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tv   Anderson Cooper 360  CNN  August 11, 2017 8:00pm-9:00pm PDT

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in just the it last four days he's threatened north korea with fire and fury. said maybe fire and fury weren't enough of a threat. late today he said even more. appearing this evening the president went before reporters. raising the possibility of u.s. military action in venezuela and renewing his warnings to north korea. >> nobody love as peaceful solution better than president trump, that i can tell you. hopefully it will all work out. but this has been going on for many years. would have been easier to solve this years ago before they're in
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the position they're in. but we will see what happens. we think laulths of good things can happen and we could have a bad solution. but we think lots of good things can happen. i think you know the answer to that. >> when you say bad solutions, are you talking about war? is the u.s. going to go to war? >> i think you know the answer to that. >> the president says he will hold a press conference on monday. >> that's right, anderson and you heard the president say to reporters when asked whether the u.s. is going to war with north korea tonight, i think you know the answer to that. actually, we don't because the president did not answer that question. earlier in that exchange he said hopefully it will all work out. obviously things have to work out because we can't go to nuclear war with north korea. yes, the president is going to be busy over the coming days. he is going to hold a news conference he said that white house on monday.
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that's interrupting the so-called working vacation for the president and maybe happening right now he's scheduled to have a phone call about north korea. obviously that's a critical part of solving the problem because china is seen as having leverage over pyongyang. and china not being able to address the situation. one call the president has not made, anderson, from what we understand, he has not spoke within the governor of guam. that is despite the fact that they've been handing out bullet points on what to do and not to do in the event of a nuclear blast. for all the questions, white house officials are telling us the president wants to have his message carried over other senior administration officials like the secretary of state, secretary of defense and so on. this message coming out of the
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white house that's coming from the president is continuing to create a lot of uncertainty around the world. >> and despite comments by tillerson and mattis, which are more measured, the president continues to double down and triple down. >> absolutely. he is making it very clear to kim jong-un that he is going to go tit for tat when it comes to this rhetoric. the problem is it's rattling allies round the world. russia and china are also urging the united states to lower the temperature and the question is whether or not the president is capable of doing that. he is going to hold this news conference on monday. but anderson, my guess is after observing what has transpired, the white house is seeing a political benefit to the president going out and engaging in this tough talk. so my sense is, anderson, we're going to see more of that on
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monday. >> next to barbara starr. barbara, president was asked if he'd ordered any change in military readiness. he didn't answer the question. has there been any change? >> not that we're aware of. in fact they're telling us no need to send additional forces to the region. that everybody is reedy, more than missile defense on guam that could shoot down the north korean missiles if they come that way. troops in south korea always on the high state of alert. so they feel that they are ready. ready to defend against a potential missile attack that north korea has laid out the possibility of if it were to go beyond that. if the president were to order a pre-emptive attack, then it would all be relooked at of course and right now, tonight as you and i are talking u.s. intelligence keeping a very sharp eye out for any moves by
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the north koreans towards a missile launch as of now they don't see it. >> and there have been no evacuations in military personnel from the region or civilian personnel, i should say. >> right. there's no indication of moving civilians off of guam. the guam government, the governor's staying pretty calm about the whole thing. communicating with his citizens on guam. they have a pretty active program there. >> you have many options for venezuela. this is our neighbor. we're all over the world. and have troops all over the world in places that are far away. venezuela is not very far away and the people are suffering and dying. we have many options for venezuela including a possible military option if necessary. >> so what's the pentagon saying about this? is military intervention seriously being considered?
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in washington this got the ust - pentagon by more surprise than almost anything else. they did come up with a statement. the pentagon spokesman telling reporters i refer you to the white house to characterize the president's statement. the pentagon has not received any orders with regards to venezuela. the military conducts contingency planning for a variety of situations. to protect the citizens abroad. there's no indication at that point. but there's something much more concerning here. the president may have played directly into the hands of the venezuelan president.
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president madoro facing stiff opposition in his country. to put it politely has long claimed there will be a u.s. invasion, a u.s.-backed coup attempt against his government. there's lot of concern tonight that donald trump might have played right into the hands of a very unpopular president. >> i want to bring in our military and foreign relations panel. also former senior national security -- gen eral tatum, despite all the rhetoric and the very real concern here that current u.s. military option does not seem to have shifted or changed or recalled from the region. >> the very deliberate and
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synchronized application of the elements of national power gensz north korea and so you've got military power so we're going to show a force. we got carrier strike groups going back and forth. diplomatic power so we have a unanimous security counsel vote for sanctions against north korea. and you've got information power and the president making a statement, fire and fury and those kinds of things. it's a very deliberate and clear message to kim jong-un and north korea and then when you have the secretary of state and the secretary of defense both saying something similar, the secretary of state being more diplomatic and the secretary of state being more direct. that's all information power and the second order of benefit is you have an analyst laying out all of our offensive capabilities and all of our
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defensive capabilities and i can promise you they're watching that. . the president saying hey, we're strong as well. and how many missile tests should we allow north korea to take? how many nuclear weapons should we allow north korea to have and how much threat should we allow against the united states from this. and now has the ability to harm our nation. i think the president is right to synchronize the elements of power and as you mentioned, there's been no noncombattant evacuation. so right now i think it's in the application of elements of power stage where we're trying to lead the golden bridge. >> do you see a strategy behind the president making a particular kind of comments and then secretary of state and
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secretary of defense sort of following it up with i don't know if measured is the world. but coming at it from a different angle. >> you have a bad cop scheme going on. and to borrow the synchronization example, is the sinkiniynchronization around th national security team. he has willingness to their advantage. by having tillerson message that there is a way out of this but having mattis back up some of the president's threats, the message is meant to sort of break this log jam in north korea. everything the u.s. has tried to do over the past couple of decades hasn't stopped them from moving forward on nuclear development, nuclear weapons development. the last time we saw some sort of break in this was back in 2003 after george w. bush called
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them part of the axes of evil. then you saw six-party talks leveraged by china. i think that's what they're trying to produce right now is enough pressure on beijing that they take this so seriously they go to pyongyang and say you're running out of chances here. >> how much of the u.s. language on this is you think directed towards china? >> i think a lot of it. they clearly have a diplomatic strategy and that requires that china rach tchet up the pressurn north korea. i'm not sure i agree that they have a clearly synchronized message strategy. i think this white house is still struggling to get everyone singing on the same sheet of music, even if it they're singing different parts and they don't have a ben roads kind of figure who delivered talking points for everyone to speak that were tightly coordinated for the obama administration. we're not seeing that yet and
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the evidence of that things like the venezuela comment which was distracting and interrupting whatever was the focus of the message on north korea. >> i got to agree. maybe it's not synchronization. but they're pivoting faster than they have in previous weeks. they're getting better at pretending they planned it all along. >> a lot of the threats that the president has been making is talking about threats. in the previous days it was north korea shouldn't make anymore threats against the u.s. and there were questions did he mean rhetorical threats or was it actually action? now he's made it clear that they shouldn't speak anymore threats and today he sort of made it well kim jong-un himself should not make any direct threat. >> we've seen a whole change in the rhetoric coming out of north
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korea as well. i think the rhetoric out of the white house, the bell koes rhetoric followed up by what i call a very strong message from mattis and the diplomatic talk from tillerson, it's had a real impact in pyongyang. we've seen the north koreans react differently to the level of belacose rhetoric. it was saying we're developing a plan by which we could strike guam and we're going it prevechbt that to the commander and chief. much like the u.s. defense department giving the president whatever option. but we never saw the detail that the north korea -- i think they've been shaken by the rhetoric coming out of washington and i don't think they know what to make of it. that positive effect but we have to make sure and not raising the deaf constatus, not deploying
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more troops, it keeps it a little lower volume because once you see the steps, things probably going to happen. >> we're going to take a quick break. more on where the korea crisis goes from here. senate majority leader, mitch mcconnell. the question is why. lter? hmm? is that the rest of our food? what? no. how come you have cheese in your beard? because switching to geico could save you 15% or more on car insurance. oh! ok. geico. because saving 15% or more on car insurance is always a great answer. whoa! gross! restlessness... extreme anxiety...
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statement. but let me hear kim jong-un stay, okay. he's not saying it. he hasn't been saying much for the last three days. you let me hear him say it. >> what do you make of that sort of making it personal with kim jong-un? >> making it personal but also pointing out that he hasn't dared speak up in the past couple of days. you've got to wonder if what the u.s. is trying to do, if what trump is trying to do is not just message him, but message the elite around him. there are about 4 million people in north korea that can access smart phones, that can hear the message that trump is sending out. possibly trying to inspire a coup. so the fact that kim jong-un doesn't seem to be trying to goat him back means maybe some of his top advisors have gotten to him and said we've got to be careful with this guy. >> interesting general tatum --
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i called you colonel for a moment. it's interesting hearing an unofficial response from the china daily post basically saying that if they strike first that china would not support them in any way but if the u.s. did, that china would come to their aid. >> i think that's china's play here. that's a huge concession on they strike anywhere in american territory, that china will not stand by their side and at the same time a message to us from china is if we pre-emptively strike then they will come to the aid of north korea. i think that's china's perfect place for them and it's not a bad place for us because it could keep in check north korea and i just want to go back to what one of your other panelists
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said. the last thing this administration these to do is mirror in any way shape or form what the previous administration has done particularly with respect to north korea. this messaging and this synchronization of the elements of national power are what are getting are esults for the united states right now and we cannot have the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction as we had in serious with chemical weapons and now we have nuclear weapons in north korea. china is the key here and that's why the president is talking to him right now and hopefully that china will help us out and put some more pressure on north korea and defuse this and aloafor that golden bridge i mentioned earlier. >> peter, do you see china stepping up on this? >> i agree with general tatum if they were to do this, that would be the optimal play from our point of view. the problem is china has never
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put enough pressure on north korea to put the regime in jeopardy, to put the regime close to the cracking point, which is where we assess they have to be before they would give up their nuclear weapons and china is reluctant to do that because they fear the collapse of the kim regime more than they feared nuclear weapons in the kim's hands. the president has declared something intolerable which we have declared tolerable the last 10 years and he's threatened they must not do what has been their principal export, namely issue threats. i fear he's in danger of backing himself into a corner. but if creating a crisis puts enough -- rattles china enough that they escalate their economic sanctions on north korea, then we will see a better outcome going forth. no one wants a war here, inudclooing north korea. they don't want a war. so there's a potential for a dip
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lumatic out. >> i talked to a number of former diplomats works trying to negotiate with north korea. and talked to general hayden who said if there is a military confrontation, obviously in all the war games they have ruled out, the u.s. wins but there's not a lot of great military options. you agree with that? from a human life standpoint? >> yeah, acbsalutely. you have to have a military option. you have to be prepared to execute it but that's the last thing you want to do. any military action, no matter what it is, is going to precipitate the destruction of seoul and ultimate destruction of the north korean government. everybody knows it and as everybody has said we all agree no one wants to have a war but somebody in this equation is going to have to back down or change their position because if, as peter said, if the
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president is going to stick to this position that we will not tolerate a nuclear armed north korea with an icbm and north koreans insist it's part of their constitution, that they're not going to get rid of them, all we're doing again is kicking the can down the road. what is probably going to happen is we're going to defuse this diplomatically and have the same conversation a couple of years from now. >> the rhetoric gets more intense on both sides. are the president's comments impulsive? ♪
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threat over an over threat that he'll truly regret it, is that a smart red line to be drawing because in days past had he talks about threats, it seems mattis and tillerson s, the president doubled down saying it's a threat. >> anderson, when you're dealing with nuclear weapons and a regime like north korea, it seems to me you want to measure every word because if you drawing a red line, a red line not only by action but by rhetoric, you want to be extremely precise, not only for the other side but to protect yourself so you don't have to climb down. i just find it unnerving that the formulation changes every day, a threat, a different kind
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of threat, not action but words. it's just not a clear way to do things. >> it's interesting though that despite the president's rhetoric, it seems from all the reporting that u.s. military posture in the region has not changed. it's not as if u.s. personnel are being withdrawn, as if marines are being loadedn to vessels. it doesn't seem to be a -- >> you wonder whether all the wires are connected here. from the president's lips to our diplomats to our military people on the ground. and i just worry about -- i don't object. let me simply say, to the president raising the profile of this issue. i think the character of the issue has changed. north korea, a highly erratic, isolated country, is building an intercontinental ballistic missile with a war head that can
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hit the united states. it's not tomorrow, next week or next month but in the next year or two. that changes the strategic equation and the president doing a little mad man act is not such a bad thing as long as it is connected -- as long as that stick is connected to carats that the north koreans can bite into and possibly stand down on and that our allies would want to get behind. because that's the key thing here. if we're going to keep sanctions on north korea, if it we're going to keep the moral high ground, we need china, south korea, japan at a minimum and russia as well. we really want them on our side and that's what i'm a little concerned about here. >> is it possible that the president believes this sort of madman idea will motivate china to become more involved? will motivate china to use more of its influence?
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>> you're asking the right question because i think a lot of this rhetoric is directed more at china than north korea. but i think the chinese have made their calculation. i think what the chinese have said to themselves is look, if the north koreans were to launch a missile at the united states or in guam, that would be an act of suicide. and what do we know about the north korean regime? the kim power been in foyer generations. they're there to survive. at the same time if the united states unilaterally attacked north korea, it could unleash weaponry on south korea. i think the chinese don't actually believe the administration would go that far or the north koreans would go that far and so they're trying to nudge both sides towards the center.
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i don't mind thes's rhetoric and the madman here can be efktive if it's wedded to. it seems to be diplomatic overture. which is to say we're ready if you give up your nuclear program, we're ready to make peace with you, open an embassy and end the korean war. i put a very clear offer on the table. they won't accept it. but it would certainly give us the moral high ground, the ability to hold south korea, china, russia and i think all of asia behind us. because ultimately we may find the only solution is simply long-term detrance in squeezing north korea until something happens. >> it does seem like this is such a change from decades of administration policy, which is to not have one on one direct confrontation between the u.s. and north korea. if there were to be discussions or negotiations, the president's
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essentially going toe to toe whether it's for political reasons or whatever it is with kim jong-un. i'm trading the same kind of rhetoric. >> the chinese have made their calculation. at the owned of the day trump is bluffing and innorth koreans aren't going to commit suicide and therefore the chinese don't mind seeing america wrapped around the axalal of north korea. spending enormous energy and resources dealing with it. that's fine with the chinese. that's why they've kept the situation alive all these years. putin doesn't mind either. means we have less energy for him to interfere in ukrain or anywhere else. it is -- all the options are bad. but it may be the last bad option is living with a north korea, deterring them and keeping sarnkeep keeping sanctions until something happens and maybe it's
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a coup d'état, but there can be worse things. as you recall we're about the same age. we lived with 10s of thousands of russians, nukes aimed at us. a lot of people then thought mau, he's crazy, how can we possibly tolerate that? is it preferable? it's none of those things it's just the alternative could be a lot, lot worse. what the president is saying about the president thanking vladimir putin for throwing out hundreds of embassy personnel in moscow. the explanation from the white house may not help.
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the white house is expelling the virtus of the president's sense of humor. sarah huckabee sanders says the president was being sarcastic in h the expulsion of diplomats from washington. if you'll recall they came in response to new sanctions, a
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bill that the president had no choice but to sign since it passed by overwhelming veto proof margins. he was asked about vladimir putin expelling hundreds of personnel. >> i want to thank him because we're trying to cut down on pay roll. so as far as i'm concerned i'm very thankful he let go of a large number of people. so now we have a smaller pay roll. there's no real reason for them to come back. i greatly appreciate the fact they've been able to cut our pay roll. save a lot of money. >> ambassador burns, yesterday you tweeted about the comments saying a shameful statement by president trump. if he was joking, it shows his true character. i'm wondering what you make of the white house saying he was being sarcastic.
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>> you know, here's the president, anderson. who has not defended our country since the russian cyber attack on our election, was not in favor of the sanctions. he's never once criticized what president putin did, he didn't criticize his expulsion of 700 american diplomats. i can't think of any american president who would not defend our country when it was so treated by the russian government and he hasn't stood up for our diplomats. if he's joecing, it's very poor taste. the people in the state department, men and women in the state department, don't feel they have the respects of their president and he needs them in north korea, and in russia. he ought to show more respect. >> i know you served in moscow. the 700 people whose positions were cut by putin, how important a role do they serve.
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the president says there's no reason for them to go back. is that true? >> no, it's not. i think what's shocking is it reflects or betray as lack of understanding of how valuable our officers and diplomats are abroad. i'm talking not just the state department which plays a huge role but all the other members of the country team part of this complicated and important post overseas. and by the way the men and women who defend america on our front lines, not just the u.s. military personnel but all of our other personnel serving in embassies across the world have to be wondering right now if the president has their back. >> ambassador, when u.s./russia rels relations are at this low, doesn't it increase the importance of having a large diplomatic presence in russia? >> it it does.
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i think we're at our lowest moment with the russian government. you may have to go back to the mid-80s before gorbachev took over the soviet union to find when there's been so much distrust between moscow and washington. president trump doesn't talk about diplomacy, he's never honored the foreign service. he's dismissive of them yesterday. it would behoove him to plug into the state department. >> the president seems to put a lot of stock in the military and it's incredibly important. but most military officers will say we need diplomats or our jobs will become exponentially more difficult. >> i couldn't agree more with nick, who had such a distinguished career in the state department and on behalf of all our men and women serving overseas right now, the isis a time when it's important not
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just for the president but the american people to understand the role they're playing. they make great sacrifices for the country. they're serving in moscow and other places that are hardships and aed vancing u.s. foreign policy interests. they're our front lines and it's important for the president to recognize that. >> is there any -- i try to walk in someone else's shoes. is there any strategic reason why the president of the united states would have avoided directly criticizing vladimirputen on the extent that this president has? you really can't find examples of him criticizing vladimir putin. where you can find plenty of him criticizing -- you mention mitch mcconnell, jeff sessions, other world leaders. >> i think he is the weakest president we've had towards moscow in my lifetime and i think, anderson. it's a big mistake because what putin respects.
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he respects toughinize, people who speak their mind and president trump has been nothing like that. i don't think that the president is putting us in a strong position visa vee russia. we need to talk to him about iran, our nuclear weapons stand off. but you also have to exact a price when putin crosses the line, like hacking our election. i think it's been entirely misguided and i hope he listened to rex tillerson and mattis. i think they have a much better sense in how to deal with the russians. >> the president has not criticized vladimir putin but he has been going after the top republican in the senate, mitch mcconnell. we'll tell you what the president said with many senators rallying around mcconnell. for zero down. plus, get 4 unlimited lines for 40 bucks a month,
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and still haveealthy, gum disease. use gum® brand for healthy gums. soft-picks®. proxabrush® cleaners. flossers and dental floss. gum® brand. for the third straight day the president went after senator mitch mcconnell. still this evening president trump took another dig at mcconnell's difficulty in passing health care reform. >> mr. president, a number of
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senators have rushed to defense of senator mcconnell. what do you make of that? >> i don't make anything of it. we should have had health care approved. he should have known that he had a couple of votes that turned on him and that should have been very easy to handle. whether it's through the fact that you take away a committee chairmanship or do whatever you have to do, but what happened in my opinion last week is unacceptable. >> the president's critics, don't know what these accomplish. mcconnell's support is important. joining me is rick santorum, anna core rum. does it make sense for the president to go after mcconnell to accomplish more of his legislative agenda? >> for once, i think the president has the right target. do i agree with what he's doing stylistically here? no. but mitch mcconnell is an obstacle towards enacting trump's agenda.
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for a long time the trump's of the world really demonized paul ryan and put a lot of blame in the wrong place. now we're seeing paul ryan has passed the bill. paul ryan has tried to go to the house and work on health care and it dies in the senate. that's not going to work. for a long time mitch mcconnell has gotten away with not really saying anything, letting other people take the blame. now donald trump sees, yes, is donald trump to blame for not passing obamacare repeal? yes. but can he pit mitch mcconnell against him? because mitch mcconnell is absolutely the establishment, everything that the trump campaign worked to disrupt in this election? in this spat donald trump has the right target. as long as he cowers away, he'll win. >> do you agree? >> not really. what donald trump is doing is donald trump is prodding obviously mitch mcconnell but i
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think he's prodding the entire senate. he is absolutely committed to getting this health care bill done and he feels let down, not by just mitch mcconnell, i would say, but paul ryan. he trusted both leaders to put together a bill. he didn't put together a bill because as he said, you guys have been running on this for seven years. give me a bill i can sign. this is paul ryan's bill that mitch mcconnell got handed. he tweaked it and tried to make it work. he told the president up until the last day that he thought he had a plan b. it didn't work. the president feels let down and he's going to continue to prod them, as he should, to get back to the table and get a bill passed. i can tell you they're working on it at the white house. there's an effort going on right now which i'm very encouraged by. he wants to make sure that mitch mcconnell gets back to that issue and that they get it passed. >> matt, the president ran on repealing and replacing.
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he could have come up with a plan. >> yeah, you would expect the president to have a plan instead of outsourcing it to somebody else. i'm going to defend mitch mcconnell here tonight. number one, president trump has one substantial agenda, part of his legacy right now. there's one big thing donald trump has done, only one big thing, that is neil gorsuch. guess what, mitch mcconnell had more to do with that happening than donald trump did. so let's talk about this health care bill. when mitch mcconnell was having a hard time getting 51 votes to pass health care, how was donald trump helping him? let's go back. it feels like it was an ee certain knit at this ago. here's what donald trump was doing. he was attacking his own republican attorney general, jeff sessions, a former u.s. attorney general. he had hired scaramucci.
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he was attacking the boy scouts of america that they had to apologize for and donald trump was attacking people like lisa murkowski, a republican senator. threatening her. i think donald trump is the one we need to blame for this health care bill not passing. >> every republican has an interest in advancing these legislative goals, if even more so, donald trump wages comments to actually provide cover for them to get this kind of stuff done. listen, there's a lot of people in washington who are all talk and no action. mitch mcconnell forfar too long has been no talk, no action at every opportunity he lowers the bar for expectations. you look at republicans taking back the majority. mitch mcconnell said the bar for victory would be returning to regular order and no government shutdown. that is the bare minimum. meanwhile, huge opportunities like being able to tie spinneding reform to the debt
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ceiling increase. he's failed every single time. donald trump has all of the reason in the world to expect more from mitch mcconnell. he does not return fire. he only cares about staying in power himself. he goes back to his other republican senators and says, respond for me. i'll support you, dear leader. he goes to dean heller, will you say the same? they do. donald trump needs to keep pressuring him. will donald trump be able to make mitch mcconnell resign as majority leader? no, probably not. mitch mcconnell needs to provide some explanation of why nothing is getting done. >> senator santorum, since you served in the senate, does this have ramifications? not just obamacare but on other legislative things in the future, resentments, concern by other senators that the president may not have their back. does it have a ripple effect in any way? >> i don't think any senator having watched donald trump for
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six or seven months expects donald trump to have their back if they cross it. i think that's pretty evident that it's an every man for himself when it comes to the president in disagreements with him. look, i think the most important thing the president is doing here is trying to refocus. mitch mcconnell's the one that got up and said, we're moving on to tax reform. i can tell you, the president doesn't want to move on to tax reform. he wants to get this bill done. i understand there may be all of these other things going on, but this president understands how important this is. i know members of congress, i'm hearing from them, who are hearing it loudly and clearly that they're not happy they didn't get this done. the president's hearing this feedback. >> mitch mcconnell has done a masterful job of cultivating the image that he's a technician.
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i think donald trump has every reason in the world to say send me a bill. >> we have to take a break. when we come back, donald trump doubling down on his rhetoric on north korea. the latest from the nuclear armed country next. dj: man everything does sound better in french. dj: gimme some, chef. ♪ [siri ding] what are all these different topped & loaded meals? it's an american favorite on top of an american favorite, alice. it's mozzarella sticks on top of grilled chicken. it's cajun shrimp on top of steak. it's labor day weekend on top of the fourth of july. hotdogs. it's abe lincoln on top of george washington. yonder. it's rodeos on top of rollercoasters. it's favorites on favorites, alice. it's very moving. get your favorites on top of your favorites. only at applebee's. this inot this john smith.smith. get your favorites on top of your favorites.
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yeah, even there. see how much you can save when you choose by the gig or unlimited. call, or go to xfinity mobile. it's a new kind of network designed to save you money. . taken more than 50 questions. the president is talking about north korea and possible military action against kim jong- jong-un. we begin this hour with north korea. the president starting the day with a tweet saying the military is, in his words, locked and loaded. today in two separate press events he was asked to elaborate. >> mr. president, what do you mean by military solutions or locked and loaded in relation to north korea? >> we are looking at that very carefully and i hope that they are going to fully understand the