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THE SITUATION ROOM
Russia Meddling in U.S. Election?; Democratic National Convention Begins; Opening of Democratic Convention Under Way. Aired 6-7p ET
Aired July 25, 2016 - 18:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening again from Philadelphia.
It's day one of the Democratic National Convention. It's now under way, already high drama, the platform just passing by voice vote.
Meantime, unhappy Bernie Sanders supporters rallying outside, the party scrambling to maintain unity. The woman who was supposed to preside over this convention is now gone, new polling and new challenges for the presumptive Democratic nominee, allegations of Russian meddling in the campaign. All that and star-studded night of speakers including Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Michelle Obama.
Shortly, Pennsylvania Congressman Bob Brady on stage with an empty chair representing American POWs and MIAs in a moment of silence. We will have that.
But, quickly, I want to go to our chief political correspondent, Dana Bash.
Dana, what's the mood on the floor right now?
DANA BASH, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It is incredibly boisterous. It's so much energy that I'm sure you can see and hear it is palpable.
The idea -- you know what, actually, as I'm talking to you, I hear they're introducing Congressman Robert Brady, the man you were just talking about who is going to speak, and then ask for a moment of silence for prisoners of war and people missing in action. Let's listen.
REP. ROBERT BRADY (D), PENNSYLVANIA: Welcome to my district. And welcome to Philadelphia. The city that has made America free today makes history again. This is the birthplace of our great democracy, the home of Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell.
But independence and liberty have never been given. We have to fight for it and defend these principles each generation. That has always been the work of the brave men and women of the armed services. To all who served, who have loved ones serving, thank you. To all who have defended our freedom but never came home, prisoners of war and those missing in action, we remember you.
You are not forgotten. As Americans living in freedom, each of us has a responsibility to always remember the sacrifices of those that did not come home and those whose safe return we are still waiting for. We hold them in our hearts every single day across this great land and throughout the greater Philadelphia in venues from city hall to sports arenas. An empty chair honors our missing heroes.
I was proud to pass a law into place one such chair in the United States Capitol forever. And at this Democratic Convention, we also saved them a seat, an empty chair that will serve as a reminder of those members and POWs and what they did for our country, a reminder that we all have a responsibility to remember.
Please turn to the Pennsylvania delegation, where we keep this meaningful memorial, the POW/MIA National Chair of Honor, right here in the Pennsylvania delegation.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
BRADY: Now I ask all of you to stand and observe a moment of silence for our POW/MIA Americans. Please stand.
Thank you. And thank you for honoring their courage and commitment to our great community. Let's give them one more rousing round of applause.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
BRADY: Please, thank you, to our veterans.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
BRADY: Let's go, New York. I can't hear you. Virginia. How about Pennsylvania? How about Pennsylvania?
Let's break it up for our veterans. Thank you for all you do, and to keep Donald Trump out of the White House, someone who disrespects our POWs like John McCain, and thank you all for all you do to elect our next president, Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Thank you! God bless you and God bless America. Thank you.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
BLITZER: Congressman Robert Brady of Pennsylvania, who just called for a moment of silence to honor America's POWs and MIAs.
I want to go to the floor right now.
Pamela Brown has Sanders campaign Jeff Weaver with her right now.
Pamela, go ahead and talk to him, update us on what the Sanders campaign is hoping to achieve tonight. PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, I have to tell you, I
watched Jeff Weaver, who is standing with me right here, walk through the floor and there were a lot of Bernie Sanders supporters who were sort of surrounding him, because there's a lot of spirited supporters here tonight, as you heard them yell, chant Bernie and there were some chanting Hillary.
What did you make of that, these Bernie Sanders supporters?
JEFF WEAVER, BERNIE SANDERS CAMPAIGN MANAGER: Well, look, it's the Democratic Party Convention. This is the Democratic Party.
It's a raucous party. But we're going to come out of this on the back end unified. We're going to defeat Trump in the fall. We're going to elect Hillary Clinton. We're going to elect progressive Democrats up and down the ballot.
BROWN: Jeff, we have some reporting that the Bernie Sanders camp has been working with the Hillary Clinton camp to make sure that there aren't any large protests on the floor. Can you walk us through what has kind of been going on behind the scenes that to make sure that there's not too much disruption?
WEAVER: Well, look, everyone wants to maintain decorum here at the convention.
I think it's a great place for people to express their points of view, but we want to make sure that it's orderly and that everybody is respectful of everybody else.
BROWN: How concerned are you, though? Just given a little glimpse of how enthusiastic the Bernie Sanders supporters are already, how concerned are you that there will be disruption?
WEAVER: Oh, I don't think there will be in the end, frankly.
I think people are very enthusiastic on the first day. Everybody is in here. I think there's obviously a lot of raw nerves over the e- mails that came out. But now that Debbie Wasserman Schultz has stepped down, I think that will start to heal, and I think by the end of this convention, we will be united and on the way to victory in November.
BROWN: Not only did she resign. There has been an apology from the DNC. Is that enough for you?
WEAVER: Well, look, Donna Brazile is now head of the DNC. And I think -- I'm sure she will enact a bunch of other reforms. I'm confident she will.
I just spoke to her a minute ago. So, I think we will watch in the next weeks and we will see as the Democratic Party starts to be reformed. BROWN: Now, we know Bernie Sanders will be speaking tonight. There's
a lot of anticipation for that. Can you give us a little glimpse of what we expect to hear from him?
WEAVER: Sure. Sure.
Look, I think what you're going to hear from Bernie is a unifying message for the party, that we need to support Secretary Clinton, that we need to elect Democrats up and down the ballot, and that we need to continue to fight for the progressive agenda that he spoke about in the campaign, which has been largely incorporated into the Democratic platform.
BROWN: And how much do you think he will talk about just sort of trying a message to his supporters that, stay calm, there's no need to get riled up, we need to back Hillary Clinton?
Because, clearly, I have spoken to some people here today who say they're not so sure about backing Hillary Clinton.
WEAVER: I know. I know.
Like I said, nerves are raw, particularly because of the e-mails in the last few days. But I think you are going to see over time that that is going to smooth out.
BROWN: OK. I just got to ask you this, too.
BROWN: We heard boos when he spoke earlier today when he mentioned supporting Hillary Clinton. Are you concerned at all that come Thursday when she speaks that Bernie Sanders' supporters will do the same when she's here?
WEAVER: No, I would think not.
And, look, in that meeting, that was supposed to be a delegate meeting, but there were a bunch of other people in that meeting who are not our delegates who made it into the meeting. So, it's hard to say who was booing and who was not.
BROWN: What was your response to that or your reaction to that?
WEAVER: Well, I would just hope people would not do it. I think it's disrespectful.
BROWN: OK. Anything else you would like to add?
WEAVER: No, that's it.
BROWN: Thank you very much.
WEAVER: You got it.
BROWN: Back to you, Wolf. BLITZER: Pamela, thank you very much.
Dana Bash, you're down on the floor right now. There have been some pretty dramatic developments over the past few minutes. Update our viewers.
BASH: That's right.
One of the concerns among the Hillary Clinton campaign and Democratic Party officials was about the platform and the set of rules, the rules package that governs this convention and beyond. We saw what happened at the Republican Convention, where there was a lot of turmoil in and around that, but what has happened here in the last, I don't know, 10 to 30 minutes is that they have been able to pass the platform and the rules package by voice vote.
And that is significant, in that there were -- I talked to some senior Democrats on the floor pretty worried that was going to be able to actually happen, because there has been so much consternation, vocal consternation among Bernie Sanders supporters.
One very fascinating strategy I think that helped them was they had Bernie Sanders' delegates introduce both of those packages. They got a voice, they got to speak, and that certainly helped kind of assuage some of the frustration at least at those moments when they had to pass them here.
One thing I will add as I toss back to you, Wolf, what I have heard from several Bernie Sanders supporters what they want to hear from him, is why should they vote for Hillary Clinton, not just against Donald Trump? So we will see if more of those questions are answered as the night goes on.
BLITZER: All right, Dana, thanks very much.
Congressman Raul Grijalva from Arizona is now speaking. He was one of the first representatives who endorsed Bernie Sanders.
(JOINED IN PROGRESS)
REP. RAUL GRIJALVA (D), ARIZONA: I came of age with a party that believed the public good, not the size of a donor's check, was the true measure of an idea.
And, my friends, a new generation is coming of age today. Millions of young people, all ethnicities, all backgrounds, all income levels, are looking for us to stay true to the party's great ideals.
They look to us hoping we will put their needs above those of the already rich and the already powerful, their idealism, optimism, their belief in America. They are no different than the idealism that built this nation or the idealism that won progressive fights of a generation ago.
[18:10:13] Their idealism is just as powerful and, yes, just as fragile. In this
election and in everything we do, we must remember that and be worthy of it.
I wouldn't be here today supporting our nominee if the Democrats of 50 years ago hadn't had their courage. I wouldn't be here if our party was built on the likes of Donald Trump, who is trying to make our country meaner, hateful, more divided, and more fearful.
I'm proud to be -- very proud to part of a movement that's going to beat Donald Trump, that's going to help elect Hillary Clinton and that's going to turn that idealism into a government philosophy we can all be proud of.
So now it's time. Let's go win this. Let's win it for our people, and let's win it for our nation. Thank you.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
BLITZER: Arizona Congressman and Bernie Sanders' backer Raul Grijalva speaking very, very strongly in favor of all of the Bernie Sanders -- going ahead and endorsing and supporting Hillary Clinton, very important remarks indeed -- Anderson.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Wolf, thanks very much.
A lot to talk about here with our panel.
It is interesting to have the number of Bernie Sanders supporters we have seen. Obviously, this was something that was worked out between the Sanders campaign and the Clinton campaign as a way to try to certainly mollify the folks on the floor who are still very vocal and still very much in support of Sanders.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Particularly when it comes to platform, because there were disagreements on the platform, particularly on the trade deal, the TPP, which the Clinton folks didn't want to go all the way on, because they didn't want to embarrass a president who supports the TPP.
So having these people out here tonight is important because it says to Sanders' supporters, we're with this platform and it's a way to kind of ease into Bernie Sanders' speech tonight, which, as Jeff Weaver was saying, he hopes will be unifying to this party.
COOPER: It's interesting. The Bernie Sanders press secretary has been sending out some tweets, really specifically to Sanders supporters, saying, look -- one says, "Look, people, people are well within their rights to have passions and opinions. That's how we create the change in this country. We need the passion. But let me be clear. No one stole this election. Team Sanders, we did amazing work, but we lost. Hard reality for some."
And then she goes on to say: "Now the contents of leaked e-mail shows individuals were definitely biased, but seven folks on an e-mail didn't steal the election." Mayor.
MICHAEL NUTTER (D), FORMER MAYOR OF PHILADELPHIA: Yes.
One of the most important words in the business of politics is respect. And the Sanders supporters, Senator Sanders all deserve respect. They want to be heard. There has to be a healing. Eight years ago, we were in a different kind of situation. I was a Hillary Clinton supporter at the time.
The tone and tenor was very different. But it took a while for the Clinton supporters to become that enthusiastic about then Senator Barack Obama. So this is a process. This is day one. The senator is doing everything he can.
You just read tweets from his press he secretary. Everybody is trying.
COOPER: Andre, you're Trump supporter. Do you really believe -- Donald Trump is still saying he can pick up Sanders supporters. Do you really believe that's possible?
LT. GOV. ANDRE BAUER (D), SOUTH CAROLINA: I believe the bigger portion will go to Hillary. Gary Johnson is going to get some of these votes and Donald Trump is going to get some of these votes, a bigger share than one might think. Clearly, more of them are going to go to Hillary than anyone else. But Donald Trump will be able to pick up some of these votes. And it will be a sizable number.
CHRISTINE QUINN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: is no way Bernie Sanders voters are going to be voting for Donald Trump. It's just a fantasy.
Everything Donald Trump stands is an anathema, it's everything against that Sanders people believe in and are fighting for. And you might bring up the issue of trade, but let's be clear here. Donald Trump is saying one thing about trade, while he's sending thousands and thousands of American jobs overseas to China. The Sanders people are never going to be for Trump.
BAUER: He's talking about the Washington elite and he's talking about breaking up the system. And he did it without the Washington elite. And they are going to see a guy who that managed to do things outside the party, and they're looking for the anti-establishment.
QUINN: No, they're killing for positive, progressive politics.
NUTTER: It's disrespectful to the Sanders voters to they were one- issue voters.
COOPER: Bill, go ahead.
(CROSSTALK) BILL PRESS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: No, Donald Trump keeps asserting he is going to after Sanders supporters. There's as much evidence for that as there is that Mexico is going to pay for the wall.
PRESS: Look, it's total nonsense.
But I want to come back to something the mayor said, that for all those who said Bernie was going to be a disaster, Bernie is going to destroy the party, Bernie is going to be another Ralph Nader, I think we all have to be impressed, number one, with how much Bernie Sanders achieved this year, number one, and, number two, how he has really been respectful and has recognized reality.
You can be a progressive and still be a realist. And I was surprised at how little he criticized Debbie Wasserman Schultz.
BLITZER: We have got to take a quick break.
Next, more on the e-mail hacking scandal surround the scandal. The big question, was Russia behind it? New evidence when we come back, as well as all the key moments on the floor and key players here from both sides of this contentious nominating process.
BLITZER: A convention, deep, deep contention, efforts at reconciliation, all of it here tonight in the City of Brotherly Love, the Democratic Party platform just adopted moments ago.
Now the international intrigue surrounding all of this, the hacked DNC e-mails, the leak of those e-mails and the allegation that Russia is behind it, the allegation that a foreign government and a competing superpower is tampering with American presidential politics.
CNN's Jim Sciutto has the latest evidence, and he's joining us now, Jim.
New information that the feds actually warned the DNC about a possible hack of their server maybe a year earlier? What's the latest?
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Wolf.
We're learning that federal investigators warned the DNC months before that there was a possible intrusion. To be clear, it was not a specific warning, wasn't clear how extensive it was, but it wasn't months later until April that the DNC hired a cyber-security firm -- this is CrowdStrike -- to investigate that leak, and it wasn't until June, just last month, they were able to see the extent of it and, in effect, kick that Russian intruder out of DNC e-mail servers there.
So had they been able to act earlier, Wolf, it's possible they would have been able to contain the damage.
BLITZER: What specifically points to Russia as being responsible for the hack?
SCIUTTO: Well, Wolf, I have spoken to people briefed on the investigation and it's a couple of things.
One, it is digital information, some of it as simple as the fact the code was written during the work hours in the Moscow time zone, some of it more complicated. Digital fingerprints inside the code match previous attacks that have been traced to hackers based in Russia, including attacks on White House e-mail servers, State Department mail servers.
But it's also something broader, that this fits a Russian M.O. of infiltrating U.S. institutions like the DNC, the White House, the State Department, to gain information, one, for just intelligence value, but, two, for the possible use of exposing embarrassing information to embarrass those institutions.
That fits. I have spoken with a number of officials who have tracked this for some time. That fits with past attacks that have originated from Russia.
BLITZER: Jim Sciutto, thanks very much.
Joining us here in Philadelphia at the convention, the chief strategist for the Clinton campaign, Joel Benenson.
Joel, thanks very much for joining us.
JOEL BENENSON, HILLARY CLINTON CAMPAIGN ADVISER: Thanks for having me, Wolf.
BLITZER: The DNC has just issued a formal public apology to Bernie Sanders, his campaign supporters. Was that necessary?
BENENSON: Well, I think it was the right thing to do. Whether it was necessary or not, I think they felt they took some actions and some e- mails showed that they probably shouldn't have done certain things.
And I think it's OK to apologize when you do something wrong and move on. And I think you have heard that on the floor tonight with people like Ben Jealous urging everybody, Bernie supporters, which he was one, and Hillary supporters to unite and get forward so that we can defeat Donald Trump.
BLITZER: If the Russians or anyone else hacked the DNC for a year and collected thousands of these e-mails, how worried are you that more e- mails are going to be released in the coming days, weeks and months which could cause serious damage to your campaign?
BENENSON: I'm not an expert in cyber-security. I'm only knowing what I read in the news.
I think the experts -- and Jim spoke about that and what evidence they have. I'm sure they will do a full examination of what went on here and we will have a better assessment when the experts get to the bottom of it.
BLITZER: We have also learned that Bernie Sanders has sent out a text message to members, to his supporters asking everyone not to disrupt this convention tonight, even though a lot of the Bernie Sanders supporters as we saw this morning are deeply disappointed their guy didn't get the Democratic nomination. What do you anticipate unfolding?
BENENSON: Yes, look, I think Bernie is setting the tone he wants to set.
I think Senator Sanders ran a tough race. He knows how hard-fought it was. And he knows his people are a little disappointed. But he also knows, I think, that we have come together here because the stakes are high for the American people. They know economically that the system is working for those at the top, not as well for everyone else, and we need it to be the other way around, work for everyone else, not those at the top.
And Bernie wants to be leading in this fight. And that's why he's speaking tonight with people like Elizabeth Warren and Cory Booker to make that case and unify this party, so we can do what we have to do in November.
BLITZER: Are you worried about the perception that the Democratic Party right now is not united?
BENENSON: Oh, I don't know.
We Democrats are feisty. You know the old Will Rogers quote about Democrats. They go back years. I think we start off feisty, but I think as you have heard in the opening hours here tremendous enthusiasm for agreeing on what's the most progressive platform ever passed, things like raising the minimum wage, et cetera.
And I think that's what this group is going to do for the rest of this convention is really be urging on all the people who are coming together from both the Bernie campaign, Bernie Sanders campaign, and Hillary Clinton campaign, to do the work we have to do to make a difference in people's lives come November 8 and elect Hillary Clinton president.
BLITZER: As day one of this convention was commencing, Donald Trump was tweeting, telling Bernie Sanders' supporters -- and I will quote now from that tweet -- "Bernie has totally given up his fight for the people, and we welcome all voters who want a better future for our workers."
Are you worried that some of those Bernie Sanders' supporters who are not happy with Hillary Clinton and they will go to Donald Trump?
BENENSON: I think any Bernie supporter who has followed this race closely -- and I they especially have, Wolf -- know that those kind of comments from Trump lack complete credibility.
This is a man who has trampled small business people, refused to pay working people. If he thinks anybody is going to put a nickel's worth of faith in what he says about standing up for working people after they were for Bernie Sanders, he has no idea what's gone on in this campaign.
BLITZER: They do have similar positions, Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump, on trade.
BENENSON: They certainly don't have similar positions on Wall Street, where Donald Trump wants to tear up all the rules, let the financial world start writing their own regulations again.
And Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton are united in wanting to put tougher rules on those institutions, so that we don't let Wall Street ever wreck Main Street again.
BLITZER: You're the chief strategist for the Clinton campaign. You study polls closely.
Our brand-new CNN poll shows 68 percent of Americans don't find Hillary Clinton honest or trustworthy. That's honest or trustworthy. That's the highest number for her, and that's a bad number, since we started polling on this question. How do you win an election with 68 percent of Americans don't find her honest or trustworthy?
BENENSON: Well, I think you're looking at a poll after four days of people being attacked.
And I have looked at some things in the poll. I won't quibble with them today, although I think the poll is off on some metrics. I think it's a very conservative sample. But most importantly what we're going to do tonight through Thursday night is have a series of speakers who are going to tell people why they have trusted Hillary Clinton through her life, real people who have benefited from the things that she's done to help them, whether you're talking about veterans, disabled people, schoolchildren, who can know they trust her because they have counted on her to do things that make a difference in their lives.
And I think after four days of that, we will look at polls afterwards and I think we're in a very good position here when it comes to whether you want Donald Trump, who is dangerous and divisive, or Hillary Clinton, who knows we have got to work together, be stronger together to make a country and an economy that works for everyone. Hillary Clinton is going to be their choice.
BLITZER: Joel Benenson, thanks very much for coming in.
BENENSON: Thank you, Wolf. I appreciate it.
BLITZER: It is going to be lively out here tonight.
BENENSON: Yes, it is. It's good.
BLITZER: We're watching every step of the way.
When we come back, more from the floor, including Philadelphia's mayor.
A break first, as our live convention coverage continues.
[18:32:40] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back.
Kevin de Leon, a California state senator, is speaking right now to the hall. Let's listen in.
KEVIN DE LEON (D), CALIFORNIA STATE SENATOR: Empower the forgotten and the overlooked, and expand the winner's circle for everyone, irrespective of who you are, where you come from, the language you speak, or the hue of your skin.
And we fight for fair and equal pay for all women because we know that our economy works better when we all work together. Friends --
COOPER: Two and a half hours into it, so much has already happened here in Philadelphia.
Back with the panel.
Obviously, I mean, the big speakers tonight, Elizabeth Warren, Michelle Obama, Cory Booker is speaking, Senator Sanders as well.
There is -- I mean, there have been a large number of politicians, of Congress people, senators speaking. The lists for many of these nights are really packed with political people. It looks they're also going to make it, something of an effort tonight trying to get some nonpolitical people in. One woman who had a negative experience at a Trump University is going to be speaking.
How much do you think it's going to different from the Republican convention in that sense?
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Quite a bit, in the sense that the Democrats hold the White House right now. You have a president, and a first lady and the vice president. The candidate's husband happens to be a former president.
There's a lot of politicians right there. The Democrats have no choice to a degree but, number one, they want to put those people out there, not because of their title but they want Bill Clinton to make the economic case and a character case, a compassion case for his wife. They want both Obamas who I think many people in the hall and at this table would agree could be the single most of two people.
But the single most important asset to Hillary Clinton in the first post-Obama election who better than to, "A," this is personal about Donald Trump because of the birther issue. Get them not to think I was invested in you, Mr. President. So, of course, it's going to be more politicians.
I would also say, in the first couple of hours here, in the afternoon session, we've already had more diversity in the first two hours of the Democratic convention and we saw almost all week at the Republican convention and, again, two very different parties. Their strategies are very different. They're for base constituents are very different. Used to be you talk about conventions moving to the middle for both parties.
[18:35:00] Both parties see this as a base election. Turn out your hard core base supporters and hope you do the better job.
MICHAEL SMERCONISH, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: There's also an arc I think to these conventions. I'm a "Seinfeld" fan. This reminds me of Festivus, the area of grievances, takes place in one and two and then it's unity by the end of it.
I'm particularly interested to see Bernie Sanders' speech tonight because I think he's the one who has to thread the needle and let these folks and John --
KING: You mean Larry David.
SMERCONISH: Another "Seinfeld" reference. He has the order of letting them know we now need to be unified. My hunch is the way he brings everybody together is, yes, of course, to talk about Secretary Clinton but to focus heavily on Donald Trump.
NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: But also I think to say she won the election fair and square. That's something the Clinton campaign wants to hear from Sanders, you know, that's something that former Sanders campaign workers also want to hear from him, too, that she won fair and square and that her victory is legitimate.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: You know, I also think by bringing out so-called real people as we were talking about who have been affected by Hillary Clinton is very important. I was listening to Joel Benenson with Wolf talk about trusting Hillary Clinton. They understand they have such a huge trust deficit.
What they want to do tonight is bring out people who have interacted with her and who trust her and let them tell the American public why they do because they know that most of the American public does not. And coming out of this convention they have to at least start fixing it.
MICHAEL NUTTER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: But to Gloria's point, at least the Democrats, a wide variety of Democrats want to be here to speak to make that testimony. What we saw last week was folks who don't trust Donald Trump or who don't want to support Donald Trump stay at home. You don't have that here. We have no lack of speakers. Real people,
elected officials all want to come and speak at the Democratic convention.
CHRISTINE QUINN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: And I also think it's important to note that a lot of the elected officials who are speaking are local elected officials from towns and cities, from state legislatures. That sends a message about Hillary Clinton really wanting to build the party at every level and those really are, if you think about it, real people. They're your neighbors, the police chief, and that sends a different message than having Congress people and senators.
BILL PRESS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I will point out that with all the talk about all this Bernie Sanders disrupting everything that the platform has been adopted. It is now the official platform of the Democratic Party.
COOPER: I have to interrupt right now. On the stage right now is Mayor Jim Kenney. Let's listen in.
MAYOR JIM KENNEY (D), PHILADELPHIA: On behalf of the people of this city, welcome to Philadelphia.
Philadelphia is a city that makes history and we're ready to do it again when this convention nominates the first woman president of the United States.
Today -- today, however, I want to share a Philadelphia story you probably don't know. In 1844, an early version of the know-nothing political party held a rally here to protest the threat that Irish Catholic immigrants posed to the American way of life.
They claimed these immigrants, people like my family, were more likely to commit crimes than native born citizens. Does that sound familiar?
This rhetoric led to riots, St. Michael and St. Augustine Churches were burned to the ground. Some 20 people died.
I'm telling you this story for one reason. It's happening again. The know-nothings have returned and last week in Cleveland, they vowed to take their country back this November.
But they've got it all wrong. It was never their country in the first place.
Whether our families came to this country in 1776 or 1976 or 2016, this country belongs to all of us.
Now many of us thought we defeated the know-nothings eight years ago when we elected our first black president, Barack Obama.
But the fact is that meaningful change never happens all at once. You have to fight for it. A few weeks ago after two previous attempts, Philadelphia became the first major city to pass the soda tax that will fund pre-K, community schools, and parks recreation centers and library innovations all throughout the city.
Recently, I was speaking to an immigrant restaurant owner who told me that he supported the tax even though he sells soda because it was going to help the neighborhood children. He said we didn't come here just to get rich.
[18:40:01] We came here to make a better life for ourselves and everyone else.
I can't tell you how angry I am that he and our immigrant brothers and sisters had to hear the ugly things said in Cleveland. But we can't let that anger overwhelm us. That's what know-nothings do. Instead, we have to come together.
But when this country comes together, families who used to choose between groceries or health care or no longer hungry or seek, when we come together children whose destiny was determined by their zip code get the start in pre-K they deserve. And when we come together, the know-nothings who overran Philadelphia in 1844 will finally be defeated with the election of Hillary as president of the United States in 2016.
Let's get to work. Thank you. And enjoy Philadelphia.
COOPER: Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney.
Back with the panel for a couple of minutes now.
It is the notion that Russia -- I mean, the allegation that Russia could be behind this leak is going to be very interesting to see. Obviously, that's some of the FBI investigating. It's not something that has been officially declared at this point.
If it does turn out to be Russia, do we know how that plays out long term? And does that -- I mean, does it have blow back? Does Donald Trump's campaign have to handle it differently than now?
KING: The voters couldn't get Jason Bourne and James Bond. So, I guess I have to talk about it.
Look, you know, on one hand, you joke about it. On the other hand, it's incredibly serious business if you have a foreign state actor hacking into computer systems whether it's democratic institutions or government institutions, and then using that information for -- whether it's mischief or for nefarious purposes, we don't know. I think we should be careful not to get out ahead of the facts.
The Trump campaign has flat out said this is absurd, this is crazy, that they have anything to do with this. Paul Manafort, the chairman of the Trump campaign, worked for the dictator in Ukraine who was close to Putin. OK, we can connect any dots and you can -- I think we should just be calm about any responsibility by any other player here.
But you heard Jim Sciutto, our Evan Perez of the Justice Department, they believe the finger prints are on a Russian hacking group that has the full support of the Russian government. That's outrageous.
ANDRE BAUER, DONALD TRUMP SUPPORTER: They were warned a year. Why wouldn't he curtail having these type of e-mails? They were warned ahead of time. Hey, you're being watched.
NUTTER: What company hasn't been hacked?
BAUER: If you were warned, you would be more cautious not to have tease type of e-mails.
PRESS: That doesn't negate the fact it happened.
NUTTER: It happened.
PRESS: What scares me, Anderson, I don't know what you do about it. The Chinese government was hacking the Pentagon and other government agencies. We didn't do anything except raise hell, it's not something to go to war over, but it is certainly a very -- if true, a very serious turn of events.
SMERCONISH: If the theory is to gain this out, don't rain on my parade yet. If the theory is to gain this out, that Vladimir Putin sees a friend in Donald Trump because Trump would exercise a laissez faire policy with regard to the Baltics states, then what could help Trump more than a hack from her private e-mail server? Remember, Jim Comey's statements said they didn't find any direct evidence of hostile actors but they probably wouldn't have been able to find that evidence.
BORGER: If you were Trump wouldn't you denounce it?
KING: Trump today predicted we would see Hillary Clinton before the election.
PRESS: What could help Hillary more than evidence Donald Trump was colluding with Vladimir Putin?
COOPER: The idea there's collusion, there's no evidence of that.
COOPER: We'll talk more about this as the evening goes on. Back to the convention in a moment. We'll be right back.
[18:48:47] BLITZER: The Democratic National Convention moving along pretty much on schedule right now. They passed the platform, the new rules.
Dana Bash is on the floor right now. Dana, they may be moving along on schedule but there are still deep concerns about what might happen in the coming hour or two.
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: That's true. The fact of the matter is that the Bernie Sanders supporters are here and they are proud and they are enthusiastic and they are reluctant to take the step back that Bernie Sanders himself has talked about. You see here there are delegations that are on the floor that are more inclined to be Hillary Clinton's supporters, states that went for Hillary Clinton and so forth.
But I think what has been really interesting is if you look up in the stands, there are states here on this side and then further down that we have been spending time with, delegates who had been early on in the afternoon very, very aggressively saying that they wanted Bernie Sanders, booing Hillary Clinton, delegates and supporters when they came to the stage, and making clear they are not going to go out easily. One even told me that she wants to hear from Bernie Sanders exactly why they should support Hillary Clinton.
[18:50:07] Not so much what he said earlier today, that but specifically why the people who worked -- this is almost verbatim what a couple of delegates said to me, hundreds and hundreds of hours and their heart and soul into supporting Bernie Sanders and his progressive causes, why Sanders thinks it is important for them to get behind Hillary Clinton. They're a little bit frustrated that they've only heard why not Donald Trump as opposed to the reverse -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Dana, the first three hours of this convention, pretty much moving along, it started at 4:00 p.m. Eastern. During these first three hours, how would you compare what's going on here in Philadelphia to what we saw in Cleveland last week?
BASH: In many ways, it's like being on a different planet, when it comes to the delegates and what they're expecting and the kind of intensity that they have. But in other ways, there's some similarities in that there was unpredicted, unwelcomed intensity and passion and discord on the floor here in Philly, just like there was in Cleveland.
BLITZER: I want to go to Jeff Zeleny, he's got some new information on what to expect from Bernie Sanders when he delivers his primetime speech tonight.
Jeff, what are you learning?
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, I do. Bernie Sanders is gong to make a full-throated endorsement, I'm told, for Hillary Clinton, exactly what Dana was just saying some of the Democrats here are looking for. I am told he is going to at least try and deliver that.
I'm told by a senior adviser to Bernie Sanders tonight that he's going to try to give a much different speech than we saw earlier today, which was simply a takedown of Donald Trump. I am told it is going to be more of why you should vote for Hillary Clinton. It is aimed directly at the delegates inside this hall and to Bernie Sanders' supporters across the country who are watching.
But the question is, will it work? You talk to these delegates and some of them say, look, I believe in Bernie Sanders but I won't necessarily follow him. I did talk to one Florida delegate today just a short time ago who said she's furious at Debbie Wasserman-Schultz but she said after this week, she will give Hillary Clinton a look because she said that's her only option.
We'll find out if she's the exception or the rule. But a lot is riding on Bernie Sanders tonight as he addresses this delegation.
BLITZER: Because the Hillary Clinton campaign, they really need those Bernie Sanders' supporters to get on board if she is going to win the presidential race.
The Reverend Leah Daughtry, the CEO of this convention, is now getting ready to speak. She's walking up to the microphone.
REV. LEAH DAUGHTRY, DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL CONVENTION CEO: My sister and brother Democrats, welcome to Philadelphia.
Our extraordinary team has worked tirelessly to make this week worthy of the history happening here at this, the 2016 Democratic National Convention. We gather in Philadelphia, the birthplace of American democracy, to celebrate the most enduring of American values. That of "we, the people."
When we, as Democrats say "we, the people," it has, perhaps a different meaning than it does for our friends on the other side of the aisle. When Democrats say "we, the people," we mean all the people, all the people regardless of race, color, creed or ethnicity. All the people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. All the people, those with plenty and those with little, the boats at the bottom and the boats coasting on the top. All the people, the least, the last, the lost, the locked in and the left behind, because we know that our diversity is not our problem. It is our promise.
And we understand that you don't have to be just like me to be just like me. We believe that we have a mission, a mandate and a responsibility to work, fight and act on behalf of those who cannot work, fight and act for themselves. We have a mission to ensure that our public leaders reflect the values of all the people that they serve. We have a mandate to leave no one behind because none of us succeeds unless all of us succeed.
And we have a moral obligation grounded in our common values to live not as islands unto ourselves, but in a beloved community with each other. [18:55:07] And this idea requires that we recognize the intrinsic
worth of every person and, starting right now, to make an investment in their futures. When our founding fathers and mothers created this document and wrote "we the people" not even five miles from where we stand today, they set our country off on an ongoing journey to a more perfect union. And this week, we will take one huge step toward breaking the hardest, highest glass ceiling and nominating -- by nominating our candidate, Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Who not only believes that we, the people, means all the people, but that regardless of what you look like or where you come from, what you believe or who you love, we are always stronger together. Thank you. God bless you. And God bless the United States of America.
BLITZER: The Reverend Leah Daughtry, the CEO of this Democratic National Convention.
John Podesta, the chairman of the Clinton campaign, he's getting ready to speak.
In the meantime, Erin Burnett will pick up our special coverage.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: And thank you, Wolf.
The opening night of the Democratic National Convention is under way. Hillary Clinton using this stage to draw some sharp distinction between her message and the message that Donald Trump sent in Cleveland last week.
Good evening to all. I'm Erin Burnett, live in Philadelphia tonight. Welcome to a special edition of OUTFRONT.
We're standing by for the night's top speakers. The party is counting on Bernie Sanders to rally his supporters behind Clinton as he gets ready to claim the presidential nomination. Sanders speech comes as the DNC publicly apologized to him this afternoon for, quote, "inexcusable remarks" made in emails that were leaked to the public. The controversy forced the party's chairwoman to step down.
Also tonight, Senator Elizabeth Warren, it's going to be a crucial speech. Her job: to help Sanders fire up the liberal ring, progressive ring to get them on board. It's a role she has relished in the campaign. She's going to be taking on tonight, launching attacks on Donald Trump.
And the first lady, Michelle Obama, obviously going to be one of the most important voices on behalf of Hillary Clinton. The incredibly popular first lady expected to drive home the night's theme, that Democrats and all Americans are stronger when they work together. That is the message, the focus of this first of four nights at the DNC.
And as we await for the campaign chairman, John Podesta, to take the stage. Let me bring in my panel, Kayleigh McEnany, David Chalian, Bakari Sellers, Dan Pfeiffer.
Thanks to all.
And it is starting now to get really revved up, David. A lot of people here, some paying attention, some not. A lot of unruliness today. But now people are getting ready for, obviously, John Podesta and big speeches coming later tonight.
DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Yes, they took care of business on the platform committee, rules committee. That's where we heard the Sanders factions versus the Clinton faction, making their voice know. But you're right. Now, the program turns what is going to be a pretty major night, and where the Clinton campaign is really trying to get some marks on unity, of course, with Bernie Sanders being the final speaker of the night, but also on the take down with Trump. That will be Elizabeth Warren's number one mission.
CHALIAN: And the positive case for beginning of, and Dan will attest to this, there's nothing more important for Hillary Clinton than the Obama coalition turning out in November. And that is why Michelle Obama, her speech is front and center on the first night.
BURNETT: Right. She needs that coalition and, of course, she needs the progressive wing of the party.
And, Bakari, you know, what we saw today was pretty stunning. Bernie Sanders came out and said elect Hillary Clinton, they booed him. They started chanting they want "Bernie Sanders". Is there real fear that that could happen here tonight? Bernie made it very clear he does not want that to happen.
BAKARI SELLERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: It draws back me back to 2008 when Hillary Clinton first announced her support for Barack Obama and her supporters booed her and called her a traitor and said what are you doing? And we had elements and interaction.
But one thing we're not lacking in this room today, one thing that will not be lacking when Bernie Sanders speaks, when Michelle Obama speaks, that enthusiasm many say Democrats is lacking. This room is filled to the top. We don't have any empty chairs in the entire building, contrast to what we saw last week. Demi Lovato is performing. Boyz II Men already performed.
It's a different vibe and different sentiment today. And I think as the night progresses, I think the biggest speech of the night, although Bernie Sanders is important and Elizabeth Warren is important, the biggest speech of the night belongs to Michelle Obama, because there is a lot of people you can boo. But one person you ain't going to boo is Michelle Obama.
BURNETT: Dan, what's the most important speech tonight?