Return to Transcripts main page
THE SITUATION ROOM
Senate Vote Downs Gun Control; Orlando Transcripts; Trump Fires Campaign Manager; New Details on Why Trump Fired Campaign Manager; Biden: Trump's Policies Reflect "Insecurity of a Bully"; FBI Reversal on Deleting ISIS Mentions from Killer's Calls; All Four Gun Control Measures Fail in Senate. Aired 6-7p ET
Aired June 20, 2016 - 18:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: The FBI releases an edited version of the Orlando killer's 911 calls and then quickly reverses the decision to delete references to ISIS -- tonight, the gunman's chilling words and questions about the handling of the investigation.
Outgunned. Votes are under way right now on new gun control measures that were doomed from the start, despite our new polling that shows a rise in public support for stricter gun laws.
And scathing speech. Vice President Joe Biden lambastes Donald Trump's policies, suggesting he would damage national security and violate American values. Will Biden's words influence votes?
We want to welcome our views in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
BLITZER: Breaking news tonight, Donald Trump's now former campaign manager tells CNN he doesn't know why he was suddenly fired, but sources are describing a near revolt led by Ivanka Trump, her husband and her brothers. We're learning more about the behind-the-scenes pressure on Trump to get rid of Corey Lewandowski and ease dysfunction within the campaign, just weeks before the Republican Convention.
Also tonight, an about-face by federal authorities in connection with the Orlando terror attack. The FBI now releasing a fuller transcript of the killer's 911 calls after his references to ISIS had originally been edited out, prompting criticism. Omar Mateen told authorities he was an Islamic soldier who pledged allegiance to ISIS.
Another breaking story we're following, the U.S. Senate casting new votes on gun control in the aftermath of the Orlando attack. Right now, the first measure is heading toward defeat. None of the four proposals up for a vote is expected to pass.
Donald Trump supporter Scottie Nell Hughes, she is standing by to talk about the shakeup in the campaign, and our correspondents, analysts and guests, they will have full coverage of all the news that is breaking right now. Up first, let's go to our senior White House correspondent, Jim
Acosta, with more on Donald Trump's campaign manager.
It seems Trump couldn't ignore the complaints from his own children, Jim.
JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Wolf, they're very influential. And this is by far the biggest campaign shakeup for Donald Trump yet.
Corey Lewandowski isn't saying much about why he was fired as Trump's campaign manager today, but his departure does usher in a new phase for the presumptive Republican nominee, who apparently listened to pleas from his family and top advisers to make a big change.
ACOSTA (voice-over): The uprising against Donald Trump's sharp-elbow campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, had been building for weeks. Then, over the weekend, campaign sources tell CNN the mutiny began, when Trump's daughter Ivanka, her husband and campaign adviser, Jared Kushner, along with Trump's sons and campaign chairman Paul Manafort, all pleading with Trump to fire Lewandowski.
As one source put it, the family was not happy. Another adviser added, Manafort, a Lewandowski rival, told Trump, it is him or me.
DANA BASH, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Why were you fired?
COREY LEWANDOWSKI, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN MANAGER: You know what? I don't know. I don't know the answer to that.
ACOSTA: Lewandowski told CNN's Dana Bash he had no idea why he was fired. But sources say the family was outraged over Lewandowski's handling of Michelle Fields, the reporter he grabbed on video, leading to charges that were later dropped. Other campaign sources accuse Lewandowski of egging on Trump's more inflammatory remarks, notably on a Mexican-American judge overseeing the lawsuits against Trump University.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This judge is of Mexican heritage, OK? I'm building a wall. OK? I'm building a wall.
ACOSTA: One staffer treated, "Ding dong, the witch is dead."
Lewandowski brushed it off.
LEWANDOWSKI: In all campaigns, you have got detractors and you have got supporters. Things change as a campaign evolves. And I said to him it has been an honor and privilege to be part of this. And I mean that.
ACOSTA: But the campaign shakeup comes after a brutal stretch for Trump, including sagging poll numbers weighed down by a series of unforced errors. The latest Monmouth poll out today shows Trump trailing Hillary Clinton by seven points in a general election matchup. And while Trump advisers are downplaying Lewandowski's departure:
BARRY BENNETT, TRUMP CAMPAIGN SENIOR ADVISER: And I think we are shifting to a new phase of the campaign as we approach the convention.
ACOSTA: They're pointing to a new campaign structure that is now in place. Manafort is now fully in charge of the campaign, right under Trump, while the roles of Trump's daughter Ivanka and her husband, Jared Kushner, are clearly growing inside the campaign.
TRUMP: Jared is a very successful real estate person, but I actually think he likes politics more than he likes real estate.
ACOSTA: But Trump hasn't always taken their advise.
TRUMP: Ivanka would say be more presidential. And I started thinking and I said I can. Being presidential is easy.
ACOSTA: The question now for the Trump campaign, GOP sources say, is whether the candidate will change as well or just continue to stir controversy like with his comments this weekend about the Orlando shooting.
TRUMP: If you had somebody with a gun strapped on to their hip, somebody with a gun strapped on to their ankle, and you had bullets going in the opposite direction right at this animal who did this, you would have had a very, very different result, believe me, folks.
ACOSTA: Now, as for the staffer who compared Corey Lewandowski to the wicked witch, Michael Caputo has resigned, saying he regrets the tweet.
And, Wolf, he told me in an e-mail earlier today that he believes this was just an unforced error on his part -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Now, what do you know about the man at that Las Vegas rally where Trump was speaking who apparently tried to grab a police officer's gun?
ACOSTA: Right. We are learning more about that arrest, according to this federal affidavit. I have it right here.
The suspect in that case, Michael Sanford, told a U.S. Secret Service agent he intended to use that gun that he grabbed from a police officer at that rally to -- quote -- "kill Trump." Those words used periodically throughout this affidavit. And just last week, the Secret Service says Sanford told one of its agent he even visited a gun range in Las Vegas to learn how to shoot a gun.
But, fortunately, as we all know, there was no harm done to the candidate, even though this man clearly according to authorities intended to kill Donald Trump.
BLITZER: He has now been charged with a crime, right?
ACOSTA: That's right.
He has been charged and he is awaiting a hearing in this case. But according to this fairly brief affidavit, he basically told the Secret Service agent everything he intended to do. He drove from California to Las Vegas. Then he went to a gun range to learn how to fire a gun. He even says in this affidavit he had never fired a gun before, and that he grabbed the gun in order to kill Donald Trump.
BLITZER: And they used the word to kill Donald...
ACOSTA: To kill used periodically throughout this affidavit, Wolf.
BLITZER: Wow. That's pretty alarming.
All right, thanks very much, Jim Acosta, for that report.
Corey Lewandowski refused to say a bad word about Donald Trump, his children or the campaign in his interview with our chief political correspondent, Dana Bash.
Dana is joining us now.
Dana, you asked Lewandowski lots of pointed questions, but he stuck to a very pro-Trump script. Update our viewers.
BASH: Very much.
And he painted such a rosy picture that at one point I had to ask him if things are so great, why were you fired this morning, to which he didn't really have a specific answer. But Corey Lewandowski has been a controversial figure for the past year since Donald Trump first announced he was running.
He's had lots of moments where any other politician on earth would have fired him, but he had Corey standing behind him literally and figuratively, to the point where people said that Trump thought of Corey as a son. But today it was clear he is not part of the family. In fact, it was Donald Trump's actual family, his children, who made the effort starting a couple weeks ago, but more intensely this weekend, to get rid of Lewandowski.
That's part of what I asked him about.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BASH: Did Mr. Trump himself call you this morning and say, I don't mean to use this term, but it is the term, you're fired?
LEWANDOWSKI: I had a nice conversation with Mr. Trump and I said to him it's been an honor and privilege to be part of this. And I mean that from the bottom of my heart. I think as you look at how small this team has been and how close-knit
this team has been, it's really important to know that there are highs and lows in every campaign. And we have been through them together, and in order to be successful, we need to continue to build that team and building those relationship with the RNC and utilize the resources that they have available to us.
So, that's where the campaign is going. And it has been a great privilege. And, look, I wouldn't change one second.
BASH: Were you surprised? Were you blindsided?
LEWANDOWSKI: Yes, I don't know if it's so much that. There's been a lot of conjecture in the media lately about what's going on well and what is not going on well in the campaign. I think a lot of that is just the media trying to hype up a campaign.
You know, what we have is, we have got a candidate on the other side who is under criminal investigation from the FBI that most of the mainstream media doesn't want to talk about. Instead, they want to talk about things that Donald Trump did or said 20 or 30 or 40 years ago.
And even when he gives a great policy speech, and he's probably the best speaker that our country has ever seen as a presidential candidate, he doesn't get credit for those things.
BASH: Let's talk about Mr. Trump's family. My understanding and others here are reporting is that his children were very forceful in saying it is time for Corey Lewandowski to leave. Does that surprise you?
LEWANDOWSKI: I can say I always have had a great relationship with the family and I think I continue to do so. Look, everybody has their own opinions.
And I think what you have is a transition in the campaign from a very, very successful 37-state primary victory process, which was managed at a one-off level on the states or on a multi-state, to look to a bigger picture. And that's OK. There's nothing wrong with that.
So, more ideas, more people who are giving input, I think is great. That's important. I'm an implementer. That's what I try and do. I try and take those ideas which have been laid out and implement them to the best of our ability.
And I think that's the most important thing. And that includes the kids' input. That includes other professionals' input. It includes elected officials' input. It includes the D.C. people's input. I try and implement what I think, with the collective organization, is best for the campaign.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[18:10:10] BASH: But, clearly, the fact that he didn't do that enough when it
comes to the process and the structure of the campaign, never mind the personality issues and the personnel issues, which we have been reporting on all day, which -- and for weeks and months, which were vast.
Just the bottom line is that he was in charge of fund-raising and communication strategy. And the fund-raising in particular has been lackluster, even though Corey said to me that we are going to be surprised by how much money he is raising.
By all accounts, they're having trouble getting donors to sign on. It is a campaign that didn't have the finance infrastructure, because he was a self-funder during the primaries. But all of those things, combined with the personality issues and the very real power struggle going on between him and Paul Manafort, all led to his kids and other people saying enough is enough and to Donald Trump saying to him today, you're gone.
BLITZER: Dana Bash, doing excellent reporting for us, as always, Dana, thanks very, very much.
Joining us now, Trump supporter Scottie Nell Hughes.
Scottie, thanks for joining us.
What was your reaction when you learned of all of this, this morning? Did you agree with that decision to fire the campaign manager?
SCOTTIE NELL HUGHES, DONALD TRUMP SUPPORTER: Well, I was definitely shocked.
But after hearing Dana's interview, where Corey gave a very classy answer, and I think even more of Mr. Trump's testament, a testimony to his character was revealed. You sit here, and whether you are talking to someone -- that you normally think would be very upset about their interaction with Mr. Trump, they turn out to just as respectful, if not more respectful on the other end, whether you're talking to an ex- wife, ex-employees of the business, and now you're seeing an ex- employee of the campaign.
They are all very, very respect and thankful and grateful for the opportunity that Mr. Trump gave them. And that's whether it's one day after, one our after, or 10 years later. Everybody still has positive things to say about their interactions with Mr. Trump.
That's something that a lot of folks in politics cannot say about former people they have personally or professionally dealt with. So, while, yes, I was shocked, I think this is a transition, Wolf, from going from a grassroots campaign, as Corey pointed out very well, he has very much accomplished, accomplished more than most seasoned people from D.C., seasoned consultants in D.C., to now you're running a very tight ship, more of a business of a campaign.
And that's something that I think that the Trump children are used to it and said, OK, now we're going to a national campaign against the Clinton machine. Let's start running this the Trump way, the very efficient, this is going to be streamlined and this is going to be the power machine that those of us that have gotten to know Mr. Trump will be known to pull off.
BLITZER: All right, so, you had no heads-up? This came as a stunning shock to you, like to mostly everyone else? But are you concerned that this could hurt the Trump campaign? Does it signal trouble?
HUGHES: I don't think so. In fact, I think it is the exact opposite.
I think this is what the Trump brand is known for, excellence, efficiency, getting the job done. I think what we're going to see from here, now that there will just be Mr. Trump and then Paul Manafort to answer to, I think you're going to see an extreme streamline when it comes to the campaign will quickly fill these political slots in these key states.
Fund-raising operations, they're going to reassure donors. I think you're going to see donors coming to the RNC. I think you're going to see -- we have already seen -- you're going to see rapid response operations are going to be very much.
Communications -- and maybe this is a little bit inside game -- communications amongst the Trump campaign have highly improved. They were fine, they were great for grassroots, but they have become amazingly efficient these past few weeks, both of Hope Hicks and some of the surrogate coordinators, some of the people -- Paul Manafort has come in.
It has been very, very -- it's been wonderful as a surrogate for the Trump campaign these past few weeks to the communication that has come in in some of the -- when I have had questions, they have been answered rapidly and with the details that I needed to know in order to come on shows like yours and be able to fulfill it.
And I think that's only going to continue to improve. And I have also noticed, Wolf, the interaction with the RNC. Because I'm a press member, I have been able to see RNC talking points and RNC points, their daily e-mails for years. Now I am starting to see them amongst the Trump campaign. And that speaks to a testament as to how close the RNC and the Trump campaign are starting to work together in order to go towards November.
BLITZER: What else are you hearing about what led up to this decision? And it was a shock to a lot of people, given the fact that Donald Trump over these many months was so loyal to Corey Lewandowski.
What are you hearing about the role that Ivanka Trump, her husband, Jared Kushner, and the two brothers may have played?
HUGHES: Well, I think they have always been his number one consultants.
He's -- Mr. Trump has never hidden that he receives a lot of advice both personally and professionally because he respects his children. They have obviously been raised and they obviously have his best interests at heart in the campaign. And now it has become the country as the best interest.
So, I think it is wonderful. But I think they always had a very prominent role within the campaign. And I think now they're ready to step up to it and be definitely one of those folks. And we're going to -- as we get close to the RNC, I think the Trump family will be -- the RNC is going to be about him, about his character, about what he's accomplished and his plans for the future, a celebration, letting people get to know all members of the family.
Where before in the past you have had presidents where their children have been kind of off-limits, I think you can he is very proud, he considers to be -- his children to be one of his best accomplishments. And if I have children that are just like his, I would hope that I would prominently display them.
We all know that usually the fruit doesn't fall too far from the tree. And the Trump kids are probably some of the best surrogates that he could have out there to prove, look what I did with these children, I want to have this kind of accomplishment with the rest of America.
BLITZER: All right, Scottie, stand by.
We are getting some breaking news on the votes up on Capitol Hill right now on guns. We will have that, a lot more right after this.
BLITZER: We are back with Donald Trump supporter Scottie Nell Hughes.
And breaking news on the new Senate votes on gun control.
Scottie, stand by. I want to go right to our senior political reporter, Manu Raju.
I take it the first vote has occurred, Manu. Update our viewers.
MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right.
Actually, the second vote was just called, one Republican vote and a second Democratic vote, both to expand background checks, both failing on a party-line vote. One bill, the first one by Senator Chuck Grassley, a Republican of Iowa, to expand background checks, including some mental health provisions, Democrats didn't like the way that was structured.
They blocked this bill. One Democrat defected, Joe Donnelly of Indiana. Two Republicans defected, Cory Gardner of Colorado and Mark Kirk of Illinois, who is in a tough Senate race.
Now, on the other side, a universal background check bill proposed by Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut, who launched that 15-hour filibuster last week, this would ban -- expand background checks during Internet sales, during gun shows. This failed on a party-line vote just now, Wolf, 44-56.
So, right now, this looks like all these four provisions are going down next to try figure out how to prevent suspected terrorists from getting guns, but the two sides disagree on how to do just that. So, we're expecting more gridlock on Capitol Hill -- Wolf.
BLITZER: All these amendments need 60 votes to pass, given the threat of a filibuster, right?
RAJU: That's right. Every single one needs 60 votes. And that's one reason why it's incredibly difficult to get anything done.
You need a significant bipartisan consensus and we know on this gun issue it is incredibly hard to do just that.
BLITZER: All right, Manu Raju, we will get back to you when the other votes occur as well. Thank you very much.
Let's bring back Scottie Nell Hughes. She's a key Donald Trump supporter.
Scottie, over the weekend, Trump made news when he thought more people in that gay nightclub, the Pulse nightclub, should have been carrying guns, if they had, you would have had, in his words, a very, very different result.
The National Rifle Association disagreed with him. They said nightclubs where people are drinking, people should not come in with guns. Trump later walked his comments back, saying the security guards should have had -- or employees should have had guns.
But a lot of people are raising questions about his knowledge about guns, gun policy, because there seems to be some confusion. Your thought?
HUGHES: Well, my thought is, I am kind of like the NRA when it comes to this.
I do believe that guns and alcohol do not mix. And I think the majority of when he does -- Mr. Trump did mean that security guards, it is kind of like guns in school. Whether they have them or not, they should at least have the freedom to have them there. And that threat should be there so that the bad guy who comes in with a gun doesn't think that he is the only one with the weapon.
And I so think Mr. Trump was serious when he said I think we should have had armed security guards. And I think you are going to start to see that as some of these bars going forward.
The lemonade out of this horrible situation is that you do have a lot of members of the LGBT community that are starting to go out and they're getting trained to be responsible gun owners and be able to protect themselves, because, unfortunately, they have been targeted in the past for hate crimes, and I think they're going to see they want to be sure that they're protected. So, this has at least opened up that avenue of education within that community. BLITZER: Trump wants a meeting with the NRA. I don't know if that
meeting has been scheduled, if it's going to happen, but he clearly disagrees with the NRA. He suggests that he wants people who are on no-fly or the terror watch list not to be able to go out and purchase guns. The NRA disagrees on that.
HUGHES: Well, the NRA does agree that they don't believe a terrorist should be able to go in and purchase a gun.
And this is one point that him and the NRA do agree with. This is one thing that I think the majority of Americans, especially according to the new CNN poll that just came out, the majority of Americans do believe that terrorists shouldn't be able to walk into a gun store...
HUGHES: ... and purchase a gun.
BLITZER: Let me interrupt, Scottie.
That poll asked if people who are on the terror watch list, or people who are on the no-fly list, if they should be able to buy guns. The overwhelming majority don't -- like Donald Trump, they don't want those people to buy guns. The NRA says, you know what? Those lists aren't that reliable. And it shouldn't be the be-all and end-all.
HUGHES: Well, I don't think their issue is with the terror watch list.
That one is pretty -- we know what that one is. The other issue is the no-fly list, because we have seen people like Edward Kennedy be accidentally put on there, or people whose names were mistaken. They're a little bit less accurate with the no-fly list than they are the terror watch list.
I think that's what's so frustrating right now about what's happening on the Senate floor. And both Republicans and Democrats should feel very guilty about what they're doing to the American people right now. Why do they not -- why did both sides not put a clean bill forward that says if you are a terrorist or you're suspected of terrorism, if you walk into a gun store, that a red flag will either stop you, prevent you, or alert a local authority that you're trying to purchase a gun?
A clean bill. Unfortunately, both sides are playing politics and offering amendments that they are attaching to other bills. The Democrats are attaching this to a mental health bill and some stipulations that have to deal with CDC funding for research. The Republicans are attaching it to immigration and law enforcement and defunding sanctuary cities.
If these folks really wanted to put forward something that would stop things like Orlando and any other, they would sit here and say let's do a clean bill that if you're on the terror watch list or suspected, that we will know if you try to purchase a firearm. It's a simple bill that would take care issues.
BLITZER: All right, Scottie Nell Hughes, thanks very much for joining us.
HUGHES: Thank you, Wolf.
BLITZER: Just ahead, why is Corey Lewandowski sounding like a loyal soldier to Donald Trump even after he was fired by the Trump campaign, by Donald Trump, as the campaign manager? We are learning more about the shakeup.
And did the FBI play into the hands of critics by initially releasing an edited version of the Orlando killer's 911 calls? We are going to tell you what we are learning now from the more complete transcript.
[18:30:29] BLITZER: We're following breaking news. Sources telling CNN that Donald Trump bowed to strong pressure from his children to fire his controversial campaign manager Corey Lewandowski.
Let's bring in "Washington Post" assistant editor David Swerdlick, our CNN chief political analyst Gloria Borger, our senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin, and our senior Washington correspondent Jeff Zeleny.
Gloria, what have you been hearing about what happened behind the scenes?
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: I think the timing of this was a surprise to everybody except Trump's family, but this had been talked about in inner Trump circles for quite some time.
I think there are a couple of things going on here, one of which was Corey Lewandowski's management style, which is brusque and difficult for a lot of people to deal with. The other was friction between Corey Lewandowski and Paul Manafort on the campaign.
And the third part I think was that his children, Ivanka in particular being very emphatic about it, as well as her husband Jared Kushner, went to Donald Trump and said, look, this isn't working. You know, this isn't working.
I think the family was really behind it, trying to point things out to Trump that perhaps he hadn't seen. I think in the end, that he listened to them, but it was a campaign that was falling behind schedule, that there was a general sense that the campaign had moved beyond Corey Lewandowski and as one person said to me today, look, it just became an issue of performance. Getting the simplest things done or executed became a problem and it was a confluence of a lot of voices.
BLITZER: Having said that, the guy is fired and was so complimentary to Donald Trump in that interview he did with Dana Bash. Were you surprised?
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Look, this is a person who took Donald Trump from someone who was taken very seriously as a presidential candidate to a convincing victor in the Republican primary campaign. That's a pretty political achievement and I think Donald Trump recognized that.
But we're dealing here I think with one of the iron laws of politics, which is the more you read about behind the scenes at a campaign, the worse the campaign is doing. You know, compare the 2008 Hillary Clinton campaign with Mark Penn and Patty Solis Doyle and everybody was fighting, 2016 campaign, you don't hear about them very much because they're doing the job effectively.
BLITZER: Is there role, David, for Corey Lewandowski outside the campaign, though working to try to help Donald Trump get elected?
DAVID SWERDLICK, THE WASHINGTON POST: Well, I expect that he'll pop up at some point in time. But here's the thing, unlike someone like Rick Tyler who was asked to resign from Senator Ted Cruz's campaign, someone who had ties within the consultant network, someone who was respected inside the party, Lewandowski is kind of a lone wolf guy who was perfectly matched to Trump. Now you've got a situation where he doesn't just go back into the regular ranks of consultants, he's got to sort of find his way.
BLITZER: Yes. Let's see what happens in that front.
Jeff Zeleny, Lewandowski called Trump, quoting him now, probably the best speaker our country has seen. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COREY LEWANDOWSKI, FIRED CAMPAIGN MANAGER: I don't know if it is so much of that. There's been a lot of conjecture in the media lately about what's going on well and what isn't going well in the campaign. I think a lot of that is just media trying to hype up a campaign.
You know, what we have is a candidate on the other side under criminal investigation from the FBI that most of mainstream media doesn't want to talk about. Instead, they want to talk about things Donald Trump said or did 20, 30, 40 years ago, and even when he gives a great policy speech, and he is probably the best speaker that our country has seen as a presidential candidate, he doesn't get credit for those things.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: This is a candidate that has gotten himself into trouble many times for saying what people would consider very offensive things. Lewandowski clearly is still spinning for Donald Trump, right?
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: No doubt about it, saying he's the best speaker we've ever seen as a presidential candidate, I'm not sure anyone else would say that. So, now, Corey believes that, he is not on the payroll anymore. It has to say that.
But there's also another thing that work here, Wolf. Anyone who works for the Trump campaign signs a nondisclosure agreement, so he cannot disparage or anything like that at all, not that he would be inclined to. I was struck during his interview with Dana how positive he was. But looked like a wounded person.
I talked to someone who is friends with Corey who worked on other Senate campaigns with him, and said that he idolized Donald Trump.
[18:35:04] So, I think you're seeing a look of shock and dismay there. It was certainly a political story that shook New York today, I can tell you, Wolf. But Corey Lewandowski right there, he still is very much in love with Donald Trump in some respects at least politically speaking.
BLITZER: Yes. He certainly said only positive things about him, that lengthy interview with Dana.
All right. Everyone, stand by.
The Democrats -- they're really going after Donald Trump today. We will update you on that and a lot more right after this.
[18:40:33] BLITZER: We are back with our political team.
And new Democratic offensive against Donald Trump under way now. The vice president, Joe Biden, delivering a searing speech suggesting Trump is insecure and he's a dangerous bully.
Let's bring in our senior Washington correspondent Jeff Zeleny once again.
Jeff, Biden and Democrats, they are circling the wagons around Hillary Clinton right now.
ZELENY: Wolf, they certainly are. We are seeing the full weight of this Democratic Party coming together to paint a portrait of Donald Trump that they hope they'll be unable to erase before November. It's a coordinated campaign to define him in TV ads and speeches, seizing on this dysfunction that has Republicans so worried.
The Clinton campaign wants to overwhelm Trump and so far, they may be doing just that.
ZELENY (voice-over): Hillary Clinton is all smiles tonight, and not only because the first Clinton grandson, Aidan was born this weekend and left the hospital today.
Her campaign is smiling, too, as Donald Trump flounders to find his footing. Amid growing signs of grief in the Republican Party, Democrats are joining together and defining Trump one day after another. Vice President Biden weighing in today.
JOSEPH BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Not empty bluster. Not a sense of entitlement that fundamentally disrespects our partners. Not an attitude, an insecurity of a bully.
ZELENY: And Clinton is talking more about Trump than herself. Next up in the Trump lecture series, the economy. She's heading to Ohio on Tuesday to make the case he's unfit to manage the U.S. economy, one she did on foreign policy earlier this month in San Diego.
HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESUMPTIVE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: He is not just unprepared. He is temperamentally unfit to hold an office that requires knowledge, stability, and immense responsibility.
ZELENY: Trump is being massively outgunned by Clinton and her allies who reserved $117 million in television ads through November.
CLINTON: What kind of America do we want to be? Dangerously divided or strong and united? I believe we are always stronger together.
ZELENY: Team Trump has reserved less than a million dollars from one pro-Trump super PAC alone.
It's the GOP's biggest fear, being overwhelmed by Clinton's muscular organization.
The Clinton campaign's director of battleground states Marlon Marshall is overseeing a 50 state strategy.
MARLON MARSHALL, CLINTON CAMPAIGN DIRECTOR OF STATE CAMPAIGNS: We have staff in every single state.
ZELENY (on camera): How much of what you all are doing now is changing or being driven by what is happening on the Republican side of the ticket?
MARSHALL: We take Donald Trump seriously. And so, the more ways we can reach voters to talk about what Hillary will bring to this country, the better.
ZELENY: CNN has learned Clinton has instituted a no gloat policy for her staff on Trump's troubles. She does not underestimate him, aides say, which is why she and top surrogates are intent on defining him early.
CLINTON: We cannot let him roll the dice with America.
ZELENY: Elizabeth Warren, who is one of a handful of Democrats being considered as a running mate is leading the charge.
SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D), MASSACHUSETTS: Every day, it becomes clearer he will never be president of the United States.
ZELENY: And as Democrats pile on, there's a deep level of seriousness to all of it. We visited the Clinton campaign headquarters in Brooklyn, they are taking him very seriously. Not a single person is writing him off or taking him lightly. Clinton will be in Ohio again tomorrow, second time in a week to give the Democratic address against Trump.
Wolf, they're trying to use his own words against him.
BLITZER: All right. Jeff, stand by. I want to bring back the rest of the panel right now.
Gloria, in contrast to the Republicans, the Democrats right now seem to be working in a coordinated, very efficient way.
BORGER: Right, if you look back at the last three weeks to a month, Donald Trump had a great opportunity because he had consolidated the Republican Party, looking like Hillary Clinton had Bernie Sanders out there. Instead, she has managed to define Donald Trump, much the same way that the Democrats did for Mitt Romney in 2012 as temperamentally unfit, a loose cannon, a risk, and a divider.
This theme is played over and over in a coordinated way from the president down with a whole slew of surrogates while Trump talks about Republicans who are not supporting him and seems to be continuing a fight within his own party, as well as trying to manage a campaign staff that can't get along.
[18:45:06] BLITZER: Jeffrey, does it make a difference that Bernie Sanders is not on board Hillary Clinton's campaign?
TOOBIN: Less and less. The party is unifying around him -- around her and he has, it seems, he's losing his chance every day to make an impact. The only opportunity, the threat he has is to disrupt the convention which doesn't seem to be something he wants to do.
So, you know, there is something called waiting too long, using more leverage than you actually have, and that seems to be --
BLITZER: With the president, the vice president, Elizabeth Warren, a lot of -- almost all Democrats on board right now, presumably, that will help Hillary in states that Trump thinks he can carry, let's say whether Pennsylvania or Michigan, Rust Belt states like those.
SWERDLICK: Absolutely. I mean, with the president, with Senator Warren, with the vice president, they've got this wall of sound going at Trump now. Even though all of them aren't saying the exact same thing, the broader message is that Trump is something completely unlike anything we have seen and unacceptable to the American public, and in those swing states, as you say, Wolf, he's got -- excuse me -- Secretary Clinton has like a one or two point lead in some of the swing states that she's holding on to. Trump is leading in swing states that Republicans already had last time. So he's got to shift the dynamic before the convention.
BLITZER: All right. Everyone, stand by, because there's other news coming in right now. More breaking news.
The most detailed account yet of the Orlando killer's conversations with police after the FBI changed its decision to edit out some of the key words.
[18:51:09] BLITZER: Tonight, federal authorities are providing more detailed information about the Orlando terrorist 911 calls with police, and his pledge of allegiance to ISIS. This after controversy surrounding the way parts of the transcripts were edited out when initially released earlier today.
Our justice correspondent Pamela Brown is joining us with more.
Pamela, the FBI faced quite a backlash.
PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Certainly right, Wolf.
Tonight, what began as the FBI attempting to release more information about the shooting, they've got a controversy about what they chose not to release. Today, the FBI put out a transcript of the 911 calls made by the Orlando shooter but removed all mentions of ISIS and its leader made by the killer, saying they didn't want his words to be used as propaganda. But after an outcry from the public and Republicans on Capitol Hill tonight, the FBI reversed the decision, releasing exactly what the shooter says.
BROWN (voice-over): The first version of the transcript of Omar Mateen's chilling calls to 911 was notable for what it did not include. Specific references to ISIS, which were removed by the FBI. The bureau saying the shooter's words could be used to inspire others.
RONALD HOPPER, FBI ASSISTANT SPECIAL AGENT IN CHARGE: We're not going to propagate violent rhetoric that comes from other people, whether they be here or overseas and to do that would only inflame people here that might be like-minded.
BROWN: But tonight, in a rare about-face, the FBI and Department of Justice sent reporters the full text, calling the controversy an unnecessary distraction.
The full version of the transcript shows Mateen making his first call to 911 more than half an hour after he began his shooting rampage at Pulse nightclub, telling the operator in Arabic, "Praise be to god and prayers as well as peace be upon the prophet of god." He goes on to say, "I'm in Orlando, and I did the shootings."
Mateen then pledges his allegiance to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, quote, "On behalf of the Islamic State." Even though investigators believe he launched the attack on his own.
HOPPER: We currently have no evidence that he was directed by a foreign terrorist group, but was radicalized domestically.
BROWN: The transcript also shows the gunman spent around 28 minutes on the phone with hostage negotiators. At one point, demanding America stop bombing Syria and Iraq. The negotiator asked Mateen what he had done. He responds, "You already know what I did." He later says, "In the next few days, you're going to see more of this type of action going on."
HOPPER: While the killer made these murderous statements, he did so in a chilling, calm and deliberate manner.
BROWN: Mateen also claims he has explosives, saying there are some vehicles outside that have some bombs, just to let you know. He says, "I'm going to ignite it if they try to do anything stupid." Later, Mateen tells a negotiator he has a vest, and describing it as the kind they used in France, an apparent reference to the terrorist bombings in November. And he threatens to put suicide vests on four victims.
The SWAT team commander told CNN that ramped up the risk for both civilians and first responders.
CAPTAIN MARK CANTY, ORLANDO SWAT COMMANDER: We were way too close. Because the explosives go off, we're all within 1,000 feet and we all could be killed.
BROWN: The FBI says no explosives found. The partial released transcripts also provide more specifics about when Mateen was killed. Around 5:14 a.m., nearly three hours after the attack begun, and nearly as long since any bullets had been fired, police say shots rang out again. A minute later, the gunman was reported down.
Today, officials defended their handling of the three-hour ordeal.
CHIEF JOHN MINA, ORLANDO POLICE: Our officers within the club within minutes and engaged the suspect and gunfire. That's important, because that engagement and that initial entry caused him to retreat, stop shooting, and barricade himself in the bathroom with hostages. So during that time, our officers were intermittently in and out of the club, saving people, rescuing people from inside the club.
[18:55:08] BROWN: And the FBI says it omitted the references to ISIS in that transcript, because it wanted to remain sensitive to the victims, their families and to avoid giving Mateen a voice from the grave, as one official put it. But officials within Department of Justice were apparently taken aback, surprised by the backlash.
Today, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, and the chair of the Homeland Security Committee, Mike McCaul, slammed on the decision and called on the White House to release the full, unredacted transcript, saying selectively editing the transcript is preposterous.
So, clearly, Wolf, this really hit a nerve with a lot of people.
BLITZER: Pamela Brown, thanks very much. Good point.
Let's talk about this with our justice correspondent, Evan Perez, and our CNN senior law enforcement analyst, Tom Fuentes. He's a former FBI assistant director.
A little embarrassment for the FBI, your former agency, Tom. Have you ever seen the FBI flip-flop on something as sensitive like this within a few hours?
TOM FUENTES, CNN SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: No. And I think, wolf, they clearly miscalculated the backlash. They wanted to avoid having Mateen have a vice from voice from the grave, wanted to have sensitivity and at the same time try to in the middle put out briefly, you know, the descriptions of what had been said about what he said. They were afraid that his exact quotes and if they played his voice on TV, it would be used by ISIS in an upcoming video. So they were trying to avoid that. They didn't realize the political backlash would be so severe. It was not politically motivated.
And it was not a decision made by Department of Justice or the White House. The FBI made the decision internally for the operational tactical reasons they said. So they were surprised.
BLITZER: Following the criticism, they reversed course.
You're getting new information, Evan, on the shooter's efforts to practice using this semi assault weapon at a gun range? What are you hearing?
EVAN PEREZ, CNN JUSTICE REPORTER: That's right, Wolf. This is the SIG Sauer rifle that he used in the shooting in Orlando. And in the weeks leading up to the shooting, he practiced shooting it at a shooting range in the Ft. Pierce area, in the St. Lucie area where he lived.
One of the things that stuck out to the people in the shop was the fact he was shooting it from the hip, Wolf. And they came and they scolded him. They said you can't do that here. The proper way is to shoot from the shoulder. So, that's why when after the shooting, the staff remembered him and remembered to go look for that video.
BLITZER: Should they -- people at that gun range have notified authorities when someone is shooting from the hip like that, as opposed to aiming his weapon?
FUENTES: You know, when you're at the firearm range, you see a lot of things like that. People trying to show off, trying to do what they see on TV --
FUENTES: Or in the movies. They see people shot from the hip, on hand, casual, that kind of James Bond type stuff.
PEREZ: Which is unsafe. I mean, you can't do that.
FUENTES: Which is unsafe, but if they see a direct safety violation, and they do it. They don't like the hip shooting, because they'll put bullets in the ceiling a floor and walls. But it's not enough to call the FBI this person is using unsafe mannerisms on the range.
BLITZER: What are you hearing about the shooter's wife? Because we know she has been under investigation, as well. PEREZ: Right. There's still a lot of scrutiny in what she knew and
what she didn't tell authorities until after the shooting. Now, they're still I think a lot of methodical work being done by the FBI. I don't think they're close to bringing those charges against her.
And there's a decision has to be made whether or not the Justice Department and FBI agree there are charges to be brought here. There is still a lot of work. They have done 500 interviews, Wolf. But there is still a lot more work they have to do to try to narrow --
BLITZER: But it is the FBI's position he went online, he was inspired by ISIS, although there was never a direct message from ISIS to go to him to go kill these people.
FUENTES: Well, as far as they know. But that's why they want to get the data from his telephone and from his computers of who he was communicating with. You know, you could have an intermediary where ISIS is telling them to tell him to do it. And it looks like self radicalization.
So, that's still a part of the investigation. It doesn't look like he was directed from Syria, but -- they want to make sure.
PEREZ: And it may still be a mix of motivations here. They haven't ruled out anything. Not only the ISIS stuff, but, you know, the hatred of gays and so on.
BLITZER: So there is this investigation, correct me if I am wrong, there is still a long way to go.
FUENTES: Long way to go.
BLITZER: And the bottom line is, we could all be surprised in the end what else we learn.
BLITZER: Yes. All right, guys. Thanks very, very much.
We've got some breaking news right now. As we anticipated, all four gun control measures now have gone down to defeat in the U.S. Senate. The two Democratic and two Republican proposals, they each need 60 votes to move forward. None of them got those 60 votes, with the voting falling mostly along party lines with very few exceptions.
The measures failed despite a new CNN poll showing some cases, 90 percent of Republicans themselves supported some form of new restrictions. But all four measures have now gone down to defeat.
That's it for me. Thanks very much for watching. I'm Wolf Blitzer in THE SITUATION ROOM.
"ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.