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tv   This Week With George Stephanopoulos  ABC  March 11, 2018 8:00am-9:00am PDT

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>> announcer: "this week" with george stephanopoulos star >> announcer: "this week" with george stephanopoulos starts now. >> the president's biggest bet yet. thing. i think they want to make peace. i think it's time. i think we've shown great strength. >> agreeing to talks with north korean leader kim jong-un. >> the maximum pressure campaign has been effective. >> will these talks convince north korea to give up its nukes. can north korea be trusted. does president trump have what it takes to strike a deal? are we headed for a trade war? >> steel is back. aluminum is back. >> president trump imposing new tariffs on steel and aluminum. >> our industries have been targeted for years and years. this is not merely an economic disaster, but it's a security disaster. >> is this move an economic disaster? the president is defying our
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allies, his own top advisers and republican leaders. who say this will cost jobs. who will pay the price? plus, hush money for a porn star. another west wing resignation. mueller's russia investigation expand. it's a wild week, even by the standards of the trump era. we'll tackle it all. what's fact. what's fiction. what matters. "this week." >> narrator: from abc news it's "this week" here now chief white house correspondent jonathan karl. >> good morning. i hope you had a good week. what a week it was here in washington. what a week for president trump. i've covered the trump presidency since day one. this week like so many before featured a big resignation, controversy, infighting and chaos. there was something else. donald trump a president who likes to gamble, plays to win, this week he's been winning. >> i think we're doing a good job for you. i hope so.
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we're working hard. >> president trump riding high imposing tariffs on steel and aluminum two days after his chief economic advisor resigned, >> he may be a globalist, but i still like him. >> defying the world and at the same time keeping his word. >> i'm delivering on a promise i made during the campaign. >> some of the biggest critics -- leaders of his own party. >> you'll have a lot of collateral damage. >> despite the doom's day predictions, the markets bounced back. in an even bolder move, president trump took matters into his own hands this time on north korea agreeing to meet with kim jong-un. he alone made the decision. >> who else could do it? i mean, honestly when you think. they're not going to send missile up. >> he took it upon himself to inform the media a major announcement was coming. it's a big risk. >> it risks the president's credibility, the credibility of
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the united states and it increases the risk of conflict. >> if the meeting happens, it might be a historic break through this president craves. then there's stormy daniels the adult film actress who said she was paid $130,000 just before the election to stay quiet about her relationship with donald trump. >> the president has addressed these directly and made clear that none of these allegations are true. >> for any other president a scandal like this could be devastating. for trump it seems another chance to prove nothing is embarrassing or shocking enough to bring him down. as far as the west wing is concerned, the president is right on track. >> what words would you describe the president's mood right now? >> the president's in a great mood. he's been in a great mood because we've had a successful year and we're very focussed on making sure we have seven more.
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>> any gambler knows big bets could lead to great losses. the tariffs he championed could trigger a trade war that tanks the economy. if the north korea gambit fails we could be on the brink of war. those scandal may eventually catch up with him. let's bring on raj shah. raj, welcome to "this week". >> thanks for having me on. >> north korea, can you tell us anything more about when or where this meeting is going to happen? >> let me step back and when it comes to north korea it's important to understand how we got here. this president took office a little over a year ago. inherited a policy that wasn't working for the previous eight years. he adopted a policy of maximum pressure on north korea. over the last year we've seen a lot of success. we've seen china dramatically reduce trade with north korea. we've seen the united nations impose tough sanctions. it's been increasingly isolated
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diplomatically and economically. with dozens of countries chipping in. in this context kim jong-un spoke with the south koreans and made this overture. they're going to cease missile testing and nuclear testing and they've agreed to not object publicly to the upcoming america south korea joint exercises. >> where is this meeting going to happen and when? >> it's going to be a time and place to be decided. we don't have announcement right now. we have accepted the offer. we hope it's part of an important break through. >> could it be here in the united states? would president trump be open to having kim jong-un at the white house? >> i have no announcement. time and place to be determined. >> but he wouldn't rule that out? >> no. nothing is bed -- being ruled out. >> would the president be open to going to north korea? >> i don't think that that's highly likely. again, i won't rule anything out. >> do we have any indications that kim jong-un is now open to denuclearization?
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this has been a point of pride obviously for north korea. any indication that he's actually changed his view on this? >> he stated his commitment to denuclearization to south korea. >> do you believe him? do you think he can be trusted on that? >> we think kim jong-un is the only partner that can make that decision. he's the only voice. he stated a commitment to denuclearization to south korea. they relayed that to us. we're open to this invitation. >> when this announcement was made, the white house said the president accepted the offer. >> that's right. >> then on friday sarah sanders said there are concrete actions north korea has to take before. are there preconditions? >> they have to meet the promises they relayed to the south koreans which is ceases missile testing and nuclear testing. >> are there concrete actions?
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>> this meeting, this potential meeting has been agreed to. there are no additional conditions being stipulated. they cannot engage in missile testing or nuclear testing and can't publicly object to the u.s./south korea planned military exercises. >> any chance this doesn't happen? >> there's the possibility. if it does, it's north korea's fault and that haven't lived up to the obligations they made. >> the only thing that could stop this is if they resume their testing. >> if they reject to the promises they made to the south koreans, obviously we would poe potentially not. >> the president warned secretary of state rex tillerson via twitter in october quote that he was wasting his time talking to little rocketman. he said why would it work now? let me ask you that question. why would it work now? what changed? >> the president has not adopted some of the failed policies
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we've seen over the last couple decides which is negotiations an concessions out of the gate from the united states. our policy is pressure. pressure from our allies around the world, pressure through the united nations and pressure through china. these have impacted kim jong-un's behavior and his conduct. we're hoping this pressure campaign which is not going to relent in the couple month is changing kim jong-un's behavior. >> the president told his own secretary of state it was a waste of time to talk to little rocketman. >> kim jong-un made this offer, made this invitation. we accepted. we hope there can be a break through. a peaceful resolution is going to involve some negotiation. we hope this is the path towards that. >> the president in his state of the union address spoke very passionately about human rights violations. there are three americans imprisoned in north korea. is he going to insist they're
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released? >> again, i'm not going to place any conditions on any upcoming talks. >> is it going to be brought up or is it just nuclears? >> it's an important issue. our policy is pressure. >> let's turn to tariffs. this was condemned by most economists, republicans and most of our allies. jeff flake, senator, republican senator from arizona, said these flexible tariffs are a marriage of two lethal poisons, to economic growth, protection and uncertainty. trade wars are not won. they are only lost. isn't senator flake right about that? >> no he's not. this president ran on trade policies that promote the interest of american workers. they promote the interest of american workers. he's doing just that. he ran with 16 other candidates and then defeated hillary clinton with a platform that
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nobody else embraced on the issue of trade. the united states has some of the lowest tariff barriers in the world. we want our exports to have access to foreign markets just as foreign markets have access to the united states. on the issue of steel and aluminum, that's critical to national security. we've seen the number of factories decrease not just since the '70s and '80s but in the last five years. to have these industries be able to supporter defense, this is important not just to our economy but also national security. >> most of his own national security team opposed these tariffs. if you look at the economic impact, we have one study by the trade partnership that said it will save an estimated 30,000 jobs, but will cost 180,000,000 jobs in other industry. >> this is critical to national
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security. as you said, this is the president keeping a promise. his agenda -- >> did the president's national security adviser approve of this, h.r. mcmasters? >> i'm not going to get into specifics. it's consistent with what the president said not just during the campaign, but for decades he's been talking about how foreign manufacturers have ripped off the american worker. and access to foreign markets is exactly what he wants an what he'll be getting. >> it's been a month since the parkland shooting. the white house -- we understand you guys are going to be announcing something today. what can you tell us? >> we're going to be laying out more specifics, a series of proposals. >> like what? >> some will be legislative, some anyone -- administrative
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and some will be a task force to study this issue. it's going to be consistent with what the president talked about which is -- >> let's get into the specifics. i was in the room when he was negotiating with congressional leaders. he made it clear he was in favor of raising the age to 21 for assault weapons. he also made it very clear he supported universal background checks. are these part of the plan? >> improving the background system -- >> he didn't say improving. he said universal. >> improving background checks as well as other measures to make sure the flow of information that goes into the background check system from local and state courts is more updated. real time information is made available. >> universal? >> again, improving the check system that we have. >> that's different than what he said. what about raising the age? he made it very clear on that.
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>> the president has been clear he does support raising the age to 21. >> as federal policies? >> there's going to be recommendations to states and a task force. that will be a component raising the age, as well as mental health. and as i mentioned background checks. >> "the wall street journal" reporting $50 million to have schools with security. is that right? >> there's a provision about hardening schools. >> $50 million? >> again, i don't want to get ahead of the specifics. there's a component around getting volunteered -- individuals who are trained professionals into school. who can help. >> let's get to another contact. the russia investigation. the president has told me twice now, once last year, once this year, that he will meet and talk to the special counsel, answer questions under oath. i assume the president plans to keep his word on that? >> look, he's also said that will be in consultation with his attorneys. they've been in touch with the
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special counsel. they'll be communicating back and forth. >> he said 100% yes to me. is there any -- >> i'm sure he intends to. his attorneys are communicating with the special counsel on the specifics. >> it was reported this week that president trump asked white house counsel don mcgahn to deny the president asked him to fire special counsel mueller. i've got two questions. did the president ask mcgahn to fire mueller and did he subsequently ask him to deny that he asked him? >> we're cooperating with the special counsel. the president has been clear and consistent. there was no collusion, no obstruction. there's not going to be any finding of wrong doing. the white house is cooperating with the special counsel's office. >> i'm not asking you about the special counsel. i'm asking you about the president's actions. did the president ask his white house counsel to fire mueller? >> this is a matter that's been
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asked about. with the special counsel. >> you can't tell me if that's not true? >> what i'm saying is matters with the special counsel are being dealt with with the special counsel. we're not litigating that in the press. >> i want to play something for you that attorney general jeff sessions said. >> do you think it was a mistake to recuse yourself from the russian investigation? >> no, i don't. there is a specific regulation that says if you participate in a campaign it is -- it explicitly says you can't investigate the campaign of which you were a part. pretty reasonable right? >> he's right. >> let's step back for a second. this investigation was about collusion with the russian
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government between the trump campaign and the russian government. there's been zero evidence that we've seen of collusion between the russian government and the trump campaign. the president who would be aware of any types of efforts has been clear and understands there is no collusion. as he has said, this investigation is everything from a hoax to a witch hunt. it's not going to find any evidence of collusion. >> are there any circumstances back to a variation of an earlier question that the president would fire robert mueller? if mueller began to look into the stormy daniels' pay off, is that a red line? would the president fire him? >> i'm not here to declare a red line. there's no intention to fire robert mueller. we've been fully cooperative. we respect their process. we're hoping it comes to a conclusion in the near future. >> when i asked you about stormy daniels, this is what you said to me in the white house briefing room? >> is the president aware his
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lawyer paid that kind of money to a porn star? to buy her silence? does he approve of that? >> i haven't asked him about it. that matter has been asked and answered. >> not since he acknowledged this last week. this is the first time we've had a chance to ask about it. can we find out if the president -- >> i haven't asked him about that. >> will you? >> i haven't asked him about it. >> will you? >> i'll get back to you. >> you have a chance to get back to me. did the president approve the payment that his personal lawyer made to stormy daniels? >> not that i'm aware of. michael cohen, the attorney in question addressed this. the white house addressed it. >> sarah addressed it. i have nothing to add. >> did the president reimburse michael cohen for making that payment? >> not to my knowledge. >> have you asked the president that question? >> i haven't asked the president that question. >> does the president believe stormy daniels has the right to
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speak on this issue or is he demanding that she remain silent? >> it's a private legal matter to which the president's attorney has spoken about. there's some orders in court regarding that matter. i have refer you to michael cohen about the specifics regarding that. i have nothing further to add. >> we're almost out of time. quick lightening round. there are questions we're told answers will come. >> in terms of specifics beyond that i would have to check and get back. >> i could get specifics. >> i can back to you. >> i would have to get back to you. >> quick ones. >> sure. >> one of the questions that came up did president trump talk to his friend carl icon before imposing the tariffs on steel and aluminum? mr. icon sold $30 million worth
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of steel and aluminum stock. do you have an answer today? >> not that i'm aware of. any investor could have looked at what the president's been saying for not just months, but years agent this issue to understand where he was at. >> on february 27th has the president had a meeting with his national security council to discuss options to deal with russia's cyber attacks? has that meeting happened? >> there was a principals committee meeting between senior officials in law enforce pt and national security agencies to discuss this issue specifically. >> does the president believe that someone who is on the no fly list should also be -- because of suspected terrorist activity should not be able to buy a gun? this was a position he expressed during the campaign. he was asked about it again. sarah was sad again. does he still hold that view, no fly, no buy? >> i don't know if he supports that specific provisions. individuals on that list are not
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given due process rights to be able to get there. >> one last one. steve bannon, sarah was asked when was the last time the president spoke to steve bannon? >> i'm not aware of any phone calls they've had recently. i think in the last several mont months. >> raj shah your debut on "this week," thanks for joining us. >> thanks for having me. >> at his rally in pennsylvania last night president trump claimed a big victory on north korea saying he's already done what previous presidents could not do. >> they announced that north korea, kim jong-un, would like to meet with president trump. this doesn't happen. they're saying, well, obama could have done that. trust me he couldn't have done that. he wouldn't have done that. he would not have done that. neither would bush, neither would clinton. they had their shot and all they did is nothing. >> let's bring in ben rhodes. he was president obama's deputy national security adviser.
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thank you for joining us. susan rice was quite candid about the fact that north korea policy has been a failure. it was a failure under president obama. obviously we saw how north korea has progressed. was president trump right to try to change the calculus by agreeing to this meeting? >> we should all root for the success of diplomacy with north korea. i think it is right to pursue the diplomatic track. given the costs of a war could be hundreds of thousands killed in minutes. i think the questions that we have are about whether he's equipped to succeed in that diplomacy. he's declaring victory and nothing has happened yet. we have to see how they approach this. >> you've been studying this issue for a lot of years. you were intimately involved in it with the obama white house. if president trump were to call you -- >> i don't think that's going to happen. >> if he were to call you, what would your advice be going into this meeting with kim jong-un?
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>> this is not a real estate deal or reality show. when you're in a negotiation as complex as the north korea nuclear program and situation that's this volatile, you need diplomats. you need diplomats. don't hollow out the state department. they have no ambassador to seoul. get the professionals in the room to put together a strategy. you need to value science. another thing this administration has not valued. when we did the iran negotiations, we had a physicist in the negotiations. if you're dealing with the complexity of how to put con strands on a nuclear issue, you need experts. there needs to be a team of diplomats of scientists and sanction experts. it can't be a mano a mano show. >> it sounds like he can't get
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aum -- all this in place if it's going to happen in may. >> better to get it right. >> would you say delay this until he has a team? >> get a team together. know what you're trying to accomplish. denuclearization is the objective. the notion that north korea will agree to give up their weapons all their missile capabilities in one meeting, i don't think anybody that looks at this thinks that's the case. better to take the time to get it right. i welcome diplomacy. it has to be done right. if not and you put all your chips in one meeting and it falls, the risk of conflict goes up. >> was there ever an offer that came in from north korea either from kim jong-un or from his father who was there during the first obama term to meet with president obama? >> no. there were offers -- the chinese tried to reinitiate diplomatic policies. congress trar -- contrary to how
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our policy is shown, we pursued a pressure track on north korea for eight years. there had been nine u.n. we had tightened the pressure for all eight years. there never was a time when the diplomatic path emerged. a couple things are different, jon. you have a different leadership in south korea. you have a left of center president in south korea. we have conservative presidents. it's the south korean president who has taken the initiative. >> who brokered this? >> yes. i think they wanted to consolidate their nuclear capability and their missile capability. they have to feel like they're coming into this from some position of strength. >> is that why you think kim jong-un made this offer? >> yes. i think he believes he wants to have the legitimacy put upon him by a meeting with the president of the united states. that is a very powerful thing.
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>> if he offered disarmament, can it be trusted? he made it under two different presidents. >> absolutely not. it was the republicans who said trust, but verify. the united states is committed to disarmament under the mpt. whether that's a hollow group of words, that's not success. are there inspections, is there monitoring that they're getting rid of their missile capabilities. this is a very complicated business. words on a paper is not what an agreement looks like. look at the iran agreement it mandates very strict inspections over the life of that agreement and some are permanent. to ensure iran cannot achieve nuclear weapons capability. we need to see the same type of approach to north korea if we can be assured we're not just taking kim jong-un's word for it. >> you spent more time with president trump than -- >> obama.
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>> president obama, during his eight years in the white house. have you talked to him since this? has he reached out to you? >> what's his take on this move? >> contrary to how we were treated in office, we want a diplomatic track with north korea to succeed. that's in everybody's interest here. the nation should be rooting for diplomacy to work. that's president obama's view. we have a lot of concerns with how they handled the state department and science, how they've been erratic on this issue with north korea. how their secretary of state seemed to be cut out of the process and how frankly japan, one of our closest allies in the world, seemed to be surprised by it. these are my views. i haven't seen them -- devaluing
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diplomacy and sound decision making. these are the things you need to make diplomacy succeed. >> president obama is rooting for president trump to succeed in this effort? >> yes. i think all americans should be. there's nothing more complex than nuclear negotiations. there's no place in the world more volatile than the korean january peninsula. you cannot approach this like a reality show. you have to bring in the experts. you invest in the same type of capabilities in our government. >> ben rhodes, thank you for joining us. >> coming up, the fire storm over stormy daniels, the mueller probe, the cohen resignation. we'll talk with governor chris christie and our power house round table next. >> narrator: "this week" with george stephanopoulos brought to you by pacific life protecting generations of families for over 150 years. that's the power of pacific. what are the ingredients of a life well lived? is it the places you go? the things you own?
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let's bring in the power house round table former new jersey governor chris christie, donna brazil, jonathan swann and abc news correspondent mary bruce. governor christie, i recall republicans screamed bloody murder when obama shook hands with castro. if president obama had agreed to meet one on one with kim jong-un without concessions, republican heads would have been exploding. >> remember republican heads
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also exploded when i shook hands with president obama. there's a lot of that reaction too. >> that's true. >> i think the president is doing what i think he's being forced to do given the failure of policy over the last number of years. it's smart to have the sitdown. i don't think we have a choice. we've allowed three administrations, clinton, bush and obama, to pursue a policy where they didn't engage with north korea. assuring us they would not allow them. we heard all those presidents say they would not allow a nuclear north korea. we now have one. >> would you have jumped on this offer? >> this is the president's style. i love when people are surprised. we're shocked the president decided to jump on something. this is the guy i've known for 16 years. this is the guy who started running for president in 2015. he's acting exactly the same way. he's consistent with his personality, jon. people can be disturbed by it, or unnerved by it if they want,
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but this is who donald trump is. this is the way the presidency will be run. >> governor, once again, president trump is betting on himself. he's not prepared jonathan. that's the problem. there's no one at the state department to brief him. we have no ambassador to south korea. the national security adviser who focuses on this issue has been on paternity leave. the president is betting on himself. will he be prepared? will the president understand what's at stake? these are technical issues. the sanctions, the nuclear nonproliferation. will he be prepared? we don't know. >> donna, you have to admit the previous white house and the one before that had some of the most well prepared brilliant foreign policy minds and it was failure. >> we've had three generations of kims. we're now on kim jong-un. >> there were three >> there's a lot. >> there's a lot of kims here. we've had three generations of kims to try to sit down with the
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american president to get legitimacy. again, i go back to this notion. the president is betting on himself. will he be prepared? that's it. >> the legitimacy has been earned unfortunately by the fact that he's a nuclear power. we can't have a debate about -- >> and he's got those missile. mary, i've been stunned. any reaction on capitol hill? >> most republicans are still in a state of shock. they've yet to respond. look at who has and who has not commented. we've not heard a peep from paul ryan, mitch mcconnell. the strongest republican response has come from lindsey graham who issued a pretty stern warning to kim. he's warning kim don't play donald trump which implies the president can be played. >> that was interesting. >> his message pretty blunt. if you play the president, we end you. then on the other side you have democrats supporting this but urging the president to proceed with caution.
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>> the haphazard way it came down, jonathan. tell us what was going on. >> he was in the room. south koreas were there. they told him the news. he said, great, let's do it. everybody is sitting there looking like -- he sends them out to give the announcement. it's classic trump because he gives himself the buffer. he sat there and watched it on tv. if the whole thing bombed, he still hadn't issued the statement. he was preserving himself. >> initially they said it was going to happen in the briefing room. >> he sent out the south korean. >> you've never seen anything like it. >> the president told me the south koreans were going to make a big announcement. you should be there. my first thought was do i have to go to seoul? they were preparing to do it in the briefing room. then a hasty move outside. >> this is what his staff has
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come to accept and recognize. the other thing, the tariff announcement. this was an hour by hour proposition. i promise you i covered the thing. >> the tariffs were on and off and on and off. >> at 10:00 p.m. on wednesday night his senior staff was convinced because the president of the united states told him the thing wasn't happening on thursday, he wakes up in the morning and calls general kelly and said he wants it today. i give up. it's like jello. you put your hands in and it falls through. >> let me tell you about the president's style knowing him. >> this was a little whackier than normal. >> no. it's a consistent. >> i agree. >> there comes a moment when he's made up his mind and staff wants to continue to make arguments. he doesn't want to hear it. he doesn't like the confrontation with staff. remember how he announced the fbi director. there was a lot of argument inside about who the new fbi director should be. all of a sudden one morning he
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tweets out, not from the white house press office, not from behind the podium, but a tweet saying i name christopher wray the new director of the fbi. when the president decides he makes up his mind -- on the tariffs no one should be surprised. go back to his oprah winfrey interview. that was in the late 1980s. >> he's talked about that. >> this is one of those things where -- a lot of people talk about jello and that he moves. not on this. for 30 years he's been saying he's in favor of tariffs. i don't know why anybody is so surprised. >> the way in which he governs it's like he's govern on the fly. at first he said he was going to impose this big tariff on these countries. then later we learned he excluded mexico and canada. >> and maybe korea. >> the governor is right, he said this for 30 years.
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what i'm talking about is the minute by minute execution. >> is the president acting as his own communication director? his own chief diplomat, his own chief of staff. it works for the president. it clearly has. it doesn't necessarily work for capitol hill. it's not just all of us. capitol hill was completely caught off guard. i was talking to republicans within minutes of when they said the president was going to sign this, they were saying they didn't know if she was going to do this. paul ryan was still trying to persuade the president not to do it. >> republicans sent a letter to the president warning him not to do this because of the unintended consequence. we all support u.s. workers and the u.s. steel industry, the way the president went about this again, leads you thinking what is the longer strategy? back in 1989 the trade deficit
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with china was $6 billion a year, now it's $7 billion a week. i mean the president needs to focus on fair trade policies. the way in which he came about this was chaos. >> the surprise on capitol hill shouldn't be surprising. this is a guy that ran a family business without a board of directors. he never had to consult anybody before. now he's a 71-year-old president who has been making decisions like this and been successful all throughout his life. i don't see him changing his decision making process. for the time he's president capitol hill is going to have to figure out they deal with the decision making process. i know donald trump he's not changing. >> right now they're dealing with it coming out very publicly against his decisions. >> that's the way to do it. >> donna, can i ask you about stormy daniels? >> why me? this is a proz prosecutor. >> what do you make of this? it looks like a $130,000 paid to
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her. is this a legitimate concern? >> it should be. $130,000 paid to someone to quote unquote shut up from his personal lawyer. he didn't report it. was it a campaign finance issue? look, there's so many -- i have to tell you, stormy daniels don't have to say anything. she speaks loudly without saying anything. we're living in a different era with donald trump. i don't know what else to say about it. i turn the balance of my time to the prosecutor. >> is there a legal issue here? >> there could be. >> there could be a legal issue? >> you've got to get to the bottom of the facts. you've got to get to the bottom of the facts. was michael cohen reimbursed? if he was, from whom? did he pay for himself? if he paid himself, what are the campaign implications? there's all kinds of issues that will be looked at. >> it's a bigger issue if he wasn't reimbursed. that means it was a campaign
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contribution. >> if he was reimbursed, who reimbursed? did the president reimburse him or did someone else. there's a whole bunch of different issues wearing the prosecut prosecutor's hat that this could have. in the end donna is right. we're living in an entirely different world. if something like this happened 10 years ago, 20 years ago to a president, the whole way it's handled would be done differently. it's not now. i think there are legal issues to be examined. i'm sure they will be examined. we don't know. we don't know enough of the facts. the facts have kind of been moveable as michael cohen described them. >> we've got to take a quick break. when we come back high stakes in pennsylvania. a win by democrats in tuesday's election could be an indicator of a blue wave coming. that could cost the president dearly in november. our in-depth look at the changing political map next. >> narrator: "this week" with george stephanopoulos is brought
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>> do me a favor. get out on tuesday and vote for rick saccone and we can leave right now. >> that's president trump rallying for the republican candidate in the 18th district. the special election is tuesday. it's part of the 18 for 18 series. it's drawn national attention as an early indicator as to whether democrats can retake the house in november. that goal may have gotten a big boost after the pennsylvania supreme court drew new boundaries for the state's congressional district. to help us break it all down let's bring in abc national news chief national correspondent tom llam llamas. tom, what's the deal with the new districts? >> jon, good morning. as you mentioned this happened because of court challenges to pennsylvania's current correct
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me if i'm wrong -- congressional map. republicans here one 13 of the 18 seats in congress in 2016. even though the state is split pretty equal it is a battle ground state. they want to focus around philadelphia and pittsburgh. look at some of the wild shapes there. if we zoom in outside philadelphia, you can see the convoluted shapes of some of the republican districts. some say this is one of the most gerrymandered districts in all of the u.s. look at the new districts here. the court said these districts are more compact and provide more equal representation. as it turns out, the new map could cause these districts to flip from republican to democrat in november. the clearest way to see that is in 2016 who voted for trump and clinton in the current districts. both are held by republicans in congress right now. in 2016 you can see they went to hillary clinton by very narrow margins. look at the new map for november.
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carves out more reliably democrat districts. in those same areas in 2016, dri clinton would have taken one area by 9 points and another by 28 points. let's go north of philadelphia. this district went to trump by 8 points in 2016. the new map for november, chaop the district in half creating an area that would have gone to clinton. that's a new opportunity for democrats there. >> lines are certainly straighter. the election in pennsylvania could be a bell weather. how do those lines play there? >> let's go west for that. look at the area around pittsburgh, the 18th district down here in the corner has been reliably republican. connor lamb has a chance. to steal the win over the
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republican rick saccone. that's why national republicans have been pouring millions of dollars into the race and why president trump campaigned there last night. look how the area changes with the new map. it turns out this fall neither candidate running on tuesday will actually be living in the new district formed down here. the democrat connor lamb lives here. win or lose on tuesday he would have a better chance in november. that would be another potential seat pick up for democrats. >> the bottom line, these changes significantly improve the democrats win back the house? >> yeah, jon. this is all good news for democrats. they need to pick up 24 seats across the country to take back control of the house. we showed you four seats in pennsylvania alone that that democrats have a chance of flipping. those boundaries can have an impact. the republicans are still
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challenging that map in court. check back with me in november. >> four seats could make a difference. thank you, tom. let's bring back the round table. donna, who's going to win in pennsylvania? >> it's a tough district. connor lamb has been running a terrific campaign keeping the issues local. it's still a republican district. i do believe that mr. lamb can succeed. >> governor, a top republican in the house privately warned the president the democrats are within striking distance of taking back the house and if that happens, he will be impeached. >> i think the tone and tenor of the democrats in the house tells you if they were to take control of the house that would be their top priority. i think that would be a death nail for 2020 for them. >> is that going to happen? >> i think it's too early to tell, jon. every incumbent president except
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for george w. bush lost seats. you saw the job reports and wages going up. if those things continue to happen, they can yap all they want about stormy daniels. in the end people vote on pocket book issues. >> if saccone loses, he'll have a negative reactions. there's a point where you send him out and the candidates lose. there's a recognition within the white house and capitol hill that saccone is a terrible candidate. he hasn't raised any money. i'm sure you saw trump last night he was very gentle in his praise for saccone. >> we're out of time. mary, we'll be talking to you more about that. thanks everyone. we'll be right back with a closing thought.
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>> i hope you give me credit. that's what donald trump told me when i ran into him in the west wing just about an hour before he agreed to meet with kim jong-un. i hope you give me credit. i have covered american crisis and diplomacy with north korea under three presidents. presidents bush and obama had some of the most knowledgeable foreign policy heads and both failed utterly on north korea. now donald trump turned the usual diplomatic practice upside down. he's violated the big rules of diplomacy. you don't meet with a mortal enemy like kim jong-un. if you do, you get something in return first. you don't send the president of the united states. you sent lower level e-mail sars first. you don't take big risks. you don't taunt him. you don't call him little rocketman. maybe this president is
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naive. maybe he's being reckless. as one of the highly experienced experts put it, we could end up worst than we are today. we are in a bad place already. we are at a point where the choices seem to be acceptance that north korea has the where with all to nuke an american city or war. or a big risky unpredictable gambit. does donald trump deserve credit? it's way too early to tell. maybe, just maybe the experts are wrong again. that's all for us today. thanks for sharing part of your sunday with us. check out "world news tonight" and have a great day.
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