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tv   The Lead With Jake Tapper  CNN  August 10, 2017 1:00pm-2:00pm PDT

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"the lead with jake tapper" starts right now. this is cnn breaking news. >> good afternoon and welcome to the lead. we begin with breaking news. minutes ago president trump not only did not back down from his threat that if north korea keeps acting the way it is, it will face, quote, fire and fury the likes of which this world has never seen before. the president said it, quote, maybe wasn't tough enough. then he issued another stark warning. >> north korea better get their act together or they're going to be in trouble like few nations ever have been in trouble in this world. >> president trump is currently meeting with members of his national security team. that's a meeting that was recently added to his schedule. today north korea, that country's military announced that a plan to fire four missiles to the waters near the u.s. territory of guam will be ready for kim jong-un's consideration within days. we have our team of cnn reporters spread out throughout the globe. from guam to south korea to china to the white house covering all angles of this
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fast-developing story. cnn's jeff zeleny is at the white house. jeff, just a short time ago the president speaking with reporters. he would not rule out a preemptive triem on north korea. >> reporter: he did not rule out a preemptive strike on north korea and said he would not be like previous presidents, meaning president obama, and not show his hand on foreign policy. but he said three times that his words earlier in the week, fire and fury, were monot strong enough. this is what he had to say today. >> if north korea does anything in terms of even thinking about attack of anybody that we love or we represent or our allies or us, they can be very, very nervous. i'll tell you what, they should be very nervous, because things will happen to them like they never thought possible. >> reporter: very strong words there indeed. he did leave open the door though to negotiations, jake. he said, yes, there's always a path, room for negotiation, but it seemed to be a pretty narrow
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path as well. but he also held out hope that china could be helpful to the u.s. as it deals with north korea. >> jeff, there have been a number of different kinds of messages we're hearing from the trump administration, what the president said, what secretary mattis said, the more diplomatic statements from secretary of state tillerson. there's a white house aid, former breitbart editor, sebastian gawarka seem to criticize tillerson, saying don't look to him for comments onle t the military. did the president say anything about the interpretation that there are lots of messages coming from his administration? >> reporter: he did, jake. he was asked about if his administration was speaking with one voice. not surprisingly, he said they were. let's listen. >> there are no mixed messages. there are no mixed messages. i heard -- to be honest, general mattis may have taken it a step
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beyond what i said. there are no mixed messages. >> reporter: but again, there has been a sense, jake, of the administration looking to find a policy after the president made those comments earlier this week that were simply improvised. some of his aids were surprised by them, others were not because he had said similar things in private. jake, the president also mentioned the three predecessors in the office, president clinton, president bush and president obama by name, criticizing all three of them. he said his policy toward north korea would be different. jake. >> jeff zeleny at the white house, thank you so much. earlier the rogue regime responded to president trump's fire and fury threat by mocking him through a state media report that called his remarks nonsense and accused the president of, quote, failing to grasp the grave situation. let's go to will ripley. you've been to beijing more than any journalist. what do you read from this
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latest threat from north korea and how the north korean government might react to another warning from president trump? >> reporter: we're going to have to find out in the coming days, jake, whether what they said in this statement, which is they play laid out their plan for missiles and put them down in the water less than 20 miles from guam, do they have that technical capability, is this something they could pull off. if north korea believes they can do that, we could very likely see an attempt to do what they spelled out in this statement because it's very unusual for north korea to go into such great detail, but we just don't know if it was a bluff and if they're just going to come out with more rhetoric or if they're actually going to take action. also noteworthy, china, there was definitely a strong message in president trump's words for china, essentially threatening action on trade if china doesn't do more to reign in north korea. here in beijing chinese officials have repeatedly warned the united states not to conflate those two issues.
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north korea is a strategic issue for trade, an economic issue. >> let's go to guam, the latest threat. it's also home to two u.s. military bases and thousands of american citizens. cnn's ivan watson is there. ivan, the president sought to reassure americans even as he issued another strong warning but with this very specific threat from north korea to strike the waters off the island, what is the response there in guam? >> reporter: you know, the local authorities here, the governor of guam who you interviewed yesterday, he hasn't issued a new response to this. he's responding by his position that the threat level has not increased to this island from when this kind of war of words between washington and pyongyang first began. i spoke at length with the governor who said that he's confident in the u.s. military and its ability to protect this island from the ongoing kind of
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verbal and written threats now coming from north korea, and he kind of stressed that there is a security umbrella here. there's an architecture of overlapping defensive measures that can protect this american island from the threats coming from north korea, and he points out that any missiles that would be fired from north korea would have to fly down through south korea, over japan, and then over hundreds of miles of open water and ocean to reach guam and that in doing so it would have to pass through areas where you have other u.s. military bases, where you have the militaries of south korea and japan which would all provide a protective buffer, and then at the end, there is the last line of defense here in guam which is a thad missile defense system put in place after previous threats by north korea against guam in
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2013. that confidence from the local authorities not reflected by all people on the ground here. some people quite worried that north korea is threatening their home. it's a tough message to try to tell your children, for example, on this island that's home to more than 160,000 americans. >> ivan watson in guam, thank you so much. before president trump turned the heat up another notch today, south korea warned its neighbor to the north to tone down the threats. alexandra field is live for us in seoul, south korea. how is the south korean government reacting to all these provocations? >> reporter: jake, you just heard president trump say that he is standing up for other countries and other leaders around the world support him. the war of words has turned up the heat on south korea perhaps more than anyone else because we all know that if north korea wanted to conduct an attack or felt they were retaliating for some kind of attack, they could do catastrophic damage right here in south korea using their
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conventional weapons before the u.s. military is believed to be able to overwhelm them. defense officials here in south korea have come out and said that pyongyang's threats against guam, threats against the u.s. are a challenge to the u.s./south korean alliance. they say they're standing with their allies and further provocations would be met with military response, but they are also continuing to say that they want to see dialogue happen. no one has more interest in seeing a peaceful resolution than south korea. they will be perhaps most interested in hearing, most optimistic about where he leaves the door open for the possibility of negotiation, slim as he paints that possibility to be. jake? >> alexandra field, thank you so much. we are expecting new comments on the north korean threat from president trump when he exits that national security meeting. we will bring that to you when we get it. so is this verbal escalation the right move? a member of the senate foreign
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senator gene shaheen is on the foreign relations committee. she joins me with more. thanks for joining us. >> nice to be with you. >> president trump said that his fire and fury warning to north korea perhaps did not go far enough. what's your response? >> well, words do matter. i think this is a time when we should be de-escalating the rhetoric instead of escalating it, and despite the president's comments the administration has not been speaking with one voice. they need to do that. we need to send a strong, consistent message to north korea, but that means looking at all of the other methods in which we can exert our influence, diplomacy, sanctions, and save the hot rhetoric for the very last. >> secretary tillerson said that
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the president was using the language that kim jong-un might understand, given that he doesn't seem to understand diplomatic language. >> well, you know, the challenge with using that kind of rhetoric is if you cry wolf often enough and you never act on it, then pretty soon you don't have any credibility. i think that's part of the challenge we have. why give north korea something to react to? why not, as i said, be consistent. we had two big wins in the last couple of weeks. congress passed sanctions against north korea overwhelmingly, and at the u.n. we got china and russia to support sanctions. those are two big wins. we need to continue and follow up on that momentum. >> north korea says that within days they're going to have a plan ready to present to kim jong-un to fire four missiles towards, i think 20 miles off the coast of the u.s. territory of guam. how concerned are you that this
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might actually escalate into a military conflict? >> well, i'm very concerned. and that's why i said i think it's important to lower the rhetoric instead of escalating the rhetoric. this is the kind of situation when we're dealing with somebody like kim jong-un who we have no idea how he's going to react to things, it doesn't make sense to again further inflame the situation. we should be working in the international community with our allies, working with china and with russia to try and make sure that we can put pressure on north korea to do less in terms of their nuclear program, to stop the testing, to freeze the program. that's what we ought to be working towards. >> you were talking about the many messages coming from the president tru trump administration. the former breitbart editor told
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bbc it's nonsensical to listen to secretary tillerson when it comes to military issues. what did you make of that? >> i hadn't heard that. but look, again, it's important for the administration to be speaking with one voice. what we have heard from secretary tillerson and secretary mattis is that they are working together very closely to make sure that they provide the same message, promote the same policies. that's what we need to be doing at this time. >> i know you were upset when transcripts showed president trump referring to the beautiful state of new hampshire as a drug infested den. president trump just now said he will declare a national emergency on opioid abuse. i assume you think that would be a good step? >> that is a good step. for several years in new hampshire we are saying we've been dealing with a public health emergency, so we need to be treating it like that. we need to provide resources for people with substance abuse disorders. we need to support law enforcement. and what we don't need is to take away health care from
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people so they can't get treatment anymore, to take away their ability to get mental health treatment and funding away from law enforcement. >> jean shaheen from the great state of new hampshire, thank you for your time. the president adding fire to the feud with senate majority leader mitch mcconnell. that story next. where are we? about to see progressive's new home quote explorer. where you can compare multiple quote options online and choose what's right for you. woah. flo and jamie here to see hqx. flo and jamie request entry. slovakia. triceratops. tapioca. racquetball. staccato. me llamo jamie. pumpernickel. pudding. employee: hey, guys!
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>> cnn's ryan nobles is live on capitol hill, and the question to which president trump was addressing was whether or not mitch mcconnell should retire. ryan, ideally the president and the majority leader, both republicans, would be working together. >> reporter: there's definitely an argument to be made that mitch mcconnell is the most important member of congress when it comes to donald trump's domestic policy agenda but it was clear today that the president put the majority leader on notice. >> mitch, get to work and let's get it done. >> reporter: it may be the most important alliance in washington, and right now the relationship between senate majority leader mitch mcconnell and president donald trump is as rocky as it has ever been. this afternoon at his bed minister estate reporters asked the president if it was time for the majority leader to resign. >> if he doesn't get repeat and replace done and if he doesn't get taxes done, meaning cuts and reform, and if he doesn't get a very easy one to get done, infrastructure, if he doesn't get them done, then you can ask
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me that question. >> reporter: the breakdown started monday night when mcconnell gave a seemingly innocuous speech to a very small group of members in northern kentucky. >> our new president of course has not been in this line of work before, and i think had excessive expectations about how quickly things happen in the democratic process. >> caller: mcconnell's comments were enough to set the president off, and he voiced his displeasure by tweetig about mcconnell three times, including this afternoon. quote, mitch, get back to work and put repeal and replace, tax reform and cuts, and a great infrastructure bill on my desk for signing. you can do it. the tweets came after white house aides say that trump and mcconnell held an animated phone call, a call mcconnell's office will not discuss but a source tells cnn it occurred while the president was golfing at his resort in new jersey. >> come here, mitch. thank you, mitch.
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hugh are you doing, mitch? hey mitch, are we going to be okay? >> reporter: the president's digital attacks are a calculated political risk. he is banking that the average american is on his side. new cnn polling shows that 68% of americans view the republican congress a failure, and only 24% have a favorable opinion of republican leadership which includes mcconnell. but, an open feud with mcconnell could seriously hamper trump's legislative agenda. >> the back and forth between the president and the senate majority leader isn't going to add any additional votes to the obamacare repeal effort. >> reporter: meanwhile, mcconnell and his team refuse to engage, hoping this will pass before congress returns in september with an enormous list of tasks to complete. and part of mcconnell's criticism for president trump was that he was setting artificial deadlines for the congress and it made their work more difficult. well, when the house and senate
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return in september, they have some real deadlines to meet, including those on debt ceiling and the budget. and jake, they will need the president's help to get those c done. >> ryan nobles, thank you so much. just in to cnn, in a new statement delivered a second ago, president trump told reporters that he has not given firing special counsel robert mueller any thought. this is part of brand new remarks he made after meeting with his national security team on north korea and we will have all his latest comments for you any moment, as soon as that video comes in. even before president trump escalated his threats against north korea moments ago, his fire and fury remark had already sparked criticism from lawmakers from both parties. one former republican senator from new hampshire, gordon hem free, who served in the senate from '79 until 1990 said in a letter to his state's congressional delegation, quote, president trump's threat to rain down fire and fury on north korea is like pouring gasoline on a fire, it's crazy. donald trump is impaired by a
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seriously sick psyche, unquote. let's ask him more about this. senator gordon humphrey, thanks for joining me. i really appreciate it. >> thank you for the invitation, jake. >> i want to get to your letter in a second but first i want to get your reaction to all the tweets and now a recent comment that the president made about senate majority leader mitch mcconnell in which he told mcconnell to get to work. he recently just said in new jersey that if emerging markets c -- mitch mcconnell doesn't pass tax cuts and reform and repeal and replace and infrastructure, it would be property for someone to ask the president if mcconnell should retire. you served in the senate for a long time. what do you make of that? >> well, jake, there is more important stuff to discuss like donald trump's playing the game of nuclear chicken with kim jong-un in north korea. i think that is insane. i think honestly, it's time for
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members of congress and the cabinet especially to come to conclusions about this mountain of empirical evidence that the president is laboring under mental impairment. he is delusional, he's paranoid. he's not a well man. he's dangerous. >> you don't want to talk about mitch mcconnell, that's fine. let's turn to the letter you wrote to your delegation. you called president trump dangerous, you added, quote, his sick mind and reckless conduct could consume the lives of millions. we should note, senator, you're not a psychiatrist or a psychologist. are you concerned that by attacking the president's mental fitness you might undermine criticisms of his policies or actions. >> very few members of congress are psychiatrists or physicians and even fewer members of the cabinet. yet the constitution empowers them to find a president unfit to carry out the duties and
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powers by virtue of physical or mental impairment. so setting up a standard that one must be a psychiatrist to come to some judgment about this mountain of empirical evidence that the president has a sick psyche is to set up a false standard. we as americans are stewards of our children's or family's safety and future, and we must, in my view now come to some conclusions about the president's fitness. >> where do you get this from? obviously he sends a lot of tweets. obviously he's made a lot of comments that have offended people. but going from there to he has a sick psyche and should be removed from office, that's quite a leap. >> indeed it is and let me give you a vivid example of the president's delusional thinking. the other night as part of this nuclear crises, he said that he has modernized america's nuclear forces. that simply is not true.
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it's patently false. no president can do that in seven months. furthermore it takes appropriations by congress and those appropriations have not yet been forthcoming. so the president told an untruth. what's really shocking is that he has no guilt or shame or apparently even awareness that he's engaging in lies and he believes his own stories. this is delusional conduct. >> we have heard a lot of lies from a lot of politicians, i will grant you that you hear more of them from this president than previous presidents in terms of the sheer number, but it's not as though lying -- no offense to you as a former senator. it's not as though your virgin ears have ever heard lies before. >> it's more than that. he's delusional. he doesn't grasp the fact that he's lying. he believes in his own lies.
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he cannot be persuaded otherwise. and he has no shame or guilt or regret or remorse. the man is delusional as well as paranoid, an extreme narcissist as i think we would all agree at this point. he's not well. he really should be -- congress and the cabinet should be thinking in serious terms about whether he's fit to serve. >> have you talked to any members of the cabinet? have you talked to any of your former colleagues in the u.s. senate about this issue? >> i have, yes. >> any republicans? ? >> not a great many. i don't live in washington. i left a long time ago. i'm finding that behind the scenes they're saying the man is crazy. in front of the scenes they're not quite ready to do that and that's why it's so important that we talk about the 25th amendment to the constitution which authorizes the cabinet or the congress in the alternative to appoint a body that either
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finds the president fit or unfit from a physical and/or mental point of view to exercise his powers. most americans don't know that or are not aware of that amendment. it's been part of the constitution now for 50 years but that part of it, article 4 of the 25th amendment, has never been used before so people aren't aware of it. if congress and the cabinet are ever to get to the point where they feel comfortable in exercising their constitutional powers, then public opinion and awareness must be prepared. >> senator gordon humphrey, thank you so much. tell us when you hear back from the members of the new hampshire congressional delegation. we would love to have you back on. >> thank you very much. breaking news, president trump says he has not given firing special counsel robert mueller any thought. let's go to sara murray who's with president trump in new jersey. sara? >> reporter: jake, it looks like the president covered a lot of ground again in speaking to reporters, waiting for the tape
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of this. this is of course the second time he's fielded questions from reporters this afternoon. now, he did talk more about north korea. he talked about the threats that north korea has made potentially striking somewhere near guam and essentially said try it and see how we respond. the president said that the tats not a dare but a statement. he also talked a little more about the russia investigation. he mentioned seeing the news of the raid on paul manafort's home, this pre-dawn fbi raid and the president said he was surprised to see that. it sent a strong signal. that matches what sources were telling me yesterday that there were those in president trump's inner circle here in bed minister, new jersey, that were very rattled to see and hear the news of this pre-dawn raid at paul manafort's home. they said that's an indication that mueller is not proceeding carefully with this. now president trump also talked about his interactions were mueller. he said he and his team are essentially working with mueller
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but not really passing communications back and forth. that's a little different from what we had heard from trump's chief counsel, john dowd. and jake, there was another fascinating point the president made that i want to get to. when we talk about what's going on and the dynamic between u.s. and russia relations and this is of course what's been happening with the u.s. embassy in russia. we know that in response to the u.n. sanctions that russia has been trying to retaliate. they said they're going to kick out diplomats at the embassy there, and the president had -- i don't know how you want to take this, if it was snarky, if it was cheeky, if he was being dead serious, we're waiting to see the tape. but this is the first time he's responded to the news that russia wants the u.s. to pair back its embassy staff and he said he wants to thank putin because we're trying to cut down our payroll and as far as i'm concerned very thankful that they're going to let go of a large number of people. jake. >> sara, stick around, we're going to come back to you.
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we have a lot to talk about with my political panel so let's dive right in. phil nud, former cia and fbi official, you have president trump and we will hear the tone in which he made these remarks in a second, but saying that in terms of russian president putin kicking out embassy staff, saying, good, because we've been trying to pair down the staff, he's doing us a favor. >> look, you have wars of choice and wars of options. the president is choosing which choice he wants to make, that is he's choosing not to focus on russia. russia is a threat in europe. he's choosing to go down an optional route, that is to raise the stakes with north korea. we should be telling north koreans, look, you're a fourth world economy at best. you do not pose a serious threat to america economic ily. maybe you do in a nuclear fashion but we'll deal with the chinese and the south koreans
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and figure it out. meanwhile, he should be raising the stakes with the russians saying you're a potential key on the iranian nuclear deal. the priorities are interesting because i can't figure out why the president is choosing to deprioritize russia and prioritize the north koreans who have fewer than 1,000 miles of paved roads. why are we doing this? >> i have an idea on russia. >> i bet you do. >> on every single issue related to russia the president has basically taken the position that is closest he can get to the russian position. i mean, he attacks every country, every group, everyone he feels maligned by, but the russians basically say they're going to ship out 700 person el and he's agreeing with them or joking about how it's not a terrible thing. it's the only area in which he deescalates or takes their position on every issue, and you wonder why people are raising questions about his relationship with russia and possible
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collusion. >> it amanda, that president trump has gone after everyone from meryl streep to don lemon to the cast of "hamilton" but i can't find one time he has said anything negative about vladimir putin. in fact, when bill o'reilly said putin's a killer, the president said we got a lot of killers. you think we're so innocent, about the united states, a remarkable comment for an american president to make. >> i think it's a remarkable amount of spin to act like the removal of americans from that country is somehow good. i think people need to ask questions about how president trump is pretending to project strength on the international stage. republicans standing by him say he's strong, this is the kind of president we need. no, you are elevating north korea. they shoot a bb gun into the ocean we'll be in a position of having to respond or do something. we're at their mercy right now and that is a bad position to be in and also losing staff in russia. >> let's play that tape of the
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new sound from president trump. >> thank you very much. we appreciate it. we are having a meeting today, we actually had a much larger group than this. this is the finals. we discussed many things, one of them obviously was north korea. we discussed venezuela. we discussed afghanistan and the middle east generally. we had some very good meetings, very good ideas, very good thoughts, and a lot of decisions were made. this was a very important day actually. made a lot of decisions. with that, if you have any questions, yes? >> did you make any decision on afghanistan, whether to add additional -- >> yeah, we're getting close. it's a very big decision for me. i took over a mess, and we're going to make it a lot less messy, but that has been a
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place -- 17 years, our longest war, i read in one of your columns. and frankly, it's going to be a decision that's going to be made very soon. >> do you have full confidence in your national security adviser? >> yes, i do. general mcmaster, absolutely. he's our friend, he's my friend and he's a very talented man. i like him and i respect him. >> sir, why did you decide to announce the transgender ban reversal a couple of weeks ago, and are you betraying a community that you pledged to support? >> no. look, i have great respect for the community. i think i have great support or i've had great support from that community. i got a lot of votes, but the transgender, the military is working on it now. they're doing the work. it's been a very difficult situation. i think i'm doing a lot of people a favor by coming out and just saying it. as you know, it's been a very complicated issue for the military. it's been a very confusing issue for the military.
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i think i'm doing the military a great favor. >> mr. president, do you have any response to the russian president expelling 755 workers from our embassy? >> no. i want to thank him because we're trying to cut down on payroll, and as far as i'm concerned i'm very thankful that he let go of a large number of people because now we have a smaller payroll. there's no real reason for them to go back. so i greatly appreciate the fact that they've been able to cut our payroll for the united states. we'll save a lot of money. >> mr. president, was it appropriate for the fbi to raid the home of paul manafort pre-dawn? >> i thought it was a very, very strong signal or whatever. i know mr. man apofor tmanafort. he was with the campaign for a relatively short period of time but i've always known him to be a good man. i thought it was a very, you
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know -- they do that very seldom, so i was surprised to see it. i was very, very surprised to see it. we haven't really been involved -- excuse me? >> have you spoken to the fbi director about it? >> no, i have not. but to do that early in the morning, whether or not it was appropriate, you would have to ask them. i've always found paul manafort to be a very decent man, and he's like a lot of other people, probably makes consultant fees from all over the place, who knows, i don't know. but i thought that was a very -- pretty tough stuff. to wake him up, perhaps his family was there, i think that's pretty tough stuff. >> speaking of the attorney general, how would you character gorize your relationship with the attorney general, have you spoken about the differences you've had in the past? >> it's fine. it is what it is. it's fine. he's working hard. i'm very proud of what we've done on the board. i'm very proud of general kelly and what he's done on the board. one of the reasons he's my chief
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of staff right now is because he did such an outstanding job at the border. we're down 78%. nobody thought that would be. in the old days with other administrations if you were down 1% it was considered a big thing. we're down 78% at the border and nobody thought that was possible. so i'm very proud of general kelly. he's now chief of staff. at the same time, i'm very proud of what we've done over the last six months, between supreme court, tremendous amounts of legislation that's been passed. you know, we had 42 to 48 bills passed. i'm not talking about just executive orders. i'm talking about bills passed. we had massive executive orders. we got rid of record-setting amounts of regulations and a lot of it is statutory where you have to walt. much more is coming out. i believe in regulation. you have to have some regulation but we're gg to have a small percentage of regulation compared to what we have and i think that's why you see
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business enthusiasm is the highest it's been in 18 years, why unemployment is the lowest it's been in 18 years. the unemployment rate just came out. it's the lowest it's been in 18 years. with that being said, we have companies moving into the united states, whether it's fox con, you saw the two large auto companies moving back. probably they'll go to michigan but they're negotiating with various states. we have done a lot in a short period of time, so i'm very proud of it. i think that general kelly is going to be a fantastic chief of staff however. >> mr. president, are you going to increase the u.s. military presence in asia? >> we're constantly looking at it. i don't like to signal what i'm going to be doing but we are certainly looking at it and obviously we're spending a lot of time looking at, in particular, north korea. we are preparing for many different alternative events
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with north korea. he has disrespected our country greatly. he has said things that are horrific. with me he's not getting away with it. he got away with it for a long time between him and his family. he's not getting away with it. it's a whole new ball game. he's not going to be saying those things and certainly not doing those things. i read about in guam by august 15th. let's see what he does with guam. if he does something in guam, it will be an event the likes of which nobody has seen before, what will happen in north korea. >> when you say that, what do you mean? >> you'll see. and he'll see. he will see. >> is that a dare? >> it's not a dare. it's a statement. has nothing to do with dare. that's a statement. he's not going to go around threatening guam and he's not going to threaten the united states and he's not going to threaten japan, and he's not going to threaten south korea. no, that's not a dare, as you
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say. that is a statement of fact. >> mr. president, can you talk about the nuclear posture and what your priorities are there. >> nuclear to me, number one, i would like to denuke the world. i know that president obama said global warming is the biggest threat. i totally disagree. i say that it's a simple one. nuclear is our greatest threat worldwide, not even a question. not even close. i'd like to denuke the world. i would like russia and the united states and china and pakistan and many other countries that have nuclear weapons get rid of them. but until such time as they do, we will be the most powerful nuclear nation on earth by far. the first order i gave to my generals, as you know, my first order was i want this, our nuclear arsenal, to be the biggest and the finest in the world. we spent a lot of money, a lot of time, and a lot of effort,
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and it's in tip-top shape and getting better, and getting stronger. until such time as this scourge disappears, we will be so much better and so much stronger than anybody else, and nobody, including north korea, is going to be threatening us with anything. >> sir, what specifically have you changed in the nuclear arsenal? the reason i ask, a lot of experts yesterday in response to your tweet said that modernizing the arsenal takes many years, it can't be done in six months, it's a long process that's only just begun. >> we've done a lot of modernization and we've done a lot of renovation and we have it now in very, very good shape, and it will be in much better shape over the next six months to a year. it's a very important thing. actually, it was the first -- military is very important to me. as you know, i did extremely well with the military vote, mike and i, but we are -- my first order was we have to do
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the military but before we do the military per se we're going to do the nuclear, and we are in very strong shape. we are going to be increasing our budget by many billions of dollars because of north korea and other reasons having to do with the anti-missile. so we are going to be increasing our budget by many billions of dollars. we'll probably be able to report that over the next week. as you know, we reduced it by 5% but i've decided i don't want that. we are going to be increasing the anti-missiles by a substantial amount of billions of dollars. >> mr. president, can you talk about iran, whether you feel like they are in compliance or will be in compliance. >> i don't think iran is in compliance. we wrote them a very tough letter to the -- as you know, to the congress. i personally don't think they're in compliance but we have time and we're going to see. we also put down a lot of defaults or potentially default situations.
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i don't think they're living up to the spirit of the agreement. president obama in his wisdom gave them $150 billion. he gave them $1.8 billion in cash which is -- that's a hard one to figure. but that was his decision. i think it's a horrible agreement. but they are not in compliance with the agreement and they are certainly not in the spirit of the agreement in compliance. i think you'll see some very strong things taking place if they don't get themselves in compliance. but i do not believe they are in compliance right now. >> mr. president, what's the latest on the leak investigation that the attorney general announced late last week and are there any separate investigations? >> sure, we're always looking. you have the leaks coming out of intelligence and various departments having to do with syria, having to do with all sorts of different places, having to do, frankly, with north korea. those are very serious. and then you have the leaks where people want to love me and they're all fighting for love.
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those are not very important, but certainly we don't like them. those are little inner white house leaks. they're not very important. but actually, i'm somewhat honored by them. but the important leaks to me and they're leaks that the attorney general is looking at very strongly are the leaks coming out of intelligence. we have to stop them for the security and the national security of our country. >> mr. president, any notes to the special counsel, bob mueller, can you talk about that? >> we have a situation which is very unusual. everybody said there's no collusion. you look at the counsels, we have a senate hearing. we have judiciary, we have intelligence and a house hearing and everybody walks out, even the enemies and they say no, there's no collusion. so they're investigating something that never happened. there was no collusion between us and russia. in fact, the opposite. russia spent a lot of money on fighting me. and if you think about it, i
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want a strong military. you see our budget is up by -- it will be hundreds of billions of dollars soon, our military budget. russia doesn't like that. hillary was going to cut the budget substantially, the military budget. russia is very important for russia, oil. oil and gas. we are now an exporter because of an incredible six months that i've had, an exporter of oil and gas. that's bad for russia. i always said i don't think russia wants me because i want a strong military and i want low energy prices. energy is a disaster, low energy prices is a disaster for russia. additionally, it seems that russia spent a lot of money on that false report. that was russian money and i think it was democrat money too. you could say that was collusion. plus the democrats colluded on the ukraine. so they colluded. then when you get down to it, why isn't the fbi looking at the dnc server? you have a server that they
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refused -- the democrats refused to give to the fbi. now, i don't know how the fbi can investigate something if the dnc, the democrats, refuse to give the server. so we have an investigation of something that never took place. all i say is work with them because this is an event that never took place. now, as far as somebody elsewhere did they file the right papers or did they forget to file a paper, i guarantee you if you went around and looked at everybody that made a speech or whatever these people did, that's up to them. did they do something wrong because they didn't file the report document or whatever, perhaps you'll have to look at them but i guarantee you this, probably a lot of people in washington did the same thing. >> mr. president, given your harsh criticism of democrats, how are you going to bring them in on things like infrastructure? >> we'll have to see. i'm not sure we will bring them in. i think the infrastructure bill will be bipartisan. frankly, i may have more support from the democrats. i want a very strong
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infrastructure bill. we, as of this moment, spent over $6 trillion in the middle east. as far as i'm concerned, when i say spent, we've wasted $6 trillion in the middle east. and yet we can't fix our roads and our bridges and our schools around o and our airports and i think that's a very sad situation. i'm very strong on infrastructure and a lot of republicans are but i know a lot of democrats are also. i think that will work out. i think it's going to work out very well. >> mr. president, have you thought or considered leading the dismissal of the special counsel, anything bob mueller could do that would send you in that direction? >> i haven't given it any thought. i've been reading it from you people, you say i'm going to dismiss it. no, i'm not going to dismiss anybody. i want them to get on with the task but i also want the senate and the house to come out with their findings. judging from the people leaving the meetings, leaks, but they leave the meetings all the time and they say, no, we haven't found any collusion. there is no collusion. you know why? because i don't speak to
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russians. i won because i suppose i was a much better candidate than her. i won because i went to wisconsin, to michigan. i won pennsylvania. i fought a smart battle. russia had nothing to do with me winning. we had a great team and i guess i did a good job. you know what, honestly, they spent much more money than i did by a lot, you know that. they spent a lot more money and honestly they did not do a very good job of campaigning. >> one more question about senator -- senate leader mcconnell. you talked about him outside a little bit earlier. have you reached out to him since your phone call yesterday -- >> no. >> had you given any consideration to asking your transportation secretary to help bridge whatever -- >> elaine is doing a very good job. we're very proud of elaine as secretary of transportation. as you said, mitch's wife, she's doing a very good job. i'm very disappointed in mitch, but if he gets these bills passed, i'll be very happy with him. i'll be the first to admit it.
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honestly, repeal and replace of obamacare should have taken place and it should have been on my desk the first week or the first day i was there. i've been hearing about it for seven years. so repeal and replace should have taken place. the tax bill, tax cuts, tax reform, hopefully they get that done. i hope they get it done. the other thing would be the infrastructure bill. in addition to that, we've passed a lot of things. we passed accountability with the v.a. we're doing a lot of great work at the v.a. we're doing a lot of great work all over. you look at what's happening with the coal industry. i looked at west virginia the other day. i was in west virginia making a speech. they are doing great as a state. the great governor of west virginia, jim, who you saw, he just became a republican. he left, his first time in many, many years a thing like that's happened. he just left the democratic
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party and became a republican. which is a great many. hasn't happened in many years. so we're very happy with what's happened. we think it's been an incredible six months. we've done a lot of record-setting business. it's incredible. you look at what's going on with the economy, and you know to me, very important, you look at the enthusiasm of businesses, you look at companies moving back in. you just saw on friday the two big car companies that are coming in. you saw fox con, they make the apple iphones, the desktop. they're the biggest in the world. they're coming into wisconsin with an unbelievable plant like we've never seen before. and i actually said to tim cook of apple, i said, you know, tim, i won't consider myself successful as president unless i see you start building those big beautiful plants that you have all over china, you start building them in the united states. and he's going to do that. >> mr. president, you were critical of the intelligence in the run-up to the iraq war. should we trust the intelligence now about north korea?
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>> well, it's different intelligence. i have mike pompeo, i have great confidence in him. that doesn't mean i had confidence in his predecessor, which i didn't actually, although he did say good things about me. he did say he had no information or no anything on collusion. so i shouldn't maybe say that. but i will say it. but i have tremendous confidence in mike pompeo, dan coats, fantastic. we have people, i think the new head of the fbi is going to be -- i think i've done a great service for this country. i think that christopher will do a fantastic job as the head of the fbi. look, i have -- nobody has greater respect for intelligence than donald trump, but you have to have the right leaders. i think we have great leaders right now. you can look at the intelligence over the years. it was intelligence that got people to make one of the worst decisions ever made in the history of our country going into iraq. they said there were no
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weapons -- you look at it, it ended up being there were no weapons of mass destruction. listening to them, they said weapons of mass destruction were all over the place but they were not there. that was intelligence. i have great respect for intelligence as led by the people that i have in charge now. we have great people, and i think it's going to lead us to tremendous victories. that's what we need. >> what is that intelligence telling you about north korea? >> it's telling me a lot of things. you'll probably find out about it before anybody else, right? with your leaks, we got to stop the leaks. the leaks are very dangerous for our country. i have great respect for the intelligence community and i think with the leadership we have right now hopefully it will be a very, very successful eight years for this country and then after that we'll continue onward. we have a lot of things we have to straighten out. you have the middle east. you have north korea. we have a lot of places of
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tremendous conflict and tremendous danger for this country. i will say, getting the 15-0 vote at the united nations from the security council the other day, that's something that very few presidents would have been able to get. i have great respect for the fact that china and russia went along with it. that was a tremendous day for the united states. i think it will have a strong impact on north korea. i don't know that it will be the end all but i think it will be a very, very -- i think it will have a big impact on north korea and what they're doing. thank you all very much. thank you. >> president trump taking questions from reporters in bed minister, new jersey, a lot to talk about. president trump has not taken comments like that from reporters, taken questions, i think since february when he had that one singular press conference. we have a lot to digest with my panel. i want to start, guys, with the comments that president trump made when asked about the fact that in retaliation for the sanctions against russia vladimir putin expelled 755 u.s.
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diplomats and other personnel from the embassy in moscow. take a listen to what president trump had to say. >> no, i want to thank him because we're trying to cut down on payroll. as far as i'm concerned, i'm very thankful that he let go of a large number of people because now we have a smaller payroll. there's no real reason for them to go back. i greatly appreciate the fact that they've been able to cut our payroll for the united states. we'll save a lot of money. >> first of all, it's not going to help cut payroll at all. that's just not how government budgets work. beyond that, what putin did was an anti-american action. period. that's all it was. that's the definition of an anti-american action, and there president trump is thanking him for carrying it out. >> yeah, americans versus the russian interest, right? this is actually happening because of the sanctions. putin said it is retaliation against america for what it did. he's expelling american
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diplomats and others, and the president is cheering him on. it is a bizarre act for the american president to take the side of a foreign government against our own state department personnel being expelled. >> when we first heard that he had said this i think we all thought to ourselves, maybe he was joking, he was trying to be funny but there wasn't any obvious attempt at humor there. >> no, it looked like he was being fairly serious. does he believe his own spin, i'm not sure, but that is the answer that he gave when asked about americans leaving the country. i think the next time he should probably roll over and ask putin to scratch his belly. this is an act of submission. there's no win for america. we don't have staff on the ground in a very important country not only for geopolitical reasons but because they meddled in our election and there's investigations going on. i can't accept that as an excuse and other people should press him for a better answer. >> what was your response? >> a couple surprises. let me give you one bottom line
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as a former government official. government is going to kill this guy. he defends vladimir putin, cia officers are coming home. they're saying this is how you defend us? we saw the same thing in his transgender comments. what is the military saying to him on transgender? show us the policy. you know what that means inside government, ain't going to happen. what did the department of justice say on paul manafort. a judge told us we had cause to search his home early in the morning because we don't trust the guy who was your campaign manager. the government is going to kill this guy. >> his comments about paul manafort about the fact that on july 26 there was an early morning fbi raid on his home. according to abc news, they actually went into his home and knocked on his bedroom door, not on the front door, and you do this when you are worried that people are going to get rid of documents. the president's remarks were that paul manafort is a good man, he hasn't talked to him in a long time. that was a very