tv The Lead With Jake Tapper CNN September 3, 2018 1:00pm-2:00pm PDT
irreparable. nearby hydrants weren't working. the museum holds at least 20 million rare artifacts including mummies, stone carvings. investigators are still trying to determine the cause of the fire. i'm brooke baldwin. thanks for being with me again. dana bash in for jake tapper. "the lead" starts now. thanks, brooke. it's a decision that could seal president trump's legacy for decades. "the lead" starts right now. a fight for the future begins. president trump's pick for supreme court about to face a buzzsaw in senate hearings. are democrats outnumbered and out of luck? president trump taking a brand new swing at jeff sessions, suggesting the a.g. should have held off charging republicans until after the midterms. plus, maverick or maga. now that john mccain is laid to rest, the focus moved to which
kind of republican will fill his seat in the senate. welcome to "the lead." i'm dana in for jake today. the confirmation could change the supreme court for a generation and tomorrow brett kavanaugh will begin what will be no doubt intense hearings on the until nation. that's always the case when it comes to the highest court and even more so for this seat. replacing justice kennedy, the swing seat on many decisions. it will be an abrupt return for senators from the holiday weekend. democrats are already outraged after the trump administration said it was with holding more than 100,000 pages of documents related to the time in the george w. bush administration. republicans meanwhile they're insisting they're confident kavanaugh will be on the bench when the supreme court begins its new term less than one month from today. let's get straight to lara jarrett. what's the strategy of democrats
for these hearings? >> reporter: dana, sources tell us the ultimate goal for democrats to try to paint a portrait of a man held up as the heir apparent to the kennedy seat on the court as misleading and evasive and if kavanaugh says he can't discuss the questions they plan to refer to all the times he's done it before. >> my judicial philosophy is straightforward. >> reporter: the confirmation battle of a coveted seat on the nation's highest court kicks off tomorrow with president trump's pick for the supreme court expected to face a grilling from senators about his views on everything from abortion rights -- >> you just don't wake up and say i'd like to overturn roe v. wade. >> reporter: to whether a sitting president can be indicted. >> he believes a sitting president cannot be investigated let alone convicted while in office. >> reporter: democrats accuse republicans of ramming the nomination through. expressing outrage over the
weekend about the trump administration withholding more than 100,000 pages of records from kavanaugh's time as a white house lawyer under president george w. bush calling it a document massacre. >> this isn't normal, not normal because we are not able to see 100,000 documents that the archivist just -- because the administration has said we can't see them. they've exerted their executive power. >> reporter: republicans say a record number of more than 400,000 pages have been turned over to the judiciary committee and democrats say key documents from the time as staff secretary to president bush and other records withheld. >> there's more concealment of documents concerning his public service and his position on issues than ever in the history of the united states. >> reporter: democrats plan to cast the conservative judge as untrustworthy pointing to e-mails they say show he played a larger role in president bush's war on terrorism than he
let on in the testimony over a decade ago. still, republicans are confident kavanaugh will be confirmed. cementing a solid conservative majority that would swing the supreme court to the right in key areas like a woman's right to choose. >> we talked about whether he considered roe to be settled law. he said that he agreed with what justice roberts said at his nomination hearing in which he said that it was settled law. >> reporter: but that's providing little comfort to democrat who is plan to emphasize how he could still chip away at the landmark ruling. kavanaugh will be joined tomorrow by a who's who of luminaries including an introduction by former secretary of state condale eza rice and planning to call up john dean. dana? >> really subtle. thank you so much.
with all of you experts here, i want to start with some great reports of our manu raju of the democrats are planning. here's what he said the focus is in terms of themes. untruthfulness. the things they believe brett kavanaugh said that are not true. the views on the affordable care act. roe versus wade and executive power/investigations of a sitting president. i want to start with a republican on the other side of the aisle. what do you think of this strategy? >> i mean, i think it's pretty transparent to make it an election issue because they know they don't have the votes to stop him. in hi opinion, the democrats voted for him the day they voted to undo the nuclear option. this thing is over. so the best thing they can do is put some shots in him to help their own races in november. >> you make an important point. may sound to people like, you know, kind of senate speak or in
the weeds but this is critical, critical, critical. a few years ago the then democratic -- the then majority leader who was a democrat harry reid frustrated and they couldn't get president obama's judicial nominees passed and so he changed the rules which was a very aggressive move and now that there is a republican in the white house, there are republicans in charge of the senate, the democrats are paying for it essentially. i want to play for you something that a democratic senator on the judiciary committee amy klobuchar said about this. >> i would have liked to see 60 votes no matter what the judge is. i don't think we should have made that change when we look back at it but it happened because we were so frustrated because president obama wasn't able to get the nominees. i would prefer to bring it back. we are where we are. i don't think anyone wants to hamstring themself. >> it's a controversial question and it has very real life consequences.
had the rules not changed supreme court is a little bit different. it is hard to argue about a 60-vote threshold but it did technically exist, meaning the democrats could have blocked brett kavanaugh. >> yes. they could have. i think it just shows you that elections have consequences and no party is in control forever. and so, you have to think very hard about when you change these rules to state the observe. now, the supreme court and having fewer than 60 votes on the supreme court feels quite extreme because these are lifetime appointments. they're very powerful stating the obvious appointments. and you're right. while he is not -- doesn't look like democrats and i will say have a path to really stopping this if it was 60, they would. now that we see trump has two more years, we don't know how many more supreme court opportunities he'll have. it is quite scary and it will change the entire balance of the court. >> i think it's worth spending a quick moment on why the 60-vote threshold was good.
they don't do this because you'll be sorry one day. we talk about how things are so polarized and there's even talk of trumpl trying trying to get the filibuster to pass bills with 60 votes. that's good because at least you have a consensus in the senate. that's done by 50-plus one. >> that's true. i think also important to touch for a moment on why they changed it then. because there were -- it was a record number of -- >> couldn't get a consensus. >> not just consensus. it is being blocked for blocking. >> let's look forward because i want to talk about why one of the reasons why brett kavanaugh, his nomination, anybody put in this open seat on the supreme court is so consequential. that's roe versus wade. because anthony kennedy was the guy who on various cases before him made sure that roe v. wade and parts of it, some of it,
entirety, not overturned. a key senator on the republican side susan collins said she thought kavanaugh respected the decision because he told her in private it was, quote, settled law. yesterday i asked lindsey graham a republican openly anti-abortion on his take on roe v. wade. >> do you hope kavanaugh does overturn roe v. wade? >> if there's a case before him that challenges roe v. wade to listen to both sides of the story, apply a test to overturn precedent. precedent is important because it's not invalid. i'm dying to see if he sees if citizens versus united can be overturned. there's a process to overturn a precedent. >> and senator graham is correct. precedent can be changed. if you look at the decision of same-sex marriage they revoked a
previous case law. so it could happen. that's a concern for democrats then it's a valid concern. but i think the point is that kavanaugh would not prohibit abortion and remand it back to the states. that's different from a liberal justice imposing abortion. i think that's what could happen. another thing that could happen is there are cases where states have limited abortion to prohibit it after 20 weeks. the court could validate those state laws. so there is a valid concern, the democratic side. but obviously he's not going to be specific. that's a case to come before him and not going to go into details about what he's going to do. >> what democrats are very scared of i think is hearing susan collins saying settled law, that's language of john roberts in the hearing. he's not been -- >> aly ito. >> they voted the other way and
would be expected and the wendy davis case, the case she filibustered. democrats are scared as you said for a reason and you could very much see a case coming up. >> i want to add let's step back for a second as to where kavanaugh came from and what donald trump said during the election of who he wanted. he said he wanted somebody to help repeal and gut roe versus wade and criminalize abortion. this is what she said and where he got the list from the federalist organization and they made it really clear who was on the list and what the folks on the list to do and number one thing was to get rid of abortion. >> but actually at the end the message is it's resolved by the political branches of government not by the court. >> that's an important question which is something that is going to -- >> a whole other discussion. >> might have to be debated. stand by. is president trump highlighting republican corruption accusations simply as a way to attack his own attorney general?
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today the president seems to have the midterms on his mind worried about possibly losing a republican majority. first, let me set the scene. with his red polo shirt and baseball cap, the president came outside. he was apparently ready to go play golf and after just two minutes with the motorcade, a change of plans. no golf today. instead, president got out of the suv, went back inside and then a few hours later you get guessed it. he was tweeting. here's one from this afternoon. quote, two long running obama investigations of two very popular republican congressmen brought to a well publicized charge just ahead of the midterms by the jeff sessions justice department. two easy wins now in doubt because there's not enough time. good job, jeff. want to bring in our evan perez to explain that. break that down. can you do some sentence -- you
know, take each sentence and word and explain it to me because you could go a lot of ways with the interpretation of that. have at it. >> we say it a lot but this is not normal. we're talking about two republican congressmen, two of the earliest backers of president trump. chris collins and duncan. collins indicted on insider trading charges. hunter charged with using essentially his campaign funds for vacations and other personal expenses and what the president is saying, essentially wishing jeff sessions to have done is to intervene politically in an ongoing case which is exactly the opposite of what the justice department rules say. isle read you a part of what the policy of the justice department says. it says law enforcement officers and prosecutors may never select a timing of investigative steps or criminal charges for the purpose of affecting any election or for the purpose of
giving an advantage or disadvantage to any candidate or political party. what the president was effectively saying is jeff sessions should not have brought the charges, delayed them or not brought them at all because it's more difficult for the republican party in the upcoming midterms. the last time jeff sessions responded to an attack from the president he said the following. while i'm attorney general, the actions of the justice department will not be improperly influenced by political considerations. today, the justice department declined to comment, dana. >> before i let you go, evan. you're so well sourced in the justice department. what are you hearing about jeff sessions mood, about how he's feeling about being attacked almost on a daily basis by his boss the president of the united states? >> i think, you know, there's great frustration inside the department. i think jeff sessions is definitely just about had enough. i think he knows now the president is telegraphed this after the midterms he is
probably going to be gone and i think he's come to accept that. the question, dana, is does he quit before the president fires him? >> that is an interesting question. wow. that was a good teaser, evan. thank you so much. back around the table. iman d you work for senator ted cruz. i covered the hill and the republican caucus specifically. when jeff sessions was a senator, could you imagine this kind of fate for him? he was usually the guy who was acting not unlike donald trump is now, kind of raging against the establishment on all issues and now here he is finding himself kind of the poster child for democrats. who don't want things to change, who are mad at the president. >> but other things haven't changed about jeff sessions. that he can be stubborn and determined. i think he is pretty well dug in here that whatever happens is going to happen. if donald trump has to fire him,
he can fire him. this tweet today is really -- it's confusing but not subtle. the president is essentially setting the stage to blame jeff sessions for two republican losses. and also, sending a very clear signal that he doesn't expect republicans to be investigated in election years. so but this is all the same stuff that sessions -- >> if you consider this tweet, i'm republican. i'm a conservative. but this is outlandish. shameful. >> can we put it up? >> law and order candidate. >> it's confusing. >> the department of justice should follow political considerations. >> yes. >> don't go after the republicans. we're in power now. go after the democrats. i mean, what is this? >> i just think -- i think it's pretty to me looking at that, the walls are closing in. he's incredibly worried. i said this before. he has no poker face. whatever he is feeling, he tweets it out. he has the problem that we're
learning from polls the tweets do not work. if anything they backfire. this is not helping him at all but the walls are closing in on him. >> i think they rev up the base quite a bit. people say fight back. for people that are just going to follow trump -- >> yeah. but -- >> does help. >> small ball. >> that's that small and shrinking base. >> they're sticking with him. >> they have to express concern. >> that's key. >> okay. but you're doing that. to what end? >> that we have to go back to the principles. it is okay to support trump on certain policies but when he makes statements like this, it is extremely important to speak up and say the president's wrong. everything's not about politics. some point we have to stand on principle. >> the tweets are interesting because he's many things and politically astute and the corruption angle and the culture of corruption which democrats are trying to run on but this is the type of thing that settles into districts around the
country when people start to think it's a party to be voted out because they are corrupt. and he's worried about this. >> do a little reality check on that. these two republican congressmen and he seems to be if i'm reading this right and that part is -- throwing under the bus, those two faces you probably seen a lot on television because they were the earliest and most ar dant supporters of donald trump. never mind jeff sessions, the first in the u.s. senate. he gave the now president a lot of street cred with the conservatives. one other tweet that the president sent out on this labor day, again, about sessions sort of, the democrats none of whom voted for sessions must love him now. same thing with lying james comey. the dems hated him. until i fired him. then he's a wonderful man, a saint-like figure in fact. really sick. putting the comey stuff aside for a second and focusing on sessions, he kind of has a point. no question democrats and some
republicans are appalled with jeff sessions policies on immigration. separating families. criminal justice. lack of reform. but just on this whole issue of the russia investigation, yeah. does he have a point? looking at you, democrat. >> i'm very conflicted by it. for all of the reasons you listed. i think jeff sessions is terrible. i think he's one of the worst ags that we have ever had, especially talking about underserved xhup underserved communitied who need to be protected and the thing is we have to protect the russia investigation and clearly important. and so he can't be fired to get rid of mueller. and that is where -- i think that's where we're drawing the line. >> jen? >> yeah. >> how much you love him. >> no. >> it's hard. it is hard. >> as you alluded to, take us back to 1950 as it relates to civil rights so there's, you know, that is the most
concerning piece but ultimately it's about the lesser of evils and i think many democrats have decided that jeff sessions is less evil than donald trump so we sort of side with him or have a -- you know, an emotion toward him when he's being attacked. >> it is hard. >> i don't think you should feel conflicted and not letting himself be intimidated by trump. >> that's just an easy thing i think everybody can agree on. >> he is actually doing things that's harming -- >> here's the thing that went under the radar is that senator graham and others now talking more aggressively about replacing jeff sessions are also saying the person who's nominated in his place must vow i guess probably under oath at hearings to let the mueller investigation continue. everybody stay with us. president trump tweeting about a potential 2020 challenger, one that jen psaki worked for and his name is not obama. stay with us. but allstate actually helps you drive safely...
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in our politics lead, cnn is predicting 11 out of 14 key house seats are leaning left moving towards democrats ability to potentially take over the house. now, labor day is, of course, the unofficial kickoff to the midterms with elections less than 70 days away. the biggest influence on november's election is the man who was not on the ballot. the president. cnn's kaitlan collins joins me
now. kaitlan, the president seems to be getting nervous about this election nine weeks from now. >> reporter: dana, he does. that's evident from the twitter feed today because though the president stayed behind closed doors most of today he is criticizing the attorney general jeff sessions but this time not for the usual russia investigation complaints that we typically see from the president but instead about the indictment of those two republican congressmen, chris collins and duncan hunter each for their respective wrongdoings saying that jeff sessions implying that instead he should have been thinking of how to save those seats ahead of the midterm elections. here in a few days. president trump staying out of the public eye today while going after his attorney general behind closed doors. criticizing jeff sessions for indicting two republican congressmen, one accused of insider trading and another accused of brazenly misusing
campaign funds for personal expenses arguing it could hurt his party in the midterms. in a tweet trump writing, two easy wins now in doubt. good job jeff. that criticism as trump preparing to stump for republicans amid rising fears of a blue wave in the midterm elections where the stakes could p n't be higher and concerns of impeachment are growing louder. trump traveling this week as part of the white house's effort to boot vulnerable democrats and boost republican hopefuls. ♪ with nine weeks left in the battle to control the house, the president sending this message. >> in this election, you aren't just voting for a candidate. you are voting for which party controls congress. very, very big vote. it's very close. people say we have the majority. by how much? like, by almost nothing.
somebody has a cold, we no longer have the majority. we need republicans in congress. >> reporter: that amid a creeping sense of panic from republicans who fear that seats which were once safely theirs are now up for grabs. >> over the next two months republicans had to point out the success. >> reporter: those republican fears on full display in texas where senator ted cruz is facing an unexpectedly tough fight against a democrat o'rourke in a race that should be a cake walk for cruz. trump announcing he'll rally with cruz in the lone star state next month tweeting i'm picking the biggest stadium in texas we can find. but the president's critics will look to remind texans of the bitter feud of trump and cruz in 2016 when he suggested cruz's father was involved in the assz nation of jfk, insulted his wife
heidi and branded him lying ted. >> i think he's crazy. honestly, i think he's crazy. lying ted. does not have the temperament to be doing this. he's choking like a dog because he's losing so badly. >> reporter: with the battle for the house just weeks away, cnn's latest house race ratings show there are 30 seats considered to be toss-ups, 28 of those are held by republicans. and 12 are in areas hillary clinton won in the presidential election. asked recently if he fears impeachment if democrats win the house, trump telling bloomberg news, i don't think they can impeach somebody that's doing a great job. white house has said they hope to have president trump on the road for a minimum of 40 days before august 1st and election day. the president has made clear he's eager to campaign for these candidates but our sources inside the white house tell us that's motivated by self protection because the president realizes that if democrats take
over capitol hill there could be threats to his presidency. dana? >> hugely as the president would say. thank you for that. so, she mentioned some of the stops that the president is making. at least on the schedule this month in september alone. i'm told the following. montana, of course, this week. north and south dakota. and then he's also slatded to go to missouri. mississippi, nevada and tennessee. these are all states with very important senate races. states where he is -- did very well in 2016. so as much as he is a drag on the ballot in some of the house races particularly in the suburbs, some of these areas, some of these big senate races he could have a positive affect especially on a republican base that's kind of hohum. >> absolutely. in states like indiana, south dakota, west virginia. he can make a real difference. the problem i think as the
report was mentioning are the house races. and we have 30 battleground districts, 28 of those are republican. real clear politics has actually 43 battleground districts with 41 being held right now by republicans. and some of those districts i think he could make a difference because he could connect with working class americans and some of his base but then some other districts, look at california, the central valley. congressmen like denim. where there's a large hispanic elect rat. trump better not show up there because it's not going to help. they're tight races. >> i don't see that happening. jen, you were at the white house. you were communications director for a president when you had to make these decisions. where do you go? what's the best strategy? and i'm not sure the dynamic is quite the same in that i'm not sure president obama was chomping at the bit do get out
to campaign as much as president trump is. it's his oxygen and loves it. i saw when we were talking about the number of campaign days he's going to have and you said that's a lot. >> it is a lot. it is a lot. and clearly his comfort place as you said is on the campaign trail. that's where he sees his people, he can say build a wall and people scream and he loves that. president obama chomping at the bit as much but he certainly did enjoy getting out of the white house. that is a common thing. even in the time when president obama was less popular than he was at the very end, say 2010, we lost a lot of seats, he was still helpful to certain races. he could raise money. he could turn out the base. obviously a very different circumstance. that was about giving people health care. trump can be helpful. talk about the blue wave, that's the house. it's difficult seats for defending. so those are places where he could claim a win even if that's a little fuzzy.
>> amanda, sorry to put you on the spot. you worked for ted cruz. he's got a tougher race than republicans tend to have in the state of texas at least in a generation. president is planning on going down there next month. he wants to have a giant rally for him. >> texas has big stadiums. >> you probably remember that he said some not such nice things about senator cruz. about his father. about his wife. what do you think about this? >> well, putting on my political hat, i know that voters in texas want to know that the drama is behind those two. cruz was known as the tea party candidate coming on the scene in 2012 and won his election and now things have changed. it is now trump's republican party and people need to be assured they're on the same team and cruz will be there to fight because a lot of republican voters, not limited to texas. they don't like the republican
infighting. they get upset seeing republicans trashing the republican candidate. they say there's enough people that do that. why don't you just help donald trump? and so, they're going to have unity rally. i think this is as much for president trump than it is for ted cruz because he wants a big rally. >> a big rally. >> he does. >> there's a -- the other side to that coin is whether the president comes in, it does fire up the other side. and in texas, you are seeing more enthusiasm among democrats than in a while. >> yeah. you see that across the board, across the country in these special elections and that we lost. you saw the enthusiasm on the democratic side. i wanted to say the first two years of the obama administration i was in the administration and traveled with biden and obama to a lot of the political event that is happen across the country and we were worried because the party in power in the midterm tends to lose seats. we had that in the back of our mind and concerned as well with the senate. in this scenario, when you have a president going to texas, that
does not bode well for the electoral landscape for republicans. >> just real quick. i see people talk about this race like it's a toss-up. show me a poll where -- >> about texas, an exciting democrat. >> no, no, no. hold on. next segment. a quick break. i want to ask you about john kerry. >> okay. >> left the door open a little bit in an interview over the weekend and the president tweeted about it. he basically said, wait, i have it here somewhere. there you go. i see that john kerry, the father of the now terminated iran deal, is thinking of running for president. i should only be so lucky although the field that is currently assembling looks really good-for me. you did work closely with john kerry. do you think he's going to run? >> no. but i will say about john kerry, when i -- i worked for him running for president and came back and worked for him at the
state department and he has more energy than i do. gutsy and he really changed in a positive way after he ran for president and lost. i mean, he became gutsy and ballsy and hopefully i can say that. >> beep. >> so it's not actually crazy. when i worked for him, he was asked in interviews and would always say -- never rule it out. i'm not considering it or not currently thinking about it. i'd ask him, why would you say that? you never close the door. okay. you never know. you never know. he would be great. >> you never know. stand by. one tough choice. how does the arizona governor fill senator john mccain's seat? does he lean in to trump or find an mccain-type republican? stay with us. peninsula trail? you won't find that on a map. i'll take you there. take this left. if you listen real hard you can hear the whales.
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in our politics lead, three states could elect their first black governors this november. florida, maryland and georgia are all democratic nominees for their state's howest office n. georgia, the most historically red of the states, republicans are grappling with a changing electorate while democrats test the power of trump in 2018. cnn's kayly hartung reports. >> we are writing the next chapter of georgia's future. >> reporter: a democrat looking to become the nation's first black female governor. >> where you come from shouldn't determine how far you can go. >> this is about fighting for literally, ladies and gentlemen, the soul of our state this fall. >> reporter: a republican using every page of the president's playbook. >> i got a big truck. just in case i need to round up
criminal illegals and take them home myself. >> reporter: georgia's gubernatorial candidates opposites. >> we can repeal campus carry. >> i own guns. no one's taking away. >> reporter: this race is about more than the future of the peach state. it's become a microcosm of the political divide in america. >> this is a warp-up act for america in georgia. >> reporter: a political reporter for the atlanta journal constitution. >> democrats want to desperately prove that georgia is a ballot ground state in a way it's not been in a few decades. republicans want to do everything they can to fortify georgia in the red column. >> reporter: no democrat has won a major statewide election in georgia since 2000. despite that, abrams believes the math works. >> i'm going to talk to the millions of democratic leaning voters and those disaffected republicans who want to see something else and those independent thinkers who haven't
quite decided. >> reporter: important to the fo formula, the demographic shifts getting younger. proven by recent presidential elections. in 2000, george w. bush won georgia by 12,000. the republican margin decreasing in 2016 when trump won by five points. still president trump's endorse independent a gop runoff helped kemp win by nearly 40 points. >> light pouring gasoline on the fire we had. >> reporter: but unlike fellow democrats across the country, abrams rarely invokes the president's name. >> there's a great deal of concern about whether we'll continue to stand for the values that have made us a strong country. >> reporter: unspoken or not, there's no avoiding the president's imprint on the race. >> talking the first wednesday in november and this state has turned blue, who will be responsible for making that happen in the electorate?
>> it will be donald trump will be partly responsible. either way. >> reporter: cnn, atlanta. >> we'll get back to georgia in a moment. i want to also look at florida where there is a racist robocall. we won't play it for a lot of reasons including the reason of children and my friend's 8-year-old is watching and we don't want them to hear this and exacerbate this and very, very big deal in florida and i asked about this. take a listen. >> i want to make sure we don't racialize and weaponize race as a part of the process which is why i called on my opponent to work to rise above some of these things. >> it's not surprising to me that this happened. to be quite honest. when you have a desantos basically a mini trump, giving a bear hug to donald trump very early on, making that really bizarre ad where he is telling a
bedtime story i believe to his child, talking about build a wall. it didn't surprise me on day one of the general election he decides to use a racial slur and say something that is really awful, monkey it up, and articulate and talk about gillumm in that way. it's an unfortunately i believe it's going to get worse. i think this is just the beginning and i know that the robocall did not come from the campaign. i understand that. and they did -- >> came from -- >> yep. >> fringe group in idaho. >> i totally understand that but when he started off the general election with that slur you give an okay. >> i want to say that -- this is the campaign responded to call. they had a statement saying this is absolutely appalling and disgusting and hopefully whoever is behind this as to answer for this despicable action. >> look. to begin with, that robocall
message is disgusting, incredible in 21st century to hear those types of messages and the desantis criticized the message. was it really a slur? >> yes. >> i don't think it was a slur. >> coming from a black person, it was a racial slur. >> you're -- >> no, no, no. >> you are thinking he had the intention to -- >> no, no. >> he explained it. >> no. that's -- >> this is the problem. i think outside -- >> monkey it up? really? >> i'll say this. if the desantis is careful because i think the left tries very hard to use every single opportunity to bring the issue of racism into the -- >> he's doing it himself. >> desantis is not donald trump. >> great candidate on paper. he gets himself in trouble a lot and that was a terrible mistake, whether you think it's intentional or not. he is -- i think yale undergrad, harvard law. >> he should know better.
>> both black democratic candidates having a lot thrown at them. and that -- fair, unfair, attacks. coming to race. they're handling it very well. they're not taking the bait which requires an extraordinary amount of discipline in this kind of social media fury and so the republican candidates running the kind of like trump almost parody ads. >> you worked for president obama. you helped elect the first black president. you have some experience so if andrew gillum's campaign or others call you and say, how do we deal with, what would you say? >> i agree. i think they're handling it quite gracefully. i would be raving mad if i was them and tells you a lot about the leadership and the calm. you know? and i have never spoken with either of them. president obama used to say to us behind the scenes i can't be the person to solve race in the country. obviously, he wanted to represent something better for
the next generation. they certainly would. i was very -- i thought what stacy abrams said was compelling of who she wanted to talk to and who the democratic parties wants to be and should be and are we going to turn out minority voters? are we going to appeal to -- >> didn't work well in 2016. >> we have to do both. that's why she is so compelling. >> that's why she is an attractive candidate. abrams versus gillum. she said for example the confederate monument issue is not a top issue for her. the education, the economy are issues she cares about. >> they're very different. they're very different races. in florida, there are two extremes and in georgia both candidates are more sort of playing to the middle. okay. everyone, stand by. john mccain is laid to rest. now the focus is shifting to
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any signs of any announcement coming soon and also who might be in the short list? >> reporter: as you know, dana, the governor wants to act quickly now that the services for senator john mccain is over and it's quite a long list. we have cindy mccain. potentially topping the list. because she's been such a stoic figure. knows her husband's record so well. but this republican party here in arizona perhaps more decided than any republican party in the country and you have a long list of names that the governor is considering. potentially a woman as a nod to a diversity pick. or someone like former senator jon kyl but people wondering what he'll do here, dana. >> it's diversity and also whether you give somebody a big leg up making them an incumbent for the next election or someone like jon kyl a caretaker.
>> reporter: placeholder, yeah. >> doug doocy with his own election coming up. the president endorsed him in the primary last week. is there any evidence of the white house swaging tying his decision? >> reporter: as we saw this past weekend, ivanka trump and her husband jared sat next to the governor and might have been conversations there and trying to thread the needle here, trying trying to please that pro-trump wing of the party and showing honor and deference to the family. so, a lot of pressure's weighing on him in his own re-election bid this november, da in. >> it really is among the toughest decisions. i mean, for anybody to be chosen to fill this seat and then when you have the divisions within the republican party you laid out so clearly it makes it so much harder and why he had a
whole week to think about it and presumably will be hearing about it soon. >> reporter: keeping it close to the vest. thank you. >> we'll be talking soon. our coverage continues with jim sciutto in for wolf blitz in "the situation room." happening now, breaking news. bullying sessions. president trump aims an angry tweet at the attorney general he appointed. upset at the justice department for prosecuting two republican congressmen. is he suggesting that his own political allies are above the law? trump versus mueller. the president's personal attorney said he may block the public release of the special counsel's final report. just the latest threat from the white house which continues to battle robert mueller every step of the way. flipping al