tv This Week With George Stephanopoulos ABC January 13, 2019 8:00am-9:00am PST
"this week with george stephanopoulos," starts right now. >> no end in sight. >> we're not going anywhere. we're not changing our mind. >> the government shutdown hits day 23, now the longest in u.s. history. >> this is not a partisan difference. this is a policy difference. and it is unacceptable. >> i don't know if the president wants the wall. i think he just wants the debate of the wall. >> all talks have stopped. neither side feels the need yet to bend. what it will it take to break the stalemate? and what does that mean for the 800,000 workers not getting paid. >> we want to go to work. >> we talk to those leaders in the closed-door negotiates. steve scalise and dick durbin. plus, two new blockbusters
on russia. "the new york times" reporting that the fbi investigated whether president trump was working for russia from the oval office. "the washington post" details how the president has gone through extraordinary lengths to conceal his conversations with vladimir putin. that information all in robert mueller's hands now. also sparking calls for new investigations by the new congress. our powerhouse roundtable weighs in. i think a head start actually helps. >> and as democrats join the 2020 white house race, we talk to the man who got in first. democrat john delaney has been running hard in iowa for 18 months. we'll break down the politics, smoke out the spin. it's the facts that matter "this week." from abc news, it's "this week." here, now, chief anchor, george stephanopoulos. >> good morning. welcome to "this week." you know, the last few years have been filled with firsts. and now, we have another one. the longest government shutdown ever, now entering its fourth
week with no sign yet that official washington is ready to end it. lawmakers left town friday. the president is tweeting from the white house. but the two sides aren't even talking about talking. the big question now -- will public pressure force either side to bend? our brand-new poll with "the washington post," shows that right now, the majority of americans, 53%, pin the blame on president trump and republicans in congress. 29% blame the democrats. but support for the border wall is climbing. last year, americans opposed the wall by 29 points. the margin, now, just 12 points. and while the shutdown is starting to cause serious stress for those federal workers missing paychecks, the vast majority of americans, 82%, say a stalemate in washington hasn't inconvenienced them at all. unless that changes, don't expect compromise soon. this morning, we are going to hear from two legislators who have been in the room for the negotiations. starting with the number two democrat in the senate, dick durbin. thank you for joining us this morning. >> good morning, george. >> i want to get to the
shutdown. but first, the stories from "the new york times" and "the washington post." ent's deins so concerned, said russia, they opened up a counterintelligence investigation while he's in the oval office. and "the post" report detailing that the president has concealed his conversations with vladimir putin. all the white house chairmen say they're going to investigate this. what's going on in the senate? and do you think it's possible that president trump has been compromised by russia? >> the senate is controlled by republicans. we found in the last two years they were unwilling to hold investigative hearings. the only exception, i might add, was a prime subcommittee and judiciary, which was chaired by lindsey graham. lindsey has ascended to the position of chairman of the judiciary committee. it is within his power to hold he's investigations and he should. >> what about the idea that president trump might be compromised by the russians? >> you know, there's so many questions raised. why is he so chummy with vladimir putin?
this man, who is a former kgb agent, never been a friend of the united states, invaded our allies, threatens us around the world and tries his damnedest to undermine our elections. why is this president trump's best buddy? i don't get it. when he takes the interpreter's notes and destroys them, so no one can see what was said and written transcripts, it raises questions about the relationship between this president and putin. >> you also sit on the senate judiciary committee. they will open the confirmation hearings for the president's nominee for attorney general, william barr. if confirmed, mr. barr will oversee the russia investigation. what do you need to know about how he is going to oversee that investigation? and can you support him? >> the most interesting part of this, george, is the number one question on everyone's mind -- will bob mueller be allowed to complete this investigation without interference from the attorney general or president? and will the results of it be made public so america can see for itself exactly what happened? real serious questions arise
because bill barr volunteered information in the past. volunteered it, basically saying, the president shouldn't be subjected to this kind of investigation. and i'll just tell you, that's the first line of questioning you can expect from most of the people on the panel. >> you think he can oversee the investigation in a fair way? >> well, i'm worried about it. clearly, he's a good lawyer, no question. when it comes to this delicate political situation, the power of the presidency, whether this investigation is warranted, bill barr had better give us iron-clad, rock-bottom assurances in his independence and his willingness to step back and let mueller finish his job. >> let's talk about the shutdown. the president says it's all on you now. it's time to compromise. are you prepared to make new offers? >> back in 1984, senator mitch mcconnell was running for senate in kentucky and was sending out a bloodhound to look for a democratic senator. it's time to send out that
kentucky bloodhound and look for mitch mcconnell. this week, the centrists that are trying to find some solution, were shut down by the white house. it's time for the centrists to speak up in their own republican senate caucus and tell mitch mcconnell the party's over. we want this to end. there's no excuse for this shutdown. the republican-controlled senate and handful of senators will make that decision. >> can you support an overall compromise? it would include more funding for the wall in, say, return for protections for the dreamers? >> let me tell you, george. remember when we had comprehensive immigration reform? we sat down, democrats and republicans worked for six months with john mccain and chuck schumer and others in the room. we came up with a package that dramatically invested in border security. democrats believe in border security. we do not believe in government shutdowns. it's a threat to innocent federal workers. as a tool for the president to use over and over again to pressure congress. put it into this shutdown and
put everything on the table. we're willing to talk about more border security when we were talking about daca and dreamers and coming up with a border security plan that made sense, not some medieval wall. >> if you're for border security why not make some moves now? the white house says, the president in those meetings, has accepted specific proposals from the democrats, including one from you on detection technology at the border. >> well, of course. we offered $1.3 billion at the start for border security. but the president's numbers have been wildly different. $25 billion. $11 billion. mike pence two weeks ago, offered us $2.5 billion. within an hour, the president said, no. i won't take that. it's got to be $5.7 billion or nothing. we asked him, how are you going to spend it? well, we can't give the details on this. is it a national emergency? of course it is. how soon can the wall be built? two years. that's a national emergency? come on. let's get down to business. open up the government tomorrow. the president can do it. one phone call from mitch mcconnell can get it started. >> one way the president can do it is declare a national emergency.
is that the most likely way out? >> i don't know if it is the way out or not. presidents have been very careful in using that. when george w. bush faced 9/11, he asked us for national emergency powers, we gave it to him on a bipartisan basis, united as a country to fight off terrorism. if this president is going to turn to national emergencies every time he disagrees with congress, i'm against it. let's make sure the branchs of government are bound by the same constitution. >> how does this end? >> i think it ends when the senate republicans say we've had enough. we're not going to stand here and be blamed for this. we believe the government should be opened. there should be timely negotiations on border security after the government is open. once the president realizes he has lost to senate republicans, we can roll up our sleeves, open up the government and get down to business. >> senator durbin, thank you for your time this morning. >> thank you. let's bring in the number two republican in the house, steve scalise. thank you for joining us this morning. you heard senator durbin. he said it's all up to senate republicans. if they make a move, this can be
solved. what do you think? >> well, good morning, george. good to be with you. first of all, senator durbin was in the room. you've seen offers on the table by president trump to try to resolve this issue. in fact, when the democrats asked for a detailed breakdown of what the $5.7 billion would go towards, the department of homeland security gave a very detailed breakdown. it's border security, wall funding, tools for our border agents who are being attacked at the border by some of the criminals in this caravan. ultimately, when president trump looked at nancy pelosi and said, look, you're stalling, you have yet to put a single counteroffer on the table to all the various offers the president has put on the table, nancy pelosi said no, when the president said, if we go another 30 days, keep everything funded, even the things we disagree on. at the end of the 30 days, will you be willing to negotiate on
the areas where we disagree like the wall? and nancy pelosi said no, emphatically. ultimately, they don't want to reach a solution. nancy pelosi and chuck schumer, in every meeting i've been in -- we've had three meetings in the situation, george, with all of the principal negotiators. many times i've seen the president willing to negotiate on the definition of a wall. he even said, he would be willing to let them ban cement wall structures. he would be willing to negotiate on how much it would cost. he's got, from our security experts, a detailed breakdown of what it will take to secure america's border. not one single time, george, has nancy pelosi or chuck schumer put a counteroffer on the table except a dollar. nancy pelosi said a dollar. that's not serious. we all know that. it's time for them to come to the table. >> one of the arguments they make, as you know, is the president promised again and again and again during the campaign, some 212 times, that mexico would pay for the wall. why should taxpayers foot the bill? >> well, they've never been
concerned about whether or not mexico would pay for the wall. they've just been against the idea of a wall. the president talked about what mexico's going to pay for in the new agreement that we've got, the new renegotiated nafta. >> that doesn't include a provision for mexico to pay for the wall. you know that. >> first of all, it hasn't come to congress yet. the president will be submitting that. that's never been the issue in any of the negotiations, george. it's whether or not they would agree to any physical structure. let's keep in mind, chuck schumer voted in 2006, for the fences act. the language that chuck schumer voted for, according to homeland security, would give them most of the abilities and tools they need to build that physical structure. you can call it a wall. you can call it steel slats. the name's not important. it's the strength and ability to secure the border between our ports of entry. right now, we can control who is coming in at ports of entry. it's those hundreds of miles where there's no border. there's no wall, to
differentiate between the mexico and united states border. and we're seeing over 90% of the heroin that comes into our country, comes in through the southern border. >> yeah. but most of that as you know -- >> -- thousand criminals -- >> most of that comes through valid points of entry. i want to move on -- >> that's the areas we know about. we don't know what has come across in the areas that we have -- >> that's where the 90% figure comes from. >> look at the 17,000 known convicted criminals, people with prior convicted criminal backgrounds, that came across our southern border, just last year. those are only the ones we know about, george. so, we know what's coming across our border. there's human trafficking. there's crime. there's hardened criminals, gang members, coming across our border. we need to protect it. if they say they're for border security, which they say, but they're yet to be willing to put a dollar offer on the table, for what it's going to cost to secure the border. we know there's a cost to this. they've got to put a counteroffer on the table. >> the president tweeted out
yesterday, he has a plan to end this. do you know what that plan is? and would you support a declaration of national emergency? >> well, the ultimate plan is for congress to solve this. and the president has been very clear, congress needs to solve this. the only people that have been unwilling to put any kind of offer on the table have been nancy pelosi and chuck schumer. the president has put multiple offers on the table. we don't want it to come down to a national emergency declaration. clearly, the president has authority under law. he says he doesn't want it to come to that. he wants congress to solve this problem. congress needs to solve this problem. >> you heard senator durbin's response to the news stories in "the new york times" and "the washington post," about the russia investigation and the president. we do know the new house chairman of foreign affairs of judiciary, will be investigating these questions. and you heard senator durbin say he has questions about president trump's entire approach to putin. what's your response? >> well, look at the facts. it seems like the democrats have
a massive infatuation with russia and putin now. they didn't seem to be concerned about russia when barack obama was president and letting russia run rough shot over eastern europe. president trump has taken more steps to stand up against russia than anybody we've seen in a long time. look at what he's done with the ukraine. russia was running through the ukraine when barack obama was president. the ukraines asked for help from america. they didn't ask for troops. they said, send us some of the tank-busting missiles to stop russia. barack obama said no. donald trump said yes and helped the ukrainians to push back russia out of the ukraine. look what he's done with iran. you've seen this partnership between russia and iran. president trump has stood up against iran, the bad deal that allows iran to get a nuclear weapon. you've seen time and time again with sanctions and other things, president trump standing up against russia. the whole idea of collusion,
they've investigated this. the mueller investigation has gone on over a year. they found no collusion between trump and russia. the house did its own investigation and found no collusion. at some point, as they meander around, looking for something that looks like a witch hunt, if they don't put facts on the table. have they found collusion? i've seen none, george. they have showed no facts on the table to show there's collusion. there's a strong record of president trump standing up to russia and pushing back and supporting our allies in eastern europe. >> i want to ask you about your colleague, steve king. he's caused quite a controversy with the comments he made to "the new york times," saying, white nationalists, white supremacist, western civilization, how did that language become offensive? i know you've condemned the remarks. we're seeing stronger calls from the democrats in the house. speaker pelosi says she's going to take action. the black caucus said congressman king should be denied committee assignments. will republicans take any action against congressman king? >> you have seen all of our house leaders, kevin mccarthy,
myself, liz cheney, us leaders pushing back and calling on him to denounce it. i would recommend that steve king go and read the op-ed by our colleague, senator tim scott, which was poignant. i will say, george, as they talk about steve king on the democrat said, we've pushed back against his comments. there's be been many democrats who have said highly offensive things, align themselves with anti-semites, have called on physical violence, they haven't pushed back on any of that language. we have to raise the bar on civility, george. we need to call it out on the republican side and the democrat side. i've been willing to call it out on both. it's time the democrat leaders you just mentioned call it out when it happens on their side, as well. >> will republican leaders call for any action against congressman king? >> i would imagine we're going to continue talking about this. this just popped up on friday. we were very quick to reject those comments. there's no place for hate, for bigotry or anybody who supports
that ideology. it's evil ideology. we all have to stand up against it. it's easy when the democrats condemn a republican. i don't see the democrats condemning democrats on their side who are doing this kind of thing and using this kind of language. >> congressman scalise, thank you for your time this morning. >> great being with you. up next, the roundtable takes on new reports about president trump and russia. we'll be right back. >> "this week with george stephanopoulos," sponsored by ibm. that's great. but right now you've got your hands full with your global supply chain. okay, france wants 50,000 front fenders by friday. that's why you work with watson. i analyzed thousands of contracts and detected a discrepancy. it works with procurement systems you already use to help speed up distribution without slowing down your team. frank, tell fred full force on those french fenders. fine. fine. ndtr 2in1... frank, tell fred full force on thchson.ks to move free a
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the day after you were fired, the president is meeting in the oval office with the russian foreign minister. calls you a nut job. says the pressure on him has been relieved. what did you think when you saw that? >> wow, was my reaction. what are the russians doing in the oval office? one, as a counterintelligence person i'm thinking, that's crazy, without any americans being present. one. and, two, the pretense is melting away. the bit about, you were fired because of how you handled the e-mail investigation is melting away. you were fired because of the russia investigation. >> now, according to "the new york times," as that was happening, james comey's former colleagues were opening up a counterintelligence investigation into the president. let's talk about that on our roundtable. joined by our chief white house correspondent, jonathan karl. alicia menendez, co-host of
"amanpour & company" on pbs. reihan salam, executive editor at "the national review." chris christie, former new jersey governor, now an abc news contributor. and senator heidi heitkamp. we've seen president trump's reaction. being asked about it is insulting. a dozen tweets about "the new york times" story. what are you picking up from others inside the president's orbit? >> the story in "the new york times" is an extraordinary reflection of the level of distrust between the fbi leadership and the president. and how suspicious the president's behavior was, to the point of investigating -- >> the letters about firing comey, the interview with lester holt. >> and actually going to the point of investigating whether or not effectively the president was a russian agent. what i am getting is -- this is all building up to the mueller report and raising expectations of a bombshell report. and there were investigations that were building over a year
on this. people closest to what mueller is doing, interactive with the special counsel, cautioned me, this report is certain to be anti-climatic. if you look at what the fbi was investigating in that "new york times" report, look what they were investigating, mueller did not go anywhere with that investigation. he's been writing his report in real-time through these indictments. we've seen nothing from mueller on the central question of was there any coordination, collusion, with the russians in the effort to meddle in the elections? or was there knowledge with the president or anybody in the campaign, of what the russians were doing? >> they haven't laid that out in indictments. but how do things like the trump tower meeting with don jr. and paul mant manafort -- paul manafort giving polling data to oligarchs in moscow. how does that play into the theory?
>> people are willing to lie to investigators and had their own dealings with russians. had their own agendas with russians. manafort was trying to get paid for his work on ukraine. flynn had his own dealings. it's not added up to anything. the central question again -- was there anybody -- was the trump campaign aware of or coordinating with the russians in their effort to meddle with the elections? so far, there's been nothing on that end. i'm led to believe, don't expect there's going to be one on the other. >> senator heitkamp, we're seeing democrats take control of the house. are they going to pursue this on their own? >> absolutely. they should. that's part of the oversight and the responsibility. but speaking from the middle of the country, people are tired of hearing about things that are being reported in newspapers. they want a legitimate answer to these questions, in the investigation. they want this to end. they want to make sure they have all the facts in front of them. when all you hear is "the new
york times" or "the washington post" reports, that's important. but it's not definitive. and i think that the answer we have to have before we go into the 2020 cycle, is we have to get this behind us so we can begin to govern. it's having an effect on everything that's going on. you know, i think to add to the confusion, michael cohen testimony is going to be, you know, if you listen to experts, it's going to be more significant than the mueller report. so, we'll see what happens. >> when he testifies on february 7th, that's likely not to be the questions investigated by robert mueller, but other things he worked on. another factor here will be this william barr, who is being -- has his confirmation hearings for attorney general. he'll oversee the russia investigation. it appears, right now, at least, although no one really knows, that robert mueller won't end his investigation until barr is in place. >> that's probably true, george. on "the new york times" story, if i were the president, i would embrace the story because it backs up his narrative.
his narrative is, that fbi agents were acting in a rogue manner, overstepping the normal course of business because they had something against him. and that story is extraordinary that they would open up a counterintelligence investigation against a president of the united states. and it backs up some of the narrative the president has talked about. if i was him, i wouldn't be tweeting about the failing "new york times" and how insulted he is. i would go the opposite tact and say, wait a second. this is what i've been saying all along. the fbi under jim comey was out of control. and i think what they find with bill barr is, bill barr is a standard issue washington, d.c. inside lawyer. and what that means is, he's going to oversee bob mueller and let bob mueller come to the conclusion he is going to come to and let him issue the report publicly. >> should the president embrace "the new york times" story? >> that's one argument. he has to speak to this question on why he has been taking notes
from translators. it reopens that question. >> he doesn't trust -- he doesn't trust these people around him in the counterintelligence folks. he doesn't trust them. that's why he's taking them. >> i think this adds fire as we go into these barr confirmation hearings. two questions we'll hear over and over again from democrats -- one, will you allow the special counsel to continue their investigation unabated? and second, when the report is finally released will you make that report public? those are questions we knew we were going to hear and this adds fuel to the fire. >> if jon's reporting is correct, the president's allies would want this to be public? >> again, this is on the central big question of was there coordination, collusion with the russians in the election? there's plenty out publicly that's highly embarrassing out to the president. >> on obstruction. >> on obstruction and the activities of those in his inner-most circle.
>> i want to pick up on the translator story, reihan. it is true that the president has reason to be suspicious of those inside the government. no question about that. but he has had a number of one-on-one meetings alone with vladimir putin. and in one detailed meeting, the translator said, when putin said, did you interfere in our elections, he said no, and the president said, i believe you. runs counter to the administration position. >> well, one thing that i do know, is as steve scalise pointed out earlier on, the trump administration has taken a hawkish stance on power competition, including russia. that doesn't square with the narrative there's a longstanding cooperation. i also understand there's efforts to undermine the mueller report beforehand, on the grounds it will not be as explosive as some might have hoped or expected. >> do you believe the reports? >> do i believe the reports?
honestly, i don't know. what i do know is robert mueller is a professional. i know this is a well-resourced, serious investigation. if the counterintelligence angle were a serious one, that he would pursuit it seriously, on the grounds of his long experience and his deep concern about american national security. i don't think it makes sense to undermine that or assume he wouldn't take it seriously. as for the personal meetings, frankly, it's what makes people deeply uncomfortable about president trump. his incredibly unconventional approach to diplomacy, that he underscored as a presidential candidate. it makes many of his own appointees deeply uncomfortable. but it is a pattern of what he has said about his approach to diplomacy. it's not surprising in that regard. >> there's an important context what "the washington post" reported on the president's one-on-one meetings with vladimir putin. this is something that he does. he has met with other world leaders one-on-one. it's not unique to putin. it is certainly a break with what his predecessors did. it avoids the entire national security process. it may be troubling in that
regard. but it is not unique to putin. he met with kim jong-un one-on-one in singapore. he met with president xi at mar-a-lago one-on-one. he has phone calls from the residence because he is worried about the oval office being bugged. >> does that make the story better or worse? >> i'm not saying good or bad. i'm saying, it's not unique to putin. this is the way he conducts foreign affairs. >> this is completely consistent with the way the president thinks about himself. remember his convention speech. only i can fix it. i alone can fix it. and he honestly believes that everybody else doesn't have the ability that he has. he may be right sometimes. he may be wrong other times. i think he's been both. but in the end, he believes that. i agree with jon that this is consistent and reihan, it is consistent with who he is. we may be uncomfortable with it. those of us that believe foreign policy should be conventionally pursued. but that's who he is.
>> what does it say about the leader of the free world that he doesn't trust anyone around him? he's been there for two years. he should be able to assemble a team that he trusts. and that is a big concern for a lot of people, both in and out of the beltway. >> i said at this table, he has made bad personnel choices over the last couple years. and i think part of his concern about this is the result of making bad personnel choices right from the beginning. >> starting off by not letting you run the transition as you were scheduled to do? we have to take a break. we'll talk about the fallout from the longest shutdown ever. >> "this week with george stephanopoulos" sponsored by downy. first dates! you look amazing. and you look amazingly comfortable. when your v-neck looks more like a u-neck... that's when you know, it's half-washed. add downy to keep your collars from stretching. unlike detergent alone, downy conditions to smooth and strengthen fibers.
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the president towards a compromise. >> i think they need a cooling-off period. and one of the things that the legislation that is pending right now, would open up every branch but dhs, which would then be given a continuing resolution. what lindsey is saying, is everything should get advanced on a continuing resolution, which will keep the pressure on, will take an opportunity for everybody to cool down a little bit and start negotiating. i think it's not a bad proposal. the problem you have is if the president decides he's for it and then tomorrow decides he's against it, he's left all of his republican senators out there in the cold and they're stuck trying to explain to their base why they're against the president. that's what happened in december. >> i guess the question is -- lindsey graham is becoming, in some ways the president's best friend in the senate, can he convince the president to accept something he doesn't want to accept? >> i am told the president is rejecting the idea. i'm told real-time this morning, he doesn't like the idea and wouldn't do it.
and i think in the end, you know, i've talked a couple times on this show, george, the couple of things that i know that the president truly believes in. the trade issue, we've been talking about before, talking about it for years. and the immigration issue is one he truly believes in. and i think he thinks his core, to his existence as a political -- >> and the wall is about the politics of the base, too. >> of course. >> how does he explain this idea that he explained 212 times that mexico would pay for it? >> in the end, they're having an evolving answer as we've seen over the course of time. it's something they should have evolved to a long time ago. that's to say, if we get a better trade deal with mexico, more money will come in to the united states economy. >> even though it's not mexico paying for it. >> right. you can say, because i was tough with mexico, we got greater revenue into the united states. that should have happened a long time ago. because it hasn't happened until now, it will be harder to convince people. >> alicia, one of the things we've seen in our poll, a huge
gap between those that blame the republicans and those that blame democrats. it's interesting to see that those believe that the democrats should compromise, even those against the wall. when do nancy pelosi and chuck schumer feel the pressure? >> i believe they feel they hold all of the cards. and they believe they have come in good faith to negotiate this. this goes back to january when there was a deal for daca and the president stepped away. i think there's more complicated contours about this debate than we talked about. as soon as monday, the supreme court could announce whether or not it's going to take up the repeal of daca. the president has said repeatedly, he's confident that the supreme court will take up the case. they will rule in his favor, quote, overwhelmingly. and if they do, they will be able to put together a daca/wall plan. what immigration advocates are concerned about, he will use the 7,000 dreamers whose lives will be tossed into disarray more than they have been, and try to
make changes to illegal immigration, changes to asylum proceedings in the u.s., to make it nearly impossible for the central american migrants to get asylum in the u.s. >> and we do know the president wanted to make changes for skilled immigrants. >> he wants to provide what he called a path to citizenship for skilled foreign workers. this is a pretty big change, rhetorically. but it's also something that complicates the politics of immigration in an interesting way. there are those that believe we need to rebalance immigration in a more skilled direction, you see many employers arguing in that vein. and if the president were to take that stance, as it seems he's preparing to do, that really does split the opposition to his larger agenda. >> let me ask you a different question. you're editor of "the national review." a large number of the president's base read "the national review." is he right on the politics of this? do his supporters care about the wall as much as he thinks they do?
>> i believe this is very dynamic. if you look at what's happened in the shutdown, you see the shift of opinion on the wall. moderate voters are softening their opposition, as we saw in "the washington post"/abc poll. and it's also very striking to see that he's talking about an issue where he feels comfortable, he feels he has a solid position, he is strengthening his position among his base supporters. whereas democrats are not able to discussion their issues. in 2018, they focused on the obamacare debate. it's a debate that the president wasn't entirely comfortable talking about. certainly congressional republicans were not at all comfortable talking about. and you saw the power in one issue rather than another. i might question the wisdom of this as a long-term strategy for the president to achieve his objectives on immigration reform, it seems there's some evidence this is moving the politics. >> one of the things that's hard to read, jon, this week, is where the president stands on this idea of declaring a national emergency on the way out. he's been on both sides of this
issue several times this week. it appears by the end of the week, he had been convinced that this could cause more trouble with republicans in congress than he first thought? >> there's virtually no support among republicans, certainly republicans in the senate, where he needs them the most, in support of the national emergency idea. the opposition -- he's been told by his own legal team, that if he goes with this, he is almost certainly -- he is going to face a legal challenge and he is almost certainly going to lose that legal challenge. so, what's the point? my sense is that there's a fringe benefit the president believes to this battle. he gets to fight day after day, talking about the wall and talking about border security. it takes all of the oxygen from the rest of the debates. the investigations that house democrats are eager to get up and going are effectively delayed. the other issues that he's less comfortable talking about. he feels this could go on for a long time. >> you come from a trump state, north dakota, on one hand. there was, i suppose, support for the wall in the campaign. but a lot of farmers will get
hurt if the shutdown keeps going. >> that's true. the real casualty is governing. do we talk about infrastructure? do we talk about debt and deficit? do we talk about health care with the demographic changes that will blow up our health care system? no. we're not talking about any of that. we are talking about an issue that could be resolved if we quit talking about a wall and talk about border security. everybody is for border security. there's a deal to be had here. everybody forgets that in january, we actually -- february, we voted $25 billion for the wall. and the president walked away from it. the republican party walked away from it because it was a deal they didn't want on immigration. >> this seems to have become zero sum for the president. >> listen, george, as jon said, he's comfortable arguing on this basis and he's staying away from other things where there's not an obvious solution. there's not an obvious solution on the health care issue. there's not an obvious solution on infrastructure, given the deficits we're running and all of the rest of it.
i think, the fundamental mistake that democrats are making, they're allowing him to play on a playing field where he feels safe, very secure and very confident about what he believes. and when he does that, he's a more convincing salesman. in the end, i don't know how that brings us to a resolution. the president may not be worried about a resolution. he may be concerned about the politics of consolidation after having a difficult midterm election. >> do you see any sense that nancy pelosi will break on this? >> no. because she feels pressure from the left of her party to hold the line on this. >> there's about 30 democrats in the house, that are in trump, won or leaning districts, that will put pressure on her, too. >> this is the casualty of the loss of moderates. when you don't have moderates who say, i have to answer to both sides, i have a very nuanced state, you don't have that. joe donnelly's gone. claire mccaskill's gone. i'm gone. the people that opened up government in '13, john mccain's
gone. they're gone. and so, who is going to step up into that void? >> from what we've heard all morning, jon, it seems like which group is going to matter more? the new moderates elected, democrats in the house? or all of the republican senators who are up in primaries? >> yeah. that's a new dynamic this time. that new freshman class in the house, includes some of the real progressives. it also includes those democrats who are moderate, who are elected, representing trump areas. i think there is something there. >> the rhetoric for that reason, among democrats, some saying, we want enhanced border fencing and border security. you have others talking about this being immoral. that's a big difference. >> that's the last word for today. thank you all very much. up next, he was the first democratic candidate to enter the 2020 race. former maryland congressman, john delaney, is going to join us when we come back.
john delaney said a dirty word in davenport. then, repeated it in des moines. and sioux city, too. in fact, he's been saying it all across the state. unabashedly telling people he's a firm believer in -- >> bipartisanship. bipartisanship. bipartisanship. >> it might be a dirty word in washington, but it seems to be awfully refreshing here in iowa. >> that ad played in last year's super bowl, the first ad of the 2020 cycle. joined by the first candidate of the democratic race, john delaney. he announced his running back in july 2017. welcome back to "this week." >> thanks for having me, george. >> you're 534 days in. how is it going? >> i think it's going great. we've spent a lot of times in iowa. 21 trips there. 12 to new hampshire. my message, about bringing this nation back together, solving real problems, that are facing workers and families, in light of how technology is changing
the workforce, getting big things done to build a better future and restoring a sense of almost moral aspiration to our political discourse. i think that message is cutting through very well. >> no bipartisanship in washington right now. let's put your ideas to the te >> how would you solve the shutdown? >> i wouldn't have caused the shutdown. i think it's pretty clear, the senate republicans have to reopen up the government. that's the obvious path. >> we saw that from lindsey graham. a broader question. you're trying to talk about healing the divide. the last ten year in this country, over the space of eight years, we saw the country elect barack obama president and donald trump. you couldn't imagine two more different people to hold that office. so, how do you speak to that divide? >> well, i think it takes leadership. what the american people are looking for is a leader to bring us together. not actually talk like half of the country's entirely wrong about everything they believe. focus on where we have common ground. talk about big things for our future. and really do things
differently. one of the things i pledged in my first 100 days, only to do bipartisan proposals. wouldn't it be amazing if the president looked at the american people at the inauguration and said, i represent every one of you, whether you voted for me or not. and this is how i'm going to prove it. >> isn't that what democrats are expecting? if you're only putting bipartisan legislation on the floor, that means no medicare for all. no green deal. no $15 an hour minimum wage. >> there's things we agree with. building infrastructure. comprehensive immigration reform was bipartisan. fixing our system is bipartisan. things like national service, giving young people an opportunity to serve their country. >> you put other things on the back burner? >> the first 100 days you prove to the american people that we can start solving problems and getting things done. then, you talk about the big things we need to do. universal health care, i fully support. i believe there's ways of getting that done.
i introduced the first bipartisan carbon tax bill in the congress of the united states last year, to show that climate change, which is a huge threat to our prosperity, our national security, we can actually come together and solve that problem. i think there's a pathway to do big things together as a country. but there's also, in the short term, a lot of things we agree with each other that have to get done and we need a leader that wants to actually start bringing the country together, restoring a sense of this, as i say, moral aspiration, to who we are as a country. and that's what the american people are looking for. they're tired of being divided. >> you had a very successful career on wall street before you became -- >> not on wall street. >> in business. before you became a member. >> yes. >> -- of congress. and george will, in a highly complimentary column of you, he said, white male businessman, those three words, in the democratic primary, those are three strikes against you. is he right about that this year? >> i don't think he's right about that. i'm not a person of color. i'm not a woman.
and i appreciate the fact that i have had different experiences and haven't had to deal with some of the challenges that people of color in our country have had to deal with and women have had to deal with. i think at the end of the day, what the democratic primary voters are going to look for is a leader. someone who can lead our country into the future, with a real vision, as to how to create a more prosperous, just future. they're looking for leadership, particularly in the context of what they're seeing now. i believe the democratic primary voters will look for the leadership, who has a positive view of the future, who understands how global connections are changing everything in our society. and who has real plans to solve real problems to get things done to improve the lives of our citizens. >> you've been paying a large measure of your own campaign, you can afford it right now. elizabeth warren says there shouldn't be self-funding. how do you respond to that? >> i don't think that's true. i think people are fine with people investing in their campaigns.
i also raise money from people. i'm not entirely self-funding my campaign. >> how about the idea, coming from the new congresswoman, saying the marginal tax rate of those earning more, should be 70%? >> if we want to create more fairness on our tax code, we would tax investment income similar to what workers get paid at. there's a massive unfairness of the amount of taxes of people who invest for a living and those that work for a living. that can generate more revenues for the government. there's huge structural unfairness in our country, whether it's through the tax code or through environmental policies or criminal justice system. our immigration system. my wife and i were at the border two weeks ago. we took 14 law students down to dilly, texas, where the largest detention facility is in the country to hear asylum cases for a week. if you go to immigration, the
tax system, there's structural systems in this country we have to reform it. and the tax code is part of that. >> what qualifies you to be commander of chief? >> i served in the congress the last six years. i understand how our federal government works. i spent a lot of time with our military. i have a strong view of what the u.s.'s role is internationally. i generally believe what the post-world war ii model for u.s. leadership. and i think i'm in a very good position to be the commander of chief. >> i'll ask you about the other headlines about president trump. the report in "the new york times" that he was investigated by the fbi, also concealing his conversations with vladimir putin. do you believe he's compromised by vladimir putin? >> that's for mr. mueller to determine. i mean, it's highly suspicious, his behavior. we haven't had a president that's been as supportive of vladimir putin in decades, or the russian government in decades. it's highly suspicious. i think his business dealings in the past are suspicious. i know my experience in the private sector, no one in the united states would invest to
him or lend money to him. he had to go abroad to get financing for his projects. i think there's a lot of flashing yellow lights. but we should wait for the result of that report to determine. they're obviously investigating it. and i trust the special counsel's work. i think he's been terrific. there's been no leaks. he's been very thorough. he's uncovered a lot of highly suspicious activity and people that are close to the president have been charged with crimes. >> john delaney, thanks for coming in. >> thanks for having me, george. that's all for us today. thanks for spending part of your sunday with us. check out "world news tonight." and i'll see you tomorrow on "gma."
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