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tv   Texas Tribune Festival - Trump the Presidency  CSPAN  October 10, 2017 4:04pm-5:01pm EDT

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rebuild these communities. that's our pledge to each one of you today. so thank you. god bless you for your work and we stand with you until the job is done. [applause] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2017] captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit >> historians and journalists looked at president trump's first months in office compared h.w. brandscessors, and marcha liasson and douglas brinkly. this took place at the texas tribune festival at the university of texas in austin.
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>> i'm brian curtis and welcome to the texas tribune festival to "trump and the presidency. a very rich panel. of here are a whole bunch trump and there is lunch on the main mall and the day will conclude with a session at the at&t center. this panel is supported by pearson and the sponsors and donors but play no role in determining the content of panelists or my line of questioning. this event will be 60 minutes. the last 15, 20, i'll leave it open to your questions. and pearson will be hosting all of us for a brief meet and greet
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at the text union building where we all drain the swamp together. so please join us for that. if you are going to tweet during this event and while looking at your phones, please silence it. let me introduce our panelists. douglas brink ley and cnn's presidential historian and author of several books. mara liasson is the until political correspondent for n.p.r. and covered every election since 1992. >> 1776. >> she is a contributor to fox news. and h.w. brand, a historian and writer who holds the senior chief in history here at u.t. and the author of several books
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of the presidency and the "the general and the president. truman and mcarthur at the brink of nuclear war. the four of us are going to carry on in dan rather's absence today. let's start with an innocent time in history, doug, december. president-elect trump had you as one of his guests for a launch at mar-a-lago where he talked about the presidency, the office he was about to inhabit. what did donald trump talk about at that lunch?
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>> i asked about his personal relationships with presidents. he told me about jimmy carter and given money to defeat jimmy carter and thought carter was a terrible president and to his surprise after the election, carter came to see him and made an appointment and wanted money from trump for his new carter center and he said i admire carter that he had the guts to come eyeball to eyeball and asked me. >> did he say he gave money? >> no, he would not give him any money. and then he said richard nixon, he became friendly with nixon because he was on "the fill donahue show" and pat nixon saw
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the show and said that the future president of the united states is going to be on the show. and he got a letter from nixon which he willingly showed people president trump from richard nixon who said never saw anybody as smart and let's go out for a meal. and they started dining together trump and nixon. nixon was then his reputation was in at that timers and living in northern new jersey and donald trump was on covers of maga zeens and makes more sense why nixon may have tried to do a reachout to him. stories like that. talked about reagan and what he regulate. and knew nothing about them and kept saying i want to be short,
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i want to be short and i told them about william henry harrison going long and dying after only one month and we talked about kennedy and the like. but it was an innocuous meeting. he had zero understanding of american history. somebody of a child of television and operates on the gut instinct of what he sees. he is virl. we know how much he washes cable. that is his intellectual source is cable news. but he may have a short attention span so the idea that he would read a h.w. brands book, for example, not going to happen. >> are you surprised that he had won? >> he surprised that he won in the sense that he kept spinning this idea there was voter fraud, that hillary didn't win by three
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million because three million illegal people voted and i was a little startled that he was clinging to that false narrative. well , he so you might as be mag namous. i don't know whether he knew he was going to do repeal and replace obamacare or do infrastructure. i think the betting money was he was going to do repeal and replace obamacare. when general flynn got bused and he started recognizing he was going to be investigation, trump, that his instinct was to double down with his base and that pipe dream that maybe he was a thared wave not a democratic or republican and do bipartisan things evaporated and did red meat for that so-called trump base which is 35% to 40%
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of the voting public. > a doubling through including last night and doubled down at a rally. ma rmp arch, we are eight months into the trump administration, doesn't it seem like 100 months. do you have a sense of how trump regards the institution of the presidency? >> that's a really good question. i think that he views the institution of the presidency as definitely not a co-equal branch of government. i think he sees it as a super equal branch of government. i think he's frustrated that he didn't get the kind of respect, he isn't ven rated the way he would like to, the fact that he liked the military parade in france and the kind of leaders, authoritarian anticipate
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democratic leaders that he respects and bonds with around the world tells you about how he views his role. and i guess as a journalist, when i started -- when trump came into office, i kept a couple of questions, is donald trump in degree or kind from previous presidents, in other words is he a conservative republican or something wholly new and different? and i started thinking he was ruder and cruder and i'm thinking that he is different in kind. his view of other democratic institutions like the independent judiciary, the press, the things he feels -- the norms he feels comfortable breaking, i don't think he conceives them as norms. i think he is different in kind nd he is a stress test for dem
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hiropractic institution. so those are the things and i'm watching for there it i think he sees the presidency in a different way than any other modern president. i would love to hear what the presidential historians think about this. he described his inauguration as i took an oath to the american people, not the constitution. i don't think he thinks about the constitution, i don't think he feels he has any restraints on him. the things he has talked about with such glee is how when he is president, i cannot do anything illegal. it is like the nixon phrase. i forget how he put it, but something like the president cannot have a conflict. i think he sees it as so many of the things in his life have been, a big get out of jail free card. i don't mean that literally.
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>> as a presidential historian, someone who has studied how ifferent >> i would say he looks on it as a businessman. there is a reason he is the only people whose top line on the resume was businessman. the only other successful business person to become president was herbert hoover, who is not a great advertisement or being a good president. this goes very much in line with impatience that a ceo would have. the difference in politics is that in business you can fire people who are causing your trouble. the president can't fire the supreme court or the senate majority leader. he has to live with them. trump is running against it. as someone who is brand-new to politics, he has not accepted
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this. i'm not sure at the age of 71 he is inclined to change his ways. he still hopes he can change the institutions. rather than have the institutions change him. >> we have been processing the flurry of news over the last eight months. i can think of nothing else but going into a twitter opening, did you just see what donald trump just said? because you are paid to imagine the unimaginable, what has gone as expected about these first months, what is different? >> getting neil gorsuch into the supreme court was expected. he was going to pick a conservative and that will have a lasting impact. thus far, i see it as his biggest success in 2017. i thought the twitter use would get toned down. i had a fantasy that his daughter would be the twitter
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zar. she would have to read it first. she would let 90% of them go out, but once in a while, not that one, not that one. that has not happened. the determination to keep inflaming and dividing the country, all presidents try to unite. ohn f. kennedy's first 100 days, ostensibly, was a failure. bay of pigs, cosmonauts going into space with russia. but kennedy went and said, i screwed up the bay of pigs, don't blame ike. i did it. he had a 77% approval rating fter his first 100 days. after his first year, he had an 80% rating.
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that is not going to happen with trump. as he mentioned last night in alabama, wherever he goes he is polarizing. he feels he is winning in a divide and conquer way. i worked on books on reagan before and he used to say you have to have 50% to get something done. in order to push policy through. trump is constantly operating at 35% to 40%. and hence, nothing is getting done. but he steals the headline news every day because of twitter. and by playing cultural war games like we saw in charlottesville. like you are seeing with football. i find it reprehensible. it is pitting american against american, in order to be in charge. it all began with this birther movement on obama, the building
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of the wall and making latinos feel like lesser people by not having a meeting with somebody like john lewis to talk about civil rights. we are in a serious, unprecedented moment where we have a president that has gone rogue on us, our institutions. he is trying anytime he can to circumvent the law. he knows he has inoculation as he can keep 40% of the population backing anything he does. reports come out tomorrow, in short of being something so egregious that he does, 35% to 40% will stay with him. they have signed on to the colts and persona of donald trump. the people that i talk to, some here in audience who are most
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frustrated with trump are conservatives. they feel they have been working the conservative movement for decades and this is the result. this is what has been produced? the political currents are vicious and confused. it all goes back to the 1960's and early 1970's. reagan used to say he was trying to roll back a great society. trump, if he had his way, would like to roll back the great ociety and the new deal. >> what has surprised you about all of the surprises? >> that donald trump is exactly the way he was during the campaign. there was weird magical thinking
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that this was an act, that he would revert to being back a democrat. that he would revert to this kind of theory. the alternative universe of donald trump. that he was so unique, he could ust partisan boundaries. that totally went by the wayside. he chose a strict base strategy and subcontracted out his legislative agenda to the republican leadership in congress, much to his dismay over time. they have not delivered. they came in and said, don't worry, we will repeal and replace obamacare, and have tax reform by august. that is why he is so angry. a couple of things. he may have a 35% approval rating. but as we learned in the campaign, national approval numbers don't mean much. poll numbers don't mean that much. but what is his approval rating in the 10 battleground state? when you talk to people in the white house, they believe his approval rating is not 35%, that he is still about where he was
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when he got elected. they think he is in the 40's. legislatively he could be a completely unsuccessful resident and get nothing through except neil gorsuch and the regulations, which in and of itself could be fine. but he could win reelection. all you have to do is win one vote, win by one vote in those battleground states. he could get a smaller percentage of the popular vote and still pull out and electoral college with three. that is why he pays such meticulous attention to the base. but in terms of conservative looking at donald trump with dismay, what happened in alabama was interesting. not just the 90 minute screed. we probably should go back and watch that, for all of its various detours that he took. but he was campaigning for a candidate, luther strange, that his base does not like.
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what that trip to alabama was, was a test for whether the trump base's loyalty to trump -- he once famously said i can stand on 5th avenue and i would not lose any voters. his base has been described as a cult of personality but there are many republicans who say it is not as big as people think it is or as strong as people think it is. and they will come to the rally with trump, laugh and applaud, and then they will go out and vote for roy moore, the guy that he was ostensibly campaigning against. >> here's a quote from the rally. it happens to be about colin kaepernick. it could be about any number of things with the president. we saw him tweeting about the emmy awards this week. this is him talking about an nfl owner with a player kneeling for the national anthem.
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get that son of a pitch off the field right now. out. he is fired. he is fired. what do you think is the purpose in donald trump's mind in going there with that topic, in that language, in that venue? >> from the beginning of the donald trump phenomenon, i have wonder to what extent his actions are calculated and to what extent they are impulsive. the more i watch, the more i think it is impulsive. i'm not sure he even knew he was going to say that when he stepped up to the microphone. he started in and wandered off. this is one of the reasons that people around him are unable to rein him in because they don't know what he will do and when he will do it. one of the remarkable things to me about president trump is that he is exactly like he was during the campaign. for everybody else, there is a
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candidate discount you take into account when they change from candidate to be president. they realize these are two different roles. with president trump, there does not seem to be any differentiation. the first signal is when you win, and then, you get the inaugural address. and everybody else before trump has followed the thomas jefferson model after the very divisive election. referring to the two major parties, he said we are all republicans, we are all federalists. trump may no gesture at all in that direction. one of the questions i would pose is, if donald trump has to choose between getting something done, let's say, tax reforms, where he has to cut deals with the democrat, he has to choose between that and hanging onto his base. would you rather get reelected with essentially no legislative accomplishment, or get the legislative accomplishment and jeopardize his position with his base?
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>> get reelected, no doubt. >> one of the questions that occurs to me is what does he want out of the presidency? nearly everybody else who gets elected president realizes first of all this is the biggest thing they have ever done because they have all been in public service before, and they at least had some idea of what they wanted to accomplish or how they wanted to be seen when they are out of office. with president trump, i cannot figure that out. for all i know, his major goal is to make his net worth greater at the end of his time in office than it is now. >> he wants to get good headlines. he was to get good poll numbers, and he wants to be the greatest president america has ever seen, but i don't think he think that is dependent on something he accomplishes in office. he can just tell people that and they will believe him.
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can i say one thing that has -- one thing maybe that we have been surprised that a little bit. the real concern of many people during the campaign was that he meant what he said when he said nato was obsolete and maybe we should pull back from our role in nato, he did not like multilateral alliances, the whole kind of isolationist, pro-putin. that was a surprise. he was stopped by democratic institutions from having the kind of relationship with russia that i think he wanted. and even though he was dragged kicking and screaming, he did finally a firm article five of nato, that an attack on one is an attack on all. what is jokingly called in washington the committee to save america, tillerson, matus, mcmaster, and kelly, they have constrained him. in other words, at least in foreign policy, his bark is a lot worse than his bite.
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one day he says we will destroy north korea and the next day, ore sanctions. >> one day being thursday. mara: literally the next day. sanctions. he is going to pull out of the iran deal, the most embarrassing thing ever. the next day, we are going to try to negotiate some addendum's to it. i think that has been reassuring ertainly to a lot of republicans who were on the ledge around donald trump. as long as you have got the national security team, the committee to save america in attack -- and as a matter of fact, secretary mattis calls and says it is a joke. i am the secretary of reassurance. >> i don't want to make it like donald trump is just a lone ranger. he is not. he is representing america. he has taken the low hanging
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fruit to win. in 1992, 19% of the public voted for ross perot. 19%, anti-nafta. that has always been a swing vote crowd. he grabbed it. george wallace, after lyndon johnson did the civil rights got powerful. in alabama, he won the south when he ran for presidency and picked up states on an overtly racist platform. he had strom thurman and the dixie crowd. barry goldwater, nuke them back to the stone age. nixon with his silent majority. some people just cannot stand democrats and liberals, so he created a lack back of a coalition. his whole presidency is trying to keep that together for what they suggested. reelection. he plays to win.
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to him, it is about winning. e never left the campaign. why stop campaigning? he also gets the narcissistic feed from the crowd. he needs that. when you read about people with malignant self-love and narcissistic disorder, they cannot handle too much negativity. if he is going to watch cable, he will get a boatload of the -- negativity. he gets his high by going to alabama and saying just the thing that will bring the house down and basically brought racial politics in alabama in attacking the nfl players. hat is donald trump. he is nativist, xenophobic, and race-based. dog whistles. a businessman that does not like a lot of federal regulations because they stopped him from building some projects.
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he has the typical gripe of builders and developers. they could've put the building up two years sooner if it were not for the government red tape. >> after charlottesville, you went on npr and said he does not see his job as president as providing moral leadership to the country. this is very different from every other modern president when faced with a racial episode like this. so can you be president of the united states and be a moral on -- amoral on a topic like charlottesville? do you have to provide eadership?
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mara: he is not providing moral leadership, so i guess the answer to that question is yes, but that was an amazing moment because the easiest thing for presidents -- it is almost like default on your keyboard what you say after a moment of racial tension. it is in the memory banks. you stand up and say words of inclusion and healing and even if you do not say them eloquently, every other president has said that. there is a standard thing for presidents to say after an incident of racial tension, and he chose not to do that. it turned out, it was about him. what happened was they had not written a statement like that for him. he was mad and either did not like the way it was received or people accused him of waiting too long, so he let it rip, you know, when he was in trump tower. you saw the incredible images of john kelly looking like he wanted to sink through the marble floor. that is how -- he does not see the president as providing moral leadership but as a cheerleader for america, and he said that during the campaign. you can see when he goes down to the hurricane area, for which he got good remarks, good marks, and that is why his poll numbers ticked off a little bit. he goes and talks about how
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great everything is and the effort is that we only lost 33 people. so he does see it as the cheerleader and salesman. he is always talking about how many fighter planes foreign leaders have decided to buy, so he sees his role that way as a booster. but the question i have for these two guys is do you think, after donald trump leaves office in four or seven years, there will be a move to constrain the presidency? in other words, one of the effects of donald trump will be a diminishment of the powers of the executive to make it a law that you have to release your tax returns, to actually enshrined in law that you cannot have conflicts of interest, things like that, because that is what happened after watergate. not everything is written into law. all these norms we hear about, i almost feel like there is a guy named norm who is being obliterated every day by trump. there is things presidents just
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did, and now donald trump does not want to do any of them, so i am wondering if the upshot of his is that, you know -- >> after franklin roosevelt won in 1944, constitutional amendment. only have two terms. there will be a post-trump reflection, and we will have to see how that plays out, but we do not know at this point whether he is a one termer or two termer -- or three yearer. >> or four termer. >> it is all a work in progress. he has been a great disrupter of american history. he is turning it topsy-turvy. our business, we cannot talk about anything else because everything is donald trump 24/7. you have to unplug and take a
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walk because he can drive you insane because he is flipping this and that and keeping everybody off kilter. that only plays into his hands. we were talking earlier, it is likely that he can win reelection. the idea that democrats are going to find a relative unknown who is going to take on the guy -- trump is a big brand and if you do not get something like the joe biden or somebody with the big brand to take him on, it is a hard season to build somebody up from the grassroots to go knock him out, so the democrats have to be careful. they are probably going to have about 15 candidates seeking the presidency. you may even have bernie sanders and elizabeth warren. and mitch landrieu, cory booker, tim ryan. i mean, the list goes on. not one right now.
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maybe you will come out of the woodwork and knocked trump off. i would be careful. i think he is a stronger political force than that. mara: one alternative theory to the idea that donald trump is so overwhelming, so outrageous that we have to react to everything 24 hours a day to trump. that is true, but there is a completely opposite reaction happening around the world, which is that they do not listen to him because whatever he says does not matter because he does not follow through. he does not do it. foreign leaders hear him say this and they go he is not going to pull out of nato, he is not going to pull out of the euros nuclear deal. -- iran nuclear deal. and in congress, i think that is happening a little bit. congress did something amazing. they passed the russia sanctions bill, 98-2. he did not want it. he was forced to sign it. he issued a signing statement.
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he did not want more sanctions on russia. he wanted the opposite. he issued a statement about all the ways he disagreed with this bill. somebody asked bob corker afterwards, "what do you think of the president signing statement?" he said "whatever." for the chairman to say whatever about the president of the united states and the way that mitch mcconnell reacted to his making a tentative deal on dock with nancy pelosi and chuck schumer, he just said we look forward to seeing the president's legislative proposals. as much as people are obsessed with him, people are starting to tune him out also. >> great point. we had to go through all the nixon tapes. the media always picks on his curse language, inflammatory language. but the thing that stuck out from me was how people with disregard kissinger -- he was starting to unravel nixon of 1973 through the nixon tapes in 1973, kissinger was like
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they would all just go "yes sir, right away." nobody would follow the order of the president. if you are having worries about trump having his finger on the nuclear button, so to speak, and the north korea crisis, andy, the chief of staff that george w. bush told at the time of 9/11, he went down in florida, and andy got to come on stage. if you remember, bush was reading "my pet goat." and andy had to whisper in his ear. he kept doing the thing, and as soon as they got backstage, a cluster of government officials were there and bush said "we are going right now to d.c." they said we are not letting you go to washington. bush threw a tantrum. he said "i am the president. we are going now. let's go." "we are not allowing you." the government is not allowing you. you cannot going to
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washington. you're going to go to louisiana and then -- >> the deep state. >> there are mechanisms. the idea that trump is going to -- he is want to tell kelly in an irrational moment "tell them we're going. i want the red alert plan on north korea." it is not going to happen that way. >> something that mara said and i take issue with is i think it is important to keep in mind what president trump has accomplished. there are two things historians will write about 20 years from now regarding the trump presidency. we have the suspend judgment. the presidency is not completed. two things have happened already that are historic. when is he filled the ninth seat in the supreme court with a 49-year-old conservative who
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very well might be rendering conservative opinions 40 years from now. that is a big deal. i will take issue with what mara said, but also confirming what she said. the president has single-handedly undermined american leadership in the world, and this is something that goes back to franklin roosevelt. from world war ii until the obama presidency, every president of the united states realized it is important for the united states to take world leadership. the president of the united states was the most important single figure in world affairs. that is not the case now. president trump has basically abdicated that role. even if he grudgingly affirms article five of nato, the fact he has to do it grudgingly, angela merkel is the leader of nato now. if there is a leader. the world environment, the president of china is more
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progressive than the president f the united states. when president trump says one day he is going to pull out of the iran deal and the next day he is not. for the last 75 years, the word of the president of the united states was something pretty much everybody else around the world would take to the bank. the word of this president basically means nothing. you lose that, you lose the confidence of the world, and it is really hard to get that back. mara: i think a lot about this. the damage he is doing to america's standing in the world, or the disruption, is that permanent? it matters whether it is four or eight years. but america is the world's greatest democratic superpower. none of that goes away. we still have these democratic institutions he has not succeeded in totally undermining yet. in a post-trump world, and i do believe the next president, his whole message will be "i am not donald trump."
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whoever it is, whether it is mike pence or anybody, how much of that can be repaired? because america is more than ust one president. >> i think it can be repaired. i am confident in the united states that that could be repaired. all of our allies will come back to us. they recognize we are having a weird aberration going on right now. they have their own problems. some of these countries have their own similar problems with great britain and the brexit debate and all. it is a confusing period of time, but i think we can right the ship in four years. 50 last eight years, it may do permanent damage, but right now, we have earned enough credibility in the world to be given the offer with him that it just got out of control, particularly with the russia scandal, the internet. hillary clinton, 3 million votes
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more. all of this was the perfect storm of confusion, and this happens from time to time in world history. america will get a pass in a couple of years. mara: very optimistic. you know how american leaders are always saying we separate the russian people from the russian leaders. the iranian people, we have no grief with them. now, the world has to do that with us, that america equals donald trump. > we were up in vancouver. nobody was angry at the united states. they were more laughing. "you guys now are not laughing at our politicians. america is the butt of the world." with our key allies, it is good-natured right now and they are hoping we fix our own house pretty soon. >> do we think donald trump has fundamentally changed the institution of the presidency in eight months already? > he has cheapened it.
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>> i think -- he has made the the lack of transparency, constantly being at mar-a-lago in and new jersey and eating up taxpayers' money. he has diminished the shrinking role of what the presidency means. and that's not a partisan thing. ronald reagan did a wonderful job as a republican and george herbert walker bush and keeping the tradition of america, we are a country of traditions. and taking basic lessons in civility and civics and how good government works. he is trying to monkey wrench
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things and operating on paranoia calling the press the enemy of the people. writing every day weird, crazy emails about everything under the sun. >> i don't think they are emails. >> tweets. he's making the presidency as an institution and giving it a black eye. >> i think because he has so personalized the presidency. when he leaves, that will go away and the institution remains. the next president is going to be the anti--trump and that president will have every incentive to restore dignity to the office. >> and release tax returns immediately. that will be a fundamental threshold next time. >> i want to ask you, the "new york times" this spring did a very short list called say something nice about donald
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trump -- [laughter] >> and was abandoned due to lack of material. let me ask the three of you and i'll give you an out, something that has gone less badly perhaps than you feared. i'll start with you, bill. [laughter] >> take your time. >> i have so many to choose from. what donald trump has demonstrated, you can become president of the united states without being beholden to any party and that is its an upside and downside. the party has no incentive to make sure you are a success and we are seeing that in trump's relationship with congress. but it looked as though the parties had a headlock on who could be nominated and who could win. and trump said you could parachute in from outside and if
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ou are efficiently char as matic but his charisma is negative. if you are that and manipulate the media, then you can get legitimated. but that's a positive thing. >> i would say that if you are a conservative republican or just a republican, you would say gorsuch and obama-era regulations is a good thing. ut that's a cry partisan criteria. oh, his choice of his national security team is a positive. i don't think that he chose them -- they were from central casting and germs and liked them and that was a positive thing. just imagine, imagine a world where we had a kind of general flynn in every one of those
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positions instead of mattis, kelly and -- >> the last few weeks on the dreamers and daca and allowing these people that grew up in the united states, they are our brothers and sisters. he punted that to congress, but the willingness to work with schumer and pelosi and trying to get a safety net a guarantee that they are americans is a bright sign that maybe he's not so rigid in his thinking and operating from just a hard right perspective. >> with the aster risk, we will believe it when we see it. >> perhaps he will go in a conservative direction. >> i thought that was a good moment. >> we have time for a couple of questions. >> harvey relief, not the first trip to corpus christi and when
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he came back into houston and hugged people and showed a human side to him. think he did right during right during those disasters and fema did a solid job and trump is a beneficiary after katrina. fema has reconstructed themselves but have gotten a degree of activity out of fema that is a lot better. and now puerto rico and what's happening there and the amount of funding they are going to need and hope the trump administration continues to reach out to florida, puerto rico and texas. >> that was pretty good. do we have any questions, please come down and use the microphones.
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they are right at the end of the aisle. why don't you start. >> can you hear me? l have a question for mr. brink mp y you said that trump wants to dismantle the new deal. doesn't that give him an ideology that i don't see is warranted. you are giving an intent to dismantle the new deal and he says you can't touch the entitlements and medicare is mean. i was very confused. dismantling the new deal -- he isn't going to dismantle social security. but i read reagan's diaries and people say i don't like f.d.r. or the federal government but i voted for f.d.r. and roll back
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the great society era. and i'm suggesting with donald trump, he would like to do away with the civil rights act of the 1960's and would like to go back to a more states' rights. and stop this role of progressivism which culminated with obamacare which are the great things of the progressive movement and try to roll back the clock. >> that much ideology. >> i think you are making a good point. he has a new ideaology. jeff sessions wants to roll back the new deal. it's not donald trump. donald trump wants to obliterate anything obama did. but the conservative far right conservative wing of the party that he's empowered and brought
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into his administration, they would like to roll back the new deal. so it's not so much him. he has aligned himself with that wing of the party who has thought this out very carefully and little by little at the department of justice, gorsuch on the supreme court, those things might be chipped away with you. he doesn't have an ideology. he wants big infrastructure programs and loves social security and medicare and he is at odds with his party. the obamacare bills he has been for, every single one of them is the opposite of what he cam paped on. >> in florida he would love big government in florida because it helps him get re-elected. >> democrats do not root for
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impeachment. >> this is a light-hearted question, presidential traditions and norms, thanks giving is coming, and the turkey, do you think he's going o pardon it, fire it or chop the head it off or is the staff going to forget that? >> will donald trump treat the "the giving turkey like apprentice"? > going to treat it like joe arpaio. [laughter] >> everybody gets a pardon from donald trump. >> we don't get how your investigation is going to shake out under the best of circumstances when the white house is under under investigation there is an conflict of interest of personal counsel as opposed to the counsel of the white house. and on the one side, we have --
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i learned about these lawyers when i went to law school and dream team. and other side we have the clown show of attorneys talking about private privileged matters in the earshot of the new york time. there is going to be a lot of conflicts between those two. and i get the sense from trump that he does not mind picking his own personal interests over and against the lasting impact it might have on the executive branch. what do you think in terms of, what are the risks here and how do you think that will play out depending on what happens with the mueller investigation? >> since the beginning of his presidency, he had the heat of the law on him. he hasn't ever been able to relax because of the russia
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probe and big part of the narrative in 2017. there's another leak and if i were to write the history of 2017, the amount of leaking going out of government is astounding. and trump's been having to fire people, figure it out and stop leaks. he has a lot of enemies from within as much as he is picking on the press. he has great internal problems. i don't know if he has the ability to know who he has to trust right now and doesn't have an alter ego like coren son, maybe general kelly can become hat person, maybe he is. he is a president be sieged and every day he is worried about lawsuits. one of the best comments made recently is he's happy in the white house because the second he leaves he has so many
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lawsuits coming from so many things. and i don't know how he lived his life like that where every minute you have people that are suing you, but he has lived his life in that kind of world and not been busted and not gone to jail and trump university didn't get him. he gets penalized and pays fees and keeps ongoing. but there may be a bridge going too far and we'll find out when the mueller report gets released. >> this is a grinding process and people in the white house spending tremendous amounts of money on lawyers, people in the white house wonder if one of their colleagues is wearing a wire. that kind of investigation just makes it even more. in terms of the conflict between don mcbegan and tie cobb who are
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supposed to represent donald conflict, don does not have attorney-client. and bob mueller wants to talk to don and get the documents he donald ve about -- what trump was thinking when he fired comey. i don't think donald trump himself thinks about the conflict between his personal legal exposure and the damage to the institution of the presidency. >> i don't think he trusts his own lawyers and i don't think he tells his own lawyers the truth. we could see that with bill clinton and started lying to his own attorneys because to let the truth be known he was worried that it would be leaked. so it's a grim situation. >> the republican leadership in
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congress. if they are sufficiently annoyed with president trump and find something in the mueller report that they can use against the president then there is a possibility of impeachment. but trump himself will wave away. these are my enemies. >> a republican congress isn't going to impeach a republican president. pardon? >> squeeze in a couple of more. >> you furthered the answer, what would be the stump turner? f you parallel the germans and thought they could control hitler, they could have controlled trump, what would be the stomach turner that would reate -- >> 20718 and he believed he was the cause or in the run-up to
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2018 that he is a huge drag on them and we don't know when the mueller report is coming out before or after 2018, but if republicans see him as a liability, the problem is that the base of the republican party is with donald trump and not with the republican leadership. i did a piece where republican operative said there are three parties, the trump party, the republican congressional party and there's the democrats and you saw that playing out in alabama. the republican voters who are for moore see mcconnell and ryan as the enemy and excused the deal with nancy pelosi and chuck schumer because they feel mcconnell and ryan drove them to it. everything is tribal and everything is so tribal that if
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you are against mcconnell and ryan as roy moore is, then he must be a great guy. we have really gone down. >> anything that can shake the trump base? >> daca. i think immigration is so fundamental for the trump base. look, he was the organization big birther when he started with birtherism. immigration, he rode down thes cailtor and called mexicans racists. that is a threshold issue for his base, many conservatives says if he does give amnesty to the dreamers, but if they don't get the wall in exchange and don't get some really big thing in exchange, not that the base will totally leave him but just unenthusiastic and enough of them will stay at home in


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