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Feud Between Supreme Court's Ginsburg & Trump; Trump, Kids Vet Potential VP Picks; Interview with Mike Pence; Funerals Today for 3 Slain Dallas Police Officers; Obama Talks Community Policing with Leaders. Aired 2:30-3p ET

Aired July 13, 2016 - 14:30   ET



[14:31:19] JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Her mind is shot. "Her," being Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The person who said it, Donald Trump. This is what he said on Twitter. "Justice Ginsburg of the U.S. Supreme Court has embarrassed all by making very dumb political statements about me. Her mind is shot. Resign."

The thing is, she started it. In multiple interviews, including one with CNN, where she called Trump "a faker," quote, "Trump has no consistency about him. He says whatever comes into his head at the moment."

Joining me to discuss this more, Aaron Blake. He writes for "The Fix" political blog" at "The Washington Post."

Aaron, thanks for being with us.

You made quite clear in the post just how unprecedented it is for a Supreme Court justice to say the type of things that Ruth Bader Ginsburg is currently saying.

AARON BLAKE, WRITER, THE FIX POLITICAL BLOG, THE WASHINGTON POST: Right. Look, Supreme Court justices are people. They certainly have political of their own. They very rarely discuss those opinions in public when they speak in public at all. And I can't find one other example of a Supreme Court justice weighing in specifically on a presidential election, whether for or against a specific candidate. So this unchartered territory, at least as far as we've been able to determine. I think that's why there are some very valid questions being raised about just how appropriate it is for somebody from the judicial branch to be weighing in on the race for the leader of the executive branch.

BERMAN: When you say you can't find one example, that, by definition, unprecedented. As you say, the reason it is not practical for someone running for the executive to weigh in on the judicial, and visa versa, because she, if he wins the White House, could be deciding cases brought by his administration.

BLAKE: Right. So the worst case scenario would be I think, according to the people I spoke to, at least, if we had a contested election situation like we did in 2000, a Bush v. Gore-type situation, where the Supreme Court, which Justice Ginsburg actually served on that case, would actually decide who becomes president. In a case like that, would somebody like Justice Ginsburg be able to offer an impartial reading of the law in that case.

But I've also spoken to other legal scholars who say this opens up calls for recusal when it comes to basically anything having to do with the Trump administration should he win the presidency. Would she kind of cast herself as too biased against Trump as a person to fairly rule on his policy? So a lot to unpack and, of course, we're in uncharted territory here so these are all questions that we haven't been confronted with before.

BERMAN: That's sort of the legality. Your forte is politics. I'm curious. I spoke to Brian Fallon, the spokesperson for the Clinton campaign, earlier today. While most legal people say it is inappropriate but he refused to criticize Ruth Bader Ginsburg even a wee little bit. I think Josh Earnest at the White House was just asked about it from the White House and he, too, refused to weigh in. So from a political standpoint, where are you not seeing that criticism?

BLAKE: It is really interesting. I think maybe they're worried about it looking like capitulation. There have been Democrats going on the record and saying that Justice Ginsburg should not have said these things. One of them being Dick Durbin, the Senate leader from -- one of the Senate leaders from Illinois, Chris Murphy. We also have the editorial boards of the "Washington Post" and "New York Times" really giving this story new life today by weighing in and saying that Justice Ginsburg went over the line in this case. So I think from a political standpoint, the tendency is to want to defend a more liberal justice perhaps and not weigh in against her. But this is certainly something that is causing a large degree of reflection about what the role of a justice is, and from there, it is up to people to decide whether or not they think this is appropriate or not.

[14:35:10] BERMAN: Aaron Blake, thanks for being with us here on the show. I'm a long-time listener, first-time caller.

Great to have you with us on the show.

BLAKE: Thank you.

BERMAN: We're going to shift gears. Next up for us, somber moments across Texas today as three of the five officers are laid to rest. How those loved ones are saying good-bye.





[14:40:01] BERMAN: Donald Trump, you're on the clock. We expect him to announce a running mate by Friday. So far today, he has had lunch with Newt Gingrich. He had a breakfast, unscheduled, with the Indiana governor, Mike Pence, and his adult children. Jeff Sessions just flew to Indiana. Sources tell us, by the way, that the Trump kids want their father to pick Mike Pence. We're also told don't forget Chris Christie. He is still in the mix, met with the Trump children yesterday.

I want to bring in a member of the veep-stakes hall of fame, CNN's chief national correspondent and host of "Inside Politics," John King, who has broken not one but two veep-stakes stories in his storied career.

John, what we know and what we don't know is so interesting right now with Donald Trump. We know he's meeting with all these people on the short list in a very public way. But that's it.

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT & CNN HOST, INSIDE POLITICS: That's it. John, this is Donald Trump once again proving he's very different from campaigns past. Normally, you don't see it so publicly. You don't know about these meetings. You don't see people going in and out. You don't see the children, who, Ivanka Trump, the two Trump sons and Ivanka's husband, are very involved in this process, without a doubt. We're getting some conflicting information from inside team Trump. Some say Ivanka and Eric and Donald Jr are for Mike Pence, but others say, no, they're actually quite enamored with Newt Gingrich. But my most accounts, the two leading contenders, Mike Pence, Indiana governor; Newt Gingrich, former house speaker; and Chris Christie still said to be in the mix. We'll get this decision by Friday.

Most people in the party, John, most people in November don't vote on vice presidential picks. We've been thought enough rodeos to know that's usually the case. But a lot of people in the party want Trump to use this to prove he can unify the party and send a message to conservatives saying he'll seek their guidance and counsel. As always, with Trump, it is a big, dramatic moment.

BERMAN: I want to know what Mike Pence is saying about it right now. John, I just got word he's talking in Indiana. Let's check in with the Indiana governor.

MIKE PENCE, (R), INDIANA GOVERNOR: -- family. But, frankly, I really do think it is more a testament to the progress the people of Indiana have made over much of the last 10 years.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: You think you can help him more as --


PENCE: I'm sorry, what?


PENCE: I think he's giving it very serious consideration and we're very humbled to be a part of it. There are a number of noteworthy Americans that they're considering and I'm just honored to be on that list. UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Do you think you pleaded your case? Do

you think you pleaded your case? It seemed like you've had a little extra time with him as a good choice if he were to go down that road?

PENCE: Oh, gosh.


I'm governor of Indiana. I'm seeking re-election. I'm honored to be considered and humbled to be considered. But the conversations that we've had between two families are something Karen and I will cherish the rest of our lives, whatever the outcome.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Do you think you could help him more as vice president or as governor of Indiana?

PENCE: I think that would be for others to say. I can just honestly tell you, Karen and I, and our daughter, traveled about a week ago, spent time with his family. We saw him off the campaign trail, among friends and members of his company. And these are good people. These are people who have the best interests of America at heart. I truly do believe that Donald Trump has the right vision for America. I think he's going to provide the kind of strong leadership at home, and abroad, that's going to make America great again.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: If he gets elected --

BERMAN: A CNN reporter got on a plane earlier today to make the case to be Trump's running mate.

KING: Its not often we can go to the state fair in the middle of these things, is it?

John, you saw Governor Pence there saying all the right things. Said he was humbled, he said he was honored. A lot of Indiana Republicans are worried he could get humiliated because of the campaign. He has a deadline of Friday to withdraw from the campaign for Indiana governor if he runs for re-election. If Trump picks somebody else, what do you do if you're Mike Pence? Democrats are making the argument in Indiana, don't elect him, he's not that interested in the job, he's not there 24/7. And flirting with running for vice president helps the Democrats make that case. So this is a fascinating drama for Governor Pence.

You asked about Speaker Gingrich at the end, some people inside the Trump campaign -- Trump said he wants a Washington insider. He's never worked here, never held elective office. He wants somebody who can help him do the business, cut the deals. Well, Speaker Newt Gingrich would be perfect at that. A smart guy. People either agree or disagree with his politics. Smart guy, knows how the system works. Even when he was the arch nemesis of Bill Clinton on personal issues, was cutting deals with Bill Clinton on welfare reform, a balance budget, et cetera. But a lot of people inside the Trump campaign, I'm told the pros inside the Trump campaign, meaning campaign veterans, want Pence. They think he's safe. He has Washington experience, conservatives like him, and he's from the heartland. They're worried with Newt if Trump tries to make the case you don't want to bring the Clintons back, you don't want to bring the fundraising back, you don't want to bring the Bill Clinton drama back. They argue, why would you put the chief Republican protagonist of that era on the ticket?

[14:45:27] BERMAN: John, a quick question about polls. This morning some Quinnipiac polls that came out that looked good for Trump, including a little bit of a flip in Florida where he had been trailing, now leading. But then this afternoon, there were different polls that came out, which showed things better for Hillary Clinton. Essentially, what are the polls saying? This is close?

KING: Very close. Very, very close. A lot of Democrats are walking around saying there one is in the bag already because of Donald Trump's standing among women, Donald Trump's standing among Latinos, Donald Trump's standing among African-Americans. A lot of Democrats saying this is over, we're going to win in a blow-out. This is a very close race. If you don't think Donald Trump can win, look at this polling. Very close races in Pennsylvania, Florida and Ohio. Guess what? Put the Obama-Romney map up from 2012. Flip just those three states. If Donald Trump can win Florida, Pennsylvania and Ohio and nothing else changed, Donald Trump is the next president of the United States. 273-265 in the Electoral College.

BERMAN: I sense a magic wall in your near future.


John King, thanks so much

KING: Thank, John.

BERMAN: Appreciate having you with us.

Net up, the people in Dallas saying their final good-byes to three of the five officers killed in last week's ambush. How their partners in blue will keep their memory alive. Stay with us.


[14:50:33] BERMAN: Three Dallas police officers gunned down in the Dallas ambush last week are being remembered in separate services today.




BERMAN: Memorial for DART Officer Brent Thompson, who leaves behind his new wife, Emily, a fellow transit police officer, also his six children who gave a tearful good-bye to their father.


UNIDENTIFIED DAUGHTER OF OFC. BRENT THOMPSON: Every child thinks their dad is a hero, but the six of us up here can hold our heads up high knowing that our dad is a hero. I think it is really important to remember he was just not a hero to Dallas but to the world. He fought overseas for many, many years. Not fighting just for us but for everyone as well. One thing I would always say to my dad when he walked out the door was, "Good-bye, daddy. I love you, be safe." And tonight we say our final, "Good-bye, daddy. We love you. Be safe."


BERMAN: Heartbreaking.

Sgt. Michael Smith, a 25-year veteran of the Dallas Police Department, leaves behind his wife and two children. Smith's sister spoke of the love he had for his family.


YEA-MAEI SAUER, SISTER OF SGT. MICHAEL SMITH: As a father, nothing was good enough for his daughters, Caroline and Victoria. He worked tirelessly to provide more for them than he had, not just materially, but spiritually, intellectually, emotionally. He wanted them to be strong, happy, intelligent, and well-rounded young women.


BERMAN: Services were also held for 48-year-old Dallas police, Senior Corporal Lorne Ahrens, a 14-year veteran of the Dallas Police Department. He leaves behind his wife, Katrina, and two children.

Right now, President Obama is hosting a conversation at the White House on community policing and criminal justice with members of law enforcement, elected officials, community activists, as welling a civil rights and faith leaders. They are discussing ways to keep Americans safe while building community trust and ensuring justice for all. That's the goal.

Joining me now from Arkansas to discuss this is North Little Rock police officer, Tommy Norman, founder of the popular Robin Hood Project; and conservative commentator and "Blaze" radio network host, Lawrence Jones.

I think, Lawrence, I have you -- OK. Lawrence, let me start with you. You heard President Obama's message yesterday. I want to play a little more of it right to you.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We also know what Chief Brown has said is true, that so much of the tensions between police departments and minority communities that they serve is because we ask the police to do too much and we ask too little of ourselves.



BERMAN: Lawrence, you're there in Dallas. I'm curious, how is that message being received today?

LAWRENCE JONES, CONSERVATIVE COMMENTATOR & RADIO HOST, BLAZE: For me, I think the message was way too political. I don't think it was the time to go to memorial service of five fallen officers and talk about a political agenda, even though I do believe that we have a ways to go as it relates to the community and community policing as it relates to the black community. I think it is a difficult issue to discuss. I believe that community policing is going to be a step that we can take to get there. But I just didn't think that the memorial service was the place to discuss that agenda.

BERMAN: He did talk about, though, police, how much they do, how they are heroes. Is that something you think that the men and women in blue wanted to hear?

LAWRENCE: I do believe that the men in blue have felt abandoned by the president because of this agenda that he had. But I like to note that I do believe that there is a conversation that needs to happen as it relates to the black community. It's been happening for years, and we just won't come out and admit it, and I think it's made us go back in time because we haven't addressed that issue. But as it relates to the memorial, I believe that it was the time for the family, as well as the country, to come together to say thank you to those officers and grieve with those families.

[14:55:08] BERMAN: We've been talking to people who saw it, everyone who saw it had a different opinion of what was said and what was not said. A lot of people liked it, some others do not, as you are saying right now.

Lawrence, you also had a chance to speak to the parents of the killer. We've seen a little bit of that interview. More is going to be released today at 5:00. What else did they tell you?

LAWRENCE: When I spoke with the family, they asked me to come and talk with them. I'm the only person to talk with the family of Micah Johnson. They really wanted to get their story out. They wanted to correct some things on the record. And my job was not to repeat what they had to say but to give them the opportunity to respond to some of the claims, to talk about their son, and to try to bring healing to the nation by trying to prevent this from ever happening again.

BERMAN: All right, Lawrence Jones, thanks so much. Appreciate you being with us.

LAWRENCE: Thanks, John.

BERMAN: Next up from us, a passionate message from a 15-year-old standing near the very spot where his father, Alton Sterling, died, after being shot by police in Baton Rouge. What this teenager is asking Americans to do now.

We'll be right back.