tv Inside Politics CNN April 2, 2018 9:00am-10:00am PDT
>> brian stelter, thank you so much. before we go, we're keeping an eye on oklahoma city. we have some pretty amazing pictures coming in. tens of thousands of teachers who are marching on the the sta state capitol. they're demanding higher wages and school funding. there are similar walkouts today in kentucky for funding and pension reform they are doing there in that state. thanks so much for joining me. "inside politics" with john king starts right now. welcome to "inside politics." i'm john king. thank you for sharing your day with us. president trump says any hope for a deal to protect the dreamers is dead. his tweets show several supportive acts, but he also shows his advisers in his thinking and his tone. also they may be planning a meeting with vladimir putin at
the white house. don't count on it, but it's a shock that we're here at home and critical analysts are in europe. and the president trump egg roll. >> all of you in the audience, i want to say thank you. this is a special year. our country is doing great. you look at the economy, you look at what's happening. nothing is ever easy but we have never had an economy like we have right now, and we're going to make it bigger and better. >> an awesome picture. back to that later. the president today says any hope of protecting the so-called dreamers is dead. and he's blaming democrats and threatening mexico. the president's tweet storm is wrong repeatedly on the facts. the bigger question, though, is why. why tweet our country as being stolen in a time of historically low unemployment? why tweet that big flows of people are all trying to take advantage of daca.
they want in on the act, and everybody knows this, no one entering the united states today is eligible for daca. and why tweet that congress must pass border legislation when he, meaning the president, just signed off on a spending bill with only modest changes? it is trump blaming congress as if he has no role in the government. and it is the dark divisive tone that many republicans on the ballot this year view as most unhelpful. kaitlan collins inside the white house, where is this coming from? >> reporter: proximity is power, and that is especially true when it comes to president trump who often makes decisions based on the last person he spoke with. we now know the president spent the weekend in palm beach mar-a-lago where he heard some on the fox payroll say they believe he is softening his stance on immigration and not doing enough to follow through
on those immigration promises he made back on the campaign trail. two of those people we know were sean hannity, the fox news host and judge perine as well. president trump was talking about a caravan of immigrants that were coming to the mexico border and then coming through the border of the united states. it's on the president's mind. he continued to tweet about it since he first started that tweet storm on easter sunday. he even brought it up at the easter egg roll at the white house when my colleague jim acosta caught up with the president, even though it's usually an apolitical event. >> reporter: mr. president, what about the daca kids? should they worry what's going to happen to them, sir? >> the democrats really let them down. they had this great opportunity. the democrats have really let them down. it's a shame, and now people are taking advantage of daca, and it's a shame. it should have never happened. >> reporter: now, the president
made several misleading claims saying people were taking advantage of daca, but then saying daca was dead. of course, those crossing the border now would not be eligible for daca, john. but it's not clear if the president is venting, if he's frustrated or if he's actually going to make any type of policy change here. >> kaitlan collins at the white house. thank you very much. here to share their insight, manu raju, michael warren. the president just signed this spending bill with the understanding for anyone in washington, this is it for this year. now he's threatening mexico to rip up the nafta deal. where is this coming from? is it just because he sits down with sean hannity and judge janine? is that enough to move the president? >> it's not quite clear where
the turmoil within the president is coming from, but i do think the daca issue is a red herring on both sides. the white house made it clear they're not going to toss out these daca programs. it's simply not a priority. so when president trump says the white house is putting these kids at risk, that's not true. they're not being kicked out of the country. and when he says, we would have had a deal, these kids would be safe if not for the democrats, again, it's something of a red herring. what is missing is a sense of permanent stability and security and maybe citizenship which was on the table at some point on the part of both the white house and democrats for these kids. but the idea they're about to get thrown out of the country because there wasn't a deal is factless. >> chuck schumer and nancy pelosi, the president said, you give me my border wall, i'll give you citizenship. then the president decided he
needed more. so there never was -- he can't blame the democrats to your point. if they walked away from that original deal, maybe he could. but there was never serious negotiation in the end, in part because house conservatives said, mr. president, don't do this to us. >> his bill, the one that got a lot of backing from the right, that only got 39 votes in the united states senate controlled by his own party. they needed 60 to overcome a filibuster. even if they were to do the nuclear option, which the president continues to call for the last several days, it would lower that 50-vote threshold still 11 votes shy of what the president wants. so as the president vents on twitter, the question is what is his end game? i don't think that's clear at all other than the fact he wants to vent, pass the blame on to democrats for not getting anything done on this issue. >> and he reflectively agrees, when he talks about legislation, it helps him. what he needs to be told is,
you're not on the ballot this year, sir. it doesn't help us. there's not as big a trump ace. >> he's looking at this and coming off a holiday weekend, a pretty slow week for the trump administration. >> only one cabinet member has been fired. >> that's right, only one cabinet member has been fired. relatively slow. talking to people at mar-a-lago, allies who say, you need to get your presidency back. we go a few months where he has these conversations. he likes to control the narrative, he likes to control the story. >> even though it is largely fact free and even if republicans believe it hurts them in november. >> yeah, but i don't know if it's so easy -- it can cut both ways. you talk about the caravan of folks coming up here, this is something that is happening. it's not sort of out of the right wing, they've done extensive research on the people coming up and about what happens
if they reach -- >> the president has every right, a, to tell the mexican government, don't let them across the border. b, to use the border patrol, the national guard if he wants, to go down there and control the border. the president has every right to do that. the question is, do you make it into a crisis? i want to put up their own message about border crossings. you see february ''1february '1 '16. >> this is an issue that he thinks plays well with his base and his supporters. and in the last six weeks he's been making changes in his cabinet, bringing in new people. we see a president that feels more emboldened than ever to put
his thoughts out there, frame them the way he wants to and do it his way. >> to that point, immigration is a default. he goes there when he thinks he needs to control the narrative. the other one is china. trade was the big issue in the campaign. other people are asking, what took you so long, mr. president? china has now retaliated. the market is down in the ballpark of 500 points. alison, why? what's happened? what's taking over the market today? >> you've seen china take the latest salvo in the tradework between the u.s. and china. they say, that's it, we're going to go ahead and sell. it's in a correction, which is a 10% drop from a recent high. the broader s&p 500, that is now in a correction. once again, that's a 10% drop from the recent high as well. the entire market is getting hit, including the tech-heavy nasdaq definitely being driven down by shares of amazon. that is also being fueled by
tweets from president trump, he's continuing to attack amazon investors. it makes them feel there could be some anti-trust issue on the way, some change, and all of this could impact amazon. so you see investors selling, because the way they see it, if there is going to be a trade war between china and the u.s., valuations of these companies will change. their products will become less competitive, consumers will have to spend more money for them, and that certainly would wind up hurting profits overall. so you're seeing a resetting of those valuations, john. >> and this monday we'll keep an eye out. to that point, the president brags about the market going down all the time. he watches the market like some people buy sports center. china is saying it's now going to limit and slap tariffs on
pork coming to the united states? >> i don't think it plays to his base, plays to his policies. in large part because in parts of rural america, this is going to hurt them pretty significantly, as we're seeing right here. whether that affects trump to pull back, that's a simple matter, but i think pressure is only going to grow in a business community. if people see the price of their goods goes up -- on this specific issue of immigration in china. she quoted this about the president. former trumpers should feel terrible to the president. maybe he'll keep his promises. if he played us for suckers, oh, you have not seen raids like you
have seen. i talked to several pollsters today who said we shouldn't pay attention to ian poulter. why is he so thin-skinned, if that's what this is? >> i don't think that's what it is. i think this is something on immigration, on trade. these are instinctual trump positions. he knows what he thinks about them, rather than a whole host of other issues. he has the need for a wall and the need to sort of protect our country, as he puts it. i don't think he's listening to many people. >> he's been in office for 14, 15 months. we're never going to see him go from a to z in a single year. all indications, i think, he's going out to california to see models of the border wall. who knows what that wall will look like in the end, but it does seem like he'll move forward on promises he made.
zpz >> a lot of people think he's at his detriment. why did he sign the spending bill if he wants his wall? he has options. he's the president. when we come back, the president on a phone call with vladimir putin floats the idea of a meeting, maybe at the white house. now the trump white house and the kremlin say, not so fast. ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪
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welcome back to a more than puzzling international story. now, the white house says nothing is locked in or even close to locked in. but it confirms president trump floated the idea of a white house meeting with russian president vladimir putin. it happened in the same call where the president congratulated putin on his reelection win despite an appeal from his national security team that he avoid using that word. remember? >> i had a call with president
putin and congratulated him on the victory, his electoral victory. the call had to do also with the fact that we will probably get together in the not too distant future. >> now, it was the kremlin that first let out word of a possible white house summit. now a spokesman for president putin said this in a text message to cnn's matthew chance. >> nothing specific yet. contacts on this issue are yet to start. if ever. the likelihood of a meeting, i think, we can put pretty low happening in the future. the question is why would the president even put it as a prospect? it's pretty likely the kremlin launched this nerve agent attack on the spy in the u.k. the russians are still trying to attack our election in 2018.
that is the mood and the atmosphere for a white house summit meeting? >> this has been the issue that continues to confound everybody in washington, basically why everybody in his team, his administration, republicans in congress, democrats in congress take a hard line against russia, express their outrage of what they've seen. between russia and the united states and the expelling of diplomats, you would think there is an issue there. he has not tweeted about it or attacked putin. nobody can figure out why the president has decided to take this soft approach to vladimir putin even though the administration is expressing themselves. >> the administration has been pretty tough. the president's rhetoric never get there, though. >> this is what the president
does, though. he sort of says things in the moment. he's having a conversation, it sounds like, sort of a perfun cto ry, friendly conversation, and he blurts out, can we have a meeting? of course, the russians will make that a bigger deal than it turns out it probably is. this is just one of those things that whatever this administration is doing, whatever his national security advisers are telling him to do, he'll say whatever pops into his mind. >> he really thinks the administration can take tough actions and he can still pursue some kind of diplomatic relationship. >> the good cop-bad cop can sometimes work. but do you go back a few years in time, or do you invite the russian president? no doubt he is a very bad actor on your stage and the world stage. i want you to listen to prime minister theresa may here. a former russian spy poisoned by a nerve agent.
all intelligence sources say this had to be up there in the kremlin for this to happen. theresa may outraged. >> it was right to offer russia the opportunity to provide an explanation. but their response has demonstrated complete disdain for the gravity of these events. the united kingdom does not stand alone in confronting russian aggression. in the last 24 hours i have spoken to president trump, chancellor merkel and president lavrov. we have agreed to respond accordingly and stand up for our efforts of the rules-based international order which russia seeks to undermine. >> that statement a couple weeks ago. jessica merkel, president macron have had equally tough words. they've had tough words and promised their own sanction difference. the strong voice left is the president of the united states. >> the public foreign policy
expert put it to me this way. the president doesn't have bad meetings or bad phone calls. he tends to agree with whoever is in front of him or on the other line of the phone with him, which is why theresa may said she had a good phone call with donald trump about the russian nerve agent attack on british soil, and vladimir putin had a good phone call with donald trump, and that's why you hear people worried about what donald trump might do in a meeting with kim jong-un. and you see the same pattern in the president's meetings on gun control and other issues that are important to republicans, and yet he says one thing to republicans when he's face to face with them. this 180-turnl when he's in the room with him. that's one thing, and the other is sort of an incomprehensible split of the rhetoric with
russia that gets more attention because of campaign issues, and the action of his administration. >> his language recently has been tough. he wings it a lot and he thinks he's right. he's the president of the united states. he won a campaign nobody said he could win, so he trusts his instincts. >> i think the force of his personality can win over the leaders of other countries and get them ultimately to do what he wants to do. i think what's unclear is what end he sees with russia. >> it also raises an interesting question, i think. today we're seeing the kremlin serve this issue up a little bit. were other things said in this call that they're going to try to push out, or are they going to create more story lines here? >> that's a good point, trump agreeing with everybody is a big risk for foreign leaders. they may not understand his style the way a lot of politicians in washington may and may interpret it as a very
specific positive identification when the president doesn't want to send anything to kim jong-un. >> you're right. oftentimes we're seeing russia leaking this tidbit that vladimir putin may be messing with the president. >> the pictures of the oval office meeting early on. yes. russia knows how to play this game. next up, the who's who converges on the beach at mar-a-lago. we'll run down the guest list of the presidents' club.
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which affords new influence to outside forces, many whom play to the president's ego and make the republican establishment more than a little nervous. gone are senior aides that made for a more stable influence. hope hicks, gary cohn, h.r. mcmaster and even rob porter. this week's cabinet had a harsher tone than we usually see in the president's tweets. among them, jeanine pirro, sean hannity, bill shine, don king, bernard kerik and mike lindell. what about the president seeming to be more chatting with these outside voices? >> i had a former white house
aide describe several months ago that it wasn't necessarily the damage inside the inner office but maybe just outside, maybe a business friend of the president's who he's sort of looking for advice from that he feels he isn't getting from the oval office. in that sense it doesn't change. the stabilizing forces, as you called them, within the white house sort of tamp down what he may be hearing from outside voices who don't always have the information that the white house does. >> i agree with what mike said. i think the difference is that at this point the president has more people he relies on outside the white house and trusts more than inside the white house because he's lost so many people inside the white house, and that makes him more unpredictable to his advisers inside the white house which has serious costs. i think you're seeing that in the firing -- the way that the firing of the veterans affair secretary david shulkin went down which came at an unexpected
time to many agents at the white house. this stuff is not entirely unprecedented because he's always leaned on people outside the white house, but it is becoming more unexpected, more unpredictable. the president is sort of becoming more himself. >> the other thing you're seeing, too, is the people he's bringing in are tending to be more people in line with his thinking, people he feels may line up more with what he wants to do, so that's maybe going to change how he thinks. >> the people day to day inside the white house feel out of touch with him and unprepared for what he's going to do. >> demoralized. >> let's show the people on the rise. a more established republican on republican policy. his first day on the job is in the milddle of what could be a rising trade war.
so larry kudlow, john bolton, peter havarro, stephen miller, and kellyanne conway who came as more of a campaign operative but who knows the president very well. >> the interesting part of this administration right now is that we're reaching a point where congress is not going to do a whole lot more until the rest of the year. they're going to be in chief campaign mode. he's at a point right now where all the decisions will be administrative decisions, things he can do on his own without congress. these voices he's relying on, what they ultimately tell him to do can be rather insignificant because he doesn't necessarily need congress to push the agenda items that he's hoping to achieve. >> the drama never stops about the internal west wing politics. ron kessler, former journalist, now an author, he's priwriting new book where he says kellyanne conway is the leaker in chief
inside the trump white house. kellyanne conway this morning on fox fired back. >> the president and i talked at length last night about a number of issues, talked about that very briefly because there were so many relevant things happening. he knows, and he has said publicly and privately who the leakers and liars have been, that those of us who actually have the privilege of working with him every single day, which i know inspires a lot of jealousy and back biting itself, survive and continue to work here. leakers get their day with the press, and abby, if i might have my say? >> whoever you believe, the president knows who the leakers and the liars are. i work in a place that inspires a lot of back biting. >> those happy hours after work must be really fun. this is a constant problem. it's never really gotten better or worse, maybe ups and downs, and it all comes ultimately from the top. the president likes to talk to
reporters. you could say he's the leaker in chief, and i think that approach just trickles on down. >> there are factions with it and that's exactly how it is with this white house. it's been one faction after another. we'll see how the staff shake-up affects those factions, but you'll still see it play out. >> the next communications director if the president feels he needs a communications director? stay tuned. senator tim scott's message as the only african-american republican on the united states senate. if you have medicare
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topping our political radar today, senator ted cruz officially launching his reelection campaign. the texas republican will make stops in beaumont, tyler and waco for the official kickoff event this evening. cr o'rourke trying to become the first democrat since 1988 to win the senate in the white house. senator jeff flake of arizona gets 33% support but still trails in a head to head matchup by 16 points. that's according to a new research poll out of new hampshire. ohio senator jogovernor who vis tomorrow ahead of jeff flake by six points.
gop senator tim scott was asked about the president's handling of racial violence in an interview with cbs. >> after charlottesville you said the president is not a racist but he is racially sensitive. >> yes. >> is that what you still believe? >> the president is not a racist, but is he racially consistent? i say yes. the powerful position of this administration is moving the country in a great position economically. we still have to work on the tone and the rhetoric. >> what to make of that? it's an election year. a lot of people said he said it before and after charlottesville, no big deal. he says the politics are good, but he's insensitive, has to work on his tone. >> he's not going to go as far as a lot of democrats would like him to go, but it is a significant thing for him to say. this is a president who has not made race relations a top tier
issue. when he does tend to talk about racial issues, he gloats about the african-american unemployment rate. he takes credit for that. he does not necessarily promote policies that would be beneficial to african-americans, and of course the big kroe controversie sr controversies. >> i think the trump phenomenon is a big part of what he's trying to say as well. >> trump over flake by 15, trump over kasich by just six. if there is anyplace where this incumbent president could get shocked, maybe not get beat, but go back to president bush, it
will stir the conversation up there. is that it or is there anything else to it? >> i think the clear message is there is room to disagree with the president in the republican party, but there is not room to make your identity anti-trumpism if you want to win a political campaign as a republican. >> that would be a hard one. in new hampshire, unique. we have to see how the democrats are running. but the independents are run in any primary. >> it's an early day at the polls. >> when you're on "inside politics," once in a while you kick around somebody and come back to it in a year or two. david shulkin said he was fired. they say no, he quit. we'll tell you why.
affairs secretary or did he resign? the answer could be a big deal because of a federal law governing how to fill important vacancies. shulkin says he was fired. >> i would not resign because i'm committed to making sure this job was seen through to the very end. >> so you were fired. >> i did not resign. >> the white house is doubling down today, insisting shulkin offered his resignation during a phone call with the white house chief of staff john kelly last wednesday. again, shulkin says that's not what happened. >> there was no reason why i would resign. >> so why didn't i just say you were fired? >> i think that's the alternate to resignation. the president said he wanted to make a change, and that's his prerogative and that's what happened. >> now, he's not the veterans affairs secretary. to many people out there, that's the issue. however, if you're a veteran and you depend on care in the va,
this is a big deal. there is a law called the sake -- vacancies act. if he was fired and did not resign, there will be a hearing. if you are fired, the deputy in place, thomas bowman, should be next in line of succession. again, sounds like a washington story, but for thousands and thousands of veterans, this department could be held up now in months of chaos. >> it absolutely contributes to the uncertainty about this process. it's not really clear how this might -- >> i realize the president has any every to his team. but can they not bring somebody on board who understands how this is supposed to work? >> you have to think this has a lot to do with the fact there's
been a lot of turnover and a lot of firings and there aren't many staff to operate a rather common practice, and there's not a lot of people who have the background that can discuss the implications of this decision. and this is partially because the president makes decisions in a vacuum in a large way, doesn't fill in the staff with some of the implications from the gut. >> is there such chaos at the white house that there is no grown-up to say, get it, but you have to handle it this way. >> i think this goes to what we were talking about previously about the president not knowing what he's going to do and when he's going to do it. what we do know is that david shulkin, the now ousted va secretary, spoke to john kelly last wednesday morning at shulkin's request and said he heard a rumor that he was going to be fired by tweet at 2:00 p.m. last wednesday afternoon.
and john kelly told him that he wasn't aware of any plan for that. now, kelly had to call shulkin again hours later and say that plans had changed. that's the phone call you heard shulkin talk about. so i don't think shulkin had the chance to submit a resignation letter before the president issued a tweet at 5:31 p.m. that afternoon. the white house had wanted the president to hold off on firing shulkin because they wanted to fire his deputy bowman who would go into that top job if he fired shulkin rather than shulkin resigning, because they've had a lot of problems with him in terms of his loyalty to the white house, his fuel to the trump agenda. people were not aware he would fire off a tweet getting rid of shulkin when he did. >> and now they're in a mess because nobody knows how long this will go on.
if the president confirmed the choice, however, people say they're deeply questioning the nominee. they have to respect that this person has some concerns. dr. jackson sides with the va nominee. >> i strongly suspect if you get rid of shulkin and you put in dr. jackson, that is what his mission will be. without exception the major veterans organizations say we have got to strengthen the va, not dismember it, not privatize it. >> there are some exceptions. the koch brothers does support the president's ability to pick here. dr. jackson is known as a
good man, he's obviously served his country. can he run this department? there is a 50-50 odds he will beat senator sanders. >> senator who can slow up the process on the floor can make some advances. there are some confirmation hearings and that will take some time, and if he does step in it during the confirmation hearings, he'll have a hard time getting the votes. but this is an election year, and there will be a number of democrats feeling they need to bill over the several hours. >> i think that helps him because the democrats can't vote down every one of these cabinet nominees that are coming up before him, no secretary of. i think with the midterms approaching, it would be very hard for democrats.
they could trade. next, democratic congresswoman facing calls for her resignation. she makes a direct appeal now to her house colleagues. afford a real babysitter instead of your brother. hey! oh, that's my robe. is it? when you switch to liberty mutual, you could save $782 on auto and home insurance. and still get great coverage for you and your family. call for a free quote today. you could save $782 when liberty stands with you. liberty mutual insurance.
because we now instantly... ...search over 200 booking sites ...to find you the lowest price... ...on the hotel you want. don't sweat your booking. tripadvisor. the latest reviews. the lowest prices. connecticut democratic congresswoman elizabeth esty says she won't step down. she says the best way to clear this up is for the house ethics committee to investigate her. although we worked with the house employment counsel to investigate and ultimately is dismiss this employee for his
outrageous behavior with a former staffer, i believe it is important for the house ethics committee to conduct its own inquiry. i have apologized for my mistakes in the handling of this matter. i feel ter i believely for the victim of abuse. in seeking this inquiry, i want to clarify whether there was any wrong doi wrongdoing on my part. what do you think? >> democrats don't want her to cost them a seat when they take back the majority this year. if she stays in the seat and decides not to run for reelection -- it would be a big surprise if she didn't. >> the leadership can clean this up in a day or two, or don't cost us a seat. we want to keep all the ones we've got. this is a dear colleague letter written today. how did i not know? how did i not see it? what i do know is this wasn't an isolated incident on capitol hill and we can and must do better on ensure a safe environment for our employees. in the coming days and weeks,
i'm interesting in working with you on specific actions we can take to foster a better congress. >> when you're calling for annea an ethics investigation into yourself, the result probably isn't great, or you're saying you'll investigate yourself, it's probably not better. >> i have no doubt her colleagues don't appreciate that. >> this may be a self-interested move on her part, but i think there are a lot of unturned stones out there in congress that i think a lot of members must be worried about and certainly concerned about, and it would be nice to know. >> interesting dates as we watch this play out. the coming deadline for candidates is april 12. interesting story in a year where every seat counts. thanks for joining us on "inside
politics" today. join me back here tomorrow. wolf starts right now.hello, i'. it's 1:00 p.m. in washington. wherever you're watching around the world, thank you for joining us. the president declares any dreamer deal is dead. claims the country is being stolen with caravans heading to the united states. the beginning of a possible trade war. china now retaliating against president trump's new tariffs, slapping billions of dollars of taxes on u.s. world