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tv   MSNBC Live With Alex Witt  MSNBC  April 29, 2018 10:00am-11:00am PDT

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we'll learn at least 11 trump associates communicating with russian associates on an ongoing basis. they didn't find conclusion because they weren't looking for it because their purpose at the
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beginning was to defend the president. >> the missing facts. a house intel committee member rips the republicans for what they left out of their report on the russia probe. she goes around saying we will impeach him, we will impeach him. i don't think we're going to have a lot of happy people if that happens. i think it's going to be a little bit tough. >> threat of impeachment. the president addresses it head on, but how will it shape the midterms? what's uncle tom but for white women who disappoint other white women? >> fair or foul? was the white house correspondents' dinner satire more like personal pot shots? a very good day to all of you. i'm alex witt here at msnbc world headquarters. we begin the top of the hour with some breaking news. we're going to give you a look right now at the border in southern california between san diego and tijuana, mexico. this is indicating a lot of people standing there, right
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along that border. it is a very pivotal, important day. there has been a caravan moving north from parts of central america through mexico to this point, for this day. approximately 400 or so, slightly less, down from about 1,000 that began on this caravan, who have fallen by the wayside for various reasons on their journey north. they are expected to present themselves to u.s. authorities. they are seeking asylum at the border. let's go to nbc's gadi schwartz. >> reporter: right now we're on the tijuana side. this is where those 400 immigrants have come. they've come for a demonstration. i'm going to show you what's going on. this right here, these are immigrants and their supporters here on the tijuana side. you've got some of the people that have come up from honduras. they've climbed the fence there.
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they're not crossing over, but they want to get a good look at what's going on just beyond the fence. that's a group of supporters from the united states. they are carrying signs that say welcome immigrants. we're going to take a closer look. give us a second here. it's a little treacherous on the beach. but this is where the families are. if you give me a second here, this is what these families are seeing for the first time. so many of these families have come from central america, guatemala, honduras, el salvador. you can see people are hugging here. we're going to walk up right to the fence. and these are some of the people, this is the first time they're looking down at the shores of the united states. you see all those signs there. they're chanting "we are immigrants, we are not criminals, we are workers and
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why are they killing us, why are they murdering us." we're going to walk down here real fast. we're the hope of latin america. this is a group right here. this is what they're seeing before they prepare to turn themselves in for asylum. you can see smiling faces for once in a very long time. it's been a very stressful ordeal for these families. they have been traveling for over a month. they're looking over. they have heard the rhetoric from president trump. now they're seeing support for them on the united states' side. a very emotional time for them. in fact, we're going to make our way down here. that's the ocean. that's the ocean here in tijuana. that's the ocean in the united states. this little boy right here, his name is angel. he came from honduras. he's looking over at the support here. his family has been waiting here
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in tijuana for about four or five days. in a little while, a little later today, they're going to go to one of the ports of entry where they are going to turn themselves in. some of these people have been told to prepare for the possibility that they may be detained for days, weeks, possibly months. in fact, i want to show you some of the people that you're seeing right here, they are a group of transgenders that have come from central america, and they say they're being persecuted there. in fact, one of the men and women here told me that in their country, there are some laws that are against the transgender community. it's very, very difficult for them. they have had family members killed. so here they are. looks like there's a kite that's flying above us. here they are hoping that they can find refuge in the united states. but this is the scene right now. they're going to be here for about another hour. then they're going to make their way to the port of entry where they're going to try to turn themselves in.
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we've heard from border patrol and i.c.e. officials. they have said what they're going to try to do is try to hear some of these asylum cases as they come in, but there's a big but there, a lot of times here in tijuana, especially at the port of entry, there is a long line of other asylum seekers that come. it is unclear if these people here are going to be able to claim asylum today because of those long lines. so that's something that we're yet to see. but again, it's a very emotional scene out here as a lot of these immigrants from central america are seeing support in the united states after such a long time of hearing opposition and hearing the political rhetoric in the news. alex? >> i got to tell you, gadi, i'm emotional just looking at this because i know what it has taken for these people, thanks to the excellent reporting of you and our colleagues at nbc, as they've made their way north. i know there's been concern. you profiled that mother who i
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believe had a little daughter. she was worried about when she gets to the border crossing that her daughter would be taken away from her and put in foster care during this whole process. the range of emotion has to be extraordinary. these people have traveled so far under oftentimes horrific conditions, and they can see the promise land, if you will. they can see where they want to be. i mean, it's visually right there. how about those people that have climbed on top of the fence, gadi? how did they get there, and is it safe up there? i mean, there doesn't seem to be any barbed wire or anything like that. >> reporter: so this is an area that there's actually two fences. right now this is a fence on the tijuana side. over there, there is the fence on the united states side. it's probably not very safe, but this is something that we see a lot here. this fence, you know, you can see how easy it is to climb. a lot of these people are getting up pretty quickly. none of them are trying to cross
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from what we've seen. they're basically just trying to get up there, show their support, and see what's going on, on the united states side. you were just talking a little while ago about katherine. we're trying to find her. we understand that she had kind of a rough night last night. her little baby ashley, the one we've been profiling for quite some time now, she got a fever last night. she's gotten sick a few times during this trip, including their time on the train as they were coming up from mexico city to the border. very, very treacherous. so she's been taking care of ashley. it's unclear if they're going to turn themselves in. we believe that they are going to try to do that, but that child is running a fever there, out of resources. they have lost all their money on the trip up here. they have one bag with their belongings. they are anticipating the possibility of being separated. and katherine's main concern is she doesn't want to be separated from her daughter, and they don't want to be put in
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detention centers. as they prepare to go to the united states and ask for asylum, what they're doing is putting on extra clothes because they fear they're going to be put in these detention centers where it is extremely cold and they don't know when they're going to be released. >> gadi, is there a way to calculate what percentage of, how many of these people appealing for asylum are actually going to get through? >> reporter: well, that's a really difficult question. the group has been split up into a, b, and c groups. the a groups are believed to have the best case for asylum. let me see if i can see any of them here. the groups in that a group are the transgender community that is coming up because of their persecution. the lawyers here feel that they
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have a pretty strong case of claiming asylum in the united states because they're not persecuted, not just in honduras, el salvador, and guatemala, but also here in mexico. they do not think it's safe for them here in mexico. as for a ballpark, we're thinking the caravan is about 400 people. what we've heard is estimates that maybe 100, 120 may have very strong cases of asylum. those are the ones we're going to see first coming into the port of entry to try to claim asylum. it's difficult to know exactly what's going to happen once they do that. there is a possibility that they are processed that day, given an ankle monitor, and allowed to live in the united states until their asylum case. but there's also the possibility that they may be turned back because of logistics, because of the difficulty in seeing so many people and wait here in mexico before they can be processed into the united states. a lot of uncertainty. we should know a little bit more
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in the next couple hours as this group here moves to the border crossing. >> yeah, i was going to say, so it's a little after 10:00 in the morning, approaching 10:15 in the morning there your time. so you say a couple hours. is there any idea how many of them will be able to get to speak with customs officials and i.c.e. authorities and be able to get the process going today? >> reporter: that is the point of confusion. because we're going to show you a little later today, there's a plaza in front of the crossing. in that plaza yesterday, the day before we've seen 50, 60, 70, even 100 people there waiting to get asylum in the united states or waiting to actually apply for asylum in the united states. that makes it very difficult to know how long it will take to put these immigrants, the caravan of immigrants, in that plaza, in that waiting line and process them through. they're hoping to do it around 2:00 pacific time here. but that line stretches pretty long. it's all going to be dependent on how many border agents there
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are, how many i.c.e. officials there are to process those claims. it's a big question mark for now. we still don't know exactly what's going to happen once we get over there. as you know, president trump has directed the secretary -- the homeland secretary security not to allow large caravans like this into the country. we're not sure exactly what's going to happen later this afternoon. >> gadi schwarz, excellent reporting here on all this breaking news. again, i say i've been watching, it's been terribly emotional to know the hopes and dreams these people have placed on trying to reach some play they've longed to get to, the difficult challenges and journeys they've taken. we appreciate your reporting all along. you have something? >> reporter: alex, yeah, i do. we just found katherine. >> oh, katherine and ashley. >> reporter: so this is katherine. this is the woman we've been profiling since her journey all the way from honduras. [ speaking foreign language ] the baby's a little bit sick?
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yeah, she says she's got a fever. [ speaking foreign language ] she says that today is still the plan. they're going to try to come in today. but her daughter is her main priority. so we're going to be following katherine here. we're going to be checking on her daughter. they are out of supplies here in tijuana, so they're run up against the wall, really, literally. we're going to be following that family. we're going to update you a little bit more. >> we'll very much look forward to that. well done there on the border. thank you so much for that. let's go right now to nbc white house correspondent jeff bennett. a couple questions your way regarding all of this developing news. what happens when they get to these offices, the i.c.e., the customs department? what will be the next step? what's going to happen? >> hey, alex. i can tell you the official
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stance of the u.s. was that anyone seeking a asylum should have settled in mexico. but the homeland security secretary said people who file claims will have their claims addressed as efficiently and expeditiously as possible. that was the phrase she used. she also said that anyone who helps any undocumented immigrant file a false claim of asylum will be prosecuted. that was certainly a warning she issued. of course, we heard the president talk about this caravan last night in that campaign-style rally in michigan. before that, he was tweeting about this. last month when this whole thing started, he said the caravan better be stopped before it reaches the border, and he of course attacked members of congress for what he viewed as weak immigration laws that he says lead to this kind of thing, this kind of exodus from central america as people try to find safety and security here in the u.s. >> jeff, is there any indication the white house is monitoring
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what we're talking about right now, these pictures and the story and the demonstrations, knowing full well that this caravan has reached the end of its long, long journey? >> that's right. i don't have any specific reporting on that, but i can tell you i would certainly assume the president, who is here at the white house today, and as we know is an avid viewer of cable news, i would imagine is watching these pictures as we're watching them here now. one of the things we're going to do now is reach out to the white house and get reaction we can share with you. >> jeff, can i just ask you on a somewhat different note, the reaction within the white house to the big campaign-style rally last night there in washington, michigan. of course, it can't be lost on viewers that it wasn't washington, d.c., where the president would have been part of the white house correspondents' dinner. yet, it was washington, michigan, where he was. did they appreciate the applause, the rousing? did they think it's all good for the president right now in that area, in michigan? >> i certainly think so. we know the president tends to like those kind of forums.
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i can tell you i was speaking with some of his political staff here, and they said that we should expect to see the president do more of that, getting out in front of his supporters, talking about the issues that he thinks really drives his base, including immigration, which of course is notable considering the images we're watching unfold on the screen. but immigration, tax cuts, some of the other sort of cultural issues that he thinks his supporters turned out to vote for him back in 2016 and hopefully will support the republican ticket in 2018. one of the things i'm keeping a close eye on is my phone, hoping to see if the president will tweet about any of this. i imagine if he's watching these images as we are that this is something we could hear from him very soon on. >> good. you keep an eye on your phone for a twitter update. i'll keep eye on the scripts and my notes here. we'll look forward to talking with you again. many thanks for that. joining all of us right now, jane newton small, contributor for "time" magazine, and laura bassett from the huffington
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post. it is extraordinary what we're watching here. i know that you've been able to see and hear what we've been reporting. your reaction to what we're seeing. i find it very emotional. >> absolutely, alex. it's sort of heartbreaking for these families, having traveled so far to come up and have so many hopes, so much desperation on their ability to enter the country and get asylum in such a climate where just last night the president where he was speaking in washington township in michigan called them pathetic. sort of mocked them and said these pathetic caravans, these pathetic people. so it is so striking, the sort of contrast you see when you look at the statue of liberty. give us your poor, you know, those who are suffering, and the current rhetoric coming out of the administration which says we should move to a means tested, visa-based system where people with skills are the only ones allowed in, people who can make america better, so they say.
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>> look, laura, i'm curious if there's any conventional wisdom on the way this president reacts to emotional things. yes, jay has stated, as has jeff, and gadi the trump white house position on this. but we saw this president when he saw the bombings in syria, he gets emotional about certain things. when you see women, children in particular, he dpuoesn't like that. he doesn't like them being harmed. and look what he did in two different cases. he's gone in and bombed syria. my point being that seeing pictures like this, uni ddeniab emotional. people have made this arduous journey. they can see where they want to be. they can smell where they want to be. do you think there's a chance the president softens his stance, at least for a select few? >> i think the president kind of picks and chooses what information he takes in and what news he watches. he doesn't watch msnbc. he watches fox.
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they pick and choose what they cover. i think that piece you just did on the tijuana border, such a beautiful piece of reporting. it gave me chills. just talking to real people and seeing these are mothers with babies with fever and trying to put on extra clothes because the detention centers are cold. i mean, nobody can really watch that and not have an emotional reaction to it. i think the difference is trump is not looking. i think he's looking away. we heard what he said in his rally yesterday. he equates immigrants with crime. he says letting immigrants into this country would be a deadly policy. essentially, i think the most telling thing he said was these hispanics will come in and vote democrat. and that's his biggest problem with them, that they don't like him. we heard him say at the rally yesterday, are there any hispanics in here? it was just dead silence. no, you know, there's no hispanics at my rally? that's because they don't like me, and therefore he doesn't like them back. that's how trump has always operated. i don't really see him having a massive amount of empathy for these people. >> but how much do you think the
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president has to just look at his base, i mean, the people that got him elected. can we count how many times we heard the chants of build the wall and the president making promises. by the way, what kind of wall? i'm looking at the wall we're seeing right here. it's incredibly high. i'm not good at judging footage like that, but it's got to be at least 20, 25 feet high, which is something that the president said was probably equating to what he would try to do. there's places, though, where look at those guys sitting on top of the fence. they can climb up that fence. you've got to believe that if it were an area that wasn't being monitored very closely, scrutinized by border patrol agents on the southern borders there say in texas or new mexico, arizona, you know, people could get over those fences. so when the president talks about building a fence, does it look something like this, or is it something much heartier, more substantive? is it the kind of thing that uses technology, radar, sonar
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equipment, infrared equipment? what are we talking about? >> well, alex, that's always been one of the biggest criticisms, particularly amongst both republicans and democrats on the hill about this idea to build a big, beautiful wall. that is that walls are not effective in this case. it's much more effective to invest in drones, for example, surveillance. like you were saying, radar, sonar, being able to monitor this in other, much more highly technical ways. it would be much more effective to do that, instead of building this huge wall, which is incredibly expensive and actually doesn't really work. i just want to note, to the previous question, yes, donald trump has a sense of protectiveness towards women and children. he has bombed syria twice, but keep in mind he's only let in 11 syrian refugees into the country this year. 11 people. so it's one thing to sort of go out and bomb and be protective of people abroad and use the military that way. it's another thing to welcome these people with open arms into the country. that's something that has always
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been his hard line. this wall, this anti-immigration stance. it's really what helped him get elected in the sense that a lot of midwestern states, the rust belt states where the economy isn't great, where people are very afraid of immigrants taking their jobs, that's what people voted for him on, his anti-trade and anti-immigration status. >> laura, i'm going to let you have the last word on what we're seeing here and what you think the prospects are for whatever percentage of these people to get in and seek asylum here in this country. >> i mean, i think they're probably looking at a long, hard couple of weeks, if not months in detention. obviously the flow of immigrants into this country has slowed to a trickle. only 11 syrian refugees. trump likes to make a big show of having empathy for these people. we have to bomb syria. we have to draw a line in the sand to protect these people. but he's not actually letting anyone into the country. i think there's a huge difference between a paternalistic patriarchal we must protect our wives and
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daughters and actually seeing women and children as people who deserve protection and who deserve equal status. he doesn't support the latter. >> well, i want to thank you both for being so well informed on so many different issues. we had not brought you in to talk about this, but thank you for responding to all this developing news, both of you. we'll see you again. thanks, ladies. in just a moment, meeting kim jong-un. america's top diplomat is talking about his encounter with the north korean dictator, but what will president trump be up against at that upcoming summit?
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we had an extensive conversation on the hardest issues that face our two countries. i had a clear mission statement from president trump. when i left there, kim jong-un understood the mission exactly as i've described it today, and he agreed that he was prepared to talk about that and to lay out a map that would help us achieve that objective. only time will tell if we can get that done. >> newly confirmed, mike pompeo speaking for the first time as secretary of state, revealing new details about his meeting with north korea's leader. joining me now, brendan boyle of pennsylvania. he's a member of the foreign affairs committee. i want to first get your reaction to what secretary pompeo said there. are you encouraged that talks
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with north korea seem to be headed in the right direction? >> i am encouraged, especially when you think about where we were just a few months ago in terms of our president tweeting that his button was bigger than the button of the north korean leader and where things seem to be headed at that point. we're about 180 degrees different today. at the same time, however, it's cautious optimism. the reality is we've actually been in this situation before with north korea, not recently, but about 15 years ago we were in a similar position, as we were with a different north korean leader in the early 1990s. and both of those turned out unfortunately to dash our hopes. so i think that we should be optimistic right now. we should be relieved that things are better than they were six months ago. at the same time, it's also probably wise to be cautiously optimistic. >> you know, the president caught a lot of flak for saying
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that kim jong-un's actions thus far are honorable. how big of a misstep was that? >> i was offended and pretty outraged by that. i expressed that on my twitter. literately, we just had an american not too long ago essentially be tortured to death. his parents were recently in the house chamber. i believe it was during president trump's last state of the union address. kim jong-un is not an honorable person. he's someone we have to deal with, that we have to sit down and hopefully do a deal with in terms of denuclearizing the korean peninsula. but let's not be under any illusions. this is a brutal dictator who starves his own people, who feeds relatives of his and potential rivals of his to the dogs. this is about as far from an honorable person as you can get. >> there are mixed beliefs as to whether or not the president had
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a role in all the developments on north korea, particularly leading up to friday's summit there between north and south. are you willing in any way to give him credit for what we're seeing? >> look, if this ends up leading finally to the official end of the korean war and we can officially say that we don't have to worry about nuclearized korea, then everyone will deserve credit, including the president. i would be very happy to give him the credit he so badly yearns for on almost any subject. the reality, though, is we're not there yet. i hope we get there, and i would be happy to give this president credit if under his watch this could happen. >> you know, as a member of the budget committee, i want to turn to something the president said about the border wall at his rally last night. here it is. >> we have to have borders, and we have to have them fast, and we need security. we need the wall. we're going to have it all. we come up again on september 28th, and if we don't get border security, we'll have no choice.
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we'll close down the country. because we need border security. >> you know, congressman, you may have been watching -- we're also bringing a live picture of what's happening along the border of tijuana with southern california. these are a bunch of migrants, many of whom have traveled a very, very long and arduous journey from parts of central america to seek asylum in the united states. i want to look at what happened the last time in terms of how you see this playing out. what did the president learn in the fight over the wall, the threat by the president to shut down the government. i mean, he basically said, come september if that wall funding is not there, he is shutting the government down. >> well, that's right. we did just hear him say that. although, i point out as i recall, and it might have been six months ago or a year ago, a the a previous rally he actually said the same thing. then with push came to shove, he caved. the reality is that a wall, though, even one that's 20 feet
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high, like we're seeing right now on the border with toijuana people can easily climb a very high wall. spending $20 billion on a wall is simply ineffective. if we would listen to the professionals in homeland security, we know that when it comes to drones and when it comes to technology that is out there that's far more effective and frankly less expensive. i'd also just point out, you know, this is one of the challenges with negotiating with this white house. president trump tends to be all over the map. he will say like he did last night at a rally in michigan that he's going to shut down the government and talk tough, and then he can be talking about having a policy of love the very next day. then the day after that, he can say something that's the exact opposite. so frankly, whether you're a democrat or republican in congress, it makes dealing with this administration enormously difficult because we have no idea if tomorrow president trump will be standing exactly where
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he is today. >> point well taken. democratic congressman brendan boyle of pennsylvania. thank you for your time. >> thank you, alex. the president promises it won't be happ won't happen, but could the threat of impeachment help the prevent of a blue wave? we're going to explore that next. >> i don't think we're going to have a lot of happy people if that happens. i think it's going to be a little bit tough. to start my bu. but as it grew bigger and bigger, it took a whole lot more. that's why i switched to the spark cash card from capital one. with it, i earn unlimited 2% cash back on everything i buy. everything. and that 2% cash back adds up to thousands of dollars each year... so i can keep growing my business in big leaps! what's in your wallet? >> tech: don't wait for a chip like this to crack your whole windshield. with safelite's exclusive resin, you get a strong repair that you can trust.
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impeachment talks. in his rally last night, the president raised the threat of impeachment and tried to use it to energize republican voters. >> we have to keep the house because if you listen to maxine watters -- [ booing ] she goes around saying we will impeach him, we will impeach him. we got to go out, and we got to fight like hell and we got to win the house and we got to win the senate. >> we have quite the power panel right now. let's bring in democratic strategist morris reed, republican strategist lauren zelt, ned ryan, former speech writer for president george w. bush, and abigail tracy, staff writer for "vanity fair." it's a powerful punch you're going to give us, so let's get to it. morris, you have the democrats who have been divided on impeachment talks, partly because republicans could use it to rally their own voter turnout. should democrats agree to at
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this point stop calling for impeachment? >> i don't think so. i think it's a rallying cry for their base, just as trump is using it to energize his people. i'm not sure how many people in washington, michigan, know who maxine watters is. certainly it's a rallying cry on both sides. he's doubling down on it. i'm sure that the democrats will do it for the progressive. if you're in a moderate state or a moderate district, you're certainly not seeing that. for the democrats, to rally the progressives, this is going to work and energize the base. >> okay. lauren, is it risky for republicans to use the threat of impeachment to rally their voters? >> no, it's a smart move on the republican side. i'm actually surprised to hear morris' answer. i think overall this impeachment talk really all it does is help to drive voter turnout on the republican side this fall. >> okay. morris, do you want to respond? >> i think that if you're looking at a progressive district, this is going to work. if you're a moderate democrat, you're not saying this is a nuanced thing. and this is an asymmetric war.
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so you have to look at where the battle cries are. one of the things i learned is you let democrats run the way they need to run to win their district to get them to washington. you don't dictate them. if someone feels they need to do it, we should certainly be behind them in doing it. >> chris, i want to talk about the quinnipiac university poll, which says that if democrats regain control of the house, you have 71% of democratic voters that want them to start the impeachment proceedings. how do you think that should factor into democratic strategies in the midterms? >> i mean, i think to some extent, it appeals to democrats on the left. i think the challenge that an impeachment message has is if the goal here is to create a wave, you know, this is not just to pick off seats that you know you're going to win anyway. to pick off those trump seats, to pick off those moderate republicans, you want to focus on the bread and butter issues. i think you also want to focus on what is to most americans the big issue, which is president
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trump's temperament, his style, the way he leads, his policy positions, his convictions, his rhetoric. that is where he is weak. that is where i think the american people, both republicans and democrats obviously, are just tired of. i think making this midterm all about impeachment is kind of jumping a little bit ahead. it can be a factor, i think n some races, but it's not a national narrative that you want, i think, to focus on. you want to focus on where the vulnerabilities are. the vulnerabilities are there, and they're obvious. >> you know, ned, the president certainly mentioned california democrat maxine watters, got those boos there. she appeared with msnbc's joy reid just prior to this broadcast. she says she's not going to be backing down from her calls for impeachment. she thinks it's a matter of time until the republicans out there are forced to make a rather difficult choice about their own support for the president. let's listen to a bit of what she said. here it is. >> i believe if the facts are
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unveiled, whether it is in the next six months before the november elections or after, that republicans are going to be hard pressed to stand with this president and to deny that he has colluded with russia and that he's obstructed justice. i think even as the republicans see it now, some of them are whispering, they are embarrassed, they're worried, they're scared that, you know, this president is going to take them down eventually. >> i'm curious if you're hearing the same whispers because is that wishful thinking on her part, or do you think she's really hearing that from republican colleagues? >> no, i have been hoping and praying and begging this would become -- the 2018 midterms would become an up or down vote on impeachment. i think it is something that the republican base needs to get energized over. when you look at some of the
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elections that have taken place over the last year, year and a half in the special elections, i do think the republican base has been a little short on the enthusiasm gap. i think this is something that actually gets them fired up and energized. i've been hoping the democrats would make this an issue. you see tom stier out there doing impeachment rallies. i'm hoping that this becomes a central issue in the midterms for this year because i don't think it'll play well for the democrats because it will energize the republican base. and let's not forget, midterms are about the base. if this energizes the base, i think republicans keep the house. >> you think they do that in spite of what history says, ned? i mean, the expectation would be they're going to take the house, the democrats. >> i do, and partly because i'm looking at these congressional generic polls. you look at the recent abc/"washington post," the generic poll, only shows democrats up by four points. more importantly, republicans had a six-point advantage over democrats in the likely to vote
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category. what should be troubling to democrats is voters under 30 were saying that they're less than 40% likely to vote, and there was a massive gap in enthusiasm between the white vote, the black vote, and the hispanic vote. if republicans make this about a visceral issue, whether it's impeachment, whether it's guns, i think it serves them well. and let's not forget, a lot of these districts where democrats are trying to compete to take back the 24 seats necessary to take the majority, these are going to be a lot tougher to take than democrats think because of how they have been structured in the republican versus democrat vote. >> you know, ned, do you really think that those republicans and independents who aren't in love with this president, who aren't part of that base, that 34% we hear about all the time, do you really think this is an issue that's going to motivate them to come out in the midterms and vote? this issue? >> oh, i think it'll be more than just impeachment. i want to talk about guns. i want to talk about a vision for the future. i think republicans need to start telling a very compelling
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vision for what happens if they get the majority back in 2019. i'm not seeing enough of that right now. but i'm starting to hear, you know, talk about let's make the tax cutse permanent for small businesses, for individuals. i would like to see them put a positive message on how they're going to have responsible reform of the sbietmeentitlement progr. they have to put forward a responsible vision on how they're going to make the economy better, wages. at the same time, i think impeachment, guns, there are a lot of other issues that will fire up the base. it's not just one or two issues. it's probably those three or four issues that i just discussed that will get not only the base but those that are more a little undecided at this point. >> abigail, i'm coming to you in a second. morris, how many times have you been on this broadcast saying democrats have got to talk about issues. that's what they have to focus on. is that what you think they have to focus on still, that it's not just being a party of opposition that they have to say, here's what we are all about and that's going to resonate and motivate voters to get out in november?
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>> listen, the way you win elections are being aspirational and forward leaning. what ned is saying is complete opposite of what the president is. he's not a vision guy. the democrats need to walk a very fine line because a lot of these guys are spiking the football too early. they need to communicate. they need to really connect with the voters and articulate a vision. when you hear this talk about impeachment, you're really hearing it from the progressives, people in california that are going very democratic. if you look at where democrats have won the election so far, they focused on the issues and connecting with the american people, not talking about donald trump. if the democrats continue to focus on issue, i feel very positive that they'll be able to win. i'm not for sure they'll get both chambers, but certainly they should be able to take the house back. >> so abigail, as the reporter on this panel and you're not one of the strategists for either side, i'm curious what role we should expect the president to play in the midterm campaign strategies. >> well, i think that's a little unclear right now. you see his comments that he
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made last night, and he's really brushing aside this entire narrative that there might even be a blue wave at all. so i think one of the interesting things that you're seeing is, you know, this question of whether he's in denial about the fact that he does have a low approval rating and that you do look at a congressional generic ballot. i must have been looking at different numbers, but the one that i looked at this morning, an average had the democratic spread at plus 6.9 points, which roughly would translate to about 21 seats in the house flipping. so i think one of the interesting things is whether, you know, people can impress upon him this potential threat that he could face and that the republican party could face in 2018 midterms and whether, you know, that motivates him to really adopt a strategy that can help lift others up along in some of these races, congressional and senate. >> okay. >> and frankly, if trump was smart, he would want to sell out the house and senate now because it would be a better chance for him to get elected in 2020. if they punish him now, they'll reward him in 2020.
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you might see him go all in and lose the house and senate. >> there's always so many ways to look at everything. okay. guys, stay right where you are. after this short braerks we'eak going to discuss the white house correspondents' dinner. were those laugh lines too harsh or just blutrutally honest? him . when i can keep up! - anncr: thankfully, prevagen helps your brain and improves memory. - dad's got all the answers. - anncr: prevagen is now the number-one-selling brain health supplement in drug stores nationwide. - she outsmarts me every single time. - checkmate! you wanna play again? - anncr: prevagen. healthier brain. better life. the full value of your new car? you're better off throwing your money right into the harbor. i'm gonna regret that. with new car replacement, if your brand new car gets totaled, liberty mutual will pay the entire value plus depreciation. liberty stands with you. liberty mutual insurance.
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i actually really like sarah. i think she's very resourceful. like she burns facts, and then she uses that ash to create a perfect smokey eye. like maybe she's born with it. maybe it's lies. >> well, just one of the jokes roasting white house press secretary sarah huckabee sanders at the white house correspondents' dinner last night. back to my star-studded panel. morris reed, lauren zeld, ned ryan, abigail tracey and former obama speech writer david ligt. you were a humor writer, a speech writer. about five years in the obama administration. your sense of this particular roasting? did it go too far? >> i think if you look at what happened last night, michelle wolf's monologue was not designed to win over the room and a lot of people in the room were upset about it. but you have to put it in
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context. this is a president who literally said that he couldn't have sexually assaulted women because they were too ugly. he said this at a campaign rally. and so the fact that michelle wolf made fun of sarah sanders and mentioned her eye makeup, to me i feel if you work for a president like that, you don't deserve that kind of respect and michelle wolf clearly felt the same way. >> do you think when people from administrations and elected officials come to these events, particularly this one event, the white house correspondents' dinner, they come knowing that they may have a target on them. >> absolutely. i mean the person who should have been there taking a joke was the president of the united states. instead, he sent his staff. but he was too chicken to show up. so his staff got made fun of. i think that it is totally understandable that a comedian, particularly a comedian like michelle wolf, would make fun of the president's staff. so i think the hand-wringing about whether or not it was appropriate to make fun of
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presidential staffers doesn't make sense to me. >> okay. you may not be surprised that there are those who disagree with this assessment. notably, lauren, you are shaking your head right now. talk about your taerp tainterpr of last night. >> i disagree wholeheartedly. for starters, yes, it is usual for the president and his staff members to be roasted at dinners like this one. but there's a line. and the comedian speech last night was entirely beyond the pale. and further, as a woman, there's just one thing that i would like for everyone to consider is that female members of the white house press association weren't even allowed to attend the dinner until 1962 at the behest of helen thomas. so now here we are. we have a female comedian, a female press secretary. whether you agree with any of them politically, these are all really great strides that women have made. what did this comedian choose to do, to attack the women in the trai
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trump administration, which like them or not are serving our country and braking barriers for women in government. i think it is very upsetting. you saw journalists across the board last night were very offended. i talked to people last night and this morning, even like peter baker at "the new york times" said we didn't do anything to advance the cause of journalism and i just think it was beyond the pale. >> look, guys, we only have a minute and a half left. ned, what are your thoughts on all this? >> i thought it was mean, i thought it was vicious. i thought it was beneath the dignity of the white house correspondents' dinner. but i was there sit being at a guest as the "wall street journal." i thought it is too bad we couldn't have one of these every month and teleadvivise on natio television because this is why trump won and will win in 2020. >> all that i would say is, we don't have to agree on what's funny but i do think that if we're this concerned about bullying sarah sanders, we should be concerned about a president who brags about sexually assaulting women. if you support one and not the
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other, i don't think we can take it seriously. >> it was venomous. >> morris, does all the reaction fall along partisan lines? >> of course, everything is about politics right now and that's what you're hearing on this panel. from my opinion, you get what you pay for. you should do more verting. if you don't like the comedian, walk out the room. if sarah doesn't like it, she should have walked out. but the target should be donald trump, not the staff. >> you got to give sarah credit, she stayed, she took it like a champ. >> she did. she took it as a champ. but i have to tell you, in just hearing these conversations back and forth, there is something wrong in this country. the president clearly has legitimized a certain degree of division, coarseness. we can be better than these kind of jokes. >> abigail, last word to you -- and i thought that sarah huckabee sanders looked down
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right beautiful. i want to give her that. >> yeah. i think that, as some said, there are criticisms of the remarks made last night that i agree with and understand. but i also think right now, as the one member of the media on the panel right now, i think a take-away that we should be having is what conversations are we having right now. i think michelle wolf was a little prescient in her statements about flint and sort of that today we are spending our time talking about those comments and her eye makeup. so we might need to switch that around. >> listen, thank you all so much. i don't have time to thank you individually but love you all and appreciate your time with me. thank you. the "national enquirer" story that has stormy daniels pea's attorney tweeting and talking. details at the top of the hour.
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