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AT THIS HOUR WITH BERMAN AND MICHAELA
Ben Carson Threatens Third-Party Run; Trump Says Mandatory Death Penalty for Police Killers. Aired 11:30-12p ET
Aired December 11, 2015 - 11:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[11:30:00] ALBERTO FERNANDEZ, VICE PRESIDENT, MIDDLE EAST MEDIA RESEARCH INSTITUTE & FORMER DIRECTOR, CENTER FOR STRATEGIC COUNTERTERRORISM COMMUNICATIONS: It's -- failure is shared among a wide range of organizations.
BOLDUAN: You can talk about military strategy and that's obviously a huge focus in taking on -- taking on ISIS. I would argue this is equally an important front in trying to change the hearts and minds so it would be the inspiration to join ISIS doesn't outpace the number of terrorists you can take out on a battlefield.
Ambassador, thanks for your time. We really appreciate it.
FERNANDEZ: Thank you.
BOLDUAN: Of course.
Coming up for us, we'll have more on our breaking news. The Republican National Committee responding for the first time really, live, since Ben Carson joins Donald Trump in threatening to leave the Republican Party. Carson upset over a private, secret meeting the RNC hosted where talk of a brokered convention came up. Don't want to miss this.
[11:35:11] BOLDUAN: More on our breaking news. Ben Carson now threatening to leave the Republican Party, joining Donald Trump, leaving the door open to a third party run. Why? Well, Carson is furious over a private meeting of Republican leaders that was hosted by the chairman of the Republican National Committee. At this dinner, at this meeting, they discussed the possibility of a brokered convention. Ben Carson released a scathing statement.
Joining me to discuss to respond for the first time, live, is Sean Spicer, communications director for the Republican National Committee.
Sean, thank you so much for coming on. I really appreciate it.
This statement from Ben Carson is rough. What do you say to Ben Carson?
SEAN SPICER, COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR, REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE: Well, I say to Dr. Carson, don't worry. Your prayers have been answered. There was a dinner where the subject was how the delegation process worked, difference between a hybrid state versus a proportional state. At the end of the dinner, there were a lot of questions asked. It was very similar to a press briefing we held for 150 members of the press a couple weeks ago where a similar thing happened. We walked through the delegate selection process, what states were going on what days, how each state handled their delegate process, and we took a series of questions. It's nothing more than that.
BOLDUAN: Why would it come up in the first place? Because every Republican we talk to, as you were saying, we're in December. That's in July why are we even talking about the possibility of a brokered convention before anyone has cast any votes. Why did it come up?
SPICER: It's the same reason people excuse whether or not there's going to be a tie in the electoral election. I don't think you can walk down the street right now without people exhibiting a high amount of interest and what's happening on the Republican side for our nomination. We have a ton of interest in it. That's great. What happens if this happens? Every show discusses -- what happens if someone wins Iowa and they don't win New Hampshire? This is what's great about what's happening in our party right now. There's a tremendous amount of excitement. So people are going to ask questions about all facets of what's happening. I think that's great but I don't think that's anything abnormal. People are always going to want to have an interest in what's happening with the process itself. There's been a lot of rules changes about what states go when. What's the difference between a hybrid state? What's the difference between at-large delegates versus conventional delegates? Those are all things people are really interested in right now.
BOLDUAN: It definitely touched a nerve with this campaign and others, that's for sure. In this statement, Ben Carson asked -- the Carson campaign asks this, "If this was the beginning of a plan to subvert the will of voters and replace it with the will of the political elite, I assure you Donald Trump will not be the only one leaving the party." When you look at, according to "The Washington Post," some at the party, Republican Party officials, no surprise, but an adviser to Marco Rubio and someone close with Jeb Bush. Does Ben Carson have a point here? Why weren't the campaigns invited?
SPICER: It was a dinner, Kate. They probably have a dinner every night, lunch, breakfast, coffee in between. We meet with campaigns. We do meet with the campaigns, as a matter of fact. So the idea -- to be honest with you, this is quite silly.
BOLDUAN: It's much ado about nothing, is what you think?
SPICER: Hold on. It really is. Honestly, we have a dinner a night with people who have expressed an interest. Three weeks ago we had 150 members of the press here where we walked through the same thing. We meet with people all day long who have an interest in this process, pundits, members of the media, donors, campaigns, other interested people, academics. This is what happens around an election season. There's a tremendous amount of interest in what's happening, how the process works. And our job is to explain it to people and answer their questions. That's actually what the process is supposed to be. People have questions about the process. We answer. Here is the bottom line in all of this. Republican voters will choose the delegates that will go to the convention in Cleveland next July. Those people will decide the nominee. That's it, bottom line, plain and simple. If you want to know who's going to elect the next president of the United States, it's going to be the delegates Republican voters elect, plain and simple.
BOLDUAN: Is Reince Priebus going to be hosting any more of these dinners after this?
SPICER: Yes. We have dinners -- like I said --
BOLDUAN: I --
SPICER: -- if people have an interest in this, we will meet with them. Again, we sat down with --
BOLDUAN: Look -- look, I'm not the one making much ado about nothing here. You saw the statement from Ben Carson.
SPICER: You are.
BOLDUAN: They're furious about this. They say if what was reported and described in "The Washington Post" is true, he's threatening to leave the party.
[11:40:08] SPICER: And I feel very confident he will stay in the Republican party, as will Donald Trump, as will everyone else. We're going to have a great nominating process. Everyone will stay in. We'll select the best nominee for this party and take back the White House. It will all work out. I promise.
BOLDUAN: So rather than saying everyone needs to take their calming pills, whatever you can say, xanax, whatever you want, I have a question for you, since everyone seems to be interested in what happened in this dinner, this one in particular, and since so many people are talking about this dinner of what happened, how much was Donald Trump part of the conversation?
SPICER: I don't think very much because that wasn't the point. The point of the dinner was to talk about the process, explain the differences and nuances that exist in the new rules going forward. That was it, plain and simple. And so, you know, and every dinner and every meeting there's going to be people who favor one candidate, who have questionings about another. That's the nature of conversation, frankly, especially in politics. I guarantee you, when people go home for the holidays that there's going to be similar discussions around dinner tables where people say, what's the difference between this and this? That's frankly something we welcome at the party because it exhibits how much interest there is right now, the intensity and excitement on the Republican side that's, frankly, lacking on the Democratic side.
BOLDUAN: Absolutely. There is definitely interest on the Republican side. I can promise you, Sean, I will clear my schedule if an invitation to one of these dinners pops up for me.
I appreciate it.
And talking about --
SPICER: I would love to have dinner with you and John.
BOLDUAN: Thank you.
SPICER: We'll be out in Vegas for the debate on Tuesday night. I'd love to have, you know, anyone from CNN and other media organizations. We can put together a dinner there. We want people to understand how this process is going to play out. We're excited so many people are interested in it. If people want to have dinner, lunch. I love eating.
BOLDUAN: That's my biggest takeaway of this conversation, Sean Spicer loves food.
Well, thank you for the plug for the debate. That is Tuesday, right here on CNN, the last debate, GOP debate of the year.
I'll see you there, Sean. Thank you.
SPICER: You bet. Thank you, Kate.
BOLDUAN: Sean Spicer from the RNC for us. Thanks so much. Tough job he has sometimes, having to answer my questions.
Let's take a turn, though. We were talking about Donald Trump. He's now making another big promise to his supporters. He says he will mandate the death penalty for anyone -- if he becomes president, he will mandate the death penalty for anyone who kills a police officer. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE & CEO, TRUMP ORGANIZATION: One of the first things I do in terms of executive order if I win will be to sign a strong, strong statement that will go out to the country, out to the world, that anybody killing a policeman, policewoman, police officer, anyone killing a police officer, death penalty. It's going to happen.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: Donald Trump was speaking to a New Hampshire crowd after the New England Police Benevolent Association gave him their endorsement. But such an action, is it legal?
Let's bring in CNN legal analyst, Mark O'Mara, to talk about this.
Mark, he says anyone who kills a police officer, they will have the death penalty -- they will face the death penalty. It will happen.
MARK O'MARA, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: If he wants to be tough on cop killers, that's great. Everyone would agree we need to be, particularly what's going on over the past five or six years. But if he wants to say, if you kill a cop, you will get the death penalty, that's just not going to happen. It can't happen because our constitutional process and procedure in place tells us we have to look at all factors considering the death penalty -- the ultimate penalty should be imposed. It requires we weigh all the factors. One of those factors is the victim law enforcement emergency, and that's one of the considerations. And then look at everything else. Mental health considerations as a mitigation, other facts. But to come in and say, without any other consideration, if a cop is a victim of a killing, then you'll get death penalty. The Supreme Court will throw it out. Every individual state Supreme Court will throw it out.
It sounds great as a sound bite but if what Mr. Trump is trying to say he'll pass an executive order that says death of cop equals death penalty, it simply can't happen.
BOLDUAN: He's speaking to a crowd -- don't know the exact makeup of the crowd but it's a crowd of supporters. As you said, he's speaking -- this is clearly something people are talking about.
O'MARA: Absolutely. If he's trying to gain favor with those law and order people --
BOLDUAN: Just to get their endorsement.
O'MARA: It's great. He could have said in a much more nuanced way that would have made sense. If you want to say, in my world, if you kill a cop, you'll be death penalty eligible. The Department of Justice is going to look into every cop killing and we're going to look at it aggressively, you kill a cop in my country when I'm president, here's what I'm going to try make happen to you. That's OK. Just don't give it as some edict that cannot be sustained from a constitutional basis.
[11:45:20] BOLDUAN: Fascinating. That nuance you offered very, very succinctly and quickly. I hope the Donald Trump campaign is listening, Mark.
O'MARA: They should. Call me. I'll help you.
BOLDUAN: Great to see. Call me any time.
Coming up for us, an all-white jury convicts a former police officer of raping 13 black women, the survivor. Any moment, some will be speaking live. Stand by for this very clearly emotional moment. That's ahead.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[11:50:25] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: We're going to testing our CNN hosts' knowledge of famous Americans. The Wright flyer aircraft appears on two commemorative state quarters, which states.
COOPER: Time to meet the teams.
UNIDENTIFIED CNN CORRESPONDENT: We are the crowd favorite.
BOLDUAN: And I was thinking that my life motto, second place is a loser.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: OK, that is right.
This Saturday night, 7:00 p.m., the most important show on CNN that you will watch
Besides AT THIS HOUR.
BOLDUAN: -- on CNN tonight.
DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Yes.
BOLDUAN: And Don Lemon, my teammate, in the "Quiz Show."
Wee. I'm so excited for it to air finally.
LEMON: I know. Are we supposed to read this?
BOLDUAN: No, not reading anything. Don't worry.
LEMON: And three anchor teams.
BOLDUAN: Do you read any copy that you are given? LEMON: No. When I do a NEWSROOM show and I say, this is a lot of the
reading, and you go and shut-up, and I just try not to argue with people.
BOLDUAN: This "Quiz Show" is about famous Americans. Can you talk about the fact that --
BOLDUAN: The bell is the key to all of our success. Don, gave me clues on how to do it. And you can hurt your hands. I had a bruise on the hand after a round. This is on famous Americans, and it sounds great. It is actually, really, really difficult. I was surprised how hard it is to answer questions with the camera on you and the clock ticking down and the lights up.
LEMON: It is pressure.
LEMON: You know it, and you are like, I know this, but when it is there, it is like, ah, ah, ah.
BOLDUAN: And afterwards, I was like, I knew that one, and I am still kicking myself on certain things.
LEMON: Should we tell everybody that we won?
BOLDUAN: We're kidding.
LEMON: -- Kamal won?
LEMON: Tell people that Robin won?
BOLDUAN: Actually, everybody won.
LEMON: Everybody is a winner.
BOLDUAN: Thank you. Everybody is a winner. And a good cause, because ours was for the Alvin Ailey Dance Troupe.
LEMON: I love Alvin Ailey. They're near and dear to my heart. I love Judith Jamison, and I did a piece on her years ago, and it was on famous African-American. And got to know Alvin Ailey, went down to the school, and I fell in love with them. So I'm glad we played for them. Thank you for helping. It was great. It was great. (CROSSTALK)
BOLDUAN: I fell in more love with you after we got this fun. Everybody does win, but as you can clearly see that I am so competitive. You really do want to win. And the most important thing that people can see is that John Berman was going to be too squared to come to work.
LEMON: Where is that loser?
BOLDUAN: Sleeping. I hope you are watching, Johnny Boy.
LEMON: I love what you've done to the place. Any way that you can show the Christmas decorations? I love it so much.
BOLDUAN: No. Don says this all of the time.
LEMON: This is so cool.
BOLDUAN: I say, Don, we don't have time to do all of the fun things you want to do. He says, OK, we'll show it any way.
LEMON: And this is a jib with a camera on the big crane. And look at what they have done. They have put the Christmas lights on it.
BOLDUAN: Because it is festive.
Shocker in the ear, they say please wrap and tell Don to stop talking, because we have to go.
It's awesome. Don, you are very, very funny and smart.
BOLDUAN: Contrary to popular belief.
LEMON: I love you, Kate. Seriously, you have such --
LEMON: We're a great team.
BOLDUAN: Great to see you.
LEMON: Alvin Ailey Dance --
(CROSSTALK) BOLDUAN: Watch the "Quiz Show" this Sunday. Which camera am I on? This one. Don't forget to tune in to the CNN "Quiz Show" this Sunday at 7:00 p.m. to see which team comes out on top, although, clearly, we are the best regardless of how it ends up.
[11:58:22] BOLDUAN: The 2015 "CNN Hero" of the year thought she was taking a year off of college to travel the world and that is when her life took an unexpected turn. At 28 years old, she is the mother of almost 50 children in Nepal and helping to educate hundreds more. Watch.
COOPER: Ladies and gentlemen, the 2015 CNN Hero of the year is Maggie Doyne.
MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: When you heard your name out of Anderson Cooper's mouth, what did you feel?
MAGGIE DOYNE, CNN HERO OF THE YEAR: Proud. I'm proud that I took that step and I'm happy for the kids. This is really for them. They are the ones with the hard stories and the struggles, and they have overcome so much.
PEREIRA: What do you want people to know about the children of Nepal?
DOYNE: There's hundreds of thousands of girls who are not enrolled in school, and many hundred orphaned children because of civil war, and disease and starvation, and I can't do it alone, we have to do it together.
PEREIRA: How is this money going to help you?
DOYNE: I am building a brand-new school, and I'm going to take in more kids. It's gas in the tank. It is remembering what this is all about, and why we do it. So I am taking this back to Nepal and for Nepal and for my kids, and I'm just going to keep going.
PEREIRA: We are terrifically proud of you, young lady.
DOYNE: Thank you.
PEREIRA: Keep on doing it, OK?
DOYNE: Thank you, Michaela.
BOLDUAN: She is an amazing woman, and her story is so inspiring. And watch the whole show. "CNN Heroes, An All-Star Tribute," this Saturday at 8:00 p.m. eastern. It is one of those feel-good things. It's good.
Thanks so much for joining us AT THIS HOUR.
"Legal View" with Ashleigh Banfield starts right now.