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Hillary Clinton Gives First Campaign Interview; Only 60 Syrian Rebels Trained to Fight ISIS; Continued Fallout from Immigration Controversy. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired July 7, 2015 - 17:00   ET


JIM SCIUTTO, CNN GUEST HOST: Happening now, a CNN exclusive.


HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: People should and do trust me. And I have every confidence that that will be the outcome of this election. I cannot decide what the attacks on me will be.


SCIUTTO: Clinton talks trust. The Democratic presidential front- runner responds to questions about her vulnerabilities, her controversial e-mails and her Republican rivals. Stand by for the first national TV interview of her 2016 campaign.

Hillary versus Donald. She says she's disappointed in her old friend and former campaign contributor for his shocking remarks about Mexicans. And tonight Clinton is accusing the other GOP candidates of not being all that different from Trump on the crucial issue of immigration.

Plus, midair collision. An Air Force fighter jet and small plane collide in mid-flight, reigning down debris over a large area. How could this happen?

And failure to train. The Pentagon acknowledges a stunning lack of progress teaching Syrian rebels to fights ISIS. Critics say it is more proof that the president's ISIS strategy isn't working. And welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world.

Wolf Blitzer is off today. I'm Jim Sciutto, and you're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

Tonight, Hillary Clinton is turning up the heat on her Republican rivals, but refusing to go after her strongest Democratic opponent. We're seeing the Democratic presidential front-runner on the defensive and on the attack. In her exclusive one-on-one interview with CNN, the first sit-down of her 2016 presidential bid, responding to tough question about the controversy surrounding her campaign. And why polls suggest many voters simply don't trust her.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CLINTON: This has been a theme that has been used against me and my husband for many, many years. And at the end of the day, I think voters sort it all out. I have great confidence. I trust the American voter.


SCIUTTO: Tonight we're also following that disturbing midair collision between an Air Force fighter jet and a private plane. Our correspondents, analysts and news makers are all standing by as we cover all the breaking news right now.

First to our senior political correspondent, Brianna Keilar. She is live in Iowa, where she just wrapped up her exclusive interview with Hillary Clinton.

Brianna, tell us how it went.


Hillary Clinton finally sitting down for questions. She slammed Republicans on immigration. She talked about the controversy surrounding her e-mails and the Clinton Foundation's -- and the Clinton Foundation. And she explained why Democrats are so enthusiastic about Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders.


KEILAR: Secretary Clinton, thank you so much for talking to us today. You're here in Iowa for a couple of events. You're the front-runner in this state, but we're also seeing Bernie Sanders attract a lot of attention. He has had big crowds here, 10,000 people in Wisconsin last week, 7,500 people in Maine last night.

Why is it, do you think, that someone who is a self-described Democratic socialist is really attracting this organic interest that your campaign seems to be struggling a little bit with?

CLINTON: Well, first of all, I always thought this would be a competitive race. So I am happy to have a chance to get out and run my campaign as I see fit and let other candidates do exactly the same.

I feel very good about where we are in Iowa. We are signing up thousands of volunteers, people committed to caucus for us. We have a committed supporter in every one of the 1,600 precincts. And one of the things that I learned last time is it's organize, organize, organize. And you've got to get people committed. And then they will follow through and then you bring more people.

So I feel very good about where my campaign is. It will be three months and a few days that we've been at this. I think I've learned a lot from listening to people in Iowa. And it's actually affected what I say and what I talk about on the campaign trail.

So I couldn't be happier about my campaign. KEILAR: Senator Sanders has talked about how, if he's president, he would raise taxes. In fact, he said to CNN's Jake Tapper, he would raise them substantially higher than they are today, on big corporations, on wealthy Americans.

Would you?

CLINTON: I will be laying out my own economic policies. Again, everybody has to run his or her own campaign. And I'm going to be telling the American people what I propose and how I think it will work; and then we'll let voters make up their minds.

[17:05:08] KEILAR: Are -- is raising taxes on the table?

CLINTON: I'm going to put out my policies, and I'll let other people speak to their policies, because I think we have to both grow the economy faster and fairer so we have to do what will actually work in the short term, the medium term and the long term. I will be making a speech about my economic proposals on Monday. And then I look forward to the debate about them.

KEILAR: I'm wondering if you can address a vulnerability that we've seen you dealing with recently. We see in our recent poll that nearly six in 10 Americans say they don't believe that you're honest and trustworthy.

Do you understand why they feel that way?

CLINTON: Well, I think when you are subjected to the kind of constant barrage of attacks that are largely fomented by and coming from the right and...

KEILAR: But do you bear any responsibility for that?

CLINTON: Well, I -- you know, I can only tell you that I was elected twice in New York against the same kind of onslaught. I was confirmed and served as secretary of state. And I think it's understandable that, when questions are raised, people maybe are thinking about them and wondering about them.

But I have every confidence that during the course of this campaign people are going to know who will fight for them, who will be there when they need them, and that's the kind of person I am. And that's what I will do, not only in a campaign but as president.

KEILAR: Trusting someone to fight for them and trusting someone, these are -- these are two different things.

Do you see any role that you've had in the sentiment that we've seen, where people are questioning whether you're trustworthy?

CLINTON: I can only tell you, Brianna, that this has been a theme that has been used against me and my husband for many, many years. And at the end of the day, I think voters sort it all out. I have great confidence. I trust the American voter. So I trust the American voter 100 percent, because I think, you know, the American voter will weigh these kinds of accusations.

I mean, you know, people write books filled with unsubstantiated attacks against us. And even admit they have no evidence. But of course, it's your job to cover it. So of course, that's going to raise questions in people's minds.

But during the course of this campaign, just as in my two prior campaigns and in my other years of service, I have a lot of confidence that the American people can sort it all out.

KEILAR: Would you vote for someone that you don't trust?

CLINTON: Well, they -- people should and do trust me. And I have every confidence that that will be the outcome of this election.

I cannot decide what the attacks on me will be, no matter how unfounded. And I'm well aware of the fact that it's your job to raise those, and we'll do our best to respond to them.

But I think what people talk to me about -- and that's all I can go on -- is the literally thousands of people that I've seen in the course of this campaign. They want to know what I'm going to do for the economy, what I'm going to do for education, what I'm going to do for health care. And they trust me to have a plan and to be committed to carrying out that plan, and they should, because I will.

KEILAR: One of the issues that has eroded some trust that we've seen is the issue of your email practices while you were secretary of state. I think there's a lot of people who don't understand what your thought process was on that.

Can you tell me the story of how you decided to delete 33,000 emails and how that deletion was executed?

CLINTON: Well, let's start from the beginning. Everything I did was permitted. There was no law. There was no regulation. There was nothing that did not give me the full authority to decide how I was going to communicate. Previous secretaries of state have said they did the same thing. And people across the government knew that I used one device. Maybe it was because I am not the most technically capable person and wanted to make it as easy as possible.

KEILAR: But you said they -- that they did the same thing, that they used a personal server and...

CLINTON: Well, personal e-mail...


KEILAR: ... a subpoena deleted emails from them?

CLINTON: You know, you're starting with so many assumptions that are -- I've never had a subpoena. There is -- again, let's take a deep breath here. Everything I did was permitted by law and regulation. I had one device. When I mailed anybody in the government, it would go into the government system. Now I didn't have to turn over anything. I chose to turn over 55,000 pages, because I wanted to go above and beyond what was expected of me because I knew the vast majority of everything that was official already was in the State Department system.

And now I think it's kind of fun. People get a real-time behind-the- scenes look at, you know, what I was emailing about and what I was communicating about.

[17:10:10] KEILAR: Wearing warm socks, you said to John Podesta.

CLINTON: Exactly and -- or, you know...

KEILAR: Working a fax machine...

CLINTON: Yes, a secured fax machine, which is harder to work than the regular.

So yes, this is being blown up with no basis in law or in fact. That's fine. I get it. This is being, in effect, used by the Republicans in the Congress, OK. But I want people to understand what the truth is. And the truth is everything I did was permitted, and I went above and beyond what anybody could have expected in making sure that if the State Department didn't capture something, I made a real effort to get it to them.

And I had no obligation to do any of that. So let's set the record straight. And those 55,000 pages, they will be released over the course of this year. People can, again, make their own judgments.

KEILAR: I know you say you were permitted. I just am trying to understand some of the thought process behind it. One former state attorney general, a Democrat, told CNN that they know of no lawyer who would advise someone, a client, facing the kind of scrutiny that you've been facing to wipe their server.

what do you say to that?

CLINTON: Well, what I say to that is I turned over everything I was obligated to turn over. And then I moved on. People delete their personal emails, their work-related emails, whatever emails they have on a regular basis. I turned over everything that I could imagine.

Now being -- sitting in a meeting in the State Department, asking for iced tea, may not rise to the level of negotiating peace, but I went above and beyond. That's why there's 55,000 pages of my emails.

And so I think people have an interesting time behind the scenes. And all I can tell you is that the law, the regulation did not in any way stand in my way of being permitted to do what I did. And as I said, prior secretaries of state -- I mean, Secretary Powell has admitted he did exactly the same thing.

So I think both Secretary Powell and I are viewed as public servants. We do our very best to serve our country and he's -- he has such a distinguished records. You know, I have served my country, as well. We both did the same thing. Now years have passed, so he clearly doesn't have anything left. I did everything I could to make sure people got anything that was related that I had.

KEILAR: There has been a lot of controversy surrounding your family's foundation, The Clinton Foundation, corporate and foreign donations that have gone to the foundation and the work that it does.

Has it made you think, seeing this controversy, that it's come about, has it made you think about if you are president, what will happen to The Clinton Foundation?

Have you thought about perhaps shutting it down?

CLINTON: Well, let me start by saying I am so proud of The Clinton Foundation. I am proud of the work that my husband started, that my daughter continued. I'm proud of the very small role I played in being there for about a year and a half.

And I'll give you an example of why what The Clinton Foundation has done is so critical.

When I became secretary of state, the United States government was using our tax dollars to treat 1.7 million people around the world with HIV/AIDS. I looked at the contracts that The Clinton Foundation had been negotiating to buy medicine and pass it through, working with foreign governments who provided the funding to buy the medicine to treat more people.

So we negotiated lower prices. By the time I left, thanks to contracts and work that The Clinton Foundation had done, the United States was treating 5.1 million people. That's just one example.

Now maybe it's because my husband knows so many people in the world and he's so creative and he's so smart. But he was able to put together solutions to problems, whether it was HIV/AIDS or childhood obesity in our country or expanding farm productivity in Africa, that was hard for others to do. And, yes, did people say, that's good work, that's a charity we want to support -- and they should have because it produced results.

I have no -- I have no plans to say or do anything about The Clinton Foundation other than to say how proud I am of it and that I think for the good of the world, its work should continue.

KEILAR: Let's talk now about Republicans. There are so many of them. Right now, the front-runner...

CLINTON: It's a big crew.

KEILAR: It is a big crew. Right now the front-runner is Jeb Bush.

Can you believe that a quarter century after your husband was elected, there could be another Bush-Clinton race?

CLINTON: Well, we'll see. That's up to, first, the Republicans on his side, the Democrats on my side. What's great about America is anybody can run for president. That is literally true. And you have to go out and you have to do what everybody else does. You have to make your case. You have to have your agenda. You have to raise the money. You have to work really hard.

[17:15:08] So whoever is nominated by their respective parties will be the nominee, and then we'll see who's on the other side.

KEILAR: Donald Trump is also creating quite a lot of commotion on the other side. He's a friend of yours, has been over the years. He donated to your Senate campaign, to The Clinton Foundation.

What's your reaction to his recent comments that some Mexican immigrants are rapists and criminals?

CLINTON: I'm very disappointed in those comments, and I feel very bad and very disappointed with him and with the Republican Party for not responding immediately and saying, enough, stop it.

But they are all in the -- you know, in the same general area on immigration. They don't want to provide a path to citizenship. They range across a spectrum of being either grudgingly welcome or hostile toward immigrants. And I'm going to talk about comprehensive immigration reform. I'm going to talk about all of the good, law- abiding, productive members of the immigrant community that I personally know, that I've met over the course of my life, that I would like to see have a path to citizenship.

KEILAR: But what about Jeb Bush's approach to that?

It's different, certainly, than Donald Trump's and...


CLINTON: Well, he doesn't believe in a path to citizenship. If he did at one time, he no longer does. And so pretty much they're -- as I said, they're on a spectrum of, you know, hostility, which I think is really regrettable in a nation of immigrants like ours, all the way to kind of grudging acceptance but refusal to go with a pathway to citizenship.

I think that's a mistake. I think that we know we're not going to deport 11 or 12 million people. We shouldn't be breaking up families. We shouldn't be stopping people from having the opportunity to be fully integrated legally within our country. It's good for us. It's good economically. It's good for the taxes that will be legally collected. It's good for the children, so that they can go as far as their hard work and talent will take them.

So I am 100 percent behind comprehensive immigration reform that includes a path to citizenship.

KEILAR: Last week an undocumented immigrant who had been deported five times killed a 32-year-old woman, Kate Steinle, in San Francisco, a sanctuary city where local law enforcement does not enforce federal immigration laws. When you last ran for president you supported sanctuary cities.

In light of this terrible incident, does that change anything about your view on this?

CLINTON: Well, what should be done is any city should listen to the Department of Homeland Security, which as I understand it, urged them to deport this man again after he got out of prison another time.

Here's a case where we've deported, we've deported, we've deported. He ends back up in our country, and I think the city's made a mistake. The city made a mistake, not to deport someone that the federal government strongly felt should be deported.

So I have absolutely no support for a city that ignores the strong evidence that should be acted on.

However, there are -- like if it were a first-time traffic, you know, citation, if it were something minor, a misdemeanor, that's entirely different. This man had already been deported five times. And he should have been deported at the request of the federal government.

KEILAR: Just a couple quick questions before we go.

What's changed when it comes to your approach with the media?

We've seen now -- you're doing this interview here today. It's been since you declared that you've done a national interview like this. We saw sort of a visual representation of the arm's length with the rope incident this weekend in New Hampshire.

What's changed? Why now?

CLINTON: Well, nothing's really changed. I just have a different rhythm to my campaign. I'm not running my campaign for the press. I'm running it for voters. I totally respect the press and what the press has to do. But I wanted and was determined to have the time that I needed to actually meet and listen to people.

You know, I had not been involved in domestic politics while I was secretary of state, and I just wanted to get my own feel, my own time, face-to-face with people; and I learned a lot, Brianna. I mean, if I had not been listening in those small groups where people told me about substance abuse and the toll it was taking on their families or untreated mental health problems or the struggles of just to get paid sick days, I would have been concerned about them, but I wouldn't have made them as absolute front and center in my campaign. And there are number of other issues that are like that.

[17:20:00] So I've always believed that I would spend the first 90 days and that -- it'll be 90 days on Sunday -- kind of getting my feel of what was going on in the country, feeling that I understood what people wanted and how they perceived this election so that as I began to roll out my policies, I'm doing it in a way that really connects with where people are thinking and what they're expecting. So obviously, I'll be doing a lot more press. I did local press all along, the last three months because, again, it was interesting to see what questions the local press would be asking me.

So you know, everything has its own time and I'm on my own rhythm and I feel very good about it.

KEILAR: Have you given any thought to the woman who should be on the $10 bill?

CLINTON: You know, I am very torn about it. I want a woman on a bill. I don't know why they take the $10 bill. Some people are now agitating for the $20 bill.

KEILAR: Twenty -- do you think it should be the $20?

CLINTON: You know, I want a woman on the bill. And I think that it might be easier to change the $20 than it is to change the $10. But we'll see. And I don't like the idea that, as a compromise, you would basically have two people on the same bill. One would be a woman. That sounds pretty second class to me. So I think a woman should have her own bill. And it may be more appropriate to look at the $20 than the $10. I don't know. We'll see.

KEILAR: And finally, I know you've seen your new doppelganger on "Saturday Night Live," Kate McKinnon.

CLINTON: Yes, yes.

KEILAR: She plays you, and she plays Justin Bieber.

CLINTON: Yes, that's pretty good. I wish I could sing.

KEILAR: Quite some range. I know. I know you do.

Who's the better Hillary Clinton, Kate McKinnon or Amy Poehler?

CLINTON: Oh, you know, Amy's a friend of mine. And Kate's doing a great job. You're not going to get me to pick one or the other. I think I'm the best Hillary Clinton, to be honest. So I'm just going to be my own little self and kind of keep going along and saying what I believe in and putting forth changes that I think would be good for the country and, you know, I'm not looking for ratings. I'm looking for votes.

KEILAR: Secretary Clinton, thank you so much for talking with us.

CLINTON: My pleasure, thanks.


KEILAR: And so ending there on a lighter note, Jim, but it was really interesting in the interview just to highlight the issue of trust. Because you see Hillary Clinton there taking no responsibility for what we have seen has been eroding opinion of her as trustworthy and honest. She pointed to Republican attacks on that, even though I think even many Democrats who support her that I've spoken to say the e-mails and the Clinton Foundation issues are self-inflicted wounds that have hurt her trust rating.

SCIUTTO: No question. Unyielding, defiant at times. Please stay there, Brianna, for more on your exclusive interview. We're going to bring in our chief political analyst Gloria Borger; our senior Washington correspondent, Jeff Zeleny; and political reporter Sara Murray. Hold your thoughts, I know you have many of them. We're going to have much more on this interview.

Please stay with us right after this break.


[17:27:35] SCIUTTO: We're back with Brianna Keilar and her exclusive interview with Hillary Clinton. Also with us, our chief political analyst, Gloria Borger; senior Washington correspondent, Jeff Zeleny; and political reporter, Sara Murray.

Brianna, I want to start with you. So this is Hillary Clinton's first national interview. In a way, her reintroduction to the American public as the 2016 campaign gets into higher gear with a lot of challenges on trust, on openness, on email questions.

You were pressing her on a number of these issues, and she was pushing back on some of these issues. As you were sitting across from her, did you see and hear a more forthcoming, a more open Hillary Clinton or a defiant one?

KEILAR: No, I didn't hear a more open or transparent Hillary Clinton. I heard her not engaging on the issue of Bernie Sanders. He's a self- described Democratic socialist. And asking -- I asked her why is he garnering the support, this enthusiasm you don't seem to among Democrats. She wouldn't engage on that.

Even on this concern about if she were to face off about -- against Jeb Bush, and there would be this dynastic race between Bush-Clinton, who we haven't seen in 25 years when her husband ran for president. She wouldn't engage on that. She was very quick to move on, on that.

And then the big issue, I think, has to do with her trust. She insists that voters should and do trust her. But at the same time, we see in our recent poll that nearly six in ten Americans say they don't find her honest or trustworthy. That's very significant. Credibility so key to leadership.

And while she really is blaming Republicans on this, this is actually a recent development that we have seen with a couple controversies plaguing her, one being the e-mails, which even Democrats will say that's a self-inflicted wound, that she was using her personal e-mail account only, a personal server; that she turned over e-mails she chose to, but ultimately wiped her server.

And then this issue of the Clinton Foundation, having business, or dealing with donations from countries that may have had business and certainly will have had business before the U.S. in the future, Jim. SCIUTTO: Brianna mentions those trust numbers, 57 percent in the

CNN/ORC poll, which is the worst figures for her any time since 2001, and you see that reflected in other polls, in key swing states in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Florida. Challenges on trust. And Sara mentioned a poll in New Hampshire that we did 28 percent, made her the least trustworthy of the presidential candidates.

Here's, though, how Hillary Clinton answered that question. Here's who she points the finger at for the source of those questions. Have a listen.


[17:30:08] CLINTON: This has been a theme that has been used against me and my husband for many, many years. And at the end of the day, I think voters sort it all out. I have great confidence. I trust the American voter, so I trust the American voter 100 percent. Because I think, you know, the American voter will weigh these kinds of accusations.

I mean, people write books filled with unsubstantiated attacks against us. And even admit they have no evidence.


SCIUTTO: Gloria, it echoes the vast right-wing conspiracy from 1998.

BORGER: Yes. It sure is. But don't forget: Hillary Clinton is running a primary race right now. Now she's running in the Iowa caucuses. Her trust numbers in Iowa, by the way, are 75 percent. Nothing unites Democrats.

SCIUTTO: Among Democrats.

BORGER: Among Democrats.

Nothing unites, you know, Democrats like attacks against Republicans. So what she did very cleverly was kind of turn it all, just the way Bill Clinton did. This is all about Republicans attacking me. Because what is she trying to do? She's trying to get those liberal Democrats who go to the Iowa caucuses, who have been liking Bernie Sanders a lot to say, you know what, she's got a point there.

SCIUTTO: And she also, though. You can tell she is looking ahead to that general election.

She's, of course, keeping one eye on Bernie Sanders. My biggest takeaway from this interview, the spectrum of hostility that the Republican Party has, she says, toward immigration, that is a key line the Democrats are going to keep pushing in the general election, whether she's the nominee or not. That is something that she knows demographically speaking in this country.

It almost reminds you of what the Obama campaign tried to do to Mitt Romney early on: paint them as sort of hostile. That was a very central line. SCIUTTO: On that trust issue, is that an opportunity for Republicans?

SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: I think absolutely it's an opportunity. They've seen that in the polling. They've seen it moves her numbers. And they're not just going to walk away, let her say these things about them on immigration.

I have a statement right here from Jeb Bush's campaign that says the governor does believe in a conservative legislative solution to fix our broken immigration system. He's saying, "Look, you can't paint me on this spectrum of hostility." So I think we're going to see Republicans pushing back on trust and on immigration.

SCIUTTO: We're going to talk about immigration next, because of course, Donald Trump comes into that debate. Sara, Gloria, Jeff and Brianna, please stay with us.

And you stay with us. We'll be right back with more.


[17:37:16] SCIUTTO: Welcome back. Tonight Hillary Clinton is not letting her friendship with Donald Trump stop her from blasting his remarks about Mexicans.

We're back with CNN senior political correspondent Brianna Keilar, her exclusive interview with Clinton; along with our chief political analyst, Gloria Borger; senior Washington correspondent, Jeff Zeleny; and political reporter, Sara Murray.

So you look at Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, they're friends. She went to his wedding. He donated to her Senate campaign, maxed out, I believe, $100,000 to the Clinton Foundation.

Here's what she had to say about his comments on Mexican immigrants.


CLINTON: I'm very disappointed in those comments, and I feel very bad and very disappointed with him and with the Republican Party for not responding immediately and saying, "Enough, stop it."


SCIUTTO: So is this good enough, a sufficient answer on that for her?

BORGER: You know, politically, this is -- this is easy for her. She can deflect it all on the Republican Party, paint every candidate with the same proud stroke, even though some of them, as we know, like Lindsey Graham, are for a pathway to citizenship. And she can just volley -- volley it back at Republicans: you didn't -- you didn't take him on early enough, soon enough. And you can be sure that she's going to continue doing this. Why wouldn't she?

MURRAY: The Republicans should have seen this coming. They should have known that, if they didn't step up, if they didn't take on Donald Trump on these comments, that this is exactly what was going to be coming from Hillary Clinton. And now, here they are.

They haven't articulated where they stand as a party. Just because Lindsey Graham is for a pathway to citizenship. Jeb Bush is for a legal status but not a pathway. It's very easy for Clinton to say, "Look, you know where I am. You don't know where these guys are."

SCIUTTO: Turn...


JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: It helps Hillary Clinton, the more he keeps running his mouth. It brings the Republicans down. She's sitting back smiling, enjoying it.

SCIUTTO: So she successfully turned it from an issue of weakness for her to...

ZELENY: Sure. She's a friend of his. Of course, he's from New York. He gave money to her campaign. This is about the Republican Party. I thought she deflected that pretty well.

BORGER: And Republicans have no single position, so until they actually have a position, or a candidate with a single position, this is -- this is going to be easy for her.

SCIUTTO: Brianna, I'm going to give you the final word. Really, a fascinating interview. A revealing interview for the Democratic front-runner. What was your biggest surprise sitting down across from her for 18-1/2 minutes?

KEILAR: You know, I would say I thought the immigration argument gave us a little view into the future on what we should expect as this campaign season moves on.

But really the trust issue, I think, surprised me when she basically said, she takes no responsibility for so many more Americans now believing that she isn't honest and trustworthy. She blamed it on Republicans. She didn't take any responsibility on e-mails or the Clinton Foundation issues. That's something that I think is going to continue to plague her.

SCIUTTO: A missed opportunity. Brianna Keilar, thanks very much. Fascinating interview.

Coming up, Donald Trump's response when reporters asked if he regrets anything that he said about immigration. We'll also hear what...

[17:45:00] JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: An astonishing revelation about the U.S. military's lack of progress in the war against ISIS.

Let's bring in CNN Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr.

Barbara, the original goal had been more than 5,000 Syrian rebels trained per year. How many so far?

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Sixty. That's it. That was the shocking revelation. You know, we know the war against ISIS has been going slowly, but how slowly? Sixty rebels from the moderate Syrian factions trained so far. The goal had been 5,000.

Testimony from Defense Secretary Ash Carter today on Capitol Hill. Senator John McCain, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, obviously, not reacting to this very well.

Many of the Syrians, of course, don't necessarily want to just get trained to fight ISIS. They want to fight the regime of Bashar al- Assad, the Syrian president, and McCain made the point that even with the training of these rebels, there's very little promise in his view that they will be protected against Assad. Listen to this exchange.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: Secretary, this is not a very pleasant exchange, I'd like to have answers to questions. Will we tell them that we will defend them against Bashar Assad's barrel bombing?

ASH CARTER, DEFENSE SECRETARY: I think we have an obligation to help them.

MCCAIN: Will we tell them that?

CARTER: We have not told them that yet.

MCCAIN: Not told them that. So you're recruiting people and not telling them that they're going to defend them because you haven't made the decision yet. And yet you want to train them quickly and send them in.


STARR: And the U.S. -- the administration also making the point there are no plans to send additional troops. Maybe some acting as ground spotters for targeting in the future, but the administration making it very clear, no change in strategy -- Jim.

SCIUTTO: A sobering assessment to say the least. Thanks very much, Barbara Starr at the Pentagon.

And coming up, a civilian plane collides with the military fighter jet scattering fragments of both planes across South Carolina's yards and fields. We'll have more after this break.


[17:51:22] SCIUTTO: Welcome back, look no further than this afternoon's CNN interview with Hillary Clinton and you'll see the huge impact that Donald Trump is having on the political debate over immigration. But listen to what happened when reporters caught up with Trump in New York and asked if he regrets anything he said.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: No. Not at all. We have to stop illegal immigration into this country. It's killing our country.


SCIUTTO: However, for Latino immigrants working on Trump's businesses, including one that's only blocks from the White House here in Washington, this isn't just political. It is personal.

CNN senior Washington correspondent Joe Johns spoke with some of them today. He's outside that construction site in D.C. -- Joe.

JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Jim, this is the project behind me, less than a block away from the Justice Department on Pennsylvania Avenue. Questions have been raised about whether there are undocumented workers on the site. The Trump organization says it has no knowledge of that, but the project management company they brought in on the old post office has declined to comment to CNN.


JOHNS (voice-over): Just blocks from the White House in downtown Washington. Real estate mogul Donald Trump is turning the old Post Office Pavilion into a luxury hotel that will bear his name.

TRUMP: It will be perhaps the most luxurious hotel when we finish anywhere in the world.

JOHNS: Trump has touted the $20 million construction project on the campaign trail.

TRUMP: I've got to put two reasons. Number one, we're really good. Number two, we have a really good plan. And I'll add in a third, we had a great financial statement.

JOHNS: That construction site has now become ground zero in the debate over illegal immigration. Sparked by Trump's comments about Mexican immigrants last month.

TRUMP: They're bringing drugs, they're bringing crime, they're rapists, and some, I assume are good people.

JOHNS: The "Washington Post" interviewed about 15 laborers at the D.C. hotel site reporting that many revealed they had entered the U.S. illegally. CNN spoke to four workers of Hispanic descent none of whom would speak on camera for fear of losing their jobs. And none would say whether they legally resided in the U.S. But they did express outrage over what they said were Trump's offensive remarks.

One of their colleagues told CNN he didn't know anyone on the project who was undocumented, while others said they were focused on the job, not the controversy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't give a (EXPLETIVE DELETED) about it. You know, I'm just out here making some money. That's it.

JOHNS: In a statement, a Trump spokesperson said, "The obligation to check all workers on site is exclusive to lend lease." The contractor on the project adding, "This, of course, assumes that the assertion regarding the employee's status is accurate."

So far the controversy hasn't hurt Trump in the polls, but it has affected his bottom line. NBC dropped Trump's hit show, "The Apprentice." That network and Univision pulled out of the Miss Universe and Miss USA Pageants co-owned by Trump. Serta and Macy's also cut ties with the brash billionaire.

TRUMP: I'm really big on dressing for success.

So the people that say I'm doing this for my brand, this isn't good for my brand. I think it's bad for my brand. I don't care. You know, maybe I'm leading in the polls, but this is certainly not good. I lose customers, I lose people.


JOHNS: And tonight the list of those distancing themselves from Trump is growing. The PGA announcing it will not hold its Grand Slam of Golf Tournament at Trump National in Los Angeles this year and is looking for another venue -- Jim.

SCIUTTO: Joe, but his name keeps coming up in this political debate. Thanks very much.

This programming note, make sure to watch Anderson Cooper's exclusive sit-down interview with Donald Trump. That's going to be on "ANDERSON COOPER 360" tonight at 8:00 p.m. Eastern.

[17:55:05] And stand by for more on Donald Trump tonight and the scolding he got from Hillary Clinton in our exclusive interview. A lot more to talk about now that the Democratic front runner is sitting down with CNN and taking him at her opponents on the right.

Plus we're now learning about fatalities in that crash between an Air Force F-16 fighter jet and a civilian plane. Stand by for more details. Please stay with us.