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Sen. Collins Would Give Obama Nominee "Full Attention"; RNC Committeeman Henry Barbour Endorses Marco Rubio; Can Rubio's Establishment Support Stop Trump?; FBS vs. Apple: What Do Terror Victims Think.> Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired February 23, 2016 - 07:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[07:30:00] CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Look, you get to hear from experts who know South Carolina and know the issues and then you add another layer, which is where you're going to have your candidates sitting across from real people who are living different problems in South Carolina, and that will resonate all around the country. I'll have the best seat in the house tonight, 8:00 p.m. eastern, right here on CNN for a Democratic town hall. Please join us then.

All right, let's take a little break, get a little coffee, come back. Marco Rubio shoring up a lot of establishment support after Jeb Bush's campaign fell apart. Is that a good thing or a bad thing? We're going to define the balance for Sen. Rubio ahead.

[07:30:40]

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[07:34:37]

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: With Jeb Bush's departure from the race, Marco Rubio raking in lots of donor money and big name endorsements. Is that enough for Rubio to stop Donald Trump's momentum?

Let's bring in Henry Barbour. He's a Republican National Committee member, a Republican strategist, and, interestingly, one of the people who was tasked with fixing the GOP's image after their 2012 loss. Mr. Barbour, we'll get to that image momentarily, but I understand that you have an endorsement that you'd like to make here on NEW DAY. What is it?

HENRY BARBOUR, COMMITTEE MEMBER, RNC: Good morning, Alisyn. Yes, I'm proud on NEW DAY to endorse Marco Rubio for president. Very proud to do that.

[07:35:16]

CAMEROTA: And what is it that you like so much about Rubio as opposed to, say, Donald Trump, or Ted Cruz, or Ben Carson, or John Kasich?

BARBOUR: Well, Marco Rubio meets the Bill Buckley test. He's the most conservative candidate in the race who can actually win the general election. He has got a 98 percent lifetime rating with the American Conservative Union, making him the fourth most conservative member of the U.S. Senate. He is the conservative candidate who is right on the issues, whether it's jobs, whether it's national security, whether it's upholding our values, we know that we can count on Marco.

And I believe that Marco is the kind of conservative who actually likes all Americans. He wants Americans to attain their dreams and their aspirations, and that's for all Americans. So, I think he is the conservative that we've got to unite behind if we want to win the White House. And at the end of the day if we don't win the White House, we end up with a third term of Barack Obama.

CAMEROTA: Mr. Barbour, you join a long, now, distinguished line of people who have endorsed Marco Rubio, and I pull that up here. Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty just endorsed yesterday on our show, as you just have. Former Sen. Bob Dole, Orrin Hatch, Jeff Flake, Thom Tillis, Dean Heller. Now, one theory is that these are all establishment figures, like yourself, and that in a year when voters are so angry and looking for something different, in some ways these endorsements become a liability for Marco Rubio. What's your response?

BARBOUR: Well, you know what? Marco Rubio took on the establishment in Florida. People told him he couldn't run for the U.S. Senate in 2010. The Tea Party got behind Marco Rubio, and they did because he was a conservative who got things done in the House of Representatives, down in Florida, as their speaker, and he won that race for the U.S. Senate. And now he's gotten things accomplished in the U.S. Senate as a senator.

And he's the conservative who gives us our best contrast with Hillary Clinton. At the end of the day we've got to win this race. Endorsements, for the most part, don't matter. Most people care about what their neighbor thinks, not what some political person on TV's talking about. But, at the end of the day we've got to win the White House, and Marco Rubio is our best contrast with Hillary Clinton.

CAMEROTA: OK, so let's talk about where Marco Rubio can win. Let me pull up the map of the Super Tuesday states. This is one week from today. So, here are the delegates that are at stake, and you can see they're starting to rake in some big numbers on Super Tuesday. So, Mr. Barbour, what state do you think that Marco Rubio can win here?

BARBOUR: Well, all right. Here's, sort of, the dynamic that's going on in this race right now. We have five candidates, and Donald Trump has got a strong -- about 30 to 35 percent support pretty much across the country. And as long as we have five candidates, Donald Trump's, most likely, going to be our nominee and that means Hillary Clinton will end up being the president of the United States.

So the race has got to narrow and certainly today, in Nevada, we'll see how people do. And if they don't do well they may want to think about their future. And I think as we get towards Super Tuesday the same will happen. As the race narrows, then on March 15th the race becomes winner take all in most states, and that's when the advantage then will swing to Rubio and away from Trump. And while Trump may have a bit of a lead at that point, I think Marco then has an opportunity to catch and pass Donald Trump and become our nominee.

CAMEROTA: OK, because I mean that's a couple of weeks away. That's holding on for quite some time. And are you suggesting that Gov. John Kasich should drop out?

BARBOUR: No. I think candidates have invested their lives in this. They need to run the race to its natural end, whatever that might be. It might be that John Kasich ends up being the nominee. I'm supporting Marco Rubio because I think he's the most conservative candidate who can win. I will say this as I watch Ted Cruz's campaign unravel before our very eyes, as he has run on this trust Ted basis. And his campaign has had a lot of underhanded tricks that seem to be undercutting it. And I think it helps explain why he can't get one member of Congress to endorse him, and that's sort of a telling thing.

CAMEROTA: Mr. Barbour, quickly, I do want to talk about how you were the person who was tasked with fixing, basically -- I think that's the right word -- the GOP's image after the 2012 race. You were one of the people, the co-author of the infamous autopsy report, an evocative term about what went wrong.

BARBOUR: Well, we didn't call it that.

CAMEROTA: Oh.

BARBOUR: A growth and opportunity project, we called it. Not autopsy.

CAMEROTA: Growth and opportunity --

BARBOUR: We think the Republican Party is alive and well.

CAMEROTA: Growth and opportunity versus autopsy report. You're right. That is quite a distinction. But, in any event, you authored it about how to have the GOP cast a wider net and have more appeal. Do you think that whatever you've put in that growth and opportunity report has been accomplished in this 2016 race? Do you think the GOP is fulfilling that this time?

[07:40:32]

BARBOUR: Well, clearly, Marco Rubio does fulfill that. He's a conservative candidate. He stands by his principles and he does a great job of reaching out and inspiring all Americans. And I think that's what we're looking for. You know, Jack Kemp used to say nobody cares what you know until they know you care, and I think that's what we see in Marco Rubio. He's a man that we can count on and he's a man that will fight for all Americans.

CAMEROTA: Henry Barbour, thanks so much for being on NEW DAY.

BARBOUR: Thanks, Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: Let's get over to Michaela.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: All right, Alisyn. Two of Donald Trump's most vocal supporters are a pair of sisters from North Carolina.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's going to build that wall.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's going to build it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And he's going to build it tall.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's going to build it tall.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And it's going to protect us all.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's going to protect us all.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PEREIRA: They are here this morning. We're going to speak with video bloggers Diamond and Silk about their unending support for Donald Trump. Also, Apple versus the FBI. An epic battle shaping up over privacy and security. Would you feel differently if you were the victim of a terror attack that sparked the debate? We'll discuss it ahead.

[07:36:43]

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PEREIRA: Only a handful of people know firsthand what it was like to survive that terror attack in San Bernardino, California. That attack back in the spotlight as a judge ordered Apple to help the FBI unlock one of the terrorist's phones, only to be buffed by Apple. So, for those still dealing with personal turmoil from that attack, who do they feel is right in this battle between privacy and protection?

[07:40:32] Stephen G. Larson is representing San Bernardino victims and family members pro bono. He's a founding partner of Larson O'Brien LLP, and a former United States district judge. Judge Larson, thank you so much for joining us bright and early in Los Angeles. Maybe you can help us understand how these families -- well, first of all, our condolences to the family, but why did they feel -- the families in the San Bernardino attack -- feel that Apple is wrong to fight the judge's order? Is it, sort of, the obvious reason, because they need answers?

STEPHEN LARSON, ATTORNEY, FORMER U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE: They do need answers, Michaela, and thanks for having me on the show this morning. Everybody needs answers. Law enforcement needs answers, but these victims really need to have answers to a lot of questions. What they went through on December 2nd will be embedded, obviously, with them for the rest of their lives, and to have the kind of answers that might be on that telephone is critical.

We all respect constitutional rights. We all appreciate the importance of privacy. That is not the issue at all. This is a particular phone that has particularly important information and there is a federal court order to turn it over.

PEREIRA: You know, it's interesting. We think about the world that we live in right now. You and I are both very well -- the fact that we're even able to talk to each other right now -- you in Los Angeles and me here in New York, via satellite technology aides us in our everyday lives. We know the world that we live in. Given that, I guess -- I wonder if they feel that it's worth all of the billions of dollars that are at stake to gain access to a phone that we don't know for sure will contain the data they're hoping will bring them closure?

LARSON: Well, we don't know for sure what it contains, but from the victim's perspective sometimes if there's no information on there -- if there isn't their name listed on there and if there isn't contact with other people, that information itself is important to know. What these victims need to know is why this happened? How could this have happened? Are they still in danger? Finding out that there is nothing on that phone could be just as important to these victims as finding out that there is something on there, and that's where the victims -- I'm sorry.

PEREIRA: I was going to pull up a statement Apple CEO, Tim Cook, if we can pull that up on the screen. "The government suggests this tool could be used once on one phone. But that's simply not true. Once created, the technique could be used over and over again on any number of devices. In the physical world, it would be the equivalent of a master key, capable of opening hundreds of millions of locks -- from restaurants and banks to stores and homes."

What of that? What do they think of that because the fact is these families, too, while victimized and terrorized personally by this attack, they too are users? And you have bank accounts that are protected by technology and have cell phones, et cetera. What do they feel of that? That this backdoor is potentially opening Pandora's Box?

LARSON: Well, no one suggests that we open the Pandora's Box and throw the key out to the public. That, I think is a little bit of an exaggeration. I think there's a little scare mongering going on here on Apple's part. But, no one is suggesting that. This is one phone. This is a phone that has been subject to a federal court order. It is only under those circumstances that Apple is being asked to open this box.

Apple is more than able to, basically, protect its own trade secrets, its own proprietary information. It's being asked to cooperate just on this one phone at this time. Now, that's not to say that there's not another phone or another group of phones that also contains criminal information.

But Michaela, keep in mind going back to the founding of this country our fourth amendment provides an exception to our right to privacy, and that is when there is information of a criminal nature and the government is able to establish that there was probable cause that information exists in somebody's house, in somebody's bank account, and some other institution. And, with a warrant, federal law enforcement or police in general, can then obtain that information for their purposes.

PEREIRA: But is slightly different hearing technologists, and those from Silicon Valley will say that folks like you and I, who have a rudimentary understanding -- with all due respect, rudimentary understanding -- we don't know about the technology that it would require to do this. And it is, indeed, opening Pandora's Box, and they will say that it is not fearmongering. I just needed to get that in.

Judge, thank you so much for joining us, and thank you for helping us understand what these families are going through as they deal with this being back in the news again, especially when they are still mourning the loss of their loved ones and trying to grief. Stephen Larson, thanks for joining us on NEW DAY.

LARSON: My pleasure. Thank you, Michaela.

PEREIRA: Alisyn?

CAMEROTA: OK, Michaela. Some Republican lawmakers breaking from the pack and coming around to the idea of considering an Obama Supreme Court nominee. The possible implications of that next.

[07:45:48]

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[07:49:02]

CUOMO: An important development. Two GOP senators now suggesting any potential nominee to fill Scalia's seat deserves, at least, a hearing. Discuss. Let's bring in CNN senior legal analyst and former federal prosecutor, Jeffrey Toobin, and CNN senior political reporter Manu Raju. All right, let's take a look at what's going on here.

First, we'll put up the full screen from Sen. Cousins. He said this, and when they put it up I'll read it to you. That this is part of the right of the president, be it Republican or Democrat, to place before the Senate a nominee for the Supreme Court and I fully expect and look forward to President Barack Obama advancing a nominee.

So, there is the statement from the senator showing this consideration. There's the key part there, right? Senator Mark Kirk saying this is the Senate to consider. OK? This is their right. This is their duty. Not Sen. Cousins -- Sen. Mark Kirk. This is what he says. Then you get Sen. Collins. She comes out and talks about it. Listen to what she says.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. SUSAN COLLINS (R), MAINE: For my part, it's clear that the president can send up a nominee, regardless of where he is before leaves office.I believe that we should follow the regular order in this process and give careful consideration to any nominee that the president may send to the Senate.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CUOMO: All right. So, you have Sen. Collins and Sen. Kirk. Two Republicans coming out. Now the question is, they're, of course, right to say this if they want it to be this way, Manu Raju. This is about politics, not about the law per se. Do you think this makes a difference?

MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: You know, these are two -- let's look at the Republican conference at large, Chris. There are 54 Republican senators. There are very few moderates. There are a handful of senators in very difficult reelection races.

Right now, we have two of those 54 members who are calling for some consideration. The rest of the Republican conference -- most of them are taking a hard line. Even other Republican senators in tough races, like Rob Portman of Ohio told us yesterday. He said that there's no reason to move forward on this now. He believes that it should be taken to the voters. That's a line that the Republican leadership is taking.

John Cornyn, the number two Republican, yesterday told me no, we shouldn't move forward with hearings at all. So, Collins and Kirk are decidedly in the minority, and if you're a Democrat you're hoping that as there's a nominee more fissures will show. They can bang the drum and then Republicans will eventually cave. But right now the Republican leadership is holding a firm line.

CUOMO: This is one of those cases, Jeffrey, it's not about whether or not you have the right to do it, it's whether or not it's right to do it, and the Republicans say hey, what are you looking at us like we're inventing something here? What about what Schumer said in 2007? What about what Joe Biden said? Let's play that tape for that audience.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOSEPH BIDEN, THEN-SEANTOR: It is my view that if the president goes the way of presidents Fillmore and Johnson and presses an election year nomination, the Senate Judiciary Committee should seriously considering not scheduling confirmation hearings on the nomination until ever -- until after the political campaign season is over.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CUOMO: You know, the vice-president, subsequently, when this came out tweeted hey, I was advocating then, and I'm advocating now for the systems of government to work together, and that's what it should be about. But, that's the same politics that play in the other direction, isn't it Jeffrey?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: It's very similar and I would not overstate the Republican divisions. The Republicans are really unified here. Yes, two senators say they want to have hearings, but there are not -- even if you had hearings, the chances of confirmation are very slim. I think we can get too wrapped up in the procedural aspects of it. Is there any chance for 60 senators -- that means 14 Republicans

joining with the Democrats to end a filibuster and have a vote on President Obama's nominee, whoever it is? I think the chances are remote to the point of vanishing. And, you know, regardless of what a couple of -- one of the very few moderates say, it just doesn't really matter in terms of the real issue which is confirmation.

CUOMO: Last question, Manu. Any word out of the White House about whether or not they intend to put up a nominee that they want to eventually to be a Supreme Court Justice absolutely, as opposed to putting someone up that they expect to get beaten up in this process? You know what I mean? It would be hard for them to finesse it and say well, this is our plan B man or woman that we're putting up. But, are you hearing any talk that like?

RAJU: Well, you know, we're hearing that they're down to a list of nominees that they're looking at. They're being very cagey about who, precisely, the nominees are. The big question is whether or not it is someone who is designed to rile up the Democratic base or someone who could eventually get on the court.

Some names that we're possibly hearing are Republicans -- possible Republicans. We even heard possibly the Nevada Republican moderate Gov. Brian Sandoval being on that short list. Who knows if that's actually the case, but that would be an effort to sort of divide Republicans? It will be interesting to see their strategy. Whether or not they'll actually bring Republicans on board. But Jeffrey's right. Right now, very difficult to see a confirmation happening.

CUOMO: Tricky play. You design a nominee to test the resolve of Republicans and try to expose them for playing naked politics, and then if they wind up confirming the guy you may not wind up getting the man or woman you wanted on the bench. Manu, Jeffrey, thank you very much.

TOOBIN: There is not going to be a Republican nominee for this seat. Don't -- anyway -- Brian Sandoval is not going to be nominated. Anyway -- sorry.

CUOMO: Thank you for clearing that up, Jeffrey. Always a pleasure. Appreciate it. All right, this is a big story this morning. There's a lot going on in the election and around the world, so let's get right to it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This guy is sick.

GOV. JOHN KASICH (R-OH), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We just an army of people. Many women who left their kitchens.

SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Every single day something comes out of the Cruz campaign that's deceptive and untrue.

SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Both Donald Trump and Marco Rubio's campaign have also relied on fabrications. TRUMP: There's something wrong with this guy.