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AT THIS HOUR WITH BERMAN AND MICHAELA
Trump Attacks Judge Presiding over Trump University Case; Trump Insulted N.M. Governor But Wants Her Endorsement; Ryan Endorses Trump in Hometown Paper Op-Ed. Aired 11-11:30a ET
Aired June 3, 2016 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[11:00:00] PAMELA BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: Well, thank you so much for joining me today. I'm Pamela Brown, in for Carol Costello.
AT THIS HOUR with Berman and Bolduan starts right now. Have a great weekend.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON, (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE & FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: Trump's ideas aren't just different, they are dangerously incoherent.
DONALD TRUMP, (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE & CEO, TRUMP ORGANIZATION: It was pathetic. Supposed to be a foreign policy speech. It was a political speech.
CLINTON: Imagine if he had not just his Twitter account but America's entire arsenal.
TRUMP: My temperament is so much tougher and so much better than her temperament.
CLINTON: This is not someone who should ever have the nuclear codes.
TRUMP: Anything Obama wants, she's going forward with, because you know why? She doesn't want to go to jail, that's why, folks.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. Happy Friday. I'm Kate Bolduan. John Berman is on assignment today.
It sure looks like a long, hot summer ahead. It has nothing to do with the weather, everything to do with the politics. Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton both in California right now with a full slate of campaign events, and it is clear that they have formed, I guess, what we can consider a mutual annihilation society with jabs turning into full front blows. Clinton is now calling his foreign policy ideas dangerously incoherent and then some. Trump's response, Clinton should be in jail for using a private e-mail server during her time as secretary of state. The fighting words between those two have turned into real fighting between Trump supporters and Trump protesters.
CNN's Phil Mattingly is here with the very latest. So, Phil, my friend, when you see what happened yesterday between
Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, it leads one to wonder, this he have campaign events today, where does this go from here?
PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Continues to escalate. I think if you talk to advisors in both campaigns, they acknowledge that as rough and tumble as yesterday was, there were two heavy weight fighters for the last couple of weeks throwing jabs, testing out attack lines, and then they started throwing hey makers yesterday. It's going to continue going forward. It's the reality of this race.
And part of the reason why is each side is trying to define a very negative candidate as more negative than themselves over the course of these next couple months. The pre convention moment, the moment where Barack Obama so successfully defined Mitt Romney back in 2012, both sides are taking a page from that playbook.
If you look at what Hillary Clinton tried to do yesterday, if you look at Donald Trump's rather ferocious response, implicitly one of her key goals was to get under his skin. It clearly worked. Now the question becomes, how does it escalate from here. Do they both go back to their usual campaign trail rhetoric or does it keep going up? I think the latter is more likely, at least when you talk to their advisors.
BOLDUAN: How does it sustain for the long hot summer ahead? I don't know. Then you have this other element that Donald Trump has brought in? He's been attacking the judge presiding over the Trump University case, we've been talking about, going even further now in his attacks. What are you learning about this?
MATTINGLY: Last night, Donald Trump did an interview with the "Wall Street Journal" where he said -- he has tiptoed around this a little bit. I've been to a number of his rallies. He said the judge, Gonzalo Curiel is, quote, "a Mexican." He was born in Indiana, a U.S. citizen of Mexican descent. This is a judge overseeing a lawsuit that pertains to a company Trump used to own, now defunct. We all raised our eyebrows, did he really just do that?
BOLDUAN: What was he trying to say? That was always the question, right?
MATTINGLY: That was always the question, right? Then, all of a sudden, he made very clear last night -- we thought we knew what he was going for. He doubled and tripled down last night in the "Wall Street Journal" interview saying the judge is conflicted because of his descent because Trump wants to build a wall. And the Hillary Clinton campaign is hitting back today. They put out a statement about an hour ago, saying, "quote, " The fact that Donald Trump doesn't see Judge Curiel and his family as Americans makes him unfit to be president of this great nation, a nation of immigrants." So clearly, Democrats are seizing on this.
But, Kate, the other issue here is Republicans are very uncomfortable with this line of attack, why he's doing this, not because of the Latino Hispanic aspect but attacking the judiciary on a case that involves yourself. As president, that's not something you would want to do. It's quite borderline an impeachable offense. The party itself is very uncomfortable with these attacks. That all coming, as we've seen, the face to face, head to head attacks going on with Hillary Clinton on foreign policy.
BOLDUAN: It continues today.
Phil, thanks so much.
As Phil pointed out, the judge in the Trump University case, Gonzalo Curiel, he is from Indiana, actually, a Midwesterner, the son of Mexican immigrants. In short, he is, yes, a U.S. citizen. Is that background, though, grounds for him to be removed from the case?
Let's talk about this with retired superior court judge, Isaac Borenstein. He is now a law lecturer at Suffolk and Northeastern Universities.
Judge, thank you so much for joining me.
ISAAC BORENSTEIN, RETIRED SUPERIOR COURT JUDGE: My pleasure.
BOLDUAN: So when you hear Donald Trump saying in this interview with the "Wall Street Journal" that it is an absolute conflict that this judge is presiding over this case since Donald Trump says, "I'm the one building the wall and this judge has Mexican heritage." As a judge yourself, what do you say?
[11:05:20] BORENSTEIN: The answer to that is irrelevant. No. It has nothing to do with the matter before the court. And, frankly, if the judge presiding in this case asks me if I were a colleague of his for advice, I would say to him, do nothing. The matter's not before you. You have a serious complex case to handle involving Mr. Trump, and that's what you're going to do. If the matter comes up in front of me on the bench, in front of him, then you'll deal with it.
Mr. Trump, apparently, has experience in the courts. I'm sure has very able counsel with whom he's discussed strategy, how to handle this. If there is a perceived conflict of interest on the part of this judge, there's a method, a procedure for doing it. You bring a motion to recuse the judge, you raise a conflict of interest. That hasn't been done.
BOLDUAN: That is also an interesting point. Though Donald Trump has talked about this more than once now on the campaign trail and now says very clearly there's an absolute conflict in his mind for this judge, it is interesting though, to this point, to today, his lawyers have not filed any motion asking this -- the judge assigned. What does that tell you?
BORENSTEIN: Well, that tells me -- I'm sure he has very able lawyers -- that if they perceived a conflict of interest on the part of this judge, that they would file appropriate papers. That happens in every case around the world, including the United States. If one of the parties perceives an actual or the appearance of a conflict of interest, lawyers bring motions to recuse the judge. They raise the issue. They haven't done it here, one could infer, because there's really nothing on the legal side of this that has any merit to it. Now, it may be. I don't know. I'm not in his head.
BORENSTEIN: It may be that Mr. Trump sees some political gain from this. I don't know. But from a legal perspective --
BOLDUAN: But you're no longer -- right. Judge, you're no longer on the bench. Give me your gut, though. What do you think he's trying to do here?
BORENSTEIN: I think he may be trying to provoke the judge into doing something that may then cross the line. He may be -- he may be feeding his base by attacking the judge.
Frankly, sitting back not as a judge but just as a citizen, I don't know what Mr. Trump is going to gain by attacking somebody's ancestry. It sounds like this judge was born in the United States. He's of Mexican ancestry. You would think he's a success story. This is what the Statue of Liberty stands in New York harbor about. We want to do this.
He certainly doesn't fit, this judge, the slanderous comments about what Mexican immigrants are or are not that Mr. Trump has made. I just don't see either any legal basis or political gain available to Mr. Trump. But again, I'm not here to advise him. I'm here to comment on this issue as a former judge.
BOLDUAN: Of course. So as a former judge, as a legal mind, as Donald Trump has brought this up, also other things that he said where he'd like to open up liable laws to attack people -- to take people to court and fine them for false articles that they write about him, other things that he's said about the judicial system, about the judicial branch, has a lot of legal minds --
BOLDUAN: -- talking. I've seen a lot of articles written about it, especially in the past 48 hours. Do you have concerns of what you've heard from Donald Trump of what that means to the judicial branch if he's president Trump?
BORENSTEIN: My concern -- my concern immediately about these comments -- and you ought to be concerned as part of the media -- is that in getting to his very revered Second Amendment he apparently has skipped the first one. The First Amendment allows parties, people to speak freely and openly. And attacks on the media, slanderous attacks sometimes, calling for violence even on the media, concerns me because it means the First Amendment is minimized. So I -- that's one of my worries about this atmosphere of challenging the media. Every time somebody questions something that the candidate doesn't like, he attacks them. So I -- you know, one question to him is what happened to the First
Amendment on your way to the Second? They're all just as important, the first ten amendments of the Bill of Rights, and he ought to know that.
BOLDUAN: Judge Isaac Borenstein, thank you so much. Judge, appreciate your time.
BORENSTEIN: My pleasure.
BOLDUAN: Let's talk more about this, all of these developments that's happened in the past day with Barry Bennett. He is a senior campaign advisor to the Trump campaign. He's joining me now.
Barry, thanks so much.
Get your reaction to what we just heard from Judge Borenstein. He says, as you have said, you, yourself, as an advisor, that you cannot get in the mind of Donald Trump, and that's what the judge said as well. But he thinks that maybe what Donald Trump is doing is trying to provoke the judge overseeing the Trump University case to doing something that crosses the line.
[11:10:19] BARRY BENNETT, SENIOR ADVISOR, DONALD TRUMP PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN: You know, I'm not a lawyer, and I don't play one on TV. So Mr. Trump has able counsel. This is a private matter, not a campaign matter, but he --
BOLDUAN: But he's brought it on the campaign, Barry.
BENNETT: I mean, he did this in an interview after the campaign rally, not at the campaign rally.
BOLDUAN: He's talked about it at the rally.
BENNETT: He has talked about the judge. He surely feels like he's been wronged by this judge.
BOLDUAN: Do you agree with Donald Trump, that the judge's heritage and ethnicity disqualifies him to preside offer the Trump University case?
BENNETT: I have no idea. I've not been part of those discussions with his legal team.
BOLDUAN: Let's talk about what's happened just overnight, the back and forth now between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Trump's response to Clinton's attacks on his foreign policy views, his response was she's pathetic, she should go to jail over her e-mails. He did not go point for point to counter her attacks on his actual views on foreign policy. Why not?
BENNETT: Well, I mean, we're not going to let her control the narrative but, you know, her policy views have proven deadly to people so we've got plenty to talk about.
BOLDUAN: Right. So is that a missed opportunity?
BENNETT: No. No. We've got a long time to talk about this. I used to work at the State Department a long time ago. If I had done what she did at the State Department, I would have left in cuffs.
BOLDUAN: Right. On the point that -- it wasn't -- not talking about her e-mails, but she's attacked every single one of his foreign policy views, really eviscerated his foreign policy views. I was shocked, as someone who has been watching Donald Trump on the campaign trail over the past six, seven months, that he did not go after her for that.
BENNETT: Oh, trust me, we're going to have a great debate about all of her failed policy views. Name one world problem that was solved by her. None. People died because of her policies. We look forward to this debate.
BOLDUAN: What's the strategy he didn't start it last night?
BENNETT: We're going to do it at a time of our choosing, not hers.
BOLDUAN: One thing he did say last night, I think we have sound on it, I'll play it for you. He said this about Hillary Clinton with regard to the e-mails. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: If I win --
TRUMP: It's called a five-year statute of limitations. If I win, now everything is going to be fair, but I'm sure the attorney general will take a very good look at it from a fair standpoint, OK?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: Is that a real threat, Barry?
BENNETT: It's a real problem, that's for sure. I mean, if this attorney general tries to block it, then, you know, a special counsel should be appointed. I mean, it's crazy. I mean, she has continued to lie about it, right? She told us the lawyers signed off on it. The inspector general said that's not true. She said she would cooperate with all of the investigations. She stonewalled the I.G. Now everybody is taking the Fifth.
BENNETT: -- get the truth from Hillary Clinton if you waterboarded her. BOLDUAN: What?
BENNETT: You couldn't get the truth out of her if you waterboarded her.
BOLDUAN: You brought in waterboarding. If the DOJ, Barry, finds there was nothing illegal that happened, should Donald Trump still have his A.G. in a Donald Trump administration investigate her?
BENNETT: I'm more interested in the FBI. If the DOJ tries to stop the FBI, then yes.
BOLDUAN: Last week, Donald Trump he attacked -- we talked about this quite a bit, Barry. He attacked the governor of New Mexico, and despite taking a lot of heat for that, he did not back down. For our viewers, listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Since 2000, the number of people on food stamps in New Mexico has tripled. We have to get your governor to get going. She's got to do a better job, OK?
TRUMP: Hey, may I'll run for governor of New Mexico. I'll get this place going.
TRUMP: She was not nice, and I was fine, just a little bit of a jab, but she wasn't nice. You think I'm going to change? I'm not changing, including with her.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: That was last week. And this week, and then this overnight, he says, I respect her, I always liked her, and he wants her endorsement. Barry, what changed?
BENNETT: Well, we wanted her endorsement the whole time. I was on the program when we said we want her endorsement.
BOLDUAN: But I respect her and I always liked her. We did not hear that from Donald Trump.
BENNETT: No. The healing begins. The primary's past. We're making great strides --
BOLDUAN: He says this after the primary, Barry.
BENNETT: No, it goes back to the primary, all right? She said some pretty nasty things during the primary. But I think everybody's -- you know, we'll be fine.
BOLDUAN: We'll be fine?
BENNETT: Oh, yeah.
BOLDUAN: But this is a total head fake.
[11:15:16] BENNETT: Well, I don't -- I think it's a process. I mean, people that were adversaries eventually become allies in defeating Hillary Clinton, and that's where we're going.
BOLDUAN: All right. People who are coming around to endorse Trump, including the House Speaker Paul Ryan. It was not a press conference though, it was not a big announcement. It was an opinion piece that he laid out in his hometown paper, the "Janesville Gazette." Is that the big embracing you guys were hoping for in getting his endorsement?
BENNETT: It was a giant online traffic for the "Janesville Gazette," for sure.
BOLDUAN: I would say so.
BENNETT: Like we said all along, it's a process for the speaker. He needs to do it in is own time. He's he done it and we're very excited about it.
BOLDUAN: Do you think he was trying to quietly roll it out? Would you have liked to have seen a bigger pronouncement?
BENNETT: I don't think there's any way to quietly roll it out. I think he did it his own way and his own time, which is exactly what we suggested.
BOLDUAN: Barry Bennett, great to see you. Thank you, Barry.
BENNETT: Thanks, Kate.
BOLDUAN: Programming note for all of you, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton will be joining Jake Tapper this afternoon on "The Lead." That is 4:00 eastern, only on CNN. Quite an afternoon ahead.
Still ahead for us, a high-profile Republican governor linking rhetoric like Donald Trump's to Dylan Roof, the shooter in the Charleston church massacre. Nikki Haley's warning now to Trump. That's ahead.
Plus, new reporting this morning about secret plans for an exit strategy for Bernie Sanders, not his plans necessarily, but plans coming from his own party.
And breaking news out of Ft. Hood, a desperate search underway for several missing soldiers after their vehicle overturned in the flood waters hammering the state right now. Inside the dramatic rescue attempt, ahead. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[11:20:51] CLINTON; Making Donald Trump our commander-in-chief would be a historic mistake and it would undo so much of the work that Republicans and Democrats alike have done.
TRUMP: I will say this, Hillary Clinton has to go to jail, OK? She has to go to jail. Has to go.
BOLDUAN: The war of words -- it's just June -- between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.
Let's discuss. Let's bring in a political panel. CNN political commentator, Amanda Carpenter, former communications director for Ted Cruz; Kayleigh McEnany, CNN political commentator, Donald Trump supporter; and Patti Solis Doyle, CNN political commentator and a former campaign manager for Hillary Clinton's 2008 bid.
Ladies, thank you so much.
BOLDUAN: We heard it there. We heard a lot. That was a little taste from Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, and even their surrogates, even their advisors. Barry Bennett saying you couldn't get the truth out of Hillary Clinton if you waterboarded her. Where is this race going to go if this is where we are already in this pseudo start of the general election?
AMANDA CARPENTER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: It kind of reminds me a little bit of the GOP presidential primary. Yesterday you had Hillary Clinton going at Trump hard questioning both his temperament and his policies. He responded by saying she doesn't look presidential. Substantive attack, trashy attack back. So unless Hillary Clinton can succeed in doing what Republican candidates could not do in trying to stay on the issues, this is going to be Donald Trump's go-to attack every time.
BOLDUAN: It has worked, but on the substance, where was the Donald Trump rebuttal, the point by point, she was wrong when she said that the only thing I know about foreign policy was that I ran the Miss Universe contest in Russia or however that line of attack went, and that was just one of them. Where was that point-by-point rebuttal? You didn't be hear it from him last night.
KAYLEIGH MCENANY, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: He very clearly laid out his contrast to Hillary Clinton in the speech. Donald Trump is not going to let Hillary Clinton set the terms. That's essentially what he'd be doing if he gave a point-by-point rebuttal. There are fair substantive contrasts between them. She's been wrong on virtually every single foreign policy decision. I challenge anyone who supports her to bring up one successful thing she's done. There's nothing. The Middle East is on fire. That's because of Hillary Clinton. So you will see those come out.
BOLDUAN: Is that smart? I mean, you could hear that probably coming from the other side, if the attacks went that way. We're not going to let him control the narrative. That's what Kayleigh is saying. Trump's not going to let Hillary Clinton decide the grounds of this fight.
PATTI SOLIS DOYLE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I thought yesterday's speech by Hillary Clinton was the best she's given in her campaign, thus far. She was strong. She was substantive. She was presidential. She was comfortable with what she was delivering. But the most significant is, for the last couple of weeks, a lot of stories written that the Clinton campaign hasn't figured out how they're going to go after Donald Trump because he's so unpredictable and volatile.
SOLIS DOYLE: I think yesterday, they proved that they figured it out.
BOLDUAN: Do you think she can sustain that? That was a bruising attack. Can you sustain that?
SOLIS DOYLE: She went after him using his own words. She quoted him directly throughout. And then she contrasted those quotes with her own experience, her own qualifications, her own vision. She did it with humor and she did it with ease, and I think it was very, very effective.
CARPENTER: Here's the thing. There's going to be no silver-bullet speech that does it. I think she did a good job of identifying the problems that Republicans even see with Donald Trump. This has to be day-to-day battle. She did show a lot more personality but this will be a long thing. She has to do this daily, hourly, by the minute, tweet by tweet.
BOLDUAN: You're not in the business of giving Hillary Clinton advice, and as you well pointed out, when Republicans went toe to toe with him on insults they lost.
BOLDUAN: But was what you saw yesterday different from what you saw in the Republican primary?
CARPENTER: A little bit different because she blended them both pretty well, personality attacks and politics. That blend is key. It's not one or the other. He doesn't understand many issues. When someone is ignorant and acts on ignorance, that can be dangerous.
BOLDUAN: Do you think his response, she's pathetic and should be in jail, does she need to go further than that?
[11:25:09] MCENANY: The jail criticism is a fair one. She jeopardized national security by having something that's never been done, someone setting up a private server in their home. In fact, the Espionage Act, which the FBI is investigating her on, allots her up to 10 years of jail time. So that's a very fair criticism --
BOLDUAN: You are reminding me you're a student of the law.
Barry Bennett just said, when I played a sound bite of Trump saying, "If I'm president" -- and there's a five-year statute of limitations where the A.G. will definitely be looking into what she did. He -- and I asked him if DOJ, if the FBI finds that she -- there is nothing illegal that happened there, would you still advise, you still want Trump to advise the I.G. look into it. He said yes. Do you agree?
MCENANY: I completely agree. The Department of Justice has been extraordinary political. In order to be indicted, it has to go through four tiers of Obama designees. I do not trust this administration to fully vet her, to prosecute a secretary of state who, any day now, Obama will come out in full-throttle support of. I completely agree with Barry Bennett. This is a politicized Justice Department.
BOLDUAN: No matter what comes out, you're not going to believe it unless it's charges?
MCENANY: No, I trust the FBI. I do trust the FBI. But I do not trust this Department of Justice to make the right decision.
BOLDUAN: Guys, a lot more to discuss. Please stick around.
Coming up for us, new this morning, Democrats plotting an exit strategy for Bernie Sanders just days before his face-off in California with Hillary Clinton. But here's a key question: Is Bernie Sanders on board with this exit strategy? We will discuss.
Plus, Morgan Spurlock goes undercover with high rollers in Las Vegas as they try to beat the house. He'll come on and give us all tips and then we'll buy our flights to Las Vegas together.
We'll be right back.