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tv   Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer  CNN  May 12, 2016 2:00pm-4:01pm PDT

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wolf blitzer. he's next door in "the situation room." happening now, party divided. the gop starts picking up the pieces after donald trump's primary campaign. the presumptive nominee meets with the house speaker paul ryan. but is there a meeting of the minds and why isn't ryan ready to offer an endorsement? common ground. while republicans are vowing to reach unity, there are still deep splits on several major issues. so where and how can they find agreement? i'll ask the party chairman reince priebus. new arms race, as the u.s. deploys a defense system in europe, russia deploys multiple warheads. and no sibling rivalry.
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and kim jong-un gains power, his sister gets more influence in the communist regime. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." the republican party started putting itself back together after donald trump's disruptive primary campaign left the gop bitterly divided. the presumptive nominee came to washington to meet with paul ryan and other party leaders. ryan who sent out shock waves when he said he wasn't ready to support trump apparently still isn't ready. he called it a good start but gained no endorsement after their meeting. there were pledges all around to preserve party unity but many still differ with trump on key issues. others take strong exception to the strong rhetoric. for his part, trump tweeted after the meetings and then
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quoting him now, things working out really well, exclamation point. we'll have full coverage all of the day's top stories. let's begin with jim acosta. donald trump and paul ryan met face-to-face but they still don't necessarily see eye to eye. >> reporter: that's right, wolf. donald trump is all but declaring victory after his performance on capitol hill but left without the endorsement of house speaker paul ryan and they are saying that trump needs to tone down his act. at least they are all using the same word. unity. it was as expected a circus as donald trump came to washington in search of a gop big tent large enough to held his campaign and the party establishment he hopes to win over. >> i thought he was a very good personality and a very warm and genuine person. >> reporter: first up, house
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speaker paul ryan and as he hinted, perhaps not for long. >> i think this is going in a positive direction and in 45 minutes you don't litigate all of the processes and issues and principles that we are talking about. >> reporter: trump shined away from the media but tweeted "great day in d.c. with paul ryan and republican leadership. things working out very well." >> there are policy disputes we will have. there's no two ways about it. >> reporter: while aides say their meeting was not heated, they remain split on critical issues. ryan sounds like a democrat on medicare and social security. >> it's my intention to leave social security the way it is. not increase the age and to leave it as it. >> medicare and social security are going bankrupt . we need to reform it for my generation. >> reporter: and there were no reasons for optimism and
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disagreements. trump tweeted "meeting with mitch mcconnell was great." >> there are ways to talk about these issues that is not offensive but make the point that we are all for a secure border. >> reporter: pro immigration groups even delivered taco bowls to members of congress. trump tweeted about his love for mexican food and hispanics. harry reid went further. >> since republican leaders are all in for donald trump, we can only assume he approves of trump calling hispanics, rapists and murderers. we can only assume he agrees with the view that women are dogs and pigs. >> but the trump campaign is feeling better after today's primary. one trump aide told me and
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another official told me another endorsement is just a matter of time adding that ryan is expected to jump on board fairly soon as he still has a lot of members to appease. a baker spokesman confirms he met with trump earlier today. >> let's bring in our chief national correspondent dana bash. take us behind the scenes. what are you learning? >> that for the most part, people really thought that this was successful in that even those who are very much not in trump's camp, never wanted him to be even close to being the nominee understand that for the good of their party and ultimately beating hillary clinton, that this has to happen. there has to be a united front and, particularly, wolf, when it comes to paul ryan. even just again walking the halls and talking to people that
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really, really liked ryan, they were concerned that what ryan did here last week would hurt republicans. perhaps even hurt their majority, which is a 30-seat majority in the house because a lot of their districts are really ruby red and really pro trump. so they really felt that even though ryan didn't endorse, he took an important step to try to bring the party together. >> so is there consensus among the republican leadership in the house and senate, for that matter, that these meetings were a success? >> that there were definitely was an important first step because, remember, donald trump really didn't know most of these people. but i'll tell you one really interesting fact that i learned today was how much of a role reince priebus, the rnc chair, seemed to have behind the scenes over the past week and a half in bringing this together. he got a lot of push back over the past many, many months from a lot of republicans in the way he handled donald trump but
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because he kept an open line of communication from people outside of the rnc with donald trump, established a relationship with him, they really have a sense of trust one another, he was able to talk to donald trump all last week, work him through the process of helping him get here through today and did the same kind of thing with paul ryan who is a long-time friend of reince priebus. so in many ways, reince priebus is the unsung hero of this. >> and he was the only other person in that meeting between ryan and trump. >> precisely. >> with the speaker of the house as well. dana, thanks very much. the chairman of the republican national committee is joining us now live. thanks for joining us. >> hey, thank you, wolf. appreciate it. >> why isn't the speaker yet ready to endorse donald trump? >> well, i think, you know, it's very sincere in that most people -- and i think even donald trump would agree with
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this, people thought this thing had another 30 days in it and i guess people were hoping that they were going to be able to kick the tires a little longer and get their talking points and positions straight by the time this happened and suddenly it happened. and so now a lot of folks are faced with the position of, hey, i want to get to know donald trump and see if we're on the same page on a few things. today was a great day for that to happen between paul ryan and donald trump and i can only describe it as extremely positive. if you saw paul ryan's press conference afterwards, it was a very discouraging day for the party. >> they did issue the statement at the same time and said the speaker has to get, into his words, into the weeds of several sensitive policy issues, issues where he clearly disagrees with donald trump. he and his aides have spoken about some of these issues.
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here's donald trump articulating positions that clearly the speaker doesn't like. listen to this. >> i'm the king of dead. i love dead. >> this is the united states government. first of all, you never have to default because you print the money. i hate to tell you. okay? >> we are out of control. we have no idea who is coming into our country. we have no idea if they love us, if they hate us, if they want to bomb us. donald j. trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of muslims entering the united states. >> they are bringing drugs, they are bringing crime, they are rapist and some, i assume are good people. >> i will build a great, great wall on our southern border and i will have mexico pay for that wall. mark my words. folks, we're going to build a wall. believe me. >> i know you're not going to give me all of the details of what happened behind closed doors but did they resolve some of the significant differences during your nearly one-hour meeting today?
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>> well, suffice it to say that there was a lot of agreement on most issues weiso i think that' why it was a positive meeting chld i. i think you've seen donald trump clarify that in the montage. i think it's a person starting to move into the general election mode and getting it and really working hard at being someone that can unify the party and also going after hillary clinton and i don't think we have to worry about donald trump pulling any punches against hillary clinton. >> what did he clarify? >> well, i hate to spoil the fun, wolf, but i'm not going to get into the details because that wouldn't be my role and i have to respect the confidences of the meeting. i can tell you that there was a lot of agreement on almost all things that were discussed but they are going to continue
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talking and it was a cooperative, good-spirited meeting with good chemistry and i can just tell you i don't think it could have turned out any better. >> apparently donald trump charmed a lot of people, a lot of republicans in washington today if you look at the statements from the people who emerged from those meetings but a few days ago he said he couldn't support the speaker's agenda. that was a bold statement after the speaker told jake tapper he could not necessarily yet endorse donald trump. so the question is, what happens next? where do you guys go from here? >> i know that they are committed to working together quickly. perhaps even as soon as tomorrow and the next day and getting some more conversation started between the two of them and i know they are committed to that and it's a positive thing as well but it's now in their hands and my role is to do whatever i can within the realm of reason
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to build and unify and bring people together. >> can donald trump win over the key groups that you know you have to capture to win over the white house, women, minorities, young people. does he have the ability nationwide to win over the supporters? >> i think he has the ability. that's why we're trying to put people every ten blocks in black and hispanic and asian communities with people working around the clock and getting to know voters, talking to people that we believe in, identifying turnout. all of the mechanics. i know a lot of the boring stuff but this is what a competent national party does and obviously tone and ten or matters and that's something that has to continue. and so i'm confident that people understand what needs to get done and i'm looking forward to that happening. >> so you think he could bring
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in some of the minority voters? >> absolutely. i mean, you look at the turnout across -- within our own primary. i know it's not transferable to a general but certainly you see that and you see that promise in black and hispanic communities. now, as a party, we've done much better. if you look at 2014 how we did with corey gardener almost winning the hispanic vote, 28% of the black vote in ohio, it didn't just happen on its own. we have to do better as a party. i'm committed to it. it's one of my cornerstones as chairman to be committed on a year-round bases to work reaching out to black and i wasn't to do better and i'm hoping that this fall will be an improvement. >> one final question because i know you have to run. on the whole issue of funding the campaign, he managed to win the republican for all practical purposes presidential nomination. where do you, as leader of the
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republican party and he worked together and now you have to raise, what, a billion dollars, how do you do that? >> well, i don't know what the number is going to be, wolf. we didn't raise that through the rnc during the romney campaign and that had been going on through -- for 18 months, not self-funded. i don't know what the number is going to be but usually you have a joint fundraising agreement where you take the amount of money that a campaign can raise and the amount of money that the party can raise, amuch bigger number, and you combine those two buckets and other entities and come up with one joint fundraising agreement that you file with the federal election commission and that's all negotiated and discussed and we're actually in the middle of that right now. >> reince priebus, who has a tough job as chairman of the republican national committee, thanks for joining us. >> you get. thank you, wolf. >> thank you. into when we come back, we'll speak to a key donald trump supporter and a whole lot more
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life feels a little lighter, potency probiotic, livelier, a little more you. ultimate flora probiotics. we're following the extraordinary meeting between donald trump and congressional republicans as they discuss how to bridge the significant differences between trump and factions of the republican party. joining me is a key donald trump supporter. congressman, thanks very much for joining us. >> happy to be here. >> wasn't your reaction to today's meeting? >> i think it was good.
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obviously speaker ryan and donald trump need to get to know each other and that was important to speaker ryan and i'm glad that donald trump reached out and they met. it was a good meeting. >> do you think it's wrong that the speaker has still not been able to endorse donald trump? >> i don't think there's any question that any republican here in washington should be behind our nominee. you know, i haven't been shy about talking about it because what's the option? there's nobody behind door number three. we know who is behind door number one and that's hillary clinton. i don't know how anyone here can believe that allowing hillary clinton to pick the supreme court justice, secretary of homeland security, health and human services and other agencies would be better for republicans. you know, i think -- i understand it was a tough primary but donald trump is clearly the choice of the people and we need to get behind them now. >> he did get almost 11 million
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votes and more caucuses than anyone else got. but i guess i still want to know, why do you believe -- and you're a republican congressman, the speaker still can't formally say i endorse you? >> you know, i can't speak for him. i understand that many here were vested in other candidates and supported other candidates and it was a very hard-fought primary. but that being said, the person that you favored or not, i really hope that we can get this behind us real soon and realize that there is no other choice for republicans here other than donald trump. i mean, we need to have a republican in the white house if we want to change the direction that the country is going and being reluctant to get behind him i don't think helps us. >> what do you think are the two
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biggest or three different differences between the speaker and donald trump? >> well, you know, paul ryan is really a policy wonk. he has an agenda that is very important to him and that's good. you know, it's good that he has that direction and that will be very helpful to donald trump and i think in his own mind he wanted to be sure that donald trump is on the same page of what that agenda is and that the republican principles that matter are something that's a priority for him. that being said, this could be a great combination of paul ryan who was a policy junket, that just loves policy and donald trump who is a people concern connected with the american people. once they get together, i think it's going to be a good team. >> let's see if they can. an important step forward today. clearly by both accounts but they are still not there yet. congressman lou barletta, thank
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you for joining us. >> thank you. can donald trump bring his party together? plus, vladimir putin showing off a powerful new missile raising deep concerns here in the united states and among the u.s. allies.
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♪ no, you're not ♪ yogonna watch it! ♪tch it! ♪ ♪ we can't let you download on the goooooo! ♪ ♪ you'll just have to miss it! ♪ yeah, you'll just have to miss it! ♪ ♪ we can't let you download... uh, no thanks. i have x1 from xfinity so... don't fall for directv. xfinity lets you download your shows from anywhere. i used to like that song. here in washington today, donald trump met with leaders and agreed to work together toward understanding each other's positions. after all of that, the house speaker paul ryan still refusing to fully endorse donald trump telling supporters he doesn't want a fake unification process. let's bring in our political
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experts ana navarro, mark preston, senior legal analyst jeffrey toobin and political commentator peter beinart. guys, thanks very much for joining us. ana, your reaction to what we just heard from reince priebus that clearly there are still differences but they have made some important strides? >> i have to tell you, i think reince priebus is doing the hardest job in washington right now, trying to unify the republican party. i appreciate what he's doing. he's trying to do everything he can as republican party chair to bring unity. is unity possible? i don't think so. i don't blame donald trump for the lack of unity. we were disunified before. i think what paul ryan and donald trump is even trying to do is that the seven-headed dragon is not sniping at their own heads and move forward. there's just so much on the
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line. it's not just donald trump. it's the house, the senate, down ballot. there's too much on the line for there to be at least some cooperation. >> they made at least some progress i'm sure. jeffrey, trump tweeted following the meeting, he tweeted, great day in d.c. with paul ryan and republican leadership. things working out really well. ryan called trump very warm and genuine person. those are quotes. does all of that feel genuine or a little forced? >> well, this is politics. i don't know if genuine applies under any circumstances. but i think this was a good day for republicans. considering the possibilities, considering that trump may have told everybody to go to hell, the fact that he is making favorable sounds and ryan is making favorable sounds, look, they are never going to be close allies but if the republicans can make them active answer mes,
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that makes progress. >> is that a surprise out of today's meeting? >> not at all. the fact is, they were able to leave that meeting and put out a joint statement which in itself says something and it also says something that donald trump left new york as the presumptive republican presidential nominee to come down and meet with these leaders in congress on their turf. that was an olive branch that he was offering. as far as paul ryan goes and i think this gets lost in the discussion, paul ryan is a speaker in the house of representatives. he's the new speaker in the house of representatives. he has a long career ahead of him and a very powerful position. he needed to draw the line in the sand to show to donald trump and to anyone else that he is in control of the situation specifically when it comes to the house. look, they both walk away as winners. paul ryan, wolf, looks like he's going to stand his ground and
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has stood his ground. donald trump is looking like he's not anti-establishment. in the end, guess what, they will all come together. >> peter, after today's meeting, it looks like speaker ryan has moved from not yet trump to probably trump. do you agree? >> yeah. he looked carefully at what he said and you contrast it with what he said a week ago with jake tapper and it was really interesting. he said donald trump inherits the party of lincoln and reagan and jack kemp and has to move towards its principles. he didn't say that today. he said we have to unify, suggesting he might have to move. other republicans might have to move towards donald trump just as trump moves towards them and very interestingly, he did not use or refer to the party of jack kemp. the party of jack kemp was a coded way of saying you should not be a nominee who demonizes protesters to assault
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african-american protesters. that language was not in paul ryan's statement today which suggesting to me that he is moving towards what looks to me like something of a surrender. >> as you know, mark, the former speaker john boehner said he would in fact support donald trump as the republican presidential nominee but then when asked the series of rapid fire questions on several sensitive positions that trump has taken and asked whether he can support those positions, boehner kept saying, no, no, no but supports the nominee. i guess he feels like a lot of republicans out there, they have no choice to support the nominee even if they disagree oon several sensitive positions. >> right, wolf. listen, there is a mutual reason why they have to. if donald trump is at the top of the ticket, which he will be, the republican party as a whole cannot abandon him. by abandoning him, that means that it is only going to weaken the ticket in key states throughout the country where there are vulnerable republicans on the tickets.
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specifically, in pennsylvania and ohio and elsewhere when it comes to the u.s. senate. so they had this mutual reason why they have to come together but i think we have to state this. the republican party has a platform that they agree to at every convention. not every republican agrees with everything in the platform. so just because they may not agree with donald trump on trade or may not agree with donald trump on other things, it doesn't mean that overall whol lift clee they don't agree on what it will be to be a republican. donald trump during the past is more likely to come to them than they will be to go to donald trump on key issues. >> ana, are republicans being told, go ahead, you've got to publicly endorse and support donald trump even though they may not like him personally or his positions? >> i don't think so. i think people understand that politics is about local issues. it's about local interests, about your constituents, also your principles. i think everybody is being
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allowed to make their own decision as to what they can live with and what is best for their interests. this is -- politics is a game of survival. i can tell you that in south florida, the republican congresspeople have come out and said they will not be voting for trump. they are not getting any pressure, at least not from republican leadership to do otherwise. i'm sure they are getting a lot of pressure from trump supporters on social media. they are not exactly shrinking violets, those trump supporters on social media. and i think paul ryan is protecting his caucus and allowing his caucus to do what they need to do for their own interests. >> stand by. more to discuss including the latest moves in donald trump's so-called charm offensive here in washington. we'll take a quick break. we'll be right back.
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this is humira at work. we're back with our political experts as we follow today's meetings between donald trump and fellow republicans up on capitol hill. mark preston, there clearly is a trump charm offensive under way. he and lindsey graham have been bitter enemies, i think it's fair to say. they actually spoke on the phone and lindsey graham wrote a statement. "i had a cordial pleasant conversation with donald trump and congratulated him on winning the republican presidential nominee for president." there was no endorsement by lindsey graham but how effective could this charm offensive be
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given the bad blood even when lindsey graham released donald trump's cell phone number? >> one of his biggest critics has been lindsey graham. i'm fairly confident he will not endorse him for president and we all talk about where he would no longer be taking to twitter and will he become more quote/unquote presidential? him coming to washington today was a sign that he was becoming presidential. him reaching out to lindsey graham, one of the sharpest critics, presidential. the question is, can he maintain this? and if he does maintain this, this whole talk about unity and the republican party is going to make it easier for republicans to go and support donald trump. >> a lot of these are
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republicans in private meetings saying in a small group like that, trump can be very, very charming if he wants to be. jeffrey, even those who are very opinionated trump haters in the u.s. senate, i'm talking about the republicans, they still hate senator ted cruz even more. after the trump meeting, cruz joked with colleagues that he didn't want to come back and senator mccain said we don't want you to either. here's a question. does it make supporting trump easier? because they dislike cruz even more. >> i don't think this is about liking or disliking. these politicians are all independent actors. as ana was saying about certain florida republicans, they are not going to endorse trump because the days when party leaders could tell congressmen or senators when to do anything
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is long over. these are independent actors and they don't like ted cruz and donald trump is perhaps a somewhat more agreeable personality. but all these people are going to act out of their own political self-interests and whether they like somebody or don't like somebody is really almost irrelevant. >> peter, in a recent article you wrote in "the atlantic," "tt bad news is that the republican party will now almost certainly nominate the most dangerous presidential nominee in modern american history. the good news is that the democratic party will defeat him." >> what i meant by that, the democratic party over the last several elections has developed a very, very sophisticated apparatus for bringing out african-american and latino voters. and it is ultimately those voters, what the democratic party needs to defeat donald trump is a tremendous turnout by
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african-american/latino voters. a poll showed donald trump running so well in pennsylvania in ohio is that they predicted that minority turnout would be lower than 2012. i think the democratic party partly because of its internal mechanism of turnout that has been honed and partly because it's so easy to turn out voters of color against donald trump is well positioned to get the turnout that they need to defeat them. >> everyone, stand by. more politics coming up. other news that we're following, including russia's president vladimir putin wrapping up a more new and dangerous arms race. how will the u.s. respond? plus, some big surprises in the wake of north korea celebrating kim jong-un. now his younger sister has a new and powerfully important job. you both have a
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soviet-style parades and missiles, are they holding back the old cold -- bringing back the old cold war? let's go to our pentagon correspondent barbara starr. barbara, what is behind the latest saber rattling and military buildup? >> tonight, russia is showing the world and specifically washington it very much has a massive nuclear arsenal. the russian military on full parade. vladimir putin's message clear, the russian military is all powerful. one element of that power,
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russia's resurgent nuclear weapons program. >> despite its economic challenges, russia continues its aggressive program. it has the largest and foreign ballistic missile force. >> reporter: russia is updating its nuclear arsenal and spending billions on new nuclear weapons, such as the new ss-30 still in development but with multiple war heads that can hit more than one target. and an intercontinental range with a capability of hitting the u.s. >> so this weapon in and of itself does not change the balance between the two countries? >> reporter: rather, it replaces aging technology. arms control advocates believe the real question is why are inventories not being cut on both sides? >> you know, we're still stuck in the cold war logic of mutually assured destruction. >> reporter: still under current arms control treaties, both washington and moscow are limited.
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they must get down to around 1550 deployed war heads from current levels but russia has another goal. design missiles to defeat american missile defenses. the u.s. has just part of a nato effort aimed at defending against an iranian, not a russian, attack. >> missile defense is for defense, it is defensive. it does not undermine strategic nuclear deterrents. >> reporter: the russian state agency says moscow sees that system as a threat and is taking protective measures against it. u.s. officials say tonight they even offered to show the russians the technical specifications to try to convince them it poses no threat to them. tonight that missile defense
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shield goes forward. wolf? kim jong-un emerges from a party love fest with even more power as his younger sister gets a powerful new position. brian todd has been looking into all of this. what are you learning there, brian? >> tonight we have word that kim jong-un has elevated his sister to a position on the so-called central committee. that gives this young lady who is only about 28 years o old enormous influence over her brother. this comes as kim jong-un and his inner circle are projecting startling new images of power. an enormous fanfare, kim jong-un strides confidently past his generals, waves from a platform above the square in pyongyang. hundreds chant the leader's name. the close of workers party
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congress, sending a powerful message of strength he wants to project. part of that message, this is a hip and modern regime, show cased by a performance of his handpicked all girl band. there were yearbook style photos of kim and his inner circle, smiling broadly, a rare apparently untouched image. >> at some lev they're trying to capture a bit of personality. he's the only one who is smiling in all these pictures. maybe he has reason to. >> reporter: one of the photos is a surprise, of a general said by south korean officials to have been executed in february. turns out he is a member of the powerful central committee, part of the pageantry, kim jong-un's younger sister, seen collecting flowers for him at the parade finale. she, too, has been elevated to the central committee according to the north korean government. kim jong-un is believed to be
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only 28 years old and has enormous influence in the circle. analysts say she works in her brother's office, controls access to him, manages all hissy vents. >> she's going to make sure that all the schedule goes right, and all the right people see him. she's directly responsible for propaganda role. so really showing, show casing kim jong-un's image. >> reporter: experts say he has an older sister who also has his year. she operates in the shadows. there are no verifiable pictures of her, she's seen as a mentor to kim jong-un and his younger sister, crucial to helping them develop relationships inside the treacherous halls of power. >> he's got to be people who he feels are going to be unquestionably loyal to him, who are not going to undermine him, who are going to protect him under all circumstances. >> reporter: kim has two other siblings who he and his father have not trusted to be close to
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him. the older brothers were passed over for top leadership role, said to be not interested in the job. why haven't they gotten other top positions? unlike their sisters, analysts say, these two are seen as potential threats to kim jong-un, possibly creating rival power factions within the regime, so the older brothers have kept their distance or forced to. >> brian, with those brothers pushed to the side, could the younger sister take power if something were to happen to kim jong-un? >> reporter: some analysts believe that's possible. there have been other women in the kim family with positions of enormous power behind the scenes, especially one of his aunts who advised his father. some believe by elevating the younger sister, giving her more power and responsibility, they make it possible for her to one day succeed him, but she's awfully young. his hold is a little tentative. >> he is young himself in his early 30s, not exactly an old timer himself. thanks very much, brian todd,
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for that. coming up, divided by donald trump's primary campaign, the gop starts picking up the pieces, the presumptive nominee meets with the house speaker, paul ryan. why isn't ryan ready to endorse him? i sleep extremely hot. i wake up and i just feel like sticky. have the windows open, the ac on- i'd close it in the middle of the night. he'd open it in the middle of the night. it was a nightmare. my new tempur-breeze stays cool to the touch. not cold but cool. it naturally adapts to your body and somehow creates the perfect temperature for you. i feel like this was made just for me- like they had me in mind. i don't know how they do that. (vo) sleep cooler, wake more refreshed. discover the new tempur-breeze.
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happening now. totally committed. donald trump and house speaker paul ryan are huddled behind closed doors, talking differences and common ground, now saying they'll work together for a trump victory in november. the quest for unity around trump remains i will lus i have.
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trump on his best behavior meeting with the leader and claiming things are working out really well. will goodwill last, can it garner endorsements he needs, including paul ryan's? saudi 9/11 connection? a member of the 9/11 commission reveals new details of evidence that saudi citizens living in the united states were supposedly supporting al qaeda ahead of the terror attacks. what was their connection to the saudi government? we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." he portrays himself as the ultimate outsider, but he is very much the insider behind closed doors with top congressional republicans in a series of important meetings, the most anticipated, a 45 minute sit down with house speaker paul ryan, who pointedly said he is not yet ready to
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endorse trump. tonight he is apparently still not ready. trump and ryan did issue a joint statement stressing unity and commitment, but all sides are also acknowledging the long road ahead, describing today as a first step in an on-going conversation. we are following new questions about 9/11. a former commissioner with the official congressional investigation tells cnn there's evidence as many as six saudi individuals were supporting al qaeda in the weeks and months before the attacks. we're covering all that and more this hour, with our guests, congressman chris collins, first republican representative to endorse donald trump. and our correspondents and expert analysts are also standing by. let's begin with chief political correspondent dana bash. dana, all sides are putting a positive spin on the meetings, but there are still serious issues that divide them. >> there's no question about it. i'm told donald trump according to a congressional source in one
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of the meetings with him came in and walked in with an attitude of wanting to come together, but this really isn't just about trump. it turns out that paul ryan's interview here on cnn last week was controversial among many of his own rank and file republicans, so there was as much as stake for the house speaker as there was for the unlikely republican presidential nominee. it was an event congressional republicans never imagined in their wildest dreams. gathering to greet the nominee for president, donald trump. and they all could not sound more eager to get beyond the discord. >> the headline is positive first step toward unifying our party. >> i do believe that we are now planting the seeds to get ourselves unified. >> in fact, trump and house speaker paul ryan even issued a carefully crafted joint statement using a version of the word unite three times in one
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paragraph. including we will be having additional discussions but remain there's a great opportunity to unify our party and win this fall. but also said while we were honest about our few differences, we recognize that there are also many important areas of common ground. the differences ran deep during the primaries. >> total and complete shutdown. >> ryan recoiling at donald trump's tone and tenor, especially the call to ban muslims last december. >> this is not conservatism. >> cnn is told today behind closed doors ryan made clear to the billionaire it would be up to trump to unite the gop. a source familiar with the meeting says ryan told trump that while millions voted for him, many republicans oppose him, too. >> i represent a wing of the conservative party you could say. he brings, he is bringing a whole new wing to it, bringing new voters we never had for decades. that's a positive thing. >> still, ryan was not yet ready to endorse trump. >> this is the first very
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encouraging meeting. again, in 45 minutes, you don't litigate all of the processes, all of the issues and principles that we are talking about. >> a source familiar with the meeting also said ryan brought up something near and dear to his heart, balancing the budget by reforming medicare and social security, which trump has argued he doesn't want to touch. and sources tell cnn that during the meeting trump mostly listened and said all of the right things. the most anticipated meeting was the first, just these three men, trump, ryan and republican party chair reince priebus. cnn is told priebus has been working hard behind the scenes for over a week to bridge the divide between the two. >> it's important to be unified, also important to remember -- >> but it is not usually this hard. >> you know what, this was not a usual election. i mean, it was a very contentious, tough primary, and obviously no one can deny that. it is something a lot of us haven't been through. >> do you feel like a couple's
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therapist? >> no, you know what, you wouldn't say that if you were in the room, it was very -- it was great. i think it had very good chemistry between the two of them. >> maybe the most stark piece of evidence of the trump thaw, wolf, was word that we got that lindsey graham who right here on cnn last week also said that he would not vote for trump or hillary clinton, never mind not endorse him. the two of them spoke by phone yesterday, talking according to graham about issues of national security for about 15 minutes. graham said it was a cordial conversation. and wolf, this comes after graham yesterday talked about populism that trump brings to the republican party, and maybe that could help the party in the future. again, these are not things anybody expected to hear from the man who is perhaps trump's starkest opponent and continued to be so in the primary.
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>> good point. i know trump is reaching out to many people throughout the party and country to solicit their advice and opinions. i believe this is a wise move on his part. he congratulated him on his win. a nice statement from lindsey graham as far as donald trump is concerned. let's dig deeper. senior white house correspondent jim acosta is joining us. jim, you hear from people in the trump campaign, what are you hearing? >> reporter: that's right, wolf. donald trump is all but declaring victory after his trip to capitol hill, but it was not mission accomplished. he didn't land that coveted endorsement of house speaker paul ryan. i talked to trump aides earlier that said they believe that will come in time, adding no endorsement was expected today. despite all of the talk of unity, we should point out there were concerns expressed by lawmakers about trump's visit and what happened during trump's visit. consider what happened on the senate side. senator cornyn was at the meeting with trump and told reporters after the meeting he
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told donald trump to tone down rhetoric on immigration, and that's just one of the issues that democrats, including the senate minority leader harry reid tried to exploit earlier as he offered donald trump a welcome all his own. here is what he had to say. >> since republican leaders are in for donald trump, we can only assume he approves trump calling immigrants rapists and murderers, since he so enthusiastically endorses trump. and condones that women are dogs and pigs. >> reporter: one other thing we should mention, james baker, that could open the door to mending fences with the bush family, although it is highly unlikely after his super heated rhetoric aimed at jeb bush and former press george w. bush. wolf, this was a very different donald trump we saw on capitol
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hill. no mentions of little marco and lying ted. this was toned down trump, wolf. >> very positive rhetoric indeed. thanks very much, jim accost to reporting. let's get more. chris collins was the first republican congressman to publicly support donald trump. congressman, thanks for being here. >> good to be with you, wolf. >> you had a chance to speak to speaker ryan before the meeting today. >> i did. >> what was your message? >> we need to unite the party, and speaker ryan at the conference meeting confirmed we need to be a united party to defeat hillary clinton and her liberal progressive socialist agenda. that does unite us. she's the great uniter. but paul ryan had never met mr. trump. i figured we would be coming together sooner or later. we had a conversation that started today. i was very impressed with the unity message that came out. there's going to be two or three more meetings, but the speaker and future president of the
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united states have to have an agenda to change the direction of this country. come next january, we're going to pass the laws that president trump will sign. >> what does it say that the speaker after the meeting today is still not able to endorse donald trump? >> there's a process. speaker ryan is a very cautious and very deliberative person. he has his issues and knows about the differences, whether it is the trans-pacific partnership or other trade issues. he acknowledges that donald ran on those and won. those aren't a disqualifier in mr. ryan's opinion. he needs to get to know him. paul ryan is somebody who is going to take a little more time. i would say end of the month, first part of june, not to put a total time line on it, but a few more meetings. >> there's a story in politico that some of trump's supporters, you were the first republican to endorse him, congress disappointed or upset he didn't find time to meet with them in
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washington? >> i'm not in that camp. i met with donald trump, talked to him, my folks talking to him all the time. we knew what this schedule was today, compressed, hectic. never expected or even asked to meet with donald today. we have talked about him coming in to speak to the conference. the conference chair -- >> the entire house, all republican members. >> we will do that sooner than later. may 4th is not the date we thought we were coming together, we thought it would be in july after the cleveland convention, maybe june 7th, after california. no one expected may 4th. there's a little catch up occurring. that gives ten weeks ahead of where we thought we would be to take the fight to hillary clinton. soy think all of the steps are positive. today if this was the election, paul ryan would be voting for donald trump today. it is just going to take a couple more meetings. >> donald trump made it clear when i spoke with him last week,
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he didn't necessarily think cruz and kasich would drop out as quickly as they did. >> if you heard ted cruz, no one expected that. it is good for the party. gives us ten weeks to coalesce around the nominee, donald trump. the mood on the house floor is very positive, very energetic. >> here's the problem, the speaker makes no bones about it. he disagrees with donald trump on several core issues, and they have to resolve this. going to play a couple of clips. this is where trump has spoken out on sensitive issues. the speaker and a lot of other republicans are not happy about these positions he has enunciated. listen to this. >> i'm the king of debt. i love debt. >> this is the united states government. first of all, you never have to default, you print the money. i hate to tell you, okay? we are out of control. have no idea who is coming into the country, if they love us or hate us, no idea if they want to bomb us. donald j. trump is calling for total and complete shutdown of muslims entering the united
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states. they're bringing drugs, they're bringing crime, they're rapists, and some i assume are good people. i will build a great, great wall on our southern border and i will have mexico pay for that wall. mark my words. folks, we're going to build the wall, believe me. >> how do they resolve, those are sensitive issues obviously. trump modified his tone but is not backing away from substance. >> i think it goes to the top line. secure the borders, bring jobs back that were stolen by mexico in china, peace through strength, stand up to putin and north korea, defeat isis, and to get the economy moving, we're going to have to have fundamental tax reform. donald trump set that stage at the 30,000, 60,000 foot level. i disagreed with some of what mr. trump said on muslims. i said we do need to know who is coming in. syrian refugees that director
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comey can't certify are not terrorists, we need a timeout. i called for that. i wouldn't have gone as far as mr. trump. >> do you think he is moderating some of his positions? >> yes. >> do you believe he is ready to compromise on some of these sensitive issues with speaker ryan? >> i think as we are now pivoting to running against hillary clinton, she's the uniter of the party. no question the chief executive, donald trump, knows we need to get our team together. he knows we're going to have to debate these issues. he reached out to committee chair men and others, give me your ideas, let's talk this through. donald trump, he is going to secure the borders, he is bringing our jobs back, and he is going to defend the safety of this country. those he is not going to compromise on. when it comes to the details, that's what a ceo does. we're going to have the conversation, get the best ideas, have the best and brightest in the room, and paul ryan will be part of that. i have a very good feeling about where this is headed.
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>> makes it clearest ready to compromise, he has opening bargaining position, and other positions he is willing to work with democrats, he says, too, if elected president. wrote "the art of the deal." do you think reince priebus is doing a good job bringing the factions together? >> i am pleased with reince priebus is doing. he knows it is imperative for the republicans to win we unite with the individual on the top of the ticket, donald trump, and then with president trump, speaker ryan and majority leader mcconnell we can change the direction of this country, get the jobs back and we have to be united. this is a process and i think we are well along on the path. >> chris collins, thanks for joining us. >> good to be with you. >> good to have a fellow buff loanian. just ahead, congressman adam
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let's get managore on donal trump's meetings with paul ryan who is still not endorsing the republican nominee. adam kinzinger, thanks for coming in. are you ready to endorse? >> still not there. >> why? >> look, everybody has a decision who to vote for, a member of congress, private citizen has to make that decision as well. donald trump's tone, violent rhetoric, talking about banning all muslims when frankly there
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are muslim nations doing dirty work against al qaeda, saudi arabia dealt al qaeda one of the biggest blows recently. it is that tone. it is a foreign policy that's nonsensical when he explain it. that's a huge concern to me. i would love to get to where i can endorse the republican nominee. i'm a republican, but the republican nominee has to talk like a republican. he has to have some republican values. frankly, he has to be worthy of inheriting the job of abraham lincoln and ronald reagan. the tone i hear from donald trump is not there yet. nothing against people that support him. >> are you getting pressure from republican leaders to go out and endorse him? >> there is. >> describe it. what kind of pressure. >> not like locking you in a room, beat you down, saying hey, we've got to unite. it is a compelling message as a republican, if the party is united, that's good. we can push forward our principles. >> where does the pressure come
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from. >> colleagues, folks in the district and those that support donald trump. nothing against people that support him, but i came out here not because i wanted a title or paycheck, i came out to make a difference. a thing like foreign policy, i spent six years fighting hard to remind americans our mission in the world and things like that, when you have a nominee that says basically the direct opposite, embraces vladimir putin, flattered by vladimir putin, says give the middle east to russia, those are concerning issues and ones i can't just roll over on. >> you're a combat veteran, served in the air force in iraq and afghanistan for that matter. are you one of the republicans potentially that could actually vote for the democratic nominee, assuming it is hillary clinton. >> no, i don't see myself going there. look, i basically agree with hillary clinton on just about everything, i'm sure. i want to get to where i can support the republican nominee, but he has to be worthy of having my support. like i said, people have to make their individual decision. we are no different than
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anybody, we have to make that decision. i won't be supporting hillary clinton. what i will be doing is taking out a ballot. even if i don't vote presidency, i can write in somebody and be sure i vote for down ballot like senator kirk in illinois. >> what do you think of how the speaker is handling it, came out, didn't formally endorse trump but said it was a great meeting. >> i think the speaker is handling it well. he is a man of great principle, somebody that wants to do what's right. understands the need to work together. but wants to do right. he is the speaker of the house of representatives. basically the leader now of the republican party. he has a different set of pressure points on him and different responsibility than somebody like me, for instance. so i think he is doing a great job, upholding his principles, doing what i hope i can do, too, help bring donald trump to a position where he starts to sound like a republican, and again, he speaks in tones worthy of a guy like ronald reagan and abraham lincoln. >> he is very ambitious.
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politically makes no bones about it, thinks he can carry important battleground states, thinks he can carry his home state of new york. say you come around and endorse him. do you think he can carry your home state of illinois? >> it will be tough. he has a coalition of people showing up that traditionally don't vote. does that translate from a primary to general election? that remains to be seen. how much does he motivate, for instance, hispanic vote to come out for hillary clinton and vote against him. these are questions we are figuring out. really it is on donald trump, whether the republican party unites, whether he can turn out coalitions is on him and his tone and what he says. i will leave it to him. >> you saw the statement that lindsey graham put out, had a 15 minute phone conversation with donald trump, cordial, pleasant conversation with mr. trump. i congratulated him on winning the republican nomination. he didn't formally endorse him,
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but it was a generous, warm statement he released. i assume you would like to have a conversation with donald trump as well. >> i would. >> what would you say? >> i think the first thing i would say is mr. nominee, you have to understand that your words have impact. our allies in the middle east are concerned about what you're saying, it is effecting them. not everybody in united arab emirates is prowest, but it is a prowestern government. your words have an impact. talk about american leadership. populism is one thing, populism on foreign policy is something completely different. and i think the job of presidency and the debate is worthy of adult discussions, not just populous rhetoric. >> maybe get a phone call and have that statement. look forward to your statement after that. just ahead, more on the critical day in donald trump's presidential campaign. paul ryan taking a swipe at
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a watershed moment in donald trump's presidential campaign. the presumptive nominee meeting
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in washington with top congressional republicans, including speaker paul ryan who hasn't yet endorsed donald trump. let's bring in chief political correspondent dana bash, along with senior washington correspondent jeff zeleny, and washington correspondent for new yorker magazine ryan lizza, and assistant editor david swerdlick. guys, thanks very much. heard a lot of positive talk, dana. what is it going to take to get speaker of the house to formally endorse donald trump? >> i would imagine it is going to be a little bit of time, unclear how long. frankly i'm not entirely sure how much it matters at this point. you know, perhaps to the hardcore trump supporters it will matter, but i think what matters morris going to be the actions that paul ryan takes, that donald trump take to unite the party in that, they can try to come together around a
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message, maybe more importantly come together a schedule so trump can help house republicans keep the majority. and perhaps ryan can help a little bit in terms of the overall attempt, hard to know how much it will matter. here's the only exception. republicans in the house, those who -- our districts are hugely supportive of donald trump, and you might have really hurt us in our districts. those people might say you know what, paul ryan, we need you to endorse. >> tough position for paul ryan. he is under pressure to support the republican nominee, to endorse him and all of that, on the other hand, he wants to keep a majority of republicans in the house of representatives, and there are a lot of republicans
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out there are very worried with trump top of the ticket that that could hurt their prospects. >> one thing all republicans agree on is that they want to win in november. for ryan, trump does not represent what he wants, a party of conservatism, ideas, reaganesque tone. now i think he has to hold back a little of his leverage, even though like dana says, rank and file members want him to make amends or have a detente with trump. if he folds into the trump tent too soon, he gives away leverage in the party. >> ryan is a sincere, sensitive guy, doesn't want fake party unity, on the other hand, doesn't want hillary clinton to be president of the united states either. he has a delicate line to walk. >> it seems from his statements he is trying to offer trump a path, that his end goal is really to be able to come around and say that he backs trump, and i think dana hit the pressure point that we saw this week on
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him, he is speaker of the house during a time when that job is extremely difficult, even if you didn't have a presidential candidate like donald trump who is so polarizing in the republican party. obviously boehner was overthrown by rebellion on the right, and i was on the hill today, talking to republicans. that's what you're -- it is definitely divided, but you're picking up a lot more conservative faction who are looking for a reason to be against the speaker anyway, now they sort of seized on this, freedom caucus members, most conservative members of the house, saying wait a second, paul ryan, the republican party wants this guy and it is turning into an establishment versus grass roots issue. for a lot of conservatives in the house, those are paul ryan's base. that's the thing he has to worry about going forward. >> biggest problem trump has with ryan, his demeanor? that he would like him to be
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more presidential in tone and comments he is making or substantive policy difference? >> i think it is both. i think this substance is where paul ryan is known, he is a substantive guy. he lived and breathed his life in policy, has grown up on the hill essentially, and he is concerned donald trump is not carrying the ideals of the party. he really feels strongly about the party of ronald reagan, the grand old party. i believe it is more policy. i don't think he likes his tone. i think paul ryan would not have done what he did without specific policy differences. i can't see how they come together, i don't think they necessarily have to, and won't on everything. on trade, they're not coming together. on some other issues, i think that's what paul ryan is waiting for here. it is risky on one hand, but i think it elevates him at this moment as speaker. he is a young speaker. this is a test of leadership, but also a sign he is willing to
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stand for something. a lot of people i talked to, republicans think it makes him look good. >> he may talk about -- he talks about jack kemp, someone that reached out to minorities that tried to build a more compassionate, conservative alliance, if you will. jack kemp played a critical role in his life as well. there was a cute tweet that paul ryan put out there, posted it. i'll show the viewers now, after his meeting with donald trump. you see it there, my most important meeting of the day, you see him with school girls over there. you can read that in various ways, right? >> but the way paul ryan's office told me to read it, give me a break. he was trying to say these are children, they're the future. he is trying to say nice things about what matters in life are the kids. one thing i want to add to what we've all been talking about on the pure raw politics of this,
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that i was reminded of, that i hadn't thought through by a senior republican type here, and that is that for all of his opposition to washington, donald trump has really obviously galvanized the grass roots, but has not called on his supporters to challenge incumbent republicans as he has gone into the various districts, even and especially when a lot of them didn't support him, and that is something that did not go unnoticed by again a lot of incumbent republicans, and they're hoping that will help them. it also endeared them, even those that don't think he is their kind of republican. we have seen the did i vis i have nature of the process, even within the house of representatives. it can get ugly.
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>> in august, there's a republican primary in his home district in wisconsin. say the trump charm offensive fails, can't bring the republican party elite on board, can he win the election? >> i think he can win, not saying he will win. but he can. a lot of it will have to do if he can reach a stalemate with these guys. if ryan doesn't endorse, will he reach a detent, he got t. boone pickens and other donors that are trickling over to him, others like paul singer say they won't support trump. if he can get some fund-raising and support, he has people like representative collins that was here earlier supporting, and he has the grass roots. >> that's the most important thing. i was in omaha, nebraska, a red state friday. the crowd booed as loud for paul ryan as clinton. doesn't matter. we were focused on this today in washington and rightly so.
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conservative activists are with the nominee. >> trump is making it clear, hold your thoughts for a moment, he is no longer self funding, he has to go out and start raising money. >> james baker doesn't get more establishment, the fact that he met with trump is huge. >> former secretary of state. >> correct. >> stand by. much more to discuss. a closer look at what's happening on the democratic side between hillary clinton and bernie sanders. much more after this. windows 10 is great because
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hillary clinton's lock on the democratic presidential nomination, her rival bernie sanders says the superdelegates are rejecting the views of their constituents. senior washington correspondent jeff zeleny is still here with us and has the latest on the democratic race. jeff, sus are what makes it mathematically impossible at this point for sanders to overtake clinton. >> sure is, wolf. superdelegates, elected democratic party officials have been siding with hillary clinton. bernie sanders argues it is unfair in states like west virginia and new hampshire where he won big, but superdelegates still back clinton. that's not his only challenge, though. he would have to win two-thirds of pledge delegates in all remaining states. that's a tall order. sanders is still making good on his pledge to fight for every vote in every state. today it took him face to face
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with a middle east of americana he hasn't seen. >> this is our country at its best. what an incredible achievement. >> visiting mount rush more, seeing this monument of four great presidents. >> the accomplishment and beauty makes one proud to be an american. >> reporter: sanders has his own mountain to climb. even winning all 11 remaining contests wouldn't put him on top of hillary clinton in the fight for delegates. sanders is drawing less attention these days, but he's not going quietly, taking aim at superdelegates who overwhelmingly back clinton even if he carried their state. >> i say to those superdelegates in states where we won landslide victories, listen to the people of your state! >> reporter: in kentucky today, bill clinton asking democrats to send his wife across the finish line with strength. >> she needs to go into the
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convention not just with popular vote lead, not just with delegate lead, with the wind in her back, unify the party and make this case to the american people. >> reporter: campaign manager jeff weaver saying in an e-mail democrats should be willing to roll the dice and court with disaster. >> if we let them win now, it will be a gamble, a roll of the dice. >> on cnn today, weaver walked back part of his words. >> the disaster is not hillary clinton, the disaster is election of donald trump. >> reporter: trump is focused on another democrat, elizabeth warren. >> elizabeth warren. i hope she runs with hillary, i would like to take them out. on twitter, trump writing goofy elizabeth warren has been one of the least effective senators in the entire u.s. senate, she has
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done nothing. warren shooting back, do you think you're going to shut us up, donald trump? think again, it is time to answer for your dangerous ideas. >> this back and forth is being watched with great interest. she's also watching sanders. in south dakota, said i am not here to say she can't defeat donald trump, but i believe that bernie sanders is the stronger candidate. a bit of a softening of tone against her tonight. >> stand by. dana, despite winning impressively in west virginia, delegate math for bernie sanders by almost all accounts is simply not there. take a look at this very, very closely. sanders could clearly win every remaining contest as jeff pointed out, still come up short. how does he maintain under those circumstances the enthusiasm he needs. >> for any other politician i would say it is going to be tough, but i mean, bernie
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sanders says hi, my name is bernie sanders and he has enthusiasm that any other politician would die for. i mean, that's what's driven the whole phenomenon, which is bernie sanders. the enthusiasm gap is not an issue for him at all. you know, the question is how he continues to as jeff pointed out so well turn his candidacy from maybe where it started, but from a quest to get the nomination to a real push to keep his issues alive, keep his supporters engaged. >> he has a problem, he rails against the notion of superdelegates, that's totally unfair. on the other hand, he wants to turn some of the superdelegates away from hillary clinton toward him. >> he does. that's a bit of a mixed message. even so, he makes a decent point in terms of the fairness of states, but that's not how the process works. superdelegates are designed by the democratic party
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establishment to keep order on the party. his issues with rules of the party, he would be the first to admit there. even if all of the superdelegates from west virginia, new hampshire, minnesota went to him, it still wouldn't be enough. he won in small states and hillary clinton won in big states. that's the difference. >> he is devoting more stump speech writing now to going after donald trump. he is not mincing words at all. does that meanest easing up on hillary clinton automatically as a result of that, presumably he is trying to hurt donald trump, but help hillary clinton if she gets the nomination? >> in the last month, donald trump made it part of his standard speech to reach out to diseffected bernie sanders voters. i think he believes there's something he can offer the sanders voters, and there's a little bit of polling that suggests a chunk of them are not necessarily leftwing liberal democrats, they're just diseffected democrats. they don't buy into the sanders
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democratic socialist agenda, but like that he is anti-establishment and anti-hillary. so on issues like trade and economic populism that trump and sanders both talk about, i think trump thinks he can appeal to them, and sanders is basically saying no. do not go to donald trump. it is a sign, sanders once he is out of the race, he is going to be a firm anti-trump. >> david, you realize, all of us realize, hillary clinton lately barely even mentions bernie sanders. she's really railing against, devoting all attention to donald trump. she has a delicate line to walk, she needs the enthusiastic, young bernie sanders supporters to get elected. >> clinton wants to send a message that this thing is over, if not quite mathematically over, and she's the general election candidate going ahead. for sanders, like we were talking about, sanders wants to say look, i'm the better candidate the candidates can put up against trump. either way, i think they had
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their fill of going after each other, but at the same time clinton. >> the super delegates are here to stay. 15% of all democratic delegates are superdelegates. do you think down the road they might revise that? >> i interviewed nancy pelosi today. she said to me flat out unsolicited that she can't stand the idea of superdelegates. she wants it to be more democratic. i think you're dead on about there being more of a crossover. i know west virginia is a nukune place. there are not a lot of democratic socialists in west virginia and bernie sanders did very very well there. >> 30% of the democrats who voted for bernie sanders said in a general election they're voting for trump. >> west virginia's unique. that's right.
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>> these superdelegates, the idea behind them is so that the democrat tiic party can't be ta over by some outside force like donald trump. >> maybe the republicans created the difference. >> this election has shown that the people want small d democratic nominating system. there's a real rebellion against anything that's not -- >> stand by. another story we're following. just ahead new questions about saudi citizens living in the united states supporting al qaeda alehead of the 9/11 attac. d
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new questions tonight about saudi citizens living in the united states who may have supported al qaeda the weeks and months before the 9/11 attacks. our chief national security correspondent jim sciutto is working this story for us. you're learning about evidence contained in the 9/11 report? >> that's right. he says the fbi never fully investigated evidence that as many as six saudi individuals, all with some ties to the saudi government, supported al qaeda in the runup to the 9/11 attacks. that evidence contained in 28 classified pages of that congressional investigation which the president is now considering releasing to the public. it's an allegation that has
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lingered almost since the moment the towers fell, that saudi arabia was somehow tied to the 9/11 attacks. now speaking to cnn by telephone, former 9/11 commissioner john layman says the classified 28 pages of a congressional report into 9/11 contain evidence that as many as six saudi individual supported al qaeda in the runup to the attacks. those individuals, he says, worked for the saudi embassy in the u.s., saudi charities and a government funded mosque in california. he makes clear that the 28 pages which are mostly fbi summary reports contain no smoking gun. and like the 9/11 commission concluded, layman does not believe the saudi government or any of its senior officials supported or were aware of the 9/11 plots. however, he says that evidence of lower level saudi involvement was never sufficiently investigated and should now be, quote, vigorously pursued. other commission members are
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echoing his call. >> we would not be so arrogant as to think that we with our limited time and resources have investigated every single aspect that there is to look at in the 9/11 disaster. >> when it completed its investigation in 2004, the 9/11 commission concluded it found, quote, no evidence that the saudi government as an institution or senior saudi officials individually funded al qaeda. saudi leaders have repeatedly cited that conclusion as eliminating the possibility of any official saudi role. >> if you look at the commission report, it deals specifically with saudi arabia's role, that there was not a saudi role nor any official role in this situation. >> some 9/11 commission members do not dispute that defense. >> there is a substantial jump
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to suggest that somebody who had a job in a consulate is a representative of the saudi government. >> however, layman says the commission's conclusion intentionally left open the possibility that lower level government officials or employees may have played some role. even if they were not instructed by saudi leadership. this h it is that lingering question that he hopes the 28 pages' release and further investigation will lay to rest once and for all. the investigation was terminated before all the relevant leads were able to be investigated. that leaves open the possibility that lower level figures did it perhaps without the okay of senior officials. i will note, however, that the saudis do also support releasing those 28 pages. the saudi foreign minister
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saying that just last week. >> they've repeatedly said, go ahead release them. they've said they have nothing to hide. that's it for me. thanks very much for watching. tweet me at wolf blitzer. erin burnett "outfront" starts right now. "outfront" next. new details on trump's meetings with top republicans today. who's warming up to trump and who is not. trump's former butler calling for president obama to be killed. the trump campaign speaking outs tonight. and ivanka trump defending her father. let's go "outfront." ♪ good evening. i'm erin burnett. donald trump flying high. trump and paul ryan meeting today. the verdict, no endorsement yet, but ryan says trump is a,

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