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tv   This Week With George Stephanopoulos  ABC  August 26, 2018 8:00am-9:00am PDT

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yes for less. >> announcer: "this week" with george stephanopoulos starts right now. earth. i have served america's cause. >> honoring john mccain. >> and i have enjoyed every single day of it. the good ones and the not so good ones. >> from military royalty to prisoner of war. a maverick senator and happy warrior on the presidential campaign trail. in victory and defeat, john mccain defined by his life of service to country. at his best, he dignified our politics. this morning, we remember the unparalleled life of an american patriot. and closing in. >> did president trump commit a crime? >> as the president said, we have stated many times he did nothing wrong. >> the president's former lawyer pleads guilty.
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says trump directed his campaign finance felony. as the president and his team now confront multiple investigations, trump publicly contemplates impeachment. >> i don't know how you can impeach somebody who has done a great job. >> after the most perilous week of his presidency, are prosecutors now trump's greatest threat? will he fire sessions, try to shut mueller down? are impeachment proceedings now more likely than ever? that debate with the key congressman, eric swalwell up against law professor, alan dershowitz. the facts that matter this week. good morning and welcome to "this week." american politics lost a giant last night. john mccain passed away at the age of 81 after stopping treatment for brain cancer. he will lie in state in the arizona capital, the u.s. capitol, and then a full dress
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funeral at washington's national cathedral before his burial at the naval academy in annapolis. this morning, flags flying at half staff at the white house and the u.s. capitol. tributes pouring in from across the country and around the world. presidents, his colleagues in congress and the military and his daughter, meghan. all that i am is thanks to him. now that he is gone, the task of my lifetime is to live up to his example, his expectations and his love. the example john mccain set, extraordinary by any measure. >> reporter: fighter, maverick, hero. senator john mccain spent his life in service to the country he loved. his loyalty, first and always to his country. he came from military royalty. the son and grandson of admirals. his rebellious streak didn't keep him from the naval academy, though he did graduate at the bottom of his class before volunteering for vietnam as a fighter pilot. his 23rd mission over hanoi,
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shot down and captured by the north vietnamese. he was beaten, tortured. when his captors discovered his father commanded the pacific fleet, he offered to release him ahead of prisoners who were captured earlier. mccain refused. >> the pain i experienced, still i don't know how in some ways that i was able to survive the injuries. >> reporter: he finally came home after 5 1/2 years with scars he would carry the rest of his life. >> i fell in love with my country when i was a prisoner in someone else's. >> reporter: then came politics. elected to the house in 1982, the senate four years later. he launched a long shot presidential campaign in 2000 on the straight talk express, losing the gop nomination to george w. bush. the nomination he won in 2008. >> it's almost as if you would prefer coming from behind than being a front runner. >> well, there is ups and downs in campaigns that there will be
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other ups and downs. >> reporter: love of fun balanced by a fierce temper, and a deep core of simple decency. in the race against barack obama, lines he wouldn't cross. >> i can't trust obama. i have read about him, and he is not -- he is not -- he is a -- he is an arab. >> no, ma'am. >> he is not -- >> no, ma'am. >> no? >> no, ma'am. no, ma'am. he is a decent, family man, citizen. >> he did cross party lines. over the years we spoke, senator mccain often bucked the republican party. >> somehow, we as republicans, the party that went for the balance, supported the balance budget amendment of the constitution, somehow we have lost our way. >> you have utmost confidence in president trump? >> i do not know, george. i do not know.epte a btled brain cancer during his final months in the senate, he called out his colleagues for partisanship. >> both sides have let this happen. let's trust each other.
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let's return to regular order. >> reporter: and cast the deciding vote against repealing obamacare. in his last major public speech, mccain summed up a lifetime of service. >> i have had the good fortune to spend 60 years in service to this wondrous land. it's not been perfect to be sure, and there are times when the country might have benefitted with a little less of my help, but i have tried to deserve the privilege as best i can, and i have been repaid a thousand times over with adventures, with good company, with the satisfaction of serving something more important than myself, of being a big player in the extraordinary story of america, and i am so grateful. >> senator john mccain. we're joined now by his fellow senator from arizona, senator jeff flake joining us this morning. thank you for joining us. we just heard senator mccain talk about being a big player in
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american history, expressed his gratitude. you had a lovely piece in "the washington post" this morning expressing your gratitude for john mccain. >> right. well, it was tough to right. -- write. as i mentioned, i have been meaning to do it for awhile, and couldn't bring myself to do it, thinking that the longer i held off maybe the longer he would be with us, but it was very heartfelt. >> what's the greatest lesson you learned from him? >> oh, to forgive. you know, his -- people talk about he had a temper. it was passionate. that's certainly the case, but he would quickly forgive and move on, and to see the good in his opponents. that is something that particularly these days we could use a lot more of. that's a lesson that he taught everyone. >> you said you have never known washington without senator john mccain, and you'll always be known as the other senator from arizona. i love the story you tell about
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how his fighting nature and how he encouraged you to fight. >> right. we were on a plane ride back to arizona when i had just joined the house in 2001. i was getting beat up at home by the press, and by local elected officials for challenging spending and john mccain made his way back to me on the plane, and i thought, oh, no. he is going to go after me too, and he put his finger in my chest and just said, don't back down. he said, you're in the right and they will come around, and it was all that i needed. and from that time forward, i really appreciated him and his friendship and his advice. >> you know, it's no secret that he was sick in politics today, and you had the chance to visit with him recently, and that he was optimistic about our future. >> right. yeah. back in -- it was february of this year, we sat out on his
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deck and watched oak creek roll by, and for about an hour, talked about arizona and its past and the personalities that he knew and admired particularly those who put -- who put politics aside, democrats and republicans. he had a huge fondness for democrats from arizona, and he did express optimism that people would rise to the fore in the future who would put, you know, put the good of the country above the party, and so he was optimistic there that it's tough to see right now how that's going to happen. >> how do we honor his legacy? >> oh, i think by seeing the good in our opponents. by being quick to forgive, by realizing that there is something more important than ourselves, to put service, you know, over and above our
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self-interest as he often said, and as he lived. i think that that's how we honor him. >> thank you for your time this morning and your tribute. >> thank you. >> john mccain reached across party lines and we're now joined by the house democratic leader, nancy pelosi. she joins us by phone this morning. congresswoman pelosi, how will you remember john mccain? >> i'll remember john mccain as a source of strength to our country. his personal strength and his love for this country, and his love for peace. i'm just heartbroken, and i think america is in tears at the loss of this great man, and the flags are at half staff at the capitol. our hearts are at half staff just at this loss. we knew it was coming. it came so soon just before his birthday, but it all gives us a chance to identify with something so very special, a
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life of courage, sacrifice, reaching out to others. i'll just remember him as -- in a funny way, he always made me laugh. that is to say his charact characterizations of what was going on. maybe he didn't mean them as humor, but it struck to the heart of the challenges we face, and with that kind of humility that he had, with all of his strength and pride. he had a sense of humility of understanding other people's point of view. >> in a remarkable coincidence, he died nine years to the day of his great friend, senator ted kenne kennedy, of the same brain cancer. they seem to represent an era that has passed, congresswoman. >> their relationship was one that i think all of us admired, and were grateful for. certainly -- as you said, the irony of the timing and the cause of their passing is a
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remarkable coincidence, but maybe the identity of their lives just determined that would be the case. in any event, i know that ted kennedy and so many of our colleagues on both sides of the aisle, whether they were in complete agreement with john mccain, were all in agreement that he was formidable, had enormous integrity and was acting on behalf of our country and what he truly believed. >> your democratic colleague in the senate, chuck schumer demanded that the russell senate office building be renamed after john mccain. is that an appropriate tribute? >> i think it would be a great tribute because then, for decades to come, everyone who came to washington would know the very special place that john mccain held. it has held, and will continue to hold in our country.
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i would like to say that up close and personal, his leadership on behalf of our veterans and their families when we worked together on something that elizabeth dole, the secretary senator, many titles, established our hidden heroes. we served as co-chairs of the task force to help the families and the caregivers -- caretakers of our men and women returning from battle, and his role as chair of the services committee, he always looked out for men and women in uniform on the battlefield and when they came home, and what they were protecting was our freedom and another area that i worked closely with, another one was years ago when we did mccain/feingold, and he said, you have got to get this done in the house. working together, we did. he was generous with his sharing of credit to my colleagues, but, in fact, what he did was quite a remarkable thing.
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our country preserving our freedom. >> big bipartisan win. congresswoman pelosi, thanks very much. as she said, john mccain had a great dedication to veterans and the military. we're joined now by a military man. retired general, david petraeus also former director of the cia. and general petraeus, john mccain, son and grandson of admirals as we said, military royalty in so many ways, and his first loyalty always seemed to be to his fellow service people. >> well, it was. very much so. no one had the backs of america's greatest generation, those who fought the wars of the post-9/11 period than he did. no one did more to assure they had what was needed to prevail on the battlefield, and we spent a lot of quality time together in the decade after 9/11 and iraq, afghanistan, the greater central command region. he and the other members of the three amigos were out there with us every fourth of july.
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i was there in seven of those ten fourth of julys and i think he was there for all of them. a truly extraordinary giant of the senate, and really of the country. >> and defined by so many fights in his long career, one of his last great fights, the fight against torture. >> yes. and i must say that this is something that i stood absolutely with him on. i felt that number one, it's really not all that successful. number two, even if you get something through torture or enhanced interrogation techniques, you will pay a higher price in the court of public opinion globally than you do, the value of what it is that you get. he was very, very forthright on that against the times as he was many times in his maverick persona over the years. >> and reaching back, i mean, in some ways is just a very, very young man. the defining moment of his life that moment when he is offered
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freedom by his vietnamese captors and says no. >> it was an extraordinary moment. he would not break faith with his fellow prisoners. he made sure that he got no special treatment because his father was the four-star commander of u.s. pacific command. in fact, at that time again, a real force in so many different ways, and always one who felt that serving a cause larger than self with the greatest of privileges. teddy roosevelt wrote the man in the arena speech, and john mccain truly was the man in the arena, and in many arenas, and as we heard in the obituary that started this, and he was also one who believed as roosevelt did, in hard work worth doing and felt very privileged to have had six decades of hard work worth doing. >> and what a difference he made. general petraeus, thank you for your time and your tribute this morning. >> it's a privilege. thanks, george. >> i want to bring in jonathan karl, martha raddatz and cokie
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roberts as well. martha, let me begin with you, picking up on general petraeus, and what we just heard about john mccain's devotion to the military. that is something you saw up close. >> up close and all the time, and it never wavered. we keep talking about his time as a p.o.w. that's really where john mccain was forged as a fighter for veterans. i have talked to him just last september about when and how often he visited the vietnam memorial wall. imagine john mccain walking there at sunset, early in the morning, which he did often. among those, more than 58,000 names those people who didn't make it out of there. that's who john mccain was. he never forgot them. he worked to help veterans at all times, despite what he went through. i think he was grateful every single day, george, that he
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could do just that. >> and jon, what you saw up close, going back to 2000, that talk express on the presidential campaign if 2000 was the way that john mccain engaged the press. his critics would often say the press was his constituency. he seemed to enjoy the sparring. >> that campaign, that 2000 presidential campaign was unlike anything i ever covered, george. this was a rollicking show aboard that bus. he was a long shot candidate with virtually no money in his campaign. he was going up against george w. bush who had essentially already been christened the republican nominee by those in the establishment and those with money. his campaign was about what general petraeus talked about, serving a cause greater than oneself. he fought that. he talked to us all day long, george. i spent more time with mccain during that campaign than he spent with his campaign manager because in the back of the bus, ulgeaway to get your ack
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thoughts together, but i have this photo there on an old flip phone. i had to, like, call my stories in with mccain sitting two seats away from me, constantly going, constantly talking, and making news because he didn't have the money to run a traditional campaign, and when he won the new hampshire primary by 17 points, he said recently that that was the victory, the greatest political victory, the one that meant the most to him even more than eight years later when he actually won the nomination. >> he was a hero, but he wasn't a saint. not above making political calculations, but also you point out. not afraid to admit mistakes. >> yeah, in south carolina after he won in new hampshire, he went to south carolina and one of the hot issues there was what to do with the confederate flag which at that point was flying on top of the capitol building, and
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mccain's personal belief was that it should come down, but he felt that would cause that woul him votes so when asked about it, he stiffly said, no. it's something that should remain there. it's heritage, and it ate him. you could tell he was not -- he was not true to himself. i spoke to him about it shortly after he lost south carolina in michigan. next primary state, and he told me one night after a big rally that he was going to make that right. that that was wrong, that he did something that he rarely did in politics. he was not true to his own beliefs and after the campaign, he went back to south carolina and he did effectively a mea culpa, and said it was a mistake and did the right thing. it was amazing. >> cokie roberts, his proudest political victory new hampshire, as jon said, but also proud of the bipartisan achievements many -- in congress. >> absolutely. you heard from senator flake,
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when he came to congress, the big liberal democrat reached out to him and he learned a lot about that. that compromise was the way to get things done, and he constantly reached out to democrats to try to get legislation accomplished. most famously of course, mccain/feingold, and that finance legislation, and you heard leader pelosi talking about giving credit. in the speech he gave after the bill finally passed, he took her out as an example of someone who had really done a great job, and he did that over and over again after feingold was defeated. he reached out to sheldon whitehouse, a democrat from rhode island. he took trips with all these people. difficult trips. these were to awful places where danger was in the air or on the streets, but he used those trips to educate the members of the senate, particularly of the other party and to get to know them, be friends of them, and
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show them his respect, and that was important and frankly, george, is missing in the senate today. >> are we going to see a mccain senate office building? >> it would be a useful thing. as phil hart, the senator of michigan was dying of cancer, they named a new building after him, and the hope was he would be remembered as the man who would be called the conscience of the senate, and i think to have a building named for mccain will keep his memory alive at least until people start calling it the mccain building. >> cokie, martha, jon. thank you all very much. we'll have much more on mccain's life and legacy, and up next, democratic congressman eric swalwell, and alan dershowitz discuss this week's legal developments for the president. what it may mean. hi, kids! i'm carl and i'm a broker. do you offer $4.95 online equity trades? great question.
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developments in the legal situation facing president trump and his presidential campaign. word just in that his former campaign chair, paul manafort has been found guilty on eight counts of tax evasion and bank fraud. we are coming on the air again because michael cohen, president trump's former attorney has just left the courthouse in lower manhattan after pleading guilty to charges of tax evasion, bran fraud and most significantly, campaign finance violations. those were the twin legal blockbusters, and paul manafort will now face a second trial in september. his former lawyer, michael cohen, now offering to cooperate with officials, and his guilty plea bolstered by cooperation from david pecker of "the national enquirer," and the man who knows more than anything else, alan weisselberg. they both got immunity, and felonies will continue. just one of several legal actions now confronting
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president trump. the new york attorney general has filed suit against the trump foundation which could lead to a criminal referral, and the manhattan district attorney also considering charges against the trump organization. trump facing lawsuits in maryland and d.c. over the emoluments clause, and of course, robert mueller investigating possible collusion with russia and obstruction of justice. the big question going forward, will any of these investigations going forward lay the ground for impeachment? let's go to eric swalwell. that's where any of the charges would begin, and harvard law profe professor, alan dershowitz, the author of the book "the case against impeaching trump," and congressman, let me begin with you right now. is the campaign finance -- if there were evidence to show that president trump with involved with conspireing for a campaign finance violation, would that be
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a high crime and misdemeanor? >> good morning, george. i want to pay tribute to john mccabe, a patriot, man of integrity and fought for our democracy, and one that is still worth the fighting for. we miss him dearly. as to your question, democrats should not lead with impeachment, george. we should lead with the core issues people care about. making sure that health care costs go down, that their paychecks go up and we scrub out corruption, but we shouldn't look the other way, and the best thing we can do is promise the american people, if we are given the majority that we will conduct the investigations the republicans are unwilling to conduct, including this campaign finance violation, including the questions around his contacts with the russians and including his tax returns which the american people have not seen, but i promise a democratic majority will ensure they do see. >> i understand you don't want to lead with impeachment as we head into the midterms, but if the president was part of a conspiracy to violate the campaign finance laws, is that a high crime and misdemeanor? >> he is not above the law, but i think we don't have enough evidence yet. we would bring in michael cohen and mr. weisselberg, and we
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don't want to be as reckless with the facts as he is, and doing thorough investigations and putting forth an impenetrable case to the american people, and doing it in a bipartisan way is the proper way to do this, but we're not there yet, and we want to talk about the issues people care about, and if we're given the subpoena power and the gavels, we can assure the american people we will do our job. >> professor dershowitz, you wrote your book before this. what you saw in the michael cohen case and that guilty plea, does it weaken your case? >> first of all, i agree with everything that congressman said. i think it would be great to have the democrats in control of one branch and being able to conduct investigations. i think we have to get to the bottom of this. i fully understand why so many people want, hope that president trump has committed crimes and impeachable offenses, but the evidence isn't there. the president or a candidate is entitled to contribute anything
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he wants to his own campaign. the only thing here is whether or not there was a failure to report a contribution. that was to the treasurer of the campaign and not to the president. and conspiracy is a very big stretch. >> that's what i wanted to get to. on the one hand, it could be a reporting violation, and a deliberate run around the laws and run around the laws and could be working with another person, conspiracy. that would be a serious crime, wouldn't it? >> it's a stretch. it's a stretch. look. the reporting -- if it occurred, would have occurred after the election considering the chronology of everything, and so to stretch and make a reporting violation which so many campaigns have. president obama's campaign had to pay $300,000 for reporting violations. to make a conspiracy out of that when the law itself says the treasurer is responsible, not the candidate, is an example of precisely what we're seeing. trying to stretch the law to fit somebody who many americans hope and want to see commit a crime or commit an impeachable -- >> is it? >> i agree with the congressman.
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let's wait to see what the evidence is. the other thing that i think last week proves is that the special counsel is the least important element. >> i want to get to that as well, but first, congressman, is it a stretch? >> no. no. not at all. i believe though that, george, there are multiple investigations now on multiple fronts. not just criminally, but also civilly, and this president, the best thing he can do is just to sit down with special counsel, come clean and clear up these questions that exist. the american people deserve to know if the president is as corrupt as the people who have pled guilty around him. >> you were just to say, professor dershowitz, that perhaps the special counsel is the least of the threats that the president faces right now, and you have the southern district. you have the new york attorney general, and the manhattan district attorney. where is the greatest threat? >> i have said that right from the beginning because he has constitutional defenses to the investigation being conducted by mueller.
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there are no constitutional defenses to what the southern district is investigating so i think the southern district is the -- is the greatest threat. look. it would be good for the american public if president trump sat down and said everything he knows, but it wouldn't be good for president trump, but that's why his lawyers are strongly recommending against it. his lawyers, particularly his private lawyers are not supposed to consider what's best for america. the white house counsel, perhaps yes. but his private lawyers are supposed to think about what's best for mr. trump, and it's not best for mr. trump to sit down and allow himself to answer questions, even truthfully that might be contradicted by cohen or mcgahn or somebody else because that's a perjury trial. >> six tweets and an interview against general sessions this week. what would happen if the president fired the attorney general? >> well, he is perfectly entitled to do so. you know, president clinton did not have a good relationship l, b his attorney general, se
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didn't do anything about it. he complained. he grumbled in private, but he didn't fire. i think it would be a mistake to fire anybody. look. my advice to the president, and i never gave it to him privately because i'm not his lawyer. don't fire, don't pardon, don't tweet and don't testify. if you listen to those four things, he would be in less trouble than he is today, but again, my job is to protect civil liberties of all americans and i'm not here to protect or defend the president, but i worry about stretching the law and the implications it could have for the future. >> congressman, the president apparently has discussed the possibility of pardoning paul manafort and he has praised him. is that opening him up to the charge of tampering with a witness? >> yes, and also obstructing justice. and george, the more he does this, the more it gives us, i think, lines of investigation if we are in the majority. but the president is not a private citizen, and i respect
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the role the defense attorneys play, and a lying president, and obstructing president, a corrupted president is a weak president, and the american people deserve to have a strong president. >> i agree with that, but president bush pardoned weinberger on the eve of his trial, and that did not change justice. let's not change the law much as so many would love to see the law apply to him equally. >> thank you both very much. >> my pleasure. >> round table will be coming up after all this, and then the reflections on senator john mccain. we'll be right back. and then the reflections on senator john mccain. we'll be right back.
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75 years from now, ted will probably still be around, but i -- many fear that, but it seems like he has already been around for 75 years, but the fact is -- >> senator mccain, would you be willing to serve as secretary of defense? >> i would much prefer to be under secretary of state so i can tell him when to stop talking. >> senator mccain, and senator biden, thank you both very much. let me ask you about your position to exclude russia from the g8. every other nation is against it. >> you have to take positions whether other nations agree or not because you have to do what's best for america and the world. look at russia's actions in the 'll get out. so. >> he'll get out. >> senator john mccain. love the sunday shows. he loved that ranch in arizona
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as well. we'll talk about him now at our round table joined by chris christie, our abc news contributor, former governor of new jersey, donna brazile, megan murphy of business week, and the former new orleans visitor from louisiana, and our republican strategist, and cnn political commentator. donna, i want to begin with you. you were telling a story. your first encounter with john mccain 35 years ago. >> i was a young congressional staffer working with one of our home state heroes, lindy boggs, and i was charged with the task of lobbying for the king holiday, and when i went up to this young congressman, he said, we're not ready. i said, what do you mean? we have over 300 votes. he said, but my state, and fast forward 25 years later, george, john mccain called and said he was going to memphis to say he was wrong, and in those years not only did he lobby his state, but john mccain was a man of his
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word who said, i would this -- continue this campaign in march, and he admitted he was wrong, and for me as a woman of color, i would be honored if the husz russell building was renamed after john mccain. not only for his legacy, his service. he kept his word, but when john mccain saw his grandson named after himself, he was so proud and he put it on twitter. his grandson who carries his name is an african-american as well. he was a great man. >> and that tracks back to the story about jon karl about something he regretted on the confederate issue in south carolina. this issue of race was something that struck to his core as well. >> yeah, he got popped both ways though. you remember when he was running, they really kind of tried to kill him in south carolina because they said he had a black child and then tried to create the issue of race. the south was torn apart by race for such a long time. it's important for us to heal
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as i have said many times, and donna as a great champion, you can't go around this issue. you have to go through it, and this country quite frankly, has not gone through it quite the way we should. >> i have forgotten just how vicious that campaign got. >> the south carolina primary, they took him down on the issue of race as though that had something to do with whether he was going to be a great senator or not, and so it continues to be an issue that this country has to do through. we have to listen to each other, and be open and up and i always think we're better together. >> and better together is a continuing theme in john mccain's life. also a great friend. >> listen. that's a story i can tell, george. two days after bridgegate broke in january of 2014 for me, and i was under siege, i got a call from john mccain, and he said to me, listen. i have got one question for you. he said, did you have anything to do with this? i said, i didn't, senator. he said, good. well, then you're getting killed out there. tell your people to put me on as
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many tv shows as you can, and i'll stand up for you. for weeks after that, he was one of the only voices on television saying, i know chris christie and his character and he didn't have anything to do with this. i didn't call him. he called me, george, and as you know, very few friends like that in politics, and he is an amazing person. >> he could be all over the map politically, and we showed him working with democrat there is in those clips. also many times just went down the line, republican orthodox as well, but wrangled the party. >> sure. he was fearless and a fighter. he has a new hero this morning, and that is something we all remember him as, someone who stood his ground. certainly when he was a p.o.w., he had the opportunity to get in front of the lane and he said, no. the right thing for me is to stay back. he didn't break rank, and i remember him as someone with a wonderful sense of humor. during the '08 campaign, i remember going back in the green rooms and the debates and he would go in governor huckabee's green rooms and practice his jokes and kind of use us as a
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sounding board and we won't say any names, but there was one person who was the subject of a huckabee would him a governor little bit, and walk it back. senator mccain would take his advice. i don't want to be too rough on something, but he always got in a good punch line. >> some of thinthings never cha. >> you talk about punches and political campaigns. we can't ignore this fractured relationship he had had with president trump over the last year, and after going back to the campaign where president trump simply said, listen. i don't respect him as a war hero. he was captured. >> probably one of the low points of the trump administration in general was that comment on the campaign, and i want to go back to what they were saying. the moment i remember moat was his 2008 concession speech and when he got on that speech and pointed to the particular significance of an african-american man winning that race for the african-american community and what it meant for america and that this was the very best of
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america. this example was the very best, what america was all about, and when i think about that and the level of discourse and how far we have sunk right there, tsisa what i hope with this legacy is it will not be just words, but we will all look inside of ourselves to say, how do we be more decent and have more compassion because that's what he was about. >> as someone in the race at that time when the now-president made that comment, to me, that was the moment of demarcation when politics changed in this country. all of us thought, this is over. he said that about john mccain. he is going to have to get out of the race and we were all kind of preparing ourselves. not just me, but i spoke to marco and jeb. we were all preparing, like, how's the race going to be different with trump out of it? and the fact that that didn't end the race -- that was a real change. >> i'm glad you said that because listen. we have all been wrong about a
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lot of things over the last couple of years, but i vividly remember that moment as well saying, how is it possible that someone can survive attacking an american war hero like that? yet he did. >> he did, and, you know, to john mccain's credit, he never lowered himself to respond. he kept moving. >> yeah. >> even after the pettiness of the last couple of weeks with the defense authorization bill, he never lowered himself to respond. >> the moment where president trump signed it but didn't mention his name. >> did not mention his name. here's a lawmaker, the chair of the defense committee, and armed service. he worked his way up because he cared about veterans, because he cared about america. yes, he was a hawk. we had a lot of disagreements, but he cared about his country. he put his country first. >> isn't it worth taking a moment for the entire country to see what it looks like to put country first? nobody could ever accuse john mccain of being weak, soft or not tough or not petulant from time to time, but he was also a
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bipartisan. he was also kind. he also governed with great dignity and great strength. isn't that a good model for us going forward? if his life won't be in vain, america ought to look at what that means for all of us. >> you tend to lionize people in the moment of their death, but this is a man who is definitely not a saint. you talked about his sense of humor and he had a fierce, fierce, fierce temper and could be petty. he ultimately found ways around it. >> he found ways to work across the aisle and get things done, and of all the responses we have heard over the last 12 hours since his passing, the presidential response is one that stands out as touching and endearing. of course, from president obama and talking about how he and senator mccain disagreed politically on many things, but they came together on issues that were important and doing what was right for the country and doing the right thing, regardless of the consequences
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but understands we have political differences, but that doesn't mean we cannot work together for the best of this country. >> a lot else happened this week. of course, we were talking about that earlier. the guilty plea by michael cohen, the convictions of paul manafort. i mean, megan, one of the big questions i was thinking about as we saw that unfold on tuesday afternoon, is this a tipping point? >> we have said so many times before of what a tipping point is. one thing that's different now is we were talking about saying this is another bad week, the worst week yet for the administration. this is one of the worst weeks for the country, and here's why. it's twofold. you have the mess of michael cohen, and the circle closing on the president, and when he gets on the situations and he feels like things are closing in, he has shown to act irrationally, to appeal to the worst instincts of his base, whether that's pandering on athletes taking a kneel during the national anthem or immigration. that is how he reacts. he retreats to a corner and does things that can be dangerous for the country.
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i don't think this will be the worst week of the administration. i think we have many more worse weeks to come. whether this is the tipping point, what bob mueller has, yet to be seen, but this is another horrible week. >> chris christie, you're a former prosecutor as well, and i want to play a little bit of the president's reaction and then get your response. here's the president on "fox and friends." he was talking about paul manafort. >> one of the reasons i respect paul manafort so much. he went through that trial. people make up stories. they make up stories. people make up stories. people talk about flipping. for all these years, i have been watching flippers. everything's wonderful and then they get ten years in jail and they flip on whoever the next highest one is or as high as you can go. it almost ought to be outlawed. >> as a prosecutor, i'm sure you flipped more than a few. >> yes, i did. >> more than a few witnesses and picking up on megan's point. you look at the southern district and they had a
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cooperating witness in the chief financing officer, and in his good friend, david pecker over at "the national enquirer." they are reaching deep inside the trump world. >> sure, and we don't know what they are cooperating on. how limited or broad the immunity was. obviously, you know, we know how we would often give someone thin immunity, and then broader and they are cooperating on a variety of issues, and the president misunderstands in the comment he made is that responsible prosecutors, which i considered myself to be one, you don't just listen to someone who flips. you corroborate them. you have to bring in other evidence because obviously that person has told different stories at different times. you can't just go in with that witness. you have to go in with corroborating evidence, documents and witnesses that can back up that story, and if you don't, you shouldn't bring charges against someone based on one person's words. that's the way the system is
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supposed to work. it would be wrong to outlaw that, but we have to make sure our prosecutors act responsibly and get corroborating evidence. that's what the subjects are trying to do. >> in that interview, the president talked about impeachment, and we heard eric swalwell not want to touch that word with the ten-foot pole. democrats think it will actually hurt them in the midterm election. >> democrats are talking about pocketbook issues. we know that the american people want an alternative to the status quo right now. look. i want to say something about, you know, the president. the president has thrown a lot of shade -- that's what the kids call it. i mean shade on the attorney general. he is throwing shade on the investigation. it is time the president understands that he has to defend the constitution. he is not above the rule of law. when your accountant, and your former attorney and the keep of secrets are all cooperating with the attorney, the president should show some respect to the process. >> how do you balance this out?
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i understand the concern about appearing like you're overreaching, yet these are potentially serious crimes being discussed. >> i think when michael cohen did what he did, it took him to a more urgent piece, but i think the lawyers have to do what they have to do. impeachment is always the last resort. the way we change power is through elections and the democrats need to go out and vote to win. it's pretty clear that congress has been pretty feckless and completely weak. in terms of pushing back on this president and making him know that he was out of bounds. let the prosecutor dos what they do, and as governor christie said, a thorough investigation. bob mueller is a respected prosecutor across the aisle, and let him do their work, and let the facts and the law take us where it will. >> what do you think this means for the midterms? >> the key is motivating themes getting people out to vote, and what we're seeing from some, from the president and others out there, dropping the hint of possible impeachment to encourage republicans to get out there and vote to make sure we can secure the house on the
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republican side to democrats don't come in and talk about impeachment. what i'm hearing talking across the country, people are focused on jobs and the economy. trump's base is there. all of this manafort and cohen and even pecker, this is talk. they don't see it sticking with the president right now. they say that he hasn't done anything wrong. i disagree. i think payoff to porn stars is wrong, but the questionable -- the real word that hits a buzzword with a lot of voters is parole. if he starts -- pardons. if he starts talking about pardons, that's where his base will turn. they have a problem with that. >> it turns out this is a point you're getting at. even firing rod rosenstein or the attorney general at this point, it will not stop. the new york attorney general, or the u.s. attorney in the southern district, the district attorney here in manhattan. >> we don't know which one is most dangerous or what bob mueller has, and where they are with that investigation. and exactly what you are saying. we don't know what they are actually corroborating on, but you make an important point.
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but what we don't know is, is this motivating his base and causing people to want to turn out in the midterms? the democrats have a sway and people who hate this presidency, who are so motivated by, that but as you are saying, it's pocketbook issues and health care. it's, are my wages going to go up, and i think democrats are making a smart play too by focusing on companies and greed and equality still in this country. >> is there anything we can do to get ahead of this? do we have to wait it out? >> i have given this advice all along. there is -- investigations like this, there is no way to make it shorter, but there are lots of ways to make it longer. the way you make it longer is you keep talking. just stop talking. just stop. >> that's the one piece of advice he is never going to take. >> i'm going to continue to give it because it's the right advice and i'll tell you this. when you talk about michael cohen too, and i would just say that as a prosecutor, i would look at him as a potential witness and if i were the folks in the southern district of new york or bob mueller, i would
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want to get a boat load of corroboration of this guy. because let's not forget we all talk about the two counts he pled to as a campaign finance. the six other counts he pled to show this guy was a liar, a cheater and a thief. if you are going to -- i put liars and cheaters and thieves on the stand too, but i have had a boat load of corroboration. >> that's what they were developing. that's all we have time for today. thank you very much. we'll be right back.
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that is all for us today. thanks for sharing part of your sunday with us. check out "world news tonight." i'll see you tomorrow on "gma."
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up next, remembering john. e ibeshe arizona senator and vietnam war hero. a scenicriw thousands of ru and walkers are making their way from the bay bridge to the golden gate bridge. and look at all the gray sky out there, emeryville temperatures in the upper 50s. we'll scour out the clouds, have some haze, and upper 60s today in the east bay. the rest of the bay area and the week ahead coming up next on i'm a small business, but i have... big dreams... and big plans. so how do i make the efforts of 8 employees... feel like 50? how can i share new plans virtually?
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