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Growing GOP Missions: Stop Trump; Mitt Romney To Speak On "State Of 2016 Presidential Race"; Is Clinton The Inevitable Nominee?; Is Rubio Finished If He Loses Florida?; Sanders Remains Confident, Staying In Race; DOJ Grants Immunity To Ex-Clinton Staffer; U.S. Team Captures Suspected ISIS Operative In Iraq; Trump Releases Health Care Reform Plan. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired March 2, 2016 - 21:00   ET


[21:00:03] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Welcome back. Good evening tonight for a significant and potentially growing portion of the Republican Party. The time is now or never. And the mission is just three words long, "Stop Donald Trump".

Even as he gets closer to capturing the Republican nomination, GOP lawmakers are speaking out saying why they will not vote for him in November. Saying they'll do -- they'll write in a candidate or simply not vote at all.

And tomorrow the party's last nominee, Mitt Romney, will talk. He'll go on national television to denounce Donald Trump. All of these as his rivals try to stop him the old-fashioned way by getting more votes.

Sara Murray, starts as offer as toning on this hour in the campaign trail in Singer Island, Florida. Super Tuesday it's behind them the debate tomorrow. How have the candidates been spending the day?

SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: That's right, most of the candidates have been hitting the campaign trail.

As you might expect, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, John Kasich, all working hard at trying to prove that they deserve to be in this race. That they deserve to be the alternative to Donald Trump.

Now, Anderson, of course we know the field does appear to be getting a little bit smaller. Ben Carson says he will not be on the debate stage tomorrow. That he does not see a path forward.

The one guy we did not see on the campaign trail today was the big winner for Super Tuesday, Donald Trump. He took a down day here in Florida. But he's going to be back at it tomorrow. And his campaign strategy continue to be very interesting, Anderson, because he will not commit to a single state.

He's going to be in Maine, he's going to be in Louisiana, he's going to be in Michigan trying to snap up as many delegates as possible. And, of course, the biggest prize on March 15th is right here is Florida. It's a winner take all state where the campaign plans to hold a number of large rallies. And this is where they hoping to knock off Marco Rubio once and for all to beat him right here in his home state. Anderson?

COOPER: Talk about the Mitt Romney event ahead of the debate. I mean, what do we expect to hear from him?

MURRAY: Well, I fee like this is sort of the embodiment of the establishment panic attacks that we're watching right now. Mitt Romney has decided to schedule the speech and we are expecting that he's going to go hard against Donald Trump and he could offer some complimentary words to Marco Rubio and to Ted Cruz.

Remember he still hasn't endorsed in this race. And this is sort of the elder statesman trying to weigh in and trying to say, "America, please come to your senses. Please nominate anyone else but Donald Trump." But of course as we know, that sentiment might be in line with what voters are feeling right now.

We are now seeing Donald Trump not only win with some of these blue- collar Republicans who never really work quite comfortable with Mitt Romney but also sort of the country club Republicans. That's what one of Donald Trump's Florida operatives described to me here in California -- or here in Florida, as if they're not just seeing these blue-collar folks, but the Donald Trump support is expanding. So it might be a tough pitch for Mitt Romney tomorrow. Anderson?

COOPER: Yeah. Sara Murray, thank you very much.

Mitt Romney tomorrow will only be the tip of a mainstream Republican spear that is so far really put a dent in Donald Trumps armor.

Yesterday Republican Senator Ben Sasse denounced him, Lindsey Graham who does not like Ted Cruz one little bit, now his pushing, you know, that by now, he said he'd rather see Cruz elected president than Donald Trump.

And today Republican Congressman Scott Rigell of Virginia put out this statement. "Trump is a bully, unworthy of our nomination. My love for our country eclipses my loyalty to our party and to live with a clear conscience. I will not support a nominee so lacking in the judgment, temperament and judgment and character needed to be our nation's commander-in-chief. Accordingly, it left with no alternative. I will not support Trump in general election should he become our Republican nominee."

I spoke to the Congressman late today.


COOPER: Congressman, you'd urged people of Virginia to vote for anyone but Trump. Donald Trump still won there last night. What does that say to you?

REP. SCOTT RIGELL, (R) VIRGINIA: Well, I assess that our country is really in stress. The direction that we're headed is not a good one, but I was making the case to my fellow Republicans that Donald Trump is truly not the solution.

I think what it would mean to have a President Trump and his lack of good judgment and then his temperament, I think is wholly incompatible with the role of commander-in-chief. And for that reason alone, that was enough for me that it really tipped me over to the other side of just saying, I flat-out can't support him.

I mean, even if I could get over the fact that he admires Putin and quotes Mussolini and mocks a physically disabled reporter and says things about women that I wouldn't repeat in my own home.

Even if I could get all over those things, and I really can't, just thinking of him as commander-in-chief is more than I can take. And so I've been very clear on this matter. It's a very sobering matter, Anderson, I'd rather us not have to go through this, but we are. It's a very difficult time for our country.

COOPER: And yet in really so many criteria. I mean the voters have heard Donald Trump say those things, do those things and yet, you know, they in polls, exit polls, state after state say, number one choice for commander-in-chief would be Donald Trump.

So what do you say to those voters? Are they just wrong? I mean if they want to vote for him, doesn't the Republican Party just have to kind of accept that?

[21:05:04] RIGELL: Well, we certainly don't have to accept that. I mean, I respect those who disagree with me on this. But it truly is a matter of conscience for me, Anderson, and I trust, you know, for other members of Congress. And, really just, rank and file hard working Americans who look at a Republican creed, for example, a Virginian would read it and say, you know, that's what aligns with what I think is best for our country. And Donald Trump, he doesn't align with that at all, in my view.

COOPER: What do you actually do come Election Day if he is the candidate for your party? Do you vote for Clinton? Do you -- if she's the nominee, do you not vote? Do you ...

RIGELL: No. For the first time in my life as a voter, I'm going to have to go in that booth. I will not vote for Hillary Clinton, I assure you. She's a -- her character is just all off base and the policy as well. But I cannot, in good conscience, if Donald Trump is our nominee, I cannot vote for him because of what I -- the risk that I think I put my own country in terms of foreign policy and use of military force.

So, I'll have to write in a candidate. And I know mathematically what that means, Anderson, I'm a businessman, I get it. But, there are sometimes in life where you have to say, what is the principle of the matter, and that's got to guide us above all else. Look, I could kind of get over some of these things that he'd said and done but the sum of all of them, and who he is and, he just does not comport and align with who we are as when we're Republicans at our best. And I want an aspirational leader that I could say to my son and grandson, grow up to be like him or her. And he fails that test miserably.

And I just hope that my fellow voters will pause a bit. And there are better alternatives out there. I'm behind Rubio, but any of the others will be far better.

COOPER: Congressman, I appreciate your time, thank you.

RIGELL: Thank you.


COOPER: Well, let's bring in our panel, John King, Peter Beinart, Gloria Borger, Nia-Malika Henderson along with Jeffrey Lord, Charles Blow, Margaret Hoover and Katrina vanden Heuvel.

John King, I mean, clearly, that's, you know, very hard dealt on the part of the Congressman, it appears though. He's certainly conflicted about this. But there's an awful lot of Republicans out there who are going to the polls who feel completely different.

JOHN KING, CNN INSIDE POLITICS ANCHOR: Right, a thoughtful guy. Agree or disagree with this politics, laid out his reasons pretty clearly there and good for him for speaking out. However, where was that, again, John would want to know, for where was that six months ago when Donald Trump first got in. Maybe for the first month or so, OK, everyone thought this is a reality show, this is a joke, he's going to implode. But it became pretty apparent pretty quickly, he was picking up steam. And the entire party establishments, with few exemptions, were afraid of him.

They just were afraid and they did not -- they decided we're not -- first, it's not real, then we're not going to go after him. And look, this is -- we're having a conversation tonight that Donald Trump could be the Republican nominee in part because of his strengths but also because of the other candidates' weaknesses.

This is a -- if we look at the field at the beginning, 17 candidates, 8 sitting or former governors, Unites States senators, people who'd run for president before, an impressive group, right?

But if you look at the results so far, Trump has the broadest coalition. Trump is winning in the suburbs. Trump is winning Tea Party and evangelical voters. Trump is winning rural and in the excerpts. If you look so far, Ted Cruz has been the -- he thought he was going to sweep the south.

In Virginia yesterday, Marco Rubio was a mainstream Republican. Marco Rubio ran really strong in the Washington D.C. suburbs, really strong in the Richmond suburbs. But Donald Trump competed with him there and he frankly, forgive the word, spanked Ted Cruz in evangelical country and in Tea Party country, places where Ted Cruz should be winning.

So a part of this is, Trump is proving his strength and the breadth of his coalition. The establishment may not like it but the results speak for themselves. And the other candidates have not been able to beat him.

PETER BEINART, "THE ATLANTIC" CONTRIBUTING EDITOR: The problem is not just a strategic one. They didn't go after him early enough. The problem is an ideological one. The smart conservatives have been saying for a number of years now, the Republican Party has to have more to offer working class people than the government will get out of your way. It has to have affirmative policies to deal with the fact that their people have seen no wage growth since Bill Clinton was in office.

People on both sides of the political divide overwhelmingly agree that our politics is corrupt and getting more corrupt as the 1 percent buys more possessions, that you did not have another candidate in the Republican field who was answering those inside (ph).


BEINART: That was also the problem.

BORGER: Actually you did and you do which is John Kasich who is to ...

BEINART: But John Kasich didn't call politics. He didn't say this is a corrupt system like Donald Trump did. He worked for Lehman brothers.


BORGER: What Kasich is has been talking about is people living in the shadows, a poverty. He's been talking about ways to combat poverty. He's not -- He doesn't have the same exact vision as Donald Trump, obviously.

BEINART: Doesn't expect the anger.

BORGER: He doesn't have the anger, but he is talking to those issues. The problem is that everybody, I think including myself, miscalculated about Donald Trump and said he had the ceiling of 30 percent or -- and that they fade away.

COOPER: That's first in the 20 days and there have been ...


BORGER: And then they ...

BEINART: You can't get above 80 percent.

[21:10:01] BORGER: And then they stayed away and they stayed away and I said OK, once the field winnows out, then it'll take care of itself. Well, guess what, the field is winnowing out and it isn't taking care of itself.

NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: And then they're left, sort of, with Rubio, right? And Rubio, the more and more you look at Rubio he's a candidate that hasn't really grown. He's a candidate of that hasn't really found out what his main argument is for staying in this race.

He's going after that establishment line of the voters who have been attracted to people like Bob Dole, people like Mitt Romney, governors who have accomplishments and big resumes and he doesn't really have a long resume.

CHARLES BLOW, NEW YORK TIMES OP-ED COLUMNIST: Sure, but in addition to him tapping into that anxiety that exists within the debates, he was a master user of media getting back to Katrina's point and you had a media that was starved and believed that they were going to have this sleepy election where there were two inevitable candidates who were simply going to coast into being the nominees.

And so there was disproportionate attention given to Clinton over Sanders. But Trump looked at that landscape and said "No, this is what I'm going to do, I'm going to tweet in the middle of the night so I could take over your morning shows. His got -- what he did tonight.

COOPER: Right.

BLOW: He's got a release a big plan on healthcare in the middle of prime time. Real journalists don't have a time.


COOPER: And by the way he also made himself available when no one else was.



COOPER: I'm sorry.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When last he calling into television shows. I mean ...


COOPER: Every day we were putting a request to a lot of candidates, none of them were responding, Donald Trump would respond I -- we're not the only ones.

HOOVER: I mean here at Peter, at Peter has a point that's absolutely right, the Republican Party has had this coming to them for some time because

from a policy perspective, we haven't answered the policy concerns.

You're right, a family income, the income of the families in the bottom quintile for tile off the income second, hasn't grown in the last 50 years. I mean, there are real problems and just tax cuts aren't going to cut it, child income -- earned income tax credits aren't just going to cut it. We need more stuff full solutions, and by the way conservative I think Charles Murray has written extensively about this, when there are people in both sides thinking about this, but the problem is this isn't as in asses an ideas of fight. We're not fighting of ideas here. It is become a food fight.

And there hasn't been enough time, I think, with Marco Rubio's candidacy may not have taken off but millions of dollars are about to be spent in the next two weeks against Donald Trump, because people simply haven't ...

COOPER: Right.

HOOVER: ... had a chance to examine Trump University, because of it.

COOPER: But let me ask you, Paul Begala, we -- months ago was almost gleeful of the idea of Donald Trump being the Republican nominee for Democratic candidate to run against. The other day I asked him.

He's now saying, you know what, I'm no longer gleeful. I think Trump is actually here, whether it's Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton at the democratic nominee, do you think Donald Trump is going to be an easy victory?

KATRINA VANDEN HEUVEL, BERNIE SANDERS SUPPORTER: No, our cover story in fact this week is about the challenge Donald Trump poses to Democrats.

COOPER: You see him as formidable?

HEUVEL: I see him as posing a challenge for some other, I mean he is talking about he's protecting jobs about a trade policy that, you know, sounds good to a lot of people who've lived with economic pain and anxiety. I think it's going to demand of any Democratic candidate a very bold, populist response, not one of dividing people but of inclusion.

So I'm not gleeful and in this unprecedented election, never say never, I would say one thing that Congressman talked a lot about our next Commander in Chief. We're living in a time of dire international crisis. What we have gotten by way of discussion is a foreign policy by bumper sticker, it is a scandal in this country that we don't learn more about what these candidates would do, they talk about more torture, they talked about carpet bombing the sands of the Middle East, they talked about fighting terrorism in ways that make no sense. So.

COOPER: Are you saying taking the oil is not specific enough?


HEUVEL: I'm saying that whether -- it's because the debates didn't drill down or because we have bellicosity that passes for foreign policy on one side. But we haven't on the Democratic side, I think Bernie Sanders hasn't fully seized the moment to show he doesn't share Hillary Clinton's hawkish foreign policy. He could have given a major foreign policy speech and showed that he is more in sync with president Obama than Hillary Clinton is but he didn't do that.

COOPER: Jeffrey, let me ask you as a Trump supporter, do you think it's going to be whoever the Democratic candidate is, Sanders, Clinton.


COOPER: Do you think it's going to be a relatively easy fight for your candidate?

LORD: No. No.

COOPER: You think it's going to be a tough battle?

LORD: I think it's going to be a tough battle no matter who it is. I just think that Donald Trump has shown the ability, I mean people don't like it in some cases, but he shown the ability to fight back and a perfect example of that was when Hillary Clinton accused him of being a sexist.

COOPER: Right.

LORD: And out came all of this stuff. I mean he slammed back and slammed back hard and to be perfectly caddish he hasn't said a word about the subject since. That is incredible contrast to Mitt Romney, you know, they was accused of, you know, being responsible for the death of a steel worker's wife the dog on the roof. I mean, and all these things. He never fought back that is one of the complaints from the base of the party, they think these people just, you know, they get in these situations and then John McCain, they just don't fight back and they get sucker punched.

[21:15:04] BLOW: But one of the positives, if the eventual nominee is Hillary and its Trump is that he neutralized a lot of her negatives, right? Her highest negative is that people don't trust her.

LORD: Vice versa though.

BLOW: There's one thing. So you know, one of the tough things for Hillary in this -- in the primary is that Bernie Sanders highlights her negatives because he is kind of the opposite of that. He's been talking about the same thing for 30 years. You know, he -- there's absolute consistency to him that is in real contrast to her kind of willingness to ...

COOPER: Run all authenticity, trustworthiness, even when Democrats ...

BLOW: So all of that, he -- they neutralize each other. So they can have another kind of fight that is not the fight that is being had in these primaries.

COOPER: We've got to take a quick break. We're going to continue the conversation throughout this hour. All the angles, including this, what Donald Trump's Palm Beach neighbors think of him with their own Senator Marco Rubio also on the ballot. Also we'll ask the question we asked earlier about Donald Trump. Can Hillary Clinton be prevented from winning her party's nomination? More on that, ahead.


COOPER: We've been talking tonight about Donald Trump, the candidate and to some in his party, Donald Trump the interloper. In one part of Florida, though, a state by the way where he's leading over their sitting Senator Marco Rubio, people know him as Donald Trump, the guy next door.

In Palm Beach, the neighbors are talking.

We sent our Randi Kaye to listen.


[21:20:01] RANDI KAYE, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Palm Beach, Florida, the place Donald Trump calls his second home. This beach is just a stone's throw away from Trump's residence at Mar-a-Lago. So everyone here has an opinion about their neighbor, the Republican front-runner.

What do you think about Donald Trump?

CLOTIDO DAMARIA, VOTING FOR TRUMP: I love Donald Trump and think he's definitely going to make America great again.

KAYE: What do you think of Donald Trump?

KEVIN MCBRIAR, DOESN'T LIKE TRUMP: Oh, I think he's a rude guy. I think that he's very arrogant. I think he's an embarrassment to the country.

SOSUN KIM, DOESN'T LIKE TRUMP: I'd compare him to Hitler.

KAYE: Why?

KIM: Just because of his beliefs and the thing he like says and the way he represents himself.

KAYE: Regardless of so many mixed opinions there's no denying Trump's big win on Super Tuesday and his legions of steadfast supporters like Palm Beach realtor Edward Shipek.

KAYE: And, so are you Donald Trump supporter?


KAYE: Why?

SHIPEK: Donald Trump is, you know, what the United States of America needs Donald Trump. We've had politicians throughout the years. And you can see what they've done to America. Donald Trump is a businessman he can lay it out as to what exactly needs to be done. KAYE: Maintenance worker Larry Holt is undecided. He's considering Trump though doesn't think he's done much good for Florida employment, even with all his businesses here.

LARRY HOLT, UNDECIDED FLORIDA REPUPLICAN VOTER: A lot of locals have been looking for work for them to hire here locally. And he's been outsourcing a lot of jobs. People coming into town that, you know, locals could use jobs around here.

KAYE: The Republican establishment certainly isn't sold on Donald Trump either. It's said to be organizing behind the scenes for a way to take Trump down and find an alternate candidate. Even though Trump has won 10 of the last 15 contests.

That has his supporters furious.

Would you feel like your vote doesn't count?

SHIPEK: That's right. It just goes to show the United States government is rigged.

CHARLIE HEIZER, VOTING FOR TRUMP: At this point get behind Trump. You know, I think he's the one that the majority of the Republicans so far are saying that's who we want. And they should hear that.

UNINDENTIFIED MALE: I don't think they should do that. Obviously the people want him. I think that the people are speaking right now. And they are showing that's really what they want.

KAYE: Others like hairdressers, Kevin Mcbriar are counting on the establishment putting to an end what he considers a Trump nightmare.

MCBRIAR: It just blows my mind. It kind of scares me for my children.

KAYE: You'd like to see the establishment come up with candidate?

MCBRIAR: Yeah definitely. Somebody that at leas has some kind of knowledge.


COOPER: Randi joins us now. First of all real tough assignment there, Randi. I mean it sounds like the Trump supporters you spoke with were sending a clear message to the Republican establishment essentially saying, you know, what are you doing?

KAYE: Absolutely, Anderson. And that message was loud and clear saying, hey you know what, back off. They absolutely had it with the Republican establishment. They want them to lay off Donald Trump. They don't want them to do anything that would jeopardize him being at the top of the ticket.

They say it's time the establishment give Donald Trump their blessing. And his supporters Anderson are fierce fully loyal, not only because they think he's a great businessman and his done well for Florida but also because his so outspoken.

And also right here in Palm Beach County, they like his immigration plan. They told me that they believe it's time to take back our country, to seal those borders and they think that Donald Trump can make it all happen.

COOPER: Randi, thanks very much. Enjoy the rest of your night in Palm Beach.

Joining us from Boynton Beach, Florida, Steven Miller. He's a Senior Policy Adviser to the Trump campaign. Steven, thanks very much for joining us. First of all, it's interesting


COOPER: Yeah. I don't know if you heard that report but Donald Trump supporters saying essentially to the Republican establishment, you know, what are you doing? Butt out. Is that something you're hearing a lot on the ground from your supporters? I mean the sense of anger, surprise that some in the GOP are seem to be moving against the candidate?

MILLER: Well, let's be clear. When we're talking about the establishment trying to stop Donald Trump, what they're really saying is they're trying to stop Donald Trump's voters. The great working and middle class of this country that's been beaten down year after year after year, beaten down by trade policies that send our manufacturing jobs overseas, by tax and regulatory policies that force American wealth to move offshore and by an immigration policy that rewards only the wealthiest while driving down wages and employment opportunities for Americans ...


MILLER: ... of all backgrounds struggling to get ahead. So they're talking about stopping working and middle class Americans who want desperately a change and the direction of this country.

COOPER: Is for you, I mean is Florida something you believe Donald Trump is going to win? In the latest polls show Marco Rubio down in the state.

MILLER: Well, Mr. Trump -- Mr. Trump is doing very well in Florida. And frankly, it's -- it should be hugely embarrassing for Florida's no-show Senator Marco Rubio that he is doing so poorly in a state that he represents in the U.S. Senate.

And the reality is that Marco Rubio has defrauded the people of Florida. He ran for office in 2010 and you covered it, Anderson. On a pledge to stop amnesty. He ran, hitting Charlie Crist on pushing amnesty, then Marco Rubio came to The United States Senate and became the biggest champion of amnesty in the entire Congress, Democrat or Republican.

[21:25:10] Marco Rubio also, while raking in millions upon millions of dollars from donors has wracked up the worst attendance record in the U.S. Senate.

COOPER: Right. No, I know, obviously look this are ...

MILLER: And then further on top of that ...

COOPER: ... the point your candidate has made. But do you? I mean are you could, I'm curious to see, are you concern it all about the responds by -- Hispanic voters to Donald Trump? I mean based on some of the things he's said, let alone who he is running against?

MILLER: No candidate would be worse in this race for Hispanic workers and Hispanic citizens than Florida Senator Marco Rubio. Mass immigration, Anderson is a stealth tax on a working class. Look who is pushing Senator Rubio. Its large donors, transnational corporations, special interest groups, people like the chamber of commerce and others who want to keep pay down and wages low.

All Americans, including especially Hispanic-Americans, and this doesn't get talked about enough. And I'm going to say it here tonight and everyone needs to hear this. Minorities in this country are being hammered by a policy of uncontrolled immigration which brings in low- wage workers and drives down wages for recent immigrants and Americans of all backgrounds.

COOPER: Some ...

MILLER: And Senator Rubio also has a trust deficit with the people of Florida. He is the guys who sold his house to a lobbyist. He is a guy ...

COOPER: Right. But Donald Trump also brought that up.

MILLER: ... who has spent $100,000 on a Florida state credit card and used much of that money for personal expenditures, including a trip to Las Vegas and paving his driveway. These are serious issues.

COOPER: This is serious obviously your candidate has brought as well in the debate. Steven Miller, thank you for joining us tonight. I appreciate.

Just ahead given that Super Tuesday delivered to heap of delegates to Hillary Clinton, is it too late for Sanders to stop her? John King breaks down the map ahead.


[21:30:44] COOPER: Well that, you know, no doubt about it. Hillary Clinton had a very good night last night sweeping up seven states on Super Tuesday winning by big margins and many of them, she collected a lot of delegates for widening her lead substantiatly, and short up the months of stumbling she's reclaimed her frontrunner status.

The question tonight is the lead she's built now insurmountable? The campaign is really like do you believed it is. Can she be stopped? John King is breaking it down for us by the numbers. JOHN KING, CNN HOST: The answer is, yes, she can't be stopped. It's mathematically possible, there's plenty of time for Senator Sanders but just like we talked about the Republican side you have to bend the arc of the race in a serious way. Because she comes out of Super Tuesday with a significant lead, not only Bernie Sanders is winning states but if you look at the state the size of the states and the size of the delegate pool, Hillary Clinton is winning the big ones.

Now a proportional rule, so Sanders gets his delegates, you look where we are right now in pledge delegates, she's a quarter of the way the nomination he's 200 delegates behind her. That's 200 is hard to make up as you go forward.

So let's look at -- we go first, the couple cut is on March 5th. If Hillary Clinton wins them all, she starts to pull away, a little bit, unlikely though Bernie Sanders out in Nebraska is a place she'll probably win.

If moved forward to March 8th, assumed -- and Sanders will win in Kansas, he could win in Nebraska as well. If Sanders picks up Maine, this is the big one right here, Michigan. Not just because it's a big state and a big vast of the delegates because Sanders has to prove he can win in a more diverse state.

He has to prove he can win in a state that has a significant African- American population that has more diverse at the moment, you know, she won huge margins among the African-American and Latinos in Texas. So for Sanders to prove his a credible leader of the Democratic Party and to make up the delegate math, he has to win in a place like that.

Let's go forward just a little bit, if Secretary Clinton wins Michigan on March 8th, you know, one or two of these two smaller states could change but this what starts to happen, she starts to pull away, you know, 200 plus there -- if again, if Sanders can win Ohio and Michigan, two big industrial states, if he can sell his economic message in two big states like that, that would be a statement.

Now again she'd be pulling away a little bit because she still gets delegates, but that's a much better position to be in as you start ahead to some bigger states southwest. This one I show you one thing of -- if Secretary Clinton runs the board in Michigan and Ohio, this is the point where her campaign will turn to Sanders and say "You couldn't beat me in the south among African-American". "You couldn't bit me in these two big industrial states". Stay in the race if you want, make your point but dial back the rhetoric.

This is where the math matters, so these two industrial states your debate is in Michigan, Ohio as well and then Illinois, right here in the Midwest. If Sanders he did not make a statement in the south, if he can't make in the South, he has to make it in the industrial Midwest, because even if she runs up enough like this, remember, she's still has the A's in the whole, the super delegates.

COOPER: So when those in the campaigns say well come March 15th, it's going to be kind of clear. Is that true?

KING: If she wins and if she was -- remember, she's winning 55-45, Bernie Sanders is getting 45 percent of the delegates.

COOPER: Right.

KING: And so, he'll still say relatively close here, but she hopes to win the nomination when we move west, huge delegates in California, she hopes to win it. I'll say fair and square, its fair super delegates count, but with pledge delegates.

But if Senator Sanders can win in the Midwest again, if he can -- this would change the dynamic of the race and that may bend the arc that makes everything different. It makes everybody say, well this guy is for real, let's think again. If he cannot do this and she can win either one of those or both of those, remember, she has this. Sanders campaign doesn't like when we talk about this.

They said these people can change their mind, yes they change their mind, but at the moment you have nearly 500, 468 super delegates, elected and appointed officials who get a vote at the convention have publicly endorsed Secretary Clinton, 21 have publicly endorse Senator Sanders -- yeah, the Sanders campaign as well this doesn't count until the convention, that's true, they won't in vote into the convention and they don't really count if she clinches on her own pledge delegates.

But if she has momentum in the race and is doing this, winning African-Americans and Latinos, winning industrial battlegrounds, they will stay with her and then the lead becomes insurmountable both in terms of pledge and the super delegates. So to get this number to dwindle and to get more delegates from here, Sanders has to make a point. He just has to make a statement out here in the industrial Midwest. It's critical.

COOPER: All right, John King, thanks very much.

Just like the map, John has watch, as to Bernie Sanders certainly will not giving any ground, vowing to fight on his supporters, many them young voters are urging him on and we said, "We've seen the enthusiasm he garners out in the campaign trail". 10,000 people turned out to hear him speak tonight at a rally in East Lansing, Michigan.

The Democrats in Michigan State University, John has said Michigan's primary is March 8th just five days away.

[21:35:03] Joining me now is Bernie Sanders Campaign Manager Jeff Weaver, Jeff always good to have you on the program.

I want to get your responses some of the Clinton campaign said today essentially that the race is off and over that Sanders would have to win by a large margins in order to catch up. To this you say you're laughing.

JEFF WEAVER, BERNIE SANDERS CAMPAIGN MANAGER: I am laughing Anderson, look we've got through 15 States there's 35 more States to go, the District of Columbia some territories. I mean the State the California has over 400 delegates that are not alone, so it's a little bit preposterous. They would like the race to be over but the truth to the matter is, you know, we aggressively computed in five States on March 1st then we won 4.9 of them. So and we won all across the country in different kind of states.

You know, we won in Colorado there's no way that you can win Colorado with a margin but Senator Sanders won it, unless you won the Latino vote. There's a lot of evidence that suggest we won a Latino vote in Nevada.

So, you know, I understand the fact that they want to put up this narrative, but it's a really a little bit laughable. Look we're going to go into Michigan, you know, John King just talked about Michigan, we're going to go into Michigan. Michigan has been devastated by the policies and Hillary Clinton advocated.

Detroit, Flint and other places that have been deindustrialized by the trade deals that -- its Hillary Clinton has advocated for years. We do not need an outsourcer-in-chief in this our country. We need a candidate and a president who going to stand with working families.

COOPER: You know, essentially there had been some of the last for (inaudible) who've question whether Sanders will start to sort of pivot more to we're talking about Donald Trump as opposed to, you know, taking full on comparing his record to Secretary Clinton's record, from what your saying just right there it does sound like Hillary Clinton is still very much in a conversation for Senator Sanders.

WEAVER: Well absolutely look Anderson that the difference between the two candidates on this issue of trade and protecting American jobs and that really the devastating economic calamity that is affected Michigan and parts of Ohio and Illinois and other parts of this country, Secretary Clinton really have to answer for her support for this.

Now, you know, her donor class the same people who supported her with money are the same people who benefit from this trade deals. And everybody knew, I mean let's be clear everybody knew when this deals were past what was going to happen. Jobs were going to fly out of this country and poverty would follow.

And, you know what, I mean what is really sad in this particular case is in the place like Michigan ...


WEAVER: ... where NAFTA got a jobs and then the Clinton administration with Hillary Clinton support then pulled out the social safety that would welfare reform in '96 and really a double whamming ...


WEAVER: ... for the people of Michigan. COOPER: Jeff, when you do look at the number delegates in order to Clinton nomination, Secretary Clinton, you know, nearly half way there if you include the, you know, super delegates. How does Sanders make up that ground?

WEAVER: Look, we're going to do well in the industrial midwest, we're going to do -- if you look at the states we won last night, we won with substantial margines, there a lot of states around those states and look like just like those states.

We've seen polls in Utah to have by 20 points West Virginia by 20 points. If you look where he across those states last night he did very, very well in rural areas just as he does in Vermont he's a very strong appeal with rural boarders, if the secretary this does not, you know, his authenticity will in place the rural voters.

He's going to do very, very well. We're going to start, you know, eating away at her lead with the small states and were going to win in big States including the State of California and we're going to fight for New York as well.

COOPER: All right Jeff Weaver, thank you very much. Jeff.

Quick programming, you know, this Sunday the fight continues Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton facing off in the CNN Democratic debate in Flint, Michigan. I'll be moderating. Gets underway 8:00 p.m. Eastern Sunday night, hope you join us.

Just ahead, breaking news, in a very Hillary Clinton e-mail scandal with Department of Justice grant immunity to a former Clinton staffer. Details on that, ahead.


[21:42:31] COOPER: Some breaking news on the Hillary Clinton e-mail front. A Federal Law Enforcement official telling us that a former staffer who helped set up her private mail server will talk to investigators in exchange for immunity from the Justice Department.

Now, it's unclear the parameters of the agreement or precisely what the feds hope to learn from him.

Just before the break, John King showed us by the numbers why Clinton's lead may be too big to overcome.

Back now with our panel. I mean Nia, do you think this e-mail controversy -- I mean, again, it's the drip, drip event but this is actually, you know, significant.

HENDERSON: Yeah. I mean, I think it's a drip, drip, drip thing. We know that Donald Trump is going to go at this. He already did last night in his speech talking about, he doesn't even know he's going to be eligible to run.

What we do know is that Bernie Sanders so far at least, hasn't really wanted to touch the idea of the damn e-mails. But maybe he starts to go there. I think this is the cloud that has always been over Hillary Clinton's campaign and makes some Democrats nervous. But so far, hasn't been enough to tip voters over to Sanders side.

COOPER: Some Democrats are nervous and some Republicans lethal.


BORGER: Right. I think this is the tip of the iceberg for Donald Trump, if Trump is the nominee. The e-mails are going to be tame.


BORGER: Right. You know, he's going to throw everything at her to going back to Lewinsky and Clinton administration and everything and he'll continue on this.


BORGER: But he's going to add to it.

BEINART: And it'll be tricky for her to respond because, you know, you see in the Republicans have this trouble, right? You get down in the dirt with him as Marco Rubio has in the last few days. You kind of lose some of your stature. That's not a place what she's comfortable.

She's at her best when she's kind of, you know, walk away, talking about policy. But if she tries to ignore this stuff, then it kind of maybe she looks like she's weak. So, I imagine that there's a lot of thinking right now going into, how do they actually respond to that?

BORGER: Right.

HENDERSON: And you know, I think when the Trump campaign, or when the Clinton campaign says they want to go after Trump on the whole idea of bigotry, I think we now that Trump's not going to run a conventional campaign.

So maybe in a general election, he would say, "Well listen, you think you have such a great record on race and I have a bad record on race. Or what about the crime bill signed by your husband and the generations of black men put behind bars, what about welfare reform?" So I think it's a problem.

LORD: This is the wild card in this election. The keyword here is FBI. I mean James Comey as we all know is famously fiercely independent. And if this is true, in the sense that, you know, there's something going on here. I mean you can see immediately two scenarios that one, she's not indicted and there are people in the FBI in a sort of Saturday night massacre situation get very angry that, you know, they have not been followed up on.

[21:45:08] Or, two, she is indicted. I mean either way this is ...

(CROSSTALK) BLOW: That could completely be the other option that the recommendation is not to indict at all. I mean, we keep assuming that indictment is inhabitable here. There may just be a blistery report. There is something is going to come of it. That is the truth, something that there's going to be some report, it is going to add to the people's -- some people's belief that she is not trustworthy and that is a huge kind of weight on her ankle at this point.

And she cannot shake it, she can't shake it in the primary, she'll not going to be able to shake it in the general election. But, if she's running against Trump, I think it's an open question as to how his kind of very aggressive attacking will play on her and she is a very smart woman.

And it could be tricky for him to do that. Carly Fiorina figured out how to work that. Let him be aggressive. You be classy. It works against him and it worked in your favor.

But, I'm saying, it worked -- Carly has all kind of other problems.

HEUVEL: I don't think Bernie Sanders is going to go after the e- mails. I think he -- I don't.

COOPER: As a supporter, do you wish he would have?

HEUVEL: No, I don't. I want him to go after President Clinton's trade policies.

By the way, I don't also like how all of President Clinton's policies are tethered to Secretary of State Clinton, but she has gone around and touted her husband's economic policies.

But you see, there is legitimate issue base go after trade, go after the welfare reform bill. I think the crime bill is trickier for Bernie Sanders because he voted for it. But, you know, go after Bill Clinton's deregulation, which contributed to the Wall Street crisis. But, I don't think he's going to do e-mails, because it's become a Republican partisan attack.

My personal view is that it's about the hyper classification, the hyper retroactive classification of classified information and an administration in the Obama administration which has persecuted and prosecuted whistle blowers and leakers to a large made it a priority wrongly and Hillary Clinton has become kind of caught up in this Frankenstein monster in a strange

BLOW: But Bernie has not shown that kind of savvy and aggressiveness that he needs to show if he actually wants to win this race.

You make a really strong point. He should have gone after welfare reform. You know, when Hillary Clinton is out saying, I went to work for Marian Wright Edelman going into the south to point out that those schools were


HEUVEL: But he did, he did about a week ago, he is linked it to the poverty in this country. Poverty hasn't been mentioned about this.

BLOW: He keeps trying to link it to his standing position about class welfare rather than linking it to the same Marian Wright Edelman who you went to work for ...


HEUVEL: I'm sorry. The larger issue is that he hasn't fully tied his economic populism to a racial justice message. And he could have done that in taking on the welfare reform bill.

But, he is kind of long way. I mean, if you consider a year ago where he was. But, he's also, you know, that first debate where he said, I'm not going to touch the e-mails.

COOPER: Right.

HEUVEL: It was -- the rest of it was cut off. He is someone who -- he's a real critic of the media. And not about liberal bias or conservative bias but about a corporatized media system that fails to deal with the caution (ph) really important issues.

And I think that's a legitimate critique of our media system. That too often, it's about trivialities and we don't get to issues he may be too serious.

BLOW: But this is not trivial. This is ...


BLOW: ... is not trivial at all. It goes directly to the people who he needs to get to vote for him.

HEUVEL: I'm talking the e-mails.

BLOW: Look, well I'm talking about the welfare reform and how he is not necessarily shown that he has what the fire in the belly to want to win this race. Because, when you were swinging south and she has said that her bonafide on racial justice begin working with great Marian Wright Edelman.

And if he cannot see that the people who are alive now, the people who are going to go to the polls are older black women, who understand and revere Marian Wright Edelman, understand that whole concept of the segregated schools, because their kids were part of that system, and he did not -- he was not able to connect those two things, there's something wrong there.

HOOVER: He got the fire in the belly. He doesn't have the teeth to go for the jugular.

COOPER: We've got to wrap it there. I want to thank everybody on both panels.

Just stay ahead American Special Office Forces captures suspected ISIS operative in Iraq as part of a secretive team led by the Army's Delta Force.

What we know about what's happening to the detainee, now next.


[21:53:45] COOPER: A U.S. special option team lead by the U.S. Army's Delta Force has captured a suspected ISIS operative in Northern Iraq.

Two U.S. officials have confirmed that United States has interrogating the detainee, will then be turned over to Iraqi officials.

Now, the sensitivity of the operation means there are any parts of it that are staying under Iraq. But, some details have come out. The Pentagon Correspondent, Barbara Starr reports tonight on what we know right now.


BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: U.S. Special Operations Forces have secretly held an ISIS operative in Iraq for days after capturing him on a raid.

The Pentagon's new targeting force commandos with orders to capture or kill top ISIS personnel carrying it out.

JOSH EARNEST, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: At this point, I can't discuss the details of any missions, particularly, when it comes to risking operational security.

STARR: U.S. officials tell CNN additional operations are in the works. The man, whose identity has not been disclosed, is being held in Irbil in Northern Iraq, the mission to get him led by the army's Elite Delta Force.

He is talking to U.S. interrogators, officials say and has unique information about ISIS personnel and networks, but officials will not reveal whether the interrogation has yielded specific intelligence about ISIS operations or attack plots.

The head of U.S. Military Intelligence chose his words carefully describing operations on the ground.

[21:55:10] LT. GEN. VINCENT STEWART, DEFENSE INTELLIGENCE AGENCY DIRECTOR: You may have noticed an uptick in special operations intended to capture, interrogate and gather materials that will give us greater insights into the network.

STARR: The new effort quits the military back into the business of holding and interrogating suspected terrorist. But U.S. officials say there will be no water boarding or so-called enhanced interrogation and no detainees will be sent to Guantanamo Bay. The plan instead is to turn them over to the Iraqis eventually.

EARNEST: Any detention of ISIL in Iraq would be short term in coordinated with Iraqi authorities.


STARR: So far, U.S. officials are refusing to specify what skills and intent this man had that caused them so much concern. Anderson?

COOPER: Barbara, thanks very much. We'll be right back.


COOPER: Quick recap of some of the stories, we'll no doubt be talking about tomorrow. Donald Trump releasing details as plan for replacing ObamaCare. Dana Bash is early first revealing more questions than answers.

Also, a former Hillary Clinton staffer who helped set up her private e-mail server reaching some kind of immunity agreement to cooperate with the Justice Department. We'll obviously it's looking for more details on that tomorrow.

[22:00:01] And a quick reminder, I'll be moderating the CNN Democratic Debate this Sunday in Flint, Michigan, 8:00 p.m. Eastern, right here on CNN.

Right now, ''CNN TONIGHT" with Don Lemon.