Return to Transcripts main page


Scathing Report Faults Clinton's Handling of E-mails; Female Politicians Fire Back at Trump; Police Arresting Demonstrators Outside Trump Rally. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired May 25, 2016 - 17:00   ET


JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: That's it for "THE LEAD." I'm Jake Tapper. We're turning you over now to Wolf Blitzer in THE SITUATION ROOM.

[17:00:10] WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now: scathing report of Hillary Clinton from a government watchdog. The report says Hillary Clinton broke the rules and risked a security breach by setting up a personal e-mail system when she was secretary of state. Will that hurt her out there on the campaign trail?

Campaign protests. Violent clashes outside a Donald Trump rally, the latest in a series of incidents that are now raising fears about both parties nominating conventions in Cleveland and Philadelphia this summer. Are organizers prepared for the worst

And something about women. Hillary Clinton says that insulting people must make Donald Trump feel good. And after his latest attack on New Mexico's female Republican governor, Clinton suggested Trump may have, quote, "something about women."

I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

Hillary Clinton's getting slammed today by Hillary Clinton and by a government watchdog. The State Department's inspector general has now issued a long-awaited report on Hillary Clinton's use of a private e- mail system when she was secretary of state. The report says Clinton's e-mail set-up was unauthorized and inappropriate and notes that there were outside attempts to hack the system.

Clinton's campaign says the report shows her e-mail practices were consistent with those of previous secretaries and senior officials.

Donald Trump is stepping up his attacks on Hillary Clinton, calling her a lightweight and a low-life. He's also attacking Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren, calling her Pocahontas. And as protests rage at a Trump rally in New Mexico, he even attacks the state's popular female governor, Republican Susana Martinez, for staying away. And all of these women are hitting back. Can they put Trump on the defensive?

Our correspondents, analysts and guests, they will have full coverage of all the day's top stories?

Let's start with CNN's Sunlen Serfaty and the scathing new report on Hillary Clinton's e-mails. Sunlen, update our viewers. What are you learning?

SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, Hillary Clinton has said time and time again that she believes she was in compliance with State Department rules in setting up and using her private e-mail server, but this the new I.G. report says exactly the opposite.


SERFATY (voice-over): Tonight, Hillary Clinton is back on the defensive. In a scathing 83-page report, the State Department's own inspector general determined that Clinton violated federal rules. It scolds the former secretary of state for setting up and using her private e-mail server to conduct State Department business.

The report reads, in part, "At a minimum, Secretary Clinton should have surrendered all e-mails dealing with department business before leaving government service."

Now Clinton has pushed back on questions over her e-mails many times in the past, telling CNN's Brianna Keilar last July...

HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The truth is, everything I did was permitted. And I went above and beyond what anybody could have expected in making sure that, if the State Department didn't capture something, I made a real effort to get it to them.

SERFATY: But the report says that, quote, "Sending e-mails from a personal account to other employees at their department accounts is not an appropriate method of preserving any such e-mails."

Clinton has also maintained that she had permission to use personal e- mail.

CLINTON: I opted for convenience to use my personal e-mail account, which was allowed by the State Department, because I thought it would be easier to carry just one device for my work and for my personal e- mails instead of two.

SERFATY: But not so, says the report. The inspector general's office found no evidence that Clinton or her staff consulted anyone at State before she decided to use her private server.

The Clinton campaign today trying to downplay the significance. Clinton spokesman Brian Fallon said in a statement, quote, "The inspector general documents just how consistent her e-mail practices were with those of other secretaries and senior officials at the State Department who also used personal e-mail."

The report does call out past secretaries of state for their use of e- mail but notes the rules were updated the year Clinton took office.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Look, the e-mails, that's bad judgment.

SERFATY: The e-mail controversy has been a constant target for Donald Trump. TRUMP: She had a little bad news today, as you know. Some reports

came down that weren't so good. But not so good. The inspector general's report, not good.

SERFATY: And the new findings are likely to hand him even more ammunition to bring to the general election fight ahead.

TRUMP: For her to be able to continue to run is an absolute disgrace, in my opinion, to this country.


SERFATY: And the I.G. report does call out the State Department writ large for being overall, they say, really disorganized with their e- mail practices, in general.

[17:05:07] There has been considerable pushback to this report today, not only from the State Department, who says they've already made many of the changes that this report suggests but also from Democrats on Capitol Hill, who slammed the I.G. report as being too partisan, Wolf. A point that the Clinton campaign alluded to today, as well.

BLITZER: All right. Sunlen Serfaty, thanks very much.

Justice correspondent Evan Perez, he's also been going through the inspector general's very lengthy report. Evan, you spent a lot of time on this. What surprises you the most?

EVAN PEREZ, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, I will tell you, Wolf, the fact that the former secretary of state decided that she was not to cooperate with an investigation by the inspector general for the department that she left and neither did her aides, which is surprising because this is obviously not just a former secretary of state, but she's running for president. And we now -- we know, according to this report, that former secretaries of state did cooperate, as did the current secretary of state, John Kerry.

BLITZER: Did anyone at the State Department raise any red flags or object to what was going on with that private e-mail server at the time? Or was it only after this whole story blew up, shall we say, when she was running for president that this became an issue?

PEREZ: Well, according to this report, a couple of people, lower level people did raise some concerns about the use of this private server, Wolf, and they raised it to their supervisor, a civil service person inside the State Department. What they were told was that it's been approved from high up and that they should not raise it again.

Now, we know from the report that they never -- as Sunlen just mentioned, they never got any approval from the legal department or from the security folks at the State Department for the use of this server.

BLITZER: Evan Perez reporting for us. Thank you, Evan.

Now for the Clinton campaign's response to the inspector general's report, I'm joined by the campaign press secretary, Bryan Fallon.

Bryan, thanks very much for joining us.


BLITZER: All right. Let's get through this. Up until today, the secretary always said that what she did was allowed under the rules, but this report says the State Department did not and would not have approved of her exclusive reliance on a personal e-mail account. If she didn't get approval from anyone at the State Department, doesn't that mean she broke the rules?

FALLON: No, Wolf. I think what the secretary has said that the use of personal e-mail by officials at the State Department was allowed. And that was confirmed today by the report. The rules that were just cited that disallowed personal use was -- were enacted after she left.

At the time that she took office and for the duration of her tenure there, the use of personal e-mail for work purposes was not disallowed and, in fact, as documented in great detail by the report, personal e- mail was utilized by 90-plus different top officials at the State Department over the years that they looked at, including two other secretaries of state besides Hillary Clinton.

So the practice was widespread. In fact, if you just look at those top officials, 90-plus different officials, it seemed to be the rule rather than the exception. That's what she's been referring to, and that was upheld by the report today.

BLITZER: They did use -- these other officials did use personal e- mail, but only three officials used it exclusively. Former secretary of state Colin Powell, a former ambassador to Kenya, and Secretary Clinton. The others also had government e-mail accounts. These were the only three that used it exclusively.

And the report concludes that there was no evidence that the secretary requested or obtained guidance or approval to conduct official business by a personal e-mail account on her private server.

FALLON: Well, Wolf, let's really get to the heart of the question. And that is, were records preserved? Were they retained in keeping with the rules and regulations that required them to be preserved and retained?

And even though she used personal e-mail exclusively for work business, she did make it a practice of seeking to ensure that there'd be a permanent record preserved of all of those work-related e-mails. Her way of doing that was to always ensure that there was someone on a account that was copied or on the correspondents.

When it turned out, when the State Department looked back and said, "Well, because of our shoddy record keeping, there's actually two years where we should have the records but don't," she came forward. And because she had not gotten rid of those work-related e-mails, because she had preserved them, she was able to turn over 55,000 pages of work-related e-mails. And so...

BLITZER: Who gave her -- Bryan, who gave her the legal opinion that she could exclusively use a private e-mail server, a private e-mail account for all of her work-related business?

FALLON: Well, Wolf, I'm not sure that it was ever contemplated that a specific opinion, a legal opinion was needed, considering that this was the practice of her predecessor as secretary of state, in the person of Colin Powell, as well at top aides to Condoleezza Rice and other administrations.

[17:10:10] So the idea that the State Department inspector general is putting forward today that, in retrospect, if they had been approached, they would have suggested, well, maybe don't use the personal server, from the standpoint of whether records were preserved or not, that question is beside the point. She kept all the records; the records were turned over. Fifty-five thousand pages of them were. And in that respect, she far exceeded any of her predecessors who made just as ample use of personal e-mail as she did.

BLITZER: But the inspector general's report says specifically -- and I'll read it to you -- "By Secretary Clinton's tenure" -- not Colin Powell or previous secretaries -- "the department's guidance was considerably more detailed and more sophisticated." There were different rules in place for her that she apparently didn't obey.

FALLON: Well, they were very careful with their wording in that passage, Wolf, and that's for a reason. Because while it's true that the rules and regulations were updated, they were not updated to such a degree where they ever disallowed personal use of e-mail for work purposes. And so that's why even though the rules were slightly different than they were for Colin Powell, personal use of e-mail for work purposes was still allowed under the rules in place at the time.

BLITZER: The report quotes a staff member working for Hillary Clinton as saying this, raising concerns. I'll put it up on the screen. "One staff member raised concerns that information sent and received on Secretary Clinton's account could contain federal records that needed to be preserved in order to satisfy federal record-keeping requirements. According to the staff member, the director stated that the secretary's personal system had been reviewed and approved by the department legal staff and that the matter was not to be discussed any further."

So two questions: who approved it and why couldn't it be discussed any further?

FALLON: So I've seen that passage of the report, and I think that Evan Perez's reporting on that is accurate. This is a career employee. It was unknown to us that any such instructions were ever given to any lower level person. So whoever that career civil servant was that gave those instructions was not reflecting anything that had ever been said by the secretary or somebody like Cheryl Mills, her chief of staff. We're unaware of what the basis for that is, not challenging that it was said, but it's not -- it wasn't reflecting any instructions that were given from the secretary's office. BLITZER: The report states that Hillary Clinton's use of a personal

e-mail system to contact State Department employees was, quote, "not an appropriate method of preserving e-mails that would constitute a federal record" and then quotes the secretary from back in 2010.

The deputy chief of staff e-mailed the secretary that "We should talk about putting you on state e-mail or releasing your e-mail address to the department so you are not going to spam."

In response, the secretary wrote, quote, "Let's get separate address or device, but I don't want any risk of the personal being accessible."

Here's the question: Was the purpose of the private e-mail server to prevent any of her personal e-mails going public?

FALLON: No, that was not the purpose. And let me just break down real quickly that exchange with Huma Abedin, who sent that e-mail. The instance there related to a fact that some of her e-mails that she was sending to her colleagues in the State Department were being sent to a spam folder. So it was sort of interrupting their ability to conduct work over e-mail.

And so Huma suggested that, as a remedy to this situation, perhaps we should look at setting you up on a e-mail account for work purposes, and the secretary expressed openness to that, which in my mind contradicts this theory that she was seeking to avoid government e-mail at all costs. She, in fact, expressed openness to it. The only reservation she had there was that, in setting up a government account for using it for work purposes, she certainly didn't want to intermix any of her personal correspondence on the government account, which of course, is perfectly appropriate.

But as it happened, they were able to work through that issue where the spam folder was blocking some of her e-mails, which is an issue that most people can relate to, and she ended up continuing to use the existing e-mail account for both work and personal use.

BLITZER: But the report clearly says she did something -- she says she did nothing wrong, but the report clearly contradicts that. That's the bottom line, right?

FALLON: Well, look, I think a big reason why the report finds that it was unacceptable and fell short for her to be using this habit of copying her aides on her correspondence was because it turned out that the record-keeping in place at the State Department was so poor that that didn't ensure that those records were being preserved.

And certainly, with the benefit of hindsight, if we were aware that the record-keeping systems in the State Department were not tracking that correspondence, I think she would have sought to figure out another way to ensure that records were preserved.

BLITZER: But we have...

FALLON: But at the time... BLITZER: ... for a moment, because the report also says there are a lot of e-mails that were missing. The department and the office of the inspector general both determined that the production included no e-mail covering the first few months of Secretary Clinton's tenure.

[17:15:14] Why were these e-mails missing? Why were they deleted?

FALLON: So that much is not new, Wolf. So that's actually a fact that has been long known to those that have followed this issue closely. Because there was a period when she was still using an old Blackberry and had not yet transitioned to the server, there was a couple-month period there at the beginning of her tenure as secretary of state.

And so when she went last year to turn over 55,000 pages of e-mails to the State Department, she was only able to retrieve and produce all the e-mails that were still residing on the server. And since some of those e-mails in that two-month period predated the setting up of the e-mail account on the server, they weren't available for her to turn over.

BLITZER: Bryan, I want you to stand by. There are more questions. This inspector general report raised all sorts of questions. We have some of them. We're going to continue this conversation right after a quick break.


[17:2:25] BLITZER: We're back with the Hillary Clinton campaign press secretary, Bryan Fallon. We're getting reaction to a scathing new report from the State Department inspector general on Hillary Clinton's use of private e-mail system while she was secretary of state for four years.

Bryan, if she -- if she didn't do anything wrong and she had nothing to hide, why didn't she cooperate with the inspector general and answer his questions?

FALLON: Well, Wolf, this is not the only federal review that's taking place with respect to Hillary Clinton's e-mail arrangement. As you and your viewers know, there is also an ongoing review being undertaken by the Justice Department and, in fact, that review by the Justice Department was actually first sought by this same office that's issuing this report today, the State Department I.G.

To our mind, it made sense to prioritize the review being conducted by the Justice Department and so, accordingly, Hillary Clinton has said since last August that she'll be happy to sit with them at whatever point they approach her, which has not happened yet, and she has similarly encouraged all of her aides to cooperate in every way with that Justice Department review.

Beyond that, Wolf, of course, she has answered plenty of questions on this topic from a number of different sources.

BLITZER: Let me interrupt for a moment, Bryan. FALLON: Yes.

BLITZER: But the inspector general is the -- is the top investigator at the State Department. This inspector general was appointed by President Obama. She ran the State Department for four years. Don't you think she would have wanted to cooperate with the inspector general and get to the bottom of this? The Justice Department wouldn't have minded if she would have cooperated with him.

FALLON: Well, Wolf, as I said, we made the decision to prioritize the Justice Department review. That is going to be the last word on this matter.

BLITZER: Why couldn't she do both?

FALLON: They are assessing the same set of facts.

BLITZER: Well, why couldn't she answer questions from the State Department inspector general and from the Justice Department when they call on her for some questions?

FALLON: Well, quite frankly, Wolf, it was always of concern to us, and we never could quite make sense of why this review by the State Department I.G. was proceeding on its own timeline, in a parallel fashion to the Justice Department review, when it was the same office that suggested that the Justice Department undertake its review.

BLITZER: Because here's the problem. Here's the problem, Bryan. She did a long news conference, as all of us remember, answered a whole lot of questions about the e-mail, the e-mail server and all of that.

FALLON: Right.

BLITZER: If she had time for the news media and she's going to have time for the Justice Department, why disrespect the inspector general of the State Department, the department she ran for four years, and not at least go to a meeting with the inspector general and answer a whole bunch of questions?

FALLON: Let's -- I think it's important to take a step back here, Wolf, and understand that, as everybody knows, she sat through an 11- hour session with the House Benghazi Committee which has made it its business to investigate this e-mail matter.

BLITZER: But that was on the Benghazi operation. That was not on the e-mail server.

FALLON: Well, I raised it, Wolf, only because the Benghazi committee made its jurisdiction also include e-mails. So they didn't spare any detail in terms of the degree to which they probed Hillary Clinton on the matter of her server. And she sat through rounds of questioning from a House oversight committee with Republicans that were happy to try to make this a painful experience for her. So the idea that she's been shirking questioners on this issue is just not valid.

In addition to that, these same aides... BLITZER: Well, why -- why disrespect the inspector general?

FALLON: Well, just to add to that, Wolf, these same aides, many of them, in addition to being questioned by that same House Benghazi committee, are also now submitting to depositions from right-wing groups like Judicial Watch that have filed lawsuits about this same issue.

So both Hillary Clinton and her top aides that were involved in this are answering questions from a panoply of different folks that are interested in getting to the bottom of this. And the ultimate...

BLITZER: But you're a former -- Bryan, Bryan, you're a former spokesperson for the Justice Department. It looks as if she's got something to hide which she doesn't even want to answer questions from the inspector general of the State Department.

FALLON: No, Wolf. Look, Wolf, if she had anything to hide, she wouldn't be volunteering since last August to go face questions from the Justice Department, where the stakes will be much higher than this State Department I.G. investigation.

And as I said, the appropriateness of the State Department I.G.'s office conducting this review at the same time when the Justice Department was already looking into this same issue is an open question. There were questions raised about this office during the course of this investigation. There were reports about individuals in this office coming forward and suggesting that there were hints of an anti-Clinton bias in that -- inside that office. All of that adds up to...

[17:25:07] BLITZER: Well, that's interesting. Are you accusing the inspector general of the State Department of having an anti-Clinton bias? And once again, this inspector general was named by President Obama.

FALLON: Actually, Wolf, I think the report today backs up much of what we were saying and includes an appropriate amount of context about how widespread the use of personal e-mail was. So I actually think the report today puts a lot of those questions to bed, based on how fair it was, explaining that the use of personal e-mail was widespread and done by her predecessors, including Secretary Powell.

I've mentioned it only because it was another factor contributing to the sense of uncertainty about why this office was conducting a parallel review and seeking to hasten its timeline to prejudge the outcome of the very same matter that the Justice Department was investigating.

So, look, at the end of the Justice Department's review, Hillary Clinton, presumably, if she's asked, will have cooperated in full, answered every question that the Justice Department lawyers want to ask of her. The same will be true of all of the aides that cooperate in the way that she has asked them to do.

And at that point, she'll have cooperated in full with a full-on DOJ review. She'll have cooperated in full with a congressional committee's investigation into this matter. She'll have cooperated or her aides will have testified and given interviews in various lawsuits brought by third parties. I think that, at the end of this, it will be impossible for anybody to suggest that she didn't answer every question that anybody had.

BLITZER: I think the only difference is Secretary Powell did cooperate with the inspector general. And the whole point of an inspector general, whether at the State Department, the Pentagon, intelligence community, any other agency of the government, is to learn from mistakes, fix those mistakes so the problems don't recur.

When the secretary of state -- former secretary of state refuses to cooperate, that's a problem.

I've asked you a lot of questions about this. One other unrelated question that's in the news, on Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the chair of the Democratic National Committee. Does the secretary want her to step down before the convention?

FALLON: Wolf, I've seen some of the reports in the last day or so that have suggested baseless rumors. I'm not sure what the basis of those are. We're not familiar with any conversations that have been reflected in any of those reports.

From our viewpoint, Debbie Wasserman Schultz is a very dedicated leader for our party. There's nobody more committed to her -- nobody more committed than her to making sure that Donald Trump is not the president in 2016 in November when we have the general election.

And so you've heard Bernie Sanders suggest that, if he becomes the nominee, that he would seek to remove her. We have not said that. And to be honest, I don't understand many of the criticisms that Bernie Sanders has made of Chairwoman Wasserman Schultz. I know that he's upset with the super delegate system. But Debbie Wasserman Schultz did not create those rules, and that's not even the reason why he's trailing right now.

I know he's upset with how he feels his supporters were treated at the Nevada state party convention a couple weeks ago, but there's no indication that they were actually treated unfairly. And that was administered by the state party, not by Debbie Wasserman Schultz's DNC.

And he raises concerns about debates and the debates schedule, but it wasn't Debbie Wasserman Schultz's fault. Nor was it our campaign's fault that many of the national news networks did not want to preempt their primetime programming to host debates on Monday through Thursday.

So on all of these issues that he has raised, I'm not sure that Debbie Wasserman Schultz bears any of the culpability for it. And so I'm not sure what the basis for all this chatter is.

BLITZER: Bryan Fallon is the press secretary for the Hillary Clinton campaign. Bryan Fallon, thanks very much for joining us. You were generous with your time.

FALLON: Thanks, Wolf.

BLITZER: Coming up, Donald Trump pounces on Hillary Clinton's e-mail problems, launches a new personal attack.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Hillary's trying to be very presidential. She's stopping with the shouting. OK? But then I listened before. I'll be honest with you, I cannot listen to her. I cannot listen to her.



BLITZER: Donald Trump is now just eight delegates away from the Republican presidential nomination, and he's already in a nasty general election fight with Hillary Clinton, launching aggressive attacks in all directions.

[17:33:28] Let's go live to our senior White House correspondent, Jim Acosta, who's joining us from Los Angeles right now.

Jim, Trump is also taking some return fire.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Wolf. Donald Trump just wrapped up a rally here in Southern California. He once again tore into Hillary Clinton. But Trump is fighting battles on multiple fronts. And all of his targets this week have one thing in common: they are all high-profile women, and they're all hitting back.


ACOSTA (voice-over): Donald Trump is on the general election warpath, unleashing his arsenal of one-liners in every direction: on Hillary Clinton...

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Crooked Hillary. She's as crooked as they come.

ACOSTA: Trump is tangling with his likely Democratic opponent over his comments on how he was looking to make money buying cheap real estate during the housing crisis.

TRUMP: She goes, "And Donald Trump is a terrible person. And he wanted to buy housing when it was at a low point." Who the hell doesn't?

ACOSTA: Clinton ripped into that.

HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He bragged about what he did. He said profiting off working people losing their homes would be a, quote, "good result." So a good result in Donald Trump's world is he gets his, and you get hurt.

ACOSTA: The presumptive GOP nominee is also firing off his patented zingers at Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, who's emerging as the Democrat's Trump troller in chief. He's hitting her past claims of her Native American heritage.

TRUMP: Pocahontas. That's Elizabeth Warren. I call her goofy. She gets nothing done, nothing passed. She's got a big mouth, and that's about it.

[17:35:09] ACOSTA; But when Trump tweets, "Goofy Elizabeth Warren is all talk, no action," she seems to enjoy the fight, responding, "Fling as much mud as you want. Your words and actions disqualify you from being president, and I won't stop saying it."

Warren is also slamming Trump on his remarks on the housing bubble.

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D), MASSACHUSETTS: What kind of a man does that? A small, insecure money grubber who doesn't care who gets hurt, so long as he makes a profit off it.

ACOSTA: After violent protests both inside and outside his rally in Albuquerque, Trump is also mixing it up with New Mexico's Republican governor, Susana Martinez, a GOP rising star who still hasn't endorsed his campaign and skipped his event.

TRUMP: She's not doing the job. Hey! Maybe I'll run for governor of New Mexico. I'll get this place going.

ACOSTA: A Martinez spokesperson wasn't amused, saying in a statement, "Trump's pot shots weren't about policy; they were about politics. And the governor will not be bullied into supporting a candidate until she is convinced that candidate will fight for New Mexicans."

Trump advisors said the real estate tycoon was only responding to a snub.

SAM CLOVIS, DONALD TRUMP ADVISOR: Like most campaigns, elbows get up under the basket. We saw a lot of that last night.

ACOSTA: Clinton seized on the GOP in-fighting as a symptom of a larger problem.

CLINTON: Last night, he insulted the Republican governor, Martinez of New Mexico, just gratuitously. I don't know. He seems to have something about women.


ACOSTA: And Trump still has other worries inside the GOP after Trump campaign sources told reporters that House Speaker Paul Ryan was on the verge of endorsing the presumptive GOP nominee. A spokesman for the speaker said that's not the case, and Ryan added, "Susana Martinez is a good governor."

Trump is hoping Clinton's e-mail scandal will rally Republicans today. He joked, Vice President Joe Biden will swoop in for the Democrats and rob Bernie Sanders of the nomination. That's not likely to happen.

BLITZER: Yes. That's Donald Trump saying that.

All right. Thanks very much, Jim Acosta.

Joining us now, Republican Congressman Chris Collins of New York. He was the first member of the House of Representatives to endorse Donald Trump's presidential run.

Congressman, we have a lot to discuss. I want to get your reaction to what we just heard. Let's take a quick break. We'll continue our conversation in a moment.



[17:42:02] BLITZER: We're following the breaking news. Look at this. These are live pictures. These are demonstrators outside the Anaheim Convention Center. Donald Trump spoke there. These are anti-Donald Trump protesters. You see the police walking there.

I want to bring in Republican Congressman Chris Collins of New York. He was the first member of the House to endorse Donald Trump's presidential run.

As we look at these live pictures, Congressman, what can Donald Trump realistically do to calm down these protests outside his rallies? We saw protesters last night lighting fires, throwing rocks, going after police barricades. What, if anything, can he do to calm things down?

COLLINS: You know, Wolf, I'm not sure there is anything he can do. These are not Republicans protesting another Republican, like you're seeing on the Democrat side, with Bernie supporters protesting Hillary. These are Democrat political activists that are deliberately trying to disrupt our Republican nominee's speeches and talks.

So I don't know what a Republican can do when these are, in fact, Democrat operatives other than, you know, continue to point out that this is America. We should have peaceful protests, not these kinds of terrible unrest protests.

But I don't know what -- anything more that Donald can do. He's delivering a message to America that is not resonating with the Democrats, certainly the 20 percent of Democrats who think the country is going in the right direction, and that's about what it is, Hillary supporters. No, I just think Donald has to keep delivering the message and doing what he's doing. He's not inciting these demonstrations. These are just Democrats who see this race slipping away. They know Donald is going to win.

BLITZER: Congressman, they're clearly angry about what he said about immigrants here in the United States, undocumented immigrants. They're angry about the wall. Clearly, they have grievances over some of the issues he's put forward. COLLINS: I'm sure. I mean, there's no question. Donald Trump is

going to secure our borders, and those who broke the law, they came into our country. I mean, many of us say, you know, we are a country of laws. We need to secure the borders. But also many of us are being pragmatic, saying that we should have a method for work papers for those who have been raising a family. But we do need to remember these are individuals who did break the law coming here.

We are a very magnanimous type of society that I think we can reach out and give them work papers if they're law-abiding citizens. But we need to keep that in the back of our minds.

BLITZER: But now, for all practical purposes, he's the Republican presidential nominee. Doesn't he need to move to a different level to try to heal some of the anger out there?

COLLINS: Well, I believe he is. He's certainly united the Republican Party. I think he has more Republican support today than Mitt Romney had four years ago, but there are those who are not going to support him as he's holding people accountable, and I think that's what you should do in life. Holding people accountable and, in securing the borders, I believe that Americans, law-abiding Americans want to see that.

[17:45:00] And many of us are supporting work papers for the illegal immigrants, not citizenship. That's the Republican message. But really his appeal is going to be not only to the Republicans who are locked in, but the working men and women on the union side, the laborers, those auto workers, the pipe fitters. Certainly the miners in West Virginia. These working individuals are going to be supporting Donald Trump as well as, you know, the Republican base.

BLITZER: All right.

COLLINS: So he's got that crossover and there are going to be some he's never going to appease.

BLITZER: All right.

COLLINS: He's going to win -- he's going to win anyway.

BLITZER: Congressman Chris Collins of New York, thanks very much for joining us.

COLLINS: Yes. Good to be with you, Wolf. As always.

BLITZER: All right. We're going to stay on top of this. You see the demonstrators, you see the police. They are face-to-face over there at the Anaheim convention center. That's where Donald Trump just spoke. We'll continue our coverage right after this.


[17:50:21] ANNOUNCER: This is CNN Breaking News.

BLITZER: Take a look at the live pictures coming in right now. Donald Trump continues to draw protesters both inside and outside his campaign rallies. Take a look at these live pictures of a rather tense situation still under way in Anaheim, California. Donald Trump wrapped up a speech there a little while ago, but police in riot gear, they're still out in force. Right now they're facing off with anti- Donald Trump demonstrators.

All this comes after trouble in the streets of Albuquerque, New Mexico, last night when a much larger crowd got out of hand.

Let's bring in Kyung Lah. She's on the streets for us right now.

Kyung, first of all, where are you? What are you seeing? It looks -- it looks pretty tense. Can you hear me? I guess Kyung can't me here. We will try to re-connect with her, but she's right there --

KYUNG LAH, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We're just about a few blocks away from where Donald Trump was speaking at the Anaheim Convention Center. And what you're seeing here are police officers who really let protesters take -- I can hear you. I can hear you, I hope you can hear me. What you see here are a number --

BLITZER: Go ahead, Kyung.

LAH: For some reason the audio isn't transmitting? You can hear me? And I've lost IOP.

BLITZER: All right, Kyung. Stand by, because we -- obviously we have a very long delay over there. Stand by, Kyung. I'll bring you David Chalian and Mark Preston and Nia-Malika Henderson.

These pictures, David, a pretty tense last night. Today we saw it in Chicago a few weeks ago. Is this just the beginning?

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: I think it is. I think that we are -- you know, every campaign has sort of a sound track or every time period. I think these are the visual images of this campaign season. And I would expect this to continue.

We know that Donald Trump has passionate supporters and passionate opponents, and now that we are in general election context, when he goes to some big population centers, where not everyone is going to be, it's not rural America or die hard Trump fans everywhere, he is going to encounter this.

And I wonder, guys, if Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders needs to maybe start speaking to this because it's one thing to present opposition, but I think they're going to want to make sure that Trump opponents don't become violent in the way that they protest to make sure that it is a productive protest, if you will.

BLITZER: And police are out in full force out of an abundance of caution, especially, Mark, after what we saw last night.

MARK PRESTON, CNN POLITICS EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR: Yes. And last night really was -- I mean, I thought it very frustrating last night. We were all working. And it was the primary, we are watching it, and then we saw these protesters, these anti-Trump protesters engaging in civil disobedience that crossed the line.


PRESTON: Throwing rocks, attacking police officers. What the Albuquerque police told us last night is that the anti-Trump protesters, Wolf, eventually left and then it was filled in with people who were just rather rousers who were rioters basically.

BLITZER: You know, Kyung Lah is out there, right in the middle of this. I spoke with her earlier. They were throwing rocks. She was worried about her crew. I think we've reestablished our connection with her.

Kyung, if you can hear me, tell us where you are, what's going on?

LAH: We are a few blocks away from the Anaheim Convention Center where Donald Trump was speaking. And for a few hours now, the police, a number of agencies have been very patient, letting protesters sort of take control of the streets, but what you're seeing here are the police officers now trying to clear the streets. You can see that the horses are moving forward. What they're trying to do is pick off the people who appear to be the lead protesters.

We have seen five, at least five arrests. And what they're essentially trying to do is to free of traffic on the streets. What they do is pick out a protester and then they arrest that person. There has been at least 10 announcements over the helicopter from the Anaheim Police Department.

Here we go. Saying that they want to clear the streets. And you can see it happening right here. OK. Got it.

BLITZER: All right, Kyung, be careful over there. I know that rocks are being thrown. I want you to be careful over there. We're going to get back to you.

[17:55:04] We'll resume our coverage. Let's take a quick break. You see the tense situation there in Anaheim, California, not very far from Los Angeles right now. This follows a Donald Trump rally at the Anaheim Convention Center.

We'll continue our coverage right after this.


BLITZER: Happening now. Breaking news. Anger on the streets. Police in riot gear responding to protest at a Donald Trump rally in California. They're coming on the heels of a violent protest at a Trump event in Albuquerque.

The growing chaos raising fear of what might happen at the Republican convention. Will the violence spiral out of control?

Not appropriate. A scathing report calls out Hillary Clinton for using a private e-mail server while she served as secretary of state. The inspector general saying the presidential candidate broke the rules.