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Israeli Police: Three Dead in Tel Aviv Terror Attack; Clinton Makes History, Appeals for Unity; Who Has Easier Path in General Election Campaign?; Possible Paths to the Presidency; Interview with Senator Dianne Feinstein. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired June 8, 2016 - 17:00   ET


JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: That's it for "THE LEAD." I'm Jake Tapper. I turn you over now to Wolf Blitzer, right next door in THE SITUATION ROOM. Thanks for watching.

[17:00:12] WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now, breaking news. Terror in Tel Aviv. Shots rang out in a popular market area. Three people are dead. Others are seriously wounded. Israeli police are calling it a terror attack and say two assailants are now in custody.

Clinton's milestone. Nearly a century after women won the right to vote, Hillary Clinton becomes the first woman to claim the presidential nomination of a major party. But Bernie Sanders claims he'll keep on fighting. Can Democrats unite? You'll hear from Hillary Clinton in a special CNN interview.

Trump's new tone. With fellow Republicans horrified by his attacks on the Latino judge, Donald Trump makes no apologies but tries to reboot his campaign with a carefully scripted speech. Is that enough to convince GOP skeptics.

Battleground. We'll take a closer look at the map to see what it will to win the presidency. Both campaigns are targeting specific states. Why Trump may have the tougher path to reach the necessary 270 electoral votes.

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

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

BLITZER: Let's get to the breaking news. At least three people are dead. Others are badly wounded after a gunman opened fire in a very popular outdoor food and entertainment area in Tel Aviv. Israeli police are calling it a terror attack. They say two assailants have been arrested. We'll get a live report.

Hillary Clinton makes history, becoming the first woman to claim a major party's nomination for president. And the battle lines are now drawn for the general election. Indeed, the battle is already raging. Both presumptive nominees made that clear last night, leveling fierce attacks on each other. Clinton immediately slammed Donald Trump as unfit for the presidency. We're going to hear from Hillary Clinton in a CNN interview. That's coming up at the top of our next hour. With his campaign threatening to implode over attacks on a Latino

judge, Trump tried to start over with a very carefully scripted speech and carefully scripted attacks on Hillary Clinton, promising more to come.

Both parties are divided. Some top Republicans still can't bring themselves to endorse Donald Trump, and there's still a wild card in this race. For now, Bernie Sanders is shrugging off Clinton's praise and her appeal for unity, vowing to fight on to the Democratic convention.

But Sanders is cutting down his campaign staff, and he's to meet at the White House tomorrow with President Obama, who is eager to jump into the battle himself.

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

Let's begin with the gunfire that rang out tonight in one of Tel Aviv's most popular outdoor markets. Three people are dead, others wounded. Israeli police are calling it a terror attack. Two suspects are now in custody.

Let's go live to CNN's Phil Black. He's joining us from Jerusalem. Phil, what are you learning?

PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, we've got video that shows the terrifying scenes of the moments as these two gunmen entered this night food market and opened fire with semiautomatic rifles.

In those terrible moments that followed, we know three people sustained injuries that have taken their lives. Others have been taken to hospitals for treatment, as well. And the two gunmen, well, one was shot and injured, has also been treated at hospital and stabilized. Another person, that second gunman, was captured at the scene.

A police operation moved into place very quickly to shut it down that area, get all the people to safety, ensure that there is no continued risk. And what they're now looking at is to determine how this was able to happen.

In a country where terrorist violence is very common, this sort of attack, showing coordination, using firearms, these things are rare. Certainly in recent history. And tonight the prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has gotten straight off the plane from a visit to Moscow and gone straight to the defense ministry, which is located right next to the scene of the shooting. And that is where serious meetings are taking place to try and determine just what Israel's next response will be to this attack.

BLITZER: Phil, there are reports that the two terrorists may have been dressed as Orthodox Hassidic Jews. What, if anything, can you tell us about that?

BLACK: These reports have come from U.S. sources, briefed by Israeli investigators, we have been told. I have to say that, officially, Israeli officials have not commented on this at all.

It is certainly possible that they altered their dress in some way in order to get into this location without raising suspicion, but it's also important to note that Tel Aviv is a very secular city.

This night-time food mart, restaurants, cafes, bars, it's an incredibly secular location, so it's not necessarily the sort of area where two people dressed as conservative Jews would necessarily not raise -- would not be noticed or would simply be able to move in without -- without being noticed in that sort of way -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Phil Black in Jerusalem. By the way, we just got a statement from the U.S. State Department. Let me read it quickly: "The United States condemns today's terrorist attack in Tel Aviv in the strongest possible terms. We extend our deepest condolences to the families of those killed and our hopes for a quick recovery for those wounded. These cowardly attacks against civilians can never be justified." The statement adds, "We're in touch with Israeli authorities to express our support and concern." That statement from the U.S. Department of State.

Let's turn to the 2016 campaign right now. We begin with the Democrats and our senior Washington correspondent, Joe Johns.

Joe, Hillary Clinton clearly has made history. She will be the standard bearer, but Bernie Sanders has come home to Vermont, perhaps to ponder his next move. What are you learning?

JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: That's right. And there are, Wolf, a number of people here in Burlington, Vermont, to greet Bernie Sanders.

Now, I do have to tell you, however, there are a lot of concerns here and all over the country about what Bernie Sanders is going to do next. He says he's going to keep fighting.

On the other hand, he is reducing staff with only the District of Columbia primary to follow. And the nudging continues from some party establishment figures for him to get out of the race, even as many of his supporters say he should fight all the way to the convention.


JOHNS (voice-over): H Hillary Clinton making history, becoming the first woman to capture a major party presidential nomination.

HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We are all standing under a glass ceiling right now.

JOHNS: The former secretary of state reveling in the moment Tuesday night in Brooklyn.

CLINTON: This campaign is about making sure there are no ceilings, no limits on any of us. And this is our moment to come together.

JOHNS: With a hard-fought primary now behind her, Clinton is seeking to unify the Democratic Party, extending an olive branch to Bernie Sanders and his supporters.

CLINTON: Senator Sanders, his campaign and the vigorous debate that we've had about how to raise incomes, reduce inequality, increase upward mobility have been very good for the Democratic Party and for America.

JOHNS: Clinton drawing on her own experience eight years ago when she came up short against then-Senator Obama.

CLINTON: It never feels good to put your heart into a cause or a candidate you believe in and to come up short. I know that feeling well. As we look ahead to the battle that awaits, let's remember all that unites us.

JOHNS: Clinton closed out the primary campaign with four wins Tuesday night, including a convincing victory in California, where Sanders had a singular focus in recent weeks.


JOHNS: As the primary season comes to an end, the Sanders campaign is preparing to cut half its staff, with Washington, D.C., the only remaining contest. Still, Sanders is not ready to fully step aside.

SANDERS: Next Tuesday, we continue the fight in the last primary in Washington, D.C.

JOHNS: Clinton, though, is already looking forward to her next opponent, calling out presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump in her remarks Tuesday night.

CLINTON: When he says, "Let's make America great again," that is code for "Let's take America backwards."


JOHNS: Senator Sanders has a meeting scheduled in Washington tomorrow with President Obama, another meeting after that with Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid. Hillary Clinton, for her part, is taking the day off before gearing up for the next phase -- Wolf.

BLITZER: All right, Joe, thank you. Joe Johns reporting.

With his campaign floundering after his repeated attacks on a Latino judge, Donald Trump tried a new approach last night, sticking to the script and the message, and that message includes some very sharp attacks on Hillary Clinton.

Let's go to our political reporter, Sara Murray.

Sara, a new tone from Donald Trump?

SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, it's certainly a new tone, but is it a more disciplined candidate? It's tough to say at this point. Even today Donald Trump is saying he only used the teleprompter because it was a special occasion, not necessarily indicative of what he'll do for future speeches, and that might not necessarily be what a number of Republicans on Capitol Hill want to hear.


MURRAY (voice-over): Donald Trump turning to a teleprompter in a carefully crafted statement to calm the nerves of his GOP colleagues.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I understand the responsibility of carrying the mantle, and I will never, ever let you down.

[17:10:00] MURRAY: Trump vowing Tuesday in a written statement to stop commenting on the Trump University case but stopped short of apologizing for saying the judge was biased because of his Mexican heritage.

Hours later, Trump delivered a speech to make in-roads with Bernie Sanders supporters and hammer Hillary Clinton.

TRUMP: The Clintons have turned the politics of personal enrichment into an art form for themselves.

MURRAY: The change in tone easing some hand-wringing on Capitol Hill today.

SEN. TIM SCOTT (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: When he takes responsibility and walks those comments back, that's a good direction a new direction, frankly, and one that I believe is good.

MURRAY: Even if some remain skeptical.

SEN. DAN COATS (R), INDIANA: I think it's time for Donald -- Donald Trump to shift from the thought of the moment, spontaneously uttered, to a more disciplined way of running a campaign for president of the United States. I think maybe he's gotten the message.

MURRAY: And others insist Trump needs to go much further in overhauling his image.

SEN. SUSAN COLLINS (R), MAINE: I would like to be able to endorse Donald Trump, but he really has to change the approach that he has taken. He should apologize to the judge and to the American people.

MURRAY: It's an overhaul some in his campaign aren't eager to embrace, arguing Trump's unscripted style is part of his winning formula, one that's not likely to change in a general election fight.

But Trump's unpredictable tangents are already putting GOP leaders in a bind, one the tabloids are eager to exploit. Today, "The New York Daily News" is blasting Paul Ryan on the cover, under the headline, "I'm with racist!"

The House speaker is still supporting Trump, despite delivering this blistering criticism Tuesday. REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: Claiming a person can't

do their job because of their race is sort of like a textbook definition of a racist comment.

MURRAY: Even though Trump hasn't retracted his comment about the judge, today, Ryan is privately prodding his GOP colleagues to unite behind the presumptive nominee, even as some conservatives are encouraging the party to ditch Donald Trump.

HUGH HEWITT, TALK RADIO HOST: It's like ignoring stage four cancer. You can't do it. Got to go attack it. And right now the Republican Party is facing -- the plane is headed towards the mountain after the last 72 hours.


MURRAY: Now the one sign that Trump's shift in tone may not be a monumental shift, even though he said in that statement he would no longer talk about the Trump University case, he then did a Bloomberg interview in which he talked about the case at length, although he did not go after the judge.

Back to you, Wolf.

BLITZER: All right, Sara, thank you. Joining us now, Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger of Illinois. He's been a sharp critic of Donald Trump, still has not endorsed him. Has anything changed yet, Congressman?

REP. ADAM KINZINGER (R), ILLINOIS: No, not now. No, no. I'm still -- I'm still on the neutral territory right now.

BLITZER: CNN is reporting that the House speaker, Paul Ryan, reiterated his support for Donald Trump in a closed door meeting with all the House Republicans today, urging you and all your colleagues to unite behind Donald Trump. What can you tell us about what -- what he said? Was he convincing?

KINZINGER: Well, I don't like to, you know, reveal what was said in a closed-door meeting. I'll tell you the speakers has made it clear he'll defend our House majority and, I hope, call Donald Trump out when necessary.

And, you know, the hope is, in all of this, in all of that discussion, at the end of the day, Donald Trump says, "Hey, here's what I need to do. Here is how I unite the Republican Party." This is one him to unite right now.

And frankly, he needs to begin to sound presidential. I mean, these -- I feel like a broken record, because I say this all the time, but I am continually disappointed when, you know, I hear things about the judge and everything else.

BLITZER: Stand by, Congressman. There's more questions that we have for you, including a very sensitive issue about whether some Republicans who had endorsed him will now pull back. Much more with Adam Kinzinger right after this.


[17:18:16] BLITZER: We're back with the Republican congressman, Adam Kinzinger, of Illinois.

Congressman, you're one of the GOP lawmakers who still have doubts about Donald Trump. A lot of Republicans urging Trump to change. Under what circumstances could you see yourself supporting him?

KINZINGER: It's hard to really tell. There's no blueprint. There's no thing where I say, you know, you have to achieve "A" or "B" or whatever. It's like one of those things. You'll know it when you know it.

And, you know, look, I'm not a never Trump guy. I think it's early to say that. Because we want him to obviously come and reflect Republican values, to begin to talk about the things that are important to us and to begin to sound like a guy worthy of Abraham Lincoln and Ronald Reagans jobs.

So in my mind it does no good to say I'm a "never Trump" guy. I want to get to yes. But you know, what it's going to take, I guess I'll have to see when it happens. You know, if he's willing to begin to speak like a president, to outline an articulate foreign policy, to be more focused on uniting the country instead of dividing it. I'd love to get there, because look, I'm a Republican. I'd love a Republican to win the White House. But I'm an American before I'm a Republican.

BLITZER: Do you think his vice-president running mate candidate could give you the confidence you need to support him?

KINZINGER: It depends. You know, not necessarily. Typically, people put a lot of stock into who somebody picks as vice president. But it really doesn't have much of an impact on the election.

Ultimately, we're electing the vice president to be there, in case the president is incapacitated and can't continue his job, in that case that person becomes the president.

So you know, the idea that somehow a vice president for me is going to be the thing that tips Trump over the scale, maybe it is. But as of now I don't see that as being the issue that could put me on Trump bandwagon. I'm not going to vote for Hillary, but I'm definitely going to make sure I vote down ballot for people like Mark Kirk in Illinois.

[17:20:02] BLITZER: Well, speaking of Mark Kirk -- he's your Illinois colleague, the senator. He says he will not support Donald Trump, regardless of the impact on the Republican Party.

Let me read a quote from Senator Kirk: "Our president must be fit to command the most powerful military the world has ever seen, including an arsenal of thousands of nuclear weapons. I have concluded that Donald Trump has not demonstrated the temperament necessary to assume the greatest office in the world."

You're a military veteran. You served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Do you agree with him?

KINZINGER: Look, I haven't seen that kind of temperament yet in Donald Trump. And my hope is I begin to see it, you know, as he realizes, "Hey, this election is five months away. I need to buckle down. I need to get serious." It's sad I'm sitting here in June having to tell you this, but I am. But you know, look, I haven't seen that temperament yet. I hope to see it at some point.

Every legislator has a decision to make out here when they're making decisions about Donald Trump. I don't fault anybody that supports him. I don't fault anybody that voted for him. But at the end of the day, I have to make that decision, as well. And it's a tough position to take because, look, a lot of people in my home district that support me also support Donald Trump. So you have a lot of questions with that.

But again, as every individual, as every American has to analyze this, just because you're a member of Congress doesn't mean you necessarily have to go along. You have to -- you have to be at peace with these decisions in your heart, as well.

BLITZER: As you know, there are some Republicans out there, part of that so-called "never Trump" movement, fierce conservatives, don't want Trump to be the Republican nominee, who think it's still possible to get someone else, another Republican third-party candidate, let's say, or maybe some sort of Republican to challenge him at the convention. Is that at all realistic?

KINZINGER: I think anything is really realistic right now. It's been a very odd election cycle, and we've seen that a lot of the typical rules are thrown out.

Yes, I mean, theoretically there could be a change at the convention. I don't see much of a path for that really happening, because these are a lot of, you know, Donald Trump's delegates who are going to be at the convention, making the decision. There's no, like, you know, great party strategy to come in and change anything. It's all the delegates now that make these decisions.

And in terms of a third party, it's still possible, but every day that goes by, those barriers get more and more difficult. And so it looks like we're -- you know, we're down to basically Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, and Gary Johnson. And I have some thinking to do between now and November.

BLITZER: When you say Gary Johnson, he's the Libertarian Party nominee. Is it possible you might support him?

KINZINGER: No. I -- you know, look, Libertarians have some good ideas on certain things, on economics and whatnot, but I don't agree with their foreign policy. I think an engaged America around the world is not just good for the world; it's good for us. And every time we've isolated, it's come back to bite us later. BLITZER: Congressman Adam Kinzinger, thanks so much for joining us.

KINZINGER: You bet, Wolf. Take care.

Coming up, Hillary Clinton takes questions from CNN's Anderson Cooper. What's her plan to reach out to Bernie Sanders supporters? And how will she respond to the upcoming attacks from Donald Trump? Stay with us.


[17:27:21] BLITZER: Once again, we'll be hearing directly from Hillary Clinton right at the top of the hour. Stand by for that interview.

Now that she and Donald Trump are their party's presumptive nominees, the focus of the presidential campaign shifts to capturing enough states to score a victory in the Electoral College.

Our chief national correspondent John King is over at the Magic Wall for us. John, give us a look at the path to 270 electoral votes, which it takes to be elected president of the United States.

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, for Hillary Clinton, Wolf, you look at this map. This is Obama versus Romney 2012, 332 electoral votes, an Electoral College landslide for the Democrats. If you're Hillary Clinton, this is why you want to defend the Obama coalition. If you defend the Obama coalition, you defend all or most of these states and you're the next president of the United States.

If you're Donald Trump, you're looking at this map, and you're thinking, "What can I take away?" Now Donald Trump said last week he's going to take away California. I wouldn't bet on that. He might see himself as Ronald Reagan, Arnold Schwarzenegger. California is about as blue as they get. But we'll see of he plays out there.

Donald Trump says he's going to play in New York. Again, about as deep blue as you get. Unlikely to happen.

But Donald Trump does believe and his team believes his path to the presidency is white voters across the Rust Belt. Can he flip Pennsylvania? Republicans have to win Ohio. He wants to create Trump Democrats like Reagan Democrats in Michigan. This is the path -- and Wisconsin, as well -- this is the path some Trump supporters think and Trump strategists think -- this is a heavy lift, don't get me wrong. It's a very heavy lift. They think that's the path, and that would do it. Flipping those four states would be 270 to 268.

Another state, Wolf, that Trump mentions is Florida. His team thinks maybe if you can't get this one, you make it up in Florida. We'll talk in a minute about the Latino problem there. But that's one they look at. He says that's a second home.

And Trump strategists also think Virginia, which has leaned blue lately, they think they might be able to get that back. So some combination starting in the Rust Belt here, maybe Florida and Virginia, for Donald Trump. Not an easy path. Democrats have the high ground, because they won the last two presidential elections by such big margins. But if you're Trump, you start in the Rust Belt and you look for opportunity.

BLITZER: Clearly an uphill battle, John, for Donald Trump, but he would have to defy expectations with some key voter blocs in order to win.

KING: He would. And let's switch maps and go through some of what you're talking about here, because I just want to show you. Look, Latinos are his biggest problem. His attacks on the judge in recent days have made it, according to most Republican strategists, likely even worse.

Look at this last four presidential elections. George W. Bush, the last Republican to win, ran nine points behind him among the Latino votes. He got 44 percent nationally, and he won the presidency.

John McCain, minus 36. Mitt Romney, minus 34. At the moment, in NBC/"Wall Street Journal" polling, Donald Trump is underperforming Mitt Romney. He's minus 48 among Latino voters. This survey was taken before the controversy about the judge in the Trump University case. So Donald Trump starts with a deficit and, Wolf, that deficit matters, because this is 2012. Look at these swing states. Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, Virginia, Florida. Latinos are key swing constituencies in all of these presidential battleground states.

[17:30:09] Mitt Romney ran 52 points behind among Latinos in Colorado. You see through these other states here.

Why I mentioned those five states -- Nevada, New Mexico, Colorado, Virginia and Florida -- George W. Bush won all five in 2004. Given the Republicans' Latino problem, can you see Donald Trump winning those states, Wolf? Not today.

BLITZER: He probably sees that as possible, but we shall all see soon enough. All right, John, thanks very much.

Joining us now in THE SITUATION ROOM, our senior political commentator, David Axelrod. He's a former senior advisor to President Obama. Real Clear Politics national political reporter Rebecca Berg; our senior political analyst, Ron Brownstein is a senior editor at "The Atlantic" magazine; and our CNN Politics executive editor, Mark Preston.

David Axelrod, Trump now saying, you know, really, he doesn't necessarily need to raise a billion dollars in campaign contributions as he originally claimed he would have to do. Will his campaign have the money and the organization to face off -- face off Hillary Clinton, who's going to clearly try to raise that much money if not more? He says he can do a lot of it without paid advertising, because he could go on TV and get a lot of free advertising.

DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes. Well, I guess necessity is the mother of invention. He's having a hard time raising money, because just as Republican politicians are reluctant to saddle up next to him, Republican donors are very skeptical of him.

But listen, Wolf, I want to approach this with a certain amount of humility, because I was one of the geniuses who said he wouldn't make it out of winter. But there is -- there are things about campaigns that Mr. Trump seems not to know. When you get into these battleground states that John King was talking about, these are marginal states. And the ability to do data analysis and the ability to do very sophisticated targeting and voter contact and mobilization programs need a point or two or three and can tilt a state.

The Obama campaign invested tens and tens of millions of dollars in these -- or more in these -- in these exercises in both 2008 and especially in 2012. And Hillary Clinton will have that at her disposal. She's been building it for months, and if he doesn't have it, Donald Trump is going to be at a decided disadvantage. And if any of these states turn out to be as close as they appear right now.

BLITZER: They have all of those -- those techniques. He made a lot of money. That's the point.

Mark Preston, talk about the optics of last night. How are Hillary and Donald Trump both showing that they're right now laser-focused on the march to their respective conventions and then the general election in November?

MARK PRESTON, CNN POLITICS EXECUTIVE EDITOR: Well, no doubt Hillary Clinton benefited from the fact that she was at, basically, a huge campaign rally that was not only a rally to celebrate the fact that she was becoming the presumptive nominee, but she the first woman to become the presumptive nominee for a major political party. So as you can see from those pictures right there, an incredible amount of excitement, and she did a very good job of delivering her message, certainly following on the speech that she had just given days earlier, where she was hypercritical of Donald Trump.

She was critical in the speech last night but she was also -- had a two-fold job. Not only did she have to focus her -- her criticism towards Donald Trump. She also had to bring in the Bernie Sanders supporters and at least show her openness to do so. She did that.

Donald Trump, on the other hand, had to quell critics last night in regards to all the comments he has made, specifically regarding the judge, regarding Trump University. And in some ways he was successful in that.

We saw Paul Ryan this morning tell House Republicans that they needed to rally around Donald Trump. This is at a time where we're starting to see some Republicans try to disassociate themselves from Donald Trump, Wolf.

BLITZER: Ron Brownstein, as you know, the speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, he said Trump's comments about the federal judge, in his words, were "the textbook definition of a racist comment." He's still supporting Donald Trump. And he says that. Mark Kirk, the Republican senator from Illinois, is in a tough reelection battle. He withdrew his endorsement and says Trump is not fit to be commander in chief. Are we going to be seeing more of these Republicans withdrawing their


RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: They are between a rock and a very hard place. I mean, first of all, what we are seeing, the language we are seeing in the last few days about Donald Trump, I believe, is unprecedented for a presumptive nominee.

You can go back -- I was actually watching today. You could find video of Harry Truman in 1960, right before the Democratic convention, saying that maybe John F. Kennedy wanted to wait, and he might not be fully ready to be president, but that is about as much, you know, kind of resistance you get once someone has claimed the nomination.

The kind of language that Ryan used, that -- several Republican this week described his language -- his comments about the judge as, quote, "un-American." I mean, this is about as withering as we have ever seen.

[17:35:05] On the other hand, Donald Trump won the Republican nomination. He won more votes than anyone else, and many of these Republicans realize that there is a substantial portion of their base who are responding to the message that he is offering, even as it creates growing problems for not only minority voters but also college-educated whites, which is an important point about John's look at the map before. In many cases where Trump may gain among those non-college whites, he could drive away college whites.

So I think Republicans are caught in, really, an impossible navigation. And we will see more than once, through the course of this year, some of them fall off that tightrope.

BLITZER: As you know, Rebecca, the conservative radio talk show host Hugh Hewitt still thinks it's possible, at the Republican convention in Cleveland, to withdraw Donald Trump as the nominee and find some other alternative. I know I've heard that from others, as well. Is that at all realistic?

REBECCA BERG, REAL CLEAR POLITICS: Well, it is technically possible, Wolf, because the Republicans and Democrats at their convention, too, make up their own rules when they get there, and the rules are different for every convention.

So hypothetically speaking, we could arrive in Cleveland. The rules committee could meet there and decide to unbind the delegates on the first ballot, let them vote their conscience, let them vote however they want, and under those circumstances, Trump could potentially lose.

Now, we need to consider what is the risk for Republicans of taking that course. I consider this to be -- and Republicans would agree with this, for the most part -- a break glass in case of emergency scenario. This would -- Donald Trump would have to be so damaging to the party, be threatening he party for generations. Some Republicans already think he is. But would have to really even go a step further from where he is now for Republicans to seriously, seriously consider that option.

So we're starting to hear some chatter. It's not totally serious, but it is actually starting, it appears, to get under the skin of the Trump campaign. I just saw before I came on set here today his social media manager tweeted out that he thinks haters like Hugh Hewitt should be banned from the convention.

BLITZER: Wow, all right. Everyone, stand by. There's more coming up, including the new CNN interview with Hillary Clinton. Anderson Cooper has spoken to her. We're going to have that interview for you. That's coming up. Stay with us.


[17:41:52] BLITZER: Presumptive nominees Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton aren't wasting any time going after one another as the general election campaign gets under way.

Clinton is sitting down with CNN's Anderson Cooper. We're going to hear that interview right at the top of the hour. Stand by for that.

Let's bring back our political experts, in the meantime. David Axelrod, if you were advising Hillary Clinton, how would you advise her on gaining the support, first of all, of so many of the Bernie Sanders loyalists as possible, given their fervor for Sanders?

AXELROD: Well, I thought she made a good start last night with her rhetoric, which was not only welcoming but also embraced many of the themes of the Sanders campaign, the economic themes of the Sanders campaign.

But I would counsel patience. I'm sure they weren't happy with Senator Sanders's speech last night, which was pretty defiant in the face of the immutable math that gives her the victory, but these things take time. She, of all people, knows that -- that these things take time, and they need to give him a little time and space.

I think this meeting with the president tomorrow is very important. Ultimately, they're going to have to yield on some things, give him something and his supporters something to recognize their interest in reforming the party rules and in the nominating process, in platform issues.

And the only cautionary note I would offer is that what they shouldn't do is go too far, because if it looks like she's yielding on issues of basic principle to her in order to gain the support of Sanders and his supporters, I think that she runs into another problem, the authenticity problem that has nagged her in this campaign.

So it's a delicate balance that she has to walk. I think she will. My guess is that, by the time the fall rolls around, if not the convention, you're going to see a very unified Democratic Party. I think the president will have a lot to do with that.

BLITZER: Let me ask Ron Brownstein. You heard Donald Trump say in his speech last night he's really going to go after the Clintons in a speech, probably on Monday. Predictions?

BROWNSTEIN: Yes. I think he gave us a pretty good preview last night. I think the argument will be "I will fight for you, and they view government service as a way to enrich themselves and their contributors and friends." And I think it's part of a broader reality here, is that we're looking at two candidates with extraordinarily high negatives, and that they're more likely to be successful in making a case against the other than for themselves.

You know, the big change in presidential politics, going back to what David was talking about, both sides now focus more on mobilization than persuasion, more on turning out their own side than on trying to reach that kind of archetypical swing voter. We start with Bush, start with Obama. The difference now: more on the negative side than the positive side, even on mobilizing your own team.

BLITZER: All right, guys. Everyone, stand by. Much more coming up.

My colleague Anderson Cooper just spoke with Hillary Clinton. Coming up, her thoughts on trying to unite the party, her search for a running mate, the attacks by Donald Trump. Much more. Stay with us.



BLITZER: We're standing by to hear from the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. She just spoke with CNN's Anderson Cooper.

We're also keeping our eyes on Senator Bernie Sanders. He's just arrived back in his home state of Vermont, but says he will continue fighting for the nomination.

Joining us now, Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein of California who's been urging Senator Sanders to start taking steps to unify the party.

Senator, thanks very much for joining us.


BLITZER: You played a very important role eight years ago in bringing Hillary Clinton and then Senator Barack Obama together at your home here in Washington. Are you going to play a similar role this time?

FEINSTEIN: Well, I don't know about that, but -- I mean last time I had supported Hillary and we were talking, and I said, have you talked with Senator Obama and she said no, and I said it might be a good idea. And we talked about how you might do it and have absolute privacy and just have a chance for two people to come together, and so she said, I'm willing, and so I called him and he said, I'm willing.

[17:50:12] BLITZER: Why not do the same thing this time?

FEINSTEIN: Well, we'll see. BLITZER: You might?

FEINSTEIN: But I'm not going to tip it off.

BLITZER: You're not going to tell me --


BLITZER: And our viewers in advance.

FEINSTEIN: No, because I think it's really important that they have a chance the two, one-on-one, to sit down with no one around, and that forces one of the two people to begin a conversation and I know I put them in the chairs, and went upstairs, and suddenly I heard them laugh and I knew it was all OK. So it's not always that easy but I think the passions of the campaign take some time to get over, and I think you kind of have to settle down and you realize that the sun is going to come up the next day and that you do have a role to play in the future and that should be the same for Senator Sanders as well.

BLITZER: He still says, and you heard his speech last night, he wants to compete next Saturday in District of Columbia.


BLITZER: Democratic primary, go all the way to the convention. Obviously it's unrealistic, but he is continuing to pursue that.

FEINSTEIN: Well, I think for the time being. I think that may change. I hope it changes. I think reality sets in. I think this is hard stuff, Wolf. I mean, you had somebody that's been out there day and night and it's tough and he got big crowds and he related to them and they related to him, and it kind of began a tight movement and all of a sudden it's over. That's very hard to accept.

But you do accept it. I've lost, too. You do accept it. And then once you accept it, I think he'll see the obligation that he has, and that is he ran as a Democrat and he should want the Democratic Party to prevail and the best of all worlds is to nominate Hillary by acclamation and it would be quite wonderful if he would do that.

BLITZER: You heard Donald Trump at his speech last night once again reach out to Bernie Sanders supporters. He thinks he can get a significant chunk of them. Do you believe that's realistic?

FEINSTEIN: I don't believe it's realistic. I know the California people and I don't think it's realistic for them. Anywhere else I can't say, but I think the more you know about Mr. Trump and the more you listen to it, it becomes very clear what the situation is.

BLITZER: The president has invited Senator Sanders to the White House tomorrow, I think they're meeting at around 11:00 in the morning.


BLITZER: What do you think he should say to the senator? FEINSTEIN: Well, I would be hesitant to tell the president what to

say, but I think if you just talk and ease the pressure, and help the decompression, and work into the role that he can play in the future and there's an immediate future and of course that's the convention, and that's putting together a united Democratic Party and in my view that's all important right now so, any way, any shape, any form he can get to that, I think it's really important.

BLITZER: As you know Donald Trump maybe as early as Monday is going to deliver a speech attacking both Clintons, probably going back to all of the stuff all of us remember from the 1990s. How should she respond to those kinds of attacks?

FEINSTEIN: Well, you're asking me, you know, in a generic way how do you respond and I think you respond to the extent you can with fact and I think you respond by putting it in perspective. And I think whatever anyone might say about Hillary Rodham Clinton, she has given her life to government and has done a very good job and I watched the Benghazi stuff, I watch it as chairman of the committee, the Intelligence Committee, at the time and both of the sides of our committee, Republican and Democrat, spent a year and a half looking into Benghazi and doing a report and putting out a classified version and an unclassified version.

And because there was no wrongdoing, no one paid any attention to it. And so that's the situation. The bad gets the press and the good does not and it is unfortunate.

BLITZER: Senator Feinstein, always good to have you here in THE SITUATION ROOM.

FEINSTEIN: Nice to be here.

BLITZER: Thanks very much for coming in.

FEINSTEIN: Thank you, Wolf.

BLITZER: Dianne Feinstein of California.

Coming up, Hillary Clinton is speaking to CNN hours after making history, becoming the first woman to claim the nomination of a major American party. The interview with Hillary Clinton coming up.



BLITZER: Happening now. Breaking news. Historic win. Hillary Clinton talks to CNN in the wake of becoming the first woman to secure a major American party's presidential nomination. How is she planning to take on Donald Trump.

And toned down Trump. The presumptive GOP nominee tries to reassure his anxious party after the uproar he sparked with his racial criticism of a federal judge. Is Trump turning a corner?

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: The breaking news this hour, Hillary Clinton talking to CNN about what comes next after her historic win in the Democratic primaries and what's now her one-on-one battle with the White House -- for the White House with Donald Trump. Hillary Clinton just sat down a little while ago with CNN's --