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22-Year-Old "Voice" Singer Shot Dead; Trump & Clinton in Attack Mode; Campaign to Oust Judge in Stanford Rape Case; 22-Year-Old "Voice" Singer Killed After Concert; Clinton Criticized Over Donor's Intelligence Role; Warriors On Brink of Title With Win Over Cavs. Aired 7-8a ET

Aired June 11, 2016 - 07:00   ET



[07:00:23] VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking news, former finalist on "The Voice", Christina Grimmie, has been killed by a gunman right after a performance in Florida.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: We have all the latest on that.

Also, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton in attack mode as they head into swing states to make their pitch to voters.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESUMPTIVE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: I am the least racist person, the least racist person that you have ever seen.

HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESUMPTIVE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Donald Trump would take us in the wrong direction on so many issues we care about.


BLACKWELL: Plus, more than a million people have now signed a petition to oust the Stanford judge in a rape case after a lenient sentence causes national outrage.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking new.

PAUL: You know, we're always so grateful to share the morning with you. Thanks for being here. I'm Christi Paul.

BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. We've got a lot of politics and political news to talk about, of course.

PAUL: Yes. But, first, we do want to delve into this breaking news that we've been following. Former "Voice" contestant, Christina Grimmie, was shot and killed after a concert last night in Florida.

This up and coming singer chose Adam Levine as her coach during season six in 2014. She finished in the top three. He posted this image on Instagram saying, "I'm sad, shocked and confused. We love you so much, Grimmie."

CNN's Nick Valencia is following the story for us.

Still a lot of holes into what happened.

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. I think one of the biggest questions was how this suspect was able to get into this venue not with just one weapon but with two weapons, approaching the 22-year-old singer as she's doing a meet and greet with fans. That's when he approached her. Open fire. Grimmie's brother was in attendance, as her family often is during her events. He tackled the gunman after opening fire on that 22-year-old and apparently in hthis struggle between the gunman, the gunman took his own life.

This is a terrible tragedy, a great young musician. Got her start on YouTube amassing over 3 million fans on YouTube. Millions of views for her videos. She then moved on to "The Voice." You are looking at a clip there.

Let's show you part of her clip of the blind audition when she was on "The Voice."


VALENCIA: She finished third on the show but won over the hearts of not just judges but millions of people all around the world.

Before the shooting, she posted a clip on her social media page asking fans in Orlando to join her at the show. Police have not given very many details about who this gunman was or how they were connected. But they have not ruled out, this is their words, saying that this might have been just a crazy fan who stalked her on social media.

PAUL: You just think about her brother this morning.

VALENCIA: To witness that, to see her sister gunned down and to see this gunman apparently take his own life and to have those images. You know, a lot of people pouring remembrances out there on social media reacting, a beautiful young girl with tremendous talents, and the prime of her life gunned down while doing something that, you know, a lot of celebrities want to do, connect with fans.


VALENCIA: This made her vulnerable to this attack.

PAUL: Yes, no doubt. Nick Valencia, thank you so much.

He's going to continue to follow this for us this morning.

VALENCIA: Absolutely. Thanks, guys.

BLACKWELL: Thank you, Nick.

PAUL: To figure out some of those questions. Thank you.

VALENCIA: You bet.


BLACKWELL: All right. Politics now and the first unofficial weekend of the general election is here. Hillary Clinton, the presumptive Democratic nominee is taking a few days off. Donald Trump taking his campaign to the battleground state of Florida today. It is one of eight states that Trump will visit over the next week. Hillary Clinton expected to visit three swing states next week, including Wisconsin with President Obama. It is all part of the fight to hit 270 in November, those 270 electoral votes, of course.

After coming off a tough week, a very tough week, where he faced pressure from party leaders to tone down the rhetoric again, last night in Richmond, Virginia, Donald Trump unleashed a familiar attack on Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren.


TRUMP: And Pocahontas is not happy. She is not happy. She is the worst.

You know, Pocahontas, I'm doing such a disservice to Pocahontas. It is so unfair to Pocahontas. But this Elizabeth Warren, I call her goofy, Elizabeth Warren, she is one of the worst senators in the entire United States Senate.


BLACKWELL: CNN politics reporter, Jeremy Diamond, is live from Tampa, Florida, where the Trump rally is set to start in just a few hours -- I think 11:00 local time.

[07:05:08] Jeremy, Donald Trump, of course, kept up attacks last night as we saw. Are we expecting more today in Florida?

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN POLITICS REPORTER: Well, Victor, I don't think it would be a Donald Trump stump speech if he didn't go after Hillary Clinton or any of the number of rivals and enemies he has made throughout this campaign.

But, first, before he starts attacking the Democrats, Donald Trump is going to have to focus on continuing to unite the Republican Party. You know, this has been a rough couple of weeks for Donald Trump during which he has faced criticism, particularly over his comments about the U.S. federal judge overseeing his Trump University lawsuit case, Judge Curiel, whom Donald Trump accused of being inherently biased against him because of his Mexican heritage.

Donald Trump has taken criticism from a number of GOP leaders. Most recently, Mitt Romney sat down with our Wolf Blitzer talking about the danger of trickle-down racism. Those are the words he used to describe the possibility of a Donald Trump presidency.

Also, Senator Mitch McConnell, the majority leader in the Senate, saying that it's obvious -- it is pretty obvious that Donald Trump doesn't have a good grasp of the issues. He left the door open to potentially rescinding his endorsement if he saw, you know, the situation changing in that manner.

But, you know, Donald Trump is going to be focusing on Hillary Clinton. We are going to expect him to give his speech on Monday during which he's going to essentially only focus on Hillary Clinton, raising a number of controversies swirling around the presumptive Democratic nominee, going back to the '90s in which we are sure to hear Donald Trump bring up the scandals that plagued President Bill Clinton -- Victor.

BLACKWELL: All right. Jeremy Diamond for us there in Florida, ahead of the Trump rally starting in about four hours. Thanks so much, Jeremy.

We played for you the line of attack using Pocahontas as an epitaph actually against Elizabeth warren and questioning the Mexican heritage of a federal judge. And it all led former Republican nominee Mitt Romney to say he can never, quote, "in good conscience", vote for Donald Trump.

Listen to why Romney says Trump's divisive rhetoric in his characterization sets a dangerous precedent for the country.


MITT ROMNEY (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I don't want to see trickle-down racism. I don't want to see a president of the United States saying things which change the character of the generations of Americans that are following. Presidents have an impact on the nature of our nation. And trickle-down racism, trickle-down bigotry, trickle-down misogyny, all these things are extraordinarily dangerous to the heart and character of America.


BLACKWELL: All right. For more on the Republican race to the White House, I want to bring in Georgetown University professor, Chris Metzler, and Republican strategist, Evan Siegfried.

Good to have both of you this morning.


BLACKWELL: Chris, I want to start with you. I know we have had Evan on several times. His second appearance this morning. Where you stand, are you intending to vote for Donald Trump? Have you endorsed Donald Trump?

CHRIS METZLER, PROFESSOR, GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY: Well, I do intend to vote for Donald Trump. I think from the perspective, look, we have had a primary, in that primary, millions of voters have spoken. They have voted for Donald Trump.

BLACKWELL: Are you a Trump supporter?

METZLER: Yes, I would call myself a Trump supporter.

BLACKWELL: OK, all right. I just wanted to start there.

So now that we know you are a Trump supporter, do you support this line of attack continuing to call Elizabeth Warren "Pocahontas" and using that as a weapon against her, which many Native-Americans have said is offensive.

METZLER: OK. In terms of the line of attack, I think it is time to move on from that line of attack and let's talk about the real issues that are really impacting this country. That's really what we need to talk about.

So I think it is time to move away from that rhetoric and focus on the real issues. The real issues, such as why was it that Cheryl Mills, Clinton's former chief of staff in the State Department appointed to a national security commission someone with no national security experience but who happens to be, guess what, a Clinton Foundation donor?

BLACKWELL: You are speaking about Raj Fernando, I assume, that person you're talking about.


BLACKWELL: We had that conversation this morning. We will have that in just a moment. I want to stick here specifically on the topic at hand and the one we have invited both of you here to discuss.

And, Evan, I want to come to you to talk about what w, have heard from Governor Romney. He's saying that this will lead to trickle-down racism, bigotry and misogyny and calling for Trump to release his tax returns. What we're hearing from Donald Trump, we have heard before.

Is this the extent, the full breadth we are going to hear from Donald Trump? Considering he's not going to run, he's not backing another person to run. Is this the full strategy from Romney?

EVAN SIEGFRIED, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Meet the new Donald Trump, same as the old. He can't talk about the issues. He can't talk about anything. All he can do is go out and hurl insults and that's making us toxic because he is bringing up racial tones, which will not help us grow as a party and show we are a big tent party.

We can't grow with Hispanics. We can't grow with Asians. We can't grow with women. We can't grow with African-Americans. We can't grow with millennials if we are being so divisive.

And, in fact, every other Republican candidate is now tagged with the label of Trump and is going out when they are trying to go on the stump and say, this is what I can offer as a Republican and help you economically and help you be safer. Instead of being able to talk about that, they have to talk about whether or not Donald Trump is a racist. That's a terrible thing for any candidate to face to get them off message.

BLACKWELL: Chris, let me come back to you because I saw off camera, an eye roll when you're responding to what Evan was saying. You a moment ago said it's time to move on to the issues. Many of those would say that those are policy focused.

Donald Trump has said he can be presidential and talk policy. When is that going to happen? The next big speech he is giving is on attacking the Clintons. That's on Monday. So, when is he going to make the turn you are calling for?

METZLER: I think you will see the turn being made very, very shortly.

BLACKWELL: People are calling for that since he got into the race and it hasn't happened.

METZLER: So, OK, they have been calling for it and it hasn't happened. I definitely think that it is going to happen very, very quickly.

And to suggest --


BLACKWELL: Hold on, Evan. Go ahead, finish, Chris.

METZLER: So, from my perspective, what has happened is we are being -- we are in this rabbit hole about racism and we want to still keep just going over and over and over this issue. Look, what he said was inappropriate. He is going to pivot to the issues relative to this campaign. That's what's going to happen.

I don't know how we can brand him as a racist. We don't know that. I mean, to call someone a racist is absolutely one of the worst things that you can do. Some of the things he said absolutely were inappropriate. It is time to move on.

BLACKWELL: Well, let's -- you say that you can't brand someone as a racist. I don't know that anyone who has spoken out has said that Donald Trump is a racist. I think they have couched it that they don't know his heart but his words were racist. The speaker of the house, Paul Ryan, said that the words were text book racist.

So, I'll just ask you, do you believe that if Donald Trump says, as he has, that this judge cannot do his job, he cannot be impartial, because he is of Mexican heritage, do you believe that's racist?

METZLER: Well, I do not believe that, in fact, that's what he said. Now --

SIEGFRIED: It is exactly what he said.

BLACKWELL: It is exactly what he said. Hold on, Evan.

Go ahead. Chris, finish up and then I'll come to you, evan.

METZLER: Yes. So, from my perspective, here is the issue here. The issue with the judge again, inappropriate to have said that. The proper venue for that, if he in fact, the judge is being very unfair to him, his lawyer should have filed a motion for recusal. Absolutely. BLACKWELL: And that has not happened. We don't have any indication

it will happen.

Evan, last 15 seconds to you.

SIEGFRIED: In fact, Donald Trump began this attack on Judge Curiel in February. We just didn't pick up on it. Since then, his lawyers, right through last month said the judge is fair, impartial, has been wonderful. They have filed no motion for recusal. In fact, they still haven't.

They seemed to be content with this judge who was originally appointed by a Republican governor in California who was threatened by the Mexican drug cartel since he was a United States attorney that went after them. The judge has been fair and impartial. But it's an overall a pattern of sayings these racially divisive things which makes us upset. This isn't one time slip of a tongue. This is a pattern from day one of the campaign and before it.


BLACKWELL: We have to wrap it there. We have gone overtime.

Chris Metzler, Evan Siegfried, we'll have you both back. Thanks so much.

METZLER: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: And we'll have more of Wolf Blitzer's exclusive interview with Mitt Romney. That's coming up later in the show.

PAUL: Well, Hillary Clinton has secured significant endorsements, President Obama, Elizabeth Warren, anybody's name missing there for you. What could it take to fully unite all Democrats behind you? Some say maybe more comments like this.


CLINTON: Donald Trump would take us in the wrong direction on so many issues we care about. Economic justice, workers rights, civil rights, human rights, the environment. All of that is on the line in this election.


[07:15:01] BLACKWELL: Plus, new documents shed light on the past of a Stanford swimmer convicted in a sexual assault.


BLACKWELL: President Obama, Vice President Biden, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, and now, Senator Elizabeth Warren. These are the top names in the Democratic Party coming forward to endorse Hillary Clinton.

PAUL: There is a name missing some people say on that list. One Mr. Bernie Sanders. Could he be next I line?

Chris Frates joining us live now from Washington.

Chris, good morning to you.

We know senator Sanders is meeting tomorrow with supporters. But what do we know now at this moment about the senator and his support?


Let's start here, right, because nothing seems to bring together Democrats like bashing Donald Trump. And as you guys point out, only days after Hillary Clinton clinched the delegate she needs to win the Democratic nomination. She also landed that really important trifecta of endorsements -- President Obama, V.P. Biden and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren.

And remember, Warren has kind of carved out a role as one of Trump's chief antagonists. She has called him a thin-skinned racist and bully. So, then, it's really no surprise that Warren and Clinton met yesterday at Clinton's Washington home, and that stoked a lot more speculation that Warren could, in fact, be on Clinton's vice- presidential short list.

And after that meeting, couldn't seem to pick up where Warren had left off the night before, blasting Trump at a Planned Parenthood event.


CLINTON: When Donald Trump says a distinguished judge born in Indiana can't do his job because of his Mexican heritage or mocks a reporter with disabilities, or denigrates Muslims and immigrants, it goes against everything we stand for. He does not see all Americans as Americans.


FRATES: Now, Clinton went on to argue that Trump would be a disaster for women's rights at that event.

[07:20:04] Now, with all the talk of endorsements, as you guys said, there is still one prominent Democrat who has not yet gotten on the Clinton express -- Bernie Sanders.

He's set to meet with his top advisers and senior supporters at his home in Vermont tomorrow. They're expected to plot a way forward. And he is campaigning through Tuesday here in Washington, D.C. But he has already dropped his real tough attacks on Hillary Clinton and upped his jabs at Donald Trump.

So, despite this long, tough primary season, Democrats seem to be uniting pretty quickly behind Clinton and focusing all their fire on Trump, Christi.

PAUL: Yes, probably getting rid of that election fatigue that some people think might have caused some of the chaos we have seen thus far.

Chris Frates, always good to see you. Thank you, sir.

FRATES: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: National outrage surrounding the Stanford rape case is now being fueled by newly contained court documents. We have new details on the night Brock Turner attacked his victim behind a trash bin, his apparent history of aggressive behavior, as well as his drug and alcohol abuse.

PAUL: Plus, Hillary Clinton responding to controversy over a State Department appointment. Why she said she gave a $1 million donor an intelligence position.


BLACKWELL: Twenty-four minutes after the hour.

And CNN has obtained court documents revealing the former Stanford student convicted of sexual assault may have initially targeted another woman.

PAUL: The report says Brock Turner was convicted on three counts of sexually assaulting an unconscious woman behind a trash bin.

[07:25:02] And in this court documents, a sentencing memo shows he initially became, quote, "aggressive" with his victim's sister. And after she rejected him twice, Turner went after the victim when she was, quote, "alone and inebriated." Turner was sentenced to only six months in jail but he could be out in three.

BLACKWELL: The judge's leniency fueling outrage from across the country.

CNN's Sara Sidner has more for us.


SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Victor and Christi, the fury over the details of this case continues to grow. But so does the support for the victim of sexual assault whose searing words have touched a nation.

CHIRLANE MCCRAY, MAYOR DE BLASIO'S WIFE: You don't know me but you have been inside me. And that's why we are here today.

CYNTHIA NIXON, ACTRESS: I was butt naked all the way down to my boots, legs spread apart and had been penetrated by a foreign object by someone I did not recognize.

ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, CNN ANCHOR, "LEGAL VIEW": I stood there examining my body beneath the stream of water and I decided I don't want my body anymore.

SIDNER (voice-over): The searing words of a sexual assault victim brought to life by people who have never met her but want her voice heard. The 12-page letter read aloud by the 23-year-old sexual assault victim by her 23-year-old attacker, former Stanford student and swimmer, Brock Turner.

The two go to the same party, both drink too much. And Brock Turner attacks her. Two graduate students find her unconscious behind a dumpster. A jury convicts Turner of three felony counts. The prosecutor asked for six years in jail, the judge sentences him to just six months in jail and three years probation, in line with the probation officer's recommendation.

His ruling sparks outrage.

MICHELE DAUBER, STANFORD LAW PROFESSOR: It says if you are raped on a college campus in California, you are on your own. To potential perpetrators, it says, don't worry, we have your back.

SIDNER: Now, more than 1 million people have signed online petitions calling for the judge to be recalled. Those petitions now delivered to the California Judicial Performance Commission.

And the fury is still growing as letters to the court from Brock Turner, his father and supporters become public. In Brock's letter to the court, he apologizes, saying, in part, "It debilitates me to think that my actions have caused her emotional and physical stress that is completely unwarranted and unfair."

But he also blames campus culture for some of his actions. "Coming from a small town in Ohio, I had never really experienced celebrating and partying that involved alcohol", he says.

But the prosecution submitted evidence to the judge that Turner was doing a lot more than drinking, some of it before arriving at Stanford. 2014 texts on his phone show him asking for pot and talking about doing acid. Then, in his Stanford swimming shirt, he is holding a bong.

When his father tried to defend him, his words angered the public even more saying in part, "His life will never be the one he dreamed about and worked so hard to achieve. That is a steep price to pay for 20 minutes of action out of his 20 plus years of life."

But in this case, it was the deeply personal words of the victim that stirred the nation and put the spotlight on an issue so often kept in the dark.

Her words now inspiring others to tell their stories.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I am really upset about this lenient sentence, because I am basically sentenced to life as a survivor of this.

SIDNER (on camera): What has further angered people is that Brock Turner will not actually spend the full six months in life in jail because of what he was sentenced to, because of California law, he will spend 50 percent of that time. He'll be out on September 2nd -- Christie, Victor. (END VIDEOTAPE)

BLACKWELL: All right. Sara, thank you so much.

Donald Trump now weighing in on CNN's exclusive interview with Mitt Romney where Romney accused Trump of trickle-down racism, misogyny and bigotry, being the start of that trickle. We'll tell what you what the presumptive Republican nominee is saying.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I am one of the 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the shadows of the United States. I decided to stand --


PAUL: The school valedictorian dropping that bold statement during her graduation ceremony. How she felt moments after revealing that big secret.

But mortgage rates are at 3.5 percent for the 30-year fixed. Here's your look.


[07:33:12] VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Good to have you with us this Saturday morning. I'm Victor Blackwell.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Christi Paul. Thirty-three minutes past the hour as we follow some breaking news for you this morning.


PAUL: Former contestant, and finalist on "The Voice," Christina Grimmie, shot and killed overnight after a concert in Orlando. Police say the suspect fired at her while she was signing autographs after the show.

BLACKWELL: The band she was touring with, "Before You Exit," tweeted this about Grimmie. "There is no sort of feeling that can replace the joy Christina brought into our lives. We know she is glistening from up in heaven and shining down on all of us."

Well, police say the suspect killed himself after that shooting. Grimmie died a few hours later at the hospital. Christina Grimmie was 22 years old.


BLACKWELL: Several Democratic leaders are now lining up behind Hillary Clinton and focusing their fire on Donald Trump.

PAUL: And as always, he is hitting back. This time, focusing on a donor to the Clinton Foundation named Raj Fernando. As Drew Griffin shows us, Fernando had a very short tenure on a State Department advisory board.


RAJ FERNANDO, CLINTON DONOR: Hi. I'm Raj Fernando, founder and CEO of Java Trading.

DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Raj Fernando is a Chicago-based stock trader and for a very short period of time, he was an appointee to the U.S. State Department's international security advisory board.

What qualifications did he have for that? Apparently, none. What he does have is big money ties to Bill and Hillary Clinton.

[07:35:02] He has donated between $1 million and $5 million to the Clinton Foundation. He has donated to Mrs. Clinton's 2008 primary campaign and even served as a so-called bundler of large campaign donations for Democrats.

On the campaign trail today, Donald Trump called his appointment just another example of his "crooked Hillary" campaign theme.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESUMPTIVE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: She even appointed to the national security board someone with no national security experience, instead he was a donor, a recent donor to Hillary Clinton's campaign.

GRIFFIN: It is clear Raj Fernando had no diplomatic experience and background in international security affairs, which could explain why just one month after taking this photo with his first meeting with the board, where Raj Fernando was writing a letter to Secretary Clinton re-signing. And e-mails just released show behind the scenes political panic was setting in as a State Department official struggled to explain what this big donor to the Clinton Foundation was doing with top security clearance inside the State Department.

On August 15th, 2011, an e-mail from an ABC News producer asks for Fernando's qualifications. The follow up emails show State Department officials scrambling to come up with an explanation. They discussed how the appointment came directly from Hillary Clinton's long-time aide and State Department chief of staff, Cheryl Mills.

"The true answer simply is that Cheryl Mills added him," the State Department official writes in an email. "He was added at their insistence."

Someone else writes, "Can we dig up a short paragraph about his distinguished career and a sentence about our selection and approval process?"

The next day, a senior adviser e-mails, "We must protect the secretary's name as well as the integrity of the board."

And through a colleague, Cheryl Mills chimes in to the e-mail chain, asking the State Department to stall in its response to ABC New for 24 hours. No real qualifications for Fernando were ever sent. Instead, the next

day, August 17th, Raj Fernando suddenly resigns.

At the State Department today, answers on why were hard to come by.

REPORTER: If he was at all qualified, why did he re-sign so suddenly after ABC News started asking questions?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I mean, you'd have to ask him.

GRIFFIN: Drew Griffin, CNN, Atlanta.


BLACKWELL: Well, Donald Trump is already seizing on this issue and using it at his rallies. Here is what he said about it yesterday.


TRUMP: They all looked and said, where did this guy come from? He made a contribution of $250,000 and, all of the sudden, he's on this very important and vital board. This position dealt with tactical nuclear weapons and had top secret clearance. And he knew nothing about it.


BLACKWELL: All right. Joining me now to discuss this line of attacks, Scottie Nell Hughes, Trump supporter and political editor of, and Maria Cardona, CNN political commentator and Hillary Clinton supporter.

Maria, I want to start with you. I mean, we'd just had Drew explained everything here. This Cheryl Mills pick and then a request for qualifications, the request then to stall for 24 hours and then he resigns the next day.

I mean, do you put this in the category as I heard you discuss with Christi, as something that the Republicans will drum up, or do you have serious questions about this appointment of Raj Fernando?

MARIA CARDONA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I don't have serious questions because I have been in the government before. I know how these things work. Many times what happens is that the heads of these departments actually want people on a lot of these boards to have a diverse background. My understanding is that this person had a background in international finance, international business, risk management, implementation tools, technology. And so, perhaps that was the reason that they thought he would be good in terms of focusing on a different background.

BLACKWELL: If that were the answer, why couldn't they supply that? When they were asked for qualifications, they didn't come up with any.

CARDONA: They did say that. They did. BLACKWELL: But they didn't come up with any. There was a paragraph. Drew just reported it. That they came up the -- they asked for a paragraph just kind of listing his qualifications. Then there was a request to stall and he left the next day. If he were qualified, why not say, here's why he qualified and he could have stayed on the board.

CARDONA: Well, that's exactly what happened, that that qualification came about.

BLACKWELL: There was no list provided.

CARDONA: They explained the reason why they appointed him. And then, sure, he resigned, because, of course, Victor, you know, private sector citizens aren't used to the kind of media attention that this gets.

But, look, if it continues to raise questions, the Clinton campaign is going to have to answer those. And I'm sure that they will. But what also I think will happen here is that this will be treated like a political Rorschach test, which is that people that don't like Hillary Clinton will continue to use it as a reason to not like her, as what we have seen from the Donald Trump campaign is doing.

[07:40:12] And people who support her will say this is another indication that the opposition will throw everything that they have at her, because they cannot compete with her on the battlefield of ideas.

BLACKWELL: Well, Scottie -- go ahead --

CARDONA: What this will come down to is the contrast between Hillary Clinton, who has 30 years of public service, versus Donald Trump who has only worked to enrich himself? And, frankly, there is proof he has defrauded other people. That will be the focus.

BLACKWELL: Not just the contrast between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, but at a time when Hillary Clinton is working to bring in Bernie Sanders supporters who have questions about her and their claims, not mine, their claims of exchanging influence for investment in the Clinton Foundation. This is coming at a really inconvenient time as she tries to bring those voters into the fold.

CARDONA: Well, and like I said, those are questions that they will have to continue to answer. But as I've also talked about, the biggest mobilization tool for Democrats right now is the fact that the possibility of Donald Trump becoming the commander-in-chief and we saw from Mitt Romney and other key Republicans that they are terrified that this man is the standard-bearer of their party because he is doing incredible damage to the Republican brand.

BLACKWELL: Scottie, let me come to you. In the same time, donor problems for Donald Trump potentially, not donations to Donald Trump, but from Trump to attorney general in Florida, Pam Bondi. She is denying that a $25,000 donation from Trump influenced her choice not to pursue action against Trump University in her state.

A top operative say that's going to be a problem. She says it isn't. You say what?

SCOTTIE NELL HUGHES, DONALD TRUMP SUPPORTER: I don't think it's going to be a problem. I mean, you know, Mr. Trump donated to a wide variety of Republicans. That's what he does in private sector life, as Maria pointed out. And I think Pam has had a truly a track record of being very fair in her judgments across the board.

And if this was going to be a problem, I think someone else in the state of Florida would have called her out on that ahead of time.

You know, there are two separate issues. You are looking at Mr. Trump who is a private citizen, versus Hillary Clinton, who is a public citizen, who sat there, and as Mr. Trump has adequately said, used the State Department kind of as her own hedge fund right now. And this is just beginning of -- I think you're going to see numerous different reports that are going to come out with connections to the Clinton Global Initiative that somehow led to the ties of what her actions were within the State Department. This is going to be an issue.

But Maria is right. It is not necessarily going to sit there. If you don't like Hillary, then this is going to justify it. If you do like her, you are probably going to ignore it.

Where this is coming apart of this whole corruption and trust with the Bernie Sanders supporters. This is what they voted against. This is why they are Bernie Sanders supporters in the first place.

BLACKWELL: All right. Scottie, Maria, stay with us. We're going to continue this conversation on the other side of the break. We'll be right back.


[07:46:22] BLACKWELL: All right. Let's bring back Scottie Nell Hughes, a Trump supporter and political editor of, and Maria Cardona, CNN political commentator and Hillary Clinton supporter.

And, Maria, in the last segment, you said that eventually, the qualifications for why Raj Fernando was appointed to this international security advisory board recommendation from Cheryl Mills, a top Hillary Clinton aide were eventually supplied.

I want to go back to the report from Drew Griffin just so we hear exactly what happened between ABC News as they requested information and the State Department. Let's play it.


GRIFFIN: -- top security clearance inside the State Department.

On August 15th, 2011, an e-mail from an ABC News producer asks for Fernando's qualifications. The follow up emails show State Department officials scrambling to come up with an explanation. They discussed how the appointment came directly from Hillary Clinton's long-time aide and State Department chief of staff, Cheryl Mills. "The true answer simply is that Cheryl Mills added him," the State

Department official writes in an email. "He was added at their insistence."

Someone else writes, "Can we dig up a short paragraph about his distinguished career and a sentence about our selection and approval process?"

The next day, a senior adviser e-mails, "We must protect the secretary's name as well as the integrity of the board."

And through a colleague, Cheryl Mills chimes in to the e-mail chain, asking the State Department to stall in its response to ABC New for 24 hours.

No real qualifications for Fernando were ever sent. Instead, the next day, August --


BLACKWELL: Then, August 17th, he resigned.

So, let me come back to you, Maria. If he was qualified, there was obviously this scramble to find a list of qualifications. Why were those never sent?

CARDONA: Well, again, I don't know. This is going to be something that the Clinton campaign will have to answer if this becomes a bigger issue.

But what I will reiterate, it is not anything that hasn't been done before in terms of getting names from the secretary's staff in terms of who they believe would be good to serve on these boards. And many times, what the heads of those departments are looking for is diversity of opinion, diversity of background, diversity of experience.

Why they didn't say that from the very beginning, I don't know, Victor. But I think the bottom line is this is going to be something that is going to be used against Hillary Clinton by those people who have nothing else to offer because they can't compete with her on proposals and what she's going to do to fight for working class families and middle class families in this country --

BLACKWELL: All right.

CARDONA: -- especially when they have a standard-bearer who is trying to fight these massively, horrible allegations of racism and bigotry that are coming from Republicans -- from former Republican standard- bearer.


BLACKWELL: The question of why in man was put on to the board still has not been answered. And the question was initially asked in 2011. It's been five years and there has been no list of qualifications why Raj Fernando --

CARDONA: There was a list of qualifications.

BLACKWELL: We just played what the response was. We racked it and played it a second time.

CARDONA: But they did come out. And, you know, if people don't think that that's enough, again like I said, this will continue to be a question that the Clinton campaign will have to answer.

BLACKWELL: We have to wrap it there.

CARDONA: But again, the focus is on what both of those people are going to do for the American people.


BLACKWELL: All right. Maria Cardona, Scottie Nell Hughes, we've got held the segment over a break and went a little long. But I thank you both for being with us this morning.

[07:50:01] CARDONA: Thank you, Victor.

BLACKWELL: All right. Christi?

PAUL: All right. Let's talk about the Cavs.


PAUL: Kind of blew a chance.


PAUL: -- in the NBA finals.

LeBron and company, though, they are trying. They're trying. Let's give them that. Can they pull this one out?


BLACKWELL: Welcome back.

A few minutes before 8:00 here in the East.

And the Golden State Warriors now just a single win away from their second NBA title.

PAUL: But, Andy Scholes, there's a chance.

BLACKWELL: A sliver of hope. Here's Ohio.

PAUL: And it comes in the form of a flagrant foul. Yes?

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: That is true. We'll get to that in a minute. But, you know, I'm going to start with the story line going into the game last night was, what's wrong with Steph Curry? Why is he not playing like the MVP we know? Well, last night, nothing wrong with Steph Curry last night. He had a great game.

Now, game four was in Cleveland last night. And we want to start off with this really cool moment. The fans all sing the national anthem together before the game. Take a listen.


SCHOLES: That's how you get pumped up before a game. For the first time this series, we finally had a close game in the NBA finals. No blowout in this one. But down the stretch, it was Curry and the Warriors making all the big plays. Curry breaking out of that slump. He had 38 points in this game.

The Warriors set an NBA finals record, hitting 17 three-pointers.

[07:55:03] They would pull away in the final minutes win this one easily.

Cleveland hope for their first title in more than 50 years -- well, it's not looking good. No team has before come back from a 3-1 deficit in the finals.


LEBRON JAMES, CAVALIERS FORWARD: We've got to go out there and play obviously better than we played tonight. Much better than even we played in game three, but we've got to get one.

STEPHEN CURRY, WARRIORS GUARD: It's going to be the biggest game of the year and this is a great opportunity for us and we need to play with a sense of urgency and a sense of aggression like we did tonight. So, it will be a fun 48 hours to wrap our minds around the opportunity we have in front of us.


SCHOLES: The Warriors Draymond Green has been involved in multiple dustups during the playoff. And last night, he got into it with LeBron in the fourth quarter. Here's the play where it all went down.

Now, watch this, Green is going to go down to the floor and when he gets up, look closely, he swings at LeBron's nether regions. Now, as you can imagine, LeBron is not happy about that. He has some words with Green.

Now, Green is one flagrant foul away from being suspended for a game. Now, the referee did not give him one during the game, but the NBA can actually go back and look at it and retroactivity assess him a flagrant foul. If that happens, Green would be suspended for Monday's game five in Oakland and that would be a huge loss for the Warriors and that, Christi, as you mentioned earlier, would be the sliver of hope for the Cavs if they have a chance to come back in this series. PAUL: There's a chance.

BLACKWELL: They say there's a chance.

PAUL: Andy, thank you so much. We appreciate it.

SCHOLES: All right.

PAUL: Listen, we do have some breaking news that we want to talk to you about this morning.

BLACKWELL: Yes, the up and coming pop star gunned down after a concert in Florida. What police are saying about the investigation into the death of former "The Voice" contestant, Christina Gremmie.