tv This Week With George Stephanopoulos ABC April 29, 2018 8:00am-9:00am PDT
"this week" with george stephanopoulos starts right now. >> i'll tell you one thing. we're not playing games. >> ahead of president trump's historic summit with kim jong-un, we're one on one with his new secretary of state. >> i think mike pompeo is extraordinary. >> his very first interview as america's top diplomat. >> i do look forward to getting to work in washington. >> and his first interview since his secret meeting with north korea's dictator. >> i was there on a mission. >> what did mike pompeo say to kim jong-un? in their face-to-face meeting. as north korea comes to the table, can someone the president called a madman be trusted? plus, will pompeo convince the president not to tear up the iran deal? those questions and more for secretary of state mike pompeo,
an abc news exclusive. live in the studio, the top democrat on the house intelligence committee responds. plus, america divided. >> it's like we're two separate countries. >> in an age of anger, what is firing up voters this election year? chris christie and donna brazile join our powerhouse "roundtable." what's fact? what's fiction? and what matters, "this week." good morning. and thank you for joining us this sunday. in michigan last night, president trump was unfiltered and unrestrained. capping off a turbulent week of nomination drama. legal twists. and foreign dignitaries at the white house. but it was a meeting between north and south korea's leaders that captured the world's attention. north korea's kim jong-un and south korea's president moon taking the first steps on what
may be an historic journey. kim shaking hands with the south korean leader. crossing into south korean soil. the two of them crossing back to north korea hand in hand. a few small steps. a giant symbolic gesture. both leaders pledged to formally end the korean war. sealing their joint declaration with a hug. and appearing together in front of the press. president trump hailed the meeting as a major breakthrough that he made possible. he's also touting mike pompeo's secret meeting with kim jong-un. the white house released these photos of that meeting to pave the way for the upcoming summit between kim and president trump. there are a lot of questions about that meeting. the biggest?
will it lead to the kind of break through that has eluded president trump's predecessors? late yesterday, we talked to mike pompeo in his first interview as secretary of state.
he had just arrived in saudi arabia. secretary pompeo. thank you for joining us on your very first trip as secretary of state. >> thank you, jonathan. great to be with you. >> i want to start with the images of kim jong-un stepping into south korea. the first time we have ever seen a north korean leader do that. how big was that moment? >> yeah, jonathan, i think it's a big deal. it's important. every step along the way matters. the objective remains the same. complete. comple complete, vary fiable, irreversible denuclearization. that's been the goal. president trump put economic pressure on the north koreans. and it appears to have given us this opening, this real opportunity for something that would the be transformative for the world if we could achieve it. >> let's look at the remarkable images of your meeting with kim jong-un. the two of you standing there, side by side.
what was going through your mind at that moment? >> i was on a mission, jonathan. i had a mission to begin to lay the groundwork for president trump's meeting with kim jong-un. we wanted to make sure we understood that the north koreans, kim jong-un, was prepared to talk about the things that mattered the most. to give us a grounds, a basis to have that meeting between the president and the chairman. i was very focused on that in that moment. >> the president said that the meeting, the meeting between the two of you was entirely unplanned and lasted for more than an hour. how did it come about? >> well, i was there on a mission. i was aiming to achieve the goals the president set forward to me. it became clear i would get the chance to meet with kim jong-un to discuss some of the details. most importantly, to take a read on whether there was an opportunity here for our two countries to achieve this. when i came back i reported to the president the discussion. it was a productive one. there remains great deal of work
to do. but we at least have an opportunity here to do something that is incredibly important. >> as the cia director, you obviously spent a lot of time in the cia. spent years, resources, on trying to read the north korean leadership. trying to understand kim jong-un. what did you come away learning about him in that meeting? >> well, anytime you get a chance to meet face to face with someone, you get a better read about what they're thinking. whether they're really prepared to do something that is historic and different and -- we have got a long history in negotiating with north korea. repeatedly, they have taken actions only to find that those promises proved false or unworthy, or they were uncapable of achieving them. my goal was to try to identify
if there was a real opportunity there. i believe there is. who knows how the ultimate discussions will go. there's a lot of work let to do. i'm hopeful that the conditions set by president trump give us this chance. >> the president said that you have a good relationship. with kim jong-un. after this. a good relationship. do you? >> we had a good conversation. we talked about serious matters. he was very well-prepared. i hope i matched that. we had a -- extensive conversation on the hardest issues that face our two countries. i had a clear mission statement from president trump. when i left there, kim jong-un understood the mission exactly as i have described it today. he agreed he was prepared to talk about that and lay out a map to help us achieve the objective. only time will tell if we can get that done. >> you went to set up the summit meeting between kim jong-un and the president or to take steps towards doing that. looking at this, what is your assessment? what is the best plausible outcome that we can see after
this first meeting of donald trump and kim jong-un? >> well, we hope a number of things could be achieved. i talked about getting the release of the american detainees. and then we talked a great deal about what it might look like. hat this complete, vary fiable, irreversible mechanism would look like. when the two leaders are in a room together, they can set the course. they can chart the outcome. they can direct the teams to deliver that outcome. and the best outcome would be that. the two agree they're going to get there and charter their teams to go make that happen. >> i want to play for you something that the national security adviser, john bolton said, shortly before coming into the administration, right after this planned meeting was announced. this is what he said about negotiating with the north koreans. >> there's an all-purpose joke here. question, how do you know that the north korean regime is lying? answer, their lips are moving.
>> that was obviously before john bolton became the national security adviser. he's now working on this meeting. given all the broken promises we have seen on the nuclear issue under president clinton, bush, president obama. three different north korean leaders now. can you really trust anything that comes out of a meeting with kim jong-un? >> jonathan, this administration has its eyes wide open. we know the history. we know the risks. we're going to be very different. we're going to negotiate in a different way than has been done before. we're going to require the steps. we use the word irreversible with great intention. we're going to require the steps that demonstrate that denuclearization is going to be achieved. we're not going take promises. we're not going to take words. we're going to look for actions and deeds. until such time, we'll keep the pressure campaign in place until we achieve that.
that's different. and so, in each case, both countries have to do more than words. we'll have to deliver an outcome that is the one that kim jong-un and i had the chance to talk about at the direction of the president. >> so you looked into his eyes. spent more than an hour with him. said it was a good conversation. the president said it was a good relationship that was developed. the president has called him a madman. he's not alone in that. how do you -- how to you build a relationship with someone who is seen as a madman? >> you know, i'm not one to do much about navel-gazing or eye-staring. i'm looking for action. we have built a coalition. we have come together to put pressure on kim jong-un. president trump and the pressure are the reasons kim jong-un wants this meeting.
we'll be looking to achieve our outcome between the president and kim jong-un. >> do you think he's really had a change of heart on this? i mean, if you look at kim jong-un, this is somebody who assassinated his uncle right after coming into power. poisoned his half-brother. did more to advance north korea's nuclear facilities, missile capabilities than his father. more to advance the military than his grandfather. do you think he's ready to give up the pride of that country right now, the nuclear program? >> kim jong-un will have to make a decision. a big decision. does he want the pressure campaign to continue? does he want president trump to continue to place them in the location that he finds himself today? or is he looking for something big and bold and different? something that hasn't happened before? i don't know which way it will go. as the president as said, only time will tell. we have a mission set. an obligation to engage in diplomatic discourse.
to try and find a peaceful solution, so americans are not held at risk by kim jong-un and his nuclear arsenal. that's the mission. that's the goal. only time will tell if we can achieve it. >> you have been clear. this is complete, irreversible dismantling of the nuclear programs. get rid of the nukes get rid of the capabilities? >> yes, sir. >> is he going to get anything in return before he does that? any lifting, any easing of sanctions? any reward given before the total dismantling of the nuclear program? >> jonathan, the administration has been very clear. we'll see how the negotiations proceed. we're going to do it in a fundamentally different way than the previous efforts to get them to get rid of their nuclear weapons program. we have our eyes wide open, jonathan. >> but nothing before it's done? no partial steps? >> jonathan, we have our eyes wide open. >> you were cia director for 15 months.
you had a sense. you have seen all the intelligence on this. we have seen the assessments. are you confident that we truly know the extent of the north korean nuclear program? do we know where his bombs are? do we know where all his nuclear facilities are at this point? >> jonathan, i'm not going to go into any detail on that. >> well, i'm just asking if you're confident in the assessment? do you believe -- because he's hidden nuclear capability in the past. >> i'm not going to talk about intelligence matters on the show this morning. i apologize for that. you understand that i simply can't do that. >> so, if diplomacy fails on this, is there a military option? a realistic military option for getting rid of the nuclear program? >> president has been very clear, jonathan. we're not going to allow kim jong-un to continue to threaten america. we're not going to let him develop a program such that americans are held at risk.
>> i want to play something you said in july. at the -- >> jonathan, i'm sorry. jonathan, i'm sorry. i apologize. i'm going to have to run. >> can i ask you one more question before we head out of here? >> sure. >> i want to play something you said at the aspen forum in july. >> the north korean people, i'm sure, are lovely people and would love to see him go, as well. as you might know, they don't live a very good life there. >> that was in july. since then you have been to north korea. you have met directly with kim jong-un. do you still think that the people there in north korea would like to see him go? >> jonathan, what i said that evening, i still believe. the people of north korea live in very difficult conditions. believe that one of the reasons that kim jong-un is engaged in this conversation is that the pressure campaign that's been applied by president trump and by the world has put them in more tenuous, more difficult position.
so i'm optimistic. we'll work hard to see if we can't find a solution so that the north
korean people can in fact live a better life. >> our thanks to secretary pompeo who spoke to us from saudi arabia. we had hoped to ask him about iran and other hot spots. as you saw there, he had to run to a dinner with the saudi crown prince. let bring in congressman adam schiff. the top democrat on the house intelligence committee. congressman schiff, you heard the secretary say he thinks there's a real opportunity here. that they're going into this with eyes open. but they think that kim jong-un is serious. serious about giving up his nukes potentially. do you think that's right? >> we don't know. look, i think it's very positive that we have this now dramatic step towards conciliation by kim jong-un. the history, though, is not encouraging. we see the north koreans vacillate between confrontation and conciliation. they were in a strongly confrontational phase up until now.
but look, we have to press this opportunity. we have to test this. it would be irresponsible not to. we have to hope that this is a change of course. i think we need to be mindful of their record. >> it's clearly an opportunity. we're already seeing things we have never seen before. kim jong-un going into south korea. appearing before the press. jointly. this is -- we're already seeing things. i want to play what president trump had to say just last night about all of this. >> they were saying, what do you think -- uh -- president trump had to do with it? i'll tell you what, like how about everything. >> okay. so i don't imagine you agree he has everything to do with this. but doesn't the president deserve credit for -- at least partial credit for what we're seeing unfold on the korean peninsula? >> i think it's more than fair to say that the combination of the president's unpredictability
and his bell kosty had something to do with the north koreans' willingness to come to the table. before he hangs the mission accomplished banner, he needs to realize we may go into a confrontational phase, and he may not want the full blame if things go south. so he ought to be a little circumspect about that. most important, when things do become confrontational, as is likely to happen it will be very important that we're lashed up with our allies, south korea and japan, otherwise, north korea will pick us apart. this president is not particularly good about lashing up with our allies. and you also mentioned, you didn't get into the iran agreement with the secretary. if we walk away from that iran deal, it will not only make it much more difficult to get to yes with the north koreans. it will breed distrust with the is out korean allies on whether they can rely on us. >> i have to disagree with you on this. you have made this point for months. other democrats have. saying that the president's threats to walk away from the iran a agreement, to rip it up, were going to doom any effort to
get negotiations with the north koreans. it hasn't been true. this has been two separate tracks, hasn't it? the president has not backed away at all from his threats on the iran deal. yet the effort with north korea moved forward faster than most people thought it would. >> certainly, the north koreans have done an about face recently. if we drop out of the iran agreement. if we renege on the iran deal when the iranians are complying, it may affect the north koreans' ability to trust the u.s. if people don't believe we keep our word, then how are they going to follow our lead? they're not. i don't think you can divorce the two. >> we had a readout from the koreans on the meeting between moon and kim. according to that readout, north korea is vowing to shut down their nuclear test facility.
but also to allow journalists to come in to witness firsthand. to view what the facility is and what will be destroyed. how confident are you -- i want to ask you the same question i asked secretary pompeo that he wouldn't answer. do we have a good handle, does our intelligence community have a good handle on the extent of those nuclear programs? >> you know, north korea is very opaque. they're a difficult intelligence target. iran has been, too. so i think we need to be circumspect. about whether we can pinpoint everything. when we thought we knew what we did about iraq, we were wrong. so i think it's prudent to go into this with some skepticism. that means we have to insist upon a rigorous inspection regime in north korea. something that will be a difficult ask. they're not going to want us roaming about north korea. if the administration is serious
about insisting in north korea on what they say is a weakness of the iran agreement, that we can't go anywhere into any iranian military facility, they'll have a hard time getting the north koreans to do it. we have to verify with the north koreans because they have a history of cheating. >> the south koreans have put out what they say is a quote from kim jong-un during this meeting. want to put it on the screen. he said, if we meet often and build trust with the united states and if an end to the war and nonaggression are promised, why would we live in difficulty with nuclear weapons? this seems to be the first direct acknowledgment from the north koreans that they are actually willing to give up their nuclear weapons and providing the reasons why they would be willing. do you believe that? >> i don't know. now, they have talked about denuclearization in the past. a lot of what they're agreeing to now, they have agreed to in the past. and as it has turned out, they
have had something very different in mind when they talk about denuclearization. if the u.s. gives up their nukes, we'll give up ours. if they give us economic relief before we're asked to do much, that sounds great. look. this is an important opportunity. we ought to seize it. we ought to try to make it successful. but we need to go in with our eyes wide open. i think the secretary realizes that. i think that's what he was saying this morning. but, we shouldn't miss this chance to test the north koreans. is this something new or is this simply kim jong-un as dr. jekyll and mr. hyde, who is in the phase right now of conciliation. >> i remember when president obama had his first meeting with president-elect trump, he said the biggest challenge for the new president's agenda was going
to be north korea. it looked very dark. now there is -- there is an opportunity. >> that's more than a ray of light here. and -- let's just hope that we can maximize the chance for success there. and let's not breed another nuclear problem with iran at the same time. >> okay, before you go. radically different subject. i want to ask you about ronny jackson. confirmation battle. he dropped out. i know that's a senate issue. not a house issue. were you uncomfortable to see the kind of anonymous accusations thrown at ronny jackson, somebody who served as president obama's doctor for eight years. had a sterling reputation among many in the obama administration suddenly facing accusations. and now, at least some of them, we know, turned out not to be true? >> i'm always troubled when accusations are anonymous. i don't think you can rely on that kind of anonymous claim. i do think, and i'm not in the weeds the way senator tester is. >> but did tester go over the line on this one? >> what i was going to say was, i imagine the folks that have
been talking to senator tester who are going to become public and nonanonymous. and the administration realized that. that's why they withdrew the nomination. so -- i think that's what prompted that move. but, yes, if it were on nothing more than the anonymous claims, that's a slender read. but i think -- >> at least one of the claims was -- the secret service said was not true. one of the more explosive charges. the secret service came out and said -- >> i'm not in a position to know what the actual facts are. so i would defer to my senate colleagues. >> all right. adam schiff. thank you for joining us. >> thank you. coming up, the powerhouse "roundtable" is here. with more reaction to our exclusive interview with the secretary of state. plus, the president's personal attorney takes the fifth. we'll ask chris christie what it all means for the president.
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it is kind of crazy that the trump campaign was in contact with russia when the hillary campaign wasn't even in contact with michigan. it's a direct flight. it's so close. >> that was comedian michelle wolf at last night's white house correspondents' dinner. one of the few jokes we can play here this morning. we'll have more on the debate over her remarks. first, the powerhouse "roundtable." former new jersey governor and abc contributor chris christie. democratic strategist donna brazile. pollster and abc contributor frank luntz. and shannon pettypiece, the white house correspondent for bloomberg news. we'll get to the dinner. >> hur. >> but governor -- >> you bet we will, buddy. >> they're still blushing. >> we're headed towards an historic summit, assuming it happens, between president trump and kim jong-un.
what do you think is going on in the president's mind on this? what does he actually think he can achieve in this first meeting? >> listen, i think knowing him as well as i do, he thinks he can achieve it all. this is how he works. he began by being very rough on this guy. name-calling. tough sanctions. all the rest. this is the way this president was for all his years as a real estate developer in new york city. to be as tough as you can in the beginning. then work to get a deal you can call a win. i think that's probably what his strategy is. because that's what his strategy always is. i think -- now, whether it will work or not, we'll all get to watch and see. i'll tell you this much. i never thought i would live long enough to see kim jong-un and the president of south korea hugging at the dmz. >> they were hugging. holding hands. stepped across the boundaries. look, my dad served in --
>> like macron and trump. >> that's right. this has been a long time coming. the korean peninsula is a place that has been marked by not just a lot of violence but a lot of tension. there's no question that the president has a lot of work to do in preparing for this summit. we still don't know the location. the time. we do know that the south korean president is making a lot of headway. that's good for us. good for america. and that's what we should be -- but the president has a long way to go in preparing for the summit. >> sure. absolutely. >> there are risks here. >> that's why he's got 40% support. you think about every single day there's a negative trump story, yet he's at 40%. job approval in the polls. it's because he does things nobody expects. this is a guy when you assume he's down and out, he always comes back. he doesn't get the credit for it. but he's getting among the american people. he's still getting this acclamation for doing something different. >> he does have this feeling of,
people have told me all my life what i can't do. i can't do the impossible. he continues to try to do the impossible. talking to people in the administration, i'm sure you hear this, as well. there is this cautious optimism. the sense that they're optimistic there is a possibility of peace. they're well aware they could be played here. that this could just be kim stalling for time. that this could go very badly. so there is not any sort of naive pollyanna-ishness going on in the white house right now. in the administration. and throughout the state and defense department, they're aware of the risks and the potential. >> the bottom line though is if it goes bad, he'll just blame kim jong-un. it's not like he's a sympathetic figure. who people go, oh, how could you blame him? this is a guy who has been awful to his own people in a family that has been terroristic in terms of conduct in the region and in their own country. it is risky, always, to go for the brass ring. this risk is less from a public
perception for trump because if he swings and misses i guarantee you, it will be kim jong-un's fault. if donald trump walks away from the table because kim jong-un was being difficult. >> but from a national security standpoint. if this goes bad, will we really -- where does that leave us? >> how are we worse off than we are today? i mean, where we are today is, we have a nuclear north korea, who is testing missiles. threatening its neighbors. threatening the united states. if this summit goes bad, we're back in the same spot he was left in by obama. he's no worse off from a national security perspective. he's taking a risk. he may take hits if he misses. but i guarantee you -- >> but we have been dealing with the instability of north korea for a long time. bush administration, obama administration, clinton administration. we have all been trying to deal with three generations of kims. the question is you know, can the president go into the negotiations with a clear picture of what the united
states needs to accomplish? and china remains a wild card. in all of this. we don't know what -- i want to know what china's thinking is as the two leaders meet for the first time? >> do you seriously think -- really, that north korea is not doing this because china is not pushing them? >> i'm clear they are. >> they're doing it. quietly, but they're doing it. >> they're doing it. >> and there's a sense that china doesn't want to be cut out of this. china wants to be driving the talks. very much involved in this. i think there's a concern that the u.s. and south korea might be taking the lead and they'll be left to the side. >> i thought it was interesting. i asked secretary pompeo twice, very directly. will kim get any rewards before the complete and total dismantling of the nuclear program and he didn't answer the question. >> it's smart diplomacy, jon. >> are they going to scale back sanctions? i remember vividly, at the end
of the bush administration when kim jong-il agreed to do away with their nuclear program. they imploded the cooling tourer. pow e ee eer -- tower, at the n facili facility. it was done. they had a secret -- >> they had a backup. they had a backup. you can't trust them. that's my view. you can't trust them. but at least the president should go in prepared to keep the sanctions and see what happens. >> nobel prize? >> it's too early. >> they were chanting nobel, nobel in michigan. >> he's achieved at least as much as president obama did to get his nobel. let's be fair. if he gets something done here, he will. it will kill them over there in oslo to have to hand it to him. >> if he does it, it resets the political dynamic, which trump desperately needs right now. the public is looking for something to cheer. they're looking for something good to happen. he should be at least applauded for trying. and i don't think that he's getting the recognition.
i don't think, at this point, he's getting the recognition for just how significant this is. >> sounds like he's getting recognition around here. let's go back to the other thing going on back here. the investigation. i want to play something that the president said on "fox & friends" one of the oddest interviews i think i have ever seen on a president on a morning show. >> you look at the corruption at the top of the fbi, it's a disgrace. and our justice department, which i try and stay away from, but at some point, i won't. our justice department should be looking at that kind of stuff. not the nonsense of collusion with russia. >> first of all, before i ask you specifically about that, you talk to the president over the phone fairly often. does he sound like that when you talk to him? he was yelling through a good chunk of that. >> it depends on the day. >> what does he mean? what does he mean when he says -- >> listen, it's pretty clear here that you don't need to be a good friend of his to know that he's aggravated by this.
in his soul he believes that there is no collusion between his campaign and russia. he believes that. as a result, he's incredibly aggravated by all that is going on here. and everything that continues to go on. and that's what you're hearing expressed there. that's language i have said to him any number of times, you shouldn't use. you shouldn't say that the fbi is corrupt at the top. given that you appointed the person at the top of the fbi. you appointed the attorney general. you apointed the deputy attorney general. i have urged him, if you really feel that way, then fire them. because you can't have both. you can't say that and then not fire them. so i think -- but what underlies it is less the facts of what he's talking about than the emotion that he's feeling about, i didn't do this, we didn't do this. and why is this still going on? it doesn't justify it.
that's what's driving it. >> the consequence is significant. the republicans that used to be supporters of our criminal justice system are now hostile to it. the democrats who are hostile find themselves supporting it. >> not all of us, frank. >> the fear is that the american people don't trust the fbi. don't trust the cia. don't trust the justice department. it is continuing like an acid to eat away at the confidence we have towards institutions that we absolutely have to maintain. it's dangerous. >> the american people distrust practically every institution right now. >> with good reason. >> but that should not fuel the president contempt for those who are doing their job, trying to get to the bottom of what happened in 2016. to discover whether or not these trump officials, many of whom have been under investigation, if they did collude with the russians. if they did conspire to help the russians with the dissemination of e-mails. with the hacking of the dnc. these are serious issues.
this goes to the heart of who we are as a country and our democracy. and mr. president, you're not above the law. he's frustrated. but so are many americans. we want to make sure this doesn't happen again, frank. that's i think ultimately what the issue is. >> we went through the same thing during the obama administration. the hillary clinton emails. all of that. i don't want to equate it. right now, all of the institutions are under supreme attack. it is corrosive. we have to find a way. i don't say that we can. but we have to remove the politics from it and hold people accountable and personally responsible without trying to make it a witch hunt. >> you do have leadership doing that. >> i was talking to a criminal defense lawyer who said you know, if i had a case in chicago completely unrelated to russia. let's say it's a drug trafficking case. all i have to do is go before a jury and say, well, we all know about the fbi and the issues we have with them right now. just plant a seed. >> that's awful. >> there is an opinion starting to pervade the american public's psyche that you can't trust
the fbi. that you can't trust the doj. because of these attacks. that could be leveraged in so many unintended ways that have nothing to do with russia. because so much of what the fbi and the doj does has nothing to do with hacking and collusion. >> let's talk facts. we have an fbi director now not running in front of every tv camera every time he wants his voice heard. across the country. we have an fbi director who cleaned out the leadership that was there before and brought in his own leadership in a quiet and professional way. i think what you'll see from chris wray is that kind of quiet, calm leadership. most americans couldn't pick him out of a lineup. and by the way, that's the way it should be with the fbi director. and, jim comey -- frank. i have said this to the president. i think he's wrong for not noting that. i know jim comey for a long time. i had great respect for him and worked with him. but this festival that he's holding over the last ten days for his book and his sanctimonious and self-righteous
conduct contributes to what you're talking about. because a guy who cares about law enforcement first doesn't run around doing the stuff that jim's doing. and i like him. but i'm really disappointed with the way he's conducted himself. >> we tested comey's appearances for "nightline." what we found is, they want to believe him when they go in. but because he attacks trump's appearance. because he cannot identify where he was on election day. and everyone knows where they were when they found out donald trump was being elected. and because of just the way he presents himself, he's hurting credibility rather than helping him. >> well, 700,000 books later, or maybe 1 million books later. >> i gotta turn. we said we would. white house correspondents' dinner. my take here? was that the comedian, michelle wolf, went over the line. this was not the idea. this is not the intention. it's supposed to be celebrating the first amendment. chris christie. governor christie, you were there. >> i was there in the front row,
baby. >> i saw you. >> listen. i have been to a number of these, as you know. i have been a subject of a lot of the stuff over the course of the year. right? you go in there and everyone knows where the line is. and last night, when you attack people's appearances. when you attack their character not their policies. and you do it repeatedly. i mean, one or two shots in, fine. but what she did last night to sarah sanders. what she did to kellyanne conway. what she did to ivanka trump. i was struck. so was my wife sitting next to me. by the fact that this comedian, this female comedian spent more time beating up on women last night than she did on men. and i thought that was a fascinating part of her most vitriolic stuff. personal stuff. the things she called those people last night. like, listen. i'm from new jersey. we're not sensitive. but last night was over the line. >> donna? >> i'm from louisiana. so i have heard some gutter talk in my life. it was racy. okay. i watched it on cspan.
and -- >> you were the one. >> oh, hell, yeah. i love me some cspan. i watched it. it really -- but remember. we have no norms now. this is a president who has criticized women. have called reporters some disgusting things. i don't know if there are any more lines anymore. >> that's unfair. >> come on. this president has said raunchy things. >> we're talking about the comedian. not the president. >> but frank, the president, at times, says things then he says, well, i'm just joking. i'm not defending her. i would use fresh material. but what i'm saying is that it was racy. it was -- it was right there. >> it was disgusting. and the fact is, it aired live on cnn on cspan. >> yes, i watched it on cspan. >> there are 8-year-old kids watching this. >> they're watching the president of the united states, say some of the most disgusting and vile things.
are you telling me -- >> jon, can i use the words she used yesterday on the air live? >> no. >> that's the point. if you can't say it -- you're going to have to pray a long time to get over last night. if you can't say those words on this show, you shouldn't say them at the white house correspondents' dinner. >> this wasn't the intention of the dinner. >> i think this is good for her career. probably good for publicity. people are talking about it. that's what you want as an entertainer. as white house correspondents, in the trenches, the basement every day dealing with this, this was a dinner that was supposed to be about unity. it was a big step that the administration officials were allowed to come to the dinner this year. the president didn't come but having sarah there sitting up on the dais with everyone, it was a baby step, but it was a step forward. it was to create unity. talk about the first amendment. freedom of speech. >> don't invite comedians. you never know. >> ray romano performed. he was perfectly fine. comedians have done it often.
>> and done it well. jon -- i could see it on the faces of you folks on the dais. >> yeah, i was uncomfortable. >> you're responsible for it because your picked her. i'm not saying you knew everything she was going to say. and it's your fault. but i think it colors, it should color what happens next year. i think we have had all kinds of vetting problems in the town. >> yes. the improper vetting of the -- entertainment. >> i think the white house correspondents' association now joins the list of people who didn't vet the way that they should have. next year, a little racy ain't bad. we don't mind that. but, the really personal, mean-spirited attacks on people's appearance, we don't need that. >> as the gridiron says, singe, not burn. agree with you on that. >> she made a lot of people uncomfortable. much more "roundtable" coming up. frank luntz convenes angry voters in florida. we'll be right back. in rks tz convenes angry voters in florida.
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it is with great pleasure that we offer our congratulations on your acceptance..." through the tuition assistance program, every day mcdonald's helps more people go to college. it's part of our commitment to being america's best first job. when we come back, frank luntz gives us a look at angry and divided voters in america. all week long, get the latest on politics and breaking news alerts on the abc news app. download it during the break. news alerts on the abc news app. download it during the break. '. do you offer $4.95 online equity trades? great question. see, for a full service brokerage like ours, that's tough to do. schwab does it. next question. do you offer a satisfaction guarantee? a what now? a satisfaction guarantee. like schwab does. what are you teaching these kids? ask your broker if they offer award-winning full service and low costs, backed by a satisfaction guarantee.
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he spoke with two dozen voters in orlando, florida. half democrats. half republicans. all self-identified as angry. the only thing uniting the two sides? deep frustration with what is going on in washington. take a look. >> i haven't done a lot of elections. this is the first one where families and friends lost each other. >> show of hands. how many of you lost a friend because of this election? that's -- my god. >> yeah. >> what happened? >> just so set in their ways. don't want to hear anything. don't want to listen. can't hold a conversation. it's -- you're the a-hole. and i'm right. >> but to lose a friend? >> yeah. >> yeah. >> what happened? >> you're a racist. you're a bigot. you're this. you're that. you're a bigot. i'm unfriending you. don't contact me again. >> it's becomes exhausting to do nothing but argue with people you once loved. >> i just felt like i couldn't friends with anyone who agreed
with our current politics. my position was, you may not be racist. but i think you're saying you're okay with racism. >> reporter: within minutes, that word set republicans on the defensive. >> do you think a majority of trump voters have -- not necessarily are racist, but have racist tendencies? you're nodding your head. why do you feel that way? >> because of the focus on immigration. it's us against them mentality. >> are you? do you have racist tendencies? >> i disagree with her 100%. >> but you're pointing fingers. >> but that's what i think is wrong in america is we stop the dialogue. and we start the name-calling. >> you're pointing fingers at one individual race. build a wall. build a wall. that's racist. >> as somebody who is hispanic. my dad voted for trump. why? because he came here legally. my wife came here legally. from ecuador. why is it fair for somebody to get in the front of the line when they come here illegally?
>> reporter: that conversation showing vastly different experiences. >> which group have the most difficult challenges? african-americans and hispanics? who chose hard-working taxpayers? two, four, six, seven. and zero over here. muslims? one, two, three, four, five. all over here. if this is not tribalism as they have defined it, i don't know what is. this is not arguing over issues or even donald trump. it's like we're two separate countries. >> reporter: though there was some consensus over who to blame. >> i want a word or phrase to describe congress. >> self-serving cluster. >> selfish. >> incompetent disconnected. >> highly inept. >> is it possible that the two-party system is so broken that we should seek an alternative? >> yes. >> yes. >> absolutely.
>> reporter: some common ground at the end. >> they have issues they want to focus. we have our issues. and we can do it. but, we don't need to denigrate each other for doing what we support. >> people need to be able to sit and have uncomfortable conversations and ask the hard questions. >> we can come to consensus. somewhere in the middle, we can meet and say, we'll help this much here. we'll help this much over here. >> frank and the rest of the "roundtable" are back. you partnered with andrew shue to conduct this focus group. you have done these discussions for a long time. you did really tense ones during the campaign. has it gotten worse? >> this is worse. the organization andrew created, one people, is created because of that. because of those people. we did a survey right after. 82% of americans say we're more divided than at any time in their lifetime. 4 out of 5. and it's across the board. republican, independent, democrat. i had trouble getting control of that group. for 12 minutes, i sat with your producers off the set. as they continued to yell at each other. having no idea that i had even
stepped away. donna, you and i have known each other for about 20 years. governor, for about ten years. we have to do something. we have to hold our party accountable. say enough is enough. because if the we don't do it, this poison is so deep and so pervasive now, it's no wonder our kids are now bullying others and yelling at each other and -- and using language that is so inappropriate. they're getting it from their parents. if we don't do something, including the news media, we'll be beyond the point of no return. >> donna, you said that's why so many people are independents right now. >> no question. they're parking their grievances at independents. they don't want to have anything to do with either political party. at the same time, i do believe it is a responsibility that we all should take up. last weekend, i was in charlottesville, with michael steel. the former chair of the rnc. the former chair of the dnc and the former chair of the rnc.
we sat down to find common ground. we have the tools. we need the leaders not afraid to convene these conversations. >> here's the problem is that they don't have the tools. they're not taught civics. not taught american history. >> good point. >> so we don't even know how to have this dialogue. i don't want us to talk to each other. i want people to listen. young people today and their parents don't know how. >> i think america was designed to be an argument. america was designed to be an argument. i have no problem with the argument. problem i have, we're not listening to each other while we argue. we're arguing at each other, rather than to each other. we're arguing to make a point to a camera, not to convince each other of our goodwill. at least. if not our position. and there's a way to do this. it's harder when you're a politician to do this. a lot of our politicians right now are taking the easy way out. they're playing to the grandstand. and, as long as we continue to reward that not only with votes but with tv time for those
people, you're going to keep getting it. >> i think when you look at 2018 to this point of people being independents, and this anger being across the entire system, i think this should be a wakeup call to democrats. there is a perception in 2018, everybody is angry so they'll vote for democrats. it doesn't seem people are voting across the traditional party lines. just because they don't like what republicans who are in control are doing doesn't mean they'll vote for democrats. they're voting for the individual. they're going to get disgusted and not vote at all. i think there's a perception of large voter turnout. it's likely i think that people will be demoralized and not turn out. >> i will tell you. 2017 in new jersey. >> yeah. >> the lowest voter turnout for governor in the state's history. it was 36% turnout for a state-wide gubernatorial race in new jersey. to give you an example, eight years earlier, when i was elected the first time, it was 48%. it's a big, big change.
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