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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Trump Slams Clinton, FBI Over Email Decision; FBI Not Recommending Charges Against Clinton; Obama: "I Endorse Hillary Clinton" For President; Obama And Clinton Campaign Together In NC; Trump Advisor: VP Pick Likely To Be Announced Next Week; GOP Delegates Files Lawsuit To Be Unbound. Aired 9-10p ET
Aired July 5, 2016 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[21:01:01] JOHN BERMAN, CNN HOST: All right good evening again. Top of the hour now after a day unlike we have seen in politics before. It began with the FBI director's announcement that one of the two major presumptive presidential nominees should not in his agency's view be indicted despite the fact he didn't like what she did and moved on to the president loudly endorsing that candidate and it ends with her opponent loudly condemning her and the entire criminal justice system, calling it rigged, suggesting the fix is in.
Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, President Obama, FBI Director James Comey, Bill Clinton and more. All stars of a political drama that could be playing out all the way until November. First, Donald Trump. He's the one we just heard from tonight in Raleigh, North Carolina.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, (R) PRESUMPTIVE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: We now know that she lied to the country when she said she did not send classified information on her server. She lied.
She sent vast amounts of classified information including information classified as top secret. Like a criminal with a guilty conscience, Clinton had her lawyers delete, destroy and wipe away forever except I still say there are geniuses that can find them, 30,000 -- think of this, 30,000 e-mails. This again disqualifies her from service and just think of it, I mean, how can you have this?
Bill and Hillary Clinton rigged in millions of dollars from foreign governments, special interests, and international corporations in exchange for favors, folks, for favors. She's crooked Hillary. Don't you understand that? This is one of the most crooked politicians in history.
When Hillary Clinton's policies have spread ISIS and made Iran the dominant Islamic power in the Middle East. Hillary Clinton can't keep her e-mails safe and you know what, folks? She sure as hell can't keep our country safe.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: All right, Donald Trump tonight just a few minutes ago in Raleigh, North Carolina. Joining us from there, CNN's Sara Murray. Sara, that was just a small part of a 66-minute address by Donald Trump which rolled the FBI information in and out a kind of a free- flowing stream of thought event.
SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, John, that's a good way to put it in. And there were a lot of sort of Trumpisms in the speech as well. He talked about his hair for a while. He said he knows more about golf than Bill Clinton. But there was also from Donald Trump's perspective a pretty strong indictment in that speech against Hillary Clinton, against President Obama and Trump is really trying to hammer home this notion that the system is rigged against average Americans, and people like the Clintons are always able to get ahead and that they are able to get away with anything.
And I think we are going to see that move beyond what he had to say today which was focusing on the e-mails, focusing on Comey's decision not to recommend charges against Clinton but also to take that forward and essentially to paint the idea that the Clintons have been getting away with stuff for their entire life and that's what they would be doing in the White House is, you know, promoting special interests and trying to put themselves ahead of American workers.
Now with Trump, the challenge is always can he make this case without ending up on a tangent, whether it's talking about his hair or talking about a judge or talking about golf game. But he did seem to manage to do all of that like you said in about 66 minutes tonight.
BERMAN: All right. Sara Murray, thanks so much.
Stick around because before going any further, we want to take a closer look at the FBI director's announcement. This was an extraordinary moment in Washington and American politics. Here's CNN's Jim Sciutto.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAMES COMEY, FBI DIRECTOR: No charges are appropriate in this case.
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: With those seven words, FBI Director James Comey spared Hillary Clinton the devastating prospect of an FBI indictment just four months from Election Day.
[21:05:01] COMEY: In looking back at our investigations into the mishandling or removal of classified information, we cannot find a case that would support bringing criminal charges on these facts.
SCIUTTO: However, in a surprise announcement of the conclusion of what he called a painstaking investigation, Director Comey issued damning criticism of the presumptive Democratic nominee's use of multiple private e-mail servers.
COMEY: Although we did not find clear evidence that Secretary Clinton or her colleagues intended to violate laws governing the handling of classified information, there is evidence that they were extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive highly classified information.
SCIUTTO: The FBI found that of the 30,000 e-mails Clinton turned over, 110 e-mails contained classified information at that time they were sent or received including classifications ranging from top secret, the highest level, to secret and confidential, the lowest level of classification. The FBI's finding contradicts Secretary Clinton's evolving explanations of her e-mail use beginning with her claim that none of the information she read or e-mailed was sensitive when she read or sent them, implying they were only classified after the fact.
HILLARY CLINTON, (D) PRESUMPTIVE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: I am confident that I never sent nor received any information that was classified at the time it was sent and received.
SCIUTTO: In fact, the FBI found numerous e-mails containing information which was classified at the time they were sent.
SCIUTTO: Director Comey also addressed the candidate's more recent claims that none of the e-mails were marked as classified.
CLINTON: I'm confident that this process will prove that I never sent nor received any e-mail that was marked classified.
SCIUTTO: In fact, the process found that a small number of e-mails were marked classified at the time she and her staff sent them. Comey also questioned Secretary Clinton's argument that her private servers were never breached.
CLINTON: Well, the system we used was set up for President Clinton's office, and it had numerous safeguards. It was on property guarded by the secret service and there were no security breaches.
SCIUTTO: In fact, Comey concluded that while the FBI found no direct evidence of such breaches ...
COMEY: We assessed it is possible that hostile actors gained access to Secretary Clinton's personal e-mail account.
SCIUTTO: Secretary Clinton's spokesman quickly welcomed the finding while repeating the candidate's apology. "As the secretary has long said it was a mistake to use her personal e-mail and she would not do it again. We are glad that this matter is now resolved."
Donald Trump was, of course, less convinced. Tweeting, "FBI director said crooked Hillary compromised our national security. No charges. Wow. #tagriggedsystem."
Jim Sciutto, CNN, Washington.
(END VIDEO CLIP) BERMAN: All right, our thanks to Jim.
Back now with our panel Marc Lamont Hill, Basil Smikle, Jeffrey Toobin, Corey Lewandowski, Kayleigh McEnany, and Tara Setmayer.
Marc Lamont Hill, I want to start with you. You just heard in Jim Sciutto's piece a litany of things laid out by the FBI Director James Comey ...
MARC LAMONT HILL, BET NEWS, HOST: Yeah.
BERMAN: ... that are not as Hillary Clinton said they were over the last year ...
BERMAN: ... whether or not she sent classified e-mails, whether or not she sent e-mails that were marked classified, whether her system perhaps had been hacked, different than she had originally depicted.
In your mind politically speaking, how is life different today for Hillary Clinton than it was yesterday?
HILL: Well, first I'm sure she's breathing a huge sigh of relief not having -- not being prosecuted most likely is an extraordinary relief. It's bad for Bernie, it's good for her. It means the party will come together. There's not this looming threat that there will be an indictment probably over the summer. That's big for a campaign that was largely hanging a bit waiting for that to happen.
That said, this does not erase questions of trust. Hillary Clinton was not completely honest or forthcoming. I don't believe she was lying about the classified stuff. I happen to believe she was just wrong. Not because I have some abiding faith in the Clinton's honesty but because you don't lie and say I didn't send anything classified when you know it was going to be subjected to such scrutiny. Everyone was going to find out.
So, obviously she was wrong. This is more a question of incompetence probably or mistake or an oversight than it was at some venal sin that happened with regard to the classified piece. So, ultimately, Hillary Clinton looks a little less competent, a little less careful, but probably Scott-free of the legal side of things.
BERMAN: And Basil, she's already losing to Donald Trump on the issue of who is more honest and trustworthy. This does not make her look more honest and trustworthy.
BASIL SMIKLE, CLINTON SUPPORTER: Well, no, I would disagree. I mean, on the question -- I would just disagree.
BERMAN: This is more trustworthy today?
SMIKLE: I would disagree. On the question of trust, Hillary Clinton has won more votes that any other candidate in this primary cycle. There have been questions about her going back 25 years, parodied repeated by a lot of folks including Newt Gingrich who probably chiefly among them in many respects.
So, to be honest, I think there's a lot of this trust issue baked into her campaign and her candidacy going back a long time that -- and there was really no causality there. It's just that something that's been consistently repeated.
SMIKLE: Wait minute.
[21:10:12] SMIKLE: No, no, no, I know because -- no, but -- here's my point. Many things can be true at the same time we sort of trying to find this narrow path to get to a place where a lot of people that were talking and commenting about this today are simply not telling the truth. It could be true that Director Comey is beyond reproach. It could be true that the facts and the cases that you mentioned are simply different facts. And it could be true that she did not have the intent with respect to these e-mails and that this is the end of the investigation. Those, things can be true
BERMAN: It is often true.
SMIKLE: And I think we can get past that.
BERMAN: It is also true that in all the recent polls, Donald Trump is beating her on the issue of who is more honest and trustworthy. Right now Corey, let's take (inaudible).
COREY LEWANDOSKI, FMR TRUMP CAMPAIGN MANAGER: The Wall Street Journals, latest poll came in June so 69 percent of the respondents don't believe Hillary Clinton to be honest.
Today did not help that number. I'm sure the number is going to go up and the bottom line is, she has lied systematically, said things that weren't accurate, weren't truthful. She knows the truth. Three and a half hours of an FBI investigation where the director said there was no intent I think is probably not enough time to make that decision.
Almost 70 percent of the American people at the end of June didn't think she was honest and trustworthy. That number is going to go up today because once again the Clintons skirted the law very closely and gotten away with it.
BERMAN: I don't want to let this moment passed, Jeffrey, without knowing, the incredible drama of the moment, when the FBI director walked out today in a news conference that was unannounced.
We didn't know, this is going to happen and when he announced it we didn't know what he was he was going to say and then he went behind that microphone right there and told us, no one else knew what he was going to say. He hadn't told anyone else in the government. What was about to happen. This was really unusual.
JEFFREY TOOBIN, FMR FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: There has never been a public event involving an FBI Director or any prosecutor as far as I'm aware where the stakes were higher and the ignorance of all of us was greater.
I mean, I was sitting there like everyone else sort of watching him weave through the facts thinking, oh he's moving this way, oh, he's going to say charges are justified, oh, he's going to say charges are not justified. It was really an extraordinary moment. And, you know, the FBI usually opens and closes investigations by saying nothing.
They leave it to the Department of Justice, to the attorney general or U.S. attorney's to speak out about the facts of the case. This is something the FBI almost never does.
BERMAN: We still have Evan Perez with us right now. Evan, if we can go to you, and one of the open questions right now, the FBI director made clear that he's only recommending at this point no charges be brought, so what happens next? Loretta Lynch has said she is going to accept the advice of prosecutors. Who are these prosecutors now, who will decide what to do?
EVAN PEREZ, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, you still have prosecutors at the Justice Department National Security Division, John that had been overseeing this investigation and so we expect that they will accept Comey's recommendation. But then there's the other question of what the State Department does.
You know, typically, when someone commits violations like what is described in this report by the FBI, the State Department would pull their security credential, or perhaps put some kind -- do some kind of administrative penalty.
These people who work for Mrs. Clinton and Mrs. Clinton herself of course have left the State Department so there's really not much they can do to them.
However, what you would normally do is you would put something in their file for the next time that someone applies for a security clearance.
So the question is, if Clinton wins in November, you know how are they going to deal with this question of the members of her staff who were part of this problem, who created this part of this problem, and how they're going to deal with their security clearances and Mrs. Clinton herself, right, how does she get a security clearance if you have this information in her file. Obviously, if you are the president, you're going to have to have access to classified information.
BERMAN: And truly is fascinating. Right now, the FBI director made that point. Just because there may be no legal repercussions there very well could have been employment repercussions or otherwise -- there Evan stick around. Everyone stick around. We're going to continue this conversation shortly.
A bit more now on the criticism of Director Comey if the suggestion is political partisanship, he's a pretty unlikely target as "360's" Gary Tuchman explains. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I. State your name.
COMEY: I, James B. Comey.
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: James Comey became the seventh director of the FBI in 2013 in the beginning of President Obama's second term.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So help me God.
COMEY: So help me God.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Congratulations Mr. Director.
TUCHMAN: However, years before that, he became the number two at the Justice Department under President George W. Bush. It happens to be a registered Republican who donated to both the Mitt Romney campaign in 2012 and the John McCain campaign in 2008.
He also served as counsel on the Senate Whitewater Committee in 1996, investigating both Hilary and Bill Clinton, but his reputation for Bipartisan fairness has long been well known.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bob Muller and Mr. Jim Comey.
[21:15:01] TUCHMAN: When Comey took over the FBI director spot from Bob Mueller, this is what Mueller had to say.
ROBERT MUELLER, FORMER FBI DIRECTOR: I have had the opportunity to work with Jim for a number of years in the Department of Justice, and I have found him to be a man of honesty, dedication and integrity.
TUCHMAN: Comey gained the degree of fame for his role in one of the most dramatic incidents during George W. Bush's tenure in the White House. Comey's boss, Attorney General John Ashcroft, was gravely ill in the hospital.
Two of President Bush's top aides rushed there to try to get Ashcroft to endorse a warrant less eaves dropping program. Comey, was acting attorney general while Ashcroft was in the hospital and when he found out about the plan, he rushed to the hospital and stopped it.
COMEY: I was very upset. I was angry. I thought I had just witnessed an effort to take advantage of a very sick man.
TUCHMAN: The eaves dropping program was not endorsed. As a federal prosecutor, Comey dealt with the Khobar Towers, terrorist bombing case following the attack 20 years ago at a U.S. military facility in Saudi Arabia that killed 19 service members. He prosecuted members of the Mafia.
COMEY: We are here this afternoon to announce the unsealing of three separate indictments against 14 alleged members and associates of the Gambino crime family TUCHMAN: And he prosecuted America's domestic diva.
COMEY: Martha Stewart is being prosecuted not because of who she is but because of what she did.
TUCHMAN: Donald Trump tweeted the system is rigged after Comey's statement regarding Hillary Clinton.
COMEY: We are expressing to justice our view that no charges are appropriate in this case.
TUCHMAN: But if Donald Trump becomes president he will have to work with Comey. Comey, still has eight years left of a 10 year term.
Gary Tuchman, CNN, New York.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: All right Gary Tuchman, thank you so much.
An interesting day fro Hillary Clinton, not all bad. Next, she and President Obama sharing the stump and sharing the political love in their first campaign appearance together. And, later Donald Trump's ongoing VP auditions.
Bob Corker of Tennessee tonight. It was Newt Gingrich tomorrow. Joni Ernst yesterday, Chris Christie, also under consideration. We're going talk about what could be going in to that decision when "360"s continues.
[21:20:50] BERMAN: If Hillary Clinton's day began on a low note albeit not the lowest imaginable which would have been criminal charges, her day ended on a political high. President Obama joined her for the first time on the campaign trail giving her his full support. That's an understatement on a day she needed all she could get. That's another understatement.
More on that now from CNN's Jeff Zeleny.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: It was a day Hillary Clinton have long been waiting for. Arriving on air force one with President Obama, who she's counting on to fire up his old coalition for her.
But their appearance today in North Carolina overshadowed by the FBI's decision to recommend no criminal charges for handling classified information as secretary of state.
The FBI announcement lifted one cloud hanging over her, yet it hardly cleared the air. More than ever, Clinton must now convince voters she has good judgment and can be trusted in the Oval Office. And she's turning to the president for help. BARACK OBAMA, U.S. PRESIDENT: I have had a front row seat to her judgment and her toughness and her commitment to diplomacy.
ZELENY: She's relying on his rising approval rating to help her own standing and defeat Donald Trump.
CLINTON: After all, he knows a thing or two about winning elections. Take it from me.
ZELENY: Their debut on the campaign trail came in battleground North Carolina. A blue state in 2008 where Obama narrowly won and a red state four years later where he barely lost. The Clinton campaign is fighting hard to turn it blue once again.
CLINTON: We're going to fight for every vote in this state and with your help, we're going to win it.
ZELENY: Obama and Clinton's relationship has come full circle from rivals.
CLINTON: Shame on you, Barack Obama.
ZELENY: To allies.
OBAMA: Hillary! Hillary!
ZELENY: And now they need each other. Her election will help his legacy live on.
OBAMA: I couldn't be prouder of the things we have done together but I'm ready to pass the baton. And I know that Hillary Clinton is going to take it.
There has never been any man or woman more qualified for this office than Hillary Clinton, ever. And that's the truth.
ZELENY: Few sitting presidents are popular enough to be invited to the campaign trail, Ronald Reagan is the last.
RONALD REAGAN, FMR U.S. PRESIDENT: Win one last one for the Gipper.
ZELENY: Obama plans to campaign far more aggressively, for him taking down Trump is personal.
TRUMP: Barack Obama should end this and he should provide the public with a birth certificate.
OBAMA: Yes, in fact I was born in Hawaii, August 4th, 1961.
ZELENY: Today in Charlotte, Clinton raised that controversy to rally Democrats and remind them of the stakes.
CLINTON: Someone who has never forgotten where he came from and Donald, if you're out there tweeting, it's Hawaii.
ZELENY: The president took his turn belittling Trump, too. OBAMA: Everybody can tweet but nobody actually know what it takes to do the job until you sat hind the desk.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: All right, Jeff Zeleny joins us now.
Jeff Zeleny, by the way who was there in 2008 and there again today for these remarkable moments between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.
One thing that was not mentioned today by either of these two politicians was the FBI investigation. What are you hearing from the Clinton campaign about how they are reacting privately and whether or not she will react publicly at some point?
ZELENY: John, she'll definitely have to react publicly to this. This was not the time or place for it. In fact, they were taken completely by surprise of the timing of this. But they know they will have to address it and really go through everything that she did, you know for the last year or so, say she was sorry, apologize and try and move on.
Now I think among Democrats that's going to work here but there is concern inside the campaign that those independent voters, even some Republican voters who may have been on the verge of supporting her given all the things happening on the other side of the aisle here may be set back by this here.
[21:25:07] So John look for her to react to this in the coming days, perhaps in an interview, perhaps in an, you know, in active contrition in some respect.
She's already been laying the groundwork for that. Last week we heard her talked about that she knows she needs to restore her trust in voters. That's why she was doing this. They knew this was coming out at some point but John, so striking to see the president with her there today.
He was trying to help her along with that. He said that he had a front row seat to her good judgment. We'll see if that carries any weight with the American public.
BERMAN: All right Jeff Zeleny, thank you so much.
Back now with our panel, Tara Setmayer, I want to start with you here, you are a Republican but you're also a student of politics. It turns out this Barack Obama guy is good at this campaigning thing.
TARA SETMAYER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yeah but that's about all he was good at. It's been a disaster for his presidency. Look, is Barack Obama is an asset for Hillary Clinton now. He's popular because of how crazy this whole election cycle and there actually it makes Barack Obama look like he's a great president. People have short memories.
She desperately needs that energy because people are not energized for her, per se and Barack Obama brings that. I mean this is his element and if the optics look good for her.
Now, she's not going to be able to escape. We'll see how long that lasts but she's not going to be able to escape her terrible poll numbers when it comes to trustworthiness. She can't escape now. We had it well, and we had a candidate on our side that was able to articulate with, you know, better than he does now instead of these supercilious rants that he goes on for an hour, that could articulate the economic disaster that this presidency has been and all the other issues that it from foreign policy on down, that it would be no contest.
It wouldn't matter, but people actually because of what we have such a weak candidate on our side, what we have is that Barack Obama's over 50 percent in popularity. This is crazy. I don't think anybody would have expected that a year ago, they thought Barack was she would have to run away from Barack Obama, now they're best buddies.
BERMAN: Marc Lamont Hill one of the thing that the president no doubt wants to do right now is enhance Democratic unity. That you are not supporting Hillary Clinton right now.
BERMAN: You are not going there.
HILL: Green party, Jill Stein, that's where I am.
BERMAN: But from what you saw today, how does what the president did for Hillary Clinton, do you think it helps in a unity front?
HILL: Yes it does, it yes it absolutely helps. We have a president who is very popular, standing next to you, it absolutely helps. It speaks to the trust issue. He went directly at the trust issue, now obviously people will say she was your secretary of state, you have no choice but to stand next to her in this issues because of Benghazi's a mess, and it's your fault.
If leave it up for a another good (ph) because of Benghazi, but if all these other things are a mess, it where the treasure that Russia whatever it is, it's your fault. So obviously voters who don't trust Hillary are still in up still not trust her after Barack Obama is done talking but he helps bring voters out, he helps rally people, he brings voters of color out, he helps pull those tight states like North Carolina and maybe Florida and maybe Virginia and maybe Ohio and Pennsylvania.
Those things are good for him. But the key here is not Barack Obama it's what Bernie Sanders does in the next two weeks.
BERMAN: You don't know what he was doing? He was sending out e-mails during the campaign. Seriously, the Sanders campaign was sending out e-mails about the platform at during President Obama's speech there which was a really interesting dynamic Basil, I mean what do you make of that? Do you want to see Bernie Sanders stop with that?
SMIKLE: Yeah, I do. Yes, I do. I need him to whatever process he needs to go through, and the process he needs to take his supporters through to be able to turn to Hillary and sort of get out there working for Hillary. I need him to do that. That's important for us but there is unity, there is unity right now. When you see Barack Obama today, Joe Biden's coming up very soon, Elizabeth Warren has already been out there.
So there are major Democratic leaders around this country were already supporting and campaigning with Hillary Clinton, so yes, I would love Bernie Sanders to do whatever he needs to do to come on board but in lieu of that, this process is moving forward.
BERMAN: Corey, you know, you were inside the Trump campaign. Do you view running against Barack Obama differently than running against Hillary Clinton? Do you think he's a tougher candidate to take on than the secretary?
LEWANDOWSKI: Well I think what you have is you have a third term of the Obama administration is what you are looking at right now, which is unparalleled, unemployment rates, you know, people who aren't even looking for jobs anymore, taken off the rolls even though they're not unemployed. We see that this administration has done nothing to reduce our national debt, we see that they've done nothing to cut taxes.
And that's the extension of what Hillary Clinton is looking to do. She's now trying to tie herself to President Obama to save what is potentially a very, very flawed candidate. What we see is that Bernie Sanders has still not withdrawn from this race.
He lost the FBI primary today, unfortunately, but he still has the secret service protection. He's not getting out of this race. He's staying there to make a point and that is not helpful to Hillary Clinton and will ultimately, his people who are disenfranchised with the way that the system works, are going to support Donald Trump.
BERMAN: Kayleigh, that I think it's up for, you know, dispute right now. There are a lot of people who Paul (ph) and say that there is a boarder will also ...
LEWANDOWSKI: I can agree, if people voted and they will going to vote for Donald Trump.
[21:29:58] BERMAN: Kayleigh, I don't want to get that the president's approval rating is over 50 percent right now, it's actually very high for a president in his second term. He's out there speaking on behalf of Hillary Clinton.
Who is Donald Trump have like that who can match the star power, the political gaster of President Obama out there speaking on his behalf?
KAYLEIGH MCENANY, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well there are a lot of people, Newt Gingrich, Chris Christie, there are number of people who was ...
BERMAN: Chris Christie is unpopular in his home state right.
SETMAYER: I'm from New Jersey, trust me that.
BERMAN: Very low.
SETMAYER: But it doesn't get President Obama's popularity.
MCENANY: I want to respect President Obama's extraordinary popular because if you go look at the RealClearPolitics average, there are actually four polls that came out in the last four days, and show he's under 50 percent, and there's a reason for that. 65 percent of this country thinks we are on the wrong track.
Obama has sat in the White House largely unchallenged but now that he's on the campaign trail, you're going to have Donald Trump saying, with this is the worst recovery we've seen in five years. There is still double digit real unemployment for millennial's from minorities.
The president can act in the Ivory Tower and act as if the economy is just fine but it's not.
SMIKLE: Can I push back, you know this that I don't know.
SMIKLE: I'll push back on the pushback because for eight years, that Republicans and their consultants who have tried to delegitimize this president by basically saying he's not even from here. The fact is he has lowered unemployment -- have seen -- lower unemployment substantially, and when wages have stagnated, he and other Democrats have pushed for increased minimum wage and even today, there are signs that there is growth. Even with minimum wage increases.
SMIKLE: So let's be clear about his record.
BERMAN: He is not running for re-election right now. That's why we can go to break.
As Trump advisor says we should know next week who Donald Trump's running mate is. We will take a look at the short list of possible Trump VP choices. Donald Trump has kind of told us what that short list is, that's next.
[21:35:23] BERMAN: Brace yourselves the wait is almost over. An advisor of Donald Trump tells CNN his vice presidential choice will be announced next week. The list has been whittled down to several likely picks, in alactic group and includes Tennessee Senator Bob Corker who introduced Trump at his rally tonight.
That whether Trump goes for Senator Corker, another senator, another experienced politician, or rising star remains to be seen but with the convention less than two weeks from now, the speculation has never been more intense.
Tom Forman, now with a look at the possibilities.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Thank you very much, everybody.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: As the most outside outsider to seek the White House, Trump has a reason to load his possible veep list with insiders.
TRUMP: You want somebody that can help you with legislation getting it through.
FOREMAN: Or political savvy, many see Indiana Governor Mike Pence as a player with a bonus. He's popular with evangelicals. Trump met Pence and his family, tweeted very impressed, great people.
Senator Tom Cotton from Arkansas has also drawn praise. Senator Bob Corker from Tennessee has deep experience in foreign affairs and he might help with more moderate voters. And of course, there's former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, a champion of conservatives, veteran campaigner who thinks Trump should be coached toward a more civil message.
NEWT GINGRICH, FMR SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: He as are very high he's going to win.
FOREMAN: But Trump is struggling with women. That could point him to Iowa Senator Joni Ernst, whom he met with Monday. She's an Iraq veteran from a battleground state and her past criticisms of him over women's issues could bring credibility if she gets on board.
Or he might consider Mary Fallin, the first female governor of Oklahoma. And some have even suggested former governor and veep candidate Sarah Palin although she admittedly brings baggage.
SARAH PALIN, (R) FMR VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I wouldn't want to be a burden on the ticket. And I recognize that in many, many eyes, I would be that burden.
FOREMAN: And then there is loyalty. Jeff Sessions from Alabama was pushing Trump before any other U.S. senator and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who could help with blue collar voters in the rust belt, firmly with Trump even when he was pilloried for his early support.
CHRIS CHRISTIE, (R) FMR PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Tonight is the beginning of Donald Trump bringing the people of our nation together to help America win again.
FOREMAN: One challenge to shortening the list, the billionaire candidate has been such a sharp critic of mainstream politicians that some potential running mates may be leery about jumping on to the Trump train for fear that if he loses it could be a one-way ticket to Republican purgatory.
Tom Foreman, CNN, Washington.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: All right thank to Tom.
We're going to have more on Trump's potential VP picks after a quick break, we'll hear from David Axelrod and John King, get his latest reporting.
And later as we inch closer to Cleveland and the Republican National Convention, it could be the delegate who does not want to vote for Trump. He thinks Trump is unfit to be president and he's been ad filled a lawsuit arguing the state law prevents him from voting his conscience.
[21:42:09] BERMAN: We're talking about Donald Trump's short list of potential vice presidential picks.
Earlier, I spoke with CNN Political Commentator and Former Advisor to President Obama, David Axelrod. You can hear his Podcast the Axe Files at cnn.com/podcast and "CNN Inside Politics" Anchor John King.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: David Axelrod, let me start with you. It's sort of in vogue lately, and by that, I mean, the last few cycles to say, you know, the vice presidential pick, it doesn't really matter.
Ultimately, people only vote for the presidential candidate here. But you make the case that for Donald Trump, this pick, this vice presidential selection is especially important.
DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think it is important in his case.
I generally agree that vice presidential candidates rarely win elections for you. They can sometimes help you lose elections. We saw that in 2008 with John McCain and Sarah Palin.
But in this case, Donald Trump is really on probation with voters as to whether he has the preparedness to be president of the United States and this really is your first presidential appointment.
So people are going to be looking closely as to whether he picks someone who gives them some reassurance that he can govern.
Back in 2008, one of the considerations for Barack Obama in picking Joe Biden was that Joe Biden had 36 years of Washington experience, was Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and offered some counterweight to concerns that Obama was too young and inexperienced to be president of the United States. Trump, in a different way, needs to reassure people and that's why I was interested tonight that he was campaigning with Bob Corker, who is the current chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and may fit the bill for the kind of reassurance that Trump needs to send.
BERMAN: All right. John King, who is it going to be? If you can't tell me exactly who is it going to be, at least as we sit here tonight, who is leading the list there?
Is it these people that Donald Trump is floating very publicly and almost unprecedented way? Bob Corker tonight, Joni Ernst yesterday, Mike Pence over the weekend?
JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR, INSIDE POLITCIS: Newt Gingrich in Ohio, I believe tomorrow. Look, everyone inside the Trump campaign says Mr. Trump will make this decision in the end.
And as you know, John, this is an especially tough campaign to crack. As someone who's worked this issue in past campaigns going back a long way, because he is such a singular force within the campaign.
I will say this, there's a debate among the people who advise Mr. Trump, a discussion it. And David, they went through this thing Obama Campaign. If you pick somebody inside, Trump has said probably he wants somebody with Washington experience because he has none of that.
Do you undermine the outsider theme, the disrupter theme, the change Washington theme, if you pick say, Newt Gingrich, who has so much experience in Washington, or does it make the reassuring case not only to voters that they have someone on the side to pull the levers of government, but also to a lot of Republican establishment figures and donors who are frightened, a little scared about Mr. Trump right now. So that's one school of thought.
The other school of thought is somebody like a Mike Pence, who has conservative credentials. He comes from the Rust Belt which is critical to Trump's electoral strategy. He was in Washington, he was a bit of an outsider when he was in the Conservative House of Representatives, then he left and went home to Indiana.
[21:45:07] A lot of people in the campaign think that's a better fit for the argument, someone who has Washington experience but doesn't live here.
BERMAN: David Axelrod, being a vice president is often considered a thankless job. Being a vice presidential candidate also is something very, very difficult.
In this case, it could be even more difficult. Look at Paul Ryan right now, a speaker of the house who is barely endorsing Donald Trump, but you have to answer for him in his Twitter account every day.
If you are the vice presidential nominee for Donald Trump, you've got to answer for Donald Trump, everyday on the trail several times a day. Does that give some of these people on the list to pause? AXELROD: Well, I think it gives a lot of people who aren't on the list pause the people who took themselves out of the hunt earlier.
Look, I think it's very, very difficult. And you know, being the -- one of the things that Obama was most concerned about in 2008 was getting someone who had experienced the national campaign before, because it is a maelstrom. You're under siege every single day.
Add to that having to react to Donald Trump on an hourly basis and it becomes a really, really significant challenge.
So, you'd better pick someone who can handle that. Now, that would be an argument for a guy like Newt Gingrich who was used to being in the middle of a firestorm and knows how to handle of those situations.
Although he also has thrown a few logs on the fire in his time. But, you know, yes, I think it's very, very difficult. It'd be a tough assignment.
BERMAN: Veepstakes one of the best traditions there is in politics. John King, David Axelrod, thanks for joining us in the festivities.
AXELROD: You're welcome.
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BERMAN: Just ahead for us, one delegate's battle to not do what the voters told him to do.
His fight against casting his convention ballot for Donald Trump even going as far as filing a federal lawsuit. He joins us next.
[21:50:46] BERMAN: Republican National Convention starts in Cleveland just 13 days from now. And there are those still Republican Party who are doing everything they can to try to stop Donald Trump still from becoming the nominee.
Beau Correll is one of Virginia's convention delegates. He has filed a suit in federal court to challenge the law that compels him to vote for Trump. There is a state law that dazzle, lawsuits says that Correll thinks Trump is unfit and voted for him will violate us consciously.
Beau Correll joins us now along the CNN political commentators Corey Lewandowski who's Trump's former campaign manager and Tara Setmayer who was a Donald Trump critic to say the least.
Beau, the state law, it requires you to vote for the candidate at who received the votes in a primary which is Donald Trump. That law existed when voters went to the polls but you say it violates your First Amendment rights.
BEAU CORRELL, VIRGINIA REPUBLICAN DELEGATE: Yeah, absolutely. You know, we're in a unique situation here where we have a state law that says it's winner take all, and you know Trump only won 35 percent of the vote that somehow another he gets all the votes. And then we have state party rules that say it's proportional and we have some rules that aren't adopted yet the national level that could potentially apportion in a different ways.
So our position, mine as the plaintiff is that, you know, this is not the purview of the government to compel members of a private association how to vote in that association. And that's why we're challenging that.
BERMAN: What did you do to overturn this law before this year?
CORRELL: Well, you know, it only becomes ripe in legal parlance after a primary, after elected delegate, you know, you have conflicting instructions, you know, proportional, winner take all.
So, you know, I did my due diligence and looked into this. And, you know, this is really something that is none of government's business to do.
BERMAN: So you did -- just to be clear you didn't try to stop it before this election. The question now is, if the courts come back and rule against you what do you plan to do at the convention?
CORRELL: Well, I'm a part of the movement that's called Delegates Unbound and freethedelegates.com. And what we're trying to do is we're influencing rules members, we're educating delegates so they can vote their conscience, especially under rule 37 and we're fighting this every thing and every method that we can tooth and nail.
So I think, you know, I'm cautiously optimistic, we're on well supported constitutional grounds. And because of that, you know Thursday's hearing is going to be a big hearing and we're looking forward to that.
BERMAN: All right, Corey Lewandowski we want to bring you into this because you run all Trump's campaign for some time. I imagine you doubt that the lawsuit will prevail. But let's play the hypothetical if it does. This would be a major pain in the neck for the Trump campaign.
LEWANDOWSKI: Well look, I don't think the lawsuit has any merit. The rules were established well before the voters went to the ballot. If they want to change the state law, they had the opportunity to do that through their state legislature that the government just sign a bill changing that, they haven't done that. And this sounds like a sore loser, and what it sounds like to me is I don't like who the nominee is. So, I'm going to go trying retroactively change the rules.
Look the rules were established at the beginning of the process. If Ted Cruz was the nominee or Jeb Bush, they weren't successful. But voters, 14 million people and most voted for Donald Trump. He played by the rules and won.
Beau, you disagree? CORRELL: Yeah, I mean what's very strange here, is that we have Donald Trump and his campaign which are now inserting himself into this lawsuit and they're attempting to join arms with a liberal Democrat attorney general to criminalize the actions of delegates. I mean that to me says enough about the Donald Trump campaign that he longs to rely on the long run of the law to try to influence members of a proud association I think it's an act of desperation.
BERMAN: But he wants to win at the convention, which is politics. But Tara Setmayer, you are an opponent of Donald Trump. You want Donald Trump to dilute as I imagine at the convention somehow, but do you support this movement?
SETMAYER: You know, look, I'm horrified by the fact that Donald Trump is our nominee. Yes, he won the process but he only won 40 percent, 42 percent of Republican primary votes, 50 percent plus of the Republicans did not support him. In Virginia, again he only won 35 percent but he gets all the delegates.
[21:54:57] I mean, it's -- this as much as I would like to see delegates be unbound, which they can be, technically right now they're all unbound. They can go to the convention and the convention rules committee can determine that delegates can vote their conscience.
I mean this is something that you know Edmund Burke (ph) talked about, you know he said the duty of a representative is above all to vote their conscience on things.
And, you know, there are lot of people who are concerned and rightfully so. Would I like to see someone else other than Donald Trump be our nominee? Of course I would.
But, I don't know how likely this effort is. I appreciate them standing on principle, but I think that there are enough people unfortunately that have not done that, that are unwilling to do that, that I don't think that they're going to see anything change ...
BERMAN: Edmund Burke (ph) is not on the rules committee.
SETYMAYER: He's not.
BERMAN: In Cleveland, Corey Lewandowski, you got just 30 seconds left. I want to know, what are the Trump contingency plans for dealing with unruly delegates?
LEWANDOWSKI: Look, right now, the Trump campaigns working very closer with the RNC to make sure the rules committee is going to follow rules of that been established. Reince has been very clear about this, that they don't look to change any of the rules.
The rules have been established, they played by the rules. It's time to go forward. And all these other candidates who had their opportunity to win in their respected states and lost this is how the game is played. BERMAN: This is how the game is played. Beau Correll, what day do you expect the judge to rule Beau?
CORRELL: This coming Thursday is going to be in Federal District Court, Eastern District of Virginia in Richmond.
And I will say this, you know, I think we're looking at around 60 percent of delegates don't want Donald Trump.
BERMAN: All right, stand by.
CORRELL: So, just get ready.
BERMAN: Stand by, we'll find out Thursday. Beau Correll, Corey Lewandowski, Tara Setmayer, thanks so much. We'll be right back.
[22:00:10] BERMAN: That does it for us. Thanks for watching. Time now for "CNN TONIGHT" with Don Lemon.