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THE SITUATION ROOM
Trump Secures Enough Delegates for Nomination; Clinton and Sanders in Dead Heat in California; EgyptAir Flight 804 Emergency Locator Detected; Donald Trump Captures GOP Nomination; Clinton Responds to Inspector General's Repor. Aired 5-6p ET
Aired May 26, 2016 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[17:00:05] JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: I'm guessing that you had an excellent '80s. Dee Snider, thank you so much for joining us. We appreciate it.
DEE SNIDER: I'm having an excellent 2000s, Jake. Still rocking.
TAPPER: That's it for "THE LEAD." I'm Jake Tapper. Here's Wolf Blitzer.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now, breaking news. Over the top, Donald Trump now has enough delegates to capture the GOP nomination, and he mocks Hillary Clinton for being unable to, quote, "close the deal" in her race. I'll ask Hillary Clinton about that. I'll also talk to a Trump spokeswoman. All coming up this hour.
Tightening race. A new poll shows Clinton and Bernie Sanders are now neck-and-neck in California. Does she need to win there? How long will the Democratic primary go on?
Unlikely debate. Trump says he'd love to debate Bernie Sanders if the proposed showdown could raise $10 million for charity. Sanders' campaign manager says he hopes Trump does not, quote, "chicken out."
And homing in. An emergency signal is detected from the wreckage of EgyptAir light 804. Will that lead others to the crucial black boxes which could reveal why one of the world's most widely flown airliners went down in the Mediterranean.
I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
BLITZER: The breaking news: Donald Trump now has enough delegates to win the Republican nomination. The balloons won't come cascading down until the GOP convention in July, but previously uncommitted delegates have now gone over to Trump's side, putting him over the threshold of 1,237 convention votes.
While basking in his victory, Trump took the opportunity to slam Hillary Clinton, saying she can't close the deal for her own nomination and says he'd be happy to debate Bernie for $10 million going to charity.
Signals are detected, meanwhile, from EgyptAir Flight 804's emergency locator device. That would dramatically narrow the search area for the wreckage of the airliner and the all-important black boxes that could explain why it went down in the Mediterranean. I'll speak this hour with Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton and with Trump's spokesperson, Katrina Pierson. And our correspondents, analysts and guests, they will have full coverage of all of the day's stories.
Let's begin with Donald Trump's big milestone, which he celebrated a little while ago in North Dakota.
CNN'S Jim Acosta is on the scene for us. Jim, he celebrated, but he also did a little gloating aimed at Hillary Clinton.
JIM ACOSTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Wolf. Donald Trump took a victory lap here in North Dakota after reaching that number of delegates needed to clinch the GOP nomination.
But as Trump has shown throughout his rise to this moment, he also is still capable of generating immediate controversy, and that's what he did here in Bismarck with the Native American community.
ACOSTA (voice-over): After shaking hands with some of the delegates in North Dakota who helped him clinch the GOP nomination, Donald Trump took note of who hasn't reached the finish line yet. Hillary Clinton.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Here I am watching Hillary fight, and she can't close the deal. And that should be such an easy deal to close.
ACOSTA: And to stir the pot, Trump said he would gladly debate Clinton's Democratic rival, Bernie Sanders, as long as the event is for charity.
TRUMP: I'd love to debate Bernie. He's a dream. But I want a lot of money to be put up for charity. So what we'll do is, if we can raise for maybe women's health issues or something, if we can raise 10 or $15 million for charity, which would be a very appropriate amount, I understand the television business very well, I think it would get very high ratings.
ACOSTA: But the presumptive GOP nominee still has one other Democrat on his mind, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren.
(on camera): Elizabeth Warren, she seems to have made it her job...
TRUMP: Who? Pocahontas? Well, she's --
NICOLE ROBERTSON, MUSKWA PRODUCTIONS: That's very offensive.
TRUMP: I'm sorry. Pocahontas? Is that what you said? I think she's as Native American as I am. OK? That I will tell you. But she's a woman that's been very ineffective other than she's got a big mouth.
ACOSTA (voice-over): The Native American woman who told Trump his use of the term "Pocahontas" was offensive told reporters her people are more than a Disney movie.
ROBERTSON: Mr. Trump and his tone was offensive today. If there was other young indigenous or Native American young girls sitting here, what's that signaling to them?
ACOSTA: Trump is also taking hits from President Obama, who oversees where world leaders are alarmed over the ballistic tycoon's campaign rhetoric.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They're rattled by it and for good reason. Because a lot of the proposals that he's made display either ignorance of world affairs or a cavalier attitude or an interest in getting tweets and headlines.
ACOSTA: Trump jabbed right back.
[17:05:06] TRUMP: He's a president who's done a horrible job. Everybody understands that. He's a president who's allowed many of these countries to totally take advantage of him and us, unfortunately. And he's got to say something. And it's unusual that every time he has a press conference, he's talking about me.
ACOSTA: Trump also answered questions about comments made by his campaign chairman, Paul Manafort. He told "The Huffington Post" the New York billionaire likely won't select a woman or minority as his running mate, because he doesn't want to be seen as pandering. Not so, said the candidate.
TRUMP: We're looking for absolute competence. I fully expect that we will have many women involved with not only -- I've had it with the campaign. We're going to have many women involved, and I think that you're going to see that, and you're going to see that very strongly. So I look forward to it, and I know he was misquoted a couple of times.
ACOSTA: Trump again said he would release his tax returns once an IRS audit is finished.
TRUMP: Hope it's going to be before the election.
ACOSTA (on camera): Just to be very specific on this, you do pay some federal taxes?
TRUMP: I do.
ACOSTA: You do?
TRUMP: I do. Yes.
ACOSTA (voice-over): Despite reaching that key number of delegates, Donald still has to win over nervous Republicans who worry about his scorched-earth tactics. Trump seemed to somewhat walk back his comments questioning the death
of Clinton friend Vincent Foster in the '90s, even after multiple investigations concluded it was a case of suicide.
TRUMP: I really know nothing about the Vince Foster situation. I don't think it's something that should really be part of the campaign. But again, if you people reveal something to me, I'll answer it the appropriate way.
ACOSTA: And Trump signaled he is serious about winning over House Speaker Paul Ryan, who still hasn't endorsed him. The two leaders spoke by phone overnight and are keeping the door open to working together.
REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: It was a productive phone call. Like I said, we had this conversation.
TRUMP: We'll see what happens. We've had great conversions, and we'll see what happens.
ACOSTA: Now, Trump announced he will hold a press conference on Tuesday in New York, where he'll offer some details on the money that he and other supporters have donated to veterans' groups. And Trump will be in California all throughout the weekend, Wolf. That is a state that Donald Trump says he can put in play for the general election.
BLITZER: Well, we'll see soon enough. Thanks very much for that, Jim Acosta.
We're standing by for that Trump rally in Billings, Montana. CNN's Phil Mattingly is on the scene for us. Phil, all this comes as there's new turmoil, apparently, within the -- inside the Trump campaign. National political director Rick Wiley no longer with the campaign. What are you learning? What happened?
PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it was a surprise, Wolf. When this was announced by Donald Trump's campaign, they said Rick Wiley was only a short-term appointment to the campaign. That simply isn't true. As recently as last week, according to some Republican operatives I've been speaking to, Rick Wiley was making hiring calls, making calls about prospective employment within the Trump campaign, people who would report directly to Rick Wiley.
Now, this is an interesting moment, as Donald Trump secures that 1,237 delegate number and shifts his focus entirely to the general election. Many establishment Republicans, Wolf, have been pushing for the expansion of Trump's team to really professionalize an operation.
Up to this point they have done extraordinarily well in a way that's not really close to traditional to a Republican sense. That was what Rick Wiley was there for. A former Republican National Committee political director, he had tight ties with the committee, understood the ground game and data operation. But he clashed with Donald Trump's team, and now he's no longer on Donald Trump's team, Wolf.
BLITZER: You know, Phil, there have been calls from establishment Republicans for Trump to sort of professionalize his campaign. Does this set back those efforts?
MATTINGLY: Yes, it absolutely is, Wolf. When you talk to Republicans affiliated with the RNC, there was a lot of discomfort with Donald Trump's candidacy. That's not a secret. When we talked to officials, some of the 160 Republican National Committee members, Rick Wiley's emergence on Donald Trump's team brought some level of comfort. They knew he understand -- understood the system, understood the party. He understood donors.
But the fact was, he was essentially attempting to set up a parallel campaign of sorts from what Trump's original team was running. That rubbed a lot of Trump's former employees the wrong way. Trump decided to side with them.
Now, to the frustration of a number of establishment Republicans, one who told me today, Wolf, it's as if sometimes these guys think all they need is a Twitter account and jet fuel. The implication being that they don't need to run a traditional campaign. Trump's team perfectly happy with the campaign they're running. They make the point that they're the Republican nominee, Wolf.
BLITZER: That's the point. All right. Thanks very much, Phil Mattingly, for that.
We're going to be speaking live in a few minutes with Hillary Clinton, the Democratic presidential front-runner. We're going to get her reaction to what Donald Trump is saying.
But joining us now is campaign national spokeswoman Katrina Pierson.
Katrina, thanks very much for joining us.
KATRINA PIERSON, NATIONAL SPOKESWOMAN, TRUMP CAMPAIGN: Great to be here.
BLITZER: So talk about this turmoil inside the Trump campaign. All of a sudden the political director is out, was fired. There seems to be a battle going on.
PIERSON: You know, Wolf, I've been hearing for 10 months there's turmoil in the Trump campaign, and there isn't turmoil in the Trump campaign.
BLITZER: Why was he let go?
PIERSON: This was a temporary position. And, you know, we keep hearing from these anonymous sources in the campaign. I'm here representing the campaign to tell you that's simply not the case.
When Mr. Trump was approaching locking up the delegate system, he brought in Mr. Manafort for the convention process to secure those delegates and brought in other people to help with that process. And now we are at the delegate number we're -- that we needed to have to be the nominee. And now it's just time to move forward.
We are going to be continuing to add to the campaign. There is no turmoil, per se. This is a growing campaign. We are doing things no one ever said could be done. We hear a lot of talk about the traditional campaign style. That has failed for two presidential cycles. I think the Trump team knows what they're doing.
BLITZER: The president of the United States is at the G-7 summit in Japan, and he said in his conversations with world leaders, they are rattled right now. They're worried about Donald Trump. Listen to what the president said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They're rattled by it and for good reason. Because a lot of the proposals that he's made display either ignorance of world affairs or a cavalier attitude or an interest in getting tweets and headlines instead of actually thinking through what it is that is required to keep America safe.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Pretty strong words from the president of the United States. Ignorance on world affairs and more interested in tweets. You're smiling, but these are serious accusations that have been leveled against Donald Trump.
PIERSON: But this is also coming from the president of apologies, the president that has more awards than George Bush did, the president that has failed miserably when it comes to foreign policy.
So I don't really take what the president is saying as anything other than politics.
And -- but the word leaders should be concerned, because we have the president of the United States that's more concerned with America and Americans than everyone else.
BLITZER: When he says, Donald Trump, that the president of the United States wants to impose economic sanctions on -- on America, what does he mean by that?
PIERSON: Who said that?
BLITZER: When Donald Trump says President Obama wants to impose economic sanctions on America, I'm asking you what Donald Trump means by that.
PIERSON: Well, he's talking about our current state of affairs. Right now Mr. Trump has been, actually, the only person out there on the Republican side talking about Trade and how it's unfair. We had the secret trade deals that set a lot of the grassroots in the country, including Bernie Sanders supporters, don't want to see happen.
Those essentially are economic sanctions that we're talking about: losing more jobs in this country, shipping more jobs overseas, more regulations. It's hurting Americans.
So Americans today, whether you're a Bernie Trump [SIC] supporter or a Donald -- a Bernie Sanders supporter or a Donald Trump supporter, they just want to get back to the basics. They want commonsense governance. They want someone that represents them, and that's something we haven't had in a very long time.
BLITZER: Donald Trump also today once again said that Hillary Clinton wants to abolish the Second Amendment to the Constitution. She's never said that.
PIERSON: Hillary Clinton today is definitely saying that she wants to have gun control. Essentially...
BLITZER: Gun control, everybody supports some forms of gun control.
PIERSON: Absolutely not.
BLITZER: Abolishing the Second Amendment to the Constitution, Katrina, you know what that requires?
PIERSON: I do. And I'll explain it to you this way, Wolf. The Second Amendment exists as No. 2 because it protects No. 1. The Second Amendment is not implied.
BLITZER: Where did she ever say she wanted to abolish the Second Amendment?
PIERSON: Gun control -- gun control essentially is abolishing the Second Amendment.
BLITZER: Everybody supports some form of gun control, including the National Rifle Association says that background checks, that's some form of gun control. Everyone supports some form of gun control, which is seen within the rights of the Second Amendment to the Constitution.
PIERSON: Interpretation is one thing, but if we look at the history of the Second Amendment, every individual has a right to keep and bear arms. Arms isn't just firearms. And that's another thing that we...
BLITZER: You say that there should be no background checks? There should be no restrictions at all? Six-year-old kids can go buy guns?
PIERSON: What I'm saying is Hillary Clinton -- what I'm saying is Hillary Clinton wants to stop law-abiding citizens from owning guns.
BLITZER: She wants gun control.
PIERSON: Except those -- except those who protect her and her family.
BLITZER: To have the Second Amendment to the Constitution abolished, you have to have an amendment to the Constitution. You know what that requires?
PIERSON: Absolutely. BLITZER: She's never proposed that.
PIERSON: Well, we also see presidents today using executive orders to usurp the Constitution, which is why this president is in legal battles as we speak.
BLITZER: You know, it's one thing to have executive orders. Republican presidents do executive orders; Democratic presidents do executive orders. If they're unconstitutional, the Supreme Court rules they're unconstitutional. But abolishing an amendment to the Constitution is a very specific sentence that Donald Trump makes, which is clearly not accurate as far as Hillary Clinton and the Second Amendment is concerned.
[17:15:02] PIERSON: We haven't taken the action to actually abolish privacy either, but I think you would agree that Americans have had their privacy rights violated, with several actions that this government has taken. And that's what people...
BLITZER: Abolishing an amendment to the Constitution.
PIERSON: That's what people -- that's what we're talking. We're talking about the way people think and feel today because the government has taken it upon itself to usurp the Constitution, whether it be through Congress or with executive order.
So when Mr. Trump says abolish the Second Amendment, he's just saying take away your rights. It's the exact same thing.
BLITZER: You're the national campaign spokesperson for Donald Trump. The proposed debate between Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders -- now you're smiling, because a lot of people thought on Jimmy Kimmel's show last night it was a joke -- but is it a joke? Is this a serious possibility? There could be a debate before the California primary on June 7 between Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders?
PIERSON: Mr. Trump definitely agreed. He was very serious. And if he did it, like you said, "How much money am I going to make?" Because you and I both know the ratings would be astronomical at that point, and he would do it for charity.
BLITZER: He says he doesn't want to make money himself personally. He wants $10 million. Now the $10 million that he wants, where does that money come from?
PIERSON: He wants it to come either from the network -- like I believe he challenged CNN to do the exact same thing for a debate. He wanted the money to go to charity.
BLITZER: So in other words, whatever network would broadcast that debate would have to donate $10 million to -- he said women's health, to some charity involving women's health. That's what Donald Trump said today. He said -- he doesn't want the money to come from the Bernie Sanders campaign, is that right?
PIERSON: No, not at all. This is a joint effort. And if -- he may want to include Bernie Sanders in that, since Bernie Sanders wants to have the debate, as well. But Mr. Trump's only point was that he considered doing it if we could raise money for charity.
BLITZER: Specifically, he said women's health, charity involving women's health. Give us an example of which women's health charitable organization he's thinking about.
PIERSON: I don't have the list. I don't have the list. So what will probably happen is a lot of women's health charities would submit, sort of the way they've done with the veterans charities, and they would have to be vetted and then processed that way.
BLITZER: Where does it stand right now? How close is this debate to actually getting off the ground?
PIERSON: Right now it's just in the discussion stage. Because this news is just being talked about today. He entertained it. I think it's a great idea. I think it would be a lot of fun to show that contrast and to let Bernie Sanders supporters know that Donald Trump is their candidate when Hillary Clinton pushes him out of the race.
BLITZER: Because Jeff Weaver, the campaign manager for Bernie Sanders, told me earlier a few times, he said he hopes that Donald Trump does not, quote, "chicken out." Is that a possibility that Donald Trump is going to, quote, "chicken out"?
PIERSON: No. Donald Trump doesn't chicken out of anything. If the terms are agreed to, I'm sure Mr. Trump would be happy to comply.
BLITZER: Once again, specify the terms, once again. So that our viewers know.
PIERSON: Raising money.
BLITZER: Raising money for women's health.
PIERSON: Raising money for a charity.
BLITZER: A women's health charity, $10 million? That's the bottom line? That's what he needs? Is that what I'm hearing?
PIERSON: Well, that's the discussion that I have heard. I'm not sure if there are already talks with networks. But I think it would be a great idea. And Mr. Trump loves to raise money for charity. I think this would be a great opportunity.
BLITZER: Katrina Pierson, we'll see if that debate takes place.
BLITZER: ... national campaign spokeswoman for the Donald Trump campaign. Thank you.
There's more breaking news we're following here right now. Hillary Clinton is joining us on the phone to take questions about the race for president of the United States.
Madam Secretary, thanks very much for joining us.
CLINTON (via phone): Thanks, Wolf. Good to talk to you.
BLITZER: I want to get to several of the points that Donald Trump said today about you. But first let's go through the State Department inspector general's report, which caused a lot of controversy, as you well know, yesterday.
You said that what you did was allowed under the rules, but the report specifically says the State Department did not and would not have approved your exclusive reliance on a personal e-mail account. So here's the question. Did you break the rules?
CLINTON: Well, Wolf, you know, this report makes clear that personal e-mail use was the practice under other secretaries of state, and the rules were not clarified until after I had left.
But as I've said many times, it was still a mistake. And if I could go back, I would have done it differently. And I understand people that have concerns about this, but I hope voters look at the full picture of everything that I've done and the full threat posed by a Donald Trump presidency. And if they do, I have faith in the American people they'll make the right choice.
BLITZER: The report says -- and I'll read a sentence from the report, Madam Secretary, that the Department of State and the Internal Revenue Manual did not and would not approve her exclusive reliance on a personal e-mail account to conduct department business because of the restrictions of the Foreign Affairs Manual and the security risks in doing so."
Those are specific words that says -- that specifically says you were not -- you were not authorized to do so. Why didn't you ask for authorization?
CLINTON: Well, I thought it was allowed. I knew past secretaries of state used personal e-mail. Secretary Kerry did for a period of time until the rules were clarified. They were not a model of clarity, and it seems like there's still more work to do on that.
[17:20:17] So yes, I believed it was allowed. But that's not the point. I've said it was a mistake.
And, furthermore, Wolf, I have provided the department with all of the work-related e-mails that I had. I've called for them to be made public. And that's really what is at the core of any kind of effort to make sure that material is collected and maintained, and I have done that.
BLITZER: Want to get to what Donald Trump said about you today, but very quickly, why didn't you cooperate with the inspector general and agree to an interview with him?
CLINTON: You know, when they reached out to me, I'd already said everything I could on this matter. I testified for 11 hours before the Benghazi committee. I had done, as you know, numerous press interviews. I called on the department to release all of my work- related e-mails, and I have posted extensive information on my e-mail practices on my campaign's website. So everything that I had to say was out there.
And I believe that, as I have repeated to you, actually, the report makes clear that personal e-mail use was the practice under other secretaries, and the rules that are being referenced were not clarified until after I had left.
BLITZER: The report does say that the rules were updated by -- it says specifically by Secretary Clinton's tenure, and the department's guidance was considerably more detailed and more sophisticated. That's what's in the report.
But let me get to what Donald Trump is talking about today. As you know, he clinched the Republican presidential nomination. He says this report was devastating. I want to play a clip of what he specifically said about you.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I would like her in the race. I'd like to run against her. Look, she has bad judgment. This was all bad judgment. Probably illegal. We'll have to find out what the FBI says. But it certainly was bad judgment.
I just read the report. It's devastating, the report. It's devastating. And there's no reason for it. It's just skirting on the edge all the time. And you look back at her history ,and this is her history.
It's a very, very harsh report. Done, really, by Democrats, appointed by Obama, and done by Democrats. So it's shocking to see it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: All right. I want to get your reaction, but I also want to note that the president of the United States today is at the G-7 summit in Japan. He said world leaders he's meeting with are rattled by the notion, the possibility that Donald Trump could be the next president of the United States. I want your reaction to all of that.
BLITZER: Well, Wolf, look, I know Donald Trump says outrageous things all the time, but today he officially clinched the Republican nomination, so this is now as real as it gets.
And this man, who is an unqualified loose cannon, is within reach of the most important job in the world. So it should concern every American.
And President Obama came out of meetings with our closest allies in the world and reported that they are, quote, "rattled" by the threat Donald Trump represents. Of course they're rattled. He's talking about breaking up our alliances, letting countries get more nuclear weapons, banning all Muslims from coming to America. That is a recipe for fewer friends and more enemies, and it will make us less safe.
And look, I know that Trump thinks this is a point of pride, that people like me or President Obama raise questions and criticize him. But it's not. This is not a reality show. It's not just politics. It's really serious. The entire world looks to the president for the leadership and stability, and that is the kind of leadership I would provide if elected.
BLITZER: He also -- he mocked you today, Donald Trump, saying you can't seal the deal for the Democratic presidential nomination. And these latest polls in California have it very, very close between you and Bernie Sanders. What's the problem here?
CLINTON: Well, first of all, there was a poll yesterday that said I was 18 points up and a poll today that said I was 2 points up, which is why I really don't pay a lot of attention to the polls, because they are usually and increasingly all over the place.
We're going to run hard. We are already insurmountably ahead, not only the popular vote, leading by 3 million, but also in the pledged delegates. This will be wrapped up on June 7.
I know that the A.P. called a bunch of people who were uncommitted in the Republican Party, and they said they would now support Trump at the convention. I believe I have the votes already, but we'll go through and fight hard and work to get everybody to turn out in California and New Mexico, New Jersey, all the contests that are upcoming.
BLITZER: I know -- I know you've got to go. He also once again today accused you of wanting to abolish the Second Amendment to the Constitution. And I'd love to get your response to that.
BLITZER: Well, either he is very badly misinformed or he knows better. That is absolutely ridiculous.
I have said repeatedly that I believe there can be commonsense gun safety reforms consistent with the Second Amendment. And in fact, what I have outlined -- comprehensive background checks, closing the online loopholes, the gun show loopholes, the so-called Charleston loophole -- that is all supported by huge majorities of Americans, including gun owners.
So, look, I'm ready for his fantasy campaign and the outrageous things he's going to say. I just really regret that the kinds of things he is saying about letting other countries get nuclear weapons and bringing back torture and just the outrageous comments are literally being heard around the world. That's not who we are as Americans, and that's not the kind of strong, smart, steady leadership that we need and deserve.
BLITZER: I know you've got to run. One final question. Trump says he's now ready to debate Bernie Sanders if $10 million can be raised going to charity. He says women's health charities. That's what he wants. Bernie Sanders says he hopes that debate takes place. Your reaction to that? Would you be open to joining the two of them in that debate?
CLINTON: Oh, Wolf, this doesn't sound like a serious discussion. I'm looking forward to debating Donald Trump in the general election. I really can't wait to get on the stage with him.
BLITZER: And what's your reaction between a possible debate between Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump?
CLINTON: As I said, I don't think it's serious. I think that, you know, it's going to happen.
BLITZER: Madam Secretary, thanks very much for joining us.
CLINTON: OK. Good to talk to you. Bye-bye.
BLITZER: Thank you very much. Hillary Clinton, on the campaign trail.
We'll take a quick break. We'll get reaction to all of these late- breaking developments right after this.
[17:31:52] BLITZER: We're following the breaking news. Donald Trump securing enough delegates now to win the Republican presidential nomination. And today he's taking on both Hillary Clinton and President Obama and is talking about possible debate with Senator Bernie Sanders.
We have a lot to discuss with our political experts. Joining us, our CNN political commentator S.E. Cupp, our senior political reporter Manu Raju and our political commentator Peter Beinart, he's a contributing editor for "Atlantic Media."
Peter, I just spoke to Hillary Clinton, you heard the interview. She phoned in to respond to, among other things, to Donald Trump crossing the delegate threshold. She's now responding sort of in real time to Donald Trump. You see this as a possible change in her strategy?
PETER BEINART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: It's interesting to watch. I mean. of course, calling in to shows like yours is a signature Donald Trump thing to do. And so it will be interesting to see if she follows down that path. I mean, one thing that is clear that Donald Trump has remade American politics, at least in stylistic terms. I hope ultimately not in ideological and moral terms. But he's opened a path for a kind of more free-wheeling, perhaps less scripted form of political engagement.
The problem is that Hillary Clinton is really not all that good at that. I mean, she is very cautious, she sticks close to her talking points. So she can into shows like yours but she really doesn't really make the same kind of news that he does.
BLITZER: Manu, the fact that Trump now has clinched the Republican nomination, it puts enormous pressure on other Republicans, especially in Congress and the House and the Senate to come on board and join that Trump campaign.
Now you're up on Capitol Hill all the time. What are you hearing today?
MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, you know, you're hearing a lot of folks jumping on that Trump train actually. It was interesting to see Marco Rubio talking to our colleague Jake Tapper earlier saying that he would go to the convention, release his delegates. This is a guy who said that he was going to drive around in his pickup truck all around the country to stop Donald Trump.
But I should say that there are still a lot of hesitation on Capitol Hill. I spent a lot of time talking to members of Congress. Even though he crossed that threshold today, folks are -- some are just not willing to go there. Corey Gardener, senator from Colorado, said call my press office today when we asked him again whether or not he was going to get on board. Ted Cruz, who came to the (INAUDIBLE) today after taking some time off, we asked him as well. Our colleague Ted Barrett did, and he said no comment. Talk to my office.
And Paul Ryan, perhaps the most important in this regard, still is not ready to endorse. I asked him at this press conference today, how does this make you look, that you're not getting behind your party's nominee right now as he crosses that threshold? He said, I'm more concerned about real party unification. He wants to bring Trump more in line with Republican core principles.
BLITZER: As all of our viewers know, S.E., you're no fan of Donald Trump. But what does it mean for those Republicans who are part of that, quote, "never Trump movement"?
S.E. CUPP, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes. Well, I think you're seeing a split, right? There's the never Trump people who are now for partisan reasons and because they really dislike Hillary Clinton coming on board. And that was expected.
There are still going to be some holdouts for personal reasons just can't put their reputation on the line for Trump, can't morally defend Trump, can't vote for Trump and then sort of defend that and justify it. Whether there's an actual movement to stop him now, I mean, I think that's pretty much gone.
[17:35:04] He's clinched the delegates. He's going to the convention. It's not going to be contested. And I think he's going to get more Republicans on board than not.
BLITZER: You know, Peter, he was able to cross this important threshold today before Hillary Clinton has been able to cross the threshold for the Democratic presidential nomination. Should that give Republicans serious hope that he can actually win the presidency in November?
BEINART: I still think the chances are very low. I mean, it's true there have been polls that are showing that things are very close. But you have a series of really structural disadvantages. He doesn't have anywhere near the data gain that the Clintons will have. He -- I don't think he's going to be able to raise the amount of money they have. And if the Democrats can get out the African-American and Latino vote, and they've been able to do that pretty effectively, yes, they have Barack Obama but now they have Donald Trump, if they can get that vote out, I think that would be demographically too great.
Remember, the country is even since 2012, we have a more nonwhite electorate than we did in 2012. I think it's still a very, very high hurdle.
BLITZER: All right, everyone, stand by. We have more to assess. More information coming in. We'll take a quick break. We'll be right back.
[17:40:46] BLITZER: While Donald Trump today locked up enough delegates to secure the Republican presidential nomination, a new poll shows California's upcoming primary turning into a toss-up between Hillary Clinton and Senator Bernie Sanders.
Our senior Washington correspondent Jeff Zeleny is joining us from San Francisco.
Jeff, is Hillary Clinton still focusing in on Donald Trump or is she turning her attention now back to Senator Sanders?
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, it is Donald Trump and Donald Trump alone. That is the message that Hillary Clinton is taking to voters. The reason is this. She is about 88 delegates shy of clinching the Democratic nomination with pledged delegates and superdelegates. Yes, this race here in California is very close. But she does not need a victory here. Of course, she still wants one, that's why she's campaigning hard today.
ZELENY (voice-over): Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders in a fierce fight for California. The Democratic finish line may be in sight, and Clinton's lead is secure. But the party is still divided.
HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This election is a make or break election.
ZELENY: Tonight, a new California field poll shows the race is a near dead heat. Clinton, 46. Sanders, 44. Sanders is making his last stand in TV ads.
BERNIE SANDERS (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: What choice does Californians have in this election? The biggest ones of all.
ZELENY: And at rallies, asking supporters to send a message to the Democratic establishment.
SANDERS: On June 7th, let's give them a rude awakening. Let's tell them that enough is enough. ZELENY: Sanders is closing strong. Even as Clinton tries downplaying
a new inspector general's report that she improperly used a private e- mail server as secretary of state.
CLINTON: If I could go back, I would do it differently. I think voters are going to be looking at the full picture of what I have to offer, my life, and my service. And the full threat that Donald Trump offers.
ZELENY: But the e-mail saga has kept questions alive about Clinton's trust that Trump seized on today in North Dakota.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This was all bad judgment. Probably illegal.
ZELENY: Sanders still won't touch the e-mail issue, but insists he's the candidate best to defeat Trump. Now he's trying to prove it by enticing Trump into a debate, making the pitch Hollywood style through Jimmy Kimmel on ABC.
JIMMY KIMMEL, HOST, JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE: He wants to know if you will debate him.
TRUMP: Yes, I am. How much is he going to pay me?
ZELENY: And today, Trump says he's serious.
TRUMP: I'd love to debate Bernie. He's a dream. But I want a lot of money to be put up to charity.
ZELENY: Sanders says he's ready.
SANDERS: Hillary Clinton has not agreed to debate me here in California, so I look forward to debating Mr. Trump.
ZELENY: In the middle of it all, some Democrats are growing nervous. President Obama, in rare comments about the Clinton-Sanders race, urged patience.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: People get a little grumpy with each other. You know, it's just the nature of the process.
ZELENY: But the president says after the primaries Democrats must come together.
OBAMA: Would it be nice if everybody was immediately unified and singing Kumbaya whoever the nominee ended up being could just take a nice two-week vacation to recharge? Absolutely. I guarantee you that the eventual nominee sure wishes it was over now because this is a grind.
ZELENY: A grind indeed. But, Wolf, take notice there, the president did not say who that eventual nominee would be. Of course everyone inside this Democratic Party who can do the math here on delegates believes that -- you know, they know the outcome of this but the president is still trying to stay as somewhat of a neutral referee. That will go on for about two more weeks, I'm told, Wolf, then he will play a central role in trying to help unify his party and asking Bernie Sanders to do so as well -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Thanks very much for that, Jeff Zeleny, in San Francisco.
Let's bring back our political experts to discuss the Democratic race right now.
Manu, do you think Hillary could lose California to Bernie Sanders?
RAJU: Well, based on the poll today, certainly yes. But it wouldn't change the dynamics of this race unless Bernie Sanders won California and the remaining contests by an absolute landslide. Really, if you look at the numbers, Bernie Sanders needs to win 70 percent of the pledged delegates that are left in this race in order to beat Hillary Clinton by just one delegate. And that's a very, very high hurdle.
[17:45:13] The fact that these states are still being awarded proportionally, the delegates are, that makes it hard for Bernie Sanders. If they're winner-take-all perhaps that could change things. But otherwise it won't. However, but if Bernie Sanders win, even by 1 percent, even if it doesn't change the pledged delegate count, that will really hurt Hillary Clinton's narrative and maybe make it harder for Bernie Sanders to drop out and concede before the July convention.
BLITZER: Would that change the momentum, if you will, Peter, if she were to lose California?
BEINART: Sure. It would be -- you know, you don't want to go limping in to the convention but I think historically what we found is that these fights in the primaries don't ultimately weaken nominees that much, that we are in a very partisan era. You see that with Donald Trump being able to consolidate so much mass Republican support despite the overwhelming opposition to him.
I think it's likely that however Hillary Clinton wins, and she probably will win, that Bernie Sanders supporters will ultimately come to support her because of the highly partisan environment we're in. She is a flawed candidate in a lot of ways but I think ultimately Democrats will consolidate around her nonetheless.
BLITZER: You heard, S.E., Hillary Clinton tell me just a few minutes ago, she didn't think this possible debate between Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders -- you're smiling.
BLITZER: You're chuckling. Was serious, although both Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump today said it's a serious thing.
BLITZER: There have been conversations between the campaigns. They've received opportunities from various television networks. Trump says if they can get $10 million to women's charity, women's health charity groups, he'll go for it. Why are you still smiling?
CUPP: Well, I think it's really unwise of her to sort of laugh it off. She's the only loser in this situation if this debate happens. It elevates Donald Trump if he's part of a debate. It elevates Bernie Sanders if he's part of this debate. They are doing it without her, all eyes are on these characters. They are probably going to agree on a surprising lot and I think frankly Hillary Clinton should be very nervous that both of these guys are going to get a huge spotlight without her. I don't think she should sort of wave it off with, you know, the sort of smug condescension that she is.
BLITZER: I'm going to show you the latest Instagram that Donald Trump just posted.
BLITZER: Under the headline "Celebrating 1237," that's the number of delegates you need. You see him aboard his plane there. He's enjoying a little McDonald's. And you're my authority on McDonald's.
BLITZER: So talk about this picture a little bit.
CUPP: Well, this is interesting for a number of reasons. As we discussed in the break, he is, I think like most patriots, eating the fries before the touches the entree which, in this case, looks to be a Big Mac.
CUPP: I do that. I know a lot of people who do that. He also has a Diet Coke, that is, of course, universally the best accompaniment to any McDonald's meal as anyone knows. So on this, I ain't mad at you, Don. I'm with you.
BLITZER: I noticed those little packets of Heinz ketchup over there.
BLITZER: Have you noticed that?
BLITZER: So he hasn't opened the Heinz ketchup yet.
CUPP: No. Like me, he eats his fries without ketchup. Now a lot of people ask for special sauces at McDonald's with which to eat their fries. He apparently, just like me, naked fries.
BLITZER: Really? I love the ketchup. What about you, Manu?
RAJU: You know, I haven't eaten McDonald's in years, I admit that. I don't know. I may get some hate mail after. (CROSSTALK)
BLITZER: We're not bringing you into this conversation, Peter. You can go home and have dinner --
BEINART: No, no. This is -- this is way above my pay grade.
BLITZER: All right. Guys, thanks very much.
Coming up, important new developments on a very, very serious story we're following. The hunt for the missing Egyptian airliner. Have searchers finally picked up the signals from the plane's emergency locator. Are they close to finding the wreckage?
[17:53:24] BLITZER: Breaking news, a desperate search continues for the wreckage and the all important black boxes from EgyptAir Flight 804. There are now reports that signals have been detected from the plane's emergency locator device.
Brian Todd has been digging into this, finding out what's going on. What are you learning, Brian?
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Pretty big development, Wolf. This could be a major break tonight for investigators trying to find the EgyptAir wreckage. Egypt's lead investigator in the search says Airbus has located signals from the plane's ELT, that's the emergency locator transmitter. And that's according to Egypt's state-run daily newspaper Al-Ahram. The ELT is an automated distress signal beacon and the EgyptAir A320 had three of those, including one in the tail.
Now having the signal could decrease the search area for the plane's wreckage dramatically. It could decrease the radius, Wolf, to as small as three miles. The data has been passed on to search teams, according to that newspaper, but it is unclear when the signals from the ELT were picked up. Experts say the ELT signals do not last for very long in the water so those signals, Wolf, probably picked up pretty soon after impact.
BLITZER: The beacon -- this beacon is different from the so-called pingers on the black boxes that they're looking for underwater, right?
TODD: That's right. The ELTs are separate from the pinger, Wolf. The underwater signal coming from the black boxes, that's the pinger. That contains -- of course those boxes contain the flight recorders. Now ELT is a small radio transmitter that is activated in the event of an impact. The signals are sent up to satellites as we showed you here in this diagram, and then they are relayed to monitoring stations on the ground. But once wreckage sinks and the ELT is underwater, the signal is no longer able to reach those satellites -- Wolf.
[17:55:04] BLITZER: The black boxes, what's the timetable, Brian, for the search for those black boxes?
TODD: Still some time left, Wolf. About 22 days left until the pinger signals go dead. The underwater search to find the wreckage is going to begin in the coming days. That's according to European officials. Now a French ship, the Laplace, left today for the search area. The Laplace is equipped with three underwater probes to listen and locate the signals of the flight recorders. They look like this. They are also working to get a ship with an underwater robot and a lift capacity to the area to lift up anything they find underwater, Wolf. Twenty-two days roughly until those pinger locator signals run out.
BLITZER: Brian Todd reporting. Thank you.
Coming up, Donald Trump says he'd love to debate Bernie Sanders if such a showdown could raise millions of dollars for charity. A Sanders aide says he hopes Trump does not chicken out.