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Trump's Win Sparks a GOP Revolt; Anti-Trump Republicans Weigh Third-Party Move. Aired 8-9a ET

Aired May 8, 2016 - 08:00   ET




[08:00:14] JOHN KING, CNN HOST (voice-over): The Trump takeover of the GOP is complete.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I want the primaries to keep going but everybody's out, I'm the only one left, that's OK, right?

KING: But the highest elected Republican in the land isn't ready to board the Trump train.

REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: I'm just not ready to do that at this point. I'm not there right now. This is the Party of Lincoln, of Reagan, of Jack Kemp.

KING: And as the current president offers his take --

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This is not entertainment. This is not a reality show.

KING: -- word the Clinton e-mail investigation is in crunch time adds yet another 2016 wildcard.

HILLARY CLINTO (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I will do everything I can to unify the party.

KING: INSIDE POLITICS, the biggest stories sourced by the best reporters, now.


KING: Welcome to INSIDE POLITICS. I'm John King. Thanks for sharing your Sunday morning and Happy Mother's Day.

Donald Trump is the de facto Republican nominee after his Indiana primary route and the questions about what comes next are many.

Here's three: can Trump win the White House with the same slash and burn style that helped him to his stunning nomination victory?


TRUMP: She's married to a man who is the worst abuser of women in the history of politics. She's married to a man who hurt many women. She's married to a man who got impeached for lying. He was impeached.


KING: Question two: can Trump calm a GOP revolt that includes the House Speaker Paul Ryan who is at odds with much of the Trump agenda?


RYAN: He also inherits something 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 our nominee, as far as to be a Lincoln and Reaganesque, that that person advances the principles of our party and appeals to a wide vast majority of Americans.


KING: And question three, will word the Hillary Clinton e-mail investigation is nearing decision time, impact the remaining Democratic primaries and impact her effort to quiet the Bernie Sanders insurgency?


SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: While the path is narrow, and I do not deny that for a moment, I think we can pull off one of the great political upsets in the history of the United States. And in fact become the nominee for the Democratic Party.


KING: With us to share the reporting and their insights, "The Atlantic's" Molly Ball, mother at the table, happy Mother's Day, Jonathan Martin of "The New York Times," Ryan Lizza of "The New Yorker", and CNN's M.J. Lee.

Now, Donald Trump says the general is underway and he is targeting Hillary Clinton now with the same gusto with which he mowed through the 16 Republicans who believed -- remember this -- they believed there was no way someone with Trump's style, no way someone with Trump history could ever win the Republican nomination.


TRUMP: On foreign policy, Hillary is trigger happy. She is. She's trigger happy. She's got a bad temperament. By the way, and her husband learned that a few times, didn't he? Bad temper. Bad temper.


KING: But Trump has a problem and it's a big one, though it's not clear he'd use it that way. The issue: a Republican revolt. Yes, he won the nomination fight and convincingly so.

But instead of the usual celebration it set off an internal GOP war. Trump is now the de facto leader of the party of Lincoln and Reagan. House Speaker Paul Ryan is in the highest elected Republican official in the party of Lincoln and Reagan, and he's no fan of Trump's agenda or his tone.


RYAN: Saying we're unified doesn't in and of itself unify us, but actually taking the principles that we all believe in, showing that there's a dedication of 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.


KING: Now, Trump and Speaker Ryan will meet this week, that was on Thursday. They're going to see if they can find peace or at least detente. But as Ryan looks for policy concessions and conservatives look to find a Tea Party challenge to Trump, listen to him here on ABC doesn't sound like a man who gives a damn what his critics think.


TRUMP: I have to stay true to my principles also, and I'm a conservative. But don't forget, this is called the Republican Party. It's not called the conservative party.


KING: Molly Ball at a moment where some people say, "Mr. Trump dial it back," "Mr. Trump, be calm," "Mr. Trump, please, reach out to these people, get peace in the party", that's thrown a log on the fire when conservatives are revolting against him.

MOLLY BALL, THE ATLANTIC: Right. And what we heard from Trump this week and his media blitz that he's been doing all these interviews is him saying this is what got me this far, this is how I won and I'm not going to change. Trump is going to trump.

So, I think we can -- you know, we've seen him occasionally be more subdued but especially when he's on the stump and he's got those big crowds egging him on, he's the same person and that's partly what people like about him is that there is in a strange way this authenticity to him.

[08:05:06] He always seems like the same person. He doesn't seem like consultants are feeding him lines to sound like different people to different audiences, and he does run the risk of, if he did suddenly have a personality transplant and start talking like Paul Ryan and changing all of his policy positions or triangulating, that the people originally gravitated to him might not like that. So, you know, I have trouble seeing him change. KING: M.J., he believes, so what if the guys don't endorse me, so

what if the party is not behind me, so what if some people boycott the convention, that he can get this what he calls new Trump voters, crossover voters, Bernie Sanders voters, that he can do it outside of the way that's been done for at least in our lifetime.

M.J. LEE, CNN POLITICS REPORTER: Right. I mean, I think in some ways, it didn't actually help Donald Trump that he became the presumptive nominee this week, even earlier than a lot of people thought. I think a lot of people in the Republican Party expected there to be a one or two-month period still left when they could sort of figure him out and see if he's willing to adjust and become more of a general candidate like, Molly, you were talking about.

When Paul Ryan went on Jake Tapper's show and said, look, I wasn't ready to make this decision, I think he really meant that, he wasn't ready to go there yet, and I think a lot of people, including Ryan himself, they have been backed into a corner of having to make the decision and say yes or no, are you behind Trump. So, we're seeing a situation where a lot of Republican congressional leaders, leaders of the party are having to say, look, I'm just not ready to go there yet.

KING: So, a lot of people question Paul Ryan himself coming out saying this is personal because he wants to run for president and we'll get to someone who says that quite prominently in a minute.

But others say Paul Ryan tried to craft spent most of his adult life working on policy matters. He's tried to craft the agenda for House Republicans to run on, to keep on, to keep their majority in a tough presidential year, and he looks at Trump's policy and he can't agree with a lot of them. Paul Ryan says you don't round up and deport illegal immigrants, Paul Ryan is not in favor of banning Muslims from enter into the United States, Paul Ryan is not in favor of tearing up trade agreements, Paul Ryan and Republican Party are not in favor of calling the NATO alliance obsolete.

And Donald Trump threw another wild card on the deck this week where he told Wolf Blitzer he's hoping to raising the minimum wage.

So that's one of the problems for Republicans is they don't think Donald Trump's one of them.

JONATHAN MARTIN, THE NEW YORK TIMES: And Paul Ryan has to basically go out there and convince himself that he can support somebody who is diametrically opposed not just to his core beliefs but the issues animated Paul Ryan's entire life, this is what Ryan cares about the most, what he believes is a reform agenda, which includes massive overhaul to entitlements, unapologetic tree trade, more welcoming approach to immigration, an aggressive U.S. presence in the world.

This is what Paul Ryan is passionate about and watching him try to find a way to say that he can support Trump, painful at times saying we come from different wings of the party. You step back and say well this is not like John Rowe and Barbara Boxer. I mean, this is not the same party.

KING: They come from different planets.

MARTIN: Yes, exactly.

RYAN LIZZA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Policy differences, right, and the truth is that Paul Ryan was well represented in the Republican primaries, right? Trump defeated at least a dozen candidates who represented a lot of what Ryan was offering and so what does it mean Donald Trump beat all those guys? Paul Ryan was defeated in the presidential primary.

So, I think Ryan was given Trump a path. He was saying, look, there's a chance I will support you. Maybe when they sit down on Thursday, we'll know what those things are.

KING: That's a great -- go ahead.

LIZZA: Paul Ryan and Republicans in Congress have to think we're never going to be Donald Trump because there's a lot personally they don't find appealing, but what strands of Trumpism does the Republican Party take from this?

KING: Right. You make a great point Paul Ryan expects Donald Trump to come his way on one or two policy proposals. Certainly, Paul Ryan and a number of Republicans, it's not just Paul Ryan, they want Donald Trump to dial it back, dial back the tone, don't attack immigrants, don't talk so much about building the wall, don't talk so much about banning Muslims. Don't talk about things that Republicans think will drive demographically the party into a ditch.

But listen to Donald Trump here. Donald Trump says, "I'm going to meet with Paul Ryan. I think it will be OK." But Donald Trump doesn't sound like he thinks it's his job to give ground.


TRUMP: I would imagine things will be OK with Paul Ryan. We'll see. I'm meeting him Thursday. We're going to see what happens. He wants to meet, we're going to see what happens. If he wants to meet, I'll meet.

But the important thing is you folks, OK? And he'll understand that. And he does understand that. And I would bet if he had that decision to do again, he would have done it the simple way. "I endorse Trump", OK? Do you agree with that?


KING: He describes it actually, that's the way it is, in the sense that Paul Ryan is the board. Donald Trump has had a hostile takeover of the company. The company is the Republican Party and the board is sitting there saying what happened?

LIZZA: And he won the shareholders.

KING: And the shareholders are saying, go get 'em.

BALL: Right, that is the problem, as Ryan was saying.

[08:10:01] This isn't just Paul Ryan versus Donald Trump. This is Paul Ryan versus the base of his party. This is Paul Ryan versus Republican voters.

And I think, you know, we've been talking about the policy differences. But for Ryan, it's also a lot about tone. He's given a series of speeches, made a series of comments over the course of the primary season, calling for civility, calling for a different type of politics, a politics that's not so divisive and that reaches out more.

And he sees that as the way to grow the party, in addition to just something that he personally believes in. And that's a harder thing I think for Trump to make a commitment on potentially if he were even inclined to do so because as we've seen Trump is so unpredictable, that he could say going to behave from now on. Would you believe it?

KING: So all this traction how fractured is the party? Can you bring the major pieces of the party together? We're going to talk about this. We're going to keep talking about this.

But one of the most fascinating dynamics is, you listen here, you mentioned Jake's interview with Paul Ryan. Jake also has an interview with Sarah Palin that comes up next on "STATE OF THE UNION".

Listen here, as we've just gone through. Donald Trump is now the leader of the Republican Party. Paul Ryan is its highest elected official, third in line to the presidency.

Here's Sarah Palin, a Trump support, saying that as Donald Trump is trying to unify the Republican Party and get elected president she wants to support a guy running a primary challenge against the speaker of the House.


SARAH PALIN, FORMER ALASKA GOVERNOR: I think Paul Ryan is soon could be Cantored as in Eric Cantor. His political career is over as the leader of the GOP, the convention certainly. He is to remain neutral, and for him to already come out and say who he will not support was not a wise decision of his.

You know, I think why Paul Ryan is doing this, Jake, is it kind of screws his chances for the 2020 presidential bid.


KING: That's Sarah Palin saying, this is personal for Paul Ryan, and I'm not sure that's true. But she thinks that Paul Ryan's calculation is, he wants to run for president in 2020. He wants Trump to lose so that he can run.

But the point she makes there is fascinating. Eric Cantor, if you don't remember, folks, was the House majority leader beaten by a Tea Party challenger that nobody thought had a prayer. As Donald Trump tries to win the presidency, I don't know if Trump supports this, but you have conservatives like Sarah Palin at the same moment, keep the tea party versus the establishment civil war going at the ballot box.

LIZZA: I mean, the good thing that Paul Ryan has on its side is Wisconsin is sort of one of the bases for the anti-Trump movement. I don't know how much Paul Ryan has to fear from a primary challenge back home.

KING: But what about across the country? We talked about this in the game of Paul Ryan, everybody knows who he is. He's the central figure in this but you can find this everywhere in the country, Republicans saying, what do I do?

BALL: But the odd thing is the Tea Party challengers to incumbents have been failing this year. In the Indiana primary, the tea party candidate for Senate lost, the establishment candidate endorsed by Mitch McConnell won that primary. That's been the case all over the country, Alabama, the incumbent senator won.

And so, you know, we used to have the Tea Party versus establishment dynamic and that's what Sarah Palin comes out of, but I don't think you can Trump align with either sides exactly.

LIZZA: They're on the decline and Trump has thrown a life vest to that wing of the party.

BALL: But a lot of the intellectual figures of the conservative anti- establishment Tea Party people, Erick Erickson, are absolutely opposed to Trump. So, he's forged a web between the two-way civil war and turned it into a three-way civil war.

MARTIN: A much more complicated deal, yes, exactly.


KING: Much more complicated, which is what we're going to talk about up next. This talk of a third party conservative challenge real? Who would it be?

And who is in and who is out as Trump looks for a running mate?

First, though, politicians say the darnedest things. You heard about Trump wines and Trump steaks, how about Trump, extra hold.


TRUMP: My hair look OK? Got a little spray. Give me a little spray. You know, you're not allowed to use hair spray anymore because it affects the ozone. You know that, right? I said you mean to tell me because you know, hair spray is not like it used to be, it used to be real good, when I put on that helmet, and by the way, look, it really is mine, right? Look.



[08:18:24] KING: Welcome back. Well, so much for the contested Republican convention. Any doubt

Donald Trump would get to 1,237, that's the magic number for the Republican nomination, well, that doubt ended in Indiana Tuesday night.

Remember, this was Ted Cruz's fire wall. Well, Donald Trump not only won, he won with more than 50 percent of the vote, he won all by five counties, all but five counties and he won all 57 delegates. Senator Cruz got out that night, Governor Kasich the next day, takes the drama out of the remaining Republican primaries, Nebraska and West Virginia, takes a bit of the drama out.

Mr. Trump takes it further, listen.


TRUMP: Now what I want you to do is save your vote. You don't have to vote anymore. Save your vote for the general election, OK? Forget this one. The primary's gone. Save your vote for the general election in November, and we're going to show you something and then you're going to show me something, OK?


KING: That's not what the leader of a party does. I get he's joking. Let's be clear, also tweeted after, please turn out and vote for me so I think he's kind of winging it in the joy of the moment, but when he wings it in the joy of the moment people in the party cringe.

MARTIN: Because it's a good standard for us larger party issues about Trump, which is that he doesn't know what's happening in the party. There are important down ballot primary races in that state on Tuesday especially when it comes to judgeships, which is a huge important deal in the state. He doesn't know that because he doesn't follow politics like that.

So, he can just sort of throw that line out there, and it's all sort of fun and games but all the operatives and candidates running down ballots, oh, no!

[08:20:00] LEE: And it's baffling someone in Trump's position would even go out there and say you don't even have to turn out. I mean, turnout for him at least headed into November is so critical, especially when he's talking about winning some of these states that lean more blue, turnout is incredibly important or you know, we would have to see Trump completely reinvent himself which I think is not impossible. You were talking about a personality transplant, not impossible, but I think he really depends, must depend on millions of people who are usually checked out or not inclined to go to the ballots to turn out, if he really wants to win these states.

KING: He's going to also have to depend on a party data operation. The Republican National Committee has tried to learn the lessons of the two big Obama wins and part of the tension, part of the questions about this tension is can he strike peace or detente with the party to coordinate and to cooperate well. There's a lot of great pieces out there. But there's one, Jonathan,

your part in the front of the "New York Times," staffer at the RNC were told this week if they weren't ready to get behind Trump, they should pack up their stuff.

MARTIN: If you can't commit to the general election, then you should find a way to leave the party.

KING: Is that from Reince Priebus or a message from Trump, people outside?

MARTIN: No, it was delivered by an RNC staffer on a conference call this week and the staffers I talked to on a conference call very clearly interpreted it as OK, so if not for Trump, then you've got to go.

BALL: Operatives are thinking about their careers, right, because even if you're a low level RNC staffer, you have no idea what that is going to look like on your resume five years from now or even a year from now, right? If the party has actually like broken into a million pieces and there's a new party being constituted and you are one of the ones on the Trump effort and it turns into this toxic stew of what have you, then you're going to be embarrassed about that.

But then again what if, you know, you're seen as a good soldier, what if he wins, what if something else. If you're just a low level party hack, it's really difficult to understand, and also you need a paycheck.

KING: Here's another tough decision for a lot of people operatives at whatever level or elected officials at high levels is, should they mount a third party candidacy?

You have people in the never Trump movement in the blogosphere. But Mitt Romney sat down with Bill Kristol, those are not lightweights, you have Erick Erickson who runs the Resurgent now, used to run, a lot of people may not know him, but he is an influential voice, they say we need a candidate.

And Ben Sasse, a young senator from Nebraska, a conservative favorite put an open letter saying, "With Clinton and Trump, the fix is in. Heads they win, tails you lose. Why are we confined to these two terrible options? This is America. If both choices stink, we reject them and go bigger. That's what we do. We can do better. Give us more choices, the hashtag."

But the question for that, Ryan, is you better start today, getting on the ballot is hard. Getting on the ballot is hard. Go back and look at how Ross Perot did it, it takes a lot of money, he had it. You got to get kids to sign petitions. You got people doing all the work.

You got to do the infrastructure but you need a leader. Who?

LIZZA: In most states, the two parties are in collusion to make it impossible to get third parties on the ballot. There's a deadline coming up tomorrow, Monday, in Texas, which has the highest requirements. There's not going to be a third party person on the ballot in Texas, because they're going to miss the deadline.

So, this is not an effort to actually win. This is an effort so that conservatives who don't like Trump and will never vote for Hillary, have an option. Who's it going to be? A lot of people like Bill Kristol and Erick Erickson seem to be excited about Ben Sasse, you know, freshman who conservatives really like.

To step forward and do that is a huge, huge headache. You have to raise a quarter of a billion dollars perhaps to get on the ballot in the other states. So --

MARTIN: I'm skeptical.

LIZZA: I don't think Sasse is going to do it.


LIZZA: Sasse threw his name out there, but buried in that was a comment he's got little kids and doesn't have the time.

MARTIN: There is already a third party candidate. His name is Gary Johnson. He's a former two-term governor of New Mexico.

KING: The libertarian.

LIZZA: You think the Republican Party is in civil war, the libertarian.


BALL: The libertarians have their nominating convention at the end of the month. You could be a delegate to the convention buying a ticket. So, if you had a well-organized effort, you could basically buy the libertarian party's nomination by flooding that convention.

The problem for the third party wishful thinking people is that they're very disorganized and they're too busy debating whether this is something they should do to push the effort forward. But you know, you got to think libertarians believing in free markets would be OK with someone buying their nom nice.

KING: You're saying at the moment, the Never Trump movement has the efficiency of the stop Trump movement.

BALL: Basically.

KING: Not very good.


MARTIN: The point I'm making is there is going to be a vessel, there is going to be a vehicle, probably Gary Johnson, unless the convention is flooded with Bill Kristol acolytes, possible, and he's a former two-term governor of New Mexico.

(CROSSTALK) MARTIN: -- smokes himself, I understand that. But the fact is, he's going to be somebody on the ballot who they can vote for.

LIZZA: If you're a social conservative that hates Trump, Gary Johnson doesn't resolve your problem, though.

LEE: Some Republicans are saying a third party candidacy would be disastrous.

[08:25:02] But on the other hand, if there is no third party candidate, I think the party risks millions of voters sitting out because they're so opposed to Trump and the down ballot candidates really getting hurt in the process.

BALL: If you have a two-way race and Trump loses, the statement is, people like Democrats. If you have a three-way race and Trump loses, the statement is, the party was divided and Republicans -- there were a sizeable chunk of Republicans who wanted this other.

KING: And let's just keep going and continue this fight into 2020, would be what happens there.

Up next, proof positive Hillary Clinton learned a lesson watching Republicans not take Donald Trump seriously from day one.


CLINTON: I don't think we can take a risk on a loose cannon like Donald Trump running the country. I think it's a risk. I think he is a loose cannon and loose cannons tend to misfire.


KING: First, though, our INSIDE POLITICS quiz, should Speaker Ryan endorse Donald Trump? Yes, no, or only if Trump makes policy concessions? Vote now at


[08:30:09] KING: Hillary Clinton sees one clear lesson from Donald Trump's GOP primary win, attack him, relentlessly, and then some more.


HILLARY CLINTON, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This is to me a classic case of a blustering bullying guy who has knocked out of the way all the Republicans, because they were just dumb-founded.

And I don't think we can take a risk on a loose cannon like Donald Trump running our country. He's a loose cannon.


KING: You get the point? She thinks he's a loose cannon. I think five or six times in about two minutes there with Anderson Cooper she said that. At the same time though, Trump is serving clear notice he considers just about everything, fair game.


DONALD TRUMP, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: They're going after me with women? Give me a break! Folks, give me a break! Bill Clinton was the worst in history, and I have to listen to her talking about it?

And just remember this, she was an unbelievable nasty mean enabler and what she did to a lot of those women is disgraceful.


KING: Now, Bernie Sanders would say we're getting a little ahead of ourselves. And we'll get to Senator Sanders in just a minute but if we get a Trump/Clinton general election, by the sound of that, it's going to be about education policy, right?


BALL: ... white papers every day. It's going to be really wonky.

KING: We're in May and we're in slash and burn.

RYAN LIZZA, WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT, THE NEW YORKER: He's ignoring and maybe Donald Trump is a genius, he's gotten this far but he is ignoring several decades of history about how you run, what do you and don't do to run against the Clintons.

And I think, I mean impeachment, when it was happening in 1998, backfired against the Republicans, they lost the midterm elections that year. And so, you know, I'm hard-pressed to understand how going back to that set of issues helps Donald Trump.

JONATHAN MARTIN, NEW YORK TIMES: What do you know? But you raised, you raised...


KING: You just raised the most fascinating question of this election, though. People always go back to the old rule books and old playbooks and they haven't worked, right? So, is Trump right? Is he a genius or is going to end up in the quick sand?

LIZZA: And I think, look, and I think the fact that Trump has defied all expectations, defied all pundits and has actually won the nomination despite what a lot of people like me thought would happen has a lot of us saying, wow, all right, maybe give him a little bit more deference but all of the data, all the polls showing what he did in the primary is just not the same in the general election. Remember, 10 percent of eligible voters voted in the primaries. General election is a totally different beast.

MOLLY BALL, THE ATLANTIC WRITER: Well, and look, according to the polls, as many as three-quarters of women nationally do not like Donald Trump and it's hard to see how he fixes that by going after Hillary in this way. On the other hand, I mean, the way that Hillary is going after him does have some Democrats nervous that she's sort of walking right into his trap. She's saying, oh, he's risky, he's unpredictable. That's basically his platform and she's selling herself as the status quo candidate. She's saying vote for me if you're afraid of changing anything.

KING: Right.

BALL: Right? If you want things to go on just exactly how they are and that's the point of his candidacy is he dangerous and risky and might actually change the way things are. And that's just -- that's the whole point of his candidacy is that he is dangerous and risky and might actually change the way things are.

KING: That's a great point. She is -- for all her many strengths and she has many strengths, she says to a lot of voters in Washington, she says the establishment, she says same old same sold and he is new and different. And that's the message he wants to sell.

The one message the Democrats tried to send this week and I think they did it pretty convincingly is at a time when we -- as we discussed earlier, the Republicans are fractured into too many pieces to count. The Democrats are trying to give the impression we are all hands on deck including the president of the United States who came out to talk about the economy the other day and couldn't resist and was grateful for a question about you know who.


BARACK OBAMA, U.S. PRESIDENT: I just want to emphasize the degree to we are in serious times and this is a really serious job. This is not entertainment. This is not a reality show. This is a contest for the presidency of the United States. And what that means is that every candidate, every nominee needs to be subject to exacting standards and genuine scrutiny.


KING: Now, a lot of conservatives out there saying, easy for him to say because they think Obama got a pass from the press back in '08. Now, we won't try to relitigate that one now but that is the president getting involved.

Elizabeth Warren who's been quiet for most of the primaries also got involved in a heavy way this week. She was tweeting against Donald Trump, she was speaking out against Donald Trump and Donald Trump took notice.


SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D) MASSACHUSETTS: I've just learned that crooked Hillary, along with her friend, you know, you know, she's got this goofy friend named Elizabeth Warren. She said goofus. She is a goofus. So -- di you ever see her? I mean, this woman, she's a basket case. By the way, she's done nothing in the United States Senate. She's done nothing. I'd love to run against her, if I came from Massachusetts.


KING: Scott Brown won't be Donald Trump's running mate.

[08:35:00] MARTIN: But it was a revealing week though because it proved with those sound bites certainly there, but also the stuff he was saying about Lindsey Graham, he was saying about Paul Ryan, he is a pitcher with one pitch.

He comes in and throws heat all he's got and that's what he's going to do. And to me, what was striking about it, Jonathan was the fact it just had a different scent to it than it did in the primary, because he is now the nominee.

And I think for a lot of people in the party is, oh my gosh, it's going to be the same routine. He's not changing at all. That's what you got.

LIZZA: As Molly said, Trump is going to Trump, waiting, we've been waiting for a year. The pundits have been waiting for a year he's going to change, he's going to change, it's not going to happen. He is who he is. If he changes for a day, the following day he's going to be back to his default position.

KING: One of the things he has tried to do is to reach out to Bernie Sanders' supporter, because many of them are angry. Many of them feel the system is rigged. Senator Sanders wrote to the Democratic National Committee this week, hey, wait a minute, you're putting the chairs of the key committees of the conventions, they're all Hillary supporters.

You know, Sanders has been very rational, I think, about this. He says, I get the math, it's really hard but I'm not done yet. I still have a small chance and you should give me my chance. But even Senator Sanders, listen to him here, he knows what Trump is doing and he went with Wolf Blitzer and he said no, sorry, Donald.


BERNIE SANDERS, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I know that Donald Trump is staying up nights worrying about Bernie Sanders, but let me just give Donald Trump some bad news. And that is number one, if I am the democratic nominee, I am going to defeat him and defeat him by a very large margin. If I am not the democratic nominee, I'm going to do everything that I can to see that he does not get into the White House.


KING: Now, we'll see if it plays out because it used to be in most of our adult lifetimes, it was the Democrat who got into the circular firing squads than the Republicans who are more disciplined. But right now, the Democrats do seem to have an all hands on deck all against Trump attitude at a time the Republicans are fractured all over the place.

MJ LEE, CNN REPORTER: Well, and what Trump is baking on here when he continues to talk about Sanders' supporters and how he can win over Bernie voters is that there is actually a great amount of overlap between Trump supporters and Bernie fan, you know, in looking for a candidate who believes that the political system is rigged.

Now, I've been to plenty of Trump rallies and Bernie rallies where people will acknowledge yes, they're different in a lot of ways but their sentiment is the same, what they stand for is the same, but also obviously keep in mind that a lot of Bernie supporters when they've been polled, the majority of them say that they do not have a good opinion of Trump so it's not like we're talking about a lot of voters that Trump can potentially win over but that sentiment is sort of the right one if he does want to appeal to those kinds of voters.

LIZZA: Big test for the Clinton campaign. Theoretically, a civil war in the Republican Party should give her a huge opportunity to reach out to some high-profile Republicans, get their endorsement and backing. Can they pull it off? Can they get a sitting senator or sitting Republican governor or a even a recent one to back her and say she's better than Trump.


KING: That's a perfect segue to where we go next, the path to 270. Hillary Clinton begins with an edge but Donald Trump has one very important opening.


[08:42:04] KING: We pick a new president in 183 days. And if Donald Trump has taught us anything, it is to expect the unexpected but Democrats, this is the 2012 map, Democrats can claim an early advantage when it comes to the math that matters most on Election Day building a state by state map to 270 electoral votes.

Look at this, I want to match up our brand new CNN/ORC poll with President Obama's performance Election Day 2012, when he won in a big electoral college landslide. Hillary Clinton a little better among men than the president did then, better among women, better among independents, better among white voters, better even among non-white voters and she's running a little stronger than the president in the suburbs.

So if you're Hillary Clinton, these are your numbers today, these were the president's numbers in the exit polls on Election Day 2012. You look at this and you think OK, right now, I have the Obama coalition. I can keep it. I can protect it. I can defend this. That's her goal. But Donald Trump has one advantage in our poll. Yes, he's behind Secretary Clinton, yes, I just showed you the demographic issues but look at this, the number one issue for the American people is the economy. Trump has a narrow national lead. Look at this in the Midwest, Donald Trump's path to 270 has to include the rust belt. He needs to win Michigan, he needs to win Ohio. He probably needs to win Pennsylvania. Look at this in the Midwest. Small lead nationally, a huge lead, a huge lead in that part of the country where Donald Trump is going to anchor his candidacy. So that's a big deal. But Trump does know to improve his map, he needs to improve his standing with Latinos.

So let's debate this one. On Cinco de Mayo, there was this, a Donald Trump tweet, sitting in front of a taco bowls, "Happy Cinco de Mayo, the best taco bowls are made in the Trump Tower Grill. I love Hispanics." You can see the picture right there, giving his taco bowl a thumbs-up. Smart. Not so smart. We can debate that in a minute. Hillary Clinton says, don't be fooled.


CLINTON: Just yesterday, Donald Trump doubled down on his plan to create a deportation force to round up millions of people. The best way to prevent that from happening is to make sure he never gets near the White House!


KING: Where are we on the taco bowl strategy?

MARTIN: That was a good impression by the way.


BALL: Well, look, you know, Donald Trump loves to say that he's been winning Hispanic in the Republican primaries, most Hispanics are not Republican. And so, he has not had to really campaign to those people in any meaningful way, overwhelmingly negative ratings from Hispanics in the poll so far. Hard to see how the taco bowl strategy changes that although maybe I'm out of touch with that particular demographic.

But, so, you know, this is another case of the general election looking a lot different for Trump than the primary did. There were hardly any Hispanic and African-American and minority voters in those Republican primaries. There's a whole lot of them, more every year in that general election.

MARTIN: You can't impress upon folks enough as Ryan pointed out, the primary is a different universe than the general election. Ten percent of American voters were in the primary, it's a totally wider field.

[08:45:07] One fast point on the map that you showed there, John, two numbers jumped out to me looking at Pennsylvania, first the question about suburban voters, second of all women voters. And for all this talk about Trump bringing new voters into play, I think it's possible that he could. The challenge is that she potentially could be even better than Obama with those two demographics.

And so I think, for every one old Democratic voter that hasn't been voted recently but he gets help in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, she could eventually get three or four more Romney voters for her in the suburbs around Philadelphia and that's why this is a big challenge for Trump.

He's facing landmark negative ratings in the Hispanic community, right, most of the polls showing 70 percent to 80 percent of Hispanics have a negative opinion of Donald Trump and I'm pretty sure the taco bowl tweet is not going to turn that around...

KING: The taco bowl...

MARTIN: I mean, a lot of smart Republican strategists who have thought long and hard about how the party appeals to Hispanics and that's...

LEE: I never thought of the taco bowl.

KING: But a lot smart Republican strategists, a lot of smart reporters in this town also thought there's no way Donald Trump could win, on paper. If you looked early on at Donald Trump's positions, on paper, there was no way Donald Trump could be the nominee of the Republican Party.

If you look at the polling in the data now and the Obama coalition from the two elections, there's no way Donald Trump can win a general election, which leads me to believe, well, if there was no way he could win the nomination, I'm going to set aside the note that says there's no way he could win the general election.

LEE: But there really is when you listen to Trump's rhetoric, such a misread of the general election map when he talks about I'm going to go win, you know, New York or Massachusetts.

MARTIN: Oregon.

LEE: These blue states, right? Just -- and he's basing that on the fact that he performed very well in those states in the primary but as Jonathan was saying, obviously those, the primary and the general election are two very different universes, but I think that, you know, the kinds of states where he should be targeting are states like Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, these sort of former industrial states where there are a lot of blue collar white workers.

But even in those states, I think he really has to get out, you know, the turnout has to be really high in order for him to be competitive. And I don't know if he understands that strategy yet.

KING: And did you heard him -- we heard him over the weekend -- we're out of time but (inaudible) but he heard over the weekend as well talking about guns. Hillary Clinton wants to take away the second amendment, that's an outreach to disaffected Democrats, blue collar voters in those states, Michigan, Pennsylvania, across as we'd say, all right.

Our reporters share from their notebooks, including the possibility of Donald Trump putting his money and other people's as well where his mouth is. The first results for Inside Politics quiz, we asked, should speaker Paul Ryan support Donald Trump? Yes or no? Or only if Trump makes policy concessions. The majority, 55 percent said no.


[08:51:54] KING: Let's head around the Inside Politics table and ask our great reporters to share a little nugget from their notebooks. Get you out ahead of the big political news just ahead. Molly Ball?

BALL: What I'm really looking forward to this week is listening to the new Radiohead album that comes out today.

KING: Amen.

BALL: But in politics, like all of us, I think I'm going to be watching these Republicans in Congress and seeing how they orient themselves vis-a-vis Trump.

Little tidbit last weekend, the main street Republicans had a retreat and these are the moderate Republicans in the swing districts, the ones probably sort of most vulnerable if there ends up being a landslide in November. And a source of mine who was in the room described it as a group therapy session, the vibe in the room.

So, these are the Republicans that everybody's going to be watching. They're trying to figure out how they can run their own races, hopefully save their own skins if, as they expect the Trump nomination ends up being catastrophic for the party.

KING: Therapists are going to do well over the next few months. I think that's a safe bet. Jonathan?

MARTIN: John, quite a few sitting members of Congress and governors have said that they will support Trump or at least as they call him "the nominee" almost like the nominee who shall not be named.

I talked to a senior party official yesterday who said that he is counseling some of these members of congress and governors to, if there's an opportunity at some point down the road, either because Trump says something that's very controversial or some new oppo (ph) comes to the surface, take that opportunity and use that to sort of cut him loose.

So, even though you see a lot of folks already out there endorsing him, you already have these kind of back-room conversations of if this thing does really get bad, if it does get, you know, worse than it is, don't be afraid to seize that moment to cut him loose.

KING: Have a plan B. Ryan?

LIZZA: And I'm going to echo some -- very similar conversation this week, interviewing a Republican senator obviously about Trump, like everyone else and just to show the uncertainty these guys are grappling with, this senator gave some very qualified praise to Trump, wasn't ready to endorse yet but had some sort of kind things to say.

And at the end of the conversation after talking to the senate for an hour about the dynamics of Trump, said, when is this going to appear? I said, well, you know, not for another week, work on a weekly magazine.

And said, well, do you think you could call me back right before you go to press just in case Trump said something really crazy and I want to retract my qualifying comments?

And so, there's just so much uncertainty, all the Republicans are just worried about, you know, do they support, to they not support and if they say something -- and in the meantime he announces that he's going to nuke Canada, maybe they want to bring it back.

KING: As quicksand, do you stand still or do you try to move. MJ?

LEE: Now that Donald Trump is the presumptive nominee, he's facing a lot of pressure to show that he can raise the kind of money that you need for a general election. Great America pack which is going to be the main pro-Trump superpack says that in the next week or two, it will release a list of names of major GOP donors who have committed to giving to this pack. I think we'll look at that list and see if there are in fact names that we recognize, names that actually can write $1 million checks, which I think would sort of reassure his supporters that he can raise the kind money needed to be competitive.

[08:55:04] Now, the pack also says in the spirit of his primary campaign, they're still going to be soliciting a lot of small dollar donations to make sure that the sort of grassroots efforts is still behind this pack. So, we'll see how this sort of hybrid setup ends up working out for this pack.

KING: Money, the great lubricant of politics. I'll close with a quick reminder of what one veteran Democrat this week described as and I quote "the waiting game of which we must not speak." By that of course, he meant the Hillary Clinton e-mail investigation.

CNN's Pamela Brown reported this past week, the FBI investigation is entering crunch time. Top Clinton state department aides have been interviewed and the FBI is expecting its sit-down with Secretary Clinton herself to take place quite soon. So far, Pamela reports the FBI has found no evidence of criminal wrongdoing but she was also careful to note investigators are not at the finish line as Democrats prepare for a fall campaign in which they not only hope to keep the White House but also think they can retake the senate.

The e-mail investigation is a giant wild card, or as this veteran Democrat put it, "that thing no one wants to talk about that we hope will be OK because we can't fathom what happens if it isn't." That's it for Inside Politics again, thanks for sharing your Sunday morning. Happy Mother's Day. We'll see you soon. State of the Union with Jake Tapper up next.