tv This Week With George Stephanopoulos ABC October 16, 2016 8:00am-9:01am PDT
starting right now on "this week" with george stephanopoulos. trump unshackled. >> the process is rigged. this whole election is being rigged. >> attacking his opponent and his accusers. >> they will lie. it's a total setup. >> team clinton calling trump out. >> the belief that you can do anything you want to a woman, it is cruel. it's frightening. >> will clinton capitalize and put the race away? in this campaign of surprises, what will we see next? we talked to both sides, clinton running mate tim kaine and trump supporter newt gingrich and with just three weeks to go, our brand new poll. how much did the turbulence on the trail shake up the race? plus, we're one on one with
general david petraeus on the battles facing the next commander in chief. from abc news, it's "this week." here now coanchor martha raddatz. >> good morning. 23 days from the election. it has come to this. the republican nominee for president of the united states flatout saying at rally after rally and with increasing force that the election cannot be trusted. that hillary clinton belongs in jail. it's a fundamental challenge to a pillar of democracy, free and fair elections, shaking confidence in something we all take for granted, the peaceful transition of power. it's not a new thing for trump but over the last 72 hours trump has dialed it up. his anger rising with the volume of accusations from women who say groped their bodies. kissed their mouths against their will.
before hyped up crowds trump casting himself as a victim of corrupt politicians, global financial interest and the press all conspiring to tear him down and rig the election. >> there's a whole sinister deal going on. the clintons are criminals. remember that. they're criminals. the election is being rigged by corrupt media pushing false allegations and outright lies but we are going to stop it. we are not going to back down. >> trump's intensity and the concern that many of his supporters will reject the election results should he lose. enough to push the nation's top elected republican house speaker paul ryan to put out this extraordinary statement, our democracy relies on confidence in election results and the speaker is fully confident the states will carry out this election with integrity. this hour we'll talk to democratic vice presidential
candidate tim kaine and to one of trump's most astute political advisers former house speaker newt gingrich. first, what's behind trump's fury is one of the worst ten day stretches of any campaign ever sparked by that tape. the accusations of sexual aggression and that powerful repudiation by the first lady. >> a candidate for president of the united states has bragged about sexually assaulting women and i have to tell you that i can't stop thinking about this. it has shaken me to my core in a way that i couldn't have predicted. >> 1,400 miles away at a sweltering south florida fair ground there was trump sounding victimized, wounded. >> these false attacks are absolutely hurtful. to be lied about, to be slandered, smeared so publicly
and before your family that you love is very painful. >> that speech marked a turning point. his rallies getting wilder. mocking his accusers. >> believe me, she would not be my first choice, that i can tell you. >> unloading on clinton. >> hillary clinton should have been prosecuted and gone to jail for what she did. >> throwing out the theory she took drugs for the debate. >> i think we should take a drug test prior to the debate. i do. because i don't know what's going on with her. but at the beginning of her last debate she was all pumped up at the beginning. >> all this as a series of national and state polls show trump's path to victory looking less likely with every passing day. beyond the traditional battle grounds trump showing surprising weakness in deep red states like utah, texas, alaska but our new poll shows while hillary clinton is holding on to her lead, trump
supporters are sticking with him. among likely voters, hillary clinton is beating trump by 47-43 points. that four point advantage unchanged from her two-point lead a month ago. and this surprising finding. clinton's lead among female voters is actually falling. off 11 points as white women without college degrees rallied to trump. and while republican lawmakers especially those in competitive races may be running away, the party base is as much with him as democrats are with clinton. her support among democrats, 89%. 86% of republicans are with him. as for those accusations of sexual aggression, 68% of voters say he probably has made unwanted sexual advances toward women which he's denied. but 84% of republicans say it
won't affect their vote. with those brand new poll numbers let's go straight to the democratic vice presidential nominee senator tim kaine. good morning to you senator kaine. i want to start right off with that new abc news washington post poll out this morning. secretary clinton at 47%. donald trump only four points behind at 43%. your opponent has lost the support of dozens of elected officials and his party is facing a rash of sexual assault a occasion -- accusations and is talking about conspiracy theories on the campaign trail and you're still within the margin of error. you always thought it would be close. but after all this, why doesn't your ticket have a bigger lead? >> well, you know, martha, you're right, i have always said this was going to be close and i believe it. i'm campaigning in florida, a close state. i come from virginia. all our races are close which i
assumed from the beginning. we just have to make our case over the next three plus weeks. we like where we are in the polls and states that matter but we're not taking anything for granted. especially in the last couple of days as donald trump has started to go wilder and wilder. i think after losing the first two debates he started to make wild claims, scorched earth claims about the election being rigged et cetera. so we have to keep putting out a message and we need to call on everybody to speak out about the fact that we run elections and we run them well here. he shouldn't be engaging in those scare tactics. we're needing to push that message and we ask the gop leaders to stand up for the integrity for the american electoral process. >> his campaign just announced a new fundraising record of $100 million. they say it comes from mostly small donors. that would say something about his grass roots support.
>> well, we don't have any doubt he's going to have some grass roots support. that's why he won the gop nomination in a field of a lot of candidates. the gop decided he should be the nominee. you point out correctly that a lot of leaders have had cause to really regret that and have abandoned donald trump over these sexual assault allegations and some are speaking out, speaker ryan spoke out against his claim that this would be a rigged election. but he's got support. so if anybody looks at our schedules they will know we're not taking anything for granted. we're pushing very, very hard. because look, we have got a different vision for our country and policy than donald trump that we're proud out. but also when somebody is saying that the election is rigged and questioning the integrity of our election, hillary and i stand up for the integrity of our elections. hillary and i stand against russian efforts to meddle in american election. now there's a lot of reasons
beyond policy and vision for the country why we have to do everything we can to make sure that the result is as clear as it could be come the evening of november 8th. >> senator, can you point out the trump campaign said that the clinton campaign is in collusion with the media, the election is rigged and the women making accusations are all rigged and sent forth by the clinton campaign or the media. can you say unequivocally that the clinton campaign had nothing to do with getting these women to come forward? >> absolutely. these are folks who frankly saw donald trump look america in the face when you and anderson cooper were engaging in the debate last sunday night. when he was asked directly, listen, you're caught on tape saying the grossest stuff about the way you treat women, did you actually act that way. he didn't want to answer the question. but you kept pressing and he said no, those were my words but i didn't act that way toward women.
as soon as he said those were not my actions, that was the invitation to people who knew otherwise to say wait a minute, i've had an experience with donald trump. that's what's going on. it's not because of our campaign. but it's very characteristic of donald trump that now he's blaming these women. he's making weird claims that no, i couldn't have assaulted this person, she's not attractive enough. how bizarre is that. he's blaming the media, gop. he's saying that america can't run a fair election. he is swinging at every phantom of his own imagination because he knows he's losing and this is what bullies do. this is what bullies do. >> let's talk about the accusations against donald trump. i want to start by reading a statement. there's no question that it's disturbing but to come to any judgment now is definitely not something i think is timely. that's from the national women's political caucus in 1998 reacting to the scandals facing president bill clinton to
different series of accusations. president clinton is not on the ballot next month. do you believe mr. trump deserves the benefit of the doubt when it comes to these accusations? >> i don't draw a conclusion about a particular allegation but you need to look at the whole context of what donald trump has said about women from the very beginning of this campaign and the tape that emerged was not somebody else. it was donald trump in his own words describing how he treats women. i think the american voters can look at this and reach their own conclusion. but remember, this is a pattern of behavior that actually -- >> you don't believe he deserves the benefit of the doubt there? based on what -- >> i think donald trump needs to be judged on his own words and his own behavior. and the american voter is getting ample evidence on which they can make that judgment. >> let's talk about the hacked e-mails that the clinton campaign shared, john podesta,
the wikileaks hack. one of the things in the e-mails she said in a goldman sachs speech. she said people are who oppose immigration are fundamentally unamerican. your reaction? >> we're a nation of immigrants. if you look at the declaration of independence, when we broke from england one of the bill of particulars against king george is we have got to be independent because the king won't let us have a working immigration system. we are a nation of immigrants and have to have a functioning immigration system. for anybody whose family probably came from somewhere else a few generations to say okay now we're going to put up the draw bridge and not let anybody else in, i don't think that's in accord with the values of our nation. now we have to have rules and regulations and that's what hillary and i want to do. >> so it's unamerican? >> to say there should be no immigration, yes, that is definitely contrary to the best
values of our country that were laid out in the declaration of independence. >> i want to get to another e-mail talking about catholicism with the democratic strategist who denounces what he calls gender relations and some conservatives are only catholic because they think it's the most acceptable political conservative religion. many took offense to the mockery of catholicism. you're catholic. should the campaign apologize for these messages? >> well, martha, let me first say this. this is really important thing. i don't give credence to any of these dumped documents because i don't even know if they're accurate and they are part of an effort by the russians and wikileaks to destabilize the election. >> i'm just saying the writer of this e-mail said he sent this e-mail. >> this is an important topic
that everybody needs to know about these e-mails. one e-mail has come up with my name and it's completely inaccurate. was it inaccurate because the sender didn't know what he or she was talking about? was it inaccurate because it was doctored? i have no way of knowing. on catholicism. i am catholic. i'm very, very serious about my catholicism and hillary views that as an asset. we have talked about our faith lives as she asked me to be on the ticket with her. in terms of what hillary clinton who is running for president thinks about catholics and the value more broadly of having a faith background, i can tell you she views it as a plus just as she views her own methodism as a plus. >> an apology? >> again, we all have opinions and i don't think you need to apologize for your opinions. in fact, that's a great thing about our country and even about being catholic. we have plenty of opinions. so you don't need to apologize for an opinion but in terms of
respect for the church and people's faith, hillary clinton has that respect because it's what motivates her. >> thank you very much for joining us this morning senator kaine. >> thanks, martha. take care. >> for more on trump's bruising week let's go to newt gingrich. a top trump supporter and author of the new book, a novel, "treason." welcome mr. speaker. glad to have you here this morning. you heard tim kaine talk about his concerns over charges of a rigged election. but mr. trump has been continuing to ramp up the rhetoric in tweets and speeches. senator jeff sessions saying they are attempting to rig the election. who are they and how are they doing this? >> well, i think they are the news media. this is not about election officials at the precinct level. this is about last friday when the networks spent 23 minutes on the trump tape and less than one
minute, all three networks combined, less than one minute on hillary clinton's secret speeches being revealed on wikileaks. you look at that and say -- it's amazing trump is as close as he is right now considering the one-sidedness of the news media barrage and the best description of it is by a blog where it said this is a cue da ta. 14 million citizens in private ballots picked donald trump and 20 tv executives decided to destroy him. >> you say it's not at the precinct level but trump has also told people to monitor polling stations. >> they should. you look at philadelphia, st. louis and chicago. i'm old enough and remember when richard nixon had the election stolen. in 1960. no serious historian doubts that texas was stolen. so to suggest that we have -- that you don't have theft in philadelphia is to deny reality. >> so you really think this election could be stolen. do you believe if mr. trump loses it will be because of a
massive conspiracy or a fraud not because more americans voted for someone else? >> i think without the unending one sided assault in the news media trump would be beating hillary by 15 points. when you look at wikileaks and all the things she has said, when you look at the deals in russia that bill clinton made and nonsense with case about russia. it was bill clinton who got a half million dollar speech. it is podesta on a russian company advisory board funded by putin. the news media is one sidedness is the worst i've seen and i'm old enough. a fairly long statement. >> i want to go back to what house speaker paul ryan said through a spokesperson. you were speaker of the house. he expressed confidence. in the electoral system. he is a republican. our democracy relies on confidence and election results and the speaker is confident the states will carry out the election with integrity.
ryan's national press secretary said in an e-mail. you just simply disagree with paul ryan? >> first of all, paul ryan is from wisconsin, actually abolished elections. if ryan would look at the history of philadelphia and four years ago -- >> i assume he's looked at other elections. >> there are clearly cases where you have intimidation and cases where you have theft. there are cases where you have people -- there's a guy in california voting 24 years after he died. to suggest people are concerned about honest elections are nutty i think is a mistake. second trump's major complaint about the election is not at the poll level. it's at the news media level. this election is being rigged by the national media doing everything they can to suppress bad news about hillary and everything they can to maximize bad news about trump. >> you heard me talk about wikileaks with tim kaine. >> you spent how long of that
session on trump and how long -- i'm suggesting to you -- >> let's talk a bit about his language this week and that certainly did get a lot of news media attention and also stirring something in people who openly talk about assassination or revolution. let's listen to this. >> if hillary clinton gets in i myself, i'm ready for a revolution because we can't have her in. >> if she gets in the government, i'll do everything in my power to take her out of power which i have to be a patriot i will. >> it sounds like you're saying it would be acceptable to assassinate a president. >> if she's corrupt why should she be able to stay in office? >> he basically said it would be okay to assassinate a president. govern mike pence was quick to rebuke the first voter. are you concerned about all that talk of violence if secretary clinton wins? >> to suggest it's okay to assassinate a president i think is a felony and it should be -- you can't talk about attacking
or assassinating the president of the united states states and you shouldn't be able to and that guy is a fool. if i were to look for the most foolish clinton supporter and give them equal time, i could find you nutty people for hillary clinton. >> with things you're saying right now that the election is rigged, senator sessions is saying the election is rigged. mr. trump is saying. are you concerned what will happen if mr. trump loses and millions of his voters are told the election was rigged? >> i believe the rigging is the level of the national establishment. i don't think it's at the level of stealing votes at the precinct level. >> you talked about that a little bit. >> i think there's no question that everything possible is being done to stop donald trump and you're seeing a case study in how hard it is to be an outsider and the double standard of the national media particularly if you're a conservative outsider. >> i want -- >> martha, how do you explain 23 minutes on his tape and less
than a minute total on the week week leaks speeches by hillary? >> there was a lot of attention on that tape. there's been a lot of attention with what mr. trump has said since about the women accusing him of assault. i want you to listen to one of them. >> believe me, she would not be my first choice, that i can tell you. you don't know. that would not be my first choice. >> he appears to be attacking these women's looks. is that appropriate? >> i think it's stupid. look, i -- >> is that why the coverage continues? >> no. the coverage continues because you guys want it to continue. trump did not set out to get 23 minutes against himself and less than a minute -- that's a devastating a number which came from the hill. here's my point. i said this publicly. there's a big trump and little trump. the big trump is a historic figure. the big trump is beating 16 other people for the nomination. the big trump is
creating issues that make the establishment very uncomfortable. the little trump is stupid. that comment is dumb. i don't defend him when he wonders off. i've told him over and over. presidents have to be disciplined. and in that sense hillary is probably better trained to be president, just she's the most corrupt person to get the nomination of a major party. >> you have over three weeks left in this election and donald trump is saying things like that. >> and hillary clinton is lying again and again. the fact is we have two very deeply flawed candidates and i think it's amazing after a week long barrage by the media, the total shift was two points from your earlier poll. think about that. after a week long beating him up. the total shift is two points. >> what does he have to do in these next three weeks? clearly you're saying discipline. >> i think in a disciplined way using texts that are thought through, he should outline the
scale of corruption that permeates this city and make clear to the american people they can continue the corruption with the most corrupt person that is hillary clinton or they can continue to clean up the city which will lead to the kind of problems that scott walker had in madison. you try to clean up washington, you're going to have huge forces in the street starting with the unions trying to stop you which is what happened to walker. he had death threats. >> this will attract the voters mr. trump needs? not just his -- >> first of all, i think it will attract a lot of democrats when they look at the scale of the corruption will decide it's intolerable. >> in the debate what does he need to do? >> be calm and firm and pleasant and continue to say the things he believes. >> thanks for joining us. >> thank you. >> coming up, what are voters making of this dark week in an already ugly election. my trip to a key swing state brought surprising answers next. plus on the eve of the most important battle against isis.
i'll go one on one with general david petraeus about the war on terror and the challenges facing the next commander in chief. "this week" with george stephanopoulos is brought to you by mucinex. stephanopoulos is brought to you by mucinex. or, take mucinex. one pill fights congestion for 12 hours. no thank you very much, she's gonna stick with the short-term stuff. 12 hours? guess i won't be seeing you for a while. is that a bisque? i just lost my appetite. why take medicines that only last 4 hours, when just one mucinex lasts 12 hours? start the relief. ditch the misery. let's end this.
so much of this campaign has been sickening to many americans struggling with bitter party battles and divisive nominees. so together with our partners at ssrs we asked how the race is impacting your daily life. nine out of ten americans say they discussed the campaign either very or somewhat often. nearly 40% said political discussions have caused tension between them and their family or friends. and with an election often been rated r, 29% think it's not appropriate for children to pay attention to the campaign. our round table weighs in on this wild week when we return.
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at this dramatic moment in the election, it is important to note that shifts in voter attitudes move slower than the news cycle. our new poll is a case in point, clinton's lead hasn't changed all that much. the impact of the trump tapes and latest accusations seemingly modest. what we are starting to see is a dip in enthusiasm. the percentage of trump backers who say they're enthusiastic about him falling 12 points in a month. if that's a trend it will hit trump hardest in the battle ground. like the all important philadelphia suburbs where small margins matter. we went back there. our forth trip to the swing state that could determine trump's election day fate. >> starting to look more like
hillary clinton. >> i was more towards trump initially but now undecided. >> from undecided to clinton. from trump to undecided. we also found a surprising and consistent response to the access hollywood tapes. >> the tape on the bus, yeah, i mean, i don't know. no comment. he made some locker room comments. right? >> i don't think anyone i knew was surprised by it. >> in the end, the lack of surprise seems to have led to a lack of outrage. >> i think people are like they're so offended but i think men talk that way and women talk that way as well. >> we heard that attitude again and again. did you see the tape? did that bother you? >> i actually thought it was funny. at first. >> she's undecided. >> i shouldn't be saying anything. >> even holly watkins, a strong clinton supporter. >> that's a personal decision he
chose to make. has nothing to do with performance. >> what washington and the democratic base are royally, folks here are rolling with it. if you were for trump before -- >> still trump probably. >> dave ashworthies the debate was -- >> just a clown act. >> and yet -- >> for me, the election is about the supreme court and not necessarily the president. like marriage equality and pro choice. i don't believe in those things. >> even if people don't like me, they have to vote for me. they have no choice. you know why? justices of the supreme court. >> many of trump's backers agree. maybe they're a little less excited to pull the lever but trump aligns with their beliefs. >> kind of just a lot of mud slinging both ways. but i still side with trump on most issues. >> well, i'm a big second amendment guy. >> did you see the tape? >> i did. >> what did you think?
>> i think that that happens a lot in society today. >> but the fact that folks here aren't shocked doesn't necessarily mean good things long term for trump in chester county. he's trending down statewide. the man who can no longer shock may be a man these voters no longer want to send to the white house. let's bring in our powerhouse round table. republican and abc news contributor kristen soltesz anderson. elsy granderson and dan balls and new york times reporter, welcome to all of you and i want to start with you after watching those voters. you saw the people i spoke to didn't seem that concerned about the tape. in fact, it's reflected in our poll that finds two-thirds of registered voters say it's not a factor. is the media overblowing this? do people care?
>> people do care. there is an idea that this is not something new and something didn't surprise them. i talked to both supporters and they both said multiple men would speak like this and thought it was consistent what they thought of men when they were alone. this is what they talk about. but i should say what i think is important that the fact that hillary clinton in this poll with abc, she's down 11% with women. that tells me she's still struggling. that's problematic. the idea is with all going on, with all these controversies, his statement that he could do anything and still keep his supporters still rings true. and for the clinton campaign it's problematic. >> kristin, trump has shown no sign of changing his message. even though it may not make a difference, the tape on the bus and women accusing him. we don't know that yet.
but he's still going and going and going and the media covers that. is that the right way to approach this? >> for donald trump, if you look in this poll, the best news for him is he is still running evenly with hillary clinton on the issues of the economy, immigration and terrorism. three issues that he talks about a lot. this is where voters tend to be split and a lot of voters are saying these are two deeply flawed candidates. at least trump is one i agree with on the issues and that's how he's still able to sustain keeping this a four point race despite a week of bad news. >> you're overall view of what happened this weekend, these polls? >> i mean, i am most shocked by a lot of the numbers you can go this makes sense. what i don't get are the evangelicals and the catholics. who continue to support donald trump because you think if any voter base would be affected by what they heard it would be the evangelicals. he hasn't lost their support
either. >> a lot will say forgiveness. you heard mike pence say he forgives him. >> right. how do you forgive someone who then immediately goes out and continues to offend? talking about the way that a woman looks as justification for why you wouldn't be sexually harassing her is not the signs of someone asking for forgiveness, but rather digging in their heels. >> dan, the rigged election. he talks again and again about the rigged election. you heard speaker gingrich accuse the media of rigging the election. that's where they're focusing. is that a good strategy? >> it's a dangerous strategy as we know. part of it is this is the way he's motivating his base. but everything we have seen really before the tape came out but more so afterwards is that he is trying to do everything he can to bring out a much bigger vote among his supporters than might be there otherwise, he's counting on the fact there are millions of people who would be in his camp who have not voted in the past or who have been
unlikely to vote in the past. he's trying to bring all of them out. i mean, the interesting thing about the new post abc poll, the four-point margin is as you have said the best news in the poll for him. there's all kinds of other things that suggest that he still has a ceiling. there's almost six in ten say he's not qualified to be president. that hasn't moved in his direction. temperament. most people, a majority don't think he has the temperament to be president. donald trump is in a situation right now where he has to pick up, he has to gain ground, he can't leave this election where it is. let's say it is a four-point margin. that would translate to an electoral majority and probably electoral landslide for hillary clinton. he has to do something to find new voters who aren't with him yet. >> i want to go back to the supporters. trump has been ramping up the rhetoric about how the election
is rigged and we're starting to see that language echoed by his supporters. boston globe headline going viral, trump supporters talk rebellion assassination at his rally. you saw the sound byte we ran earlier. you have been to these rallies. how dangerous is this? >> it's dangerous in the future for this -- in some ways for our country. people are feeling like the election is going to be rigged. i think this was not just something donald trump created. there's an idea that there was the primaries where bernie sanders was saying that the economy was rigged and i think a lot of people, it's not hard for them to say well if the economy is rigged then the presidential election could also be rigged. you have this drip, drip, drip of wikileaks e-mails and the people feeling as though the clinton campaign was helped out by the dnc. people may not trust the results of this election. of course, when i go to rallies, as a member of the news media, as soon as i say the new york
times people are very, very angry at the media. they think we are the ones putting our thumb on this. i should add with the evangelicals, they are talking about the supreme court and the voters that you interviewed, the idea is they're like i don't want hillary clinton to be picking the next justice. i think that's also really important. >> has clinton been able to avoid talk of wikileaks? would it be much, much bigger if not for donald trump's continuing dialogue about the women? >> from what i've read so far and haven't gone through all of 100 e-mails released, this would have been very damaging to her if this was during the primary against bernie sanders. extremely damaging. because this is coming out now, she can manage it. by one, her surrogates. two, not saying anything.
which is why we don't see her. the campaign is saying she's preparing for the debate but i think she's avoiding the questions you asked tim kaine earlier. three, when she reemerges she needs to not talk about wikileaks. what do you do? you talk about the areas you're split with donald trump and remind people of the issues. the more you talk about the issues the less people will focus on the wikileaks and the more her surrogates will handle the bashing in terms of the video and him being a sexist. >> you brought up the debate. i'm going to go to a little section from "saturday night live" last night about the debate. something donald trump doesn't like the "saturday night live." let's take a look at that. >> hello and welcome to the second and worst ever presidential debate. i'm martha raddatz. >> i'm anderson cooper. before we begin we need to do one last thing.
>> martha tonight i'm going to do three things. i'm going to huff, i'm going to puff and i'm going to blow this whole thing -- >> okay. that's a pretty strange feeling watching somebody play you but this is what donald trump said about it. watch "saturday night live," time to retire the boring and unfunny show. alec baldwin's portrayal stinks. media rigging election. now we're back to that. we've got the final debate coming up on wednesday. what do both of them have to do? >> i think for hillary clinton, she needs to make the case to the slice of voters who say i'm voting for donald trump but don't think he has the temperament and the background to be president and say you know you shouldn't vote for him. i think that's going to be the message she's going to try to drive. you may not agree with me on all the issues or think i'm corrupt
because my last name is clinton you associate me with candles but i'm the only one here genuinely qualified to be president. trump needs to say you agree with me on things like the supreme court. voters out there who think that the clinton administration would be more and more and more corruption and more and more of the same i am something different. it's time to shock the system, send me to washington. >> and dan, i was reading your piece about the challenging she faces in this next debate. >> the least of her challenges is to try to discredit donald trump. she's done that in two debates and had certainly great effect in the first debate on that. i think for her, two things. she's going to have to answer some questions about the wikileaks and i suspect chris wallace will have tough questions for her about that. i think the second thing she has to do is think about the fact that she now is in a stronger position to be the next president than donald trump and she has to think about the country that she's going to
inherit if in fact she does win this election and she needs a more positive and affirmative message to try to bring the country together. >> we'll be staying tuned for that. when we come back, i'll talk with david petraeus on the u.s. role on the fight against isis as coalition forces prepare for the biggest battle with the terror group yet. "this week" with george stephanopoulos is brought to you by bdo accountants and consultants. tapts. that cough doesn't sound so good.
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so give your body mega support with megared advanced 4in1. bp engineers use underwater robots, so they can keep watch over operations below the sea, even from thousands of feet above. because safety is never being satisfied. and always working to be better. this morning the final preparations are being made for an all-out assault on isis' last strong hold of iraq. coalition troops are massing on the outskirts of mosul backed by powerful american air power and artillery. it could be a critical turning point in the war against the terror group but could unleash a new wave of chaos in iraq and beyond. no one know that is potential for chaos better than general
david petraeus who commanded u.s. forces in iraq and drove out isis' predecessor al qaeda in iraq. general david petraeus joins us. great to have you this morning. we have spent many years in mosul from early in the war throughout the war. it must be painful for you to even watch what has gone on there for the last two and a half years. the effort to take mosul, take back mosul is imminent. what will that look like and what are the complications in holding it? >> well, it's going to be orders of magnitude larger than any fight that the iraqis with our assistance and the coalition support have taken on. there will be a ring of fire. they already lit it supposedly. there will be dug-in troops, tunnels, suicide bombers, improvised explosive devices. at the end of the day, the iraqi forces will prevail. the islamic state fighters in mosul are dead men walking and i think they know it. they're trying to desert and being executed.
there's no question about the outcome of the fight. the challenge here is actually after the fight. it's governance. can a government be established that is representative of and responsive to the most complex human terrain in all of iraq that's a province for which mosul is a capital. a huge challenge that will determine the outcome. >> just to go back to the battle, this is an urban area. this is an urban fight. >> two million people. >> two million people. i don't think people realize how difficult and different it is from a conventional battle. >> fighting in cities is a different endeavor than fighting out in the open. it has all kinds of inherent difficulties and two years of preparation to make this as difficult as possible. with our drones, our precision strike, our intelligence, advice, assistance and iraqis increasingly experienced fighting on the ground, again, the outcome is not in question.
the question is what happens afterward. there are a lot of grievances and there are arabs, turkmen. there are kurds from three different christian parties. there are a lot of grievances, scores that may be settled and in that kind of complexity, governance is going to have to emerge or else you'll start preparing fields for the planting of the seeds of islamic state 3.0 and the real fight is in baghdad where the prime minister is focusing the attention of the country on mosul while a coalition is against him taken down through votes of no confidence, his minister of defense and foreign affairs. >> the u.s. presidents in iraq, we have about 5,000 or more troops there now. would you advocate them staying there or increasing the number? over the next few years. >> well, i would advocate listening to now lieutenant general steve townsend. very experienced. was on the ground.
during the surge as a brigade commander. knows mosul. he fought there as well as in baghdad and elsewhere. he has authorities that he needs right now. he has not been hesitant as i understand it to express need for additional capabilities when that's necessary. but we want the iraqis to do the fights. we need a comprehensive campaign without question but we don't need to do all of it. indeed i'm somewhat in awe of what has been done. this is a new way of fighting. what's important about it is that it's much more sustainable in terms of blood and treasure than obviously having our forces have to do it. >> and let's look ahead to syria. that's a real problem. we don't have a lot of ground troops there. we have aleppo, assad. we all watched that tragedy. when you look at assad, what should be done about assad? what should be done about aleppo? >> well, in the bigger picture -- >> remembering these are russian backed syrian forces. >> the complexity is more than that in iraq as challenging as
that is. you have many different fights going on. we're trying to fight and defeat the islamic state and other al qaeda affiliates. many of the sunni arabs want to fight. the sunnis we're supporting. the revolutionary guards force propping up and changing the battlefield. the issue here is that it's often said there is no military solution to the challenges of syria. >> let's use your phrase. tell me how this ends. >> i'm not sure that putin and bashar got that memo. they seem to think they can have a military solution and they're trying to do that to 275,000 people trapped in aleppo right now as an example. you may buy there's no military solution. but absolutely if you do not change the military context on that battlefield there's not going to be any meaningful diplomacy. that's the situation we're in now.
there are talks. my hat is off to secretary kerry in his efforts. unless you change that context you're not going to see results. the way to change the context is to give additional weapons and anti-tank guided missiles and anti-aircraft missiles to the opposition. if you want arab special forces with them to make sure they're shot at those fighters, not civilian aircraft, a safe zone. turkey has declared one. we have had a no-fly zone over a decade to protect the kurds in northern iraq and southern iraq. again, i think it is time that we undertake these without being absolutely provocative in what we do to russia. but be firm. >> where are we with russia? what is putin up to? >> i think putin wants to recreate as much of the soviet union as he can. through a variety of different
means. he's invaded parts of georgia, took crimea, southeastern ukraine. >> are we in danger of a conflict with russia? >> we have to show in a skillful way, not provocative but we have to show a degree of firmness that is going to be unmistakable to him. in cyber space as well. certainly in ukraine and nato has taken steps to do this with positioning forces in the baltic states and eastern poland. that's what's going to have to be demonstrated continuing those and deepening those. >> we have about 20 seconds left. i want to get to yemen where the rebels have been firing on u.s. ships. in the red sea. >> big threat to a strategic maritime artery of the global economy. with respect to yemen we have to distinguish between flawed friends and adversaries. saudi arabia is a flawed friend
but taking the fight to iranian backed houthies, they could not get at the political tables and the capital of yemen. they made a big mistake and acknowledged it this past week. but we have to look at how we could help them to avoid those kind of mistakes and to ensure the freedom of navigation through a very, very important strait. >> thanks so much for talking to us. please come back again. >> thanks. >> we'll be right back. >> thanks. >> we'll be right back.
and we will have complete coverage wednesday night for the final presidential debate. be sure to turn to abc our entire powerhouse political team will be here at 9:00 p.m. eastern. you won't want to miss it. that's all for us today. thanks for sharing part of your sunday with us. and everybody, have a great day.