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AT THIS HOUR WITH BERMAN AND MICHAELA
Democratic Race Following Clinton N.Y. Win; Republicans Face Complicated Delegate System in Pennsylvania; Charges Filed in Flint Toxic Water Case. Aired 11:30a-12p ET
Aired April 20, 2016 - 11:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[11:30:14] JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: We just heard from a key Bernie Sanders strategist who told us they lost more delegates last night than they thought they would but they are pushing ahead. Hillary Clinton, meanwhile, is moving on to campaign in the states that vote next week.
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Let's break it down now. Back with us now, CNN's chief political correspondent, Dana Bash; and CNN political commentator, Errol Louis; CNN senior political correspondent, Brianna Keilar; and the former mayor of Philadelphia, Michael Nutter, a supporter of Hillary Clinton.
Guys, great to see you.
So, "We lost more delegates than we thought we would." An acknowledgement, a statement of reality, but what does that mean going forward, Errol, for Sanders?
ERROL LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Let's keep in mind, they said a couple of dozen times they were going to win the state.
BOLDUAN: That's right.
LOUIS: So they were expecting something big. What it means is that it's the end of a particular scenario they laid out. The scenario was one Michigan after another. In Michigan, they were 20 points behind, narrowly won, and they surprised everybody. They shocked everybody. Their plan, up until last night, was to do that in New York and do it again in Pennsylvania and do it again in Connecticut. That was their clearest path to some kind of closing of the delegate gap but that scenario was gone. That's why he's talking about, well, we may go to the convention and make a fight about it.
BERMAN: Mr. Mayor, you support Hillary Clinton right now. What decision do you think the Sanders campaign should be making right now? Should they change their tone? Should they change their tactics if they want to win or change their tone or tactics if they don't want to hurt the party?
MICHAEL NUTTER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: They are at the point where they should be some shift in the dialogue, the level of attacks. Senator Sanders has run a great campaign and raised tremendous issues and has been a benefit in this whole process but, as a candidate, he and his team know that the likelihood of taking the nomination with pledged delegates is becoming slimmer and slimmer, so --
NUTTER: Right. They acknowledge that. So at what point do you start to pivot? He's going to keep running and he has money. No one has said, that I know of, at least on the Clinton side, that he should do anything other than run. The question is, what is he saying? What is this about? Unifying the Democratic party as we get closer to the convention in Philadelphia to get ready for November or is it just I'm Senator Sanders and I'm running and I'll burn the house down and we'll see what happens in the fall. That's a decision that he and his team have to make.
I would hope on behalf of the party, maybe through the end of April here, after next Tuesday with the five Atlantic states voting, that some change in the tone would take place that is telling voters. Stay engaged and stay involved in the process, love your enthusiasm and everything else, but we see where this is going. We need to be together in the fall to defeat Donald Trump and Cruz and whoever shows up to the party.
BOLDUAN: Who do you think the real post-mortem is going on in the Sanders campaign this morning?
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: I think they're doing a lot of math.
I think that -- the discrepancy we saw last night was between the campaign manager, Jeff Weaver, and Tad Devine, a key top strategist for Sanders. Devine saying, we're going to -- we may reassess this once we see what happens next Tuesday. We have a handful of races next Tuesday. Jeff Weaver saying we're going all the way to the convention. So which is it? That's one of the questions being answered today.
BOLDUAN: Tad tried to thread the needle, when we were talking to him, saying it was just on the delegate strategy but still. They reassess. That means a lot.
KEILAR: I think one of the things that Clinton campaign is talking about is, to your point, I think their expectation was, OK, we're going to keep going, we're going to keep battling Bernie Sanders and we think we're getting the nomination. Then when we have to move towards the general election, we're hoping Bernie Sanders says to his supporters, hey, guys, take one for the team, right? But they are worried about the fact that Bernie Sanders and his campaign recently came out not just against Hillary Clinton but against the DNC when it comes to this fundraising, saying the DNC is in the bag for Hillary Clinton because they are worried -- how do you say take one for the team when you said this team is kind of, you know, right?
BERMAN: In true Clinton fashion, her speech last night, you had a feeling that every word was incredibly carefully chosen. We have a little bit of sound we can play to illustrate that point.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON, (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE & FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: And to all the people who supported Senator Sanders, I believe there is much more that unites us than divides us.
CLINTON: Under the bright lights of New York, we have seen that it's not enough to diagnose problems. You have to explain how you would actually solve the problems.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: That was the primary message she had when we --
[11:35:09] BASH: -- when they had the debate, with my partner here. And, Errol, that was the only moment where there was a subtle dig at Bernie Sanders last night. As you said, it was very carefully crafted clearly to try to bring everybody together. I liked how she talked about supported Senator Sanders. Specifically she was talking out New Yorkers because the New York primary was over. But there was also kind of a --
BOLDUAN: Past tense, right, exactly. Not so subtle past tense there.
BASH: No, I'm not saying it was intentional but it came across that way.
I also want to take it up a few thousand feet, which is and to say that the speech that she gave last night was, I think, one of the best that I've seen. And I would definitely defer to you because you're with her all the time. But one of the best speeches I've seen her give this cycle on this kind of night with this kind of audience. I just remember going with her to Iowa after she left the State Department, campaigning for Bruce Braley (ph), a candidate there. It was kind of painful. She -- she got on the stage and the oxygen went out of the room because she was out of practice. That is a completely different candidate. And for all of the to'ing and fro'ing with Bernie Sanders and, yes, it hasn't been easy, it has made her a better candidate. There's no question about it.
BOLDUAN: Another line of the night, when she said, "Victory is in sight." That looks like a pivot to the general election and that's happened how many times before?
BERMAN: At least eight.
BOLDUAN: At least eight time. All of them looking like it was premature. Is this one going to become premature?
LOUIS: It's one of the things that could unite the party. Whatever else Bernie Sanders supporters don't like about Hillary Clinton, the one thing they should like is the prospect of beating Donald Trump or whoever the Republicans nominate. That is the real bottom line of belonging to the Democratic Party in the first place. So for her to test that theme out and let people hear it a little bit, probably a good idea because, in the end, you may not get them on every policy point, but on that, they should all be interested.
BERMAN: Mr. Mayor, how careful do you need to be with the Sanders supporters? How careful does the Clinton team need to be?
NUTTER: Careful. You want to bring people together. You're at home. She's in New York. There' a comfort level you get as a candidate when you're literally on your home turf. And you can say some things or be more expressive. She wants to make sure the Democrats are united and is doing everything she can to extend that olive branch and say certain things, key language, and be that uniter that we're going to need. It's going to be a tough race in the fall. Regardless of who shows up on the Republican side, there will be a real race. And Democrats will have to come together, just like we did back in 2008, active, vigorous primary, because that's what we Democrats like. And Hillary Clinton says, I'm for Senator Barack Obama, campaigns with him. I was out there for Senator Obama after being for Hillary Clinton the entire campaign. That's what really needs to happen. That's how you win elections.
BOLDUAN: We're bullish on vigorous primaries as well in general on both sides.
BOLDUAN: Mayor, thank you.
BASH: Sound like a New Yorker now, Kate.
BOLDUAN: Never call me that, for --
BASH: We'll talk when we get to the Indiana primary.
BOLDUAN: That's exactly right. Hoosier State, here we come.
Thanks, all. BERMAN: On the Republican side, as we've been saying, next Tuesday's
contest in Pennsylvania could be the contest which dictates the nomination. It's not sort of what everyone sees above the board that could make the decisions. It's what's going on behind the scenes, these unpledged delegates, the magic number, 54.
Plus, we now have the first criminal charges in connection with the water situation in Flint. Thousands of people were poisoned there. We'll have the details ahead.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[11:43:32] SEN. TED CRUZ, (R), TEXAS & PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Donald is terrified. It's the reason Donald won't debate. Because he can't stand up his policies. He doesn't have policies to bring jobs back to America.
What does it say that Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are willing to debate and subject themselves to the voters but Donald is so scared that he doesn't think the people of Pennsylvania deserve a debate. If he actually understood the problems facing this country, he should welcome a debate here in Pennsylvania before next Tuesday.
Now, last night, Donald won his home state, to the surprise of nobody. Everyone knew Donald would win his home state. If you look at the frenzy panic that he wants the race to suddenly be over now that he's won his home state, it shows why Donald is scared.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: In summary, it's on Pennsylvania. That is Ted Cruz leaving his event in Hershey, Pennsylvania.
And brace yourself for Pennsylvania. The next big prize on the presidential primary calendar is also one of the states where the Republican Party delegate system is complicated.
BOLDUAN: Wicked complicated. 71 GOP delegates in all, but not all are required to support the candidate who wins the most votes in Tuesday's primary. Only 17 are actually bound. The rest really should be considered the ultimate free agents.
BERMAN: CNN's John King breaks down the delegate math and how Pennsylvania really could be key to Donald Trump reaching that magic number of 1237 delegates needed to clinch the nomination.
[11:45:05] JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: He won in this part of the country. He's winning in this party of the country. It's safe to assume, and the current polling suggests, that this is Donald Trump country right now. The interesting part is 17 of the delegates you win next Tuesday
night, 54 are already committed to be unbound, to go to the Republican convention unbound. What you want to be in, if you're Donald Trump, and you might need some of those uncommitted or unbound delegates, is to win and win by a big margin so then you go back and make the --
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Does Pennsylvania usually go with the front runner?
KING: Well, Pennsylvania, it never matters, is the problem. We get to this part of the campaign, if you want to go back and look at 2012, you see what happens, the race is over. Go to 2008, the race is over. That's why this campaign is so unusual, especially on the Republican side.
So the point is, for Trump, he wants to win and win big so his campaign can circle back to those uncommitted delegates and say, hey, follow the will of the voters.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: This time, Pennsylvania matters a lot.
Which means and our guest matters a lot. Gabriel Keller is running to be a delegate from the 12th congressional district in Pennsylvania and supports Donald Trump.
Mr. Keller, our question to you is this, how much contact have you had with the Trump campaign? You would think if the Trump campaign wants to gather up as much support from the unbound delegates, there would be meticulous organization.
GABRIEL KELLER, CANDIDATE FOR DELEGATE IN PENNSYLVANIA: Yeah, well, thank you for having me. We did have a conversation call not this past Sunday but the Sunday before where the campaign reassured us that they were doing everything that they can to ensure we get elected, and I have faith in Mr. Trump. And he's an effective guy and I'm sure they are going to be effective in getting us elected.
But that said, we've also kind of formed a coalition of Trump supporting delegates across the state and formed a website, DelegatesforTrump.com. Matthew Jansen (ph), from the fourth district, and Jamie Klein (ph), from the fifth district, have contributed to this effort. We have some very generous donors that are helping us. We are kind of running independent of the campaign.
KELLER: They don't want to show their cards. I'm sure that's the way it is. They don't want to show their cards. But we're doing what we can to get elected and get Mr. Trump in office. And I hope the campaign is doing the same to get us elected as well.
BOLDUAN: The interesting thing about that, Mr. Keller, you guys are doing the organizing on the ground to get together and pull Trump delegates together, not necessarily from what you're hearing or seeing, the Trump campaign doing that. Does that worry you?
KELLER: No, it doesn't concern me. Like I said, I have faith in Mr. Trump. He's an effective guy and he knows how to get things done and knows how important these delegates are. They are the unbound delegates. They'll be more important at the convention because, what happened in Colorado, Wyoming, Georgia, these delegates are the ones elected by the people. So that has to hold more weight and has to hold more weight. As Mr. Trump has been saying, it's the vote that counts and just appointing the delegates in other states, I don't believe it to be a fair process. But he knows how important we are and I'm sure he's going to do his best to get us elected. But we're going to do it about or without the campaign. We have a very generous donor, Leslie Rossi (ph). She's a patriot and she has a poignant story on why she's voting for Mr. Trump. And she's painted one of her properties the American flag and it's -- it's pretty amazing. All of us delegates across the state have become friends. They stayed at my house. We attended the Hannity event for the taping. I reached out to FOX News directly and organized five delegates being at the Hannity recording last week. And again -- they stayed at my house and are new best friends.
BERMAN: We question maybe your viewing habits, sir, but we appreciate you coming on with us this morning.
Gabriel Keller --
KELLER: Whoa, whoa. I'll tell you what. You can put us on one of your shows as well.
BERMAN: We just did.
BOLDUAN: Guess what, it just happened.
KELLER: No, we want a bunch of us there.
KELLER: Thank you very much.
[11:49:26] BOLDUAN: Breaking for us, moments ago -- we have to get to this -- the first criminal charges are announced in connection with the toxic water crisis in Flint, Michigan. More on the details out of Flint. That's next.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
BOLDUAN: We have breaking news on the Flint toxic water crisis. Criminal charges are being brought against three people there for the alleged contamination crisis that his the city. Michigan's attorney general is expected to announce these charges shortly. BERMAN: CNN's Jean Casarez is here with the details.
Jean, what are you learning?
JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We have the names of the two state officials and one city official charged with crimes. They will be announced, as we just heard, 1:00 this afternoon. But they are, and we want to let you know their names. Mike Glasgow ([ph), he is employed with the city of Flint, Michigan, and charged with tampering with evidence and as a public official willful neglect of duty and willful neglect. Also Steven Bush (ph), with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. That is the agency that is alleged to have made the decisions in all of this. He is charged with six counts, including misconduct in office, tampering with evidence and violation of the Safe Drinking Water Act. And Mike Prisby (ph), with the Michigan Department of Environmental Protection, charged with six counts of misconduct in office, tampering with evidence, and violation of the Safe Drinking Water Act.
Tampering with evidence is a very serious allegation here time because it is involving prison time. These are criminal charges that would result in prison time. And it all emulates from the change in the water supply from the Detroit safe clean water system to the Flint River earlier this year. As we know, the corrosive agent was not put in that water. The decision was made to not put it in the Flint water so the lead seeped into the pipes.
There have been so many civil cases filed. We heard a little more information. In the civil cases, it is alleging that one of these men, Steven Bush (ph), actually changed and falsified a report saying that a corrosive agent had been put in the water. We'll see what the attorney general says. That's the civil complaint right there. But tampering with evidence is altering, changing, destroying what you believe is evidence possibly in an official investigation. Serious, and it involves prison time.
[11:55:36] BERMAN: Serious, and maybe not the only charges and the only people facing charges ultimately.
CASAREZ: There are many in the inner circle, the Michigan Department of Environmental Protection, not charged at this point. And you're right, it may be the beginning of more.
BERMAN: That's right.
BOLDUAN: We're going to be listening closely to the attorney general at 1:00.
BERMAN: Thanks so much.
BOLDUAN: Thank you, Jean.
So when the city of Cleveland becoming the center of the Republican universe in June, some of the GOP's top stars could be miles away. House Speaker Paul Ryan is now saying that everyone should go to the convention. Why sit out? But will they listen? A top RNC official is going to be joining CNN live.