tv Meet the Press MSNBC June 16, 2019 3:00pm-4:00pm PDT
father and grandfather. that does it for this hour of "politics nation." thanks for watching. i'll see you back here next saturday at 5:00 p.m. eastern live from south carolina state democratic party convention. up next, "meet the press" with chuck todd. this sunday, election interference. president trump says yes, he would accept information on an opponent from a foreign country. >> oh, let he call the fbi. give me a break. >> he insists everyone does it. >> i think i would take it. >> then gets slammed by democrats. >> that's just dangerous, appalling, unethical, unpatriotic. you name it. >> he does not know right from wrong. >> and by some republicans. >> i'd call the fbi. i think most people would. frankly, i think the president would. >> before finally backing off. >> of course, you give it to the fbi. >> how serious is president trump about protecting our election? the democrats debate stage is
set, both of them. 20 candidates, two nights. a brewing generational divide. >> it would serve us well to have a new generation of leadership stepping forward at the highest level. >> people have a right to question all of our ages. all i can say is, watch me. just watch me. >> my guest, mayor pete buttigieg of indiana. and growing tensions with iran. the u.s. blames iran for attacks on tankers and considers deploying forces to protect oil shipments. i'll talk to house republican whip steve scalise and our own richard engel reports from the region. joining me are mark leibovich, chief national correspondent for the "new york times" magazine, danielle pletka of the american enterprise institute, syndicated columnist george will, and helene cooper, both correspondent for the "new york times." welcome to sunday, it's "meet the press." >> from nbc news in washington, the longest running show in
television history, this is "meet the press" with chuck todd. >> good sunday morning. happy father's day to all the dads out there. we're going to get to president trump and election interference and our new poll numbers in a moment. we will start with the tension between the united states and iran. the u.s. is blaming iran for attacks on two tankers. iran denies it was responsible. there are fears hardliners will use the incident to push for a military confrontation. nbc news chief correspondent richard engel is in turkey with the latest on this allegation. first, is the u.s. allegation against iran that they did it being taken seriously in the region and with western allies? >> reporter: i think it is being taken seriously. sources i have been speaking to are not doubting the americans accounting of events. they think that the iranians did it. they think they did it in such a way to show their displeasure, to show their anger that they have been boxed in by sanctions.
they think that the iranians didn't want to attack u.s. interests in order not to provoke at least at this stage any kind of shooting war. but sources i'm speaking to are -- i'm not hearing other accounts of who was responsible. >> richard, there clearly is divides in iran on how aggressive to get. there's divides in our own country between the president and his national security adviser. i know there's concern of an accident happening. first walk us through the iranian divide. >> reporter: so the issue is not so much an accident. we talk about this like we're on a slippery slope toward war. we have been put in this position. there have been a series of events that have put us right where we are right now. let's start with the iranian side. there are hardliners in iran who said for a long time that they should be taking a much stronger action, a more confrontational
approach vis-a-vis the united states, particularly after the united states started to ratchet up sanctions, put iran into a corner, back them into a position where they fear they have no other economic options. they have been -- those voices, those hardline voices have been losing out to moderates. but as the sanctions get tighter and tighter, the hardliners are now in the an zend answery. the hard lines think it's a good idea, apparently, to attack commercial shipping in order to show their displeasure and to show their strength. you also have hardliners in the united states who put us in this situation, who may have made the sanctions on iran so impossible that iran felt backed into a corner and it is reacting. it is very predictable. i have been watching this for a long time. i could have told you if you ratchet up the sanctions to a point they are unbearable on iran, that iran would react and the hardliners would get the upper hand. i think a lot of people around president trump, bolton among them, know exactly that that's how iran would react. >> very quickly.
>> if you put them in an entunable situation. >> i assume, is the u.s. navy going to be used as essentially a military escort for tankers pretty soon in the gulf of oman? >> reporter: we could get to that stage. president trump said in that phone call with fox and friends that the straits of hormuz will remain open almost at any court. u.s. military escort would be an escalation. let's see if it has to come to that. >> richard engel in istanbul, turkey. ruchd, as always, sir, thanks very much. turning to politics. it has become something of a cliche from the moment donald trump came down that escalator four years ago today, he has changed the norms of our politics. whether as a candie clairing that john mccain has no war hero or as president or declaring there was fine people on both sides of the neo-nazi protests in charlottesville, there's a familiar pattern.
step one, stay or do something startling. step two, public and press react with shock, outrage, approval or all of the above. step three, say or do something else startling. step four, public and press forget about step one. wash, rinse, repeat. the latest example, trump saying this week, sure i'd take incriminate aginformation about an opponent from a foreign government. many heard that as, mr. trump saying, russia, if you are listening, come on in, the water is fine, if you can help again, i will take it. perhaps the most remarkable thing about the four-year cycle of these this one goes to 11 controversies is how steady and mediocre the president's approval ratings have remained through it all. our brand-new poll, 44% of the president's job performance. 53% disapprove. always holding between 43% and 46% consistently. all of which is to say, mr. trump's style is a weakness and a strength. a weakness because the controversy that kept his approval rating from reaching 50%.
a strength because with each new controversy it becomes easy to forget what last week's fuss was all about. >> they have information. i think i would take it. >> the four years after descending on that escalator in trump tower and announcing his candidacy, mr. trump is preparing to kick off his re-election campaign on tuesday in battleground florida. this week, he made it clear, if a foreign government offers him help to win, he will take it. >> this is somebody that said, we have information on your opponent. oh, let me call the fbi. give me a break. life doesn't work that way. >> the fbi director says that's what should happen. >> the fbi director is wrong. >> his campaign calls those comments a directive. >> the president's directive as he said, case by case basis, he would likely do both, listen to what they have to say but also report it to the fbi. >> after some republicans condemned the idea of accepting foreign help again in 2020 -- >> it would strike at the heart of our democracy. >> i think it's a mistake. i think it's a mistake of law. >> the chair of the federal election commission pointed out
that taking information of value from a foreign national is illegal. >> it's actually a matter of black letter law. it's pretty straightforward. >> on friday, the president tried to backtrack. >> of course, you have to look at it, because if you don't look at it you are not going to know if it's bad. how are you going to know if it's bad? but of course, you give it to the fbi or report it to the attorney general. >> still, mitch mcconnell blocked a bill that would require fbi disclosure of any foreign assistance. while democrats competing to take on trump pounced on his comments. >> i believe he's dead wrong. >> he was perfectly willing to break the law. >> it's illegal. >> what he said was openly treasonous. >> it's terrorism. >> it's like the guy hates america. >> mr. trump's opponents are struggling with how far to go. >> would you want the department of justice, now that he is no longer a sitting president, to go forward with obstruction of justice charges? >> i believe that they would have to choice and that they should, yes. there has to be accountability. >> by friday, harris was trying to backtrack. >> you would prosecute donald trump. >> no.
i said that the department of justice will need to go and follow the facts wherever they lead. >> ahead of their first debate, the 2020 democrats are trying to prove they are best equipped to take mr. trump on. >> a gigantic mistake if democrats, 20 or whatever number we have, go after each other. >> former vice-president biden's rivals are already playing up the contrasts that are likely to appear on stage. >> if we are perceived as replicating a system that let people down economically and politically, we could lose again. >> the same people say, we have to have somebody new. we have to change the system. guess what. systems work pretty damn well. it's called the constitution. >> joining me now is the mayor of south bend, indiana, pete buttigieg. mayor, welcome back to "meet the press," sir. >> thank you. good to be with you. >> i want to start with sort of the news of the moment that we're all dealing with as a country, what's going on in the middle east. do you believe the administration has provided
enough proof that iran was behind these tanker attacks? >> i think what we have seen is compelling. there seems to be more information that we haven't had a chance to see. it's a little distressing to think that because this administration's credibility is so low in general, i think a lot of people are thinking twice in a moment when america's words should be decisive, when the u.s. says this is something that has happened and this is the consensus of our administration, that should be something that goes without question. of course, that's just not the case in an administration that has been extremely unreliable in so many ways. that being said, this is not inconsistent with iranian behavior that has been aggressive and often malignant in the region. the real question is, what can we do given the facts on the ground to ensure a measured response that will deescalate rather than inflame tensions in the region. >> what is that measured response that a president buttigieg would do at this point? i know you want to go back into the nuclear agreement.
but the nuclear agreement did nothing about the belligerent behavior of iran. so what would you be doing? >> we would consult and coordinate with allies. everybody has an interest in the region becoming more stable. >> let me pause you there. our closest allies in the middle east, saudi arabia and israel in particular, they seem to be in a different place on iran than the united states even. >> well, our allies in the middle east are going to be concerned first and foremost with their own security. we need to make sure that we have tensions deescalating rather than escalate when it comes to what's going on. what we see out of the white house is something disturbingly reminiscent of the accelerating drumbeat that got us into the war in iran. -- war in iraq. worse, it has some of the same cast of characters. i'm mystified who john bolton is said to be behind a lot of the administration's policy on iran, as well. it's not only allies in the region but allies across the globe who have an interest in stopping any pathway toward the
middle east becoming more violent, more unstable than it already is. >> do you take comfort at all that president trump appears to be more dovish about this than john bolton? >> the president has said that he does not want a conflict. of course, it's very difficult to take the president at his word any time he says anything. to the extent that we believe him, the real question is, is a dynamic underway in the administration just as much as in the middle east that could get out from control of the president himself. i'm concerned about that. it's one more reason why we need stable leadership in the united states and a stable international community where our alliances are steady and our word is taken seriously. >> at a minimum, would it be appropriate if they ordered -- if they had the u.s. military essentially in the gulf of oman as a police escort for these tankers? do you think that's a necessary step? >> yes, it could certainly be appropriate for u.s. to use our sea power to make sure that
there is safety and freedom of passage in that part of the world that's so vital to the world economy. >> you are making a generational argument during the campaign, being the youngest contender in the race. the youngest top tier contender in this race. it's an obvious thing for you to do. let me ask this about joe biden that you have been ducking all week long. what can joe biden do to convince you he is future oriented? >> i think every one of us is running our own playbook. a candidate of any age could speak about the future. i think not every candidate is doing that. the future can't just be a bump er sticker or word or vague idea we throw out there. i want us to be forming policies today that are going to make sense in the 2050s that we're going to look back. >> you think somebody in their 70s can't have a good vision of what 2050 is going to look like in america? >> of course they can. i think i have the best one. my plan is to go out and compete with it. >> that's a fair point.
let me ask you this about the president's comments having to do with accepting foreign interference. if somebody offered your campaign dirt on either president trump or a democratic candidate, what would you do with that dirt? >> you wouldn't do anything with that dirt. you would call the fbi. this isn't even -- >> would you look at it? >> no. you call the fbi. the moment that you look at it, you have implicated yourself. i don't think you would want to do that. some things are complicated in politics and ethics. this is not. this is not theoretical. a hostile foreign power successfully attacked our democracy in the last election. there's no indication that they are going to back off from trying do it in the next election. that's why it's shocking to hear the president say what he said. then again, he specialize ms. shocking us so that we can't talk about anything else. i hope that while we are forcefully responding to the outrageous suggestion that he would do something illegal in
that situation, it's not making us less able to talk about our own agenda of making americans' lives better off of delivering better wages, better living standards and health care. and all the other issues on which americans trust the democratic party. he needs us talking about him so that we're not talking about voters. when we talk about voters, we win. we will call out his wrongdoing and return to our message, because that's what's going to make for a better america all the way to the 2050s. >> you responded to a question about the idea of prosecuting a former president trump, possibly having the justice department look at the obstruction case. you are open to this idea that if that's what the justice department says, then they should pursue it. how do you -- if you are elected president, one of the reasons you got elected is you would have convinced the country it's time to change the channel. how do you change the channel and prosecute the former president at the same time? >> america can do many things at the same time. it's not the president's job to prosecute a foreign president. changing the channel means focusing on how we can make people's lives better. if in parallel there are
investigations going on into criminal behavior by people who were formerly at some of the highest levels in our government, so be it. that's how the justice system works. the most important principle here is the independence of the judiciary, the independence of the doj is not something this president respects. he's treated it like it ought to be his own personal law firm. >> this won't be a litmus test for your attorney general. look at it if you want to. i'm not going to tell you which way to come down on whether to prosecute the former president of the united states? >> prosecution decisions shouldn't be made by politicians. what i will say is any attorney general that i would appoint is somebody who will faithfully apply the concept that no one is above the law, that everybody ought to be held accountable, whether they are a former president or whether they are somebody who has never been anywhere near the halls of power. that's the point. it's that justice is blind. i will appoint an attorney general and for that matter justices and judges who uphold
that principle. >> if there is -- final topic i want to get to is your ability to win this democratic nomination in general. if there is one whisper that democrats have about your candidacy, many are excited you hear the whisper what, but can he get african-american support. i want to read you a quote from a pastor at the uplift church in indianapolis. here's what he said. i guarantee it's going to be an obstacle. this is about the fact that you're married to another man. i guarantee it's going to be an obstacle for the candidate everybody south bend. that is still a touchy subject, especially in the african-american church. i think it could be overcome. we are getting to a point of -- i don't want to say accept, but realizing this is the culture we have to begin to live with and adapt to it. i know you're trying to have these conversations with a lot of african-americans.
how are they going? >> they are going well. we are working hard to engage people across the party but especially black voters who expect you to demonstrate, especially when you are new on the scene, what your values are and how you are going to promote policies that lift them up. i think we have a moment on our hands when we can do the exact opposite of what the president has done. the president has used identity as a wedge, used race as a width -- wedge to divide people hope have common interests. i think we have an opportunity to reach into our own distinctive identities and use them to build bridges, to reach out to people different from us, knowing that anybody who has been on the short end of an equation of exclusion has a way to sympathize with people who have had different experiences with exclusion in this country. if we build a solidarity around that, then people who have for whatever reason felt a lack of belonging or felt exclusion or felt discrimination in this country, even though those patterns of discrimination are very, very different, when all
of us come together, we win and we are all better off. >> i do want to follow up, i have talked to african-american congressmen who like you and want to support you where some of their more conservative religious-mined constituents who vote straight democratic ticket most of the time would have trouble voting for you. what do you say to those politicians in washington who want to get behind your candidacy but are nervous about this? >> i would invite them to look at what happened in south bend. i'm from a socially conservative community. when i came out, we didn't know what the effects would be. it was during an election year. mike pence was the governor of our state. he was popular at the time. what happened was, i won with 80% of the vote. what that tells you is that people if you give them the chance will evaluate you based on what you aim to do, what the results are, what the policies are. i have every confidence that american voters, especially democratic voters, will not discriminate when the opportunity comes up to choose
the right leader for the future. >> pete buttigieg, i appreciate you coming on, sharing your views with us. stay safe on the trail. >> thank you. >> thanks for coming on. >> when we come back, i'll talk to the house minority whip, republican steve scalise of louisiana. se minority whip, republican steve scalise of louisiana. man 2: proof of less joint pain... woman 3: ...and clearer skin. man 3: proof that i can fight psoriatic arthritis... woman 4: ...with humira. woman 5: humira targets and blocks a specific source of inflammation that contributes to both joint and skin symptoms. it's proven to help relieve pain, stop further irreversible joint damage, and clear skin in many adults. humira is the number one prescribed biologic for psoriatic arthritis. (avo): humira can lower your ability to fight infections. serious and sometimes fatal infections, including tuberculosis, and cancers, including lymphoma, have happened, as have blood, liver, and nervous system problems, serious allergic reactions, and new or worsening heart failure. tell your doctor if you've been to areas where certain fungal infections are common and if you've had tb, hepatitis b,
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>> welcome. republicans have found themselves in an awkward position this week on the subject of election interference. mitch mcconnell blocked a bill that would have required reporting of any outside interference to the fbi. kevin mccarthy took pains to avoid criticizing president trump's i would take it comments. joining us is steve scalise whose book is now out in paperback. "back in the game" is now out in paperback. congressman scalise, welcome back to "meet the press." nice to see you. >> good morning, chuck. good to be back with you. >> let me start with this
election interference bill. i know you voted against what the house democrats billed as hr-1, this large voting rights bill that they put together. if they carved out the parts just on election security -- there was an election security portion requiring paper ballots, establishing better cybersecurity standards, also would include i think what mark warner wants to see, immediate reporting to the fbi, could you vote for that bill? >> well, i had a lot of concerns with hr-1, not the least of which were the first amendment violations. you had everybody from the aclu all the way to national right to life come together against that bill because of what it did to limit the free speech rights and religious freedom rights of millions of americans. that bill is riddled with problems. it puts tens of billions of dollars of taxpayer money into political campaigns, something i don't think most americans want to see their tax dollars used for. that bill had massive problems. interesting that it was the very
first bill nancy pelosi chose to move through the house was a bill that far left. it's been an example how she's run the house. not addressing real problems. >> let's go to election security. let's talk -- i'm asking about just the election security. this was not a small event. this seems to be not unreasonable ideas here when it comes to the cybersecurity portion of the bill, what mark warner is calling for. could you support that? >> there's a lot on cybersecurity i think we can come to an agreement on. i would like to see details on how she would work with us on some of the things we tried to get through congress that are bipartisan dealing with cybersecurity, because there are concerns not only for election security but the corporate side. you've seen millions of americans personal data stolen through attacks primarily from foreign state operators whether it's russia, china, north korea or so many others. >> i want -- there's a new story in "the new york times" today that highlights a more
aggressive tact that the u.s. government is doing now against russia in planning potential essentially forms of malware into the russian power grid, taking a more offensive approach, rather than just doing this on defense. do you support that new policy? >> look, you have to take every step possible first of all to make sure what happened in 2016 what the russians attempted to do to meddle with our elections when barack obama was president, doesn't happen again in 2020 or any other election. i'm glad that the administration has been taking aggressive action, including if you saw in the executive order the president issued a few -- over a year ago, allowing dod to be more aggressive at making sure they can protect not only our grid but go after anybody who is going to try to mess with our election security. >> it was interesting -- i want to point out one nugget in that story. apparently, the president was not fully briefed on this operation. i want to show you one part of
this "new york times" story about that. it says, pentagon and intelligence officials describe broad hesitation to go into detail with mr. trump about operations against russia for concern over his reaction and the possibility he might countermand it or discuss it with foreign officials as he did in 2017 when he mentioned an operation to the russian foreign minister. the president was upset about the story, even getting in the public domain as he tweeted about it last night. do you believe that these officials made a mistake not briefing the president about this operation? >> chuck, the president and the white house have pushed back against a number of elements of the story. the bottom line is the president is taking aggressive action against russia. i wish that would have happened in 2016 when they were trying to meddle with our elections. i think the message is being sent now. if the russians try to take some action against our elections or any other country, we are already ready to go after them. it should have happened in 2016. i'm glad the president is being aggressive against any foreign
country who is going to try to meddle with our election. >> do you think the republican campaign arm of the house ought to pledge not to use any stolen material, hacked material? i know there's been attempts to get all -- both political parties to sign pledges. there's been hesitation on the house side. >> i'm sure they will look at that, too. i think it's interesting that the entire basis of the mueller report was information that the democrat party got from russia. they solicited using foreign spies of all people and used that to turn it over to the fbi and unfortunately, you had some people in the fbi with a political agenda against president trump who used that as the basis for an investigation to spy on then candidate president trump. there are a lot of concerns i think in things that need to be rooted out within the fbi to make sure that doesn't happen again either. >> let me turn to iran here. at what point do you think the president needs to go to congress to approve any sort of escalation with iran?
where is your comfort level on what you believe he has the ability to do now and what he needs to come to congress for? >> the white house has been briefing congress on what's happening in iran and how this has been building up. of course, this does go back to the iranian deal that was agreed to in the previous administration. donald trump, when he was a candidate, expressed his real concerns with that deal as so many of us in congress opposed it back then and even our allies like israel opposed the iran deal when it went through congress. you saw prime minister netanyahu come to congress and gub a very compelling speech against it back before it was agreed to. what president trump has been doing to make sure that we're going to stand up to russia -- our sanctions have been very effective. that's why you are seeing iran take action. this shows you, chuck, do you really want a nuclear-armed iran? this is why the world, not just america, but our allies are concerned about iran having a nuclear weapon.
this is what they did without one. imagine if they had one. >> do you think the president has the authority, due to the aumf, from in 2002, does he have the authority now to conduct a military operation against iran? >> we don't want to see it escalate to where it is a military operation. you are seeing the president take action and make sure that we have protection against american interests in the middle east. including in the strait there where you saw this explosion, where the bomb was detonated. the president is making sure that he is protecting american interests. i don't want to see it escalate just like i don't think anybody else does. we have to stand up to iran. this is one more example of why we need to be concerned about their actions. >> before i let you go, one thing about your book. you wrote about the issue of social media, talking about the person that shot you. his post dripping with scorn and hatred toward the rchb party and president trump and his responses to his posts fueled him more.
he was living a double assistance. he was angry and confrontational online. a combatant when provided the anonymity of an online avatar. practically the same biography of the synagogue shooter on the right-hand side of the aisle. same idea, social media sort of taking over this man's life. how do you not violate the first amendment and have the social media companies purnl these people before they commit violence? >> chuck, what i have always said is we can have political disagreement. when you cross the line and start inciting violence against other people, that's where there's no place for that in politics. we saw it in the case of the shooting in my case with the baseball field shooting. as with others, you saw somebody trying to not only disagree but with people politically but take it to that one step further where they took action and tried to take out people because of political belief. fortunately, police were there on the scene.
law enforcement made sure it didn't happen. thank god they were there and many other heroes and miracles i talked about in the gam bam "back in the game." >> social media companies, can they get rid of these people before they commit violence? do you think that's a violation of first amendment rights? >> that's up to each of them. you are seeing social media companies take action to try to stop people from inciting violence or in cases even like the florida shooting where they saw the kid say, i want to be a school shooter. that gets turned over to law enforcement. unfortunately, they dropped the ball on that case. they should have been able to follow through more. >> steve scalise, number two republican on the house side, thanks for coming on and sharing your views. you look at good as ever two years later. nice to see you. >> feeling great. happy father's day to you. >> happy father's day to you. thanks very much. when we come back, election interference plus the trump versus biden polls that the president said didn't exist. well, they do. we have got them. the panel is next. e panel is nen is a baby company. but we're also a company that controls hiv,
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helene cooper, danielle pletka the american enterprise institute and mark leave bowvich, chief correspondent for new york magazine. i want to combine two thoughts here, george. we have election interference and what the president said at first and then he backtracks it. i want to read you something james holman wrote that had to do with the hatch act. president trump's announcement that he will not punish kellyanne conway captures his belief that the rules don't apply to him and his loyalists the way they do everyone else. it seemed to me these are connected in that if he thinks it's small and petty and has nothing to do with him or helps him, ignore it. >> article two is spare in describing the duties of the president and basically they come down to taking care the laws are faithfully executed. there's evidently an asterisk over that that says the hatch act didn't apply.
>> didn't the president repeal it? if he doesn't act, he repealed it. >> yes. >> it's called -- presidents do this, it's called enforcement discretion. the enforcement mechanisms are spread thin. with regard to the election interference, when speaker pelosi says she doesn't know right from wrong, she's right to thut extent. he's a complete amateur in american public life and the rules and norms are mysterious to him. besides, he campaigned on the promise, we knew this promise was going to be kept, that he would continue to do what he did in the campaign which was violate all existing norms. no one should be surprised. be appalled if you wish but don't be surprised. >> the problem in washington is that donald trump takes what are, i think norms and runs with them. the hatch act is violated every single day in multiple ways. i spent ten years on the hill. i can't count the number of times i saw senators, their staff violating the hatch act.
its strictures are rather inconvenient. you can't do political business from your senate office. if you want to call a donor or anything else, you have to leave, you have to go elsewhere. of course, it gets violated. the problem with trump is that he has taken what is sort of a bandwidth and just tossed it all out and said -- taken it to the logical end, which is violating it. >> the thing is that norms are things that are essentially respected within a very, very small bubble, which is basically washington. the public life. most people in america don't know what the hatch act is. >> and don't care. >> i don't know if they care. wait, don't -- isn't kellyanne conway supposed to defend the president and attack his -- there's a level of common sense that i think the president does align with that does win over a lot of his supporters. >> and yet he is chipping away at these things. they are little ones.
the unintended consequence of all this could be come november, that the losing side, no matter who it is, doesn't believe the result. >> i think that's absolutely true. i think that -- it's not just the hatch act. i cover the military. i pay a lot of attention to trump as a commander in chief. he has gone so far on the whole violating this principal of not politicizing the military. the whole thing with the uss mccain back in tokyo when he was visiting last month, was another example of this. when you have this sort of thing repeatedly, i wonder what happens to us once trump is gone and what happens when you have taken so many of these accepted norms and ways of conducting ourselves and how does the next person -- >> i have no idea how you bring it back. maybe they'll introduce more
codified laws. let me turn to the president's political prospects. he is launching his re-election campaign tuesday. the infamous trump/biden polls, we got our hands on pretty much all of them. let me show you them and why the president didn't like that they went public. here is virginia, maine, minnesota, michigan. 40 is the best he does in any of states with biden -- these are all just biden/trump match ups. biden was the strongest. look at biden's numbers. look at this. north carolina, iowa, ohio. these were three states that trump carries. he is down eight in north carolina, seven in iowa, ohio just one. that tells you more about where ohio is headed. we also had in texas, trump was only up two. in georgia, our source tells us that biden is up six. he had double digit leads in wisconsin, pennsylvania and florida. by the way, the campaign didn't dispute the numbers. campaign manager brad parscale gave us this quote. all news about the president's
polling is completely false. the president's new polling is extraordinary and his numbers have never been better. my colleague kristen welker is roaring that apparently the trump campaign is going to be firing some pollsters believing they were behind this leak. george, these numbers aren't surprising to me. >> no. shooting the messenger isn't surprising either. in fact, there are worse numbers in the sense that in a dozen states he carried in 2016, his disapproval is over 50%. those are states he carried. if you have to bet your net work the on the outcome of the next election, bet on anybody but mr. trump. s >> do we believe the polls? >> wow. >> sorry. >> the president doesn't. >> i'm just saying after 2016, i'm not entirely sure that this soon in the game we should be paying any attention to any of this. >> except the president pays a lot of attention to this. that is what is sort of -- is he can't -- never let them -- he never wants to show weakness. >> a poll that -- where he has
flatlined is the band between 42% and 46%. that's not -- it's not early to say that almost two years of this, that represents his floor and ceiling. >> here is a bigger problem. it's not just that. the ballot test, the job number and his personal rating are all aligning. usually, a successful re-elected president has one as a positive way, a winning personality. they like the agenda but don't like the person. he doesn't have that. >> right now, it's -- there's no choice. do you like donald trump or don't you like donald trump? a generic democrat -- he will run against a real person. >> this was against joe biden. >> joe biden is a stand-in for a generic democrat. >> fair enough. he will represent that remark. >> he is someone people know. people know what they're getting with him. he will be defined. if he goes against warren, buttigieg, it's a different dynamic in the race. >> it is. we will see. the president -- i have a feeling, they will release new
poll numbers that show just him winning. winning, winning, winning. when we come back, americans have never been more united on abortion. and more divided at the same time. wait until you see the new numbers from our poll next. ourt ♪ -i'm sorry? -what teach here isn't telling you is that snapshot rewards safe drivers with discounts on car insurance. -what? ♪ -or maybe he didn't know. ♪ [ chuckles ] i'm done with this class. -you're not even enrolled in this class. -i know. i'm supposed to be in ceramics. do you know -- -room 303. -oh. thank you. -yeah. -good luck, everybody.
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welcome back. data download time. this week's poll saw the highest percentage of americans who think abortion should be legal all or most of the time. when you dig into the responses, it shows a larger trend that has major implications for both political parties. overall, the number of americans saying abortion should be legal all or most of the time has climbed to 56%. that is actually up seven points since 2008. 11 years ago. what's remarkable is the consistency. it's up amongst all groups. the percentage of men saying abortion should be legal all or most of the time has climbed two points, among women, 11 points. 13 points among democrats, four
points among republicans. but those numbers don't mean the country has made a final decision on this issue. we noticed another trend. a hardening of views on both sides. this poll showed a record number of people who want abortions to be legal in all cases but it also shows a jump in the number of people who want abortion to be illegal without exception. legal in all cases is at 34%. that's up three points from last year. illegal without exceptions is at 12%. that's five points higher than march of 2018. you can probably guess what's driving this movement. the partisan divide shows up in the hardening of the views among core republicans. those that strongly back the party, 27% say abortion should be illegal with no exception. that's up nine points from 18% in 2018. among core democrats, 58% say they want abortion to always be legal. that's up eight points from march of 2018. yes, overall, the movement is towards legality. not away from it.
but underneath those numbers you see just another sign of the political reality in 2019. the middle ground has eroded. that might be because on the issue of abortion, there's not a lot of appetite for a middle ground anyway. when we come back, democrats running for president find a common target. and it's not president trump right now. every day, visionaries are creating the future. ♪ so, every day, we put our latest technology and unrivaled network to work. ♪ the united states postal service makes more e-commerce deliveries to homes than anyone else in the country. ♪ because the future only happens with people who really know how to deliver it. our mission is to provide complete, balanced nutrition for strength and energy! whoo-hoo! great-tasting ensure. with nine grams of protein and twenty-six vitamins and minerals. ensure, for strength and energy.
democratic candidates have a new target. it's not president trump. take a listen to how comfortable some of the candidates are getting going after joe biden. >> joe biden the return to the past? >> he is. that cannot be who we are going forward. >> does joe biden represent the future? >> no, i don't think so. i think we -- it's time for a new generation of leadership. >> democrats can no more turn the clock back to the 1990s than republicans can return us to the 1950s. we should not try. >> joe biden in the crosshairs. the rest of the field figured out joe biden is ahead. >> they have. it's natural political gravity. you can't talk only about donald trump. frankly, joe biden makes a pretty easy foil. he has run unsuccessfully for president twice. he was beloved but in a goofy uncle way. you do sort of wonder -- how he is going to work as a contrast
item generationally and as all three of the democrats just said, as someone who is just the return to yesterday. these are three democrats under the age of 55. >> let me put up the debate matchups here for our big first round of debates. night one, the big name is elizabeth warren. you have klobuchar, booker, o'rourke, people that six weeks ago would have said, this is the big night of the debate. look at night two, which is the z joe biden night. george will, you look at those lineups. should warren be happy she's not -- she gets a night essentially as the frontrunner of the debate she's participating in? >> sure. to not be on the stage with biden. she can assume the other nine people who are on stage with biden will do their duty, which is to treat him as a pinata.
she stands above it. there will be lots of other debates when she will be next to him. by then, he will be scarred. >> it's interesting, held eveen. are you enthusiastic about the idea of this person running for president? this is just among democratic primary voters. we have been testing it all for the first six months. as you can see, biden and sanders, their enthusiasm up ins have dropped since march. elizabeth warren's number has gone up since march. more enthusiastic among democratic primary voters than the other two. >> that was interesting seeing her jump over sanders as well. i think she has -- she has a lot of room to move up. i think on the biden issue, it's just -- to me, it feels really obvious. these guys are going after biden because he's the guy to beat. is he not? there's a reason why he has assumed this frontrunner status.
listening to buttigieg and listening to o'rourke, there's a lot of concern. they feel this is who they are going to have to defeat in order to win the nomination. >> this feels like -- >> you are so cynical. >> you know why? the republican party in the run-up to the last election was just such an awful spectacle. watching one person after another go after each other in this circular firing squad. i actually feel a little bad for poor old joe biden. of course, joe biden is old but so is bernie sanders. so is ee llizabeth warren. >> elder statesmen can be a double-edged sword. >> it can be. what we are going to watch for the next year and a half is the democrats going after their number one person in the polls. warren, they're coming for you next. >> doesn't matter how many of the democrats attack biden. as long as trump keeps attacking
biden, he can be happy. 1966, nixon's campaigning around the country for leaders. he gets under johnson's skin. johnson denounces him as a chronic campaigner making him the focus of the republicans. he went on to be elected. >> that is something -- it's interesting here. the trump campaign has been trying to get the president to direct his tweets at people other than biden. go after warren. go after bernie. do something to make the democrats have to own the farther left candidates rather than biden. >> i think that's right. donald trump looks at polls. we know that. he is very present, focused. he sees biden against him. he is going to focus on joe biden. i don't think the president really -- i think the president is struggling on how to define joe biden. joe biden is such a known entity, certainly in america and the democratic party. donald trump has an easier time talking about people who are out in the public sphere.
>> he is not going to -- i don't know why his campaign is second guessing him so much. this is the one thing that he actually has shown some -- >> he has a little gut instinct. >> a good feel for it. he is after biden now. he will be after whoever is next when the time comes. >> it's interesting how he is very dismissive of kamala harris and pete buttigieg. i don't understand why he is that dismissive right now. >> he knows joe biden. he is used to going after -- he hasn't been able to come up with a good enough name. buttigieg embraced newman. sleepy joe hasn't worked that well. he is more comfortable going -- kamala harris will be problematic for him. that one -- he will have to really temper his natural sort of sexist tendencies. >> that's my curiosity. i think he doesn't know yet -- you are right about harris. i think the same with buttigieg.
they have not figured out how to go after this guy. >> that's right. sleepy? i want a sleepy president. no, i think that's right. i think he is uneasy when he cannot pigeonhole somebody. >> the other thing about warren, to sort of not talk about this as so much of a horse race, is one of the reasons she's doing better is people say she's runninru running a very good campaign. >> she said yesterday, i have a plan for that and people applauded. people are noticing. >> exactly. >> she's playing tortoise here. it seems to be working. thank you very much. that's all we have for today. thank you for watching. happy father's day to all you dads out there. remember, we'll be back next week because if it's sunday, it's "meet the press."
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unlike detergent alone, downy helps prevent stretching by conditioning and smoothing fibers, so clothes look newer, longer. downy and it's done. 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 trump version 2.0. the president prepares to launch his bid for re-election. and four years to the day he rode down that escalator at trump tower. there are warning signs ahead. new polling out tonight from nbc news and the president's own pollsters. plus, two nights of debate stages are set and a question, will the sequel be better than the first one?