tv Politicking With Larry King RT August 24, 2017 11:30pm-12:01am EDT
welcome to politicking on larry king on aug eighteenth the controversial steve benen left his position as white house chief strategist for president donald trump . he said he resigned others say he was forced out by chief of staff general john kelly hours after leaving the president's team is to ban and announce that he was returning to the helm of breitbart news as its executive chairman and promised war against the president's opponents so after nearly a week back at his former job what's happening behind the scenes there and what changes if any are planned for the controversial new site for that we turn to joe pollack he's senior editor at large and in-house counsel at breitbart news he's also co-author of how trump won the inside story of a revolution joins me on set here in los angeles what's it like having him back
it's great fantastic he's very excited as are we i think it's going to take the company to new places and i think there are great expectations now what we can achieve did you know before the announcement that he was coming no he not he just showed up friday afternoon so you had no idea he was leaving no well there are lots of stories in the media speculating about it there had been speculation for months but most of the stories had fallen flat so there was no real sense that this was him and what suits him better white house chief strategist or running breitbart news. that's a great question i think he was very good as chief strategist i think that he gave coherence to the trump agenda i think he represented the base he represented the ideas in which trump was elected so as a voter i'm happier with him as chief strategist in the white house but as a consumer of media and as a journalist i'm happier with him at breitbart because i think his vision for the
kind of content that would drive the twenty sixteen election cycle really helped create the audience for trump and i think that will continue i think he will continue and through bright parts mission of creating a home for conservative and center right contributors and readers there's still a great vacuum. in the american media and right now fox news is going through a big transition it's no longer serving the market the way it used to and so i think there's a huge opportunity for a company that's willing to move in make the investments provide the content and reach that audience are you right and fox news. depends on the issue i think that they have a roster of commentators and contributors that is largely eg gnostic about donald trump or in many cases opposed to dollars from someone very open in their opposition to don't from fox not that night time people that hannity is very pro trump but you have others who are not and certainly i think during the early part of the primary in two thousand and fifteen it looked like fox news was backing jeb bush or marco rubio or chris christie they were attracted to them as candidates and
they butted heads with the trump campaign most famously in that first debate when meghan kelly and donald trump had their back and forth and they struggled to catch up a little bit with the news of what was happening it's not whether you support a candidate or oppose a candidate but what trump was doing was something that flew under the radar for fox news and i think they struggled to catch up to that was the biggest misconception about steve brown. you name it there is a religious jew right yeah and the main kids everyone says in the jewish that i mean the jewish community is that he's anti semitic well he's not i mean it's just not true at all that's something i can attest to personally i think also the evidence is out there of all the friendships he's had all the working relationships the business partnerships he's had over the years so it was that the biggest misconception probably since it's the first one that you asked about i often get
asked about as well when i speak to jewish groups they want to know what the real story is. you only use the tweet war or hashtag war and steve banner was ousted whose the war against we're going to fight when we've had that hash tag war as our motto our unofficial motto at breitbart since the days of andrew breitbart in fact it is stenciled on the door of our conference room hash tag war it's our war room and we have used that battle cry to unite our audience we have three basic targets when we talk about that the first is the mainstream media and the hollywood liberal cultural establishment the second is the democratic party and the institutional left and the third is the republican establishment in washington d.c. and those are the three targets of much of our editorial policy who's left conservatives ordinary americans who are cut out of policymaking who feel isolated who aren't listened to were supposed to be self-governing at least according to our
constitutional vision but who are under that break down where is donald trump it's really interesting donald trump is outside of those three he is an outsider who's come out a conservative republican he is a conservative republican although some of his conservative positions he has arrived at fairly late in the game but he certainly governed as a conservative probably the most conservative president since reagan you can look at a list of his achievements and accomplishments and they're all. mostly i should say within the conservative stream there is however a lingering concern among conservatives that maybe in his bones he's not a conservative that he had a history of donating to democrats that he had some socially liberal opinions and so did i know him and. he said on my program many times he was favors single payer right posed to iraq or owes to afghanistan so that's just the beginning so there's a lot of interest and i think some tension around the fact that he is belatedly a conservative although that doesn't really distinguish him from some of the
previous nominees mitt romney governed as a liberal republican in massachusetts before he became the nominee and he tried to compensate for that by calling himself severely conservative whatever that means it's so trump in a sense has a more natural conservatism partly because his patriotism is something that's very authentic i think his concern for the country is authentic some of the issues he's talking about today he has been talking about for a while particularly trade and i think on defending america the idea of america first i think that is something he feels very deeply and that is what ben strong feeling right that that's definitely a soul bending when we've been opposed to the afghanistan and continuing i think steve had a different idea for how the war ought to be prosecuted the initial plans i think the generals gave to work for massive amounts of troops to go there which makes sense if you are trying to set up the u.s. presence in afghanistan as a regional both war against iran and against pakistani extremism and so
forth but the american mission strictly defined or narrowly defined doesn't need that many troops so i think that steve was looking at a different kind of deployment we had erik prince the former c.e.o. of blackwater on breitbart news daily which is our sirius x.m. radio show six am to nine am eastern on sirius one twenty. five and he was talking about a plan to use five thousand private military contractors not a minute yes but his plan was targeted very specifically at defeating the taliban working with local warlords to keep terrorists from having a safe haven that's the most basic minimal american mission there that's what most americans would agree with we want to prevent afghanistan from becoming another safe haven as it was before nine eleven then you have this other mission which i think the white house is now embarking on which is to shore up the government in kabul but no one is really clear as to where that ends or how far it goes the
administration doesn't even seem quite clear as to whether it's trying to defeat the taliban or just deny them a victory so i think that was the substance of steve's criticism within the administration which is that we don't have a sense of what victory looks like and sending some middling number of troops to achieve some temporary objective without a long term strategy in sight is basically a waste my guess is joe pollack and now joining the conversation with us is eleanor clift i know or for thirty five years a veteran of the washington d.c. press corps columnist for the daily beast also a political commentator and author she joins us from washington d.c. alomar know you've been listening to our joel said so far what's your initial reaction well i think initially. way on the progressive left thought that with band out of the white house that we'd be applauding but i'm not so sure that that's my reaction i think breitbart now becomes
a important tool in the in the president's arsenal to try to get some of the campaign commitments that he made to try to get them fulfilled and that will put him at odds with the republican party in the congress and so i think it's going to be great entertainment to watch but i said. speck we're just going to get more chaos and very little accomplished on any of the president's goals or any of the country's goals that you think ben will be supporting the trump agenda and bright but news a yes yes and it's an agenda that that the president is having great difficulty finding allies for on capitol hill i must say having covered the white house since jimmy carter was president it is a refreshing thing to see a new diversity in the press corps i think breitbart got
a credential for the first time with this administration and just as president trump has been great for the news media in general he's certainly been a rocket booster for for breitbart what do you make of him in the media slump in the media why what how does this help america. it doesn't but i don't think the media are interested in helping america at this point the tension between the administration and the media is partly a result of their refusal to accept the results of the twenty six thousand election i think there's an inordinate amount of attention being paid to minor stories and small scandals that are elevated to impeachable offenses i was watching c.n.n. this week and there's actually a serious discussion about removing the president under article under the twenty fifth amendment declaring him mentally unfit for office and that kind of thing and that's just nonsense to me but he's being elevated to the highest level and i think the media really don't like this president partly because he want to get their
expectations and partly because he went against their business model it used to be discovered him so much they helped elect him see ryan covered and made sorry c.n.n. is in a bind because i think they elevated his profile in the primary thinking he would be an easier candidate for hillary clinton to defeat and then they came to regret that in the general eleanor you're part of the establishment how do you know that yeah right stablish man doesn't sit around a big conference table and decide this is our favorite candidate or or whatever i think many people looked at donald trump and his rise throughout two thousand and sixteen and thought he was an improbable candidate and i don't think he got the kind of serious scrutiny that any presidential candidate should get the fact that he didn't release his tax returns the first presidential nominee since the days of richard nixon to refuse to do that and to get away with it i think it's all pretty pretty amazing and what the media is doing is they're covering his many statements
the things that he says that aren't true and i think there is genuine concern about his. mental state when you see somebody perform when he seems so agitated and the way the personal attacks he makes on other people i mean this is correct for the media to. all these things out and what joe refers to is minor scandals i don't think the russia investigation a special counsel just he's only did the white house seven months that he's got a special counsel investigating him these are not minor scandals i think this is really dangerous territory joe well i think it's a great example there's no evidence of any collusion between the different campaign in the russian government and so what has happened is the special counsel has been appointed through media pressure but there's nothing very and even if trump words who have colluded with the russian government it's not clear that there's any crime
of collusion anyway so this is an example of something that is really a third rate story that's been elevated into something that people in the media are fervently and openly hoping will bring down the administration and they don't have to sit down around a conference table to do it because they're doing it constantly all the time on the nightly news and c.n.n. and so forth. you know like that third rate burglary back in the days of nixon that year that your words definitely recall but that's just my way on the radio where as i wish the media were as powerful as you suggest we are collectively i mean there's a special counsel because this president fired his attorney general and really did raise issues legitimate issues of obstruction of justice that's why there is a special counsel i let me question the counsel has purview to look into financial mis dealings and crimes and i suspect that's where the investigation will go our
jolt alamo stay right there we'll be right back with more politicking right after the break. about your sudden passing i phone lee just learned you were yourself and taken your last wrong turn. to us we all knew it would i tell you i'm sorry i could so i write these last words in hopes to put to rest this thing that i never got off my chest. i remember when we first met my life turned on each spring. but then my feeling started change you talked about more like it was again still some more fun to feel those that didn't like to question our art. and i secretly promised to never like it said one does not leave a funeral the same as one enters mind it's consumed with this one to. speak to us there are no other takers. claimed that mainstream media has met its maker.
it's called the feel we can be coming. every the world should experience. and you can get it on the old roll. according to just. come along for the. guys i made a professional is powerpoint to show you how artsy america fits into the greater media landscape is not all right but we are a solid alternative to the. liberal or conservative and as you can see that is bar graph we don't skew the facts either talking at lefties talking at righties oh
there you go above it all to look at world are in the spotlight now. classify as the next week took me way more time than i care to admit. welcome back to politicking let's continue the conversation with joe pawlak senior editor at large an in-house counsel at breitbart news co-author of how trump won the inside story of the revolution and all clist political commentator and author columnist for the daily beast what did you make of his speech in arizona joe. it was vintage campaign trail trump this is what he what is seven months in office why does he need a campaign rally well he's campaigning and actually that's one of the what he's campaigning for twenty twenty and that's one of the brilliant things he did was to establish a campaign very early because it meant that his opponents could not organize as effectively with some of the nonprofit organizations that are used some of the he
said he read a quote that he said but left out two important things when he pointed out there were other sides to the white supremacy issue that you know he left out that's very interesting in the sense that i think the real issue in charlottesville which which he was talking about is freedom of speech and the fact that we're not talking about that says a lot about the state of the media today the media constantly complain about threats to the first amendment but nobody is standing up for the first amendment and the basic right to say things that other people don't like you can watch with a swastika on a message you can hold a torch but you also can incite by doing that there was no incitement what happened well it was a left wing group that came to shut down the right wing groups freedom of speech and then they used violence the right wing group responded with violence and in that sense he's absolutely correct both sides use used violence so why don't you use that part in the quote when we discuss that in arizona well because again this is a minor thing the media has elevated into a major i think of he said both sides both sides he's absolutely correct in that
first statement he made after charlottesville he was absolutely right why didn't he he did it now as you know that he's probably been told by his aides or his chief of staff this is not something i want to do go reignite the whole thing again he clearly wants to respond but he's been told that the problem is this statement of both sides which is completely one hundred percent factually accurate in the media have ignored that that there were both sides to the violence that not saying the sides are morally equivalent is not getting into the substance of their beliefs but when you start to use violence to stop other people from speaking and protesting that has to become the issue of the substance of their of your you're a threat or as a very beach. of course. but you know for a speech does not include applauding nazi slogans and signs and i think the claim that the that the left created the violence in charlottesville is very questionable the photo that was sent around that the president adly saw was a doctored photograph from
a demonstration ten years ago in another country with the insignias photo shopped on to it you know this is been a turning point not not for just the president but for the republican party if you can't stand up and whole heartedly denounce white supremacy and the clay and and neo nazis you know what will you ever denounce i mean the president has gotten david duke in his corner i mean that should tell you something this is a guy who's been around for decades who's discredited in the state of louisiana now he's going to go national with his with his question no believes the president really want to be on on that side as breitbart really want to be on that side i think it's a very shaky ground to stand on when you start to revive these kind of attitudes in georgia and say it's in the name of free speech steve benen said
charlottesville will help the president's nationally does that mean that most people will support what he said well one of the big issues coming out of charlottesville was the removal of these confederate statues the demonstration in charlottesville is about robert e. lee statue sixty two percent of the american public are against removing them so in that sense americans are tired of these culture wars they're tired of being told they have to revisit rewrite history people want to look forward they want to know what's going to grow the economy cetera i have to say that just because someone objectionable supports you doesn't mean you support them i mean jeremiah wright supported obama. after obama dissociated himself from jeremiah wright trump disavowed david duke several times he's still always asked to do it again even though he's done it before and these extremists are very good at glomming onto a successful political candidate and claiming that they're part of their constituency and there's nothing that you can do to knock these people off does a ben and being out helped trump or hurt him. you know i
don't really know at this point i think that he will push the issues and the kind of thinking that we've just heard here from this to pollack about how both sides are equally to blame and all of that help push all those arguments and there is a segment of this country twenty five to thirty five percent are in that corner this does not build a majority and that does not build any consensus on capitol hill a hill for any legislation so in the end i think i think it's destructive but it will certainly keep the the base happy and it'll keep breitbart media flowing quite nicely oh no thank you joe you come back soon i hope jolo north thanks both of you for your time today think to think. according to reporting from the new york times earlier this month president trungpa nishida phone call in mitch mcconnell senate majority leader during which he accused mcconnell of
bungling the health care vote that even angry of the senator mcconnell did not protect him from congressional investigations into the russian interference into the twenty sixteen election what have any legal problems might this present some are definitely questioning it let's talk about this more with richard painter professor of law at the university of minnesota he was the chief white house at this lawyer from two thousand and five to two thousand and seven and is vice chair of the citizens for responsibility and ethics in washington and in washington our old friend lanny davis he served as white house special counsel during the clinton administration is also a strategic media and crisis management expert co-founder and partner of trident d n g all right rigid was there any lawful problem it went into what the president did with mcconnell well. clearly of asia
and the republican party chair of a toy in match mcconnell and that i am the house and the profit at all i don't think the president clearly violates the law unless the engages in obstruction of justice or other criminal acts hesse mcconnell i have lead to stop the criminal to help prevent criminal investigations into the russian thing. yes and the question as what he asked mcconnell to do is that he asked mitch mcconnell to try to contact the f.b.i. and squelch a criminal investigation i don't think so it's highly unlikely that sort of mcconnell would have the power to do that i believe the president was referring to senatorial and house investigations now there it's not a prosecution it is investigations part of the oversight function and perhaps the
impeachment function i'm one of those people thanks this president has a across the line and a conduct that is the likely to result in impeachment but a president in a situation is going to call up allies on the hill and both the house and the senate and try and stop those congressional associations and hearings that could lead to impeachment probably that it's been a crime but i would take high of a lot of offense to that if i were a member of the house or senate i would consider highly improper and my response to that would be to start the investigation right away and take the appropriate steps lenny was just politics. it's pretty dumb politics and i we with richard that the call to mcconnell probably isn't a criminal act but it's an impeachable act let's remember that richard nixon ultimately was forced to step down before a senate vote that would have voted to madame office because he told h.r.
haldeman to call the cia to try to squelch the investigation of border gate so the request by nixon to use the cia to squelch the investigation was deemed by congress to be an obstruction whether it's a criminal obstruction i would mind which of the firing of james komi asking the cia director to try to squelch the mole or investigation as well as the michael flynn request those three acts philip block of our former warden gate prosecutor did say would constitute criminal obstruction or attempted obstruction but right now we're talking about impeachable offenses larry and his multiple efforts to kill off the mole or investigation clearly constitute an abuse of power which is
a classic definition of an impeachable offense did the arizona speech concern you should. oh absolutely yes it was just more of a sign of what we've been getting over the past several months but it's getting worse and worse the reaction to charlottesville was the worst thing i had ever heard and i. tired of hearing people describe it as a free speech issue when you have people marching through the streets of charlottesville saying the jews will not replace os that's like germany and then i think thirty's it was a white supremacist rally and we can debate about the free speech issues of whether they should get the permit or not whether the nazis had the right to march through skokie illinois we had that debate decades ago but the role of the president of the united states is now to say well the nazis had free speech is the say that national socialism of the ku klux klan and other far right groups do not represent american
values and are a threat to the american society and to the republican party quite frankly i've been a republican for thirty years these are not this is not the base of the republican party the base of the republican party is not read breitbart news which is an a a fascist a sympathising organization a republican conservative b.d.s. the wall street journal the dallas morning news we've got plenty of conservative media outlets there we do not need to hear constantly from an extreme right that is amply nothing to do with the traditional values of the republican party of the united states and the president is not showing good judgment at ole when he appeals to the fascist and the racist elements of our society rather than to at a minimum the traditional base of the republican party of conservative voters and he certainly really should be appealing to all americans lenny is resident for everyone lenny has reported that mitch mcconnell has expressed concern the
president won't be able to salvage the administration you think you could get that bad. i do i senator bob corker is a conservative republican. there are many conservative republicans with whom i disagree who share my concern about the stability and that's the word that senator corker a very cautious man republican from tennessee used and i believe the word salvage that senator mcconnell used was much harsher and has been much harsher privately lenny and richard thanks for your time today. thank you both thank you larry thanks for joining me on this edition of politicking remember you can join the conversation on my facebook page or tweet me at kings things and don't forget use the politicking ash that's all for this edition of politicking.
about your sudden passing i've only just learned you worry yourself and taken your last wrong turn. up to you as we all knew it would i tell you i'm sorry i could so i write these last words in hopes to put to rest these things that i never got off my chest. i remember when we first met my life turned on each. but then my feelings started to change you talked about war like it was a game still some are fond of you those that didn't like to question our arc and i secretly promised to never be like it said one does not leave a funeral the same as one enters the mind it's consumed with death this one quite different speech because there were no other takers. to claim that mainstream media has met its make.
our children a sick three stranded here without say there is no first war trying to make a humanitarian disaster unfold in the iraqi city of tough on a civilians are caught in the crossfire between islamic state terrorists and the us coalition. the president of the european parliament calls for a new. security. to cope with the growing terror. and human rights groups accuse the u.k. of using. as a means of preventing refugees from fleeing.