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AT THIS HOUR WITH BERMAN AND MICHAELA

LGBT Amendment Halts Spending Bill in House; Trump Rips GOP Governor, Republicans Defend Her; Trump Aide: Woman or Minority VP May be "Pandering"; Ryan Speaks on LGBT Controversy on Spending Bill, Trump Phone Call; Clinton, Sanders in Dead Heat in California, Clinton Buys Ads; Obama's Post-Presidency Plans. Aired 11:30-12p ET

Aired May 26, 2016 - 11:30   ET

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


[11:30:00] MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: Now, at that time, that vote failed because a number of Republicans were convinced to switch their votes on the House floor and effectively kill that amendment. Now, last night Democrat Sean Maloney, the author of the amendment, offered this again to another spending bill, made some small modifications and it got adopted. Republicans, in response, pushed forward their own plan to reaffirm federal support for that North Carolina bathroom law that prohibits transgender folks from using bathrooms of their choice. Both of those got included into the annual spending bill. What we saw was a final passage vote go down very, very hard. This spending bill went down in the Senate more than -- I'm sorry, in the House, and more than 300 House members voted against it, throwing the annual spending process into disarray.

The leadership, Republican leadership, said this is part of Paul Ryan's commitment to allow for votes of all kinds, open up the floor process, and let people -- let the House express its will. But it really goes to show it's also a big problem and a big challenge for Paul Ryan going forward as they try to, you know, do the basic job of governance, which is funding the government and dealing with just major national issues like this one. We'll hear what Paul Ryan has to say.

And one other thing. Congress is leaving for the week for Memorial Day recess. They have not resolved the issue of Zika funding. That's another challenge for leaders going forward.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: A lot they are leaving on the table.

Thank you so much, Manu.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Let's get back to the presidential campaign right now. Joining us is chief strategist and communications director for the Republican National Committee, Mr. Sean Spicer.

Sean, thank you very much --

(CROSSTALK)

BOLDUAN: You look very nervous to be on with us today or unhappy. I can't tell which.

BERMAN: It's anticipation more than anything.

SEAN SPICER, CHIEF STRATEGIST & COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR, RNC: No, no. Look, after yesterday, I had six root canals a couple years back, I felt better in the dentist chair than I think Brian Fallon felt than when he was on CNN having to explain the I.G. report on Hillary Clinton --

BOLDUAN: Wow.

SPICER: -- and spin it.

(CROSSTALK)

BOLDUAN: You got there quickly.

(CROSSTALK) SPICER: I look more comfortable after six root canals than he looked comfortable on CNN, I'll tell you that.

BOLDUAN: We're putting you back in the dentist chairman right now.

BERMAN: Here we go. Sean Spicer, do you think Susana Martinez is a good governor?

SPICER: I do.

BOLDUAN: We ask because the presumptive Republican nominee doesn't think so. Listen, Sean.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE & CEO, TRUMP ORGANIZATION: We have to get your governor to get going. She's got to do a better job, OK?

(CHEERING)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BOLDUAN: So what do you say to Donald Trump?

SPICER: Well, I think they have some differences that need to be continued to be resolved, but I think, as Republicans, as a party at least, we're very proud that we elected the first Latina governor as a party, the first female governor in New Mexico. And she's done a phenomenal job. I think they have some policy differences. They have to spend some more time talking about the concerns that they have --

(CROSSTALK)

BOLDUAN: Does this help party unity?

(CROSSTALK)

BERMAN: Huh? SPICER: Hey, look, when you compare the two parties -- look, we have

some folks that want to get to know our presumptive nominee a little bit better. We understand that, but if you compare the weeks, and let's --

(CROSSTALK)

BERMAN: Hang on. I want to --

(CROSSTALK)

BERMAN: Hang on. Hang on.

(CROSSTALK) SPICER: No, no. I get it.

(CROSSTALK)

SPICER: Let me just answer the question. And the answer is that yesterday you have the I.G. of the State Department that was appointed by Barack Obama come down very heavily against Hillary Clinton. You've got top Hillary surrogate, Governor Terry McAuliffe, joining her under FBI investigation. You've got calls from Democratic Senators to have Debbie Wasserman Schultz step down as the DNC chair. You have Bernie Sanders supporting the primary opponent to Debbie Wasserman Schultz. When it comes to comparing where the two parties are, when it comes to comparing the weeks that we've had, we have some differences that have to get resolved but I will take where our party is seven days a week over where their party is.

BERMAN: Sean, if a Democrat went into New Mexico and said what Donald Trump said about the sitting governor of that state, you would respond differently, no?

SPICER: How?

BERMAN: You would not defend the governor more than that? He said she's done a bad job. He said they need to get --

SPICER: I just did. No, no. But you asked -- hold on, no. What are you -- you asked me a question. I said that she's doing a great job. We have a lot of respect for her. I think that she's -- as a party, we're very proud of the fact that we -- that the first Latina governor in the United States was Susana Martinez, a Republican. I think she's got an amazing life story. She's done a lot of great work in New Mexico. How much more defending do you want me to do of her? I do think that they have some differences between the two, but I think as a party we're very proud of Governor Martinez. We're very proud it's a Republican Latina that was elected first. We're very proud that the first woman that New Mexico elected was a Republican. I don't know how much more defending of her I can possibly do.

BERMAN: That was more. Thanks.

BOLDUAN: That was more.

BERMAN: Appreciate that.

(LAUGHTER)

BOLDUAN: Paul Manafort, Donald Trump's campaign chairman, he did an interview with the "Huffington Post." Very interesting interview. One of the things that was quite interesting was what he said about their potential running mate or what they won't have as their potential running mate. Probably won't choose a woman or a minority as a running mate because that would be viewed as pandering I think. Do you think that would be viewed as pandering?

[11:35:25] SPICER: No. Well, I think that people are twisting what his words were. His point is Donald Trump is not out to pander. He's out to make this country better. He's out to solve the problems. And what you see on the other side is literally a pandering, the way that they're ling up their V.P. They're like, what does Hillary need more of and who fits the bill. What Donald Trump has made very clear is he wants a partner who can be president on day one should something happen. Somebody who understands how to get things done in Washington --

(CROSSTALK)

BOLDUAN: I wasn't taking Paul Manafort out of context. I was reading his words though.

SPICER: His point though was that Trump's not going to pander when it comes to his pick, which is in direct -- is the opposite of what Hillary Clinton is talking about on their side which is they're trying to figure out what void Hillary Clinton has the biggest area to fill, whether it's with minority groups, whether she's got to fill something on the left by appointing a far left progressive like Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren, but they keep talking about what they need to fix on their side. I think two Paul Manafort was making very clear is that Trump needs a partner who can be president day one should something happen, but more importantly, somebody who can be a partner to help get things done in Washington.

BERMAN: Sean, are there women or minorities out there who could fit that bill in your mind?

SPICER: Absolutely. I just talked about one. I know that there are still differences between the two, but --

(CROSSTALK)

BERMAN: I don't think that's going to happen though. I think that's an unlikely match.

SPICER: But I'm saying -- but you're asking me question. I think when you look at the Republican Party in terms of the level of elected officials that represent the young, new, fresh ideas that advocate change, that want to make a difference in America. It's the Republican Party that's the voice of young, optimistic leaders, whether it's governors or in the House or the Senate. It's the Democrats who represent old school -- BOLDUAN: Now, that was not our fault. That was a technical

difficulty.

BERMAN: I don't think it was Sean's fault either, in Sean's defense.

BOLDUAN: I don't think it was Sean's fault either. Unfortunately, it looks like the shot has gone away.

So sorry, Sean, if you can hear us. I doubt we're going to get it back in time.

Oh, Sean, are you back?

Who do you think that was? Who pulled the plug on that interview?

(CROSSTALK)

SPICER: I didn't go anywhere. Huh?

BOLDUAN: Who do you think pulled the plug on our interview?

SPICER: Debbie Wasserman Schultz or Hillary.

(LAUGHTER)

I think Hillary Clinton pulled the plug. There's no question.

BOLDUAN: Final question, since we have clearly gone off the rails as we always do with you, should Donald Trump debate Bernie Sanders in this mythical world we apparently live in where they're talking about having a debate before California?

SPICER: Well, I think if it did, it would be a huge contrast in the direction of this country. I think when you look at what Sanders is offering, the only thing that Bernie Sanders offers is another flavor of Ben and Jerry's ice cream. It's a far left socialist agenda, whether it's foreign policy, the way he wants to partner not with Israel, the destruction he would have with that relationship, our foreign policy, our domestic policy, it would be a massive contrast in the direction this country could choose. So I think it would be a phenomenal debate, if it happened.

(CROSSTALK)

SPICER: The other thing that's odd, by the way, is that Hillary Clinton refuses to fulfill her promise to debate Bernie Sanders. So there is a void because Hillary Clinton refuses to actually keep her word and do what she said and debate in California against Bernie Sanders.

BOLDUAN: But I do remember, Donald Trump also did not debate, at least once, because he just didn't want to.

SPICER: But he never said he was going to. I think there was a commitment --

(CROSSTALK)

BOLDUAN: They all agree to these debates.

(CROSSTALK)

BOLDUAN: All right, all right, all right.

SPICER: No, they did not. No, no. That's not true. That's just not true though. The fact of the matter is Hillary Clinton did agree to four debates, four additional debates with Bernie Sanders. Once she got what she wanted, she broke her word, which is exactly the reason most Americans don't trust her.

BOLDUAN: Our favorite Spicer.

BERMAN: We have to cut you off --

BOLDUAN: Our favorite spice of life.

BERMAN: The most senior Republican in America right now, Paul Ryan, answering questions.

REP. PAUL RYAN, (R-WI), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: Well, what we just learned today was the Democrats weren't looking to advance an issue. They're looking to sabotage the appropriations process. The fact that the author of the amendments that prevailed turned around and voted against the bill containing his amendment tells us they're trying to stop the appropriations process in its tracks. What we would have to do when we return is get with our members and figure out how best we can move forward to have a full functioning appropriations process.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: (INAUDIBLE QUESTION)

RYAN: So the second time around the block in this issue. And yesterday when you met with some of us, you said that the first time this happened it was because of confusion, two-minute votes, a little bit of chaos, bathroom issue. The evidence now suggests that that's not true --

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: (INAUDIBLE QUESTION)

RYAN: No, at the time, it was. There was a lot of confusion. Now that the same amendment came, people understood what it was. And we brought this up, we let the place work its will and we let Congress work its will. And then the people who brought this amendment forward voted against the bill containing their amendment, which tells us this was about sabotaging appropriations.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: (INAUDIBLE QUESTION)

[11:40:23] RYAN: Like I said, people didn't know what was happening then. They had a much clearer understanding of what it was now. Just remember the authors of the bill voted against the bill containing their amendment that had prevailed. This was about sabotaging appropriations.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: (INAUDIBLE QUESTION)

RYAN: I'm concerned about real party unity because we need to win this election in the fall. There's too much at stake. The supreme court, on and on and on I could go. I want real party unity and that's what I'm most concerned about.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: (INAUDIBLE QUESTION)

RYAN: A couple of those voted -- then why did they pass by voice vote? Some of these things you just mentioned passed by voice vote with no one objecting to them.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: (INAUDIBLE QUESTION)

RYAN: No, no.

Go ahead. Ladies first.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: (INAUDIBLE QUESTION)

RYAN: I voted for it like a decade ago. My position has not changed. We've had this law on the books in Wisconsin since, I don't know, 1982, put in by a Republican governor. So my view has not changed on this.

Jonathan?

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: In terms of the future, do you still intend to rerun this bill, move other bills, and what happens with the idea of a C.R.?

RYAN: Obviously we want to pass individual bills. We think that's the best interests of just the institution of Congress, of exercising the power of the purse. When we come back, we will sit down with our members and have a family discussion about how best to proceed so the appropriations process cannot be sabotaged and derailed.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: (INAUDIBLE QUESTION)

RYAN: Oh, I don't think that's the case. The rate -- I don't think that time line is the case, number one. Number two, we just voted to go to conference on it. So not only had our appropriate raters been talking preconference. Now we've just sent them into an official conference so they can get to work on this problem. There's already money in the pipeline going out right now. That's another point that needs to be made clear.

Thanks.

BOLDUAN: There you go. The House speaker taking -- basically, all the questions were about this spending bill that just failed, and quite an embarrassment for a House speaker, who kind of stakes his name on getting the government moving again and getting regular order moving again. This has been a problem and a thorn in the side of Paul Ryan. It looks like it's going to continue. BERMAN: He did get one question on Donald Trump, on a phone call with

Trump last night on the idea of, is the party coming together, and he once again said his interest is in real unity. Unclear if they're moving closer away from that, but Paul Ryan keeps getting asked.

BOLDUAN: And he will keep getting asked.

Still ahead for us, it's the biggest prize on the Democratic primary calendar, and according to a new poll, it's a dead heat. What can we expect in the Clinton/Sanders face-off in the battle for California?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[11:48:00] OBAMA: There's a certain buildup of aggravation. We saw that in my lengthy primary in 2008. This is no different. Once the primary process is resolved, the ability for us to pull together around a common vision that is in sharp contrast to the vision that's being offered on the other side I think is one that will get done by the time of the convention.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: President Obama in Japan this morning weighing in on the aggravation and the grumpiness, as he calls it, of the primary process. He says he's confident Democrats will come together by convention time.

That time is not now. A new poll out this morning shows Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton neck and neck in California, the big prize on June 7th. Clinton is at 46 percent, Sanders at 44 percent. He is closing the gap since the last time this poll was taken in March.

BOLDUAN: Hillary Clinton is also stepping up to the fight with a new round of television ads that are going to be hitting California airwaves tomorrow, spending money in the state.

Joining us to discuss the state of the race, Jim Messina, the former campaign manager for President Obama and CEO of Messina Group.

Jim, thank you for joining us.

JIM MESSINA, FORMER CAMPAIGN MANAGER FOR BARACK OBAMA & CEO, MESSINA GROUP: Good morning. How is life?

BOLDUAN: Life is wonderful. Though it feels like it might be a full moon today on this show.

I do want to ask you, we'll talk about California in just a campaign before, very successfully. You have also dealt with scandals on the trail before. The e-mail scandal that continues to dog Hillary Clinton, and has from the beginning, it's now back. It is not going away. How do you advise she get out of it?

MESSINA: Well, look, what voters care about in this election is what these candidates are going to do to make their lives better, right? Every 10 days or two weeks during the 2012 Obama campaign Bill Clinton would call me in the middle of the night and say, Jim, all presidential elections are always about the future. It is incumbent upon candidates to talk about what she is going to do to make this country better. The fact is swing voters don't care about e-mail problems. What they care about is economics, their job, and what we need to do.

[11:50:29] BERMAN: They do care about trust, though. And they care about honesty. In all exit polling, throughout the campaign, it shows that it is a real vulnerability for Hillary Clinton. This I.G. report from the State Department says that it did not go the way she said it went. They did not get legal approval. There were not people who knew and approved of her use of her e-mails. Is this something she needs to address more or at all?

MESSINA: I think she has. She has said repeatedly what the process was. She said she had to do it over again she would do it differently. The same report you talked about mentioned her predecessors, including Colin Powell, had a personal e-mail address, didn't have state.gov e-mail address. I mean, I don't know how much more she can take.

BERMAN: It was way more critical of her than the others. But I get your point.

BOLDUAN: On this poll, can we talk about California? If it hasn't gotten fascinating, it is getting there. This poll saying Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, they're virtually tied. If you are running Hillary Clinton's campaign right now, what do you do in the next two weeks?

MESSINA: I would do exactly what they are doing. As a guy who ran a successful presidential campaign, Clinton's campaign manager is doing an amazing job. They are doing what they should do. They have the candidate on the job and investing in resources. You saw them go up with ads in Latino, African-American and Asian communities. I think the more people are exposed to Hillary Clinton's message, the better off they will be. You all know California is an important state and we are watching it. Hillary Clinton has won the nomination for president. She is going to be the Democratic nominee. They are doing what they should do and focused on November.

BERMAN: What about if you are running Bernie Sanders campaign and your goal is to win California? How would you win California if you are Bernie Sanders?

MESSINA: If I was the Sanders campaign, I would be worried less about California and more about how to unite the party post June 7th. You had President Obama talking about uniting the party. I remember at the same time eight years ago, everyone was screaming at me, the party is not going to unite, they're not going to unite behind Obama. All these women supporting Hillary were mad. What happened? The week after the election, she flew to New Hampshire, wrapped her arms around Barack Obama and said, we are in this to win in November. And that's what I think Bernie Sanders should be focused on. BOLDUAN: You think the Republicans are going to unite? They are

looking at the same problem.

MESSINA: I think, in the end, they will. You have Speaker Ryan -- this is like a soap opera. I love soap operas. It's along, exciting thing. But in the end, you know how it will end. And all the politicians are going to come together to save their own skin. That is what is going to happen in the Republican Party.

BERMAN: I'm a "Guiding Light" guy. What is your favorite?

MESSINA: "Santa Barbara" because I'm old now.

BOLDUAN: I love -- I want you to both look quietly and longingly, stare into the camera, like the final scene. I can't wait for the next episode.

BERMAN: Jim Messina, thanks so much for being with us. Appreciate it.

MESSINA: All right, guys. Have a good one.

BOLDUAN: Thanks.

Moments from now, Donald Trump is set to speak in the wake of a big campaign shakeup. Why did Team Trump part ways with their political director six weeks after he took the job?

BERMAN: Plus, when President Obama leaves the White House, he is not really going very far away, just down the street, into a nice big house. What's that going to be like? We will discuss.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[11:55:44] BOLDUAN: President Obama plans to stay in Washington after he leaves the White House, at least until his youngest daughter, Sasha, finishes high school.

BERMAN: Now like most regular people, he has been house hunting. This is the picture of the home they plan to lease, a house in an upscale neighborhood has enough room for Secret Service, who will remain nearby.

I want to bring in Kate Anderson, a former White House reporter for "Bloomberg News," author of "First Women," also author of "Life in the White House," but she also dealt with life outside the White House.

It is unusual for a president to stick around in D.C. afterwards. This is going to be interesting.

KATE ANDERSON BROWER, FORMER WHITE HOUSE REPORTER, BLOOMBERG NEWS & AUTHOR: It will be fascinating to see what they end up doing. Usually, they catch a plane and leave town as fast as they can. It is interesting to look at what Democratic presidents before him have done. The Clinton Global Initiative, Carter Center, these big attacks they have taken on and these global life- changing things they are working on. I imagine that President Obama and Michelle Obama will be writing their own memoirs and probably do a hybrid of the Carter Center and Clinton Global Initiative.

BOLDUAN: Flip the script a little bit. If you are the new president moving into the White House, what is it like having the other former president just down the road?

BROWER: It is going to be really interesting especially if Hillary wins. She has had a long relationship with President Obama. Will she reach out to him for advice? I think if Donald Trump wins there will be less -- it will, strangely enough, be less of an issue because there won't be that need for people to see them reaching out and working together and seeking advice.

It is interesting to note that a lot of first ladies especially have done incredible things after they left the White House. Betty Ford opened the Betty Ford Center in 1982 and got more for her book than her husband did. We'll see. Michelle Obama is working on her memoirs now. That will be fascinating to see how open and honest she is in her book.

BERMAN: A sense of what it is like to have a president living in your neighborhood? I guess the Clintons ended up -- it is bound to make things interesting when there is secret service and a former president next door.

BROWER: Traveling with the president to his home in Chicago, there is a huge apparatus that follows him. He will have secret service protection for the rest of his life. I imagine he will want it especially immediately after they leave the White House. It will change the neighborhood, beautiful, leafy, very wealthy neighborhood in northwest Washington. I expect his neighbors will see it get a lot more crowded, and tourists will want to drive by the House.

BOLDUAN: I guess if any city is used to it, it would be Washington used to that. So the Obamas are staying in Washington for a reason that is very normal. They don't want to move their daughter and have her change schools as she is finishing high school. What do they do after that?

BROWER: I think after that they will focus on issues that are close to their hearts, maybe issues that are political that they can't get into as much as they would like to now. Issues effecting urban communities, issues like gun control. I have been told that will be like front on their list of things to do once they leave the White House, things that are touchy right now. Once you are an ex-president you have this amazing perch. President Bush has retreated a bit.

(CROSSTALK)

BOLDUAN: He's become a painter.

BERMAN: He has become a painter.

The Obamas are only renting in Washington. Clearly, they don't plan to stay along after high school. Kate, great to have you with us. Really appreciate it.

BROWER: Thank you so much.

BOLDUAN: Thank you so much, Kate.

And thank you all so much for joining us for this very wild AT THIS HOUR.

BERMAN: A lot going on today.

"Legal View" with Ashleigh Banfield starts right now.

[13:00:12] ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm Ashleigh Banfield. Welcome to "Legal View."