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CNN TONIGHT

New York Primary to Play Pivotal Role; Donald Trump Wars With RNC; Trump's National Field Director Resigns; George Clooney Discusses Money in Politics. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired April 18, 2016 - 22:00   ET

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


[22:00:00] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: We'll be following this throughout the coming hours for late developments. Thanks very much for watching. Time now for CNN TONIGHT with Don Lemon.

DON LEMON, CNN HOST: If they can make it in New York, they can make it all the way to the White House, right?

This is CNN TONIGHT. I'm Don Lemon.

The New York primary just hours away and it could prove pivotal for front-runners Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, (R) U.S. PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We are going to bring buffalo back, we're going to bring New York back, and we're going to bring the United States of America back.

HILLARY CLINTON, (D) U.S. PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: So, please, come out and vote tomorrow. I will work hard for you. Thank you all very much.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS, (I-VT) U.S. PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: When we started this campaign, we were 70 points behind Secretary Clinton. Today, in some national polls we are winning.

(CROWD CHEERING)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: As you can see, a lot to unwrap here. So, I begin our coverage now with New York primary and CNN's chief national correspondent, Mr. John King. Good evening, John. How big of a win does Donald Trump need tomorrow?

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Tomorrow one of his favorite words, Don, huge. Donald Trump has been complaining the last couple of weeks about the republican rules. Ted Cruz won the last contest in Wisconsin. Donald Trump, though, Don is the only republican candidate with a conceivable path to 1,237, that the magic number before the republican convention.

To get there, to continue to have that path, 95 delegates at stake tomorrow night in New York. Donald Trump needs to win 75 percent of them. If he comes away with 75, 80 delegates tomorrow night, he's still in play. That's what he's looking for.

LEMON: All right. Let's look forward to next week, to Connecticut, to Delaware, to Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island, all up favorable territory for Donald Trump.

KING: Yes, all very unfavorable for Donald Trump, unfavorable for Ted Cruz. The Texas Evangelical tea Party that thing you would associate with Connecticut, with Rhode Island, with Pennsylvania, with Delaware, with Maryland.

John Kasich is yet to perform, Don, we'll see if he can pick with any delegates tomorrow night. But we thought John Kasich might emerge as the threat to Donald Trump in the northeast and the mid-Atlantic. So, here's what Donald Trump is looking at.

He has to get to that magic number of 1,237 or very, very close because he knows his only chance on the first ballot, right? If he can pick up 75 or 80 tomorrow night he thinks he could pick up as many as 200 when you combine New York with those contest you just mentioned by the end of the month of April.

if he thinks he can get 200 delegates. If he does that if we end April saying Donald Trump from New York through Pennsylvania, Maryland, et cetera, pick up 200 delegates, then he keeps that path alive to 1,237.

LEMON: To 1,237. Now what about other primaries that are left, John? Where will Trump have the uphill battle?

KING: You might think in Indiana, that's the first week of May, a more traditional republican state, the grassroots establishment there is anti-Trump, although I saw some polling, Don, out there in recent days that that conducted that showed the race where Cruz was up a lot two weeks ago, essentially a dead heat now.

So, momentum for Trump might help him there. Nebraska comes up in middle of May. That another state where Ted Cruz is expected to do well. There are some contests down the road in the west. But the big states, Donald Trump is poised for a big May, Don.

And as we get into June, you still have New Jersey and California on the map. Those are states Donald Trump thinks he can do very well in. So, there are some bumps for him out there, but if he has a big April, he keeps his path -- it's narrow but he keeps it alive.

LEMON: All right. You mentioned Kasich and Cruz. Let's talk more about them. They are both holding out for a contested convention. Are they?

KING: It's their only hope. It's their only hope. They have no plausible path. If Ted Cruz won 90 something percent of the remaining delegates, and supposed he get 1237. But both know that's not going to happen and he knows that's going to happen.

So, Ted Cruz is helping to keep Donald Trump's number as low as possible. Interesting, Don, remember, two weeks ago he keeps saying why is John Kasich still in this race? Ted Cruz is not been making that case in New York this past week, has he?

LEMON: No.

KING: Because he needs John Kasich to perform because he knows he's not performing very well. And so, right now John Kasich is Ted Cruz's friend. That will change, probably within days. But at the moment Ted Cruz knows the only way that he can be the nominee is to keep Trump's number low and over the next several weeks, he need John Kasich's help.

LEMON: All right. Let's go to the left now, we'll talk about the democrats, John. Is Hillary Clinton going to win the majority of delegates in her home state in New York?

KING: If you believe the polls she is. Now Bernie Sanders as you know, you're there has been getting some huge crowds. One of the problems for Bernie Sanders is this is a closed primary. If you're an independent or a new voter and you wanted to register, you had to do it months ago.

And so, Bernie Sanders in the close primary. Hillary Clinton was the senator. In the last few days she's been running around the state as if she's campaigning for local or statewide office, essentially copying for al Senate campaign. She enters tomorrow, Don, with a 29 -- with 229 lead in pledged delegates. No super delegates.

In that 229 she hopes if she wins by 10 points tomorrow night, she'll add number 25, 26, 27 to that lead and then you bring in the super delegates and you get that big lead you see right there on your screen.

LEMON: What does that math mean for Bernie Sanders? Because we see the huge crowds that he's getting. But that doesn't necessarily translate into votes nor -- or delegates.

KING: Yes. In some ways it's very simple what Bernie Sanders has to do but it's also extraordinarily difficult. It's simple in the sense that we know what it is.

[22:05:01] He has to pick Hillary Clinton's demographic lock. She is winning in big states where you have a African-American constituency and a Latino constituency, the traditional base of the Democratic Party. He succeeded on small scale in smaller states. Small scale in some primaries.

He needs to do it in a big scale and there is no better test in New York. Because if you cannot do it in New York, Don, then you look ahead again, just we talk about Trump having a big April, Hillary Clinton is bagging on a big April. She wants New York as a spring board add 25 or 30 to that delegate lead. Then you go into these other states.

Bernie Sanders probably favored in Rhode Island, Connecticut maybe, but if you look at Maryland, you look at Delaware and especially the Philadelphia area of Pennsylvania, what do you have there the African- American base of the Democratic Party.

If Bernie Sanders cannot break through, he's going to get to the end of April down 280, maybe 300 in the pledged delegate count. If April ends that way, Sanders' math becomes impossible.

LEMON: No one knows this stuff like John King. I'll say it again. Thank you, John. I appreciate it.

KING: Thank you, my friend.

LEMON: OK. I want to bring in Jennifer Granholm. Now the former Governor of Michigan who is supporting Hillary Clinton, and then Ben Jealous is a former president and CEO of the NAACP who is a Bernie Sanders surrogate. Good to have both of you on.

So, Governor, I want you to listen to the former President Bill Clinton.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BILL CLINTON, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: We need every single vote. So, between now and the time the polls open and the time the polls close, I implore you to tell people why you think Hillary Clinton should be president and why you think it's important that they vote. How this comes out tomorrow will shape the rest of this primary campaign and how we will go into the future.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Is he right? Is former president right, what happens tomorrow really shapes the rest of the race.

JENNIFER GRANHOLM, FORMER MICCHIGAN GOVERNOR: If you can make it here, can you make it anywhere.

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: You can make it to the White House, so at the beginning of the show.

GRANHOLM: Yes, that's right. No, I think it is a huge as Trump would say, it is a huge day for both side. Bernie Sanders has said and his surrogate have said on numerous occasions, this is a must win for them or they believe they are going to win New York. And truly as John King was suggesting if they don't the numbers are just so hard for them.

LEMON: So, he basically say the math becomes impossible. It was impossible.

GRANHOLM: I mean, it really does. I mean, to know, especially this state looks like America. This is a state that is diverse that, has constituencies that, you know, of all shapes, sizes, colors, et cetera. And that is exactly what America looks like.

And if you can't -- if you can't, as he says, pick the lock of her, you know, combination of voters, then it's a difficult slog. LEMON: But as Ben Jealous know, Bernie Sanders has pulled off upsets

before. Do you think he's going to do it tomorrow, Ben?

BEN JEALOUS, BERNIE SANDERS' SURROGATE: You know, look, we've seen polls that show us surging with black men from 54 down by more than 20 points. And so, we'll see, you know, who shows up tomorrow. But what we're seeing suggests we could do very, very well.

LEMON: Yes. You said you're seeing polls with black men, young people, voters in their 30s and their 40s. And I guess that does give him some hope. But I want you guys to look at this -- take a look at -- this is an NBC/Wall Street Journal national poll that's out there. Only 2.5 difference between Hillary Clinton and Sanders. So, these numbers worry the Clinton campaign going?

GRANHOLM: No. I mean, you know, the Clinton campaign feels really good about this next series of states I would say. And they feel good about New York tomorrow. I do think it's probably going to be a little narrower but -- than what the public polls suggest. But ultimately, this is a case that has to be made state by state and she has been doing it state by state and Bernie has been doing it in his own way. He just doesn't won the right kind of states, the number of states that would get him the delegates that he needs to get. So, that's the talent.

LEMON: To Bernie's credit, he has been holding on. Because she wanted to be -- she wanted to pivot to the general already, you know, this February and they said March and now they're saying April.

GRANHOLM: Absolutely. Of course. Of course. And he said he's going to take it all the way. And I totally understand that. I get it. She stayed in very late in 2008.

But ultimately, Don, this primary cannot damage the democratic candidate for the general election. I totally get them fighting about policy. But when start fighting...

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: So, you think -- do you think that's happening?

GRANHOLM: Yes.

LEMON: How so?

GRANHOLM: When you start fighting about character, when he raises these issues about fund-raising as though it is linked to somehow her being compromised, when all of her policy has been really tough on Wall Street, when all of her policy has been in support of the base of the Democratic Party, that is a character issue. And that's a problem.

LEMON: Ben, do you want to respond to that? Do you think that they're damaging each other or at least he's damaging her beyond repair for a general?

JEALOUS: Look, you know, what I'm very concerned about is the way at that Bill Clinton and Secretary Clinton have disrespected young activists repeatedly. The reality is that this young activist they are the future of our party and, yes, they're primarily with our candidate.

But what's also true is that we're going to need them this, you know, this fall, whoever is on the ballot. And you cannot have people as respected as the Clintons repeatedly insulting Greenpeace activists, Black Lives Matter and they've got to get that, you know, change. Just absolutely have to get to it.

[22:10:11] GRANHOLM: Ben, let me just push back on you on that. I completely disagree. I mean, they strongly support and embrace the people are being activists.

(CROSSTALK)

JEALOUS: Have you watched the tapes...

GRANHOLM: So, no. I mean, they know that they need them. We all need each other in the end. You and I have had this conversation. In the end it is so critical that we stay together and that we steer away on both sides from anything that would be perceived as peeling away votes for the all-important general election given what we're up against.

LEMON: Ben, you want to respond?

JEALOUS: Yes, I mean, these...

(CROSSTALK)

GRANHOLM: You know you agree with me, Ben.

JEALOUS: I talk to these young activists. They traveled to -- I talked to these young activist, I traveled to college campuses and the reality is that the way that the Clintons have repeatedly spoken to young activists is a threat to actually seeing large turnout come this fall if she's on the ballot, she's got to turn that corner. And you know that, Jennifer.

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: So, Ben, let me ask you this, so that the...

JEALOUS: She absolutely has to be more respectful of young activists.

LEMON: The example is so the former President Clinton last week and then, again, you know, pulling it back, not quite apologizing. What's the other example of insulting people you say Greenpeace, Black Lives Matter?

JEALOUS: So, actually -- yes. Greenpeace, Black Lives Matter, Ashley, you know, the Black Lives Matter activist who confronted her down in South Carolina. She's got to actually invest in the future of our party.

You know, and this is one of the things and I think what happened -- you know, at George Clooney's house, you know, kind of cut so badly is that, you know, Bernie is somebody who put his faith in his base. He said, look, you know, if he just got 10 bucks, 20 bucks, you know, send that to me, you know, I will run my candidacy on that.

I've traveled with him, I have never seen him divert to go do a fund- raisers. I've never seen him stop actually out there campaigning with the people to call a donor.

But in the meantime, we have the mainstream media, you know, going after our guy for going to the Vatican, and it was only after the fact and after protests and after George Clooney himself said that it was obscene that the mainstream media began to question...

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: But also Ben, but also George Clooney said that he understands...

(CROSSTALK)

JEALOUS: ... to California to rack up $353,000 for...

LEMON: Ben he also said that he understands, he thinks it is obscene but he also understands that one needs to raise money in order to stay in the presidential race. It's just what it is. Why is it bad to raise money...

(CROSSTALK)

JEALOUS: Why is it bad to raise it from the people in big.

GRANHOLM: And Ben, I mean, you know, we need -- we need to invest in the infrastructure of this party if we are to win in the general election. She's raising money not just for herself but for all of this candidate who will ultimately we hope cast a vote in favor of a Supreme Court justice that will overturn citizens united.

JEALOUS: But, Jennifer, where -- so far where is that money gone? So far, where is that money gone?

GRANHOLM: She's raised 35 -- $35 million for down ballot candidate.

JEALOUS: Right. Thirty percent of it has so far has done (Inaudible) to do smaller dollar fundraising in the way that, you know, that quite frankly, is unique and we haven't seen it done before, and a lawyer -- you know, it's the same lawyer for both sides.

GRANHOLM: And it's great. That's great. It's great, Ben, but it's for him. It's great but it's for him. She's been raising money for the whole ticket.

JEALOUS: No, no.

GRANHOLM: That's the point, is that she is raising money for others who need to cast votes to be able to enact policy.

(CROSSTALK)

JEALOUS: Well, real clean money Sanders, do you know how much money he has raised for the DSCC.

LEMON: I'm going to have to end this.

GRANHOLM: Ah! It's all right, we'll be together in the end. We'll raise money together, too, Ben.

JEALOUS: Absolutely.

LEMON: Is this a great conversation? But you know, it reminds me -- it kind of reminds me when you guys are saying she's raising a lot of money, right, and people say you need money to stay in the campaign. And then the Trump campaign is saying, you know what, they're taking the delegates away from us but those are the rules. So, if the rules are the rules, why fault people for following the rules?

GRANHOLM: Well, you follow the rules, right? But that doesn't mean that sometimes the rules don't need to be changed.

JEALOUS: Yes. But it's not just the rules, it's the movement that you built.

GRANHOLM: I mean, there are rules that need to be changed.

LEMON: Yes, go ahead, ben.

GRANHOLM: And fund-raising is one of them. I think we all agree.

LEMON: Yes. Go ahead, Ben. I'll give you the last word.

JEALOUS: Yes. But here's the thing, Don. It's not just about the rules. It's about within those rules, you know, what type of movement you build. We're building it from small dollar from regular people, not $353,000 for a couple of checks.

LEMON: All right. Thank you. I appreciate both of you coming on.

JEALOUS: You bet.

LEMON: I'll see you soon. Up next, Donald Trump's hoping for a big win in his home state of New York and looking to reinvigorate his campaign.

Plus, his growing war of words with the Republican National committee. We'll be right back.

[22:15:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: Donald Trump, a New York Native. A native New Yorker hoping for a win in his home state, 95 republican delegates at stake here in the Empire State.

I want to talk about that the GOP race with John Phillips, the talk radio host at KABC, Margaret Hoover, CNN political commentator who is a republican consultant, Bob Cusack, editor-in-chief of the Hill.com, and Kellyanne Conway, president of Keep the Promise One PAC, a super PAC supporting Ted Cruz.

Good evening to all. John, to you first. Field director leaving today. It looks like that there is a new sheriff in town inside the Trump campaign. Do you see more of the original team getting sidelined?

JOHN PHILLIPS, KABC TALK RADIO HOST: Well, look, I think that Donald is going to have a huge victory in the state of New York and everybody likes a winner. So, if they in north of 50 percent, which all of the polls indicate, same with the polls indicate that they're coming in north of 60 percent, you may not see the changes that some are predicting and some people are expecting to see.

So, yes, I think you could -- you could some changes but odds are, I think the focus will be on the victory in New York.

LEMON: So, I'm wondering about this, Bob Cusack. Donald Trump comes into tomorrow's, you know, primary with a huge lead, I think like 20 points over John Kasich. Ted Cruz is well behind. He's in third place. If he takes the lion's share of New York delegates, is this is a very different race?

BOB CUSACK, THE HILL EDITOR-IN-CHIEF: I don't think it's a very different race. But then he's grab the momentum back. I mean, Ted Cruz is here not to win. He just wants a few delegates. So, the expectations are very low for him.

But overall, if Trump can win, he's got to win big. The expectations for Trump are so high and if he comes little short, well, then people are like what happened.

LEMON: Yes. Kellyanne was, you know, you're shaking, I could feel you're shaking your head behind me as he was saying that.

KELLYANNE CONWAY, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: In agreement.

LEMON: Yes.

[22:19:58] CONWAY: Especially that the expectations are high for Donald Trump. I mean, look, there's one contest on the calendar tomorrow in New York. There's been two weeks since the last contest in Wisconsin. When Ted Cruz won his home state Texas with 44 percent, it was Super Tuesday.

There were 12 contests, not one and there were more candidates in the race. Marco Rubio got 17 percent in Texas, for example. Look, winning your home state is such a furlong conclusion that even John Kasich did it.

LEMON: Well, let's talk about the math, all right. If Ted Cruz is going to have to win something like -- if Donald Trump sweeps, 98 percent of the remaining delegates to get to 1,237. How does that justify him being in the race in that particular race.

CONWAY: Ted Cruz? LEMON: Yes.

CONWAY: Oh, goodness. We have Indiana on May 31st. Bob is actually right. We'll be grabbing delegates in different states where they are proportional. Delaware is the only winner-take-all state coming up next Tuesday.

Listen, Indiana on May 3rd, we have Nebraska, we have Washington and Oregon, which are proportional and the big prize California. You've got states that region hasn't been hospitable for Donald Trump yet like Wyoming, Montana.

So, those contest -- and look what's happening every weekend. How does Ted Cruz and his crew spend their weekend? They spend in getting delegates. Donald Trump's team spends their weekend either reshuffling people or going on TV, but certainly not at this convention for having delegates.

LEMON: He did pick up some delegates this weekend to her point, right. Ted Cruz picked up delegates behind Donald Trump's back. And Donald has hired this guy, so what's going on here?

CUSACK: Well, it's a different pace of the campaign for Donald Trump. There's no doubt about it. I mean, he needs to close this deal. And he did, you know, Ted Cruz won Wisconsin. That was a huge win for Wisconsin and all the momentum went to Cruz.

LEMON: But is this Cruz's secret weapon when he cherry picks these delegates like this?

CUSACK: Yes, I think it is. I think it is. But also at the same time, you know, you have to remember Marco Rubio, John Kasich has had a tough run, but he did when some say Marco Rubio did not.

LEMON: Yes. Margaret, you're sitting back quietly and patiently.

MARGARET HOOVER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: You know, I mean, it's extraordinary. Because here we are talking about the republican race and we're talking about Donald Trump who has to win, you know, 1,237, maybe he'll get there, maybe he'll be close. Ted Cruz has to win 98 percent as you say of the remaining delegates in order to get there.

I mean, he's planning on a floor fight and planning on by the way the second round of that voting on the floor. None of the republicans are talking about what actually happens in November. Because you know what? None of the polls suggests we're going to win and there's a crack up in the Republican Party coming, we're seeing it right now.

There's a crack up in the conservative movement, for the conservative movement inability to nominate a conservative through the regular voting process, there's a failure in the Republican Party because we have not offered solutions to the white working class base of this party.

And frankly, there are republicans a third of which don't feel loyal to either Ted Cruz or Donald Trump. So, where does the Republican Party go next?

LEMON: So, Ted Cruz talking about just that. Listen and then we'll discuss.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TED CRUZ, (R) U.S. PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It's going to be a battle in Cleveland to see who can get to a majority. You can't get the nomination without earning a majority of the delegates elected by the people. And I believe Donald's highest total will be on that first ballot and he will go steadily down because Donald cannot win and we don't want to nominate someone who is a loser in November.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: So, go on.

HOOVER: Of course Ted Cruz is saying Donald Trump can't win because he believes only Ted Cruz could win. I mean, that's what -- I would think nothing less -- I would think much less of Ted Cruz if he didn't say that. I mean, that's his job, right?

CONWAY: But, Margaret, have you seen the polls, and the recent polls actually, it shows in the last month that Donald Trump has really been slipping among women, shipping with...

(CROSSTALK)

HOOVER: Donald -- I mean, you're not going to argue with me about unfavorability ratings of Donald Trump, especially in a general election.

CONWAY: But republicans want to win this fall.

HOOVER: Yes, yes, yes. Well, I said the notion, Kellyanne, I mean, you and I can go toe to toe but I don't think there's any way that Ted Cruz is going to sweep up the Republican Party and all the independents and all the women and all the Hispanics and all the other coalitions...

(CROSSTALK)

CONWAY: He doesn't need them all.

HOOVER: ... that you have to win. You'll just to carve out more than Mitt Romney as hard you imagine.

CONWAY: No, well, but Romney can win.

HOOVER: But, please, I mean, there's a whole contingent of republicans you think it's better to lose with Cruz than to lose with Trump.

LEMON: John, I want you to jump in here because these as most republican voters don't want the nominee to win by, you know, some backroom maneuvering. As a matter of fact, 62 percent of republican voters that say that the candidate with the most votes should be the party's nominee.

I mean, do you think Donald Trump's voters are going to say, you know, on the reservation if Cruz wins it with his inside game or, you know, on the second ballot, as they say?

PHILLIPS: Well, this is an anti-establishment year. If Ted Cruz wins the nomination because he gets together with the establishment figures in the smoke-filled rooms and he gets these double agent delegates to go in and flip...

(CROSSTALK)

CONWAY: No one smokes in Cleveland.

PHILLIPS: ... that people won't accept it. If people -- if the guy that gets the most votes doesn't win, I'm telling you, you're going to have a hard time keeping this party together in November.

CONWAY: There is no smoking in Cleveland, john. I think the Trump people really have to like, wipe out that entire talking points of the smoke sovereignty in Cleveland.

PHILLIPS: Oh, come on, people are going to get lung cancer, Kellyanne.

CONWAY: No, we were having debate in Cleveland in August. There is no -- this is special in Cleveland.

PHILLIPS: We're going to get gas masks.

CONWAY: But seriously speaking, you know, to Margaret's point, she is saying that Ted Cruz can't coalesce the establishment into, you know, to win in November. But he's already got five former presidential opponents that haven't done anything.

HOOVER: No, I'm not saying at the establishment, Kellyanne, I'm saying it's not just the establishment. You got to win all the way votes as Mitt Romney run, as you know you're a pollster. Plus, far more African-Americans, far more Hispanics, far more women...

(CROSSTALK)

CONWAY: You know it's Hispanics, right?

LEMON: She's saying -- she's saying it's demographically impossible.

HOOVER: It's meant to be that's not a voting graphically.

[22:24:59] LEMON: All right. Kellyanne, explain this to me, all right. Because that same pole that we put up, what's it, 62 percent or whatever it is. This one says 55 percent of republican voters say it is OK with them if Cruz by convincing a majority of delegates to vote for him. I mean, that's exactly the opposite of what we're talking about.

HOOVER: Right. Well, look, people are just learning the rules. The rules committee has been around there forever. But it's even hard to find people who want to serve on it, because you have to be there in a whole week in advance and nobody even respects you. You are doing that campaign letter with everybody else is having a good time at the convention they're very important this year.

And look, if Donald Trump's team doesn't want to review the rules that have been in place since August, you know, the last five contest, Utah, North Dakota, Wisconsin, Wyoming, and Colorado, the last five contest Donald Trump has lost. And 1.3 million people have voted him. And this whole argument about disenfranchisement and nobody is voting in smoke-filled rooms. That's 1.3 million people that Donald Trump lost last one in Arizona.

LEMON: John, you know, I'm surprised -- I'm surprised, John, that she said people want to go to conventions to have work and not do some work.

PHILLIPS: Yes.

LEMON: But go ahead quickly.

PHILLIPS: Well, this convention won't be the regular Sodom and Gomorrah grump fest, but, yes, Ted Cruz is very popular in places where nobody lives. He's popular where they have conventions in people don't vote.

CONWAY: Let's insult the voters.

LEMON: Yes.

PHILLIPS: We've a big, populous state that's voting tomorrow and I think Donald Trump is going to do just fine.

LEMON: All right. Everyone stay with me. Stay with me. Up next, Donald Trump war against the RNC, he may try to oust the party's chairman.

[22:30:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: And we're back with my very sedate panel tonight. That was sarcasm.

There was breaking news in the Donald trump campaign. Today, his national field director resigned.

Back with me now, John Phillips, Margaret Hoover, Bob Cusack, and Kellyanne Conway. So, I asked John about this, what do you think of the shake-up, Bob, in the Trump campaign with Stuart Jolly tendering his resignation?

CUSACK: I'm not sure. It's never a good headline, there's no doubt about that. And I think the -- now they're getting bigger and that's what Corey Lewandowski was saying over the weekend. Hey, we're going into a new phase. We need more people, which is normal that you bring in more people because you need a bigger operation. But overall, when you have turmoil in a campaign, that's the worst

thing that can happen to a campaign. And you don' want it befere what is likely a very big night.

LEMON: Do you think we'll see more?

CUSACK: I'm not sure. I'm not sure. I think that if they're smart, they're not going to see more and you're going to have that. That's why Obama says, he says no drama.

LEMON: Are we seeing a different sort of campaign style, not calling in as much?

HOOVER: Yes, yes. I mean, and, look, it's time to grow up, sit at the big kid's table and win a presidential election, right? And so, he's apparently signed off on $20 million that's going to go to these campaign, he's got all this field operators out there and he's brought in some adults to supervise how this is going to go.

You have a clear chain of command, you have all this new communications people who apparently are going to be hired this political as supported. So, they are going to start to see it's about time a real -- no J.V. anymore. I mean, this is the big league. You've got to win a presidential nomination and you only got six weeks to do it.

LEMON: You know, John, Donald Trump said that the last republican convention was the most boring convention that he has ever seen. I mean, what do you think? Do you think the Cleveland convention is going to be boring? I don't think so.

PHILLIPS: Look, I definitely think it's not going to be boring. I think if Donald Trump is going to win, he's going to have to win on the first ballot. That's what they're playing for. They're playing to get these delegates, they want to run up the score tomorrow in New York, they want to run up the score the following Tuesday.

If it goes to a second ballot or a third ballot, I think he's going to have a lot of problems. These delegates that are there that are going to be, that are really playing for both teams that Ted Cruz is counting on to then come to him after the second ballot are going to be a real problem.

I mean, look, who knows how many delegates are going to be there playing for both team. I wouldn't be surprised to see Ann Hayes show up.

LEMON: So, how does that play out if the candidates have Ann Hayes she said.

CONWAY: OK.

LEMON: Margaret is going who? Do you think we're going to see more show business, I mean, if Donald Trump is involved in the campaign? Because he's going after Reince Priebus. He said if he wins the nomination, he wants to get rid of Reince Priebus. HOOVER: I think it was a news flash. I think we actually broke out on

CNN because we let Donald Trump know. We were talking as was like, I don't think Donald Trump knew until we were talking about it that he could actually say you're fired to the RNC director if he wins the nomination because then he's suddenly in charge of the party and he gets to decide.

I mean, Donald Trump is learning a lot as he goes along but it's true, the choreography of the convention to a reality TV expert, actually this is his own show.

LEMON: Yes.

HOOVER: He can make whatever he wants to make.

LEMON: Should Reince Priebus be worried about his position as chairman of the RNC?

CUSACK: Oh, yes. I mean, he's got the toughest job in politics right now. There's no doubt about it.

LEMON: Because of this threat by Donald Trump.

CUSACK: Because of this threat he -- and there is no like middle ground. I mean, Donald Trump wants the rules change and Priebus says which is true that's the rules have been out there but some of these rules are kind of head scratchers.

So, but there's no kind of negotiation you can meet halfway. One thing I think it's very interesting over the last couple of weeks with Paul Ryan definitely saying he's out, the nominee in all likelihood is going to be Cruz or it's going to be Trump.

And you're not going to see Mitt Romney at that convention, you're not going to see the Bushes at that convention. This is going to be a very, very different convention, even if it's not contested. So, there's going to be no white knight that comes in.

LEMON: You just answered my question, is it going to be a boring convention. No. Because the party establishment basically won't be at this convention.

CUSACK: Right.

LEMON: We're also hearing, we read that Cleveland police are stocking up on riot gear. Do you think that the delegates should be nervous about their safety?

CONWAY: Now some are. I talk to some, Don, they are nervous about their safety. I think it's just the unknown and the idea that some people can say you need more show business and you need more excitement in the convention. But people are generally fearful, you know, a front-runner that's called for people are going to riot if they don't get there or people are going to take to the streets or people will revolt. I mean, even if those are just terms or phrases, you have to be

careful with what you say. We've seen but earlier rallies. But back to your question too about Stuart Jolly's resignation, I think as Mr. Trump expands his team, he has to remember he's actually a really loyal guy to staff. He's got people at the Trump Corporation I know have work for him for decades. And that says something about him.

I'd be surprised and really be very disappointing to see that core team of who picks and Corey Lewandowski and Michael Glassner, they've been there from the beginning and they did not $20 million to play with. They got this guy from the, you know, from the fringe where nobody took him seriously and the president for the nomination...

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: Was it them or was it him?

[22:35:00] CONWAY: No, it's a combination of them all. But they stuck by him when he made all these comments. And people say, oh, my God, today is the day, Donald Trump has done and they stuck by him.

And I really hope that core team stays in place because I see a little bit of elbowing them out of the way here by the new guys in town. Look, what happens when you're new to a team where your guy has already won 30 states or so, 20-some states, is you like to say, well, this is everything they've done wrong but they've done a lot right.

LEMON: John, you know, to what you said and what Bob said earlier, it does appear that he is sort of pivoting, you know, still staying on the Sunday talk shows...

PHILLIPS: Yes.

LEMON: ... you know, not making as outrageous of comments as he, you know, once did. Do you think he's running out the clock, being more presidential?

PHILLIPS: I think so. I think personnel changes on campaigns are something that are very common. And as the campaign is maturing and as the campaign is moving toward the general election and the likely scenario is Donald Trump is going to be the republican nominee, you are going to make changes both with personnel and with style. And I think we have seen Donald Trump turn that corner. I think that's a good thing for him and for the Republican Party.

LEMON: Coming up -- thank you, everyone.

Coming up, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders hours away from the New York primary and the 237 delegates that could change the democratic race.

[22:40:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: If you guys only knew what happened in the breaks here. The countdown reduced to mere hours before the voting begins in New York with 247 delegates at stake for the democrats. So, joining me now is democratic Maria Cardona, Van Jones, CNN

political contributor, and Angela Rye, former executive director of the Congressional Black Caucus.

Good evening, everyone.

(CROSSTALK)

MARIA CARDONA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Hey, Don.

ANGELA RYE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Good evening, Don.

LEMON: Hello! So, it's tomorrow, Angela. I'm going to start with you. Tomorrow is the big day, right? Hillary Clinton may have, you know, what she thought would be -- she thought she would be ahead, way ahead of Bernie Sanders and that she would have pivoted to the general right now but, still, he's in this. What do you think is going to happen tomorrow?

RYE: Well, I think that Hillary Clinton is the likely winner tomorrow. I think the reality of the situation is that it is probably not going to be as larger margin as the polls are predicting right now. I know we certainly saw an upset in Michigan with those polls.

And we also know at this same time in April 2008, Bernie -- I mean, I almost said Bernie Obama, that's what I almost said -- Barack Obama -- they didn't call him Bernie so I was so -- Barack Obama was beating Hillary Clinton by just 3 percentage points in the national polls. So, we've also seen this same type of pattern. But I think that will also...

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: Yes. Governor Granholm on this program said that she and her -- as said she thought Hillary Clinton stayed in the race in 2008 a little bit too long, until she stayed in until June as well. But let's talk about those polls, OK. Maria, this is for you.

It shows that Sanders this is the national poll, the national poll and this is the NBC, a Wall Street Journal poll, Sanders for the first time almost tying with Hillary Clinton nationally among democrats 48 percent said that they would choose Bernie while 50 percent would pick Hillary Clinton, pick Hillary. Surprising or is his message really resonating with democrats?

CARDONA: I think it's not surprising but it doesn't necessarily mean that his message is resonating with democrats. Of course, its resonating with some democrats. He's doing really well and he has defied expectations and he has brought an incredibly important message to the party. I think this has been good for the Democratic Party.

It's been good for Hillary Clinton and I think it will be good for all of us once we unite and focus on beating republicans in November. But those polls and we all know this, Don, they don't mean anything right now. They will help him raise money, which is great for him and it will help him continue to stay in this race and underscore his message. But let's also remember that Bernie Sanders is untested on the national scene.

There has been not one negative ad that has been run against him by republicans, whereas, Hillary Clinton has more than two decades of negative ads being targeted against her by republicans and, in fact, the whole media industry arose simply to try to bring Hillary Clinton down and she's still standing. So, I think that says a lot about her staying power.

LEMON: Yes. Well, you know, there are ads that said, you know, Bernie Sanders is new to this, where has he been all of these years, he was an independent or whatever. Does that message really, Van, is that resonating?

VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I don't think so. I mean, I think tomorrow what you're going to see, it will have some surprises. I think that Hillary Clinton is likely to win. I think she'll probably win by a more narrow margin. There are reports and rumors of a surge in terms of African-American support for Bernie Sanders.

LEMON: Ben Jealous said that as well, yes.

JONES: Yes. Ben Jealous said that. So, you're starting to hear these rumors and rumblings. You never know who that type of thing. That will be very interesting because one of his big faults has been his inability to breakthrough with black voters. If he's able to do that in New York that would be at least would take some of that stain over his campaign...

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: But, Van, what about these big crowds that we're seeing? I mean, Prospect Park in Brooklyn this weekend, there were like 28,000 people there.

JONES: Yes.

LEMON: I mean, do you think that kind of turn out -- could that happen in time for tomorrow, you know, to -- he's going to need that in order to win.

JONES: Absolutely. But part of the thing that I think it's hard for this next generation, this rising generation it's been so impressive so passionate from the dreamers, occupy Wall Street, Black Lives Matter, a lot of them in the Bernie campaign. If they are running up against some of the actual institutional barriers. A lot of those people out there, if they didn't register to vote democrat two years ago, they can't vote tomorrow.

They can be out there rallying but they can't vote. So, there's a lot of stuff out there that unfortunately these younger folks are going to learn. But the other thing, I think you have to be proud of them, they have really been able to show that this millennial generation is a force to be reckoned with and they are willing to have braver and bigger stance on issues than certainly the generation excess were at the same age. LEMON: And we always talk about young people being engage in politics

and actually showing up at the polls in voting. So, yes, you're right, this is good to see. But, you know, Bernie Sanders spoke with my colleague Chris Cuomo this morning on New Day and he says he doesn't think Hillary Clinton is doing enough for young people. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BERNIE SANDERS, (D) U.S. PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The Clinton people also are going to have to listen to what these people are fighting for. And the Clinton people are going to have to say, well, you know, maybe Bernie has a point that we should not be not be the only country on earth not to guarantee health care to all people where to have paid family for medical leave.

[22:45:03] And maybe yes, the billionaire class should stop paying their fair share of taxes. And maybe, yes, we should break up Wall Street. So, was it a two-way thing? And it's not me. I don't control millions of people.

But the Clinton campaign is going to make the case to young people that in fact they are prepared to stand up for some real fundamental changes in this country, and that's a case they have not yet been able to make.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Similar to what Van said, Angela. What do you think?

RYE: So, a couple things. One is Bernie Sanders has done a lot with raising money with young people. I think that is a particular way in which we've seen their activism really matter. He has them all reciting now that $27 average donation.

And to me, I think that that's critical. But to Van's point, some of the activists are so anti-establishment that they're not going to go vote.

LEMON: Yes.

RYE: And I think that's another reality in this particular election cycle, part of some of the latest activists are like our whole mission is to agitate the system, not to be a part of the system. And I think that would include voting for some of these folks. So, I think it depends. Just like black folks and Latino folks aren't monolithic, neither are these young folks. And all young people aren't active

LEMON: That is a really good point. Because remember when we were having this conversation about Black Lives Matter and they wouldn't pick a side...

RYE: That's right.

LEMON: ... like how they are and the whole discussion about one must be politically engage in order to affect change. And they said, well, they don't want to side with any particular candidate...

RYE: That's right.

LEMON: ... or any particular, you know, political party. Go ahead.

JONES: Well, I tell you, one of the things that I think the Clinton campaign has to be careful of is to really not come off too dismissive of some of that. You know, when I was young, I was on the left side of Pluto. I mean, you know, people go through stuff.

LEMON: You are right -- someone was talking to me, you were on the left side of what?

JONES: Pluto.

RYE: Pluto.

JONES: So, I understand, but I think sometimes the Clinton campaign can come across very little almost too condescending. They say, oh, the kid just wants free stuff. Listen, don't say that. Nobody says the Pentagon just wants free drones or NASA just wants free space shuttles. We all play taxes and we have a view about where it should go.

I think the young people have real valid concerns. I think they sometimes feel belittled by condescending by the Clinton campaign. The Clinton campaign can clean that up very quickly but I do think that the young people are adding so much more than I think they've been given credit for.

LEMON: All right. Everyone, stay with...

(CROSSTALK)

RYE: But you know...

LEMON: Hold on, hold on -- hold you thoughts.

RYE: OK.

LEMON: George Clooney admits to raising a quote, "obscene amount of money for the Clinton campaign." What does Bernie Sanders think of this? That's next.

[22:50:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: Now just hours away from the crucial New York primary.

Back with me now, Maria Cardona, Van Jones, and Angela Rye. Maria, you wanted to comment on Van saying, you know, that they have to be careful with the Bernie Sanders supporters, not to be condescending.

CARDONA: Right. And so, Hillary Clinton has acknowledged before and her campaign knows very well that absolutely they are going to need all of Bernie Sanders' supporters, including the millennials that are now so passionately supporting him. There's no question about that. And that's why she does talk about proposals that she believes will be helping all of these young people and in terms of giving them real solutions.

But I also think it's incumbent upon Bernie Sanders and his campaign to be careful about how their attacks are coming off because they have been quite constantly directly impugning Hillary Clinton's character every time they make this very outwardly and pretty clear insinuation.

That because she takes money from Wall Street, because she has a super PAC, which by the way are all things that President Obama did, that she's inherently corrupt and she won't be able to stand up to the quote, unquote, "special interests." When in fact, President Obama has proven that you can -- you can actually do that and her proposals are very strong against the very people that Bernie Sanders say are bad.

LEMON: OK. So, let's talk about this then. Because you saw the Bernie Sanders supporter, and we're going to talk to him, throwing the money, you know, making it rain on Hillary Clinton as she went to the thing.

And, you know, a lot of the supporters, there are people who are saying, listen, I'm just -- I'm just saying this, that Bernie Sanders supporters have just as much vitriol as the Donald Trump supporters and that there's very little that separates them. Do you believe that? Because people as I've heard a number of people say that, Angela. Do you buy that?

RYE: So, a couple things. One is, I think that many of Bernie Sanders Twitter trolls can be quite vicious, particularly if you say something that's not in their favor. I know, I'm about to catch it. But I also think that...

(CROSSTALK)

CARDONA: I catch it every single minute, Angela.

RYE: I know you do, I know you do because you're a surrogate for real. I just sometimes the thing that she does well. Now, the one thing that I will say is I do not believe by any stretch that Bernie Sanders supporters are racist and sexist and that they would be...

LEMON: Results to violence.

RYE: ... I don't think that it would turn to violence. I think that these are folks who are very passionate about their candidates like I was about Barack Obama.

LEMON: Crunchy granola sort of like, yes.

RYE: Well, yes. And maybe they'll protest like, you know, like the World Trade, you know, I don't know. I don't think that they would -- that they would...

LEMON: They're like occupy Wall Street people that's...

(CROSSTALK)

RYE: Some of them and some of them aren't that far -- aren't that far left...

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: But why such vitriol? Why such vitriol for Hillary Clinton in this? Because I hear, I do hear the nastiest things and I do see people getting it on Twitter. I try to stay out of it. But I do see people getting this on -- go ahead, Van.

JONES: Well, I mean, let me -- because I'm a good strong leftist and progressive so I love when Sanders does his thing I get excited about it. But I also stick up for Hillary Clinton. And so, I catch either one of them has the monopoly on, you know, horrible trolls.

So, I just want to point that out. But the other thing I just think is very important to say that you do have an opportunity right now if you're Bernie Sanders to do I think a better job educating people. It's not -- he sometimes when he goes after Hillary and says, well, she's taking this money, she's taking this money, she's really not doing anything any different than a whole bunch of people.

RYE: Yes.

[22:54:59] JONES: The problem he should be educating people about more, it the whole environment. It's not any one particular person. When you're in D.C., the whole environment of big money, what it does is you're not - you're afraid that somebody else is going to get that money and come after you.

And so, little people's agenda gets lower, big people's agenda gets bigger. It's not like you're just trading money for votes. That's not what's happening. And I just wish he would do a better job of educating and explaining the overall corruption. No one person is corrupt, the whole thing is corrupt. And that -- he shouldn't go after her so much as the system.

LEMON: That's got...

(CROSSTALK)

CARDONA: And I just got important...

LEMON: I got 10 seconds. Go ahead, Maria.

CARDONA: I agree with Angela that, you know, his supporters aren't necessarily racist or misogynist or anything like that. But I do worry that a lot of them are talking about this Bernie or bust, meaning that if Bernie doesn't win they are not going to vote for the Democratic Party. And if that happens, we will then have a president Trump come November and I think we all want to avoid that.

LEMON: All right. Thank you very much.

Ahead, in our next hour countdown to the crucial New York primary, how the republican and the democratic candidates are spending their last few hours before voters in the Empire State head to the polls tomorrow. And why supporters of Bernie Sanders threw dollar bills at Hillary Clinton's motorcade.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: Well, as the song says, it's up to you New York.

This is CNN TONIGHT. I'm Don Lemon.

We're just hours away from the crucial New York primary and it could be pivotal race for front-runners Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. Trump addressing thousands of supporters at a rally tonight in Buffalo, New York.