Return to Transcripts main page

The Situation Room

Interview With Texas Congressman Michael McCaul; Elizabeth Warren Unleashes on Trump; Protesters Confront Police after Trump Rally; Vicious War of Words Between Trump, Warren; State Department Report Slams Clinton Over Emails; Search for Flight 804 Black Boxes Intensifying. Aired 6-7p ET

Aired May 25, 2016 - 18:00   ET



WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Not appropriate. A scathing report calls out Hillary Clinton for using a private e-mail server while she served as secretary of state, the inspector general saying presidential candidate broke the rules. What impact will it have on her campaign?

Attack dog. Elizabeth Warren unleashes on Donald Trump, sparking a vicious war of words, the progressive Democratic senator, no ally of Hillary Clinton. But is she now helping her with the attacks on Trump?

And underwater search. The hunt for the black boxes from EgyptAir Flight 804 growing more urgent. A week after the plane plunged into the see, there's fears that signals from the voice and data recorders could die before they are located. Can they solve the mystery surrounding this deadly crash?

We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

BLITZER: We are following breaking news, a tense situation outside a Donald Trump campaign rally in Anaheim, California.

Police in riot gear have responded to anti-Trump protests and clashes with Trump supporters, making some arrests. This comes on the heels of violence at a Trump rally in Albuquerque, New Mexico, last night, where anti-Trump activists broke through police barricades, threw rocks and bottles, and set signs on fire.

Meanwhile, inside, Trump launched a barrage of new insults at Hillary Clinton, saying he can't even listen to her speak, and at Senator Elizabeth Warren, who is now engaged in a vicious war of words with Trump.

We are also following Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign taking new heat tonight over a stinging report on use of a private e-mail server while she was secretary of state. The State Department inspector general found that Clinton failed to follow rules or inform key staff when she set up the server and used it to conduct official business.

The report also ties Hillary Clinton for failing to turn over all her e-mail.

We're covering all of that, more this hour with our guests, including chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, Congressman Mike McCaul. He's standing by live.

And our correspondents and expert analysts, they are also standing by.

Let's get some more first of all on the breaking news.

Our national correspondent, Kyung Lah, is in Anaheim right now with the latest on the protests at these Trump campaign rallies.

Kyung, what are you seeing now? What is going on? Because the pictures are dramatic and tense.

KYUNG LAH, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And certainly we have been in the middle of watching this.

What you're seeing here are the police forces, the sheriff's department, a number of local police agencies. They are on horseback, they are carrying batons, they are riot gear. What they're trying to do is disperse the crowned.

For the last 30, 40 minutes or so, what we have seen are flare-ups. Whenever they spot a protester who they think is going to cause trouble, they try to arrest that person. They are trying to clear the streets. What they have been doing tactically is they have been pushing the protesters off the streets one by one, trying to clear the streets.


BLITZER: Kyung, I want to interrupt you for a moment.


BLITZER: I just want to alert viewers here we are seeing a major fistfight erupting there on the streets. I don't know if this is close to you or far away from you, but it is one of several we have seen so far.

We are getting these pictures from a helicopter that's flying over the area.

But go ahead. Sorry for interrupting. Pick it up.

LAH: That's OK, because it has been very unpredictable, Wolf.

We have seen some of those back-and-forth pushing, some fists being thrown. We have seen some rocks being thrown as well. I want to show you something that we captured just a short time ago. This is what an arrest looks like. What the police have been doing is, they have been picking out the lead protesters and they have been taking them down using some tactics in order to try to separate the lead protesters from the rest of the crowd. What they're trying to do is to take out the biggest fish and then try to disperse the rest of the protesters.

What we have seen so far is it does look like they're being quite successful. Parts of the street are certainly much calmer now, but again when you take a look at what the police force is, this incredible show of force here, certainly, they're very aware of what happened last night in Albuquerque.

When we spoke to the city manager, he said that they were very concerned about anything like that happening over here. But also what happened in Costa Mesa just a month or so ago, they said that didn't want that to happen in Anaheim, that they would simply not accept it.

So, they have had an enormous police presence. In the words of one city official we spoke with, he has never seen a police force like this out today, like he has seen today -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Yes. Clearly, they were anticipating something going on based on what happened in Albuquerque, New Mexico, last night. Kyung, stand by for a moment.

I want to bring in our political reporter, Sara Murray. She was inside that Trump rally.


Sara, Donald Trump spoke. I assume he's already gone by now. They're cleaning up the area behind you. But give us the very latest from your perspective.

SARA MURRAY, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Wolf, and while things were growing more heated outside, it was relatively calm in terms of the interactions between the protesters and the crowd here inside, just a few instances.

But Donald Trump was definitely trying to turn up the heat on Hillary Clinton, continuing to hammer her over her private e-mail server.


MURRAY (voice-over): Coming off a raucous night marred by protests in New Mexico, Donald Trump is campaigning across the Golden State.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Hillary, as I say crooked Hillary.

MURRAY: And seizing on a new report from the State Department's inspector general, saying Hillary Clinton failed to follow the rules with her private e-mail server.

TRUMP: She had a little bad news today, as you know, from -- some reports came down that weren't so good. Not so good. The inspector general's report, not good.

MURRAY: Trump unleashing a spate of attacks against both Clinton and Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren.

TRUMP: Pocahontas, that's this Elizabeth Warren. I call her Goofy. She is -- no, no, goofy. She gets less done than anybody in the United States Senate. She gets nothing done.

MURRAY: as Clinton slammed Trump for once rooting for the collapse of the housing market.

HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I want you to know that Donald Trump actually rooted for the housing crash that cost five million families their homes. I'm not making this up.

MURRAY: Trump is playing defense, arguing he was simply speaking as a savvy businessman.

TRUMP: They have got some clip of me from many years ago where I'm saying, yes, if it goes down, I'm going to buy. I'm a businessman. That's what I'm supposed to do. That's what I'm supposed to do.

MURRAY: Meanwhile, Trump's efforts to unite the party hitting another rough patch Tuesday, as he took a swipe at the New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez, a fellow Republican.

TRUMP: She's not doing the job. Hey, maybe I will run for governor of New Mexico. I will get this place going.

MURRAY: Trump's dis prompting a sharp response from Martinez's office, in a statement saying: "The governor will not be bullied into supporting a candidate until she is convinced that candidate will fight for New Mexicans," and adding, "She's disappointed that she didn't hear anything about that last night."

And today Hillary Clinton is piling on.

CLINTON: Last night, he insulted the Republican Governor Martinez of New Mexico just gratuitously. I don't know. He seems to have something about women. I don't know.


MURRAY: Now, Donald Trump is already onto his next stop of the day. That's a high-dollar fund-raiser in Los Angeles.

And this comes as he has recently struck this agreement to raise money jointly with the RNC. But we're already hearing a little bit of unease from Trump allies, who aren't quite sure that the party has Donald Trump's best interests in mind. Wolf, it's a sign that there's still some hard feelings between Donald Trump as well as the party, even as they're supposed to be working together, coming together in a general election fight potentially against Hillary Clinton -- back to you.

BLITZER: All right, Sara, thanks very much, Sara Murray in Anaheim for us.

These are live pictures once again outside that Anaheim Convention Center. People are still gathered there. These are anti-Donald Trump protesters. There have been some clashes with police. There have been some arrests. We are staying on top of this.

All of these violent protests outside a Trump rally, whether last night in Albuquerque, New Mexico, or today in Anaheim, California, the chaos at that Democratic gathering a week or so ago, they're all raising serious concerns right now about both parties' nominating conventions in Cleveland and Philadelphia in July.

Brian Todd has been looking into all of this for us.

Bottom-line question, Brian, these conventions, are they ready for potentially a worst-case scenario?

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: They say they are, Wolf.

We have been having conversations all day today, several conversations with city officials in Cleveland and Philadelphia and also with the Secret Service, who is involved in this. They tell us they're confident, they're ready, they can handle whatever is coming, including the kind of violence we just saw in Anaheim and in Albuquerque last night.


TODD (voice-over): Protesters stomping police cars, smoke grenades. Violence and chaos erupt outside a Donald Trump rally in Albuquerque. Tonight, it is raising serious concerns as Trump readies for the biggest political event of the summer, the Republican Convention in Cleveland.

JIM BUEERMANN, FORMER POLICE CHIEF: I think the people in Cleveland are thinking about this. There's no doubt in my mind that they're having lots of meetings, doing lots of planning.

TODD: For months, observers have worried about violent protests at both party conventions, first in Cleveland, then with the Democrats in Philadelphia.

After scenes like this, there are new concerns about Cleveland's readiness. The city has about 1,200 police officers, but CNN has learned they're actively recruiting officers from other cities and hope to have at least 4,000 officers on the streets for the convention.


They have ordered 2,000 new sets of riot gear, including body armor, hard-knuckle gloves and batons. But the head of Cleveland's police union says it is not getting there fast enough.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We still don't have the personal safety gear that we need. I'm concerned that we're not going to have enough time to adequately train with the equipment.

TODD: But city officials are confident.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have to tell you, we are prepared.

TODD: Cleveland officials tell CNN they will set up steel barriers and they have a special route for protest marchers laid out. It swings about 1,000 feet from the convention venue, Quicken Loans Arena, at the closest point.

To counter the kind of violence that sometimes plague Trump events, the Secret Service is on the ground in Cleveland and Philadelphia, setting up security perimeters around the Convention Centers.

We're told law enforcement is working confidential informants, monitoring communications, social media messages. Who are they looking for?

BUEERMANN: Are there anarchists in the group that may attempt to either agitate the participants who are there simply to express their First Amendment rights or assault the police?

TODD: And one former Secret Service agent says there's a hidden threat.

LARRY JOHNSON, FORMER SECRET SERVICE AGENT: My biggest concern would be hack organization taking down the grid or hacking into a critical system and disrupting the event from 2,000 miles away.


TODD: The former Secret Service agent, Larry Johnson, says he is not so much worried about hackers taking out power at the convention centers. He says there are backup systems in place for that.

What concerns him is cyber-attacks knocking out traffic lights, other infrastructure in those convention cities, causing panic on the streets. But he says local law enforcement and the Secret Service are working on contingencies for those events as well, Wolf.

BLITZER: Brian, but all of this is costing, what, tens of millions of dollars. It's coming from taxpayers. Right?

TODD: Sure is, Wolf. The conventions are designated as special security events by the federal government. Each city, Cleveland and Philadelphia, getting $50 million from the feds for those events, and we are told both cities are spending just about every dime upgrading security.

BLITZER: They may have to spend even more. Let's see what happens. Brian Todd, thanks very much.

Let's get some more on all of this.

Joining us now, the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, Republican Congressman Mike McCaul of Texas. Mr. Chairman, thanks very much for coming in.

REP. MICHAEL MCCAUL (R), TEXAS: Thanks for having me, Wolf.

BLITZER: You see these pictures, the live pictures. We're showing -- look at this. These are armed and obviously nervous police standing there outside the Anaheim Convention Center. That's where Donald Trump held his rally just a little while ago.

They're trying to protect that area from angry anti-Donald Trump protesters. There have been rocks thrown. There have been arrests. You see this kind of development. I guess the bottom-line question is, the first question is, does Donald Trump have some sort of responsibility to tone things down if he can right now to stop this from escalating?

MCCAUL: Well, I think it reflects the mood of the country.

It's a very angry electorate out there. I think Trump is tapping into that. I do think the tone needs to shift to be more responsible, so we don't draw these kind of security concerns. Our Secret Service, part of the Homeland Security Department, are tasked full-time to cover him. He's obviously a high-risk target at this point in time.

Secretary Johnson has asked me to assist with the convention coming up in Cleveland, Ohio. And we are concerned about these kind of protesters being bussed in and what could happen there and the safety concerns of people attending.

BLITZER: You think that these kinds of protests that we're seeing in Albuquerque last night, Anaheim today could escalate and continue to Cleveland at the Republican Convention?

MCCAUL: Well, that's my concern, but it's not just on the Republican side.

On the Democrat side, you saw in Nevada all the chaos breaking out there, the Bernie Sanders supporters. You have this populist movement on both the left and right, and it's very foreseeable at both conventions there could be some serious security concerns.

BLITZER: Is law enforcement prepared for this?

MCCAUL: We are preparing them.

We do -- as was talked about, $50 million to each city. This is a federal, state and local law enforcement issue, as well as intelligence to be able to stop threats in advance and, as the FBI special agent in charge talked about, the cyber-security risk of shutting down things over the Internet.

BLITZER: When Jeh Johnson, the secretary of homeland security, says he wants your help in Cleveland, what exactly does he want you to do?

MCCAUL: Assist, expertise, advice, working with the team.

I am going to the convention and I want to make sure it is a very safe convention and about policy and politics and not about this.

BLITZER: Correct me if I'm wrong, you haven't endorsed Donald Trump yet, have you?

MCCAUL: I have not at this point in time. I assume he is going to be the nominee. And I have said I will support the nominee.

BLITZER: What is -- why the delay? Why not jump on board the Trump train?

MCCAUL: Well, you know, I have had discussions actually with the campaign and I'm talking about my issues, national security, foreign policy, issues I think the next commander in chief is going to inherit, quite a mess from ISIS in Sinai to Libya to Iraq and Syria, what we have seen happen in Europe, the terror threat, the Egyptian airliner going down, Sharm el-Sheikh, you name it, these last point of departures airports.


BLITZER: It sounds like you should have a conversation directly with Donald Trump, right?

MCCAUL: That will happen.

BLITZER: Why hasn't it happened yet?

MCCAUL: It is in the course of being set up.

BLITZER: So, there's going to be a meeting at some point, whether here in Washington or at Trump Tower in New York? Is that what I'm hearing?


BLITZER: And you have specific questions you want to ask him.

You're sort of like the House speaker, Paul Ryan. He hasn't yet endorsed Donald -- he wants more answers as well. You're in the same boat? Is that what I am hearing?

MCCAUL: Well, I would like to sit down.

Look, our nominee is going to need advice in national security, foreign policy. He needs advice on that issue, I think. Mrs. Clinton will tout that as her strength, but I also believe it is her great weakness, because she's been the architect of this failure of foreign policy that has led to the creation of ISIS and the threat to the homeland.

BLITZER: We can get to that later, but Susana Martinez, the governor of New Mexico, was it wise for Donald Trump last night at that rally in Albuquerque, New Mexico, to really lash out against her because she refused to attend, she hasn't yet endorsed him?

MCCAUL: Look, I am speaking as a Republican now, not a national security expert, but I believe that my party needs to come together.

I would advise Donald Trump to try to bring and unify this party together. When we go to our convention, that should be the purpose and I hope that's what happens.

BLITZER: All right. Stand by. We have more to discuss.

There are a lot of homeland security questions on the agenda right now. Mike McCaul is chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee. Much more right after this.



BLITZER: We're following the breaking news.

Look at this, police in riot gear making arrests as clashes break out at a Donald Trump rally in Anaheim, California. We will have more on that in a few moments.

But, first, there's growing urgency in the search for those so-called black boxes from EgyptAir Flight 804. Investigators hope they will help solve the mystery why that plane crashed into the Mediterranean, killing 66 people, but they're also afraid the batteries that power location signals will die before the boxes can be found. Presumably, they're at the bottom of the Mediterranean Sea right now.

We're back with the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, Republican Congressman Mike McCaul from Texas.

Congressman, was this an act of terror?

MCCAUL: We don't know for sure.

And until we get the black box and the investigation is fully performed, they're testing for explosives on both the aircraft and the victims. I will say, just in my judgment, it happened so suddenly, and so no fast, and there were no distress signals.

In the Mediterranean, you saw vessels seeing a flame in the sky and it descended within 3.5 minutes. That indicates to me something catastrophic happened very fast. That sounds like an explosive device to me. The sensors went off in the bathroom and a breach in the pilots' window.

All indicators look like an explosion. The question is, if so, how did it get on the plane? Did it get on the plane in Cairo with a timer device or in Charles de Gaulle in Paris?

BLITZER: The plane earlier had been in Eritrea, the same plane, the Airbus.

MCCAUL: That's correct.

BLITZER: Also in Tunisia. MCCAUL: Tunisia.

BLITZER: So, there are several locations where potentially if it was a bomb -- and I know the early suspicion was a bomb -- it could have been placed inside with, as you say, some sort of timer.

MCCAUL: And we saw this happen in Sharm el-Sheikh.


BLITZER: You're talking about the Metrojet, the Russian plane that killed 224 people. It took off toward from Sharm el-Sheikh going towards Russia and exploded.

MCCAUL: Right.

Precisely. And it is this insider threat. You can have the best technology, but you if have a corrupted, radicalized, bribed official that has access to the plane to put the bomb in the cargo, as what happened in Sharm el-Sheikh, that's a real problem.

In Paris, they weeded out 70 extremists -- I just met with the ambassador -- out of that airport just a month ago. And, of course, in Cairo, I was just there last week, and in Tunis two weeks ago, and looked at the security operations at that airport.

And I must say, there are security concerns, in my judgment. The problem with that is, there's a last point departure flight from Cairo into JFK. They want to open a new one into Dulles. And out of Paris, you have got 50 flights per day coming into the United States.

BLITZER: And you are worried about security for those flights coming to the United States from either Charles de Gaulle in Paris or from Cairo?

MCCAUL: Well, because, a matter of homeland security, the biggest threat is still aviation.

So, external plots out of these last point of departure airports with a bomb to having an aircraft come into the United States and explode, it is still the crown jewel for the terrorists, particularly al Qaeda, but ISIS has adopted this strategy as well.

BLITZER: It's almost a week. There's been no claim of responsibility from any terror group. What does that say to you?

MCCAUL: Well, it is significant, but it's not.

Sharm el-Sheikh, it took two-and-a-half weeks before they came out, and took credit in "Dabiq" magazine, their publication. So, I...


MCCAUL: And it was ISIS.

BLITZER: Yes. MCCAUL: And the fact that ISIS now knows how to put bombs on planes,

it used to be just al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

BLITZER: Was it a small soda can that blew up that Russian Metrojet?

MCCAUL: It was, something as small as a soda can.

BLITZER: Something that small can blow up a plane.

MCCAUL: That small.

And anybody that has access, the cleaning crews, people who have access to the cargo hold, they can put luggage in or put something in the lavatory to compromise an aircraft. To me, in terms of external operations into the United States from a homeland security perspective, this is the biggest threat we have.

BLITZER: Congressman McCaul, thanks very much for coming in.


MCCAUL: Thanks, Wolf.

BLITZER: Mike McCaul is the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee.

Just ahead, as Donald Trump attacks female politicians, one of them is hitting back very hard. Have the Democrats found someone who can slug it out with the GOP's presumptive nominee?.

And sharp criticism of Hillary Clinton from a government watchdog saying she broke the rules, and risked a security breach by setting up a personal e-mail system while she served as secretary of state.


BLITZER: Our breaking news, we are tracking the protests outside a Donald Trump rally in Anaheim, California. These are pictures from only a few moments ago.

Things appear to be calming down now, we're told. Police in riot gear have been arresting several demonstrators. More on that coming up shortly.

[18:30:20] But let's turn now to a new war of words in the battle for the White House. Donald Trump and Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren, they're trading sharp attacks and publicly mocking each other in speeches and on social media.

Our senior Washington correspondent, Jeff Zeleny, is joining us right now. Jeff, Trump and Warren, they're really going after each other.

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: They are, indeed, Wolf. The series of intense exchanges are starting to sound more like a barroom brawl than a high-minded presidential campaign. It is the biggest sign that Elizabeth Warren is off the sidelines, inserting herself squarely in the middle of this campaign.

Now, she's trying to steal this populist thunder that's made Trump so popular. And he's found a new sparring partner he's eager to insult.


ZELENY (voice-over): She's never been Hillary Clinton's biggest defender, but Elizabeth Warren is becoming Donald Trump's sharpest critic.

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D), MASSACHUSETTS: Donald Trump was drooling over the idea of a housing meltdown, because it meant he could buy up more property on the cheap. What kind of a man does that?

ACOSTA: Friends of Warren tell CNN she knows she needs to step up, and it's good for her own politics, after Bernie Sanders has eclipsed her as the Democrats' leading liberal. Her words are pointed.

WARREN: A small, insecure money grubber who doesn't care who gets hurt so long as he makes a profit off it.

ZELENY: And she's getting under Trump's skin.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Goofy Elizabeth Warren. I call her goofy. She's a nasty person.

ZELENY: Democrats have long wanted Warren in the race, at first as a candidate herself. But after a pass on her own run, she spent months in silence, not endorsing Clinton or Sanders. She still hasn't.

But CNN has learned she and Clinton now communicate frequently, mostly about taking on Trump, as she did Tuesday night in a blistering speech.

WARREN: Now that he has sewn up the Republican nomination, Donald Trump is dropping all pretense. He's kissing the fannies of the poor, misunderstood Wall Street bankers.

ZELENY: The war of words on Twitter escalating again today. "If Donald Trump actually believes every stupid lie he reads on the Internet, we're in for a truckload of trouble if he's president."

He often shoots back like this: "Goofy Elizabeth Warren didn't have the guts to run for POTUS. Her phony Native American heritage stops that and V.P. cold."

Attacking Warren's heritage is a central theme, as he did again today in Anaheim.

TRUMP: Pocahontas -- that's Elizabeth Warren -- I call her goofy. She is -- no, no, goofy. She gets less done than anybody in the United States Senate. She gets nothing done, nothing passed. She's got a big mouth, and that's about it.

ZELENY: Her Native American ancestry caused an uproar in her Massachusetts Senate race, with critics saying she tried passing herself off as a minority to get ahead at Harvard.

She struggled to prove her family ties, finally expressing regret for not handling it well.

WARREN: Let's have that debate.

ZELENY: Warren, one of the most popular faces of the Democratic Party, is now intent on taking down Trump.

WARREN: Let's face it: Donald Trump is about exactly one thing, Donald Trump.

ZELENY: She brushes back the suggestion she's campaigning to be Clinton's running mate.

WARREN: Right now I just want to be clear, I love my job.


ZELENY: Of course, any serious running mate talk is a long ways off. Clinton and Warren still aren't particularly close and have different governing visions here.

But one top Democrat close to the campaign tells me Warren will be looked at seriously. Perhaps she can help bridge that divide in the Democratic Party and win over some skeptical Sanders supporters along the way -- Wolf.

BLITZER: All right. Jeff Zeleny in Los Angeles for us. Thanks very much.

Let's dig a little bit deeper right now. Joining us, our senior political reporter, Manu Raju; our political commentator, Hilary Rosen; and our CNN political commentator, Kevin Madden.

Who's winning this battle between Donald Trump and Elizabeth Warren, Kevin?

KEVIN MADDEN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I think if you ask Donald Trump's supporters, he is winning, and if you ask Elizabeth Warren, Hillary Clinton, slash Bernie Sanders supporters, she's winning.

I mean, the amazing thing here about this is that they are a study in contrasts in how they approach -- how they approach each one of their base.

But one of the other interesting things is -- is that both of them are sort of elevating some of their limited appeal. I think Elizabeth Warren has a very limited appeal with voters to much more of a liberal base, which is really helping energize some of the Clinton supporters and the liberals inside the Democratic primary.

But -- but one of the big worries that you have to have if you're Donald Trump is this constant depiction of you going after women, whether they're high-profile Democratic women or like Susana Martinez in New Mexico yesterday.

[18:35:13] It again feeds into that negative narrative that -- that he is somebody who is out of step, out of touch and doesn't appeal well to women. So that is a continuing problem that he has now, and it's one that he really has to focus on fixing if he's going to get into a better position in the general election.

BLITZER: You've been doing, Manu, a lot of reporting on this. Why is Senator Warren now, all of a sudden, really going full -- full speed ahead against Donald Trump?

MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, there are two reasons. One, it helps unify the party. Clearly, going after Donald Trump is the great unifier. And she has been neutral in this race for months.

And one big point, important point in Jeff Zeleny's piece just now: it's good for her own personal politics. You know, she -- because she's neutral, it's put her in sort of an awkward position on Capitol Hill. She's one of very few Senate Democrats who have not endorsed Hillary Clinton. A lot of -- there's been a lot of chatter in months before, several months ago, about whether not -- why isn't she endorsing. She actually signed a letter calling on Hillary Clinton to run along with other women senators in the last Congress. The question is why isn't she getting over to Hillary now?

One reason why, because she has the same base of support as Bernie Sanders supporters, and she doesn't want to anger them. So she's played this middle ground, been neutral all along. But by engaging right now, it's good for her politically. She doesn't pick a side, and it helps bring the party together.

BLITZER: Hilary, you're well plugged in. You want Hillary Clinton to be the next president of the United States. Are you disappointed that Elizabeth Warren hasn't done what so many of the other Democratic women senators have done, endorse her?

HILARY ROSEN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: No. I think Elizabeth Warren will be for Hillary Clinton against Donald Trump.

BLITZER: Are you disappointed she's not on that -- on board yet?

ROSEN: No. In fact, I think right now we're seeing her at her best use. I mean, look, I appreciate what you just said, but I think it's a -- it's a cynical analysis.

The fact is Elizabeth Warren really believes what she says. She's an expert on the bankruptcy code. When she sees that Donald Trump's bankrupt four companies and that the workers go unpaid and that, you know, housing developments fall apart, like, that bothers her. She is the champion of the middle class. And she sees time and time again.

He talks about student loans. She's the expert on reducing student loan debt. What does he do? He creates Trump University and basically steals people's tuition money with false promises. Like, this bothers her; his behavior really bothers her. RAJU: She's also -- she's also a very shrewd politician.

ROSEN: She's a good politician.

RAJU: She picks and chooses -- she picks and chooses her spots very effectively. And this is one of them. And she's doing that.

MADDEN: I think it's eventually an "aye." (ph) You wouldn't know that she wasn't a Hillary Clinton supporter by the way she was going after Donald Trump. In fact, she's probably a more aggressive prosecutor of Donald Trump right now than Hillary Clinton is.

BLITZER: Do you think it's appropriate for Donald Trump to call her Pocahontas?

MADDEN: Well, there's a lot of things I think about Donald Trump that aren't appropriate in how he uses it.

I think he -- I think for him and his supporters, they see it as perfectly appropriate. They see Elizabeth Warren as somebody who's a hypocrite. They see her as -- you know, the way that she used some of the questions about her background in order to get a position ahead in a university as emblematic of that.

And they like to see Donald Trump, what particularly his most ardent supporters like to see is Donald Trump be unafraid to take on issues like that, where maybe a more conventional candidate would worry about appropriateness, would worry about the tone and tenor. And instead, take the fight to the Democrat.

ROSEN: Call it for what it is; it is disrespectful. She is a United States senator. Even if she wasn't. If she was a restaurant worker, it's mean; it's racist. Imagine your children dealing with people that way.

What do we tell our kids? Don't name call; don't judge people by anything. It's just -- it's not appropriate. It's horrifying, actually.

BLITZER: A lot of people were surprised that he went after Susana Martinez, the governor of New Mexico, Manu, last night. She's a Republican, Latina. She hasn't endorsed him; she didn't come to his rally. But he still went out of his way to hit her.

RAJU: It was very surprising, and some people had said that maybe she would be a good vice-presidential pick, but clearly...

ROSEN: For Hilary.

RAJU: Right, for Hilary. After the last day, I'm not sure if that's the case.

Actually, Paul Ryan now, speaker, was asked about that at a briefing today; and he sided with Susana Martinez, said that she's been a great governor. She did really well on budget deficits: "I think that she's doing a great job." So clearly, a lot of folks are surprised by that. BLITZER: You know, he's -- she's the chair of the Republican

Governors' Association, too. You'd think he would want to -- if he's working to unify the party, she's an important element in that party.

MADDEN: So many folks are urging Donald Trump to do -- to do exactly that: unify the party, professionalize his operation, professionalize how he approaches bringing together key members of the Republican -- people with a very high profile inside the Republican Party.

But there is this -- this element within Donald Trump where he cannot resist.

RAJU: Can't help himself.

[18:40:02] MADDEN: Can't help himself criticizing people when he feels slighted by them.

The report was that Susana Martinez was too busy to show up to the event last night. So just even the -- the small slight like that sets him off in a way that now we're on probably a 24, possibly 48-hour news cycle where we're going to be talking about that, instead of a better headline which would be unifying the party.

BLITZER: You've been doing some reporting on the speaker, Paul Ryan. He hasn't endorsed Donald Trump yet either. What's the problem?

RAJU: Well, he's having a lot of discussions with Donald Trump. One reason why: he wants to bring Donald Trump closer to the House Republicans' position on key GOP issues. Of course, we don't know where Donald Trump stands on a lot of those key issues right now.

And he was asked at this press conference, I asked him, you know, "Are you going to get behind him? Are you going to support him?"

He said, "I have no time line yet for this decision." You know, he mentioned when he initially said he wasn't going to endorse, he said that was a gut decision. It's clear that was a gut decision. But he's sort of trying to figure out his way out of this box. And one way is to hope that Donald Trump sounds more like a traditional Republican.

BLITZER: All right, guys. Everybody stand by. We've got more to discuss, including this office of inspector general report, 80-plus pages, unclassified, just came out, very critical of Hillary Clinton. Much more right after this.


[18:45:56] BLITZER: A stinging report by the State Department inspector general is sharply critical of Hillary Clinton's use of a private e-mail server while she served as secretary of state, finding that she failed to follow the rules and inform key staff.

Let's dig deeper with our CNN justice correspondent Evan Perez. He's with us, together with the rest of the panel.

What are the biggest revelations -- you've done a lot of reporting on this -- in this very lengthy 80-plus page report?

EVAN PEREZ, CNN JUSTICE REPORTER: Wolf, the biggest finding is the fact that the state department inspector general went through, couldn't find a single person in the legal department, state department or in their security apparatus that had approved for secretary of state Clinton to use this private server. There was at least a couple of staffers lower do you know who raised questions and concerns about this, and they were simply told this has been approved up high and that they shouldn't bring it up again. That was told them by one of their supervisors.

That's a kind of a surprising finding simply because we've been hearing for months from the Clinton campaign that this was a probe, there was nothing wrong with this, this was according to the rules, and clearly, according to this inspector general report, it was not abiding by the rules at the time.

BLITZER: Another secretary of state, Hilary, refused -- had a private e-mail account, not server, but a private e-mail account, that was Colin Powell. He cooperated with the inspector general, answered questions. She didn't. She refused to appear and spend time answering questions.


ROSEN: Well, you asked Brian Fallon, Hillary Clinton's --

BLITZER: I didn't get a good answer because she says she's willing to testify, to answer questions from the FBI and Justice Department, she appeared before the Benghazi committee for 11 hours, she did a long news conference. But when the inspector general whose mission is if there are mistakes, extra mistakes, find out what happened so they're not repeated, why would she not at least sit-down with the inspector general and answer those questions?

ROSEN: Two things. One is there already was a Justice Department investigation where she had pledged her cooperation.

BLITZER: She hasn't yet appeared.

ROSEN: Well, she hasn't been asked. She's offered.

BLITZER: She could do both.

ROSEN: She in theory could, but, you know, you might be told when you're in an investigation, do it one time for the official investigation. There was always, Brian was too polite to say

BLITZER: But if she has done nothing wrong, if she's done nothing wrong and she has nothing to hide, why not at least cooperate with the inspector general?

ROSEN: There was always some question about whether this inspector general that kind of got out there early on and made comments about Secretary Clinton, whether this was going an inquiry that mattered enough to warrant that full cooperation. So, she is cooperating with the Justice Department.

Look, here's the thing, this is not good but, you know, there is a DOJ investigation. We will see what happens there. But, ultimately, Hillary Clinton sort of did the best she could, but most importantly admitted she made a mistake. Elections aren't about choices.

BLITZER: If she had to do it over again --

ROSEN: She would do it.

BLITZER: -- she wouldn't have done it like that. She did it like that at the time.

ROSEN: So, that's what we can expect. We can expect her to say I made a mistake and --

BLITZER: By the way, correct me if I'm wrong --


BLITZER: The inspector general who did the report was appointed by President Obama in 2013.

PEREZ: Was Democratically appointed.

BLITZER: Democratically appointed -- Democrat-appointed inspector general.

PEREZ: And to Hillary's point, I mean, this is probably what her legal advisers told her, and that would be legal advice given to anyone. However, the optics are not good. She's running for president.


PEREZ: She's the former leader of this department. And for her to not cooperate with the inspector general for the department she led while other previous secretary of states did and the current one also did really doesn't look good.

ROSEN: You bear optics. That's what you do. You bear some bad optics.

BLITZER: The optics, but she's running for president.

ROSEN: Right.

BLITZER: Let me read the tweet that Reince Priebus, the chairman of the Republican National Committee, put out. The inspector general's findings are the latest chapter of the long saga of Hillary Clinton's bad judgment that broke federal rules and endangered our national security."

[18:50:04] So, I went through the whole report and there were a couple attempts apparently to hack into her private server. We don't know if anything really happened. But is there any evidence that national security was actually in danger?

MADDEN: Well, I don't think you have to take Reince Priebus' word for it. I think you just read the report. I mean, the report, it had two specific citations. The first that the personal e-mail server -- the use of a person email server was, in fact, a violation. The second was that the use of that private server put security information at risk.

So, if you take that and couple it with previous e-mails that have been disclosed as part of the turning over some of these e-mails, and that they had information in there that was classified or information that was born classified, there was a risk. So, I think -- and the ultimate arbiter of this is whether or not the public believes that these were -- was a lack of judgment in there as well the Department of Justice --


BLITZER: Hold on, another inspector general's report from the intelligence community did say there was classified information, confidential classified and some really top secret information.


PEREZ: One of the more shocking parts of this report was the fact that after she thought she was being hacked, she complained to her staffers. In the report, it says their solution was simply to unplug the server. That doesn't seem like a good way to solve a problem. They didn't report it to their security officials to try to make sure they could bolster the security of the server, they simply unplugged it temporarily for a few minutes to stop the attack.


ROSEN: But right now, there is no evidence at all that there was any national security breach or risk or problem. There were some e-mails that people questioned, and the State Department classified after the fact. So, she did not traffic in them.

So, you know, look, again, it's not great, but don't think that you can sort of talk about this as putting the country at risk when we haven't seen that at all. That's a dramatic political analogy.

BLITZER: You're on the Hill. A lot of Republicans think there was major national security risk.

RAJU: That's right. They see this as --

ROSEN: Of course, they would.

RAJU: They see this as a clear issue to be used in the general election, because Bernie Sanders does not shy away from this because public polling really shows a lot of Democrats simply don't care about this. But when you bring this into a general election context, you go after her trustworthiness, it's an effective argument against Hillary -- BLITZER: All right, guys. Excellent conversation, thanks very much.

The story is not going to go away.

Just ahead, the latest on the search for EgyptAir Flight 804. Time is running out to find those black boxes that potentially could solve the mystery of the crash.


[18:57:08] BLITZER: The search for the black boxes from EgyptAir Flight 804 is intensifying tonight. Search crews are combing the Mediterranean, hoping to pick up their signals before the batteries die.

Our aviation correspondent, Rene Marsh, has the very latest for us.

Rene, the sense of urgency clearly growing.


The search crews pulling more small bits of wreckage and human remains from the ocean. But it's now been a week since the plane disappeared off radar, and they still cannot find the jet's black boxes. So, Egyptian authorities have now called in for extra help from some European nations.


MARSH (voice-over): Tonight, the search for EgyptAir Flight 804 enters its eighth day. As Egyptian officials begin working with France and Italy to find the plane's black boxes. The recorders which likely hold the answers to what happened to the doomed passenger jet are submerged in as much as 10,000 feet of water. Their batteries which search crews depend for locater signals will run out in just a few weeks.

The rough terrain of the ocean floor and the size of the search area are making things even more difficult.

AHMED ADEL, EGYPTAIR: It's an area almost the size of Connecticut. So you can imagine how tough it is to search this area and to find the clues and bring them all to shore and start the investigation process.

MARSH: CNN has learned Flight 804 passed its inspection before taking off from Paris on its way to Cairo. And new documents obtained by Egypt state media show the pilots signed a log, confirming the plane was in, quote, "normal condition." Egypt's forensics authority says the human remains that have been examined so far do not show any signs of an explosion.

PETER GOELZ, CNN AVIATION ANALSYT: This is a very tough and grim situation.

MARSH: CNN aviation analyst, Peter Goelz, says it's unacceptable that in this day and age, there are now two passenger jets missing somewhere in the world's oceans -- EgyptAir Flight 804 and Malaysian Airlines Flight 370, which disappeared more than two years ago.

GOELZ: What this really does is really reinforce the need for more timely access to the data recorder and the voice recorders, which means either deployable recorders or real-time streaming of the aircraft information when it gets into what we call an unusual altitude.

MARSH: As for EgyptAir Flight 804 and its black boxes, time is running out.


MARSH: Well, forensic experts testing those human remains for signs of an explosion say those tests will take more time, and will be hampered because of how long the remains have been in the sea -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Let's hope they find it and find it soon.

All right. Thanks very much, Rene Marsh, reporting for us. That's it for me.

"ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.