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Bill Cosby to Stand Trial for Criminal Sex Assault; Sanders Asks for Kentucky Primary Recount, Says Democratic Convention Will Get "Messy"; Trump, Clinton Trade Nasty Ads. Aired 1:30-2p ET

Aired May 24, 2016 - 13:30   ET


[13:30:00] ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, CNN ANCHOR, LEGAL VIEW: And it could have been the lynch pin in his case because when you talk about all the discrepancies in this case, Andrea's got discrepancies in what she told the police, Bill Cosby's got discrepancies in what he told the police, it will be a battle of the discrepancies. But if you bring in those women we have heard over and over, there's not a lot of discrepancy as to the pattern of that practice.

JOEY JACKSON, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: And just one issue to point to that. And this represents a real fertile ground and we're not there yet because there has to be a trial but in the event you're convicted, there's something called an appeal, and when you make something about propensity -- trails can't be about my propensity to kill or sexual assault or drink -- they have to be about what did you do on the day in question, the evening in question? So in the event, the judge has to be very careful in terms of allowing these things in. If, it's a huge if, there's a conviction here, the extent to which an appeal would be viable will depend on how many, if any, women that judge allow to come into that courtroom saying he did it to me, he did it to me, he did it to me. After a while, the jury thinks, he's serial in terms of doing this, therefore, guilty.

BANFIELD: That's a huge tight rope to walk for any litigator who decides to go down that path. It is powerful. Juries are absolutely riveted by this kind of testimony and can be the absolute lynch pin as it may have been for Phil Specter, but no trial date yet but we have an appearance and it will be July 20th. My thought is, those pictures you're seeing on your screen right now, dozens and dozens of media filed out of that courtroom, when they got this announcement and went live with this. I guarantee you, it may just be a status quo or a status hearing but there will be that much coverage all the way through this case because there are so many other cases of allegations where they can't get a court date because of statute of limitations, where they can't get resolution civilly because of statute of limitations. They want to see what happens in this one and maybe many feel they get justice based on Andrea, and Andrea alone.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: I quickly want to go back to Jean Casarez outside of the courthouse in Norristown, Pennsylvania.

Jean, another hearing, another appearance at the end of July and then set a date? Is that right?

JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Reporter: that's true to a point. The formal arraignment set for July 20th. Bill Cosby, in the courtroom, waived his appearance, signed the piece of paper right then and there. The only words he spoke in the courtroom was, the judge said, so you have waived your formal arraignment, and he said yes, and the judge said, thank you, and that was it.

So the discovery will now begin. The case is bound over for trial in the court of common pleas, which is the trial court, so now we'll see what happens but motions are going to be filed both ways. They should be public. And of course, the big question, whether other women's testimony will be allowed in this case. That will be a huge hearing before the trial comes out and the defense will want to suppress it all.

BLITZER: I'm sure they will.

Stand by.

We'll have full coverage, obviously, of all of this.

The headline, Bill Cosby will stand trial in connection with these three felony sexual assault charges. The judge has ruled he will have a trial. We'll have much more on this.

Also, when we come back, we'll get back to the race for the White House. We're digging deeper into the battle between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump as voters on both sides decide what they're fighting for.

Plus, Bernie Sanders now doubling down on claims the Democratic National Convention in July could get "messy." His words, messy. He says that's good for democracy but is it good for the Democratic campaign? We'll ask a senior advisor to his campaign. And much more, coming up.


[13:37:10] BLITZER: There's breaking news in the world of politics here. We just learned that Democratic presidential candidate, Bernie Sanders, is asking for a formal recount of what happened in the Kentucky presidential primary. Bernie Sanders says the Democratic convention that's upcoming in Philadelphia also could get "messy." His word.

We're standing by to speak with a top Bernie Sanders senior advisor, Larry, talking to him in a moment.

But I want to bring in Gloria Borger and David Chalian. We're looking at all of this.

What's the point of the recount?

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: I think what they're trying to do is to get their people more impassioned about this campaign. It's been an issue that Sanders supporters have been talking about. In a way, the campaign may be reacting to the passion of their supporters. I also personally believe this is a campaign with $5 million cash on hand. When you get your supporters more riled up, it's also a better way to raise money. It's really not a matter of delegates, as you point out. It's a matter of one or so delegates. But I think it's a matter of trying to get that momentum back heading into California. So they go into this convention with something really to say and much more leverage about election reform, the issues that Bernie Sanders really cares about.

BLITZER: David, the race in Kentucky was very, very close, less that 2,000 votes. Won by less than 2,000 votes. Allison Lundgren Grimes declared she's the winner and she's a Hillary Clinton supporter who raised concerns about Bernie Sanders supporters, of course. But Gloria's right, even if they were to reverse and he would win, it might be a difference of one delegate.

[13:39:49] DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: That would be it. That would switch the one extra delegate she netted to Bernie Sanders.

Listen. Here's what I think is going on. And I think it's really interesting. I think what you see lately from Bernie Sanders, ever since the controversy over the Nevada sort of vitriolic words we heard out of people in Nevada and the Democratic convention and the tension rising between the Sanders camp and the Clinton camp, I think you see Sanders trying to find ways to give his supporters a relief value, an avenue to express their passion, as Gloria was saying. I think we saw this over the weekend with him saying he was supporting Debbie Wassermann Schultz, the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, her primary opponent in Florida, when he said he would not reappoint her as DNC chair if elected president. And now this. None of these things are damaging to Hillary Clinton. It's not about going on the attack to Hillary Clinton or saying she's not qualified to be president or taking the fight, continue to her in that way. But it does draw contrast on the trail. But I actually think what you're seeing from Bernie Sanders of late is giving continued avenue of passionate support for his supporters without trying to take down Hillary Clinton.

BLITZER: You know what, Larry Cohen is standing by, a senior advisor. Let's get his reaction.

So what's the point, Larry -- first of all -- thanks for joining us --


BLITZER: -- of this recount in Kentucky.

COHEN: I think the point is just transparency. It's not just about Kentucky. It's about trying to create a context now and at the convention that these primaries and caucuses need transparency. They need to be authentic. They need to build confidence among voters, particularly younger voters, that this is not rigged and this is for real. I think it's just a simple recount. I would agree with what was just said. The bigger items are things like the platform writing committee. What will the rules of the party going forward? Is this a populist party or the financial elite? BLITZER: Speaking about the platform, they did agree, the Democrats,

that Bernie Sanders would have, what, five representatives on the platform committee. That's a third. Is that good enough for you right now?

COHEN: Well, not only that third, but we would say the make-up of that platform committee is a good group. It's a broad cross section and represents newer elements in the Democratic Party, not just the old guard. Our senior staffer, Warren Gunnels, will be there with Maya Harris. And, yeah, personally, I'm confident that we can have a good outcome from that committee.

BLITZER: What did he mean, Senator Sanders, when he thought the convention in Philadelphia in July would be, quote, "messy?"

COHEN: It's not going to be or likely to be orchestrated like they've been since 1988. It's more likely to have motions come to the floor about the rules of the party. It's not the platform. And that kind of debate is healthy. I think the key thing is that we believe, coming out of Philadelphia, this will be a much more appealing party, particularly to younger voters. It will be a much greater sense this party is on the move, not in the past. And that's what our goal is.

BLITZER: Is it your goal after California and a week later here in Washington, D.C., when the Democratic contest takes place, if she has more pledge delegates, will he concede at that point or will he still fight to go all the way to the convention?

COHEN: Well, I think in terms of the political revolution, it definitely goes to the convention. I don't want to speak for Senator Sanders about that now. He's focused on California and six other states, plus Puerto Rico, to actually get large political revolution is much more realistic or that he, in fact, can persuade delegates that he's the better nominee to take on Donald Trump.

Is he himself acknowledges the arithmetic is not in his favor right now. She's ahead by 300 pledge delegates and maybe 500 or so of the so-called super delegates. So how do you overcome that?

COHEN: It's about 270. It's still, he calls it, uphill, a narrow path. And, you know, that's based on the number of people that are still to vote but I think a part of that is also to give encouragement to, again, young elements of voters in the largest state in the country, California, and the six other states, plus Puerto Rico, that their say counts too and that this road to build a populist party is a long road and we need everybody to stay on it.

BLITZER: So even if he's behind in pledged delegates after the District of Columbia on June 14th, he's not going to concede? Is that what I hear you saying?

COHEN: No, I'm saying that is clearly, you know, up to him. That's not -- I think that will depend on what the results actually are. He's definitely going to continue on the path of, how do we have the kind of party that appeals to our voters, and so that means a negotiation. And I think it depends in large part on how that goes, what kind of a party do we have and where do we stand on differing from the president on the Trans-Pacific Partnership or are we just about words? It's about key issues that people really care about across this country as well as about his candidacy. It's always been about those.

[13:45:24] BLITZER: Larry Cohen is the senior advisor to Senator Sanders.

Larry, thank you very much for joining us.

COHEN: Pleasure.

BLITZER: Up next, the increasingly ugly attacks between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. Could those ads, the harsh rhetoric backfire? We'll talk to supporters of the Trump and Clinton campaigns. That's next.


[13:50:05] Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton haven't secured the party's nominations officially, at least not yet, but that hasn't stopped them from squaring off against each other anyway. And according to a Donald Trump top adviser, he's not even started playing rough.




COHEN: Donald Trump is this uber billionaire real estate developer, possibly the greatest negotiator in the history of this planet. He'll never come out with his first offer, right, in real estate, right off the bat. Meaning, if she thinks that this is bad, right, this is nothing. He is not coming out with his strong.


BLITZER: All right. Let's bring in John Phillips, radio talk show host in Los Angeles and a Donald Trump supporter; also joining us, CNN political commentator, Maria Cardona, a Hillary Clinton supporter.

Guys, thank you very much for joining us.



John, one of Donald Trump's new ads takes liberties sort of with Bill Clinton's past with women. Hillary Clinton hammering Donald over the housing collapse. A question to both of you. Is anything off limits -- John, first to you -- in this race, assuming it's a race between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton? PHILLIPS: Well, it's fitting we are having this conversation on the

day that the Bill Cosby news broke because I think there's similarities here. Going back to the story, pretty much everyone --



PHILLIPS: reported that Bill Cosby has a wondering eye. The allegations of sexual assault were pretty much just in the "National Enquirer" and anyone talking about it, it was like touching a live wire. Wendy Williams did it and got fired. Janice Dickinson trying to talk about it in a book, the editors took it out. An NPR reporter got dressed down by Bill Cosby. And then the comedian comes out on state and talks about it and the story takes on a life of its own. It was exposed to people who had never heard about it before.

With Bill Clinton, the same thing is true in the sense that everyone knows that Bill Clinton has a wandering eye but the allegations of sexual assault, the Juanita Broderick allegations, the Kathleen Willie allegations, are pretty much just in the tabloids and the conservative press. If Donald Trump talks about this, everyone's going to have to cover it, and it will be exposed to a whole new generation.

BLITZER: Maria, go ahead.

CARDONA: That is just so ridiculous, John, to make a comparison here, which just underscores to me when Donald Trump goes after the Clintons this way is because he's desperate and he cannot meet Hillary Clinton on the battlefield of ideas, which is what American voters are looking for.

Look, her attacks on him are actually on his supposed business acumen, his businesses that, frankly, he's let go bankrupt four times, on the fact in 2006 and 2007 rooting for a housing crisis when millions of people lost their homes and jobs and, frankly, the fact that in his current proposals for the economy many economists and professionals have said the would tank our economy and would lower wages and would be disastrous for America. And so, those are the kinds of comparisons that Hillary Clinton is going to focus on when she actually has fought for American families for three years.

BLITZER: Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, they both have something in common. The reason for voting, according to the new "Wall Street Journal" NBC News poll, the majority of Clinton voters aren't necessarily voting for her. They say they're voting against Donald Trump. And it's actually the same story for Trump voters. The majority aren't necessarily voting for him. They're voting against Hillary Clinton, instead of voting for Donald Trump.

So, John, could this be problematic come November?

PHILLIPS: Well sure, it could be problematic but you have seen the ads, the pro-Hillary PACs running and what's happened since they hit the air waves? Hillary's negatives gone up and Donald Trump is beating her right now and any of the most recent head-to-head polls. So I think she's got to be careful about the same line of attack that many of the Republicans in the primary launched against him that didn't work. I don't know why she is repeating it.

BLITZER: Why is she doing that?


BLITZER: Go ahead. Let's let Maria respond.

CARDONA: The reason it didn't work for Republicans is because they did not go after him until months in to the election, into the primary process, and didn't take him seriously. Hillary Clinton is taking him seriously because last thing she and Democrats and many Independents and a lot of moderate Republicans want is to have somebody as incompetent and, frankly, as dangerous and Donald Trump in the White House. And that is what Hillary Clinton is going to focus on. The message of what his presidency would mean to middle class families and her record shows that while, again, for 30 years, she has been fighting for middle class families for affordable child care, for higher wages. Donald Trump, he has been out to enrich himself and trying to burnish his credentials as a Manhattan playboy.

BLITZER: Maria Cardona, John Phillips, the debate I suspect is only just beginning. We'll have, of course, both of you back as the debate continues.

Guys, thanks very much.

CARDONA: Thanks, Wolf.

PHILLIPS: Thank you.

[13:50:12] BLITZER: There's other news following right now, including a major battle for Fallujah in Iraq. It's now in the second full day, and the fighting clearly is intense.




BLITZER: Iraqi forces have launched an offensive against what's described as the ISIS stronghold. And new pictures of fighting just outside the city. The U.S. already involved, hitting 21 targets with air strikes over the past few days. Fallujah is a key stronghold for ISIS, lying about 40 miles from Baghdad. It's been under ISIS control since January of 2014. There also been ISIS attacks in and around Baghdad in recent days that have claimed more than 100 lives. All of this happening as Iraqi forces are scrambling the try to protect Baghdad's highly secured Green Zone, which has been breached recently.

CNN's Barbara Starr has exclusive reporting from inside Iraq with the commander of the U.S. military Central Command.


BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Protesters invade Baghdad's Green Zone for the second time.


STARR: Violence rising as opposition to the Iraqi government grows.

The top U.S. commander running the war against ISIS is watching carefully for the stress mounting on the Iraqi military even now as it tries to recapture the key city of Fallujah.

GEN. JOSEPH VOTEL, CENTCOM COMMANDER, U.S. MILITARY: They're having to make decisions in terms of where their force going, where their priorities are.

STARR: But in Baghdad, with the U.S. embassy and military headquarters inside the heavily fortified Green Zone, does the U.S. have enough security on hand?

VOTEL: Yes, I do think we have the right security forces on ground, on the ground from a U.S. perspective to take care of ourselves there.

STARR: CNN was the only network with General Joseph Votel, the U.S. commander in charge of the war against ISIS, as he traveled in Iraq, getting the latest assessments on security and the readiness of Iraqi forces.

(on camera): This base about one hour north of Baghdad is one of the front lines in the effort to train, advise and assist Iraqi forces. But they have at least temporarily seen some Iraqi forces called back to Baghdad for a few weeks to deal with the security situation there in the wake of the rising attacks by ISIS.

(voice-over): Votel is trying to convince Iraq's military to make certain to station enough troops around the country and not to flood Baghdad with security forces as the government tries to confront the latest violence in the capitol.

VOTEL: They are attempting to create chaos in the capitol. They're attempting to divert attention away from other areas where they're -- where the coalition forces and Iraqis are having success.

STARR: This military warehouse just to the south in Kuwait, brimming with more than 25,000 weapons for those Iraqi forces. All are being shipped out as more Iraqis show up for U.S.-led training.


BLITZER: Barbara's joining live from Amman, Jordan.

Barbara, if the Iraqi forces retake Fallujah, will that have an impact on ISIS ability to launch terror attacks, let's say, in Baghdad, in the Green Zone, for example? STARR: Well, it may well be just that, Wolf, with Fallujah, as you

know, west of Baghdad, it's a major route in to the capitol. Now, Baghdad six million, seven million people. Impossible to completely seal off but the Iraqis trying to gather more intelligence all the time on where these IEDs and bomb factories are just outside the city so they hope if they can regain control of Fallujah that does a couple of things. It lets them move more towards Baghdad and ensures that road is secure and it can help ensure to give them a jumping off point to try to bring further security deeper in to western Iraq, so it's something they very much want to do. But the U.S. also pointing out to them Votel also pointing out to them, Mosul, that major city north of Baghdad, still lies ahead, still what has to be gotten back from ISIS.

BLITZER: Can the Iraqi troops liberate Mosul this year? What's the analysis, the assessment?

STARR: Well, that, from everyone we talk to, that may be very difficult. You know, if you say, can they liberate Mosul, you also have to ask the obvious question, can they hold on to it? They may be able to get to parts of the city but a full, you know, liberation and holding on to it, changing life in Mosul, that could be some time away.

BLITZER: Barbara Starr, doing excellent reporting for us. Thanks so much.

That's it for me. Thanks very much for watching.

The news continues right now.

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