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tv   Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer  CNN  March 16, 2016 2:00pm-4:01pm PDT

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support for the court that it deserves and that is keep it out of the political arena as much as you can. right now the political arena is toxic, difficult, and terrible to bring this nominee up at this time and it hasn't been done before and frankly it shouldn't be done now. >> senator orrin hatch, thank you so much. that's it for "the lead." turning you over to wolf blitzer in the situation room. thanks for watching. happening now. dead on arrival, president obama names a respected federal judge to fill the supreme court vacancy. senate republicans have praised him in the past, so why are they vowing to block the nominee? unstoppable. donald trump puts more stakes in the win column and knocks a key rival out of the race, but another rival scores a home field victory. is that more than just a speed bump on the road to the nomination? riot warning. donald trump says there will be riots at the republican convention if he even has close to a majority of dealegates and
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is denied the nomination. is he making a threat? >> and cruel and un-usual. north korea sentences an american college student to 15 years of hard labor, accusing him of removing a propaganda sign in his hotel. can the u.s. win his release despite tensions with kim jong-un's regime? i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." donald trump is warning of riots if he gets to the gop convention with the most delegates but is not nominated. trump says that even if he falls short of a majority of delegates, there could be trouble if he isn't automatically made the nominee. that's become an issue because the ohio governor, john kasich, won all of the state's primary delegates, slowing the trump steam roller. trump still won the lion's share of delegates in yesterday's contests and knocked marco rubio out of the race by winning
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florida. but his path to the nomination is now a bit more difficult. meantime, ted cruz says kasich has no chance of being the nominee and should drop out so cruz can battle trump one on one. a battle is officially under way over another nomination. president obama announced he's picked merrick garland to fill the vacancy on the u.s. supreme court. while garland is widely respected on both sides of the aisle, senate republicans say they will refuse to even consider him, insisting the next president should pick the replacement for the late justice antonin scalia. our correspondents, analysts and guests will have full coverage of all the day's top stories. let's begin with donald trump. acting as if the nomination is now in the bag and warning of big trouble if he's denied the big prize at the gop convention, cnn's sunlen serfaty has the latest on the republican race. sunlen, what are you hearing? >> reporter: wolf, tonight donald trump is already looking
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ahead, looking toward securing the republican nomination, predicting that there will be a healing process that happens after this very rough primary. but it is certainly not over yet. some are now preparing for this to go all the way to the convention. >> we're going to win, win, win and we're not stopping. >> reporter: with the math and the momentum, donald trump is taking big steps to the nomination. >> the fact is we have to bring our party together. we have to bring it together. >> reporter: today indicating he's ready to bring the nominating process to a close. the gop front-runner saying he's done with gop debates and would skip one scheduled for next week, opting for a policy speech to the pro-israel organization, apec, instead. >> i will say this. i think we've had enough debates. we've had 11 or 12 debates. i did really well in the last one. >> reporter: with no trump, john kasich saying he wouldn't show up either, leading fox news to cancel the debate.
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that as kasich fights to conflict trump's gloide path to the nomination. >> we put one foot in front of the other. >> reporter: winning his first state, his home state of ohio and promising to bring the fight to the convention. >> we are going to go all the way to cleveland and secure the republican nomination. >> reporter: trump today with an ominous warning, telling cnn if he's denied the nomination while having the most delegates going in, there could be violence. >> if we're, you know, a hundred short and we're at 1100 and somebody else is at 500 or 400, because we're way ahead of everybody, i don't think you can say that we don't get it automatically. i think it would be -- i think you'd have riots. i think you'd have riots. >> after last night, trump continues to hold the most delegates, but he still has a tough path to getting the 1237 delegates needed to clinch the nomination outright. making the chances of a
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contested convention more likely. after losing his home state of florida, marco rubio using his exit from the race to blast trump. >> i ask the american people, do not give into the fear. do not give into the frustration. >> reporter: emboldening ted cruz to intensify his argument that it really is a two-man race based on the math. >> only two campaigns have a plausible path to the nomination, ours and donald trump's. nobody else has any mathematical possibility whatsoever. only one campaign has beaten donald trump over and over and over again. >> reporter: already out campaigning in pennsylvania today, john kasich not dissuaded. >> neither of those guys can win a general election, so maybe they're spoiling it for the republican party and for the conservative movement. >> reporter: turning into a thorn in the side for ted cruz. >> john kasich might take just enough votes to give those
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states to donald trump. if he sticks around, john kasich will become donald trump's best friend. >> reporter: and the cruz campaign is highlighting tonight that it is mathematically impossible for john kasich to win the nomination before the convention, so get ready to hear a lot more of this argument coming from the cruz campaign, that donald trump is the only one that benefits from a splintered field with john kasich staying in the race. wolf. >> a lot more politics ahead. this is beginning to get even more potentially explosive. all right, thanks very much for that. a month after the death of justice antonin scalia, president obama announced his nominee to fill the u.s. supreme court vacancy. federal appeals court judge merrick garland is respected on both sides of the political divide, but that political divide itself may be an insurmountable barrier. senate republicans say they'll block the president's pick. michelle kosinski is following the story for us. where is all this headed?
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>> the white house wants merrick garland to be the consensus nominee. somebody with such stellar credentials, somebody so moderate that it would make republicans look as bad as possible if they indeed won't even consider him. the white house wants pressure coming from the public as well to get this done. if senate republicans don't do it and the white house wants maximum political damage just before the elections. facing the political reality that his nominee may never even get a meeting with the republican senator, much less a confirmation hearing, today president obama defiantly unveiled his choice for the supreme court, merrick garland, selling him directly to the american people. >> i've selected a nominee who is widely recognized not only as one of america's sharpest legal minds, but someone who brings to his work a spirit of decency, modesty, integrity. >> reporter: the president extolled the 63-year-old former
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prosecutor's hard background. the long-time justice department lawyer and federal appeals judge in d.c. grew up in chicago, earned a scholarship to harvard and graduated with highest honors. >> he put himself through harvard law school by working as a tutor, by stocking shoes in a shoe store, and in what is always a painful moment for any young man, by selling his comic book collection. it's tough. been there. >> reporter: garland surprised the crowd with emotion, his voice breaking several times. >> this is the greatest honor of my life, other than lynn agreeing to marry me 28 years ago. >> reporter: yet even as garland's nomination was being rolled out in a carefully choreographed rose garden ceremony, it was already being declared dead on arrival on the e.r. end of pennsylvania avenue. >> i don't think it's unreasonable to ask our colleagues to put this off until after the next president is
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elected. >> reporter: no one is challenging garland's qualifications. the white house says he has more federal judicial experience than any supreme court nominee ever. as a federal prosecutor, he worked on cases against terrorists, timothy mcveigh, the unabomber. that experience, however, hasn't calmed republicans, even those who previously confirmed his appointment to the d.c. circuit. they say it's not about the person but the principle. not putting forward a nominee who would shift the balance of a court just before the presidential election. >> give the people a voice in filling this vacancy. >> reporter: today the president didn't hold back on all he believes is at stake. >> it will provoke an endless cycle of more tit for tat. faith in our justice system will inevitably suffer. >> reporter: and tonight as the political divisions over the nomination harden, the white house made clear it will sell one message to americans. >> treat judge garland fairly. that's all we're looking for
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here, is just a little bit of fairness. >> reporter: so credentials are one thing. that doesn't mean everybody is thrilled with this pick. some say he's 63 years old, he's white, he went to harvard, not the most diverse choice. some liberals think he could be bad for criminal justice reform. however, conservatives worry that he's willing to uphold restrictions on guns. wolf. >> michelle, thank you very much. judge garland is going to capitol hill tomorrow hoping to meet with u.s. senators. we've learned he already spoke by phone today with senator majority leader mitch mcconnell. let's bring in manu raju. what happened on that phone call? >> as we expected, mcconnell reiterated his opposition moving forward with the nomination and basically said we're not going to actually have a meeting because he thinks it would create a political circus. instead he wanted to have a phone call. in fact chuck grassley we're
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told also, he's a senate judiciary committee chairman, also had a phone call with merrick garland. grassley is willing to meet with merrick garland. that's the one issue that there is some division within the republican conference, whether or not to actually have a meeting. some republican senators who are up for re-election are open to having a meeting. we talked to rob portman earlier today and he said, no, that he would be willing to chat with him. >> so it's one thing to have a meeting, have some coffee, talk. it's another thing to have a formal hearing before the judiciary committee. certainly it's another thing altogether to have a roll call vote either in the committee or on the floor. so far the only cracks you see is whether somebody -- they're going to even have a conversation. >> that's exactly right. really the only two republican senators who are open to having hearings is mark kirk of illinois and susan collins of maine. both moderate senators. but other senators who are up for re-election, including kelly ayotte, i said what do you think about a confirmation hearing? she said that's up to the judiciary committee and i do not
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want the confirmation process to move forward. the republicans are gambling that they will be in a strong political position by taking that firm line. they think they can be the firewall against a liberal justice and it gives them an issue to run on. now, the democrats hope that that will change, particularly when this political pressure campaign intensifies and look for late june, early july, wolf, as that marker for democrats. if they can get the political dynamic to change before the party conventions and the august recess, maybe they can get garland on the court. if they don't, then probably not. >> it's a huge uphill struggle right now for the white house on this nomination. manu, thanks very much. let's get back to the breaking news right now. on the race to the white house, donald trump's key supporters, at least one of them, scottie nell hughes of usa radio networks is joining us right now. thanks very much for joining us. are you among those trump supporters who believe it's already virtually a done deal, he's going to get the nomination? >> i am. if you look at governor kasich
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last night, you can tell that common core is very active in the state of ohio because in his speech he said that not only is he going to go to the convention with the most delegates but he believes enough to where there would not we a version of a brokered convention and that is truly a pipe dream at this point. ted cruz at this point would have to win almost 80% of all of the delegates that are remaining which we're finding to be impossible. when you do have more than 7.5 million americans who have voted for mr. trump, and these are folks who have been -- truly had to fight for this vote because they have been abused, they have been slaughtered, they have been made fun of on everything from the nightly news to "saturday night live." they are immense low loyal and immensely strong in supporting mr. trump and making sure that he is the nominee for the republican president. >> you believe he'll actually get to the magic number 1237 needed to clinch the nomination before the convention in cleveland in july? >> well, honestly, wolf, i think we woke up this morning to the idea that if you are not sitting there and you are not pushing the front-runner, then you are
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pushing the democratic nominee, whether it's mr. trump, whether it's ted cruz or if it's the pipe dream of kasich right now. yes, i do believe if we all start unifying, which we need to. after you listen to hillary clinton and bernie sanders speeches over the last two days, we have got to start fighting because that machine is very strong on the other side. these candidates that are sitting there and they're talking about, you know, woe need to sit there and vote for this person over that person, those kind of political games are the reason why the republicans have lost in the past, wolf. >> you heard john kasich, the ohio governor, say it's now a three-person race. who does mr. trump believe is his main competition right now, kasich or cruz? >> i actually think his main competition right now is hillary clinton, to be honest with you. i think he's already starting as you're seeing by the ad that he reloesd today, he is already sitting there. i think he's going, you know what, i've pretty much got the general, i've got the nomination. if we go to that point, it doesn't matter the damage that these two do to me, i have to worry about unifying the entire
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american people, not just my own party. and that's what we're seeing. when you're looking at voter numbers like yesterday in florida with 3% down on the democrats yet 25% up on the republicans, there is something that is literally fueling this fire and motivating people to cross over or people that are independent to go into the gop column. his goal right now, i think mr. trump's goal until we get to november is to continue that momentum and build upon that fire because i hate to say this, when you're talking about people like kasich and the divisie language they're using and some of these establishment folks, he might never be able to win those over so he's got to start bringing in some from the outside. >> but you have to admit, scotty, very often donald trump's language is hardly unifying, right? >> well, it depends on who you're talking to. it's one thing, when you listen to hillary clinton's speech last night, she sat there and said we need to bring in this group and this demographic and this sector. and yet the one group that she has continued to alienate are the conservatives, those that come from the right base that
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are center right. and so those folks are the ones that have been squelched for the last eight to ten years. those are the 7.5 million people and that are continuing to grow whose voice has not been able to be heard. those are who we need to unify. i do believe that we can unify without compromising character or principles, which is what has put mr. trump going forward at this point. the idea is financial security as well as keeping my family safe, those two principles speak across the board on both sides of the aisle. >> i want to play a clip. donald trump was interviewed by chris cuomo on cnn's "new day" earlier today and he said if he's close to getting the magic number but is not quite there and they deny him the nomination, he had what a lot of people are seeing as a threat. listen to this. >> if we're, you know, a hundred short and we're at 1100 and somebody else is at 500 or 400, because we're way ahead of everybody, i don't think you can say that we don't get it automatically. i think it would be -- i think you'd have riots.
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i think you'd have riots. you know, i'm representing a tremendous -- many, many millions of people. >> the word "riots," he said it twice. that's pretty serious. a lot of us remember what happened in 1968 at the democratic convention in chicago. >> wolf, i'm very proud, my grandfather was one of the organizers of the 1968 democratic convention. one of those folks, and i guarantee right now if he was still alive i think he'd be very proud of my involvement with mr. trump. but you have to understand the motivation of the right here. it's not because people aren't getting their voices heard, it's because the people's voice would be ignored in this case. the majority, the plurality have voted for mr. trump. the obvious moves that will be made by the establishment republican party to keep him from this nomination, that right there would cause anger and that would be an obvious backhand to all of the people who have been paying attention and have been engaged in this political process. so you know riots aren't nesz low a bad thing if it means it's because they're fighting the
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fact that our establishment republican party has gone corrupt and decided to ignore the voice of the people and ignore the process. >> scottie, you really don't want riots to emerge at the republican convention in chicago where people could be injured, people could be hurt, they could be maimed. you don't want riots. >> it's not riot as in a negative thing what we've seen in the past. the fact is you have a large amount of people that will be very unhappy. i don't think they would resort -- i know they would not resort to violence. i know they would not do it. however, they would make sure their voices are heard, that they can't be ignored. when we sit here and talk about -- you have to understand there's a process of these delegates being elected and that's why i'm very skeptical of this idea that we will not have mr. trump as our nominee as he continues to grow in strength. the majority of the delegates going to this convention have pledged their allegiance or sat there and said that they are a supporter of mr. trump. they will be the majority. so if something happens to ignore their voice as they are representatives of the people, then i think right now there will need to be some way of getting the establishment's
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attention. i, however, don't think that will happen. i don't consider riots to be a violent thing unless they turn into -- i consider it where you'll have the majority of the people will be engaged and paying attention to what is going on and it will be an obvious kidnapping of the voice of the people and ignoring of what the people want over what the minority of the establishment wants. >> scottie, we're taking a quick break but remember even last friday night in chicago, donald trump himself cancelled that rally because he was afraid there were people going to get hurt as a result of the protests that were going on, the violence that potentially could have occurred. stand by, we have more to discuss. much more right after this. was your commute? yours? good. xerox real time analytics make transit systems run more smoothly... and morning chitchat... less interesting.
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we're following the breaking news donald trump threatening there would potentially be riots if he's denied the nomination at the republican presidential convention in cleveland in july. we're back with scottie nell hughes of usa radio networks. i think we just lost scottie right there. unfortunately, our connection has dried up. we'll try to reconnect with scottie and get much more on what's going on. there are other breaking developments on the race for the white house right now. let's take another quick break, we'll be right back. love a home, you should be able to get approved to buy it. ♪ ♪
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we're back with donald trump supporter scottie nell hughes of the usa radio networks. we've cleaned up that satellite problem we had. scottie, i want to make sure our viewers understand fully where you're coming from. wh when you said riots, i thought you said riots are not necessarily a bad thing. you didn't mean that, right? >> thank you for the clarification, wolf, i'll be the first to apologize. on one side it is, yes, it does mean something to disturb the peace a violent way. but the technical definition is an impressively large display of something. i think that's what you're going to have a large display of emotion if the people that are there that were elected to represent mr. trump is not allowed to do the job they were elected to do and vote for mr. trump, who has gotten the majority of the population, the majority of the delegates. that's what you're going to see. in no way would mr. trump nor myself ever want to see probably -- would ever want to
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see anything violent or any harm come to anybody. hence why he took such a big precaution on friday night to cancel that so no one could be hurt. so before all the hate comes because i know it's probably already out there, realize it's talking about an overwhelming emotion will be showed and it will be showed in a way because the american people, their actions will be completely ignored if it goes this way of trying to encourage this brokered convention and a name is nominated off the floor, especially if it's one that no one has ever heard was running for president in the first place. >> the past couple of days donald trump has spoken with the senate majority leader, mcconnell, with house speaker ryan, the two have told him to condemn the violence that is seen at some of his events. he clearly wants to be president of the united states. how does he calm things down right now? potentially there could be a lot of trouble in upcoming events. >> i think the question is, you have to actually ask who's the one sparking this trouble. is it mr. trump or is it the people around him that are running against him or going to
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potentially be his opponents, which are on the other side of the aisle. i think that's the question because the words of mr. trump are really very pro-american. like he says, when you go to his rallies, you do feel like you're a part of a big family. you do feel like people want to see america be great again. it is a very positive, optimistic tone. when you sit there, he gives you the tools to be able to do that. hence why his message is resonating so well with the majority of people right now. >> scottie, thanks very much for joining us. scottie hughes. a donald trump supporter. let's get morale analysis -- let's get mora more analysis. with us now jeffrey toobin, rebecca berg, mark preston. let's talk about politics first, mark. donald trump had a very big night last night.
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we're waiting for missouri, we still haven't received missouri yet, right? >> right. >> still too close to call. but he won almost everything else except ohio. does he have this virtually locked up right now? >> in many ways if you have money and you're forced to make a bet, then you want to put your money on donald trump. however, john kasich's win last night in ohio was very significant in the fact that donald trump wasn't able to get a big cache of delegates. now, the question is moving forward can john kasich and can ted cruz nibble enough away at the edges to prevent donald trump from steam rolling and getting to the requisite 1,230 some delegates remains to be seen. but donald trump clearly had a great night last night as he's had great nights the past few weeks. >> do you think this is going to go to a contested convention, jeffrey toobin? >> if i could just question a little bit of the premise of your question, you know, we don't even know what the rules of the convention will be. there are a lot of moving parts in a convention. it's been a generation since
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the -- there was an actual contested convention. it's been longer than a generation since there were multiple ballots in a convention. so what an open convention means and how the delegates will actually be selected and will they be bound to vote for the candidates who ran in the primaries, that's settled in some states, it's not settled in others. so until we know what the rules of the convention are, we're not even going to know whether donald trump actually has it sealed before the convention itself starts. >> i spent a big chunk of the day going through some of those rules. very, very convoluted rules. 1237 is the number you need to get and get the nomination but how much flexibility they have is an open question. good point. peter, let me play that clip again because it's generating a lot of commotion out there, the clip that donald trump told our chris cuomo this morning about what happens if he comes to the convention. he's close but not yet there.
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listen to this. >> if we're, you know, a hundred short and we're at 1100 and somebody else is at 500 or 400 because we're way ahead of everybody, i don't think you can say that we don't get it automatically. i think it would be -- i think you'd have riots. i think you'd have riots. you know, we have -- i'm representing a tremendous -- many, many millions of people. >> what was your reaction to that? you heard our conversation with scottie hughes, a trump supporter, a few moments ago. >> look, given the fact that donald trump has incited violence at his rallies, talked about it was great when people were brought out on stretchers, talked about wanting to punch people, it's disturbing. but i'm of the view that a brokered convention is not that likely. donald trump, if he wins 50% of the vote from here going forward, i think is doable, given the way a lot of states are organized, a lot of them are winner-take-all by delegate. i think he will come close to
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that number. and then there will be a couple hundred uncommitted delegates. and i think donald trump will have enough leverage to be able to basically lure enough of those people to his side. he'll have a lot to offer them. he's already shown that he was able to lure ben carson and chris christie over to his side. he's a powerful guy and he will be on the verge of being the nominee. so my guess would be at this point that we will not get to a second ballot, that he'll be able to get the number he needs to get over that 1237 on the first ballot. >> rebecca, is there a credible road for ted cruz to get enough votes on that first ballot to be the republican nominee? >> it's very, very narrow, wolf. you would have to have a major sea change. you would have to have donald trump maybe drop out of the race for some reason. mathematically it is possible. it is not for john kasich, but it's very, very unlikely. at this point ted cruz already has people on his team working on the idea of a contested convention, looking at how they could scoop up delegates in all of these states. oftentimes you can go in and talk to some of these delegates
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and they're bound to a certain candidate but not personally committed to that candidate. they're what you would consider double agents. on the second ballot they could possibly support someone else. ted cruz has a six-person team already working on trying to bring some of those delegates over to his side in case there is a second ballot. >> you wanted to add something, mark. >> when we talk about the rioting in cleveland and the potential -- >> let's hope there's not any rioting. >> absolutely let's hope. but look at the situation, it's very combustible right now. you have donald trump out there who is saying very inflammatory things. you have supporters who are very committed to him and you have this whole other side of this liberal left that is willing to clash with them. so regardless if donald trump gets it or doesn't get it, i still think that there's going to be problems in cleveland. >> they're gearing up for those kinds of problems. hold your thoughts, guys. i want to take a quick break. there's much more going on, including the news today that the next republican presidential debate has now been scrapped. we'll explain what happened. much more right after this.
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we're back with our legal and political experts as we cover today's political breaking news, the fallout from donald trump's big primary wins. marco rubio, mark, he's now out, suspended his campaign last night. where do his delegates go, his supporters, his money? >> well, you would expect that they would probably go to john kasich at this point. some of them might go to ted cruz. of course they're bound through the whole -- through the first balloting. as jeffrey said, it's a very
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complicated matter. but the bottom line is marco rubio really didn't have as much support as we thought he was going to have. listen, when we were looking at this florida debate that cnn did five days before the primary, we thought it was going to be the clash between jeb bush and marco rubio and it was really the coronation in some ways of donald trump. >> you know, it's interesting, there was supposed to be a republican presidential debate this coming monday night in salt lake city. fox news was going to host that debate. donald trump said he's not going. he's going to speak at the american-israel public affairs committee instead monday night. kasich said if trump's not going to be there, i'm not going to be there. what's the political fallout from fox now having to cancel this debate? >> it's very tough for john kasich and ted cruz because each of them really needs a boost in this race at this point to catch up to donald trump potentially. donald trump certainly doesn't need any extra media attention, he gets plenty without a debate. so this really hurts the other two candidates in this race. they're going to have to find a way before some of these upcoming primaries to get
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through -- break through the noise and make a splash. it's going to be much more difficult without the big audience that you get in a debate. >> peter, i want to play for you and for our viewers a new trump instagram video going after hillary clinton. watch this. [ barking ] >> i guess that's a taste of what's to come if it turns out to be trump versus hillary clinton in the general election, right? >> yeah, to me this is just an illustration of why donald trump is such an appallingly bad general election candidate, no matter what some republicans may want to tell themselves. that kind of ad probably appeals to trump's hard-core supporters, but among women voters, i think it's -- a lot of women voters, it's going to go over very, very poorly. and donald trump, we're going to
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see if donald trump is the nominee a gender gap that is going to dwarf anything we have seen in a national election before, which is going to mean trump is going to have to win such an astronomically high percentage of white male voters that i think it will simply be impossible. it's insulting. among other things it's crude and it's insulting, that ad. >> next time you'll tell us how you really feel about that, peter. jeffrey, while we have you, let me get jeffrey toobin, he's a supreme court expert. we do know the president today nominated merrick garland to be the next united states supreme court justice. he's gauot an uphill struggle. it doesn't look like the republicans are going to hold hearings, let alone have a vote. what is the president thinking? what is he trying to accomplish? >> i think he's trying to accomplish getting merrick garland on the supreme court. he is -- you know, he believes that the process can work. merrick garland, i think anyone would acknowledge, is imminently qualified to be on the supreme court.
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he's certainly one of the most distinguished appellate judges in the country but this is a political struggle and the republicans recognize that in a 4-4 court, four democratic appointees, four conservative appointees at the moment, this seat is so critical to them that they are willing to take some political heat to draw an absolute bar to barack obama filling it. now, it may be that they wind up getting a more liberal appointee from a president hillary clinton next january, but that's a risk they're willing to take. >> all right, guys, stand by. everyone stand by. there's other important news we're getting as well, including this. north korea sentencing an american college student for 15 years of hard labor for allegedly removing a propaganda sign. can the u.s. gain misery lease? stand by. ♪
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north korea sentenced an american college student to 15 years of hard labor accusing him of taking down a propaganda sign in a hotel. efforts are under way to get his release but the incident comes amid growing tensions with kim jung on's regime. brian todd is here. what are you learning about this disturbing development. >> reporter: u.s. officials are calling this sentence a piece of political gamesmanship by the north koreans. they are calling for kim jong-un's regime to pardon this man. and we've learned dramatic details of the dramatic court proceedings that led to his sentence. in a trial reported to have lasted only one hour, north korean officials present fingerprints, photos of a
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political banner allegedly stolen. surveillance images. they claim this is proof that american student otto frederick warmbier. >> my brother and my sister need me. i beg that you see how i am only human. how i have made the worst mistake of my life. >> reporter: it didn't work. today warmbier is sentenced to 15 years hard labor according to a north korean official who spoke with cnn. what are the conditions he'll be facing? >> he may be forced to work in agriculture as it happened with other american prisoners. he may spend his days planting apple trees, for example. it will be fairly grueling forced labor. it is very likely that he will be interrogated by agents of the state security department. this is the north korean
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gestapo. the internal security agency, if you will. >> reporter: human rights groups say similar conditions were experienced by american missionary ken etneth bae who w held in north korea for about two years. otto's family is not commenting on his sentence u.s. officials tell cnn they are working to secure his release and are urging kim jong-un's regime to pardon the young american. >> the department believes the sentence is unduly harsh for the action mr. warmbier allegedly took. >> reporter: warmbier was on an organized tour when detained by the north koreans january 2nd. in a bizarre twist, the regime claimed he was encouraged to steal the banner by his church by a secretive organization at his school, the university of virginia, and by the cia. a u.s. official says that's absurd, says it's propaganda. kenneth bae and other american were given long sentences of
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hard labor but released much earlier. >> based on the previous such instances, i would say that otto warmbier would stand a fair chance of being released after about six months since his arrest. >> reporter: but analysts say it's very likely that kim jong-un's regime will use warmbier as leverage and will want a vip from the u.s. to make a pilgrimage to get to him. when kenneth bae and matthew todd miller were released, clapper went to pick them up. you can look for the north koreans to be angling for something like that. >> i'm sure they will do that. thanks, brian. let's bring in elise labott. what do you know? what is the u.s. doing to try to get this young american student out of there? >> everything is being done both through official government channels and outside. the swedes that are the u.s.
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protecting power for the u.s. over there finally were able to see otto warmbier last week, we understand. and now we understand today governor bill richardson, who has a lot of experience in trying to get u.s. americans in detention released, including in north korea, today met with north korean diplomats on the request of his parents and ohio governor, presidential candidate john kasich who is from his home state. governor richardson told me minutes ago that he met today with north korean officials. asked for otto's release. these north korean diplomats are not really the ones that's make decisions, but they said they'd pass it along. and they go into a pattern. now this student has been sentenced, now i think the negotiations will start to begin. obviously as brian said, north koreans really are going to be looking for some concessions from the u.s. possibly some kind of visit. but, wolf, there are a lot of
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warnings from the state department about traveling to north korea today. again, the state department warning americans, do not travel to north korea. >> elise, thanks very much. let's hope they get this young man out of there and soon. coming up, donald trump is warning of riots if he gets to the republican convention in cleveland in july with most of the delegates but fails to gain the nomination. is he making any threats?
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happening now -- breaking news. the nominee. the stage set for political warfare as president obama announces his choice to fill the
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supreme court vacancy. judge merrick garland widely respected by many republicans. nonetheless are vowing no obama nominee will get a hearing. how will the supreme battle play out? the front-runner. donald trump calling on republicans to unite behind him after his latest string of primary victories and predicting riots if he's blocked at the convention. will he bring the gop together or fracture the party beyond repair. john kasich now saying he's the only republican candidate who can win the general election. a desperately needed primary victory. he's far behind trump and ted cruz in the delegate count. can the only establishment candidate left in the race pose a credible challenge? an attack thwarted. now terror arrests in paris and a deadly terror raid in brusselbrussel s. police recovers weapons and an isis flag. two others escape and are on the
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loose. tonight, are they plotting a new terrorist threat? we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." >> this is cnn breaking news. >> we're following the breaking political news including the sudden cancellation of the next republican presidential debate as front-runner donald trump says he'll not participate. his momentum stronger than ever tonight after dominating the latest round of primaries. and trump now saying riots are possible if he's denied the nomination. we're also following the battle over the u.s. supreme court vacancy. mitch mcconnell says he's spoken by fun to president obama's nominee merrick garland, chief judge for the u.s. court of appeals here in washington. mcconnell says he told garland the senate will not take action on his nomination. and there's breaking terror news tonight.
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police in paris arresting four people suspected of plotting an attack. three men and one woman. they are in custody one day after a deadly terror raid in brussels. one terror suspect was killed in that operation. two others escaped. we're covering all of that. much more this hour with our guests, including republican congressman jason chaffetz, correspondents and expert analysts are also standing by. let's begin with the republican race for the white house and a new political landscape tonight after the latest primaries. cnn's phil mattingly has all the late breaking developments. it's down to three republican candidates tonight. >> reporter: three republican candidates, wolf. all three believe they are the man that the party should rally behind. but only one front-runner. and that front-runner is setting the terms for debates and a warning for what could happen next if republican leaders push a contested convention. tonight donald trump is calling for the republican party to
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coalesce behind him, even as his path to the nomination remains complicated. >> the fact is we have to bring our party together. we have to bring it together. we have something happening that actually makes the republican party probably the biggest political story anywhere in the world. >> reporter: the gop front-runner urbing a stark warning if he keeps his sizable delegate lead and republican leaders turn to a different nominee. >> if we're 100 short and we're at 1,100 and somebody else is at 500 or 400 because we're way ahead of everybody, i don't think you can say that we don't get it automatically. i think you'd have riots. >> just days after his rivals criticized him for encouraging violence at his rallies. after another huge super tuesday showing, notching wins in three states, trump pledged today to skip the next scheduled gop debate monday night. >> how many times can the same people ask you the same question? so i was very surprised when i heard fox called for a debate.
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nobody told me about it. and i won't be there, no. >> reporter: with john kasich balking at a trump-less event, fox news pulled the plug. his victory in florida was the final crushing to marco rubio's once promising campaign. >> the fact i'd even come this far is evidence of how special america truly is. >> reporter: the florida senator leaving the race with a clear message for republican voters. >> america needs a vibrant conservative movement but one that's built on principles and ideas, not on fear, not on anger. not on preying on people's frustrations. >> reporter: trump's only setback tuesday night coming in ohio where home state governor kasich picked up a convincing win. his first of the campaign. >> we are going to go all the way to cleveland and secure the republican nomination. >> reporter: kasich hitting the trail today in pennsylvania. >> for the first time, people are beginning to see my name, my
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face. ted cruz pulling in the delegates, dismissing kasich's claim that the gop fight is still a three-man race. >> only two campaigns have a plausible path to the nomination. ours and donald trump's. nobody else has any mathematical possibility whatsoever. >> reporter: and pitching a renewed push for party leaders to unite behind his campaign and take out trump. >> we're seeing republicans urk unite behind our campaign because we're the only campaign beating trump over and over again and the only campaign that can and will beat donald trump. >> reporter: for all the attention and money sent over to the stop trump effort, so far lacking in results and really only one mathematical option that a lot of advisers are pointing out to get that job done. that's laying on a contested convention. ted cruz sticking to his position that he believes he can beat donald trump straight up. john kasich here just outside of
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philadelphia today maintaining that that is the place where he can beat donald trump. either way, wolf, all we know is one thing is for certain. we have a long slog ahead with these three candidates in the race. >> phil, thank you. let's get more on the cruz campaign. sunlen serfaty is joining us from houston. the cruz campaign still believes there's a path forward for them. what are you hearing? >> well, that's right. they do think that there is a path forward but, wolf, cruz campaign officials do acknowledge that it is going to be a difficult but doable path forward. right now the cruz campaign is targeting utah. they are targeting wisconsin and the upcoming states that have close primaries or caucuses. these are contests that largely have favored cruz over trump in the past. they are still predicting they can get to that magic number 1,237 outright and before any sort of contested convention. of course, that narrow path comes with a lot more narrow with john kasich in the race.
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the cruz campaign feels he splinters the anti-trump vote. but interesting, when cruz was asked if he's going to go after john kasich on the trail he said no. he in his mind largely thinks this is still a two-man race. he's largely going to ignore john kasich except to call for his supporters to come to his campaign. >> as you know, sunlen, south carolina governor nikki haley is indicating she's shifting her support to ted cruz. is the cruz campaign confident a majority of other key rubio supporters, like the governor, will do the same thing? >> well, they hope so. certainly south carolina governor nikki haley's statement sent a big signal the cruz campaign would welcome, saying that she hopes cruz will come through in the end. but really stopping short of a formal and outright endorsement of ted cruz. certainly the cruz campaign wants to woo these rubio supporters to their side. that's why we saw ted cruz in his speech here in houston last night say point blank to the
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rubio supporters, come to our side. we welcome you with open arms. according to cruz campaign internal documents, they believe at 80% in a head-to-head matchup, 80% of voters that were rubio supporters will come to them over donald trump. but, of course, that is contingent on john kasich not being in the race, which is why he's becoming a thorn in the side for the cruz campaign. >> i suspect a lot of those rubio supporters will go to kasich for the time being. >> sun then, thanks for that. joining us, jason chaffetz of utah. the chairman of the oversight and government reform committee. a member of the judiciary committee. and he was a supporter of senator marco rubio. congressman, thanks very much for joining us. so where do you go from here? whose campaign are you going to support now? >> well, look. the voters get to make these decisions. i'm probably not going to endorse in one way or another. i'm going to focus on doing what i was elected to do. at this point i don't know that endorsements mean a whole lot.
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a lot of voters have made up their mind. maybe they need something before the first vote is cast. i still supported marco rubio. i thought he was our best bet to beat the democrats in november, but it's not to be. >> your home state utah, the republican caucus is next week in utah. i assume you'll participate and decide which of these three you'll support. >> yeah, i think donald trump feels like he's snubbing utah. isn't going to show up to the debate, isn't coming to our state. when you have an actual contest, you know, you have trump out and then kasich saying i'm not going to come. that looks pretty good for ted cruz in such a tight race. and utahans will look favorably upon that. >> i'm assuming you'll look favorably on senator cruz, too. he's not snubbing your state, right? >> i'm not endorsing. i'm going to stay out of it, but, look, i want to put forward our best foot so that we can
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actually win the white house in november. >> you are a smart guy but realistically, you think either cruz or kasich can stop trump from getting the republican nomination? >> yeah. we've just -- he's gone -- mr. trump has gone just past the halfway point. but you have to win the race. if the horses are going around the track you actually have to bring that horse across the finish line. this whole idea of riots, that's silly, childish talk. make your best case that you can. you have to win on policy. and we vote on it. the republican side of this equation is very different than democrats. there's not some master republican puppeteer who is the establishment making the calls on this. we don't have super delegates like they do in the democratic side of the equation where you get all these people that get votes at their convention. there's still a lot of action to
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be played out on the field. >> he is the front-runner right now, donald trump. let's say he is the republican nominee. what do you think happens to the republican party? >> i intend to support the nominee. when you get down to the choice of hillary clinton or donald trump, the question is going to be, do you want hillary clinton to be the president of the united states? i think the majority of americans say, heck, no. we don't trust her. she's not a trustworthy person. we want to go a different direction. somebody who is going to do the right things for the united states of america. so i intend to support the republican nominee, but i'm going to stay out of that fight until we figure out who that is going to be. >> have you had a chance to talk to senator rubio since his decision fo drop out of the race? what's your sense of his political future? >> no, look. he's got a bright future. he's 44 years old and has accomplished amazing things. i'm very proud of him and what he's been able to accomplish and keep his family intact. keep his integrity in place. certainly that speech last night made us all proud. and it showed the country why there were so many of us by
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literally the millions that support marco. and he's got an important voice for the republican party moving forward. >> why do you think donald trump has done so well in all these republican primaries and caucuses? >> look, he's an attitudeinal candidate is the way i refer to it. he's expressing the attitude that a majority of america feels like. they are frustrated, mad. they want america to stand strong in the world. someone to call it out the way they see it. he's got a lot to offer, and he is bringing in a group of people that have not participated in this process in the past and maybe haven't voted for a republican in the past. and i think he makes a very valid point when he says we should be thankful for bringing in a lot of new people. he's got are a strong case to make in that regard. >> as he said this morning on cnn, on "new day" with chris cuomo. let's say he doesn't get 1237.
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that's the enenumber you need t get the republican nomination at the convention in cleveland. let's say he's 100 shy. do you think it's realistic at all that you can deny him the nomination? >> again, that's why you have these contests, and people are going to have to flip one direction or another. it's hard for me to predict, where is that threshhold? how close is -- let's say hypothetically, how close is ted cruz? if donald trump is 100 votes or less away, then ted cruz will be pretty far behind him. maybe there's some other things happening. i'd be fascinated to know what sort of vice president are they going to pick? that could sway the direction one way or another. i don't know, but that's why a place like cnn will have an awful lot of viewers over the next couple of months as this gets sorted out. >> what about marco rubio as a vice presidential pick for donald trump? >> i support him for the presidency, i support marco for
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anything in between. i just think he's a wonderful, decent human being. he would have been a great president. he's always got my support. >> you are in the house. but the senate has an issue to deal with right now. senate republicans, you think they are right or making a mistake for not even giving a hearing to the supreme court nominee, judge merrick garland? you are familiar with his background, his record. how do you see it? >> well, look. under advice and consent in the constitution there is nothing in the constitution that compels people to have to have this hearing or to have a vote at a particular time. and you have to look at precedent. the democrats, they tried to have it two different ways. look, we're in the midst of a political season, and i think the voters as they go into the ballot box in november will also be making a decision about the direction of the supreme court. that's the way the senate will operate. the senate gets to make that decision. >> senator chaffetz, thanks very
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much. the powerful chairman of the senate judiciary committee agreeing to meet with president obama's supreme court nominee. is it a crack in the republican wall of opposition? plus, the gop's trump trouble. will the party try to go around its own front-runner, and will it spark riots as trump is predicting? pet moments are beautiful, unless you have allergies. then your eyes may see it differently. only flonase is approved to relieve both your itchy, watery eyes and congestion. no other nasal allergy spray can say that. complete allergy relief or incomplete. let your eyes decide. flonase changes everything.
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>> we've learned the new nominee merrick garland began reaching out to senators shortly after the president made the announcement. before he heads to the hill tomorrow. and now we're learning the senate judiciary chairman chuck grassley is considering meet with garland in person after recess. the president is clear this decision is about his legacy, not the election. >> today i am nominating chief judge merrick brian garland to join the supreme court. >> reporter: president obama made his case for 63-year-old merrick garland, chief judge for the d.c. appeals court. >> i've selected a nominee who is widely recognized not only as one of america's sharpest legal minds but someone who brings to his work a spirit of decency, modesty, integrity, even-handedness and excellence. >> reporter: an emotional judge garland with his family looking on introduced himself to the nation. >> this is the greatest honor of
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my life. other than lena agreeing to marry me 28 years ago. >> reporter: he has more judicial experience than any nominee in history serving nearly two decades on the bench. he prosecuted timothy mcveigh in the oklahoma bombing case. the president considers the chicago native and harvard law graduate a consensus nominee. he was appointed to the d.c. appeals court by president bill clinton in 1997 and confirmed by a senate vote with bipartisan supporters, including republican orrin hatch. >> based solely on his qualifications, i support the nomination of mr. garland and encourage my colleagues to do the same. >> reporter: the ball is in the republicans court and they vow judge garland will not get a hearing. >> it's the senate's constitutional right to act as a check on a president and withhold its consent.
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>> reporter: democrats aren't backing down. >> if merrick garland can't get bipartisan support, then nobody can. >> reporter: for fgarland, this day is poignant having been passed over twice before for a seat on the high court. >> mr. president, it's a great privilege to be nominated by a fellow chicagoan. i am grateful beyond words for the honor you have bestowed upon me. >> and it's unusual for a president in recent history to nominate someone in their 60s. this was considered garland's last shot at the high court. and, therefore, he has less to lose compared to other potential nominees in the running. and his age may possibly make him more palatable to republicans because he won't be on the court as long as other potential nominees. let's bring in gloria borger, david chalian, our senior legal correspondent jeffrey toobin and
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our senior political reporter manu raju. gloria, let me start with jeff first. let's talk about this supreme court nominee. what's your take on the nomination? is it really going to be stalled? is it going anywhere at all? >> well, first of all, it is just worth pointing out merrick garland is impeccably qualified to be a supreme court justice. if that were the standard, he'd have no trouble getting confirmed. however, the line of opposition to him in the republican party in the senate seems implacable. it does not seem like there is any chance that this senate will confirm him. the idea that he's get something meetings maybe that that's some sort of progress seems sort of pitiful. but the answer appears to be no. he does not appear to have any chance of getting confirmed. >> they'd need, manu, a lot of moderate republicans to join the democrats and get enough votes
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even for a vote hon his confirmation. listen to senator rob portman, a republican from ohio. listen to what he said. >> meet with folks all the time and i'm not in the habit of turning down meetings. but if i do meet with him, it may not be a good use of his time because i'm not going to change my position because it's baseod the prince pelg of this nominee having the possibility of reshaping the court for generations. and i think it's best to allow the american people to weigh in on that. >> you see any republicans at all? susan collins of maine maybe, but any republicans at all joining the democrats and saying this guy should have an up and down vote? >> other than mark kirk of illinois. in a blue state, a difficult senate race. he'd like to consider the nomination. it's significant someone like rob portman takes this hard line. he's in a very difficult senate race this year. a blue state. something that's a risk of losing for certain.
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but they believe the republicans were up for re-election by and large believe this is a good issue for them to run on. democrats think they are out of step, but the republicans really feel that if they can make the case to voters that they'll be the firewall against a justice, it gives them an issue to run on. it will fire up their base. kelly ayotte, i had a chance to speak to her. also in a difficult senate race. sure, she may meet with merrick garland but does not think this process should go forward. that's very significant. mitch mcconnell has been able to hold his troops in line as of now. >> chuck grassley,y in chairman of the committee may meet with him, have a cup of coffee but not going to have any hearings or allow any roll call votes. how is this battle going to play out out there on the campaign trail? >> well, i think it's going to be a huge issue. i mean, you know, this nomination could reshape the direction of the court for at least a couple of decades. and i think, unlike a lot of
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political discussions about, oh, the supreme court is important, this is real. this is tangible. this is the replacement for justice scalia. this is about the balance of power. so the stakes are obvious. and i think, you know, the republicans believe that this will motivate their baise, and they are probably right about it. but the democrats have a case to make that this will motivate their base. garland is 63 years old. on ideology, because he's not as liberal as some on the left in the party would like. and they effectively dared the republicans to come out and expose him because so many have supported him in the past. so the democrats can make the argument to their base that this is about fairness, about getting a fair hearing, about even getting a meeting or cup of coffee and that this is about
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the constitution. and so i think if will be a vote mating factor on both sides. >> the fact, david chalian, the republican majority leader mitch mcconnell, won't even have a meeting with him. give him the courtesy of coming over to his senate office and having a conversation. how is that going to play out politically? >> it's that's kind of posture to what manu was saying, is how he's keeping his troops in line. line in the sand. no move oment on it. i'm here to give all republican senators cover on this. to what gloria said, it's a difference thing. it's a base play move on the republican side. because the pick is who he is and not some liberal darling, it's not a base play move that the president offered hillary clinton or bernie sanders to run with. they are trying to gin up excitement in their base. hillary clinton's statement. she fully supports the nomination, credits his qualifications but it was about the process. just trying to get her troops excited to demand the republicans give him a hearing.
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that's very different than championing and sort of taking this nominee on the trail with her and trying to build up enthusiasm that way. this pick doesn't seem to be automobile to do that. if i read moveon statements and other liberal groups. they are much more focused on the process than the pick. stand by. we'll get more on this. also, we're getting more information on donald trump and his path to the republican presidential nomination. stay with us. you premium like clockwork.
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donald trump deciding today not to take part in the next republican presidential debate claiming he only recently found out about it. his rival john kasich saying he won't take part without trump being there. leading fox news to cancel the debate. we've done some estimates. you and your team have been looking at this closely. trump needs 57% of the remaining delegates out there to clinch the nomination going into the convention in july. that number almost certainly will drop. explain. >> we aren't done allocating all of the delegates from the contest last night. so, obviously, what our team does is they look to make sure every vote is counted and look at it congression aal district congressional district. once those last delegates are allocated, we anticipate just
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looking at the trends that that number, his target number will probably go down. somewhere around 53% of the remaining delegates that he'll need to get to 1,237 which, by the way, is doable. it is not impossible. it's a steep climb but it is possible. >> in contrast, cruz and kasich need a much, much higher percent. >> it's almost not possible. >> that's what most analysts have suggested. gloria, kasich says there's now a it's now a three-person race. he's the only candidate that beat hillary clinton in the big states in the general election like ohio, pennsylvania, new hampshire, other states. does kasich realistically, though, have a path forward? >> well, you were talking about the steep climb with david. kasich would have to win over 100% of the delegates in order to get to the magic number. so he has a very steep climb. you have these two candidates, cruz and kasich, who have very
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different appeals. and if they were to somehow get together to try to stop donald trump, kasich has appeal in the mid-atlantic states, but kind of bluer states. cruz has some appeal in the red states, the western states coming up. if both of them stay in the race as lots of people are suggesting they do, they might be able to tamp down trump's final number heading into the convention. the question is, wolf, what happens next? what happens if they then do that and they keep trump a few hundred delegates away? then what? then what happens at a contested convention? do you deny the nomination to donald trump? i think that's a very difficult case to make at this point. >> speaking of that, jeffrey, earlier today on "new day" trump actually warned there could be riots. he used the word twice, if the party were to block him at the
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convention. what was your reaction to that? >> my reaction is, we have been outraged at donald trump's outrageous statements about john mccain, about megyn kelly. over and over again. none of it seems to make any difference. here's a candidate whose rallies have been full of violence, and here he is predicting riots if he is not nominated. i mean, it's completely outrageous, but based on everything that's hand so far it will have absolutely no impact on his support in races -- in the primary races going forward. >> manu, based on everything you're hear, is a contested convention almost certainly going to happen, or do you think donald trump will have that 1237, the magic number needed to get the nomination? >> it's possible he could get that 1,237 if kasich and cruz
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split that anti-trump vote. but the contested convention scenario scares a lot of republicans. i spoke to a lot of republican senators about this. and what they are really worried about is a real nasty fight on the floor. how does it end up? pretty unpredcictunpredictable. and then alienating millions of trump supporters if trump does not end up the victor. that's the scenario floated but only one and not necessarily preferred by republican leadership, even if they are worried about donald trump as the nominee. >> remember what a convention is and when it falls. it's to nominate the candidate but also the launching pad to the general election. that's when you have the best opportunity to get before the american people and start telling the story of your nominee and your party. if the story the republican party is telling is a total chaos and fight on the convention floor, they'll be so far behind the 49 ball, that concerns a lot of republicans. >> they are also concerned about donald trump as the nominee.
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>> that's the problem. you have the national review which is sort of the bible of conservative thought put out an entire issue, nothing but attacks on donald trump. you have marco rubio who, you know, called him things that are outside the usual bounds of politics. liar, con man. this is not an ordinary race. >> this is their nightmare, and they are living through it. and the republican party is collectively pulling its hair out about donald trump. they were late. if they disliked him so much, they needed to get involved in this a little bit earlier. i think the question is, weren't they a little late to this game? they were all presuming, as were many of us, quite frankly, that donald trump would implode. he didn't. he succeeded. he's touched a nerve. he's brought new voters into the republican party. and at some point, they are going to have to decide that
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they need to live with the candidate that their base voters are supporting. >> rubio is going to endorse -- certainly not going to endorse donald trump. you think he might endorse kasich or cruz? >> it's hard to know right now. rubio would be asked a lot about kasich on the campaign trail and he'd not criticize kasich. very careful in doing so. he criticized ted cruz relentlessly. we'll see how it plays out going forward. when we talk about the scenarios for the party, all three scenarios are pretty disastrous according to republican leadership and republicans here in washington. you have donald trump who says inflapatory things and can scare their down ticket races. ted cruz is very conservative and may not play well in purple and blue states. if kasich is the nominee, you have to go through the messy convention scenario. nothing really looks good now. >> stand by. hillary clinton is, obviously, looking ahead. looking beyond bernie sanders right now going after donald
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trump increasingly more aggressively. we'll tell you what we've learned. stay with us nose. suddenly, you're a mouthbreather. a mouthbreather! how can anyone sleep like that? well, just put on a breathe right strip and pow! it instantly opens your nose up to 38% more than cold medicine alone. so you can breathe and sleep. shut your mouth and say goodnight mouthbreathers. breathe right
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the two democratic presidential candidates just wrapped up another big delegate battle. hillary clinton is confident that her campaign is on track right now to win the nomination. but bernie sanders is vowing to stay in the race, citing a favorable schedule during the coming weeks.
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our senior washington correspondent joe johns is following the democratic campaign. he's joining us from phoenix, arizona. what's the latest, joe? >> reporter: well, wolf, the bernie sanders campaign was using sports analogies today. they say this is a big game, and at the end of the game, they are going to win. and they base that on the fact that the electoral map will expand especially out to states like arizona, which they see is in their favor. they say this is still a race for delegates, even as hillary clinton was enjoying enormous victories in mult pell states. >> thank you, florida. thank you, north carolina. thank you, ohio. >> reporter: hillary clinton sweeping super tuesday scoring four victories in four states with missouri still too close to call. >> we are moving closer to securing the democratic party nomination and winning this election in november.
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>> reporter: clinton's big night gives her a clearer paths to the democratic nomination and blunts bernie sanders' momentum coming out of his michigan primary victory last week. clinton holds a practically insurmountable lead when it comes to the delegate count, nearly doubling sanders. she is just shy of the number she needs to clinch it. >> next week arizona has a very important election. >> reporter: despite his delegate deficit, sanders is looking forward to future contests and not letting up on his rival. >> my opponent raises money in a slightly different way. she has a superpac which, among other special interests, has received $15 million from wall street. >> reporter: but clinton seems ready to move on to the general election, now focusing squarely
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on the current republican front-runner donald trump. >> when we hear a candidate for president call for rounding up 12 million immigrants, banning all muslims from entering the united states, when he embraces torture, that doesn't make him strong. it makes him wrong. >> reporter: trump appears eager for the fight firing back at clinton this morning. >> i think she's an embarrassment to our country. she's under federal investigation. she doesn't have the strength or the stamina to be president, frankly, as far as i'm concerned. >> reporter: the war of words offering a preview of a potential november showdown between the two. trump also targeting clinton on social media today, posting a video saying clinton isn't a leader. she's a punch line. [ barking ] >> reporter: the sanders campaign is expected to push hard here in the state of arizona.
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campaign officials say don't expect him to change his tone, vis-a-vis hillary clinton. the clinton campaign, meanwhile rolled out three new ads targeting the state. >> arizona, the big contest there next tuesday. we'll be watching that closely. joe, thanks very much. let's bring back our experts. jeffrey, what's was your reaction to that latest trump instagram video making fun, shall we say, of hillary clinton? >> i thought it was totally moronic. i thought it was just so silly as to be ridiculous. and also, not persuasive to anyone who doesn't hate hillary clinton already. you know, she was barking as part of an imitation of something from arkansas earlier. the idea that someone's vote is going to change based on that just seems absurd to me. >> gloria, as you know, hillary clinton is now spending increasingly more time going after trump. not necessarily going after bernie sanders right now. what does that say to you? >> i think she is, as we say,
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pivoting to the general election. look, she believes that donald trump can coalesce her support like nothing else. they, in the clinton campaign, they obviously don't want to be cocky about running against donald trump, and i don't think they should be because i think he would be a tough competitor for hillary clinton. but nothing so unites democrats as talking about donald trump. so why wouldn't she do it? it makes a lot of sense. >> the problem, though, from -- you attack donald trump, david chalian. as you well know and other republican candidates have done it. he hits you right back, and he goes really after, you know, some very sensitive points. the more hillary clinton goes after trump, the more he's going to go after her. this could get really ugly. >> that's is true though those attacks will be different in the context of a general election than in the context of a republican primary because her attacks will get her base
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excited and probably come to her defense a lot when he comes after her. listen, that instagram video is a ten-second video. that's to rally his troops. that's not a television ad where he's trying to persuade independent voters to come to his side. he's just trying to rally his troops with an instagram video. and, listen, she already has been on the receiving end of an attack from donald trump. last december he came after bill clinton and came after her. >> when he said he was sexist. >> and it was understanding what it was going to be like to box with donald trump. she probably has a lot more to learn about that. >> one thing good for the clinton campaign is they struggled with enthusiasm among younger progressives. donald trump will bring democratic voters out to the polls. clearly something they are banking on if there is a general election matchup between the two. >> let me get your analysis. looking increasingly likely this could be donald trump versus
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hillary clinton in a general election. >> yeah, i think it does. you look at the sum total of the ads trump has put out or the anti-trump pacs have put out against him or the democrats have put out. this is going to be a knock down drag out fight, to use the cliche. and that, you know, she understands to david's point, that he's going to pull out every stop, and she may have to as well. because if he's going to start talking about bill clinton and monica lewinsky, hillary clinton is going to be talking about trump university and everything else. i think we've only just seen a little bit of what could occur in that general election matchup. >> these 24 candidate are two c with high unfavorables already.
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>> you can imagine those three scheduled presidential debates in a general election in september and october. if it's hillary clinton and donald trump going face to face in a presidential enjoy that? that will certainly be highly rated debates, but also the business of attacking donald trump is actually turning out to be quite difficult. marco rubio experimented with matching him for vulgarity for vulgarity and it only hurt him, so hillary clinton is going to have to figure out what works best for her. >> stand by, we're going to continue to follow obviously this race for the white house. also coming up, a terror raid in france leads to four arrests. were the suspects plotting a sequel to the horrific massacre in paris? we're getting new details. stand by.
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europe is on edge tonight following a pair of terror raids, including a shootout in belgium that left one man dead and two suspects on the loose. jim sciutto is here. >> there were four people arrested today. they were suspected of planning a terror attack in the capital. the group discussed launching this attack and making contact with isis. the weapons they found, just a starter pistol, one bullet.
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no other weapons. one of the four was actually under house arrest as he was planning this attack. he had been convicted in 2014 for planning to go to syria to join the al qaeda affiliate al nusra. they were watching this guy and yet he was able to at least get into the early stages of planning an attack. >> what's the threat level in france like right now? >> it's extremely high now. french officials describe it as unprecedented. i met with the french interior minister last week. he said another successful terror attack in france in 2016 is likely. he told us, however, that france has foiled some 12 plots just since the start of 2015. six of those plots in the last spring and summer alone. >> this comes, what, a day after a police raided an apartment where in brussels that had some connection to the paris attacks?
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>> that's right. this was in brussels. it was in belgium next door to france. they raided an apartment connected to the november attacks in paris. people inside the apartment opened fire on them, killing one person. the police killed one. the raid turned up an isis flag, a kalashnikov rifle. >> nato headquarters happens to be there, which raises concerns here in the united states. they see what's going on, law enforcement here, counterterrorism experts. they worry that it could happen here in the united states. >> no question. they certainly worry about it and the u.s. is giving them enormous help to help them stop the next neattack. >> thanks very much for that. that's it for me. remember you can always follow
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us on twitter. please tweet me @wolfblitzer. join us right here in "the situation room" tomorrow. thanks very much for watching. "erin burnett outfront" starts right now. next, donald trump after a big super tuesday win warning of riots if the party blocks his nomination. dr. carson is my guest tonight. hillary clinton crushing bernie sanders on super tuesday. how long will sanders stay in the race? let's go "outfront." >> good evening. i'm erin burnett. outfront tonight, the breaking news. a warning from donald trump coming off the heels of a major win at the polls. decisive wins in florida, north carolina. if the party denies him the nomion


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