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Trump Denies Posing as His Own Spokesman; Trump Refused to Reveal Tax Rate; Anger Over Lines, Delays at Airport Checkpoints; Bin Laden's Son Emerges as Possible Al Qaeda Heir; Aired 5-6p ET
Aired May 13, 2016 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[17:00:01] BERMAN: I'm John Berman, in for Jake Tapper. Have a great weekend. I now turn you over to Wolf Blitzer in "THE SITUATION ROOM."
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now, Trump's truth. New questions about Donald Trump's relationship with the truth over the years as the GOP's presumptive nominee denies posing as his own publicist in telephone calls to reporters. But after listening to an extraordinary 1991 recording, an audio specialist tells CNN that's Trump.
Breaking the ice. As Trump looks to thaw his relationship with the GOP, he insists he's flexible about his proposed ban on Muslims but he creates a new controversy by saying his tax rate is nobody's business.
Bin Laden's son. He's behind a bone-chilling new message calling for terror attacks. Is the young son of Osama bin Laden being groomed to take over the leadership of al Qaeda?
And long, long lines. From Atlanta to Phoenix to Chicago. Travelers are facing huge delays at airport security checkpoints as thousands of checked bags missed their flights. Is any relief in sight?
I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
Another bombshell from Donald Trump. This time a blast from the candidate's past. The "Washington Post" reports that in previous decades, Trump routinely made calls to reporter posing as a Trump publicist and answering questions about his business dealings and personal life including a divorce and relationships. An extraordinary 1991 recording sounds very much like Donald Trump speaking in the third person about his exploits. Trump says, quote, "It was not me." But a forensic audio specialist now says it is Trump's voice.
All this comes as Trump is trying to patch things up with a badly divided Republican Party and as he is being pressed on statements he's made during the campaign. The presumptive nominee now says his proposal to ban Muslims temporarily from the United States was just a suggestion. In the same breath he says he's not softening his stance but that he's flexible.
There's no sign of flexibility on taxes, though. Trump is refusing to release his tax returns until an audit is complete. He'd be the first nominee, by the way, since 1976, to withhold that information. Asked today about his tax rate, Trump says, "It's none of your business," adding that he fights very hard to pay as little tax as possible.
I'll talk to Trump campaign spokesperson Katrina Pierson. She's standing by live. And our correspondents, analysts and guests, they will have full coverage of all the day's top stories.
Let's begin with CNN political reporter Sara Murray.
Sara, could anyone have dreamt that this time Donald Trump would allegedly, many, many years ago, be masquerading as his own publicist? What's the latest?
SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, it is just the latest bizarre twist in this campaign. Reports that Donald Trump would use assumed names and pretend to be his own spokesman to speak to reporters decades ago.
Now this was the kind of thing that has been fodder for the local press in New York for decades but it's getting renewed attention now that he is the presumptive GOP nominee.
MURRAY (voice-over): In an election season that already seemed unreal, Donald Trump has trumped himself again. Today he's denying that he used to pose as his own spokesman in conversations like this one from 1991.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Marla wants to be back with him. She wants to be with him. He just feels it's too soon.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: What about the ring?
TRUMP: Well, there was never an engagement ring.
MURRAY: The audio obtained by "The Washington Post" reveals the purported Trump rep dishing on the phone about Trump's relationship with model and future wife Marla Maples. Discussing his marital inclinations.
TRUMP: I can tell you this, just off the record, there's no way he gets married without a prenuptial agreement.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Yes.
TRUMP: You understand that.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Yes.
TRUMP: It was painful but worked in the Ivana case.
MURRAY: And boasting about overtures from other women.
TRUMP: He's somebody that has a lot of options. And frankly, he gets called by everybody. He gets called by everybody in the book, in terms of women.
MURRAY: The spokesman who sounded awfully lot like Trump calls himself John Miller.
TRUMP: By the way, I'm sort of new here. And I'm --
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: What is your position there?
TRUMP: Well, I'm sort of handling PR because he gets so much of it.
MURRAY: And today, Trump is insisting that's not his voice on the tape.
TRUMP: No, it was not me on the phone. It was not me on the phone. And it doesn't sound like me on the phone. I will tell you that. And it was not me on the phone. And when was this, 25 years ago?
MURRAY: But the billionaire businessman's affinity for posing under aliases like John Miller and John Barron has often been fodder for magazines, newspapers and even books. In one such biography, "Never Enough: Donald Trump and the Pursuit of Success," the author says it's a habit that runs in the family.
"Barron was a character out of Fred Trump's book. In his day, Fred had used the name Mr. Green to hide his identity."
Trump even admitted in court testimony in 1990 that he's been known to go by John Barron.
[17:05:06] These days another family member has dibs on the name. Barron Trump, Donald's 10-year-old son. Meanwhile, the spokesman denial from Trump comes as the billionaire holds his ground when it comes to releasing his tax return.
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC NEWS ANCHOR: What is your tax rate?
TRUMP: It's none of your business. You'll see it when I release. But I fight very hard to pay as little tax as possible.
MURRAY: Now, of course, Wolf, we know candidates for president are not legally required to release their tax returns but this has become the norm for every candidate since the mid-1970s and so the question now is what is in Donald Trump's tax returns and what will that look like under political scrutiny? But it's possible that we are never going to see those before election day -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Sara, I understand some of the top Trump aides there in Cleveland today where you are for the first meetings on the GOP convention that's coming up in July. What can you tell us?
MURRAY: That's right, Wolf. The business of building out this campaign continues and a lot of that of course is going to happen right here in Cleveland. In just two months, when there's a GOP convention, and it's an interesting feel here because Trump became the presumptive nominee just about a week ago. He's still working to unite the party but his aides were here. They were meeting with RNC officials. They were getting up to day and almost a full day of meetings essentially on what's been planned already, what the stage is going to look like, what the Quick and Loans Arena is going to look like. And officials who are in the meeting and we're speaking to them afterwards described it as essentially a first date but a first date that went pretty well, Wolf.
BLITZER: All right. Thank you very much, Sara Murray, in Cleveland for us.
Let's bring in our chief political correspondent Dana Bash.
Dana, here's a little bit more of what Trump said this morning about his tax returns. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHANOPOULOS: Do you believe voters have a right to see your tax returns before they make a final decision?
TRUMP: I don't think they do, but I do say this, I will really gladly give them -- not going to learn anything. But it's under routine audit. When the audit ends, I'm going to present them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: All right. Is this going to hurt him politically, this reluctance to release the tax returns until that audit is complete?
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: You know, I've talked to Republican sources today about this who are kind of mixed and having a debate about the answer to that very question. On the one hand, he is right, and you just heard it from Sara Murray. It is not the law. So voters don't have a legal right to see his tax returns but it has been the tradition for 40 years.
The reason these Republican sources I talk to say that they are torn is they are concerned that if this continues to be an issue, and that it's an issue for voters, it could undercut the Republican argument against Hillary Clinton as not transparent or hiding things. But at the same time, they understand that he is a real estate guy. His taxes are no doubt incredibly complicated and in the words of one source I talked to, probably all legal but the perception of how things are done might be a problem.
And this is also interesting, Wolf. It's a key illustration of how things are different for Trump right now. During the primaries, he didn't have to worry about donors. In fact that was a -- an important selling point for his campaign. But now it's different. He's working with the Republican National Committee on a general election campaign and donors do matter to fund this incredibly expensive campaign.
And I was talking to one source today who has a lot of discussions with Republican donors who say that donors are concerned about this. They want him to release the returns even though it probably won't be pretty and that they are planning on trying to do it before the convention.
BLITZER: Yes. During the primary campaign, he self-funded this campaign.
BLITZER: But that's no longer the case. He himself now says he's going to go out --
BASH: It's a whole new ballgame.
BLITZER: Start raising money together with the Republican Party and others.
All right, thanks very much, Dana, for that.
BASH: Thank you.
BLITZER: Joining us now is Katrina Pierson. The national spokeswoman for the Trump campaign.
Katrina, thanks very much for joining us.
KATRINA PIERSON, NATIONAL SPOKESPERSON, TRUMP CAMPAIGN: Thanks, Wolf.
BLITZER: All right. So what do you make of this Trump saying in that interview this morning he didn't think voters had a right to see his tax returns. Is that now his position?
PIERSON: I mean, he has said that before in the past. And you know what, it's not a constitutional requirement to run for president but he has made a commitment to release those after the audit. This is nothing new. He has said the same thing since he has been on the campaign trail.
BLITZER: Because he says he will release the tax returns as soon as the audit is complete. If he now says he doesn't necessarily have to, there's no right that he has to do it, he's still going to do it, right?
PIERSON: Yes. He said he would. After the audit was complete. Look, when your legal counsel gives you information, most people would follow that information and they said it's not a good idea to release your tax returns until after the audit. That's simply what he's doing, he's following the advice of his legal counsel.
BLITZER: But you heard him in that exchange he had with George Stephanopoulos on "Good Morning America" when George asked him what is your tax rate, and he said, it's none of your business. What did he mean by that?
PIERSON: What he meant was, you'll find out when everybody else does. And he fights very hard to pay the lowest tax rate possible like most Americans.
[17:10:05] When you have said 100 times, I'll release my tax returns after the audit, that's what he means, Wolf.
BLITZER: So he'll release it still but as of right now, it's not anyone's business what his tax return is. Is that the point you're trying to make?
PIERSON: It's not George Stephanopoulos' business. Until the audit is done, he will release those tax returns.
BLITZER: All right. So we'll have to wait for that audit to be complete. As you know, and as all -- everyone knows by now, he's not a traditional political candidate.
BLITZER: But he is seemingly softening his positions right now, now that he no longer has to worry about getting the nomination, the Republican presidential nomination. Now that he has to worry about a general election he seems to be softening his position on some sensitive issues like a temporary ban on Muslims coming to the United States. He now says that's a suggestion. He seems to be softening his position on tax policy.
Is he now moving away from the right, shall we say, toward the center as he worries about a general election because that's what regular politicians as you know do?
PIERSON: No. Not at all. What Mr. Trump is saying is that yes, all of his policies are suggestions like any other candidate. We all recall that time when if you liked your doctor, you can keep your doctor. Guess what, that actually doesn't say the policy.
Mr. Trump was just being very honest with voters and he has not backpedaled. And let me repeat this. He has not backpedaled on his Muslim ban. He said he would back off of it in an instant if things have taken place to where we could properly vet individuals. So this media outcry of how Trump has somehow backed off of his Muslim ban, I find quite absurd because that is just simply not the case.
BLITZER: Because he's not talking about a temporary ban on Syrian refugees coming to the United States. Does he still stand by his position there should be a temporary ban on all Muslims coming to the United States because now he's saying also that's a suggestion?
PIERSON: Well, I've actually heard that the ban included all Muslims but it didn't. I mean, the fact of the matter is, if you can go back and look at the policy, it was an immigration policy. It never included American Muslims living abroad. It never included anyone other than those looking to immigrate into this country. So even that has been totally media spin and completely false.
BLITZER: Well, he has said in that initial statement I think was back in December that there should be a ban on Muslims coming to the United States. He since then has modified --
PIERSON: Yes. It was an immigration policy. Absolutely.
BLITZER: He says there can be some exceptions since then, he says there. But bottom line, and you're the spokeswoman for the Trump campaign, is he still saying there should be a ban on Muslims coming to the United States with only a few exceptions, for example, King Abdullah of Jordan, who's a friend of the United States or the new mayor of London who would like to come to the United States, clearly?
PIERSON: Well, we're talking about two different things. The initial proposal, which was a ban on Muslims coming into the country as an immigration policy, that talked about until we can figure out what's going on. Now we're talking about people like King Abdullah or somebody like the mayor. Those people, we know who they are. We know where they stand. So those are the, quote-unquote, "exceptions" that he's talking about.
If we don't know who an individual is coming in from a Muslim nation, who is trying to come into this country, there's no paperwork, no way to identify their intentions, then those people need to go -- undergo additional process of evaluation. He's just siding with our own national security adviser.
BLITZER: But when he made the initial statement, it wasn't just an immigration policy. It was on all Muslims including tourists who wanted to go a visa to come to the United States.
PIERSON: It wasn't. I would highly suggest -- I would highly suggest you go back to the original statement that he read from and the statement that was sent out to every single media outlet. In the subject line it says immigration. That's the policy banner.
BLITZER: So it wasn't -- so he never meant that tourists would be banned from coming to the United States? Is that what you're now saying?
PIERSON: What I'm saying is, it was an immigration policy. It never included every single Muslim but we do have to take a step back. If we know who these individuals are, that's a completely different story.
BLITZER: But I understand the immigration policy.
PIERSON: And those are the exceptions he's talking about.
BLITZER: But, Katrina, was there a ban on Muslim tourists coming to the United States until the U.S. could figure out what was going on? Was that included?
PIERSON: If these individuals could not be identified and did not have proper paperwork, absolutely.
BLITZER: But if they could be identified, did have proper paperwork, would he allow Muslim tourists to come to the United States?
PIERSON: Well, those are the exceptions, Wolf. Those are the exceptions, Wolf. If we can identify you, know where you come from and can find your intentions, then of course, those are these exceptions. That's what Mr. Trump is talking about.
BLITZER: But you remember, he called it a total and complete shutdown at the time. Remember?
PIERSON: Yes. That's the immigration policy, you're absolutely right. We have seen time and time again that the media twists and turns Mr. Trump's policies, asked him questions out of context, and continue to use those comments to reshape his policies. And I'm just not going to let that happen.
BLITZER: All right. Let's talk a little bit about this audiotape that the "Washington Post" released today.
[17:15:03] Donald Trump, he says that -- the voice on that audio, it's about 15 minutes or so, isn't him. But CNN's Drew Griffin spoke with a forensic audio specialist today to check that claim. I want you to listen to what that specialist said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
THOMAS OWENS, FORENSIC AUDIO SPECIALIST: Based on the critical listening and based on some pitch results, statics and analysis, I can conclude with a fair degree of scientific certainty that it is Donald Trump's voice.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: All right. So you want to react to that? Donald Trump this morning on the "Today" show said that wasn't his voice. Is that still his position?
PIERSON: Yes, it is actually. I don't know who that person is or who is paying that person, but I will say, it doesn't sound like Donald Trump to me either and if he says it's not him, it's not him. The question I have, though, is why exactly is this national news of "People" magazine interview from decades ago.
This is not news worthy, Wolf. But I will tell you I am looking very forward to CNN pushing out audio from the mid-'80s of Hillary Clinton in an interview with Roy Reed, how she's laughing about giving up a child rapist. I want to hear that video because that is newsworthy and let someone from the Clinton campaign come on and talk about is that Hillary Clinton's voice as she laughs about how she had this man's underwear removed from the case and he ended up Scott free. That's news.
BLITZER: You know what, here's the issue, and I agree with you. He was having some fun 25 years ago with a reporter from "People" magazine and he was making up this notion that there was a spokesman, that's old history. That's not news. Who cares? He could have said that --
PIERSON: It's completely irrelevant. Completely irrelevant.
BLITZER: But if he lied -- but if he lied this morning on national television to Savannah Guthrie and insisted that that was not his voice when experts are now saying it was his voice, that raises it to a whole different level. I assume you agree. PIERSON: But I think Donald Trump would be the expert on whether or
not it's his voice. He said it's not his voice. It doesn't even sound like it to me. It's not Donald Trump. It sounds like a great impersonation. But it's definitely not Mr. Trump.
BLITZER: But if he lied on national television, you as a presidential nominee, that's a much bigger deal.
PIERSON: But it's not him.
BLITZER: Than having some fun 25 years ago.
PIERSON: If he's not him, he's not lying.
BLITZER: If it's not him, then he's obviously not lying.
PIERSON: If he's not him, he's not lying.
BLITZER: But now all these experts are saying it is him. You've heard that one audio specialist make the suggestion that I listened very carefully.
PIERSON: I heard one audio specialist that I've never even heard of say that it was him because of pitch and tone or what have you. If you listen to the audio, which many people have, even I have, it does not sound like Mr. Trump. It sounds like a guy from New York.
BLITZER: But even at the time he was acknowledging he did occasionally use the name John Miller, he was acknowledging that maybe he was having some fun so it's not just an audio specialist.
PIERSON: Very common name.
BLITZER: Yes --
PIERSON: Very common name, Wolf. John Smith, John Miller. But I can tell you this. Nobody cares. We have very serious problems in the United States. We have ISIS running rampant. We have an economy that has little to no growth in the first quarter and we're talking about a "People" magazine interview. Let's get back to the things that are relevant to the presidential race.
BLITZER: We certainly will. We certainly will. But did he have someone on his staff named John Miller or John Barron?
PIERSON: I'm not sure. I'm sure they're checking the records. That's 25 years ago. Even if they exist. But at the end of the day, this does not matter. It was a "People" magazine interview. It was not Mr. Trump on the audio. I don't care how many specialists you have. It doesn't even sound like Mr. Trump.
But again, the voters don't care about this stuff. This is one of the reasons why people go to people like Facebook, outlets like Facebook to get their news media and why the media now ranks under lawyers in favorability. This is not news. BLITZER: I agree that what happens 25 years ago, if he was having
some fun with reporters, wouldn't be news, but it is news, Katrina, if he actually, as some are now suggesting, if he actually lied on national television. That would be news.
PIERSON: Well, the reason I'm saying this is because the audio was put out as Mr. Trump posing as, you know, some publicist. That's not news. This is an old interview at "People" magazine, that wasn't Mr. Trump and the news media made it news. But I will tell you that audio from the past of Hillary Clinton representing a child rapist is news. So I look forward to seeing that on the program next week.
BLITZER: If it's wrong to bring up stuff from 25 years ago involving Donald Trump, why is it right to bring up stuff from 35 years ago involving audiotapes of Hillary Clinton?
PIERSON: Because it's made up. Because it's made up. That's not Mr. Trump. He said it wasn't me. There's nothing to be gained or lost by saying that it was. That's my point here. This is not news. Mr. Trump was asked and the question was answered. That should be the end of it.
BLITZER: But you know he did testify at one point under oath before some court proceeding that he did use occasionally a fake name as a publicist, if you will. He himself has said that.
PIERSON: Well, I do believe the name you're referring to is John Barron. In this case it was a guy named Miller which is totally not the same thing.
[17:20:04] BLITZER: So you're saying there was a John Barron --
PIERSON: He said it wasn't me and that should be the end of it.
BLITZER: But let me just wrap this part of the interview up. You're saying there was a John Barron and there was a John Miller, both of whom are public relation specialists who worked for Mr. Trump?
PIERSON: I don't know who worked for Mr. Trump, Wolf. What I'm saying is Mr. Trump was asked, was this you on the phone and he said no. That should be the end of it. That is not news. This is not a news story. It's not a big deal and that's the problem I'm having with this discussion right now. There are so many things we should be talking about. Like moving forward in the Republican Party, like going up against Hillary Clinton and talking about the policies that affect people's pocketbooks, not "People" magazine.
BLITZER: All right. Let's move on. Let's take a quick break. Katrina, stay with us. There are other issues I want to get to as well. We'll be right back.
[17:25:20] BLITZER: All right. We're back with Katrina Pierson, the national spokeswoman for the Trump campaign. Just want to button up that other issue about the audiotape that was released by the "Washington Post" today. Despite the fact that Trump himself said he used to use a fake name occasionally, this is many, many years ago, despite the fact that in a court hearing he said he did so, you're still saying the voice on that tape is not his. Is that right?
PIERSON: That's exactly what I'm saying, Wolf.
BLITZER: All right. Let's move on, talk about some other issues. Speaker Ryan and Donald Trump, they met yesterday. Just days ago Trump issues a statement saying he couldn't necessarily support the speaker's agenda. The speaker is making it clear he's got serious problems with Trump's agenda. Right now how close are they to working out their problems because this a huge priority clearly for the Republican nominee?
PIERSON: Well, I think they are very close. You'll just see recently we just released nine House of Representative chairmen who have come out in support of Mr. Trump. You're going to see more to continue to come and support Mr. Trump. And I think that we're almost there. You know, this is Paul Ryan's decision to hold back. They are having meetings. But look, Mr. Trump has been committed for the last few months even for party unity. He's been having these meetings on the hill.
The staff has been meeting with each other because they do want to come together because at the end of the day, winning in November is the common goal.
BLITZER: Donald Trump is also working to get support from the Republican leadership but there's a problem here just this week, as you well know, there was a white nationalist was picked as a Trump delegate to the convention. Donald Trump's long-time butler suggested President Obama should be hanged, if you will. David Duke offered himself up to be Trump's vice presidential running mate.
This kind of support that he's getting out there, how much of a problem potentially does this pose for Donald Trump, the support he's getting from these kinds of individuals?
PIERSON: Well, you can't control the actions of everyone else and Mr. Trump has already disavowed those comments by the former butler and we have had so many people try to infiltrate. There are even media outlets creating white supremacist Twitter accounts pretending to be Trump supporters and they tried to get that delegate removed from the slate in California because they are very cognizant that these types of things have been happening.
But yet I have yet to hear anyone talk about the KKK grand dragon in California endorse Hillary Clinton. We haven't seen that yet. These types of things happen in politics. People say and do weird things. They are not a part of the campaign and Mr. Trump can't control everyone.
BLITZER: And one final question. I want to get back to the whole issue of these tax returns. Will he tell the American people -- does he believe the American people have a right to know what his tax rate is?
PIERSON: Mr. Trump has said time and time again that he will release his tax returns after the audit.
BLITZER: But he won't tell us before the end of the audit what his tax rate is. Is that right?
PIERSON: That is correct. I mean, as we have seen, if there is no news, we'll just make it up as we go so why give in to that. Mr. Trump has said for months he will release his tax returns after the audit, Wolf.
BLITZER: I ask the question because he's got a very detailed plan on reducing tax rates for everyone, middle class, wealthy, and I assume the American people have a right to know what his tax rate has been in assessing his tax policy.
PIERSON: Well, sure. But Mr. Trump has been one to complain that taxes are too high for everyone and how he tries to pay the least amount as possible like every other American in this country. And I think it's really important that we understand Mr. Trump is going by his legal counsel. After the audit Mr. Trump will release his tax returns.
BLITZER: Katrina Pierson, thanks very much for joining us.
PIERSON: Great to be here. Thanks, Wolf.
BLITZER: Thank you.
Our political experts are standing by to discuss what we just heard. Will Donald Trump keep building support if he keeps changing positions or softening positions or ignoring some of the traditional rules of presidential campaigns?
And later, a new face and a familiar name for al Qaeda. Osama bin Laden's son follows in his father's footsteps.
[17:33:50] BLITZER: Even as he tries to patch things up with Republican leaders, Donald Trump is grappling with some new controversies.
Joining us now to discuss, CNN political commentator S.E. Cupp, our chief political analyst Gloria Borger, CNN anchor and political commentator Michael Smerconish, and CNN political commentator Peter Beinart.
S.E., so if this is Donald Trump on the recording --
S.E. CUPP, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Let me stop you right there, Wolf.
BLITZER: Yes .
CUPP: There is no if.
CUPP: I understand --
BLITZER: Are you an audio specialist?
CUPP: No. You have to -- I know you have to express --
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: It's his identical twin.
CUPP: Yes. You have to express that skepticism from where --
BLITZER: You heard the national spokeswoman for Donald Trump.
CUPP: Yes, I did.
BLITZER: Insists that was Donald Trump's voice. You heard Donald Trump this morning on the "Today" show saying that was not his voice. Why do you say it is?
CUPP: Of course it is. You know, anyone who has covered Donald Trump as long as we have, and I've known him for a long time, well, of course that's Donald Trump. First of all, he's admitted that it was him in the past, that it was jokes he used to play, that he's used those names in the past, that he's done that in the past and, frankly, to use a Donald Trumpism, which he uses five times as this person, he says frankly five times, I don't really care.
I think it's kind of funny and I've always admired the hustler in Donald Trump and this is what made him a mastermind marketer and brander. But that he's lying about it I think makes him look really small and really silly.
[17:35:12] BORGER: You know, Wolf, after this story appeared in "People," the journalist who wrote it, Sue Carswell, headlined a story saying, "Trump says good-bye, Marla, hello, Carla," and a mysterious PR man who sounds just like Donald calls to spread the story. So this was a little bit tongue in cheek. She knew who it was and then, you know, he's quoted as saying, oh, this was all a joke gone awry which leads me to ask the question, why didn't he say that today?
BORGER: No. I know we've all been meant to believe that, you know, the sky is green when it comes to the Trump but the suspension of disbelief when it comes to this particular story would have to be at unprecedented levels. Of course that's him.
BLITZER: Michael Smerconish, your analysis?
MICHAEL SMERCONISH, CNN HOST, "SMERCONISH": We wouldn't be having any of this conversation if today on the "Today" show he had simply fessed up.
SMERCONISH: And said the whole thing was a goof. BORGER: Right.
SMERCONISH: But he mishandled it, now he's perpetuated a much longer version. By the way, Sue Carswell is going to be on my program tomorrow to give us her perspective of this interview.
But, Wolf, here's the reaction that I've had all day long watching this play out. We've just concluded a week where this reproachment has been the big headline with Paul Ryan. What do you think Paul Ryan is thinking as he watches this unfold? Is he now going to do an about-face and say, you know, this, the tax returns, I'm not ready for this?
BLITZER: Peter Beinart, what's your analysis?
PETER BEINART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I mean, look, let's not pretend that this is the first lie that Donald Trump has told. If you look at PolitiFact, right, it has won the Pulitzer Prize, they have now analyzed Donald Trump's statements. They say 8 percent of them are true, 76 percent of them are false. That is way more than any other candidate. When Ted Cruz called Donald Trump a pathological liar, he was right. Donald Trump has lied about the fact claiming that he opposed the Iraq war before the Iraq war started, about stuff which is much, much more important than whether he impersonated a spokesman. So this is not an aberration.
BLITZER: Among his supporters, though, is this going to really make any difference at all whether or not he lied on the "Today" show this morning on something that happened 25 years ago?
CUPP: No. First of all, I think you'll see some kind of walking back. Maybe he'll say he didn't hear the question right, we've heard him do that before. Had a bad earpiece or thought he was talking about mail. So you're going to see that. But no, his supporters don't care. And you know what, about this, I'm glad they don't because this is not an important -- as important an issue as so many other things that I really wish they would care about. But no, the people who are caring, who will care, are those undecideds, if there are any left, who are having to decide between this very unpopular, unlikable person and this very unpopular --
BLITZER: What about, Gloria, when he told George Stephanopoulos who asked him, what is your tax rate, and he said it's none of your business?
BORGER: Yes, it's interesting because I think every candidate since 1976 has revealed their taxes. Even Richard Nixon did it in 1973 while he was being audited, I might add. So being audited has nothing to do with revealing your taxes.
Look, when you run for president and you're down to the final guys or women, you live under a microscope and the American -- and you know, again, doesn't matter to his supporters. He's already got those people. But if you're trying to get some persuadables in there, you know, they may want to say, wait a minute, you've already said -- by the way, he's inoculated himself to a certain degree because he's says I always tried to pay the lowest rate that I possibly can.
But there are lots of other things in your tax returns. People learn a lot about you. They learn about your charitable giving. They learn about what's important to you. They learn about whether there are any conflicts of interest in terms of your investments, who you've done your deals with, who you make your money from, and so not only your tax rate, we would presume he's in the highest tax bracket. We don't know. There are plenty of rich people who aren't. But there are lots of other things that the American people should be interested in.
BLITZER: All right. Everyone, stand by. There's more coming up.
A note to our viewers, important one, tune in tomorrow morning, Michael Smerconish at his program, 9:00 a.m. Eastern. You heard who his guest -- among his guests tomorrow morning. "SMERCONISH," 9:00 a.m. Eastern tomorrow morning right here on CNN.
Also coming up, a familiar name with a chilling message. Osama bin Laden's son. He's now grownup. He's calling on terrorists to unite with al Qaeda.
Also, anger at the airports. Long lines, lost baggage. They have the feds promising quick action with no compromise in safety. We'll update you.
BLITZER: We're following an angry backlash from travelers fed up with longer than usual delays at airport security checkpoints.
CNN's Tom Foreman is over at Washington's Reagan National Airport. So what's being done, Tom, to try to shorten the wait?
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the Transportation Security folks and Homeland Security are launching a big program which they say should hopefully cut these lines down by the big crush of summer. They don't call it a crisis at this point but they do say it's imperative that these plans are put into place and fast.
[17:45:04] FOREMAN (voice-over): Long lines in Chicago, long lines in Atlanta, thousands of bags piled up and delayed in Phoenix. Under withering criticism, the TSA administrators stood shoulder to shoulder with the secretary of Homeland Security to say they are taking action.
JEH JOHNSON, HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: We want to keep passengers moving, but we want to keep passengers safe.
REP. JOHN MICA (R), FLORIDA: It's just a huge fail in government program and it will fail.
FOREMAN: In the wake of a scolding on Capitol Hill and heading into the busy summer travel season, TSA is launching a 10-point plan to reduce delays, including new limits on the size and number of the carry-on bags, more officers, more bomb-sniffing dogs, more advanced technology, and a greater emphasis on the TSA pre-check program.
In short, more of everything that they have pushed before.
(On camera): Why should anyone believe this one will work?
JOHNSON: Because we are, in fact, bringing on more TSOs. We are, in fact, bringing on more TSO overtime, and we are, in fact, investing in more canines, more technology.
FOREMAN (voice-over): It may be too little too late. Already airports in New York and New Jersey are making noise about pushing the TSA aside and privatizing passenger screenings.
So is Atlanta which handles more than 100 million passengers a year. And with lines during just one month this spring producing hundreds of delays, an airline lobbying group is urging passengers to post pictures with a #ihatethewait.
MICA: You can't get a hold of a damn person in TSA.
FOREMAN: All of this has left Republican congressman John Mica, head of the House Transportation Committee, unimpressed with the new plan.
MICA: What they said was well intended, but they're late at the gate.
FOREMAN: There is no question that Transportation officials believe that these plans can work. However, when specifically pressed, on this one question, can people expect to maybe be stuck in these three- hour lines and miss their flights this summer, the head of Homeland Security would only say I hope not -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Tom Foreman, thank you very much.
Coming up, U.S. officials have a new bin Laden to worry about. One of the notorious terror leader's sons has now grown up and he's calling on world jihadists to join forces with al Qaeda.
[17:51:59] BLITZER: A blood chilling recording from a son of Osama bin Laden. Is he heir to the al Qaeda leadership?
Brian Todd has been digging into this story for us. Brian, what are you learning?
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, tonight U.S. intelligence officials are telling us it appears that al Qaeda is leveraging the bin Laden name and could be grooming Hamza bin Laden, this young man right here, for a possible leadership role. This comes as the terror group makes a bold attempt to reclaim the spotlight taken by ISIS.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) TODD (voice-over): He has the name and perhaps the message al Qaeda needs to rejuvenate its foundering terror brand. Hamza bin Laden, one of Osama Bin Laden's 11 sons, for years had been missing, off the grid. But tonight a new audio message released by the son of the 9/11 mastermind has U.S. officials concerned. The chilling recording discovered by the SITE Intelligence Group calls on all jihadists to unite apparently including al Qaeda's rival, ISIS.
A key goal, the young bin Laden says, should be to defeat the U.S. and Israel and, quote, "liberate the Palestinian lands."
HAMZA BIN LADEN, OSAMA BIN LADEN'S SON (Through Translator): Those who support the Jews must pay the bill with their blood.
TODD: The younger bin Laden is believed to be in his early to mid 20s. A U.S. intelligence official tells CNN he has a relatively small role in al Qaeda now, but could be getting groomed for a leadership position. Analysts see Hamza as a sort of crowned prince of the terror group.
THOMAS JOSCELYN, FOUNDATION FOR DEFENSE OF DEMOCRACIES: So they are saying this is the new generation of jihadi leadership. This is the new bin Laden who is going to ultimately lead us in the future.
TODD: One U.S. official tells CNN this looks like an attempt by al Qaeda to fill gaps in its, quote, "ever dwindling bench." While the group has made gains in Syria, Yemen and North Africa, it has lost several top leaders and been eclipsed by ISIS in capturing the market share of young jihadists.
PETER BERGEN, AUTHOR, "UNITED STATES OF JIHAD": ISIS' productions are a million times more interesting than al Qaeda's very boring, you know, audio messages with very low production values.
TODD: Did Osama Bin Laden want Hamza to succeed him? It's not clear. But experts say Hamza spent much of his youth at his father's side and was a true believer. Analyst, Peter Bergen, author of the new book, "United States of Jihad," says the Navy SEALs expected Hamza to be at the Abbottabad compound when they went in after Osama Bin Laden in 2011. But Hamza was not there.
Hamza Bin Laden's reemergence comes as new questions are being raised tonight about al Qaeda's most spectacular attack and who was connected to it. Declassified documents quietly released by the National Archives detailed the questioning by the 9/11 Commission of a former Saudi diplomat.
The document say the Saudi denied a connection to two 9/11 hijackers who had moved to California, but the commission investigators didn't believe him and confronted him with evidence of several phone calls he had with a man who had supported the hijackers. At that point, the documents say, the former Saudi diplomat grew angry and nervous.
TODD: But there are still questions as to whether there's a real smoking gun with the Saudis and 9/11.
[17:55:01] One 9/11 Commission member tells CNN he believes lower- level Saudi officials should be investigated further. But he stands by the commission's finding that there is no evidence that any senior Saudi government officials supported al Qaeda before 9/11 -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Regarding Hamza bin Laden, Brian. Could he bring anything to the table that his father did for al Qaeda?
TODD: Yes. One analyst tells us, Wolf, that Hamza actually has received some explosives training and is a real believer in al Qaeda's message. But to answer your question, no. No one actually believes that Hamza can claim the stature, the real leadership that his father had. What he can do, though, is grab some of the attention away from the ISIS leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. That's what a lot of this is designed to do.
BLITZER: Brian Todd reporting. Thank you.
Coming up, new questions about Donald Trump's relationship with the truth over the years as the GOP's presumptive nominee denies posing as his own publicist in telephone calls to reporters.