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NEW DAY SATURDAY

White House: No Decision Yet On Blocking Comey Testimony; Can Trump Block Comey From Testifying?; Pence Takes Part In "Roast N Ride" Event Today; Despite Promise, Nunes Still Active In Russia Probe; Putin Claims Hackers Framed Russia For Meddling; Backlash Grows After Trump Pulls Out Of Climate Deal; U.S. Mayors, Governors Vow To Stick With Paris Accord; Excuses Tour: Why Is Clinton Making Public Rounds?; Bill Weir Explores Divided America In CNN Special. Aired 8-9a ET

Aired June 3, 2017 - 08:00   ET

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


[08:00:00]

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- this picture captures it, yes. It was a real (inaudible).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And his men?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tact Squad was (inaudible) incorporated.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: It's so interesting. You could hear much more about the search for common ground in the age of President Trump, it's on Bill Weir "STATES OF CHANGE" tonight, 9:00 Eastern on CNN.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is the White House going to revoke executive privilege to prevent James Comey from testifying?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think obviously it's got to be reviewed.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The president can't use executive privilege as a shield in one context and as a sword in the other.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The president can I think and would rightfully exert executive privilege.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Simply more cover-up and more obstruction.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The behavior of Nunes is beneath the dignity of being a chairman of the intelligence committee.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What does the president actually believe on climate change? Does he still believe it's a hoax?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: President Trump hasn't made it clear where he stands on climate change. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is one of the most cynical and frankly ignorant, and dangerous self-destructive steps that I've seen in my entire lifetime.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning. Just a few days now before James Comey heads to Capitol Hill to testify publicly in arguably the most anticipated event since election night. Testimony that could blow the Russian investigation wide open.

But will President Trump stop the former FBI director, revealing details about their private meetings? He could by asserting executive privilege, which gives him the right to withhold private White House deliberations and records from Congress.

PAUL: In the meantime, Press Secretary Sean Spicer avoiding questions on Jared Kushner's secret meeting with the head of a Russian state- owned bank in December. He says the president does though still have faith in his son-in-law.

Also, Russian President Vladimir Putin making dramatic new claim, maybe patriotic Russian hackers hit the U.S. election. First, though, want to bring in CNN politics producer, Dan Merica. Because Dan, I want to talk about executive privilege with you and help us understand how plausible it is that the president can put this to use.

DAN MERICA, CNN POLITICAL PRODUCER: So executive privilege is certainly a power the president of the United States has to keep conversations that he has with people within the executive branch private so that other branches of government can't compel people to release information about the president that the president doesn't want out there.

But there are some questions about whether President Trump has already waived the power of executive privilege. We know he talks a lot on Twitter and he certainly talked about his interview and conversation with James Comey in interviews.

So legal scholars and Democrats say it is unclear whether he can even assert executive privilege for former FBI Director James Comey because of what he's already said.

The White House is basically saying they're considering their options, and they'll let us know once they decide what to do. But really there hasn't been a lot of answers from Kellyanne Conway, one of the top White House officials or Sean Spicer. Take a listen to what they've said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So the president is not going to invoke executive privilege?

KELLYANNE CONWAY, COUNSEL TO THE PRESIDENT: The president will make that decision. SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: That committee hearing with just notice, and I think obviously it has to be reviewed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So it's not a no.

SPICER: I am just saying I don't -- literally my understanding is the date for that hearing was just set. I have not spoken to counsel yet, I don't know what they're going -- how they're going to respond.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MERICA: So the power of executive privilege was most hotly debated during the Nixon administration over whether the Nixon administration had to turn over tapes that were recorded inside the oval office.

There's also a PR aspect to this. The White House has roundly said they have nothing to hide. They want a wholesome investigation into Russian collusion.

If he asserts executive privilege for these conversations, what does that say about their desire to get everything out there, kind of cuts into that talking point?

This will clearly be a hotly watched and debated hearing, certainly one as you said yourself, the most hotly watched event since Election Day, and certainly people in this White House are concerned over what James Comey may say.

PAUL: All right, we'll be watching. Dan Merica, thank you so much.

BLACKWELL: All right, let's bring now in Lynn Sweet, Washington bureau chief for "The Chicago Sun Times," and Andre Bauer, CNN political commentator and former lieutenant governor of South Carolina. Good morning to you.

Lynn, let me start with you and I want you first to listen to Republican, former Republican Congressman Pete Hoekstra and current Democratic Senator Jeff Merkley.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PETE HOEKSTRA, FORMER HOUSE INTEL CHAIRMAN: It's dangerous precedent that the president's conversations, you know, private conversations can be revealed. It will be a "he said/he said" type of thing. It is one side of the story. I don't think that helps the process move forward. So in that case the president can, I think and would rightfully exert executive privilege.

[08:05:09]SENATOR JEFF MERKLEY (D), FOREIGN RELATIONS COMMITTEE: I don't think he will because it will be simply more cover up and more obstruction and I don't think he has the strong legal foundation to succeed.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLACKWELL: Well, the "New York Times" and "The Washington Post" are reporting that it is unlikely the president will assert executive privilege, but is this considering what we just heard an open question still?

LYNN SWEET, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, "CHICAGO SUN TIMES": Well, here are a few points to make and I think it is open until the White House says on the record that it is closed. Courts have established since the Watergate era, the president does not have absolute immunity on this matter.

It could, and you also cannot use executive privilege to cover up a crime. So there is some space in between there. This is not linear, yes or no. There could be negotiations with Congress. Comey has to decide if indeed executive privilege is invoked if he wants to go to court.

The Senate committee could decide if they want to go to court. So there's multiple steps that have yet to be taken so we don't know how the story will unfold. But the first step is that the White House has to say, can't signal, can't leak, what it wants to do.

BLACKWELL: And they've not yet said that. Kellyanne Conway and Sean Spicer had an opportunity to do that yesterday, Andre, and they declined or said it is still under review.

Let me read for you a couple of lines from the letter that was sent to White House counsel from top Democrats in the House. They write, "We write to remind you any such assertion of privilege is almost certainly baseless, particularly given that Mr. Comey is no longer employed by the Trump administration."

They go on to write, "Any assertion of privilege by the president would be seen as an effort to obstruct the truth from both Congress and the American people." Your response to that, and should the president deserve executive privilege?

ANDRE BAUER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I hope he doesn't. I hope this president will get past this quickly because things like jobs numbers this week are so much more important to the average American worker, and so much like Reagan did during the Iran contra, I think the best thing to do is get it all out there, who, what, when, why, let the people know.

But one other point, you know, Comey already appeared before Congress, and said there was nothing there. He said he had not been influenced, I'm paraphrasing, but so now for there to be this big speculation --

BLACKWELL: That was before he was fired. Sometimes when you stop, turn around, and look behind you --

BAUER: There's the answer. My argument to that is so it is a bitter employee that before when he was employed he said there was nothing there, but now that he isn't employed, all of a sudden the story changes. I mean, you said that under Congress, Mr. Comey, so I am not trying to down play it.

But if he said it one time to say a disgruntled employee then changes their answer, I think that's pretty tough to go before Congress and say I feel differently now that I don't have my job.

BLACKWELL: Lynn, what about that argument? There has been as we heard from Andre that he said that he has not felt that pressure, but I guess in a vacuum individually, maybe these didn't seem like any attempt to obstruct justice or to influence but when they are put together, and then ended with dismissal, is that a plausible, believable narrative?

SWEET: Well, I think we have to go back. If we're referring to this section of the testimony that I think we are -- I think if you go back and look at the question, it wasn't a sharp question exactly about Trump. It was about an attorney general.

So that exchange is not conclusive answer to the question whether there was pressure. There's one other thing that could happen as the White House proceeds. One of the things President Trump tweeted and again, he lost a lot of leverage by tweeting about these conversations, let's remember he claimed or suggested there may be recordings of oval office conversations.

If they go down this path, somewhere along the line there should be an answer to are there recordings because one thing Congress will want is documentation. That would be Comey's contemporaneous memos as well as asking the White House, are there recordings or are there not?

BLACKWELL: Sol let me ask you the question I started with to Lynn. Is this still an open question because Kellyanne Conway and Sean Spicer yesterday weren't clear on executive privilege will be asserted?

BAUER: Well, I think one thing you can say certain is nothing is certain. Again, anything could happen, but I think cleansing of letting the American people know that in fact there was nothing there is the best thing.

Look, Comey has become unpopular on both sides, about like after I do one of these shows on Twitter feed, I make both sides mad trying to relay what I think are the facts, but I do think the best thing for the American public and to move forward and for this administration to say hey, there's nothing here, we want people to know that is to go ahead and let Comey testify and move forward.

BLACKWELL: Lynn, quickly, people are looking towards Thursday as if it is about to go down. Is this going to live up to all of the expectation being placed on this testimony? Your expectation?

[08:10:12]SWEET: Well, I'm leaving open it might not happen if there's a court case that postpones the testimony. If it comes, yes, of course, I would be prepared for Comey to say something declarative and clear to answer to the question of was he pressured by President Trump and was he asked directly, indirectly, what indeed was the conversation.

Most important, could he tell us what he wrote down after that meeting because that is a document that will be important in weighing the veracity of what he is saying. BLACKWELL: Yes. All right, Lynn Sweet, Andres Bauer, we got to wrap it there. Thank you both.

And be sure to watch our special coverage of former FBI Director James Comey's testimony live Thursday at 9:00 a.m. right here on CNN.

PAUL: Meanwhile, Vice President Mike Pence rallying supporters in Iowa today, taking part in the Annual Roast and Ride event sponsored by Congresswoman Joni Ernst. Now the barbecue and motorcycle ride is an opportunity to promote President Trump's America first policies.

CNN Washington correspondent, Ryan Nobles, in Des Moines right now with more. Ryan, wondering, I'm curious to know, have you talked to the folks or many of the folks there in Iowa. What are they saying about the president's policies thus far?

RYAN NOBLES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Christi, we've spent the last 48 hours crisscrossing Iowa, talking to these voters about President Donald Trump, and particularly the moves that he made this past week where he seemed to retreat back to that message of America first.

That was certainly a message that resonated during the campaign with this state. It is a state that Donald Trump won pretty easily and we found that at least among Republicans his support remains very strong.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Thank you, we're going to do it.

NOBLES (voice-over): The president's America first campaign promise on full display.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: We don't want other leaders and other countries laughing at us anymore and they won't be.

NOBLES: And here in Greenville, Iowa, that message is hitting home.

RYAN FREDERICK, ADAIR COUNTY GOP CHAIRMAN: I think people are sick and tired of the federal government and state government not working for their own people. You know, why shouldn't the American citizen be first in the eyes of the American government?

NOBLES: Barack Obama carried the state in 2012, just four years later Donald Trump won Iowa by nearly 10 points. Many voters here embraced his campaign promise that he would stand up to the rest of the world.

FREDERICK: Why shouldn't we want to at the very least treat ourselves fairly first. I think that was the message of Donald Trump's campaign.

NOBLES: For small business owners like Teresa Conradi, setting up shop at a farmers market in West Des Moines, the local economy feels strong. She voted for Donald Trump and believes he has her best interest in mind. TERESA CONRADI, SMALL BUSINESS OWNER: I think he can make it a little divisive, you know, I'm going to be fair about it, but I also think that he is trying but the way he knows how. You know, I think he has a different way about going about it.

NOBLES: It is a way that sometimes may make her feel uncomfortable.

CONRADI: It might appear that it is coming off strong or whatever, but this is actually what he's really trying to do and it makes sense. You know, instead of taking everything he says literally, which I know he should be a little careful on that, but --

NOBLES: But to Trump supporters here, it is still a better way.

FREDERICK: I think every day that he wakes up and gets taken on by the Rachel Maddows of the world, he becomes more popular with that group.

NOBLES: One of the main reasons President Trump to stick close to those issues and main message that initially got him elected.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: And we will make America great again.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

NOBLES: And we expect to see a reflection of that support this afternoon at Senator Joni Ernst Annual Roast 'N Ride. The vice president, Mike Pence, is the headliner. They are expecting a capacity crowd.

I spoke to Senator Ernst yesterday, she said that, you know, there are some things that Donald Trump does that can often turn people off, his style is not perfect, but she says he is hitting on big issues that her constituents care about. That's one of the reasons that he continues to have quite a bit of support here in Iowa.

PAUL: All right. Ryan Nobles live from Des Moines, Iowa. Ryan, thank you.

BLACKWELL: Up next, the chair of the House Intel Committee promised to stay back, stay out of the Russia investigation after a secret trip to the White House landed him under some scrutiny with the Ethics Committee. So why is he now sending out subpoenas?

PAUL: Also possible campaign rambling from Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton still trying to explain her election loss. What is the future of the Democratic Party? We're going to talk about it.

BLACKWELL: Also the Black Eyed Peace heads to the U.K. with other big name acts. They are preparing for tomorrow's fundraiser for the victims of the deadly concert bombing there in Manchester.

[08:15:09]They are talking to CNN about music's power to heal.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We bonded around music, melodies, harmonies, messages of love and peace. So we cannot let that break our bond.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLACKWELL: Some new troubles surrounding the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee in the investigation into Russian meddling.

PAUL: Yes, remember, Devin Nunes recused himself when he came under scrutiny from the House Ethics Committee after a clandestine trip to the White House. It turns out he's still in an active role, though. He hasn't given up his subpoena power. This week, he issued three of them, in fact.

Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said she's met with House Speaker Paul Ryan multiple times to complain about this. Here she is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REPRESENTATIVE NANCY PELOSI (D), MINORITY LEADER: So if he recused himself on subjects Russia then he shouldn't be having access to documents relating to subject Russia.

[08:20:05]And he shouldn't be issuing separate subpoenas attaching them to a bipartisan subpoenas that were issued this week.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PAUL: Listen to what we're hearing from the Russian president, Vladimir Putin now. He denied his government had anything to do with hacking of the U.S. elections, but he is also now claiming U.S. hackers are framing Russia.

CNN senior international correspondent, Matthew Chance, is in Moscow. Matthew, what are you hearing from there?

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Vladimir Putin has been over the past 48 hours or so has been asked repeatedly about whether Russia was or not engaged in hacking of the U.S. presidential election or the hacking of U.S. Democratic institutions.

And he's basically been repeating what kremlin officials and other Russian officials have been saying after some time, which has categorically denying that there was any state-sponsored hacking of the Democratic Party, for instance, or any other political groups inside the United States or inside any other country where Russia is accused of hacking.

He's saying that look, the Russian government does not do this. We don't employ hackers to carry out this kind of activity. And he also said it could have been anyone. It could have been a 3-year-old child, he said yesterday when he was being interviewed on this issue because it is so easy.

He was making the point that to carry out that kind of activity and make it look like Russia did it. He said American hackers could have done exactly that and could have hacked into American political institutions and they did appear it was Russian security services that was doing it.

And of course, the day before that, he spoke about how hackers were kind of free spirited artists, who are patriotic, who were kind of seeing it as their duty to the mother land to engage in hacking of the perceived enemies of Russia.

And so he has been offering a whole host of explanations as to who might be behind the hacking of the U.S. presidential election, and he's basically saying it could be anyone, anyone except of course the Russians.

PAUL: Good point. Matthew Chance, always appreciate it. Thank you, sir.

BLACKWELL: Coming up, governors and mayors across the country defying the president, vowing to stick with the landmark Paris climate deal. How will that play out? We'll talk about it.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[08:26:48]

PAUL: Yes, you've made it to Saturday, here, 8:26 is the time. Good morning, I am Christi Paul.

BLACKWELL: I am Victor Blackwell. Good morning to you. There's been some growing backlash since President Trump announced he is pulling the U.S. out of the landmark 2015 climate deal. This pact was the high point of former President Obama's environmental agenda. More than 190 countries all aiming at reducing emissions of planet warming, greenhouse gasses. The president says the agreement imposed unfair environmental standards on American businesses.

PAUL: But what Americans do want to know is does the president believe climate change is a hoax as he suggested on the campaign trail. Well, in yesterday's press briefing, for example, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency Scott Pruitt as well as White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer didn't give a straight answer on that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Does the president believe that climate change is real and a threat to the United States?

SCOTT PRUITT, EPA ADMINISTRATOR: What's interesting about all the discussions we had through the last several weeks have been focused on one singular issue, is Paris good or not for this country? That's the discussions I've had with this president. Whether they were good environmental objectives that were achieved as a result of Paris. His decision was no and that was the extent of our discussions. Yes, ma'am.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Inaudible) yes or no. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Does the president believe today that climate change is a hoax that's something of course he said in his campaign. When the pool was in the oval office with him a couple of days he refused to answer. So I'm wondering if you can speak --

PRUITT: I did answer the question because I said the discussions the president and I had over the last several weeks have been focused on one key issue, is Paris good or bad for this country?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You are the EPA administrator. Shouldn't you be able to tell the American people whether or not the president still believes that climate change is a hoax? Where does he stand?

PRUITT: As I indicated several times in the process, there's enough to deal with, with respect to the Paris agreement and making an informed decision about this important issue. That's what our focus has been the last several weeks. I've answered the question a couple of times.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Does the president share the EPA's administrator's thoughts on this topic and why is the administration sort of backed away from using the words climate change?

SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I don't -- I have had not as I mentioned, I have had an opportunity to specifically talk to the president about that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLACKWELL: At least ten states mostly blue states led by Democratic governors are defying the president's decision, vowing to continue to support the global agreement.

PAUL: California's Governor Jerry Brown, for instance, says states have the right to pursue their own policies.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOVERNOR JERRY BROWN (D), CALIFORNIA: America is a big place. We have 50 states. We have a federal government and we have a federal system. Within the confines of our national identity and constitution, California and other states can pursue their own policies. We strongly support zero emission cars. We have almost 30 percent renewable electricity. We are going for 50 percent in the next few years and beyond that to 100 percent. We're going to do whatever it takes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PAUL: CNN's Kyung Lah has more on the mayors and the governors supporting the Paris climate deal despite the president's decision.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KEVIN DE LEON, CALIFORNIA SENATE PRESIDENT: In California we're not debating if the earth is still flat. [08:30:00]

KYUNG LAH, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The reaction across the country swift, and nowhere more than in California, from the state's top lawmakers to the governor, this weekend looking to the Far East past President Trump, pledging a separate California-China climate change pact.

GOVERNOR JERRY BROWN (D), CALIFORNIA: We are forming the world against this deviant move on the part of President Trump.

LAH: Also working around the White House, former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, standing steadfast with the president of another country, France, while defying the U.S. president's decision to withdraw from the Paris Accord.

MICHAEL BLOOMBERG, U.N. ENVOY FOR CLIMATE CHANGE: Americans don't need Washington to meet our Paris commitment, and Americans are not going to let Washington stand in the way of fulfilling it.

LAH: Bloomberg, the U.N. envoy for climate change says his charity will foot the $50 million bill, and a coalition of governors, mayors and businesses will meet the Paris environmental standards instead of Washington. They're joined by more than 150 mayors, pledging to uphold the Paris agreement. Local leaders say states and cities set the mission standards and environmental protection can lead to growth, a belief not shared by the White House.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: It is time to put Youngstown, Ohio, Detroit, Michigan, and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania along with many, many other locations within our great country before Paris, France. It is time to make America great again.

LAH: The mayors of two of those cities firing back.

MAYOR JOHN MCNALLY (D), YOUNGSTOWN, OHIO: We are a little bit confused how we got thrown into the discussion about the Paris Accords, and U.S. withdrawal away from the agreement is not going to create more jobs in Youngstown area.

MAYOR BILL PEDUTO (D) PITTSBURGH: This city does not support the initiatives that he is doing. This city is adamantly opposed to it. For him to then use this city as his example, who he is elected to represent, he is not representing us at all.

LAH: Multiple CEOs from Wall Street, Silicon Valley, also responding, loudly. Many saying if the White House won't act, corporations will.

RICHARD BRANSON, FOUNDER, VIRGI GROUP: All of us know we have a problem. We know we got to do something about it.

LAH (on camera): So if industry, if the states, if all of these mayors do indeed do the work, something palpable could be done as far as the United States trying to keep up with the Paris Accord, because all of the work of emission reduction is polled at the local level, that's where all the work is done. Mayor Bloomberg says he wants to remain in the Paris Accord, all of it will be unofficial. Kyung Lah, CNN, Los Angeles.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

PAUL: Now Al Gore is going to be a guest on "STATE OF THE UNION" with Jake Tapper tomorrow, talking about climate change. Senator Mark Warner, U.S. ambassador to United Nations, Nikki Haley also on that show. It is "STATE OF THE UNION" with Jake Tapper tomorrow, 9:00 a.m. Eastern right here on CNN.

BLACKWELL: Up next, Democrats are strategizing to regain power in Washington. The party has to make a crucial decision. Follow leaders of the last 10, 20, 30 years or turn to someone new.

PAUL: There are more guns than people in the U.S. so how can we stay safe in a country full of guns, some ask. W. Kamau Bell tries to find that out on the next "UNITED SHADES OF AMERICA" tomorrow night.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

W. KAMAU BELL, CNN HOST: What are your thoughts on guns in this country?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You just grab your head and scream, and say what can you do?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How do you convince people that firearms are not the solution?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So many of my friends were killed because of guns.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We don't have a gun problem, we have a heart problem. There's no sanctity of life.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think anybody should be able to own a gun.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Every round has two things attached to it, a jail sentence and a lawyer.

BELL: Is it irresponsible to not do all you can to protect your family?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[08:38:29]

PAUL: It's 38 minutes past the hour. So glad to have you with us here. This week, former Vice President Joe Biden launched a new political action committee, called "American Possibilities." It is not so subtle way of him possibly helping keep a door open for maybe a 2020 presidential run.

This of course coming as Hillary Clinton was back in the spotlight, in fact, pointing fingers over her election loss. With limited power in Washington, where does the Democratic Party go from here?

Let's talk about it with CNN political commentator and Democratic strategist, Maria Cardona, and former chairman of Washington, D.C. Democratic Party, A. Scott Bolden. Thank you both for being here.

Good morning to you. Let's listen here to Hillary Clinton real quickly.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HILLARY CLINTON (D), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Look, I take responsibility for every decision I made, but that's not why I lost. If you look at Facebook, the vast majority of the news items posted were fake. "New York Times" yesterday, they covered it like it was Pearl Harbor. Then in their endorsement of me said it is like a help desk issue. I have my complaints about former director Comey but it was done, and then it was reignited.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PAUL: Her defense, she was answering questions but took a lot of heat for passing the buck so to speak on her loss this past fall. Maria, does she still have influence or a role to unify the party?

[08:40:02]MARIA CARDONA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Of course, she does, Christi. Let's remember that this is the candidate who got 3 million more votes than the person who is occupying the oval office currently.

There are tons of Democrats who of course still want to hear from her, and frankly, she's earned the right to say whatever the hell she wants. And she is focused on mobilizing the Democratic Party.

She announced not too long ago her organization called "Onward Together" that is going to fund many organizations and many candidates who are focused on resisting the danger, the idiocy, self-centeredness and narcissism coming out of the Trump administration.

That's exactly what we need in the Democratic Party right now, and we welcome it. We welcome Joe Biden in the conversation. We welcome Bernie Sanders in the conversation, and we welcome all of the senators and members of Congress and governors that we are going to elect to office in 2018.

PAUL: I'm going to get to Joe Biden in a minute. That's a really good point you bring up. I want to ask you about something written this morning in "The Washington Post," an opinion piece that says "Enough already with the seemingly never ending ever expanding postmortem.

Sure, Clinton was responding to questions," responding to what we just showed you, "if anyone knows how to duck a line of inquiry, it's her. Meanwhile, the excuses bringing up the DNC make her look smaller.

Clinton is always at her best when she perseveres, not when she lashes out. It's essential to understand what went wrong in 2015 and to call out the bad actors. Clinton is just the wrong messenger."

So A. Scott, who is the right messenger and what is the message at this stage?

A. SCOTT BOLDEN, FORMER CHAIRMAN OF THE WASHINGTON, D.C., DEMOCRATIC PARTY: Well, I'm not sure she's the wrong messenger because she lived it if you will. Secondly, I think the Democratic leadership, DNC, elected officials are all great messengers but they have to figure out what that message is.

They're trying to get organized with the DNC in developing a message. The Republicans are in chaos in control of the House, Senate and White House, and can't get their act together because they're leading from the extreme right.

I think the message is getting back those 1,100 seats that we lost at the state and county level, getting back 35 governorships that are up for next year, and not just attacking Donald Trump who speaks for himself but also giving an alternative not to Trump hardcore supporters but to people who voted for Trump.

Giving them alternative about jobs and making sure not only that they know about how hypocritical and how awful Donald Trump has been, but also how great things will be with the Democratic Party. That's the real message about jobs, economic development, health care and what have you.

You have to convince them, and the right messenger is one who wants to win at all cost, but two, can deliver that message, have the audacity to run, and the audacity and believability to deliver on their promises.

PAUL: So Maria, if the economy is solid, if unemployment is steady which it is, very strong numbers in that regard this week, what is the best argument for the Dems?

CARDONA: Well, I think right now the country is going through a time of a lot of fear and uncertainty. Let's also remember that Donald Trump does not speak for the majority of the country. If you look at his policies, Christi, they're not supported by majorities in this country.

So what Democrats need to do to Scott's point is to make sure that our message is delivered to frankly the majorities of the countries that do already support Democratic policies, Democratic messages.

Let's remember that the millennial generation, which is the biggest voting generation we have seen is not behind Donald Trump, that this country is going toward a future that's going to be majority, minority.

Minority communities in this country do not support Donald Trump, and the reason that they don't is because he is so divisive and his policies actually do not go to helping what American middle class mothers, fathers, kids in this country are hoping to achieve which is the American dream. That is the big message that we need to put out there, it needs to be positive, hopeful, needs to be optimistic, which in and of itself will be a complete reversal from what is coming out of this White House, which is dire and is dark and is talking to the worst in all of us as opposed to better (inaudible).

PAUL: Scott, go ahead.

BOLDEN: And remember this, the Democrats aren't that far off. They won the election at least on the popular vote by 3 million.

CARDONA: Exactly.

BOLDEN: But they also only lost this election essentially by 70,000 votes and three seats. They're not that far off. Now that Donald Trump's record, right, and with the right message, those voters who went to Donald Trump after Comey's disclosure and as a result of fake news that the Russians were putting out maybe, there's only 70,000 votes to makeup.

[08:45:04]Now every election is different, but if we can get organized, settle inner party fights if you will, and take that message to the people that Maria indicated, those working mothers, middle class who voted for Donald Trump at the end, we can bring those voters back and give them a message of hope and moving forward because we told America, we told America what to expect from Donald Trump and he is delivering on everything we told them.

PAUL: OK, A. Scott Bolden, Maria Cardona, sorry we have run out of time. Thank you so much. Always good to have you here. Thank you.

BLACKWELL: CNN's Bill Weir is back. This time he is traveling the United States and learning a lot. One thing he is talking about here, the voters in blue states and red states and what they're thinking about climate, political climate. Bill Weir joins us live next to talk about his new program "STATE OF CHANGE."

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[08:50:07]

BLACKWELL: Well, now just days ahead of James Comey's testimony on Capitol Hill. CNN is hearing from Trump voters on whether or not they stand by their decision to vote for the president in the face of this pivotal moment in the Russia election meddling probe.

PAUL: CNN's Bill Weir went back to his hometown to find out.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BILL WEIR, CNN HOST, "STATES OF CHANGE": All this talk about Russia, what do you make of that?

MARY MILLER, FORMER CLASSMATE: That, no offense to those people, but it just seems like a lot of hype is going on. I don't follow it as much as some people do because I don't believe in it. What will come out will come out. And if it is true, it will come out.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, I am concerned about Russia, but that's meddling, they've done it all your life, all my life.

WEIR: This is Don, long beloved local veterinarian.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As far as the election is concerned, what do they do? Were they in the voting booth for you? They weren't for me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PAUL: Bill Weir joining us now. So Bill, what struck you most about your conversations with these folks?

WEIR: Well, it depends on where I was. I sort of used my nomadic youth. I went to 17 different schools in six states growing up, and thought I used my connections in states red and blue to try to get inside the minds. That is a town in Washera County, Wisconsin, which in my lifetime voted for both Reagan and Bill Clinton, Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, and they are salt of the earth cheese heads.

You know, these are people that will jump start your car on a cold morning, roll a few flames with you, watch the Packers. I thought never would these folks fall for a brash, New York billionaire like Donald Trump, but this county went 2 to 1.

It was so interesting because Wisconsin was mostly a blue state when I was a kid, very liberal, but it has been sliding to the right. For them spending a week there and detaching from the media that we consume tweet by tweet coming out of the White House, you forget it exists.

They have lives to lead, you know, and a lot of my friends said, look, we vote and don't think about it again for every four years. So it is like they live in a completely different media consumption universe.

PAUL: Wow. We can't wait to see the show. It is just so intriguing and interesting to see some of the people that you talked to and learn a bit about you and your family, too, interesting backgrounds there. Bill, thank you.

WEIR: Thanks for having me.

PAUL: Absolutely. We will be watching. See more. It is about the search for common ground in the age of President Trump. It is on Bill Weir, "STATES OF CHANGE" 9:00 p.m. Eastern on CNN.

BLACKWELL: All right, new this morning, there's been another arrest in the Manchester terror attack case. This as Ariana Grande is already in Manchester visiting victims ahead of that benefit concert.

PAUL: And as we start small, think big, a bakery in California has a new twist on the old croissant and their business model has the sweet taste of success.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) AARON CADELL, MR. HOMES BAKE HOUSE: Hi. I'm Aaron Cadell (ph). This is Mr. Homes Bake House in San Francisco. Mr. Homes Bakehouse is a (inaudible) bakery. Eighty percent of our product is croissant based. The store opened 2014 and there is still a line out the door every single day. We don't want to perfect the croissant. We want to make it completely differently. Put something on the table that hopefully that you never tried.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, thank you.

CADELL: The Cruffin, it's one of those mash ups. It's our croissant dough that we put in the form of a muffin. It's phenomenal.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think we waited 45 minutes.

CADELL: For the Cruffin, we really make as many as we possibly can. We go until we sell out.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can get two per person in line.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So we wait in line for about half an hour.

CADELL: I never want to advertise ever. What modern marketing looks like today, it's more on the part of consumer with social media. We're doing what we're excited about. If we think something is funny and clever, we'll probably make a neon sign out of it, put it on a wall. If we come up with an idea for a pastry that change our concept of what pastry is supposed to be, we are going to throw it on the menu. We are going to continue doing that as long as people are lining up outside.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[08:58:30]

BLACKWELL: New this morning, police have made another arrest as part of the investigation into Manchester suicide bombing. That brings the total number arrested to 17.

PAUL: In the meantime, want to show you a picture of Ariana Grande. She's already back in the city this weekend and this is less than two weeks after the terror attack at her concert, but look at that.

She was at a hospital, the girl she's hugging is 8-year-old Lily Harrison. She's recovering from some injuries that she sustained at that concert. Now Lily's mom says Arian sat on the hospital bed, told Lily she was proud of her.

And she says Ariana's visit has really helped the victims focus on the kindness of people rather than the hate. So when you think about where that girl was two weeks ago, where she is now, sitting with Ariana Grande, you can imagine the impact that will have on her.

BLACKWELL: Yes, take a look at some of the faces on the screen. Let's put them back up. Acts like Katy Perry, Miley Cyrus, Justin Beiber, Usher, Pharrell, they will join Ariana Grande for a tribute concert tomorrow night. All of the money raised goes to victims of the Manchester attack.

All right, that's it for us. We will see you back here at 10:00 Eastern for CNN NEWSROOM.

PAUL: But you don't want to go anywhere, you know that. You know who is next? One Mr. Smerconish. Stay close.