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tv   Washington Ideas Forum Part 2  CSPAN  October 2, 2017 10:42am-11:52am EDT

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fiber. we have private industry doing a good job getting fiber where it needs to be. we could do work on infrastructure part. in order to get 5g to homes the way i described it, we're going to need to put a lot of different small cells across the country, many more than we have today. once we do that, i think we'll be in a good position. >> watch communicators wednesday night at 8:00 eastern on c-span 2. >> tomorrow we're live in charleston, west virginia for the next stop on the c-span bus 50 capitals tour. governor jim justice and lieutenant governor mitch carmichael will be on the bust. and join us tomorrow for the entire washington journal starting at 1k a.7:00 a.m. east >> now steve mnuchin discusses tax reform proposal. he was followed by panel discussion with white house
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correspondents on the 2016 presidential campaign and the first few months of the trump presidency. co-hosted by atlantic magazine and the aspen institute, this is just over an hour. >> we're going to get to tax reform because that's a very big issue set in motion by the president yesterday. i want to talk about a couple of issues that are also related to the treasury department because they are an important part of what you do and what the country is trying to achieve. specifically with north korea. david petraeus on the stage saying he and others discouraged by trade numbers indicating china is trading with north korea. new sanctions were applied last week. what is your level of confidence those sanctions will change materially the chinese behavior? can you clarify, because there's been different reporting about this, what exactly chinese banks are doing going forward with
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north korea. >> thank you for bringing that up. it's an important topic. i did have the opportunity to go with the president to the u.n. general assembly last week. it was an incredible experience sitting in the general assembly and listening to his speech. he also signed last week in new york an executive order which gives the treasury department the most extensive powers on sanctions that we've ever had. specifically it allows us at treasury to sanction any financial institution or otherentity that does any trade or facilitates any trade on go-forward basis with north korea. so these are very important powers. we'll be careful in using them but we think they are going to have a very big impact. i emphasize that's on a going forward basis. >> have they been exercised yet? >> they haven't. okay. we did have sanctions this week
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that was additional sanctions that we're allowed to do under the executive order. as it relates to financial institutions, as i've told my counterparts, it will be on a go forward basis. obviously we're concerned about historical activity. we're monitoring go forward activity and having ongoing discussion. so we think this will have a big impact. >> central bank of china is or is not going forward doing financial business with north korea? >> again, i've had very direct conversations with the governor. i don't want to comment on all the specifics, but they understand. >> the president has said they won't. >> again, they came out and made a representation as to what they do and what they won't do. we hope and executive they will follow through on that. >> are you discouraged as general petraeus said he was, by the trade numbers? >> i'm not discouraged by anything. i think this president has taken a very different position.
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i think for too long this has been an issue that's just continued. we've watched it. i think the president made very clear that the activities with north korea are unacceptable, threats of hydrogen bombs being tested over the pacific are completely unacceptable, and our objective is to denuclearize the peninsula. >> i want to ask you before we get to tax reform about something you said in the springtime about your role in relationship to the u.s. economy. and you were asked a question about artificial intelligence and automation. >> yes. >> you said it's not even on my radar screen. the reason i bring this up, the company i used to work for, goldman sachs put our research paper describing the apex technology of 21st century american economy meaning it is something here and now. did you or have you re-evaluated that sense of the importance of automation or artificial
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intelligence in terms of where the u.s. economy is going and how policy ought to be shaped to deal with it. >> i hate to accuse the fake news of doing things, but this is one of the times where my quote was misrepresented. so they didn't say the entire context what i said was technology is having an impact in the workforce. i specifically think robotics and i commented at the time robotics are an important. it's a positive thing. they are taking over jobs, not necessarily jobs human beings need to do. what i was referring to was artificial intelligence. i specifically referenced r2-d2 for star wars fans out there. it's going to be a long time before pure artificial intelligence takes over. that's not and wasn't on my
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radar screen. that wasn't referencing robotics, cars, technology is here and having a very big impact. >> how does what the president introduced yesterday, what congressional republicans embraced largely though not completely relevant to technology and preparing the american economy for the 21st century challenges. >> i think what yesterday was about and tax reform, what's important is that we make american business competitive. right now independence of technology issues, by the way, we've been a leader in technology for long periods of time and advances. independent of that we have one of the highest business tax rates in the world. we tax on worldwide income, which virtually no one else does. we have deferral. not a surprise, billions of dollars offshore. what the president talked about yesterday is he's focused on
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economic growth. to get economic growth we need business tax reform for corporate and passthroughs, middle income tax cut. >> the impact of your tax reform plan could bring domestic growth, gdp to 6%. are you that optimistic? >> that is optimistic. >> is that built into the framework for paying for itself? >> what we scored it to and will score it to 2.9 gdp over 10 years, scaling up to 3%. we think that's very, very doable. we think we can do higher than that. but if we get to the 3%, as i mentioned, 2.9% over 10 years, that's $2 trillion of additional revenues. that's $10 trillion of economic activity. not only will this tax plan pay for itself but it will pay down debt. >> that pay for itself comes from that projected economic growth. >> that's correct.
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>> you're $2 trillion short even when you look at pay fors in the details released so far, at least according to the committee. >> i don't think those numbers are right. i think what we're trying to achieve is achieve is 1.5 trillion static. but that i would describe versus baseline. there's about 500 billion between baseline and policy. to the extent we have a policy and we're rolling it over every year, i think it's the right thing to look at. if we get those $2 trillion, that means we go $1 trillion positive in paying down the debt. >> as you approach this audience and the country generally on the issue, your position is don't worry about the deficit, there will be no deficit implications if this tax reform plan is signed into law. >> i'd say it slightly differently. we should worry about debt.
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we need to continue economic growth. we think our projections are reasonable. 2.9% is a reasonable number to project this too. >> the corporate tax rate is 35%. there are many studies that say the effective average corporate tax rate is about 24%. cutting it to 20%, how much difference would that really make and is it worth giving up that revenue for a 4% deferential? >> that's your argument of why we need tax reform and cuts, because people spend so much time trying to figure out how to get around paying a very very high tax rate and they don't pay it anyway. this is about broadening the tax base and making it fairer.
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[ applause ]. >> thank you. when you talk about rates, 12%, 25%, 35%, we still don't have income brackets assigned to those rates. why not? >> again, we've done a lot of work on this. i think the point we're trying to make is we spent a lot of time on this. we can't have six people design the entire tax code. i think we've done a great job, the house and senate. we have everybody on the same page. we've talked about brackets. but as opposed to releasing them, we're going to work with the committees. the committees actually write the bills. let me just comment on the 12% rate. when you raise the standard deduction, effectively the 10% rate disappears and people who were paying 10% are going to pay zero. again, this is about creating middle income tax relief and
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simplification. >> gary cohen was on cnbc this morning. he said the president is open to a fourth tax rate, maybe 39%, maybe just under the current 39.5. is that true? >> we did put in the release that we've designed the rates. we said that the committees will contemplate a fourth rate. to the extent we'd do that, that would be if we need additional money for middle class reforms. again, there's people who have different views on whether we should do that or whether we shouldn't. but the president is committed. this is not about a tax cut for the rich. i can tell you in the high tax states -- i've had the pleasure of living in new york and california. i can tell you my taxes are going up in any event, not down. and getting rid of deductions is worth over five percentage points on the high tax states. >> can you say when this
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proposal reaches the president's desk, one of the must-haves is a distributional analysis. although the estate tax will be eliminated, alternative minimum tax will be eliminated. the top 1% will not get a tax cut. >> it's been the president's objective from the beginning -- and this has now been dubbed the mnuchin rule. this is not about tax cuts for the wealthy. we're talking about income taxes. it's the president's objective that income tax wills nes will cut on the wealthy. >> let's talk about the different states. you mentioned california and new york. they are one of several higher tax states. one of the acronyms that gets kicked around is salt, state and
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local taxes. this proposes to eliminate the federal tax deduction for what any income earner pays in state and local taxes. there are 52 congressional republicans representing districts that according to irs data those congressional districts paid higher than the average state and local tax, about $3800 a year. peter king is one of them and he said he can't vote for any tax reform proposal that eliminates state and local taxes. if you lose any of those 52 house republicans how do you pass this? >> don't you love that politicians have our own languagecronyacronyms. i -- that's now referred to as state and local taxes. as i said, this doesn't help me. this hurts me.
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okay. i think longer term getting the federal government out of subsidizing states is the right thing to do. it's just not fair. the federal government should not be in the business of subsidizing states. this is something that started in the house plan and that we've agreed with. obviously for people in california and new york and new jersey and connecticut and other places, we understand the impact. that's why as we look at the rates, again, even at the 35, they're not getting a tax break. but this is something we'll work with congress on. >> is it negotiable? >> what i would say is this is a pass/fail exercise and we want to get tax reform done. the president's number one issue that's not negotiable is 20% corporate taxes and again we have a plan. this is a plan that's had a lot of support from congress and we
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look forward to working with the committees. >> to get tax reform, you need a reconciliation mechanism which means you have to pass a budget resolution in the house and senate. some of the freedom caucus members would like $200 billion in entitlement cuts as part of that resolution. can you live with that? >> again, we do need a budget. i believe that if we get a tax plan that people want to support in congress, we will get a budget that goes along with that. >> one will lead to the other. >> one will lead to the other. they will go through together, but obviously they're connected. >> can i get you to be a little bit more specific on your or yen tie -- orientation to this idea because you need the freedom caucus votes? >> i've had a lot of conversations with them. i respect them. this is a congressional issue and we'll work with them as budgets are developed in both the house and the senate.
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>> as a conceptual idea, are you in favor of getting rid of the debt ceiling as a matter of law and as a matter of practice on capitol hill? >> i think -- >> i asked the president about this two weeks ago and he was very open to the idea, in his own words. >> exactly. i think as you know there are certain things that i came to a lot of experience with in this job, there are certain things i didn't. i've heard a lot about the debt ceiling, but until you go through a debt ceiling, it's a little different. i was operating the government like a piggy bank. we were operating the government with way too little cash. the first thing is i was very happy the debt ceiling got raised. the first thing i did that day was raise an extra $20 billion for same day settlement increase our cash. that's how concerned i was. my view is that congress has
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every right -- they appropriate the money. they get to decide how we spend the money. but when we agree to spend the money, we need to agree to be able to pay for it. whether we get rid of it or whether we approve a debt ceiling simultaneous with spending, i think in one form and another we need to figure out over time how to fix this system. at the end of the day republicans and democrats agree we're not going to not pay our government debt and obligations. >> default is inconceivable? >> it's absolutely inconceivable. >> this is a live issue. there are those in the administration i've talked to. mulvaney said he wonders might any future president give up some of the leverage that comes with a debt ceiling vote. others have said that's leverage you could find in lots of other
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different ways. >> again, this is something that we want to figure out on a longer term basis. obviously my number one issue was making sure the debt ceiling got raised. i'm happy that it not only got raised until december 8th but my special powers got refilled, the treasury super powers, which takes us into next year. >> how far? >> i'm comfortable we can fund the government through january. i don't have enough visibility beyond that. but i am comfortable that we're not going to be in a situation on december 8th where we default on the government if we don't agree to this. i'm hopeful that as part of the december 8th negotiations -- the president could have done a longer deal but wanted to make sure we had military funding and that is an important part of the december 8th negotiations. i'm hopeful that the debt ceiling will be extended.
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>> back to your appraisal of future projections on gdp growth, 2.9%. if we're pretty much there now, what's so exciting about tax reform if we're going to end una 2.9 or 3.2? >> i've never said we're going to end up at 2.9 or 3%. what i've said is i'm very comfortable that we can get to higher than 3% sustained gdp growth. i think we're using very very conservative numbers. i think there's a lot of expectations already in the economy since the president's been elected -- >> some of this has been baked into the cake. >> it's baked in. we're going to get tax reform, regulatory relief. we've had numbers that look very very good, quicker than we even expected that people are reacting to the anticipation of
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all this economic changes. >> let me throw the two rs at you. retroactive to the first of this year, yes or no? >> i think we'd like to. >> revenue neutral? >> again, i want to be very clear on revenue neutral. on a static basis it won't be revenue neutral. on a dynamic basis not only will it be revenue neutral, it will be revenue positive. static means there's no change in activity. >> people don't change their behavior because they have a different tax code. >> no change in behavior. let's take the corporate rate. there's no question companies spend too much time trying to figure out how to keep money offshore. we think this is going to have a major impact of bringing back
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trillions of dollars. that money will be invested here, combined with what you said, expensing. we'll create enormous capital investment. it is going to create enormous jobs and revenues. by lowering the tax rate, we can actually get a lot more in revenues. people spend a lot more time trying to figure out how to get around taxes at 35% than at 20%. >> assuming changes in behavior, more economic growth, therefore a larger revenue stream. >> correct. bigger pie. >> there have been issues raced about your use of mil air. secretary price's. the president said he was unhappy about the situation. as has he or the chief of staff kelly issued a directive about what is or is not permissible
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and what he wants secretaries to do when it comes to travel by air? >> i can only comment on the situation as it relates me. no, there's been no different directives as it relates to me. i look forward to -- we're going to have an ig audit. >> inspector general. >> inspector general. i'm comfortable that we followed all the proper procedures. i've never had the government pay for any of my personal travel and the limited number of times we've used mil air, it's been for either security, national security issues when i had to have secure communications. i am on the national security council and sanctions are a very very important part of the job. or there's been times we couldn't get to places when we needed to be there. again, it's expensive and i understand why taxpayers are concerned about these issues. again, i'm very comfortable and i look forward to the ig report reviewing our travel. >> as a general matter, what do
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you think is the future of paper currency? just in general, how much do you think that will be a part of the way americans transact their business? much of my own personal transactions are done electronical electronically. i carry very little cash with me. what's the status, alexander hamilton, harriet tubman, andrew jackson? >> let me comment first on currency. i do think the long-term trends are going to be to less physical cash. i think you know we're very happy with it, the irs, the number of electronic returns we have now. i think as it relates to government payments the number of payments that we make to social security holders and others through aca electronically as opposed to physical checks. so i think the trend towards how
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we can move away from paper checks and hard currency. i think there's a lot of efficiencies in the economy. i think i am surprised as others are in how there still is big demand for physical cash. so when you look at the numbers -- and even though we have many, many, many more electronic transactions, the cash in circulation, the physical cash in circulation hasn't declined at the rates that we may have expected. i can comment. i'm integrally involved in all of the hurricane issues. for the last two days we've been very involved in figuring out how to get major amounts of cash to puerto rico. we've made two giant cash shipments. in times like this, we want to make sure that people have cash and the economy continues to
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function. cash for the foreseeable future, physical cash is not going away. >> before we let you go, harriet tubman and andrew jackson on the $20 bill? >> sure. the number one reason we look at making currency changes is because of counterfeiting. and we look at changes -- there's three or four different parts, some of which are public and some of which aren't in the currencies. that's what i'm focused on at the moment. any change won't be -- i think it's 2028. so these changes are very far out in the future. i'm focused on the moment on how to protect the currency and the technology changes to it. >> thank you very much. [ applause ]. ladies and gentlemen, please welcome katy tur, nbc news
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correspondent and the author of "unbelievable, my front row seat to the craziest campaign in american history." glenn thrush and robert costa. here to lead the conversation, please welcome margaret carlson. >> here we are all enemies of the people. you have the number two "new york times" best seller which
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takes us from the campaign -- >> i like the smattering of applause. >> yeah. unbelievable. it's an unbelievable good read. spoiler alert, trump wins. so little katy, just take us briefly from being in that press pen and the roar of disgust that trump brings on you and the hallway outside of "morning joe." >> it's nice to share that name with not only marco rubio, but also kim jong-un, who's also little rocket man. back in june of 2015 -- robert, you can attest to this -- not many folks were taking donald trump as a candidate seriously. he was creating a lot of controversy. nbc dropped his universe from the network. macy's was dropping him. you knunivision was dropping hi
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well. nbc news said we have to have a reporter covering trump's campaign. i was literally just standing around the newsroom so they assigned me to this beat. >> it was going to take six months. >> it was going to take six weeks tops because he would never release his financial information. everybody was very wrong about donald trump's prospects. we got very lucky because we started taking it seriously much earlier than anybody else did. and i would be following donald trump from campaign rally to campaign rally for months on end where i was the most familiar face to him in a crowd. it would be me and local news reporters or some papers and he didn't know anybody so he would walk up to me over and over again and we'd end up having longer conversations. but the first time i ever shared the same air as donald trump was
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the first rally i ever went to. that was june 30 th of 2015. he was honing his greatest campaign hits, mexico is sending rapists, we're going to build a wall, i get the biggest standing ovations of anybody and the media is terrible. and then he calls me out from the crowd, katy you haven't even looked up at me once. i remember thinking, how does he know my name. i yelled back at him, i'm tweeting what you're saying. he liked that and he moved on. [ laughter ]. >> but i became essentially the stand-in for the media. he always knew that if you looked out on that crowd and he saw the press pen back there -- when these lights are on you, you can't see anybody that's standing by those cameras, but he knew that i would be there because i was at every rally.
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i had been there from the beginning. when he wanted to rail against the press, he knew that he could call me out and that i would become the face of it. he also didn't tend to like my reporting all that much because i was often times fact checking him or saying things that he didn't think were fair. and then the moment i guess everyone talks about is the morning going into the morning joe set. donald trump doesn't really know the rules or boundaries of politics. he doesn't know what is appropriate and what is inappropriate. i think that's become pretty clear in what he tweets and what he says. in this instance, i'd just got off the set from morning joe. i talked about his change of tone. he seemed to like it because he walked in and put his hands on my shoulders and kissed me on the cheek.
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not an inappropriate thing to do among friends or social gathering but when it's somebody that's running for president doing it to a reporter who's covering his campaign, it can cross a line. it can make me at the very least seem like my reporting is not going to be fair. i remember thinking to myself, holy s-h-i-t. i heard donald trump on stage on air with mika and jose, what happened to katy tur, she was so great, i had to kiss her. it's an example of how he did not take his candidacy -- i
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don't want to say seriously, because that's not the right way. but he didn't understand the boundaries of political life and the boundaries between a candidate and a reporter and what the role of a free press is. i would venture to say he still has a hard time understanding that today. >> right. with fake news and the enknemi s enemies -- glenn, i think it's safe to say donald trump has not kissed you. >> joe biden has. [ laughter ]. >> that's another story for another day. >> yeah. or perhaps another presidential run. trump knows you, though, quite well, maybe from the saturday night life parody of you in the hat because he watches tv, as we know. and he phones you. it's a little bit of what happens with katy. he rails against you, but then he embraces you, he phones you.
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>> my context with donald trump goes back a little further. you know, i think it is note worthy that a lot of people who cover him in the briefing room right now started na eed off in tabloids in the new york city. i was thinking about this. i may be wrong, but i think prior to covering him as a presidential candidate, my last two interactions with donald trump was not returning his phone calls when he was pushing for an exit ramp on the west side highway for his development program, the thing that killed his west side project. this used to be described -- former mayor ed koch used to be described as unavoidable for comment. donald trump has taken that schtick national.
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he's a compulsive communicator. he ascribes moral characteristics to positive and negative press. if you write something positive, it is immediately transformed into a moral virtue. if you write something negative about him, it is transformed into a negative moral virtue. but behind the scenes, he's wheeling and dealing. it's like you're negotiating buying a used car with a guy. he wants to sell you. people misunderstand him in a fundamental way. he is at heart not a reality guy, not a politician, not a businessman. he is a salesman. he is what willie lohman would have been had willie lohman been successful. he has that same characteristic of not only wanting to sell you the product. but every great salesman -- and donald trump is a phenomenal
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salesman. he sells himself. that's his principal product. >> i'd say trump has a shoe shine but not the smile. i'm struck by how little trump actually smiles. you may have seen more of it katy than i have but there's not ever like a really joyous moment for him. bob, thank you for seamlessly filling the shoes of gwen at washington week northbound in r. great job. you have a story in the "washington post" that takes us on air force one. trump's returning from huntsville, alabama. now we know that his candidate lost. it seems like trump's hostile takeover of the republican party doesn't mean that he can drag a republican incumbent across the finish line, nor does he have full control of his base now
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that general steve bannon is out there and his candidate won. so he's isolated. he's angry. dare i say he's low energy on this flight. >> it's an interesting moment for the trump presidency. we're about 250 days in to trump's term and he's struggling to navigate washington but especially to na gavigate the py he has dominated for about two years now, the republican party. he is searching for wins. what's so intriguing to cover him is that he's not driven by ideology. he's not driven by the same values that have shaped the republican party since ronald reagan's presidency. he's searching for victory. that major legislative win is out of his grasp. you see him trying with the alabama race where he endorsed senator luther strange to get the establishment of the republican party to work with him to try to make some progress
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on the stalled objectives of health care and taxes. but the president whose power comes from the base has a base that identifies with him viscerally on his grievances with the culture, with the establishment, but they don't necessarily take orders from him. he remains their leader in spirit. we saw that in alabama. they don't seem to be breaking away from the president, but they're breaking away from him and following him point by point. they went with judge moore instead of senator strange. this has real consequences for trump. it tells us he may still have the base with him in 2018, but the base is not going to be helpful, at least on every turn in trying to get legislation through congress. he keeps talking about all the accomplishments he has, but if
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you really tally them up, those actions have been challenged in the courts like with the travel ban. if we just evaluate this moment, we're seeing the president expressing confidence on fox news that he's getting so much done. but alabama was a wakeup call that he still hasn't figured out the formula he needs to get the accomplishments he wants. >> just yesterday trump was tweeting about all these accomplishments, it includes renaming a va center, women's entrepreneur week and turning back obama era rules. the art of the deal, the salesman that glenn speaks of, the coin of the realm for him is he can make a deal, but he hasn't made any. do you see him as that's his calling card? is he a deal maker? >> that is his calling card.
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he's been selling himself as a deal maker now for decades. glenn, you're exactly right, he's a self-promoter more than anything else. he creates a razzle-dazzle. and he convinces people that he is too big, too good, too much of a genius to fail. and people buy into that. he perpetuated that and extended it with his run on the apprenti apprentice. people on the campaign trail, supporters would point to that and say, donald trump will know who to hire. how do you know that? i've seen it on the apprentice. you laugh, but it's serious. his base -- i think, bob, you're right too. he doesn't necessarily have control of his base, but at the same time i think his base feels like they really know what he wants even when he is not at liberty to say it or to do it. his base knew that judge roy moore was more in line with what
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donald trump would have wanted. it was mitch mcconnell and the establishment republicans that were forcing him to endorse the incumbent luther strange. he had the ability to convince folks that they could believe whatever they wanted to believe about trump. he would take all sides of an issue. it's because he didn't stand for one thing in particular and that's part of his appeal to people. this is a guy who can make whatever deal he's going to make. he's going to work with the democrats, the republicans. he'll find a way to convince independents. he's just going to get things done. he doesn't have a track record of doing it. i don't know when he's going to be able to pull something over the line, when he's going to sign some legislation. big but though, i don't know if his base is going to hold him accountable for it. what they're going to do -- and
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this is what you would hear when you would talk to folks out there -- it's everybody else's fault by donald trump' fault but donald trump's. it's congress's fault. the swamp won't let him reform things. the media is not on his side. there's a great anecdote. i talked to a man and said why do you like donald trump? he said because he's going to build a wall. i said what if he doesn't build a wall? it's okay, i trust his judgment. >> on the shuttle bus back to the parking lot several times since i'm not katy tur i wouldn't be recognized, so all of the people would just be talking about what happened. they had a completely forgiving tone about anything that trump did. and uroften said something like
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he'll do what i would do and i'm not always going to get it right, so completely forgiven. all the fake news is covering the mueller investigation, which must make it harder for you to cover a fairly paranoid white house at this point. >> they're not organized enough to be operationally paranoid. [ laughter ]. >> most of the time they're more pissed off with each other than mueller. >> or with you. >> or with us. >> i think it is way over stated the hostility toward the press. it was really palpable early on when spicer was going through his first set of gyrations before we now have him cleaning himself up on the emmys. but we -- it really was walking into that building a very hostile environment, i would say
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for the first three to five months. but it has hunkered down into the usual trench warfare at this point in time. the relationship between the front line press people in the white house and most media folks is on its surface amicable. the issue here again is the main problem with this white house is a truth issue. they just say things routinely that are false or contorted. so the nutritional value of your interactions with anyone on the white house pre-mueller, post-mueller, during mueller tend to be of the junk food variety. >> right. [ laughter ]. >> just quickly, you're off twitter. now, this is something that everyone in the white house wants trump to get off. you've done it. >> yeah. >> did john kelly get you to do it? >> i take methadone which is -- [ laughter ]. >> actually facebook is kind of methadone for twitter.
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my decision -- and i will say to you straight out i think my bosses are probably pretty pleased with my decision. i think my colleague and i are going to be working on a book on the presidency. i had a realization. i took twitter off my phone probably about a month ago. it was liberating. i was trying to organize my day. this is about a week and a half ago at around 7:00 in the morning, making my schedule, deciding who i was going to talk to. and i looked up and it was 9:00. what had happened is i had kind of gone off into one of these twitter. i had gotten emotional. someone had said something nasty and it totally hijacked my day. i realized at that point the balance at gotten out of whack. there are some down sides,
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particularly tweeting out the good work of my colleagues. but in general i feel like i have control over my day. >> so your trhumbs are twitchin from time to time. >> yeah. >> bob, are you still waiting for trump to pivot? are any of us still waiting for that? is it possible or have we realized that the trump of the campaign, the trump of the early white house, this is trump that we have. >> on the pivot question, i think most people are in the same space reporters are, which is he does pivot from time to time, turn to a different issue, turn to a different front. but he's so unreliable that he's not ever going to pivot and continue in a certain direction. we see it with the bipartisan deal he cut on the debt ceiling.
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and on the budget, there was a week of stories about the president moving in a more bipartisan direction. a few weeks later it's the nfl, these racially charged controversies about patriotism and so many other controversial issues and democrated are es ar alarmed. it's a complicated time for president trump because he doesn't really seem to know where he wants to go. he loves t s ththe adulation th comes, but he doesn't have a core conviction. i have doubts every time i hear president trump is moving toward a new place. >> adulation, yes, but he doesn't -- he spokes a stick at a tender spot, like race relations, the nfl.
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it's not going to cut clean for him. even the owners weren't with him. does he know -- is any attention good attention? is there any strategy behind this? his proponents say this is strategic. he wants these distractions. it doesn't bother him when the nfl takes up four days and we're not paying attention to health care or other things. and the tax bill, maybe it still detracts from that. even today there's still lots going on about the nfl. >> i just think back to the day after access hollywood tape came out in october of last year, i spoke to president trump by phone and then candidate trump. he said his advisors were telling him to quit the race, apologize profusely. he said none of that. i trust my instincts. i'm going to follow my owned a
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vice always. i've been through bankruptcies. he believes he alone can decide what's best for him and his advisors can only go so far in counselling him. that's why he continues to make these decisions to have incendiary positions because that's the way he connectins wi his base. >> lightning round. does trump get impeached? does trump get reelected? where do we go? >> all of the above. i don't know. i don't know. he could get impeached. he could quit. he could not run again. he could run again and get elected. >> and none of it would surprise you? >> no. i don't think you can predict. i think donald trump is full of options. >> glen? >> two things, ditto. >> retweet it. >> metaphorically. >> verbally retweeted.
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if mike pence becomes president, i don't think pence has a particularly easy time. he was involved in a lot of early decision makes with michael flynn. i think in this scenario where pence becomes president, i think pence becomes an object of significant scrutiny. >> bob, bring us home. >> the biggest asterisk in american politics is robert mueller. we can speculate all we want but we really do not know. we just know it's very serious. if you look at the "new york times," nbc's and the post, this is very serious possible obstruction of justice, possible financial crimes. >> so watch washington week. buy this book. read glen. don't tweet him. thank you. [ applause ]
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. >> please welcome koe coinvento crisper. and ross anderson. >> all right. now for something completely different. fung, i think unlike most advanced in biotechnology, crisper has achieved a real level of cultural penetration where i think that -- and the audience can correct me if i'm wrong. people have a good idea this is a revolutionary gene editing technology. but can you tell me how it exactly works? >> sure. it's a pleasure to be here. so crisper is a gene editing system. you can think of it as a word processer or microsoft word for
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the genome. the genome encodes the blueprint for life. it's the dna inside of our cells. the genome has three billion letters. you would open up the search and replace function, type in where you're trying to locate in this document and then word will automatically place the cursor in where you want to edit. you can backspace to delete and type in what you want to put in the document. but a genome is not a microsoft word. so the way the crisper system works is you can give it a short strand of rna that has been preprogrammed to recognize a specific dna sequence in our genome so that it's like the search string you're typing into your search box. cast nine is a protein. it take this is rna and goes
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into our dna and searches along the dna until it finds a place where the rna and the dna match each other. when that happens, cast nine acts as a nuclear. it's scissors for cutting dna. it will literally make a cut in where that rna matches the dna. >> when that happens, this cut is the equivalent of a cursor in microsoft word. the cell will react to this double strand cut and start to edit the dna sequence. you can give it a new piece of dna that carries the new piece of information that you want to incorporate in the genome and the cells will incorporate that in and you can using that edit a genome. >> wow. yeah. [ applause ] i find that mind blowing every time i hear about it. i know you are not a historian of science but i wonder if you could give us some sense, if we
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look at the history of biotechnology, what are the big break throughs over time and how does crisper compare to them? >> sure. it's a long history. in fact, we have been manipulating genetic information of living organisms for thousands of years. it began with agriculture where we began to cross and breed and try to generate new crops with improved traits, more yield or drought resistance, you name it. that's sort of antic antiquity type of engineering. that under scored the revolution in molecular biology and ushered
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in this new way of therapeutics. the next major thing probably has to do with the sequencing of the human genome. we can now read every single letter in our genome. the human genome has 3 billion letters. we know these different dna letters. so we now want to be able to modify the genome. as you sequence the genome of many individuals, we're now learning genetic differences that may underscore disease or improvement in health, reducing risks for disease. that's where the gene editing comes in. cast nine is one of the easiest technologies that makes it cheaper and faster. you can think of the older technology -- so we watch tv.
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the tv has to be tuned into a certain tv station to get a signal. cast nine is a tv that you can tune to different stations. you don't have to build a brand new tv just to be able to watch your favorite program. >> one of the things that strikes me about this technology is we've actually been mis-idding you as the inventor of crisper. in fact, you did not invent crisper. bacteria invented crisper. we're merely borrowing technology and using it for our own ends. when you look at sort of the intricate machinery of bacteria, are there other tricks like this that we might be able to steal? >> nature is probably the greatest inventor of all time.
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what we invented is we took this natural system and made it so we can use it to edit the genome of human cells or plant tells. crisper is only one of many different systems. when we talk about crisper, people are usually referring to crisper cast nine. turns out there are many different crisper systems. a couple of years ago we collaborated with a scientist at national institutes of health and we found crisper 13. we can use that to diagnose and dete detect. >> you said something
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interesting there. you said that nature is the best inventor of all time. crisper really represents a sort of radical expansion of nature's own creativity, right? because you bring the human mind to pebear on it. the first thing people want to know about is medicine. what is this new creativity enabling in the field of medical? >> crisper is a very exciting tool. there's medicine, agriculture and research in many different areas. in medicine, one of the most exciting potential is the ability to use it to treat a genetic disease. we're identifying specific mutations that may underscore grievance diseases. disease like sickle cell disease
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or cystic fibrosis or epilepsy. we may think that if we can go into the disease affecting cells and be able to modify the dna in those cells so we can remove this specific causative mutation, then we can have a way to recover or rescue the disease symptoms in these patients nap's what the gene editing system has promised to do. it's a way to get at the root cause to have disease, not just masking the system but completely getting rid of the underlying cause. [ applause ]. >> what about diagnostics? i've been reading that crisper could make it so if there were an ebola outbreak somewhere in
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africa, that you could make very cheap strips that could take saliva that could identify ebola in someone's system immediately on the spot. are we going to see diagnostics like that everywhere? >> i think so and i hope so. in fact, i think crisper based diagnostics based on crisper cast 13 may actually be one of the earlier things that you will see coming out as an application in the real world. crisper cast 13 is a protein that you can easily program like cast nine to be able to detect different kinds of viruses or bacteria. you just design a different rna. the nice thing about crisper cast 13 is it's cheap to produce and it's also very rapid and
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stable. you can spot this onto a piece of filter paper and create something similar toll a pregnancy test. you can use it out there in the field where an outbreak is happening. or the patient can diagnose at home. containment is a huge issue. i think that's a really exciting possibility in the future. >> yeah. i know this is also making science much easier. we actually recently ran a story about one of our staff writers where a scientist had actually used crisper cast nine i believe to go in and manipulate the genes that paints butterfly wings and they were able to play with the patterns and the colors and they would show up in the next generation of butterflies almost immediately. i was struck by this quote at the end of the article where we said, we had dreamed about this as a science fiction possibility that someone two generations
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down would be able to do and now this is like an undergraduate project. are you getting thank you notes from scientists? where else are you seeing research being made much easier by these techniques? >> it's funny. in fact, i think one of the biggest impact that crisper is having in the world right now is accelerating science, accelerating research. the genome is large, 3 billion letters. so it's very complicated. in fact, only 1% or very small fraction of the genome actually encode proteins. the rest of it is called noncoding sequence or dark matter of the genome. we don't really know how the dark matter works. crisper is making it possible for scientists to study information that we don't know with unprecedented pace. it used to take many months if
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not a couple of years to be able to make a single genetic change. now with crisper they can do it in a matter of weeks. with this kind of celebration that we are going to be able to much more rapidly understand biology and answer unknown questions, that together will help us build new medicine and do many other useful things for the world. >> yes. recently scientists used crisper to edit a human embryo in the united states for the first time. this had been tried in china several times with some success, but as i understand it with widespread errors. i'm always at great pains to explain to people that this emphatically does not mean that the era of designer babies a upon us. can you foresee and in what amount of time a world where people are able to select prebirth for traits like
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intelligence for instance? >> designer maybe makes great headlines but it's something that's pretty far away from what we can do now. for a couple of reasons, one, we don't really know the genome all that well. for the vast number of things you want to do, we actually don't know how to do it. we don't know how to maybe a baby with blue eyes. a second thing which is. even more important is that even if we knew something about a genome, the genome is so complicated that there are complicated interactions between these traits. i'll give you one simple example. nowadays there is a small percentage of individuals who cause ri a mutation in t.
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maybe they eradicate aids. it turns out that just because it reduces the effectability of hiv virus in human, its increases the susceptibility for west nice virus. we don't have a west nile virus epidemic right now. that's all to say the genome is so complicated. we don't want to be playing god. it will have to be very thoughtful and very careful. >> that means we can put off any sort of ethical fears we might have about designer babies for some time. nonetheless, are there applications to this technology that do give you pause ethically? what do you worry about kwoem. >> crisper is a powerful
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technology. one of the applications scientists are exploring is designing a gene drive. it's a way of using crisper so you can rapidly spread a genetic trait in the population. people have thought about using this gene drive system to be able to eradicate mosquitos. you introduce a trait that will make them sterile so you captain breed anymore and the whole species will go extinct. that's something we need to be very thoughtful and careful about before we deploy something like that. certainly before you deploy it, swap dwoping a way -- developiny to contain -- species are going extinct all the time too. this is not something that crisper is going to be causing in the world. it's more of something we really need to be thoughtful as we move the technology forward.
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>> you'll note that here in washington being thoughtful about eradicating mosquitos was not an applause line. i want to ask you about a subject that is close to my heart. recently i wrote about the quest to bring back the woolly mamm h mammoth. i know that george church who's spear heading this prospect is a friend and colleague of yours. i hope you'd tell us if maybe there's a baby mammoth in a tank somewhere in boston. you can deliver that news here. >> i'm sorry i have to disappoint you. i got started into molecular biology after watching jurassic park. there's so much of biology -- biology is really at a very
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rudimentary stage. we've made a lot of great progress already, but there's still so much more that we don't understand. resurrecting an extinct animal is not just going to be crisper. a lot of biological knowledge had to be understood and gained before we could make a possibility. i think we have to be a little more patient about that. >> boo. no. fung, thank you for being with us today. that was fascinating. today, new america will host discussion on whether the growth of isis was inevitable. and how different american policy changes might have prevented the rise of the islamic state. live coverage begins at 12:15 p.m. eastern on c-span 2. both chambers of congress are in session today.
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the house will spend the majority of the week debating the fiscal budget resolution for 2018. live coverage on c-span. the senate returns to debate thn of ajit pai. senators will vote on the confirmation at 5:30 p.m. eastern. you can watch the debate on c-span2. >> later a discussion with the authors of the new ortical on the rise of isis. they argue with different policies, the u.s. could have prevented the rise of isis. live coverage starting at 6:00 p.m. eastern. you can also watch live online at or listen live with the free c-span radio app. and tomorrow, the former chair and ceo of ecpufax, richard smith, testifies before congress about the company's data breach. first before the house energy and commerce committee and wednesday before the senate banking committee. live both days at 10:00 a.m. eastern. also live online or using the c-span radio app.
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next, a forum on race and education with members of congress. education advocates, students, and former officials. the congressional black caucus foundation hosted this event. good afternoon, everyone. thank you so much for joining us today. today's education brain trust is called from brown to fisher, increasing racial diversity to improve educational equity. i'm melanie newman. i'm the chief strategist for the naacp legal defense fund, the organization that i am proud to say i work for and that is


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