Return to Transcripts main page
AT THIS HOUR WITH BERMAN AND MICHAELA
Security Showdown: Clinton to Hit Trump in Speech; NYT Columnist: Clinton Fibs Not as Bad as Rivals; Trump Silent at Rally on Clinton's "Trump U" Attacks. Aired 11-11:30a ET
Aired June 2, 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] CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: I became so excited during your report I'm exhausted new but I'll be watching. It's going to be fantastic.
Coy Wire, thanks so much.
And thank you for joining me today. I'm Carol Costello.
AT THIS HOUR with Berman and Bolduan starts now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: She has no natural talents to be president.
This is not a president.
This is not presidential material.
HILLARY CLINTON, (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Donald Trump has disqualified himself completely.
This is dangerous.
TRUMP: She went to sleep when her ambassador was murdered.
CLINTON: He has attacked our closest allies, praised the dictator of North Korea. He wants to ban all Muslims from coming to the United States.
TRUMP: One of the worst secretaries of state in the history of our country. She wants --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm Kate Bolduan.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm John Berman.
In a few hours, Hillary Clinton will fire a Trump-seeking missile, maybe a few, in fact. The Clinton campaign is billing this as a major speech in San Diego designed to hammer the presumptive Republican nominee on foreign policy. Her senior adviser tells CNN she will explain why she believes Trump has dangerous ideas, and she believes he's unfit to be president.
BOLDUAN: So one way she's going to counter that, Clinton is expected to trumpet her record as secretary of state, but Trump isn't waiting around, already firing a pre-emptive strike, slamming Clinton's foreign policy record and saying she has no actual talent.
CNN's Jason Carroll is in California where the two candidates are squaring off.
Jason, Team Clinton is building this speech up quite a bit. What are you learning about it?
JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, yeah. A lot of name-calling sort of going back and forth ahead of this speech. Jake Sullivan, Hillary Clinton's senior policy adviser, is the one who is really weighing in on this, giving a lot of details about what we're expecting to hear from Clinton when she gives her speech in San Diego. According to what he is saying, Clinton will focus extensively on Donald Trump and what Donald Trump has said about foreign policy. And let me give you a quote here. He says, "Clinton will rebuke a litany of dangerous policies that Trump has espoused, ranging from nuclear proliferation to endorsing war crimes, from denouncing NATO to banning Muslims from the United States." That's just part of it. Sullivan also saying what you will hear in Clinton's speech is a confidence in America. He says a confidence that you're not hearing from Trump going forward, and saying that Clinton will talk about the country's capacity to, quote, "overcome challenges." A little more for you. He says a stark contrast to what Trump has been doing. And he called what Trump has been saying, quote, "incessant trash talking of America."
So this is what will we're expecting to hear from Clinton when she takes the stage in San Diego.
BERMAN: You know, it's interesting, Jason, because overnight Trump said he got a copy of Hillary Clinton's speech, which, frankly, I doubt. However --
BERMAN: -- he was sort of rebutting the speech already. What did he have to say?
CARROLL: Well, look, I mean, look, what he's trying to do is get ahead of this and trying to once again criticize Clinton, basically quoting Bernie Sanders at one point saying that she has, quote, "bad judgment."
But if you really think about what's happening here, guys, it's Trump who is really going to be on the defense. He's going to be on the defense about some of those comments he made about South Korea and Japan arming with nuclear weapons and a flip-flop he did on that particular issue.
Just want you to listen to some of the sound we've put together on that particular issue.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: They said I want Japan to nuke. I want Japan to get nuclear weapons. Give me a break.
North Korea has nukes. Japan has a problem with that. I mean, they have a big problem with that. Maybe they would, in fact, be better off if they defend themselves from North Korea. Maybe they would be --
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: With nukes?
TRUMP: Including with nukes, yes, including with nukes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARROLL: So clearly a bit of a flip-flop on that issue. And a little bit more on that. Back in April, in Racine, Wisconsin, I attended a Trump event there as well, where Trump once again basically said the same thing about South Korea and Japan, as well in terms of, you know, having arms. So Trump is really going to have to do some explaining on that particular issue. Clinton expected to hit him hard on that issue as well.
BOLDUAN: One of many to be sure. A lot going to happen today.
Jason, thank you so much.
Let's talk more about this right now with CNN political director, David Chalian, joining us from Washington.
David, the timing of this speech we're curious about. The fact she's in California, still fending off Bernie Sanders in a primary. Why give this national security speech taking on Trump now?
DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Because as you can see from what she's been doing over the last several weeks, she's aware and dealing with the Sanders challenge on the campaign trail where she moves around the country, but she's been entirely focused on Donald Trump. And I would say, starting with her interview with Chris Cuomo where she for the first time said she assessed Donald Trump to be unqualified for the job, she has been making a sort of take-down Trump case every day. It is the message she is driving. Gone is the message of the day, here is my plan on criminal justice reform, small roundtables about immigration reform. It's not the message they're driving anymore the way that they were during the nomination season. Right now, the Clinton campaign sees themselves in a window of time to try to discredit Donald Trump so that he is not seen as a real viable alternative to her come the fall. That's what they're trying to do. [11:05:54] BERMAN: It's interesting because it's a foreign
policy/national security speech which, you know, for voters is not the top one, two, or three issue, is it, David?
CHALIAN: Well, it's not, John. You know voters tend not to vote on national security or foreign policy issues unless there's an event right around that. If you look at the polls right after San Bernardino and Paris last fall, national security was -- foreign policy was the top issue for voters. The economy is right now and jobs. And we know that people tend to vote absent a big international crisis around an election, people tend to vote on more pocketbook issues. But we should -- yes, this is a national security speech. Yes, she's going to contrast her foreign policy with his. But this is a character speech, right? She is using foreign policy, which in the last NBC/"Wall Street Journal" poll is seen as strength for her by some I think 27 points or something she beats him on handling foreign policy. Use something that she has experience in, but really to make the character assessment of Donald Trump that she's trying to sell to voters.
BERMAN: I think you're right. I think foreign policy is a vessel here, something she's using to get something else with Donald Trump.
David Chalian, thank you so much.
BERMAN: Hillary Clinton doing this national security speech today. And a lot of people talking about it, a lot of people writing about it, including Thomas Friedman, "The New York Times" columnist, very famous. He was on "New Day" this morning. This is what he had to say about Donald Trump.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
THOMAS FRIEDMAN, COLUMNIST, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Does anyone here believe -- please raise your hand -- that Mexico is going to build a wall on this border? Does anyone believe that we can carpet bomb ISIS out of existence? That all that is missing is a few extra bombs? Is that telling it like it is? It sounds like straight talk. It's full of testosterone. That's all it is.
I heard your previous discussion all about how Obama is a weak president. Look, we're in a world today, if I'm running for president and someone said how do we respond when the phone rings at 3:00 a.m. in the morning? Do you know what my answer is? Don't answer it. That's what my answer is, because we have never been in a world, since I have been covering foreign policy, 35 years, that is as messy as it is now. And why is it so messy? Because we have gone from having to manage strength, the strength of our opponents, the strength of our country, to managing weakness. And managing weakness, OK, weakness in allies, weakness in America, and weakness in countries that are falling apart, where the only option you have is nation building and to rebuild them, that is hell on wheels.
(END VIDEO CLIP) BERMAN: Let's discuss with our panel. John Jay LaValle is a Donald Trump delegate from New York and vice chairman of the New York Republican party. Susan Del Percio is Republican strategist, former official in the Rudy Giuliani administration. Pete Seat is a former communications director for the Indiana Republican Party, joining us in New York for the very first time, worked in the Bush 43 administration. Errol Louis is a CNN political commentator and a political anchor at Time Warner Cable news.
John Jay LaValle, let's start with you.
BOLDUAN: You have three names. You get the first one.
BERMAN: Absolutely. Susan Del Percio --
John Jay, Thomas Friedman, writes for "The New York Times," essentially, said on the issue that is Donald Trump talks about on foreign policy a lot, for instance, you know, bombing the hell out of ISIS, building the wall, he just calls it B.S. Your response?
JOHN JAY LAVELLE, DONALD TRUMP DELEGATE FROM NEW YORK & VICE CHAIRMAN, NEW YORK REPUBLICAN PARTY: Well, he's not your traditional politician. The traditional politicians, they know what to say, they know how to say it. Donald Trump -- it's going to evolve and you're going to watch how he takes stances on issues, but taking national security advice from Hillary Clinton, that's like taking financial investment advice from Bernie Madoff.
BERMAN: I'm sorry. You say evolve, but does that mean saying different sides of the very same issue. Take the Japan nukes. He said very clearly maybe Japan should have nukes and, last night, he said, no, I never said that. Is that evolution or is that just total flip-flopping?
LAVELLE: When he started the campaign, he's now bringing in people, they're advertising him on the details, and he's -- you're going to see the positions he's going to take. But what we're looking at is a candidate, his opposition, Hillary Clinton, who has supported a failed foreign policy. She has breached national security. This is not the type of person that we want to stand behind. She had a great night's sleep when --
[11:10:14] BERMAN: You say he's going to bring people in -- and he doesn't have his foreign policy positions yet? He's going to learn them? Is that --
LAVELLE: Oh, no. He is laying them out. And he did that in his speech several weeks ago and he's going to continue to do so. But, you know, you have individuals who are career politicians. This
is what they do. They're told what to say, how to say it. This is a successful businessman who is looking at a country, and we're weak. And Mr. Friedman was exactly right, talking about managing strength versus managing weakness. We're managing weakness because of a failed administration, because of failed policies. We have to get America healthy again. We have to be healthy at home, and then we can become the positive influence that we always have been across this world.
BOLDUAN: And where John is laying this out, Pete, is that he says Donald Trump approaches this from an outsiders' perspective. He's not only contrary to the foreign policy views of Hillary Clinton, he's also contrary to the foreign policy views of the man you worked for, George W. Bush. He hits George W. Bush often on his foreign policy approach. How much of a concern is this, Donald Trump's foreign policy views, for the traditional Republican voter?
PETE SEAT, FORMER COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR, INDIANA REPUBLICAN PARTY: Well, it's certainly a vulnerability. And I think Hillary Clinton is trying to expose that. She's trying to reach out to the more hawkish Republicans in the party, to more moderate Republicans in the party who detest Donald Trump and the idea that he could potentially be commander-in-chief. And I think she's reaching out to Independents. We've seen that -- the "who" attacks, the character attacks haven't worked against Donald Trump to this point.
SEAT: And I think she needs to start making that pivot if she wants to touch on vulnerabilities, to the "what" attacks, and that's what this is. This is an attack on the what, on where he stands. You say evolve but we need to know -- it's what is it June now --
SEAT: -- and the election is in November. Someone will take office in January. Where does he stand on these issues? We don't have a lot of time to wait and find out.
BOLDUAN: How much more room does he have to evolve on the issue? What do you think, Errol?
ERROL LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, evolve might not be the right word.
BOLDUAN: That is -- and that's an important thing.
LOUIS: Yeah. He needs to settle on a policy and maybe stick to it. There's nothing wrong with being simple or even, you know, sort of speaking in plain language. I think back to Ronald Reagan. What's your policy with the Soviet Union? We win, they lose. OK, it's clearly understandable. It's not high-flown language. And then you sort of build on that scaffolding of a core principle. What's missing here is the core principle. Until we get that, people won't be able to make a solid judgment. And Trump leaves himself open to what Hillary Clinton is going to try to do today, which is to try to disqualify him, and say he's not even part of what has been a bipartisanship consensus for the last 70 years that's kept the peace, and that you can't play with this. This is not something for negotiation or for flip-flopping or for evolving or whatever you want to use. We need core principles so we know where this country is going to go. Now, for a lot of people that makes him somebody who is outside the pale, that you can't vote for him. It's probably not a lot of people, but however many there are, Hillary Clinton wants them in her camp.
BERMAN: Susan --
BERMAN: Go ahead.
SUSAN DEL PERCIO, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: But to follow up on that point, Errol, I think the speech also does one -- two other things for Hillary Clinton. One, last week everyone was wondering I she going to punch back? How is she going to fight these attacks?
DEL PERCIO: This is really -- she was waiting for a pitch. This is her kind of pitch. She can hit Donald Trump hard on foreign policy. She's also, to Pete's point, trying to appeal to moderates and some hawkish Republicans. Donald Trump's response is to double down on his rhetoric. He needs to start broadening his support. It seems like he's still trying to get all of the Republican support together instead of looking at ways to maybe bring down his negatives with women, to get other support. He's not doing that. And that's what he really needs to do. Whether it's on foreign policy, domestic policy, he must start appealing to a broader base of voters.
BERMAN: Susan, it's interesting you say Hillary Clinton is trying to appeal to Republicans and moderates here, but isn't there a risk perhaps? And foreign policy has changed so much over the last eight years, right? Hillary Clinton voted for the Iraq war and that's seen as a big weakness. There's a big group in the Republican Party that's more isolationist than interventionist. Maybe being a hawk, in either party in some cases, isn't what it used to be.
DEL PERCIO; I think you have to ask if you had a son or daughter going into the military, who would you want to be commander-in-chief leading them? Donald Trump talks big about bombing ISIS and being very aggressive, but would you want him basically responsible for your child? Or do you want Hillary Clinton, who is known as a hawk and has a more traditional foreign policy, and would you trust her with basically your child going into war?
BOLDUAN: John, do you think that this issue, foreign policy, is Donald Trump's weakest area?
LAVELLE: I think naturally it's going to be. I mean, he's a businessman. Obviously, he's an international businessman. But what you have to understand is the mindset of the individual. As a successful businessman, he's built his success on taking issues one at a time, bringing in the best and brightest minds, in his world, the real estate world, and getting advice from the best and the brightest and then making a decision.
[11:15:22] BOLDUAN: Do you think he's getting the advice from the best and brightest on foreign policy?
BOLDUAN: We're going to be speaking to someone who is --
BERMAN: Who is among the best and the brightest.
LAVELLE: But those are the people that are now going into his camp and now advising him. That's why I'm talking about evolving. It's evolving as the campaign evolves. Hillary Clinton has hundreds of people on staff. He's got a couple dozen people on staff.
LAVELLE: But what I'm saying is, you know, the traditional politician takes a position and loves to talk and loves to dig in and never wants to move because I don't want to be a flip-flopper. The world could change. Donald Trump is going to look at issues, bring the best and the brightest into the room, and then he's going to make a decision. It's not traditional politics, but traditional politics is failing America.
BERMAN: Can I ask a question --
LAVELLE: We need to be better.
BERMAN: -- to both Pete and Susan. Pretty much out of time here, so it's pretty much just a yes or no.
You posed a very interesting question there. If you had a son or daughter in the military, would you feel more comfortable with Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton? I'm interested in your answers because you're both Republicans with Republican candidates and Republican administrations. Who would you feel more comfortable?
DEL PERCIO: At this point, I would say Hillary Clinton because Donald Trump doesn't have any policy and he's too erratic. I'm worried what does he mean about just bombing ISIS? How is he going to give nukes to Japan? Those are things that are not -- not give but allow them to have them. These are big concerns.
SEAT: Let's say I struggle with it every day, and I'm not --
BOLDUAN: You were struggling with it - when we talked to you during the Indiana primary.
SEAT: Absolutely. And there are -- Hillary Clinton is not the best messenger on foreign policy, but I don't necessarily see myself waking up in cold sweats that a misfired tweet is going to put us in a bad situation if she's --
DEL PERCIO: Come on. You have to give the yes or no. I did. It was hard.
BOLDUAN: Take it. Take it.
BERMAN: Yes or no.
SEAT: Yes or no?
BERMAN: Yes or no on Hillary or Trump.
SEAT: I feel more comfortable on foreign policy with Hillary.
BERMAN: Now we know why Hillary Clinton is giving this speech today in San Diego.
BOLDUAN: Now we know why Pete has a bitter taste in his mouth.
BERMAN: Why he's sad he came on our show today.
BERMAN: Stick around. Very interesting.
Hillary Clinton also calling Donald Trump is fraud. She's targeting him over new revelations about Trump University and how some of Trump's former employees are calling it a big scheme.
BOLDUAN: Plus, a White House source says that President Obama has been champing at the bit to attack Trump on the campaign trail. Hear why the president says next week could be a big moment for that and this race.
And he's a former aide, a former top aide to General David Petraeus, a lifelong Republican. He now says, as we've been discussing, for the first time in his life, he is going to vote for a Democrat. Hear why. He's going to be joining us live.
[11:21:51] BOLDUAN: "A fraud, a scam," just some of the choice words that Hillary Clinton has been throwing at Donald Trump now. This is just -- that is just the beginning of it. Listen here.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CLINTON: This is just more evidence that Donald Trump himself is a fraud.
CLINTON: He is trying to scam America the way he scammed all those people at Trump U.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: All right. Donald Trump and his now-defunct business, Trump University, are facing lawsuits in New York and California.
We want to bring in CNN's senior investigative correspondent Drew Griffin, who has done a lot of work on this; and Nick Penzenstadler, a reporter from the "USA Today" network.
Drew, I want to start with you.
A lot of new information, a lot of new revelations and documents out the last day over Trump University. What jumped out to you?
DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: The big revelation was the document dump we had, the unsealing of these declarations of Trump University employees. It took no time at all for Hillary Clinton to include them in the speeches, almost directly quoting them. I think one of the most damaging is from the sales manager who talked about Trump University in a declaration saying that they "preyed upon the elderly and uneducated to separate people from their money." He went on to say he quit because, "I believe Trump University was engaging in misleading, fraudulent, and dishonest conduct."
Of course, there's a lot more but, it all kind of falls into the lawsuit's allegations, which are that this entire operation was set up as a scheme, not a school, but a scheme, to get product for these what they claim to be worthless seminars, there an three and five-day seminars.
We talked to a student, Bob Guillo (ph), who explained just how it happened and how easily he found himself suddenly separating %35,000 from his own pocket. Go to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BOB GUILLO, TRUMP UNIVERSITY STUDENT: And one of the things that James Harris told us to do was to use our cell phones, if we had them, or go down to the lobby in the hotel and call up our credit card companies to increase our credit limits because we might be able to buy some property that might be available during this three-day workshop. What that was for was so we could increase our credit limits to pay $34,995 for the Trump gold elite membership that was a 12-month membership program with retreats in various hotels throughout Manhattan. And in every one of these retreats, they tried to up-sell us for more and more money.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRIFFIN: Guys, we heard that from many, many students. You go to the three-day course, and the first thing you learn is you're not going to learn everything in this three-day course, you need to buy the five- day course. The five-day course, you need to go to the mentoring course. Up and up and up. It's called up-selling in the business, done by motivational speakers, and that's basic allegations of the lawsuits.
BOLDUAN: This came out, Hillary Clinton hit him on it extensively. Donald Trump did not mention Trump University once in his speech last night. That was surprising to me. What did you think?
GRIFFIN: It was surprising to me as well. There hasn't been a lot of pushback from the Trump organization that is being sued here. I talked to Allen Garten, Trump's attorney, this morning, and he basically said, look, we're going to win this in court. They've got Dan Petrocelli out there in California, one of the top, you know, attorneys in the country, but he says you can say all you want, these people can say all they want, all these declarations can be out there, but in the end, they believe in a court of law they are going to win.
[11:25:28] BERMAN: Nick, that's a perfect segue to you. In a court of law is somewhere where the court organization I guess is very comfortable. You have an investigation today in "USA Today." 3500 lawsuits they've been involved in over the past three decades. They say that's not unusual. But what did you find?
NICK PENZENSTADLER, REPORTER, "USA TODAY" NETWORK: We tried to make some fair comparisons. So we compared him to some other real estate moguls and we found that he is a standout, and that is a large number of cases even over several decades.
BOLDUAN: Is he the one being sued or is he the one doing the suing?
PENZENSTADLER: It's a pretty -- it's almost an even split where he's either named as a plaintiff or as a defendant. So it's a pretty good split.
BERMAN: Now on the Trump University cases, he says, you know, I can settle if I wanted to. I could have settled this long ago, but he says, you know what, I don't like to settle because that just invites more lawsuits. When you've looked at these 3500 cases, what do you find on the issue of settling? Is this something he does?
PENZENSTADLER: Yes. He does settle. The fact is he settled more than 100 cases in our database of cases over the last several decades and, even yesterday or two days ago, he settled a copyright lawsuit. So the notion he never settles is simply not true.
BOLDUAN: Doesn't sound like he's settling this one, at least not yet.
Drew, thank you so much.
Nick, thank you so much.
Fascinating to get down to the details. We appreciate it.
BERMAN: He is champing at the bit, and I just said it right.
BOLDUAN: Good job.
BERMAN: A White House source tells CNN that President Obama is getting ready to attack Donald Trump on the campaign trail. Getting ready? Well, it kind of sounds like he's doing it already. The new attacks on the Republican front-runner from the president ahead.
BOLDUAN: Plus, sometimes you just have to give up. That is the message, that's the line from the top Democrat in the Senate, kind of talking to Bernie Sanders. Why Harry Reid seems to make it clear that the math is not on Sanders' side and Sanders needs to start doing the math.