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Republican Party's Last Ditch Plans to Derail Donald Trump; The 2016 Race Moving Forward; Is Democratic Party Rallying Around Hillary? Aired 11p-12a ET

Aired March 2, 2016 - 23:00   ET



[23:00:26] DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Panic in the GOP. This is CNN TONIGHT, I'm Don Lemon.

Donald Trump has already rewritten the rules for this campaign, but is he also threatening the very existence of the Republican Party? Took the elites fighting back with a last-ditch plan and derail the Trump juggernaut. Could it work? Or, is it too little too late? Plus, Trump and the race card, is race the issue that will decide the whole campaign?

Let's begin with Trump's seven victory. Seven of them on Super Tuesday, putting him one step closer to the Republican nomination.

Joining me now, Kayleigh McEnany, Conservative Columnist for Above the Law who is supporting Trump and Margaret Hoover, Republican Consultant and CNN Political Commentator.

Hello ladies. To you first Margaret, Trump, an existential threat to the GOP?

MARGARET HOOVER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Look, if you think you know what the Republican Party is, and you think you know what it stood for over the last few decades, and you think you understand a little bit about the modern American conservative movement, that it has like three legs of a school, maybe social conservative and fiscal conservative, I mean some strong national security chops, look no more.

You have no idea what it's going to look like if Donald Trump is the nominee of the Republican Party. It will be totally unrecognizable. I mean, if you want to call that an existential, that's fine. That's you guys in the media. But joke, truly, I'm joking, tongue and cheek.

Look, I mean, honestly, we don't know what Donald Trump will say or do or be when he's the Republican nominee and it is likely that he will be the Republican nominee. He has come out now with tonight, just this evening, a plan for how he would replace the ObamaCare. And guess what, it looks remarkably like Paul Ryan's plan for replacing ObamaCare.

There are these tax credits if you want to take your health care with you. There are more -- I'm sorry, a block grants to the states. I mean it basically looks like if they're going to replace ObamaCare -- get rid of the individual mandate, it is what Paul Ryan has said. Many thinks within Paul Ryan's plan. So, that seems good if you're a conservative. But this is the first time he said it.

LEMON: Yeah.

HOOVER: And it will mean this lock up to the nomination.

LEMON: Yeah, if you want to response to that quickly.

KAYLEIGH MCENANY, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I would say that Donald Trump's broadening the Republican Party in a way that's, you know, it's happened for a very long time.

There have been some real flaws in the Republican Party. One of them is losing manufacturing jobs, sending them overseas, hurting middle class workers, working blue collar workers in states like Michigan, states like Colorado who don't have jobs, who are helpless. Those jobs have gone overseas. Donald Trump wants to make America great again by bringing those jobs back over.

More over, you look at foreign policy. Americans are tired of intervening in Libya and Syria, and toppling dictators, and putting our men and women overseas in very perilous situations. Those are the things that needed to change. He changed them and that's why you see Democrats turning out to vote for Donald Trump.

LEMON: I was just speaking to someone and then also it was said that they were just speaking to the steel industry, and they said, "Who would be the better candidate?" And they said, "You know what, probably Donald Trump would be the better candidate for them." Yeah.

MCENANY: Absolutely. That's why you saw the head of the SEIU come out and say, she's afraid ...

LEMON: Because of his stance with China. Yeah.

MCENANY: Exactly.

LEMON: So, I have to ask you then, last night was a great night of your candidate. So, did you think that this anti-Trump movement which is inside of your party, does it make him stronger?

MCENANY: Absolutely. This is one of the things Frank (ph) once found and he was almost be fuddled by when he did his focused groups. He said that when people are negative towards Donald Trump, it actually ends up helping him.

He said he ran two hours of negative ads about Donald Trump, two Donald Trump supporters, and it actually emboldened their support. It's this paradigm that I don't think we've seen before modern political history, that negative ad actually bolster the support of the candidate. It's really quite shocking.

LEMON: I want to put that. Let's put the delegate count up of because Ben Carson. Ben Carson said he doesn't see a clear path forward, right? That he won't attend tomorrow night's debate.

Originally, people thought that the best way to beat Donald Trump was to consolidate support behind one candidate, and then they could gather enough votes to, you know, that could -- to beat him. But if you look at this, it's going to be pretty tough.

I mean, you know, Ted Cruz is not that far behind. But now with the delegate race really shaping up, and is that plan, is there an emerging plan that could actually make a difference in all of this?

HOOVER: Well, I mean this is -- what you're seeing and what you're hearing is that the only way to derail Donald Trump, assuming that the inertia and the momentum continue to go in the direction they're going is to block and tackle. It is to continue to humiliate delegates, if you're Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio and John Kasich, you know, and block Trump from getting all these winner take all states on March 15th.

LEMON: So, you want to keep it more fragmented and not consolidated? What is it? What ...

HOOVER: Well, either way. So long as the accumulation of delegates is happening with candidates other than Trump.


HOOVER: And that's the only way to do it, is to keep him from getting the 1,237 delegates that he needs to the convention, but ...

MCENANY: Which would lead to a broker (tension), which could be to me, the end of the Republican Party if someone who has to try and take the nomination from Donald Trump.

[23:05:07] HOOVER: Well, I know and I don't think -- I mean, even, Kelly, I who I'm not a Trump supporter would -- if Donald Trump wins it outright. If Donald Trump wins it outright, he wins it outright. You -- I mean I agree, you can't go into the nomination if somebody who has won the 1,237 votes and then somehow try to make a case that they haven't.

If they haven't gotten the 1,237 votes so, then it is not -- I will call -- I'd rather call it a contested convention. I mean because there's no guys in the back room who are going to come out and decide and (inaudible) of it.

MCENANY: At the end of this, if no one hits 1,237, the most equitable scenario and outcome is to allow the person who had the most votes in this country among Republicans and Democrats and those who could vote in these primaries to receive the nomination to allocate delegates among those in the minority, to accumulate support for someone other than the person who received the most votes would be a really bad state, and you see a third party run.

HOOVER: Well, it depends. It depends. But hey, look, it depends what the numbers are. It depends with the masses. If it is only 100 points from the 1,237, OK, maybe I take your point. But if it really is pretty evenly divided, then maybe the delegates at the convention going to have multiple rounds of voting.

MCENANY: It's the decision of the people, not the decision of the party.


HOOVER: 2,000 delegates, isn't a party deciding? Those are people from all over the country voting.

LEMON: It sounds like you guys are at the convention deciding, like, "Oh my gosh, what are we going to do about this?" I want to play Marco Rubio. This is Marco Rubio in Michigan today.


SEN. MARCO RUBIO, (R-FL) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Because usually when you're the front-runner, everyone is saying, please, everyone get out of the race so we can unify about run the front-runner.

What people are saying now is, please, everyone get together so we can keep this front-runner from winning and destroying the Republican Party.


LEMON: So Kayleigh, first your reaction to that, and what do you think Mitt Romney's going to say tomorrow?

MCENANY: Mitt Romney is going to come out ...

LEMON: Well first, your reaction to that.

MCENANY: OK, my first reaction to that is no one is consolidating around the front-runner because this is the first time a strong outsider is in contention for the nomination and poses a threat to the establishment.

LEMON: So interesting.

MCENANY: The Republican Party has lied to the Republican base forever. They say they'll decrease spending, they go in and pass 1.3 trillion in new spending. They say they'll just fund Planned Parenthood, oh now is not the time.

LEMON: So, they created this monster.

MCENANY: They created it. Someone call it not a monster, like me, I say it's a great thing, but yeah I take your point.

LEMON: So, what is Romney say tomorrow?

MCENANY: Romney is going to come out firmly against Trump. But the irony is he won't endorse anyone because he knows his endorsement for someone like Marco Rubio would be the end of Marco Rubio because that's the last thing you want is a failed nominee who is he face of the establishment endorsing you. But he will come out strongly against Trump. I think it will help him then and consolidates his outsider persona.

LEMON: OK. I want House Speaker Paul Ryan take a swipe, Margaret this is for you, at Trump for his non-disavowing of the KKK on Sunday, and Trump responded during a speech last night. Listen to this.


REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), HOUSE SPEAKER: If a person wants to be the nominee of the Republican Party, there can be no evasion and no games. They must reject any group or cause that is built on bigotry. This party does not pray on people's prejudices.

TRUMP: I'm going to get along Greg (ph) with Congress, OK? Paul Ryan, I don't know him well, but I'm sure I'm going to get along, Greg, with him. And if I don't, he's going to have to pay a big price.


LEMON: Pay a big price, what does he mean by that?

HOOVER: My way or the high way, that's the -- that's the kind of strong authoritarian, you know, presidency we're going to see under Donald Trump.

Look, I want to talk about one of thing that Paul Ryan said because Paul Ryan is right. I mean, we don't think of the best traditions and the best heritage of the Republican Party being a party of bigotry and dividing people and exploiting race relations in this country.

LEMON: Can you say that again? Say that again.

HOOVER: We don't think of the best traditions of the Republican Party as being a party that is a party of bigotry or a party that exploits race relations to the Republican Party. It was good that he came out and said this is not the Republican Party ...


LEMON: OK so -- OK so listen, let me ask you this.


LEMON: Let me ask you this. Let me ask you this. I'll let you finish. You may not think of it that way.

HOOVER: Well, I mean the party is thinking was not that ...


LEMON: But the reality that is putting out right now when you look at what's going on is it seems like the party is that way.

HOOVER: Well, so here is my -- so exactly. Thank you for helping me make the point.


HOOVER: Paul Ryan comes out and says, "That's not our party. That we're not going to have that in party. I'm not going to be part of the Republican Party as part of that."


HOOVER: You know, in the next press he says, "But, I'm going to support the Republican nominee, whoever he is."

And this is the problem that Republicans have, is that we have cuddles and fomented the extremes and the right, and we haven't drawn the dividing line the way William F. Buckley did and ...

LEMON: Say that again.

HOOVER: We haven't made the dividing line and said, you cannot be part of this (event).

MCENANY: That's incorrect. No ...

HOOVER: William F. Buckley -- let me just finish really quick. William F. Buckley said it to the John Birch Society, "You cannot be part of the conservative movement." We are not going to say, have you antagonized this movement? There is going to be some sense of sort of decorum and principles here. And did -- Ronald Reagan did the same thing with the KKK, but the right in the last decade and the Republican Party in the last decade has not drawn that line. We haven't saw ...

MCENANY: And by the way, this is the narrative that has been put forth by Democrats time and time again. Ronald Reagan, when he disavowed the KKK, the irony is Carter came out and said he was -- been in hatred because he did not denounce them forcefully enough.

This is what's done. People throw up the term racism and they do it too loose way. And it's unethical. It's wrong. That is one of the worst things you can call someone to say that a strong contingency of the Republican Party is a racist is offensive.


[12:10: 11] HOOVER: Well, ask that in American society.

LEMON: I don't think that's ...

MCENANY: I'm not saying you said that. I'm talking generally right now, because it's very frustrating as a Republican and as an American. Does racism exist in society? Yes, it does. There is no denying that. But is it a strong element of the Republican Party? No, it is in a minority and it's wrong to characterize by party.


LEMON: But the people -- the supremacies and the people who are racist. There are racist people, right? MCENANY: Absolutely there are.

LEMON: They are identifying with the Trump campaign in this particular, right?

MCENANY: You can't choose who supports you, just for ...

LEMON: But, you can choose your reaction. You can't say if you have this, if this is you, "I don't want you. I don't what your vote." If he hears it -- if you are a member of the KKK, "I'm not interested in you watching me. You don't -- you can watch me if you want, but I'm not interested in you. I disavowed you."


MCENANY: And he said that -- wait, no, Margaret, let me respond.

LEMON: But -- so why can't you say, "I am not in interested in your vote. I want nothing to do with you. We have -- you have nothing to do with the Republican Party." Why can't you just say that?

MCENANY: Donald Trump -- he did that on Thursday. He did that on Friday. He did that in 2000 when he called ...

LEMON: I have not heard that.


LEMON: I heard -- but here's what I heard from him, "OK, I disavow." What is that? That's like me going to you. "OK, already, all right, enough already." I want to hear him say it like he talks about terrorism, right? Like he talks about people coming over the border, like he says he is going to build a wall.

I want him to say, "I want nothing to do with racist people. I want nothing to do with the clan." Instead of that saying "I disavow." Like it's just off the couple, like stop asking me that stupid question. It's not a stupid question.

MCENANY: He does nothing to KKK. A French cook element discussing ...

LEMON: Well then, you are saying that. He is not saying that.

MCENANY: Look in society ...


LEMON: No, he's not. You're saying that though, Kayleigh. Kayleigh, you're saying that.


MCENANY: But Don, he does not think the KKK deserves more than a moment second of, of course I disavow. This is a French element of society. This is not a robust group running around the way that it was at one point in history. It's a reprehensible group and he's dismissed it four times. Let's keep that on the record. It's four times.

HOOVER: It's -- well yeah, it's on the record. We know that. You know, John McCain in the 2008 election, somebody in the Town Hall said something about how President Obama was a Muslim or something like that, and John McCain said, "No sir, no sir."

LEMON: Right.

HOOVER: "He's good American."

LEMON: Right.

HOOVER: We may disagree, but he is a good American.

LEMON: Right.

HOOVER: And not enough of that has happened in the Republican Party in the last decade in order -- and that has helped bring us to the point here. We have Republican front-runners, front-runners who are going a little too cozy with really hateful elements (in the policy).

LEMON: All right, and I do have to say that Donald Trump reached out to Paul Ryan. They haven't spoken yet, but we'll see once they do speak.

Thank you very much.

MCENANY: Thank you.

HOOVER: Thank you, Don.

LEMON: You'll be back, Kayleigh stay here. Thank you very much Margaret.

When we come right back, Donald Trump and the Klan, the heated debate that rocked our Super Tuesday coverage, and what it could mean in the campaign. You've got to see this. It's next.


[23:16:21] LEMON: Donald Trump's initial refusal to disavow the Ku Klux Klan in a CNN interview on Sunday, and has put the Klan in the headlines in the middle of this heated presidential election. And the whole issue sparked a fiery debate during our coverage on Super Tuesday.

Van Jones is a Democrat, are going head-to-head with Jeffrey Lord, a Trump supporter. Here's a part of their exchange.


VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: You need to take a serious look at the fact that this man has -- is playing fast and loose and footsie. When we talk about terrorism, he gets passionate. He says, "No, this is wrong." But when you talk about the Klan, "Oh, I don't know, I don't know. That's wrong." And then you came on the air and you said, "Well, this is just like when Reverend Wright was speaking."


JONES: Reverend Wright never lynched anybody. Reverend Wright never killed anybody.

LORD: Reverend Wright is an anti-semitic.

JONES: Reverend Wright never put anybody on a post. And you guys play these word games and it's wrong to do in America. It is wrong to do.

LORD: It is wrong to understand that these are not leftists. They were a ...

JONES: What difference ...

LORD: Van ...

JONES: ... does it make if you call them leftists?

LORD: ... it makes a lot of difference, Van. I'm not talking ...

JONES: Just call them chipmunks. They killed people.

LORD: We're not ...

JONES: And you don't play games with that.

LORD: We are ...

JONES: Don't put games with that.

LORD: You're right, you're right. And you don't hide and say that's not part of the base of the Democratic Party. That has been -- they were the military arm, the terrorist arm of the Democratic Party according to historians. For God sakes, read your history.

JONES: Yeas ago, listen, I'm not -- I don't know. I don't care ...

LORD: This whole attitude of dividing by race is still here. And this is how Democrats needs to be.

JONES: I don't care how they voted 50 years ago. I care about who they killed.

LORD: I care about American history. It counts.


LEMON: Van Jones is here along with me now, along with "Washington Post" reporters, Janell Ross, and also Matt Lewis, a Senior Contributor to " The Daily Caller" and author of "Too Dumb to Fail, How the GOP Betrayed the Reagan Revolution." Kayleigh McEnany, back with us as well.

Janell, you -- you know, you're out with a piece for "The Washington Post," all about the Jeffrey Lord and the Van Jones throw down. Like Van, though, you take issue with a lot of what Jeffrey Lord is putting out there. What was the biggest concern about Jeffrey's argument?

JANELL ROSS, "WASHINGTON POST" REPORTER: Well, I think there are several issues. But, certainly, he has repeated something that has become a very popular meme and conservative political circles, which is that the Democratic Party was the home base of the founders of the KKK.

And technically, of course, they are right, that is true. But there are whole series of things and about a hundred years of history, a little more than a hundred years of history that have happened since.

There's been a complete reorganization and resorting of voters, and the reality is that the -- whatever share of the electorate is driven by the ideas that motivated the KKK, including voter disenfranchisement or disenfranchising voters of color, those are not part of the current day Democratic Party, and those are certainly not leftist ideas. That is ...

JONES: That --- and for instance ...

LEMON: You say -- hang on, hang on, Van. I mean I want to continue on with Janell. Because Janell, you say in your pieces that, "This should make fully clear to every American just how central bigotry, combating it, defending it, relabeling it and employing it has become to the 2016 presidential election." Expand on that for me.

ROSS: Well, it seems that almost every night and almost every day there is a situation much like this one. Someone on the campaign trail, or during a debate, or when asked a question, said something that would seem to largely assign blame or suspicion or recommend policies based on group membership, identity, physical appearance, et cetera. And then someone else says that's wrong. That's terrible.

[23:20:02] And then reporters write about it and this goes on and on and on. And people on either side of this issue, depending who they support and who their candidate is, are either unable or unwilling to admit that this is exactly what's going on. This has been the case from the start of this campaign and it continues as recently as last night.

LEMON: But isn't there at last, maybe I'm wrong, let's talk about race in this campaign than it was last time?

ROSS: I think your -- it depends how you define what conversations are being had about race. There were, of course, when Barack Obama ran in 2007 and 2008, and I suppose again in 2012, many conversations about his historic candidacy and his historic presidency.

But, what we are having now are conversations about who is guilty of what, and how people should be treated, and which people should be let into the country, and who is -- who should be surveilled or treated with group suspicion based on, again, their group membership or their physical appearance.

That is very much a conversation about race and/or about religion and/or ethnic identity or nationality, whether people call that a conversation about race or not, that's exactly what's happening.

LEMON: Go ahead, Kayleigh.

MCENANY: You know, I just want to say something that I think -- I speak for a lot of Republicans when I say this and talk and speak to our frustrations. You know, are there problems with race in society? Absolutely.

Our criminal justice system I think is a place we need to take a hard look at and see if there are racial systemic problems there. That being said, America have come a very long way.

The average person today, white, Hispanic, black, doesn't judge someone by the color of their skin. I have faith in the American people. And I get really frustrated when I hear the term racism thrown around loosely like it's just some word.

Characterizing Donald Trump as a racist or his supporters as a racist or Republicans as a racist, it's hurtful, it's wrong. And I just think I speak from most Republicans when I say, we need to be very cautious when we talk about this because we've come a long way and the American people, by enlarge, are not racists.

LEMON: Matt?

MATT LEWIS, AUTHOR, "TOO DUMB TO FAIL": Well, I can vouch for the fact that some of Donald Trump's fans are racists because they hit me up on Twitter and they're angry.

And, you know, I do want to say, Jeffrey Lord said something that I think does deserve. This is not -- this isn't quite the non sequitur that I think the Democratic Party, KKK thing was, which is identity politics. And this is a problem on the left.

We saw it with Hillary Clinton, the insinuation that if you're a woman, you have to vote for Hillary Clinton. If you're a sellout (ph), you're a traitor to your gender if you support Bernie Sanders.

We've seen these insinuations before. If you're a black Republican, some people throw out a notion that that's not closure, you shouldn't be voting Republican. And I really reject that. And what I'm -- one of the things I don't like about Donald Trump and something that a lot of his supporters seem to be espousing is the same identity politics thing.

There is a sense that Donald Trump, if you are white, if you're a working class white person, you should be supporting Donald Trump. He's not saying it. But, this is a message that I'm seeing from people out there. It's somewhat subtle.

I hate tribalism. I hate identity politics. And I do think Jeffrey Lord had a point when he talked about the left dividing us. Unfortunately, I think some of the Trump's fans are saying, "Well they do it, too, we should start doing it." That's not the answer.

LEMON: Does he bare any responsibility for some of the ugly comments that his supporters are saying? Does he bare any responsibility to denounce or to say that, you know, I'm not -- I don't want that?

LEWIS: Look, I absolutely think that it's incumbent upon you as a political leader to distance yourself from anything, even the hint of racism. And I would say, as a conservative, it's incredibly important that conservatism not be tarnished by the unseemliness, the ugliness of race.

And so, if you care about preserving things like defending the right to life of the unborn, or whether a strong national defense, whatever it is that really animates you as a conservative, you simply cannot have a tarnished and tainted by ugliness and hatred and that's the danger. That's why William F. Buckley as was mentioned in a previous segment ...

MCENANY: And that holds true for both sides by the way because we've (inaudible) in 2008 ...

JONES: Don, if she's going to talk, I need to talk.

MCENANY: Go ahead.

JONES: She's talking about, I guess, and say one word. So listen, first of all, Kayleigh said something in the last segment that I just think are very, very unfortunate, especially given, I think her very good intentions. She dismissed and diminished the Ku Klux Klan ...

MCENANY: I did not -- I never did that.

JONES: Let me finish. Yes, you did. You said -- hey, you got a chance to talk in your segment. I'm going to talk right now. You diminished and you did diminish. You said it's a marginal group and it's not worth anything other than just saying I disavow.

And what I want -- sometimes facts should matter. What's actually happening, facts, hate groups are actually growing in the United States. They're not shrinking. That's according to the FBI. The hate groups are actually multiplying.

Here's a fact, more terrorists who are white, right wing and often white supremacies have killed people and they've killed more people in the U.S. since 9/11 than have Jihadists.

[23:25:12] So, if you are concerned about terrorism, you have to be concerned about the Klan. If you want to have a rosy view of United States, I do too, but that's matter. The hate groups are multiplying and statistics show that there's actually more racial animus right now than there has been.

So, this whole idea that if someone says, "This is scary to me", if someone says, "This is a big deal and I want a national leader like Trump to speak out", then we are playing the race card is unfair. And diminishing the Klan when hate groups are growing is also ill conceived.

LEMON: OK. Go ahead, Kayleigh.

MCENANY: Van and, you know, I respect you a lot. I want to start out just by saying that I think very highly of you. But, my exact words matter and it is unfair to me for to you make a statement like you diminished the Ku Klux Klan. I never did any such a thing.

I called them -- no, let me finish, Van. I called them reprehensible. I said it's disgusting. And then later in the segment, I said that Donald Trump realizes this is a coup French group that isn't operating the same way today. It did way back when it was at its height. And therefore, he disavowed -- he just said I disavowed because it is a coup French group, it wasn't marginalizing the Klan.

And by the way, I would like to point out, you know, the hate crimes by the way, number one group of hate crimes, victims of hate crimes in this country right now are Jews. So, you know, we can all throw out these statistics, Van.

LEWIS: But let's be honest about what Donald Trump did. Let's be honest about what Donald Trump did though.


LEWIS: He made a calculated decision on CNN.

MCENANY: No, he did not.

LEWIS: Yes, he did, three times. And I'll tell you why he did it.

MCENANY: What evidence do you have of that?

LEWIS: I don't think Donald Trump -- I don't think Donald ...

MCENANY: What evidence do you have over the calculated decision?

LEVIS: I don't think Donald Trump ...

MCENANY: He said that the earpiece malfunctioned ...

LEWIS: Well, because I have a brain. That's why.

MCENENY: You're calling him a liar. You have no evidence.

LEWIS: Because I'm not -- because I'm not a robot who just takes the Donald at his word.

MCENANY: Right. You're someone who throws up conclusions without supporting them with facts. You have no facts to prove that that was a calculated ...

LEWIS: I'll tell you what Donald Trump ...


LEMON: One at a time.

LEWIS: Well, Donald Trump (inaudible) three times on CNN. You don't have to be a genius to put two and two together.

MCENANY: No. He said that the earpiece malfunctioned. By the way, that happened to me, too today.

LEWIS: Oh, come on.

MCENANY: It happened to me, too today. My earpiece malfunctioned.

LEWIS: You can not be serious.

MCENANY: I heard every five words. It does happen. I believe what he's saying and you are wrong to say ...

LEWIS: You were not -- I can't believe that you have suggested ...

MCENANY: ... that it was a calculation when you have no evidence of that.

LEWIS: Wait, do you really believe that the earpiece ...

MCENANY: We can't throw out conclusions without evidence.

LEWIS: Do you really believe that the earpiece malfunctioned? Do you really believe it?

MCENANY: Only Donald Trump knows the answer to that. You don't know the answer.

LEWIS: You're smarter than that. You're smarter than that.

MCENANY: I don't know the answer.

LEWIS: And you don't believe that.

LEMON: Well, I think, I think ...

LEWIS: You don't believe the earpiece malfunctioned.

LEMON: I think what she's saying, Matt, is that she takes him at his word and she has no way of knowing otherwise ...

LEWIS: Well now, I think she's being intellectually dishonest.


LEWIS: If she really believes the earpiece malfunctioned, then ...

JONES: Have they recorded every word from Jake with the malfunctioning earplug?

LEMON: Van, standby. Go ahead, Kayleigh.

MCENANY: I'm not being intellectually dishonest. You are by saying you that you somehow made your way into Donald Trump's head and have proof that this was a calculated move.

LEWIS: You haven't even heard. You haven't even heard ...

LEMON: Let her finish, Matt.

LEWIS: ... what I was going to say. I haven't even gotten to say what I was going to say.

MCENANY: You said you knew that this was a ...

LEWIS: But I want to go back to the earpiece malfunction. Do you honestly believe, in all seriousness, that he did not hear the question?

MCENANY: Only Donald Trump knows that answer. And you're being intellectually dishonest to suggest any of us could know the answer to that.

LEWIS: No ...

LEMON: OK. Hold on everyone, I got to take a break and we'll be right.


[23:32:00] LEMON: And we're back now, Van Jones is here, Janell Ross, Matt Lewis and Kayleigh McEnany.

OK, Kayleigh, let's talk about that moving forward.

Donald Trump now has 332 delegates, right. Cruz has 230, Marco Rubio has 113. Ben Carson, who is seven, and he says he's dropping out.

So, who gets those seven? Who's the beneficiary?

MCENANY: You know what, Ben Carson makes that decision. A lot of the rules say, hey, you know, it's who you endorse or move your delegates to, which is interesting. It's an interesting thought. But, you know, as to who gets Ben Carson's support, I think it spreads broadly among the candidates.

If you look at, let's say, Kasich, for instance, who may drop out eventually. It's really curious, but 16 percent of his support goes to Donald Trump. That's one poll shows and 30 percent of his support goes to Rubio.

So, it really kind of spread evenly. It's not a monolithic block that moves from Carson to, let's say, Cruz.

LEMON: Matt, wouldn't you think that because of, you know, the kerfuffle that happened in Iowa, that Carson's voters or Carson's delegates would somehow the folks to support him would somehow go to Donald Trump vote and Ted Cruz, because they would be mad at Ted Cruz.

LEWIS: Yeah. If they're that strategic. I think Ben Carson is upset with Ted Cruz. But does that transfer to all of his supporters? It's unclear. And I think, you know, Kayleigh's right in the sense that, you know, it's really weird that any of the John Kasich's supporters would go to Donald Trump, but some of them do.

So, I think it's really hard to game out where they go. More or less, I just think that this is winnowing that is a long time coming. It's going to be interesting to watch debates without having to go to sort of the perfunctory, Ben Carson answer and maybe stick to the mid (ph) of things.

LEMON: So, it seems a lot simpler, Van, it seems, it appears to be a lot simpler on the democratic side.

Had Democrats, in your memory, have been - have they ever been as out of touch with the base as it seems the Republican establishment is right now?

JONES: Well, I mean, these things happen to me. It's very interesting. Don't forget, we have a rebellion in both parties. The difference is that it looks like, right now, you never know, that the rebels in our party will not succeed.

So, the question is, do the rebels leave? In the Republican Party, the rebels are going to win.

The question is does the establishment stay? So, we have, you know, literally, that both parties are having a huge rebellion and it's based on the same thing. It's based on pain at the bottom, it's based on a sense of elitism at the top, it's based on a sense of big money, corrupting things, so Trump is self-funding, Bernie is people powered.

These are very, very similar dynamics. It's just that the reality is that our party is less dissatisfied with the Democrats than the base is dissatisfied with the Republicans, but there's a rebellion in both parties.

LEMON: But anger and fear, Janell, will drive folks to the polls. Is that going to be a problem for Democrats if it is as Van says, people aren't too as upset on the democratic side?

ROSS: I think that, you know, there is plenty of evidence to support exactly what Van just said. There are certainly evidence that there are many, many voters who are quite dissatisfied with each of the party and quite dissatisfied with what they see as the proceeds of each of the party.

[23:35:05] I would add to them, less the sort of sense that congress, not a sense, but it the fact that Congresses taken a pretty limited list of actions in the last three to four sessions.

So, I think that, you know, this is not just a function of the voter imagination, but they have some real reasons to be displeased with the people that they put in office and I suppose the infrastructure that they see standing behind that. You know, of course, it is true that sometimes angry voters are very reliable voters. They show up. They vote. They want to see change happen and they understand that that is the way to do that in this country.

So, it could be that that anger pays off in a very large way on either side of this race.

LEMON: Let's talk about Chris Christie, Kayleigh. Did you see that Chris Christie standing behind Donald Trump last night and it post epic issue, right?

The many faces of Chris Christie they're saying, "What's going on here?"

MCENANY: Someone said to me a kind of like the reverse of him like Sarah Palin stayed too long and Donald Trump was off to the side, but this time, it was like, Chris Christie to the back.

It was a little awkward, the configuration. But, you know, I think Chris Christie endorsing Trump is a huge deal for Trump to have someone who is standing beside you. Someone who is sparring with you say, "I have everyone in this line, this is the guy I'm supporting".

Likewise, Huckabee had some really nice words for Trump today. He said, "He hopes the GOP would get behind Trump and consolidate around him".

When you have two people that were on the stage of you saying, this is the guy, let's just go hide and get behind him. I think that is a huge deal.

LEMON: Matt, is this Chris Christie's last best hope, because voters in New Jersey are not happy with him at this point.

LEWIS: This is like Donald Trump is a big game hunter and he has captured his game and he is mounting him. And really kind -- it's an incredibly embarrassing thing. Chris Christie was one. He could have maybe, been president if he ran in 2012. And now, he has been subjected to this, being window dressing. And I think it's shameful, it's disgusting ...

LEMON: It was like a hostage video.

LEWIS: It's -- yes, he is like blinking the Morse code. It's unbelievable.

LEMON: Oh my god. Thank you. I got to run, I got to run.

Thank you. Appreciate it. Coming up, Hillary Clinton winning big on Super Tuesday, but, did some Democrats switch sides to vote for Trump?


[23:41:11] LEMON: Is the Democratic Party rallying around Hillary Clinton? And will Bernie Sanders drop out? Here to discuss, Bob Beckel, Bob is the author of "I Should Be Dead: My Life Surviving Politics, TV, and Addiction". CNN Contributor Bakari Sellers is here. Bill Press is here as well as well. He's the author of "Buyer's Remorse, How Obama Let Progressives Down."

Bill Press -- good evening everyone, Bill Press, you first ...


LEMON: You are Bernie supporter -- Bernie Sanders' Supporter. Hillary won big yesterday. Many predict that she will be the Democratic nominee. Where does Bernie go from here?

PRESS: He keeps going. He goes in Nebraska this weekend. He goes to Maine. He goes to Kansas and he goes on to Michigan. He went to the rest of the state, Illinois, New York, California, you name it. He's in for the long haul. He got 42 ...


PRESS: By the way and he should be ...

SELLERS: It's Louisiana, Bill. Louisiana.

PRESS: I'm sorry, thank you. I didn't mean to miss Louisiana. He will proceed looking ...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah, the map (ph) in all the states -- their's a map (ph) looking dire him ahead, Bill at this point ....

PRESS: No, I wouldn't say dire at all. Look, you know, first of all, Hillary had a very good day. I don't want to take that away from her at all. She also had what was designed as her best day. They call it the SEC Primary March 1. It's really the DLC Primary.

It was designed by the Democratic Leadership Council to give the Conservative Democrat or Moderate Democrat, a head start in this process. From now on, I think that map (ph) looks a lot better for Bernie, when you talk over those big industrial states where jobs and trade deals where Hilary is not very good are going to be the big issue of not being main issue.

LEMON: Bob Beckel, unlike Donald Trump and the GOPs. The Democratic Party becoming more united around Hillary Clinton at this point. Does it that seems to ...

BOB BECKEL, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yeah, I think it is. Look, I don't need to differences are all that stark. And the other thing was yesterday probably the most important state for her was Massachusetts. That was one she was not expected to win. A lot of blue collar workers went for her. I think in the end - and Bernie Sanders won only caucuses, let's keep that in mind, and they'll be against to that, but in terms of primaries what he is facing moving into the Mideast and Midwest and the West Coast particularly is astoundingly difficult.

LEMON: Bakari?

PRESS: Vermont was a primary, though, Bob.

Lemon: Yeah. Yeah.

PRESS: Home state but still a primary.

LEMON: Bakari, I know you, would you -- I don't know, maybe you would or you wouldn't. Would you like to see Bernie Sanders drop out at this point?

SELLERS: No, not at all. I mean, I think Bernie Sanders is running a heck of a campaign. He's talking about issues that matter. He's sharpening up Hillary Clinton. He's making her a much better candidate.

I do have to push back on Bill Press a little bit for flippingly disregarding the south and saying its DLC contraption to get a moderate or whatever. But I mean, the Sanders campaign has been pushing those talking points, discounting minority voices in this election and that should not be the case.

I mean, what we saw was Hillary Clinton actually have a message that, that African-American voters and Hispanic voters gravitated towards because she did exceptionally well with Hispanic voters in Texas, exceptionally well with African-American voters. And I chimed in jokingly when Bill was running down Bernie Sanders' pathway because he did overlook Louisiana which is actually coming up this week end and has a large swath of African-American voters.

Look, Bernie Sanders should stay in. He has 42 million reasons to stay in. And it's going to be a good race. I just think that we're going to start focusing our attention on Donald Trump.

LEMON: I just - yeah.

PRESS: Bill, as a Louisianan don't overlook Louisiana, OK?

Now I've heard a lot of campaigns down in Louisiana. By the way, including the David Duke campaign but now, Bakari, my point was -- I don't want to get into the races debate in the last couple of segment. Now, my point was a regional one, you know, nothing in the northwest, it was centered for that purpose geographically to be clear, yes.

LEMON: Bob, I want to ask you about this. This is serious. Because after months of asking the Former Clinton staffer Bryan Pagliano, who helped set up her private e-mail server has accepted an immunity offer from the FBI and the Justice Department to provide an interview to investigators.

[23:45:04] I mean, this couldn't be have or the worse timing. How seriously could this affect Hillary Clinton's campaign?

BECKEL: Well, I think it was certain it's been serious from the beginning but the question is, why did they do that? Because they're stuck, they had no way to prove that she broke the law so they're going to try to get somebody who is going to give them an opening. I think frankly, it's a little bit of the desperation on the FBI'S part.

Now, having said that, if Hillary Clinton get caught up in this and let's say the impossible happens and she's were to get all in front of a grand jury, it's still not going to make Bernie Sanders the Democratic nominee, it will make Joe Biden the nominee. Because let's remember under our rules, you can ...

LEMON: Why is that?

BECKEL: Why is that? Because listen, this party is not going to run with Bernie Sanders at the top of the ticket, it just can't. I mean -- all kinds of race for Bernie Sanders. I did his first race for Meyer. But, here's the point, you know, what the Republicans going to do with him?

By the time it's over, not only in the social state but the age state and there's a lot of votes she is cast (ph) in the Senate which are way off the wall as part of their concern, it's going to be a brutal, brutal battle. And Hillary Clinton can take on the Republicans.

I'm not -- and she got the experience with something we keep over looking in all of these. Having run for this office before is an enormous advantage for somebody and she's done that but that's the one thing that sticks in the mud for is the e-mail server. But I've got a thinking after all this time, if they haven't gotten something yet, they're grasping for straws.

LEMON: Is there a strategy -- what's a good strategy, if there is one, to the server issue, Bakari?

SELLERS: Well, I mean, I am a lawyer who attempts to practice law every day. I just think ...

LEMON: Attempts.

SELLERS: I just think that this is a serious situation, no doubt. But transparency is the key here. I think that that the Clinton campaign, Bryan Pagliano has come out and said that, you know, he wished this gentleman would have testified during the congressional hearings when he was subpoenaed before hand. And, you know, they're happy to participate.

Until there is some prior (ph) somewhere, I'm not too concerned about this issue. I think many Americans, including Bill Press is good friend, who hatch this campaign for president and his leaving room. Bernie Sanders, we're tied of these damn e-mails.

And so, I just think that people are going to focus on the issues. This is going to be a blip on the radar. And then the general election is going to be something to deal with but I don't expect any huge shoe to drop any time soon.

LEMON: All right, everyone. Stay with me -- stay with me when we come right back. Can Hillary Clinton win back young women who have been supporting Bernie Sanders?


[23:51:25] LEMON: Bob Beckel is back with me, Bakari Sellers and Bill Press.

So Bill, you were hosting a debate in Michigan this Sunday and Flint's water crisis will be a very big issue.

Hillary Clinton has been all over this issue. What about Bernie Sanders?

PRESS: He's been there. Bernie's been there. And he'll be there Sunday night. And Bernie's met with some of the people from Flint. I think they're both good on these issues.

I mean, this is just a total, total outrage and as Hillary said and I quote her. She one of the first to say and President Obama said, if this had happened to some white suburban community in north of Detroit, we would have been all over it. The media would have been a big media story from the very beginning. It would not have happened. It happened in Flint, Michigan and we know why.

But I -- if I can whether you have the mic, I just have to go back to -- look, I totally agree on the e-mail send, I don't think there's anything there. There's been two years of smoke and no fire and, you know, kind of get over it.

I just have to disagree with my good friend Bob Beckel that if Bernie were the nominee, the party could never go with Bernie as the nominee. I mean, why do you say that, Bob? Number one party -- the Democratic Party is going to be united. There's not a big difference -- that big a difference between Hillary and Bernie on the issues.

Number two, we're going to be up against the biggest clown it looks like that ever run for president.

And number three, what's Bernie talking about? He's talking about jobs, minimum wage, he's talking about universal health care, he's talking about criminal justice reform, he's talking about the issues a Democratic Party has always stood for and the American people want. So, again, he's as electable, I think as any other Democrats.

LEMON: I'm surprised of you Bill Press about name calling.

BECKEL: Bill, let's make -- that draws an important point here. The difference between the Democrats philosophically is very marginal to say the least. Among Republicans, it is a massive divide. It reminds me of what happened in the Democratic Party in '72. As you remember, we split up over Vietnam War and that created "Reggie" Democrats.

The Republicans are about to a 20 years of what we did. It took us 20 years to get our party back together, because Trump fundamentally, fundamentally alters the trajectory of the Republican Party over the last 30 years. And there's going to be hell and blood on the streets to pay for that.

Bernie can probably win our situation like that. My only concern is, that the Republicans are going to be so desperate, that they've come out with everything they can on Hillary. I don't know how much more that you can do after 20 years. But on Bernie, I think they're going to be the roughest ...

LEMON: I think that ...

BECKEL: ... nastiest crowd you're going to see.

LEMON: ... if you said the presidential election, I'm sure they'll find something. But my question to you Bakari is black voters have shown in this election that they are pretty much in all in for Hillary Clinton. When you look at them - when you look at these numbers, how galvanized will they be with a possible - by possible Trump candidacy? Is that going to animate them more?

SELLER: Oh, I think Donald Trump is the number one energizer or the base vote and is going to be one of the most intriguing energizers of the base vote in the Democratic Party, we've seen in a very long time, not just by African Americans, but for Hispanics, for women, for any list of people who don't want to see our country run by hatred and bigotry and xenophobia.

And so I think that -- I think that there are going to be a ton of people who come out and support whoever the Democratic nominee is.

And I just want to - there has been this notion, sometimes we get caught up in campaigns and, you know, you say Bernie Sanders didn't do this or Hillary Clinton didn't do that. But one issue both candidates have been very good on highlighting on those issues of social justice.

And Bernie Sanders and both Hillary Clinton and I'm glad that everyone's going to be in Flint on Sunday, have been really, really good on this issue in Michigan.

And I'm just happy that we're actually able to lift up the dialogue and have this conversation because on the flip side you have people talking about little fingers and you have people talking about the KKK ...

[23:55:09] PRESS: Yeah.

SELLER: ... and who is interviewing -- who's doing interviews ...

LEMON: I want to ...

SELLER: ... with white supremacists.

LEMON: Bakari, if you will, I want to get this question in to Bob because I think it's an important one.

Bob, are the parties and in the short time that I have left, you can answer quickly. Are the parties becoming -- speaking of the KKK and all that, too divided on these issues of race and gender? Is that how you see it? How do you see it? BECKER: Yeah. I think it has. I think they have been on -- is Democrats I think have gone the right direction, Republicans are going way over to the right. This is not the same party of the Republicans that were around during Ronald Reagan.

They keep talking about it. He'd be uphold by saying this, but let me tell you something. Within 18 days, we're going to know whether Trump's the nominee or not and it's brought down to this.

If Rubio can't win Florida and Kasich can't win Ohio, it's over.

LEMON: All right. Thank you, gentlemen. Appreciate it.

All right. Stay with CNN for our Democratic presidential debate. It's in Flint, Michigan. Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders go head to head, Sunday night beginning at 8:00 Eastern.

We'll be right back.


LEMON: That is it for us tonight. Thanks for watching. Make sure you stay with CNN for our Democratic Presidential debate in Flint, Michigan, at Sunday night at 8:00 Eastern, 8:00 Eastern.

"AC360" starts in just a few moment.