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Trump $40 Million Behind Clinton in Fundraising; Clinton: Trump "Dangerous" for the Economy; Interview with Katrina Pierson of the Trump Campaign; Clinton Slams Trump's Business Record; Trump Campaign a Family Affair?; Orlando Terror Attack Investigation; North Korea Launch Likely. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired June 21, 2016 - 17:00   ET


[17:00:13] WOL BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now:

Trump change. Hillary Clinton crushing Donald Trump in the fundraising race, tens of millions more dollars ahead of Republican rival. Then, she is on the attack, painting him as dangerous for the U.S. economy. How is Trump responding?

All in the family. Trump's children really tremendous influence in their father's White House bid playing key role in firing of his campaign manager. They're said to be among his trusted advisers. Can they help turn around his increasingly troubled campaign?

Armed and angry. Breaking news in the Orlando massacre, new details of what the gunman did in the hours before the attack. We're now learning his wife is telling investigators he left their home in their rage and carrying his guns in a bag. Why didn't she call the police?

And Un-daunted. New signs that North Korea's Kim Jong-un might be ready to test a ballistic missile, a provocative move in defiance of U.N. resolutions. It would be the fourth such test in three months. Will this launch succeed?

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


BLITZER: Donald Trump's presidential campaign is facing a cash crunch with just $1.3 million on hand compared to Hillary Clinton's 40 million plus.

The campaigns detailing their finances in reports to the Federal Election Commission. The news is sparking more anxiety among Republicans already uneasy about their presumptive nominee. And that has prompted Trump to send a fundraising e-mail promising to match donations for the next two days up to $2 million.

At the same time, Trump is coming under sharp attack from Democratic rival Hillary Clinton. In an economic speech, she took repeated jabs at Trump saying his plans would be disastrous for country. Clinton seized on a report by Moody's Analytics which concludes that Trump's proposals would result in 3.5 million lost jobs.

And there is breaking news in the Orlando massacre. Sources now telling CNN that gunman Omar Mateen went to Pulse nightclub earlier Saturday and left before returning to carry out his attack. And we're also learning his wife has now told investigators he was angry and was carrying a bag with guns when he left home for the final time. She said she pleaded with him to not leave but didn't know he was actually planning the attack.

We're covering all of that and much more this hour with our guest, including Trump campaign national spokeswoman Katrina Pearson and our correspondents and expert analysts, they are also standing by.

Let's begin with the race for the White House. Our political reporter Sara Murray has the latest.

Sara, Donald Trump's campaign now facing a serious cash crunch. What's the latest?

SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: That's right, Wolf. And Donald Trump spent a lot of the day pushing back on those attacks from Hillary Clinton, taking to Twitter to defend himself. One of the things that can hamper him in a head to head matchup against Clinton going into the general election are these truly awful fundraising numbers that his campaign has turned in.

But in true Trump fashion, he has been shrugging aside these problems all day today.



MURRAY (voice-over): Today, Donald Trump is brushing aside his latest round of setbacks from abysmal fundraising numbers --

TRUMP: You know, in New Hampshire and other states, I spent a tiny fraction what other people spent and I won in a landslide.

MURRAY: -- to dismissing his campaign manager Corey Lewandowski a day earlier.

TRUMP: We're going in a different direction because this is now different. The primaries, I ran them very lean. I spent very little money. I won in landslides, biggest vote in history, and won in landslides and Corey was absolutely perfect for that.

MURRAY: As Trump tried to regroup, he's downplaying his sharp disadvantage in the money race.

TRUMP: Let me tell you this. I understand money better than anybody.

MURRAY: The billionaire businessman ended last month with a paltry $1.3 million in the bank compared to Hillary Clinton's $42 million war chest. Today, he blasted out a fundraising e-mail promising to match small donors dollar for dollar up to $2 million. But Trump insists if things were desperate, he can bankroll his campaign as he did in the primaries.

TRUMP: I can go a different route. I can just spend my own money. I have a lot of cash. I can do like I did with the others. Many people think I do better that way, by being a little bit of the insurgent, the outsider.

MURRAY: All of this as the presumptive GOP nominee faces skepticism from his own party and makes the dubious suggestion that some Democrats have been better boosters than those in the GOP.

TRUMP: I will also tell you this. I need support from the Republicans.

[17:05:00] I mean, in some ways I get more support from the Democrats than do the Republicans.

MURRAY: Not exactly. A new CNN/ORC poll shows Clinton leading Trump 47 percent to 42 percent nationwide and she draws support from 90 percent of Democrats.

But Trump's odds look better in key battlegrounds. While he trails by eight points in Florida, the candidates are neck and neck in Ohio and Pennsylvania. And Trump may have made some headway with conservatives, spending the morning wooing religious leaders in New York, some of whom had deep reservations about Trump in the primary.

RALPH REED, FAITH & FREEDOM COALITION: It's not really our job as men and women of faith, as people of faith, to judge other people's spiritual journey and just because they're not on the same place we are theologically, you know, that we reject them. We accept him for he is and where he is now.


MURRAY: Now, one of the things to remember about the fundraising numbers is Donald Trump has essentially been building his fundraising operation from scratch. Since he merely self-funded during the Republican primaries and there is reason to believe that his June finance numbers will look better. They ramped up their fundraising efforts. But even donors who are helping his campaign, who are helping him raise money acknowledge they are likely to get beat by Hillary Clinton and potentially beat badly in the money raise -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Yes, he says he raised $12 million in that recent swing this month through Arizona and Nevada and California for that matter. We'll see -- Texas -- we'll see how he does in June. Thanks very much, Sara, for that.

Hillary Clinton is warning of dire consequences for the economy if Donald Trump becomes president, calling his proposals dangerous.

Our senior Washington correspondent, Jeff Zeleny, is in Columbus, Ohio, for us. Jeff, Hillary Clinton gave a speech there and she challenged Trump's

policies one by one.

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, she aggressively challenges policies but she didn't stop there. She went right to the very essence of Donald Trump, his business acumen as she keeps trying to define him here in this key battleground state.


HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESUMPTIVE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We can't let him bankrupt America like we are one of his failed casinos.

ZELENY (voice-over): Hillary Clinton delivering a blistering take down of Donald Trump's business record

CLINTON: Just like he shouldn't have his finger on the button, he shouldn't have his hands on our economy.

ZELENY: It's her latest effort to brand Trump as a dangerous menace, this time on the economy.

CROWD: Hillary! Hillary!

ZELENY: She spoke from the floor of an auto plant in Ohio, a critical battleground where she hopes to limit Trump's appeal to working class voters.

CLINTON: Every day, we see how reckless and careless Trump is. He is proud of it. Well, that's his choice, except when he is asking to be our president, then it's our choice.

ZELENY: Trump offering his real time response on Twitter, refuting one point after another. "How can Hillary run the economy when she can't send e-mails without putting the entire nation at risk?" he wrote.

CLINTON: Absolutely.

ZELENY: As she tries defining him, the Clinton machine is overwhelming him, at least in traditional metrics.

First in fundraising, a staggering $42 million to $1.3 million in the bank and in organization, as he invites today's three-point attack, her speech.

CLINTON: He has written a lot of books about business. They all seem to end at chapter 11.

ZELENY: Paired with a web video.

SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), FLORIDA: Have you heard of Trump Steaks? Have you heard of Trump Vodka? All of these companies that he's ruined.

MITT ROMNEY (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Whatever happened to Trump Airlines? ZELENY: In a website called "The Art of the Steal."

CLINTON: The United States of America doesn't do business Trump's way.

ZELENY: She is hoping this coordinate campaign will turn around numbers like this -- Trump leads by eight points on the economy, a new CNN/ORC poll finds.

Trump even shot a video on Instagram, defending his business acumen.

TRUMP: Hillary Clinton is only right about one thing. I understand debt and how to handle it.

ZELENY: The economy aside, Clinton has strong advantages on other measures, including temperament to serve as president.

Our poll shows Clinton with 24-point edge over Trump.

CNN has learned Clinton is narrowing her choices for her running mate, privately studying the records of a handful of prospects. No longer convinced she needs a liberal partner on the ticket. But, publicly, it's all Trump, seemingly taking delight in mocking him.

CLINTON: Trump ties are made in China. Trump suits in Mexico. Trump furniture in Turkey. Trump picture frames in India. Trump bar wear in Slovenia. And I could go on and on but you get the idea.


ZELENY: Now, that message could resonate here in Ohio. Of course, a proud made in America state, Wolf. But what Hillary Clinton is trying to do is challenge and question his very success.

She is also pointing to history here. She said the election of Donald Trump would indeed be a historic mistake. She said Alexander Hamilton, of course, the country's first treasury secretary, would be rolling in his grave -- Wolf.

[17:10:00] BLITZER: All right. Jeff Zeleny in Columbus -- thanks very much.

Let's get some more now, the national spokeswoman for the Trump campaign -- Katrina Pierson is joining us.

Katrina, thanks very much for joining us.


BLITZER: And as you just heard Hillary Clinton delivered a scathing speech today, taking direct aim at Donald Trump's entire economic record. I will play another clip for you, then we'll discuss.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CLINTON: And over the years, he intentionally ran up huge amounts of debt on his companies and then he defaulted. He bankrupted his companies not once, not twice but four times. Hundreds of people lost their jobs. Shareholders were wiped out. Contractors, many of them small businesses, took heavy losses. Many went bust. But Donald Trump, he came out fine.


BLITZER: All right. What's your response, Katrina?

PIERSON: Well, my response is this just goes to show you how just little Hillary Clinton knows about business in general, taking a couple of entities and comparing that to the 500-plus that Donald Trump has been very successful in goes to show you that Hillary Clinton has no idea what this country is about.

This country is about having an idea, going out there and fighting for your dream and building something. Hillary Clinton has built absolutely nothing in this country. It's Donald Trump that has created tens of thousands of jobs over the last few decades. It's exactly why he's winning on the economy.

BLITZER: Let me interrupt for a moment. Yes, he has created a lot of jobs and been a successful businessman. But you've got to admit there is a whole list, not that it's a short list, a long list of companies that have failed where he's had to file for bankruptcy.

PIERSON: No, it's actually not a long list when you are looking at all of the businesses that Mr. Trump has been in. And look at Walt Disney. He wasn't successful in all of his adventures. Look at Henry Ford.

These are successful businesspeople who tried things, who are entrepreneurs. And let's look at the facts here. Small businesses employed 50 percent of the people in this country. And, in fact, 65 percent of the new jobs created since 1995 were from entrepreneurs.

So, to sit there and criticize one or two companies that did or didn't make it just goes to show how Hillary Clinton has no idea what it's going to take to make America great again.

BLITZER: We did a study here at CNN, no major U.S. company, Katrina, has filed for Chapter 11 more than Trump's casino empire alone in the last 30 years. Those are facts.

PIERSON: Well, you're talking about major U.S. corporation, and the Trump Organization is a private entity and he has done several things with regard to businesses whether it's casinos or whether it's real estate development or other things.

This is not something that should be looked down upon. This is the United States of America. This is where people come to start their own business, to create their vision and to be successful in life. That is what Mr. Trump represents. It is also why Mr. Trump is leading when it comes to the economy. Mr. Trump is talking about making America great again, Wolf, and it's

because people today, they can't go out and get a loan because of things like Dodd-Frank to start their business. That's what acquiring debt used to mean in this country. You take out a loan and you start your business and you build your own little empire. And Mr. Trump wants everyone to be able to do exactly what he did.

BLITZER: Let's move to another area where he is getting severe criticism, Katrina, not just from general public but a lot of Republicans. According to the latest FEC filing, as you well know, Trump's campaign only has $1.3 million in the bank as of May 31st. Hillary Clinton's campaign is $42 million in the bank.

Why is Trump, who is a very successful businessman, I agree with you on that, having such a hard time raising money?

PIERSON: Well, he's not having such a hard time. If you look at the money for her only being five points ahead in the polls I think is quite astounding. Mr. Trump was not fundraising the entire time, he was self funding his campaign and he's just now beginning the fundraising process. So, of course, he is behind a little bit in the fundraising.

We've had a great successful last couple of weeks on the campaign trail fundraising. He decided to work with the RNC to do a joint effort to raise money, not just for his campaign but for the down ballot races, because it is important to help those candidates running for Congress. And I think it's a great thing moving forward.

When we are talking about the number of employees that Hillary Clinton has versus the Trump campaign and the amount of money that she has been spending and the simple fact that she is neck and neck with Donald Trump in swing states I think that is astounding.

BLITZER: But here's the question, Katrina --

PIERSON: Look at those numbers and make a judgment based upon the old political paradigm, again, where we were on the primaries being judged for the exact same things. We are talking about outcomes.

BLITZER: He wrapped up the Republican nomination, became the presumptive nominee in early May. Now we are approaching the end of June. Why has he only now started some serious fundraising?

[17:15:00] PIERSON: Well, because now he is joined in effort with the RNC. That's something that he committed --

BLITZER: Why not over these past six, seven weeks?

PIERSON: Well, that's what they've been doing, Wolf. They have been having these discussions and these conversations and putting together a team to do just that. That's one of the things that you and I have talked about over the last couple of months, this transitioning into that general election outcome.

Mr. Trump was convinced he wanted to self fund his campaign from the beginning, because that was important. Over time, what he ahs learned, there are people who don't have time to get out there and make phone calls or knock on doors. They want to contribute their money. This is his of allowing those people to invest in his campaign and he welcomes that.

BLITZER: So, why isn't he self funding now? If he's got $10 billion, why not use some of that money just self fund as he did through the primary process?

PIERSON: Well, he said he would. And what I just told you is there are a lot of people all over this country who are involved in politics and their money is their way of supporting. There are people who want to financially invest in this campaign, who believe in Mr. Trump and who want him to be successful.

There are a lot of people who can't get out there and make phone calls, who can't get out there and knock on doors. They can't do anything other than show their financial support and we welcome that.

It is very important to many people in this country that they help with their money. That's how they talk. That's how they work. And we welcome that.

There is a ton of small donors for Mr. Trump and he wants to welcome them into the campaign, as well as continue the joint effort with the RNC to fund raise for down ballot candidates.

BLITZER: All right. Katrina, stand by. We have more questions. We'll get your answers right after a quick break.


[17:20:54] BLITZER: Donald Trump is scrambling right now to refocus his campaign after a series of missteps that led him to take some pretty drastic action.

We're back with the national spokeswoman for the Trump campaign, Katrina Pearson.

Katrina, we looked at all the numbers that were filed with the FEC, the Federal Election Commission. Take a look at what we found. Trump is spending money on $208,000 on hats, $5,000 on signs, $694,000 on t- shirts, mugs and stickers. Compare that, Katrina, to $115,000 online advertising, $5,000 on print ads.

Is this the most effective way to be spending your campaign money?

PIERSON: Well, I think moving forward, you're going to see some of those numbers shift. Again, we are just now transitioning into more of a fundraising mechanism simply because Donald Trump does want to help the RNC and their joint effort. And, absolutely, you know, everyone loves their hats. I mean, everyone has their "Make America Great Again" hat. And those are big commodities for the campaign and it's a way for people to show their support.

BLITZER: Yesterday, the Trump campaign, as you know, fired Corey Lewandowski, the campaign manager. Is there a short list who will replace him?

PIERSON: Well, I think the campaign is functioning just fine now. If Mr. Trump decides to replace Mr. Lewandowski, he will.

But I think, again, Mr. Trump runs his campaign the way he would run a business. He and Corey broke history, made history in the primary cycle and now, we're moving into the general. Paul Manafort is still moving full speed ahead, moving forward to the convention and going into November.

And you're going to see a lot more money spent on ads and a lot going on in digital. So, we're just really excited.

BLITZER: So, Paul Manafort, for all practical purposes -- forget about the title -- has replaced Corey Lewandowski? Is that right?

PIERSON: Well, Paul Manafort is still the campaign chairman and ultimately moving us forward with the convention process and moving us forward into the general election.

BLITZER: Can you clarify where Donald Trump now stands when it comes to allowing people on the terrorist watch list or the no-fly list to buy guns? Because as you know, he tweeted the other day, he tweeted, "I will be meeting with the NRA who has endorsed me about not allowing people on the terror watch list or the no fly list to buy guns."

When is that meeting taking place?

PIERSON: Well, he's had one meeting and they're going to meet again. And Mr. Trump stands with the NRA simply because there is no due process involved when trying to take away someone's right to buy a gun. And in this case, this wouldn't have mattered with the Orlando shooter simply because he wasn't on a list to begin with.

But this is what we run into with the left -- the solutions that they propose really aren't solutions. They are just a driven agenda, goals that they have. We need to talk about ways to prevent bad people from doing these bad things and that was not one of them.

BLITZER: But he clearly disagrees. He has moved away from the NRA on these two very sensitive issues. They don't agree with him when he says not allowing people on the terrorist watch list or the no fly list to buy guns. He has moved closer to the Democrats on that specific issue than he is to the Republicans based on the votes yesterday, based on what the NRA is saying. Does he still believe that, what he tweeted last week?

PIERSON: Well, not at all. You can look. No, he tweeted last week that he wanted to have a meeting. He didn't change his position, Wolf.

And just last night on Bill O'Reilly, he reiterated the fact that he stands strong with the NRA on this issue. He wanted the meeting because the NRA are experts. They're the ones that have been through all of the policies and all the proposals that had been out there for decades. He wanted to see if there was anything that had to do with due process. And in fact, this incident --

BLITZER: I just want, Katrina -- I just want to clarify before I let you because there is obviously a little confusion right now. Does he want to ban people who are on the terrorist watch list or the no fly list from purchasing guns in the United States as he suggested in that tweet last week?

PIERSON: The position of Mr. Trump is that he does not want terrorists to buy guns.

BLITZER: That's not the question. That's not the question.

PIERSON: The meeting with the NRA --

BLITZER: The question is, does he want people in the no fly list or the terrorist watch list to buy guns?


PIERSON: But there is more to the question, Wolf. There is more to the question because they are having meetings.

[17:25:01] The position of Mr. Trump is he doesn't want to infringe on Second Amendment of any Americans and doesn't want terrorists to buy guns. This individual in Orlando was not on a watch list, so that policy would have done absolutely nothing.

BLITZER: Because as you know, Katrina, people on the Hill are voting on this as compromise, Susan Collins piece of legislation that's now been introduced. They want to know yes or no, does he believe that people on the terrorist watch list or no fly list should be able to purchase guns in the United States?

PIERSON: He believes that terrorists should not be able to purchase --

BLITZER: Yes or no, yes or no? Forget about terrorists. People on the watch list.


PIERSON: There is no "yes or no" to this. Mr. Trump does not want to remove a Second Amendment right from Americans without due process. That is your answer.

BLITZER: So, he's changed his position from what he tweeted last week?

PIERSON: He has not changed his position. His position last week is he was tweeting about having meetings. That was not a policy change, Wolf.

BLITZER: This is what he said, "I will be meeting with the NRA who has endorsed me about not allowing people on the terrorist watch list or no fly list to buy guns." In subsequent interviews, he made it clear he doesn't believe people on the terror watch list or the no fly list should be able to purchase guns in the United States.

What you are saying now is simply what the NRA says that terrorists should not be able to purchase guns.

PIERSON: Well, and the purpose of the no fly list and the terror watch list, no one really knows. How do you get on that list? How do you get off that list? And if that was the case, how did this individual not be on that list? There is a lot of clarification that needs to occur before having future discussions.

BLITZER: We will clarify it directly with him next time we speak with him.

Katrina, thanks very much for coming in.

PIERSON: Great to be here. Thanks.

BLITZER: Coming up, Trump's children, they are said to be among his most trusted advisers. Are they helping his campaign or could they potentially keep harming the (INAUDIBLE)


[17:31:15] BLITZER: We are following new developments in the presidential race. Hillary Clinton taking direct aim at Donald Trump's business record just as Trump's campaign is behind in some of the polls and scrambling to make up a huge fundraising deficit.

With us in THE SITUATION ROOM, CNN political commentator Peter Beinart, contributing editor of the "Atlantic Media," our chief political correspondent Dana Bash, CNN Politics executive editor Mark Preston and Real Clear Politics' national political reporter, Rebecca Berg.

All right. Now we have them all. Dana, Donald Trump has a five-point deficit nationally in our new CNN-ORC poll, a minority of independents and Republican women say they will support him. How bad potentially are these numbers for Trump?

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Look, I mean, it's always better to be winning but considering the kind of two weeks, maybe three weeks Donald Trump has had, very bad blunders politically, having his own party leaders turn on him openly and those who hadn't gotten behind -- those who hadn't gotten behind him keeping a distance and even those who had saying that the way he spoke about the judge that was dealing with and is dealing with one of his Trump University fraud cases, you know, sort of went after him in a very controversial way, and then of course him doubling down on his Muslim ban.

All of those things combined with what we know today which is the fact that his organization is proven to be very lean and mean, maybe more lean than mean, we'll see. Given all of that, he should be even further behind probably than he is right now. But I think the fact that they are about five points apart shows a couple of things. One is this is a polarized nation no matter who is on the ticket on both sides. But number two, both of the candidates, Republican and Democratic presumptive nominees, are incredibly polarizing themselves.

So that I think speaks to why yes, Hillary Clinton is doing well but maybe not as well as she would have or could have given any other year and any other opponent than Donald Trump.

COSTELLO: And, Peter, you know, five points within the margin of error. Maybe she is not doing as well as she would like to be doing. The poll also shows, our new poll, some other serious vulnerabilities for Hillary Clinton. Trump beats her on the question of honest and trust worthiness and who is best for the economy. Typically those are among the most important issues for voters. So not all of these poll numbers are good for Hillary Clinton.

PETER BEINART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: No, it's true. And you know, the fact that Donald Trump leads on honest and trust worthy given the fact that, you know, according to PolitiFact, for instance, his ravings of statements that have made, that big judge's fault are far, far higher than any other candidate in the primaries in either party is a testament to Hillary Clinton's weaknesses. And I think it will be very interesting to see what happens between now and the convention.

The Clinton campaign is clearly embarked on an effort to try to paint Donald Trump negatively in a way that his primary opponents couldn't, in a way that the Obama campaign did to Mitt Romney so he can never recover. And the advantage they have, as Dana mentioned, is they have much, much, much more money at their disposal. They are advertising heavily already. Donald Trump is not advertising at all. So it would be very interesting to see to watch those numbers. Do those numbers shift between now and the convention?

BLITZER: That's a good point. And Rebecca, on that issue Hillary Clinton she has, what, according to the end of May, she has, what, $42 million in the bank. He has $1.3 million, his campaign, in the bank. Why is he having apparently so much trouble raising money?

REBECCA BERG, NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER, REAL CLEAR POLITICS: You know, I actually spoke today, Wolf, with two people asking them this very question.

[17:35:02] A former top adviser to Jeb Bush's super PAC Right to Rise, and the former national co-chair -- finance co-chair of Ted Cruz's campaign so two very different campaigns but both raised a lot of money. And I asked them what are the big problems. They each named the same three factors. They said first of all Donald Trump had spent the whole primary campaign bashing donors and now he expects them to give him money. It's not going to happen if he is maintaining that tone.

Second, really he needs to begin to tailor his public comments, his tone to a more presidential tone. He needs to change what he is saying to appeal to Republicans and he hasn't been doing that. And third, he has only loaned his campaign money. He hasn't actually given any of his own money to the campaign and he has said that he would self fund but there's no indication that he's going to do that. So donors want to see that he is committed to this campaign and actually going to invest in it himself before they come forward and start raising money for him.

BLITZER: On the fundraising issue, Mark, can he turn it around?

MARK PRESTON, CNN POLITICS EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR: You know, look, he can turn it around but the question is, is he willing to turn it around? Is he willing to write a rather large check to encourage donors to help contribute to the campaign?

To Rebecca's point, it is very hard when Donald Trump goes out there and talks about being worth more than $10 billion and then going out and asking people for money. Now it's not something that he likes to do. He hasn't done a very good job of it so far. We've seen his first fundraising e-mail just released a few hours ago. So he can do it. The question is, can he get to that number in order to run a very efficient, very strong campaign? That number can be upwards of $1 billion. And I just don't see him getting to $1 billion. But perhaps Donald Trump doesn't need to get to $1 billion. And that still remains to be seen.

BLITZER: He spent a lot less than 16 other Republicans and got that Republican nomination.

We are counting down to tomorrow night's CNN Libertarian town hall. That party's candidates for president and vice president, former governors Gary Johnson and William Weld. They'll join CNN's Chris Cuomo tomorrow night for the town hall 9:00 p.m. Eastern. That will be interesting.

Coming up, more details about some of the most important insiders in Donald Trump's campaign, his grown children.


[17:41:48] BLITZER: This week's major shakeup in Donald Trump's campaign reveal the important behind-the-scenes role now being played by his own family.

CNN's Brian Todd is taking a closer look at Trump's grown children. They have a huge role by all accounts, Brian.

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: They do, Wolf. Tonight we're seeing something we really have not seen before inside a major presidential campaign. The children have just won a major internal battle in the Trump camp. It's a signal that they are going to leave an indelible imprint on the direction of the campaign and very likely on the outcome for their father.


TODD (voice-over): The consensus couldn't be more clear. If Donald Trump's children wanted Corey Lewandowski to stay with team Trump he'd still be there tonight. Trump's son Donald Jr. told ABC's "Good Morning America" he was in the room when his father sacked his campaign manager.

DONALD TRUMP JR., DONALD TRUMP'S SON: I think things had to change. And honestly it worked out well. I think it was a good split-up.

TODD: CNN has reported Trump's daughter Ivanka was especially critical of Lewandowski. His ouster has spotlighted the role of Ivanka and her two brothers, Eric and Donald Jr., now wielding unprecedented influence among the children of presidential candidates.

MICHAEL D'ANTONIO, AUTHOR, "THE TRUTH ABOUT TRUMP": He trusts them more than he trusts anyone else, and he respects them. And as Donald said to me he doesn't respect very many people but he sure as heck respects his children.

TODD: A Trump campaign official would not divulge the specific campaign roles of the Trump children but did say they're among his most trusted advisers. Ivanka has, by the candidate's own admission, tried to get her father to scale back those personal body blows that have become his trademark.

TRUMP: Ivanka would say be more presidential, and I started thinking, and I said I can't.

TODD: It's often fallen to Ivanka to assume the role of protector as she did last month on CBS when a woman claimed in a "New York Times" report Donald Trump had groped her.

IVANKA TRUMP, DONALD TRUMP'S DAUGHTER: He is not a groper. It's not who he is. And I've known my father obviously my whole life. And he has total respect for women.

ERIC FEHRNSTROM, ROMNEY 2012 SENIOR CAMPAIGN MANAGER: They can be important witnesses to his character. They can help humanize him.

TODD: Experts say a possible drawback for the Trump siblings, their significant lack of campaign experience. They have admitted they have never done anything like this.

ERIC TRUMP, DONALD TRUMP'S SON: It was our first kind of foray into politics. We didn't realize how the whole system worked and it was amazing.

TODD: Veteran strategists say another potential pitfall to having children so close to a candidate is their inability to take emotion out of the daily rough and tumble.

KEVIN MADDEN, ROMNEY 2012 CAMPAIGN ADVISER: There has to be a clear command and control structure inside a campaign where the campaign manager is making decisions about fundraising, about personnel, about travel. When those worlds intersect or collide, I should say, campaigns tend to have big problems.


TODD: For now the outward signs indicate the Trump children do get along with campaign chairman Paul Manafort who's the new power in the campaign. But if that goes south Trump biographer Michael D'Antonio says he does not think the children would have the power to push Paul Manafort out. D'Antonio says Manafort is too much of a seasoned, serious political operative and he has the advantage of having known Donald Trump quite a long time -- Wolf.

BLITZER: In addition to his own children Ivanka Trump's husband, Jared Kushner, Brian, he's seen his star rise in this campaign as well, right?

TODD: Really an understated role, Wolf, but he is rising.

[17:45:02] Jared Kushner has been gradually building his role in the campaign. One source told CNN Kushner was, quote, "intimately involved" in the decision to fire Corey Lewandowski. Kushner is also said to be helping Trump adjust to the kind of fundraising that we now know he so desperately needs. Look for Jared Kushner to play a very, very important role in the months ahead.

BLITZER: Yes. Absolutely. All right. Thanks, Brian, very much.

Tomorrow, by the way, right here in THE SITUATION ROOM my exclusive interview with the Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan. He'll join me tomorrow, SITUATION ROOM, 5:00 p.m. Eastern right here on CNN.

Up next, troubling signs North Korea is getting ready for yet another missile launch.


[17:50:04] BLITZER: We're following breaking news in the Orlando terror attack investigation. CNN has now learned the shooter's wife has told investigators her husband was angry and left home with his guns on the evening of the attack.

Let's bring in our justice correspondent Evan Perez who's working his sources. Evan, what else are you learning?

EVAN PEREZ, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, we're learning that the wife saw him leave the house carrying a bag with guns. She told investigators that he was enraged and that she begged him not to leave. Even grabbing him by the arm. She said that she didn't know that he was going to carry out an attack but she was worried enough that she tried multiple times during the evening to send him text messages and to call him.

We're also learning that on Saturday afternoon the family bought plane tickets for Mateen, his wife and their -- and their child. The plan was to fly from West Palm Beach to San Francisco in July. Now the question investigators have is if he was planning an attack, Wolf, why make those travel plans?

BLITZER: So given all this new information you're learning, is it likely the wife, Noor Salman, will be charged?

PEREZ: Well, you know, we know that the FBI still has her under scrutiny. She's hired a lawyer after several days of questioning, but the FBI still has plans to go back to her and ask more questions. We know that any possible charges are still some time away.

BLITZER: And you've also learned that the killer, he actually showed up at the Pulse nightclub earlier in the evening, left and then came back.

PEREZ: That's right. This is adding more to the context of that evening, Wolf. He went to the Pulse nightclub earlier Saturday night and then he left before returning around close time to carry out his attack. Now the FBI has used surveillance video, cell phone tracking along with witness interviews to build a timeline of his whereabouts on the evening of the attack, but they're still working to determine, Wolf, what he was doing for a two-hour period between the time he left the club and then he carried out the attack early Sunday morning.

BLITZER: I'm sure they'll find out all that information. All right, Evan, good work. Thanks very much.

We're also seeing new and very troubling signs that after a string of failures North Korea is now getting ready for yet another attempt at launching a ballistic missile.

Let's go to our Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr.

Barbara, the U.S., Japan and South Korea, they're taking this very seriously, aren't they?

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Indeed, Wolf. Tonight nerves are rising across Asia. What if this time North Korea has launched a missile that works.


STARR (voice-over): Japan tonight on high alert, deploying Patriot, missiles following a new assessment from Western intelligence services which detected signs North Korea might be getting ready to test a mobile ballistic missile.

PETER COOK, PENTAGON SPOKESMAN: We of course would have concerns if the North Koreans were to conduct another missile test. It would be another violation of U.N. resolutions.

STARR: The latest move by North Korea's erratic leader Kim Jong-un last seen here holding a cigarette in his hand in the middle of a North Korean anti-smoking drive.

The mobile launchers are harder to detect in a wartime environment, but so far have been unreliable for North Korea. Making the missile work has been a top priority for the regime.

THOMAS KARAKO, CENTER FOR STRATEGIC AND INTERNATIONAL STUDIES: This is a message that North Korea has very strong and dedicated intent to acquire this capability. Repeated failures are not going to stop him from moving forward.

STARR: This would be just the latest attempt by North Korea to launch a Musudan missile. They attempted to launch three in April then another just last month. In each case the launches appeared to have failed. If successful U.S. officials believe it could have the capability some day to potentially reach Guam and the most western islands off Alaska.

KARAKO: They're going to get this right sooner or later. They've made significant strides. We've been surprised in the past. But unfortunately that means that the United States and its allies in the region are going to have to prepare for that contingency.


STARR: U.S. officials tonight now are monitoring reports that in fact a launch of some type of North Korean missile did happen within the hour. They do not have confirmation yet of what type of missile and whether the launch was successful -- Wolf.

BLITZER: All right, Barbara. Thanks very much.

Barbara Starr with the latest on the North Korean missile test.

Coming up Donald Trump's dismal fundraising report. He's tens of millions of dollars behind Hillary Clinton right now. Can he catch up?

Plus, Hillary Clinton's searing attack on her Republican rival. Why she now says Trump would be dangerous -- very dangerous for the U.S. economy.



BLITZER: Happening now. Passing the hat. Donald Trump in desperate need of campaign cash as he gets blown away by Hillary Clinton's money machine.

Tonight as Trump vows to match new donations, why is he spending more on caps, T-shirts and mugs than on ads.

Financial takedown. Clinton warns voters that a Trump presidency would plunge the U.S. back into recession but tonight our new polling shows Americans still believe he's better to handle the economy than she is.

Short list. We're told Clinton is narrowing her choices for a vice presidential running mate right now. I'll ask a top Democratic senator what he's learning about the leading contenders.

And final hours. We're learning more about the Orlando attack's movements in the hours before the massacre. His wife telling investigators he left the house angry with a bag full of guns. Is there new evidence suggesting he hoped to escape the scene alive?

We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer, you're in THE SITUATION ROOM.