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THE SITUATION ROOM
Trump Meets with Possible Running Mates; Clinton: Trump Campaign Built on 'Stoking Mistrust'; Trump University Instructor: 'We Were Bringing in the Money'; Former Trump University Instructor Speaks Out; Phoenix Police Hunt for Serial Killer. Aired 5-6p ET
Aired July 13, 2016 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Nic Robertson, live for us in London. Thanks so much.
[17:00:04] That's it for "THE LEAD." I'm Jake Tapper, turning you over right now to Wolf Blitzer.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now: "The Apprentice." Tonight, Donald Trump is closing in on choosing a running mate, and a frantic day of reporters chasing motorcades. Trump and his family are meeting with the presumed finalists for vice president. Who will get the job?
Supreme confrontation. A political firestorm erupts after Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg calls Donald Trump a faker. Trump fires back, tweeting, "Her mind is shot -- resign." Will she back down.
Far from finished. A call for continued racial dialogue and new efforts at national unity. Hillary Clinton unloads on Donald Trump. She labels him dangerous and divisive and warns that the party of Lincoln is becoming a party of Trump.
And serial killers. A frantic manhunt underway tonight for a gunman police now blame for seven deaths, shooting victims seemingly at random. Can they catch this unknown killer before he strikes again?
I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
Tonight, multiple sources are telling us that Donald Trump wants to name his running mate in the next day or two. But they're -- we're also hearing he has not yet made up his mind. Trump and his family met with Indiana Governor Mike Pence today in Indianapolis.
The former House speaker, Newt Gingrich, came to Indianapolis also to speak with Trump. We're also hearing some other big names remain under consideration. Trump is jockeying to pick a running mate, just as Hillary Clinton hit him with a blistering new attack today. Standing where Abraham Lincoln once warned that a nation divided against itself cannot stand, Clinton said the nation needs a president that can pull us together, not split us apart.
The new polls from important swing states show a very, very tight race right now. Clinton is losing some ground. We're also following the urgent manhunt for a gunman and possible accomplice now linked to seven killings since March. Police in the Phoenix area tell CNN the arrives in a car, gets out and opens fire, then quickly drives away.
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus is standing by live. He'll take our questions. And correspondents, analysts, and guests, they will have full coverage of the day's top stories.
Let's begin with Donald Trump's search for a running mate. CNN's Sunlen Serfaty is in Indianapolis for us. That's where Donald Trump has been meeting with Mike Pence and Newt Gingrich today.
Sunlen, what are you hearing about those meetings?
SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, sources tell CNN that no firm decision has been made yet by Donald Trump, and this flurry of meetings really underscoring that he is still actively deliberating, beckoning those on his short list to this hotel here in Indianapolis, holding last-minute phone calls.
Sources tell CNN that right now his gut is with Chris Christie. But there are those fighting behind the scenes for Newt Gingrich and Mike Pence. Those are influential voices, Wolf, in the campaign and his family.
SERFATY (voice-over): Donald Trump is nearing a final decision, possibly one of the most important of his campaign: his choice of a running mate. The presumptive Republican nominee and his family having a private breakfast with Indiana Governor Mike Pence at the governor's mansion in Indianapolis.
GOV. MIKE PENCE (R), INDIANA: It was just very warm, and it was just one family meeting with another. We were really honored to have not only Mr. Trump but a number of his children.
SERFATY: A Trump campaign source tells CNN that Trump and Pence and their families are getting along fabulously during the Indiana trip.
PENCE: Donald Trump knows that the boundless potential of the American people awaits, and we can make America great again.
SERFATY: Trump's Hoosier State visit including a rally Tuesday night, with Pence getting a chance on Tuesday night to audition for the role.
PENCE: To paraphrase the director of the FBI, I think it would be extremely careless to elect Hillary Clinton as the next president of the United States.
SERFATY: But Trump is not tipping his hand.
TRUMP: I don't know if he's going to be a governor or your vice president. Who the hell knows? SERFATY: With the final decision looming, Trump holding a flurry of
meetings with other V.P. contenders today in Indianapolis, including former House speaker, Newt Gingrich, who has support among some Trump family members.
NEWT GINGRICH, FORMER SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: It's a little bit like "The Apprentice." You find out sooner or later who the last one standing is.
SERFATY: Trump also speaking by phone with Chris Christie, who is in Washington to participate in transition meetings. The two also had a face-to-face meeting Tuesday. Sources tell CNN that Christie remains a finalist, with Trump looking for a fighter, a role the New Jersey governor has shown he can play.
GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), HEAD OF TRUMP TRANSITION TEAM: The Democratic nominee for president put her own political convenience ahead of the safety and the security of the American people.
[17:05:09] SERFATY: Trump also taking a meeting with trusted advisor Jeff Sessions, the Alabama senator flying from Washington, D.C., to Indiana this morning to help the billionaire through the decision process.
Not on Trump's list of meetings today, retired Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, who's traveling to Cleveland tonight for a speech Thursday. Flynn hasn't spoken with Trump recently, but did talk with Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort in recent days.
SERFATY: And amid all of this, sources also tell CNN that the Trump campaign did reach out to former secretary of state Condoleezza Rice over this weekend to gauge her interest in potentially the role. She never talked directly to Donald Trump, but she said that she did not have any interest.
And as far as the timing, Wolf, we are told that the announcement could come potentially on Friday, but that Saturday -- the Saturday announcement is now on the table -- Wolf.
BLITZER: All right. We'll see what happens. This -- the convention starts on Monday. Sunlen Serfaty, thank you.
Our senior White House correspondent, Jim Acosta, has been keeping tabs on Trump's hunt for a running mate. Jim is with us.
Almost like a season finale of "The Apprentice." We're getting closer and closer.
First of all, Chris Christie. What are you hearing? Because he and Trump have had a relationship now, what, for about a decade?
JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right. It's a relationship that's gone on for a very long time. I talked to a Trump source earlier today that said, yes, they did have this phone conversation about potentially being his vice-presidential running mate, but that Chris Christie and Donald Trump talk on the phone all the time, that he is perhaps his most trusted advisor of all of those ex-rivals that Donald Trump ran against.
And don't forget: Chris Christie was that first ex-rival who came out and endorsed Donald Trump. He is seen as a fighter. I was told that by a person who's close to this campaign. He is very high on this list. He is potentially the person that Trump wants to go with at this point, but there are other people inside the campaign, insiders (UNINTELLIGIBLE), who say you know what? There are two other options here to talk about.
BLITZER: Let's talk about one of them. Newt Gingrich right now, accounts he's -- by all accounts, he's been vetted. What are you hearing about his chances, the former speaker of the House?
ACOSTA: The vetting on Newt Gingrich like Chris Christie showed some problems, and that is something the campaign will have to deal with.
But in talking to a Trump source earlier today, you know, if you have Newt Gingrich on the ticket, inside the Trump campaign, you may automatically win the vice-presidential debate. He's that good of a debater. There are -- there are the vetting problems with Newt Gingrich, and there's also this issues of loyalty. Yes, people inside the Trump campaign feel like Newt Gingrich is loyal, but there have been times when, in just recent weeks, he has criticized Donald Trump pretty strongly. And that does bring people inside the campaign.
BLITZER: Trump and his family, they went to see Governor Mike Pence of Indiana. This morning they were at the governor's mansion. And by all accounts, he's been vetted, as well.
ACOSTA: That's right. I had a Trump advisor, senior Trump advisor tell me earlier today that this meeting these last 24 hours with Donald Trump and Mike Pence went fabulously.
The one question that exists inside the Trump campaign, and it's something that's being debated -- I'm told it's a discussion not a division inside the campaign -- is what does Mike Pence eventually bring to the ticket? Ultimately, what does he bring to the ticket?
Yes, he will calm people down at the Republican convention in Cleveland, but at the same time do you want somebody who's so toned down that it emphasizes how bombastic Donald Trump can be on the campaign trail sometimes? Donald Trump wants a fighter. He wants an attack dog. The question is, is Mike Pence that person? Do you want the attack dog or the dog that might bite the campaign? That's pretty much where they are right now in terms of trying to figure this one out.
BLITZER: We'll see if these are the three finalists or if there is a surprise out there.
ACOSTA: I'm told that's not the case. Let's see what happens. It's Donald Trump. He's capable of bringing us surprises we all know, as well. Jim Acosta, thanks very much. Joining us now from Cleveland is the chairman of the Republican
National Committee, Reince Priebus.
Reince, thanks very much for joining us. Who do you like among the finalists?
REINCE PRIEBUS, CHAIRMAN, REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE: You know you're going to get a -- not a final answer from me. I think they're all really good choices. So they'll bring something different, right?
I mean, the different case that he made for each of the people that you were just talking about. And it comes down to a personal decision for Donald Trump. It's who he feels is going to be best for him and our country. The choices are good. It's just at this point it's up to him.
BLITZER: These are the three most visible finalists. Do you think there is a surprise out there potentially?
PRIEBUS: You know what, it is possible. You know, I think that it would only be par for the course with this primary season so far, that we would have a final twist, perhaps, but I'm not sure. I mean, I'm communicating with the team and with Donald, but at this point I think it's his decision.
BLITZER: Because I know he calls you and you discuss these kinds of issues all of the time, have you given him -- you don't have to tell him who it is, given him your recommendation?
PRIEBUS: We talk about these sorts of things all of the time, and I guess I just leave it at that, Wolf.
[17:10:04] BLITZER: Leave it at that.
Let's talk about some of the other issues that have come up over the course of today. In the past, you've suggested that this vice- presidential search, that there should be diversity and that should be important, as well. That should be on the table. But these finalists, they all seem to be men, white. What do you think? Was it a mistake not to seek, for example, or go with a woman or someone else? A minority?
PRIEBUS: Well, I mean, I know that all of those things are on the table, and I think it also comes down to who he thinks is most compatible, but also who would be best for our country.
There's also something, you know, called diversity of experience, too, that's necessary. And sometimes interested -- interesting -- obviously, something that would be beneficial, excuse me, that I think that he's also looking at.
He has been pretty clear that having experience in matters in both governing in Washington in the state, as an executive. You know, we talked about policy experience as well as another issue to be thought about and discussed. So I mean, diversity from Donald Trump as an outsider, a successful
businessman, is these choices that he's looking at. I mean, these are experienced people, but they all have a different personality and a different amount of experience, that they both -- they all bring to the table. So I think that's really where Donald Trump is looking for.
BLITZER: Yes, he said publicly he wants somebody with extensive political experience, somebody with a lot of Washington experience, which he presumably doesn't himself have.
So when you said diversity is important, you were specifically referring to what?
PRIEBUS: Well, look, I mean, for each presidential candidate, the diversity that you seek in the spot that you're, you know, in the vice-presidential spot can be a lot of things. I mean, it can be all of the above, experience, gender, race. I mean, that's an important ingredient.
I think that in Donald Trump's case, he's made it a priority to make sure that whoever he picks for vice president has the -- sort of the inside political knowledge that he's been talking about now for quite a while. So I don't think that's a surprise.
BLITZER: All right, Reince, I want you to stand by. Hillary Clinton really went after Donald Trump today. I want to get your reaction to what she said.
Much more with the chairman of the Republican National Committee -- he's already in Cleveland -- right after this.
[17:18:09] BLITZER: Amid Donald Trump's search for a running mate, we're back with the chairman of the Republican National Committee, Reince Priebus. He's joining us from Cleveland, where it's sunny and hot.
Reince, let me get your reaction to what Hillary Clinton did today. She really attacked Donald Trump for his comments, saying -- that was Donald Trump saying he can relate to African-Americans who think the system is rigged against them. Listen to what Hillary Clinton said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESUMPTIVE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Last night, in an interview, he said that he understands systemic bias against black people, because, and I quote, "Even against me, the system is rigged," end quote. Went on to say, "I can relate to it very much myself."
Even this killing of people is someone all about him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: All right, Reince, does she have a point? PRIEBUS: No, I think that she's just vicious and taking rhetoric to a
level that is in the gutter, and I don't think she should try politicizing a lot of these things.
It's amazing to me, is she talked about toning down the rhetoric, but the entire -- her entire speech was nothing but rhetoric and a lot of vitriol. I think she should worry about telling the truth to federal investigators, quite lying to the American people. She should look in the mirror, and she -- and ask herself about, you know, what character is and what integrity is. She's not going to see it if she's looking at herself.
I think anyone that lies to the FBI and having an FBI director tell the whole world that she is a bone fide liar in regard to national secrets, the most precious secrets that our country has, and she lied about them, I think that someone like that isn't even qualified to be president.
BLITZER: A couple of points, Reince. The director of the FBI, James Comey, said she didn't lie to the FBI, because that would have been a crime he would have charged her with, if he could have found that she was lying to the FBI.
PRIEBUS: OK. Fair enough. That's true.
BLITZER: But getting back to Trump, what Hillary Clinton was doing was reading the words that he said last night in that TV interview, when he said he can relate to African-Americans, because the system was rigged against him; the system is rigged against them. Those were his words.
PRIEBUS: Well, look, I think he's just making a rhetorical point. And, look, you can analyze everything up and down.
My point is, Hillary Clinton is the last person on the face of the earth who should be talking about rhetoric that's out of control, about a person who didn't tell the truth to the American people. And you're right, what Comey said was that she lied to the American people about many things in regard to her e-mails. She lied about confidential information. She lied about whether she turned over the information.
She's lying to the American people about something that the FBI is investigating while she was secretary of state. I mean, it's just awful stuff, and it's an outrage. And I think that people should look at her as someone that isn't fit to be president.
Regardless of your analysis of Donald Trump, the question is, is this person who lies about federal national secrets fit to be president of the United States? I mean, you can analyze Donald Trump's rhetoric all day long. She lied about federal -- about national secrets. It's not comparable.
BLITZER: I was just making the point, though, that she didn't lie to the FBI, because that's a federal crime, lying to the FBI.
PRIEBUS: And I -- and I agree.
BLITZER: All right.
PRIEBUS: I don't know what -- maybe the FBI should release the transcripts of her interview so we can find out whether she lied.
BLITZER: Just to get back to that other point that she was making against Donald Trump today. He said the system is rigged against him, the system is rigged against African-Americans, so he can relate. Those were his words himself, but you're saying it's rhetorical words he was using?
PRIEBUS: No, I don't know, Wolf. I mean, you've got to -- you've got to ask Donald Trump about it. I mean, he felt that the system that he was going through was rigged. I obviously disputed that many times.
But the point is, is that what he's trying to do is he's trying to appeal to the American people. He's trying to be the guy that is, like we say in our party, the party of the open door. And he's trying to relate to people. And you know what? No one's perfect, and certainly, Hillary Clinton isn't. And for her to start pointing out, you know, rhetorical grievances with Donald Trump, when she just lied to the American people about national secrets while she was secretary of state, she's got no room to point fingers at anybody. She's D.Q'ed, as far as I'm concerned.
And I think a lot of people in this country agree.
BLITZER: All right. One final question and I'll let you go. I know you've got to run.
The president and CEO of the NAACP, Cornell Williams Brooks, told me yesterday, like every four years, they invited Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump to speak at the annual NAACP conference that's coming up in the new few days in Cincinnati, not far from Cleveland.
Hillary Clinton said she will attend. Donald Trump notified them that he won't be able to attend because of the convention, even though Mitt Romney, four years ago, John McCain eight years ago, they both spoke at that NAACP conference. Is that a mistake for Trump? Is he missing an opportunity now at a sensitive moment like it is right now?
PRIEBUS: I don't -- you know, Wolf, you've got to ask him. I don't know what the scheduling is like. I mean, I've spoken at the NAACP event, Urban League, a couple times at the Urban League. And I think the event was at a different time than the convention.
I don't know what the timing is, but certainly, I don't think it has anything to do with his heart. And I think it's more of a scheduling issue. But you've got to ask them. It's the first I've heard of it. So...
BLITZER: Yes. The people at the NAACP have told me that they -- he still has time to change his mind if he wants to come; they would warmly welcome him and hear his thoughts on what's going on right now, as far as race relations is concerned. But at least for now, Cornell William Brooks says he has declined. We'll see if he changes his mind.
Reince Priebus is the chairman of the Republican National Committee. We'll see you in Cleveland the next few days. Thanks very much for joining us.
PRIEBUS: You bet. Thank you, Wolf.
BLITZER: Coming up, we'll have much more on Hillary Clinton's call for national unity, understanding today. She admits her own shortcomings in fueling partisanship but goes on to call Donald Trump dangerous.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CLINTON: This man is the nominee of the party of Lincoln. We are watching it become the party of Trump.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[17:28:11] BLITZER: Hillary Clinton is calling for healing and sensitivity as Americans grapple with a way of racial tension, but Clinton is also taking the chance to offer a blistering critique of her opponent, Donald Trump.
Our senior Washington correspondent, Jeff Zeleny, is here with me following the Clinton campaign.
So it was a very important speech she delivered today.
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: It was, indeed, Wolf. Indeed, she took a page from history, traveling to Springfield, Illinois, where nearly 160 years Abraham Lincoln delivered his historic speech, "A house divided against itself cannot stand."
It may have been an attempt by Clinton to rise above this overheated partisanship of this campaign. But by taking on Trump so aggressively, she also acknowledged that she, too, is part of the divide.
ZELENY (voice-over): Hillary Clinton excoriated Donald Trump today.
CLINTON: I believe Donald Trump is so dangerous. His campaign is as divisive as any we have seen in our lifetimes. It is built on stoking mistrust and pitting American against American.
ZELENY: In the same hall Abraham Lincoln delivered his "house divided" speech against slavery, Clinton said Trump is dividing America.
CLINTON: The challenges we face today do not approach those of Lincoln's time. But recent events have left people across America asking hard questions about whether we are still a house divided. ZELENY: Facing tight polls in battleground states, Clinton is trying
yet again to raise doubts about her rival.
CLINTON: This man is the nominee of the party of Lincoln. We are watching it become the party of Trump. And that's not just a huge loss for our democracy; it is a threat to it.
[17:30:18] ZELENY: She called for healing in the wake of deepening racial tensions.
CLINTON: Let's put ourselves in the shoes of police officers, kissing their kids and spouses good-bye every day and heading off to a dangerous job we need them to do.
ZELENY: And she asked white Americans to be more understanding of the real fear families experience in cities across the country.
CLINTON: Let's put ourselves in the shoes of African-Americans and Latinos and try as best as we can to imagine what it would be like if we had to have the talk with our kids about how carefully they need to act.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESUMPTIVE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Thank you.
ZELENY: Calling himself the law and order candidate, Trump is taking aim at the Black Lives Matter movement.
TRUMP: I think the term is very divisive. The first time I heard it, I said, "You have to be kidding."
ZELENY: When asked if the American justice system is biased against African-Americans, Trump replied...
TRUMP: Well, I've been saying even against me, the system is rigged. I can relate it, really, very much to myself.
ZELENY: And Clinton seized on the moment.
CLINTON: Even this, the killing of people, is somehow all about him.
ZELENY: Her speech at the old state house in Springfield, Illinois, the same place Barack Obama announced his presidential bid nine years ago, was also an effort to improve her own political standing.
CLINTON: I cannot stand here and claim that my words and actions haven't sometimes fueled the partisanship that often stands in the way of progress. So I recognize I have to do better, too.
ZELENY: And that's one of the reasons she gave that speech today in Springfield.
But as all this conversation is going on about Donald Trump's potential vice-presidential pick, the Clinton campaign is watching it with great interest. Their process is unfolding behind the scenes but getting close to the end, as well. She may meet with a few finalists tomorrow when she's here in Washington and then is expecting to make her decision next Friday after that Republican convention.
Wolf, Tim Kaine, the senator from Virginia, keeps coming up in every conversation as one of the leading contenders. Sherrod Brown, the senator from Ohio, also keeps being mentioned by many, many Democrats.
BLITZER: Yes. And there's a couple others that are being mentioned and being vetted, as well.
All right. Thanks. Maybe more than just a couple, several others. We'll get more on that later.
I want you to stay with us. I also want to bring in our political experts: our CNN political analyst and national political reporter for Real Clear Politics, Rebecca Berg; and CNN Politics executive editor Mark Preston. He's joining us from Cleveland.
Jeff, the speech that she delivered today, first half of it was on race relations in the United State. It was billed as a unity speech. But the second half was almost all a blistering attack on Donald Trump. Is that going to be the format from now on? No matter what the subject is, it's going to evolve -- devolve into an attack on Trump?
ZELENY: I think without question. I mean, they're continuing to try and define Donald Trump in every major speech she gives. If it' s from foreign policy or on the economy, or this one, indeed, on sort of, you know, the divisiveness of America. It kind of says all you need to say when the topic of a unity speech also has to include a sub-theme of how Donald Trump is not the unifying candidate.
But a challenge here for her is that her negatives are right up in the same sort of area that his are, so it's not, you know, necessarily preserving (ph) her. But Wolf, it's a race to the bottom in many respects here. This is going to be a scorched-earth campaign for the next four months. You can bet every chance she gets, she'll try and remind people of some negatives about Donald Trump.
BLITZER: And then Donald Trump, every chance he gets, will talk about Crooked Hillary, as he likes to call her.
BLITZER: Mark, some new polls came out today in key battleground states showing very, very close right now between Clinton and Trump. Update our viewers.
MARK PRESTON, CNN POLITICS EXECUTIVE EDITOR: Yes, no doubt, Wolf. You know, we often talk about national polling here to get a mood of the country, but really, the path to the White House, to victory, is going to be through about six or seven states.
Let's take a look at these numbers right here from "The Wall Street Journal." This polls here shows that Clinton and Trump are basically tied in Iowa. She has a three-point lead over him there. She has a nine-point lead over him in Pennsylvania. Now, I should point out, the last time Republicans won Pennsylvania in a presidential race, George H.W. Bush.
And then look at these numbers from Ohio, where I stand right now: 39- 39, straight up.
But let's flip it. Let's look at what the Quinnipiac poll is saying right now. They subbed out Iowa. They have Florida in there, Wolf. Of course, you know a very important state. And in that state, Trump has a three-point lead, so basically tied in the state of Florida.
But let's look at Ohio. It matches the same as what we saw in "The Wall Street Journal" poll, 41-41.
[17:35:10] And then if you look at Pennsylvania right now, this just goes to show you how polling is a science but yet could be a little bit different, depending on what numbers you're looking at. This poll right here from Quinnipiac, Wolf, shows that Donald Trump has a three- point lead over -- or rather a two-point lead over Hillary Clinton. So a very, very tight race as we stand right now, Wolf.
BLITZER: OK. AND As you say, national polls are important. But in these key battleground states, that's where the Electoral College is going to be decided.
Rebecca, you're doing some reporting on the vice-presidential effort that Donald Trump is undertaking right now. What's the latest you're hearing?
REBECCA BERG, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: He's still in the process, Wolf, of making his decision. He held a few meetings in Indiana today, actually, with some of the leading contenders. So he huddled with Mike Pence, the governor of Indiana, who he rallied with last night there. He also met with Senator Jeff Sessions, who's been a part of this campaign from very early on. And Newt Gingrich flew to Indiana, as well for a meeting. Chris Christie has been in touch, but he was actually here in Washington, D.C., today.
The family also getting involved. So as you know, Donald Trump really values the opinion of his children, and they've been very close advisors on this campaign. They are clearly involved in the vice- presidential selection process, as well. And we'll know within 24-48 hours what his final decision is.
BLITZER: And I think what I'm hearing, Jeff -- and I'm sure you're hearing the same thing -- those children, his three children, his son- in-law, Ivanka's husband, they are playing a very, very significant role in these kinds of decisions.
ZELENY: Without a doubt. In fact, we're told that they flew out to Indiana specifically to have that meeting with Mike Pence. One of his sons was there for the rally last night, but his daughter and the other son were not. So that is very, very significant.
But at the end of the day, this is the candidate's decision. This is a gut decision that he has. So you know, the family is important as we've seen here, but Donald Trump is used to making big decisions here. I think he could still follow his own beat here.
But you're absolutely right. Of all places for this to sort of be unfolding, I was talking to some Republicans in Indianapolis who were sort of gobsmacked by how this was really, you know, just unfolding in their town at the Capital Grill, you know, at the top hotels in town and the governor's mansion. Pretty interesting.
BERG: And it was all sort of by happenstance. Trump's plane had some mechanical problems overnight.
ZELENY: Perhaps. Perhaps or he was driving this. Of course, he's been controlling this day in television once again.
BLITZER: Yes. Mark Preston, you've been in contact with some sources. What are you hearing?
PRESTON: Well, Wolf, certainly, there's going to be a divide no matter who Donald Trump picks as his vice-presidential running mate, specifically among conservatives.
Now, over the next couple days, the leading conservative opinion- makers are meeting here in Cleveland under the umbrella of the Council of -- forgive me, here. The Council for National Policy, Wolf. The Council for National Policy is meeting as we speak right now. They will over the next couple days.
And what I'm hearing is that there is some angst about Mike Pence when it comes to social conservatives. They feel like he let them down when he weakened laws when it came to religious freedom in his home state last year. Newt Gingrich is well -- is well-liked by conservatives, but again, he's been married three times, and that has caused some angst amongst conservatives, as well.
The one uniting factor behind all of them, though, Wolf, is that they do not want to see Chris Christie, who they feel is too liberal to be Donald Trump's vice-presidential running mate.
BLITZER: Interesting. We're going to stay on top of this story. All right, guys, stand by. Also coming up, CNN investigates a former instructor at the now-defunct Trump University.
[17:43:14] BLITZER: Lawyers for Donald Trump are in federal court today, where a judge is considering whether or not to release deposition video of their client answering questions about Trump University. The video results from a lawsuit that alleges Trump University failed to live up to its billing, including a promise that instructors, hand-picked by Donald Trump, would teach students about his real-estate secrets.
Our senior investigative correspondent, Drew Griffin, invited one of those so-called experts to speak with him. Drew, tell us what you learned.
DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, James Harris is his name. He claims to be a real-estate expert. And for Trump University, he claims he was one of the best salesmen at that school. The real-estate seminar business raked in an estimated $40 million from people who thought they would be taught Donald Trump's real-estate secrets. James Harris is one of the people who sold them on that dream.
JAMES HARRIS, FORMER PROFESSOR, TRUMP UNIVERSITY: We were bringing in the money.
GRIFFIN: A lot of it?
HARRIS: A lot of money.
GRIFFIN: Were you -- you said you were the top guy. Were you the top guy?
HARRIS: I don't know if I was. I just know I'm really good at what I do.
GRIFFIN: You've said you were the top guy.
HARRIS: OK, so maybe I was the top guy. I don't really know if I was or not. I just know that my numbers were one of the -- from week to week to week, my numbers were in the top one or two.
GRIFFIN (voice-over): James Harris' job was to get people to believe they, too, could be as successful at real estate as Donald Trump. And to reel them in, sign them up, get them to pay as much as $34,000 on the promise that the next seminar, the next class, would teach them all they would need to know.
(on camera): What do you know about real estate?
HARRIS: Real estate is a very wide, huge business. I got in involved in real estate personally myself in the '90s.
GRIFFIN (voice-over): And if you attended a James Harris Trump University seminar, you would hear a lot more about Harris's claims
[17:45:00] of success and experience in real estate. Claims made in this verbatim transcript of a Trump seminar he gave in San Bernardino, California.
(On camera): Do you remember when you said this? "I'm a former licensed agent broker. At 29, I became the top 1 percent broker in the country. I build homes in Atlanta, Georgia, and I used to live in Beverly Hills."
JAMES HARRIS, FORMER INSTRUCTOR, TRUMP UNIVERSITY: Yes, if I said those things they are true. I did live in Beverly Hills and I --
GRIFFIN: We have no record of you ever living in Beverly Hills.
HARRIS: OK, well -- GRIFFIN: We can't find your broker's license anywhere.
GRIFFIN: And I have no idea what homes you built in Atlanta, Georgia. Did you build homes in Georgia?
HARRIS: I'm not prepared to answer those questions today.
GRIFFIN: This is part of your pitch.
HARRIS: No, I --
GRIFFIN: Is any of that true?
HARRIS: Again, I'm not going to answer those questions because I haven't seen that.
GRIFFIN: Well, you certainly know what you've done in your life.
HARRIS: Well, I don't know if I -- I don't know where that's coming from. I don't know where you got it.
GRIFFIN: This is a transcript submitted in court --
HARRIS: I've never seen it. I don't know what --
GRIFFIN: Out of the taped --
HARRIS: I don't know if that's a court document.
GRIFFIN: -- presentation that you gave in San Bernardino, California.
HARRIS: I don't know if that's a court document or not. I've never seen it.
GRIFFIN: It's a court document.
GRIFFIN: Well, what do you know about real estate?
HARRIS: Again, I'm not prepared to answer those questions today. This is about Trump University.
BOB GUILLO, FORMER STUDENT, TRUMP UNIVERSITY: He kept walking up and down the aisle flashing his Rolex in our faces.
GRIFFIN (voice-over): Bob Guillo was one of James Harris' students. He is part of a lawsuit trying to get back his $34,000. He says the school was a fraud, so was his teacher.
GUILLO: He bragged that he had dinner with Donald Trump.
GRIFFIN (on camera): Did you ever have dinner with him?
HARRIS: I never had dinner with him.
GRIFFIN: Bob Guillo was in one of your conferences and you said you just had dinner with Donald Trump at one of your speaking engagements.
HARRIS: I don't have any recollection of that.
GRIFFIN (voice-over): James Harris admits his main job wasn't to teach real estate, it was to sell real estate seminars. Always with the goal of hooking his audience into buying more classes.
HARRIS: I was told to promote and sell the Trump University packages and the programs that they were offering, and that's what I did. They had to pay a fee to come to further their training at the next event, so it was -- you know, it went from event to event to event.
GRIFFIN (on camera): Is that step-by-step, as it's been described? Upsell, by upsell, by upsell?
HARRIS: Kind of, sort of, yes. It's a little upsell from, you know, well, if you pay this amount we're going to teach you this much. If you pay this amount, we're going to go further with you.
GRIFFIN: Here's an e-mail you wrote. "I just spoke to Austin and Irene, the older retired couple who had to pull the $30,000 balance for the gold and she said it's done and should be in Monday, so that will be another $35K. We will easily have another $100K hit by Friday. Yahoo."
Your associate, Brian, responds, "We've always been a dangerous team, brother man. These peeps don't have a chance against us." Smiley face.
HARRIS: That's called sales.
GRIFFIN: Is that called ripping off an old couple?
HARRIS: Absolutely not.
GRIFFIN: Named Austin and Irene?
HARRIS: Absolutely not.
HARRIS: Again, I never saw that e-mail but that is sales. That's a typical sales e-mail between two sales people working on a -- working on a deal. I don't know if those people had the money or not. They could have -- they could have been putting up their last dollar, I don't know. All I know is that --
GRIFFIN: Do you care?
HARRIS: Of course we care, but I was doing my job. We did our job.
GRIFFIN: Regardless of if they could afford it or not? HARRIS: Regardless if they could afford it or not. I didn't know if
they could afford it or not. That was not my position. That was not my job. Other people did that. I don't know if they could afford it or not. We were -- we were told to show them all the ways that they could afford it. They could come up with the finances to get into the business, period, end of story.
GRIFFIN: Wolf, under oath, Donald Trump could not even remember who James Harris was. In fact Trump could not recall the name of a single one of his so-called live event real estate experts. That videotaped deposition of Trump under oath is what is being argued about in a San Diego courtroom right now. In fact we've just learned that the hearing is over in San Diego, the judge took it under advisement, he has not made a ruling, he said he will do that in writing later -- Wolf.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: What does later mean? In the next few days?
GRIFFIN: I would assume in the next few days. This is Judge Gonzalo Curiel. He usually takes all the arguments under advisement and then he comes up with the ruling in the next few days or so.
BLITZER: Great reporting from Drew Griffin for us. Amazing reporting, I should say. Thank you so much for that report. Drew Griffin doing his excellent, excellent work.
Coming up, police in Phoenix say a serial killer is terrorizing their city right now. We're going to tell you about the very disturbing pattern behind a string of recent murders.
[17:52:15] BLITZER: The city of Phoenix is on edge tonight as a string of eerily similar murders has police on the lookout for a serial killer.
Brian Todd is digging for details on this very disturbing story. Brian, what can you tell us?
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, and it has chilling similarities to that notorious D.C. sniper case of several years ago. We have spoken to the Phoenix Police several times today. They say they're engaged in an intent manhunt tonight. They're tracking a cold-blooded random killer who's even targeted children and who may have an accomplice.
TODD (voice-over): 12-year-old Maleah Ellis shot and killed along with her mother and a friend as they listened to music inside their car. Their murders the latest in a series of shootings in the Phoenix area which police are tonight calling the work of a serial killer. Maleah's grandfather says the shooter was indiscriminate. DOSSIE ELLIS SR., FATHER AND GRANDFATHER OF SHOOTING VICTIMS: Didn't
care if there were little babies in the car. They just want to shoot somebody.
TODD: Tonight Phoenix Police tell CNN they believe the same man killed seven people and wounded two others since March. Police release this composite sketch. The suspect believed to be a white or Hispanic man in his 20s. He may have an accomplice.
SGT. JONATHAN HOWARD, PHOENIX POLICE: We have no prior known contact between our victims and our suspects.
TODD: But police tell CNN they do know part of the killer's M.O. All the shootings have been at night, targeting people walking on in vehicles, seemingly at random. Police say the killer arrives in a vehicle, a sedan, gets out of the car and opens fire, then quickly departs in the vehicle.
MARY ELLEN O'TOOLE, FORMER FBI PROFILER: He is hunting people that he knows that he can have access to, that they are vulnerable and that they are accessible. Those are the two keys. And that they have no idea that this individual is behind them or in front of them. So he's looking for the best targets.
TODD: Another key part of the pattern, the target area. Most victims have been shot in the western part of Phoenix, a cluster of them in a neighborhood called Maryvale.
(On camera): What does that tell you?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That tells me the individual committing these crimes knows this area well. You've got two major thoroughfares that people can come into and go off on.
TODD (voice-over): Two killings have been outside those neighborhood. In total they have occurred over more than 50 square miles of the Phoenix area. Phoenix Police tell us the same weapon was likely used in each shooting, a semiautomatic handgun.
As the manhunt intensifies tonight, experts say the killer could be watching the media coverage and may become more cautious or careless as a result.
O'TOOLE: These individuals tend to be very arrogant and grandiose individuals because now they're holding west Phoenix kind of hostage. People are very frightened. That for the offender is a rush. And that in it of itself can cause that person to take more risks and therefore possibly make more mistakes.
TODD: Experts say law enforcement will use every resource possible to try to catch the killer or killers. They will use surveillance footage, automatic license plate readers which scan plates and then feed that information into databases and they'll use tips from the public. [17:55:07] There's now a $30,000 reward for information leading to the
killer's capture, and the FBI and the U.S. Marshals have joined the manhunt -- Wolf.
BLITZER: There was that notorious case of the freeway shooter last year in Phoenix. Any connection?
TODD: Right. Well, Phoenix Police had a suspect in that case and then dropped all the charges against that suspect. So they haven't caught that shooter yet either. That was a series of shootings of vehicles along Interstate 10 in the Phoenix area.
Wolf, tonight Phoenix Police telling us there are no indications at this point that would cause them to believe that there's any relationship between the two cases.
BLITZER: All right. Brian, thank you.
Coming up, last minute comings and goings as Donald Trump meets face to face with possible running mates. When will he make the big announcement?