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THE SITUATION ROOM
Remembering Nancy Reagan; Ben Carson Endorses Donald Trump; Protesters Disrupt Trump Rally; Security Concerns Growing for Trump Rally; Judge to Allow 17-year-olds to Vote in Ohio Primary; North Korea Searching for Missing Submarine; Former First Lady Nancy Reagan Laid to Rest. Aired 6-7p ET
Aired March 11, 2016 - 18:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: Trump goes on the attack.
Strange allies saying they buried the hatchet. Ben Carson endorses Donald Trump and calls on the GOP to let the political process play out.
And Marco Rubio invites Republicans in Ohio to vote for John Kasich if they want to stop Trump.
Unaccounted for. The U.S. is watching carefully as North Korea searches for a missing submarine. As Kim Jong-un makes nuclear threats, is his sub sneaking up on the U.S. coast or is it lying at the bottom of the sea?
And saying goodbye. Representatives of White House families past and present are among the dignitaries and celebrities bidding farewell to former first lady Nancy Reagan.
We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. Wolf Blitzer is off today. I'm Brianna Keilar, and you're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
Breaking news: Donald Trump tangles with hecklers at a rally, and we're standing by for another Trump event amid growing concerns about security.
After taking a softer tone against his rivals in CNN's Republican debate last night, Donald Trump went back on the trail today, patting himself on the back for acting "presidential" during the debate. But when he was interrupted at a rally in Missouri, Trump taunted protesters as they were dragged away.
Trump today got the backing of former rival Ben Carson, who called Trump more reasonable than he appears, but in a bid to deny Trump the delegates he needs to win the nomination, Marco Rubio today invited Ohio Republicans to vote not for him, but for John Kasich in Tuesday's winner-take-all primary.
And Kim Jong-un is missing one of his submarines. The U.S. is watching as North Korea's navy searches for the vessel. It disappeared even as North Korea threatens a nuclear strike and works on its ability to launch missiles from underwater.
Our correspondents, analysts and guests have full coverage of the day's top stories.
As we wait for what could be another chaotic Donald Trump rally, we want to get the latest now on the Republican campaign.
CNN's Sunlen Serfaty is in Miami.
Sunlen, there were some pretty strange developments today.
SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Brianna. Some really remarkable moves in this political chess game in an effort to stop Donald Trump. And, meanwhile, the front-runner, well, he is trying to look and sound like a general election candidate, rolling out today the endorsement of Ben Carson.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think it's time to end the debates.
SERFATY (voice-over): Donald Trump is signaling he's ready to move beyond the primary battle, throwing cold water on the idea of more debates.
TRUMP: How many times do you have to give the same answer to the same question?
SERFATY: The GOP front-runner also rolling out the endorsement of Dr. Ben Carson.
BEN CARSON (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: A much more reasonable person than comes across.
SERFATY: The one-time rivals burying the hatchet.
CARSON: They're two different Donald Trumps. There's the one you see on the stage and there's the one who's very cerebral.
SERFATY: That characterization, one that Trump is two minds about.
TRUMP: I probably do agree. I think there are two Donald Trumps. I don't think there are two Donald Trumps. I think there's one Donald Trump.
SERFATY: The Carson announcement comes on the heels of Thursday night's CNN debate.
TRUMP: I cannot believe how civil it's been up here.
SERFATY: Trump's rivals are largely taking a hands-off approach, highlighting differences on issues over personal insults. Rubio rebuking Trump for his comments to CNN that Islam hates us. TRUMP: There's something going on that maybe you don't know about and
maybe a lot of other people don't know about, but there's tremendous hatred, and I will stick with exactly what I said to Anderson Cooper.
RUBIO: I'm not interested in being politically correct. I'm interested in being correct.
SERFATY: Trump is urging the party to unite behind his candidacy.
TRUMP: I just say embrace these millions of people that now for the first time ever love the Republican Party and unify. Be smart and unify.
SERFATY: But his opponents are not having it. Marco Rubio is encouraging voters in Ohio to support John Kasich if they want to stop Trump.
RUBIO: Clearly, John Kasich has a better chance of winning Ohio than I do. And if a voter in Ohio concludes that voting for John Kasich gives us the best chance to stop Donald Trump there, I anticipate that's what they will do.
SERFATY: And saying he is the only option for defeating Trump in Florida.
RUBIO: If you want to stop Donald Trump in Florida, any vote but a vote for me is a vote for Donald Trump.
SERFATY: Ted Cruz is still trying to present himself as the only viable option to derail Trump's march to the nomination.
SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm just laughing because it's the Washington establishment's last gasp. Let's divide things up, let's play games. It's real, real simple. How do you beat Donald Trump? You beat him. You beat him at the ballot box.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
SERFATY: With Kasich and Trump in a tough battle for Ohio, Trump is launching a full-scale attack on the Ohio governor, releasing this new television ad today.
NARRATOR: John Kasich has been an absentee governor, spending most of his time everywhere but Ohio, especially Michigan, the latest disaster in his failing presidential bid.
SERFATY: And that ad also comes after Donald Trump released two ads here in Florida attacking Marco Rubio this week. He has predicted that he will win Florida. He will win Ohio, Trump says. Of course, those pivotal races are do-or-die for John Kasich and Marco Rubio coming up on Tuesday -- Brianna.
KEILAR: All right, Sunlen Serfaty for us in Miami, thank you so much.
Now, after what he called an elegant debate last night, Donald Trump was back to presiding over a raucous campaign rally today, mixing it up with protesters. Police say there were 32 people who were arrested there in Saint Louis and another Trump event is coming up shortly in Chicago.
Folks already in the room for that, as well as CNN's Jim Acosta, who is there.
It's really a difference here of night and day.
JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right. It could get inelegant later on tonight here in Chicago, Brianna.
Donald Trump has not even started speaking here at this arena on the campus of the University of Illinois at Chicago, and there's already a group of protesters led out of this venue. That just happened a few months ago. There are security concerns here in Chicago tonight. Police officers are already out in force around this arena where Donald Trump will be speaking in just about an hour from now.
Civil rights and other progressive groups say they are planning protests for tonight's rally. Trump, by the way, is offering no apologies about the scuffles that are breaking out at his events. In fact, earlier today, he said the demonstrations make his speeches more exciting.
Trump is blaming the protesters, even after one of his supporters sucker-punched one demonstrator earlier this week in North Carolina. Here's how Trump defended himself and his events at last night's debate. Here's what he had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We have some protesters who are bad dudes. They have done bad things. They are swinging. They are really dangerous and they get in there and they start hitting people.
And we had a couple big, strong, powerful guys doing damage to people, not only the loudness -- the loudness, I don't mind -- but doing serious damage.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ACOSTA: We should point out, Brianna, my CNN colleagues and I have been to a lot of these rallies and we have not seen any evidence of protesters becoming violent, despite Donald Trump had to say last night.
KEILAR: So when he's talking about a protester swinging, for instance, there's really nothing to back that up?
ACOSTA: That's right. He is trying to bolster his case by saying that there are protesters
who are to blame. He seemed to reference this rally that occurred in Las Vegas last month, where a demonstrator was removed by security.
I was there. That was the rally where Donald Trump said he wished he could punch a protester in the face. Here's Donald Trump appearing to talk about that particular rally earlier today. Here's what he had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We have had some violent people as protesters. They're not just people saying, oh. These are people that punch. These are people that are violent people.
And the particular one when I said I would like to bang him, that was a very vicious -- a very -- he was a guy who was swinging, very loud and then started swinging at the audience. And you know what? The audience swung back. And I thought it was very, very appropriate.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ACOSTA: Now, Brianna, we went back and looked at the video from that rally and even talked to security officials for the venue where that event took place. And there was no evidence that the protester Donald Trump was talking about was behaving violently.
We should point out there's an announcement that is made at every one of these Trump rallies urging the people in the crowd to avoid touching these protesters, but we should point out, Brianna, Trump seems to enjoy revving up these supporters at the same time when these protests break out.
And getting back to what happened in North Carolina earlier this week, that man who was sucker-punched by a supporter in the crowd, he was not swinging, he was not instigating. He was flat-out cold-cocked by a supporter in the crowd that he just didn't see coming -- Brianna.
KEILAR: All right, Jim Acosta for us ahead of that Trump rally in Chicago.
I do also want to tell you, we have some live pictures that are coming to us from outside of that event, as you can see, a number of protesters there outside of this Trump rally.
And joining me now to talk a little bit more is Donald Trump supporter and Tea Party activist Scottie Nell Hughes of USA Radio Networks.
So, Scottie, you heard Jim's report right there. Donald Trump is -- he's saying things that aren't true about some of these protesters. What do you make of that?
SCOTTIE NELL HUGHES, USA RADIO NETWORKS: Well, I don't know if it's not necessarily true.
You do have today -- Black Lives Matter did organize outside of Saint Louis. And, Brianna, you have to wonder, why are they starting to get worse and worse and worse? It's like we're feeding sharks right now. And they're getting worse.
And what was started off maybe as one or two people within these crowds, now it's like they're setting out to try to create disruption at these events. And these aren't people that are necessarily obviously for Donald Trump. Their whole goal is to get media attention and to sit there and show that there's some sort of clash between the two groups. And it's working.
So, how do you stop it? And that's the thing right now. I can tell you, Secret Service agents on the ground are doing an incredible job, considering what they're faced up against, local police, local law enforcement, even the people that are there that just want to be a part of the political process, that want to hear from a man that they potentially could support as president of the United States.
Why aren't we calling out these protesters for being rude and lacking of respect? Now, that doesn't mean that they deserve to have any violence against them. Don't get me wrong. And Mr. Trump I know believes the same thing. But, at the same time, this has got to stop. And I would not go into a Hillary Clinton rally or a Bernie Sanders rally or any other rally to create disruption.
Why can't these people still show the same respect to Mr. Trump and his supporters as well?
KEILAR: But what he's saying does not -- is not reconciled with what you're saying.
You're talking about shutting this down. He's embracing the drama. You said that you don't think there should be any physical violence against these people. He's talked about punching them in the face. That's not what he's saying.
HUGHES: Well, he said it once, and it was an expression. And, of course, he wouldn't want someone physically to get hurt like that.
But you have to understand the frustration right now. You have got people that have waited for hours to get into that room to see Mr. Trump. You have got people that have waited. There's still outside, thousands waiting outside for that one spot.
And you have these people that are deceiving security, that are deceiving supporters, and are making it look like they're obviously one of them to get into that room. And instead of sitting there and letting someone who really wants to be there to help, they're coming in there to create disruption, to make -- to create turmoil.
And it's working. And, unfortunately, Brianna, we continue to see it get worse and worse and worse. And I honestly don't know how to stop it. I wish there was a simple solution besides just making sure everybody goes through full background checks before they go. And the other thing, Brianna, you have to realize, there are thousands of people at these rallies. It's not like 100, 200, 300. There are tens upon thousands of people here. It's pretty hard to make sure that every single one of them is honest and legit when they say that they are there to be a supporter of Mr. Trump, or at least to hear him out on what he has to say.
KEILAR: I want to ask you about something that Donald Trump has been saying.
He stood by his comments last night about Islam. He said that a lot of the 1.6 billion Muslims hate the U.S. Here's what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Mr. Trump, let me start with you. Last night you told -- quote -- "CNN Islam hates us."
Did you mean all 1.6 billion Muslims?
TRUMP: I mean a lot of them. I mean a lot of them.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
TAPPER: Do you want to clarify the comment at all?
TRUMP: Well, I have been watching the debate today, and they're talking about radical Islamic terrorism or radical Islam, but I will tell you, there's something going on that maybe you don't know about and maybe a lot of other people don't know about, but there's tremendous hatred. And I will stick with exactly what I said to Anderson Cooper.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: OK, so Donald Trump doubling down on those comments there.
But, previously, he's talked about how he has Muslim friends. So this seems like a departure from that. What's he trying to do here? Is he feeding off some of the fears certainly that we know Americans have?
HUGHES: And we know that they do have fears.
But there's also a battle, I think, within the Islamic community themselves, a difference between the good and the bad ones. The people that have come to America as refugees are trying to escape their fellow Muslims that are trying to kill them, and they're coming over here.
And those that have come here legally, we also need to protect them, as well as our own American citizens. And you go to a lot of these countries that they have escaped from, and there's very few Christians over there as well. So my question for you right now is, do -- you know, don't -- when he speaks about those Muslims, the Muslim community themselves are having to figure out the good from the bad. And how do you identify them? He properly stated, it's not an easy identifier.
And so until the Islamic community themselves steps up and starts looking into themselves and saying, you know what, this is bad, when you have mosques start to speak out there that there might be terrorist activities amongst some of their members, then it's going to be very hard.
You do have to paint the broad brush until they actively step out and start turning in some of the own rotten within their own groups.
KEILAR: I want to ask you sort of how this connects, I think, to some of -- and I do want to point out these are live pictures coming to us from Chicago. This is outside of the Donald Trump rally that is going to be getting under way shortly. You can see a lot of people there upset with various different issues.
You can see Mexico there on that sign.
But, Scottie, he says this about Muslims, what he said last night, and at rallies where you see the disruptions and he's saying, get them out. Get them out.
He's talking about being a unifying candidate. But how is that something that unifies people, this kind of language?
HUGHES: But those people are never going to vote for Donald Trump anyways.
They're obviously not going in there to listen to him. We're never going to be able to win them over. Their whole goal is to go over there and be rude and disrupt and cause chaos and turmoil.
KEILAR: But if he's president, he would be their president.
HUGHES: He would be their president. And I hope that they would give him a chance.
Listen, just a few weeks ago, there on the streets of Chicago, we saw Black Lives Matter protesting their own Democrat Mayor Rahm Emanuel. These are people that are obviously not happy, and instead of sitting there and just going for these headlines and being inciting, I would hope they would look deeper into the issues and maybe they would find out that Mr. Trump is more of a unifier and wants to bring business within their communities, wants to sit there and bring corporations into urban America, and actually rejuvenate the economy within these areas, and then maybe you wouldn't have these protests.
But, instead, it seems like they're just going along with these top -- talk about low-informed voters. They're going with these top little sound bites and getting angry and creating disruption, and it's not going to help.
KEILAR: I cover a lot of rallies, and mostly I cover Democrats. There are protesters at a lot of rallies. There are protesters at a lot of events. Sometimes, candidates will say, you know, let them be heard, and that's part of the process, having the ability for a protester to speak their mind.
But the rhetoric that is coming from Donald Trump and this back-and- forth, ratcheted-up fever pitch that is happening isn't happening at other rallies.
HUGHES: But have you ever seen it to this extent, Brianna?
You're right. I cover rallies both sides as well. Have you ever seen it literally focused on one candidate so much at every rally now there's going to be protesters at? And they're getting worse and worse and worse, because they know they are going to get the media attention.
What they don't realize is, this is having a reverse effect. This is showing -- this is the anti-politically correct crowd -- or the anti- politically correct crowd is going, this is what we have been fighting. It's almost like the squeaky wheel gets all the attention. And that's what these guys are doing right here.
But there are still four other wheels on the car that needs -- that is actually making the vehicle move forward.
KEILAR: All right, Scottie, stick around. We have much more to talk about.
Donald Trump, he is leading in the polls in Ohio and Florida, but these are essential places for him to win if he is going to push forward towards the nomination. We will talk about that next.
KEILAR: You are looking at live pictures of protesters outside a building where Donald Trump will soon be holding a rally in Chicago chanting -- we just heard them -- saying, "We want Bernie."
You do see some Bernie Sanders signs there. This is coming after dozens of arrests this afternoon at a Trump rally in Saint Louis.
And we're back now with a Donald Trump supporter and Tea Party activist, Scottie Nell Hughes of USA Radio Networks.
Big Tuesday coming up here, Scottie, that we need to talk about. These are all-important races, Florida, Ohio, delegate-rich contests. He needs these, right, if he's going to secure the Republican nomination?
HUGHES: He definitely needs them.
And it's funny that we're having to go to Ohio and Florida as do-or- die states for two of these candidates. That's like their last hope, where Mr. Trump will still continue to roll on regardless of whether he wins or not. However, he's looking pretty good in those two states and it definitely makes it easier.
And as I'm sitting here looking at these protesters and you're seeing what he's up against, he's getting hit from all sides, Brianna. He's getting hit from within his own party who are upset with him running because he's shaking the establishment. He's getting -- these guys are obviously upset with him.
And yet we have never actually found out, what do they want in their protests? What are they wanting from Mr. Trump? They keep offering these problems. I look at these signs. So they want Bernie. Go to a Bernie Sanders rally. It's real simple.
What are you actually out there protesting Mr. Trump for? And what do you want from him? Have you actually made an appointment or tried to scheduled to meet with him before you scheduled these media -- scheduled these protests inside and outside of his events?
So he is getting hit from all sides, Brianna. That's why it's very important that Ohio and Florida, that we hurry up and get ready and kind of get the deal sealed with the Republicans, so that we can start fighting the other side, which is where I think the real battle is going to be.
KEILAR: Doesn't he really -- you say if he doesn't win Ohio or if he doesn't win Florida, he is going to chug ahead. But doesn't he really need to win these states if he wants to avoid a contested convention?
HUGHES: Definitely. If he wants to avoid a contested convention, he does. He has to win both. That basically seals the deal.
It is going to be almost impossible for -- mathematically for anyone to catch up with him. But if he doesn't win, it's not the end of the world. He's definitely set much better than the other Republican candidates. And this all goes into this great Rule 40 of the Republican Convention that we have all been talking about on whether or not we can have a contested convention, if you have to win eight states or not.
If Mr. Trump wins Ohio and Florida, it's going to be pretty hard to deny him going into the Republican Convention that nomination. And if it does, it definitely will be a great slap in the face of many Americans.
So I think that it will be. I think he definitely -- and he's looking great in all the polls in both of those states.
KEILAR: Historically, it's so important to win Ohio. We see that. No GOP nominee has won the White House since 1960 without winning Ohio. What's his pathway to victory if Kasich beats him?
HUGHES: Well, he still continues on.
Kasich, this would be the first state that I think Kasich has -- and this is the first one that he would have won or actually done well in, besides being second. You're looking at Mr. Trump, who's done better in this whole process than any other Republican candidate in modern- day history.
So the fact we're not already celebrating him being our nominee right now just shows the contention that we have within the Republican Party. But you know what? I think he still will win Ohio. He definitely will come in second at the least.
But right now, the people of Ohio have to remember -- and they're starting -- this is starting to come out more and more -- that Governor Kasich, when he was a congressman, voted for NAFTA, one of those agreements that moved several jobs, several corporations out of Ohio, and took those jobs outside of the United States.
The people of Ohio are hurting probably more on Main Street than any other state within the Midwest. And so I think, if people are reminded, while he might have done some decent things as governor, as a congressman, he sold out his own people and signed a trade deal that took jobs outside of them and put them in foreign lands, that right there is very important and people don't forget.
KEILAR: All right, Scottie Hughes, thank you so much for being with us.
HUGHES: Thank you.
KEILAR: And just ahead, strange bedfellows in the GOP campaign, Ben Carson now backing Donald Trump.
And Marco Rubio tells Ohio Republicans to vote for John Kasich. What are the GOP game plans ahead of Tuesday's crucial contests?
And on the Democratic side, could Bernie Sanders turn anger over trade deals into another upset victory on Tuesday?
KEILAR: We are standing by right now for another Trump event in Chicago. This is the outside of the event. These are live pictures of protesters who are already there waiting outside.
[18:30:13] I do want to bring in CNN's senior political analyst Ron Brownstein, a senior editor at the "Atlantic." We also have CNN political commentator Ryan Lizza, Washington correspondent for "The New Yorker"; and Rebecca Berg, a national political reporter at Real Clear Politics.
So Rebecca, you have Trump. He was asked about his position on violence. We're certainly seeing just kind of the anti-Trump fervor there outside of this event and these live pictures. He was asked about his rallies, at his press conference in Florida this morning. You were with there. What did you think of what he said?
REBECCA BERG, NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER: REAL CLEAR POLITICS: Well, he said, essentially, what he has been saying, that he doesn't condone violence, but he's really not taking responsibility for it, either. He thinks, because these are big rallies, lots of people, of course there are going to be some bad eggs; and he's not surprised that this sort of thing would happen. And that these people are also seeking attention. They're seeking media attention and taking advantage of the big platform that he has.
So it's a very controversial answer, because he is the figurehead of his campaign. As Hillary Clinton and the other politicians running in this race have pointed out, you set the tone for your campaign; and Donald Trump disagrees, apparently. He thinks that his supporters, really, are setting the tone in this case.
KEILAR: We've seen, Ryan, this video now of this Trump supporter in a cowboy who's punching a protester at a rally in North Carolina. The man has actually been charged with assault.
RYAN LIZZA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes.
KEILAR: What do you make of -- you've covered a number of presidential elections. What do you make of this kind of violence?
LIZZA: Yes, and I was at a lot of Trump rallies in December and January; and some of them there was violence, some of them there isn't.
As Rebecca pointed out, it starts on the top. If you set a tone as a presidential candidate that does not tolerate violence in any way at your rallies, I guarantee Trump supporters, who are very loyal to him and seem to respect him, won't hit protesters.
Has Trump been doing that? No. What did he do last September in -- I think it was in Alabama, where he -- you know, he said that someone should be roughed up, a protester who was -- who was kicked and punched. The next day Trump was asked about it. He said the person should be roughed up.
KEILAR: The punch in the face comment, right?
LIZZA: Yes. Yes. Now, he backed -- every once in a while he backs off, and he sort of goes back and forth and plays games. But then he's also said, when his security guards said, "Oh, someone might throw tomatoes at you at this rally" -- there was that weird episode. And he promised supporters in the audience, "If someone had a tomato and you punch them, I will pay your legal bills."
That is not a candidate who is telling his supporters to refrain from violence. That is someone who is encouraging violence.
So what happens? It trickles down to his supporters and now his campaign aides. So this guy with the cowboy hat, famous guy with the cowboy hat, of course, punches a protester on the way out. Everyone cheers. And now Corey Lewandowski, the campaign manager, is accused in a
criminal police report down in Jupiter, Florida, of grabbing a reporter, bruising her arm. And the Trump campaign, of course, has denied this, but it would not shock me if your candidate is sort of laissez-faire about violence at his rallies, the campaign managers might think it's OK to do that.
And then the final point is, this trickles down to some of the supporters. I saw one of the Trump supporters on our air yesterday, Andy Dean, watching the guy deck that African-American in the face, and he sat there and said, "Oh, that was great. For a 78-year-old man, he's got a good punch." That is outrageous, and it all starts at the top with Trump.
KEILAR: Ron, I hear you. You're humming.
RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, it's absolutely -- look, I've been covering presidential campaigns for 30 years. The kind of language Donald Trump has used about these protests and about the response to them is unprecedented. I mean, he has -- Ryan has said he's had many comments from the podium that seemingly encourage the violence; and it is precisely, I think, why so many Republican leaders are concerned that Trump could stamp the GOP, if he is the nominee, as the party of racial backlash.
Particularly to the millennial generation, which is about to eclipse the baby boom as the single largest group of eligible voters, the most diverse generation in American history; one in which tolerance and inclusion in all polls are key values for them; and one in which Donald Trump is facing an unfavorable rating of 70 percent plus in every national poll.
So this is just about an extraordinary moment for the GOP, because Trump, in every respect, is steamrolling toward the nomination precisely as every warning light on the dashboard, as I said yesterday, is blinking red in terms of him as a general election candidate. And you have the sense of his campaign, in some ways, spiraling out of control at these rallies, and a candidate who is not doing nearly enough to reel it all back in.
KEILAR: Rebecca, how concerned, when you talk to establishment Republicans -- how concerned are they that this is really maybe shattering the party, doing irreparable harm to the party?
[18:35:03] BERG: Well, very, Brianna. I mean, all you have to do is look at the Growth and Opportunity Project, the so-called Republican autopsy that they published after the 2012 election. It was all about pushing the party in an direction that was more inclusive, more sympathetic and empathetic to what voters are dealing with and feeling, reaching out to groups like Hispanics and women in ways that the party hasn't done before, and just, in general, broadening the party's message to win general elections.
And what Donald Trump has done is he has essentially taken the Growth and Opportunity Project and ripped it to shreds and done it -- and succeed at the same time. And so this is -- this is completely a panic situation for the Republican Party, because everything that they wanted out of this election, all of the ways that they wanted to change their party, many of them thought for the better, for the benefit of the party in the long term, Donald Trump is doing exactly the opposite.
KEILAR: Democrats raising issue, Ryan. Democrats on the committee on homeland security in the House...
KEILAR: ... a Republican-led committee, but these are the Dems on the committee, and they're asking the Department of Homeland Security about -- about security following these violent events.
LIZZA: Yes. It's -- you know, I think it's a real gray area, and hopefully maybe a little bit of pressure on DHS can help people everyone some clarity on what is the Secret Service's role at this events.
And look, I remember this in the 2004 campaign, believe it or not. I remember when John Kerry first got Secret Service. There was a big complaint in the press the Secret Service were using -- were being used by the campaign to keep us away from the candidate. And you know what it's like. You know knew happens.
KEILAR: "Get off that chair."
LIZZA: And it's a gray area. And I think the incentive on the campaign part is once they get Secret Service, they want to use that as a buffer between us and the candidates. And I don't -- I've never really seen a clear rule from the Secret Service of what their role is in terms of protecting the candidates but making sure that the press have access that we need.
KEILAR: It is a gray line, where sometimes a reporter is being told that you need to get away. Of course, the person who's glad-handing there on the rope line isn't.
KEILAR: So it's this question of are they the muscle? What is it, right?
KEILAR: OK. Ryan, Ron, Rebecca, stick around. We have much more ahead, including Ron, who has a fantastic article out in "The Atlantic" about the Trump coalition that he has built. We'll talk about that ahead.
[18:42:06] KEILAR: We're following breaking news in the race for the White House. The Bernie Sanders campaign just won a major legal victory in Ohio. A judge has issued an order that allows 17-year-olds to vote in Tuesday's critical primary, which could give Sanders a leg up.
Our senior Washington correspondent, Joe Johns, has details. Tell us about this, Joe.
JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Brianna. Well, Bernie Sanders was just in Toledo, and as he was leaving the Buckeye State, he did get information about a big victory for his campaign.
The judge in the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas has said that he will allow 17-year-olds who will be able by the November general election to vote in the primary. This is something the Bernie Sanders campaign had been pushing to try to get. The secretary of state in Ohio has issued a directive saying that shouldn't happen, and he also says he intends to appeal that court decision.
The Bernie Sanders campaign put out a statement saying, in part, "This is a huge victory for 17-year-olds across Ohio. Their votes for presidential nominees will now count when they vote in either Tuesday or over the weekend in early voting." So we'll see what happens over the weekend with that.
Meanwhile, Bernie Sanders was here in Raleigh, North Carolina, earlier today, hoping to recreate some of the magic that put him over the top in Michigan.
JOHNS (voice-over): Tonight, Bernie Sanders is hitting three states up for grabs Tuesday, rallying supporters in North Carolina, Ohio and Illinois.
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We win and do very well when there are large voter turnouts. Let's have North Carolina help lead this country toward a political revolution.
Let's have a huge, huge turnout!
JOHNS: Bernie Sanders is looking to build on his surprise victory in the Michigan primary by hammering home his argument that trade deals have hurt American workers and cost U.S. jobs.
SANDERS: We need a trade policy which is fair, not unfettered free trade. American workers should not be forced to compete against desperate people who make pennies an hour.
JOHNS: The Sanders campaign is also rolling out new television ads to drive home the message in North Carolina and Illinois.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Only one candidate for president has opposed every disastrous deal, Bernie Sanders.
JOHNS: Trade has become a key topic on the campaign trail this cycle, with Sanders trying to draw a contrast with Clinton by highlighting her past praise for the Transpacific Trade Deal and support for past agreements such as NAFTA, but that populist rhetoric on trade deals appears to be resonating in both parties. TRUMP: Horrible trade deal.
SANDERS: How stupid is that trade policy?
SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I've always opposed TPP.
HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I came out against the TPP.
TRUMP: If you look at the average worker over the last 12 years, their salary and their pay have gone down.
[18:45:05] SANDERS: New jobs in manufacturing pay 50 percent less.
JOHNS: In the run-up to voting next week in Illinois, Sanders is also going on the offensive against former Clinton aide Rahm Emanuel, the embattled mayor of Chicago. The campaign releasing a new ad that targets Clinton's ties to Emanuel without mentioning her directly.
AD NARRATOR: If you have a candidate who supports someone like our mayor, you have a candidate who's not willing to take on the establishment.
JOHNS: Hillary Clinton meanwhile was off the campaign trail today and back in her role as former first lady, attending a celebration of Nancy Reagan's life at the Reagan Library in Simi Valley, California. She talked about how Reagan affected her time in the White House.
HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This role is really so unique. Everyone brings to it up until now her perspective. You have to figure out how to support your husband, his agenda, his presidency but also find a role for yourself.
JOHNS: So what does the office of the mayor of Chicago think of those ads that are critical of him coming out of the Sanders' campaign? It's pretty clear they don't want to weigh in on that right now. The communications office in Chicago saying no comment for now.
Brianna, back to you.
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Joe Johns, thank you so much.
Let's turn now to our experts for more discussion and analysis on this.
Rebecca, you heard Joe's report there. This Ohio judge, this is a big win for Bernie Sanders. He's issued this order to allow 17-year-olds to vote in this presidential primary. We've seen the polls of how young people are going for Sanders over Hillary Clinton. Could this be the difference for him?
REBECCA BERG, NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER, REAL CLEAR POLITICS: It absolutely could be, Brianna. That's why Bernie Sanders has been pushing hard for this very decision to be reached. He sees 17-year- olds going to be 18 at the time of the election not being able to vote as a form of disenfranchisement and obviously one that would hurt his campaign because he does very, very well with college-aged students. He's been reaching out to them specifically, campaigning for them specifically, has a big presence on campuses and even some high school campus, not just college when we're talking about 17-year-olds. And so, this is going to be a huge boost for him I would imagine.
KEILAR: It's like 4-1 where he pulls $ in the young people compared to Hillary Clinton. Does he have a shot, do you think, Ryan, in Ohio? Could he do a Michigan repeat?
RYAN LIZZA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I mean, look, the Michigan polls were 20 points --
KEILAR: So far off.
LIZZA: Hillary Clinton was 20 points ahead and Bernie Sanders won by a few points. In the Michigan exit polls, which probably more reliable, Bernie sander won 18 to 29-year-olds 80-20, right? And they're -- I have a piece coming out in "The New Yorker" next week about the Sanders' Clinton race and one of the little nuggets in there is how obsessed Jeff Weaver, the campaign manager, was in Iowa with the 17-year-old vote and they were obsessed with finding lists that could target 17-year-olds.
I mean, one thing they did in Iowa was they found kids who bought class rings, high school class rings so they could target those kids with Sanders' messages. So, yes, they're scrapping for every vote, getting the 17-year-olds out. They're going to vote 80 to 20 for Bernie. So, it's significant.
KEILAR: I do want to make a bit of a right turn here to talk to you, Ron, about this article you have in the "The Atlantic". It's about Donald Trump. But I think a lot of people wonder, who are Donald Trump's supporters? And you found some really interesting finds here about really what this coalition is, who comprises the bloc of Trump supporters.
RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, it's the paradox that the party leaders who are skeptical of Trump face. On the one hand, as we said, many of them are worried about whether he can be a viable general election candidate. On the other hand, it's clear when you look at who is supporting him, it's an insurrection from within. It's not really a revolt from outside of the party.
There are Republicans critical of Trump who wanted to believe that he is being propelled forward by this influx of independent and Democratic voters into the Republican process. Well, there's no question that turnout is up enormously over 2012. 60 percent higher in the same state, 4.5 million votes so far.
But, Brianna, there's no evidence that the composition of that electorate is changing. If you look at the 15 states with exit poll, in eight of them, the share of the vote cast by self-identified Republicans is up from 2012 not down. There are only five states where it's changed -- reduced by more than three points or more.
If you look at the cumulative result in all of these 15 states done by the Republican polling firm, Public Opinion Strategies, it's unchanged. Two-thirds of the voters are Republicans.
And what that means is that Trump is building his coalition primarily from within the existing Republican electorate, particularly the blue- collar side of it that no one has ever effectively mobilized this well before, and I think what that means is we're seeing both a shift of power within the party toward blue-collar wing of the party which has been the absolute foundation of his support but also that it may be tougher to deny him the nomination if he has the most delegates but not a majority because it's harder to make the arguments that this some outside in hostile takeover.
[18:50:02] KEILAR: All right. Ron, Ryan, Rebecca, thank you so much for joining the panel where we only allow people with "R" names to give us their political analysis. We appreciate it. Have a great weekend you guys.
And I do want to give a note to our viewers on this. CNN will be holding a Democratic town hall with TV1. This is ahead of next week's crucial primaries. So, you can tune into that at 8:00 Eastern on Sunday night to see Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders take these questions straight from voters.
And there are some new developments today in the Flint water crisis. Michigan Governor Rick Snyder is calling for an immediate investigation into the state's Department of Health and Human Services. This latest investigation comes as Snyder prepares to testify in front of the House Oversight Committee in Washington. That will be next week.
The citizens of Flint are in desperate need of assistance, so go to CNN.com/impact and you can learn more about what you can do to help.
Now, just ahead, the U.S. is watching very closely as North Korea searches for a missing submarine. As Kim Jong-un makes nuclear threats, is his sub sneaking up on the U.S. coast or is it lying at the bottom of the sea?
And remembering Nancy Reagan. Representatives of White House families past and present are among the dignitaries and celebrities bidding farewell to the first lady.
[18:55:54] KEILAR: New tonight, CNN has learned that North Korea is frantically searching for a missing submarine. American military officials are especially concerned by the possibility of Kim Jong-un's regime using undersea missile launches as a means of avoiding detection.
Our Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr is tracking all of the latest details.
Barbara, what are you hearing?
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Good evening, Brianna.
Well, you know, North Korea has everything from little mini-subs to much larger, more offensive undersea boats. Tonight, what they lost and what capability is at risk is a major mystery.
STARR (voice-over): Off the east coast of North Korea, U.S. spy satellites, aircraft, and ships have been secretly watching for days as North Korean navy searches for its missing submarine CNN has learned from several U.S. officials familiar with the latest information.
The regime lost contact with the submarine earlier in the week. It may be adrift undersea or have sunk by now the officials say. The U.S. believes the submarine suffered some type of failure during an exercise.
The U.S. Navy is paying close attention because it knows North Korea is trying to perfect launching missiles from undersea to avoid U.S. eyes.
ADM. JOHN RICHARDSON, CHIEF OF NAVAL OPERATIONS: They're working on the submarine and we're watching that closely.
STARR: This as a huge U.S.-South Korean military exercise continues.
Kim Jong-un is showing off his military might and defiance firing ballistic missiles and posing with what he says are miniaturized nuclear warheads, the crucial item to put on top of an intercontinental ballistic missile that could attack the U.S. -- a new alarm sounded by the commander in charge of defending the United States.
ADM. WILLIAM GORTNEY, COMMANDER, U.S. NORTHERN COMMAND: It's a prudent decision on my part to assume that he has the capability to miniaturize a nuclear weapon and put it on an ICBM.
STARR: U.S. war plans are based on the assumption North Korea may have the warhead. They already have the missile. All leading the military to maintain they have the capability for a preemptive strike.
GORTNEY: I assess that they have the ability to put an ICBM in space and range the continental United States and Canada.
STARR: And another reason, also for concern tonight, the Pentagon has been warning that there may not be enough U.S. defensive missiles to protect against a North Korean launch as the North Korean program grows. The U.S. may need more firepower on its own -- Brianna.
KEILAR: All right. Brianna Starr, thank you so much for that report. And before we do go, we'd like to share a few moments from the funeral
of Nancy Reagan. She was laid to rest this afternoon at the Reagan presidential library in Simi Valley, California. There were more than 1,000 people who gathered to pay their final respects to the one of the most influential and beloved first ladies.
Her son Ronald and her daughter Patty both delivered very moving eulogies. The stories that they told reflected a life filled with love, filled with humor, filled with wisdom, qualities that endeared Nancy Reagan to the American people.
First Lady Michelle Obama and former first families also filled the ranks there. Hillary Clinton, Rosalynn Carter, George W. Bush and his wife Laura offering tribute to a woman they considered a mentor and an icon and a friend. Nancy Reagan is being buried alongside her husband, President Ronald Reagan. She was 94 years old.
And thank you so much for watching us tonight. I'm Brianna Keilar. Please be sure to join us Monday in THE SITUATION ROOM. And you can tweet the show @CNNSitroom. You can tweet me as well @BriKeilarCNN.
"ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: Next, breaking news. Security on high alert at a Donald Trump rally tonight. Protesters gathering in the streets of Chicago as the frontrunner is about to speak live. We're going to take you there.
Plus, Marco Rubio says vote for John Kasich in Ohio.