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CNN NEWSROOM

Obama Says World Leaders Baffled by Trump; Trump Sharpens Attacks on Clinton E-mails; States Sue Over Obama's Transgender Directive; United Auto Workers Union Endorses Clinton. Aired 10-10:30a ET

Aired May 26, 2016 - 10:00   ET

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


[10:00:00] SUE BOY: I was so excited and overwhelmed. A lot of like stereotype, like, you know, like, me, Asian rappers, they look and cute girls. And you know, people don't know --

OBAMA: Is that what they're thinking?

MOOS: Sue Boy says she taught herself English, rapping along with Eminem. He curses so much she says that's why her English is bad and rude.

And how does she rate President Obama's beat boxing?

OBAMA: Do you need like a little beat?

SUE BOY: He tried it.

MOOS: Hey, beats beating this box.

Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

PAMELA BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: She might be my new hero.

The next hour of CNN NEWSROOM begins right now.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The world pays attention to the U.S. elections.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I want to run against Hillary, not me, I just want to run against her. It could be we're going to run against crazy Bernie.

OBAMA: Let voters make up their minds and during primaries people get a little grumpy with each other.

TRUMP: Let me tell you something, if she wins, and I hope she doesn't, you'll have nothing but four more years of Obama and you can't take that.

HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I have turned over all of my e-mails. No one else can say that. It's not an issue that is going to affect either the campaign or my presidency.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: Well, good Thursday morning. I'm Pamela Brown in for Carol Costello. Thanks so much for spending a part of your morning with us.

President Obama hammers Donald Trump on the world stage. The commander-in-chief blasting the presumptive Republican nominee accusing him of being ignorant when it comes to global affairs, and saying this about world leaders.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: They're rattled by him. And for good reason. He does a lot of the proposals that he's has made display either ignorance of world affairs or a cavalier attitude, or an interest in getting tweets and headlines, instead of actually thinking through what it is that is required to keep America safe.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: The president's blistering remarks coming during a news conference in Japan where world leaders are meeting for the G-7 Summit.

And of course we are following all of this with our team of political experts. But let's begin with CNN's senior Washington correspondent Joe Johns.

Good morning to you, Joe.

JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Pamela. President's remarks tracking with polls that suggest voter uncertainty about Donald Trump's handling of military and foreign policy issues, and this, by the way, is one of those areas where voters have suggested former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has the edge over Trump should she become the Democratic Party's nominee. So it's a vulnerability for Trump.

The president suggesting that Trump's more unusual policy proposals were more about getting tweets and headlines than thinking things through. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: They are paying very close attention to this election. I think it's fair to say that they are surprised by the Republican nominee. They are not sure how seriously to take some of his pronouncements.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JOHNS: Trump supporters already taking issue and pushing back on the president's comments, including Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions this morning on CNN suggesting that Donald Trump's sometimes unorthodox views on certain policy matters are either potentially negotiating points or things that could breathe new life into international relations, Pamela.

BROWN: Is there any evidence to show that world leaders are, in fact, rattled by Trump?

JOHNS: I think you can use a lot of words when you look at the situation around the world and there are some countries that tend to look at Donald Trump's comments in the context of shifts in American foreign policy more generally. However, there have been some visceral reactions, if you will, to Trump, including one from the government of Mexico when Trump talks so much about building a wall.

And there's also the brand new mayor of London who has reacted very viscerally to some of Trump's comments about Muslims. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MAYOR SADIQ KHAN, LONDON: Donald Trump and his team, their views on Islam are ignorant. I'm quite clear that, yes, of course, it's the case that there are a small number of people who do horrible, atrocious things, that commit acts of terror, they're terrorists. My point about what Donald Trump is saying is he inadvertently playing into the extremists' hands by giving the impression that Western values are incompatible with mainstream Islam.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JOHNS: What is interesting also I think as you watch this presidential campaign, important to say that some other candidates, notably Hillary Clinton and even Bernie Sanders, have made some policy shifts, too, on international relations, particularly on the issue of trade.

[10:05:06] So not as much certainly as Donald Trump, but I think that's important to point out, Pamela.

BROWN: All right, Joe Johns, thank you so much for your reporting there.

And Donald Trump also sharpening his attacks, preparing for a long brawl for the White House. His target, Hillary Clinton and the Obama administration, has given him some fresh material.

CNN's Jason Carroll is here with more. And he's not only setting his sights on them, on the Democrats, also some Republicans, right?

JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. And you know what, look, at the end of the day Hillary Clinton would want this whole e- mail scandal situation to go away. She says it's not going to affect her campaign, but having said that, Donald Trump still hammering Hillary Clinton on that report from the State Department's inspector general.

The report very critical of Clinton for using her personal e-mail account to do government business when she was secretary of state. Just this morning Trump tweeting, "The inspector general's report on crooked Hillary is a disaster. Such bad judgment and temperament cannot be allowed in the White House."

Trump driving the point home during his rally yesterday in Anaheim.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: She had a little bad news today, as you know, from some reports came down that weren't so good, but not so good. The inspector general's report, not good.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARROLL: Clinton once again finding herself in the position of having to defend her actions saying she did the same thing her predecessor did.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CLINTON: Well, there may be reports that come out, but nothing has changed. It's the same story. Just like previous secretaries of state, I used a personal e-mail. Many people did. It was not at all unprecedented. I have turned over all of my e-mails. No one else can say that.

I have been incredibly open about doing that, I will continue to be open, and it's not an issue that is going to affect either the campaign or my presidency.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARROLL: Although Bernie Sanders has said in the past enough with the Clinton e-mail story, he says we should just move beyond it, Trump says he's in step with Sanders who has questioned Clinton's judgment.

You know, when it comes to this whole Sanders-Trump sort of relationship, this sort of love-hate relationship, what is very clear about this, Trump is enjoying the fact that Sanders is still in the race, still a thorn in Clinton's side. So as long as Sanders is in this race, it's just good material for Trump.

BROWN: Absolutely. Now there's talk that the two want to debate each other, so we will see if that actually happens.

CARROLL: We'll see.

(LAUGHTER)

BROWN: We will see. Jason Carroll, thank you so much. We do appreciate it.

CARROLL: You bet.

BROWN: Let's talk about all of this with CNN political commentator and former Hillary Clinton presidential campaign manager Patti Solis Doyle. And we're also joined by CNN political commentator and Trump supporter Jeffrey Lord.

Great to see both of you. I want to go to you first, Jeffrey.

JEFFREY LORD, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Hello, Pam.

BROWN: Hello there. Because we just heard in Joe's report what the president said that world leaders are rattled and that some of Trump's comments display ignorance and the cavalier attitude when it comes to global affairs. What is your reaction to that?

LORD: Well, you know, as you know, I worked for Ronald Reagan and I heard more or less exactly the same kind of charge in 1980 about Ronald Reagan. That he was a cowboy, that he would get news us into a war, that world leaders were very concerned about his election and on and on and on it went.

What this really is about is insiders and outsiders. And Donald Trump is indeed an outsider not only in the American political system but in the international system, and insiders tend to like their own folks. So I understand what the game is here. Ronald Reagan was on outsider as well. So I really don't think there's much more to it than that.

BROWN: But he's made some incendiary remarks, Jeffrey. Are you concerned that his rhetoric is hurting the world view of the United States at all?

LORD: No, no, no. I think it's time that we have a different approach. Secretary Clinton is campaigning on her experience, and, of course, the question becomes her judgment. She has the experience. The question is, what did it do? What kind of judgment did it produce? And the judgments uniformly across the board have not been positive for the United States. So I think that's why so many people are responding to Donald Trump. They definitely want a change.

BROWN: Patti, I want to let you respond to what Jeffrey just said.

PATTI SOLIS DOYLE, FORMER HILLARY CLINTON PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN MANAGER: Yes, I just want to say that the fact that the president is in at the G-7 and reporting back that he's hearing from foreign leaders that they're rattled by Donald Trump and his, you know, outlandish ideas when it comes to foreign policy, whether it's having Mexico build a wall, having paid for a wall -- or excuse me, I'm losing my voice, or, you know, complimenting Kim Jong-un for killing his relatives or pulling out of NATO.

These are outlandish things that foreign leaders are kind of scratching their head at and shaking their head at frankly. So I don't think it's about insiders versus outsiders. I think it's about really having the ideas and the judgment to lead this country in the world.

[10:10:12] BROWN: Patti, I want to ask you to respond to the State Department report that came out yesterday that has really given ammo to Donald Trump. He immediately pounced on that to go after Hillary Clinton. Are you concerned that this report will only further perhaps diminish trust among voters with Hillary Clinton?

SOLIS DOYLE: You know, Hillary Clinton said that using her own server was a mistake and that if she had to do it over again, she wouldn't, and I believe she stands by that. It was a mistake. The IG report, if you look at it, really talked about systemic problems that the State Department has had prior to her being secretary of state. I think it cited something like 90 top officials using personal e-mails for government purposes. So --

BROWN: But it was unique that she had the private server. I think that's what it was saying that --

SOLIS DOYLE: It is. It absolutely is and Hillary Clinton has admitted that that was a mistake. But the reason I think that the -- this IG report is getting so much attention is because she's running for president and she's in the middle of a campaign and campaigns are about choices, and Hillary Clinton has devoted her life and her career to public service. She's put forward, you know, real ideas and a real vision to move this country forward, to make the lives of working- class Americans better, and Donald Trump is -- his vision is one of divisiveness and of hate.

And I think when voters are expected to choose, they're going to choose Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump in this election.

BROWN: And I have to ask you this, Jeffrey, because Donald Trump isn't just going after Hillary Clinton. He's going after popular people in his own party, Governor Susana Martinez, the governor of New Mexico among others. She's a woman, she's a Hispanic. He's not doing very well in both of those groups. Is that a smart strategy?

LORD: Well, I think the point here, and this is something that I think is a serious concern for the Republican Party. You have far too many people in the Republican Party who have gotten into this cancer of -- on the party that is identity politics. Governor Martinez, I'm sure she's a wonderful person, but she's not a Latina, as I have said before. She's an American. She's the governor of New Mexico.

One's race is not important nor should it ever be in this country. This country is built on ideas of freedom and liberty --

BROWN: But he gave false information. He said that she was allowing in all these refugees to New Mexico. That's not the case, in fact. In fact, she was part of 30 governors who said there needs to be more vetting before we let refugees in.

LORD: Yes. Well, I don't know what's happening here in New Mexico, but certainly the issue of allowing refugees in from the Middle East unvetted, which is what's happening, I mean there's no way possible to vet all of these folks, and we've seen that some of these people have come in in Europe and were responsible for the attack in Paris. I mean, common sense says that you don't do this kind of thing.

BROWN: Right, but he was going after her for that, even though she was one of the people, one of the governors who said, look -- was making the point you're just making. So --

LORD: Sure. Sure. OK. I mean, if that's what happened, that's what happened, but, I mean, you know, let's get to the politics of this. She's the governor of New Mexico, the Republican governor of New Mexico. Not to mention the chairman of the Republican Governors' Association. Her job, her job, let me emphasize, in that situation is to be at the side of the Republican presidential nominee when he shows up in her state.

She neglected her job, her role in that situation. So no wonder he's critical of her. If you're going to be a party leader, then you've got to take on the responsibility of being a party leader, and she neglected it.

SOLIS DOYLE: There is nothing different between what Susana Martinez is doing than what Paul Ryan is doing, and that is she's trying to make up her mind whether or not she's going to support and endorse Donald Trump.

I don't understand why Donald Trump is going after Governor Martinez so vehemently and sort of, you know, trying to woo Paul Ryan. Is it because he has a problem with strong women? I just don't understand that.

BROWN: All right. Jeffrey Lord, Patti Solis Doyle, thank you very much.

LORD: Thanks, Pam. Thanks, Patti.

SOLIS DOYLE: Thank you.

BROWN: And still ahead on this Thursday, the fight over where transgender students go to the bathroom could be headed to the Supreme Court. Eleven states now suing, billions of dollars on the line. I talk to Louisiana's attorney general about that suit up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[10:18:42] BROWN: Well, the fight over who can go to the bathroom where could go all the way to the Supreme Court. Officials from 11 states are now suing the White House. Their goal, overturning a directive that tells school districts to allow transgender students to use the restroom and locker room of their choice. The state is filing a 32-page lawsuit calling the policy a massive social experiment. The move could cost the states billions in federal education funding, but Texas' attorney general leading the charge.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KEN PAXTON, TEXAS ATTORNEY GENERAL: By forcing through his policies by executive action, President Obama has excluded the voice of the people. We stand today to the ensure that those voices are heard. This crosses socioeconomic lines, Republican-Democrat lines. This is about parents who are upset, grandparents who are upset, and they want to see -- they want to make sure that the safety of their children is taken care of.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: With me now to discuss is Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry.

Thank you so much for coming on. I want to just first go to the heart of this lawsuit that Louisiana was part of filing. It calls the Obama administration unlawful, this plan, this directive. Why is that?

JEFF LANDRY, LOUISIANA ATTORNEY GENERAL: Well, I mean, think about it. I'm the attorney general here in Louisiana and every day attorney generals from around the country are fighting things like rooting out public corruption. I have an entire section that deals with child predators, bringing child predators to justice, arresting them, and prosecuting them.

[10:20:10] And in every one at all levels of dealing with a huge heroin epidemic plaguing our society. And today we're talking about bathrooms? I mean, think about it. We're trying to change history here. I mean since multi-occupancy bathrooms were invented, they've always divided them to a man and a woman's bathroom. But yet here today, with all the problems in the nation, the president is talking about bathrooms.

I mean, in the 1960s, President Kennedy was talking about putting a man on the moon and today we're talking about putting boys in girls' bathrooms? I mean, again this is a complete overreach --

(CROSSTALK)

BROWN: The other side may say, well, who are you to say, you know, what gender is if it's what is on someone's birth certificate or what they identify with?

LANDRY: Well, because first of all with the president and our governor down here is trying to do is trying to usurp the process of the law. We have a process in this country under which we create these types of policies. They're trying to short circuit it.

Just two days ago in our state House, a bill that would create a special class for transgender was killed overwhelmingly in bipartisan support and yet our governor issues an executive order to try to trump that. Again, that is the problem we're facing here. We're not facing an issue where the president is trying to enforce current law or rights under the Constitution. They're trying to create law using executive fiat.

BROWN: Well, they say that this is all about Title 9, protecting -- making sure there's not discrimination on the basis of sex, and the lawsuit that Louisiana is part of says policy requiring students to use the bathroom corresponding with their birth gender protects children. Protects them from what?

LANDRY: Well, of course it protects them. I mean, think about it. These particular issues are going to affect 99.95 percent of the children out there and violate their rights with no demonstrable evidence to the fact that it purports to help the 0.05 percent that they're trying to shove this policy in place for.

BROWN: But -- LANDRY: You know, again, look, the president --

BROWN: Go ahead.

LANDRY: Look, you know, I would believe that the president and my governor believe they identify infallible, but I believe the law disagrees with them and I believe that the attorney generals from around the country who have stood up for this are saying look, there's a process in place and you all are violating that process.

BROWN: But I have to ask you this, what about the protection of transgender people. LGBT advocates point out that transgender women are disproportionately the victims of sexual assault. So what about if someone is born -- on their birth certificate, born a boy then becomes a girl and then is forced to use a boy's bathroom. So walking into a boy's bathroom as a girl, and that is essentially the policy that you're advocating for, that you say protects all these other children. But what about the transgender child?

LANDRY: Well, what about protecting those 99 percent of the children? You know earlier I said I'm talking about --

BROWN: Protecting them from what?

LANDRY: The section that I have that goes after -- well, look, again, think about what I've said earlier about protecting children from child predators. Again, when you -- and I'm not saying that any transgender falls into that particular class, but when you create these types of policies it has the ability to allow those who do prey on children, who do prey on them, to camouflage themselves and creates an environment that's difficult for law enforcement to protect those particular children.

That's one particular aspect. But, again, let's get back to the root of this. We are trying to identify something that biologically has already been separated over hundreds, thousands of years. There's been a complete difference in where the men or a woman in a multiple occupancy restroom go to the restroom.

BROWN: OK. Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry.

LANDRY: I mean, think about it. It's absolutely ridiculous.

BROWN: It's important to hear your perspective. Thank you very much for coming on our show.

LANDRY: Yes, ma'am.

BROWN: And explaining where you're coming from. We do appreciate it.

And still to come on this Thursday, a 2016 battle for rust belt voters is getting some help from the nation's top unions. Their goal? Make sure voters think twice before casting a ballot for Trump.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[10:28:45] BROWN: Well, good morning. I'm Pamela Brown in for Carol Costello. Thanks so much for joining me.

The best choice for our members and our nation, those are the words of the United Autoworkers Union, which has announced its endorsement of Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. The group saying in part that Trump, quote, "clearly does not support the economic failures or security of UAW family."

The UAW's endorsement comes amid a fierce battle for voters in the rustbelt and news that several major industrial unions will roll out a campaign to target potential Trump voters in key swing states.

Joining me now, Ron Brownstein, senior editor at the "Atlantic," and Tim Waters, national political director for the United Skilled Workers, which is part of that grassroots effort.

Great to have both of you on, gentlemen.

RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Good morning.

BROWN: Tim, first to you. Several top unions, including yours, have held off on endorsing any candidate in the 2016 campaign so far. So why speak out now?

TIM WATERS, NATIONAL POLITICAL DIRECTOR, UNITED SKILLED WORKERS: Well, you're right. We haven't endorsed and we've been out there in the battleground states talking to our members, visiting with them about the issues. They're under attack right now. We're an industrial union, the largest industrial union in North America, and our members, every day they go to work worrying about whether their plant, their mill is going to be there tomorrow. So we've been out there focusing on that right now.

BROWN: And how big of a deal is this for Donald Trump, Ron?