tv Anderson Cooper 360 CNN August 10, 2017 10:00pm-11:00pm PDT
topping the hour, breaking news after a presidential vacation day the likes of which the world has never seen before. that's presidential language, by the way, and so is what you're about to hear. combative language, words not just of war, but perhaps preemptive war, also a collection of remarkable statements, and blunt language some of it directed to a key presidential ally, or at least someone who is supposed to be a key ally. the bottom line, plenty to talk about after two memorable appearances by the president today. here is a sample. >> the people that were questioning that statement was it too tough, maybe it wasn't tough enough. they've been doing this to our country for a long time, many years. it's about time somebody stuck
up for the people of this country. >> what would be tougher than fire and fury? >> well, you'll see. you'll see. >> mr. president, do you have any response to the russian president expelling 755 workers from our embassies? >> 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. >> how would you categorize your relationship with attorney general sessions? have you spoken about some of the differences in the past? >> it's fine. it is what it is. everybody else there's no collusion, you look at the councils, we have a senate hearing, we have judiciary, we have intelligence, and we have a house hearing. and everybody walks out, even the enemies well, there is no collusion, there is no collusion. so they're investigating something that never happened. >> mr. president, have you thought about or considered leading this special counsel?
is there anything that would send you in that direction? >> i haven't given it any thought. i've been reading about it from you people. i'm not dismissing anybody. i want them to get on with the task. mitch, get to work and let's get it done. they should have had this last one done. they lost by one vote for a thing like that to happen is a disgrace, and frankly it shouldn't have happened. that i can tell you. >> now as majority leader? >> well, i tell you what, if he doesn't get repeal and replace done, and he doesn't get taxes done, meaning cuts and reform, if he doesn't get infrastructure done, then you can ask me that question. >> reporter: do you have full confident in your national security adviser? >> yes, i do. general mcmaster? absolutely. he's our friend. he's my friend, he's talented, i like him and are the him. i've always found paul manafort to be a very decent man. and he is 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 -- that was pretty tough stuff. >> why did you decide to announce the transgender ban reversal a couple of weeks ago? >> 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, and i think i'm doing a lot of people a favor by coming out and just saying it. let's see what he does with guam. he does something in guam, it will be an event the likes of which nobody has seen before, what will happen in north korea. >> and when you say that, what do you mean? >> you'll see. you'll see, and he'll see. >> so with that on the table, let's dig in. joining us is jeff toobin and cornell, william brooks and ana navarro. there's so much to talk about,
what what he said, just in mcconnell, what he said about north korea, the expulsions. this is probably the most we've heard from president trump certainly since the solo press conference he gave early on in his administration. >> and not surprising reporters were itching to ask him so many questioning. i cover russia and i completely forgot about putin expelling the diplomats because there is so much going on. this was smart of the president could come out and address so many of these issues, not just doubling down on north korea. i think a lot of people were expecting him to at least calm some nerves. he didn't do that. he said if anything i should have been tougher. and you heard my defense secretary, and he even spoke harsher than i did. in another sense, i think you're reminded of how much chaos is constantly going on surrounding this administration and washington, that it's hard to focus on one issue, even if we're talking about potential nuclear war. >> senator huckabee held up a
question and he blew through that. >> it's chaos or lack of discipline. the fact that we have a president who tweets by the moment, who opines on every issue from the top of his head is not a reassuring idea. particularly with the country. literally quite anxious about going into a nuclear war. and where you have a president literally has a message that's all over the place with respect to the russians, with respect to the russians, with respect to the north koreans, with respect to his cabinet secretaries. this is alarming. it is a reflection of a fundamental lack of discipline that starts at the top. >> for all the talk we heard from tillerson about diplomat diplomacy and we'll talk more about north korea later, but the president did essentially highlight a confrontation, a looming confrontation on august 15th over guam, basically going head to head against north korea. and somebody's got blink. >> he is still in a different place than his defense secretary. what he said is that if there
are continuing threats. the words he used was if there are more threats, there would be fire and fury. mattis said if there's action, there will be a military response. what's the american policy? i don't know. those two things are different. there have been more threats since the president made that statement, and we haven't done anything. so was that an empty threat on the part of the president? i don't know. but it's quite clear there is not a clear position of the administration on that issue. >> rex tillerson is in charge of our state department and in rex tillerson is a man of extraordinary probity. and the president has confidence in secretary tillerson. >> does he? because there have been a lot of reports that tillerson is kind of on the outs and not in the inner circle. >> i have a feeling that if the president lacked confidence in
secretary tillerson, we ewould have have heard or seen something more about that today. the fact -- or to date, let's say. the fact that the president put general kelly in charge in the white house as chief of staff indicates i think that he understands that there has to be -- i mean, he is a message communicator. that's obvious. he should be taken seriously, not always literally as we've discussed many times. >> what does that mean? so north korea should not take him literally in what he says? >> no, we -- there is rhetoric that occurs at the political level from every nation, every participants, including north korea. what the president is expressing is that he's resolute in ensuring that the united states, the people of the united states will not be put -- will not be compromised by north korea.
and we have the power to defend ourselves. >> is a verbal threat something that he's drawn a red line on, or is it actually a military launch? >> well, we have examples of -- in fact, just from the past administration of presidents who drew red lines and then proceeded to ignore them when push came to threats. >> a red line about threats and i'm trying to understand, is it literal. >> the president has expressed rhetorically great resolve to ensure that we will not be put at risk nor compromised by north korea. i think that's what every american wants to hear, and then -- >> i'm going to need asterisk from the trump supporters who let me know when i should say take stuff literally, when i should interpret it like abstract art, when i should take it figuratively, when i should take it as a joke, when i should take it not seriously, when it's not english, when it's made-up words. you are make absolutely no sense. >> that's not true.
how do normal people seeing him on a daily basis. >> what do you not understand about what the president said? >> i don't understand where the coherence is what he's saying and what tillerson is saying, i don't understand where it leads. i don't understand -- >> what general mattis said is an attack on allies or the u.s. what the president says are threats. they've been making all these threats and they can't make any more. >> i think we can draw a rhetorical continuum among all these things. >> a rhetorical continuum. am i the only one that finds that really funny? >> apparently. there is nothing incoherent about what is being presented by the united states government, and the state department, heather nauert said it yesterday, they stand as one. >> so more power than the world has ever seen. what does that mean to you? >> the united states has more, possesses more power than the world has ever seen. >> the most power the world has ever seen is nagasaki and hiroshima. >> it goes beyond that. we obviously have the greater
military in the world. >> so any more threats from north korea, they are going to see more power than the world has ever seen? >> north korea's military power is dwarfed by that of the united states. i think that's fairly obvious. and i think that's what the president is expressing. and he is expressing that -- >> but he is expressing it in different words. >> just as kim jong un is speaking to the north korean people, president trump is also speaking to the american people. >> my god, i would hope the american people hold the president of the united states to a higher standard than a dictator in north korea. >> how does the president sound like a dictator? >> where is that? >> the north koreans have announced that kim jong un has golfed a perfect golf game. he was born on a mountaintop. >> what i'm saying is that leaders of nations and kim jong un is a dictator. he is a horrible dictator.
>> but he communicates to his people just like the president communicates. >> every leader. >> the only accurate thing tonight. >> theresa may communicates with great britain. >> not in the way that north korea does. >> but theresa may has never shot an 18 holes in one. i'm a golfer. that's a very good score. >> don't you think the president missed an opportunity to actually out the something that we saw 15 doesn't countries all voted unanimously. >> yes, he's been saying that. he said today we shouldn't pay too much attention to that. instead of talking about teaming up with our allies around the world against north korea, he's seemingly put us in a position where anything god forbid happens, we could be accused of provoking a situation. >> it seems like tuesday right now is a confrontation between the north korea and u.s. over guam. that's what the president was saying today. he was saying if there's a launch against guam, we're going to see what it is -- >> what the president has also
said is that he is -- and look, the position we had toward north korea in presidencies past, including in the last administration, most conspicuously was one of so-called, you know, strategic patience, which essentially meant passive complacency. if anything, enriched the north koreans via iran, which has had a distinct axis of commerce with north korea. president trump is now determined to express the fact that we will no longer enrich north korea. well will no longer tolerate north korean aggression. and he stands with the state department and the department of defense who are prepared to marshall whatever -- >> strategic patience people are going to need to survive the trump presidency. >> got us to where we are today. >> let's be clear about this. this is the difference between strategic patience which the president is frustrated by and
the lack of rhetorical patience. that is the time it takes for something to come into his mind and pop out of his mouth. the fact of the matter is, this is a very serious and dangerous moment. when which we think about president kennedy doing the cuban missile crisis and his insistence that the state department and the white house be on the same page with respect to the message. >> and they are. >> which presumes that there is a message. >> it just seems they had to come come out quickly and give a message than what the president said yesterday. we'll drill down deeper on this a little later. another jab at the man who is supposed to be his leading ally. another slap at mitch mcconnell today. and whether as biana said, his language is actually limiting the room for his anticipation of war.
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some conservative analysts say it's time for him to retire. >> i tell you what, if he doesn't get repeal 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 me that question. >> what is that? >> you can ask me -- that means ask me that question. let's hope he gets it done. >> well, this most recent round ramped up again when senator mcconnell said the president had, quote, excessive expectations of how fast congress can move on repealing and replacing obamacare because he didn't have enough experience. back now with the panel. ana, have you seen a situation like this where the president is going after a member of his own party? >> yes, two weeks ago when he was using jeff sessions as his republican pinata. and a week after that when he was going after lisa murkowski. so this is something he does traditionally. frankly i think mitch mcconnell needs to step up and push back. he is the majority leader. right now he looks like a submissive wimp.
if he doesn't want to get pushed around by the president of the united states, he needs to remind of president that the congress is a coequal branch and he needs to push back and show a spine. >> but for the president's base, for who distrusts congress, who distrusts washington, this probably works for the president to suddenly be saying i'm the guy on the sidelines, you know, as angry as you are all about what's going on in the senate. >> except we're seeing that his base's patience is going down as well and wear thing. you have to wonder, aside from just the fact this is a president who cannot speak ill of vladimir putin, but can go after members of his own cabinet and his own party, what is the logic? what is the end game here? you don't have health care. you have a budget battle that you're facing within weeks. and by the way, if this russian investigation does heat up, you're going need this republican's support. and the more he publicly fights within his own party -- >> the end game is taking claim of the victories, but not owns the defeats. >> and what are the victories?
>> in fairness to the press, what the president was saying, the congress is less popular than he is. so beating up on congress is not necessarily a bad political move. >> and he's also not wrong about their failure to repeal and replace obamacare. they've been talking about that for seven years. >> that's right. but the problem is ultimately the buck stops with the president. but i don't think attacking congress -- and you remember bill clinton did what was called the triangulation in those days when he positioned him will have between the democrats and republican, and alienated some people within his own party. he's not the first president to tangle with members of his own party and congress, who ultimately he does need. >> but by personalizing his animus with congress, treating mitch mcconnell like a candidate on "the apprentice," demeaning the majority leader, this does not advance a legislative agenda. while congress may not be
popular relative to president trump, six months, a year from now when the president hasn't gotten anything done, he'll be less popular than they are. he's got to get something accomplished and you don't get anything accomplished by picking fights with everyone, every day. >> you're a member of congress. does it hurt your feelings? how does he do it? herein lies the key to success for the congress, for the president, for the nation. it's the filibuster in the senate on legislation. they broke the filibuster, they busted the filibuster on supreme court nominees to eleva supreme court gorsuch. they need to do that now on legislation. what is holding us back -- i
understand the president is angry and expressing the anger of the american people. and as as a republican am angry. >> go nuclear on congress? >> no, i didn't realize you were so war-like. but no, in terms of the senate, what we're talking about is a pe pequisite, basically, a prerogative of senators only in the u.s. senate is a majority 60. that's an outrage. that's what is holding us back. and it is a false -- >> because they couldn't get 60 for health care. >> but here's why. when you try to craft a bill under the terms of reconciliation, the path is so narrow that you cannot -- jeffrey, you're laughing, but it's the truth. listen, you know, i -- [ overlapping dialog ] >> we get health care again, right? there were a lot of republican seminars for whom that was a
very hard politically costly vote, and they did it to be team players. if i'm one of those guys, if i'm heller or portman or flake, i'm saying to myself why should i put my neck out? why should i take this risk to be a team player and back the president when he so easily throws under the bus? >> call it a mean bill. >> it's a question of loyalty. >> and we know his popularity readings are greater than those of any given senator, just about, the ones you mentioned. >> i would say they are less terrible. >> and they're better than -- his popularity is vastly -- >> you realize cockroaches have higher ratings. >> excuse me. nancy pelosi and chuck schumer would have to look up to see te president's popularity rating right now to see the stats. the point being that chuck schumer is the one who can hold us up here. he knows it and is laughing all the way to the next election cycle, he thinking. but the problem is when you craft a bill in reconciliation,
and it's too bad this the american people have to get caught up in the process, but it's too narrow. you can't get the kind of provisions that will make dean heller's constituents smile. >> we have to take a break. up next, we're going to return to the war of words between the president and north korea and the contention maybe the whole "fire and fury" thing wasn't tough enough.
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>> well, i don't think they mean that, and it's the first time they've heard it like they heard it. frankly, the people that were questioning that statement, was it too tough? maybe it wasn't tough enough. they've been doing this to our country for a long time, for many years. it's about time that somebody stuck up for the people of this country and for the people of other countries. so if anything, maybe that statement wasn't tough enough, and we're backed by 100% by our military. we're backed by everybody, and we're backed by many other leaders. i notice that many senators and others today came out very much in favor of what i said. but if anything, that statement may not be tough enough. >> what would be tougher than fire and fury? >> well, you'll see. you'll see. >> back with the panel. james spider marks. general marks, from a military standpoint, what would be tougher than fire and fury? >> you can go through the list on the 3 by 5 card.
my tongue is in my cheek here. you have fire, fury, pestilence, flood and leprosy. frankly what we have is the president of the united states doubling down to ensure that north korea understands that we mean business, but i think what's most important, as we have stated many times before, that the recipients are the message are the citizens about, the government in seoul, tokyo, certainly beijing. seoul understands the incredible cost to be paid if there's any type of an engagement on the peninsula. there's no precise attack that can take place, no antiseptic kind of engagement. military engagement will have a significant cost for the people in seoul. what we have to do at this point, i think we should move forward and acknowledge that north korea has an operational nuclear capability, nukes that are embedded on the top of missiles, and that they now have an icbm capability. and so that every test that north korea makes, every missile test that north korea takes
going forward we have to assume as an intelligence guy, i'm going to have to assume that it has a nuke on the top of it. if we make that assumption, we're going to take every one of his missiles out as a result of the deployment of our thaad system, terminal high altitude defense system which is network with ships at sea as well as capabilities on the ground. and that means if he launches a missile, it becomes provocative. if it's provocative, we then go after him. and it's game over for him and there is a lot of destruction. >> to that point, what the president said earlier today, on tuesday, which is august 15th when the north koreans have said that they are going to send ballistic missiles heading towards guam that will fall short, the president has basically set this up as a challenge, saying hey, he's going to watch that and respond. it seems like somebody has to blink on tuesday. >> well, i think the president of the united states probably should have said two words.
test me. go ahead. shoot a missile, shoot four missiles. we're going to assume they're nuclear tipped. we give that to you. our intelligence assess stock market that you've got this capability. you launch one missile -- and we don't know where it's going. certainly the north koreans don't know where it's going. this is like lawn darts. i'm not trying to be flippant, but we don't have confidence in the guidance or reentry capability. but if he were to launch four missiles, whether it's in sequence or simultaneously, i think we should make the asums that it's nuclear tipped, which means we go after those missiles, we take them down in flight where they are now inert. they land in the ocean. and then we've got a real decision to make relative to north korea and his capabilities. if he's launching those and we assume they're nukes, he's done. >> can i just say, what do you mean he's done? like what happens then? >> we then attack pyongyang? >> we would have to. jeffrey, we have no option.
if we have the assumption -- >> before he's used any weapons on a population center, we attack pyongyang? >> if he's launching missiles and we make the assumption that those are nuclear tipped -- we have to marry up that assumption. we can't walk forward and say look, he's got a nuclear capability, ergo, when he uses it, we're going to kind of very, um, calmly witness where it goes and follow the pattern that we have in the past, which is simply to acknowledge that they're launching missiles. if we give them, we acknowledge that they have a nuclear capability, kim and his regime are now at the table that would require them to be signatories of the mpt. they were before. they have to walked up and if they don't, they start launching missiles, tell me why we wouldn't assume -- they were nuclear tipped? >> they have launching missiles for several years, right?
>> yeah, but we have not once until most recently come forward with an estimate that says hey, guys, they've accelerated their production. they've accelerated their scientific discoveries. they've miniaturized their nukes. and we think they have the ability to marry those two together. so we are giving to them the capability that they have a nuclear delivery capability based on icbm tests and based on our assessments. >> we don't know it can reenter the earth's atmosphere, though, correct? >> absolutely correct. we don't know if the guidance is good and that the reentry works at all. >> it does seem like, though, the president made the statement yesterday. then you had a statement from secretary tillerson. you had a statement from mattis, both of which were kind of walking back what the president said, or sort of trying to shape what the president said. obviously tillerson was focused on diplomatic efforts. and mattis made the point that it's not threats, verbal, rhetorical. >> it was self-protection. >> right. >> self-protection and the
protection of our allies. tillerson said people and americans should be able to sleep well at night. if we were to take the general at his word, anything that the north now is able to test we should assume that is a nuclear attack. my question to who you've is what is it that kim jong un is going to be telling his people at home? he doesn't want to self-annihilate either. >> he certainly does not. that's why i think this discussion about guam certainly becomes pedantic. i would say with certainty he's not going to do that. he will be the one that blinks. he will not launch any missiles simultaneously or anything that looks like a snail would be threatening to guam. that won't occur. if he did that, we would have to take those out, and then the ball is in our court in terms of what we do next. my suggestion is, as i've said, let's assume that's nuclear, let's assume that's provocative. let's assume his intention was to wipe us out. hey, man, you cannot afford to do that. the thing about a nuclear
capability, a nuclearized capability is you now have to self-modulate. you've got to moderate your behavior. before, over the seven decades, the kim regime has been getting away with literally murder and provocative actions, the pueblo, the taking down of an aircraft, the tree cutting incident in '76. routine firing on the shoulders of south korea, on the western coast of south korea, activities along the dmz as a matter of routine, infiltration of special ops forces. we always acknowledge that, yet there is no price that the north has ever paid. he now has a nuke. we can't afford to do that, man. >> we have to take a break. when we come back back, the president finally addresses russia's move expelling more than 750 u.s. personnel from the compound in moscow form what the president said about that, next. the lincoln summer invitation is on. now get our best offers of the season. on the agile mkc.
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>> i want to thank him, because we're trying to cut down on payroll. as far as i'm concerned, i'm very thankful he let go of a large number of people because now we have a smaller payroll. there is 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. >> cornell, these are 755 i believe employees at the embassy, many of them russians who have been helping the u.s. now for many years. >> it's really offensive to haves a president who has a bad case of misplaced loyalty. he seems to miss no opportunity to speak well of vladimir putin, and miss no opportunity to stand by people who support the work of the state department. that's where his loyalties should be. this is a president who fundamentally does not understand that putin is not some junior member of the budget committee. he's not an accountant. he is a very bad person who
tried to hack american democracy. we've not heard a mumbling word come out of this president's mouth with respect to what vladimir putin did to our democracy. >> for all the things he tweets about, he has said nothing about this expulsion by vladimir putin except after being asked a question about it today and then this is his response. >> it was clearly a prepared response. come on. he wanted to say that and just come out of nowhere. we're not talking about compounds. we're talking about hundreds of american civil servants who just now apparently found out they lost their jobs. i'm curious to see -- >> and a lot were russian personnel. right. hundreds were russians. hundreds were americans as well. i'm curious to see how rex tillerson reacts. what i'm hearing from the state department is people are outraged by the president's comments on this. it once again reiterates that the president cannot say anything remotely negative about vladimir putin. >> that is what is interesting. of all the times he could have said something.
>> please. >> a brief remark. i think the president was more in the spirit of shrugging it off than in praising -- i don't think he was -- >> why do you think -- >> this is one of those times we're not supposed to take him literally. >> why do you think he's never said anything negative about vladimir putin? >> i think he has indicated through certainly through his support, again, of secretary tillerson, who has not made any secret of the fact that relations with russia are at a very difficult point. >> but the president has never said anything. he said stuff about mitch mcconnell. he said stuff about jeff sessions. he's never said anything negative about vladimir putin? does that surprise you? >> he hasn't said anything negative about xi jinping of china either. i think he is in his way trying to treat russia and china as the
two other superpowers -- >> every time he has a choice between standing with an american or standing with vladimir putin, he stands with putin. whether it's the intelligence agency -- it is the state department, over and over. this is the same behavior from donald trump. he cannot say one ill word about vladimir putin. he has no problem saying it about practically everybody else. particularly the republicans. >> he gauges -- >> do you think it's possible the reason he never says anything bad about vladimir putin is vladimir putin helped him win the election? >> i think that is categorically impossible. >> really? >> yeah. >> even though 11 intelligence agencies think the russians helped him win the election? >> well, number one, i don't think any of them have asserted think helped the president win the election. number two, i believe the correct number is four of the u.s. intelligence agencies have implied that the russians have tried to hack into american
election procedural process, which is hardly surprising, and none of which means, and i know we discussed this exhaustively, but none of which means the president in any way engaged them. i think that's why he's been pretty sanguine about the whole thing. >> nan -- >> again, he has not treated the president of russia and the president of china with a reasonable amount of diplomatic tact, i would say. >> let me tell you who donald trump says good things about. we heard him today talk about how decent a man manafort is. we saw him over and over -- >> well, he worked with manafort. >> and we see him not say one bad word against vladimir putin despite what he does. you know who he's nice to? people who can hurt him. people who have information that can hurt him. >> the president is in no way deferring to president putin. >> what is he doing? >> he engages -- >> 755 american diplomats. >> he was making a humorous comment.
>> it's not humorous. >> at the expense of jobs. and what was he doing having an hour-long conversation with vladimir putin at the g20 instead of talking about north korea with other allies. >> seriously, he's not supposed to talk with vladimir putin at the g20? >> you're doing more tv now. so let me give you a tip. you do not make a joke or a comparison with a holocaust, you do not quote nazis, you do not joke about rape, and you do not joke about american diplomats getting kicked out from russia. >> you've been watching too much tv, ana. >> i'm telling you that is not a joke. he is the president of the united states. >> why you lecturing me about that? >> because you are excusing what he said about a joke about firing 755 diplomats. >> when did he talk about the holocaust? >> he joked about 755 diplomats. you are calling it humorous and thus acceptable. if it was humorous, it was a lame, bad joke, and it is unacceptable. >> ana, i think the president is fully capable of conducting foreign policy of the united
states with the enormously talented work that rex tillerson, who is his chosen secretary of state. >> which assumes that he's -- >> okay? that's what he does. >> he's coordinating his policy with his secretary of state. that's a big assumption. >> but cornel, when we're going to talk about deference to russia, the president has done nothing, no actions that he has taken -- >> he blacked classified info in the oval office to -- [ overlapping dialog ] >> nan, he did want to set up a cybersecurity coalition with russia and then walked that back. and we've got to take a break. >> in this administration, russia actually grabbed crimea from ukraine, and president obama did nothing. president obama took our missile installation, right, out of our ally, out of poland, out of czech republic. president obama did that. president trump has expressed nothing other than that he will be resolute in defending the united states.
president obama, on the other hand, through his actions was extensively -- >> as president trump spoken out about actions in crimea? nan, has president trump spoken out about russia's actions in crimea? >> he hasn't had to address that at this point. >> he hasn't had to address that. speaking of president obama, when we come back, beyond simply having policy differences with his predecessor, is president trump preoccupied with erasing every last trace of president obama? does he have an obsession with president obama? when we come back. [car tires screech] [bell rings] having mplaque psoriasise is not always easy. it's a long-distance run. and you have the determination to keep going. humira has a proven track record of being prescribed for nearly 10 years. humira works inside the body to target and help block a specific source of inflammation that contributes to symptoms.
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we touched on this a few moments ago, the president's fight with mitch mcconnell shows that he will do anything to oppose obamacare. the question only the we'll take up tonight, whether it's less the affordable care part or the obama part. he mentioned obama again in his appearance today. he tweeted out who is the better president of the united states, trump by 22 points. obviously, this one isn't from a rep puttable research firm. and though it might be a small thing the notion that the
president of the united states feels the need at just after 6:00 in the morning to get on the twitter machine and retreat a dubious item says something. because buzzfeed all believe his foreign policy comes down to opposing anything to do with his predecessor. it's his only real position. he will ask did obama approve this and if the answer is affirmative, he will we don't. he's obsessed with obama. he also paints everything that came before him as disastrous. >> at home and abroad a mess. >> it's a mess. and believe me, i and we inherited one big mess. that, i can tell you. >> well, beyond cleaning up what he says as president obama's mess, president donald trump as he used his exec or power to
erase big chunks of obama's legacy, environmental regulations, wall street regulations, the paris climate accords, the keystone pipeline and dozens of executive actions. the president has reversed obama administration policy. he's certainly entitled to. that's what he ran on. beyond pure policy you have to wonder how much is policy related and how much is personal. is any of it just payback? >> in an episode of celebrity apprentice at the statehouse, the men's cooking team did not impress the judges from omaha steaks. you didn't blame little john or meatloaf. you fired gary busey. and these are the kind of decisions that would keep me up at night. >> back now with the panel. i mean, it is interesting his -- that he's comparing himself to obama at this point in his presidency in some online poll. >> when he's not talking about hillary clinton -- he's also quite obsessed with hillary clinton, talks about her all the time.
and i think the most vivid example of this is the affordable care act, obamacare, where the president has never engaged on the merits, really. all he has said over and over again is that obamacare is a disaster and we're going to replace it with something great. that's been the extent of his involvement in the nuts and bolts of the issue. and i think it is mostly just this aggression at his predecessor that i think has driven this and that's at the heart of everything he does. >> for the last six months we've seen that president trump had been very focused on keeping his base happy. we saw it today. doubling down on korea, the base happy. doubling down on mitch mcconnell, keeping the base happy. doubling down on the transgender issue, keeping the base happy. and doubling down on obama over and over again, keeping the base happy. it's good. you asked in it was about policy or personal.
it's personal and it's about politics. >> it's not so unusual for a president to take a jab from time to time at their predecessor. we saw today bill perry former defense secretary took a jab at the bush administration when it came to north korea. even president obama said after the financial crisis -- >> the keys to the car back. they put it in the ditch. this does seem to be a bit more personal. it's not about necessarily going after the other party or an administration as a whole. it's the person. >> it's policy and it's also personal. this is a president who called into question barak obama's citizenship. he called into question his identity as an american. it is by definition personal. it is also by definition a matter of racial consequence. the ways in which he went after president obama. i believe it has a lot to do with the fact that he was the
first african-american president. it has everything to do with the fact that he actually got something done, came into office with an agenda, as opposed to a platform of political aspirations or ambitions. when you compare this president to the president that proceeded him, he looks mighty small. >> don't forget he accused him of wiretapping. >> that's right. he has accused him of all kinds of things. >> it's so hard to keep track. >> i know. >> i think fundamentally, when you compare president obama to president trump what we see here is the previous president came into office younger. but he grew in gravitas in the space. this president -- this president suffers from a kind of reverse aging syndrome in which he becomes more infantile, more adolescent, more childish as the days go on. >> benjamin button. >> that's exactly it. that is exactly it. and when he stands on the stage of history, he will not be able to stand and look eye to eye with president obama. he will have to look up, because
right now he does not stick -- he does not -- >> he's only been president for six months. it's hard to believe it's only been six months, but, you know. >> we can't keep treating this president as though he is an apprentice to the president. he was elected. and he has to own the job. he needs to be serious. he needs to conduct himself with a certain presidential deportment. every day he did he means the office by the way he speaks about his predecessor, by the way he speaks about his colleagues in a coequal branch of government and by the way he speaks about americans and particularly those who serve in the government. and in the uniform. >> got to take a break. i want to thank everybody on the panel. we'll be right back. more news ahead. i make it easy to save $600 on car insurance,
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thanks for watching 360. time to hand things over to don lemon. lemon. "cnn tonight" starts right now. -- captions by vitac -- www.vitac.com president trump answering more questions from reporters today than he has in six months. this is "cnn tonight." i'm don lemon. thanks for joining us. the president speaking for nearly half an hour today during his working vacation at his golf resort in new jersey. so here are the headlines. on the subject of his fire and fury threat to north korea, saying maybe it wasn't tough enough, and on noncommittal -- and noncommittal on the possibility of preemptive military strikes against pyongyang seeing we'll