Return to Transcripts main page


Corker Removes Himself From Trump's VP List; Trump: Clinton "Lied" About Sending Classified Info; Clinton Trashes Trump In Atlantic City; Ryan: Clinton Should Not Get Classified Briefings; FBI Not Recommending Charges Against Clinton. Aired 4-4:30p ET

Aired July 6, 2016 - 16:00   ET


[16:00:03] JIM SCIUTTO, CNN GUEST HOST: Thank you, Pamela. Hillary speaking from the house that Trump bankrupted. THE LEAD starts right now.

From the city that inspired Monopoly, Hillary Clinton trashes Donald Trump for alleged shady deals on boardwalk and beyond. As Trump says Clinton should not pass go, should go directly to jail for her handling of State Department e-mails.

Graphic video of a deadly encounter. Officers firing bullets into a black man who was already on the ground, already restrained. Did something happen moments before to possibly justify the killing? Plus, a Fox News anchor suing Fox CEO, Roger Ailes, saying that she was fired after she refused his sexual advances. Troubling allegations.

Welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Jim Sciutto, in again today for Jake Tapper. Our politics lead today, Donald Trump revealing how much cash his campaign raised in June and it is much more than any previous month. According to a statement, Trump holding a combined $51 million last month.

That is $48 million more than he raised in May, though it's still $17 million less than Hillary Clinton's campaign raised in June. Meanwhile, one of trump's top vice presidential candidates announced today he is no longer interested in the job. Jason Carroll is here with me in Washington. Jason, do you remember anyone ever who's been in the middle of a VP vet, submitted the documents, went through all these stages, and then suddenly said, I'm not interested?

JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: No, but this has been an unusual campaign, so all sort of bets are off. Now we can tell you that Trump says he's looking at ten potential VP candidates, including two generals. As for Corker, well, there could be a number of reasons why he is pulling out. But at this point, that does not mean that Corker is still not interested in a position in a Trump administration.


CARROLL: Donald Trump's field of vice presidential candidates appears to be narrowing. Iowa Senator Joni Ernst, once viewed as a contender, says she has not received vetting documents from the Trump campaign. And today, Tennessee Senator Bob Corker, also seen as a finalist, withdrawing his name from consideration.

SEN. BOB CORKER (R), TENNESSEE: I'm a more policy focused person, and it's just a different kind of thing to be a candidate, if you will, for vice president, and I just think that people like me are better suited for other kinds of things.

CARROLL: All this as Trump is stepping up his fundraising efforts, announcing today his campaign, in partnership with the RNC, hauled in $51 million from the last week of May through June. It's an improvement from the $3.1 million Trump raised in May, but still short of the $68 million brought in by Hillary Clinton last month. The presumptive nominee also stepping up his attacks against Clinton over her use of her private e-mail servers while serving as secretary of state, and the decision by the FBI director not to recommend charges against her.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We now know that she lied to the country when she said she did not send classified information on her server. She lied!

CARROLL: But FBI director James Comey did say Clinton and her aides were quote, extremely careless with the handling of classified information, fueling Trump's argument against the political establishment.

TRUMP: Today is the best evidence ever that we have seen that our system is absolutely, totally rigged.

CARROLL: The Republican National Committee helping Trump make the case against Clinton.

HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I did not send or receive any information that was marked classified at the time.

JAMES COMEY, DIRECTOR, FBI: in 2014, are 110 e-mails in 52 e-mail chains have been determined by the owning agency to contain classified information.

CARROLL: Trump also seizing on a "New York Times" story, citing Democrats close to Clinton who suggested the presumptive Democratic nominee might keep Attorney General Loretta Lynch, whose office is overseeing the FBI's investigation, in her administration.

TRUMP: I actually found it hard to believe she'd say this, but she said today that we may consider the Attorney General to go forward. That is like a bribe, isn't it? Isn't that sort of a bribe?

CARROLL: But Trump not staying on message. Instead, praising former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein during a North Carolina rally Tuesday night.

TRUMP: Saddam Hussein was a bad guy, right? He was a bad guy, a really bad guy. But you know what he did well? He killed terrorists.

CARROLL: That as Trump makes the case, he has better judgment on foreign policy than Clinton. TRUMP: She's unleashed ISIS across the Middle East with her bad

decisions and her bad judgment, and she's going to do nothing about it because she is a weak, weak person.

CARROLL: Meanwhile, Trump's next stop on the campaign trail, the battleground state of Ohio, where he will be campaigning with former house speaker and vice presidential contender, Newt Gingrich.


[16:05:01] CARROLL: And Corker says he would be open to being secretary of state in a Trump administration. He also says he is scheduled to speak at the convention. Trump, for his part, saying that there are a number of people who are anxious to speak at the convention, including, he says, some of his enemies, who he will not allow to speak. But Jim, he didn't name names.

SCIUTTO: We'll see those in a couple weeks. Jason Carroll, thanks very much.

Hillary Clinton hoping to turn the page after yesterday's blistering critique of her e-mail practices by FBI director James Comey. The presumptive Democratic nominee taking on her rival, Donald Trump, in Atlantic City where the real estate mogul's name once adorned several casinos and hotels, that is, before they went out of business. CNN's Jeff Zeleny is traveling with the Clinton camp. Jeff, she's really hitting Trump hard here and this is part of that broader core message of Hillary Clinton against Donald Trump.

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: She is indeed, Jim, and she came right here to the boardwalk in Atlantic City to make her point clear, literally standing in front of the faded sign, the former sign, of the Trump Plaza casino, as she delivered a blistering takedown of his business practices. But Jim, even if she was doing that, her campaign and other top Democrats were racing to prepare for yet another grilling examination of her e-mail practices on Capitol Hill.


ZELENY: Hillary Clinton is trying to keep a laser focus on Donald Trump.

CLINTON: Donald Trump says he is qualified to be president because of his business record.

ZELENY: Visiting Atlantic City today, she hoped to spotlight the fallout from a string of his bankrupt businesses.

CLINTON: What he did here in Atlantic City is exactly what he will do if he wins in November.

ZELENY: But her trip was overshadowed by fallout of her own over the FBI investigation into her handling of classified e-mails.

House Republicans are calling FBI director James Comey to Capitol Hill on Thursday, asking why he ended no charges be filed against Clinton, despite saying she was extremely careless with how she handled some of the nation's top secrets on her personal e-mail server.

REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: We have seen nothing but stonewalling and dishonesty from Secretary Clinton on this issue. And that means there are a lot more questions that need to be answered.

ZELENY: Speaker Paul Ryan said Clinton and her advisers should not be allowed classified briefings during the campaign.

RYAN: Give how she so recklessly handled classified information.

ZELENY: Republican, Jason Chaffetz, who chairs the Oversight Committee, called the FBI recommendation surprising and confusing. Hes said, the fact pattern presented by director Comey makes clear Secretary Clinton violated the law. Trump also seizing on Clinton's e-mail issues. But Republicans in Congress suddenly feeling less helpless in the campaign. A senior Clinton adviser tells CNN the campaign welcomes the hearing, noting Democrats will also be able to question Comey about why he recommended no criminal charges. For her part, Clinton ignored the controversy for a second straight day, standing beneath the blazing sun just to show the shadows of the failed Trump Plaza.

CLINTON: Donald Trumps once predicted, it will be the biggest hit yet. Now it's abandoned. You can just make out the word Trump, where it used to be written in flashy lights. He had the letters taken down a few years ago, but his presence remains.

ZELENY: Trump pushed back, defending his investment on the Jersey Shore. He tweeted, I made a lot of money in Atlantic City and left seven years ago. Great timing, as all know. Pols make big mistake, now many bankruptcies.


ZELENY: Now, there's little doubt that Donald Trump will likely respond to this when he has a campaign appearance tonight in Cincinnati. He did defend these bankruptcies as commonly used business practices. But Jim, you can be sure, this is something that we're going to see in a television ad, the campaign cameras were indeed rolling today. The campaign is more concerned about something initially, that's that house hearing tomorrow on Capitol Hill, when the FBI director will be able to explain in more detail what he meant by extremely careless and why no charges were recommended. Jim --

SCIUTTO: That e-mail issue is certainly not going away. Jeff Zeleny, thanks very much. Let's talk about all of this with CNN political commentator, Amanda Carpenter. Campaign director for the Center for American Progress action fund and Hillary Clinton supporter, Emily Tisch Sussman, and senior adviser to the Trump campaign, Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

So Sarah, if I could begin with you, Bob Corker spent the entire day with Donald Trump yesterday. Today, he takes himself immediately out of the running to be Trump's running mate, telling "The Washington Post" quote that he's far more suited for other kinds of things. That's still fairly remarkable, someone being vetted, going through all the steps, and pulling himself out. Is Donald Trump having trouble recruiting vice presidential candidates?

[16:09:59] SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, SENIOR ADVISER, DONALD TRUMP FOR PRESIDENT: Not at all. He's got a big list. He's still got roughly ten names of people that are on that list, of people that he wants to bring in and continue to vet. Look, it's not like Corker withdrew his support with Donald Trump. He just said he could be better used in another place, and so that's where he's going to put his focus. Look, everybody is coming together with one focus and that's to defeat Hillary Clinton in November, and they want to do that in the best way possible, and Senator Corker is willing to put the country above himself, took himself out of the running because he thinks he can serve in a better place and help defeat Hillary in November.

SCIUTTO: Amanda, to be fair, that's a nice argument, but the fact is, there is division within the party. There is an enormous reluctance of some senior Republicans to endorse. Some aren't even showing up to the convention. Do you see something in this, some reluctance -- and there have been others, frankly, potential candidates who've taken their names out.

AMANDA CARPENTER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes. It's highly unusual for a candidate to voluntarily, publicly take himself out of the running. If you look and see what's going on with Hillary Clinton, you see guys like Corey Barker playing very coy. Even if they aren't being taken seriously, they're saying, I prefer questions to the campaign.

Bob Corker isn't doing that. He's saying, no, I don't want the job. But I'm even more concerned that people are floating his name as a possible secretary of state. Many conservatives view him as being the person that paved the way for the disastrous Iran deal that President Obama negotiated. The fact that they think that they can install him as secretary of state given that, and Trump saying that he wants to undo the deal, those things just are not compatible.

EMILY TISCH SUSSMAN, CAMPAIGN DIRECTOR, CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS: It's remarkable that he took himself out of the running, but it's not that remarkable considering the appearance that he made with Trump last night. Trump said that he admired Saddam Hussein. I feel like that has gotten buried.

CARPENTER: Who wants to defend that?

SUSSMAN: Corker is somebody that does actually have substance on foreign policy. Whether you agree with him or not, he is a serious figure in the community, so to campaign with somebody who says they admire Saddam Hussein would really be damaging.

SCIUTTO: Sarah, I have to give you a chance to respond. You heard Paul Ryan say, right after those comments, that Saddam Hussein was one of the worst human beings of the century. What was Donald Trump saying last night? SANDERS: Look, I think the point he was trying to make is that we've

got to go back to an administration and a focus of putting American interests first. We've completely lost sight of that. His point is is that a void has been filled and it's been filled by ISIS. That threat hasn't been taken seriously --

SCIUTTO: But he's saying it would have been putting America first to leave Saddam Hussein in power?

SANDERS: No, no, you're taking out of context what I mean here. My point is that we have got to take a focus on ISIS and that hasn't been done by this administration. A void has been filled with them in that and we absolutely have to go and put a focus on that because Hillary Clinton certainly didn't do it as secretary of state. We can't count on her to do it as president because she's going to continue the failed policies that we've seen under the Obama administration.

SCIUTTO: But Sarah, to be fair, I'm not taking anything out of context. Donald Trump said Saddam Hussein was good at killing terrorists. And this is not the first time that he's expressed some phrase -- he did it in an interview with my colleague Jake Tapper a number of weeks ago. Do you agree with that, that Saddam Hussein deserves some praise for being a strong leader?

SANDERS: I don't think we need to praise Saddam Hussein. I think we need to praise Donald Trump for focusing on protecting our country, because that's what the contrast here and that's what the point of this race is, is, who's going to do a better job, Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton, when it comes to protecting our country and protecting Americans and protecting American interests? When you draw that contrast, Donald Trump wins every single time and Hillary Clinton doesn't stand a chance. That's the real question at hand right now.

SCIUTTO: Sarah, Amanda, Emily, I want all of you to stick around. We do have much more time to talk about this and other issues after this break, including what Donald Trump's just released fundraising numbers mean for his campaign.


[16:17:47] SCIUTTO: Welcome back to THE LEAD.

I want to get right back to our panel.

Emily, if I can lead with you. I mean, it seems like ten news cycles ago, but it was only 24 hours ago, a little more, that the FBI director in addition to criticizing Hillary Clinton's private e-mail use, he also dismantled every single talking point that Clinton and her staff had been propagating for the last year to explain her email use. He documented it. We documented it in our own reporting.

As you look at that, how is it that Hillary Clinton did not lie about her use of a personal e-mail server?

EMILY TISCH SUSSMAN, HILLARY CLINTON SUPPORTER: I think actually in Comey's own statement, he explained them in a longer fashion than I think most people are used to talking about the emails. But even in his own statements, it really wasn't like direct -- you know, like cut --


SCIUTTO: It was pretty direct. She said that the information wasn't classified at the time. He said, in fact, it was classified.

She said none of it was marked classified. He said in a number of instances, it was marked classified.

So, each of those excuses gets knocked out one by one.

SUSSMAN: He could. But it's not actually clear that the information -- I mean, this is really getting into semantics, but it's not actually clear that those eight e-mail strains are the ones that were marked classified. In fact, he said that some of them weren't. I mean, it really is getting into like the details of it.

Overall, he said that she was sloppy in usage, but not leading to gross negligence, nothing criminal, and she's acknowledged that what she did was wrong. She should have done it differently.

SCIUTTO: Amanda, and I want -- Sarah, I want you to comment as well.

AMANDA CARPENTER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: One thing that I think is going to come up in the hearing tomorrow --


SCIUTTO: Amanda first, and then you, Sarah, please.

CARPENTER: One thing that's come up in the hearing tomorrow based on people I'm talking to in the House is that they want to know the difference between gross negligence and extreme carelessness. It seems like FBI Director Comey was very deliberate in saying extreme carelessness while saying something like negligence, gross negligence would have triggered some kind of administrative action or some kind of charges. But for some reason, he didn't come to that conclusion.

They also see a key difference between the inspector general's report and the harshness that they level towards Clinton and the FBI investigations.

So, these are things that need to be drawn out. But I do think there is one part of FBI Director Comey statement that could really change the election, and that's where he talked about another individual under similar circumstances may have faced consequences, but that's not what we're recommending in this case. And that's very unclear to people why Hillary Clinton is different than another individual in similar circumstance.

[16:20:05] SCIUTTO: Let me ask you -- Sarah, I want to ask you respond, because I listened to the FBI director very carefully yesterday. He said that they looked at a number of previous cases, officials, et cetera, and found that there were a number of legal bars that her behavior, while he said it was not acceptable, that her behavior did not meet.

What is your view? Do you believe -- are you questioning the impartiality of the FBI director?

SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, SENIOR ADVISER TO DONALD TRUMP CAMPAIGN: It's hard not to. It's very clear and he made clear by his own statements and his admission, Hillary Clinton lied and she put our country at risk. Our national security was at risk based on the decisions that she made. That alone is disqualifying for her to move up from secretary of state to take on a greater position.

And no other place in America can you screw up at the level that she did and then ask for a promotion. I wish when I got in trouble as a kid, I could say, "Oops, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to and there were no consequences."

But my name is not Clinton. That didn't happen at my house. My guess it doesn't happen at any other house in America, and it shouldn't happen in our government. And Hillary Clinton should pay some serious consequences for putting our country at risk.

SCIUTTO: All right. Sarah, Amanda, Emily, we're going to have to leave it there. Thanks very much on all of these topics.

Coming up next, horrifying video of a black man killed when two police officers pinning him to the ground at the time shoot him in the back, it appears. Now, we're learning more about those officers' histories as the Justice Department investigates.

Plus, it is now a problem for the next commander in chief. President Obama changing course in Afghanistan, leaving more troops behind and extending a war that he vowed to end.


[16:26:08] SCIUTTO: We're back with the national lead.

Please brace yourself. This is a difficult story.

Less than 48 hours after a father of five was shot and killed by police outside of a convenience store in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, the U.S. Justice Department is now taking over the investigation. Alton Sterling died after a confrontation with two police officers early yesterday morning. Now, and I want to give you a warning here. Some viewers may find a video of this encounter difficult to watch.

A witness in a nearby car captured it all on cell phone video. Here is some of that video.


SCIUTTO: A police dash camera, store surveillance camera also a apparently caught it on tape. Those videos are not public yet.

I want to bring in CNN's Nick Valencia. Nick, I have watched this video several times. It is extremely difficult to watch. It's now been shared widely on social media. What's the reaction in the community there?

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Jim, this video is enough for activists in Baton Rouge to have already made up their minds. They call this police excessive force, plain and simple.

Family members of Alton Sterling, the 37-year-old man shot and killed by police have called for the local police chief here to resign with more demonstrations planned in Baton Rouge later this evening.


VALENCIA (voice-over): What occurs on those graphic cell phone video is now the subject of a civil rights investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice. Two officers tackle 37-year-old Alton Sterling outside the Triple S Food Mart in Baton Rouge and pin him down. Someone calls out that they see a gun.

Soon offer, an officer shoots Sterling multiple times, killing him.

Alton Sterling's teen son stood at his mother's side today --

QUINYETTA MCMILLAN, MOTHER OF STERLING'S SON: He had to watch this. This was played all over at the outlets.

VALENCIA: Inconsolable as community leaders call for justice.

MICHAEL MCCLANAHAN, PRESIDENT, BATON ROUGE NAACP: What we're going to do today is root out the 1 percent of bad police officers that go around being the judge, jury, and the executioner.

VALENCIA: Residents say Sterling was well-known in the community, often selling CDs outside the store.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is a good person wiped away (ph).

VALENCIA: The officers on scene that night had seven years combined service on the force and are now on administrative leave.

An anonymous 911 call may offer clues as to why they approached Sterling.

911 CALLER: He's selling CDs on the corner, gun in his pocket. He pulled a gun on the complainant and told him, he couldn't be around here.

VALENCIA: Local officials, including the chief of police, the governor, and the mayor address the fatal shooting ahead of possible protests this evening.

MAYOR KIP HOLDEN (D), BATON ROUGE, LOUISIANA: We believe that justice will be served. It's not like we need to be handheld and spoon-fed when it comes down to doing what's right.

VALENCIA: Sterling's family lawyer says police quickly confiscated surveillance video from the convenience store owner.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Abdullah said that they had him in his car, did not present him with a search warrant, but went in and took his system.

VALENCIA: As for the officers' body cameras --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was told by the chief of police that both body cams fell off in the tussle. Let's outfit our police officers in body cams that don't fall off.

VALENCIA: The chief of police says no stone will be left unturned while Sterling's loved ones vow to hold officials to that promise.

MCMILLAN: I for one will not rest or not allow him to be swept in the dirt.