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tv   Inside Politics  CNN  June 3, 2018 5:00am-6:00am PDT

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>> is it toasting marshmallows or roasting? >> it's toasting. >> a little research. roast means to expose to heat and cook it through. toasting is browning the outside. >> you got us. i hear in the background. >> facts first. >> thank you so much for starting your morning wh us. we are always appreciative of you and we hope you make good memories this weekend. inside politics with john king starts now. a hand delivered letter from kim jong-un. the singapore summit is on. >> getting to know you meeting. >> plus a blockbuster jobs report. will a trade war turn that boom to bust? >> you have to believe that at some point common sense will
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prevail. >> in a big mid term year this branding question. >> there is no republicans. there is a trump party. >> inside politics, the biggest stories sourced by the best reporters now. welcome to "inside polit politics". i'm john king. thank you for sharing your sunday. if mueller tries to subpoena us we are going to court. more tough talk from the president's top lawyer as we learn details from a legal memo which they say he is too busy and too important to be bothered by the special counsel's questions and exposes a lie about the president's role in helping his son deal with the russian meddling mess. the singapore summit is on. president trump cautionatize is
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onis -- cautions it is only a first step. >> i think they want to do that. i know they want to do that. they want other things along the line. they want to develop as a country. that is going to happen. i have no doubt. i think they want to do something. if it is possible so do we. >> from tough trade talk to a trade war. the white house slaps new tariffs on china, canada, mexico and brushes off worries that retaliation will hurt american workers and hurt republican election odds. >> the trade system is a fossil. it's a dinosaur. it needs to be reformed. donald trump is shaking the tree like he always does. he means it. it's funny. i think about this and i say when he says these things, believe him. please believe him. he is deadly serious and he may go down in history as the best
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trade reformer in i don't know how many years, 50 or 100 years. >> with us to share the reporting and insights katherine lucy of the associated press. we begin with new insights with special counsel robert mueller including legal arguments that test limits of executive power and one that raises questions about the competence of the president's lawyers. the insights from a 20-page memo delivered to mueller in january as part of the fight as to whether the president will voluntarily submit to questions. the legal team asserts it is impossible for the president to obstruct justice because he could if he wished terminate the inquiry. and then pressing for an interview to special counsel says the memo has endangered safety and security of the country and interfered with the
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ability to govern domestically and conduct foreign affairs and cites a 1982 law in making legal point on the obstruction question. the law was superseded by a new version passed by congress. sprinkled throughout are themes that mirror public attacks on the investigation and its key actors, in essence a warning to mueller that there will be bruising political and legal battles if he decides to test whether he can force the president to testify. what jumped out at you the most in terms of it is an aggressive legal strategy and political message as well? >> i think there are arguments in terms of they are arguing that he is the chief law enforcement officer so therefore he has the right to pardon. he has the right to limit inquiry. all of that certainly made it seem like he has all this power
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and he can essentially do whatever he wants. certainly there are new details in there. most of it is really information and stuff that we have bee hearing for the last several months from the legal team. rudy giuliani has been talking about some of this. it seems that their position hasn't really changed. the other thing is it is clear that mueller is not buying any of this because they are still negotiating a sit down and fighting over this sit down and whether or not mueller is going to enforce it. we know in march there were indications that mueller threatened to subpoena the president. >> this document was written four months ago. rudy giuliani telling nbc it is still the operative approach. it is the same approach. in the document some of it is legal and some of it is clearly we will fight you. the president's prime function ought not to be hampered by request for interview. having him testify demeans the office of the president before
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the world. okay in theory. if the president's conduct is central to the investigation as democrats are arguing, is the assertliing that i'm above the law? >> you have heard him what he said privately and publically he is concerned about the way this investigation looks on him personally. he has voiced this to foreign leaders and members of congress. the legal team is in a lot of ways reflecting what their client is saying. one reason why he wants the investigation to end because it under cuts his -- >> i wish i could testify tomorrow. i want to do it for hours. let's sit down for an interview. at times he said there is no way we want to do an interview. they have given so many public positions. the president last week tweeting
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i don't have time to worry about the russia probe. i have all of these other things. the next day three days all about the russia probe. the president believes sustained attack on theussia investigation is working. he thinks he is under cutting the public trust in mueller. he thinks it is working. you are seeing more and more of an attack because he sees in his mind going that way. >> as we see the president going into mid terms and campaigning more we will see more of this effort to undermine. we haven't resolved this issue of an interview. one last thing we heard from giuliani is we may not decide until after the summit. >> you can tell part of this in the memo and every interaction sense part of it is if we decide to say no will he subpoena us?
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a lot of these issues have not been tested. some of them -- there are nixon cases. other cases have not been tested. it's resting. i mentioned the 1982 law. that raises questions about who is doing the research on the legal team. why did somebody not catch this. they exposed a platant white hou house -- blatant white house lie. donald trump jr. was in trouble because the trump tower meeting he asked that we come meet with me we have dirt on hillary clinton. he gives the russians the meeting. the president dictated a short but accurate response on behalf of his son donald trump jr. the president is not required to answer to the office of special counsel or anyone else by his private affairs with his children. this is central to the investigation. the white house and the
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president's lawyers on at least five occasions we have been able to find said the president was involved in conversations. he might have had a bit in this but he was not central to the state. his lawyers tell the special counsel the president dictated. the white house lied. >> the white house lied clearly. this is part of why i think mueller is looking at this because we have continued to see lies when it came as to the contacts with russia. you have don jr. having contact with the russian lawyer who was there to talk about adoptions. they thought they were going to get dirt on hillary clinton. this goes to really the heart of the mueller investigations, these continued lies by people close to the president about contacts with russians. people have been charged to lying to the fbi. naturally mueller would want to look at this. now the idea that the president was publically lying and we have an admission. that goes to the entire investigation.
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>> it also goes to the entire m.o. of the trump white house when they say it is not a crime to lie to reporters. even if you are standing at the white house podium it is not a crime to lie to reporters. >> they think it hurts him. you saw rudy giuliani go on tv say the president did pay the money back to stormy daniels and for months they said otherwise. he dictated the statement. it seems to keep moving that way. one thing you hear repeatedly is he is afraid he will purges are himself. rudy giuliani said he is afraid it is a perjury trap. they fear the president will say things that are not true or will say so many things that were proven before were not true. >> they know what meticulous detail mueller has. people come out of these
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conversations stunned they he knows more about their meetings than they did. this all happens in the context of a week where trey goudy saying the fbi did nothing wrong. the president should be proud of what the fbi did in having informants. the president issues one pardon to a conservative pundit and raises the prospect of pardoning martha stewart. the president pardoning people who admitted breaking the law who are caught up in corruption investigations. a lot happened in james comey's fbi. is it fair to connect the dots? let me say this. roger stone connects the dots so we don't have to. it has to be a signal to mike
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flynn and paul manafort. is the president or is it fair to ask, is the president sending a message to central figures in the russian meddling investigation by dangling these pardons out there? >> it is hard to see how it isn't sending a message. we also know there is a lot of concern about michael cohen his personal attorney under investigation, what he knows, what he might say and the memo itself references the president's pardon power. clearly they are thinking about it. >> do we have any sense of when this issue about the president's interview will be resolved? not before the kim jong-un summit they say. the special counsel's office
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does. ta -- doesn't talk much. >> you are not getting anything. we are not getting anything out of the mueller team unless they file something core. we have thought maybe by the end of the summer that this issue would come to some sort of resolution and whether the president winds up getting subpoenaed. that is ongoing. the fact that this has been going on for so long tells you the thought probably also on the mueller side. do they really want to subpoena the president. >> giuliani kept setting deadlines for when the interview would take place. >> it lays out essentially the political and legal battle we are in. the trump trade war begins. the white house says it is shaking up a broken system. the president's fellow republicans say he is wrong and he might smother the booming economy. it was here. i couldn't catch my breath.
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you are going to judge five times we judge five times. no other person brought it up. it has been a lousy deal. we lose a lot of money with canada and lose a fortune with mexico. it's not going to happen like that anymore. >> president trump airing grievances with nafta and complaints that united states get shorter end. new protectionist tariffs are his answer. those partners say they are going to hit back and hit back hard on the u.s. economy. as the trade war plays out what should you expect? higher prices if you buy a car, airplanes, appliances, construction, aluminum cans those prices likely to go up. started with tariffs on china but then the president expanded. if you look at how this plays out those countries say they
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will retaliate. motorcycles, whiskey, orange juice. many of them states with big senate contests this fall. soybeans, pork, beef. the global trade war has retaliation. the economy is booming. the republicans are more optimistic about holding the senate. listen to senate majority leader telling the president please think again. >> look at it from a kentucky point of view. you have toyota impacted. you've got farmers impacted. i don't think anything good will come out of a trade war. and i hope we pull back from the brink here. >> majority leader. this is an economic argument.
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for mitch mcconnell he thinks wait a minute, 3.8% unemployment. we feel better about our prospects for the senate. why would you risk the economy and our mood and break so far from republican orthodoxy? >> republicans are feeling pretty good. there was a headline we ran out of words to describe how good the job numbers are. republicans are looking at the reports and seeing they can potentially keep majorities this fall but they are petrified of president trump's tariffs. they worry that they are clearly -- republicans have always said free markets and free trade will drive down prices and there is a fear that this will send prices sky rocketing for manufacturers and americans and that will hurt them in the polls. >> bob corker tweeting yesterday i'm working with like minded republican senators on ways to
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push back using authorities in ways never intended. will democrats join us? rare that the republicans grumable about the president and rarely try to do anything with legislative powers. >> it's talk right now. there are discussions happening behind the scenes, among senators. they still have to put together legislative package and get support from the leadership and get to both chambers and had to get enough votes to override a presidential veto. we are at the very early stages here. the real concern that mcconnell is voicing is that if there is a legislative confrontation this is bad politically because you want to by consistent. they don't want to be at war over a key economic issue at the middle of an election year. that is one thing that can happen if this does go forward and republicans begin pushing
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something to override one of the key economic decisions. that is one big fear for mcconnell. >> tariffs and posing these sorts of restrictions to many republicans. we see mitch mcconnell and paul ryan putting out a rare statement criticizing the president. you have democrats and labor unions who in some ways are aligned with the president here. it is something chuck schumer pushed for. it's an issue where the president is kind of out on his own and away from his party. i think there was a fear early on that he would be doing that on many issues and would continue to be a democrat on issues. this is the one issue where he stuck to position not in the republican party. >> he waited a bit and was swayed by advisers not to do this. he believes he likes disrupting things. he thinks he is president because of this because of wisconsin, michigan, pennsylvania.
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to your point to the domestic politics we ran out of words to describe how good the jobs numbers are. on the cnn website unemployment rate matches lowest point. unemployment about as low as it gets. if you are republicans you are thinking this is nice. we would like those. let's stay there. let's not have a trade war. internationally this left the president alone. people saying america first. there is a big g-7 meeting coming up. french finance minister says it has been a tense and tough g-7. i would say far more g-6 plus one than g-7. meaning g-6 and united states. listen to the canadian prime minister. he says we would like to work this out. we don't understand. >> these tariffs are an affront to the long standing security partnership between canada and the united states and in particular an affront to the thousands of canadians who have
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fought and died along side their american brothers in arms. we have to believe that at some point common sense will prevail. but we see no sign of that in this action today by the u.s. administration. >> we see no common sense for perhaps the united states' closest most friendly ally in the world. it is pretty stunning the level of the discourse here. >> not only is the president heading to the g-7. it is in canada dplm. >> he kind of likes this. this is his own party. most leaders telling donald trump he is wrong. he tends to like that. >> he is not necessarily going to have a problem with that. although some critics are saying is this the right time to do this. you are looking ahead to this north korea summit and trying to do things in the middle east.
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do you want to alien ate allies at this time. the president really feels that this comes down to promises he made to the space and he is going to keep them. >> he promised to renegotiate the deals. 15 plus months in and he hasn't renegotiated any of them. >> one of the things you hear repeatedly is he makes the bold moves like trying to pull out of nafta, moving the jerusalem, moving embassy to jerusalem. people tell him the sky is going to fall. and then he doesn't think that there are these reverberations like people promise. he says i did what i wanted and it turned out okay and you were wrong. every time i talk to folks when making one of the big decisions and you say aren't people warning him? he doesn't see it that way. >> he also rarely thinks that this is an end point.
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we try this and it doesn't work we will do something else. >> that uncertainty is what has -- you talk to people the uncertainty part how can i plan for two years from now which i have to do to keep my company afloat. you mentioned singapore. face-to-face in just nine days the united states and north korea are holding a summit. what should we expect? brighthouse financial allow you to take advantage of growth opportunities... with a level of protection in down markets. so you can be less concerned about your retirement savings. talk with your advisor about shield annuities from brighthouse financial- established by metlife. red lobster's lobster & shrimp hesummerfest is back!h. get all the lobster and shrimp you crave, together in so many new ways. there's new cedar plank seafood bake. tender maine lobster and shrimp, cedar roasted to perfection. or new caribbean lobster and shrimp. sweet pineapple salsa on grilled rock lobster, paired with jumbo coconut shrimp.
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will it be history in the making. north korea's dictator will get a face-to-face meeting with the president of the united states in just nine days from now. kim yong choil, do not confuse
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discuss with dismantle. some veteran career watchers warn the president is making concessions without getting main commitments. >> it will be a beginning. i never say it happens in one meeting. you will have a very positive result in the end, not from one meeting. we are not going to go in and sign something on june 12. the process will begin on june 12 in singapore. >> the president doesn't say much there and says so m there. here is a person we know is hyperconfident in his ability to negotiate and change people's minds. this is going to be a first getting to know you plus. we will try to make progress and fry to get on a track to negotiate disarmorment. >> this is a much different story than the white house has been telling for the last several weeks. going in the white house was saying clearly expected
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significant commitments on the front end before any summit would take place. trump at one point tweeted that they agreed to denuclearize. trump is saying this is a get to know you meeting beyond those commitments on the front end. that is probably what is going to happen. it is hard to see commitments happening before june 12. clearly they are starting to recognize perhaps at the white house that this is going to be a long, long time coming. >> it is hard to argue that getting on a more predictable, more sustainable communication path is not a bad thing. i understand that is not de-nuclearization. here is the interesting part going in. this is an expert on the subject speaking here to the "new york times." for him to say we are not increasing pressure is already a huge concession. then to say it is a process implies that he is not demanding immediate verifiable commitment. that is also a concession. has the white house lowered its
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bar heading in? >> they are certainly trying to manage expectations and also say that just doing a meeting is something that kim jong-un really wants. somethinge heard a lot in the run up to this was anxiety about how high expectations have gotten and how hard it would be for the president to get something that looks like a win. all this talk about de-nuclearization. they are trying to ratchet it back. >> i think with some success. the president wrote the letter canceling the summit. you remember the hand written letter he dictated to president of north korea and later that day he said it may happen again. the president in the beginning was very excited for the summit. he told his aides repeatedly we really want to do this and do it soon and want to do what obama and bush could not do. i think they have ratcheted down for him his rhetoric on north korea. new folks telling him these
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folks are going to try to trick you. internally you have a president who wants to do this. you have a number of aides saying you need to diahis back. you can get yourself out on a limb and it may not work out well for you. >> mitch mcconnell is in kentucky giving a speech where he is doing what you just did. he is nervous and worried that the president so wants the meeting. listen to the language. >> you fall in love with the deal and it is too important for you to get it and the details become less significant you could get snookered. i think the president is fully aware of that as he goes into it. >> i think the president is fully aware of that. you lay it out there. please don't get snookered. >> watch the talks on capitol hill. a lot of them when this came up in march and they were talking about the summit between the president and the leader of north korea.
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i remember marco rubio tweeting something along the lines of it would be harmful to sit down with north korea unless you have ironed out beforehand a promise from them to denuclearize. clearly the president is lowering expectations. they are not expecting that out of this june meeting. it will be interesting to see if talks on the hill are vocal. i heard none of them saying we should stop this meeting. they are letting the president try but warning him. >> a lot of them were happy when this was cancelled last week. they were relieved. >> another thing to watch was there was tougher rhetoric from the pentagon about the south china sea in recent days. doesn't seem connected to north korea. if there was any agreement the president will need china to have his back. keep an eye on that. up next what has become of the party of lincoln? even former speaker of the house wanders.
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>> there is no republican party. there is a trump party. it was here. i couldn't catch my breath. it was the last song of the night. it felt like my heart was skipping beats. i went to the er. they said i had afib. afib? what's afib? i knew that meant i was at a greater risk of stroke. i needed answers. once i got the facts, my doctor and i chose xarelto®. xarelto®. to help keep me protected from a stroke. once-daily xarelto®, a latest-generation blood thinner significantly lowers the risk of stroke in people with afib not caused by a heart valve problem. in a clinical study,
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over 96% of people taking xarelto® remained stroke-free. xarelto® works differently. warfarin interferes with at least 6 of your body's natural blood-clotting factors. xarelto® is selective, targeting just one critical factor. for afib patients well managed on warfarin, there is limited information on how xarelto® compares in reducing the risk of stroke. don't stop taking xarelto® without talking to your doctor, as this may increase your risk of stroke. while taking, you may bruise more easily or take longer for bleeding to stop. xarelto® can cause serious, and in rare cases, fatal bleeding. it may increase your risk of bleeding if you take certain medicines. get help right away for unexpected bleeding or unusual bruising. do not take xarelto® if you have an artificial heart valve or abnormal bleeding. before starting, tell your doctor about all planned medical or dental procedures and any kidney or liver problems. learn all you can to help protect yourself from a stroke. talk to your doctor about xarelto®.
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get the democrats the hell out of office because there is no common sense. >> some trademark tough talk from the president on immigration in tennessee just the other day. as the018 primary season takes shape a lot of republicans are following the play book. >> i have a big truck just in case i need to round up criminal illegals and take them home myself. i just said that. >> this is our country. this is our country when we don't secure our borders. >> i'll end sanctuary cities to stop illegals from taking our jobs. >> proof there in those ads this is very much president trump's republican party. here is a little proof that there is a competing view of what the gop should stand for on immigration and on other issues.
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>> they are dreamers. they were brought to this country as children. they were our classmates and neighbors. now they serve our communities as teachers and soldiers. they are americans in every way except on paper. will herd is fighting to protect the dreamers. >> it is fascinating to watch this play out. you heard speaker john boehner earlier in the program. it is a trump party. most candidates echo the president on immigration. it is interesting that immigration is playing such a prominent role when republicans were saying we will run up taxes in the economy. there is the competing view especially in places where some endangered house republicans are thinking i can't be that tough or i might lose my seat. >> this has always been a very divisive issue within the republican party, one of the biggest reasons why we haven't been able to pass a major immigration bill in congress.
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the president states his hard line on immigration and as a candidate believes it is a big reason why he was elected president. the real question is there are some concerns about from republicans that in states with heavily latino districts as well as vulnerable republicans in demstates like arizona and nevada where senate seems to flip where you take the hard line immigration and turn up to help democrats. this is an issue that cuts both ways. >> we have to remember we are still in the middle of the primary season. donald trump is your living, breathing example of go as far right and you will succeed in the primaries. the question is if the candidates win primaries. see if their message changes at all. to the broader question john boehner saying there is no republican party anymore.
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donald trump is not a mainstream republican on trade. he thinks he is right. listen to marco rubio, one of those republicans who lost in the primaries to donald trump trying to strike the balance. >> i would challenge the idea it is the trump era. the bottom line is he got elected and voters chose him to be our nominee and president. my job is to serve in the senate and work with him. >> i would challenge the idea it's the trump era. you can't challenge that idea, can you? i get marco rubio's position. you don't want to say we are just puppets now in donald trump's party. it is the trump era. marco rubio stands up to him. it is the trump era. >> this is wishful thinking on marco rubio's part. this is president trump's party. john boehner is completely right not only on tariffs and immigration. think about one of the central pillars was the national debt which tops $20 trillion.
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the deficit will reach highest levels that it has been in almost a decade because of tax overhaul and spending. the president wants to spend more on infrastructure. the rhetoric in the republican party which used to be focussed on compassionate conserveativism like paul ryan liked to talk about all the time. now we have divisive politics. he has no doubt changed this party and made it his own. >> steve bannon, listen to him talking to fareed zakaria about how he views the stakes. >> trump's second presidential race will be on november 6 this year. we will have up or down vote. do you back trump's program or do you back removing him? because that is what pelosi and
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these guys want. >> motivate the base message. >> they see this as a fight for his presidency going into the mid terms. >> they want that in the white house. a lot of advisers say let's make it about us. >> our reporters share their note books next. you won't believe how much of your money was spent on pence. ♪ (electronic dance music)♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ don't juggle your home life and work life without it. business financing to help grow your business. another way we have your back.
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my doctor and i chose xarelto®. xarelto®. to help keep me protected from a stroke. once-daily xarelto®, a latest-generation blood thinner significantly lowers the risk of stroke in people with afib not caused by a heart valve problem. in a clinical study, over 96% of people taking xarelto® remained stroke-free. xarelto® works differently. warfarin interferes with at least 6 of your body's natural blood-clotting factors. xarelto® is selective, targeting just one critical factor. for afib patients well managed on warfarin, there is limited information on how xarelto® compares in reducing the risk of stroke. don't stop taking xarelto® without talking to your doctor, as this may increase your risk of stroke. while taking, you may bruise more easily or take longer for bleeding to stop. xarelto® can cause serious, and in rare cases, fatal bleeding. it may increase your risk of bleeding if you take certain medicines. get help right away for unexpected bleeding or unusual bruising. do not take xarelto® if you have an artificial heart valve or abnormal bleeding. before starting, tell your doctor about all planned medical or dental procedures and any kidney or liver problems. learn all you can
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one more time and ask our great reporters to share a little something from their notebooks. >> so in the house all eyes are
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on thursday, june 7 when the moderate republicans have basically created the self-imposed deadline to get 218 signatures to push a bipartisan daca bill that wou s dreamers from deportation. this is something we have been talking about a lot in the news. leadership in the house. they are trying to stop this by trying to get an agreement between moderal republicans and conservative republicans that will stop this bill from going through because they know it will look terrible if a bipartisan bill supported mostly by democrats passes the gop house. without that the moderates say we will work with democrats and go around you guys. it is looking like it will happen that way. >> election year republican family feud. fun. >> a huge test for the democratic effort to retake the house comes tuesday in california in the primaries. it's part of the democratic effort looking at 23 seats
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nationally including clinton districts, one that hillary clinton won. there are seven of those seats in califora with two causing a lot of concern for democrats heading into tuesday because of the unusual rules in california that allow for the top two vote getters to get on to general election ballot. there are two seats in particular, one being vacated by congressman ed royce who is retiring as well as the republican who is still running. the concern is that the republicans will get on to the general election ballot and the democrat will not. a lot of money has been spent by democrats nationally to try to prevent what would be a significant concern losing potentially two seats on tuesday. if republicans are successful tuesday they will be in their effort to keep the house. democrats say it is not a total disaster. there are other ways to
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recapture the house. no doubt about it. >> up late tuesday night counting votes. >> i have been fixated on this scott pruitt under investigation by the house. his aides are being interviewed. there are all sorts of new revelations he is taking front row tickets from lobbiest at a basketball game, spending thousands of dollars on fountain pens. we have months and months of stories about scott pruitt. so far the president has stood resolute by his embattled secretary and saying what he is doing policy wide and rolling back some of the obama-era agenda is worth all of the ethical mistakes he has made. i think everyone in washington should be paying close attention to pruitt. >> worth keeping an eye on. >> we are looking to the summit
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between president trump and north korean leader kim jong-un this week. we know u.s. teams have been working on policy and logistics for the summit. one thing we haven't heard a lot about is human rights. north korea one of the world's most oppressive governments accused of torture. president trump said when he met with a top official that human rights didn't come up. we know his top priority is a nuclear deal. he is not the first u.s. president to focus on that. we have heard from lawmakers and human rights activists who are pushing this not be completely discarded as part of his talks. >> i suspect a nod. i will close with this. we don't know if the ailing john mccain will ever return to the united states senate. we know his seat in any event will not be on the ballot this year. once the calendar turned to june the prospect of a special election disappeared because of
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arizona law. there was another wave of speculation because state's republican governor met with mccain. the pushback was swift. the governor called any discussion of replacement premature and tasteless. she wanted to make clear to her associates she has no interest she says in the seat. that's it for "inside politics." . up next on cnn state of the union dana bash speaks with house majority leader representative kevin mccarthy. have a great sunday. it took guts to start my business. but as it grew bigger and bigger, it took a whole lot more. that's why i switched to the spark cash card from capital one. with it, i earn unlimited 2% cash back on everything i buy. everything.
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presidential power. a newly revealed letter from the president's lawyers to the special counsel asserts sweeping executive authority arguing the president cannot illegally obstruct the russia probe. >> it's a total witch hunt. >> what does it tell us about the president's legal strategy? former u.s. attorneyer will be here. identity crisis. prominent republicans say they no longer recognize the gop. >> i think the republican party has gone dormant. >> with pivotal mid term elections looming what is the party's message to

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