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State of the Union
Interview With Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders; Interview With Ohio Governor John Kasich; Interview With Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus; Trump at War With GOP; Hillary Clinton And Senator Bernie Sanders Ramp Up Attacks. Aired 9-10a ET
Aired April 17, 2016 - 09:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DANA BASH, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Democratic dogfight.
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Didn't answer the question.
HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I did. If that's the way we're...
SANDERS: No, you didn't.
CLINTON: Yes, I did.
SANDERS: Could I ask -- may I please...
CLINTON: Well, don't put words into my mouth.
BASH: Who landed the toughest punches at the brawl in Brooklyn?
Plus, is the pope feeling the Bern? Bernie Sanders ditches the campaign trail for the Vatican. He's just back from Rome, and he will tell us about his secret meeting with Pope Francis.
And Donald Trump says the system is rigged.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The Republican National Committee, they'd better get going, because I will tell you what. You're going to have a rough July at that convention.
BASH: Will he be outfoxed by Cruz?
SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Donald, it ain't stealing when the voters vote against you.
BASH: Or can he get his mojo back in Manhattan?
Plus, the best political minds will be here with insights from the campaign trail.
BASH: Hello. I'm Dana Bash, in for Jake Tapper in Washington, where the state of our union is on the money.
Bernie Sanders supporters in Los Angeles showered Hillary Clinton's motorcade with actual dollar bills as she drove to a star-studded fund-raiser hosted by George Clooney and his wife, Amal, the cost of the top ticket, a staggering $350,000 per couple.
But then Clooney, who actually raised a reported $15 million for Hillary this week, went on TV and went after big money in politics.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE CLOONEY, ACTOR: It is an obscene amount of money. The Sanders campaign, when they talk about it, is absolutely right. It's ridiculous that we should have this kind of money in politics. I agree completely.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BASH: Clooney's next-door neighbor, a Sanders supporter, hosted a dueling fund-raiser for him with tickets priced at $27.
Joining me now is Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.
And, Senator Sanders, you heard Clooney there. He almost sounds like he's feeling the Bern.
SANDERS: Well, I have a lot of respect for George Clooney's honesty and integrity on this issue.
He is right. One of the great tragedies of American life today is the degree to which big money is buying elections, in which elected officials become responsive to the needs of Wall Street and wealthy campaign contributors, rather than the needs of ordinary people.
And, Dana, I'm so proud that, in this campaign, we have now raised almost seven million individual contributions averaging $27 apiece. That is unprecedented in American history.
BASH: But you realize, Senator, that he just raised millions of dollars for your opponent. So, is he backing the wrong horse here?
SANDERS: Well, I think he is. But he is honest enough to say that there is something wrong when few people, in this case wealthy individuals, but in other instances for the secretary, it is Wall Street and powerful special interests, who are able to contribute unbelievably large sums of money.
That's not what democracy is about. That is a movement toward oligarchy. And that is why we have got to overturn Citizens United and why I have run this campaign on the basis of saying we're going to make it on contributions averaging 27 bucks apiece, rather than being dependent on big money.
But this is the issue of American politics today. Do we have a government that represents all of us or just the 1 percent? And you're not going to have a government that represents all of us so long as you have candidates like Secretary Clinton being dependent on big-money interests.
BASH: Senator, you just visited the Vatican, where you had a meeting with the pope. Vice President Joe Biden was asked about your trip.
I want you to listen to what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOSEPH BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I just think that Bernie making a trip is a good thing. But to suggest that the pope would -- embraces Bernie's policies, I don't think that's the case. I don't know. I doubt it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BASH: Senator, what's your response to that?
SANDERS: Well, you know, I love Joe, and no one is suggesting that the pope is embracing my policies.
What I will tell you is, I was very proud to have been invited by the Vatican to an important conference dealing with morality in economics. And, in my view, that is exactly the issue of the day. We have got to create an economics which is based on morality, dealing with the needs of working families and the elderly and the children and the sick and the poor, rather than an economy which is based on greed and the needs of Wall Street and big corporations.
And the fact that I was invited there was very -- for me, a very moving experience. And that's the fight that we are going to continue to wage. We have levels of income and wealth inequality in this country. The rich are getting richer. Almost everybody else is getting poorer. We have got to raise the minimum wage to a living wage. We need to create millions of decent-paying jobs.
And I have been so impressed ever since Pope Francis came into power of his willingness to take on special interests, to talk about climate change, and the need to transform our energy system.
So, you know, I have probably been one of the members of Congress talking more often about the extraordinary role that Pope Francis is playing in raising issues that so rarely get discussed.
BASH: Senator, let's return to what you were talking about before, money in politics. At this week's debate in Brooklyn, I asked you to name one decision
Hillary Clinton made as senator that shows she was influenced by the donations she got. You really didn't answer the question.
So, let's try it again. Can you point to a decision that Hillary Clinton made as senator that shows she favored banks because of the donations she received?
SANDERS: Well, as a matter of fact, she voted for a bad bankruptcy legislation. But -- and whether that is a result of contributions from Wall Street or elsewhere, you know, no one can say that, Dana.
But what I would also repeat to you is, the most important issue is, what is your stand on Wall Street? And I think, to me, when you have it being very clear that Wall Street's greed and illegal behavior -- you know, Goldman Sachs just paid a $5 billion settlement with the government. When you have that kind of greed and illegal behavior, bringing our economy into the worst economic recession since the '30s, I think the immediate response must be to break up these large financial institutions.
SANDERS: That is my view. That is the view of a number of leading economists. That is not Hillary Clinton's position.
BASH: Now, also at the debate, you were asked about Sandy Hook families who want to sue gun manufacturers. You said -- quote -- "They have the right to sue."
But just last week, you told "The Daily News" the opposite. Listen.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
SANDERS: Do I think the -- the right...
SANDERS: ... of a crime with a gun should be able to sue the manufacturer. That's your question?
SANDERS: No, I don't.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
BASH: So, Senator, what changed?
SANDERS: Well, what changed is, I think -- I think, if you go into that interview a little bit longer, you will see the nuance of that interview.
Of course they have the right to sue. Anybody has the right to sue. And they just won an initial decision in their favor last week. But if you go into that discussion a little bit longer, do I end up believing that, if a gun store owner, a small gun store owner in rural Vermont or anyplace else, sells you a weapon legally, you come in with all the proper identification, you pass the instant background check, you legally purchase the gun, and you go out and you shoot somebody, that that small gun store owner should be held liable?
No, I don't. I really don't. But I have got to tell you also, on this issue of these assault weapons, let's be clear. Back in 1988, in Vermont, I likely lost an election because I alone stood up to the gun people and said, no, I don't think that assault weapons should be sold and distributed in America. That was my view then.
That's the type of weapon that caused that horrific tragedy in Sandy Hook. Those weapons should not be made available in the United States of America. So, in that sense, I agree with the Sandy Hook parents. But it's a question of how you go forward.
BASH: Let's talk about something in the news that will be on your plate as a sitting U.S. senator. Saudi Arabia has told the Obama administration that it will sell off hundreds of billions of dollars of American assets if Congress allows the Saudi government to held -- to be held responsible in American courts for any role in the 9/11 attacks.
How do you intend to vote as a senator?
SANDERS: Well, I need more information before I can give you a decision.
But, clearly, I have, as you have heard me say, a whole lot of concerns about the role that Saudi Arabia has been playing for many, many years, not just the individuals who came from Saudi Arabia who attacked us on 9/11, but their support for ISIS and other terrorist organizations. The Saudi family is a huge family, many hundreds, if not thousands of people in the ruling family worth many hundreds of billions of dollars.
BASH: But if I may, Senator, in general, should Saudi Arabia be -- should it be possible to hold them liable in U.S. courts?
SANDERS: Well, you're going to hear -- you're asking me to give you a decision about a situation and a piece of legislation that I am not familiar with at this point.
And I have got to have more information on that. So, you have got to get some information before you can render, I think, a sensible decision. But I do have a lot of concerns about the role, in general, that Saudi Arabia has played and the royal family has played in supporting Wahhabism, which is the extreme right-wing Islamic movement, which is part of what ISIS and al Qaeda are about.
BASH: And, finally, Senator, on Friday, you released last year's tax returns. Secretary Clinton has posted her tax returns from the past eight years. So, will you do the same?
SANDERS: We will post more of them. Yes, we will.
I mean, I don't have -- to be honest with you, our tax returns showed us that we made more money -- we made less money in a given year than Secretary Clinton made in one speech. We don't have a bunch of -- Jane and I don't have a bunch of accountants working for us. We will get it out.
I think we have all that information, and we will get them out as soon as we can, which...
BASH: By when, sir?
SANDERS: ... which will be very soon. We got out one. We will get out more.
BASH: Like this week?
Senator, thank you so much for your time. Appreciate it. Good to talk to you.
SANDERS: Thank you, Dana.
BASH: And coming up: There are 95 Republican delegates at stake on Tuesday, when New York votes. Could Trump sweep them all?
BASH: Welcome back to STATE OF THE UNION. I'm Dana Bash, in for Jake Tapper.
The New York primary is just two days away, and hometown favorite Donald Trump is leading his Republican rivals with 55 percent support in the latest poll. If he can get that much of the vote on Tuesday, he might be able to sweep all of New York's 95 delegates.
But standing in his way is John Kasich, who clearly thinks the way to woo New Yorkers is through their stomachs.
I caught up with him on the campaign trail.
BASH: Donald Trump is on a tirade against the Republican nominating system. He says the system is rigged, the vote is no longer a vote. What do you think? Do you think the system is rigged?
GOV. JOHN KASICH (R-OH), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, I don't know if -- no, I think it's the way it works.
You know, it's like saying I made an 83 on my math test, so I should get an A just because I think it's rigged that you have to make a 90 to get an A. I mean, come on. Act like -- you know, like you're a professional. Be a pro.
BASH: The next six contests starting here in New York are in the Northeast and the Mid-Atlantic.
KASICH: Yes. Right. Right.
BASH: Those are really tailor-made for your brand of compassionate conservatism. So if you can't win in these states, what's your rationale for going down to the convention?
Well, winning is accumulating delegates. I don't have to win the state. I have to accumulate delegates and have momentum going in.
Look, Dana, I am not going to whine, OK, but I'm going to tell you the facts. There was -- because I was ignored for so long, there was Coke, Pepsi and Kasich. And so you go shopping, and , you know, they're out there shopping and a spouse says, OK, there's Coke, there's Pepsi and there's Kasich.
Well, Kasich's kind of interesting, yes, but we're going to get one of the known brands. And now that the brand is getting up, it's now Coke, Kasich -- Coke, Pepsi and Kasich, and now we have to cross the Rubicon so people can actually know who I am and the team that I have around me.
So, to me, it's continuing to -- it's accumulate delegates and go into that convention as the person standing who can beat Hillary.
BASH: I understand what you mean about accumulating delegates, but -- and I know that the heart of your pitch is that you can beat Hillary Clinton.
BASH: But the fact of the matter is, it is a hard sell if you get to the convention and say vote for me, even though you have only won one state.
KASICH: And only a small incidental state, by the way.
BASH: No question it's an important state, Ohio.
BASH: But we know you can win Ohio. You're the governor. But having some wins...
KASICH: But, again, I'm not going to have you as a delegate.
BASH: Having -- I mean, seriously. KASICH: No, I mean, look, I mean, seriously, we are going to nominate
somebody who can win in the fall. Why do I win in the fall?
Because we have been able -- we, our team, has been able to put a message that appeals to blue-collar conservative Democrats and independents. I mean, I will make the Democrats have to fight in places where they haven't fought for decades. And that's going to be appealing to people.
Now, maybe if they say if you didn't win this state or that state, you're out. Well, that will be their choice. I'm copacetic with it.
BASH: On the campaign trail...
KASICH: And having the greatest time, still.
BASH: I can tell.
KASICH: I'm still. I mean, I have eaten my way across every single part of New York.
BASH: I see.
KASICH: It's great.
BASH: That's like a lot of food.
KASICH: It is. Well, it's good food, yes.
BASH: I'm going to get to that later.
But on the campaign trail this week, a female college student asked what you would do as president to help protect her from sexual assault. You gave a long answer. At the end, you said, you would give her some advice, which is to avoid parties with alcohol.
Since then, you have made clear that you have a strong record in Ohio to help...
KASICH: Probably the strongest in the country.
BASH: ... helping people, helping on the issue of sexual assault.
But on the question of whether or not women, young women, should avoid parties with alcohol, do you still give that advice?
KASICH: No, no, no, I said -- no -- well, look, I mean, my daughters are some time going to go to college, and they're going to go to a party where there's alcohol.
It's just you have to be careful. My only comment on it, you know, it gets to be when alcohol's involved, it becomes -- it becomes more difficult for justice to be rendered for a whole variety of reasons. But we can still find the perpetrator. So...
BASH: But you understand why a lot of people, women in particular, took that as, wow, he's blaming the victim, or he's even giving some culpability to the victim.
KASICH: Well, I don't know -- no, what I -- I -- actually, I don't know how anybody would take it that way, because...
BASH: Because it's taken a while to change the stigma of getting people to come out.
KASICH: Dana, I'm the one that has led the way in the country to fight this and to get justice served in these conditions.
I think even if, in fact, there is alcohol involved, you still have -- you still can find the perpetrator. I just don't want justice to be denied because something comes up that a prosecutor looks at and says, well, I can't figure this thing out.
BASH: Just to put a button on this, and then we will move on, it's -- even if all of the mechanisms of justice are in place in a perfect way, if a young woman doesn't feel like she can come forward...
BASH: ... because she's at a party with alcohol...
KASICH: Oh, no, no, no, no.
I don't care if they're at a party with alcohol. I'm just saying, be careful. That's what I would tell my daughters. Be careful.
But are you kidding me? Somebody gets sexually assaulted? Of course we're going to get to the bottom of it. And I want to make sure that justice is done, which is exactly -- you know, look, when our folks first sat down with the colleges and universities, my -- I have a lady attorney who sort of led this effort for me.
They didn't quite know what to do. And I said, I don't care about what they know or don't know. We are going to have a system in place to make sure that the women on our college campuses are protected, and if something would happen to them, that justice can be done, that, in fact, the perpetrator can be held.
So, you know, no -- you know, I don't -- that -- that -- it's -- it's -- let's go on.
At this week's CNN town hall, you said -- quote -- "You know, I don't like anything big, big government, big business or big labor."
BASH: It surprised me to hear you say you don't like big business. Did you mean that?
KASICH: Yes. I have said it all my lifetime. Of course. I don't like -- let me give you an example.
You think I don't get upset when I hear that a company might move something out? Where I was just in -- I don't remember which town, but a lady came up to me, she said, I'm being forced to train my replacements who don't live in the United States. And it outrages me. Of course it does. Look, you know...
BASH: So you meant you don't like big business that goes overseas, but you're obviously in favor of big business that comes to Ohio.
KASICH: Well, I'm not against big business have -- providing jobs, but they're not -- that's not -- look, most of the jobs get created by small businesses.
But anything that's big, I felt, gets in my way or the way of the individual. It kind of gums up the works. It becomes a bureaucracy that in some cases is just not feeling. You know, OK, well, we have to you know -- I'm an insurance company. Somebody needs something. Denied. OK, why would I like that? Of course I don't like it.
The smaller it is, the more personal it is. But I'm not out here to wreck big business. But if you're asking me, you know, what is it I don't like that I think is not that is -- that is not as -- how would I say, maybe as personal as I would like...
BASH: You also had some tough words for Mississippi's new laws where you can deny somebody service because they're gay. You said -- quote -- "What the hell are we doing in this country?"
Are there any steps that you would take to try to stop states from passing these laws?
KASICH: No, I wouldn't.
But what I would -- I mean, I haven't even been asked that or thought about that. But here's what I think. There is a legitimate concern for people being able to have their deeply held religious beliefs, religious liberty. But there's also people who we shouldn't be discriminating against. We need to have a balance.
There needs to -- we need to strike a balance. And I just wish that everybody would just take a breath and calm down, because, you see, trying to figure out how to legislate that balance is complicated, and you keep doing do-overs, because nobody gets it right.
So if we would just kind of calm down here, I think things would settle down. And what I like to say is, just relax. If you don't like what somebody's doing, pray for them. And if you feel as though somebody is doing something wrong against you, can you just, for a second, get over it, you know, because this thing will settle down.
And I think, to some degree, this has become a wedge issue that can be exploited by people on both sides. We don't need that. We need a divided America, not a -- we need a united America, not a divided America. As one of my daughters said, we're the United States, not the divided states. BASH: That's a good line.
OK, last question. You caused a bit of a cultural and maybe an epicurean stir here in New York this week by eating pizza with a fork.
KASICH: No, that was two weeks ago.
KASICH: I caused another problem by flipping my bread over the wrong way.
KASICH: I have learned a lot here.
BASH: Well, the reason why I'm mentioning the pizza is because, in a radio show, you suggested maybe it wasn't a faux pas. It was an intentional way to get attention.
KASICH: I'm not going -- Dana -- Dana, there are some things that I just don't have to reveal, OK? Look...
BASH: Yes? So was it a political stunt?
KASICH: I'm not going to get into -- it will be in my memoirs. You will want to read it because of that.
BASH: Governor, thank you.
KASICH: Thank you. Thank you very much.
BASH: Thank you so much. Appreciate it.
BASH: And as the RNC prepares to set the convention rules, how will it respond to Donald Trump's attacks of rigging the system? I will ask the RNC chairman next.
BASH: Welcome back to STATE OF THE UNION.
I'm Dana Bash, in for Jake Tapper.
Ted Cruz picked up 14 more delegates yesterday in Wyoming in a process Donald Trump says is rigged by party insiders. And he issued this warning to the Republican National Committee:
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You better straighten out the system, because the people want their vote. The people want to vote. And they want to be represented properly.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BASH: Joining me now is the chairman of the RNC, Reince Priebus.
Thank you so much for joining me, Mr. Chairman.
You just heard Donald Trump. It sure sounded like he was threatening you.
REINCE PRIEBUS, REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: Well, I don't -- I don't know. I find it to be rhetoric and hyperbole.
I think everyone understands these rules have been in place for years. These plans have been released since October of last year. There are a few states that -- that pick delegates by convention.
It's their choice how they allocate delegates for years. The candidates participate in the process. It's been going on for a month in each of these states that do a convention. But ultimately, about cleaning things up, it's up to the delegates. I mean, by majority, the delegates decide. They decide everything.
So it's not a matter of party insiders. It's a matter of 2400-plus grass-roots activists, and whatever they want to do, they can do. And that's where the power lies.
BASH: I know you tried to make that case over and over in private and in public to Donald Trump, but he doesn't seem to be buying it. In fact, take a look at what he said in an op-ed for "The Wall Street Journal" this week. It was a pretty serious charge at Ted Cruz.
He said, "Voter disenfranchisement is not merely part of the Cruz strategy. It is the Cruz strategy."
So do the RNC rules make it possible for a candidate to pursue that kind of strategy?
PRIEBUS: Well, first of all, they're not RNC rules. Their -- each individual state determines how they're going to allocate their delegates. So it's up to the campaigns to know the rules and compete within each of those states with the rules.
And so it's -- to me, I'm not going to get in the middle of a candidate back-and-forth. But I think obviously, it's important for the candidates to understand that the majority of delegates is the goal. And you need to be able to play within the confines of the rules to make sure that you get there.
BASH: OK. So let's talk about rules that you do have a say in, which is the rules of the convention.
For the last 40 years, the RNC convention rules and traditions, they've really been based on party leaders and the nominee working in tandem. And now, of course, there's no nominee yet. And you are at odds very much so with the front-runner. So in the future, do you think it would be better to just make the person coming into the convention who has the most delegates the nominee?
PRIEBUS: Well, first of all, having a plurality of the delegates means that the field has the majority. So you have to have the majority.
I mean, it's the United States of America. That's what we're founded on, Electoral College is a majority. That the DNC does it the same way? No.
The majority rules -- and that is an American concept that I can't imagine us turning our backs on. And so but the first thing, I'm not at odds. I'm really not at odds. I'm not -- this is not something, although I'm working hard to --
BASH: You're not at odds, but it sure sounds like he is.
PRIEBUS: It depends what you think -- I mean, if you think it's rhetoric, you think it's hyperbole -- you know, look, there's nothing that the RNC can do to alter the rules between now and the convention. It's not the RNC's place. So I don't internalize -- I don't sit here and internalize the charge because there's no there there because there's nothing the RNC can do about it.
BASH: So do you think this is hyperbole for theater and that, you know, that that's what this is about, or do you think that there's a real --
PRIEBUS: I think you'd have to ask him.
BASH: What do you think?
PRIEBUS: I think you'd have to ask him. I mean, you're a reporter. Listen, you're a reporter. Everyone knows what the rules are. Everyone knows that the RNC can't actually change rules between now and the convention. Everyone understands that the delegates control --
BASH: You're the one who just used the word "hyperbole" that's why I asked that.
PRIEBUS: Listen, I'm not sure what it is. But what I do know is what the truth is. And since I know what the truth is, I don't really worry about it because I know what is right and I know what is wrong.
So the delegates at the convention will look at all of this, and they will determine what they want to do on these issues. And each individual state will decide in four years how they're going to allocate their delegates. And it's a state-by-state process.
BASH: Do you see any flaw in the system now that you're knee deep in something that you didn't anticipate?
PRIEBUS: You know, listen. I've debated this issue for years.
You know, I mean, we've taken more steps at the last convention and first two years, we can't make any changes now, than I think any RNC in the history of the RNC. But there's always things that could be better. But it doesn't mean, though, that just because some things could be better, that somehow it's all being rigged against a particular person. It just means that over time, you can make improvements.
BASH: Let me just ask you one last question.
The RNC is having a meeting...
BASH: ... this coming week in Florida. My understanding is that -- and I've talked to some members of the RNC Rules Committee -- my understanding is that you've contacted them and encouraged them not to touch the actual convention rules yet. Not yet during this week's meeting. Is that right, and if so, why?
PRIEBUS: Yes. Well, it is true. I don't think that it's a good idea for us next week, I mean, before the convention to make serious rules changes or recommendations of changes right now.
I think we're in a politically charged environment. I think it's too complicated. I think that the RNC Rules Committee, going forward, with making rules amendment -- suggestions is -- it is not a good idea. Because actually, we can't actually change anything. It's up to the delegates at the convention.
So the recommendations, I think, just confuse people. I think it's a bad idea. And the environment, I think, is not conducive to that.
BASH: Reince Priebus, thank you so much for your time this morning. Appreciate it.
BASH: And coming up with the Empire State on the line, can Hillary Clinton hold on to her home turf? Our panel looks ahead to Tuesday's primary next.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [09:40:06]
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: The system is rigged. It's a bad system. It's a dirty system. And we're going to do something about it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BASH: Donald Trump says he's mad as hell and he's not going to take it. But will his pushback on the party actually work?
With me to talk about it, Bernie Sanders's supporter and former Ohio state representative, Nina Turner, Former Lieutenant Governor of South Carolina, Andre Bauer, who is supporting Donald Trump, CNN political commentators Bakari Sellers who is for Hillary Clinton, and Amanda Carpenter who used to work for Ted Cruz. Good morning, everybody.
NINA TURNER (D), FORMER OHIO STATE SENATOR: Good morning.
BAKARI SELLERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Good morning.
AMANDA CARPENTER, FORMER COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR FOR TED CRUZ: Good morning.
ANDRE BAUER, FORMER SOUTH CAROLINA LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR: Good morning.
BASH: Amanda, I'm going to start with you.
What did you make of the RNC chair and his defense and explanation of those rules?
CARPENTER: With all due respect to the chairman, I think he has to do a better job.
It is his job to defend the party and the system that is in place to choose the nominee. I think he's so afraid of choosing sides, he's not forthrightly defending what the party should do. There's two issues, why they have a majority system to go -- to pick a nominee at the convention and also the delegates.
He should just come out and say, listen, we have a majority standard to ensure that there's consensus in the party. We are going to an election together. We're all going to hold hands and jump behind a nominee. You're not going to do it with a simple plurality. And also we have the delegate system in place to ensure that people who are committed to the party's values are choosing this nominee.
Yes, the popular vote does inform the delegates' decision-making process, but we're not going to let a bunch of, you know, anarchists or communists come in and rule by popular. We have the delegate --
BASH: I think she might have either called you an anarchist or a communist, by the way. What do you think? (LAUGHTER)
BAUER: Well, clearly we need to change this constitution from we the people to we the party if we're going to operate like this.
BAUER: This is wrong. It sends a -- the average voter is so disenfranchised with Washington and the whole system. And so when you have states where the popular vote in a primary selected a candidate and that does not represent at the party level the voters, you know, why would they ever come out to a primary anymore? Just let the hierarchy decide who the nominee is going to be and move on.
SELLERS: There are a couple things that you notice here. One, is that if the Republican Party, if Donald Trump gets to 1100 or 1200 delegates and somehow loses this race, if somehow the party bigwigs and maybe it's not a smoke-filled room, but if they take this race away from Donald Trump, they're going to watch the Republican Party disintegrate.
CARPENTER: All right. I don't think so. I think the exact opposite is true. I think Donald Trump is ultimately the only thing that will reunite the Republican Party. Look what's happened so far. We've been at war between conservatives and the establishment.
BASH: Wait a minute. I'm sorry, you worked for Ted Cruz, and you think Donald Trump is the only one who can reunite the Republican Party?
CARPENTER: Meaning Donald Trump brings Republicans together.
Look, Ted Cruz and Lindsey Graham are working together. Who would have ever imagined that scenario? Republicans see that Donald Trump could hijack this party, destroy it, ruin everything we've worked for for the past few year and so that's forced conservatives to team up with unlikely allies.
TURNER: The system is rigged, though. I mean, I agree with --
BASH: With Bernie Sanders --
TURNER: The system is rigged. I agree with the lieutenant governor here. People are tired. The jig is up. Average citizens are getting a chance to peel back behind the veil now, and they see that on both sides of this, it's rigged. This is a disrupted election and people are not going to take it anymore, and that's one of the reasons why Senator Bernie Sanders is saying we need a political revolution in this country, one where all of the people participate, not just a certain few.
And Mr. Trump is in a great position to know this because as he has said on the campaign trail many times, he has been involved. He is part of that system. He is a special interest himself. And he knows the impact that money like this, obscene amounts of money, has on the system.
BAUER: Absolutely. Look, he's got over a 2 million-vote lead. He's going to come real close if not the -- clenching it before we go in there. The Republicans can call in FEMA for disaster relief if they don't let this happen.
Going against the will of the people overwhelmingly is totally destructive of the Republican Party, and it's against Lee Atwater's Big Tent theory. We want to bring new people in. Donald Trump wants to bring new people in.
SELLERS: Republicans have suppressed the vote and gone through this --
SELLERS: Now it's just so ironic to watch Republicans talk about being disenfranchised.
CARPENTER: Why are we lowering the bar so much for Donald Trump is my question? Why is he unable to --
BAUER: He's winning.
CARPENTER: Yes. The popular vote, but why does he not have the organizational structure in place? Listen, this guy wants to be president? How come he can't reach out to the delegates?
CARPENTER: How come you can't organize in all 50 states? He's trying to win by an air war. You cannot --
BAUER: ... in Colorado.
TURNER: But Colorado there was --
CARPENTER: This is a test of how someone would govern as president.
TURNER: It's not lowering --
BASH: Go ahead. TURNER: No, go ahead. I mean, it's not lowering the standards. It
is right, people over the party, and we keep talking about what's best for the party, the party, the party. Well, the people are tired of this.
TURNER: They want somebody to pay attention to them for a change.
And the more they learn about what both parties are doing, whether it's the super delegates on the Democratic side or what's going on on the Republican side, the average citizen who might not necessarily be an insider, they are mortified by the fact that this is what happens in terms of trying to elect the president.
BAUER: You are so correct.
BASH: Well, sure. I mean, Amanda says it is about the party, but it's just not being explained correctly by the party leadership.
CARPENETER: Yes, I mean, I think he could do a better job.
Listen, the party has a right to choose its nominee. People don't like that, start a new party. You can have one -- pick a nominee that reflects the popular vote.
TURNER: ... that, Amanda. I mean, come on now, in the United States of America.
CARPENTER: There are reform (INAUDIBLE) after every election that do take place. And the system that is in place now that, you know, Donald Trump now says is rigged, at the same time benefits him immensely is meant to correct wrongs perceived from the last election. And so every year there's new changes to go through, new reforms to go through. Maybe people get more involved and want to change things, says but you can't change the rules right now.
TURNER: But Republican and Democratic Party -- they're juggernauts. I mean, it's a fantasy to think that those two parties, which I am -- are going to allow a third party to --
BASH: OK. Hold that thought. We have a lot more to talk about including the Democratic Party and much more.
But the question going into the break is can you take a bite out of the Big Apple without it biting back? The candidates are in New York and getting the full "SNL" treatment. You've got to watch this. Stand by for that after the break.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KATE MCKINNON, COMEDIAN: I have said from the beginning that it should be a combination of 12 and or 15.
LARRY DAVID, COMEDIAN: No, you didn't. You always said 12.
MCKINNON: And 15. I said 12 and or 15.
DAVID: That's not true.
MCKINNON: Yes, it is.
DAVID: No, it is not. No, no, no --
MCKINNON: Yes it is.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BASH: All Democrats are certainly getting the business on "SNL". It continues and it was no different this past week because of CNN's debate.
And I will start with you, Bakari. You know, it was pretty contentious. Do you think that Senator Sanders made your candidate, Hillary Clinton, look defensive?
SELLERS: I don't think -- I don't think she looked defensive at all.
I think both candidates did extremely well. I mean, both candidates spoke extremely well to their respective audiences. But this is getting to near a must win situation for Bernie Sanders and a must win with a decent margin and the polls aren't showing that right now.
Hillary Clinton is looking like she'll do well in New York, she'll do well in Pennsylvania, Maryland. The fact of the matter is this race is actually different from the Republican Party. And I know that Nina was talking about the Republican Party but Hillary Clinton has a 2.4 million vote advantage and a 200 delegate lead. So I think she'll (INAUDIBLE) that Thursday night and go forward.
But this debate you did well. Errol did extremely well. Wolf always does well. It was amazing to see a debate not devolve into whose hands are the biggest.
TURNER: Well, it certainly was a great debate. Of course, I'm going to get to.
BASH: As you give those thoughts...
TURNER: Yes. BASH: ... does Bakari have a point? Even Tad Devine who's a top adviser to Bernie Sanders says that, New York is a must win, New Jersey is in order to actually get the delegates for the nomination. Do you agree?
TURNER: I don't know at what stage Tad made those remarks -- I mean, Senator Sanders has the momentum. He won eight of the last nine contests if (ph) we include Democrats Abroad. I know that the Clinton side would love for Senator Sanders to go away.
He's not a sparring partner for the secretary. He is running to be the president of the United States of America. And there are only about 200 pledged delegates separating those two.
This is going to be a news flash to some folks but we're not going anywhere. We're going to continue to battle this out. Duke it out just like that (INAUDIBLE) battle in the Bronx and so we're going to keep pushing forward. He's not going anywhere.
BASH: Now during the debate on Thursday night Hillary Clinton was pretty adamant about not releasing the transcripts from her speeches to Goldman Sachs. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BASH: Why not just release the transcripts and put this whole issue to bed?
Secretary Clinton, the question was about the transcripts of the speeches to Goldman Sachs.
Why not release them.
Secretary Clinton, we're going to get to the tax returns later, but just to put a button on this, you're running now for the Democratic nomination.
BASH: And it is your Democratic opponent and many Democratic voters who want to see those transcripts. It's not about the Republicans.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TURNER: True (ph) that. True (ph) that.
I mean, it was the second highest trending on Twitter over the weekend, release the transcripts. This is not about the Republican. This really is about the Democrats -- I mean --
BASH: You don't think she should release it?
SELLERS: This is about -- I mean, this is about a new factor that we're now taking into the presidential process. Never before has anyone had to release transcripts from any speech they're ever given. But now all of the sudden Hillary Clinton has to. But if you want to let --
BASH: You know why this is an issue.
SELLERS: But the totality of the question is that Hillary Clinton has given over $16 million of the fees that she received from these speeches to charity. I mean, that is a part of the discussion as well. So, I mean, releasing the transcripts is moving the ball because she asked the question to Bernie Sanders, if you're going to say somehow that my character has been compromised or my votes have been compromised because of any relationship I may have or any speech I've had, please show me. And Bernie Sanders (INAUDIBLE) --
TURNER: But those two -- I mean, just released it. Transparency, accountability -- I mean, on the Republican side, you know, this whole Wall Street thing is not really an issue. But when it comes to Democrats and our values, what it's...
BASH: I was just going to ask that question.
TURNER: ... for is a different kind of dynamic.
BASH: If it is an issue? I mean, if there is a, you know, Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton, you know, pick your Republican match up, will Republicans make this an issue or is it just Democratic primary issue?
BAUER: There will be so much to choose from. I'm not sure this will be at the top of the list.
SELLERS: But Donald Trump has given -- Donald Trump has given those same speeches. I mean, she's not the only candidate. Donald Trump has given those same speeches to Wall Street. So ask -- I mean, ask every candidate to do...
CARPENTER: I think there would be no problem with having Donald Trump release it if there actually is a transcript that Donald Trump speaking which I don't --
[09:55:02] CARPENTER: But the thing is with Hillary Clinton we know the transcript exists and she refuses to release it. I mean, honestly she (INAUDIBLE) put it out a few months ago. You know, got over the hump. The fact that she is making such a big deal about it seems like there is something she's hiding.
TURNER: And what I mean by not an issue I mean in terms of the values the Democrats hold, release this kind of accountability that the Democratic voters are asking for in this whole we're tired of Wall Street. We're tired of a few people controlling. We're tired of the one percent. That is a value --
CARPENTER: So let's not forget on the Republican side --
TURNER: ... release the transcript. She's not running against the advocates right now.
CARPENTER: I think it would be an issue continued into the Republican side because there is still a lot of anger over the bailout among conservatives and they want to know what Hillary Clinton was telling Goldman Sachs...
CARPENTER: ... so greatly. And so it's not just the Democratic --
SELLERS: If they never complete the circle and Bernie Sanders didn't complete the circle when he had a chance. No one can show where her character has been compromised and his character --
TURNER: .. release the transcript.
BASH: Thank you all. Fascinating discussion.
I appreciate it. Thank you.
And you can see all the action when New Yorkers vote on Tuesday. CNN will have all day coverage from the Empire State for his high stakes primary.
Thank you so much for spending your Sunday with us. I'm Dana Bash in Washington.
"FAREED ZAKARIA GPS" starts next.