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Trump On His Taxes: "None Of Your Business; Trump On Muslim Ban: "Just A Suggestion"; Trump Drags Feet On Releasing Tax Returns; Trump Vs. Clinton: Attacks Tactics; Should Clinton Take The High Road?; Long Lines, Long Waits At U.S. Airports; Donald Trump Denies Posing As John Miller, John Barron. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired May 13, 2016 - 20:00   ET


[20:00:00] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Acording to yesterday's meetings at the Capitol, GOP Leaders were concerned about the depth of his conservatism, the

consistency of his campaign messaging, or lack of it, his tax returns and, well, any number of other things.

Those meetings were supposed to ease at least some of those worries, to lighten the perceived baggage, to downplay the political risk of his unconventional candidacy. Tonight, though, to one degree or another, all those concerns are back in the spotlight, whether it's his latest statement on taxes, the presidential death threats from his former butler, or this.


SAVANNAH GUTHRIE, TODAY SHOW HOST: Not sure if you have been made aware of this Washington Post report that's out this morning, but they have obtained a recording with a voice of someone that they say is in fact you, someone who is pretending to be a PR person. This is from 25 years ago and let me play a portion of the tape for you.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's your name again?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's your position?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I'm sort of handling PR, because you get so much of it.


GUTHRIE: On this tape, the person on it, talks about his dating exploits, goes on about his divorce, things like that. I guess the simple question this morning, are you aware of the tape? Is to you?

TRUMP: No, I don't think -- I don't know anything about it. You're telling me about it for the first time. And it

doesn't sound like my voice at all. I have many, many people that are trying to imitate my voice, and you can imagine that. And this sounds like one of the scams, one of the many scams. It doesn't sound like me.

GUTHRIE: The Post says that you acknowledged a couple of decades ago that in fact that was you, but it was a joke.

TRUMP: I don't think it was me. It doesn't sound like me. I don't know even what they're talking about. I have no idea.


ANDERSON: That was Donald Trump on the Today Show.

Trump may not think it sounds like him, but the audio expert you'll meet in a moment sure does. And in any case, as unusual as this sort of thing would seem to be for a presidential candidate, it may, in fact, have been business as usual for Donald Trump.

Senior investigative correspondent Drew Griffin has the story.


DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The real amazing story of Donald Trump's old spokesman as the Washington Post headlines writes, maybe that it's been such an open secret for so long, it's hard to believe that anyone is still questioning it.

LINDA STASI, NEW YORK DAILY NEWS: We used to just say, oh, it's Donald pretending he's somebody again. It was a joke. We all knew it was a joke. It wasn't a big shock, we knew it was him.

GRIFFIN: Linda Stasi, a reporter for New York's Daily News says back in the 80s and 90s when the real estate mogul needed to get some bit of news out, it was common knowledge Trump would sometimes just assume a different name and handle the media calls himself. Daily News TV editor Don Kaplan remembers the day a named John called him to talk about Trump's new TV show The Apprentice.

DON KAPLAN, TELEVISION EDITOR, NEW YORK DAILY NEWS: He wanted to talk about how great the ratings were and how Donald Trump was probably one of the greatest television hosts in America.

And I said to him, said, gosh you sound a lot like Donald Trump.

And he said, no, absolutely not. I just -- I work for Donald Trump and I just wanted to share with you the ratings and how great they were last night. And I hung up the phone, and I looked around at my friends that I worked with and I said I just got a call from Donald Trump saying that he was somebody else and he wanted to talk about the ratings.

GRIFFIN: What has reignited the Trump alter ego PR man came from the release of this audio tape. It's a phone call from 1991 between the mysterious PR man named John Miller and People magazine reporter Sue Carswell discussing Trump's breakup with then girlfriend Marla Maples. CARSWELL: What's your name again?

JOHN MILLER: John Miller.

CARSWELL: You work with Donald...

JOHN MILLER: Yes, that's correct.

CARSWELL: What kind of comment is coming from, you know, your agency or from Donald?

JOHN MILLER: Well, it's just that he really decided that he was not, you know, he didn't want to make -- he didn't want to make a commitment. He really thought it was just -- he was coming out of a, you know, a marriage, that and he' starting to do tremendously well financially. And he just thought it was too soon to make any commitment to anybody.

CARSWELL: So, what is going to happen when she's being asked to leave, or is she going to be allowed to stay?

JOHN MILLER: Well, he treats everybody well. You know, you don't know Donald, but he's a...

CARSWELL: No, I have met him.

JOHN MILLER: Have you met him?


JOHN MILLER: He's a good guy and he's not going to hurt anybody.

GRIFFIN: If that John Miller sounds like Trump it's because audio forensic expert, Tom Owen it is.

THOMAS OWEN, FORENSIC AUDIO SPECIALIST: Yes, it's my opinion that it is Donald Trump

GRIFFIN: CNN asked Owen to compare John Miller on that 1991 audiotape to this 1990 interview with the real Donald Trump on CNN's Larry King Live.

TRUMP: The thing is I don't talk about the personal. I've never had to talk about it before. And unfortunately this situation -- and I don't know why I say unfortunate -- it is unfortunate because I say divorce is a negative, it's a bad thing.

OWEN: Based on the critical listening and based on some pitch results, statistics and analysis, I can conclude with a fair degree of scientific certainty that it is Donald Trump's voice.

GRIFFIN: Trump even tacitly admitted using false PR names in court testimony. He was asked under oath in 1990 if he had ever used the name John Barron (ph), another one of his alleged made up frontmen. He denied using the name specifically in 1980, but an attorney then asked, did you ever use that name, Trump's reply, year's later I believe that on occasion I would use that name. Yes.


COOPER: Drew, if Donald Trump I mean insists that he actually has some public relations people named John Barron or John Miller making these calls for him in the 1980s, it seems to be very easy to just have him tell us where they are, give us some proof that they actually exist, or existed.

GRIFFIN: That's right. And that is exactly, Anderson, what I've asked both the campaign and Trump's own attorney today. Let us talk to John Barron or John Miller. Afterall, that's what they did for a living, talk to the press on behalf of Donald Trump. We've gotten no response from either the Trump organization or the Trump campaign as of yet -- Anderson.

COOPER: And I understand, the Washington Post reporters, they asked Trump about John Miller in a phone interview. What did Trump say?

GRIFFIN: They were 44 minutes into a conversation about Trump's finances when one of the Washington Post reporters asked about this John Miller. According to the Post, the phone went silent, then the phone went dead. And when they called back, Trump's secretary said, yeah, I understand you were disconnected. Sorry for that, but he can't take the call now. So that's how they handled that.

COOPER: All right, Drew. Drew, thanks very much.

Joining us now is journalist and Trump biographer Gwenda Blair, of "The Trumps: Three Generations of Buildings and a Presidential Candidate."

Gwenda, thanks for being with us.

You know, what's interesting about all this. I mean, Trump has now denied it was him. You've interviewed Donald Trump and his family members at length for your book. His sister, who you talked to, Mary Anne, who is actually a judge, confirmed this to you that he used to pose as his own spokesman, right?

GWENDA BLAIR, TRUMP BIOGRAPHER: Yes. She just laughed and said, "that's Donald. That's what he does." That he'd done that a number of times. And then she said that their father did this -- that's Fred Trump. That when he wanted to call up and didn't want to identify himself he used a pseudonym. His was Mr. Green, which was also a kind of anonymous sounding. And Mary Anne thought it was pretty funny.

COOPER: So, I mean, given that history and given that it's known in the family and that he has admitted it before, you know this has been reported in various books and articles. Why do you think Trump denied it this morning on the air? I mean, if it's in fact him, which it certainly sounds like him, it uses the same words that he uses even now to this day, tremendous, things like that, why not just say, look, it was a long time ago. I was having some fun. Why lie about it or maybe just -- I mean, why do you think he didn't say it was him? BLAIR: I think there are a couple of things going on. One is 25 years ago he says that a lot when people bring up things from the past. And then he moves on. So, I think 25 years ago -- and he's such a good salesman he's right that people hear 25 years ago and they stop listening.

But I think there's something else, too. I think it's kind of evolved that back then if he wanted to say something, but not put it in his own name, he went through this rigmarole with a fake spokesman. Now, he has these kind of refined that. So he'll say something like, oh, that Ted Cruz's father was involved in the Kennedy assassination. And then when he's challenged, he'll say, well, I didn't say that, the National Enquirer said that. I was just repeating it. And he does the same thing with tweets. He didn't tweet it, he just retweeted it.

So, I think he's kind of moved on to a different way of doing that, saying it, but not saying it thing.

COOPER: So, essentially what you're saying is this audio from 25 years ago is essentially kind of an old incarnation of what he continues to do today, just in a different way.

BLAIR: Absolutely. And we see how successful it is. He gets the story out there, but then he does it and he says that it wasn't him that put it out there, it was the media that picked up on it. And he was just saying what someone else said. He does that frequently. He says, I wouldn't say this, and then he'll say it. You know, nobody should say this and then he'll say it. And he said it, but he hasn't said it.

COOPER: Gwenda Blair, appreciate you being on. Thank you very much.

So, let's talk about what to make of all this. Joining us is Trump supporter Jeffry Lore, conservative Trump opponent Tara Setmayer, New York Times presidential campaign correspondent CNN political analyst Maggie Haberman, also Sanders supporter Jonathan Tasini.

Jeffrey Lord, I've got to start with you, because I've got to be honest, all day long when I heard this I kept wondering, OK, what are Trump supporters going to say about this. To you, is this Donald Trump on that tape from 25 years ago pretending to be somebody else?

[20:10:04] JEFFREY LORD, TRUMP SUPPORTER: To me, it does sound like him. But, look, Anderson, here is the thing that I think bothers a lot of people out here in America. If you go back to the Indiana primary for a second and the Carrier people who were all fired, does anyone honestly think that beyond, you know, media circles something like this is something people care about when they've lost their job? The answer is no.

COOPER: Let me bring you up to date on just what happened today, though, he lied about it today on television, and lied in a way that makes -- basically assumes everybody else is an idiot, which is something he's sort of done before, which is lies in a way that's -- either you're an idiot for believing that's really him, or you know -- I mean, that's what his defense seems to be. Why lie about it on television?

LORD: Anderson, I didn't hear what he had to say. I mean, if this was sprung on him, and he's...

COOPER: He said it didn't sound like him. He's never heard about it. And it's not him.

LORD: But it's the first time he heard it in 25 years?

COOPER: Well, apparently not, because it's been written about before, which he's clearly read about it being written about in books.

LORD: What I'm saying is in terms of the media here, when we have a president who says if you want your -- if you want to keep your doctor you can, or another president who says I did not have sex with that woman, Ms. Lewinsky and did, you know, at this point we're in a culture -- and as I distinctly recall in the Clinton years, it was, oh, well it's only a lie about sex, or it's only a lie about this. In other words...

COOPER: OK, wait a minute, wait a minute, so you're making -- but Jeffrey, come on, you're making the argument, oh, this was 25 years ago, but now you're bringing up stuff from 25 years ago, saying, oh, what about the Clinton stuff, and that's exactly what Donald Trump does.

The fact that it seems like Donald Trump used to poise as his own PR man. I mean, does it matter? The fact that he wouldn't cop to it when asked about it today? I mean, is that problematic about a presidential candidate -- no, I'm asking Maggie this. Is that problematic?

MAGGIE: HABERMAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST Sorry, you're talking to me.

I think that the lying about it -- he says it wasn't him. Jeffrey, his own supporter, just said he thinks it is him, and lying about it becomes problematic. And also problematic is are there other recordings like this, because Trump, as Linda Stasi said in an earlier interview on this show, did stuff like that a lot in the 90s. He was known for it.

Trump also had professional PR firms that handled his PR. So these names I think struck people as unusual or not believable.

The problem for Trump -- I agree with Jeffrey that on its own this is sort of a one-off story, the problem is it will become potentially for Democrats who are trying to frame an argument against Trump, if they make this argument, it would be that he's a con man. He's not real. You've them use words like that already. And this would become another ornament that they would hang on that tree.

JONATHAN TASINI, BERNIE SANDERS SUPPORTER: And there's already a pattern -- Anderson, there's already a pattern to this. What I said yesterday that we should have a hashtag called Butler syndrome. If you go back, he once called people coming across from Mexico rapists and murderers, then he changes his position about the minimum wage, as you pointed out yesterday. Then he changed his position about the wall, not the wall. Then he has a butler who was clearly a racist who he employed for years and years and tried to disavow that.

I mean, this becomes a pattern of someone who just lies to people. And that's why this is more than just this particular incident.

COOPER: Jeffery, I think I cut you off. We're on satellite delay, so it's logistical. But I mean, do you see this as a pattern of lies, something he's accused other GOP candidates, by the way, of doing.

TASINI: Come on, Jeffrey. Jeffrey, he's making these...

COOPER: Let Jeffrey respond.

TASINI: All right. Fair enough.

LORD: I mean, again, when we're going through the entire Obama administration with, you know, untruths about Obamacare, starting with you -- if you want your doctor, you can keep your doctor. The Bill Clinton thing, which afterall, was about a series of sexual assaults, which various women are accusing him of and are accusing him of today and accusing her, Mrs. Clinton, of being an enabler. These are women saying this, not Donald Trump...

COOPER: OK, Jeffrey, you're just avoiding the topiic.


COOPER: Tera, you go ahead.

SETMAYER: I applaud Jeffrey for at least not becoming so sycophantic that he's actually trying to deny that it's Donald Trump on there. You know, I applaud Jeffrey for not doing what some -- many other Trump supporters have done on the air today after how obvious it is that this is Donald Trump and has more -- as more and more evidence comes out that it's Donald Trump you have a forensic expert on CNN today, you've had multiple people who were familiar with him doing this through the 90s come on today. So, thank you for that, Jeffrey.

But here's the other thing, I find it pretty funny that Jeffrey went down the list of instances where Barack Obama misled the American people -- you can keep your doctor -- you know, Bill Clinton, all those things. We, as conservatives, were very critical of all of those instances because they were misrepresentative, they were lying, all of those things.

But here make constant excuses for Donald Trump when he lies time and time and time again. This is where I always come back to the character issue. Yep, that's right, people are worried about their jobs. They're frustrated about the politicians in office now, but they're putting their faith in someone who all you can do is believe what he says. He has no record, a public record, on legislation or policies. He's -- his whole campaign is built on sloganeering and people believing what he says.

Yet here he has -- every time he's put back into a corner, he can't take responsibility and then he lies and blames it on everybody else. That is a huge character flaw in and of itself that makes him unfit to president.

[20:15:46] TASINI: I want to say to my friend, Jeffrey, I think your conflating a policy dispute in the Obama administration over health care -- do you keep your doctor or don't you keep a doctor, that's a policy dispute. That's very different from employing a racist butler, from lying about the current incident, from changing your position, lying about the question about Mexicans coming across the border, the minimum wage, it's a whole pattern...

LORD: He didn't lie about that.

TASINI: I'm sorry...

COOPER: OK, Jeffrey respond, and then we've got to take a break.

LORD: He didn't lie about that.

But, you know, Anderson you remember the poll this summer where Quinnipiac when they asked people to free associate about Mrs. Clinton, and the number one word was liar and the second was dishonest.

SETMAYER: So, that let's Donald Trump be a liar? I mean, we're supposed to be better than them, Jeffrey. Why are we excusing away?

What Hillary Clinton does in her being a liar has nothing to do with Donald Trump's character. It's two different things.

LORD: The voters have spoken, Tara.

SETMAYER: And you know what, and people should really stop and rethink do they want to -- do they have two liars now to choose from. That's just wonderful. That's something to be proud of?

COOPER: We're going to take a quick break on this. We're going to pick this up momentarily.

Also later tonight, Donald Trump's newest statement about releasing his taxes and the author who has actually seen some of his tax returns after Trump sued him for writing that he's worth far less money than he claimed.

Plus, hear Clinton supporters on how their candidate ought to respond to attacks from Trump and her strategy for succeeding where 16 Republicans have failed.


[08:20:54] COOPER: Welcome back. We're talking about Donald Trump denying a report in the Washington Post that he used to call reporters pretending to be a Trump spokesman by the name of John Barron or John Miller. Here's what he told the Today Show's Savannah Guthrie.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GUTHRIE: The Post also says this is something you did rather routinely, that you would call reporters and plant stories and say either you were John Miller or John Barron, but in fact it was actually you on the phone. Is that something you did with any regularity?

TRUMP: No. And it was not me on the phone. It was not me on the phone. And it doesn't sound like me on the phone, I will tell you that. And it was not me on the phone. And when was this, 25 years ago?

GUTHRIE: In the early 90s, but...

TRUMP: Wow. I mean, you're going so low as to talk about something that took place 25 years ago about whether or not I made a phone call? I guess you're saying under a presumed name.


ANDERSON: It's interesting, Tara, because that argument of, oh, this is something that happened 25 years ago. I remember asking him about hiring illegal immigrant workers, Polish workers, who ended up suing him in a lengthy litigation over conditions that they were used to help demolish the -- or do the foundation for the building that later became Trump Tower that we've all seen, where his headquarters is. He was essentially -- he was hiring illegal immigrants.

And he said, oh, look, how long ago was that? You're bringing up something that was 35 years ago or 25 years ago. When you're running for president, all of this goes to your record, doesn't it?

SETMAYER: Of course it does. Donald Trump goes back and forth. There's a double standard when it comes to him on everything. The same things that he criticizes other people for -- it's like he projects his own actions on those same things. I mean, he's done this multiple times before, any time he's caught in a -- you know, a flip- flop or a flat out lie, again, like this -- oh, well, that was so many years ago, who cares.

He even says that about the comments he made about women and the comments he's made about, you know, others. Oh, well that was just a character, that was just, you know, 25 years ago.

I mean, how many times can you make that same excuse. You're running for the presidency of the United States. I mean, you know the media is going to vet you. For goodness sakes, Mitt Romney, they went back to when he was in high school and had like some hazing prank and tried to use that as something against him when he was like 17 years old.

So, he should have expected this level of scrutiny. And instead of digging in and acting like a petulant child just be honest and just own up to it and then move on. That's what made this a story. This is silly. I mean, I think there's something pathological about pretending to be someone else and doing what he did, but whatever. So what. Move on. All he had to do was say, yeah, it was 25 years ago. It was just a

way for me to, you know, to get stories in the news. And that would have been it.

But he lied about it. It's his reaction to it that's so troubling.

COOPER: So, Jeffrey, as a Trump supporter, I mean, just for the record does something that a person who is now running for the highest office in the land, does something that they did in the 1990s, does that matter, whether it's Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton, whether -- you know, 25 years ago, 1990s, 35 years ago, does that matter?

LORD: Well, if you're enabling rape and sexual assault, which is the allegation of various women, then, yeah, I think so. If it's about you played your own PR guy, I mean, I really just think -- you know, I mean, that's like the Mitt Romney hazing incident.

But I would say, Tara...

COOPER: It's not actually, because that Mitt Romney hazing thing was him as a teenager, and you can argue whether someone should be held accountable for something stupid that they did as a teenager, this is -- he's an adult, a businessman in the 90s, you know, and he's not apparently -- doesn't seem to be telling the truth about it today.

LORD: Anderson, you're missing my point. My point is that the story in the Washington Post today about this, like the story that Tara mentioned, is exactly what conservative see the liberal media as doing, oh, if Donald Trump didn't exist and someone else were the Republican nominee, they would find a story like this, put it on the front page of The Washington Post and think that this is the be all and end all and the reason to disqualify this person.

Mitt Romney was presented in that story as a gay basher, that was what the effect of the story was supposed to do.

COOPER: Although, Maggie, to Jeffrey's point, it's not just the liberal media in Jeffries words, I mean, it's conservative media is doing this story as well. Glenn Beck, I was listening to his radio show today. He was talking about this. Obviously, he is not a Trump supporter.

But, there's plenty of -- I mean, this is -- if a candidate running for president is saying something, which is not true, even if it's about something silly or something that happened 25 years ago, do you think it matters to voters?

HABERMAN: Can I answer? Thanks.

The -- between both sides, we are seeing both sides say this is something that happened 25 years ago. In terms of the Clintons, here's something that happened 25 years ago. In terms of Donald Trump, what Jeffrey seems to be arguing is this is of lesser severity than what he sees as -- on the other side.

Jeffrey said something before about how the voters have spoken already. The problem for Trump is that 100 million voters, who have not voted in either primary and are going to settle this election in the fall, did not speak yet. And so they probably know Hillary Clinton just from her being a national figure in a different way and a longer way better.

Trump, they know, more as The Apprentice board room chairman. And so anything that they learn that is an additional scrap, depending on how that gets portrayed, could impact how they view him. That is why that stuff matters.

And in terms of getting asked about him, and to the point Tara made, Trump could have absolutely just said, you know, yes, that was me. I did that. It was a prank. I've talked about things like this before, and then it sort of goes away. But what has fed this throughout the day was him saying that it wasn't him.

TASINI: And also what's fed it, as I said before, I think it's serial. I mean, we're missing the forest from the tree here. If this was one incident, we'd say, oh, like Tara said that's kind of a goofy thing, but this is serial. If you look back on the last year, there's multiple statements that Donald Trump has not told the truth.

SETMAYER: And what else is he not telling the truth about? You know, this is the thing, that he sold the voters who voted for him a bill of goods. He talked about this morning that, oh, that's a scam, it sounds like a scam. Well, I guess he would know all about scams, right? Trump University, the vitamin company, and the multi-level marketing scams.

I mean, Donald Trump has been sued, involved in all kinds of lawsuits, in and out for all kinds of things.

So, I guess he would know what a scam looks like.

HABERMAN: Anderson, one other point, as I can just make it here, part of the problem with this story I think for Trump is not just the one- off issue, as I said, but the bigger problem of his operation remains incredibly small. There is still no communications director. There is one press person.

There was a Wall Street Journal story about the Clintons today...

COOPER: They can hire John Miller.


HABERMAN: If they can find him.

There was a Clinton Foundation story that a lot of conservatives were talking about. The people who talked about it the least was the Trump campaign. And so, when you don't have a traditional structure, you do end up losing days like this. And I think that is what they are finding, too.

This is an area that presumably the Clintons are going to get a lot tighter on going forward. COOPER: There's much more to talk about tonight, including Hillary Clinton's strategy, more we know about it now, for countering Donald Trump and what some of her supporters think of how she's handling the challenge so far.

Next, though, Donald Trump's latest statement on his taxes and why this story just does not seem to be going away.


[20:32:03] COOPER: Well somewhat fitting that it's Friday the 13th. The end of a very been for a week and a very conventional presidential campaign. We saw lot, heard the weekend with Donald Trump who loves it talk about how he good he is at businesses telling voters that his taxes are none of their business. Dana Bash has more on that.


DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: It's the issue that won't go away.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What is your tax rate?

DONALD TRUMP, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It's none of your business. You'll see it when I release, but I fight very hard to pay as little as tax as possible.

BASH: Donald Trump says he'll do and eventually, but argues voters do not have a right to see his taxes.

TRUMP: There have been many presidents that have not shown their tax return.

BASH: That is true. But for last 40 years candidates for president have, by tradition not lot release the returns.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The next president ...

BASH: The last GOP nominee, Mitt Romney, dragged his own feet on disclosing his tax returns but eventually relented. This week the anti-Trump Romney said withholding his taxes is disqualifying and today a Republican Party spokesman told CNN it's up to Trump. But ...

SEAN SPICER, RNC COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: Mr. Trump has going to make a decision sooner rather than later about whether or not to release his tax returns.

BASH: Republicans appears split on the issue of Trump taxes, some worry it could undercut their attacks on Hillary Clinton as the candidate with something to hide. Others argue Trump is on safe ground making the agency everyone loves to hate, the IRS, the boogie man.

TRUMP: I will really gladly give them -- it's not going to learn anything but it's under routine audit. When the audit ends, I'm going to present them, that should be before the election. BASH: Then there's Trump propose temporary ban on Muslims. He seems to soften his dance a bit this week before meeting with Republican leaders who oppose it.

TRUMP: This is just a suggestion until we find out what is going on.

BASH: Today he insisted he would push the Muslim ban as president.

TRUMP: I'm not the president right now so anything I suggest is really a suggestion. And if I were president I'd put in legislation and do what I have to do.


BASH: That temporary ban on Muslims is exhibit A of Republicans quadri with Trump at the top of the ticket. Republican leaders across the board denounced it as un-American, but Trump found a lot of support for the idea among GOP voters. The same voters Republicans need both to win the White House and keep control of Congress. Anderson?

COOPER: Dana, thanks very much. As we know, Donald Trump doesn't like it all when someone say he's not worth when claims he claims to be worth. Someone who knows that better than anyone is Tim O'Brien who wrote a book called, "Trump Nation", his a former New York Times business reporter. Trump sued O'Brien for $5 billion after O'Brien quoted, "Three people with direct knowledge on Trump's finances who estimated his wealth was somewhere between $150 to $250 million far less than what Trump have been claimed.

Trump sued the case went on for years because O'Brien says, Trump dragged his feet on handing over documents including yes his tax forms. A judge eventually dismissed the case. Trump appealed and lost again.

Tim O'Brien joins us now. So you -- you're probably one of the only people I know of who has actually seen some of Donald Trump's tax returns. I know you can't discuss what was in them because of I guess this lawsuit but why not release them if you're Donald Trump? I mean because legally there's nothing about because you're being audited and you can't release them.

[20:35:15] TIM O'BRIEN, AUTHOR: Exactly. I mean the issue of there being an audit, preventing and releasing that returns is just a red herring, Anderson his, you know, I think the reason he doesn't want it release them is because it goes to some very salient issues around his candidacy and I think his track record as a business person. If you -- the returns aren't going to substantiate anything about his net worth as a hole but it will demonstrate how much income he earns from his businesses. He's put out his success as a business person, the amount of money he's made as a business person as whole marks or benchmarks of, of his suitability to be the chief executive of the United States.

On top of that, there's other issues in the returns that matter. Specifically I think that his charitable contributions. He's for quite a while, said he is a big backer of veterans -- war veterans. But there's no evidence anywhere that he's actually been generous fill in tropically with war veterans. And we would see in the returns had generous, he's been over the years with charitable contribution.

COOPER: And if he admitted donation to some groups that might raise some concerns among conservatives, that would also, I guess be -- would that be in his tax returns?

O'BRIEN: Well, I mean I think, you know, his returns are going to show his charitable contributions across a range entities and institutions, so you get a look at all of that. He's also obviously gone hard Wall Street wages and the Hedge Fund community as needed to be taxed higher, now that his own taxes are under scrutiny. He is publicly saying he pays as little tax as he possibly could.

We're in a moment where the issue of off-shore shell corporations and tax dodging or tax avoidance through those kinds of entities are in play because of the release of the Panama Papers. Trump's tax returns would show whether or not he's made use of facilities like that.

During his campaign he has gone repeatedly after U.S. corporations criticizing them for locating their operations overseas at the expense of the U.S. worker. We know that Trump's sources, some of his own clothing from overseas and I think his tax returns would show where he invests and where he operates overseas. I also think the key thing is, and it is why it is an important tradition in the United States, is he is seeking the highest office in the land. And I think voters have a right to know from any side of the isle, whoever is going to the White House should make it very transparent about what possible business or financial pressure that might come under.

COOPER: Tim O'Brien, I appreciate you being on. Thank you, Tim.

O'BRIEN: Thanks Anderson.

COOPER: And what the government announced it's doing today to try to ease the massive headache that many airport security lines have become.


[20:42:14] COOPER: Well for months, more than a dozen GOP candidates were trying to answer the question how do you run against a candidate who is already able to take personal attacks to a new level. That's certainly a question Hillary Clinton is trying to figure out. Even as she campaigns to clench her party's nomination, she's exchanging fire with her presumptive Republican nominee.


HILLARY CLINTON, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He has already showed us what he believes that he's already said what he wants it do and he wants it go after every one of the rights we have.

TRUMP: That's also dishonesty that's why we call her crooked Hillary Clinton. Dishonest. CLINTON: My husband and I have released 33 years of tax returns. So you got to ask yourself, why doesn't he want to release them?

TRUMP: She was an unbelievably nasty, mean enabler and what she did to a lot of those women is disgraceful.

CLINTON: I don't think we can take a risk on a loose cannon like Donald Trump running our country.


COOPER: Well that's just a small sample of what they've been saying. The question now is presuming Secretary Hillary Clinton becomes the Democratic nominee, will she have to recalibrate and go after Donald Trump in a different way or stick to what she's been doing at a campaign event in New Jersey today. Clinton supporters weighed in.

Here's Randi Kaye.


RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: They came to hear Bill Clinton speak in Paterson, New Jersey. But long before the former president arrives, these voters were already fired up.

CHARLES FERRER, CLINTON SUPPORTER: Why did you stoop down into the gutter with someone that wants to bring you there?

KAYE: The gutter is where many of these Hillary Clinton supporters believe Donald Trump is trying to drag her. Using personal attacks about her husband's extra marital affairs dating back 20 years.

TRUMP: She was an unbelievably nasty mean enabler and what she did to a lot of those women is disgraceful.

KAYE: Instead of hitting Trump back on his own transgressions, Mrs. Clinton is sticking to the issues.

CLINTON: I have said repeatedly, I am not going to respond to the insults and the attacks coming from Donald Trump in this campaign.

KAYE: Is Hillary Clinton playing tough enough?

FRANCINE WISE, CLINTON SUPPORTER: Well, I think she is playing tough enough because I don't think that slander is the name of this game. I think that she should stay focused on the agenda at hand.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't believe in mud-slinging. I don't think that helps anyone.

KAYE: But not responding to Trump's personal attacks is risky.

Are you at all concerned that this could back fire on her, because look the way happened to the other 16 Republican candidates ...

SHAYLYNN BIVENS, CLINTON SUPPORTER: Right. KAYE: ... who didn't take on Donald Trump.

BIVENS: I believe, you know, as time approaches closely, that she should, you know, maybe take a couple of shots but nothing too extreme. Because, you know, what she doesn't want to be anything like Donald Trump.

KAYE: Are you at all concerned that those kinds of things could sink in to the American public's view of her if she doesn't say something?

[20:44:59] FERRER: I think the American people are intelligent enough to know what to look for to do their research, to do their homework, and not fall into the games, of name saying.

KAYE: There is also the question of how Hillary Clinton should handle Donald Trump's harsh words for her husband. Trump has called Bill Clinton the worst abuser of women in the history of politics. Hillary Clinton hasn't responded to those remarks either.

A few here feel strongly that Mrs. Clinton needs to defend her husband and family. That she is making a big mistake letting Trump quote, "Bully her."

BOB BROWN, CLINTON SUPPORTER: You don't stand up to a bully, they keep going. For her to sit there and let him get away with it, it's like a cancer. And if you don't treat, it metastasizes. And then what's going to happens? You going to die.

CLINTON: Hello ...

KAYE: How exactly should she strike back? Use Trump's favorite weapon against him said this supporter.

So you think she should go after him on social media?

DIANE BLAUVELT, CLINTON SUPPORTER: Yes. He is using Twitter. Let her use Twitter.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I would take to be in her shoes, I have to take all that.

KAYE: And staying above the fray may be harder and harder the closer we get to Election Day.

Randi Kaye, CNN, Paterson, New Jersey.


COOPER: And back with the panel now, joining the conversation also CNN political commentator and Democratic strategist Maria Cardona. Maggie just from your reporting, does it seem like the Clinton campaign has their strategy sort of in place about how to deal with Donald Trump, because we heard from Hillary Clinton when Donald Trump was talking about her being an enabler, essentially saying, well I'm not running against Donald Trump, I'm running for my vision of the country. I mean she also at other times said she couldn't wait to run against Donald Trump.

MAGGIE HABERMAN, POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT NEW YORK TIMES: You just highlighted I think the crux of her problem, is A, I don't think that they have their strategy completely in place, so though they will say they do. But your seeing that they don't, because as you said, she said for months, you know, I can't wait it take him on and that is not what we are seeing. Trump and he often crows about this, really did shut both her and Bill Clinton to some extent down late last year when he went after them on the same vein, about their personal lives, about Bill Clinton's infidelities and you saw Bill Clinton take a much lower profile. Hillary Clinton stopped using Trump as sort an easy foil.

Since then they haven't figured out how they want to handle him at least in regards to this. And I think it is a tough question historically for her advisors to approach with her. So I think that adds to the problem.

Right now she is not for and they are not framing this election. They are not framing what their case is. For the country. A Democratic strategist said to me earlier today who supports her, you know, she doesn't have to run a great campaign to win just based on the demographics and Trump's own problems in terms of his negative numbers and approval ratings but you get into dangerous territory when you don't and Trump is an unusual candidate.

COOPER: Yeah, Maria, I mean as a Clinton supporter, it is one thing to say, well I want it take the high road ...


COOPER: ... but it's a lot of GOP candidates who said that as well and, you know, people can't even remember their names.

CARDONA: That's true. But I think that we have to take couple things into consideration. First of all, the Republican electorate is very different from the general election electorate that Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are going to have to face once the general is with us. And we're in the midst of it. The second thing is, let's remember back in June when Donald Trump announced his candidacy and when he right off the bat insulted Mexican immigrants calling them rapists and criminals. Who was the first one to call him out on it? It was Hillary Clinton, it was not any of the Republican candidate ...

COOPER: Well Maria, when Donald Trump was on a debate -- Maria when Donald Trump is on a stage and call and says Hillary Clinton's face that she enabled, you know, inappropriate behavior by her husband against women, how does she respond?

CARDONA: Well personally, what I would say is that she is not running on what her husband did or said. And that I think is going to have a huge resonance with 53 percent of the electorate. Which is what women represents. And if you talk it a lot of women, they will agree ...


CARDONA: ... and many of them have been in this position that they should not be judged by their partner's origin did.

COOPER: Jeffrey, I want you -- how -- when that happens on the debate stage is that going to be a good enough response?

JEFFREY LORD, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well you know, here is what I think, you know, listening to the comments here that you just said and Randi Kaye's report, the thought I of course in the, when I think of our last segment and what we're, thinking about here, in terms of this tape, Donald Trump is unequivocally denies that it's him. In terms of the allegations from all this women about being an enabler, Hillary Clinton has not unequivocally denied a thing. She just says I'm not going to talk about it. So I find that really interesting and I'm sure it will be brought up. Yeah and so ...

COOPER: And Jonathan ...

JONATHAN TASINI, BERNIE SANDERS SURROGATE: Yeah, I just quickly say. First of all ...

COOPER: Go ahead.

TASINI: ... I'll quickly say, first of all, there's a Democratic race going on, the nomination is still has not been decided. And I would that say either Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton facing Donald Trump, I think the more they stick to the issues and focus on what Americans care for, I'm not saying that some are people not going to be persuaded by these ugly attacks by Trump who has attack Bernie Sanders as well. I think as long as you stick to the issues of what people care, about we're going do just be fine.

[20:50:05] HABERMAN: A part of -- Anderson can I just say one ...


HABERMAN: ... real quick thing. Part of the problem here to I think for Clinton is that she is perceived as being canned, and authentic, and programmed and Trump for all of his issues that we've done over here does not come across as authentic. And I think that is going to be a big challenge to deal with.

CARDONA: Well let's also remember that she ...

COOPER: I got to leave it there. I'm sorry, I'm out of time. Everyone, thank you.

Just ahead, will new government action end long waits at airport checkpoints? That is next.


COOPER: The Homeland Security Department says today is taking immediate steps to leaving a problem that won't be a shock to you if you have flown anywhere lately. Tom Foreman takes a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Long lines in Chicago. Long lines in Atlanta. Thousands of bags piled up and delayed in Phoenix. Under withering criticism the TSA administrators did shoulder to shoulder with the Secretary ever Homeland Security to say they are taking action.

JEFF JOHNSON, HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: You want it keep passengers moving but we want to keep passengers safe.

REP. JOHN MICA, (R) FLORIDA: It is just a huge fail in government programs and it will fail.

FOREMAN: In the wake of a scolding on Capitol Hill and heading into the business summer travel season, TSA is launching a ten-point plan to reduce delays. Including new limits on the size and number of carry-on bags. More officers, more bomb-sniffing dogs. More advanced technology and the greater emphasis on the TSA pre-check program.

[20:55:07] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But you got a 45 minute cut off.

FOREMAN: In short, more of everything they pushed before.

JOHNSON: Why should anyone believe this one will work? Because we are bringing on more TSO's. We are in fact bringing on more TSO overtime and we are in fact investing in more k-9s, more technology.

JOHNSON: It may be too little too late. Already airports in New York and New Jersey are making noise about pushing TSA aside and privatizing passenger screenings. So is Atlanta which handled more than 100 million passengers a year and with lines during just one month of spring producing a hundreds of delays, an airline lobbying group is urging passengers to post pictures with the hashtag, #ihatethewait.

MICA: You can get a hold of a damn person in TSA.

FOREMAN: All which is left for Republican Congressman John Mica head of the House Transportation committee unimpressed with the new plans.

MICA: What they said was well intended but they're late at the gate.

FOREMAN: Clearly transportation officials believe these measures can help in some delays but when asks whether not may people may yet run into three-hour delays and miss their flights this summer the head of Homeland Security would only say I hope not.

Tom Foreman, CNN, Washington.


COOPER: And it is a mess out there. We'll be right back.