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tv   Smerconish  CNN  July 20, 2019 6:00am-7:00am PDT

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i'm michael smerconish in philadelphia. all this talk of immigration has me appreciating my own roots. you know, so often social media divides, but this week, facebook was a unifier, at least when i posted two pictures of some of my own ancestors. meet my paternal great grandparents and their children. they came from calabria, italy. my grandmother was the flammer
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girl on the right. she would become milliwalker. and my maternal grandfather worked in the coal mines of west virginia. sent for his wife and infant daughter. my aunt bess is 93 and alive in western pennsylvania. i posted these and said now show me your family pictures. i really wasn't trying to make a political point though there were so many to be made. and i was overwhelmed with fabulous family photographs and remarkable stories. here's a small sampling. posting here are my grandparents and great grandparents in new delhi, so my grand father could study civil engineering at the university of delaware. they immigrated with just two suitcases. he was born here, his parents came from mexico to work in the fields of california.
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hard work and passion for the country and their devotion to raising a family has created generations of happy and successful americans, passionate about the country in which we live. i'm grateful for their sacrifices. lawrence wrote, meet the original hale family. my great, great grandfather la mond monday ma lemond was born the slave master's name. due to my slavery and my ancestors being slaves, this is where my family tree stops. finally, these are carol ann's great grandparents with some of their family and children. known agency ths the 21. this photo was in national geographic in june of 1919. i wish i had time to tell you more of all of the stories that
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have been posted on my facebook page. please keep doing that. almost all are grainy. they're black and white photographs depicting formally dressed unsmiling immigrants, willing to risk it all for a better life for themselves and their children. arguably, nowhere else in the planet has enabled so many dreams to be realized.let's not lose sight of that. now, following the president's rationally charged attacks on the so-called squad, but before the send her back rally, a poll shows the approval increasing. to 72%. a front page analysis by nate cohen in today's "the new york times" notes that the president's views on immigration and trade play relatively well in the northern battleground. including among the pivotal obama-trump voters. you're saying isn't this costing him with independently minded
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folks? more importantly swing voters, surely, they're not going to like his stance. well, not so fast, richard towel of engage us has been doing focused groups across the country with swing voters. and he joins me now. rich, you were originally in michigan. let's make it clear these were folks for obama and then trump. or romney and then hillary. what are they thinking about immigration? >> well, it might sound counterintuitive, but it turns out that president trump benefits politically by having all of these migrants mass ted border. 6 of the 12 people in my focus group told me that immigration is the number one issue going into 2020. and the thing for them, they want to build a wall. they want to send people back to where they came from. they think that giving people food and shelter only encourages more people to come here. and from their perspective the only thing that stands between
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them and the migrants coming to their community is president trump. he's protecting them in. >> the point to be made then, therefore, it's not just among republicans that this is a very important issue. it's also among swing voters. i want to run a piece of tape from michigan and then have you explain more about it, roll it. >> what should we be doing about all of those people coming to the borders? >> send them home. send them home. we can only have so many people come in the country at once. otherwise -- don't call it the united states. we'll call it united states of foreign affairs, how's that? >> is something something unique among the swing voters that you've interacted with across the country thus far? >> they're not unique at all. and i don't want to sound flip about this, michael. this was not the local chapter of the lazarus fan club here. these are people who seriously think that americans aren't first.
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these are people given benefits from the country at their own expense and they resent it. >> i have a hard time wrapping my head around someone who voted for barack obama and then dronad trump. speak about those voters. >> they basically date somebody for eight years, get tired of them and dump them and go on to the next person. that's what they've done with bush and then trump. the question for the next election, will they take dump trump or take him for eight. more are in the trump camp than the obama camp. >> and there's a position to be taken with the sent them back meaning people who come into the country illegally or amassed at the border. versus send her back, when he's
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a citizen, to boot, and a member of the u.s. congress. does that matter in this conversation? >> it matters tremendously from a moral perspective i would argue. i have not focused grouped on those comments because i haven't been in the field since those comments were made. but when i go back into the field in august, in suburban minneapolis, i'm certainly going to be asking about it. >> then comes this analysis phone the front page of the "times" today, richard which you've read by nate cohen where he says the president's issues play relatively well in the battlegrounds including among the pivotal trump voters. he makes a point there's an argument for the president losing the popular vote by maybe 5 million votes in 2020 and still having an electoral college victory, because i think of the type of issues you are discerning and uncovering in your focus groups. >> yes, the fact of the matter is, that people like the president stylistically. they like what he's seeing.
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they like what he's arguing for. it's not that they don't also like other styles. they like obama's style but they as like trump's style. the fact. matter, there are people who drink both coke and pepsi. they like two different ways of leading. right now, the people i've been meeting with for the most part, not entirely, but for the most part, are happy with what the president is say be, how he's leading and how he's leading specifically on this immigration issue. >> this is why the survey question at has a true splash fals true/false. but up on the screen, kathryn, the question at the perception is he has had one hell of a week, meaning terrible. this week, politically speaks was a disaster for president trump. that view is that true or false? >> i say it's false.
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among the swing voters in the upper midwest this is a great week because the president reinforced what he's doing to protect them. >> richard, thank you so much. come back after your next focus group. >> i'd be honored to do it. >> what are your thoughts? tweet me at my facebook page. this came in on facebook. my parents were immigrants but came here legally. this country needs immigrants. . it is who we are. i'm sorry, i do not believe in illegal immigration and we have forgotten the homeless and hungry who we as a country are doing so little about. amen, take a look at what's going on relative to the homeless issue. make sure you're voting on the survey question. go to my website and cast a ballot. was it a disastrous week for the president, politically speaking. happy ahead, moon landing
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theoriest conspirists. saying that alan beam swear on a bible that he walked on the moon. >> i got my hand on a bible. i went to the moon, walked on the moon. all of the other people that nasa says walked on the moon don't go to the moon and walk on the moon take yourself and get the [ bleep ] out. with amazing amenities like movie theaters, exercise rooms and swimming pools, public cafes, bars and bistros even pet care services. and there's never been an easier way to get great advice. a place for mom is a free service that pairs you with a local advisor to help you sort through your options and find a perfect place. a place for mom. you know your family we know senior living. together we'll make the right choice. sir, you're a broker.
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today is the 50th anniversary of the apollo 11 lunar landing. but for the people who live in an alternate fantasy land that being about 5% to 6% of the public who believe the moon landing was fake well today is just another day. given today's historic anniversary, i thought maybe it would be interesting to explore the thought process of somebody who just thinks it's a hoax. and there's one individual whose name keeps coming up when you look into this subject. but then i found some video. i saw this ugly encounter, that i think he, he shall remain nameless at least on my fram that initiated with the
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astronaut buzz aldrin that ends like this. >> you're the one who said you walked on the moon when you didn't. calling the kettle black if ever -- >> will you get away from me. you're a coward and liar and thief. >> coward, liar, he didn't fully get out the word "thief" but that's where it was headed. no charges were filed against aldrin. with me an assistant professor at texas tech university who entered the rally in north carolina in 2017. dr. landron, whether the earth is flat, whether o.j. didn't really do it or whether we landed on the moon. what i want to say to these folks who don't buy it, is wait a minute, do you know how many people would have been involved
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and able to keep a secret. why doesn't that resonate with people who buy into these shots? >> for a couple reasons. many conspiratorists this is true. but only one or two people in charge of the conspiracy know everything. as you go further and further down, then people just know what other people have told them. two, some of the people who are conspiracy theorists, really wouldn't put it past authorities and ours who have power to hold these secrets. and there's actually research that shows people who hold as conspiracy theorists also engage in conspiracies themselves. >> do they actually poke holes
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in it? >> that belief isn't as important as the belief as the official or public facing story is not true. you'll see a lot of disagreement about each of the individual theories. they're okay with that. they're okay with being wrong about their specific theories but they're not okay with their views of being involved. >> who are they politically, ideologically? i mean, do they shift to the left? do they shift to the right? do they come from all different backgrounds? is there something you can tell me about what unifies them? >> so, in our research, we talked to about 30 people at the first international conference and about that many at the second one. they seem to be politically diverse, very economically diverse. one thing that we found with regards to political views even though some would describe themselves as more conservative.
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some would describe themselves as more liberal, that none really participate in the political process or vote, in part because they don't think it matters, that everything is rigged anyway. >> right, the whole thing is fixed so why waste my time. dr. landrum, thank you for being here. >> thank you. let's see what you're saying on smerconish and facebook pages. this comes from twitter, i think. smerconish, i'm a skeptical as the next person to many things but i just can't accept the moon hoax none nens. do you know how hard it is to keep an industrial-level secret? yeah, i'm surprised how many people would have had to have been involved? the same thing about the o.j. conspiracy. let's just see, furman gets a call in the middle of the night and he's told about the double murder and he says, oh, is this
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my chance to get o.j., let me call lang, blah, blah, blah, doesn't make any sense. but her response is they believe in compartmentalization, so not everybody is in on it. the man in the high castle, he's the one that knows everything, i guess. up ahead, evangelical voters have stuck with president trump thick and thin. but could the president's tweet telling democratic congresswomen to go back change the order. they've stuck with him to this minute. >> three corinthians, 317, that's the whole ball game. where the spirit -- right, where the spirit of the lord is, there is liberty. wow! that's ensure max protein, with high protein and 1 gram sugar.
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what explains the unwavering support of vths for president trump? and could the president's why don't they go back tweet and rally this week be the last straw? joining me now to discuss is peter wenter, he's a life long christian and evangelical and never-trumper. he's a contributing editor for the atlantic where he wrote the deepening crisis for evangelical christianity. also the author of this book "the death of politics how to heal after trump." peter, i thought it was the most cogent, most tight explanation of this love affair. what's the thesis? >> thanks for having me. the thesis is that donald trump has tapped into something deep
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among evangelicals. the bottom like is that he will fight for them. not that he himself is of christian faith. not even he himself is a manifestation of christian virtues, but they feel like they are involved in an existential struggle against a malicious enemy that they consider to be the left. and trump will try and vanquish that enemy. and do it in means that they themselves might be uncomfortable with dealing bip there's a ruthlessness of donald trump and dehumanization of him that they feel like is necessary to defeat a foe that they think will destroy most of what they know and love. >> the now president famously employed roy cohen as his attack dog, as his lawyer when a manhattan-based developer. as i read your piece, i was thinking it's as if the evangelical community has similarly hired a ringer, hired
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a fighter for them, regardless whether he's one of them? >> yeah, that's a good analogy. they feel like he'll bring a gun to a cultural knife fight, donald trump, he hates the same people that they hate. in doing that it's done in all sort of alleyways. i think it's tremendously discrediting to the christian faith. i think it's shown to a watching world a tremendous. of hypocrisy, after character counts and leadership is central to what will a lot of evangelicals argued when bill clinton was president. and now that it's trump, they decided to push it aside which means the reality is a means to an end, not an end, something to be used as a political weapon. and when that happens and people look at it and see and say, oh, i get it, this is all a game, then that could have a correspond rosive effect on the
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trust that people have for christians. i am a christian, as you said, my faith is more important than my politics. they're both important. but to see what's happening to the witness of christ and christianity in all of this, it's a painful thing to see. i argue in my book, i think a lot of these white evangelical leaders are doing more to hurt christianity than the so-called aiming wrists ever could. >> the perception to the evangelicals that you're connected to. and i'll put on the screen, many evangelical christians are also filled with grievances and resentment because they feel like they've been mocked, scorned and dishonored by the elite culture over the years. you add some of those feels are understandable and warranted, so you buy into some of that. but that's the perception they have that causes them to want to hire a guy who's going to bring a knife to a culture fight. >> yeah, i think that's right. there's no question in my mind
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that there has been a lot of patronizing and condenation for people over the years. it's gotten worse and worse. so that feeling of being the object of contempt is not unfair. but what i think has happened, though, it's began to pervade their spirit. and it's driven a lot of their responses. you know, one of the most frequent injunctions in the bieb from god is fear not, be not afraid. and there's a lot of fear, i think, in the christian world now. and that fear is transmuted to anger. and there is, as i said earlier, a sense that this is an existential battle. people i know use that term. they feel like all they know and love is under attack. and would be lost if a democrat would become president or if the congress lost or if the courts lost.
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i don't think that's true at all. but that's what they see it as. if that's what your mind-set is, you'll make a lot of deals with the devil to defeat satan. >> okay. i have a quick final question, in light of everything you've told us, the tweets, the chants, is that going to shake this alliance? >> no, at all. it's actually going to solidify it. because that's exactly what they essentially hired donald trump to do. they share his views. they like in many cases his style. and they will support him to the hilt. i don't know there's virtually anything he can do to this point to sever relationship. if you look at the trajectory of the evangelical with trump since he came on the gnash stage, what you'll see is, originally, there was -- they sided with him and became behind him but it was qualified support. but every passing week, with every passing month, that qualification has gotten less
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and less. now many of them are his most enthusiastic supporters. i want to say one more thing quickly, i understand evangelical christians they wanted to vote for bill clinton, donald trump and hillary clinton. i get that. what i think is so discrediting, they won't speak truth to power. that they won't confront him. they will never say you've crossed the line morally and ethically. indeed, they are his door and his shield. when that happens i think it's a disgrace. >> it's a great essay that you wrote for "the atlantic" and your book. thank you, peter wehner. appreciate it. please make sure you're answering the survey question at smerconi this week, politically speaking, was a disaster for president trump. true or false? still to come, richard clarke says the 2016 election
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was our cyber-pearl harbor. hear whether he thinks we're ready for 2020. i'll admit it. i threw caution to the wind and used that russian-owned face changing app this week. how much of my privacy did this cost me? take prilosec otc and take control of heartburn.
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last saturday, there was a power outage in new york city that left 72,000 customers without electricity for five hours. while no definitive cause is yet to be determined, terror has been ruled out.
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nevertheless, the situation was a reminder of one possible outcome of a cyberwar. the subject of a timely new book from richard clark and robert congnocchi called the fifth domain. congnocchi sebbed in the obama white house as director of cyberpolicy at the national security council. clarke worked in government for 30 years including as white house counterterrorism coordinator under presidents bill clinton and george bush. he was the first one brought in for cyberpolicy. i sat down with both men at the free library earlier. "the fifth domain" coincidentally, i was reading the book last saturday when power went out in new york city. it wasn't terror, but you speak of that risk. explain. >> we know that the russians have carried out attacks against the grid in ukraine, outside of
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kiev and other major cities. we know they have the capability to take down the power grid here because the director of national intelligence has told us so. so, do we know what the cause of this incident? no. could it have been the russians? absolutely, they have that capability. >> they could take us down, i think you said, in the book, without firing a shot? >> that's right, the chinese can do the same with the national gas line. and that is necessary for the power grid. because so many power require natural gas. as robert said, the key infrastructure has been penetrated by the russians and the chinese. >> where does the title of the book come from "the fifth domain." >> so there are officially four demands of work, land, air, sea and space and the pentagon has named cyberspace as the fifth domain. >> you say in the book that the
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2016 election was our cyber-pearl harbor. are we ready for 2020? >> no, we're not. and the reason we're not, we have 4,000 counties that all run election machinery. we have 50 states that all run their own election machinery. there are no federal security standards for federal election. and the states and the counties say, well, we didn't detect any attack. well, maybe that's because they don't have any detection equipment. they don't have modern sophisticated detention equipment because they don't have the money. when you don't have detention equipment, you can't detect when you're attacked. you can't detect when someone gets in and alters the voting rules, or does other things. the house has passed a bill to give money to those counties and states so they'll be able to defend themselves in 2020. and the senate, well, the senate refuses to take it up, because mitch mcconnell wouldn't let it come to the floor. >> something i was alarmed to learn in the book -- many
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things, but something in particular, is that there are a handful of manufacturers for voting equipment. and they refuse to share their software with our government so we can discern whether there are bugs in the security. >>ful we get software for a new plane from boeing or lockheed, the pentagon says give us the code so we can go through it and make sure there's no backdoor. with democracy, when we have voting machines with software, we are happy, apparently, to take no for an answer when the manufacturers say, no, you can't see the source code. >> which country possesses the greatest cyber security threat to the united states. >> really, it's a geopolitical question. right now, the question is with iran. because of the heightened content with iran, it's far more likely that iran will use their capability against us than the next state. >> you say the next war will be
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initiated by cyber attack. how will that work? >> well, the israelis, for example, last month, decided they had enough with hamas attacks them from cyberspace through gaza. they through f-16s and dropped bombs on hamas cyberbuilding. it's a u.s. policy if our country is hit by a major cyber attack, they won't define that, but if the u.s. is hit by a major cyber attack by a nation state, the pentagon's public policy is we reserve the right to go to war, with conventional means, bombs and missiles. >> i was surprised that you think there's a shared responsibility between the private sector and the government for protection against cyber security. but the responsibility is more weighted toward the private sector. why should the private sector be producing that service? >> it's really one of those situations where there's no other option. there's no way that the government could sit on the public internet, could sit on the network of a major bank and
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protect it from foreign adversaries. that's not something that our government is capable of doing. our government is barely capable of defending its own networks, let alone the networks of a large bank. they don't understand how they work. they don't understand the technology. and they can't make the kind of decisions that the banks can make about how they're going to protect their network. >> okay. and finally, what about me? what am i supposed to be doing to protect myself against all of these potential intrusions. after all, i'm the sucker who fell for that apparently russian app that said how would you like to take a look at how you'll look when you're an old man, so i did it this week. but what should all of us be doing to protect ourselves. >> and you look so good. >> frankly, i thought it was all right. >> what we should be doing is using different passwords for every application. having long complex passwords. you ask me how do i remember all of that? get a password manager app. one app to rule them all.
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it will generate a different password for every time you need one. a long complex password. you only have to remember one after that. >> one two three four five six -- or qwerty, it's time to damage those, is that what you're saying? >> and stop using that for every application because if i hack one, i've got all. >> i thought your book was harrowing but insightful. thank you for discussing it. >> thank you. let's check in on tweets and facebook comments. from twitter, smerconish, for you who should know better and still use that nasty russia app shows that you do support trump, putin and the russians, shame on you. lemant lewis, seriously -- by the way, i like me. what is that me at 85, i'll take that deal. for the tweet, can we put the tweet back on the screen? let me just understand the ill logic of what you say, i am in
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the tank for trump and putin because i was willing to sacrifice my privacy to the russians? that makes absolutely no sense. and truth be today, my tremendous radio producer t.c., she used it on her phone. she took the picture. she's the one who i think might have the problem. just saying. >> still to come. one talent many members of congress seem to lack. how to effectively ask a question from an unwilling witness. with robert mueller testifying next week. it's an imperative skill to have. and last shot, go vote on today's survey question it's a true/falser this week, politically speaking, was a disaster for president trump. is that true or false? is that net carbs or total?...
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robert mueller is due to testify next week. and to quote the title of one of my favorite tv shows i say curb your enthusiasm. to those who have high expectations that will will be stunners delivered at this late date, i just don't see if for a variety of reasons.
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first and foremost, he doesn't want to be there. ands who already told us he will limit his testimony to the four corners of his report. the second consideration is the format. it stinks. it's nat a search for the truth. it's been set up to be an opportunity for individuals to get a good campaign sound bite. something they can put in a commercial. either grilling mueller if you're on one side of the equation. or sucking up to him if you're on the other. it's so disjointed. i have taken hundreds if not a few thousand depositions. and the ready of handing off the ball to somebody else who now gets their five minutes, by the way, interrupted by somebody from the other political side, it just makes no sense. think of the hearings for justice kavanaugh and christine blasey ford. and many members of congress, they just don't know how to ask a question. asking a good tight question that elicits information is
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really a trial lawyer's skill. joining me now is shane specter he is a trial lawyer of the klein and specter law firm of which i'm a member. and at berkeley and penn law, he's taught a course titled how to ask a question. here's my question, how should these committee members be preparing for the hearings? >> well, mike, the first thing is, the members should know the facts. if you're going to ask about the report, you've got to know the report. second, understand the limitations of the hearing. you've got only five minutes to ask questions. that's not enough time to really develop a line of questions and answers. third, consider mueller himself. he is not going to go beyond the four corners of the report if you ask about the report. he is not going to say anything political. so, what i think the members should do is to consider working closely with each other.
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members should be willing to give up their time to other members so that a very good questioner can have 10, 15, 20 minutes to develop a line of questions and a line of answers. and they should divide the topics sequentially so that there's one topic discussed at a time. so there's a rhythm and a flow, so people can understand what it is mueller is saying and what the questions are and how they're leading to important subjects. >> and then how do they actually formulate the questions, once you've determined what the subject matter is? >> okay. well, first of all, they need to ask very brief questions. using old words, not new words. and short words, not long words. and words that are understandable by everyone. and the questions should be focused on a subject that can be answered very briefly. hopefully, with a yes or no answer. or with a very brief answer. and then beyond that, no
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question should use legal jargon or any sort of phraseology that folks aren't going to understand. or is going to be ambiguous. and beyond that, don't ask questions that vary us in the details of the report. instead, the questions ought to be focused on important issues of policy. important issues on the formation of law or important subject of high-public interest. and remember that the audience is the american public. it's not a law school class. and it's not your friend's backup. >> okay. i'm ready. you ready for my question? i think it would be this, mr. mueller, tell us when and why you determined that fairness dictates you can't say a president broke the law? how am i doing? critique that. and then give me a question of your own. >> that is an excellent question, mike. that gets to one of the central issues in this entire matter, which is why is it that
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mr. mueller did not tell us whether he thought that the president broke the law. and your question is narrowly focused. your words are good. they're short words. they're not ambiguous. it's a great question. i hope the question is asked. and if the question is not answered when it's asked, it ought to be asked again. politely, but it ought to be asked again. that is one of the two central issues in this matter which is why didn't mr. mueller say what he thought about the president breaking the law, yes or no. and what is his opinion in that regard. that is a legal policy going forward and important for the country to confront. relatedly, he should be asked if he could have indicted the president, he would have done so. again, it is a narrow and brief question all with words that we all commonly understand, and
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finally he should be asked whether there is anything that attorney general barr has said about his work with which he disagrees and if so, what is that? >> why don't you do the questioning? ly feed you what i am thinking and you can pose the questions and i think that we will glean more information than we will get this week. thank you for being here. i appreciate it. >> thank you, mike. still to come, your best and worst facebook comments and tweets. have you voted yes? it is a true/false. this week, politically speaking was a disaster for president trump. is that true? my digestive system used to make me feel sluggish
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so, how did you respond to the survey question. it was a true/false. this week politically speaking because disaster for president trump. whoa. survey says 16,719 votes cast say it was false. but what we have seen is that the perception of what transpired is that he is done because of this, and then comes the nate combs analysis of "the new york times" makes sense that richard tao who is running all of the noted consultant groups is out there, and so it is not just boosting the republicans.
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sorry, i got long winded. kathryn, what is in the gop? they are pelosi's problems, and let her deal with it. it is one thing that he identifies pelosi and the members of the squad and i'm not sure of the net effect of that. one more that i think that i have time for. it was a great week for him and the people that he peddles to feel like they are gaining. and casey, it is whether strong turnout is to him or the benefit of the democratic candidates remains to be seen, because are they going to be concentrated in areas that he already was going to win? don't know. we will see you next week. it's racquetball time. (thumps) ugh! carl, does your firm offer a satisfaction guarantee? like schwab does. guarantee?
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hdo you like stranger things? tsure you do. that's why netflix is on us. and here's another reason to join. bring in your discount, and we'll match it. that's right. t-mobile will match your discount. well, good morning. so glad to see you on this saturday. it is july 20th. i'm christi paul. >> i'm victor blackwell and you are in the cnn newsroom. >> of course, we want to begin with what is sadly the latest death of the blistering heat wave that is affecting so much of the u.s. this morning. this death in arizona. an ac technician appears to have died from excessive heat while he was working in an attic. >> this is obviously dangerous and uncomfortable for a lot of people. 150 million people across 30 states are under heat alerts with the temperatures feeling like they are above 110 degrees in some cities. consider