Return to Transcripts main page

CNN NEWSROOM

Fact Checking Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton's Speeches; Interview with Sen. Marco Rubio on Reelection; Interview with Sen. Jeff Flake on "No Fly, No Buy" Legislation. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired June 22, 2016 - 15:30   ET

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


[15:30:03] WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: That is a whopping number but let's look at how we've analyze it here at CNN. Between 2013 and 2015, she did indeed give about 92 speeches and her average fee, sometimes higher, sometimes lower, about $225,000. So, yeah, she made more than $21 million during that period of time for speeches. And yes, she has steadfastly refused to release the content of those speeches no matter how much pressure she is under. Donald Trump's claim about that was true.

Both candidate said plenty of things, some false, some true, some misleading, you could find out a lot more about all of it, Brooke, by going to our website cnn.com/realitycheck.

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Lad, we're checking both of these presumptive nominees. Thank you, my friend. And let's go straight to Capitol Hill, got some breaking news here.

A man, who would like to now hang on to his Senate seat there in the State of Florida. I have Manu Raju, our senior political reporter, standing by with Florida Senator Marco Rubio. Manu?

MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: Thank you, Brooke. I'm talking to Marco Rubio after making that decision saying he's going to run for re-election. On the campaign trail, you know, when you're running for president, you ended up missing a lot of Senate votes. In fact, in the September debate you said, "This is why I'm missing a lot of votes because I'm leaving the Senate. I'm not running for re- election." So, why do you deserve to be re-elected?

SEN. MARCO RUBIO, (R) FLORIDA: The next line is I was running for president. And when you run for president you miss votes. Bernie Sanders hasn't been here in nine months and everybody else's run, missed a lot of votes. I don't know if anyone who's been able to run for president authentically and legitimately enough and I didn't like it, but there other aspects to the job.

As far as, look, this was not a decision that I though I was going to make, I was ready to move forward. And when I was telling people up until 10 days ago was the truth, but I changed my mind. And I changed my mind, because number one, I never said I was perfect or I had every answer and when you're not perfect and you do not have every answer there'll come times when you'll change your mind. And number two is because I honestly believe that no matter who is elected president, we're going to need a Senate full of people willing to act as a check and balance on the excesses of the next president. And I think, given the state of this race, we're going to have a lot of that over the next few years unless the Democrats have the majority, then will give Hillary Clinton, if she were to win will get a blank check.

So, the issues are too great. I went back home to West Miami. We talked about it for a couple days over Father's Day weekend. And, well, and we had two paths to choose from, and one was a lot more comfortable, the risk of not running, the comfort that comes from being in the private sector, but we chose the opportunity to make a difference in service and I'm looking forward to the challenge. It'll be a tough race but I'm looking forward to it.

RAJU: So why do you choose to be re-elected after missing so much of the Senate's business?

RUBIO: Well, first of all, I'm proud of the thousands of people we've helped in Florida through our constituent service. I'm proud of the issues we've raised in my time here. I'm proud our legislative achievements quite frankly in a Senate, where not a lot have happened over the last four to five years up until about a year ago when I started moving on some things.

There's no one in this race that's better prepared, more capable and has shown a better ability to stand up to the excesses of whoever might win this race. If it's Hillary Clinton, it's clear. I disagree with her on virtually everything. If it's Donald Trump that is elected president, maybe I'll encourage him to pursue good policies. And if he offers policies we don't agree with, well, we'll have to oppose those, and I know I'll do that. My Democratic opponents are going to be a blank check for Hillary Clinton.

RAJU: Do you commit to serving six years, six full years if you are elected?

RUBIO: Well, I would not -- I'm not going to do any more of these, sort of, unequivocal pronunciations.

RAJU: But don't the voters of Florida deserve to know?

RUBIO: Here's what they're going to know. They were going to know that I'm coming back to be a Senator, I'm coming back fully committed to this job at least with as much passion as ever.

I'll tell you this, if my plan was to run for president in 2020, jumping into a race like this with all the political risks associated with it would not be the decision one would make. I'm fully prepared to have the U.S. Senate be the last political job that I ever have, and I just want to be the best Senator that I can possibly be for the people of Florida.

RAJU: So that means you're closing the door on 2020? RUBIO: All I'm telling you is if I were running for president in 2020, running, jumping into this race is probably not a decision most people would advise. I'm coming back to be a U. S. Senator and to give my time and energy to ensuring that we have a Senate that can act as a check and balance on whoever is elected president

RAJU: You mentioned your legislative for accomplishments and one of the things that you're criticized for is immigration. Where does that rank in your career here, your first term in the Senate? You tried to cut a deal and then you abandoned it.

RUBIO: Well, it's not that we abandoned it. It couldn't pass. And so, one of the things that common sense tells you, whether it's in life or in this process is, if your goal is to actually get something done you may have to change it in order to get something done. It's going to happen everyday here.

In order to achieve a result -- if what you want is a talking point, sure. You just put something out there. But if you want to achieve a result and actual answer you're going to have to take into account the opinion of 99 other Senators and 435 members of the House and a president that will sign it and that bill as it was written could not pass. It has less votes today than it did three years ago.

I remain committed to the idea that we have to address this issue. I don't believe, in fact, I now know for a fact that we cannot do it in one master piece of legislation. There is a path forward on immigration, but it can't be in one massive piece of legislation. We tried it, we don't have the support for it, and as a result nothing has happened for three years after.

[15:35:16] RAJU: Now in your statement today, you said that Trump's presidency is still worrisome, that -- those are your words. But will you still vote for him in November?

RUBIO: Yeah. It's a choice between someone who I disagree with on a lot of things and someone who I disagree with on everything. And it's not the choice I wanted, I ran for president, and it's not the choice a lot of people are comfortable with but it's a choice we have. What I do know is that no matter who wins that election, the Senate, under the constitution, has an important role to play and to act as a check and balance on the next president. And if I'm elected -- re-elected to the Senate, that's exactly where I'll be, even against the president in my own party.

RAJU: You suggested before you'd even speak at the convention on his behalf. Would you do that?

RUBIO: Well, I don't think I answered that question the way I wanted to, unfortunately. What I meant to say is and I've said it since is, I'll speak at any Republican gathering but it'll be about the things I believe in. I'm not going to change the things I believe in to fit into someone else's message, and I respect that, and that's probably why I probably wouldn't be asked to speak at the convention.

RAJU: Are you going to go to the convention? RUBIO: Well, I'll have to re-examine that now that I have a campaign to run in Florida, and I have spent a lot more time there and a lot less time now. I have a lot less free time.

RAJU: Do you feel any better about Trump's candidacy after he fired his campaign manager, give a speech criticizing Hillary Clinton today?

RUBIO: Well, I didn't see the speech. I'm not aware of the internal workings of the campaign. I'm not involved with the campaign. So, I don't have to answer for that part of it.

I can ultimately tell you that my view over this, yes. It's interesting what's happening now that these campaigns are going to take a lot of twists and turns. I continue to be hopeful that on some of these key issues that we can move Donald and some of them and -- in a way that I think more reflects what I hope our country will be about. In the end, he's going to make his decision about what he stands for. If he's elected president and I'm re-elected to the Senate, when he has good ideas I'll support him and when he has bad ideas, we'll act as a check and balance to stop him.

RAJU: And polls are showing actually he is struggling in Florida, but you are doing well. To win, do you have to separate yourself from Donald Trump?

RUBIO: No, I think in order to win I have to tell people what I'm going to do in the Senate. The Senate and the presidency are two separate branches of government. The role of a Senator is not to rubberstamp the decisions of a president, even a president of your own party. The role of a Senator is to protect your state and act in the best interest of your people, of your state, and ultimately of the country. That's what I intend to do.

As I said, obviously, traditionally anyways, a Republican will have more in common with a Republican nominee. In this case, we have a situation where I do disagree on a lot of issues with Donald. I disagree with everything on -- with Hillary. So, for voters, I know that's a harder choice for me. I'm running for Senate, and I'm coming back here and we're going to be a check and balance on whatever happens in the state.

RAJU: Are you concerned, I mean, in 2010 you had a three-person race, and you look -- the last time there was a vote in Florida in March, you lost pretty overwhelmingly to Donald Trump. Are voters falling out of favor with you?

RUBIO: Well, we're going to find out. I mean, we're going to have a campaign. That's why you run a campaign and you talk to voters and you tell them what you want to do and they make that decision.

I have no illusions that this is going to be easy. I didn't get into this thinking this was an easy race. This is a tough race, well- funded on both sides, and one of the most competitive states in the country and a very unusual presidential cycle. I'm fully aware of that, and of the political risks associated with it. But I felt it was a risk worth taking in exchange for the opportunity to try to make a difference. And if it doesn't work out, just wasn't meant to be, it was God's plan ...

RAJU: I mean that's what Democrats are saying. They said they're going to put a lot of money and time and effort in this place because if you lose twice in one year, your political career will be over. Did that cross your mind, and do you agree were that assumption?

RUBIO: A little bit but I told you this wasn't a political decision. If I wanted to be president in 2020 you wouldn't get into this. You know, I wouldn't be something else to motivate you to do it. That's OK.

I want to serve. I'm going to work hard to be re-elected. And if it works out, I'll do it with honor. I'll do with it with a lot of hard work and with enthusiasm. And that's the direction I think it will end up. And if it doesn't, my kids will still love me and so will my wife and we'll go back and continue to live our lives in the greatest country in the world. But we're going to win.

RAJU: Who ultimately prevails on you? I know there's a lot of pressure from Republican.

RUBIO: There's no pressure. None, zero. I mean, I understand what their preferences where and what people asking me to consider. But my decision had nothing to do anything, anybody in Washington said to me. My decision was made in West Miami Florida in between breaks of watching the NBA finals and pressure cleaning my driveway, and it was made between me and my wife with input from our children who are now old enough to have opinions but not votes, opinion.

RAJU: And they all wanted you to do it?

RUBIO: Well, I think my family has made their commitment that involves as a family to what public service means. And when you do that, you give up some things in exchange for others. And for us, it's the fulfillment of being able to make a difference. And I believe that I can make a difference, not just in this election but over the next six years here in the Senate. And if we're blessed with the opportunity to do it, that's what we wanted to do.

RAJU: It seemed like a difficult decision.

RUBIO: Well, it wasn't our plan. I mean, we were prepared to move into a different direction and were excited about many aspects of it and I was ready to be the defense coordinator of the Florida Christian School 6th Grade football team.

[15:40:05] RAJU: Not anymore?

RUBION: Well, I designed a pretty good defense, we'll see. But I think that still be OK. But, there were a lot of parts of that that I was really excited about. And so -- and yeah, we came off along in top presidential race. But, so it was difficult from that realm but in the end I know we made the right choice.

RAJU: OK. And last question.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're running out of time.

RAJU: Yeah, I know. Last question sir, will you -- if Donald Trump is going to spend a lot of time in Florida, will you campaign with him?

RUBIO: Yeah, I actually answer that had question before I even got in the race, you know. And not that I'm looking to undermine him, but I think the differences between us and some key issues are so significant that I just don't plan to campaign. I got to run my own race.

(CROSSTALK)

RUBIO: I have my -- yeah, I have my own identity. I have my own positions on issues. And I'm not going to be out there undermining him or anything of that nature because I don't want Hillary to win, but I really think I need to tell people what I'm going to do as a Senator as oppose to, kind of. And that was going to be the case irrespective of whether I ran.

RAJU: Well, thank you sir. Thanks, for talking with us. Brooke, back for you.

BALDWIN: OK. Manu Raju, thank you. Senator Rubio, thank you as well. Let me just run through some of the highlights and maybe we can get Manu back in a second.

First of all, we now know that he says, yes, he'd like to hang on to his Senate seat. Marco Rubio saying that he made that decision between talking to his family, pressure washing his driveway and watching the NBA finals, so there's that.

A couple of key questions Manu ask him, one, you heard this blank check line over and over if Hillary Clinton is elected, would he, won't he run in 2020? Obviously, it's way too early, but he sort of hedged on that one.

Manu, I know we have you back, I'm just running through some of your highlights. So you tried, you know, getting, you know, nailing him down on 2020 run, sort of evaded that, you know, your notion that if he loses twice in a year he could be toast politically. He's willing to -- it sounds like take that risk.

And he wouldn't be willing, I mean, you tell me what you thought of his response, when you asked him whether or not he'd speak at the convention in Cleveland. It sounded to me that was a yes, because you said as long as he's speaking about his own values that has remained steady all along.

RAJU: Yeah, that's right. And it was interesting because remember when he talked to our colleague, Jake Tapper, about this, he signaled that he would be willing to talk at the convention but he want to, sort of, clean that up here and said that, "You know, I was only talking about whether, you know, I only talk about my own views, my own preferences going forward."

But on that 2020 question ...

BALDWIN: Yeah.

RAJU: ... it's interesting because he sort of -- - he didn't shut the door but he almost completely shut the door. He said that, "Look, if it was plan I would not run for re-election," a real sign that, you know, maybe he doesn't think that running for president is in his future. I mean, of course he could be saying that but he said the Senate office could be, "is to be my last political office that I hold."

Pretty interesting stuff there, also, recognizing the challenges of running with Trump at the top of the ticket, saying that he probably is not going to campaign with Donald Trump. Was that, you know, who's going to run his own campaign, try to picture why he deserves to be re-elected. But also saying he's not going to undermine Donald Trump because he knows that Donald Trump won by a very, very big margin.

I think he recognizes, Brooke, this is going to be a very tough race, because Democrats are going to put a lot of money into it. Because, you know, as we discussed, if he loses twice in one year he could be tossed politically and Democrats recognize that.

BALDWIN: Well, on that final note though, the final question you asked about whether or not he would, you know, campaign with Donald Trump in Florida. I mean, Donald Trump will be zigzagging through Florida, we know, in the coming months. And how significant is that, that he almost didn't -- he trailed off. He didn't totally finish his sentence. He's like, "I don't plan to. I'm running my own race." I'm mean that is definitely a no.

RAJU: Yeah, it sounded like a no. I mean, I guess things could always change because when you plan something that as we know, Marco Rubio didn't plan, Marco Rubio didn't plan to run for re-election. And he is right now.

BALDWIN: Right.

RAJU: So, perhaps that could change down the line. But he is, you know, clearly recognizes that Donald Trump alienates a lot of folks, and that Quinnipiac poll from this week is significant. Donald Trump is losing by seven points or so to Hillary Clinton in Florida, and Marco Rubio is winning by seven points or so in Florida. He does need to create some distance in order to win re-election.

BALDWIN: Manu Raju, great, great interview. Thank you so much with Senator Marco Rubio.

RAJU: Thanks, Brooke.

BALDWIN: Coming up -- thank you. Coming up next with Democrats holding a sit-in right now on the House floor demanding this vote on a gun bill, we'll talk with a Republican from the Senate.

We've got Senator Jeff Flake standing by who is part of that bipartisan gun bill on the Senate side, cosponsoring that piece of legislation. Why he believes this is unlike many others before and why he says it does have a chance to pass. We'll talk to him.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[15:47:49] BALDWIN: All right, and we're back. You're watching CNN, I'm Brooke Baldwin.

No fly, no buy, legislation that would keep suspected terrorists from being able to buy guns did not pass this week. The Senate failing to pass any of the four proposed gun control measures, but now there is a new. There is a bipartisan compromise that is coming to life.

Arizona Senator Jeff Flake joins me now from Washington, one of the Senators getting behind this "No Fly, No Buy" bill being introduced by a Republican Senator from the State of Maine, Susan Collins.

Senator Flake, thank you so much for joining me.

SEN. JEFF FLAKE, (R) ARIZONA: Thanks for having me.

BALDWIN: All right. Before we talk about your side of the chamber just quickly the sit-in being staged by House Dems, thoughts?

FLAKE: Well, that's interesting to see. I was in the House for 12 years and never saw anything like that, so, anyway, that's new.

BALDWIN: OK. It is new. I don't know if anything will come of it. They're asking, obviously, Speaker Ryan for an up-down vote. On your side, how likely is it that you think this piece of legislation that you've helped cosponsor will pass?

FLAKE: I think we've got a great shot. This is the first piece of legislation on these issues here on the terrorism/gun issue that was actually designed to pass, not designed just to put the other party on notice or put them in a different position. And so, this was started on a bipartisan basis. We've looked, grow that in the last couple of days, and we've got a good bill.

It's one that narrows down the list rather than the watch list that contains over a million people. This is the No Fly List and the so- called Selectee List, so it's a narrower list with due process protections, so Second Amendment protections are there. And I think it can pass.

BALDWIN: Many of your Republican colleagues just say you're wrong. How do you politely disagree with them?

FLAKE: I think if you are too dangerous to put on a plane, then you're too dangerous to allow to purchase a weapon, and the "No Fly, No Buy." I think that that's just common sense to people out there as long as you have good due process protections, so if somebody is suspected of having links to terrorism, then they have a way to force the government then the presumption will be on government here not the individual that's to prove that there is a link to terrorism.

[15:50:10] And if the individual prevails and then the government actually pays the attorney cost as well, so they're good due process protections here and somebody who shouldn't board a plane probably shouldn't buy a weapon as well.

BALDWIN: The NRA says otherwise. I mean, just explain to all of us how profound the NRA influence is on members of Congress.

FLAKE: Well, I can tell you we started this process not consulting with outside groups. We say what makes sense, what is good common sense legislation that protects Second Amendment rights, that's important to all of us. But also would have made a difference in this latest shooting.

BALDWIN: Right.

FLAKE: And we all know that this shooter in Florida was once on one of the lists of the Selectee List and was off but this legislation has a look-back provision. So if this legislation had been in place the FBI would have been notified, I'm sorry, that he tried to purchase a weapon.

BALDWIN: I hear you loud and clear that this is, you know, common sense, but also on Orlando, you know, separately, I'm just curious, your perspective since we're talking about guns, you know, he used this AR-15 assault rifle. This appears to be the, you know, the weapon of choice, sadly, for a lot of these mass murders, you know, capable of firing rounds and rounds and rounds of ammunition. Would you be in favor of banning those types of weapons from civilian use?

FLAKE: No. Let's look at the individual. This is an individual who was inspired by terrorists overseas. He undertook this operation. We ought to look at him, not the weapon that he used.

BALDWIN: So that's a no.

FLAKE: But I can we can do that.

BALDWIN: Do you think civilians should be able to in this ...

FLAKE: No, I think that that's not the problem here. The problem is a sick individual and with the inability of our government to actually track and know when he was purchasing a weapon.

BALDWIN: Practically speaking, Senator Flake, what do regular civilians need assault rifles for?

FLAKE: I'm not going to get into -- I don't have one myself. I'm a gun owner but I don't have an assault-type weapon. But some people ...

BALDWIN: It's just part of the conversation. It's a fair question.

FLAKE: Right, yeah, and I -- but I'll leave it to those who have it to explain. But -- I don't have one, but I think that that's not the way to get at this problem. If we want to really get at this problem, we'll be doing something about tightening background checks for those who have mental issues. We've tried the mixed process. The states aren't communicating each other well. So, when individuals get on this list, it's not knowing to other law enforcement entities. We have a lot of things that we can do that we have pretty good agreement on, I hope that we can move forward on those issues. And in this case, I think we can move forward here on the principle that if you're too dangerous to put on a plane, then you shouldn't be buying a weapon.

BALDWIN: OK, Senator Jeff Flake, we'll be watching to see how this piece of legislation moves in the Senate. I thank you so much sir for your time. I appreciate it. It is an ...

FLAKE: Thank you.

BALDWIN: ... important conversation. Thank you.

And with a little over an hour, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan will sit down for an exclusive interview with Wolf Blitzer. Obviously, he will be asked about this sit-in on the House side among these Dems and about the speaker's support for Donald Trump.

Do not miss that interview with Wolf Blitzer, 5:00 Eastern in "The Situation Room." And we will be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[15:57:52] SEN. BERNIE SANDERS, (I-VT) DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It doesn't appears that I'm going to be the nominee, so I'm not going to be determining the scope of the convention. And, you know, as you know, a couple of weeks ago I had a meeting with Secretary Clinton. And ...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How did that go?

SANDERS: It was very good. I mean, look, I have known Secretary Clinton for 25 years. We served in the Senate together. You know, where we are right now is what we are trying to do which is no secret to anybody is, A, to create the most progressive platform of that we possibly kind of reflecting the needs of working families.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: Senator Sanders there speaking today at the C-SPAN. Let's go over to our Senior Washington Correspondent Jeff Zeleny who joins us now.

Significant, correct me, that is the first time we have heard Senator Sanders acknowledged he was not going to be the nominee.

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: It is, Brooke. He is acknowledging what really has become political reality here certainly for a couple of weeks that he, you know, fell up short. He certainly won 23 states and millions of votes but will not be the nominee.

So this is the, sort of, way that Bernie Sanders, a fixture of the Senate, decides to make this announcement in an interview on C-SPAN.

BALDWIN: C-SPAN.

ZELENY: But Brooke, he also is giving a speech tomorrow night in New York City, and the title is "Where we go from here." So "Where we go from here," I'm told by his aides is that he will, you know, campaign aggressively against Donald Trump. We'll see if he offers an endorsement for Hillary Clinton tomorrow night. He still has not yet done that, Brooke.

BALDWIN: All right, so we're going to listen for that. Quickly, 20 seconds, do we know what his role will be in Philadelphia at the convention?

ZELENY: I think his role will be to -- potentially, she would like him to introduce her and to actually do what Hillary Clinton did eight years ago for Barack Obama, put her name into nomination. That would activate all of his liberal supporters. We'll see if he agrees to that.

BALDWIN: She wants his supporters. We heard Donald Trump appealing to his supporters today as well, decisions, decisions ahead of November 8.

Jeff Zeleny, thank you very much. I appreciate it.

ZELENY: Thanks Brooke.

BALDWIN: There in Washington.

And thank you all for being with me so much. I'm Brooke Baldwin here in New York to Washington. And we go in my colleague, Jake Tapper, "THE LEAD," starts right now.