Return to Transcripts main page
THE SITUATION ROOM
Speaker Ryan 'Not Ready' to Support Trump; Interview with Elizabeth Emken; FBI Interviews Clinton Aides in E-Mail Probe; Hillary Clinton Focuses on Trump and VP Pick; Aboard U.S. Attack Sub. Aired 5- 6p ET
Aired May 5, 2016 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: It's an honor to have you on the show. It's more of an honor to know you.
Clint Romesha. Everybody should buy the book "Red Platoon: A True Story of America -- American Valor." And if you want to hear more from Sergeant Romesha, we're going to be talking live on CNN Politics on Facebook after the show. Head over to Facebook.com/CNNPolitics.
[17:00:16] That's it for "THE LEAD." I hand you over to Wolf Blitzer in THE SITUATION ROOM right now.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking news. Happening now: a party divided. A stunning declaration from the House speaker, Paul Ryan, who in an exclusive interview says he's not yet on board with Donald Trump as the Republican's presumptive nominee.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: I'm just not ready do that at this point. I'm not there right now. And I hope to, though. And I want to, but I think what is required is that we unify the party.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Running mate or running away? Trump's short list of potential vice-presidential candidates is growing, even as more and more of his possible pics say, "No thanks." Can the business tycoon manage to find a savvy political insider to join him on his run for the White House?
On the hunt. In a CNN exclusive, we're going to take you aboard a nuclear-powered attack submarine as the U.S. Navy gears up to face growing Russian threats under water.
And party time. We'll go live to North Korea, as Kim Jong-un launches a massive once-in-a-generation gathering of the communist elite. Will he celebrate by launching a missile or carrying out a nuclear test? I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
BLITZER: Our breaking news: the highest-ranking Republican officer- holder, House Speaker Paul Ryan, says he's not ready to support Donald Trump's candidacy just two days after the Republican Party declared Donald Trump the presumptive nominee.
In a CNN exclusive, Ryan tell our own Jake Tapper -- and I'm quoting now -- "I'm not there right now." Ryan says the badly-divided party first needs to come together. And he says Trump bears most of the burden for that.
Many other Republican leaders are also not there right now. Former presidents Bush 41 and 43 will not attend the GOP convention. Nor will former nominees Mitt Romney and John McCain.
Several prospective Trump running mates have already said, "No thanks," and some anti-Trump Republicans are weighing a third-party effort.
And another CNN exclusive of an aggressive move by Russian aircraft, buzzing U.S. ships and planes. Russian submarines are now challenging the U.S. and its allies. CNN goes aboard an American nuclear-powered attack sub to see how the U.S. Navy is meeting the latest threats.
Our correspondents, analysts and guests, they will have full coverage of all the breaking news. We'll get the first reaction to Paul Ryan's stunning decision from a Trump campaign spokeswoman. She's standing by live.
Our chief political correspondent, Dana Bash, is here in THE SITUATION ROOM with me. But let's get right to Speaker Ryan's stunning refusal to endorse Donald Trump, at least for now. Here's what the highest ranking Republican official said to Jake Tapper just moments ago.
TAPPER: You have said throughout this process that you will support the Republican presidential nominee. Now you have a presumptive nominee, Donald Trump. Will you support him?
RYAN: Well, to be perfectly candid with you, Jake, I'm just not ready to do that at this point. I'm not there right now. And I hope to, though. And I want to. But I think what is required is that we unify this party. And I think the bulk of the burden on unifying the party will have to come from our presumptive nominee.
I don't want to under play what he accomplished. He needs to be congratulated for an enormous accomplishment, for winning now a plurality of delegates, and he's on his way to winning a majority of delegates. But he also inherited something very special, that's very special to a lot of us. This is the party of Lincoln, of Reagan, of Jack Kemp, and we don't always nominate a Lincoln and a Reagan every four years, but we hope that our nominee, as far as to be Lincoln- and Reaganesque, that that person advances the principles of our party and appeals to a wide vast majority of Americans.
And so I think what is necessary to make this work and for this to unify, is to actually take our principles and advance them. And that's what we want to see. Saying we're unified doesn't, in and of itself, unify us, but actually taking the principals that we all believe in, showing that there's a dedication to those, and running a principled campaign that Republicans can be proud about and that can actually appeal to a majority of Americans that, to me, is what it takes to unify this party.
TAPPER: So you're saying you can't support or endorse him right now?
RYAN: Yes, I am basically saying that. Look, I'm -- that's -- you know, I thought about this two days ago. I thought, actually, this thing was going to go to June 7, at the very least, probably to a convention. And so this is all pretty new for us.
[17:05:06] But at this point, I think that he needs do more to unify this party, to bring all wings of the Republican Party together and then to go forward and to appeal to all Americans in every walk of life, every background, a majority of independents and turning Democrats.
And so, you know, I think conservatives want to know, does he share our values and our principles on limited government, the proper role of the executive, adherence to the Constitution? There are a lot of questions that conservatives, I think are going to want answers to, myself included. And I want to be a part of this unifying process. I want to help unify this party. But we have to unify, I think, for us to be successful, for us to have a campaign that Republicans are proud of going forward that is unifiable and that actually can go and appeal to a vast majority of Americans.
TAPPER: Well, Mr. Speaker, you're casting this in characteristically optimistic and positive terms. And I would expect no less from you, but what you're saying is a fairly dramatic announcement that the speaker of the House cannot, as of now, support his party's nominee for president. Is there something specific that he has done or said that has brought you to this moment?
RYAN: Well, like I said, I hope to support our nominee. I hope to support his candidacy fully, and I want to do that. But right now, I've got to tell you, Jake, just being candid with you, at this point, I'm just not there right now.
And it's because I think part of the last campaign. I don't want to go back and roll the tape. Look, I was pretty clear, and I was outspoken on a number of occasions where I think that he did the wrong thing or said the wrong thing. And I'll do that in the future, if may be. I hope it's not necessary.
But I think what a lot of Republicans want to see is that we have a standard bearer that bears our standards and that unifies all the wings of the Republican Party. We all come from different wings of our party, but we all agree on a common platform of conservative principles. We want somebody who takes these conservative principles, applies them to the problems, and offers solutions to the country that a vast majority of Americans can vote for that we want to be enthusiastic about.
That is what I think it takes to unify the party. That -- I think there's work that needs to be done in order to unify the party. I think our nominee, our presumptive nominee needs to do that. I want to be a part of helping him do that.
But right now no. I think that, you know, there's some work to do here. It's time to go from tapping into anger to channeling that anger into solutions. It's time to set aside bullying, to set aside belittlement and appeal to higher aspirations, appeal to what is good in us, and to lead a country and a party to having a vast majority of Americans enthusiastic about choosing a path.
That's why I just feel so strongly about the chance of the choice and the opportunity that we have in front of us. But for this to work our presumptive nominee, I believe, needs to unify the party for the party to be unified.
BLITZER: Let's bring in our chief political correspondent, Dana Bash. Truly a stunning, stunning twist in the latest political story, if you will. How big of a setback is this, potentially, for Donald Trump?
BASH: It's a very large setback. I mean, I don't think that there are words that can underscore how big it is. And there are several things that I think are important to unpack. First and foremost, it's not just the guy, as he says, giving his opinion. He is the speaker of the House. He's the head of the Republican Party. He's second in line to be president right now.
This is a very big deal, because he is not just doing it for himself. He is sending a signal to his rank and file. First and foremost, that it's OK for them to hang back a bit. But also, he -- one source I just talked to reminded me, somebody who's also very familiar with Ryan's thinking and the feel of the House Republican Caucus, that if there was a big Trump caucus in the House among Republicans, he never would have been able to do this. This is not the way that the House works.
So he is -- he is, in many ways, giving them breathing room inside the House. But he is also speaking for what appears to be the majority of the House Republicans and saying we want leverage here. We want leverage. We're not going to endorse you. We're not going to support you until you prove that you are worthy of that endorsement.
BLITZER: Stand by, Dana, because there's a lot more coming up. Donald Trump is getting ready for a rally, by the way, in West Virginia. That's his first as the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, CNN political reporter, Sara Murray, is on the scene for us. Sara, first of all, any reaction yet to the stunning words from Paul Ryan?
SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, we reached out to the Trump campaign. We're still waiting to hear back from them.
But this is a really interesting development. If you heard Donald Trump's tone in the last few days, even in the last few weeks, saying he feels like party leaders, members of the establishment have gone out of the way to reach out to him, he's mentioned conversations that he had with Mitch McConnell.
[17:10:04] In the past, he has mentioned speaking to Paul Ryan and Paul Ryan sort of briefing him on the conservative House agenda. So this, I'm sure, will come to kind of a blow to them in a time that they are trying to consolidate more support behind them.
Look, this is Donald Trump's first big rally since effectively becoming the presumptive Republican nominee. And I think he was hoping to come out here and to focus his fire on Clinton. And he's sort of just been saying the Republicans will come around. I think this could be a wake-up call to him that it's going to be a little bit tougher to bring all Republicans around, including Republicans who are sitting in elected positions -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Sara Murray on the scene for us in West Virginia. Stand by over there, as well.
I want to get some more reaction from our political experts. CNN's Dana Bash is still with us; also our CNN political commentator, Ana Navarro; our CNN politics executive editor Mark Preston; our chief analyst, Gloria Borger; and our CNN political commentator, Ryan Lizza. He's "The New Yorker" magazine's Washington correspondent.
It does open the door, Gloria, Speaker Ryan's remarkable words today, which took a lot of us by surprise, for other Republicans to follow his lead.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: I think that it does. But I was just talking to one Republican who said, "Look, I don't see how this ends."
This is a -- this is a strategist who's involved in a lot of Senate races. He said, "What if you're a moderate like Kelly Ayotte? You've kind of gone out there and said, 'I'm going to support the Republican nominee'? Does it kind of leave you hanging out there?"
I mean, there is a sense on the one hand, as Dana was talking about earlier, that on the one hand, he provides political cover for people who say, "Oh, I support the Paul Ryan agenda."
On the other hand, what can Trump now do to get Paul Ryan to say, "OK, I support you," because they disagree on so many major issues: everything from deportation of immigrants to trade? I mean, these are major issues.
So what has Paul Ryan set up a situation that he really, as speaker of the House and chairman of the convention, can't really get himself out of right now, and do they remain divided?
BLITZER: It underscores, Dana, and I think you've covered Paul Ryan for a long time. He's a man of principal. He really feels in his gut right now, unless Donald Trump takes the initiative and unites the party, he can't go ahead and endorse the Republican nominee.
BASH: And that's what sources close to him told me point blank as Jake was doing that interview, that he is following his gut, that he did not expect to have to make this decision. That he was prepping to be the chair of a contested convention, and he was shocked that Ted Cruz dropped out and that everybody is in this position.
But just to echo what you said, Gloria, I mean, obviously, people are just digesting this news, because it just happened. On the one hand, many Republicans are kind of -- who are not thrilled about Donald Trump are happy about Paul Ryan doing this.
On the hand, I also spoke to a source who is no fan of Donald Trump, helped run a campaign against Donald Trump, who said that he thinks that this is not so good also, and that this is Paul Ryan maybe not leading the House Republicans the way he should.
Now, I will say, just in my initial conversations with Republicans, that person is in the minority. Most say that this is a leadership role, that this is what he is supposed to do. In fact, one source said that this is showing Republicans going into a storm that there is a lighthouse out there. And that clearly is -- is the message that he's trying to do.
Look, it wasn't an easy thing to do. The easy thing to do is to say "I endorse" and kind of try to get everybody.
BLITZER: Mitch McConnell did that yesterday.
BORGER: That wasn't so easy.
BLITZER: I'm sure it wasn't easy, but he did -- the Senate majority leader went ahead and did that.
Let me get Mark Preston. What's the biggest -- what does it sound like, Mark, should I say, the biggest obstacles right now to Speaker Ryan supporting, endorsing, working aggressively for the Republican presumptive nominee?
MARK PRESTON, CNN POLITICS EXECUTIVE EDITOR: Well, Wolf, you know, clearly, there are policy differences between Donald Trump and Paul Ryan there, as Gloria said on trade.
The fact that Donald Trump said that he wants to ban U.S. Muslims from coming into the U.S., you know. His rhetoric, I think, is really the biggest obstacle.
Let's just put this in perspective and talk about motivations. There's going to a lot of talk that Paul Ryan is looking ahead to his own political future, that Paul Ryan is seeing a presidential run for himself in 2020. And that might be the case.
However, this does come from the heart of Paul Ryan. He is in a disciple of Jack Kemp, the former late congressman from your neck of the woods, up in Buffalo, who is considered a compassionate conservative. A conservative, no doubt, but somebody who wanted to reach out to the poor, somebody who had a heart for immigrants that were coming into the country, and this is how Paul Ryan has fashioned his political career. Let me say this about Donald Trump at this point. He has two paths he
can follow right now. The first path is to come out and to attack Paul Ryan. That will be the easy thing to do.
[17:15:08] However, he could come out and agree with Paul Ryan and say, "We may not agree on all the issues, but I do agree we need to unify the party. And that means all of those who are opposing me, Paul Ryan should help line them up behind me." Who knows what path Donald Trump is going to take.
But he could potentially use this to his advantage. We'll see if he does.
BLITZER: Ana Navarro, what's your reaction to this?
ANA NAVARRO, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: You know, it made me almost emotional. I know Paul Ryan very well. I respect him tremendously. I think he has wrestled with this. I think it's been a difficult decision. And there's a lot of us in this party who are going through the same pains right now. What are we going to do?
On the one hand you don't want to help Hillary Clinton. On the other hand, you cannot bring yourself to support the Donald Trump that we have seen in this primary.
Now, let's look at what Paul said, though. He not only said, "I cannot endorse him right now," he also said, "But if he turns into a Reaganesque candidate, then that's a different story."
So he's not shutting the door on Donald Trump. He's giving him a chance to rehabilitate himself and to prove that he is more than this cartoonish character that defends everybody that we have seen during the primary.
I think a lot of us are waiting to see that presidential Donald Trump. And the bottom line is that don't have to make the decision now. We can see how the Hillary Clinton thing develops, how the Donald Trump candidacy develops. We have time to ponder this and think this.
But I think that, you know, for me about Paul Ryan would say that the man who's not willing to sell the principles, is not willing to sell is convictions, who's not ready to sell the soul, who's not willing to just follow blindly and who puts country, who puts convictions, who puts principles, who puts heart, puts all of that over party. I respect him tremendously, and as a Republican, I am grateful to him for what he said today.
WILLIAMS: Do you think, Ryan, that Donald Trump can step up and meet the demands laid out by the speaker of the House?
LIZZA: I mean, this is the most stunning division within a major political party since Rockefeller -- the Rockefellers and the Goldwater wing...
BORGER: Right. LIZZA: ... in the Republican Party. These are the two most important figures in the Republican Party. Each of them can claim to be a spokesperson for the party. Donald Trump has won the primaries. He clobbered 16 or 17 candidates; and Paul Ryan, of course, is the speaker of the House, which is the senior Republican official in this land. They have irreconcilable differences.
BLITZER: You don't think they can reconcile those differences?
LIZZA: I don't see how Donald Trump moves to the Paul Ryan view on trade, on taxes, on immigration, on a whole set...
BORGER: On entitlements.
LIZZA: ... and on entitlements.
LIZZA: These are two visions going forward. And Trump's nature is not to say, "OK, let's sit down, and let's talk about it." His nature is, when Mitt Romney, of course, the guy who chose Paul Ryan as his running mate in 2012, when he criticized Trump in far more personal terms, what did Trump do? He attacked him as a loser and someone who the Republican Party should not follow. And so this is a huge test for the party right now.
BLITZER: As Jake Tapper pointed out -- pointed out, the speaker of the House, the Republican leader in the House of Representatives is the chair, if you will, of the convention that's coming up in Cleveland.
BORGER: Right. And, you know, as Dana pointed out earlier, Ryan wasn't expecting Cruz to drop out, you know, the way he did.
But I think the question we're all asking is Donald Trump is the future of the Republican Party right now. He is the nominee. Ryan is also the future of the Republican Party. He is the speaker of the House. And my source I was talking about earlier, his big question is "I don't know how this ends."
BORGER: "How does this fight end?"
LIZZA: Reconcile these two things.
BORGER: Now I was talking earlier to Erick Erickson, whom Dana has also spoken with, who was the conservative editor of the "Resurgent," who's talking about a third-party candidacy. And he said, look, planning is continuing for a third party. He doesn't see this as Ryan endorsing a third party. He doesn't see that at all, but he did say that it gives what he calls motivation to people who want a third party going down the path.
BLITZER: Very quickly.
BASH: If I can -- if I can just add to that.
NAVARRO: Can I get in here a minute?
BLITZER: Hold on one second. Go ahead, Dana.
BASH: The whole push for a third party, which has been really happening in the past 48 hours, has been lacking something quite critical, which is an actual candidate. They haven't been able to find somebody who has said yes.
What the people in that wing are hoping that Paul Ryan did is convince somebody who has said no, whether it is a Ben Sasse, senator from Nebraska, a Rick Perry, a former governor from Texas, who have been asked and asked and asked and been turned away. Maybe it gives them a reason to stay.
BLITZER: All right. Go ahead, Ana. Very quickly.
NAVARRO: Look, let's remember that Paul Ryan was the vice- presidential candidate with a Mitt Romney, with whom he had a big policy gap, ideology gap on issues like immigration.
This is not just issue-oriented. This is -- you know, Paul Ryan is a man who has built, who has spent his life trying to build an inclusive Republican Party, trying to grow that tent. And he sees in Donald Trump what we all see and are concerned about: a man who's making it smaller, who's making it, you know, a tent where only a few can fit in and so many do not feel welcome. It's an anathema to what Paul Ryan has been working on his entire life. It's not just about issues.
BLITZER: All right. Everyone stand by because a Trump campaign spokeswoman, Elizabeth Emken, is joining us right now. Elizabeth, thank you very much. I need to take a quick break. We're about to get from you the first official reaction from the Donald Trump campaign to the stunning words that we just heard from the House speaker. Elizabeth, stand by. Our interview with you is coming up next.
[17:25:16] BLITZER: We're following the breaking news: new disunity in the Republican Party. In an exclusive interview with CNN's Jake Tapper, the House speaker, Paul Ryan, the country's highest ranking Republican office holder, now says he cannot -- repeat, cannot -- support Donald Trump, at least not yet. The speaker is urging Trump to try to unify the party and reassure conservatives he supports their goals.
Joining us now is the Trump campaign spokeswoman Elizabeth Emken. Elizabeth, thanks very much for joining us. We're about to get the first official reaction from the Trump campaign. What is it?
ELIZABETH EMKEN, TRUMP CAMPAIGN SPOKESWOMAN: You know, what I just heard is a speaker who is positioning himself, I think, well to really mediate some of these different fractions in our party and actually assist with the unification. I didn't hear anything that concerns me. What I heard is a speaker who said he wasn't expecting to have to deal
with this until June the 7th. And I think everyone is just a little bit shell-shocked. And what -- it takes -- it's going to take more than 24 hours to, you know, get some of these frayed nerves calmed, to deal with some of the -- you know, it's been a little bit of hand to hand combat here over the past 10 months. It's going to take a little while.
And I think the speaker will be an integral part of unifying the party. And I have absolutely no doubt that this is -- this is just a little step along the way.
BLITZER: It didn't take Reince Priebus, the chairman of the Republican Party, to say he's the presumptive Republican presidential nominee. He did it immediately, the night the -- the night of the -- the contest the other night this week. And the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, he went ahead and endorsed Donald Trump. It is a pretty stunning development, though, given the fact that he is the presumptive nominee.
EMKEN: You know, look, I actually think -- my experience with the speaker is he's a very thoughtful individual. And I believe that his best interest is -- his interests right now are in the best interests of our party. And by holding back a little bit and acting as, again, as a mediator, someone who can understand and sympathize with both sides of this.
It's not easy to lose a contest like this, when you -- look at the long list of individuals who he knows, he's probably friends with, who have now, at this point, lost to Mr. Trump, and Mr. Trump is the original antiestablishment, outside the Beltway candidate. So not surprisingly, it's going to take a little bit of extra effort to unite everyone. And I believe the speaker will be an integral part of -- of, again, mediating these groups. And we'll get to unification, at this point, probably before Bernie is out of the race.
BLITZER: Because he made it clear, the speaker, that he's got serious issues right now with Donald Trump. And he elaborated in the interview with Jake Tapper several of the deep concerns he has.
Here's the question to you as the official spokeswoman for the Trump campaign. What is Donald Trump going to do now to try to reassure the speaker of the House that he can unify the party, that he can be an effective Republican presidential nominee?
EMKEN: Well, oh my goodness, he just got started. It's literally been 24 hours. He's actively meeting with individuals all over the...
BLITZER: But is he going to move away from some of those positions, whether banning Muslims from coming to the United States or deporting 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States, some of the more sensitive issues? Do you think he's going to start moving away from those positions?
EMKEN: No, I think what you -- what everyone loves about Mr. Trump, the reason people are voting for him is because he says what he means, and he means what he says. And I think that we will actually see a move within the Republican Party to learning how to work with some of these -- these new positions and new ideas that Mr. Trump has brought forward.
Look, Wolf, we have now for, what, 25 years, we've developed these problems that have continued to develop. We have another candidate on the Democratic side who promises nothing but more of the same.
If the voters were interested in no changes, they'll just stick with the same old thing in Hillary Clinton. That's not what we're hearing from voters.
BLITZER: Well, let me ask you this, Elizabeth.
EMKEN: They want to be -- they want to relook at these issues, and they want to see why are we suffering so with these trade deals?
BLITZER: Since -- since that night, since the night, Tuesday night, when Donald Trump was declared the Republican presumptive nominee -- Reince Priebus, the chairman of the Republican Party did so, almost everyone else did so, as well, as the leadership is concerned...
BLITZER: ... have there been phone conversations, any contacts at all directly between the speaker and Mr. Trump?
[17:30:02] EMKEN: I don't know. I'm not aware that there has or has not been. I do know that there has been quite a bit of -- as you mentioned a few minutes ago back and forth with the RNC to get moving on some of the financial arrangements that we need to do. I imagine he's been reaching out and talking with many individuals. I don't know if he's talked with the speaker.
But I don't view this as a negative development on the part of the speaker. I think he is being honest. He is -- our speaker is a very honest forthright thoughtful man and I think he honestly was a little taken back. I think he's probably got a lot of people he needs to talk to. He's probably got a lot of people that he needs to, you know, assure them that we can unify under Mr. Trump, and that we can -- we certainly have our best opportunity in -- I don't know, years and years, to be able to successfully defeat Hillary Clinton and to win in November.
As you know, when they looked at what happened in 2012, the road to any sort of victory in the future was very precarious. Mr. Trump opens all new potential avenues. We have voters that are looking at us that have not in years. So this is an opportunity. Right now we're getting past some of the little obstacles within our family in the GOP. But it's an opportunity. And we're going to I think set ourselves up perfectly for a really resounding victory in November.
BLITZER: They've got to get together I assume pretty soon in the coming days.
EMKEN: We will. We will. BLITZER: Have a little heart-to-heart conversation.
EMKEN: We have some time.
BLITZER: Donald Trump and the speaker of the House to try to work out some of these differences if they're going to go forward with a unified party.
EMKEN: Well --
BLITZER: You want to make a final thought, Elizabeth?
EMKEN: Yes, I just want to say. Look, we started this process right now. When you look at Hillary and Bernie Sanders, they're nowhere near starting the unification of their party. You know, we're going to -- we're actually ahead of the game is how I look at it.
BLITZER: Well, I think compared to the Republican side, objectively speaking, the Democratic side seems much more unified right now. They've got their own problems as we all know. There's still a contest going on. But for the speaker of the House two days after Donald Trump is declared the presumptive nominee to come out and say, I'm not yet ready to support him, that's obviously a big deal. They've got -- both of these men they have a lot of work to do right thousand.
EMKEN: We've got -- it's just been 24 hours, Wolf. It's not going to take that much time and I respectfully disagree with you. When you look at what's happening on the Democratic side, there's going to be a lot of work on Hillary's part if she's ever going to get --
BLITZER: Well --
EMKEN: -- the Bernie coalition together. And I think those Bernie folks, I think they're going to be looking very hard at what Mr. Trump has to offer.
BLITZER: Yes, that's what Mr. Trump told me yesterday in our interview in New York as well.
BLITZER: All right. Elizabeth, thank you very much.
Elizabeth Emken is the spokeswoman for the Trump campaign. We'll continue this conversation.
We're also getting some important breaking news for the Democratic presidential nominee. Not yet. She's not a nominee. She's a candidate, I should say. Government sources tell CNN the FBI's investigation of Hillary Clinton's e-mails is nearing completion. Stand by. New information coming in.
[17:37:46] BLITZER: Here is more breaking news this time on the Hillary Clinton e-mail investigation. U.S. officials telling CNN the FBI investigation is nearing completion and FBI agents are hearing from some of Hillary Clinton's closest aides and advisers.
Our justice correspondent Pamela Brown and our justice reporter Evan Perez, they've been working their sources.
Evan, first to you. What are you learning?
EVAN PEREZ, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, we're hearing that some of the members of Clinton's inner circle including her closest aides have now been brought in for interviews with the FBI. That includes Huma Abedin who is one of her closest confidantes, longtime aide. She's cooperating with the FBI, Wolf, and so this really is an indication that the FBI is wrapping up their investigation. We expect that this is going to be completed in the next few weeks.
Obviously they're trying to keep away from the politics of this but everyone knows that the Democratic convention is coming up in just -- you know, another couple of months and so they're trying to make sure that they wrap up all parts of this before we get to that important moment.
BLITZER: What about any sense that there could be charges against some of the aides, maybe even going higher?
PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: At this point of the investigation, again it's ongoing, it's unlikely that -- because so far there hasn't been any evidence, Wolf, to prove that Clinton or her aides for that matter willfully violated the law. Now that's not to say that investigators think that it was a big mistake, that this should have never happened in the first place and in fact Hillary Clinton herself admitted that this is -- was a mistake. But prosecutors obviously have a threshold, a bar, that they have to reach in order to bring charges and we know that the FBI will be, you know, talking, consulting with DOJ about that. The ultimate decision is up to the Department of Justice but at this point no indication of that, Wolf.
The most anticipated step of this investigation is of course the interview with Hillary Clinton. So far that has not happened. That should be happening in the next few weeks. In fact the Clinton campaign just sent out a statement about that, saying, "From the start Hillary Clinton has offered to answer any questions that would help the Justice Department complete its review. And we hope and expect that anyone else who was asked would do the same. We are confident the review will conclude. That nothing inappropriate took place."
But again the investigation is not over. But as Evan says, investigators are mindful that this is a potential presidential nominee. We're right in the heat of a presidential election. The convention is just months away.
[17:40:04] BLITZER: And Huma Abedin, this top assistant, this top aide to Hillary Clinton, and the other aides who have been interviewed, they're fully cooperating. They were not granted immunity or anything like that because the individual who set up the server was granted immunity in exchange for full cooperation.
PEREZ: We do know, Wolf, that at least people who -- that some of the lower level people who really set up the server were granted immunity, but really one of the things that happens in cases like this is, you know, you don't want someone who's close to the candidate, the person who's the center of this investigation to be asking for any grant of immunity. That would look certainly bad and I don't know -- we certainly don't know all the details of how this was negotiated. We do know that this was something that was done with the cooperation of their lawyers.
BLITZER: Their lawyers, I'm sure. A lot of lawyers are involved in all of this.
BROWN: Yes. BLITZER: We'll stay on top of it and obviously be anxious to know
when Hillary Clinton herself, because you say she wants to be interviewed, when that interview takes place because presumably they'll be wrapping things up shortly thereafter.
Good reporting, guys. Thanks very much.
BROWN: Thank you.
BLITZER: Coming up, in a CNN exclusive, we'll take aboard a nuclear power attack submarine as the U.S. Navy gears up to face some growing Russian threats under water.
[17:45:48] BLITZER: This hour's breaking news in the Democratic presidential race. U.S. officials telling CNN the FBI investigation of Hillary Clinton's use of a private e-mail server is nearing completion and so far investigators have not found evidence to prove that she willfully violated the law.
Clinton is campaigning in California today but she's also looking beyond the state's June primary, focusing on Donald Trump and on important decision she expects to be making very soon including choosing a vice presidential running mate.
Let's bring in senior political correspondent Brianna Keilar. What are you hearing about this selection process?
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, closer advisers to Hillary Clinton are reportedly compiling lists of about 15 to 20 possibilities for her running mate. Now they're looking for someone who can help Hillary Clinton take on Donald Trump as we see her campaign ramping up attacks against the Republican frontrunner.
KEILAR (voice-over): Hillary Clinton visiting with state leaders today in California where voters go to the polls June 7th. She's trying to hold Donald Trump to his controversial primary positions, tweeting out this video.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You're going to have a deportation force. I will get rid of gun free zones on schools. My first day it gets signed.
KEILAR: And highlighting the discord in the GOP.
SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), FLORIDA: He is a con artist.
MITT ROMNEY, FORMER REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: A phony.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Donald Trump is the know-nothing candidate.
KEILAR: But Clinton is fighting a battle on two fronts, as Bernie Sanders vows to stay in the race at least six more weeks.
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We're going stay in until the last vote is counted. That would be in the primary in Washington, D.C.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: June 14th?
SANDERS: That's right. We are in this race until the very last vote is casted.
KEILAR: But signaling Wednesday night that he's ready to back off his criticism of Clinton, saving his attacks for Donald Trump.
SANDERS: Trump does not become president because the American people will never elect a candidate who insults people every single day in incredibly ugly ways.
KEILAR: An assist to the Democratic frontrunner as speculations swirls about who she'll tap for a running mate.
HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think the most important quality is that this person could become president on literally a moment's notice. There is no more important quality than that. And I intend to take that very seriously and find the person that I would have a confidence in to be a good partner with me but most importantly to be a really good president for America.
KEILAR: Many point to Senator Tim Kaine. He's well-liked in party circles, he speaks Spanish fluently and he's the governor of the swing state of Virginia. But there are other contenders from a new generation of Democratic leaders.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The next president of the United States, Hillary Rodham Clinton.
KEILAR: The young and charismatic Julian Castro, the former mayor of San Antonio and President Obama's secretary of Housing and Urban Development. And Tom Perez, a favorite pick of the Democratic Party's left wing, a civil rights attorney now serving as the secretary of the Labor. And then New Jersey Senator Corey Booker.
SEN. COREY BOOKER (D), NEW JERSEY: I need you to stand up for Hillary because so much is on the line.
KEILAR: Who became famous as the mayor of Newark for responding personally to request from voters even if they were to fill pot holes. All have stumped for Clinton since she declared her candidacy.
KEILAR: But with all of the buzz around, at least Time Kaine, there's one person who says he is not buying it or at least seems to say that. Tim Kaine telling CNN recently, "I'm not on any list that I know of," but he does, Wolf have a number of allies who are actively lobbying for his place on the list. And as you know, it's not really unusual for someone to be considered or rumored to be on this vice presidential running mate list to sort of, you know, pooh-pooh it and tamp it down.
BLITZER: You know not raising expectations.
KEILAR: Someone else said that to you today, right?
BLITZER: Tom Perez, the Labor secretary, he's -- he'll do whatever they tell him to do.
KEILAR: Sure. If they want me to be vice president, you know.
BLITZER: Yes. That's what he says.
All right. Thanks very much for that, Brianna Keilar, reporting.
We've recently seen on a very different story some pretty aggressive moves by Russian aircraft buzzing U.S. ships and planes. But what goes unseen, what's happening underwater very significant. Russia's assertive new use of their own submarines.
[17:50:01] In a CNN exclusive our chief national security correspondent Jim Sciutto went aboard an American nuclear power attack sub to see how the U.S. Navy is meeting this new challenge.
Jim, what did you learn?
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, they're meeting the new challenge, one, by staying on alert, constantly training for anything that may come their way, but also by presence. When we were aboard the submarine the USS Missouri who was there when Russia annexed Crimea, when Russia started military action in Syria and also when Russia came close to U.S. shores off the coast of Florida, they called this the Secret Service. They tend to do this without anyone knowing. We got a rare look inside.
SCIUTTO (voice-over): The USS Missouri nuclear attack submarine sailing to exercises in a deep dive off Florida. The Atlantic is on the frontlines of a new Cold War. We joined for an exclusive embark.
(On camera): The USS Missouri is an attack submarine. It could launch torpedoes at other submarines and surface vessels. It could launch missiles at ground targets. It gathers intelligence. It could also deploy Navy SEAL units for special operations. It is the most advanced submarine in the world.
(Voice-over): And it is facing the most advanced threats to U.S. submarine forces in decades. Russia is deploying attack submarines in numbers and with aggressiveness and advances in technology not seen since the Cold War. And now China, North Korea, Vietnam, India, and others are joining a new arms race under the sea.
Commodore Ollie Lewis commands a squadron of 10 Atlantic-based subs, including the Missouri.
COMMODORE OLLIE LEWIS, COMMANDER, SUBMARINE SQUADRON 12: We are operating places where we didn't have to rely on an adversary being there to challenge us. Now that's changing. We're back to the point now where we have to consider that there's an adversary ready to challenge us in the undersea domain and that undersea superiority is not guaranteed.
SCIUTTO: New threats require a new state of readiness, which we witnessed at every turn. Missouri's 135 crew repeatedly trained for anti-submarine warfare.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Fire, cube two.
SCIUTTO: They simulate firing torpedoes and cruise missiles from depth towards targets on sea and land.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Torpedo course, three, three, seven. Unit running, wire good.
SCIUTTO: And they're constantly testing the sub's enormous speed and maneuverability.
(On camera): We're in the midst of another steep ascent. You're hearing that alarm as we approach 20 degrees. We're going to get to a 25-degree angle. Keep in mind, I'm standing up straight now, but as I'm leaning forward that's keeping me vertical in relation to the ground as the angle ascend gets sharper.
(Voice-over): These are just exercises, but the Missouri, the "Mighty Mo" to its crew, has repeatedly come nose-to-nose with real world threats.
When Russia annexed Crimea and launched military action in Syria, the Missouri was deployed nearby. And when a Russian sub turned up off the coast of Florida in 2012 it was the USS Missouri called into action to track it.
(On camera): That's just showing hey, showing where they can go?
COMMANDER FRASER HUDSON, USS MISSOURI: Honestly, I think it's operational experience. If anything were to ever happen they have experience. They know those waters. I don't think it's a political statement on their part at all. SCIUTTO (voice-over): The Missouri's greatest asset may be its
silence, invisible to satellites, virtually inaudible to other ships and subs, giving the U.S. the element of surprise.
HUDSON: Whether there is a submarine in there or not, they don't know. A potential adversary has to take that into their calculus when they make decisions to do bad things.
SCIUTTO: And so underwater is where these boats and their crew spend 90 percent of their time deployed.
(On camera): So the USS Missouri is coming into port now, Mayport Naval Station in Jacksonville, Florida, and that's not something, if you're a submariner, that you do very often. Their most recent deployment, they were out for 181 days, 163 days were at sea. That is a life of a submariner.
(Voice-over): And that is a call to action the U.S. Navy's 70 submarines are getting more and more often.
SCIUTTO: Do U.S. submarines maintain an advantage? Those commanders, they're confident that they do now, but they know that Russia, China and others are doing their best to catch up.
And listen, Wolf, it's a power, it's an asymmetric weapon that many countries see as a way to counteract U.S. military advantage and it's something that U.S. commanders taking very seriously now that challenge.
BLITZER: Jim Sciutto with an excellent report for us. Jim, thank you very much for doing that.
SCIUTTO: Thank you.
BLITZER: Coming up, a stunning declaration from the House Speaker Paul Ryan who in an exclusive interview with CNN's Jake Tapper says he's not ready to support Donald Trump, at least not yet, as the Republicans' presumptive nominee.
And just now, we're getting the first official reaction directly from Donald Trump himself. Stand by.
[17:55:02] And party time. We're also going live to North Korea as Kim Jong-un launches a rare massive gathering of the communist elite. Will he celebrate by launching a missile?
BLITZER: Happening now. Breaking news. Not ready for Trump. A shocking rebuke of the presumptive Republican presidential nominee by the nation's highest ranking Republican official. The House speaker, Paul Ryan. Ryan telling CNN in an exclusive interview that he can't, repeat can't, back Donald Trump, at least not yet. Donald Trump has just responded to Paul Ryan. What is he saying? Stand by.