tv This Week With George Stephanopoulos ABC September 2, 2018 8:00am-9:00am PDT
george stephanopoulos starts right now. a final salute and a challenge to a divided nation and its leaders. >> the america of john mccain has no need to be made great again because america was always great. >> political allies and adversaries honoring an american hero. >> i got to enjoy one of life's great gifts, the friendship of john mccain. >> when all was said and done, we were all on the same team. >> mccain's final words of the country call for unity and respect, but is a polarized america ready to heed his message? and can anyone fill the void he leaves behind? we're one-on-one with mccain's republican colleague, senator ron johnson and former defense secretary, leon panetta. and president trump ramping up his attacks on the russia investigation and the justice department.
>> i will get involved and i'll get in there if i have to. but our new abc news/ "washington post" poll shows the majority of americans back mueller's investigation. half the country supports congress starting impeachment proceedings. will the president's fate come down to which party wins control of congress? the powerhouse round table tackles it all. and on this labor day weekend, we look at the wave of female veterans running to take the fight to washington. how would you approach dealing with donald trump? from the white house to your house, the facts that matter this week. good morning and thanks for joining us this labor day weekend. it was a remarkable scene here in washington yesterday as mourners filled the national cathedral to pay their respects to the late senator, john mccain. the kind of service normally
reserved for presidents. all week mccain's services, final message and the speakers he hand-picked to eulogize him stood as an emotional admonishment of the politics increasingly consuming this country. at times as much a cincher of donald trump as an embrace of an american hero. >> i am here before you today saying the words i have never wanted to say, giving this speech i have never wanted to give, feeling the loss i have never wanted to feel. my father is gone. >> but on saturday, john mccain's voice was as clear and defiant as ever. in the sentiments of his daughter, meghan mccain. >> we gather here to mourn the passing of american greatness, the real thing. not cheap rhetoric from men who will never come near the sacrifice he gave so willingly, nor the opportunistic appropriation of those who live
lives of comfort and privilege while he suffered and served. >> from her father's service and sacrifice to his vision of our nation. >> america does not boast because she has no need to. the america of john mccain has no need to be made great again because america was always great. [ applause ] >> that speech only part of a week long tribute that john mccain planned himself to showcase bipartisanship at its best. >> back in the day, he could frustrate me, and i know he would say the same thing about me, but he also made me better. >> two former presidents, former rivals who defeated mccain in the political arena, lauding his legacy and his vision for the country. >> so much of our politics, our public life, our public
discourse can seem small and mean and petty. trafficking in bombast and insult and phony controversies, and manufactured outrage. john called on us to be bigger than that. he called on us to be better than that. >> another thinly veiled rebuke to the current occupant of the white house who had challenged mccain's heroism, trump was not invited to any of this week's ceremonies. he spent saturday at the golf course instead. throughout the week as leaders praised mccain for reaching ac aletrca >> today's democrat party is held hostage by left wing haters, angry mobs, deep state radicals, establishment cronies and their fake news allies.
>> and while mccain's friends and family gathered this weekend to honor a war hero, trump was h department of justice, the fbi. now as this labor day weekend marks the critical final stretch before election day, the president's words and actions will be hovering over the ballot. according to our new abc news/ "washington post" poll, 60% of americans disapprove of trump's performance in office, a new high, and nearly half of americans support congress initiating impeachment proceedings against trump. here to discuss mccain's legacy and how it stands in contrast to president trump, abc news senior white house correspondent, cecilia vega, abc news' cokie roberts, and chris christie, an abc news contributor and former governor of new jersey. good morning to you all. >> good morning. >> cokie, i want to start with you. that was such a powerful rebuke
by meghan mccain, our colleague here at abc news on "the view." it really was as if john mccain was speaking through meghan. will that message echo through the chamber? especially on the republican side? >> it's hard because that -- it is so divided, and it was a moment. john mccain as you said, orchestrated the whole thing, and he did have chuck schumer and mitch mcconnell, the leaders of the senate sitting together, nancy pelosi and paul ryan, the leaders of the house sitting together, and then they go back and they have their own constituents to worry about, and it's very difficult to see them coming together, but the rebuke was so strong. i mean, it wasn't just meghan. it was george bush saying that our common humanity knows no borders and barack obama talking about the politics that pretends to be brave and tough is, in fact, born of fear. there was just -- all through that ceremony, we were aware of the person who wasn't there.ceci
the message was squarely aimed at president trump. do you think he received that message, and how do you think it was received? >> well, he was at the golf course as you said, tweeting throughout most of the service. look. there is no other way to say this other than president trump was upstaged yesterday. everyone who is anyone in washington except the commander in chief, the current sitting president of this country, was inside that church. i don't need to know him or talk to my sources in the white house to know that that did not go over well with him. i think the reception is twofold. we saw john kelly, the chief of staff right there, towards the front of that church. we saw the secretary of defense, jim mattis. both generals. they subscribed to the same belief system that john mccain did. service, country before party. a lifetime of service, dedication to that role. we know that sarah sanders was essentially cringing sitting on pins and needles this week when
the president gave his interview with bloomberg and started to talk about johcain and i emrrma peoe ithoe s baasd aga refusing reportedly, to release a laudatory stoiatement about jn mccain. but look, president trump is playing to his base on this one. if you saw twitter yesterday, people came out against what meghan mccain said and saw this as political. i don't think this is going to change. >> that was political. it was political. it was emotional, but it was political. >> and governor christie, let's go to you. the president was golfing, or heading for the golf course just as meghan mccain was speaking. do you think he understands the significance of the passing of john mccain? >> sure. i think he understands the significance of the passing of john mccain, and quite frankly, i think that's what we should all be focused on. this is part of the problem with washington, d.c. it's the commentary we have been hearing for the last 24 hours or so.
since then, it's all about the rebukes supposedly of president trump rather than the life of john mccain, and, in fact, there were extraordinary tributes yesterday that we didn't hear any clips of before we started speaking here, extraordinary things that were said by president bush 43, by president obama, by joe lieberman who didn't rebuke president trump at all yesterday in his remarks and focused on his friend, john mccain and the extraordinary man that he was, the extraordinary sense of humor he had and his toughness, and his temper, and i can tell you as a friend of john mccain's this is a guy who when he was your friend, he was your friend. i talked about this last week, that when bridgegate first came onto the scene in january of '14, and the media was absolutely savaging me without any evidence of me having done anything wrong, it was john mccain who picked up the phone and called me two days afterwards. he said, i have one question for
you. i have known you a long time. did you have anything to do with this? i said, absolutely not, john. he said, good. tell your people to get me on every tv show, and i'm going to defend your character. that's the guy i remember. that's the guy they were talking about yesterday in that cathedral, and quite frankly, i think the tribute to john mccain should be us talking about that. next week we can talk about the political ramifications. >> governor christie, we have been talking about it all week, and we have been certainly talking about the heroism of john mccain and carried that live on saturday, but it was meghan mccain who got the most attention yesterday, and you have to know that donald trump was the elephant in the room at that memorial service. so do you think he has handled this well? >> the president of the united states no matter who that person is, is always the elephant in the room when they are not there. the fact is that the president of the united states, no matter who they are, is always the
biggest figure in american public political life. >> and he wasn't there. he wasn't there. >> i understand that, and that was john mccain's -- that was john mccain's desire, and his desire should be respected. people who are not invited to a funeral shouldn't show up. that's not showing respect to the deceased. that's showing disrespect to the deceased. it was good that the president didn't try to elbow his way in there, and by the way, members of his family were there to show the respect of the trump family. jared and ivanka were both there, and at the funeral and did so in a respectful way. his chief of staff was there, john kelly who understands john mccain's sacrifice because he has had an even greater sacrifice himself by giving up his son for this country -- to defend this country. he is a gold star father. so there were lots of representatives of the trump administration there yesterday to show that this administration has great respect for john mccain, despite whatever political disagreements they may have had over time. >> thanks very much governor
christie. is there anyone who picks up the mantel of john mccain? >> there is no obvious person. there is not a hero of the house. but there are people that try to do the work he does, and do it much more quietly because he was much more unique in his way of approaching things. they tend to be the women. the women in the senate particularly, are the people who work across party lines and try actually just to get something done. i was struck in all of this coverage that we have had of john mccain who many of us have known lovingly, and sometimes not so lovgl one of the most significant things was said by one of the women who was waiting in line to go into the capitol and she said, he never tweeted about something instead of solving something, and solving something is what we need to see more of. >> and cecilia, given what governor christie said, is that pretty much what president trump
will do in the coming weeks? it's behind us. will it empower president trump even more? >> i think if people are hoping to see a change in tone and tenor from this president, i can pretty much bet you're not going to see that. you didn't see that in the days after his passing or leading up to his passing. i certainly don't think his funeral is going to change anything. i think "the new yorker" spelled it out. john mccain's funeral was the biggest resistance meeting yet, if anything, i think we'll start to see this turn into a political event. we have seen katrina pierson the president's long-time surrogate saying, sorry, not sorry. make america great again. he won, get over it. i think it could get ugly. >> it was really something to see people from the last 50 years of washington hierarchy sitting together, both parties. presidents, vice presidents, secretaries of state and not the president. >> it was an extraordinary memorial. thanks, both of you, for coming
in this morning. so how do republicans plan to answer the challenge mccain posed this morning? joining us now is senator ron johnson elected to the senate in 2010. he replaced one of mccain's allies, russ feingold. he is also member of the foreign relations committee. you were at the memorial service yesterday. what does it say about president trump that he wasn't welcome at memorial services for one of the most widely respected individuals in our country? >> good morning, martha. you know, i was also at the rotunda. i was at the 2 1/2-hour service yesterday, and it was a privilege and honor to be there, and i'll just tell you, having sat in that chair listening to the tributes, that's why it took away from it. i watched a daughter grieving the loss of her father and how important john mccain was, and what a great father he was.
i listened to joe lieberman and henry kissinger, and president obama talk about who john was, and what he brought to america, and the cause that john mccain fought tirelessly for throughout his life, what he sacrificed for. i'm telling you. that's what i heard. yeah, there are some political comments made, but by and large, it was a tribute to john mccain and that was fitting and proper that's basically what the message was. john mccain is an extraordinary individual, and he is irreplaceable in the united states senate because of what his history was, what his background was, what he focused on. we all knew john was going to, you know, was going to pass, and we knew it was inevitable, and last week, you know, it came to fruition. it was very sad, very sober, but it can be very uplifting if we listen to john's words. let me just read because this is the best way to summarize this from john's own farewell address. the last paragraph. do not despair our difficulties,
but believe always in the promise and greatness of america because nothing is ineligible here. americans never quit. we never surrender, we never hide from history. we make history. that's who john mccain was, the cause he fought for, and that, i'm just telling you. sitting in the pew listening to the service, that's what i really was thinking about and that's what we should all really take away from, you know, this week of tributes to john mccain. >> senator, how do you as a member of congress balance the challenge of working with this president who thrives on tribal politics and mccain's challenge for the senate to rise above that and work across the aisle? >> listen. i come from the world where you tenaciously pursue areas of agreement. i see the word compromise. the better way of approaching all these issues is finding areas of agreement. generally we all agree on the same goal. we view this country and we love this country, the freedoms and individual liberty. we want a safe, prosperous, secure america. that's what john focused on.
the areas of agreement. don't insist on giving everything away. the areas of disagreement, you have to compromise, but concentrate on the areas of agreement. that's where you accomplish things. the department of homeland security, we signed into law, 50 pieces of legislation that focused on a problem and finding a solution on a partisan or bipartisan basis. there is a way of doing this, but again, don't exploit the divisions in our politics. concentrate on the areas of agreement, and that's what john did, and he showed us the way to do it. >> and senator, the president does loom large over the midterms and our new abc news/ "washington post" poll finds that the president's disapproval rating has hit an all-time high at 60%, and nearly half of americans, 49% say that congress should begin impeachment proceedings against president trump. including 51% of moderates. how do republican candidates overcome the cloud of
investigations that hang over the president especially in a key swing state like yours? >> i think we should point out the reality of all the good things this administration has done. we stopped adding to the regulatory burden and we have a more competitive tax system. in the first six quarters of this administration, business investment has increased 7.3% on average. under obama, it only increased .6%. it's that business investment that will lay the foundation for strong economic progress. more process -- prosperity, better opportunities for every americans so we have done a lot of good things. we have appointed and confirmed judges. >> let's go back to that poll, senator. go back to that poll and those really tough numbers. >> well, listen, you know. if i believed in polls, i wouldn't have even run in 2016. so i'm not a big believer in the polls. there is only one poll that counts and it's on election day and we'll see really the verdict of the american public. but over the next two months, republicans just have to point out the success and it's been an astonishing success over the last quarter.
4.1% growth. we have laid the foundation that the main number there is the 7.3% increase in business investment. it's an extraordinary accomplishment because we are starting to get government out of the way of the private sector and that's how you create opportunity and prosperity for america. >> we'll see how the campaign wills go. thanks, senator johnson. i want to move to the confirmation hearings for brett kavanaugh. supreme court seat up for confirmation this week, democrats are expected to press kavanaugh to recuse himself from any investigation -- any cases that involve investigations against president trump. should he do that if he is confirmed? >> i mean, it probably depends on the case. brett kavanaugh, an extraordinary judge, a long record. 12 years on the d.c. circuit court bench. over 300 decisions, and the democrats have more than enough information too understand this
is a highly qualified jurist that should be the next supreme court justice. 30 years ago, he would have passed unanimously. it's unfortunate that ted kennedy began this process of very divisive confirmation battles for court. >> should he recuse himself? >> listen. totally depends on the case. elena kagan recused herself. i can't make that judgment. >> cases involving president trump. >> i'm sure judge kavanaugh will follow, you know, the guidelines and recuse himself in cases where he should, but by and large i think judges and justices should be involved in cases. >> okay. thanks very much, senator johnson. we appreciate you joining us. coming up, as president trump openly debates the merits of his own impeachment, should democrats put the issue at the top of their agenda? former white house chief of eta, onta joins me here to discuss that and more next. f and defense secretary, leon panetta joins me here to discuss that and more next.
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♪ ♪ oh danny boy, oh danny boy a powerful moment yesterday. cindy mccain leaning on her son, jack, during the service for her husband at washington's national cathedral. joining me now is former defense secretary and cia director leon panetta. he served in congress with john mccain and worked with him closely over the years on intelligence and foreign policy issues. it is great to see you secretary panetta. i know you were there for the memorial service in the national cathedral. tell us what that was like for you. >> it's -- it's one of the most moving memorials that i have ever attended because it was -- it was truly a tribute to a statesman, a patriot and a
warrior, but more importantly when you look at the music and those who spoke, it was really a celebration of country, and i think that's what john would have wanted. and the message was not so much to the president, but the message was really to the american people about what love of country really has to be all about. >> you say it wasn't a message to president trump, but there were some clear messages to president trump there. you know he apparently wasn't watching that service. what do you say about those messages directly to the president? you had joe lieberman saying john mccain's death has reminded the nation that strong values, human rights, democracy, justice under law are far more important than the tribal partisanship and
personal attack politics that have characterized our life. >> there's no question this has really been a week of contrast with john mccain, you know, someone who fought bravely in battle, someone totally devoted to this country and its values, who was a fighter for helping people in this country, contrasting that with the president and the way this president has acted, particularly over these last few weeks with the tweets and with the comments and with the attacks on our justice system and on the press. there is no question that there was that larger contradiction that i think -- i think represented for john mccain, a message that country is much more important than politics, and that's what we have to focus on. >> and as we approach the midterms, you were chief of staff to president clinton
before impeachment proceedings. do you think it's wise for democrats if they retake the house, to start impeachment proceedings? is it wise politically for them to do that? >> no. not at all. i think -- i think the most important thing that the democrats could do is to allow bob mueller to complete his work. i think bob mueller's report will ultimately determine whether or not there are going to be additional steps taken against the president, and they ought not to get ahead of that report because that will be the key to determining what happens in the future. >> you mention the mueller investigation, and rudy giuliani told "the daily beast" this week that trump's legal team is preparing a counter report to question mueller's legitimacy. do you have concerns that the trump team can undermine this investigation even before it's finished? >> well, you know, bob mueller is focusing on several things right now.
obviously he has gone after individuals and he has gone after russians that were involved in coming after our election system. they are getting very close to making a case for obstruction of justice. not only by the steps that were taken in terms of president demeaning and attacking a witch hunt, but also the fact that rudy giuliani himself has said that the whole purpose of their effort is to undermine the credibility of the special counsel, and then when you add to that the dismissal of those that were involved in the investigation, i think you begin to piece together the kind of case that could form around an obstruction of justice charge. i think you have to be very careful of using this tactic to undermine the special counsel and the special prosecutor because i think that could backfire. >> i want to move onto foreign
policy if we could. i know one of the last conversations you had with john mccain was about north korea. the president has now canceled pike pompeo's trip to north korea saying they haven't made enough progress. where do you think this stands now, and what do you do about it? >> i'm very worried about the situation because frankly i think we have a failed summit on our hands right now, and there is a long list of failed efforts throughout history. this may be another one of those, and the problem is that in many ways, it was doomed to failure from the beginning because there was never the proprietary work that has to be done prior to a summit meeting. this was all about show, shaking hands and exchanging words. the underlying work on process, of looking at nuclear weapon sites, on inspection regimes, on what should be done with sanctions, all of the things that need to be done to produce
some kind of peaceful solution, were not done. >> donald trump was handed a very bad hand on this. >> no question. >> if not already, he could probably at any point get a nuclear weapon that could reach the united states, an icbm. indeed he ratcheted up the rhetoric, but what else could he have done to delay that? you talk about that work. that's the work they are trying to do now. >> well, look. what needs to be done now because it wasn't done before, is the basic diplomatic work that looks at all the issues that are involved here, puts them all on the table and begins a diplomatic process between the united states, north korea, hopefully south korea is part of that, as well as japan, but putting those parties together with everything on the table so that you can begin to make the tradeoffs that are part of what ultimately would be a resolution to the situation. >> donald trump said he still
has a fantastic relationship with kim jong-un. why is he saying things like that? >> this isn't about the dominance of personalities. this is about the hard work of negotiating the solution to the differences between north korea and united states and south korea. there have been issues here, but none of that work has been done. we don't know where the nuclear sites are. we don't know where the missile sites are. we don't know where a lot of their chemical sites are located. we have not developed any kind of inspection regime. all of that needs to be on the table. that's what needs to be discussed, and we have yet to have a serious meeting on those issues. that's the problem. >> okay. i want to talk about one last thing here, and that's another enduring problem in foreign policy, and that is afghanistan. we are approaching 17 years in afghanistan. you were, of course, helped lead the raid that eventually killed osama bin laden.
that was 7 1/2 years ago. we're still there. none of us want another 9/11, but should we still be there? >> i think it's very important not to allow afghanistan to collapse and then allow the taliban to restore their influence. >> is there a different way to do that than we're doing now? >> i think that what is needed here is a strategy to secure the country of afghanistan. we have troops there, but what i think is lacking is a specific strategy for how we are going to secure that country. >> after 17 years? >> yeah. >> i feel like i have heard that before. >> no. you're absolutely right. you have heard it before, and the problem is that the specific strategy for how we were going to deal with afghanistan was never really laid out, by any administration frankly, and
ultimately what needs to be done, if we're going to have forces there, if we're going to work with the afghans, is we have got to be able to secure that country and allow it to govern itself. that still remains to be done. there is a lot of corruption. there is a lot of tribalism in that country. we have not dealt with the problems of afghanistan that have to be resolved if we're ever going to save afghanistan itself. >> thank you very much for that. we hope we can solve it as well. thank you for joining us this morning, secretary panetta. coming up, a surge of female veterans are running for congress looking for a new way to serve their country. how could they change the face of washington? and the powerhouse round table takes on a very busy week in politics. we'll be right back. in politics. we'll be right back. fidelity is redefining value for investors. introducing zero account fees for brokerage accounts. and zero minimums to open an account.
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women run for office, but that pink wave may also have a camouflage tint with nearly a dozen female veterans winning their party's nomination for seats in the house and senate. the halls of capitol hill used to be filled with veterans. 50 years ago, more than 70% of congress had served in the military. today it's only 1 in 5, so will a new crop of female veterans reinforce the ranks of vets on capitol hill? i asked some of them this week how their service will shape their approach to washington. from kentucky -- >> when i was 12 years old, i knew exactly what i wanted to do when i grew up. i wanted to fly fighter jets. >> to texas. >> and that's me. an air force combat veteran and a mom. this door behind me is from my helicopter. >> to new hampshire. >> i knew right away i wanted to be a marine. that was one of the easiest
decisions i ever made. >> to the winner of the republicanene im ariza th wee-- >> we need no doubletaards. don't make it harder on us, but don't make it easier on us either. >> -- the first woman to fly in combat, martha mcsally is 1 of the more than 30 female veterans who have campaigned for congress this year. your service has been central to your campaign for senate. why do you think we have so many female vets at this time? >> i served for 26 years. it's my life. people grew tired of politicians and that's why us veterans are stepping up because we care about our country and service and honor and sacrifice and getting the mission done too. >> we saw that very touching photo of you saluting. >> to honor him in this capital where we served together which i feel so humbled to have done, but to render him that final salute was -- it was pretty difficult, but also important
for me. >> these female warriors are running on traits learned from their military service. courage, authenticity, integrity, that they think can be effective in congress as well. in norfolk, virginia, elaine luria is emphasizing lessons learned from her 20-year naval career. >> i'm sitting in the central control station and operating eight nuclear reactors, and i don't turn to one of the sailors next to me and say, are you a democrat? are you a republican? it's really about getting a mission done and i think, you know, having that experience of, you know, working together with people of all perspectives, all backgrounds, and accomplishing a mission is something that i think we as female veterans collectively feel we can take to washington. >> when this is your office, your only option is to work together. congress could learn a thing or to at sea. -- two at sea. >> you have gotten some heat for an ad you ran that makes it look like you're on a ship. do you regret doing that ad? >> not at all. i spent my entire career serving on ships.
i was fortunate to be among the first group of women who from the first day of my career, had the opportunity to service on combatant ships. it doesn't hold water in my opinion that anyone would criticize my military record. >> lynne blankenbeker running in new hampshire had her military credentials questioned. as a navy nurse, was she combat proven as he campaign slogan stated? >> i have been in the military for 32 years, and during peacetime and in wartime, i was a combat nurse. my job was not to charge or take the hill, but my job was to save the lives of those who were willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for all of us. >> and toughness, another quality these women learned from serving, one that will serve them well on the campaign trail. and of course, labor day weekend kicks off the final sprint until election day. so much at stake, and the round table is here to discuss it all.
abc news political analyst matthew dowd, vice and the washington bureau chief shawna thompson, rick klein, and we have jennifer jacobs. she interviewed the president just this week, and we're going to get to that in just a minute, but i have to start with you with the new poll numbers from the abc news/ "washington post" poll. president trump has the lowest approval rating heading into his first midterm election of any president since 1954. how much will he loom over those elections? >> this election is all about donald trump, but neither party disputes that. in fact, the president boasts of that a couple of times a week on the campaign tra, approval rating, that is 10 points below where presidents obama or clinton were at this point in the election, and 12 points below reagan, and all three of these men suffered devastating losses. i have been talking to republican strategists the last
couple of days and they are making the case that a lot of their candidates can isolate themselves from the president, but they look at that 36% number and a couple of them made the same point to me. i can see why that could get worse between now and election day. it's really hard to think of a scenario where it gets measurably better. where the president isn't an anchor. >> and matt, the president was tweeting about our poll friday clearly kind of irritated by those numbers. does he recognize the trouble that republicans are in in november? >> if he recognizes it, he is not talking about it. i think he is fed a lot of information that this is distinct from reality in this. one of the things that -- let's keep in mind that the president is the first president since polling began to never hit 50% approval in his first two years in office. never hit 50% approval. every other president has done that. the underlying numbers in here are also really troublesome for the president that when you look at strongly approve versus strongly disapprove, only 24% of the country strongly approve of
this president. 53% of the country strongly disapproves from the president. that has not moved. it has been at 25% of the country through his whole presidency. what's troubling for him is the number of people that strongly disapprove is increasingly rising. that measures enthusiasm. people that say i'll run with trump is much smaller than run with trump. >> nearly half of those polls support congress starting impeachment proceedings against the president, but you may have heard leon panetta saying that that's not really a good idea before the mueller report comes out. do you believe democrats will proceed with caution? >> i think going into the midterm election, they will continue to proceed with caution. i think if basically -- nancy pelosi doesn't want to talk about this because she does not want to create a litmus test for the midterm candidates, and if a midterm candidate needs to run to the left and talk about impeachment, that's one thing, but she doesn't want everybody to have to talk about
now if the house of representatives slips and becomes democrats, impeachment will be something they will have to consider because a lot of their base is clamoring for that as your poll kind of shows, but there is also another power that you have once you take over the house that the democrats will have, and that is they can do investigations on a lot of things in the house oversight committee and the house financial services committee, and they are going to. they have already telegraphed they are if they take over the house. >> jennifer, back to your interview. as we said, you sat down with some of your colleagues with the president this week. he declared if they win back the house, democrats can't impeach him because he is doing a great job. is the white house prepared for this possible political battle? >> well, one of the most striking things about our interview was just how fully the president lives in his own desired narrative where his power and popularity and influence are total. he told us that he understands the economy better than most
economists. he said he is a more popular president than anyone understands. he had an answer for everything. what if the republicans lose the house in november and impeachment proceedings begin? impossible, he said. i'm doing a great job. you can't impeach somebody who is doing a great job. the mueller probe, illegal. the trade war, the u.s. is stronger than any other country. we'll get them under control, and, in fact, we're going to launch, you know, more tariffs. i mean every -- your staff -- the key staffers are leaving and everybody needs to fill these jobs. every single problem that we pose to him he said -- he had an answer to it. he believes in his ability to change, you know, the way the country is going to move forward, and every crisis or scandal he is facing, he thinks he has his thumb on being able to crush it and he believes that his approach is g. he was saying he would like to sit down with kim jong-un, and everyone reacted with such amazement and astonishment, and
now he has done that and he thinks that has lowered the threat level and he has north korea under control. >> which is not true. >> right. but he says he has the greatest patience in the world. he can wait for kim jong-un to take action. >> other presidents have said that before. >> everyone said that you shouldn't put these huge tariffs on and they will crush the economy. that hasn't happened. he thinks his approach is justified. he thinks he can handle anything. >> what's funny is that as a reality tv star, he seems awfully divorced from reality. one thing on impeachment. i think the democrats have become way too reticent on this issue. if you think about this vis-a-vis donald trump, support for impeachment is much higher than support for donald trump today. i think the democrats should basically run on a platform of , imble, bute'olth e. a sse of accntability -- >> do you think the voters want that to be a central focus? >> when you look at support among democrats for impeachment,
it's north of 80% support an impeachment. >> do you want it to be a central issue? a lot of democrats -- >> say, we're going to hold this president accountable and one of the tools to do that, depending on the mueller report is impeachment. that's how i would answer the question. >> the fear is of course, you end up creating a backlash. it drives republican voter in 2020, and makes him look like he is an embattled person who needs to be risen up by his base and i think that's the fear that establishment democrats have about the word impeachment. >> and rick, i want to go to you. we have brett kavanaugh on the hill this week for confirmation hearings. if he is confirmed, what effect will that have? will it harden the democrats? will it motivate republicans? who gets motivated by that? >> if he is confirmed, it's likely to get confirmed by the end of the month, and the idea that whatever happens in september motivates people in november, i think we have seen these news cycles work a bit differently, but i think this
next couple of weeks will be interesting. not so much because there is a realistic shot of the nomination, but the strategy in defining kavanaugh, it's a scatter shot strategy. they are trying to find him in ters.ays and pke of maybe for some, it's about row -- roe v. be a big fight in forcing him to recuse himself affecting presidential power, and all of those things together, the idea of kavanaugh opponents is you can put a port trait together that will motivate voters on the senate floor, but man there is a lot of time in these next two months that won't be about brett kavanaugh. >> i want to move to the immigration. a lot of the president's supporters voted for him because of his stance on immigration. the white house has been talking about the story, the sad, sad story of mollie tibbetts out in iowa who was killed allegedly by an undocumented immigrant and they talked about this to justify immigration policies, but tibbetts' father wrote an
op-ed this weekend, a very moving op-ed this weekend criticizing those who have chosen to callously distort and corrupt mollie's death. there is great merit in its reasonable outcome, but do not appropriate mollie's soul in advancing views she believed were profoundly racist. a lot of faults in the immigration debate. how big of an issue will this be? >> i talked to iowa republicans about this, and they agree with mollie tibbetts' dad and his appeal to voters. they think she should not be used as a pawn in this particular debate by either side. her dad said that this distorts and corrupts her opinions on the issue and that this particular man who was accused of killing her is not representative of the hispanic community any more than a white supremacist is of all white people.
the republicans i talked to said they do believe that, but nationally people are still using her as a weapon in their political fight. you just had people like ann coulter who said titillating things about nancy pelosi is to blame for mollie tibbetts' death, and it's things like that that irritate republicans in iowa. they do respect this, and they think this should be cooled down. >> it's appealing to the base. >> i think that is the thought that president trump or steven miller has, but based on what you are saying is that it's not appealing to the base of republicans in iowa, and that is -- that is something you have to take into account. this is very personal to them. they don't want it used that way.ovalt pumps people up, that's one thing, but the president has to be careful individually, what does that say to people? >> back to your interview, president trump said jeff sessions is safe until the ie
midtw. >> just do his job, and if he did, i would be very happy, be you the job entails two sides, not one side. >> clearly no chance sessions is sticking around for the long haul, right? >> right. he has had republicans and advisers say, listen. this would not be popular if you were to fire jeff sessions and indeed your poll shows that only 19% of american adults support the idea of firing jeff sessions. he said, i want him to do a great job, and when we pressed him on that, what does that mean? it means going after the people he feels have attacked him or hurt him in some way. he mentioned the ex-cia director john brennan. he mentioned the ex-fbi director james comey, and he mentioned the congressional staffer that was tied to the whole conspiracy
about the dnc observer. he started rattling off the people he feels have harmed him, and he said, i question what jeff sessions is doing, and why he isn't going after these people. that captured it in a nutshell. he wants him to do a great job, and that means going after people -- >> we have about 30 seconds left here, and i just want to close as the way we opened on the show with john mccain and your thoughts. >> related to this, we had a long good-bye for john mccain, an american hero and a good man in the course of this. i think when you look at it, you had this in your interviews. that funeral was an indictment of the politics of donald trump, and many of the leaders in washington. i would hope senator johnson who was on before would listen to a lot of what he said, which was it was not just about donald trump. it was about how politics is practiced in wasngdaby confir h bbe watintt kanau especially the brett kavanaugh confirmation hearings. and we'll be right back.
service and sacrifice were in the spotlight, we honor two americans who died in the month of august serving our country in afghanistan and iraq. that's all for us today. thanks for sharing part of your sunday with us. we leave you this labor day weekend with a final salute to senator mccain, the battle hymn of the republic performed saturday by the u.s. academy glee club and the u.s. navy brass ensemble. ♪ ♪ mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the lord ♪ ♪ he is tramming out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored ♪ ♪ he hath loosed the lightning of his terrible swift
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