Return to Transcripts main page

THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER

Interview With Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton; Justice Ginsburg Criticizes Trump In New Interview; International Tribunal Rejects China's Claim To South China Sea. Aired 4:30-5p ET

Aired July 12, 2016 - 16:30   ET

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


[16:30:02]

JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: What is your message when you hear from minority communities in Texas who are concerned about whether or not they are being treated fairly?

KEN PAXTON, TEXAS ATTORNEY GENERAL: Well, I tell them they have a legitimate message that we need to listen to.

But I think that's one of the great things that is coming about as a result of this. We have had this group called Operation Blue Shield, which is a nonprofit that has been involved and working with our police department here to make things right.

That is why they were out there that evening protecting these protesters who were actually protesting against them. And then when it came time to protect them, they stepped into the line of fire and offered their lives.

So, I do think that this has been a success. I think it's a great story for the future, and I think a model that can be used around the country.

TAPPER: That's right. There were all these very, very moving pictures of police officers posing for photographs with protesters the night of that horrific attack, showing the community and the police in Dallas, at least, are able to work hand in hand.

PAXTON: Yes. And I think that model should be passed on.

Hopefully, because of the tragedy here, obviously, it's created a lot of publicity, and I'm hoping that people can learn from our example about what we have done well in Texas, what we have done well in Dallas. I think it's been amazing.

TAPPER: All right. Well, our thoughts and prayers are with the law officers of Dallas, Texas.

PAXTON: Thank you.

TAPPER: Thank you so much. Appreciate it, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton. PAXTON: Thanks for having me on. I appreciate it.

TAPPER: Coming up: Chris Christie, Newt Gingrich, Mike Pence or two people no one is even talking about, that is what Donald Trump is now saying about whom he is considering as a possible running mate. So, who are these two mystery contenders?

That story next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[16:36:09]

TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD.

We're told that literally any day now, Donald Trump will make his vice presidential pick. But first he is keeping everyone guessing about the names on his short list.

Today, the limelight is on Indiana Governor Mike Pence, who will introduce Trump at a rally this evening. Yesterday, it was New Jersey Governor Chris Christie with Trump in Virginia Beach. Before that, Newt Gingrich paraded onto the stage in Cincinnati.

The rising speculation about who he will pick comes less than a week before the Republican National Convention in Ohio.

Let's bring in Sara Murray. She is live from Westfield, Indiana, where Trump will speak this evening.

Sara, Newt Gingrich said just moments ago that Trump's vice presidential announcement will come either tomorrow, Wednesday, or Thursday. Any more hints as to whom Mr. Trump might pick?

SARA MURRAY, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: We do know it has been narrowed down to a relatively small group with the caveat that Donald Trump is Donald Trump.

And no one knows if he's going to pull a wild card. But adding to the speculation today is Newt Gingrich himself and the news that he and FOX News are going to be cutting ties. He was a contributor there.

And all of this comes after Donald Trump has said that no matter what happens with his V.P. hunt, Newt Gingrich would find some place in a Trump government. Now, Jake, this is playing out sort of behind the scenes. Meanwhile, on the campaign trail, Donald Trump is still trying to cast himself as the strongest candidate in the race.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MURRAY (voice-over): With the nation mourning a string of devastating shootings and security concerns running high ahead of the Cleveland convention, Donald Trump is casting himself as the candidate of law and order.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We must maintain law and order at the highest level, or we will cease to have a country.

MURRAY: Trump taking to Twitter to frame the race as a choice between law, order, and safety or chaos, crime and violence, all while he slams Hillary Clinton as a lawless candidate.

TRUMP: Clearly, Hillary Clinton thinks she is above the law. Come November, the American people will show her that she is not above the law.

MURRAY: Trump even warning more violence may lie ahead, telling the Associated Press the incidents of the past few weeks might be just the beginning for this summer.

Meanwhile, Trump continues to spin up speculation about his V.P. pick. After campaigning with New Jersey Governor Chris Christie on Monday, today, he is hitting the trail in Indiana with home state Governor Mike Pence, a man who has already drawn accolades from Washington conservatives still skeptical of Trump.

REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: I'm just as anxious as the rest of you are on who the V.P. pick is. I'm familiar with this process. I have the highest, highest regard for Mike. He is a personal friend of ours and mine.

MURRAY: And with just six days until the GOP Convention, some Republicans are still publicly airing their grievances with their presumptive nominee.

Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse penning an essay encouraging conscience voters, rather than those choosing the lesser of two evils, all as yet another holdout digs in his heals. Ohio Governor John Kasich plans to appear at nearly 20 events around Cleveland next week, but despite an intense lobbying effort from the Trump campaign and RNC officials, a Kasich advisory still pegs the odds of him appearing at the convention somewhere between zilch and zero.

Even vice presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich was angling to change Kasich's mind, lobbing a last-minute plea to the Kasich team, asking whether trying to convince the Ohio governor to endorse Trump was a waste of time.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MURRAY: Now, one of the things to watch as these "Apprentice"-style V.P. tryouts continue today is how Mike Pence and Donald Trump get along together on the stump.

As you know, Jake, personal chemistry can be so important in the final decisions -- back to you.

TAPPER: Sara Murray with the Trump campaign in Indiana, thank you so much.

Joining me now is Republican Congresswoman Mia Love, a Republican of Utah.

[16:40:01]

Congresswoman Love, thanks so much for being here. Great to see you, as always.

REP. MIA LOVE (R), UTAH: Hi, Jake. How are you?

TAPPER: So, I guess the first question I have is, whom do you hope Donald Trump chooses to be vice president? It looks as though it's down to, based on what I know, Mike Pence, Newt Gingrich, and Chris Christie possibly. What do you think?

LOVE: I have no idea.

I actually have not spoken to the Trump campaign yet. I still have -- I have no idea. Trump is going to do what Trump does.

(CROSSTALK)

TAPPER: But who do you like the best?

LOVE: All of those -- I think Mike Pence is a great choice.

I think that that would be a good choice for him. But, in terms of me, I'm trying to stick with my district and do everything I can to represent Utah and be the best member I possibly can for them.

TAPPER: Well, let's talk about you.

Four years ago, you had a very prominent speaking role at the Republican National Convention.

LOVE: Yes.

TAPPER: This year, you have chosen to skip it, along with other members of Congress from your state.

Is that an indication, you think, that Republicans are still clearly having problems uniting around Donald Trump?

LOVE: A few years ago, when Mitt Romney -- Mitt Romney had close connections to Utah.

Understand that the House of Representatives is a branch of government that is closest to people. And I think it's important for us to actually go out and say we don't represent a national party. We actually represent the people that have elected us to represent them.

And so I think that this is an opportunity for us to say, OK, these are some of the things that we agree with, these are some of the things that we disagree with, and maybe try and see what we can do to come together in a room and talk about a positive agenda that is going to help not just our districts, but America.

But I don't think the time for us to just say we're going to blindly follow one candidate, because times are tough and people are hurting, so we have got to make sure that we're following issues, instead of one person.

TAPPER: But if Marco Rubio were the nominee, I can't imagine you wouldn't be at the convention. Right? This is because you have serious concerns about Donald Trump.

LOVE: Marco Rubio had a positive agenda for America moving forward.

I could actually go through and look at policy by policy and say, I can endorse that policy, I can endorse this policy, yes, I agree with this. And also Marco Rubio actually came out to Utah and gained the support and the hearts of the people that I represent. So in representing Marco at the convention would have been representing my district. So I think that that is the difference there.

TAPPER: Is there anything Donald Trump could do to get your endorsement?

LOVE: Well, I think that one of the things he has to do is, he has to go out and be an and understand that if he gets elected, he is going to be the leader of the free world.

It's not enough to just go out and just say whatever you want to. You have to come up with positive agendas moving forward, especially in light of what we have seen recently with all of the tragedies and the innocent blood that has been spilt. We need someone who is going to unify Americans.

I am so sick and tired of the divisiveness. I am just -- I think that that is subpar. And I think we as Americans we deserve a good, positive agenda and someone who is going to unite us. And just to be clear, I'm adamantly, adamantly opposed to Hillary Clinton being president, because I know what she is going to do.

I have seen her in action, and I just -- there is no way that I can support Hillary Clinton as the president. So I'm just going to be very clear about that.

TAPPER: Speaking of divisiveness, obviously, this is a very difficult and troubled time for our country.

LOVE: Yes.

TAPPER: In the last week, we have seen at least three or four different events, two different ones where law enforcement were targeted, two other ones where there were questions about law enforcement using excessive force.

What is going through your mind these days? How do you feel, how do you react to what is happening?

LOVE: I guess I'm just sickened by these -- just by innocent blood being spilt

And it is important for us to know that some of the frustrations are validated. I think that people have frustrations, especially when you have got, among black Americans, think about this, between 16 and 24 years of age, there's 24.8 percent unemployment.

There are people that do not feel like they have any success over their lives. There are people that feel like there is violence, whether they're being targeted, whether it's police being targeted, or whether it's on black-on-black violence. People are just -- they're just going towards just being frustrated.

And I think, again, we have to really fix the problems and allow people to feel as if they have got some sort of control over their success. And so, again, we have to go out and we have got to talk about how great our police officers are. They're going to be some bad actors out there, but fighting each other is not the answer.

Violence is never the answer, and we have to do everything we can to be a united United States of America.

TAPPER: Well, amen to that.

Congressman -- Congresswoman Mia Love, we always love hearing from you. Thank you so much for being with us.

[16:30:11] LOVE: Thank you, Jake.

TAPPER: And be sure again to tune in tonight for a special CNN Town Hall with House Speaker Paul Ryan. I will host it. That is tonight at 9 p.m. Eastern Time, 6 p.m. Pacific right here on CNN.

Donald Trump is not down with the notorious RBG, Ruth Bader Ginsburg. What did Justice Ginsburg tells CNN in a brand new interview that has Donald Trump so ticked off? And had some asking if the Supreme Court justice crossed the line.

Plus China has been staking a claim to the South China Sea building man-made islands and telling other countries to stay away. But China is being told to back down. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper. More politics now, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has had some choice words about Donald Trump. First in comments to the "Associated Press" and "The New York Times" that prompted criticism that she crossed the line.

But the notorious RBG as her fans call her then took her comments even further calling Donald Trump a, quote, "faker" and asking how it is that he hasn't released his tax returns yet. In a brand interview with CNN's new legal analyst, Joan Biskupic, who joins us now.

[16:50:02] Joan, great interview, really remarkable, and stunning exchanges. In one exchange with Ginsburg, she said, quote, about Trump, "He has no consistency about him. Whatever comes into his head at the moment, he really has an ego."

Were you as surprised as I think the rest of the world was that she would say that? One of the heads of the judicial branch saying this about one of the potential heads of the executive branch.

JOAN BISKUPIC, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: No, I was surprised when given the chance to walk back that she didn't want to walk back. In fact, she came on even stronger in her comments to me. I think it goes to show these two individuals might have something in common, always speaking their own mind.

I have known Justice Ginsburg since 1993 when she was appointed and often go and speak to her at the end of the term, and she's known for her bluntness. I think that's what made her distinctive.

She is not out there the way Donald Trump is constantly out there, but the fact that she would say these things was not a complete surprise because she tends to be honest in her comments.

It's just that it was this time about Donald Trump and anytime anyone says anything about Donald Trump, it's immediately front page news.

TAPPER: These were personal criticisms of Donald Trump, not questions about he might view the law or whatever. They were the kind of talk you might here from a friend at a water cooler.

More importantly, Joan, wouldn't this mean potentially that there would be huge calls for her to recuse herself if there were ever any sort of Trump-related case that comes before the court?

BISKUPIC: Well, you know, even in your question, Jake, you sort of distinguished the kinds of comments she made, they were more personal. They were almost like more as a voter in some ways even though she's a judge.

Think of the way a case would come to the Supreme Court, may be, say he gets elected, let's really speculate on this idea of recusal. Say Donald Trump becomes a president and there is a case involving his administration.

That would have to do with his administration, not him personally. But then let's even pull back to something more personal like a Bush V Gore, Trump versus Clinton.

The question would be given her personal comments about him, would she not be able to rule fairly about a question of law and it's just very hard to speculate on that at this point although I will say from the get go that these were highly unusual remarks from a member of the Supreme Court about a presidential candidate.

TAPPER: Unusual to say the least. You can read the full interview at CNN.com. Joan Biskupic, thank you so much. Good to see you as always.

BISKUPIC: Thank you.

TAPPER: Could a showdown be in the works after China is told to back off one of the most disputed sections of the sea. That important story coming up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[16:57:08]

TAPPER: Welcome back. I'm Jake Tapper. This is THE LEAD. In our World Lead today, it is Beijing versus the world. An international tribunal now that China cannot tell other countries to get off its lawn because frankly it is not their lawn.

Let's bring in CNN chief national security correspondent, Jim Sciutto. Jim, China has long been in dispute over the so-called South China Sea. Why did The Hague tell China to back off?

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, in the briefest terms The Hague basically decided it does not accept China's claim. When you look at the map here, it is a pretty aggressive claim. It goes hundreds of miles from China's shores, extending way down to Malaysia, Vietnam, Philippines, all of whom have competing claims there.

And to be fair, it is not just China just claiming for these waters. The Philippines have a pretty expansive as well. But no one else is doing what China is doing which is building thousands of acres of artificial islands there, putting on military landing strips, Navy bases, et cetera.

And now you have an international tribunal essentially saying China, you can't do it. There is no legal basis to do that.

TAPPER: And Jim, you have been to the South China Sea, it is already as you said bristling with tension. What could happen next in the region?

SCIUTTO: Well, it depends on whether China in effect doubles down on its claim. Now the fact is you look at these pictures here, these enormous islands that we flew over that they built. They're not going to tear these islands up. They are there. Those are facts on the ground. They are facts on the sea so to speak.

So the question is do they ratchet up? I think it is conceivable that you see more flybys, Chinese military aircraft. The U.S. aircraft trying to establish that these are international waters.

More sailbys of U.S. ships, but a big test, Jake, will be to see if China declares what's called an air identification zone in effect demanding that any plane that flies near here whether military or civilian has to identify itself.

That would include commercial aircraft in the area. That would be a step forward and the question is do countries comply with that?

TAPPER: Jim, briefly if you could, just explain to the average viewer at home why they should care about disputed waters in the South China Sea?

SCIUTTO: Well, these are very busy waters. A lot of shipping traffic goes through here and the basic U.S. position is listen, we don't take the Philippines is right or the Chinese is right. All we want is freedom of navigation here.

These are international waters and you want them to be international because you want ships to be able to sail, planes to be able to fly, that's why it matters to you and me. Billions and trillions of dollars of trade goes through these waters. You don't want a conflict there.

TAPPER: Jim Sciutto, thank you so much. Be sure to follow me on Facebook and Twitter @jaketapper. You can tweet the show @theleadcnn. We actually read them.

Remember in just a few hours, I will be moderating a CNN town hall with Republican Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, the pride of Wisconsin. That's at 9 p.m. Eastern, 6 p.m. Pacific. You will not want to miss it.

That is it for THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper. Turning you over to Wolf Blitzer in "THE SITUATION ROOM." Thanks for watching.