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tv   This Week With George Stephanopoulos  ABC  March 18, 2018 8:00am-9:00am PDT

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>> announcer: "this week with george stephanopoulos" starts right now. friday night firing. former fbi number two, andrew mccabe, terminated just two days before his retirement. mccabe fires back, says he's being singled out because he's a witness against president trump but trump calls it a great day for democracy. his lawyer says the doj should now shut down the entire russia probe. he's given mueller memos of talks with the president. what will mueller make? was it justified or just the latest move to undermine mueller's investigation? we break it down with our legal team plus key members of the house and senate intelligence committees and -- >> it took a little longer than we thought but we did it. >> -- democrat conor lamb sends a big message with his special election squeaker in a district trump won by 20 points. is this the strongest sign yet that democrats can take back the
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house in november? what lessons can both parties learn from this surprise win? our powerhouse roundtable takes that on, plus -- >> it certainlying looks like the russians were behind it, something that should never ever happen. >> trump condemns the kremlin for an attempted assassination in the uk as putin whips up his war on the u.s. slapping new sanctions on them for interfering with our election. will putin respond with more brazen moves after his re-election today? we're live from moscow as russians head to the polls. plus, analysis from russian dissident and world chess champ garry kasparov. we'll break down the politics, smoke out the spin. the facts that matter this week. >> announcer: from abc news, it's "this week." here now, chief anchor, george stephanopoulos. >> good morning. hope you had a good week. it was another one of those wild ones at the white house. starting with that tweet fired off by president trump tuesday morning sacking rex tillerson. a new first, firing his secretary of state by social media.
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behind the scenes white house aides wonder who is next. national security adviser, chief of staff, take your pick from the cab threat. but even as john kelly put those rumors to rest for now on friday morning, that firing of andrew mccabe by attorney general jeff sessions made headlines friday night. the president weighed in just after midnight. andrew mccabe fired, a great day for the hard working men and women of the fbi. a great day for democracy. sanctimonious james comey was his boss and made mccabe look like a choir boy. he knew all about the lies and corruption going on at the highest levels of the fbi. mccabe didn't back down arguing he's being singled out, quote, because of the role i played, the actions i took and the events i witnessed in the aftermath of the firing of james comey and comey fired back with a tweet of his own, mr. president, the american people will hear my story very soon, and they can judge for themselves who is honorable and who is not. and this extraordinary rebuke from a former cia director, john
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brennan. when the full extent of your is venality, moral turpitude and political corruption becomes known you will take your rightful place as a disgraced demagogue in the dustbin of history. a lot to sort out there and start out with our chief correspondent pierre. he did not stop there. another tweet, the first time he mentioned the mueller probe. he said that the mueller probe should never have been started based on fraudulent activities and a fake dossier. his lawyer called for mueller probe to shut down. >> reporter: george, it feels like this is headed for a showdown. president trump and his lawyer john dowd both used mccabe's firing to suggest the special investigation should be stopped. meanwhile, we're getting more evidence that the mueller probe is stepping up its pace and is widening. we learned this week they've subpoenaed information from the trump organization about any ties to russia. it seems like this investigation is far from over but those who support the president clearly want it to end now george. >> on this dispute, the justice department fired mccabe for lack of candor. that was the finding of the
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inspector general. it was a judgment made by career officials at the fbi. >> reporter: that's right. the attorney general says he fired mccabe based on the recommendation of the justice department's inspector general and the staff at the fbi. they concluded mccabe leaked information to the media and that he lacked candor when interviewed by investigators. but the speed by which mccabe was fired only two days before his retirement is raising questions. the president has for months been openly calling for this man to be fired and critics are reminding that sessions is under incredible pressure pointing out he's on the thinnest of ice because mr. trump is frustrated with him for recusing himself from the russia investigation. mccabe is firing back and put out a statement saying he did not intentionally mislead anyone saying he was authorized to release information to the press, that he was simply trying to show no one in the fbi was going easy on hillary clinton. he's openly suggesting he was fired to tarnish his integrity because of his role in launching the russia probe and that this is part of a broader plan by the president to attack and eventually stop the special
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counsel, george. >> meantime, the president tweeted just a couple of minutes ago mccabe never took notes in his meetings with the president but we learned, in fact, mccabe turned over those memos of his conversations with the president to robert mueller and has met with him. >> reporter: that's right. he's provided notes to the special counsel about his interactions with the president and the russia probe. some notes will suggest the president tried to intimidate is him asking him who he voted for and allegedly calling mccabe's wife a loser after she ran for statewide office as a democrat with financial support from a clinton ally. mueller has interviewed him already and will have to decide what all this means. was the president simply pushing back against what he believes was a partisan fbi, or has he been trying to intimidate and harass the people investigating him, george. >> okay, pierre. let's bring in our legal team. dan abrams at the desk and chris christie down in the bahamas today taking a few minutes away from his vacation to join us. i appreciate that. dan, weaver two separate questions right now. was mccabe's firing justified and then, secondly, has he been
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targeted by president trump because he's a witness? >> that's right. on the first question we're not necessarily going to know the full answer until we see the full report that hasn't been released yet. look, it's a serious thing. when the office of professional responsibility recommends someone be fired from the fbi, most importantly for lack of candor, this isn't nothing. even if you want to try to defend mccabe here in some way, shape or form, this is serious stuff that very well may have justified his firing. but as pierre points out, i think the key question here with regard to mccabe and the president is the timing. typically the way this would be done is in conjunction with the report that has not been issued. >> it's got taken out of the report. >> exactly. and instead what they did is fire him two days before he was going to retire and get his pension. and the question on that is, why the rush? why the rush to do it? why do it differently this time than the way it would typically be done. >> governor christie, your take on this? >> well, listen, i think first of all the timing can only be answered by the attorney general. he made the judgment to
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terminate andrew mccabe when he did. and he's going to have to answer for the timing of it, but i think the much more important point here is that all this hysteria about the firing of mccabe is obscuring what dan said in the beginning of his comments, which is the inspector general, who is an obama appointee, found that andrew mccabe did not tell the truth, both under oath and to agents and that he gave unauthorized leaking of information. now, i could tell you as a former u.s. attorney that if my fbi agents, i found they were leaking, i would recommend they be fired as well, especially in something as sensitive as an investigation into a presidential candidate in the midst of that presidential campaign. so, listen, folks like john brennan and others can say what they say about the president and they're entitled to their opinions. but in the end don't cloak yourself with andrew mccabe around you because in the end the inspector general and the professionals at the office of
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professional responsibility at the fbi, not political appointees, have recommended his termination because he wasn't truthful and he leaked to the media. >> how about -- >> those kind of things are things that we cannot accept. >> how about the second set of questions there, though. we've seen the series of tweets now by the president, the statement from his lawyer, the first time the president mentioning the mueller probe calling it into question. his lawyer saying it's time to shut it down, apparently at least in the first statement doing the president's bidding. >> well, listen, i'd say as to the lawyers, remember, these are the same lawyers who told the president, told him personally that this probe would be over as to him by new year's eve. i told the president at the time that that was preposterous. it is preposterous and the special counsel is going to continue to do his work. i think he's moving at a fairly quick pace, but at the end of the day, i think that what this is much more about is two things, first is the lawyer is trying to now cover for the really bad advice they gave to the president at the end of
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december of last year and, secondly, the president is being consistent. he has said all along that he never thought there should have been a mueller probe. you can agree or disagree with that, but nothing the president says today is inconsistent with what he's been saying all along. putting all that aside, george, i really believe at the end of all this, the mueller probe will continue. it will continue at the same pace it's continuing, and the fact is that he's gotten a number of guilty pleas and a number of indictments so far so it's tough to be critical. the last point on mueller and in contrast with comey and the people who worked for him, a guy who i like and respect, jim comey, but you don't see any leaking out of the special counsel's office. the same way you didn't see leaking out of the fbi when bob mueller ran it, and i think that's an interesting contrast to make this morning. the integrity of bob mueller and the way he's conducted his investigation with no leaking and i'm sure pierre can confirm this and -- but as contrasted to what we're now saying the ig has found from mccabe. >> no leaking but did learn
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this week that there were subpoenas issued for the trump organization. that appears to cross the red line that the president had set, which may explain why he's gotten so intent in these last couple of days. >> look, their position has been they've always been cooperating. it is possible that's absolutely true and that this subpoena is just an effort to make sure that that's the case, to make sure they have everything, to make sure there is a legal document in place, but it is so important here to separate mccabe from the mueller investigation. take a step back. what does the mueller investigation that they're talking about closing down found so far? that the russians meddled in the election. that they sought to help donald trump in the general election. that members of trump's inner circle were meeting with russians and then lying about it. the question is, why? what happened? those are still critical questions that have nothing to do with andrew mccabe that have to be answered. >> finally, governor christie, you say the president has been consistent on the mueller investigation, but don't you agree that he's in a world of
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hurt if he moves to fire robert mueller? >> i don't think the president will fire robert mueller. i don't think it would be appropriate for him to do so, and i don't think he'll do it, and if he did do it, it would be inappropriate, but as to bob mueller, he's conducted this investigation so far with great integrity, without leaking, and by showing results and i don't think the president's going to fire someone like that. >> governor christie, dan abrams, thanks very much. >> let's get more on this now from the top democrat on the house intelligence committee congressman adam schiff. congressman, thanks for joining us this morning. as we've been talking, the president has continued his series of tweets. want to put up the latest one, the latest attack on robert mueller. why does the mueller team have 13 hardened democrat, some big crooked hillary supporters, zero republicans. another dem recently added. does anyone think this is fair? and yet there is no collusion. we've seen the series of tweets, the statement from the trump lawyer suggesting the entire investigation should be shut down. what would happen if the president made that move?
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>> well, i would hope that it would prompt all democrats and republicans in the house to pass an independent counsel law and reinstate bob mueller. this would undoubtedly result in a constitutional crisis, and i think democrats and republicans need to speak out about this right now. i think, george, you just pointed to the single most important development of the week and that is at the same time it's revealed that the special counsel is looking at business records of the trump organization, and i've always thought the money laundering issue was the most serious, you have the president through his lawyer trying to shut down the mueller investigation and speaking out against special counsel. members need to speak out now. don't wait for the crisis, but i would hope that that would be the result that we would affirm our system of checks and balances and appoint an independent counsel. >> the president also continually repeating there was no collusion during the campaign and the tweets over the last 48 hours, of course, that is the conclusion of the republicans of the house intelligence committee this week as well. i know you dispute that but with
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a report by the democrats be able to demonstrate that collusion did, in fact, take place? >> well, certainly be able to show the facts supporting the issue of collusion and the secret meetings all the lies about the secret meetings and putting them in their important context, the timing of these secret meetings. but there's still a lot of investigative work to find the remaining pieces of the puzzle, and the most significant part of the republicans shutting us down is preventing us from doing so. we have never brought in george papadopoulos. we don't know who he might have shared within the campaign the information he got from the russians. we don't know whether that led to the trump tower meeting and the disappointment by the president's son that he didn't get stolen e-mails at that meeting. there are still a great many of unanswered questions and the republicans have really prevented us and our committee from getting them, so that work has to be done, but we will be reporting on what we have found and, importantly, what leads need to be pursued to give the american people the full picture. >> you also haven't done much
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work on another story that broke late this week, the fact that the president's targeting firm cambridge analytica took private information from 50 million facebook users. what does this is a to you? what questions need to be answered there? >> again, this is in our status report one of the issues we pointed out was premature for the republicans to shut us down because we only brought in alexander nixon. even then it was by a video conference at the gop insistence and we need to find out is what we can about the misappropriation of the privacy, the private information of tens of millions of americans. that misappropriate information used by this digital arm of the trump campaign to manipulate american voters and, of course, the links between cambridge analytica and julian assange. we know he reached out to him to try to acquire stolen e-mails. the links between this russian researcher and cambridge analytica and the links between russian analytica and a russian
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oil company luke oil that wanted information about reaching american voters. all of that needs to be investigated and the premature conclusion of this investigation doesn't allow us to do our job. >> we mentioned those subpoenas to the trump organization earlier. as that was happening, i was sitting down with the president's business partner on the proposed trump tower in moscow, felix sater. he revealed to me that they were seeking financing from russian banks, and then i went on to ask if it was appropriate for a presidential candidate to be pursuing a deal like that while he was running for president. here's what he said. >> i can't answer that. i can only answer in the following way, a beautiful building could have been built. and maybe even improved goodwill relations between the countries because of it. i didn't see any downside. >> he's still hoping actually that that tower can be built. you mentioned your concerns with money laundering. did you come across any information in your investigation, and i know the house intelligence committee
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spoke with felix sater, that would raise questions about this attempt to build a trump tower in moscow? >> well, you know, the two big red flags on that attempt are the indications that they were trying to seek financing from a russian sanctioned bank, a bank that was sanctioned by u.s. policy, u.s. government, but also the fact that they were concealing this transaction. candidate trump was saying he had no business interest in russia. and if he's seeking to make a bunch of money in russia during the presidential campaign, and it certainly looks like his campaign chairman paul manafort was like seeking to make money, was that influencing candidate trump's policy? does it influence president trump's policy now? that issue as well as whether deutsche bank was using russian money, laundering russian money for the trump organization needs to be investigated because if these are levers that the russians can still use over the president of the united states it would be negligent for our national security not to find out.
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>> finally on andrew mccabe, does the fact that the inspector general did say, did find that he lacked candor in some of his responses and that his firing was recommended by career fbi officials, does that give you pause and does it suggest that, in fact, his firing was or may be justified? >> you know, his firing may be justified. there's no way for us to know at this point, but even though it may have been justified, it can also be tainted, and i think the president's badgering of the attorney general, his urging that he be fired before his pension could vest and the fact that mccabe and every other of the james comey associates, his general counsel, baker, his chief of staff who corroborate james comey on the issue of potential obstruction of justice, every one of them has been targeted by the administration, by the republicans and congress, and is this because they corroborate james comey? that's a question we also have to answer. >> congressman schiff, thanks for your time this morning. want to get a republican
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response now from senator james lankford, a member of the senate intelligence committee. senator lankford, thanks for joining us this morning. let's start out with andrew mccabe and this flurry of activity around his firing. your take. >> not surprised in many ways. obviously this is a -- he stepped away in january of this year because of some of the investigations. the inspector general had an ongoing investigation for months and months. the internal folks with the fbi have been through this long investigation so in many ways not surprised because he's already been isolated and now they've finally come to this decision with the career folks. >> how about questions you're investigating on the senate intelligence committee. of course, the senate intelligence committee has been taking a what different approach from the house and basically had a more bipartisan approach than the house committee. what more do you need to find right now starting out with that conclusion the president has already reached, he says, no collusion between his campaign and the russians. >> well, the president's been consistent to say that over and over again. what i have said over and over again as well, it's best for
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the special counsel to be able to go through their process and best for the president and best for the presidency for this to go on. we have the first of our recommendations coming out next week on election security and we'll continue to be able to roll those out together over the next several months. >> what more can you tell us about this compromising of facebook information, the 50 million facebook users having their information compromised by cambridge analytica? >> yeah, obviously we don't know if this is connected to the campaign. this is something that facebook has stepped out on and said cambridge analytica gathered information then they used that, they redistributed that. facebook obviously is proprietary. they're a private business. they want to be able to have that data. they distribute that out and not some other second party to be able to do that so more information coming out and try to get it resolved. >> sir, when you see the president and his attorney lobbying these attacks against the mueller investigation suggesting it should be shut down, how do you explain it,
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is first of all, and then, secondly, what can you do about it? >> the clearest thing i can explain from that is the president's exceptionally frustrated, that he wants to be able to see it come to an end and stated over and over there was no collusion, no reaching back, clearly the russians were reaching in, even the treasury this past week said what the russians did was destabilizing and put in additional sanctions and also have agreed with what robert mueller put out identifying those individuals and the internet research agency from russia as entities that need to be sanctioned. that is in agreement with robert mueller and his investigation. so it's not that mueller has found nothing. it's that the president seems to be very, very frustrated that they've not connected anything to him and he wants to be able to move on. i would say the best thing the special counsel can do is to finish the investigation, gather all the information that's needed and come to a conclusion so the american people can make their own decision. >> do you have any quarrels with how robert mueller has
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conduct the his investigation. >> so far he's been really good about trying to protect leaks from his investigation. that's what's exceptionally helpful. he seems to be moving through in a rapid way. it is odd the number of democrats that he's put on board his team. that does raise some flags in some sense there. clearly he also identified some individuals that were biased that were from the fbi that he fired immediately once he found out they were biased. that tainted that. he seems to be moving on from there. the key thing again that he can do is bring out the facts and he seems to be doing that even with the indictment that he put out on the 13 russians a few weeks ago, he put out a lot of facts and information that is very helpful. >> you heard congressman schiff say that if the president does move to fire robert mueller, of course, he can't do it himself, he would have to get someone in justice to do it, congress should pass an immediate independent counsel law. would you back that? >> i don't think the president will fire him. the white house said ten times, maybe more, they are not going to fire robert mueller. they want him to be able to finish the investigation. so i don't even think that's going to be necessary because the president's not going to fire him.
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>> that might have held up before the statement from john dowd yesterday, who is the president's attorney. doesn't that change things? first time he suggested that mueller should be shut down? >> i don't think so. what i read yesterday was what a typical attorney puts out at every stage during every investigation saying this is wrapped up. we should be done. is so, that's no different than what an attorney does typically. what typically happens in that situation everyone takes the information and says, that's nice, we're going to continue to be able to move on and expect the special counsel to continue to do the same. >> senator lankford, thanks for your time this morning. when we come back, that big special election win for conor lamb in pennsylvania and what does the roundtable make of the latest firings in this russia investigation? >> announcer: "this week with george stephanopoulos" brought to you by pacific life. protecting generations of families for 150 years. that's the power of pacific. at ? it's life insurance and retirement solutions to help you reach your goals.
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both of these candidates, the republican and democrat ran as conservatives, ran as pro-gun, pro-life, anti-nancy pelosi conservatives and i think that's the takeaway we see here. >> i don't think he ran against me the entire time but on his positive agenda. i feel pretty confident we'll win and win big and a lot of seats and that's going to be good for the american people. >> house leaders responding to that win by conor lamb in pennsylvania 18 this week of the district that trump won by 20 points a couple of years ago. we'll get to that in a minute and introduce katrina vanden heuvel, editor and publisher of "the nation," matt schlapp from the conservative union, roland martin from tv one and -- >> "black panther," come on. >> okay. sara fagen, republican strategist, cnbc contributor. yeah, we are owned by disney so i'll get that out there right now.
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we got to begin with this flurry of activity in the last 48 hours since the firing of andrew mccabe. matt, let me begin with you and we heard from chris christie. we heard from senator lankford right there. both fairly confident, they say, that president trump is not going to move to fire robert mueller. are you that sure? >> i don't know. i guess we have to see what happens. it's been a heck of an interesting process. for my point of view, i served with bob mueller. i trust that he's going to do the right thing by the american people and he will look at the facts and talk to everyone he should talk to and make recommendations and i think that's what his job is and i think for most of us who support president trump, the most alarming part of all this is that some of our worst fears that the fbi and people within the fbi were somehow agitating against the president turned out to be true. you have james comey and you have now mr. mccabe both kind of caught up in this idea that they were leaking, inappropriately leaking and you have the -- you have the ethics officer recommending that mr. mccabe be fired. i mean, i think this is a moment where the country should take a
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step back in a bipartisan way and look at what happened at the fbi. >> you look -- when you look at the substance of those so-called le leaks, and, of course, mccabe says what he was doing was fully authorized. >> his ethics officer disagrees. >> on the substance of what was being leaked, actually leaking information showing that they were going after -- continuing the investigation of hillary clinton, not what president trump also suggested. >> well, back on that question, remember, it was james comey who made this final determination to not go after hillary clinton on what people -- some people saw as infractions dealing with her server and e-mails. now you hear from other folks who say that within that investigation there were plenty of those prosecutors who wanted to take the steps. why did james comey step away and then why did he so strangely come in right before the election and reengage? >> george, the mueller investigation should continue. must continue. but there was something else that happened this past week that should happen. gina haspel, a practitioner and advocate of torture was nominated to be head of the cia and the senate intelligence
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committee, you had senator lankford on of the committee, has been sitting on a 6,700-page report that must be declassified. it was commissioned by the committee. it has never been except for a summary report been released and it is vital to show what the committee found in terms of lying about the torture program and also how ineffectual it was. that should lead the senate to not confirm gina haspel but the declassification of such information is vital in the public interest especially as we sit here on the 15th anniversary this month of a war we were taken into by lies, by deceit and the destabilization of the middle east and our country. >> you opened with mccabe. the indecency here is the president. his attacks on him. his attacks on jeff sessions. his attacks on anyone. if you work in this administration as a career
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official or an appointee, this is like the movie "get out," you are in the sunken place and his behavior is shameful. if the president had simply allowed the process to move forward, it would be fine but for him constantly agitating on social media, that's why people are saying it's tainted. >> you're right. you know, there is -- he shouldn't be agitating. he shouldn't be commenting on these things. matt is also right. there's some real troubling behavior out of the fbi over these last -- this last election on both sides. but here's one thing i think is really important to point out. andrew mccabe is a 20-year veteran of the fbi. he has been for virtually all of his career an honorable public servant. he may deserve to be fired but, boy, you better find criminal wrongdoing or that he broke the law if you're going to deny him his pension. >> i mean the way it was done was so humiliating. i was moved by head of the congressional caucus offered to bring in mccabe into his office
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to work on election security so he could get vested in his pension. but again i come back, george. there was more news this past week. a lot of ink and talk spilled about mccabe and mueller. what about the new secretary of state. he gets more funds from the koch industry brothers and he wants to go -- >> because he represents their hometown. >> he wants to go to war with -- >> firing rex tillerson the way he did -- >> that was humiliating. no tears shed for rex tillerson. there are tears shed for a hawk is and it now seems consistent in this administration to take this country to war to conflict with iran which i think must be -- >> well, one of the issues we face every single week is the amount of news that continues to flow out of -- >> not making your life easy. >> matt, one of the questions -- i wanted to pick up on -- there seem to be a fair amount of churning inside the white house. he fires rex tillerson without even calling him up and before
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the firing is done on a tweet. brings in mike pompeo. one of the things we're seeing there is the president appears to want to surround himself only with people who basically agree with him. >> i don't agree with that at all. i do think there is a lot of turn in the administration and i think it's a function of the fact you had a guy be elected president. this hasn't happened since george washington who came outside of government. even george washington had military experience and helped found the country so this is a very unique historical episode and he comes in and he gets a lot of advice of who he should put in these political positions after a year on the job, the most heady political wins we've ever seen with the special counsel almost every day of his administration. he's now saying, i understand the job better and know who i need to have around me. for anybody to say other than mike pompeo who finished top in his class in west point and went is to harvard law, has been a ceo of two companies and a member of congress is anything other than qualified for the job is really kind of an absurd statement so he's putting people around him, i think general kelly is also somebody who has earned respect from the american people.
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he's putting people around him who are giving him advice, by the way, you say he wants to have people around him who only agree with him. right? he just picked a new head of -- a new economic adviser who disagrees with him. >> well, it did seem like until the end of the week, sara, it did seem like right up until friday morning that general kelly might have been the next to go. >> he may have been the next to go. you know the other thing we've seen in these firings is there seems to be this long run-up to when someone does, in fact, either resign or is outright fired. so the fact that there's so much conversation around general kelly, h.r. mcmaster, it's hard to imagine they're long-term players here. >> but it also shows how all of these folks, they fell for the con. i use the hashtag we tried to tell you. i'll hire the best people, the smartest people. you don't have this much turnover in -- he hasn't reached 18 months yet. the number of people who are leaving and it's how he also treats people. i'm telling you if i worked in this administration i'm trying to get out as fast as i can. >> don't worry. it's not going to happen. it's not going to happen.
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>> i can guarantee it's not going to happen because i'm way too honest and would tell him exactly what i think and he doesn't want to hire people like that. >> the blue wave that comes in 2018, november 2018, what we saw was stunning in pennsylvania and i think you have 100 plus districts beyond that one who are more anti-trump than p.a. 18 and 20 where labor plays a big role. conor lamb, it's ridiculous. paul ryan said he ran as a conservative. give me a break. he ran for universal health care, protecting social security and labor rights and for all kinds of important -- >> he did run against nancy pelosi. >> well, he did. >> you know what, some democrats will. i think she's an extraordinarily effective legislative speaker but she's not in power. trump, mcconnell, ryan are in power and i think those who run with trump are going to have a harder time than those who run with pelosi but it's important to run in your district with concrete bread and butter kitchen table issues. >> sara, conor lamb
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is a loud canary in the coal mine for republicans. >> he's a loud canary in the coal mine, you're right. i would love to point to republican fund-raising numbers, tell you that the political rules have changed in the last year, which to some degree they have, it's harder to predict -- >> does it transfer to candidates -- >> here's what really matters if you're looking at just the data. we've had nine special elections in this since the president took office and democrats have outperformed their partisan advantage in the district. their partisan number in that district by an average of 15 points. if that holds, democrats are going to have a great night in november. it's not just going to be a wave. it's going to be heading toward a tsunami. >> but candidate quality matters. >> it does matter, but what we're missing out on is the mobilization and organization happening on the ground. when you see what happened in that particular district, also what's happening on mother's day reverend william barber, they're launching the poor
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people's campaign, 40 consecutive days of action as well. they've been meeting around the nation for two years in idaho, kansas, north carolina, ohio, across the country, white, blacks, asians, latinos and people underestimating what is happening on the ground. we keep focusing on, well, who is a candidate. what's happening in d.c. there is a mass mobilization happening and as we saw in the black women's roundtable melanie campbell said she had many people coming who she never heard of. she shade, roland, how do they know we exist? >> we're out of time. are you worried? >> of course, i'm worried, but let's look at this. the economy and the strength of the economy. do people feel better about their own economic prospects? it's candidate quality and it's the fund-raising numbers which are going to matter. when you look at all that, i would rather have our cards than their cards. >> is it's trump, trump, trump. >> yep, mobilization. >> thank you all very much. when we come back it's election day in russia. terry moran will join us live from moscow as vladimir putin ramps up his war with the west
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and we'll get analysis from garry kasparov. we'll be right back. >> announcer: "this week with george stephanopoulos" brought to you by flonase sensimist allergy mist. flonase sensimist allergy mist. e flonase sensimist allergy mist. flonase sensimist allergy mist. it relieves all your worst symptoms including nasal congestion, which most pills don't. it's more complete allergy relief. and all from a gentle mist you can barely feel. flonase sensimist helps block 6 key inflammatory substances. most pills only block one. and 6 is greater than 1. flonase sensimist. oscar mayer deli fresh ham has no added nitrates, nitrites or artificial preservatives.
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are vladimir putin and his campaign. putin's real opponent is apathy. everybody knows he's going to win. polls show consistently he's very popular and no one else is. he's seen to that and so he's going for a big turnout as his mandate. the opposition is monitoring election sites, polling stations around the country and posted several videos of people just stuffing the ballot boxes going for that mandate that putin wants. >> of course, it comes in the wake of this attempted assassination of the former russian spy in great britain. theresa may, the british prime minister, spoke out about that this week. >> there is no alternative conclusion other than that the russian state was culpable for the attempted murder of mr. skripal and his daughter. the united kingdom will now expel 23 russian diplomats who have been identified as undeclared intelligence officers. they have just one week to leave. >> reporter: well, british foreign minister boris johnson
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this morning upped the ante after russia had expelled 23 british diplomats, johnson saying today that the uk has evidence that russia has been refining these nerve agents into weapons of assassination and stockpiling these so-called novichok agents for more than a decade. abc news has learned that investigators are looking at the possibility this was delivered in a powdery, dusty form possibly through the ventilation system of that former spy, sergei skripal's car. russia denies everything. most people here don't believe it. in part they're told a very different story. the foreign ministry pointing the finger at other countries, the u.s., they say, the uk, the czech republic, slovakia or sweden all may have been involved. >> and, terry, any reaction there to the first u.s. sanctions in the wake of the interfering in our elections? >> reporter: well, interestingly, the kremlin said these sanctions were expected. they aren't that big of a deal. ordinary people here, they aren't targeted at ordinary
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people, and so they aren't feeling the bite, although the economy has taken a huge hit since putin engineered the takeover of crimea several years ago. but people are worried about the economy. there is a stagnation right now, and that really is putin's big challenge as he goes for his unprecedented fourth term and maybe beyond. >> okay, thank you, terry, very much. let's get more now from russian dissident former world chess champ garry kasparov. he's now chair of the human rights foundation and, garry, is there anything we can look to in these results that would suggest what putin's real strength is? >> first of all, stop calling it elections. it's a charade. it's the only vote that matters in a dictator like russia is putin's vote so you're right showing him voting for himself and that's it. you're absolutely right saying that the turnout is the only challenge. it's because of apathy because many people are scared actually to show up and demonstrate they disapprove of putin's policies.
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>> we've seen he's been increasingly aggressive in the west. this attempted assassination in the united kingdom. will he become even more brazen? >> absolutely. he has no other choice. in this country you could say if something goes wrong, so then you see the president just going after political appointees. blaming someone. if you are power for 18 years there is no one to blame so you need enemies outside russia so that's why putin needs the free world, america, europe as enemies to justify his hold on power. and if you think his meddling in american election was bad imagine what he does in russia. >> he also seems to become something of a model for other leaders around the world. we're seeing president xi do away with term limits as well and you have venezuela, the philippines. and you said something interesting. it's not so much that he's inspiring these authoritarian leaders as giving permission to them. >> it's combination of inspiration and also it's a story of success. what this leader is like, the chinese leader and others
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authoritarian leaders saw in putin, he kept denying the west, actually just been doing things like poisoning and killing dissidents and defectors and former spy agents who found asylum elsewhere like litvinenko and nothing happened so he succeeded in having trump in the white house so he definitely worked harder on trump's election than his own and sanctions, weak, belated and it's just always small fish. now first time we heard strong words from the uk. i wish we see the action but don't forget, 14 billion pounds money laundering according to official reports coming through england. >> you clearly think this is a serious threat. what is the most important thing we in the west should be doing to counter putin that we're not doing? >> two days ago you had a conference. 26 countries talking about all crimes committed by russian regime.
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it's the past and present of russian dictatorship and everybody came to the same conclusion. hurt them where it hurts. money. follow the money, so it's not that they park the money they're stealing from russia in china or venezuela. it's in this country, it's in europe and i mentioned the united kingdom so make sure the oligarchs will have to choose between following putin's orders and their fortunes. as long as they feel safe by having their families, their mistresses, their yachts, their palace, the real estate everything here and following putin's orders nothing will happen. >> garry kasparov, thanks for your time this morning. when we come back, a southern democrat calling out president trump on race. will he challenge trump in 2020. new orleans mayor mitch landrieu is next. h landrieu is next.
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i i won the places that are optimistic, diverse, dynamic, moving forward and his whole campaign make america great again was looking backwards. you know, you didn't like black people getting rights. you don't like women getting jobs. you don't want to see that indian-american succeeding more than you are. whatever your problem is, i'm going to solve it. >> there's hillary clinton back in the news this week with that analysis taking some heat from fellow dems for that. we're joined by one of the democrats eyeing the nomination in 2020, new orleans mayor mitch landrieu out with his book "in the shadow of statues: a white southerner
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confronts history." thanks for joining us. i want to get to the book in a second. let's start out with that asal nis. a lot of democrats looking ahead to 2020 saying we should not be talking about the middle of the country like that. >> it's important that everybody in the country feel included. in this moment that we have, a dark moment in the country, it's obvious that a lot of people feel alienated. white people in rural america feel alienated. african-americans urban areas feel alien yeventsed and people feel distended from each other. and the bigger point, how to find common ground and true whether you're sitting in the white house or sitting in the statehouse or mayor or head of a community, you feel that angst. >> you speak to an underlying angst in the country that is so true. so out there. seems like our elections are going in exactly the opposite direction. simply mobilizing the most partisan voices on either side. >> i don't want to make you older than you are. you remember back to president nixon and the world has
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somewhat changed. in the south we have blue dog democrats basically very moderate individuals and you can see right now that only the extremes are getting elected in the country and big fight going on in both parties, quite frankly, about the left, the middle and right of their parties so i think a lot of us who are just interested in getting things done on whatever level you are, interesting in trying to find common ground and making things happen which why being the mayor of the great city of new orleans for the last year has been so incredible. because we're not ideologically bent. we find a way and make one. most of the things people talk about in washington and folks on the street when they're at the grocery store where the kids are groce grocery -- not talking about and can't figure out why something constructive can't happen. >> that doesn't mean backing away from tough issues and this gets into the subject of your book, "in the shadow of statues." of course, you brought down those confederate statues in new orleans and in the book, you write something provocative. you say when i look back today, david duke's demagoguery stands like a dress rehearsal for the rise of donald trump. while he may not have worn a hood or swastika, trump's rhetoric and actions during his 2016 presidential campaign were shockingly similar to the
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tactics deployed by duke in 1988 -- '89. we are seeing such fire around the issue of race. >> well, a couple of things. first of all, you said, you know, you don't run away from the issues. actually what you have to do is run to the tough issues in order to find common ground. you don't find common ground by running away from them and not confronting the difficulties that you have, as a matter of fact, it's one of the problems people have in the country with politics. today we actually run away from the tough issues. you have to trust in the people that you work with enough to know that if you can call the question on things that are hard for us that we can actually figure out, as a matter of fact, i know we say the country is so divided. they are when you talk about washington but really on the streets of america every day, african-americans, white, hispanic people, rural and urban are working together, living together, praying together every day. so we can figure out a way to get from where we are right now to where we need to be now. i think it is -- it would be less than genuine to say that we're not having a moment where we're allowing the darker angels
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among us to control what it is -- >> you say about trump that -- >> i can say this, i made an observation not an accusation that what happened in louisiana when david duke was there is fairly similar to what we're seeing where people are speaking in coded language, they are beginning to judge people based on race, creed, color, sexual orientation and not on their behavior and, of course, you see that pattern. the thing that so alarmed me about some of the incidents surrounding the taking down of the statue was somehow this false equivocation between white supremacy and not -- there are bounds in which we can argue from all the way to conservative liberal. one thing we cannot countenance is the rise of white supremacy and needs to be called out and focused on. slavery was our original sin. the civil war was fought about that and we have to be really clear that whether you're on the left, middle or right there is a place we will not go and i don't want to go back there. i saw that in louisiana when
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david duke got two out of every three white votes and some of the language is coded and call it out, focus on it and get us back to the normal fights about whatever theory of governing you may have. >> i know you don't want to get ahead of yourself. we're still a couple of years out, not too early to plan. when you think of the prospect of maybe running for president what is the big problem you as a democrat think needs to be fixed? >> first of all, i'm not thinking about that. other people have talked about that and honestly it's very flattering to think about it but i don't see that happening as it relates to me and would say this to the people of america. we shouldn't wait on whoever the president is to fix our problems. if all americans did something kind every day, we could move the country fairly quickly in a whole lot of different ways and there's tons of stuff going on in the local areas. but it is clear to me that we have to get back to being respectful, being civil, to seeing each other and judging each other based on our behavior, not race, not creed, not class, not sexual
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orientation, not necessarily what country you come from and we're being too loose with that right now. we have to be more disciplined in our focus on civility because this is the greatest country that ever was. and it will be the greatest country coming and we have what it is to make sure everybody is fine but you have to purposely try to find common ground. it's a mission we all have to accept. >> that's what you write about in the book. look forward to reading it. mayor landrieu, thanks for joining us. that is all for us today. thanks for sharing your sunday with us. check out "world news" and see you tomorrow on "gma."
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