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AT THIS HOUR WITH BERMAN AND MICHAELA
State Dept. Inspector: Clinton Did Not Comply with Rules on Private E-mail Server; Trump Calls Protesters in New Mexico "Thugs". Aired 11-11:30a ET
Aired May 25, 2016 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[11:00:00] PAMELA BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: AT THIS HOUR with Berman and Bolduan starts right now. Have a great rest of the day.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm Kate Bolduan.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm John Berman.
We begin with breaking news, which will no doubt play big on the campaign trail today. Hillary Clinton did not comply with State Department rules when it comes to her use of a private e-mail server at the State Department. This, from a brand-new report from the State Department's own inspector general.
BOLDUAN: Here it is, an 86-page report, the analysis very critical of Clinton's handling of her e-mail practices during her time running the State Department.
Let's bring in the CNN justice correspondent, Evan Perez.
Evan, you have seen the report and have the report. What does it say?
EVAN PEREZ, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: The big finding from this report is one that's frankly not surprising, one that says at a minimum secretary Clinton should have surrendered all of her e-mails dealing with the department business before leaving the government services. She used this private server in her home in New York. That's what she used exclusively for all of her business as secretary of state. And that violated the State Department's rules.
Now the report goes on to say that when she left, she should have at least turned over those records. And it said that she was able to provide them when she was asked for it. She turned over 55,000 pages, 30,000 e-mails that she had sent while she was in the State Department.
But the report does also say that there was -- even though she turned over 55,000 pages, there were still some things missing from those -- from those e-mails, including e-mails to David Petraeus, who is the former CIA director, and e-mails to Sid Blumenthal, a friend and confidant of hers looking to do business in Libya. This is something you'll see repeatedly brought up by Republicans investigating not only Benghazi but also her use of this private server. This doesn't end the controversy over this private server because we
still have an FBI investigation ongoing. We expect at some point in the next couple of weeks she might get a call from the FBI asking her to sit down for an interview before that investigation is wrapped up.
BERMAN: Evan, reading the press accounts of this, it also says among other things that the Clinton Team at the State Department said that their use of the server passed legal muster while they were doing it, yet the I.G.'s report said it found no evidence that a lawyer was even consulted.
PEREZ: That's right. The way this inspector general went about this was looking not only at Hillary Clinton's use of this private server but looking at all State -- all recent secretaries ever state and they found that essentially what she was doing was something that frankly has not been done by anybody else. It appears that other secretaries of State have used private e-mails in some parts of their work but this is the first time any secretary of state has used a private server to do all of their business. It's not clear how -- who approved all of this. Obviously, she was the boss at the State Department. She could order this be done. And it appears that's exactly how it happened.
BOLDUAN: Evan Perez, looking through this analysis, this review. Much more to come on that. Thanks so much for bringing that to us.
BERMAN: We want to bring in our political panel, chief political correspondent, Dana Bash; Barry Bennett, senior adviser to the Trump campaign. We're joined by CNN political commentators, Amanda Carpenter, a former spokesperson for Ted Cruz; Patti Solis Doyle, a former Hillary Clinton presidential campaign manager; and Bill Press, a Bernie Sanders supporter.
Dana Bash, chief political genius for us, this is going to play in politics, basically, immediately. Donald Trump has already been calling Hillary Clinton "Crooked Hillary." Hillary Clinton, by the way, still running in a primary against Bernie Sanders.
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Right, and as a sports enthusiast, I'll use a term you appreciate, unforced error. This is something that Hillary Clinton and many people who I talked to who support her just wring their hands and say, what were you thinking? For many reasons, but I'm sure this feeds directly into the narrative that her opponent, Bernie Sanders, on the Democratic side, and ultimately Republicans, led by Donald Trump, in a general election will be hammering her on. And in politics, it is the existing narrative and the ability by opponents to feed into that. That is the most damaging. We've seen that time and time again. And the narrative, of course, is -- you're hearing Donald Trump do it in only a weigh he does, calling her Crooked Hillary. The fact she didn't comply with the rules and she appears to have been doing things that were not -- maybe she thought she was above the rules or she's different from the way everybody else should be.
Now, she has lots of explanations, lots of ways she's trying to say that she did what she thought was right, but at the end of the day, when you have an independent investigation going on within the department that she ran saying that she shouldn't have done several things, including taking her documents and then not giving them back for almost two years after she left, that's going to help her opponents in a big way.
[11:05:47] BOLDUAN: One of her supporters is here with us, Patti Solis Doyle, a former campaign manager for Hillary Clinton in 2008.
Patti, unforced error is one way that Dana would say Hillary Clinton supporters would describe it. How would you describe what we're now seeing?
PATTI SOLIS DOYLE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: It was a mistake. She admitted it was a mistake, shouldn't have done it. There's going -- she's going to pay a political price for it.
But I haven't read the report. It just came out. It seems though from what I have read is that there was systemic problems within the State Department dealing with other secretaries of states in terms of e-mails and production of e-mails for the press. It was a mistake, but we have to see what the FBI comes up with. Right now we have seen reporting that there's no criminal --
BOLDUAN: That just keeps us going.
BERMAN: Yeah, I'm not sure that's a good argument for you guys that this is only the first --
SOLIS DOYLE: But I think if the FBI comes out and says there's no criminal and nobody -- not only of her but any of her aids and I think a lot of this goes away. So we have to wait and see.
BERMAN: Bill Press, the guy you support for president, Bernie Sanders, famously said last fall, I'm sick and tired of hearing about these damned e-mails. He seemed to put the e-mail issue to rest. Well, the primaries are not over. What do you expect Bernie Sanders to say about it now? Do you think he should bring it up now that there is this official report that says Hillary Clinton did not comply with the rules?
BILL PRESS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I have not talked to Senator Sanders about it, but I doubt he will. I don't think he should. I think he was right the first time. I think --
BOLDUAN: Why not?
PRESS: Because I think he reflects what the American people feel about this. First of all, let's not kid, everybody was right, this is a real problem for Hillary Clinton. It's not going to go away. It's going to drag out through November. And we have to wonder why -- we see this all the time -- people who are so smart do things that are so dumb. At the same time, she released 30,000 e-mails. There's been no bombshells in any one of those e-mails. What we see is a sloppy recordkeeping of these e-mails but no illegal activity. There's no "there" there really, which is why I think Bernie won't go there.
BOLDUAN: Bernie won't go there, but I'm pretty darned sure that --
BOLDUAN: -- Already raising his hand, I'll go there now. Barry?
BENNETT: I think the most damaging part of the State Department report says, the inspector general, an independent body, says that she did violate the rules of the State Department. Those rules were enacted to guarantee compliance with the Federal Records Act. It is not a leap of logic to say she has broken the law. The Federal Records Act has been violated. And if that's where the FBI goes, then this is no longer a political problem, it becomes a courtroom problem.
AMANDA CARPENTER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: It doesn't have to be criminal. It could to be unethical. I think everybody can agree that it is. And I think --
BOLDUAN: You don't -- it doesn't have to real the level of criminality.
CARPENTER: No. For her to be guilty in the court of public opinion, absolutely not. Here's the thing that happened. This isn't about rules and whether she asked the State Department for permission. It's the fact is she set up a private e-mail server to conduct public work for the purpose of, A, convenience, but avoiding public records keeping laws. She put herself above the law, as Barry mentioned. This is a problem. But it goes further than that. She put herself above the law. That is the beginning. That is the end of it. There's no reason to make it any more complicated than that.
BERMAN: And timing, Dana, the timing -- I can't get the timing. The timing is very, very interesting because they --
BASH: It's tough.
BERMAN: It is tough for Hillary Clinton. Today may have been a good news day for Hillary Clinton. Maybe she would have won a news cycle against Donald Trump, going after Donald trump on the issue of what he said about the housing crisis in the mid-2000s. Now it's about e- mails. And it isn't the last day we'll be talking about it because, as Patti mentioned, there's this --
BASH: There is. And there is eventually going to be a report coming out from Capitol Hill on the broader issue of Benghazi, which kind of is a different issue but related in many ways.
This is the kind of thing that Team Clinton knew was going to be an issue for a long time. And it's the kind of thing they have to try to -- it's just damage control as much as they can. The problem is, and Patti is exactly right, this report does talk about systemic problems. Even Secretary Kerry, the current secretary of state is talking about how to remedy these problems. But John Kerry isn't currently running for president, and neither is Colin Powell or Condoleezza Rice or anybody else who had problems at the State Department. They didn't have their own servers. It is a different situation and purely political.
And, again, I can't underscore enough. It feeds straight into the narrative that Hillary Clinton is just like the rest of them. She's above it all. She doesn't comply with the rules. And that is very difficult thing to beat back.
[11:10:54] BOLDUAN: The waiting game, to hear what Hillary Clinton says and how she responds to it, right?
BERMAN: You notice Kate and I were checking our e-mails. We're waiting for an official response from the Clinton campaign or Clinton Team, which has not happened yet.
All of you stick around. There's a lot more to discuss.
Just moments ago, Donald Trump called protesters in New Mexico "thugs." The chaotic scene ahead.
BOLDUAN: Also just ahead, too toxic? That is what some Democrats are wandering about the head of the Democratic Party. Debbie Wassermann Schultz, will they try to push her out now? Coming up, Bernie Sanders' campaign manager will join us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[11:15:20] SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN, (D), MASSACHUSETTS: Donald Trump was drooling over the idea of a housing meltdown.
HILLARY CLINTON, (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE & FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: He actually said he was hoping for the crash.
DONALD TRUMP, (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE & CEO, TRUMP ORGANIZATION: I'm a businessman, that's what I'm supposed to do.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: A group of anti-Donald Trump protesters clashed with police. Now lots of protesters are throwing rocks. This has now descended into chaos.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: All right, this morning in politics, plenty of room at the Hotel California, and for the remaining presidential candidates, this could be heaven or could be hell. But for Donald Trump, he can't quite check in any time he likes because he's dealing with New Mexico for which there is no known song. Protesters outside his rally last night in Albuquerque, New Mexico, tried to storm their way into the convention center, smashing windows, throwing bottles, stomping on police cars. Several offers had to be treated after being hit with rocks. At least one person was arrested.
BOLDUAN: Trump responding, tweeting a short time ago, "The protesters in New Mexico were thugs who were flying Mexican flag and the rally inside was beautiful, but outside, criminals."
Joining us to discuss all this, CNN political director, David Chalian.
So let's talk about what happened inside that big rally. Donald Trump took on Hillary Clinton and took on Elizabeth Warren pretty strongly, responding to the attacks that they've been leveling against him, David.
DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: He did, indeed. We're seeing this general election battle lines drawn, Kate. I'm disappointed John couldn't write a New Mexico song on the fly there.
But I do think that what you saw from Donald Trump last night was actually a clear indication that Hillary Clinton's line of attack is stinging him. This notion that she's out there saying that he is a businessman who is callous in his approach to see how it impacts middle class Americans is something she plans to prosecute from now until November. He is starting to embrace that attack by pointing to the fact that, listen, two things, I wasn't a politician, I was a businessman, a good reminder for people looking for an outsider, and, two, I was doing things that were successful.
Take a listen to what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I mean, I'm a businessman. When the housing market goes down, I guess what she'd like to do -- you see, if she did it, she'd want to buy at the top. I'd like if it goes down, it goes down. I feel badly for everybody. What am I going to do? I'm in business. Never thought I was going to run for office.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHALIAN: I mean, listen to that. He gets to double down on being the outsider and it sort of wears it as a feather in his cap that, yes, he was doing things that was going to benefit his business. That's called success. And he wants to take that success and apply it to all of America, his argument back to secretary Clinton.
BERMAN: This even last night was fascinating. Not only did he take on Hillary Clinton and Senator Elizabeth Warren, both Democrats, but he also took on the sitting Republican governor of New Mexico, Susanna Martinez, who has not yet endorsed Donald Trump. But he went after her as he might say, bigly. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TRUMP: We have to get your governor to get going. She's got to do a better job, OK?
TRUMP: She has got to do a better job.
TRUMP: She's not doing the job. Hey, maybe I'll run for governor of New Mexico? I'll get this place going.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: This looks like a remarkable minute-long rift against a Republican governor popular in New Mexico and nationally as well.
CHALIAN: It really is astonishing when you look at this. If you go back to 2012, and go back to Reince Priebus and the RNC writing their autopsy of that election and what Republicans need to improve to win the White House, Susanna Martinez fits that entire description. Need to be more approachable --
BOLDUAN: Checks almost every box.
CHALIAN: Yeah. More approachable to women, more approachable to Hispanics. Here she is this star inside the Republican Party for some time where she is the head of the Republican Governor's Association. She was the one surrogate nationally Chris Christie brought into New Jersey to be a validater and to campaign for him in 2013. This is the model of the kind of outreach that Republicans had hoped to do in order to win the White House. And Donald Trump is clearly offended she hasn't supported him yet. So goes on the attack and does a complete takedown for somebody, as you were saying, Kate, checks all of the boxes of what he needs to be wooing, not pushing away.
BERMAN: David Chalian, thanks so much.
[11:19:57] BOLDUAN: Here to discuss now is Barry Bennett, a senior adviser to the Trump campaign. Our CNN political commentators are back as well, Amanda Carpenter, former spokesman for Ted Cruz; Patti Solis Doyle, former Hillary Clinton presidential campaign manager; and Bill Press, a Bernie Sanders supporter, and just a general all-around good guy, but sometimes a bit of a curmudgeon.
BOLDUAN: All right, Barry, Paul Manafort goes to Capitol Hill. Manu Raju, our reporter, is there, and he understands, behind closed doors, Manafort says, we won't hold a grudge if you guys need to run -- distance yourselves from us and don't want us to touch on topics that could be bad for you for your re-election. And then takes on Susanna Martinez. Why?
BENNETT: Well, I think that she's been more than just not talking about Trump, she's been pretty vehemently against Trump the whole time. I think there was an attempt to try to sit down with her and that was refused.
BERMAN: You reached out to her and she refused?
BENNETT: That's what I'm told. I didn't. But you know, I don't know who's giving her political advice, but I don't think she's getting good advice.
BOLDUAN: You think this is smart for Donald Trump? You think this is still OK for Donald Trump?
BENNETT: No. I wish none of this had happened. I wish she would endorse the nominee of our party, like everybody else.
CARPENTER: This is remarkable. We're told again and again that Donald Trump is a counter puncher. She landed no blow -- as far as I can see --
BENNETT: That is not true.
CARPENTER: Didn't show up at the rally and kiss his ring and punch, punch, punch.
BENNETT: There's video of it.
CARPENTER: OK. What did she say?
BOLDUAN: She didn't like the wall. She called it unrealistic. She doesn't like the way he talks about immigrants.
BENNETT: She spoke at an RGA event in the last 30 days and trashed him.
CARPENTER: So he will come into the state and trash her in a public way, saying she's not doing a job and he should take over her job.
BENNETT: It was 40 seconds of an hour town hall.
BERMAN: She's the sitting Republican governor and chair of the RGA at a time when he's trying to unify the Republican Party.
Amanda, how does this unify the Republican Party?
CARPENTER: It doesn't. It helps Donald Trump maybe in some way. I'm not sure how. Seems to get a rise off of stoking people and bashing people at every turn he can. He gives note to protesters always there, clearly he sees that picking jobs with people, keeps them in the media and keeps them on offense, it doesn't make sense to many of us who think he should have a woman like the New Mexico governor at his side. But he's not in it for the party, he's in for himself.
BOLDUAN: Real quick, what Paul Manafort told Republicans on the Hill, does that still stand? Is the campaign still saying it's OK if you want to distance yourself from us, it's OK?
BENNETT: If you attack Donald Trump, you can expect a counter punch. That's just the way it is.
BERMAN: So distance to a point.
BENNETT: Counter attack is different from distancing yourself.
CARPENTER: So you're supposed to stay silent, in a way.
BENNETT: The primary is over, right? It's over. You can either not vote for him or go out and conduct a campaign against him.
CARPENTER: You cannot say anything. Otherwise, he's going to come to your state and bash you in the public forum. That's what's to be expected.
BENNETT: If you want to attack our Republican nominee as a Republican, yes, that's wrong.
BERMAN: Yes, let's go on.
BOLDUAN: If you attack, then you will be attacked.
BERMAN: Let's talk about Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, Patti.
BERMAN: They are both attacking. Donald Trump responding to Hillary Clinton and Hillary Clinton put out this video talking about Donald Trump's sound from the 2000s, talking about the housing crisis and be an opportunity to buy low. And Trump responded last night. Elizabeth Warren piling on as well. Trump says, hey, I'm a businessman. You heard David Chalian talking about it before. This is his selling point to the American people.
SOLIS DOYLE: There's a difference between buying low and making money and rooting for the housing market to fail and rooting for the American people to suffer. There's a big difference there.
Will it stick? I don't know because so few things stick to Donald Trump. But these attacks are fair. He has no record. He's never governed. He's never taken a vote on anything. His record is his business record. Is it fair to attack on business practices and bankruptcies and tax returns, which we still have not seen? Absolutely. And that's what he's -- that's what this race is going to be about for him, his business record.
BOLDUAN: Bill, do you see -- you've got Hillary Clinton and Elizabeth Warren who will not endorsed -- is fond of your guy of Bernie Sanders. Do you think this is an area attacking Donald Trump's business record that you see Sanders and Hillary Clinton and their supporters uniting?
PRESS: Well, I hate to sound like a curmudgeon, Kate.
A quick point on what Amanda said. I think this is a real test this election because Donald Trump has gotten this far by insulting people and humiliating people, and now going after even a woman that he should be praising, the Republican governor of New Mexico. Can he insult his way to the White House? I don't think so. I think that's a test of this election.
But back on this Donald Trump approach, I disagree a little bit. I think this is very damaging for Donald Trump. He didn't just say, I'm a successful businessman and know how to make money. He really exposed himself as a businessman who doesn't care about people. That's all he cares about is making money himself. He doesn't care these people suffer, if they lose their homes and can't pay their mortgages and kids can't get into college. I think he typifies the greed of Wall Street, which undercuts the economic populism message that he has been trying, I believe, untruthfully, to ride. This exposes him I think just as a greedy billionaire. It's very damaging.
[11:25:52] BERMAN: I can see Sanders people more enthusiastic about this attack than any I've seen so far.
PRESS: Sure. Sure.
BOLDUAN: This will be the line of attack coming.
Barry Bennett, you get two seconds.
BENNETT: Guess whose record is vying for closed houses and flipping them for a profit? Elizabeth Warren. Talk about a hypocrite.
BENNETT: There's a story in "The Daily Caller" today about it.
BERMAN: All right, that's something we'll look into that. We're unclear what Barry is talking about there. But we do thank you.
BOLDUAN: We'll figure it out in the break.
Barry, thank you. You did do it in three seconds. I kid.
Barry, Amanda, Patti, Bill, thank you very much.
BERMAN: Is the head of the Democratic Party too toxic? That's what some Democrats are wondering now about the head of the DNC after her public dust-up with Bernie Sanders. Is she going to get pushed out? Bernie Sanders' campaign manager joins us next.