Return to Transcripts main page


Trump: Clinton "is a World Class Liar"; House Democrats Stage Sit-In, Demand Gun Vote; Interview with Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina; Trump Tries to Refocus with Speech Blasting Clinton; House Democrats Stage Sit-In, Demand Gun Vote; Clinton Accuses Trump of Outlandish Lies; North Korea Launches Medium-range Missile. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired June 22, 2016 - 17:00   ET


[17:00:12] WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now:

Breaking news: world-class liar. Donald Trump comes out swinging at Hillary Clinton, a blistering speech, trying to move his campaign forward after weeks of turmoil. Trump accusing his rival of bringing death, destruction, and terrorism to everything she touches.

A House divided. Democrats take drastic action, staging a sit-in on the House floor, demanding action on gun control and vowing to stay until Republicans allow a vote. I'll talk about it with Senator Lindsey Graham and the House Speaker Paul Ryan.

Firing back. Hillary Clinton answers Donald Trump's new attacks with a slew of her own, accusing the presumptive GOP nominee of lashing out with outlandish lies and conspiracy theories. How is she responding to Trump's attacks on the Clinton foundation?

And Un-stoppable. After half a dozen attempts, North Korea completes a successful launch of a new nuclear capable missile able to strike military bases and allies in Asia. Is Kim Jong-un on the verge of creating a new nuclear arsenal?

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


ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

BLITZER: We're following breaking news. A sharp new wave of attacks and counterattacks between the presumptive Republican and Democratic presidential nominees. Donald Trump turning his focus away from days of campaign turmoil and back to Hillary Clinton, calling her, and I'm quoting him now, "a world-class liar" in a speech that condemned her record, her honesty and judgment.

Clinton fired right back, slamming what she calls Trump's outlandish lies, string of empty promises and hollow sales speech. And the campaign has announced her first appearance with another top Trump nemesis, Senator Elizabeth Warren. She'll campaign with Clinton next week in Ohio.

We're also following a remarkable situation unfolding in the House of Representatives right now. Civil rights icon John Lewis and fellow Democrats are staging a sit-in on the House floor, demanding Republican leaders allow a vote on a gun control measure.

We're covering all of that and much more at this hour with our guests, including Senator Lindsey Graham and our correspondents and expert analysis, they are also standing by.

Let's begin with Donald Trump's speech hammering away at Hillary Clinton.

CNN's Phil Mattingly is joining us with details.

Phil, this was Donald Trump trying to get his campaign back on track.

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, no question about it, Wolf. And in the seven weeks since Reince Priebus named Donald Trump the presumptive nominee, there have been no shortage of issues that frustrated but top among them, his lack of focus entirely on Hillary Clinton. Well, today for 40 minutes, sticking very close to the remarks loaded in his teleprompter, he did just that.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESUMPTIVE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Hillary Clinton may be the most corrupt person ever to seek the presidency.

MATTINGLY (voice-over): Today, a disciplined Donald Trump staying on script and launching his most sustained and fierce multi-front attack on Hillary Clinton.

TRUMP: The other candidate in this race has spent her entire life making money for special interests and I will tell you, she has made plenty of money for them and she's been taking plenty of money out for herself.

MATTINGLY: The presumptive GOP nominee unleashing a scathing critique less than a day after Clinton's second major speech painting Trump as unstable and disqualified from holding office.

HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESUMPTIVE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Just like he shouldn't have his finger on the button, he shouldn't have his hands on our economy.

MATTINGLY: Trump's speech comes as he has faced weeks of negative headlines, poor poll numbers, anemic fundraising and internal campaign turmoil. Today, Trump trying to turn the page and focus entirely on his general election opponents.

TRUMP: She believes she's entitled to the office. Her campaign slogan says, "I'm with her." You know what my response is to that? I'm with you, the American people.

MATTINGLY: A more focused effort. One top GOP official had desperately pleaded for as he tries to right his campaign. Trump attacking Clinton on her time as a private citizen, her years as first lady and her record as secretary of state.

TRUMP: In short, Hillary Clinton's tryout for presidency has produced one deadly foreign policy disaster after another.

MATTINGLY: A series of broadsides designed, aides say, to reinforce Clinton's sagging trust numbers in polls.

TRUMP: Hillary Clinton and, as you know, she -- most people know, she's a world class liar.

[17:05:04] Just look at her pathetic e-mail server statements.

MATTINGLY: Trump moved between broad assertions of Clinton failures, like her support for the Iraq war while, again, claiming he was always opposed.

TRUMP: I was among the earliest to criticize the rush to war and, yes, even before the war even started.

MATTINGLY: Even though Trump is on record in 2002 saying he would support for invasion.

HOWARD STERN: Aare you for invading Iraq?

TRUMP: Yes, I guess so. You know, I wish the first time it was done correctly.

MATTINGLY: Trump also raising more conspiratorial charges of deliberate malfeasance by Clinton during the 2012 terrorist attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi.

TRUMP: Among the victims, our late ambassador, Chris Stevens, I mean, she -- what she did with the victims was absolutely horrible. He was left helpless to die as Hillary Clinton soundly slept in her bed. That's right. When the phone rang, as per the commercial, at 3:00 in the morning, Hillary Clinton was sleeping.

MATTINGLY: Claims debunked by Democratic and Republican congressional investigations.

Some of Trump's attacks, more on point, including his criticism of Clinton for saying in 2008 that as first lady, she landed in Bosnia under sniper fire.

TRUMP: She said she was under attack, and the attack turned out to be young girls handing her flowers.

MATTINGLY: Trump often criticized for his campaign's lack of specific outlined eight priorities for the first 100 days in office, including judicial appointments, changes to immigration laws, a repeal of Obamacare and, quote, "massive tax reform".

TRUMP: There is one common theme in all of these reforms, it's going to be America first. (APPLAUSE)


MATTINGLY: Now, Wolf, that speech came a day after the fund-raiser here in New York City and as his campaign really ramped up response efforts, rapid response efforts, message, money, infrastructure in the campaign, all three issues that Republican officials have said Donald Trump needs to focus on extremely if he wants to be successful. At least he was for now.

But the big question remains, how long will it last? Wolf?

BLITZER: Phil Mattingly reporting live for us in New York -- Phil, thanks very much.

I want to go to Capitol Hill right now in a move by House Democrats. I'm showing you live pictures coming in from the floor of the House of Representatives. These Democrats are staging a sit-in right now on the chamber floor. They're demanding a vote on gun control.

Our senior political reporter Manu Raju is on the scene for us.

Manu, this is being led by Congressman John Lewis, a veteran of the civil rights movement. What's the latest?

MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: Well, the Democrats are trying to push for a vote on either universal background checks or trying to prevent suspected terrorists from getting guns. The House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Republican, has had discussions with House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer about possibly getting a gun but there is re no deal yet and Democrats are prepared to wait it out.


REP. JOHN LEWIS (D), GEORGIA: The time for silence and patience is long gone.

RAJU (voice-over): Furious Democrats take to the House floor and refuse to leave, demanding a vote on gun control after the worse mass shooting in U.S. history.

LEWIS: We're calling on the leadership of the House to bring commonsense gun control legislation to the House floor. Give us a vote.

RAJU: The business of the House grinding to a halt, as dozens of Democrats press for a bill that they say will prevent terrorists from buying a gun.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A suspected known to be terrorist, why, why can you get a gun, a machine gun?

RAJU: The House went into recess. With that, cameras in the chamber were powered off. Members streamed the protest online.

Democratic senators marched onto the house floor, too. Online, support floats from like-minded president.

Republicans called it an unhelpful stunt. One North Carolina Republican calling it a disgrace to Woolworths, a reference to the historic 1960 protest for racial equality.

On the steps of the Capitol, Democrats staged an emotional vigil.

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), MINORITY LEADER: All day, we'll be there a long as it takes every day.

RAJU: Chicago lawmaker, Bobby Rush, whose own son was shot dead, recalling his wife's horror.

REP. BOBBY RUSH (D), ILLINOIS: I will never forget the primal screams of my son's mother. Shot down in cold blood on the Chicago. It's time to end this chorus of primal screams in our nation and it's time to end it right now.


RAJU: Now, House Minority Nancy Pelosi just spoke with reporters, Wolf, and you're looking at some live pictures of the House floor. She just spoke with reporters and was not clear what it would take for Democrats to drop their protests. She said, "We want a bill", and one of our colleagues Deirdre Walsh (ph) tried to push her on that and she was not very clear on what that means.

We know is Democrats and Republicans are just at loggerheads on the issue of how to define those terrorists are if you are to deny a terror suspect a gun, that's a compromised bill being worked out in the Senate by Susan Collins of Maine, but both the right and left are not happy with it. Even Nancy Pelosi poured cold water on that bill just a few moments ago, Wolf.

BLITZER: Interesting.

All right. Manu Raju on Capitol Hill, dramatic developments, thanks very much.

Let's get some more on all of this. Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina is joining us.

Senator Graham, thanks very much for coming in.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: Got to love democracy.

BLITZER: Should a gun control measure at least be allowed to come up for a vote on the floor of the House of Representatives?

GRAHAM: Well, we had four votes, I think, yesterday in the Senate. So I don't mind voting. I mean, when a senator tells the House what to do, it's not well-received over there. But at the end of the day, when you look at Orlando, I'm not looking Orlando as a gun control problem. I'm looking at it as a terrorism problem.

If gun control could protect the country from radical Islam, there would be no attack in Paris. But having said that, I hope they can find a way to move the House forward and vote on gun control if that's the will of the House.

BLITZER: I spoke with Representative John Lewis, who is a civil rights icon, as you well know.

GRAHAM: Yes. He's a good man.

BLITZER: He said that they are going to keep this protest, this sit- in going as long as it takes to convince the speaker of the house to let them at least have a vote. What's your message -- you used to serve in the House of Representatives, they're your former colleagues --


BLITZER: -- in the House right now? It's a sensitive moment.

GRAHAM: Well, just let the House work its will. I really do believe that my Democratic friends are trying to turn this into a gun control issue when we all should be worried about, how did this guy get off the list? Why was he taken off the list? What are we doing about home-grown terrorism?

But there's an intersection, I believe, where gun legislation and terrorism cross. And I'm going to support a measure in the United States Senate that would disallow someone on a no-fly list, there are 800 Americans, from buying a gun.

I own an AR-15, but if you are on a no-fly list or a secondary screening list, I'm going to vote and say that you can't buy a gun.

BLITZER: You're with Susan Collins --


BLITZER: -- the Republican from Maine.

GRAHAM: I think that's a --

BLITZER: She has got a compromise piece of legislation she introduced yesterday. When is that going to come up for a vote?

GRAHAM: I hope tomorrow. Again, I'm a strong supporter of the Second Amendment. I own an AR-15, but --

BLITZER: What do you need an AR-15 for? That's like a semi-assault -- I mean, what do you need that for?

GRAHAM: Well, why do you read the books you read? I have a constitutional right to lawfully own a gun within boundaries. If I'm a felon, I can't buy a gun. If I'm an irresponsible citizen, I can't buy a gun.

But my reserve unit in Afghanistan, several people bought AR-15s, which are a semi-automatic rifle with a logo of the unit I served in. It means a lot to me. And I'm not going to hurt anybody with that gun.

But I will say this to you, we may not agree on AR-15s being banned but I agree with many people that if you're on the no-fly list, you should be denied buying a gun.

BLITZER: And if you're on the terror watch list, you should not be able to buy a gun either, right?

GRAHAM: OK. There are two lists. There's one that's a million people. You get on the terror watch list, I could say I think Wolf Blitzer is sympathetic to ISIL. That list is a million-and-a-half people.

The 100,000 list are people that the intelligence community nominate to the FBI. Ninety-nine percent are foreign nationals, 2,700 Americans, and to get on that list you're put on by the FBI so it's not gossip, it's not innuendo. There is credible evidence that you're sympathetic to the terrorist cause.

And if you get on that list, there are 2,700 Americans out of 106,000, I believe, I believe the smart thing to do, anti-terrorism, counterterrorism measure would be to say to these people, you can't buy a gun, but you have due process.

BLITZER: But the compromise Susan Collins legislation, do you have 60 votes needed to pass?

GRAHAM: I think we may get there. So what it would do, if you're on this list, you can't buy a gun, but if you're wrongfully on this list, you're an innocent American put on this list --

BLITZER: But it doesn't do anything to extend background checks.

GRAHAM: No, no. This denies a gun sale. This denies the sale.

BLITZER: Well, but somebody could go to a gun show, come in from Europe, go to a gun show and buy a gun from a private citizen without any background check.

GRAHAM: Private citizens can sell at gun shows.

BLITZER: You like that idea?

GRAHAM: That's a fraction -- see, what people are trying to do is I want to pass my gun on to somebody in my family, I don't want to go through a background check.

BLITZER: That's different. But, I mean, if somebody comes in from Europe, they go to a gun show --

GRAHAM: It's not really.

BLITZER: -- they can buy a weapon without any background check.

GRAHAM: It's the first step in telling private people when you transfer a gun to a family or somebody that you know or care about, that you've got to go through the background check system, I'm not for that.

[17:15:01] BLITZER: Did you listen to the Donald Trump speech today and what's your reaction?

GRAHAM: No, I didn't.

BLITZER: But you have heard about it?

GRAHAM: I've heard some of the eight things he wants to do is fine (ph).

Here's what I would tell Mr. Trump: Most Americans don't trust Hillary Clinton. The problem you've got is most people don't think you have the knowledge for the job and the temperament for the job.

So if I were you -- and why should I give him advice? He beat me. So take it for what it's worth.

He's leading her on the economy. He's leading her in terms of who is best able to fight terrorism. He actually has a shot at this thing but he's losing miserably on temperament and knowledge. And demographically, with the Hispanics and African-Americans and young people, he's getting wiped out.

So my advice to Mr. Trump would be to make the case that you have the temperament, judgment, and knowledge to be president, go after her in areas where you think she is weak, but that's the mountain you've got to climb.

BLITZER: He said today that Hillary Clinton may be the most corrupt person to run for president of the United States. You agree with him?

GRAHAM: No. I mean, I don't have a list of all of the people who have run and I don't think anybody listens to that. When one politician calls another politician a bad name, nobody listens anymore.

BLITZER: He says she's a world-class liar.

GRAHAM: And I don't know what she says about him. But I think most people are looking for leadership.

And the question is, does Donald Trump have the temperament, the judgment, the knowledge to be president?

BLITZER: Do you think he does?

GRAHAM: I'm not supporting him because I don't think he does. And I'm not supporting her because I don't see the change coming from her that we need to win a war that we can't afford to lose, and continue economic policies that makes it harder to create jobs in America.

So that's where I'm at.

BLITZER: We're going to have more to discuss. I want to take a quick break, Senator Graham. Much more coming up with Lindsey Graham right after this.


[17:21:02] BLITZER: We're following the breaking political news, sharp new attacks by Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, with Trump calling his Democratic rival, and I'm quoting now: "The most corrupt person ever to seek the presidency."

We're back with Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.

He has only got $1.3 million in the bank for his campaign. He sounds like he's blaming Republicans, though, you've seen some of the statements he has made. He doesn't think they are necessarily committed to his fundraising, to his ability to become president. He may have to go on his own. What's your reaction when you hear that?

GRAHAM: Well, number one, he beat me. So, again, I want to let that be known, Donald, you did beat me.

But here's my advice. The reason you're not raising money, people don't think you're a good investment.

Your immigration position is taking a problem we have with the Hispanic community and making it far worse. Your idea of deporting all 11 million, including their American-born citizen children, is not a good policy position, it hurts us politically.

You know, "America first," that is a code to some for isolationism. I don't quite understand your foreign policy.

I know why I can't vote for Secretary Clinton. I don't dislike her. I think she has taken the country in a wrong direction, slower maybe than Obama, but still in the wrong direction.

With Mr. Trump, it's unnerving his policy choices, his policy proposals. And at the end of the day, money will matter. He says he can finance his own campaign. So I wish he would, because that would free up money to help the Republican House and Senate.

So, Mr. Trump, if you can finance your own campaign, do it, because the people that would have given you money can give it to the House and Senate Republicans. And I want to hold the House and the Senate.

BLITZER: If you can't vote for Trump, you can't vote for Hillary Clinton, who are you going to vote for?

GRAHAM: I probably won't vote for president. I'll just go down- ballot. And it really hurts to be able to not support your party's nominee. And it's not sour grapes.

I just really believe he's taking my party in a direction I can't go -- on immigration, on some of the proposals on foreign policy, keeping Assad in power is a horribly bad idea. He is for that.

So I hate the fact that I can't support my party nominee. I want to help my House and Senate colleagues who I will support enthusiastically.

BLITZER: Marco Rubio announced today --


BLITZER: -- he is, after all, going to run for reelection from Florida.

GRAHAM: Good news for the home team.

BLITZER: He's got a pretty bad attendance record. He was running for president, as you well know. He has criticized the Senate on multiple times. We were going through his statements, "Yes, I work in the Senate but I'm not of the Senate."

He told "The Florida Sun-Sentinel" back in 2011 that he couldn't think of a real high point. He says we're not going to fix America with senators and congressmen. Are you surprised he's now seeking reelection?

GRAHAM: Oh, I'm glad he is. I think it changes the electoral map for Republicans. I think he has got a bright future. He acquitted himself well running for president. And clearly he wants to be in the Senate.

I will help Marco in any way I can. He's the future of the Republican Party, and he puts Florida squarely in play again.

BLITZER: Yesterday you were at a hearing, a confirmation hearing for the incoming commander of the U.S. Africa Command, AfriCom, as it's called, Lieutenant General Thomas Waldhauser. And he told you -- and I'm looking at the notes over here, he told you, he told you that he will not have the authority to strike ISIS in Libya once he's the commander if, in fact, he is confirmed.

You were pretty outraged by that, why?

GRAHAM: Yes, because I think ISIL is a direct threat to our homeland, and they have a foothold in Libya that affects Europe and could affect us. I think wherever ISIL goes, we should have the ability to confront them, detain them, destroy them, attack them.

We are not really at war, President Obama's strategy when it comes to Iraq and Syria doesn't have an end game. The military strategy is not hitting on all cylinders. Tell that to the Yazidis who have been wiped out as a people, to the 400,000 people killed in Syria, and now, the foothold in Libya.

So the president's military strategy will not lead to the destruction of ISIL.

BLITZER: But you don't blame the president for all of that disaster whether in Syria, Iraq, Libya --

GRAHAM: Oh, I most definitely do.

BLITZER: You blame President Obama --


[17:25:00] GRAHAM: I blame the president --

BLITZER: What about all of the people who live there? Shouldn't they get some of that blame?

GRAHAM: I blame ISIL above all others. But I blame the president's foreign policy to allow ISIL to come about to begin with, to have a caliphate the size of Indiana, to be able to hold territory for a couple of years, to destroy the Yazidi people, rape women en masse, kill 400 -- you know, kill a couple hundred thousand people and now be in Libya, I absolutely blame him.

You know, it's OK to blame a president when their foreign policy doesn't work. Nobody had a problem blaming Bush, including me.

BLITZER: Senator Graham, thanks for coming in.

GRAHAM: Thank you.

BLITZER: Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.

Coming up, his Republican rivals largely ignored Donald Trump's insults and attacks, but Hillary Clinton is getting as good as she's getting right now. We're going to hear her response to Trump's later barrage.

Plus, North Korea successfully launching a missile strike capable of a nuclear strike on U.S. troops in Asia. So, what is Kim Jong-un planning next?


[17:30:26] BLITZER: We're following breaking news in the presidential race. Donald Trump beginning his long awaited general election attack on Hillary Clinton saying her decisions, and I'm quoting him now, "spread death, destruction and terrorism everywhere she touched."

Let's get the insights of Real Clear Politics national political reporter Rebecca Berg, our political commentator S.E. Cupp, our political commentator Ana Navarro, and our CNN chief political correspondent Dana Bash.

Dana, Trump read a speech today from a teleprompter. He tried to deliver a steady, consistent message. Is this a sign that he's finally ready to run a more disciplined campaign?

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: You know, it's kind of ironic. He has been the most unconventional of candidates and this was the most conventional of moves that he made today for a politician. You want to change the subject? Make a big speech and talk about your opponent in the way that you never had before. He did that. But he also laid out his own sort of parameters and contours of the kind of message he is going to have and wants to have going forward.

That is something that we have not seen. He's been effectively the presumptive nominee for seven weeks. This is the first major speech of this kind. And it is one that Republicans have been dying for him to give for a whole host of reasons, not the least of which is to turn his sights and focus on Hillary Clinton in a big way so that, you know, a lot of the discussion that he has been having or has been had around him for the speeches he has given, for the things he has said, for the financial problems, for the turmoil inside his campaign, so he can try to move past that.

Will this be the first day of the rest of his campaign? We'll see. But he's certainly gone further in making Republicans breathe a sigh of relief than he has in many, many weeks.

BLITZER: S.E., as you know, Donald Trump, the fact checkers are having a field day right now. He repeated some questionable conspiratorial theories, some questionable facts, claims during the speech. But does that really matter to voters out there when you get all that fact-checking coming in?

S.E. CUPP, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, let's be clear. Neither of these candidates have a particularly good relationship with the truth. Hillary Clinton has lied about her own biography. Hillary Clinton -- many people believe lied about Benghazi. Many people believe lied about her e-mails. She has crazy high unfavorable numbers when it comes to her trustworthiness.

Donald Trump, as you point out, keeps fact-checkers busy 24 hours a day. He, you know, elaborates, embellishes, I believe he lies sometimes. So it's almost like these two liars kind of cancel each other out. I don't know if voracity, if that is an important issue to voters. It's going to guide them to either of these two candidates. They both have a real problem with the truth.

BLITZER: Ana, we've seen similar speeches from Trump in the past, disciplined speeches, reading it from a teleprompter. He stays on message for a couple of days before returning to what some would call outrageous rhetoric, controversial proposals out there on the campaign trail. Will having a new campaign manager right now help him finally pivot toward the general election to become, quote, "more presidential"?

ANA NAVARRO, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Oh, Wolf, if I knew the answer to that, I'd give you the numbers for the Powerball. Listen, the bottom line is, we just don't know what kind of Donald Trump we're going to see from now on. So far he has exhibited the message discipline of a 13-year-old. He has a very hard time repressing his natural instincts and he's in a Catch-22 because he must stand there and he must say to himself, well, being politically incorrect, being myself, blurting out whatever is in my head, causing controversies, making statements that are outrageous has worked for me so far, has brought me this far along.

And so the tightrope he has got to walk is, how does he, on the one hand, remain true to himself, keep that persona that has brought him this far along but become presidential enough so that he gives a lot of other Republicans and other American voters a comfort level, that he has got at least the minimum level of temperament required to be the president of the United States?

BLITZER: Rebecca, in the speech today, he once again reached out to the Bernie Sanders supporters asking for their support. But take a look at this recent CNN/ORC poll that asked what Sanders supporters think of Trump. Are you afraid of a Trump presidency?

[17:35:03] Sanders supporters, 78 percent voters said yes, 22 percent said no. So 78 percent are not going to vote -- of the Bernie Sanders supporters going to vote for him. 22 percent said no. But do you think realistically he has any chance of getting a significant number of those Sanders supporters?

REBECCA BERG, NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER, REAL CLEAR POLITICS: Well, certainly there is some overlap in terms of message and that's why we see Donald Trump going after these voters. Bernie Sanders ran as an outsider, he had a very anti trade message, bringing jobs back to America, focusing on the working class. So there is some overlap there but let's remember that Bernie Sanders supporters have been uniquely passionate about their candidate and uniquely loyal to him.

And when he comes out and endorses Hillary Clinton and campaigns against Donald Trump and we expect that he will, of course, endorse Hillary Clinton at some point, it's very likely that his supporters will follow his lead and go where he tells them to go and that's not to say that they are not, you know, using critical thinking. But usually that is what you see in politics. They respect his opinion, they respect him and are loyal to him and so when he sends the signal, I think we're going to see most of his supporters go to Hillary Clinton.

BLITZER: And Hillary really needs those supporters, too, if she's going to win this general election.

Dana, there are some drama playing out on Capitol Hill. You used to cover Capitol Hill on a daily basis for us. Congressman John Lewis leading a sit-in with his fellow Democrats on the House floor to push for stricter gun control legislation.

Will this pressure the House Speaker Paul Ryan to act on their demands and actually bring a gun control bill up for a vote?

BASH: Certainly makes it harder for him to say no. Nancy Pelosi, the House Democratic leader, just told reporters that they are going to continue this until he does. So we'll see how that standoff ends. But, look, this is one of those -- one of those fascinating, as you said, dramatic moment particularly because on both sides of -- of Congress, the minority sort of party doesn't have as many rights to set the agenda but that is even more so when it comes to the House of Representatives.

They have very few -- very few tools at their disposal to, you know, effectively protest not just what is happening but what isn't happening. And so this was a kind of clever, creative way to talk about it and to have all of us talk about it. I mean, it is theater in a way that they are getting people's attention on this.

I asked a source who's familiar with making this happen, a member of Congress, whether or not this was -- this had anything to do with kind of trying to insert into the day that Donald Trump is having. The answer was no, that this really was genuinely the first opportunity they had. But it was noteworthy that House Democrats made this move not long after Hillary Clinton was on Capitol Hill having a meeting with them.

BLITZER: All right. Guys, stand by. Everyone, stand by.

I want to alert our viewers as well. I'm going to be speaking exclusively with the House Speaker Paul Ryan. What does he think about the house sit-in, Donald Trump's latest attacks on Hillary Clinton. Stand by for that interview.


[17:42:53] BLITZER: We're also following breaking news on the Democratic side of the presidential race. Paying almost no attention to what she calls Donald Trump's outlandish lies Hillary Clinton this afternoon gave a long, detailed speech about her plans to produce jobs.

Let's go to our senior Washington correspondent Jeff Zeleny.

Jeff, she did respond to Trump's attack on the foundation she and her husband run.

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, she did indeed. But a high-minded discussion on the economy this was not. There was far more name-calling and insult trading but she responded forcefully to the foundation comments saying it helps poor people. Donald Trump, she said, exploits them.


ZELENY (voice-over): Hillary Clinton is striking back.

CLINTON: He's going after me personally because he has no answers on the substance.

ZELENY: Hours after Donald Trump searing attack, Clinton offering a poignant rebuttal. She calls Trump unfit to lead the U.S. economy.

CLINTON: He has no real strategy for creating jobs, just a string of empty promises. And maybe we shouldn't expect better from someone whose most famous words are, you're fired.

ZELENY: For a second straight day, Clinton hammering Trump hard, not ignoring him as so many of his GOP rivals did.

CLINTON: Donald hates it when anyone points out how hallow his sales pitch really is. And I guess my speech yesterday must have gotten under his skin. ZELENY: A discussion that was never high-minded seems to be sinking

by the day as the race boils down to a he said-she said kind of campaign.

Trump raising questions about her faith in a private meeting with religious leaders.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESUMPTIVE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: We don't know anything about Hillary in terms of religion.

ZELENY: Prompting this response.

CLINTON: As we Methodists like to say, do all the good you can to all the people you can in all the ways you can.

ZELENY: And Clinton offering a rare reply to Trump's attack on her family's foundation.

CLINTON: The Clinton Foundation helps poor people around the world get access to life-saving AIDS medicine. Donald Trump uses poor people around the world to produce his line of suits and ties.

[17:45:08] ZELENY: Amid the crossfire, Clinton is bringing in the Calvary, inviting Elizabeth Warren to join her on the campaign trail next week in Cincinnati.

It's Clinton's third trip to Ohio in two weeks. But it's her debut with Warren. CNN has learned she's among the handful of Democrats being eyed as a running mate.

Despite Warren's popularity as a liberal firebrand, Democrats aren't sold on the idea. A new CNN/ORC poll shows just 34 percent say Warren should be on the ticket. 54 percent say they'd rather see someone else.

Bernie Sanders won't be on the ticket. And while he officially hasn't dropped out of the race or endorsed her, he conceded reality today in this interview.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It doesn't appear that I'm going to be the nominee.

ZELENY: Visiting Capitol Hill this morning, she praised Sanders.

CLINTON: We are going to win this election.

ZELENY: And told House Democrats the party must come together. Behind closed doors, CNN learned she reminded them of this moment. From the 2008 convention.

CLINTON: I move for Senator Barack Obama of Illinois be selected by this convention by acclimation as the nominee of the Democratic Party for president of the United States.

ZELENY: She's hopeful Sanders will do the same thing for her next month in Philadelphia. (END VIDEOTAPE)

ZELENY: Now speaking of Sanders, he's on the verge of getting behind Hillary Clinton. He's scheduled one final rally tomorrow in New York before he starts adding his voice to all that Trump criticism -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Fascinating developments. All right, thanks very much for that. Jeff Zeleny, reporting.

We're counting down also to CNN's Libertarian town hall. The party's candidates for president and vice president, former governors, Gary Johnson and William Weld, they will join CNN's Chris Cuomo. Be sure to watch tonight 9:00 p.m. Eastern.

Coming up here, after a string of failures, North Korea finally launches a medium-range ballistic missile. So how big a danger does it pose to the United States?

And we're also going to hear exclusively from the speaker of the House. I'll ask him Paul Ryan about Donald Trump, this sit-in by House Democrats on the House floor and the Republicans' new plan to replace Obamacare.


[17:51:41] BLITZER: We standing by to hear exclusively from the House Speaker Paul Ryan, stand by for that. We're also following ominous breaking news, what appears to be North Korea's first successful test of a medium range ballistic missile.

Let's bring in our chief national security correspondent Jim Sciutto. How big of a threat is this to the United States?

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, today this kind of missile is an immediate threat to U.S. military bases in Asia, in South Korea, Japan, as far away as Guam and the Alaskan Islands. And though this particular missile cannot reach the U.S. main land, it does use the same engine as North Korea's long range ICBM, which can so this successful test moves Pyongyang one step closer to threatening the mainland U.S.


SCIUTTO (voice-over): These are powerful nuclear capable missiles, able to strike several U.S. military bases and allies across Asia. And today North Korea launched two of the Musudan intermediate range missiles towards Japan. The first missile appeared to fail, dropping into the Sea of Japan only 93 miles after launch. But two hours later a second launch succeeded, traveling 249 miles after flying all the way into space, a U.S. official says, following the trajectory of a successful ballistic missile launch.

It is the first success for North Korea in a half dozen attempts of the Musudan this year. A troubling sign of its advancing military capabilities. JEFFREY LEWIS, MIDDLEBURY INSTITUTE OF INTERNATIONAL STUDIES AT

MONTEREY: Rocketeers learn from failures. So it's easy for us to laugh when something doesn't go right for them but that's actually a learning moment, and so they get better every time they do it.

SCIUTTO: The Musudan, an intermediate range missile, would strike range of approximately 1500 to 2500 miles places South Korea, Japan, and U.S. military bases as far away as Guam was in reach of a potential nuclear strike by North Korea. U.S. officials immediately issued a familiar condemnation of the test.

JOSH EARNEST, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: But the impact of these provocations will be to only to strengthen the resolve of the international community that has such serious concerns with North Korea's behavior.

SCIUTTO: Joined by U.S. ally and North Korea's neighbor, South Korea.

PRES. PARK GEUN-HYE, SOUTH KOREA: The North Korean regime should realize that complete isolation and self-destruction await at the end of reckless provocation.

SCIUTTO: This year North Korea has made alarming progress toward becoming a fully nuclear nation. Including a successful underground nuclear tests, successful short, medium and long-range missile tests, and apparent progress in miniaturizing a nuclear device to deploy a top missile.

LEWIS: They have all the pieces and what the intelligence committee often says is they haven't put them all together yet. But there are two problems with that. Right? One is that someday they will put them all together, and so it's good to be prepared for that. But the other is we should stop daring them.


SCIUTTO: "Stop daring them." The State Department says it will raise these tests with t U.N. Security Council. We also know that U.S. officials are consulting with Beijing on a joint response but the range of options is limited, more sanctions, of course harsh words, but that combination none of it has successfully deterred the North before. That's the thing. They keep making progress, and the West has not figured out a way to stop them.

BLITZER: It doesn't look like anyone is trying desperately to stop them, whether certainly the U.S. or South Korea or Japan, but China has a little influence.

SCIUTTO: It -- it has influence, less than it had in the past. And thing is, China has basically made a strategic decision, they consider the bigger threat a unified North Korea -- Korean peninsula, rather, than a nuclearized North Korea.

[17:55:06] BLITZER: Jim Sciutto, reporting dangerous stuff over there. Thanks very much. Breaking news next, we're watching developments in the House of

Representatives where Democrats are staging a sit-in. They're demanding a vote on gun control. I'll talk about that and much more in my exclusive interview with the House Speaker Paul Ryan. That's just minutes away.


BLITZER: Happening now. Breaking news. Trump's takedown. He is accusing Hillary Clinton of being the most corrupt presidential candidate in the history with a deadly foreign policy record. Stand by for a reality check on the Republican's searing new lines of attack.

Sit-in. Frustrated Democrats stage a protest on the House floor demanding action on gun control after the terror in Orlando.