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Is GOP Headed for Contested Convention?; Clinton Steps Up Attacks on Sanders; North Korea May Have Miniaturized Nuke. Aired 5-6p ET
Aired April 6, 2016 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[17:00:02] JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: That's it for "THE LEAD." I'm Jake Tapper. I now turn you over to one Mr. Wolf Blitzer, who is next door in THE SITUATION ROOM. Thanks for watching.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now, Trump gets thumped. After losing big in Wisconsin, Donald Trump calls Ted Cruz a puppet and a Trojan horse of the GOP establishment. Up next, New York. Trump holds a big lead in his home state, but can he win enough delegates to avoid a contested convention?
Threatening delegates. A key ally says if delegates don't stick with Trump, he'll reveal their convention hotel rooms so loyalists can, quote, "let them feel the pressure of the American people."
Momentum versus math. Bernie Sanders scores a big victory in Wisconsin but only nets a handful of delegates. He claims momentum, but Hillary Clinton's camp says the math is on her side. Is she launching a big offensive against Sanders just to make sure?
And un-conventional weapon. Kim Jong-un says he has a miniaturized nuclear warhead, and South Korea believes him. Officials there say the North Koreans can mount a nuke on a medium-range missile that could reach American bases, and tonight the U.S. is taking that threat seriously.
I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
Ted Cruz calls it a turning point. A decisive win in Wisconsin boosts the odds of a brokered Republican convention in Cleveland in July and his own odds of emerging, potentially, as the nominee.
Now the campaign moves to Donald Trump's home turf, New York. Trump is heavily favored there and leads in other upcoming primary states like Pennsylvania, but he'll need almost 60 percent of all the remaining delegates to win a first ballot convention victory. Cruz, John Kasich and others within the GOP, they're counting on a head count fight at a contested convention.
Meantime after Bernie Sanders gained more momentum with a win in Wisconsin, the Democrats are on the road in Pennsylvania today, but Hillary Clinton says she's feeling very good about her big delegate lead. Clinton has made New York her home, and she's pulling out all the stops in order to stop Sanders there. They'll face off in a CNN debate. That's next week.
And whoever becomes the next commander in chief will have to deal with the chilling new threat from North Korea. Kim Jong-un's regime is now believed to have the ability to mount a miniaturized nuclear warhead on a medium-range missile. That could put the whole region at risk. I'll speak with the Republican senator James Risch. He's a member of the Intelligence Committee. And our correspondents, analysts and guests, they will have full coverage of all the day's top stories.
Let's begin with our CNN political reporter, Sara Murray. She's in New York for us. The battle there is already beginning.
Sara, what is the very latest?
SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Wolf. The Trump campaign is hoping a string of wins in East Coast states will give their campaign a boost. But in the meantime, they're going to have to deal with its tough narrative coming out of Wisconsin, as well as a power struggle within their own campaign.
MURRAY (voice-over): After Ted Cruz's big win in Wisconsin...
SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It was a turning point, I believe, in this entire election.
MURRAY: The GOP primary fight appears to be veering toward a contested convention.
CRUZ: I am more and more convinced that our campaign is going to earn the 1,237 delegates needed to win the Republican nomination, either before Cleveland or at the convention in Cleveland.
MURRAY: Donald Trump, lashing out Tuesday night after his loss, and accusing Cruz of illegally coordinating with the super PACs that support him. Adding, "Ted Cruz is worse than a puppet. He is a Trojan horse being used by the party bosses, attempting to steal the nomination from Mr. Trump."
Today Cruz shot back.
CRUZ: You know, Donald can always be counted on to take the high road and to demonstrate class. If he wants to engage in insults, he's welcome to do so. He gets very angry when the voters reject him.
MURRAY: Now Trump's campaign is trying to regroup and work through an internal power struggle between campaign manager Corey Lewandowski and veteran GOP strategist Paul Manafort. Manafort recently joined the campaign to help with the delegate process, but he may be taking on a more prominent, strategic role, as he urges more discipline to ensure Trump wins enough delegates to become the nominee.
To avoid a floor fight, Trump needs roughly 60 percent of the remaining delegates, and as the race moves to New York, the billionaire businessman has a hometown advantage. A new Monmouth University poll shows 52 percent of GOP primary voters support Trump, compared to 25 percent for John Kasich and 17 percent for Ted Cruz.
But if Trump can't get the delegates he needs and appears poised to lose in a convention fight, Trump ally Roger Stone is already threatening retaliation.
[17:05:08] ROGER STONE, DONALD TRUMP SUPPORTER: We're going to have protests, demonstrations. We will disclose the hotels and the room numbers of those delegates who are directly involved in the steal. If you're from Pennsylvania, we'll tell you who the culprits are. We urge you to visit their hotel and find them.
MURRAY: Now, Donald Trump will be holding a campaign event pretty soon here in New York. This is one of the states he wants to win big, and his campaign still believes their best chance is trying to get 1,237 delegates before they get to the convention. They are still hoping they can avoid a floor fight in Cleveland, Wolf.
BLITZER: All right, Sara, thank you. Sara Murray reporting for us.
Ted Cruz already campaigning on Trump's turf. CNN's Sunlen Serfaty, she's in New York for us.
Sunlen, Cruz says he's on a roll. What's the latest from his point of view?
SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Wolf. And Senator Cruz is really trying hard to frame it exactly that way, even though, of course, he is still behind, well behind in the delegates. He's certainly trying to capitalize on his win in Wisconsin right now.
Senator Cruz essentially trying to paint his as a campaign that is on the rise, and in contrast, Donald Trump's is a campaign on a downward slope, trying to really cast all of the string of recent Donald Trump losses as a broader trend, a broader pattern around his campaign.
And as he was campaigning here in the Bronx today, we saw him offer something of a laundry list of those states that Donald Trump has lost recently to make this point, to hammer down on this point. Here's what he told me earlier today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CRUZ: He has now lost in four states in a row. He lost a landslide election in Utah. He lost all six delegates that were elected in Colorado. He lost badly in North Dakota and yesterday in Wisconsin, a state that he bragged the day before -- the day before yesterday Donald Trump promised a, quote, "big victory in Wisconsin."
And not only did he not get a big victory, but the men and women of Wisconsin resoundingly rejected his campaign. And the reason is simple. Donald has no solutions to the problems we're facing. He likes to yell and scream and insult and curse. And his statement last night was consistent with that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SERFATY: And that was a reference there to the Trump campaign statement, comparing Senator Cruz to a Trojan horse used by party bosses.
Now, Senator Cruz today, as well as his aides, really trying to brush that off, essentially, Wolf, painting Donald Trump as a sore loser -- Wolf.
BLITZER: All right. Thank you. Sunlen Serfaty in New York for us, as well.
Joining us now, Republican Senator James Risch of Idaho. He's a member of the Intelligence and Foreign Relations Committees.
Senator, thanks very much for joining us. I know you had endorsed Marco Rubio. That didn't exactly work out. Who are you endorsing now?
SEN. JAMES RISCH (R), IDAHO: I really haven't endorsed anyone. But I think, Wolf, at this point, it becomes a matter of pragmatics for Republicans, I think. I'm privy, as most Americans are, to the polling that's out there, and it is stunning, the defeat that Donald Trump would face against Hillary Clinton. It would probably be epic and historical.
BLITZER: If he were the nominee?
RISCH: If he were the nominee.
BLITZER: So you're not going to support Donald Trump? Is that what you're saying?
RISCH: I'm not going to support him.
BLITZER: What about the other two?
RISCH: Well, I would obviously -- Kasich is so far behind that it's impossible, really, for him to get the numbers. So by process of elimination, that gets you to Ted Cruz.
BLITZER: So you want Ted Cruz to get the Republican nomination?
RISCH: Well, at this point there's no choice.
BLITZER: Well, there are other choices if it's a contested convention. There's been some who have said, "You know what? Maybe Paul Ryan, the speaker, on the third or fourth ballot, could come in or someone along those lines."
RISCH: Wolf, there was a really good article on your website, on CNN's website written by David Gergen this morning. And he's a very smart man, as you know, and a deep thinker. And he laid out, I think, what is a pretty reasonable scenario as to how this thing plays out. Having said that, reasonable scenarios have not carried the day throughout this entire campaign season. BLITZER: So you see Ted Cruz as the Republican nominee? At least you
hope he'll be the Republican nominee?
RISCH: First of all, I do hope so. And secondly, this Gergen article, I think, paints the path forward for Cruz. Now, it's entirely possible that Trump gets the 1,237 as he walks into the convention.
But he better have 1,237 when he walks into the convention, because whatever he has when he walks through the door, I think that's what he's going to have vote after vote after vote. And since you have to be -- have won eight states in order to be -- to have your name put in nomination...
BLITZER: Unless they -- unless they change that rule.
RISCH: Well, but who's going to change that rule?
BLITZER: The delegates -- the rules committee can meet the week before the convention.
RISCH: They could.
BLITZER: The could come up with any rules they want.
RISCH: They could, but it's still going to have to be adopted by the convention. And the Cruz people and the -- and the Trump people aren't going to vote for a rule that would let other people be...
[17:10:04] BLITZER: What happens if Trump comes in, and he doesn't have that magic number, but he's just short of it, 50 or 100; but he's got -- still got a lot more than Cruz and Kasich? There are going to be a lot of angry Republican people at that convention if he doesn't get it, especially if he has millions more popular votes in all of these contests.
RISCH: Right. And I think there's going to be anger, no matter what happens. You're seeing it already on here where there's people threatening protests, you know, and what have you. You've got to let the process play out. And the process is very simple. You go to the convention, and you vote until somebody gets 1,237 votes.
Now, if he's close and he still doesn't make it, the guy who does make it is going to have to have 1,237 votes. I hear them talking about stealing the convention and all these conspiracies that are afoot and what have you. There's a specific process for doing this and for voting, and people need to let it play out.
BLITZER: Why are you more comfortable with Cruz? And I know you're not really necessarily enthusiastic about Cruz.
RISCH: You said that, I didn't.
BLITZER: But why are you -- I know, but why are you more comfortable with Cruz than Trump? RISCH: Polling. The polling, I think, is -- if you dig into the
national polling that's being done; and you always look at favorable versus unfavorable and that ratio. And Trump's faves versus unfaves are just stunningly upside down, particularly with critical demographic groups.
BLITZER: In a general election.
RISCH: In a general election. Women particularly, it's stunning where he stands.
BLITZER: So you think Cruz would have a better chance, let's say, if Hillary Clinton were the Democratic nominee of beating Hillary Clinton than Trump would? Is that what you're saying?
RISCH: That's what I'm saying. I think, clearly, he has a better shot at it with Trump. Unless things change dramatically, he has no shot at it.
BLITZER: So far you're only, I think, by our count, the third senator, Republican senator who now effectively on this program has come out and endorsed Cruz. Lindsey Graham and Mike Lee, your colleagues, they have? But I haven't seen...
RISCH: Did I just endorse?
BLITZER: You sort of said you prefer him over the other two.
RISCH: I do.
BLITZER: That sounds like an endorsement, doesn't it?
RISCH: I guess it depends on your definition.
BLITZER: Why is he so unpopular -- here's the question -- so unpopular with your Republican colleagues in the Senate?
RISCH: Well, I think people have different ways of accomplishing things that they want to accomplish. Sometimes it's done with a smile, and people are all happy at the end of the day; and sometimes it's not. And when you're -- when you're working with people and you're -- you do feel strongly about the issues, which Ted Cruz does, and frankly, represents as he's proven in this primary, represents a very substantial number of Republicans when it comes to his philosophical view of government and how government should be small.
BLITZER: You're going to give all these three remaining Republican candidates credit. They started with 17 or 18, whatever the number was. There's only three left standing.
RISCH: There's no question.
BLITZER: And Kasich, he's only won his home state of Ohio, as we all know.
So -- but is he flexible enough, Cruz? You've dealt with him. Because the argument your Senate colleagues make, he's so rigid, he's so unwilling to compromise that he would not necessarily be an effective president.
RISCH: Well, you know, Wolf, that remains to be seen. But if he is going to reach that level where he can be the president, that's going to happen during the campaign, not after he becomes president. So it's going to remain to be seen who he listens to, how closely he listens to them and how he makes the adjustments he needs to make to become president.
BLITZER: Senator Risch, we have more to discuss. I'm going to ask you to stand by. Much more coming up.
We'll also going to be taking a much closer look at the Democratic race. Some fascinating new developments unfolding today. We'll be right back.
[17:18:26] BLITZER: We're standing by to hear from Donald Trump for the first time since his loss to Ted Cruz in Wisconsin. Stand by for that.
The GOP primary battle is moving onto Trump's home state of New York right now, but the results from Wisconsin certainly making a contested convention in Cleveland in July a whole lot more likely.
We're back with the Republican Senator James Risch.
After losing in 2012 when President Obama was re-elected, the Republican National Committee did what they called an autopsy, how to bring in more support from women, from minorities, from young people. How's that working out so far?
RISCH: Well, kind of like this whole campaign season is. Conventional wisdom is out the window. There's things happening out there with the general electorate that just really has escaped everyone. The predictions have been not very good. Some of the polling hasn't even been very good.
BLITZER: Cruz is not going to do well with a lot of those groups either.
RISCH: Well, there's certainly been some polling that says that. I think on the other hand, I think maybe Cruz has the ability to step up to do that, but again that remains to be seen.
BLITZER: Let's talk about North Korea for a moment. You're on the Intelligence Committee. Have they miniaturized a nuclear warhead that potentially could put U.S. troops in danger of a nuclear strike?
RISCH: Wolf, I can't sit here and tell you that that's happened. What I can sit here and tell you is that the information is such that we -- that is the world outside of North Korea -- have got to take that claim seriously. Their claims, of course, have not proven to be accurate in the past. [17:20:05] Having said that, that is such a big deal. It is such a
game-changer. It is such a region-changer that you can't take -- you can't sit back and not take that seriously.
BLITZER: Kim Jong-un, is he rational, from the -- you've studied the intelligence reports. You've looked at this young leader of North Korea. Is he rational?
BLITZER: So what does that mean, no?
RISCH: Well, he does things that just defy what a psychiatrist sitting here would say was appropriate under the circumstances. The kinds of things that he's doing, you'd wonder whether they have a death wish.
But to push the envelope the way they're pushing the envelope, to raise the kind of flags that they raise and do the provocative things. I mean, they do intentionally provocative things that, at some point in time, they're going to push that envelope too far, and who knows what's going to happen.
BLITZER: And there's still almost 30,000 U.S. troops along that DMZ that separates North and South Korea. Senator Risch, thanks very much for joining us.
RISCH: Thank you, Wolf. Glad to be here.
BLITZER: Senator James Risch of Idaho.
Much more coming up. We're checking the Republican race for the White House. The Democratic race for the White House. There's new information coming into THE SITUATION ROOM right now. Stand by.
[17:25:46] BLITZER: As the presidential campaign moves on to New York state, let's bring in Rebecca Berg, national political reporter for Real Clear Politics; CNN political commentator and Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen; CNN political commentator S.E. Cupp and our senior legal analyst, Jeffrey Toobin. Guys, thanks very much.
S.E., take a look at this new Monmouth University poll. New York state Republicans, it's a closed Republican contest in New York, 13 days from today. Trump is at 52 percent; Kasich second place, 25 percent; Cruz third place, 17 percent. That 52 percent number is significant, because in New York state, if you get more than 50 percent, it's winner-take-all. That's all 95 delegates.
S.E. CUPP, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Right.
BLITZER: If Trump can hold onto that lead. Are you surprised he's doing that well in his home state?
CUPP: Yes and no. Donald Trump has a very uncomfortable relationship with New Yorkers in New York City. That sounds insignificant, but it's actually half the population of the state is in New York City. You know, he's not beloved there.
But he is, I think, doing very well in those rural, manufacturing counties upstate, out west, up north where you're from, where I went to college. He's doing well up there.
BLITZER: If he wins, if he gets all 95 delegates in New York state, that loss he had in Wisconsin, is that in the rear-view mirror then, and then he moves on; he's got the momentum?
CUPP: Well, leaving Wisconsin with only six delegates just makes his math a little bit harder but not impossible. Look, this is entirely up to Donald Trump.
I think last night was really a referendum on a very bad week and lots of mistakes. Campaign mistakes; Donald Trump retweeting a terrible photograph; having to clean up some policy mistakes that he's made; putting out policy proposals that are being openly mocked.
He needs to get presidential. He needs to get serious. He needs to study up on issues like abortion and nuclear weapons. If he does that, the math and the map are there for him.
BLITZER: Here's the question about Cruz, Rebecca. Take a look at the poll once again. In this New York state 13 days, that's going to be a big primary April 19. Cruz is behind Kasich, only 17 percent. Can he narrow that gap? Can he emerge in New York state a lot better than it shows right there?
REBECCA BERG, REAL CLEAR POLITICS: That's really all that his campaign is hoping to do in New York. They're hoping to exceed expectations. And so that's why you saw Ted Cruz going straight to New York today with an event this afternoon in the Bronx, which we've seen some footage of on CNN today.
But really, there is not any sort of natural turf for him in New York. And what makes this very difficult is you have a number of congressional districts that are really heavily Democratic where Republicans aren't organized, where we haven't really seen any reliable polling over the years for Republicans, they don't have any data to work off of. And so they're kind of flying blind here in many of these congressional districts, where they're hoping to pick up maybe one or two delegates.
But really what Cruz and what Kasich as well are going to be doing in New York, not looking to win but looking to scrape together any delegates that they can find.
BLITZER: Cruz today, Hilary, he sort of redefined what he meant by New York values. Remember criticizing Trump for having, quote, "New York values." Now he says when you spoke of New York values, he meant liberal politicians who have New York values, if you will. Is that going to work in New York?
HILARY ROSEN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think, to quote my friend Carly Fiorina, everyone knew what he meant when he said New York values. There's no question that that was an attack on New Yorkers, and I think it stung. And I think it's hard for him to come back from that.
And you know, now to say, "Well, I was really just talking about liberals in New York," you know, if you'll recall, the biggest, you know, backlash to him were people who were incensed about how New York came together after 9/11. That's what people started thinking about when he was attacking New York values. I don't think people are going to forget that.
BLITZER: That was an effective moment in one of those debates, when Trump went after him and said, "You want to talk about New York values, look at those New York firefighters, those first responders who came to the rescue of a lot of people after 9/11."
ROSEN: I'm surprised Kasich is not doing better, though, right now.
BLITZER: Kasich is at -- he's in second place. He's ahead of Cruz.
ROSEN: New York is the hot bed of the moderate Republican, and so that would have normally been a place where he would be doing better. And the fact is...
BERG: The George Pataki of Republicans.
ROSEN: The fact that he can't...
[17:30:00] Let's see how he does. Jeffrey, you're in New York. Twelve thirty-seven, that's the magic number. You need that number, the majority at the Republican convention, if you're going to be the nominee.
Let's say Trump gets close to that number, but he comes in without that number on the first ballot. None of them get that number. What happens after that?
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Well, it becomes a trench warfare for delegate by delegate. And I think it's already at that stage.
You know, I think we're really in the post-momentum expectations. The only thing that matters, it's like Al Davis of the Oakland Raiders used to say: it's just win, baby. Now, you just have to win these primaries and build up delegates.
If Donald Trump is very close to that magic number, he's going to be the nominee. I don't see any way someone who is hundreds of delegates behind is somehow going to turn this thing around.
For one thing, Donald Trump's people will turn this into a political bloodbath if he's close and he doesn't get it. I think he has to get close. He doesn't have to get quite there, but if he's close, he's going to be the nominee.
BLITZER: Political bloodbath. That's pretty serious. Remember Donald Trump at one point spoke of riots if he's close and if doesn't -- if they, in his words, steal it from him. I want to get your reaction.
He's got a new team. He's got some new experts, delegate experts coming in, some solid Republican professionals, Paul Manafort, for example, with a lot of experience in dealing with contested conventions, if you will.
But Roger Stone -- and we just saw it in one of the reports -- Roger Stone is a key ally of Donald Trump. He says -- he made a pretty significant threat in a radio interview. We heard it earlier. That if there are delegates out there who come and supposed to vote for Trump, but they don't, he's going to release their room numbers. People are going to go after them. It was a pretty serious ominous threat, if you will.
CUPP: It's dirty, but it's very Trump -- it's very Trumpian.
BLITZER: Are you blaming Trump for Roger Stone's...
CUPP: Well, Roger Stone and Donald Trump have been allied for years and years and years. I know Roger Stone as long as I've known Donald Trump.
And those intimidation tactics, I think, are powerful. But look, the delegate -- talk to anyone who's been a delegate. The job of courting delegates starts years before the convention. Donald Trump and his team just haven't put that work in. It's good that he's now hired an expert. I think it's a little too late.
And on those second ballots, I think that lack of organization is really going to hurt Donald Trump. And Ted Cruz's excellent organization is probably going to benefit him.
BLITZER: Yes. Everybody says he's got a very, very strong ground game. Jeffrey, you wanted to weigh in?
TOOBIN: Well, no, it just -- I wrote a profile of Roger Stone for the "New Yorker," so I spent a lot of time with him. And, you know, part of his appeal is intimidation more than actual following up on the intimidation.
What he's trying to do -- I doubt he's going to release anybody's phone number. He claims that he was one of the sponsors of the Brooks Brothers riots which shut down the recount in 2000 in Miami-Dade county during the Bush-Gore race. He likes to have the atmosphere of violence around him. But actual violence rarely does fall -- follow with him.
BLITZER: All right, I remember that article you wrote, as well.
All right, guys, everyone stand by. We're going to take a close look at what's going on, on the Democratic side, and there's a lot going on over there. We'll be right back.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [17:37:48] BLITZER: The Democratic presidential primary in New York state is taking on new importance tonight afternoon after a resounding victory for Senator Bernie Sanders in Wisconsin. The Clinton campaign says her delegate lead is nearly insurmountable, but she's stepping up her criticism of Senator Sanders as she tries to rally her supporters.
Let's go to our senior Washington correspondent, Joe Johns. Joe, what is the latest on the Democratic front?
JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, Hillary Clinton is taking on a tougher tone but reprising many of the themes she's used in the past on Bernie Sanders. Her campaign making it very clear that they would very much like to close out this part of the campaign if they can and go about the business of spending their money on the Republicans.
JOHNS (voice-over): Hillary Clinton is ratcheting up her attacks on Bernie Sanders.
HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You've got to know what you want. You've got to have a plan for getting it.
JOHNS: She's trying to blunt Sanders' momentum following his victory in Tuesday's Wisconsin primary.
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We have now won seven out of eight of the last caucuses and primaries.
JOHNS: While he has gained some momentum, the math is not on his side. The big Wisconsin victory earned him a net gain of ten pledged delegates. Clinton still holds a lead of 229. The margin grows to 681 when super delegates are included.
SANDERS: And I think that a lot of these super delegates are going to be looking around them, and they're going to be saying which candidate has the momentum.
JOHNS: The Clinton campaign is eager to bring an end to the primary fight, launching a new offensive against Sanders, looking to halt his momentum in the weeks leading up to the New York primary on April 19. Clinton today telling union workers in Pennsylvania that Sanders' policies aren't realistic.
CLINTON: I am concerned that some of his ideas just won't work, because the numbers don't add up. The number of important areas he doesn't have a plan at all.
JOHNS: And questioning Sanders' party loyalty in an interview with CNN.
CLINTON: Senator Sanders by his own admission has never even been a Democrat. He never ran as a Democrat until he started running for president. [17:35:00] JOHNS: Sanders also facing scrutiny after struggling to
explain a key part of his agenda, how he would break up the Wall Street banks, during an interview with the "New York Daily News" editorial board.
SANDERS: How you go about do it is having legislation passed or giving the authority to the secretary of treasury to determine, under Dodd-Frank, that these banks are a danger to the economy over the problem of too big to fail.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But do you think that the Fed now has that authority?
SANDERS: I don't know if the Fed has it.
JOHNS: Clinton today seizing on the stumble. Her campaign even sending the full transcript to supporters in e-mail.
CLINTON: Seemed unclear as to whether he understood how Dodd-Frank worked, how we would go about breaking up banks. So I was, I think, a little bit, you know, surprised that there didn't seem to be a lot of substance to what he was saying.
JOHNS: As the race continues to intensify, the Sanders campaign firing off a warning shot to its rival.
JEFF WEAVER, SANDERS CAMPAIGN MANAGER: Don't destroy the Democratic Party to satisfy the secretary's ambitions to become president of the United States, right? We want to have a party at the end of this that we can unify.
JOHNS: Clinton's response today...
CLINTON: Well, I mean it's just ludicrous on the face of it.
JOHNS: The Sanders campaign has responded to the dust-up over his interview with "The Daily News" by suggesting it's much ado about nothing. Sanders expected to appear here in Philadelphia before the AFL-CIO tomorrow morning. Also an opportunity for reporters to get some questions to him -- Wolf.
BLITZER: All right. Thanks very much. Joe Johns reporting.
Let's get back to our analysts. Hilary Rosen, seven out of the late -- eight contests, he's got momentum going, but the delegate count still is a huge, huge hurdle for him. How significant are all these wins?
ROSEN: Well, the wins matter. I mean, the momentum that he's experiencing, the enthusiasm of his voters are really important. And frankly, I think they're important for Democrats in November, because I think that once people get engaged in an election, they're going to stay engaged. But the math just doesn't seem to add up for him, even though he had
that big win last night, he only got a delegate lead of, you know, ten delegates. That's just not enough to keep catching up, and the big states coming up really favor Hillary.
BLITZER: Jeffrey, you've read the transcript of that full interview he did with the "New York Daily News" editorial board. From your perspective, what was biggest mistake, his biggest stumble?
TOOBIN: Well, I think that the issue on the banks, I mean here is one of the central planks of his campaign, the idea that you need to break up the big banks. You know, it relates to the central claim of income inequality. It's one way he's going to do it. And he should have an answer about how he's going to break up the banks.
If he's not -- you know, I think people can understand Chase, bank of America, these are enormous institutions. How does Uncle Sam say you're going to be four banks now? He needs to have an answer to that. I don't think it's make or break for his campaign, but I thought it was a very poor answer to "The Daily News."
BLITZER: S.E., as you know, a week from tomorrow there's going to be a debate in Brooklyn between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton. CNN is hosting that debate. I'll be moderating that debate. They both have to be ready for an intense -- a little intensification of the exchanges, presumably, given what's going on lately. I think it could get lively.
CUPP: Yes, and I think, in particular, he's going to have to clean up from that interview.
BLITZER: He's got to do more preparation? Is that what you're saying?
CUPP: I think so. Well, look, first kudos to my colleagues at the "New York Daily News" for a great interview, and I know they are hoping to get one with Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, as well, to ask those really tough questions.
But yes, I mean, this goes right to the heart of Bernie Sanders, the criticism of Sanders, which is that he's sort of pie in the sky, too ideological, doesn't really have the nuts and bolts of the things that he's promising.
And so I think to alleviate some of those concerns, he's going to need to lay out some real substance. He in many ways has Trump's problem. You know, his fans don't really care that he's not as specific as, you know, we might like him to be. But I think the rest of the Democratic Party would like him to be.
BLITZER: Let me play, Rebecca, the full clip. Jeff Weaver, the campaign manager for Bernie Sanders, he had this exchange last night here on CNN.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) WEAVER: Don't destroy the Democratic Party to satisfy the secretary's ambitions to become president of the United States, right? We want to have a party at the end of this that we can unify. Let's have a tough debate. Let's talk about the issues. There are sharp contrasts between the two.
But let's not, you know, denigrate other people's supporters and tear the party apart.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: What's your reaction when you heard that? Because that's a pretty tough statement.
BERG: It is. It's an interesting point, though, because really, when you compare the Democratic primary to the Republican side, it really has been very civil up to this point. There's no reason, especially looking at the delegate math, looking at Bernie Sanders as really facing an impossible challenge to win the nomination at this point, there's really no reason that Democrats should suddenly turn uncivil in this fight.
[17:45:00] I think the onus is really on Hillary Clinton at this point because she is being tough on Bernie Sanders but she also has to make a calculation, how does she want to go after him but how much would be too much and potentially offend his supporters. She needs to have his supporters excited to come to her side if and when she wins the nomination.
BLITZER: How does she walk that delicate tightrope? Because she needs that base and he's got a huge, enthusiastic crowd of young people out there who want to support him. If she's going to be elected president, assuming she gets the nomination, she's going to need those Bernie Sanders supporters.
ROSEN: It is tough, because, you know, you've got passion versus policy. And Hillary Clinton is all policy. We know that. And her supporters are more focused on policy. What she has to do is what she was doing towards the beginning of this race, which is talking about, you know, especially the young people. You may not be for me, but I'm always going to be for you.
When it comes to senator Sanders, though, she has taken some low blows from him. And he needs to own up to some of those attacks that he's responsible for.
CUPP: But I want the attacks that the Democrats have, I really do.
ROSEN: Look, in 2008 everybody was saying Barack Obama is going to have trouble getting Hillary Clinton's women back. Right? You know what, not so much trouble. Democrats are going to get united.
BLITZER: Let me ask Jeffrey. You're in New York. Can they get united?
TOOBIN: Yes, I'll tell you how they can get united. If Donald Trump or Ted Cruz is the nominee. I mean, that's all the Democrats need and all differences will fall away. And also, you know, everybody is getting the vapors. Oh, it's so negative. This hasn't been a very negative race between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. I mean, you know, they have not -- you can't even point to anything that down the road will be used against one another. Compared to the Republican race, this has been, you know, an oxford debate.
ROSEN: And I think that's why Hillary laughed.
BLITZER: All right. Guys, stand by. An important note to our viewers. I'll be moderating CNN's Democratic presidential debate in Brooklyn. Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, they will face off next Thursday night. That will be live. 9:00 p.m. Eastern. It's the last chance for New Yorkers to watch the Democrats debate before the primary. Stand by for that.
Coming up, a new poll shows Donald Trump with a commanding lead in New York state. Can the Republican frontrunner sweep all 95 delegates in his home state?
But first, Kim Jong-Un may have just added a deadly new piece to his arsenal, a miniaturized nuclear weapon.
[17:51:50] BLITZER: New tonight, a very disturbing report from North Korea where Kim Jong-Un's nuclear capabilities appear to have taken a major step forward.
CNN's Brian Todd has been digging on this developing story for us. Brian, what are you learning?
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, U.S. officials had their suspicions. Now the South Koreans have come forward with a chilling piece of intelligence. They say Kim Jong-Un's regime can probably place a nuclear warhead on a medium range missile. It has daunting implications tonight for America's allies and for tens of thousands of U.S. troops who are within range of those missiles.
TODD (voice-over): A nerve rattling assessment of Kim Jong-Un's ability to strike his enemies. A South Korean official says Kim's regime may be able to place a nuclear warhead on a medium range missile. North Korea, this official says, has apparently succeeded in miniaturizing a warhead to fit on to a missile it calls the Rodong. This projectile can carry a one-ton warhead.
KELSEY DAVENPORT, ARMS CONTROL ASSOCIATION: Being able to deliver a one-ton nuclear warhead would certainly cause devastation to a city like Seoul, South Korea, perhaps taking out a quarter of the city. Hundreds of thousands of civilian casualties.
TODD: And it's not just America's allies in South Korea and Japan who would be in range of a nuclear capable missile.
(On camera): American forces all over the region are vulnerable to this. Right?
DAVENPORT: Well, the Rodong missile could carry a nuclear payload about 850 miles. So that would puts certainly the DMZ within range, also Seoul, U.S. basis and military installations all over South Korea, Okinawa would be at risk and then other areas all along, Japan, where U.S. forces are based.
TODD (voice-over): U.S. officials tell CNN North Korea likely cannot yet strike the U.S. mainland with a nuclear warhead, but it's been believed for some time that Kim could strike Japan and South Korea with nuclear weapons. Most troubling, Kim posed last month with what the North Koreans claimed was a miniaturized warhead.
DAVID ALBRIGHT, INSTITUTE FOR SCIENCE AND INTERNATIONAL SECURITY: You have to take what they do very seriously because they're not idiots and they've been at this for a long time. You know, steal the design, they'll buy designs, acquire them in other ways in order to be able to make smaller warheads.
TODD: At the same time, South Korea is also worried about Kim Jong- Un's hold on power. An official saying his leadership is, quote, "seemingly unshakeable." Analysts say his bloody purges and executions have eliminated some threats.
JONATHAN POLLACK, THE BROOKINGS INSTITUTION: There's nothing to indicate, I believe, that his leadership, his direct leadership, is under threat or challenge. He has, I think, continues to devote great efforts to security around his immediate physical perimeter. He continues to rely on family members, including his sister who seems to be more and more by his side and playing a very, very active political role.
TODD: But analysts say Kim may be tailoring where he travels inside North Korea because of possible threats. Not so much from a coup but more likely from possibly a single disgruntled general who may just decide to take a shot at him -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Brian, there's been some worrisome activity, we're told, recently at North Korea's main nuclear facility. What are you learning?
TODD: That's right, Wolf. There have been satellite images put out a short time ago by weapons experts who monitor North Korea fairly consistently.
[17:55:02] They indicate that there's suspicious activity at Yongbyon. That is the facility where North Korea produces plutonium for nuclear weapons. Now it could mean the regime is producing more bombs. They already have between 10 and 16 nuclear bombs, according to experts, and could have as many as 50, possibly more by the year 2020.
BLITZER: It's pretty terrifying when you think about it.
All right, Brian, thank you.
Coming up, after Ted Cruz wins Wisconsin, the battle moves to New York. Donald Trump holds a big lead in his home state but can he win enough delegates to avoid a contested convention?
BLITZER: Happening now, back in the New York groove after his resounding loss in Wisconsin. Donald Trump is now in his home state fighting for delegates while slamming Ted Cruz, calling him a Trojan horse for the Republican establishment.