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AT THIS HOUR WITH BERMAN AND MICHAELA

Sanders: "Zero Chance Campaign Done Tomorrow; State Department Refuses to Release Clinton TPP E-mails; Lindsey Graham: Those that Endorsed Trump, Take Off Ramp; Sanders Says Campaign Not Over. Aired 11:30a-12p ET

Aired June 7, 2016 - 11:30   ET

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


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[11:32:27] JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right. The final Super Tuesday of this primary season is under way. Voters in six states, at this moment, at the polls. This, just hours after Hillary Clinton made history by being the first woman to surpass the delegate mark and become the presumptive Democratic nominee.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: But the Clinton campaign says, wait, stop, hold the balloon drop.

Joining us now is a spokesman for Hillary Clinton's campaign, Brian Fallon.

BRIAN FALLON, PRESS SECRETARY, HILLARY FOR AMERICA CAMPAIGN: Just 24 hours. We can have balloons later today.

(CROSSTALK)

FALLON: But we've got six states voting today.

BOLDUAN: Don't jump on top of me. It is 11:32 and 55 seconds as we speak. Is Hillary Clinton the presumptive nominee?

FALLON: We will look forward tonight to marking, to having reached the threshold of the majority of the pledged delegates but we need California, New Jersey, and the four other states to vote today to achieve that milestone. And at that point, Bernie Sanders will be out of arguments.

BERMAN: Isn't there something odd about the fact that for a year you have been trying to win the nomination and then when all the media organizations say it happened, Hillary Clinton is the presumptive Democratic nominee, you're saying, no, no, no, no, we don't want it, not yet, not now.

FALLON: I think the standard you all used last night, that A.P. and NBC and all the other networks used last night, is the standard that was good enough for everyone to agree that Barack Obama was the nominee in 2008.

BOLDUAN: So take yes for an answer, Brian. FALLON: But we're not content with that. We are setting a higher

bar. We still have states left to vote. We said we're going to honor the primary throughout, and that's what we're doing.

BERMAN: If Barack Obama wants to endorse Hillary Clinton tomorrow before Bernie Sanders makes a decision about what he intends to do in this race, if Bernie Sanders is still in the race, would you welcome that endorsement? Do you want that endorsement?

FALLON: Sure. Sure. Absolutely. We'll welcome the endorsements of many leaders who have remained neutral during this primary process. One of them, Leader Pelosi, came out this endorsed us this morning. We were very pleased to get that endorsement. In the aftermath of today, we have the potential to pick up big endorsements from leading figures in the party that have up until now honored the process by not picking sides.

BOLDUAN: But are you essentially happy having President Obama be the decider in this? If the president comes out and says Hillary Clinton is the Democratic nominee and I endorse her --

(CROSSTALK)

FALLON: Well, the president --

(CROSSTALK)

BOLDUAN: -- that's pretty deciding.

FALLON: The president is going to decide on his own the timing for any endorsement he might make. But I don't think after tonight, there will be any doubt left of who are nominee is. By every possible standard, accounting for every possible concern Senator Sanders has put forward at various points in the process, Hillary Clinton will be the nominee. If you look at the popular vote, the states won, who has had more of the recent states, nine out of the last 13 contests, if you look at the states that have had the highest turnout, she's won most of them. If you remove super delegates from the equation after tonight, she will have won anyway. If you kept super delegates, but apportioned them based on what won which state, she would still win. There's no scenario and no possible reform that the DNC might consider later this summer that would change the calculus in terms of who the nominee is.

[11:35:28] BERMAN: Can I ask you a quick policy question?

FALLON: Yes.

BERMAN: The State Department says it will not release e-mails that Hillary Clinton exchanged between the State Department staff and the trade office over the issue of TPP, the trade authority while she was secretary of state. It's been FOIA'd. The average release time would clearly put it right about now. The State Department says they won't release those e-mails until after the election. In the interest of transparency -- and we know how you feel and support transparency, Brian Fallon -- would you like to see the e-mails released now so people can see what the correspondence was between the State Department on the trade authority?

FALLON: I'm not sure what went into the decision making but that is not anything we have input on. That's a decision that's made by the current administration. It wouldn't have anything to do I don't think with any of the ongoing e-mails still be looked at.

BERMAN: But if someone asked you, would you like to see them out?

FALLON: Obviously, our preference would always be to err on the side of transparency. That's allowing for whatever certain sensitivities may still exist that are only known to the administration officials that are still in government service. For Hillary Clinton's part, I think she would always want to err on the side of transparency but, again, I don't know what particular considerations are in the minds of those official approximates.

BOLDUAN: Brian Fallon, great to see you.

FALLON: Thanks for having me.

BOLDUAN: We'll see you after tonight.

FALLON: Come on down.

(CROSSTALK)

BOLDUAN: -- Hillary Clinton is the nominee, the presumptive nominee. Just projecting what I might hear tonight. I don't know.

BERMAN: Is there an off-ramp now for Republicans who have endorsed Donald Trump? Senator Lindsey Graham urging Republicans to think about taking that off-ramp, if it exists. This is Paul Ryan, the speaker of the House, making stunning comments saying statements made by Donald Trump, "the textbook definition of racist comments."

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[11:40:55] REP. PAUL RYAN, (R-WI), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: I disavow these comments. I regret those comments that he made. I don't think -- claiming a person can't do their job because of their race is sort of like the textbook definition of a racist comment.

CHRIS CHRISTIE, (R), NEW JERSEY GOVERNOR & FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I know Donald Trump. I have nobody known him for 14 years. And Donald Trump is not a racist. The allegations that he is, are contrary to every experience I have had with him over the last 14 years. And so we're going to end it there.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: An extraordinary day in politics --

BOLDUAN: Kind of sums it up. BERMAN: It's not even noon. Want to talk about all of this with our

panel. Jim Geraghty, senior political correspondent at the "National Review"; Steve Lonegan of the Courageous Conservatives PAC, and he also ran for Senate in New Jersey and was a big supporter of Ted Cruz during the primary; also CNN political commentator, former Republican party official, Doug Heye; and back with us once again, Republican congressman and Donald Trump supporter, Lee Zeldin.

Jim, I want to start with you.

Paul Ryan, the speaker of the House, just said those comments made by Donald Trump, about the judge hearing the case about Trump University, the comments are "the textbook definition of a racist comment." Yet, he still supports Donald Trump for president, which, by the way, I should add is the position of the man sitting next to you, Congressman Lee Zeldin. How awkward is that right now for the Republican Party?

JIM GERAGHTY, SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, NATIONAL REVIEW: You poor, poor man. No one should put you in this position. You don't deserve this. You're better than this.

Look, you want to know the great thing about being Never-Trump like most of the folks at "National Review," we don't have to defend any of this crap. We were against Trump from the beginning and most of us are still against Trump. We don't have to say it's not that bad or maybe he's got a legitimate reason to call that Indiana-born judge a Mexican. We don't have to make excuses for it. He's put his supporters into an impossible situation. And I was yelling at them on the conference call, what are they supposed to do, say it's completely normal to call the judge a Mexican? It's completely normal to say because he's a member of this Latino lawyers group, clearly, he's a crazed activist? If he was that bad a judge, why has Trump's lawyer not filed for a mistrial or recusal or a different judge?

BOLDUAN: Congressman?

REP. LEE ZELDIN, (R), NEW YORK: Right now, we have Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, and I understand very much the position of the people who have been in the Never-Trump movement the entire time. But at this particular point in time, what I really don't want to see is Hillary Clinton and her policies ending up in the White House for another four years, and not just four years in the White House --

(CROSSTALK)

BOLDUAN: Hold on. Hold on.

ZELDIN: But the Supreme Court for the next one generation or two generations, that concerns me. So I mean, I completely get everyone who has been behind Never-Trump movement this entire time. At this point, though, I really don't want to make sure that that debate over Donald Trump and something that was said ends up leading to a Supreme Court for the next generation that is now seven, eight judges the wrong way.

BERMAN: Steve? STEVE LONEGAN, SPOKESMAN, COURAGEOUS CONSERVATIVES PAC & FORMER NEW JERSEY SENATE CANDIDATE: You know, Congressman, there's an old saying in politics, "When you're defending, you're losing. Right now, the Republican Party is defending itself every step of the way. The comment you saw by Paul Ryan will be a Democrat TV commercial, come October. You will see that all over the country. I guarantee that. Since the Indiana primary, when my candidate, Ted Cruz, dropped out, I have woken up every morning looking for a reason to support Donald Trump, and it's going in the other direction. If anything, what you have seen from Donald Trump -- we all agree it's racism, but what you see is incredible poor judgment and what appears to me apparent disregard for the rest of his team. He doesn't seem to care about the damage he's doing to Congressman Zeldin or the rest of the Republican Party. It doesn't seem to faze him in the least. Everybody else is defending him.

(CROSSTALK)

LONEGAN: At this rate, we're going into a convention, Kate, in July, it's incumbent, there's a moral obligation for the delegates in that convention to nominate the best candidate to beat Hillary Clinton. It's clearly not Donald Trump.

(CROSSTALK)

BOLDUAN: You want another one?

LONEGAN: I don't care what the rules say, I'm calling for an insurrection. I'm saying these delegates have an obligation on day one. I don't care about being bound on the first ballot. Break the rules. Unbound yourself. This guy is going to lose. He's going to take the Republican Party down to a cataclysmic defeat.

GERAGHTY: What do you have to lose?

(CROSSTALK)

LONEGAN: Nothing.

GERAGHTY: Nominating the guy who is going to run around screaming about judges? If you're sufficiently swarthy enough, you're Mexican, you're not really American? The Republican Party can't stand for that.

BOLDUAN: I want to bring Doug Heye in on this.

Doug, Senator Lindsey Graham said to "The New York Times," if anybody was looking for an off-ramp, this is probably it. Congressman Zeldin is not looking for the off-ramp as of today. Do you think others are though?

[11:45:] DOUG HEYE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think others sure are. And you look at the remarks from Paul Ryan, not just defining these as racism but what Paul Ryan was focused on today was anti- poverty agenda, talking about real issues, and this is where Trump threatens Republicans up and down the ballot. We had a terrible, dismal jobs report on Friday. Instead of talking about that jobs report and contrasting your vision with Hillary Clinton, what we've done is spent four days directed by Trump to talk about a judge that he doesn't like in his case about his fake college. And we now know from the conference call that they had that this is directed by the campaign. This is what they want to talk about. And it's why for so many folks like myself and Jim, who was anti-Trump -- he was country when country wasn't cool -- folks, like Jim and I understand that --

(CROSSTALK)

GERAGHTY: I have never been cool.

HEYE: When you hear Trump surrogates and Trump officials on TV, what you're also hearing in the background is the finger snapping from the "Addams Family" theme because we're just not on planet earth anymore.

BOLDUAN: Congressman?

ZELDIN: And I really think that, you know, we need to debate this issue more often, and not just right now in the height of a political --

(CROSSTALK)

ZELDIN: Listen, it's a perfect point. When we had the Charleston shooting, the president of the United States blames racism. In the Virginia shooting, he blamed guns. And the narrative then ends up getting filtrated so that the debate in Charleston ends up being about racism, and we're talking about gun control with regards to Virginia.

(CROSSTALK)

BOLDUAN: Congressman, I'll tell you one thing, you don't hear any of that from Donald Trump. What you hear his focus right now is on -- he says I don't care whether or not he's Mexican. He's not Mexican. He was born in my home state of Indiana. I don't know how much more you have to say about that. But he's going there. He is going there.

GERAGHTY: You can't defend it.

BOLDUAN: Do you project there's a line that could be crossed that you would pull back?

ZELDIN: I think that we have elected officials and candidates all of the time going across a line with racism, in my opinion.

(CROSSTALK)

BERMAN: Congressman, you live in a diverse district. Explain to your constituents that you're sitting on our show saying he made racist comments. People who make racist comments are by definition racist. But I'm voting for him for president and I think you should, too.

ZELDIN: I'll tell you, a large majority of my district is voting for Donald Trump. It's over 73 percent in the primary. And he's way ahead of Hillary Clinton in the general election. Now you can't go around and call every one of my constituents --

that's my district --

(CROSSTALK)

BOLDUAN: That's your -- you are a representative of your district and they are speaking to you.

ZELDIN: And there are reasons for supporting Donald Trump. They're not supporting him because they think that he's a racist or they weren't -- there are people who are voting against him because they like Hillary Clinton or they like Bernie Sanders. There are a lot of people in my district supporting Donald Trump positions on Common Core, Obamacare, wanting to bring back the jobs.

(CROSSTALK)

BERMAN: Hang on. Let's go around the table quickly, Jim, Doug, Steve.

GERAGHTY: You must feel like a pinata right now. And I feel kind of bad to get constantly bashed by this, but this is only going to get worse for Republicans. There is no better Trump behind a curtain waiting to be unveiled. He's not going to get more sensible or more constructive with his words. This is who he is. He has the impulse control of a toddler. And there's no reason to think that by November he will pull his act together, we'll stop making controversial statements. This is the Trump brand, like nationalism. Why would the Republicans ever want to be associated with this? Because they will lose every swing state and every swing strict.

ZELDIN: What about the Supreme Court?

BOLDUAN: Hold on.

(LAUGHTER)

GERAGHTY: It doesn't matter if you lose.

BOLDUAN: Doug, go ahead.

HEYE: This is exactly why Paul Ryan is trying to talk about issues because Republican can win on issues but Donald Trump won't talk about issues. If you're the Hillary Clinton campaign, Brian Fallon, who was just on, this is the exact script you want to write. Hillary Clinton is going to try to unify her party tonight and tomorrow. Republicans are fighting about whether or not their candidate is racist, and he sure is saying racist things.

(CROSSTALK)

BOLDUAN: Steve, is Hillary Clinton right now a better option than Donald Trump?

LONEGAN: I'm not voting for Hillary Clinton but I'm also not voting for Donald Trump. What's ironic is the Courageous Conservative PAC, we're focused down-ballot. We can't do anything about what's happening in the White House. This is a debacle. We're defending gentlemen like this one and others because we need a good conservative Congress.

But I want to remind everybody there is a primary in New Jersey today and in California. I would watch very carefully the kind of numbers Donald Trump gets, because if Trump gets under 80 percent unopposed in these primaries, he's got a big problem and so does all the Republican Party.

BOLDUAN: You mentioned New Jersey. You are from New Jersey.

LONEGAN: And I'm on --

(CROSSTALK)

BOLDUAN: Where has Chris Christie been? He just was -- when he was out voting, he is just approached by reporters and they asked him hat he said. He said Donald Trump is not a racist. He also said that he is not going to critique a campaign while they are in it. It's about winning, not losing.

LONEGAN: I don't know what to say about what Governor Christie is doing right now. His polling numbers are in the dirt. He says it doesn't bother him. Again, let's see how Donald Trump does in New Jersey today. And pay attention to these numbers. They're going to tell us quite a bit. Our delegates have an obligation, come July, to do what's right for the Republican Party, not just anoint Donald Trump and --

(CROSSTALK)

[11:50:20] BOLDUAN: Are you calling for a revolt?

LONEGAN: I would love to see a revolt. It's time for the Republican Party to get backbone and stand up against this guy. Hey, maybe he'll do a turnaround between now and July 17th, but if this continues, come next November, the party will have a big problem.

BERMAN: Steve Lonegan, Jim Geraghty, Congressman Lee Zeldin, Doug Heye, thank you so much for being with us, guys. Really appreciate it.

(CROSSTALK)

BOLDUAN: Thank you, gentlemen.

Hillary Clinton making history. But hold off popping the champagne bottles, her campaign says, and hold that balloon drop. Bernie Sanders' campaign just told us there's zero percent chance this fight ends tomorrow.

BERMAN: And be sure to get the latest on how CNN counts the delegates on the app. Checking it right there. You can download it from the app store.

And don't forget to watch our special coverage of the final Super Tuesday at 4:00 p.m. eastern right, here on CNN.

BOLDUAN: We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[11:55:59] BOLDUAN: When you add up the math, Hillary Clinton is the presumptive Democratic nominee. Despite that, Bernie Sanders' campaign manager was with us a short time ago and he said there's zero percent chance that the Sanders campaign ends come tomorrow after the big votes tomorrow.

Let's discuss this right now with Bill Burton, who is deputy press secretary in President Obama's administration.

Bill, great to see you. Thank you for coming in.

BILL BURTON, WHITE HOUSE DEPUTY PRESS SECRETARY: Good to see you, too.

BOLDUAN: Importantly in all of this, there's news that President Obama is likely to endorse Hillary Clinton early as this week. You were part of that conversation, the choreography behind the New Hampshire in 2008 when they came together. And a lot of folks have been talking about in recent days because they're wondering if they'll see that between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. Take us behind the scenes. What is going on behind the scenes as President Obama talked through the plans and this endorsement?

BURTON: Well, look, I think, first of all, it makes sense that the president would be involved. He's the leader of the party. And Bernie Sanders is one of the progressive leaders in that party now. But ultimately, this is going to be brokered between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders as we wait and see how Sanders reacts to the results tomorrow night.

So I think they will take the lead. But the president, I think, wants to get involved. You know how he feels about Secretary Clinton. He said for a long time he thinks she is a strong leader and would do a great job as president. But I think this is something where the two people who are at the center of this are going to be at the forefront.

BERMAN: So the president and Bernie Sanders talked on the phone on Sunday. You've been around the president who's made phone calls. How does that call go? Hey, Bernie, it's Barry, guess what I'll do later this week? What happens in that conversation?

BURTON: You'd be surprised he rarely refers to himself as Barry.

(LAUGHTER)

Second, Bernie Sanders is now a basketball fan. Maybe they talked basketball.

But honestly, I think that President Obama probably called him, as he's called him in the past, to talk about the issues that are important to both of them. (CROSSTALK)

BERMAN: Come on. No heads up? No heads up that this is going to happen?

BURTON: I don't know what happened in the conversation, but I think this was probably something where the president talked about the importance of unity, talked about the threat of Donald Trump and what would happen if someone like that who -- the segment showed would be a disaster for the country, is a disaster for the Republican party up and down the ticket. But I think that the president probably just talked about the stakes and what we're facing in this fall.

BOLDUAN: You said that Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, they need to be central in this unification, obviously, and what happens and how this moves forward for Democrats. You've been through this before. I mean, President Obama and then-Candidate Obama. He had to reach out to win over Hillary Clinton supporters. What does Hillary Clinton need to do this time?

BURTON: I think she has to do the same thing. I think she's going to have to show the progressive fight that Bernie Sanders has brought to the national conversation is an important part of what she's running on. She's been talking about taking on the banks and income inequality.

She has to show Bernie Sanders' supporters their fight is her fight, and maybe their candidate didn't win, but, you know, we're moving towards the fall and there's a choice between two candidates, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, and the stakes are very, very high. I don't think she'll get the supporters by default. I think she'll have to work to get them, like President Obama had to work to get Hillary Clinton supporters.

But I will tell you that in 2008, Hillary Clinton was an awesome supporter of President Obama. And when she went to the convention and she nominated him and moved that they support him by acclimation, and gave one of the best speeches, in my opinion, of her whole career, she showed that the stakes were very high, and if John McCain were to be president, it would be a much different future for our country. It's the same here with Donald Trump, except the stakes are even higher. So I think a lot of folks are hoping Bernie Sanders comes on board sooner than later.

BERMAN: Bill Burton, great to have you with us. Really appreciate it.

BURTON: Good to see you both.

BOLDUAN: Thank you so much.

And thank you all for joining us AT THIS HOUR.

BERMAN: "Legal View" with Ashleigh Banfield starts now.