tv Kasie DC MSNBC June 4, 2018 1:00am-2:00am PDT
♪ welcome to "kasie d.c." i'm kasie hunt. we are live every sunday from washington from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. eastern. tonight, paper tiger. a document from the president's lawyers gives us a breath taking inside look at the mountain battle to come. we'll dig into why the president's legal team says the president can't obstruct justice. and that he doesn't have to sit for an interview with robert mueller. plus, the first-ever admission that the president worked on the statement explaining his son's meeting with the russian lawyer promising dirt on hillary clinton. and later, an exclusive interview with former governor terry mcauliffe.
we'll talk about everything from the russia investigation to the health of his party when he joins me live onset. but first, the start of this week, believe it or not, marks 500 days of the trump administration, and the mueller investigation rolls on with it. this sunday morning we were presented with an evolving posture from the white house. there was the scripture of a secret legal memo that "the new york times" revealed, and then there was the sermon of how rudy giuliani framed it on the sunday shows. the document written by john dowd and jay sekulow before giuliani joined the team asserts that the president could end the special counsel investigation, doesn't need to sit for an interview with robert mueller, could ignore a subpoena, and depending on how you interpret it, could potentially even pardon himself. but pressed to defend those claims, rudy giuliani was not exactly preaching fire and brim stone. >> you're making a case that he didn't obstruct or are you making a case a president cannot
obstruct justice? >> well, i don't like -- you know, i'm a lawyer. i'm sort of a conservative lawyer in a legal sense and i don't like going into an argument you don't have to get to. you might want to say he has very broad powers. >> do you and the president's attorneys believe the president has the power to pardon himself? he's not, but he does. he has no intention of pardoning himself. he probably does. doesn't say he can't. i mean that's another really interesting constitutional margin. can the president pardon himself. >> it's not going to happen. >> why put it in the memo? is this a veiled threat to mull er? you push it do too far, we can end your probe. >> you're not asking the guy who wrote the memo. >> fair enough. >> i'm not sure i would have written that, chuck. i think it's a hollow, sort of a hollow promise.
>> almost impractical. the president of the united states pardoning himself would just be unthinkable. and it would, it would lead to probably immediate impeachment. >> but as with everything, w lly comedown to is what does the prentelieve. joining me onset, washington anchor for bbc news katty kay, msnbc political analyst robert costa. yamiche alcindor. "the new york times" and msnbc contributor charlie savage. and joining me from new york is vice chairman of public affairs for edelman and msnbc contributor steve schmidt and his debut on "kasie d.c." steve, it's great to have you. great to have all my panel here in d.c. as well. charlie savage, i want to start with you on this because you were part of the team that unveiled what we have now been talking about all weekend which is this behind the scenes memo. we've been picking apart kind of the details of this, but we were talking right before we went on the air about what you think the most important broad take away here is and that is the sweeping constitutional challenges here. >> that's right.
so, this memo is a top to bottom set of, you know, legal claims, ual claims, arguments why he didn't obstruct justice, couldn't have obstructed justic. but the one that's really breath taking and that makes all the rest of them not matter if it's true is this vision of a president who wields absolute unrevealable control over the justice department, over the machinery of the federal law enforcement, as a result he can
shutdown or director close any investigation he wants and he can pardon anyone he wants, even if the evidence shows that his motivation for doing so was corrupt and self-serving. it doesn't matter congress's law of obstruction of justice can't touch the president. the implications of that are so profound. it hearkens back to the nixonian, he can't do it because it would be illegal in our society. >> right. >> it's not just a defense, you know. being used as a defense here, well, i didn't do this bad thing, you can't come after me for it. but if that is true, it is justification for offensive use of the justice department, too. as he's threatened to do, he can open an investigation -- >> start an investigation into an enemy. >> irs audits or whatever. and that's -- the law cannot touch him. the law has nothing to say about that. it's impeachment or nothing and that's the system of american government we live in according to the lawyers who are whispering in the ear of the president of the united states. >> steve schmidt, i enjoyed your twitter thread last night on this topic. care to take us through what your view is of this memo? >> well, this is a very serious moment and, kasie, we have to look at this in a couple of different aspects. first, this is a president who
lies constantly. thousands of times on the year. in fact, the liza cumulating seem to suggest that objective truth is being challenged by this president. that what's true is what the leader believe true, or tells us is true despite what reality may or may not be. secondly, we have a president who routinely talks about locking up political opponents. talks about locking up journalists. talks about locking up anybody who disagrees with him.
and lastly, this memo declares, i am the law, above the law, that the president, if he so chooses as charlie pointed out, can use the justice department to investigate political opponents, and that there is no boundary to the execution of the president's power. and we have to understand how an -- antithetical that is and how deeply unamerican it is. the greatness of george washington was that he was the first person in thousands of years who could have been a king, could have been an emperor, and he said, no, i will be a president with limited powers. and after a time of service, i'll go home. he established a precedent that the institution is bigger than the man, that the system is bigger than the office, and that the constitutional democracy bequeathed to all of us by our founders and paid for with the blood of patriots for 200 plus years. donald trump is asserting that he's no longer a president, but, in fact, a king whose powers are unlimited. that is the plain meaning of this legal memo. it is the singularly most disturbing thing ever articulated by an agent of a president of the united states with regard to presidential power, far exceeding any claims that richard nixon once made about the power of his office. >> katty kay, what's your view on what steve is laying out
right there? >> it's not exactly government by the people or government for the people, right? the concept that's laid out in this message. you don't even have to go back as far as the war of independence to see the anomalies in what the trump legal team is proposing here. there are plenty of republican senators who in the late '90s decided that apresident could b obstruction of justice. jeff sessions being one of them
who also said that president clinton had said that he was not the subject of the civil legal system because he was president of the united states. and jeff sessions' view was the supreme court did not agree with that as an argument. so, yes, this is an anomaly in the american system of -- >> especially an american exceptionalism rests on that idea of george washington and the way the rest of the world sees this. >> i'm not sure the monarch of great britain would put themselves as being the law and above the law in the way that the president is -- >> certainly the people of britain wouldn't go along with that this day and age. bob costa, let's explore a little bit trump's legal team. it's evolved. rudy giuliani was not one of the authors of that memo, he's new to the team since. how are the dynamics playing out? he didn't want to take the memo to its logical conclusion. if you read between the lines, you look at it, it could be interpreted to say the president could pardon himself in the event that there was a crime that mueller were to charge him with.
giuliani says, no, no, no, we're never going to go there. that would be political suicide. >> inside of the president's legal team, going back months whether it was johdowd or now mayor giuliani, you had th belief that the president could dance between the raindrops on the russia collusion aspect of this special federal investigation. the same time, they have always been worried about the obstruction of justice aspect of this investigation. so, when you go to this memo that charlie and his colleagues sharply reported today, you go back to how giuliani has been on tv talking through, it's really about countering the idea of obstruction of justice and how do they do that. they started time and again by
>> well, i'll say two things. the first is this also reminds me of sarah sanders, is he going to fire mull er? we wouldn't be in this kind of crisis. there is a line there they would draw now. there is a president who is trying to keep onto his political will and trying to get his supporters not completely abandon him. they are hedging on the idea pardoning myself would be pretty terrible. however, when i talk to people who say would this president go to jail or pardon himself, who among us, if you had the power just as a human being to keep yourself out of prison or to stay in office and hope that maybe after you get out of office you might actually be charged with a crime, who wouldn't pardon themselves? to me as a reporter it is in some ways common sense. sources close to the president are true. they say this is not something the president would want to do. this is not something he's looking into. but i just think that if the president, i think, most people i've talked to think that he
would pardon his son, his son-in-law, that if he is backed up against the wall and has a case against him, why wouldn't he pardon himself? >> katty kay, i'm not sure there is isn't a line this president wouldn't be willing to cross. >> yeah, i mean, the point about his supporters, you know, abandoning him, the evidence is his supporters are growing when it comes to public opinion on the whole russia investigation and the number of people who feel this is politically
motivated. whether they are winning the legal case here, they are certainly winning the public opinion case. if this is going to be a political issue, american voters increasingly believe there is an element of witch hunt about this. over 50% now believe this is politically motivated and at's critical for the president. it's working for him. >> that's a point that is so right. this white house looks as it as a public battle. talking about -- >> as president clinton did. >> as president clinton did. look what happened to the 1998 elections. the democrats thought the republicans overplayed their hands. he hasn't crossed the line yet by firing mueller or rosenstein. you talk to people who know the president, he still feels burned after firing director james comey. >> interesting. steve schmidt, what's your view on what the president might be willing to do here or not? to bob's point, he hasn't fired rosenstein. he hasn't fired bob mueller. pardoning himself it seems like would be the next kind of iteration of that. but again, you know, i still -- i still feel like the whims of this president go back and forth so wildly, i'm not convinced his staff can keep him on track. >> his behavior will be increasingly erratic. i think he'll burn everything down to save himself. i think that his desperation has
become more clear as this investigation has moved closer to the oval office. fundamentally, this letter is deserving of a response from every elected official in this country who has taken an oath of fidelity to the constitution of the united states. the legal argument is an assault on the concepts of the american republic and on the concepts of liberal democr it is that serious. and what we know for sure is there won't be a single republican member of congress who lays out an argument tomorrow morning that says, this is too far. this is a dangerous argument. this is an anti-american argument. and his strategy is quite clear.
donald trump is using mass rallies where he lies throughout them to incite a base to a level of fervor where they suspend what is clearly true before their eyes, where they accept truth as what the leader says is true, and where they join together in a shared sense of victimization. this is all out of autocrat 101. whether it's poland, hungary, the rise of nationalist parties in germany, in england, in france, the tactics are exactly the same. and it is disturbing to see it playing out in the united states of america in the political leadership of this country, whether they are republicans, democrats, liberals or conservatives. if you have fidelity to liberal democracy, it is important, i think, to speak out and reject the premise of this argument which is as far out there as anythie've ever seen in the country's history with regard to the power of the president. the president of the presidency in our system is constrained. it's checked. there are three co-equal branches of government. this is an assault on that concept and i think this president would do anything -- anything -- to save himself or to save family members from this investigation which at every
single stage has proven that whatever this administration has said is going on in fact has proven not to be the case. >> i'm glad you raise that because we're going to start talking about it that here in a couple of minutes. when we continue, another revelation from the memo, the president did work on that statement splarning his son's meeting with the russian lawyer in trump tower. plus, the on again/off again summit with kim jong-un is on for now, but is the president falling into the same pattern bill clinton did years ago? later as the antiestablishment movement takes power in italy, one of the fathers of it here in the u.s. says maybe now isn't the best time after all. "kasie d.c." back right after this.
welcome back. in the letter president trump's lawyers sent to special counsel robert mueller back in january, they acknowledged for the first time that the president did, in fact, dictate a statement about that now infamous trump tower meeting between his eldest son and a russian lawyer. that original statement claimed the focus of the sit-down was russian adoption. of course, e-mails later revealed that trump junior's real motivation for taking the meeting was to obtain damaging information about hillary clinton. you may also recall that after reports of the meeting first surfaced, the white house repeatedly denied that the president had any involvement in the drafting of that statement. >> the president was not -- did not draft the response. the response was -- came from donald trump, jr., and i'm sure in consultation with his lawyer. i do want to be clear, the president was not involved in the drafting of the statement.
>> the president didn't sign off on anything. he was coming back from the g20. the statement that was released on saturday was released by donald trump, jr., i'm sure in consultation with his lawyers. the president wasn't involved in that. >> he certainly didn't dictate, but, you know, like i said, he weighed in, offered suggestion like any father would do. >> just to be cl all of those statements -- not true. this morning one of the president's closest allies in congress house majority leader kevin mccarthy was asked about those repeated denials from the white house. >> mr. leader, are you bothered by the fact the white house lied about the president's involvement here? >> look, one thing i have found, this has gone on for more than a year. millions of dollars have been spent. the white house has been cooperating all the way through. this was all based upon was there collusion involved in the election. everyone has looked at this says there's no collusion going forward. >> mr. leader, i understand those are the talking points. but this is a specific question. are you concerned that the white house -- you heard the sound bites, you saw the statement from his own lawyers. they lied. does that concern you?
>> they can go on with the investigation. what i was concerned most about, like most americans, was there any collusion. there was no collusion. >> so, briefly setting aside kevin mccarthy not engaging on that question at all, charlie savage, what's the reason for the legal team to do this, put this in this memo? they clearly feel they needed to sit the record straight in some way, otherwise it seems harmful. >> right. that's a chris christie marco rubio moment not being able to get off the talking point and think in real time. right, so, the context in the memo was as you have received in testimony from other people. they knew it was up. people who had been in the airplane told mueller what really happened so they couldn't not acknowledge it in the missive to mueller. they had to plain it away some other way. the fact jay sekulow signed that letter means he has known he misled the public for at lst since january. maybe he didn't know it when he said those things last summer and he let the record go uncorrected. that's on him now as a credibility statement. just to finish the thought, so
their argument is look, it's not a crime to lie to "the new york times." at the end of the day we lied to "the new york times." >> sure, they are still talking to the american people, though. >> they are evading why bob mueller would care. he would care because if this -- this is trump's personal actions. this isn't the people around him. and if trump is showing that he has the desire to cover up the truth about certain contacts between his campaign and russia in that interaction, that goes to whether maybe that was his intention when he did other things that mueller is looking at. it goes to whether he might have had a corrupt motive when he was pressuring comey over flynn, when he fired comey over other things as well. there is a legal reason for prosecutors to be very interested in that, even if it's not a crime in and of itself to lie to the public or the times. >> when you think about why the president so far has declined to do an interview with bob mueller, it's to charlie's point, is that they don't want to have the president in a situation where he has to explain or talk through his intent. did he have corrupt or criminal intent? as sarah sanders said during her remarks, he was just a father weighing in on the process.
that's the white house's perspective on the exchange. but when you're sitting in front of a federal prosecutor and federal investigator, a perspective is not enough. you have to talk through your intent. that's why you have rudy giuliani, the former new york mayor out there every day saying it would have to be so narrow about the questions because they see a risk if the president is in that kind of situation. >> if you remember, the white house's stance and the president's stance has been that don junior, donald trump, jr., when he was going to that meeting to hopefully in his mind get information about hillary clinton from russian informants or russian officials, that he'd never talked to his father about that. so you have his father now admitting i was involved in crafting a statement about a meeting that i supposedly never knew about and didn't really talk to anybody about. so there is this idea that is also crucial.
you're arguing you don't know anything about this while also covering it up. >> steve schmidt, i want to talk to you about kevin mccarthy for a minute. not only did he not call out the obvious lying that happened from the administration, but he also was pressed on the broad executive powers that are laid out in this memo that you have essentially said would be the powers of a king. and he potentially the next speaker of the house, potentially the leader of a co-equal branch of government did not push back at all. >> it gives me no pleasure to say this. i've known kevin mccarthy for a long time and i consider him a friend. but he disqualified himself for the speakership of the house. at the end of the day, if one of the parties wants to make a monkey, the majority leader, i'm pretty indefinite rent to it. the speaker is a constitutional officer, third in line to the office of the president of the united states. what you saw was a partisan there. somebody who would do anything, complete servility, above the constitution, above the system of checks and balances, above the rule of law. it's disgraceful to watch it. let me just say a couple of things.
we saw jay sekulow there stone cold liar. nothing that man ever says again on national television should be taken seriously. of course, we already know that about sarah sanders and of course the president. but with regard to the question of collusion, of course there was collusion. the collusion took place when the president's son-in-law, his son, and his campaign chairman met with representatives with close ties to the russian intelligence services and to the kremlin for the purposes of receiving dirt on the democratic nominee for president of the united states. that's not an attack on hillary clinton or the democratic party. that is an attack on the united states of america, our sovereignty, and our elections press.
this is what george washington warned the country about in his farewell address, was foreign interference. and there was only one appropriate response. when these people were contacted by a hostile foreign power to give dirt to the -- to their campaign about the democratic nominee, and that was to call the director of the fbi, period, full stop. and to see kevin mccarthy up there being complicit in the lying, i'm troubled about it. stuttering around on this collusion issue is shameful. it is shameful. >> katty kay? >> mccarthy is looking at tray gowdy and thinking, when you do speak out and you say anything that is critical of the president's position, the president's lawyers' position on the fbi investigation, what do you get within the republican party and potentially within voters? resounding silence.
or attacks. and you go back to your district and you hear that actually people are much more in line with what kevin mccarthy is saying than what tray gowdy is saying. >> kevin mccarthy has his own personal reasons. he's one of the members of congress closest to trump. charlie savage, thank you for your thoughts tonight. appreciate it. when we continue, governor terry mcauliffe is standing by. he joins me live onset up next.
welcome back to "kasie d.c." joining me now onset for a "kasie d.c." exclusive is former democratic governor of virginia terry mcauliffe. governor, great to see you again onset. >> great to be here. >> i want to talk about the russia investigation. there's been increasing criticism and frustration among some democrats i talk to that the democratic party as a whole is not handling the push back to this investigation correctly. obviously there was a conversation about impeachment and democratic leadership and
you on this show have come out and said look, we can't have that conversation until after mueller's report comes out. however, there areome who argue that you aren't necessarily effectively pushing a message that could resonate with voters about collusion. you're not raising questions about the strategy that giuliani is displaying where he is swaying public opinion, casting dobout the vision. should democrats be doing more to try to insist -- to defend mueller's credibility? >> i think first of all, the news about collusion is out every day. now we have this 20-page plus the president either his lawyer r he told his lawyer to lie or -- it just doesn't make sense so he should fire his lawyer. he said that he didn't have anything to do with it. this memo says he was involved in the drafting of the memo so there was no question there was collusion. i mean, there was a meeting in trump tower with the president's son with campaign advisors, with russians saying we're going to give you dirt on hillary. i don't know how else you would define collusion. the issue is what did the president know. that's what they're trying to find out today. he says he had nothing to do with the meeting, didn't know anything about it. now we're finding out new details today.
but that's how -- every single day, i think what the democratic message, what we've got to lean in on, why vote for a democrat. look what we did in virginia. record number of jobs created. took unemployment from 5.4 down to 3.6. billions of dollars of new investment, largest investment in k-12 in virginia history. voters want to know what we're actually going to do for them. look what happened this week in virginia. we got medicaid expansion done. >> i was going to ask you about that. >> one rinne reason, only reason, we picked up 15 house delegate seats in november of 2017. that was the largest pickup since 1880. and thank goodness we picked it up and now 400,000 people are going to get health care. ralph northam, governor northam, my lieutenant governor is going to sign that bill. elections matter. >> that is a concrete policy victory in the wake of the beginning of what could be a blue wave. >> wouldn't have happened, would not have happened had we not picked up 11 of the 15 were women.
women are driving this election. we started in november '17. records picked up. that's going to translate. what are we going to do? we have an infrastructure bill. we have to deal with health care. cassie, umenyiora seen premiums go up in state after state n. virginia they're going up as high as 64% increase. these are big issues. we have teachers walking out rightfully so because they're not being paid enough. the democratic message is what are we going to do for you. that's what voters want from us. in virginia, why did we win? we had four great years of economic prosperity. everybody was happy. we had a great message and we gave people results. >> do you think that can breakthrough? tom who has been a progressive favorite in your state has written lately saying local media is not as prominent as it used to be. people are getting their news nationally. there is not enough -- there is not coverage of your democratic messaging on health care, on all
these other issues. it's all trump all the time. do you not need to be pushing back with a stronger trump-related message? >> i think the anti-trump message is out there. the president helps us every single day with that message. but look, all i can tell you is look what we did in virginia in november of '17. we swept the statewide offices. that was about turnout on our positive message, building upon the great record we had four years in virginia. everybody was happy. we had results. jobs, economic development, 10 billion we put into transportation, reformed our education system. our argument has to be what are we going to do for them. we win on our progressive message of what we stand for, economic empowerment, protecting people's rights. you know, when i ran for
governor five years ago, republicans controlled all three statewides. only 33 democrats out of 100 in our house of delegates. when i left office, all democrats statewides and we had 49 out of 100. huge pickup. why? a positive message. the trump stuff out there, tell what we're going to do. >> i want to switch gears. bill clinton responded to senator kiersten gillibrand. she said he should have stepped down after the monica lewinsky scandal. >> the tolerance we had 25 years ago, what was allowed 25 years ago will not be tolerated today, is not allowed today, and that we have to have the kind of oversight and accountability
society needs so we can protect people in the workplace, so people can function without having an unsafe work environment. >> so you're saying if bill clinton were president today and those incidents were unfolding today -- >> it would be a very different conversation, exactly. >> well, i disagree with her. i think, you know, you have to really ignore what the context was. but, you know, she's living in a different context and she did it for different reasons, so i -- but i just disagree with her. >> he said that the contexts were different. but given what we know now and the way this movement has unfolded, should bill clinton have resigned over the monica lewinsky scandal? >> this was 25 years ago, it was different standards. i think people looked at it in totality, 26 million -- he made a horrible -- >> why were they different standards? >> i'm saying at the time we dealt with this 25 years ago, it wasn't the standards we have today. i think if it happened today, i think you'd be having the same argument that would go on with the me too movement. but 25 years ago, as i say, it was a different standard. >> do you think the clintons victimized monica lewinsky in that, do you think the way they dealt with her would be tolerable today? >> no, i don't. i think it was a horrible thing 25 years ago. as you know, we're very good friends. i told the president back then it was a horrible thing. i wrote about it in my book. he paid a horrible price, he paid a horrible personal price, he paid a horrible political price. people looked at the totality the things he accomplished when he was in office, people made a
decision back then they had gone too far. as you know, we picked up a senate seat in 1998 because they felt the republicans had way overstepped their bounds with ken starr differt things that had gone on, too. clearly the behavior was horrible and wrong and i told the president it was wrong. >> do you think the presidents are at risk of overstepping with president trump in a similar way were there to be a politically motivated impeachment of this president? >> i don't want to see a political impeachment. i've said to you and others, democrats shouldn't spend time talking about impeachment. they should talk about what they're going to do for you. mueller is doing the investigation. let him come out with the report. then people make decisions. i don't think we ought to be
second guessing. i don't think we ought to hypothesize about what is going to happen. let the mueller report come out. i go back to the point democrats win on an agenda. people are with us on the issues, treating people with dignity and respect. as you know, cassie, when i was governor i vetoed 120 horrible bills. antiwomen, antilgbt. pro gun antivoting rights. most vetoes of any governor in virginia history. record job growth, record investment education. they want results from us. as i say, everything with trump is out there, but let mueller do his investigation and we can go from there. >> i ask you this every time i have thank you r you, but really quickly, are you running for president in 2020? >> i hope no democrat will answer that question because i am working my heart out. i just was in louisiana and texas and michigan last couple weeks talking about how we take a red state like virginia and we convert it into a blue state. why? all the things i have just talked to you about. we have a lot of time. i think our party, cassie, for too long has made a big mistake. they spend too much time on the presidency and we forget about state and local. we have 36 governors up this year. those 36 governors will be in the chairs in 2021 when the new census and they redraw every line in america.
we traditionally have not been in the game on t. i'm work ing with eric holder now making sure we have fair maps. that's what people want. people at home, they want results. they want people to do things. they want their life to be better. we can help them do t. sitting around talking to me talking about trump as governor would not help one virginiian. traveling the five continents and 35 trade missions, doing $91 billion in trade -- >> you have it down. even if you're not willing to say it yet. >> let's wait in '18. >> thank you for being here. always appreciate it. still to come, the state of play with korea. "kasie d.c." back after this.
the president says he is once again cruising toward a summit on june 12 with kim jong-un. whatever happens, the president has for now set a new high water mark in repairing relations with the hermit kingdom when kim yong chol visited the white house on friday. the brittle nature of the negotiations has created an emotional roller coaster will they, or won't they perhaps summed up by this dramatic reenactment. >> game on. game on! game on. >> he shoots, he scores! one for one. >> nice going. >> game on. >> game on! >> score. >> game on. >> game on. >> hi, wayne. hi. oops. >> and she's okay. game on! >> yeah, game on! >> so, the game is on for now. katty kay? >> after the car crash. >> hopefully everyone will come out alive.
where do they stand here? and how nervously are our american allies watching this kind of back and forth between trump and kim jong-un? >> certainly if you're in south korea you're watching it nervously because the prospect that it could be back off again and tensions could ratchet up again worries them a lot. already what we're seeing is that the north koreans have quite a lot out of this. they're getting a photo opportunity. they've got divisions within the alliance of south korea, china, and america when it comes to maximum pressure. that's eased tensions in north korea substantially. and they're starting to see an uptick in aid and sanction busting financial flows into the country as well. so, it's hard to see that the president hasn't given away a lot in terms of the summit
without getting very much up front in return and that's exactly what bill clinton was, you know, the reason bill clinton didn't have a summit with the north koreans back at the end of the 1990s because he wanted the denuclearizatio come first. trump has flipped that model. we'll see if he gets the end goal afterwards. >> even the picture of trump smiling with kim yong chol is some some ways -- >> wait until it kimg-un. >> right bob costa, do you read anything into bolton not attending the planned summit? there's been some behind the scenes friction there. >> a lot of the wanes world reference. bohemian rhapsody when they're singing it in the car the greatest scene from the movie. but when you think about the national security advisor, he's not in the meeting, the vice-president is not in the meeting, based on conversations with white house officials this weekend, they say those officials were playing the bad cop role in the negotiations, taking a harder line, secretary of state pompeo, the president took a different tact in the negotiations. this is an historic moment that may not lead on june 12th to denuclearization or any kind of firm commitment.
but if it ends the korean war, if it establishes diplomatic ties, they're trying to begin the sale now to say to the american people and allies that that's enough, that's the start of a process. >> so, yamiche, you cover the white house every day. do they see this as -- are they at the point they feel like this will be america can come out of this having won something significant, even if they don't get to total denuclearization? >> i think that the president himself feels like -- i don't know if america would have wanted something. i think the president feels a as though if he sits down, he can say i've gone farther -- >> is it more about him than the country at large? >> the people i've talked to think the president thinks it's in the country's best interest to sit down with kim jong-un. i think that the president also wants to be seen as a president who did more than other presidents and as a result when you have these pictures, some people might say, okay, north korea is getting to be able to have this image with an american president, but president trump is also going to be able to taking a victory lap saying, look at all the things i did.
and, by the way, that letter he said, hey, i'm going to layout -- i'm going to cancel this, he's telling north korea i don't really need this. i think the percrought from people after reading the letter was president trump was ready to give this all up that important to him. now that it's back on he can make the argument, i didn't really need this. they came calling to me. look at all the things i've gotten done. i think it's very clear they don't have a clear plan for what denuclearization will mean to north korea long term. but they don't know. >> the sitting down wins actually quite a lot of approval around the world. most people like that we're talking rather than promising fire and fury. the question is if you're really going to lift the maximum pressure that has taken an awful lot of time and effort and coordination to get us into a position where there is maximum pressure, then are you giving away too much in order to sit down. >> katty kay, yamiche alcindor, bob costa, appreciate it. ahead the fractures in the republican party. more "kasie d.c." in a moment. i want to talk to you about ?
booking a flight doesn't have to be expensive. just go to priceline. it's to book a flig a fe before my trip and still save up to 40%. just tap and go... for the best savings on flights, go to priceline. i want to talk to you about what's happened with the republican party. >> there is no republican party.
there's a trump party. republican party has kind of taken a nap somewhere. >> i think the republican party has gone dormant. >> welcome back. the republican party is going to the midterms with an improving outlook. the president's polling has recovered from historic lows, although he's still of course upside town. job numbers and markets continue to be relatively strong, and over the last since months, democrats have seen their lead slashed in the polls with the generic congressional ballot. and at the same time, there hey be fading enthusiasm behind fringe republican candidates. people are starting to realize that the anti-establishment thing is a luxury we can't afford right now. that quote comes from steve bannon. yes, that steve bannon. in an interview with jeremy peters. steve schmitt, i want to talk about this a little bit with you.
i was surprised to hear bannon quoted as saying this. you know, this is a guy who said we're going to make sure mitch mcconnell is not majority leader anymore and talking about chris mcdaniel in mississippi who had been an insurgent candidate. do you feel like republicans in washington are pulling things back together in the face of the midterms? >> i wouldn't say that they're pulling things back together, although i do believe that their electoral outlook has improved. that the size of the blue tsunami, such as it is, and we saw some of these extraordinary results in the special elections, i think it's dissipating. one of the reasons i think it's dissipating is that donald trump is breaking the will of a lot of democratic voters to hang in there and resist, because they are worn out by the lack of fighting spirit by so much of the democratic leadership in washington, d.c. and the inability to stand up and oppose trump. i think it's more likely than not that we see a turnover. >> what to you mean about the lack of ability to stand up? are you talking about the impeachment question? >> to make an argument, a ferocious argument based on american ideas and ideals and the threat that this president poses to them. there is not a united effort, i think, that is breaking through the den of all of the day's news to inspire and motivate and keep the intensity in the democratic base, and i think as a result you see narrowing. as a strategic proposition, you can defeat an opponent by conquering them, think the allies against germany or you can defeat an opponent by breaking their will to resist and fight. think the united states in the migraine with botox®.
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