tv Washington Journal Jeff Mason Ella Nilsen CSPAN July 15, 2019 4:17pm-5:02pm EDT
drops from 6th to 11th place and bill clinton rises from 21st to the 15th spot. where does your favorite president rank? learn that and more about the lives and leadership skills of the 44 chief executives in c-span's "the presidents." it's great vacation reading. available wherever books are sold or at c-span.org/thepresidents. joining us for our round table this morning, jeff mason of reuters. he covers the white house. and ella nilsen of vox. she's their congressional reporter. thanks for joining us this morning. >> thanks for having me. >> jeff mason, let's start you, the president's tweets specifically toward some democratic members of congress, tell us the reaction that's getting since those tweets wfr delivered. >> well, there's been a lot of outrage over them particularly from democrats but others as well. i mean, it's considered, many people are viewing them as
racist. the president suggested three or four members of congress who are women of color should go back to where they came from. three out of the four of them were born in the united states. the other is an immigrant. this is sort of a pattern his critics see as engaging in racial baiting as an outreach, essentially, to white america or even white supremacists. the president, of course, denies that. the president and the people around him say he is not engaging in racism, that he is talking about love of country and objecting to some of the things that they have said in this particular case, but more broadly in terms of the pattern of some of this behavior. they really object to the suggestion that he is racist, but there are people on the other side who think that that's exactly the kind of behavior that he's engaging in and that this tweet exemplifies that. >> ella nilsen, talk about who was the focus of these tweets and the reaction it's getting from congress, itself, since
they were put out there. >> yeah, absolutely. so these tweets are focused on the so-called progressive squad, which is representatives ilhan omar, alexandria ocasio-cortez, ayanna pressley and rashida tlaib. four unapoll je popol popoll j s progressive women. president's tweets said go back where you came from. it's obviously worth pointing out that three out of four of these women were born in the united states. one, ilhan omar, was born in somalia. she's a u.s. citizen and lawful immigrant to the united states. and the reason that the president was kind of tweeting this was kind of coming on the heels of this internal debate among house democrats over the place of progressives in congress, progressives primarying, longtime house democrats, and i almost kind of think there was sort of this vicious infighting that was happening last week and continuing on to this weekend, and think that the president may have kind of solved that with
his own tweet. kind of unifying democrats by stepping into this fight. >> the assistant speaker, luhan, going on the sunday shows yesterday talking about that very aspect. >> yeah. >> since the delivery. let's hear a little of what he had to say. let's get your reaction to it. >> the president, surprise, has been tweeting this morning. i want to put up a tweet because he specifically has been calling out progressive democratic congresswomen who come originally from countries, his words, whose governments are complete and total catastrophe, and he says this. "why don't they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime-infested places from which they came then come back and show us how it is done." your thoughts about president trump saying to duly elected members of congress, go back to your homes? >> chris, that's the first i'm hearing of that. that's a racist tweet. telling people to go back where they came from, these are american citizens elected by
vote e voters in the united states of america too serve in one of the most distinguished bodies in the u.s. house of representatives. i think that's wrong. and especially with all that's going on across america. for the president to spend time saying such racist things this morning, it sounds like -- >> yes. >> look, the horrendous detention facilities that we have across the country that vice president pence brought attention to, that even he said smelled horrendous, that the inspector general has called out, that the commissioner on human rights from the u.n. has said that these facilities are in horrendous conditions. the price of insulin which has increased over 1,000% that's negatively impacting people. that's what the president should have his attention on, not picking these fights and especially sending out racist tweets. >> ella nilsen, that's one reaction. what do you expect as far as this week in congress when we hear more about it, particularly from democrats on the house side? >> yeah, democrats are going to keep hammering this.
actually, president trump sent out another tweet this morning seemingly accusing these four female members of congress of being racist, themselves. so this is not something that is going to go away. democrats are going to, i think, continue to, you know, protect and defend these four members. i think what we're really looking to see is if republicans are going to say anything and so far there hasn't been much from that side. >> jeff mason, have we seen a follow-up, besides the president, himself, defense of the tweets and the message behind them? >> i haven't seen one. i imagine there will be others at the white house or in his sort of crowd of supporters who will come up and either defend what he's saying or interpret what he's saying, but i think you're right, that there will be a lot more criticism, certainly, coming from capitol hill. it might be instructive to look at how the president and white house have reacted in previous times where there's been controversy about what he has said that has been considered racist and the thing that i'm thinking of is the charlottesville controversy.
he doubled down after that. he did come back to the white house, i remember i was traveling with him, he was in new york. he gave a statement out. he gave a statement in the lobby of trump tower and then came back to the white house and made a statement again where he tried to pull back a little bit and then directly after that doubled down again. so i don't think that we will see a president who apologizes or who sees this as having been the wrong thing to say, despite the sort of outcry about it. >> the phone lines, by the way, 202-748-8000 for democrats. republicans 202-748-8001. independents, 202-748-8002. tweet your thoughts @c-spanwj. the larger aspect of immigration raids which were supposed to launch yesterday. what have when see, if anything, as far as measurable from these raids? >> well, that's a good question. going into these raids, there was certainly a question of how
much we would see because they weren't -- they're not bringing reporters along with them for these raids. i think so far, i haven't seen any clear reporting or evidence of what actually took place yesterday and, perhaps, they are trying to keep it a little bit more secretive than the president was last week when he telegraphed the fact that it was supposed to happen. but definitely there were people all over the country this weekend who were afraid and who were concerned about what was coming and on edge about the fact that i.c.e. agents were apparently coming to their door. >> was there a reaction then from that telegraphing that you speak of, particularly as these kind of things usually take place without that kind of notice? >> well, it's interesting when you hear from some of the agencies involved in this, they will not give you a whole lot of information and suggest, you know, this isn't something that we telegraphed, but the president did, and the president, i think, by doing that raises the question of whether he was actually talking about the fact that this was
happening or more, talking to his base. to show that he is doing something, making good on promises that he has made, generally, philosophically, about tightening down and being rough or being hard on immigration. >> we saw the vice president traveling to these detention centers, what's the messaging there coming from the white house concerning this? >> well, that was a very dramatic visit on friday. vice president pence visited a couple different detention centers in texas. one of them was for families. it was brand-new and pretty clean. and seemed like it was a reasonable place in terms of the facility, itself. the other one was for single men and was clearly overcrowded. smelly and really, really unpleasant. he was only in there for about 90 seconds. and he walked out and used that as a messaging opportunity to say, i expected it to be overcrowded and this is a sign that congress needs to get its act together in terms of
funding. but the flip side of that is this is happening under vice president pence and president donald trump's watch. so it's their administration and the criticism will be this is what you are overseeing. >> ella nilsen, then the messaging coming from democrats and republicans concerning -- we saw several go to the border, take a look for themselves. what's the messaging coming out from both sides on capitol hill? >> i think, certainly among democrats and progressives, i mean, congress, the kind of the heels of what happened before all of this internal drama was a funding bill. a border aid funding bill that passed the house even though progressives were angry about there not being further standards to make sure that these places are clean. that there's translator services that especially kids are getting basic necessities like toothbrushes. things like that. so congress did just pass a border aid funding bill. there is money going toward, you know, trying to improve, at least that was the intention,
these facilities. i think that there is going to be concern about oversight and making sure that this money is actually doing what the administration has said that it's going to do. or if it's just going to contribute to, you know, more overcrowding, more people po pouring into these camps and conditions not improving. >> i'm paraphrasing them, but republicans were telling democrats then they were -- i'm paraphrasing really -- a blind eye to this issue even before it became a media issue. >> right. and i think that democrats would say, like, that they have not been. i mean, i think that, yeah, that is sort of the messaging from republicans that democrats, you know, maybe this happened during the obama years but the fact is that there are trump administration policies that are exacerbating this. things like metering, turning away people that are trying to come into ports of entry. it's kind of creating and exacerbating this crisis on the border. and i think the video that came out this weekend was, you know, kind of horrifying. >> again, our guest with us for the hour. our first call comes from bob.
bob is in illinois. republican line for our guests. bob, go ahead with your question or comment. >> caller: good morning, pedro. love c-span. i'd like to ask each of your guests regarding the mueller report and the fbi allegedly spying on the trump campaign, to take off their reporter hats for a few minutes, just look at it like we do out here in the general population, average joe citizen, ask, i'd like to find out how -- do they think it's going to reach up to obama? how high up in the obama administration do they think it's going to go? realistically, not what with their reporter hats on. just as john q. public. >> thanks, caller. ella nilsen, let's start with you. you can weave in what you want. talk about, then, the status of robert mueller testifying. >> right. that was actually pushed back another week, i believe. so this is going to be some very
pivotal, highly watched testimony on capitol hill, although it's -- robert mueller has made it very clear that he's not going to talk about anything beyond what has been in the report already. i don't think that he wants to politicize this any more than it has already been politicized. but i think that, you know, democrats, there's still an ongoing debate about an impeachment inquiry on capitol hill. a number of democrats that were kind of on the fence kind of flipped to saying that they want an impeachment inquiry after he gave that sort of rare public statement back in may. and so i think that a full day of testifying in front of congress could cause more democrats to support that. >> at the end of the day, what was spelled out as far as the reasons for the pushback of the hearing? >> i think that it was -- i have to confess, i was traveling last week so i wasn't quite as plugged in to washington news, but i think that it was -- it was just sort of giving him a little bit more time. >> jeff mason, then, the white house still dealing with this idea of the mueller report. what's their reaction,
particularly now with the push-off of the hearing? >> you see in the president's tweets and discussions about this, he continues to see this as what he calls a witch hunt. the fact that mueller's testifying at all, obviously, brings the story back to the forefront of the news and that's not really something that the president is eager to see. that said, i think he and some other republicans will view this as an opportunity to ask robert mueller some questions that they don't believe have been answered. maybe one of them would be what the caller was talking about. so we'll see. i mean, there will be -- it will certainly be an intense few hours for both sides when that happens, if, in fact, it does happen next week. >> is there a concern that it might not happen next week? >> well, i mean, i don't want to suggest that there is, but the fact that it's been put off a week, for me, leaving my reporter hat very firmly on, always raises the skepticism about whether it's going to happen at all. >> so the caller's point, the inspector general looking into the fbi and the sourcing of the
steele dossier, where are we? is there a release expected soon? >> that's a good question. i think that that was supposed to come up pretty soon. i don't have the date in my head, but that -- that's been coming and the white house has been foreshadowing that, too, as something to be watching that they will be watching closely. >> let's hear from nancy. nancy is in austin, texas. hi. >> caller: hi. two brief things, charlottesville. and ilhan omar. first on inhall omar, she came from a camp in somalia or kenya. she was there for four years. we rescued her. we brought her to the u.s. she becomes a representative and starts saying how much she really hates the united states. how she wants to change it fundamentally. that's what trump was talking about. has nothing to do with her race whatsoever. the second thing has to do with charlottesville. i'm tired of you repeating over and over again this false
narrative that trump was siding with the white nationalists, whoever they were. townspeople didn't want to see our statues taken down. i would be one of those. i'm certainly not a white nationalist. yet you keep on throwing up this false narrative over and over again i guess thinking if you repeat it often enough, everybody will believe it. those are my two comments. thank you. >> ella nilsen, let's start with ilhan omar. the perception that she hates the united states. where is that coming from? >> first of all, i would push back on that. i mean, ilhan omar is, you know, yes, she's an immigrant. she came from somalia. she entered the united states, wes went through the citizenship process, entered the u.s. legally. she repeated this weekend, she was at a progressive forum at netroots nation, you know, that as a member of congress, you take -- you swear an oath to the united states. certainly, her vision of the united states is much different than the president's and his bases. i think that part of what the caller is talking about is some of the comments that congresswoman omar has made in the past that is a little bit
more perceived as anti-israel and sort of calling out the influence of aipac and other things on congress. that has really kind of, i would say, you know, the focus -- her focus more on israel has, i think, kind of been twisted as being sort of an anti-u.s. focus. certainly, the israel/u.s. alliance is very strong and that's something that republicans, in particular, have been trying to strengthen and calling out omar in the past, but i wouldn't say that that's an anti-american bias. >> jeff mason, do you want to respond to the charlottesville comments or -- >> sure. look, the facts of that situation are that in charlottesville, there were white supremacists who were demonstrating. it was a white supremacist-led rally. there were people who came to protest them and led to one woman being killed and the president afterwards made a point of saying there were good people on both sides, and many people took that as offensive
because it came across to them as being a defense of white supremacists. the caller is saying that there were different views about those statues, and that very well may be, but the facts of the matter are what he said was in the context of it being a white supremacist-led rally. >> here is from georgia robert calling on our independent line for our guests. good morning. >> caller: hello. first of all, i'd like to state, not that this will make any difference, that i'm an american of african descent, and i like donald trump. and i have never heard anything bad about donald trump until he became president and all of a sudden, he's a racist. i totally understand his comments on ilhan omar and the other ladies. and that is that, basically that is, this is what i hear, if you don't like this country, if you don't like it the way it was founded, why are you here? you have the option to leave. we don't keep you here. we're not a communist nation.
so you can leave at any point you like. in the meantime, if you don't enjoy us the way the constitution -- the reasons we intended, then you're free to leave. that's my comment. >> jeff mason? >> well, the fact is those four women are congresswomen. they were duly elected by their districts to represent their constituents here in congress. now, having some views about how to change america is also very american. it's -- there's nothing wrong with having some views on how to improve or change or evolve the country or the district that you're representing. those views may be different from the callers or from the president's and that is in line with the spirit of the constitution that the caller is talking about. that's protected by the values and the laws of the united states. >> nancy pelosi, when making comments about the president's comments, said via tweet saying, "when donald trump tells four american congresswomen to go
back to their countries, he reaffirms his plan to, quote, make america great again, has always been about making america white again. our diversity is our strength and our unity is out power." surprised by the tone of those comments? >> that was a strong tone, but i think in this moment, pelosi felt like she had to push back vigorously. also to the caller's point, i would just say america is a nation of immigrants, it's been a nation of immigrants long before we found ourselves in this current immigration crisis. you know, this is going back centuries. and people come with their, you know, from other countries with perspectives on how to strengthen this country and to, you know, pelosi's tweet that she had is sort of this oft-repeated message we have, diversity is our power, unity is our strength. many different ideas come something stronger and something better. >> this comes with nancy pelosi and the progressives about perceived -- between the two parties. as you see it, where does that
stand? is there truth to what you heard especially over comments the speaker made last week? >> i think there's still hashing out in the internal democratic caucus that's probably going to happen this week. i think that sort of the biggest divide that has been roiling the caucus is a bit of an ideological and generational divi divide. so alexandria ocasio-cortez i think has sort of particularly been called out by members of leadership and kind of senior members in the democratic party and that's because she is associated with a group and backed by a group called justice democrats that is making it its mission to primary more moderate older democrats. as we're getting close tore the 2020 elections, house democrats are intent on keeping their majority. they don't want primary challenges, even in safer, bluer districts. they want to make sure they keep their incumbents safe and i think the reason there was kind of such vicious infighting is because groups like justice democrats that are much more
progressive, ideologically progressive, are making, you know, no bones about the fact that they would like to see some of these more moderate members bone. >> jeff mason, then, how does the white house use this back and forth between the progressives, their party, for its advantages? >> well, it gives home' an opening, right? there are certainly plenty of issues on the republican side or on president trump's side that will be vulnerabilities for him in 2020, but right now, the unity of the republican party is not one of them. i mean, the republican party is largely unified behind president trump. the rnc and president trump's campaign are working very, very closely together. raising millions of dollars. and he can go into his election or re-election fight knowing that his base and even people who may have had some questions in 2016 on the republican side want him to get re-elected. and so he can see some of this
divisiveness and use it to his advantage and he's trying to do that. >> from robin, north carolina, democrats' line. hi. >> caller: hey, how are you? >> fine. go ahead. >> caller: i just would like to say for me, personally, i have the obamacare, and it's the best thing that's ever happened to me. i've never been able to afford insurance before. i'm self-employed and i'm in the construction business. the only thing i can say is there is some of that that needs to be fixed. just like my son. he has three girls right now. they're all teenagers. well, he doesn't quite make enough money to get the obamacare because you've got to make a certain amount of money before you can get the obamacare. and he doesn't -- he doesn't make that, which in turn should be able -- he should be able to
go for medicare. or medicaid. excuse me. but in north carolina, you know, you got to make under a certain amount of money before you can qualify for medicaid. and so he's stuck right into the middle. so i think there's a way we can fix this, but, you know, for me, it's -- i'm 62 years old and this is the first time i've ever been able to afford any kind of insurance. >> caller, thank you very much. jeff mason, at the same time we see the administration suing over the aca, we hear them say that they have some type of plan to help protect those who might be affected. have we seen specifics or at least some type of game plan of how that's done? >> no, and the president has said that he's going to provide all these details after the election. i mean, he had republicans on the hill pretty concerned, i think, not too long ago when he, again, sort of suggested that he was going to do this big push to get rid of obamacare without a
plan, and the democrats in 2018 were very successful in making that a wedge issue and to helping bring a democratic majority to the house of representatives. you already see some evidence now that democrats, be they presidential candidates or be they law mamakers who are runni for election are going to make health care another hot topic on the campaign trail, and i think republicans are probably a little bit concerned about that. and the caller sort of her point epitomizes the fact that for many people, obamacare, even with its flaws, has been a good thing. for them. for people who have it. obviously, there are many people who are very opposed to how obamacare was brought in and feel there should be something different. both sides, of course, are legitimate, but this is going to be, i think, another big topic in 2020. >> on the topic then of health care, ella nilsen, the
republicans, particularly how they're seeing some type of alternative that they might be able to present. >> yeah, i'm curious to see what that alternative is. i mean, obviously, the republicans sort of one big victory in the arena of health care came during the gop tax bill, they were able to repeal the individual mandate, was the thing that made you have to have some sort of health insurance. and certainly, the trump administration is on this lawsuit to try to further weaken the affordable care act, but these are things that -- the vision that we've seen from republicans so far is what they don't like about the affordable ca ac care act. they're not putting forward a proactive vision of what they quantity to see for health care. that is something that is happening much more i would say in the democratic sphere, we have a number of candidates running in 2020. joe biden just put out his health care plan which sort of seems to be an option that sort of more more a medicare buy-in. sker certainly we have people advocating single-payer plan like senator bernie sanders who authored that plan in congress.
there's a robust debate on the democratic side of proactively where do we want to go from here? strengthen the affordable care act? do we want to do something different? but i would be curious to see if president trump releases sort of a much more detailed, laid-out vision of what he would like to see for health care. >> ella nilsen reports for vox. jeff mason. he covers the whoouite house. if you want to ask questions, 202-748-8000 for democrats. 202-748-8001 for republicans and independe independents. there's a budget to be considered. ella nilsen, where are we as far as the house and senate coming to sol resolve and resolving the budget issues? >> yeah, this is sort of the one area where hopefully democrats and republicans can work together on some legislation. i think that there are still some things that need to be hammered out with budget caps and kind of spending caps. that is something that last i heard house majority leader
steny hoyer is negotiating with senate majority leader mitch mcconnell and republicans. said that he is feeling confident that congressional republicans want tole to to a deal on spending caps and on a budget. he's feeling less confident that the white house wants to come to a deal and that mick mulvaney will work in good faith with democrats to do this. but, yeah, this is a big thing. i think democrats want to be seen as a party that can pass a longer budget so that we don't have constant crs and sort of just, like, one month after another and sort of this looming government shutdown crisis which we saw a lot last year. so, but i think that there's still kind of a long road ahead before we can get something hashed out. >> jeff mason, what's your sense of the roles that steve mnuchin and mick mulvaney will play in coming to help some type of resolve on this ? >> they have an interest in getting something done and in particular making sure the debt ceiling gets raised. both parties have used the fight
over budgets and the debt ceiling in particular as a way to sort of get something else that they want. so we'll see to what extent that ends up being the dynamic in the coming weeks, but i believe secretary mnuchin has said very recently i think he sent a letter to speaker pelosi saying that he'd like to see this issue taken care of before the august recess because the united states technically might run out of money before congress gets back in the fall if they don't raise the debt ceiling before then. >> has the president said anything specifically about resolving these budget issue is particularly the debt ceiling? >> i haven't seen anything from him on that. it's probably something that now that we're getting closer and closer to the d-day of that particular issue that reporters like myself will start asking him, but i can't recall anything that he said about it himself lately. >> ella nilsen, is there a sense that when it comes to getting these things passed, what's the timetable, and is august a realistic timetable to get these
things done? >> i think democrats certainly want to meet that timetable if they can, but i think that there are still a number of things that still need to be hashed out. but certainly, yeah, i believe that senate majority leader mitch mcconnell has once again kind of floated keeping senators here during august recess if they aren't able to finalize something. >> let's hear from a viewer in indiana, robert, republican line. go ahead. >> caller: yes. good morning. i don't even know where to start on this situation, but i tell you, if we don't open our eyes and see what's going on, the democrats don't want to do anything to help this country. absolutely. i mean, you can see it. they don't want to do anything but run trump down, try to impeach him, and al green, all he does when he gets up is she wants to impeach trump. do your job. get the policies made. get some kind of togetherness. >> ella nilsen, we heard a lot
of resistance even from leadership on the house side toward the idea of impeachment. where does that stand as of today? >> yeah, i would say, i mean, to the caller's point, certainly, there are a growing number of members in the democratic caucus who want to start an impeachment inquiry. this is not the same thing as launching articles of impeachment. house speaker nancy pelosi is firmly opposed to that. she, i think, believes that impeachment is sort of a waste of time and i kind of agree with the caller's point that she does want to pass bipartisan policy rather than kind of going down rabbit hole of impeachment. and she sort of wants to see trump gone via the 2020 election rather than impeachment. >> just to let you folks at home know, there's a hearing at 5:00 this afternoon, contempt of congress resolution, specifically aimed at william barr, commerce secretary wilbur ross. that will be live on c-span.org, c-span3 and the radio app. this deals with the -- >> the census question, i bel f
believe, yes. >> what are they looking for? >> this has to do with the kind of ongoing -- we saw this be decided in the supreme court that there would be no citizenship question on the 2020 census, but i think democrats want to know more information about why the trump administration was even trying to get a citizenship question on the census. they tried to get wilbur ross to come testify. he, you know, like many other trump officials has refused to comply with subpoenas so now this is another contempt of congress vote. >> jeff mason, what eventually led the white house to take the path it did on the census question? >> so the path was, and this just happened last week, the president had first indicated he would still try to get the question of citizenship on the census, despite the supreme court decision. and expressed disappointment or dismay or anger when his administration first said, okay, we won't do that so then there's this kind of long either back and forth or sense that that was
being reversed and then he reversed himself again last week and said that there wasn't going to be time to get it on the census so instead he was signing an order or or giving an order to get all the executive departments. all of the administrative -- all of the agencies i should say to gather, colate and turn it in. to your question as to why, i think it did at least come down partially to a logistics thing to continue to have legal challenges to this and to get -- go through the courts would have taken a long time. the supreme court left open the possibility that the administration could put that question on the census, but they said there needed to be a different rationale. and the amount of time to get that through the process just in the end did not appear to be sufficient in order to make it happen. >> and calling for the information that it is, is the
white house expecting a clean process, no hiccups, lawsuits, et cetera, in calling for this information? >> no. anything they do now on this issue is going to be challenged. outside groups who were challenging it already when it was related directly to the census challenging it already have said they intend to continue challenging this. this will be tied up in the courts either way. >> next up is keith, democrats line. you're on. >> caller: good morning. two quick points to the previous caller that questioned if donald trump is a racist, he uses race as a way to get political gain. his real estate deals in the '80s. he called african countries s-holes. all the ones that voted for donald trump, he is supposed to come to washington and solve
problems. he has increased our national debt. the trade deficit increased. and the country has never been more divided. i have never seen more people not being able to talk and not work together with any political party before. it's because donald trump's language and actions. he is the most divisive person i have seen in office. i would have been a supporter of him if he would have tried to have been more presidential. he said in the first 100 days he would solve the immigration issue, solve health care. he has said nothing but dishonest things. i think it is hard for folks to say he has failed in all the things he has tried to do. he has passed two pieces of legislation. he was supposed to be the person to solve the problems, work across both parties. he has done a terrible job.
>> that's keith giving his opinion. i suppose that the trump campaign will look at other sets of circumstances. >> what are they banking on? >> in terms of promises made, promises kept, that is one of the mantras. that is something that his campaign sees as an absolute strength. the caller is right in terms of some legislation, the tax reform bill and law is viewed by the president as a major success. the economy is seen as a major success. those are the types of things that he will talk about going into the election. there are other things that he has done, as well, that were promises that he made. he took the united states out of the iran nuclear agreement. a lot of people think that was the wrong move. it was certainly telegraphed by the president.
he pulled the united states out of the paris climate accord. many republicans were very supportive of the fact that he did that. >> that's supposed to put north korea in, too. >> absolutely. he has been trying to get a peace deal with north korea. he has held three meetings now with kim jong-un. he has given the north korean leader a stage. some would say legitimacy by having done the meetings without a lot to show for it. he has tried and he has -- he is still working on that. the trump campaign will certainly not focus on what the caller suggests which is not having a whole lot of promises made. they view it as having a long to-do list that has a lot of checkmarks on it. >> several senators on the democratic side, how is the senate working with those senators?
and well, i mean, i think the bulk of the work of the senate is confirming judges and then obviously working on this budget deal that we were talking about earlier. so certainly i think that is how the senators are not quite as present, as -- now that this is now senator kamala harris, senator bernie sanders, there is a litany of senators that are not there. i would just say i have been following senator elizabeth warren's campaign. she is doing quite a bit of work. her office is turning out bills and policy ideas that do kind of mirror some things that she is putting out on the campaign trail, as well. i would say as for the larger business in the senate, mitch mcconnell is pretty clear. there is not a lot of big legislation happening in the senate. i don't know if they are being very missed. >> senator warren, something an
event called net roots. >> so this is net roots nation. this is one of the biggest annual gatherings of progressive activists. there were nearly 4,000 people for this annual gathering. i was at the net roots last year covering it. last year warren was there, as well. she has been coming to net roots for years since before she was a senator, since she was kind of the national figure and trying to kind of regulate big banks and corporations in the wake of the nlsh crisis. this is a crowd that loves her. she is very familiar with them. she is by far the warmest reception out of any candidates that have appeared for presidential forum. what was interesting to me were the senators that were kamala harris and cory booker were there last year and didn't show up. activists are excited about warren but i don't think they
are ready to coronate her as the nominee yet. >> when it comes to potential challengers, is joe biden topping the list? >> as i like to keep saying, it's still early. so president trump i think has focussed a lot of his twitterire at joe biden because he is the front runner. as we saw in the first democratic debate senator kamala harris came out swinging. senator warren is doing pretty well in the polls. senator sanders continues to be up pretty high. you have the next tier and pete buttigieg ended up out-fundraising the entire field. i think it's fair to say that president trump has been focussing a lot of his attention on biden because of biden's place in that list.
and biden despite having had such a rough first debate continues to be the front runner. we have a bunch of time between now and the first primary contest which is the iowa caucus. >> from indiana, democrats line. >> caller: hello. good morning c-span. thank you. i want obamacare to be fixed, first of all. and any of these democrats running for president would be better than what we have at the moment. i want to know why they haven't given any time to mueller and why they're not giving any of the information to the
democrats, the house? it must be a cover up as far as i'm concerned. >> what do you mean by that? not enough time to mueller and then the cover up, what do you mean by that? >> caller: i mean, that they are not getting anything that we know of from the president. he's blocking everything. everything's being blocked. so nobody gates to hear what really is going on. and i'm very disappointed that he's not going to be here this coming wednesday. it's concerning to me, because there is so much russia communications. i have been reading the mueller report. i'm close to being done. it's not right what's going on right now. any one of those democrats would be better than president trump. >> want to take anything from that? >> i think she is sort of speaking to this larger frustration that certainly
members ofrt house democrats feel and it sounds like the general public, as well. this kind of speaks to the larger subpoena battle between congress and the president and the fact that democrats who are trying to conduct oversight of the white house not just with the mueller report, it should be noted. there are trying to do a lot of things about the u.s. response to the hurricane in puerto rico, immigration, climate change and a lot of things they want to look at is that trump administration is not providing them documents, not providing witnesses and kind of fighting them every step of the way. and democrats are decrying it as an unprecedented opposition to them trying to do constitutionally mandated oversight. i think this frustration and this opposition between the white house and congress is bubbling over into the public. >> let me shift topics before we move on too far. what happened to the point where the president was supporting this guy and does this end
issues concerning his tenure within the white house? >> according to people around the president and the president himself for that matter, secretary acosta decided he didn't want to be a distraction because of his involvement in the case 12 years ago. he did give a press conference from the department of labor that many saw as an audition/defense to an audience of one so that president trump would not withdraw his support. the president didn't seem to have done that, but then did accept the resignation when secretary acosta offered it. what was telling to me was the fact that he gave him sort of a send off. the secretary came out with president trump when he was departing the white house last week and talked about how great he had been as a secretary and let acosta say why he was stepping down. that's unusual for people that
the president is trying to separate himself from. he wasn't trying to separate him from them. he accepted the resignation. >> i'm not sure about the exact number, but we have a number of acting secretaries running the government. is that a concern with the white house? >> i don't think it is a concern of the white house. i think it's a concern of others. it's not a concern that the president shared. he seems very comfortable with the acing title. he seems to like having people there who maybe give him a little bit more flexibility by not being -- not seeming to be as permanent. i think -- i have spoken to people in the white house who say even if your title isn't acting, we are all acting because the president can choose to fire you at any time. but to you question, i don't think that that's a major concern. >> any sense of congress or congressional concerns over the status of acting secretary snz. >> i think there i