tv Inside Politics CNN October 22, 2018 9:00am-10:00am PDT
inside politics with john king starts now. welcome to inside politics. i'm john king. thank you for sharing your day with us. two weeks until the mid-term elections and the president is off to texas to help ted cruise. immigration is the rallying crew warning about the caravan of migrants including criminals and unknown middle easterners. the democrats say health care is the real issue and the late push includes a ton of help from the party's 2020 prospects. casting more doubt on the saudi explanation of the jamal khashoggi murder and rare public comment from the president's adviser and son-in-law who is heavily invested in the saudi crown prince at the center of this international storm.
>> what advice have you given
the president in this situation some. >> so advice i have given the president in this situation like in all other
situations will stay between me and the president. >> we begin with the president facing increasing pressure to take a tougher stand on saudi arabia after the murder of the journalist, jamal khashoggi. his senior adviser and son-in-law offering the administration line a bit earlier at a cnn forum here in new york. >> with regards to the situation in saudi arabia, i would say right now in this administration we are more in the fact finding phase. we are obviously getting as many facts as we can from the different places and that will determine which facts are credible and after that, the president and the secretary of state will make a determination as to what we deem to be credible and what actions we should take. >> kushner said the administration has its eyes wide open on this question, but key
members of congress worry the white house is not being tough enough. here's what kushner said about that. >> what advice have you given in this situation? >> just to be transparent. to be fully transparent. the world is watching this serious accusation and a serious situation and to make sure you are transparent and to take this very seriously. >> how do you respond to that? >> we'll see. i know that the secretary of state had good meetings over there and we'll see. >> kaitlan colins is live at the white house. rare to hear from jared kushner in public. did we learn anything? >> not really. he was asked if it would be a credible investigation and he didn't really answer. that was shifting saudi
narrative as they left that day. they claim to now learn that they basically brought a body double to help cover this up. one of the most interesting things is he went to touting the relationship. that's something from mike pompeo and president trump himself which could indicate how they will respond when this is out there. jared kushner seemed to confirm to me and my colleague that he is trying to distance himself from the issue. officials in the white house tried to keep him away as well as he forged his close relationship with the saudi crown prince. the mideast is not my problem. it's the middle east peace process. the rest of that is not my portfolio. one thing he didn't answer is whether or not they will accept the saudi timeline of another must needed to complete this investigation. that will only give them more time to develop their cover story. it's already been over two weeks
since he first disappeared. that's what we are waiting to see from the white house and president trump today. >> live at the white house. appreciate the reporting. in studio to share their reporting and insights. alex burps from the noe"new yor times." rare to hear jared kushner and be out in public explaining the administration. as kaitlan said, this is mike pompeo and the president, this is his portfolio. jared kushner that the crown prince called to say we didn't do this. how invested is he? >> i think he is pretty invested and doesn't want to openly say he is invested. the president was trying to sprayed not just himself from the saudi government, but jared kushner as well. suggesting he doesn't have that keep of a relationship with him. that is contrary to all of our reporting and the facts that have been established. i don't think and i sat on the
panel and i didn't think he offered a detailed explanation of how they are going about this. it was fact finding and it is true that he tried to push this off and would not talk about the advice he has given to his father in law. they have taken this administration in various positions from the get go and left themselves outs. i didn't see him doing anything. >> the saudis said they need another month. that gets us past the mid-terms. how does the u.s. respond? washington will be consumed by other things in a month. you will have a big democratic win or loss and the conversation will shift in washington. the president told your newspaper, yes, there were lies and deception, but the crown prince is a good guy. i'm sorry, that's not intellectually consistent. how do you square that circle? >> if you are president trump, it squares itself to some extent. the question is really to the point you raised, to what extent
can they take the current explanation for what happened? you really can't based on the past two weeks of desembling and various explanations. this new report this morning that they had tried to have a way of explaining how they left the consulate. you can't do it unless you have an investment in the process and in your son-in-law who happens to work for you and has this close personal relationship. the level of complication that that adds is also understated in the moment. the fact that this is not a normal counsel or to president trump. with the person at the center of this issue is another leader or problematicness, to make up a word, that wouldn't exist. >> the clip that they saw asking kushner, it's noteworthy that that was a hypothetical question. if i were to give advice, this is what i would say. they made it clear that that
conversation happened and his advice for him was to be transparent. that distills the problem here and the concern that is a lot of folks, even people who are close to president trump have had about the closeness of the kushner relationship, putting so many of the diplomatic chips into that relationship when the issue of middle eastern diplomacy and policy is so complicated. that is coming to bite them in the butt right now. >> let's listen to more of jared kushner. this is the part i get. it's a strategic relationship with saudi arabia. even if you sanction and punish them, you might neat to talk to them about iran and world oil markets and questions about the middle east. the president himself is on the record saying they deceived me. they lied to me. the
question is, what do you do? jared kushner tried to minimize that. >> i see things that are deceptive every day in the middle east and in washington.
we have our eyes wide open. again, the president is focused on what's good for america. what are the strategic interests and where do we share interests with other countries and let's work order towards those. every day we deal with people who are trying to deceive us in different ways and our job is to see through it and stay focussed on what's
best for the american people and the president is fully committed to doing that. >> the question is who defines that? what's best for the american people? the president is saying i don't want to suspend arms sales because that's american jobs. i don't want it to go south because i need that with iran. if you are bob corker or rubio, they kidnapped, tortured, killed, dismembered somebody. you have to take a stand. >> right. this is where you hear a totally incoherent message. you can imagine a world where the president was out there saying as forcefully as he does
with vladimir putin, i will deal with any opportunistically if it serves my interest and the interest of the united states. that's not what the administration has been saying. they have been all over the map. even the kushner version that was that we heard was timid and hedged. it does underscore the degree to which the course of this over the next few weeks and over the last few weeks has been largely out of the control of the white house and the saudis. every day you hear whether it's a foreign leader like angela merkel or bob corker or rand paul who is not exactly a champion of international human rights or somebody who is a frequent critic of the administration calling to terminate much of the relationship with saudi arabia. this is not something that the white house is even in a position to stage manage if they had a clear position to stage manage. >> this what i'm about to read is laughable, except that it fits in that the saudi explanations have changed
repeatedly. it doesn't hold water in an authoritarian society where the crown prince calls the shots. now the crown prince is going to lead a review and it's a fox and hen house. a serious guy at the relationship said in the "new york times" they would be better off saying colonel mustard did it in the library with a candlestick. why is that a consequential conversation? it's hard to argue with that. >> the rational makes no sense. it's the kind of explanation if it was given by someone that donald trump did not like, he had investment or interest from, he would tweet about it all day and call the person a baby. i don't believe that the president believes this explanation. the lack of willingness to say that publicly other than whatever version, it's lies and deception, but he's a good guy.
he has been on all sides of this throughout which is customary. he allows himself to pick whatever version he wants as the events go. they have just been in reaction mode this whole time. the president is doing the only thing he wants how to do which is call a million different reporters and say different things and see what stands. they are from da i to day at odds. >> that's a great point. he found the initial explanation credible. >> right. and honestly very little has changed in terms of intelligence that they have had. it has nothing to do with what was said publicly, but one other point i would make in terms it of how this president can do on ags pekts of the saudi story. this is a president who during the campaign said memorably, torture works. i can see why he would be amenable to an explanation. this was a fist fight with 15 people and a bone saw that got
out of hand. i'm not surprised he doesn't see the problem. >> if i can jump on the politics of this, there was an extremely memorable moment where he pointed a finger at the saudis with complicity in 9/11. this president has gotten a lot of mileage out of being seen as a warrior for the business in the middle east. i don't think the democrats are going to feel comfortable being as xenophobic about the middle east as the president is. where he is digging in and forcing himself to be on the part of people and interests that he has done a very good job of playing against. there is vulnerability there. >> i have to say one of the tells is that president trump used this $110 billion in arm sales. he increased the number of jobs that will be created from 40,000 in march to over a million. he planted his flag that this is
an important thing. using inflated numbers and inaccurate numbers that shows he really, really wants to hold on to this thing. he is using his political rhetoric to the maximum saying we have to fight for the american jobs when it's not accurate. >> even though the president is usually stubborn, he is capable of changing his tune and he doesn't have qualms about doing that even if what he said makes no sense in the context of what he said yesterday or the day before. he did that with the explanation the saudis have given. it seems like there are rogue killers involve and lies and deceptions. the big question is what he ends up saying and if he changes his tune with the explanation. >> whether he gets pushed there. more facts coming up. we will keep an eye on that. the president's poll numbers go up, but the top democrat in the house said she thinks her party will win and acknowledging 15
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violence and poverty, but immigration is the old stand by and he is calling on it as new numbers show a tiny window of opportunity for republicans to thwart a democratic wipe out. a new poll said democrats hold a big advantage when the question is voting for congress. the big advantage to women. the president's job approval number is at a new high at 45%. a big democratic lead and stronger president captures uncertainty in the back half of the president's first term. he prepares to return to the campaign trail with a big rally in texas tonight. you have this contradiction which is fascinating. some republicans say maybe we only lose 20. maybe we don't lose the 23 that would give the house to the democrats. but nine-point lead.
if the president can get up to 45, we have hand to hand combat. >> i think the possibility of republicans getting annihilated everywhere on the map which seems like it could happen has dimmed as a possibility, although 15 days is a long time and things could swing in a different direction. when you look at the poll numbers yesterday, what pops out at me is we have known for a long time that there are many center right voter who is are less comfortable with president trump than the republican party and even hate president trump as they consider themselves to be republican in orientation. there are voters who are more comfortable with president trump than republicans. if you look at michigan, ohio, wisconsin where he had breakthroughs and see the president holding not great, but relatively steady as democrats are pummelling republicans with your paul ryan-style social
security policy, privatizing medicare and gutting the affordable care act. that's when you see the defensive politics the president practiced on the programs popular with senior citizens. it is hurting other republicans in a way that it doesn't hurt the president. >> the president is at 44 or 45 initially, he is going to texas tonight. here's out in arizona and nevada last week. when you get away from the coast and republican who is a month ago can say can beto o'rourke beat ted cruz? the president even at 45, historically low, but much better. >> i think it's sort of hard to evaluate this mid-term election's approval ratings in the context of history. we should and that's the only guide we have, but it seems like we have been down this road before in 2016 and i'm not the guy who said the polls got it
all wrong. we saw a late surge of republicans deciding he was better than hillary clinton and casting the vote for them. one of the trends we are seeing is republicans are getting newly reinvigorated. if the same pattern holds and republicans who two months ago are enthusiastic about it for whatever reason, the caravan or brett kavanaugh or whatever it happens to be, that could make a difference. that, i think is independent of president trump and is a function of the way that our elections are maybe working now. we have a difficult time evaluating who it is that will turn up. >> he clearly thinks that the caravan and the immigration issue as we used it in 2016 and a lot of people said don't do it and he won the nomination and presidency and when people say he's wrong, he likes to say i'm president and you're not. you saw the tweets, unknown
middle easterners and criminals and the caravan on the trail. >> crazy democrats refuse to support any form of voter security legislation to fix our absolutely horrible, old fashioned, loophole immigration laws. >> as we speak, the democrat party is openly inviting millions of illegal aliens to break our laws and violate our borders and overwhelm our nation. >> they don't care that a flood of immigration will bankrupt our country. >> the fact machine breaks when he does these things. a little bit. the democrats are not inviting the migrants into this country. he said the democrats might have been paying them. this is a president who trusts his instincts and thinks this it will help. >> if you get past the
outrageuooutrage uo uousness of him manufacturing facts, he thinks immigration works. it's not just the 2016 message. this worked in 2014 when the republicans did very, very well when isis was on the rise and the border crisis was emerging in a real way. there was an ebola crisis and all that was combined to create clear and anxiety. he was slipping the unknown middle easterners into the fw t tweet. a lot of his support in the primaries was less about the wall and about creating islam as the other. we saw him do that over and over again. the fact that he is trying to turn this into an added level of concern is something. >> republicans wanted the president to stay in montana and stay in the red states. the president is going everywhere. >> they don't want him what he's doing. he is choosing to do a lot of
this and he is sensitive to the narrative as are his aides. there are certain places he cannot go. that's just the reality. >> this is a good moment for the cautionary reminder about what voters far away from washington will care about and what will spay them. we pay so much attention to, as we should, the day to day chaos. was there a shouting match in the west wing. who did the president call horsefa horsefa horseface? those things matter in the day to day. there are going to be so many voter who is end up casting their votes in november based on this gut feeling of do i want a continuation of the trump administration and the message that they see when they see the president at a rally like that speaking or do they want a change come november? >> reporting in the "new york times," jeremy peters, what did come up in conversations,
preexisting conditions can, prekindergarten. friends blocked on facebook. what did not, horseface, pocahontas and justice brett kavanaugh and a blue wave. it's our job to cover the democrats and what they are saying, but people who have busy lives in real america to your point, it's like most elections. how am i doing? am i better off or not? it's a broader conversation. >> that's why the health care and issues are probably the two most important cross currents aside from the president's personality. i will never believe this is not driven powerfully by the visceral reactions to the president and how he behaves day to day. i agree about the daily drama. a lot of that doesn't breakthrough. on the republican side, the biggest thing they have going for them is not immigration or
trump as a person. the economy is doing pretty well. you can make the case to stay the course instead of trying to switch courses. on the democratic side, there is a concern and profound anxiety about the health care system. it echoes in so many ways what you heard from voters into the 2010 election. whatever they may feel about the big picture, what is going to happen to my premiums and coverage? >> it's interesting that the president could have a stay the course message and low unemployment, but instead it's immigration and the mobs. it's an interesting approach. >> broadly speak, the electorate is worried about health care. but the small section of republican who is might be wavering. he is saying you need to worry about this because it's a crisis and hopefully they will go out to the tolls. >> hopefully it tips the tennessee and arizona senate race. the map can get complicate and
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kiting down for an interview. he said he prizes operating in the shadows and knows his chief qualification is his relationship with the boss. >> why should we have confidence in you to do all this stuff? >> the first thing is that the president trusts me. he knows that every task he has given me from the start of the campaign through, i have been able to do it quietly and effectively and deliver results. i don't make a lot of noise. noise is made about me, but i try to keep my head down. >> he doesn't make a lot of noise, but there is a lot of noise made about him. he is part of the mueller investigation. i'm effective and i get results. his prison reform. the subset of the sougaudi relationship. >> they fired comey, right?
the record of judgment has been seriously mixed. you see now in the moment with saudi arabia that i think it's almost unimaginable that you see him face the consequences that a normal adviser would face for mismanaging a foreign relationship. if that is where this ends up going and the feeling on the hill is that he did not get his arms around this one, that has lasting consequences for the administration. >> for does and one of the criticisms for people involved in the campaign at the time is he has a habit of being around something going well and never being around when it's not going on. there has been a streak where we will hear that he was involved in something that was great like getting the u.s. role in the world cup for i think it was 2024 or 2026. that was something he involved in. this in terms of all sorts of other things, that's less involved. you don't know what's being
said. he is incredibly focussed on his media coverage. i was struck by something he said on the panel. he doesn't have a twitter account because he is aware of what is on twitter. that is one of the hallmarks of both he and his wife. >> there is a real accountability issue that comes with the simple fact that they are family member his of the president. ivanka as well. he has bristled in the past when asked questions that she deemed too personal to be asked, but she main shanes she should be taken seriously. you can't have it both ways. you are right that jared kushner is facing this moment of having to be in the spotlight for an issue that is very, very serious. >> that was one other thing he said that i was struck by. he was asked how does he respond to critics on a couple of issues. he said he only responds to critics who he respects.
that's not how government works. >> the president can set it up any way he wants, but when the crown prince calls your son-in-law who is not part of the security network, you can't distance yourself for that. i want to come back to his portfolio in a minute. listen to this. we are in a mid-term and we go into 2020. the president is talking about 2020 a lot. listen to jared kushner's take as a politician. >> i wouldn't get against trump. he's a black swan and has been all of his life. i see in politics and business, i don't like bedding against him. >> a black swan. >> it's the black swan all his life that raises more eyebrows. he won the presidency. you saying black swans pay their taxes? >> he won the presidency by the
republican electorate and they wanted to echo what they saw on fox news. they were angry at democrats and immigration. trump sees that and he was a fox news watcher and it was his gut instinct to do that and it paid off. he won the electoral college. the point is that that works. >> that's mostly what i took away from that. >> talking about how prison reform is not naturally an issue. but he listens and he accepted. >> somebody in the meeting said to him when you campaigned, you would fight for the forgotten women in the country.
there is no one more forgotten than people in prison. he is listening, but he is not wanting to listen to me. i could tell that hit him in his heart. since then, he has spent a lot of time on the issue. >> again, in the sense that you have a republican president with a republican congress and attorney general that doesn't agree with jared kushner. if he really cared, wouldn't you do more than invite kim kardashian in the white house for a photo op and say take up this legislation? >> you would and you might spent time thinking about the political atmosphere you are ceating. potentially there is a mix in to china to have them be lenient on criminal justice. phi see the ark of the presidency, i'm not buying this yet that the president's heard
has changed and he can change the hearts of millions. the primary doesn't want this. maybe in a world of divided government if you were looking for something with democrats in the house. even there, i don't know why i would believe i could vote for this and not get attacked by the president in 2020. >> is he going to have more than kim kardashian or kanye west to the oval office? he was playing to his brother-in-law's ego. he knew bringing these celebrities to the west wing. that's how you penetrate and reach his heart. i don't have a sense that this is an issue for trump. the other thing is this is an issue of fairness to the president. fairness is not normally part of the lexicon as a flat structure. it is usually weighted. >> very diplomatic.
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the faster we can get to stopping them. the most personal technology, is technology with the power to change your life. life. to the fullest. topping our political radar, a 31-year-old missile pack is center stage involving the national security adviser, john bolt bolton. president trump said he will withdraw from the nuclear forces treaty saying russia has been violating it for years. the kremlin official saying the russians will work on elimina eliminating mutual objections. they could spill tensions with china.
two warships passing through and shadowed by multiple vessels on the way through. the transits used to happen about once a year, but has been more frequently. president trump with more surprises on the trail besides the promise to quit. he dropped this domestic policy bomb in nevada. a promise congress cannot keep before the mid-terms. >> we are looking at putting in a major tax cut for little income people. sometime just prior to november and paul ryan and we are all working on it. we are looking at a major tax cut for middle income people who need it. >> what was the time frame for that? >> around the first of november or before then. >> it's october 22nd. the election is november 6th.
that's 15 days. congress is going to come back and pass the new tax cut. >> i can imagine the colleague on the hill rolling their eyes. very worth emphasizing. this is not something realistic and something that is going to happen before election day. this brings it all back with the attempts to signal to the american people that if you stick with the republican party and president trump, you might benefit economically by doing that where as if you vote for the other party, the good that we had may not continue. that's the messaging that trump is trying to convey. >> for the democrats win, they may raise your taxes. we have another tax cut plan in a couple of weeks. magic. >> what popped out at me is it highlighted how backward looking so much of the president's message has been and how defensive it is about what
democrats might do that you need to protect yourself. you have not heard him talk a lot about if you give me congressional majorities. this is what i will do. i'm left wondering, will we hear more on that theme. a november 1st tax cut is not going to happen, but are we going to hear about a february or march tax cut or is this just a one off thing before he goes back to the greatest hits? >> he seems to now understand that the tax cuts they passed in december were not the winner they thought. what he is saying is middle class, you will get your tax cuts if you stick with us. he is trying to turn the tax cuts that were not a winner at the last minute. >> i would like to see the deficit math worked out after the last tax cut. >> debate night in florida and the president's son in west virginia asked voters, are they okay with a sometimes trump ally representing them in washington.
control of congress not the only thing at stake in this election. 36 states are electing governors. one of the fiercest fights is in florida. tallahassee mayor andrew gillum and ron desantis is the republican nominee. they debated on cnn last night. health care a huge point of contention. >> andrew wants to take away employer-provided coverage. >> not true. >> you support medicare for all. read the bill. you supported single payer. i want to protect the current payments. this will not force you off. >> neither would i. his votes diluted him into his
own. i support expanding medicate for 800,000 floridians. >> medicaid versus medicare. a policy debate. the past when you look at the governor's landscape. that is a big swing state. evenly divided state. a close race. gillum is favored. we had a poll with the big numbers. the georgia governor's race. that's the -- if the democrats are going to make a rebuilding beyond congress, it will be the governors. >> that's the clearest suddenly about the 2020 map. a lot of these senate races are in states where it's not relevant. house races are in suburbs that it's pretty clear where they are going to vote in 2020. the governor's races are going to give us a gut check. is ohio becoming a solid red state and is florida a safe
place for the president. it looks like the answer in florida is probably not. that race is anyone's game. the notion that you can have a liberal democrat this competitive in a statewide election compounds what we thought we knew about florida a year ago. >> it's a fascinating race. a fascinating subset of this moment. progressive people of color are running against trump. you have this very, very direct contrast between kemp in georgia and abrams in georgia. playing in differently states. it's fascinating to see where they end up. >> that wants to lock up rod rosenstein. two african-american governors in the south. if you look at all of these
states, not just 2020 presidential race, but redistricting which the republicans dominated in the obama presidency. this is the democrats's shot. >> exactly. that's something that is very, very much on the minds of democrats. >> i also love the question that was asked to desantis about whether he believes the president is a good role model for children. he answered and we have seen creative answers to these kinds of questions before, but he answered with something about israel and jerusalem which is so unrelated to the question being asked. this is the position that a lot of republicans have been put in. they want to be aligned with the president, but they don't want to answer the ugly questions about the president. >> when i'm thinking about my children and their role models. wolf starts after a quick break. have a good day. your insurance rates skyrocket after a scratch so small
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hello, i'm wolf blitzer. thanks for joining us. we start with major political news. the final sprint right now to the mid-term elections. we are just 15 days away and president trump is moving full steam ahead holding rallies across the country. four stops this week as he fights for republicans to hold control of congress. he is squaring off against