Return to Transcripts main page


Questions About Clinton Foundation; Trump's Fake Identity?; Trump: My Tax Rate Is "None Of Your Business"; Bill Clinton Warns Of GOP "Smear" Tactics; Trump: Muslim Ban "Is Really A Suggestion". Aired 6-7p ET

Aired May 13, 2016 - 18:00   ET



WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now: Tale of the tapes. Donald Trump denying he posed as his own publicist in a telephone interview.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He is a good guy and he's not going to hurt anybody.


BLITZER: But Trump has acknowledged similar masquerading before. And an expert now says he is fairly certain it is Trump. Is the presumptive GOP nominee telling the truth?

Proposing suggestions. Trump finding new flexibility on some key issues, including his call to ban on Muslims temporarily from entering the United States. Now Trump says, until he is president, it is only a suggestion. Is Trump walking back on one of the cornerstones of his campaign?

Foundation trouble? Questions swirling around the Clinton Foundation and its ties to investors in a for-profit company owned by Clinton friends and Democratic donors. Is a new report part of a smear campaign, as Bill Clinton claims?

And late-night candidate. CNN talks exclusively to the first person ever to declare himself a candidate for vice president, Jimmy Kimmel.

We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

The spotlight on Donald Trump heating up tonight, as the presumptive Republican presidential nominee faces questions about posing as a publicist in a telephone interview. Trump insists it is not him speaking in a newly resurfaced recording, even though he previously has admitted to posing as his own publicist under a false name.

And Trump is now softening his tone on his proposal to temporarily ban Muslims from entering the United States. He now says it's really a suggestion until he becomes president, as which point he will introduce legislation on a Muslim ban. We are covering all of that and much more this hour with our guests, including Trump senior adviser Tana Goertz. And our correspondents and expert analysts, they are also standing by.

Let's begin with our chief political correspondent, Dana Bash.

Dana, a new controversy right now dogging Donald Trump tonight.

DANA BASH, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, even as Republican leaders are getting more comfortable with Donald Trump, there are reminders that the billionaire at the top of their ticket makes for miles of unchartered political terrain.


BASH (voice-over): It is a story that would only happen with a tabloid-dogged guy like Trump, not a traditional politician.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's starting to do tremendously well financially.

BASH: Newly released recordings by "The Washington Post" reviving a suspicion that swirled about Trump from the '90s.

QUESTION: What's your name?


BASH: That John Miller was really Trump pretending to be his own spokesman when dealing with reporters questioning his business or messy divorces.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He is a good guy and he's not going to hurt anybody. The one article said he was going to throw her out of the apartment is total nonsense. He is going to always treat her well, as he treated his wife well.

BASH: Today, Trump denied that was him.

TRUMP: I have many, many people that are trying to imitate my voice, and you can imagine that. And this sounds like one of the scams, one of the many scams. Doesn't sound like me.

BASH: Then there's Trump's refusal so far to release his tax returns.


TRUMP: It is none of your business. You will see it when I release. But I fight very hard to pay as little tax as possible.

BASH: The last GOP nominee, Mitt Romney, dragged his own feet on disclosing his tax returns, but eventually relented. This week, the anti-Trump Romney said withholding his taxes is disqualifying. And today a Republican Party spokesperson told CNN it's up to Trump, but:

SEAN SPICER, REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: Mr. Trump has got to make a decision sooner rather than about whether or not to release his tax returns.

BASH: On Trump's proposed temporary ban on Muslims, he seemed to soften his stance a bit this week before meeting with Republican leaders who oppose it.

TRUMP: This is just a suggestion until we find out what's going on.

BASH: Today, he insisted he would push the Muslim ban as president.

TRUMP: I'm not the president right now. So anything I suggest is really a suggestion. And if I were president, I would put in legislation and do what I have to do.

BASH: There is some evidence the presumptive GOP nominee is settling into his leadership role.

When a former longtime Trump butler argued President Obama -- quote -- "should have been taken out by our military and shot as an enemy agent," Trump acted fast, saying through a spokeswoman, "We totally and completely disavow the horrible statements made by him regarding the president."


BASH: And the Trump campaign is working to meld with the Republican National Committee to prepare for and raise money for what will be a very expensive general election.


That means for the first time Trump will have to care what donors think. And I'm told several are very concerned about his tax returns, Wolf, both his refusal to release them and then what's in them once he does.

BLITZER: All right, Dana, thanks very much.

Let's get some more now on the recording that's at the center of this latest Trump controversy.

Our CNN senior investigative correspondent, Drew Griffin, is joining us.

You have been digging, Drew. What have you found out?

DREW GRIFFIN, CNN INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, if this is not him on the tape, as he said, then a forensic audio expert we talked to this afternoon says someone has done a masterful job of sounding almost exactly like Donald Trump.

The fact is, the secret public relations man in Donald Trump's past may have never been a real secret at all.


TRUMP: Good morning. GRIFFIN (voice-over): The real amazing story of Donald Trump's old spokesman, as "The Washington Post" headline writes, may be that it's been such an open secret for so long, it's hard to believe that anyone is still questioning it.

QUESTION: What is your name again?


QUESTION: And you work with Donald Trump?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, that's correct.

GRIFFIN: It was back in the 1980s when the flashy New York real estate mogul needed to get a bit of news out. The newspaper reports it was common knowledge among New York reporters that Trump just assumed a different name and handled the media calls himself, like this call from reporter Sue Carswell at "People" magazine concerning Trump's breakup with girlfriend Marla Maples.

QUESTION: What kind of comment is coming from your agency or from Donald?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, it is just that he really decided that he wasn't -- you know, he didn't want to make any commitment. He didn't want to make a commitment.

He really thought it was too soon. He was coming out of a -- you know, a marriage and he's starting to do tremendously well financially.

GRIFFIN: If that John Miller sounds like Trump, it's because audio forensic expert Tom Owen says, in his opinion, it is.

TOM OWEN, FORENSIC EXPERT: I can conclude with a fair degree of scientific certainty that it is Donald Trump's voice.

GRIFFIN: This afternoon, Owen compared the John Miller on that phone call with "People" magazine to the real Donald Trump interviewed on CNN's "LARRY KING LIVE" in the 1990s.

TRUMP: I don't talk about relationships. I don't talk about the personal aspects of it.

GRIFFIN: Due to the quality of the old recordings, he couldn't use his biometric analysis that he says would be absolutely certain, but, based on pitch, tone, cadence and his expertise, John Miller and Donald Trump are one and the same.

OWEN: I am confident that it is Donald Trump based on my analysis of the critical listening, listening to the two recordings, and drawing a conclusion based on various factors, pitch, mannerisms, syllable coupling.

GRIFFIN: Trump even tacitly admitted under oath to using one of his false P.R. names in a 1990 court testimony, when he said: "I believe, on occasion, I used that name."

Trump was confronted with the taped phone call and "The Washington Post" story on Friday's "Today Show."

TRUMP: No. I don't think it -- I don't know anything about it. You're telling me about it for the first time and it doesn't sound like my voice at all.

I have many, many people that are trying to imitate my voice, and you can imagine that. And this sounds like one of the scams, one of the many scams. Doesn't sound like me.


GRIFFIN: Wolf, we have asked for clarification on all this from the Trump campaign. Nothing yet.

But this afternoon, "Washington Post" reporters who were in 44 minutes into a phone call about his finance asked a question about Miller. Did you ever employ John Miller as a spokesperson? That was the question.

And according to "The Post," the phone went silent and then it went dead. And when the reporters called back and reached Trump's secretary, she said, I heard you got disconnected, and he can't take the call now. I don't know what happened -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Drew Griffin with that reporting for us. Thanks very much.

I want to some get more on all of this.

Joining us, Trump senior adviser, the former "Apprentice" contestant Tana Goertz.

Tana, thanks very much for joining us.


BLITZER: All right, let's discuss this audiotape that's now resurfaced.

An overall narrative of the Trump candidacy has been that he sometimes changes his positions, sometimes does it on a regular basis. He now says that's not his voice in that leaked audio. Do you believe it is his voice?

GOERTZ: No, I do not believe that that was Mr. Trump.

And as long as I have known him, which has been close to 11 years, he has never changed his stance on many things. He doesn't waiver. He is very decisive. And that is not him. If he says it's not him, it's not him.

BLITZER: But He admitted to "People' magazine, Tana, that he had made the call and it was a joke gone awry. He admitted earlier under oath that he often used a fake name posing as a P.R. person.


He said the reporter that received the call actually after -- moments after Trump -- Trump's office, asking for an interview, the reporter received that call.

Marla Maples, his former wife, said it was in fact him. And now you just heard this audio expert saying almost certainly it was. With scientific -- certainty, it was him. So, why are you so convinced it wasn't?

GOERTZ: Well, since I have known Mr. Trump -- and I haven't known him for 25 years -- that's how long this tape we're talking about has been surfaced.

I didn't know him 25 years ago. And I have never known him to do this. That's not the Mr. Trump that I know. So, I have to go on the man that I know, the man that I am loyal to, and the man that I believe in, and the man that I know can make America great, and just the man that I know well.

And that is not Donald Trump. He does not -- he has never done that in my presence. I have never heard him disguise his voice. I have never heard him ever go by another name. He is Donald Trump. And he sounds -- that recording sounds like so many people that I know from New York. That voice is very similar.

It has got the New York accent. So -- and I agree with Mr. Trump when he says there's a lot of people that try to imitate him. You can't watch a Saturday night skit without seeing somebody impersonate Donald Trump and his voice.

BLITZER: Everybody has been checking to see if he ever did have somebody named John Barron or John Miller, these two names that were surfacing, on his payroll. We haven't found that evidence yet. Have you looked into that?

GOERTZ: I have not looked into that, and I do not -- he employs tens of thousands of people. I don't think he would know that name off the top of his head.

But, no, I do not have any knowledge as to if this person was an employee of his or not.

BLITZER: What would happen, let's say in the coming days, if Donald Trump were to finally acknowledge, yes, that was him, he was having some fun 25 years ago with reporters? What would be your reaction?

GOERTZ: My reaction would be -- would be -- well, I mean, my reaction would be, as a businessperson, I can understand sometimes, you know, like, hey, you know when people call me, hey, is this Tana? No, she stepped out for a minute. I would do that.

So, I would just be like -- I wouldn't -- it wouldn't bother me, Wolf, and you know what? It won't bother millions of American voters who are going out and voting for him, who are excited about him putting jobs back in America, so that they can get back into work and get employed.

It won't matter to a lot of his voters, the millions of people that are turning out voting for him. It will matter to the press and to the media and to all the haters, that they will just -- oh, my goodness, they will just go -- they will just have a field day with this.

But to me and to all of the other people, it won't matter, because if he disguised his voice or not...


BLITZER: It wouldn't make any difference to you if he comes out and acknowledges, yes, that was me, but that he lied about it, if he did in fact lie about it on "The Today Show" this morning?


Well, I mean, yes, I don't like liars. I would agree with you that that would bother me. But, you know, I'm not a perfect human being. And I would say, OK, we will move on, yes. If Mr. Trump felt -- you have to understand, Wolf, I know the little bit of scrutiny that I go through, you go through being in the public eye, we go through a lot of scrutiny.

Being Donald Trump, I can't imagine what his life is like. So, when you're getting a camera put in your face, and you're being asked, come on, give me an answer right now, did you do it or did you not, sometimes, you just make an answer and thank don't think about it.

So I would understand if he came out and said, hey, it was me, but I do not believe it is Mr. Trump. I will believe it when I hear that something is different, but, as of right now, Wolf, I stick behind my man and I stick behind the man that I know can make America great again. And I am 100 percent certain.

BLITZER: You're very loyal to him, as are millions of people out there who love Donald Trump.

But let's say it was Donald Trump who used to call up reporters, pretend to use a different name, and he mislead the public about it this morning on "The Today Show." What advice would you give him to try to fix that, to clarify matters?

GOERTZ: Mr. Trump is -- I have seen Mr. Trump apologize. And a simple apology as to, hey, listen, I had a camera put in my face, I was asked to make a decision, and I spoke without thinking.

Mr. Trump is a smart man. He doesn't need my advice on how to handle the media. But, you know, I feel bad. I feel terrible that he's under such scrutiny and everything that he is doing. We should be looking at Hillary Clinton and other things of that nature. We have bigger issues to deal with here in the American -- in America. And to think that we're dealing with 20 people that are digging into every aspect of his life, Mr. Trump is an open book. There are hardly any skeletons in the man's closet. And I just think what a waste of time, what a waste of time manpower.

And it is just -- it's an embarrassment that people want to do this to a man who has actually spent over $50 million of his own money to try to make America great again and put all of this money out for his campaign, and I just think, don't we have better things to do with our life? I know I do and I'm sure you do.



BLITZER: But you know he wants to be president of the United States. And anybody who runs for president of the United States opens himself or herself up to enormous investigations, enormous criticism.

GOERTZ: I know that.

BLITZER: This is something he chose to do.

GOERTZ: I know.

BLITZER: And knowing -- I assume he knew full well, you run for president, everything about your life is now an open book.

GOERTZ: Right.

And I totally know he understands that concept very well. He's a bright man, but I'm talking every aspect. He could say -- I mean, there are so many things, Wolf, that we have bigger fish to fry in America. And we are worrying about whether Donald Trump impersonated his voice as a P.R. person.

Seriously? Let's look into where did the e-mails go, Hillary? Let's get down to the details. Where did all those missing e-mails go? What happened in Benghazi, those issues? Why are we talking about something that's frivolous, in my opinion?

BLITZER: It is not necessarily what happened 25 years ago that could be frivolous. It is whether or not he lied on national television. That's the issue right now that has got to be clarified once and for all.

Tana, I want you to stand by. There's more issues I want to raise with you, more issues I want to discuss. Much more right after a quick break.



[18:20:48] BLITZER: We're following a new controversy surrounding Donald Trump

tonight, a recording of an old phone interview in which Trump allegedly poses as a publicist.

Trump denies it's him in the recording, but an audio expert tells CNN it's fairly certain it is the presumptive presidential nominee.

We are back with Trump senior adviser, former "Apprentice" contestant Tana Goertz.

Tana, Trump also said today in an interview he doesn't think voters necessarily had a right to see his tax returns. Is that a new position? Will he not release them?

GOERTZ: No, he will release them when his attorneys and accountants say it is OK to release them, absolutely. He never said he would hold onto these until after the election, Wolf.

BLITZER: But he was asked by George Stephanopoulos, as you know, what your tax rate is and he flatly said it is none of your business.

GOERTZ: Right. Right. I mean, seriously, right.

If somebody came up to me and said how much money do you make per year, Tana, I would say the exact same thing. It's none of your business. Mr. Trump was just more or less saying, seriously, what are you going to ask me next?

So, of course he's going to release them, Wolf. He is an open book, as you know, as I have shared with you before. Mr. Trump is not going to hide anything. He is not a liar. He is not that type of a man.

So, in due time. I mean, he's in the middle of a multiyear audit. And when they say, his counsel says you're free to release this, he will release this.

BLITZER: He says he is not a traditional candidate, but he seems to be softening his positions on some sensitive issues, now calling his proposal for a temporary ban on Muslims coming into the United States simply a suggestion, seemingly changing some of his tax policies.

Does this show that he is flexible on some of these core issues and he is more like a regular politician, that, when you run for the nomination, you sort of run to the right, when you run for the general election, you move towards the center?

GOERTZ: Well, Mr. Trump is not like anyone else. I will tell you that right now, so he -- and he is not like a politician, because the politicians that I know don't play fair, and Mr. Trump is not that way.

So, he's honest, and he's decisive, he is a man of his word, and he will do what he says he is going to do. So, I will never put him in that box of a politician until he becomes the president of the United States. So is he softening? Mr. Trump, you know, he definitely listens to

counsel. I know in the past, I have dealt with him on a lot of occasions, and he does listen. He respects people. And he respects other people who have more knowledge on a subject than him.

So I would not call this softening or weakening his position. He is working with others, as we just learned about, you know, his meeting the other day, and Mr. Trump is definitely willing to negotiate and compromise, and so right now I think maybe the wording he's using is just a little softer, so that everybody feels good.

But, no, his positions are going to be the same. He wants to secure our borders. He wants to make sure he brings jobs back to America. Everything that he has stood for that has got him this following of American voters who are desperate for him are probably going to stay 100 percent the same.

BLITZER: Yes. He also makes the case these are his proposals. He knows he is going to have to negotiate with Democrats in Congress if he is president, with others in Congress. He is willing to compromise. It is the art of the deal. That's his position going into all of this.

GOERTZ: Right.

BLITZER: Tana Goertz, you're a senior adviser to the Trump campaign, to Donald Trump. Thanks very much for joining us.

GOERTZ: Thank you. Have a wonderful weekend.

BLITZER: You, too. Thank you very much.

Just ahead, we will have more on these new Trump tapes that have now surfaced, his denial that he posed as his own publicist. Our political experts are standing by to discuss that and a lot more.

Also, there are questions tonight about the Clinton Foundation and a financial commitment to a company owned by Clinton friends. Are they part of a new smear campaign, as Bill Clinton is now alleging?



BLITZER: More now on Donald Trump's latest controversies.

Let's get some analysis. Joining us, our CNN politics executive editor, Mark Preston, our senior Washington correspondent, Jeff Zeleny, and RealClearPolitics national political reporter Rebecca Berg.

On the whole issue, Jeff, of when George Stephanopoulos asked Donald Trump what is your tax rate, and he said it is none of your business, that was a pretty blunt statement, his reply to him. When you're running for president of the United States, seemingly, everything is the country's interest. JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Sure.

He makes everyone's business out of all of his rivals, so I think that that would have been an unacceptable answer for someone to give.

[18:30:05] Donald Trump would have seized on that in a minute had Jeb Bush said something like that or Hillary Clinton said something like that.

But that said, you know, he is a different type of candidate as we have been saying. I think the issue here is it is an inconsistent answer.

He said during the debates that he would in fact release his tax returns and told the AP that he would hold off and then he clarified he would do it when this audit is done. The tax rate is going to on there. So none of your business is not an acceptable.

I think he could have said you'll find out when I release them or whatever. So his supporters don't care. His supporters are with him regardless. I think it prevents his expansion, sort of keeps more questions hanging out there about his finances. Remember what Mitt Romney said this week.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: If he wants to be president of the United States, he has to go beyond the base of core supporters that love him, doesn't make any difference what he says, they are going to still love him. He has to bring in other supporters out there if he is going to be the next president of the Unites States.

MARK PRESTON, CNN POLITICS EXECUTIVE EDITOR: I think in a situation like this, we have to step back and try to understand why he is getting away with all of this. It's a couple of reasons. It's very simple now.

If you look at the approval rating of Congress right now with the American people, it hovers around a tie of 13, 14 percent. People hate Washington, right?

Barack Obama is doing fine, but listen, he's leaving, he's not as much in the news, his approval ratings are around 50. People hate Washington in general.

The news media, people hate us, right, because we don't always deliver the greatest of news. So like for him to attack the media, that's only helpful to him, and quite frankly Donald Trump is a marker.

He knows how to sell himself. To Jeff's point, his ardent supporters will stay with him. Right now, this isn't going to hurt him. Come October, November, when people are making hard decisions, then this could potentially hurt.

BLITZER: His position still is he will release the tax returns once the IRS completes its audit. He said that's what his lawyers have suggested to him, his accountants have suggested to him. That's his policy. REBECCA BERG, NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER, "REAL CLEAR POLITICS": But he is sending some strong signals, Wolf, that this isn't his preference to release them, telling George Stephanopoulos that nobody cares about this.

He said when George Stephanopoulos raised the issue of him having released his tax returns under audit in the past when he is trying to close the casino deal, he said at that time it didn't make a difference to him, now it does.

So he seemed really inconsistent and it is worth noting that in 2012 when Mitt Romney was being asked questions about why he wasn't releasing more of his tax returns, Trump told Greta Van Susteren that Romney should.

And he actually urged him to do it, said it was the wise political strategy. So it is really, really difficult to continue with this.

BLITZER: Romney did release eventually -- but September right, of 2012.

ZELENY: We don't know if Donald Trump will release them before, who knows when the audit will be over. But I think the inconsistency in this is sort of the issue here.

PRESTON: Can we take bets on this? I would gather to bet he doesn't release them until after the election, quite frankly. I don't think we're going to see them.

Here's the difference between Donald Trump and Mitt Romney. Nobody really knew Mitt Romney. People think they know Donald Trump. The problem is they don't really know Donald Trump.

They think seeing him on "The Apprentice" was enough to really understand him. Mitt Romney was really this unknown figure.

ZELENY: It hurts the transparency thing. It is very easy for Hillary Clinton to say look, he is not releasing these. We put 33 years. I was at a rally this weekend in New Jersey where she was making that point. I think it fires up Democrats more than it concerns Republicans but you know, I mean --

BLITZER: Speaking of transparency, Rebecca, what he says is it is not that far from what Bernie Sanders said. He released one year of his tax returns. His wife, Jane Sanders, who prepares those tax returns, they are not very complicated, said they're not release any more until Hillary Clinton releases the transcripts of her paid speeches before Wall Street firms.

BERG: Right. They're trying to bring more transparency to the race in a way that's advantageous to Bernie Sanders you would think because these are speeches that she made to places like Goldman Sachs, the billionaires that Bernie Sanders is campaigning against.

But for Donald Trump, I mean, this could potentially be very politically damaging for him to release these returns because he has shrouded himself in this aura of success, that's his whole brand, that he has been a winner and become very wealthy as a result.

If it turns out that maybe he isn't as wealthy as he said, he could be personally very embarrassed and it could hurt him politically as well.

BLITZER: He says, you know, he did release a financial statement when he first decided he was going to run for office that shows that he is worth $10 billion and it is 100 pages. Go read it at the SEC.

BERG: But what is his annual income? We don't really know.

BLITZER: There's a lot of information you get from tax returns that you don't necessarily get from a financial statement. That's what the accountants always point out.

All right, guys, stand by. Much more to assess, much more news coming in. We'll be right back.


BLITZER: The Clinton Foundation is under new scrutiny tonight after a report that it made a financial commitment to a for profit company partly owned by Clinton friends and Democratic donors.

Tonight, former President Bill Clinton chalks it up to what he calls smear tactics. Let's bring our senior Washington correspondent, Jeff Zeleny, who is working this story for us. Jeff, Bill Clinton insisting his foundation did absolutely nothing wrong.

[18:40:02] ZELENY: He has indeed, Wolf. He says no laws or rules were broken. But the questions resolve around the work of the Clinton Global Initiative and this key question, whether a nonprofit group helped a for profit energy company. It is a fresh reminder this presidential campaign will be filled with one controversy after another and it is just getting started.


FORMER PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON: This is just a replay of the same old '92 play book.

ZELENY (voice-over): Tonight, Bill Clinton warning about a barge of attacks he believes are coming their way.

CLINTON: Believe it or not, I went through the same thing we're doing today. Heck, some of those right wingers were sending videos out, accusing me of murder.

ZELENY: But there are 24 years of new material since he ran for president, and the battle between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton will surely find room for much of it.

ANNOUNCER: William Jefferson Clinton.

ZELENY: One target is the Clinton Global Initiative. "The Wall Street Journal" reporting the non-profit charity helped a for-profit energy company partially owned by people close to the Clintons. On the campaign trail, the former president had three words when asked whether he denied any laws were broken.

CLINTON: Oh God, yes.

ZELENY: The "Journal" says a $2 million commitment arranged by the Clintons group helped start Energy Pioneer Solution in 2009 to help insulate people's homes. The energy company also received an $800,000 federal grant.

It was founded by a former Democratic congressional candidate in Nebraska and two close friends of the Clintons, including Julie Tauber McMann (ph), who lives near the Clintons in Chappaqua, New York.

A spokesman for the Clinton Foundation said no laws were broken adding, "President Clinton has established many friendships and professional connections. It is not surprising many of the same people make a difference and improve the world with the Clinton Global Initiative."

The Clinton Foundation has long been the subject of questions about donations it received from foreign governments and corporations, including while Hillary Clinton was secretary of state. Trump seized on the story today.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE (via telephone): Well, it is a bombshell, there's no doubt about it.

ZELENY: Bombshell or not, he is suggesting that Clinton charity is almost certainly future political fodder.

TRUMP: I assume you put the word charity in quotes.

ZELENY: As other controversies rise to the surface, Trump and Clinton already taking constant aim at one another.

HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I have to tell you how concerned I am with what I hear Trump saying. I have said that he is a loose cannon.

TRUMP: Crooked Hillary, bad judgment.

ZELENY: In a new chapter of the campaign that's just beginning.


ZELENY: Now the key point here, did this nonprofit group that Clinton Global Initiative help a for profit energy company? That isn't clear. What is clear tonight is that Trump is clearly going to start bringing this up.

They have the most complicated finances of any presidential candidates in recent memory, Trump and Clinton. They'll be tangling over these things for six months.

The question is how voters response to this. Whether they like it or not or simply ignore it all.

BLITZER: That's a good question. What do you think, Mark?

PRESTON: Look, I think Jeff is exactly right. He started the story with it's just beginning. He ends the story with it is just beginning. We're going to see it on both sides.

There's a lot of data and information out there that I think that is worth exploring. But there is something to be said, too, that we are seeing this story hit in three different publications that are owned by the same person that necessarily hasn't been so kind to the Clintons, hasn't been kind to Democrats.

BLITZER: You are talking about Rupert Murdoch.

PRESTON: Right. So you see this in the "Post," the "Journal," and Fox News. I think it is interesting that it all drops at the same time. Democrats are circumspect about that. But let's not forget, one of the best researchers was an anti-Clinton person, David Barack (ph), he turned around, is one of their biggest supporters.

The information we are seeing shoveled against the Clintons right now, whether it's right or wrong, we will see that happen to Donald Trump as well.

ZELENY: And some of the stuff that's coming out of the Trump side is almost certainly coming from all that opposition research.

PRESTON: Absolutely. This is going to be a dirty campaign.

ZELENY: The point is, these families have such complicated business finances, more than any campaign that I can remember. I covered the last five. That's why this will be so deeply engrained in all this. But again, there's no smoking gun in this, it just raises the specter that the Clinton Foundation will be one of those targets out there.

BLITZER: But you heard Donald Trump say this is a bombshell, it will clearly be used by him and his supporters to go after her.

BERG: Sure. It plays right into this narrative that he is trying to build that Hillary Clinton is crooked, that she's corrupt, and Donald Trump we saw in the primary use this specter of public corruption very effectively.

He said his opponents because they were raising money from wealthy donors were bought and paid for. Now he is raising money the way normal politicians do, he has to deal with that himself.

We saw it was appealing to his supporters and most Republican voters now that he is the nominee because there's a pervasive anti-Washington sentiment, people don't trust politicians and part of it is because they think they are bought and paid for and corrupt.

[18:45:01] BLITZER: What do you think the way the Clinton Foundation, Hillary Clinton's campaign are responding to the accusations? ZELENY: I mean, they're saying it's simply not true. They're saying it's called Impact Investing, they say the whole point of Clinton Global Initiative is to find projects here.

And the whole point of this energy company was to pay for insulation of people's homes, sort of change the way that worked. So, they said the whole point of CGI is to find innovative things. Now, of course, it was tied to people who are friends of the former president, that's the whole point of this initiative.

What we don't know is, you know, was there some IRS violation, the nonprofit, the for profit. There's no investigation or anything here.

Clinton Global Initiative they realize is a potential political problem in terms of how they got their money, speaking fees and other things. That's something we're going to hear about the next six months.

PRESTON: No doubt, should be, Wolf. There's no question that we should be looking at all of that.

ZELENY: It is unique situation. No one ran for president being a former president and everything else. But at the end of the day, you know, there's --

BLITZER: It's going to be lively, these next nearly six months.

All right, guys. Thank you very, very much.

Just ahead, Jimmy Kimmel announces his campaign and soars to the top.


BLITZER: I'll tell you this. And right now, all indications are you are polling at 100 percent.




[18:50:47] BLITZER: He made it a central issue of the GOP race for the White House, but now, Donald Trump seems to be shifting when it comes to Muslim refugees.

Our national correspondent Suzanne Malveaux is joining us.

Suzanne, this has been a cornerstone of this campaign. What's the latest?

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You know, Wolf, this is one of those statements he first made back in December in a radio interview. He's been saying it over and over again. It immediately became a rallying cry for his supporters but one of the most criticized policy positions to date. And now, it seems to be shifting.


MALVEAUX (voice-over): Donald Trump walking back from his previous threat to temporarily ban all Muslims from entering the United States.

TRUMP: Look, anything I say right now, I'm not the president. Everything is a suggestion.

MALVEAUX: But just six months ago, this declaration.

TRUMP: Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States, until our country's representatives can figure out what the hell is going on.

MALVEAUX: But now, as Trump pivots to the general election as the Republican's presumptive nominee, he must appeal to more moderate and independent voters.

TRUMP: I'm always flexible on issues. I am totally flexible on very many issues, and I think you have to be that way. But I'm not softening my stance. We have a major problem and we have to look at the problem.

MALVEAUX: The problem he says now is more specific -- refugees trying to escape Assad's brutal regime in Syria.

TRUMP: We don't know where they come from, who they are. There's no documentation. We have our incompetent government people letting them in by the thousands.

MALVEAUX: But the truth is the flow of Syrian refugees into the United States is far from a flood. According to the United Nations, there are nearly 5 million Syrian refugees. Neighboring countries, Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan have pledged to take 178,000. Germany 400,000. Canada, 48,000.

Last September, President Obama pledged the U.S. would take in 10,000 by October 2016. According to the State Department, so far only one- fifth have been admitted. The vetting process taking 18 to 24 months for Syrians to resettle.

JOSH EARNEST, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The challenge here is simply this, that individuals who entered the United States through the refugee program are subjected to more screening, more background checks than any other individual who tries to enter the United States.

TRUMP: Immigration and national security have taken center stage in the 2016 presidential campaign. The House passing a bill to suspend taking in Syrian refugees which later stalled in the Senate. More than 30 governors vowing to block refugees from their states.


MALVEAUX: And, meanwhile, Trump's comments about banning Muslims is rally some European leaders from the London mayor who is a Muslim himself. Sadiq Khan saying that he believes that's Trump's views about Islam are "ignorant" in his words. We also heard a response from the Trump campaign. A Trump spokesperson saying that Khan would be an exception to the Muslim ban -- Wolf.

BLITZER: He would be allowed to come into the United States as would friends of the United States like King Abdullah of Jordan. Donald Trump has made exceptions part of his suggestion, shall we say.

Suzanne Malveaux, thanks very much for that.

Coming up this Sunday night, an explosive new episode of "PARTS UNKNOWN."

And joining us now, Anthony Bourdain.

Anthony, thanks once again.

You've gone almost everywhere. In this season, you visit places unknown even inside the United States, visiting a mine deep inside of Montana. Watch this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Here's the fun part.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How many holes do you usually drill or make around?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Between 20 or 30. BOURDAIN: What is a round?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This pattern has to be drilled out. And every time you advance the face, that's a round. You drill it. You load it, you blast it, you muck it, you built it and drill it again and that's a cycle.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're in the loading process right here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's all top priming this hole.

BOURDAIN: Back in the day, it was dynamite. But in the '60s, they started switching over to this stuff, ANFO, ammonium nitrate and fuel oil.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Got everything charged up, loaded. Now we get to time it.

[18:55:00] This is where I got hooked on mining. Soon as I sent that first round off it was, how do we do another one?

BOURDAIN: Fascinating.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is where it all starts right here. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everybody got everything out?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Four seconds of silence.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right. Everybody is good? Everybody is ready?



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Fire in the hole.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One, two, three --


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Welcome to mining.

BOURDAIN: That's deeply satisfying. Oh, yes. Very cool.


BLITZER: All right, Anthony. Tell us about this. Why did you decide to go underground?

BOURDAIN: I'm smiling now because that was so much fun. I want to do it again.

We went to Butte. I've been in Montana a number of times but never to Butte. And Butte is a mining town, an old-time mining town where capitalism has just gone wild, had its way to the place, dug miles beneath the city. There's a huge toxic lake sitting there.

By all accounts, it should be ugly, but it is strangely enchantingly beautiful. And these miners love mining. And they took me down, and -- one of these guys does this on his day off. Meaning, he mines during the week and on his days off, he goes out and blows holes in the ground working with I think a university and people like us to show us what he does.

These are proud hard working people who just love doing what they do. When they took me down here and showed me what they do, it's hard, but it's a lot of fun.

BLITZER: Sounds like a lot of fun. Sounds like another great series. We're really looking forward to it, Anthony. Thank you so much for all the great work you're doing at CNN.

And to our viewers, an important note. You can watch the CNN original series "ANTHONY BOURDAIN: PARTS UNKNOWN" Sunday, 9:00 p.m. Eastern and Pacific.

And we leave you on this Friday with an unprecedented political announcement by Jimmy Kimmel.


ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

BLITZER: Jimmy, Wolf Blitzer of CNN.

KIMMEL: Oh, hey, Wolf.

BLITZER: Jimmy Kimmel has confirmed he is running for vice president of the United States. He has no running mate. He claims not to be a Washington insider or outsider and believes he'll make a great number two despite the fact that sources are telling us in high school he got a "D" in social studies.

Let's go over to the wall and see how he's polling right now. Jimmy, take a look at this. Right now all indications are you are polling at 100 percent.

KIMMEL: Wow! That's great news. Thanks, Wolf.

BLITZER: I do want to point out, Jimmy, at 100 percent, you are the only person running for vice president.

KIMMEL: Well, let's not split beard hairs here. One hundred percent is 100 percent, you know?

BLITZER: All right. Here's a question, Jimmy. Will you build a wall?

KIMMEL: Will I build a wall? Yes, I will build -- but I'll tell you this. I'll build it on the northern border to keep the Mexicans out of Canada. Thank you.

BLITZER: Why are you running for vice president?

KIMMEL: Wolf, I'm running for vice president because I love this country. I was born here. You know that. If this country -- I love this country so much, if it was a woman, I would have sex with it.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Jimmy, will you be going out on the campaign trail?

KIMMEL: Is that Jake tapper of CNN?

TAPPER: It's Jake tapper of CNN, sir.

KIMMEL: Thank you, Jake.

TAPPER: Will you be going on the campaign trail?

KIMMEL: No, I will not. I get car sick and buses smell bad. I'll operate from here at my headquarters in Los Angeles.

BLITZER: Jimmy, do you think you're making a mockery of this election?

KIMMEL: I think it's too late for anyone to do that, Wolf. (END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: I'll tell you, we had a lot of fun taping that for Jimmy Kimmel. Dana and Jake and I thoroughly enjoyed it. How often do you get to interview someone who is running vice president of the United States? It was lots of fun.

A couple of important programming notes. Don't forget, "SMERCONISH" tomorrow morning, 9:00 a.m. Eastern. He's got a lot of good guests, 9:00 a.m. Eastern, right here on CNN.

Sunday morning 9:00 a.m. Eastern on "STATE OF THE UNION," Jake's special guest will be Paul Manafort, the senior adviser to Donald Trump. That's an exclusive. Paul Manafort will join Jake Sunday on "STATE OF THE UNION."

Remember, you can always follow us on Twitter. Please tweet me @wolfblitzer. You can tweet the show @CNNsitroom. Be sure to join us once again right here Monday in THE SITUATION ROOM.

Until then, thanks very much for watching. I'm Wolf Blitzer in Washington.

"ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.