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THE SITUATION ROOM
Interview With NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg; Clinton's New Offensive; Trump's New York Groove; Clinton Hits Sanders Over Guns, Will Trump Take New York? Wall Street; Sources: North Korea Can Put Mini-Nuke on a Missile. Aired 6-7p ET
Aired April 6, 2016 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: After his resounding loss in Wisconsin, Donald Trump is now in his home state, fighting for delegates, while slamming Ted Cruz, calling him a Trojan horse for the Republican establishment.
Tonight, Cruz is hitting back, saying Trump gets very angry when voters reject him. We're standing by to hear from Trump live, his first comments since his stunning defeat.
Clinton's new offensive. After her own humbling loss in Wisconsin, Hillary Clinton launches a new offensive. Her campaign is hitting Bernie Sanders, saying he can't answer simple questions about his signature issue, Wall Street reform, and suggesting he's not qualified to be president.
Tonight, Hillary Clinton's surprising reaction to a warning from Sanders' aides that she's tearing apart the Democratic Party to solidify her own ambition.
Also, NATO response. Donald Trump calls the alliance protecting Europe obsolete and says member nations have left paying the bills to the United States, all that as the organization faces criticism it's not doing enough to fight ISIS right now. Tonight, in a rare interview, NATO's secretary-general is here live in THE SITUATION ROOM. He will respond to Donald Trump.
And Kim's ambition. An ominous new warning from a key American ally, saying North Korea's dangerously unpredictable leader may be right when he claims he now has nuclear-tipped missiles capable of taking out Americans. Is the reclusive Kim Jong-un now capable of launching a nuclear strike against the U.S.
We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
We're following several important new developments as the race for president moves to the critical primary state of New York. After suffering a humbling defeat in Wisconsin, Donald Trump is hurling insults at the man who beat him, Senator Ted Cruz, calling him a puppet of the establishment. Tonight, Cruz says the race is at a turning point. But a brand-new poll shows Trump with a healthy lead in New York and
Cruz in third place. With it ever more likely that neither candidate will score enough delegates to win a nomination outright, could the Republican Party be heading for a nasty floor fight at this summer's convention? We're standing by to hear from Donald Trump live after his big loss.
New York's primary also will be a showdown between Hillary Clinton and Senator Bernie Sanders. They are sharpening their attacks on one another as we count down to their next debate right here on CNN.
Also tonight, the secretary-general of NATO joins us here in THE SITUATION ROOM after meeting with President Obama. I will ask him about Donald Trump's recent comment that NATO is obsolete and is not doing enough in the war against ISIS. Our correspondents, analysts and guests are all standing by with full coverage of all of these developing stories.
Let's begin with our chief political correspondent, Dana Bash.
Dana, it looks like New York will be friendlier ground for Donald Trump. What's the latest?
DANA BASH, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: These streets and the people who walk them are so used to Donald Trump, much more so than the people of Wisconsin or any of the states, frankly, that Donald Trump has won, done quite well in.
And he has defied expectations, maybe even his own, by doing so well in his unconventional way. But now it's a new phase of the campaign and perhaps has to do some things the old-fashioned way.
BASH (voice-over): The unlikely current hero of the GOP establishment arrived in New York riding high after his big Wisconsin win.
SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It culminated four states in a row in the last two weeks where we have beaten Donald Trump over and over and over again. We won men, we won young people, we won every income group.
BASH: As much as Ted Cruz calls his victory a turning point, privately, Cruz sources and anti-Trump strategists admit the next several contests are more likely to go the billionaire's way, not just Trump's home state of New York, but also Pennsylvania, Maryland, Connecticut, Delaware and Rhode Island.
A new poll in the Empire State from Monmouth University shows Trump with a sizable lead at 52 percent, followed by John Kasich in a very distant second at 25 percent, and Ted Cruz dead last at 17.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We started off with 17 people. I have now got two left. I call them the leftovers, right?
BASH: Still, the Trump campaign appears to be weighing new moves to avoid squandering his favorable terrain, possibly giving newly hired veteran operative Paul Manafort an expanded role to better organize Trump's small and often scattershot campaign.
Such a move could mean sidelining the embattled campaign manager Corey Lewandowski.
TRUMP: Corey, good job, Corey.
BASH: Fiercely loyal to Trump and crucial to getting the billionaire to the top of the heap.
TRUMP: I don't care about rules, folks. I go out, I campaign, we win, we win. We get the delegates.
BASH: And the man who became front-runner following his gut and shooting from the hip is planning something unusual for his campaign, a series of policy addresses. Aides say he's planning to give speeches in the coming weeks on issues from education to the U.S. military.
Despite Trump's moves to be a more traditional candidate, he is still, well, Trump, issuing a blistering statement aimed personally at Cruz after his double-digit defeat in Wisconsin, saying: "Ted Cruz is worse than a puppet. He is a Trojan horse being used by the party bosses attempting to steal the nomination."
Today, Cruz shot back.
CRUZ: He likes to yell and scream and insult and curse. And his statement last night was consistent with that.
BASH: Now, remember, several months ago, when Ted Cruz first began going after Donald Trump, he accused him of having New York values and that was not a compliment?
Well, here we are, again, in New York. Ted Cruz is here asking New Yorkers for their votes, and that was a part of a press conference here in New York today, Wolf, a subject of that. He was pressed about the comment, and his answer was, no, no, no, I didn't mean Republicans in New York. He said, I meant liberals with names like de Blasio and Weiner and Cuomo -- Wolf.
BLITZER: All right, Dana, thanks very much, Dana Bash on the streets of New York.
Senator Ted Cruz didn't have much time to savor his big victory in Wisconsin. He's now facing an uphill battle in New York. That's the next key Republican contest.
CNN's Sunlen Serfaty is covering the senator for us.
Sunlen, tell us a little bit more about the senator's reaction to Trump's latest name-calling.
SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Senator Cruz is really trying to brush this aside, Wolf, but also at the same time really trying to make a broader point about what this has to say about Donald Trump, casting it essentially as something that a sore loser would say or do.
And as he was campaigning today here in the Bronx, I asked the senator about this, and he struck back, you know, really hitting something of a sarcastic note in his response. Here's what he had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, you know, Donald can always be counted on to take the high road and to demonstrate class. If he wants to engage in insults, he's welcome to do so. He gets very angry when the voters reject him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SERFATY: And Senator Cruz used that word rejected twice and two times in the same answer, really kind of following on his victory speech last night in Wisconsin, really hitting this note that this is something of a tipping point where, in his opinion, that people are starting to turn away from Donald Trump.
But, of course, the reality check is that Senator Cruz is still behind in delegates. Last night, even though he had a victory in this race, potentially pushes more towards potentially a contested convention. And, as Dana noted, the terrain ahead for him is much less friendly to Senator Cruz, including right here on Donald Trump's home turf here in New York.
So, of course, Senator Cruz really trying to capitalize on this moment at this moment of momentum, Wolf.
BLITZER: Very important moment indeed. All right, thanks very much, Sunlen Serfaty, reporting for us.
As we await Donald Trump's rally out there on Long Island, let's bring in one of his key supporters.
Scottie Nell Hughes of USA Radio Networks is joining us right now.
Scottie, thanks very much for joining us.
You have seen all the reports. Here's the question. Is a power struggle happening within the Trump campaign right now?
SCOTTIE NELL HUGHES, USA RADIO NETWORKS: Well, I think it's a restructuring. And that's exactly what's supposed to be expected.
We knew that once it got down to more of a two-man race, that they would have to be definitely beefing up the campaign, and they are doing that by adding on the best staff possible. I mean, come on. Every campaign would love to have Paul Manafort.
And Mr. Trump was able to land him. And obviously Paul knows how to win in contentious situations like this we find ourselves going into a Republican Convention.
So, yes, there is -- it's not necessarily a power struggle. I think it's just a restructuring and making sure that they are maximizing and bringing in the right team they need if -- if -- and we're still very optimistic that we are not going to have a brokered convention -- but if we do have to go into a convention, that we're having a good relationship with all of our delegates and making sure that they stay loyal.
BLITZER: As you know, the former Trump adviser, still supporter, Roger Stone says he would disclose the location, the room numbers, hotels of any delegate who he says would try to steal the nomination from Donald Trump at the convention in Cleveland. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROGER STONE, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: We're going to have protests, demonstrations. We will disclose the hotels and the room numbers of those delegates who are directly involved in the steal.
If you're from Pennsylvania, we will tell you who the culprits are. We urge you to visit their hotel and find them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: That sounds like a direct threat, doesn't it?
HUGHES: Well, Roger Stone is not with the Trump campaign, I don't think directly, anymore. And there's probably a good reason why.
I don't necessarily agree with it being one of those people that will be there attached to a delegate. I don't think that's the right way to go. Fear never really works.
But I think you do have to say that right now there are -- and this is a reason why Mr. Trump is saying that Senator Cruz is a Trojan horse. We're finding -- and it's happening in states across the United States -- you're finding these delegates that hold Cruz and Trump positions are being replaced by those that are pro-Rubio, pro-Jeb Bush delegates.
We're finding that in states. And those are going to be very important once all of these delegates become unbound if we go to a second or third ballot.
BLITZER: Should the Trump campaign denounce those comments by Roger Stone?
HUGHES: Well, that's up to the Trump campaign. I know I personally don't agree with those. I don't agree in any way of causing fear, sitting there threatening folks and saying that you are going to release numbers.
It's definitely -- if we go to a contested convention, it's going to be very high emotion. And there are going to be a lot of people involved. And I don't think it's ever good when we sit there and threaten public safety or security.
BLITZER: Last night, Donald Trump's campaign said Ted Cruz was coordinated with super PACs, the Cruz coordinated with super PACs, essentially accusing the Cruz campaign of breaking the law.
What evidence does he have of that?
HUGHES: Well, and that's something for the Trump campaign to bring out whenever they actually are ready to produce it.
But you have to find it to be kind of odd that you're talking about these anti-Trump super PACs having the same address as maybe Carly Fiorina as when she was running for office.
There are a couple of cross-references. And they actually did a very good job in Wisconsin. There was a good ground game. And you also had a lot of people going anti-Trump. But that was Wisconsin. We are moving on. We're very optimistic. New York is double the delegates of Wisconsin. And after New York comes the rest of the Yankee primaries.
And I have to tell you, April 22 -- or April 26 is considered to be doomsday for Cruz. If he does not have enough delegates by that point to have the majority, I can pretty much say he's going to be in the same boat Kasich is, which is sinking, as it will be mathematically impossible for him to get to that magic number and avoid any hope of really being able to steal the nomination away from Mr. Trump prior to Cleveland.
BLITZER: That statement, though, released by the Trump campaign last night called Cruz a puppet, a Trojan horse. Does that make Trump look like a sore loser?
HUGHES: I don't know if makes him look like a sore loser.
He's just telling the truth. You cannot believe -- even Lindsey Graham in his tweet last night, he didn't necessarily congratulate Ted Cruz and say I can't wait to support you in Cleveland. He is absolutely giddy that we're going to have a contested convention, which is the only way that the establishment have a chance.
And you look at Marco Rubio not wanting to relinquish his delegates. The signs are on the wall that they are using Ted Cruz and the establishment is only lining up behind Ted Cruz to get them to Cleveland. And once they get to that floor, they're going to leave him and forget his name and try to get their own guy into the game.
And that right there is something that I think Ted Cruz team needs to stop being so delusional about and realize that they being used, and it's better to talk about unity with maybe some of the Trump team, rather than sitting here and cozying up to the establishment. BLITZER: All right, Scottie, stand by.
There's more information coming in to THE SITUATION ROOM right now.
We have got to take a quick break. Much more right after this.
BLITZER: We're following new developments in the war against ISIS right now and key questions about a key U.S. ally.
In just a few moments, I will be speaking live with the NATO secretary-general, Jens Stoltenberg. He's here in THE SITUATION ROOM.
There are new criminal now -- criticisms emerging from Donald Trump, worldwide questions about NATO's relevance and the role of NATO in the war against is. He's been here in Washington this week. He's personally thanking U.S. troops for their help, holding important discussions with President Obama about the alliance's future.
But, first, let's go to our Pentagon correspondent, Barbara Starr.
Barbara, what have U.S. leaders been saying about NATO's future and its role in fighting ISIS?
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, right now, Wolf, administration officials are adamant that NATO is good value for the U.S. security dollar, even if the alliance itself is not yet all in on the fight against ISIS.
STARR (voice-over): With members of an ISIS terror network at large across Europe, new security worries for President Obama as he meets with his commanders.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: As we have seen from Turkey to Belgium, ISIL still has the ability to launch serious terrorist attacks. One of my main messages today is that destroying ISIL continues to be my top priority.
STARR: The president hearing military recommendations on how to destroy key ISIS centers of power.
OBAMA: We can no longer tolerate the kinds of positioning that is enabled by them having headquarters in Raqqa and in Mosul. We have got to keep on putting the pressure on them.
STARR: While individual NATO member nations have undertaken military actions against ISIS, there are questions about whether the alliance itself should jump in. Great Britain, France and Turkey making some of the biggest contributions in personnel, aircraft and intelligence, but Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump says the U.S. is not getting NATO to shoulder its fair share. DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The people that study NATO,
they're so close to it. They don't understand that it's obsolete.
STARR: Telling Wolf Blitzer in a recent interview the U.S. pays a disproportionate amount to NATO to ensure the security of allies.
TRUMP: Frankly, they have to put up more money. They are going to have to put some up also. We're not -- we're paying disproportionately. It's too much. And, frankly, it's a different world than it was when we really originally conceived of the idea.
STARR: NATO remains central to U.S. national security policy, though many small member nations are unable or unwilling to spend as much on defense as the U.S., even on a proportional basis.
MAGNUS NORDENMAN, THE ATLANTIC COUNCIL: NATO is far from obsolete and is probably more relevant than it's ever been before.
STARR: So, is the U.S. paying too much for NATO? The latest calculations show under the U.S. defense budget about 11 cents of every $100 spent on defense goes to the alliance -- Wolf.
BLITZER: All right, Barbara, thanks very much.
Joining us now in THE SITUATION ROOM, the NATO secretary-general, Jens Stoltenberg.
Secretary-General, thanks very much for coming in.
JENS STOLTENBERG, NATO SECRETARY-GENERAL: Thank you very much.
BLITZER: Go ahead and tell us why you disagree with Donald Trump when he says NATO right now is, in his word, obsolete.
STOLTENBERG: Well, I will not be part of the U.S. election campaign, but what I can do is to tell what NATO is doing.
And we are as vital for security both for the United States and for Europe as we have ever been, because we are living in a more dangerous world. NATO is responding to a more assertive Russia in the East, and we are playing a key role in fighting terrorism, ISIL on the southern flank...
BLITZER: But he makes the point and other critics of NATO make the point that many of the NATO allies, they don't spend on defense what they should be spending, at least 2 percent of their GDP. The U.S. does, a few other countries, but they are what Donald Trump calls free-riders.
STOLTENBERG: There are more European NATO allies who should spend more on defense.
BLITZER: Why don't they?
STOLTENBERG: Because they haven't, so far, implemented what we...
BLITZER: Can NATO do anything to punish these NATO -- there are 28 countries in NATO. They want the benefits, but they don't want to share the burden.
STOLTENBERG: Well, we decided in 2014 to stop the cuts in defense spending and then gradually increase toward 2 percent.
And in the first year after that, in 2015, we have seen that the cuts have stopped. That's the first step. Then we will continue to push for an increase, and last year, actually 16 NATO allies increased defense spending.
BLITZER: But they're still not at that 2 percent level.
STOLTENBERG: The picture is mixed.
Some NATO allies spend 2 percent or more, for instance, the United Kingdom, Poland and other -- some other NATO allies in Europe. But too many are spending too little. So, that's the reason we will continue to address these at all our meetings in NATO. And every time we meet leaders from NATO countries in the different capitals, I address this issue.
BLITZER: Now, NATO countries individually are fighting ISIS, which is a grave threat, as you well know. But NATO as an organization has not gone in to fight ISIS as it did to fight the Taliban, for example, in Afghanistan.
Why can't NATO play a role as an organization in trying to crush ISIS?
STOLTENBERG: As I said, all NATO allies participate, contribute to the international efforts to fight ISIS.
BLITZER: But why can't NATO do against ISIS what it did against the Taliban?
STOLTENBERG: What NATO then does is that we have started to build local capacity to fight ISIL, because we believe that, in the long run, it's better that we enable local forces to fight ISIL, instead of us deploying a large number of...
BLITZER: But NATO is headquartered in Belgium right now, outside of Brussels. We saw what recently happened. You would think that the NATO alliance would say, you know what? This represents a threat not just to the region, whether Iraq or Syria or elsewhere. It represents a threat to Europe. Most of the NATO allies are in Europe.
So, why not get together and say, as an organization, we're going to get the job done and crush ISIS? STOLTENBERG: Well, that's the reason why we are stepping up our
efforts, by, for instance, starting to train...
BLITZER: Who is resisting?
STOLTENBERG: There's no resistance that NATO shall support the efforts of the coalition.
But we are doing that in different ways. NATO's alliance has presence in Turkey, bordering Syria and Iraq. We have increased our presence there. We have started to train Iraqi...
BLITZER: But Turkey is a member of NATO.
STOLTENBERG: Yes. But it's very important for us to be present in Turkey and to provide the assurance, military assurance to Turkey, because Turkey is so much affected of what's going on in Iraq and Syria.
Moreover, we have started the training of Iraqi officers, because we strongly believe that by building local capacity, by enabling forces in the region to fight ISIL, that's a more sustainable solution in the long run.
BLITZER: Is anyone proposing that NATO do to ISIS what it did to the Taliban?
STOLTENBERG: Well, NATO and NATO allies are doing that, but...
BLITZER: NATO -- individual NATO countries are doing that, like the United States, the U.K., other countries, but, as an alliance, because that's what the Americans, a lot of Americans want to hear, that NATO is getting its act together and going to crush ISIS, which is seen as a grave threat.
STOLTENBERG: The important thing is that we are able together to fight ISIL in an effective way.
And we have agreed that NATO shall do capacity-building, train, assist and advise. Then the high-end airstrikes shall be done by the coalition, and all NATO allies support those efforts.
Then, we have to remember that also what we do in Afghanistan is important when it comes to fighting terrorism.
BLITZER: But NATO did get involved, and very impressively. A lot of NATO troops, unfortunately, died fighting in Afghanistan. More than 1,000 died in Afghanistan.
NATO did not get involved as an organization in Iraq, and now it's still not involved in this fight, as an organization, against ISIS.
STOLTENBERG: Well, I think to help and train Iraq to fight ISIL, to train Iraqi officers is an important element in fighting ISIS.
BLITZER: How many NATO troops are in Iraq right now training Iraqi troops?
STOLTENBERG: Well, we have -- we do the training in Jordan. And we're using also Jordanian forces, organized and financed by NATO to train Iraqi forces.
BLITZER: So you're training Iraqi forces in Jordan. Why not train them in Iraq?
STOLTENBERG: Well, that may be the next step.
But many NATO allies are already doing that. And, again, the way we organize this is not the most important thing. The most important thing is that NATO allies in different ways are part of the fight against ISIS.
BLITZER: One final question. How worried are you about your security, not just you personally, but NATO security in Brussels right now, given what's going on? We saw the other week what happens.
STOLTENBERG: What you have seen in Brussels is that no country is immune and no country is 100 percent secure against terrorist attacks.
And that just underlines the importance of fighting ISIL in Iraq, Syria, but also to step up the work when it comes to intelligence in countries like Belgium. And NATO allies are doing exactly that.
BLITZER: And you're beefing up your security at your headquarters, I assume?
STOLTENBERG: We are.
BLITZER: Jens Stoltenberg is the NATO secretary-general.
You got a huge mission ahead of you. Good luck to you. Good luck to all the NATO alliance.
STOLTENBERG: Thank you.
BLITZER: Thank you very much for coming in.
Just ahead, we will have much more on the presidential race here in the United States. We're standing by for Donald Trump's first campaign rally since his punishing loss in Wisconsin.
We're also following important developments in the Democratic presidential race, including what many, including Hillary Clinton, consider to be Senator Bernie Sanders' surprising stumble.
BLITZER: Tonight, there are important new developments in the presidential campaign. We're standing by for the start of a Donald Trump rally. There, you see some live pictures coming in from Long Island. It will be Trump's first time before a crowd since his sound defeat by Senator Ted Cruz in the Wisconsin primary. Now all eyes are on their upcoming showdown in New York state 13 days from today.
[18:32:13] Let's go to our CNN political reporter, Sara Murray. She's over at the site of Trump's rally right now. So Sara, does Trump have a hometown advantage? I assume it's a huge one.
SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you're absolutely right, Wolf. The Trump campaign is hoping for a much different outcome here in New York than they got in Wisconsin. And there are some early signs that they may get exactly that.
There's a new Monmouth University poll of New York that's out today. It shows Donald Trump leading with 52 percent support from Republican primary voters. His closest competition is John Kasich, with 25 percent support. And Ted Cruz actually comes in third in this poll with 17 percent support.
Now New York is, of course, a big delegate prize. This is the place where the Trump campaign feels like they're well-positioned to win and to begin to change this narrative, this sort of rocky stretch that they've had that was capped off by the loss in Wisconsin.
One of the other things they're going to have to work through and that they're trying to work through right now is this power struggle that's going on within the Trump campaign between campaign manager Corey Lewandowski and a veteran GOP operative, Paul Manafort that the campaign originally brought on to sort of help with the delegate process.
But he appears to be taking on a more strategic roll, kind of pushing Trump and his campaign to be a little bit more disciplined and hit 1,237 delegates to try to avoid a convention fight. And obviously, New York would be a huge step in helping them to do that, Wolf.
BLITZER: All right, Sara. Thanks very much. She's at that rally. We'll have coverage of that once it starts.
Let's get some insight from our political experts right now, our chief political analyst Gloria Borger is with us, our senior political commentator David Axelrod. He was a senior adviser to President Obama. And Real Clear Politics national political reporter Rebecca Berg is with us.
That Monmouth poll, Gloria, 52 percent for Donald Trump, very significant, because in New York, if you get more than 50 percent of the vote, it's winner take all. That's 95 delegates, the second biggest prize after California.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Right. And you can -- there are ways in New York state, if you win 50 percent, you get about 11 or 12 delegates, and then it's by congressional district. So there are ways for people to peel delegates...
BLITZER: If you get under 50 percent.
BORGER: ... away from Donald Trump. Away from Donald Trump. But it's really important for him, obviously. It's looking good for him. This is his home turf. There's a sense that, in order to get his momentum back, he's got to win New York state.
But the feeling is inside the Trump campaign and the other campaigns is they need to get control of this delegate process which they don't have control of.
As Sara was mentioning, they've hired Paul Manafort. He is somebody who worked in the '76 convention for Jim Baker, for Gerald Ford.
BLITZER: Which was a contested convention.
BORGER: A contested convention. But he right now is trying to consolidate and take charge of this very, very important process that they can't win the nomination without.
[18:35:07] BLITZER: Yes. They need some real ground game, as they say.
BORGER: Totally. Totally.
BLITZER: Because Cruz has an excellent ground game by all accounts.
BLITZER: David, after losing in Wisconsin, the Trump campaign last night accused that statement, calling Ted Cruz a puppet, a Trojan horse, accusing him of coordinating with super PACs, which would be illegal, as you know. What does that tell you, that very tough statement about the state of this campaign right now?
AXELROD: Well, obviously, Ted Cruz has gotten Donald Trump's attention.
I thought that statement veered from tantrum to genius. The tantrum part was the part you referred to, which was overheated and very Trump-like. The genius part was that he really identified Ted Cruz as a vehicle for the party establishment.
Remember, Ted Cruz made his reputation within the -- the Republican Party as an outsider challenging the establishment in Washington. Now he's the vehicle of that establishment to try and stop Donald Trump.
And Donald Trump wants rank-and-file voters out there to know that Ted Cruz is the establishment candidate. So I thought there was some strategic reason behind the statement. I thought the other stuff was extraneous and not very helpful.
BLITZER: As you know, Rebecca, as of right now, our estimate is Trump needs to win about 60 percent of the remaining delegates to get to that magic number of 1,237. Cruz needs to win more than 90 percent to get to that magic number. That's almost impossible. So there very likely will be a contested convent if no one gets to 1,237. How would that play out?
BERG: Well, it would be very likely, Wolf, and more likely after the results in Wisconsin last night. But we don't actually know how a contested convention would play out at this point, at least not specifically, because the rules of the convention are written before the convention. Each -- every four years, written the week before the convention. And so those rules are yet to be decided.
So they may decide that only certain people are qualified to run for president, that you need to have won states or delegates to have your name put up for the nomination.
But we do know that Ted Cruz, as you alluded to, has a very good organization. He is going after delegates in all of these states. Not only unbound delegates, but delegates who are committed on the first ballot but won't be on the second or third ballots.
And Donald Trump, really, to win at a convention, is going to need to get his act together in a big way. And that's why he's bringing on Paul Manafort. But one person does not a campaign make, and you need buy-in from the rest of the campaign and from Trump himself.
BLITZER: Gloria, he needs a major infrastructure improvement.
BORGER: He does. And you know, in talking to people today who are familiar with delegate hunting, it seems to me that they believe that Trump needs to win on the first ballot. And that if he doesn't win on the first ballot at the convention, all bets are off, and all hell breaks loose.
And at that point, anything can occur, depending on what the rules are. And by the way, the rules can also be changed on the floor of the convention. Not just in the rules committee, but you can do anything you want after the first ballot. And so right now, they're, you know -- they're trying to figure out how many delegates people can steal from Donald Trump on a second ballot or take away. "Steal" is a loaded word.
BLITZER: Usually -- you know a lot about this, David Axelrod. Usually, on the Democratic side or the Republican side, if one candidate has millions more votes, a lot more delegates, maybe they haven't reached that magic number, they sort of consolidate. Everybody else sort of walks -- everybody else walks away, and they emerge as the nominee, for all practical purposes. So that's what usually happens. That's not happening this time on the Republican side. Why?
AXELROD: Because I think there's great fear about what Donald Trump at the top of the ticket would mean for the Republican Party. If you look at general election polls, they look catastrophic with Trump at the top of the ticket. And so they're trying to slow this train down and stop it.
And Gloria is right. If he doesn't get it on the first ballot, there's a very good chance he won't get it at all. So I think part of the Manafort effort is going to be if Trump is close to that 1,237, what kind of deals can they cut before they get to Cleveland, to get some of these unbound delegates to get themselves over the finish line, which is what -- about what happened in 1976. So there's a bit of a historical parallel there.
BLITZER: I know Gloria and a lot of people are studying that 1976 contested convention to get some lessons.
BORGER: Which none of us remember.
BLITZER: All right. Stand by. Everyone, stand by. We're going to take a close look at the Democratic race for the White House. New developments happening right now with Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. Stick around. We'll be right back.
BLITZER: Today Hillary Clinton told CNN she still feels very good about her campaign, despite her big loss to Senator Bernie Sanders in Wisconsin.
After a string of second-place finishes, Hillary Clinton is counting on New York state and other upcoming contests and big Northeastern states like Pennsylvania to help her and to become her next firewall. Both Clinton and Sanders, they are in Pennsylvania tonight. So is our senior political correspondent Brianna Keilar.
Brianna, a recent Sanders interview giving Hillary Clinton plenty to talk about. What's the latest?
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Especially as she has decided, Wolf, to be newly aggressive with Sanders. He really served her up an opportunity in this "New York Daily News" ed board.
[18:45:04] He was unable to put meat on the bones of some of his key campaign promises. He said he didn't know what statute he would use to prosecute the executives of offending big banks. And he didn't seem to know what his authority would be as president to break up the big banks, which is key to his speech. He was talking about Dodd- Frank, which is that Democratic led financial reform bill that was passed in the wake of the financial meltdown.
Here's what he said.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: How you go about doing it is having legislation passed, or giving the authority to the secretary of treasury to determine, under Dodd-Frank, that these banks are danger to the economy over the problem of a too big to fail.
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS: But do you think the Fed now has the authority?
SANDERS: Well, I don't know if the Fed has it.
(END AUDIO CLIP) KEILAR: Now later, when pressed, Bernie Sanders did say that he thought the Fed did have the authority and as Hillary Clinton is clearly taking the gloves off, she seized on these comments. Here's what she told CNN.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Unclear as to whether he understood how Dodd-Frank worked, how we would go about breaking up banks that were posing risks to our economy. I think I and many other people were surprised because that has been the centerpiece of his campaign.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: Now talking, Wolf, to the Sanders campaign, it's clear they realize Bernie Sanders was not as sharp as he should have been. One top aide saying he's definitely informed.
So, was this an issue of him being very exhausted, keeping up a grueling campaign schedule or not liking the tone of the questions from this ed board. It's really unclear at this point.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Brianna, thank you. Brianna Keilar reporting for us.
Let's get back to our political experts.
David Axelrod, should Hillary Clinton be going on the attack against Bernie Sanders right now?
DAVID AXELROD, FORMER OBAMA SENIOR ADVISER: I think there's real risk to it. I understand her frustrations. She has this persistent challenge. She's in the position of front-runner, even as this guy is firing at her every day. And she wants to fire back.
But I would remind her that both she and Bernie Sanders have very high favorables among Democrats. Democrats like Bernie Sanders. And I don't think that they necessarily want to see sniping between them. And I think there's greater risk for her than there is for him as a person who is going to have to unify the party afterwards, if she does become the nominee.
So, I think she has to walk this line carefully. And I also am not sure, while I think that Bernie Sanders should have been better prepared for that editorial board meeting, I'm not sure that a debate about the arcania of Dodd-Frank is going to drive people to the polls.
BLITZER: Take a listen to this, Gloria, because as you know, in that interview, the editorial board of the "New York Daily News" he was pressed on the issue of guns and Sandy Hook and whether gun manufacturers should be held liable. Hillary Clinton really went after him on that. He just gave an interview to CBS News.
And listen to what he said about her.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SANDERS: What happened at sandy hook is a tragedy beyond comprehension. But maybe Secretary Clinton might want to apologize to the families who lost their loved ones in Iraq or Secretary Clinton might want to apologize to the millions of workers in this country who lost their jobs because of the disastrous trade agreements that she supported.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Gloria, pretty strong words. We'll show the cover, the front page of the "New York Daily News." There you can see, "Bernie's Sandy Hook shame." He really took that. She's calling on him to apologize.
He's saying she should apologize for what happened in Iraq because she voted for the war in Iraq. She should apologize for the, he says, the millions of jobs lost because of trade agreements like NAFTA.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: First of all, it's very clear they are getting under each other's skin. I mean, you know, these are people who don't like each other anymore. And I think in every campaign, and David having run them can really speak about this better than I can.
You know, there becomes a tipping point where it does -- it's not so great for the party anymore. We're all talking about how this makes Hillary Clinton a better candidate and how Bernie Sanders has sharpened her and how she's now more in touch with the base of the party and all the rest of it.
But if Bernie Sanders is now out there saying that Hillary Clinton ought to apologize for Iraq and Hillary Clinton ought to apologize for trade policies, which, by the way, Barack Obama also likes. He was opposed to the war in Iraq. I think at a certain point, it tips and it doesn't work for the party anymore.
BLITZER: What do you think, Rebecca?
REBECCA BERG, REAL CLEAR POLITICS: I think there is that risk as well, and that's the case that Hillary Clinton is making at this point, that Bernie Sanders ought to think about getting out of the race because he doesn't have a path to the nomination, and whether it's good for the party.
[18:50:04] But Bernie Sanders certainly doesn't look like he's going to stop anytime soon. He has the money to continue. He certainly has the will to continue, and really this race on the Democratic side has remained remarkably civil when you look at how competitive it has been, especially relative to the Republican side. It's been just a really nice conversation between two people, but it will be interesting to see how this plays out in the debate on CNN, because both of them have some work to do cleaning up.
BLITZER: Let me get your sense, David Axelrod, were you surprised how tough he was in responding to Hillary Clinton saying she should apologize for all the lives lost in Iraq, she should apologize --
BLITZER: -- for and all the jobs lost because of these trade agreements?
AXELROD: I think that was an overheated answer. I think people will react badly to that. It seems like an evasion. I mean, it seems as if he got trapped.
You know, this gun issue is the one issue on which Bernie Sanders seems profoundly uncomfortable, because he's taken positions that are more in keeping with his state than the progressive movement within the Democratic Party. So, every time guns come up, he appears peevish and I think that was a very peevish answer.
BLITZER: All right, guys. Stand by. Everyone, stand by.
Important note to our viewers. I'll be moderating CNN's Democratic presidential debate in Brooklyn. Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, they will face off next Thursday night. That's live at 9:00 p.m. Eastern. It's the last chance for New Yorkers to watch the Democrats debate before their critically important primary.
Just ahead, Kim Jong-un says he has miniaturized a nuclear warhead and he's being taken at his word. Officials believe the North Koreans can mount a nuke on missile that could reach America allies and American bases.
[18:56:16] BLITZER: Once again, we're standing by to hear from Donald Trump. He's about to make his first public statement since his big loss to Ted Cruz in Wisconsin.
The Republican frontrunner is hoping to reenergize his supporters and rebound in the New York primary thirteen days from today.
We're also following other important news, including from North Korea. Kim Jong-un's regime says it has miniaturized a nuclear warhead which can fit on a missile. That missile can reach U.S. allies and U.S. forces in the region. It has all the makings of a nuclear nightmare.
Our chief national security correspondent Jim Sciutto has been looking into this for us.
Very disturbing. What are you learning?
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, U.S. officials say there are many steps to degree a truly nuclear capable state, miniaturizing just one of those steps. However, in recent weeks, North Korea has taken several ominous steps, including its fourth nuclear test, several successful missile tests, which is leading some, including some inside the U.S. intelligence community to assist that North Korea does have at least untested nuclear capability. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
SCIUTTO (voice-over): This is the North Korean mid-range missile, says South Korea, now capable of carrying a nuclear weapon. South Korean intelligence concluding that Pyongyang's Nodong ballistic missile can deliver a one-ton warhead as far as 1,200 miles, putting South Korea, Japan, and U.S. military bases in Asia within reach of a nuclear strike.
North Korea's dictator Kim Jong-un is already celebrating, posing for pictures near what North Korea claims to be the warhead.
U.S. intelligence has yet to reach the same conclusion, but U.S. officials say they must assume that Pyongyang has at least an untested capability to miniaturize and launch a nuclear weapon.
JAMES CLAPPER, DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: It is also committed to developing a long-range nuclear-armed missile that's capable of posing a direct threat to the United States.
SCIUTTO: Some nuclear analysts share South Korea's more dire assessment.
JOE CIRINCIONE, PLOUGHSHARES FUND: I've been very skeptical about North Korea's capabilities. But the evidence is mounting. They probably have a nuclear warhead that can fit on a missile that could hit South Korea or Japan.
SCIUTTO: South Korea's assessment now shared in some U.S. intelligence circles, follows a series of successful tests by Pyongyang, beginning with an underground nuclear test in January and followed by four missile tests, including a space launch believed to be a step toward an intercontinental ballistic missile that could reach the U.S.
Recent satellite images also show suspicious activity at North Korea's Yongbyon nuclear facility. It is used to produce plutonium to build nuclear weapons. In response, the U.N., the U.S., and China have all recently imposed harsh economic sanctions on North Korea, and the U.S. recently flew a nuclear capable B-52 near North Korean air space and sailed a U.S. aircraft carrier near its waters.
But North Korea has continued to make progress toward its long stated goal of becoming a nuclear power.
CIRINCIONE: U.S. policy has failed. We have not stopped them. We've tried ignoring them. We've tried sanctioning them. It doesn't work.
SCIUTTO: U.S. defense officials tell me that the U.S. has already taken several steps to safeguard the U.S. and its allies in the region from a North Korean nuclear strike. This includes boosting the number of ground-based interceptors, deploying new missile defense to South Korea. This is the high altitude defense system known as THAAD. Though, Wolf, I'm told that is still months away, though it's something that the South Koreans want very much.
BLITZER: One of the most dangerous spots on earth right now.
Jim Sciutto, thanks very much for that report. That's it for me. Thanks for watching.
"ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.