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EgyptAir Investigation; Trump Defends Attack on Judge; Interview With California Congressman Adam Schiff; Growing Urgency in EgyptAir Search; Rio Rocked By Crime Ahead of Olympics; Trump Defends Racial Criticism of Judge. Aired 6-7p ET
Aired June 3, 2016 - 18:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now, breaking news: Trump's judgment. Donald Trump defending his controversial remarks about a federal judge.
In an exclusive interview with CNN, Trump denies racism in calling out the judge's Hispanic heritage. With even fellow Republicans rebuking his comments, will Trump back down?
Lowered the bar. Hillary Clinton also talking exclusively to CNN, accusing Trump of creating an environment for violence at his rallies, and saying he deserves some of the blame. But Clinton is still locked in a very tight primary race in California. Will she suffer a bruising loss?
We don't build up walls. Michelle Obama publicly weighs into the White House race, taking a thinly veiled swipe at Trump's plan to build a wall along the Mexican border. The first lady's remarks coming as the president steps up his criticism of Donald Trump. Are they poised to launch an all-out assault on the presumptive Republican nominee?
And faint hope. Time is running out in the search for those black boxes from that missing EgyptAir plane, searchers no closer to locating them, despite detecting weak signals. How long do they have before the voice and data recorders go silent?
We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
BLITZER: We are following breaking political news this hour. Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton both talking exclusively to CNN, sitting down with our Jake Tapper on the campaign trail in California.
Trump strongly defending his claim that the judge in the lawsuit against Trump University is biased because of his Mexican heritage. The presumptive Republican presidential nominee is brushing aside bipartisan rebukes of his remarks about the judge, insisting they're not racist. And Hillary Clinton also talking exclusively to CNN, condemning the
violence at Trump's rallies, saying he has created the environment for it and deserves some of the blame. She adds, and I am quoting, "Trump has lowered the bar."
We are also following the search for those black boxes from EgyptAir Flight 804, growing increasingly urgent tonight, two weeks after the plane plunged into the Mediterranean. Crews are racing against time to locate the voice and data recorders before the batteries that power their location signals die.
We are covering all of that, much more this hour with our guests, including Democratic Congressman Adam Schiff, and our correspondents and expert analysts are also standing by.
Let's begin with Donald Trump.
Our national correspondent, Jason Carroll, has details now on his exclusive interview with CNN.
Jason, Trump is certainly not backing down from his criticism of the federal judge.
JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Not backing down on his criticisms of that judge or on Hillary Clinton. In fact, Wolf, he had more criticisms of Hillary Clinton at this rally than he did yesterday at his one in San Jose.
He shot back at Clinton, who criticized him for having the wrong temperament to be president. He said you need a tough temperament in order to change the direction of the country.
CARROLL (voice-over): Donald Trump returning fire at Hillary Clinton.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Hillary Clinton is unfit to lead our country certainly at this time. I think she's unfit. She doesn't have what it takes. You're going to go through four more years. I call her Obama-lite.
CARROLL: The presumptive GOP nominee hammering Clinton a day after her takedown of his foreign policy views.
TRUMP: Did you see that phony speech she made yesterday? Donald Trump is a bad man. Donald Trump has a bad tone. We need a tough tone in this country, folks.
CARROLL: Trump focusing his attention on Clinton's use of that private e-mail server while secretary of state.
TRUMP: I think Hillary is very weak. I think she's pathetic. I think she should be in jail for what she did with her e-mails, OK? She should be in jail.
CARROLL: Violent protests erupting outside Trump's San Jose rally Thursday night, with punches thrown and eggs tossed at Trump supporters, that as Trump tries to make inroads with Hispanic voters.
Trump's comments about one of the judges overseeing a lawsuit against Trump University, Gonzalo Curiel, causing a rift within the Republican Party.
TRUMP: I have horrible rulings. I have been treated very unfairly by this judge. Now, this judge is of Mexican heritage. I'm building a wall, OK? I'm building a wall.
CARROLL: Trump telling CNN's Jake Tapper that Curiel, who was born in Indiana to Mexican immigrants, should recuse himself from the case.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: If you are saying he can't do his job because of his race, is that not the definition of racism?
TRUMP: No, I don't think so at all.
TRUMP: No. He is proud of his heritage. I respect him for that.
TAPPER: But you're saying he can't do his job because of it.
TRUMP: We're building a wall. He is a Mexican. We are building a wall between here and Mexico. The answer is, he is giving us very unfair rulings, rulings that people can't even believe.
CARROLL: A day after offering Trump his endorsement, House Speaker Paul Ryan calling out the billionaire.
REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: The comment about the judge the other day just was out of left field from my mind. It's reasoning I don't relate to. I completely disagree with the thinking behind that.
And so he clearly says and does things I don't agree with.
CARROLL: Trump is trying to smooth over comments he made about Susana Martinez, the Republican governor of New Mexico.
TRUMP: The governor has got to do a better job. She is not doing the job. Hey, maybe I will run for governor of New Mexico. I will get this place going. She's not doing the job.
CARROLL: Trump now having a change of heart, telling a New Mexico newspaper that he would like to have Martinez's endorsement, saying: "I respect her. I have always liked her."
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell expressing concern about the potential impact of Trump's rhetoric on the Republican Party's outreach to Hispanic voters.
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MAJORITY LEADER: I think that the attacks that he has routinely engaged in, for example, going after Susana Martinez, the Republican governor of New Mexico, the chairman of the Republican Governors Association, I think, was a big mistake. What he ought to be doing now is trying to unify the party.
CARROLL: And, Wolf, as you know, Trump supporters love him because he is plainspoken, because he's not politically correct.
Let me give you an example of that. At this rally here a little earlier, he was trying to pay an African-American who attend the rally, tried to pay him a compliment, but then referred to him as "my African-American."
For obvious reasons, you don't refer to an African-American that way. That's why -- part of the reason he is polling so poorly with African- Americans and Latinos, because of his tone, because of his rhetoric. But, so far, Wolf, Trump says he is not changing his tone or his rhetoric -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Yes, his exact quote was "Look at my African-American over here." That's already getting some buzz out there.
Jason Carroll, thanks very much.
Now to Hillary Clinton continuing her sharp attacks on Donald Trump.
Our senior Washington correspondent, Jeff Zeleny, has details.
Jeff, Hillary Clinton not mincing any words at all about her Republican rival.
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Wolf, her words are sharp and this battle is fully engaged between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.
Now, just a short time ago, she responded in full to those comments about that judge. She said this here in California. She said that this is an attack on a distinguished judge, she said, who, by the way, was born in Indiana, whose parents, of course, are of Mexican heritage. She said, "Last time I checked, that was in America."
Wolf, so she's squarely going after everything Donald Trump says. It feels like the general election is right around the corner, and here in California, it almost is.
ZELENY (voice-over): Hillary Clinton's going back at Donald Trump today for another round.
HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He doesn't really have ideas. He just engages in rants and personal feuds and outright lies, something that our country cannot afford in a commander in chief.
ZELENY: A day after eviscerating Trump in the toughest speech yet of her campaign, Clinton telling CNN's Jake Tapper her harsh words reflect the severity of the threat she believes Trump poses.
CLINTON: I think the speech yesterday was really an attempt to present to the American people everything that he has said, what he has proposed that he would do which violates Republican and Democratic agreement about how to be strong in the world.
ZELENY: She says she's unfazed by Trump's blistering attacks on her character.
CLINTON: I am happy to put my record against his comments, his rants, and his outright lies any time.
ZELENY: The insults are flying at a dizzying pace.
TRUMP: Lying, crooked Hillary. I love to say that, because she's a liar. She made up my foreign policy.
ZELENY: A glimpse into the bare-knuckle fight ahead, with violent protests erupting in San Jose Thursday night at yet another Trump rally.
While Clinton condemned Trump for inciting violence earlier in the campaign, she says there's no place for it.
CLINTON: He set a very bad example.
He created an environment in which it seemed to be acceptable for someone running for president to be inciting violence, to be encouraging his supporters. Now we're seeing people who are against him responding in kind.
It should all stop. It is not acceptable.
ZELENY: And as Trump says, she can't be trusted, she's taking aim at his temperament.
CLINTON: He is not qualified to be commander in chief.
ZELENY: Here's why. Nearly six in 10 voters say Clinton has the right personality and temperament to be president, a "Washington Post"/ABC news poll found. Only 33 percent say the same of Trump.
The slugfest between the dueling rivals also carries political risks. Both candidates have the highest negatives in the history of modern polling -- 57 percent of registered voters say they hold an unfavorable views of Clinton and Trump.
In the middle of it all, Bernie Sanders is fighting hard to win California. She says the end of the primary is in sight.
CLINTON: After Tuesday, I'm going to do everything I can to reach out to try to unify the Democratic Party. And I expect Senator Sanders to do the same.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZELENY: Now, the question is what Senator Sanders will do after California and the six states in total that are voting on Tuesday.
More pressure is mounting from Democrats for him to reconsider this race then. Wolf, one of the reasons that Hillary Clinton is going so hard after Donald Trump at this point and at this moment is to convince any skeptical Democrats still remaining that she's the toughest Democrat to face Donald Trump and the time now is to get on with this race.
BLITZER: Yes, seems to be her strategy, indeed.
Jeff Zeleny, thanks very much.
Let's some get more on all of this.
Democratic Congressman Adam Schiff of California is joining us. He's a Hillary Clinton supporter.
Congressman, thanks very much for joining us.
REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D), CALIFORNIA: Thanks, Wolf.
BLITZER: Hillary Clinton now clearly on the offensive. Is this her new strategy, to hit Donald Trump line by line on his comments, his proposed policies?
SCHIFF: I don't know if it's a new strategy, but I have to say it was very effective.
And what was most damning about it were, frankly, Trump's own words. And the part that I think resonated most for me was when she talked about how those Navy SEALs took the women and children out of harm's way, and that Trump may not know this, but this is what honor looks like.
And as I watched Secretary Clinton, I thought this is what a president looks like. She was very presidential, very strong, very commanding. And I think she effectively made the case that Donald Trump is simply unfit, temperamentally, judgmentally, in terms of his judgment, his experience, to be president of the United States.
BLITZER: There have been these reports, Congressman, that Hillary Clinton wasn't exactly sure how to hit Donald Trump, that she originally wanted to take the high road. But why has Hillary Clinton been at least so far unable to successfully hit Donald Trump? The Republican candidates certainly failed in that effort so far as well.
SCHIFF: I think she's continuing to take the high road.
Her attacks yesterday, while they were pointed, really were using his own words, and to the degree that they mocked Donald Trump, they were mocking because they were just so outlandish in terms of his proposals. But she is not getting involved in the kind of over-the- top name-calling of Donald Trump. And I don't think she should. Donald Trump is kind of a human wrecking ball. Anyone who gets near him gets hit by the ball, including himself. And I don't think she wants to stoop to that kind of level. I think she should continue to keep it above board, and go after him with the degree to which, in terms of our national security, for example, what he proposes with NATO, with our allies, the admiration he shows for our adversaries, people like Putin, events like Tiananmen Square.
Those things are damning in and of themselves. She can just set out the facts, and I think the facts will bring down Donald Trump.
BLITZER: Let me play for you, Congressman, what Donald Trump had to say about Hillary Clinton's e-mail last night. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Remember, I said I was a counterpuncher? I am. After what she said about me today in her phony speech, that was a phony speech, that was a Donald Trump hit job, I will say this. Hillary Clinton has to go to jail, OK? She has to go to jail, has to go.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
TRUMP: That was a phony hit job. She's guilty as hell.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: How worried are you about this e-mail issue right now, because they're still waiting for results from the ongoing FBI investigation?
SCHIFF: Well, I'm not concerned about it, Wolf. I think the Justice Department will wrap up their investigation and conclude that there is no evidence of any criminal intent here. So I think that will be the final step in putting this behind the secretary.
But this is what Donald Trump does. The end of the Justice Department investigation won't stop her -- excuse me -- stop him from using words like crook and liar. That's what Donald Trump does. He is a bully. He cares little about the truth. And so I think we can expect more of the same.
But that doesn't concern me, and again I think the secretary ought to keep her attacks focused on policy, let Donald Trump make the personal attacks, because I think the only one that Donald Trump ultimately ends up discrediting is himself.
BLITZER: The Democratic primary is Tuesday in your state of California. The polls show it is very tight right now between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. Why is it so tight? Why hasn't she simply pulled away?
SCHIFF: Well, I think it is tight for the reason that we have seen in many of the states in the United States, and that is Senator Sanders has done a very good job appealing to young people. He has a very popular message. He doesn't get much meat to the bones in terms of how he would
effectuate any of this, but it is attractive, and particularly attractive to young people.
Secretary Clinton, on the other hand, has built a very broad coalition of just about everyone else. She's very strong among Democrats. She's very strong among Latinos and African-Americans and the LGBT community and just about every community.
But it has come down to the wire, and I think it will be a close race right until the end. But we're very proud of the campaign the secretary has run. She is finishing very strong with a speech that we saw yesterday, with the events, barnstorming, both the secretary and the president this weekend.
So, we feel confident, but, at the same time, it's been a very competitive race.
BLITZER: Congressman, stand by. There's more to discuss. Let's take a quick break. We will be right back.
BLITZER: The breaking news tonight: Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton exchanging very sharp attacks in separate exclusive interviews with CNN.
Stand by. We will have more on those interviews coming up.
We're back with Democratic Congressman Adam Schiff of California. He's the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee.
Congressman, let me pick your brain on this controversy now over the State Department ordering an edit from an official State Department video, sensitive words about Iran right now. Do you support an independent inspector general investigation into the State Department's editing out of that official video?
SCHIFF: Wolf, I think this was dumb and inexplicable.
I can't imagine what would have possessed someone to edit this video. And I think the State Department needs to come clean and come clean right away, and explain exactly what happened. I don't know that this rises to having some kind of inspector general. The State Department just ought to spell out exactly what this colossal misjudgment was, because I find it astounding. And the only two words that really come to mind for me are just dumb and inexplicable.
BLITZER: Does it rise to the level of congressional oversight, let's say, by Ed Royce of the House Foreign Affairs Committee?
SCHIFF: I don't know. Again, I hope that the State Department just sets out exactly how this
took place. I hope it doesn't require us to do more than that. Of course, in the Congress, there's now this propensity to set up a select committee for everything, a select committee Planned Parenthood, on Benghazi, you name it.
A lot of it is just an effort to tear down the administration. Here, I think the State Department just needs to set out the facts, who made this mistake. It was a terrible exercise of judgment. And put this behind the department.
BLITZER: While I have you, Congressman, the State Department released its annual report on sponsors of terrorism, its worldwide report on terrorism. And once again, it placed Iran at the top of the list as a state sponsor of terrorism. It said Iran remained the foremost state sponsor of terrorism in 2015, providing a range of support, including financial, training and equipment to groups around the world.
You voted for the Iranian nuclear deal, which has opened the door to, what, $100 billion, maybe $150 billion flowing back into Iran. Are you worried about all that money to going to what the State Department says is the number one state sponsor of terror?
SCHIFF: Well, I'm not surprised, frankly, that the State Department conclusion is still that Iran is the number one terror threat in the world. They have been for a long time. I think we can expect them to be as well into the future.
It does concern me that some of the resources -- and I think ultimately in terms of liquid resources, it's probably closer to $50 billion to $70 billion than twice that number -- but, nonetheless, some portion of that will go to the IRGC, Quds Force and others.
Some will go to their support of Hezbollah and Hamas and these Iranian-backed militias in Iraq. It is deeply concerning. And I think what you see frankly are the conservatives in Iran lashing out against the reformers, lashing out, and wanting to demonstrate that, notwithstanding this deal, they're going to continue to try to be as malignant as possible in the world and certainly in the region.
And it requires us, I think, to have a stronger effort than ever, with Israel, with our Gulf allies, to contain Iran's just malicious and terrorist sponsorship in the region and throughout the world.
BLITZER: Congressman Adam Schiff of California, thanks very much for joining us.
SCHIFF: Thanks, Wolf.
BLITZER: Just ahead, we will have more of CNN's exclusive interviews with Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. She says he doesn't have the temperament to be president, and he fires right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I have a strong temperament. And it's a very good temperament. And it's a very in-control temperament, or I wouldn't have built this unbelievable company, I wouldn't have built all of the things that I have been able to do in life.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: We are following the breaking news.
Donald Trump in an exclusive interview with CNN defending his criticism of the federal judge in a lawsuit against Trump University. Trump claims the judge is biased because of his Hispanic, Mexican heritage.
Listen to what he told our Jake Tapper.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I have had ruling after ruling after ruling that's been bad rulings, OK?
I have been treated very unfairly. Beforehand, we had another judge. If that judge was still there, this case would have been over two years ago.
Let me just tell you, I have horrible rulings. I have been treated very unfairly by this judge. Now, this judge is of Mexican heritage. I'm building a wall, OK? I'm building a wall. I'm going to do very well with the Hispanics, the Mexicans.
TAPPER: So, no Mexican judge could ever be involved in a case that involves you?
TRUMP: Well, no, he is a member of a society where -- very pro- Mexico. And that's fine. It's all fine.
TAPPER: Except that you're calling into question his heritage.
TRUMP: I think he should recuse himself.
TAPPER: Because he's Latino.
TRUMP: Then you also say, does he know the lawyer on the other side? I mean, does he know the lawyer? And a lot of people...
TAPPER: But I am not talking about that. I'm talking about...
(CROSSTALK) TRUMP: No, that's another -- that's another problem.
TAPPER: But you're invoking his race when talking about...
TAPPER: Here's what...
TAPPER: ... whether or not he can do his job.
[18:30:06] TRUMP: Here's what I think. Jake, I'm building a wall. OK? I'm building a wall. I'm trying to keep business out of Mexico. Mexico's fine. There's nothing...
TAPPER: But he's American; he's an American.
TRUMP: He's of Mexican heritage, and he's very proud of it, as I am where I come from.
TAPPER: But he's an American. You keep talking about it's a conflict of interest...
TRUMP: Jake, Jake, Jake...
TAPPER: ... because of Mexico.
TRUMP: Are you ready? I have a case that should have already been dismissed already. I have thousands of people saying Trump University is fantastic. OK? I have a case that should have been dismissed. I have a judge that never, ever gives a -- now we lose the plaintiff. He lets the plaintiff of the case out. So why isn't he cancelling the case? So we thought we won the case.
TAPPER: So you disagree with his rulings. I totally understand that. But you're...
TRUMP: I've had lawyers come up to me, say, "You are being treated so unfairly, it's unbelievable."
TRUMP: You know the plaintiffs in the case have all said wonderful things about the school? And they're suing. You know why they're suing? To get their money back.
TAPPER: I really don't want to litigate the case of Trump University.
TRUMP: You have to. Because if he was giving me fair rulings, I wouldn't say that. My question is, Jake, if you were giving me fair rulings, I wouldn't be talking to you this way. He's giving me horrible rulings.
TAPPER: I don't care if you criticize him. That's fine. You can criticize every decision. What I am saying is, if you invoke his race as a reason why he can't do the job.
TRUMP: That's why he's doing it.
TRUMP: I think that's why he's doing it.
TAPPER: When Hillary Clinton says it's a racist attack.
TRUMP: Hillary Clinton is a stiff. If Hillary Clinton becomes president...
TAPPER: Paul Ryan today said he didn't care for the way that you were attacking this judge.
TRUMP: Look, I'm just telling you, Paul Ryan doesn't know the case. Here's the story.
TAPPER: Isn't it the...
TRUMP: I should have won this case on summary judgment. This is not a -- this is a case I should have won on summary judgment.
TAPPER: When Hillary Clinton says this is a racist attack, and you reject that, if you are saying he can't do his job because of his race, is that not the definition of racism?
TRUMP: No. I don't think so at all.
TRUMP: No. He's proud of his heritage. I respect him for that.
TAPPER: You're saying he can't do his job because of it.
TRUMP: Look, he's proud of his heritage. OK? I'm building a wall. Now, I think I'm going to do very well with Hispanics. You know why I'm going to do well with Hispanics? Because I'm going to bring back jobs, and they're going to get jobs right now. They're going to get jobs.
I think I'm going to do very well with Hispanics. But we're building a wall. He's a Mexican.
TAPPER: He's not from Mexico. He's from Indiana.
TRUMP: In my opinion -- he has Mexican heritage. And he's very proud of it.
BLITZER: All right. Let's dig deeper with our CNN political director, David Chalian; CNN's Sunlen Serfaty; former Obama senior adviser, our senior political commentator, David Axelrod; and our senior political analyst, Ron Brownstein. He's a senior editor at "The Atlantic."
All right, David Axelrod. What did you think of that exchange? DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: It's really hard to -- you know, I heard your panel in the last hour, and Ana Navarro was very, very compelling in her response. It was an outrageous thing to say.
But, look, this is a guy who thinks that you can abrogate international treaties by fiat or force a sovereign nation to pay for a wall that they don't want and they're not going to -- and they're not going to build.
He thinks that the presidency, apparently, is "The Apprentice." And he gets to fire at will and write his own script.
And but I will say this, Wolf. He has gotten this far with these kind of outrages. And each time, there's this disapprobation that you hear from -- on shows like this, and he's gained from it. And he is gambling that ratcheting it up, he can get to where he wants to go. We'll see if that works.
BLITZER: What's his -- I know, Sunlen, you've been doing a lot of reporting on this. What's his strategy here, doubling down in the face of the criticism he's getting, not just from Democrats or Hispanics but from fellow Republicans like the speaker of the House?
SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think, certainly, think there is some anger from Donald Trump over this, and that's why we have seen him respond and double down and really bring a full defense of Trump University and certainly really bring some ammunition against this judge.
But I think, because it cuts into the very core of who he is as a person, a businessman. So his reputation so to speak is at stake here, but it certainly has been most interesting to watch how Republican leaders in the last few days responded, most notably, of course, from Paul Ryan, who came out today and said this came out of left field and says he totally disagrees with that.
That's coming only one day after he endorsed Donald Trump. So certainly an interesting position, Republican Party.
BLITZER: Very interesting and Ron Brownstein, let me play the clip. This is, as Sunlen just said, the day after he said he was going to vote for Donald Trump. Listen to what the speaker said. I'll read it to you, what the speaker said.
He said, "Look, the comment about the judge the other day was just out of left field from my mind. It's reasoning I don't relate to. I completely disagree with the thinking behind that. And so he clearly says and does things I don't agree with, and I've had to speak up from time to time when that has occurred. And I'll continue to do that if it's necessary. I hope it's not."
That's pretty awkward on the day after he endorsed him.
RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Sure. Look, this is extraordinarily racially-polarizing language from Donald Trump and, really, kind of a sweeping argument that a judge cannot be fair to him simply because he is Mexican-American.
[18:35:07] You know, how different is that than, in the Jim Crow South, saying that African-Americans could not serve on juries judging white people?
And I think for Republicans, there are two separate concerns here that the Ryan comments and Mitch McConnell's comments yesterday get to. The first is that, with Donald Trump, you are essentially strapped onto a missile, and you have no idea where it is going. On any given day, he can say almost anything. The idea of attacking the ethnicity of a judge is something that no one would have predicted two weeks ago, and yet here they are having to defend, and they really don't know what is coming next.
And the other thing is specifically about Latinos and Hispanics. And Mitch McConnell yesterday, who is no moderate, you know, made the point that Republicans in this election could face the same danger with Latino voters that they did with African-American voters in 1964 when Barry Goldwater ran against the Civil Rights Act passed that year. They have simply never recovered among black voters. And McConnell, I think, raised the risk.
When you look at "The L.A. Times" poll out today, Donald Trump at 11 percent among Latino voters in California in a state where Mitt Romney equaled his national number of 27. Almost 80 percent of Latinos saying they are very unfavorable to Donald Trump. Whatever happens in this election, Wolf, even if you can squeeze out another victory by mobilizing enough white voters, could -- you know, the risk of long- term damage to a rapidly growing population is very real.
BLITZER: That's why Mitch McConnell, David, was so upset about his remarks, Trump's remarks about New Mexico governor, Susana Martinez, who's the head of the Republican Governors Association. She's a Latina herself. She didn't show up at his rally, so Trump went after her.
DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: He did, and now he says that he would like her endorsement, and he's trying to reverse course here. You can get whiplash from this.
We shouldn't miss this opportunity to -- what Sunlen was getting at. In the very same week that the "never Trump" folks inside the Republican Party were unable to put a big name forward, right -- Bill Kristol put together this David French, a conservative writer, but not a big name -- and that he actually, after a month of back and forth, gets the Ryan endorsement is the same week that McConnell and Ryan have this big concern that they express about him over his comments of the judge, and where he is now all over the map on Susana Martinez.
It just is not how Donald Trump would have -- or sort of anybody putting a campaign together would say this is how the week should go this week.
BLITZER: David Axelrod, let me play for you a clip. This is Donald Trump, what he just said a little while ago about the relationship between the Clintons and President Obama. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: He's going to go out and campaign for Hillary. By the way, he doesn't like Hillary and Hillary hates Obama. You know that. She's hated him for years. Obama called Bill Clinton a racist. Bill Clinton hates Obama.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Literally, he just said that within the past couple hours. I want to get your reaction to that. You used to work for the president of the United States.
AXELROD: Well, I -- yes, I did. I was there for two years, and I watched the relationship between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, which was very, very respectful, very productive. I think that the president has genuine affection and respect for her, and I think that feeling is mutual.
And let's remember that Bill Clinton was a principal surrogate for Barack Obama in 2012, made a very, very powerful speech at the Democratic convention, just taking the Republican economic theory down.
But listen, the bigger issue, Wolf, is Donald Trump himself and how he's going to handle this pressure. The notion -- the races for the presidency are tests. And they get harder as you go along and the pressure gets ratcheted up. And I have to say, in the last few weeks, he looks like he's losing it. And if he's this way in June, how is he going to be in October, when the pressure reaches its peak and he has to be in national debates?
BLITZER: Three national debates that will take place in September and October. One vice-presidential debate.
All right. Everyone stand by. We have more to assess, more to discuss right after this.
[18:43:43] BLITZER: More now on the breaking news: Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton giving exclusive interview to CNN's Jake Tapper out on the campaign trail in California.
Sunlen, Trump responded to Hillary Clinton, and she was very critical of him on foreign policy. She also said he had thin skin. Listen to this reaction from Trump.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I don't have thin skin. I have very strong, very thick skin. And when somebody is right about me, I always -- you know, if you do a report and it's not necessarily positive but you're right, I never complain. I do complain when it's a lie or when it's wrong. But I have a strong temperament, and it's a very good temperament and it's a very in-control temperament. (END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Has Hillary Clinton identified a potential weakness on the part of Donald Trump?
SERFATY: I do think that she has certainly tapped into something here, and I think you can see that almost written on Donald Trump's face. "No, no, no, no, I have thick skin. I have very strong skin." That was an interesting response that he just gave.
And I do think it also demonstrates how he's still trying to figure out how to fully respond to her after this big attack this week. You know, he has indicated a stronger, more substantive response is coming, but it hasn't come yet. So for the moment, all he's saying is, "No, trust me. I have thick skin."
It has been interesting to watch how Hillary Clinton has really driven this narrative around him over the last 24 hours. And that's something that she indicates she will keep pushing on going forward.
[18:45:02] How he will respond is important.
BLITZER: Ron, as you know, social media right now is all abuzz over these comments, the statement that Donald Trump made at the rally. Let me play the clip and I'm going to -- and then we'll discuss.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Look at my African-American over here, look at him. Are you the greatest?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Look at my African-American over here. Trump spokeswoman Hope Hicks just issued a statement saying, "He was just referring to a supporter in the crowd, there's no ill will intended obviously." She said Trump was grateful for the person's support. She rejected any charge that Trump's use of the possessive "my" to refer to the reporter was racist. She said that was ridiculous.
But it's generating a lot of buzz out there.
RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Look, Trump is at 4 percent among African Americans in the poll in California. We could see the highest level of racial polarization possibly ever in the results of this election.
Look, this is a difficult time for the country. We are living through profound demographic change. A majority of our under 5 population is now nonwhite. A majority of our public school students are nonwhite. In 46 of the 50 states, there are fewer kids under 18 than they were in the year 2000.
This is difficult change for many people and it is occurring at a moment when the economy is not producing gains that earlier generations saw in their living standard. So, you get -- you have a lot of volatile ingredients under way in the country. And really the question I think is, are we going to have leadership that brings us together around the differences or are we going to have leadership that pulls at the seams of these differences?
I think that's the underlying issue to me in this election, I think is more about American identity and how we live together or don't than it is about the economy or security. If you look at the patterns of support for the two candidates, it really is falling along the line of whether you're comfortable or uneasy with changes that the country is living through.
But the last point on that, whether you're comfortable or uneasy with them, they really are not reversible. It is baked into the demography. And the question is not whether this was going to happen, it's whether we're going to make it work.
BLITZER: Well, David Axelrod, I want you to weigh in on this sensitive subject as well. Go ahead.
DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, look, I agree with Ron, that I think that those -- that's the broad divide that separates our electorate. But what decides this election may be people open to both but feel uncomfortable with the kind of impulsive, reactive style we have seen of Trump and some of the outrageous things that he has said.
I talked to a Republican some weeks ago when there was still a primary race on the Republican side who despised Ted Cruz but endorsed him because he said I just can't see going out all fall trying to explain what Donald Trump said. And that's the predicament Republican candidates all across the country are going to face and I'm sure that that tension is mounting today as they see some of this cover.
BLITZER: David Chalian, let me play a clip. This is Michelle Obama today, the first lady of the United States at a commencement address at City College in New York.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHELLE OBAMA, FIRST LADY OF THE UNITED STATES: We don't give in to our fears. We don't build up walls to keep people out because we know that our greatness has always depended on contributions from people who were born elsewhere.
I have seen how leaders who rule by intimidation, leaders who demonize, dehumanize entire groups of people often do so because they have nothing else to offer.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: She's probably going to be a pretty effective campaigner, assuming Hillary Clinton gets the Democratic nomination.
DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Without a doubt. What we saw this week was a one-two punch from team Obama and team Clinton. President Obama in Elkhart, and then at the commencement address at the Air Force Academy. Michelle Obama out today at City College there, combined with Hillary Clinton's scathing speech.
This was a preview of what we are going to see as the main people who are going to make the argument to the American people against Donald Trump this fall.
BLITZER: Very quickly, David -- David Axelrod, the coalition President Obama that put together to win the presidency twice, can he and, let's say, Michelle Obama help do that for Hillary Clinton?
AXELROD: Yes, I think they can and I think Donald Trump is helping right now. So, between all of them, I think she can recreate that coalition but that's the motivating the voters to the polls is the real challenge and as I said, they're going to do their part, and it seems like Trump is going to do his.
BLITZER: And, finally, Ron Brownstein, the violence that we saw at the Donald Trump rally in San Jose, we have seen it at other rallies as well, how is that going to play out politically, assuming it continues?
BROWNSTEIN: Well, look, no one should have to fear for their safety attending a political rally for either party, full stop. It is utterly inappropriate for supporters on either side to physically threaten those who disagree with them.
And, again, it is -- it is just another indication of the way this election could pull at the seams of an inexorably diversifying country, because you can't overlook the racial development of all of these conflicts.
[18:50:06] It's usually nonwhite critics of Donald Trump squaring off against white supporters of Donald Trump.
And I think both sides have an obligation to step back from this brink and to try to remember that, you know, what unites us ultimately is more important than what divides us and both sides I think have to see that and reaffirm that.
BLITZER: All right. Everybody, stand by. We've got to take a quick break. We'll be right back.
BLITZER: The search for the black boxes from the EgyptAir crash is growing urgent.
Rene Marsh reports.
RENE MARSH, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Tonight, the search for the black boxes of EgyptAir Flight 804 getting closer to a critical deadline.
[18:55:05] The batteries on the plane's recorders will soon run out and the underwater equipment needed to retrieve the boxes is not even onsite yet.
PETER GOELZ, CNN AVIATION ANALYST: It's going to take them a number of days to get their equipment ready. They're not going to find it on the first dive. I hope that they're spending their time now making sure they have a precise location.
MARSH: The search area is 10,000 feet in some areas. Extremely difficult conditions to find and retrieve wreckage. In the meantime, investigators are now examining what little information they do have.
PILOT: Hello, hello, EgyptAir 804 flight level 370.
MARSH: Before taking off from Paris, the pilot signed off on an inspection, stating the plane had no technical problems. But during the plane's final minutes, its onboard computer system known as ACARS sent multiple error messages, indicating several systems were failing, including the plane's windshield de-icing system. The Airbus 320 has had issues with the de-icer before. The system malfunctioned and shattered the window on this American Airlines Boeing 757 in 2008.
Five years earlier, the FAA required all Airbus 320 wind shields be replaced because of the defect. EgyptAir could not say whether the fix was made on Flight 804, but some experts doubt that's what doomed the passenger jet.
GOELZ: I think it's highly unlikely that the window heater played a major role in the downing of this aircraft. I mean, it was -- it's an intriguing error message, but the idea that a window heater is going to cause a catastrophic failure of an A-320 is really just beyond the pale. It didn't happen.
MARSH: Investigators now paying close attention to the fault warnings from the ACARS system. But until they retrieve the black boxes, the investigation is essentially stalled.
BLITZER: Thanks, Rene Marsh, for that report.
Crime, meanwhile, is a concern as Rio de Janeiro prepares for the Olympic Games.
Ivan Watson reports.
IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Gun battles in the Olympic city. A clash between police and gangs in one of Rio de Janeiro's impoverished favelas, with civilians caught in the middle.
Urban warfare in densely populated communities, where parents struggle to keep their children safe. This woman says two bullets flew into a children's recreation center. When armored personnel carriers and police special forces move in, they trigger more gunfire. It's not exactly what you would expect in the host city of the upcoming Summer Olympics.
LUCIA CABRAL, FOUNDER, EDUCAP (through translator): Today, we live in the middle of a cross fire, caught in the middle of a war that is not our own.
WATSON: Lucia Cabral is a well-respected community activist in one of Rio's biggest favelas. She says the war between the police and the gangs is getting worse. She argues that the upcoming Olympics won't make any impact on the violence here.
The authorities in Rio insists, they have a plan for keeping the game safe, by deploying some 85,000 police and soldiers across the city. But these days, even members of Olympic teams are getting caught up in the violence.
MAX GROY, GERMAN OLYMPICS SAILING COACH: Actually, I went to the gas station and it was just meters away and the gun fight started. So, all of a sudden, everybody started running at the gas station, and hiding behind things. So I thought, well, it might be time to lay flat in the motor boat and hide as well.
WATSON: Part of the problem is that there are effectively two cities of law and order in Rio. Police keep control in the affluent touristic parts, but up in the much poorer hilltops, there's a very different charge.
(on camera): This young drug trafficker is trying to illustrate the complete different set of rules that exist up in the favelas. Brazilians call this the parallel state. There are communities where the gangs control the area and where the police rarely go in without weapons.
You don't want the Olympics?
DRUG DEALER (through translator): It's not that I don't want it, but I don't see any advantage to corrupt Olympics. There is no investment. The rich people just use the games to steal from the Brazilian people.
WATSON (voice-over): A drug dealer's deep skepticism of the Olympics, and a view that's also shared by many of the ordinary Brazilians we've met here.
And perhaps it's understandable. Given the frightening conditions many residents face in this troubled city, sheer survival more important than bronze, silver and bold.
Ivan Watson, CNN, Rio de Janeiro.
BLITZER: Thanks, Ivan.
"ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.