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Trump Clarifying Stand On Taxes And Muslim Ban; Trump And Graham Talk National Security; Dr. Carson's Role In Trump Campaign; Trump Denies Posing As Own Spokesman; Trump Says Voice On Recording Isn't Him; "Washington Post" States Trump Masqueraded As Own Spokesman; John Kasich Interview Monday; Republicans Talk Unity And Democrats Fight On; ISIS Declaring State Of Emergency
Aired May 13, 2016 - 13:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, I'm Wolf Blitzer. It's 1:00 p.m. here in Washington, 7:00 p.m. in Brussels, 8:00 p.m. in Damascus. Wherever you're watching from around the world, thanks very much for joining us.
Donald Trump is on a different mission today. Let's call it an explanation offensive. Yesterday, he was here in Washington. He was trying to mend some fences. And, today, he's talking about a party unity as well.
He's also defending positions and opinions that have dogged him out there on the campaign trail. Issues like his proposed temporary ban on Muslims entering the United States or his refusal to release his tax returns.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE (via telephone): I don't have Swiss bank accounts. I don't have offshore. I really have a very, very clean company. And, believe me, if I didn't, it would have been reported.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What is your tax rate?
TRUMP: It's none of your business. You'll see it when I release. I'm not the president right now, so anything I suggest is really a suggestion. And if I were president, I'd put in legislation and do what I have to do.
I'm not softening my stance at all but I'm always flexible on issues. I'm totally flexible on very, very many issues. I --
(END AUDIO CLIP)
BLITZER: Besides the meeting with the House speaker, Paul Ryan, yesterday, Donald Trump also placed a call this week to an outspoken Republican critic, Senator Lindsey Graham. The two spoke about national security among other things. And afterwards, Graham said it was a good call. But still, he isn't formally supporting or endorsing Donald Trump.
I want to welcome in Dr. Ben Carson from Palm Beach Gardens in Florida right now. Dr. Carson, thanks very much for joining us.
DR. BEN CARSON (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Always a pleasure.
BLITZER: You obviously always were a former Republican presidential candidate. Now, you are a seemingly jack of all trades for the Trump campaign. So, what exactly, Dr. Carson, is your role in the Trump campaign?
CARSON: Well, you know, I don't want to be pigeon holed into any one thing. You know, Donald Trump and I have talked about our mutual desire to make America prosperous in all aspects, education, defense, getting along with each other, finances. So, right now, you know, you deal with the problem. The big problem right now is unity. So, obviously, we want to focus on finding ways to make sure that people understand what's going on.
You now, I was very gratified with the meeting with the speaker yesterday along with Mr. Trump. And the thing, I think, that they got to do is to speak to each other. That, really is the key to understanding. Rather than getting the respect of corners and throwing barbs at each other which is what's been done.
And also, recognizing that Donald Trump is not a politician, so he has not learned political speak. How you wrap things up in a nice little package and put a bow on it. He's not learned how to do that. I never learned how to do that. I hope he never learns how to do it because it's what the people understand, not so much what a lot of people in Washington and the media understand.
BLITZER: "The New York Times," Dr. Carson, says one of your jobs is to get former Republican presidential rivals on board. You're on board. Chris Christie, clearly, is on board. Tuesday night, you called the House speaker, Paul Ryan. Did you set the stage for that meeting? In other words, were you instrumental in making sure the speaker of the House and the Republican nominee were working together and actually meeting?
CARSON: Well, you know, the meeting was going to occur and, you know, I simply wanted to make sure that, you know, both sides understood the other side as much as possible. You know, for instance, you know, Donald Trump is said to be against entitlement reform. He's not against entitlement reform. He just thinks that it would be cruel and unusual punishment to attack entitlements first.
The first thing you do is fix the economy. Give people lots of options. Have money flowing into the coffers. And when that's happening, if entitlement reform is still necessary, then you go ahead and do it. So, it's a matter of prioritizing. But a lot of people sometimes get that the wrong way around.
BLITZER: The speaker wants entitlement reform, Social Security and Medicare. He says that's, really, the main major way to deal with the national debt. But Donald Trump, out there in the debates and you were on the stage with him during some of those debates, he's made it clear he doesn't want any changes, at least right now on either Social Security or Medicare, right? CARSON: Again, the point being the more important urgent issue is to
fix the economy. Get the flow moving in the right direction. Instead of increasing deficits, start decreasing deficits.
BLITZER: Yesterday, Senator Lindsey Graham who, as you know, is really an outspoken critic of Donald Trump, he tweeted this following their 15-minute phone conversation. I had a cordial, pleasant phone conversation with Mr. Trump yesterday. I congratulated him on winning the GOP nomination for president.
[13:05:12] He said they spoke for about 15 minutes on national security issues, among others. Were you behind that phone call setting the stage up for the phone conversation between Lindsey Graham and Donald Trump?
CARSON: No. No, I had nothing to do with it. That said, loads about both of those individuals being willing to bury the hatchet and talk. And I think you're going to see that happening for a lot of people as they stop and think about the alternatives and they start thinking about their children and their grandchildren and what's going to happen.
Because what we're talking about in November is a monumental election that determines which kind of country we're going to be. Are we going to be a country that is of, for and by the government, where the government controls your life and gives you your rights, or are we going to the country of, for and by the people where our rights come from our creator? This is a huge dichotomy and will be determined by the voters this fall.
BLITZER: When I spoke to Donald Trump last week at Trump Tower, he mentioned your name, specifically, as someone who's going to help him find a vice presidential running mate. What exactly is your role in vetting potential candidates?
CARSON: My role is really to talk about, you know, what kind of person we're looking for and some possible suggestions. That's been done. You know, and we'll talk about lots of different things. A lot of things that will help to improve the country in the future. So, you know, it's a shifting role as it would be with anybody who's trying to help, you know, create a situation that will be beneficial for everyone.
BLITZER: Unlike Donald Trump, almost all, if not all of the 16 other Republican presidential candidates, they really liked you. They had really nice things to say about you during the campaign. You had a good relationship with almost all of them, I think it's fair to say. Is one of your assignments now to get the other candidates, let's say Senator Ted Cruz, on board working, supporting Donald Trump? Is that really possible, given all the animosity, the exchange of bad words that occurred?
CARSON: All things are possible. I would love to see a situation, quite frankly, where all 17 of us were able to sit in a room and have a discussion about our goals and our visions for the country with no media involved. And I think we could probably iron out quite a few issues.
You know, one of the things we have to understand is that this is not about any one person. This is about America and the future of our country. If we can just get people to understand that, we can solve a lot of our problems on both sides of the aisle.
BLITZER: Do you think you could get Ted Cruz or Jeb Bush for that matter to endorse Donald Trump?
CARSON: Well, I believe that both Ted Cruz and Jeb Bush, when they really sit down and begin to think about the future of our country and they start thinking about their children or grandchildren, that they will come to the right conclusion.
Right now, you know, wounds are open and, you know, what happens during this process with all the back and forth and the name calling -- I would have hoped that maybe we could have learned from 2012 but we didn't. You know, people just don't seem to learn. If they did, you know, we'd learn from all the societies that came before us who were pinnacle nations who destroyed themselves. So, people just don't seem to learn but it doesn't mean that we can't keep trying and pushing and hoping to open people's minds to things that actually make sense.
BLITZER: One final question. Are you open to being his vice presidential running mate?
CARSON: I have no desire whatsoever to be anything in government except a loyal patriot who will help, who will advise, who will bring opportunities to help improve our country.
BLITZER: But if the president elect says to you, or the presidential nominee says to you, Dr. Carson, I really need you. The country needs you right now. You're a patriot. You wouldn't say no, would you?
CARSON: It would have to be an extraordinary circumstance and I don't see that occurring.
BLITZER: Dr. Carson, thanks very much for joining us.
CARSON: Thank you, Wolf.
BLITZER: Donald Trump seems to be bragging about himself. That's hardly news but a report that Trump posed as his own P.R. spokesman to brag about himself is generating some headlines today. "The Washington Post" says Trump did exactly that in a recording from 1991. In the excerpt, the person, who identified himself as John Miller, talks on the phone with a reporter about rumors involving Trump and Madonna. Listen for yourself.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But I don't think we ever reported that about Madonna. She called and wanted to go out with him, that I can tell you.
And one of the other people that you're writing about -- and, by the way, I'm sort of new here and I'm --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What is your position?
MILLER: Well, I'm sort of handling P.R. because he gets so much of it. And, frankly, --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Where did you come from?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- I mean, I could tell you off the record. If I -- until I get to know you and talk a little bit off the record, I can tell you that he didn't care if he got bad P.R. until he got his divorce finished.
BLITZER: On NBC's "Today Show" today, Trump denied that voice was his.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
TRUMP: That 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?
SAVANNAH GUTHRIE, CO-ANCHOR, "TODAY SHOW": In the early 1990s. But, yes.
TRUMP: Well, you mean you're going so low as to talk about something that took place 25 years about -- ago about whether or not I made a phone call? I guess you're saying under a presumed name.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
BLITZER: All right, let's bring in our CNN Chief Political Analyst Gloria Borger and our CNN Political Commentator Ryan Lizza. He's the Washington correspondent for "The New Yorker" magazine. "The Washington Post" had the story today.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Right.
BLITZER: Trump denied that was his voice. So, where do we go from here?
BORGER: You know, Wolf, this is a story, first of all, that's been around for years. It's been written about in a lot of biographies about Donald Trump. And, in fact, after this conversation, this reporter of "People" magazine, Sue Carswell, wrote a story and it was headlined, "Trump Says Good-bye Marla, Hello Karla," and a mysterious P.R. man who sounds just like Donald Trump calls to spread the story. Eventually, she wrote a story that quoted Donald Trump saying that this call was, quote, "a joke gone awry."
So, back then, he actually admitted that he had -- that he had played this game with journalists. So, I think he's going to have to explain this a little bit further, you know, as the campaign continues. Because when you're joking around way back when and you're not a presidential candidate, and you think this is the best way to spread your own P.R., that now you're a presidential candidate and you have to answer these questions.
RYAN LIZZA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes. He turned something that was a joke and reported as a joke back then. And I think a lot of people would have said, OK, he was a New York businessman messing around with the tabloids.
BORGER: And she made it clear --
BORGER: -- that she thought it was Trump.
LIZZA: He's now turned it into a campaign issue by going on T.V. Maybe he didn't -- wasn't prepared for the -- for the -- for the question and didn't think it through. And now, he's basically said something that's not true. That he's already, essentially, admitted to a -- far better as a politician to just say, yes, you know, that's just Trump -- that was me being me back in the 1980s when I was battling the tabloid press.
BLITZER: Yes, in fact, it was his voice. He should have said, when Savannah Guthrie asked the question, was that your voice? Oh, I was just having some fun. I was playing around.
BLITZER: But if, in fact -- but he says that wasn't his voice. You heard him say that on the "Today Show" this morning. So, that raises, as you point out, to a different level.
LIZZA: Absolutely. I did this with a sales call the other day. You know, Verizon called me and they were trying to sell something. Sorry, mister, this isn't him.
BLITZER: All right, stand by. There's much more to discuss. Don't go too far away.
The Ohio governor, John Kasich, he'll join CNN's Anderson Cooper for an exclusive interview later today. His first since dropping out of the Republican race for the White House. That interview actually is going to take place Monday night, 8:00 p.m. Eastern right here on CNN. That interview, John Kasich and Anderson Cooper, Monday night, 8:00 p.m. Eastern.
Coming up here, as Republicans try to unite their party, Democrats are struggling to unite Clinton and Sanders' supporters. We're going to discuss that.
And we're getting live pictures now of security lines spilling into the Atlanta Airport atrium. Moments ago, the Department of Homeland Security here in Washington announced the new plan to ease those lines. Why the head of the department says relief won't come anytime soon.
And why ISIS is now declaring a state of emergency in their proclaimed capital of Raqqa in Syria. We have details and new information coming in as well.
1300 - BK
[13:18:28] BLITZER: Welcome back.
Republicans say they're moving closer and closer to unifying their party. For the Democrats, the long slog toward wrapping up the primary process just keeps on going.
Let's bring back our chief political analyst, Gloria Borger, and our CNN political commentator, Ryan Lizza.
Are they making progress on the Democratic front? What's -- what's the latest?
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: The Democratic side?
BORGER: Metso (ph), metso (ph). You know, I think -- I think they are -- they are trying and I think everybody understands the math. And Bernie Sanders, in his last victory speech after West Virginia, did two things. He said, I'm all in. I'm in it until the very end. But he also took a pivot to start attacking Donald Trump. So it's clear to me that when this is over, and I don't think Bernie Sanders is going to be able to convince enough super delegates to go to his side -- so when this is all over, he's going to work as hard as he can to defeat Donald Trump. That was -- that was very clear to me. And so if you have Bernie Sanders out there and then you have President Obama out there preaching party unity and getting out the vote, that's a pretty good combination.
BLITZER: But he might do well in these final few contests.
BORGER: Oh, absolutely. California.
BLITZER: The question is, does he throw in the towel after June 7th in California or June 14th, a week later, here in the District of Columbia, or does he wait and wait until the convention in Philadelphia in July?
RYAN LIZZA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: And I think there are a lot of his supporters that want him to go to that convention and make a stand and want him in between June, I guess 14th, because D.C. technically votes on June 14th, and the convention --
BLITZER: The District of Columbia, very important.
BLITZER: I like the District of Columbia.
[13:20:00] BORGER: Totally.
BORGER: I like it here.
LIZZA: And I think they want him to go to the convention. They want him to continue this -- this, frankly, farfetched super delegate strategy of trying to convince super delegates in states and districts that he won to support him. And I think you can't underestimate the fact that he has this campaign infrastructure that is raising as much as a million dollars a day, that is just this self-perpetuating money machine and the reason he doesn't drop out is because he can afford not to.
LIZZA: We've never had an insurgent that is raising more than the actual presumptive nominee this late in the process.
BORGER: You know, remember, Barack Obama, after Hillary Clinton dropped out -- and, by the way --
BORGER: She stayed in very late.
LIZZA: She did.
BORGER: But he helped her --
BLITZER: Until June.
BORGER: He helped her --
BLITZER: She waited until after Puerto Rico, yes, in June.
BORGER: Right, he helped her retire her campaign debt.
LIZZA: They cut a deal, that's right.
BORGER: They cut a deal for that.
LIZZA: Yes. Yes.
BORGER: Now, Bernie Sanders doesn't need to cut any deals about his campaign debt. But the question is, can he convince these super delegates, even if he were to win California, let's just say he does --
BORGER: Could he convince these super delegates to switch from Hillary Clinton? I think that's very difficult because they're party people and Bernie Sanders has not been a party -- a Democratic Party person who raised the --
BLITZER: But he'll have a lot -- he'll have a lot of influence.
BLITZER: He's got a lot of delegates.
BLITZER: He's got a lot of money. He's got very enthusiastic young supporters.
BORGER: Yes. Yes.
BLITZER: So he'll be able to help shape that platform --
BLITZER: Help shape the democratic Party.
LIZZA: Absolutely, because --
BORGER: And when he goes back to Congress, of course.
LIZZA: On policy, I think he's going to make a big stand at that convention on the -- on the -- on the party platform. He's got some issues like campaign finance, the influence of Wall Street.
LIZZA: He's going to want to police, if Hillary Clinton becomes president, he's going to want to police her advisors and nominees. So he's moving the party to the left.
BLITZER: You heard Dr. Ben Carson, speaking about the Republican side now, just tell me a few minutes ago, he hopes that all of the Republican candidates, all 17 of them, can get together, sit down in a room, have a great conversation with Donald Trump.
BORGER: Good idea.
BLITZER: And he's not ruling out the possibility that even a Ted Cruz or a Jeb Bush could eventually go out there and endorse Donald Trump. Is that overly, from the Republican standpoint, optimistic? BORGER: OK, if he's trying to set up that dinner party and get a bunch
of RSVPs, I think there are going to be a few that are missing, honestly. I think Lindsey Graham has been kind of nicer about Trump lately, which is interesting to me.
BLITZER: Yes, that statement he put out yesterday was a very nice statement.
BORGER: Exactly. Very nice. But do I see Jeb Bush embracing Donald Trump in any way, shape, or form? No. Do I see Ted Cruz doing that? I have a hard time, particularly given the -- the personal venom between the two. I mean early on, Cruz was a -- sort of a semi-supporter of Trump because he thought he could get his supporters, but Cruz attacked his wife and his father. I think it's quite difficult, don't you?
LIZZA: I think --
BLITZER: That Trump attacked his wife.
LIZZA: Yes, right.
BORGER: I mean Trump did, sorry.
LIZZA: One of the most -- one of the most appealing things about Ben Carson is he's very much a turn the other cheek kind of guy.
LIZZA: I mean Trump went after him in some very deeply personal --
LIZZA: Excuse me, Ben Carson.
LIZZA: Trump went after Ben Carson in some very personal terms. He's put it all behind him. I mean he basically compared him to a child molester at one point in the campaign.
BORGER: Oh, big deal.
LIZZA: Carson has -- but Carson has completely forgiven him for all of that. The idea that Jeb Bush is ever going to support Donald Trump I think is pure fantasy. And, frankly, I don't think Trump cares about the Bushs.
LIZZA: He has said publicly that he doesn't want their support.
BLITZER: Ryan Lizza, Gloria Borger, guys, thanks very much.
BLITZER: Coming up, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson here in Washington releasing a 10 point plan to address the increasingly long security lines at airports across the United States. We have live pictures. Look at this. This is coming out of Atlanta. The plan, plus the warning for travelers here. Much more on that and a whole lot of other news right after this.
[13:28:04] BLITZER: There is growing anger and frustration among travelers here in the United States who are seeing their security time and security lines rise at the nation's major airports. This is a video, by the way, taken yesterday of the long line at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport. It took several minutes to walk the length of the line. Sometimes airports standing in a lien like this takes hours and is causes thousands of people to actually miss their flights.
Only moments ago we heard from the head of the Transportation Security Administration and the secretary of Homeland Security.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEH JOHNSON, HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: With travel increasing this spring and this summer, TSA and I have now developed an even more aggressive plan to address aviation security and reduce wait times in partnership with airports and airlines to address increased wait times and continue to provide aviation security. We have developed a 10 point plan that will keep passengers moving and, most importantly, keep passengers safe.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: CNN's Tom Foreman is joining us from Reagan National Airport here in Washington, that -- where that news conference just wrapped up.
Tom, so what' in that 10 point plan?
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, everything plus a couple of kitchen sinks. They say they're going to use more K-9 dogs out here to search for things. They're going to use more officers, more technology. They're going to have more traffic flow control of people. Basically everything you can imagine to try to make it both quicker and safer this summer. That's what they're aiming for.
However, these are the kinds of things we've heard promised many times before. This is what they were grilled about in Congress yesterday, is all these plans that seem to still lead around to problems. So, Wolf, that actually led to really one key question. Listen.
[13:29:27] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JOHNSON: So we are in fact bringing on more TSO (ph) overtime and we are, in fact, investing in more K-9s, more technology. We are, in fact, working with Congress to make sure the TSA has the funding it needs.