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CNN TONIGHT

Istanbul Attack Investigation; Airport Security for Holiday Weekend; Are Terror Attacks Inevitable?; ISIS Convoy Destroyed by Airstrikes; Turkish Officials Claim Evidence of ISIS Involvement in Istanbul Attack; Can Trump Unify GOP Before Convention?; Bill Clinton, Loretta Lynch Meeting Creating Headaches for Hillary Clinton Campaign. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired June 30, 2016 - 22:00   ET

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


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[22:00:00] DON LEMON, CNN TONIGHT SHOW HOST: New leads on ISIS and the airport terror investigation. Police looking for information about these three men.

This is CNN Tonight. I'm Don Lemon.

Resident one Istanbul neighborhood tell CNN, police are showing photos of three men they believe carried out the attack. They've killed 44 people.

Officials in Turkey say they have strong evidence the attack was planned by top ISIS leaders and that the bombers traveled from the ISIS capital Raqqa.

Meanwhile, security is stepped up at airports here at home ahead of the July fourth weekend. And Donald Trump says this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, (R) U.S. PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We're going to have to get much tougher as a country, we're going to have to be a lot sharper and we're going to have to do things that are unthinkable almost. Unthinkable.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Are terror attacks here inevitable? And are politicians prepared to do what it takes to keep us safe?

We're going to begin now with Nima Elbagir live now for us in Istanbul with the latest information.

Hello, Nima. We're learning more about the people who were involved in this attack. What do you know?

NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Turkish authorities have released their identities. A Russian, a citizens of Kurdistan and Uzbekistan. They're also believed to have traveled here from Raqqa itself, from ISIS headquarters inside of Raqqa. And a senior Turkish source, a very highly placed Turkish government source said that they believe that they were able to stay in the country, that they were in the country for an entire month hold up, planning this attack, an attack that is believed to have been, guided, commissioned and overseen by the top levels of ISIS leadership, Don.

LEMON: So, Nima, I understand you were at the apartment today and in the neighborhood where the three bombers lived. What did people tell you?

ELBAGIR: Well, neighbors, as can you appreciate, were very nervous, they were very reticent to talk. Only one man was actually even willing to speak on camera. And part of that is because there seemed to have been a sense for a while that these men weren't quite right.

The neighbors described this chemical smell that had been permeating the entire building, something that they've been living with for days. On Sunday, two days before the attack on the Istanbul airport, the smell they said was almost intolerable.

And police officers have been roaming through that district showing pictures. The state agent who managed this apartment he seemed absolutely shocked, Don. Really you get a sense almost as if he'd been asking himself what more could I have done?

They knew that these men were keeping to themselves himself, they were not once apparently opening up the curtains of the apartment. But it's always in these situations that we often hear from people that they're racking their brains asking themselves should I have said something to someone? You really got that sense at the apartment building there today, Don.

LEMON: Absolutely, you're right. We hear that a lot in these cases. Why do authorities think, Nima, that this attack was directed by ISIS leadership and why is that so much more sinister?

ELBAGIR: Well, one of these men was actually known to the Turks. That's what we understand. And there is a sense, perhaps that he had come -- that he appeared on their radar. There's also a concern about the fact that for years now Turkey has actually been believed to have been strengthening that border.

For this to have occurred at this point when Turkey actually has built part of the physical security barrier, a wall for about 190 kilometers, when they had appeared to have gotten a bit of the grasp on the movement across that border is incredibly, incredibly concerning.

But it also plays into a lot of the fears that we've been hearing from high-level U.S. intelligence officials that as ISIS have lost that territorial footprint, as they're squeezed by the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq and Syria, that they're going to look more and more to have these high impact attacks, to carry them out.

And it makes sense that these kinds of attacks would be under the direct authority, the direct officiate of the ISIS leadership because they want to show that they still have influence, that they can still have impact, Don.

LEMON: Nima Elbagir, live for us in Istanbul this evening. I appreciate that.

Now I want to bring in Michael Weiss, the senior editor of The Daily Beast and the co-author of "ISIS Inside the Army of Terror." Bernard Kerik is a former New York City police commissioner, Juliette Kayyem, CNN national security analyst and author of "Security Mom," and Lieutenant Colonel Rick Francona, former U.S. military attache in Syria.

It's nice to have all of you on to get your expertise. Michael, I'm going to start with you. What are your sources telling you about the identity of these attackers?

MICHAEL WEISS, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, as the Turkish press have been reporting, one is from Kurdistan, that in the caucuses region of the Russian federation, another from Uzbekistan, another from Kyrgyzstan.

[22:05:02] It's not terribly surprising in the western imagination we tend to think of ISIS militants as being Arabs, or in many cases as we've seen in Paris and Brussels, European nationals.

But in fact, the post-Soviet sphere central Asian republics and the Russian federation itself particularly from Chechnya and Dagestan have graduated many, many, many of Jihadists.

In fact, overwhelmingly so, thousands upon thousands. If you ask the FSB, they say about 5,000 terrorists have gone over into Syria.

In fact, and this has not been really all that well reported in the Western press, for a time up until the Sochi Winter Olympics in 2014, the FSB was sending or facilitating the transit of Jihadists out of Dagestan into Syria, the logic being better that they blow stuff up in the Middle East than on Russian soil. It's particularly in the midst of an international sporting event.

LEMON: Yes. So, listen, Michael, earlier today, the chairman of the House Committee of the Homeland Security, Congressman Michael McCaul, he told our Brianna Keilar earlier that the Turkish officials believed that Ahmed Chatayev is possibly the mastermind behind the attack. What do you know about him?

WEISS: So, Ahmed Chatayev is essentially the ISIS recruiter and ringleader inside the Russia federation. It was a famous case a few months ago, of a student at Moscow State University, one of the most elite universities in Russia, she was getting a degree in religion, came from a well-to-do, middle class family, had been recruited by this allegedly, according to the Russian authorities to be sent into Syria to join ISIS.

So, this caused shock waves in the Russian press. In fact, I think there was something -- there was a major development in her case within the last week or so. This guy, according to Kommersant, which is the main financial newspaper in Russia, was arrested by three different countries and let go, Sweden, Ukraine and Georgia. He's known as the one-armed man or Ahmad, the one-armed because

apparently he lost this one of his arms, actually lost the existence of one of his arms, I should say, in a firefight in 2012 with Jordan security services.

He's been caught with stock piles of ammunitions and weaponry in many different countries. sort of a sell Forrest Gump figure in the anals of international terrorism.

LEMON: I want to bring in Colonel Rick Francona now, because according to Turkish sources, Colonel, the three bombers traveled from Russia, Uzbekistan and then Kyrgyzstan to Raqqa, Syria and then to Turkey about a month ago.

We also learned that Turkish authorities believe that they crossed into Turkey with their suicide vests already made. What does that tell you?

RICK FRANCONA, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: It tells me that border is not sealed. That Manbij pocket which is an area about 40 miles northeast of Aleppo is one border area that they still can cross, and it looks like cross quite freely, with their equipment with them.

The fact that they brought it with them tells me that the cell structure in Istanbul may not be as developed as we earlier thought. Now someone had to rent that apartment but if they were there for a month they could have done that on their own.

So, it will be interesting to see what the Turks develop on who was helping them. I know the Turks around that know some of those people, but it will be -- I think it will be informative when we find out how big that structure is and that will tell us how likely we are to see continuing attacks in that area.

So, the fact that they came from Raqqa not surprising.

LEMON: Juliette, to you now, given the Russians and Central Asians -- Asian connections here, is there a growing presence within ISIS?

JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Yes, growing, or as Michael was saying already there, we just weren't paying as much attention because we have an idea or a notion of who an ISIS member is. Five to 7,000 Russian nationals of Muslim descent have joined ISIS. I think it's the fifth or sixth sort of largest recruiting country.

So, most of us who have been following this are not surprised and I think -- and it doesn't say anything about Russia itself, right, so these are people who do not like the Russian government so we shouldn't think there's another country now involved or supporting ISIS.

And look, this is the nature of a global terrorist phenomenon, whether they are ISIS directed, as these terrorists appear to be, or ISIS inspired, where many Americans -- not many, but in the cases we've seen here, Americans are, this is the nation of a global phenomenon of ISIS.

LEMON: Juliette, explain, "inghimasi" is, what is that and why are terrorist using it more and more frequently?

KAYYEM: I didn't hear you, Don, I'm sorry.

LEMON: Explain what "inghamasi" is and why are terrorist use this word more frequently.

KAYYEM: I actually can answer but I can' hear you. I apologize, Don.

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: Juliette -- yes. OK, we'll give that to Michael.

WEISS: They're suicide warriors.

LEMON: OK.

WEISS: As opposed to just suicide bombers. So, these guys on the battlefield in Iraq and Syria are armed with Kalashnikovs or assault rifles. They go in and then they spray machine gunfire. They try to kill people with bullets first. They (Inaudible) is stolen, if you like, is then the detonation of the suicide vest.

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: And that's what happened in the airport.

WEISS: Yes. And that's why when I look at the footage I knew right away that these guys were not amateurs, they were not, you know, 15- year-old kids from Tunisia wanting to do Jihad on a lot.

[22:10:01] They were trained combatants. They have had military training either on the battlefield of the so-called caliphate or perhaps, given where they come from, they were servicemen in the national militaries of these countries.

You know, it's not unheard of. The guy who was the former foreign minister of ISIS before the coalition took him out several months ago, Abu Omar al-Shishani, he's called the Chechen but actually he's a Georgian national of Chechen ethnic descent, he was a member allegedly of the Georgian Special Forces fought in the 2008 summer war between Russia and Georgia and he was personally trained by U.S. armed services in Georgia as part of their military.

LEMON: I want to get your expertise now, commissioner. I want you to look at side-by-side comparisons. This is the Brussels attackers, the bombers, and the suspected Istanbul attackers. It's so similar -- you know, there is similarity there. They look so normal, is there anything that stand out to your trained eye when you look at these photographs?

BERNARD KERIK, FORMER NEW YORK CITY POLICE COMMISSIONER: Not based on the photos. I mean, if you add predictive profilers in the airports, for example, like they do in Israel, they may see something with these guys getting into the airport the way they are maneuvering.

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: Being warm outside, they're wearing jackets?

KERIK: Yes, stuff like that. You may see it, in the photos you don't see it as much. But I think what you have to do now is you have to look at what's happened in Brussels, Paris, Turkey, what's happened here. I think nationally on a national scale in the United States, we have to be prepared for a fight with this radical Islamic movement that I don't think anybody, you know, would have fathomed five years ago.

Our local, our state police, our federal authorities in responding to events like this and something Michael was just talking about, these guys are armed with Kalashnikovs, Ak-47s, assaults.

Then they have plans to detonate themselves once they're overpowered, once they, you know, they have to surrender, once they're out of ammo, they're detonating themselves, blowing themselves up.

They're also putting themselves in a position when the people are running, the people are trying to get away, they go into that movement, they go into that crowd with secondary explosions or IED's.

These are things that we see in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria. We've never seen it domestically but we're going to and I think this is a clear demonstration of that.

LEMON: All right. Everyone, stick around. When we come right back, deadly air strikes hit the heart of ISIS. Will that disrupt new terror plots?

[22:15:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: Coalition air strikes targeted ISIS convoys leaving Fallujah over the past few days destroying about 175 vehicles. A U.S. official said those vehicles could have carried as many as 250 ISIS fighters.

Back with me now, Michael Weiss, Bernard Kerik, Juliette Kayyem, and Lieutenant Colonel Rick Francona. Michael, to you first. What type of intelligence would have led to the air strike that we saw last night?

WEISS: Well, I think in this case, these guys were like lemming fleeing from Fallujah, right, escaping essentially a Sunni insurgency that had been surrounded and was overtaken by pro-Iraqi government forces, and also subject to a, you know, series over the last several of weeks of devastating coalition aerial bombardment.

I have to say, though, a convoy like this is very unusual. This goes back to 2014 when there wasn't a U.S.-led war against ISIS and you would see this line of armored vehicles and Humvees driving across the desert from Mosul back into Raqqa.

They don't typically drive in these kinds of numbers anymore because they know they are being surveilled from the skies. So, it looks like they were fleeing essentially.

LEMON: Yes, on the run.

WEISS: Yes.

LEMON: Yes. Juliette, Ash Carter, today, Secretary Ash Carter said this. Look at this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ASHTON CARTER, U.S. SECRERARY OF DEFENSE: Raqqa is the self- proclaimed capital of the self-proclaimed caliphate of ISIL. And it's important to destroy the ISIL in Iraq and Syria because that's absolutely necessary.

It's not sufficient to avoid all kinds of radicalization and so forth, but it's necessary in order to eliminate the idea that there can be a state based upon that ideology.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Juliette, do you think Raqqa is where these foreign fighters obtain their weapons in training?

KAYYEM: Absolutely. Not the only place but it's a heartbeat of ISIS now. And ISIS is a lot of different things. It's geography, right. So, that it's important that the successes in Fallujah continue to -- like in Fallujah continue occur. It's a, you know, sort of philosophy about the world, of which you have recruits from all over the world.

Some of them never, you know, hanging out with ISIS but certainly inspired. But there is -- but geography matters for a variety of reasons. It is where you train, it is where you gain weapons, it is how you get money, it is how you share intelligence, it is how you deploy ISIS terrorists to other countries.

So, it is all -- it's not only about land but it is a lot about land. And so, that is why the land fight and the land victories that we're starting to see are important.

LEMON: Commissioner, you say that the Jordanians and the Egyptians should help more in this fight against terror. What do you think they know?

KERIK: Well, listen, they're there. I don't think we have better allies at this point in the region than the King of Jordan, than the President of Egypt. You know, the King of Jordan, for example, was the commander of Special Forces for Jordan in 1999 when he became the king.

He leads this fight in the region against the -- this radical Islamic movement. I think if I was this administration, I would talk to the king and I would have the king and el-Sisi, the President of Egypt, I would have them as some of the global leaders in this forum, if you will, in this coalition to really battle this enemy. They know the enemy, they know the area, they know the language, they

know the players, there's nobody better to lead that war, to lead that fight.

LEMON: Colonel, I wonder if you agree, Rick Francona. Because you also think that Libya has become a safe haven for ISIS.

FRANCONA: Well, as Juliette said, the geography of a place is a big factor in this. They have to have somewhere where they can train, where they can organize and they want to have a state.

[22:19:58] So, as they morph into a terrorist organization and launch attacks elsewhere, you have to wonder what is their end game? Is it just -- is it just to punish the Turks or destroy or they are actually trying to, you know, figure out where they are going to go next?

They need a failed state. Is that Yemen, is that Somalia, is that Libya? But they need territory if they're going to really have a caliphate. Otherwise, they are just another terrorist organization.

LEMON: Michael, I wonder why you says that there are certain regions, you said like Russia, Uzbekistan, they are the most dangerous when it comes to these fighters?

WEISS: They tend to produce the worst...

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: Who are they and why are they more dangerous?

WEISS: Well, as I was mentioning, I mean, a lot of these guys were trained by the Soviet Union, and they were in the red army, or they were in the Russian army or the Central Asian republic armies. They have reputation for being fierce warriors.

You know, look what they're Russians expats (ph) are now doing on the ground in Syria. These are bad actors in terms of their toughness. I mentioned Shishani. This was a guy who essentially waged the first major military victory that ISIS had had, I think it was in the late 2012 or early 2013.

He was responsible for sacking the Menagh Airbase which is an Assad military installation in northern Syria and he dispatched two suicide bombers. One of them we know was a Saudi, the other we don't know the nationality.

In, you know, typical AQI or an Al Qaeda and Iraq style, vehicle borne IED's and trucks drove them through the gates, they blew themselves up and the truck blew open the gate and the booty that they took from this installations was tremendous.

I mean, heavy artillery, machineguns, missiles, you name it. These guys, you know, and they are prepared to really, you know, go to town on fighting on whoever they're fighting.

I'll give you one anecdote that I think is very revealing. The Chechen/Dagestani/Russian contingent. A lot of the battalions in ISIS tend to aggregate amongst themselves on the basis of the ethnical linguistic similarities.

If you all speak Russian, you're going to deal with each other, right?

LEMON: Yes.

WEISS: Or even if you're from Uzbekistan or whatever. One of these battalions came to Raqqa to parlay with their Arab emirs, with their Arab superiors and the Arabs were so fearful of them, that they had snipers positioned on the rooftops, train their guns on them in case these guys attempted a coup or open fire on their nominal superiors. So, that's how bad the Russians are seen within the ISIS ranks.

LEMON: And that's where many of these guys are being trained. You know, Juliette Kayyem said the other night, commissioner, that, you know, we talk about the Russian attackers in Brussels, the attackers in Istanbul, the Alturk taxis, and she's saying that we needed to work with our intelligence people, we needed to work with the taxi industry.

Here in New York City, it's believe that as well. How do you do that? What do you do, that's a lot of pressure to put on a cab, a taxi driver.

KERIK: Well, it's a lot of pressure. I think, you know, you have took at what happened there, what your correspondent in Turkey said earlier. There were people that had questions about these guys already.

LEMON: Yes.

KERIK: Same thing in San Bernardino. Same thing in Orlando. You know, everybody has questions. Everybody has doubts. You know, we've got these things say something, you know, see something say something.

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: See something, say something, right.

KERIK: Well, people are afraid to say something. But I think the police department has, especially in New York City, their intelligence community, they work a lot with these various industries, especially the corporate industry. I think that's another mechanism for intelligence and intelligence is going to be the key to prevent in these attacks.

LEMON: Yes. A taxi driver may be the first line of defense for this.

KERIK: Huge.

LEMON: Yes, huge. All right. Thank you, everyone. Fascinating conversation. I really appreciate it.

When we come right back, terror attacks have killed hundreds of people around the world just this month but are we actually winning the war on ISIS?

[22:25:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: Turkey has what it calls strong evidence that the Istanbul airport attackers came to the country from the ISIS capital Raqqa. And that top ISIS leaders were involved in planning the attack, that's according to a senior Turkish government source.

I want to discuss it now with CNN's Fareed Zakaria, the host of Fareed Zakaria GPS. Always a fascinating conversation when you're here.

So, what does it mean that ISIS has apparently expanded its terrorist operations in Turkey and that it was ISIS planned, Fareed, and not simply ISIS inspired?

FAREED ZAKARIA, FAREED ZAKARIA GPS HOST: Well, I think it means that ISIS has realized that it needs to concentrate its military efforts where it has the greatest likelihood of success, which is not to try to recapture some of the cities it has lost, recapture some of the territory it has lost to American-backed forces because that's going to be very difficult given the American air power.

But what they can do is this kind of more and more sophisticated terror operations. But I think it's important to point out the greatest challenge we face remains that ISIS is able to inspire these young, misguided people to do it.

Because let's step back. You know, we've gotten into the details here a lot. What is the common feature here? Whether you're looking at Turkey, San Bernardino, Paris, Brussels, they're all Muslims. They all claimed to be doing it, you know, inspired by some vision of radical, fanatical Islam.

And that is the cancer. That is the virus that is spreading. It's important to talk about it frankly. There is a cancer in the world of Islam that get that, that allows these kinds of misguided, alienated young people to volunteer for this.

LEMON: OK. So, I'm glad you're being honest about this. So, because this is a tough area to go into and I'm sure, you know, probably get some blowback for saying that. So, then what is the solution? Is there a solution to...

ZAKARIA: It's a very good -- that's the -- the real challenge here is to be honest and frank about the problem and the nature of the problem, which does lie in the world of Islam, but not to succumb to bigotry and stereotyping.

LEMON: Exactly.

ZAKARIA: To remember that, yes, all the people who are doing it are Muslims and they say they're doing it in the name of Islam. But there of 1.599 billion Muslims who are not doing this and who live peaceful decent lives in the name of Islam.

I think that ultimately what you have to do is most importantly to protect yourself. You know, we have to recognize that this is part of the landscape of the world we now live in. Protect yourself.

[22:29:58] Secondly, help the moderates fight this kind of ideological virus that is out there, help the moderate states like Turkey. You know, why is Turkey getting hit? Because it is supporting American operations in Syria.

It is ironic that, you know, Donald Trump talks about banning all people from Muslim countries well, the Turks are now getting hit because they allied with us.

LEMON: Right.

ZAKARIA: And then finally recognize that ultimately these societies have to modernize. You cannot have repressive, dysfunctional societies because that leads to a lot of this kind of alienation.

But more than anything else, it is that we have to protect ourselves and we have to help moderate Muslims purge this kind of virus.

LEMON: Everything that you said except for protecting ourselves really has to do with government and with our government -- governments and our allies. How does one protect themselves? How is a private citizen going into America, going into this Fourth of July weekend, how do we protect ourselves?

ZAKARIA: No, it is fundamentally a task for the government and, by the way, the American government has been doing it pretty well. I think it is worth remembering, you know, we were talking about you taking a trip abroad, it is still true that your odds of being -- of dying on an American highway on the road to the airport...

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: On the way to the airport, right.

ZAKARIA: ... you know, are much higher than going to Istanbul. You know, there is simply no question about that.

We are safe. We can make ourselves more safe. I think it's one of the reasons I've always felt the government has to have some ability, for example, to you know, open iPhones and things like that. We are living in a dangerous world. But the longer term cure is going to come from the Muslim world and we can help.

But, you know, we don't have any purchase in that debate. It's a debate that is to take place among Muslims.

LEMON: So, the more I listen to everyone talk, all of our experts, the conclusion that I come to is we're never going to stop this. We can try to minimize our exposure to it or, you know, in some way keep it from happening as much as it happens, but you're never going to stop this. Because there is no -- there is no real ISIS profile, except for you said they're all Muslim.

ZAKARIA: Yes, and they have found a way to appeal to a certain very small alienated, disaffected young men mostly even though that sometimes broadens.

But I think you're right. That this is a feature of the age we're living in. It's partly also the technology. You know, we keep talking about how technology empowers people and we think about that meaning all the guys, but it also empowers bad people. And very small numbers of people can do very bad stuff. And that means, you know, it's a different nature of threat than we are used to.

LEMON: Yes. So, we have been -- you come on the line and you talked about, you mentioned Donald Trump when we talk about, you know, what's happening with the politics here in the U.S. How does this affect this terror? How does this affect the 2016 presidential race?

ZAKARIA: You know, one never knows. In general it's always been true that the tougher you seem, the tougher you sound, the more you promise to bomb and kill people, people rally around you and they think, you know, this makes me safe.

I think the American people are getting more sophisticated about this. They recognize that, you know, it's a complicated world out there, we have these issues like, you know, Turkey is trying to help us but at the same time they have their own internal politics that you guys were just talking about.

You know, you look at a country like Saudi Arabia. How does one deal with it? Each of this is very complicated and just saying you'l1 be tough is not enough. It doesn't -- it doesn't lead to a solution.

Maybe it's the shadow of the Iraq war where we went in guns blazing and we were very tough but it didn't solve the problem. In fact, it might have created more problems than it solved.

I think as a result of that is not going to help that simple profile, which in this case will probably be Trump. But you never know. Let's be honest. This, you know, when people get scared they react in ways that are unpredictable.

LEMON: I've been wanting to ask you about this. Because we talked about, you know, the initial reaction to the Brexit vote. U.K. is still in an upheaval right now. Does that affect the world on terror?

ZAKARIA: I think the truth is, that the United States does so much of the heavy lifting on this kind of military operations and the U.K.'s military is so professional that it doesn't. We look to the United Kingdom to help as you little bit. They have a very professional army. I doubt very much any of this matters.

In the long one, it will matter. If Britain turns inward, it will not spend as much on defense. It will not be as willing to get involved in the kind of policing function` that the United States has always relied on Britain to help off with.

So, I think in broader terms, an inward looking isolationist Britain would be a problem. But let's be honest. If the United States turns inward an isolationist, that's the real killer. That's when this whole global system that we've built since 1945 begins to fray. [22:35:03] LEMON: Well, it's a -- I'm just having...

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: I have it on the screen, are you kidding me?

ZAKARIA: Yes. I'm having a little bit of fun, but the point I'm trying to make is Republicans keep calling Bernie Sanders a socialist and they keep saying that Donald Trump is a great conservative.

But Trump now on the central issue of trade is actually running to the left of Sanders. I mean, he's certainly running to the left of Obama and to the left of Hillary Clinton, but he is running really the most left wing protectionist campaign on the central issue that any major candidate has run since the 1920s.

He is talking -- he's speaking in the language that says free trade has caused America decline, it has hollowed out American manufacturing, none of which by the way is true.

There are lots of very good studies that point out American manufacturing has been declining for 70 years, as has German manufacturing, British, Australian manufacturing. Because as you advance as a country your economy becomes less manufacturing focused and more service oriented.

LEMON: You're oriented.

ZAKARIA: Yes. And that's even happening in countries like South Korea, which we think of its manufacturing, you know, powerhouses.

But the point is Trump's message is not one any presidential candidate has adopted, and yet, the conservative, you know, Republicans, Paul Ryan, this great free trader is still supporting him and still endorsing him.

So, what I'm trying to say is conservatives need to take a this. Do they really want a candidate whose positions on the central issue are indistinguishable from Bernie Sanders, who they keep calling a socialist?

LEMON: It's a very good question. I haven't read it yet, but I can't wait to read it. Always a pleasure. Always a fascinating conversation. Thank you, Fareed Zakaria.

When we come right back, some top Republicans still have not endorsed Donald Trump. The candidate says it's like he's running against two parties. Can he unify the GOP before the convention? We'll be right back.

[22:40:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: We are less than three weeks away from the Republican convention and Donald Trump may be getting much closer to choosing a running mate. Let's discuss, Carl Bernstein is here. He's the author of "A Woman in

Charge, the Life of Hillary Rodham Clinton," and Douglas Brinkley, CNN presidential historian and author of "Rightful Heritage: Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Land of America."

Good evening, gentlemen. All right, Carl, let's get right to it. The Washington Post reporting that Newt Gingrich followed by Chris Christie are the leading candidates being vetted as Trump's running mate and announcement could come as early as next week. What would either of them add to a potential ticket?

CARL BERNSTEIN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: To a certain extent they legitimatize the idea that it is going to pick somebody who has some governmental experience. In both cases, obviously, Gingrich knows Washington, Christie has been a governor. I'm not sure what it brings all together. He's got a big problem, which is to unite the Republican Party. And right now he hasn't been able to do that. And would this unite the Republican Party? I doubt it.

LEMON: The question is, so you said these two people are at the top of, you know, of possibilities. Are there people in there who are saying, no way, I don't want to be associated with these guys, and people who may be good for the Trump ticket, but they're are leery of the rhetoric?

BERNSTEIN: Now look, if he could get Kasich to run with him, it would be a great thing for him at the top of the ticket, for Trump. He's not going to get Kasich. He has alienated a lot of the Republican Party because he has crossed some lines and made it very obvious to a lot of Republicans.

And look, this is a neofascist candidate we have who is running a bigoted, nativist strong-man campaign, he's not interested in democracy in democratic institutions and now we're stuck with him.

But one thing to remember here is, it is not too much of a leap from Sarah Palin, who was backed by all of the Republican establishment as the vice presidential candidate to Donald Trump, that the distance between those two and what they advocate is not so great. And so, that clearly Trump has gone somewhere that has frightened the Republicans who were willing to go along even with Sarah Palin.

LEMON: Do you agree with that, Douglas Brinkley?

DOUGLAS BRINKLEY, CNN PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: Well, I agree with a lot of what was just said. Look, we've got to think about Newt Gingrich. He's exceedingly smart, he's media savvy.

BERNSTEIN: Yes.

BRINKLEY: He has criticized Trump recently. But he was Speaker of the House, he was liked by mainstream Republicans. And he's one person Trump could pick, who could say look, forget Bill Clinton's presidency, it was us, it was about the contractor of America, it was about Republicans forcing Bill Clinton into triangulation. So, Gingrich is available and he might be chosen. Chris Christie could play particularly well I think in Ohio and Pennsylvania. However, Christie's poll numbers as Governor of New Jersey are abysmal but he is leaving the governorship and he has really nowhere else to go, Chris Christie.

So, probably with the slim pickings that want to tie d, you know, tie their kite to Trump, Gingrich and Christie are the two best characters standing on the national scene right now for Trump.

LEMON: Yes. Carl, Trump says he feels like he is running against two parties. Do you -- I've imagine you would think that's true.

BERNSTEIN: Yes. In a sense. That look, the backbone of the Republican regulars, the Bushes of the world, those he defeated, they're not willing to go along with him yet. They are very, very reluctant.

Look at what's going on with the Speaker of the House, Ryan, who has his own presidential ambitions. He doesn't want to come out enthusiastically for Trump. At the same time, there is recognition in the Republican Party including by those who don't like him, that he's got a chance of beating Hillary Clinton.

And more than anything, Republicans and the right wing in this country want to beat Hillary Clinton for the presidency.

[22:45:04] And back to Doug's point about Newt Gingrich, it is not coincidental that Gingrich brought a revolution to the House of Representatives and brought the first Republican majority to the House in a long time by running against Hillary Clinton and her health care efforts and saying that she had botched it. And he was very successful at this.

So, as Doug says, he's media savvy, he's able, but also we've got to look at the dynamic of the Clinton campaign, which right now is having its own difficulty. You've got two candidates here with terrible, terrible distrust numbers, dislike numbers, disdain numbers.

LEMON: And speaking of which...

(CROSSTALK)

BERNSTEIN: That's the dynamic we're looking at.

LEMON: Speaking of which, Douglas Brinkley, there's a new poll out by Fox News that shows 51 percent of Republican voters said they would rather have someone else as their party's nominee. Are they in denial?

BRINKLEY: They're in denial. I think Trump is going to be the nominee in Cleveland. He will pick someone like Gingrich or Chris Christie, might help him, you know, solidify the party. But there is a problem, some Republicans will simply stay home.

They're not going to vote in the fall. They just won't vote for Trump and they may not come in and vote libertarian either. But you've a got a third party with the Libertarian Party now that might get 10 or 12 percent in this election that will hurt Donald Trump also.

So, there is a crisis in the Republican Party, but it's too late to find a savior. Donald Trump is their guy. They're going -- either they are going to have to back him or wait -- kind of let Hillary Clinton come in and wait four years from now because he's a reality.

LEMON: All right. Gentlemen, stay with me. When we come right back, Hillary Clinton's not so secret weapon was supposed to be Bill Clinton, her husband. But that may not be working out as planned.

[22:50:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: A meeting this week between former President Bill Clinton and Attorney General Loretta Lynch is creating headaches for the Hillary Clinton's campaign.

Back with me now, Carl Bernstein and Douglas Brinkley. Carl, why on earth -- let me get the story out here. So, Attorney General Loretta Lynch and former President Bill Clinton apparently met privately on a plane on Monday after they realized they were on the same tarmac in Phoenix.

Now as you and I both know, Lynch's Justice Department is investigating Hillary Clinton's e-mail server. Critics are saying it is a conflict. Listen to this. Here's Donald Trump.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, (R) U.S. PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You see a thing like this and even in terms of judgment, how bad a judgment is it for him or for her to do this? I mean, who would -- who would do this?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Fortunately for them, Carl, a lot of people are thinklg who would do this? I mean, the Clintons, that's who. That's what they're thinking. This was an unforced error. This was just not a good look.

BERNSTEIN: It's an incredible lapse of judgment by both the former president and the Attorney General of the United States, and she now needs to recuse herself from this investigation and turn it over to the deputy Attorney General of the United States for the criminal division.

Because what happened was unthinkable. I'm not one who has a conspiratorial view with this that they sat there and talked about the server investigation.

LEMON: Recusal is a strong word, Carl.

BERNSTEIN: No, it's not a string word. It's what needs to be done. The appearance of possible impropriety has been raised here. They had no business being together given that Bill Clinton himself and his foundation may be the subject or part of this investigation.

She has to recuse itself. And look, this is a headache that the Clinton campaign doesn't need. The really awful aspect of this is that this continual problem with the server and this investigation, Hillary Clinton's lack of truthfulness, now Bill Clinton's boneheaded, I don't know how else to put it, and you can just see Bill Clinton saying, oh, we're on the same tarmac, I'll go up and see her.

And of course it's hard to throw the former President of the United States off your airplane, but she probably should have.

LEMON: Yes.

BERNSTEIN: But whatever the case, the specter of, you know, of Donald Trump, a neofascist, a total break with our history in this country in terms of being a strong man in the mold of a Juan Peron becoming President of the United States, and perhaps if he were to, what would contribute to it mightily is this whole server question and this investigation.

LEMON: OK. I want to hear what Douglas has to say. I mean, Douglas, an unforced error, do you think recusal is the right way to go here?

BRINKLEY: I don't know about that, but I agree with the general thrust of what Carl is saying about what a boneheaded move by Bill Clinton. In retrospect, the Attorney General should have written a little note that says I can't see you, you know, two lines.

It is hard to say no to a former president but she had to. And now this is just going to blow up. You know, Don, historians like I have to deal with Americans that are constantly thinking conspiracy in history, you know, whether Neil Armstrong walk on the moon or did 9/11 happen. I could just feel this thing is going to grow now.

LEMON: Yes.

BRINKLEY: Because of that meeting and it was probably pretty innocent but you're not -- you can't make those kind of mistakes in the main game of a campaign like this.

LEMON: Well, especially considering there is an investigation going on...

BRINKLEY: Yes.

LEMON: ... which means he's not directly targeted but the foundation is mentioned, his wife is running for president. I don't -- I don't really understand it.

BERNSTEIN: Well, you know there is a lot of talk...

(CROSSTALK)

BRINKLEY: Or maybe President...

BERNSTEIN: ... including people who are close to the Clintons, that feel that they have become somewhat out of touch with what most ordinary Americans are thinking, even though these are people who want to see desperately Hillary Clinton elected. But there is some recognition that there is perhaps a sense of

entitlement that the Clintons project, that they have been in a bubble perhaps for too long to be cognizant of some of these things, that they blame their enemies.

You know, this is not the vast right wing conspiracy...

LEMON: Yes.

BERNSTEIN: ... that is responsible for the server problem. It's Hillary's problem.

LEMON: They're two very smart people. I mean, I'm not sure that there's any bubble that is that...

(CROSSTALK)

BERNSTEIN: Yes. And they've not venal people and they've contributed immensely to this country.

[22:55:00] LEMON: Yes. Go ahead, Douglas.

BRINKLEY: Well, I just think it compromise our attorney general and she's so terrific that it's such a rookie mistake on her part that it's hard to imagine why she did that.

But Bill Clinton has a lot of charm, and it happened and I'm afraid it's going to get, become a big part of the Trump campaign. They're going to constantly cast a shadow that a secret deal was made and otherwise Hillary would be in jail. You can hear it coming.

LEMON: How damaging, Douglas, do you think?

BRINKLEY: I think it's damaging but, you know, a lot of news cycle, a long ways till November. We got a lot of weeks to go to the election. There will be other things and Donald Trump is going to have his moments of flap.

But to Carl's point, we've got to look at the sense of Clintons' sense of entitlement. Both of them. And whether Bill Clinton is off a step? Maybe he's not on the game anymore?

I mean, he was electrifying rooms three or four years ago, and you feel now that any moment he might snap a reporter and wag a finger or feel like he can put his arm around anybody. And there are a lot of restraints on him at this juncture because Hillary Clinton has to win this in her own right. And if I were the Clinton campaign, I'd be very upset that Bill Clinton had this meeting on the tarmac.

LEMON: Yes. Thank you, Douglas. Thank you, Carl. I appreciate it.

BRINKLEY: Thanks, Don.

LEMON: When we come right back, the battle of the talk show hosts, they have the ears of the voters. So, what do they say about Donald Trump and the party of Lincoln? [23:00:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: Eleven p.m. on the East Coast, 6 a.m. in Istanbul, the sun rising on a city reeling from the bloody airport terror attack that killed 44 people.

This is CNN Tonight. I'm Don Lemon.

Police desperately search --