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tv   MSNBC Live With Stephanie Ruhle  MSNBC  July 26, 2019 6:00am-7:00am PDT

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that wasn't there. you have russia interference that is clearly there. they did nothing about it. the democrats need to focus on that as they deliberate about impeachment and as they go into the debates. they need to focus back on who the real enemy is. >> the russians no longer have to hack into our systems. the president and mitch mcconnell have opened the front door and rolled out the red carpet. >> what a week. that does it for us this morning. stephanie ruhle picks up the coverage right now. >> thanks so much. hi there. here's what's happening now. the alarms have been sounded. there are new signs our elections are at even greater risk than they were in 2016. here's what makes no sense. congress doesn't seem to be doing anything about it. the senate intelligence committee releasing a bipartisan report yesterday that found systems in all 50 states were targeted by russia in the 2016 election and the threat still
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exists heading into 2020. it is that same threat robert mueller laid out when he testified before congress earlier this week. >> over the course of my career i have seen a number of challenges to our democracy. the russian government's effort to interfere in our election is among the most serious. it wasn't a single attempt. they're doing it as we sit here and they expect to do it during the next campaign. >> you ready? but in the nearly 48 hours since he gave that stark warning, republican lawmakers have blocked four different bills that aim to make our elections more secure. joining me now to make some sense of this, editor-in-chief of the bulwark, bureau chief of "the washington post," senior fellow at the brookings institution, and national political reporter of "the washington post" and moderator of "washington week" on pbs which i'm sure you're tuning into tonight. help us understand this.
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what were the specifics in these bills that republicans blocked? >> republicans in the senate are under intense pressure now after the testimony not only of mr. mueller but of fbi director chris wray, to move on election security. but because they have a lot of opposition in the white house president trump and others in his inner circle are reluctant to make any significant moves on election security through the senate because they privately have concerns about raising president trump's ire, questioning the legitimacy of his 2016 win. there is no momentum on the gop side. >> why can't the two both exist? the president can sit in the white house and at the same time say let's secure the next election. >> people inside of his administration, like the fbi director, believe in that. they can do both at the same time. they can move forward and that it's not a partisan issue. but many people around president trump when you talk to them
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believe the democrats are trying to make this a partisan issue. democrats say this is not a partisan issue at all. >> ben, would these bills solve the problems that mueller laid out as well as the senate intel report? >> no. i don't think solve. this is a persistent threat over time and no single piece of legislation is going to solve it. there are legitimate questions and debates to have over any specific proposal. what's remarkable here is that the senate republican position, the congressional republican position in general, seems to be opposition to doing anything and to bringing up the issue at all. you know, particularly after the senate intelligence committee report, but frankly also after the mueller report, itself, and after the intelligence community's assessment of what happened in 2016, that is an astonishing position for a
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political party in a democratic society to take. >> charley, let's talk about republican senator lindsey graham. he weighed in on this before mitch mcconnell blocked the two bills. listen. >> i think we need to do more. wray testified a couple days ago are they at it again, yes. are they still up to it? yes. are there signs this of in 2020? yes. i'd like to see if they can find a way to slow the senate down and take a deep breath and say we're not leaving. >> lindsey graham saying we need to do more. this is happening. then mitch mcconnell blocks it. why? >> no kidding. ben is absolutely right. this is astonishing. the temptation is to be numbed by all of this. >> i'm not numbed. are you? >> no. the smart, political play for donald trump and the republicans is to make this a bipartisan effort, to say, of course we want to protect this country.
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of course we're under attack. of course we care about the integrity of the ballot box. so that's what makes this so breathtaking, that they are not making that play in the face of all of these warnings from the fbi, from the special counsel, from the intelligence community. what it comes down to is that donald trump does not want this done because of the question of legitimacy. this is one of those moments where it would be so easy for republicans in congress to stand up to that, and, yet, this is also a reflection of what a cultive personality the party has become that they just don't want to anger the president on this issue. >> i don't know. is it donald trump alone? phil rucker, we have to remember that back in may we learned an aluminum company partially owned by a russian oligarch announced plans to invest almost $200 million bucks to build a new plant in kentucky. let's again remember he is a
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close ally of vladimir putin. it was back in december just before christmas break. steve mnuchin lifted sanctions that directly benefited three of the oligarch's companies. >> those are important points, steph. it is not just congress that isn't acting. president trump has not used the bully pulpit of his office to deliver any sort of threat to other countries and it's not only russia now. there are a host of other nations including iran that are trying to interfere in our elections and wage these social media campaigns to change the direction of our campaigns. that's a dangerous thing for this country and it is something the intelligence community has been very alarmed about for sometime and, yet, trump has not come to grips with those facts. we all remember when he was in helsinki face to face with vladimir putin and declined to confront putin over this or to challenge putin and even took putin at his own word by saying he haddish united a very strong
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denial that russia was behind this. >> we already said it here election security should not be a partisan issue. chuck schumer said yesterday it should be bipartisan. the president and republicans like to say all democrats want to do is block the president and be obstructionist. whether you're talking about this bill or the -- how can republicans continue to say all democrats do is block when that is actually what they're doing? >> you've actually seen some bipartisanship on capitol hill this week with the budget deal and both parties are still working together on a possible trade agreement. the usmca. it is not impossible to imagine in divided government for something to happen on election security. but inside the republican party, when you talk to top officials, they say the president is so sensitive to this issue of election interference and election security that they are very hesitant inside the gop at the highest ranks to provoke the president in any way on this issue. even as nonpartisan officials raise serious concerns about
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what's on the horizon. >> okay. but do they realize what the horizon could really be? ben, to you. "the washington post" yesterday said that more than 7,000 disinformation twitter accounts from iran have been deactivated. so the president might have a particular shine for certain trolling, certain dissemination attempts but what about when they go after him, what about when it is that 400-pound guy on a bed in new jersey the president used to joke about? this thing could come from every angle and go after the president. >> and robert mueller specifically warned about this. it starts with russia but it doesn't necessarily end with russia. and i agree with you this stuff is a real double edged sword. if you open this political culture to it and you let down the societal immunities to this sort of thing, you never really know where it's going to come from. just this morning, my colleagues
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and i at law fair released the second episode in our, our podcast series, the report, which is an effort to sort of bring to life in audio documentary form the story of the mueller report. and it -- the second episode really deals with the hacking of the democratic campaign committees. and i think, you know, the story that this tells, if you really go into it, is a story of the decline of the immunities of the political system to this kind of foreign influence. and if congress doesn't take this seriously, you never know where the next one is going to come from. it's going to be -- it may be from iran as your example says. it may be from north korea. it may be from some other entity that we don't even have on our radar screen right now. and so i think it's a very
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important point. and the fact that the last round was for the benefit of republicans and the benefit of the president, doesn't mean that the next round will be. >> then on some level, charlie, we're spending an enormous amount of time watching these candidates raise money, campaign, debate. on some level is that all a waste of time if our own election system is this vulnerable? >> well, just pull back for a moment and imagine what this period of time is going to look like from the point of view of history. historians will look back and say all of these warnings, all of this documentation was there. what did we do? what did the president do? what did congress do? what did our intelligence agencies do? this may be one of the most predictable attacks, one of the most predictable crises of democracy we have ever faced. and, yet, at this moment we are absolutely paralyzed and i just -- we can't wait of course for the verdict of history, but the verdict of history is going
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to be i think incredibly puzzled about this moment and our failure to respond and understand the full implications for our democracy of what's happening now. >> mr. rucker, let's stay on the what did we do in terms of what did they do, democrats, in the wake of the mueller testimony, the vice chair of the house democratic party called for an opening of an impeachment inquiry. she is the highest ranking democrat who has made this call. does that change anything? >> well, it is significant, steph, in that she is a high ranking democrat and it adds to this slowly growing impeachment caucus within the democratic caucus. >> but they're going to be on vacation for five weeks. who is she going to tell it to, life guards in nantucket? >> they're all going home for this extended vacation until early september and speaker pelosi has indicated very strongly to her caucus that she is not interested in pursuing impeachment just yet. they want to have additional witnesses, including the former white house counsel don mcgahn,
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come forward to the committee. they want to try to gather more evidence so that if they pursue impeachment they have the strongest hand possible. >> well, gentlemen, i invite you all to consider, you know, showing real deference to the people that we cover and possibly we should all take a break until september 9th. think about it. >> that would be nice. >> we got more to cover. coming up, lelizabeth warre announces a major fundraising milestone. remember she has no big corporate donors in there. will her big plans help her beat trump or cost democrats everything? one of the biggest questions surrounding jeffrey epstein, why on earth would the ceo and founder of a fortune 500 company give complete control of his finances to that guy? a college dropout. the stunning new details with the reporter who broke them, next. ♪ and with bank of america and merrill,
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pay attention to this. bombshell reporting from the "new york times" details the close personal and professional relationship between accused sex trafficker jeffrey epstein and l brands founder and ceo les wexner. mr. wexner signed a three-page legal document known as a power of attorney that enabled mr. epstein to hire people, sign checks, buy and sell properties, and borrow money all on mr. wexner's behalf. nbc news has not independently
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confirmed this reporting. in a statement l brands said this. mr. epstein served as mr. wexner's personal money manager for a period that ended nearly 12 years ago. we do not believe he was ever employed by nor served as an authorized representative of the company. the company has also hired a legal team of its own to review the relationship between epstein and wexner. epstein maintains his innocence and has pleaded not guilty to charges of sex trafficking crimes and sexually assaulting children. joining me now the "new york times" reporter who worked on this piece, congratulations. what a piece. msnbc legal analyst, let's unpack the first portion where the company was saying he was never employed by the company. they had a personal relationship. but that is not necessarily the case. wexner had himself tangled with victoria's secret claiming he was a recruiter for talent. >> what our reporting shows is really two instances. the first was in 1997 when there
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was a model in california named alicia arden. she said she was introduced to jeffrey epstein and that he told her he was a talent scout, a recruiter for victoria's secret, and he could get her in the catalog. she meets him at his hotel room, a beach front hotel in santa monica, california. she goes to the room. and then she says almost as soon as she gets there that he tries to undress her, he grabs her. he, quote, tries to man handle her. and she ends up reporting this to the police in santa monica. >> then what happens? >> about that same time, we don't know exactly if this is before or after, but we know there were executives at victoria's secret who became aware that jeffrey epstein was trying to pitch himself as a victoria's secret model -- >> model recruiter. >> right. model recruiter. we know at least one of those executives warned leslie wexner about this behavior who said he would take care of it.
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what we don't know is what, if anything, happened. >> wexner says he would take care of it. wexner also gives, again, leslie wexner, one of the most powerful ceos on the planet, a founder himself, gives power of attorney to jeffrey epstein. last night after your story broke, i called ten ceos. >> executives, and bankers, who said there is absolutely no scenario where someone this wealthy and powerful unless they are on their death bed would cede this kind of control to someone. what did you learn? >> really the big question as reporters at the time we had. we had a whole team of reporters asking questions about this story. why did leslie wexner place so much trust in this man who was a college drop out, had worked as a math teacher, a stint at bear stearns, but beyond that why would you hand over so much? >> no history of managing money. >> and that power of attorney document is so powerful. we've talked to legal experts
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who essentially said this is like giving somebody else the power to sign away anything on your behalf on your name. >> danny, we do not see this happen. why wouldn't wexner's own attorneys say, stop? his bankers, his close associates. it makes no sense. >> it's possible they didn't know but they must have had reason to know if there he then saw epstein acting on behalf of their client. powers of attorneys like these and thanks to emily i've been able to review the actual power of attorney. they're not that uncommon. but when attorneys like me prepare them, they're usually in end of life situations where the client is incapacitated and cannot act for themselves. you don't see them with healthy tycoons who are handing over all of their power to an individual to handle all of their affairs for them. you never see it in that context. that's what makes it so unusual. power of attorneys have very good uses in end of life situations. not necessarily in situations
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like this. i've never seen something like this situation. >> what was really extraordinary about this document is that it came at the time when leslie wexner was really at the peak of his career. this is the time when he starts to take l brand, he builds it into this giant conglomerate that has really shaped the american shopping mall experience. he was a billionaire and really considered a retail genius legend. >> wexner has not made any statement or didn't agree to speak to you, correct? >> he has made a statement that said he was never aware of any of the illegal activities in the indictment. >> but any statement as to why he would give this kind of financial control to epstein? >> no. we repeatedly asked for it in our interviews with mr. wexner, people close to him, and were declined. we asked questions about why he would give such huge power of control and even more detailed questions, like did anybody audit these finances? was there an actual agreement between epstein and wexner?
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>> the answer? >> we didn't get any answers. >> what are they saying to you? even wexner's allies and friends, how are they defending this relationship or decision? >> what is really fascinating, what we found in our reporting, is that epstein came into wexner's life at this period in the mid to late '80s and during that time it was pretty soon that many of his close friends and colleagues were iced out of his life. >> epstein drove a wedge between wexner and his allies. >> exactly. we talk to several colleagues who kind of repeated a similar story. that they had been long-time friends with mr. wexner and after epstein came in, they didn't hear from him again. >> once epstein was in, wexner's mother was removed from the family foundation board? >> there was a period that, with the family foundation called the wexner foundation, where she was incapacitated with illness and was removed from the trustees, a period after that the foundation
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then sues her. it's not really clear what exactly was happening at that time but what we do know is epstein had become a trustee of that foundation. and our reporting also shows that epstein had an extraordinary power over a number of wexner's foundations, his charities, his philanthropy. he was a trustee on a number of interests that came to own millions of dollars of worth of limited brand stock that then was sold. he also came to own a number of properties that previously were in the possession of mr. wexner or his company. >> is there any rationale they've given? i can't envision any scenario where someone would gift another person the second largest private residence in new york. have they given any rationale for why that mansion would be just turned over? >> we've repeatedly asked those questions and haven't received an answer. we would really like to talk to leslie wexner, his people, and understand why.
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especially when you're looking at the condition and the position that jeffrey epstein is now in, it is a big question. who were the people behind him? who were the people helping to support this lavish lifestyle that in some ways enabled these allegations of predatory behavior. >> why would leslie wexner put jeffrey epstein in the position where on a document he is called the master of fortune? without you reporting yourself or having first-hand knowledge does this, to you, this pattern seem like a hustle, a swindle? >> yes. as a criminal defense attorney, i've seen this many times. con men and grifters target the fabulously wealthy just as much as the disadvantaged and sometimes history shows the fabulously wealthy can also be susceptible to influence. >> why? >> look at andrew carnegie, they consulted psychics and mediums. not too many years ago here in new york an imposter bearing the
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false name of rockefeller bam booze ld many people and rose to affluence just based on lies. he was eventually convicted of murder. not surprisingly some of the scam artists have a sense of entitlement. does that sound familiar? they get into trouble when they think their power extends too far. the affluent, the tycoons of this world are just as vulnerable to influence from the right kind of scam as folks without a lot of advantages. >> so is the defense, even though he is a multi billionaire, you know, king of the retail industry, he was a midwestern guy who was swindled by a savvy new yorker? >> that is the question. we don't know if there is something else behind it but we'll definitely keep investigating and trying to figure out why. >> thus far you're getting a lot of answers. my goodness. this story is not going away. the untangling of exactly how, where, and why jeffrey epstein became so powerful. and why leslie wexner would hook him up. emily steel, great reporting. danny, thank you always.
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welcome back. i'm stephanie ruhle. we are just a few days away from the second democratic debate and two of the front-runners are waking up to very positive numbers. early this morning elizabeth warren announced a major fundraising milestone. her 1 millionth donor. joe biden seems to be cementing his front-runner status with new poll numbers showing he has returned to predebate levels. a quinnipiac university poll of ohio voters has joe biden as the only democratic contender leading president trump. let's remember, president trump won that key swing state by eight points in 2016. joining mae now msnbc road warri warrior vaughn hillyard, professor at the university of texas and back with me my dear friend. victoria, to you first.
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1 million donors, a big number for elizabeth warren. it doesn't seem to be translating in her poll numbers. >> the question is going to be, stephanie, how does she perform next week in the debates? elizabeth warren has been in that top second tier of candidates after the first debate performance she really solidified her position. she's got this 1 millionth donor. this is a make or break for elizabeth warren especially because she is going to be on the same debate stage as bernie sanders. is she the better version of a bernie sanders for these progressive democrats? or is she just a lighter version of bernie? i think going into the debate this is going to be the really defining moment and which is going to define whether or not she keeps on bringing in that money that her campaign is going to need to survive going into the next 14 months of the campaign. >> charlie, bloom book business week cover story analyzes warren's strategy saying she is making a big bet that taking
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trump down requires beating him at his own game. go big and go bold. is her strategy working? one would say president trump would far rather run against a more progressive candidate than joe biden. >> no question about it. if you are donald trump you want to run against somebody who you can make the sharpest contrast with. this is the republican strategy. you want to run against what radical socialists, the squad, of course they'd be able to portray bernie sanders and elizabeth warren who are different as out there. i don't think this is going to be decided by policy but an election decided by whether or not this country is just fed up with donald trump. it comes down to electoral college, not running up the margin in massachusetts, new york, and california but winning in places like ohio, michigan, wisconsin, and pennsylvania. i think some of the poll results showing joe biden's resiliency is an indication that democrats
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are being very, very pragmatic about this choice. >> this is also a reminder that the day after the last debate so many were saying, joe biden, does he have a shot? it certainly looks like he does. dave, a new poll finds biden is ahead of trump by ten points nationally. 49% to 39%. what are voters in kansas and missouri telling you? >> well, joe biden is pretty popular out here as you might imagine. kansas and missouri are centrists, the democrats are, most of them, stephanie. but we are very, very early in this process. joe biden is well known among democrats, perhaps better known than some of the other folks on the debate stage next week. so i think it is far too early to judge which way kansans and m missourians will go. they want to beat donald trump. at some point it will become
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anybody but trump and at that point we'll have a better sense of who they think is the best candidate to take on the president. >> after the first debate you wrote a piece saying, while democrats claim they are focused on beating him, trump, the candidates so far seem intent on alienating socially moderate trump skeptics, gun owners, fiscal hawks, suburban swing voters, and folks who like to keep their own health. do you think they'll be more moderate this time around especially when you factor in the president over the last few weeks trying to paint all democrats as progressive socialists and going after the squad? >> well, there's two things that i think we should be watching for. number one is do they create the circular firing squad? are they going to be focusing on donald trump or one another and tearing down joe biden? that is certainly question number one. question number two, look. all of those issues are winnable for democrats. democrats won congress by electing people like connor lam
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in pennsylvania, abigail spanberger in virginia, running on health care reform, running on common sense proposals. but if you take these extreme positions, you will alienate those swing voters, the voters that you need to win in pennsylvania, michigan, ohio, and wisconsin. you can win on health care but if the democrats look like they are the party that is going to take away, ban your private health insurance, that is a loser. i think they need to be cognizant of the fact that they are walking into donald trump's trap, doing exactly what he wants them to be doing. >> victoria, what is your take on that? >> i think in terms of the moderation it is not something we see for another couple months. right now the goal, the eye on the prize is winning the democratic nomination. in order to do that, you have to appeal to the base, to the more extremes. that goes for republicans and democrats. any time you have a primary you're going to run to the
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extremes. the question is in the leadup to the general election, how are they going to explain away the positions they took during these debates and given the questions that were given during the last debate and the ones i foresee for the next one it is going to be really hard. i could just see the trump campaign already cutting attack ads toward these democratic candidates. so the temptation is going to be to take those extreme positions to win the nomination but it is going to be hurting us. i can already see the campaign ads now. >> victoria, if you end up with a candidate like elizabeth warren or a beran u sanders, would they really try to pivot toward the middle? it would seem so off brand and dare i say inauthentic. >> they are going to have to try to pivot to the middle. in degrees, right? in comparison to a biden versus a warren versus a bernie sanders. but you, in order to be truly viable, you do need some of that middle. by middle, stephanie, i mean both your moderate democrats and
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independents. the idea of getting crossover voters from the republican party is lost. but you do need some of that moderate middle. that is going to be the challenge. >> right. >> you can turn out the base but you can't win on the base alone for the democratic party. >> dave, what is your thought? >> well, i think the democrats understand you have to keep the focus on donald trump next year. donald trump needs to be the issue. if it becomes a referendum on medicare for all or immigration reform or tax reform or something else, the democrats are going to be in a bit of a bind. they have to keep the focus on the president. the president's behavior, the president's tweets, the president's lies. as long as they can do that they've got a shot. >> not the president's policies? >> not really, no. >> can't they go after the president in terms of health care, in terms of infrastructure, in terms of the president saying i've made the economy work for everyone when you know in the states where you actually are that's not the case? >> right. some of that will obviously be
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part of the campaign, but the fact is donald trump is unpopular in kansas and missouri precisely because he is considered so rude, so beyond the norm of a president. that's where you need to keep the focus it seems to me based on the democrats i talk to. people just find donald trump's attitude toward the presidency unacceptable and to the extent you can make it a referendum on that, democrats will have a better chance than if they are in sort of an intermural dispaut over medicare for all versus some other public option or part of that debate. >> what about not just the democrats where you are? lots of people don't identify with, i am a republican. i am a democrat. a lot of people are saying, i'm a mom, a dad. i'm just trying to take care of my family. >> correct. >> where do those people come out on the president? >> well, right now, of course, they're buying clothes for back to school, getting their kids ready for college or other things that families do. next year when they focus,
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again, they're going to focus, i believe, on the president's behavior. remember a democrat won a house seat out here in kansas, native american, lesbian, in part because of disgust with donald trump. and to the extent they can continue to make that argument i think they'll be more successful th than, again, this sort of policy argument about health care, immigration, or other issues on the table. >> vaughn, you were at the national urban league conference. senator kamala harris will be there and other contenders, bill de blasio, pete buttigieg. i know the goal is trying to appeal to african-american voters. who are they going to do that? you've still got joe biden with a big lead according to the most recent poll. >> what is most striking about the poll numbers, just look at south carolina. monmouth university poll that came out yesterday afternoon showed that joe bind still has 39% of support in south carolina. next up on the list is kamala
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harris, still just at 12%. those numbers are unchanged from one month ago before that first debate. what is striking is that cory booker and kamala harris, specifically, have been the ones to step out on a limb and critique former vice president joe biden on the issue of race. if you look at those very poll numbers in that south carolina poll, 51% of black voters say they stand behind joe biden. joe biden right now has greater support in the black community than he does among white voters. there is one group, though, where these candidates see a potential opening against joe biden. it was that morning consult poll you referenced. when you look at black voters over 45 years old there is 51% support for joe biden but black voters between ages 18 and 44 it is just 27%. older black voters have been willing to give joe biden a pass on his past saying that people grow and you become a little more wise over time. it's the younger voters that are holding his feet to the fire a
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little more right now. >> thank you all for a great discussion. vaughn hill erdogayard, charlie luck for you. i need you to stick around. coming up how strong is our actual economy? new gdp numbers are out this morning but way below the president's promise. this is the story of john smith.
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#. it's time for money, power, politics. new gdp numbers released in the last hour, growth slowed with the economy ticking up by just 2.1% in the second quarter of this year. a quarterly gdp figure under 3% adds the pressure on president trump to sign the new spending bill that just passed the house. signing that bill would not necessarily result in a huge boost to the economy but it could prevent a drag ahead of the 2020 election. as people have told him, president trump, keep that economy humming. joining me now politico's chief economic correspondent my friend ben white and poor charlie sikes still stuck with me. ben, let's talk about these numbers. many have said the president has one job. make the case that the election is strong. don't screw it up. >> right. >> what do the gdp numbers -- remember, the president said 3% gdp. in fact, i'm going to get 4, 5,
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6. 2.1%? come on. >> it ain't great. it looks a lot like the obama economy did. we're back to trend line growth around 2%. most interesting thing to me about these numbers out this morning are the revisions to 2018, which trump boasted about a couple months ago when it was 3% that he finally delivered what obama couldn't deliver, which was a year of 3% plus economic growth. lo and behold it wasn't 3%. it was 2.5%. >> that very point, right, was in ivanka trump, kellyanne conway's, promises kept, promises delivered 3%. now that he can even make the argument, i turn this to you, charlie, that he had 3% gdp for one single year, how does he argue that this is trump's economy when it's the same economy obama had, except for the fact that president trump included a record amount of tax breaks for corporate america that has not resulted in booming growth? >> well, you can make the case because he is just going to repeat it over and over again
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and his echo chamber will go along with him on that. >> you know how much money you have in your pocket. you know how many people are shopping in your store. >> right. and also that's why the stock market is going to be so important for him. you know, he continues to play around the edges with playing chicken with a trade war, which hangs over the economy. i just have to mention, though, that the other part of all of this is this budget bill will give us trillion dollar a year deficits. i know it is not a news story but you want to talk about the formal death of the republican party being the party of fiscal conservativism, i don't know how you make the case ever again the republicans care about the deficit or the debt after this tax cut and these spending bills. >> you tell us, charlie. that is your scene. when you are rolling with your republican posse, what do they tell you? >> you know, concern about the deficit was so last president. look, i've said this before.
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i probably had on, when i had a radio show probably had paul ryan on my show about a hundred times making the case about the dangers of a debt crisis and the great intergenerational transfer of wealth and how we had to absolutely deal with all of this. and so it is completely disconcerting to realize that it doesn't really matter. now that we're in power we don't care about it anymore. apparently that is the bench mack is when the other guy is in party, we care about it. when we're in power nobody cares about deficits anymore. nobody ever lost an election by spending money. >> for paul ryan, he might not have the opportunity to go on your radio show and talk about the importance of fiscal responsibility, but now that he sits on the board of directors of fox news, he has ample opportunity to talk about this budget deal, debt, and deficit. so, you know, he is not without a microphone. ben, let's talk about the administration and this trade war with china. if we come up with an agreement, that would be fantastic. >> sure. >> mnuchin is heading there next
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week. how likely is this? at the same time they're optimistic about getting a trade deal done, more farm aid is being rolled out to farmers who are suffering because you know china is simply not buying soybeans at this time. well, the president is talking about fears of socialism from the democratic party. i don't know. i'm not too sure of free market enthusiasts down with this. >> you really love handouts to farmers. to follow on charley's points a bit all of republican orthodoxy has been flipped on its head by this president. you have exploding debt and deficit which the republicans used to rail against and now you have the federal government handing bailouts to farmers, billions and billions of dollars because of president trump's trade policy and trade war with china where farmers just want to sell their soybeans, their pork, their sorghum. everything else they were selling to china and now can't and they're sort of forced to take the billions of dollars in handouts. this is against everything republicans stood for in the past.
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the broader problem for president trump in all of this is if he is running for re-election plenty of people don't like him, his attitude, the way he treats people and the tweets and the rest of it, willing to kind of look past that if the economy is booming and rocking. that's his ticket to is booming rocking. that is the ticket that is enough to win in 2020. if he doesn't have that, obama-style economy of 2% to 3% growth, what is the argument for people who may be on the fence re-electing him to go for him. the biggest case is, look, if you go away way, you are not going to have a great economy, great jobs and growth and all the rest of it. he doesn't have it. that is coupled with a trade war subtracting from growth in the second quarter. it is getting larger, not smaller. none of the stuff that he is doing is working. >> rcharles, take me to wisconsin. you mentioned the stock market. ben and i can sit here in new york while people look at stocks and say that's good enough for me. but in wisconsin, foxconn didn't
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show up. many people said the system isn't working for me and my wages aren't going up enough. are they going to continue to give the president grace and latitude. because they feel the impact of the economy. people will believe it. they know how they are doing finally. . >> one of the big stories in wisconsin as the number of dairy farms that have closed. they are doing great. the local paper said, yes, we have a record number closing their door. but i think this comes down to a choice. not just a referendum on the economy. voters want three things, i think. they want safety, prosperity, and they want normalcy. what donald trump wants to say is, look, your economy -- the economy is going well. but if they go with the democrats they put a lot of that at risk. there will be voters who look at donald trump with great
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distaste. if it's elizabeth warren they might say, but, yes, do i want to put my 401(k) at risk? >> okay. then what happens to that argument? >> i want normally. >> what happens to the argument if joe biden is a candidate? last i checked he's pretty normal. >> right. >> yes. and that's why i think that he is performing the way that he is doing in the polls. so -- and i do think that the economy is not going gang busters. but it is going well enough that donald trump will say, you know, you know what you have with me. i don't know what you have with the democrats. so it's -- he wants to make this a choice election, not necessarily just a referendum election. and i think that's a real threat to the democrats that if they are perceived as undermining prosperity, safety or normalcy, i think that will be a down side for them. >> unless of course they choose joe biden. thank you so much.
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active duty u.s. troops are now monitoring migrants in donner, texas. defense officials say the troops are stationed to perform wellness checks. however, one congressman said this move is coming dangerously close to violating a 140-year-old federal law. courtney kube joins me now. what does all of this mean? >> reporter: so the federal law essentially says that active duty u.s. troops cannot perform law enforcement functions or missions within the continental united states. it's from 1878. so we knew that the u.s. -- these troops were going to be performing what the department of homeland security requested calling them welfare checks, what the military calls wellness checks. it was originally set up at this facility as every 15 minutes or so, the troops would walk through. they would check my grants for responsiveness, any signs of
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illness. and they would alert if they saw any potential problems. pause of the size and the unique layout, they have had to modify it to now being active duty troops standing on raised platforms and monitoring the migrants constantly. it led to some congress people and defense officials i spoke to be concerned this could violate the law, steph. >> new defense secretary mark esper was asked specifically about this during his confirmation hearing. and here's what he said. >> in many ways the operations dod is not unluke what we have done in the past. i think it's in many ways just one of those things we do whether it's putting out wildfires, helping with hurricane recovery for puerto rico, flooding along the
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mississippi. it is one of the things we provide to the american people. >> wow. esper's son looks just like him. >> doesn't he? >> he really, really does. but this was more than that. >> responding to a wildfire natural disaster is different than a law enforcement function. we should point out the u.s. military maintains these active duty troops are not bridging and not doing any law enforcement functions. they are reporting it to carry them out. the concern is they are walking to the line and it could put active duty troops of having to respond to a law enforcement position and potentially putting them in legal jeopardy. >> courtney kube, thank you so much. a lot to cover today. >> coming up, after weeks of public friction, house speaker nancy pelosi just wrapped a face-to-face meeting with new york congresswoman alexandria ocasio-corte ocasio-cortez. ocasio-cortez. you only pay for what you need.
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that wraps up this hour. i'm stephanie ruhle. you can find me on twitter and instagram. more news with ami. >> enjoy your weekend. try to get a head start at least. busy week for you. i'm in for hallie jackson. high-profile face-to-face meeting between nancy pelosi and
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ocasio-cortez. they down played any of the democratic drama. and pelosi's go-slow approach on the topic of impeachment. the meeting comes after a surprise break in the ranks with a member of pelosi's leadership team now calling for the launch of impeachment proceedings against president trump. massachusetts congresswoman catherine clark, vice chair of the democratic caucus is the highest ranking democrat supporting the impeachment effort. this as house democrats return home after a recess. our team is here with the very latest on these developments and much more. all the day's top stories for you. i'm joined by amy par for the hill and the national political reporter for bloomberg news. liam, let's again with you and start with all of the details we have learned coming out of this


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