Return to Transcripts main page


Interview With Hillary Clinton's Campaign Manager Robby Mook; Interview With Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders; Leaked DNC E-mails Threaten to Overshadow Democratic Convention; Interview with Jeff Weaver. Aired 12-1p ET

Aired July 24, 2016 - 12:00   ET



JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Hello. I'm Jake Tapper in Philadelphia at the site of the Democratic National Convention where we have some breaking news for you. Embattled Democratic Chair Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, we're told, will not preside daily over the convention here which is set to begin tomorrow and there -- it's an open question as to whether or not we will see her from the stage this week. This comes just days after the release of nearly 20,000 internal DNC emails hacked into the DNC system, published by WikiLeaks. Some of the emails clearly showed favor to Hillary Clinton's campaign over Bernie Sanders, if not outright attempts to sabotage and hurt the Sanders campaign. In Wasserman Schultz's place this week on a daily basis, Congresswoman Marcia Fudge of Ohio we're told will take on a more prominent role.

Let's bring in CNN's Jeff Zeleny right now. He's been following the Democratic race closely. And Jeff, I have to say mounting pressure on Wasserman Schultz for even more punishment for her.


Jake, it's already know that she will not have a major speaking role at this convention on the stage behind us, which is big deal for her.


ZELENY: She wanted to be presiding over this convention when it's a historic nomination of the first woman to be the president of the United States. That will not happen. Her role will be very limited, I am told, by party sources. She may still gavel in at the very beginning and at the very end but she will not be seen during primetime coverage any speaking role. And this is why. There is growing pressure and growing worry across the party that these peace accords that really had been reached between the Clinton world and the Sanders' world are breaking here because of this explosive WikiLeak story.

So she's right now is resisting pressure to step aside or do something more extreme to remove herself from this position. She's trying to hold on and save face here but we'll see if that actually happens. Democrats from the Clinton campaign across the board want to resolve this before the convention begins tomorrow. We're seeing Sanders people who, you know, had kind of been resigned to the fact that this was happening. This is opening a wound I'm told and even more now. The Marcia Fudge will be much more visible. She's congressman from Ohio, a big Clinton supporter. And right now Congresswoman Wasserman Schultz is trying to see how she can proceed. She's trying to save face. She has her own re-election in Florida. The primary coming up in August but it's also in display here --


TAPPER: Sanders endorsed her opponent in that.

ZELENY: He certainly did. And that race is about to get incredibly heated over the next few weeks as well. This is a fluid situation here but it's all Democrats in this town and Philadelphia, are talking about.

TAPPER: Democrats in disarray as they say.

ZELENY: Right.

TAPPER: I think that's one of the things that is important to remember here, is that throughout the primaries caucuses, the DNC was obligated to be neutral. They kept on saying that they were being neutral and what these e-mails reveal is that, A, that the Sanders campaign and Debbie Wasserman Schultz were fighting. We already knew that.

ZELENY: Right.

TAPPER: But, B, that senior officials at the DNC, now Wasserman Schultz but people who reported to her were openly discussing ways to sabotage the Sanders campaign. Ask him about his faith.

ZELENY: Right.

TAPPER: Put out a hit piece on his campaign not being well-run.

ZELENY: This was particularly in the states that he was winning the West Virginias, the Kentuckies, where he was doing very well. To ask (INAUDIBLE) senior official at the party who has now apologized suggest the questions we raise about his religion. Others are saying that, you know, he's not capable for office that's a pretty senior charge.

Again, not a surprise but most Democratic establishment figure were supporting Hillary Clinton but this just shows the inside of all this here and it confirms everything that Sen. Sanders suspected and the fact that he has said and I am pl amplifying now, he's calling on her to resign.

TAPPER: Very interesting. Jeff Zeleny, thank you so much. Stay with us. Bring us any new breaking news.

I spoke about all of this with Hillary Clinton's campaign manager earlier today. Take a listen. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TAPPER: Joining me now is Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook.

Robby, thanks so much for being here. Appreciate it.


TAPPER: So, I have to ask, what is the reaction of the Clinton campaign to these DNC leaked emails suggesting that top officials, including the CFO there, were actively discussing ways to hurt Bernie Sanders in the primaries?

MOOK: Well, I think the DNC needs to look into this and take appropriate action, and I'm sure that they will.

What's disturbing to us is that we -- experts are telling us that Russian state actors broke into the DNC, stole these emails. And other experts are now saying that the Russians are releasing these emails for the purpose of actually helping Donald Trump.

I don't think it's coincidental that these emails were released on the eve of our convention here. And that's disturbing. And I think we need to be concerned about that. I think we need to be concerned that we also saw last week at the Republican Convention that Trump and his allies made changes to the Republican platform to make it more pro- Russian.


And we saw him talking about how NATO shouldn't intervene to defend -- necessarily should intervene to defend our Eastern European allies if they are attacked by Russia. So, I think, when you put all this together, it's a disturbing picture. And I think voters need to reflect on that.

TAPPER: What evidence is there that the Russians were behind this in terms of the hacking or in terms of the timing by WikiLeaks?

MOOK: Well, we need to let the experts speak on this. It's been reported on in the press that the -- that the hackers that got into the DNC are very likely by to be working in coordination with Russia.

And, again, I think it's -- if the Russians in fact had these emails, again, I don't think it's very coincidental that they are being released at this time to create maximum damage on Hillary Clinton and to help Donald Trump.

TAPPER: But it is a very, very strong charge that you're leveling here. You're basically suggesting that Russians hacked into the DNC and now are releasing these files through WikiLeaks to help elect Donald Trump.

MOOK: Well, this isn't my assertion. There are a number of experts that are asserting this. I think we need to get to the bottom of these facts. But that is what experts are telling us. Experts have said that it is the Russians that, in fact, went in and took these e-mails. And then, if they are the ones who took them, we have to infer that they are the ones then releasing them.

TAPPER: Internally, at the DNC, what repercussions should there be? How would you feel if you were running Bernie Sanders' campaign and you saw that the DNC, while claiming to be neutral, was actively talking about ways to hurt him?

MOOK: Well, as I said the DNC needs to take appropriate steps. And I'm confident that they will.

I'm really proud of the primary that we ran. I was at the rules committee yesterday. The Clinton campaign and the Sanders campaign were working hand in hand to create a unified rules report. We worked in Orlando to create a unified platform. We're really proud of that.

I think you are going to see unity at this convention, in strong contrast to what we saw at the Republican Convention. And that -- again, that is something that we're very proud of.

TAPPER: You're still not answering the question about what appropriate action would be.

Terry McAuliffe, the governor of Virginia, a huge Clinton ally, has said something needs to be fired. Should somebody be fired?

MOOK: I'm going to leave that to the DNC, because I don't have all the facts.

TAPPER: You're talking about how this is going to be a unified convention. Aren't you afraid that when Debbie Wasserman Schultz goes up there to gavel it in, that she is going to be booed by all the Sanders supporters? She -- her speaking slot was taken away because of the scandal, correct?

MOOK: Well, what -- look, what I am looking forward to is how we have worked in partnership with the Sanders campaign. Senator Sanders has endorsed Secretary Clinton. Our campaigns have worked very hard to get a unified platform, to have unified rules. And we are going to celebrate that at this convention. And it's something we are both very proud of.

TAPPER: All right. Obviously, you are not going to answer the question about specifics.

I want to play something from Bakari Sellers, a big Clinton supporter who is a CNN analyst, talking about the selection of Tim Kaine as -- well, he wasn't talking about the selection. It was before the selection was made, but it is relevant to the selection. Let's play that sound.

Oh, I'm sorry. It's a read.

It's Bakari Sellers saying: "I don't think there should be two white people on the ticket. That's not the way to win with the nomination."

He said that in April. And here we have two white people on the ticket.

MOOK: Well, then what he said after we picked Tim Kaine, and he saw his speech, he said, what a terrific choice Tim Kaine was.


TAPPER: He's pro-Tim Kaine. Obviously, Bakari is very loyal, but he he's -- he said that beforehand, so I can't help but suspect that he's disappointed, as, are we know, many Latinos that yet again we have an all-white ticket.

MOOK: I don't think anybody is disappointed.

As I said, Bakari said after watching that, he -- after watching Tim Kaine, hearing Tim Kaine, reading about Tim Kaine, he couldn't be more excited.

Look, Tim Kaine is a progressive fighter. This is someone who was a missionary in Central America, helped create jobs there. When he came back and, after finishing law school, he was a civil rights attorney. He took on Nationwide one of the biggest insurance companies in the country to fight against discrimination.

He has been lauded across the board by organized labor, by the Sierra Club, by the League of Conservation Voters. He had a 100 percent record from Planned Parenthood. This is someone that the progressive community can be proud of.

TAPPER: On the subject of Planned Parenthood and abortion rights, take a listen to Tim Kaine during a campaign. This is a radio ad from 2005.


KAINE: I support restrictions on abortion, parental consent for minors, a ban on partial-birth abortion, no public funding of abortions. Those are my values and that's what I believe.


TAPPER: Those are his values, at least in 2005. Those are not Secretary Clinton's values.

MOOK: Well, that -- first of all, that was over 10 years ago.

I think what's important is to look at his record in the Senate. He had a 100 percent voting record with Planned Parenthood and other -- the National Abortion Rights Action League as well. And he has said that he will stand with Secretary Clinton to defend a woman's right to choose, to repeal the Hyde amendment.


So, you know, voters can be 100 percent confident that Tim Kaine is going to fight to protect a woman's right to choose.

TAPPER: So, his values have changed on that issue?

MOOK: That was over 10 years ago. I can't, you know, comment on that ad, but voters can be 100 percent confident because of that 100 percent voting record with Planned Parenthood during his time in the Senate.

TAPPER: I want you to hear what Hillary Clinton said on "Charlie Rose" just a few days ago. And this is about something that she and Charlie Rose get into about what the FBI director testified, and then after the clip, we're going to play what the FBI director actually said. Let's roll that.



CLINTON: No, he did not.

ROSE: He said real sloppiness.


JAMES COMEY, FBI DIRECTOR: There's ordinary accidents, and then there's just real sloppiness. So, I think of that as kind of real sloppiness.


TAPPER: So, Charlie Rose said he said real sloppiness. Secretary Clinton said no. And then you have the evidence.

James Comey, the FBI director, said it was real sloppiness. There is a real trust issue she has with voters. More than 60 percent of voters, according to the last poll, don't think she's honest and trustworthy. Aren't moments like that part of the problem?

MOOK: Well, look, Secretary Clinton has said that this was a mistake, that she would do this differently if she could go back. And she's been very clear about that.

TAPPER: She's still misrepresenting -- misrepresenting things.

MOOK: I think she was referring to his press conference that he gave, not necessarily the congressional testimony.

But, look, what voters are looking for and asking about in this election is, who is going to fight to get this economy working for everyone, not just those at the top. We heard doom and gloom last week from the Republicans. We heard no specific plans about how Donald Trump is going to actually make people's lives better.

You're going to see real people from across America on this stage over the next week talking about how Hillary Clinton did real things to improve their lives. She's going to lay out specific plans to get this economy working for everybody. That's the difference. That's what voters really care about.

TAPPER: You say it was doom and gloom. The campaign of Donald Trump says it was just reality.

Doesn't the Democratic Party, doesn't the Hillary Clinton campaign run a risk, if you go after the stark picture that Donald Trump painted, if you belittle it, don't you run the risk of alienating people who are concerned about trade deals that sent their jobs away, illegal immigration, crime, terrorism? You don't want to belittle the fears, the real fears that people have.

MOOK: Well, look, and to your point, Jake, this economy is not working for everyone. It is rigged and it is only working for those at the top.

And she's going to address that. But you can't just get up on a stage and make a bunch of accusations, lies, falsehoods, a bunch of platitudes. This election is about the people of America and about their future and about what a president is going to do for them.

And Donald Trump didn't talk about any of that. He didn't talk about the future. He didn't talk about specific plans. And you didn't see a single real person get on that stage and talk about anything that Donald Trump has done to help them.

That's a problem for him. It's great that his family supports him. And his kids did a great job on that stage, but that's not enough. The next president has to actually have a real plan to help people. Hillary Clinton does. That's what you are going to see.

TAPPER: I mean, they were all people. I don't know who is a real person and who is not, unless you're suggesting that they were a bunch of robots, but OK.


TAPPER: Robby Mook, thank you so much. Congratulations on getting the nomination, and good luck at your convention.


TAPPER: Coming up: Donald Trump says the leaked DNC emails prove that the system is rigged. Will he be able to win over those fed-up Bernie Sanders voters? Stay with us.



TAPPER: Welcome back to STATE OF THE UNION. I'm Jake Tapper.

And we are live on the floor of the Democratic National Convention here in beautiful Philadelphia. Lots of folks were expecting fewer fireworks here than at Donald Trump's Republican convention, which, of course, featured actual fireworks. But there is big Democratic drama playing out here. We have a live update for you. The Democratic Party is struggling to respond after a leaked emails showing top DNC officials suggesting possible ways to undercut Bernie Sanders during his primary race with Hillary Clinton. And now news that the chair of the Democratic national Committee, Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, will be scaling back her role, giving up her speaking slot here. Perhaps not even appearing on stage amidst mounting pressure for her to step aside.


TAPPER: Joining me now is former Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.

Senator Sanders, always good to have you. Thanks so much.

Let's start with this bombshell from WikiLeaks, which got access to thousands of emails from the Democratic National Committee. In May 2016, the chief financial officer of the DNC, Brad Marshall, sent an email to three other DNC staffers suggesting that the party should try to get someone to ask you about your religious beliefs.

Here is the email -- quote -- "It might make no difference, but for Kentucky and West Virginia, can we get someone to ask his belief, does he believe in a God? He had skated on saying he has a Jewish heritage. I think I read he is an atheist. This could make several points' difference with my peeps. My Southern peeps would draw a big difference between a Jew and an atheist" -- unquote.

Senator Sanders, that is the chief financial officer of the Democratic National Committee. What is your response?

SANDERS: Well, I think it's outrageous, but it is not a great shock to me. I think, as I said, it's what we talked about six months ago. I mean, there's no question to my mind and I think no question to any objective observer's mind that the DNC was supporting Hillary Clinton, was in opposition to our campaign. So, I'm not quite shocked by this.

And that is why many, many months ago, I made it clear that I thought Debbie Wasserman Schultz should resign, should step down, not only because of the prejudice I think they showed during the campaign, but also because I think we need a new leadership of the Democratic Party which is going to open up that party to working people, to young people, to have the kind of vitality we need to not only win the presidency, but gain control of the Senate and the House as well.


TAPPER: Senator, what is your personal response, though, to having your faith questioned like that by a fellow Democrat? Well, you are now a Democrat, or you were a Democratic candidate, but by somebody supposedly neutral and theoretically on your team?

SANDERS: Well, first of all, I am not an atheist.

But aside from all of that, I mean, it is an outrage and sad that you would have people in important positions in the DNC trying to undermine my campaign. It goes without saying the function of the DNC is to represent all of the candidates, to be fair and even-minded. But, again, I -- we discussed this many, many months ago on this show. So, what is revealed now is not a shock to me.

I think the focus, though, that I am going to go forward on right now is to make sure that Donald Trump, perhaps the worst Republican candidate in the modern history of this country, somebody by temperament, somebody by ideology must not become president of the United States.

I'm going to do everything I can to defeat him, to elect Hillary Clinton, and to keep focusing, keep focusing on the real issues facing the American people. And that is the decline of the American middle class going on for 40 years, massive levels of income and wealth inequality.

And I will tell you, Jake, that I'm proud that, in the Democratic platform that was passed a few weeks ago, we are making some real progress. We're talking about breaking up the large banks on Wall Street who have been ripping off the American people for years.

Hillary Clinton and I reached an agreement on a higher education plan that would guarantee free tuition at public -- every public college and university in this country for families making 125,000 bucks or less, greatly expanding health care, and making sure that we make sure that millions of people gain access to primary health care and dental care.

So, my focus right now is defeating Trump, electing Clinton, electing progressive candidates around this country, and focusing on the issues that matter the most to working families.

TAPPER: Former Clinton Labor Secretary Robert Reich, a strong supporter of yours, he threw down the gauntlet Saturday.

Take a look at what he wrote on Facebook -- quote -- "Hillary should fire Debbie Wasserman Schultz now. Don't wait until next week to replace her. Wasserman Schultz and other top officials of the DNC tried to sandbag Bernie's campaign."

And your campaign manager, sir, said there need to be repercussions. What repercussions need there be? Should Wasserman Schultz be fired? Should these other staff members at the DNC be fired?

SANDERS: Well, I asked and demanded Debbie Wasserman Schultz's resignation many, many months ago. And I state that again. I don't think she is qualified to be the chair of the DNC, not only for these awful emails, which revealed the prejudice of the DNC, but also because we need a party that reaches out to working people and young people. And I don't think her leadership style is doing that.

TAPPER: Let's turn to Senator Tim Kaine. He is Secretary Clinton's choice for vice president.

Take a look at what Donald Trump tweeted this morning -- quote -- "Looks to me like the Bernie people will fight. If not, their blood, sweat and tears was a total waste of time. Kaine stands for opposite" -- unquote.

Senator, do you think Tim Kaine stands for the opposite of your political revolution?


SANDERS: Well, compared to Donald Trump, certainly not.

Look, I have known Tim Kaine. Tim is a fellow senator. I have known him for a number of years. Tim is an extremely bright guy, a very nice guy. Are his political views different than mine? Yes, they are. He is more conservative than I am.

But compared to Donald Trump, a guy who rejects science, doesn't even believe that climate change is real, let alone that we have to take bold action to transform our energy system, a Donald Trump who wants to give hundreds of billions of dollars in tax breaks to the top two- tenths of 1 percent, a Donald Trump who goes around the country insulting Mexicans and Latinos and Muslims and women, veterans and African-Americans, trust me, on -- on his worst, worst, worst day, Tim Kaine is 100 times better than Donald Trump will ever be.

TAPPER: According to the latest CNN poll, Senator, 40 percent of your supporters are not planning on voting for Hillary Clinton. They feel insulted, too.

You talk about the insults that Donald Trump has leveled against minority groups. Your supporters feel insulted by Hillary Clinton, by Debbie Wasserman Schultz, by the Democratic National Committee. What is your message to them?

SANDERS: This is my message, is that we have got to stay focused. And the immediate focus has got to be that a disastrous candidate like Donald Trump cannot be elected.


My second message is that we continue the political revolution and fight for a government that represents all of us, and not just the 1 percent, fight to break up the banks on Wall Street, fight for a Medicare-for-all single-payer system, fight to rebuild our infrastructure and create millions of decent jobs, fight for real criminal justice and immigration reform.

We have to focus on the issues. We have to elect progressive candidates all over this country running for the Congress, running for the Senate, running for school board. But we must defeat Donald Trump and elect Secretary Clinton.

TAPPER: Senator Bernie Sanders, thank you so much for joining us. Let us know when you're in Philly. I will take you out for a cheesesteak.

SANDERS: OK. Thank you.


TAPPER: That was Bernie Sanders earlier this morning calling for Democratic Chair Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz to be fired from her position at the DNC. But is the new decision to have her not preside over the Democratic Convention on a daily basis enough? His tough aid. His campaign manager will be here live, next to discuss.


[12:30:38] TAPPER: Welcome back to STATE OF THE UNION. I'm Jake Tapper. We are live from the floor of the Democratic convention here in beautiful Philadelphia.

The idea, of course, is for Democrats to try to use this week to showcase their candidate, Hillary Clinton, and the unity of the Democratic Party after these contentious primaries. But -- but on the eve of the big event, the main stage speakers risk being overshadowed by backstage tensions, after hacked and leaked e-mails from the Democratic National Committee show party officials clearly conspiring against Bernie Sanders during his primary fight against Hillary Clinton.

Just this morning, news in to CNN that the DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz has given up her speaking slot and seems to be scaling back her daily role here. This as Bernie Sanders tells me that she should resign. Has she gone far enough?

Joining me live here is Jeff Weaver, campaign manager for Bernie Sanders' campaign.

Jeff ,always good to see you.


TAPPER: I'm -- I don't know about you, but these e-mails are pretty stunning.

WEAVER: They are stunning. And it's very, very disappointing that you see, in black and white, how top officials at the DNC were plotting to put negative stories out about Senator Sanders, about how they planned to attack him on his religion. It's really -- I mean, that's just not what the Democratic Party is about.

TAPPER: The chief financial officer, Tom Marshall, I think is his name, was the one talking about the religion, and whether Bernie was Jewish or believed in God, or was an atheist or whatever, and how that might help Hillary, presumably, win voters in Kentucky and West Virginia.

WEAVER: Right.

TAPPER: Is there any evidence that any of these plots actually went to were reporters and were pitched as stories?

WEAVER: Well, it's hard to know, because, as you know, a lot of time reporters get off the record documents and they're loath to give up their sources. So it's difficult to document when these things happen.

But what is really very disturbing is that you had not only the CFO but you had the top staffer at the DNC, Amy Dacey, responding to that whole chain with the word, "Amen." So it was clearly from the top -- you know, all the top people were involved and it's very disappointing.

And I think, you know, it's great that Debbie Wasserman Schultz is not going to be speaking here, but, look, we saw in the Republican convention, we spent 48 hours with a drip, drip, drip as they refused to deal with the fact that Mrs. Trump had obviously lifted some lines from Michelle Obama's speech. I think that we should show, as Democrats, that we're more mature than that. There's obviously a problem here. Someone should resign. It should be -- Debbie Wasserman Schultz should resign. Maybe some staffers should resign. We're just going to pull the Band-aid off this, get past it. I mean, there's likely to be more e-mails released in the next couple days, and I'm sure there other time periods in the campaign -- which you're aware of, like the data breach time period -- where there was a lot of tension. I'm sure those e-mails will be even worse.

TAPPER: You're -- so you're -- Senator Sanders and you have been calling for Debbie Wasserman Schultz to resign as chair of the DNC for a long, long time. What happens if she doesn't do it this week and the people who -- and there isn't any evidence of Wasserman Schultz actually involved on e-mails, at least leaked so far, plotting. That's all of her senior staffers. And I get holding the chief, the chhairman -- or chairwoman -- responsible. But what if neither she or the top officials who actually did the conspiring resign? Then what? What happens to the Sanders supporters? What happens to the unity the Democrats so desperately want and need?

WEAVER: We're here this week to celebrate the unity of the Democratic Party, to make the case why Hillary Clinton should be the next President of the United States.

TAPPER: You still think that?

WEAVER: Of course. Why we need to defeat Donald Trump. I mean, these are -- this is the message we want to talk about. We don't want to be sitting here talking about Debbie Wasserman Schultz's handling of the DNC, which was obviously a real problem from the get-go, and we've -- as you have pointed out, I have pointed out throughout the campaign. But now we have this new evidence of problems at the DNC.

We need to get by this and one of the reasons -- one of the ways to get by this is for Debbie Wasserman Schultz to step down for the good of the party, put in somebody will be a more unifying figure so that we can bring the party together so that we can stop talking about this, so that we can start talking about the progressive change that we need in this country and move forward.

TAPPER: What if they don't?

WEAVER: Well, I think -- I think that would be a really big mistake. I mean, I think it will send a message to the supporters of Bernie Sanders and others that this is not taken seriously. This was really a serious offense, particularly the subject matter where you're going to attack people on their religion. I mean, even if they were going to do it against a Republican, it would be a terrible thing. Right? I mean, it's just not the way that we do politics.

TAPPER: That's clearly offensive, no matter how you slice it.

[12:35:03] Robby Mook, the campaign -- the campaign manager for Hillary Clinton was on the show. You heard him say there needs to be repercussions. He wouldn't go into detail. But he also said that this was the fault of, according to the experts that he was citing, Russians. Russians hacking into the DNC, Russians giving the e-mails, presumably, to WikiLeaks. And his suggestion was that Russians were doing this to undermine Hillary Clinton, to help Donald trump. There wasn't a lot of evidence there, just a lot of reference to experts saying this. What's your take?

WEAVER: Well, if that is clearly the case, that's an issue that has to be dealt with. If there was some kind of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian intelligence or Russian hackers, that clearly has to be dealt with. But that doesn't get away from the fact that the substance of these e-mails shows that the DNC was clearly putting its finger on the scale against Senator Sanders. And I mean, it does -- it raises other issues. Why is the DNC's system so fragile that these people can hack into it? You know, this whole data breach issue where we complained about how the firewall of the DNC had just fallen down, I mean, this is another example of mismanagement over there when you have an internet system that is so fragile that these guys can just come in and take what they want.

TAPPER: I haven't heard you comment on the e-mails that Debbie Wasserman Schultz sent, referring to you in some less than flattering terms. Any thoughts?

WEAVER: No, no. Listen, Jake, let me tell you truth. I like to sit at my dining room table with a glass of wine and read all the mean tweets and e-mails about me, and then howl like a wolf. It's very funny. The worst they are, the better they are.

TAPPER: So that didn't bother you?

WEAVER: No, not at all.

TAPPER: All right, Jeff Weaver, thanks so much for being here. Really appreciate it.

When we come back, can the Democrats bounce back before they gavel in or are we in for another bumpy convention, perhaps even more bumpier than last week? Van Jones and David Axelrod join the panel, next.


[12:41:02] TAPPER: Welcome back to CNN's STATE OF THE UNION. I'm Jake Tapper. And we are live from the floor of the Democratic Convention here in Philadelphia, the best city in the world, where there is mounting pressure on the chair of the Democratic National Committee, Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, to resign. She has already given up her daily duties to Congresswoman Marsha Fudge.

She will not be speaking. But some Bernie Sanders supporters say that that's not enough after leaked emails hacked and then released on WikiLeaks show staffers at the DNC, including some senior staffers, seeming to plot, to plant negative stories about Sanders during his primary fight with Hillary Clinton at a time when the party was supposed to be neutral, the DNC was supposed to be neutral.

How is this going to play out?

Will Hillary Clinton be upstaged by these emails?

With me here live on the convention floor, CNN political commentators Andre Bauer and Van Jones, CNN's senior political commentator, David Axelrod, is, of course, a former senior adviser to Barack Obama, and CNN political commentator Maria Cardona.

Ax, let me start with you.

I mean there's no -- there's really no two ways about it. This is a mess.

These emails are ugly.

DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, it's not the story you want going into a -- into the week. And, you know, Debbie Wasserman Schultz has worked very hard for a long time in this job, but she's going to have to make a decision as to whether she wants to be a distraction or not.

And I'm sure there are people who are talking to her about that.

I think that this, by the end of the week, will not have been the story.

But at a time when they're trying to bring the party together, bring the Bernie Sanders people on board, this is not a helpful -- a helpful development.

TAPPER: What would you tell them to do?

If you were senior adviser to Hillary Clinton, which you are not, what -- what needs to be done?

Does she need to resign or does she need to apologize and fire those people that wrote those emails?


AXELROD: I would...

TAPPER: What's the solution?

AXELROD: -- I would ask her to step aside. I would ask her to step aside, because she's a distraction on a week that is Hillary Clinton's week. So, yes, I would -- I would ask her to. TAPPER: You're nodding, Van Jones?

VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, well, I think a couple of things.

First of all, this whole Trump moment, I've been fighting and -- let's not adapt to absurdity. Let's not start lowering our standards for what we expect from people who are in public life. And that has to hold up.

I had to resign. You sometimes, when you're the distraction, you become the story, you fall on your sword. It's what you're supposed to do. That's how it works.

And so I don't know who she's helping now by staying there.

The other thing I just want to say is simply this, we've got a lot of work to do as a party to come together period. Not everybody in the Sanders wing is where Bernie is yet. We've got to -- we -- we need time for that. This is in the way.

Not every young activist of color is happy that we don't have a -- a VP of color. We've -- we've got to work on that. We've got -- we -- and so, there's real work to be done and this is a distraction.

TAPPER: Maria, make the case for why Debbie Wasserman Schultz should stay, if, presumably, that's what you think.

MARIA CARDONA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: So, I -- clearly, it's a difficult decision. It's a difficult situation. I completely agree that these emails are ugly. A lot of them were completely inappropriate. A lot of people got caught up in them. I'm one of them. As a super delegate, I was in constant communication with the DNC.

And the -- but I also want to underscore, private conversation does not reflect public policy. And what I mean by that is that no matter what people were thinking inside the DNC, it's like reading somebody's diary. It doesn't mean that they were not able to do their job and do it in a way that was impartial.


CARDONA: That's, you know...

TAPPER: But this is -- but Maria...

CARDONA: -- hang on. But hang on. Hang on.


CARDONA: -- but let's -- let me finish.

TAPPER: -- let's just say frank. This isn't them just expressing frustration with Bernie Sanders or insulting Bernie Sanders, this is them at work, pitching -- pitching ways to undermine his campaign. At work.


CARDONA: Yes, I understand that. And...

JONES: On -- on work emails.

CARDONA: -- and that's completely inappropriate, unacceptable. My understanding is that Brad Marshall apologized and they need to do everything that they can to clean that up. No question about it.

But here is my concern, just amongst us, that...

[12:45:01] TAPPER: Well, people are watching, just so you know.

CARDONA: Yes. Oh, OK. Thank you.

AXELROD: Could you turn that thing off?

CARDONA: Right. Exactly.

What I don't want to happen -- and maybe you all can help us figure this out -- is for there to -- for there to be an action that's taken that gives more legitimacy to the argument that a lot of Bernie Sanders supporters are saying, that the system was rigged.

The system was not rigged.

AXELROD: Well...

CARDONA: The DNC did not vote. This was a system where the voters actually made the decision and Hillary Clinton won fair and square.

TAPPER: Andre, let me ask you, as the Trump supporter at the table, you heard Jeff Weaver, Sanders' campaign manager, say that was 48 hours spent during the Republican Convention trying to figure out which staff member put those plagiarized parts of Michelle Obama's speech into Malia Trump's -- Melania Trump's speech...

ANDRE BAUER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Handled totally incorrectly.

TAPPER: Totally -- handled poorly. And he's like we spent all that time on that, we need to spend as much time, if not more time, on this.

BAUER: What you saw with him was a team player. If I were him, I would be more upset than he is, quite frankly. This is reinforcing everything Bernie said. He asked her to resign a long time ago. And it's going right back to his supporters and saying look, you can't trust him. It was home cooked.

And quite frankly, something that hasn't been touched on, I'm not sure they're not in violation of campaign finance laws, because you had somebody within the DNC then helping the Hillary campaign.

I mean this was convolution. This... AXELROD: You know, I agree with what Maria said. I mean Hillary Clinton won by a substantial margin. I don't think that -- that this was handed to her by the DNC.


AXELROD: But there were moments in this campaign where the DNC, whether it was the scheduling of debates or other issues, appeared to be giving her a home court advantage. And irregardless of that, this is what people feel.


AXELROD: And at a time when you're trying to bring the party together -- and look, I know Debbie Wasserman Schultz. My guess is that she's thinking hard about this and will do the right thing.

TAPPER: What do you...


TAPPER: -- what do you think needs to be done?

What is...

JONES: Well, I mean...

TAPPER: Does Wasserman Schultz need to resign?

Does she need to fire people?

JONES: Well, she should apologize. She should resign. Others should resign.

Here's the deal. If you are the referee, you can't put on the other person's jersey. The -- people -- we have now almost -- it's normal somehow that the DNC chair is helping Hillary Clinton.

That's not normal. That is wrong. That's not supposed to happen. She's supposed to be neutral. Even the appearance of not being neutral is enough to say step down.

This is way beyond that.

So if we are going to have a party that can come together, the chair has to be fair. I don't mean to rhyme, but the chair has to be fair. And if the chair can't be fair, the chair doesn't need to be there.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Haqrenesque (ph).

TAPPER: Wow! Haqrenesque (ph), the chair has to be fair.

AXELROD: That's great.

TAPPER: What do you think, right now, you've known Hillary Clinton for -- for a long time. Obviously, you can't -- you aren't one of these ESP, as far as I know.

But what do you think she's thinking right now?

I mean if I -- if I were her, I'd be like this is not what I want people to be talking about the Sunday morning before my convention.

AXELROD: Yes. Well, I'm sure that's what she's thinking, although I -- she has a lot of other things on her mind, I'm sure, as should everybody else.


AXELROD: Which is why dealing with this quickly would be a good thing to do. Don't make it a 36 or 48 hour story. And the best thing to do is to cut it off today.

BAUER: And what will be leaked next?

TAPPER: That's a big question, what will be leaked nest -- next?

BAUER: I guess we'll have to ask the Russians.

TAPPER: So you think...

CARDONA: There you go.


TAPPER: But, you know, I mean everybody laughing at all that stuff...


TAPPER: -- but -- but when the hack took place, I mean a lot of the coverage at the time and the group Crowdstrike, which is a cyber security group, did say that they thought it was Russian-backed hackers. That doesn't mean it has anything to do with Putin, certainly not with any American campaign.

But Russians might have been involved.

BAUER: I think a -- I think the average voter on the street is going to have a hard time disgusting that that's -- that Donald Trump campaign has worked with the Russians to put this out the week of the Democratic Convention.

TAPPER: No, no, I -- I did -- you'll notice, I didn't go that far.


TAPPER: I'm not...


AXELROD: These guys don't...

CARDONA: He said it. AXELROD: -- these guys don't believe in conspiracy theories.

BAUER: I do.


BAUER: I do.


BAUER: Come on, Ax.

TAPPER: Just not that one.

Do you think, Maria, as somebody on the DNC Rules Committee, do you think that somebody else -- somebody is going to have to lose their job before the gavel comes down tomorrow?

CARDONA: I think something needs to be done to make it clear, as Van said, that, again, to underscore that this system was fair and square, because people do feel like it was, you know, pushed to one side.

We need to make sure that that is not the feeling going into this convention...

TAPPER: All right.

CARDONA: -- because we want to make sure it's very different from what the Republicans did.

TAPPER: We'll see.

Thanks one and all.

CARDONA: Thank you.

TAPPER: Appreciate it.


[12:54:00] TAPPER: Welcome back. Politicians love the symbolism of coming here to Philadelphia, the birthplace of America. We have the Liberty Bell here, Independence Hall, the home of Betsy Ross. But if a presidential hopeful wants to really feel the brotherly love, they'd better be prepared for a critical and cheesy political test.

This is the subject of this week's "State of the Cartoonion."


TAPPER (voice-over): With the Democratic Convention taking place in Philadelphia this year, the real question facing many delegates is not Bernie or Hillary, it's Pats or Geno's. That's right it's cheese day not politics that really divide this town. And many presidential wannabes have fallen victim in the great cheesesteak wars. John Kerry in 2004 ordered his cheesecake with Swiss. Thank heaven it wasn't brie, I suppose. President Bush then mocked Kerry by saying he knew the proper order was "wiz wit" -- that's with Cheez Whiz, supposedly the proper order .

[12:55:02] But to true Philadelphians, provolone also show some cred.

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker he went with American cheese, questionable, but what raised hackles among the tough Philly crowd was his cutting in line and not cleaning up after himself.

Philadelphians can be tough. We once booed Santa Claus at an Eagles' game, though to be fair, the presents the previous Christmas had been rather wanting. Kerry, it should be noted, did win Pennsylvania, so when it comes to all this cheesesteak back and forth, let's not overstate the role.


TAPPER: As Hillary Clinton prepares to officially become the Democratic presidential nominee, CNN is providing live coverage from Philadelphia all week. Special coverage begins tomorrow, on "THE LEAD" at 4:00 p.m. Eastern. Thanks for watching.

I'm Jake Tapper in Philadelphia.