tv Smerconish CNN March 10, 2018 3:00pm-4:00pm PST
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i'm michael smerconish in philadelphia. welcome to our viewers in the united states and around the world. beware of the bubble. donald trump has been president for about 400 days now and despite a lot of hand wringing the world has no come to the end. it looks like we'll suffer survive this presidency although that's an enormous void as the how we'll be entertained post trump administration. last december, "the new york times" reported before taking office, mr. trump told top aides to think of each presidential day as an episode in a television show in which he vanquishes rivals. for entertainment value, this administration is a hit. look at this week. monday we were introduced to the full nunberg. former campaign staffer sam
nunberg said on virtually every tv show that exists he would defy testifying in front of mueller. by the way by friday he was spending six hours testifying. tuesday, a porn star filed a complaint against the president. she wants a court's permission to tell her story. and then two hours after president trump said everyone wants to work at the white house, gary cone resigned. wednesday, jeff sessions scolded california over immigration. thursday, we learned that trump had spoken to witnesses who had already appeared in front of mueller about their testimony. and that preinauguration prince led a meeting about russia. and then came the news that president trump would meet with kim jong-un and that we learned
on friday, that trump's personal attorney used his home equity line to settle with stormy daniels. keeping up is exhausting and sometimes misleading. there's a tendency to focus on the turnover, the personalities, the interwhite house warfare. the salacious. while it's true that it's been a bumpy ride it would be a mistake to see the president through a media lens. not while the dow is still climbing. it closed friday up 441 points. and americans are seeing more of their paycheck due to the tax cut. the job's numbers increased $313,000 last month. the unemployment rate remains low and while the economists might not be happy with his protectionist policy with regard to steel and aluminum, i can tell you who is.
high school educated working men, most responsible for puttable -- putting him in the white house. the same americans who might determine the pennsylvania special congressional election on tuesday. and control of the entire house come november. as mike allen pointed out this week at axios, remember democrats are defending ten senate seats in states trump won in 2016 and in six of them the president's approval rating is higher than 50%. that's nearly ten points above where he is nationally. that doesn't bode well for the democrats getting the two seats they need to win control of the senate plus quinnipiac this week had democrats up 48-38 on which party should control the house. that gap has narrowed. last month, the ds were up 53-38. the only thing that's certain is that this wild disruptive ride will continue for as long as donald trump is president. a tenure ultimately to be
decided by voters or maybe robert mueller. in the meantime, the continued reports of the president's political demise seem greatly exaggerated to me. and that's today's poll question at smerconish.com. go answer this question -- do you think reports of the president's political demise are greatly exaggerated? i'll give you the results at the end of this show. joining me, salena zito, writer for "the new york post." by the way she lives in pennsylvania's 18th congressional district. steve
>> yeah, first i went to summer camp in pennsylvania, about 16 years ago. [ laughter ] >> thank you. thank you. >> it's -- yeah, there are two enormous disconnects. one is the one that you just recited which is that in the face of conduct that would have gotten any other president never elected or booted out of office and the stories of the white house chaos and the mueller investigation, if you're a certain kind of conservative, this president has delivered more than any president including ronald reagan. a revamped federal bench, a consumer and environmental approach. 180 degrees removed from obama. you know, very pro industry. you have got a tax bill that rewards the -- what is laughingly called the investor class or as i call them, rich people. so from that point of view, in spite of the fact that he, you know, historically low approval ratings. with the help of the congress. he has delivered in that area. now, whether what he's delivered
is going to ultimately look good that's a different question. one more quick point. given the state of the economy that you described, given the fact that we are not yet at war with anybody, the president's approval ratings and the climate of the midterms it's historically unique. if it hurts the republicans it's not because of any issue. it is because of the conduct and the character and the temperament of this president. just as people say every week, this is not normal. this is not normal. but it's what we're living through. >> steve, we may as well get used to it is what i'm trying to say. we're more than a year in. >> correct. >> unless -- unless robert mueller does something to throw him off course, this is the way it will be for either an entire four years or an entire eight years. >> well, by the way, get used to it. i hope so. you know, you mentioned in your intro that we're surviving the presidency, i think we're thriving under this presidency. you know far away from the acela
corridor where a lot of media like to focus on the pal us intrigue in the west wing and i'll be the first to admit this has been a very disruptive presidency and it should be. he's an outsider. the first true outsider ever elected to that office. but far away from that scene, the reality in america is optimism, security, and prosperity. small business optimism an all time high. fantastic jobs report just yesterday. construction jobs at an 11 year high. so the country is thriving in an era of optimism, deregulation, and reduced taxation. so you know i think that the reality on the ground in flyover states where i live is very, very different from what's going on in the salons of georgetown. >> salina, what happens on tuesday in pennsylvania's 18th? >> it's jump ball. it could go either way. here's why i think people think -- i think people need to pay attention to this race and not -- and learn some things from it.
but not everything. this is not a race of contrasts which is typically what a race is. right? you have a candidate on one side who believes one ideals, and one on the other side. these two gentlemen, the democrat and the republican are on the same page on almost everything including the tariffs and including the gun control. that -- that makes this unique in that it's almost like a republican primary. the other thing is this race -- this seat also does not -- no longer exists. because of the ruling by the state supreme court, it has been regerrymandered and it's a zombie. it no longer exists. it's interesting to me -- i think the biggest lesson in this race is that democrats need to pick individually candidates that suit the district. conor lamb clearly suits the district.
he's a moderate republican. and so he fits well and that's why this is a race. if he was progressive, rick saccone would be miles ahead of him. this is a two-point race in either direction. lamb has for his sort of benefit he's young and charming. and rick saccone is not young. and i can say that because i'm the exact same age as him so that -- you know, that's what we have going on here. >> jeff, there's tremendous interest in this. a ton of money has been spent. as salina points out, for a district that won't exist at year's end. >> yeah. and this is a kind of race -- you know, we're coming up to the 50th anniversary of the mccarthy showing in new hampshire which he lost. and the psychological impact of that new hampshire race was enormous. the reason i raised that is that
should lamb win, despite everything that salina says all of which is accurate the psychological impact i think of that victory by that democrat will be enormous. it used to be said that when louis xvi was guillotined everyone reached for his throat. and the fear this will engender among the republicans is enormous. i'll make another quick point. i talked to a democratic consultant who was involved in the alabama senate race. he said one of the interesting things is that the white working class that you would have expected maybe to stay with the republican, they were fed up with trump's behavior. they were angry with him not about any issue. they just were exhausted. and one of the potential dangers for trump even if mueller doesn't you know indict him, even if this stormy daniel story doesn't resonate which i think there's chance it will, the sheer exhaustion that people feel with the cavortings of this president may in and of itself become an issue that will hurt
him in the republican -- and the republicans even if the economy stays good. >> steve, i did a commentary here on cnn in january where i raised the question of whether president trump is deserving of credit for bringing the north koreans to the table. i said among other things, might it be that those bellicose tweets about little rocket man had the consequence of causing him to say, i better sit down with the south koreans unlike in the past. so i have given him his props in that regard. victor chaw, more credentialed than i, former national national director for asia said this. the announcement at the white house on thursday evening that president trump will meet the north korean leader kim jong-un within two months raises more questions than it answers. while the unpredictability of a meeting between these two unconventional leaders will end the decades old conflict, its failure can push the two countries to the brink of war.
might the risk outweigh the benefit of them sitting down? >> sure, i think it's possible, but the national security apparatus of washington, d.c., which has been pretty bipartisan for a quarter century i think quite frankly they haven't served us very well. i'm willing to try new things and this president is incredibly unorthodox in so many ways, but that's exactly why he was elected because the status quo whether it's security or prosperity was not working for most americans. so i think he's willing to do something daring. i do think that kim jong-un -- i mean, look we don't know what he's thinking but i think it's a reasonable guess to suspect that he -- north korea for a long time hasn't feared the united states. they did not fear obama or george w. bush. i think they fear president trump and part of that is because he's unpredictable. i believe in a good way. so i think that un has come to the table for self-preservation
and if president trump can convince he if he denuclearizes we won't overthrow him and that would be wonderful for the world. >> is it a nixon goes to china move or too much drama? >> i was thinking of that one because one thing that nobody argued is the bona fides of nixon and kissinger in the subtleties of how this could work. how you consult with allies. whatever you can say about donald trump, his bona fides in terms of foreign policy are not nixon's. apparently since he left the secretary of state out of even knowing about this, the analogy is a bit flawed. >> i have stormy daniels' lawyer right here. does his constituency care at all about this issue, quickly? >> look, after "access hollywood," they understand and they knew who they voted for.
they looked past his character flaws, they looked past his virtue flaws and i don't think this dislodges him. what dislodges him is if he becomes part of the swamp and he hasn't exhibited any of that behavior with how he's handled tariffs, how he's handled north korea or pretty much how he's handled anything. >> gang, thank you. great panel. i appreciate you being here. tweet me @smerconish. go to my facebook page and i'll read some during the program. from facebook, trump demise is near, smerconish. please don't be blinded by the obvious. meeting kju is a set-up. wake up. no david chang, what i'm trying to do is get out of the bubble. as i promised i would do at the end of the 2016 cycle when i didn't see it coming and i thought i was too caught up in the group think. so in this circumstance, and don't misread this for carrying someone's water or being for or against them. i'm trying to offer a fair
appraisal which is to say that this negativity, day in and day out that we tend to dwell on might not be resonating at all in the states that put him in office. that was my point. continue go to do smerconish.com. answer the poll question of the day. do you think reports of the president's political demise are greatly exaggerated? each day this week brought more revelations about stormy daniels. as an attorney, i have taken the time to read all the publicly available documents and i think a few questions remain for her attorney who is about to join me. an an article in the "wall street journal" -- an honor student's decision to skip college to become a diesel mechanic. a mistake or the smarter choice economically? with the united mileageplus explorer card, you'll get a free checked bag.
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director of georgetown university's center on education and the workforce. he served in the administration of president george w. bush. dr. carnevale, i was fascinated with this "wall street journal" story this week that showcased this young woman. put her up on the screen. raley nicholson. she lives outside of pittsburgh, pennsylvania. earns as in her honors classes, is in the 88th percentile of her college boards. she's right there rebuilding a 1987 pontiac trans am in her own garage and surprised some of the educators who are responsible for her work by saying hey i want to go to the vocational school, not to college. is she a one off or is this a trend? >> it is a trend. there are lots of ways now -- lots of pathways to the middle class and it -- the four-year college degree is not the only one by a long shot. there are a bunch of one year certificates available now and she's talking about one of them.
that'll make you more than a four year college degree. 30% of two-year degrees because of their field of study make more than a four year college degree and in fact 40% of four year college degrees make more than people who get graduate degrees. it all depends on what you take. that determines what you make. >> i'm a hypocrite. i'm not wearing a watch today. i don't know if you can see my wrists. i'm not wearing a watch because son number 3 is sitting for the s.a.t.s. if your son or daughter were contemplating bypassing a college career to go to the vocational career that makes economic sense but if you asked about it one of our four, no, i want them to go to college first and then pursue a vocational path. i guess that makes me not only a hypocrite, but probably an education snob. >> we know that if you asked americans whether everybody needs to get a four year college
degree, 70% of them will say no. if you asked the same americans whether their kids need a college degree, 70% of them will say yes. so in a sense, most americans don't think other people's children need a college degree. they think theirs do and therein lies the rub. i mean, the push to get through high school and on to harvard is really the american model and it will be very difficult to break that in american suburbs. >> by the way he needs my watch because they don't allow them to take digital time with an iphone. so he had to borrow mine. in 1990, 4% of high school -- 24% of high school students were focused on vocational subjects and now 19%. as an athlete in high school i shared the after-school bus with those coming back from the vo-tech bus. have we gotten away from that and do we need to return to those roots? >> yes, we have gotten away from
that in a big way. in 1983, with the big national report endorsed by elites in business, government, and elsewhere, we decided that every american child would get a purely academic education all the way through high school. we threw away what was called vocational education. got so bad it had to leave town, came back with a new name which was a very watered down version of vocational ed called career and technical education. there are 27 credits in the high school degree and 22 are taken up by math, english, foreign languages, history and other academic subjects. so all job training, all vocational preparation is now shifted to two year and four year colleges. pretty much. >> something else i have learned from you, many who enroll in
college do not complete and many do who complete end up in jobs that didn't require that four year degree. >> so we set a noble standard that is we decided that we were no longer going to track black, latino, working class, low income students and women into secondary curriculums. noncollege curriculums. that's really the great game in the change in our high school curriculum. but we're still in -- we have built the system in which it assumes that everybody's going to go to college. but the fact is that 40% of the kids who graduate from high school having taken all of those academic courses never get a college award of any kind. so the other half are not -- are not getting what they need. so we have got a problem in that we have built a college for all system, but only half the kids ever make it.
>> and the bottom line, college is not for all. that's what i hear dr. carnevale saying. >> there are lots of ways to make it. there are lots of pathways, the economy is one in which the relationship between earnings and education is very specific with respect to what you study. it's not just about getting the degree or which college you go to. it's more and more about what you take after you get out of high school. >> dr. carnevale, thanks so much for being here, it's a fascinating subject. >> thank you. what are you saying on my twitter and facebook pages? we own a construction company and can't get skilled workers even at $20 an hour starting pay. yeah, let me tell you something else, melissa, about your construction company and i hope this applies to you. i remember reading a book by now 25 or so years ago.
the millionaire next year. it talked about the people in a particular neighborhood who really have money and not a lot of debt are those who like you, i hope, own the construction company. own the roofing company. are the skilled plumber who has built a business, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. and yet, there are many like me who know that and then still say for their kids, uh-oh, go take the s.a.t. and hope you do well. the stormy daniel situation, her lawyer, michael avenatti has appeared everywhere this week but i have a couple of questions that he's not been asked and he's next. you said $30 dollars. yeah, well it was $30 before my fees, like the pizza-ordering fee and the dog-sitting fee. and the rummage through your closet fee. are those my heels? yeah! yeah, we're the same size in shoes. with t-mobile taxes and fees are already included, so you get four unlimited lines for just $35 bucks each.
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hammered all week long i think in connection with this litigation and this particular episode. i have to say as an attorney who has settled many cases for amounts that include a lot more zeros than this one, i found the paperwork surrounding the settlement to be pretty sophisticated. >> well, michael, quite honestly i don't agree. i mean, i think on its face it's sophisticated but this was not handled appropriately based on my experience. i mean, this was not buttoned up properly. starting with the missing signature of his client, mr. trump. >> but i think it was not buttoned up because perhaps of the representation you didn't provide it, your predecessor did, but the representation that was afforded to your client. >> well, no, it wasn't the representation afforded to my client that required mr. trump to sign it. that was mr. cohen's job. and mr. trump didn't sign it.
and under california law, and that's what this is going to be decided under, under california law we are highly confident the contract -- the nda will be thrown out and more importantly there's an express provision -- you know, i have watched a lot of legal pundits that are opining on this document and the enforceability. unfortunately a lot of people aren't actually reading the document before they appear on -- >> i agree. >> and -- >> i agree. >> that's a real problem. >> okay. >> you know and i know you have to actually read the document. >> all right. so listen, look at my copy. i have read it. it's all tabbed. >> excellent. >> so let's go through it. let's go to the signature page to begin with. this is at the tail, tail end. and folks can there see david dennison's lean, aka presumably it would have been filled in donald trump, not signed. you believe, counselor, it's because he did not sign it that the whole document should be held null and void, true? >> absolutely. >> okay. so now let me take you to the
settlement agreement, paragraph 1.1 that identifies the parties because i noted something and i have circled it on the screen. the settlement agreement and mutual release, yada yada, by and between ec, llc and/or david dennison. dd. doesn't the and/or mean that ec was capable in and of itself as resolving and settling this action? why else would there be an and/or clause? >> and/or is a term of art in the legal profession and under california law, it is found to be a plural use of the term. it is in the conjungtive. if you look at paragraph 8.6 of the agreement it specifies if the agreement is not signed by all parties it's invalid. >> okay. >> 8.6. >> back to where -- i come back to where i began which is shouldn't she refuse to have
taken the 130 "k" until there was full execution? >> well, i mean, that certainly was an option. that's not what happened and so we look at where we stand now and where we stand now is that we have got an agreement that was never signed by all parties. which is required under california law. and expressly required under paragraph 8.6 in the agreement. we are highly confident that this agreement is going to be tossed out and if it's tossed out she's prepared to return the money. >> i don't want people's eyes to glaze over, but to me it seems like the question is one you and i learned on the first day of contracts. offer, acceptance, consideration. i think you have all three. let me show you something. go to exhibit number 3. each page of this agreement needed on the initialled. and on the initials line i'm putting it up on the screen instead of david dennison, it's ec. which is that other entity that was created by michael cohen presumably to settle this case. in other words, all throughout the document ec signed, not
david dennison. i think by virtue of the language that said it could be either of them -- and/or. >> i disagree. but i want to address something you just said. offer, acceptance, consideration. there was no acceptance by dd of this agreement. he never signed it. furthermore, where's the consideration from dd? the agreement -- as you know, there has to be consideration from dd. everybody talks about the $130,000, michael. but you know based on your detailed review of the agreement and the tabs that you have on the side of the page you know that my client bargained for not just money, but any client bargained for other consideration from mr. trump. it's in the document, that he was required to provide and by not signing it my client did not get the benefit of the bargain. >> let me talk to you about the arbitration process which i know you think was bogus. i note that the notice 8.8, the
notice provision, the service provision required e-mail or facsimile and telephone of your predecessor keith davidson. was keith davidson notified in advance of the arbitration? >> not that we're aware of. but it's simpler than that. mr. cohen -- ec could not proceed with the arbitration. it only required dd. if you look at who was able to get a temporary restraining order, mr. cohen nor ec had standing or the right to do that pursuant to the express terms of the agreement. only dd. only mr. trump. we believe that the reason why that it had mr. trump proceed in arbitration was because they wanted to keep this quiet and continue to basically hide his involvement. >> okay. another question, based on the documents. put up exhibit 4 if we may. this is 3.1-c. and there's a lot of language,
mr. avenatti, throughout the agreement about this. here's what it says. it essentially says your client needs to return to dd -- let's just say president trump all evidence relative to what went on here. and that includes e-mail messages, text messages, instagram messages, facebook posting, or any other type of creation. question -- did stormy daniels hand over whatever evidence she's got of this liaison? >> i'm not going to answer that question but here's -- here's what i'm going to say. mr. trump and mr. cohen and others better be very, very careful relating to statements publicly as to whether this actually happened or not. that is what i'm going to say. >> but she had a contractual obligation to hand over whatever she was in possession of before she took the 130 "k." >> i didn't say that she didn't and i didn't say that she did.
i said i'm not going to answer the question. >> one other question if i might. i don't think it it up, 1.11 -- disgorgement. if she violates it, she owes $1 million for every episode that she goes out and speaks in violation of the confidentiality. it occurs to me that michael cohen may have made a wise business decision. everyone is laughing about him giving her 130 "k" if it came from him, but he'll get a ten fold return on that money if she speaks. >> you know that -- if everyone agreed to it it's so unconscionable, so beyond the pale that there's not a court that would enforce that at that level with the $130,000 at the front end and $1 million liquidated damage clause per instance. no court in california is going to ever enforce that. >> okay. if that's at the case, then why
doesn't she come on a program like mine right now and tell whatever the story is that she's dying to tell? >> well, i mean, i think we may see that. i think we may see her provide a very detailed explanation of what happened. she's going to discuss what happened. let mr. trump provide his version of events and let the american people decide who is shooting straight with them and who's covering things up. >> has anyone offered -- has anyone including larry flynt but i want to ask this in a universal sense -- has anyone offered to pony up the $1 million to protect her and say, hear, i'm good for it. go tell your story? >> at least ten individuals in the last three days alone. >> ten individuals in the last three days alone? are any of them larry flynt? >> no. not that i know of. >> is she contemplating taking any of those ten offers? >> no. >> does she think in retrospect
that 130 "k" is chump change? i'm asking if that amount was determined by her perhaps believing the polls a week out from the election, hey, he's not going to win anyway, i may as well take the money? >> no, i think when and if he is a's able to tell -- she's able to tell her story, the american people will learn about how that was arrived at by the parties but it isn't about her having buyer's remorse. >> i'm just intrigued. peggy peterson, how do you come one peggy peterson and come up with david dennison? >> well, you have to ask mr. cohen because he's the one that came one these aliases so we have no idea. >> all right. i hope i get a chance. thank you. >> so do i. i hope you get that chance today. >> he can call me right now. i'd love to hear exactly what his reaction might be. >> i'd love to hear it as well. thanks for having me. bye-bye. >> all right.
michael cohen, pick up the phone. up ahead, tariffs an trade, the president's surprise announcement caused panic within the gop. why are they so worried? i've got by the way a prop here for you for this segment. you know what that is? that's a napkin with the laffer curve on it, because art laffer is here next. ming! stall. my video call's lagging. mom? surprise! surprise! hold up. hold up. we got a laggy video call here. you need verizon, the best network for streaming. try this new samsung galaxy s9 on verizon unlimited. the camera's a real game changer. okay, people, that's a reset. you want us to surprise her again? yeah, but like in a fun way. like this. all my favorite friends are here. there's tony and diane. like that. (avo) switch to the best unlimited on the most awarded network, and get up to $500 off the samsung galaxy s9.
tariff on steel imports and 10% tariff on aluminum so what could it mean for -- i do have a beef. but i think he may be negotiating to get better deals on nafta and on the other treaties. and by the way, those transactions those treaties are pretty flawed. i got involved in tpp very heavily and all sorts of things are taken off the table that are anti-free trade. like nontariff barriers in japan. if he's using this as a negotiation ploy which he can't tell anyone at that time, then
it's greet. then we'll get some better treaties. >> but i read the piece and you think this is flawed? >> because you're depriving americans of high quality products at low costs and any time you do -- any time you do any impediments you hurt the country that's exporting to you and yourself. it makes no sense whatsoever and i don't see any logic for putting on tariffs in this country today at all. the economy -- it will hurt people too. just normal everyday people. i'm from youngstown, i'm from the steel town, steel family. >> so if not by protectionist policies then what is the response to those foreigners who flood our country with steel or aluminum? >> if you want to protect the
steel industry, subsidize them in the way you want to subsidize them but don't use a poorly designed tool like a tariff to protect the steel industry. tariffs hurt everyone and you can be sure -- you can protect the industry but i would go even further. don't protect them because of the color television industry. i mean, we sooner did we do that than we destroyed the entire industry in the u.s. so none of the colored televisions were two deuce -- produced in the u.s. it's good for all of us and we're not located in the high state, high anti-growth states like pennsylvania, ohio, like michigan, like illinois. they could be much more competitive like they are in tennessee where they're now, where we have no income tax. our industries are flourishing here. >> final thought, it's actually a regressive tax, right? people talk about the political
benefit that he might derive from a protectionist policy but it comes back to harm those responsible for putting him in office. >> exactly. if i can use one example with you. if we discovered a cure for cancer and japan discovered a cure for alzheimer's, japan true to form prohibited us from selling our cure for colon cancer in japan, should we get even with them? not allow them to sell their cure for >> of course not. trade benefits everyone. and retaliation is wrong. hurts everyone. and i hope no one comes to that point. now, if he's negotiating points to get better deals, i'm all for it. >> i'm kind of bumpmed. >> thanks. >> thanks. still to come the final results on the survey question. go vote right now. do you think reports of president trump's political demise are greatly exaggerated?
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so hit me with the survey result. what do we have on smerconish.com. 55% of voters say no, presidents of political demise are not exaggerated. how about other reaction from social media? i know i don't have much time. what do you have? >> smerconish this all happened before he was president. is this what you got into? gossip reporter?
>> bill, i'm the one who took the time to read it and apply critical thinking, by the way, to the claim against president trump. did you miss that part? 7:00 tonight cnn brings you live campaign rally in western pennsylvania where the president will appear. i'll see you tuesday night with anderson cooper. what's going on here? i'm babysitting. that'll be $50 bucks. you said $30 dollars. it was $30 before the pizza-ordering fee and the dog-sitting fee. are those my heels? with t-mobile taxes and fees are already included, so you get four unlimited lines for just $35 bucks each.