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tv   Kasie DC  MSNBC  September 17, 2018 1:00am-2:00am PDT

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forgiveness for bringing tears to my daddy's eyes." ♪ welcome to "kasie dc." i'm kasie hunt. we're live every sunday from washington from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. eastern. tonight, the woman behind the accusations about brett kavanaugh comes forward. the reporter who broke the story joins me live on set. and i have new reporting on whether it could derail his confirmation. plus, after fighting tooth and nail, paul manafort strikes a deal. joined by senator angus king whose committee is still investigating russia's interference in our elections.
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and florence's rain and winds may have moved on but it's left the carolina coast submerged. and pat mccrory joins me to talk about why the recovery will be extremely difficult. we had been telling you brett kavanaugh's confirmation was a sure thing but news tonight that could make a difference. doug jones says we should hold off and wait but most critically breaking tonight, republican jeff flake tells politico he's not comfortable voting yes until his committee hears more from christine ford. because it's a party line vote, that's going to have a real impact on how this moves ford. that vote is scheduled for thursday. ford says she is the author of that letter to dianne feinstein saying brett kavanaugh attempted to sexually assault her more than four decades ago.
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ford, now 51 years old and a research psychologist tells the paper that while his friend watched a drunk teenage kavanaugh pinned her to the bed, groped her and attempted to take her clothes off. ford alleges when she tried to scream, kavanaugh put his hand over her mouth adding, quote, i thought he might inadvertently kill me. she managed to escape when kavanaugh's friends jumped on much to both of them sending all three tumbling. ford tells the post she told no one about the incident in any detail until 2012 when she was in couples therapy. and even then kavanaugh reportedly wasn't mentioned by name. just in tonight we also have a new statement from the white house saying kavanaugh still categorically, unequivocally denies any such misconduct took place. and there's no indication that ford's accusation will derail his confirmation vote. that is still, of course, up in the air. but this question remains. what will senators like lisa murkowski, heidi heitkamp and
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susan collins do with this information? we can safely assume this report has not made their decisions any easier. with that i'd like to welcome in "washington post" reporter emma brown who broke this story. jonathan swan with axio, "new york times" lisa lair and reporter for yahoo! news, john ward. thank you all for being here tonight. emma, i'd like to start with you since this really pulled this story, an amazing scoop and great work by your team. this clearly was an incredibly difficult decision for christine ford. can you walk us through how this story first came to your attention, "the washington post" got a tip and then, you know, how this process played out for christine ford. >> sure. so she first reached out to us early july when brett kavanaugh had made his way to the top of the short list but was not yet named. a few days later, president trump announced him and she
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spent much of the summer trying to decide what she was going to do. she felt like she had -- as she put it to me, a civic responsibility to come forward and yet she was terrified of what that would mean for her and her family. so she thought about it all summer long. she retained a lawyer. she took a polygraph test to prepare, you know, her lawyer anticipating she'd be accused of being a liar should she come forward. by the end of august, she felt she had made her decision. she was not going to come forward. however, she sent this confidential letter at wop point to dianne feinstein and as word of that started to leak and there was an intercept story and there was a buzzfeed story and then, of course, new yorker, "new york times," she just felt her privacy going away. >> how did she get to the point where she's gone through, she's taken all these steps. she's done the polygraph, talked
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to the lawyer. at some point she made up her mind. she calls you guys. she wanted to come forward and have this known. what was it that made her change her mind after going through all of that? >> i do think she's had this thing in her that wanted to tell her story. that's why she wrote a letter to dianne feinstein and she just also was very terrified of what that would mean for her personally. it's when a reporter started knocking on her door and showing up at her workplace and calling her colleagues she just felt like as we put it these are the ills i was trying to avoid and they've come to pass anyway so i'm going to do it. >> has she thought through or have -- have there been gaming out of scenarios of what happens now? does she have to testify before the committee? is she willing to do that in public? >> i have not talked to her about now what. she, obviously, there are now calls for her to come speak to the committee. and i don't know what she will do, but i do know that she has already made the very difficult choice of putting her name out there and being public about her accusation.
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and so i would not be surprised if she decides she will come speak to the committee. >> the president is planning to stand by judge kavanaugh. that's based on conversations with four people close to the white house. politico reports, quote, three of those people also said they expect the president to go after kavanaugh's accuser, rather than to turn on the judge. they noted that trump has done so before, not just announcing his own accusers, but also attacking those of others, notably failed alabama senate candidate roy moore. the piece goes on, a lawyer close to the white house said the nomination will not be withdrawn. "no way, not even a hint of it, the lawyer said. if, any it's the opposite. if somebody can be brought down by accusations like this, then you, me, every man should certainly -- should be worried. we can all be accused of something. lisa, there's a lot there. >> there's a lot there. >> in that quote. it does seem, i mean, this is a playbook we've seen this
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president run in his own defense. we've seen him attack other accusers. as we pointed out, roy moore. but that attitude also is something that really sticks out in the context of the me too movement. >> right. so i think you have to separate what's going to happen with the judge a little from the politics and take each one separately. i think kavanaugh could still get confirmed. but on the politics, it is -- a lot of people have been referencing back to anita hill and clarence thomas' hearing. in 1992 after he was confirmed it was the first year of the woman and all the women went out to the polls motivated by the treatment of anita hill. fast forward. it's this me too moment. this unprecedented number of female candidates running already and you have to wonder how this shakes out for them politically. that statement sounds a little -- more than a little tone deaf given the dynamics of these midterm elections which
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are not looking that great for republicans. and the idea that any man could be accused of -- i don't even know where to start with that one. i may throw that one to you. you can tackle that one, kasie. >> let's just say, i think there are many of us that have been to many high school parties where bad things have happened. we would never level an accusation if it had not happened and certainly it takes a lot as emma has learned through her reporting to decide to come forward with something like this. jonathan swan, what does your reporting tell you about how the white house or republicans charged with defending the judge are going to go forward with this? >> so after the story broke, i've spoken to four people who are involved in the process in various degrees. they were all defiant. actually, i should qualify that. one of them told me they felt a little queasy but then they, within about five minutes they were starting to undermine the accuser and why the timing? did you know she's a democrat. the rest of them were totally defiant.
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and i could already see from the conversations where they were heading in terms of rhetorically. you know, democratic donor, liberal activist, why now? why did she wait until 2012? why didn't she name him for the therapist? it's the laundry list. the other point that they'll make and they have been making is that there's a list that they've compiled of 65 women who have known him since high school who vouch for his character. i saw no signs in any of those conversations that they were going to take even an inch of a step backwards. i don't have direct knowledge of the president's thinking, but based on everything i know about him from covering him for three years, i guarantee you that that report is correct. he is not going to back off on kavanaugh. >> that list just -- i understand why -- >> the list of 65. >> they want to testify to kavanaugh's character, but just because someone didn't murder you doesn't mean that they're not -- it seems like there's a logical fallacy there that's pretty unpacked and i think
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there are a lot of women across the country who have had experiences that, you know, maybe didn't rise to this level but -- this rings personal. i mean even i can tell you even in the couple hours since it came out i've heard from friends and other people who say it just rings really true, i think, to a lot of women and that can be a very political -- i would not underestimate the political power of that. >> john, weigh in there. there's going to be a lot of republican senators in a pretty tough spot in the next couple of hours as to how they'll handle this. they're either going to have to say -- essentially defend judge kavanaugh and say this was however long ago. like i believe him, et cetera. it's a very difficult place to be. jeff flake already saying i can't vote yes on this until we at least hear from this woman. >> as of tonight you have to say, or you don't have to say, i would say better than 50% chance he still gets confirmed. but i think that's something you say tonight because we don't know if this woman comes forward to testify.
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and if she does, we don't know how that plays out. and there's a strong likelihood if she does that that's, you know, that's got a good chance of changing things. now even if she -- if kavanaugh does get confirmed, i think one thing we can say that's also going to have a big impact is the effect on the midterms. >> right. >> and control of the senate. we're at about a ten-point generic ballot advantage for democrats right now. i think 538 says they need about 11 to have a good shot at control of the senate. that can certainly come into play if she comes to testify and this becomes a bigger issue. >> if you want to talk about just raw base politics and, you know, take morality -- the moral dimension of this conversation out of it, it could play the other way. if this does stymie his confirmation, republican base voters could get really angry and could turn out with real intensity. so we actually don't know how this is going to play politically. >> control of the senate sup for
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grabs. >> control of the seat. >> let's talk through, there are a lot of pieces of this in your report and that -- i spoke to several senators on the phone this afternoon as they were -- and a lot of them were learning, quite frankly, right along with the rest of us from your reporting kind of what was available. the polygraph test for example. the notes from the therapist that you report on. is that information going to be -- is she going to be willing, to your knowledge, to send that information to the committee if they ask for it? is that something we're going to get a chance to see? >> i cannot predict. i really cannot predict in the situation but i can say that the medical records are very, very private. and that those would be, you know, that's a really difficult choice for any person to have to turn that over. and i think, you know, she has -- it's a price to pay. she'll have to decide again. she's going to come to another decision point where it's how much now are you willing to give? if you want to tell your story fully now to the committee.
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that's going to come with another risk to you. so i don't know what she will decide. >> and some of the pushback already focuses on the, you know, the fact that his name was not in the therapist's notes. how did she explain to you, you know, her decision-making around who to tell about what had happened, whether to name brett kavanaugh to those people she talked to. >> the fact his name is not in the therapist notes doesn't mean that she didn't say his name. she spoke to her husband -- her husband was there. it was couples therapy. he recalls hearing his name in that conversation. and then in fact, i got e-mails from people who are theist. s who say it's not unusual you wouldn't write down someone's name. that's not the therapist's interest. the therapist's interest is in helping their client or patient work through whatever they are working through. >> right. >> so i don't think the fact his name is not there doesn't mean she didn't say it in the session. >> emma brown, thank you so much for your great reporting. i'm sure we'll be talking quite
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a bit with you more in the coming days. we'll continue this conversation in a moment about how accusations of harassment have played out around the supreme court nominations in the past. later, republican congressman tom cole joins me as democrats grow increasingly optimistic about taking back congress. but first, you're looking live at bolivia, north carolina, where a water rescue is under way at this moment. we'll have a live report just ahead. "kasie dc" back after this. [ upbeat music ]
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democrats were quick to call for delays to kavanaugh's confirmation hearing which is set for this week, or confirmation vote. senator dianne feinstein was the first to do so. senator kamala harris followed suit. but a spokesman for chuck grassley dismissed the timing of the report saying it raises questions about the democrats' tactics and motives. it's disturbing these uncorroborated allegations from more than 35 years ago during high school would surface on the eve of a committee vote after democrats sat on them since july. if ranking member feinstein and other committee democrats took this claim seriously, they should have brought it to the
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full committee's attention much earlier. judge kavanaugh's background has been thoroughly vetted by the fbi on six occasions throughout his decade of public service. but the number of senators saying put the confirmation on hold keeps growing. as we told you earlier, that now includes republican jeff flake. white house reporter for the associated press catherine lucy is going to join our conversation here. i want to talk about flake for a second here because this is actually a huge problem for republicans because, you know, they have been barreling full speed ahead. mitch mcconnell has been forcing this through and essentially no real way for democrats to stop them, but republicans can. and flake is potentially a first line of defense. it's not clear what they'll do if, by thursday, he's not ready to say, yeah, i'll vote yes on this. >> having one republican out there showing concern opens the door for other republicans to show concern. he's retiring. so he can be the first guy out. >> he's sort of a pariah in the republican party as well. >> but there say possibility that other people who may not have wanted to jump first, you know, like, say, collins or murkowski. i don't know what they'll do, but this makes it easier for other republicans to say, wait a second. of course, there's a really tight time crunch here for mcconnell. if this doesn't happen, it's hard to see how they get someone else in and confirmed before the midterms and who knows what happens. >> it would be nearly impossible to confirm a different nominee before the midterms. how does the white house view
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this? are they watching this with trepidation? what's the outreach to the hill right now? >> the folks i've talked to as this has come out and we're all processing it, they are standing firmly behind kavanaugh. they don't want to see any delay and they're strongly pushing back on the allegations. they are saying he's been vetted. he's denying it. and so i think for right now and i think we haven't heard from the president yet but i don't see any reason why we may well here from him. it's likely he will have the same kind of approach. you could see him pushing back on the accuser. that's certainly would be in keeping with his past behavior. >> but john, as much as we've seen the president get comfortable with going after,
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undermining the credibility of accusers, is this really a hill that all these republican senators and, forget all of them. look at susan collins and lisa murkowski. is this a hill they're really going to want to die on? >> i talked to some democratic chiefs and those are the two senators they're most focused on as you know from your time on the hill. flake, you're right. if democrats were the only ones objecting here, it would be a tough spot for them because they'd have their base telling them stop this nomination. if they get help from guys like flake and from collins and murkowski, those three enough are a real problem. >> i reached out to collins and murkowski this afternoon and haven't heard back yet from them. >> actually cnn is reporting they caught susan collins at the airport and she did confirm she talked to kavanaugh about this on friday. this was before, of course, she was named in the -- had come forward willingly. she talked about it and she didn't want to elaborate on. we reached out to her offices. she probably won't say anything until she makes a final decision. this will complicate it. >> and these red state in-cycle democrats.
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already this huge push from the democratic base really saying, even if the democrats can't stop the confirmation, the democratic caucus should hang together. and the expectation the democratic base voters had was no democrat would break. that's what they were pushing for. now that's only going to ratchet up. and that makes people like heidi heitkamp. a lot of those races are tighter than they were a month or two ago. they're still real races, active races. they'll have to do a tough political calculation and the pressures -- they already had to do that. now the pressure is higher. >> this makes it so much easier for them to vote no. >> i think if murkowski and collins break, then they are in a much easier position, i think. >> i do believe -- >> depends what the republicans do. >> i believe lindsey graham has called for the woman who come and testify. i don't know if he's called for a delay. but he's called for her to testify. >> he said he'd be happy if she wants to come to the committee.
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>> so flake -- flake and graham have definitely both together set the stage for graham saying, hey come. we want to hear what you have to say. and then flake saying i'm not going to vote yes until we hear what we have to say which flies in the face of what grassley is saying which is, no, i want this to happen on thursday. >> well, he's jammed. flake is the -- that's the ball game, right? they only have an 11-10 margin in the judiciary committee. so flake can hold it up. >> we're talking about base voters as well. one thing that they have been demanding, you know, and perhaps i'm characterizing base voters incorrectly. there are people on the left, and i think independents as well, who look at some republicans who are trying to push back against this president. and the accusation is always, all you do is talk. you never do anything. this is a situation where there is an opportunity to do something. >> certainly judicial nominees are one of the biggest achievements of this white house. so this sort of jams up a -- what this white house and republicans on the hill see as one of their -- the things they've done over the last two years that has a lasting impact, in fact, beyond this presidency. so this sort of throws a wrench
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in those works potentially. >> she has to testify, though. i think for guys like flake, in my opinion, i think for guys like flake -- >> you are saying testify publicly? >> before the committee. i think a person, a woman, you tell me if i'm wrong as a man on this, but i think for, you know, for somebody like flake, for even collins and murkowski to really say i'm going to take this momentous step of voting against this nominee, they need to see her, hear her in person. >> lisa, you agree? >> i think probably for those republicans, they need to see her and hear her in person. i'm not sure if terms of how the politics play out that's true. there's a different thing between politics and stopping the nomination. it's important to think about those differently. how this could play out politically could be really different than stopping. you know how the nomination could play out. because there is -- >> he could still be confirmed. >> and there's a political risk for republicans to having her testify. these moments can go viral
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really fast. that could be damaging for either side. >> that's the thing about these confirmations. this one has seemed so inevitable. when they go down it's for some -- one moment in that hearing could potentially be catastrophic for him. first responders are combing the carolinas as florence dumps 34 inches of rain on some parts of the south. now it's communities inland nervously watching the rivers rise. we'll go live to north carolina in just a moment.
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this is terrible. this is the worst one i ever seen. i was worried more about them. i was scared. i was very scared. i didn't want nothing to happen to my children. >> florence was downgraded to a tropical depression this morning but has still wreaked havoc on millions in the carolinas. today the death toll climbed to 16. meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of people in the region are without power. more than 600,000 customers in north carolina alone. floodwaters are now the biggest concern. the amount of rainfall has broken records in parts of north
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and south carolina, up to 34 inches in some places. this is the cape fear river in the fayetteville area. the waters are expected to come to a crest this week. hundreds of people have been rescued. this video showing a coast guard team hoisting victims from the floodwaters. want to bring in mariana who is in bolivia, north carolina, where a water rescue is ongoing right now. you've been doing great reporting and, obviously, we've been thinking about all of the people down in north carolina who are struggling with this storm. what's the outlook there for the next few days? >> kasie, it's going to get worse before it gets better. the cape fear river is expected to crest tuesday morning. there's nowhere for this water to go. the water behind me expected to crest on friday and we just witnessed that water rescue that you mentioned. if you can make out the white truck behind me there, that's a person that was trying to traverse highway 17. i'm going to move so that my
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cameraman can show you the shot. we're showing our audience just everyday neighbors that came to aid this person that got stuck in their vehicle. this road, it connects a town called winnibow with wilmington to the north, myrtle beach on the south. now it's completely cut off from these major cities. our own team, kasie, we've been driving around for 9, 10 hours. we ourselves have started to cut off from these big cities. there is just nowhere for this water to go. you were mentioning rescues as well. we were just at the command center for brunswick county, one of the largest counties in north carolina and the southeastern part of the state. the people there at the command center tell us 200 rescues alone. and this is just the beginning. unfortunately, we're going to expect to see scenes like this one throughout the rest of the week. kasie? >> mariana atencio. we want to turn to hans nichols. quite the assignment.
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what have you seen down there? >> well, this is really a sight survey to see how bad the damage is to the base and surrounding community. they want to have some good reconnaissance. today was really the first day you had reconnaissance flights. search and rescue flights by the coast guard. the navy sending out assets, marines sending out assets and the flooding isn't as bad as they thought it might be but they're expecting to get much worse. and one of the things they're concerned about, not just on this base but throughout the region is what you do with the pollution from all of those hog and chicken farms. there are lots of farms here. they have some pollutants. if there's massive flooding you could have an environmental catastrophe to what's already a human catastrophe. the marines, navy, everyone is waiting for orders from the federal government. it's called title 10 tasking in pentagon speak.
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until they get that, they can't take out all these assets here and start helping civilians. it will be an indication of just how bad the flooding is going to get if you see title 10 triggered. kasie? >> a question for the white house. hans nichols, thanks so much. when we continue, after months of bucking the special prosecutor, paul manafort goes from donald trump's man to robert mueller's. we're back after this. >> mr. manafort, who is, by the way, who is a respected man. he's a respected man. paul manafort who is a good man, also, by the way. but i've always known him to be a good man. i've always found paul manafort to be a decent man. paul manafort who really is a nice man.
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welcome back. paul manafort's guilty plea, an agreement to cooperate with robert mueller could result in a treasure trove of new information for the special counsel. i want to take a look back at the relationship that he, paul manafort, had with the president. bob woodward describes in his new book a tense exchange between then-candidate trump and manafort shortly before he was let go and sparked by a "new york times" story describing the ways in which the campaign was failing to keep trump under control. woodward writes this. paul, am i a baby, trump asked manafort. is that what you're saying? i'm a baby? you're terrible on tv. you've got no energy. you don't represent the campaign. i've told you nicely. you're never going on tv again. at that point, steve bannon, who
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was not yet in charge of the campaign, interjected reminding trump that many of the sources were unnamed. no, i can tell, trump replied, directing his fire at manafort. they are leakers. he knew the quotes were true. it's kind of -- it's a testament to how big this kavanaugh news is that it's taken this long to get to this because paul manafort flipping. he was in that trump tower meeting and now bob mueller has a way to get a version of the story that could potentially hurt the president. >> he has his full cooperation. and you remember, trump was sort of dangling out as if he was going to pardon paul manafort. he was saying he's a great man, a brave man, praising him publicly. >> a nice man. >> not flipping like michael cohen flipped. and manafort now, you know, with the threat of the rest of his life in prison has promised to fully cooperate with mueller. there's a few things here. a lot of the mueller news that breaks every week isn't that important.
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this one is important. he was at the center of everything for that short period of time that he was on the campaign. but he really was at the center of it. he wasn't some peripheral figure. if anyone in the trump orbit has the capacity to collude with the russian government, it's paul manafort. with the russian oligarchs and people close to putin. >> he was offering briefings to -- >> to deripaska who he owed a lot of money to. he's a very important figure in all of this. and mueller's strategy worked. mueller took old charges that had nothing to do with the campaign way before and used it to squeeze him. and it worked. he's flipped. >> jon ward, if you are the president now watching all of this unfold, what is your next move? is it to pardon paul manafort? is it not? i mean, it's like what do you do? >> that was one of my favorite insults in the woodward book. he calls rudy giuliani a baby like several times.
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>> just imagine you're trump, jon. just -- >> yes, i do it every day. >> should have been the audio book. >> they should have brought you in for that. you read that quote. yeah, but -- sorry. >> we can't rule out that he pardons manafort, but i think he'd want to see what happens first. >> impeachment. >> but i've given up trying to predict trump. this is a big development. but i don't think we're -- i think democrats also need to wait and see. let's not get too far ahead of ourselves with talk of impeachment. >> i love watching all of this. i'm always looking at the politics. you have seen a shift in the politics. mueller's approval rating has gone up. the most striking thing was kaiser health news is the gold standard for polls about health care. they do this tracking poll. and two, three weeks ago for the first time, corruption rose to the top issue over health care.
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and it's the first time they'd seen that in this cycle. you see this is having an impact. and i think watching the strategy of the trump team play out is really interesting because they just -- it feels like they fundamentally do not understand mueller's strategy which is silence. silence and subpoenas. and that's something they're sort of unfamiliar with. it's not how they do it, right? and it's -- >> i think this is going back to -- >> it's a black box. >> you just don't know how much he knows. how big this is. where this is going. and we're clearly not going to know until it finishes. >> is there anything, picking up on what lisa was saying about politics, is that the manafort news, you know, sort of builds on the russia story and what we're seeing in terms of polling going into the midterms is sort of a soft "r" republicans, more moderate republicans, independents, women in a lot of these suburban districts, all those folks have really like moved away from the president. and this is not helpful news. >> right. >> going into the midterms. >> jonathan swan, you're report ing on this idea that republicans are buying this
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point of fake news to a point it's causing a real problem for republicans because their voters don't believe the democrats could win congress. >> a month ago i reported in the same newsletter based on focus groups that -- republican strategists were getting concerned because they were doing focus groups of trump voters and saying, fake news. we don't believe the polls. it's going to be a blue wave. and that was worrisome. >> and trump is obviously out there saying red wave. red wave. that's troublesome because they want these people to be motivated to vote. now it's coming through in proper data.
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i got leaked a little bit of rnc polling which they surveyed strong trump supporters. 57% of them thought it was unlikely that democrats could take the house. nate silver at 538 has that at 83% chance that republicans -- democrats will take the house. so the disconnect between what the maga crowd believes versus mainstream pollsters and forecasters believe is so stark. and it's based on their own lived experience of 2016 where they were told the whole way through that they were crazy. >> politics is perception. >> now trump is telling them, guys, don't believe what you see and hear. >> mike shields, following up on your reporting, the former rnc chief of staff told me on the record the other day that he and others have told trump you've got to stop doing this. he pointed to his -- >> we just had a tweet that the president was just tweeting like the economy is better than it's ever been before. this is further information for his voters that everything is fine. >> that's a different message. he's actually listening apparently. >> we're reporting today some of the same polling. and the economy is not moving voters. these issues are not moving it. the job numbers are not moving voters. what's motivating people is trump either for or against, and they aren't really targeting their messaging. what they're being told is, move away from the economic message.
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you really need to go after the democrats, say, if democrats take the house. they'll go after impeachment. they will go after i.c.e. they'll do these extreme policies that you're not in favor of. they need to motivate republicans that way. we haven't seen a sustained effort to do that. >> you're seeing that in the ads for corey bliss and others where they're personal. >> and ads you normally see in october. so seeing them now really tells you something about how nervous the republicans are. and i also think, you know, look. there's always this thing where presidents in midterms always want it to be about them and the guys in the party don't want it to be about them. we saw the same thing with obama. if you talk to these ex-obama strategists, the problem in 2010 was that obama wasn't there. they didn't let obama in enough. the differences that normally the president listens to the party leaders and says -- >> does what they want. >> it's the midterms. right. that's what obama did. in this case we're seeing what happens when a president doesn't.
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it's interesting to watch for those of us who follow this. >> thank you. really appreciate it. coming up, republican congressman tom cole says there's a lot of smoke surrounding some of trump's former associates. and he's urging vulnerable incumbents to speak out about it. he joins me next right here on "kasie dc."
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my contract with the american voter -- my contract -- my contract with the american voter begins with a plan. begins with a plan to end government corruption. when we win -- when we win on november 8th, we are going to washington, d.c. to drain the swamp. and believe me, it will happen. i'm really good at things like
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that. >> that was then candidate donald trump delivering one of his signature campaign lines at just a few of his rallies leading up to the election of 2016. but as michael cohen and paul manafort join the list of former trump advisers who have pleaded guilty to crimes, some are worried. republican congressman tom cole tells "the new york times," quote, this is very much a referendum on the president. if he had to fight this campaign on what we accomplished in congress and the state of the economy, i think we'd almost certainly keep the majority. congressman cole joins me now. congressman, thank you for being here tonight. it's good to see crow. i want to pick up on what we were just showing there and lisa mayer mentioned this, a poll was floated to the top of voter's
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minds. and you also told "the times" about the president's associates, as we saw michael cohen, manafort. quote, when there's a lot of smoke there may well be fire. anybody who says this is not disturbing is not being honest. and you go onto say your advice to any candidate is keep your powder dry, you don't know enough to have a reaction you can still defend three months from now. now, first of all, do you think there is corruption among the president's inner circle? >> if you're talking about his inner circle as president, no. in terms of is it disturbing
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when a former campaign chairman is convicted of crimes -- now, in his case they were crimes that predate his association with the president, yeah that's disturbing. when it's your personal lawyer that's plead, that's disturbing. so i think in a situation like that and as information is unfolding and coming out, i'd be very careful as any kind of candidate to take a firm position anyplace until i had the information to make a considered judgment. and that's basically the advice i give people. >> how worried are you about this yithat the president is telling republican based voters everything is going to be fine, it's fake news, there's not going to we a blue wave. >> look, everybody has had a mad mid-terms since 2002, didn't matter who it was, republicans or democrats. so mid-terms are going to be tough, regardless. but in this case i think most voters understand there's a lot at stake here. there's no question the democratic base is highly energized. it has been frankly throughout the last 18 months. i think our base gets more
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energized as you approach the election. so i actually think both bases will turn out pretty well. >> do you think the numbers -- we've seen the poll numbers among republicans for president is extraordinary high, 80s and sometimes in the 90s. do you think there are still as many republicans as they were before? are you seeing people leave the party? how much damage are you seeing? >> no, really not. and frankly the democratic drift to the left and sometimes more than a drift, a stampede in some district has probably helped republicans because i don't think there's much an alternative to most republican voters. again i think the stakes of the election are so high that they won't. i think our energy level, and i've seen a lot of polling is about what it was in 2010. the big difference is democratic energy is much higher than it was in 2010 or even in elections like 2012 when they were
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successful. so, you know, we're not going to be able to dampen down democratic energy. so you better really work your own district and voters hard to make sure they come out and vote. look, i think this election no question will lose seats. there is a question whether or not we'll lose the majority. in the senate i feel pretty good where we're at. in the house i actually think the things we can control, we've done a pretty good job. our committee is good, we've got good issues to run on, our candidates are good. again, nobody's had a good mid-term in a long time. i told when we were chatting off camera, look, ronald reagan lost seats in a mid-term. i don't think we're seeing anything unusual. and with ronald reagan it was 10.1, and something like a 4% growth rate, those things help a lot. >> do you think donald trump is damaging the republican party? not at all? >> look, we've had two years that have been very successful in terms of policy goals. so, you know, this president is very unorthodox very unusual president.
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and what his electoral impact will be on an off-year, i don't think we really know yet. but in terms of a policy that he signed and could not have happened without him, this has been a pretty successful two years. >> so you don't have any information about the wide range, the norms he seems to kick aside -- >> there are certainly areas where i would use different language or would have a different point of view than the president. but politically the reality is, you know, cut taxes, done deregulation, rebuilding the military, a lot of things frankly the democrats agree with like human trafficking, opioids, trying to do something to help our veterans. he's actually got a pretty good record to run on. our biggest thing is we haven't been able to run on the record he's compiled. >> what do you chalk up to that. >> well, manafort, cohen, those kinds of things distract. i think tweets sometimes
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distract. i would just focus on the basics. the basics for the president are better than some of these extraneous issues. >> so you're perfectly comfortable in the party of trump? >> i'll never be perfectly comfortable in a mid-term where our party is in power. i think we've positioned ourselves as well as we can, and we'll see how we do. >> congressman tom cole, thank you for your time tonight. just ahead i'm going to be hey allergy muddlers. are you one sneeze away from being voted out of the carpool? try zyrtec®. it's starts working hard at hour one. and works twice as hard when you take it again the next day. stick with zyrtec® and muddle no more®.
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♪ a call for delay. the woman who accused supreme court nominee brett kavanaugh of sexual assaulting her during their teenage years has identified herself in a "washington post" report. now democrats are demanding an investigation. plus, florence isn't a hurricane anymore, but the storm continues its assault on the carolinas. rising flood waters are expected to get worse in the coming days. paul manafort agrees to cooperate with federal prosecutors. at least one of the president's defenders is calling it a bad day for the trump administration. ♪

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