tv This Week With George Stephanopoulos ABC July 22, 2018 8:00am-9:00am PDT
>> announcer: "this week" with george stephanopoulos starts right now. summit stunner. >> i really think i did very well at the press conference. >> after trump sides with russia over american intelligence -- >> who do you believe? >> i have president putin. he just said it's not russia. i will say this. i don't see any reason why it would be. >> the cascade of criticism. >> president trump's actions today were outrageous. >> shameful. >> rare clarification. >> the sentence should have been, i don't see any reason why it wouldn't be russia. sort of a double negative. >> and the president doubling down witho a second summit here in the united states, but no word from what the white house on what trump
agreed to behind closed doors in helsinki. what it means for america, russia and the world. we'll analyze with former trump adviser, tom bossert, democratic adam schiff from the house intelligence committee and the national security adviser of president obama, susan rice. plus, bombshell tape. >> are you concerned with the tapes? >> the president's former lawyer michael cohen recorded trump back in 2016, discussing payments related to "playboy" bunny, karen mcdougal. the president responded with his first twitter attack on michael cohen. how will cohen respond, does he have more damaging information on trump, how will it shape the investigations? stormy daniels' attorney, michael avenatti joins dan abrams on our legal panel. and our powerhouse roundtable, we'll talk about the politics, the facts that matter this week. >> from abc news, it is "this week." here now chiefnd welcome to "this week." what a week it was, and i know we have said that a lot over the
last couple of years, but this may rank as one of the most head-spinning and consequential yet. the sight of an american president standing side by side with a russian dictator echoing vladimir putin's talking points may not have been a surprise to those who follow trump's twitter feed, but it was still shocking. several days of walkbacks haven't clarified things much. nearly all that trump and putin talked about in their two hours alone, still a mystery. here's the director of national intelligence, dan coats. >> the white house has announced on twitter that vladimir putin is coming to the white house in the fall. >> say that again? [ laughter ] >> vladimir putin -- >> did i hear you right? did i hear that? >> yeah, yeah. >> okay. that's going to be special. [ laughter ] tt seco ppose suoso ppig before the midter whi leads to one big question on the table now. will this week be a tipping
point for the political standing of president trump? our brand-new poll with "the washington post" brings initial answers. only 1 in 3 americans approve of how trump handled the summit with putin. four in ten said he went too far in supporting the russian leader. 56% don't like that trump questioned u.s. intelligence. that said, the president's gop support did not collapse. 66% of republicans back his handling of the putin summit, and 51% support his questioning of the u.s. intelligence, but the intensity of feeling all on the democratic side, and by a 17-point margin, the american public believes the leadership in the world has gotten weaker, not stronger under trump. let's talk to adam schiff, the top democrat on the house intelligence committee, and trump's first homeland security adviser, tom bossert, now an analyst with abc news. they're both in aspen with the aspen security forum this week. i want to get to the fallout from the helsinki summit, and we have breaking news overnight, the release of those 400 pages of documents related to the
surveillance of carter page who has served as a foreign policy adviser on the trump campaign. these reports say, visible portions showed that the fbi in stark terms had told the intelligence court that mr. page had, quote, established relationships with russian government officials, including russian intelligence officers, that the bureau believed the russian government's efforts were being coordinated with page and perhaps other individuals associated with mr. trump's campaign, and that mr. page has been collaborating and conspireing with the russian government. the president up already with a reaction. congressman schiff, he says this confirms with little doubt that the department of justice misled the courts and in a second tweet, he says, it looks more and more like the trump campaign was illegally being spied on for the political gain of crooked hillary clinton and the dnc. is that how you read the 400 pages? >> no. of course not, and i think actually if the performance that we had in helsinki took place
before those applications were filed, i think that whole interchange with putin would have been a central exhibit in the fisa applications. i know those applications set out in some detail, a lot of which unfortunately is redacted, just why the fbi is concerned carter page might be acting as a foreign power, and those renewals have been vindicated a substantial part by carter page's own words, that you asked him about, and carter page acknowledged being a formal adviser to the kremlin. but the information he had when that application was filed included the fact the russians were dumping these documents, that the russians had previewed the dumping of the documents with george papadopoulos, that carter page had, in fact, been a target of russian intelligence in the past, that carter page had gone to russia during the campaign that he had meetings with the russian officials, that page had denied, but we can confirm he did, in fact, have meetings with russian officials.
so it was a solid application and renewals signed by four different judges appointed by three different republican presidents. >> mr. bossert, do you see any evidence that the department of justice misled the course or this was illegal in any way? >> well, from what i saw what was released last night, the majority of it was redacted. i saw no new information. i saw that they basically affirmed what congressman nunes and congressman schiff have already released in their own memoranda. there have been materials called into question and that the court reliance on those materials paid for by some democratic party officials thought it was worth looking into. now i think it's also important to remember looking into it is important because you don't want foreign influence, but that doesn't mean that carter page had any kind of role in the trump campaign from what i'm told. he was a nobody on the fringe. >> but he was an adviser to the campaign until he was let go in the fall of 2016.
let's move on now to the fallout from helsinki. we just showed that clip of director coats. i assume both of you may have been there, and you have been on the forum this week. tom bossert, the director said he meant no disrespect to the president, but you saw how surprised he was. does a second summit so soon make sense? >> yeah. so he was surprised and in a lot of ways, i hope he knows a lot about our foreign intelligence, and i know he does. and it doesn't matter what he knows about the president's schedule and that, but i think a lot has been made, and it's been overblown. dan coats is a loyal patriot to the country. he is a great director of national intelligence. i think it's going to be a heck of a circus of coverage and so forth as putin comes here, and you saw him being a little bit light-hearted there. i don't take too much in that, but i hope when the president says the meeting will take place in the fall or autumn, it's not right before the midterm elections, but rather after. i think that would be the
intelligent way to proceed, and i don't think he has ruled that out. the timing hasn't been set. >> you see no other reason to postpone the summit in you think the second summit now does make sense? >> well, from what i understand, and i can only rely upon what we're told, but from what i understand, president trump's conversations in private with president putin were productive, and they didn't agree on anything like has been reported to the russian government to mislead us. trump had a productive set of conversations. i think it's important to continue them. >> and i want to bring that to congressman schiff because we have heard the russians say there were verbal agreements made, congressman schiff, and we heard tom bossert say he was told they weren't, but we don't have much else from officials from the trump administration. >> i agree with tom that the talks in helsinki were productive, but they were productive for vladimir putin. the reality is we have no idea what our president agreed to, that's an asymmetric advantage
for the kremlin, and they do. the kremlin intelligence agents know exactly what took place in that meeting. and the fact that dan coats doesn't -- isn't the failing on dan coats' part. the failing is that the president hasn't described to his own intelligence chief what he may have agreed to in that two-hour meeting. there may have been agreements on ukraine, on syria and who knows what else? we know that after leaving that meeting and coming back home, the president undercut our commitment to the collective security of nato. was that a topic of discussion too? did montenegro come up? it is i think, negligent with our security for us not to know, and as you know, we tried to subpoena the interpreter and on a party line basis, the republicans rejected it. some of who talk a good game, but when it comes to defending the country, they're not willing to follow through. >> you call this a greatest threat to democracy. other democrats have followed that up as well. just bluntly, do you believe he is compromised by vladimir putin? >> well, i certainly think he is
acting like someone who is compromised and it very well may be that he is, or that he believes that he is compromised, that the russians have information on him. we were not permitted to look into the the allegations that was most serious to me, and that is, were the russians laundering money through the trump organization? they wouldn't allow us to go near that, and i hope bob mueller is investigating that because it would explain the president's behavior and it would protect the country by knowing our president was compromised. >> we have heard that from chuck schumer, and how do you respond? >> well, it's an easy cheap shot to say the president has been compromised by the russians. i think the russians elected a former kgb agent and they spend all their time and resources on spy tactics to get into loser
kind of lobbyist pockets and so forth, and this country elected a president that was a former businessman, and as a result our economy is doing well, and we try to have productive meetings with foreign leaders and all this speculation and smoke is meant to undermine the president. it's partisan political concern mixed with legitimate need to throw our intelligence forces against the prevention of spying and interfering in the united states. it's just meant to conflate. >> you say spy tactics, but don't you accept that russia did interfere in a serious way in our election and the threat is still out there? >> i do concede that, and i have conceded that all along, but what we're talking about here today tends to be this dossier and the indictment and so forth which is smoke and that's my reference. interfering in our election system is unacceptable. i think the president believes that too. that's just not quite the way we report it. >> the maria butina indictment that was just mentioned, she was charged this week with being a russian agent as well.
is that penny ante? >> people say that is. here you have somebody acting as an agent of a foreign power trying to infiltrate the nra making contacts with u.s. persons, trying to establish a secret back channel. again, we tried to look into allegations that the russians may have been funneling money through the nra, but the gop found that too hot to handle. these are serious matters, and i think there is no ignoring the fact that for whatever reason this president acts like he is compromised. there is simply no other way to explain why he would side with this kremlin, former kgb officer, rather than his own intelligence agencies, why he would continually attack nato, and again. some of those allegations and that much-disparaged dossier untes which would be whicbe eshat unfortunatnt
>> tom bossert, final word for you. how should the president follow up on the summit this week? >> well, the place i disagree with the congressman is that the president acts. no, he speaks in ways that people don't feel comfortable, but the way he acts is to impose the painful punishments on president putin from the last two presidents. that's a pain that president putin feels. i think what president trump ought to continue doing is acting tough. he is advancing interests in the u.s., china and around the world. we don't like putin's tactics, but russia is the largest land mass with 145 million plus people, and a lot of oil reserves. we have to deal with them to gain u.s. interests elsewhere in the world, so if he keeps acting tough, we'll forgive some of his comments. >> tom bossert, and adam schiff, thank you very much. let's get more on this now from susan rice, the ambassador u.n. under president obama, and let's pick up where tom bossert left off.
he said, what you should look at is how tough the president and his administration have been. toughest sanctions yet on russia. that's what matters. >> well, george, good morning. i think what tom is ignoring with all due respect is the fact that the sanctions that the president and the administration have imposed on russia only came as a result of a congressional mandate that required him to do so. the president has cast doubt repeatedly including this week on the legitimacy of the unanimous intelligence community finding that russia directly interfered in our elections. he has undermined nato, called the european union a foe. he has imposed harsh tariffs on our closest allies and withdrawn us from the trans-pacific partnership agreement. he has taken a series of steps m, he couldn't have mirrored ted more effectively. what his motivations are i think is a legitimate question, one that i trust that the special counsel is investigating, but
the policies that this president has pursued globally have served vladimir putin's interests in dividing the west, undermining democracy, increasing fissures within nato and has done very little to advance u.s. interest. >> do you think it's an open question whether or not he is compromised by russia? >> george, i don't know what his motivations are. i think that's a legitimate question, and it has been reinforced not only by the series of policy steps that i just mentioned that he has taken that have served russian interest as opposed to u.s. interest, but it was reinforced this week by that tragic display of sycophancy in helsinki where the president called into question yet again, standing next to vladimir putin, a dictator, the integrity of our intelligence community. he offered or seemed to be willing to consider an offer to hand over our ambassador to russia, mcfaul and others to the
russians for questioning. it was a series of extraordinary capitulations that do call into question what is going on. >> we have heard from the russians about what they think were the agreements in helsinki talking preliminary agreements on syria and perhaps ukraine. we have heard tom bossert say he was informed there were no agreements. we haven't heard that much from the administration in public. what do you think we need to know about those two hours between vladimir putin and donald trump? >> george, we need to know everything, and the president's national security team needs to know everything. it was a historic mistake to allow the president of the united states, not just donald trump, but any president frankly, to sit for two hours without any note-takers, without any aides present, with one of the most adversarial leaders relative to the united states. we have no idea what transpired and very predictably, the russians are feeding their line of what happened.
we are hearing no rebuttal or comment from the united states. russia is dictating the public perception, the global public perception of what happened in that meeting and we have no basis for countering it. it's a very, very uncomfortable and indeed dangerous situation for the united states to be in. there never should have been a one-on-one meeting of any length, and now we are left to wonder and even the president's cabinet members are left to wonder what exactly happened. >> how about the idea we have to engage russia? they are an important country on the world scene. they are an adversary in places like syria and important in north korea. that's why we need to engage and talk to them, and even as tom bossert said, a second summit may make sense? >> george, i don't think a second summit particularly at the white house makes sense any time soon, certainly not in light of what happened this week. i'm not opposed to the notion of engaging the russians, whether we engage them on a daily basis
ukraine, not take vladimir putin's line on these issues, but rather to advance our interest and our objectives. there is no inherent problem with two leaders even from hostile countries engaging in dialogue. i support that, but you must come prepared with an agenda, not to lie prostate for the russian agenda. >> as you know, president trump says it's the fault of president obama and his predecessors that u.s./russia relations are his fault. he had that tweet coming into the first summit talking about u.s. foolishness and stupidity. he called president obama a total patsy for putin. >> that kind of language is ridiculous. it's offensive, and it doesn't frankly reflect well on president trump. any american president should stand up for the united states of america in the present and historically when meeting with vladimir putin. it was president obama who led the united states and our european allies to impose very
strong sanctions on russia for its annexation of crimea, and its invasion of ukraine. it's president trump who has suggested that crimea belongs properly to russia and that he be prepared to consider some accommodation for russia, vis-a-vis ukraine. president trump can throw all kinds of epithets around. it seems that's how he likes to govern, but the facts are the facts and the reality is that the united states on a bipartisan basis needs to be unified in its opposition to russia's policy, and the efforts to undermine our democracy, and the domestic political discourse. we shouldn't be casting aspersions on one's predecessors. we should be looking putin in the eye and talking about the message that supports united states interest and not russian interest. >> thank you for your time this morning. >> thank you, george. when we come back, our legal panel weighs in on michael cohen's secret tape of president trump. michael avenatti, dan abrams and alan dershowitz up next. cohen's secret tape of president trump.
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in as few as 8 minutes by america's largest mortgage lender. they wanted to squash the story. >> you're saying they wanted to protect donald trump? >> i'm assuming so, yeah. >> if donald trump hadn't been running for the president, do you believe this deal would have been made with ami? knowing what you know now? >> probably not, no. probably not. >> you're convinced now this was an effort to do a favor for donald trump in the last few months of the presidential race? >> unfortunately, yes. >> karen mcdougal talking to anderson cooper this spring about the efforts on ami to pay her to not talk about any relationship she had with donald trump. i want to talk about that with dan abrams, michael avenatti who is representing stormy daniels, and her case against president trump, and alan dershowitz, the
author of "the case against impeaching trump". i want to start with you. on friday, there was an a two-minute conversation between michael cohen and donald trump in december of 2016, talking about buying up the rights of karen mcdougal's story from ami. we have seen the first response from the president, he said it is inconceivable the government would break into the lawyer's office, early in the morning, and perhaps illegal. and the good news is your favorite president did nothing wrong. you have heard the president's lawyer say the tape was exculpatory. is that how you see it? >> no. i think it's ambiguous. i don't know who leaked it. but if anyone in the trump administration leaked it, it was for short-term benefit, but serious long-term implications. there are waiver issues involved, waiving lawyer-client privilege, not only waiving it to this tape, but if there are other tapes. it's possible that it was leaked
by people within the cohen camp. it's unlikely it was leaked by government officials because there is a court order and it was in possession essentially of a former judge appointed by kimber wood. i think the mystery is who leaked it and what advantage did they think they were going to get from leaking it? i don't see any particular advantage to the trump claims based on this tape. i think if you have something that's positive, you wait until you see the whole thing in context, and then you put it out together in a systematic way. this is ambiguous at best. >> i can flip this around. cnbc is reporting that it came from the trump camp. let me bring it to you, dan abrams. i can imagine the trump camp would want it out. bad news, get it out early. >> address it and then they can say it is exculpatory. the only way this is exculpatory
is if he is on there saying, $150,000? why would we want to pay her $150,000? i didn't have a relationship with her. >> ami. >> or anything related to karen mcdougal. you want to say exculpatory, that's what has to be on that tape. it's sort of shock, confusion, sort of saying, why would we be paying this? and that's not the impression i get on that tape. so the question becomes, you know, is this just a potential problem for president trump or is there a potential legal problem? i think those are the two issues. >> correspondents say your case, michael avenatti, as well. taking place a few weeks before the deal was reached with stormy daniels back in 2016. in both cases the trump camp with the karen mcdougal case, they say they didn't know anything about what ami was doing, and it was that michael cohen did it by himself. how does this change your case? >> i think it changes our case in a big way, george, in that first of all, this is not the only tape. i can tell you that for a fact. there are multiple tapes. >> you don't know if there are more tapes of president trump, though. >> i do know there are more tapes of president trump. there are multiple tapes of
president trump number one. that's first of all. that ultimately is going to prove to be a big problem for the president, you know, that old adage, you live by the sword and die by the sword will be true in this case because the president knew his attorney had a predisposition towards taping conversations with people, and cohen had shared tapes with the president along the way during the ten years of legal representation. donald trump knew better, and it's shocking to me that he now expresses shock about being taped. so that's number one. number two, this shows that the president knew these payments were being made prior to the election. he was a participant in it, and he was advising in how it was going to be done, and none of that proves to be helpful to him or michael cohen as it relates to campaign finance violations. >> does your stance change towards michael cohen? >> this particular disclosure does not change our stance towards michael cohen, but there has been an evolution of our position towards michael cohen recently. i think that's fair to say.
>> let's be clear, it wasn't illegal for michael cohen -- >> he had consent. >> it may have been unethical. that's a separate question. people have to separate that out. what is your legal obligation, meaning can you be charged with a crime for it? the answer to that is no. the separate question is, can he get in trouble with the bar association for what he did? absolutely. the only way he can defend having made this recording is either to say that donald trump knew, which it doesn't seem was the case, or that somehow he was protecting himself, right? if he is going to say, i thought donald trump was potentially committing a crime here, and so i had to protect myself if neither of those are the case, there isn't any defense for him in making the recording. >> those are the vulnerabilities for michael cohen. the other possibility is this could end up helping him if he chooses to cooperate with robert mueller. >> there is no question he is holding out the possibility of cooperating. he is holding it out so that
both the president and hear it and possibly take some actions, mainly a pardon, and he is holding it out for the prosecutors as well. i have a question for michael avenatti. how do you know there are other tapes? you're not in a position where you could possibly know that properly. how do you know there are other tapes involving the president of the united states? are you privy to what was seized from the office? that's a very important question. i wish you would answer it. >> i'm not going to answer your question because i don't have to answer your question, but suffice it to say, alan, that my accuracy rate over the last six months has been a lot better than yours as it relates to this matter. >> i'm not getting into anything personal. >> please don't interrupt me. >> i want to know how you know. >> alan, please don't interrupt me, okay? my accuracy rate over the last six months has been spot on in this case and if i'm wrong, why don't we have mr. trump or his attorneys come forward today right now and claim there are no other tapes? you're not going to hear that because -- you're not going to hear that because there are
other tapes, period. >> you miss my point. my point is you're probably -- if you're right -- if you are right, we have a real problem. not if you are wrong. if you're right, then you have access to information that's supposed to be sealed and supposed to be secret. how do you have that information? how are you right? how did you get that information that nobody else knows? you're not in a position where you have been given that information properly. so i think you have an obligation to answer that question. >> i would think he could have had access to the information before this investigation into cohen began. i don't have the answer to that, but that's my guess. it hasn't always been a criminal investigation, and apparently this has been happening according to michael avenatti for years. >> that's one possibility. >> i'm just playing analyst here. it's not an answer. >> you don't have to guess. alan, let me say this. all the information the fbi seized, that's not under lock and key. the only way it would be
improper for me to have it is if i got it from the fbi or somebody in law enforcement. there is a host of other ways i could have obtained that information. >> how? >> i could have received it from michael cohen. i could have received it from one of michael cohen's counsel. i could have received it from others. there is a host of ways i could have obtained it, but look. alan, here's the bottom line. if i'm wrong about it, why doesn't somebody come forward -- >> you're worried about it. >> don't interrupt me. if i'm wrong about it, let them come forward and state that i'm wrong. >> you're right about it and you shouldn't have the information. it raises deep questions about how you have access to invest -- information that judge kimber wood gave to a former judge to investigate in secret because it's potentially lawyer/client information. you shouldn't have lawyer/client information. >> do you know what michael cohen has shared with me? >> i don't, but -- >> thank you. >> we should know that. >> i want to follow up on this. you know there are tapes. do you know what's on the tapes? >> i know the substance of some
of the tapes, yes. >> you have also mentioned saying that your relationship with michael cohen is evolving. what did you mean by that? >> exactly what i said. i think i ran into michael cohen in a restaurant on monday. we had a conversation, i thought it was fruitful. and we have continued to have a dialogue and ultimately, george, michael cohen will assist us in our search for the truth and disclosure of what happened here. i think you have seen an evolution by michael cohen over the last month or so with the retention of lanny davis and others. i think he is ready to tell the truth and ultimately i think he is going to cooperate with us as it relates for our search with the truth. >> he is not allowed to cooperate with anybody if it's lawyer/client material. he is not permitted to give you that information, even if he would like to. he doesn't own it. it's owned by the client. >> in terms of this tape though, the privilege was waived by the president's --
>> only as to that one tape. not as to other tapes. they were very careful about that, and that's what -- look. i taught legal ethics for 30 years. these are very, very important and difficult ethical issues and we're entitled to get to the bottom of whether or not cohen is revealing lawyer/client material information, and this is all an issue that gets to the legitimacy of the legal problems. >> i want to ask a final question to dan abrams. is ami facing legal issues? >> i would be very concerned if i were ami. we have seen the department of justice is not treating them the way they would typically treat a news organizations and you have to wonder what's next. >> this raises very serious first amendment questions. when you start questioning legitimacy, and here's the quote. whether it's a legitimate press function, you're really beginning to crowd, to step on first amendment rights. we know that newspapers buy
stories all the time. once government officials start raising questions about whether a press function is legitimate, that really begins to raise first amendment questions. >> the question would be was, ami making a deal with the president such that it had nothing to do with actually publishing stories, but instead making a deal to kill stories. that is not a first amendment press function. it is a question we have to ask. >> it is very much a press function. >> we have to ask. >> deciding what not to publish -- >> not paying not to publish. that's different. paying not to publish is not a choice not to publish. that's paying money to make sure something doesn't get out there. >> ethically, there is a difference. under the first amendment, remember. in british newspapers and other newspapers do pay, and once you start tinkering with the first amendment borders like this, we really have a serious question. >> question is one thing.
we should be asking the questions, but to somehow suggest that it's wrong to be asking questions of ami i think is a vast overstatement. >> that's all. >> a lot of things that are potentially dangerous. >> thank you all very much. roundtable is up next. we'll be right back. thank you all very much. roundtable is up next. we'll be right back. migraine with botox®. what if you had fewer headaches and... migraines a month? botox® prevents headaches and migraines before they even star. botox® is for adults with chronic migraine, 15 or more headache days a month,... each lasting 4 hours or more. botox® injections take about 15 minutes in your doctor's office and are covered by most insurance. effects of botox® may spread... hours to weeks after injection... causing serious symptoms. alert your doctor right away, as difficulty swallowing, speaking, breathing,... eye problems, or muscle weakness... can be signs of a life-threatening condition. side effects may include allergic reactions, neck and injection site pain, fatigue, and headache. don't receive botox® if there's a skin infection.
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we see them, the utter loss of shame among political leaders where they are caught in a lie and they just double down and they lie some more. the denial affects what's counter to democracy. it could be its undoing. >> president obama in south africa this week did not mention president trump once, but his message was clear. i want to talk about a crazy week on our roundtable with matthew dowd, stephanie cutter, served in several senior roles for president obama, the new host of "firing line," margaret hoover, also cnn contributor and a republican strategist, alex castellanos as well as michelle goldberg. welcome to all of you. i said a crazy week. matthew dowd, at the beginning of the show, i talked about head spinning and consequential. what changed in your mind? >> you mentioned this is a tipping point. we have had 20 or 25 tipping points that people think will fundamentally change this. this is the british open of final sunday.
this is more like a difficult pot bunker that donald trump has gotten himself into. maybe a couple of pot bunkers, he has got himself into, and we're sort of reflecting on this. what russia did in 2016, we keep calling it meddling or interfering and it was an attack on our democracy, cyberwarfare. to me, it was an act of war, and we ought to consider it that, but unlike other acts of war we have been involved with, united the country, this has sought to divide us and it has divided us even more in the midst of this, and you kept trying to ask these different questions. the trump administration, president trump, doesn't seem capable of confronting vladimir putin in any kind of realistic way about what happened in 2016, and what the results of that have been. there are many explanations for it. i could guess a lot of different ones, but it's astounding and that's why your abc poll showed that now by a 17-point margin the public thinks donald trump has made us weaker.
>> alex castellanos, the poll showed a majority of republicans approved of how he handled it, and that number for the president is actually kind of weak. >> it's kind of weak, but it's supported by something that will maintain the president's support and that's there is still no alternative, other than a fairly feckless republican party that donald trump crushed that hasn't learned or changed since he did that. the establishment republicans in washington, and the democratic party that has an even wackier left by its trump hatred. >> you have been a supporter of president trump. what went through your mind as you watched that press conference? >> i was embarrassed. i thought i hadn't seen an american president embarrass himself, make the country look weak, make the presidency look weak ever to that extent. i think there are reasons he did it. i think he is trying to la t rp
think handling putin that legitimacy on the world stage was a huge mistake, and i do think it has impact because it made trump look weak, and that's the one thing he can't do. he is the alpha dog brand. that's the core of trump, and when he undermines his own appeal and he came back and apologized for it and went back on it. that's twice. that gets to the core trump brand, and it will have an effect on republicans in november. >> margaret hoover, some republicans are more critical of course, led by john mccain, but rank and file wanted to run away from this question. >> they wanted to run away from it, and 98-0 the senate voted directly sort of contrasting some of the things the white house has done. for example, saying there is no way that any law enforcement official, political appointee, civil servant or anybody the russian government is interested in talking to will be interviewed. just to make it very, very clear. on the one hand, they are not coming out and defending the president, but what's so
striking to me overall if we just step back and look at how this administration has handled russia, it's not that different than the last administration with russia, or the administration before that, and i was in the bush administration. but each administration has felt that personal diplomacy with the leader of the russian government is going to be the way to change, and it's like we used of this quaint statement that partisanship ended at the water's edge and we would learn from what our country has discovered over previous administrations and three times we have completely failed to learn on what has happened in our past. that has to stop. >> in fact, president obama gave up on diplomacy, and canceled that final summit that was supposed to be in 2013 with vladimir putin. >> i think there is a growing sense, and i think the poll numbers show it, that president trump is being manipulated by vladimir putin and being manipulated by north korea, that he has lost hold of our national security. alex, i know what you are going
to say, and i think the fact that you did see republicans speaking out this week more so than they have previously to stand with our intelligence and to say that what donald trump did standing next to vladimir putin and siding with the russians and using the russian talking points against american interest was a mistake. now the question is whether or not republicans will actually do something about it rather than just saying -- giving a statement. >> that is one of the questions. you also saw michelle goldberg, democrats far less reticent about using words like treason, for better or worse politically, and they believe it's very possible that president trump is compromised, and on the heels of that, it's bookending the summit you have on the indictment the friday before, and the new indictment of maria butina as a russian agent just after. >> increasingly to believe that the president isn't compromised requires such a leap of faith that requires so many coincidences and inexplicable
behavioral choices. i think the truth is probably what is right in front of us, which is that donald trump was kind of a con man, a third tier failed businessman whose fortunes were rescued by russian oligarchs. he presented himself as a titan of industry, which anybody who knows anything about him is ridiculous. he became president with the direct intervention of putin. he sees his fortunes as insufferable from putin's. we don't know if putin is his handler, his hero or his co-conspirator, but it's obviously where his loyalty lies as opposed to lying with the american people, and i think increasingly when you look at the role that the nra has played in this -- >> the ties to maria butina. >> it has been breath-taking to me, and confusing. if you think if nothing else, these people are patriots and yet they have lied down for
trump and people come up to me in the street and they find it unbelievable. i think one of the things that came out this week with the nra is that maybe they are not just, you know, craven. some are also complicit because the nra didn't just help trump, but them all. >> what is the alternate view? >> we're getting into tinfoil hat conspiracy theories. >> excuse me. maria butina was just arrested as a russian agent for penetrating the nra. >> do you know what her communications were? twitter. this is kind of a joke. she is an unregistered lobbyist. more importantly regarding trump and his motives, they are the same for 30 years. he took out an ad in 1987 saying, europe ought to pay mor.
they are economic competitors. we sees everything through the prism of economics, i have got to beat you. >> i accept that. there is a lot of truth to, that but how do you explain though, knowing that the whole world is watching you, coming out of these indictments, how do you explain he doesn't clearly say, i agree with our intelligence agencies? >> i think we all know he has got a gargantuan ego that donald trump elected donald trump, and he just won't tolerate that. that we know. >> that doesn't explain his pro-putin position on the campaign. >> no, but what does is he sees china, the asian tiger as a competitor, and he sees russia with an economy one-tenth the size of ou. they are less than north korea. >> and dropping. >> they are not an economic competitor. take those resources and put them in china. there is a very good reason he was a good idea. trying to reset relations with russia. >> i want to go back to
something alex said earlier about what i think this all revealed and this past week revealed. one, i think alex is right. donald trump got elected for a multiple of reasons, but he was the strong alpha wrong. this undermined that, and the fact he looked weak in front of another leader. i think in conjunction to what happened in north korea as well. he propped up a north korean leader and nothing came of it. i think the other reason why he got elected this revealed he is incompetent at or can't really do, he got elected after he wrote a book called "the art of the deal," and they will be all good deals great for america. he was going to have a deal for mexico. they were going to pay for the wall. that didn't happen. deals with canada that would help our economy. we're in a worse position. we were going to have deals on tariffs. we're in the midst of a tariff war. he was going to have a deal with nortkoa. 's not happeni.heo haveea with democrats.
he told me he was going to cut deals with democrats on immigration and infrastructure, and that's not happening. one of the fundamental things he ran on, none of it is happening. >> margaret hoover, what does that mean for the midterms which are closing in now, and are now so consequential? >> depends on if he has a russia meeting right before the midterms. the mid terms are shaping up to be -- they will be a statement about whether people have faith in donald trump or not. the motivation, the energy, is in the democratic base. you see minorities and women and youth mobilized, and i'm looking at polls in swing states trying to figure out how to defend the few republicans that i really like and want to support because if there is a blue wave, there is no way that they survive, but a lot of this is -- look. it's early, and a lot economy is very strong and many things are going in donald trump's direction. it's sort of his to throw away by mishandling it. >> that depends on what happens with robert mueller and michael cohen.
>> right. i think with all due respect, margaret, it's not early. it's almost august and these are starting to harden, and the generic ballot, everything is between seven and the double digits and those are hard numbers now. >> that makes a difference. >> this is starting to set. it's not just minorities and women and young people that are being energized against trump. just look at "the washington post"/abc poll today. only 51% of republicans and 44% of conservatives are standing by trump and his handling of foreign policy. that's significant. every time donald trump does something like he did, standing with vladimir putin and putting russia first over america, he is nationalizing this race, and any time you nationalize it, it is going to come out worse for republicans than their strategy is to localize it.
the more we nationalize it, it will be -- >> i think this is nationalized at this point. the democrats are also facing this internal debate. we see alexandria ocasio-cortez leading as a 28-year-old. first time congressional candidate, bernie sanders winning the party, this has other democrats quite nervous. >> i think some of that is overstated. i was in pennsylvania where a bunch of similar figures to alexandria ocasio-cortez she won primaries for the statehouse. young women challenging established democrats, and it wasn't just kind of a straight left versus right thing. you have a lot of people who have, you know, in the wake of the 2016 election, have pored into politics who are, you know, traumatized, who feel that there is -- this is an existential election, and some of them who voted for republicans in the past, they were thrilled to see young people in the race because they want this infusion of energy. there are these tensions, but i think that there is on the ground, a lot more unity than people realize.
>> in terms, intensity matters. >> intensity matters. democrats are on fire, and there are two kinds of republicans. there are the trump, hat-wearing fans who by definition, hate washington republicans and the washington establishment. they are not motivated to re-elect the swamp, and there are the republicans, we like what trump is doing, the deconoy is growing, he's opening up the regulations and things like, that but he embarrasses me personally. he demonstrated weakness, and republican turnout is down. >> you talked about the two individuals who won the house seats in pennsylvania on the wave of alexandria ocasio-cortez. i think what's interesting about that is that they were both endorsed by -- those were two, and there were three. >> there were three. >> there were several. more than -- close to 20 democratic socialists in america, and what i have been told, she wanted to get involved
and when she went out, she went out for a vigil for hurricane maria, and the people meeting her on the democratic side, to the extent she is interested in being a democrat because she was a bernie sanders supporter, is this really organized group called democratic socialists of america, and the energy is on the far left. that is what is creating -- >> 12 seconds. >> they can run on progressive issues because right now they are more popular than donald trump. >> last word right now, and we'll be right back. ump. >> last word right now, and we'll be right back.
if you want to come down to the studio, the roundtable will go all day long. that is all for us today. thank you for sharing part of your sunday with us. check out "world news tonight," and i'll see you tomorrow on "gma." for sharing part of your sunday with us. check out "world news tonight," and i'll see you tomorrow on "gma."
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