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Boehner Compares Cruz to the Devil; Cruz Hoping Fiorina will Boost Campaign; Clinton Launches New Attack on Trump; Prince Had Prescription Opioid Pain Pills. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired April 28, 2016 - 17:00   ET


[17:00:04] JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Dr. Sanjay Gupta, thank you so much.

Be sure to turn in to "THE LEAD" tomorrow. Tomorrow, we'll have an exclusive sit-down interview with Hillary Clinton, her first and only interview since her dominating performance Tuesday night. You can see it right here on CNN, 4 p.m. Eastern tomorrow.

That's it for "THE LEAD." I'm Jake Tapper, turning you over to Wolf Blitzer in THE SITUATION ROOM.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now, SOB. The former House speaker, John Boehner, weighing in on the GOP race for the first time and unleashing a blistering assessment of Ted Cruz. Boehner calls him now -- and I'm quoting -- "Lucifer in the flesh and a miserable SOB." What is Boehner's relationship with Donald Trump?

Hoosier candidate. The White House hopefuls are battling it out in Indiana, where the Democratic and Republican primaries are only five days away. With their rivals clearly mathematically eliminated from clinching their parties' nomination, what's at stake for front-runners Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton?

And pills on Prince. CNN has learned that the musical artist was carrying prescription drugs when his body was discovered. Powerful opioid medication used to relieve pain. Was Prince treated for a possible overdose just days before his death?

I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

Heated new rhetoric tonight in the race for the White House, this time from a surprising source, the former House speaker, John Boehner. In an interview at Stanford University, he made a withering assessment of Ted Cruz, calling the senator -- I'm quoting him now -- "a miserable SOB" and "Lucifer in the flesh." Boehner says he'll vote for Donald Trump in the general election if he's the Republican nominee calling the front-runner a texting buddy with whom he's played golf.

We'll be hearing from Trump later tonight. He's holding a rally in southern California.

We're also following new developments into the investigation into the death of Prince. A law enforcement official now tells CNN authorities found prescription opioid medication on him and in his home in Minnesota. The source says investigators believe a health scare days before Prince's death was likely the result of a reaction to the pain medication.

We're covering all of that much more at this hour with our guests, including Republican National Committee chief strategist, the communications director Sean Spicer. And our correspondents and expert analysts, they are also standing by. Let's begin with John Boehner's scathing assessment of Ted Cruz.

Our senior White House correspondent, Jim Acosta, is following the Republican race for us. Jim, some truly extraordinary remarks by the former House speaker?

JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, Wolf. With his campaign on thin ice, Ted Cruz is doing his best to stay alive in his quest to stop Donald Trump from capturing the GOP nomination.

But Trump just got a helping hand from former House Speaker John Boehner, who you mentioned, once a major player in the Washington establishment and now unleashing a hellacious attack on Ted Cruz.


ACOSTA (voice-over): Donald Trump is no longer alone in coining his own nasty nicknames for Ted Cruz.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: So we came up with Lyin' Ted. L-Y-I-N, boom, hyphen.

ACOSTA: Former House speaker John Boehner had some choice words for Cruz this week, telling college students at Stanford the Texas senator is hell to work with.

JOHN BOEHNER, FORMER SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: Lucifer in the flesh. I have Democrat friends, and I have Republican friends. I get along with almost everyone, but I have never worked with a more miserable son of a bitch in my life.

SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He allowed his inner Trump to come out.

ACOSTA: Cruz clashed with Boehner during government shutdown in 2013 rejecting the former speaker's remarks while campaigning in Indiana, a state that's now a must-win for him.

CRUZ: He said something like "He's the worst SOB I've ever worked with." Something like that. But the interesting thing is, he said that I've ever worked with him. I've never worked with John Boehner. Truth of the matter is, I don't know the man.

ACOSTA: But tell that to Boehner, who revealed two years ago that Cruz was once his attorney.

BOEHNER: Ted Cruz used to be my attorney a long time ago. JAY LENO, FORMER HOST, NBC'S "THE TONIGHT SHOW": Is that right?

BOEHNER: Yes. He's a good guy. I often disagree with him, but he's a good guy.

ACOSTA: Cruz also threw cold water on the pact he announced this week with John Kasich, that was supposed to mean the Ohio governor would no longer compete in Indiana.

CRUZ: There is no alliance.

ACOSTA: Moments after that comment, Kasich's chief strategist tweeted, "I can't stand liars." Ohio Senator Rob Portman, a Kasich supporter, seemed to acknowledge the deal with Cruz is dead, saying the governor could pull off a surprise in Indiana.

SEN. ROB PORTMAN (R), OHIO: I think he may surprise people in Indiana. I was there on Monday.

BLITZER: But I thought he made a deal with -- I thought he made a deal with Cruz not to campaign in Indiana and basically give up Indiana, let Cruz try to win.

PORTMAN: You know, I think that was supposed to be the deal at one point.

ACOSTA: Drama surrounding Cruz's campaign has taken some heat off Trump, who is still trying to explain his comment that Hillary Clinton is playing the woman card.

TRUMP: Nobody cherishes and nobody respects women more than Donald Trump. That I can tell you. I will be so much better to women than Hillary Clinton is.

[17:05:10] ACOSTA: Joined by his running mate Carly Fiorina, who once clashed with Trump herself, Cruz pointed to the GOP front-runner's pattern with women.

CRUZ: Donald has a problem with strong women.


BLITZER: Now, John Boehner also mentioned in his comments that he has golfed and been texting buddies with Trump, but for Cruz, the comments from Boehner highlight a major obstacle for the "never Trump" movement. There is also a "never Cruz" segment inside the GOP that will never stomach the Texas senator as the Republican nominee either, Wolf.

BLITZER: Good point. Thanks very much, Jim Acosta.

Let's get some more now on the Cruz campaign. CNN's Sunlen Serfaty is joining us in Indiana right now. She's in South Bend.

Sunlen, Cruz is counting on Carly Fiorina to try to boost his campaign. What's the latest on that front? SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's absolutely right,


Carly Fiorina is quickly becoming a real core part of the Cruz campaign strategy, especially here in Indiana. And you can hear her behind me speaking right now. She's spent the entire day with Senator Cruz barnstorming this date.

A Cruz campaign official tells me tonight that they are going to be taking on this divide-and-conquer strategy, is what they call it, where essentially they say because no one else has a running mate. They really can cover double the amount of ground between now and Tuesday here in Indiana, dispatching Carly Fiorina in addition to Senator Cruz all over the state.

It is very clear that they understand that this state is critical for them, and Senator Cruz just sent out a fundraising e-mail here in Indiana. Speaking to that, he called it for the first time a deciding factor. And he said Tuesday will be the single most important date for his campaign so far.

And really getting the closest, I should say, to defining this state and this election night on Tuesday here in Indiana as a make-or-break moment for his campaign and that e-mail Senator Cruz saying that the bad news is that if Donald Trump wins all of the delegates in Indiana, his nomination could be all but determined -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Sunlen, what else has Cruz said about being compared to Lucifer by the former Republican speaker of the House, John Boehner?

SERFATY: Well, it's interesting Senator Cruz spent so much time responding to these statements by John Boehner, speaker of the House, John Boehner. Very clear he almost enjoyed responding to it today, really saying, you know, "John Boehner does not know me. I don't know him."

Specifically going out of his way, as you heard him in Jim Acosta's piece, to bring out that he once reached out to John Boehner during the government shutdown and he claims that John Boehner really had no interest in working with him. Here's more of what Senator Cruz said today.


CRUZ: When John Boehner calls me Lucifer, he's not directing that at me. He's directing that at you. What Boehner is angry with me for is not anything I've ever said to him. I haven't said much of anything. What Boehner is angry with me for is standing with the American people.


SERFATY: And in many ways, this falls right into Senator Cruz's playbook, where he likes to rail against the Washington establishment and those players in Washington that fires up its base a lot. And certainly, we saw Carly Fiorina waste no time bringing that up today on the campaign trail -- Wolf.

BLITZER: All right, Sunlen, thanks very much. Sunlen Serfaty in South Bend, Indiana.

Let's get some more on all of this. Joining us, the Republican National Committee's chief strategist, the communications director, Sean Spicer.

Sean, thanks very much for joining us.

SEAN SPICER, CHIEF STRATEGIST: REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE: Thank you, Wolf. Let's talk about the former House speaker, John Boehner, calling Senator Ted Cruz Lucifer in the flesh. Let me play a little clip for you. Listen to this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How about Ted Cruz?

BOEHNER: Lucifer in the flesh. I have a history of getting along with almost everybody. In Washington, I have as many Democrat friends as I have Republican friends. I get along with almost everybody. But I have never worked with a more miserable son of a bitch in my life.


BLITZER: Later in the day, Republican Representative Peter King of New York told me that that gives Lucifer a good name. What's your reaction to that kind of talk?

SPICER: Well, Wolf, I think you and I have talked about this in the past. I'm not a big fan of Republican-on-Republican hits. I think that we should save them for the Democrats, frankly, and it only undermines our case as we try to get into Cleveland unified as a party.

I hope that we can continue moving forward in these remaining ten contests to make sure that we keep our eye on the prize, and that's Hillary Clinton. Because Republicans have a better solution to offer. And we need to talk about that. Allow the campaigns to differentiate each other and, you know, people on both sides on all of these campaigns, all the remaining campaigns are very passionate about their individual candidates. And I think that's great.

But we have to remember that it's great to advocate for your campaign and your candidate. But let's keep the attacks focused on Hillary Clinton and the Democrats.

BLITZER: I think you'll agree, Sean, that these kinds of comments tend to highlight the divisions within the Republican Party. But here's the question. Does it hurt the Republicans' chances of winning in November?

[17:10:05] SPICER: Well, no. I think at the end of the day, like you saw in 1008 when Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton went at it, the bigger -- bigger point gets wrapped together, and the party unifies. It's happened all the way through history. I think it will happen on

our side again. I think everyone will be passionate about their individual, whether we have an open convention or whether Donald Trump gets to 1,237 bound delegates that he needs.

But I think as long as the process is fair and people understand that we need to stay focused and build our party, we don't have room -- you know this. We've lost the last two presidential elections. We don't have any room for error. We've had to build our party, not subtract from it. We need every Republican plus to win in November. And so we don't have room for division.

BLITZER: Ted Cruz's decision to name Carly Fiorina as his running mate so early, long before the convention. Obviously, long before he has the Republican nomination mathematically, he can't even get it on that first run. How does this pick help him?

SPICER: Well, I think, look, each of these campaigns is trying to figure out -- you've got one path, which is the Trump path, figuring out how to get to the 1,237 bound delegates or how do we get to a combination of bound and unbound and win it on the first vote? So I'd say that's the Trump strategy.

And then for both Kasich and Cruz, I think their strategy is completely opposite. How do we deny, how do we pick up enough delegates between the two of us or individually that we go into the convention, make it open and present ourselves to the delegates on a second or third ballot?

So I think what Trump -- what Cruz in particular is doing is -- frankly, I don't speak for the Cruz campaign is -- I think they are trying to excite their base, to bring more people into the fold, and to look at the following -- the remaining ten states, the remaining 400-plus delegates that are out there and try to figure out what -- what surrogates, what actions they need to take to enhance their standing.

BLITZER: Donald Trump once again today accused Hillary Clinton of playing the so-called women's card. Do you think this could potentially hurt the party overall, with that matter, female voters in a general election?

SPICER: Well, no. I mean, Hillary Clinton said she -- I mean, she's talked about it. So I don't think anyone is accusing her of doing it. She's talked openly about the fact of why electing a woman would be great and her place in history. So I don't think anyone is accusing her. She stated it for a fact.

I think how we talk about women, the importance they are, they are the majority of the voters in the United States, I think figuring out how we talk and communicate the solutions that our party has to the various segments of the female population, so we're talking to younger female voters who are single, older women. I mean, there's different segments. They're not a monolithic group.

And I think that we've absolutely got to be talking about how or focusing on how we're reaching out to different segments where the party may not have done, as well. So younger single women. We do very well with older women. We do very well with married women. I think that what we find as a party over the last couple cycles is younger, single women, we have a bigger problem with. I think that's where we've got to focus in the growth in our party and a couple -- and a couple of the other demographics that we face challenges. We do very well with a lot, obviously.

But there's some areas that we need to do better and we need to think about how we communicate effectively with them.

BLITZER: All right, Sean, stand by. We have more to discuss, including Donald Trump's assertion he's now the presumptive Republican presidential nominee.

Much more with Sean Spicer right after this.


BLITZER: He's the undisputed GOP front-runner right now, but Donald Trump is taking his status a step further, with no possible way for his rivals to get enough delegates to clinch the nomination outright.

Trump says people can presume he will be the party's Republican presidential nominee.

We're back with the Republican National Committee chief strategist and communications director, Sean Spicer.

Sean, Trump calls himself the presumptive nominee right now. He said it Tuesday night. Isn't he closer than ever to the reality? Look at the delegates to date, the count right now: 991 for Trump, 568 for Cruz, 154 for Kasich. The number needed to win, 1,237. Trump is almost there, right?

SPICER: Well, right. So let's break this down a little. We actually have the count closer to 950 in terms of bound delegates. Those are the ones that must vote for him. I know that you're counting in some of the ones for Pennsylvania that have stated that they will vote for him. That's important.

But where he stands vis-a-vis us, we have to count only the bound ones. He's at about 950. He needs about 280 to reap that magic number of 1,237 delegates.

So where we are in the process, we've already had 2,027 of the delegates allocated. There's 445 remaining over ten states. This Tuesday, you'll have 57 in Indiana, and then the last contest is on June 7. You have five states, a total of 303 delegates, including 172 in California alone.

Once he gets that 1,237 bound delegates, which will -- which won't occur before that June 7 date in California, then we'll know if he's actually the presumptive nominee. But right now he's still about 280 short, with 445 delegates total to go.

BLITZER: Yes. So good numbers for Trump. He's still 400 plus ahead of Cruz...

SPICER: That's right.

BLITZER: And way, way ahead of Kasich right now. So he's in a strong position.

I want to quickly get your thoughts on some controversy. It's over a major foreign policy speech. Trump yesterday suggested his policy was America first. But many have now pointed out that was a phrase used back in the 1930s by isolationists who didn't want the United States to get involved in World War II. Is that phrase "America first" something the Republican National Committee would embrace?

SPICER: I mean, I'm not endorsing anyone's particular foreign policy or policy. But I think if someone comes around and says, "I want America to be first," I don't -- I think we can do Internet searches and find out when it was used. I think you get the gist of it.

[17:20:15] So, you know, Obama used the phrase "forward" before. I bet you -- I bet you if I search the Internet, I can find some group that used that phrase or, you know, used that nefariously. I think we're searching too much for a controversy these days in all fronts. Look, we all got what he meant. I'm not endorsing anyone's particular speech or foreign policy, but I think we've got to stop looking for controversy in every phrase that people use.

BLITZER: Your boss, Reince Priebus, Trump is now calling him -- and I'm quoting him now -- "a very good man." He said it on Tuesday. He's said it now a few times. But two weeks ago he was calling him a disgrace. I can only assume that Reince Priebus and Donald Trump, they've spoken lately on the phone, they've come to some new understandings. Can you fill us in on that?

SPICER: Well, I've always thought he was a good man, as you can imagine. I know you think the same.

But look, you know, you can go back if you want to keep rewinding the tape. He tweeted out a few weeks ago, had a great meeting with Reince in the RNC. The night of the New Hampshire primary, he thanked Reince and the Republican National Committee from the podium.

I get that you see a lot of rhetoric going back and forth. He clearly has a problem with the -- with how delegates are allocated and selected. He's talked about the system several times. I think we continue to talk with him and his campaign about the importance of the Republican National Committee and the role that we actually do play.

I'm glad that he's talking about the job that we're doing and the great job that Chairman Priebus has done leading this team. And I assume that that's what we're going to see carried forward.

I think it benefits -- you know, going back to the last block when we were talking about language and rhetoric. But we need a unified party. They talk quite often, Chairman Priebus, as he does with all the candidates. He explains what the party is doing to prepare ourselves for the general election. Our opposition research on Hillary Clinton; our data and digital operation; and the amazing ground game that we've had in the field for years.

We had four staffers in the field last night, Wolf, at this point in 2012. We've got hundreds now. We are the best prepared political party in history under Chairman Priebus's leadership. And I think that any -- every one of those campaigns is continuing to realize more and more that that Republican National Committee is going to be a ready organization to help them propel into victory.

BLITZER: Sean Spicer of the Republican National Committee. Sean, thanks very much.

SPICER: Thanks, Wolf.

BLITZER: We're going to take another quick break. Much more coming up. There's news on the Democratic side, as well, the Democratic race for the White House. We'll update you on that when we come back.


[17:26:59] BLITZER: The former House speaker, John Boehner revealing his deep dislike for the Republican presidential candidate, Senator Ted Cruz, with some blistering remarks.

Let's talk about that and more. Joining us, our CNN political commentator, S.E. Cupp; our chief political correspondent, Dana Bash; and our CNN politics executive editor, Mark Preston. Also joining us, our CNN political commentator, Ana Navarro.

Mark, these comments from John Boehner, I'll play it once again. Listen to this, talking about Ted Cruz.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How about Ted Cruz?

BOEHNER: Lucifer in the flesh. I have a history of getting along with almost everybody in Washington. I have as many Democrat friends as I have Republican friends. I get along with almost everybody. But I have never worked with a more miserable son of a bitch in my life.


BLITZER: He called him an SOB. He called him a miserable SOB. He sort of spelled it out.

MARK PRESTON, CNN POLITICS EXECUTIVE EDITOR: How do you really feel about Ted Cruz? Tell us.

BLITZER: Yes, very strong. But it does highlight the divisions within the Republican Party right now.

PRESTON: Right. Well, it certainly highlights the divisions between Ted Cruz and the rest of the Republican Party.

John Boehner really went through a lot of angst with Ted Cruz shutting down the government, putting his members of Congress, who are up for re-election, in jeopardy, having to explain why they were shutting down the government.

You know, Ted Cruz wouldn't really be in this position -- I don't think he'd be in this position where he is on the verge of losing the Republican nomination, had he reached out and tried to make amends with his Republican colleagues in Congress.

BLITZER: It sort of highlights, also, Dana, that within the Republican Party, among the Republican leadership, there's a "never Trump" movement, but there's also a "never Cruz" movement, as well.

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: And it's kind of been an ebb and flow of where a lot of these establishment Republicans or sitting members of Congress have been. For a long time it was, "OK, I'd rather have Trump than Cruz."

And then it was, "Well, hmm," when Donald Trump got himself into trouble, talking about women and so forth. Well, maybe it's Cruz. And now it seems to be, you know, kind of the whole entire establishment has gone much more towards Trump except maybe Lindsey Graham.

But the one thing that you have to keep in mind here is that I don't think it's a stretch to say that John Boehner is former speaker John Boehner in large part because of Ted Cruz. So the kinds of things that he said, calling him Lucifer and a miserable SOB, I mean, that's tame compared to how he really feels.

And all the reasons that you just played out, Mark, the fact that he helped push the House Republican rank and file to push for a shutdown and so on and so forth.

But it's also that, as somebody reminded me today, Cruz would have regular meetings with the sort of insurgent House Republicans to try to figure out how they could make John Boehner's life miserable. I mean, what do you expect him to think?

BLITZER: Yes. S.E., you wanted to weigh in?

S.E. CUPP, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, all of that's true, but you just wish -- this election is already crazy and chaotic enough. Like, it just doesn't feel necessary. It's definitely not helpful. Not necessary unless John Boehner is planning to support Donald Trump, this kind of was the last thing that, you know, this election needed was John Boehner throwing Ted Cruz -- we know how you feel about Ted Cruz. Our memories are not short.

[17:30:10] PRESTON: But isn't pay back a --

CUPP: Yes.

PRESTON: I mean, it is. It is.

CUPP: It's an SOB.


CUPP: But it just feel -- it just felt unnecessary.

BLITZER: It did. Boehner said he plays golf -- has played golf with Donald Trump.

NAVARRO: Well -- but can I just say --

BLITZER: He also texts with Donald Trump. So I wouldn't rule out the possibility --

CUPP: Support Donald Trump then.

BLITZER: He might support him. Go ahead, Ana.

NAVARRO: Look, I actually think this is the best thing that could ever happen to Ted Cruz today.

CUPP: That's true.

NAVARRO: It distracts us from this absurd theater of yesterday when he introduced a VP nominee despite the fact that he's not the presumptive nominee and frankly John Boehner was not very well liked by a lot of the people in the Republican base. So getting into a fight with John Boehner is not a bad thing for Ted Cruz.

I don't think John Boehner was channeling his inner Trump. John Boehner was channeling John Boehner. He would say these things when he was speaker.

CUPP: Right.

NAVARRO: Now imagine when he's free from all the restraints -- the few restraints he had on himself when he was speaker. I think he's speaking his mind. It's not a surprise to anybody and there is a reason why Ted Cruz has been harping on these comments and bringing them back up over and over all day. It is a good thing for Ted Cruz.

BLITZER: Trump once again denied, SE, that he's playing the women's card against Hillary Clinton and some of the comments he's making. But there's a lot of concern out there, including among Republicans, this could backfire against Trump in a general election. He's got some problems with women voters nationally to begin with.

CUPP: Well, let me -- let me separate this. Saying that Hillary Clinton plays the woman card, I don't it's controversial. I don't think it's wrong. She frequently trots out the fact that she would be the first female president. Even when asked policy questions, she talks about being a woman as some sort of informer for some of her policies. So I don't take any umbrage with Trump accusing Hillary of doing that.

It's the other stuff. It's saying that Hillary Clinton going to the bathroom in the middle of a debate is disgusting. The comments he's made about Megyn Kelly and plenty of other women. That's the stuff that I think people are going to find really unpresidential, unelectable and problematic for him in a general. DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: I think we're reading a

lot into this that maybe we shouldn't in that he is doing what Donald Trump does best, which is he boils it down to the most fundamental message that really does resonate with -- particularly with his supporters which is, come on, guys, OK, we know she'd be the first female -- female president but like, so what? There's more to it than that.

And that's effectively what he's trying to say and you know what, that's going to play with some people, but there are other people who really do want a female president and say, OK, it's time, you know, 44 presidents in, let's go.

BLITZER: Mark, it's 24 hours now since Carly Fiorina was named the vice presidential running mate for Ted Cruz. How's that playing politically?


PRESTON: Silence is deafening. You know it was interesting because I spoke to a friend -- to a long-time friend of Dana and I who is a reporter, a columnist for the "Indianapolis Star," Matt Tully, just a few -- you know, about an hour or two ago, and asked him, how is it playing out in Indiana? And he was like, it's not playing at all. Like this is not going to have any effect here in this state. It has fallen flat. And if it's not going to work in Indiana, tell me where it's going to work.

I know people were saying it's California, you know, she ran for the Senate. She ran for the Senate six years ago and she lost. I just don't know -- look, it's a hail Mary they had to throw but I don't think it's going to get caught in the end.

BLITZER: She lost by almost a million votes to Barbara Boxer six years ago. And people are saying, what qualifies her to be vice president of the United States.

CUPP: Well, but she made Barbara Boxer spend millions and millions of dollars to keep her seat. Millions more than she ever had before.

Carly Fiorina is a force to be reckoned with. Anybody would be lucky to have Carly Fiorina as a surrogate or on their team or on their ticket. That said, I'm not sure what this buys Ted Cruz. You know, it's not like there's any connection between Carly Fiorina and Indiana. This is sort of like the last stop for Cruz. I don't see a downside. I don't think she's going to weigh him down but I don't think she's going to solve any of the problems that he has and those are largely related to Donald Trump.

BLITZER: Ana, go ahead. I know you want to weigh in as well.

NAVARRO: Well, look, I agree with SE. I think Carly Fiorina is a very effective advocate. She likes doing this thing. She likes the surrogate work, she like being -- doing interviews. But, you know, I also don't think there's many people that would lend themselves to this role playing at this point right now. He is not the presumptive nominee.

Do you think that a Nikki Haley or a Susana Martinez or a Marco Rubio or somebody that's actually in elected office that has got to, you know, be accountable to voters and constituents would do this and have the time to play this role while it is just maybe rehearsal and doesn't amount to anything else?

[17:35:02] So I think it's a great thing for Carly. I think she enjoys doing it. I think she's good at it and I think it does allow them to double the coverage.

BASH: But let me just give maybe a counter argument, which is, what has he got to lose?

CUPP: Right.

BASH: A what has she got to lose?

CUPP: Right. Yes.

BASH: Especially when the message that they are clearly trying to send is not just to voters in Indiana but they hope if they do well in Indiana to delegates at the convention. Like OK, you want to know what it's going to be? It's going to be a real conservative ticket as opposed to -- they argue -- Donald Trump who is just a New York liberal and is not really one of us. Here's the proof. You've got a rock rib conservative at the top of the ticket and will be number two.

BLITZER: Guys, stand by. There's much more to discuss. Much more political news, including on the Democratic side as well. We're also just now getting some new information on the death of Prince. We're going to share that information with you right after this quick break.


[17:40:33] BLITZER: We're noticing some important new developments in the Democratic presidential race right now. Senator Bernie Sanders is looking ahead campaigning in Oregon which doesn't hold its primary for another two and a half weeks. Hillary Clinton, though, is looking even further ahead to the general election.

Let's bring in our senior political correspondent Brianna Keilar.

Brianna, a lot of focus right now from the Democratic side on Donald Trump.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: No. That's certainly right. Hillary Clinton focusing a lot on him and Bernie Sanders, as you mentioned, is really looking for a strong finish out west. But the Clinton campaign thinks layoffs in his campaign and talk of unifying the party this summer are a tacit acknowledgement that he cannot win the nomination and they see an opening in the next few weeks to hit Donald Trump and emphasize Clinton's message while Trump is still focused on the Republican primary.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) KEILAR (voice-over): Tonight, Hillary Clinton is upping her attacks on Donald Trump.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Everything I said, I do, folks. I do.

KEILAR: The Clinton campaign releasing this new video offering a glimpse at its strategy for taking on the GOP frontrunner, highlighting Trump's promises.

TRUMP': We're going to have a deportation force. A total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States. When you got these terrorists, you have to take out their families.

BLITZER: You say you would even go further than waterboarding. Is that right?

TRUMP: Absolutely.

KEILAR: And closing with this message. The fresh offensive coming after the two exchanged fire over women's issues.

TRUMP: The only thing she's got going is the women's card and the good thing is, women don't like her.

HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If fighting for women's health care and paid family leave and equal play is playing the women card, then deal me in.

KEILAR: Clinton's new focus on Trump comes after a dominating performance in Tuesday's five-state primary putting her 215 delegates shy off clinching the nomination, but Sanders insists the primary fight is not over yet.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We are in this campaign to win and become the Democratic nominee.

KEILAR: Declaring that he can turn the race around and ultimately still win the nomination.

SANDERS: I am very good in arithmetic. And I can count delegates and we are behind today, but you know what, unusual things happen in politics.

KEILAR: But the Sanders campaign is significantly downsizing, dropping to, at most, 350 staffers down from a recent peak of over 3,000. Sanders' wife says no one should write her husband off.

JANE SANDERS, SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS' WIFE: Back in mid-March he lost five states and everybody was writing his political obituary and then we came back to win eight in a row. The next states look much better and we hope to do really well there.


KEILAR: But the Clinton campaign is also focused on new more conciliatory talk from both Bernie and Jane Sanders as a good sign as Clinton focuses much more of her time recently on hitting Donald Trump on a number of fronts, Wolf, from national security to, as you heard, women's issues.

BLITZER: And I spoke to Jane Sanders earlier. She said she came to Hillary Clinton's defense in the face of some of the charges that Donald Trump was leveling against her.

KEILAR: That's right. So the Clinton campaign is paying I think more attention to that than some of the language about he's going to stay in it.

BLITZER: All right. Brianna, thanks very much.

Coming up, we've got the breaking news, the new revelations about Prince's death. CNN has learned that investigators discovered he had some powerful opioid pain medication on his person and at his home. Did he have a valid prescription? We're getting new information.


[17:48:30] BLITZER: Disturbing new information is coming into THE SITUATION ROOM right now as investigators look into Prince's death. The legendary musician's body was discovered in his home one week ago.

CNN's Brian Todd is joining us now. You got new details, Brian. What have you learned?

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, tonight this investigation has ratcheted up to the level of bringing in the feds. A source telling us the DEA is now helping to investigate Prince's death.

Now this comes as we have alarming new clues tonight on what the legendary singer may have been taking around the time he died.


TODD (voice-over): Just days before his death, he pushed himself to perform with two concerts in Atlanta. He'd suffered from a bad hip, often seen carrying a cane. Tonight, new information that Prince was also carrying some powerful pain drugs at the time of his death.

A law enforcement official telling CNN authorities found prescription opioid medication on his person and at his Minnesota home. The official says nearly a week before his death, a reaction from the medication likely caused an emergency landing of Prince's private plane in Illinois when the pop star passed out.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's the nature of the emergency? What's the nature of the medical condition?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: An unresponsive passenger.

TODD: The law enforcement official says in that incident Prince was treated for a possible overdose of the medication. He was later released from a hospital and returned to Minnesota. Opioids are effective for pain but there's a prescription drug

overdose epidemic in America that has experts worry.

DR. DANIEL LIEBERMAN, PAIN MEDICATION EXPERT: The biggest risk is overdose causing respiratory suppression.

[17:50:04] We know that when we take these, people become drowsy because they slow down the activity in different parts of the brain. If it slows down the breathing centers too much, people stop breathing and that's what kills them with an overdose.

TODD: Tonight it is not clear where Prince got the medication and whether it was prescribed to him. Experts say there's an antidote to opioids called Narcan which could have saved Prince after the emergency landing.

LIEBERMAN: It can reverse an overdose extremely rapidly. The key is, though, you've got to get the Narcan in him in time.

TODD: Investigators have hinted there may not have been time to give Prince Narcan at the time of his death.

SHERIFF JIM OLSON, CARVER COUNTY, MINNESOTA: All of our officers carry Narcan. We were carrying that for approximately two years. And that was not used at all.

TODD: And there may not have been anyone else there to revive the pop star. The sheriff says Prince was alone inside his 55,000 foot home in Paisley Park when he died. But at some point someone got there and called 911.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You're needed for a medical at Paisley Park, person down not breathing.


TODD: Now regarding CNN's reporting on the opioids, we reached out several time to Prince's representatives for their response to that reporting. So far they have given no response. We asked the medical examiner's office in Minnesota if Prince had any opioids in his system. They say so far they have no new information to give us on that.

Friends and those who work with Prince have told news outlets they don't remember him being on any medication. His lawyer saying he wasn't on any drugs that would be cause for concern -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Brian, there could be some serious ramifications for whoever gave Prince these opioids, right?

TODD: Certainly could, Wolf. Former DEA agents telling us that indictments could even come as a result of this. Now whether it was a doctor or someone else who got it for him, it is possible they could be charged with reckless indifference, even homicide. But what investigators have to make sure of is one, did he die from taking opioids, and two, if he did, was it an overdose or simply a bad reaction, maybe something in his physiology didn't match up with the medication. Investigators looking hard at those questions tonight.

BLITZER: All right. Brian, thanks very much.

We're getting into the breaking news about the Prince investigation. Our Justice reporter Evan Perez has been working his sources, even breaking a lot of this news.

Evan, what else have you learned?

EVAN PEREZ, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, we're learning tonight that so far investigators have found no indication that Prince had a prescription for these pills that were found on him in his house when he died. That's one of the key questions here is whether or not he had a current prescription. And so far investigators have found no indication that he had a current, valid prescription. So the question now begins where did these pills come from, how long has he been taking them. That's something that's at the top of the list for investigators.

BLITZER: And you've also reported, correct me if I'm wrong, that that's why the local police have asked the drug enforcement agency here in Washington to come in and help in this investigation.

PEREZ: Right. Exactly. The DEA's role here is to try to figure out where the origin of these pills are, if perhaps a doctor was giving it to him or perhaps there were some intermediates, some middle men, runners is what they call them, and the DEA knows them, and they very much are used in people who take these drugs illegally. They use these runners who obtain the pills and then re-sell them on the secondary market, Wolf.

BLITZER: Do investigators know enough to conclude already that the drugs or an overdose of the drugs actually killed him?

PEREZ: Not at this point, Wolf. They are still right now waiting for the results of the toxicology tests. That's going to tell them a little bit -- a lot more about what he had in his system, how recently he took this. As Brian mentioned, there was a previous incident where he had an emergency landing. They gave him Narcan or a version of that to be able to stop what they thought was an overdose. We don't know whether that's the case on the day of his death.

BLITZER: How hard is it to get these kinds of prescription painkillers if you don't have a doctor's, you know, prescription?

PEREZ: Way too easy. It is a huge problem in this country. They call it diversion. The DEA, they're doing an event this weekend actually to highlight the problem to try to get people to when they get these prescriptions, if they have some leftover to throw them away because it's a big problem, secondary market, they get big bucks on this. There's a lot of dealers who make money selling this to people who are addicted.

BLITZER: Huge problem all over the country.

PEREZ: Huge problem. BLITZER: Right now growing almost every day. We know that they did

an autopsy, they haven't released the results of the autopsy, but I assume investigators have seen some of the partial results so far, right?

PEREZ: I think that's one reason why you see the DEA involved here. I think that one of the things that they want to make sure is they know this is a very high profile case. They want to know where these pills came from and if there was somebody who committed a crime, then those people are going to be charged, not necessarily for causing the death here because we don't know that yet, but certainly if you are funneling illegal pills to someone, that is a crime.

BLITZER: You're going to stay on top of this story for us, Evan Perez. Thanks very much. Thanks for that excellent reporting as well.

PEREZ: Thanks.

[17:55:01] BLITZER: Coming up, former House speaker John Boehner calls presidential candidate Ted Cruz, quote, "Lucifer in the flesh." And even worse. We're going to get reaction from Donald Trump's national campaign's spokeswoman. We're going to get a whole lot more when we come back.


BLITZER: Happening now, Lucifer in the flesh. Ted Cruz is the target of new over-the-top attacks from Donald Trump's self-proclaimed texting buddy. I'll ask Trump's national spokeswoman if the former House Speaker John Boehner is doing the Republican frontrunner any favors.

Jeb's disappointment. The former presidential candidate now speaking out exclusively to CNN for the first time since he quit the GOP race. Stand by for Bush's insights on his exit and the state of the campaign right now.