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tv   The Lead With Jake Tapper  CNN  October 23, 2018 1:00pm-2:00pm PDT

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what reason do you have to trust anything they say? do you trust the saudis to conduct any sort of incredible investigation, along with turks? and do you trust what the turks are saying about this? >> it will be interesting to hear those answers. thank you for joining us this afternoon. stay tuned. "the lead" with jake tapper starts right now. he's getting pretty comfortable with this whole nationalist thing. "the lead" starts right now. of all the things he's ever said, this could be one of the most important. president trump today not backing down from calling himself a nationalist. why that word is giving so many people anxiety today. breaking news with russia still interfering in elections and a new nuclear arms race possibly on the horizon. plans coming into place for a second putin/trump summit. you know, since that first one went out without a hitch.
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plus, throwing shade. president obama's former photographer will be here telling why he decided to devote his instagram account and a new book dedicated to trolling president trump. breaking news. president trump just speaking in the oval office, we're goabout get those comments. cnn's pamela brown is at the white house. and pamela, apparently the president had a lot to say. >> that's right. he discussed a wide variety of topics with reporters in the oval office, including his latest label of himself, calling himself a nationalist, what he meant by that in terms of trade, negotiating trade deals with mexico and canada. and expressed concern over turkey's president, erdogan, the killing of jamal khashoggi, the "washington post" reporter, was premeditated murder, which, of course, is different from what the saudis said, this is accidental. here's what else the president
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said in the oval. >> pamela, we're going to -- >> mike bolton is here. talking about various things, including the whole nuclear situation. where we're not treated well for many years. should have been done a long time ago. and i think something good could come out of that. and i very well meet with -- i think we probably will. it hasn't been set up yet, but probably will be. >> could you settle some of the confusion over your comments about what you mean when you say you're a nationalist? what does that mean? >> i love our country. and our country has taken second fiddle. if you look at the trade deals, and nobody knows it better than me. i'm knocking out some of the worst deals i've ever seen. we're giving all of our wealth, all of our money to other countries. and then they don't treat us properly. where we're protecting other rich countries, very, very rich countries. including, by the way, a country
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that happens to be very much in the news, saudi arabia. immensely wealthy. and we're taking care of their military for a fraction of the cost. not fair to us. other countries, also. immensely wealthy countries. and we have to get reimbursed for that. we should not be the world's police-keeper and not get reimbursed. and by the way, when i bring up to the heads of countries like japan, prime minister aby, a friend of mine, i bring it up, he looks at me, and he goes, i understand. they understand it. nobody has ever asked him. i said, have you ever asked? i said, have you ever been asked, like, you have to be, like, help out? nobody has ever asked. so that's a pretty unfair thing. i'll get back to you. wait, wait, wait. wait. i'm going to get back to you. >> can i ask my follow up question? >> no, not now. i'll get back to you, i said. >> lrall right.
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>> can't take the whole thing. behind you, please. >> mr. president, have you heard back personally or can you tell us what you think about the french president said today? >> what president erdogan said? >> yes, sir. >> well, he was pretty rough on saudi arabia, i would say. i haven't gotten a full recap. as you know, i have people in turkey and people in saudi arabia and other places and they're all coming back as we speak. heading back. i'll know -- i think everything in a very short period of time. it's a bad situation. but certainly president erdogan was not complimentary of what happened. go ahead. >> i was going to ask, do you believe him what he said? >> i want to see the facts first. saudi arabia has been a really great ally, one of the biggest investors, maybe the biggest investor in our country. they are doing hundreds of billions of dollars worth of
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investments, and, you know, so many jobs. so many jobs. thousands and thousands of jobs. and if you look at the other side, iran, you look at what they have done to people, vicious, horrible. and that's no excuse for what happened with saudi arabia. no excuse whatsoever. but you take a look. it's a rough part of the world. it's a nasty place. it a nasty part of the world. but if what happened happened, and if the facts check out, it's something that's very bad. at the same time, they have been a very good ally of ours. they have been helping us a lot with respect to israel. they have been funding a lot of things. i will tell you that russia and china would love to have that military order. i mean, i can say it to my democrat friends, too. i mean, they would love -- this is $110 billion worth of military. and russia would pick that up very quickly and china would
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pick it up very quickly. and france would pick it up very quickly. france makes a lot of military equipment. it's very competitive market. i did a great job when i sold them on it. that's why i went to saudi arabia first. i went to saudi arabia on the basis that they would buy hundreds of billions -- many billions of dollars worth of things. and the ultimate number is around $450 billion. 110 for military. $450 billion. i think that's over 1 million jobs. 1 million to over 1 million jobs. so we do that, we're just hurting ourselves. we're just hurting ourselves. and i know that from a certain standpoint, you could also say, well, it doesn't matter. because it is a terrible thing. but we would be really hurting ourselves. we would be hurting our companies, we would be hurting our jobs. and so we'll see what happens. but i should have a pretty good report in a couple of seconds. i should have a pretty good report very soon. yes, go ahead. >> mr. president, just to follow
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up on your comments about being a nationalist. there is a concern that you are sending coded language or a dog whistle to some americans out there that what you really mean is that our a white nationalist. >> i've never heard that. i can't imagine that. i've never heard that theory about being a nationalist. i've heard them all. but i'm somebody that loves our country. when i say a nationalist, i don't like it when germany is making 1% of gdp for nato, and we're paying 4.3%. i don't like that. that's not fair. i don't like it when, as an example, we're protecting europe. and we're paying for almost the entire cost of nato. we're paying for a very, very substantial portion, far greater than what it should be. we have great respect for those countries. but on top of that, i don't like it when they put up barriers to our farmers. where our farmers cannot sell into europe. they have trade barriers that make it -- you guys know it better than anybody.
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they have trade barriers that are as severe as china's trade barriers. which will be coming down. they want to make a deal very badly. they'll be coming down. but i am very proud of our country. we cannot continue to allow what's happened to our country to continue happening. we can't let it happen. so i'm proud. i'm proud of our country. and i am a nationalist. it's a word that hasn't been used too much. some people use it. but i'm very proud. i think it should be brought back. i'm somebody that wants to help other countries of the world, but we have to take care of our country. we cannot continue to allow ourselves to be duped on military and also duped on trade. with the european union as an example. last year on trade, we lost $151 billion. on top of that, we lost hundreds of billions of dollars on protection. so we protect and we get killed.
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we do the trading and they get killed. can't do it. i want it to be fair. so i want them to open their borders. i want them to make it fair for our farmers, our companies, our medical companies. they sell medical equipment. they just put restrictions on -- a year-and-a-half ago where the medical equipment can't get into europe. even though it's better than what they have. so they have to treat us well. all i want our country is to be treated well, to be treated with respect. for many years, other countries that are allies of ours, so-called allies. they have not treated our country fairly. so in that sense, i am absolutely a nationalist. and i'm proud of it. yes, jeff. >> you said this weekend and yesterday that you were planning a tax -- a new tax project. can you tell what you mean? >> very simple. >> how this is going to work? >> if you speak to kevin brady and a group of people, we're putting in a tax reduction of
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10%. which i think will be a net neutral, because we're doing other things, which i don't have to explain now, but it will be pretty much a net neutral. but it will be great for the middle class. it's going to be a tax reduction of 10% for the middle class. business will not enter into it. and this will be on top of the tax reduction that the middle class has already gotten. and we're putting in a resolution, probably this week. i think you folks know about it. and kevin brady has been working on it very hard. really for a couple of months. we'll put that in and we'll start the work after the -- sometime after the mid terms. >> mr. president? why the decision now to send two u.s. navy warships through the taiwan strait? >> i'll leave that decision to myself and my generals and my admirals, okay? not to you. >> are you worried about any negative reaction? >> i'm not worried about anything. i don't worry about things. >> mr. president, on the tax cut proposal, when you say you want
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a middle class tax cut is that an acknowledgment that the original gop tax cut was too heavily tilted in favor of corporations? >> no, it really wasn't. it's been great. the tax cut that we had, even if you look estate taxes and what it's done for the small farmers and small businesses, if you look at the past -- i'm talking about the one that was passed, we're very proud of it. and what it did more than anything else, it brought jobs, tremendous numbers of jobs. that's why our job numbers you hear all of the time when i speak, we have the best numbers, literally, we've ever had. african-american, unemployment, lowest ever. asian-american. hispanic-american. no matter what category you look at. women, 65 years. lowest in 65 years. a lot of that was done by regulation-cutting and a lot was done by the tax plan. and that all to the middle class. in addition, they paid less, walk away with $2,000, $1,000, $4,000, that's a lot of money. this is in addition to that. but on this one, we're not going to do any business, because we think the business is really
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very incentivized. on this one, we're doing a pure 10% tax cut for the middle class in addition to what they have already gotten in the first place. i didn't think we could get any more than we got. we got the max. and now because of the fact that the economy is doing so well, we feel we can give up some more. i couldn't have gotten that extra 10% when we originally passed the plan. we maxed out. now -- and we had to take care of jobs. jobs are very important. we gave the middle class a lot. but we couldn't have -- now, as you've obviously seen, business has done so well. we have brought in hundreds of -- many hundreds of millions of dollars from off shore, because of the tax plan. and that all went to creating -- apple is an example. i was with them. they're going to be spending $350 billion on building new %-p, from a long time ago, i've been saying it from the beginning.
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i want apple to build their plants here. they're going to spend $350 billion. they're bringing in $230 billion off shore, because of our tax plan. now, that helps everybody. that's good for everybody. but this is in addition to the very substantial tax cuts that the middle class has already gotten. so this will be a 10%. it's going to be a resolution, probably introduced this week, the end of the week or early next week. and kevin brady has been drawing it up actually for a while. we've been working on it very hard for a pretty long period of time. okay? >> mr. president? >> yes, jeff. go ahead. >> there was somebody else, sir. go ahead. >> mr. president, you said yesterday you expected a briefing from the saudis. is that still the case? >> a couple of them are heading back. gina is an example, went to turkey. >> have you hard anything? >> i've heard, but i would rather talk about it when everybody is back here. >> okay, so tomorrow you expect that? >> i think they'll be back tonight and early tomorrow. almost all of them. >> the head of your meetings in paris with president putin and
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other european leaders, have you spoken to any of them about the saudi issue? >> yes, we have. and mike pompeo has and john bolton is actually over there now. they are -- nobody likes what happened. let's put it that way. there's nobody who said, oh, gee, that's wonderful. they were all very angry about it and they're very upset about it. nobody more so than me. >> what do you think it means for the broader relationship going forward, whether or not this bill -- >> well, it's a good question. and i think what i'm going to be doing is maybe a little bit what i did with respect to the fbi investigations having to do with justice kavanaugh when they were asked for, more time by the democrats. i said, look, i'm going to leave it up to the senators that were doing the job. and i think here i'm going to leave it up very much to congress. congress has some very strong ideas, both ways. i've been told by certain senators, we want that
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investment to keep coming. at the same time, that doesn't mean that they're not going to do something. there has to be some kind of retribution. there has to be. no matter what you do. i've been told by others that they don't want investment of $450 billion. i think that's foolish. but there are some that feel that. but i'm going to leave it very much in terms of what we ultimately do, i'm going to leave it very much in conjunction with me up to congress. and that means congress, both republicans and democrats. and one independent. right? but i'm going to have -- i want to have the folks in congress come back and make recommendations to me. because i'd like that to be a bipartisan recommendation. i think we can get a bipartisan recommendation. i really do. because they feel -- i don't think they feel any differently than i do. it's terrible. it's a terrible thing. >> mr. president, why do you think something like this could have happened? do you think that there was a failure of leadership on the
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world stage? >> they had a very bad original concept. it was carried out poorly. and the coverup was one of the worst in the history of coverups. it's very simple. bad deal. should have never been thought of. somebody really messed up. and they had the worst coverup ever. and where it should have stopped is at the deal standpoint, when they thought about it. because whoever thought of that idea, i think is in big trouble. and they should be in big trouble. okay? yes. anybody else? >> mr. president, one more thing on the caravan. you had said there were middle easterners. >> yeah. >> in the caravan. can you explain that? are you saying there are terrorists? >> well, there could very well be, yeah. there could very well be. >> do you know for sure? >> i have very good information. i have very good information. and if you look at what's happened with honduras and statements made about honduras
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and even a phone call that our vice president had today, which i think you can maybe reveal. do you want to mention that, mike? is that okay? probably. >> certainly. >> go ahead, please. >> at the president's direction, i spoke to president hernandez of honduras. he told me that the caravan that is now making its way through mexico, headed for the southern border was organized by leftist organizations and financed by venezuela. and we -- as we have said -- >> and the democrats maybe? and the democrats. >> well -- >> mr. president -- >> mr. president, it sounds like a teaser. but where is the proof? >> you know what? you're going to find out. and we're going to see. maybe they made a bad mistake, too. we're going to find out about that. what else did they say, mike, about isis? did they say something? >> just that it's been organized by leftist groups. they have made their way north. once they crossed into
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guatemala, now crossed into mexico. there are some estimates north of 7,000 migrants. the group is growing. the united states of america intervenes and prevents ten terrorists or suspected terrorists from coming into our country every day. so it's -- it is inconceivable that there would not be individuals from the middle east as a part of this growing caravan. what the president is determined to do is put the safety and security of the american people first, and i know the president will be addressing this in the coming days about ways we need to close the loopholes. that human traffickers and other dangerous individuals used to entice vulnerable families to make the long and dangerous trek north. >> mr. vice president, are you saying you have evidence that there are terrorists in the caravan right now? >> what i can say to you is -- >> statistically, there has been a number -- >> yeah. >> so you're saying there are terrorists in the caravan. a lot of middle easterners who live in the united states,
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middle eastern descent, find that kind of rhetoric -- >> i'll take it -- let me just tell you something. >> isn't that true, mr. president? >> i spoke with border patrol this morning and i spoke to them last evening and i spoke to them the day before, i speak to them all of the time. and they say, and you know this as well as anybody. over the course of the year, over the course of a number of years, they have intercepted many people from the middle east. they have intercepted isis. they have intercepted all sorts of people. they have intercepted good ones and bad ones. they have intercepted wonderful people for the middle east. and they have intercepted bad ones. they have intercepted wonderful people from south america. and from other parts further south. they have intercepted a lot of different people. but among the people they have intercepted, very recently, are people from the middle east.
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okay? so you can't be surprised when you hear it. you've heard that before. it happens all of the time. and i spoke to them -- literally last night, and another one this morning. very good relationship with border patrol and i.c.e. and they say it happens all of the time from the middle east. it's not even saying bad or good. but some real bad ones. but they intercept -- >> they're in the caravan now. >> they could very well be. >> but there's no proof. >> there's no proof of anything. there's no proof of anything. but they could very well be. if you look at what that was building -- they were talking about 5 or 6,000 people. i'm pretty good at estimating crowd size as you probably have figured out. you tend to get a little bit off the real number. last night as an example, that was record-setting stuff, wasn't it, huh? they don't want to talk about that. let me just tell you. i believe that -- pretty big. that was pretty impressive. by any standard. and these are great people. and, by the way, your vote -- we
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just heard the vote. is -- and this could be good, bad or indifferent for democrats or republicans. but the amount of voting is at a level they have never seen before for the mid terms. you heard that. i mean, i don't know whether i'm supposed to say that's good or bad. but i will tell you, the amount of people voting is at a level, sara, that you've never seen at mid terms. a record level, by a lot. so i think very -- i think there's a very good chance, honestly, that you have people in there. i also think there is a very good chance that over a course of a period of time you have, or they don't necessarily have to be in that group. but certainly you have people coming up through the southern border, from the middle east and other places that are not appropriate for our country. and i'm not letting them in. they're not coming in. all right? they're not coming in. we're going to do whatever we have to. they're not coming in. okay? >> are you trying to stoke
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fear -- >> no, not at all. >> alarm? >> i'm a very nonpolitical person. and that's why i got elected president. >> [ inaudible question ]. you said, mr. vice president, that the -- do you share that assessment? >> president hernandez. when president trump asked me to call the president of honduras when this caravan was initiated, he told me it had been organized by leftist groups in honduras that were being financed in part by venezuela. and organized by human traffickers who have no record for human life. organized by dangerous gang members. they're moving people north. when i spoke to president morales in guatemala, he informed me they were already busing people in the caravan back who had been left behind. left by the side of the road. elderly, vulnerable families, simply left behind by this caravan. people need to understand, the
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people that are driving this caravan north to challenge our sovereignty, to challenge our borderse borders, are doing so without any regard for human life. and doing it to advance some political statement, or in the case of human traffickers, strictly for financial profit. and the president is absolutely determined to use all means at his disposal to organize efforts to have mexico turn this caravan around, and work with congress to close the loopholes that human traffickers use every day to entice vulnerable families to make this dangerous trip north. >> i really think, though, that what this really shows is that we have to change the laws. >> right. >> i say this having two very highly respected democrat senators behind me. but we have to do something that we all agree with. we have to change the laws. we have to make them much
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different. they're very soft, and it's a different time. truly a different time. maybe there was a time that could have been appropriate. but we have to have immigration laws now that are suitable for this time and at work. and the ones that we have now are old and they don't work. they don't work, and they don't come close to working. and we need protection. we have to have a wall. we have been building the wall. we started the wall. san diego is almost completed. that whole area of california. but we want to do it quickly. we don't want to take years to do it. but i really believe that -- and i think that -- i don't say anything -- that kind of an asset, when you look at what's happening, when you look at heart ache on both sides. it really is. heart ache on both sides. but when you look at 10,000 people -- because i don't believe there were 5,000. i believe there were much more
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than 5,000. on the bridge, when you saw it on the bridge, the group. i really think that it probably spells out to us and congress something has to be done. you can't have this happen. something has to be done. so in that way, i think maybe it's going to be a good thing. we're going to see. we're going to see. we're counting on our military. we'll have to call up our military if we need to. but we can't let this happen. we cannot allow our country to be violated like this. and it's very unfair. people are waiting in line that went through a legal system of immigration. and they have been going through it for many years. and they have worked hard. they have done everything they're supposed to do. and people just come running across the border. it's really unfair to the millions of people that are waiting in line to come legally into our country. very unfair. >> to you see any argument, mr. president, for trying to improve the conditions in those countries by not decreasing aid, but perhaps maintaining or increasing aid?
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>> i've heard that argument before, but it hasn't worked for a long time, those countries. i want to improve the conditions in our country. i want to improve the conditions here. now, part of that condition and improving the condition is we are doing so well, so many companies are coming in -- i spoke with prime minister abe very recently, and he informed me that we have five major car companies coming back here. i said, you have to do something. you have to balance it out. because it's like a one-way street. the trade imbalances are so different. as an example -- just one, japan and the united states. we have foxconn coming in. they make the phones for apple. they do a lot of work for apple. they do a lot of work for everybody. they're coming, opening up in wisconsin. but we have a lot of companies coming in. we need -- at 3.7, it's the lowest in many years. many decades. we need great people coming in. i want great people to come in. i want them to come in through the merit system.
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i looked at the people we're talking about. i really watched pretty carefully, all of the networks. i have to be honest with you. all of them. >> even cnn. >> even cnn. you did. you had some beautiful shots of some very good people. and i really think that some of those people, highwa lot of tho people, i think there's a lot of talent in that group. there's a lot of talent. we need people. because i have companies coming into the united states. they have to be able to get workers. and our great -- even conservative people that maybe three or four years ago would have felt differently about it, they now feel, we have to get people to operate these big plants and factories opening in the united states. i want them to come in. i want them to come in through a merit-based system. and i think a lot of people are going to be happy with that. i want to build our country. i don't want to go to other countries to rebuild. that's what we have done. we have tried to rebuild the world and police the world. it's now time to rebuild the
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united states and to properly police the united states. and that's what we're going to do. at the same time, we're going to help other countries all over the world. but we have to focus on our country for a change, and that's what we're going to do. okay? thank you all very much. thank you. thank you very much. >> all right. there it is. president trump taking questions in the oval office. he touched on a lot of matters, ranging from what he exactly means when he calls himself a nationalist to what he called one of the worst coverups in the history of coverups by the saudis. to the caravan and whether or not he has any evidence, any proof to back up his claim that there are, quote, unknown middle easterners in this caravan heading north in central america now. let's talk about this with our experts, and let's start with the nationalist label he gave himself yesterday. because jim acosta asked him, a lot of people think this is a dog whistle. you're calling yourself a white nationalist. president trump, when he called himself a nationalist yesterday
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at a rally, acknowledged that it was a controversial term. he said, we're not supposed to use that word. but he ultimately said he was talking about two things, trade and the fact that the u.s. spends a lot of money defending other countries and they don't chip in. >> right. and he says he's never heard the term "white nationalist" before, which is hard to believe, because it has been at the center of such discussion. >> i'm sorry, i think he clarified and said he meant he hadn't heard the conspiracy theory. that's what he meant. it was tough to hear with back and forth because the reporters weren't mic'ed. >> it is interesting in and of itself to see the president labelling himself as a nationalist. he's come close before, mentioned it. i actually believe earlier this spring at the white house but not in the declarative way he did last night. there is a reason presidents typically do not use that word because it has a negative connotation of extremism. that's why people say they're patriots. patriotism is loving your country for what it does,
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nationalism is loving your country no matter what it does. it's interesting to see the president latch on to this term. it goes back to when we see the president say something and it gets a good reaction, he sticks with it. he was at that rally last night when he was saying he was a nationalist, it was getting a lot of cheers, some usa chants from the crowd. and that's what the president does. i think if there is criticism of him using this term, he could change it. he says one thing at a rally, but then in the oval office and around world leaders or whoever and he's confronted about something, after there's been negative coverage, he'll kind of back off of it. there he didn't seem to. he seemed to be doubling down on it. and he is sticking with that label. >> he has avoided using the term, even though steve ban none, former top political adviser, used the word. he thought that it was not a good fit. he thought it was too bannon, too breitbart. and obviously historically, there has been a lot of baggage associated with that word, including nationalism and ethnic hatreds. >> yeah. i mean, you think about all the conflicts in europe and one of
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the reasons they started and began was because of an outbreak of nationalism. and i think in the context of america, i do think most people, when they hear nationalist, they think of white nationalism, right? because that is a much more popular rise and familiar term. and we know what that means. we saw what happened in charlottesville. i think it's interesting we're two weeks away from the mid terms, and one of the things you do see him doing is sort of ginning up the culture war, kind of ginning up this idea that there are these horrible brown people, you know, coming to america, possibly middle easterns, even though there's no evidence of that. this was part and parcel of his campaign, as well. the whole idea of white identity politics, stoking white fear, white grievance. so i think it's related to what we saw him doing in the campaign. and i think he's going to gin up supporters around there. and you've even heard bannon talk about this. the more liberals, the more the
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media, whatever, talk about race. they feel like they win that argument, right? if people, democrats or people in the press are talking about the president in these ways, talking about white identity, him stoking racial fears, bannon things that's a good thing. and i think he's probably right. i think if there are two sets of identity politics, one with democrats and one with republicans that are basically based on race, i think republicans probably win that, because they're more white voters. >> and if he is baiting the left and even the media into a fight, his definition of nationalist is one that is easy to defend. i support -- protecting american workers and i support the u.s. not having to pay for everybody else's defense. but the word itself has a troubled history. >> and this is the brilliance of donald trump. he goes out and he throws a controversial subject out there. the media head explodes and attack him, and say, he's a
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racist, and he's all these things, which, of course, then he just says, here's what i'm talking about. i'm talking about trade. i'm talking about things that the vast majority of americans sort of think he's doing a pretty good job with. and so he has done it again. he has got everybody out there saying, oh, we're really talking about white nationalists and this is a code word and dog whistle. and he seems reasonable in what he's saying, and here's the media again picking on donald trump, trying to make a story where there isn't a story and the president walks away and sort of takes another victory lap around the media that overreacts. >> well, i don't think we've overreacted on this show. >> i'm saying the media -- i'm not saying this show. >> i haven't called him a racist, but certainly it is significant, a moment of political significant canals for the president of the united states to call himself a nationalist. >> it is. and i go back and forth. because he is so -- he lacks education on so many issues. so i think do i give him the benefit of the doubt? does he really not know the history of the word and how it's
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been used from hitler to europe today? i mean, that's really where people go. and i find it sad that instead of just saying, wow, i would never want people to feel that way. if people misunderstood that word, what i meant was, i care about our economy and i'm going to work on trade to help the american people. but he doesn't do that. he doesn't actually ever express concern for people's misunderstanding. and so in that regard, i kind of agree with rick. it's like he just -- you know, he whipsaws people, and it does serve his base in a really destructive way. >> i think when the media goes out and tries to paint him as a white nationalist, i think there are a lot of people, not just his base, who say that's going too far. and actually, i think it helps him beyond his base. >> would you call yourself a nationalist? >> you know, for all the reasons that we're saying here, i wouldn't use the term. but i'm not offended when i hear
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the president under his definition as to what a nationalist -- >> he's talking about protectionism. >> right? >> or populism. >> it's protectionism or populism. >> well -- protectionism -- >> can i just say, he says -- >> it's national security. >> he said things at that rally last night that were just so crazy. just balls to the walls crazy about, you know, that the caravan coming is because the democrats didn't pass an immigration bill. when, in fact, the republicans have been in charge of the congress and the white house for the last two years. i mean, there are so many things he is saying and trying to blame democrats for that the fact that this is now the conversation of the day actually -- >> and kaitlan, very significantly, speaking of the caravan, the president was asked repeatedly by jim acosta, where's your proof that there are middle easterners, unknown middle easterners in the caravan, and he acknowledged there is no proof. take a listen.
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>> very good relationship with border patrol and i.c.e. and they say it happens all of the time. from the middle east. >> but -- >> not saying bad or good. but some real bad ones. but -- >> they're not in the caravan now. >> they could well be. >> but there is no proof. >> there is no proof of anything. there is no proof of anything. but there could very well be. >> no proof of anything, but there could very well be. >> after he says definitively that there are unknown middle easterners in the caravan and over the last 24 hours, he has brought out his press secretary, vice president and senior administration official to defend what that claim was, even though they have completely struggled to defend it, because they don't know what to say. we have a counterterrorism official who has told cnn, there is no proof that anyone from isis or any other terrorist group is trying to infiltrate the southern u.s. border. the president made clear he has no basis. that's not based off any intelligence or anything shared with the president. he simply said it, because he is trying to rile people up and
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energize them by talking about what this caravan is going to do and equating it with democrats, saying if you vote for democrats in the mid terms in two weeks from today, you're basically voting for people who want this caravan full of middle easterners to come into the country. >> they don't say full of middle easterners. they say there are middle easterners and, in fact, there is clear evidence -- >> that there is a middle easterner in this caravan? >> there are people interviewed -- >> not in the caravan. >> at least from what i understand, the president of honduras has said -- >> and you trust the president of honduras? >> i'm just telling you -- you can say lying or not lying. we also know from the hondurans the leftist party in honduras was part of -- at least mobilizing the initial group there. so you can say, well, it's a leftist party. >> that doesn't mean democrats of the united states. >> i understand, but it's the left. >> yeah, but it's not the truth. >> it's not the american left. >> not the american left. >> and that is a big difference. and that is the most offensive part of this. >> he's not saying it's the honor -- he's saying it's the
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democrats. >> an official this week said, oh, yes, let those hundreds of thousands of people come into our southern border. yes, that's what democrats stand for. no, that's not what democrats stand for. this has nothing to do with the mid terms. this has everything to do with -- >> they're not condemning the caravan. >> to deal with immigration policy and deal with a humanitarian crisis in latin america. that's the problem here. it has nothing to do with the mid terms. >> also, the president is saying something not true and admitting he has no proof for what he is saying. he is the president. when he says things like there are middle easterners coming into the united states in this caravan or attempting to infiltrate the border, my family, who members of them are trump supporters back in alabama believe him when he says that. there is no proof. >> and they're scared. >> they're not following on twitter and keeping up with updates to make sure he doesn't later backtrack on it as he just did right there. >> and they believe him and get scared and likely they'll vote. everyone stick around. we're going talk more. the president moments ago also taking a new stance on the murder of jamal khashoggi,
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president trump moments ago accused the saudi government of a coverup in the brutal killing of "washington post" journalist, jamal khashoggi. moments ago, secretary of state mike pompeo said the u.s. will revoke the visas for those responsible. >> we are taking appropriate actions, which include revoking visas, entering visa lookouts and other measures. we are also working with the treasury department to review the applicability of global magnitsky sanctions to those individuals. >> cnn's chief international correspondent, clarissa ward, in istanbul. clarissa, your reaction to president trump's comments. he called this the worst coverup in the history of coverups.
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>> reporter: well, i guess it's something of a reversal, jake, in the sense that he's finally conceding that there was a murder that took place, and that this coverup was hideous. but i would say the thing that was most striking about it was that it was not the murder of an innocent journalist with the "washington post," jamal khashoggi, that was the most horrifying thing or the most shocking thing or the most egregious thing. but the act of the coverup itself. i think for a lot of people who have been listening across the world and want to hear a sort of sense from the u.s. of moral imperative, of outrage, i don't think there is going to be satisfaction that they're hearing that. but i do think that there will be an understanding that there is a sort of grudging reluctant coming to understanding that this did happen, that it has been covered up, and that something needs to be done by the u.s. to deal in a meaningful and impactful way with the perpetrators, jake.
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>> that's i think an accurate assessment, clarissa. phil, the way that the president described this horrific murder of a journalist, and critic of the saudi royal family was, quote, they had a very bad original concept. it was carried out poorly and the coverup was one of the worst in the history of coverups. bad deal. should have never been thought of. it's a little bit worse than a bad deal. >> and i don't see it as a reversal by the president. the president talked about the coverups of coverups. never mentioned the crown prince's name. he thinks the coverup involved the saudis not talking to their crown prince about what they intended and then the follow-on of the secretary of state, mike pompeo. maybe sanctions against them. i put two and two together and ask a simple question. does that mean we will not hold the kingdom of saudi arabia responsible for this murder? and we'll accept an investigation led by the crown prince, who i'm guessing had some role in authorizing that?
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that's a yes or no question, jake. what i'm seeing is a broom and a rug. if we're going to sanction people who went to turkey for this operation, that suggests to me we're not going to sanction their supervisors, including the leadership of the kingdom. that's the path i see. i'm not sure, but that's what i sniff today. >> and clarissa, let me ask you, turkey's president today, erdogan, called khashoggi's death a ferocious, premeditated murder. did he say whether he believes the crown prince or the king were ultimately responsible? >> reporter: this was interesting, jake. because president erdogan definitely took a measured tone. he did not call out the crown prince directly, but he did say that whoever was responsible, however high up the food chain or however low down the food chain they were, should indeed be held responsible or be held accountable, i should say. and we haven't really heard him come forward that impactfully. what he did also say, though, by refusing to acknowledge mohamed
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bin salman, the crown prince, only talked about the king himself and i'm dealing with the king and i don't doubt the king's sincerity. he almost appeared to undermine the crown prince. it may have been, and this is speculative, but it may have been kind of opening the door a little bit for the king is the person i deal with and i don't know what the future of the crown prince is going to be. >> and phil, the turkish government is demanding that members of the saudi hit squad, who killed khashoggi, be extradited to turkey to face justice. what are the odds you think that that could happen? >> i think about zero. i mean, there's a couple of problems you've got with that. number one, the saudis have already said, they gave us last week on friday, a 30-day time frame for their own investigation. why were they answering to the turks, if we among others have said we think that's a good first step? that's what the president said on friday. if you're going to extradite him, i would like to see evidence. the turks have laid nothing on the table. the real evidence is in saudi arabia, not only the individuals, but things like
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laptops and cell phones. if you're going to bring somebody to court, i would like to see that evidence. that will never see the light of day. so i think the prospect we see a real legal process here, that's near zero, jake. >> all right. phil mudd in washington, clarissa ward in istanbul, turkey. when you thought it couldn't get worse, a new awful, twisted and racist chapter in the heated florida governor's race. stay with us. with my hepatitis c, i felt i couldn't be at my best for my family. in only 8 weeks with mavyret, i was cured and left those doubts behind. i faced reminders of my hep c every day.
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new images have emerged of the democratic candidate for georgia governor, protesting and burning the georgia flag. she was a freshman in college in 1992 when this happened. it's important to point out what she was protesting at the time was the state flag of georgia, which at the time had the confederate battle flag included in its design. in a statement from her campaign, she is standing by her actions from 25 years ago. let's talk about this. and nia, we should point out, that flag that she burned was established in 1956 and in the thick of a democratic governor at the time standing against integration efforts. so it's a flag that was meant to stand against black people. >> you sort of saw this throughout the south, right? kind of the resurrection of the confederate flag, putting them
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on the domes of the capital. to me it's not surprising you're doing this and protesting the flag. when i was a kid, i marched on the capital with my dad against the confederate flag. and it turns out that, you know, she was in some ways ahead of her time. >> are you from georgia? >> no, i'm from south carolina. so i was with my dad. i was like 10 years old because my dad was a big civil rights activist. he's dead now. but so it's not surprising she was doing that. it turns out that in 2003, the georgia legislature essentially agreed with her that they should change the flag. and i think agreed with that amendment, as well. so, yeah. i mean, i think some people say this is a bombshell in this race at this point. i don't really think it is in georgia. the people who sort of love the confederate flag probably weren't going to vote for her anyway. right? >> that's probably a safe bet. >> yeah. >> that's probably a safe bet. but, i mean, look, no candidate
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wants something that shakes things up to potentially negative negatively dropping in the last two weeks of the election. >> she was on the right hand of history. the legislature came along, the majority white legislature came along to destroy all the confederate flags in the state of georgia. and i agree with nia. i do not think this is a big issue. i think it will energize her supporters to say, you know what, we have to stand up for her. the biggest issue in georgia right now is turnout. and stacy abrams has been able to identify thousands and thousands of voters that have not been consistently voting, particularly minority voters. if this energizes her base, because she has had these principles for all these years, that's fine. i don't think it's going to lose her any votes. >> what do you think? >> i would agree, i don't think it's going to lose her a whole lot of votes. i think people just see -- they see her as someone who is very
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left. someone who would be out there as a young person, protesting. that sort of fits her m.o. but i don't think that necessarily is a good thing overall to win an election in georgia. >> let me read the campaign statement. stacy was involved with a permitted peaceful protest against the confederate emblem and flag. this conversation was sweeping across georgia as numerous organizations, prominent leaders engaged in the ultimately successful effort to change the flag. right across the -- you want to say something? okay. go ahead. >> well, i was just going to say, the flag was pretty much whenever she was protesting it, the confederate flag with the small georgia seal beside it. and like you said, in the 1950s, they literally said they were changing it as a rebuke of the growing civil rights movement. >> yeah. >> and i do -- you were saying, you know, the last minute before her campaign, no one wants a shakeup like this, but i think it was john mccain and you can correct me if i am wrong, he was asked about the confederate flag once when running for office, and he said he felt like he gave kind of a pr, stumpy answer. >> he said it was a stage issue. which is not how he felt.
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>> he didn't give a genuine -- he later said closer to his life he regretted that decision, he wished he had been more candid and didn't believe that flag should be flown. and i think this could be an issue like that for her. why should she feel badly for protesting. >> after he lost the nomination to bush in 2000, he went back to south carolina and apologized and gave his actual opinion. across the georgia border is florida. two big races there, in addition to all the house races. very competitive senate race and a very competitive gubernatorial race. andrew gillum is the mayor of tallahassee, democrat running against ron desantis. the huffington post reports a disturbing robocall against gillum put out by a group in idaho going into florida voters' homes. >> well, hello there! this is the negro andrew gillum, and i'll be asking you to make me governor of this here state of florida.
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my esteemed opponent who done call me has been doing a lot of hollering about how expensive my plans for health care can be. >> we apologize for that. but it's important to bring this stuff out so people see what's going on. the ad goes on to say that gillum will use chicken feed as medicine and jews will vote for him because they are putting black politicians in charge of white people. they released something similar back in september. pretty disgusting. >> yeah. >> really not words for something like that. the idea. and hopefully the people of florida are smarter than to fall for something like that than to believe anything like that. >> i have no doubt about that. >> i think so too. but that's just disturbing. >> it would be -- my son is african-american, lives in florida. and goes to school there. and is consistently worrying about the growing racism that this campaign has generated from
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people. >> in florida itself? because that group is in idaho. >> that there is, you -- you know, there are pockets of hate groups that have kind of done this against andrew gillum. and, you know, it would be nice if desantis would come out and, you know, disparage this and disavow it and disown it and be respectful of andrew gillum. because, you know, there are kids across america who wonder why we say that racism is not an issue that has gone away. it's because of stuff like this going on still in 2018. it's just horrifying to me. >> well, ron desantis has nothing to do with this, i'm sour sure. >> i didn't say he did. but he ought to say that he doesn't want those votes. he doesn't want people to act that way. >> from idaho. obviously, he's not getting a vote from idaho. i'm sure that if ron hasn't said anything about it, i'm sure he will. this is disgusting. and i don't even know why we're talking about it. it's just so bizarre. >> well, i mean, i think one of
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the things going on is that there has been an emergence of people who are proud of their racism. and we have seen this. >> yeah. and in this race it has come up. some people thought that ron desantis was using the phrase -- >> he said monkey it up. >> he denies he meant any racial connotation. >> we sort of know what the -- history of using that word monkey in relation to black people is. so, yeah, this is something that i think in some ways has come up in the stacy abrams race, coming up in the gillum race. it's unfortunate. and the republican party is in a different place now in terms of very overt dog whistling, certainly from the president. you did have republican party. you think about bob dole saying i don't want any racists in this party. racists should be shown the door. and the party isn't in that place at this point. in the form of donald trump. i mean -- >> i think the idea that donald trump is some sort of racist and is using -- i just think
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that's -- i think -- again, just like we saw today with nationalists, it's mischaracterizing what he's about. >> you think it's unfair. you can follow me on facebook and twitter at jake tapper. tweet the show at the lead cnn. our coverage on cnn continues right now. happening now. breaking news. embracing nationalism. president trump calls himself a nationalist. and says he's proud of it. but walks back when asked about the racist overtones of the word. is he just trying to motivate his base ahead of the mid terms? worst coverup. the president blasts saudi arabia's changing story about the killing of "washington post" columnist, jamal khashoggi. tonight, sources say mr. trump feels betrayed and is voicing his federation with the saudis. another putin summit? with tension rising between washington and moscow, russian president vladimir putin tells s.