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New Fears of Terror Attacks Pegged to Obama's Africa Trip; New Hate Crime Charges against Charleston Church Gunman; House GOP Leader Vows to Kill Iran Nuclear Deal; Sheriff Says Sandra Bland Told Jailer of Previous Suicide Attempt; Aired 6-7:00p ET

Aired July 22, 2015 - 18:00   ET


[18:00:34] BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now, exposed to terror as President Obama prepares to travel to Africa. A shocking breach of security protocol is adding to fears that a murderous extremist group is plotting an attack.

Hate crime charges. The Charleston church gunman is hit with a new federal indictment. What does it mean for the case? And for his possible punishment?

Trump's tone. Could he rein in his impulse to bash his critics if he were elected president? CNN's Anderson Cooper presses Trump about that and the feud that forced Senator Lindsey Graham to destroy his cell phone.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I guess it was Lindsey graham called me a jackass. So am I supposed to say oh, it's OK if I'm called a jackass. I'm called a jackass. You have to fight back.


KEILAR: And aggressive arrest. New dashcam video showed the confrontation between a Texas state trooper and the woman who later died in her jail cell. Tonight we're learning about a key admission by Sandra Bland before she died.

We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. Wolf Blitzer is on assignment. I'm Brianna Keilar. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

Tonight we are tracking concerns about a possible terrorist attack, pegged to President Obama's travels. On the eve of his trip to Africa, there has been alarming chatter online by members of a terrorist group behind a slaughter at a shopping mall and other brutal acts of violence. Were those killers unintentionally tipped off about the president's comings and goings.

I'll ask the State Department's senior adviser, Marie Harf, about the possible risk to the president and much more.

Our correspondents and analysts also are standing by to cover all of the news that is breaking now. First we go to our Pentagon correspondent, Barbara Starr -- Barbara.


White House and Pentagon officials insist, insist, there is no risk to the president and he will be absolutely safe during his trip to Africa. But now already details about the movements of Air Force One have been released. Kenyan authorities are -- have published apparently details about when Air Force One will be both arriving and departing the airport in Nairobi, Kenya, when airspace will be closed there, not entirely clear how this has appeared publicly. But the White House says it is no risk to the president.

That said, U.S. officials are telling us there has been increased chatter in recent days by the Al-Shabaab, the al Qaeda affiliate, home based in next door Somalia, but a group that has conducted multiple attacks inside Kenya, attacks against shopping malls, attacks against universities, wreaking havoc where they go.

Right now the assessment is that al-Shabaab would not attack the president of the United States. That what they would do instead is look for those more vulnerable, those softer targets, if you will, like shopping malls and schools. What they want to do is create havoc, take attention away from the president's visit, try and demonstrate to the people of Kenya, cause a divide so the people there think their government cannot keep them safe.

Plenty of worry. Plenty of trouble about it. But once again the White House, the Pentagon saying, that they are certain the president will be safe on this trip -- Brianna.

KEILAR: All right. Barbara Starr at the Pentagon. Thank you so much.

And this hour the Charleston church gunman is facing federal hate crime charges in addition to the murder counts against him in South Carolina. The attorney general announcing this indictment, a short time ago, calling racially motivated violence, quote, "the original domestic terrorism."

I want to bring in CNN senior Washington correspondent Joe Johns. Those were strong word from Loretta Lynch.

JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Strong words for sure. They have thrown the book at this guy, Brianna. This is a 33- count indictment that gives the attorney general the option of seeking life in prison or the death penalty. She has not decided which way to go on this yet if he is convicted.

Still Dylann Roof is facing 12 federal hate crime charges for the targeting of victims in Charleston because of their race, 12 more charges for obstructing the exercise of religion, and the remaining counts have to do with the use of a firearm in the commission of a violent crime.

The indictment and the attorney general say Roof allegedly selected the Emanuel AME Church because of its prominence, because of its significance to the people of Charleston and the nation.

Normally now it is state prosecutors who take the lead on notorious murder cases like this. But South Carolina is one of only a handful of states that doesn't have a hate crimes law.


[18:05:07] LORETTA LYNCH, ATTORNEY GENERAL: We have here a defendant who is alleged to have harbored discriminatory views towards African- Americans, to have sought out an African-American house of worship, one that was particularly noted because of its age and significance, and he also sought out African-American parishioners at worship, implicating several hate crime statute. Racially motivated violence such as this is the original domestic terrorism.


JOHNS: The attorney general said Roof planned the attack on the church several months in advance. The indictment references Roof's widely cited racist manifesto that was found on the Internet. The process to determine whether to seek the federal death penalty can be complicated. A committee puts together a recommendation. But the attorney general gets the final say on whether to seek it out once it reaches the penalty phase in the trial.

The death penalty is legal in the state of South Carolina. And Roof is also facing a slew of state charges relating to the case.

KEILAR: As you said throwing the book at him. We'll see what happens.

Joe Johns, thanks so much for your report.

Now let's talk about the Iran nuclear deal and tough pushback by Republicans, even some Democrats on Capitol Hill tonight. This as the family of an American held captive in Iran is speaking out, making a new appeal for his release.

Our global affairs correspondent Elise Labott has been following all of the wrangling over what's in and not in this nuclear agreement.

Catch us up, Elise.

ELISE LABOTT, CNN FOREIGN AFFAIRS REPORTER: That's right. Secretary of State John Kerry briefing lawmakers behind closed doors right now, Brianna. The Obama administration has maintained tying the fate of those four Americans being held in Iran to the nuclear negotiations would not help bring them home. But now that the deal is done, the families say it is time for the U.S. to step up the pressure.


LABOTT (voice-over): Secretary of State John Kerry on Capitol Hill for a closed door high stakes briefing trying to sell the Iran nuclear deal to a skeptical Congress.

JOHN KERRY, SECRETARY OF STATE: It will make the region, our friends and allies, safer. It would make the world safer.

LABOTT: But that may not be enough.

JOHN BOEHNER (R), HOUSE SPEAKER: A bad deal threatens the security of the American people. And we're going to do everything possible to stop it.

LABOTT: Skeptical lawmakers worry the deal will embolden Iran to wreak new havoc in the Middle East and angry four Americans are being left behind. Including "Washington Post" reporter Jason Rezaian. It's been exactly one year since Rezaian was arrested on spy charges and thrown in Iran's notorious Avin prison.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He is innocent.

LABOTT: Today his family and employers at "The Washington Post" made another plea for his release. This time calling on the United Nations to step in.

MARTY BARON, WASHINGTON POST EXECUTIVE EDITOR: No evidence has been produced of espionage or any other offense.

LABOTT: Ali Rezaian feels his brother's case got caught up in the nuclear talks. But now that the deal is done he hopes the Iranians will send his brother home.

ALI REZAIAN, BROTHER OF DETAINED JOURNALIST: Certainly I think the right thing to do would have been to release him long ago. The right thing to do is release him now because he's innocent.

LABOTT: President Obama under fire for striking the deal while Rezaian and two other Americans are still being held. A fourth American missing. And this week once again promised to spare no effort.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We are not going to relent until we bring home our Americans who are unjustly detained in Iran. Journalist Jason Rezaian should be released.


LABOTT: And, Brianna, one adviser to the family tells me he believes Secretary Kerry may have missed a window of opportunity to secure the Americans released before the deal was announced. Now the hope is that the Iranians will let them go before the U.N. General Assembly in September to improve their image on the world stage and make sure this is not an irritant at the U.N. -- Brianna.

KEILAR: Elise Labott, thank you so much.

Joining me now to talk more about this is senior State Department adviser, Marie Hard.

And I certainly want to ask you, Marie, about the Iran deal, but first I want to talk to you about this trip that President Obama is taking to Kenya. And the fact that the State Department has sort of raised warning about possible terrorist activity there, a possible al-Shabaab attack being the specific concern. Is it safe for the president to go on this trip?

MARIE HARF, STATE DEPARTMENT SENIOR ADVISER: Absolutely, Brianna. And I know you heard the White House speak to this earlier today. The president very much looking forward to this trip. You know there's a high level of security whenever he travels. Separately the State department has a duty and we have for a long time when it comes to Kenya and other places to warn about possible violence. But when it comes to the president's trip, he will be safe.

KEILAR: OK. We're going to talk more in just a moment. We'll get a quick break in. And we'll be talking Iran with senior adviser to the State Department, Marie Harf, in just a moment.



KEILAR: We're back now with the State Department senior adviser, Marie Harf. She was in Vienna during those long tense talks that led to the nuclear deal with Iran.

And I want to ask you about something that we're hearing out of Iran, from the Iranian supreme leader, the Ayatollah Ali Khomeini. He says, quote, "Policy towards the arrogant U.S. will not change."

Your boss, Secretary Kerry, responded to that. Let's listen.


KERRY: I don't know how to interpret it at this point in time except to take it at face value that that's his policy. But I do know that often comments are made publicly and things can evolve that are different. If it is the policy, it's very disturbing. It's very troubling. And we'll have to wait and see.


KEILAR: He says wait and see, Marie. Wait and see for what?

[18:15:01] HARF: Well, when it comes to the nuclear agreement, he's right. We are going to hear many things said over the course of the next weeks and months. Some of which will sound like that and will be very disturbing to us. What we -- what is important to us and what we're going to be focused on is whether Iran lives up to the commitments it made in this agreement. That's what's important. They have under the joint plan of action and we have now a framework and a whole agreement with a bunch of nuclear steps they have to take. And the test will be whether or not they take them.

KEILAR: So if -- if that's posturing as you see it by the ayatollah, but the steps are taken in conjunction with the nuclear agreement then that is a scenario that the U.S. is OK with?

HARF: Well, none of us are OK with some of the things the supreme leader says about us, about Israel. I think we make that clear every time he makes these comments.

KEILAR: But --

HARF: But when it comes to the nuclear agreement --

KEILAR: But being pragmatic about it, that if the nuclear agreement is really the measure.

HARF: Well, the measure for the nuclear agreement is whether or not Iran takes the steps it has to take. And the measure for us in getting to that agreement was whether it cuts off their pathways to a nuclear weapon and pushes out their breakout time to a year. We have done that. So we will hear a lot. We expect to hear a lot publicly. What matters for the agreement is whether or not they do what they have committed to do.

KEILAR: Secretary Kerry on the Hill today, he was talking to members of Congress, briefing them. And we understand from reporting that there were some GOP members of Congress who asked the secretary about possible side deals that are going on between Iran and the IAEA.

They didn't feel that they got really a satisfactory answer. Like a yes or no. Are there any deals? Are there any parts of the deal that have not been put before members of Congress at this point?

HARF: but there's a couple of pieces here. First, to be very clear, there are no secret deals that the members of the P 5 Plus 1 including the U.S. don't have the details of. So the IAEA in the course of its normal business, all around the world, the way it says its job is for very technical agreements, that those not made public for very good reason which we all support.

But because these issues are so important, the P 5 Plus 1 has been briefed on those details of this agreement and can brief them to Congress in classified settings which is what Secretary Kerry did today. So there is no secret deal. There's nothing that we are not aware of. Everything we have Congress has.

KEILAR: He's put everything before Congress?

HARF: Absolutely.

KEILAR: You've heard obviously from -- for instance the family of Jason Rezaian, other Americans, a couple other Americans who are held in Iran. And there's this question of whether Iran may release them ahead of September to look better in the eyes of the international community. Do you get the sense that Iran is amenable to releasing these prisoners?

HARF: Well, we believe they should have been released a long time ago.

KEILAR: Are you getting any -- I mean, certainly and I know you agree with that.

HARF: We are pushing it in every single meeting. Every single meeting we have. Secretary Kerry raises it. Wendy Sherman raises it.

KEILAR: But are they giving any signal that this may be -- is there any reason to be optimistic? Especially for these families on this anniversary, this one-year anniversary of the detention of "Washington Post" Tehran bureau chief, Jason Rezaian?

HARF: Well, we are not going to be optimistic. I would never use that word until these Americans are home with their families. I remember just personally, Jason, last July being in Vienna covering the Iran talks for "The Washington Post." And not having him there this year, I think everyone there certainly felt that. So Secretary Kerry raises it. We are pushing every single way we can and we will continue to do so until they're home.

KEILAR: Would it help for the administration in making its case to Congress if Iran were to release these detainees?

HARF: Well, we believe that Congress should judge the nuclear deal based on the facts that are in the nuclear deal. And that's what they should look at. But separately, we are being very clear with Congress. I'm sure it came up today. I'm sure it will come up on the Hill tomorrow. But we are using every single opportunity to press the Iranians to bring them home.

KEILAR: But there's no doubt --

HARF: To allow them to come home.

KEILAR: There is no doubt that some members of Congress would be more amenable if they could see this gesture of goodwill from Iran. And I understand you're trying to decouple these things. But certainly it would help, wouldn't it?

HARF: Well, again, we believe Iran should release these Americans so they can be home with their families regardless of what that might mean for congressional approval or not, regardless if anything that happened with the nuclear deal, that's why we keep pushing it. But the secretary has been clear to Congress, many members of Congress care deeply about this issue. He has been clear that we are doing everything we can and will not rest until they're home.

KEILAR: Marie Harf, State Department senior adviser, thanks so much for being with us. Appreciate it.

HARF: Happy to be here.

KEILAR: Just ahead, Sandra Bland's family is demanding answers after the release of dashcam video showing her arrest just days before she died in a jail cell. Was this murder or was this suicide? There's new evidence tonight that could be key.

And would President Trump call his political opponents or global foes idiots? CNN's Anderson Cooper presses Trump about his relentless attacks on his rivals.


KEILAR: Tonight there's even more controversy surrounding the hanging death of a woman in a Texas jail after the release of dashcam video of her traffic stop. Questions are swirling about whether Sandra Bland committed suicide or whether she was murdered.

We're getting new information related to that. And CNN's Ed Lavandera is in Texas with the very latest on this -- Ed.

[18:25:00] ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Brianna. Well, we were just given by the Waller County Sheriff's Department the medical intake form that pertains to Sandra Bland. A couple significant portions and I'll read off to you here. She is asked, have you ever been depressed? She checks yes. Do you feel this way now? Yes. Have you ever had thoughts of killing yourself in the last year? Yes. Are you thinking about killing yourself today? She checked no. Have you ever attempted suicide? She checked yes, and then explains that it occurred in 2014. The reason why is that she had lost a baby and how, was using pills.

This the latest twist in a situation that has become very riled by mistrust and it's casting a large shadow over the case of Sandra Bland.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Would you mind putting out your cigarette please? If you don't mind.

SANDRA BLAND: I'm in my car. Why do I have to put out my cigarette?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, you can step out now.

BLAND: I don't want to step out of my car.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Step out of the car.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): From there the traffic stop of 28-year-old Sandra Bland escalates into a heated showdown for nearly 10 more minutes. Texas State Trooper Brian Encina tries to pull Bland from her car.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm going to yank you out of here. Get out of the car. I will light you up. Get out.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get out of the car.

BLAND: This for a failure to signal. LAVANDERA: Tensions rise as a bystander captures images of the

trooper holding Bland to the ground. The dashcam caught what Bland is saying,

BLAND: Yes, you're a real man. You slammed, knocked my head on the ground. I got epilepsy, you mother (EXPLETIVE DELETED).


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You should have thought about that before you start resisting.

LAVANDERA: Bland would spend the next three days in this jail cell. Waller County officials say Bland tried several times to call family and friends from the jail, but she couldn't get help to post the bond which was just over $500.

JUDGE TREY DUHON, WALLER COUNTY, TEXAS: She had so many problems that the jailers allowed her. They would take her out of the cell and bring her to the booking desk. And allow her to use the desk phone and make free phone calls. And that happened at least twice.

LAVANDERA: The arrest video does not shed light on Bland's death. But a nearly three-hour video recorded inside the jail the morning Bland was found dead shows no unusual activity around her cell in the hours leading up to her death.

Sandra Bland's family spoke out again Wednesday afternoon, saying the 28-year-old was not clinically diagnosed with depression and was not taking medications.

CANNON LAMBERT, FAMILY ATTORNEY: Why it is that a 28-year-old woman who had received two job offers would take her own life? What it does is it raises questions. It raises questions why a 28-year-old woman would call her mother in excitement about those two jobs and then take her life.

LAVANDERA: The DPS trooper who made the arrest has been pulled from patrol duty. State officials say he did not handle the arrest professionally.

The Sandra Bland case is buried under intense levels of mistrust. Bland family members don't believe she committed suicide. And the release of the arrest video didn't help cool those concerns.

Video glitches appeared on the tape like this white car quickly disappearing and reappearing. Made it appear the video was tampered with. Texas DPS officials say it was a technical malfunction and that the video was not edited. DPS officials have reposted the video and nothing appears to have been edited out.

What started as a routine traffic stop erupted into a confounding roadside showdown and a death many refuse to believe is a suicide.

(END VIDEOTAPE) LAVANDERA: And, Brianna, in these forms that we just received, received a short while ago, Sandra Bland is asked if she's under any medication. She checks no apparently. And that is consistent with what her family members had just said just a few hours ago. But now a great deal of scrutiny truly headed this way to this document that we're looking at here this afternoon -- Brianna.

KEILAR: Ed Lavandera, for us in Waller County, thank you.

And let's talk now about this with our law enforcement analyst, former FBI assistant director, Tom Fuentes. He's here in THE SITUATION ROOM to help us take a closer look at this video of Sandra Bland's arrest.

So let's take a look at this. We want to break this down, Tom. We see Texas State Trooper Brian Encina, he's standing here at Bland's car. She was stopped for not turning on her signal. But the situation quickly escalates after the officer asks Bland to put out her cigarette.

Let's watch.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Step out of the car.


TOM FUENTES, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: OK. Right here I'd like to stop it. You see --

KEILAR: Here we go. Stop.

FUENTES: We can stop it. You see the officer take the clipboard that was with the -- had the warning ticket that she was going to sign. When he puts it on the dash -- I mean, on the hood of her car, he's made up his mind he needs both hands free. He is going to go in that car and have some type of hands-on with her. Now you actually see it. He is opening the car door.

My point here is that right at this moment, he knows he is going to put his hands on a woman. And another, you know, a subject. Even if it was a man. All he has to do at that point is be calling for a backup and find out how long before the other unit will get there. As we learn later in this tape the other unit arrives in three and a half minutes, and it's a female officer.


KEILAR: And he hasn't called yet for that backup. Right?

FUENTES: No, he doesn't call.

KEILAR: He's bickering with Sandra Bland.

FUENTES: He's already touching her.

KEILAR: You see this. Is he kind of losing it at this point, do you think, losing control of his emotions?

FUENTES: Looks to me he lost his composure. He is angry. See at this point -- he still hasn't called. He's reaching in and grabbing her.

KEILAR: Let's do this, she says.


SANDRA BLAND: Don't touch me.

POLICE OFFICER: Get out of the car.

BLAND: Don't touch me. I'm not under arrest. You don't have the right.


FUENTES: Right here, he's calling. You see him right at his hands of a microphone, there.

KEILAR: Twenty-five, that's it right there, right?

FUENTES: Send me another unit.

He's already laid hands on her. That send me a unit should have come when he put the clipboard on the hood of the car.

KEILAR: So, should it? And what would have happened if another unit had shown up. She --

FUENTES: He would have learned by radio he has a female officer on the way. She's going to be there in a matter of minutes. Cool this down. Back off. Hold on.

He is not being threatened by her. She hasn't attacked him. He can just step back and wait a few minutes for this to happen. And actually she can finish her cigarette as far as that goes. The point, a certain point, you will have two officers dealing with her. And one of the officers will be a female officer.

KEILAR: Should he have just let her finish the cigarette. This is the end of the process, the ticket is written.

FUENTES: I would have -- you know, frankly, why not? I taught how to make traffic stops. When I was a field training officer, as a uniform cop, and you would, I wait for your backup if you can.

The only time for a male officer to be touching a subject that is a woman is if she attacks you, if she is kicking, biting, punching, trying to stab you. Fine, you have no choice but to defend yourself.

She is not in that mode yet. She is not happy. She's agitated. She's giving him a hard time. She's not complying.

All that's true. But there is still no reason he has to right that second put hands on her.

KEILAR: All right. Tom Fuentes, stand by for us. Thank you.

Let's bring in now, CNN anchor Don Lemon, CNN legal analyst and former prosecutor Sunny Hostin, and we have psychologist Jeff Gardere to talk with us as well, cover all of the angles here.

We heard, Don, today from Sandra Bland's sister. She spoke out. Let's listen.


SHARON COOPER, SISTER OF SANDRA BLAND: As her sister I feel like the officer was picking on her, point-blank, period. And I personally think that it's petty. I am infuriated and everybody else should be infuriated as well.


KEILAR: We have seen some protests, Don. Do you think we are going to see outrage building over this case?

DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: I think we will. I think her sister is right. She is her sister. And if I -- you know, if my sister or one of my family members, that happened to them, I think I would be outraged as well.

I think we do have, the possibility of protests are there because this story for us, this situation for them, sadly, a deadly situation has touched a nerve in this country about interaction with police officers. As Sunny and I were on the air last night, we were debating whether it was racial or not, if he knew her ethnicity, if it escalated possibly because of race.

And at this point, I don't think we can say that. I think some people may assume that, and rightfully so, if they want to assume that. But I think that because of what is going on in the country when it comes to police stops, police brutality, people losing their lives. I think that there is a possibility of protest, Brianna.

KEILAR: Jeff, as a psychologist, you are familiar with the effects of depression, we just learned from Ed Lavandera's report that in the intake slip, what Sandra Bland told her jailers was that, yes, she had felt depressed before, and dealt with depression before, yes she felt this way right now. She said, yes, she tried to kill herself. She said that was in 2014. She also disclosed she was not under any medication, certainly to treat depression.

What went wrong?

JEFF GARDERE, PSYCHOLOGIST: What went wrong is when she gave all of these warning signals that depression may have been something that was real in her life and, yes, she made a suicide attempt in 2014, we're talking no more than a year ago, maybe some sort of postpartum depression or something, because she said that she lost the child. Well, that means as jailers, as custodians, you have to make sure that

this person is safe. And that means when you hear those three warning signs around depression, you must put that person on some sort of a watch, a 15-minute watch, maybe a 30-minute watch. But if you really want to be safe, you put them on a suicide watch. And it appears that was not done.

KEILAR: OK. So, Sunny, chime in on that. There wasn't even, there was no video in the cell. There may be certainly something governing that. But they were checking in on intercom, not even face to face. Should they have put her on a suicide watch?

SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Oh, there's just no question about it. I mean, she also told the officer when she was on the ground that she suffered from epilepsy.

[18:35:02] And so, there's no question, I think that the proper precautions were not taken here. This is some one that should not have been in isolation. This is someone that should have been on suicide watch.

And bottom line, if we are being transparent here, this is some one that should have never been in the jail in the first place. I mean, when I look at this video which I have now reviewed it -- at least a dozen times, it is very clear that he was trying, quite frankly to assert authority over her that he did not legally have.

He didn't have the authority to put out her cigarette. He didn't have the authority to ask her to step out of the car, he didn't have the authority to yank her out of the car, he didn't have authority to use his taser on her, he didn't have the authority and he wasn't giving lawful orders to her.

And so, the bottom line is, I wonder how it got that far that she was in prison in a county jail for three days on $5,000 bond. Why didn't a prosecutor or police supervisor review this dash-cam video and realize that this was a bad arrest and she shouldn't have been there in the first place. There is liability for this county jail and for this department all over the place.

KEILAR: Sunny Hostin, Jeff Gardere, Don Lemon -- thanks so much to all of you, Tom Fuentes, for your insight on this story. We'll continue to follow this. Thank you.

And Don is going to have much more on all of this at 10:00 p.m. Eastern on his program, "CNN TONIGHT". So, be sure to tune in for that.

Up next, Donald Trump goes one-on-one with CNN's Anderson Cooper, talking about the multiple campaign controversies that he's ignited, pressure from fellow Republicans growing now, will Trump maybe tone it down?


[18:41:10] KEILAR: Tonight, after weeks of hurling insults on the campaign trail, Donald Trump claims he is willing to soften his tone if he's elected president.

CNN's Anderson Cooper sat down with the leader of the Republican pack and pressed him about his feuds with Senator Lindsey Graham and other GOP rivals.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I get called all these horrible names by Lindsey Graham who I don't even know. I didn't start it with Lindsey Graham. I couldn't care less about Lindsey Graham. He is registered at I think zero in the polls.

By Rick Perry from Texas who was up in my office a few years ago, I just posted a picture of him, shaking my hand looking for money and looking for support. He was up, people were saying, I called him a hypocrite.

But they're saying horrible things like, I don't even know these people. They're saying these.

Now, am I supposed to, you know, just say, oh, it's OK for them to say -- one guy, I guess it was Lindsey Graham who called me a jackass. So, am I supposed to say, oh, it's OK? I'm called a jackass. You have to fight back.

The country has to fight back. Everyone is pushing our country around. We can't allow that, Anderson.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Is it presidential though?

TRUMP: I think it's presidential --

COOPER: To give out a personal phone number?

TRUMP: Well, that was a long story. I mean, you have to see the long story, the whole story the way it morphed, OK? That was a whole long story, where he wanted to get on "Fox & Friends" and he called me out of the blue. I never met the guy. Then he wanted to come in for campaign contributions.

And then he starts hitting me years later, then I happened to have this crazy phone number. And I held it up. I said this guy was over here. And actually, as you probably know, the room was packed, standing room only, in fact they had, theaters, it was overflow crowd, closed circuit television into other rooms. The place went wild. We all had a good time.

COOPER: But is that presidential?

TRUMP: I think so. I think it's fine.

COOPER: Is that something as president, when you're opposed by somebody in Congress, you would give out their personal phone number?

TRUMP: I was hit by somebody unfairly. I was called names by somebody. So, he was up, somebody's hitting me saying what a bad guy I am, was up in my office asking for money asking and asking if I can get him on television --


COOPER: When you are president of the United States, you're going to be hit by half of the country.

TRUMP: That's true.

COOPER: Are you going to call them, dumb, stupid?

TRUMP: No, I think it's a little different. Right now, I'm trying to do something to make the country great again. Politicians will never make this country great again. Now --

COOPER: As president, you would change your tone?

TRUMP: Oh, I think so.


KEILAR: All right. Anderson, joining me now to talk more about this.

And, Anderson, he said it there. I think so. He'd change his tone as president. Did he elaborate on how he'd do that?

COOPER: He did. You know, in fact, I asked him, you know, George W. Bush, while campaigning once said he would be a uniter not a divider. I asked Donald Trump as president, would he be a uniter or a divider? He says he would a uniter.

I think he believes, and he elaborates we will have more of this tonight, he believes that he can make deals with people, that as president, it's different than it is running a campaign. It's different in the rough and tumble, and the game of politics and as president he would be a cheerleader for this country and be able to reach out to people and get things done in Washington. And part of that is by changing his tone.

KEILAR: You have talked to him a couple times recently. Do you see any evolution as he has done better in the polls as he has come under more scrutiny?

COOPER: Ii don't know about evolution. I mean, I think he is who he is. I don't think Donald Trump is reinventing himself in terms of his personality or anything. I think people know what he is like. And he is very much like that.

I mean, the fact that, you know on Saturday he said that stuff about John McCain. He didn't, you know, he's sort of gradually kind of backed away a little bit in an interview with Bill O'Reilly, but not fully. He certainly didn't make any kind of an apology. And he has moved on from that.

All of the polls seem to indicate, except for this Quinnipiac which shows he has unfavorability ratings, you know, in terms of Republican polls, he is doing, very, very well. [18:45:01] Tomorrow, he's clearly going to get a lot of coverage when

we goes down to the border. I think he feels he is in a very good position.

KEILAR: All right. Anderson, we really look forward to your interview tonight. You can see more of it during Anderson's show. He's got a full interview with Donald Trump on "AC360." That is tonight, at 8:00 p.m. Eastern, only here on CNN.

I want to talk more now about Donald Trump and presidential race with our chief political analyst Gloria Borger, we have CNN senior Washington correspondent Jeff Zeleny, and CNN political commentator S.E. Cupp with us as well.

So, you hear, Jeff, Donald Trump saying, I think so, I think I'd tone it down. But isn't that like him saying I will completely not be myself?

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Sure. I'm not sure we would like the decaffeinated version of Donald Trump, right? We sort of like this bombastic version of that. He has been a successful businessman. He knows how to conduct himself in board rooms and other things. We saw that with his financial disclosure today.

So, look, I think if he happened to become president, would he be this exact same way, probably not. But there are a lot of ifs lined up there.

But in Anderson's interview, there are eight words that popped out to me that explain his appeal. Politicians will never make this country great again. That's what he says to people, people are like, you know what? You are right. You are right. I don't like politicians.

So, that is his appeal.

KEILAR: OK. So you heard Trump talk about how he came out, he gave Lindsey Graham's cell phone number, which is -- I mean, he has done that before. But I have never seen a political candidate do anything like that.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: You think he would do that to Harry Reid?

KEILAR: He might. Don't dare him, right?

So, there is this back and forth now going with Lindsey Graham, and I wonder. You know, you look at this recent national poll, 24 percent. Donald Trump. Lindsey Graham is 1 percent.

Does it help Lindsey Graham to elevate him? He's almost look a bouncer in this, isn't he?

BORGER: Yes. Look, these guys are competing to get on the debate stage, on August 6. And so, Lindsey Graham is calling him a jackass and everything else. And a train wreck. And Donald Trump fights back, and by the way, I don't think he would ever change. So, for the record, I think he's incapable of that.

But I think that this works for Lindsey Graham because we're talking about Lindsey Graham.

S.E. CUPP, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: He is fundraising off of it.

BORGER: He is fundraising off of it. It works for Rick Perry.

KEILAR: He's talking about it.

BORGER: Rick Perry wants to look presidential when compared to Donald Trump. He wants to get on the stage. I think it's a little bit more dicey for the folks who know they're going to be on the stage with Donald Trump, because I was talking to one of those campaigns today. And they believe that Trump's people are more message loyal than personally loyal to Trump. So they want to figure out a way.

KEILAR: To tap into them.

BORGER: To tap into the message, the anti-politician message that Jeff was talking about, without becoming Donald Trump.

KEILAR: What about what we heard Lindsey Graham say today. This was sort of the standout part of his interview, I thought. He said Donald Trump is a political car wreck. He said people slow done to look at it. But then they pass it.

So, we expect he is on the debate stage. Do you really think, S.E., that people are going to say, OK, I've seen enough of this, quote/unquote, "political car wreck".

CUPP: It depends on which Donald Trump shows up? As Jeff says, he is a very capable, smart guy. I have interacted with him a number of times. If he comes to this debate very seriously with some policy outlines, doesn't interrupt, doesn't call people dummies and names and takes it very seriously. I actually think people would be very impressed with Donald Trump. I think he could have an impressive debate.

KEILAR: Can he do that? Do you think he has the discipline to do that?

CUPP: No, I don't know, and that's what we'll see. That's what we'll have to see, which Donald Trump shows up. Does he just want to blow it up and do the Donald Trump thing?

I think people will get tired of that. If they've see him next to Scott Walker, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, taking this seriously, and he is kind of up there stream of consciousness cracking jokes.

BORGER: They're trying to figure out how to react to Donald Trump on the campaign -- on the stage, because they're sort of thing, do we do a one-liner and dismiss him? You know? And one of the campaigns said to me today, the toughest job in the world to be Donald Trump's debate coach, because --

CUPP: There is no coaching.

BORGER: There is probably not any.

BLITZER: How do they deal, how do opponents, Jeff, deal -- this is really a struggle, right? I assume almost what they think they might do today is different on the eve of the debate?

ZELENY: Sure, it's a couple weeks. I mean, who knows what will happen for the next couple of weeks. But, one, some of the candidates are watching old clips of how he has been on "The Apprentice", of how he's been on other shows. They're not that familiar with him, right. so, they're trying to get a sense of how he is.

But I'm with S.E. I think if he has a serious moment, he is not going to use this. He has plenty of venues to pop up. This will be his biggest audience yet and could use it as sort of a serious moment. We'll find out.

KEILAR: All right. S.E., fascinating new serious out. Tell us about it.

CUPP: Yes, it's called "Outside with Insiders".

[18:50:00] And I take political people out, hunting, fishing or shooting. We talk about politics. We talk about our love for the great outdoors.

KEILAR: You're a huge sportswoman.

CUPP: I am. This is how I like to relax and I found that taking people out and giving them a shotgun or a fishing rod, they relax too and they talk in a different way.

So, our premiere episode is Scott Walker in sporting place in Waukesha, Wisconsin. A lot of big names in this, but you probably have not seen in this kind of environment before. So, it's really fun.

KEILAR: Is he a good shot?

CUPP: He's actually a great shot. That he's been hunting and shooting for a long time, learned it through scout.

KEILAR: And he can -- can he shoot and talk at the same time?

CUPP: He can. You'll get to see it, right now.


BORGER: On CNN politics.

KEILAR: Oh, I know you can. I know you can.

All right, guys. Thanks so much, S.E., Gloria, Jeff. Appreciate it.

And you can catch S.E.'s terrific new series by going to

And while you're there, also sign up for our new CNN Politics newsletter. It's launching tonight. It's called Nightcap. Isn't that lovely? And it's where you'll find all of the inside scoop from CNN's awesome political team and you'll see them there, first. Just go to

Just ahead, some of President Obama's relatives in Kenya are talking exclusively to CNN about his visit later this week, and they're talking about his relationship with the father that he barely knew.


[18:56:02] KEILAR: Tonight, the people of Kenya are anxiously awaiting President Obama's first trip to his father's homeland since taking office. And that includes members of his own family.

CNN's Brooke Baldwin took the long trip to Kenya, where she talked exclusively with some of the president's relatives. She asked his half sister Auma about their father and the dreams that he had for his son. Take a look.


BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Your father passed away when he was 43. You at least got some years with him.


BALDWIN: Your brother really didn't.


BALDWIN: So, when your brother reached out with the letter in the early '80s, and you visited him in Chicago, and then you returned the favor and had him come to Kenya, I'm wondering, what were some of the questions he wanted to know about his ancestral family, specifically about his dad?

OBAMA: It was easy talking to my brother. We kind of hit it off. All the questions he asked, I kind of anticipated.

He wanted to know everything. He wanted to know everything about us, about my father, everything about our family. I took him to so many relatives.

My brother just wanted to know everything. I can't answer that question any other way. I think it's normal, because it was part of finding his own identity.

BALDWIN: When you got the letter to first meet Barack Obama, you thought it was your father's handwriting?

OBAMA: It was like my father's handwriting, definitely, definitely.

BALDWIN: What do you think the one thing your father would say to his son?

OBAMA: He would be proud and say well done. Then he would add, but, obviously, you are an Obama. He would be very proud.


KEILAR: And Brooke Baldwin just back from Kenya, joining us live now from New York.

Amazing interview here.

BALDWIN: Thank you.

KEILAR: And it sounds like his family very proud and looking forward to this moment as is the whole country.

BALDWIN: Yes. I mean, I'm still pinching myself removed from this and back here in New York and just the notion that Dr. Auma Obama, you know, invited me her to their ancestral homestead there, that's where we're standing, where their grandmother they called Dani (ph), in Luo language, their grandmother lives.

It took a couple of months to nail this interview simply down because Auma is fiercely protective and very private when it comes to her brother, her nieces and her sister-in-law. But to be able to go, Brianna, to far western Kenya, a place that some seven years ago, pre- President Obama didn't have paved roads and now you walk around and you run into little boys named Barack Obama, schools named after Obama, streets named after Obama.

And to hear a little bit more about this father who both Auma and Barack Obama share was -- it was pretty a special moment.

KEILAR: And you asked her to describe her proudest moment about her brother and his accomplishments. What did she say to you?

BALDWIN: I think it's pretty easy, the fact that he was ultimately elected as president of the United States twice over. Here is what she said.


BALDWIN: He has been in the White House for seven years. Can you describe the most proud moment you've been of your brother?

OBAMA: Getting in the White House.

BALDWIN: Getting in the White House?



Getting in. He got in twice. I'm proud of that. I'm seriously proud of that.

BALDWIN: Did you see him recently break out into "Amazing Grace"? Have you seen that video?

OBAMA: I did.


OBAMA: I'm surprised he sang so well. It was amazing. It was amazing.



KEILAR: Go on, Brooke.

BALDWIN: No, I was just going to say, you know, on the record, you know, President Obama is only supposed to be in Nairobi. You know, a lot of people in the village hoping that he makes a side stop there. Full of pride.

KEILAR: Yes, they sure hope so.

All right. Brooke, great interview. Thanks so much.

There will be much more of Brooke's exclusive interview with the president's relatives in Kenya on CNN's "NEWSROOM". Be sure to watch tomorrow and Friday at 3:00 p.m. Eastern, only on CNN.

And that is it for me. Thanks for joining us in THE SITUATION ROOM.

"ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.