Return to Transcripts main page


Donald Trump Firing Off on Twitter; Christina Grimmie Killed After Concert in Florida; Interview with Mayor Philip Levine; President Obama's First Campaign Appearance with Clinton scheduled on Wednesday in Wisconsin; New Comedy to Teach People how Some Americans See People from the Middle East. Aired 8-9a ET.

Aired June 11, 2016 - 08:00   ET



[08:01:11] CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Anything you like to that breaking news after of course we wish you a good morning and tell you how grateful we are to have you here, I'm Christi Paul.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Victor Blackwell, always good to be with you.

PAUL: New this morning Mitt Romney's revolt is not going unanswered. Donald Trump says the last Republican presidential nominee, "choked like a dog" his words.

BLACKWELL: And that's not all, Donald Trump firing off on Twitter this morning responding to CNN's exclusive interview with Mitt Romney. Romney, vowing he will not vote for Trump calling the presumptive nominee's message racist, vulgar and dangerous.


MITT ROMNEY, (R) 2012 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Presidents have an impact on the nature of our nation and trickle down racism, trickle down bigotry and trickle down misogyny. All of these things are extraordinary dangerous to the heart and character of America.


BLACKWELL: And here's what Donald Trump had to say just a short time ago on Twitter. "Mitt Romney, had his chance to beat a failed president but he choked like a dog. Now, he calls me racist but I am least racist person there is."

CNN Politics Reporter, Jeremy Diamond is live from Tampa, Florida where that Trump rally is scheduled to start in just about three hours.

And Jeremy, Donald Trump didn't mention Romney last night but we see he is starting the day at least mentioning him on Twitter. I guess we should expect that to see that at the rallies today in Florida as well.

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN POLITICS REPORTER: Well, Donald, it doesn't take Mitt Romney to fire at Donald Trump for Donald Trump to hit back at him. You know, he's been accusing him of choking like a dog and all of those things for weeks and months now.

So, I'm sure we'll see some of the same from Donald Trump today. But you know, even despite Mitt Romney hitting him yesterday on this racial -- with this racial accusation, Donald Trump in the whole last week has been, you know, pushing back against charges that he's racist, that his comments about the judge who he said is biased against him because of his Mexican heritage that those comments were racist.

Just yesterday, Donald Trump using a script in one of his - on some of his remarks that use in delivering in Washington pushing back against those charges.


DONALD TRUMP, (R) PRESUMPTIVE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Freedom of any kind means no one should be judged by their race or their color, and the color of their skin should not be judged that way. And right now we have a very divided nation. We're going to bring our nation together. If I win we're going to bring our nation together.


DIAMOND: And so there you have Donald Trump. Yesterday, being -- striking a little bit of a more presidential tone, using a script, but last night in Richmond, Virginia, he was back to his old antics.


TRUMP: And Pocahontas is not happy. She's not happy. She's the worst. You know, Pocahontas, I'm doing such a disservice to Pocahontas. It's so unfair to Poc - but this Elizabeth Warren, I call her goofy. Elizabeth Warren, she's one of the worst senators in the entire United States senate.


DIAMOND: So we've seen two different Donald Trumps, right? You have the Donald Trump when he's reading from a teleprompter, the Donald Trump who's a little bit more scripted, a little bit more stilted even, and then you have the Donald Trump who's off the cuff, who's, you know, riling up his supporters as he does. That's most likely the Donald Trump we'll see today when he does one of his traditional rallies here at the Tampa Convention Center.

Back to you guys

BLACKWELL: All right, Jeremy Diamond of course there in Tampa. Jeremy, thanks so much.




BLACKWELL: The singer Christina Grimmie, best known for her performances on "The Voice" was shot and killed after a concert in Florida. Adam Levine, her coach on Season 6 of the show, posted this picture on Instagram and this, "I'm sad, shocked and confused. We love you so much Grimmie."

[08:05:09] PAUL: Police in Orlando say, a man is carrying two guns shot her as she signed autographs and she died at the hospital two hours later.

Officers stay the shooter killed himself after being tackled by the singer's brother.

Nick Valencia, has been following this up today. And I just keep thinking about this brother and the fact that he head the where with all to see her shot and then chased the guy down.

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's just really sad how it all unfolded. The reports that we're getting, she was signing autographs for fans when this gunman approached to her and opened fire. Before this concert happened Christina Grimmie posted on social media asking fans to come join her at that Orlando concert last night.

Police saying, these are their words not mine, saying that this is could be a crazy fan who was stalking her on social media.


VALENCIA: Breaking overnight, singer Christina Grimmie, a former contestant on "The Voice" is dead. Shot and killed after her concert in Orlando.

WANDA FORD, SGT., SPOKESWOMAN, ORLANDO POLICE: They were selling merchandise and signing autographs. We know that the suspect walked up and shot Christina. Her brother tackled the suspect and that's when the suspect shot himself.

VALENCIA: The suspect is dead as well and Grimmie's brother being called a hero for taking action that may have protected dozens of fans still inside the venue.

FORD: This is a very tragic event. This should have been something fun and exciting.

VALENCIA: Police say it's unclear how the unidentified gunman got two weapons inside the plaza live and his motive, still a mystery.

FORD: We don't know if they were friends. We don't know if he was just a crazy fan that followed her on Twitter, on social media.

VALENCIA: This is believed to be video of Grimmie's last performance, filmed by a fan just before the deadly shooting. Grimmie, just 22- years-old was perhaps best known as a finalist, on Season 6 of "The Voice."

But she started out performing on YouTube as a teenager, where she masks 3 million followers, fans now tweeting with the #ripChristina.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I've been crying and this is horrible. Honestly, it's like one of the -- like -- it's probably one of the worst things that could literally happen right now.


VALENCIA: Christina Grimmie was just 22-years-old, a great young musician who'd already worked with the likes of Adam Levine, Selena Gomez. As she was with the band that night in Orlando, the band that she was turning with before you exit tweeting just a short time ago Grimmie saying, "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."


PAUL: All right, Nick Valencia, thank you so much.

BLACKWELL: Thank you Nick.

Mitt Romney, has been a very critical of Donald Trump, even saying that he will not support him, won't vote for him.

In an exclusive interview why he says, the presumptive nominee is dangerous.

ROMNEY: Presidents have an impact on the nature of our nation and trickle down racism, trickle down bigotry, and trickle down misogyny. All these things are extraordinarily dangerous


[08:11:25] BLACKWELL: Donald Trump, this morning reacting to our exclusive interview with Mitt Romney, the 2012 Republican nominee for president is urging the party to reject Trump and his message.

Joining me now, CNN Political Commentator and Donald Trump supporter Jeffrey Lord also Philip Levine Mayor of Miami Beach and a Hillary Clinton campaign surrogate.

Good to have you back on NEW DAY.


BLACKWELL: I want to start with you, Jeffrey and the latest we've heard from Donald Trump now saying that Mitt Romney choked like a dog, that's the tweet in response to the CNN interview with Governor Romney. We've heard him use that -- the Pocahontas line again. Trump has said he can be presidential. We'll make this turn. You said it, other supporter have said it.

When is that coming?

LORD: Well, when he's president. You know ...

BLACKWELL: He will become presidential. When he's president so we'll expect this line of attack until then?

LORD: Victor, history a last shows that people who think of themselves as presidential before they're elected president never get elected president. Mitt Romney was really presidential and that presidency hasn't worked out well. This goes back to Thomas E. Dewey. Who carried himself like a president while Harry Truman was out there, earning the nickname "Give 'Em Hell Harry". And Truman won in an offset. So it's not really advisable to be "Presidential" until you actually have the job.

BLACKWELL: All right, let's go over to the controversies surrounding financial traders who the securities trader seemed at the arena there.

Raj Fernando, being appointed to the International Securities Advisory Board with the state department despite having no diplomatic experience, no background in international affairs, he was appointed to that board. We do know that he donated at least a million dollars between $1 and $5 million to the Clinton Foundation.

Now, this is what the Clinton campaign says about this Mayor Levine, "This was an unpaid, volunteer advisory board, and one of several foreign policy-focused organizations he was involved with. As the State Department itself has said, the ISAB charter calls for a diverse set of experience for its members. That's all there is to it."

The question has been since 2011, what are the qualifications for Mr. Fernando to be appointed to this position, to be appointed to this board? Some question if simply making that donation to the Clinton Foundation was enough.

PHILIP LEVINE, (D) MAYOR, MIAMI BEACH: Well, Victor first of all, we appoint so many people to so many different boards. I'm not going to consider and speak to the qualifications of one specific person, but I can tell you one thing.

The Clinton Global initiative, the Clinton Foundation has helped so many people all over the world. What President Clinton has done in his post-presidency should be admired ...

BLACKWELL: Mr. Mayor let me stop you, let me stop you Mr. Mayor. I don't know that anyone here is questioning the work of the Clinton Foundation. The questions are about why was Raj Fernando qualified to be appointed to the ISAB? This was something that Cheryl Mills according to the e-mail, Cheryl Mills being the chief of staff for then secretary Clinton insisted upon when pressed by ABC News to find out why he was qualified, how he was qualified. They were told just to stall and then he resigned the next day.

So maybe you don't know specifically those answers, but are you concerned about the questions about the qualifications and the lack of an answer five years on?

LEVINE: No, like you just said, five years ago one political appointee for one voluntary board. When you take a civilian who doesn't have government experience, who's not a politician, who's something has to run for elective office. You throw them on the fire, put them in the public eye, a lot of people don't want that and they will resign from these boards. It happens all the time.

[08:15:04] But I think more importantly and I want to get back to talking to Jeffrey about it, you have a nominee here who's come out with such racist comments and once you put them on teleprompter and all of a sudden he may sound a little bit more presidential. What I'm going to recommend is they use that Google glass and they make it wear it all the time and he can actually read from by the Google glass so maybe even look a little bit more presidential, so he doesn't speak from his heart. They say it's not like a fish, doesn't looks like a fish, if it swims like a fish usually it's a fish and I think that Mitt Romney really hit the nail on the head.

BLACKWELL: Jeffrey, let me come to you with this question about Raj Fernando and then I also want to continue with this the concerns that some have about the statements being made by Donald Trump. We have a rally that's scheduled to start in fewer than three hours. Donald Trump has attacked the Senator Warren, has gone after Mitt Romney has gone after others. How much will this story about Raj Fernando move to the center of what we're expecting possibly on Monday from Donald Trump in his big speech?

LORD: I think it will be front and center because this is - I mean this is a new story, but this is part of the old story here of the Clinton network and the Clinton Foundation and the way she conducts her office as secretary of state and I mean, this goes into a whole series of things, so basically this is new information about an old story. And I think we're going to be seeing more of this on Monday.

BLACKWELL: Quickly, let me your finish up with you, Jeffrey, this question about the accusations of the words from Donald Trump being racist. If he's fought that off and it's been a tough week for him, why would he come right back out with the line of attack of Pocahontas against Senator Elizabeth Warren when some Native Americans have said that that is offensive?

LORD: What he's saying is - what he said yesterday is essentially what President Kennedy said. Race has no place in American life or law.

BLACKWELL: That was in the morning and then in the evening he went on the Pocahontas line.

LORD: Yeah.

LEVINE: Common, Lord that was a great word. That was a great word that he just ...

BLACKWELL: Hold on Mr. Mayor.

LORD: The whole Pocahontas thing is because Harvard Law School boasted of her alleged Indian Native American status which frankly doesn't exist. And it's a fabulous example of identity politics and how they play the race card. The mayor's political party is on record, on record, mind you, supporting slavery segregation lynching the clan racial quarter ...

BLACKWELL: So you say -- you say this is ... (CROSSTALK)

BLACKWELL: Hold on Mr. Mayor. You say this is evidence of how the Democrats play the race card?

LEVINE: On the account of it, it's going to be very, very funny is when you keep going on. I love your interruption out there.

BLACKWELL: All right. We've got to wrap it there. I've been told by my producer twice. We've got to wrap it up but Jeffrey Lord, Philip Levine. Thank you both. All right.

LEVINE: Thank you.

PAUL: And when the producer says wrap.

BLACKWELL: Yes, at least the second time with that's the first time but I listened the second time.

PAUL: All right listen, the attack ads, they have started full force between the presumptive nominees. We're going to give you behind scenes look at how a Democratic Super Pac but one of this anti-Trump ads together.


[08:21:36] PAUL: Well, Mitt Romney offer as dire warning for a Donald Trump presidency. A culture he said of "trickle down racism, misogyny and bigotry." Former Republican presidential nominee sat down for an exclusive interview with Wolf Blitzer to discuss Trump's comments attack in the federal judge and why Romney said, he will not run as a third party candidate.


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: You have said that Donald Trump in your words would sink the country into a prolonged recession, that he is not smart on foreign policy, your words, that he's a con man, a phony, a fraud and a fake. If you feel that strongly why don't you think you have an obligation to run right now?

ROMNEY: Well, because he has become the nominee of the Republican Party and the only way to win the White House in my view is become a nominee of either the Republican or the Democrat Party and simply running to be a spoiler would not give the American people I think the chance to express their own views about Mr. Trump or about Secretary Clinton. I think they will do so. I myself will not be voting for either one of them. I just can't bring myself to vote for Hillary Clinton. I don't think the policies that she promotes are right for the country. And Mr. Trump I think is too great a departure from the values of our country for me to sign up as a voter for him either. So, I'll be writing in someone else's name. It will be probably another Republican.

BLITZER: But it's in fact sort of -- I mean you're going to write on some other name has no chance but isn't that a copping out right now of your responsibility?

ROMNEY: Well, my responsibility was to express to the American people what I believed was right about the potential nominee of our party. And I did so very plainly and clearly, and the people who made the choice decided to go a different direction. That's their right, but as an individual, I simply can't put my name down as someone who voted for principles that suggest racism or xenophobia, misogyny, bigotry, who's been a vulgar time and time again. And the most recent attack on Judge Curiel, a racist approach is one which I think says to me I can't be a part of that, I will not sign up for that. I don't want to be associated with that in any way, shape or form.

BLITZER: So what do you say to people like your vice presidential running mate Paul Ryan who is very critical of Donald Trump. Does that like, any other words he said about Judge Curiel called it a textbook definition for a racist comment. But he still says he's going to support Donald Trump.

ROMNEY: Well, I don't argue with people who convoluted for conclusion. They're looking at two candidates and deciding who they think is best able to serve our country at this time. And I'm sure there's some things they like to change. And whoever they're going to support, every candidate has a problem or two or maybe more than that. But for me, Mr. Trump's problems are such a dramatic nature, such a departure from the values of our country and my own personal values that I can't sign up to be part of his campaign.

BLITZER: Are you disappointed that Paul Ryan has endorsed him?

ROMNEY: I wish everyone in the Republican Party have rejected Mr. Trump and chosen someone else. But my choice is different than that at the other people. And I'm sure they're not going to argue with them about their choice. Their view is that Secretary Clinton would so dramatically change the nature of the Supreme Court that that represents a threat to our future. I understand that perspective. But I find that compelling but also the Donald Trump failures also compelling.

[08:25:06] BLITZER: He did tone down his rhetoric in that speech the other day from a tele prompter Reince Priebusm, the chairman of the Republican National Committee was here this weekend with you. He called it a great victory speech and the right approach. Trump says, it's time to move on right now. Is that OK with you if he moves on and you forget about the all other stuff? I don't think you -- do you think it's a time to move on?

ROMNEY: Well, I can imagine that Mr. Trump would like to have people move on and forget what was said during the primary process and what's been said over the years. But we actually take the measure of an individual over their entire career and during the primary as well. And on that basis, we get a sense of the person's character, integrate, honesty, their values with regards to race and religion and gender.

And Mr. Trump has made that pretty clear to the campaign to this point. I'm absolutely convinced that Reince Priebus is right when he says that Mr. Trump will be able from the text and present a different image going forward. But that is not something which is consistent with who he is as demonstrated by his past.

BLITZER: So you don't think he should get a pass if he stops talking about Judge Curiel?

ROMNEY: Well, everyone can make their assessment. But he indicated what he believes in his heart about Mexicans and about race, by the comments he made about Judge Curiel. And he may and try and distance himself from that today. But we know what he believes based on what he said. And by the way, he didn't just say it once. It wasn't a slip of the tongue which he went back and apologized for. First of all, he's repeated it time and time again.

And secondly, he's never apologized for it. So, he obviously sticks by what he believes.

BLITZER: What would he have to do to win your support?

ROMNEY: Well, I don't think there's anything I'm looking for from Mr. Trump to give him my support. He's demonstrated who he is. And I've decided that a person of that nature should not be the one, who, if you will, becomes the example of coming generations or the example of America to the world.

Look, I don't want to see trickle down racism. I don't want to see a president of the United States saying things which changed the character of generations of Americans that are following. Presidents have an impact on the nature of our nation and trickle down racism, trickle down bigotry and trickle down misogyny. All these things are extraordinarily dangerous to the heart and character of America. And so I'm not looking for Mr. Trump to change a policy that more alliance with my own. This is not a matter of just policy. It's more a matter of character and integrity.

BLITZER: Do you think he's a racist?

ROMNEY: Oh, I think his comments time and again appeal to the racist tendency that exists in some people. And I think that's very dangerous.


PAUL: And by the way you can see the full exclusive Mitt Romney interview on a website on

BLACKWELL: Plus, a GOP Super Pac has a new ad slamming Hillary Clinton. Will this strategy work?




[08:31:38] PAUL: 31 minutes past the hour. Thanks for keeping us company. I'm Christi Paul.

BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. Good to be with you. The top story this Saturday a former contestant on "The Voice", Christina Grimmie was shot and killed after a concert in Orlando. Police said the suspect fired at the singer while she was signing autographs after the show.

This Tweet was on The Voice's official Twitter page. We are heart broken. "The real Grimmie," I guess that handle there "is a loved member of our family. Our thoughts are with her and her family."

PAUL: Yeah, police the suspect killed himself after the shooting. Grimmie died a few hours later at the hospital. She was just 22 years old. And a finalist in the top three on "The Voice."

Well, CNN has obtained court documents revealing new details regarding the former Stanford student who sexually assaulted an unconscious woman behind a trash bin. Brock Turner was convicted on three felony account of assault. He was sentence to only six months. But he could be out in three.

BLACKWELL: Well, in the court document the sentencing memo shows Turner initially became aggressive with his victim's sister, but after she rejected him twice, Turner went after the victim when she was "alone and inebriated."

Prosecutors say he lied to his probation officer about smoking marijuana and using other drugs. He claims he was an inexperienced drinker and partygoer. He was also arrested in 2014 for having a fake I.D. and walking on campus, drinking beer. He was under the age of 21 then.

When investigators also found evidence of excessive drinking and using drugs on his cell phone including this picture. It appear to show him, or that shows him holding a bong. A text messages also indicate turner used drugs in high school and included references to acid.

Well, despite the glowing endorsement this week, President Obama's 2008 attack ad against Hillary Clinton is coming back into the fold this cycle. Donald Trump Tweeted this just a day after this endorsement saying I rarely agree with President Obama. However, he is 100 percent correct and attached the radio ad.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hillary Clinton, she'll say anything, and change nothing. It's time to turn the page.


BLACKWELL: Well, this comes just days ahead of President Obama's first campaign appearance with Clinton Wednesday scheduled in Wisconsin, but Democrats they are planning to ramp up attacks on the Republican hopeful as well. I got a behind the scenes look at the process of putting together a political attack ad on behalf of one of the power house firms, a Democratic super PAC that is taking aim at Trump. Watch.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bill Fletcher creates Democratic campaign ads.

BILL FLETCHER: FLETCHER ROWLEY, INC: A good friend of mine said you one time in politics. You don't have to love what I love but you have to hate what I hate and a lot of people hate Donald Trump.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Today his team at Fletcher Rowley in Nashville is creating an online ad for We the People, an anti-Trump super PAC. Their target audience, women.

FLETCHER: Don't get tangled up in a particular policy. It's like in 1992 Carville said "It's the economy, stupid." It's the Donald stupid.

[08:35:01] There's a percentage of Republican women that are going to either not vote for Trump or they're going to default over and vote for the Democrat. They simply won't be able to bring themselves to vote for a man who said the things he said about women, about Hispanics, about barring Muslims from our country. It's un-American.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Fletcher a self described hard core Democrat has produced hundreds of ads for Democratic candidates and causes dating back decades.

FLETCHER: Because I think the real payoff line here is when Trump loses, America wins. Client's excited about it ...


FLETCHER: And what else can we do with that Alex?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Like a knockoff of the hat and bumper sticker. The same thing, same like just ...

FLETCHER: So a hat that looks just like his hat. Yeah, make it blue. The political element of takes a back seat once we decided on the message and now we're focus on the creative art work.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Starting with the targeted imagery based on research and data.

FLETCHER: What if we get some stock market crash stuff n there. The only place he's doing well in polling is on the economy. He leading Hillary on the economy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Add ominous music.

FLETCHER: So I'm looking for that sort of epic, sweeping, aggressive, a little bit of post apocalyptic America mix there.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's supposed apocalyptic. That would accomplish it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And finish with the demographically specific voice actors.

FLETCHER: But think of it as if you're actually saying that to another woman and you're -- your kids are all there.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How could you explain voting for Trump to your children?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Although the ad targets Trump, Fletcher hopes it will impact Republicans across the country.

FLETCHER: U.S. Senate right, his Congressional rights, all the way down to city counsel. You've either got to be with him or against him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But being against him doesn't necessarily mean being for her.

FLETCHER: I'm not trying to sell Hillary Clinton there. There's some really smart people out there. It's their job to sell Hillary Clinton. It is a message that forces people to think about what they're doing when they go in that ballot box and they pull that lever for Donald trump. Will their conscience allow them to do that? I think the answer for a significant portion of normally Republican voters is no.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Trump loses, American wins.

FLETCHER: Money. That's it. That's fantastic.


BLACKWELL: All right. So that's a Democratic strategy. Now let's turn to the Republicans. There's a new ad that compares Hillary Clinton to Richard Nixon. What's the strategy here?

We'll talk to with the member of the group that is behind that ad in just a moment.



[08:41:12] RICHARD NIXON, FORMER UNITED STATES PRESIDENT: What I have stated from the beginning to be the truth has been the truth.

HILLARY CLINTON, (D) PRESUMPTIVE NOMINEE: I want people to understand what the truth is.

NIXON: I am confident. The American people will come to realize that I have not violated the trust.

CLINTON: I am confident by the end of this campaign people will know they can trust me.

NIXON: The entire story is there. CLINTON: I turned over everything I was obligated to turn over.

NIXON: I want the fax out.

CLINTON: I want those e-mail out.

NIXON: I'm sorry. Just spoken, have to let know.

CLINTON: I'm sorry I take responsibility.


BLACKWELL: All right. You see the strategy there to draw a comparison between Hillary Clinton now and President Nixon back then.

With me now Ian Prior with American Crossroads, the group behind that ad. Ian good to have you this morning.


BLACKWELL: I'm doing well. It's good to have you. Because I want to ask you first, I went all over the website, did some reading and I know American Crossroads was backed by Karl Rove help to found? He's been very critical of Donald Trump. Is this group pro Trump or just anti-Clinton?

PRIOR: Well, for the past year we have been conducting research through polling, through focus groups on how best to define Hillary Clinton. So I would say that, you know, over the course of the year we have become the anti-Hillary Clinton super PAC. We are also highly focused on maintaining the Senate in Republican hands so we are a dual operation in that respect.

BLACKWELL: So, one more time and maybe I can just narrow it down. Does American Crossroads want Donald Trump to be the next president of the United States? Is it a pro Trump group?

PRIOR: Well, I would say that we do not want Hillary Clinton to be president of the United States and that ad makes it clear.

BLACKWELL: So if anybody the Clinton and Trump happens to be anybody.

PRIOR: Exactly.

BLACKWELL: OK. All right, got that clear.

Now let me go to what heard from Bill Fletcher. He said during the story that it's not his job to sell Hillary Clinton, that's for other people. This is an anti-Clinton group as you've just defined. I wonder in tying the Republicans to Trump, can this group tie Democrats to Hillary Clinton? Is that effective down-ballot for Republicans?

PRIOR: Oh, absolutely and that should be the strategy throughout the country, especially in this competitive Senate races. Look, we've done -- like I've said we done a research, we found several things with Hillary Clinton. She's not trusted. She's seen as somebody that views herself as above the rules, and people are looking for any reason not to vote for her.

There are also people that may vote for her, but do not want to give her a blank check because she has been a walking talking scandal for over 40 years, there may be swing voters that say look, I'll vote for Hillary Clinton but I do not want the Senate falling into Democratic hands because I do not want to give her the full power of government like Obama had from 2008 to 2010.

BLACKWELL: Donald Trump has said many times that he is going after and his campaign has said they're going after the Bernie Sanders supporter supporters. Part of the Bernie or bust movement. How do Republicans get though voters to support Donald Trump? Or in your case, not vote for Hillary Clinton?

PRIOR: Well, I think it's more of a showing of why they voted against Hillary Clinton throughout the primary season. I mean, look, nobody thought that Bernie Sanders was going to take Hillary Clinton to the wire a year ago. Most people hadn't even heard of Bernie Sanders outside of Vermont and Washington, but he created a movement partly on his charisma, you know, a 75-year-old socialist speaking on new issues to young voters but partly on the fact that Hillary Clinton is viewed as the establishment, Washington, D.C. politician who again has 40 years of being in the spotlight in not such a good way and those people are not necessarily going to come out and vote for Hillary Clinton simply because she has a D next to her name.

[08:45:01] So it's important to continue to define Hillary Clinton to continue to remind people of her long history of scandals and to continue to show that hey, these scandals are not just an isolated incident. This is something that's happened for decades and as we just saw this morning on this show we now have this Clinton foundation issue with a donor that has put on an important intelligence position, which is not something going to end.

BLACKWELL: There is one element that poll show unites Democrats. Whether they support Bernie Sanders, they support Hillary Clinton or neither if that is in large part wanting to keep Donald Trump out of the White House. And you said that this is not a pro Trump group. How does Donald Trump if he does complicate that effort?

PRIOR: Well, you know, I think one the things that Trump needs to do is he needs to focus his attacks on Hillary Clinton and her surrogates on the substance. On her past abuses of government power, on where her policies are going to lead America, on how she is not in touch with the average American. I think when he engages in the attacks he's been engaging in, that has the effect of hurting some of these Bernie Sanders supporter or hurting his cause with some of these Bernie Sanders supporters that don't want to support Clinton.

BLACKWELL: And we'll see if he brings back some of those attacks, those lines at his event in about two and a half hours now. Ian Prior with the American Crossroads. Thank so much for being with us this morning.

PRIOR: Thanks a lot.


PAUL: Well, an Iranian American actress says Donald Trump follower scares him. We're talking to Maz Jobrani about his new film and why he says he doesn't think he'd ever be invited to a Trump White House.


[08:50:10] PAUL: With Donald Trump is on the defense after he faces attacks from both sides of the aisle. Take a look.


DONALD TRUMP, (R) PRESUMPTIVE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: I am the least just so you know. I am the least racist person, the least racist person that you've ever seen. The least. I mean, give me a break.


BLACKWELL: Well as Trump touts his plan to temporarily ban non- American Muslims from entering the U.S. there's a new comedy now that try to educate people in a way, using comedy of course, to teach people how some Americans see people from the Middle East. Watch.


MAZ JOBRANI, ACTOR "JIMMY VESTVOOD AMERIJAN HERO": Come to America. He's not a radical at all.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our drones captured these photos of him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's in love (ph) with the traffic cop. He has a real pension for cotton candy. How they could they let him in?

JOBRANI: He moved her to Los Angeles.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He didn't come to this country to be a security guard. He came to this country to be an American hero.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think we've got our guy.


BLACKWELL: All right, we're joined now with the star of the film, Jimmy Vestvood Amerikan Hero, Maz Jobrani. Maz good to have you this morning.

MAZ JOBRANI, ACTOR "JIMMY VESTVOOD AMERIJAN HERO": Thanks for having. How are you guys.

BLACKWELL: We're doing well. Tell me, what led to the decision to make a movie about this in this climate specifically?

JOBRANI: You know, I've been an actor in Hollywood for about 18 years as well as a comedian and I'm Iranian American. And i will tell you, a lot of parts that I would get early in my career were the type of parts that were negative parts and most of the parts that you see from Middle Eastern actors are those negative parts whether its playing terrorist or what have you.

And so, after all these years, I wanted to create an American movie where the guy who saves the day happens to be an Iranian and I thought it was a good way to do it. I describe it as the Persian Pink Panther meets Borat. It's a silly comedy. I think comedy is a great way to get people to change their minds about a group that they have seen in another way. Our tag line for the movie is heroes are not born, they're imported. So I was trying to take a swing in having a hero of Middle Eastern descent in an American movie.

BLACKWELL: So, I'm sure you remember because I've watched some of your standup online, after the proposal from Donald Trump of the temporary ban on non-American Muslims coming into the country, his support went up, the majority of many voters, GOP voters supported that. A plurality of voters outside the party supported it. I wonder how much of what you saw politically just in the presidential race played into what viewers are going to see on the screen.

JOBRANI: You know, what's interesting is that we actually made this movie a couple of years ago and is coming out now, but it was before Trump and back then the character that you just saw that's played by John Heard was kind of based Dick Cheney type, but now you've got Trump and it's even crazier and it's even worse and it's heart breaking because what happens is the people who commit acts of terrorism or what have you are criminals in many ways, and then the people that the GOP was going after, whether it was the refugees or saying there should be a ban on Muslims are just innocent people who love America.

They want to come to America for an opportunity, and we're closing the door to them and so in this movie, again in a comedic way, I have an Iranian who wins the green card lottery to come to America and he comes to America expecting America to love him but America today does not love him back, which is kind of where we're at right now.

BLACKWELL: You performed for the first lady and something you said that you don't expect what happened in a Trump White House, Trump has said that he has Muslim friends, that those friends love him, he loves them. What do you make of Donald Trump?

JOBRANI: You know, I'm sure he has friends that are Muslim friends that he loves and they love him and it's a lovefest that's fantastic.

However, the words that he says are vitriolic. And the problem is his followers take those words and I think that they run with it. The problem is I think that a lot of Americans have not experienced the Muslim experience at all.

They have not traveled to those countries. I as a comedian have had a chance to go to a lot of Arab countries, do shows there. Most the Muslim, all the Muslims that I've met have been good people just trying to live their lives, but a lot of the people that are Trump followers that are falling for what he says, the anti-Muslim rhetoric are the once who don't know a Muslim. They've never met a Muslim, they've never step foot in Muslim country and they think if they step in a Muslim country they'll be kidnapped and hi jacked, which is not the case at all.

[08:55:00] So, what he's doing is, he is stirring this fire and it's unfortunate. Again, I've said it before. What scares me more is not just Trump. It's his followers. When you see his followers at a rally take an elbow to the face of that African American who is being escorted out or you see another follower yelling at Mexicans or you see a lot of followers yelling anti-Muslim hate, it's just a shame. I don't get it. I wish they would really open their eyes and maybe try to meet a Muslim.

BLACKWELL: All right, Maz Jobrani. The movie is Jimmy Vestvood, Amerikan Hero. In theaters right now. Maz, thanks so much.

JOBRANI: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: All right. Bernie Sanders set to meet with his top supporters in his home state of Vermont tomorrow after signaling his campaign could be moving into a new phase. So what does Bernie Sanders really want moving forward? The candidate talks to CNN's Jake Tapper about what happens next and how he'll tell p defeat Donald Trump.

The interview Sunday on State of the Union with Jake Tapper, the show starts at 9:00 a.m. eastern.


PAUL: Well, coming up on CNN NEWSROOM at 10:00 a.m. eastern. The latest developments for in the death of rising top star and former contestant on the hit show "The Voice" Christina Grimmie. She was gunned down after a concert in Florida overnight.

BLACKWELL: And Mitt Romney and a CNN exclusive interview says he will vote for someone other than Donald Trump, other than Hillary Clinton, even throwing out the name of libertarian candidate Gary Johnson. Well, former governor Johnson will join us live in the 10:00 hour to talk about why he is the best choice over Trump and Clinton.

That's it for us.

PAUL: Yeah. We will see you at 10:00. Don't go anywhere though, SMERCONISH starts for you right now.