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AT THIS HOUR WITH BERMAN AND MICHAELA
Priebus Brokering Peace Talks Between Trump & Ryan; Trump Begins Weighing VP Options; FBI to Question Hillary Clinton in E-mail Probe; Republicans and the Latino Vote. Aired 11:30a-Noon ET
Aired May 6, 2016 - 11:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOHN BERMAN, CO-HOST, AT THIS HOUR: So some Republican leaders, including Paul Ryan, still not willing to back Donald Trump. Others, though, say they feel vindicated since he has become the presumptive presidential nominee for the Republican Party.
KATE BOLDUAN, CO-HOST, AT THIS HOUR: And Kansas's secretary of State, Kris Kobach, he is one of them. He was the only state-wide official to endorse Donald Trump ahead of the Kansas contest, and he is joining us right now.
Mr. Secretary, thank you so much for joining us.
KRIS KOBACH, KANSAS SECRETARY OF STATE: My pleasure.
BOLDUAN: OK. So John and I, we said earlier we were floored when Paul Ryan came out and said what he did, that he was -- could not back Donald Trump yet, his refusal to get behind Donald Trump. What do you make of it?
KOBACH: I think this is just sort of a temporary message he's trying to send on behalf of his caucus. I think it's going to be a tempest in a teapot, though, because within a week or so, they're going to be completely, you know, linked together arm in arm. And the reason is they have to be.
Paul Ryan, if he wants to get any of his agenda passed in the future, he needs a Republican president to sign those bills. Trump, if he wants his agenda to move forward in Congress, he needs someone who can cooperate with him, an ally as speaker. So neither one of them can afford to alienate the other anymore.
BERMAN: Who do you think represents more of the Republican Party now, though? I mean Donald Trump just finished a very long, you know, primary process with more votes than any other candidate. Is it him, or is it the speaker?
KOBACH: Well, I'd have to say it's Donald Trump. I mean the speaker, he represents the Republican caucus in Congress, but he isn't out there, you know, running in various states.
I like to think of the Republican Party as a bunch of segments. So think of it this way. You've got the populist conservatives and the anti-illegal immigration conservatives. That's Trump's base. He's already got them.
You have evangelical and social conservatives, and I count myself in several of these groups. The majority of those voted for Trump. The rest will come on board because the specter of Hillary Clinton appointing someone to the Supreme Court is, you know, absolutely something that they cannot see happen. They'll be on board.
You have the party loyalists. They'll be on board as soon as he is the nominee, because they always support the nominee.
The ones he's going to have the hardest time and he may not get are the country club Republicans, the socially moderate ones, the Rockefeller Republicans of years ago. But I don't think he necessarily needs those individuals. It's a very small contingent of the Republican Party today, and he can rely more on the blue collar workers that have been such staunch supporters.
So, you know, I think he will get enough of the Republican base behind him that he'll be fine in the end.
BOLDUAN: But there are issues and positions that Donald Trump has taken. We're not just talking about tone, but on specific issues that Donald Trump hits on that Paul Ryan has already come out against, a strong conservative, a leader in the Republican Party. And I do wonder where there is middle ground between these two men, specifically on the issue of the ban on Muslims entering the country.
I mean do you think -- do you see a middle ground there for those two men? Do you think Donald Trump needs to give on an issue like that?
KOBACH: I actually think the opposite is true. I think the worst thing Donald Trump could do is if he starts to backtrack on any of the major platform points he's set out during this past campaign. The reason is this. Conservatives have been told constantly the biggest problem with Donald Trump is he may not really mean it. So whether it's a pro-life person or a person who wants to see the rule of law in illegal immigration, whatever --
KOBACH: -- if Donald Trump starts to backtrack, then you're going to see Republicans running for the door saying, oh, my goodness, we just nominated someone who doesn't really believe what he's been saying. So I think it's important for him. I think he knows this.
BOLDUAN: But on this issue, is there any middle ground?
KOBACH: Well, on the specific issue of Muslims coming into the United States, there may be. For example, how that would actually work in practice. There are different programs that have been used in the past in immigration that it could be put in one of those molds and that mold might be enough that Paul Ryan would be comfortable.
But bear in mind on that particular issue, a lot of that authority does lie with the executive as far as security reasons, for temporary -- there's all kinds of things called temporary protected status, which wouldn't apply here, but different policies that is the executive branch has in immigration. So I think that one's probably going to iron itself out, too.
BOLDUAN: But still, aren't those those executive powers that Donald Trump has been campaigning against that he says Obama has used?
KOBACH: Yes, he has definitely campaigned against the Obama abuse of executive authority, declaring an amnesty, you know, essentially granting amnesty (inaudible) --
BOLDUAN: Right, something that you know very well. But you want Donald Trump to then use that?
KOBACH: Yes. No, he wouldn't ever use that. What I'm saying is, for example, the Immigration and Nationality Act is incredibly thick. It's about, you know, two inches thick of legal code.
KOBACH: There are some executive powers there that have to do with national security. Donald Trump could perhaps use some of those in a narrow way, and that would be perhaps satisfactory to Paul Ryan.
I'm completely speculating here. But, you know, the point is I think there is actually middle ground. There are a number of ways in which Donald Trump could put that policy into effect that Paul Ryan might say, OK, I'm all right with that.
BOLDUAN: We'll see.
BERMAN: Mr. Secretary -- yes, we'll see. Yes, next Wednesday or sometime next week that meeting will take place. Hopefully we'll talk to you after and see what your reaction is to whether or not they come out holding hands.
BERMAN: Thank you, Mr. Secretary.
BOLDUAN: Thank you so much.
So looking ahead to a general election, Donald Trump says that he can win states that Republicans have not won in decades. So what states does he think he can flip? And how realistic is it?
BERMAN: Plus, Bernie Sanders says no one cares about Hillary Clinton's e-mails, but will that change in the general election?
BOLDUAN: So for Donald Trump to become the next president, he needs to turn blue states red. He says that he can win some states that Republicans have not won in decades. So what is on Donald Trump's November wish list? BERMAN: Joining us, CNN commentators Errol Louis and Bob Beckel and
the host of the pollsters' podcast, Kristen Soltis Anderson and Margie Omero. Margi is the Democratic pollster with PSB Research. Kristen is a Republican pollster with Echelon Insight.
Bob Beckel, I want to start with you. Donald Trump has some grand claims. He says he can win New York, which hasn't been done since Ronald Reagan. He can win Florida. He can win Rust Belt states, including Pennsylvania and Michigan and Ohio.
Of these states, which are the most likely that Donald Trump could pick up?
BOB BECKEL, POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, CNN: Well, John, you could -- you could win a write-in in New York before he's going to win New York. But I -- listen, if you look at this thing, just for the sake of argument, let's give him all Romney's votes from last time, which would be 204 electoral votes.
He needs to carry Ohio, Michigan, Florida, and then he's still not there, which means he needs one more. And I just can't imagine that that's the case, it's going to happen that way because he keeps talking about blue collar. I hear this about Pennsylvania every election. Republicans say, oh, we're going to carry it because they've got these disaffected Reagan Democrats, and they always end up losing it. And Donald Trump, it ain't going to happen.
BOLDUAN: So Kristen, on the flip side, what states are you nervous about protecting from Hillary Clinton?
KRISTEN SOLTIS ANDERSON, COLUMNIST, WASHINGTON EXAMINER: I think there are a lot of states in the South, a state like North Carolina that could certainly be in play if the numbers hold as they are. Because Donald Trump has really put a lot of distance between himself and Latino voters, between African-American voters, states with high populations of these folks are going to be really hard for Donald Trump to play in. He may be playing a lot of defense in some of these places.
BERMAN: So Margie, one of the things interesting that we heard today was Ben Carson, who is heavily involved in the VP search, Ben Carson said perhaps Donald Trump would vet some Democrats. Now, Trump says no, but then practically at the same time Ben Carson said yes.
But for the purpose of this game, you know, let's assume the answer is yes, that he will vet Democrats. And let's ask the broader question on VPs. Do you think that the VP can help carry states? That selection can move a state one way or the other?
MARGIE OMERO, DEMOCRATIC POLLSTER, PSB RESEARCH: Well, I don't -- it's very rare that a VP candidate can really flip a state, but it's certainly not out of the question sort of in theory.
I don't think there's any Democrat who -- I don't think there's any Democrat who would agree to be VP to Donald Trump. I don't know what VP candidate can kind of soften the blow of hurricane Trump. I mean right now, all the analysis looking at public polling and "The
New York Times" had some very helpful graphics on this, Clinton wins nearly every -- I mean, she, you know, crushes him currently and that even if Trump starts to creep up about five points and even if he can win in Florida, North Carolina, and Ohio, he still loses.
He would have to really narrow the gap considerably, and I don't think there's a Democratic VP candidate that can correct all the errors that he currently has.
BOLDUAN: And one person who I'm guessing is definitely not in consideration for VP, Errol, would be President Obama, but he could play a very important role in this race.
BERMAN: He is a Democrat. Ben Carson says --
BOLDUAN: I'm just saying.
BERMAN: -- Democrats could be vetted. There's nothing constitutional, by the way.
BOLDUAN: Actually --
BERMAN: Actually, there is. He couldn't do it, because he already serve as president.
BOLDUAN: He served --
BOLDUAN: -- OK. John is wrong. Just note that. One time, john is wrong on this.
OK, so, Errol, the question, though, being, when you throw up -- let's throw up his latest approval rating, the CNN's new polling that came out. I mean he's doing pretty well, especially when you compare with past presidents at this exact time.
At 51 percent stands his approval rating right now. What do you see as the President Obama role for Hillary Clinton or the risks of them running together?
ERROL LOUIS, POLITICAL ANCHOR, TIME WARNER CABLE NEWS: Well, I think the role would be to sort of help lock down certain states where he remains very popular. Illinois comes to mind and a number of other states, though.
And it's going to be really important, because when you see the number of establishment Republicans so who far, I know this can change, have walked away from or said nothing about helping Trump, and then you compare, say, to Hillary Clinton as a candidate who's going to have not one but two presidents out there campaigning for her plus Joe Biden, she can cover a lot of territory. She can excite a lot of activity. She can reach into a lot of pockets of organized Democratic support all at the same time. So as an efficiency measure, it's amazing, and, of course, President
Obama, assuming these figure hold up, I think will be immeasurably helpful to her in one state after another. I mean think about a state like North Carolina --
LOUIS: -- where he expanded the Democratic map by winning it. He lost only -- you know, Democrats -- I mean it's a narrow race. It's a turbulent state. You put Obama in there, you never know what's going to happen.
BERMAN: Let me ask about Hillary Clinton while we're on the subject. CNN reporting that the FBI could be interviewing Hillary Clinton soon on the e-mail controversy. CNN also reporting that officials say that as of now there's no evidence that she willfully broke the law.
So, Kristin, I mean I'll put this to you, a Republican. If it turns out that no charges are filed, does the issue go away in the general election?
ANDERSON: I don't think the issue goes away. I think the reason why it doesn't go away is it still cuts to the core of one of Republicans' biggest criticisms of Secretary Clinton, which is that she's untrustworthy, that sort of the rules never really seem to apply to her.
I do think, though, that this FBI investigation at this point is the single biggest thing that is preventing Hillary Clinton from getting to the White House. If current polling trends hold, because Donald Trump is so unpopular, even if some of the party begins to rally around him, he he's got a tough road ahead of him. I think Hillary Clinton's path to the White House, the FBI may be the biggest obstacle in her way.
BOLDUAN: Bob, finally to you, how do you think they manage it going forward? I mean no matter what, not good optics when you say a presidential candidate will be sitting down to be interviewed by the FBI.
BECKEL: That's true. But let me just make one point. Any Democrat that gets on the ticket with Trump better get in the witness protection program, number one.
Number two --
BOLDUAN: Beckel's coming after you.
BECKEL: Hillary Clinton could beat Trump from super max. So I'm not particularly worried about that.
I don't think -- look, I don't think that -- if they haven't moved yet -- yes, they're interviewing her staff and the rest of it, but it's a very long shot to get her indicted. And let's assume she did. The party's not going to turn to Sanders. It'll turn to Joe Biden, who could beat -- I'm sorry. But the point is that right now Trump is desperate to find somebody to
get on that ticket with him, and his real problem's going to be that Republicans won't get on it. Who's going to tie their wagon to Donald Trump for the rest of their political career? I don't think many.
BOLDUAN: You know what? We went from -- Beckel goes from where's the beef to she can beat him from super max. I liked it. I like it, Bob.
BECKEL: There you go.
BERMAN: Errol Louis, Kristin Soltis Anderson, Argie Omero, Bob Beckel, thanks so much, guys.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you.
BERMAN: Stay with CNN. We'll going to hear from Bernie Sanders later today. He will speak with Wolf Blitzer in "The Situation Room." That's at 5:00 p.m.
BOLDUAN: Also ahead, it was Cinco de Mayo yesterday, and a lot of people were tweeting out pictures of, you know -- to commemorate the day, if you will. But did Donald Trump cross the line with this one?
This blew up the internet yesterday it seems when he tweeted, Donald Trump with a taco bowl. What RNC chairman Reince Priebus -- how he responded to this tweet and the caption, "I love Hispanics."
BERMAN: All right, this year, the U.S. Latino population will play a key role in picking the next president. That's for sure. But is "Latino" the right word to describe this diverse group of people?
In this week's episode of the CNN series "United Shades of America," W. Kamau Bell meets with Los Angeles Latinos to hear about how they feel about their own identities.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: "Hispanic"?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Isn't that Reagan?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
W. KAMAU BELL, HOST, UNITED SHADES OF AMERICA: So that's the white man's word.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, it's a white man's word. It's a senseless word to basically put everybody who remotely speaks Spanish under an umbrella term, so it can make it easy --
BELL: Oh, yes, to keep track of you people.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, yes, to keep track and like, all right, all right, put everybody in a category. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
BOLDUAN: With us right now is host of CNN's "United Shades of America," Kamau Bell.
It's great to see you, Kamau.
BELL: Thanks for letting me back.
BOLDUAN: Exactly. We let you back one more time.
BELL: I know. I'm on probation. I don't even have an ID. They haven't made me an ID yet.
BOLDUAN: So wait a second. This is very fitting that this episode --
BOLDUAN: -- comes this weekend because --
BELL: Me and Trump, we're working together in conjunction.
BOLDUAN: I was wondering if you guys --
BELL: Yes, we meet in dark rooms.
BOLDUAN: -- were coordinating messages.
BELL: Could you talk about the Klan episode, so my Klan episode gets a little more press? Could you say something really ignorant about Latino people so I can get more press for the Latino episode? We're really -- it's dark room meetings.
BOLDUAN: So to remind viewers, what Kamau's talking about here is this tweet that Donald Trump put on Cinco de Mayo. It was him eating a taco bowl, and underneath, the caption --
BELL: He's not eating that taco bowl.
BOLDUAN: Maybe he is, Kamau. I don't think that's the thing you need to take issue with is what I'm guessing about this (inaudible). And he writes, "I love Hispanic." And this is basically entirely what your episode is about. But we'll get to the episode in one second.
Reince Priebus, the head of the Republican Party, he was asked about the taco bowl incident this morning, and all he said was, "he's trying." What was your reaction when you see said taco bowl?
BELL: I think it was like -- I mean, as we all know, Trump started his whole candidate process by saying that like Mexicans are murders and rapists, and so that was the first thing he said. This is like him reminding us that he doesn't get it. This is like him going, by the way, I still don't get it. I still don't understand how to -- how to court the Latino demographic.
BERMAN: The people you talk to, what would they make of that? BELL: I think -- I think it's business as usual. Nobody's looking
for Trump to not be Trump. I don't think those people think that he's going -- they weren't going to vote for Trump anyway. You know what I'm saying? So I don't think that that -- that's not the worst thing he's done. It's just a reminder that -- of who he is.
BOLDUAN: Can we have a little fun for just a second? Can you guys play the promo, which we've deemed the best promo of all CNN promos? Become it becomes an ear worm of your wonderful -- of the best song ever for a promo. When do we get a seat on the bus? On the van?
BELL: The bus has become very popular. A lot of people think it's my bus. People want me to bring the bus to them. I don't actually have that bus.
BELL: I don't even really have a driver's license. It's pretty amazing.
BERMAN: Are you serious?
BOLDUAN: Wait a second.
BELL: What made me just say that? Never mind. Never mind.
BOLDUAN: You're driving the van, Kamau.
BELL: Cut. Go to commercial. Go to commercial.
BERMAN: "United Shades of America." Next week, we'll meet with people who are driving illegally. Kamau Bell, thank you so much.
BOLDUAN: I'm sorry. The police are at the door, Kamau.
BERMAN: I've go to tell you, if you are not watching "United Shades of America," you are missing out. It is a phenomenal show. It airs Sunday night, 10:00 right here on CNN. Don't miss it. It is terrific.
BOLDUAN: Great to see you, Kamau. Thanks, man.
BERMAN: All right, any minute now, President Obama, he is scheduled to deliver remarks on the economy. What a lot of people are wondering, though, will he talk about Donald Trump. This is his first chance to really to peak in public and take questions since Trump wrapped up the Republican nomination. You might imagine the president might have something to say about that.
BERMAN: CNN recognizes people who go above and beyond to help others. This is the 2013 CNN hero of the year. He just recently planted his one-millionth tree to help the waterways.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) I started the million trees program just from being out here on the
islands of the Mississippi River. We started planting these trees to create more food for wildlife. They hold back the banks of the river. It helps air quality. The roots actually filter the water. Trees are a great thing, and I really like trees.
What I love about it is it has a lasting impact. One tree is really good, but I think a million is even better.
BOLDUAN: So where did Chad plant that one-millionth tree? For the answer, go to CNNheroes.com. And while you are there, you can, of course, nominate someone who you think should be a 2016 CNN hero.
Thank you so much for joining us "At This Hour."