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AT THIS HOUR WITH BERMAN AND MICHAELA

Controversy over Trump Tweet; New Details on Clinton/FBI Meeting Trump Floating Possible V.P. Picks; Terror Strikes in 3 Countries in One Week; New Details on Killers in Bangladesh; Security Stepped Up for July 4th Holiday. Aired 11-11:30a ET

Aired July 4, 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] CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: It's really not when you're running with that many people. You go, Atlanta.

Thank you for joining me today. I'm Carol Costello.

AT THIS HOUR with Berman and Bolduan starts now.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Hello. I'm John Berman. Kate Bolduan is off today.

It is the Fourth of July. Happy birthday, America. While some folks might have the day off -- Kate Bolduan -- it seems like a months worth of politics just took over in the last hour. Donald Trump tweeting -- Donald Trump, I should say, tweeting just moments ago, "Dishonest media is trying their absolute best to depict a star in a tweet as a Star of David, rather than a sheriff's star or plain star." What's this about? Well, it's in response to the controversy over this tweet, which Trump sent and later deleted, showing a picture of Hillary Clinton over a pile of cash, and next to her the Star of David with the words, "Most corrupt candidate ever." Now, the tweet has since been updated to remove the star.

Also on Twitter and just the last few minutes, Donald Trump completely unprovoked has been floating the names of people considered possible vice presidential selections. It couldn't possibly be to deflect attention from that other Twitter stuff, could it? We'll get to the veep-stakes float in just a minute.

But first, CNN Jason Carroll joins me with the latest on anti- Semitic imagery on Trump's Twitter feed -- Jason?

JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We've heard Donald Trump blaming the media in the past. Some times it works. This time his critics say it's not going to work. The candidate himself has to answer for. And the reason for that is there have been a number of Jewish leaders, Jewish groups who have spoken out about this particular tweet.

Now, what Trump is basically saying is -- it's not just Trump. You have Cory Lewandowski saying it, Trump advisers saying this, that this is something that presents not the Jewish Star of David. You see the image there that was originally posted versus the one they changed it to, the star, the circle versus the star. They're saying this is a star that represents a sheriff's department, not a star that represents the Jewish Star of David.

One of his campaign advisers, Ed Brookover, tried to explain how this tweet came to be this morning and he had a tough time doing it. Here is the reason why, this is a tweet that originally appeared on a Neo-Nazi website.

But this is how Ed Brookover tried to explain how this tweet came to be this morning. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ED BROOKOVER, ADVISOR, DONALD TRUMP CAMPAIGN ADVISOR: Not every six-sided star was the Star of David. There was no intent here at all. So, you know, we corrected this tweet and it moved on. There's no anti-Semitism in Mr. Trump's body, not one ounce, not once cell. And so we corrected this image and it's time for us to move on. There is nothing, nothing, nothing about Mr. Trump that suggests anti- Semitism.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARROLL: And he went on to say that he would not at this point expect Mr. Trump to apologize for that. He also went on to say, of course, that Donald Trump's son-in-law is Jewish, his daughter, Ivanka, that she converted.

But at the end of the day this is something that the candidate, many of his critics say, is going to have to answer for himself.

BERMAN: Again, just to be clear, this was not some re-tweet. It appeared on Donald Trump's own Twitter feed.

CARROLL: That's correct.

BERMAN: And the image, there have been investigations into where it came for, it was spotted before on the Twitter account of someone who regularly posts anti-Semitic stuff. And the only other place it was seen was on this message board which traffics in anti-Semitic, racist stuff.

CARROLL: Right. How do you come to blame the media for something like this, twisting it into something being anti-Semitic when, in fact, this is something that originated on a website visited by neo-Nazis.

BERMAN: Someone in the Trump campaign had to get it and put it on Donald Trump's feed, and the question is when, how, why, et cetera. We don't expect any apology coming any time soon.

Jason Carroll, thank you so much.

CARROLL: You bet.

BERMAN: We turn now to Hillary Clinton. She, too, had an interesting weekend. We have new details on the three-hour sit-down she had with the FBI regarding her use of a private e-mail server while secretary of state.

CNN justice correspondent, Evan Perez, joins me with the latest.

Good morning, Evan.

EVAN PEREZ, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, John. What's more patriotic on Fourth of July staying three hours at the FBI headquarter answering questions about your e-mail server? That's how Hillary Clinton did it on Saturday. This was a long-anticipated interview. We've been waiting for it. And we're told that this is expected to be one of the final steps before the FBI and Justice Department close out this now almost year-long investigation into her private server.

Clinton says that it was a very good conversation. There was nothing hostile about the questioning, that she voluntarily showed up for this interview. She had been pushing for the FBI to do this interview for several months.

The FBI wanted to wait to gather all the evidence in this investigation, this criminal investigation before finally talking to the principal, the person who is at the center of all of this controversy.

[11:05:12] Now, we expect right at this point that the FBI will not find warranted for setting up this private server. We know that obviously her political appointments wish that there was -- that she would get in trouble. Perhaps there would be some mishandling of classified information charge that would be brought by the Justice Department, but at this point we're told that that is not the case. The evidence does not warrant that. Now we have to wait to see what came out of this interview on Saturday, John. Obviously, there are times that people make mistakes in these interviews that then come back to haunt them. We've seen that certainly in many other cases. We expect the final decision will come down in the next week or so -- John?

BERMAN: Of course, the Democratic convention is three weeks away, so a week would be well before that.

Evan, just quickly, if there are no charges, is it possible that the FBI still comes out with some kind of statement or some kind of information about what she did right and wrong here in whether her behavior, you know, was against the rules or close to against the law?

PEREZ: That is exactly what we expect to happen. We expect -- this is unusual case obviously. The FBI often closes out cases and simply sends out a letter perhaps and says that there will be no charges. The Justice Department would send letters like that. In this case, we anticipate there will be a public statement because of the great public interest in this case, John. And this is where she could still have some problems. I don't expect that she'll emerge unscathed. After all, setting up this private server was very bad judgment on the part of Mrs. Clinton and her team.

BERMAN: All right, Evan Perez, thanks so much. Let's discuss this, let's discuss Donald Trump's Twitter feed and

so much more now with former Trump campaign strategist, Michael Caputo; Republican strategist and former Ted Cruz communications director, Alice Stewart; and CNN political commentator and South Carolina state representative, Bakari Sellers. He supports Hillary Clinton.

Michael, great to see you.

I feel like I haven't seen you in two hours or so.

(LAUGHTER)

Since we last spoke, Jonathan Greenblatt, national director of Anti-Defamation League, he was on CNN. He was talking about this tweet on Donald Trump's Twitter feed with anti-Semitic imagery, the Star of David over 100 bills and calling Hillary Clinton the most corrupt candidate ever. This is what he had to say about that tweet and the fact that someone from the Trump campaign decided to put it out. Listen to what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JONATHAN GREENBLATT, NATIONAL DIRECTOR, ANTI-DEFAMATION LEAGUE: Well, it's an interesting question to ask, why is your fact finding department focusing on fiction and how a major presidential campaign can be looking at racist websites or anti-Semitic sections of other online sources and using it to find content to share with the American public. I mean, look, the Anti-Defamation League has been fighting anti-Semitism and bigotry for over 100 years. As a non-profit organization, we don't normally engage in politics and we don't want to. But the fact is these bigoted and prejudicial ideas don't belong in the public conversation, and that's why we're speaking out.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: There are people, there are groups who were offended by this tweet, the fact it would go out on Donald Trump's official Twitter handle. He did take that tweet down, changed it, at least, which indicates he realized there was something wrong with it.

Michael, what would it take for the Trump campaign to issue some kind of apology or some kind of statement to say, hey, we shouldn't have done that, we regret that it happened?

MICHAEL CAPUTO, FORMER STRATEGIST, DONALD TRUMP PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN: I think it would take the Trump campaign making a mistake that was intended to offend someone. This was not intended to offend anyone. It was a tweet that they had a geographic image -- geometric image on it that some associate with the horrible days of Nazi Germany. I get that. Clearly they get that. This was an unforced error. There's no question about it. Otherwise they wouldn't have changed it. But to apologize for it, I don't think so.

In the meantime, however, we're talking about an FBI interrogation of Hillary Clinton as some kind of conversation. Let's face it, this whole tweet thing has been ginned up to subsume the story of the weekend, which is the Democrat nominee was interrogated by the FBI in a criminal investigation.

BERMAN: Did Donald Trump gin it up by sending out this image which most people believe is anti-Semitic?

CAPUTO: Most people, I'm not se that most people believe it. In fact, I spent a good part of the afternoon here in my little village of New York showing people at the fireworks, where we have thousands of people, showing them that tweet and asking them what they found offensive about it. Not one person found it offensive. The media finds it offensive. The Hillary Clinton campaign wants you to find it offensive. Therefore, we're talking about it.

BERMAN: The fact that it was originally produced by folks who often traffic in that type of imagery --

CROSSTALK)

[11:10:01] CAPUTO: Do you know that?

BERMAN: Yes.

CAPUTO: Do you know that?

BERMAN: It was found on this Twitter feed by someone who regularly puts out anti-Semitic and racist stuff --

(CROSSTALK)

CAPUTO: Wait a second. Can you tell me for a fact -- do you think somebody from the Trump campaign went and visited this?

(CROSSTALK)

BERMAN: I have no idea. We're asking -- we're wondering if the Trump campaign --

(CROSSTALK)

BERMAN: No, we don't know for a fact because the Trump campaign won't tell us how it came up with that image. That's exactly what we're trying to guess from that.

CAPUTO: John, I can tell you this. I sat in the same room, the same office with the head of social media, and they are deluged at all times, incoming images who want the campaign to use them. So the idea that somebody was sitting up late at night trolling on some kind of a Fascist website is laughable to me. They come in by the thousands at the Trump campaign.

BERMAN: Well, then someone wants the Trump campaign to use this imagery, which had appeared on anti-Semitic sites. Let's leave that there.

I want to ask Alice an important question also about Twitter. Over the last hour, Alice, Donald Trump has floated the names of three people considered by many to be on the short list for vice president on Twitter, mentioning it unprovoked. Let me read it quickly. "Senator Tom Cotton was great on 'Meet the Press" yesterday by a totally one-sided interview by Chuck Todd, the end result was solid." Minutes later, "Spent time with Indiana Governor Mike Pence and family yesterday, very impressed, great people." Then minutes later, "I look forward to meeting Joanie Ernst today in New Jersey. She has done a great as Senator of Iowa."

We'll talk, Alice, whether these people would be good or bad picks for Donald Trump. I'm fascinated by the timing of this leak by Donald Trump himself. It almost seems as if he is trying to create attention on something, other than say this other Twitter controversy over the weekend.

ALICE STEWART, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST & FORMER TED CRUZ COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: Well, I think at least on the Twitter controversy with the star, they claim that it was used as a sheriff's star and that's the original intent of where they came up with the star. And I can see where some people may take offense. A lot of folks walk around this world hearing dog whistles, 24/7. They claim this was a sheriff star. I take them at their word for it. I do believe this is a huge distraction by many in the media to take away from the fact that Hillary Clinton was hauled before the FBI yesterday for questioning. And, I think there is more should be paid attention to that story than this tweet.

As for the three names that Donald Trump threw out there, Tom Cotton, phenomenal Senator in my state of Arkansas. I think he would be a tremendous pick, Joanie Ernst and certainly Mike Pence. The speculation is that he may possibly float the name out there prior to the convention. He had been saying that it would not be announced until the convention, but I think this is good to get some names out there, get the conversation going and oftentimes a lot of folks are going through the vetting process but what the campaigns do is put names throughout to try to get some feedback from those in the media and from voters. I think this is nothing more than his opportunity to get some names out there and generate some buzz in advance of the convention.

BERMAN: Generate buzz, to be sure, which is something that Donald Trump is very good at. Again, he put those tweets out in rapid succession this morning, which was very interesting.

OK, Bakari Sellers, the Republicans here, they want to focus on the three and a half hour meeting this weekend that Hillary Clinton had with the FBI, we call it a meeting. She had to answer questions from the FBI about an investigation into her use of e-mail while it was secretary of state, three and a half hours of questioning, three weeks before the convention. Evan Perez just reported, even if she is not indicted or no charges, there could very well be a scathing report that says that Hillary Clinton did was very, very wrong here. How does the campaign deal with that? Have they answered these questions sufficiently?

BAKARI SELLERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I mean, three and a half hours when you're talking about an FBI interview is really not that long of a period of time, especially when you're talking about the volume of information that they've been dealing with. But we are -- this is where the process ends. There is light at the end of the tunnel. This is imminently coming to a conclusion. And I think that Hillary Clinton and the campaign are very thrilled that at least we get to the point where we can breathe this sigh of relief. This is the last block between her and being the 45th president of the United States. So, I think you will have that sigh of relief. I know that -- I listened to Evan Perez's report earlier and said there may be some statement about what she did right or wrong. That's not usually done in this process. Usually, if there's some investigation or some target, there's a letter written or a brief blurb that there will or will not be charges. I'm interested to hear what fashion, what type of report Director Comey of the FBI will do. That is something that's not usually done in this process.

(CROSSTALK)

BERMAN: Bakari, you say the campaign will be thrilled. What's to be thrilled on her numbers to be honest and trustworthy? One of the latest polls said is Hillary Clinton trustworthy, only 30 percent of the polls said yes, 66 percent said no. That is nothing to be thrilled about when you're the presumptive Democratic nominee.

[11:15:12] SELLERS: Well, I don't know. I've never been under federal investigation or have something around me under federal investigation, But when that is over and I've been deemed to have no criminal wrong doing, I know I would be thrilled about that.

Yeah, she has high unfavorable numbers. I mean, as I said earlier today, she's been the most admired woman in the world 20 times in a row. Gallop does those pollings. And she's been the most admired woman 20 times in a row. She's been sustaining these attacks for two decades. Her numbers are high. The blessing is in all this, the person she is running against dabbles the bigotry on a regular basis and has higher unfavorables than she does.

BERMAN: All right, Bakari Sellers, Alice Stewart, Michael Caputo, stick around. We'll go down the list of vice presidential selections and you will tell me later in the show who each candidate will pick as their running mate.

Stand by for that, guys. Thanks a lot.

Also coming up for us, a wave of terror, three attacks around the world, actually more if you go back further. What does this say about the capabilities of ISIS?

Plus, we are learning new details about the killers in the Bangladesh. The father of one attacker is speaking out about his son.

Also ahead, Fourth of July celebrations today, how are cities and states preparing for these in light of what's gone on around the world? New methods being used. We'll tell you all about them next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[11:20:54] BERMAN: A worry and watchful Fourth of July in United States after alarming attacks across the world. In Iraq, the deadliest single attack in 13 years since the U.S. invasion began. At least 215 people were killed after a suicide truck bomb went off in a Baghdad shopping district. Bodies burned beyond recognition are still being pulled from the rubble. ISIS is claiming responsibility. In Bangladesh, investigators hope to get new insight into the standoff with terrorists that left 22 people dead. Two people recovering from injuries are now considered suspects. A top government official in Bangladesh is calling the perpetrators home grown terrorists without ties to ISIS. The group claimed responsibility.

The rash of deadly terror in such a short span, including the attack on Turkey's main airport less than a week ago and the Orlando attack where the gunman pledged his allegiance to ISIS, it does show that ISIS is capable of executing or inspiring violent attacks beyond its stronghold in Syria. That has law enforcement in his country taking no chances has the nation celebrates 240 years of independence.

Let's got to Baghdad and Ben Wedeman.

Ben, the attack in the Karrada district, that busy shopping area, the death toll keeps on rising, you can sense the despair ration of families looking for loved ones.

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah. We were there for about five hours right outside where the bomb went off. And we saw one group of people after another coming to try to get whatever information they can. Of course, the place is in an utter mess because not only was there this massive blast but it caused huge fires in all of the buildings around it.

Now, I watched this who one man was sort of sifting through the rubble on the ground and he found his brother's prayer beads. And he sort of concluded right there that his brother had died on the spot. He was sobbing and in tears, but he had to call his mother and inform her that her son had died.

Another woman I spoke with told me that she had spent more than 24 hours going to every single hospital, every single morgue in Baghdad. But was not only unable to find her son, she said that all she saw were unrecognizable charred bodies.

In fact, the Iraqi police are saying of the bodies they've recovered, 81 of them are simply charred beyond all recognition. They're going to have to use DNA tests to determine the identity of the bodies -- John?

BERMAN: So much loss.

Ben Wedeman, in Baghdad, thank you.

Let's go to Bangladesh, a country in shock. New details emerge about the cafe attack there.

CNN's Alexandra Field is live in Dhaka.

Alexandra, what are you learning?

ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, John, police are saying that they have two people in custody who were being considered suspects in this attack. They say that both of the people they have in custody were injured in the cafe. They had initially identified one of them as the sole surviving attacker, but they say he is too badly injured from that clash with police to be able to talk to investigators. It's not clear who the other suspect is but we do know that it's someone that was in the cafe as well.

At the same time, we are learning from Bangladeshi officials all of the assailants taking people captive, holding them hostage, slaughtering innocent victims were each Bangladeshi five were militants were being pursued by authorities, ranging in age from 18 to mid 20s. We're told they were all upper middle class and well educated.

I spoke to the father of the youngest attacker, an 18-year-old today. He tells me his son disappeared from the family home months ago. They weren't able to find him. They were looking for him with the help of law enforcement. He didn't know his son had been part of the attack until he saw images of his boy posted by ISIS showing his son's mouth, his jaws, his hands, grasping a gun.

Today, when we spoke, his father broke down tearfully, offering condolences to the families of the victims and telling me this is not the son he knew.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know how to say. It is not his decision. He cannot do violence. It's not possible.

FIELD: What do you say to the families to the loved ones of the people who died in that restaurant?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know what to say. I want to apologize to them on behalf of myself. He has god for all the punishment. But I don't know how much involved he was. He was involved.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[11:25:00] FIELD: Before his son disappeared back in February, the father says that his boy showed no signs of religious extremism or radicalization. He also tells me he has not gone to identify his son' remains because he just doesn't want to belief that his boy is inside of that body -- John?

BERMAN: Many families there looking for answers.

Alexandra Field, in Dhaka for us, thanks.

There's ramped up security in the United States after all these attacks in the world. Extra officers out in force, thousands, in some cases, patrolling what could be targets across the country.

Plus, Donald Trump, the candidate himself, floating the names of possible running mates. This isn't the way that campaigns normally do it. There's normally some slight of hand, some coy hints. Let the veep-stakes begin.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: It is the Fourth of July. So many cities and states on high alert today for their celebrations. This, as we've seen so many attacks around the world over the last several days and weeks, Baghdad, Bangladesh, Istanbul, not to mention here in the United States in Orlando just a few weeks ago.

Joining us now CNN International diplomatic editor, Nic Robertson; CNN intelligence and security analyst, Bob Baer. Bob was also a CIA operative. And also with us CNN global affairs analyst, Kimberly Dozier.

Kimberly, when you look at Baghdad, more than 200 killed, Bangladesh, more than 20, Istanbul, dozens and dozens, all even claimed by or linked to ISIS. What is ISIS trying to do right now? Is this a new wave of attack they're trying?

KIMBERLY DOZIER, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Well, it shows that even though ISIS is under siege militarily inside Syria and Iraq, they can still command some of these attacks and inspire far more. They knew that this military confrontation and loss of territory was coming. And U.S. intelligence officials --