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Romney to Slam Trump in Speech; Former Clinton Staffer Accepts Immunity Deal; Possible MH370 Debris Found on Mozambique Coast; North Korea Reacts to New U.N. Sanctions; U.S. War Veterans Hunt Down Child Predators; Echoes of Reagan in Republican Party Rhetoric; Students Protest Venezuelan Supreme Court Ruling. Aired 10-11a ET

Aired March 3, 2016 - 10:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


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ROBYN CURNOW, CNN HOST (voice-over): Ahead at the INTERNATIONAL DESK, a former Republican nominee calls Donald Trump a fraud.

Will Hillary Clinton's e-mail controversy hurt her campaign?

And student protests turn violent in Venezuela.

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CURNOW: Hi, there, everyone, I'm Robyn Curnow at the CNN Center.

We start with the escalating chaos in the U.S. presidential race. High-profile Republican Party figures are doing their desperate best to

blow up Donald Trump's candidacy. They're running out of time, though so now the party is doing something unprecedented. It's turning to the

Republican nominee in the last presidential election, Mitt Romney. He'll deliver a scathing anti-Trump speech hours before the latest debate.

Sunlen Serfaty has more on a party in turmoil.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The 2012 Republican nominee speaking out today against the 2016 front-runner, Donald Trump.

Romney releasing part of his prepared remarks morning, planning to slam Trump, calling him a phony and fraud and putting his support squarely

behind Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and John Kasich.

DONALD TRUMP, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Go out and get him. You can do it.

SERFATY (voice-over): Trump, who once endorsed Mitt Romney, anticipating the attacks, tweeting last night, quote, "Looks like two-time

failed candidate Mitt Romney is going to be telling Republicans how to get elected. Not a good messenger and his campaign releasing this paid ad,

questioning Romney's conservative leadership.

TRUMP: We have expanded the Republican Party.

SERFATY (voice-over): The feud coming as the front-runner gets the cold shoulder from GOP leaders after his sweeping seven-state victory on

Super Tuesday.

SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), FLA., PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, people are saying I was pleased. Everyone get together so we can keep this front-

runner from winning.

SERFATY (voice-over): Former candidate Lindsey Graham suggesting he's so against Trump, he'd now even support Ted Cruz.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), S.C., PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Ted and I are in the same party. Donald Trump is an interloper. I don't trust him.

SERFATY (voice-over): But Trump continues to argue that he's the one to unify the party.

TRUMP: When you're dealing in Congress, we have to get them all into a room and we have to say, fellows, let's go. It's for the good of the

people.

SERFATY (voice-over): And tonight now only four candidates will face off in the debate. Dr. Ben Carson pulling out after Tuesday's results as

Texas senator Ted Cruz admits his campaign could have met the same fate.

SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: If we had lost Texas, that would have been the end of the road. I don't think a candidate has a viable path forward

if you can't win your home state.

SERFATY (voice-over): Cruz trying to make Carson's loss his gain, extending an invitation to supporters to other GOP hopefuls.

CRUZ: If you've been supporting another candidate, we welcome you on our team. If you have been supporting Donald Trump, we really welcome you

on our team.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CURNOW: That was Sunlen Serfaty reporting there.

And we're learning more about Mitt Romney's speech, which you can see here on CNN in about 90 minutes' time.

He's says of Trump, "He's playing the American public for suckers. He gets a free ride to the White House and all we get is a lousy hat.

"His domestic policies would lead to recession. His foreign policies would make America and the world less safe. He has neither the temperament

nor judgment to be president and his personal qualities would mean that America would cease to be a shining city on the hill."

Now that last comment, referencing words used by former president Ronald Reagan, a name Trump's opponents have invoked repeatedly during this

campaign. But Trump is fighting back. You saw his tweet, slamming Romney in Sunlen's report. He had more to say this morning on ABC.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Millions of people are joining the Republican Party because of me. And you know what, the Republican establishment's probably going to

give it right back and go back to the old days of Mitt Romney, who couldn't win if he had the --

(CROSSTALK)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CURNOW: Well, all of this is happening less than two weeks before crucial primaries in a higher and, very importantly, Florida that could

effectively seal the deal, the nomination, for Trump.

Well, I want to talk about this with Mike Shields, he's a former chief of staff of the Republican National Committee and president of the

Congressional Leadership Fund.

This is unprecedented.

Or is it?

MIKE SHIELDS, PRESIDENT, CONGRESSIONAL LEADERSHIP FUND: Yes, it's a remarkable turn of events. You now have the former nominee coming out and

slamming the person who is the front-runner. And of course I think it's crucial to keep in mind, he is the front-runner but he's a front-runner in

a mixed field.

And if you look at the results --

[10:05:00]

SHIELDS: -- from Super Tuesday, 36 percent who showed up and voted on Super Tuesday voted for Donald Trump. That means 64 percent of the

Republicans who voted voted for somebody else. And so there is a building movement of other Republicans that are saying maybe we don't want Donald

Trump as our nominee.

But the way that the primary system is set up, he's in a mixed field and he keeps winning. And so you're sort of having this Trump/anti-Trump

thing being set up as we head into the primaries coming up in the next week.

You have Michigan on Saturday night in Idaho and Mitt Romney's voice carries a fair amount of weight there because Michigan is where Mitt

Romney's family is from. He has very good ties there.

Idaho's a state that has a large number of Mormon voters and of course Mitt Romney is Mormon. And so his voice may lend credibility to this

movement in those states.

But on the other hand, Donald Trump is not getting the establishment vote. He's running against the establishment. So in some ways this may

empower some of those people to say exactly, Mitt Romney is against us. This is why we're voting for Donald Trump.

CURNOW: That's the criticism, that Mitt Romney is a walking embodiment of the party's image problem in many ways. And Mr. Trump kind

of says that, too.

With that in mind, is it also just too late?

This is -- the train's really left the station here.

SHIELDS: Well, that is the question. I think that's what people are sorting out. I think the way the calendar is set up, once you get to March

15th in a couple of weeks, you start to have winner-take-all states. And so if you continue to have a mixed field, where they are splitting the vote

up, the person who wins gets all of the delegates and starts to build a huge delegate lead.

It isn't over yet. There's only 30 percent of the delegates that have been assigned so far. And on March 15th, as the state of Florida, Marco

Rubio is one of the candidates still in the race, if he can somehow win his state of Florida and sort of prove I'm going to be the leader of this anti-

Trump movement, then there's a chance that the thread starts to come out from Donald Trump's campaign. But so far that's not what's going on.

That's not what the polls show in the states on March 15th.

So something is going to have to dramatically happen. There's a debate tonight. I think part of the reason why Mitt Romney is doing this

now is he's trying to set some tones before the presidential debate tonight. And so things can change in debates and things can change when

you're running paid television advertising.

But the clock is definitely running out on the other candidates.

CURNOW: Indeed. Many see this as a decentralized last-ditch effort. Mitt Romney is invoking Ronald Reagan. But in many ways, if you flip it

again, Donald Trump is also invoking Ronald Reagan, painting himself as the 21st-century Reagan figure.

Isn't that, in many ways, playing as well to exactly the people who he's winning over?

SHIELDS: Every Republican that's run for president since Ronald Reagan, that has been in office, has invoked Ronald Reagan. That's sort of

the person that everyone wants to align themselves up with. I think what's really going on is that you have a populist movement and anger that's

getting behind Donald Trump. They are both angry at what's going on in the country. They are angry with President Obama and the weakness they see in

the White House and they've been angry with Republicans who haven't been able to successfully stop some of Obama's policies.

And they are really voting on an emotion. They're not voting on ideology. So when a lot Republicans invoke Reagan, they are talking about

the policies he stood for.

When the Trump people are talking about it, they are talking about the feeling they get and the emotion they have. And they really kind of don't

even care what Donald Trump stands for. I think he has five policy positions listed on his website.

That's not really why they are voting. They're not voting on ideology. They're not voting on specifics. They're voting on how he makes

them feel and representing their anger. And it isn't a majority of the voters. It was 36 percent but it's enough to get him over the top in a

mixed field.

CURNOW: You make some excellent points there. Mike Shields, thank you so much.

On the Democratic side of the race, an e-mail scandal that has plagued Hillary Clinton's campaign is back in the spotlight. For months Clinton

has faced questions about whether she broke laws by using a private e-mail server when she was secretary of state.

Now the staffer who helped her set up that server has agreed to cooperate with federal investigators in exchange for immunity. Here's our

Jon Mann to unpack all of this.

This whole Trump drama has, in many ways, overshadowed this. And you argue that this could be as big a crisis in this election race than the

election of Mr. Trump.

JONATHAN MANN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Let's start out with the very basics. This man has been in contact with federal authorities

investigating Hillary Clinton's emails for months and he has refused to testify before Congress invoking his Fifth Amendment privilege against

self-incrimination.

So he wasn't going to tell authorities anything. And they have said we'll give you immunity from prosecution if you tell us what you know.

Well, what would he know?

He would know why Hillary Clinton wanted this email server. He would know why Hillary Clinton, having asked him to establish this email server,

wanted it wiped clean.

Now that's a really interesting question. If you've done nothing wrong, why do you want all the evidence destroyed?

He might know that. So there's something he could tell us.

The other thing to keep in mind is that this is just one of three major investigations underway. There are also congressional probes. But

we're talking about an FBI investigation, which is what he's subject to. We're talking about an investigation by the U.S. State Department's --

[10:10:00]

MANN: -- inspector general, which is a branch of, in fact, the agency that Hillary Clinton used to head.

And then there's a third probe, if you want to call it, underway by a private activist group that's looking for other kinds of information also

in the e-mail server.

So what's happening is there could be -- you know, there's a saying: where there's smoke, there's fire. Maybe there's no fire. But there's a

lot of smoke and smoke is not a good thing when you're running for president.

It seems, from all our polling, that Democrats don't care about this smoke but Republicans might. And the whole country might if, as we

understand, the FBI intends to question.

(CROSSTALK)

CURNOW: That's what's key.

MANN: That could be the key thing. That alone, the specter of a candidate for the presidency going in to answer FBI questioning while she's

also running a presidential campaign is astonishing.

And once again, this is on the assumption that she's done nothing wrong and they find nothing. But if they find something and the

investigation begins, as it has not, if it begins to focus on Hillary Clinton, while she's running for president, if indeed they get enough

evidence to consider laying charges and she is the nominee, it's hard to know what would happen to the Democratic Party.

CURNOW: The timing of this and the way this plays out in terms of the next few months, what happens when is going to be crucial.

MANN: The timing of this is crucial. She's running for president, after all. And by all published accounts, the FBI wants to get this closed

up within the next few months. Well, in the next few months are the months she's going to need to run for president.

And the other thing that's going on is it's not just about her. One of her aides, for example, Houma Abedin, a woman who has basically been her

closest confidante in public life, apart from her husband, is also a subject of this independent activist inquiry because they are wondering --

as probably many people are -- why Houma Abedin was able to pull down salaries and be employed by the U.S. State Department while she was working

for the Clintons personally, while she was working, at the same time, for Bill Clinton's own foundation, while she was working, at the same time, for

a consulting firm that had close ties to the Clintons.

Why was it possible for her to take down four salaries, both from the private sector and the U.S. government?

And was she a vector, was she the link between the Clintons as government officials and the Clintons as people outside of government?

I'll just give you one quick example. Bill Clinton was appointed by the U.S. government to be the official envoy to Haiti. Now "The Wall

Street Journal" is reporting that while he was appointed to be the official envoy to Haiti, companies that hoped to have contracts in the

reconstruction after the earthquake approached the State Department and they were referred to The Clinton Foundation.

Was that Hillary Clinton's agency in a conflict of interest, delivering contractors and potential donors to her husband's foundation?

Those are the questions raised in the press by "The Wall Street Journal." The FBI, I'm sure, the State Department, I'm sure, is looking

into those possibilities.

CURNOW: So this isn't just about national security and classified emails. You're saying it's the conflict of interest that is also of huge

concern here.

(CROSSTALK)

MANN: -- overlapping issues, though secrecy seems to get all the headlines.

CURNOW: Jon Mann, as always, thank you.

MANN: Sure thing.

CURNOW: Well, for more on the race for the White House, of course, Jon has a show every week that covers the candidates. "POLITICAL MANN" is

on Saturdays at 7:00 pm in London. Be sure to watch every week for the entire campaign.

You're watching the INTERNATIONAL DESK. I'm Robyn Curnow. An American man may have found a new clue in the mystery of Malaysia Airlines

Flight 370. You'll hear from him in a live report -- that's next.

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CURNOW: It's aviation's biggest mystery, the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. And we're learning more about the American

man who may have found a portion of the plane's tail section on the coast of Southern Africa last weekend. This just days before the second

anniversary of the jet's disappearance.

CNN's David McKenzie is in Maputo, the capital of Mozambique, and joins us now live.

Hi, there, Dave.

What more do you know?

You have been speaking to this man.

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Robyn, yes. Blaine Gibson is an enthusiast who blogs about MH-370. He was here on vacation, very well-

traveled tourist. And he went looking for something, anything worth a Dow operator sailor here (ph).

And they found this object on a sandbank, which he then alerted authorities. Here's some new video of the object in question. I'm

standing with the head of the civil aviation authorities.

Right away he said there are things that have alarm bells. The type of material, the size of the writing on it and also the fact that there's

no marine life wedged on it after what would have been two years.

But he did say experts need to examine this to be sure 100 percent. And I put the question of the unlikeliness of this find to Blaine Gibson

himself.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MCKENZIE: Just a few days before the second anniversary, an enthusiast of this plane happens to come across a piece of this object in

the sea. So the mind boggles that this might even be this plane. It seems so unlikely.

BLAINE GIBSON, LAWYER AND BLOGGER: It seems so unlikely, too. But the thing is, nature works in mysterious ways.

Why does the ocean do what it does?

I don't know. Maybe this is part of that plane. Maybe this is part of another.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MCKENZIE: Blaine says he doesn't know whether it is part of the plane or not. He said it could well be from a smaller plane and he said it's

important, though, that all these clues are looked at for the families that are still trying to get some closure, just shy of two years after this

plane disappeared -- Robyn.

CURNOW: We both know that coast. I'm rather jealous that you're there in Maputo. It's a great place. But the coast of Mozambique is long,

it's remote, I think looking for a needle in a haystack and then finding it is a question I think many people are asking. And I think the Mozambican

authorities seem to have taken the right tack here.

MCKENZIE: They certainly want to be cautious and they say that speculation is, quote, "dangerous in this matter." They have taken it

seriously enough, of course, to contact or be in contact with the Malaysian and the Australian authorities who will be sending this debris eventually,

once diplomatic procedures have finished, to Australia to just check it to make 100 percent sure because you don't know until experts get their hands

on it.

The Mozambican channel behind me is vast, as you say, Robyn. And the drifts from the east towards the western part of the world are realistic.

Of course, there has been a confirmed piece of MH-370 found on Reunion Island east of Madagascar last year. So it's not out of the realm of

possibility. But certainly everything needs to be checked out but also handled with a healthy dose of skepticism.

CURNOW: David McKenzie, thanks so much, coming to us from there in Maputo, Mozambique.

We're monitoring a developing story out of Syria, where the state-run news agency, Sanaa, is reporting electricity is out to the entire country.

Power outages are common because of the conflict between the regime rebels and terrorists. But this one comes in the middle of a two-week pause in

fighting meant to allow humanitarian aid efforts. The Syrian government says it is trying to pinpoint what caused this outage.

And North Korea does not appear to be reacting well to a new round of U.N. sanctions. South Korea says Pyongyang has fired six short-range

projectiles into the sea. Our Paula Hancocks has more from Seoul.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The U.S. calls it a seismic shift in the way North Korea is dealt with, unprecedented, ground-

breaking, all the superlatives being brought out for the occasion. North Korea's response was swift.

[10:20:00]

HANCOCKS (voice-over): Six projectiles fired off their east coast, a clear sign the regime is not happy with the latest U.N. sanctions. Among

the new and expanded restrictions, a mandatory inspection of all cargo going in and out of North Korea; a complete ban on small arms sales; the

expulsion of diplomats carrying out illicit activities; a wider ban on luxury goods; a ban on aviation and rocket fuels and limits on its sales of

coal and iron ore.

That last one, if implemented fully, could make a sizable dent in North Korea's exports. The U.S. says coal exports alone account for around

$1 billion of the country's annual income.

The key to the sanctions' success is China and how carefully it will police its almost 900-mile or 1,500-kilometer border with North Korea, up

until now Pyongyang's main smuggling route.

But the fact Beijing signed onto strong sanctions at all is significant in itself.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: China doesn't want increase of their military presence in Northeast Asia and Washington has indicated that if China is

not cooperative that it will be maybe not American troops but definitely American military hardware.

Kim Jong-un, however, has consistently made it clear it's full steam ahead for both his missile and nuclear programs.

SAMANTHA POWER, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE U.N.: We fully anticipate that they will try to drive a truck through any loophole that they can find.

But this resolution is so comprehensive. There are so many provisions that leave no gap, no window.

HANCOCKS: South Korea's intelligence agency had already said it believes North Korea is preparing a terrorist attack against the South.

Now with these U.N. sanctions and military drills between the U.S. and South Korea just days away, this country is on a heightened state of alert

-- Paula Hancocks, CNN, Seoul.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CURNOW: Moving on, NASA astronaut Scott Kelly has returned to the U.S. after nearly a year in space but he's not the same man he was when he

left. NASA says Kelly actually grew two inches taller while living on the International Space Station. A lack of gravity causes the spine to stretch

but scientists do say the effect is only temporary. Kelly landed in Kazakhstan Tuesday before heading home.

You're watching the INTERNATIONAL DESK. Still ahead, a group of U.S. war veterans is fighting a battle on home soil against child predators.

We'll show you their efforts to rescue victims of sexual assault.

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CURNOW: There is no let up in the stream of migrants making their way through Greece in the hopes of reaching Western Europe. The Macedonian

border continues to be a major choke point.

Thousands are arriving and only hundreds are being granted passage. The flow continues, despite miserable living conditions that are getting

worse by the day as severe overcrowding compounds shortages of food and shelter.

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CURNOW: All this week we have been highlighting a group of elite U.S. war veterans who are trying --

[10:25:00]

CURNOW: -- to protect America's children from predators. One man is just months into the job and he's already making a big difference. Here's

Sara Sidner with his story.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): There is a crisis in America, a form of widespread violence which rarely makes the news.

GRIER WEEKS, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION TO PROTECT CHILDREN: This is over 300,000 suspects out there, trafficking in child pornography. Less

than 2 percent will be even investigated due to sheer lack of resources.

SIDNER (voice-over): The startling map shows the number of personal computers downloading images of children being sexually assaulted in just

one month. It's part of what inspired Grier Weeks at the National Association to Protect Children to think of ways he could help shield

America's most vulnerable.

WEEKS: Fifty-five percent or more of these people, anybody who possesses these images, is known to be a hands-on offender. That means

over half of these dots will lead you to the door of children waiting to be rescued. And these predators don't just prey on one child; they'll have

many victims over the years.

SIDNER (voice-over): So how can the U.S. combat this problem?

One way: enlisting America's returning war veterans. Two dozen members of the military's elite Special Forces units are undergoing an 11-

week boot camp in counter-child exploitation and digital forensics.

When they are done, they will join the nearly 100 combat veterans who have been placed into Homeland Security offices around the country to go

after child predators.

TONY WHALEY (PH), RETIRED ARMY RANGER: You can see the helplessness. It's terrible.

SIDNER (voice-over): With his training and steely determination, Tony Whaley is one of the last guys a child predator will ever want to see.

Less than a year into his work, the retired Army Ranger discovered key evidence that took a child offender off the streets. Whaley (ph) was able

to uncover 6,000 previously deleted images.

WHALEY (PH): And that 6,000 or so, I found about 13 images which didn't look like the rest. And from that data, I was actually able to find

out the time and location in which those pictures were taken.

SIDNER (voice-over): That information led to an arrest and the rescue of three children.

For Whaley (ph), every single dot represents another chance to serve.

WHALEY (PH): You could see the children. They will look at the camera and like, is anybody out there? Is anybody out there looking to

help us?

And on the other side is us, actively trying to find them.

SIDNER (voice-over): The hope is these men and women who protected their country on a foreign battlefield will soon be the next heroes in the

life of an American child being exploited -- Sara Sidner, CNN.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CURNOW: While PROTECT may employ veterans, it doesn't take any government funding to operate. So if you're interested in helping them,

log on to protect.org to find out how to help.

Still ahead here at the INTERNATIONAL DESK, Donald Trump is making gains towards becoming the next Republican in line for the White House.

We'll look at what he's borrowing from Reagan and whether it's working.

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CURNOW: Welcome to the INTERNATIONAL DESK. I'm Robyn Curnow. Here's a check of the headlines.

(HEADLINES)

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CURNOW: The Republican Party appears to be chasing the dream of another Ronald Reagan -- or is it? A strong president who will rally

support and turn things around.

Trump's frequent use of Reagan phrases and themes suggests he's trying to fulfill that dream. But is it working?

Former Republican nominee Mitt Romney certainly doesn't think so. CNN's senior political analyst, David Gergen, joins me now from Harvard's

Kennedy School in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

We heard from one of our other guests a little bit earlier that every single Republican presidential nominee tries to invoke Ronald Reagan. But

this time around, both sides here, Mitt Romney very much trying to call one side of Ronald Reagan's legacy and then of course Donald Trump claiming the

other.

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST: That's extremely well put. And unlike the Reagan era, there's almost a civil war within the Republican

Party right now. Rarely I think have we seen the establishment rise up and oppose so vociferously and, in some ways, so threateningly the front-runner

of its own party trying to get the nomination right now.

So we'll have to see. Very interesting in this Romney speech that he's giving today, trying to eviscerate Donald Trump. He wraps himself in

the mantle of Reagan. He uses phrases from Reagan and goes back to a speech that Reagan gave in 1964, called "A Time to Choose," and it was a speech in

favor of Barry Goldwater.

But as you suggest, there are major difference between what Romney is saying today and what Reagan would have said.

Reagan came with a smile. Reagan had an 11th commandment, "Thou shalt not speak ill of another Republican."

That commandment has been shredded in this race. And now Romney is stepping up and going to shred still further.

It's also worth remembering that when Reagan gave that famous speech, "A Time to Choose," back in 1964, it was on behalf of Barry Goldwater.

Barry Goldwater was basically somewhat a renegade, a rebel within the Republican ranks and the establishment of that day tried to stop Goldwater.

Goldwater had said best thing we can do is saw off the eastern coast of the United States, the Eastern Seaboard up around New York, the Hudson

River, and just let it float out to sea. There were huge chasms right then. And Goldwater, of course, went on to lose massively in that

election.

And many think that this civil war continues in the Republican Party, Hillary Clinton could well win massively in November.

CURNOW: Let's talk also about what Donald Trump is channeling. We also need to remember that in the lead-up to Reagan's presidency, while he

was campaigning, many people looked at him as some sort of buffoon as well, inappropriate comments and that sort of thing.

And Trump is hoping perhaps to draw some sort of at least imagery with the sort of outsider, inexperienced perhaps. Reagan was a governor but

still there is that that Trump is trying to latch on to.

GERGEN: Absolutely. That's a good point as well. Trump does want very much to be the outsider because there's so much dissatisfaction and

even anger in many parts of America about the government, about Washington --

[10:35:00]

GERGEN: -- about the dysfunctionality we see, about how many jobs have been lost and so on. And Trump is riding that anger, trying to ride

that to the White House, just as Reagan did back in 1979-1980, when Reagan ran that time and won the presidency.

The country was very, very unhappy. You'll remember, Jimmy Carter had preceded him and Carter famously gave a speech about a year before the

election -- it was 1979 -- in which he said the real problem as America is not in Washington. It's among you, the voters. And it was the so-called

"malaise" speech, we're suffering from malaise.

And Reagan was able to take that malaise and turn it into victory. And that's what Trump is trying to do.

CURNOW: David, you worked for Ronald Reagan. In fact, you were in many ways responsible for his daily spin, his media briefing. So maybe we

have to lay the blame at Donald Trump's command of the media at your feet, I don't know.

But let's just give --

(LAUGHTER)

GERGEN: Well, I beg to differ. But nonetheless, I do think that he's dominated the media in a very positive way, you know, masterful way.

But let me just say, it was certainly true that the elite of Reagan's time, the so-called Georgetown Seven in Washington, D.C., they dismissed

Reagan. Clark Clifford called him -- famously called him "an amiable dunce." And that's what they thought of him as he arrived in Washington.

And boy, he sure changed a lot of minds in a hurry once he got to the presidency.

CURNOW: The one thing -- we talk about Reagan and obviously you spent a lot of time with him and helped him mold his own sense of himself and his

presidency.

We look at the similarity also. We have Donald Trump saying make America great again. Reagan also had that morning in America similar type

of slogan. But what Donald Trump doesn't have -- and I'm assuming that's what makes people nervous within the Republican Party -- is that very

predictable conservatism. He seems unpredictable and insurgent. Is he really a Republican?

And that's where I think the concern is, isn't it?

GERGEN: There are two parts to the concern. One is that, the erratic nature of it. They think he's not a true conservative. Mitt Romney today

is going to call him a fraud, a con man basically. He's been fooling the public about who he truly is. He's actually a Democrat in Republican

clothing.

So there's a whole set of concerns about that.

But the other part of this, Robyn, is very much the temperament. And the whole world has now seen, he's a man of bombast. He's a man of

narcissism. He divides. It's really hard to win a national election if you begin insulting the very groups you need to win.

And looking at this internationally, the argument is made -- and I think there's some strength to this argument -- if you're really going to

go out and attack Muslims the way he does and keep them out of America, how do you expect to put together a coalition to defeat ISIS and bring

stability to the Middle East?

You're going to have to work with Muslim countries.

CURNOW: David, very quickly, do you agree that Donald Trump is making the American public a bunch of suckers, that he gets a free ride to the

White House and all Americans get is a lousy hat?

Do you agree?

GERGEN: No, I don't. I think the Republican elites are making a mistake to dismiss the voters. They are acting like they don't know what

the hell they are doing. I think that's a mistake. It's insulting to the voters. You know, they are angry, they're dissatisfied out there and we

ought to be listening to them, not insulting them.

CURNOW: David Gergen, thank you so much, appreciate your perspective and it's great to see you.

GERGEN: Thank you.

Still ahead at the INTERNATIONAL DESK, Molotov cocktails flying in the streets Venezuela.

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CURNOW (voice-over): Look at these pictures. We'll explain why these students are protesting and clashing with police. That's next.

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CURNOW (voice-over): New video in to CNN shows some very violent clashes breaking out in Venezuela. Students took to the streets of San

Cristobal Wednesday to protest a court ruling that takes some of the power away from the country's opposition.

To break all of this down for us, Rafael Romo joins me here on set.

Explain those pictures and why they are important.

RAFAEL ROMO, CNN SR. LATIN AFFAIRS EDITOR: Well, this is the highest level of violence that I have seen in Venezuela in the last two years.

Back in 2014, a series of violent clashes left 43 people dead.

This is the first time I see these images so far in 2016. And what these students are doing is they are protesting a decision by the

Venezuelan Supreme Court that essentially says the new opposition- controlled national assembly does not have the constitutional right to review the appointments of justices, meaning that they do not have any

jurisdiction there and they can only oversee what the executive power does.

Now it's unclear here who started the clashes. The students say that they were protesting peacefully when they were attacked by police. Police

forces say they were only trying to make sure the situation didn't break out in the kind of violence that we're seeing now.

But the governor of the state where this happened -- this is Tachira State in Western Venezuela -- issued a message on Twitter, saying the

following -- listen to this.

"With violence, they want to support a national assembly that intends to violate the rule of constitutional law and human rights with an amnesty

law," of course referring to an amnesty law that would pardon political prisoners in Venezuela.

So a lot of animosity there.

CURNOW: A lot of animosity.

What does this mean for the government?

ROMO: Well, the tensions are rising. And what we see is that the government has been able to keep the situation calmly for the last few

months. This is the first time we see a situation like that.

And the government is going to have to address the issue before we start seeing the same images in other cities across Venezuela.

CURNOW: OK. Rafael Romo, thank you so much.

ROMO: Thank you.

CURNOW: Well, that does it for us here at the INTERNATIONAL DESK. I'm Robyn Curnow. Thanks for joining me.

In just over an hour we'll have coverage of that unprecedented speech in American politics, when former presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, is

expected to lash out at Donald Trump. So do join us for that. In the meantime, though, I'm going to hand you over to "WORLD SPORT."

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