Return to Transcripts main page
AT THIS HOUR WITH BERMAN AND MICHAELA
Polls Have Clinton and Trump Separated By Two Points; Trump to Visit U.K. This Month; Iraq Veteran Floated As Independent Candidate; Ex-Employees Claim "Trump University" Preyed On Elderly and Uneducated; Officials Say EgyptAir Black Box Signal Detected; Mitch McConnell Says Trump Should Release His Tax Returns; Obama To Weigh In On 2016 "Choice" Today. Aired 11-11:30a ET
Aired June 1, 2016 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[11:00:00] DONALD TRUMP, (R) PRESUMPTIVE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I have raised a tremendous amount of money for the vets.
HILLARY CLINTON, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It took a reporter to shame him into actually making his contribution.
TRUMP: Find out how much Hillary Clinton has given to the veterans, nothing.
CLINTON: He's attacking everybody, fellow Republicans, Democrats, you just name it.
TRUMP: You think I'm going to change? I'm not changing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Hello everyone, I'm John Berman.
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Hi everyone, I'm Kate Bolduan. Happening right now, the British are coming. And the French too. Well, yes. The metaphor is far from perfect but stay with us.
Donald Trump announcing this morning his first overseas trip as the presumptive GOP nominee. He'll heading to the U.K. later this month to visit his new golf resort there, the same U.K. whose prime minister called Trump's Muslim ban, "stupid and divisive and wrong".
BERMAN: Also this morning, a new CNN poll of polls shows Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, the race is wicked close. Hillary Clinton's at 45 percent, Donald Trump at 43 percent. That is a statistical term, wicked close.
This is a huge change for me a month ago when many polls show Clinton with a double digit lead, obviously this race looking a lot closer than ever. Let's bring in CNN Executive Editor of Politics, Mark Preston. Mark, this morning we learned as Kate is saying that Donald Trump, he is going to the U.K. Donald Trump not exactly a tour of European capitals, he's going to reopen his golf course in Scotland, in Turnberry June 24. MARK PRESTON, CNN POLITICS EXECUTIVE EDITOR: Right. And only a Trump
way where he would use a foreign trip to go and check on his business properties, so to speak. But he is going over there at a very interesting time, you know, they'll be the vote on the E.U. and I think we'll get the results, right, on the day that he arrives and can we imagine the press conference that Donald Trump would have on that day depending on what happens on the E.U.
BOLDUAN: And also, what -- the London mayor, the British Prime Minister, I mean, there's a whole lot, then a lot of people are going to be waiting to see how it plays out when he goes over there, right?
PRESTON: Yeah, no doubt. And they'll certainly be asked about his presence over there as well. The question I think we'll be looking for is will he add on to this trip? Will we see Donald Trump head over to Israel, perhaps, will he head over to some other Middle Eastern countries. Will he go over to the Soviet Republic or something like that, I mean does he do something along those lines to meet with his new best friend, of course over there.
BERMAN: Well to London, I think the basic question -- one of the basic questions will he go to, you know, to London at all? I mean, you know, David Cameron has made clear that, you know, presumptive nominees are nominees at that point can go I guess (inaudible) simply presumptive. They're welcome, he visited 10 Downing Street, he will meet with them. That would be interesting to see.
BOLDUAN: So, what about the French? The David French, Mark Preston, this is -- we finally now know the name, maybe know who the man is, a little bit, a lot of people don't know who he is. And this is the white knight, the conservative alternative that Bill Kristol and other conservatives have been working and floating and trying to get -- to enter into the race. What do we know about David French?
PRESTON: Well, we know that he's from Tennessee, he's a writer for the National Review, which is a competing publication ironically to the Weekly Standard which is Bill Kristol's publication, constitutional scholar, somebody who quit his job and went and fought for the U.S. I believe was in Iraq.
What's Interesting about French though is that he wouldn't be unable to get on every ballot right now. So could he be a legitimate candidate? Erick Erickson, who was a very important thought leader among social conservatives wrote this morning that he spoke to David French on Monday evening, he said knew of him but did not know him. And he thought that David French wasn't ready for this to be released this early, that this got out ahead of him.
Now, David French, in order for him to actually run is going to have to raise an incredible amount of money, he'll have to have the backing of the likes of Erick Erickson and what have you. But Erick Erickson does raise an interesting point though. He says, maybe we don't get behind an alternative to Donald Trump, maybe we let Donald Trump go out there and run, doesn't get our support and if Donald Trump loses, Donald Trump loses because Donald Trump was unable to win as opposed to social conservatives and conservatives putting up another candidate that could then be blamed for having the Democrats win the White House in November.
BERMAN: Interesting to see you, Mark Preston, thanks so much. cLet's talk with someone now who knows David French. Jim Garrity, he's contributing editor of the conservative national review online joins us now. Jim, you know, you've been tweeting like crazy about David French over the last 24 hours. Obviously you know him, do you have a sense of how seriously he's taking this?
JIM GARRITY, CONTRIBUTING EDITOR, NATIONAL REVIEW ONLINE: Very seriously. You know, the past couple of days he hadn't been showing up for the national review morning conference call. Where is he? What's he doing? Has he got something going on? It's not like he's running for president or something.
[11:04:52] And apparently he says as of this morning, he is seriously thinking about it, no decision has been made. It's kind of an unusual situation and that obviously that the hurdles are pretty considerable never mind your name I.D., fund raising, getting his name on the ballot as I think you guys mentioned that the deadline is passed in Texas. So he'd have to run as a write-in. it's considerable but having said all of that, you know, I think the world of David French, he's the kind of guy you feel lucky to have him as your neighbor, but never mind as your president. And so I'm sure he is, you know, thinking about it, his family is thinking about it and he's go a, you know, an enormous task before him and we'll see in a couple of days what he decides to do with it.
BOLDUAN: Absolutely. A couple of days, you think that's kind of the time line you're looking at or when he's going to decide if he jumps in or not?
GARRITY: Well, I mean here's the thing. You're seeing this warm reception all across Twitter last night, a lot of people saying who? He doesn't even have a Wikipedia page, how on earth could this guy run for president. No, he's only got a bronze star, that's all.
You know, and again I think extremely highly of the guy and almost anybody who's worked with him or knows him probably speak very highly. If you want to say he hasn't run anything, that's a fair charge. He's never been to elected to elected office but then again neither has the republican nominee and a lot are saying they don't want a politician they won't want somebody who spent their lives in government.
BERMAN: You've been saying Jim, pretty consistently you don't want Donald Trump, you know, you're pretty clear about that. What does David French, if he were to get in, what would he do to the race right there? I mean, you don't think David French could win, do you?
GARRITY: Well, look when your friend goes into a million in one shot you back your friend at a million to one shot. Of course, he's got a huge obstacles to -- ahead of him and, you know, I think it's pretty clear, he wouldn't necessarily want to jump in just to -- there's nothing self-promotional about David French, it says something that I'm talking to you and if he is not.
I think he's probably still thinking about this very heavily right now. Can he win? Look, a lot of huge things would have to come together for it. I saw a tweet from Mitt Romney last night, who is kind of generically positive about him. Now, would, you know, an independent conservative candidate have an easier time getting on the ballot and accumulating the financial resources and doing all that stuff with their neighbor Mitt Romney or sure.
If their name were Ben Sasse, the Nebraska Senator it'd be a lot easier, but apparently they've indicated they're totally not interested in doing this, none of these other candidates, these retired generals are being mentioned. Right now the only person who seems seriously considering this is David French, so, you know, that's the option. At least that would be a choice I'd be able to make and mark down with pride and, you know, look my kids in the eye and say I've made the right choice rather than voting for, you know, incoherent, authoritarian populus demagogue as the Republicans have chosen the nominee of this year.
BOLDUAN: What do you think of -- when Mark Preston points out Eric Erickson, you know him. He wrote that he also would gladly support David French but he also wrote this, more and more I wonder if for the good of the conservative movement we should watch Trump fall on his own instead of providing in a conservative scapegoat. What do you say of that?
GARRITY: Sure. Can you picture shortly after the November elections if Donald Trump goes out there and says, you know, I could have won, I nearly beat Hillary except for that David French character. If had hadn't come and screwed it all up, I would have done just fine. I think if Donald Trump is elected president, he's going to do it on his own merits and if he fails to win and get the 270 electoral votes it will be on his own merits.
I don't think David wants to play spoiler here and I don't think, you know, I don't think there's any real effort to see a Ralph Nader on the right for this time around. I think, you know, every vote is got to be earned.
BERMAN: Well, That's the question though, isn't it? Right, I mean if you really want to stop Trump at all cost then having a spoiler would do that, wouldn't it?
GARRITY: Yeah. Well, and look for a lot of conservatives, this election is you can pick your metaphor, the Iran/Iraq war, the South Park mascot contest, two terrible choices. Yeah, they want to stop Trump but a lot of people use the possibility of electing Hillary Clinton and four years of a Democratic status, "except maybe more corrupt." You know, they shudder at that too. So that's why they're hoping for a third option. That's why you've seen some polling looking pretty good from Gary Johnson and William Weld, the libertarian ticket. I think for a lot of folks who look at Donald Trump and find him unacceptable, a four more years of a Democratic White House does not work very much of an improvement that's why, you know, this previously little known National Review writer is going to be the story of the morning and who knows what the story will be in the coming days and weeks if, you know, if we don't have any better alternatives. BOLDUAN: All right, Jim says a couple of days and he's thinking about it seriously. Let us know, Jim because you'll probably know first. Thanks so much.
GARRITY: Thanks, guys.
BERMAN: The Attorney G eneral right there in the David French administration, Jim Garrity. Thank you ...
GARRITY: Let me get you a Shermanesque statement, never going to happen.
BERMAN: Secretary of the Interior you love trees, Jim, thank you so much for being with us.
BOLDUAN: He loves trees, there's your takeaway. Thanks.
GARRITY: Thanks for having me.
BERMAN: All right. Say to yourself. Donald Trump university former workers there calling for -- calling the for-profit real estate classes a total lie and a fraudulent scheme that prayed upon senior citizens and uneducated to take their money. That is according to newly unsealed court documents now, part of this class action lawsuit.
[11:09:56] BOLDUAN: Donald Trump's response to this ongoing lawsuit, he is slamming the judge in the case calling him just yesterday biased, bad, and very unfair. He also says that he's going to win this case.
For the latest, let's get to CNN's Phil Mattingly, he's here with us for much more on this. So, it's nearly 400 pages of documents, I believe. What have we -- What more are we learning? This lawsuit has been ongoing and going up for quite some time. What more do you think we're learning?
PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well what these documents really unveil is the sales and marketing tactics that were used to pursue students. And so, at the basis of these lawsuits is essentially that this was a scheme that didn't deliver what it was supposed to be. It's a fraudulent promise, more or less, coming under the Trump name.
Donald Trump was going to be heavily involved. He wasn't. Donald Trump was hand-selecting the instructors, he wasn't. The people that were taking these classes were going to become millionaires, most didn't if any did at all. And so you're looking at the playbook of the sales and marketing techniques that they used to go after.
One of the sales managers is quoted and his statement is saying this was a, "fraudulent scheme", a number of sales managers or sales employees became very uncomfortable and disenchanted with the way they were targeting individuals, challenging them to get people to max out their credit cards, people that were in had enough money to pay, but were in financial trouble and therefore became easy marks or easy targets. These were aggressive sales tactics, tactics that the lawyers for the people in the case, the plaintiffs in the case say underscore that this was not necessarily a learning institution or an institution that was out to help people but instead was an institution out solely to make money and in some cases cheat people out of that money.
Now, the issue with Donald Trump, is Trump has made clear that these are just a few disenchanted people. This isn't the broad spectrum of the entire people, 97 percent of the people who filled out surveys gave it 4.8 stars out of five or higher and the lawyers say they have depositions that are currently sealed that actually undercut many of what we saw yesterday.
They won't release those depositions right now, but what this really shows right now in these documents is Trump University an institution that promised riches, promised getting the middle man or the middle class into a different state didn't deliver.
BERMAN: But Phil, one point here, because you said, you know, he promised to be involved, he wasn't. He promised to pick the teachers, he didn't that's according to some of these papers now. But the Washington Post reports this morning that there are those who say he was involved in the marketing plan. What would that mean?
MATTINGLY: Well, Trump is more -- Trump is the marketing plan, right. Donald trump's name, Donald Trump's availability to the university. Donald Trump continuing to be the figure head, continuing to talk about Trump University, continuing to kind of layout the dynamic that the sales team would end up following was at the core of the process that was followed by the university's, by the for-profit schools team more or less. And so Trump's involvement in the day to day, nonexistent, Trump's involvement over the top kind of being the driving force behind how the university operated, how it's people acted including at sales and marketing team, very much in kind of line with that.
BOLDUAN: OK, great to see you Phil, thank you so much. A lot to get to get through through those documents and not going away that's for sure.
So what does team Trump have to say about these newly released documents from the Trump University law suit and what about David French? We're going to ask Donald Trump's senior adviser coming up next.
BERMAN: Plus Hillary Clinton could lose, not to Donald Trump in the general election but to Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primary. This is according to a former adviser to President Bill Clinton. What does the Clinton campaign say about that now?
And then, breaking right now, we may be a step closer to finding out exactly why EgyptAir flight 804 fell into the sea. French officials say they have detected a signal from one of the black boxes. That's coming up.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [11:17:29] BERMAN: Does Donald Trump have a problem with the French? David French? The Never Trump Movement is now naming names.
BOLDUAN: A conservative writer, that name is a conservative writer. Something could derail the Trump Train or for some conservatives, they hope that happens.
Let's talk about this now with Donald Trump's Senior Campaign Adviser, Barry Bennet, who's joining us here. Barry, it's great to see you. Thank you so much.
So, all jokes aside on the last name, David French, how concerning is he to the campaign as a candidate?
BARRY BENNETT, TRUMP'S SENIOR CAMPAIGN ADVISER: I think, you know, we all said collectively, who? You know, I mean, he isn't much of a threat I think if this is as good as they could do, it's not really going to do very well.
BERMAN: Even if all he gets, you know, is 1 percent, you know, 1 percent, 2 percent, 0.5 percent in a swing state, you know, we're old enough to remember what happened in Florida in 2000. Barry, you can make a difference there.
BENNETT: Same thing as (inaudible).?
BERMAN: If, you know, if conservatives, you know, if a lot of movement conservatives, the likes of which, we've been hearing, you know, Jim Garrity and, you know, Bill Kristol, others, Erick Erickson. If they were to get behind and could he pull that much and could he change the race?
BENNETT: You know, I mean, it seems to me that if their desire is to suck off 2 percent to 3 percent of the vote to try to change the outcome, then that's pretty dastardly. I mean, I don't get what the endgame is here. They're not playing for a win, now they're only talking about ...
BOLDUAN: The endgame is to stop Trump.
BENNETT: Yes, but to do elect Hillary, that's the endgame, which is astounding to me. So that's why I don't think it will gain any traction. You know, no one's going to purposely do something to help Hillary Clinton get in the White House if they control the Supreme Court. This is not going to happen.
BOLDUAN: Have you guys -- This is driven largely, there's a group but largely driven by Bill Kristol, the editor of the Weekly Standard first, have you guys through at all, maybe not now, maybe it's past the point of reconciliation. Have you reached out to Bill Kristol to talk to him, to try to smooth things over, to try to get him to stop?
BENNETT: No, I mean, there's not a lot that we can do. I mean, Bill's going to do this, what Bill wants to do. But I mean, everybody that I know that's talking to Bill is not affiliated with the campaign is telling him how stupid this is, including all the people that he tried to recruit to get to run. So I don't know, I mean, I can't imagine this really happens.
BERMAN: Let's move on to the people who are running, namely Donald Trump right now. In the majority lead of the Senate, Mitch McConnel, who has been supportive of this campaign, right? Because he has a new book out, he's been talking a lot. He says, Mitch McConnel does that Donald Trump should release his tax.
[11:20:02] And he says for the last 30 or 40 years, every candidate for president has to release their tax returns and Donald Trump should as well.
This is a key leader in your own party. Well, now that he's come forward, Donald Trump hasn't given the details of the veterans' NATO donations. Is it time to come forward with the tax returns?
BENNETT: Well, like he said, he said this all along. We got to get through this audit and then he's happy to release some portion of his taxes.
BOLDUAN: But Mitch McConnel, he understands all of those things. But he still thinks that he should release them.
BENNETT: Well, I don't think privileged to the audit letters or to the talks with Mr. Trump's attorneys and accountants. I mean, generally, Mr. McConnel is saying what happened last 30 years, right? Candidates released some portion of their taxes. Mr. Trump is willing to do that but we got to get through this audit first.
BERMAN: Why? Well, what doesn't he want people to find out? What doesn't he want the auditors to find out?
BENNETT: Well, no, no. It's just, what is it that people don't know? I mean ...
BOLDUAN: A lot.
BENNETT: But what is that? I mean, whether he's worth -- is he worth $7 billion or $11 billion?
BENNETT: Oh, that's the brilliant question?
BOLDUAN: That matters to Donald Trump, probably more than anybody else.
BENNETT: But (inaudible) anybody else, right?
BOLDUAN: What do we expect in tax rates? What did he pay in taxes? How much did he give to charity? All of those things are important things the people see.
BENNETT: Well, I mean, he's been audited so we know he's paying the proper amount of taxes, we know that. But, you know, this is again, it's a big hubba hubba about a non-media issue.
BERMAN: If it's nothing, better release them?
BENNETT: Well, I think that's exactly what he wants to do once he gets through this audit.
BOLDUAN: ... on the Trump University documents that were released yesterday, this one -- a lot came out. One thing includes this, one sales manager for Trump University, he called Trump University a fraudulent scheme, saying his quote, "It preyed upon the elderly and uneducated to separate them from their money." How does Donald Trump defend that?
BENNETT: Well, this is a guy who's suing Donald Trump for money. There are also lots of depositions in there about how great the program was. You know, there are certainly a group of handful of these people who are trying to sue him for money in the middle of the presidential election now. And they're leveraging everything they can to get some attention and put pressure on Mr. Trump to write them a check. He's not going to do that.
BERMAN: Did he say a lot about the Trump University?
BENNETT: I don't think Trump University exist.
BERMAN: If it existed, would you have sent, you know, a child or a recommend it going? What would you learn at Trump University?
BENNETT: I don't know. All I know is about, you know, there are stacks and stacks and stacks of people who say how great it was. They all signed these evaluations at the end of the course. Now, even we've got some guys who are suing him for money and say bad things. But, you know, it's a presidential year, I expect that.
BOLDUAN: Do you think they're trying to get attention?
BENNETT: Well, they're trying to get money and attention, sure.
BERMAN: What's the judge doing? The judge doesn't want money or attention.
BENNETT: Well, he's getting a lot of attention.
BERMAN: He's not getting money.
BENNETT: He's not getting money but he's getting lots of attention. But I don't think this case is going anywhere.
BOLDUAN: So, OK. Barry, great to see you, thank you so much.
BENNETT: See you, guys.
BOLDUAN: So, right now, President Obama, he is getting ready to deliver a big speech in the Midwest, a wonderful state known as Indiana. And we're told that he's not going to hold back either when it comes to the state of the presidential race. Details on the speech, what he's going to be talking about, that's coming up. BERMAN: Plus, can Bernie Sanders really take the Democratic nomination? A former adviser to Bill Clinton now thinks so. His case for a Clinton loss and a response from team Clinton just ahead.
[11:27:46] BOLDUAN: In just a few hours, President Obama will be speaking in Elkhart, Indiana, right next door to my hometown, Goshen, Indiana. And in his first -- It will be his first major step into the 2016 race. He expected -- He's expected to weigh in on why a Democrat should be his successor.
BERMAN: Notably snubbing Goshen, Indiana. Where (inaudible).
BOLDUAN: Don't want to make it personal, Mr. Obama but -- President Obama, but I'm just kidding.
BERMAN: Why did he go into Elkhart? Well, it was one of his first trips after he became president, way back in 2009. So this is a return visit right now. But there is much more in store today than just talking about the economy, talking about Elkhart, he's going to talk about the upcoming presidential race.
CNN Correspondent Athena Jones is at the White House right now. What's in store, Athena?
ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi guys. Well, you know, Elkhart seems to be a favorite stop of the president. This is his fifth stop, his fifth trip to Elkhart. He made his first visit back in February of 2009 to tout the economic stimulus package that was ahead of Congress about the Recovery Act. And so now, he's going back because the White House sees Elkhart as a symbol of the recovery.
And this is something he likes talking about a lot. He likes talking about his economic record. He likes talking about his overall record. And he also likes drawing contrast between his record and his policies, Democratic policies and those being offered by the other side. So, we don't expect to hear him mention any candidate by name but it's very clear he's going to lay out what's at stake in this election. And he sees it as a high stakes choice. I mean, he has his own legacy to protect.
And so, in Elkhart, when it comes to the economy, we'll likely hear him tout -- lay out some of the statistics he's been laying out lately, which is for instance, at April was the 74th month of consecutive private sector job growth. American businesses have created 15 million jobs since the recovery began.
Elkhart itself has seen its unemployment rate fall from nearly 20 percent when he visited in 2009 down to 4 percent -- around 4 percent today, which is below, as you know, the national average. And so, he'll talk about the successes of his economic policies. But then he'll also talk about what's necessary going forward, which is, in his mind, of course, to have a Democrat elected as president. He'll probably draw a contrast with Republicans not only in Congress but in this race, the presumptive Republican nominee, though not likely naming Trump by name. Guys?
[11:30:05] BERMAN: All right, Athena Jones, thank you so much.
BOLDUAN: Let's bring in right now Kristina Schake. She's Deputy Communications Director for Hillary Clinton's campaign. Kristina, thank you so much for coming in.
KRISTINA SCHAKE, DEPUTY COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: Hi. It's such a pleasure to be here.