Return to Transcripts main page


Sanders Expected to Meet with Obama; What Clinton Is Doing to Win Over Sanders Supporters; Will Elizabeth Warren Endorse Clinton; Trump Meeting with 50 Top Fundraisers Soon. Aired 11-11:30a ET

Aired June 9, 2016 - 11:00   ET


[11:00:05] KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm Kate Bolduan.


Breaking news, the White House today feeling the Bern like it hasn't since the British set it on fire in 1814.

BOLDUAN: Too soon?

BERMAN: Probably. We have live pictures from the White House right now. Look at this. Bernie Sanders set to arrive any second now for a highly anticipated Oval Office meeting with President Obama. The president wants unity. Hillary Clinton wants unity. The question is, what does Bernie Sanders want?

BOLDUAN: Regardless of the answer, Bernie Sanders is still in campaign mode and forging ahead to next week's primary in D.C. He has a rally scheduled there tonight but will he come with a new message after today's meeting as we look at the White House.

CNN's Michelle Kosinski is live at the White House.

First question is why have they still not cut back those trees, Michelle, when it really blocks our shot when we want to see what's going on?

MICHELLE KOSINSKI, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: A very good question. You can really feel the excitement. It's almost like a state visit or maybe even more than that. There's a crowd of the world's press gathered, all eyes are focused on that western gate.

We know he's arriving here any minute, which is quite early for his meeting, but Bernie Sanders tends to do that. Remember, he was here back in January for another lengthy meeting with the president, and that kind of came at an awkward time as well. He had been criticizing the president's key trade deal, the Trans-Pacific Partnership. The president seemed to refer to certain candidates, including him, as bright, shiny objects, but they came out of that meeting talking about how productive and constructive and cordial and respectful it was.

This, of course, is a much different scene and publicly the White House has been saying it's all about respect, respecting Sanders and his supporters who, of course, the White House would like to see ultimately supporting Hillary Clinton. So the White House says that the president wants to congratulate Sanders, wants to talk about how to build on the progress he's made on the issues, and how to keep on engaging in the debate moving forward. Privately, we know the president wants to hear him out. And they're going to forge a path forward. And this meeting is expected to last about an hour.

The big question though is, how long is Sanders staying in the race. And we shouldn't expect the White House necessarily to hold off endorsing Hillary Clinton. But because they're so interested in maintaining this respect, they might do something a little softer first, maybe some kind of a release on social media before we see that big campaign-style event that would be a full endorsement with President Obama and Hillary Clinton.

BERMAN: Michelle, we got this breaking news just in. We've just been told that Bernie Sanders is on the White House grounds, along with his wife, Jane. The meeting with the president has not started yet, so obviously, they arrived perhaps somewhere else besides where we're looking right now, and arrived as you so correctly note early. The meeting not scheduled to start for 15 minutes. We will keep you all posted when we hear that meeting has begun.

Our thanks to Michelle Kosinski for that.

BOLDUAN: While the big meeting is at the White House, what is Hillary Clinton doing to win over the legions of Bernie Sanders supporters, and can she? She thinks so. Here is what Clinton told Anderson Cooper. Listen.


HILLARY CLINTON, (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE & FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: I do intend to reach out to his supporters. We have a lot of same goals. Now, we may have approached it somewhat differently, but our goals are the same.


BERMAN: All right. Want to talk about this more now. We're joined by CNN's senior Washington correspondent, Jeff Zeleny.

Jeff, Kate Bolduan is a big fan of your work, and she noted you covered the unity event between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton way back in 2008. You have vast experience on the issue of party unity. What is the Clinton team intending to do right now? What is the Sanders team intending to do?

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: John and Kate, I remember that day very well, actually. There was so much tension on that airplane between then-Senator Barack Obama and Senator Hillary Clinton, of course, flying to Unity, New Hampshire. It was such a forced marriage almost, but they went through, they got through with this. And I remember talking to people at that rally, Hillary Clinton fans, who said, look, we're not going to support Barack Obama, we can't do it. It was very divisive. I remember writing that story for "The New York Times," where I was at that time, and we thought, wow, are these people ever going to come together?

Well, the reality is this is a process. I think that's what we're seeing right now unfolding today. Bernie Sanders, yes, he's been running as an outsider, but he also is a member of the Washington establishment, whether some of his supporters like that or not. He's been on Capitol Hill for a very long time. He is falling into line today. I think it may take several days. He is likely to not step aside until after the D.C. primary next week, but all indications we are getting is that he is -- he knows that he lost his primary but he did very well, won 22 states. That's what we're seeing happening today.

But give him his due. He wants to meet with the president here. He'll be going up to Capitol Hill and, frankly, that's where Democrats want him, on Capitol Hill, not out there on the campaign trail.

[11:05:14] BOLDUAN: So tell me, Elizabeth Warren, she's back in the headlines. You're picking up new details on when she might be coming out to finally back Hillary Clinton as everyone has been -- not everyone -- but as especially Hillary Clinton and Democrats have been waiting to see when and if that would happen.

ZELENY: I talked to someone who is close to her just not that long ago and they said she's waited a year and a half, so she's not exactly missing out by not doing this urgently, giving this endorsement. She wants to meet with Senator Sanders herself, and that could come later this afternoon when he's on Capitol Hill, or it could come in the coming days. There's nothing scheduled, I'm told, at this time or at least they're not advising us there is.

But she is going to offer her endorsement and then go right back into attack mode. She is sort of becoming the leading Democrat to attack Donald Trump and try to tie him to all the Republicans who are running for Senate, for the House, for other races. Look for that endorsement at some point. It's all but a foregone conclusion she's going to do that. She wants a little bit of cover. Once the president endorses, I believe she will probably go after that here. A lot of her grassroots fundraisers and others won't be thrilled with this because they share a lot of supporters. But the reality is it's her only option. She's already been campaigning for the Democrats and she will endorse at some point.

BOLDUAN: Jeff Zeleny, great to see you, Jeff. Thanks so much.

ZELENY: Good to see you guys. Thank you.

BOLDUAN: Let's bring in Democratic Congressman Raul Grijalva, from Arizona. He was the first member of Congress to endorse Bernie Sanders. He's joining us from Capitol Hill.

Congressman, thank you so much for joining us.

REP. RAUL GRIJALVA, (D), ARIZONA: Thank you very much. Appreciate the invitation.

BOLDUAN: Thank you. Have you spoken to Bernie Sanders? What's his state of mind right now?

GRIJALVA: Well, the last opportunity we spoke was on Sunday and that was when we were in California. Then I came here to D.C. I'm looking forward to some discussions today after he finishes his meetings with the president and Senate and House leadership on the Democratic side, and I think that's appropriate. I think that the theme is unity, how do we bring the party together. And I think those conversations will have a lot to say as to what the next steps forward are for both Bernie and his campaign.

BERMAN: Congressman, we just learned that Bernie Sanders, the Senator, has arrived at the White House for his meeting with President Obama, along with his wife, Jane. That meeting should kick off any minute. You wrote an op-ed, among other things but you said you know Bernie Sanders will do the right thing. What is the right thing, Congressman?

GRIJALVA: I think the right thing right now is to -- I think part of the right thing is to understand that Bernie got into this race to fundamentally bring his themes and his message that I support very much to the American people, and he did great. He didn't -- he raised money differently from anybody else and away from PACs. He challenged the establishment, both of our party and of political leadership in this country. And he's going to go to the convention with 45 percent of the delegates pledged to him. I think that's significant. It's historic. And where theme and message became the key thing. So I think -- I really believe that DNC and the Democratic leadership in this country and certainly the Clinton campaign have to accommodate, have to integrate, have to deal with the platform and the message, and validate to some extent the themes, the message, and the candidacy of this man. And I think that that's what I mean by a two-way street. Bernie --


BOLDUAN: In that two-way street, when you're talking about the two- way street and the right thing, does it also include him exiting the race?

GRIJALVA: Well, I think that's a decision Bernie is going to make. You know, I have been circumspect about an answer to that simply because I think the man needed his space. It's been a grueling campaign and he and his family needed time to think. I think Bernie is coming to conclusions, and part of it will be how we keep alive the movement that he generated because it has great value to the Democratic party and to this country, and how do we do it in such a way where our party not only inherits that movement but makes it a focal point and integral part of everything that moving forward.

BERMAN: Congressman --


GRIJALVA: I think Bernie wants to do that.

BERMAN: The president is giving him space. Hillary Clinton has given him space. You've given him a few days. But what does your heart tell you? Do you hope at some point in the near future, and I mean days, not months, do you hope he endorses Hillary Clinton?

[11:09:57] GRIJALVA: Yeah, I hope it's a seamless transition where the issues that we fought for and that Bernie fought for and the delegates are both respected, dignified, and give their place. If all that happens, then I think that transition will occur and it will occur rather quickly.

BOLDUAN: Congressman, do you still have reservations about Hillary Clinton?

GRIJALVA: You know, I approach this race -- and I will be very honest with you, I approach this race not a lesser of two evils. I didn't approach the race that way. Hillary did something historic, and first woman nominee of a major party, that's historic and important to this nation's history and tots present, and she's a capable person. The themes we raised about economic justice, environmental justice, racial justice and equity in this country are themes that we're going to continue to be strong about because, you know, the legacy of this campaign is not that Bernie is going to get off the stage but that there's a movement here and that's going to continue to influence the party. And I hope that we'll be able to influence, if it's a Hillary administration, influence that with those same themes and messages. It's not a lesser of two evils. The evil is looming, and that's Trump. And if there is an underlying, unifying factor in this whole thing for both Bernie supporters and Hillary supporters is the specter of having a Trump presidency that would be devastating to this nation.

BERMAN: Congressman Raul Grijalva, thanks so much for being with us. We appreciate your time today, sir. Thank you.

GRIJALVA: Thank you for the invite. Appreciate it.

BOLDUAN: Thanks.

BERMAN: We continue to keep our eye at the White House, outside the White House. Despite the fact we know Bernie Sanders is already there and not likely in that picture right now. He's arrived with his wife, Jane.

BOLDUAN: I just enjoy the suspense.

BERMAN: It's nice and scenic.

BOLDUAN: To try to guess who is walking in between the leaves.

BERMAN: He's due to meet with the president any minute, if it hasn't started already. And his wife, Jane, is with the Senator as well. So that is interesting.

11 minutes after the hour right now. Never-Trump never stopping. A new rebellion perhaps looking to change convention rules to stop Donald Trump from getting the nomination. Is this a real, genuine option? We'll discuss.

BOLDUAN: Seriously, is it?

Plus, he's the governor of a crucial swing state and the state that is hosting the Republican convention. Moments ago, Trump's former rival, Governor John Kasich, opened up about whether he will support Donald Trump, and Trump has taken to Twitter.


[11:16:15] BERMAN: A whole lot of meetings going on today. Minutes from now, Donald Trump will sit down with 50 top donors from across the country. This, amid concerns that his late-in-the-game fundraising effort could be failing to launch at all. Last month, Donald Trump said he expects to raise $1 billion for his campaign, a sum that is expected to be surpassed by the Democrats and Hillary Clinton. But Donald Trump now says a billion dollars, he doesn't need it, it's not necessary. In fact, at this point, he's refusing to commit to raising even half of that.

BOLDUAN: CNN's Jeremy Diamond is outside the Four Seasons hotel here in New York where the donor meeting is about to take place.

Jeremy, who is attending? What's going to happen?

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right. Well, we're expecting Donald Trump to show up here with some top fundraising officials both from his campaign and the RNC as well as some of the top donors to the victory fund. That's the joint fundraising agreement between the RNC, Donald Trump's campaign and state parties. So they'll be meeting to discuss the fundraising plan going forward. This comes as Donald Trump is starting to do a lot more fundraising. He's kind of really ramping up, even though as you mentioned he to raising a billion dollars. He doesn't think it's necessary.

We also know that Reince Priebus is in the mix today. We saw him walking into Trump Tower a little bit ago. That's where Donald Trump is pow-wowing there with some donors, some fundraising officials first, before heading over here to the Four Seasons just a couple blocks away.

Of course, Donald Trump is trying to calm some of the jitters in the Republican establishment elites, among donors, among party officials, such as Reince Priebus even, who are concerned at the way he talked about the judge overseeing the Trump University case. So we're seeing Donald Trump try to calm some of the jitters, try to bring some of the donors on board so that he can, in fact, mount a real legitimate campaign, one that can compete with Hillary Clinton who is already on pace to raise a billion dollars for the general election.

Kate, John, back to you.

BOLDUAN: All right, Jeremy Diamond. Thanks so much.

Let's talk about this. Let's bring in Barry Bennett, a Trump supporter and former campaign manager for Dr. Ben Carson; CNN's political commentator, Doug Heye, former communications director for the RNC; and CNN political commentator, Margaret Hoover, who worked in the George W. Bush White House and on two Republican presidential campaigns.

Guys, thanks so much for joining us.

Barry, when we hear this from Donald Trump, this is what Donald Trump -- dramatic reading -- said in an interview, "There's no reason to raise that, a billion dollars. I just don't think I need nearly as much money as other people need because I get so much publicity."

Which is it? Do you need a billion dollars or don't you?

BARRY BENNETT, DONALD TRUMP SUPPORTER & FORMER CAMPAIGN MANAGER FOR DR. BEN CARSON: I don't think the amount of money is going to determine the outcome of this election. And his message is very powerful. It resonates well with people. There's a reason he only spent $18 million in the television advertising in the primary and became the nominee. I think he's got a point there that money is really not going to make a difference in the fall.

BERMAN: Margaret Hoover, you have been inside the finance operation of presidential campaign. Does Donald Trump want billions of dollars?

MARGARET HOOVER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Barry is right on one very small point, which is that Donald Trump may not think he needs a billion dollars. Maybe he doesn't need a billion dollars. But guess what, it's not just about Donald Trump. This is about the Republican Party. This is about down-ballot, all of these Senators that are in blue states, all of these House members, it's about the congressional majority. It is far bigger than just Donald Trump, which, you know, maybe sort of a new concept to him. But at this point in the campaign in 2012, Mitt Romney was raising a million dollars a day. His fundraising apparatus has been well established long before he had secured -- become the presumptive nominee, and he was doing a joint fundraising effort with the Republican National Committee and they were locking in all these dollars and they were beginning to hire -- they had already long before hired field staff in all of these states. The reason you need the money is to pay for the field staff to organize the volunteers in the get-out-the-vote efforts. If you're going to compete in all these states against a well-oiled Clinton machine, you absolutely have to have the resources.

BENNETT: Margaret --


[11:20:20] BOLDUAN: So it goes beyond publicity is what Margaret is saying.

Margaret, real quick, you have also been in these types of meetings Donald Trump is walking into shortly. What's happening in this meeting or what should be happening in this meeting?

HOOVER: Look, what should be happening is Donald Trump should be meeting and thanking all of his loyal supporters who are then going to go out and just phone bank all of their vast networks of contacts who will begin to write checks for him. What they need is basically to have a hundred money trees, telephone trees of people who will write a check and be loyally devoted. But what he's probably going to have to do, as has been reported, is talk many of them back to a place where they're comfortable with him. Many people have been signed on to this fundraising apparatus, have been made leadership members of his fundraising quite uncomfortable with him, quite uncomfortable with his recent remarks, and have basically said they're doing it because they were asked, but they were asked by people related to the RNC, not Donald Trump himself. And so what he needs to do is he needs to shore up his ranks. He needs to give people a reason to make the case for him to their networks.

BERMAN: Doug Heye, on the subject of discomfort, the man who seems to be experiencing the greatest level of discomfort on earth right now is House Speaker Paul Ryan and he can't quite figure out how to treat it.


Two days ago, he was saying that Donald Trump's comments --


BOLDUAN: There's no ointment for that?

DOUG HEYE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I don't like where you're going here because --


BERMAN: A few days ago, Paul Ryan said the comments were the "textbook definition of racism." Yesterday, he's suggesting the party needs to unify, and by that, the connotation was behind Donald Trump. And today, in a radio interview, Paul Ryan just said of the comments being made by Donald Trump over the last week or so, do I think these kinds of antics are distracting and give us a campaign that we cannot be proud of? Yeah, I have spoken very clearly of it. A campaign we can not be proud of.

BOLDUAN: Double negative.

BERMAN: A campaign he continues to support, Doug Heye. You know, the Hamlet of the House here is, you know, orating again. What's going on with Paul Ryan?

HEYE: I think there are a lot of MacBeths out there, too, saying out the damn spot because they're so upset about the rhetoric we're seen over the past few days and over the past few months. If you're Paul Ryan, it's not just about a campaign you can be proud of. It's about an agenda you can campaign on. When we saw his comments from earlier in the week, he was talking about poverty. Today's talking about national security. He knows that the down-ballot races, the Senators running for re-election in tough states, members of Congress who are running for re-election in tough districts, that Margaret referenced, need something they can run. What we've seen from the past couple of days and the past few weeks is that Donald Trump makes it very hard for Republicans to get behind that. Mitch McConnell said he needs Donald Trump to get back on message. I think the reality was Donald Trump was on message. He talked about the judge exactly how he wanted to talk about him, how he wanted his staff and supporters and surrogates to talk about him. And that's why so many people were troubled. He wasn't off message. He wanted to focus instead on a damning jobs report that really speaks to the troubles and the concerns that so many Trump supporters have. He wanted to talk about the judge and his fake university lawsuit. That's what's troubling to so many Republicans.

BOLDUAN: Barry, I want to get you to weigh in. While Paul Ryan is not one of these folks talking about insurrection, there are folks now talking about insurrection, revolt on the convention floor, being presented with a vote and not voting for Donald Trump. Does that make Trump nervous?

BENNETT: No. They've been talking about this for a year. I mean, it's ridiculous. It's not going to happen. These are fantasy theories. You know, I mean, in the same breath, they talk about how we need to unify as a party and they continue to talk like we just heard.

There's a joint finance agreement with the RNC. We are raising money for the RNC. The RNC has more field staff across America than ever before. All these things are being done, but you wouldn't believe it if you listened to what you're hearing.

BERMAN: All right. Barry Bennett, Doug Heye, Margaret Hoover, thank you so much for being with us.

Kate Bolduan, thank you for the first mention of the word "ointment" on the 11:00 broadcast.


BOLDUAN: I mean, does cream sound better?



BOLDUAN: Coming up for us -- don't worry, guys, I'm not asking you any more questions on that one.

She called Trump a fraud, thin-skinned, and nasty, and tonight Elizabeth Warren is expected to call him racist during a speech, but is she also at the same time auditioning to be Clinton's running mate?

BERMAN: Plus, the breaking news, Bernie Sanders at the White House, in the building right now that you're looking at --

BOLDUAN: Show us the tree shot!

[11:25:00] BERMAN: -- meeting with the president right now. You can see reporters aligned, waiting for the Senator perhaps to come out, perhaps to tell us what was said behind closed doors, perhaps to give us news about what he intends to do the rest of the campaign. That just ahead, perhaps. Stay with us.


[11:29:56] BOLDUAN: Breaking news. The Bernie summit is under way we believe. Live pictures. We're looking at the White House right now where President Obama is set to be meeting behind closed doors with Bernie Sanders. This, as Sanders is still vowing to fight on.