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AT THIS HOUR WITH BERMAN AND MICHAELA

Trump Begins Search for Vice President; Report: Multiple Phone Calls Between Trump & Rubio. Aired 11:30a-12p ET

Aired May 5, 2016 - 11:30   ET

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


BRIAN FALLON, PRESS SECRETARY, HILLARY FOR AMERICA: That is a remarkable and breathtaking thing. I think that Donald Trump is talking about he's now going to turn his sights on Hillary Clinton and we're prepared for him to throw the kitchen sink at her.

[11:30:05] But I think before he turns to that project, he's got a huge, huge task ahead of him in terms of uniting his own country, let alone the country.

You know, the three tasks the next president will have to manage are improving our economy so the prosperity is shared, doing the role of commander in chief in a way that keeps us safe on the home front and uniting the country. Donald Trump fails all three of those things.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: You say you're ready for whatever he throws at you. Let me ask about this. Clinton in the very interesting interview with Anderson yesterday, Anderson asked about a tweet coming from senator Elizabeth Warren, and in the tweet it said Trump built his campaign on racism, sexism, and xenophobia. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think Elizabeth Warren is very smart.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Do you agree with that statement?

(LAUGHTER)

CLINTON: I think anybody who has listened to him and how he has talked certainly can draw that conclusion.

COOPER: Do you think he is a racist?

CLINTON: I'm going to let people judge themselves.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BOLDUAN: Why are we hanging out there?

FALLON: Look, I think you have consistently heard her all out bigotry in all its forms. She has said that from the very beginning, when he launched his campaign and called Mexican immigrants rapists at his own announcement event, she was the first person to step in and condemn him for that. It took the other Republican candidates that were running against him weeks to do so.

BOLDUAN: Why is she toeing around racist?

FALLON: I think that the electorate is not going to be confused at all in terms of judging Donald Trump for who he is, he's talked about the idea he's now going to suddenly act presidential. I don't think there's a makeover --

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: He is who he is -- who he is, in your mind, racist?

FALLON: I think he's made hateful comments toward Mexican immigrants. He's mocked Americans with disabilities. He's discussed imposing a religious litmus test on those entering the United States. I don't think it will be lost on the American people what Donald Trump represents.

BOLDUAN: Does that equal racist?

FALLON: The American people make that judgment in November. I think that Donald Trump has a lot of work to do if he's going to try to improve his standing with many of the key demographic that is will be voting this November compared to all the statements that he's made in the last several months.

BERMAN: Brian Fallon --

BOLDUAN: Great to see you, Brian.

BERMAN: -- thanks so much.

BOLDUAN: Thank you so much. And thanks for playing our game. Appreciate it. We'll have a new one next time.

So, he is one step closer, some would say a whole lot or standing right on it to the Republican nomination and he's now searching for a running mate. Donald Trump already has a short list and he's looking for something very specific in a vice president. Find out what that is. That's next.

BERMAN: Now that Donald Trump has locked up the Republican nomination, will the people behind the Never Trump movement move to his side, especially if he changes his tone? If not, who will people who oppose Donald Trump vote for?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[11:37:10] BERMAN: All right. One of the most important things on Donald Trump's to-do list as the now presumptive Republican nominee, the search for a running mate. So, who is on the short list? Would he consider one of his formal rivals?

We're joined by CNN Politics executive editor, Mark Preston, to discuss.

Mark, it is interesting. The Trump campaign told Jim Acosta, that there's actually already a short list of possible candidates. On that short list, at least these three humans and I want to get your take on what they bring to the table right now.

The first is the Republican governor of New Mexico, Susana Martinez.

MARK PRESTON, CNN POLITICS EXECUTIVE EDITOR: Well, clearly a woman and Hispanic, you know, at a time when you have a growing Hispanic population that it's important to the electorate.

BERMAN: Also, New Mexico a swing state, yes?

PRESTON: Sure.

BERMAN: All right. Next up o that list, Nikki Haley from the state of South Carolina.

PRESTON: Helps Trump with his, quote/unquote, "woman problem", she's from the South. Clearly for the Republican nominee to win, going to have to sweep the South.

BERMAN: And also seen as deftly handling the Confederate flag issue after the Charleston shooting.

PRESTON: She did a great job on that. Absolutely.

BERMAN: She got a lot of attention then.

All right. Third up on the list, Senator Rob Portman from Ohio.

PRESTON: Eighteen electoral votes from the all-important state of Ohio. Also knows Washington very, very well, has worked in the administration as a senator, knows the House of Representatives, could really be a great wing man for Donald Trump.

BERMAN: Also, I'm told, I don't know if it's true, that no Republicans won the White House without winning the state of Ohio.

PRESTON: Correct.

BERMAN: OK, I only heard that about 10,000 times.

The only problem with these three candidates is what?

PRESTON: Let's go.

BERMAN: They've all said no.

PRESTON: In the last 24 hours nonetheless. They have all said they're not interested in being Donald Trump's running mate for different reasons. Rob Portman has to run for re-election this year. Susana Martinez and Nikki Haley have their own political aspirations and they may not want to hitch their wagon to the Donald Trump horse.

BERMAN: All right. Quickly, I want to look at some people consider the wildcards here. These four candidates who run against Donald Trump, who among these men, Ben Carson, Chris Christie, John Kasich, Marco Rubio, who do you think is the most likely?

PRESTON: John Kasich. You know, listen, John Kasich brings you Ohio, the 18 electoral votes. He's very much like Portman. He understands Washington. He could help legislate.

BERMAN: All right. Stick around, Mark Preston.

Kate, let's go back to you.

BOLDUAN: All right. Let's discuss all of that. With us now, Jackie Kucinich, the Washington bureau chief for "The Daily Beast", Josh Holmes, Republican strategist and former chief of staff for Senator Mitch McConnell, CNN political commentator and world renowned journalist, Carl Bernstein, and Mark Preston, he -- wow, he just sat down. Nice. Teleported over here from the magic wall. It's like magic.

Great to see you all.

So, Jackie, first to you, what does Donald Trump need out of this pick do you think?

JACKIE KUCINICH, THE DAILY BEAST: He definitely needs someone who knows Washington, who knows how to legislate, but I have to say on Portman, it was like he was selected as tribute because he immediately was attacked by Ted Strickland from the get-go saying that of course Donald Trump wants him as his running mate, blah, blah, blah, he's with his agenda.

[11:40:04] So there is a risk in even being named by Donald Trump for some of these Republicans, particularly someone like Portman who's up for re-election.

BOLDUAN: I love a "Hunger Games" reference.

BERMAN: Carl Bernstein, you know, historically speaking, you know, some picks have gone over better than others. Some have not been very good. For Donald Trump --

CARL BERNSTEIN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Start with Palin.

BERMAN: For Donald Trump, we'll let analysts decide there.

Look, John Edwards was not great for John Kerry either.

BOLDUAN: What was the one I threw out earlier?

BERMAN: Tom Eagleton was a historically bad pick for George McGovern.

But what should Donald Trump avoid, you know, and does he need to avoid more things and other candidates might have to?

BERNSTEIN: I'm not going to give Donald Trump advice. I got off the phone with somebody a couple minutes ago who knows Kasich very well, is in touch with him, who believes that Kasich would take it, and that he's probably the best choice if Trump could get him. The theory as this person says is, look, they haven't said terrible things about each other. Kasich is in a point at his career where this would be good for him. It would set him up in line for the presidency in the long run. He's thinking about it obviously.

And let me just see what else this person said. Extends his career. Trump and he treated each other well.

So I think that it's certainly under consideration at both ends.

BERMAN: Kasich said the only person he would serve under a George Washington which doesn't seem available.

BOLDUAN: He's booked. But anyone who has followed this campaign and known the blood, sweat, and tears John Kasich put in the race and how he wanted to run his race and what he said since he bowed out would say, no way, Jose, it's not a possibility. But you still think -- I bet you agree with Carl.

PRESTON: God, I don't want to disagree with Carl, but I don't think that John Kasich would take it. You know, if you saw the speech yesterday, and, of course, you're not saying he would absolutely take it.

BERNSTEIN: Obviously this person has not been told, oh, I'll take it.

BOLDUAN: Right, right.

BERNSTEIN: So let's be careful. This person is the one who h been in regular touch with him, knows his thinking generally, and he's not saying no and he's thinking about it.

PRESTON: Right. A couple things about John Kasich. Extremely conservative. So he would help Donald Trump there. John Kasich is very hard to work with in many ways because John Kasich is really his own man and he will tell you that over and over again.

BERNSTEIN: And pops off.

PRESTON: And he can be very prickly, and if you listen to his speech when he got out of the race, it doesn't seem to fit into the Donald Trump persona.

BOLDUAN: Right.

BERMAN: So, Josh, Donald Trump this morning in an interview with CNBC said there's a 40 percent chance he will pick someone who ran against him. I do not think all 16 candidates have an equal shot. We just covered Kasich right there.

You know, how much above zero percent chance is there that the pick would be someone other than Ben Carson or Chris Christie if it's not John Kasich among the people he ran against?

HOLMES: Look, I think the thing we're glazing over here is the fact that this pick, a VP pick, is a traditionally something nobody says no to. This is always the ticket to ride that every ambitious politician who has ever served in any capacity always says yes to.

The question this year is whether it's a ticket to ride on the Titanic or not for these guys. A lot of them have concluded it might very well be. Their initial sort of roll out of who is on the short list is sort of mystifying to me. I mean, look, Senator Portman has been on a short list of everybody for the last three cycles so that's not surprising.

BERMAN: At least.

HOLMES: But why would he do that now and roll it out with Susana Martinez and Nikki Haley who clearly have never supported Donald Trump. So I'm not sure what exactly they're thinking, but it's going to take more than just sort of floating names to get somebody to seriously consider it.

BOLDUAN: Rob Portman, always a bridesmaid, always a bridesmaid.

(CROSSTALK)

BERNSTEIN: Really, beyond the question of who it's going to be, we are at a moment of where people may or may not show some real moral courage, and this is a campaign that began on a neo-fascist appeal of nativism, of bigotry, of all kinds of misogyny, and that's going to get played back against Trump throughout this campaign, and who among the great Republican leaders wants to be associated with that? Or do they think that Trump can evolve and get that past all that? Not just electorally, but in terms of how he's identified and his political persona.

And so, the big question among other things, not just the vice presidency, but this is a pivotal moment for the future of the Republican party. Who do these leaders want their party to be in the future?

BERMAN: Jackie, do you think that means someone could say no if offered? Carl says no one says no. Josh says no one says no.

BERNSTEIN: Oh, no, I say some people say no.

[11:45:02] KUCINICH: I mean, they've already said -- I mean, it wasn't offered but there's already Nikki Haley, Rick Scott, Rob Portman have already taken a pass even at being considered for this. So, even through the vetting process, yes, I think it's absolutely -- you have to open yourself up to a vet so I guess that would be interest, but maybe you could have someone for the first time say no. This has been an election full of surprises and it will be surprising.

BOLDUAN: Yes, Tim Pawlenty, though, says he doesn't believe it. No means no today. Very different if the guy looks like he's going to win the race.

Great to see you, guys. Thank you so much.

BERMAN: All right. Reported phone calls between Donald Trump and Marco Rubio. Is Senator Rubio now in the process of making up with the front-runner and could Trump be looking at Rubio, yes, as a possible running mate?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I went to the best school. I am a smart person. I did well. I am who I am. I don't like to change. I don't like to really change.

It's sort of interesting. There was a talk about will he be presidential? We had 17 people, all smart, one by one, week after week, boom, boom, boom, gone, gone, gone.

[11:50:04] I don't maybe want to change so much.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BOLDUAN: Donald Trump says he is not changing as he heads into the general election. So, the question is I guess for his party, do they believe him? And if true, will members of the never Trump movement be the ones changing.

BERMAN: But what about the members of the vote for me, not Trump, say like Marco Rubio?

Joining us now is the former communications director for Marco Rubio's presidential run, Alex Conant, in his first AT THIS HOUR interview since Rubio left the race.

Great to have you with us, Alex. Thanks so much for coming in.

ALEX CONANT, FORMER COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR, MARCO RUBIO FOR PRESIDENT: Hey, thanks.

BERMAN: All right. I couldn't help reading in the "New York Times" that Donald Trump and Marco Rubio have had several phone conversations, multiple phone conversations since Senator Rubio ended his bid. This is according to people close to Trump. Is that true?

CONANT: Well, I should say, I no longer speak for Marco Rubio. My last day working for him was the day of the Florida primary when he dropped out.

I know this week, Marco is in the Middle East. He is very focus on being a senator right now. He is in Iraq and Turkey doing serious work on the Foreign Relations Committee and the Senate Intelligence Committees on which he signatures.

So, I'm not sure whether or not he has spoken with Donald Trump. All I can say is he is very focused on being a senator right now.

BOLDUAN: Do you think Marco Rubio would take that phone call? You know how the campaigns were run and you know Marco Rubio better than most.

CONANT: Well, I know Marco Rubio talks phone calls from -- when he receives them. Again, I can't speak to whether or not him and Donald Trump have spoken.

But, look, I think t's good. If the report is true, I think it's good that Trump is reaching out to Republicans like Marco Rubio because he needs to unite the Republican Party. I do not believe Donald Trump can come close, let alone winning the White House, if he is unable to unite the Republican Party. And that starts with reaching out to people like Marco Rubio.

BERMAN: So, some of the things that Marco Rubio said about Donald Trump, and I know you remember, he said he was unqualified, a con artist, said he wet his pants at one point, talked about hand size. Do you think it is possible that Senator Rubio could come around and end up supporting Donald Trump?

CONANT: Well, again, I can't speak for Marco Rubio and --

BERMAN: But based on the Marco Rubio that you were in daily contact with up until March 15th?

CONANT: Look, I think he wants to make sure Hillary Clintons not elected president, absolutely. And I think he wants to make sure we keep the Senate this fall. So, I do expect you will see Marco campaigning for Pat Toomey this fall, Rob Portman in Ohio. I think that will be a priority of his this fall, in addition to finishing out his term in the Senate.

BOLDUAN: Alex, after the long fought and after some time off and away, now that you are back, have you decided who you are going to vote for?

CONANT: I'm staying neutral for now. We'll see how thing play out over the next couple of weeks. I'm focused on consulting, doing a lot of communications work for various clients and I'm saying out of the 2016 campaign. One cycle was enough for me this year.

But I'm neutral. Look, I'm like lot of Republicans, I'm legitimately torn about who I would vote for this fall. I'm not going to vote for Hillary Clinton, but Donald Trump hasn't earned my vote yet.

BERMAN: He has not earned your vote yet. That is interesting. What does it say to you for a guy who has work in the Republican Party for a long time is not convinced about the presumptive nominee?

CONANT: Well, I believe in limited government. I believe we need to have strong foreign policy that embraces internationalism, and Donald Trump so far has not demonstrated that. So, like many voters out there, I'm torn as to what to do this fall, who to vote for this fall. Like many conservatives, I'm torn about it. You know, we'll see how things play out over the coming months.

BOLDUAN: Alex, it's great to see you. Come on very often, we appreciate it.

CONANT: Thanks, guys.

BOLDUAN: Thank you. So, ahead, new details emerging about the music icon Prince and his final moments. The musician may have been just hours away from the help he desperate needed to save his life. These are new details coming in, and the behind the scenes effort to save his life. That's next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[11:58:12] BOLDUAN: So, do you remember the brick? Do you?

BERMAN: Brick house.

BOLDUAN: The first cell phone. It was the first cell phone. It weighed about as much as your car. It was ground breaking technology in the '80s. Radically changed the way we communicate obviously forever. Watch it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When these things were popping up in the '80s, the customers were people who had a business reason for having these things or some super rich dude who wanted to show off. The big breakthrough idea was this idea of cellular systems.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's called cellular because your car phone is tied into different radio transmitters, each one called a cell. And as you travel, the signal from your phone travels from cell to cell.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This was something that had never been done before.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you don't have one now, one in a decade say the phone makers as the price comes down into the range of other high tech toys.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There was understanding even in early days that being trapped in a car was not freedom. People are fundamentally naturally mobile.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: We'll have it in a decade -- that prediction turned out to be way off.

Technology on the go on the CNN original series, "THE EIGHTIES", that's tonight at 9:00 p.m., only on CNN. I did not have my first cell phone until 1999.

BOLDUAN: I don't remember when I had my first cell phone.

BERMAN: You weren't born in 1999.

BOLDUAN: I just got it. John got it for me for my birthday. Thanks for joining us on at this hour.

BERMAN: All right. "LEGAL VIEW WITH ASHLEIGH BANFIELD" starts right now.

(MUSIC)

ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. Welcome to "LEGAL VIEW". I'm Ashleigh Banfield.

You may have heard it said right here on this program n fact, that Democrats fall in love and Republicans fall in line. And yet, for all the new found clarity descending on this year's race for president, it is clear that ever --