President Obama's Exit Interview on CNN's "The Axe Files"
December 26th, 2016
10:15 AM ET

President Obama's Exit Interview on CNN's "The Axe Files"

President Barack Obama joined CNN senior political commentator David Axelrod for the latest episode of "The Axe Files," produced in partnership by CNN and The University of Chicago Institute of Politics.

Read about their wide-ranging interview on CNN, listen in full and reference the transcript made available by CNN Politics.

Subscribe to The Axe Files in Apple Podcasts and at CNN.com/Podcast.


Topics: CNN Digital • CNN Politics • Podcasts • Transcripts
Giuliani on Trump not paying federal income taxes “this is perfectly legal.”
October 2nd, 2016
11:39 AM ET

Giuliani on Trump not paying federal income taxes “this is perfectly legal.”

Today on CNN’s State of the Union, Former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani (R-NY), joined anchor, Jake Tapper to discuss the New York Times report on Trump’s taxes, if he pays his own taxes, the Trump campaign spreading allegations that Hillary Clinton was not loyal to Bill and more.

For more information, see http://cnnpressroom.blogs.cnn.com/. Also, text highlights and a transcript of the discussion are below.

MANDATORY CREDIT: CNN’s “State of the Union”

Contacts: Lauren Pratapas — Lauren.Pratapas@turner.com; 202.465.6666; Brooke Lorenz- Brooke.Lorenz@turner.com

 CNN STORY

Giuliani: False claims about Clinton's marriage are 'fair game'

Giuliani claims Trump 'a genius' for not paying taxes

 

VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS

Rudy Giuliani full interview

 

FULL POST

Sanders agrees with Clinton that his supporters "are living in their parents' basement" but "of course" it bothers him that she called him a false promise
October 2nd, 2016
11:37 AM ET

Sanders agrees with Clinton that his supporters "are living in their parents' basement" but "of course" it bothers him that she called him a false promise

Today on CNN’s State of the Union, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), joined anchor, Jake Tapper to discuss the New York Times report on Trump’s taxes, audio of Clinton criticizing Sanders, Gary Johnson’s second “Aleppo moment” and more.

For more information, see http://cnnpressroom.blogs.cnn.com/. Also, text highlights and a transcript of the discussion are below.

MANDATORY CREDIT: CNN’s “State of the Union”

Contacts: Lauren Pratapas — Lauren.Pratapas@turner.com; 202.465.6666; Brooke Lorenz- Brooke.Lorenz@turner.com

 CNN STORY

Sanders: Trump's taxes prove system rigged

Sanders brushes off leaked Clinton criticism

 

VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS

Sanders slams Trump over NYT report on taxes

Bernie Sanders reacts to leaked Clinton audio

  FULL POST

Transcript: CNN Presidential Town Hall: America's Military and The Commander and Chief
September 28th, 2016
10:26 PM ET

Transcript: CNN Presidential Town Hall: America's Military and The Commander and Chief

CNN’s Jake Tapper sat down with President Obama in Fort Lee, Virginia, home of the Combined Arms Support Command, for a CNN Presidential Town Hall to discuss veterans, national security and foreign policy issues impacting the US Military.  

FULL TRANSCRIPT

THIS IS A RUSH FDCH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED

 JAKE TAPPER, HOST :  Good evening from Fort Lee in Virginia.  We are coming to you from this U.S. Army installation for a crucial conversation with the military and the commander-in-chief, President Barack Obama, about some of the most pressing issues facing the United States today, our national security, our leadership abroad, the service of more than 2 million troops in our active and reserve forces, and the condition of our more than 20 million veterans.  

These exceptional men and women comprise the finest military force in the world, bravely tackling a host of challenges from conventional threats abroad to helping prevent terror from coming to our shores.  Yet, it is a critical time for the military.  With unresolved debate over size and scope and mandate, and the role of women in armed forces, and the treatment of veterans, who often come home only to feel as though they are still at war. FULL POST

Axelrod on how he would advise Wasserman Schultz "I would ask her to step aside"
July 24th, 2016
03:52 PM ET

Axelrod on how he would advise Wasserman Schultz "I would ask her to step aside"

Today on CNN’s State of the Union, David Axelrod, former senior advisor to President Obama,  joins anchor, Van Jones, CNN political commentator, Maria Cardona, CNN political commentator and Andre Bauer, CNN political commentator, Jake Tapper to discuss repercussions of the recent DNC e-mail leak, repercussions and more.

MANDATORY CREDIT: CNN’s “State of the Union”

TEXT HIGHLIGHTS

Axelrod responds to the DNC e-mail leak: Well, it's not the story you want going into a - into the week.  And, you know, Debbie Wasserman Schultz has worked very hard for a long time in this job, but she's going to have to make a decision as to whether she wants to be a distraction or not. And I'm sure there are people who are talking to her about that. I think that this, by the end of the week, will not have been the story. But at a time when they're trying to bring the party together, bring the Bernie Sanders people on board, this is not a helpful - a helpful development. [TAPPER]  What would you tell them to do? If you were senior adviser to Hillary Clinton, which you are not, what - what needs to be done? Does she need to resign or does she need to apologize and fire those people that wrote those emails? What? [AXELROD]  I would… [TAPPER]  What's the solution? [AXELROD]  - I would ask her to step aside.  I would ask her to step aside, because she's a distraction on a week that is Hillary Clinton's week.  So, yes, I would - I would ask her to.

Jones the leaked DNC e-mails: Yes, well, I think a couple of things. First of all, this whole Trump moment, I've been fighting and - let's not adapt to absurdity.  Let's not start lowering our standards for what we expect from people who are in public life.  And that has to hold up.I had to resign.  You sometimes, when you're the distraction, you become the story, you fall on your sword.  It's what you're supposed to do.  That's how it works. And so I don't know who she's helping now by staying there.The other thing I just want to say is simply this, we've got a lot of work to do as a party to come together period.  Not everybody in the Sanders wing is where Bernie is yet.  We've got to - we - we need time for that.  This is in the way. Not every young activist of color is happy that we don't have a - a VP of color.  We've - we've got to work on that.  We've got - we - and so, there's real work to be done and this is a distraction.

FULL POST

Former Bernie Sanders campaign manager says it "would be a really big mistake" if Wasserman Schultz doesn't step down
July 24th, 2016
03:49 PM ET

Former Bernie Sanders campaign manager says it "would be a really big mistake" if Wasserman Schultz doesn't step down

Today on CNN’s State of the Union, Jeff Weaver, Senator Bernie Sanders campaign manager,  joins anchor, Jake Tapper to discuss repercussions of the recent DNC e-mail leak, repercussions and more.

MANDATORY CREDIT: CNN’s “State of the Union”

TEXT HIGHLIGHTS

Weaver on DNC e-mail leak: [TAPPER]  I'm - I don't know about you, but these e-mails are pretty stunning.  [WEAVER]  They are stunning.  And it's very, very disappointing that you see, in black and white, how top officials at the DNC were plotting to put negative stories out about Senator Sanders, about how they planned to attack him on his religion.  It's really - I mean, that's just not what the Democratic Party is about.

Weaver responds to DNC e-mails plotting to leak stories about Sanders to the press: [TAPPER]  The chief financial officer, Tom Marshall, I think is his name, was the one talking about the religion, and whether Bernie was Jewish or believed in God, or was an atheist or whatever, and how that might help Hillary, presumably, win voters in Kentucky and West Virginia….Is there any evidence that any of these plots actually went to were reporters and were pitched as stories?  [WEAVER]  Well, it's hard to know, because, as you know, a lot of time reporters get off the record documents and they're loath to give up their sources.  So it's difficult to document when these things happen. But what is really very disturbing is that you had not only the CFO but you had the top staffer at the DNC, Amy Dacey, responding to that whole chain with the word, "Amen."  So it was clearly from the top - you know, all the top people were involved and it's very disappointing.  And I think, you know, it's great that Debbie Wasserman Schultz is not going to be speaking here, but, look, we saw in the Republican convention, we spent 48 hours with a drip, drip, drip as they refused to deal with the fact that Mrs. Trump had obviously lifted some lines from Michelle Obama's speech.  I think that we should show, as Democrats, that we're more mature than that.  There's obviously a problem here.  Someone should resign.  It should be - Debbie Wasserman Schultz should resign.  Maybe some staffers should resign.  We're just going to pull the Band-aid off this, get past it.  I mean, there's likely to be more e-mails released in the next couple days, and I'm sure there other time periods in the campaign - which you're aware of, like the data breach time period - where there was a lot of tension.  I'm sure those e-mails will be even worse.

FULL POST

Donald Trump Jr. on Mook's response to e-mail leak "If a republican did that they would be calling for people to bring out the electric chair"
July 24th, 2016
03:46 PM ET

Donald Trump Jr. on Mook's response to e-mail leak "If a republican did that they would be calling for people to bring out the electric chair"

 

Today on CNN’s State of the UnionDonald Trump Jr., Son of Donald J. Trump  joins anchor, Jake Tapper to discuss repercussions of the recent DNC e-mail leak, Roger Ailes stepping down, the possibility of running for Mayor of New York and more.

 

MANDATORY CREDIT: CNN’s “State of the Union”

 

TEXT HIGHLIGHTS

 

Donald Trump Jr. on how Mook responded to DNC email leak: [TAPPER] So, I don't know if you were hearing earlier, but Robby Mook, the campaign manager for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, I asked him about the DNC leak.And he suggested that experts are saying that Russians were behind both the leak - the hacking of the DNC e-mails and their release.  He seemed to be suggesting that this is part of a plot to help Donald Trump and hurt Hillary Clinton.  Your response?[TRUMP JR] Well, it just goes to show you their exact moral compass.  I mean, they will say anything to be able to win this.  I mean, this is time and time again, lie after lie.  You notice he won't say, well, I say this.  We hear experts. You know, here’s (INAUDIBLE) at home once said that this is what's happening with the Russians.  It's disgusting.  It's so phony.  I watched him bumble through the interview, I was able to hear it on audio a little bit.  I mean, I can't think of bigger lies, but that exactly goes to show you what the DNC and what the Clinton camp will do.  They will lie and do anything to win.You hear it with the DNC where they're leaking emails about Bernie Sanders and his Jewish heritage, to be able to try to destroy him in the south.  It's a rigged system. It's disgusting and the people who should be fed up because when I heard it I certainly was.[TAPPER]  President Obama –There’s nothing wrong with a fair fight, Jake.  I don't mind a fair fight, but these lies and the perpetuating of that kind of nonsense to try, you know, gain some political capital is just outrageous and he should be ashamed of himself.  If a Republican did that…[TAPPER] President Obama –[TRUMP JR]: … they would be calling for people to bring out the electric chair.

 

Donald Trump Jr. on the possibility of Roger Ailes joining the campaign: [TAPPER]  Your father raised the prospect of bringing on Roger Ailes the former chairman and CEO of FOX News and the idea being Mr. Trump said something along the lines of people are talking about maybe he would run my campaign.  Is that actually in play, roger Ailes coming on board and running the campaign? [TRUMP JR.] Not that I’m aware of.  I mean, I know they are friends and have a long-term relationship but I’m happy with the work that Paul Manafort is doing, I think our team is really coming into place and swing, it's been exciting to be a fly on the wall watching a lot of this stuff go down.  Because - you know, again, we're trying to give a voice to the people who have been forgotten and I think the campaign is doing a wonderful job of that.  

FULL POST


Topics: Transcripts
Mook on DNC e-mail leak: Experts are now saying that the Russians are releasing these e-mails for the purpose of actually helping Donald Trump
July 24th, 2016
03:44 PM ET

Mook on DNC e-mail leak: Experts are now saying that the Russians are releasing these e-mails for the purpose of actually helping Donald Trump


Today on CNN’s State of the Union,Hillary Clinton Campaign Manager, Robby Mook  joins anchor, Jake Tapper to discuss repercussions of the recent DNC e-mail leak, Wasserman Schultz as head of DNC, Clinton’s running-mate choice and more.

MANDATORY CREDIT: CNN’s “State of the Union”

TEXT HIGHLIGHTS

Mook responds to DNC email leak: [TAPPER] So, I have to ask, what is the reaction of the Clinton campaign to these DNC leaked e-mails suggesting that top officials, including the CFO there, were actively discussing ways to hurt Bernie Sanders in the primaries?  [MOOK] Well, I think the DNC needs to look into this and take appropriate action, and I'm sure that they will. What's disturbing to us is that we - experts are telling us that Russian state actors broke into the DNC, stole these e-mails.  And other experts are now saying that the Russians are releasing these e-mails for the purpose of actually helping Donald Trump. I don't think it's coincidental that these e-mails were released on the eve of our convention here.  And that's disturbing.  And I think we need to be concerned about that.  I think we need to be concerned that we also saw last week at the Republican Convention that Trump and his allies made changes to the Republican platform to make it more pro-Russian. And we saw him talking about how NATO shouldn't intervene to defend - necessarily should intervene to defend our Eastern European allies if they are attacked by Russia.  So, I think, when you put all this together, it's a disturbing picture.  And I think voters need to reflect on that.


Mook on why he believes Russians were behind DNC e-mail leak: [TAPPER] What evidence is there that the Russians were behind this in terms of the hacking or in terms of the timing by WikiLeaks?  [MOOK] Well, we need to let the experts speak on this.  It's been reported on in the press that the - that the hackers that got into the DNC are very likely by to be working in coordination with Russia. And, again, I think it's - if the Russians in fact had these e-mails, again, I don't think it's very coincidental that they are being released at this time to create maximum damage on Hillary Clinton and to help Donald Trump.  [TAPPER]  But it is a very, very strong charge that you're leveling here.  You're basically suggesting that Russians hacked into the DNC and now are releasing these files through WikiLeaks to help elect Donald Trump.  [MOOK] Well, this isn't my assertion.  There are a number of experts that are asserting this.  I think we need to get to the bottom of these facts.  But that is what experts are telling us.  Experts have said that it is the Russians that, in fact, went in and took these e-mails.  And then, if they are the ones who took them, we have to infer that they are the ones then releasing them 

FULL POST

Sanders: "I'm not atheist..it's an outrage"
July 24th, 2016
03:37 PM ET

Sanders: "I'm not atheist..it's an outrage"

Today on CNN’s State of the Union, Senator Bernie Sanders, joins anchor, Jake Tapper to discuss the recent DNC e-mail leak, Wasserman Schultz as head of DNC, Clinton’s running-mate choice and more.

MANDATORY CREDIT: CNN’s “State of the Union”

TEXT HIGHLIGHTS

Sanders responds to DNC  e-mail leak: Well, I think it's outrageous, but it is not a great shock to me. I think, as I said, it's what we talked about six months ago.  I mean, there's no question to my mind and I think no question to any objective observer's mind that the DNC was supporting Hillary Clinton, was in opposition to our campaign.  So, I'm not quite shocked by this.  And that is why many, many months ago, I made it clear that I thought Debbie Wasserman Schultz should resign, should step down, not only because of the prejudice I think they showed during the campaign, but also because I think we need a new leadership of the Democratic Party which is going to open up that party to working people, to young people, to have the kind of vitality we need to not only win the presidency, but gain control of the Senate and the House as well.  [TAPPER]  Senator, what is your personal response, though, to having your faith questioned like that by a fellow Democrat?  Well, you are now a Democrat, or you were a Democratic candidate, but by somebody supposedly neutral and theoretically on your team?  [SANDERS] Well, first of all, I am not an atheist. But aside from all of that, I mean, it is an outrage and sad that you would have people in important positions in the DNC trying to undermine my campaign. It goes without saying the function of the DNC is to represent all of the candidates, to be fair and even-minded.But, again, I - we discussed this many, many months ago on this show.  So, what is revealed now is not a shock to me. I think the focus, though, that I am going to go forward on right now is to make sure that Donald Trump, perhaps the worst Republican candidate in the modern history of this country, somebody by temperament, somebody by ideology must not become president of the United States.  I'm going to do everything I can to defeat him, to elect Hillary Clinton, and to keep focusing, keep focusing on the real issues facing the American people.  And that is the decline of the American middle class going on for 40 years, massive levels of income and wealth inequality.And I will tell you, Jake, that I'm proud that, in the Democratic platform that was passed a few weeks ago, we are making some real progress.  We're talking about breaking up the large banks on Wall Street who have been ripping off the American people for years.  

FULL POST

Priebus on Trump picking Pence as a running-mate "shows maturity and a pivot to the general election"
July 17th, 2016
11:55 AM ET

Priebus on Trump picking Pence as a running-mate "shows maturity and a pivot to the general election"

Today on CNN’s State of the Union, Chairman, Republican Party, Reince Priebus ,joined anchor, Jake Tapperto discuss Trump picking Pence as his running-mate, their differing views on the Iraq war and TPP, Trump’s previously proposed ban on Muslims and more.
For more information, see http://cnnpressroom.blogs.cnn.com/. Also, text highlights and a transcript of the discussion are below.
MANDATORY CREDIT: CNN’s “State of the Union”
Contacts: Lauren Pratapas — Lauren.Pratapas@turner.com; 202.465.6666; Brooke Lorenz-Brooke.Lorenz@turner.com

 

CNN STORY

 

TEXT HIGHLIGHTS
Priebus on Trump's level of certainty choosing Pence as a running-mate: [TAPPER]  So, let's start with the big scoop that Dana Bash reported a couple days ago, that other newspapers and publications, media organizations have also reported, which is that, up until midnight Thursday night, Mr. Trump was asking his top aides if there was any way, theoretically, he could dig out of the Pence pick, and that he seemed to be sort of resentful of the fact that people were urging him to go with his head, instead of his gut. Was Trump's heart not in the Pence pick, do you think? [PRIEBUS]  No, not at all.  It was in the Pence pick, and it had been in the Pence pick for quite a while.  I don't think - with respect to Dana, I don't think that report was accurate.  I think it was coming from places that...[TAPPER]  It wasn't just Dana.  It was "The New York Times," "The Washington Post."  Everybody reported it. [PRIEBUS]  Right, but sources not really with knowledge can spin multiple, multiple places.  And that's not just where - where Trump was at.  I spoke to him, I mean, multiple times that day.  I know what he was thinking.  He certainly didn't want to make an announcement on the heels of the disaster in Nice.  And so he decided to announce on Saturday.  And no time in between that was he skeptical of the Pence pick. [TAPPER] But we know that, in between the time that he offered the job to Pence and Pence arrived in New York on his plane, Donald Trump went on FOX and said that he had not made his final, final decision. [PRIEBUS]  Because Donald Trump - because he wanted to make - he wanted to keep people guessing.  He wanted to make it more suspenseful. And the fact that everything was coming down and people were talking, I think that frustrated Donald Trump.  But he was with Pence.  He knew Pence was the right pick.  And that's where his head and heart was at for - for quite some time before that point.  [TAPPER]  Is that who you wanted him to pick?  [PRIEBUS]  I thought it was a great pick.  I mean, I think it's a good juxtaposition of Donald Trump.I think he's a different personality.  They don't agree with each other on everything, which is - actually, I think, shows maturity and a pivot to the general election.  I think it's a perfect pick.  

 

Priebus on Trump's previously proposed Muslim ban: [TAPPER] Speaking of not agreeing on everything, take a listen to Donald Trump talking about his Muslim ban, his proposed Muslim ban, back in December. ...Now, the very next day, Indiana Governor Mike Pence tweeted: "Calls to ban Muslims from entering the U.S. are offensive and unconstitutional." So, help me understand what's going to happen here.  Is there going to be a total and complete ban on Muslims entering the United States until we can - quote - "figure out what the hell is going on," or is there not going to be one? [PRIEBUS]  No. What Donald Trump - but if you have seen the last few weeks, his position that he's put on the table in his position papers that are on his Web site and what he's been talking about is a temporary ban of immigration from countries that harbor and train terrorists, until we get a better vetting system that is consistent with House bills and Senate bills.That's Donald Trump's position.  There is no religious test on the table.  It is simply limited to countries that are harboring and training terrorists.  And that's really where 75 percent of the American people are at...It is a good position to be in. [TAPPER]  But that proposal that you just enumerated is different than what he said in December. [PRIEBUS] Right. [TAPPER]  And he has said that he has not backed off or changed his position. [PRIEBUS] No, no, no.  He has pivoted to this position. [TAPPER] That's your interpretation.  That's not his interpretation. [PRIEBUS]It's what I have seen him say in person at events. [TAPPER]  I agree that it seems like a pivot or a change. [PRIEBUS] Right. [TAPPER]  But he says he hasn't changed. [PRIEBUS]  He - he - no, he has said he has changed.  And he has put the position on the table.  And that is his position.  It is not a religious test.  It is a ban on - from immigration from countries that harbor or train terrorists.  That's what I believe in.  And that's what 80 percent of the American people believe in.  

 

Priebus on Trump and Pence differing views on the Iraq war: [TAPPER] Another issue where they have disagreed is the Iraq War. Mike Pence stood shoulder to shoulder with George W. Bush.  He voted for the war in Iraq when he was in the House.  He stood by that vote.  Donald Trump calls the Iraq War a - quote - "big, fat mistake." For voters who care about foreign policy and want to know where the Trump-Pence ticket would take this country, is this a ticket that would have supported the Iraq War or not?  [PRIEBUS]  You would have to ask them.  I mean, look, I think that what it does show is that Donald Trump is willing to be challenged by other people.  It shows that he's not looking for someone - for yes-people around him.  And he's also willing - he also wants to show the American people that he is going to put a person on the ticket that doesn't agree with him on everything. I think that shows a lot of maturity.  I think it shows an understanding of the electorate and an understanding of what the job is to defeat Hillary Clinton.  I think it's very good.  [TAPPER]  Except that - I guess the question is, does it muddy what Donald Trump stands for?  Because I think what a lot of voters who voted for him find appealing is the fact that he opposed the war in Iraq - or he says he did, anyway, although there is very little evidence that he did before it actually happened. But that said, let's just say he is anti-Iraq War, and Pence was pro.  Trade is another big issue where Donald Trump is attracting a lot of voters.  He said about the Trans-Pacific Partnership: "The Trans-Pacific Partnership is another disaster done and pushed by special interests who want to rape our country, just a continuing rape of our country" - very strong words, some might say offensive, rape victims.  

 

Priebus on Trump's stance on the TPP: [TAPPER] Take a look at what Mike Pence has said about TPP.  He tweeted: "Trade means jobs, but trade also means security.  The time has come for all of us to urge the swift adoption of the Trans-Pacific Partnership."Well, I mean, if I'm a Republican voter or a Democratic voter looking - who is not married to Hillary Clinton - and I look at this and I'm like, this guy thinks the TPP is rape.  This guy thinks it's the best thing in the world. [PRIEBUS]  You would be surprised.  This is a not a - this is a split issue in our party.  Not everyone is crazy about TPP.  I can tell you, these delegates aren't crazy about TPP.  I can tell you, a lot of the base in our party isn't crazy about TPP.  Some of other folks in Washington...[TAPPER]  Yes, but your vice president is. [PRIEBUS]  Listen, not - not - not as wildly crazy as you may think. [TAPPER] "Trade means jobs, but trade also means security." [PRIEBUS] Understood. [TAPPER] "The time has come for all of us to urge the swift adoption of the TPP." [PRIEBUS]  Listen, this is not... [TAPPER]  Which Donald Trump thinks is rape. [PRIEBUS]  No, listen - well, that's true. And what I'm saying to you is that some folks in our party like TPP.  Some don't.  The fact that we have two people together that have a different opinion on TPP is not - is not some sort of stunning, startling news.  Now, overlaying all of this, Donald Trump's basic position on trade is that he wants to cut better deals.  He wants to look at the deals that are in place.  [TAPPER]  That's everybody's position. [PRIEBUS]  And he wants to do a better job.  But that's his job.[TAPPER]  Everybody wants better deals.  [PRIEBUS]  Right, and Donald Trump believes and a lot of people believe that, if you are going to have someone on the other end of the negotiating table, he would be the guy to have on the other end of the negotiating table.  His strength and his negotiating ability and his desire to do better is his most important position on trade.  And that's what he's always said.  And, again, I don't think it's a bad thing that we have got two people that have different opinion on TPP.  

 

FULL TRANSCRIPT
THIS IS A RUSH FDCH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

 

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: I'm Jake Tapper, live in Cleveland for the Republican National Convention, where the state of our union today is, frankly, in turmoil.  
 
With the major security event about to get under way here, the global landscape is quite turbulent.  Eighteen people are hovering between life and death in France after that deadly attack in the coastal city of Nice that killed 84 other innocent people.  French officials now saying that the man who murdered them all texted an unknown recipient just before the attack, saying - quote - "Bring more weapons.  Bring to C" - unquote.  
 
Four of his associates were arrested over the weekend, this while Turkey is roiling after a violent and confusing weekend.  Turkish President Erdogan saying he is back in control after an attempt to overthrow his government in the middle of the night.  
 
He claims his rival Fethullah Gulen, who is living in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania masterminded the entire thing.  He says that without preventing any evidence of what now he's demanding, that President Obama turn him over.  
 
Gulen responded by suggesting that the coup may have been staged by Erdogan himself.  It is a messy situation in a country that is a vital U.S. ally in the war against ISIS.  
 
And joining me now is Secretary of State John Kerry, who is Luxembourg, on his way to Brussels.  
 
Mr. Secretary, thank you so much for joining us.  
 
Let's start with the attempted coup in Turkey.  More than 200 people have been killed since the uprising began.  Operations at the U.S. air base have been halted.  Power's been cut.  Our troops there are operating off of military generators.  Five military facilities in Turkey have been placed at the highest alert level.  
 
This seems to show a huge level of disrespect.  Who is responsible for this?  Is it Erdogan?  
 
JOHN KERRY, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE:  Jake, we don't have all the details of what has happened with respect to the coup.  
 
What we do know is this.  I talked three times yesterday with the foreign minister of Turkey.  They assure me that there will be no interruption of our counter-ISIL efforts.  It is a fact that there were difficulties at Incirlik.  
 
But, apparently, there may have been some refueling that took place with the Turkish air force with planes that were flying in the coup itself.  And I think that has something to do with what's taken place there.  It's not focused on us.  
 
They have absolutely assured us of their commitment to the fight against Da'esh.  Their foreign minister will be coming to Washington with their defense minister in three days for a major conference that we have with 45 countries, foreign ministers, defense ministers, to keep pushing forward on the strategy against Da'esh.  
 
So, Jake, I expect that operations will get back to normal very quickly.  But we don't know the details of the coup.  And I think the Turkish government itself is trying to figure out the full measure of who was involved and how.  
 
TAPPER:  Has this affected the fight against ISIS, or, as you call it, Da'esh?  
 
KERRY:  No, it has not.
 
According to our commanders, there might have been a minor delay here or there or something, but it has not affected the fundamental direction or commitment to the fight.  
 
TAPPER:  As you know, on Saturday, the president of Turkey, Erdogan, demanded that the U.S. arrest or hand over one of his enemies, Fethullah Gulen, the person he is holding responsible for this coup, who is living in self-imposed exile in the Poconos in Pennsylvania.
 
Is the U.S. going to comply with this demand for extradition?  
 
KERRY:  Well, first of all, we have not had a formal request for extradition.  That has to come in a formal package.
 
It has to come with documentation for the request and go to the Justice Department.  And we will deal with it.  I made it very, very clear to the foreign minister of Turkey yesterday, the United States is not harboring anybody.  We're not preventing anything from happening.  
 
We have never had a formal request for extradition, and we have always said, give us the evidence.  Show us the evidence.  We need a solid, legal foundation that meets the standard of extradition in order for our courts to approve such a request.  
 
So, we're waiting for that.  They tell us they are putting it together and will send it to us.  But we think it's irresponsible to have accusations of American involvement, when we're simply waiting for their request, which we're absolutely prepared to act on if it meets the legal standard.
 
TAPPER:  Did U.S. intelligence have any idea that this attempted coup was about to happen?  
 
KERRY:  I don't think anybody's intelligence had information, particularly the Turkish intelligence.  The answer is no.  
 
This is - the nature of a coup, you rarely have indicators that something's about to happen.  
 
TAPPER:  Let's turn now, if we can, sir, to the terrorist attack in Nice on Saturday.  ISIS claimed responsibility for inspiring that horrific truck attack that killed 84 people, wounding more than 200.  
 
Does the U.S. have any intelligence to back up this claim by ISIS that it, at the very least, inspired the attack?
 
KERRY:  Well, there is public information that has been leaking out from France from the investigation itself regarding a - quote - "very rapid period of radicalization."
 
We know, obviously, what everybody now knows publicly, that he was a Tunisian who was given permission to live in France.  But we have - we had no knowledge of him as a radicalized individual.  And, at this point in time, we're waiting for the investigators, and we're helping the investigation in any way that is possible.  
 
Our hearts go out to everybody in France.  This is the third major terrorist attack in France.  It's very, very difficult for the French people.  We understand that.  There are 85 people in the hospital now, 20-plus in the intensive care unit.  
 
So, we are working with the French to try to put the pieces together, but, you know, this is one of those things, Jake, it's worse than the needle in a haystack.  If you have no indications of somebody, and you don't have any track record of radicalization, and, all of a sudden, over a week or in some period, somebody with apparent mental problems anyway decides to go do great harm to people, it is not hard to do that.
 
And governments and law enforcement have to be able to get this right every hour, every day, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.  If you're a terrorist, and particularly of - of, you know, one or two days' vintage, you can just go out and do something very easily.  
 
What we believe this indicates, however, is that Da'esh, ISIL, in Syria and Iraq is under great, great pressure.  And people are acting out in various places.  But they are not growing in their ability to do things.  They are shrinking.  
 
We have taken back 40 percent, 45 percent of the territory they held in Iraq.  We're squeezing town after town.  We have liberated communities.  We're making progress now advancing on Mosul.  In Syria, likewise, they're not able to attack and hold towns.  They are on the run.
 
And I believe what we're seeing are the desperate actions of an entity that sees the noose closing around it.  
 
TAPPER:  Well, with all due respect, sir, I'm not sure that it looks that way to the public, that ISIS is on the run.  In just the last few weeks, we have seen...  
 
KERRY:  Well, obviously.  
 
TAPPER:  ... a series of ISIS-inspired attacks, 49 killed in Orlando, 45 killed in Istanbul at the airport, more than 200 killed in Baghdad, 84 in Nice.  
 
This is just the last five weeks.  I don't think ISIS is on the run.  They might be expanding.  
 
(CROSSTALK)
 
KERRY:  Well, Jake, it depends on where you mean ISIS.  
 
I don't know if this guy was actually ISIS, and nor do you.  And we don't know that the guy in Orlando was fundamentally ISIS, nor even told what to do by ISIS.
 
If people are inspired, they're inspired.  But ISIL, which is based in Iraq and Syria, is under huge pressure.  And that is just a fact.  Now, there are thousands of fighters, some of whom left the area of the fighting years ago.  And they are sitting in some community somewhere in the world.
 
And if you're saying that one person standing up one day and killing people is a reflection of ISIS moving in Iraq and Syria, I think you're dead wrong.  
 
Now, are - is it capable for people to be inspired by them and go out and do great harm to people?  I said that.  I acknowledge that.  Yes, there is that danger.
 
But the core of ISIS is in Al-Raqqa, and it's in Manbij.  It's in Syria.  It's in Iraq.  And we are doing everything in our power to put additional pressure them.  And I believe their days are numbered.  
 
TAPPER:  You are doing everything you can do?  
 
I mean, I think there are a lot of people in the United States, in the Pentagon, in the national security apparatus who have a number of suggestions as to what more could be done to put pressure and to eliminate the threat of ISIS.  
 
KERRY:  Correct.  And we - a lot of people have talked about American troops going in, et cetera.  
 
Congress displayed absolutely zero willingness to vote to do that.  And if people have a willingness to show that now that has changed, the administration will listen to any legitimate plan, any legitimate way to do more.
 
But I believe that the pressure is mounting on a steady basis, with more and more being done on a consistent basis.  And we welcome additional thoughts from members of Congress, from anybody in the intel community, in the defense community who knows or suggests.  President Obama is open to any legitimate ways of moving faster that meets the test of our security needs and of what the Congress is willing to support.
 
TAPPER:  Mr. Secretary, I'm being told that you have to go, that you have a meeting with the prime minister.
 
We always appreciate your time.  Thank you so much.  And good luck out there, sir.  
 
KERRY:  Thank you.  Thank you, Jake.  Appreciate it.  
 

 

###END INTERVIEW###
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