tv CNN Newsroom With Carol Costello CNN May 12, 2016 6:00am-8:01am PDT
and good morning, i'm carol costello. thank you for joining me. high stakes huddle, donald trump and paul ryan. right now, the gop power players meeting behind closed doors in washington. the goal, to put an end to the republican infighting and unite around a trump candidacy. you see mr. trump there, he waived just moments ago as he arrived at the rnc headquarters, trump now powwowing with ryan. they both kick off a busy day. after mr. trump wraps up with gop leaders in the house, we'll
meet with the party senate leade leaders. the big question, when trump leaves washington today, will his party be aboard the trump train. we're following all of this, like only cnn can. our team of political experts, chief political correspondent, dana bash, manu raju, and our chief political analyst, gloria joins me onset. set the scene for us, dana. >> reporter: that's right. i'm on 1 enmanju is on the othe. the criesness going on over here. one of the sort of bev the repos end cameras to try to get the scene. if you look over here, this is on this side, this is the driveway where donald trump came in. because, it is a way for him to get into the building without having to deal, not just with reporters, but also, with the
protesters who you'll probably hear when you go to manu. that's the feel out here, inside, though, you know, i can't emphasize enough how much sources who i talked to are trying to make the temperature and the vibe very, very different. much more low-key. much more get to know ya. that's something everybody i talked to reminds me over and over again, carol. >> donald trump and the leaders in the house, the five or so that he is going to meet with this morning, they don't really know each other well. he might have met them at a fund-raiser, a party, but for the most party, they don't know each other the way past republican nominees have. you have that, plus the very real differences between donald trump and some of these members, whether it's paul ryan, when it comes to policy, like trade. like taxes, or of course, temperament, which is something that paul ryan has made clear
that he is reluctant to endorse donald trump, because of. add it altogether, that's why it is an important meeting. but sources i talked to, also say, carol, not to have an expectation of, you know, either a big endorsement or a big announcement. that this is something that they are going to say is the first step of building a relationship. carol. >> all right, so dana, we'll go on the other side of the street and check in with manu, because i do see protesters. tell us about it. >> reporter: yeah, as dana said earlier, where ever donald trump goes, protesters go as well. right behind me, you'll see about a dozen or so undocumented immigrants or advocates of immigration reform, chanting and calling donald trump deceitful, a handful of protesters trying to get attention. they know this is where we are and talking about donald trump.
we're probably not going to see many republicans come through the front entrance of the rnc, but clearly, both sides ahead of the key meet rg trying to down-play expectations. i think they want to come out and have a more positive message, a message that is more aligned with one another. something we have not quite seen so far yet. also, to communicate that each has their own political imperatives this year. paul ryan needs to maintain that house republican majority and he needs donald trump to not say things and not do things that put it, make it much harder, particularly for the vulnerable house republicans. i've been told by members that plan to attend these meetings, they want to raise the issue of donald trump's tone, not actually use foul language, things that could embarrass their candidates. those are things they may discuss, but don't expect any break through on issues that divide them, on immigration, taxes, trade for instance. but more to be more on the same lines that we're on the same
team. we think we have a common goal, which is to beat the democrats in the fall, carol. >> we'll get back to you manu. dana, gloria is also here. put it into historical perspective for us. we don't see this every time -- >> we don't. >> okay, this is unprecedented. you have the speaker of the house who is the senior republican office holder in the country, saying that he is not there yet in terms of being fully full throated endorsed of the nominee of the party. a nominee of the party, by the way, who brought millions of new voters, who didn't participate before, to the polls. and so they're not going to square off in a you know, mono o mono way, paul ryan comes from a different place in the party. he didn't like what donald trump said about muslims. he is all about reforming entitlements. donald trump has said i'm not going to touch social security.
he doesn't like his -- there is a lot about him. he doesn't like his tone. but what donald trump has in his back pocket are battle ground state polls, which show the speak of the house, you know what, this will be a race. these polls are really close right now. i can beat hillary clinton. and we need to be united. i believe they'll eventually get there, but i do believe they have to go through this and paul ryan has to say this is what i believe. we can't have a candidate who's r -- who's r who is erratic. paul ryan represents a divided caucus. some think he made a huge mistake saying i'm not there yet and others applauding him, saying good for you. it depends on what part of the country you're from. so this is kind of unprecedented, to get back to your original point. it's also unprecedented that mitt romney, the last republican
nominee, is not going to support donald trump. not going to go to the convention. two former republican presidents, 41, bush 41, bush 43. not going to go to the republican convention. so this is a delegate dance they're doing right now. but for the good of the republican party, because they all have one mutual goal, which is to win. so for the good of the party, eventually they're going to have to get to yes. >> we'll see if that's even -- but it won't be today you think? >> i doubt it, given what paul ryan said the other day. as dana points out, i doubt it happens today. >> so gloria, stick around. you guys stick around as well. i'm going to bring in my next guest now. the reason speaker ryan is not enthusiastic about a trump candidacy because of what trump says. he confuses paul ryan and other republicans. it is hard to pin do you know how mr. trump stands on issues, even his core issues, like the ban on muslims. listen to trump on fox news.
>> i don't want to beat a dead horse, so it is a ban on muslims with exceptions, and. >> of course, always. you have to have exceptions. >> the way everybody read it, it was across the table. >> no, exceptions. we just have to find out what is
happening. >> that's not what mr. trump said last december. >> donald j. trump is calling for a total and complete shut down of muslims entering the united states. until our country's representatives can figure out what the hell is going on. we have no choice. we have no choice. >> with me now, republican congresswoman, marsha blackburn, also a possible vp pick. welcome. >> good morning. >> good morning.
as you look at the scene, outside the rnc headquarters, what goes through your mind? >> well, it's quite a scene. i find it so curious that everybody is out there and protesters are out there, because there is going to be a meeting between the speaker of the house and our nominee for president. and i think one of the things is it shows the heightened interest in the campaign. it also shows there are people who are very pro and very anti. so you know, little taste of what's to come in
the fall, don't you think? >> yeah, just a little taste of what's to come. let me ask you about donald trump's policies, because some republicans are confused by exactly where he stands on issues. mr. frtrump would say you know what, i'm flexible. if he were a normal run of the mill politician, many people would call him a flip flopper. isn't that the same as flip flopping? >> carol, what we're looking at is what the voters are saying.
and so many times it is not what you say, it is what somebody heard. and i think when it comes to the issue of preserving and stabilizing social security and preserving and stabilizing medicare and making certain that we keep the country safe, that we need to be listening and talking to our con stistituents about what -- >> wouldn't his ban keep k the country safe in his mind and now he appears to be vacillating? >> i think that it is a bigger than looking at that. you have to look at the office of refugee resetment and say my goodness, what is going on here. when we go to the southern border for instance, i've been in the reception dinners where you would have people from 15 or 20 different countries that are coming across the border. so that is our experience in that realm. >> but what about this muslim, i want to go back to the muslim back because i think people are
confused about that. >> sure. >> many of trump's supporters support a ban on muslims coming into the country until as mr. trump says we figure it out. does mr. trump still believe that or doesn't he? >> i haven't had a conversation with him about that. i can tell you what most of my constituents, and e-mails that coming into to me, they would like for us to temporarily suspend it until we can figure out what is going on with those that are trying to come into the country. they want us to be more aggressive in helping to protect the syrian refugees in the region. and make certain that christians are not being persecuted. so there again, this is what, you know, when i went to church on sunday, i had some people that said you know, we do a lot of outreach with those communities around the globe that are facing persecution. but they want us to be wise. they do not want terror cells,
they don't want people doing harm and disrupt their communities. and i think -- >> no, i understand. i'm just watching a picture of this. it appears to be a red casket like thing. i don't know what it exactly symbolizes, but it is outside where trump is meeting with house speaker ryan. it is not just the muslim ban that donald trump appears to be vacillating, though, on congresswom congresswoman. you know, first he said on "meet the press" that taxes would go up, then he said no, he would cut taxes for everyone. he said he would punish women who have abortions, but then he said no, would he just punish their doctors. i could go on, but isn't it understandable why speaker ryan is a little confused? >> of course it is. of course it is. it is understandable. and i think that paul ryan is looking at his first job, which is to protect the house, make certain that we maintain the majority in the house. he wants to get to know donald trump. i think what you're going to see
is they will move toward commonalty we will have a robust agenda that we will run on for the fall. and the american people mainly focus on three things. what we hear most about is national security. jobs and economics security and interestingly enough, retirement security. >> people want answers. they want to know exactly where mr. trump is coming from. >> i agree with. >> you at the end of the day, will we get a clearer view on exactly where mr. trump stands, or will he continue to be flexible? >> i think what you will have by the end of this day is a clear view of what the process is going to be for those that are in the house and the senate. republicans in the house and the senate, to work with mr. trump and his campaign to focus on developing the most aggressive 100 day agenda, so that when we have a president trump in the white house, we hit the ground
running, and we get some things done to answer the questions that the american people want to see some action on, and that is what i think you're going to see at the end of the day. >> last question. do you want to be mr. trump's vp? >> no one ever turns it down, that type of service, but i would be a very most unusual choice. >> we wish you luck, congresswoman, marsha bradford. >> nice to see you. still to come in the "newsroom," bernie sanders says hillary clinton is a disaster. will democrats be able to unite? when josh atkins books at laquinta.com. he gets a ready for you alert the second his room is ready. so you know what he gives? i'll give you everything i've got and then some.
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lawmakers and the goal is to try to unite the party. outside, protests going on. as you saw, very raucous protesters. let's go to manu raju and dana bash. manu, let's start with you. how many protesters exactly are there out there? >> reporter: probably about a dozen, maybe a dozen and a half protesters standing right behind me right here. folks actually mostly protesting over the issue of undocumented immigrants. of course, as we know, he wants to build a wall between the u.s. and mexico. he wants mexico to pay for it. and deport 11 million or so undocumented immigrants. what they're chanting is undocumented, unafraid, and you're hearing a pretty raucous, but peaceful protests i may add. a handful of pro trump supporters are here shouting back, creating a big you've raucous scene, which of course is commonplace in trump events these days. but you know, one of the
interests things that republicans, one of the reasons why i should say republicans are somewhat nervous about donald trump at the top of the ticket is where ever he goes, these scenes are created. and for republicans who are up for reelection, they need the trump supporters to come out to the polls, but they don't want to be associated with these kinds of things happening at trump events, which is one reason why a lot of trump supporters, a lot of republicans on capitol hill simply will not go to the convention this summer and want to avoid it altogether. it will be interesting to see how closely aligned the republican party leadership gets behind their standard bearer after today's meetings, carol. >> all right, manu ranl gju. let's go to dana bash. the meeting will last about what, 30 minutes. might it go over? >> reporter: who knows. we'll see. i would imagine it would go longer than that, but remember, paul ryan is there and other members of the house republican leadership. and so you know, i think that what manu said is so important
to remember about the fact that you know, the question is about whether the house republicans are going to get behind donald trump, but this is a two-way street. every single member of the house is also up for reelection this year. and republicans who are many of them just the way these districts are drawn right now in ruby red districts, incumbent c is a dirty word. so they also, the leadership wants to make sure that donald trump as now the effective leader of the party is going to help incumbents get reelected, and not encourage the kind of, you know, outsider challenge to the washington that has fueled his candidacy. so that's kind of a tricky thing for somebody who is the ultimate outsider like donald trump, meeting with these guys.
so that's another thing we need to keep in mind about house republicans, and what they expect from donald trump. that is no doubt i'm told by a source familiar with the plan going into this meeting by house republicans, going to be on the table. >> reince priebus is also in the initial meeting, right, dana? so is he playing moderator. what role does he have here? >> reporter: you know, kind of. i think that's a good way to put it. because reince priebus has been in touch with donald trump. i mean, he has had to as the party chair. he remember now kind of famously flew up to trump tower to get all of the nominees to sign the pledge. they do know each other. reince priebus and paul ryan are both from wisconsin. and they kind of grew up together in politics. they really do know each other well. so that's an important point. that he is kind of maybe the
moderator or the person who will help bridge, not just in terms of policy, but personality in this meeting. >> interesting. manu, i'm just curious. it seems to me that donald trump still holds most of the cards, right? he has gotten more voter in the primary season than any republican candidate in history. people have spoken. they don't like incumbents. the republican party itself and congress is extremely unpopular. so doesn't donald trump hold most of the cards here? >> reporter: yeah, you know, that's a very good point, carol. that's one reason why that actually paul ryan has been republican colleagues who say is that, look, he is going to be the nominee. it's time for the party to get behind him. you may not like everything he stands for, but this what we need to do. unite and head into the fall campaign. i heard from a lot of republicans yesterday that they're concerned about the leadership stance on donald trump. and ryan, if he holds out, the
longer he holds out, the more isolated he could become within the republican conference and across the capitol. mitch mcconnell is endorsing donald trump at this point. so that's going to be a challenge for paul ryan going forward and how he messages afterwards will be fascinating to see as well, carol. >> it will. manu and dana, you stick around. we'll get back to you when we can. when we come back, we'll get the democratic reaction to all of this. we have someone from the bernie sanders camp next, jeff weaver. why weigh yourself down? try aveeno® sheer hydration. its active naturals® oat formula... ...goes on feather light. absorbs in seconds... ...keeps skin healthy looking and soft. aveeno® naturally beautiful results.
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headquarters. this was earlier, his plane landed around 8:00 a.m. eastern in washington, and then of course, he came by motorcade to the rnc headquarters, and he has been huddled in there with paul ryan and reince priebus ever since. we expect the meeting to last about 30 minutes, and then mr. trump will head next door to the capitol hill club, where he'll meet with these house leaders that you're seeing right there. we think that they'll continue to talk about unity, and how mr. trump could help other house members who might be up for reelection, or -- up forry election this term. joining me now, jeff weaver, campaign manager for the bernie sanders campaign. hi, jeff. >> hey, carol, how are you? >> hi, jeff. i know we're going to talk about bernie sanders. i invited you to talk about bernie sanders, but what's going on in washington, d.c. right now. as you look at the protesters here and as you this i about what might be happening in that meeting between speaker ryan and
donald trump, what goes through your mind as a democratic? >> well, i think what you're seeing now is really the party is going to coalesce around donald trump, despite all of the criticism he has received from some republicans about his divisive language, his put downs of women and minorities. it looks like the party is now going to rally around him. and i think this a very dangerous time for the country to have, you know, a person like donald trump with the full republican party and all that money and all that organization behind him. >> it seem likes they're headed that way, though, right? >> oh, it certainly does. i mean, i'm sure you've seen all the clips of all the of his past opponents who had, you know, called him a pathological liar, called him this and that, but they all seem to be rallying around the flag. i think it will be -- the thing is, he'll be a moformidable
candidate in the fall. >> having said that, there are dooe doo democra democrats might site the fundraising e-mail that's making the rounds this morning. pushing toward a contested convention, where team sanders says, quote, the democratic party must decide if they want the candidate with the best momentum or willing to roll the dice and court disaster, simply to protect the status quo. your name is at the bottom of that. so you wrote that. so what do you mean by disaster? >> well, look, electing trump to the presidency of the united states would be an unmitigated disaster. having the republicans continue to control both houses of congress will be a disaster. government seats will be a disaster. cnn reported the polling yesterday, battle ground state polls show consistently now, both nationally and battle ground states, bernie sanders is a much stranger candidate against donald trump than is secretary clinton.
>> so you're saying, jeff, if hillary clinton were to become the nominee, it would be a disaster for the democratic party and the nation? >> no, i said it says courting disaster. the disaster would be the election of donald trump. i think democrats need to nominate the strongest candidate against donald trump. all the polling demonstrates consistently now that bernie sanders is a much stronger candidate. not only that, but he brings out a large numbers of people that might not otherwise participate. a lot of young people. strong with independents. he can create the kind of momentum that will not only elect a president, but also elect democrats up and down the ballot. that's what we mean. >> but even senator sanders admits he has a narrow path to victo victory. it would be a miracle. he needs 102% of the remaining delegates. that said, many democrats are asking why sanders continues to use words like disaster to describe anything about hillary
clinton. >> well, the disaster is the election of donald trump. that's what the disaster is. we don't want to see that happen. that's why bernie sanders will fight all the way to the convention. fight to make sure the democratic party stands by principles that protect working families and middle income families, and that's why we need to nominate the strongest candidate who can beat donald trump in the fall. the disaster is not hillary clinton. the disaster is the election of donald trump. >> i got that straight. but bernie sanders has a very, very narrow path to victory, in fact, many people say it would be impossible. donald trump has already using bernie sanders' words against hillary clinton, some accused sanders of becoming sort of ghostwriter for donald trump. is that fair? >> no, it's not fair. look, as long as there is a contested democratic primary going on, you're going to hear discussions about issues like raising the minimum wage, how we create access to college education so people don't have tons of debt.
how we create -- auts soon as ts is over, i can guarantee the media coverage will be about name-calling and finger pointing, and we're not going to have any more discussion about the issues. as long as there is a democratic process going on, issues of importance to democrats are being discussed. >> and it's important to talk about issues. but we wi but will senator sanders go on attack ads or using words to attack hillary clinton that donald trump could use in the future? >> well, he has never -- bernie sanders doesn't run attack ads, and i think it is fair for him on the campaign trail to be laying out the contrasts on substance between himself and secretary clinton. they have different views on how much he should raise minimum wage. he is for $15, the secretary is not. he is for free tuition at public colleges and universities, the secretary is not. these are important questions for democrats. i know the media wants to call
the process over, but there are a number of states left to vote including the largest state in the country. every voter should be able to register their choice for their nominee. >> jeff weaver, thank you so much. we're keeping an eye on the meeting that you're looking at on screen. i'll be right back. why weigh yourself down? try aveeno® sheer hydration. its active naturals® oat formula... ...goes on feather light. absorbs in seconds... ...keeps skin healthy looking and soft. aveeno® naturally beautiful results.
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all right, welcome back. i'm carol costello. you're looking at a live picture. rnc headquarters, where trump is huddling with speaker ryan and reince priebus. we're guessing that that meeting is just about over. it was supposed to last just a half hour. and then donald trump will go next door to the rnc headquarters to the capitol hill club where he'll meet with those house leaders. that meeting may have already started. we expect mr. trump to be -- they're all connected. he won't come outside. we expect the two meetings in total to last about an hour.
with me now, donald trump senior advisor, sarah huckabee sanders. hi, sarah. >> good morning, carol. thanks for having me on. >> thanks for being here. so did mr. trump prepare for this meeting, and if he did, how? >> you know, i think he has been preparing his whole life to run for president, by being a businessman, by business an executive. he has been meeting with voters all over the country. all across the country. and leadership i don't think he'll change his message or make it any different. so i think he is absolutely again been preparing for this over the last years. he has campaigned everywhere. this is going to be i think a very positive meeting, time for them to open up the line of communication, develop a deeper relationship and build on that relationship from today. >> is mr. trump willing to compromise with the house speaker and the republican leadership in the house? >> you know, i think there are a lot of things they already agree on. that's where the focus will start.
they're certainly committed to defeats isis, cutting taxes for all americans. i think that's the starting place, to focus on the things they already agree on, which are vast and some of the biggest issues facing the country today. they're on the same page. so i think that's where they start and build and work from there. >> there is a bit of controversy swirling around mr. trump, and it thats to do with his taxes and whether he'll release them. he says he will after an audit. but history proves mr. trump may not. last week, he suggested to wolf blitzer, the irs could be out to get him. listen. >> i said to friends of mine, how often are you audited. >> do you think it's political? >> i would say yes. >> irs is doing this in. >> i don't know. >> mr. trump deflected the issue for years. you consider how you answered the question in 2011, when he was considering a white house run then. listen. >> we'll look at that. maybe i'll do the tax returns when obama does his birth
certificate. >> well, president obama did release his birth certificate, so maybe mr. trump should bone e pony up now, sarah. >> he is committed to releasing them as soon as a routine audit is complete. i don't think there is any question the irs doesn't exactly have the best track record when dealing with conservatives and conservative organizations. so i think he is following the advice of his accountants. and those that know his situation best, and as soon as that routine audit is complete, he is committed to releasing his tax returns. >> what do you think the irs is doing to his tax returns? what is the suspicion here? >> i don't know what the suspicions are, but they've been advised to wait. at the end of the day, i don't think that any americans are as concerned about donald trump's
taxes as they are concerned about their own. and the thing that they want to know is what is donald trump's tax policy, what is donald trump's tax plan. it has been very clear, he is the only person in the race that is committed to -- >> i think voters are very curious to see what is in donald trump's tax returns, as they have been for every single person who has run for president since 1976. >> well, we may have to agree to disagree on that. they fill out a very in-depth financial disclosure form, which gives you far more information than a tax return. >> so it would have been okay if hillary clinton had not released her tax returns? that would have been fine with donald trump? >> look, i think hillary clinton has got far more bigger things than she is going to have to talk about and release than her tax returns. she has plenty of scandals that she'll have to answer for, and i think she needs to be prepared for that. so that's just one thing she can check off of her list of things that she doesn't have to defend
and talk about. again, donald trump hasn't said he won't. he just said he is waiting until the audit is completed and as soon as it is, he will release the returns. >> you can prolong things as much as you want. i am a cynic, you know. i'm like really, he could like prolong the audit forever. >> i don't think he actually controls the audit. i'm pretty sure that's up to the irs. >> he controls what information he gives to the irs for their investigation. in a timely fashion, right? >> again, look, i think at the end of the day, again, donald trump is committed to releasing the returns the minute that the audit is complete. and i think that he will absolutely follow-through on that commitment, and in the meantime, i think americans are more focused on their own taxes, less on donald trump's. they want to know what's coming back in their own pocketbook, not donald trump's. >> all right, sarah. >> he is the only one that will
fight for him and put americans first. >> sarah huckabee sanders, thank you for being with me. dan quayle leaving no question on where he stands on donald trump. why do people put milk on cereal? why does your tummy go "grumbily, grumbily, grumbily"? no more questions for you! ooph, that milk in your cereal was messing with you, wasn't it? try lactaid, it's real milk, without that annoying lactose. good, right? mmm, yeah. lactaid. the milk that doesn't mess with you.
began ge gangel. >> dan quayle is breaking with his former president, bush 41. bush 43. he thinks that trump can win and he also has some advice for him on who he should pick for his vice president. take a listen. so what do you think about presumptive republican nominee donald trump? >> he is the presumptive nominee. the party has to unite around him. >> has to are you night around him. >> has to unite around him. they will. there will be a few holdouts. the holdouts will get a lot of airtime on cnn and other networks, but by and large i think the party will rally around him. we would need to step back. a year ago i put myself in this camp, nobody thought that donald trump would be the nominee for the republican party, or very
few people. >> what did you think would happen? >> in the normal sorting out process, the cream usually goes to the top, and i didn't realize donald trump was going to be the cream that got to the top. i totally misjudged his act to win, but for somebody that has really no experience in politics, to be able to start off and to win with a strong field and not even go to the convention, that he's the presumptive nominee a month before we have our final primaries is quite remarkable. it shows that he is a winner. he knows how to win. >> you will support him. you will vote for him. no reservations. >> as of now unless something happens that i don't know. but, no, he's the nominee of the party, and the party needs to unite around him, and i think that they will. he's going to be having a meeting with paul ryan and i think that meeting will go
reasonably well. i think -- >> do you know something? >> i will say this, paul ryan in my view will support our nominee. there's very little doubt in my mind for a couple reasons. one, you know, he's a team player. he's got a big team in the house of representatives. second reason is that most of his caucus, i'd say probably 85%, 90% of his caucus is going to support donald trump. >> president bush 41, president bush 43 have declined to support trump. mitt romney called him a phony and a fraud. ted cruz called him a pathological liar. should all of these people come around? >> i'm sure that there will be some that will sit it out, maybe some that might even vote for hillary clinton. i hope those that have said they won't support him now would reconsider and before they cast their vote on election day in november would end up voting for him. if not, don't show up.
>> you think donald trump can win? >> i do think he can win. i think he can win because this is clearly the year of the anti-establishment, if you will. so if you want more of the same, republicans or democrats, more of the political mess in washington, i mean, you got the quintessential establishment candidate in hillary clinton. >> one of the big concerns about donald trump is that he does not have the temperament, the character to be president. lindsey graham said he wouldn't trust him with nuclear weapons. do you have any of those concerns? >> donald trump has just won the republican nom nitiinationnomin he's the presumptive nominee, and he won in a competitive race. he's a winner. he knows how to win. now he's got to run a general election, and he, i'm sure, is going to, as he said, i'm going to change my demeanor, i'm going
to change my strategy, i'm going to change my approach, so people will start to look at him differently, and they'll be making the judgment whether he has the temperament, whether he has the gravitas, whether he has the ability to be in the oval office and make those decisions because i'm sure that he knows this. winning the nomination is one thing. winning the general election is another thing. >> so it's really interesting. by the way, he has not spoken to trump. he has not met with him. this is he on his own thinks this. you know, we're waiting to see about this meeting with paul ryan and trump. he is convinced, he wouldn't tell me how he knew, but he believes that paul ryan is going to come around, and on vice president, he thinks mub mubarak
-- marco rubio is an interesting name. he says when you get the call you say yes, but his number one pick is ohio senator rob portman. >> he said no too. >> he said if trump calls -- if you're the nominee and you call, people change, so he thinks that portman would be the perfect parter in. >> and if paul ryan coalesces around donald trump, those people might change their mind too, right? >> exactly, exactly. >> fascinating. >> thank you. >> jamie, thank you. the next hour of cnn "newsroom" after a break. when consultant josh atkins books at laquinta.com. he gets a ready for you alert the second his room is ready. so he knows exactly when he can settle in and think big. and when josh thinks big you know what he gives? i'll give you everything i've got and then some... he gives a hundred and ten percent! i'm confident this 10% can boost your market share. look at that pie chart! boom! you've never seen a number like that! you feel me lois? i'm feeling you. yeah you do! let's do this! watch out he just had a whole thimble full of coffee...
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together, we're building a better california. e.t. phone home. when you find something you love, you can never get enough of it. change the way you experience tv with xfinity x1. and good morning. i'm carol costello. thank you so much for joining me. a high stakes meeting in the capit capital. we expect donald trump has wrapped up his meeting with paul
ryan and the two men have transitioned to a larger meeting with house leaders. they're huddling behind closed doors in washington. that's mr. trump arriving earlier this morning. the goal here to put an end to the republican in-fighting an unite around a trump candidacy. trump's pow wow with ryan kicked off a busy day after trump rapped up with the gop leaders in the house, he will meet with the party's senate leaders. the big question, as i said, when trump leaves washington today, will the party be united. we're following all of this as only cnn can with our team of political experts, our chief political correspondent da that ba -- dana bash, manu raju, gloria borger is here with me and senior white house correspondent jim acosta is at a place where trump will be later meeting with his top aides. i want to start with you, dana. what do you suppose is going on right now? >> reporter: i can tell you what was going on -- everything okay,
carol? >> yeah, yeah. you just appeared for just a second. but you're back now, dana. >> reporter: oh, good. okay. so what was going on for the past hour while you and i talked through the 9:00 hour was a very, very limited meeting. it was just paul ryan, the house speaker, reince priebus, the national committee chair and donald trump, just the three of them. and it seems as though it lasted at least an hour, and in the leadup to this meeting, and you alluded to this, carol, the last time you and i spoke, it appears that reince priebus, the rnc chair, was very much the go-between, because he has gotten to know donald trump over the past many months as the chair of the party dealing with him and all of the contenders for the republican nomination, and so i am told by a source familiar with kind of the goings
on behind the scenes over the past week that he, reince priebus, talked to trump every day, sometimes multiple times a day in preparation for this and other things, just as they're kind of joining forces, and also reince priebus was in consultation with paul ryan, another man he knows very well. they're both from wisconsin. they, again, grew up together in republican politics there. so he very much has been kind of the go-between and clearly was that bridge, at least attempted to be, in this meeting that just occurred at the rnc behind me. kind of the way i was thinking about it, and these are my words, not my source's, is reince priebus is kind of the couple's tharmeerapist for this first meeting. >> i'm being sent e-mails with great information you're getting from the field. is it true reince priebus and donald trump have talked every day leading up to this meeting? >> reporter: that's my understanding.
now, i should say that given where we are in the campaign, that donald trump and his team and the rnc and the whole -- all of the mechanics that go along with the rnc, they have to, you know, now work together. so i can't imagine that the two of them were just talking about paul ryan. i mean, they have to join forces and are trying to figure out ways to do that. so it's not unusual for these two men in their positions to have a very aggressive line of communication, but it obviously is a little bit different, a lot different, given the state of play right now with donald trump and the house and republican leadership, but obviously mostly paul ryan who shocked everybody last week by withholding his endorsement. >> interesting. all right, dana bash, thanks so much. let's head across the street to manu raju standing with a whole bunch of protesters. describe the scene there, manu. >> reporter: it is rather
chaotic, i'll tell you. this is a group of protesters that's grown larger over the past several hours. really was only maybe a handful of people initially. now it's not a ton of protesters, maybe close to two dozen at this point but they're loud and they're trying to make their point heard and what they're trying to say actually really railing on the issue of immigration reform, one of the most passionate issues, of course, in this campaign season, and donald trump taking a very hard line position here, but a peaceful, yet raucous protest. one thing i want to add about inside the room. that meeting, the smaller meeting that dana described so well, that meeting is now concluded. i have been told by sources familiar with the meeting, we're now in the broader leadership meeting beyond just the initial meeting included just reince priebus, paul ryan, donald trump. now it includes four other members of the house republican leadership. a lot of folks who don't know donald trump. so that meeting is going to happen right now. we'll see how long it lasts. paul ryan has his press conference and we'll hear more
about it as well as donald trump heads across the capitol to meet with senate republicans. we'll see if this was a good meeting or not, but one thing a lot of these guys want to make sure of is these kind of things that happen, these protests that happen behind them, don't get ugly, don't get to a point where it will embarrass the party and make it hard for those guys down ticket in those very tough house and senate races, carol. >> okay. so manu raju, thanks so much. gloria, when you step back, it's just such a soap opera because the specter of mitt romney is hanging over all of this, right? >> well, yes. i mean, don't forget, don't forget that paul ryan is very close to mitt romney. mitt romney chose him to be his junior partner, his running mate, in the last campaign. i'm told the two talk all the time. so they are very close. i think, however, when it comes to paul ryan, who is the speaker of the house, he has some clear differences with trump. he doesn't like his tone, and i think there's a worry that he's
a little bit erratic. i mean, we've seen just yesterday on the proposed muslim ban, right, which was very strong during the campaign, 70% of republicans ain a lot of exi polls supported him on the temporary ban on muslims, and now he seems to be softening his position -- >> there are exceptions. >> -- saying it might be a suggestion. so donald trump will tell you that he is a negotiator, he is a dealmaker, and what paul ryan is all about is his conservatism, his agenda, his very definitive policies. so i think what they're trying to do is find a way to get to yes so they can support each other because what they both need to do is bring out the voters in the republican party to the polls because that will help paul ryan's caucus get re-elected, and it will help donald trump become president. so they do have to find a way in
the end to be more unified than they are right now because what you're really seeing is unprecedented, and i think in the end they will get to yes. they may not get there this morning, but i think when they continue to have these conversations, they will find a way to do it because it's in their own self interest. >> interesting. so donald trump is probably wrapping up his meeting with the house leadership right now. next, later this afternoon, he's going to be meeting with senate leaders. >> right. >> jim acroosta is outside the place where that meeting will take place. set the scene, jim. >> reporter: that's right, carol. this meeting with paul ryan and reince priebus, that's only one half of the equation. donald trump is going to be meeting with the senate majority leader, mitch mcconnell, and other top senate republican leaders at these offices behind me on the other side of the capitol later on, as you mentioned. and, you know, basically what the republican party is doing right now, the establishment and donald trump, what they're trying to do is find a tent big enough for the circus that you've seen roll into town this morning, carol. and i talked to a donald trump
aide earlier this morning who said, you know what? they understand that paul ryan is probably not going to walk out to the microphones and endorse donald trump, that this is an opening conversation. this is the beginning of a process of healing that they understand needs to take place in the republican party. donald trump engaged in what can only be described as combat in order to get this nomination. he had to roll over the likes of jeb bush, marco rubio, ted cruz, and then some, and it was difficult at times. and so there are some republicans who have a little dtsd, a little donald trump stress disorder and they will have to work through this process, but i can tell from you talking to people up on capitol hill, carol, you know, i talked to a very good republican aide source up on the hill yesterday who said members are all over the place. those are his words, all over the place, when it comes to donald trump. so there is something at stake here for donald trump. yes, he runs against the establishment, he rails against the establishment at these rallies, but he can't have paul ryan out there along with mitt
romney, the last ticket for the republicans in 2012, sort of making life difficult for him between now and cleveland. and i think that's why you've seen donald trump over the last several days, yes, he sent out that one tweet saying, well, i don't support paul ryan because he doesn't support me, but in the last couple days what you've seen from donald trump is a lot of restraint, a lot of un-trumplike restraint saying he wants unity and wants to work with paul ryan. people inside the campaign want that as well. they know there are policy differences they have to work through, but there have been policy differences inside the republican party on things like medicare/medicaid, social security, on taxes for a long time, and they think they can work through those issues, carol. >> so gloria, i want you to help our viewers and me understand why donald trump needs the republican party establishment so very much going forward. >> well, he needs the apparatus, right? >> but does he really need -- >> yeah. and the rnc is there for him, and they're going to raise money together. >> so it's about money.
>> well, and it's also about using the apparatus to get out the vote. you know, donald trump was not famous for having great get out the vote efforts, and i think the rnc -- >> but he got more votes than any other republican primary candidate -- >> that was primaries. and also it's a great concern to donald trump, who after all wants to be president, that if he's elected he brings along with him a republican house and tries to keep a republican senate because that means he's going to get a lot more done. so there is an awful lot of mutual self interest here, and by the way, you know, trump walks into these meetings today with these battleground polls in his back pocket which say, by the way, it's very close in these states. so you guys need to be with me because i could just win. >> well, let's talk about that republican house and senate thing and if he can get more things done. so if he really is for raising the minimum wage, if he really is for raising the taxes on
wealthy, which he's like intimated just in the past few days, how can he get that through the republican house? >> well, it depends which republicans get, you know, get elected, and, look, i think what paul ryan is doing, let me say this, he has an agenda, and if there are republicans who are uncomfortable with donald trump's agenda, whatever that is, they can say, you know, i'm supporting the republican nominee but i like the paul ryan agenda. he's given them a place to go. however, if you're a republican and trump does well in your district, you don't like what paul ryan is doing. so it's not as if there is a united republican caucus out there. when you run for re-election, it's each man for woman for himself, right? that's what it is. and so everybody has to do what they have to do. paul ryan understands that. donald trump understands that. and they both have to do right now whatever they need to do to
retain control of the house, retain control of the senate, and try to elect a republican president, so they have to get somewhere where their voters are motivated, and donald trump has motivated republicans like no one else, right? >> so interesting. so fascinating. >> so ryan is in a tough spot here, and he does have to find a way to get this behind him. >> all right. so gloria borger, thanks so much. again, you're looking at the rnc headquarters here in washington, d.c., where donald trump has just met with the speaker, paul ryan, and also the rnc chair reince priebus. we believe -- actually manu raju is reporting donald trump has moved to the next meeting now. paul ryan is also part of that meeting and also it's a wider meeting of house leadership members, and they're all talking. should i take a break here or -- i got to take a break. i'll be back with much more.
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and good morning, i'm carol costello. welcome back. you're looking at a live shot out of washington, d.c. that's the rnc headquarters where donald trump just met with the house speaker, paul ryan, and the rnc chair, reince priebus. we believe mr. trump is now meeting with the rest of the house leadership, and they're talking about party unity. in fact, so far it went great, at least according to the rnc chair, reince priebus, who was in that meeting, as i said. he tweeted this out just moments ago. he said the meeting was great. it was a very positive step toward party unity. let's talk about this meeting and the other meetings that will take place today with the new york state assemblyman and supporter steve no jay, s.e. cupp and ana navarro are also with me. bill, are you glad to see your
candidate doing this? >> absolutely. it was a you have to primary season, unlike any we've seen in previous cycles going back in modern memory. so, look, these things happen during primaries. people get their adrenaline flowing and emotions rage, but eventually it's going to come down to two candidates in november and the parties on both sides will unite behind their candidates so this is a normal process of winnowing out and a reconciling or coming back together. >> but this is not normal. this is history in the making. >> well, it is history in the making. we've never started with, what did we have, 16, 17 candidates. it's always been a smaller field. but, you know, a lot of people say politics is like sports for old folks, and in sports you've got tryouts for the varsity and those tryouts sometimes can get a little testy. well, that's what we saw here over the last several months, but mr. trump has revealed. he is a unifying, he is a business person who is used to
bringing parties together with very different points of view, and this process, this healing process, is a largely communications process and you have great communicators here. mr. trump certainly knows how to communicate but paul ryan and other members of the congressional delegation, they know how to sit down, talk turkey, and resolve their differences. >> so, you know, i have always wondered if what was said on the campaign trail can be forgiven, if he really can be a uniting when you've said the most awful things. just yesterday donald trump talked about john mccain. john mccain, as you know, threw donald trump a bone. he said maybe i can back his candidacy. but then mr. trump doubled down on his attack on mccain's war record. listen. >> whether they get caught or don't get caught, they're all heroes as far as i'm concerned, and that's the way it should be -- >> so do you regret saying that? >> you know, i like not to regret anything. i mean, you know -- >> of course.
>> you do things and say things, and what i said, frankly, is what i said. >> so, ana, if donald trump was really a uniter some might say, he should have just said, you know what, i'm sorry i said this. it was in the heat of the moment. of course john mccain is a war hero. >> well, carol, donald trump is a guy who has admitted that he doesn't seek forgiveness from god, that he doesn't, you know, have regrets, has not asked god for forgiveness in recent times, so i'm not sure why any of us would think that he would ask john mccain or p.o.w.s for forgiveness or express that kind of regret. i think it is, frankly, very ungracious from donald trump to do that given that john mccain, who opposes donald trump ideologically on tactics and on tone and on so many other things, has given him a lukewarm endorsement in support, but a support nonetheless, and i think, you know, if he is trying to reach out, if he is trying to
stretch out a hand and send out an olive branch, the least he could do is say a few gracious things about the guy who said he's supporting him. >> so, s.e., if donald trump emerges from the meetings today and has a more gracious tone, maybe apologizes for a few things, would that do it? would he then be able to unify the republican party and republicans across the country, frankly? >> well, as ana said, i don't think apologizing is in donald trump's nature. he has said that the tone that he's taken over the course of this election has worked. in fact, in that imus interview he went on to analyze his mccain comments as putting him ahead in the polls, the sort of really soulless look back on the things he said that turned a lot of conservatives off. so i don't think donald trump has any desire to change tactics or change course at this point, and i think this meeting is really just kind of a formality
to -- for appearances. i know it means a great deal to paul ryan and the rest of the house members and reince priebus, but i think for donald trump this is a formality, and he has no plans to really change any of his tactics that have been working for him over the course of the primary. >> well, bill, when you put it that way, why should mr. trump change and why is he going through this -- with this anyway? >> well, carol, can i just interject, look, politics ain't beanball as has often been said, and there's another old saying in politics, that if you want a friend in politics, buy a dog. this is a contest for the presidency of the united states. somebody who is going to be able to walk into a room and face down world leaders, people that would do us harm. i don't think the american people wake up in the morning thinking is this candidate or that candidate going to issue an apology for something? they wake up thinking who am i going to vote for, the leader of the free world, that's going to revive our economy, that's going
to make america strong. donald trump has shown over and over again all across the country that he has those qualities. whether or not a particular candidate says something about another candidate in the course of a hard-fought primary campaign or a general election, that's not where the american people are in their thinking about candidates -- >> but he wasn't running against john mccain. he wasn't running against -- >> let's reject out of hand that mocking disabled reporters and mocking p.o.w.s is politics as usual. i think we're a lot better than that, and i think if you are a p.o.w. or someone that donald trump has personally attacked, and i speak from experience, you actually do wake up wondering if he's capable of issuing an apology, if he's capable of reflection, if he's capable of being a grown-up, if he's capable of having sympathy and empathy and compassion for the people he would be the leader of. i think that matters deeply and to dismiss these character issues as unimportant or politics as usual i think does a
deep disservice to the nature of electing leaders and the nature of the examinations and analysis that voters go through when they go into that poll booth. >> not only that -- >> you know what -- >> let me tell you this -- >> ana. >> you're talking about prisoners of war being attacked by a man who was a draft dodger. john mccain who hung by his thumbs and was tortured by the vietnamese for five years. you're talking about -- >> hold on, carol, we're talking about -- >> that means being -- >> -- more than two to one support. >> -- much like john mccain did and who are going to risk their lives for the freedom of this country and peace around the world. something donald trump was never able to do. so, yes, he should apologize. he should apologize and have some regrets for having offended and attacked those people when he wasn't willing to do any of that. >> and one of the things they're talking about in the meetings, one of the things paul ryan wants mr. trump to do is be more gracious, bill.
>> look, donald trump has more than two to one support amongst veterans. the american military community, both active and veterans, have spoken very clearly so far in this election. donald trump speaks for them. he appeals to them, and they are going to support him in the general election. so various partisan players can demand that mr. trump do this or that. the fact is the american people are making their views clear, and he has the full support of the veterans community and american armed forces personnel. >> do you know that he has the full support? i don't know that. i haven't seen any poll or -- >> nor does he have the full support of the party. >> there's actually a lot of polls. >> 60% of the party does not support him. he only has the full support of 40% of republicans that support him. >> look, if hillary clinton or bernie sanders think that they can outdo mr. trump when it comes to veterans and active duty military personnel, good luck to them. i don't think that's going to happen. i think the polling support is clearly there and mr. trump is going a great job talking about
american foreign policy and strengthening america's military presence. >> i don't think that nukes for everyone is a good foreign policy strategy. i don't think anyone has uttered that in the history of nuclear armament. >> giving -- >> not to mention not -- >> -- sponsors of state terrorism. look, hillary clinton was behind giving $100 billion or more to the leading sponsors of state terrorism, iran and the mullahs. mr. trump has said correctly that that was a fraudulent deal, it's not in america's security interests, and that's why he is appealing to average americans that can see through the public relations facade of the obama administration and hillary clinton's foreign policy when she was secretary of state. >> well, bill, let me ask you about this because a lot of donald trump supporters really strongly believe in his ban on all muslims coming into the country until, quote, we can figure things out. donald trump appears to be vacillating now and saying, oh,
there are exceptions. oh, tornado watches juit was ju. it seems that he's confusing his message or changing his tone. what do you make of that? >> well, what americans see is barack obama's open border policy with mexico where we are letting in -- >> i get that part. i get that part. what is donald trump saying when he talks about there being exceptions to his muslim ban? >> well, the american people are also looking at what's going on in europe where you've got stabbings, terrorist incidents occurring because they have open borders and -- >> come on, those are talking points. what does he mean? is he changing his tune on the muslim ban or not? >> what -- i don't speak for mr. trump or officially for the campaign, but i can tell you that here in upstate new york what people are seeing are problems on the border with mexico and problems in europe and mr. trump is expressing a
common sense, rational, moderate position that says let's make sure we can screen people and know who we're letting into this country rather than an open border policy that lets people in by the tens or hundreds of thousands. >> let me answer the question. yes, he changes his tune. he changes his tune from year to year. he changes his tune from day to day. sometimes from hour to hour. it is very difficult to pin down where donald trump may be at any given moment on a position, whether it's life, whether it's foreign policy, whether it's muslims, whether it's whatever. you pick a topic, taxes. pick a topic and he has changed his position. so i guess we just have to go with, you know, like janet jackson said, what have you done for me lately? whatever his latest position is, that's the one we've got to go by. >> well, i'm sure that's what they're talking in those meetings today in washington. i have to wrap it up here. bill nojay, s.e. cupp, anna know
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and good morning. i'm carol costello. thank you so much for joining me. it's not your average meet and greet. donald trump and house republican leaders inside the rnc headquarters right now. they're working behind closed doors to unify their party. cnn's chief political correspondent dana bash is in washington with more, and i should say they're in the country club next door now, right? >> reporter: yes, they are. country club. i guess that's technically what
it is. >> it's a club. >> it's a place where -- it's a club. it's the capitol hill club, and it's a frequent meeting point for republicans, for lobbyists, in this case for the presumptive nominee of the party and the house republican leadership. that is the meeting going on as we speak. it is paul ryan, the house speaker, reince priebus, the rnc chair, and four other members of the house republican leadership getting together and having kind of a first of all a get to know you meeting, but then my impression from talking to sources going into this is kind of an expectations discussion. here is what i expect from you, mr. trump, from house leaders. and donald trump probably saying here is what i expect from you. remember, this is also -- it's obviously incredibly -- it's a spectacle right now for the obvious reason that donald trump
doesn't have his party entirely on board with him, including the house speaker, but any other year you would be having the republican nominee getting together with house republican leaders with his party leader with the apparatus and the people who are going to have to be behind him to try to propel him to victory. donald trump was a one-man show and kind of went with his gut very successfully in a way that was kind of a phenomenon but now it's a completely different phase and he's melding resources and sort of strategy ideas with the republican national committee. so that's part of this. but the other part of this is the fact that every member of the house is up for re-election this year, and that, i'm told, was a big part of why paul ryan initially and still to this moment had withheld his endorsement of donald trump, but at the same time he's hearing more and more from the rank and
file republicans that we're hearing from. i know manu raju has heard from, that they want to be more aggressively behind donald trump because trump is popular in their districts. so those are the kinds of conversations going on. i think there's probably money conversations. will donald trump help out house republicans by raising money for them? also, you know, some tone questions and discussions, and, of course, policy discussions, how they're going to work around very real policy differences, particularly with paul ryan and donald trump. but i should say that before this meeting that's currently going on behind me, it was just a meeting with three men, paul ryan, reince priebus, and donald heart on how they are going to o get along, whether they can get along, and reince priebus i am told was very much kind of a bridge there. he had been talking to donald trump every day multiple times a day leading up to this meeting
and also with his old friend paul ryan to try to be the go-between and make things work in that meeting, carol. >> dana bash, thanks so much. and i know you're wondering why we keep showing you the shot of that alley. that's probably the back of the capitol hill club where donald trump is meeting with the house leadership and we're expecting them to exit one of those building and see that black car there? we're expecting somebody important to get in there. when he does, of course, we'll bring it to you live. still to come in the "newsroom," hillary clinton facing attacks from the right and the left in her bid to be the next democratic nominee. how does she unify the party? wrely on the us postal service?
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donald trump is having has ended and those children were not part of that meeting. they're just innocent bystanders, but earlier this morning around 9:00 a.m. eastern time, donald trump met with the house leader paul ryan. he also met with reince priebus, and then he moved on to meeting next door from the rnc headquarters to the capitol hill club where he met with the house leadership. we understand that meeting is done, as i said. now donald trump is expected to exit the building which is why we have that shot in that alley. donald trump is expected to come outside a door, pop in, and be driven down the street where he will meet with senate leaders, republican senate leaders, and this meeting is also about party unity, of course. manu raju has been covering all of this all morning long for us. manu, tell us more. >> yeah, that's right, carol. the first meeting of those three central players, trump, paul ryan, reince priebus, lasted roughly about an hour or so i would say. the second meeting with that broader leadership team that included four other members of the house republican leadership
team lasted maybe about 45 minutes or so. that is now concluded. now, they're probably figuring out their messaging right now, how they're going to communicate what happened in that meeting, and paul ryan is going to actually talk to the press in about 40, 45 minutes so we'll hear more details hopefully about what transpired in there. what will be interesting is whether or not any minds were changed, whether any folks were willing to support donald trump. if you look at the broader leadership meeting, two of those members of the leadership team have yet to endorse donald trump. that includes kathy mcmorris rogers of washington state as well as, of course, paul ryan, who has famously said last week on cnn that he wasn't going to endorse donald trump at this point. how much closer do they get to an endorsement? did donald trump alleviate any of those concerns about his impact down ticket? all those things will be fascinating to see as we get some more details about this meeting, but as you mentioned earlier on air, carol, reince priebus saying this was a good meeting. i think you will probably hear a
positive message as his party tries to unite. >> and at some point paul ryan will hold a news conference. >> at 11:30. he usually holds his weekly press conference at 11:30. we're expecting to hear more from him. he came in here saying i'm not going to talk a whole lot about the things i'm going to ask donald trump to do, but what we've heard privately from our sources is that he wants to make sure that his big imperative right now is protecting the house republican majority and donald trump knows that. paul ryan has had concerns about some of the language and tone on the campaign trail. whether that's communicating to donald trump, it will be interesting to hear from the speaker himself and how donald trump took that. but i think what we heard, the messaging from both sides, both sides wanted to come out with a more unified message and reince priebus suggested that in his twet. >> we'll get back to you as
warranted. i want to bring in brian fallon, press secretary for hillary for america. so as a democrat and hillary clinton supporter, as you watch what's going on with donald trump and the house and senate leadership, what goes through your mind? >> well, the fact this meeting is even happening is just a remarkable statement about the lack of unity right now in the republican party. there's been all kinds of reports suggesting that paul ryan is getting closer to potentially endorsing donald trump. party leaders are putting him under so much pressure to save face and endorse donald trump. i don't think in the week since paul ryan went on jake tapper's show and said he couldn't support donald trump, that donald trump has done anything to be worthy of paul ryan's endorsement now. in fact, we've seen him suggest that he's not going to release his tax returns, which paul ryan's own running mate in 2012, mitt romney, said was disqual y disqualifying in and of itself. if he comes around now and expresses any degree of support for donald trump, i think it's just a testament to how much pressure he's come under from party leaders. it won't paper over the fact that rank and file republicans
and independents are very troubled by donald trump -- >> but at the very least republicans are making a show of unifying, which the democrats really aren't at the moment. >> we're still going through our primary so the field has been cleared for donald trump because, you know, the voters have spoken -- >> but the chance for bernie sanders appears dim, so isn't it time? >> at no point will we call for bernie sanders to drop out of the race. he said he will remain in it until the middle of june, until the contests have completed and we're perfectly fine with that. we think it's an overall positive thing we're having this process that is bringing more people in -- >> even though donald trump is using some of bernie sanders' attacks to attack hillary clinton? >> we have said even as this process continues and we're happy to have it play out to the middle of june, we think the tone should stay focused on the issues and increasingly you have seen senator sanders calibrate his approach accordingly. we have no concerns that we are going to be able to unify this party after the contest is over in the middle of june.
a stark contrast to what you see on the republican side. >> i talked with a sanders guy, jeff weaver, and he insists there is a path to victory for bernie sanders. he released a sharply worded e-mail warning if clinton is the nominee, democrats are, quote, courting disaster. earlier, and i'm talking about jeff weaver, he told me exactly what he meant by courting disast disaster. let's listen. >> i think democrats need to nominate the strongest candidate against donald trump, and all the polling demonstrates consistently now that bernie sanders is a much stronger candidate. the disaster is the election of donald trump. that's what the disaster is. we don't want to see that disaster happen. that's why bernie sanders will fight all the way to the convention. he will fight to make sure the democratic party stands by principles that protect working families and middle-income families, and that's why we need to nominate the strongest candidate who can beat donald trump in the fall. the disaster is not hillary clinton. the disaster is the election of donald trump. >> so you know the polls he's
talking about, right? that shows a tight race between hillary clinton and donald trump, but it shows like a bigger margin if bernie sanders were to run against donald trump. >> well, first of all, i completely agree with jeff weaver that electing donald trump would be a disaster, but there's no question in the minds of most objective observers and democrats that hillary clinton is the best candidate to put forward against donald trump in a general election. if you look at the exit polls coming out of these states that have held primary, even in the states where senator sanders has won, the democrats going to the polls have said they think hillary clinton is actually the best positioned candidate -- >> but these people were specifically talking about swing states, and in those states like, you know, pennsylvania, most recently west virginia, these working-class states is a better way to put it, hillary clinton hasn't done so well. bernie sanders has though. >> so this is the argument that the sanders folks have been making for a long time now. the issue is that hillary clinton is a very tested, vetted candidate. for two decades now she's been through the wringer in terms of being exposed to all kinds of false partisan attacks from republicans. bernie sanders has not
encountered that. there hasn't been a single dollar of independent expenditures against bernie sanders at all against this campaign. hillary clinton has been on the receiving end of $6 million in independent expenditures in new hampshire alone in the leadup to that primary. to say nothing of the fact that during the high point of this republican primary you had some 17 different candidates all trying to compete as who could be the toughest and have the sharpest rhetoric again hillary clinton. so i think that those polls reflect the fact that bernie sanders is largely untested. most democrats agree, according to the exit polls in all the primary states that have voted so far. that's why hillary clinton has such a huge margin over bernie sanders. she also has more votes than donald trump. she's got the most votes of any candidate on either side of the aisle. >> brian fallon, thanks for stopping by. i appreciate it. all right. as we take one last look of washington, d.c., the outside of the -- i always forget -- it's the capitol hill club. that is what it's called. donald trump is expected to exit that building at any time and go to yet another meeting, his third of the day where he will be meeting with the senate
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all right. we are keeping our eye on this alley. we're expecting donald trump to leave the rnc headquarters at any time to go to his third meeting of the day. he will meet with the senate leadership next. he's already met with the house speaker paul ryan and the rnc chairman raeince priebus and ha a meeting with a bigger group of house leaders. let's go live to washington right now. dana bash has been monitoring all this. and we'll get to jim acosta a little later, but dana, take it away. >> reporter: that's right, carol. we're waiting for donald trump now to leave this meeting. he's been in this facility or at least the buildings behind me, the rnc and around it, for about two hours now. first, of course, with just three men, donald trump, reince priebus and paul ryan and then they expanded the circle, so to speak, to four other members of the house republican leadership to have discussions, serious discussions i'm told, about how
the house republicans and republicans at large expect donald trump to comport himself and how they're going to deal with some policy differences between them. so those meetings have wrapped up. we are, again, waiting for donald trump to leave, and then he's going to head over to meet with leaders on the senate side of the capitol. they're going to do so not at the capitol but at a building down the street. that's going to happen later in this hour, so that should wrap up the big meetings that donald trump is going to have today here in washington. carol? >> dana bash, thanks so much. let's go to the site of that next meeting, the meeting with the republican senators that donald trump is going to hold in just about an hour. jim acroosta is there, and i understand you got word from soufe sources in the trump camp that there are, what, no big expectations today? >> reporter: right. and i think that's to be expected, carol. i talked to a top trump aide earlier this morning who says
they have no expectations at all, quote, unquote, of an endorsement from speaker paul ryan today. and i think that is just a really just looking at the reality of the situation. this is the beginning of an ongoing process. as one trump aide said to me, this is the opening conversation in a process of healing that needs to take place inside the republican party. we are outside the national republican senatorial committee, where donald trump will meet with senate majority leader mitch mcconnell and other top republican leaders. i know you have been talking to dana and manu throughout the morning outside that scene over at the rnc and the capitol hill club on the other side of the capitol but it is a much calmer situation here. no as many people. no effigies of donald trump going up and down the street and so it's a very different situation. if some of the senate leaders or donald trump himself, just put a little plug in, if somebody wants to step up to the cameras, they will find it will be a lot less crowded on this side of the
capitol, carol. >> i think you're right about that, jim. let's talk about the meeting donald trump will have with senate leaders. there's not as much, i don't know, division among senators, is there? if you compare it to house leaders. >> reporter: there's not as much -- right, there's not as much drama going on. senate majority leader mitch mcconnell did not go out in front of the cameras like paul ryan did. mitch mcconnell is not doing that but he is essentially saying trump needs to talk to senate republican leaders as well. keep in mind, donald trump has this down ballot issue that he has to deal with heading into the convention in cleveland. there are a lot of republicans who aren't going to show up at the convention in cleveland in july because they're concerned, they don't want to throw their arms around donald trump just yet, and you have endangered republicans in blue states, people like pat toomey in pennsylvania and other places, there's even a concern about roy blunt in missouri even though that's almost more of a red
state now of what donald trump will do to some of these down ballot contests and some of the senators in swing states. so there is something at stake for donald trump on the senate side. may not be as much as on the house side but what the trump campaign says not only to the house side but to the senate side is that, look at this movement that is taking place in the grassroots. donald trump has done something at these rallies, at these events. carol, you have thrown to me at so many of these rallies across the country. he's sort of recreated, rebranded the republican party. it may not be the republican party that mitch mcconnell and paul ryan were dealing with two years ago when they took full control of the congress, but it is a force to be reckoned with, no doubt about it, if you look at the swing states like pennsylvania, ohio, and florida, you were just talking about this earlier this morning with gloria. for donald trump to be that close to hillary clinton at this point, obviously we're moments and months away, so take those polls with a grain of salt. those polls, people took notice of those polls in washington inside the republican party.
they noticed that donald trump has a very good shot at giving hillary clinton a serious run for her money in the fall, and so that's why you're seeing some recalibrations going on and people sort of coming to grips with donald trump being the standard bearer this time around. >> that's why i can't help but think donald trump holds most of the cards. before these meetings even began yesterday, mr. trump said of these meetings, you know, it will be great if he makes some kind of deal with congressional leaders, and if we don't, he says, we will trudge forward like i have been doing and winning all the time. so in a way, aren't these lawmakers going to be forced to coalesce around him because they'll have no choice. >> reporter: well, i think you're going to see a couple things happen. one will be either paul ryan may not come out today and make this endorsement, but he may say for the sake of unity, we have to get behind our candidate. you are seeing people like orrin hatch making statements this morning. or it's going to be so icy and
uncomfortable it's never going to happen and you will have a divided republican party in cleveland. i think the odds are you will see more unity than you are going to see division. >> all right, jim acosta, we'll get back to you as soon as trump's motorcade arrives at your location. i want to thank all of you for joining me today. i'm carol costello. "at this hour with berman and bolduan" starts now. paul ryan, i don't know what happened. >> i think that he needs to do more to unify this party. >> paul ryan and his ilk, they have become so disconnected. >> the bulk of the burden on unifying the party will have to come from our presumptive nominee. >> he wants to meet, i'll meet. we'll just see what happens. it's just more drama. this is cnn breaking news. >> hello, everyone. i'm john berman. >> hi, everyone. i'm kate bolduan. it's big, it's massive, it's a wild scene on capitol hill today. so big, in fact, that we are calling it the paul ryan