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AT THIS HOUR WITH BERMAN AND MICHAELA
GOP Leaders Disavow Trump's Attacks on Judge; Sanders Keeps Hitting Clinton, Vows Convention Fight. Aired 11-11:30a ET
Aired June 6, 2016 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[11:00:00] NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's causing people to be concerned ahead of these Olympic Games, including athletes -- Carol?
CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: Nick Paton Walsh, thanks.
Thank you for joining me. I'm Carol Costello.
AT THIS HOUR with Berman and Bolduan starts now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAKE TAPPER, CNN CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: If it were a Muslim judge, would you also feel like they wouldn't be able to treat you fairly?
DONALD TRUMP, (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE & CEO, TRUMP ORGANIZATION: I think it's possible, yes.
NEWT GINGRICH, (R), FORMER SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: I think it's a mistake. I hope it was sloppiness. This judge is an American citizen.
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL, (R-KY), SENATE MAJORITY LEADER: I couldn't disagree more with a statement like that.
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS, (I), VERMONT & DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The Democratic National Convention will be a contested convention.
HILLARY CLINTON, (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE & FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: After Tuesday, I'm going to do everything I can to try to unify the Democratic Party, and I expect Senator Sanders to do the same.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm Kate Bolduan.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: I'm John Berman.
The answer this morning is, no, not really, not happening. The question? Would Donald Trump tone down his rhetoric, moderate his views, change his behavior? This morning, members of the Republican establishment, they are deeply unsettled, even calling it one of the worst mistakes to date for Donald Trump. And today Donald Trump reiterated his comments that the American judge overseeing the fraud case involving Trump University, that that judge should recuse himself because of his, quote, "Mexican heritage." Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We're building a wall. He's a Mexican. We're building a wall between here and Mexico.
TAPPER: If you are saying he can't do his job because of his race, is that not the definition of racism?
TRUMP: I don't think so at all.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: And Trump is not stopping there. He now also says it's possible that a Muslim judge would also be biased against him. That is not sitting so well with many top Republicans, putting them in yet another awkward position. Listen here.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GINGRICH: This is one of the worst mistakes Trump has made, and I think it's inexcusable. First of all, this judge was born in Indiana. He is an American, period.
MCCONNELL: I couldn't disagree more with the statement like that.
CHUCK TODD, MODERATOR, MEET THE PRESS: Is it a racist statement?
MCCONNELL: I couldn't disagree more with what he had to say.
REP. PAUL RYAN, (R-WI), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: It's reasoning I don't relate to. I completely disagree with the thinking behind that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: So CNN's Phil Mattingly is outside Trump Tower in New York with much more on this.
You're hearing from a lot of donors about this awkward and uncomfortable position that a lot of Republicans feel right now. What are you hearing, Phil?
PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's exactly right. One of the key issues is a lot of donors over the last two weeks looked at the joint fund-raising agreement the RNC signed with Donald Trump as a sign of sorts. It was time to coalesce, the party leaders would get behind Trump, top party leaders would get behind Trump. Donors are growing increasingly uneasy. Not just at the top of the ticket, but it's also up and down the ballot.
Look at Senate races, Republicans are defending 24 seats this cycle. House Republicans, they have a 54-seat majority. That's far more robust than they have in the Senate. They're defending a lot of seats, too. Donors are looking to help those candidates right now, and every time they hear Donald Trump make statements like he has over the last 48 to 72 hours, they become increasingly uncomfortable that no matter how much money they put in, it's not going to help.
All you need to do is look behind me to find out why. Democrats have set up a protest in front of Trump Tower today. Hillary Clinton has a video out this morning attacking Donald Trump. Also, a protest in Indiana, the home of the judge, Gonzalo Curiel, where he was born. Indiana the home of a Senate race in 2016. Now, it's a likely Republican seat, no question about it. But this is underscoring the realities that Republicans are becoming very uneasy, not just at the top of the ticket, what happens in the presidential race, but up and down the ballot, what the impact will be on Donald Trump refusing to apologize and continuing to make inflammatory remarks like this.
BERMAN: Phil Mattingly outside a very busy Trump Tower right now on 5th Avenue. Frankly, now a tourist attraction. Always people outside there to see what's going on.
Thanks so much, Phil.
Joining us to discuss, Kevin Sheridan, former senior advisor for Mitt Romney's presidential campaign and a former RNC spokesman; John Jay LaValle, a Trump convention delegate and regional vice chair in New York's Republican state committee; and Christine Quinn, a Hillary Clinton supporter, former city council speaker here in New York.
Kevin, I want to start with you, because we're hearing a lot from a lot of Republicans now in the establishment, a chorus of them saying they disprove of what Donald Trump said. Paul Ryan, the speaker of the House, said it was out of left field. I think our question is, should it have been out of left field? I mean Trump telegraphed this for the last year when he talked about building a wall and what he wanted to do with Mexican immigrants and banning Muslims. Should it have been a surprise?
KEVIN SHERIDAN, FORMER SENIOR ADVISOR FOR MITT ROMNEY'S PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN & FORMER RNC SPOKESMAN: I think it's becoming pretty clear to everybody that Donald Trump is not going to change. There is no pivot.
[11:05:04] SHERIDAN: The statement that he said he was going to be so presidential that everybody would be bored with him is just not happening. He's not changing. He's doubling down on the same strategy that got him the Republican nomination and he thinks that's going to be a winning general election formula. I don't know that that works. I think the polls are going to start to show it. And, you know, if he doesn't start changing, I think he will lose more and more support for Republicans.
BOLDUAN: Is this what you signed up for, John?
JOHN JAY LAVALLE, DONALD TRUMP CONVENTION DELEGATE & REGIONAL VICE CHAIR, NEW YORK REPUBLICAN STATE COMMITTEE: I disagree with this. I think he's going to gain more and more support. I'm watching Republican enrollment bounce off the charts. Donald Trump has taken very positions about immigration. And as a result of that --
BOLDUAN: But on this one -- on this issue, do you think a Muslim judge is not capable of fairly presiding over a case involving Donald Trump?
LAVALLE: I think a Muslim judge would be, but the question becomes for the judiciary, even if there's an appearance of an impropriety, an appearance of a conflict of interest, and because he's running for president of the United States, because the judge is appointed by President Barack Obama, who he has been extremely critical of --
BOLDUAN: So has a lot of people.
BOLDUAN: And they still have judges presiding over their cases.
LAVALLE: But giving the appearance of a conflict of interest or any kind of bias, the judge should step back.
CHRISTINE QUINN, HILLARY CLINTON SUPPORTER & FORMER NEW YORK CITY COUNCIL SPEAKER: That's ridiculous.
LAVALLE: No, that's the law, by the way. That is judicial ethics.
QUINN: No. No. Stop it.
QUINN: No, no, no.
BOLDUAN: Hang on. Let Christine go.
QUINN: You are saying the appearance is someone's religion. The appearance-- no, you talked, now you're going to be quiet.
The appearance is their religion their appearance is their heritage. That is not judicial ethics, and if you go on your line of thinking, Donald Trump had a huge spat with the pope. Are Catholics next? There's a whole bunch of women who feel they have been maligned by Donald Trump. Are female judges left? Who is left in your line of thinking? Republican, white, male judges? That's not America. And I don't believe you're seeing your registries grow after not only saying, not only doubling, but now tripling down on an un-American view that would say anyone whose grandparents who came here, anyone who is a Muslim can't be an independent member of the judiciary. That is not the balance of powers our founding fathers had, and it is downright racist and un-American and disgusting.
LAVALLE: That is not what's being said? QUINN: What is he saying?
LAVALLE: The judge's involvement in La Raza, for instance, is an organization that is --
BOLDUAN: He is not involved with La Raza.
LAVALLE: Not anymore.
BOLDUAN: It's a different organization. It is a lawyers association.
BOLDUAN: It is different.
LAVALLE: But their positions clearly show what they're about.
LAVALLE: Donald Trump is not -- at the end of the day, Donald Trump is not a racist.
BERMAN: Hang on, John. Hang on. Hang on.
BOLDUAN: Let's use a John Berman line for a second. Not as someone who is let's say a supporter of Donald Trump, as a human being, as an American, you are comfortable having him say that an American citizen who is -- happens to be a judge, cannot preside over his case. You are comfortable as a human, an American --
LAVALLE: No, no --
BOLDUAN: That is Muslim judge cannot preside over a case --
LAVALLE: No --
BOLDUAN: That's what he said.
LAVALLE: He's running for president of the United States of America. The judge was appointed by Barack Obama. Donald Trump has been very critical of Barack Obama. It's clear that, you know, there's a little bit of a conflict here. I'm not speaking --
(CROSSTALK) BOLDUAN: Is there clearly a conflict? I don't think there is clearly a conflict.
QUINN: There is no Muslim judge hearing a case.
LAVALLE: No, we're talking about this particular judge.
QUINN: No, we're talking about both. We're talking about both.
LAVALLE: He said could there be, and he said yes.
SHERIDAN: -- the number of potential V.P. candidates that would actually take this job. Every day that he says something like this, fewer and fewer serious people will consider being --
SHERIDAN: -- on that ticket.
BERMAN: Let me follow up on that line of thought. One of the most interesting aspects of this is, what does the Republican Party do? The Republican Party leadership and people involved right now? Because what kind of position is Paul Ryan in right now? Either he's got to explain why this isn't racist and exclusionary based on religion and ethnicity --
BOLDUAN: Or the latter.
BERMAN: -- or --
SHERIDAN: Look what happened last week. Nobody has defended Donald Trump's attacks on this judge. Nobody has defended him on a number of things he's gone out there way out on a limb on.
BOLDUAN: Kevin, don't you think there is a singular question that those who have endorsed Donald Trump face right now. Is what he is saying racist? If not --
LAVALLE: I think --
BOLDUAN: -- explain it. If it is --
BERMAN: How can you support a guy who is racist?
BOLDUAN: How can you support a guy who is racist?
QUINN: The answer to that came clearly yesterday on television --
LAVALLE: He is not a racist.
QUINN: -- from Mitch McConnell where he said -- the question was something to the effect of how can the party of Lincoln support a man who is acting in a race this way? And he said the party of Lincoln wants to win the White House.
BOLDUAN: They're not answering the question.
[11:10:05] QUINN: But we're seeing a dangerous candidate, a dangerous candidate being supported by desperate elected officials who will put their quest for the White House ahead of American values and ahead of speaking out against racism, and that only creates, I believe, a frightening underpinning that could elevate the dangerous nature of Donald Trump.
SHERIDAN: They did speak out against it.
QUINN: But not against his candidacy.
LAVALLE: What Donald Trump is concerned about is the way he feels he's been treated throughout the course of this case. We're not talking about there's 10,000 affidavits before this judge talking about what a great course it is. The judge releases information and then un-releases it the same day. You can't un-release information.
LAVALLE: No. It's because he made an error.
QUINN: Then why --
SHERIDAN: Why attack his heritage?
LAVALLE: He's wondering, why is he being mistreated. That's a fair question. He's not a racist. It's that simple. QUINN: No, but if he is concerned for whatever reasons about the
ethics or impartiality of this judge, which you have a right to be for fair reasons, but let's say any reasons he has, then why haven't his lawyers moved to have this judge taken off the case? They haven't done it --
BOLDUAN: Very important question.
QUINN: -- because there is no judicial reason.
LAVALLE: There's a lot more reasons that go into those legal matters.
QUINN: Then why haven't done it?
LAVALLE: I'm an attorney. I understand --
QUINN: Then why --
LAVALLE: Maybe they're contemplating right now. But this case has been going on for three years. It should have ended on summary judgment.
LAVALLE: The first judge left the case. This is a new judge. Now you got to start all over again with a third judge.
BOLDUAN: Where this conversation is, though, right now, is this where you want the political conversation to be around your candidate? Not litigating --
LAVALLE: This is what the media is doing. They don't want to talk about the economy. The economy is failing.
BERMAN: Hold on.
QUINN: Donald Trump started and amplified it.
LAVALLE: While that's true, you're harping on one issue --
BERMAN: No, no, no, no.
LAVALLE: He talks about a lot of things.
BERMAN: First of all, Donald Trump said it, John. You're --
BERMAN: He did say it. He said it repeatedly.
QUINN: And he said it over again.
BERMAN: That's an indisputable fact.
BOLDUAN: He should be held to account for all things he says.
BERMAN: Kevin, Kevin, what I want to know is this. In your party, do people who have moved towards Donald Trump right now, do you think it's imperative and important for them to start moving away from Donald Trump, not just condemn these remarks --
SHERIDAN: I don't know how close they ever were. They said they are not going to oppose the nominee --
BOLDUAN: Does this cross the line? Does this cross a line that had not yet been crossed?
SHERIDAN: We'll have to see how he continues to campaign. If he continues to make these kinds of statements, yeah, I think it's going to be really hard to continue to support him. But, look, he's got the opportunity to unite the party. He's had the opportunity for the last several weeks. What he's been doing has just focused on his own Trump University case when he should be focused on Hillary Clinton and the I.G. findings and the Hillary Clinton Foundation -- or the Clinton Foundation, and all the corruption that goes on there. We're not talking about that because we're talking about Donald Trump's attacks on a judge for his heritage.
QUINN: But we're not talking about that because, yet again, America sees that the person Donald Trump cares about is not the average American. It is himself and his own ability to move forward.
BOLDUAN: Is there a risk -- this is, in the purely political sense, this is a fun day for Democrats. This is a fun day for Democrats to be able to just say look at the mess that is on the Republican side. But it is proof yet again that Donald Trump is controlling the conversation. Does that concern you though?
QUINN: Well --
BOLDUAN: That Hillary Clinton is not controlling the conversation. QUINN: This is a conversation that I really believe if Donald Trump
and his supporters were to be honest, they would admit they don't want to be having. He may have started this conversation but attacking a judge, a judge who has overseen prosecutions of the Mexican cartel, has been on the Mexican cartel kill list for his prosecution, a conversation about a man of such bravery and stature, not being able to oversee a case about Trump University because he is of Mexican origin, that's not a conversation you want to be leading if you're running to be the head of the free world and the head of the United States of America, a place built by immigrants. You don't want that.
BERMAN: Guys, I appreciate all of your passion. I appreciate you joining us for a full 14 minutes on this subject. Interesting, interesting discussion.
BERMAN: Appreciate it, guys.
BOLDUAN: John just got started.
BERMAN: One of Donald Trump's former rivals speaking out against Trump's attacks on the judge. We'll tell you what John Kasich now says Trump needs to do.
BOLDUAN: Plus, Bernie Sanders says if the media declares Hillary Clinton the nominee tomorrow, he says he's taking it all the way to the convention. He said there's going to be a contested convention. We'll talk to CNN's political director, David Chalian, about the map and what tomorrow means.
[11:15:00] BERMAN: And a surprising development moments ago in the trial of one of the Baltimore officers involved in the death of Freddie Gray. Hear what he has chosen to do in terms of who will hear this case.
BOLDUAN: Are we looking at the finish line this morning in the Democratic race? Hillary Clinton is shouting from the rooftops, yes, absolutely. Bernie Sanders, with his legions of fans, though, saying not so, when you add the numbers. She is on the eve of clinching the Democratic nomination when you put super delegates and pledged delegates together and she is likely to hit that magic delegate total of 2,383 tomorrow when six states vote.
BERMAN: Bernie Sanders, though, on his own rooftop right now shouting likewise. He says he will take California and take this fight to the convention.
We want to bring in CNN's political director, David Chalian, right now.
And, David, it's an interesting question, correct? Bernie Sanders says don't listen to the networks, and he's putting us in this group. CNN, tomorrow night, do not listen to us when, tomorrow night, anyone says that Hillary Clinton has the delegates she needs to clinch the nomination.
What happens tomorrow night, David, when we start getting results from New Jersey and you add those delegates with the super delegates, who have told us they're going to support Clinton, what will Hillary Clinton then be called? What is she then tomorrow night?
[11:20:14] DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Well, when she crosses that 2,383 delegate threshold, she will have earned enough delegate support to be the presumptive Democratic nominee. You just raised an important point, you said combined with the delegates she will get from New Jersey let's say early in the evening along with what super delegates have told us you said, and that's a key factor because this is the Sanders' campaign argument. They are asking news organizes to ignore their own reporting of super delegate support stands. We've had a team of people for this entire year tracking all the super delegates, asking them have they publicly supported a candidate, where do they stand. And we report -- that's our unilateral reporting. And we report as we go along where that stands. Why I'm not sure we would just ignore that reporting. What the Sanders' argument has correct, those super delegates, officially, ballot on the convention floor in Philadelphia. By the way, that's true of pledged delegates also, who are bound through these primary and caucus results, but they're saying they shouldn't be counted until they actually cast their ballot. But what news organizations are saying is we've reported out where these super delegates stand and they're 15 percent of the total delegate universe, and by the way, neither Senator Sanders or Secretary Clinton can get the nomination without super delegates just like Barack Obama needed them eight years ago.
BOLDUAN: David, that reinforces everything you're saying, the strange and potentially awkward position after the votes tomorrow. Come June 8th, you've got Bernie Sanders still saying I am in this race. This is a contested convention. No, she is not the presumptive nominee. But everyone else saying that's not so. What happens June 8th?
CHALIAN: Well, what happens June 8th, if, indeed, Secretary Clinton does cross the threshold tomorrow night, as everybody expects she will, you know, you will start to see, no doubt, the Clinton campaign get much more forceful in their attempt to consolidate all the Democratic support. We saw what happened with Donald Trump after he was able to consolidate Republican support. His numbers went up in the polls. He was able to get a lot of the party behind him. And now Secretary Clinton is going to aim to do that, too. We'll see how much President Obama wants to get involved in this process after that moment happens where she crosses the threshold.
But, guys, it's not that the Sanders' campaign is without merit here to say we want to make an argument to the super delegates. They can make that argument to super delegates. They are free agents. And I would imagine CNN and other networks and the Associated Press and everyone else would consider it a really big story that we would cover and report out if we saw super delegates flooding to Bernie Sanders and somehow Hillary Clinton drops down below the threshold. I bet we would report that pretty loudly and forcefully.
BERMAN: And probably stop calling her the presumptive nominee if that were the case.
CHALIAN: Stop calling her the presumptive nominee. Exactly.
BERMAN: Actually, we wouldn't presume anymore at that point.
BOLDUAN: Both a key race alert and a major projection all in one.
CHALIAN: Yeah, thank you.
Coming up, to discuss this further -- he's got a very tough job tomorrow. Coming up to discuss this further, we're joined by Democratic pollster, Margie Omero, a PSB research executive and co host of "The Pollsters" podcast; and Hillary Clinton supporter, Christine Quinn, back with us as well.
So after all that, Margie, you're the pollster, what happens tomorrow?
MARGIE OMERO, DEMOCRATIC POLLSTER & PSB RESEARCH EXECUTIVE & CO HOST, THE POLLSTERS PODCAST: Well, I think there's a difference between a forecast and the official call, right? So we can say she looks like she's going to be the nominee based on good, solid reporting across networks in terms of where super delegates are. I think ultimately what's going to happen on Wednesday may not be that different from what happened today or tomorrow. You're still going to have Sanders voters who are energized. You're still going to have Clinton have all the clear advantages she has today, she will still have those on Wednesday really no matter what happens, and I think that's going to happen whether you have a Clinton win, which is what's expected in California or if you have a Sanders win or if you have something really unsatisfyingly close between to of them. Ultimately, what happens next is not really different from what we can see from today.
BERMAN: There's a lot of interesting pressure on Hillary Clinton, on Bernie Sanders, and also on another guy not in the race, and that's President Barack Obama. "The New York Times" a few minutes ago put out a story that says he's itching, Christine, to get in this race. He's itching to endorse, and co-officially endorse or officially say officially Hillary Clinton is the presumptive nominee as early as this week. How would that change the dynamic?
[11:25:02] QUINN: He obviously could do that come Wednesday, and I believe very strongly and clearly that the numbers don't lie in things like this. And the numbers are pretty clear today and they will be even clearer on Wednesday that Hillary Clinton is the Democratic nominee.
BERMAN: Should the president say, yes, it's her, it's over.
QUINN: I think what we want to make sure is Senator Sanders is allowed to move forward to the degree he wants and allowed to step out of the race in a way that is respectful to him and gives him the greatest amount of dignity in this process because he is a tremendous leader in this country. He's done a lot in this race to elevate and amplify issues.
BOLDUAN: So will this help that or hurt that?
QUINN: I think anything like that that might be done by the president, -- and he knows this much better, doesn't need me to tell him -- would have to be done in a way that was in consultation with both races and, again, was respectful and dignified as it relates to Senator Sanders.
Now, the numbers are what they are. Come Wednesday, she will have gotten well over, notwithstanding the enthusiasm for Senator Sanders, Secretary Clinton will have gotten well over three million more votes than he did. She will have far more pledged delegates, and as has been reported, the support of the vast majority of super delegates. Those are numbers that are not really changeable.
BERMAN: Margie, are we putting the cart before the horse here? Let's forget everything we just discussed. And I think the horse in this case is California we decided.
BOLDUAN: I think we decided that.
OMERO: What's New Jersey then?
QUINN: A donkey.
BERMAN: But if Bernie Sanders --
BERMAN: -- somehow wins California by two, three, four, five points, it doesn't change the delegate math. Hillary Clinton still gets there, but does it change the dynamic of this discussion?
OMERO: You know, I'm not sure. I think there's this myth that Democrats are in a disarray, we're all fighting, we're not unified, you know, we're somehow squabbling in some kind of big family feud. It's really not like that. That's not what the data shows. If you look at the California polls, 90 percent of Sanders voters say they're voting for Sanders, not against Clinton. The same is true for Clinton voters. They're voting for Clinton, not against Sanders. Democrats are more unified now than polls at this time in 2008 and they're more unified clearly than Republicans. You have Trump, he waltzed into his nomination and he's more damaged than any Republican nominee has been. He's the least popular Republican nominee among Republicans in modern times.
BERMAN: But Hillary Clinton --
BERMAN: -- isn't exactly through the roof.
OMERO: With Republicans.
BOLDUAN: In his own party.
OMERO: With his own party. So he emerged from a very successful nomination fight for him. He won a lot of states. He didn't have people, you know, competing with him all the way to the end. And, yet he's still unpopular with his own party relative to other past nominees.
BOLDUAN: We'll see. We've got tomorrow.
OMERO: That's right.
BOLDUAN: And don't forget about New Jersey.
BERMAN: Don't forget about New Jersey. And I hope New Jersey heard what Christine Quinn just called you. Tweet her.
BERMAN: So Donald Trump promised to pivot, he promised to tone it down, but since becoming the presumptive nominee, that hasn't happened. What does that mean for the party in November, let alone today?
BOLDUAN: Moments from now, a new update on Tropical Storm Colin, which is threatening and heading towards Florida. The threat, what's the latest track? We'll have the update coming up.