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AT THIS HOUR WITH BERMAN AND MICHAELA
Trump Gives Fiery Speech Attacking Clinton; Clinton to Lay Out Vision for Economy in Speech; Rubio to Seek Senate Re-election; Rep John Lewis Leads Sit-In on House Floor. Aired 11:30-12p ET
Aired June 22, 2016 - 11:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[11:30:00] DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: There are several things that are pretty complicated for Donald Trump, like when he talks about her ties to Middle East countries that have laws that are discriminatory against gays and so forth, because Donald Trump himself has business ties and dealings with some countries around the world. We'll get to that. No question. That is our job and that's what we'll do.
But when it comes to the overarching political narrative, what Republicans, again back to what you said to me, have been begging him to do, to look more presidential and not just throw insults but to have an argument that is sort of well thought out, he did that today. So when it comes to donors and when it comes to people who have been really reluctant to get on board, never mind the persuadable voters, at least that you can hear a little bit of a sigh of relief going on, especially here in lower Manhattan where some of those potential donors are.
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN HOST: Donald Trump, the general election candidate. That's what we'll be discussing right now.
Dana Bash, we'll get back to you in a second.
We have a lot of folks here to discuss this as well.
David Gergen, our senior political analyst, what's your gut reaction, what's your first thoughts on the speech today?
DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: If you don't look at what the substance of what he said, one of his best speeches and most effective speeches. It was disciplined. And we got a text, never before happened before, in a Trump campaign. I thought he had one very effective line that he said, that her hash tag is "I'm with her" and he said, "I'm with you, the American people."
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: I think we can play that.
Do we have that sound? That's sound bite number-three in the control room. Playing that? Go ahead.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE & CEO, TRUMP ORGANIZATION: She's believes she's entitled to the office. Her campaign slogan is, "I'm with her." You know what my response is to that? "I'm with you, the American people."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: So, David Gergen, that is framing this people versus the politicians change versus more of the same, the system is rigged, I'm not.
GERGEN: He's going back to Elizabeth Warren, the system is rigged against you and he's invoking the Sanders people over. He's trying to invite them over. So he's doing a lot of things for his side of this argument. He has helped himself I think.
But you can't ignore the truth of what he says and the lack of truth of what he says. I do think in coming days we'll hear about a string of lies and exaggerations. Let's go to something fundamental. I was really surprised he leaned as heavily as he did upon the Switzer book called, "Clinton Cash." That book has been basically discredited. Other new organizations have looked at it, he has no evidence that shows that money given to the -- by donors to the Clinton Foundation resulted in action by the State Department that favored those donors. And what Switzer himself says is I think there's a pattern here and we ought to investigate. I'm sorry, at this level, you can't slander somebody -- and this was a slanderous speech -- without more proof.
BOLDUAN: In politics, perception is sometimes just enough to be reality when you're trying to brand Hillary Clinton as Crooked Hillary, the most corrupt person ever to run for the office of the president.
MARGARET HOOVER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Look, it works, Kate, if you're reinforcing existing narrative and it's true. But you're going to have to stand up to the fact checkers and it's not going to become an existing narrative it's true. But you have to stand up to the fact checkers. And it won't become an existing narrative and begin to solidify unless it's true. Certainly, he hit on themes that go towards Hillary's big vulnerabilities. The notion that they have, the Clinton themselves have used their positions of influence to somehow increase their own net worth is a narrative that is out there and it is not based in just hoopla. There's real concerns on the left and the right about Hillary.
So it was refreshing to see what a GOP offensive against the Clintons might look like. But this was just a glimmer of that. What David gets at, and I think is -- gets to the core of problem in our politics, there's an assumption of evil and wickedness of our political opponents right now. If that's the baseline, if you're reading a letter from a constituent who says my opponent should be in jail and should be in prison, this is a very, very low place to start from. On the other hand, it's refreshing to hear some really substantive policy critiques of what a Republican party would look like in 2016. He mentioned going after African-Americans and Hispanics and bettering inner city lives at least three times. It's like Paul Ryan hijacked his teleprompter.
I mean, this is exactly what Paul Ryan wants us to be talking about right now.
JACKIE KUCINICH, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, THE DAILY BEAST: But the messenger matters. Because the thing about -- he said Hillary Clinton doesn't care about poor people. Hillary Clinton said the same thing about him yesterday. And have things to back it up like he had evidence -- his evidence to back it up. I think that also really matters.
BOLDUAN: Same with she's only out for herself.
BOLDUAN: She says the same thing.
KUCINICH: -- tit-for-tat election. I think you're going to have a lot of that. He says she did business with various countries in the Middle East. So did Donald Trump.
BERMAN: The tat here is you're the most corrupt person ever to seek the office of the presidency, that doesn't leave a lot of wiggle room.
[11:35:08] BERNARD WHITMAN, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: When Netflix delivers the documentary on the Donald Trump campaign, it's going to be called "Parade of Lies," This was one falsehood after another, starting with the charade that Donald Trump is a huge supporter of LGBT rights. He said it again and again. He has fundamentally that he wants to overturn the single biggest civil rights decision ever in the history --
WHITMAN: It's absolutely true.
KUCINICH: He had people on the list of evangelicals some of the foremost -- people who are marriage and welcoming them into the fold.
HOOVER: That's -- honestly, I work on LGBT issues on the Republican party and Donald Trump is the best Republican LGBT people will ever have seen --
HOOVER: Actually, he said Jenner can use any bathroom he wants in the Trump Tower. He's affirmatively used LGBT in the wake of Orlando in a way defending sort of the fact that LGBT community is persecuted. You haven't had a Republican candidate to do that ever.
BERMAN: We have New York City councilman, Joseph Borelli, here and Donald Trump supporter.
You have been asking for greater discipline in the Trump campaign.
JOSEPH BORELLI, NEW YORK CITY COUNCILMAN & DONALD TRUMP SUPPORTER: To David's point whoever came up with the "I'm with you" line should be promoted. That's a great line.
Let's go back to the overall message. This was a methodical dismemberment of everything Hillary Clinton has done since 2009. You can discredit some of the work in the book "Clinton Cash" but when someone raises $150 million, what were they selling? Vacuums or Ginzu knives? No. They're selling connections, political favors and selling access.
GERGEN: I'm sorry. Maybe this is foreign to you but actually a lot of people like to do good things in the world and are philanthropists and we celebrate what they did. The Clinton Foundation had been primarily about asking philanthropists to support various causes around the world, to help children and everyone else. This wasn't some of sort of just --
BORELLI: Beyond what Donald Trump laid out in the speech, there's instances with Boeing and dozens more. So I don't buy the notion that everything in "Clinton Cash" is not true.
Let's take one of the takeaways. In 2009, before Hillary Clinton was sworn in, it was different. Libya was cooperating, Iraq was seeing a reduction in violence, Syria was under control, Iran was being sanctioned, Egypt was friendly and ISIS not on the map. That's undeniable. That's what people can see.
GERGEN: When George W. Bush left office, people loved his foreign policy, didn't they? They thought we were doing well in the Middle East. Do you really believe that?
BORELLI: I'm not saying that -- five examples.
WHITMAN: He did not talk about his economic plan at all.
BORELLI: This has not happened.
WHITMAN: He did not talk about his economic plan at all. Everyone from Mitt Romney to Chamber of Commerce to Elizabeth Warren to moody's has said his plan to cut taxes for millionaires and give $3 trillion away to individuals and give $2 trillion to corporations and at the same time increasing spending on the military and Social Security and Medicare would drive 3.5 million people out of work and lead to an economic contraction. You have no significant policy details in the speech whatsoever. Reads from the teleprompter, he doesn't even seem he believes what he's saying.
BERMAN: I will say Hillary Clinton has given two speeches over the last three weeks that were exclusively about Donald Trump and not about policy. They are talking about each other a lot right now.
BOLDUAN: Let's talk about Hillary for one second.
Jeff Zeleny is following the Hillary Clinton campaign.
Jeff, you were listening to the speech with us. Hillary Clinton will be speaking today and laying out what she says will be -- this is kind of the two of her one-two punch from yesterday to today on hitting Trump on the economy and she'll be laying her vision for economic success. What are the concerns in Hillary Clinton land needs to be looking at in the speech that just happened?
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: She will be. Today is designed in that speech in North Carolina to talk about her plans. It's going to be fascinating to see if she's not going to be tempted to respond to this speech directly about Donald Trump. That was the topic of yesterday's speech in Ohio and today is supposed to be what she would do. I can't imagine her not responding at all. We did see her during the speech on Capitol Hill leaving a meeting of house Democrats and someone asked her to respond to the fact that he called her a liar, a world-class liar. She said great to see you all. She didn't respond in that moment. But I can't imagine she'll let that opportunity slip by.
But the substance of this here is something to keep an eye on. I was talking to Democrats on the ground in Ohio and they believe Donald Trump's message on NAFTA specific could be difficult for the Clinton campaign. She needs to push back on that. That's one of the reasons her support there has been soft.
There are many things in the speech that were good threads. The question here, if all of the overstatements and straight-out exaggerations and lies in the speech will turn off voters who are gettable. There are voters in the middle looking for an alternative. The question is did the speech bring them to Donald Trump's side? I'm not sure it does.
[11:40:24] BERMAN: There were a couple of explicit mentions of Bernie Sanders there by Donald Trump. At least two that I counted.
BOLDUAN: He said we welcome you in.
BERMAN: Jeff, it was a 40-minute speech. Did you hear from the campaign at all during the speech? Was there an effort of direct pushback while Donald Trump was speaking? ZELENY: Not from the campaign directly but from groups associated
with the campaign from Democratic groups who were sending out a fact check in real time and on social media. Some individuals with the Clinton campaign were saying, this isn't true, this isn't true. But the campaign certainly is going to push back in a more aggressive way.
But the question I'll be interested to see is she drawn into this herself? This is a tricky moment for the Clinton campaign, for the candidate herself. Is she going to try and float above the fray a little bit here or get drawn into everything he says? They are going to try to avoid that here, but she has to respond at least in some sense.
The Bernie Sanders stuff, I did hear from a Sanders supporter who said Sanders is still on board doing everything he can do to defeat Donald Trump here. So I'm not sure --
BERMAN: Except endorse Hillary Clinton.
BOLDUAN: Exactly. Exactly.
ZELENY: Sure. But I think at some point that will happen. We'll see. He'll have to -- follow through with his pledge or not here. I'm not sure there are many Sanders voters who are actually going to be available to Donald Trump. We'll see.
BOLDUAN: We'll see.
Jeff Zeleny, thanks so much.
David, should Hillary Clinton respond? Some could argue she's already responded, already in it and down in this tit for tat with Donald Trump. How should she respond?
GERGEN: I don't think this is tit for tat. This is slash and burn on both sides.
I'll tell you whose stock went up today, Elizabeth Warren. It's clear Hillary Clinton is going to need someone, not herself, to take on Trump as this campaign goes on. She doesn't want to get down there and do that herself. You need a pit bull to go after him and Elizabeth Warren is, in effect, the most effective we've had -- surrogate they've had. If you're in the Clinton campaign, I think you're saying, we ought to really think long and hard about Warren. There are a lot of downsides to Elizabeth Warren but we need somebody who can give a rip roaring --
BERMAN: She also gave a lot of critiques about the Obama foreign policy over the last eight years, four of which Clinton was secretary of state.
I want to bring in our nationals security correspondent, Jim Sciutto. A lot of direct attacks over what has happened particularly in the
Middle East over the last eight years, Jim.
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: NO question. As always with Donald Trump, you have a mix here. There are some things that are just factually not true, connecting Omar Mateen to the Obama administration's refugee policy when, as we know, he was born in this country, and likely heard few days ago from him saying Hillary Clinton would let tens or thousands or hundreds of thousands in when, in fact, the U.S. is well behind it's modest goal of 10,000 refugees in calendar year 2016, far below what many Europeans have taken in. You have that in there.
Then you had him looking back to 2009 and citing the countries where things were better than they are today and Libya being one of them. The intervention in Libya is something Hillary Clinton pushed for over the objections of others in the Obama administration, Bob Gates, former defense secretary among them. So that is a clear area on Hillary Clinton's record that he can go after with substance.
And to date, he's often gone after the more astronomical claims as opposed to ones you could embed them in fact. And in Iraq as well in 2009 before the pullout of U.S. troops, which had a thousand different forces effecting them, but it was an Obama administration decision to pull the troops out, and we saw the country fall apart then, and then ISIS come in and hold sway. So you have that mix of areas of substantive vulnerability for Hillary Clinton, which he attacked and a scripted and more measured way, but mixed in these other unfounded claims, which he really can't resist himself in spitting out, whether scripted or unscripted speech.
BOLDUAN: We've got a few of those moments cut if you can show folks sound bites four, everyone in the control room. This is one of the moments he went after Hillary Clinton on foreign policy. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: The Hillary Clinton foreign policy has cost America thousands of lives and trillions and trillions of dollars and unleashed ISIS across the world. No secretary of state has been more wrong, more often, and in more places than Hillary Clinton.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: There's a part of that right there, Jim, which is factually inaccurate. Hillary Clinton's foreign policy --
BERMAN: -- lives haven't been lost since 2008, period, anywhere overseas, correct?
[11:45:17] SCIUTTO: That's correct. You go back to Iraq, although she voted it and there's the vulnerability there, she voted for the Iraq invasion. It's really the Iraq invasion that you can say and we know factually led to the largest number of U.S. military casualties on the ground. But again, there and in a way a missed opportunity because you can pin certain things to her that are factually true. You can talk about Russia and the reset with Russia that she was at the forefront with. And you and I have seen how the reset with Russia has worked, Ukraine, Crimea, intervention in Syria. Those are the real opportunities there. So in a sense, you get the sense that he can't help himself to go after the more outlandish claims as opposed to one -- this is one even us, as reporters, these are hard questions to ask Hillary Clinton to, in effect, justify and defend her legacy as secretary of state.
BOLDUAN: Let's take a quick break. Much more to discuss, a lot in the 40-minute speech. We'll be right back.
BERMAN: We have breaking news this morning, apart from the Donald Trump speech we just saw. Senator Marco Rubio says he will seek re- election in Florida after all. This is a major reversal. Rubio had pledged to return to private life after his presidential campaign failed. He pledged that a lot.
BOLDUAN: Now three months later, he is in.
Let's go live to CNN's senior political reporter, Manu Raju, for the details.
Manu, there are -- a lot of lines stick out in his statement when he said he was beginning. In politics, admitting you've changed your mind is not something most people like to do, but here it goes.
MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: This was a significant reversal as you guys noted. Throughout the campaign season when he was running for president, he said, I'm going to be a private citizen in January if I don't win the White House. He said it over and over again, hundreds of time. Clearly, it was a significant shift.
The reason this happened, over the last three weeks, I've been hearing this has been a major pressure campaign, both privately and publicly as well. This started a few weeks ago when Republicans saw polling and were very, very worried about the current crop of candidates, believing they would lose in a head to head match-up against the Democrats likely candidate, Patrick Murphy.
As a result, you saw Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader, really lead a pressure campaign, telling all of his colleagues to go and convince Rubio to change his mind. Then Rubio started to think about it more and more, talked about it with his family over the weekend and came to the decision over the last couple of days and started to inform his colleagues today. A major reversal. It gives the Republicans a very good chance of keeping the seat. But it'll be a tough race. I'm told Democrats will spend a lot of money in an effort to knock off Rubio, believing if he loses twice in one year, that could be the end of his political career and no chance at the White House ever again -- Guys? BERMAN: Manu, you've asked interesting questions, namely, will he
pledge to serve all six years of his term or will he, say, run for another office like president of the United States in 2020?
[11:50:02] RAJU: That's going to be the question he's going to face for the next several months. What I've heard after he dropped out in mid March, he did want to run for president again. He was keeping that door open. He was getting pressure from his donor, supporters, advisors. A six year term. Can he serve out that six-year term, and would he not run in 2020 if Donald Trump were to lose to Hillary Clinton in the fall? Big question to straddle. But even if he said he would serve that six-year term, Democrats will turn around and say, well, you also said you weren't going to run for Senate and you're running for Senate now. So a lot of difficult issues to go forward with. And it is expensive. It will cost about $5 million a week to advertise in the fall. Rubio is going to have to rake in a lot of money, and Democrats will, too.
BOLDUAN: That's right.
Manu Raju on it for us.
Manu, great to see you. Thank you so much.
Another part of this.
Mark Preston is joining our panel.
Another part of this statement from Marco Rubio, Mark, that was so interesting is down below, he goes right to Trump: "The prospect of a Trump presidency is worrisome to me. It's no secret I have significant disagreements with him."
What is that going to look like on campaign trail? Marco Rubio running for Florida, Donald Trump really needing Florida.
MARK PRESTON, CNN POLITICS EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR: Right. Marco Rubio and Donald Trump were certainly not friendly at all on the campaign trail.
Look, Marco Rubio, what I was told a short time ago from his advisors, he's well aware of the risks. Meaning, he knows if he runs and loses the Senate race, his political career at a young age could be over or detrimentally harmed. Having said that, there's no other options. The other option was to run for governor in 2018, which would be a good jumping of point, but other politicians around his age are laying the groundwork, the agricultural commissioner there, and Marco Rubio would have a tough time even getting the nomination for that. Running for the U.S. Senate, as you said, not a bad spot. Barack Obama won. Hillary Clinton was the Senator. And this isn't a time where it was just John F. Kennedy was the only person that came out of the Senate. He needed a platform to run from, and if he wins in the U.S. Senate, this race, he has a platform.
BERMAN: It is stark to see though a guy in the most high-profile campaign of the year right now essentially positioning himself completely set from Hillary Clinton but also his own nominee, Donald Trump. He brags about the fact he will stand up to Donald Trump. Interesting to see.
Want to go back to Dana Bash at the Trump event, where Trump giving a speech at the Trump Soho building.
Dana, it is remarkable what we've seen over the last 24 hours, Hillary Clinton giving a speech just about Donald Trump and the economy, Donald Trump giving a speech just about Hillary Clinton and other subjects. This is an interesting dynamic we're seeing in this race.
BASH: It is. And we have seen the contours in the last 24 hours of the main arguments each candidate is going to use against the other now. We already knew that Hillary Clinton was coming in full steam ahead on Donald Trump, on his temperament, saying do you really want this guy in the Oval Office? Do you think he has the temperament to be president? And then now you have Donald Trump really for the first time putting aside for now some of the many things that are questionable when it comes to the facts he used against Hillary Clinton, but in terms of the theme and the tone and tenor very much hitting Hillary Clinton as somebody who is just part of the same, the Washington machine that is, in his words, corrupt, rigged. You don't need that anymore. You've got somebody from the outside and that's me. This binary choice that these two campaigns try to set up for voters, rather a small sliver in the middle of voters who have not decided between these two. It really has become much more clear at the end of this speech.
BOLDUAN: Margaret, I was just thinking, you made no secret of your problems with Donald Trump and his candidacy. What you heard when you hear him on message a speech Paul Ryan even wrote for him. Is he making a step in the right direction for winning you over?
HOOVER: Republicans I think still come down to three categories, the Never Trumpers, the pro Trumpers, and then the people in the middle who are trying to figure out how to navigate a Trump nominee and a Republican party that has Trump at the forefront. And this speech, what it does is it rekindles a glimmer of hope, maybe there's a place to hang their hat, maybe you have the disciplined candidate they've been yearning for, maybe you have the substantive policy critique that people have been wanting to draw in contrast to Hillary Clinton. The problem is the speech is so riddled with other elements that undermine the seriousness of this candidacy that -- I mean, somebody like me still thinks, this is impossible. This is almost impossible. I don't see how it happened.
[11:55:16] BERMAN: All right, guys, stand by. Obviously, a lot more to talk about.
Also, we're getting word it was an interesting moment on the House floor moments ago, a sit-in on the House floor. What's going on there? We'll tell you when we come back.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) BERMAN: Moments ago, an interesting moment on the floor of the House of Representatives, led by long-time member, John Lewis.
I want to go to Manu Raju right now to give us a sense of what we just saw.
RAJU: Hey, John. Right now this is led by John Lewis, the congressman, who is demanding a vote on gun control legislation, namely to expand background checks as well as deny gun sales to folks on the terror watch list. About 30 or so members right now, I am told, are sitting in the aisles of the House basically trying to protest their concern over the lack of vote in the House. The House is not gaveled into the session yet, but we'll see if it continues. But clearly, an effort to intensify pressure on Ryan. The House speaker was asked if he would allow a vote on a compromised bill by Susan Collins, of Maine, and said he wants to see what the Senate does before making a decision on what the House will do. But as we know, the Senate, it's difficult to pass anything. Democrats and Republicans fundamentally divided how to restrict gun sales to suspected terrorists and determining who those terrorists actually are. As a result, we'll probably see more stalemate and protests and more theatrics like we're seeing in the House.
BOLDUAN: We'll keep an eye on that.
Manu, thank you.
Also, we're getting back to this big speech by Donald Trump today.
Councilman, do you believe, as Margaret says, there's a glimmer of home for some republican that this could be a general election candidate they can work with. Do you believe he can stay on message? Do you believe Donald Trump can stay on this message, stay on this teleprompter the next five months?
BORELLI: Yes. As Dana pointed out, the principle attack Hillary has been using that's been effective is Trump's temperament. What do you say when he restricts his temperament and acting in this way? The Republican Party and Donald Trump have been searching for a nail to hammer in and they found it, it's Hillary Clinton. The thing that will unite Republicans and moderates for Donald Trump is Hillary Clinton.
BERMAN: Mark Preston, when the speech started, I saw a man walking slightly before Donald Trump, and it was Paul Manafort, the campaign chairman, now in complete control of the campaign.
PRESTON: Incredible amount of pressure on him right now. And I think we see an immediate change so far in how the campaign works. And I know this is in the weeds, but the infrastructure is important. The next two or three weeks important for Paul Manafort, not just raising money but infrastructure and keeping Donald Trump on message, which in itself is a very hard thing to do.
BERMAN: New campaign leadership, new fundraising pitch, new campaign message in this speech we just saw right here. (CROSSTALK)
BOLDUAN: In 10 seconds, what's the first thing you want to hear out of Clinton's mouth?
WHITMAN: I would say she needs to continue to go forward and lay out her plan for the American economy. Ignore Donald Trump. I say to my friends, Joseph and Margaret, don't fall for it. He will disappoint you.
And with Marco Rubio's announcement, we see the down-ballot revolt for the control of the U.S. Senate. Mitch McConnell and the reset of the Senate Republicans are going to abandon Trump.
BERMAN: All right, guys, thanks so much.
That's all for us AT THIS HOUR.
BOLDUAN: "Legal View" with Ashleigh Banfield starts right now.