Return to Transcripts main page


Rocky Start to DNC; Clinton to Address Charlotte, NC, VFW; DNC: Russia Hacked E-mails to Help Donald Trump; ISIS Claims Responsibility for Munich Suicide Bombing; Clinton Trying to Reintroduce Herself to Voters; Clinton Strategist Talks Clinton, DNC, Wasserman Schultz. Aired 11-11:30a ET

Aired July 25, 2016 - 11:00   ET



[11:00:00] (CHANTING)

BERNIE SANDERS, (I), VERMONT & DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Awful e-mails which revealed the prejudice of the DNC.

DONALD TRUMP, (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE & CEO, TRUMP ORGANIZATION: He has been gamed. It's a rigged system against him.

SANDERS: It is an outrage and sad.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm pretty pissed off right now. It was rigged against him by Debbie Wasserman Schultz.




CLINTON: In Philadelphia, we will offer a very different vision for our country.


KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm Kate Bolduan.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: I'm John Berman, live at the Democratic National Convention.

A rocky start here and not just because we're in Philadelphia, get it. The title of tonight's program is "United Together. But does that come with an exclamation point or a question mark?

BOLDUAN: Kind of like "United Together!" or "United Together?"

BERMAN: Exactly.

This morning, new polls and a new e-mail scandal. Donald Trump seeing a six-point convention bounce. He now leads by three points nationally, according to a brand-new CNN/ORC poll out this morning. IN a four-way race, Donald Trump is up five.

BOLDUAN: And the head of the Democratic National Committee, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, she is out after leaked e-mails show DNC staffers seeming to tip the scales for Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders during the long-fought primary.

The fallout already this morning, Debbie Wasserman Schultz booed, shouted down by some in the crowd at a breakfast for the Florida delegation just a short time ago. Here's a little taste of it.





WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Everybody settle down, please.


BOLDUAN: "CNN Politics" executive editor, Mark Preston, here with us.

When everything kind of went down last night, Mark, everyone was wondering what she was going to say and what was going to happen when she showed up to this breakfast. Looks like we know what happened.

MARK PRESTON, CNN POLITICAL EXECUTIVE EDITOR: No doubt, it's been a difficult 24 hours for the soon-to-be-former chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee. When she spoke to the Florida Democrats this morning, hoping to get an embracing acceptance from her fellow Democrats, it wasn't quite that way. Let's take a look.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Let's hear other speakers --


WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Thank you all so much.


WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: We know that the voices in this room that are standing up and being disruptive, we know that's not the Florida that we know. The Florida that we know is united.



PRESTON: As you see there, she was getting booed there. There were some cheers, but she also made a point to note that she spoke President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. Let's hear what Debbie Wasserman Schultz had to say about that.


WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Yesterday, yesterday, I had the great honor of speaking to both President Obama and Hillary Clinton. She asked me, and I committed to her I would serve as a surrogate throughout this campaign so that we could make sure that she is able to help build on the progress that we've been able to make for the last eight years.


PRESTON: Now, Kate and John, Hillary Clinton said in her statement yesterday that she will campaign with Debbie Wasserman Schultz. She thanked her for her service.

This comes as well as she is going to speak this afternoon or this evening. I spoke to a senior Sanders aide and that aide told me, look, we will try to keep the delegates in line, but let's face it, that's difficult.

BERMAN: Mark Preston, can I ask a follow-up question? Debbie Wasserman Schultz set to gavel in the convention start roughly at 4:00. The follow-up to what you just said is really. After what we just saw, really?

PRESTON: Look, if you were to go into the streets of Philadelphia, you would see Bernie Sanders supporters marching in the streets. They were very upset about this WikiLeaks, showing that, in fact, the Democratic National Committee was getting behind Hillary Clinton. They were against Bernie Sanders. And there is still a lot of anger.

BOLDUAN: We'll see. A lot of hours for things to change here before that gavel comes down.

Great to see you, Mark. Stick around. We've got more to come.

BERMAN: Want to go to CNN's senior Washington correspondent, Joe Johns. Joe is live in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Hillary Clinton about to take the stage very shortly there. Joe, tell us what's going on.

JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Well, I got to tell you, things are changing here a little bit, too. A few minutes ago, the speaker at the podium said that Hillary Clinton was essentially -- that they're going to move on with the program, suggesting there was some type of travel delays. There was a problem with the plane at the airport landing. We asked the VFW here in town what was going on. They said Hillary Clinton was having some travel delays. They don't know exactly what time she's going to get here. So we're waiting to see her. Expected to see her around 11:00 eastern time.

Meanwhile, the convention continues. Hillary Clinton today. Donald Trump tomorrow. We expect Hillary Clinton to talk about veterans issues before this crowd. Also certainly about national security issues. And it comes at a time when Donald Trump appears to have gotten a

pretty sizable post-Republican National Convention bounce. If you look at the latest CNN/ORC poll, it appears he's got a 5 percent to 6 percent bounce there coming out of the convention. If you look a little bit closer, of course, Hillary Clinton continues to have problems with the issue of honesty and trustworthiness. Something like 30 percent of people saying she's honest and trustworthy and about 68 percent saying no.

Back to you.

[11:05:45] BERMAN: All right, Joe Johns for us in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Clearly, the Hillary Clinton campaign not running on a platform of punctuality, at least not yet.

BOLDUAN: You can't anticipate travel delays, John Berman.

BERMAN: As I said, punctuality, maybe not this election.

The FBI investigating whether Russia was involved in the hack of the DNC e-mail system, raising new questions about whether they are trying to influence the presidential election here.

BOLDUAN: Hillary Clinton's campaign seems to think so, suggesting the e-mails were released to help Donald Trump in this election.

CNN justice correspondent, Evan Perez, is tracking this and joins us from Washington.

Evan, what are you hearing from your sources? What is the FBI looking into and what do they know so far?

EVAN PEREZ, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Officials tell me, Kate, there's strong evidence indicating the hack of a DNC was the work of hackers working for Russian intelligence. Officials tell me the FBI is now investigating this hack. And that, so far, evidence points to at least one group of hackers that is familiar to U.S. counterintelligence. This is the same group accused of hacking into the non-classified e-mail system at the State Department, at the White House and other federal agencies. Now, the investigators believe that Russian intelligence is behind a wave of cyber attacks on political organizations. And even think tanks here in Washington.

Now, recently, we interviewed James Trainor, who is in charge of the FBI cyber security investigation. He wouldn't talk about the DNC hack or the Russians. But he told us what he's seen. Take a listen.


JAMES TRAINOR JR, ASSISTANT DIRECTOR, FBI CYBER DIVISION: Yes, it's fair to say there's been aggressive targeting of that sector, the various campaigns, think tanks in the Washington, D.C., area, political organizations.


EVANS: Now, the release of the e-mails over the weekend by WikiLeaks adds another wrinkle to all of this. There's a lot we don't know at this point. We don't know where WikiLeaks got the e-mails it is releasing. They're not saying. We can't say for sure the Russians did this to help Donald Trump.

What we do know is this is a type of activity that foreign spies always try to carry out. They did this type of thing during the 2012 cycle. The issue this time is that whoever is behind the release of these e-mails over the weekend is already having a tremendous impact on the U.S. presidential elections -- John and Kate?

BOLDUAN: That's exactly what we're talking about right now.

Evan Perez, great to see you. Evan, thank you so much.

BERMAN: Let's bring in our CNN political commentators, Bill Press, a Bernie Sanders supporter; Christine Quinn, the former speaker of the New York City Council and a Hillary Clinton supporter; also "CNN Politics" executive editor, Mark Preston; and CNN political commentator, Andre Bauer, a Donald Trump supporter and the former lieutenant governor of South Carolina.

Christine Quinn, let me start with you because we saw what happened this morning, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, speaking to her own people in Florida. She's still expected to go to that convention hall at 4:00 today, which will be filled with a lot of not her people and gavel in. What's going to happen? Is that a good idea?

CHRISTINE QUINN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, look, I think things can change, as we said, you know, those decisions are I think being looked at and it might change, it might not.

BERMAN: Is that a statement or a hope?


QUINN: I can't possibly answer that question so let me move on.


Now, the gaveling in is actually not, no disrespect to whoever gavels, it's not the big moment in the convention. You're basically gaveling in --


BOLDUAN: It's becoming a very big moment. It's becoming a very big moment at this convention.

QUINN: Maybe, maybe not. We'll see. I think the real issue here is that this was the DNC, not secretary Clinton or her staff. Secretary Clinton has taken action. Debbie Wasserman Schultz has said she's going to resign right after the convention. We have a terrific interim chair, Donna Brazile. Something happened that shouldn't have happened. Responsibility was taken and actions were taken. And I think that really speaks to the kind of quick thinking and firm president Hillary will be, versus Donald Trump, when they put out that anti-Semitic tweet where there was an apology, and Donald Trump said it's like the greatest tweet and nobody should apologize. A problem happened, a decision was made, as opposed to the Trump campaign which is everywhere but sideways.

BOLDUAN: We'll see how long the ripple effects will be if she does, when she does gavel in.

Bill Press, Donald Trump has gotten some opinions about this. I know, shocking.


BOLDUAN: He tweeted this about Bernie Sanders, "If Bernie Sanders, after seeing the just released e-mails, continues to look exhausted and done, then his legacy will never be the same."

How should Bernie Sanders play this? He's speaking tonight. Everyone's going to be looking going to react to this.

[11:10:21] BILL PRESS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Bernie Sanders should ignore what Donald Trump says, like everybody in the world should ignore what Donald Trump says. It's just one insult after another.

But I got to come back to issue number one here. To quote myself, I'm still pissed off at this.


BERMAN: A famous man once said.

PRESS: Right, as a Democrat, and I'm embarrassed for my party. I mean, look, I came here --


BOLDUAN: But, Bill, who are you pissed off at, the DNC, the Russians, Hillary Clinton?

PRESS: Let me answer that. Number one, I'm pissed off at Debbie Wasserman Schultz, that she did tilt the DNC -- it's pretty clear -- in favor of Hillary Clinton. She put on the Jersey of the opposing team. She should not have done so. I'm pissed off at the fact she has not done the right thing. The right thing is to get on a plane and go back to Florida and get the held out of Dodge. She hasn't done so. I'm also disappointed -- I'm sorry, Christine, in Hillary Clinton. This is a leadership test for Hillary Clinton. This should be -- we should be here talking about her and Tim Kaine. Hillary Clinton should have told Debbie Wasserman Schultz, again, if you're not going to step down.

Now, the problem is she's out but she's not out yet. She's got to be out today. Hillary Clinton should tell her, get out of town and that's a leadership test. I think Hillary has failed the leadership test. She's also named as part of this deal Debbie Wasserman Schultz as a co-chair of her campaign. I mean, what the hell is going on. Let's get back on track. It's Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine. We should not be spending time talking about Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

BERMAN: Mark Preston, when you're hearing this, you know, what's going on behind the scenes? It's 11:11 right now. This whole thing starts at 4:00. There's four hours and 49 minutes by my math to fix this. Who's trying to fix this?

PRESTON: The Clinton people right now, when you try to talk to them about it, they are deflecting, deflecting, deflecting, because they realize this is a very big issue. This should be a big issue in the sense that Debbie Wasserman Schultz is the chairman of the national party that none of our viewers know who she really is. However, she has a very important role. She has an incredible amount of power. She misused her power. And right now, after we saw an unbelievable rollout of Tim Kaine on Saturday, defeated all expectations that everybody had, we talking about Debbie Wasserman Schultz.


PRESTON: The difficulty for Hillary Clinton is Debbie Wasserman Schultz has been in that position for a long time. Debbie Wasserman Schultz was very loyal to Hillary Clinton. And Debbie Wasserman Schultz did die on the sword, so to speak, except she's not quite yet dead. She still wants to stay through the convention.

People like Bill Press and these protesters behind us in the streets of Philadelphia, and Kate, as you said, at 4:00 this afternoon, it is going to be loud in that convention hall.

QUINN: That's uplifting imagery for all of us.


BOLDUAN: Well, Mark Preston --


PRESTON: I'm more than happy to --


BOLDUAN: If you ever met him, you would know this --


PRESS: The Ted Cruz welcome in Cleveland, right, he'll look like the most popular person in Cleveland compared to --


BOLDUAN: Andre, what are you watching? One of the interesting things we learned this morning is Senator Elizabeth Warren will be the keynote speaker. She's going to be making the keynote address. She's speaking tonight. In the lineup is Elizabeth Warren, Michelle Obama, as well as Bernie Sanders. Cory Booker's in there as well. What do you think of Elizabeth Warren being the keynote speaker? She's great at taking on Donald Trump. Does that concern you at all?

ANDRE BAUER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: They're not going to get to Donald Trump. We've been told since we were little, cheaters never win. Bernie Sanders was cheated. If you think 43 percent of the voters are going to come in here and check their brains at the door and not be aggravated that they think they were slighted by their party. There's going to be some vocal people in tonight and it's going to derail this for a whole day. Much like what happened with the Republicans. When they should have addressed the problem and immediately put the fire out. He is absolutely right.

BOLDUAN: You were honest about that, putting the fire out.

BAUER: Absolutely. Put the fire out then and it's exactly what should happen now. They should go back later and thank her for her duties and maybe in some way honor her, but right now they should put the fire out in this news story and get her gone. They've got a great lady going in to fill in for her. It should be now about letting the Democrats move forward. And they are letting her stay through the convention. I don't understand why through the convention? Why not now?

QUINN: One of the big differences about our convention versus the one in Cleveland is, did anyone want this e-mail thing to happen with the DNC? Of course not. It's no way to start. That's clear. But we have a candidate, a ticket, a party where Bernie Sanders has endorsed Hillary Clinton and reiterated that endorsement post e-mails. We're not going to have a man who was her opponent go up on stage and beyond throw shade on the candidate and not endorse her. That's not going to happen. Are people feeling upset? They should feel upset. These e- mails should have been sent. But we're going to see a united ticket.

BERMAN: Can I ask, is anyone here a little bit nervous that the Russians are getting involved?


PRESS: The biggest story of the week and, quite frankly, of the year right now. The Russians are getting --


[11:15:18] PRESS: I am very nervous.

BOLDUAN: Beyond the partisan politics, the fact that the Russians are --


PRESS: I'm very nervous that the Russians are involved, to influence this election.

QUINN: And help Donald Trump. PRESS: And help Donald Trump. Right now, as a Democrat, my goal is to have a great united convention. The unity of this convention has been destroyed, at least temporarily, by Debbie Wasserman Schultz.


BOLDUAN: Well, with that in mind, Bill --


PRESS: -- an embarrassment for my party.

BOLDUAN: You are a former super delegate. Do you support people being -- if you were looking for unity, do you support people booing her on the convention floor tonight?

PRESS: Look, if I were there, I would tell her, I would probably booing her on the floor. But, you know, the people are upset. But I want to say, it's not just the Sanders people. I keep making that point. The Clinton people should be upset because she has stolen the thunder and the show and the spotlight from Hillary Clinton. Get back on Hillary and Tim Kaine. The only way to do is to get Debbie Wasserman Schultz off the stage.

QUINN: I think a lot of people are upset, but whatever gavel or not gavel tonight, this is going to be different than Cleveland, not just in unity but actually in about having messages that are there to help the American them. We'll have the first transgender speaker ever at a Democratic National Convention. And a platform that is --


QUINN: Come on.


BOLDUAN: Christine is right now.

BERMAN: Christine Quinn, Bill Press, Andrew Bauer, Mark Preston, thank you very much.

BOLDUAN: Coming up for us, Hillary Clinton wants to reintroduce herself to voters this week. For someone in the public eye for decades, how does she do that? Clinton's convention strategy ahead.

BERMAN: Plus, there's someone else running for president right now. Donald Trump. He is on the trail. What is he doing today? How will he move past with his post-convention bounce?


[11:21:09] BOLDUAN: We're back with breaking news right now on the suicide bombing that injured 15 people at a German music festival last night. ISIS has just claimed responsibility for that attack.

BERMAN: Let's go to CNN terror analyst, Paul Cruickshank, right now with the details.

Paul, what are you learning?

PAUL CRUICKSHANK, CNN TERROR ANALYST: John, the semiofficial news agency of ISIS claiming this attacker was one of their soldiers. Very similar language to the language they put out after the Orlando shootings, after the Nice attack. They're not explicitly saying they directed and trained this individual, but they are saying he acted inspired by their message, their message to launch attacks against the West, to launch attacks against Germany.

We're also hearing from authorities in Germany that on the cell phone of the attacker, they found a video in which the attacker pledged allegiance to the leader of ISIS, Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, saying he was doing it because of what is done against Muslims around the world. Germany is involved in the anti-ISIS coalition. It's helping train the Peshmerga, providing assistant to them and also flying surveillance missions over Syria, even if it's not itself launching air strikes over Syria or Iraq.

So this appears to be another ISIS inspired attack. Of course just last week, we saw an axe attack on a train, also in the Bavarian region, and that individual also managed to upload a message to ISIS, saying he was doing it on behalf of the group.

BERMAN: All right, Paul Cruickshank, a lot of information there. ISIS now claiming responsibility for the attack in Germany that injured more than a dozen people last night. Paul, thanks so much.

BOLDUAN: Thanks, Paul.

Back here to Philly, the site of the Democratic National Convention, the first day of the convention and the first day of the rest of Hillary Clinton's life. An overstatement, maybe, but maybe not. Clinton is looking to use the week to reintroduce herself to voters, voters who have known Hillary Clinton for decades.

BERMAN: Let's go to CNN national reporter, M.J. Lee.

M.J., how is this going to work? Hillary Clinton is going to say, hi, America, my name's Hillary Clinton, and then say what?

M.J. LEE, CNN NATIONAL REPORTER: Well, John and Kate, you're right, the convention is usually a big opportunity for the nominee to introduce him or herself to the country. The problem of course for Hillary Clinton is that the entire country already knows who she is. So her challenge when she takes the stage this week is to try to capture voters who already feel like they know everything that there is to know about her.

Now I spoke to a Clinton official to get a sense of what their vision is for the convention and they say first of plan to talk about her years in public service and exactly what she wants to do from the White House.

And the other big thing, of course, is drawing a contrast between Clinton and Donald Trump. They see the convention as a big opportunity to do that. And they essentially want to tell a tale of two candidates. It is the "I alone can fix it" Donald Trump versus the "Stronger Together" Hillary Clinton, something the campaign thinks will help make that contrast with the Democratic leaders who plan to speak at this week's convention. Of course, the speakers include President Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, First Lady Michelle Obama, and Bernie Sanders as well. That of course, is in stark contrast to the Republican convention where Republican leaders actually did not attend or declined to speak.

Now, of course, the other thing the Clinton campaign is watching very carefully I whether the controversy over the DNC e-mails will spill over a drama on the convention floor. We saw behind me just a little while ago that frustration sort of boiling over as Debbie Wasserman Schultz took the stage. And this, of course, is not the image of party unity that the Clinton campaign hopes to project this week -- John and Kate?

BERMAN: All right, M.J. Lee with a preview of coming attractions. Thanks so much.

BOLDUAN: Exactly right.

Joining us to discuss those coming attractions, Joel Benenson, chief strategist for Hillary Clinton's campaign.

Joel, great to see you.


[11:25:12] BOLDUAN: Thanks for bringing the heat, as we like to say.

M.J. Lee was talking about folks are watching closely to see if there is continued fallout with this DNC e-mail controversy. How excited are you that Debbie Wasserman Schultz, after what you saw when she spoke at that Florida breakfast, how excited are you she will be gaveling in?

BENENSON: My understanding is convention rules require the chair to gavel in. What I'm excited about what will happen after that during the night. I think we have a roster of people who will speak tonight, Cory Booker, Michelle Obama and Bernie Sanders himself to reinforce the need for us to stay united to defeat Donald Trump and elect Hillary in November.

BERMAN: If she chose to remove herself, if Debbie Wasserman Schultz chose, you know what, I'm not going to do it, will the Clinton campaign be OK with that decision?

BENENSON: I don't know what would happen hypothetically. Here's what I know --


BERMAN: But you wouldn't stand in her way? BENENSON: Here's what I know, John. We've got a convention planned

for the next four days that will frame the choice in this election very clearly between Hillary Clinton and her vision for building this country by working together, giving working people a chance to get ahead and stay ahead, and address the concerns in their lives. Every speaker we hear from, whether people from Hillary Clinton's past who she's helped and stayed touch with, made a real change, whether you're talking about veterans, immigrants, and working men and women, are going to be able to tell a story and raise the curtain on someone who has helped people. In contrast to the Republican convention where we had almost no one stand up and be able to vouch --


BOLDUAN: All right, but, Joel, with all of that and so much to come in the days ahead, on a scale of one to 10, how happy are you to have another e-mail scandal?

BENENSON: Look, I think that will be reviewed. I think obviously the attention is going to shift very quickly to what happens on the floor of the convention. When you get a lineup of speakers like we have for this week -- just like we saw last week, there were a lot of speed bumps along the way at that convention. There were speed bumps every day. Some of them disappeared quickly because they were that big and what happens on the floor was more important. That's what's going to happen tonight.

BERMAN: Key note --

BENENSON: Elizabeth Warren.

BERMAN: -- Elizabeth Warren. We found that out this morning. Why her?

BENENSON: I think Elizabeth Warren is an absolutely perfect person to drive a very strong contrast about what it would mean for the economic lives to Americans by electing Hillary Clinton president as opposed to Donald Trump. A woman who has laid out specific plans., how we can deal with the economic angst that some people have, how we can make sure we get incomes rising by creating good paying jobs, making sure that we recognize that families today are different, two-income families, single moms who are raising families. As opposed to a candidate who, throughout his business career, has hurt and damaged small businessmen, working men and women who work -- by just refusing to pay them for the work they did for him cavalierly while he pocketed millions going bankrupt.

BOLDUAN: But if you look at the post-convention CNN/ORC poll, he got a six-point bounce. I mean, if this is the bounce you get, if this is the number you're looking at when, as you describe him as a horrible candidate and a disaster of a convention, what does that say?

BENENSON: Kate, Kate, bounces and bouncing back happen in every convention. The time to look at the polls in these conventions is after the second convention, not after the first one. Mitt Romney had a lead after his first convention, OK. John McCain had a lead after he came out of his convention against Barack Obama in 2008. What will happen is people had it -- it's your opportunity to have an unfiltered message for four days talking to people and they're focused in on it. Now we get our chance to do that. With the lineup and the message we're driving about what it takes to build the future of America for all people and an economy that works for everyone, I'm confident that after the two poll, after the two conventions settle in and we're talking good seven or eight days --


BOLDUAN: You guarantee she's have a bigger bounce than him after this convention?

BENENSON: I'm not going to guarantee everything on the bounce after the convention. What I'm saying and I can guarantee is the American people are going to respond to Hillary Clinton's message much more favorably from now through November than Donald Trump's divisive hatefulness.

BERMAN: Let me ask you this. Inside the new poll -- these were in the polls even before the convention. You can't just peg it on the timing here. The honest and trustworthy number for Hillary Clinton, 68 percent right now say she's not honest and trustworthy. Just take her out of the equation for a second, Joel. Will the American people elect someone they don't trust?

BENENSON: Well, let me say this, you've been asking me this question now for months as we've been winning --


BOLDUAN: That's correct --


BERMAN: Doesn't that say something?

BENENSON: No. What it says is the American people are judging them by something else. Which one of these people can we count on to create jobs that are going to work for me? Which one of these people can I count on to give the kids I'm raising an education. Which one of these people really had specific plans and the way to bring the country together --


BERMAN: But, Joel, is that saying they don't have to trust her to --