tv With All Due Respect Bloomberg August 19, 2016 8:00pm-9:01pm EDT
>> "with all due respect" we hardly knew you. joshua: tgif. mark and john are off this summer friday, so margaret and i am here in washington, d.c., to do the show. august is a boring month for presidential campaigns. not much is going on. it doesn't always -->> paul manafort, the trump campaign chairman, out. joshua: or maybe not. trump's pivot is taking many forms today. as the a.p. revealed further
ties, it became clear manafort's only viable path was whatever the opposite of annexation is. his morning, trump's son suggested all attention on his russian business dealings were part of the reason the chairman had to go. >> i think my father did not want to be distracted by whatever things paul was dealing with. paul was amazing. he helped us get through the convention. he did a great job with the delegates. now you look at some of the other people we are bringing in, and they are fantastic. i think they are going to be the ones that bring us all the way through november 8 and ultimately get us the victory. my father just did not want to have a distraction looming over the campaign, and quite frankly looming over the issues hillary is facing right now. joshua: if there is anyone who sympathizes with what manafort is going through right now, it is corey lewandowski, trump's
first campaign manager who was pushed out by manafort in june. lewandowski went on cnn to talk about the news this morning. he did not gloat at all about the man who ousted him. >> at the end of the day, you have people that had a vision for the campaign which did not align with what donald trump wanted. it has been widely reported there has not been a robust effort in states like florida. that had not been laid out yet. you cannot blame the candidate for those things. those things fall squarely on the staff. sometimes you have to bring different perspectives in. sometimes you have changes, particularly in a campaign that has missed opportunities to go after hillary clinton for the failures of her campaign and point out those failures. i don't think they have done a good job on that. joshua: maybe he did gloat a little bit. what do we learn from the manafort era and what comes next for trump? margaret: the first thing we learned is donald trump is hard to rein in.
manafort is a pro. he knows how to do this. he told trump what he wanted to do and trump believed in him at one point. but every time he tried to modulate or moderate, trump was guided by his better instincts. we learned that. another thing we learned is paul manafort's connections with pro-russian ukrainian forces were damaging to trump, particularly in combination with trump's miscues in terms of turning against the gold star family. trump is now in a position where he felt he needed to do this to salvage his prospects. joshua: trump is able to fall prey to the same staff problems hillary clinton or any other traditional candidate would be if your staffers are doing things they should not be doing and get caught with their hand in the cookie jar. the same way mark penn did with hillary clinton's campaign in 2008. when it was discovered he was lobbying for colombia.
margaret: donald trump wants to focus on donald trump. in this case, he did not want the focus to become about paul manafort. now the question is, is the focus going to stay on donald trump in the way his new team wants it to? joshua: so far, so good. he has managed to moderate his image a little bit with a speech that showed maybe there is finally going to be a pivot. margaret: it is only 36 hours in. let's keep that in mind. ast night in north carolina, in his first rally since they took the trump campaign reins, donald did something we have never seen him do as a presidential candidate. apologize. in a way only trump would do. donald trump: sometimes in the heat of debate and speaking on a multitude of issues, you don't choose the right words or you say the wrong thing. i have done that. and believe it or not, i regret it. and i do regret it.
particularly where it may have caused personal pain. too much is at stake for us to be consumed with these issues. but one thing, i can promise you this. i will always tell you the truth. margaret: there is a word for this kind of thing that has been used again and again and again and again to describe the trump campaign over the past few months. pivoting. >> donald trump appears ready to pivot to a more presidential demeanor. >> in the midst of the pivot people were expecting ahead of the november election. >> many are calling this the beginning of the trump pivot to the presidential trump. >> we keep having this discussion once a week, if not more often, about how this is the trump pivot. this is going to be the day he focuses on substance. >> this is the 47th time we have done it.
>> i will say what i said last time and six month ago, which is he is fundamentally incapable of doing that. margaret: and yet, team trump has again tried to reset this week with more policy speeches and the first general election tv ad which touches on immigration and hits airwaves in four states today. last night after trump's speech, the clinton campaign put out a statement that said in part -- josh, trump has been playing this pivot game before. have we seen anything to suggest this time will be different? joshua: you never know. this could last 24 hours or 48 hours. it could be back to some insane tweet that sends the political media scrambling. i think it could be different for a couple of reasons. he has decided he is not comfortable with paul manafort.
he has decided manafort's russian business dealings are hurting him and pushed him out. he's brought in a new team he has known for a long time. he's comfortable with them. in speaking to senior trump officials, they say trump realizes he is behind and needs to moderate and soften his image, win back some of the voters he has alienated. the only way he will do that is if he acknowledges i have made mistakes. i think that is what led to this unexpected and pretty remarkable concession trump made in his speech last night. margaret: are they trying to goad him? joshua: i think they are. he said after the announcement manafort was leaving, his campaign manager literally said this does not end the strange bromance between vladimir putin and donald trump. they don't want to let the issue go. it may not go away. at least he has helped himself getting manafort out of the
old and stopping the story that hurt trump's campaign. margaret: the main question is how long it will last. let's reassess. joshua: speaking of presidential things, donald trump and his running mate, mike pence, today flew to baton rouge, louisiana, to tour areas damaged by recent heavy flooding. the republican nominees met with first responders and volunteers at a baptist church this morning. there he is unloading a truck of supplies in his blazer. the campaign was clear this trip was designed to draw a contrast with president obama, who has been criticized by some for not interrupting his martha's vineyard vacation to visit the disaster region. we should note that the democratic governor of louisiana has said he preferred the president hold off so it does not interrupt recovery efforts. the white house announced today
obama will go on tuesday. these types of visits after natural disasters are part of the gigs for presidents and presidential candidates. how did trump do today? margaret: he did not blow t. he is down there trying. there are a couple of things. number one, john bel edwards did say initially it was too soon for obama to go. and by extension, you can imagine his priority number one was probably not to have the republican nominee stumping for votes. the question for trump is twofold. number one, how does the public in louisiana respond and how does the nation see it? do they see it as him being concerned for the people of louisiana or do they see it as a photo op? joshua: i thought it was interesting. obviously, it was a photo op on one level. i thought trump should have had a work shirt with a "make america great" logo so he looked more comfortable passing food out to victims of the
flood. on another level, it was interesting that they put this together but did not let reporters come along. i was reminded of the movie "what about bob?" where bill murray was talking about doing things in baby steps. this seemed like a baby step for trump and getting out there away from the stadium rallies, away from fox news, and trying to master the performative elements of a presidential candidate. margaret: the visuals. of connecting with people. but no one with a tape recorder to ask him a question he could mishandle on tape. >> no chance of blowing it. when we come back, both candidates are betting on president obama. will he be an asset or a liability for hillary clinton in november? we will talk about that and more when we come right back.
margaret: let's check in on president obama. recently, there have been a few news events, mostly international, that the white house is not thrilled about. the picture of a five-year-old pulled from the airstrike rubble reminded the world of the horrors in syria. and yesterday, the state department admitted the cash payment the u.s. made to iran was linked to the release of american hostages, reigniting a debate over the definition of the word "ransom." it makes you wonder how obama's approval rating is doing these days. >> the president has a high approval rating. >> he is leaving office with highs in the approval rating.
margaret: that is right. president obama's approval rating has soared to a stunning -- i guess it is only 53%. that is according to the latest pew poll. hillary clinton has been embracing obama on the campaign trail, and donald trump is taking every opportunity to talk about the obama/clinton administration days. will the president be more of an asset or a liability to clinton in the coming days? joshua: i don't think there's any question that he is going to be a positive for clinton. i think one of the remarkable stories about this campaign, if you were to back up 18 months, 24 months, obama's approval ratings were in the 30's. when pollsters asked people if you want the next president to have a vision similar to or different than barack obama, 75% said different. it looked like he was going to be a millstone around the neck of the hillary clinton ampaign. 53% in this political era is the new 80%.
for a pair of candidates with upside-down favorability ratings who struggled to break 45%, having 53% is a real plus. i think clinton has recognized that and is embracing obama, as she should. margaret: compared to clinton herself, he's doing just fine. compared to george w. bush in the waning months of his administration, nowhere close to 53%. joshua: at the democratic convention, there was so much of a coming together. not just barack obama's speech, but michelle obama's speech, and the idea this is our president. in eight years, we have accomplished great things. we brought the economy back. i think it is natural, barring an iraq war calamity like wesaw with george w. bush at the end of the president's tenure, that there will be good feelings about him, especially when the contrast is the race you have between the two most
unpopular major nominees ever to run for the presidency. margaret: agreed. more of an asset than a liability at this point. joshua: after month of criticism, the clinton foundation says it will no longer accept foreign and corporate donations if hillary clinton is elected president in november. bill clinton broke the news to foundation staff members yesterday, which also happened to be the day after donald trump hired steve bannon as his ew campaign c.e.o. his nonprofit funded a hillary hating book called "clinton cash," which made headlines last year and raised questions about potential conflicts of interest between foundation donors and clinton's work as secretary of state. coincidence? whether or not this foundation move is a response to bannon, is there any potency left in the "clinton cash" attacks? margaret: this is what the clintons have been preparing for even before they knew it would be steve bannon at the controls for months. it is not even labor day yet. when that happens, presumably a turning point.
everything from gennifer flowers to the clinton foundation money is on the table. that is what they have always assumed. when you look at early polling in the primary season with bernie sanders, what many democrats were bothered by was this shadiness, vagueness, blurring between the clinton foundation and secretary of state roles. joshua: the other thing that struck me about the manafort exit was the clinton foundation attacks are essentially -- "you took money from shady foreign operators" -- including people in the ukraine and russia. you can't lob those attacks when the campaign chairman in your own campaign is under investigation and getting henpecked by political reporters for doing the same thing. margaret: it was obstruction but now -- joshua: after manafort left, reince priebus tweeted it is unacceptable the clinton foundation will continue to accept foreign donations.
why didn't they cut them off now? why wait until after hillary clinton is elected? margaret: they should have announced a year ago or six months ago this was their plan. you see this again and again. you start linking to the e-mail controversy. what she says she could have said in the beginning, and there would have been a lot less damage. it would have made things much easier. next, a man with the midas touch. he joins us next to talk about a new major player in trump world after these words from our sponsors.
we leer at bloomberg politics have been remapping the compilation of adrianza in donald trump's expanding orbit and we noticed two things. or rather people suddenly at the center of trump galaxy. mercer major and mercy minor. robert mercer a new york investor and his conservative daughter rebecca have big-time financial ties to trump's new campaign chiefs. and now both mercers are serious players in trump's presidential bid. with us interest new york to talk more about all this is a pulitzer prize winning bloomberg journalist who has written a lot about the mercers over the past year and joins us from new york. talk to us about this family. anything interesting we should know about either one father or daughter and why should america care and how could it impact the race between now and november? >> sure.
>> let me tell you a little bit about robert mercer. he is the dad. he did not start out in the world trying to make a ton of money. he was a computer programmer and spent the first part of his career trying to figure out how to teach computers to use language. in his late 40's, he got into the hedge fund world and became staggeringly successful. now he has got a lot of money and is putting that to use in olitics. joshua: he seems to have so many tendrils into steve bannon, kellyanne conway. and now the head of the trump campaign. can you describe what a few of those are? >> mr. mercer has focused his spending on the conservative wing of the republican party, the antiestablishment, tea-party elements in the republican party. two of the people who have been his closest advisors have been steve bannon and kellyanne conway, who are now two of the top people in the trump campaign. bannon was the head of breitbart news.
he mercers -- robert mercer in 2011 invested $10 million in breitbart news when it was going through financial difficulties. as far as we know, he still has that stake. he is kind of in business with bannon. kellyanne conway is the person the family turned to, to run the super pac they were operating earlier in the campaign to support ted cruz's un for the presidency. joshua: early on, mercer, both mercers were all in for ted cruz. they had super pacs and all kinds of stuff going on. have they pivoted smoothly to trump and just switched horses midstream? >> it sure seems that way. not only that, but they seem to have washed their hands of ted cruz. after ted cruz gave the memorable speech at the republican convention where he did not endorse donald trump, they put out what i think was their first ever public statement.
they do not talk about the politics. they put out a statement saying he was wrong, he should have endorsed the candidate, we have got to defeat hillary clinton. it would be very surprising if they ever send another dollar ted cruz's way. this is the family that bankrolled the super pacs supporting him. they spent $13.5 million trying to get ted cruz elected president, so it was a stunning eversal. they have become strong supporters of donald trump. margaret: probably not great news for ted cruz. do other republican donors and people who make stuff happen watch the mercers? do you think they will be watching them more? >> to some degree, yes. anybody who spends as much time and money as the mercers do, i think people pay attention to them. there is an important difference between them and other mega donors you might think of like the koch brothers or paul singer.
some donors try to create a network of like-minded people to do projects together and recruit other donors to follow them. the mercers have not created a network of donors behind their operations. they are much more doing their own things. joshua: the mercers had a super pac that supported ted cruz. a few weeks ago after cruz left the race, they turned it into the "crooked hillary" pac. this is supposed to be a trump pac. does the fact the mercers have the super pac mean they can no longer legally communicate with steve bannon and people at the top of the trump campaign? >> the law is a little up in the air. essentially, the purpose of the law is to try to keep someone on the campaign from privately communicating where they need to run ads or what message they are trying to get out to a
super pac, and then have the super pac follow those nstructions. anything the campaign might do that is perceived as giving the super pac insight into their secret strategy would be a potential legal problem. but outside of that, there are a lot of things you can do as long as you swear up and down you are not talking about messaging and strategy. joshua: mercer has bankrolled what seems like a years-long effort to define and attack hillary clinton. he donated money to the nonprofit that produced the "clinton cash" book. i believe his daughter was a board member at one point. is this a victory and vindication for mercer and his view of how politics should be conducted? >> mercer has always been -- he has never been a right down the middle republican donor. he has always been, from talking to people close to him,
very much of the view that the whole washington system is corrupt and needs to be utterly reformed, both republican and democrat. and so, hillary clinton is obviously part of that. but he has also funded a lot of stuff to go after jeb bush or more mainstream republicans. joshua: thank you. when we come back, we will talk with a "washington post" reporter about the latest in hillary-land after this.
>> hillary clinton gets it. standing up for children and families has been her life's work. under her plan working parents get relief from the cost of child care and a path to debt free college. equal pay for women and paid time off for families building an economy that works for everyone not just
those at the top because we're stronger ogether. >> that was hillary clinton's newest tv ad which will start running in seven battleground states. our next guest is a reporter for "the washington post" who has been covering hillary clinton and tim kaine and joins us here in washington, d.c. thanks for coming on the show. >> happy to be here. >> you and i are sitting here in washington. hillary clinton is not. where is she? >> hillary clinton is we think out on
>> we go to work because others depend on us. hillary clinton gets it. under her plan, working parents get relief from the cost of childcare and a path to debt-free college, equal pay for women, and paid time off to care for families. building an economy that works for everyone, not just those at the top, because we are stronger together. margaret: that was hillary clinton 's new tv at, which will start running in seven battleground states. we are shifting gears with our next guest, a reporter for the "washington post" covering hillary clinton and tim kaine. thanks for coming on the show. >> happy to be here. margaret: so, you and i are sitting here in washington. hillary clinton is not. where is she? >> hillary clinton is, we think, out on martha's vineyard already, where she was planning to be later this weekend, but she ended up going early. it is bill clinton's birthday. the details are sketchy, but we think she's out there something bill clinton's birthday. joshua: is it a surprise party? were we not supposed to say? [laughter] margaret: we were not invited. joshua: i guess everything is supposed to be a surprise. does it matter, we have donald trump down in louisiana today, doing presidential things, and we found out this afternoon that obama will be there on tuesday during presidential things. does that put any pressure on hillary clinton to make a trip to baton rouge, to show that she is also on the case? anne: sure. it sets up the question, if trump goes, would she go? i think she would be leery of doing so, for fear of looking opportunistic. certainly there was criticism of trump by the democratic governor for, at least the possibility that he could interfere with efforts there, or make, in the governor's words, make a photo op.
she would be loath to do that. but certainly it raises the question. you want to be president of the united states, and this is exactly the kind of thing the president is expected to do, even if it means interrupting your vacation, so would she do it or not? margaret: you know, i am struck by the idea that, even though trump would very much like to put the heat on hillary clinton, this entire last week has been all about focusing on donald trump. hillary clinton and joe biden were in scranton earlier this week, where we both were. even then, the news was overtaken by trump, but negative news about trump. clinton kind of is looking at, how much do i sit back and just let him self-destruct? anne: that has been a large part of the clinton strategy over the last 10 days, to just order stay out of his way. margaret: with bannon and kellyanne conway, is this good news for them, bad news for them?
are they worried? not that worried? anne: i think the departure of manafort, first sidelined, and then gone, the initial read from inside clinton world on the shakeup was, well, that's confirmatory that things are in a giant mess over there, so they thought that was good. the departure of manafort is a bit of a wildcard, right? he was a tempering influence, or at least he attempted to be, and they really don't know what to expect now. uncertainty is never a good thing. joshua: a guy like bannon is so out of left field. he has no campaign experience, and all his involvement in national politics has been with breitbart news, just these outrageous attacks that would be
considered well outside the bounds of what is politically acceptable a few years ago. now i guess anything goes. is there a worry with bannon whispering in trump's ear, that he could erupt in a way we had never seen before tour hillary clinton? anne: that's what i meant. i think they felt they could draw some box, as long as manafort was in the picture. he would not let trump to x, whatever x is, and those lines are basically not there anymore. margaret: so if you are the clinton campaign, at least what they say in the public posture is that this changes nothing, we always expected a nasty gutter campaign, and we are prepared for it. do you think they are actually behind-the-scenes changing the game, stepping up the attack plan, or does this guarantee a nastier race?
anne: they were not wrong to say from the beginning that they expected there to be a bloodbath in september or october, into november, that it would be extremely nasty. and they would be ready for anything. i mean, from monica lewinsky to whatever. hillary clinton knows, in the process of running for office, all those things will come her way. i think what they didn't plan for was the sort of complete, unpredictability and kind of, you know, it's beyond the question of how do they respond. it's a question of, they have absolutely no idea what they might be hit with on any day, and that throws people off their footing. i think there is definitely now a sense, within a lot of the close clinton advisers, that, i mean, it's just buckle up. they figure it's going to be
extraordinarily nasty and unpleasant on a day-to-day basis. and that she is ready for it. i will say, i mean, she has shown thus far a pretty thick skin. she has not gotten rattled or nasty herself in public for many months now, and if she is able to keep that up, i think, from the clinton world's perspective, they will call that a success. she has had a little practice. [laughter] margaret: fair enough. thanks. when we come back, we will talk about some of trump's new commercial real estate. if you are watching us here in washington, d.c., you can now listen to us on the radio at bloomberg 99.1 fm. we will be right back. ♪
♪ >> in hillary clinton's america, the system stays rigged against americans. syrian refugees flood in. illegal immigrants committed of crimes get to stay, collecting social security benefits,
skipping the line. our border opens, more of the same, but worse. donald trump's america is secure. terrorists and dangerous criminals kept out. the border secure. our family safe. change that makes america safe again. donald trump for president. ♪ joshua: that was donald trump's first general election tv ad, which will be airing in ohio, pennsylvania, north carolina, and florida over the next 10 days. joining us now to talk about
this is ad buyer ken goldstein, a professor of politics at the university of san francisco. your thoughts? ken: as i was watching it here, my colleagues will look at an ad and try to workshop it, what is the secret dog whistle? there is no dog whistle. it is a train whistle. it's very obvious. immigrants, mexicans, pouring over the border, and helicopters and border guards guarding americans. we don't have to go inside the actors studio to find what's going on here. very clear message. joshua: is this a big ad buy? ken: it's actually not. it is one fourth the size of just hillary clinton's ad buy over the next 10 days, not to
mention the clionton campaign and priorities, usa her super pac, have already spent millions this summer. $5 million versus $150 million for the summer. margaret: how much does the trump campaign really even need to worry about ad spending? aren't they just going to get a ton of free media play? ken: exactly. we will all get a thank you note. what will we be talking about in 10 days? this spot, if they do other spots. quick, name three hillary clinton spots. you can't think about them. there's $18 million of them, and he is generating so much free media. margaret: let's look at the clinton campaign's ad spending and what it tells us. ken: pennsylvania is on the board, as is ohio and florida and nevada, but what's interesting to me are the states not on the board for clinton and not on the board for trump, either, colorado and virginia.
we can sit here and figure out what is a battleground, what is not a battleground. we know now that colorado and virginia are not battlegrounds, because neither trump or clinton are airing ads there. she is up in pennsylvania. we will see if she stays up in pennsylvania, but for now colorado and virginia are off the board. joshua: when do we expect the next ad from trump? [laughter] ken: i am done and retired from the predicting what trump will do game, especially when it comes to advertising. there was a bit of a battle in the trump campaign about what their first creative would be. given the previous conversation you had here, about once again the changing of the guard in the trump campaign, i would not expect any less aggressive advertising, whenever that spot comes. joshua: certainly did not see much different from what trump has been talking about. ken goldstein, thank you. up next, we take the show global when we come back. ♪
♪ mr. trump: hillary clinton wants to be america's angela merkel. [crowd boos] mr. trump: by the way, for the price of supporting one refugee in the united states, we could support 12 in a safe zone in the middle east or, let's say, syria. [applause] mr. trump: the improved refugee screening standards i have proposed will save countless billions of dollars.
it is called "extreme vetting." extreme vetting. ♪ margaret: welcome back. that was donald trump at a rally just a few minutes ago in michigan. we are joined by tom rogan, a contributor to the "national review." thanks for being here. tom: good to be with you. margaret: so much to talk about, but let's start with two things real quick in the foreign policy world. the image of the syrian boy. how does this play in the context of the election? does this make americans more sympathetic to the plight of syrians, syrian refugees, or does this give donald trump ammunition? tom: in the political level, ultimately the syrian refugees are something that will help trump. the counterpoint, though, to that is to some degree it represents an indictment of the president's foreign policy in the sense of aleppo and russian action. so it will be interesting to see
how it plays out. when you get to november, again, you were in a previous segment talking about the hammering ads, talking about immigration, uncontrolled. but in the immediate moment it pulls on the heartstrings in an obvious way. most americans would say, and the critical issue will be, can hillary clinton a refugee strategy that addresses women and children specifically? if you do that, i think she can really kind of win that center ground from trump, because people, the image speaks for itself in terms of how horrific it is. margaret: a big foreign policy challenge this week for president obama and perhaps by extension hillary clinton, is this new revelation of the plane leaving geneva with $400 million on it, it could not take off or land until the americans had been released from iran as part of the deal. republicans are seizing on this to call this exchange, the whole process, ransom, ransom payment. does this take hold? do most americans care?
or have they written off the iran nuclear deal at something too complicated to understand? tom: it creates some damage to hillary, but the great strength hillary clinton functionally has is that the republican establishment on foreign policy, as much as they are the people who have come out visibly, behind-the-scenes, there's a great deal more people who are frankly more predisposed to mrs. clinton than donald trump. it is a fact. because of mr. trump's perspective weaknesses with republicans, he loses opportunity to use that, whereas otherwise it would be powerful. joshua: on the topic of donald trump's potential weaknesses, the other big story today is the departure of paul manafort. and we know from our own reporting inside the campaign, a lot of that was driven by
manafort's increasingly politically dangerous ties to the former ukrainian government. can you explain to me why the ap revelations that came out yesterday were so serious about paul manafort, and what he had actually done lobbying-wise in the united states? tom: for a couple reasons. the first key reason is the connectivity between what he was doing and the russian government. joshua: tell us what this revealed. what did it show he was doing? tom: it showed he was essentially in a very lucrative engagement with the russian government through the ukrainians. if you delve into the details of russian organized crime, the synergy from the kremlin, basically more will come out, and that's the takeaway. they knew that. they knew they had to get ahead of it. frankly, i don't understand how, it shows to some degree the amateurness of the campaign that
they did not strike this earlier. joshua: manafort is known to be an old lobbying hand, and he did not even have the proper registration with the federal government to do this. what should he have done? tom: he should not have joined the trump campaign, because he should have known this would come out. this is stuff that u.s. intelligence follows. at some point, this would probably have leaked. i wonder what the fbi is looking at. joshua: the fact he was not even registered. tom: because of that, it's not just about corrupt practices, but the synergy with the russian government, the cold war that never ended. it is stuff that, i don't know how somebody has been in the business as long as he has thought he could play this one. margaret: what do you make of the idea that trump is an agent of the russians -- has he demonstrated that? do you think that losing manafort helps him to shake that
perception or does he have another hurdle? tom: he will not be able to shake it. the business links that quite frankly have not come out -- john schindler, a friend of mine who is by no means a clinton supporter, writing at the observer, a lot of stuff about the trump campaign and concerns on the u.s. intelligence side. trump's difficulty here is that, because he has said so many things about putin, because the russians are clearly on his side, and it's very visible it is an orchestrated campaign -- the russian equivalent of the nsa is run under putin's direct office, so there is a degree of control from the top in terms of these hacks through wikileaks, which is the russians, that he is, that they want him there. functionally, i think he does like putin, and that self-confidence he has, i don't think he will back away from it. the clinton campaign, what we
just talked about with the republican establishment concerned about russia, he's dancing in a minefield here, and the clinton campaign from the sidelines, i think, are enjoying it, because it weakens him with core constituencies on the conservative right that quite frankly do not like clinton. margaret: in terms of the wikileaks, the connections to russia, give us a sense of how most american voters, especially voters in the middle, kind of feel about wikileaks is a phenomenon, and how that might shape their voting proclivities? tom: look, we talk about it perhaps more than people are concerned about core issues. that's where the trump ad was a good ad, at smashing people over the head and generating concern. the problem he has is that below the surface, the connection with russian foreign policy, ultimately the ideals of that center ground. virginia beach, another example, with military family serving the country, the ideals of democracy. the aleppo boy, where the russians are very heavily
engaged, deliberately killing people to build pressure, deliberately. when people start seeing that, if those connection points are drawn, which they will be because they should be, then it becomes a problem for him. joshua: trump is not the only one with concerns with the russians. you mentioned wikileaks. we have already seen the damage these leaked e-mails have done politically, causing democratic national chairwoman debbie wasserman schultz her position, and the expectation is a lot more is to come, and that the russians or the hackers or whoever are holding them until after labor day, in the fall, at which point they could reveal things that are deeply inconvenient, or worse, for hillary clinton. tom: i think so. i suspect they do have stuff in from the server. because of the lack of safeguards, and because of how aggressive and capable the russian collection agencies are, they probably do have stuff. the question is how bad is it, and also trump, if the polling gap that has developed in the
last couple weeks sustains, i wonder whether the russians actually, they might retain it, and if they really have something, hold it until after the election. the whole point is we are doing dealing in a world of hypotheticals, but the russians want trump. if they think can have utility toward electing trump, they will use it. if they think it is a lost cause, if they think it is a wasserman schultz type stuff or something that embarrasses clinton just for a couple weeks, they won't use it. it is intelligence behind-the-scenes, in more than any other election in our recent years, there's a great intelligence game operating in the backdrop, so we will see what happens. margaret: do you think we will see any republican former secretaries of state or other luminaries who have not already come out now, standing in favor of hillary clinton to fend this sort of thing off? tom: yes, i do. because trump will continue what he's doing, and we have seen this with the campaign changes,
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