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THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER
Ballmer's Got Next; Hillary's "Hard Choices" On Benghazi; Twitter Intercepts "Redskins Pride"; Amazon Joining The Music Business?
Aired May 30, 2014 - 16:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WISE: And the reason is, if a team is going to end up in Seattle in the NBA, I believe it will be an expansion team. They do not want to move another team to Seattle because it says a lot about their industry, things that they don't want to be known about their industry.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: All right, Mike Wise, Jeff Toobin, thank you so much. Have a great weekend.
Coming up on THE LEAD, it could either be a testament to her leadership and red phone worthiness or a playbook for those who do not want another Clinton in the White House. The Benghazi chapter of Hillary Clinton's book is out, and we have it coming up next.
TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD. Time now for our Politics Lead. Hillary Clinton's book, "Hard Choices" does not come out until June 10th, but we're getting inside into the message the former secretary of state wants to send. "Politico" obtained Clinton's 34-page chapter on her role in Benghazi, Libya, where four Americans were killed in 2012 at U.S. diplomatic post. Her tone in recounting the events is described as defiant, yes, Republicans leading the congressional investigation you get a shout-out. Don't worry.
CNN senior political correspondent, Brianna Keilar, is here with more. Brianna, the rollout of this book including this leak seems quite methodical.
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, certainly. Certainly convenient I would say for Hillary Clinton and that this dispenses with some of the Benghazi hoopla before her book comes out in a week and a half. It makes it old news by now, but for now it's getting a lot of attention.
KEILAR (voice-over): Weeks before hitting bookshelves, fireworks are already erupting over a leaked excerpt from Hillary Clinton's long awaited memoir. In a section about her time at the State Department, Clinton slams Republicans saying their outrage over Benghazi is nothing but politics. "I will not be part of a political slug fest on the backs of dead Americans. It's just plain wrong and it's unworthy of our great country." She writes in "Hard Choices" dedicating a much anticipated chapter called Benghazi under attack to the 2012 terrorist attack that left four Americans dead in Libya including Ambassador Chris Stevens. "Politico" obtained the 34 pages and published the excerpts. Clinton stands by this initial claim by the Obama administration.
SUSAN RICE, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE U.S.: There was a hateful video that was disseminated on the internet. That sparked violence in various parts of the world.
KEILAR: In the days after the attack, senior State Department officials told CNN the incident appeared to be a pre-planned terrorist attack unrelated to the video. Clinton writes, "It is inaccurate to state that every single one of them was influenced by this hateful video. It is equally inaccurate to state that none of them were."
But Clinton refutes claims that in the midst of the attack the U.S. government refused to help, saying President Obama, quote, "Gave the order to do whatever was necessary to support our people in Libya. When Americans are under fire, that is not an order the commander in chief has to give twice, that anyone has ever suggested otherwise is something I will never understand."
And she gives context to that controversial moment which has come to define her testimony before Congress in early 2013.
HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: What difference at this point does it make?
KEILAR: Saying she was not minimizing the tragedy as some Republicans accused her of doing. She writes, "Of course, that's not what I said. Nothing could be further from the truth. And many of those trying to make hay of it know that but don't care." But the political battle over Benghazi is far from over. House Republicans have formed a Select Committee to investigate yet again the Obama administration's response.
REPRESENTATIVE JOHN BOEHNER (R), HOUSE SPEAKER: But it's clear to me and it has been clear that the American people have not been told the truth about Benghazi and we're committed to getting it.
KEILAR: To your point, Jake, that this is a very careful rollout of the book, the interviews, the released excerpts before this one. It's also very coordinated. In fact, one source tells me that Democratic surrogates who publicly support what President Obama and Hillary Clinton met at the White House this week with top aides to the president.
They talked about this, one of the things they talked about, how to be on the same page when it comes to the rollout of Hilary Clinton's book and top aides to the president want to make sure that there's no daylight between the two when it comes to foreign policy issues.
TAPPER: Really no daylight at all even though there were disagreements.
KEILAR: There are disagreements, but I think what you'll be hearing a lot of is Democrats trying to minimize those and emphasize where there's areas of common ground.
TAPPER: Brianna Keilar, thank you so much.
So will Clinton's defense change anything for her critics? Joining me now is Republican Congressman Jason Chaffetz of Utah who serves on one of the committees investigating the events in Benghazi.
Congressman, thanks for joining us. You've been a very outspoken critic of Hillary Clinton and the White House on this issue on Benghazi. She is clearly coming out swinging in this chapter. She says that what happened in Benghazi has been used as a political tool and she writes that that minimizes the sacrifice of those who lost their lives. What's your response?
REPRESENTATIVE JASON CHAFFETZ (R), OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE: We're not minimizing the sacrifice at all. We're trying to highlight the fact that these four people were killed. We have to learn from that to make sure that it never, ever happens again. If you want to talk about politics there's a reason why on Friday afternoon they release this. The only reason we're talking about Benghazi today is because politically she wants to try to spin it her way put it behind her so get on to bigger and better things.
TAPPER: She seems to suggest in this chapter that she might fight an appearance before the House Select Committee on Benghazi, this new committee. She said, quote, "Those who insist on politicizing the tragedy will have to do so without me."
Now earlier today, Darrell Issa released a statement saying that he has released Secretary of State John Kerry from his request to testify before the Oversight Committee next month, it's a different committee, of course. But what if neither of them ends up testifying? Do you think that would impact the credibility of these investigations?
CHAFFETZ: Well, look, she also says in the book as new information becomes available that she is going to go ahead and release it. If we want to get to the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, you have to hear from the secretary of state. The Accountability Review Board, which was appointed by her never even interviewed her along the way. We have not heard her with the full array of evidence be able to answer the questions.
Tray Gowdy and that committee, they are the Select Committee, will get at that in due time. But I would suspect that in order to get to the whole truth that you're going to have to hear from the secretary herself.
TAPPER: What do you want to know from her? What has she not answered?
CHAFFETZ: Well, let me give you for instance. The facility in Benghazi, most people don't realize, was attacked on April 6, 2012. It was attacked again on June 6, 2012. What did you do, Madam Secretary, to help secure that facility? Name another place in the world where we've actually had the wall breached and what did you do about it?
Because we heard testimony that they took the number of American security personnel from 30 down to nine. Yet that created this death trap that was Benghazi. What did she do about that? Where was she the night of the attack? What exactly did she do?
We had Marines that were going to come in as a fast team and go in and secure the embassy in Tripoli, but they were ordered to get out of their military clothes because evidently the State Department told them, don't use your military uniforms, wear your jeans and t-shirts. That slowed down their ability to get in.
What was her role in that? And how in the world did she come up with this idea there was some sort of video that for weeks she relied on this story that it was a video that prompted this. That never, ever happened. It just didn't happen. It was false then. It's false now. And why did she perpetuate that for weeks?
TAPPER: We know the video was responsible, behind a lot of protests in other parts of the world like Cairo, but I take your point. I do want to ask about two things she writes in these excerpts.
One is she says that the reason that her name appears on some of these requests for security and other things is not because they landed on her desk but because of a quirk in the bureaucracy. I'm paraphrasing but I believe she used the word "quirk." what's your response to that?
CHAFFETZ: Well, it's Libya. It's 9/11. It's after a revolution. She testified four months after the attack that she didn't make these decisions, the people on the ground made these decisions. But when we heard from the Regional Security Officer Eric Nordstrom and Colonel Wood about the request that they made to have security and they said, we didn't get to make these decisions, where did the whole thing break down?
You can see where we better learn the answer to that question because we've got hundreds of embassies and consulates out there. For her to come four months after the attack to say, I wasn't involved in that. How convenient of her. But where is her responsibility on this? Remember, that facility was attacked twice before.
To claim ignorance and nonparticipation doesn't give us a whole lot of assurance either. Who is making the decisions? Not a single person was ever fired or released in relation to Benghazi. In fact, they testified that the security profile was exactly the way they wanted it.
That's just not acceptable when you have four people kill and two terrorist attacks before every other western flag had left, including the British who had an assassination attempt. How is it, Madam Secretary, that you allowed this to continue? TAPPER: I believe that some individuals at the State Department were somewhat demoted because of Benghazi, but you're correct that no one was fired.
CHAFFETZ: Show me.
TAPPER: The secretary of state --
TAPPER: The secretary of state -- all right, to be continued. Congressman Jason Chaffetz, we appreciate it. Thank you so much.
In related Clinton news, President Obama taped an interview with "Live With Kelly and Michael" that aired this morning and he was asked about his relationship with his former secretary of state.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Hillary and I, we're buddies. The perception was that this was always kind of a marriage of convenience when she came in as secretary of state. I always admired her. I don't know what she'll decide to do. But I know that if she were to run for president, I think she'd be very effective at that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: Very effective. Now I see on the White House schedule that Obama and his vice president, Joe Biden, had lunch together. Wonder what they talked about.
Coming up on THE LEAD, hashtag misfire. The Washington Redskins asked for a little help from their fans in the fight to keep their name. Of course, the internet fully cooperated, right?
And in the Money Lead, if you ask a conspiracy theorists, what is going on at this secret meeting of the rich and powerful?
TAPPER: Welcome back. In other sports news, the Washington Redskins apparently are not too familiar with page 1 of the social media playbook where it says that nearly every Twitter campaign will be hijacked by the other side. The team learned that lesson the hard way when it asked loyal fans to tweet at the Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to show their team pride in face of a campaign to change the team's controversial nickname. That campaign ended the way most of the past 20 seasons have for the Redskins. CNN's Joe Johns has that story for us.
JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Jake, you might think an NFL team's fan base could move mountains on social media, but as the Redskins found out, launching a campaign with a controversial message can also backfire.
JOHNS (voice-over): In one corner, the Washington Redskins football franchise, in the other the office of Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. It's round two of a PR contest over the team's controversial name and this time it's playing out on Twitter. After the Redskins asked fans to defend the team name from a Senate push to change it.
Please show Senator Reid your hashtag Redskins pride and tell him what the team means to you. The result a definite PR fumble, a flurry of responses some in favor of the Redskin's name but many of them surprisingly harsh, bashing the NFL organization. Like this. Good thing the systemic slaughter of indigenous people was managed better than this Twitter account.
And this, willful blindness to genocide and racism. And this, Redskins pride means a proud tradition of racist owners, criminals as players and a name that's a rural slur.
LZ GRANDERSON, CNN COMMENTATOR: It tells you that the Washington's football team's owner and their administration really have no idea how to navigate the PR aspect of this conversation they're trying to have. In other words, it's a very nuanced conversation and they're handling it clumsily.
JOHNS: The battle was started with a letter from Reid and Washington State Senator Maria Cantwell signed by 50 Democratic senators calling on the NFL to endorse a name change for Washington D.C.'s football team. Now the Senate majority's leader's office is declaring victory.
FAIZ SHAKIR, DIGITAL DIRECTOR FOR SENATOR HARRY REID: It was a pleasant surprise to us. I think from their perspective they had a massive PR failure and from our perspective we enjoyed it very much.
JOHNS: We reached out to the Redskins PR people and they didn't get back to us. There's also word of a second backfire as first reported by "USA Today" and confirmed to CNN by two sources. The chairman of a tiny Indian tribe from Senator Reid's home state of Nevada has said he was contacted by someone claiming a connection with the Redskins and asked to attend a media event for the team. The chairman declined because he didn't like the team's approach and didn't want to be seen as speaking for all of Indian country, according to a representative.
TAPPER: Joe Johns, thank you so much. Look who's here, Wolf Blitzer. You had a great interview with Donald Sterling's lawyer yesterday about him being declared mentally incapacitated. What's next?
WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST, "THE SITUATION ROOM": There are new developments. There seems to be a deal. It looks like there's a done deal selling the Clippers for $2 billion, but Donald Sterling is saying not so fast. Suggesting he's not mentally all there, his wife has control of the trust. We'll see where that leads.
TAPPER: "SITUATION ROOM" on in 8 minutes. When we come back, take that apple. Amazon reportedly adding streaming music for some customers. But is that really a big moneymaker?
TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD. Time for the Money Lead. Do you ever miss the songs that were on the radio about six months ago? You can get new music anywhere, but slightly old music, that's hard to find. But fear not. Amazon is here for you. Buzzfeed reports that the company plans to launch a music streaming service this summer through Amazon Prime that will offer a catalog of songs and albums that were released at least six months ago.
Let's hope this one makes the cut. So is this business model legit? Can it make Amazon money? Joining me now is Farhad Manjoo, technology columnist for the "New York Times." Farhad, good to see you again. So having older music as opposed to music streaming sites like Spotify, Pandora, Beats music, is there an opening in the streaming market for this?
FARHAD MANJOO, TECHNOLOGY COLUMNIST, "NEW YORK TIMES": Yes, I think so. I think the key here is it's -- Amazon wouldn't be competing against those services so much. It would just be offering something else for prime subscribers. By getting just the songs that are at least six months old it probably gets a huge discount from the music companies. It saves money and I think that people will be OK with this. Most people don't really want the newest music. You're fine with 6-month-old songs.
TAPPER: This will be sold through Amazon Prime, which offers TV shows and movies now, some original content by Amazon like Alpha House from Gary Trudeau and it gives you free shipping through the Amazon site. They charge $99 for the overall service. Do you think Amazon will pick up significantly more members by adding this music feature?
MANJOO: I don't think the music feature itself is going to lead to a huge number of subscribers. It's just one more thing. This is their strategy with prime, just keep loading on kind of extra freebies. You can get free books from it, free movies, free shows, and now free songs. At some point, it keeps adding enough stuff that people who are on the margin might be like, well, it's now worth it. They want you to subscribe because then it turns out that people who subscribe buy a lot of stuff from Amazon. That's what they want, to hook you.
TAPPER: This news comes after the confirmation that Apple has acquired Beats and paid $500 million for the Beats music streaming service. So nobody forgot about Dre. Why are companies putting so much money into streaming services?
MANJOO: It's because the download music market has gone away or is going away. People want to stream music and they can do that on their smartphones. It's become kind of a must-have feature for the big tech companies. They're all figuring out different ways to offer this service.
TAPPER: Farhad Manjoo, thank you so much.
MANJOO: Thanks. Good to be here. TAPPER: In the Buried Lead, right now some of the richest and most powerful people on earth are gathering in Copenhagen for the 60th meeting of the Builderburg Group. This is a meeting known for its intense secrecy, all conversation strictly confidential, which is amazing when you consider that the former director of the NSA is on the guest list.
But that secrecy gives rise to many concerns leading to protests, clashes with police, endless conspiracy theories about things that will happen behind closed doors that you won't find out about until you get a letter from your bank somewhere down the road.
Like we said, this year's list of VIPs includes the NATO secretary general, plus CIA Director David Petraeus, former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and on and on. You get the idea. That's it for THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper. I now turn you over to Wolf Blitzer in "THE SITUATION ROOM." Have a great weekend. Mr. Blitzer.