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New Attacks From Donald Trump Against Hillary Clinton; Hillary Clinton Is Going After Trump; Clinton Campaigning In California; Sanders' "Messy" Prediction; Multiple Tornadoes On The Ground In Midwest; VA Secretary Speaks Out On Wait Times. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired May 24, 2016 - 20:00   ET


[20:00:02] JOHN BERMAN, CNN HOST: Good evening. John Berman here in for Anderson.

We begin tonight with new attacks from Donald Trump against Hillary Clinton that are actually neither new nor against Hillary Clinton when you get down to it. And at least one case who has been poster Trump is trafficking conspiracy theories that have been proven false repeatedly. Donald Trump continue to find different ways to sing a song written a long ago about his opponent's marriage and about her husband's behavior. In the past Trump has minimized many of these same allegations over the years saying Bill Clinton's sex scandals were quote "totally unimportant and calling the women who made the claims losers and physically unattractive."

So why he is assuming the role of judge, jury and executioner in matters of fidelity and moral character? Is it (INAUDIBLE) essentially because now he is running for president. So these claims about Bill Clinton that have been aired out and wronged out the second and examined for decades get ready for more.

Dana Bash reports.


DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It is political guerrilla warfare.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Hillary Clinton's husband abused women more than any man that we know of in the history of politics, right.

BASH: A source familiar with Donald Trump's campaign strategy tells CNN that Trump dredging up (INAUDIBLE) unproven allegations about Bill Clinton's past is not based on data or focus groups from his new pollster or his new partner, the Republican National Committee.

TRUMP: She's married to a man who hurt many women.

BASH: Instead CNN is told this is Trump being Trump, seething about attacks on him using his own past statements about women like this ad from a pro-Clinton super PAC.

TRUMP: Does she have a good body, no. Does she have a fat ass? Absolutely.

MICHAEL COHEN, SPECIAL COUNSEL TO DONALD TRUMP: She attacked Mr. Trump a being a sexist, misogynist, and that is inaccurate. Donald Trump is not any of those things.

BASH: A challenge for Trump and attacking Bill Clinton as anti-women and tagging Hillary as an enabler is own past statements of support like in 1988 in the midst of Bill Clinton's scandal with Monica Lewinsky.

TRUMP: Can you imagine how controversial that would be? You think about him with the women? How me with the women?

BASH: Even ten years later in 2008.

TRUMP: Look at the trouble Bill Clinton got into with something that was totally unimportant and they tried to impeach him which was nonsense.

BASH: Here's how a long time Trump confidant explained his 180.

COHEN: He was a private citizen who was friendly with the Clintons and he was trying to protect a friend, alright. Now it's a different game.

BASH: And then there are conspiracies theories like the false charge that Bill Clinton's White House council Dennis Forster was murdered despite multiple investigations ruling it a suicide. Trump told "the Washington Post," Foster's death was quote "very fishy." But said I will say there are people who continue to bring it up because they think it was absolutely a murder. I don't do that because I don't think it's fair. Even that feeds the 2016 campaign conversation which bill Clinton himself clearly saw coming saying this just last week.

BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You think that stuff I said about her is bad? They accused me of murder. I mean, our memories are short. It's what they do.

BASH: As for Hillary Clinton so far she's letting others do the responding which the first female house speaker told CNN is the way to go.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Don't stoop to that level, really. Just keep it up here.

BASH: Some sources close to Clinton are urging here not to take what they call Trump's bait.

HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I know that that's exactly what he is fishing for and, you know, I'm not going to be responding.


BERMAN: All right. Dana Bash joins us now. Don't take the bait. You just heard Hillary Clinton say it right now.

But Dana, what are your sources saying about a possible Clinton response?

BASH: That she's going to try to avoid, in their words, taking the bait for as long as possible. The way that the Clinton campaign at least sources I talked to there see it is that this is just the beginning. And the expectation based on watching Donald Trump in the Republican primaries is that he is going to continue this line and he is probably going to go further and further and more specific and more specific and they believe in Clinton headquarters in Brooklyn that the more she -- or if she responds in kind that she's going to be playing on his turf which is not where she wants to play.

She wants to continue to certainly go after him on past statements and actions but as you saw on the campaign trail today more on his business practices and that if she, you know, responds about the personal attacks that's where the conversation is going to go.

However, John, I am also warned that at some point she is probably going to have to respond and intends to but again they don't see that this is going to end any time, any time soon.

BERMAN: Five months is a long, long time. Dana Bash, thanks so much.

Lots to talk about with the panel tonight. Joining me now is CNN political commentator and New York One political anchor Errol Louis, "New York Times" national political reporter Alex Burns, CNN's political commentators Angela Rye and Kayleigh McEnany who supports Donald Trump, former New York City council speaker Christine Quinn who supports Hillary Clinton and CNN political commentator and "New York Times' op-ed columnist Ross Douthat.

Kayleigh, you are next to me so I'm going to start with you right now. Donald Trump all of a sudden says all of these things that Bill Clinton is alleged to have done bothers him a lot yet while they were going on before during and after and in repeated interviews they didn't seem to both him then. So why now? Why invite the Clintons to his wedding?

[20:05:42] KAYLEIGH MCENANY, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I think when you step back and you look at it and (INAUDIBLE) becomes a troublesome picture. At the time he was talking about the impeachment. He didn't think the impeachment was a big deal. That was one incident in the oval office that had happen now when you step back and you see Hillary Clinton tweeting out that every survivor of sexual assault deserves to be heard, believe and record it. And thereafter you have three women come one, Juanita Broderick, Kathleen Willy (ph) and Paula Jones, all come out and say they are personally offended. They all accused him --.

BERMAN: They came out of the '90s, though. And Donald Trump heard them come out on the 90s.

MCENANY: But they're coming out now, though, and saying this woman cannot be president. Not only that. You since then have Linda Tripp come out and say I sat down the hall from Hillary Clinton and heard her concoct stories to try to delegitimize these women who are hurt by Bill Clinton or said has been hurt by Bill Clinton. That's a troublesome scenario and I think that there's room to change when you see all that in the (INAUDIBLE).

BERMAN: Christine?

CHRISTINE QUINN, CLINTON SUPPORTER: I think there's date trouble here, right, because yes Donald Trump said something in the '90s during the impeachment. We also just saw on film him in 2008 him say it was unimportant and really say nothing had happened. And then his advisor actually made it worse by saying then he was speaking of a friend. I don't know about you but I don't tend to have friends who I think are rapists and the worst people in the world to women so why -- you can't move around the dates here. These women didn't come after she tweeted and he didn't say it decades ago. He said it in 2008.

So look. I get that the guy is like a flapjack. He flips all over the place now that he's running for president but let's not pretend --

This should not be about Donald Trump and you should be supporting these women.

MCENANY: Respectfully though, this should not be about Donald Trump. And you as the woman should be supporting these women who deserve to be heard. Their stories - I let you finish.

QUINN: Do not question my credentials on supporting survivors of sexual assault. I ran a crime victims agency. I work with victims every --. I will not have you in the name of Donald Trump call people like myself who work with survivors of sexual assault.


MCENANY: I have not called you anything. You got to let me finish.

QUINN: You just did.

QUINN: I said this is not about Hillary Clinton. And you as a woman and me as a woman should all set back and take politics out of this and say yes accusers of sexual assault deserve to be heard. It doesn't matter if Hillary Clinton is involve. IT doesn't matter if Donald Trump is involve. They all deserve to be heard. No, they have not been given half of the attention that they would have gotten if this were with reference to Republican candidate and as women we should stand together and take politics out of this and say let's let these women be heard. Let's let the facts come out --.


BERMAN: Guys --

QUINN: How do you take politics out of it when you're standing with a man who on one day says this unimportant and a man who now says the rapist is his friend? You are inserting politics back into an issue that had been litigated. And women and men who are victims of sexual assault must be supported. I have, in fact, dedicated part of my life to that, but this is not that. This is politicalizing rape and sexual assault which I find disgusting.

BERMAN: Let me get Ross. Ross, your take.

ROSS DOUTHAT, OP-ED COLUMNIST, NEW YORK TIMES: I'm hesitant. What's my take? I guess my take is this, just in terms of the politics. Look. Number one, obviously Trump is flip-flopping being hypocritical playing politics being ridiculous. He is Donald Trump. He take that for granted.

I think in terms of whether it's effective I think it's unlikely to be effective because these are seen as old stories that are being re- litigated. With that said I think the anxiety for the Clinton team is that there could be some other story out there, that there is a pattern and a long standing pattern with Bill Clinton. And this pattern based on everything that people are sort of reporting and talking about now continued into his post-presidency where he lived a fairly shall we say freewheeling lifestyle for a number of years. So that's the only scenario where I think the Clinton team should be genuinely worried about this, that there's something else - that there's basically some new story that could come out this.

BERMAN: Alex, do you get the sense there is anxiety in the Clinton team? Because right now you heard Dana's report there. They intend to play it out and try to stay, you know, above the board here.

ALEX BURNS, NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER, NEW YORK TIMES: Look. I think the anxiety from the Clinton campaign is that you really just don't know what you're going to get when you open that Pandora's Box with Donald Trump. And so, they are trying to do very much what Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio did during the primaries of saying, you know, I'll let him get down in the gutter and I'm not going to go there. That did not work out.

[20:10:10] BERMAN: No. Look where Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush are right now.

BURNS: As Dana di say, you know, they do recognize at some point, there has to be a moment of reckoning. I'm not sure sort of what you're waiting for when Trump has already cross the line of calling a former president a rapist and raising this really outlandish conspiracy theories about, you know, somebody who died tragically and who was a good friend of the Clintons. It has proven false by the way.

BERMAN: Theories about which have been proven false by the way again and again.

Angela Rye, do you think Democrats wasn't part of being a Clinton learning how to fight back and fighting back early and often? Wasn't the rapid response thing part of the war room in 1992? Isn't that the lesson Democrats learned and along those lines should they be fighting back?

ANGELA RYE, POLITICAL STRATEGIST: Sure. And I think that you have seen people fight back. I think the reality of this particular fight, it's so hard, as Ross has already pointed out, and so many others have through the day and really throughout this cycle to fight someone who has no accountability to effect whatsoever, none. And so, the reality of this is I have to go back to this situation.

You're talking about someone who is calling someone a rapist, whose own wife referred to him as -- or saying that she was raped. She certainly she dialed it back. But in her deposition and I want to read some of this. She says, it says the Donald flings, the Ivanna down on to the bed and he pins back her arms and grabs her by the hair. The part of her head he is grabbing corresponds to the spot on his head where the scout reduction operation has been done. He had about five. The Donald starts ripping out Ivana's hair by the handful as if he is trying to make her feel the same kind of pain that he is feeling.

Whether you call that rape or not, she did not discount this actually happened. And what I'm saying to you is, whether you're talking about Ivana or you are talking about his lawyer who said that she felt raped emotionally and why is Donald back, Christine, you've already referenced this point, he has a lot of nerve throwing this particular stone when we are talking someone who was his spouse.

BERMAN: Kayleigh, I want you to respond here. Again, Ivana Trump, he did back off that to some extent but it did, it was part of the divorce. It was part of the divorce.

MCENANY: She backed off that and she said she would support him for president. And I think that your pretty dire territory and instead of addressing these women, the answers always deflect on to Donald Trump on to something that hasn't happen where she said she supports the man for president. And the answer is empowering Juanita Broderick and empowering these women who have accusations, the answer is detaining Donald Trump -- a woman who says she's going to support him for president.

RYE: But it's a spouse.

BERMAN: Errol, I want to bring you on this issue of glass houses with Donald Trump. Apart and separate from what Angela say here, look. Here is a guy who married three times. Here is a guy who bragged about his relationships with many women over all the years here. Is that fertile ground for the Clintons to go after, should they be doing that.

ERROL LOUIS, POLITICS ANCHOR, NY1: I doubt that they will. I think what they are going to do is this kind of disciplined attack. Like right now, they are going after his business record. My guess is that they looked at analytics and they look at swing states and they look at arguments that resonated with voters that they want in those areas. That's how traditional politics is done. That's how you win an election.

If you get into all of these other stuff, I mean, I know Kayleigh is too young to remember some of the stuff, but some of those women who you named ended up, you know, sort of posing in penthouse, you know what I mean. If you want to go down in the mock --.


LOUIS: It was really, really --.

DOUTHAT: This is the danger zone for the Clinton campaign I think which is that if - I mean, as I said, I think most voters see these as stories of old news and don't want to re-litigate them. But if you actually start re-litigating them, the case of Juanita Broderick as a number of liberal journalists have conceded is at best a very am ambiguous situation for Bill Clinton and worst its scenario where if it where any other situation based on the rhetoric of liberals and feminists right now, Broderick would get the benefit of the doubt. And that's why, part of why I think the Clinton campaign is right not to want to dig into it.


BERMAN: Hang on, guys. There's a lot more to talk about obviously. So hold it right there. How will Hillary Clinton respond to all of this? We could find out tonight in just a few minutes.

You are looking live pictures from Riverside, California. Hillary Clinton is expected to take the stage very soon. We are going to keep our eye on this to hear what she says.

Donald Trump also has a rally tonight. He is in Albuquerque in New Mexico. We are watching for that as well.

And as we do, we will also talk about how Hillary Clinton is going after Trump hitting Trump on how he said he hoped the housing markets would crash so he could swoop in and buy at a discount.

Also, a lot going on tonight, we have breaking news for you. A major tornado touching down right now in the Midwest. Multiple tornados in facts. We will bring the latest when 360 continue.


[20:18:29] BERMAN: All right. We have some live pictures to show from Riverside, California where Hillary Clinton is expected to take the stage very soon. We are watching to see how Hillary Clinton responds to Donald Trump's latest attacks on her, more specifically on her husband.

Donald Trump also has an event tonight. He is in Albuquerque. And while Donald Trump continues his attacks, Hillary Clinton is firing at Trump over his self-touted record as a businessman. She has been referencing his bankruptcies and the fact that he said in the mid- 2000s that he sort of hoped the housing market would crash so he could cash in. This is some of what Hillary Clinton has been saying just in the past couple of days.


HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Trump economics is a recipe for lower wages, fewer jobs and more debt. He could bankrupt America like he has bankrupted his companies. I mean ask yourself, how can anybody lose money running a casino? Really? He actually said he was hoping for the crash all because he thought he could take advantage of it to make some money for himself.

What little we know of his economic policies would be running up our debt, starting trade wars letting Wall Street run wild. All of that could cause another crash.

Well, I'll tell you what, you and I together we're not going to let him bankrupt America.


BERMAN: So you can see Hillary Clinton has been going after Donald Trump quite hard. Back now with our panel.

Errol Louis, what about the nature of these attacks saying that he was hoping for a housing down turn so he could cash in. Effective or when you're dealing with Donald Trump talking about, you know, marriage and sexual allegations is it like taking a knife to a gun fight.

[20:20:06] LOUIS: Well, I think it as maybe a little bit of exaggeration, by the way. Just from the clip that was played, it was not as if he was there hoping for it. But he was, you know, talking like business people talk. But yes, there might be an opportunity there.

But I think what the Clinton team is doing is showing that he is not one of you. He is not on your side. If you are part of the working class base that has flocked to Donald Trump, they are trying to sell some doubts. They are trying to say, look, the guy is being sued by the attorney general of New York State for Trump University. The guy is not as successful as he thinks. And this is the real key point, why this of his many different business dealings they're focusing on is to say that he is on the other side of transactions that have hurt people like you. He is not only not on your side but he is profiting and sort of laughing at you along the way.

BERMAN: That's exactly what President Obama did to Mitt Romney, in a way, often in early in 2012. Is this the same thing, though? Remember, I mean, Democrats will tell you the reason Romney was a ripe target is because he was shy or embarrassed almost of his wealth. Donald Trump brags about it. He likes making money.

RYE: Right. And I think he still comes across as an everyday kind of guy. He doesn't come across like Mitt Romney did, and not that I like Donald Trump, but Mitt Romney seemed really unlikable at the time. I think the one thing that I would also add to this and I hope that Hillary folks, the surrogates and everybody else uses this I'm sure he wasn't hoping for that 2008 recession if he was hoping for it when he missed that $53 million bond interest payment that bankrupted his fourth casino. So I hope that they use that because the practical application of it is didn't go so well for him either.

BERMAN: Alex? BURNS: You have this, just to be a little counterintuitive here, you

have this I think conventional wisdom that the Democrats are going to try to brand Donald Trump as the new Mitt Romney. It would be a giant improvement in Donald Trump's standing in this election if he were branded as the new Mitt Romney. Romney was in a better position in the polls at this point in 2012. He had much more room to grow with voters who didn't necessarily have a firm opinion of him but were open to him in a way that a lot of independences and suburban women, even some minority voters were more open to Mitt Romney than they are with Donald Trump right now.

So I think what you're seeing the Clinton campaign begin to try to do and it really is still in the fits and start phase so you don't want strive too much long term planning to it, is to try to puncture this notion of Donald Trump as this bold American economic national. It is just a guy who is always rooting for America, right. That's why this 2006 clip does seem to have some kind of legs to it.

BERMAN: But a statement, the Donald Trump statement today says, yes, I was just trying to make money. That's what I do. That's what I did and I did it well. And so far, Kayleigh, it has worked in the primaries with the Republican voters as work among independents. If you are talking about Mitt Romney, Mitt Romney won independent to 2012 by about five points right now. And the latest poll like Donald Trump leads by 13 among independents.

MCENANY: Yes. That's right because people understand that Donald Trump is a real successful businessman. They like him and they find him relatable. He is a blue collar billionaire as to some called him. And he has created by conservative estimates, by CNN estimates, 32,000 jobs compared to Hillary Clinton who has created slightly zero. So Americans look at him. They see someone who is successful, so relatable. Unlike Mitt Romney who was Mr. One percent who Barack Obama effectively dubbed the one percenter with the Swiss bank account in the Cayman Island accounts. You know, this is a different kind of guy. This is someone people resonate with.

BERMAN: And Christine, the question is it that the Clinton team hasn't answered, I think fully yet, is why are their attacks going to work when they didn't work in the Republican primaries, when Jeb Bush tried it? When Marco Rubio tried it? When Ted Cruz tried it? Why they didn't work then?

QUINN: First, I just want to say, we don't know exactly where Donald Trump has bank accounts because we haven't seen his taxes. For all we know he's got Swiss and, you know, every other kind of bank account as well. And when and if we see those taxes we will know more.

Look. I think the issue here is one I have complete faith in secretary Clinton that her attacks will be better delivered, sharper and clearer than those delivered in the primary where, you know, in part having so many people make things muddled and confused. But the reality is when Americans really learn in a head-to-head race more about the truth of Donald Trump's record as a business person, those bankruptcies, those lawsuits against him, those attempts around using eminent domain and other things in New Jersey. When people learn that, when people really learn how many jobs he sent to China although he wants to make America great again quote-unquote "by bringing back I guess the jobs he sent," I think it's going to make them stop and think twice. And what I think this general election is really going to be about a lot is people stopping and thinking twice about whether this man can be trusted to lead the greatest country in the world. And I think this line of information and facts about him being put out there that really undercut the brand he has tried to recreate to run for president, I think it's going to cut him off at the knees.

BERMAN: But Ross, (INAUDIBLE). It's not like Donald Trump hasn't been out there, it's not like he is this guy who has been in hiding for the last year, if anything he has been out there all day every day since last June. So how do you - I mean --.

[20:25:07] DOUTHAT: So generally I agree with Christine. I think Trump has, I mean, the general election is just a different landscape. He could win the Republican primary by getting 45 percent, 40 percent of the vote in a primary in which 10 percent of Americans vote. He needs to get a lot more votes than that to win the general election. And all of these arguments do seem like they should resonate with, you know, a large share of Americans.

With that being said, there is a kind of brilliant shamelessness, that's to Trump's response to all these kind of criticisms which is distilled in the line he had where he said up until now I have been selfish for myself, I'm paraphrasing right. I have been selfish for myself. And I have been greedy for myself. Kayleigh know this line, I'm sure. I have been greedy for myself and now I'm going to be greedy for America. And that argument I think to some extent does seem to resonate with voters. They say, yes, he has made a lot of money and now he is going to do for America what he did for himself.

BERMAN: All right, guys. Stand by. Again there is still more to discuss. So do not go anywhere.

Just ahead, what did Bernie Sanders really mean when he said the Democratic convention would be messy? We are going to speak to his campaign manager just ahead. We are also going to get our panel's take on this.

And later, breaking news, the VA secretary finally speaks out after comparing long waits at VA hospitals. Wait that were investigated on this program and reveal that have sometime deadly consequences comparing that to standing in line at Disney.


[20:30:38] BERMAN: As we said, Hillary Clinton is in Riverside, California tonight where she's expected to take the stage very shortly. Trump -- Donald Trump takes the stage in New Mexico later tonight. We're going to monitor Hillary Clinton's remarks waiting to see if she responds to Donald Trump's latest attacks on her husband.

Meantime Bernie Sanders spent the day dealing with some blow back after telling the Associated Press that the Democratic convention in July would be messy. Some people heard a dog whistle there and that remark accusing senator Sanders telling his supporters and not so many words to unleash chaos in Philadelphia just like there was recently in Las Vegas. This morning on NBC News, Senator Sanders accused the media of mangling his message.


SEN. BERNIE SANDERS, (I-VT) DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The context of that was a democracy is messy. That people will have vigorous debate on the issues.

KRISTEN WELKER, NBC NEWS: Will the convention be messy?

SANDERS: Well of course it will be. But everything that's what democracy is about.


BERMAN: In that review Bernie Sanders also blasted Hillary Clinton for refusing to debate him in California. Joining me now to discuss all of this is Bernie Sanders' campaign manager Jeff Weaver. Jeff, thank so much for being with us tonight.

I know Senator Sanders says ...


BERMAN: Senator Sanders says he wasn't suggesting things will get violent in Philadelphia at the convention when he used the word messy but I'm going to try to get some more definition from you on just what messy means. Will you characterize what happened in Nevada would you say what happened in Nevada will you say that's messy?

WEAVER: No, I would say its chaotic John. Messy means, what he meant by that was we're going to have a real debate about issues of importance to voters the millions of people who supported Bernie Sanders, the millions of people who supported Hillary Clinton. Look, these conventions are supposed to be where the party does its business. What they've become is sort of a dog and pony show so what we want to have is a real convention where people talk about the important issues that are important to Democrats and to people across this country.

BERMAN: But you do not want to see, you do not want to see the chaos you saw in Nevada, that is not something that Bernie Sanders wants to see in any way in Philadelphia?

WEAVER: Absolutely. We do not want to see what happened in Nevada, happen in Philadelphia. For instance I don't want to see, you know, Senator Barbara Boxer walking off the stage claiming she's in fear of her life while she's contemptuously blowing kisses at the Sanders supporters that she walks out. No, I don't want to see that absolutely not.

BERMAN: You think Barbara Boxer was lying?

WEAVER: I think if you watch the online video it seems incongruous that somebody was in fear for their life while they're contemptuously blowing kisses at their opponents, yeah I think that's incongruous.

BERMAN: All right Jeff, I want to bring in my fellow panelists right now to talk to you and talk among themselves and also joining is political strategist and Bernie Sanders surrogate Jonathan Tasini. Jonathan is here, Errol I want to start with you here.

You hear Jeff Weaver talk about messy, doesn't mean chaotic. He says it just means an active energetic discussion of ideas yet there are Democrats who are worried that this is already messy.

ERROL LOUIS, POLITICAL ANCHOR NY1: Well yeah, I mean and frankly I asked Jeff Weaver, I mean this are not -- this is not a debating society. I mean political conventions have a very particular goal Jeff right which is to sort of get some unity in place, come up with a game plan and come up with some talking points get everybody energized and figure out how to go out and win an election. It's what only three or four days. It's not as if you can sort of reargue what has been a half year of debates that went on in state after state and multiple debates and so forth, right, I mean how do sort of square those two things.

WEAVER: Well, what you're going to have is you're going to have thousands of delegates elected from the several states District of Columbia, the territories in a single room these are the heart and soul of the Democratic Party and they should talk about what's going to be in the platform, what are we going to do going forward in terms of what the process should be for nominating a nominee of the Democratic Party. They're obviously going to nominate someone for a candidate for president.

So these are all things that are going to go on as a party and there's going to be a discussion about it and I don't think anybody should be afraid of that. I mean Democrats should welcome a principled and civil discussion about issues like should we have a $12 minimum wage or a $15 minimum wage. Should we have incremental reform on health care or should we go to a single payer system guaranteeing health care at all. Should we really deal with issues like fraking and global warming or should we not.

I mean these are the kind of issues that should be debated and the ranking file representatives of the Democratic Party at the Democratic convention should debate though ...


BERMAN: I like to Christine -- I want to Christine on this. Well OK, you mean Jonathan, answer that, was that what the primary were about.

[20:35:07] JONATHAN TASINI, BERNIE SANDERS' SURROGATE: No. Jeff is absolutely right one reason you have a convention, and Errol said well it's about nominating a candidates like this pop in circumstance, that's been the problem that we actually haven't had conventions that are actually weighty and what we have are two campaigns that represent two visions of America, two visions of what the Democratic Party should stand for. Jeff was absolutely right, we want to go to the floor. It's true it's been debated in the primaries. We'll have a national audience and we'll have Democrats looking at this convention debating should we have a single payer system or should we not. Should we for example support so-called free trade agreements like the Trans Pacific Partnership or should the Democrats commit never to support those kinds of agreements.

Those are very weighty issues and they go to the fundamental nature of what the Democratic Party should stand for. And I think it's great and, you know, what I think this story is just a total media concoction, he said the messy, Bernie Sanders was messy, what we meant was and I've been in tons of conventions and union conventions where people stand up during strike fought, during debates Christine, I mean Christine has been a political candidate herself.


TASINI: She knows in the west village for example people stood up and probably yelled at you when you're a candidate.

QUINN: Never.

TASINI: And by the way, congratulations on being the vice chair of the Democratic Party in New York.

QUINN: Another way to get yelled at.

TASINI: Another way to get yelled at. But this are -- this is going to be a great convention and I have been to many conventions that have been just absolutely boring. This is going to be real weighty.

BERMAN: So Christine what about, do you accept the Bernie Sanders Jeffrey or Jonathan Tasini definition of messy right now or there new definition messy and, you know, they also talked about, you know, Bernie Sanders had to walk back his lesser of two evils comment that he able George stepping up with this over the weekend, he said they want you voters don't want this election to be a lesser of two evils thing.

It does seem that he's having to explain a lot of his comments. Are you satisfied his heart is in the right place here?

QUINN: Look, at first of all I agree with Jonathan on the messy comment, I think the Democrat Party in a way that I think is a compliment, as often described as messy. We argue things, we debate things, we discuss things. We don't always have it so pinned down in public and all that, you know, fall into line like you're seeing everybody do with Donald Trump, all the people who said they would never support him.

That's not the way we work that said I have no doubt that we're going to come out with a great platform. I think there is more similarities between the campaigns then there are differences and I have no doubt because if you look at Bernie Sanders' life's work it's been about making this country better in a more progressive way that he will support Secretary Clinton and he is in a tough spot. She's gotten 3 million more votes than him, he knows in his head ...

TASINI: He's not there.

QUINN: ... he can't win, but his heart ...

TASINI: Like in there.

QUINN: ... his heart is telling him something different.

BERMAN: Hang on, hang on Jonathan. OK, you guys work out this part during the commercial because you are coming back, hang on, we have to take a break. Everyone stay with us.

Up next, why some of Bernie Sanders supporters are vowing to do something that a lot of people would think would be unthinkable, vote for Donald Trump.

Also breaking news, multiple tornadoes on the ground in the Midwest. We'll have the latest ahead.


[20:41:41] BERMAN: More now on the Democratic battle for the White House. Hillary Clinton holding a rally right now in Riverside, California. Again we're watching to see if she mentions anything about Donald Trump's latest attacks on her and Bill Clinton.

California's primary two weeks away, 475 delegates at stake, the largest prize in the Democratic race. Secretary Clinton and her opponent Bernie Sanders each spending a lot of time a lot of money, in that state.

Back now with our panel, including Bernie Sanders campaign manager Jeff Weaver who joins us live from Vermont. I'm talking about California Jeff but before we get to California you got to go through apparently Kentucky again. Your campaign has asked for a re-canvass of the votes in Kentucky. This is not something you did in Missouri in March even though the margin was closer there. So why you do at Kentucky?

WEAVER: Well just thought given the closeness of the race that it was important to have a re-canvass. This is not a full recount but a re- canvass just to make sure that there weren't, you know, any transposed numbers or other kinds of sort of administrative errors. So it's not an overly burn somewhere a long process and we hope it will be over soon but we wanted to make sure given the closeness of the race, and the ability to have a re-canvass was opposed to poll recount that we could make sure -- just make sure that the numbers are right.

BERMAN: All right, Alex Burns, California, big, big prize. Also potentially a big embarrassment for Hillary Clinton if she losses, I mean polls I've seen have her ahead there right now, but if she were to lose and still clench the nomination that day including super delegate how much of a problem would that be?

ALEX BURNS, NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER NEW YORK TIMES: Look, I think that would be a big embarrassment. I think it's unlikely eventuality, the polls in California have -- have not shown her ahead by shown her hear by pretty steady margin entries sort of in the 55 to 58 percent range and so with the low 40s.

This is a state that just, you know, it's fundamental it looks like states that she has won in the past but that doesn't mean this isn't a significant hurdle that Clinton still has to clear that I think a lot of Democrats around here and Chris might be able to confirm this would say that, you know, they would have hoped that they would not have to spend money in California, they have not to spend field time, TV time and of Senator Sanders now putting over $1 million in area in California, it's a drop box ...

BERMAN: Yeah million bucks.

BURNS: As California air time goes but, you know, I think the Clinton backers would might be prefer that number be zero.

BERMAN: All right, Jonathan, I want to ask you about Donald Trump if I might.


BERMAN: You know, Donald Trump is going after Hillary Clinton going after Bill Clinton very, very hard right now. We've been talking about how Hillary and Bill are responding to it or not responding to it. I'm just curious from the outside which you are right now as a Sander supporter do you think he's handling she's handling it the right way.

TASINI: Well, let me just go correct one thing ...

BERMAN: You're not going to answer my question.

TASINI: I will answer your question.

BERMAN: All right.

TASINI: But I want to correct a numbers thing. No one is clenching this nomination before the convention.

BERMAN: All right without ...


TASINI: No, no, I think this is important because we keep repeating this, these were men and after California after D.C. neither those candidates are going to have enough pledged delegates, neither Secretary Clinton or Bernie Sanders, we will not know who the nominee is until we're on the floor and the superdelegates are ...


BERMAN: When Barack Obama finished the primaries ...

TASINI: I'm just pointing ... (CROSSTALK)

BERMAN: And when Barack Obama shall the primaries against Hillary Clinton in 2008 ahead but a lot less than Hillary Clinton is ahead including the superdelegates, would you have said he was the presumptive nominee then, maybe not the word clenched. Would say ...

TASINI: All I'm saying is we will not know who the nominee is and we are going to make the ...


[20:45:00] TASINI: No, because we're going to -- well Hillary Clinton conceded. Bernie Sanders is not conceding because we believe that an argument should be made at the convention to the superdelegates about who is the strongest candidate to take this to the general election and defeat Donald Trump. And I think the polls are showing who is the strongest candidate. So let's say and I don't think this is a terrible thing that we wait until the convention until the end of July to have this out to have -- with the let the delegates have their say.

BERMAN: All right guys, thank you very much dispute the discussion on all fronts I appreciate it.

As we keep our eye on that Hillary Clinton rally just when you might think you've seen everything in this election there is a new twist, a new "Washington Post" poll from ABC News as well, suggests that 20 percent of Bernie Sanders voters would actually back Donald Trump not Hillary Clinton in a potential November match up.

So we went sent our Gary Tuchman to a Bernie Sanders rally today to find out what's going on, this is what he discovered.


GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Bernie Sanders most loyal supporters are conceding nothing.

Do you still think he can get the nomination?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If he can win California I think we get the nomination.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, Bernie or burst.

TUCHMAN: If the Sanders supporters here in Anaheim, California are wrong, Hillary Clinton would certainly like him likely need to have their votes but many here have doubts about her integrity and trustworthiness. The animosity cannot be overlooked.

If Hillary Clinton faces Donald Trump in November who would you vote for?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well you have your choice between the corrupt and stupid so I'll take Hillary.

TUCHMAN: For Hillary Clinton at least that means speared an endorsements equal a vote. Other Sanders supporters here won't even consider it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I could vote third-party and I could write in Bernie Sanders.

TUCHMAN: If Bernie Sanders doesn't get the nomination I know you still hope he will and Hillary Clinton faces Donald Trump in November, who will you vote for?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't think anyone here cares about Hillary Clinton. Nobody here but you guys. No one here cares about Hillary Clinton.

TUCHMAN: There are people who would care, that's not you and that's my question for you though, what do you do in November?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't think anyone here cares about Hillary Clinton.

TUCHMAN: What do you want to say?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is the movement -- this, you know, if she wins great this is the last time she's going to win.

TUCHMAN: And some Sanders supporters dislike her so much.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm probably vote Donald Trump.

TUCHMAN: They are considering doing what many others here consider unthinkable.

What is the reason you would vote for Donald Trump?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I guess is to not vote for Hillary Clinton.

TUCHMAN: The fact is there are Sanders supporters here who care very much about the Democratic Party and the party not losing the White House.

If he doesn't get the nomination and it's Hillary Clinton against Donald Trump, who would you vote for in November?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Definitely Hillary. Definitely Hillary.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No choice there, we got Hillary.

TUCHMAN: But the atmosphere here while anti-Trump was also anti- Clinton.

SANDERS: What if it's not just -- it is not just Donald Trump. My Democratic opponent Secretary Clinton. TUCHMAN: There are still more than 5 1/2 months to go until the general election, but what stands out now is this, many of the Hillary Clinton criticisms that come from Bernie Sanders supporters at this rally are identical to the criticisms of Hillary Clinton from Trump supporters in one of his rallies.

SANDERS: We're going to march out with the Democratic nomination.

TUCHMAN: Here in Anaheim, Bernie Sanders is still the one and only for most of these people.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Never Hillary, never Trump. That's a waste of all of our time.


BERMAN: All right Gary Tuchman joins us now. Gary, everybody is watching Bernie Sanders was very, very closely to see what he says about Hillary Clinton and if his tone changes. So did he have anything more conciliatory to say today?

TUCHMAN: Well, he didn't say much about Hillary Clinton but when he spoke about her fundraising and her Wall Street ties there was lots of booing among his supporters but not surprisingly he was tougher on Donald Trump. He talked about if he gets the Democratic nomination, he said that Donald Trump is quote, "toast".

His supporters went wild when he said that. Bernie Sanders is certainly still at full throttle. John?

BERMAN: Gary Tuchman, thank you so much.

Just ahead breaking news, in the latest firestorm to consume the VA, what the VA secretary is now saying after comparing veteran long waits for medical care to lines at Disney parks.

And more breaking news multiple tornadoes on the ground in the Midwest. We're checking getting the latest, next.


[20:52:13] BERMAN: All right, breaking news right now from the Midwest for a multiple tornadoes have been touching down this evening. Meteorologist Jennifer Grey joins us from the CNN Weather Center. Jennifer, what's the latest.

JENNIFER GREY, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Well John, it's been an incredible hour and a half. We have seen eight or nine tornadoes touch down out of one storm and they have really been threading the needle if you will, missing places like Dodge City. If we just on the south and then west side and so because of that we haven't had reports of much damage.

A semi overturned and then one metal building destroyed. But we haven't heard any reports of injuries which is an excellent news, we are still seeing a lot of these storms in progress, about half a dozen tornado warnings still in progress in the Kansas area and they are pushing to the north and so it is still going to be a rough couple of hours. We're hoping that these storms will start to line up a little bit better.

Once that happens they should start to lose some of that intensity but you can see the storms are now north of Dodge City. Many of these in open fields but we are still watching them very, very closely. It's been an active evening and it's going to continue to be that way over the next couple of hours.

BERMAN: Right.

GREY: We still have this tornado warning in place until 8:00 essential time for Ellis and Rush County. John?

BERMAN: All right, Jennifer Grey, thank so much, we're going to keep our eye on that throughout the evening.

We have more breaking news, tonight a story that has made a lot of heads spin over the last 24 hours, Veteran Affair Secretary Bob McDonald says he regrets comparing the long wait times or veterans seeking medical care VA facilities to lines at Disney Amusement Parks.

Our Drew Griffin's reporting over the last several years is shows that veterans have died while waiting for care.

Well some VA facilities try to cover up the long waits, there have been hearings and investigations. The former VA secretary resigned and now the man who replaced him is under his fire from both sides of the aisle. Drew Griffin joins me now.

First of all Drew, you know, he has a new statement. What's he saying now?

DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: Well this new statement which follows another statement from this morning has taken a while. He made these comments yesterday but he did try to walk back his comment what somewhat this morning tumble in the attempt in which he said, if I was misunderstood if I said the wrong thing I'm glad that I have the opportunity to correct it.

John, by this afternoon he must have realized he really said the wrong thing, because he released a sort of an apology and I like to read it, it's was never my intention he says to suggest that I don't take our mission of serving veterans seriously. If my comments Monday led to any veterans to believe that I or the dedicated workforce I'm privilege to lead don't take that noble mission seriously, I deeply regret that. I bet he does.

BERMAN: That comment, I mean, you know, he's faced so much criticism for this and justifiably so in some cases.

GRIFFIN: Yeah, and he said he was in this round table discussion yesterday morning with a bunch of reporters and the reporters like we have are trying to figure out how the VA measures wait times and it was kind of a deep conversation about, you know, the various measures they have centered around this create date for appointments and then he just kind of like defensively said these, well this wait times don't really matter and then he said this as an analogy to explain it.


[20:55:14] SEC. ROBERT MCDONALD, VETERANS AFFAIR: What really counts is how does a veteran feel about their encounter with the VA. We go to Disney, do they measure the number of hours you wait in line or the number -- you know, what's important? What's important is what's your satisfaction with the experience.


BERMAN: And now Drew there are people calling for his resignation.

GRIFFIN: Yeah, that that did not go over well at all with lawmakers. They've called for his resignation, they've called for some of a explanation, veterans groups weighed in including the American legion, and I think Dale Barnett the American Legion National commander, really kind of summed up the outrage and what this is all about, when he wrote, you know, people don't die while waiting to go on space mountain.

You know, I don't need to remind you John that our vets did die waiting in line for health care at the VA. Bob McDonald's brought in to fix that and his comments yesterday have a lot of people questioning whether he's really sincere about the duty to do just that, to fix the VA.

BERMAN: All right Drew Griffin, your reporting on this continues, you know, to push things forward and be very, very. Drew Griffin thanks so much.

We'll be right back.


BERMAN: Both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump getting ready to take the stage tonight. Hillary Clinton is in California. Donald Trump he is in New Mexico.

[21:00:01] We're watching to see if they address the claims that have gone back and forth really reaching a fever pitch today. Stay tuned for that. Also covers the Washington primary later this evening.

"CNN TONIGHT" with Don Lemon, starts now.