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tv   This Week With George Stephanopoulos  ABC  January 28, 2018 10:30am-11:30am EST

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"this week" with george stephanopoulos starts right now. showdown over the special counsel. >> mr. president, did you seek to fire robert? >> president trump denying reports he tried to fire special counsel robert mueller last summer. >> fake news, folks. fake news. >> as mueller now looks to question the president. >> i would love to do that. i would like to do it as soon as possible. >> will he really testify under oath? and does the president's talk of firing mueller point to obstruction of justice? we'll ask republican senator lindsey graham. >> lindsey used to be a great enemy of mine. now he's a great friend. >> and former independent counsel ken starr. plus, our journey on the southern border. we're just across the border now from mexico. traveling roughly 700 miles through california, arizona, new mexico, and texas.
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getting a firsthand look at the immigration debate. the president unveiling a new proposal. expanding the number of d.r.e.a.m.ers who could become citizens, while demanding $25 billion for a border wall and more security in exchange. we talk to all sides of the debate. including republicans breaking with trump. you do not believe in a big -- >> no, no, no. >> -- $25 billion wall. from the white house to your house, the facts that matter this week. good morning. it's hard to believe only one week ago today, washington was in a state of paralysis. the government shut down over immigration. the tug of war over the d.r.e.a.m.ers and talks on border security hitting a wall. that stalemate ended on monday. congress once again kicking the can down the road another few weeks. while the fate of as many as 2
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million young undocumented immigrants hangs in the balance. to get a sense of how the immigration debate is playing outside washington, we traveled hundreds of miles along the southern border. from california to texas. hearing your voices. but ultimately, it's those voices in washington that will make the decisions. and in just two days, the president will make his case before congress. at his first state of the union. talking not just about immigration. but also jobs, infrastructure, trade, and national security. but hanging over it all, the darkening cloud that has followed the trump presidency for the past year. the russia investigation. >> fake news, folks. fake news. >> what's your message today? >> typical "new york times" fake stories. >> reporter: deny, deny, deny. that seems to be president trump's response to the bombshell "new york times" report detailing his effort to fire special counsel robert mueller last june. just one month after mueller
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started on the job. the report says trump claimed mueller had conflicts of interest that would disqualify him from leading the investigation. but according to the reports, trump, who is famous for saying -- >> you're fired. >> reporter: -- did not go through with it at the time, backing down when white house counsel don mcgahn reportedly threatened to quit. rather than ask for mueller's removal. concerned that it would quote incite more questions about whether the white house was trying to obstruct the russia investigation. and it has. especially among democrats. >> i'm deeply disturbed by the president seeking to do something that to me is tantamount to authoritarianism. >> these are not the actions of somebody who's got nothing to hide. >> reporter: in the past, both trump and his team have offered flat-out denials. >> have you thought about or
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considered leading the dismissal of the special counsel? is there anything bob mueller could do that would send you in that direction? >> i haven't been giving it any thought. i've been reading about it from you people. you say, oh, i'm going to dismiss him. i'm not dismissing anybody. >> bottom line, does the president commit to not firing robert mueller? >> the president has not discussed that. the president is not discussing firing bob mueller. >> the president has not indicated to me or anyone else that i work with that he has any intent on terminating robert mueller. >> reporter: and while firing mueller now seems to be off the table, some republicans are raising questions about the special counsel's investigation. pointing to the recovered text messages between two fbi officials bashing trump. the exchanges fueling republican claims that the fbi and mueller's team are biased against the president. while all that has played out publicly, the focus of mueller's investigation is still unclear. though this week, we learned the special counsel's team has
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already interviewed attorney general jeff sessions, cia director mike pompeo. former fbi director james comey, as well as others in the trump administration. and it looks like president trump may be next. telling reporters, he's eager to testify. >> i'm looking forward to it, actually. here's the story. just so you understand. there's been no collusion whatsoever. there's no obstruction whatsoever. and i'm looking forward to pit. >> you would do it under oath? >> oh, i would do it under oath. >> you would? >> absolutely. >> joining me now republican senator lindsey graham of south carolina, who sits on the senate judiciary committee. good morning, senator. >> good morning. >> you said last fall that any effort to go after robert mueller could be the beginning of the end of the trump presidency. in light of the reporting that president trump ordered the firing of robert mueller last june, backing down only after the white house counsel threatened to resign, do you still believe in what you said? or is that a red line? >> oh, yeah.
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if he fired mueller without cause. i mean, mueller's doing a good job. i have confidence in him to get to the bottom of all things russia. and don mcgahn, in the story is true in "the new york times" did the right thing. good news is the president listened. i know this, mueller should look at it. i have complete confidence in mr. mueller. when he found two fbi agents with a bias against president trump, he fired them. all this stuff about the fbi and doj having a bias against trump and for clinton needs to be looked at. i have never believed it affected mr. mueller. i'll do whatever it takes to make sure mr. mueller can do his job. we're a rule of law nation before president trump. we're going to be a rule of law nation after president trump. i haven't yet seen any evidence of collusion between mr. trump and the russians. the investigation needs to go forward without interference.
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and i believe it will. >> you believe the stories about mcgahn? about president trump? >> i don't know. i believe it's something that mueller should look at. we're not just going to say it's fake news and move on. mueller is the best person to look at it. not me on -- opine about something i don't know. we know that he did not fire mr. mueller. we know if he tried to, it would be the end of his presidency. at the end of the day, let mr. mueller do his job and see if we can fix a broken immigration system. >> i also want to go to one other statement and let you opine a little more. you said last october, i don't think anybody in their right mind in the white house would think about replacing mr. mueller. again. anybody in their right mind. so what does that say about president trump if, in fact, this is true? >> i think every president wants to get rid of critics. i mean, i remember the ken starr investigation. and bill clinton came out and said, this guy spent millions of dollars and nothing to show for it. the president is frustrated. he's told me a thousand times and everybody else.
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i didn't collude with no russians. we'll find out if that is true. i have seen no evidence of collusion. the president is frustrated. no doubt about that. he didn't fire mr. mueller. if the report is true, mr. mcgahn did the right thing and to the president's credit, he listened. this is something more mueller to look at. >> you heard the president saying last august when asked directly about whether he had considered firing mr. mueller, he hadn't given it a thought. so -- if this reporting is true, then the president was lying to the american people? >> this is for mr. mueller to determine. we're not going to stop looking at the president because he claims "the new york times' fake news. we're not going to convict him based on a news article. as a matter of fact, i think mr. mueller is the
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perfect guy to get to the bottom of this. i have legislation protecting mr. mueller. i'll be glad to pass it tomorrow. i see no evidence that president trump wants to fire mr. mueller now. i don't know what went on last year. think it's clear that evee in the white house knows it would be the end of the president's presidency if he fired mr. mueller. so i think we're in a good spot with mr. mueller. >> you're talking about the bill you brought forward in august. will you push it further? you said you would like to pass tomorrow. >> i would like to do two things. yes, i think it would be good to have legislation to protect all special counsels. but this doesn't get much news. there needs to be a special counsel to look at the department of justice and the way the fbi handled the clinton e-mail investigation and the early stages of the russian investigation. the text messages between the two fbi agents don't show political leanings. they show political bias. i have seen a lot of conflicts
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of interest. i'm disturbed about the way that mr. steele was handled. we need a special counsel to go into that area as well. and the law would apply to that person also. >> i just want to go back to president trump and mueller for a moment. "the washington post" reports that a person familiar with the mueller investigation says they are focusing on a pattern of behavior. that president trump tried to prevent attorney general sessions from recusing himself. from the russia investigation. asked comey to drop the flynn investigation before firing him. and dictated the misleading statement about don jr.'s trump tower meeting. are you seeing a pattern of behavior that's concerning to you? >> i'm seeing a man, mr. mueller, in charge of an investigation that needs to occur for the good of the nation. i have a lot of faith in him. he's going to get to the bottom of all things russia. and i haven't seen any evidence of collusion. so i don't want to prejudge where mr. mueller is going to go. >> does this pattern disturb you
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at all, senator? >> well, i don't know how accurate all this is. the bottom of the line is, you have a frustrated president. he could have fired comey for any reason under the sun. except for a corrupt purpose. was there a corrupt purpose in firing comey? i don't know. in terms of what he did with the statement, i wasn't on air force one. the only thing i can tell the american people. i'm a republican. i want to make sure this president and every other president that follows can't be considered above the law. they're treated fairly. and to have an independent special counsel like mr. mueller is the best way forward. >> president trump wanted a classified memo. written by staff devin nunes. that suggests, and you are suggesting this in some ways, that they may have relied on politically motivated sources to justify the request for a surveillance warrant. the justice department doesn't want it released. they say it would be extraordinarily reckless without officials being able to review
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it. is the president right on wanting that released? do you want it released? >> i want somebody outside of the republican-led congress to look at the allegations. i'm not asking that lindsey graham be the final arbiter of whether doj and fbi was offbase. no, i don't want it released yet. i don't. i want somebody without a political bias to come in and look at the allegations i have seen. i've been a lawyer most of my adult life. and the way the fbi conducted itself and the department of justice bothers me. that's not to say that you should investigate trump, too. do two things. look at the department of justice, the fbi, and the trump campaign. we can do these things. >> how do you feel about trump's attacks on law enforcement in general outside of this investigation, a few months ago, he said the fbi's reputation is in tatters. worst in history. what do you think of that language? >> well, the agents, the way they've conducted themselves
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bothers me. a lot of fbi agents are bothered by the way these two agents behaved. the fbi are the best among us. they're up there with the military in terms of public approval and respect. mr. comey, i think, had his problems. we'll get to the bottom of all of this. don't lump everybody in together. the fbi is a wonderful organization. but, somebody's got to watch those who watch us. the fbi is not above oversight. the department of justice is not above oversight. it's not -- you just can't let the organization behave without oversight. whether it's the person you like or not like. it could be you or me tomorrow. >> president trump said he looked forward to talking to robert mueller. his lawyers seem to have backed off on that a little bit. >> yeah. >> you're laughing. you could tell me why and tell me -- >> i wouldn't look forward to talking to him. the president. i like president trump. he feels frustrated. he's being accused of something he didn't do. he's a very frustrated man.
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to the president, i would talk to my lawyers before i made firm decisions about who to talk to or not talk to. mr. mueller will do his job. he'll focus on "the new york times" investigations. he'll follow the evidence where it leads. if the president wants to talk to mr. mueller, before he makes that decision, if i were him, i would talk to my lawyers. >> i want to talk about steve wynn. the billionaire friend of president trump, who resigned yesterday as chairman of the finance committee for the rnc. one day after allegations of sexual misconduct. that "the wall street journal" reported on. rnc chairwoman rona mcdaniels said, i accepted steve wynn's rezization. she didn't address whether the rnc plans to donate any of the money or return any of the money he raised. even though days after
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the harvey weinstein scandal, the rnc blasted out e-mails calling it dirty money and that it could be returned. do you believe that the money should be returned? >> well, give her a day or two to figure out. we should do of ourselves what we ask of the democrat party if these allegations have merit. i don't think we should have a double standard. i appreciate that she had to quickly give her a chance to figure out how deep this goes. and then, if it's -- the allegations have merit, then we should return the money like we asked of the democrats. we're going to take up immigration tomorrow. i've never been more hopeful of fixing a broken immigration system after dealing with it ten years than i do now because the white house sent over a good proposal. >> i want to talk about that proposal a little bit. we were talking earlier that i was on the border this week. that wall that would run 1900 miles. that seems like a lot of money and an incredibly difficult project. >> right. >> and about two-thirds of the country don't think it should happen. >> well, i think what will happen is, we spent $40 billion on the border security in the
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gang of eight bill. so $25 billion is not an outrageous number. we spent $42 billion, i think it was, on securing the border. as to where the wall should go, should it be a fence, we'll have experts decide that. the president's proposal to allow 1.8 million d.r.e.a.m.ers a path to citizenship is a huge step in the right direction. he deserves to have an escrow account to draw upon to secure the wall system, not just a wall. chain migration and cutting you legal immigration if half, those would be very problematic areas. >> we're talking about $25 billion for a wall. republican congressman of texas will herd says he doesn't think it's a good idea. steve pearce in new mexico said it's a waste of money. these are guys who live there on the border. they see it every day. they see people getting over. they see drugs getting in. >> right. i dealt with the border security for a decade now. the gang of eight spent $42
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billion on border security systems. you don't need $25 billion for a wall. you need wall systems. you need roads. you need -- redundancy. you need to fix old fencing. we're not going to build a 1900-mile wall. but $25 billion can be spent wisely. because the gang of eight bill spent $42 billion to secure the border. we're not going to build a wall in places it shouldn't go. the bottom line is, this is a credible offer by the president. on a pathway to citizenship. it is a breakthrough. he's getting pushback from the hard right. and a lot of liberal advocacy groups. i think he's trying to thread a needle. we're not going to cut legal immigration in half. and give all the green cards to the high-tech sector of the economy. we're going to have green cards for the entire economy. we're going to have a diverse nation. we're not going to limit people coming in the country from norway or europe. they're going to come from all over the world, based on merit. we're going to have people who are diverse and skill sets that
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are diverse. it's a winning combination. >> i want to stop you. i listened to you carefully. but is this going to happen by february 8th? or will we see another government shutdown? >> we're not going to see a government shutdown. the one good thing that came from this mess last week is that we're now focused on immigration. without the dustup, we wouldn't have a commitment to move forward on february 8th. we really have until march 95. there's so much interest to fix the problem, the president has made a credible proposal. we'll give a pathway to citizenship to 1.8 million d.r.e.a.m.ers who have been well vetted. we're going to do something substantial on the border. we're not going to cut legal immigration in half. we'll deal with chain migration in two phases. beginning in phase one. i'm optimistic that the president continues the attitude he's expressed in this proposal. if my democratic friends will calm down. i know it's hard to deal with president trump. let's take a deep breath. we can get there. america would be so well served
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to start fixing the broken immigration system. obama couldn't do it. bush couldn't do it. trump can do it. i hope we'll work with him to get it done. >> well, we'll see how you do. >> we'll see. >> thank you so much for joining us this morning. >> thank you. now back to the mueller investigation and bring in ken starr. who served as the independent counsel investigating bill clinton and analyst dan abrams. i want to start with you, mr. starr. do these allegations make an obstruction of justice charge more likely? >> i don't think so. the president has every -- senator graham said it well. he can fire jim comey or ask for mueller to be fired for any reason. i have a different view in terms of what would constitute obstruction of justice. the president's power is extremely broad. as long as he's not engaged in discrimination. or accepting bribes and the like. i have a very different perspective. a much more robust view of
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presidential power than many of the folks who have been speaking to this. but, that having been said, it would have been extremely unwise and senator graham hit the nail on the head. it would have signaled all -- it would have been armageddon. i'm glad that the president took don mcgahn's -- if the story is true, took the advice. the president is not just frustrated. as senator graham said. he's a fighter. his instinct is to fight. if you're an enemy, i'm afraid that's the way he tends to view mr. mueller or some of the people around mr. mueller, then he's going to fight. he's going to lash out. the question is, does that really constitute a crime? i don't think so. >> i know that the prosecutors would have to show corrupt intent. i don't understand why this doesn't show that. explain that. >> he's very open about it. i don't like this guy. it may very well be, look, he's tried to ruin my presidency.
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i have the right to engage in self-defense. i don't see that as corrupt. i just don't. corruption, in fact, no one suggested to my knowledge that richard nixon engaged in a crime by firing archibald cox. he did engage in crimes. obstruction of justice, but that had to do with the hush money and the like. there's no suggestion of that. we just have a trump tower set of ethics here and that is what we're seeing in the president. i hope that he will control that more in h the remaining years of his term. i think we're seeing business tactics. i just don't see the corruption. he's so transparent. he tells everyone, look, i want to get rid of this guy. he's a thorn in my flesh. >> okay, dan abrams, i know you're shaking your head. i tend to think that you don't agree with that. >> yeah. the question isn't, does
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firing robert mueller, would firing robert mueller be a crime? that's not the question. the question is, would firing robert mueller, does trying to fire robert mueller potentially become a piece in an obstruction case? you put that together, potentially, with the firing of james comey. why? the conversations that he had with the director of the cia. the director of national intelligence. at the time, the director of the fbi. and if the goal in all of those cases was simply to end the investigation on him and his campaign, that's a different issue. so i think to just say in a vacuum, the president can fire or order the firing of robert mueller if he so chooses, that's not a crime. that's true. but it's also not the relevant question here. >> mr. starr? what about that pattern of behavior? we have been talking about that all morning. >> i think the pattern is totally consistent with i don't like the guy.
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he's in my face. and i just don't see that as corruption. i don't think that those who have been saying this is obstruction of justice have come forward with persuasive authority and have not addressed what i view as a fundamental question. the power of the presidency. the power of the presidency has a huge check. i don't think it should be the criminal law unless there is bribery and that sort of thing. it should be the congress of the united states. we wildly overcriminalize. and i just disagree. i have great respect for dan. i disagree with the approach of let's criminalize everything. >> but it's not even about -- it's the same thing that you did when you were the independent counsel, right? you created articles of impeachment based on law. i'm not saying that should happen here. right? we have to wait and see. you basically created a series of articles of impeachment, based on legal standards. you said, this is where i think the law was violated. it's inevitably combined when
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you're talking about what the legal standard is and what the potential impact would be. i think to suggest that the president can fire these people for whatever reason he wants, is not a standard that you yourself would apply. >> dan, with all due respect, reread the referral. i drafted no articles of impeachment, for starters. but the referral that we made with respect to president clinton had to do with perjury. and intimidating witnesses or encouraging witnesses to lie. now, if the we're talking about encouraging witnesses to lie, then we have, in a lawsuit. there's been no lawsuit that i know about. this was an inference with exactly what senator graham was talking about. namely, the rule of law. i think what we're talking about here is something entirely different. >> i want to jump in here. i want to ask you about, you talked about lying. you talked about president clinton. i want to ask you about president trump's public denial
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that he had thought of firing robert mueller. one of the reasons you cited as grounds for impeachment against president clinton was clinton's public denials of having sexual relations with monica lewinsky. you wrote, the president made and caused to be made false statements to the american people about his relationship with ms. lewinsky. by publicly and emphatically stating in january 1998 that i did not have sexual relations with that woman and these allegations are false. the president also effectively delayed a possible congressional inquiry. this represents substantial and credible information that may constitute grounds for an impeachment. if the reports are correct that president trump sought to have mueller fired, then his public denial would be false. so would that be grounds for impeachment? >> i think lying to the american people is a serious issue that has to be explored. i take lying to the american people very, very seriously.
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so, absolutely. i think -- what dan was talking about was this effort to get rid of the investigation. you're now talking about something called lying to the american people. i think that is something that bob mueller should look at. >> dan, a final thought? >> yeah, i mean, i just can't imagine that mr. starr doesn't believe that there is some sort of investigation on a president that if that president wanted to end it, just for that reason, that he wouldn't say, that's a potential legal/potential impeachment problem. there has to be a level which it can reach where you say, the president is not allowed to just end investigations into him just because that's the presidential power. >> we have to leave it there. quickly. >> dan's made my point. dan has made my point. we're talking about impeachment. not talking about the courthouse. that's my distinction. >> okay. thanks very much to both of you. the powerhouse "roundtable" is
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standing by to weigh in on the political fallout of the mueller investigation. when we come back, my journey along the southern border to get an up-close look at the immigration debate from those who live it every day. we'll be right back. when this bell rings... starts a chain reaction... ...that's heard throughout the connected business world. at&t network security helps protect business, from the largest financial markets to the smallest transactions, by sensing cyber-attacks in near real time and automatically deploying countermeasures. keeping the world of business connected and protected. that's the power of and. that cough doesn't sound so good. well i think you sound great. move over. easy booger man. take mucinex dm. it'll take care of your cough. fine! i'll text you in 4 hours when your cough returns.
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if you don't have a wall, you don't have daca. >> that was president trump with reporters on wednesday. there are an estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants. their future, along with others hoping to come to the u.s., again caught up in the battle over immigration. most pressing, the fate of the d.r.e.a.m.ers. those brought here illegally as children. in 2012, president obama gave them legal protection under daca. the deferred action for childhood arrivals policy. president trump undid that last fall. putting the fate of 690,000 active daca recipients in the hands of congress. it's the issue that shut down the government last week. congress giving themselves until february 8th to negotiate a new deal. or possibly face another shutdown. so as the white house and congress denoegauchoesauc negot
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washington, we took off this week on a journey that took us to all four states that line the southern border. for a closer look at the view from the ground. sunrise over the pacific. san diego. it's where the 1900-mile-long u.s./mexico border begins. it's where we begin. a journey to see just what this immigration debate looks like. for those who see it up close. who live it every day. starting right here on the pacific ocean. this is not only where the border with mexico begins, california is also the place where there are more d.r.e.a.m.ers than any place in the country. more than a quarter of all daca recipients live here. including this woman, dulce garcia. she's called san diego home since she arrived here 30 years ago at the age of 4. >> my mom had heard of the american dream. and she wanted us to experience that. she knew my dreams wouldn't be fulfilled in the -- the place where we were. because her dreams weren't fulfilled. >> reporter: but dulce's dreams have come true.
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after applying for daca, she went to college and then on to law school. >> my family has been here 30 years. paying taxes. contributing with our labor. we have created businesses. we're job creators. >> reporter: as long as you have lived here, there are people who would say, look. others came here legally. >> i understand that we -- we broke the law. by being here. and i feel there should be a way for us to become lawful immigrants. to become citizens some day. >> reporter: polls show that the vast majority of americans 87%, support daca recipients remaining in the country. including trump supporter debbie goldhagen. you live ten miles from the border, probably. do you think d.r.e.a.m.ers should be able to stay? >> well, as far as i'm concerned, let 'em stay. >> reporter: a third of the country supports building the wall between the u.s. and mexico. >> i think it would stop a lot
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of them from coming over. i mean, i'm sorry, they need to come over here to take care of their families. i understand that. but most of them come over. a lot of them earn their money. they send it back down there. they're not spending it here. aren't we supposed to be boosting, or taking care of us first? >> reporter: just outside san diego, prototypes for the wall were constructed last fall. some solid. some see-through. as we head east through the vast desert, the enormity of the task to build a wall is stunningly obvious. we're just across the border now from mexico. still in california. just passed miles and miles and miles of these very rocky hillsides. and the desert scrub you see over there. it's no wonder that building a wall would cost billions and billions of dollars. barriers already stretch for nearly 700 miles along the border. like this fencing in el centro, california. even though the number of border apprehensions has fallen under
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president trump, the wall, even mobile observation towers, still offer little discouragement in the face of desperation for some. mexico is just to my left. the border patrol is up and down these roads every day. they say they find people crossing over every day. down the road in calexico, a town of 40,000. the border fence runs just steps from a main drag. luis came here when he was about 10. illegally overstaying his visa. his wife is american. so he now has a green card. do you think we should let others in? >> um, i think there should be more control of who gets into the country. and how they get into the country. because -- we do need low-skill workers to do the jobs that most americans don't want to do. >> reporter: as dusk begins to fall, we watch a train wind its
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way near the border, as we make our way to tucson, arizona, to meet up with more d.r.e.a.m.ers. a blazing flash of color signals the end of the day. and with it, word of the white house announcement of a framework on immigration. president trump proposing a $25 billion trust for the wall. and additional security. for the d.r.e.a.m.ers, a 10 to 12-year path to citizenship that would include some 1.8 million people who arrived here illegally as children. it would end so-called "family migration." only spouses or minor children would be included. not parents. >> i'm trying to get my masters afterwards. >> reporter: both ramundo and mikal heard the news as well. they were both brought to the u.s. illegally by their parents while they were children. mikal is a nursing student and daca recipient.
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what is your reaction to what we heard from the white house? >> i would love to be able to be a citizen. but, i think for me, and for what we see in our own community is that it would be a lot more important to be able to keep our families together. >> reporter: and this would definitely not. your parents would remain illegal. the possibility that they could be sent back? >> children grow up not knowing whether their parents are going to make it home from work. we still have member of our community being detained every day. >> reporter: as for the wall, he thinks it will go the way of the berlin wall. >> they can build a wall. it would be a nice tourist attraction in a couple of years. but it's not something that will stop people from coming. the majority of people coming to u.s. is to get a better life. >> reporter: but that wall is the number one priority for dr. kelli ward. >> who wants to build the wall? >> reporter: she's running for the republican senate nomination in arizona this year. and while she's a big booster of the president, she breaks with him on legalizing the d.r.e.a.m.ers before the wall is complete.
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the white house is proposing that they expand the population eligible for citizenship. not just those d.r.e.a.m.ers who are registered. but moving to 1.8. those who are eligible. do you agree with that? is that fair? >> well, i think we shouldn't be having those discussions until we fund and build the wall we get rid of the chain migration. we end the diversity lottery. we defund the sanctuary cities. and we implement everify. we have to do those things first. because any of the discussion and the debate and the bring in the emotion about this population and others just drives more illegal immigration to occur while everything is in limbo. that's not what we want. >> reporter: so you are deeply disappointed in what president trump did? >> i'm disappointed in the white house's proposal. because i want -- i want to stand firm on what the american citizens were sold on the campaign trail. >> reporter: the next morning, my team and i were back on the road.
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traveling next door to new mexico. making our way down to the santa teresa border patrol station. here in new mexico, where there are already miles and miles of barriers and fences, there are still more than 75,000 undocumented immigrants. we met up with republican congressman steve pearce. he's running for governor this year. and stumped for trump in 2016. but thinks building a wall is a waste of money. you do not believe in a big $25 billion, $35 billion wall. >> no, no. money could be spent for so many things. our agents out here are completely unprotected. they're doing a veryan everyone wants to secure the border. but let's be thoughtful about it. let's don't just throw money at it. >> reporter: congressman pearce be directed towards staffing and technology to secure the border.
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because it's not just people illegally crossing. but drug smuggling and other activity that a wal >> even with a structure, they're coming over with ultra lights. they're not manned. they remote trigger the drug package. 300 pounds, drops here with a gps locater. someone comes and picks it up. you get a $35 billion wall and you defeat wit a $3,000 ultralight. >> reporter: as for the d.r.e.a.m.ers, he would prefer to give them legal status. but is open to a path to citizenship. >> people looking for a better life coming here, i'm very sympathetic for that. i grew up dirt poor. i know what it's like looking for hope and opportunity. but let's do it the right way. >> reporter: 1500 miles from where our journey started in san die ya -- diego, d.r.e.a.m.ers were out this weekend, alongside
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environment groups, protesting the proposed wall. >> they are holding us hostage by a border wall, preventing us from being and living with our families and members of our communities. >> reporter: texas democratic congressman gonzalez voted to end the shutdown this past week. >> well, it's pretty shameful that we're playing pawns with young children's lives. >> reporter: but he remains hopeful that a solution for the d.r.e.a.m.ers will be found. >> i'm optimistic we'll find a resolution and that we get to a finality on the issue. and get it done and put it to rest and move on with the people's business. >> reporter: all along the border we traveled, the desire to get something done is clear on all sides. but whether washington can get beyond the political divide to reach a final deal may be the biggest barrier of all. so can congress make a deal? the powerhouse "roundtable" takes that on when we come back. i don't want to lie down. i refuse to lie down. why suffer? stand up to chronic migraine with botox®. botox® is the only treatment for chronic migraine shown to actually prevent headaches and migraines
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the "roundtable" is standing by ready to take on all the week's politics. week's politics. ♪ ♪
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mucinex fast-max. 9 symptoms. 1 dose. max strength. start the relief. ditch the misery. let's end this. and for kid's multi-symptom relief, try #1 recommended children's mucinex. and we're back now with "the roundtable." abc news political analyst matthew dowd. susan glasser. chief international affairs columnist at politico. senior political writer at fivethirtyeight, perry bacon jr. and abc news cokie roberts. i want to touch quickly on immigration. you saw the huge long drive on the border. >> welcome to texas. >> nice piece. >> i love texas. it's a huge, huge state. just a huge state. tell me, matt, do you think president trump's proposal -- you heard lindsey graham, too, has any prayer? >> no. because the hard right hates it. and the left hates it. i think that starts off already
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with a bloc of votes they're not going to get. it's just so ludicrous that we're in this position. when 90% of people want to do something on daca. we're arguing over a wall that most people think is not needed. i think the understanding is, america and texas. i was thinking about texas other day, if we didn't have oil, air conditioning, and immigrants, we wouldn't be texas. just like the country. i think it's ludicrous we have gotten here. they'll pass something. it won't be the trump bill. >> i want to turn back to mueller. very, very serious stories this week. not just "the new york times." so many people reporting on it. including us. what is your take on how important, how serious this is? >> i think it's serious. it's not just that he wanted to fire mueller and apparently rosenstein. it's his whole attack on the
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department of justice. and a misunderstanding of what the department of justice is supposed to do. he things they're supposed to be his lawyers. and defending him. >> some of the reporting was he was referring to it as trump's justice department. >> my generals. my justice department. maybe his congress. that would be interesting. the fact is that this all sort of piles on top of itself. and what you end up doing is, even if there was nothing there in the first place, by the time you're done, there's something there. >> but the texts. very legitimate issue right now to talk about. those texts are not helping from the fbi officials. >> no, they're not helping. but the overall, if you look at this week, christopher wray, the administration not happy with him either. i'm not a lawyer. so i'm not going the debate -- >> they did a really good job of that. >> as a normal human being, is donald trump cooperating or trying to impede the investigation? i think the answer is, he's often doing things that appear to be targeted at impeding the investigation, from firing mueller, to questioning the fbi.
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trump is not cooperating. the idea that he'll testify willingly seems ludicrous if you look at his behavior up until now. >> as a political matter. divide it from a legal matter. as a political matter, what does this mean? what happens? >> i think what we're seeing this week is a very clear demonstration that at least on the house side, among certain republicans, they're acting very much as the president's defense lawyers. in this political war over how to interpret the investigation, which, in the end, we have no idea what mueller is going to conclude around the allegations of not just obstruction but potential collusion with russians on the hacking. we have no idea what the evidence is. but already, i think this week, we saw very clearly, a strategy by republicans to muddy the waters. to murky it up. to cooperate with donald trump in his attacks on the institutions. >> in the same way the democrats did with ken starr and bill clinton. >> that's right. >> taking right from that book.
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>> this is -- ken starr said something i completely disagree with. which, i think in a normal world is accurate. he said the president has this power and the congress is vested with the power to control the president. the problem is, we don't have a constitutional crisis today. we have constitutional rot. the rot is that congress is now unwilling to provide the checks and balances to the presidency of the united states. the president is allowed to do stuff. our only solution today it seems like is to go to a special counsel and try to pursue it that way. the congressional house committees refuse to do anything. so our constitution is now rotting because of that. >> no, no, no. i don't disagree. the biggest check is the voters. and we have an off-term election coming up. and our off-year elections. >> a lot of damage can be done every two and four years. >> i understand that. off-year elections can serve as a parliamentary vote of confidence. if the democrats are able to win, which is a big, big, if, if
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they do, i think you'll see a move towards impeachment. >> we have seen again and again the astonishing revelations that inside his own administration, basically in the absence of congressional accountability, the fbi director, christopher wray, the former fbi director james comey. his own white house counsel. already, in one year in office, have had to threaten to quit in order to stop what they viewed as potentially illegal or problematic actions on the part of the president. we have an astonishing fact set in one year in office. >> it does raise huge concerns. about the republic as donald trump is president. >> speaking of the republic, tuesday night, state of the union. president trump will give his first state of the union. he goes before congress. he was before congress last year, not officially the state of the union. we have heard from white house officials on background that it will be more uplifting and unifying. >> we heard that before the inaugural, too.
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>> will it be different? will it matter? >> i do think he's going to try to say, morning in america. look at the hiring, the tax bill. the bonuses. this will not be american carnage. this will be look at my first year and how we did. i do think no matter what he says, impressions about him are very set. since about september, about between 35% and 40% of people approve of him. and about a 55% of people disapprove. those numbers are stuck where he is. >> so no matter what is said -- >> one speech is not going to change people's impressions. >> well, except the one thing we do see is when he's -- the generic ballot, when you say to people, which party would you like to control congress, democrats or republicans? it gets smaller when he behaves. when he misbehaves, the democrats get a 17-point lead. when he sort of seems like a regular president, they shrink to about a six-point lead.
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>> what we know for sure, whatever president trump says, it will begin and end that night. and something different will happen on the following morning. >> and with a tweet. >> what is your take on his speech? what it will be? >> i think in this relentless news cycle, i'm hard pressed to say we'll remember this speech a few weeks from now. we remember american carnage because it was so dramatically different from previous inaugurations. in the end, trump is facing a big problem, which is aside from that tax reform, what is on his agenda? he'll talk about infrastructure. immigration. national security. >> strongest military. >> but in practical terms, there's very few deliverables that most people expect that he and the republican party are going to be able to take to the voters this fall. think that's where having no real content, if if it's somewhere reassuring, politically, it means it might be a wash. >> just about 20 seconds. >> i think the democrats are
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doing something smart. having joe kennedy give the response. >> joe kennedy iii. >> he's not only a kennedy. he's young. that's been a big rap against the democratic party is that the leaders are too old. he's a young, attractive guy, whose name is kennedy. >> and he'll use a moral voice. which i think is really important today. >> all right. thanks to all of you. we'll be right back.
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don't forget to tune in tuesday night. i'll be joining the entire power house political team for the live coverage of president trump's first state of the union address and the democratic response, starting at 9:00 eastern. that's all for us today. thanks for sharing part of your sunday with us. have a great day.
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>> it's time to redraw goofy kicking donald duck. "inside story" starts right now. ♪ good morning, everyone. it's january 28, 2018. i'm matt o'donnell, and this is "inside story." let us meet the panelists we have gathered for you on this sunday. sharmain matlock-turner, nonprofit executive. >> how you doing, matt? good to see you. >> doing great. how are you? >> i'm terrific, thank you. >> dom giordano, radio-talk-show host. >> hi, matt. good morning. >> rich negrin, attorney. >> hi, matt. good to be here. >> and ed turzanski, foreign-policy analyst. >> good morning, matt. >> all right. here they are. [ laughter ] so, this is goofy kicking donald. this is the 7th congressional district in pennsylvania. this is another one that i just threw out there because someone thinks that this looks like god touching man. >> ohh. >> that would me man -- you know the michelangelo painting? >> yes, okay.


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