go there. I'm tired of talking about these other people. My job is to talk about my vision and my program, you know, at my town halls and be able to come on shows like yours and be able to give people a sense of who I am.
SMERCONISH: It must be frustrating that fear is selling better this cycle.
KASICH: Fear always sells better, Michael. The reason why we have traffic jams on highways is people rubber neck traffic accidents. There's something inside of us that gets our attention when there's something negative or difficult out there.
But over time, people really want to settle down and they want to be hopeful.
You know, Michael, I'm an ethnic guy and I know you can relate to this. You know, you go to a wedding, right, the whole family, everybody's having a great time in the first hour, in the second hour everybody's fighting with one another, and after a shot and a beer in the third or fourth hour, everybody's hugging and saying I'm glad we got together and let's do it again.
People want to have -- they don't want to live in conflict, and they want to be hopeful. And that's exactly what I'm trying to deliver.
SMERCONISH: OK. On that note, dobro nam dosli, I'm glad you came.
KASICH: You're the best, Michael. God bless.
SMERCONISH: Thanks, Governor.
So we've just seen two days of incendiary anti-Trump protests in California. Will this another trend that ripples across the country. And what are the political ramifications?
Joining me now, Errol Louis, political anchor at New York 1, Jeff Greenfield, the former political analyst, multi Emmy Award winner for CNN, CBS, ABC. And Mollie Hemmingway, senior editor of "The Federalist". Errol, I'll begin with you. Is this the new norm, what we've just
seen in California?
ERROL LOUIS, POLITICAL ANCHOR, TIME WARNER CABLE NEWS: Unfortunately, that kind of violence has been shadowing the Trump campaign. I think there's a real question as to whether or not he wants to decisively try to put an end to it which thus far he hasn't shown much sign of wanting to do.
So, I would expect that a lot of this is going to sort of pollute the campaign right up until the convention. And, look, some level of dissent and even civil disobedience is part of every presidential campaign. The question is how far we're going to let it go before responsible voices and that means the candidate, that means Mr. Trump, really try to decisively step in and try to put an end to it.
SMERCONISH: But is it Mr. Trump who steps in to try and put an end to it or is it Bernie and Hillary, right? These people are not going to respond to whatever Donald Trump has to say.
LOUIS: Well, I'm not so sure about that. The reality, we've had in an unprecedented way, a candidate from the podium saying, you know, punch him in the face or, you know, hurt him while you want to, I'll pay your legal bills, that kind of a thing.
And if we've learned anything from Dr. King over the years is that violence creates more violence. And so, if we'd heard from the candidate even once that he wanted to sort of really create a different kind of a tone at his rallies, there's a possibility, at least, that there would be at a minimum more sympathy for him and less sympathy for the demonstrators.
But the demonstrators are saying, look, you want to kick us out of the country, you want to call us names, you want to try and impose a religious test on people coming into the country, we're going to go and let you hear about it, and it all starts right there.
SMERCONISH: Mollie, react to what you just heard from Errol.
MOLLIE HEMINGWAY, THE FEDERALIST: Right, it's not people are protesting peacefully. I think the problem is we're seeing riots, we're seeing violent protests, we're seeing people bloody other people's faces and cause damage to police cars.
And in this country, we have a God-given right to speech and assembly and that also means we should have an ethic where we permit people to assemble without trying to disrupt their speech events, and the idea that this would be Donald Trump's problem and not a much larger problem on the left of not embracing free speech is -- kind of boggles the mind.
SMERCONISH: Jeff Greenfield, as Mollie notes, we have a rich tradition of honoring peaceful protests in this country but it's got limits, right? There's a tipping point.
JEFF GREENFIELD, FORMER POLITICAL ANALYST, CNN, CBS, ABC: Yes, the key word here is civil. Civil disobedience, you might even break the law, as Dr. King did, and are prepared to go to jail for your beliefs, but the civil part means you do it in a certain way.
[09:10:01] And I think there's a real distinction between what happened early in the campaign, when Trump was clearly being provocative with the statements that Errol was quoting, and what we've seen more recently where demonstrators -- and I don't think they're Bernie and Hillary supporters, I think they're far more radical if you're talking about things like assaulting police cars, punching somebody in the face, hurling obscenities, that's a very different thing.
And I must say just from going way back almost half a century, once protests turn violent, or disruptive to the point, for instance, of trying to shout a speaker down, the sympathy immediately shifts.
I remember the -- after 1968, when the police really went berserk to some extent in Chicago, a lot of us thought, well, the country will be on the side of the protesters, they were not, because a lot of the protesters went way beyond civil disobedience into actual attacks. And that's the distinction that we have to keep in mind. Yes, you want to hold Trump accountable for some of the things he said, the provocative, even incendiary things, but you also want to be very careful not to blame Trump when the protests turn ugly and violent.
SMERCONISH: Well, not only that, Errol, but to Jeff's point, I think if there are incidents that are televised that get ugly, it will inure to Trump's benefit, right? People are going to look and they're going to be --
LOUIS: Actually you're wrong about that, Michael. Let's pick up where Jeff left off, the 1968 Democratic convention. Chaos on the street, a police riot, completely unforgivable, not model behavior on either side. A few days later, Richard Nixon comes to that same Chicago, holds a peaceful rally, goes on to win the election that fall.
I mean, you know how this works in television, guys. When people come away from it with impressions of I associate this candidate or this party or this convention with riots, chaos, disorder, that's the impression that they take away from it, and you know, who started it said a protester should be roughed up which we heard from Donald Trump, that all gets swept away and that's not what presidential races are about.
SMERCONISH: But, Mollie, I'm so glad we're pursuing this. I guess the question is when people watch this on television, are they holding Trump responsible or are they saying it's these quote/unquote "rabble- rousers" who are disrupting Donald Trump's right to deliver a speech?
HEMINGWAY: You know, it's interesting how the media covered this and we're part of this as well. If the right were shutting down Hillary Clinton protests, we'd be having a huge national conversation about the growing violent tendencies on the right and how problematic that is. But we're not having that conversation and I think that does affect
the way people are viewing this. But still Jeff is absolutely correct. But when people see people shutting down speech events, even if they don't like Donald Trump and a lot of the country doesn't like Donald Trump, they're going to react very negatively to that, and it's a much bigger problem on the left. You're seeing free speech being shut down on college campuses and in general.
So, it's -- this just by way of existing reminds people of the problems the left has right now.
SMERCONISH: Mollie, I am having exactly the kind of conversation that you say is warranted.
Hey, Jeff, let me ask you a question about the media. There's a lot of power in the hands of the media in terms of what images get broadcast, because you know you could have 30 people made to look like it's an enormous crowd and if you single in on that one outlier, the one madder map or woman that's a bad actor, it creates an image that might not be fair.
GREENFIELD: That's true and we've seen that not just here but around the world, where a camera focuses on a couple of people. I think, just in reading the coverage of the coverage, that what we've saw in the last couple of days in California was more widespread than just a handful.
I also think, by the way, that Errol is right that it -- fairly or not, if people associate one candidate with disruption, they will respond to somebody calling for peace. And I don't mean to keep going back to '68, but Nixon's whole theme was "I can calm the waters" and in that sense, Humphrey suffered a lot from what happened at the convention, even though they were protesters, not his people.
In terms of the coverage, I think -- look, I think anybody responsible for choosing the images that go out on the air or now on the web has to be conscious of whether or not those pictures are representative or not. And I'd think in a lot of cases, I can point to the media failed in that regard. I'm not sure that happened in California because that looked like a much bigger disruptive crowd.
SMERCONISH: Right. And I'm not insinuating that it did. I'm just trying to lay the groundwork for the future.
I have one final item, it's for you, Errol Louis, but everybody has to watch. Roll the tape.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: CNN is doing a very good job.
[09:15:00] CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Well, that's -- we take great pride in that estimation.
TRUMP: Although Errol is very biased against me, which is too bad.
CUOMO: Errol Louis says that is not true and he is very happy that you got up so early this morning.
TRUMP: Errol is totally biased. There are others. But Errol is. Some day, I'm going to watch him say something good about Trump and I'll be so happy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SMERCONISH: You want to make his day? Is this the day? What do you I want to say to Mr. Trump?
LOUIS: You know, unfortunately, I don't know if it's my job to try and make him happy. I don't know if that's what this race is about, and I understand trying to game the reps a little bit and get a little sympathy. You know, I mean, I'm tempted to say something snarky like, I guess he hasn't been endorsed by any Ku Klux Klan members lately. I guess that's one nice thing.
SMERCONISH: Errol Louis, Jeff Greenfield, Mollie Hemingway, thank you for being here.
HEMINGWAY: Thank you.
LOUIS: Thank you.
SMERCONISH: Lots already discussed. What do you think? Tweet me @smerconish. I'll read some of the best later in the program.
Still to come, who are the front runners considering to be their running mates and who should they be thinking of? Here's an early tweet.
[09:20:07] SMERCONISH: Ted Cruz's pick of Carly Fiorina as his theoretical running mate kicked off the VP discussion, placed it into high gear. The choice always looms large and is exceptionally tricky. This one decision sends a message that can outstrip any other policy. It sets the tone and can make or break a campaign. Like when John McCain named Sarah Palin.
Joining me now, the man in charge of that vetting who told Senator McCain that Palin was high risk, high reward. He also was White House counsel under Ronald Reagan, A.B. Culvahouse.
Well, Mr. Culvahouse, I guess you got that right. She began as high reward and become riskier as the campaign played itself out.
A.B. CULVAHOUSE, FORMER WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL: It looks that way, but I stand by my analysis. High risk/high reward, and she was some of both, that's true.
SMERCONISH: How has this process changed? Because you've been on both sides. You've done the vetting and you've represented those being vetted. I'm told that in 1976, Gerald Ford asked only 18 questions. Where are we now? CULVAHOUSE: The last list I saw, which was the Romney list four years
ago, had over 80 questions with multiple subparts, evermore intrusive as all of us have learned by bitter experience.
SMERCONISH: You look at medical records. You look at court records. You look at family history. In what category do most of the problems arise, if you can say?
CULVAHOUSE: Tend to be family issues. By the time that someone gets to a vice presidential long list of any personal issues have -- are already well known or disclosed, but the intrusive nature of a vice presidential vet extends far beyond just the potential nominee and his or her spouse to family, including brothers, political affiliations of parents, that sort of thing. So that's where we see most of the problems.
SMERCONISH: All right. Let's run through a list and figure out where are we in 2016. I've got a hypothetical candidate for vice president but he smoked pot. Is he out?
SMERCONISH: He's divorced.
CULVAHOUSE: No, not -- not since Bill Clinton admitted that he smoked pot, although he said he didn't inhale.
SMERCONISH: He's divorced.
CULVAHOUSE: Not an issue anymore.
SMERCONISH: A DUI in his past?
CULVAHOUSE: Dick Cheney admitted he had two.
SMERCONISH: So the standard has shifted, has it not? It sounds as if even though there's more intrusive questioning, that we've become more lenient or lax in the way that we look at potential VPs.
CULVAHOUSE: We've become more lenient, Michael. That's very clear. On the other hand, hard drug use, I think that's a line that no one's prepared to cross at this ten seconds.
SMERCONISH: You know, what's interesting, much like a security clearance, like if you're running for the top job, you can evade some of these things and if you're second in command, you need to undergo this level of scrutiny.
CULVAHOUSE: Yes, the vice presidential nominee is subjected to a level of scrutiny far more intense than the presidential nominee himself or herself.
SMERCONISH: And final question, I'm about to run through what I call the usual suspects in terms of names that get mentioned. It occurs to me, sir, it's actually a small universe who get consideration for the veep. CULVAHOUSE: Very small. I would say looking on the Republican side
whether it's Kasich or the list that Cruz might have evaluated, or certainly Donald Trump, it will be very -- considerable overlap, probably fewer than a dozen.
SMERCONISH: A.B. Culvahouse, thank you so much for being here.
CULVAHOUSE: My pleasure.
SMERCONISH: So with the nominations of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump looking more and more inevitable names of potential running mates are being tossed around which are real, which are good, this and more to talk about with our political panel.
I've got CNN commentator and former Democratic strategist Bob Beckel, and conservative analyst E.D. Hill.
All right, guys. Let's run through the R's first. Presuming it's Donald Trump and he's picking a veep. I'll throw out a couple of names and we'll run through them.
Marco Rubio, E.D., what do you make of Rubio as a potential running mate for Trump if it's Trump?
E.D. HILL, CONSERVATIVE ANALYST: I don't think that the relationship is beyond repair. So, I think that's good.
Florida is very important. He has experience. He's a likable guy. He gives good speeches.
But the "little Marco" and the disparaging remarks may have shaped the image that people have of Marco Rubio right now. So, I'm not positive about that.
SMERCONISH: And, Beckel, isn't it hard to be on the receiving end of a statement like that, that kind of a slander and then decide, OK, I can put it aside and get on this ticket?
[09:25:02] BOB BECKEL, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Sure it is. There's a bigger question for Trump. Does anybody want to run with him? I mean, I'm serious here.
BECKEL: I am. I'm being very serious. It reminds me of Barry Goldwater, who went to candidate after candidate, turned him down.
Think about it. If Trump gets beaten badly, are you going to be forever hooked to his wagon? I mean, if you're Nikki Haley who would be a very good pick, I don't think she'd get near it. For that matter people running for the Senate, the Republicans trying to hold on to the Senate, I don't think they'll be in the same part of the state when he comes into the campaign. So --
SMERCONISH: Although in a cycle full of many surprises you could end up being the vice president of the United States. BECKEL: You could. You could. For all I know, Michael, it could be
SMERCONISH: I'm not sure I'm under consideration from The Donald.
Rick Scott, how about the Florida governor, E.D.? Could you see Rick Scott being tapped? I mean, Florida's important, he's a two-term governor?
HILL: Bob and I both speak pretty plainly. Here's the plain talk. You've got two white guys on the ticket. I'm not sure how that looks.
However, Rick Scott knows health care. He knows health care costs and that is a big issue in our country. He was a Tea Party candidate he's become more moderate so he's willing to shift his position a bit.
By all accounts -- and I haven't met him -- he's a nice guy. People like being around him, so I see that. But I disagree with Bob.
I think there are lots of people who would work with Trump and would take that VP slot.
HILL: And I think many of them are women.
SMERCONISH: How about -- I'm not going to identify any women yet but how about Jeff Sessions, Bob Beckel? I mean, he's a Trump supporter in the Senate, one of the only ones. Could you see him being tapped?
BECKEL: Sure. I think he would take it. I mean, probably, the two people who would take it right now are Sessions and Christie, because they're both been hooked up with Trump now for several months.
But I keep coming back to this -- if you've got a long-term future in politics, you really want to take on this controversial guy? I just -- if I were still in the consulting business, I would tell every one of my candidates not because they're Republican but you want to stay away from 62 percent negative.
SMERCONISH: One more "R" and we'll shift to the Ds.
E.D., John Kasich says no, I'm not interested in being his running mate or anybody else's, and yet on paper, Kasich seems to be the perfect veep candidate. You think he would do it?
HILL: I think he would.
HILL: And the reason I think he would is because I think that he is bigger than just focusing on himself or his particular political future. I do believe that John Kasich really does care about the good of the country, and I think that he would go through this and it may take a while, but I think he'd get there for the good of everyone.
SMERCONISH: Bob Beckel, on the Democratic side, assuming it's Hillary, could you see a Clinton/Julian Castro ticket?
BECKEL: Oh, sure. Yes. I mean, that's -- probably -- I think the top at least from my standpoint, Governor Kaine, former Governor Kaine, now senator from Virginia, makes a lot of sense. But Julian Castro would be very good. And you know, he's secretary of housing --
HILL: He could be her son he's that young. I'm not sure you want somebody that young out there.
BECKEL: He could be my grandson so take it easy on that.
But the point is that I think the idea -- but you know, she does make a point. Do you really -- you talk about Elizabeth Warren? No way.
I mean, first of all, Hillary and Warren don't get along that well, I don't think. And secondly, it would move Hillary too far to the left, Hillary. She's going to have enough problem coming at convention, with Bernie trying to move her to the left.
So, my guess is that a guy like Castro would be OK. I think Kaine would be a much better candidate.
SMERCONISH: E.D., what about Deval Patrick? Deval Patrick getting a lot of attention as potential running mate.
HILL: Yes, put him on, definitely put him, because I'd love to hear how he explains working at Bain Capital, the company of Mitt Romney.
SMERCONISH: Is there a dark horse that one or the other of you are think of? Give me a name that I have at reference. So far, Beckel you go.
BECKEL: Sherrod Brown, senator from Ohio, would be -- very good blue collar guy who is tough on the trail and he would take Trump on. Trump wouldn't know -- realize what a big fight he was getting himself into.
SMERCONISH: E.D., who are you thinking of?
HILL: I'm going to help the Democrats out with this one. Hillary Clinton should take a woman. She should take Jane Harman.
She's now the CEO of the Woodrow Wilson Center. She's former House Select Intelligence Committee. She is a smart as they come. She is moderate on financial issues and liberal on social issues.
And on the Republican side, Donald Trump if he's the nominee, should seriously consider Mia Love out of Utah. She walks the walk, she talks the talk, she does not see color and she's the real deal.
BECKEL: Yes --
SMERCONISH: I will throw on the mix on the Democratic side, Thomas Perez, the labor secretary. I've had him on radio a couple of times. A very bright guy. A really good story. We love those Horatio Alger stories and I could see it for a whole variety of reasons.
BECKEL: Yes, the only thing, Michael, is that it's one thing to have the first black president, and now, you may have the first woman president. Do you want to get every ethnic group in in two terms? I mean, I think she will most likely end up with a white male, when a white male, used to be just a bunch of white males.
[09:30:05] Well, in this case, you can get away with it.
SMERCONISH: All right. I see the bumper sticker. It says "Clinton/Beckel 2016".
BECKEL: Oh, yes, yes, yes.
Didn't the guy before say they ruled it out on hard drugs? I'm out.
SMERCONISH: E.D. Hill, Bob Beckel, thank you both as always.
E.D. HILL, CONSERVATIVE ANALYST: Thank you.
SMERCONISH: Keep your thoughts coming to me via Twitter @smerconish. I'll read some later.
Still to come, they're arguably the most powerful voting bloc at the upcoming Republican National Convention. I refer to the Pennsylvania 54 and three of them will join me next.
And there's this. Look which of our viewers just figured out how to pronounce Smerconish.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: There were two young guys on CNN on Smerconish actually, and they were -- who doesn't necessarily treat me good but I'll give him a little free publicity.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[09:35:14] SMERCONISH: Donald Trump had a huge victory in Pennsylvania last Tuesday. He won all 67 counties. He was more than 500,000 votes ahead of second-place finisher Ted Cruz. By winning the state, he guaranteed the support of 17 delegates. But despite his enormous victory, 54 delegates who were elected three
per congressional district are still free to vote for whomever they choose when they get to Cleveland. That's almost as many as Indiana's entire 57. And they're still in play. They represent the largest group of uncommitted delegates that any
state will send to the convention, which could make them decisive. If Trump gets close to the magic number of 1,237, rest assured he'll be looking to negotiate with members of this delegation and here are three of the 54.
Liz Preate Havey is a Philadelphia attorney. Rob Loughery is a Bucks County commissioner. Former Congressman Phil English is yet another delegate.
Hey, Rob, tell me what happened in your polling place. It's the largest in Bucks County. You were there all day. What did you hear from voters?
ROB LOUGHERY, PA GOP DELEGATE: I heard people say all kinds of things from -- regarding Donald Trump from -- I'm not sure I agree with all the things he says, I'm not happy when he did this and a couple of other words like that. But everyone followed it up by saying, you know what? He's the kind of guy we need to shake things up. I heard that time and time gain all day long at our poll.
SMERCONISH: OK. So, now, how will you approach your responsibility when you get to Cleveland?
LOUGHERY: Well, first of all, I voted for Kasich. That's where I felt I wanted to place my vote, but when I go to Cleveland, I will be voting for Donald Trump. I told the people in the 8th congressional district that I would represent the will of the people, and the will of the people in Bucks County was 58 percent overwhelmingly supported Donald Trump.
SMERCONISH: For how many ballots are you going to vote for Donald Trump?
LOUGHERY: Well, for as many as it takes, Michael. I mean, I -- I know we're not bound, but I'm bound by my word and my word was that I would stick with the winner who won the 8th congressional district.
It really wasn't close. I thought maybe in the low 40s, it would be tighter than it was. I thought John Kasich would do a lot better in Bucks County than he did.
But Donald Trump won it all. He won all 54 municipalities in Bucks County, he won Solebury, New Hope, Upper Makefield, and he won them not even close. And so, I find it hard to not be able to support him going through and especially since that was the word that I gave the voters in Bucks County in the 8th congressional district.
SMERCONISH: Liz Preate Havey, how will you approach your responsibility?
LIZ PREATE HAVEY, PA GOP DELEGATE: Well, as you know, Michael, I am in your district and I was the only candidate that pledged in all of the interviews that I had to all the media sources that I would vote for the winner of my district. When I did your radio program, we thought that Donald Trump won it and I said I would vote for him because he won it.
It looks now like John Kasich may eke out a victory, in which case I would vote for him. But that would only be if there was a rule change, because as it stands, if the current rules are in place where you need to win eight states in order to be voted on in the first ballot, he would not be eligible for that ballot, which case I would vote for Donald Trump on the first ballot. If there was a second ballot, in order to honor my pledge, I would vote for John Kasich on that second ballot.
OK. Phil English, I want to talk to you about winning and I want to rely on an interview I did a week ago here with someone's congressional district you represented. Roll the tape.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TOM RIDGE, FORMER HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: There's nothing there for me. I will tell you candidly he hasn't taken criticism very well. He builds himself up by knocking other people down. He disrespected my fellow veterans or POW. He's not when he knocked McCain. But we've had thousands and thousands of POWs, how the hell can you be a commander-in-chief when he says POWs are not heroes. And you go the whole Muslim, every Muslim is a potential terrorist. I mean, there's so many things -- I don't know whether it's public or private, but maybe he's a chameleon, but what I see I don't like and I can't support him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SMERCONISH: Tom Ridge represented Erie, Pennsylvania, in the Congress. You did likewise. Does winning play into this because Ridge doesn't think Trump can win?
PHIL ENGLISH, PA GOP DELEGATE: Oh, I think winning does play into it. I took the position that I was going to be uncommitted, remain uncommitted, was going to take a look and consult the voters. They came in very heavily for Trump in my district.
But I think I have to add something more. I'm going to wait and see how this plays out for a few more weeks, see what Mr. Trump does to position himself, to reach to some of those voters in the middle.
The point I'd like to make is, the big issue here is America. The Republicans now more than ever have to offer a ticket that can compete. Mr. Trump demonstrated in Pennsylvania and New York that he's been able to attract a lot of Democrats, a lot of blue collar voters who haven't typically been drawn to Republicans before.
[09:40:11] I respect that. I respect the fact that he's made an issue of trade and that he's for tax reform.
What I think has to happen is the Republican party has to come together. And I want to use my position in the delegation and my vote to achieve that synthesis.
As you can see from Tom Ridge's comments, there are a lot of people that Donald Trump still has to win over. We don't have to get all of them, but I think we need to position this ticket to make Pennsylvania and other states competitive and to win in areas that Barack Obama carried.
ENGLISH: I think that Donald Trump has started that process.
SMERCONISH: So, what I'm taking away is Rob Loughery admits I voted for Kasich, nothing wrong with that, but I feel obligated to go to Trump. Liz waiting to see the final count in your jurisdiction. And Phil English, you're keeping your powder dry as we like to say.
But the three of you, you hold a lot of power in this process if he gets close and he needs to get over the hump.
Thank you so much for being here, Liz Preate Havey, Rob Loughery.
Phil English, good to see you again.
ENGLISH: Thanks for having me on.
SMERCONISH: Thank you all for being here.
HAVEY: Thanks for having me.
SMERCONISH: Thank you.
LOUGHERY: Thanks, Michael.
SMERCONISH: So, how close Trump and Clinton to clinching their nominations? Dive into delegates and the data of 2016 with the new CNN Politics app.
And still to come, I know this is going to anger some people, but I'm not happy with the recent conviction of former House Speaker Dennis Hastert who's been accused of child molestation and I want to explain why.
[09:46:03] SMERCONISH: You're not going to like this, but I feel obligated to defend the legal rights of a presumed child molester. Not because I'm at all sympathetic for his behavior but because of the law used to prosecute him and the way he was sentenced.
Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert, once second in the line of succession to the presidency, was just given a 15-month sentence. That's more than the federal sentencing guidelines recommended for the crime for which he was prosecuted.
At the sentencing hearing, the judge spent nearly an hour chastising Hastert for his abuse of school athletes decades ago -- and that behavior was horrific. But here's my problem: Hastert wasn't convicted of molestation. In n fact, he wasn't even charged with that conduct. He pled guilty to violating banking laws.
Hastert's downfall began when he started making cash withdrawals of his own money in $10,000 increments. That automatically triggered a report from his bank to the Treasury Department. The government monitors such large withdrawals to detect illegal activity and then when questions, Hastert lied.
Here's my concern. What business is it of the government whether Americans wish to withdraw their own money in any amount from their own bank? Why should we all be presumed to be criminals for seeking access to our currency?
The law that requires the reporting was first passed in 1970, was later amended by the Patriot Act. The $10,000 threshold for reporting has remained constant despite the changing value of a dollar. Assuming an annual rate of inflation of about 4 percent, 10 grand in 1970, that would be more than $60,000 today.
Congress should end the requirement for reporting cash transactions from one's own account to the government. At a minimum, they should raise the threshold and to be clear, none of this excuses what Hastert did. I'm just uneasy with the law they used to snag him.
Joining me now, CNN legal analyst and legal defense attorney, Danny Cevallos.
What went on in that hearing? I mean, how can they possibly hold him accountable for behavior that was not really at issue?
DANNY CEVALLOS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: In federal court, the sentencing guidelines provide this really complicated formula defense attorneys like me struggle with all the time. But for all of its rules, it's really a free for all. So even though Hastert was being sentenced for conduct involving structuring the district court judge is allowed to consider virtually any conduct of history and characteristics.
SMERCONISH: But none of that was proven. And he wasn't even charged with it.
CEVALLOS: You don't need to prove it beyond reasonable doubt. You just need to prove it, that it was more probable than not. You don't need that exacting criminal standard.
And in this case, the judge said Hastert, you haven't exactly denied any of this conduct and sure enough on the record, Hastert did not deny the conduct when several witnesses came up to testify that he had committed acts of alleged molestation.
SMERCONISH: I'm sure many people watching this and having just heard what I said are saying, who cares? He's a bad guy, look what went on here.
But frankly, I said the same thing about O.J. I mean, I'm convinced that O.J. is doing time right now for killing Nicole and Ron, and not for trying to steal his own stuff back.
CEVALLOS: It's an understandable sentiment. When it comes to molestation, a lot of people feel emotionally that by any means necessary, this person should be behind bars. But we have a system that holds people accountable for their actual criminal conduct and their criminal history.
The issue here is that the sentencing guidelines allow this judge to take into consideration his history and in most cases, Michael, the history and characteristics benefits defendants.
I have to be fair to the U.S. attorneys out there. In most cases, judges make the sentence a little lighter because hey --
CEVALLOS: Michael Smerconish, he gives to charity, he's a good guy.
CEVALLOS: It's rare is the case and the judge acknowledged this on the record. It's much rarer for a judge to say, you know what? This guy, his character is so lousy I'm going to vary his sentence upward.
[09:50:02] So, it is exceedingly rare but it is permissible under the rules.
SMERCONISH: Briefly, on the second issue, the 10 grand issue. Do you agree with me that it should be none of the government's business? If had 10 grand in the bank, I'd love to go and withdraw it. Whose business should that be?
CEVALLOS: We have a lot of criminal thresholds that have remained unchanged since their inception and that $10,000 limit does not take into account inflation. But more than that, if you correctly point out, Hastert was prosecuted for taking out his own money. There was no illegal purpose for taking out the money. It was the lying first to the bank, but really to federal authorities, and that is what got him.
Now, is this a case of selective prosecution? Because even the judge acknowledged that the federal government usually doesn't bring these cases, and that's what happens. When you have laws like this, that essentially criminalize so many kinds of conduct, prosecution becomes discretionary.
SMERCONISH: Maybe, maybe if I'm taking 60k out of the bank, you know, there could be a guy in the parking lot with a gun to the head of my spouse, maybe in that circumstance. But for 10 grand today, no, none of the government's business in my view.
CEVALLOS: It wasn't the withdrawal. It was the cover-up, as is so often the case in both federal and state crimes. It wasn't the fact that he took out his own money, it was that he try to conceal it, in an almost laughable way.
SMERCONISH: The Watergate lesson. Thank you, Danny Cevallos. Appreciate it as always.
Still to come, your best and worst tweets like this. Yes, that's a good point. There shouldn't be a statute of limitations
on molesting kids and we wouldn't have this issue. I agree.
[09:55:32] SMERCONISH: Here is some of what you thought this week in tweeting me @smerconish. I love the cartoon. I'm just confused, does Batman watch me or does Robin? I'm not sure but I'll take it. I'm doing well among superheroes by the way.
Here's another tweet that came in. "Smerconish, Trump needs to find a cross dressing lesbian African-American Muslim Mexican national to offset his negatives." Yes, if only they could be vetted.
And, finally, there was this. I'm kind of digging this. You look presidential in that suit. I have you know the suit is 20 years old and it's been let out twice. That's once per decade.
Keep tweeting me @smerconish, and I will see you back here next Saturday.