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tv   This Week With George Stephanopoulos  ABC  August 12, 2018 8:00am-8:59am PDT

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>> announcer: "this week" with george stephanopoulos starts right now. america divided, one year t. last year the president's response to that deadly and hateful rally made headlines for all the wrong reasons. today, president trump is calling on americans to, quote, come together as a nation. and explosive allegations -- >> he wants to start a race war. he's succeeding. >> omarosa calling her former boss a racist. >> low life, she's a low life. >> the white house says she is a disgruntled former employee, but is there any merit to omarosa's claims. we'll ask trump adviser kellyanne conway and elijah cummings, the former chairman of the congressional black caucus. plus just months before the mid-terms, a wakeup call for republicans in ohio.
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>> we are in a tied ball game. >> and potenal020 candidat test the waters in iow >> wn th go low, iay we hit harder. >> could a publicly-driven lawyer for a porn star be a serious presidential candidate? michael avenatti thinks he can. we'll talk to him here live fresh off his trip to iowa. what's fact, what's fiction, and what matters this week. >> announcer: from abc news, it's "this week." here now, chief white house correspondent jonathan karl. good morning. thank you for joining us this sunday. the president is spending the d the last full day of his working vacation. president trump's time away from washington has been relatively quiet, a marked change from this time last year when he was forced to address the deadly violence in charlottesville.
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the president's response to that hate-fueled riot triggered massive blowback. it also shined a harsh spotlight on the president's own attitude toward race, and it prompted a conversation still playing out about who we are as a nation. >> we condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides, on many sides. >> that was president trump's initial response to last year's deadly charlottesville rally, failing to specifically condemn neo nazis and white supremacists, arguably the low point of his presidency. three days later, this attempt at damagcontrol. >> you had some very bad people in that group, but you also had people that were very fine people, on both sides. >> making an already bad situation worse. but fast forward to this weekend, another rally, and so
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far a very different response. the riots in charlottesville a year ago resulted in senseless death and division, the president tweeted yesterday. we must come together as a nation. i condemn all types of racism and acts of violence. peace to all americans. but as the president preaches peace, a former staffer is calling him out. >> i heard the president of the united states use not only the "n" word but other horrible things during the production of "the apprentice." >> omarosa manigault-newman, the former "apprentice" villain turned white house adviser describing trump as a, quote, racist, misogynist and bigot in racist, misogynist and bigot in her soon to be published boo obtained by "the washington post." here's what she told tmz. >> after the lebron james situation, that the president is really causing tension with african-americans right now. >> if he wants to start a race war, he's succeeding.
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>> omarosa's own words last year threatened to undermine her credibility? >> do you think this president is racist? >> absolutely not.do you think is racist? >> absolutely not.. >> do you think this president is racist? >> absolutely not. i would never sit nor work for someone who i believe to be a racist. >> the white house says omarosa's book is, quote, riddled with lies and false accusations. meanwhile, when it comes to race, president trump is saying look at my record. >> african-americans, so many others, i said what do you have to lose? you have high crime rates, horrible education. so what happened is the african-american unemployment rate has reached the lowest level in the history of our country. >> and that is one trump claim that is true. african-american unemployment did hit a low in may. but despite those numbers, only 36% of americans say they approve of the way trump is handling race relations. among african-americans, only 3%
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approve. joining us now is congressman elijah cummings. he's the top democrat in the house oversight committee and a former chairman of the congressional black caucus. congressman cummings, thank you for joining us. >> good to be with you. >> so you heard the president's message now, a year after charlottesville. let's put it up on the screen one more time. he says we must come together as a nation. i condemn all types of racism and acts of violence. peace to all americans. has the president now gotten the message right on this? >> no, he has not gone far enough. i think it's a low bar for the president of the united states to simply say he's against racism. he's got to do better than that. he's got to address the people who are espousing racist type comments and doing racial -- racist type acts. white supremacy seems like he can't say those words but i
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think he can do better. and the other thing, jonathan, is you got to look at it's one thing to say things, it's another thing when we look at the direction that you're going and see that the very things that you say that you stand for, you undermine through your actions. for example, i believe that he is about the business of suppressing the vote. i look at the way he has dealt with health care, taking away health care for so many americans, and i look at the way he has treated and his administration has treated the young immigrant children and their parents. that is horrendous. and so when i hear the words, words ring hollow with me. >> he seemed to reach out to you in the beginning of his presidency. >> yes. >> and you met with him at the white house. >> yes, i did. >> and you told him, this was march of last year so before charlottesville, you told him that some of his language on race is hurtful and insulting to african-americans. have you talked to him since?
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>> i talked to him once or twice but that was close to a year ago now. right after i met with him. but in that meeting i also said something else, jonathan. i said, mr. president, you cannot just be the president for a few people, for 36% of the people. you've got to be the president for the entire nation, and you're not doing that. >> some of your colleagues, prominent democrats in the house, have called him a racist, just flatly said the president's a racist. i don't think i've heard you say that. do you think -- >> i don't -- i'm not -- i look at a person's actions, and you can label them however you want to label them. but i do not believe that president trump has been a man of his word. i kept going back to his inauguration speech and i ask the president right now to go back and read his inauguration speech when he talked about
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unity and bringing people together and how our unity will allow us to be the very best in the world. and i think he has done through his actions almost everything he could to take that unity and throw it away. >> have you tried to reach out to him again? you had a very strong message that you're giving to him right now, but have you asked to see him again? >> no, no. once or twice but i just don't -- i've gotten to a point where i'm totally frustrated. jonathan, when you are dealing with someone who calls lies the truth and truth lies, it's kind of hard. after i met with him the first time, he did not accurately depict what happened in the meeting, and that gave me, you know, some pause. >> is it hopeless? what do you want him to do now? he's come out, certainly the message is different than what he did a year ago.
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it may not be far enough, he's still not specifically calling out the white supremacists, but what do you want him to do? >> i want him to be honest, first of all, with the american people. i want him to bring integrity back to the white house. i want him to stop doing the things that he's doing and working in conjunction with republicans in congress to suppress the vote. i want him to make sure that health care is provided to our citizens, and i want him to get his administration straight because as far as i can see, it seems like there is -- they don't seem to know what they're doing, particularly when we look at what's happening with these immigrant children. >> so i want to ask you about these allegations from omarosa, but before i get you on that, l us just after she left the white house in december. >> do you think this president is racist? >> absolutely not.
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i would never sit nor work for . i don't know omarosa, but i can only judge from what i've seen. you know, when people go around asking is somebody a racist, you know what happens? once i say that and if i were to say that, that would be the headline and nobody would ever get the message. what i'm saying to you and the message that i want to get through is that this president has consistently tried to distract us from the things that we've been fighting for, distract us from the great country that we are, distract us from being the moral authority of this world, and distract us from the erosion -- i think his efforts to erode our democracy. >> i want to ask you on a different subject, elizabeth warren made some comments the otavgott quite a bit of blowback. she was talking about law enforcement and she said -- this is the quote -- the hard truth about our criminal justice
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she's calling the criminal justice system racist from front to back. do you agree with that? >> i don't necessarily agree with that but i do know that right in baltimore we have had some real problems with policing. and it wasn't about black police and white police, it was just some bad police. we ended up with a consent decree that we're working through now. we have to have smart policing. we have to have community policing. certainly senator warren is entitled to her opinions, but that's where i stand. >> the president has said, you heard him in the open to the show, over and over again, african-american unemployment is at its lowest level, and that's actually true. >> that may very well be true but we have to ask what kind of jobs are those african-americans getting?
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jonathan, i can tell you, when i have my jobs fair every year, thousands of people come out trying to get a few jobs. while the economy may be good, the question is does it have a direct effect on the quality of life. >> so one last question. there was a story in politico recently that said that the mid-term elections could bring the first african-american speaker of the house. do you think that could happen? do you think -- we've seen a lot of democrats, a lot of candidates come out against nancy pelosi for speaker. is it time for an african-american speaker? >> i think it's quite possible, but i'd bet everything i've got that nancy pelosi will be speaker, period. >> and you support her without question? >> i support nancy pelosi without question. i think that she has been a phenomenal speaker. >> and no chance you yourself run for speaker of the house? >> no. >> elijah cummings, thank you for joining us.
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now let's bring in the senior counsellor to the president, kellyanne conway. thank you for joining us. >> thank you. >> i want to ask you right away about these allegations from omarosa. you've heard them obviously. she says that she felt a growing realization that donald trump was indeed a racist, a bigot and a misogynist. you seemed to be close to omarosa when she was at the white house and when she left you called her a very valued member of our team for a very long time. what do you make of what she's saying now? >> the first time i heard her suggest those awful things about the president was in this book. i think that omarosa unfortunately has undercut her own credibility, whether it's in the npr interview, confusing a central fact in the book that she has never heard those alleged tapes and then she said the tapes really changed it for me. this is trump the businessman, the star
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of "the apprentice," the candidate and indeed the president of the united states. she told your own network, jon, abc news, the day after she was fired from the white house that she had resigned. now she's saying that she was fired, that donald trump is not a racist. she said she never heard him use the "n" word. let me tell you something. two years ago today donald trump asked me to be his campaign manager. i have worked alongside that man for over two straight years now without interruption. i have never a single time heard him use a racial slur about anyone. i also never heard omarosa complain that he had done that. and so the only thing that's changed is that she's now selling books. look, i think omarosa is a tremendous disappointment here because she should be taking credit for all the great gains that this president has made with respect to that low unemployment number among african-americans, hispanic-americans and others. office he okecisive elment, e aconn beha o
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prison rnow, the dru crises which i've trie with mrnd oths on his side of t ale this president is saying with prison reform that if you've paid your debt to society that you should be given a second chance, and there are over 6.6 million available jobs now in the trump economy and we want everybody of every background to have the skills, the training, the education, the opportunity and the dignity of work if they so desire. so i feel like omarosa could have taken some credit for that, said look, i worked in the white house for a full year and i got the ball rolling with the president, but that doesn't sell books and that doesn't settle scores. so i understand whether it's 30 pieces of silver or a seven-figure book advance, people do change their loyalties and change their mind. but i would refer you to omarosa's own comments, very glowing appraisal of this president's work and this president's work with respect to the african-american community.
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omarosa also criticized the congressional black caucus while she was in the white house for refusing to meet with the president. >> so just to be clear, she says that she heard the president use racially charged language even in the white house including -- >> she never said that to us in the white house and i certainly have never heard it but why didn't she tell us at the time? why not tell abc news the day after she was fired that that is in fact what she witnessed. she was asked explicitly the important question by your colleague at abc news, jon, and she said, no, he's not a racist. she said i would not be there. and i wouldn't be there. none of us would be there if that were true. i totally agree with congressman cummings that you should look at what people do, and this president has made tremendous gains on behalf of the african-american community and quote, racism is evil.nger fsai
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all those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, quote, including the kkk, neo nazis, white supremacists and other hate groups that are repugnant to everything we hold dear in america. >> the president also said there were very fine people on both sides in that rally. that was a rally led by neo nazis and white supremacists. >> and he denounced them but you're not covering that. >> he said there were fine people on both sides. >> why does it matter that you're not taking the totality of his comments over the stretch of days, jon? >> i think it's still a question. who were the very fine people on the side of the neo nazis? >> he's saying he denounces the kkk, neo nazis, white supremacists and all those who cause violence. and yesterday in a very, very strong statement he said that last year there was senseless death and division. he's calling for unity among all americans, and he denounced all forms of bigotry and acts of violence and racism. >> still not specifically calling out the neo nazis or the white supremacists.
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>> you just don't cover it. does abc even have the quote in your file that you're able to put up right now for all your viewers? probably not. but i just read it -- >> i think the fact that he said very fine people on both sides and one of the sides was led by neo nazis and white supremacists. >> whom he denounced. he said they're criminals and thugs. >> who were the very fine people marching with the neo nazis? >> he denounced all of them. you're just not covering it. >> you're not answering the question. >> i answered it. you've got to show all the quotes to be fair. and jon, a totally agree with congressman cummings. we should see what people's records are. why don't you send a reporter to chicago, to baltimore, to philadelphia where the mayor of philadelphia said we're no longer going to give information to i.c.e. and a child was sexually abused by an illegal alien who should not have been there. why don't you cover the violence -- we've got an increase in homelessness, crime and violence in these major inner cities that are governed by democratic mayors who have
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not lifted -- >> kellyanne. >> -- have not created the jobs my boss has created for them. >> kellyanne, omarosa was the most prominent, high level african-american serving in the west wing on president trump's staff. who now is that person? who is the most prominent high level adviser to the president on the west wing staff right now? >> african-american? >> yes. >> i would say that -- well, first of all, you're totally not covering the fact that our secretary of housing and urban development and world renown -- >> i'm asking about the white house staff. i'm asking about the people the president is with every day. >> that's important. well, the president works with secretary carson every day. he's trying to break the back -- >> who there is on the white house staff right now? >> we have jeron who's doing a fabulous job and very involved with -- he's been very involved with jared kushner and president trump on prison reform. he's been there from the beginning. he worked with omarosa and others of us -- >> does he have an office in the
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west wing? >> he has an office in the eop, absolutely, the executive office of the president, yes. >> not in the west wing. what does that say to have not a single senior adviser in the west wing who's african-american? >> i didn't say that there wasn't but hold on -- >> who is? >> there are plenty of people -- if you're going by that and not by the action of the president which you probably should, then you should look at the fact that we have a number of different minorities, and the fact is that this president is doing well for all americans. he promised on november 9 on his election night, he wrote it into his speech. i was there when he wrote it in. he said i will be the president for all americans, even those who didn't support me and he said there were more than a few he said in the wee hours of november 9. he's made good on that promise. you may not want to cover it as much as it should be covered but the lowest -- historically low unemployment rate among -- >> i've said that twice so far on the show.
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don't say we don't cover it. >> i'm sorry but you're -- it doesn't get covered enough like you gave 24 seconds of coverage to the vice president receiving the remains of american soldiers who fell decades ago in korea. these things don't seem as important as russia. >> one other question -- and i russia -- omarosa said she was offered $15,000 a month to work for the trump campaign if she signed a document saying that she would not speak about her time in the white house. we've also heard the same number, $15,000, offered to two other staffers leaving the white house. is the president in the habit of offering hush money to people leaving the white house? >> that's an insult and that is not what was offered. if she had worked on the campaign and she left the white house according to her interview with abc news, jon, on great terms, that the president is, quote, not a racist and that she's very proud of the work that she did with him and all the glowing appraisals she's had of donald trump's work over the years, most specifically in the
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white house and on the campaign, why not ask her to go back to the campaign? it is typical and you know it to sign an nda -- excuse me, to sign an nda in anyplace of work. i'd be shocked if you didn't have one at abc. i'm told she signed them on "the apprentice," certainly at the campaign. we've all signed them in the west wing. and why not have somebody -- >> you signed them in the west wing? you've signed a nondisclosure? >> we have confidentiality agreements in the west wing, absolutely we do. and why wouldn't we? >> you're a public employee. >> hold on. confidentiality is implied. jon, hold on. thanks for bringing that up because i would be remiss in not mention something you didn't ask me. these reports that omarosa taped conversations in the west wing and indeed maybe even the oval office, for what purpose? you have a reasonable expectation of confidentiality and privacy in your conversations at your place of work. why shouldn't we in the west
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wing? why shouldn't the president in the oval office the few times she was in there with him? look, many people who have left and i can name them, you know them, who have left the white house have been offered positions on the campaign, i believe with the super pac, because they've demonstrated their talent and they've demonstrated that they get the president and continue to support him. that's something omarosa told your colleagues at abc news the very day after she was fired. she said she resigned. she changed that now in the book. why not offer -- that's not hush money. everybody signs an nda. sounds like she didn't want to sign it and go back to the campaign because she had a book on her mind. >> kellyanne, i know you have to go. before you do, i want to ask you about the mid-term elections. the president tweeted, quote, as long as i campaign and/or support senate and house candidates within reason, they will win. he is predicting a giant red wave. now, you are a polster. you've been involved in campaigns for a long time. you don't think the republicans are actually going to see a red wave, that they're actually going to pick up seats in the house, do you?
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>> they certainly can and here's why. first of all, this man makes history, he doesn't repeat history. he makes his own trend. he doesn't follow them. i would think that the media got all the polling wrong, i know you guys were doing national polling which was irrelevant and inaccurate. but got all the polling wrong, didn't think he could win, probably didn't want him to win. he's going to go out there and put up his own political currency. we won 8 out of 9 special elections so far, jon. that's a great track record. here's the problem for the democrats. who's in charge of their party? is it tom perez who they don't respect? is it the 28-year-old socialist? is it the 70-something-year-old socialist? she gets her facts wrong routinely about basic policy issues. is it elizabeth warren who says that all law enforcement is racist from front to back and forward and backward? is it hillary clinton who still can't get over her loss in 2016? who is the leader of the party? what is their message exactly? they shut down the government at the beginning of this year.
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all of them voted against historic tax cuts which led to 6 million americans getting bonuses or raises or both, where our corporate tax rate has decreased. these folks are hiring more people. lowest unemployment rate. gdp at 4%, energy development, renegotiating imbalance, nonreciprocal, unfair -- >> okay. >> what is the message? that 4,000 manufacturing jobs aren't a big deal? they have no message. i went back and read speeches by president obama at this point in 2010, it was all gloom and doom. for this president it's all economic boom. it's a fundamentally different message. we understand there are 42 house retirements, that's tough. we see that the party in power usually suffers grievous losses but can you tell me it's going to be the 63 house seat losses that obama suffered or the 54 that clinton suffered? nobody is predicting that right now. >> can you clarify something. the president was again tweeting about attorney general sessions yesterday saying our a.g. is
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scared stiff and missing in action. this comes after the chairman o saying it is time to fire sessions. are sessions' days numbered as attorney general? >> the president is frustrated that the attorney general recused himself in early march of 2017 from anything having to do with the campaign. what the president really wants -- if you look at all of his tweets and don't cherry pick them, he wants to make sure we're investigating all sides of the so-called russian collusion. i've noticed that the media is almost silent about these new revelations that christopher steele and the number four at the fbi, peter orr and his wife nelly working for fusion gps, i don't want americans to get so confused at this convoluted mess to miss the essential point here. the pro-hillary people were so afraid that they needed to prop her up, that she was such a non-compelling, non-persuasive,
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pathetic candidate that they had to dig up dirt on donald trump early on. >> but to my question, will jeff sessions be the attorney general by the end of the year? >> how in the world will i know the answer to that? >> what do you think? we have the campaign manager saying he should be fired. we have the president saying he's missing in action. >> i'm not answering questions as to who will be in the white house at the end of the year. that's a crazy question. you just want to roll the tape some time. i think the fundamental point here is that the attorney general is doing great work on law enforcement, on pushing back on ms-13 gangs, on his sos which is the synthetic opioid surge task force, working with the new da acting director. but he has recused himself from this. the president wants america to see that this mueller investigation comes to a conclusion in a timely fashion. so far no russia collusion proven and you know it. you know i was the campaign manager for the winning part of the campaign. i never talked to anybody in russia. i talked to people in michigan and north carolina, not moscow.
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you know there's no collusion. paul manafort's trial has nothing to do with the campaign. the judge warned everybody not to even say those words. >> kellyanne conway, thank you for joining us. >> thank you, jon. unlethming up, the powerhouse race, and what do they think of omarosa's allegations? >> plus, you probably know him as stormy daniels' lawyer but michael avenatti says he's seriously considering a run for president in 2020. he'll be here live and we'll be right back. oem
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news contributor, ana navarro. thank you all for joining us. donna, one year after charlottesville the president certainly has a different message. let me ask you what i asked elijah cummings. does he have the right message now? >> no. i think the president's statement last year about -- let me make sure i'm right -- very fine people on both sides and the statement this weekend, all types of racism, it echos his same statement. you have to -- this is a moral issue. racism, there's no equivalent. the president has to condemn racism. he needs to condemn the kkk. he needs to condemn these groups. they're not just marching in washington. they're marching all over america. so the president needs to come out with a firm statement. look, he condemns lebron james. he condemns our friend don lemon. he condemns maxine waters. call their name and condemn these groups and the violence
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that they are out there perpetrating. >> mark, you were at the white house at the time of the charlottesville tragedy. you saw the president's response. what was your reaction in real time when you heard him come out and say very fine people on both sides? >> jon, i think i've said that the white house didn't handle that as well as we could have from a pr perspective but when donna says he should have called them out by name, this is what he said last year, august 14th, racism is evil and those who cause violence in its name is criminalsng the kkk, neo nazis, white supremacists and other groups. we say the president didn't call them out by name, but he did. it was a mixed message which was unfortunate and wrong but the president did call it out and too often we don't remember that. >> we still have that very fine people on both sides. you saw me try to get an answer out of kellyanne on that. >> i just said i agree with you. that was mixed messaging and that was unfortunate. but to say that he never called
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them out is also wrong. the facts say that he did and the president reiterated that yesterday. >> ana? >> for me this weekend is about heather heyer. let's remember her name. she lost her life a year ago, was killed protesting white supremacists. she raised her voice against racism. here's the problem with donald trump. today is one day but there's 365 days a year and most of those days he is figuring out ways how to divide this country through racial lines, ethnic lines, immigration, whatever it may be. whether it is going after john lewis, whether it is going after lebron james, don lemon, calling maxine waters low iq, just a few days ago he was again tweeting against the nfl athletes taking a knee, african-american athletes. so many times he has gone after african-americans, after people of color. we see him putting little children, immigrant children behind chain link fences.
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we see him attack chain migration except when it is about his wife. i'm glad 47-year-old melania can be reunited with her parents. i wish children at the border who were getting separated from theirs and being put in jail and treated like animals would get the same benefits. >> let's turn to what omarosa is saying. >> oh god, why? >> jonathan, before we get to the substance of what she's saying, she recorded her conversations in the west wing. she's got a tape of herself getting fired. >> in the situation room. >> that's kind of mind blowing. >> i've honestly never heard of anything like it. it's -- i mean, it's -- has it ever happened? has someone ever recorded in the situation room before and apparently played it on tv. >> because she was locked in the situation room and she recorded as they held her in the situation room with a locked door. >> when you enter the situation room you have to give up all your phones so if she did that, that's quite an affront.
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the reality is, jonathan, the media ridiculed and mocked omarosa for the full year she was in the white house and now she writes a book and all of a sudden she's like an oracle and everybody is -- >> i don't know if that's true. i don't know if anybody is calling her an oracle. but let me ask you, donna, you heard what she told us at abc news right after she left, the president's not a racist, i would never work for a racist. now she's saying exactly the opposite. does she have any credibility on this? you've known her for a long time. >> of course i've known her for a long time and i believe we're going to hear a lot more from her because she has more than one tape so let's get ready for the next reiteration of her tape. omarosa believes strongly that president trump has displayed racist anxiety, racist rhetoric. >> why didn't she say it when she was still working for him? why did she deny it when she left?
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>> why did she go to work for someone who she perhaps believed that during the time on "the apprentice." she said not just in the book but she has said she's sought those tapes where he has used the vile "n" word. i don't know. i haven't read the book. all i know is omarosa believes she has a story to tell and i'm the last person to tell her not to tell her story. >> omarosa has a buck to make. she is -- look, i'm no fan of donald trump, that is no secret. and i would tell you birds of a feather flock together. there is a reason why this is happening over and over again with donald trump and it's because he has surrounded himself with people who are unfit, who don't have the character, and who have no loyalty to him and so have no qualms about turning loyalty into royalties. that's what we are seeing. no, omarosa has no credibility. she's or-a-rosa in my book. >> why did they hire her? >> he knew her. >> the most interesting thing about her -- >> she knew him. >> it's not that complicated. i've talked to men inside, mewh
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of her. they're all scared of her. i'm not going to talk about mark. mark might not be but i've heard from grown men who say if omarosa says something, you do it. they're literally scared of her. >> but there's less focus on mary elizabeth taylor who is an african-american on our team who did more in this white house to get neil gorsuch confirmed than anybody else. there's less focus on jeron smith who is leading the effort -- >> you still don't have a senior adviser to the president who's african-american and has an office in the west wing. >> that's not true. jeron smith's office is in the east wing. he is in the white house. i hired head of policy for the vice president of the united states. there's a lot of focus in the media on omarosa but less focus on those who are doing really hard jobs. >> omarosa was at the very top level, the maximum salary. you know, you can't say that he didn't give her the very top job. >> and that's fair but there's no attention on the names i just
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put out for you. >> none of them are among the 55 top paid staffers on the white house staff, none of them. >> they are doing phenomenal jobs. mary elizabeth -- >> in fact, there's no african-american at the top. >> she could be head of -- >> mark, omarosa is the creation of donald trump and he deserves this exactly. >> we've got to take a quick break. we will be back with more from the roundtable. coming up next, we'll talk to one of the most high profile and unconventional democrats now considering a run for president. michael avenatti joins us in just a moment. michael avenatti joins us in just a moment. at&t provides edge-to-edge intelligence, covering virtually every part of your healthcare business. so that if she has a heart problem & the staff needs to know, they will & they'll drop everything can you take a look at her vitals? & share the data with other specialists yeah, i'm looking at them now. & they'll drop everything hey. & take care of this baby yeah, that procedure seems right. & that one too. at&t provides edge to edge intelligence. it can do so much for your business,
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star stormy daniels but now says he is seriously considering running for president. michael avenatti joins us now. let's start with the big question. most of the world knows you as the lawyer for a porn star and somebody who goes on cable tv a lot. why should you be taken seriously? >> there's a number of reasons i should be taken seriously. number one, over 18 years i've been fighting on behalf of david versus goliath. some of the largest corporations in the world, con men, fraudsteres, i've had great success. over $1 billion in verdicts and settlements. at's numr e.ases all across this nuer two, i'm a student of the law, very well versed inat lot refront of our now, environmental issues, issues relating to the supreme court, issues relating to working people. so i think that that also qualifies me. in addition, i have the ability to communicate with people without having to take a poll or hire some consultant to figure out how to tell people the
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truth. >> so like donald trump before he got into this, you're somebody with no political experience, but trump had a signature issue he had been talking about for 30 years, trade. you can go back, consistent, talking about trade. what is the avenatti policy issue that you've been talking about over the years? >> the truth. the truth. >> the truth? >> that is my policy. that is my policy issue, quote unquote, is the truth, the facts and evidence. i deal and have dealt in 18 years with facts and evidence. that's how you're successful as an attorney. i don't care how good a speaker you are, how good you are in front of a jury. if you don't have the facts and the evidence and the ability to talk about the truth, you don't succeed. what's happened unfortunately, especially over the last two years, three years with this president, donald trump, we've lost track of holding him accounta truth and facts and evidence. let me tell you this, i'm going to put donald trump on trial. we're going to have a trial one way or the other.
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the only question is how many jurors are we going to have in that trial. >> let's try to pin down where you stand on the policies, on the issues, where you fit in the democratic party. we'll do a lightning round. let's do some short answers to big issues. this is a long campaign, plenty of time to get into more specifics but let's start with the last democratic primary. where did you stand? were you with hillary clinton or bernie sanders? >> hillary clinton. >> where did you stand on this issue of abolishing i.c.e.? >> i do not believe we should abolish i.c.e. that's similar to saying we're going to get rid of law enforcement, but we should curtail i.c.e. >> you say out in iowa that you're in favor of medicare for all, a bernie sanders issue. how do you pay for it? >> well, you start with not building a wall on our southern border. i think you also figure out what you're going to do relating to some of these tax breaks that were just given, but i think, look, this is a core issue. we have to provide a basic level of health care for all americans number one. number two, if people then want to supplement that with additional plans, they should be permitted to do so.
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>> would you repeal all of the trump tax cuts? >> i haven't decided yet. i'm still analyzing the issue. >> okay, the biggest national security threat facing the united states right now? >> i think it would be the situation in the middle east and -- well, i would say twofold. it's north korea and iran. let me tell you this. if you're going to go to singapore and have a summit, you don't go there for a photo op in front of flags and a red carpet. you actually go there to get something done. if i was me, i'd still be there if we were still in the situation we are. we made no progress in connection with that. as it relates to iran, you don't send out an all caps tweet in the middle of the night in a situation that is that serious. the problem with this president is he has interjected too much uncertainty into the international front. >> would you meet face-to-face with kim jong-un? >> yes. absolutely. >> tpp, the president in one of his first actions as president ripped it up. would you try to revive it? >> i would try to revive it and
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try to also revise it. >> a lot of democrats thought that was a bad trade deal, bad for american workers. sounds like you're a free trade democrat? >> i am a free trade but it has to be fair trade and i agree with the president that there's been a number of trade deals that have been put in place over the years that have been one-sided, but we can't just ignore all of our trade deals. >> if democrats take back the house, should they move to impeach president trump? >> it depends on the evidence and the facts. again, i'm a big guy on evidence and facts and it depends on the evidence and facts as presented by bob mueller. >> the facts you know now, should they be campaigning on impeaching? sounds like you're saying no. >> i don't think there's enough facts and evidence as we know it right now but that doesn't mean that it can't change or it may very well change next week. >> based on the facts now you don't think there's enough evidence to impeach president trump? >> not as we have right now but i do believe, to be clear though, we need to be demanding why, why the president is standing shoulder to shoulder with vladimir putin.
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>> should nancy pelosi be speaker of the house? >> that's a tough decision. i think the house leadership is ultimately and the house of reps are going to make that decision. i don't know yet. >> you say you will only run if democrats seem unlikely to nominate somebody who can beat president trump. i want to go through a few quick names. can joe biden beat donald trump? >> again, i'm not going to opine as to whether i think a particular candidate can beat donald trump or not but here's what i'm going to say. over the years the democrats have had a lot of very talented individuals. they have lacked fighters. they have lacked individuals willing to take the fight to donald trump and others and that's a significant problem. here's the other thing i'm going to say. a lot of the people that are considering running, they've been around for a very long time. if they had the ability to take down -- >> that would be joe biden. >> if they had the ability to take down donald trump, they likely would have already done so. however, i do think there are some people that are talking about running that might be able to do it. >> elizabeth warren? >> again, i'm not going to comment as to certain names. i have my own opinions as to
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whether or not individuals can do it. >> bernie sanders? >> again -- >> one more. >> i like senator sanders. i think he's been a phenomenal senator. i think he did a lot of good in the '16 campaign. >> okay, there have been no shortage of controversies surrounding your business dealings. let's look at some of the headlines we've seen over the last several months. the "l.a. times," law firm of stormy daniels' attorney hit with a $10 million judgment. politico, feds target avenatti over firm's unpaid taxes. cnn, avenatti firm settles case with the irs for $800,000. don't the attack ads here essentially write themselves? >> no, i don't think so. look, i'll put up my background and my record of fighting on behalf of, windowing people over the last 20 years against donald trump's any day of the week. i say bring it. >> hillary clinton released 8 years of her tax returns just after she started running. will you do the same? >> i don't know yet. i haven't decided. i'll look at the issue. here's what i do know --
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>> you don't know if you'll release your tax returns? this was a major issue with trump. >> i don't know if i'll release 8 years of my tax returns. here's what i do know -- >> will you commit to releasing some? >> yes. >> you will? >> yes. >> how will you make that judgment of how many? >> i don't know. i'm going to consult with people. we're going to see what the standard has been over the years. where are donald trump's tax returns? >> last question, you've criticized the president for not being smart enough to know what he doesn't know. so if you ran, tell us, what is your biggest weakness? what's the thing that you don't know? >> well, i think that clearly the idea that i have not held elected office is a negative and i'll own that. but here's the difference between donald trump and me. donald trump promised the american people the best and the brightest. he's been able to surround himself with anything but the best and the brightest and the reason is people don't want to work with him. why don't people want to work with him? because he doesn't listen to them, because his ego does not allow him to take in that advice and act on it. i'm not built that way. were i to be elected, i would
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surround myself with very qualified people and i would actually listen to them. >> michael avenatti, thank you for joining us in your first in-depth interview as a possible presidential candidate. appreciate it. we'll be right back with the roundtable. first in-depth interview as a possible presidential candidate. appreciate it. we'll be right back with the roundtable.
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welcome back to our roundtable. i want to get back to the mid-terms. mark short, the president's prickellyanne conway said it co happen. come on. >> jon, i think it will be hard for republicans this fall for lots of reasons. one is you have more chairmen who are retiring. republicans put in place term limits on their chairmen. second, americans like dividing government. that's a fact we have to realize. i do think the president's an asset for most of those campaigns. the reason being is there's a gap between voters who are trump voters and those who support republicans in congress. the president needs to try to close that gap. >> do republicans lose the house? >> i think it will be hard for republicans this november to maintain the majority of the house.
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i think we'll pick up seats in the senate but i think the president's an asset to those campaigns. >> we have candidates -- democrats have candidates in a they're enthusiastic. they're passionate.ey're outrai republicans and i'm proud of the enthusiasm. mark, i want to say something. if the president condemned the kkk in 2017 following heather heyer's death he should do it in 2018 and beyond. >> red wave, only red wave i see coming is the red tide off the coast of florida that's killing thousands and thousands of fish. what we saw last week with the special election tells us the special weight that donald trump carries in a republican primary, his endorsement makes a difference, whereas bernie sanders' endorsement, alexandria ocasio-cortez's did not make a difference. there's very few endorsements that make a difference. his does. the big question yet to answer, will his endorsement then become an albatross around their neck when it comes to the general election. >> the president may think what
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he thinks but the white house, they don't think they're actually going to hold the house, do they? >> they say -- even when you get them privately, the most they'll concede is 50/50. i've never heard someone at the political shop or the top level there say to me we're going to lose the house. >> maybe omarosa has recordings otherwise. >> we'll see. all right, that is all the time we have. thank you to our roundtable and thank you for sharing part of your sunday with us. check out "world news tonight" and have a great day. our roundtable and thank you for sharing part of your sunday with us. check out "world news tonight" and have a great day.
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