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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES

House Speaker Paul Ryan Will Not Endorse Donald Trump; Republican and Democratic Nominees Will Receive Intelligence Briefings; Monster Wildfire Burning Out of Control in Canada; 8-9p ET

Aired May 7, 2016 - 20:00   ET

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


[20:00:18] JOHN BERMAN, CNN HOST: Good evening. I'm John Berman in for Anderson.

The beast is still up. It's surrounding the city. Those ominous words a direct quote from the fire chief who had to evacuate his entire city. Tonight, a swath of Canada is literally burning to the ground. This is what people are fleeing.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, my God! Our house is going to burn down.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We've got the cats. Is m| out? Yes, she's gone. She's ahead of us.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: That is just terrifying. So the woman who shot that video and posted on Facebook, Erica Decker, she is safe tonight with her family. They have lost their home, though like so many other in Alberta. We will go live to that scene just ahead.

We do begin tonight, though, with breaking news. The presumptive nominee Donald Trump has a new message for house speaker Paul Ryan. This is what the people want. This being Trump. Ryan's office announced today has announced today that he and Trump will meet next Thursday. That is after Ryan dropped the bombshell saying he can't support Trump, at least not yet. Now Trump has a new take on that. In an interview that just aired on ABC News, George Stephanopoulos asked Trump about the Ryan stalemate.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC NEWS ANCHOR: Talk about Paul Ryan.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: OK.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So he says you have to earn his support.

TRUMP: I really think I earned the support from the people. You know, we have gotten more votes than anybody in this position that's ever run for the office. And you look at the Republican primary votes, millions and millions of people came in that nobody expected and they voted for me. STEPHANOPOULOS: So what are you going to tell him in that meeting?

TRUMP: I'm going to say look, this is what the people want.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Jeb Bush just said he's not going to vote for you.

TRUMP: Well, I understand Jeb Bush. I was rough with Jeb Bush. And I think if I was Jeb Bush, I wouldn't vote for me either if you want to know the truth, George.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: Trump is on the campaign trail today at a rally in Omaha just a short time ago. Trump also had this to say about Paul Ryan.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Paul Ryan, I don't know what happened. I don't know. He call me two, three weeks ago. It was a very nice conversation. He was congratulating me. This is before we had the ultimate victory, but he was congratulating me for doing so well. I figured routinely he would be behind it. And the other day just in a big surprise --.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: Those comments come as the rift in the Republican Party gets deeper as more prominent Republicans say they are not going to vote for the presumptive nominee, Donald Trump, much less endorse him or campaign for him.

Senator Lindsey Graham is the latest voice to join the heck no chorus saying today that he thinks the Republican Party has been in his word conned.

CNN senior Washington correspondent Jeff Zeleny joins us now from Omaha.

Jeff, what did Trump have to say about Lindsey Graham's comments today? He really spared few words.

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: He did, John. And it took him about 12 minutes to go after Lindsey Graham which is probably showing restraint for Donald Trump's usual sort of mean of speaking.

But remember that unity pledge that all the other candidates signed to, you know, hoping it would keep Donald Trump in the party? Well now, the others who signed it are being called out for that. So that was in Donald Trump's mind there. That he went after Lindsey Graham aggressively for changing up his positions, his supporters throughout the race. Let's listen to what Trump said just a little bit ago.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: He fails with his campaign horribly. He then endorses somebody else and then he endorses Bush and endorses everybody. He's like bad luck. As soon as he endorses the people, they drop out. And then I see him on television knocking me. You know, you're supposed to be coming together.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZELENY: And then in the next breath, John, he also talked about Jeb Bush saying, you know, I'm not going to say he's low energy but he's low energy. Familiar refrains here but also took a bit of a swipe at president George W. Bush saying he is not surprised the Bush family is not signing on with him because he has been so critical of what happened during the Bush administration.

BERMAN: Yes. He told George Stephanopoulos, if I were Jeb Bush, I wouldn't vote for me either.

So this meeting next week between Donald Trump and Paul Ryan. What more can you tell us about that?

ZELENY: Well, John, it is going to be couple of meetings. One is going to be with speaker Ryan and top congressional leaders and Donald Trump. And that's going to be a time for these congressional leaders to sort of have their say. But as we've seen from what Donald Trump is talking about, he doesn't frankly care what they think. He believes that he has the voters behind him.

And John, I can tell you that just hearing this one crowd tonight here in conservative red Nebraska, he's right about that. The crowd booed as loudly when he mentioned Paul Ryan's name as when he mentioned Hillary Clinton's name here. So Donald Trump knows goes into that meeting with some support. Of course he wants a unified party here, but then he's having a private meeting with speaker Ryan and Reince Priebus whose job is all to try and keep this all together. But I can tell you Donald Trump has his voters on his side. The question is can he expand and bring in all Republicans, never mind independents and moderates who he actually needs to win the election, John.

[20:05:16] BERMAN: All right. Jeff Zeleny for us in Omaha. Thanks a lot, Jeff.

Joining us now New York City councilman and co-chair of Trump New York campaign Joseph Borelli, CNN contributor and conservative commentator Tara Setmayer and Michael Smerconish, host of "SMERCONISH" which you can see this Saturday airing at 9:00 eastern right here on CNN.

Michael, you know, these lines are being drawn now ever more, I think, solidly. We just heard Donald Trump essentially say I'm going to tell Paul Ryan listen to the voters. The voters picked me. So if he goes into that meeting with that message, how do they come out of that meeting with any agreement?

MICHAEL SMERCONISH, CNN HOST, MICHAEL SMERCONISH SHOW: Well, it's gotten him this far, right. And he has had more than 10.6 million individuals cast a ballot for him. I think it's about 40 percent of the votes that have been cast thus far. But he loses unless he grows to 10. He is trailing Hillary by 13 according to the latest CNN/ORC poll. He has viewed disfavorably by a stunning number of Republicans and it's time now to put this team together.

I think Paul Ryan has unintentionally done him a favor in so far, he has given him the opportunity to come in, have a conversation, negotiate if you will because there are many who feel like Ryan feels. You know, they are unhappy about the fact that Donald Trump is their standard bearer, but he needs them. So I think it's in both of their best interests if they can put it together.

BERMAN: Tara, why should he move? Why should they move? He won, right? Lindsey Graham, Jeb Bush, you know, along those same lines say they are not going to vote for Donald Trump. They signed a pledge saying they would. They are the ones breaking the pledge. Is this topsy-turvy?

TARA SETMAYER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I think the pledge thing is silly actually. But, more importantly, yes, Donald Trump won 40 percent. Yes, he won 10 million votes, but 15 million people did not vote for him. Close to 60 percent --

BERMAN: How this election works is you have to finish first.

SETMAYER: I understand that. But Donald Trump continuous to say the people want me. The people want me. He is not winning a majority of the people. He is winning a plurality. There are a lot of people don't want him. There are a lot of people in the general electorate as of right now that do not want him. So he keeps saying all the people he is not winning in a landslide. I mean, Ronald Reagan at this point was -- had a 70 percent, 80 percent approval -- 78 percent of people voter from him at this point in the race. So this not an overwhelming mandate. It was something that he was the last man standing after 17 people. So we need to put that in perspective.

Donald Trump, when you run for office, you are a servant, right? You are supposed to be a public servant of the people. So, if there is a large swap of the party you claim to represent that have legitimate concerns about where you stand on issues that are gravely important to them, then it should be your job to earn their vote. You don't just say too bad. I'm installing myself like some dictator and, you know --

(CROSSTALK)

BERMAN: He ran against 16 other people, you know, and he beat them.

But councilman, what about Tara's point and Michael's point for that matter. You know, you can't win an election if you don't have your own party, you know, behind you. And by your own party, that includes like the actual leaders of that party, the speaker of the house. It seems like it stops the world without him. JOSEPH BORELLI, CO-CHAIR, TRUMP NEW YORK CAMPAIGN: I think Tara has

it backwards. The onus should be on the party establishment, the party elite, people like Paul Ryan to respect the will of the voters. We had a process. We had 17 people. Everyone got to go out there and support their candidates and run their campaigns as hard as they could. At the end of the day, Donald Trump won. He has got more votes than any Republican nominee has previously gotten. He has earned the support of the votes. That means that he has a whole deck of cards to play in this negotiation with Paul Ryan. Paul Ryan has none.

SETMAYER: Not a majority.

BERMAN: (INAUDIBLE) other thing because there is one other candidate or actually non-candidate sort of this getting involved in this race. Very quickly, President Obama today was asked about Donald Trump. Listen to what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I just want to emphasize the degree to which we are in serious times and this is a really serious job. This is not entertainment. This is not a reality show. This is a contest for the presidency of the United States. And what that means is that every candidate, every nominee needs to be subject to exacting standards and genuine scrutiny.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: Michael, this is a fight the president is itching to have. You can just tell. Is this a fight that Donald Trump, though, is itching to have?

SMERCONISH: Well, interestingly, it think it will mobilize the base of Donald Trump, that core constituency. If President Obama is out there taking on Donald Trump, that's like throwing meat into the water for the sharks, right? But it doesn't, again, help Donald Trump expand the tent because the president's approval numbers, you've watched them as they are climbing. In fact, at the White House Correspondents dinner as you anchored the post last week noting the fact that when Donald Trump and Ted Cruz are getting all the attention, what happens? President Obama sees his numbers rise.

So I think there's a role for him to play. He'll be the most important surrogate in this election. And I think what's really at stake is he believes his legacy. So you c count on him to be an activist.

[20:01:13] BERMAN: All right, guys. Stand by. We got a lot more to talk about with you after a quick break.

What do you think about Donald Trump getting access to classified information? That will happen fairly soon. We will have much more about when, why next.

Also speaking of intelligence operations, stay tuned for the 360 special that takes you inside the mission to get Osama bin Laden five years ago. "We got him, President Obama, bin Laden and the future of the war in Terror. This has details you've never heard before with exclusive access to the White House.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:14:49] BERMAN: Our breaking news tonight, Donald Trump says he doesn't have to earn house speaker Paul Ryan's support because he has the voters. In an interview with ABC News and George Stephanopoulos, the presumptive nominee said quote "this is what the people want."

Meanwhile, Trump is in all likelihood about to get a major education on the state of the world and possibly get his hands on classified information. As is tradition, the White House says it expects intelligence officials to brief Trump after he is the official nominee. Trump's foreign policy plan such as they are have included bombing the hell out of ISIS and making America great again. His information about foreign policy, remember back in August, Trump said on "Meet the Press" most of it comes from watching TV.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHUCK TODD, NBC HOST, MEET THE PRESS: Who do you talk to for military advice right now?

TRUMP: Well, I watch the shows. I mean, I really see a lot of great -- when you watch your show and all of the other shows and you have the generals and certain people that --

TODD: But is there a go-to for you?

TRUMP: Probably there are two or three.

TODD: Every presidential candidate has a go-to.

TRUMP: Probably two or three. I like Bolton. He knows what he is talking. Jacobs.

TODD: You mean Ambassador John Bolton?

TRUMP: Yes.

TODD: You mean Colonel Jack Jacobs?

TRUMP: Yes. Colonel Jack Jacobs is a good guy and I see him on occasion.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: All right. Joining me now chief national security correspondent Jim Sciutto.

So, Jim, exactly when is Donald Trump going to be briefed, and what type of information is he expected to receive?

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: These briefings, they take place after the nominating convention for both the Republican and Democratic nominee once it's clear that they are the nominee. And generally they'll get information about threats to national security. They'll get the information, but they don't get what the intelligence community calls sources and methods in effect how that information was gathered. That tends to be the most secret intelligence reserved for the highest level security clearances. And at least at that point neither nominee will have that level of security clearance. BERMAN: It is interesting. So they won't name names. Who will do

the briefings?

SCIUTTO: Director of national intelligence James Clapper. He doesn't do it himself but he has said he's already appointed a nonpolitical intelligence agent to do this. Of course, the most senior intelligence directors, they are appointed by the president. In this case, of course, a Democratic president. So he has chosen someone in the service, a civil servant who is not a political appointee.

BERMAN: You mentioned politics there. Are politics at play? Will both candidates receive exactly the same information?

SCIUTTO: They say they have a commitment. Clapper said this publicly. A commitment to getting both a Democratic and Republican nominee the same. Now what will happen so they both get it after the nominating convention at a certain level once the election happens and you have a president elect, then they get a more intensive briefing. That's what happens because it's clear that person is going to be the next president.

BERMAN: That's a whole different ball game.

All right. Jim Sciutto, thanks so much.

SCIUTTO: Thank you.

BERMAN: All right. Back now with New York City councilman and co- chair of Trump's New York campaign Joseph Borelli and Tara Setmayer and Michael Smerconish.

Tara, you worked on Capitol Hill. You know what these intelligence briefing are like. Do you think Donald Trump is prepare, for what's coming next?

SETMAYER: Absolutely not. Honestly, I don't think Donald Trump would pass a security clearance if he were trying to get a top secret clearance given his history and reckless things he's said and a lot of his questionable financial dealings. I question whether he would even pass a security clearance. But, you know, this is a guy who repeats conspiracy theories. He talks about national enquirer stories as if they are fact. And so we are going to trust him with the secrecy and importance of intelligence briefings? This is something people need to consider. So this is one of many concerns of people like me about Donald Trump in this position.

BORELLI: How are we -- how is she questioning the fitness of Donald Trump to receive classified information in a briefing given to every presumptive nominee since 1952 when the presumptive Democratic nominee is under federal investigation for not being responsible with classified information.

SETMAYER: He just repeated a conspiracy theory about John F. Kennedy's assassination and a --

BORELLI: And she potentially leaked actual classified email which is far more worse.

SETMAYER: We're not -- we're talking about Donald Trump, not Hillary Clinton. And I agree with you on her.

BERMAN: First of all on the Hillary Clinton thing, CNN has been talking to officials who say right now there's no evidence that Hillary Clinton willfully violated any law. But they will question her and that could change. But right now that's where that situation stands.

Councilman, you know Donald Trump's son, you know. Is he capable of discretion? You hear the snickers out there saying he can't keep a secret. Do you think he would be able to?

BORELLI: Yes. I think so. I mean, I think the weight of the office is really taking hold in him. He realizes that he is in a position now that he has never been in before. He can't speak off the cuff as much as he probably like to as much as probably has been beneficial to him in the primary season.

Look. The weight of the office is great. And we can't just assume that all these nominees can digest the weight of national intelligence on the day they sworn in. This (INAUDIBLE) since 1952 and should continue no matter who the nominee.

(CROSSTALK)

BERMAN: Michael, the quiet man speak over here. The commander in chief test for any presidential candidate is a big deal, right? Is it different for Donald Trump?

[20:20:00] SMERCONISH: This is what the peaceful transference of power looks like. And so, if this is what the protocol demands, then Donald Trump ought to get the briefing. And frankly, it will probably make him a more intelligent candidate. So perhaps we'll all benefit from the conversation that will result.

SETMAYER: Well, he can definitely use the briefing. If anyone read the editorial interviews he did with "the Washington Post," it was scary how completely incoherent his understanding of the world is and foreign policy. You know, he was asked questions about how he would defeat ISIS or different questions about nuclear weapons in Europe, he deflected and started telling one of the editorial board members about how nice you look today. I mean, these are things that he has up to this point demonstrated absolutely no ability to retain that information. And so, yes, I question whether he takes this seriously or not. The weight of the office is very serious. And he has done nothing to demonstrate that thus far.

BERMAN: Michael, quick. Ten seconds, any last word.

SMERCONISH: Bottom line, he's got to get briefing. It's in everybody's best interest he be equipped because he could win this thing.

BERMAN: All right. Guys, I appreciate it. A very spirited discussion on a Friday night.

Thank you guys.

An intelligence mission carried out by President Obama and his team that happened five years ago now this week. The mission that killed Osama bin Laden. In just ten minutes, we are going to take you behind the scenes to hear details, really (INAUDIBLE) before. CNN's Peter Bergen got unprecedented access to the White House to talk about the mission with the president. This is a quick preview.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PETER BERGEN, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Once the SEAL team arrived in Abbottabad, the president and his advisers crowded into a smaller room across the hall where they could watch a live drone feed of the raid.

Why did you come into this room, sir?

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, this is where we actually had a live view of what was happening. And so as you can see, it's a pretty small conference room. We were all jammed up in here. One of our key guys was sitting here. I was sitting here in my windbreaker. Gates was there and Hillary. And we were essentially watching what was happening in real-time.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: All right. Stay tuned for the AC 360 special "we, got him -- President Obama, bin Laden and the war on terror. That's coming up at 8:30 eastern time.

And just ahead, we are going to straight to the belly of the beast, the monster wildfire that has burning out of control in Canada. The blaze is growing. Thousands of people have fled their homes this week. They're now being forced farther south by these flames.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:27:00] BERMAN: As we said at the top of the program major wildfire is burning in the northwest. The images just apocalyptic like a war zone is the phrase we keep hearing over and over from those forced from their homes. Tens of thousands now have fled. The city of Ft. McMurray just devastates. Tonight people have already fled the walls of fire are once again on the move.

Here's Dan Simon with the latest from Alberta.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Flames and smoke filling the sky as the convoy of desperate residents flee the - danger zone.

What have these last few days been like?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hell on earth. Just like hell. SIMON: And the scenes are hellish. The fire that started five days

ago is still out of control. And for the displaced, it's gone from bad to worse. Because food and water is running low, Canadian authorities moving some 25,000 people from camps, a double evacuation.

What was it like being in the camp?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hard. They rationed food. Low water. People were upset because they don't know what's going on.

SIMON: The fire has burned nearly 250,000 acres, more than ten times the size of Manhattan. In one of the more remarkable surveillance videos ever captured, a homeowner could watching his own house go down in flames only 20 minutes after evacuating.

Sixteen hundred structures, including homes and businesses destroyed. The heaviest damage in Ft. McMurray. A resident films his burned out neighborhood after seeing it for the first time.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is my house. It was my house. Ashes are cool now. Nothing left. It's gone.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, my God! Our house is going to burn down.

SIMON: In another video, we hear a woman's desperation as she drives by the flames destroying her community. As weary residents clear the area, they are greeted by fuel trucks with gas stations either destroyed or down due to power outages. Fuel is a precious commodity.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Makes a guy feel good to help these people because they've been through so much loss and devastation.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BERMAN: Just devastating. Dan Simon joins us now.

Dan, all those cars you saw in that convoy, where are they going?

SIMON: Well, John, first of all, take a look behind me. You can see this huge smoke cloud. The fire is continuing to roar. As for those people who are in that convoy, we're not only talking about those folks but all of the nearly 90,000 people who have had to evacuate. This is an unprecedented situation in Canada. A lot of folks are staying with friends and family. If that's not an option, they're going to one of the many shelters that's open. Also people are staying in hotels. It's impossible to get a hotel room in the area.

In terms of the firefighting effort, the conditions remain terrible. Windy conditions, low humidity. It's going continue like this throughout the weekend. And by the way, we talked to about the fuel situation and how precious things are. Take a look at this. We actually had to bring our own fuel just in case we ran out.

[20:30:07] That's what we're dealing with, John.

BERMAN: All right, Dan Simon in Alberta, thanks s much. Stay safe. Before we go quick programming note -- be sure to tune in this Sunday

at 9:00 p.m. for a new episode of "Anthony Bourdain; Parts Unknown", in the Greek Island of not so that instead right but is still beautiful.

The AC360 special "We Got Him: President Obama and Bin Laden and the Future of the War in Terror" starts now.