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Turkish President: Attempted Coup Failed; Two Thousand Eight Hundred Thirty Nine Members Of Turkish Military Detained; ISIS Calls France Attacker A "Soldier" For Its Cause; Trump To Introduce Pence As His VP; Trump Favored Over Clinton On National Security; Clinton Ad Hits Trump On Foreign Policy Experience; Possible Link Between France Attacker And Terror Suspect. Aired 8-9a ET

Aired July 16, 2016 - 08:00   ET




[08:01:13] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR, "AC360": Military coup under way in Turkey.

UNIDENTIFIED CALLER: We heard two bombs.

COOPER: Thousands on the streets. Some of them called outdoors by the president. Protesters facing down a tank. Soldiers firing their weapons in the air.

UNIDENTIFIED CALLER: We just saw one ambulance another and another after another.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR, "EARLY START": Ten children among the 84 dead.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's the same question everybody is asking, why so much hate?

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST, "THE LEAD": Is the United States and the western world, are we doing enough to top these kinds of attacks?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think we're doing the right things. We just have to intensify the effort.


CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, everybody. We are always so grateful to have you with us. I'm Christi Paul.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Victor Blackwell. Good to be with you. We are live in Cleveland, Ohio, site of the Republican National Convention, just two days away now.

We are following three major stories right now. First up in just few hours, we'll get our first look at the Republican presidential ticket. The presumptive nominee, Donald Trump, is set to introduce his running mate, Indiana Governor Mike Pence. And this is happening as insiders tell CNN that Trump was pondering this 11th-hour reversal on that pick.

PAUL: Also as Republicans prepare to nominate their candidate hoping to be the next commander-in-chief, there's violence and turmoil in Turkey, a bloody coup attempt overnight by a faction of its military, 161 people are dead this morning and there is still at this uncertainty in the streets. What does this mean the key U.S. ally?

BLACKWELL: And now to Southern France, new terror raids and arrests overnight as ISIS calls the man behind Thursday's truck rampage in Nice, "a soldier for its cause."

But first, we are starting in Turkey, President Erdogan there says that the coup has failed. His government is in control after part of the Turkish military tried to seize power plunging that country into a night of chaos.


BLACKWELL: Wow. Watch it and hear the bullets raining down from helicopters. More than 1,400 injured by gunfire and explosions as soldiers and tanks rolled through the streets of Ankara and Istanbul overnight. But the soldiers met resistance. You see it here from thousands of government supporters. They flocked to the streets after President Erdogan pleaded for their help.

PAUL: Nearly 3,000 members of the military had been detained, 3,000. Earlier, the Turkish prime minister said the coup plotters were from various levels of the army including high-ranking officers. Those behind the uprising he said would be punished.

Now during the failed coup attempt, television and social media were black for a period of time and from minute to minute the people of Turkey had no way of knowing for certain whether their government had even fallen. They didn't know who was in control.

CNN's senior international correspondent, Nima Elbagir, takes us through how all of this unfolded overnight. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): At 11:25 p.m. Friday local time, the Turkish military said in a statement that it had taken control of the country and imposed martial law.

At 12:26 a.m., Saturday Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaking to the country via a Facetime call into CNN Turk telling his supporters to go to the streets to hunt for democracy. The anchor holding her microphone up to the phone to hear what he is saying.

At 1:50 a.m., gunshots reported at the presidential complex in Ankara and reports of helicopters opening Fires at the National Intelligence Headquarters.

Videos and (inaudible) posted on social media showed large crowds marching through to the streets and taunting soldiers. Some facing off against tanks and armored vehicles.

Crowds also gathering at Istanbul's airport, the site of the terror attack two weeks ago. Another flash point, the Bosporus Bridge connecting Turkish-Europe and Asia.

[08:05:02]KAT COHEN, AMERICAN TRAPPED IN ISTANBUL (via telephone): We've heard two bombs in the last hour, and the fighter planes going right over us, and the last one, everyone just got up and ran inside.

ELBAGIR: At 2:51 a.m., the Turkish National Intelligence Unit claims the coup is over. There are also reports of bombs thrown outside of the parliament building in Ankara. Meanwhile, troops entered TV stations taking over the newsroom of TRT and shutting down the network of CNN Turk.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was quite a scary moment. My staff -- their phones were confiscated.

ELBAGIR: Around 3:20 a.m., Turkish President Erdogan's plane lands at Istanbul's airport. He says law enforcement has started arresting military officers of various ranks. Turkey's deputy prime minister talks to CNN on the phone.

DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Who is in control now in Turkey?

UNIDENTIFIED CALLER: Well, there has been a fair coup attempt. Government is in full control. There's still some rogue aircraft over Ankara and I think they would like to be forced down.

ELBAGIR: At 6:30 a.m., at dawn on Saturday, President Erdogan addresses a large crowd. He calls the coup attempt treason and says his government is in control.

ERDOGAN (through translator): We will stand firm. We are not going to compromise.

ELBAGIR: Daylight brings clear pictures of the aftermath. These incredible scenes from Istanbul's Bosporus Bridge, as soldiers surrendering en masse, walking away from tanks and abandoning their posts. And in Ankara, pictures of serious damage to the Turkish parliament. Nima Elbagir, CNN, Nice.


BLACKWELL: All right, joining us now from Istanbul, journalist, Andrew Finkle, he has been reporting in Turkey for decades. Andrew, I want to start with how large or small a portion of the Turkish military tried to stage this coup.

Right now almost 3,000 members of the military are being detained. Put that into context for us, how many or what percentage of the military really tried this?

ANDREW FINKLE, JOURNALIST: I would find it hard to give you an actual percentage, but what is very clearly the case that it wasn't the entire military. It wasn't the entire chain of command. And, of course, that may be a reason why the coup failed.

On the other hand, it was not an amateurish operation to get that many tanks, to get 3,000 officers represents a huge portion of the Turkish military. So it was essentially a concerted effort but not a unified effort. I think that's probably the best way we can put it.

BLACKWELL: So the question then, if as we saw overnight some of the leaders of the opposition party actually condemned this coup attempt, some military leaders condemned this coup attempt, who is behind it?

Erdogan said in this news conference, now I turn to you in Pennsylvania, presumably speaking to (inaudible) -- who is this Muslim cleric? Give us a little background here, potentially is he the person behind this attempted coup?

FINKLE: Patila Golan (ph) is a respected Islamic theologian who now lives in Pennsylvania of all places and he commanded the large following in Turkey. Indeed, that following once lent their support to Mr. Erdogan.

And so he was once an ally of this particular government. His followers got into government, got into positions of power and authority, the police, the judiciary, the military, and many accused him of being sort of sleepers of having their own agenda and not being there for their own purposes.

Well, at a certain point he and Mr. Erdogan fell out. He accused -- his followers accused Mr. Erdogan of really a gross corruption and there was a huge amount of scandals and tapes released.

And of course, Mr. Erdogan described that as a coup attempt against himself, the fact that all these revelations are coming out. Ever since then, Mr. Golan (ph) and his followers have been blamed for anything that goes wrong in Turkey.

To my mind it's not really credible that a cleric who is not terribly well living in Pennsylvania could have organized a major coup attempt thousands of miles away on the other side of the ocean.

BLACKWELL: All right. Andrew Finkle there, thanks so much. We'll continue this conversation now. I want to bring in CNN national security analyst, Peter Bergen. Peter, I want to start with, of course, Turkey is geographically and strategically important in this fight against ISIS.

[08:10:06]This attempted coup will no doubt be a distraction for the military, but practically what will it mean for, not only the Turkish military trying to seal that forest border, although they have been criticized for not doing enough, but what this means for the U.S. military as they try to take the fight to ISIS next door?

PETER BERGEN, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, I think because the coup was averted the United States does not have to make a difficult calculation. If the coup had succeeded, the U.S. military at least theoretically couldn't be involved in a, you know -- doing business with a military dictatorship that had seize power from a democratically elected government.

As a practical matter, my guess is if that had happened, the united states would have continued this relationship just as its continued its relationship with the Egyptian military, which took power in a coup against a democratically elected government in 2013.

So you know, I think the outcome of this means that there won't be much of a change with U.S.-Turkish relations. In fact, the Turks have been doing a much better job at stopping foreign fighter recruits joining ISIS in Syria, cramping down on that flow.

They have also been much more willing to do Turkish bases for American aircraft flying missions against ISIS and I don't anticipate any of that will change -- Victor.

BLACKWELL: OK. Before we look too far ahead, let's look back just a bit. And what does this say to you about U.S. intelligence there in Turkey that it appeared that no one knew that this was a possibility or a probability that there would be this attempted coup there in Turkey.

BERGEN: Well, you know, I think this is what happens whenever there's a revolution or a coup. Intelligence agencies are criticized for not seeing it coming. But I mean, the president -- the Turkish government didn't see this coming. It was very tightly held.

And that's kind of the nature of coups and revolutions is that people don't see them coming. Now that said, I think it's widely known that or widely understood that there was unhappiness in the military.

That the president has cracked down on media organizations and journalists and is regarded in many circles as something of an autocratic ruler. So the conditions that produced the coup are widely understood, the actual timing of the coup was not.

BLACKWELL: All right. Peter Bergen with us this morning. Peter, thank you so much -- Christi.

PAUL: We're learning this morning that most of the promenade in Nice, France has just reopened and we're also learning that the driver who plowed into the crowd there just days ago is now being praised by ISIS.


JOHN LAMBERT, EYEWITNESS: And then he made a swerve slightly to the right and I got a good sight of the driver, young guy, very just focused on what he was doing. Just purposely trying to hit as many people as possible.



[08:16:22] PAUL: Breaking news this morning, ISIS has issued a statement on the terror attack in France that killed 84 people Thursday. An ISIS- linked media agency in fact is what we are talking about and they called the truck driver, quote, "an ISIS soldier who targeted nationals of the coalition countries fighting ISIS."

BLACKWELL: And the prosecutor's office says five people now are in custody this morning. One of those the attacker's ex-wife. Will Ripley joins us now from Nice where most of the promenade has just reopened.

Will, we understand that ISIS says that this man was one of their soldiers. He was inspired by ISIS, but any indications that this attacker took direction from ISIS?

WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: French investigators aren't saying whether they buy this claim from ISIS that they are now taking credit more than a day later for the horrific attack here that has now, as you mentioned, has just been reopened.

And we are standing in an area where the truck came through. We are told at least 15 people died in this spot and you can actually see people left flowers in some of the areas. The note on these says 20 hit here, many children.

They tried to wash off the streets, but they haven't been able to get all the stains off of the sidewalk and yet you have tourists walking through here.

We know that ISIS has sent out messages going back some six years telling people to arm themselves with whatever means possible, whether it be bombs or knives or even to run people over with their car.

But whether or not this particular attacker was inspired by ISIS is still unknown because according to his neighbors, he never went to the mosque. He went to the gym and was a heavy drinker. He didn't have a beer. He ate pork.

None of the indications of a jihadist, more -- what happened the indications of someone who is essentially a madman who decided to come through here and mow down as many people as he could.

We just spoke with a woman who pointed to this spot over here where she said some of the children that she was selling candy to that night, she watched them die.

Even as this city tries to return to normalcy along one of the most beautiful spots in the French Rivera. It's so haunting and so sad to be here to know what happened just a short time ago.

PAUL: All righty, Will Ripley, thank you so much. We appreciate it. And I cannot imagine what it is like to be there and listen to all these accounts from people.

I want to bring back in Peter Bergen. Because Peter, we just heard that account and that characterization of this driver from Will Ripley. How legitimate do you believe these claims from ISIS are that he was a soldier for them?

BERGEN: Christi, this reminds me very much of a claim that they made off of the Orlando attack, they described Omar Mateen (ph) with exactly the same language, a soldier, an ISIS soldier.

Now Omar Mateen, the (inaudible), who killed 49 at the nightclub in Orlando, he had absolutely no connections to ISIS in any meaningful way. He just may have absorbed some of their propaganda.

Like the Nice attacker, Omar Mateen had a history, according to his first wife of domestic abuse and was somebody who appears to be somewhat troubled. So these claims of responsibility are essentially opportunistic.

That doesn't preclude the idea that the Nice attacker may have invited some jihadist material and been inspired by ISIS. But it certainly doesn't prove at all that there was any ISIS direction.

And, in fact, when there's ISIS direction, we may recall, Christi, the attack in Bangladesh where 20 people were killed in the cafe. ISIS quickly claimed responsibility and showed pictures of the attack as it was happening essentially in realtime showing the victims clearly -- photos sent to ISIS central by people involve in the attack.

[08:20:06]So that kind of claim of responsibility is very legitimate. These claims are opportunistic and certainly prove nothing in terms of direction. In fact, it would be very surprising if it was ISIS direction in this case.

PAUL: All right, a very good point. Peter Bergen, thank you so much. Appreciate it.

BERGEN: Thank you.

PAUL: All right, we are here in Cleveland, ahead of the Republican National Convention. And Donald Trump announces his pick for vice president, Mike Pence, but sources say that was not a gut choice.


BLACKWELL: All right, soon Donald Trump will hold a news conference introducing his vice presidential pick, Indiana Governor Mike Pence. But reporting from Dana Bash sheds light on the hours leading up to what we're going to see this morning.

Let's go now to CNN national correspondent, Jason Carroll. We understand that there were some conversations that had been late in the evening.

JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's what we're hearing. Conversations obviously regarding Donald Trump and whether or not he was really, really happy with the Pence choice. Campaign Chair Paul Manafort saying that's not true.

But look, at the end of the day, Pence will appear at a news conference here in New York later this morning. This really seemed to go down to the wire. As you know, Victor, Trump building up much of the drama surrounding his decision.

[08:25:06]Thursday evening he told another network he still had not made a final decision. Pence had until Friday, as you know, to withdraw his papers to run for re-election for governor of Indiana. Trump then officially offering Pence the position on Thursday leading up to the decision.

Trump had his finalists out on the campaign trail with him, Newt Gingrich, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and Pence were all out with Trump. Sources telling CNN there was some second-guessing going on from Trump about his decision.

Trump apparently swayed by his children who felt Pence was the right political choice. Pence saying he is actually looking forward to being vice president.


GOVERNOR MIKE PENCE (R), PRESUMPTIVE VICE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: I'm excited. I'm excited to be joining the ticket tomorrow with Donald Trump. I think he'll be a great president and I look forward to carrying his message all across this country and the months ahead and serving with him in the next administration.


CARROLL: That was Pence here in New York. I've spoken to some Republican insiders, some of whom have been uneasy with Trump in his rhetoric. They seem to be pleased with the Pence choice. One GOP activist saying Pence brings balance to the ticket.

Pence appeals to social conservatives. He appeals to Tea Partiers and to Evangelicals, though he has disagreed with Trump in the past on issues such as Trump's proposal to ban Muslims from entering the U.S., it should be noticed that Pence once endorsed Ted Cruz.

Dan Senior who served as a senior adviser to Mitt Romney's presidential campaign suggested Pence once found Trump's rhetoric unacceptable, Senior tweeting, "It's disorienting to have had commiserated with someone regarding Trump about how he was unacceptable and then to see that someone become Trump's VP."

Again, the 57-year-old governor will be appearing with Trump later on today just about a couple hours from now. Pence later on will be returning to Indiana for a welcome home rally -- Victor.

BLACKWELL: All right, Jason Carroll there for us, thank you so much. And in just a moment we'll talk about the strategy behind the Pence pick.

PAUL: Also, attacks around the world and here at home have tested both presidential candidates and have gotten different reactions from each. I wonder how the voters are judging those responses. We are going to talk about that as well. Stay close.


[08:30:42] COOPER: Military coup under way in Turkey.

UNIDENTIFIED CALLER: We heard two bombs.

COOPER: Thousands on the streets. Some of them called outdoors by the president. Protesters facing down a tank. Soldiers firing their weapons in the air.


BLACKWELL: Welcome back. I'm Victor Blackwell.

PAUL: I'm Christi Paul. So grateful for your company as always. Listen, we want to update you on the breaking news out of Turkey this morning.

BLACKWELL: Chaos here. A night of gunfire, bombings left 161 people dead. More than 1,000 injured as the Turkish military, at least a portion of it, tried to stage a coup. Another half of it put down that attempt. It was an especially tense time for the Obama White House because turkey is a member of NATO and a key U.S. ally in the war against ISIS.


BLACKWELL: Cheers from crowds here as pro-government troops moved in and put down that rebellion. Nearly 3,000 military personnel we now know suspected of being behind the uprising are being detained.

PAUL: As the sun rose, renegade troops surrendered by the hundreds here. This is something that we have never seen before. President Erdogan using social media to contact CNN Turk and urging the country to rally for democracy.


PRESIDENT RECEP TAYYIP ERDOGAN, TURKEY (through translator): I want to encourage my people to the streets and invite them to the airports. And together as people gather show them by letting them come with their tanks to see what they are going to do, do it right there to the people. Power above the people I have never seen.


BLACKWELL: So what happens next, well, hopefully, we'll get an answer to that as the Turkish parliament meets in about 90 minutes to discuss last night's attempted coup.

Just about two-and-a-half hours now from the Donald Trump news conference introducing his vice presidential pick, Indiana Governor Mike Pence. As soon as it was announced via Twitter, Arizona Senator Jeff Blake applauded the choice saying that, "This would add to the ticket."

RNC communications chief, Sean Spicer also called it a great pick. But critics also weighed in, the "Chicago Tribune" said that the pick showed that Trump did not want to win saying this, "Pence is also an unpopular sitting governor in a state with 11 electoral votes isn't considered crucial in the general election."

He adds political experience to the ticket, but he also expands Trump's alienating brand.

With me on to talk about it, Kayleigh McEnany, CNN political commentator and Donald Trump supporter, and Steve Lonegan, Courageous Conservatives PAC spokesman and former Cruz campaign New Jersey state director. Good to have both of you this morning.

Now before we talk about Mike Pence, I want to start with about Donald Trump and you, Steve Lonegan. Thursday night, The Dump Trump Never Trump Movement lost its fight in the Rules Committee. Are you now ready to accept that Donald Trump will be the nominee for the party?

STEVE LONEGAN, COURAGEOUS CONSERVATIVES PAC SPOKESMAN: Well, Donald Trump will be the nominee for the party. I really have no doubt about it, but it was a big disappointment. You know, Victor, we had said It was a huge uphill battle getting through the Rules Committee, but it's was kind of shocking.

After weeks of being told by the RNC that the delegates were bound by the rule to test the rules 37B, which will go to the floor for ratification on Monday. They actually have to define these delegates.

So look, you have seen the Republican establishment in Washington, D.C. come together with Donald Trump to make sure that they keep control of this convention and shove their way through. The conservative movement has taken a major setback --

BLACKWELL: But doesn't every nominee want control of the convention?

LONEGAN: They do -- but control means winning, means galvanizing and getting to an exciting place to get the Republicans to gather and unified. This is a problem Donald Trump has right now. The Republican Party is not unified.

KAYLEIGH MCENANY, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: That's not true. You know, Donald Trump --

LONEGAN: John Kasich is not --

MCENANY: -- hugely respectful of Donald Trump to someone like Mike Pence, who is by all account a staunch conservative, high rating. He stands for everything that the Republican Party has stood for, for a long time. By choosing Mike Pence, Donald Trump said, yes, I may differ from this platform in certain places, but I deeply respect the values that have (inaudible) this party for a long time.

BLACKWELL: Does the Pence pick quell any of your concerns? LONEGAN: Mike Pence is a decent pick, but he's not the candidate for president, Donald Trump is. Let's pay attention to the number of Republicans who are not at this convention, which the RNC doesn't want to talk about, ranging from John Kasich himself in his own state down to people like Marco Rubio, who cancelled his appearance to this convention.

This is not a good sign for the Republican Party when we need to be unified going into November to defeat Hillary Clinton.

BLACKWELL: So let me ask you this, Kayleigh, if the Pence pick was supposed to bring in some of those establishment members above the gut pick as it's been reported of Chris Christie, if he, as we have seen overnight, just adopt some of those most controversial policies including the Muslim ban, how does he then become that liaison to those establishment pick?

MCENANY: Well, I'm not sure that he adopted the Muslim ban because he adopted the terrorist country ban so that's the ban put forward by Cruz and by Rand Paul on the Senate floor saying we want to ban people from terrorist countries and Mike Pence adopted that.

Not necessarily the broader ban so, you know, yes, we do see him moving closer to Trump in certain regards. But standing firm on his principles and I think it's nice to have on the ticket. People who stand for different things.

They differ on some issues like perhaps same sex issues where Donald Trump said he'd welcome someone of transgender identity into the Trump Tower bathrooms. We don't know where Mike Pence stands there.

But it is nice to have two different views represented in one ticket. A diverse view and there is something for everyone really in there.

LONEGAN: As long as that view is the view of the Republican Party and the Republican Party's conservative platform, that's a huge concern for many of us.

BLACKWELL: Does Ted Cruz endorse him when he speaks at the convention? Expect he will?

LONEGAN: I don't, no. I think Ted Cruz will work to galvanize the Republican Party, to unify the party. But personally I would be surprised if you get a full-throated open endorsement of Donald Trump from Ted Cruz.

BLACKWELL: Now Trump said --

LONEGAN: Personally, I would be disappointed by that only because of the attacks on him, his wife and his father. Remember him calling his father part of the assassination of John Kennedy just before the Indiana -- that's absurd. So I would be disappointed but maybe he will. BLACKWELL: Donald Trump said that if you can't endorse you don't deserve the mic. Do we expect that an anti-Clinton message from some of his staunches opponents will be enough for this convention?

MCENANY: I really think that Ted Cruz should take the extra step of endorsing. Because look, you have a lot of Republicans -- sitting on the sidelines saying we want to beat Hillary Clinton. We can't take another four or eight years of Obama policies.

By sitting on the sidelines, Ted Cruz is taking a real risk, especially when Donald Trump chose someone like Mike Pence. He is taking a real risk of us saying, one day, Ted Cruz, maybe you're the reason that we have another four years of Clinton because you didn't endorse Donald Trump. I think it would be a big mistake for Ted Cruz not to say --

LONEGAN: Well, I don't know if it was a big mistake when Ronald Reagan never endorsed Gerald Ford in the 1976 convention after the Ford attacks on his wife, Nancy, and himself. So let's see where Ted Cruz comes down on this.

BLACKWELL: Last night, is the Never Trump Movement fight over?

LONEGAN: The Never Trump movement was never designed to -- let me put it to you this way, the Courageous Conservative PAC said we would never participate in an effort that would assist Hillary Clinton. We want a full and open convention where the Republican Party --

BLACKWELL: But it is not called an assisting Clinton movement. It's the Never Trump Movement. Is that over considering --

LONEGAN: Well, I think the Never Trump Movement may shift -- and this again I'm not part of this and will not work to support an effort that undermines the Republican Party and Hillary Clinton. But there are people in this so-called Never Trump Movement, who will support a third party candidate.

MCENANY: The Never Trump movement is a very small group of politicians and they are by default helping Hillary Clinton.

BLACKWELL: We got to wrap it there. Kayleigh, Steve, thank you both -- Christi.

PAUL: You know, recent polls give Donald Trump an edge over Hillary Clinton. Voters say they trust him more to deal specifically with ISIS. Does his "let's go bomb them" philosophy really works? We are live from the Cleveland, site of the Republican National Convention with more on that. Stay close.



PAUL: The terror attack in France is testing both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump as to how they would handle national security. Their responses are critical obviously in whether voters trust them to keep the country safe come November.

A "New York Times"/CBS poll shows this, both are equally favored in regards to how they handle terrorism. They're tied at 46 percent as you see there. But when it comes to handling ISIS specifically according to the latest Quinnipiac poll, Trump soars over Clinton 52 to 39.

They both had very different responses to the attacks in Nice this week and the fight against terror highlighting their position when it comes to foreign policy, listen to this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Would you go to Congress and ask for a declaration of war?

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE (via telephone): I would. I would. This is war. If you look at it, this is war coming from all different parts and frankly, it's war as we're deal in dealing with people without uniforms.

HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE (via telephone): We are at war with these terrorist groups and what they represent. It's a different kind of war and we need to be smart about how we wage it and win it. So I think we have to look at all possible approaches to doing just that.


PAUL: So Scottie Nell Hughes, CNN political commentator and political editor at is joining us now as well as Matt Stevens, founders of and contributor to "Politics 365." Thank you both for being with us.

Scottie, I'd like to start with you if I could. So let's talk about these recent polls that people believe Donald Trump is better qualified to handle ISIS specifically. Does his "let's go bomb them all," though, really work when you are talking about even as we are hearing in Nice. Many of these are lone wolf scenarios.

[08:45:03]SCOTTIE NELL HUGHES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I don't think you want to go just bomb them all. I think there is actually a plan that there is a strategy to it. But what we need right now is we need to show how we are different and we have a different policies than we have right now.

You know, President Obama did something really bad when he called ISIS the J.V. team. That is a term that will always stick. Hillary Clinton has yet to show how her policy is going to be different in handling ISIS that what President Obama's had been, which is obviously not working if we continue to see these things.

All Donald Trump needs to do is come out and show strength that show that he is acting, put some action, something that we are not seeing come out of this administration. We are not seeing a plan out of Hillary Clinton.

He has got to show that he is going to do something different and show force and strength to keep them over there. And it's obvious that these folks are continuing to come out across against the west.

PAUL: Well, Hillary Clinton is showing us -- Matt, I want to send this to you, a record on her -- how she deals with national security and she does this in the latest -- in one of her latest attack ads. Let's watch.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who do you talk to for military advice right now?

TRUMP: Well, I watch the shows. I mean, I really see a lot of great -- when you watch your show and all of the other shows --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): While Donald Trump watched TV, as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton negotiated a ceasefire in Gaza, a reduction in nuclear weapons, took on Vladimir Putin and stood up against the trafficking of human beings. A steady leader in an unsteady world.


PAUL: It is a powerful ad. There's no doubt about it to a lot of people, although, Scottie doesn't believe me. However, a lot of people would say that it is powerful highlighting what she's done. Why then, Matt, do people still have such a hard time trusting her because this is where she falls short.

MATT STEVENS, FOUNDER, PRUNEJUICEMEDIA.COM: Well, I think trust has just been one of those things with Hillary Clinton that's been a deficit for her and I think it's something that she's working to overcome.

I think that people need to probably see her in a presidential capacity more so when she served as secretary of state. Obviously she was doing things like negotiating ceasefires in Gaza and those aren't always the pretty sexy headlines that grab attention.

But I think that if people really look at Candidate Trump and Candidate Clinton, they will definitely see that Candidate Clinton is on track and on course to really represent the country in a way that we need to move forward.

And she's actually assessing the threats with a plan on the ground to actually deal with the things that are coming up in the world, specifically when it comes to things like Nice and the attack in Or1ando and just the ever changing threats that come from ISIS.

PAUL: Of course, doing all this while she's trying to determine who her vice presidential nominee, who her teammate will be, so to speak. I want to read a tweet that Donald Trump just recently tweeted out a couple minutes ago.

He says, "Look forward to introducing Governor Mike Pence, who has done a spectacular job in the great state of Indiana. My first choice from the start."

This is why it's important to say because there was reporting yesterday that at the midnight hour before this announcement was going to be made he was still by his gut leaning towards Christie.

Now CNN was not the only one reporting that. Kelly O'Donnell from NBC also reporting that. So this is a report that came two different networks from sources from Donald Trump. So Scottie, how strong do you believe this team will be and what do you say about the reports that Donald Trump was not 100 percent certain?

HUGHES: Well, I really actually have a lack of confidence in whoever is supposedly leaking that out. Because if this was a conversation that happened at midnight, it obviously was in front of a big crowd.

So whoever is leaking this to reporters, I have to wonder their motivation? Are they here to help show unification amongst the party? If that happened, I cannot say it happened. It not been anything official he has confirmed and until Mr. Trump says it, I don't believe it.

But I have to wonder and I'm not doubting the reporters who reported, but I want to know who leaked it out and what is their motivation? What are you trying to sit there and accomplish by it?

But regardless of whether this is his first choice, his second choice, his third choice, he said all along I'm down to two people, four people. But obviously he's always had a solid trust. He would not be inviting him on to this ticket if he did not have a solid faith and trust in him to be a strength and to bring something to it.

PAUL: Matt, what do you say to this?

STEVENS: Well, I mean, these days is never -- we never know what is really going on with Donald Trump. He has operatives that leak things on purpose. He's very active on social media. So there's really no telling where he could have been doing -- what he could have been doing with that information.

And maybe he could have also been trying to create some type of buzz. You never know with Donald Trump these days. You never know with a candidate that so off the cuff, that is so unruly and unpredictable these days.

PAUL: All righty. Scottie Nell Hughes, Matt Stevens, we appreciate both of you for being here with us today especially in person. Good to see you. Take good care. Thank you and we'll be right back.



BLACKWELL: Breaking news in the terror attack in Nice. Sources tell us that French investigators are now investigating phone links between the Nice attacker and a known terror suspect. CNN terrorism analyst, Paul Cruickshank, joins us now from Nice. Paul, what do you know? PAUL CRUICKSHANK, CNN TERRORISM ANALYST: Well, we have this new information from a source close to the investigation that the attacker here in Nice or his phone number cropped up in a counter terrorism investigation a few years ago into a radical associate of the French jihadi called Omar Diabi.

They went back through this attack and the other cases were able to cross-reference his phone number that cropped up in that case. Now what they are trying to figure out is, what is the nature of that connection with this radical extremist in France?

This is an associate of the well-known French Jihadi Omar Diabi. Where they still part of a -- were they just part of the same social circle or where there are deeper links perhaps towards Jihadism.

This comes just at the same time as the French interior minister saying that there are indications that the attacker was radicalized in a very quick fashion over the last period.

So the first signs now from French officials that this individual was animated by radical Jihadi ideology.

[08:55:08]That's obviously a very big development in this investigation.

BLACKWELL: All right, enough here, Paul, to support this claim from ISIS that this attacker was a soldier inspired potentially by ISIS?

CRUICKSHANK: Well, all ISIS is saying in their claim is that this individual reacted to that call for attacks. That they are essentially saying they inspired this attack. They have not claimed direct responsibility for it. They are not saying he trained with them in Syria or anything like that.

But they appear to feel that he was reacting to that call for all their supporters around the world to launch attacks against the countries attacking ISIS in Syria and Iraq. But no evidence so far from the investigation that he had any direct ties to ISIS or was in communication with them.

BLACKWELL: All right. Paul Cruickshank there along the promenade in Nice. Paul, thank you so much. And we're back here in Cleveland, the site of the Republican National Convention.

PAUL: Of course, he will be back in about half an hour most likely at 10:00, but we do want to pass it off to "SMERCONISH," who starts with you after this quick break. Do stay close.