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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Sources: Trump Orders Supporters to Keep Attacking Judge; Trump: I'll Do Well With Latinos, Hispanics; Trump And Latino Voters; Poll: Trump Still Lacks Crucial Latino Vote; Clinton, Sanders Campaign Ahead Of Tomorrow's Voting; Clinton 26 Delegates Away From Clinching Nomination. Aired 8-9p ET
Aired June 6, 2016 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[19:59:52] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening. Thanks very much for joining us.
We begin tonight with breaking news. You can call it Donald Trump punching back or not backing down, doubling down, tripling down -- whatever buzz phrase you like, stripped of the jargon, it appears to be the newest measure of just how badly he wants to make this presidential campaign about himself and his grievances.
Now, the latest, of course, against the judge hearing two lawsuits over the operation known as Trump University. The American-born judge Trump says is biased because his parents emigrated here from Mexico -- he's a Mexican, we're building a wall -- is how Trump has put it numerous times. He did not back down over the weekend even saying when asked that a Muslim judge might also be biased against him.
Then, late today, with big name Republicans denouncing what he said and even his own campaign apparently trying to move on, sources tell us that Trump held a conference call and said, no, do not move on, do not back down, keep on going after the judge.
CNN chief political correspondent Dana Bash has been hearing from her sources. We're also going to be talking momentarily to two people on the call.
So, Dana, what about the reporting on this conference call? What more are you learning?
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you mentioned a little bit of it, it was a call initially for supporters and surrogates who appear on TV and elsewhere where I'm told by a source who was on the call that Donald Trump set out to explain the details of the actual fraud case involving Trump University and why he thinks this judge is being unfair. And it was during that call that former Arizona Governor Jan Brewer mentioned that his own campaign, Trump's own campaign, had sent a memo suggesting that people not talk about it at all and say, you know, we're not talking about this anymore. It's going to be discussed and be dealt with in the court of law.
And it was then that Trump pushed back, making clear he knew nothing about his campaign memo, and that he does want supporters to talk about it, and he had no intention of backing down at all. COOPER: Trump also reportedly said that it's the people asking the
questions about this that are racist. Is that what you have heard?
BASH: I have not specifically heard that. It is something that Bloomberg has reported on. Those who I've talked to did say that he made clear he does not think thought that he is on the wrong, to argue that Judge Curiel shouldn't preside over his case given that he wants to build a wall with Mexico, and the judge is of Mexican descent. It sounds like he's not only not taking the advice of even some of his most ardent supporters who have gone out it to say that his comments are inflammatory and even racist.
It sounds like, you know, in the face of those public suggestions from his supporters, he's doubling down and tripling down as we've seen him so many times before, Anderson.
COOPER: And, again, we're going to be talking to two folks who are on the call.
But is it your understanding that there actually was a memo sent from the campaign yesterday instructing surrogates they were not authorized to talk about or respond to the Trump university lawsuit?
BASH: Yes, that is my understanding this memo did go out. And, to me, just given kind of -- that is one of the more interesting aspects of this part of the story because, you know, in a typical campaign, which we know the Trump campaign is anything but typical, you do have communications staffers who kind of are in charge of communicating with surrogates. And they do have a directive to give to them, or at least a strong suggestion.
The fact that Donald Trump himself, first of all, had this conference call himself and not a communications staffer or anybody from his campaign, rather that he decided to be the chief communicator, is very, very unusual. And then on top of that, the fact that he very vocally apparently dismissed the memo that came from his campaign and contradicted it is, again, just kind of very, I guess, classic Trump and very telling, I think, about how that campaign is going in the inner workings of it right now.
COOPER: All right. Dana Bash -- Dana, thanks.
More on what led up to this and why Republicans who do want to move on are experiencing a big-time case of political heartburn.
CNN's Sara Murray has that.
SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICS REPORTER (voice-over): GOP leaders are rushing to distance themselves from Donald Trump.
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MAJORITY LEADER: I couldn't disagree with more with what he had to say.
REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: I disagree with the thinking behind that.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's very disturbing.
MURRAY: This after his ongoing attacks against a judge of Mexican heritage.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: To have a judge who is a hater of Donald Trump -- a hater. He's a hater. His name is Gonzalo Curiel.
MURRAY: As usual, Trump isn't backing down, telling Jake Tapper, U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel should be recused from a lawsuit involving the now defunct Trump University, saying Curiel is biased based on his heritage.
TRUMP: This is a case that should have ended. This judge is giving us unfair rulings. Now I say why. Well, I'm building a wall, OK? And it's a wall between Mexico -- not another country.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: He's not from Mexico. He's from Indiana.
TRUMP: His Mexican heritage, and he's very proud of it.
MURRAY: Trump telling CBS a Muslim judge might also be biased against him because of his proposal to ban Muslims from the U.S.
JOHN DICKERSON, ANCHOR, "FACE THE NATION": If it were a Muslim judge would you feel they wouldn't be able to treat you fairly because of that policy?
TRUMP: It's possible, yes.
[20:05:00] That would be possible, absolutely.
MURRAY: Even Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who some view as a potential V.P. pick, says Trump went too far.
NEWT GINGRICH (R), FORMER SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: This is one of the worst mistakes Trump has made. I think it's inexcusable.
MURRAY: All as Trump said he's been taken aback by the party's response.
TRUMP: As far as Newt is concerned, I saw Newt. I was surprised at Newt. I thought it was inappropriate what he said.
MURRAY: Still, some in the GOP are holding out hope Trump will tone it down as the primary season officially winds down this week.
SEN. BOB CORKER (R), TENNESSEE: He's talking wit people all around the country that are experts in this regard and I think they know that they're in a place where this campaign has to evolve.
COOPER: Sara Murray joins us. Sara, as we heard a lot of Republicans, establishment figures came out
against Donald Trump, I understand more are actually speaking out today.
MURRAY: That's right, Anderson. It's been sort of a tidal wave of criticism. We saw Senator Ben Sasse saying Trump's comments about the judge was a literal definition of criticism. We saw Ohio Governor John Kasich say that Donald Trump should apologize to this judge. We even saw Marco Rubio, who of course was running against Donald Trump in the GOP primaries, saying that he warned when he was running for president that this kind of thing would happen.
But perhaps the most interesting criticism has been what's coming from Newt Gingrich. You could see there that really stuck to Donald Trump. He made it clear privately in his call. He made it publicly.
That's the kind of thing that could really complicate the waters for Newt who has been rumored to be one of these V.P. picks because one of the things we do know about Donald Trump, he prizes loyalty above all else when it comes to the folks working alongside him. That could be a difficult pill to swallow as he makes his short list of potential V.P. picks, Anderson.
COOPER: All right. Sara, thanks very much.
It's not sitting well with another Trump supporter, a former opponent, Ben Carson. Dr. Carson writing, "Every human being is an individual first rather than a member of an identity group. The moment we forget that is the moment we enter into a phase of moral descent."
Let's bring the panel. "New York Times" national political reporter Alex Burns, Hillary Clinton biographer, one of Richard Nixon's two favorite investigative reporters, Carl Bernstein, Trump convention delegate John J. LaValle, who was on that conference call, Republican consultant Margaret Hoover, Republican strategist Susan Del Percio, and Trump supporter Jeffrey Lord, who also was on the conference call.
Jeff, first of all, your perceptions of that conference call. Can you just -- I mean, some of the major reporting that's been on it, do you agree with the general framework of the reporting that's been about the nature of the call?
JEFFREY LORD, CNN POLITICAL COMMENATOR: Anderson, I believe I have this very bizarre belief in confidentiality. So, whether I'm talking to Donald Trump or my next door neighbor, if somebody says keep this in confidence and actually that wasn't said but still and all I feel they deserve this.
But let me, if I can get right to the quick here on this, I've been writing for years about the racialization of the bench. I wrote a column in September of -- or back in 2007 or 2009, rather, about then Supreme Court nominees Judge Sotomayor's business about the "Wise Latina" and the discovery that she had salted her speeches as a federal judge, saying how important her race was to her decision making as a judge. And, of course, we don't want to forget in 2001 when Miguel Estrada was nominated by President Bush and he was -- there was a memo from Senate Democrats.
COOPER: So, what is the point?
LORD: -- saying he was especially dangerous. He was especially dangerous because he's Latino.
My point here, Anderson, is this has been going on, encouraging judges to make decisions because of their race has been going on for decades from the other side, and the judge in this case belongs to the San Diego La Raza Lawyers Association. I've been through their website. It's all about discrimination against -- I mean, it's not about other lawyers. It's not about San Diego lawyers writ large is quite --
COOPER: So, Jeffrey, you agree with Donald Trump this judge cannot rule fairly based on the fact he's a Mexican heritage?
LORD: Absolutely. And let me go -- not only do I agree with that based on --
COOPER: Can Clarence Thomas -- can Clarence Thomas rule fairly on issues about African-Americans?
LORD: Clarence Thomas -- Clarence Thomas has gone out of his way is not important to his judging, and that, I might add, Anderson, is why they attack him from the left and say he's an Uncle Tom because he wants to adhere to the Constitution. And they say he's a traitor to his race. That is exactly the point.
COOPER: So, only judges who are members of minority groups who say it doesn't impact them, then they get a pass --
LORD: It shouldn't impact no matter -- no matter your race, no matter your ethnicity, this is about being loyal to the Constitution.
COOPER: Have you heard Judge Curiel -- has Judge Curiel written anything about how his heritage impacts his rulings?
LORD: He gave a scholarship to this group of undocumented immigrants.
COOPER: Had he said anything -- you went back and you looked at other judges' writings.
COOPER: I'm wondering, have you gone back and looked at any of Judge Curiel's writings? Because I don't see anything in record where he is openly says how this impacts his rulings. [20:10:05] LORD: Anderson, he belongs to a group that discriminates.
And let me just say to emphasize --
COOPER: So, again, just for the record, you brought up Sotomayor's written record, you have nothing actually saying that Judge Curiel has a written record in which he has said his Mexican heritage is a determining factor or a factor --
LORD: His membership in a Latinos only organization is discriminatory.
COOPER: OK. So, you have -- but there's nothing in his writings that actually say that, because you're comparing to other judges.
LORD: But, Anderson, before he gets there, he should have resigned from this group.
Anderson, let me -- the Supreme Court of California -- wait, let me finish this point, please. The Supreme Court of California ruled last year that judges in California could not belong to the Boy Scouts of America because they discriminated against gays. And now we're saying that judges in California can belong to a group that discriminates against people who are not lawyers, who are not Latinos, and there's no problem. Of course, there's a problem. That's a double standard.
COOPER: I think the members of this lawyers group would take issue with you with their -- with your characterization they're all about discrimination. I think that's not really what they say that they are about, and I talked to a member of the group, and also Donald Trump --
COOPER: It was interesting, though, John, Donald Trump seemed to conflate this La Raza lawyers' organization with the La Raza activist group. You acknowledge they are two different things?
JOHN JAY LAVALLE, TRUMP SURROGATE: So I understand.
COOPER: So, on the call, was it your understanding Donald Trump basically said I didn't know anything about this memo sent out by my campaign but ignore that?
LAVALLE: The whole thing is mischaracterized.
LAVALLE: On Saturday, the surrogates received a memo stating there would be a conference call 10:00 a.m. on Monday. On Sunday --
COOPER: Did that memo say don't be talking about --
LAVALLE: No. On Sunday, it said do not discuss this issue. It's a legal matter until further notice. Monday morning, which was today, Donald Trump briefed all the surrogates about his position on this issue.
It does not pay to have surrogates representing Donald Trump that don't understand the issue and do not know the facts. So, Mr. Trump wanted the opportunity to brief the surrogates so that the surrogates can speak intelligently and accurately on the issue.
And the issue with the memo, after he briefed the surrogates, someone asked a question, well, we did get the memo directly. He said throw it in the garbage, it's gone. It's over. We don't need that anymore. We're talking about the issue. We're dealing with the issue.
He didn't say to attack the judge. He didn't say, you know, to attack anything. He said deal with the issue. Dive into the issue. These are the facts.
COOPER: So, as far as you're concerned as a Trump supporter also and a Trump delegate, is the Mexican heritage of the judge an issue?
LAVALLE: Well, here's -- potentially it could be. What is wrong with someone raising the potential of bias? Potential bias.
COOPER: So --
LAVALLE: I mean, what we have to understand here this is a class- action lawsuit. There was a law firm designated. That law firm has given Hillary Clinton somewhere between $675,000 and $900,000 for the speaking fees. I don't know what she is saying. That's a lot of money.
COOPER: But actually, that was before the race. And also, Donald Trump has given money to Hillary Clinton.
LAVALLE: Yes, we're not talking $900,000 in speaking fees.
Then, two of the partners went to jail for rigging these class-action lawsuits, these types of cases. And the judge -- then, you do have the La Raza issue which is skeptical. But then you work towards as the case goes on he releases documents and the same day unreleases the documents. You can't unrelease documents.
COOPER: OK, go ahead.
MARGARET HOOVER, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: All of these things are such egregious violations of judges and there's such a clear conflict of interest of the judge. Why hasn't Donald Trump asked his lawyers to raise a real complaint in the case to ask the judge to step down? There's a very normal process.
LAVALLE: That's attorney/client privilege.
HOOVER: He has not --
LORD: Recuse himself.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Nothing has been filed?
LAVALLE: The bottom line is, it's in a court of law. It will be tried, the case will be tried.
COOPER: But I guess what I don't understand is a guy who is running for president, and I would think that's probably the most important thing going on in his life at this time and probably should be more important to him than his business career or some lawsuits, you would think a guy running for president would say, this is going to be adjudicated in the court of law. That's the realm for this. I'm not talking about this. We've got a country's business to talk about.
But Donald Trump isn't doing that. Not only that, he repeatedly brings up the guy's Mexican heritage and now has brought up Muslim heritage.
LAVALLE: -- the way he's been treated in this case. I think it's fair to do so.
COOPER: OK, go ahead.
SUSAN DEL PERCIO, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: He did this at a rally. He wasn't doing it for party unity. He wasn't doing it to make America great. He had a civil case, and he didn't like the direction it was going. He's trying to get this judge to recuse himself by public pressure.
What's amazing is that all this time talking about the surrogates, there were no surrogates to talk about Hillary Clinton's speech when she gave her foreign policy speech. No one was there. But the amount of time that he has spent getting delegates to take care of his private business instead of the issues of how the country should work is staggering.
COOPER: Alex, what does this say about the Trump campaign that he was the one on this call?
[20:15:05] That -- I mean, there have been a bunch of articles lately saying there isn't much of a campaign there in terms of traditional campaign structure.
ALEX BURNS, NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER, NEW YORK TIMES: Well, I think those articles including in "The Times" and including reporting by CNN are clearly accurate, that there isn't much of a filter between this guy and the larger political landscape and that has worked to his benefit over the course of this campaign. But now, you're really seeing the limitations of that.
But, typically, when a candidate is under attack, they want to have people lined up wall to wall from across their party, leaders in the states and Washington out there defending him. You have had a remarkable silence from Republican leaders when it comes to the Trump University case in general and to the issues that Trump is raising about the judge in particular. I think, you know, Jeff is giving a pretty good illustration of why Republicans don't want to go there because members of Congress, senators, governors, they don't want to be in the position of raising these really sort of circumstantial and personal attacks about a federal judge that they don't know anything about.
CARL BERNSTEIN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: This is a lens into the ugliness --
LORD: Anderson --
COOPER: Let Carl talk, then we'll go to you, Jeff.
LORD: This whole episode, let's forget about some of the subterfuge we've heard here in the last few minutes. This is a lens into the ugliness of Donald Trump's mind, the racism of it. He is a total -- and this is the real issue in this election. He is a total break with American history and with American democracy. He does not believe in the institutions of American democracy. He is a strong man. He thinks this kind of posturing can get the desired results.
We have a history of separation of powers in this country. We have a history of independent judiciary. Look at this judge, for instance, who has taken on the Mexican cartels and was in hiding for a while because he had been named with a price on his head by the Mexican cartels.
What we're looking at and hearing and I've talked to a lot of Republicans the last few days who are using the word about unhinged with Donald Trump is doing. And I think if you ask Dana Bash, see what she says about what she's hearing from Republicans because they're horrified. This is not the Republican Party of Reagan, Lincoln, Ike, or anybody else.
COOPER: We have to take a quick break. Jeffrey, we'll come to you right after the break. We'll continue the discussion.
Also, later, Donald Trump's insistence in his words that Hispanics love me. We'll put it to the factual and electoral test.
Plus, on the eve of the last Super Tuesday, a big day of political intrigue. President Obama talking to Senator Sanders, reports he'll endorse Hillary Clinton this week. Questions about how long her challenger plans to go on.
[20:21:17] COOPER: Breaking news: Donald Trump, our sources say, telling surrogates to keep on attacking the judge he calls biased, even though those attacks are giving Republicans a case of political palpitations. Back with our panel.
Jeffrey, let's go back to you, first of all.
What do you think Newt Gingrich, Dr. Ben Carson and other Republicans who have -- you know, Paul Ryan, who have come out against these comments, what do they not get?
LORD: Well, let me say, first of all, I love Vice President Gingrich and I refer to him deliberately in that fashion. But I do think respectively, he made a mistake here. As to Ben Carson --
COOPER: Made a mistake because he publicly spoke against Donald Trump or made a mistake of just his opinion?
LORD: Well, I didn't -- frankly, I didn't read it about that. I mean, what he's saying is in essence what I'm saying, that the judge should be about the Constitution and we should be about individuals in this country not about racial identity, which leads me to all of these other Republicans. And they are latching on to identity politics which is the grandchild of slavery and the son of segregation or the child of segregation.
And respectfully to my friend Carl, as somebody who worked for both Ronald Reagan and Jack Kemp, this is -- this is a total alliance, a total sellout to the racial politics of the Democratic Party and the American electorate going on since slavery.
COOPER: But wait a minute. Are you talking about what Donald Trump --
COOPER: What's interesting about what you're saying, you're not talking about what Donald Trump said, identifying this it guy as Mexican when, in fact, he's not Mexican. He's American-born in Indiana. And Donald Trump talking about his Mexican heritage impacting and determining how he can rule.
Isn't that identity politics?
LORD: Correct, Anderson. I'm talking about it because this is the issue. This goes far beyond Trump University. This goes to appointing people to the bench and having a legal system where everybody is suppose d to be judged by their skin color or ethnic heritage.
Donald Trump is simply picking this up and saying, OK, if that's the way you're going, this guy should be off the bench because admittedly --
BERNSTEIN: And the Muslim comment that he made --
COOPER: It is the most -- I mean, you're doing back flips here to interpret something Donald Trump said.
LORD: No. Anderson --
COOPER: You're saying by talking about -- no, by identifying him as Mexican and not even of Mexican heritage, by labeling him by his identity, you're saying he's actually commenting on identity politics of others.
LORD: Anderson, the judge goes out of his way to identify himself as Latino. The judge does it.
COOPER: That's like saying a judge who is part of a Catholic organization or a Jewish organization -- should Jewish judges not be allowed on the bench? Muslim judges? Apparently they can't.
LORD: I am saying if they are belonging to organizations that are explicitly about race and bringing race into the judicial system instead of the Constitution, that's the problem. And that has been going on for a long time. Justice Sotomayor and her "Wise Latina" remarks --
COOPER: Again, you have no comments this judge has actually made, you're just linking him to a Latina judge because, what, they all think alike? I mean, I don't understand.
LORD: It's the same philosophy. This is the liberal philosophy at large for judges, period. This is what they want. They want everybody to judge by their personal experience.
COOPER: Do you know that he's a liberal?
LORD: Anderson, he belonged to the -- I mean, I've read the website here of the San Diego group. Here.
COOPER: OK, John.
LAVALLE: I'm going to say this --
LORD: Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. Carl, you're defending the segregationists, I'm defending Lincoln.
LAVALLE: He's not a racist. It is not unreasonable --
COOPER: Do you think the comment is racist as some Republicans have said?
LAVALLE: -- to consider the potential of bias based on Donald Trump's positions and, by the way, the majority of Americans --
COOPER: Look, we're not arguing --
LAVALLE: Illegal immigration is wrong. That we have some issues with Mexico, whether it's drugs up and down the border, whether it's illegal immigration, people being here. It is the question, right?
DEL PERCIO: It's not. It's so not.
LAVALLE: There's nothing wrong with raising the issue as to whether or not this judge may be biased. Donald Trump is not a racist. When no one was looking, Donald Trump was running his company, he was hiring African-Americans, Hispanic-Americans, women, at the highest places in his company. When no one was looking, Donald Trump was never a racist.
DEL PERCIO: That's smoke and mirrors from the real issue.
DEL PERCIO: Yes, it is.
LAVALLE: That's how he feeds his family
TRUMP: When no one was looking, he was hiring Polish workers as illegal immigrants to, you know --
LAVALLE: So you're agreeing that he's not a racist?
BERNSTEIN: We're back to the old days of some of my best friends --
LAVALLE: Put his money where his mouth is.
DEL PERCIO: John, the question is were the remarks racist remarks. Did he make racist remarks?
LAVALLE: No. There was not racism in his heart when he said it. He's questioning --
DEL PERCIO: Absolutely racist.
LAVALLE: There's bias in a legal matter where there's all kinds of crazy stuff. The plaintiffs in the matter --
COOPER: Let's just settle down. Let's calm down.
My question is, you raised valid legal points about this, and that's some of the stuff Donald Trump talked about, no doubt, on this call, and Donald Trump has valid, you know, concerns about how the case is being adjudicated. I guess what I don't understand and what I think has surprised Newt Gingrich and Ben Carson and all these other Republicans is him continuing to link this to this guy being Mexican, which he's not, of Mexican heritage, and even saying this weekend, maybe a Muslim judge would not be able to do that either. So that doesn't raise any concerns?
LAVALLE: I have a great idea. How about let's get back to the failing economy. Let's get back with the failed international policy.
COOPER: But that apparently -- but that apparently --
LAVALLE: He's not a racist.
BERNSTEIN: The issue is Donald Trump. Donald Trump is the issue.
COOPER: Susan, go ahead. Go ahead, Susan.
DEL PERCIO: You end up in court and you have to see a judge, John Jay. Let's just say you end up and you have to see a judge over speeding violation. Because you're known as a delegate, is that judge of Mexican descent or maybe a Muslim, is he invalidated to actually rule on your case of speeding?
LAVALLE: -- but I am an attorney. If I am before a Democratic judge --
DEL PERCIO: I didn't say Democrat.
LAVALLE: That happens.
COOPER: One at a time.
HOOVER: Ronald Reagan, when he was assassinated, at the attempted association, he was in the office and he looked up and said a prayer and said I sure hope the doctor is not a -- the doctor isn't a Democrat, right? The doctor is a Republican. But that's a joke.
What we know is that in a court of law, if you believe in the constitutional system, if you believe in the separation of powers and if you have faith in the confidence of the judiciary to adjudicate justice impartially, then you have to believe and, by the way, if there's a conflict of interest, there's a conflict. But we have seen absolutely no evidence, absolutely none, that this judge is liberal, this judge has politicized the bench as Jeffrey Lord is suggesting. There's not a shred of evidence to that point.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's not true.
COOPER: We have to take another break.
Ahead, in the face of all of this and even as protesters are calling his remarks racist, Donald Trump insists he would do well among Latino and Hispanic voters in November. How well does he have to do in order to win? Can he win without their votes? John King breaks it down by the numbers, coming up next.
[20:32:26] COOPER: As we've been talking about sources saying in a phone call today, Donald Trump told the surrogates defend his widely criticized remarks about a federal judge who's overseeing lawsuits against Trump University.
Last week Trump told CNN's Jake Tapper, that U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel is biased because of his Mexican heritage. He's Mexican, I'm building a wall, is how Trump put it. In the same interview he insisted that Latinos and Hispanics will support him in November.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, (R) PRESUMPTIVE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: I think I'm going to do very well with Latinos or Hispanics. You know, I employ thousands of Latinos. I employed over the years thousands of Mexicans. They're great. They're great. I deal with them. I sell apartments. I deal, you know, I deal with them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: So, to recap, Trump says having Mexican heritage makes Judge Curiel biased against him. And at the same time he expects to do well among Latino and Hispanic voters. Now in case all this raises the question, how many Latino and Hispanic voters does Trump actually need to win?
John King is here to break it down By The Numbers. So what are the risk, I mean how risky are these comments about Trump for him?
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NAITONAL CORRESPONDENT: In a word, Anderson, very, very risky.
Look, here is the map from the 2012 campaign. President Obama wins only 51 47 if you look at the popular vote for an Electoral College landslide in part because of huge support among Latinos. The fastest growing constituency in American politics but even bigger in 2016. The few Hispanics that are estimated to be 27.3 million Latinos or Hispanics eligible to vote in the 2016 election and that they will represent 12 percent of the national electorate coming November five months from now. That was 10 percent four years ago. So this is a very growing and a very potent population.
And does it matter? You bet it does. Just look at right here. 2004, the last time the Republicans won the White House, 2004 George W. Bush received 44 percent of the Latino vote in national exit polls. Nine points behind John Kerry, but above 40 percent. That's what most Republicans think you need to win. Look at John McCain, down to 31 percent. Look at Mitt Romney four years ago down to a shocking 27 percent. Remember a campaign about self-deport and things like that. And where is Donald Trump at the moment? This is from the NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, these are exit polls. So these are votes that happened. This is the most recent NBC/Wall Street Journal poll that has Donald Trump getting just 20 percent of the Latino vote nationally. Look at that. 44, 31, 27, at the moment, 5 months to go, room to change this, but Anderson, 20 percent of the Latino vote, can Donald Trump win a presidential election with that? No.
COOPER: So, I mean those are national numbers. When you look state by state, a path to 270, do anything look -- does it look better for Trump?
KING: No, and in fact based if you look at where he is now and where it happened in 2012 and 2008, that actually the picture gets a little bleaker because we do elect presidents state by state. These are the 2012 numbers.
Look at this, President Obama in the state of Colorado 75 to 23. A 52-point gap among Latinos over Mitt Romney. In New Mexico is a 36- point gap. In Nevada it was a 47-point gap. In Virginia a 31 percent gap, in Florida a 21percent gap.
[20:35:15] In all why five of the states, now are these important? I want to show you some, let me just switch this -- shrink this down a little bit and put it over here and cover it up. Let's go through the states I just mentioned right.
So Colorado, that's right here. New Mexico, that's right here. Here's Nevada. Here's Virginia. Here's Florida. Now there are other states where Latinos are key swing electorates, too, but these are important. Let me show you something, let's just go back through time here OK. This is 2012. Right? All those states, right, there all blue.
This is 2008. They're all blue. The last time the Republicans won the White House, 2004, George W. Bush is getting 44 percent of the Latino vote nationally, red, red, red, red, red. Can't win the White House without these states? Can Donald Trump win without them? Yes. Is it likely he'll win with that at least two or three of those Anderson? No.
COOPER: What about the argument that Trump can still win by maximizing his support among white voters, and especially white men who tend to have big doubts about Hillary Clinton?
KING: It's possible and so I would say is winning the Powerball. You bring it up here, look at this, this is the white vote in national elections. George W. Bush gets 58 percent plus 17. Republicans win the white vote. John McCain 55 percent plus 12. Mitt Romney, look at this a bigger gap 59 percent, Mitt Romney knew this problem. He knew Republicans had a Latino problem. They maximized white turnout. He won the white vote by 20 points. He still lost the White House in an Electoral College landslide.
And look where Donald Trump is right now. You notice, this -- these are exit polls. This is the NBC/Wall Street Journal poll. There's some undecided voters right here. But at the moment Donald Trump is under performing, the three Republicans are run before him. That's not a recipe to win, Anderson.
COOPER: John, appreciate looking at the numbers. A lot to talk about. Jeffrey Lord is back and joining the conversation CNN political commentator and Republican strategist Ana Navarro.
So Jeff, just talk about the numbers. I mean Trump can say he's doing well with Latinos. I mean at this point the numbers don't necessarily show that. Are you concerned?
LORD: The trick here -- the trick -- what he has to do and what I believe in passionately is change the debate from race to jobs.
I mean, we've got a situation in this country where we have, what, according to the Department of Labor something like 94.some odd million people who stop looking for work, I don't know what the off hand, what the number is for Latinos who are in that group but the point is Latinos are just like every other American. They need a job. They need work. They've got to earn money. They have families. They have kids. That's the issue and that's what Donald Trump is very good about.
We've got to steer this conversation, stop doing this race business and get back to jobs and economics. And when he does that, I am certain that's going to help him a lot.
COOPER: Ana, is he able to do that? Because, I mean he does, you know, he brings up this lawsuit in the speeches and he's got the one bringing up the judge in the speeches and then in interviews brings up, you know, Mexican heritage.
ANA NAVARRO, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think he's not. Like, I wish he was walking about jobs, too, but he's not. He has chosen to inject race into this. When you listen to that interview with Jake Tapper, he talks about that judge being a Mexican in such dispective (ph) discriminatory racist manner. Latinos can hear that.
Yes, Latinos need jobs. They need national security. They need health care. But we also need respect. First and foremost every American in this country needs respect. And if he's not showing it, and what he's showing is discrimination. Come November we will remember.
Let me just tell you this story, Anderson. I have a friend, a woman who makes the, you know, six figures. Her 8-year-old daughter name Alicia (ph) in Miami, citizen, born in the United States, is asking my friend with fear if they're going to have to leave the country if Donald Trump wins.
This is happening all over America. There is a reason why the first elected Hispanic woman in Congress Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, has publicly said she's not endorsing him. Why in Miami, Congressman Carlos Curbelo has said, he's not endorsing him, or supporting him or voting for him. Why the mayor of Miami of Miami Tomas Regalado. All Republicans, have said they will not vote for Trump because they will not be held responsible for the venom he spews. He doesn't want to make America great again. He wants to make America hate again. COOPER: Jeff, let me ask on that call today that you were on, I mean I don't know if you or others, did anyone have an opportunity to say to him what you just said on the air which is you need to be talking about jobs not this lawsuit, not this judge?
LORD: Well, I will say this. He talked about jobs. He brought it up. I mean he believes very strongly that this is one of the major problems we have in this country. So, I mean he's talked about this endlessly. He did talk about that today. No one needed to bring that up.
COOPER: But do you think he gets it, because I just don't -- I'm just ...
LORD: Of course he gets it.
COOPER: ... surprised that he continues to not at all back track on his comments about the judge's heritage.
[20:40:08] LORD: Anderson, I hope -- Anderson I hope he doesn't back track. We have been dragged so far off base here by dividing by race, which is what the American left has been doing since days of slavery.
Hillary Clinton is out there saying she intends to target black and brown voters, according to "The New York Times" quote/unquote. How about targeting Americans? How about talking about jobs? How about treating everybody the same?
COOPER: But, Jeffrey ...
COOPER: Right. But, Jeffrey, it's your candidate who is identifying this judge not as an American, but as a Mexican.
LORD: Because the judge himself has made a big deal about his own ethnicity. That's the point and it isn't just ...
NAVARRO: Let me tell you something. Jeffrey, you're not ...
COOPER: So, Ana, I mean, so just one final thing, Jeffrey Lord.
NAVARRO: OK, let me just ...
COOPER: I mean, is it inappropriate then for judges to belong to a Jewish group, to belong to a Catholic group, to belong to a Scandinavian heritage group? I mean, if -- is that -- is it wrong?
LORD: It's inappropriate. I would suggest if it's inappropriate to belong to the boy scouts because they "discriminate" against gays. It is inappropriate for a lawyers to ban together based on their ethnicity. NAVAROO: Well, listen ...
LORD: Anderson, this goes far beyond lawyers. This is in every social segment of this country where everybody wants to divide up by race and I'm suggesting that as President Kennedy said, "There is no place for race in American life or law." And we're talking about the law here.
NAVARRO: OK, let me just say, there is a place for heritage in America. We are a melting pot and unless you tell me that Donald Trump is a direct descendent of Pocahontas, he, too, came from immigrants. Let me tell you why judge was a child of immigrants.
NAVARRO: Antonin Scalia, who we all respected, I was there in Washington, D.C., one day when he received an award from an Italian- American organization.
You know why a lot of people ban together in groups that are the Black Bar Association or the Women's Bar Association, a lot of it has to do with mentoring. A lot of it has to do with networking. A lot of it has to do with making sure that there is representative higher in law firms and at government levels.
So there are very legitimate reasons that you belong to one of these clubs does not mean that you are a racist.
NAVARRO: Let me just tell you something else, this guy, this judge that he's calling a Mexican so despicably was a U.S., was an Assistant U.S. Attorney under President Bush, was appointed to the bench by Governor Schwarzenegger, a Republican of California.
Lived almost a year under protective custody because he was prosecuting the Arellano Felix, Mexican Cartel.
COOPER: OK we ...
NAVARRO: This man has stood against crime in Mexico and Donald Trump is nobody to call into question his American citizenship or mine.
COOPER: We got a take a break here. Ana Navarro, thank you, Jeffrey Lord as well.
Coming up, almost a decision day on the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton just 26 delegates away from getting the nomination. She and Bernie Sanders both campaigning tonight in California, one of six states to vote tomorrow. We'll have the latest on that, next.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [20:47:03] COOPER: Crunch time for the Democrats, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders both campaigning in California tonight as Clinton teeters on the edge of clinching the Democratic nomination for president has comes down to the wire.
Tomorrow, the final Super Tuesday have rock (ph) its primary season. Clinton is less than 30 delegates away from the magic number that will make her the presumptive nominee. Bernie Sanders, his supporters saying not to count them out just yet.
Jeff Zeleny has the latest.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: And we have worked hard up and down this great, great state. And I need your help tomorrow.
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: One final day of campaigning in a long Democratic primary.
CLINTON: Everybody out to vote tomorrow.
ZELENY: Hillary Clinton is on the cusp of becoming the party's presumptive nominee.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We love Hillary.
ZELENY: Tonight, she is still fighting hard for California not only to finish strong, but hoping to vanquish Bernie Sanders once and for all.
CLINTON: I'm going to do everything I can to unify the Democratic Party and I certainly I'm going to be reaching out to Senator Sanders and hope he will join me in that, because we thought of be unified going into the convention and coming out of the convention, to take on Donald Trump.
ZELENY: But Sanders is still vowing to take his fight to the Democratic convention, an improbable quest made nearly impossible if Clinton wins California. He says he's the stronger candidate to take on Donald Trump.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At what point do you become a spoiler, though, Senator?
BERNIE SANDERS, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If I win tomorrow in California, if we do very well, and I don't know that we will. We may. If we do well in other states, if there are super delegates out there who say, you know what, looking at the objective evidence of polling, looking at the objective evidence of who has the strongest grass-roots campaign and can bring out the larger voter turnout, which I think it is crucial for November. If some of those super delegates begin to think it is Bernie Sanders, I think that is not an insignificant thing.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want to make sure everyone votes. SANDERS: Good, thank you.
ZELENY: Still, Sanders would need to flip nearly three-quarters of Clinton's super delegates to surpass her total, which seems highly unlikely since Sanders has yet to sway a single one.
The rivals have battled it out in all corners of the country, Sanders winning 20 states and Clinton 24. With the final six states weighing in Tuesday, Clinton has 3 million more votes than Sanders, and she holds a comfortable lead in delegates. Only 26 away from the 2,383 pledged in super delegates she needs to win the nomination.
The Democratic Party is slowly coming together, and Clinton is embracing the history making moment of becoming the first woman to be a party's presumptive nominee.
CLINTON: It's really emotional. It will make a very big difference for a father or a mother to be able to look at their daughter just like they can look at their son and say, "You can be anything you want to be in this country."
ZELENY: Her supporters worry Sanders could stand in the way of this history.
SANDERS: Is that a serious question?
ZELENY: A point he angrily refuted today.
SANDERS: To say that it is sexist ...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We love you, Bernie.
ZELENY: Sanders supporters insist they're settling in for a fight and hope a California victory will force the Democratic Party to take a second look.
SANDERS: Hi, how are you?
ZELENY: Yet today, Sanders' tone seems softer, barely mentioning Clinton's name at a San Francisco press conference.
[20:50:07] SANDERS: Let's assess where we are after tomorrow before we make statements base on speculation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: And joining me now is Jeff Zeleny from San Francisco. What more can you tell us about this phone call between Sanders and President Obama?
ZELENY: Anderson, the phone call happened yesterday. It was a private phone call just between these two men. And they've had a few before over this long Democratic primary.
But I am told that the President praised Senator Sanders for the type of campaign he's run and advised him that he would indeed be endorsing formally Hillary Clinton as early as this week. We don't know exactly when but possibly on Wednesday, the morning after these last six primaries.
But, Anderson, you can see the crowd behind me here in San Francisco, thousands of supporters of Senator Sanders. So that is what is weighing on Senator Sanders here, his goal, as he says, to keep Donald Trump from the White House also his goal to not disappoint these supporters here. That's the decision he's facing.
But I can tell it you, Anderson, we talked to him earlier today. He had a different tone in his answers as he addressed things. So he says that he'll re-assess things after tomorrow, and he should be given that space to do that here. He's won 20 states of course here and dropping out is always a process if he decides to do that. Anderson?
COOPER: All right, Jeff Zeleny, thanks.
Joining me now, Political Strategist, Bernie Sanders surrogate, Jonathan Tasini. New York State Democratic Party Executive Director Basil Smikle, who supports Hillary Clinton and back with us journalist and author Carl Bernstein.
Carl if President Obama does endorse Hillary Clinton as early as Wednesday, what impact do you think that has on Sanders?
CARL BERNSTEIN, JOURNALIST: Well I think that if Sanders loses California, he has very little room to maneuver. There's only one question left, and that is about the server. We keep seeing time bombs with the server. The only way Sanders can be the nominee is if super delegates move towards him because there is such fallout over further bad information about the server that they might be tempted.
You know, the thing about the server is that her conduct is indefensible and she hasn't been truthful. And it's her people -- people who favor her know this. And they worry that what she has done here is give Donald Trump a possibility of becoming president by her conduct with the server, and that's the worries.
COOPER: Jonathan you're a Sanders supporter. I mean how worried are you about Obama coming out, the President coming out and endorsing Hillary Clinton?
JONATHAN TASINI, SANDER'S SURROGATE: Well let me just say one thing because there's been some things that have been conflated here. There will be no clinching tomorrow. Nobody clinches the nomination. We will not know who the nominee is until the super delegates and delegates vote on the convention floor in July.
And as Carl points out, there are 50 days roughly between tomorrow and the convention and a lot of things happen. That's five lifetimes, political lifetimes.
COOPER: For you is the server thing the biggest thing that could happen? TASINI: Well who knows? Yes, that's a big deal because I think Carl is right, and we've had this debate before. Hillary Clinton has not been forthcoming. And you know, what we never seem to learn this in politics, Carl.
It goes back to your day. It's not so much what you do, it's the cover-up that actually hurts politicians more. And Hillary Clinton up front said, "Boy, I messed up", it would have been a one-day story.
COOPER: All right, Basil, before you respond, we got to get a quick break in. But you will be the first to respond as a Clinton supporter right after the break, we'll take more in.
[20:56:27] COOPER: It's the night before the last Super Tuesday of what has been a presidential race like no other. Hillary Clinton just 26 delegates away from becoming the presumptive Democratic nominee.
Back now with the panel. Basil, again how important do you think it is for President Obama to come out on Wednesday, as early as that and say he's supporting Hillary Clinton?
BASIL SMIKLE, HILLARY CLINTON SUPPORTER: It's incredibly important for a couple of reasons. Number one, his approval ratings are high. Number two with respect to a lot of the core constituencies that Hillary will need African Americans, Latinos, certainly young people, independents, it's incredibly important for him to acknowledge his support early, go out there and campaign for her very early.
I do -- you know, my colleagues here might disagree, but I do think tomorrow, at least in terms of the total delegates, unpledged and pledged, she will have enough to clinch the nomination. But what you said is also true. In theory anything can happen at the convention.
I don't think that's the case. I think there is a movement to try to bring everybody together because we look at the foe in Donald Trump and believe that we all need to combine to be able to go after him.
COOPER: Jonathan, I mean Sander's argument that the super delegates are going to look at that polls that show in a theoretical matchup he can beat Donald Trump. There's no -- is there any evidence of that at this point, that super delegates are making that link?
TASINI: Well no, but we have to make that argument between -- and by the way there's one more primary, District of Columbia gets to vote on the 14th, we want to recognize that, if they get a change to vote.
We have never said in the last few weeks anything, Bernie or anyone else, anything but it's a huge hill to climb. It's a very steep hill. We have to convince super delegates, who are frankly part of the establishment that we've been criticizing for whole year.
But I think the prospect of potentially losing the White House and letting Donald Trump be president will be something that the super delegates will and will make arguments and should consider. SMIKLE: They'll think that but I also see as much as much as you've been talking about the super delegates, you've also spoken about them derisively. But you're going to need to call them.
TASINI: I agree with you.
COOPER: What's in it for Sanders to stay in, I mean affecting the platform, getting as much impact at the convention as possible?
BERNSTEIN: I think reality that something could happen and he's in a stronger position if something happens. And there is this very unusual situation with the server and an FBI investigation that something could happen.
Is it likely? No. Is she going to be indicted? I don't know anybody who think she is. Might someone else be indicted? Perhaps. Might there be a report? Might there be leaks? The question is, are we in the press going to say she is the nominee when, in fact, she's not.
And that places into what she wants. And we shouldn't be doing it.
TASINI: I agree with Carl.
BERNSTEIN: We ought to put an asterisk, yeah presumption, yeah. She could probably be the nominee. But that's it. Let's wait until the facts are in.
COOPER: We got to take a break now.
Coming up another hour of "360", sources telling CNN Donald Trump has issued an order to people speak in his behalf. He wants them to not back down, to back him up by criticizing a federal judge overseeing a law suit against him. A judge Trump says can't do his job because, in part, his parents were Mexican immigrants.
We'll have the latest ahead.