Return to Transcripts main page


McCain Penned Final Letter to Americans Before Death; 3 Arizona GOP Candidates in Tight Senate Race; Trump Endorses DeSantis in Florida Congressional Race; Trump Says Google Rigged Against Him, Conservatives; Judge Delays 2nd Manafort Trial. Aired 11:30-12p ET

Aired August 28, 2018 - 11:30   ET


[11:30:00] JOHN SHADEGG, (R), FORMER CONGRESSMAN: In 2008, I helped him in his presidential race. In 2008, the theme of that campaign was that all of us, young people and all Americans, should at some point in our lives think about giving ourselves to a cause greater than ourselves. That was one of his themes. And I think, in those about tearing down walls, he wasn't talking about politics. He was talking about walls between people. He had great friendships with Ted Kennedy, not somebody of his same philosophical stripe. The former vice president will be here to speak at his service. Opposite parties. He talked in the remarks about the fact that we have so much more pulling us together as Americans than tearing us apart. I think that's the message that this week gives us an opportunity to focus on, the message of people who rise above it. Yes, he could get into a slug-fest. He said a fight avoided is a fight not enjoyed. That's the kind of battle for what you believe in spirit that exemplifies John McCain and had me come to admire him immensely.

NOBLES: His seat is currently open. Your name is reported for being under consideration. Forgive me for asking this, but have you talked to the governor or anyone else about the potential of you replacing Senator McCain in the United States Senate?

SHADEGG: You can ask it, and I can tell you my answer, I have no comment. I don't think that's the topic. The governor set the tone. This week is about John McCain and his service. And there's so many stories. In my office yesterday, a woman on the staff who runs a functional part of the office came to me -- sent me an e-mail first and said -- she expressed her sympathy at my loss of John McCain and then talked about her loss. Then she came up to my office. We chatted. She said she had met Senator McCain once in her life. It was a random meeting in downtown Phoenix. He literally stopped and spoke with her and talked to a small group. She was stunned at how much time he gave them, how he answered their questions, and the respect he paid to them. That's what we need to be focusing on right now. That's the message that young people in America I think need to hear right now. They need to know more about American icons, idealistic people like John McCain, who call us all to a higher place. Ronald Reagan did that. John McCain did that.

NOBLES: OK. Former Congressman John Shadegg, thank you so much for your perspective. We appreciate you joining us.

SHADEGG: My pleasure. NOBLES: Still to come, the Republican fight to fill the seat of

retiring Arizona Senator Jeff Flake. The candidates running toward President Trump, but the president has yet to make an endorsement. We will have the latest on that race next.

But first, coming this Labor Day, a CNN special event. The television event of "RBG." We take a closer look at the life of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. We'll also examining how the experience of all women has dramatically changed. Today, we are looking at the evolution of women in the workplace.


NARRATOR (voice-over): Work has changed dramatically for women since 1933, when Ruth Bader Ginsburg was born. Back then, pursuing ambition was for men. Unless you were Francis Perkins, the first woman appointed to a cabinet position.

As a child, RBG watched as millions of women entered the work force during World War II only to see them pushed back out when men returned home.

UNIDENTIFIED NEWS ANCHOR: Victory and the return of happier days.

NARRATOR: When she graduated at the top of her law school class, she found no law firms willing to hire her. Later, when she began teaching at Rutgers, she was paid less than her male colleagues. She was told this was because she had a husband to foot the bills.

Motivated by the history of workplace bias, she used her legal talented to build a foundation of case law in support of women's rights as workers.

RUTH BADER GINSBURG, SUPREME COURT JUSTICE: Society would benefit enormously if women were regarded as people equal in stature to men.

[11:34:04] NARRATOR: Watch RBG on Monday, September 3, at 9:00 p.m. on CNN.



NOBLES: It's primary day for two states. There are several fascinating races to watch, especially in Arizona. Three Republicans are battling it out to claim the seat being vacated by the retiring Senator Jeff Flake. Congresswoman Martha McSally is going up against Dr. Kelli Ward and the controversial former sheriff of Maricopa County, Joe Arpaio. This bruising race is coming down to the wire with just over two months before the November midterms.

Here to talk about it, CNN political commentator and former communications director for Senator Ted Cruz during his White House bid, Alice Stewart, and Ned Ryun, the CEO of the grassroots conservative group, American Majority.

Alice, let's start with you.

This, of course, is Senator Flake's seat. But it's John McCain casting a shadow over the primary. Martha McSally is the establishment pick but she's been careful to even talk about Senator McCain. She has been moving closer to President Trump. What do you make of the fine line that she's trying to walk?.

ALICE STEWART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: She's walking the line of where the polls are indicating you should be walking. All three of the candidates here are really showing that they are strong on immigration and in line with Trump on many issues. The difficulty with Martha McSally is she has a long record in Washington that has been used against her in this primary. But on a positive note, she's a little bit more moderate of the three candidates. We will have the two a little bit further to the right with Kelli Ward and Sheriff Arpaio. They'll split up the votes. If this gets down to the wire, really, really close between what is seen as the top-two candidates, it's, in my view, more favorable for McSally as voters head to the polls today.

[11:40:24] NOBLES: To Alice's point, Ned, the Republican Party in this primary moving closer to the Trump wing of the party. When you look at the demographics in Arizona, they are changing. President Trump did win but only by three points. Do you think this is a good idea for Republican candidates to move and associate themselves closer to President Trump as we head toward the general election?

NED RYUN, CEO, AMERICAN MAJORITY: Of course. I mean, to win a primary when Trump has 90 percent approval rating with Republican voters, I think it would be a mistake to not align yourself at some level with Donald Trump.

I would reiterate what Alice has said. I think McSally is in the driver's seat. I think Arpaio is undercutting Ward. I don't think there's going to be a close race. The last poll showed McSally up by 20 points. I think Kelli Ward and comments that come, I think Kelli Ward's comments on McCain the last couple of days have been damaging. I don't see this being close. I think, in some ways, it's encouraging. I don't think we will have another re-run of Alabama where we might put up a heavily flawed candidate in the general. I think this will be a lot more competitive race in the fall because I think the Democrat candidate is too far left. I think that benefits. I think McSally will have appeal among more of the Independent voters. This is not a slam dunk for the Democrats. It's going to be closer in the fall than people think.

NOBLES: To Ned's point, Alice, Kelli Ward had cleaning up to do. She had a social media post that implied the McCain family's announcement that the Senator was stopping treatment was somehow timed to overshadow her campaign event. And this is what she said in response to that. Take a listen.


DR. KELLI WARD, (R), ARIZONA CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE: To be clear, my comments were in no way directed at Senator McCain or at his family or his team. My comments were in reference to the media. A lot of you know I have been critical of the media, not as critical as the president has been, but I've been critical of you as well, and the media might hope for a narrative that would hinder the momentum of our campaign.


NOBLES: She's blaming the media, Alice. Jeff Flake, who she's running to replace, told reporters that he would be surprised if Ward was rewarded at the ballot box for these comments. What do you think?

STEWART: Right, Ryan. That's what you call cleanup on aisle four. She made a mistake. It was a terrible thing to say. It was very poor timing and certainly ill-advised. It clearly, what she said over the weekend, speaks for itself. We knew what she meant to say. That being said, so close to the election, a lot of people have voted. It will be -- remains to be seen whether or not it will impact the overall outcome of the vote. Clearly, it was not something that should have been said, certainly given the respect we have for Senator McCain.

NOBLES: Alice raises a great point. We are in the 11th hour here, Ned. President Trump is yet to weigh in on this race. He is close with Joe Arpaio. Martha McSally has been positive about the president. Is there any chance we may see a tweet from President Trump about this race? Do you think he is going to stay out of it?

RYUN: Not a chance. I think he stays out of it. I think it's well advised to stay out of it. I think the dye has been cast to a certain extent. Again, I don't think this is a close race. He does well to stay out of it. A lot of the grassroots that are his supporters that voted for him, let's face it, they will probably vote for Kelli Ward and Arpaio. I don't think he gains anything by doing anything in the 11th hour and endorsing in this race. I think he was very smart to endorse in the Florida gubernatorial race, which is also on tonight. I think that's going to be the difference in that race.

NOBLES: And, Alice, that opens the door to talk about Florida, the other big race on the map today. The president did endorse in that Republican primary, supporting Congressman Ron DeSantis. He has been a defender of Trump when it comes to the Russia investigation. How big of a role do you think President Trump's endorsement will be in Florida?

STEWART: I think it will be big. He won Florida by a little over one point. That being said, his approval rating in the state is pretty high. As my work is on the Republican side, if you want to win a primary as a Republican, you get on FOX News. DeSantis has been all over FOX News. Certainly having that nod from Trump was icing on the cake.


NOBLES: Another busy night in politics.

Ned, quickly. RYUN: I would point out, before the Trump endorsement, DeSantis was

down double digits. He was outspent two to one. I've got to tell you, I don't think the race is going to be close. The last poll showed him up 12 points. This is a referendum on where the party is going. It's not going to reward an old establishment, status-quo candidate. It's going to DeSantis tonight.

[11:45:06] NOBLES: OK. Ned Ryun, Alice Stewart, predicting an early night for our fellow political reporters.

RYUN: That's right.

NOBLES: We will see if you are correct.

Thank you, guys.

STEWART: Thank you.

NOBLES: President Trump claiming a new enemy is working against him. This time, it's Google. Why the president thinks the world's largest search engine is rigged, and why Google says that's just not true. That's coming up.


[11:49:53] NOBLES: The president claims that the world's largest search engine is rigged against him. In an early morning tweet storm, the president said Google manipulates search results so all the news related to him is bad. He also claimed conservative media is shut out, tweeting that, "Google and others are suppressing voices of conservatives and hiding information and news that is good. They are controlling what we can and cannot see. This is a very serious situation. Will be addressed."

A short time ago, Google issued a statement in response to the president's accusations that says, in part, "Search is not used to set a political agenda and we don't bias our results toward any political ideology. We never rank search results to manipulate political sentiment."

Joining me to discuss this, CNN politics reporter and editor-at-large, Chris Cillizza.

Chris, a lot to unpack here. I wonder what you think the president means by this is a very serious situation that will be addressed. What could he possibly mean?

CHRIS CILLIZZA, CNN POLITICS REPORTER & CNN EDITOR-AT-LARGE: Well, he could have someone within his administration try to look into it. The difficult thing is that Google's algorithm, which produces when you type in a search or the news tab looking for Trump news or any kind of news, the algorithm that produces what you get, number one, is personalized to you. What Ryan Nobles gets and what Chris Cillizza gets isn't the same thing. And it's also secret. Google keeps it secret. Many people have written about it. We know there are certain things that sway it. A number of people linking to a story, prominence of the publication which has published it. We don't know the whole thing. I don't know how Donald Trump would extract the whole thing from Google.

NOBLES: Our search results may not be that different, Chris. Probably just a lot of content related to --

CILLIZZA: Sports and dad questions.

NOBLES: Yes, exactly, exactly.

I also want to play this for you. Chief economic adviser, Larry Kudlow, told "Bloomberg" the White House is looking into whether Google suppresses positive articles about the president. He expanded on that this morning. This is what he said.



LARRY KUDLOW, CHIEF ECONOMIC ADVISOR TO PRESIDENT TRUMP: We're just going to do some investigation and some analysis. That's what we do.

UNIDENTIFIED BLOOMBERG REPORTER: Is there any evidence they are actually censoring search results?

KUDLOW: We're looking into it.

Other questions?


NOBLES: Does it seem like he even knows what the president is looking for here?

CILLIZZA: No. And honestly, I'll go back to my dad analogy, Ryan. It's like when my son asks if he can have a second $200 baseball bat. I give him the, I'll look into it. I'm not -- hint, I'm not actually looking into it. What's Larry Kudlow going to say? Donald Trump just tweeted this because he saw it on cable news. You know, he can't say that, so he's saying what he can do. I'd be very surprised if looking into it means anything other than just saying we're looking into it.

NOBLES: Right. All right. Chris Cillizza, hopefully, your son not watching today so he doesn't know you not buying that bat.

Thank you, Chris.

CILLIZZA: Thank you, sir.

NOBLES: We're going to be right back. We have new details on the Manafort trial. Stay here. We'll have that in a second.


[11:57:42] NOBLES: And breaking news just into the CNN NEWSROOM. A federal judge has delayed the start of the second trial of former Trump campaign chairman, Paul Manafort.

CNN's Shimon Prokupecz is here with the latest information -- Shimon?

SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME & JUSTICE REPORTER: That's right, Ryan. The judge just ruling a short time ago that they're going to delay the start of opening statements, essentially the trial for a week. It was supposed to begin on September 17th. Now the judge ruling that it can begin on September 24th. That is the opening statements. They're going to begin jury selection on September 17th. The defense, again, as they did in the first trial here, asking for a delay. They say they need a little extra time to prepare. So the judge there granting their request. So really, just it will be about a week or so. Jury selection is supposed to be very quick in this case. So once that's over, the attorneys here, the defense attorneys will have some time, some extra time to prepare for the trial.

NOBLES: Also some other news coming out of the courtroom today, Shimon, about the role that Paul Manafort played for President Trump and that it potentially won't come up in this second trial. What do you know about that?

PROKUPECZ: Yes. Yet again, as we saw in the first trial, Ryan, the defense attorneys asking that they not -- that the issue of Donald Trump and his work for the campaign not come up during the trial. Of course, they had asked for that in the first case as well. The judge granted that ruling. Now again, they asked for the same thing here. Of course, the concern from everything we know has always been that perhaps maybe there could be some jurors who would view Manafort's work for the Trump campaign negatively, and the defense attorneys have always been worried about this. It didn't seem to have really a huge effect in the first trial, as we know. There were some pro-Trump jurors. One of them had spoken out in that trial. But nonetheless, the defense attorneys here continue to have that concern, and they do not want that coming up at the trial -- Ryan?

NOBLES: All right. Shimon Prokupecz with that breaking news that Paul Manafort's second trial has been delayed.

Shimon, thank you so much for that update.

And thank you for joining me.

"INSIDE POLITICS" with Dana Bash starts right now.

[12:00:05] DANA BASH, CNN HOST: Welcome to INSIDE POLITICS. I'm Dana Bash. John King has the day off.

Behind closed doors right now, a Justice Department official that the president called --