Return to Transcripts main page
THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER
Interview With Presidential Candidate Donald Trump; Interview With Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton. Aired 4-4:30p ET
Aired June 3, 2016 - 16:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: We're live in the Golden State, California, and it's just four days until Californians head to the polls in this delegate gold mine.
And even the Rams and Raiders cannot believe the hits that Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are dishing on each other on the campaign trail. And this is the only show where you will hear from both of them one on one with me today.
THE LEAD starts right now.
Welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper. We're live in Culver City, California. You can hear the CHiPs driving off in the distance. I don't know if you hear that rumbling, but that is what is going on right here.
What we have today, this hour, my interviews with both former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, Donald Trump.
These interviews were just done in the last few hours, and over the past 24 hours, there's been an intense back and forth between these two candidates.
Those interviews coming to you in just a moment.
But, first, how in the world did we get here? And, by that, I don't mean a parking lot in Culver City.
CNN's Jeff Zeleny joins me here.
Jeff, let me ask you. We are not even done with the primaries yet. Bernie Sanders is out there fighting, saying he can become the nominee. But you would think, based on what is going on, that the Trump-Clinton showdown was just where it is.
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Jake, no doubt about it. This is the soundtrack of this campaign we're going to hear for the next five months over and over and over, what Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are telling you.
They are also telling voters here. It's one of the reasons that Hillary Clinton is going so hard after Donald Trump. It's to persuade all those Democrats who still may not be on board that it's time right now to get on her side.
ZELENY (voice-over): Hillary Clinton's going back at Donald Trump today for another round.
HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He doesn't really have ideas. He just engages in rants and personal feuds and outright lies, something that our country cannot afford in a commander in chief.
ZELENY: A day after a eviscerating Trump in the toughest speech of her campaign, Trump isn't taking apart Clinton's argument point by point. He's taking aim at her character.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Lying, crooked Hillary. I love to say that, because she's a liar. She made up my foreign policy.
ZELENY: The insults are flying back and forth at a dizzying pace, a glimpse into the bare-knuckle fight ahead, with violent protests erupting outside again at a Trump rally last night in San Jose.
From her e-mails.
TRUMP: She has to go to jail. Has to go. That was a phony hit job. She's guilty as hell.
ZELENY: To his temperament.
CLINTON: He is temperamentally unfit to hold an office that requires knowledge, stability and immense responsibility.
ZELENY: Here's why she's making that argument. Nearly six in 10 voters say Clinton has the right personality and temperament to be president, a "Washington Post"/ABC news poll found.
Only 33 percent say the same of Trump. Tonight, Trump also under fire for his escalating fight with the federal judge who is hearing the civil fraud lawsuits over Trump University, Trump telling "The Wall Street Journal" Gonzalo Curiel has an inherent conflict of interest because he's of Mexican heritage.
Campaigning in California today, Clinton pushing back.
CLINTON: I do not want anyone here in our own country or anywhere in the world to think that what he says and how he conducts himself represents who we are as a nation.
ZELENY: But the sinking slugfest between the dueling rivals also carries political risks. Both candidates have the highest negatives in the history of modern polling -- 57 percent of registered voters saying they hold unfavorable views of Clinton and Trump.
TRUMP: My temperament is so much tougher and so much better than her temperament. And, by the way, we need a tough temperament. ZELENY: And the country is about to endure what is shaping up to be
the toughest presidential race in memory, unfolding remarkably in real time.
CLINTON: We all know the tools Donald Trump brings to the table, bragging, mocking, composing nasty tweets. I'm willing to bet he's writing a few right now.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
ZELENY: And, in fact, he was, only moments later, Trump firing back on Twitter: "Bad performance by crooked Hillary Clinton, reading poorly from the teleprompter. She doesn't even look presidential."
ZELENY: Well, presidential, will take about five months time before we know that, but she's the presidential nominee almost. She said in the strongest terms yet today that by Tuesday she will be the Democratic nominee and will go forward then, Jake, to start challenging Donald Trump even more aggressively than she has now.
TAPPER: We will see what happens on Tuesday. Jeff Zeleny, thanks so much.
Now we're going to bring you interviews with both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. They are each campaigning in this delegate-rich state, California.
Both are eager to kick off the general election campaign.
I just sat down with Donald Trump. He is firing back after Hillary called him thin-skinned and unfit to be president by accusing Clinton of having led the country into war.
We will get to my interview with Mr. Trump in just a few minutes.
But, first, I just sat down minutes ago with Secretary of State Clinton to talk about her Trump takedown and those disappointing jobs numbers out this morning.
TAPPER: Madam Secretary, thanks so much for doing this.
CLINTON: Thank you, Jake. Good to see you.
TAPPER: Appreciate it.
So, you had some very strong comments about Donald Trump yesterday.
I asked him about specifically the one where you said that you couldn't trust him with the nuclear codes. It's not tough to imagine him bringing the country into war because someone got under his very thin skin.
That's pretty close to a quote. And his response was, hey, she's the one that voted to go to war in Iraq.
How do you respond to that?
CLINTON: Well, I think the speech yesterday was really an attempt to present to the American people everything that he has said, what he has proposed that he would do which violates Republican and Democratic agreement about how to be strong in the world, how to present ourselves, how to protect our allies and our friends, how to take on our rivals where necessary.
And I'm happy to put my record up against his comments, his rants and his outright lies any time.
TAPPER: But his specific criticism was, why would you accuse me of going to war when you actually brought us into a war that he criticizes as an unnecessary one?
CLINTON: Well, he supported it. We have evidence and audio of him supporting it. So, I think that's another example of him trying to rewrite history.
But I said, look, it was a mistake to vote for that. But I have a lot more experience as a senator, as secretary of state, that I am more than happy to talk about throughout this campaign, because, when people vote, they are voting for the president, who is our commander in chief.
And I have said -- and I believe this with all my heart -- he is not qualified to be commander in chief, either by experience, preparation or temperament.
TAPPER: There have been some -- there were some really ugly images on the TV screens yesterday, some really reprehensible assaults, attacks by anti-Trump protesters against people who support Donald Trump.
Do you condemn the violence? What is your message to people who are protesting Donald Trump?
CLINTON: I condemn all violence in our political arena.
I condemned it when Donald Trump was inciting it and congratulating people who were engaging it. I condemn it by those who are taking violent protests to physical assault against Donald Trump. This has to end. He set a very bad example.
He created an environment in which it seemed to be acceptable for someone running for president to be inciting violence, to be encouraging his supporters. Now we're seeing people who are against him responding in kind.
It should all stop. It is not acceptable.
TAPPER: At the end of the day, do you think that those violent anti- Trump protesters actually might be helping him in a way by showing his opposition in such a horrendous light?
CLINTON: I don't think any of this helps anybody.
I don't think his protests that were led by his supporters beating up people who were peacefully protesting against Trump helped Trump. And I don't think that people who are protesting and using physical violence against people supporting Trump are helping anybody.
So, I want it to just end, Jake. I don't want to parse it. I don't want to talk about the political implications. I want it to end.
The police have a hard enough job trying to make sure that we're able to gather and talk about the issues facing our country. And Trump has lowered the bar. And now is it a surprise that people who don't like him are stepping over that low bar? I don't think it is. He needs to condemn all violence by everyone. I already have. I will continue to do so.
TAPPER: There was a really disappointing jobs report that came out, 38,000 jobs, not enough to even remotely keep pace with population growth, were created in the month of May, thousands and thousands of Americans disheartened, leaving the job force.
What would you as president to do to create jobs that President Obama is not currently doing?
CLINTON: Well, first of all, let's remember, we have had 75 months of straight job creation.
And, yes, the numbers that have come out this week are disappointing to anybody, because we want to keep jobs growing. We want the unemployment rate, which did drop again, to be reflective of a tighter labor market, not people leaving because they get discouraged.
TAPPER: Right. And that's a big problem.
CLINTON: Well, it's a big problem, but I really believe that we have got to do more to create more jobs, to have more infrastructure jobs, something that I have been advocating for, something that I think should have bipartisan support.
TAPPER: How would you get it through Congress?
CLINTON: Well, that's my point. It should have bipartisan support.
We don't have enough jobs in America with rising incomes to provide hardworking Americans with the kind of purpose, dignity and rising standard of living that we deserve here in our country.
I think President Obama inherited a terrible situation. I have said that repeatedly over the past year. And we have come a long way out of the ditch we were dropped into by the failed Republican policies. Donald Trump wants to go back to that, only in a more exaggerated
form, that will, I believe, throw us into a recession again, create a lot of economic hardship for people.
So, let's get Republicans and Democrats to agree we need to fund more infrastructure jobs. We need to come together to encourage the private sector. That's why I'm supporting a national infrastructure bank to do that, because there's good public/private partnerships.
We have so much work. We're a couple trillion dollars behind in maintenance and repair and new infrastructure, roads, bridges, tunnels, ports, airports, water systems, sewer systems. We need to be re-imagining and configuring our electric grid.
We have great work. We have got clean renewable energy jobs out there waiting. And this is one of those moments -- and we have had them in the past in our country -- where the government has to step in and do more to create the environment and the incentives and the funding, so we get those jobs.
And the last thing I would say about this, because, obviously, it's at the centerpiece of my campaign, about how we create more jobs with rising incomes, is that the United States is doing better than anybody in the world.
We have to tend to our own business at home in order to keep the economy moving forward and hopefully create more growth and more fairness in our economy.
And we have to have somebody who knows how to deal with the rest of the world, because problems abroad in Asia, and Europe and elsewhere can come back to hurt us economically.
So, you can't really separate the job of president, having good stewardship for the economy, with the job of being really the global leader to make sure that we not only enhance peace and prosperity, but that it creates the conditions for us to build our economy here.
TAPPER: When we come back, we have more of my interview with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Why can't she seal the deal here in California? Her response next.
Plus, my interview with Donald Trump, that's coming up too. Stay with us.
[16:16:31] JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to THE LEAD. I'm here in the beautiful state of California.
The primary here for the Golden State is just in four days, but for Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, the focus is squarely on the general election and upon each other. In just a few minutes, we'll get to my interview with Donald Trump.
But, first, a little bit more of my sit-down interview with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
TAPPER: The Sanders campaign has been mounting a very strong challenge against you here in California and, in fact, it's neck-and- neck according to public polling. Anybody could win. Eight years ago when you were behind then senator Obama, although you were closer than Sanders is with you, you said, if Obama is so inevitable, why is he having a tough time closing the deal?
So, let me just put it to you. You are inevitable in your view. You will be the nominee. Why is it a tough landing for you in California and elsewhere?
HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, let's see what happens on Tuesday. I'm very proud of the campaign that we're running here. And I believe on Tuesday, I will have decisively won the popular vote and I will have decisively won the pledged delegate majority.
You can't get much more than that out of a primary season. And, in fact, the contest between then-Senator Obama and myself was much closer. By some standards, I actually led a little bit in the popular vote but I fell a little short in the pledged delegates.
So I have a decision to make. A lot of many I supporters said, hey, let's keep going, you know, let's make sure that we go to the convention. I said, no, I ran to become president because I have deep values and beliefs about what should be done in our country. I am much closer in the goals that I think we should be pursing with Barack Obama than I am with the Republicans.
The same is true with Senator Sanders and myself. We both want to raise the minimum wage. We both want to get to universal health care coverage. We both want to make sure Wall Street never wrecks Main Street again.
We share so many of the same goals. We have different approach, different ideas about how best to achieve those. So, if you are a supporter of mine, or you're a supporter of Senator Sanders and you look at this contest which has been largely on issues, although we've had our differences, compared to the Republican side, which has been largely on insults and plans that never would be feasible.
TAPPER: It's gotten tough with you and Sanders, though. I mean, not as --
CLINTON: Well, but it's nothing like what we saw on the Republican side. And so, after Tuesday, I'm going to do everything I can to reach out, to try to unify the Democratic Party and I expect Senator Sanders to do the same, and that we will come together and be prepared to go to the convention in a unified way, to make our case to leave the convention to go into the general election to defeat Donald Trump.
TAPPER: There's one other thing about Donald Trump that I want to ask you and then I know you have to go, and that is, when you were launching your criticism, your attack against Trump University, which is right now in the middle of civil suit for fraud, the Trump campaign started hitting back which questioning donations to the Clinton Foundation and how the money is spent. There have been questions in the media about that, and I'm not equating Trump University with the Clinton Foundation.
But do you think those questions undermine at all your argument against Trump foundation -- the Trump University?
CLINTON: Not at all. I mean, really, this is like an absurd comparison.
[16:17:02] We have disclosed everything. You can see what we do. We have -- we put out reports. We could find you millions of people who feel that their lives have been improved because of the work.
Contrast that, the attorney general of New York have said that Trump U is basically a fraud. It's a fraud. Where Donald Trump has preyed on people, has taken them by asking them to max out the credit cards to a point of financial despair and walk away. So, I will let the lawsuits go on.
I think it's very clear even from the testimony we've already heard about from his close associates, that even people working in it find it fraudulent. And, you know, look, he has to answer to that.
TAPPER: Madam Secretary, thanks so much. Good luck in California.
CLINTON: Thank you.
TAPPER: It's a tough race you got there.
CLINTON: Well, we're doing -- we're doing well. We're going to go all the way to the finish line.
TAPPER: All right. Thank you so much. I appreciate it.
CLINTON: Thank you.
TAPPER: Right after the break, Donald Trump doubling down on his suggestion that the judge presiding over the Trump University lawsuit has a conflict of interest because his parents are Mexican and Trump wants to build a wall. He calls that a conflict of interest. We'll ask him, how is that not racist? His response, coming up.
[16:25:45] TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD, live from California.
As we speak, Donald Trump is about to take the stage in northern California for a rally. Yes, even though he is already the presumptive Republican nominee with no real opponents in the races. The event today is an attempt to turn this habitually blue state red in November.
CNN's Jason Carroll is traveling with the Trump campaign and is in Redding, California.
Jason, tell us what's going on right now where you are.
JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: A very hot Redding in California. I have to tell you, it's 100 degrees out here, Jake.
I can tell you that just a few moments ago, we saw the Trump plane go by. So, he should be taking the stage just about at any moment from now. Once again, I mention, the heat is nearly 100 degrees. Some of those in the Trump camp hoping that some of that heat will keep away those protesters, like the protesters that were seen in San Jose yesterday.
Once again, the end of that rally met by demonstrators clashing outside that rally, throwing eggs, throwing punches before police were finally able to break up that melee out there in San Jose. Meanwhile, at the Trump rally in San Jose, Trump going after Clinton after she gave that blistering speech going after his foreign policy point by point. Well, he went after her saying, listen to that speech, Jake, was like taking something to put him to sleep.
But he took aim at some familiar critical territory, attacking Clinton not only for her using her private e-mails while she was secretary of state, but also going after her for her judgment for supporting the war in Iraq.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Hillary Clinton has to go to jail. OK? She has to go to jail. That was a phony -- she's guilty as hell. Crooked Hillary said, oh, Donald Trump, his finger on the button.
I'm the one that didn't want to go into Iraq, folks. And she's the one that stupidly raised her hand to go into Iraq.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARROLL: And, Jake, right now you're looking at live pictures of the Trump plane. A lot of folks out here have been standing out here once again this blistering heat waiting for Donald Trump to finally take the stage. So, he'll be doing that just about at any moment. As you know, the Hispanic vote is extremely important here in the state of California, as you know. Also, after listening to many of Trump speeches, he says he's very popular among the Latino community, but that's not the case if you look at the polls. He'll polling very poorly among Latino.
What's not helping him, Jake, is the fact that he went after New Mexico's Governor Susana Martinez. We'll see if he does anything to try to make inroads into the Hispanic community when he takes the stage in just a few moments -- Jake.
TAPPER: All right. Jason Carroll, thank you so much.
Before Donald Trump jumped on that impressive jet to Redding, California, he sat down with me and he was quick to launch attacks at the Democratic front-runner.
TAPPER: Hillary Clinton was giving a speech. He had some very tough things to say about you. One of the she said --
TRUMP: She wasn't giving. She was reading a speech that was written by other people. OK? But go ahead. Sound bites.
TAPPER: OK. One of the things she said was, "This is not someone who should have the nuclear codes. It's not hard to imagine Donald Trump leading us into war because someone got under his very thin skin."
What's your response to that?
TRUMP: Well, first of all, I don't have thin skin. I have very strong, very thick skin. And when somebody is right about, I always, you know, if you do a report and it's not necessarily positive but, you're right, I never complain. I do complain when it's a lie or when it's wrong.
But I have a strong temperament and it's a very good temperament and it's in a very in control temperament or I wouldn't have built this unbelievable company, I wouldn't have built all of the things that I have been able to do in life. I mean, number one bestsellers, one of the best-selling books of all-time, tremendous television success.
TAPPER: I don't think anyone --
TRUMP: I've been successful -- well, wait a minute, Jake. I've been successful in every business I've been in, if you think. Real estate, one of the most successful, television, "The Apprentice", which is, forget it, I mean, NBC came to me, they wanted to renew so badly, you have no idea.
TAPPER: Well, what does that have to do with temperament? You're very successful. There's no question. TRUMP: You can't have that success without good temperament. And I will say this, I was thinking about the word "temperament". And we need a strong temperament in this country. We have been led by weak people -- weak, ineffective people. Countries have taken advantage of us, whether it's militarily or otherwise.