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THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER
Explosion Rocks Afghan Capital; New York Primary Matters For First Time In Decades; Billions Of Cicadas To Emerge In Northeastern U.S. Aired 4:30-5p ET
Aired April 19, 2016 - 16:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
IVANKA TRUMP, DAUGHTER OF DONALD TRUMP: Hi, Mississippi.
I'm Ivanka Trump. And I'm very excited for March 8. That's the date that the Republican primary is coming to your state. Please get out and support us. Let's make America great again together. We appreciate your support. Your enthusiasm has been amazing. Let's translate that into your vote.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: Welcome back to this special edition of THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.
That was Donald Trump's daughter, Ivanka, encouraging Mississippi Republicans to vote for Donald Trump in their primary last month. In a strange twist, she and her brother Eric are not able to vote for their father in today's New York primary. They're registered independents and they missed the deadline to register as Republicans.
The polls are open until 9:00 p.m. Eastern here in New York.
CNN Brynn Gingras is at a polling place in Brooklyn.
Brynn, thanks for joining us.
This is the first time in a while that New York's primary is key to the presidential race on both sides. Turnout is so important. What are you seeing?
BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jake, yes, and the excitement is really building here, because a lot of voters know exactly what you just said right there, and the numbers are backing it up.
At this particular polling station, at Borough Hall in Brooklyn, where we are, we know that 1,958 people have voted so far. And just to break down those numbers even more, 1,841 for the Democrat side and 117 for Republicans, so certainly a lot of Democrats here coming to Brooklyn, which we know has been the epicenter of that race, and casting their ballot.
I also want to point out these voting booths. They have actually added more of these booths to this area here where people can vote, because they're anticipating the crowds to even get bigger after people get out of work and they can head here and actually cast their ballot.
This is typically where we were seeing those long crowds -- or long lines, rather, in the morning and probably again later tonight. As you said, polls close at 9:00. Again, a lot of excitement here in Brooklyn, we know. Again, it's been the epicenter for this Democratic race at least.
And that's because, of course, Bernie Sanders calls this -- this is his hometown. He had a big rally back in Prospect Park. Hillary Clinton has also used Brooklyn as her backdrop to gain voters as well, Jake.
TAPPER: All right, thanks, Brynn. Appreciate it.
As New Yorkers head to the polls today, Donald Trump is picking up an endorsement from a man revered by a lot of Republicans in the state, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who joins me now live in studio.
Mr. Mayor, thanks for joining us.
RUDY GIULIANI (R), FORMER MAYOR OF NEW YORK: How are you, Jake?
TAPPER: So, you voted.
GIULIANI: I voted. I voted early.
GIULIANI: Only one time. For Donald Trump.
TAPPER: And have you always been a Trump supporter, or did you wait for the field to narrow before...
GIULIANI: I waited for the field to narrow. First of all, I'm a close personal friend of Donald's for 25 years. So, there's a personal friendship involved in it as well.
But I really didn't make the choice to support him until about two weeks ago. And I said I supported him, but I don't endorse him, because I'm not part of the campaign. And nobody seems to pick up that distinction.
TAPPER: Right. So, now you're endorsing him?
GIULIANI: If you want to interpret it as an endorsement, you can.
To me, an endorsement is if you're part of the campaign, if you're speaking for the campaign, if you're surrogating for the campaign. I'm not doing any of that. But I'm supporting him and I'm urging people to vote for him.
TAPPER: As somebody who has known him for decades, are you surprised that he's the Republican front-runner? I don't know how you wouldn't be.
GIULIANI: Well, sure. I'm not surprised as of two months ago, but I'm surprised as of six months ago or eight months ago, of course, just like everyone else.
I wouldn't be surprised if Donald isn't surprised.
TAPPER: So, I guess one of the questions I have is, you have and he are very different in a lot of ways. You're similar in some ways, but different.
I can't imagine you taking some of the positions that he has taken, for instance, on banning temporarily Muslims from entering the United States, et cetera.
GIULIANI: Right. I disagree with that.
TAPPER: Do issues like that -- did they hold you back at all? Did they...
GIULIANI: A little bit.
But I worked for Ronald Reagan. And Ronald Reagan had a theory. The theory was, if you agree eight out of 10 times, that's about as good as you're going to get in any candidate. And I agree with him more than any of the other candidates in the field.
So, take the two Democrats out. They're out.
GIULIANI: And I agree with Donald more than I do with Cruz. And Kasich, actually, isn't even a candidate.
TAPPER: You don't think he's a candidate?
GIULIANI: Well, he's not if they stick by the rules.
If Priebus says you can't change the rules, then Kasich can't even be a candidate.
TAPPER: Because it's mathematically impossible for him to win before the convention?
GIULIANI: No, no, you have to have won, what, is it five or eight primaries.
TAPPER: Eight primaries, yes.
GIULIANI: He's only won one.
TAPPER: Do you think he should drop out?
GIULIANI: Well, I don't know if he should drop out. But he's not going to be -- not only is he mathematically eliminated. He's legally eliminated, according to the rules of the convention.
And Reince Priebus is treating these rules as if they're the 10 Commandments. And I can't see him changing the rule for Kasich, but then not changing the rule for Trump.
TAPPER: What do you make of what kind of general election candidate he'd be? You have seen his high negative, his disapproval ratings, although in the last couple of weeks he's been very restrained.
GIULIANI: Well, I think that they're changing a bit. There's an interesting poll that someone misinterpreted.
I said earlier today -- I think it was on -- with Chris Cuomo -- that 65 to 70 percent of Republicans believe that the person who has the most votes at the convention, whether it's a majority or not, should be the candidate. I didn't say that 65 percent to 70 percent want Trump as the candidate.
GIULIANI: But a lot of those 65 percent to 70 percent probably support somebody else.
But they see the fairness of the person with the most popular votes, if he gets really close, getting the nomination. And I think...
TAPPER: Even if his disapproval ratings are high, you think if he enters the convention with the most -- the highest number of delegates...
GIULIANI: This is what Republicans are telling us. If you poll them, they tell us, if somebody gets close, no matter who it is, give them the nomination, because the people have selected them, not the party bosses.
TAPPER: What do you think -- Trump said that there would be riots if...
GIULIANI: Well, there are not going to be riots. There's not going to be violence. There's not going to be anything else.
Be a lot debating, a lot of discussing. I think Trump will get to the majority number. I think he is going to do really well today, which is going to give him a lot of momentum going into Pennsylvania. Most of the states, not all, favor Trump that we see coming up. So, I think he's going to get to the number. And if he doesn't get to the number, he's going to get very, very
TAPPER: There are a number of Republicans who say they're not going to go to the convention, I guess, assuming that it's either going to be Trump or Cruz, for whom they don't have affection for either of them.
John McCain is the most recently one saying he's not going to the convention, he has his own campaigning to do. Are you going to go?
GIULIANI: Yes, I'm going to go.
TAPPER: And what do you think of the Republicans who are sending the signal that maybe...
GIULIANI: And if it's a candidate other than Donald, I will support the candidate other than Donald Trump.
The only other candidate other than Donald Trump is Senator Cruz. I told Senator Cruz that. I met Senator Cruz two or three months ago. I told him that I wouldn't be endorsing him, but if he were the candidate of the party, he'd have a very strong supporter in me.
TAPPER: Do you think that Donald Trump can win in November?
GIULIANI: I think he can.
And I think, between the two of them, he has the better chance of winning. Cruz is what we throw at them all the time, meaning a hard- right Republican. They know it. It's a fast ball down the middle of the plate, and Hillary Clinton has a playbook for hitting it out of the ballpark. She doesn't know what Donald Trump is going to throw at her.
TAPPER: None of us...
GIULIANI: I don't know what Donald Trump is going to throw at her.
GIULIANI: So, if I were her, I would rather run against a known, rather than the unknown.
And he has completely defied all the political experts this year. All of them. On the right, on the left, and in the middle.
TAPPER: Mr. Mayor, it always good to see you. Thank you so much.
Really appreciate it.
Coming up next, an explosion in Afghanistan's capital city of Kabul, the targets were government officials, but the victims mostly civilians. What does this mean for the U.S. military effort in the region? How could this impact the election? Stay with us.
TAPPER: Welcome back to a special edition of the lead.
Let's take a break from our politics lead and talk about our world lead, an explosion rocking Afghanistan's capital today, with the Taliban claiming responsibility for the attack that killed at least 28, mostly civilians.
Let's turn to CNN's Nick Paton Walsh.
Nick, thanks for joining us.
At least 28 people are dead, more than 300 wounded from this attack in Kabul. This is part of the Taliban's preannounced spring offensive?
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It seems like it. It is a common tactic, Jake, for them to penetrate into what many people in Kabul consider to be the ring of steel that surrounds the government-controlled capital.
This attack cynically planned for the morning, actually, the first blast there using a suicide bomber in a truck, blowing up in a private parking lot where there were a lot of civilians going their way to work, going to school, that parking lot annexed onto the back of a compound where part of the security services have one of their headquarters.
This particular park, actually, bodyguards effectively responsible for looking after Afghan VIPs, that was the Taliban's target, a second assailant, using the blast, having blown a hole in the wall to get in, and then begin attacking inside there.
It seems to have taken a number of hours, in fact, for that second attacker to have been killed. Remarkable, though, 300 injured, Jake. Worth pausing on that number, 300 lives
[16:45:00] changed to some degree today. A blast so powerful, in fact, it shook many people blocks away.
TAPPER: So what can you tell us about the individuals who were killed and wounded? Were they Afghan VIPs?
WALSH: A lot of them appear to have been civilians, women and children. We don't have a precise breakdown of who the victims ended up being. The major concern is it adds to the civilian toll. The U.N. pointing finger to Taliban of being behind record number of casualties, 3,500 civilians killed last year in the violence.
I have to point out too, part of the reason we're seeing a slide in security in Afghanistan, Jake, is because Afghan security forces are being hit as hard as well. They last year lost 5,500 amongst their soldiers, police and other security centers. Number that's way more than the NATO campaign lost in its entire decade there. They are being hit very hard. That's affecting their training program, and that in turn affects their ability to hold territory from the Taliban, which now control more of Afghanistan than any time, say U.S. officials, since 2001 -- Jake.
TAPPER: All right, Nick Paton Walsh, thank you so much. Appreciate it.
Coming up next, frontrunners, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump looking to extend their leads with empire state victories this evening.
Plus we are minutes away from exit poll results in this critical New York state primary. Stay with us. We'll be right back.
TAPPER: Welcome back to a special edition of THE LEAD, live from New York. We are minutes from the first exit poll results here in the empire state. A state where at this point in the election cycle there's usually not much on the line, but that is not the case this year on either side of the aisle.
My panel is back with me now. Carl Bernstein, let me start with you. It could be pivotal for both Trump and Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.
CARL BERNSTEIN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: It sure is. The interesting thing, everybody keeps saying this is a bad campaign. I think this a campaign in which we've discovered America that we didn't know about and we are learning that the electorate is restive in a way that we never thought and we owe that because of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders.
Hillary Clinton has been pushed on the issues to somewhere she never wanted to go, way to the left. Meanwhile, every other Republican has been vanquished except for Ted Cruz. Trump can give Hillary Clinton a hell of a ride because of the way he conducts his campaign and he has defined the issues in terms of America is not working. People are responding to that message.
DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: I think -- let's go back to the question of margin. I think it matters a lot tonight. If she wins by more than ten points or so, I think Jennifer Granholm's point is actually on target and that is that he ought to pull back.
He's not going to win this, but he will have a price for his support. If he handles this in a more gracious way, so he's not driving up her negatives, then I think at the convention, he can debate and argue and negotiate for changes in the platform that will commit her more fully to the leftward position she'd rather not take. On the other hand, if he comes within five points and puts a scare into her, it's rock them, sock them from here. It's going to be a tough race in Pennsylvania. So a lot matters. A lot hinges on what the margin is.
TAPPER: Eight years ago, Maggie, let's put the number on the board, eight years ago, Hillary Clinton won 57 percent to Barack Obama's 40 percent. Does she need to match that? Does -- is that the number for her, 17 points, 57 percent, or is just a win a win.
MAGGIE HABERMAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I personally think that a win is a win. I think on either side if Trump clears 50 percent, does well in a majority of congressional districts that he's won and he's won well with delegates. The same is true on the Democratic side for this reason.
I think that, number one, one of most under covered stories of this primary has been the fact that Hillary Clinton was very popular in the state when she was a senator.
And she has in the time spent at the State Department, in the years since out of office, a lot of those ties that she had with voters have eroded and she's had to rebuild them from scratch.
I think that is a part of what you're going it see in terms of the change. She's very affiliated with a president who a lot of liberals feel disappointed in. But I also think that --
TAPPER: Which one are you talking about?
HABERMAN: But at the end of the day, I think that Bernie Sanders was going to keep going, regardless. I think that if she won by 20 points, he would keep going and that if she won by five points he was going to keep going.
He's resisted all calls until now. The math is what it is. It's not going to change. He raised $44 million, whatever it was. So I think he's going to keep going and I think that he is un-swayed by calls he should get out for politeness and help reshape the party. I don't think he's responding to that.
TAPPER: Ryan, what do you make of Donald Trump's continued complaining about the primary system on the Republican side and how it's rigged and not fair?
RYAN LIZZA, WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT, "THE NEW YORKER": I think actually to give him some credit, he has shined a light on the fact that our primary system is unusual, right? Every state has their own rules.
If you were designing a system from scratch today you would never design the system we have. It's for historic reasons and changes over the years. Mostly because every state gets design its own rules, that's why it's messed up.
Having said that, he's benefited more than anyone from the non- democratic small d nature of the Republican primary system. He's won 37 percent of the popular vote and he's about won 45 percent of the delegates.
That's not so bad. If he wanted a purely democratic system, he might not be doing so well.
TAPPER: All right, thank you to our esteemed panel. Some parts of the U.S. are getting some noisy visitors after chilling underground for nearly two decades. Cicadas are coming out of their shelves. They are ready to mingle. How many of them are coming? Where are they going? That's next.
TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper. Finally, in what we call our Buried Lead, we call it that, those are stories not getting enough attention, but in this case it's literal. Buried are coming alive.
If you're not northeastern part of the nation, you will be getting some noisy visitors next month, billions of them to be more exact. Cicadas are back.
After spending 17 years underground feasting on plant roots, three different species of cicadas, all grown up and ready to emerge looking for mates which means they will be louder and more annoying than ever.
Those breeding calls are among the loudest noises in the animal kingdom. If you live in Maryland, here in New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia or West Virginia, congratulations, you're going to have some of the best seats to the concert.
But it's not all bad. Some of us may think cicadas are annoying or creepy, perhaps. Some of us have private theories that they're actually aliens. But in some parts of the world they're considered to be good luck.
Be sure to follow me on Facebook and Twitter @jaketapper or tweet the show @theleadcnn. That's it for THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper. I'll be back at 8 p.m. for live coverage of New York primary results. Turning you over now to Wolf Blitzer and Anderson Cooper. They are in "THE SITUATION ROOM."