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Dem Tensions Flare Amid Party Split; Trump's Foreign Policy; Clinton Loses Polling Edge Over Trump; New Poll; Sanders Tops Trump; Trump Floats Possible Supreme Court Picks; Trump Meets With Kissinger; Trump: I'd Talk To Kim Jong Un; Trump Hires McCain VP Vetter For His Search; Clinton Loses Polling Edge Over Trump; Inside The Thinking Of Trump Supporters; Conservative Chaos. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired May 18, 2016 - 20:00   ET


[20:00:00] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, thanks for joining us. We have breaking news that only amps up tension in the Democratic Party. There's new polling showing Hillary Clinton trailing Donald Trump in a head to head matchup after leading all spring, and Bernie Sanders out front, a statistical tie. But the trend is significant and not in her favor, which in itself may not be earth shaking. However, coupled with that narrow victory last night in Kentucky, her loss in Oregon, and her string of recent defeats, these new numbers do little to convince either Bernie Sanders or his supporters to get behind her if, as expect she's the nomine.

And coupled with the fracus, this weekend, in the Nevada state Democratic convention, doesn't exactly scream party unity. In fact, it's raising concerns tonight amongst leading Democrats and the 1968 chaos or disruption in the national convention this summer. So after months of watching Republican candidates tear each other apart, and witnessing the GOP tear itself apart over Donald Trump, now seems to be the Democrats' turn. More on of it now from our Jeff Zeleny.


BERNIE SANDERS, DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We are in until the last ballot is cast.

JEFF ZELENY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: tonight, the question for Bernie Sanders is what comes after the ballots are cast.

SANDERS: The Democratic Party is going to have to make a very, very profound and important decision.

ZELENY: He is frustrated at the Democratic Party and the feeling is mutual.

SANDERS: It can do the right thing and open its doors and welcome into the party people who are prepared to fight for real economic and social change.

ZELENY: a split decision in Tuesday's primaries, Sanders winning Oregon, but narrowly losing Kentucky to Hillary Clinton. And Democrats, anxious to join forces and take on Donald Trump suddenly seem more divided than ever. SANDERS: Now some people say that we've got a steep hill to climb to

do better, and that is absolutely true.

ZELENY: This is why. Clinton is only 88 delegates away from clinching the nomination. Sanders needs nearly 10 times as many delegates and super delegates. More than are on the table in nine remaining contests, but that hasn't stopped Sanders from going hard after Clinton.

SANDERS: Before we will have the opportunity to defeat Donald Trump, we're going to have to defeat Secretary Clinton.

ZELENY: At a rally today in San Jose, Sanders only had one rival in mind, Trump. He made no mention of Clinton.

SANDERS: There are many people who are concerned that Donald Trump may become president of the United States. That will not happen.

ZELENY: The tensions are spilling over across the Democratic Party. The chaotic scene at the Nevada state convention last weekend still reverberating. California Senator Dianne Feinstein telling CNNs Mani Raju today, she worries about violence at the party's convention this summer in Philadelphia.

SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN (D) CALIFORNIA: It worries me a great deal, you know. I don't want to go back to the '68 convention, because I worry about what it does to the electorate as a whole, and he should too.


ZELENY: She and other Clinton supporters increasingly calling out Sanders for not controlling his supporters. The Sanders campaign believes they have been mistreated by the Democratic establishment, particularly party chairwoman Debbie Wassermann Schultz.

JEFF WEAVER, SANDERS' CAMPAIGN MANAGER: We could have a long conversation about Debbie Wassermann Schultz and how she has thrown shade on the Sanders campaign since the very beginning.

ZELENY: Wassermann Schultz trying to put a good face on it all today with Wolf Blitzer, making clear the party needs Sanders' army in the general e election.

REP. DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ, DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL COMMITTEE CHAIRWOMAN: I agree, Bernie Sanders should stay in the race, that's what I said all along until the last vote is counted.

ZELENY: But many of those Sanders supporters say, they just aren't sure the party will come together.

ZELENY: You think Hillary Clinton can unite the Democratic Party?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't think so, honestly.

ZELENY: Why not?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I know a lot of people would, even if she gets the candidacy, would refuse to vote for her. Because they don't believe in anything that she stands for. And she's two face, a liar, and they would rather vote for someone else or do a write in ballot. They said Bernie or bust.

ZELENY: Jeff Zeleny, CNN, San Jose, California.


COOPER: Let's bring our panel. Some of whom are old enough to remember '68, and I'm not saying who. So, in no particular order. Atlantic media contributor, Peter Beinart, he's a senior political commentator. Best-selling Hillary Clinton biographer, Carl Bernstein, who obviously covered the downfall of the candidate, and was benefited from the chaos of '68, Richard Nixon. Patrick Heely, national political correspondent for "The New York Times," and two more CNN commentators, Trump Supporter Kayleigh Mcenany and Republican consultant and Sirius XM radio host, Margaret Hoover. Plus, Christine Quinn, president of Women in Need. She's a Clinton supporter. And Jonathan Tasini, a Sanders surrogate. Christine, what do you make of this tension within the Democratic Party? I mean, is this just happens towards the end of a long hard. Or you actually worried as Dianne Feinstein is about what could happen.

CHRISTINE QUINN, PRESIDENT OF WOMEN IN NEED: First of all, we're the Democrats, so we argue and we feel strongly about things. So I'm not surprised, and this is coming to the end of a very emotional, hard fought campaign.

[20:05:00] COOPER: Do you blame Sanders for not sort of tamping things down enough?

QUINN: I think Senator Sanders needs to run this race as long as he feels he should. If he wants to run until the last ballot is cast that is absolutely his right. And I think there is the real potential that that could be better for the Democrats in the general election, because then the folks that want to vote for Bernie Sanders will have had the opportunity to do that. Obviously people need to behave in a dignified and civil fashion regardless of what party they're a member of at all of the gatherings, but I have no doubt this is typical end of campaign emotion and feeling and that come Philadelphia we will be a united party.

COOPER: Jonathan, do you agree with Feinstein about at all concerned about what could happen at the convention?

JONATHAN TASINI, SANDERS SURROGATE: So the first thing I want to say for the record I do remember 1968. Forthcoming. I was sitting in detention, which tells you the kind of person I was the morning of the general election. I remember very clearly the close election. I was sitting there, I got in big trouble. I remember this very clearly as if it was yesterday. No, I don't think it's going to be like 1968. I think Dianne Feinstein with all due respect is overheating it. I think we have to just dial back the rhetoric a little bit about this. I agree with Christine to some extent, and President Obama and Joe Biden said that today in ways, they said Bernie Sanders should continue to run the race. Obama himself recalled in 2008 and said it is like deja vu all over again, this is very familiar. I do think there are, though, there are significant differences among the two candidate's supporters.

And I do think that is going to be quite heated, I don't think it will be divisive necessarily, I don't think it's going to split the party, but there are fundamental differences between the Clinton campaign and what we view, what we need, which is a political revolution. It is not like most nominations before, when there were no big differences say between Gary Hart and Walter Mondale. When you came to the convention everybody came together. This is a very significant difference about what we view the Democratic Party should be.

Now there should be healthy debate about that. And I think the unifying thing that will bring us out after the convention is two words, Donald Trump. What Bernie Sanders said on TV is true. I think he believes it strongly, so does Hillary. We must defeat -

PATRICK HEELY, NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": I don't think the Democrats are ready quite to move yet to Donald Trump. From talking to the Sanders campaign today, they very much see a point in going to the convention and not simply -

COOPER: A lot of resentment among Sanders folks about the way they feel they've been treated by the Democrats.

HEELY: And the idea that even Bernie Sanders could go to the floor and say to all of his people by acclamation, we are now going to fall in line with Hillary Clinton like she did with Barack Obama in 2008. It just seems like a real stretch. The Sanders folks say they -

COOPER: Well there also seems a question, can Senator Sanders lead all of his people to that conclusion?

PETER BEINART, PROF OF JOURNALISM AND POLITICAL SCIENCE, CITY UNIVERSITY OF NEW YORK: Not necessarily by next week. But we have seen this time and time again. Even in primaries where there were clear ideological differences like between Jesse Jackson and Michael Dukakis for instance. And you even seeing this benefiting Donald Trump. Republicans are coming home. Democrats are coming home. We are in a highly partisan era in American politics. And even if Bernie Sanders, you saw this with Hillary Clinton supporters, remember the pumas right, the party unity --

COOPER: One at a time, go ahead.

BEINART: Sure of course, yes, he will exact leverage in terms of the platform, but as we move closer and closer to November, the prospect of a Donald Trump presidency, I agree, will ultimately bring most of those people back.

COOPER: Carl, how do you see it?

CARL BERNSTEIN, AUTHOR, "A WOMAN IN CHARGE: THE LIFE OF HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON": I think one we are little maybe a little bit too much in the cable TV social media whiplash right now about all of this. I think yes, there's real division within the Democratic Party over two candidates with somewhat different visions who will come together. There is very little doubt in my mind. However, I think one thing we are ignoring is that Bernie Sanders still sees the narrowest of pass that he could win the nomination.

And let me lay it out. And that is she, Hillary Clinton is not going to have a majority in all likelihood of the pledge delegates going into the convention, and she is as polls show increasingly damaged goods as viewed by many Democrats. If there were some bombshell, not an indictment, but something coming out of the server investigation, some kind of damaging information, Bernie Sanders and his people see him as the beneficiary of this and he could still be the nominee. So let's not declare it over.

QUINN: There's nothing to indicate that that is going to happen. A lot of things could happen. You know what I mean.

BERNSTEIN: I am not saying, Christine, that it is going to happen, I'm saying this is maybe, and I know a little bit here, how some of the Sanders people view this as game not over.

QUINN: But also I understand why Senator Sanders may see it as game not over and I understand why he wants to remain part of the discussion about the platform and you said Senator Sanders wants something. Everyone who is in the position that Senator Sanders is in now wants something and he cares about the issues.

[20:10:00] COOPER: But there's a lot of Clinton supporters who hear Jeff Weaver last night on the air, on the one hand saying you know criticizing the way that they were treated in Nevada and at the same time saying well we don't condone disruptions and things like that.

QUINN: Look I think if you go back eight years ago as was said, there was an enormous number of Hillary Clinton supporters who were angry, who were unhappy, who didn't like how their campaign was treated in bunch of different ways and said no, way, never Barak Obama. And they came around.

COOPER: OK, we have to take a break. We are on for two hours tonight. Lots of talking. Quick reminder all of this will certainly come up when Hillary Clinton sits down tomorrow afternoon with New Day's our Chris Cuomo you can the conversation live at 1:00 p.m. eastern right here. As for us tonight will talk about the steps Donald Trump has taken to convince skeptical Republicans he's one of them, including naming likely Supreme court picks, and meeting with Henry Kissinger.

Jeff Toobin joins us on the court question. Then Trump's foreign policy ideas which include talking with North Korea's dictator, Vladimir Putin and calling NATO obsolete. We will look at how they are being received by the party, the public and national security professionals.

And later, what drives the Trump supporters to say they could not care less about any of that, see what they see in him that to them transcends almost everything.


[20:15:10] COOPER: We've been talking about the turmoil within the Democratic Party, our breaking news may be fallout from it. New national polling that shows Donald Trump moving into a slim lead over Hillary Clinton while Bernie Sanders remains out front in a head-to- head in the contest.

The other news, Trump acting more and more like he has defeated party resistance to him releasing a list of likely Supreme Court nominees. And taking other steps to bring conservative doubters on board. Back now with the panel and joining us also is CNN's senior legal analyst, Jeffrey Toobin.

Jeffrey, first of all, this list that Trump has put out, you know a lot of these folks, who is on it, what does it mean?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: This is a social conservative dream team, these are very accomplished, very serious, very intelligent, very conservative judges who if you want the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade, and allow states once again to ban abortions, if you want the Supreme Court not to recognize gay and transgender rights, these are the justices you want on the Supreme Court.

This is a group that Ted Cruz would be happy to nominate and vote for on the Supreme Court.

COOPER: Margaret, as a conservative, what does the list make you think of Trump?

MARGARET HOOVER, REPUBLICAN CONSULTANT: I mean let's be clear I am a conservative who runs an LGBT organization and helps Republicans navigate those issues affirmatively because I there is actually a conservative case for individual freedom, go figure. And for a Republican Party that can win national elections also. This list is a dog whistle to social conservatives, to me I think the lesson we learned from this primary is that you don't have actually dog whistle values voter issues in order win a Republican nomination anymore.

The conservative movement would have us believe you have to be Ted Cruz and you have to run on values voters' issues. You have to say these 11 judges are the kind that you will anoint to the Supreme Court or appoint to the Supreme Court, sorry. That's not the case anymore, Donald Trump won. I don't see why he feels shackled or tied.

COOPER: But doesn't this bolster his credentials among conservatives?

HOOVER: Look, what he does need to do is win the all votes that Mitt Romney won plus. OK, so clearly what his advisers are telling him or what Reince Priebus it's been reported as saying, is that you need to do something to shore up these conservative voters who may not vote for you. But he is running a general election now. He is running against Hillary Clinton. Social issues are not how you win a general election, if you are going to tack towards the right. KAYLEIGH MCENANY, TRUMP SUPPORTER: This is more than just social

issues, there are a lot of people, not just conservatives, not just social conservatives who think that it is good to have ideological balance on the Supreme Court, who think it is a good thing to have a Scalia-esque figure replace Antonin Scalia.

These are justices that look like a lot like Antonin Scalia, it would preserve the ideological balance on the Supreme Court, these are not justices that are going to come on and do something radical in the country. On the contrary, these are justices who are textual, who are originalists, who believe that the Constitution means something, the words on the page mean something, it's not just open free for all interpretation.

COOPER: Christine.

QUINN: I hope when you said looked a lot like you didn't literally mean white man. We'll assume you didn't.

MCENANY: I said ideological makeup.

QUINN: But let's be clear, the constitution is about protecting people's rights. The constitution is about saying I'm just as good as you are, my family is just as good as your family, and transgender people are as good as anybody else. If we are talking about what the constitution really is about, that's what it is about, not a group of men and women who seek to divide the country --

COOPER: Wait a minute. Let's not argue the fundamental difference on how you want the Supreme Court to go. That's an obvious argument. What we are really talking about is why Trump putting out the list now.

QUINN: Because he is pandering to conservative Republicans, because somebody told him the way to get to the next step is to pander to people you didn't get, whether you believe it or not, what your actual positions are -

COOPER: Pander is one word, Patrick, I mean politicians do this all the time in order to send a message.

HEELY: They don't put out a list like this. This is really unusual. It goes to how much this is a guy who has presented himself as a powerful figure who is not going to take, you know he is not going to take crap from anybody. He's not going to be told what to do. And now he is feeling this need to give this list which candidates historically would never do preemptively like this, but remember, he is in unity mode. This goes to two things. First of all, how hard it is going to be to unite all the wings of the party. I think we've not seen even just the beginning of that, but also just what an unconventional candidate he is.

COOPER: Also Peter do we know is actually the definitive list of what Trump actually would want or is this just a suggestion?

HEELY: Donald Trump could change his mind tomorrow. We are asking the wrong questions about the Supreme Court Justices potentially because with a Donald Trump presidency, we are in a different universe. Donald Trump is an authoritarian.

He is a man who has threatened he will go off on The Washington Post owner, he's threatened he wants to change libel laws, he wants to ban Muslims from temporarily coming into the country, one his allies recently suggested they should take away CNN's FCC license.

[20:20:02] What I want to know about these justices whether they are supposed liberals or conservatives, will they stand up to a president who has dictatorial tendencies? That's what we should be asking.

BERNSTEIN: Let me try one other thing. Maybe we have been looking at Trump, and saying he's made this terrible error and whether it's on John McCain and the outrageous statements, this may be a real error. Because It enables the Democrats to make the Supreme Court the issue in the election. And I think what we know is if the Supreme Court, Roe v. Wade and social issues that appeal to conservatives become the big issue in the election, the Republicans and Donald Trump are in trouble. I'm very surprised he did it.

TASINI: Carl makes the point that I was going to make exactly, that the unity is actually something the Democrats will hear from this list. That if you want to make - you make a huge banner with a list of these Supreme Court Justices and say what they are for, and at least some of the questions of unity will quickly disappear.

COOPER: Let's Kayleigh in.

MCENANY: You are summing up the whole list as a list about social conservativism, it is not that, it is a list about exactly that, restraining the executive which conservative justices have done in maintaining the three branches of government. Christine this such a cryptic list, name for me one justice on the list that you don't like and explain to me why there are such a bad justice.

COOPER: Kayleigh, do you believe Donald Trump really wants to constrain the executive?

MCENANY: Well, that's the thing I mean we are all summing up the justices I would for people to name which justices specifically you don't like on the list, explain to me the decisions you don't like. All of them, explain one.

HEELY: Telegraphing what he is doing ahead of time, and keeping his counsel and Why did he just come forward?

TOOBIN: I think it is possible to be a little too cynical about this. What this tells us is what the election is about. We are going to have one kind of Supreme Court if Hillary Clinton wins, we are going to have another kind of Supreme Court if Donald Trump wins. This is a good lesson in that. I think that's good because I think that's why we have elections. Let's be clear about what the stakes are.

COOPER: We've got to take another quick break, Donald Trump is meeting with former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, we are going to talk about

that, they sat down just hours after he dropped his latest foreign policy bombshell what he said about North Korea. Where it fits with his past comments about foreign policy hot zones.?


[20:26:12] COOPER: Donald Trump met today with former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger whose secret trip to Beijing in 1971 reopened relations between the U.S. and China, today's meeting in New York came just hours after Trump proposed what would be a major shift in U.S. policy to North Korea. In an interview with Reuters, the Republican presumptive nominee said he would have, "no problem speaking to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un to try to shut down the reclusive nation's nuclear program."

Trump said he would absolutely try to talk sense into the dictator. Mr. Trump's resume s you probably know does not include foreign policy experience, he is not a policy professional obviously, but that does not give him pause, certainly. Here is Randi Kaye.


DONALD TRUMP, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Our foreign policy is a complete and total disaster. No vision. No purpose. No direction. No strategy.

RANDI KAYE, CNN ANCHOR/CORRESPONDENT: Donald Trump thinks he can do better as commander in chief on Russia.

TRUMP: Some say the Russians won't be reasonable. I intend to find out. If we can't make a deal under my administration, then we will quickly walk from the table.

KAYE: Russian President Vladimir Putin has called Trump bright and talented. Trump in response called Putin a highly respected man. Trump's hinted at wanting closer ties with Moscow, despite Russia's on-going military presence in Ukraine. He told CBS's 60 minutes the U.S. can leave it up to Russia to take out ISIS Syria.

TRUMP: We want to get rid of ISIS, maybe let Russia do it, let them get rid of ISIS, what the hell do we care?

KAYE: Trump has warned ISIS their days are numbered, though he didn't elaborate, he also said he would blow up the oil fields ISIS has taken over.

TRUMP: I would bomb the [bleep] out of them.

KAYE: On NATO the presumptive Republican nominee, dropped this doozy.

TRUMP: I think NATO may be obsolete.

KAYE: Meanwhile some of his plans when it comes to foreign policy still aren't exactly clear, he said he hopes to invest heavily in the military but that he also wants to stop using the military unless it's necessary. Another contradiction, Trump has said he is not in favor of nation building but also says he does want to promote regional stability. How he plans to deal with the Muslin world is also still a bit murky. Remember when he said this in December?

TRUMP: Donald J. Trump is calling for total and complete shutdown of Muslins entering the United States.

KAYE: But then earlier this month seemed to walk that back on Fox radio.

TRUMP: It is a temporary ban, hasn't been called for yet, nobody has done it, this is just a suggestion until we find out what's going on.

KAYE: Trump does have a plan for China though, one of his favorite topics.

TRUMP: China.

TRUMP: China.

TRUMP: China.

KAYE: If elected, he's promised to quickly eliminate the U.S. trade deficit with China. He's also said he will end China's currency manipulation.

TRUMP: We can't continue to allow China to rape our country. And that's what they're doing. It is the greatest theft in the history of the world.

KAYE: And he also has an idea for how to deal with North Korea, or at least how Japan and South Korea, two of our strongest allies should do so. His highly criticized plan includes pulling all U.S. troops out of the two countries and letting Japan and South Korea develop their own nuclear weapons to defend themselves.

TRUMP: We are better off if Japan protects itself against this maniac in North Korea. We are better off frankly if South Korea is going to start to protect itself.

COOPER: Saudi Arabia, nuclear weapons?

TRUMP: Saudi Arabia, absolutely,

COOPER: You would be fine with them having nuclear weapons?

TRUMP: No not nuclear weapons, but they have to protect themselves or they have to pay us.

RANDI KAYE: Foreign policy through the eyes of a president Donald J. Trump. New York.


COOPER: Just before we went on air, I talked to CNN national security commentator and former U.S. congressman Mike Rogers who served as chairman on the House Intelligence Committee.

[20:30:04] So Chairman, a meeting with Henry Kissinger, I was kind of a right of passage for any Republican presidential candidate, but Trump obviously is not your average Republican candidate. What do you think he is looking to gain from the meeting? Is it just going to build up his stature?

MIKE ROGERS, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY COMMENTATOR: I think is this is a candidate that's trying to mature into his foreign policy positions and I think that a bright first stop for him sends a pretty clear message is Henry Kissinger, he's kind of the dean of the thoughtful, engaged Republican foreign policy expert, you know, dating all the way back to Nixon and Ford.

So, and he's been active since then and writing some really interesting books on China and other places. So I think it was an important thing for that image and really -- I hope he pauses and listens a little.

COOPER: Because, I mean Trump's own foreign policy at time, it seems isolationist, at time hawkish, and as Randi Kaye just pointed out, often full of contradictions.

ROGERS: Yeah. I mean sometimes he talks about engagement. I mean his clearly saying he wants to be more engaged with Putin, that's clearly a diplomatic engagement strategy. And then other places he says he is going to pull out. So I think his team is a little light right now on foreign policy and national security. I'm hoping that this is a step for him to say he wants to round that out.

And, you know, I've never been a believer that you can't let a candidate mature on foreign policy and national security because it is something that's normally foreign to everybody that walks in. So if this is that step in that process, probably a good thing for him and his campaign.

COOPER: It is interesting, because Henry Kissinger and Secretary Clinton are I mean presumably close I'm sure he referred to him as a friend, said that she relied on his counsel when she serve as a secretary of state, I mean that Bernie Sanders, you know, kind of went after her for during debates. Could she and Kissinger actually a more common than Kissinger and Trump?

ROGERS: I'm not sure. I mean -- again I think she is probably a very matured in her positions of foreign policy and national security from her time as secretary of state and in the U.S. Senate. You know, I just don't think Trump was there yet. I don't think he really had thought through all of those issues and that's why I think, again if this is, somebody in his campaign, maybe is Chris Christie saying, hey we need to round this out, we need to mature our issues, we need to grow a little bit on our foreign policy of the great first stop to do that, and I think it does send a very important message, is Henry Kissinger because he is so well respected on both sides of the aisle on his national security and foreign policy credentials.

COOPER: What do you make of Trump saying he would talk with North Korea's leader Kim Jong-Un. I mean is that really any different from 2007 when then candidate Obama said he'd talk to Iran and North Korea.

ROGERS: You know, probably not. You know, again this that hold notion of, you know, some sense of engagement, so is he an isolationist or is he for engagement. Thinking this case he saying well, you know, I'll talk to the guy. I don't think he's promised that he would do anything different other than engagement.

Now, of the one thing you have to be very, very careful, and you have a country that's pursuing nuclear weapons and is very aggressive savor raveling, a contact from a U.S. president is a big deal and you don't want to give away your best thing in your quiver right away, you don't want to shoot that arrow too soon.

So that's why presidents are normally cautious about saying, you know, I'm going to meet with Kim Jong-Un or I'm going to talk to him. You know, again that's about maturing, because I think same instinct that Obama had, yeah, I'll talk to anybody. And when you get over there, I think the foreign policy establishment will say, well if we're going to do that, let's get something for it.

COOPER: Right, Chairman Rogers, thanks.


COOPER: A lot more to talk about with the panel, get their take on Trump's latest foreign policy comments.

Plus Drew Griffin takes us inside the minds of some supporters, he ask them why and their view Trump can do no wrong no matter what he seems to say. Answers are passing.


[20:37:45] COOPER: And there is no shortage of breaking news tonight, whether is new national polling showing Hillary Clinton losing her edge against Donald Trump, and then this just in, Donald Trump, hiring someone to help pick a vice president and his name A.B. Culvahouse. Your not be familiar but his role in 2008 certainly he is, he helped John McCain pick Sarah Palin.

Back with the panel, we just got that word in. Kayleigh, what do you make of it. It seems certainly for on a day where Trump also met with Henry Kissinger, that he is trying to kind of broaden the team of people or the kind of the depth of people around him.

KAYLEIGH MCENANY, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: There's no doubt about, you know, releasing this list, naming people to the campaign, enveloping the conservative movement and the party into his campaign. He is coalescing the party, he is unifying, he's doing exactly what he needs to do. And this is a great hire.

Look, many people dismiss Sarah Palin, they laugh at her, but Sarah Palin did a lot for John McCain's campaign, she energized the campaign, his poll numbers went up, I think she was an asset to the campaign, and this is a smart hire. He needs someone that is common and shake up this race, shake up ticket. I think it was great hire, great pick.

COOPER: Margaret?

MARGARET HOOVER, REPUBLICAN CONSULTANT: I mean I understand in terms of fire (ph) this, look every campaign needs researchers and vetters, and this is just in mechanical position and if I serve them presidential campaigns, there's a lot of staff who are simply there doing the research, checking on boxes, making sure that candidates have been thoroughly vetted. So I wouldn't read too much into it other than the Trump campaign is staffing up which they need to do, they're running a national campaign.

On foreign policy staff look, the criticism from Republicans of the Obama administration has been that President Obama's policies have put our friends in unstable footing and they put our allies and unstable footing, they have drawn our enemies near. The idea that we would begin to talk to Kim Jong-Un, the new chairman of the Korean Workers Party, is goes to every criticism Republicans have had of Democrats administration, this administration. It is doing exactly that. I mean there is not a single U.S. president that have ever met with the leader of North Korea, and there's a good reason for it. You need this administration in North Korea to be good an act on its promises before you then promise a one on one meeting with the president of the United States.

They're continually in defiance of all things they promised insofar as their nuclear weapons program, so the idea, what it does more than anything is it just goes to underline the fact that Donald Trump is enormously ill prepared to be the leader of the free world, has very little understanding of what it means ...

COOPER: Jonathan?

HOOVER: ... when he say he's going to meet the North Korean leader.

[20:40:05] JONATHAN TASINI, BERNIE SANDERS SURROGATE: Yeah, I want to draw a little triangle but you really raised Anderson, you interview with Mike Rogers, it's fascinating to see the connection between, you try to draw it between Henry Kissinger, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. You've got Donald Trump was Margaret saying it's completely ill prepared to be commander in chief. You got Henry Kissinger, I falls into the category of reviling him, who is it might be a war criminal -- conducted a war that killed a million Vietnamese and conducted the illegal war against Cambodia, and you got Hillary Clinton who voted for immoral war against Iraq, it slaughtered hundreds of thousands of people.

And essentially created the crisis and the rise of ISIS that we see in the Middle East. And if you draw that triangle, you've got those three people and you got Bernie Sanders, who has a completely different view of foreign policy and would not at -- not only does not call Henry Kissinger his friend but has a completely different view of the world.

COOPER: Christine?

CHRISTINE QUINN, CLINTON SUPPORTER: I think making that triangle is unfair and incorrect. And first of all ...

TASINI: In what way?

QUINN: ... who are part of the basis of the triangle is that Donald Trump is completely unprepared to be commander in chief and lead foreign policy leader in the world. You cannot say that about Hillary Clinton she is someone with an immense, not probably the most qualified person as relates to foreign policy to ever run for the presidency of the United States.

COOPER: So I do want to keep this conversation focused, not going down that road. But just Patrick from a political standpoint, I mean to Kayleigh's point, everything Donald Trump is doing is what a candidate should be doing at this stage of the race. Perhaps what so notable is that Donald Trump has not done this previously. I mean he's been able to succeed without the traditional campaign structure that all other candidates have had.

PATRICK HEALY, NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT NEW YORK TIMES: Right, he succeeded for 10 months with basically five people riding shotgun with him on the plane from state to state to state. Now this is a large professionalization of the campaign going on right now, and it is serious. This sends a signal to a lot of those Republicans who the last thing they heard was a Ben Carson was going to be running the VP search. That was not reassuring Anderson.

Credit it just again, sort of this, sort of half serious idea that even though of course Ben Carson wasn't going to be running the search, Donald Trump will just sort of say things and throw them out. You know, A.B. is a serious figure. Hillary Clinton is getting as Chris said, you know, her own sort of a professional vetters, you know, on the D.C. side. You know, I think we'll see some tightening up. Donald Trump keeps sort of throwing out names and throwing out numbers but now it is getting serious.

COOPER: It is going to be interesting Carl to see how Donald Trump exists in a tighter sort of campaign structure.

CARL BERNSTEIN, JOURNALIST: But what I see is how Donald Trump in a way I'm 56 years in this business now, since I'm 16 years old. I have never seen a candidate sees the attention of the nation of the people of the country, or the world

or the media in the way that Donald Trump has. And that's what this discussion is a reflection of. And he is carrying the debate, he is determining what all of us are talking about. And what I'm really concerned about, we're about to going into these two conventions, there has been no serious investigative reporting about Bernie Sanders, about Hillary Clinton, about Donald Trump on any of the television networks, barely any in the old mainstream press. Maybe we ought to be doing investigative documentaries and looking at the records of these three people, and where they are in the issues and in their lives and the arch of their lives and who they really are. Because ...

COOPER: You don't believe people have been asking questions about Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders? (CROSSTALK)

BERNSTEIN: Look, here's the point. I wrote a book about Hillary Clinton, absolutely. And if we are to take what's in that book and if we are to take what is known about Donald Trump and if we are to take about what's known about Bernie Sanders and create really good documentaries, put them on television so that we can focus on ...

COOPER: Do you believe voters just have a lack of information about Donald Trump, about Bernie Sanders?

BERNSTEIN: Yes, I believe what we are doing so well is to have a granular discussion every night on all the cable channels, in social media, online, without a macro of investigation.

COOPER: OK, Peter ...


PETER BEINART, CONTRIBUTOR THE ATLANTIC: Well I think look, one of the interesting topics would be to do Donald Trump on foreign policy, because I think what Donald Trump is doing on foreign policy is really fascinating. Certainly since George W. Bush, perhaps since Ronald Reagan, can see Republicans have equated the size of the American empire with the welfare of ordinary Americans. That is the basic equation at the heart of conservative foreign policy.

Donald Trump has ripped it up. Donald Trump are say, I don't care, I don't think it benefits ordinary Americans to necessarily be defending Poland and Estonia and South Korea, that is revolutionary, and it deserves a great deal of discussion. I agree, Donald Trump is miserably unprepared, but ...


COOPER: Let him finish and we're going to move.

[20:45:01] BEINART: But I think it's worth noting that, conventional establishment foreign policy has created a situation where American -- where -- ordinary Americans are doing very poorly as America's empire expanded, so it is not a crazy thought.

COOPER: We're going to have more with our panel. Coming up, we're also taking the somewhat mysterious political fascinating place and place for the controversies that would destroy most presidential campaigns. Go to whether and die. Drew Griffin talks to Trump supporters about why in their minds their candidate can do no wrong.


COOPER: We've been talking a lot tonight about the people Donald Trump is been hiring, specifically the words he's been using. We wanted to dig deeper into that. Four months agate at a rally in Iowa, Donald Trump said he could stand the middle of 5th Avenue shoot somebody and wouldn't lose voters. That's not certainly tested that in literal sense, but there's no denying that he has fired multiple theoretical shots that might have ended anyone else's presidential campaign during any other campaign year.

And the understatement of the night, this is not like any other presidential campaign. One is more gravity defining features, especially to people not supporting Donald Trump is his ability to say things that either or not true at all or half true and not take any hit from his supporters. In fact sometimes it seems to strengthen his support. We asked our Drew Griffin to seat down with some Trump supporters talk about that. Here's what he found.


[20:50:02] EDWARD ETHERIDGE, TRUMP SUPPORTER: He really loves this country if he is going to be cutting so much taxes to try to get the poor, you know, a fighting chance out of poverty.

WESLEY ROSS, COLLEGE REPUBLICAN PRESIDENT: We can either be weak or we can be stronger, and even if Donald Trump is not your first choice and he wasn't, you look at what's left and I think it is clear who the best choice left is.

MICHAEL OPTIZ, TRUMP SUPPORTER: Our nations teetering on the brink, the great of this and Donald Trump is a manifestation of concern and in some cases fear of the American people that we need strong leadership.

DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: Leah and Leo, there are going to be a lot of people looking at you two in particular tonight, and wondering how can you possibly vote and support Donald Trump, this man that we heard will do nothing for the people of color in this country.

LEO SMITH, TRUMP SUPPORTER: This kind of got a hip-hop swagger to him, and I think people like that. And, you know, he's all about money and entrepreneurship, there are a lot of people before he was a candidate who were black American and famous and loved him. And I think that there are a lot of people in the closest who also love him. Job competition, job scarcity, issues like that, he's actually addressing those issues. That's going to have black Americans, that's going to have all Americans, that's important to people who feel like they been left on the margins for too long.

GRIFFIN: Leo, that statement that you just said right, that whole spill sounded so presidential

SMITH: Well thank you.

GRIFFIN: Donald Trump makes it sound like this, black people love me, the Hispanics they love me, it's going to be great, we're going to win, win, win, win, win. Shawn you mention you'd like into sound a little more presidential.

SHAWN HANLEY, TRUMP SUPPORTER: He is a first time candidate, he's never been a candidate for office before. He ran against 17 politician, he's not a politician. He's getting better as time goes on. You know, I just hope for my son's sake I don't have to put ear muffs on I mean when he listens to the state of union address in a couple of years.

ETHERIDGE: I think all of that is a strategy, he's Twitter, his outrageousness.

GRIFFIN: You guys think that Twitter account is a strategy?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it's an unexperience politician.

GRIFFIN: He came out and he said look at, as relates to terrorism, as relates to what's happening in Europe, we should ban all foreign Muslims from coming into the United States at least temporarily. Do you all believe in that stuff?




GRIFFIN: I'm seeing yes as a no. A no from you.

ROSS: No, he said that to get attention. But you can't say all Muslims, because we wouldn't want another country saying all Christians.

GRIFFIN: Let's talk about the wall. Clint? Are you for the wall?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am for the wall.

GRIFFIN: Build the wall, deport 11 million people. That's what he said. As Trump supporter ...


GRIFFIN: ... is he or is he not going to build a wall.


GRIFFIN: Is he or is he not going to deport 11 million people.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, he is going to build a wall. And what -- deporting the 11 million, I do believe he is going to absolutely address that. Exactly what that looks like I cannot tell you, but I do believe that he is going to do that. We're not going to get 3,000 buses and run people across the border.

GRIFFIN: Can I ask you why you believe that?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I see what he has done as a businessman.

SMITH: We Americans gave a vote to a president named Barack Obama who promised all this hope he change stuff that couldn't manifest, it was Trojan horse.


SMITH: They believed that his hope and change, why shouldn't they believe in Trump's hope and change.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's not perfect.


SMITH: We can't judge him until he is president.


GRIFFIN: That's a big gamble, isn't it?

SMITH: It always is in America. The presidential contest is a gamble.

GRIFFIN: Let me try one more issue, OK.


GRIFFIN: I actually covered this last week, and this had to do with this whole publicity issue and his alter ego, John Miller, John Barron back in the day when he was calling this newspaper reporters.


GRIFFIN: I want to show you a little clip from a story I did.

JOHN MILLER, PUBLICIST OF DONALD TRUMP: He really decided that he wasn't.

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

TOM OWEN, AUDIO FORENSIC EXPERT: Yes, it's my opinion that it is Donald Trump.

GRIFFIN: Didn't he just lie?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I heard the tape from my house, it to me it didn't sound like him.

GRIFFIN: We have asked specifically of the Trump organization and we have asked of the Trump campaign if these people do exist, if there's any record of them existing, let us know, we'll drop this whole story. We've got nothing from them.

CHRIS SNELLGROVE, TRUMP SUPPORTER: I think there's bigger issues. I think politicians, I mean let's face it, they lie on a regular basis. I'm more concerned with who's is qualified to run this country, to give us the job creation, and to give us the security we need.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If that's the worst, I'll take him over what we've had with the Clintons and the Barack Obama administration any day of the week, but it's a lie, he needs to correct it.

[20:55:00] GRIFFIN: Let's talk about foreign policy.

SNELLGROVE: I think that he is the most qualified to fight terrorism.


SNELLGROVE: Because he has made it pointedly clear that he will hunt down ISIS and destroy them, they'll kill them all. And Hillary Clinton doesn't tell us that.

ETHERIDGE: He is not going to fight a politically correct war.

SNELLGROVE: Yeah, he is not going to be politically correct. He is going to put together a force and go take them out.

ROSS: I want America to be great, I want to experience -- that I want to have a career, and I want to raise a family, I want to have children and grandchildren that thrive and grow and know, not just from people said, oh yeah back in the Reagan years, we want not just to be seen as America, we want to be seen as America, the greatest country on earth.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want to be proud again. It's time.

GRIFFIN: It's time.




COOPER: Drew, I mean it sounds like they're willing, is one of them said, to take a gamble on Trump even though they may have some questions about his experience or I mean he seems like they don't care if he lied, because they say all politicians do that.

GRIFFIN: Yeah. I mean this was part of a 90 minute discussion on many different issues, Anderson. What I came away with, details be damned, they really love the guy, they're emotionally invested in what they see as a true outsider with unconventional ways of speaking, acting, dealing with the media. And yes they admit they're taking a chance, but I think it's fair to say this group believes the country as been led downhill by politicians on both sides of the aisle. They want a brand new face and style in the White House, and Donald Trump is that for them.

COOPER: Was there any issue they say they said they still need answers on? I mean do they, for instance, want to see his tax records or is this sort of beyond specific policy?

GRIFFIN: I think it is beyond that, but tax -- the tax records I did ask, it was pretty much a non-issue, some said he probably should release them, most didn't care. They don't care if he is backtracking slightly now on building a wall, backtracking on deporting all the illegal immigrants. Backtracking on his Muslim ban which he suggests is now just a suggestion, they don't care.

I think it shows that Trump has won them over, period, and their enthusiasm both for Trump and for the country they think Trump turn us into is pretty impressive and pretty powerful for a campaign.

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

Coming up, it is the kind of chaos that usually they're reserved for well Trump rallies, chaos may be too strong a word, but this wrong term, this time it was a state Democratic convention. Will the Sanders campaign do more to discourage behavior of a small group of supporters? Should they? Is that there obligation?

And new polling shows Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton neck-and-neck for the battle for the White House. That more when we continue.