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THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER
Interview With California Senator Dianne Feinstein; Hillary Takes on Trump Over Foreign Policy; House Speaker Paul Ryan Endorses Donald Trump. Aired 4-4:30p ET
Aired June 2, 2016 - 16:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Hillary Clinton asking voters, are you comfortable with the concept of Donald Trump having the button?
THE LEAD starts right now.
Right as he gets a huge endorsement, Hillary Clinton throwing bombs at Donald Trump, saying he is the threat to U.S. security. Will Trump go nuclear in response?
You are on a need-to-know basis, and you apparently don't need to know. The State Department admitting it lied about covering a lie by doctoring a key piece of video. Three lies in there, if you're keeping track. Why? Well, because there are no rules apparently against lying to the American public.
Plus, wild new details about the UCLA killer, a woman turning up dead thousands of miles from campus after she turned up on the shooter's kill list.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
Good afternoon, everyone. Welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton just finished her first major speech designed intentionally and specifically to attack Donald Trump, using a foreign policy address to assert that Trump -- quote -- "cannot do the job of commander in chief" and saying his very thin skin could lead the United States into a war.
CNN correspondents and commentators are standing by to break down the speech and fill us in on Donald Trump's reaction.
Let's begin with CNN senior politics correspondent Brianna Keilar, who is live in San Diego, where Clinton just wrapped up her speech.
Brianna, Clinton clearly turning to the general election here, although we must point out, she and Senator Bernie Sanders locked in a very tight race in the state of California.
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Jake. It's close, too close for comfort, if you're looking at the polls, especially in a state that has such a huge delegate haul, 475 delegates at stake.
A win here, a loss here, this will help Hillary Clinton or hurt her when he's trying to project strength moving into the general election, but either way, she and her campaign feel that they will have the nomination and she is now looking forward towards that general election with a scathing speech taking aim at Donald Trump's experience, judgment and temperament.
KEILAR (voice-over): Tonight, Hillary Clinton is ripping into Donald Trump on foreign policy.
HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He says he has foreign policy experience because he ran the Miss Universe Pageant in Russia.
CLINTON: The stakes in global statecraft are infinitely higher and more complex than in the world of luxury hotels.
We all know the tools Donald Trump brings to the table, bragging, mocking, composing nasty tweets. I'm willing to bet he's writing a few right now. (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
CLINTON: But those tools won't do the trick. Rather than solving global crises, he would create new ones.
KEILAR: Clinton contrasting her positions with Trump's, but framing her objections to him as something bigger than a difference of opinion.
CLINTON: He is not just unprepared. He is temperamentally unfit to hold an office that requires knowledge, stability and immense responsibility.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
CLINTON: Donald Trump's ideas aren't just different. They are dangerously incoherent.
KEILAR: Her campaign billing this as the major foreign policy speech of her candidacy, unveiling one of her main general election attacks on Trump.
CLINTON: This is not someone who should ever have the nuclear codes, because it's not hard to imagine Donald Trump leading us into a war just because somebody got under his very thin skin.
KEILAR: Clinton delivering her remarks today in California, one of six states holding contests next Tuesday.
The state that once looked like a cakewalk is now a contest, Bernie Sanders just 2 percentage points behind her and within the margin of error in the polls.
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (VT-I), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I wonder why Secretary Clinton and her husband, Bill, are back in California.
I thought we had lost and it was all over, but I guess Secretary Clinton maybe is looking at some polling that suggests otherwise.
KEILAR: Clinton thinks the nomination is already hers. And as she tries with today's speech to appeal to both Sanders supporters and even moderate Republicans weary of Trump's foreign policy, her former boss is signaling the end is near.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think that there's been a healthy debate in the Democratic Party and it's almost over. I think we will probably have a pretty good sense next week of who the nominee will end up being.
KEILAR: And as Donald Trump takes aim at Hillary Clinton for what he has repeatedly called bad judgment on foreign policy on Iraq, on Libya, also on her e-mail practices while secretary of state.
He's also, Jake, trying to make this a referendum about President Obama as this being an Obama third term, but even worse, Hillary Clinton today making it clear she wants to make this a referendum on Donald Trump and all of the controversial things that he said throughout the primary process.
TAPPER: All right. Brianna Keilar, stick around.
Let's dig into Clinton's speech. I also want to bring in national security commentator Mike Rogers and CNN chief national security correspondent Jim Sciutto.
Congressman, let me start with you. What did you think the goal was? And did she achieve that?
MIKE ROGERS, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, it clearly wasn't foreign policy.
It was to try to set the narrative that Donald Trump doesn't have the temperament to be president. She had some very strong rhetoric in that speech, but I think she also opened herself up to her track record as secretary of state, given her primary goal here is to get through this California.
I think she thought she had to show up pretty hard in that primary, at least win that thing to move on. I think this speech was geared to that. It was a partisan crowd in the room. It was designed to be very inflammatory about rhetoric against Donald Trump.
I think she accomplished all of those things, but, again, not a foreign policy speech, as it was billed. And she's going to open herself up to lots of questions of the slide on the foreign policy problems we're seeing develop around the country.
TAPPER: And, Jim, we heard Secretary Clinton push back against Donald Trump's openness to Japan and South Korea being able to get nuclear weapons.
Now, it's something Trump denied ever saying yesterday, although he first did broach the idea in a town hall with Anderson Cooper. Take a listen. This is denial. Afterwards, we run the initial remark.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: They said, I want Japan to nuke. I want Japan to get nuclear weapons. Give me a break.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: So you would have no problem with Japan and South Korea having nuclear weapons?
TRUMP: At some point we have to say, you know what, we're better off if Japan protects itself against this maniac in North Korea. We're better off, frankly, if South Korea is going to start to protect itself.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: So, obviously he did suggest that maybe South Korea and Japan should get nukes.
But beyond that, talk about why Secretary Clinton is painting this as a bad idea.
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's interesting.
To this point, the national security back and forth between the candidates has been largely in the bumper sticker category. Difficult for me as someone who covers national security to see that.
She tried to take it a step further. So, said, OK, if you want to talk about giving nukes to Japan and South Korea, she said to the audience, that means, Mr. Trump, nuclear war. Underline that we're talking about a nuclear conflict there if he were to go -- and she did that in other places, said, OK, if you want to leave Syria to ISIS, that gives ISIS control of a country on the doorstep of Europe.
So trying to add -- trying explain to people what the world would look like if you took Donald Trump's proposals at face value there. Now, as Mike Rogers said, though, she -- beyond his statements, she has her own record which opens her up to her own questions.
TAPPER: Which we will be talking at great length.
So, Jim, Congressman Rogers, Brianna, thank you so much.
Tomorrow, I should note, Donald Trump will respond to Hillary Clinton. I will sit down with him in an interview and you can see that right here on THE LEAD and then the full interview on "STATE OF THE UNION" on Sunday at 9:00 a.m. Eastern.
But at this moment, Donald Trump is also responding, calling out her -- quote -- "bad performance." And Senator Bernie Sanders, neck and neck with Clinton in polls out of California released this morning, is calling Clinton's campaign presumptuous.
Joining me now, Democratic California Senator Dianne Feinstein.
Senator, good to see you. Thanks so much for joining us.
SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN (D), CALIFORNIA: Thank you, Jake.
TAPPER: Secretary Clinton criticized, blasted Mr. Trump today really for wanting to pull back from some of our international engagements such as NATO.
But, to be fair, some of his noninterventionist ideas have touched a nerve and are appealing to many Americans. Do you think it is possible that Clinton is misjudging the electorate right now?
FEINSTEIN: No, I do not.
I was very proud of Hillary. I was very proud of that speech. I was very proud of Hillary. I saw Hillary as president of the United States and a president that we could be proud of in that speech.
I believe Hillary will win California. And I have run a lot of campaigns in this state. It's the state of my birth and my life. And I represent it. And I think I know it.
Many Californians have voted as much as two weeks ago. I'm one of them. I believe Hillary will win this. I believe, on Tuesday, she will be declared the presumptive nominee of our party. And I think she has set the table for where she's going to go as president of the United States.
And instead of a braggadocios, name-calling, epithet-stating candidate, who is the Republican presumptive nominee, I think the Democrats will have a nominee who knows what she's doing, who has been tempered by many jobs, first lady, United States Senate, secretary of state.
And I think we're beginning to see that experience come together to put forward a very fine candidate for president of the United States.
TAPPER: Senator, Donald Trump has faulted Secretary Clinton for the disaster at Benghazi, the state of Libya today. Those do seem like fair targets for criticism.
FEINSTEIN: Well, let me say something about Benghazi.
I was chairman of the Intelligence Committee. I'm ranking now. Our bipartisan staff for a year-and-a-half looked into Benghazi. We published a classified report and an unclassified report which found Hillary Clinton innocent of any wrongdoing.
Now, because that was our finding, it got very little press. And I think a total of some 10 reports have been done, plus 11 hours of committee hearings, and so far, there is no reason to criticize Secretary Clinton.
You know, we have had bombings of embassies in the Middle East before, and no one came after the secretary of state at the time. So I'm a little puzzled by this.
Now, it is true that, after the attack on Libya and the killing of the Libyan leader, and the voting of the people of a parliament, that parliament has had a very difficult time putting together a government. And this is where we need to be forward-leaning and with our allies help see that a stable government is produced that can be strong, because ISIS has moved into Libya, and we do not want that to become a safe haven for that terrorist organization.
TAPPER: I want to ask you about California, the state of your birth, the state of your life, as you put it.
TAPPER: With multiple polls showing a very tight primary race in the Golden State, here's what Senator Bernie Sanders had to say. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SANDERS: I wonder why Secretary Clinton and her husband, Bill, are back in California.
I thought we had lost and it was all over, but I guess Secretary Clinton maybe is looking at some polling that suggests otherwise.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: Why is it so tight in California? Shouldn't Secretary Clinton have been able to put this away by now?
FEINSTEIN: Well, California's a young state. We're a big state. We're more than 40 million people.
And, as I see it, Bernie Sanders has laid out a very expensive program. It's single-payer health care, and it's college tuition paid for. It's a $33 trillion program over 10 years with 20 new taxes to support it. I don't believe it's going to happen.
But people want change, which I understand, and they want government to do more to secure that change. I'm not for socialized medicine, have never been and never will be. So I -- single-payer takes us right into that arena.
I don't see it going anywhere. And I don't believe that the universities and the colleges are federal domain. They are state -- University of California is the largest and best public university system in the world. The state legislature and the governor fund it, plus tuition.
And I don't believe the federal government should step in and begin to fund that tuition. We already put in about $9 billion in California to the university in the form of many lab grants.
TAPPER: All right, Senator Dianne Feinstein, thank you so much. Appreciate your time.
Coming up, Donald Trump not even waiting for Hillary Clinton's speech to be over before letting the insults fly -- the Republican presidential candidate's response next.
[16:18:04] JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.
Breaking right now in our politics lead, just minutes ago, Republican Speaker of the House Paul Ryan said he will in fact vote for Donald Trump for president of the United States. It's kind of remarkable, candidly, that that was never a given to begin with. But, of course, we all remember how on this show four weeks ago today, Speaker Ryan told me he was not yet ready to endorse Donald Trump, that he needed to make sure that Trump was a standard bearer that bears our standards.
Trump conversely responded by saying, he was, quote, "not ready to support Speaker Ryan's agenda." But today, several phone calls and a face-to-face meeting later, Ryan is now officially endorsing Donald Trump, though he did so in a low key kind of way. He announced that Donald Trump earned his vote by penning an op-ed in his home town paper, "The Gazette", writing that a President Donald Trump can help make the Republican House agenda a reality.
Sara Murray is in San Jose where Donald Trump will speak in a few hours. And, Sara, has the Trump camp reacted to Ryan?
SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICS REPORTER: Well, Jake, not so far. We've reached out to them, of course, for comment and, as usual, we've been monitoring Donald Trump's Twitter feed. But I think this will certainly be a welcome endorsement from the Trump campaign.
I think you can see that they have been working together to find common ground on a number of policy issues and even though Trump came out with a sort of barbed comment after Ryan said he couldn't endorse, in their private discussions, it seems like it's been going much better. Every time they speak, every time they've meet, they said things are moving in the right direction.
And, of course, this endorsement from Paul Ryan comes on a day when Donald Trump has been laser-focused not on fighting with the Republicans but on taking on Democrats.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Wow!
MURRAY: Donald Trump is firing off a pre-emptive strike.
TRUMP: She's one of the worst secretary of states in the history of our country. Now she wants to be our president. Look, I'll be honest she has no natural talents to be president.
MURRAY: Unleashing on Hillary Clinton as she takes aim today at Trump's foreign policy credentials.
[16:20:05] TRUMP: Folks, folks, what are you going to get? These are crooked people. These are crooked people. They've been crooked from the beginning. They were crooked with Whitewater.
MURRAY: All as Trump ties himself in knots on yet another policy position, claiming he never suggested Japan should have access to nuclear weapons.
TRUMP: Hillary Clinton, who lies -- I mean, she lies. Do you remember that? I started -- she lies. She lies.
She made a speech and she's making another one tomorrow. And they sent me a copy of the speech. And it was such lies about my foreign policy that they said, I want Japan to nuke. I want Japan to get nuclear weapons. Give me a break.
MURRAY: Even though that's exactly what he suggested earlier this year.
TRUMP: It's not like, gee whiz, nobody has them. So, North Korea has nukes. Japan has a problem with that. I mean, they have a big problem with that. Maybe they would in fact be better off if they defend themselves from North Korea.
INTERVIEWER: With nukes?
TRUMP: Maybe we would be better off -- including with nukes. Yes, including with nukes.
MURRAY: As Trump campaigns across heavily Latino California today, his track record of jarring comments about Hispanics isn't sitting well with his own part party.
The Republican National Committee's head of Hispanic media relation uncomfortable with Trump as the nominee, is resigning. Meanwhile, Trump is lamenting another blow to his business interest. The PGA announced it's moving a key tour date for Trump's Doral Resort in Miami to Mexico City after failing to find a corporate sponsor willing to back the event at Doral.
TRUMP: They moved the World Golf Championship from Miami to Mexico City. Can you believe it? Can you believe it?
MURRAY: But Trump says he may revive another business venture once he's in the White House.
TRUMP: At Trump University, we teach success.
MURRAY: Trump University, which was shuttered in 2011. The candidate is still facing lawsuits alleging Trump U defrauded students.
But in a dramatically challenge tweet, Trump said, "After the litigation is disposed of and the case won, I have instructed my execs to open Trump U."
MURRAY: Now, in that foreign policy address today, Hillary Clinton called Donald Trump's policies dangerous. She said he was temperamentally unfit for the presidency, and rather than hitting back on substance, Donald Trump decided to go after Hillary Clinton for her style. He took to Twitter to say, "Bad performance by crooked Hillary Clinton reading poorly from the teleprompter. She doesn't even look presidential" -- Jake.
TAPPER: All right. Sara Murray, thanks so much.
Donald Trump has called many Mexicans immigrants rapist and drug dealers. Now, the top Republican in the Senate that he fears that the Republican Party might lose Latino voters for a long, long time -- my interview with Senate Majority Mitch McConnell coming up next.
Plus, finally some clarity in the death of superstar Prince. The medical examiner's report is in and those results are coming up.
[16:27:26] TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD. More now on our politics lead.
Big news: Speaker Paul Ryan today lining up behind Donald Trump. The Republican speaker's endorsement ends his very public wrestling match with his own conscience. Conservatives across the country have been trying to get right with voting for someone who says so many things they feel are contrary to core conservative beliefs.
Yet even today, in endorsing Trump, Ryan made sure to say, quote, "When I feel the need to, I'll continue to speak my mind."
This brings us to Ryan's counterpart in the U.S. Senate, Senator Mitch McConnell, the Republican majority leader who is out with a new memoir, "The Long Game." McConnell is backing Trump, but he, too, seems worried about Trump's rhetoric.
Joining me now, the Republican gentleman from the commonwealth of Kentucky, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
Senator, thanks so much for stopping by.
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MAJORITY LEADER: Glad to be with you. TAPPER: It's a really interesting read, and I have to say, I was
really taken aback to read that you almost didn't run for re-election. Did many people know this?
MCCONNELL: Well, I talked about it with my wife. You know, I was a pretty big target from people on the right who credibly thought I was some kind of an Obama enabler and I knew I'd be a big target on the left, and I didn't want to be the one who kept us from getting the majority.
But I mentioned in the book, a childhood experience that I thought about during that period and it was -- my dad fought in World War II, he was a pretty tough guy, watched this kid across the street push me around. He was a year older than I was and he was bigger than I was.
TAPPER: What's his name? Great name.
MCCONNELL: Dicky McGrew.
TAPPER: Dicky McGrew.
MCCONNELL: And he watched that for a week or two, and he was out working in the yard. And Dicky was doing it again.
He called me over and he said, look, I want you to go over there and beat Dicky Magrew up. I said, dad, he's older than I am, he's bigger than I am. And he said, I'm older than he is and bigger than he is, that was my choice.
I went across the street, start swinging, beat him up and bent his glasses and that story came back to me when I was thinking, you know, whether all of this attention, unwanted attention was going to cause me to step aside. So I decided not to, on the primary by 35 points and the general by 15 and had a happy ending.
TAPPER: Whatever happened to Dicky McGrew?
MCCONNELL: You know, interesting enough, when I came back to the young senate staffer, he was a press secretary to one of the senators from Alabama.
TAPPER: Is that right?
MCCONNELL: I didn't remind him of the story.
TAPPER: I would hope not.
There's a photograph in the book of you in the 1964 Republican presidential nominee Barry Goldwater. And, interestingly enough, a couple years later, you did not vote for Barry Goldwater in the '64 election because he voted against the civil rights bill. And you write, quote, "a century of principled advocacy by the Republican Party for civil rights was forgotten the moment we nominated Barry Goldwater as our party's candidates for President."