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tv   Wolf  CNN  August 18, 2017 10:00am-11:00am PDT

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the next few days and weeks before thinking about tax reform. charlottesville. >> reach out to americans. breaking news, steve bannon, white house chief strategist out. "new york times" saying trumped pushed him out. bannon aides saying he resigned. our coverage continues top of the hour with wolf blitzer. don't go anywhere. hello. i'm wolf blitzer. where you've watching from around the world, thanks very much for joining us. we begin with breaking news right here no washington, d.c. president trump's chief strategist steve bannon is now out. that according to two administration officials. the president and the white house, they were debating how and when to dismiss steve bannon but now we have confirmed. he will no longer be the chief strategist over at the white house. steve bannon, 63 years old, is out. let's go to our senior white house correspondent jim acosta.
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covering the president up in bedminster, new jersey. this is major news. a very significant development and it comes on the heels of several other senior officials leaving. >> reporter: that's right, wolf. and i'm hearing from one white house official in the last couple of minutes here that it is believed that steve bannon resigned, but it is also believed that he may have been given the option to resign. so sounds like, wolf from a source i'm talking to in the last couple of minutes here that he was essentially forced out of this position, as chief strategist at the white house, and one of the big reasons why and we've heard it time and again, from people close to the president. the president does not like other people inside the white house stealing the limelight. you saw this happen time and again. steve bannon appearing on the cover of "time" magazine. steve bannon lampooned on "saturday night live." times this just got under the
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president's skin and as you know, over the last week, steve bannon has been doing pretty high-profile interviews. we were just hearing from sources yesterday that bannon said he was doing this to divert attention from the president's very disastrous press conference he had on tuesday over at trump tower. that apparently rankled people inside the white house as well and i heard from sources earlier in the week, wolf, that new chief of staff john kelly simply felt that steve bannon was not a team player. that he was out there sort of promoting himself, his own agenda and not the president's agenda first. that wasn't going to work in the new power structure, the way it cass explained to me by white house sources under john kelly. it's no surprise here that steve bannon is out. one concern they to have inside the white house, we've heard this from several sources over a long period of time.
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it's been speculated before steve bannon would be pushed out. a concern inside the white house that now that bannon is on the outside, what is going to be the reaction? as you know, wolf, steve bannon was one of the top executives at breitbart online. he was head of breitbart online for some time. that is a very conservative, hard right outlet, and the concern is that steve bannon will direct pot shots at this white house from the outside. that is a concern that the president and his team have had for some time, but nevilneverthe feeling was inside the white house talking to several sources, wolf, that steve bannon just had to go. this was becoming an untenable situation, because he was just creating too much controversy for himself, and so the president and his team apparently feeling it was appropriate for him to go. i'm told by a white house source in just the last couple minutes that the belief is that he resigned. that he stepped aside.
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but there's also a belief inside the white house that he was given that option. so essentially pushed out, wolf. >> it's a very, very significant development, and it comes following several other very, very high-level resignations, which raises the question right now, and i wonder if you could answer it, why now? and what's going to be the impact of all of these significant staff shake-ups? >> reporter: well, we know when john kelly came in he was implementing changes that were not going to sit well with some inside the white house. restricting access to the president. not only in person. remember, before john kelly came onboard, reince priebus was chief of staff, and people from the inside of the white house to the outside of the white house, the president's friends and so on, had these sort of walk-in privileges. he could essentially see the president whenever they felt like it and give any opinion they felt like giving. my understanding is from talking to top officials at the white house, john kelly has been
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getting on the phone and sitting in on phone calls with people trying to talk to the president on the phone. so john kelly is certainly trying to clamp down on the advice, the input, the information that this president is receiving as a way to sort of streamline the process over there, and also to try to prevent some of the problems that obviously you see play out with the president where he puts out tweets that are factually incorrect, goes out and makes statements like the other day at the press conference at trump tower igniting a firestorm of controversy. john kelly is trying to get a handle on that. as you know, the chief of staff can only do so much, only works for the president and can't kwlool he does or says 24 hour as day. >> jim acosta, stand by. and kaitlan collins is working the story. more inside information, kaitlan. what are you hearing? >> reporter: yes. obviously, we know that steve bannon is out. we do not know if he resigned or if he was asked to resign by the president today, wolf, but we
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know that the president was furious this week after steve bannon did this interview with a reporter for "the american prospect." as you know, wolf, in that interview, steve bannon contradicted the president on north korea saying that there is no military solution for it, and he also asserted he could make personnel changes at the state department. was badmouthing colleagues at the white house, and we know that the president was furious about that interview. that's been a problem that's come up before with steve bannon. the president does not like when steve bannon gets credit for his success. back in april he told a "new york post" columnist he was his own best strategist and we heard from the president he would not guarantee steve bannon's job security. this week at trump tower in a press conference with reporters said steve bannon was a good person but we'll see about steve bannon's future. i guess we're seeing about his future right now today. >> we are. steve bannon out as chief strategist at the white house.
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get analysis. joining us, reporter and editor at large chris cillizza, and david chalian and editor juana summers and john king. john, shouldn't come as a surprise after this interview in the "american prospect" when he said this about the president of united states, referring to the north korean strategy. he said, in kim, kim jong-un, leader of north korea, hump has met his match. the risk of two arrogant fools bluntedering into a nuclear exchange is more serious than at any time since october 1962. two arrogant fools. >> you shouldn't say that about your boss. especially when your boss is the president of the united states. stunning. the entire interview is stunning. talking about two arrogant fools saying his boss of the united states, the president is a fool. also pay no attention to the president when the president says locked and loaded. fire and fury. using muscular rhetoric. this is no millary option. we know.
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unless you're prepare ford millions of people to die in seoul and went on the record. insists he didn't think it was an interview. sorry. you know, criticizing the president. steve bannon has been a controversy inside the trump white house from day one and on this day he is gone. the defining question is, steve bannon is not the source of the chaos at the white house. may be part of it. the source of the kayous at t t at-of-chaos is the president. i know people they reached out to chief of staff said no. john kelly has the job. several people reached out for communications and strategy who said no. now what happens? it's the president who sends mixed signals and conflicting signals or policy. the president lashes out on twitter with anger and outbursts and the president dug the ditch much deeper this past week with moral and character failer. steve bannon could go.
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could create a backlash, those part of the trump base and support. the biggest question, if the president decided the time has come to do this, what lesson does he learn from it, if any? >> david chalian. do away with the word resignation. perhaps offered a piece of paper. like saying, doing this to spend more time with his family. he's out because the president wanted him out and the president's chief of staff thought this was part of the process of bringing order to this west wing and more discipline to this west wing. john is exactly right. exactly what we discussed when reince priebus was fired, who also said he resigned. when shown the door, the same thing. all of a sudden something dramatically changes? no. the man who sits in the oval office is the same. getting rid of somebody who is affiliated ant associated with white ideology, run as website folks from the alt right find comfort and -- >> used to. although may be going back. we'll see.
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yes, used to do that. it's probably a good thing for donald trump to do politically this week. though not sufficient. he still has his comments out there from tuesday that are lingering out there where he created the more's equivalency between the counterprotestors and the kkk and neo-nazis. donald trump still has to address that at some point, just getting rid of bannon isn't enough. you will see many republican, established republicans, republicans on the hill, who will find this, find some comfort in this move that there is a serious effort to bring a more streamlined disciplined operation to the staff around the president, even though nobody in their right mind could actually say they expect the president's be 's behavior to c >> john kelly, chief of staff, repeatedly asked about, does he have confidence in steve bannon and re refused to say he did. clearly, juana, emerges as a win for john kelly? >> absolutely it is. and to david and john's point,
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resist the impulse coming out of the situation with another senior white house official departing, fired some sort of a reset or pivot. only time will tell. as john notes, if the president's behavior doesn't change, if he does not rein in the impulses to go out and say things factually untrue say divisive things, comparing to the kkk and neo-nazis, we'll be in the same place and i don't care who is in the president's circle. >> a lot of democrats, repeatedly, in recent weeks and months called on the president to fire steve bannon. they'll step back and say this is good news. >> i doubt it. but you're right. you're right, they have -- >> democratic senators, democratic pldemocrat members of the house repeatedly says, "fire steve bannon." >> yes. he's been -- look when steve bannon was hired in the trump campaign, this was not someone where you got -- ten good things
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and zero bad things about him. this was a decision by donald trump that this is a guy who, donald trump believed the baggage he would bring would be slightly outweighed by the advantages he could bring. never someone we thought, i'll speak for myself, was going to last four years in the trump administration. that said, donald trump has sort of mainlined bannonism. this week alone is a good example of it. so, yes, steve bannon is gone, but look from -- steve bannon's influence and the way in in donald trump thinks, the way in which he presents almost every argument, steve bannon's, the mainstream media is corrupt and terrible. the alt right stuff. the white supremacist stuff. there is a lot of steve bannon's thinking left in this white house, and to john's point. it's left in the figure of the one guy who really matters in this white house who is the
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president of the united states. >> and i would say he hasn't acted on a lot of it yet. the fascinating part. definitely the tone, tenor of the remarks in charlottesville were the moral equivalence, the criticism of the alt left, no doubt that is echoing steve bannon and clear. forget steve bannon a second. clearly what donald trump thinks. if you watched him at that news conference, came back to it repeatedly. that is his thinking, perhaps supported and echoed by steve bannon. reince priebus, the republican guy. gone. steve bannon, pitchfork tea party america first, not interventionist in the world. if you're watching the president's having a meeting now. what about more u.s. troops in afghanistan? national security advisors say is necessary. the president's instinct. oh, please. why do i want to extent america's longest war? put my fingerprints on that? steve bannon was, get out. not in the room when those conversations are having. steve bannon wanted the president, you saw it in a remarkable conversation in the
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"american prospect" get tougher with china. slap sanctions on china. the president hasn't done it seven months in. that spurn no longer in the room. so what happens going forward from an ideological policy perspective? whether about to go through the debt ceiling conversation. domestic issues, too, that divide and fracture the republican party. we know steve bannon's piece of thats in the white house. what we don't know is general kelly's not a political person. who does he bring in? who can he bring in? who will come in? to deal with the political, whether the policy strategy, how to try to get obamacare again. how to get through tax reform? how to come back to the debt ceiling and spending issues and guess what? 2018 is a mid-term election year. president usually suffers then. who runs the political strategy? we don't know. >> jim acosta, official word from the white house. what are you picking up there, jim? >> reporter: a couple of things, wolf. one is the white house has now issued a statement from press secretary sarah huckabee sanders that says, white house chief of
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staff john kelly and steve bannon mutually agreed today would be stephen last date. we are grateful for his service and wish him the best. wolf, i'm told by a separate white house official just in the last several minutes that steve bannon was given the, essentially supposed to be fired two weeks ago. but was given the option to resign. obviously, you're getting into semantics here what's, resigning, what's forced out, what's fired? make no mistake. steve bannon was fired by the white house. he was fired. he was given the boot. when you were told -- that you have the option to resign, you are being fired. so just to sort of break our way through the smemantics game, that's essentially what has taken place and something in the works for some time. a white house official told me some was supposed to happen two weeks ago, and so this is obviously been on, not just the president's mind, but on john kelly's mind, as soon as he came
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onboard as white house chief of staff from talking to sources, wolf. he just simply was not comfortable with steve bannon staying around. mainly because, as we said earlier, this is really been a problem that people have had inside this white house with steve bannon for some time. that he just simply pursued his own agenda in addition to pushing for the president's agenda and in the john kelly power structure, that is just simply not going to work. and from what we also are hearing, there were problems inside the white house this last week over these interviews that steve bannon was giving to various outlets where he was essentially trying to speak on behalf of the white house, and that is just not going to work in this. john kelly power structure, that's put in place there, it won't work. just a recap, wolf. from what we're hearing from white house sources, just to break through the white house bureaucratics semantics here, steve bannon was fired, wolf. >> and that statement, from sarah huckabee sundayers one more time, jim.
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read that. >> reporter: right. the statement is pretty direct. pretty to the point here it says, white house chief of staff john kelly and steve bannon mutually agreed today would be stephen last day. we are grateful for his service and wish him the best. so sounds as if this really came to a head today. although -- i got to tell you, wolf, there are some conflicting stories out there. not being reported by cnn but by others, that steve bannon resigned. all indications are to us, wolf, that he was forced out. he was forced to resign, he was essentially fired. >> interesting. david chalian, i've seen, and john king and i over the years, a lot of statements from white house officials about somebody leaving the white house. the notion that the chief of staff john kelly and steve bannon have mutually agreed today would be steve's last day, john, correct me if i'm wrong. i don't remember a statement
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from a white house about someone leaving like that. >> they ask, chief of staff, who's your boss next to the president? it says, i think today should be your last day. either you mutually agree or you're fired. >> don't come back. just lost your parking spot. taking away passes. he's a human being. we're making -- we should give him some grace here. this is hard for anybody to go through, but the way politicians and organizations try to spin this, something like this happens, we've decided we're done here and you can agree or either way, you're done. >> there are two critical points to consider. what jim acosta was just reporting, undoubtedly true and important to look at a john kelly-run operation. true. but remember here, this is a key reminder about a critical component of president trump, which is there's only room for one star of this show. so when you are out there in interviews saying, i'm moving people at state this way, getting rid -- you're acting
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like you're the one controlling the strings of the government? that's not going -- that won't fly with most presidents. certainly not this president. that has been made clear again and again. the other point that john was getting at earlier i think this is the -- we now have to wait and see. for the first seven months of this administration, wolf, i have been hard-pressed, saying this on the air. think through the seven months. what has president trump done? what policy path has he taken where he was clearly trying, 51% majority of the country, come follow me. i am going for a majority position here, and going to lead the way for a majority of americans to follow. you'll be hard pressed to find a moment in the first seven months. because it was a political strategy bannon was the leader of the strategy that the president bought into, to fortify that base. keep going for that 38, 40% that is with you, and keep making them happy. keep doing that. you don't need to worry about the rest. that's just a radically
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different approach than we've seen most presidents. john you say, who's coming in to help kelly, not a political guy sort of make a strategy and execute now. to me that's a key question. are we now going to see, since the leader of this play for the base strategy is out, are we going to see a president trump decide to make a play for 50%? >> what you have, to john and dave's point, a lot of people who we don't really know what they believe around the president. right? we have jared kushner and ivanka trump. we have general kelly. what else? and we know -- donald trump has been a democrat, a republican now, independent. not clear he has a firm set of views. i was listening to the conversation on john's show just before we came on and i think the mike pence circle is important to look at. look, mike pence has a set of beliefs and now has political people around him in a way that donald trump -- just doesn't.
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>> juana, show viewers a picture. a picture that we just came up with. you see the president over there with his former senior advisors. take a look at that. juana, you see reince priebus, no longer there. you see steve bannon, in the middle there. sean spicer. is that michael flynn? over there? all sitting in the oval office. the only two remaining, the president and vice president in this picture right there. this picture was taken january 28th in the oval office. >> really, really stark image to think about. how replaceable some of these people are for the president. i've been thinking about a lot, a president we've seen his focus and ideology about winning. what he campaigned on. clear from listening to him talk he is obsessed with winning. obsessed with the fact he lost the popular vote though won the election and has the presidency. still out there campaigning. that is clearly a bannon-driven ideology, focus on that base,
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focus on keeping the people behind him who gave him the thing he wanted. the thing e he wants again in 2020. because he's having a campaign rally next week. interesting to see if that continues to happen or if he moves into a model we've seen more traditionally from presidents. >> this foet etaken january 28th. the president on the phone with, president putin of russia, and he had his top aides there surrounding him during that conversation. >> every administration goes through resets. every administration brings people in, loyalists from the campaign, governing, people from their states. always a turnover. to show that picture and see how much and how high, at what high level the nabil security adviser, chief of staff, chief strategist. press secretary, essentially your top communications person, in the administration. all gone in just seven months. they're all gone now in just seven months. chris makes a great point. what happens to mike pence? an opportunity for mike pence, although the president often speaks quite critically of his
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vice president in private conversations saying he was supposed to be my washington guy. he was supposed to go to capitol hill and get me the votes for obamacare and the like. no question there's an opportunity for the vice president. also the vice president will get a lot more phone calls, because he's the only person left in the white house who comes out of the main stream republican party and conservative movement. the fear among conservative the. whether breitbart conservatives or speaker ryan. especially the more conservative house freedom caucus members. . gary cohen, ivanka from new york. moderate republicans eight best. some of the people on the record supporting bush, kennedy, mccain. legalizing undocumented. part of immigration reform. they are certainly not southern conservatives, freedom caucus conservatives. balanced budget conservatives. are they involved in tax reform? steve mnuchin and the treasury secretary, views as suspect because he come trs new york. remember, candidate trump. railed on hillary clinton as in
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the pocket of wall street. as in the pocket of the rich interest on wall street. who is around this president? juana, dead right. not transactional or ideological. can you swayed by people who tell him, here's how to get a win. what happens now? >> we'll continue breaking news coverage. a lot to assess including winners and losers inside the white house, outside the white house. our special coverage continues right after this quick break. whoooo.
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...on the hotel you want. trust this bird's words. tripadvisor. the latest reviews. the lowest prices. these make cleaning between myi love gum brand for healthy gums. soft picks, proxabrush cleaners, flossers. gum brand. the breaking news we're following, steve bannon, the president's chief strategist in the white house has now left. he is no longer the chief strategist. bringing in robert cutner coeder of it "american prospect" the journalist who interviewed steve bannon earlier in the week and caused a huge, huge stir. bob, thanks so much for joining us. let me get your immediate reaction to the word that steve bannon, the man you spoke to on the phone, is now officially out.
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>> well, i'm -- i'm stunned. i think as your panel indicated he was pretty much on the ropes before this happened. so maybe this was the last straw. but you know, the greeks used to say that character is fate. he's been describing a recklessness, free lancing that put him on thin ice and i think it was only a matter of time and the recklessness fully on display in the conversation with me. not just in terms of what he said about his colleagues, about his boss, about himself, but in terms of just neglecting to even say whether we were on our off the record, and this is not a rookie. i mean, it was a rookie error by one of the savviest immediate yaf operators in the country, in the world. >> what was the most reckless thing you recall steve bannon saying about the president of the united states in that interview you had? >> i think directly contradicting the president's view on korea.
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that was pretty reckless. i think going into great detail about the in-fighting, who he was going to get fired, by name. and her job is probably the safest as anybody in america right now, and the fact he had problems with gary cohen. i mean, it was like he was taking on everybody all at once. and i think the other thing that was reckless was, his assumption that because he and i happen to have a converge and critique of america -- [ inaudible ] i would look the other way being the editor of a liberal magazine. somehow look the other way at all of the vooen oh phobia, racism, he's been the architect of and could somehow b.s. his way into saying all of those people are a bunch of clowns. the things he said about his own
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allies were pretty reckless, and i think the -- look, the assumption that he's going to build a grand left-right coalition, trade policy on china and there have been liberal critics for very good reason. i'm one of them, of the fact we're letting china take us to the cleaners with american industry, but the assumption you would build a grand left-right alliance that would change this policy. think about it. you could just imagine steve bannon going in to a meeting of u.s. trade, or the defense department or national security council saying, all right. here's the game plan we're going to change our whole china policies. by the way, i have bob cutner on my side. that doesn't enhance his credibility in the trump white house. >> and on north korea, the interview occurred after the president said fire and fury, after the president said the u.s. military was locked and loaded, and in the interview with you he said that, this is steve bannon.
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there's no military solution to north korea's nuclear threats. forget it, until somebody 1068s the part of the equation that shows me that 10 million people in seoul don't die in the first 30 minutes from conventional weapons, i don't know what you're talking about. there's no military solution here. they got us. that is in total contradiction to what the president was suggesting in the days leading up to that interview. that must have so startlealed you to hear that from steve bannon. >> not only did it startle me, also a lot saner, as policy, than the president's own view. so one -- woman, one question that i have, that i think was implicit in the discussion before you brought me in, trump is famous for having back channel conversations with anybody and everybody in his circle. so even if trump is forced out as the official political strategist, is trump going to continue to have back-channel conversations with him? because bannon is the architect
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of the strategy of getting into bed with the far right. ever since the initial events in charlottesville, trump has been doubling down on that. i assume whip bannon's encouragement or if not explicit encouragement, bannon's fir fingerprints on that. what does he do now with bannon out and strategy becoming more and more reckless about spoking up the neo-nazi right? what's that going to be like without ban tln to hold his hand and walk him through it or is bannon still going to be there at the end of the phone? >> several people have been fired or resigned from this president either during the campaign or since he became president, and the president still maintains you're absolutely right, that back-channel communication. you suspect that the communication with steve bannon will continue even though he is out officially from the would us? >> well, i think it makes the white house itself more chaotic, but it also means that trump is
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even more reliant on all of these back channels, and i think the man of the hour is general kelly. i mean what is he going to do? if he had not succeeded enough in forcing him out it would have shown ease impotent. we know he has some power but does it he enough given all of the givings of this president? >> i want to just play for you, bob, what the president of the united states in that off the rails news conference he had tuesday, in the lobby of trump tower. asked about steve bannon's future, and his words were pretty precise. listen to this. >> look, i like mr. bannon. he's a friend of mine, but mr. bannon came on very late. you know that. i went through 17 senators, governors, and i won all the primaries. mr. bannon came on very much later than that, and i like him. he's a good man. he is not a racist. i can tell you that. he's a good person. he actually gets a very unfair
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press in that regard, but we'll see what happens with mr. bannon, but he's a good person and i think the press treats him, frankly, very unfairly. >> we'll see what happens, and our jim acosta, senior white house correspondent, bob, is reporting that bannon was supposed to be fired two weeks ago. that according to a white house official, but the firing was put off. go ahead and react. i wonder what you thought when you heard the president say, we'll see what happens to steve bannon, because that's, to me that was a sign he's gone. >> yeah. and even more vivid in hindsight. that's what you say when you are about to give somebody a gold watch. >> bob cutner, thanks so much for joining us. he's the coed ter of "the american prospect." did that very, very important interview the other day with steve bannon and that interview by all accounts, bob, i'm sure had a role to play in the decision today that steve bannon is no longer the senior
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strategic adviser to the president of the united states. thanks for joining us. >> wolf, thank you. bye-bye. when the president said, john king that we'll see what happens, we knew what was going to happen. >> we did. quickly i want to say, reading bob cutler, 20-plus years. one of the more thoughtful people, even if a conservative on especially economic policy. he's in the middle, talking to the alt right steve bannon. irony, washington is a very different place in this department. to the point that that sound you just played from the president. this is part of the issue and part of the question that goes well beyond steve bannon. asked about steve bannon and essentially the president says, i did this. he came on late in the campaign. it's always about the campaign. he's been president of the united states for seven months. he has zero significant legislative achievements. none of his signature campaign promises ma ed it to the finish line and you ask him a question about something going on in his white house and it's always back to the campaign. this is the fundamental problem of the trump presidency. no hoop the chief of staff, or
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chief strategist. not to understate that, actually a larger than life figure, steve bannon shown the door, but the new chief of staff, maybe he picks a new strategist? works with the president on that. it's not about the paren knell. personnel but the president. every aspect goes back to the campaign. the campaign is over. he's president. obamacare is still the law of the land. an event the other day evolved into what you just played, supposed to be infrastructure, that plan doesn't even exist. i know trump voter are incredibly loyal to this president. at some point, they're good, common sense people, can do the plath and ask, what happened to, i'm going to run it like a business? what happened to washington is stupid and i know how to fix it? where is that? to bob's other point about the outside circle of advisors raises a key question. the president does still talk to corey lewendowski and others. it's a fair question.
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>> and he's presumably, i don't know if he will, but he, one of the lead ares of breitbart, which is reacting. i want to show you, juana, show viewers a tweet that just came out by one of the senior editors, one of the top writers at breitbart, joel polec. you see that #war. #war. that is a -- a pretty strong statement. >> make as point. doesn't it? one of the biggest questions i have, wondered when, not if, but when steve bannon would be out of the white house, how the conservative media will respond. particularly breitbart, a place promotion's of this president. what will they do? will they start to turn on trump? the answer by the tweet, undoubtedly yes. not having a soft landing. steve bannon is one of their own. been rejected and they now feel isolated. this is a president they boosted, and now being tossed out of the inner circle and
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don't seem to like it. >> this is almost a danger of bringing in bannon. right? that it would end in this way, almost inevitably, but that the outcome there when you do that with someone with ties that he has to breitbart, and to the broader, the movement there, it's that this happens. that they turn on you. one thing i'll say and keep going back to it and john's main point is, donald trump is the only adviser that matters in the white house. if you've learned anything, i guess if i've learned anything in the theirs months of this presidency it's that. that john kelly has said privately semipublicly, i'm focusing on the "of staff" part. try to get the staff in order. that departure, anthony scaramucci sort of departed himself and steve babin. bannon. the central guy, the guy who's not going to disappear from any pictures in the oval office, is donald trump.
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theoretically, couldn't pence have influence on him? sure. though mike pence has been his most ard enent, steady defender even as it related to charlottesville and his comments there and lack thereof. so what's difficult is we debate all of this stuff i don't think it's beneficial. having breitbart on the -- bannon on the outside at the same time. you know, there's a lot of bannon's views in donald trump. whether they were there, whether -- regardless, a lot of steve bannon is in the one guy we know who matters in the white house. >> and what was significant was as we speak right now the president's campaign with a couple dozen of his top advisors, cabinet officials, national security officials, and when the white house earlier today released the list of who was participating to discuss the future of afghanistan and other critically important issues, steve bannon's name was not there. >> no. a principles meeting in the national security council and you recall, a controversy at the
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very beginning of the administration. and once on that and removed from it. had this meeting taken place at the beginning of the administration, steve bannon would have been there. charlie spearing, his tweet along the lines of what you showed. kids, that's the day when ban's the barbarian was born. and -- whether or not that, that power that bannon might have on the outside is going to be aimed at donald trump or to john king's point earlier, more aimed at jared kushner, ivanka, gary cone, dina powell, the globalists in -- in the mind of bannon. you know, i don't know -- >> john kelly -- >> i don't know it will be directly aimed at the president. if you're around the president and considered anathema to the bannon world view, i would watch out. you're going to have something coming. >> john, let's not forget the week this is all taking place. what happened this week. an amazing historic week. the reaction of a president to the disaster to the tragedy that occurred in charlottesville, virginia.
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and call palestini culminating with a bunch of republicans strongly condemning the president of the united states. mitt romney only today issues a statement whether he intended to or not, what he, the president, communicated caused racists to rejoice, minorities to weep and the vast heart of america to mourn. >> you make a key point. the president of the united states. that's the recurring theme here. you can change personnel and maybe this is necessary. given moderate republicans view steve bannon toxic from day one and don't like to go out and criticize the president, getting asked what he said tuesday. moral i equivalency of the counterdemonstrators, neo-nazis a positive change by the president. but it is the president. it's issed pret. it is the president. breitbart at war. breitbart was on his side the first seven months. right? if you furtherer fracture the conservative republican,
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whatever you quell it, covers, does that help or hurt you? i argue hurts. help our hurt when conservatives cam back not voting to raise the debt ceiling unless we get authentic spending cuts, recurring draum pla, now a republican president. so administration that has zero significant legislative achievements before you in a more messy environment even on its side. the part it has been able to keep together. the trump base solid. other poll numbers are terrible, but the trump base relatively solid from day one. does this impact that? it's a question mark, but if it does, if further hurts the president, who is deeply and profoundly wounded right now. >> one quick thing. so much news every week. hard to remember. attacking mitch mcconnell. repeatedly. senate majority leader last week. tweeting out his support for kelly ward. a primary challenger to a sitting incumbent. attacking lindsey graham. another sitting incumbent.
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this is not the way -- force legislative conference, and don't know the way forward and certainly don't know legislatively what it is forward. easy to tay, on to tax reform, well, what and how? presidenting much more legislatively verse than donald trump failed at that, and also the fact, i forget to mention, lisa murkowski, ben sasse, susan collins. there are a lot of senators who donald trump has insulted in literally the last three weeks much less since he's been in office that he's going to theoretically need if he's going to do anything and then they're not going to be for him, either -- whether steve bannon works there or doesn't. >> and to spite him. not for him. >> and anthony scaramucci, how long did he last? not long. >> ten full days. >> spicer gone. now steve bannon, gone from the white house. the exodus continues.
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call, visit, or go to steve bannon, chief strategist at the white house is out. fired. i want to bring in our chief political analyst gloria borger joining us on the phone. gloria, you're doing reporting. what are you hearing? >> reporter: you know, wolf, as we know and have reported, this question about bannon's longevity has been around since reince priebus left, and at that time the president was considering both getting rid of reince priebus as well as steve bannon. but at that time he was convinced by conservatives like congressman mark meadows that, in fact it would not be well-received by conservatives if they let bannon go, and so
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the president decided, well, okay. we're going to keep him. at this point, however, the insubordination, a good way to describe it, of bannon. particularly in that interview with the "american prospect," in which, said that there's no options for us in north korea, after the president had come out with fire and fury, said we're going to have a trade war with china. i think that probably didn't sit well with general kelly, the chief of staff. >> it's very significant. in that interview, by the way, "the american prospect" he did undermine the president's strategy as far as north korea, but he did not say that there were two arrogant fools, as i incorrectly pointed out earlier. that was robert cutner's assessment. he said some other things that were not necessarily all that flattering but that was the risk of two arrogant fools blundering
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into a nuclear exchange. that was something that cutner's wrote. i just wanted to clarify and correct that. so where do you see this going, gloria? >> reporter: well, look, you know, i think this clearly bears the mark of general kelly, who wants to get this white house under control. i mean, you had steve bannon out there, publicly saying that there are no options on north korea. it's very difficult to work inside a white house when you've got the entire national security chain trying to figure out what the options are on north korea, and i think what kelly is trying to do is form a white house staff that can actually work with each other instead of against each other, and what he's trying to do is get rid of the factions inside the white house, and that's a really tough job as everybody sitting on the panel knows, that there has been nothing but fighting inside that
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white house, and so now, the challenge is to make it more cohesive around the president, rather than to have people have warring factions, and i think that he still probably has a way to go awwith that, but i think the end, the president was probably convinced that he had to do this. >> yeah. gloria, stand by. i want to bring in your senior media and politics reporter, dylan byers, who is joining us right now. dylan, this is going to shake things up. >> reporter: yeah, it is going to shake things up. that's absolutely right. it's going to shake things up not just inside the white house but outside of the white house as well. look, steve bannon is somebody who has always sort of seen his life and his mission in terms of advancing his version of populism and nationalism. he's always seen that in really grandiose toer grandiose terms. one that i think he's always said is, we're just getting started. for him, he's going to continue that effort. you saw an editor at breitbart
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tweeting out, war. the risk here for president trump is that far-right media starts to go after the president, and of course as we all know, this president with the approval rating he has certainly needs all the help he can get, certainly cannot afford to lose members of his base, and so it's -- look, it's a risky proposition getting rid of bannon but as gloria said, it bears all the marks of general kelly. it's absolutely right that you could not have a white house in which you had steve bannon going out giving this on the record interview to "the american prospe prospect" in which he was insubordinate so now we just have to see how that shakes out. the other thing i would caution, a lot of people look at steve bannon going out and say, is president trump going to tone down some of the rhetoric, be a little less alt-right, be a little less trying to appeal to the base all the time. i don't see that as the president himself said in his recent remarks, bannon came on late. the remarks you get from the president, those are coming from the president himself, so i
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wouldn't read bannon's departure as a change in the sort of tone and rhetoric we're seeing this from this president. >> fair point. i want to bring in former republican congressman jack kingston of georgia joining us on the phone right now. he served as a senior adviser to the trump campaign. how's this going to play out, do you think, jack? >> i think this is part of the john kelly footprint of getting things stable, getting things more disciplined in the white house. i have had a conversation with the white house since this was announced, and what they underscored is that this is operational and not philosophical. that is to say that trump and bannon believe in the same thing. they are populists at heart, but steve bannon is the kind of soldier in the cause who does freelance things, and even this week had four unauthorized interviews, which were somewhat off message and from mr. kelly's standpoint, that's exactly the
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type of thing that he came to his position to clean up and stop, and i think if he can send that kind of a signal in the white house that, yes, there is a new order of business around here, i think it's going to have a really big ripple effect in a positive way that, gosh, this is shocking, and i can tell you, i was on the campaign with steve bannon, he was a heck of a field marshall, if you will, but sometimes the greatest soldiers aren't necessarily the greatest managers of the peace. or the pride that you'd want. but the white house's view, this is part of what they believe they have to do to get the discipline that they need to move forward, and that's, as you all know, has been one of the biggest criticisms of this white house. >> yeah, no, what he said about north korea was not simply off message, it was very much against what the president was suggesting about north korea. jack kingston, i want you to stand by as well. let's go back to john king and the panel here. by all accounts, steve bannon,
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very intelligent, very experienced, not shy. he's going to have a role to play now that he's on the outside, but he will still be a significant player. he's not just going to go off and retire and play golf. >> oh, without a doubt, as dylan just noted, he has his own view of nationalism and populism. it has an audience in the alt-right. some of his ideas are more democratic than republican, so they're hard to put in ideological boxes as well. what is the next chapter for steve bannon, it is a very important question and a big question and what he chooses to do may have some impact on the president of the united states. i want to come back to one thing about how the white house says this is operational, not philosophical. some of that is spin, no offense to jack kingston, but timing matters everything in life, so when is this happening. a lot of people wanted the chaos to be dealt with a long time ago. let's seem general kelly gets it straight but congress comes back, they have to do the debt ceiling, spending, it's possible the first year of the trump
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presidency will include zero major legislative accomplishments. he has poisoned the well with republican senators but attacking mitch mcconnell, specifically, and then these other republican senators. the reservoir of support and goodwill among republican senators is exhausted. there's a trump exhaustion all over the town so even if they organizationally figure everything out at the white house, have they wasted so much time that it's too late to get things done. i know it's only august but the midterm election year is closer and closer upon us and this is a first-term president. you tend to get whacked in your first midterm election year, especially if you can't claim achievements. >> you heard jack kingston say they were irritated that steve bannon had given four interviews without official clearance, authorization from the white house chief of staff or anybody else. >> it goes back to that thing of, no one should be overshadowing the president. he sees himself as the star, and these interviews, also in
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bloomberg, business week author josh green's book, he comes across as the guy who is working a malleable trump, imprinting these ideas, helping his wirise come up and that's something the approximate preside president doesn't like. even though the president gave a defense of him, he doesn't want to share the spotlight. >> who is going to move the agenda ball down the field is a good question. think about who the closest advisers are left behind now. jared kushner, ivanka trump, h.r. mcmaster and a chief of staff who is a retired general from department of homeland security. where is somebody who's putting the political, legislative plan together, the overlaying the midterm map with understanding where the pressure points are, to actually move the president's agenda ball down the field. i think that's a bigots question. >> winners and losers. >> near-term winners are gary
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cohn, dina poul, ivanka, jared, folks like that. general kelly. but you know, again, i think -- lo look, i'm the biggest proponent of winners and losers ever but the problem is, donald trump is a singular figure. all presidents are. donald trump is more so. who his chief of staff is, who his communications director is, if you need any evidence of that, hope hicks is the communications director now. it means that it's essentially donald trump is the communications director. donald trump believes he is his best pollster, strategist, press person. the problem and david hits on it is donald trump knows very little about the legislative process and shows very little interest, one of the reasons he struggled to sell health care reform, by the way, because when details came up with senators, he had no clue. who does that? is it pence and his team who know more? it seems unlikely to be ivanka, jared, or any of those folks who are just not creatures of that
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world. >> we're going to stay on top of the breaking news. major breaking news, steve bannon, the chief strategist at the white house, fired. steve bannon, no longer the chief strategist at the white house. i'll be back 5:00 p.m. eastern in "the situation room." thanks very much for watching. our special coverage continues our special coverage continues right now. -- captions by vitac -- member another member of the president's inner circle is out. a source tells cnn bannon was given to option to resign but let's be real, he was forced out. since day one, bannon has been a lightning rod within the trump white house because of his alignment with the so-called alt-right movement. bannon's firing comes just days after he gave an extraordinary, yet quite candid interview that seemed to undermine t