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Trump to Tax Return Protesters, Election is Over; Trump Calls Out Super Liberal Candidate in Georgia; Trump Lawyers Said He Can't Be Sued for Rally Violence; Military Actions Under Trump, Still No Strategy; Prince Harry Sought Therapy Years After Diana's Death. Aired 11:30-12p ET

Aired April 17, 2017 - 11:30   ET

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


[11:30:00] KEITH BOYKIN, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIC: Every president since the Richard Nixon era has released their tax returns. This guy came into office saying he's going to be transparent. He's the least transparent president we've had since the Nixon administration. There's no doubt about it.

CARL HIGBIE, CHAIRMAN, GEORGE WASHINGTON LEADERSHIP FOUNDATION: Are you kidding me?

BOYKIN: He hasn't sold his trust, he hasn't sold his company, he hasn't set up a blind trust.

HIGBIE: I think --

BOYKIN: He hasn't divested his business. He has all kinds of conflicts of interest. There is no transparency. We have no idea what's going on.

DAVID DRUCKER, SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT, WASHINGTON EXAMINER: I think it's fair --

BOYKIN: This is an outrageous situation and it deserves a response.

DRUCKER: I think it's fair to say that this president who criticized his predecessor for a lack of transparency isn't any more transparent than his predecessor was. Voters will make a decision --

BOYKIN: He's less transparent, David.

DRUCKER: Voters will make a decision -- voters will make a decision on that next year.

BOYKIN: Every other president since Nixon has released their tax returns. That makes him less transparent.

DRUCKER: I think what the president -- I don't know if he's gotten used to his or this is just a political device. And it's interesting, even though the answer ultimately doesn't matter all that much. In American politics, the opposition doesn't go home after the election.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Right. DRUCKER: All right. Whether it's Republicans, with President Obama,

and they never gave him an inch, or whether it's Democrats with President Trump so far not giving him an inch. This is the way our democracy works. And look, I think the president, if he's really bothered by it, should get used to it. If it's just a political device to keep his supporters juiced, then at least they can understand the strategy behind it.

BOLDUAN: And the chances, betting man, Carl Higbie, that President Trump will feel compelled at any point to release his tax returns?

HIGBIE: Very low. I think totally very low.

DRUCKER: Lower than that.

HIGBIE: Yes.

BOLDUAN: Zero. I was looking for zero there, buddy.

BOYKIN: Zero.

(CROSSTALK)

BOYKIN: Makes him a liar, and makes you an enabler of his lies.

HIGBIE: OK. That's fine.

BOLDUAN: Do you think --

BOYKIN: He said he was going to release his tax returns and he's not doing it. That makes him a liar.

BOLDUAN: Do you think that -- I mean.

BOYKIN: He's a liar.

BOLDUAN: Did he lie? I will release them after the audit.

BOYKIN: Yes, it was a lie.

HIGBIE: Yes. I think -- I think that he's -- he should probably have not said that I'm going to release them after the audit. Granted, he's still under audit. So --

BOLDUAN: Every president --

BOYKIN: Not every year he's under audit. He can release returns from previous years that have been audited and released since that time.

HIGBIE: OK.

DRUCKER: He couldn't release them even if they were under audit.

BOYKIN: And even Nikki Haley --

(CROSSTALK) DRUCKER: The president doesn't want to release his tax returns and politically he's not compelled.

HIGBIE: And he doesn't have to.

DRUCKER: That's why he's not doing it.

HIGBIE: Yes.

DRUCKER: But the idea that he's not doing it because he's under audit is not -- is immaterial.

BOLDUAN: Right.

(CROSSTALK)

BOLDUAN: I have no idea these taxes --

BOYKIN: We have one president -- Obama released his tax returns. Hillary Clinton released 39 years of her tax returns. We haven't seen zero years, not a single year, that Donald Trump released himself of his tax returns.

HIGBIE: That's actually not true --

BOLDUAN: He's not releasing himself and he didn't even substantiate that they were even true.

HIGBIE: No. But you know what, I wish you would have just as much outrage about the lack of transparency under Barack Obama --

BOYKIN: Barack Obama released his tax returns.

BOLDUAN: Yes, I'm just going to stop it here. Here's where I'm going to stop. Transparency of the --

BOYKIN: How many times do I have to say that? He was even forced to release his birth certificate. And this guy won't even release his tax returns.

BOLDUAN: The transparency of the Obama administration at this time, to steal David's phrase, is immaterial because he's no longer the president.

BOYKIN: Thank you. Thank you.

BOLDUAN: I only care -- we should only care about the transparency of the current administration.

BOYKIN: We have one president at a time.

HIGBIE: I think we should move on.

BOLDUAN: Who knew taxes was so sexy?

BOYKIN: Tell that to Donald Trump. BOLDUAN: OK, David Drucker, before we run out of time, I'm going to

talk about something that has become unusually interesting to follow, the special election in Georgia.

DRUCKER: This is fun if you're a political junkie. And --

BOLDUAN: And I would argue should be fun and interesting to even if you're not a political junkie.

DRUCKER: First of all, if you're president, you get to tweet about it, you get a whole bunch of attention, but look, Georgia --

HIGBIE: More than the actual election.

DRUCKER: George's Sixth District is very interesting. It's a Republican-leaning district that has been Republican since Newt Gingrich won it in 1978. Tom Price held it until he went to the Health and Human Services Department.

BOLDUAN: Yes.

DRUCKER: And it only went to Donald Trump by 1.5 points over Hillary Clinton. It's Republican, it's affluent, it's suburban. If Democrats are going to make gains next year, they're going to have to do it in districts like this. Even if they don't win districts like this, they're going to have to keep Republicans spending money.

BOLDUAN: With that in mind, though --

DRUCKER: And that's what makes this so interesting.

BOLDUAN: With that in mind, though, no matter -- I mean, they've raised a lot -- the Democrat raised a lot of money, talking about a congressional --

DRUCKER: Because Democrats are very energized.

BOLDUAN: Exactly, but to my point that I'm trying to make now, the president tweets about it this morning.

BOYKIN: Oh, god, yes, yes.

BOLDUAN: The president -- this was the one this morning, "The super liberal Democrat in Georgia's congressional race tomorrow wants to protect criminals, allow illegal immigration and raise taxes." Here's what I was thinking when I saw this tweet this morning. Is that tweet in it of itself just potentially worth way more than the right million bucks that the candidate has raised and spent in the entire time he's running?

HIGBIE: Absolutely. Sure. But here's another thing that's very important about that district, is the way it goes is, you have, like, I think it's 12 or 13 people --

BOLDUAN: On the Republican side.

(CROSSTALK)

HIGBIE: A Republican side.

DRUCKER: But he probably won't surpass 50 percent.

BOLDUAN: Don't go into the details, stay up here, stay high. Stay at 30,000 feet here.

HIGBIE: No, no. So yes, so you have to get 50 percent to win, but you have like all these Republicans in the race, one of which is, I'm supporting, which is Bruce Labelle. But the Democrat only has to get 50 percent, so it's an odd race and then, you know, the top two will go to a runoff if nobody gets 50 percent, but I think this tweet right here is clearly an endorsement of the Republican side, not an individual, which is --

BOLDUAN: Well, obviously, he can't -- obviously. I'm saying is he helping the Democrats by --

HIGBIE: No, no.

(CROSSTALK)

DRUCKER: Kate's right on this --

BOLDUAN: I'm sorry, say it again?

DRUCKER: Kate is --

(LAUGHTER)

BOLDUAN: Just kidding. Keep going.

DRUCKER: The most interesting thing about that tweet is that is the president's political message generally speaking on domestic issues and it only bought him a 1.5 point victory in this race in November.

[11:35:01] So turnout in special elections are weird and different. We'll see what happens. But that was to me --

BOLDUAN: OK. For the Democrat on the panel, I'm sorry. Keith, last word.

BOYKIN: I think it's a sign of the Republicans running scared right now. We saw what happened in Kansas last week. They won the election, but you know, they had to bring in Donald Trump, Mike Pence, Ted Cruz, spent a six-figure ad buy with the Republican Party, and the seat that they had held for 22 years, and they barely won. So I think this is an election that will be a bellwether. If we can -- if the Democrats can pull this off in Tuesday's election, tomorrow, I think that it's a good sign for the future.

BOLDUAN: This is -- this will be my question on Wednesday.

HIGBIE: I know, it's a fair point.

BOLDUAN: If the Democrats don't win, then --

BOYKIN: Well, they're not going to lose. It's going to be a runoff.

BOLDUAN: I don't think. But if a Democrat doesn't win and it isn't like a big margin, do Democrats then throw in the towel? Then you're going to say, it wasn't that big of a deal. It's not a bellwether. I'm just like --

BOYKIN: It's a man bites dog situation. Not supposed to win, right?

DRUCKER: Situational, right?

BOLDUAN: Situational. We are situational here. Great to see you, guys. Thanks so much.

All right, remember this violent clash at a Trump campaign rally? Protester in there being pushed out, pushed around. It's now at the center of multiple lawsuits, including one from a Trump supporter in the middle of the scene who he says inspired him to do this. It gets complicated. But it's interesting.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[11:40:39] DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Get out. You know, in the old days, which isn't so long ago, when we were less politically correct, that kind of stuff wouldn't have happened. Today we have to be so nice, so nice. We always have to be so nice.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BOLDUAN: President Trump and his lawyers say the president cannot be sued for what you just saw play out in that video because he is president. That's what they say. Three protesters, though, are suing the Trump campaign, a Trump supporter and a white nationalist over what happened at a rally last year in Louisville, Kentucky. They say they were assaulted by Trump supporters while peacefully protesting at that event and that Trump incited supporters to do that.

Where's the law here? Joining me now, CNN senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin. There's another layer to this.

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Many layers.

BOLDUAN: There are many layers to this. It's not just anti-Trump supporters suing the Trump campaign and others, you now have a Trump supporter involved accusing the president of essentially saying he made me do it, he told me to do it.

TOOBIN: Right.

BOLDUAN: So that's why I did it. What do you make of this?

TOOBIN: OK, you have to sort out a lot of different things here.

BOLDUAN: Yes.

TOOBIN: First of all, the idea that you can't sue the president, that's wrong. We know that from the Paula Jones case. The Supreme Court decided in 1995 that presidents can be sued like anyone else. So we'll just take that issue off the table.

BOLDUAN: OK.

TOOBIN: However, I do think that Trump has a very good defense in this lawsuit because speech is protected, and we need to draw distinctions here between what people say, even if it's nasty and even if it's unpleasant, versus any sort of physical contact.

There were protesters who were roughed up. I think they might at least have a case against the people who pushed them around, who hit them in that case, but the statements that then candidate Trump made certainly don't seem to me to rise to the level of anything like something that could be sued.

BOLDUAN: That is so interesting. A judge is allowing this to proceed because in the judge's view, the words "get them out of here" could have been seen as an ordered instruction or a command.

TOOBIN: I think that judge is completely wrong about that. I think, you know, we have a very strong First Amendment in this country.

BOLDUAN: Yes.

TOOBIN: And the idea that simply saying "get him out of here" in a meeting, in a rally where there were security, where there were people whose job was to get people out of there.

BOLDUAN: Get people out of there or whatever.

TOOBIN: Does not seem like something that would merit a lawsuit in my opinion.

BOLDUAN: So you -- but when the attorneys, their defense is that you can't sue the president like this because he has immunity, that is wrong, you say.

TOOBIN: Wrong, wrong.

BOLDUAN: Is there precedent people are going to be leaning on when it comes to the president's words and violence and what you're seeing?

TOOBIN: No. I mean, not that I'm aware of. I mean, I think, you know, when the president is speaking, or remember, he wasn't president at that point.

BOLDUAN: Right, right, of course.

TOOBIN: He was a candidate. Even that, you know, talking about security to get security to get someone out of there, is not anything that I think is actionable, is something that could be sued on. You know, there's a terrible precedent that everybody knows and remembers, which is fire in a crowded theater.

BOLDUAN: Fire -- yes.

TOOBIN: Which is not really the law. That is the equivalent of pulling a fire alarm. That's not speech. Speech is protected. Pulling a fire alarm is not. And I don't think any reasonable person could look at what Donald Trump said there as the equivalent of --

BOLDUAN: Pulling a fire alarm.

TOOBIN: Pulling a fire alarm.

BOLDUAN: That is fascinating. Always fascinating to see how these multiple lawsuits go and all of the layers involved.

TOOBIN: Always lots of lawsuits.

(LAUGHTER)

BOLDUAN: Which keeps you employed. Great to see you, Jeffrey.

Coming up for us, Senator John McCain says North Korea may be the first real test of the Trump presidency. He explains. That's next.

Plus in a candid, new interview, Prince Harry reveals that he sought professional help years after losing his mother, Princess Diana. Hear why. Prince Harry in his own words, ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[11:48:45] BOLDUAN: Hours from now Defense Secretary James Mattis is heading to the Middle East. He's the latest member of the Trump administration to head overseas amid rising tensions there. It comes shortly after, of course, the vice president's trip to the Korean demilitarized zone, National Security adviser H.R. McMaster's visit to Afghanistan and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's high stakes meetings in Moscow. Mattis' trip to the Middle East also comes less than two weeks after the U.S. missile strike on Syria.

Do all of these visits give any kind of a window into the president's military strategy overseas?

Joining me now retired Lieutenant General David Barno, who's a former senior American commander of U.S. and coalition forces in Afghanistan, he's now working with the School of International Service at American University.

General, thank you so much for your time.

LT. GEN. DAVID BARNO (RET.), FORMER SENIOR COMMANDER, U.S. FORCES IN AFGHANISTAN: Great to be here.

BOLDUAN: Thank you. So the National Security adviser, he's out there. But after these two very active weeks on the military front, we have Democrats and Republicans alike asking basically the same question, no matter where they land on how they view the president. What is the overall strategy there? Do you see one?

BARNO: I think we're still in the early stages of sorting that all out. Remember President Trump's been in office less than 100 days now.

[11:50:02] There's been a lot of military activity during that 100 days. For more so than we've seen on the diplomatic front. I think getting all these pieces to fit together in some sort of coherent national security strategy is exactly what, you know, Secretary Mattis and the Pentagon, H.R. McMaster, the National Security adviser, and Secretary Tillerson who say they're all going to have to work with president that (INAUDIBLE) together but we're not there yet.

BOLDUAN: I want you to listen if you could, and also for our viewers. Here's John McCain. He was kind of talking about the military strategy or lack thereof or what he is looking for after that strike in Syria. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: I support what he did and I support the bunker buster bomb, but we've got to develop a strategy. There is still not an overall strategy that he can come to Congress and his advisers and say OK, this is how we're going to handle Syria, here's how we're going to handle post-Mosul Iraq. Here's how -- we've got to have a strategy and I'll give them some more time but so far that strategy is not apparent.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BOLDUAN: And General, lay it out for us. Does there need to be a clearly defined strategy coming from the president or can the president successfully operate just kind of making these major decisions day-to-day without one?

BARNO: Well, I think he can only do ad hoc operations for so long. And the military has been given clearly a lot of additional authority to operate independently without detailed supervision from the White House.

BOLDUAN: Yes.

BARNO: That was very much characteristic of the Obama administration. But all those military actions have to fit into some sort of coherent overall strategy to get you to the end game. You know, the strikes in Syria, the increased operations in Iraq and now on the ground with rebels in Syria. The threats by North Korea. All of these things are huge challenges for this administration and again they don't have a coherent strategy that they can really lay out there in front of the American people and in front of foreign leaders around the world that explains exactly where the United States wants this picture to go to.

BOLDUAN: And of course add into do and what does it mean for all the men and women putting their lives on the line here and overseas. They need to know that strategy as well.

Lieutenant General David Barno, it's great to have you. Thank you.

BARNO: Thank you.

BOLDUAN: Coming up for us, Prince Harry getting personal about the loss of his mother Princess Diana, revealing that he sought professional help to help him cope with the intense grief surrounding her death. And this was years later. Hear the prince in his own words. That's ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[11:56:39] BOLDUAN: Britain's Prince Harry trying to raise awareness now about mental health by sharing his own struggle. Harry's mother Princess Diana, she died of course in '97 in a horrible car crash. Harry was just 12 years old at the time. In an interview with UK newspaper "The Telegraph," he reveals how he avoided facing his pain for years and how it caught up with him. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HARRY, PRINCE OF WALES: My way of dealing with it was, yes, sticking my head in the sand, refusing to ever think about my mom because why would that help? It's only going to make you sad. It's not going to bring her back. So from an emotional side, I was like, right, don't ever let your emotions be part of anything. So I was a typical sort of 20, 25, you know, 28-year-old running around going, you know, life is -- life is great or life is fine.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

PRINCE HARRY: And I was exactly it. And then so I've had a few conversations and actually all of a sudden all of this grief that I'd never processed had come to the forefront. I was, like, there's actually a lot of stuff here I need to deal with.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BOLDUAN: Joining me now is CNN's Nina Dos Santos.

I mean, Nina, it's unprecedented to hear a member of the royal family talking about something that's personal and so publicly. What more -- what more did Prince Harry said?

NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN EUROPE EDITOR: Well, almost 20 years ago this August, his mother died -- the princess of Wales died in that car crash that you mentioned. Almost immediately this country of plunged into very profound and deep national mourning, but the one person who wasn't able to mourn his mother's death it seems was 12-year-old Prince Harry. He bottled up his emotions for the best part of 16 years until it led to two years of what he calls absolute total chaos that nearly caused a complete breakdown on more than one occasion.

And about four years ago he decided he needed therapy. He went to go and seek a counselor based on his brother Prince William's advice who said you need to get this sorted out emotionally. And that's when he started having counseling. And he said that everything flooded back in his 20s.

What he's trying to do here is highlight the issue of mental health which is something that's dear to not just his heart, his brother Prince William, and also the Duchess of Cambridge, his sister-in-law. They've embraced a number of mental health charities. And they decided to use this poignant time here in this country to say well, even if you've had mental health issues and issues of depression and anger and anxiety like this, it's OK. You shouldn't be ashamed. Even royal members of the royal family also have had some of these issues as well.

Very moving times here for Britons to hear this as this country prepares to mark the 20th anniversary of his mother's death -- Kate.

BOLDUAN: And Nina, what's the reaction and response then from folks to what Prince Harry is saying?

DOS SANTOS: Obviously this is a complete surprise to many people across this country, not the least because the British royal family is well known for its stiff upper lip, for stoicism and Prince Harry is also well known for being the more carefree of the two royal brothers here. And so at a time when we saw him on the international stage dancing and representing the U.K. in such a vibrant life in places like Jamaica and on other royal tours, it seems as though he had a very poignant, personal battle here, some very turbulent times, and he's coming forward to speak about this to smash the stigmas that surround issues like mental health -- Kate.

BOLDUAN: Yes. Seeing those pictures and understanding maybe what was going on inside, brings true for -- it speaks for a lot of people who deal with that publicly and privately.

Thank you so much, Nina. Really appreciate. Fascinating take.

Thanks so much for joining us AT THIS HOUR. "INSIDE POLITICS" with John King starts right now.

JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR: Thank you, Kate. And welcome to INSIDE POLITICS. I'm John King, thanks for sharing your time today. It's Easter Monday or Patriot --