Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES Date: June 2, 2016 Guest: Karen Finney, A.J. Delgado, Sabrina Siddiqui, Nick Confessore, David Corn, Jeff Horowitz, Sean Trende
STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC HOST (voice-over): Tonight on ALL IN --
HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Trump's ideas aren't just different. They are dangerously incoherent.
KORNACKI: Hillary Clinton's explosive attack on Donald Trump.
CLINTON: He is temperamentally unfit to hold an office that requires knowledge, stability, and immense responsibility.
KORNACKI: Tonight, how the presumptive Republican nominee is responding and how today's frontal assault from Clinton is different than all the others.
CLINTON: There's no risk of people losing their lives if you blow up a golf course deal. But it doesn't work like that in world affairs.
KORNACKI: Plus, why Paul Ryan finally came around to Trump today. Why new polling in California could have big implications for Democrats. And as new details continue to emerge, why Donald Trump says he wants to reopen Trump University.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Success. It's going to happen to you.
KORNACKI: When ALL IN starts now.
KORNACKI: Good evening from New York. I'm Steve Kornacki, in for Chris Hayes tonight.
And today, Hillary Clinton delivered perhaps her most stinging attack yet on Donald Trump. Speaking in San Diego, the former secretary of state flanked by 19 American flags laid out her foreign policy vision while seeking to portray the Republicans' presumptive nominee as unstable, inexperienced, and fundamentally unfit for office.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CLINTON: Donald Trump's ideas aren't just different. They are dangerously incoherent. They're not even really ideas, just a series of bizarre rants, personal feuds, and outright lies.
This is not someone who should ever have the nuclear codes, because it's not hard to imagine Donald Trump leading us into a war just because somebody got under his very thin skin.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: And while Clinton came back again and again to Trump's temperament. She also laid out a brutal critique on Trump's opposition to the Iran nuclear agreement and his tweets.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CLINTON: Donald Trump doesn't know the first thing about Iran or its nuclear program. Ask him. It will become very clear very quickly.
You know, there's no risk of people losing their lives if you blow up a golf course deal.
But it doesn't work like that in world affairs. So the stakes in global statecraft are infinitely higher and more complex than in the world of luxury hotels. We all know the tools Donald Trump brings to the table, bragging, mocking, composing nasty tweets. I'm willing to bet he's writing a few right now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: And, in fact, Donald Trump was. Just minutes before Clinton made that comment, Trump tweeted, quote, "Bad performance by crooked Hillary Clinton, reading poorly from the teleprompter. She doesn't even look presidential."
Now, Trump's tweet during Clinton's speech stopped there. But the former secretary of state wasn't done, leveling another critique at Trump's fitness to be commander in chief.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CLINTON: So, it really matters that Donald Trump says things that go against our deepest-held values. It matters when he says he'll order our military to murder the families of suspected terrorists.
During the raid to kill bin Laden, when every second counted, our SEALs took the time to move the women and children in the compound to safety. Donald Trump may not get it, but that's what honor looks like.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: Trump was speaking to the "New York Times" during Clinton's speech. Here's what he said about it. He called it terrible and pathetic. He added, quote, "I'm not thin-skinned at all, I'm the opposite of thin- skinned."
Earlier in the day he tweeted, crooked Hillary Clinton, who I would love to call lying Hillary, is getting ready to totally misrepresent my foreign policy positions.
And Trump's tweets this morning to get ahead of Clinton's speech were a continuation of his efforts last night when speaking to a crowd in Sacramento. He claimed Clinton was lying about his views.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Remember this: Hillary Clinton -- and this is 100 percent -- Hillary Clinton, who lies, I mean, she lies, you remember that, I started that. She lies. She lies.
She made a speech. And she's making another one tomorrow. And they sent me a copy of the speech. And it was such lies about my foreign policy. That they said I want Japan to nuke -- I want Japan to get nuclear weapons. Give me a break.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: Well, Trump was right. Clinton was going to bring up his position on Japan and nuclear weapons and contrary to what Trump said there, it isn't a lie. In fact, he has said that Japan should pursue acquiring nuclear weapons. He said that just over two months ago in an interview with CNN.
Now, today, Hillary Clinton gave us a preview of what her general election strategy against Trump could look like. A lot of sarcasm, humor, all while trying to make the case that Donald Trump is dangerous for the country.
The question is, will that work?
Joining me now is Karen Finney. She's the senior strategic communications adviser and spokesperson for the Clinton campaign.
Karen, thanks for being here.
KAREN FINNEY, SPOKESPERSON FOR THE CLINTON CAMPAIGN: Great to be here.
KORNACKI: Well, let me start with this -- we've had a number of high- profile speeches from major politicians over the last year. I think of Mitt Romney, former President George W. Bush. There have been others who've tried to make the case that Donald Trump is basically discredited from serving as president.
What would make this one different today?
FINNEY: Well, I think you're seeing Hillary Clinton do something that 15 men weren't able to, and that is make the case against Donald Trump in a very effective way. As you mentioned, she used a little bit of humor, I would say a little bit of heart, talking about our values as a country, but also talking about the dangerous and divisive consequences of the kinds of things that Donald Trump says.
I mean, as you pointed out, talking about countries like Japan getting nuclear weapons or Saudi Arabia getting nuclear weapons. Or suggesting that he knows better than our generals about is. I mean, those kinds of comments are dangerous, they're divisive, and they would have real consequences.
I mean, imagine, he just decides to get into a spat with David Cameron, just because, on Twitter. What if he were president? And then he had to go to David Cameron and try to forge an alliance around a problem that needed to be solved. How do you do that when you've been insulting people?
And think about particularly with regard to insulting Muslims and immigrants as Hillary pointed out. How do you then go to Muslim nations and try to say, we need to build an alliance? I mean, you lose credibility. I think there is a real reason that so many world leaders have come to President Obama and others and expressed their real concern about Donald Trump and his temperament, and as she said, do we really want this guy to have his finger on the codes?
KORNACKI: There was, as we say here, the topic here was national security today. This was a -- there was heavy on sarcasm, attempts at humor in this. And she tried to make this point by point her view. This point, this point, this point, why he's unqualified on this topic. Is this a template that we saw today? Are we going to see more speeches like this on other topics?
FINNEY: Well, look, I think what you're going to see, a cull of things. Number one, what Hillary did today was lay out the choice for people in terms of the vision that Donald Trump is pushing, which is divisive. It would be dangerous. It would be non-inclusive which I think is internally dangerous in our country.
Or can we be -- and also, frankly I agree with her. I'm tired of Donald Trump kind of crapping on our country, you know? He's been doing -- as she pointed out, he's been doing it for a long time. So, how can you do that and then credibly say you're going to be able to be president? Versus what Hillary's talking about which is a positive vision, it's an optimistic vision, it's an inclusive vision, but it's about not just security in terms of our national security, but how do we grow our economy?
She's not talking about like get rich quick schemes like Trump University. But how do we really --
KORNACKI: A critic of this speech today would say, this was heavy on criticism of Donald Trump, this was really strongly delivered, there was a lot in here that will get people's attention. There wasn't a lot in here about her vision on foreign policy. There wasn't a lot in here on her record on foreign policy.
FINNEY: Well, here's why I disagree with you on that a bit. I mean, she has been talking about both her record and what she wants to do for the last year. And so, for example, when she was talking about the contrast between the two of them, when we're talking about how are you going to take down terrorist networks. First of all, obviously, if you think you know more than the generals and you're not even willing to listen to people who might have other information, that's not a good strategy and that's actually very dangerous.
But she's also laid out a full plan that talks about, how do we deal with terrorist networks in cyberspace? And how do we deal with that and the reality they're using cyberspace and technology to recruit people outside of the boundaries of the countries that we're talking about, as well as how do we deal with what we're seeing in the Middle East?
We have not heard anything like that from Trump.
KORNACKI: Let me ask you this. We have that clip in there where she talks about he's running the golf courses, trying to say basically, look, this guy's got no business setting foreign policy for this country.
She was secretary of state. She's trying to set up a contrast. There are four years as secretary of state. Tell me, what is the signature achievement? Four years as secretary of state, what is the one most important achievement she made?
FINNEY: I would say the one most important achievement she made, because it flows to others, is the fact that she got on the plane and helped rebuild our alliances that were very badly damaged. And it was those alliances that needed to be rebuilt, so that we could be in a position for her to take on China and get them to take part in the Iran sanctions, which led to the nuclear agreement with Iran.
It was because of rebuilding those alliances that we were able to get the Paris accords on climate change done. It was because of those alliances that we've actually restored and renewed America's standing in the world. And now, again, I think the choice that she is making is, we can go forward as a strong America, as a proud America, or we can let this divisive view that Donald Trump is pushing be the direction that we go.
And I think what you will see certainly is making the case that it's not just -- sure, it's a little funny here and there. But it's actually dangerous. When you really kind of go through, take through the thread of what he's saying to its consequence, then it's really dangerous. And I think that also makes it very real for the American people.
KORNACKI: All right. Karen Finney from the Clinton campaign -- thanks for the time.
KORNACKI: All right. And joining me now, A.J. Delgado. She's a conservative columnist and Trump supporter.
A.J., you saw the speech today. You've just heard Karen Finney from the Clinton campaign. Did Clinton draw blood today?
A.J. DELGADO, CONSERVATIVE COLUMNIST AND TRUMP SUPPORTER: Not at all. I think she exposed herself. You alluded to her earlier in the segment with Karen when you asked, really, there was no substance to her speech. I don't know if anybody else found this as bizarre and frightening as I did that a presidential candidate gave this speech that was really just an attack on her opponent and had almost nothing as to what her view and her policy positions are.
When Donald Trump gave his speech a month or two ago on foreign policy, it was on what his vision is, what his policy views are on foreign policy, and his ideas. Hillary Clinton's almost entire speech today was just why Donald Trump's ideas are wrong, but nothing about her own. It was, frankly, bizarre.
KORNACKI: OK. But what about that? You're a supporter of Donald Trump and she did make the case here for why she thinks Donald Trump is wrong on national security, wrong on foreign policy. Let's go through a couple of specifics here, because when I ask if she drew blood here, I'm curious what you think of this.
For instance, she talked about his use of Twitter. She talks about how he seems erratic in terms of going on there, picking fights with people, saying incredibly inflammatory things, and asking the American people, is somebody like that temperamentally suited to have their hand on the nuclear trigger?
What would you say to that?
DELGADO: The American public appreciates how much he uses Twitter and is candid and direct with us. Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, is somebody who hides out and literally, I don't use that term lightly, been in hiding most of her campaign. She has not had a press conference in what is it now, six months?
So, I think the American public has spoken and saying, we'd rather somebody who is a little bit open and candid and maybe a little rough around the edges sometimes on Twitter, but at least he speaks to the American public.
KORNACKI: But, also, in terms of the positions he takes when he speaks, the things he articulates, she said another part of this indictment of his foreign policy saying it's incoherent. Now, isn't there something to that when he goes around saying he was against the Iraq war from the beginning, and actually before the Iraq war, he said we should invade?
DELGADO: No, actually, that has been completely misinterpreted and misrepresented in the media. Donald Trump from the very beginning was against the Iraq war. Two months before the Iraq war, in January 2003, he gave an interview with Neil Cavuto on FOX News where he expressed heavy skepticism, saying we should focus on the economy and not go to war --
KORNACKI: A.J., I want to read something to you here. This is from 2002 - -
DELGADO: No, you just said that he lied about opposing it and he didn't, he's been against the Iraq war --
KORNACKI: A.J., I want to put this on the record. I really do.
KORNACKI: 2002, this is before the invasion. He was on the Howard Stern Show. Here's the direct quote. Howard Stern --
DELGADO: I know exactly what you're talking about.
KORNACKI: Hang on. Let me make sure in case anybody hasn't. Howard Stern says, "Are you for invading Iraq?", the answer is, "Yeah, I guess so." That doesn't sound like somebody who's against this.
DELGADO: Oh, does that sound like a rousing endorsement? Yes, I guess so?
KORNACKI: A.J., I didn't say rousing, I said endorsement. He didn't say no, he said yeah.
DELGADO: Right, and that was 2002. And so, if may respond now. In 2003, March is when we entered the war, correct? Let me take you back to January 2003, two months before the war when is he gave that Neil Cavuto interview I was referencing. Anybody could look that up.
KORNACKI: But you're talking about an interview where he raised some concerns about maybe this wasn't the wisest thing. When she says, when Hillary Clinton says incoherent, if you have a guy who says in one interview, yes, we should go in, another one who expresses some reservations about it, and who now says, "I was against it from the beginning and I tried to warn the country" -- isn't that the definition of incoherent?
DELGADO: All of that is -- actually, no, quite on the contrary. It sounds completely consistent to me. Five days after the war he called it a mess at a "Vanity Fair" party, you can look that up as well.
What I find much more worrisome than his alleged inconsistency on this is Hillary's. This is somebody who did flat-out support and lead us and make us go into Iraq, and was supportive of it for years. Does that not worry you more than whether Trump said I guess so in 2002? The fact that Hillary Clinton led us into that disastrous war and supported it for as many years as she did. The fact that she led us into Libya, the fact that she wants us to intervene in Syria, wants us to have conflict with Russia?
Is that not the worrisome angle here? Not whether Trump may or may not have been enthusiastic enough in his denial that the war was a good idea?
KORNACKI: Again, enthusiasm wasn't the question here. In 2002, it was yes/no answer, and he said yes.
KORNACKI: A.J. Delgado, supporter of Donald Trump, I appreciate the time. Thanks for joining us.
KORNACKI: Still to come, more fallout from the Clinton stop Trump speech today. Plus, new reporting on the Trump University scandal. As Donald Trump suggests he wants to reopen that school.
But, first, House Speaker Paul Ryan falls into line. His endorsement of Donald Trump in two minutes.
KORNACKI: Today's speech from Hillary Clinton warning about what she says are the dangers of Donald Trump as president, not the first of his kind. But will she succeed where Mitt Romney, Marco Rubio, and Rick Perry failed before her? That's next.
But first, 29 days after Donald Trump was declared the presumptive nominee of the Republican Party, he has now finally won the support of House Speaker Paul Ryan. While Ryan maintained for weeks he was just not ready to endorse Trump, this afternoon, he published an op-ed piece that declares Donald Trump can help make reality of the bold House policy agenda.
He spoke shortly after with the "Associated Press".
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: I didn't know the guy at all before he got the nomination. Quite frankly, I didn't expect the nomination to be clinched until June 7th at the earliest. So I never had the time to put the time into talking with Donald about just the country, about principles and policies.
It's very clear to me that Hillary Clinton is in no certain way going to be advancing our principles and policies. She's promising another Obama term. And it's also become clear to me through my conversations that Donald Trump's somebody I know is comfortable with these principles and these general policies.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: So, Paul Ryan endorsing Donald Trump.
When asked for a comment, a spokesperson from Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid's office responded with this image. Later released a statement reading in part, "Speaker Ryan's abject surrender makes it official, the GOP is Trump's party now."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CLINTON: He also said, "I know more about ISIS than the generals do. Believe me." You know what? I don't believe him.
He actually said, and I quote, "Maybe Syria should be a free zone for ISIS." Oh, OK -- let a terrorist group have control of a major country in the Middle East.
Then, he said we should send tens of thousands of American ground troops to the Middle East to fight ISIS. He also refused to rule out nuclear weapons against ISIS, which would mean mass civilian casualties.
It's clear he doesn't have a clue what he's talking about. So, we can't be certain which of these things he would do. But we can be certain that he's capable of doing any or all of them. Letting ISIS run wild, launching a nuclear attack, starting a ground war -- these are all distinct possibilities with Donald Trump in charge.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: That was Hillary Clinton today delivering her version of an anti-Trump speech. Will it be more effective than a stop Trump speech we've seen this year from Mitt Romney, from Marco Rubio, from others?
Joining me now is Sabrina Siddiqui, political reporter at "The Guardian", and Nicholas Confessore, political reporter at "The New York Times".
Well, Sabrina, so the sort of warning speech about Donald Trump is becoming sort of a standard part of American politics. George W. Bush, I remember, tried to do this before South Carolina. Mitt Romney gave his famous major speech on the topic.
Did you see anything different today that's going to produce a different result than those speeches did?
SABRINA SIDDIQUI, THE GUARDIAN: Well, there is certainly a Hillary Clinton speech today, echoes of the arguments that Republican opponents to Donald Trump have made over the past few months, you know, attacking his temperament and his preparedness to serve as commander in chief, really trying to make the case that he is fundamentally unfit to be president.
The difference of course is Donald Trump's Republican opponents didn't take him seriously in the beginning. They really waited until they had their backs against the wall. You know, Marco Rubio didn't go after him using these same lines until he was essentially losing. The same for Ted Cruz, the same went for Jeb Bush.
Hillary Clinton wants to get out in front of Donald Trump and try to define him for a general electorate, which you have to remember, that's another key difference. That Republicans are dealing with a primary electorate who weren't supporting Donald Trump on substance or policy, but because they were frustrated with the Republican establishment. A general electorate is very different. I think Hillary Clinton's campaign believes she has a case to make to independents as well as potentially a faction of Republicans who said they simply can't support Donald Trump.
KORNACKI: And, Nick, we got today her side of it. I was trying to imagine how this would play out if there's a debate this fall, if there's dueling speeches this fall. I kept coming back to something I was asking Karen Finney about there. You didn't hear much about Hillary Clinton's record.
I don't think the word Libya was mentioned in this entire speech. And I know as we just said, Donald Trump before the Iraq war in 2003 said he'd go in at the time. Bottom line is he's going to be coming back at her this fall saying, hey, your judgment should be questioned here, you voted for the Iraq war, that's a matter of record. Your judgment should be questioned, you're the one who is championing the Libya intervention in 2011.
How do you think what she said today will balance out with that counterattack?
NICHOLAS CONFESSORE, THE NEW YORK TIMES: I'm surprised his response was actually so passive. It was entirely -- first of all, it was one tweet, basically, from the whole party, right? There were no surrogates out there for him. He wasn't being defended by prominent Republicans.
And her speech was weirdly -- in its way, hear me out, sort of nonpartisan or non-big think. It was like a walk through the facts of the road in American foreign policy, which is why I think you didn't see a big outcry on the right attacking her for it.
But I will say, I think she's most comfortable in that setting when are she can get up there, give a speech, have a written speech, be prepared. It's going to be a lot harder I think on a debate stage. He has always shown a way of dominating a debate stage, talking past the rules, over moderators.
As you pointed out, he didn't even attack her today on Libya, on Syria, on the obvious mistakes she has made in foreign policy.
KORNACKI: Yes. Sabrina, wondering too, if this is going to be something we see from Hillary Clinton on other issues. There's a lot of the discussion out there, how do you run against Donald Trump? Is the Clinton campaign thinking they found their answer here? You give speeches like this?
SIDDIQUI: Well, I think this is certainly going to be one of the central components of their strategy. And one of the challenges that they will face that is there's just such a saturation when it comes to Donald Trump in terms of the exposure that he has in the media, as well as just the endless supply of controversial statements that he's prone to make on any given day. And so, they have to really identify where it's worthwhile to engage, where they feel like they can have traction.
I think being able to contrast her record as secretary of state versus him not having articulated any coherent agenda when it comes to foreign policy, national security. That is an obvious path for them to go down.
I think you're also going to see them continue to escalate these attacks on his business record, on Trump University, that's been a big theme of theirs. They want to really also get the point across that he is in their view a fraud, that he's really conning the American people, and shouldn't be entrusted with the highest office in the land.
KORNACKI: Nick, what was she looking for today? Who was she delivering this speech to? Was this aimed straight at voters? Was this aimed at the media? Who do you think she was trying to reach here?
CONFESSORE: Oh, voters for sure. This is the first major speech of the general election. What's fascinating about to me is I think there was some worry among Democrats that her attack plan for the summer would be a kind of "Downton Abbey" campaign of vapors, and I can't believe he said that, and I'm so outraged and shocked, and name checking the names of foreign leaders and obscure doctrines, right?
Instead, she took it down to here. It was substantive enough to have a core. But really it was an unpacking and unmanning of Donald Trump, an unpacking of all his contradictions and to really highlight some basic inadequacies, and simply the consistency of what you said.
I think it was targeted at Democrats but also at a broader electorate. It was not a big policy speech. It didn't contain any Hillary Clinton doctrine about the world.
KORNACKI: Yes. We're still waiting to hear that aspect of the debate, obviously.
Sabrina, this also had the effect today of this of overshadowing a bit a giant piece of news, the House Speaker Paul Ryan, the top Republican who'd been on the sidelines of the Trump campaign, now says he's getting aboard. Surprised that it happened right now?
SIDDIQUI: Not entirely. Look, I think that it was going to be a question of when, not if, from the moment that Paul Ryan met with Donald Trump in that highly publicized meeting in Washington about three weeks ago, kind of came out saying he was encouraged by that meeting and also it became difficult for Paul Ryan. Of course, he's bound by his obligations as the highest-ranking Republican in the nation. And certainly with other Republican leaders falling in line such as Mitch McConnell and Kevin McCarthy, I think this was inevitable.
What you'll probably see from Paul Ryan is continued effort to distance himself from Donald Trump. I think sources close to Paul Ryan who also said they don't know, too early to say, if he will campaign alongside Donald Trump or have a speaking role at the convention.
So, I think you're going to try and see him really focus on re-electing House Republicans and not tainting his brand too much by associating himself with Donald Trump.
KORNACKI: All right. Sabrina Siddiqui, Nick Confessore , thanks both for joining us.
CONFESSORE: Thanks, Steve.
KORNACKI: And up next, the brand-new director of Hispanic communications for the Republican National Committee with an anti-Trump past. That story right after this.
KORNACKI: Well, it looks like another sign of the struggle that Donald Trump faces with Hispanic voters, the director of Hispanic communications at the Republican National Committee resigned, and now her replacement comes to the job with a trail of anti-Trump tweets most of which he has now deleted.
First, the outgoing head of Hispanic media relations sat the RNC Ruth Guerra. According to the New York Times Guerra told colleagues this year that she was uncomfortable working for Mr. Trump, according to two RNC aides who requested anonymity. And just yesterday, the RNC announced its new director of Hispanic communications, Helen Aguirre Ferre. It is noted by Media Matters Ferre has deleted about a dozen tweets that were critical of Trump. Ferre is a former aide to Jeb Bush during his presidential campaign against Trump, looks like another sign
So, certainly it's understandable she took sides in that campaign. Should note her anti-Trump tweets did continue after Bush dropped out of the race until as recently as last month, tweets like these from May. "Will Donald Trump drive Miami Cuban-Americans from GOP? New poll says yes."
And, Hispanic Republicans caught in 2016 meat grinder, "Trump faces stiff opposition from Hispanic Republicans."
Or this one from April, "how Donald Trump's squeeze on immigrants will backfire," that one linked to an op ed in The New York Times by economics professor named Will Olney.
That made the case that Trump's antagonistic approach to Mexico could be bad for the economy.
In accepting the new job with the Republican Party, Ferre did not mention Trump saying in a statement she is, quote, "proud to be joining the RNC at such a critical time."
But she'll have her work cut out for her if, as the Republican autopsy after the 2012 presidential election suggests Republicans must win an increased share of the Hispanic vote if they're going to have a chance of winning the presidency.
But what if that weren't true? What if what that autopsy said the Republican Party had to do isn't actually what it has to do in 2016? What if Donald Trump could win the election this year by doing the opposite of what that autopsy prescribed? That's next.
KORNACKI: A lot's been said, a lot's been written about why Republicans lost the 2012 presidential election and what it would take for them to win this time around. The so-called Republican autopsy report after that 2012 defeat, which is actually called the growth and opportunity project, it recommended that, quote, "on issues like immigration, the RNC needs to carefully craft a tone that takes into consideration the unique perspective of the Hispanic community."
The presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump doesn't appear to be adopting that kind of a tone.
But a counter argument has been put out there. What if Trump could increase the Republican share of the vote among white voters? What if he could pull off a win even if he loses badly among people of color?
Joining me now, Sean Trende, senior elections analyst for Real Clear Politics.
And Sean, I know this is a topic you've written about before. I guess let me start by putting these numbers on the screen. This is from 2012. If you break down the election, here's how the different groups voted. You can see there among blacks, Obama well over 90 percent, Hispanics he got 71 percent. That's the number the RNC was really thinking of when they put that autopsy together.
But there's that other number at the top of the screen there, white voters, 59 percent for Romney. It looks like Donald Trump and his campaign are looking at these numbers and they're focusing on that one and saying, we can get that higher.
SEAN TRENDE, REAL CLEAR POLITICS: That's the gamble that been undertaken. You have to remember that non-Hispanic whites are around probably going to be 70 percent of the electorate. That's a lot of voters, in 2016. So, that's the game plan is to try to get that up from Romney's 59 percent to 61 percent, 62 percent.
If he does that, especially in the Great Lakes states, that's probably good enough for him to win.
KORNACKI: Do you see evidence that that's possible? Because I think a lot of people -- and one of the thoughts behind that autopsy, was that 59 percent basically represented a ceiling.
TRENDE: Yeah, so the short-term thing to look at is 2014, Republicans were up around 62 percent. Now, you say that's a midterm electorate, and fine, that's an important distinction. But if you look at the polling right now, if you take the people out who say they just aren't going to vote, Donald Trump is already pushing up against those numbers.
In fact, in the Quinnipiac poll and ANBC/Washington Post, it has him -- of the people who are going to vote, up at about 63 or 64 percent of the vote.
Now, no guarantee that sticks. It could go higher. I wouldn't be surprised if it went lower. But there is some evidence it could happen.
KORNACKI: You mentioned 2014 and so much attention on how the electorates look different, at least they have come to look different in presidential elections, midterm years. Is that part of the formula here Trump's counting on? The idea Barack Obama is off the ballot, maybe that non-white turnout isn't as high in 2016 as it was in 2012?
TRENDE: Absolutely. That's one of the big questions for elections analysis is -- are the midterm elections the outlier, or the presidential elections the outlier? That is, do we see the non-white share fall so precipitously from 2004 to 2012 because of demographics, or is it the Obama effect? Combined with some white voters who decided to stay home?
We -- everyone has opinions on it, but they aren't well grounded. We just have to kind of wait and see.
KORNACKI: And also, big picture here about the future, I just kind of playing this out, it seems to suggest here, if Donald Trump could move this into the 60s among white voters, with the country getting so much more diverse, if the Republican Party has success doing that, does it suggest maybe the country is moving to this place where our politics are just basically defined by race, defined by ethnicity?
TRENDE: You know, that's -- that's not something I'd want to see for the country. I would love for both parties to be more broader in their outreach than this polarization we seem to see happening.
But absolutely, if we do see Donald Trump push the white vote up into 62 percent, 63 percent, it suggests that as whites move towards minority status that they become more aware of their whiteness and it plays into politics.
It's a disheartening and dangerous trend, but it might be something we don't have any control over.
KORNACKI: All right, Sean Trende from Real Clear Politics, thanks for the time.
TRENDE: Thank you.
KORNACKI: All right. And still to come, new polling shows a tight match- up between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton in that crucial California primary. Why a Sanders upset could have major implications before the convention. That's coming up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BOB GUILLO, FRM. TRUMP UNIVERSITY STUDENT: Trump University was a total fraud. He made promises to us and he's made promises to the country. And he didn't keep his promises to Trump University students and he's not going to be able to make those promises come forth if he is ever elected president.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: That was a former Trump University student who has joined one of the class action lawsuits against Donald Trump. And today Trump himself is vowing to reopen Trump University. That story is just ahead.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SANDERS: While Secretary Clinton may be focusing today on Donald Trump, I think we have an excellent chance to win the primary here on Tuesday. And if the turnout is high, I think we can win it in big numbers.
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KORNACKI: Bernie Sanders in Modesto, California today. That press conference being held at the same time that Hillary Clinton was delivering that major speech down in San Diego where she went after Donald Trump on foreign policy.
Now, Clinton was originally supposed to be in New Jersey today. Her campaign, though, canceled that event instead opting for a five-day campaign swing through California.
Perhaps the latest polls out there show why. A new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll of likely Democratic voters in California shows basically a statistical tie, a 2-point lead for Clinton over Sanders.
A second poll, this one by the respected Field Research Corporation out of California, it also shows a neck and neck race.
Now, Clinton has a commanding lead when you talk about pledged delegates heading into next week's contest. And combined with superdelegates it's likely she's going to hit the magic number on Tuesday night with New Jersey alone, that's the first state that is going to report on Tuesday. The polls there closing hours before California.
And that could set up a scenario the Clinton campaign may not be too happy about. Do they lock up the nomination at the beginning of the night and then end it by losing America's biggest state?
Joining me now David CORN, Washington bureau chief at Mother Jones and MSNBC political analyst.
Well, David, let me run a theory by your on the importance of California here. Look, Bernie Sanders probably not going to be the Democratic nominee, but does the California outcome basically determine how he plays the time between California and the convention?
DAVID CORN, MOTHER JONES: Well, it may give him a little more legs if he does win in California, you know, that's a good size even if he's still behind.
But at the same time, his -- I think the fundamental calculus that he faces doesn't really change. She will be the leader in votes and in delegates, pledged and superdelegates. And his question really is, as she turns towards Trump and as Trump turns towards her, how much does he want to muck things up for her? How much of a fuss does he want to make at the convention over platform fights and rules fights and basically distract her and the party from the job at hand, Donald Trump?
I'm thinking of Game of Thrones. Like winter is coming. There's a zombie army coming down from the north. And do you want to play these Game of Thrones in the south amongst all the warring factions, or focus on the threat from the north which in this analogy would be Donald Trump.
KORNACKI: I guess the question then would come, if he wins California -- I mean, we're talking about a gigantic state here, I think it's something like 1 of every 7 Democratic voters in this primary process are going to come from California. With all those realities you've put out there, all this concern we hear from Clinton supporters about we've got to get ready for Donald Trump, if democratic voters in a state as massive as California look at all of that and still check off Bernie Sanders' name, aren't they saying they're not done with this yet?
CORN: Well, they're saying they prefer Bernie Sanders. And a lot of Democratic voters have said that. This is a close contest.
But at the end of the day, there's a first place finisher and a second place finisher. Now, no doubt Bernie Sanders and his supporters will have bragging rights coming out of California, but those are only bragging rights. You know the delegate math better probably than anyone, Steve. And at the end of the day, even if he wins, probably by a few points if that happens, and the split in delegates will still be pretty even.
So, it won't change that math. And he can say he won California. There are Democrats who are still uneasy with Hillary Clinton. But I don't know what you do with that information. It won't sway superdelegates to his side.
KORNACKI: All right, David Corn, thank you for the time.
Donald Trump's campaign tries to defend Trump University, releasing a video with testimonials from past students. There is a problem with it though, and I'm going to tell you what it is after this.
KORNACKI: Some breaking news tonight, Donald Trump escalating his attacks on the judge who's presiding over one of the lawsuits against Trump University again alleging the judge is biased against him due to his ethnic background.
In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, quote, "Trump said U.S. district Judge Gonzalo Curiel had an absolute conflict in presiding over the litigation given that he was of Mexican heritage and a member of a Latino Lawyers Association."
Trump said the background of the judge, who was born in Indiana to Mexican immigrants, was relevant because of his campaign stance against illegal immigration and his pledge to steal the southern U.S. border.
"I'm building a wall, it's an inherent conflict of interest," Trump said.
Trump said today that despite multiple lawsuits alleging fraud, Trump University may actually start enrolling students again soon. Trump tweeting, quote, "after the litigation is disposed of and the case won, I've instructed my execs to open Trump U, so much interest it in, I will be president."
There is indeed a lot of interest in Trump University. Trump started the unaccredited for-profit educational venture back in 2005. He promised its classes on real estate investing would make students rich.
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TRUMP: At Trump University, we teach success. That's what it's all about, success. It's going to happen to you.
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KORNACKI: A group of former students and New York's Democratic attorney general allege in lawsuits that Trump University was essentially a scam, "a fraudulent scheme," in the words of a former employee deposed in a class action lawsuit, "that preyed upon the elderly and uneducated to separate them from their money." Again that from that lawsuit.
Trump has pushed back by cited surveys showing that many students were happy with the program.
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TRUMP: 98 percent of the people that took the courses -- we have report cards from everybody. They report carded on the course. 98 percent of the people that took the courses, 98 percent approved the courses. They thought they were terrific.
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KORNACKI: Yesterday, Trump's campaign rolled out a video showing three testimonials from what they bill as very satisfied Trump University customers.
The Associated Press, though, reports that two of the people featured, quote "have business ties to the presumptive Republican presidential nominee."
And some students tell The Daily Beast they were coerced into providing positive reviews.
One of the positive reviews highlighted by Trump's legal team was written by an ex-student Ryan Mattngs. He wrote that, quote "Trump University is some of the best money I have ever invested."
But Mattings (ph) now tells The Daily Beast it was a lie. He says he racked up around $45,000 in credit card debt to buy Trump University seminars and products. "I fell for it," he said. "I was flying on cloud nine. I thought I'm going to be rich like Trump, but it's a complete scam, it's a complete con."
Joining me now is Associated Press reporter Jeff Horowitz. He's been covering this story extensively.
So, Jeff, well let me start with it, when this subject comes up, we played it there, the first thing Donald Trump ever says is, look, these are a few angry customers, the vast majority, positive reviews, overwhelmingly happy with it.
So, you've got this guy who wrote one of those reviews that Trump is talking about. Now he says, no, I gave $45,000 -- $35,000, $45,000 on my credit card. How do you square those two things? He writes a positive review, now he says he didn't mean it?
JEFF HOROWITZ, THE DAILY BEAST: Well, the reviews, according to the plaintiffs in the case, were written kind of under the supervision of the instructors. And they were also written at a point when people thought that they would still be getting a lot more out of the course, this is again according to the plaintiffs.
And one thing that kind of does sort of lean in the plaintiffs' direction on this is that the Trump University staff basically had to refund at least a quarter of the students' tuition based on refund requests from so many people.
KORNACKI: So, what have we learned so far? There have been court proceedings. What have we learned so far about exactly how Trump University worked and exactly what Donald Trump's role was or wasn't in it?
HOROWITZ: Sure, so Trump University and Donald Trump didn't really have that much to do with each other in the sense that Donald Trump owned it, he gave the business the right to use his name, likeness, and, you know, basically advertise for them, but he didn't actually have any operational control. He didn't read the documents that they were going to use for the core of the curriculum. He didn't hire the hand-picked instructors as they were billed. He doesn't really seem to have had much of a role in the operation of this thing.
KORNACKI: But now that's part of Schneiderman, the attorney general here in New York, that's parts of his case against Trump, Trump University, isn't it the idea that he's saying he didn't have much of a role but the materials promised that he would? Is that what it is?
HOROWITZ: I mean, yeah, I think the bigger point is that Trump basically used his celebrity and sort of the promise of quick riches to basically draw in people and then sucker them into putting tens of thousands of dollars in credit card debt, racking that up for education that might be loosely described as very general at best.
KORNACKI: Also we have that news tonight that Wall Street Journal interview, Donald Trump going after that judge, again saying, look, conflict of interest. He's saying, basically saying the guy is Mexican- American, I'm for building a wall on the Mexican border, that represents a conflict. What is Trump trying to do here?
HOROWITZ: So Donald Trump is apparently in this stating that any person who is of Mexican-American heritage has a conflict in dealing with anything involving him at this point, which seems a little combative even for Donald Trump.
I think the bigger picture here is that Donald Trump is really trying very hard, and perhaps with some success, changing the topic. I mean, I think the same thing is true of his promise to reopen Trump University. Going through the documents that have been released, here's what I can tell you about Trump University.
One, they promised never to operate a business called Trump University to New York State, that's in writing. Two, the thing has no assets. And three, it was shut down because it wasn't making any money. The idea that Donald Trump is on the cusp of sort of reopening this I think is probably - - could be described as trolling. And in the same way that I think making the issue with Curiel is the same thing except on a racial basis.
KORNACKI: All right. Jeff Horowitz from the Associated Press. Thanks for the time. I appreciate it.
And that's going to do it for All In this evening.
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