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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Donald Trump Claims Republican System Corrupt; New Polls: Trump, Clinton Double-Digit Leads In N.Y; Town Hall With Trump Family Minutes Away; Clinton And Sanders Debate In Brooklyn In 2 Days; Clinton Library Releases Trump-Related Records. Aired 8-9p ET
Aired April 12, 2016 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[20:00:16] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: And a good evening to you. Thanks for joining us.
As you can see behind me, we are getting ready for another "360" Republican town hall, the second of three this week.
Tonight, at the top of next hour, Donald Trump and his family, talking to voters, hometown voters. The New York primary coming up. And with it the chance for a badly needed big win. Tomorrow night, Ted Cruz, his main rival, safe to say his arch rival. The two now embroiled in a delegate battle facing a potential contested convention, competing in a GOP race that seems to grow more contentious every single day including today which saw Donald Trump single out GOP chairman Reince Priebus by name telling the newspaper "the Hill," that Priebus should be ashamed of the nominating system that he calls a disgrace.
Also today, top Republicans saying they may skip the convention entirely and one GOP leader, house speaker Paul Ryan ruling out any possibility that he will accept the Republican nomination. We're going have more on all of it now from CNN's Jason Carroll.
JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Donald Trump angry at the GOP nominating system which he calls corrupt. This after claiming his supporters in Colorado were shut out when that state awarded all its delegates to Ted Cruz.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Our Republican system is absolutely rigged. It's a phony deal. This is a dirty trick and I'll tell you why. The RNC, the Republican National Committee, they should be ashamed of themselves for allowing this kind of crap to happen. I can tell you that. They should be ashamed of themselves.
CARROLL: Ted Cruz firing back on Glenn Beck's radio show today calling Trump a sore loser.
SEN. TED CRUZ (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Donald wakes up at night in cold sweats that people will call him losing Donald.
CARROLL: Colorado does not have a primary or a caucus. Instead it holds a convention to choose its delegates. Now the chairman of the Republican National Committee is also weighing in on the issue tweeting, he rules were set last year. Nothing mysterious. Nothing new. The rules have not changed. The rules are the same. Nothing different."
Polls show Trump is holding a commanding lead in New York and could be on track to take a significant portion of the state's 95 delegates up for grabs. Rival John Kasich out campaigning at a Brooklyn bakery is running a distant second. His goal, pick up as many delegates here as possible.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Greetings, John Kasich.
GOV. JOHN KASICH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Hi.
CARROLL: And continue to draw differences between himself and the other two candidates. He encouraged voters not to choose what he called the path of darkness.
KASICH: The path that exploits anger, encourages resentment, turns fear into hatred, and divides people. It cheapens each one of us. It has but one beneficiary, and that is to the politician who speaks of it.
CARROLL: Despite Trump's harsh criticism of Kasich, he says he would consider him as a possible running mate along with former rivals senator Marco Rubio and Wisconsin governor Scott Walker. At last night's CNN town hall, Kasich says he's not interested.
KASICH: I'm not going to be anybody's vice president.
COOPER: Do you think --?
KASICH: I would be the worst vice president the country ever saw. You know why? Because I'm not like a vice president. I'm a president.
CARROLL: As for Governor Walker --
GOV. SCOTT WALKER (R) WISCONSIN: I literally just heard it and I laughed.
CARROLL: And for those still holding out hope for a late entry into the presidential race, vice speaker Paul Ryan --
REP. PAUL RYAN (R), HOUSE SPEAKER: I do not want nor will I accept the nomination for our party.
COOPER: Jason Carroll joins us now.
I mean, you have Donald Trump now calling out, as we said, Reince Priebus by name. What more do you have on that?
CARROLL: He didn't call him out by name at the rally earlier here, Anderson. He did it in an interview later. But clearly, holding him responsible for what happened in Colorado. But here's another name for you, Corey Gardner, senator from Colorado. He also weighed in on this particular issue saying anyone who knew the rules should have known what to do here. He said Ted Cruz knew what to do. He had the ground game. He had the grassroots effort there in Colorado. He said Trump simply did not, end of story.
But it really isn't the end of the story because what Trump is doing here, he's feeding into this whole narrative that seems to be working for him, working with his supporters, that he's the outsider dealing with these insiders who simply cannot be trusted - Anderson.
COOPER: Jason Carroll, thanks very much. We're going to talk to Senator Gardner shortly on this program.
I want to bring in the panel. CNN political commentator, Trump supporter Kayleigh McEnany. CNN political commentator and former Cruz communications director, Amanda Carpenter. Former New York Republican congressman Rick Lazio who ran against Hillary Clinton for the Senate back in 2000. And CNN chief political analyst, Gloria Borger.
COOPER: So Kayleigh, I mean, we talked about this last night. Donald Trump continuing to say this whole process is rigged, calling out the RNC. Cruz is saying he is essentially whining. Do you worry at all that on day two of this, now, I don't know, maybe it is day three of this, that he is starting to sound like he is whining?
[20:05:16] KAYLEIGH MCENANY, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: No. He is pointing out something that's an unfair, broken system. You know, look forward -- we move past Colorado where the people weren't even allowed to vote. Talk about unfair. People don't even get a voice in this because the delegates know better that them, party officials know better than them. But let's look forward to Pennsylvania where "Politico" came out with a piece that said 32 percent of potential delegates in that state have already selected a candidate before the people of Pennsylvania speak. If that's not a broken system, I don't know what is. That is the antithesis of democracy.
COOPER: Do you think Donald Trump didn't know what the system was in Colorado? Because even if you think the system was unfair, this was a system that was set last year as Reince Priebus has said. I think some at least eight months ago. So even if you think it's unfair, he should have prepared for it, shouldn't he have?
MCENANY: I think he knew what the system was. And I think he knew that the party and Colorado was against him. There were more than 3,000 delegates fighting for 40 spots.
COOPER: So why not get an organization on the ground that would actually respond?
MCENANY: Because no matter how many people Trump put on the ground, the party was already set against him. When they saw he was leading in polls in August, the party in Colorado decided to take away the vote of the people because they didn't like Donald Trump was the front-runner. So he could have put tens, millions of people on the ground. That would have done nothing. Because at the end of the day the party had the final say and they chose delegates that were anti- Trump.
COOPER: Amanda, I see you --
AMANDA CARPENTER, FORMER CRUZ COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: I mean, here's the thing about the process. You have to get people to show up. The Cruz campaign was effective in identifying supporters, telling them what meetings to go to, guiding them through the process and Donald Trump wasn't. And that brings it funny that Donald Trump always complains about the process after the fact. He only complains when he loses. I mean, it is automatic playbook he uses. I think we can all see through it. Until he actually learns the process, you are not going to beat the system if you don't understand the system.
MCENANY: He complained about it before the fact, though. The rules were set against him on the ground. There were Trump delegates on the ground. But at the end of the day, the party leaders tweeted out, by the way, the party leaders tweeted out never Trump and said they were hacked.
COOPER: All the reporting was the folks Trump had on the ground had really no idea what to do, didn't have the organization.
RICK LAZIO FORMER NEW YORK REPUBLICAN CONGRESSMAN: When I ran for governor in New York, I had Republican state chairman against me, working against me with the organization working against any. And I knew going in there what the rules were. I knew it was uphill. I know what it's like when you have a state political elite working against you, but we outworked them. We knew the rules. We had people on the ground and it was just a matter of --
COOPER: So it is possible?
LAZIO: Absolutely. It's possible. In fact, it happens all the time. You don't always have the party's choice as the eventual nominee. Ask Marco Rubio.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: I understand Donald Trump's strategy here which is to gather his base and say the rules are unfair and we haven't been treated well and sort of, you know, mobilize his base that way, but I have a couple questions about it. One is, how do you head into a convention which he may be heading into a contested convention, telling delegates that the process by which they were chosen is corrupt, and, therefore, they are corrupt because they're part of this corrupt process? And, two, what happens if you actually win? Because if you win, then does the process suddenly become legitimate? Is it OK if you triumph?
MCENANY: The unfairness of the process only comes into play in the event of the plurality. So if he does come out on top, the unfairness of the process is not exposed. And it's worth mentions for all the talk we have --
BORGER: I just asked a question. MCENANY: For all the talk we have of Donald Trump doing so poorly
among the delegates, he's still leading by more than 200. Donald Trump is really dominating --
COOPER: One at a time. Gloria?
BORGER: You know, it's just -- it's a legitimate question. If he wins, having railed against the process, what does he then say about the process? That it was fine?
MCENANY: No, just because you win in a process doesn't take away the fact that it's unfair.
BORGER: But --
MCENANY: It changes the process if he wins.
LAZIO: But it would seem if you go to into a contested convention, and you are trying to win delegates that are not already pledged to you that it's a more different sale to them because to some extent you already alienated them.
MCENANY: Here's the thing, Donald Trump cares about the will of the people over the will of delegates. He wants to empower Colorado voters to go to the polls and have a say. So no matter if Donald Trump wins or loses, Donald Trump is out to change the process and make sure all Americans get a vote.
MCENANY: Amanda, is it fair that one million Colorado voters did not get to vote? Is that fair?
CARPENTER: I think it's fair for the state to hold its own process for the party. I think it is fair to play by the rules and play the game and play to win that way and not complain when you lose.
COOPER: It's interesting, though, because for Donald Trump who is a state's rights guy, he often wants the states to make up decisions in terms of the law. And many conservatives want that, in fact, as well, for they don't want the federal government involved. They want states rights. They wants states makes a decision. The state party made a decision on how they wanted their election to run and that's how it ran. Isn't it a little weird for Donald Trump to be saying, well, the federal system, the RNC, should force this thing on them?
[20:10:08] MCENANY: I don't think so. That's what -- state rights is about empowering state legislatures who are elected directly by the people. The Republican Party Colorado is not elected by the people. They are appointed and to disenfranchise the Colorado voters, not a single person on this panel can justify the fact that a million voters did not get to vote. At the end of the day, that is what matters.
BORGER: Nobody is saying that the system isn't a little crazy. It's craze.
MCENANY: It's unfair.
BORGER: It is crazy. We have always said that. But it is the process. And when you embark on the process of trying to become president of the United States you need to understand the process as it is unless you change it before you head into it.
LAZIO: And by the way, Democrats have all these superdelegates that are unelected and there's almost no controversy around that.
BORGER: Well, there is a little.
LAZIO: A little bit. In a relative sense. You got a huge cache of unelected delegates that are mostly pledged to Hillary Clinton. Nobody -- there's no votes backing that up. There's no requirement that the people in the state have had to vote for her in order for them to cast their allegiance to one candidate or another. In this case, Hillary Clinton. So, of course, there's going to be some of that. I mean, you can argue that caucuses in themselves are not totally reflective of the --
COOPER: We're going to take a -- there's a lot more to talk about. We're going to take a quick break.
We are getting ready for tonight's "360" Republican town hall. Donald Trump, his entire family at the top of the hour. Ted Cruz, his family tomorrow night. Later, what the polls, the people, even the president of the United States have to say about the Democratic race.
And the upcoming CNN Democratic debate just two days from now. We'll be right back.
[20:15:25] COOPER: And welcome back. Less than an hour from now Donald Trump and his entire family joins us for an AC360 town hall, whether he'll repeat the charge he has been making for days now about the delegate selection process in places like Colorado, we don't know. Just to refresh your memory, here's the gist of it from today.
TRUMP: The party is playing dirty. And we have to show our Republican party, you have been disenfranchised. Everybody has. You to show the Republican Party they can't get away with this any longer because it is enough. And we have had enough losses. We have had enough losses with Romney types that are stiffs who can't get elected, never had a chance. We've had enough of this stuff.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: That was Donald Trump late today in Rome, New York. As you heard at the top, Colorado's Republican senator Cory Gardner has had plenty to say on the subject tweeting quote "I have attended Colorado GOP conventions for years. It requires organization and attention to grassroots to win. Cruz had it. Trump didn't. End of story."
Also quote "how on earth are you going to defeat ISIS if you can't figure out the Colorado GOP convention?"
Senator Gardner joins us now.
Senator, thanks for being with us. Strong words there from you about Donald Trump and his reaction to the results in Colorado. Why are you compelled to react the way you have?
SEN. CORY GARDNER (R), COLORADO: You know, last night when I heard what Donald Trump was saying, I had enough because he is besmirching, he is attacking tens of thousands of Colorado Republicans who months ago started many this volunteer process. People who took time away from work and family to run for delegate at the grassroots level, at the county caucus or the precinct caucus, on to the state assembly.
And Donald Trump is basically calling thousands of Coloradans corrupt, calling them rigged. This is simply unacceptable. Donald Trump had a chance to win in Colorado and he didn't take the opportunity to do that. Look, I sat on the floor of the convention all day on Saturday with thousands of delegates from around Colorado. I spoke to dozens of Donald Trump supporters. Ted Cruz was the only candidate who showed up. The elections are won by candidates who show up and Ted Cruz did it and that's why he carried Colorado.
COOPER: I mean, these rules in Colorado, they were agreed upon by all the candidates the last August. Was Donald Trump, you think, just caught, what, flatfooted here? Did he just not understand the rules? Did he just not have the organization?
GARDNER: Well, he does what he typically does. He doesn't do the job and then he complains about it after the fact. Look, Donald Trump had a surrogate who addressed the convention on Friday night. He had a surrogate who addressed the entire delegate body on Saturday. Not a single time did I hear any of them complain to me or through anybody else that they were dissatisfied with the process? Only until after he lost that did they start complaining.
Look, Colorado is not going to be taken by celebrity and flash. This is a state where you put in the grassroots work and it's going to reward you like in 2012 when it elected Rick Santorum over Mitt Romney.
COOPER: So when Trump says the process is rigged, it is crooked, it is disgusting, to that, you say what?
GARDNER: I say tell that to the 65,000 Coloradans that you're asking them to vote for you. You just called them corrupt. You told them that their time away from family doesn't matter.
Look, whether Colorado's system is perfect or not, they followed the rules. They have did what they have done with a system that was basically put in place 100 years ago. And for Donald Trump to say, look, this is a corrupt process in Colorado, he simply didn't do the job, he didn't show up and he had a chance to do that, but Ted Cruz capitalized.
COOPER: You've gone through this election process with the same rules essentially just two years ago. Does the system require - I mean, it seems like the system requires a strong ground game in order to win over national delegates. Is that fair to say?
GARDNER: It absolutely requires a strong ground game. It requires organization. I was a successful delegate nominee through this process two years ago. I became a United States senator through this process two years ago.
This starts with a precinct caucus in your neighborhood where you attend at a neighbor's house and go to a meeting and you run for county assembly. And then once you're elected to county assembly, you go to the state convention. This is the process that's worked for decades in Colorado. And people are proud. It's an honor to be a delegate to the assembly. In fact, I saw a guy wearing a shirt how many years he'd been a delegate assembly or alternate to a delegate at the assembly or alternate to the assembly. Donald Trump simply didn't respect Colorado and I believe he is showing that lack of respect for the people of Colorado now by calling them corrupt.
COOPER: Senator Gardner, appreciate you being on.
Back with our panel. Also joining us, CNN political commentator Tara Setmayer, former communications director for California congress Dana Rohrabacher.
Tara, let's hear from you. I mean, the congressman is making some -- got a lot of strong words there. Essentially saying raising questions not only about his ground game in Colorado but essentially saying if Donald Trump can't win the battle for delegates, can't organize a battle for delegates against Ted Cruz, how is he going to organize a battle against ISIS?
[20:20:08] TARA SETMAYER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Absolutely. I mean, this is something that's been consistent the whole time. You know, Donald Trump whines and complains any time he doesn't win something. And what happened in Colorado was very transparent. Those rules have been in place like the senator said, you said, many of us said, they've been there. They have been transparent. There are people who have been going to these caucus for 40 years. It's very grassroots. And for Trump supporters to come out and besmirch them and say, oh, this is robbed, they're corrupt, this is a rigged system, is undemocratic in my opinion.
You don't get any more democratic than when it comes down to having precinct captains and caucuses, and then go to the next level to the county, you go the next level to the state. That's what this is about. Article 2 of the constitution puts the election for the presidency at the hands of the states. The states get to make the rules. If Donald Trump doesn't like that, maybe he should go run for president in another state with direct primary vote. That's what the way it is in the United States of America.
MCENANY: You know how you get more democratic, by letting the people vote.
SETMAYER: They did. MCENANY: You got to let me finish. Tara, you have to let --
COOPER: Let her finish.
MCENANY: I gave you 20 seconds. You got to give me mine if you want this to be a dialogue.
COOPER: Let her finish. Letter in finish.
MCENANY: OK. So if you say these rules have been many place forever, this has always been --
COOPER: Let her finish, please.
MCENANY: In August they decided not to let the people of Colorado vote. This was decided by the party. One million Coloradans did not go to the polls. That was decided in August when Donald Trump and Ben Carson were leading and those two candidates were palpable (ph) to the local --.
SETMAYER: What stopped the people of Colorado from votes for the delegates? Delegates are required to win the presidency, to win the nomination. What stopped every single one of these millions of people that you're complaining about that were allegedly disenfranchised, what stopped them from going to their local precincts and --
COOPER: Let Kayleigh finish.
MCENANY: The "Denver Post" editorial board came out and wrote a unanimous op-ed saying that this was blundered. This election was blundered by the party. You have the "Denver Post" editorial board saying that.
COOPER: OK. Amanda?
MCENANY: It's not Democratic.
CARPENTER: If you want to change the system, you have to engage in the system. And to be charitable, the nicest way possible of putting this -- Donald Trump is not good with the details. He didn't organize his own family to vote. Who's he going to blame for that?
BORGER: And look. You know, the reason the party did this was because they didn't want to bind their delegates. But it was such a huge field and they didn't want to bind their delegates to people who might already be dropped out of the race. So there was a reasoning behind it. And I'm not going to argue with you, Kayleigh, that the system isn't patchwork, that maybe in the day and age in which we live we shouldn't get rid of a lot of crazy caucuses and all the rest and open it up, but that is an argument that ought to be happening, but you can't change the rules while you're running for president. If that were the case --
MCENANY: We are changing the rules. Paul Ryan is advocating changing the rules today.
COOPER: What I don't understand, though, I mean, I get he doesn't, his supporters, they don't like the system in Colorado. I get that. But that is the system and he was aware of the system and it's been the system now for quite a while. So doesn't it just point to problems with his own organization? I mean, doesn't it raise some concerns for you that the guy who's supposedly an organizational genius in his own opinion who has created an amazing business organization can't create a ground organization in the state of Colorado that beats Ted Cruz?
MCENANY: No --
COOPER: Somehow Ted Cruz was able to adapt to this system.
MCENANY: Because he has the party leaders on his side. That is the thing. He couldn't put innumerable --
COOPER: Ted Cruz doesn't seem to be the darling of the GOP.
CARPENTER: Donald Trump was going to be the establishment candidate. There is no establishment candidate. That field collapsed and now he's winning through superior organization and whipping Donald Trump and the delegate count.
MCENANY: No, he's not, by the way, Donald Trump is leading by 250 delegates.
Anderson, to answer your question, Donald Trump would have put innumerable boots on the ground, people on the ground in Colorado.
COOPER: How would it have made a difference?
MCENANY: The local party establishment is the one who voted on the delegates so Donald Trump could have put --
SETMAYER: That's not true.
MCENANY: We hear everyone on the panel say constantly the only argument that's put forth in favor of the rules is these are the rules and the rules are the rules and they've been this way forever.
MCENANY: I challenge one person on this panel to look into the ca camera and explain to the American people how it was fair to disenfranchise --
COOPER: Amanda, go ahead. Let Amanda talk.
CARPENTER: The process favors grassroots activists especially in Colorado. You have to invest a lot of time on the ground. You have to have field offices. You have to have people there meeting with people saying will you commit the time and resources, your own money, your own weekends to go and show up at these meetings. And a lot of people for Ted Cruz because they realize all the things he's done through the years says, yes, I am with you. So they have been working on this for a year.
Meanwhile, Donald Trump couldn't get the names of the delegates right at the convention so how can you get those people elected if you don't know their names?
[20:25:03] MCENANY: We're electing a candidate for president of the United States. The American people decide not local party activists.
COOPER: Wait, can't the exact same thing be said of caucuses? I mean, that it's activists, you know, it's the most motivated, the most active people showing up in caucus states to caucus and are you saying that's undemocratic, too?
MCENANY: No, because everyday people are encouraged to show up and have a process and a vehicle with which to go. No, in Colorado the popular vote was canceled on August 25th --
COOPER: I have to say I saw a lot of these delegates who are running, they looked like everyday people to me. They weren't wearing fancy suits, and, you know --
BORGER: This is what Senator Gardner was talking about.
MCENANY: No one here is going after the delegates. People are going after the party that said --
SETMAYER: Yes, you are.
MCENANY: The party asked, how can we disenfranchise voters so someone like Rick Santorum is not nominated again? It was about whittling down the people who could have a voice.
COOPER: The conversation is going to continue. We get ready for tonight's town hall. Donald Trump and his whole family in a bit, more than a half hour.
Coming up next, we have big news for Donald Trump, new polling. John King is going to break it down by the numbers. Big numbers.
[20:30:04] COOPER: Welcome back. New York primary is one week from today. New polling just out to its double digit lead for both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. Trump in particular has sword ahead of the Republican pact in his home state.
CNN "Inside Politics" anchor John King joins us with a closer look by the numbers. A week out and the polls suggest Trump is on a path to get just what he needs from New York. Right, John? JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Just what he needs, Anderson, which is most or all of the 95 delegates. Let's pop out New York State and I'll show you the polling numbers and wow three polls out within the last 24 hours. Trump at 60 in one, 55 and another 54 in the third one. And look at the big lead, John Kasich running second in all three, but that's a very distant second, 30, 40 points back. Ted Cruz, in third place.
I won't even break down the demographics. If you look this by age, by gender, by income, by, you know, ideology. Trump wins by more than 30 points in every democratic group we usually break down for you. Was that mean Anderson, it means weeks a long time in politics but it looks like he's on a path to win big. What he needs is most or all of the 95 delegates out of New York these poll numbers tell you he has a chance to get most or all.
Some of the delegates, you know, a lot of them are were by Congressional districts so to chance he loses some, but if he's around 55 percent a week from now, he's going to get 75 or more, maybe all 95.
COOPER: And New York also let's -- shapes up pretty well for Hillary Clinton. Let's take a look at those numbers.
KING: It does. Let's switch over, I have the Democratic candidates up on the map, but look at these numbers. Again they're not as great as Trump's numbers. But again three polls in the last 24 hours, 50, 53 and 55percent. In each case a 13, 14 point lead over Bernie Sanders. Hillary Clinton has to like this in her adopter home state, because Sanders needs a win in New York because of the big basket of delegates.
And Anderson, let me just take a quick look here. We did look closely at the attributes here because it's been a closer race. Bernie Sanders does score better among younger voters, among voters who describe themselves as very liberal, but among African-Americans, older voters in the suburbs and upstate, Hillary Clinton has clear advantages. It gives you a sense, again, a week is a long time. But right now she is on a path to get a win in her adopted home state by a decent margin with exactly what she needs to keep her big delegate lead over Bernie Sanders.
COOPER: And the advantage among African-Americans is important not only here in New York.
KING: Right, and so let's take a closer look at that, if you look at those numbers and break them down, this is pretty consistent with what we've seen. Numbers are a little bit higher maybe in her adopted home state. But look at this, she holds her own among white voters in New York, this is from the Quinnipiac poll 50 to 45 but among African- Americans, look at that that's almost a 40-point split, 65 percent of African-American is in New York state say that their going to vote for Hillary Clinton.
Why does that matter? Well, will help her a lot next Tuesday if she holds it. But remember, then the calendar goes down Pennsylvania, the Philadelphia suburbs, into Maryland, in Baltimore, in the D.C. suburbs. In Delaware, the African-American base of the Democratic Party. So if she can continue those huge numbers among African- Americans next week and then for the rest of the month, Anderson, she's going to run away in the delegate count which she hopes to do with a very impressive April.
COOPER: All right, John, thanks very much, by the numbers. As we mentioned Donald Trump has been railing against what he calls an unfair and rigged system after losing to Ted Cruz in Colorado. In part he blames the loss on the Cruz campaign wooing the delegates with, "goodies" and as a potential contested convention looms, the road to Cleveland could be paved with more and more guests for a delegates. It is totally legal, but however there are some rules, Tom Foreman joins us now to break that down.
So how might his delegate gift giving come into play?
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well Anderson, if they get to a contested convention and they get through the first couple of votes and nobody wins the total number they need here, then you will have almost everybody on the floor unbound, meaning they don't have to vote the way the voters did back home. And some people think that could create a delegate yard sale in effect out here.
Let's look at one delegate and see what we're talking about. This delegate arriving at the convention would know the rules, he would know that he can't take money from corporations, from foreign nationals or federal contractors. All of that is off limits. But under the federal rules, he can take money from political PACs and from individuals or gifts.
So there might be a PAC supporting one candidate from might say, you know what, we'd like to give you first class air travel to the convention and pick you up in a limousine, a take you to suite at a hotel that we'll pay for and give you lavish meals. All of that under the federal rules is fair, the national rules.
If you had an individual who supported the candidate, he might say, let me give you a goody bag, too, and in that goody bag I'll have some snacks for you and maybe I'll give you a designer watch and maybe I'll give you some new headphones and how about a new tablet, computer and maybe some tickets to a show or a ball game?
Again, all completely fair under the national rules. He might have some state rules, Anderson, that say he can't accept that and it can't be a direct here's something for a vote, but with a wink and a nod all this could happen, Anderson.
COOPER: What are the campaigns saying about it?
FOREMAN: The campaigns are saying they want nothing to do with this, they're saying that's, you know, we're not going to be in such dirty business. The national officials are saying they don't want it to happen, too. And they say mainly what these people want is access to the candidates, anyway. But think about that. What if a candidate says, you know what, I'll give you access, how about we have access over a free round of golf at some elite golf course? Or what if we have access at a getaway weekend for delegates in The Bahamas? All of it, again, fits that wink and a nod model there.
[20:35:15] So even if the campaigns, themselves, say we'll have nothing to do with it, supporters still could be out there pushing Kasich steak knives or maybe a Cruz cruise if they wanted to do that, or perhaps even a Trump helicopter tour somewhere down the line. It could get pretty nasty although most of it, Anderson, would be kept behind closed doors as much as they could.
COOPER: All right. Tom Foreman, Tom, thanks very much.
Up next, we are two days from the CNN debate in Brooklyn. The Democratic debate. One week until the New York primary. Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders stepping up their game but with different strategies leading up to the New York primary. We've got that. The latest on that ahead.
And don't forget our town hall with Donald Trump, his entire family just about 25 minutes away. It all begins at the top of the hour.
We'll be right back.
COOPER: As we reported Hillary Clinton is leading the polls here in New York a week before the primary and she and Bernie Sanders are stepping up attacks ahead of that primary in two days before their CNN debate.
[20:40:05] Secretary Clinton started her day with a roundtable discussion in New York about equal pay for women. Calling on employers to make salaries more transparent. It was after commentary on this April 12th known as Equal Pay Day. The day women's are earnings catch up to men's from the previous year.
Today is also a big day for the timeline of her campaign. CNN senior Washington correspondent Jeff Zeleny reports tonight.
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JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign hit a milestone today.
HILLARY CLINTON, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I am absolutely thrilled to be here on this occasion. The one year anniversary of my journey in my campaigns.
ZELENY: Exactly one year ago, she announced her bid for the presidency like this.
CLINTON: I'm hitting the road to earn your vote because it's your time and I hope you'll join me on this journey.
ZELENY: But this part of the journey has been longer than she ever imagined. She didn't mark the moment with a big celebration or rally, but Bernie Sanders did. Once again his crowds dwarfing hers on the campaign trail.
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS, (I-VT) DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Doesn't look like we can get too many more people in this place.
ZELENY: The Democratic rivals are locked in a bitter duel for next week's New York primary. As Clinton flew to Florida today for three fund raisers to keep her primary campaign alive, sanders reminded supporters in upstate New York he's raising money a bit differently.
SANDERS: We have shown the world that you can run a winning national campaign without being dependent on Wall Street and the big money interests.
ZELENY: Today in Washington, President Obama stayed out of the back and forth but made clear he believes it's time for a woman to be president.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I want them to be astonished that there was ever a time when women were vastly outnumbered in the boardroom or in Congress, that there was ever a time when a woman had never sat in the Oval Office.
ZELENY: But the Clinton team is hoping to slow Sanders' rise. Saying he's untested and trying to upend the process by urging superdelegates to jump ship.
BRIAN FALLON, CLINTON CAMPAIGN PRESS SECRETARY: If anybody is trying to rig the system right now to overturn the will of the people, it's Senator Sanders.
ZELENY: Bill Clinton had tough words of his own for Sanders.
BILL CLINTON, FMR PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: After he's been a Democrat a little while longer, he'll get used to it. He'll realize our party is the best hope this country's got.
ZELENY: Also today a reminder the Clintons have had their eye on Donald Trump for years. Newly released documents from the Clinton presidential library showed that back in 1999 the president's team was trying to sort out if Trump was serious about a White House bid in 2000.
His team urged him to respond to a potential Trump candidacy like this. "It may say something about the way the media covers politics these days but I have the utmost confidence in the American people to sort out the wheat from the chaff."
Jeff Zeleny, CNN, New York.
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COOPER: With us again former New York Congressman Rick Lazio, joining the conversation, political strategist and Bernie Sanders surrogate Jonathan Tasini, and CNN political commentate, former South Carolina state House member, Bakari Sellers who supports Hillary Clinton.
Congressman, back in 2000, you ran against Hillary Clinton, and so ...
RICK LAZIO, FMR CONGRESSMAN NEW YORK: I recall that.
COOPER: I hear but we all do. And so, her strengths, her vulnerabilities leading up to New York?
LAZIO: Yeah, there's no doubt Hillary Clinton has a work ethic, she puts together an experienced team of operatives. She plays to win. You could even call them ruthless at times but they execute on a plan. What she doesn't have is spontaneity. She doesn't have the retail warmth of a Bill Clinton, for example, her husband. And I think she knows that will never be her strong suit.
COOPER: She's talked about that publicly that it's not natural.
LAZIO: Yeah, it's not -- it's clearly not natural, and she has this liability of being seen, I think, as somebody who is not spontaneous, who's not really going to take on the status quo in any dramatic way and if you look at the string -- I mean, she's probably but for Donald Trump, she could be the most unpopular frontrunner for the presidential nomination in American history. She's upside-down by 15 points in terms of favorability. She just lost seven of eight Democratic contests and primaries in caucuses.
A guy who was an asterisk on the radar screen ...
LAZIO: ... Sanders outraced her by $15 million last month. And in the swing pivotal state of Ohio, her unfavorables are upside-down by 20 points. So you'd say like, again, much for Donald Trump's numbers, she's almost radioactive.
COOPER: And Jonathan, Sanders raised the question about he credibility, that's the word he's been using. Is that just another code word for trustworthiness, which is obviously been a recurring issue among those who have run against Hillary Clinton?
JONATHAN TASINI, POLITICAL STRATEGIST: Well, I think the credibility goes to the fact that Hillary Clinton's positions in this race have been contrary to what they were before. She is the moderate Democrat she now, because Bernie has really defined what this race has been about in the Democratic Party. She switched all her positions, major ones.
For example, she has been, as you know, for all the bad trade agreements going back to NAFTA and all the said magically she's against the Trans-Pacific partnership, which she called the gold standard.
[20:45:02] I think by CNN's count at least 40 times prior to that and you go down the list, I think basically Hillary Clinton, somewhat to Rick said but, from a Democratic point of view, Hillary Clinton has always had a problem that when she opens her mouth people don't believe that what comes out of it is honesty, principled and something that comes from deep-seeded beliefs. And that's -- her problem has been, she's running against someone, Bernie Sanders, who's the exact opposite.
COOPER: Bakari, is -- as a Clinton supporter, I mean is credibility the way to go after Hillary Clinton?
BAKARI SELLERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I just find it ironic that Bernie Sanders since the beginning of his campaign has talked about this race being about the American people and not necessarily being about Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders but yet we've seen this pivot in the com campaign.
The facts are by every metric by which you gauge who's winning this race, whether not you talk about 2.4 million more votes to Hillary Clinton has or the states or the number of pledged delegates. Hillary Clinton has rallied voters to her side and she is winning this race by large margins. She comes into this race, and we -- this race is not as much about momentum as people want to make it out to be. After March 15th, we saw that Hillary Clinton won five states and then she went to lose this next six or seven out of eight states. But this is about demographics.
So as we move to New York, as we move to Maryland, as we move to Pennsylvania, you will start to see Hillary Clinton do very well and do better, because I anticipate her getting a resounding victory here and then moving on to April 26th.
COOPER: Congressman, what do you make of the Clinton presidential library releasing their sort of history of relationship with Donald Trump? Is that sort of a preemptive move to kind of get it out there before it's raised?
LAZINI: Yeah. I assume it's out there. They want to control what gets released and the timing of that. They want to define him as best they can. I don't know how effective this will really be, but it obviously -- it's aimed to show that at one point he was much more complimentary toward Hillary Clinton than he ...
COOPER: Which Donald Trump has already kind of done a good job, or at least done, attempted to, I guess, nullify some of that by saying, yeah, I gave money to everybody because I was a businessman and that's what businesspeople do.
LAZIO: Right. It's by the one thing is one more offensive things about the entire campaign, for me, as somebody who's a former prosecutor, I want somebody who's a leader. I know this goes on, I'm not naive. I was in office.
LAZIO: But you don't want the standard to be, hey, I want to grab whatever I can get, and payoff whatever I need to payoff in order to get what I need and then I'm going to become the leader that's going to enforce the laws, or be the head of state that's going to set the example for our children doesn't play well for me.
SELLERS: I think that and I don't want to be a -- I get caution add lot of time by especially older Democrats saying, you know, be wary of what you wish for, but I really do think that Hillary Clinton is in a very good position to take on the challenge of Donald Trump and/or Ted Cruz. I mean, I think Ted Cruz is more of a fast ball right down center place for Democrats because he doesn't change the math at all.
But I do think that as I told you once before, I think we were in Washington on a debate show, and I said that this is going to be a battle for the soul of this country. I really think that the best recruitment tool, the best GOP tool that the Democratic Party has had in a very long time is named Donald Trump.
COOPER: And you're obviously saying don't count Bernie Sanders out.
TASINI: Well, that's number one. Actually Bakari is right, it is a battle for the soul of the country and soul of the Democratic Party. Bernie is saying we got to kick out establishment politic -- establishment politics. He says vote for me because otherwise you got a candidate who's a moderate Democrat, who's been for the death penalty, voted for the Iraq war, has been for every trade agreement basically since NAFTA. Someone who is not a progressive even though she's tried to make herself sound that be, and so it's a battle first in the Democratic Party and then for the general election.
COOPER: How tough do you think this upcoming debate is going to be on Thursday?
TASINI: Well, I think what's going to be tough is -- I think what should be asked is the question of Goldman Sachs. Yesterday Goldman Sachs was ordered to pay a $5 billion fine, which let's face it, meant they were criminals, they were involved in the mortgage security fiasco which destroyed the economy, cost people millions of job and their pensions.
Hillary Clinton now needs to say, release the transcripts after 67 days ...
TASINI: ... and give back every dollar that she got for those speaking fees, $225,000, to an organization, to a company that's been convicted.
COOPER: We'll see if that comes up in the debate. Speaking of the debate, tune in Thursday night, CNN democratic debate live from Brooklyn. Wolf Blitzer is moderating. We're going to have late reporting, reaction and analysis afterwards on "360." That's Thursday night 9:00 p.m. eastern right here.
Coming up, at the top of the hour "360" Republican town hall with Donald Trump, his entire family. Next we'll introduce you to the Trumps expanding the family business in the politics, hoping to make the move from Trump Tower to somewhat older, somewhat smaller dwellings, perhaps.
More on that ahead.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [20:53:22] COOPER: In just a few minutes Donald Trump joins us for an "AC360" Republican town hall with the difference, members of his family will be joining him. "360's" Randi Kaye provides the introductions.
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IVANKA TRUMP, DONALD TRUMP'S DAUGHTER: I'm excited tonight to introduce my father. There's a lot of things that make Donald Trump special to me.
RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Ivanka Trump back on the campaign trail soon after giving birth to her third child. Evidence, perhaps, of the work ethic and commitment Donald Trump instilled in his children. His three oldest, Donald Jr., Ivanka, and Eric, all work as executive vice presidents for the family business.
ERIC TRUMP, DONALD TRUMP'S SON: So many kids in our situation, they never work. My father gave us literally a sledgehammer, kids, guess what, you're going onto a construction site.
KAYE: Ivanka emphasized that to ABC.
I. TRUMP: He was the first to tell us how privileged we are, and with that privilege, how much responsibility we have to really sort of earn what we were so lucky to have been afforded since birth.
KAYE: Now Trump's children with working hard to help their dad win the White House.
DONALD TRUMP JR., DONALD TRUMP'S SON: I really love what my father's doing here. He really loves this country.
KAYE: Donald Trump Jr. often posts pictures of his dad with his grandkids and this one posted by Eric Trump. It was Trump's hit show "The Apprentice" that first introduced his three older children to the country.
DONALD TRUMP, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Don and Eric will be my advisers. Ivanka, how will they be judged?
I. TRUMP: I will be judging this task ...
KAYE: Ivanka, Donald Jr. and Eric all share the same mother. Mr. Trump's first wife, Ivana. He has another daughter, Tiffany, from his second wife, Marla Maples. Tiffany Trump, a senior at the University of Pennsylvania, recalls the early years with her dad.
TIFFANY TRUMP, DONALD TRUMP'S DAUGHTER: Our times together were learning, you know, playing in his office. He would always sneak me down to get a candy bar, you know, in the lobby.
[20:55:10] KAYE: On Instagram, Tiffany's pictures portray a close- knit family celebrating and hanging out with her siblings. Mr. Trump's third wife, Melania, is a Slovenian-born immigrant and former model. She became a naturalized citizen in 2006. The couple first met in 1998 at a party in Manhattan.
MELANIA TRUMP, DONALD TRUMP'S WIFE: He came with a date so he asked me for the number and I said, I will not give you my number.
KAYE: She ended up calling him. Years later, they had a son, Barron, now 10. Melania often skips campaigning to stay home with him.
M. TRUMP: He needs a parent at home. I'm teaching him morals and values and preparing him for his life to be an adult.
KAYE: When she is on the trail, Melania is more often seen than heard. Though she spoke briefly in Wisconsin last week.
M. TRUMP: I'm very proud of him. He's hard worker. He's kind. He has a great heart.
KAYE: With a loving wife, five children, and now eight grandchildren, Donald Trump surrounds himself with family. In his businesses and in his campaign.
D. TRUMP: The happiest people I see are people that have a great family life.
KAYE: Randi Kaye, CNN, New York.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, you're about to see and meet his entire family. Up next, the "360" Republican town hall with Donald Trump, his wife, and kids.
Stay with us.