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Trump's Bad Behavior Towards Women?; Al Qaeda Threat; Kasich: Third-Party Campaign Not 'The Right Thing to Do'.; Al Qaeda Urges Assassination of U.S. Business Leaders. Aired 6-7p ET
Aired May 16, 2016 - 18:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: But the GOP chairman warns that would ruin the party and the country for decades. Trump himself is now floating the idea. Who does he want to see as an independent candidate?
Al Qaeda on the rise, the group behind the 9/11 attacks posing a new threat to the U.S. We are learning details of a plan to challenge ISIS in Syria and it's out with a glossy new campaign calling for assassinations. Does al Qaeda now pose a bigger threat than ISIS?
And deadly brawl -- new details of one of the notorious chapters in outlaw biker history, a bloody shoot-out between rival gangs that was all caught on camera. Survivors now sharing their stories with CNN. What sparked the vicious gun battle that left nine people dead?
We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. I am Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
A new war raging between Donald Trump and one of his most frequent targets, the news media, Trump lashing out against a "New York Times" article alleging a pattern of unwelcome and unsettling conduct toward women dating back decades.
But an ex-girlfriend interviewed by "The Times" says her story was misrepresented and Trump is calling the article "a hit piece and a fraud."
We are also following the growing al Qaeda threat right now. The terror group now calling for professional assassinations in the latest issue of its online magazine. It comes as al Qaeda is increasingly challenging ISIS in Syria, prompting experts to warn that the group started by Osama bin Laden now poses a greater long-term threat to the U.S.
We're covering all of that, much more this hour with our guests, including one of Donald Trump's key supporters, Scottie Nell Hughes.
And our correspondents and expert analysts, they are also standing by.
Let's begin with the Trump campaign right now.
Our political reporter, Sara Murray, has the very latest.
Sara, Trump is hitting back hard against that "New York Times" article.
SARA MURRAY, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Wolf. Donald Trump is slamming the story today.
But in speaking with women who used to work for Trump, they acknowledge that there's a little bit of nuance here, that Trump gave them amazing opportunities being part of the organization, but they also had to look away when he made some off-color comments. And it is clear when you read the "New York Times" story that there were at least some woman who felt that Donald Trump just pushed it too far.
MURRAY (voice-over): Donald Trump is going to war with the media yet again, this time taking aim at "The New York Times" for a page-one story highlighting tales of Trump appearing to objectify women and make unwelcome advances. Today, one of the woman featured in the piece says her story was misrepresented.
ROWANNE BREWER LANE, ONCE DATED DONALD TRUMP: I made it very clear many times that I had a very pleasant relationship with Donald, and that I never felt like I was being, you know, depicted as, you know, a piece of meat or anything like that. I was never offended by anything that he had said.
MURRAY: Prompting Trump to call the story a hit piece on Twitter, adding: "We have exposed the article as a fraud."
The story reveals instances of Trump critiquing women's figures, giving a pageant contestant an unwanted kiss on the lips, and promoting women to high-profile corporate positions, even as he made offhand comments that some viewed as demeaning and dismissive.
The reporters who interviewed dozens of women about their interactions with Trump are standing by their piece.
MICHAEL BARBARO, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": There's no single dimension to Donald Trump and the women. And I think our story makes that clear and I think it makes it clear through voices of the people we interviewed.
MURRAY: The transition to presumptive GOP nominee means even more media scrutiny for Trump. Last week, it was a "Washington Post" story on the billionaire posing as his own spokesman, which provided even more fodder for "Saturday Night Live."
DARRELL HAMMOND, ACTOR: Mr. Trump is the real-life inspiration for Iron Man.
HAMMOND: Who am I? I'm his publicist, Joey Pepperoni.
MURRAY: This weekend, President Obama landed his own shots against the Republican, critiquing Trump's plan to bar Muslims from entering the U.S. and calling him ignorant, without ever calling him out by name.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: In politics and in life, ignorance is not a virtue. It's not cool to not know what you're talking about.
OBAMA: That's not keeping it real or telling it like it is. That's not challenging political correctness. That's just not knowing what you're talking about.
MURRAY: All of this as some GOP leaders, including 2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney and "Weekly Standard" editor Bill Kristol, are still trying to recruit a third-party candidate to take on Trump. It's an effort the RNC chair denounced as a suicide mission.
REINCE PRIEBUS, REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: It's a suicide mission for our country, because what it means is that you're throwing down not just eight years of the White House, but potentially 100 years on the Supreme Court and wrecking this country for many generations.
MURRAY: Now, even though Donald Trump has denied the allegations in the "New York Times" story, he slams the news organization, what we haven't seen Trump campaign is a coordinated effort to reach out to female voters to try to improve his numbers with women.
He has very high unfavorables when you look at the broader electorate. And that is the kind of thing that could potentially hurt him in November if the campaign doesn't take a more focused effort in dealing with that -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Sara Murray reporting, thank you.
Let's dig a little bit deeper right now into the campaign.
Our senior White House correspondent, Jim Acosta, is here.
Jim, amidst all of this talk of a third-party discussion on the Republican side, Donald Trump has his own ideas about a third-party run.
JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right. He would love to see Bernie Sanders make that third-party run, Wolf.
He likes to bring this up at his rallies all the time. He sees Sanders and himself as being railroaded by the system. One big distinction, Donald Trump is on his way to winning the nomination. But here's what Trump tweeted about this earlier. He said -- and we put this up on screen. "Bernie Sanders is being
treated very badly by the Dems. The system is rigged against him. He should run as an independent. Run, Bernie, run."
But, Wolf, as you know, that is not going to happen. One of Sanders' top surrogates, Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley, was on CNN today saying the Vermont senator doesn't want to be a Ralph Nader from the 2000 election, in other words, play the spoiler.
But Trump would love to see a liberal candidate with the appeal of Sanders cut into Hillary Clinton's support in the general election. That's what this is all about. And part of that is likely due to the fact that a third-party candidate rising from the GOP never Trump movement could potentially do some serious damage to Donald Trump.
But so far, Wolf, it is a candidate without -- a cause without a candidate at this moment. Mitt Romney has personally asked, as we know, Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse to consider this, reconsider this, and he keeps saying no, Wolf.
BLITZER: Any new clues you're getting on who Trump might pick as his vice presidential running mate?
ACOSTA: Well, we thought we had some clues over the weekend.
Ben Carson was quoted as saying Sarah Palin, Chris Christie, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, John Kasich were all on Donald Trump's short list. But then Trump felt compelled to knock the story down, again taking to Twitter, and we can put this up on screen.
"'The Washington Post' report on potential V.P. candidates is wrong. Marco Rubio and most others are not under consideration" in terms of those who were mentioned in that article. And I talked to some Trump campaign sources today, Wolf, who said Carson was -- quote -- "guessing, just guessing," and that he does not speak for the campaign.
Carson said on CNN this morning that he was just tossing out names. But I talked to campaign manager Corey Lewandowski about this today, and he is running the V.P. search along with Donald Trump, of course. He told me today Donald Trump speaks for Donald Trump.
But for the campaign, at least through unnamed advisers, to come out and say, well, Ben Carson is just guessing, I think that speaks volumes, Wolf.
BLITZER: People are going to be guessing for awhile, because Trump says he is not going to announce his running mate until the convention in Cleveland and that is in July. So, we got some time to play around with the .
ACOSTA: Long guessing game.
BLITZER: All right, thanks very much, Jim Acosta.
Let's get some more on all of this with one of Donald Trump's key supporters, Scottie Nell Hughes. She's joining us.
Scottie, thanks very much for joining us.
As you heard in our reporting, Donald Trump called, he women in the office names like honey bunch, and commented on people's weight gain, according to "The New York Times," telling woman -- some -- a woman that she liked her candy.
Would you be offended if a boss were to talk to you like that?
SCOTTIE NELL HUGHES, USA RADIO NETWORKS: Would I be offended? Yes. Has it happened? Yes.
I think most women that are in the career field, professional field today have at some point had some sort of comment like that made to them by someone, one of their co-workers or even their boss.
And most of us kind of just bat our eyelashes and continue on and just kind of ignore it. We don't sit there and look at it as an excuse. You know why I think Mr. Trump feels this is obviously a hit piece, besides just the fact that the leading person has already said that they misconstrued her words, is this article side nine women they featured, that -- to take down Mr. Trump, to make him look bad, but they interviewed more than 50.
That means 41 women had something positive to say about Mr. Trump, and they refused really to highlight those stories, those specifics. They just kind of gave general glances, kind of to just check that box, saying, hey, look, we did show the other side.
There were lots of great stories we could talk about Mr. Trump, especially within the university -- within the pageant system. Do we all remember the story about Tara Conner, where Mr. Trump actually stood by her when she had her drug issues and refused to take away her crown, supported her as she went through rehab, and she's now actually -- she's fully rehabilitated and doesn't have her drug addiction. She did before.
And she is grateful for that. We saw on the campaign trail former Miss Wisconsin actually stood up at a rally and surprised Mr. Trump and said, you sent me a note as I am dying with a disease that cannot be fixed, within my heart, you sent me a note, and because of you, myself 7-year-old son when he goes to college, it will be fully funded.
These are little stories that Mr. Trump doesn't sit there and brag about, doesn't come out. And people like the writers for "The New York Times," they don't ever even go out and to research to find out those.
BLITZER: In fairness to those reports from "The New York Times" and to "The New York Times," for that matter, there were several references in that very long article to women who have worked for Trump and his organization who have been promoted in the '80s and the '90s, long before women especially in the building, especially the real estate business in New York City and elsewhere were getting those kinds of opportunities. And they were very praise-worthy of Donald Trump.
HUGHES: They gave one line, Wolf.
And anybody who reads that article comes away with it with probably a bad taste in their mouth, thinking that Mr. Trump is sexist, or that he's not politically correct.
That article right there when you read it wasn't meant to sit there -- and I give the writers credit. They tried to spin it, saying, look, we showed both sides. But the specific stories that they gave, the new ones, were new ones that were actually out there to paint Mr. Trump as being someone who is against women, and who viewed them just as objects, which if you talk to women who have actually interacted with Mr. Trump, who have been given opportunities with him, they have nothing but praise and respect for the man that they consider to be a mentor and in some cases even a father figure.
BLITZER: But some women in that article, Scottie, they did say that Donald Trump supported them in their careers, that Trump has said previously women should get the same pay for the same job, equal pay for women. He has been an advocate of that.
Here's the question. In the Republican Party platform four years ago, there was no reference to equal pay for women. Should that be included this time?
HUGHES: I think equal pay for equal work. And I think that's the key right there. And it has to be that kind of standard.
I think Mr. Trump has always been for that. Within his own organization, Michael Cohen has gone on the record saying that, in most cases, there are more women that sit on the executive level, and are paid better than men, not just because they pay better, but because of the loyalty factor, their education.
It's because they actually deserve to be paid better, not based on their gender. So, I think definitely we are going to see that program go forward. But the questions -- and your story brought it up about Mr. Trump being able to focus on policy -- I think he wants to focus on policy.
But as long as he keeps getting hit with these trivial little pieces like this -- and this is just the beginning, as we have already seen two in the last three days -- I think he is never going to get that chance, because we're going to have to sit here and talk about this, rather than actually focus on issues that are very important to the voters.
BLITZER: Should he pick a woman as his vice presidential running mate?
HUGHES: I think if he picks a woman, he should pick her not because she's a woman, but because she's the best qualified to lead. And I think that's one thing Mr. Trump has said. He sits there, and
whether it is positive or negative, he sits there and goes after -- he plays offense to men who attack him, just like he plays offense to women. I think when you look at the list, I think it would be actually something that we need to ask Hillary Clinton.
Why is it -- now, granted, Elizabeth Warren is someone that they're sitting there rumored to be a vice president. But when you look at the same sort of standards that are being held to Mr. Trump, are we seeing that being reported on the other side? Are people asking Hillary, are you going to pick, should you pick a female V.P. candidate?
Are we seeing the men of Hillary, articles being written about that? We are not. And so I think all that we are doing right now is hopefully clearing the air, getting these emotional issues put to the side, and maybe we can actually have a contest on policy once the two of them are the nominee of their party.
BLITZER: As you know, Scottie, Donald Trump continues to deny that he posed as his own publicist back in the '80s and early '90s. But at the time, he actually admitted to it under oath in 1990.
At the time, he admitted it was a joke gone awry with a reporter from "People" magazine. As you know, Donald Trump is a pretty straight shooter. Why would he continue to deny these stories?
HUGHES: Well, let me say this. First of all, it was a surprise to him. He is on a national television interview when he hears it.
He can sit there and address that issue. But I have some real issues with Sue Carswell's story right now, because of them -- her story is very flawed.
BLITZER: She's the "People" magazine reporter who got that call from someone named John Miller, who was really obviously Donald Trump.
And Donald Trump later acknowledged, according to this reporter from "People magazine," that it was him, it was a joke gone awry. But go ahead.
HUGHES: But her bias was exposed when she took it to the next level and said that she believes that the Trump campaign actually leaked that tape.
And she said that two people had it, her and Mr. Trump. And she just assumed that Mr. Trump had a copy of it. And in one interview, she pointed out that she lost her copy. That was on Friday night. But on Saturday, when she was here on CNN, she failed to mention that somehow when she moved apartments, she had lost her copy.
And yet she still wanted to charge the Trump campaign for leaking this to take away from other issues that might be actually more important to the American public, the American voter. Her bias was exposed. That was the first round. And it is
interesting that she never explained why she sat there and made that charge. And I think it is absolutely ludicrous that journalists can get away with this type of bias.
BLITZER: Scottie, stand by. We have a lot more to discuss.
There's new information coming into THE SITUATION ROOM right now as well. We will take a quick break. We will be right back.
BLITZER: Let's get some more now on Donald Trump, some of the criticism he is getting.
Scottie is still with us.
Scottie, John Barrasso, the senator from Wyoming, told me in the last hour that Donald Trump should really change his tone. Tone matters, he said.
What do you think? Do you think we are going to see a different tone, now that he has got the nomination wrapped up, moving toward the general election?
HUGHES: Well, I think as Mr. Trump -- I think we have also seen a different tone. And it's not necessarily a compromise in his principles or his character.
But I think, now that he doesn't have to sit there and fight 17 other characters on the stage, that he actually has been able to. The problem is, instead of having to sit here and go after the other side, and start pointing out the flaws within the Democrat platform, he is sitting here still having to battle people, like the never Trump folks on this side, who refuse to get behind the party.
And just like this past weekend in Nebraska, where the state convention, the state GOP voted 400-8 to sit there and reprimand Ben Sasse for his third-party talk, I think real unity within the GOP right now is starting to come around. And I think as soon as we get our house in order, I think it will be even stronger to sit there and go against the Democrats.
BLITZER: Senator Barrasso, who has endorsed Donald Trump, he also says he favors more transparency. He actually called for Donald Trump to release his tax returns.
Don't you think he should do that, for the sake of transparency, looking toward the general election, especially since he's running on his business record?
HUGHES: Well, that is up to Mr. Trump. We have to ask, what exactly could his tax records actually reveal?
You mentioned, I think, last week that it would reveal what tax bracket that he is in. OK, so but we already know how much he made. His financial disclosures came out. He has filed all the legal paperwork he needs to run for president.
Now, down the road, when his lawyers advise him after the audit, as he has consistently said since the very beginning, he will file his or he will sit there and make it public. I think then you will get your answer. And for those folks who say, well, every other presidential candidate has done it, well, not every presidential has been worth as much or has gone through as much as Mr. Trump, and is as complicated as Mr. Trump's companies.
So, I think we have to leave that and we have to trust his private records and just sit there. And, like I said, he has done everything legally he needs to do to run for president. And I think right now we have to wonder, if he released his records, Wolf, what good would people find?
Would they sit there and nitpick it and sit there and praise?
HUGHES: Or would they sit there and find every detail?
BLITZER: Some of the things we would learn is how much money he actually made in each of those years. Right now, he is being audited. So, he says he can't release them.
But we would learn what his income was that year, what was his tax rate, as you point out, how much he gave to charitable organizations, how much he deducted for charity, for example, whether he invested in companies overseas or strictly in the United States. A lot of information you can learn from a tax return that you can't necessarily learn from a financial statement he filed with the FEC.
HUGHES: And those are all great points. But at the same time, don't you think Mr. Trump, if those were things that he knew that were going to be easily dissected -- we are looking at the media right now taking everything they can and misconstrue it.
The man sits there and releases what he has for lunch, and they are going to somehow turn it on to be an anti-hit piece by some reporter. Some journalist will. So I think we have to trust Mr. Trump. He has 32,000 employees right now that are relying on him to make sure that the Trump Organization continues to stay strong.
And I think he obviously had more zeros in his bank accounts than the majority of us will ever see. And so I think you just have to sit there and advise him. He makes those decisions and he's done, like I said, everything he legally has to.
BLITZER: Scottie Nell Hughes is a Trump supporter. Thanks very much, Scottie, for joining us.
HUGHES: Thanks, Wolf.
BLITZER: Just ahead, al Qaeda now instructing its followers and sympathizers how to carry out assassinations. Is al Qaeda now a bigger threat than ISIS?
Plus, Hillary Clinton targeting Donald Trump and impersonating him as well.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Here's the question. So what is your plan to create jobs? His answer is: I'm going to create them. They're going to be great.
CLINTON: I know how to do it. But I'm not telling you what it is I'm going to do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Donald Trump firing another round in his war with "The New York Times," the presumptive Republican presidential nominee furious over an article that alleges a pattern of unwelcome and unsettling conduct toward women over the years.
Trump just tweeted this -- quote -- "No wonder 'The New York Times' is failing. Who can believe what they write after the false, malicious and libelous story they did on me?" -- close quote.
For more, we are joined by CNN political commentator, the Washington correspondent for "The New Yorker" magazine Ryan Lizza, our chief political analyst, Gloria Borger, "The Washington Post" assistant editor David Swerdlick, and CNN politics director David Chalian.
Ryan, every week, there seems to be some sort of Trump distraction, but it winds up not really hurting him when it comes as far as the votes are concerned. Are we going to see more of that?
RYAN LIZZA, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I think that that is -- that was certainly true in the primaries, where Donald Trump, no matter what was thrown at him, he obviously survived, won 40 to 50 percent of the vote among Republicans.
That's not necessarily the case in the general election. His disapproval number is hovering between 60 and 65 percent. So, these attacks, whether it's stories about his relationships with women, whether it's his popularity among non-white voters, especially in the African-American community and Hispanic community, they're having an effect in the general electorate.
I think we're in a very different dynamic here. And this idea that these things won't have any impact, the rules of the primary are different than the rules of the general election. And the polls show that.
BLITZER: David, Trump today said he might not wind up having a good relationship if he's president with David Cameron, the British prime minister. Cameron said Trump's comments on ban temporary on Muslims to come to the United States, that proposal was stupid.
As we get closer and closer to a general election after the convention, this kind of negative reaction to Trump from a world leader, a close ally like David Cameron, is that going to have an impact?
DAVID SWERDLICK, "THE WASHINGTON POST": Right. I don't think it will have an impact short-term. Cameron was very clear. He said that Trump's comments were stupid and divisive.
I don't imagine that Republican voters or voters that have so far migrated toward Trump are going to really care what the British prime minister says. When you get closer to the general election, I do think Trump, if he doesn't sort of make amends with Cameron, is leaving some bread crumbs out there for Clinton to sort of say in a debate or in an ad, look, Donald Trump is not going to be effective as a world leader on the world stage.
And, of course, if Trump wins, you might have a situation where he has to make up with Prime Minister Cameron before he even gets started.
BLITZER: Anderson Cooper, David, had an exclusive interview with John Kasich, who dropped out of the contest, as you know. This is the first real interview he's done since then.
[18:30:09] He asked him about this talk, Mitt Romney putting forward a third-party candidate to oppose Trump and Hillary Clinton, for that matter. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. JOHN KASICH (R), OHIO: ... candidacy would be viewed as kind of a silly thing. I don't think it's appropriate. I -- you know, I just don't think it would be the right thing to do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: As the chairman of the Republican committee says, it would be a suicide mission, if you will. Kasich says a third-party candidacy would be viewed as a silly thing. Is that going anywhere?
CHALIAN: I think it's in a period of time to figure whether it can go anywhere or not. I think they've got about two weeks. And remember, this is a faction of the Republican Party that simply refuses to accept Donald Trump as the nominee and trying to figure out some way to prevent him from now not becoming the nominee but getting 270 electoral votes.
We are in a window where, if they can't find somebody to step forward and be their vessel, be their vehicle, some deadlines, like in Texas, have already passed to get on the ballot. They -- they've got to find someone to be the vehicle. If they don't have that the next few weeks, I don't see this as a real possibility.
BLITZER: They want to get on the ballots in a lot of these states.
You know, Gloria, there was a funny moment, relatively speaking, Hillary Clinton mocking Donald Trump today. But we've seen the two of them sort of impersonate each other, mock each other. Take a look at this. We put together some clips.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Let's just imagine I'm on a debate stage with Donald Trump. Now personally, I am really looking forward to it. And so let's suppose, here's the question: "So what is your plan to create jobs?"
His answer is "I'm going to create them. They're going to be great. I know how to do it, but I'm not telling you what it is I'm going to do."
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Even for victory speeches, I saw the other night Hillary Clinton, she's got a teleprompter: "And we will travel north and south and east and west."
If I was presidential, first of all, I'd have a teleprompter. You ever seen Crooked Hillary Clinton? She walks in: "Good afternoon, Bridgeport. How are you? This is Crooked Hillary Clinton."
Then people start yawning, leaving. The whole thing is a disaster.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: All right, Gloria, as you know, more than half the women back Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump in a hypothetical general election matchup, 61 percent to 35 percent according to that poll.
Men are, though, evenly split, about 47 percent for both. Trump potentially could have a pretty tough time with women voters in a general election.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes.
BLITZER: So here's the question. Will impersonating Hillary Clinton like this score him any points with women?
BORGER: Well, look, he's not saying anything different than he's -- you know, than he's been saying in the past, which is that "I'm the authentic candidate. Hillary Clinton is somebody who needs a teleprompter." He's going to continue doing it. And it's not going to hurt him with his own supporters, Wolf.
One thing we've learned about Trump supporters is that they are solid.
And saying that Hillary Clinton needs a teleprompter is kind of the softest thing he says about Hillary Clinton. I mean, Crooked Hillary is one thing. He's called her an enabler to her husband and all the rest. And I think you're going to continue to hear more of it.
I think the question on the Hillary side is really how does she respond? Does she impersonate Donald Trump as a way to take him on? Or I mean, lately she's been sort of greeting his attacks with sort of a cool demeanor. Does she continue that? Does she take him head on?
You know, we're getting a hint of this. We haven't even gotten to the conventions yet, Wolf, much less the first debate.
I mean, I think she's got to grow a little bit more comfortable with how she attacks him, because we know how he is going to attack her. And, you know, I mean, she is, as we've seen, very good at these debates, and we're going to see how she matches up against Trump.
Because what they're doing, Wolf, is they're studying every way in which the Republicans messed up when they tried to attack Trump, because they didn't lay a glove on him. So they're kind of in the process now of studying that and trying to figure it out. And what we may have seen was a bit of a test run there with Hillary.
BLITZER: Yes, we -- I just want to point out, Hillary Clinton was from today. The Donald Trump clips were from weeks ago.
BLITZER: But I just want to play those -- play those clips.
[18:35:05] Ryan, is it smart for Hillary Clinton to say, as she did say, that Bill Clinton, her husband, the former president, will be in charge of the economy, if she becomes president?
LIZZA: Look, I just looked at the approval numbers for Bill and Hillary before I came on. Bill's numbers are better than Hillary Clinton's, right? People forget, Bill Clinton is popular in this country. Now, these numbers will probably come down as he enters the political fray a little bit more. So frankly, I don't see a major down side in pointing out the one thing Clinton is well known and well-liked for, which is the economy of the '90s.
BLITZER: But David, she did make it clear he would not be a member of the cabinet.
CHALIAN: Clearly. She made that...
BLITZER: He's not going to be the treasury secretary, for example.
CHALIAN: The Clinton campaign clearly felt that her rhetoric got a little further than they intended, because they put out a statement to say that there would not be a formal role. They feel -- they felt the need for some...
LIZZA: There was sensitivity about this, right?
CHALIAN: Yes, there was some real sensitivity about it. LIZZA: You want -- she wants to run on the Clinton legacy, except the
bad parts. And so they're always -- they're just...
CHALIAN: And she wants to be her own person.
BLITZER: Because Gloria, you and I remember the '92 campaign, that whole notion of you get two for the price of one.
BLITZER: You vote for Bill Clinton, you also get Hillary Clinton. She seems to be suggesting you get two for the price of one against Donald Trump this time if she's the nominee.
BORGER: Yes. I think -- I think she is suggesting that, and I think, you know, as we've been talking about, look, there are good things and bad things to that.
You want to remind people about the way the economy was revving along in the '90s, go right ahead and do it. I think the sort of whole notion is, though, do you want a formal position for Bill Clinton? Isn't there a bunch of Clinton fatigue in the country? Does she want to run as her own person? She can manage the economy quite nicely on her own. And that's why they kind of shut it down a little bit.
Because while she clearly -- no matter whether he holds a position or not, can any of us imagine that Bill Clinton wouldn't be a chief adviser to Hillary Clinton? And among Democrats, at least, and some moderate Republicans, that might not be a bad thing when you look back to the economy when he was president.
BLITZER: He can be, David Swerdlick, a big help in a general election campaign.
SWERDLICK: He can be a help in the general election campaign, depending on who he's campaigning to. And I agree with Ryan that, in terms of poll numbers, right, Clinton is still popular, has been popular. But at the same time, if she goes with this message that will have this role of advising her, it can sort of undermine her in the sense that it gives Trump an opportunity to bring up issues like NAFTA, and like free trade. Things that Clinton championed when he was president that have now become increasingly unpopular on both sides of the aisle.
BLITZER: All right, guys. Stand by, because there's more coming up.
An important programming note to our viewers tonight: John Kasich sits down with Anderson Cooper for his first interview since leaving the race. Will he endorse Donald Trump? Would he consider being his vice-presidential running mate? You're going to find out on "AC 360" later tonight, 8 p.m. Eastern.
We'll be right back.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [18:42:58] BLITZER: Kentucky and Oregon are the next battlegrounds for Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. She's hoping to break his winning streak when those two states hold their primaries tomorrow.
Our senior Washington correspondent, Jeff Zeleny, is covering the Democrats for us. Jeff, Hillary Clinton is having to campaign against both Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump, shall we say, at the same time.
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: She is, Wolf, but as she traveled across Kentucky today, Hillary Clinton spent most of her time talking about Donald Trump. But it's Bernie Sanders she's trying to outrun, at least for one more month.
Now, mathematically speaking, her lead is secure enough she doesn't need to win either Kentucky or Oregon. But politically speaking, a victory would put her in a far stronger position when she finally faces the rival she's been waiting for.
CLINTON: I'll tell you what the truth is, and you know, it's time people stop listening to Republican propaganda about the economy, education and health care.
ZELENY (voice-over): But before she can take on Republicans, Hillary Clinton had a more urgent task in mind today: her battle with Bernie Sanders. She's hoping to interrupt Sanders' recent winning streak, campaigning across Kentucky on the eve of Tuesday's primary.
CLINTON: I want to help bring back the kind of economy that worked for everybody in the 1990s.
ZELENY: And revealing more about Bill Clinton and his role in her White House.
CLINTON: I've already told my husband that, if I'm so fortunate enough to be president and he will be the first gentleman, I expect him to go to work.
ZELENY: It's another way to fire up Democrats, offering two Clintons for the price of one.
CLINTON: He has to come out of retirement.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, he does.
ZELENY: She wants nothing more than to focus exclusively on Donald Trump...
CLINTON: Here's the question: "So what is your plan to create jobs?"
ZELENY: ... even envisioning what a debate with him would sound like.
CLINTON: His answer is "I'm going to create them. They're going to be great. I know how to do it, but I'm not telling you what it is I'm going to do." [18:45:02] ZELENY (voice-over): But Sanders isn't going quietly,
campaigning today in Puerto Rico, and trying to speak Spanish.
ZELENY: Clinton is only 140 delegates away from hitting the mark needed to reach the party's nomination. She needs to win only 16 percent of the remaining delegates.
Sanders needs 102 percent, an unreachable goal unless a flood of superdelegates suddenly came his way.
No matter the size of her lead, some Sanders supporters simply won't accept it. Raw tensions on display at the weekend Nevada Democratic convention -- booing, shouting, even a chair being thrown. The fight growing so intense over delegates, authorities shutting down the meeting early.
But this Democratic family feud may seem polite compared to what's awaiting Clinton in her fight with Trump.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This is crooked Hillary Clinton.
ZELENY: He's the one person Democratic leaders believe can unify their party.
CLINTON: I've been called nearly everything but I've never been called a quitter and I will not quit on you.
ZELENY: Now, the Clinton campaign, Wolf, is trying to clarify comments about Bill Clinton and his potential role in the White House. Her spokesperson said it would be getting ahead of ourselves to talk about any sort of formalize role for anyone in her administration. First, of course, she must win the nomination. Now, it's looking like she will reach that threshold of 2,383 until the primary out here in California on June 7th -- Wolf.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Thanks very much, Jeff Zeleny, reporting for us.
By the way, Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton, they both are campaigning right now. There's Bill Clinton, live pictures coming in from the Virgin Islands, they hold their contest June 4th. Hillary Clinton is in Lexington, Kentucky. Kentucky holds its primary as you know tomorrow.
And stay with CNN throughout the day tomorrow for live coverage of the Kentucky and Oregon primaries. I'll be back 5:00 p.m. Eastern tomorrow with a special edition of THE SITUATION ROOM. I'll be here throughout the night with our election team bringing you the first results, all that tomorrow.
Just ahead here today in THE SITUATION ROOM, there's growing concern about al Qaeda. Does the group pose a potentially bigger terror threat to the United States than ISIS?
A CNN special report takes us inside a deadly shootout between rival biker gangs. We will get a preview. That's next.
[18:51:51] BLITZER: Al Qaeda is out with a chilling new issue of its magazine, the latest edition entitled "Professional Assassinations."
Our chief national security correspondent Jim Sciutto is working the story for us.
There's growing concern all of a sudden about, what, a revived al Qaeda threat?
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: No question. A good part is al Qaeda trying to reassert its relevance with the expansion of ISIS from Iraq and Syria to places like Libya, Yemen, Afghanistan and as well to the streets of Paris and Brussels in the West. It's now making its own call, al Qaeda, for lone wolf attackers in the West, including the alarming threat to carry out assassinations of business leaders right here on the U.S. homeland. This as ISIS has been carrying out its own wave of terror inside Iraq.
SCIUTTO (voice-over): ISIS strikes again inside Iraq. The latest target, a natural gas plant to the capital Baghdad killing 10. A string of deadly attacks by the terror group in the last seven days as left more than 100 dead and 200 wounded. U.S. special envoy visiting Brett McGuirk visiting Jordan says ISIS is resorting to terror to make up for a series of losses on the battlefield.
BRETT MCGUIRK, U.S. ENVOY TO THE COALITION AGAINST ISIS: It relies on suicide attacks or getting spectacularly headlines.
SCIUTTO: The U.S. is now trying to add to ISIS' battlefield defeats, working with Iraqi security forces and local tribes to retake the strategically important town of al-Rutba, half way between Jordan's capital Amman and Baghdad.
But the far bigger prize is Mosul. Under ISIS control for nearly two years, Iraq's second largest city is the target of repeated coalition air strikes and intelligence operations.
MCGUIRK: We've already begun the process of isolating Daesh and Mosul. We're doing precision air strikes in Mosul almost every day. We have a lot of information from working with the people who are inside Mosul about what Daesh is doing inside the city.
SCIUTTO: President Obama has vowed to retake Mosul before he leaves office.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: My expectation is that by the end of the year, we will have created the conditions whereby Mosul will eventually fall. SCIUTTO: But now, the timeline appears to be sliding once again. The
nation's top intelligence chief telling "The Washington Post", quote, "We will retake Mosul but it will take a long time and be very messy. I don't see that happening in this administration."
In Syria, the U.S. may soon be fighting on two fronts, with Osama bin Laden successor warning that al Qaeda will soon establish its own caliphate in the region.
SCIUTTO: The Institute for the Study of War here in Washington released a study arguing al Qaeda is actually the greater long term threat to the U.S. than ISIS. What I hear consistently from U.S. counterterrorism officials is that both ISIS and al Qaeda, particularly al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and the Khorasan Group, an off shoot based in Syria, have both the ambition and the capability to carry out terror on American targets. With al Qaeda and its affiliates, Wolf, one particular concern is for U.S.-bound flights from overseas.
Of course, when we think of AQAP, we think of their bomb-makers sneaking explosives into electronic devices, et cetera.
[18:55:02] And a big concern about that now is that a group like ISIS managed to smuggle a bomb on to that Russian jet over the Sinai and you had al Shabaab, another al Qaeda type group, that snuck a bomb in a laptop on to a flight in Somalia.
So, that technology appears to be spreading.
BLITZER: It's a real athlete. Still very much.
All right. Jim Sciutto, thank you very much.
SCIUTTO: Thank you.
BLITZER: It's one of the most notorious chapters in outlaw biker history here in the United States. A deadly shootout between rival gangs that was all caught on camera. It's a subject of a CNN special report that airs later tonight 9:00 p.m. Eastern. CNN's Ed Lavandera is joining us now with a preview.
Pretty amazing stuff, Ed.
ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It is fascinating and it's an ongoing story. You know, even the most hardened biker, Wolf, will tell you what went down in Waco last year was one of the most insane wildest chapters in outlaw biker history. These are people who are hard to impress in many ways and this story has done just that.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get your hands up.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It sounded like a gunfight at the OK Corral -- bang, bang, bang, one right after another.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They're not here to drink beer and eat barbecue.
LAVANDERA (voice-over): This is the site now, a year after one of the most notorious chapters in outlaw biker history. On a quiet Sunday last May, the thundering rumble of Harley motorcycles descended on the Twin Peaks restaurant in Waco, Texas.
An all out brawl turned into a gunfight, the violent melee between the Bandidos and Cossacks motorcycle clubs ended with nine bikers dead and at least 18 wounded, 177 bikers accused of engaging in organized criminal activity.
Investigators recovered a staggering number of weapons. But that was just the beginning of what is turning into an epic saga. Since the deadly brawl, federal investigators arrested the top three leaders of the Bandidos, including President Jeff Pike, who wasn't in Waco that day. Pike was arrested in an early morning raid at his home in January.
(on camera): So, as we're talking to you now here, you're out on bond.
JEFF PIKE, BANDIDOS NATIONAL PRESIDENT: I am, 409 in it.
LAVANDERA (voice-over): And speaking exclusively with CNN from his home where he says refurbishing classic cars and motorcycles are his favorite hobbies.
PIKE: I worry about pulling up next to someone with just one like it.
LAVANDERA: The investigation has shifted beyond Waco, to what the Department of Justice and FBI are doing in San Antonio, Texas.
Federal investigators believe that Pike and the other Bandidos leaders masterminded a series of vicious attacks on the Cossacks. The Feds indictment includes a wide range of charges, including assault, extortion and murder.
(on camera): Did the Bandidos declare war on the Cossacks?
PIKE: They asked me that in my interview when they arrested. I mean, I laughed. It's an Congress to declare. What do we do, write them a letter or what?
LAVANDERA: You think of yourself as an outlaw?
PIKE: I haven't broken a law in decades. I don't know what you're talking out.
LAVANDERA (voice-over): Video of the Waco shooting captured the moment the fists started flying and gunfire erupted. Bandidos biker Jeff Carousel (ph) was in the middle of the fight.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I had guys all over me. I had Cossacks all over me. LAVANDERA (on camera): You hear the shots?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I heard the shots going. Going off. Whizzing by me. I have never been that scared in my life.
LAVANDERA (voice-over): This Cossacks biker who asked us to hide his identity was wounded in the chaos.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was a lot of carnage. It was a lot of carnage. I still remember the blood coming out of me, the pain, the people around me being shot. So, it's just not good.
LAVANDERA: A year after the massacre, 154 of the 177 arrested bikers have been indicted by a Waco grand jury and are out of jail on bond, awaiting trial.
But it's not clear when any of the biker brawl cases will see the inside of a courtroom.
LAVANDERA: And, Wolf, on tonight's show, we'll look back what led to that shooting in Waco. It didn't just all of a sudden erupt out of nowhere. We'll walk you up to the incidents that were going on between the two rival groups and then actually look ahead to what does this all mean and where will this all end -- Wolf.
BLITZER: We look forward to seeing it. Good work. Thanks very much, Ed Lavandera.
And you can see the CNN special report, "Biker Brawl: Inside the Texas Shootout". That airs tonight 9:00 p.m. Eastern, only here on CNN.
That's it for me. Thanks very much for watching. I'm Wolf Blitzer in THE SITUATION ROOM.
"ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.