tv This Week With George Stephanopoulos ABC May 20, 2018 8:00am-9:00am PDT
"this week" with george stephanopoulos starts right now. >> tragedy in texas. >> you hear boom. boom, boom. >> ten people murdered at a high school near houston. >> this has been going on too long in our country. >> after parkland, newtown, columbine, another school shooting. another community shattered. is the shock of these shootings now becoming resignation? we'll talk to the lieutenant governor in texas and two parents who have lost children to gun violence, now working to save others. team trump ramps things up. on the special counsel. >> it's a witch hunt. >> as the russian investigation hits the one-year mark. >> it's not a witch hunt when 17 russians have been indicted. >> now, "the new york times" reporting robert mueller is investigating whether gulf countries offered to help the trump campaign. we'll analyze the latest with alan dershowitz and dan abrams.
as trade talks with china adjourn with no firm agreement, the president's chief economic adviser joins us live. we'll break down the politics, smoke out the spin. the facts that matter this week. good morning. we have a lot to cover this week. we begin with the all-too-familiar scenes from texas. there you see the students of santa fe high on friday running out of school after 30 minutes of terror that claimed ten lives. they are surveyors but stricken. we heard from the survivors, a warning for all of us. i knew it. i'm not surprised. of course it happened here. children who have never known school without lockdown drills expecting what should be unthinkable. santa fe, the ninth fatal school shooting this year. reflected in this stunning fact. there have now been more students or teachers killed by guns in u.s. schools than active duty military deaths in 2018. a year not even halfway over.
our first guest this week, lieutenant governor of texas dan patrick. thank you for joining us. of course, our condolences go out to the community, the families there in texas this morning. i wonder if you can reflect on that statistic i just read. more students killed by gun violence in schools than active duty military deaths in 2018. >> george, should we be surprised in this nation? we have devalued life. whether it's through abortion, the breakup of families, through violent movies, and particularly violent video games, which now outsell movies and music. psychologists and psychiatrists will tell you that students are desensitized to violence. may have lost empathy for their victims by watching hours and hours of video violent games. 97%, george, of teenagers, according to psychiatrists and
psychologists, watch video games. 85% are violent games. are we desensitized? are these children, are these teenagers. then, of course, george, we have our schools that are not hard targets. we have done a good job since 9/11 of protecting government buildings, airports, private buildings. we have not done anything to harden the target at our schools. and we still have this gun debate on whether or not teachers should be armed or not. i believe, the parents and students i have talked to in santa fe since friday believe they should be. >> hard not to miss what you didn't mention there. any kind of regulations of guns. you have suggested fewer school doors could lead to fewer school shootings. some security experts say that could be part of a comprehensive solution. some think the problem is too many guns, not too many doors. >> well, george, i think i laid out just a moment ago the problem is multifaceted. it's not any one issue.
but we, again, we have to look at our culture of violence. just our violent society. our facebook. our twitter. the bullying of adults on adults and children on children. we have to look at ourselves, george. it's not about the guns. it's about us. can there be gun regulation? gun control? i believe that starts at home, george. every person who owns a gun must be accountable for their guns at home. we don't know all the facts yet. but this particular young man got his guns in some way from his parents' home. you should have your guns locked up. it's against the law in texas to let any loaded gun get in the hands of a child. in terms of guns and regulation, george. in texas, we allow teachers to carry. we leave it up to local parents, school boards, superintendents. the students and the parents i talked to friday in the hospital, of a wounded student said, if the one teacher in particular, they think marx reen next door to the shooting, had had the ability to carry a gun,
they may have been able to stop it. we had brave officers, george. this school won a safety award. and it came in to save lives on friday. even though we lost ten, they probably saved countless other lives. they were there within minutes. two armed guards on the campus plus a roaming officer. we need armed teachers trained to help repel the killers. >> i know you believe that is one of the answers. we have violent video games in other countries. twitter and facebook in other developed countries. how do you explain another stunning statistic? americans of high school age are 82 times more likely to die from gun homicide than their peers in the rest of the developed world. that has to be connected to the availability of guns, doesn't it? >> no, it doesn't have to be. i can't compare one country to another country. because there are many variables in all of these countries.
here's what i know. we live in a violent culture where we have devalued life. kids go to schools not as safe as public and government buildings. yes, i have been criticized by saying we should have fewer entrances. look, you need all the fire exits you need. we should have eyes on students walking into our schools. this student walked in with a gun under a trench coat on friday. and no one in law enforcement stopped him. we can't guard every entrance of the 8,000-plus schools we have in texas. we can guard one or two. we have to think out of the box, george. we can stagger our start times. let kids get to school a little earlier. let us keep eyes on the kids. israelis believe in detect and deter and deny. we don't do a good job of that in our schools. we need to emphasize -- in terms of gun laws. i respect and understand those who say they don't want teachers armed. but we know we have to send a message to those who would come on -- whether they're adults or
terrorists or students. that that's a hard target. you're not going to get into school with a gun. we have to stop that. in terms of gun control, gun control starts at home. accountability for gun owners. i'm a gun owner. starts at home. we need the best background checks we can have. we need to be sensible. but remember. we can't sit back and say it's the gun. it's us as nation, george. on this sunday morning when we all go to church and pray, the mosque, the synagogue, let's look inward at ourself as a nation. >> and when we look inward -- when we look inward, sir, aren't we going to find that guns are more available here, in grater numbers, in greater le that wth than any other developed country in the world? >> they are, george. and here's the reality. they are a part of who we are as a nation. it is our second amendment. talks about a well-run militia. our teachers are part of that well-run militia. it's guns that stop crimes also. in our church in sutherland springs, that i was there after
the shooting, it was a man who was able to pick up his rifle and stop that shooter there from potentially going down the road to another church or killing law enforcement officers. guns stop other criminals from committing crimes. again. sensible regulation. absolutely. background checks. absolutely. every responsible gun owner doesn't want anyone who is deranged or shouldn't have a gun to have a gun. but, george, if we take the guns out of society, if you or anyone else thinks that that makes us safer, then -- then -- then i'm sad to say that you're mistaken. that will just give those who are evil, who will always have access to guns, be able the put more of us in danger. and again, in texas, we believe in our second amendment. we believe in the constitution of freedom. our first, second, tenth amendments. we believe in the constitution. that's what we stand on. today, george, on this sunday morning, governor abbott and i are going to a church in a little bit to be with the people in santa fe. i can tell you, george, we stand on the rock of our faith, in
texas. this has been a long year, george. the biggest natural disaster in the history of the country. the biggest church shooting in the history of our state. governor abbott and i have been to a lot of funerals. and we have held a lot of hands and hugged a lot of folks. and i will tell you, it's their faith in their fellow man, and their faith in god, and the texas family standing strong. no one with a gun is going to walk into a school or anywhere else and bring our state to our knees. we stand strong. we will stand together. >> it has been a tough year for your state. governor, thank you for your time this morning. >> we stand strong. thank you, george. pray for our families. our state. our country. >> thank you. fred guttenberg joins us. he's the founder of orange ribbons for jaime. named for his daughter, jaime, was killed in the parkland school shooting. and nicole hockley. her son, dylan, was killed in newtown. fred, let me begin with you. you just heard governor patrick there. you heard what he said. what is your response?
>> um, i think those are the most idiotic comments i have ever heard regarding gun safety. let me be clear. he should be removed from office for his failure to want to protect the citizens of texas. to hear him continue to make the argument after ten people died in his state that guns are not the issue, is simply a crock. i was in texas two weeks ago to be across the street from the nra convention and protest it. the highlight item at their convention is a gun that folds up to look like a cell phone. that is not designed for any reason other than to spread more death on the streets of this country. and regarding the second amendment. i'm pretty sure the framers of the constitution would predict the day that we would have guns that look like cell phones. i'm here at what was supposed to be my daughter's dance recital.
they're honoring her memory instead of having my daughter dance. for that man to make those moronic comments, unacceptable. >> your rage is very clear. nicole, thank you for also joining us this morning. i know you have been working hard since newtown. ever since your son, dylan, was killed, trying to come up with solutions. there's a lot of frustration at the national level. you say there is progress at the local level addressing the problems. >> there has been progress at a local and national level. woo -- where we're teaching, how do you recognize the signs of someone who is at risk? it's about prevention. what we heard from the lieutenant governor in terms of hardening the schools. i'm not saying that's unimportant. that we shouldn't be looking at the school security. but this was a hard school already. there was a lot of safety measures in place. armed school resource officers. you had -- prepared action plans for active shooter drills.
there was a lot of activity already happening. and i don't think that we're focusing -- we're focusing on the wrong thing here. school control of gun safety measures. that is a mitigation. that is not prevention. we need to focus on the kids inside the schools. while i does agree with the vast majority of what the lieutenant governor said, i do agree we have a problem where we devalue life. and the fact that this shooting has not received a significant amount of coverage. the fact that this shooting is not seeing a significant amount of action. that is devaluing life. ten people are dead. not going back to their families. that's what we need to focus on. it's not about religion. not about values. it's not just about guns. it's about guns and it's about people. and while i agree with him that access and safety, those things need to be held accountable, this shooter took the guns from his home, and therefore action and accountability needs to take place. we need to think about what do
we need to do to stop people before they reach the point of picking up a firearm with the intent of hurting themselves or someone else? that's not about school security. that's about prevention. >> i saw you nodding your head to a lot of that. it's clear you don't suffer from the problem of desensitization. the problem of numbing right now. your rage is painfully clear. what do you say to the rest of us who are getting all too used to this? >> you know, george, the morning that the breaking news on this happened, i was reading the news reports of the shooting at the trump hotel. the shootings keep on happening. and nicole's 100% right. this is not just about guns. it's not just about school safety. it's not just about mental health. it's everything. and the problem is when these shootings happen, the crowd that doesn't want to blame guns, they want to talk about everything else but guns. folks like nicole and i, we want to talk about all of it.
because to solve this problem, you must. you need to talk about all these things if you want to limit the incidents, stop these incidents. you have to be realistic. these incidents are happening. we have to limit the casualties when they do. and i'm glad nicole brought up the home. i have heard some in texas, and some out of texas say, all of the gun safety measures proposed could not have stopped this. well, you know what? maybe we need to go further. because this happened where this kid took the guns from his dad. responsible gun ownership should require, by law, that parents lock up their weapons so their kids can't take them. and if the weapons are removed from a home and used this way, the parent needs to be held equally accountable. we need to address everything. this isn't an either/or problem. we need to be honest. we need to deal with it all. >> there are people proposing more radical measures. nicole, i was struck by this tweet.
arne duncan, the former education secretary retweeting, a feet from a man named peter cunningham who said, maybe it's time for america's 50 million school parents to pull their kids out of school until we have better gun laws. mr. duncan called this brilliant and tragically necessary. >> well, i think that is one option. i can certainly understand a parent's fear for sending their child to school every day given how often these things are happening. and for that one student that i wasn't surprised. it was almost expected this would happen here. if that's the environment our kids are now being brought up in, then we're doing something very tragically wrong. if we want parents to pull their kids out of school until we have better solutions in place, that's an option. what are we doing when they're walking down the street? what are we doing when they're going to the mall? or to the movie theater? this is not just about school
shootings. this is about shootings everywhere. this is happening in every community every day. there are actions we can take. prayers are important. talking about this is very important. looking at issues around violence is important. but, there are actions that we can take right now at a community level. teaching each other what to do. but also, at a state and federal level in terms of ensuring we have complementary policy to ensure when we see someone who needs help, that we're ensuring they don't have access to fire arms. that's what we need to act on right now. >> nicole hockley, fred guttenberg, thank you for your time this morning. >> thank you, george. >> thank you, george. up next, one year into the special counsel's investigation, "the new york times" this morngt is reporting where other countries besides russia helped the trump campaign. we'll analyze the situation with alan dershowitz and dan abrams next. retail. under pressure like never before.
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appoint a special council to investigation russian interference in the 016 election. any ties with the trump campaign and they call it related matters. one year ago, may 21, 2017. let's take stock. joined by chief legal analyst dan abrams. alan dershowitz professor emeritus at harvard law school and author of the new book, "trumped up." we have a lot of new tweets from the president this morning. i want to start out with one he put out on the anniversary of the mueller pick. he said, congratulations, america, we're now into the second year of the greatest witch hunt in american history. still no collusion, no obstruction. the only collusion was done by democrats unable to win an election despite the spending of far more money. that's his take on the first year. what's yours? >> i mean, look, what we know for certain as a result of the this investigation is that the russians did meddle in the election.
13 russians have been indicted by the special counsel. at least six others have been indicted in the last year. in connection with the investigation. so this notion that sort of nothing has happened, here we are a year later. we're still waiting. a lot has happened in the first year. the questions still remain as to what's next. meaning, will they be able to indict? will they indict any senior members of the trump campaign in connection with that? we don't know the answer to that. the notion that up to this point, it's been a witch hunt or a hoax makes no sense. >> one thing we also know, professor dershowitz, and you have criticized this, that other inguest vagss -- investigations have gone on for far longer than a year. >> i think it was a mistake to appoint a special counsel. they should have appointed a nonpartisan independent commission to find out how the
election went wrong. one of the worst in modern history. the russian attempts to influence. other attempts by gulf countries to influence. the existence of fbi agents trying to desperately turn the election away from trump. we should have had a massive investigation and we should change the laws to make it clear what you can and can't do. i don't think this investigation has gotten us what we need to know. knowledge and information about how to prevent this in the future. >> that is not passing. we have evidence that the fbi agents where trying to turn this against trump. we don't have any evidence that fbi agents were trying to turn the election. >> how about struct's tweets? when he said, we need a guarantee? we need an insurance policy? we have to investigate that. >> those were not tweets. those were private texts. >> what's the difference? we got 'em. >> there's massive difference. >> they show a state of mind. >> did you read all of his texts? if you do, the total context is not saying, oh, my goodness. donald trump is the problem. he talked about hillary clinton and problems with hillary clinton, as well. to throw that in there with what
the rest of the special counsel has found, to me, it just minimizes what we have really found with regard to russian meddling. >> and i think it should minimize it because what we found is not particularly significant. >> you don't think the meddling is significant? >> i do. i don't think the criminal charges are significant. we don't know to this day what the law is. the supreme court has said foreign governments can intrude themselves into elections if they have an interest in the outcome. they can't contribute money. the law is very unclear. now we have information of an fbi informant in the campaign. that's worth investigation. >> fbi informant in the campaign. no evidence an fbi informant was in the campaign. >> no evidence? >> none. here's the evidence that we have. the evidence we have is an fbi informant spoke to members of the trump campaign. that's not in the campaign. >> that's good enough to get an investigation going.
dan, let me ask you a question. was this a good election? is this something we should be proud of? or is this an election that warrants an investigation, a nonpartisan investigation on both sides to make sure that in the future, a, we know what the rules are, b, we know how to stop countries from improperly intruding on elections. that's what we need to know. we need to stop this in the future. we need to stop making up crimes and expanding the criminal law to fit people we have targeted. that's dangerous to democracy. >> alan's been consistent on the issue about the law over the years. and i respect that. but the notion that the special counsel can't view this objectively, that robert mueller is somehow, what, so compromised? which way? a long-time republican. why can't he be the one to assess whether there are crimes here? >> first of all, this lorng-ter republican. comey was a long-term republican.
they're all long-term republicans who hated trump? >> you know that mueller hated trump? >> you won't have any doubt of that at the end. >> because maybe he'll find evidence? >> maybe he and comey are so close, their history is so close together that when you read comey's book and you see what he has said, you really wonder about the objectivity of the investigation. if there was evidence of crime, the u.s. attorneys can investigate it as the southern district is doing. the main justice could investigate it. one person should be recused. rod rosenstein. because he's a witness. he's the main witness. there was never a need for special counsel. special counsel have targets. they are looking to try to find crimes against people. that doesn't serve the interests of america. america's interest is served by finding out the truth, the facts, changing the law, and making sure it never happens again. >> it sounds like you're in league with president trump on impeaching the credibility of the special counsel at this point. in the meantime, the investigation is continuing.
one of the things we learned, this weekend, "the new york times" report this morning, that robert mueller is investigating this meeting that donald trump jr. and other aides had with emissaries of gulf nations. wealthy arab gulf nations offering help to win the election. the president tweeted, things are getting ridiculous. the failing and crooked "new york times" has done a long and boring story indicating that the world's most expensive witch hunt has found nothing on russia and me so now they're looking at the rest of the world. this story, dan, is bait complicated. i'll grant that. it says donald jr. had a meeting with an emissary of the uae and saudi arabia who was offering help, perhaps, working on social media. >> i read the article twice. and then again. i'm still not certain after reading it three times whether there is potential criminal activity. >> isn't that a problem? isn't that a problem that we don't know what the law is today? >> no, it's not that we don't know what the law is. it's that we don't know what the
facts are. at least for me. as far as i know. i'll tell you the basics. >> let dan finish. >> the basic law as i understand it, a foreign national can't provide anything of value, which has been interpreted to mean typically substantial assistance. in connection with an election. period. >> let's take the following scenario. you have countries in the world who hate the democrats because of the fact that they made a deal with the iranians that they think endangers their security. they want to see a republican elected, is that a crime? you don't know the answer to that. i don't know the answer to that, because the supreme court and the legislatures. >> wait, i do know the answer to that. >> what is it? >> if they gave money, that would the a crime. if they gave campaign assistance that would have a value, that would be a crime. >> no, that's not true. the united states supreme court has had case after case where you can give things of value if they're protected by the first amendment. if they're informational. if they're a concert. for example.
there are cases all over the place. they go both ways. the law not clear. >> alan, the law in every area has gray areas. that's why cases make to it the supreme court. because appellate courts end up interpreting things in different ways. it makes its way to the supreme court. the supreme court has to resolve. exactly what it means. to suggest, oh, this area of the law is so much more vague. it's not. it's -- >> it is. we don't know what -- first of all, you talk about the israeli person. we have had foreign people involved in american elections from the very beginning of time. that's perfectly legal to have a foreign person involved, as long as they don't make substantial campaign contributions. there's a volunteer exception. there's another exception that says, if you're doing it for your own purpose. >> you're intentionally making this more complicated than it needs to be. >> it's complicated enough. >> they're going to figure out. was a law violated? it's just not that hard. to throw up your arms and say we can't interpret this area of the law. >> you and i can't agree.
>> you're a law professor. law professors point to specific difficult questions. you do it for a living. >> never should be the basis for criminal prosecution. unless you know with absolute clarity where the line is and you -- >> or you cross the line. or you cross the line. >> make the hamlet decision to be or not to be a felon, it should not be a crime. crime should not be matter of degree. >> i have to interrupt. this is not the last time we'll hear from the two of you. we'll come back when the next development on the investigation. "roundtable" is coming up. when we come back, larry kudlow joins us live. it's easy to think that all money managers are pretty much the same. but while some push high commission investment products, fisher investments avoids them. some advisers have hidden and layered fees.
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we've had horrible representatives in h this country that have allowed other countries to get away with murder. and those days are gone. those days are over. >> that was president trump on thursday, before the trade talks with china adjourned,
at least for now. we're joined by his director of the white house national economic council larry kudlow. thank you for joining us. >> thank you. thank you, appreciate it. >> as the talks went on through friday evening, the white house and the chinese put out a joint statement yesterday. this joint statement did not include any specific commitment to reduce the trade deficit by the chinese by $200 billion. going into the meetings, you said they agreed on doing that. the white house was pushing hard for that kind of reduction. so did the talks fail? >> no, george, certainly not. i never said we agreed to do that. i said, in fact, there was no deal. but, regarding the number 200. first of all, that's a number that interested the president a lot. and both sides, i was in beijing, as well as washington. both sides have used that as a rough ballpark estimate.
i mean, here's the thing. >> the chinese say they haven't, though. >> well, i don't know. informally, i have heard that number from them. depends on how you count things. here's the key point, if i may. in the communique, that was a consensus of taking effective measures to substantially reduce the united states trade deficit in goods with china. that's the key point. and here's the second key point. they're offering to make structural reforms, such as lowering tariffs and nontariff barriers, which will permit us to export billions and billions more goods to china. that's the elementary point. key point. these numbers, you can't predict. they're macroeconomic things depending on conditions. we made a lot of progress here if washington, and in -- built on what happened in china a
couple weeks back. the president is in a positive mood about this. i, myself, am very encouraged. because, look, at the end of the day, george, growth. this is good for growth. this helps our farmers. our renters. our businesses. i think this is good for chinese growth, too. >> to be clear, is there an agreement or not? >> there's no agreement for a deal. we never anticipated one. there's a communique between the two great countries. that's all. in that communique, you can see where we're going next, wilbur ross is going to china. commerce secretary. he'll be looking into a number of areas where we'll have greatly significant increases. energy, for example. lng, for example. agriculture. manufacturing. as the tariffs come down and the barriers come down, that gives us an opportunity for greatly increased export sales.
and -- you know, you have to trust but verify ronald reagan taught me that a long time ago. i like the direction we're going in. >> there's also no mention in the communique telecom firm zte. the president tweeted last week saying he wanted to find way to get it back into business. they have been subject to sanctions. a bipartisan consensus on capitol hill that that would be a mistake. where does that stand? >> president xi asked president trump to take another look at it. this may be part of the overall trade discussion. but it really is an enforcement action. a legal enforcement action. the process being run by the commerce and justice department. i don't know how this is going to turn out. wilbur ross is having a careful look at this. let me just say with as much
clarity as possible, if any of the remedies are altered, they're still going to be very, very tough. including big firings, compliance measures. new management, new boards. the question is whether there are perhaps some small changes around the edges. i think president trump is doing this because there's good feeling between him and china. do not, please, do not expect zte to get off scot-free. ain't gonna happen. >> i also want to ask you about a headline in "the washington post" yesterday. i want to put it up here. it has to do with amazon. talking about president trump personally pushing the postmaster general to double rates on amazon and other firms. the president has tweeted about amazon a lot, as well. is it appropriate for the president to be singling out companies like this? >> well, look. i'm not -- that's not in my lane, okay. i can't really comment specifically. i haven't looked at that. >> it comes under the national economic council, doesn't it? >> i suppose so. i haven't been involved in that discussion.
look. the president is a man of many opinions. i think you know that. i think we all know that. it's up to him. he may be carrying this ball. i can't comment directly on it. george, i want to go back to a kudlow theme, if you let me for a minute. the american economy is growing very nicely. 3%. they said it couldn't be done, some of the critics. the tax cuts are working. the rollback regulation is working. these trade opening deals, if we can effect them successfully, including the technology pieces, that will help economic growth. the atlanta feds gdp now estimate is 4% in the second quarter. i would be more than happy with a 3% handle. things are going very, very well. >> there's a lot of good news in the economy. let me push you on that just one more time. you are the chair of the national economic council. as the chair of the economic council, when the president's opinions are at odds with the facts, for example when he said
that amazon -- the post office is losing billions to amazon and tax payers are paying for it, isn't that your responsibility to advise him of the facts? >> if he asked me directly, it would be. a lot of people looked at the numbers. there are many opinions about the validity of many different numbers, george. that's really all i can say. my plate, taxes, regulations, china trade. i have not been deeply involved in amazon. president may feel, look, he may feel that there's unfairness going on here. and, as you know, there's been some back and forth about the role of mr. bezos, who i know, actually, and his "washington post" ownership. i can't go down there. in specifics. i know you want to dig into it. it's just not my story. my story is growth. >> i'm going to let you go. let me make a final point. that's what a lot of people are concerned about. they look at the facts and
they say that amazon has not cost the postal service any money and the president is targeting them because jeff bezos owns "the washington post." even though that has nothing to do with amazon and that that is inappropriate. >> i have seen the figures offense and defense. i have seen numbers. we could probably do this on both sides. a lot of numbers, by the way, have not been made available. we'll see. all i know is, america is prospering. and if we can fix the technology stealing, which is so important in the china story, and we can get these market openings, this will be good for american export sales. i think it's good for chinese growth. we will have come a long way. and the president is now very much behind our trade mission. i believe every single american, really, every single american, george, will benefit from open trade, lower barriers, and technology protection. and by the way, tax cuts and cutbacks of regulation are playing a major
peace, the end of diplomacy." republican strategist amanda carpenter. author of "gaslighting america." national political reporter, for axios, jonathan swan. matt schlapp. chair of the conservative union. donna brazile. old friend and contributor. so much to talk about this sunday morning. i'm going to choose to come back with the one-year anniversary of the mueller investigation. jonathan, let me begin with you. i noticed something when alan dershowitz was here. he's independent but has been close to the president at times. it seems the white house strategy is all about discrediting robert mueller. >> the legal strategy has not changed. i mean, emmett is a quiet, careful lawyer doing the same work. >> inside the white house. >> inside the white house. what's changed is the media strategy. rudy giuliani's job is not to do substantive, in the weeds legal
work. his job is to go on tv and attack robert mueller. attack the investigation. and what we're seeing is it's becoming a red and blue issue. similar to the clinton impeachment in the '90s. if that actually happens, we're seeing the the trend lines going in that direction, if that solidifies, that's fantastic for trump. and he knows that. >> half a dozen tweets by the president this morning. >> yes, george. but look. 17 indictments. five convictions. this investigation has proven more results than previous investigations over a similar period of time. you go back to whitewater. watergate. even the teapot dome in the 1820s under president harding. we have learned more in one year than we have learned in previous investigations. we haven't gotten to the crux of what really happened in 2016. i hope the republicans back off of what a call disparaging mr. mueller and his investigation so we can learn everything. every little detail to prevent it from happening again.
>> ronan farrow, you reminded us it's not just the mueller investigation right now. you have the southern district of new york looking at michael cohen. some financial records may be restricted now. not in the public domain. >> that's right. what we know from the single suspicious activity report filed by the bank when they see anything that looks like fraud or money landering that's been made public, we know transactions seem to intersect with mueller's investigation. we're looking at russian-originated transactions and foreign influence. there seem to be some with foreign entities with vested interest in the outcome of the last election. >> amanda, are republicans now consolidating around the trump point of view on this, as jonathan suggested? >> yes, the idea that this is is the biggest witch hunt since watergate has caught on. but, spoiler alert.
there was a witch in watergate. it was the president. the revelations this week. there were absolutely no fire walls between the trump organization, the trump campaign, and the trump white house. donald trump has tried to draw a bright line between the trump organization and the campaign. but if he never did during the campaign and during his presidency, how can robert mueller? he can't. >> we know how wide-ranging this investigation is. >> oh, yeah. because you know why? there's no confines on it. that's one of the criticisms. as alan dershowitz was saying, it's just about collusion, i think the american people want to know that answer. i'll tell you, if they find evidence of collusion and big vast amounts of money coordinating with the trump campaign, that's a big problem. but what do we have? we have less than $1 million spent on facebook and google advertisements, half of which happened after the election. and i'll tell you the other thing. look at the polls. if this is such a problem, i think the american people are fair. they were fair on whitewater. when the investigation is not about the purpose of the
investigation, sometimes they cry foul. which is why donald trump's poll numbers are so much stronger the. the generic ballot for republicans is just a four-point differential. and right track, wrong track. just two years ago, a 30-point differential with americans believing the country was on the wrong track. that's down to 13 points. everything in the country demonstrates if it's not collusion, they don't want to hear about it. >> some may see as ironic. the republicans want to talk about the investigation more than the democrats. the white house certainly. >> i think if you look at democratic leadership, it's very clear. nancy pelosi does not believe running on impeachment is the right strategy. a lot of democratic leaders believe it will energize the republican base. the biggest worry in washington among republican leaders is that their base is too apathetic. if you use the impeachment rod, that will get them off the couch.
if you're just talking about the politics of this, it's clear why democrats are not making it the center piece. of 2018. >> i think what we're seeing is the walls coming down between the separate investigations. people like cohen and the president himself. the political resonance of the narratives about corruption is only going to increase. we saw just in the past week, obviously, the financial disclosures from the president admitting he was repaying cohen in some cases for some transactions. >> and that's going to lead to a question we saw during the 2016 presidential campaign. at what point does robert mueller have to put everything on hold as we head into the midterm elections, donna? >> i would hope that by labor day, the investigation is able to enter its last phase. you have to follow the evidence. senate chair mr. burr says things are wrapping up with the senate investigation. but look. my concern, george, is that the
russians tried to meddle in our election database. finally, the department of homeland security is working with state and local governments to basically strengthen our electoral system. we have a lot of problems that needs to be addressed. while the president is spending his sunday morning telling us this is a witch hunt he's not spent enough time making sure that the american people will have some faith in their democratic government. >> we know what russia has done. in the election. it's repugnant. we know they have done it in several elections. we need to do -- when we had the problem with iran-contra, ronald reagan said we'll have the tower commission. it was made up by three eminent people. they gave us answers. if it leads to criminal prosecution, great, it should. but we have to know what is happening. it's a cavalcade of other crimes. the american people are fair. that's not what this is about. it was about treason. if there's no treason, they're not going to hold him accountable.
>> fair enough. robert mueller is not done yet. he's a year in. >> one of the problems is, donald trump has a strong p.r. machine giving his side of the story out. the department of justice and the investigators do not. h what is the clear threat -- >> they shouldn't be. >> it's an unfair fight for regular people to keep track of stories, it's very difficult. the thing that it keeps returning to. there were repeated overtures by the russians to members of the trump campaign offering assistance. trump campaign members opened the door for that. they seemed receptive. donald trump used the hacked material on the campaign trail. in those discussions, the russians kept bringing up sanctions. donald trump was resistant to imposing sanctions. they don't have people out there explaining that clearly. >> that was unverified in 2016. >> this isn't just about the election itself. we're seeing revelation after revelation suggesting foreign
entities interfered on various policy issues. for instance, we had the reporting in the last weeks from me and several other reporters there were efforts to suffer the iran deal. efforts to sabotage the reputations of people behind the iran deal. now we see our withdrawal from the iran deals. we see our government bereft of diplomats. it's the subject of my book. >> i don't think it required george nader, who, by the way, i was the first to report, to convince trump to get out of the iran deal. >> the revelation in the last few days about israeli social media manipulation. similarly, we see an israeli private investigations firm going after the personal reputations of the people behind the iran deal. there are a new array of actors here that the american public didn't know about. >> let's get to it. the american government and governments around this world interfere in elections. the american government interferes in elections. there's a whole new level of
espionage that happens online. the american people need complete transparency in what the threats are against us. the american people need to know what its own intelligence agencies did in this campaign. people can say, it's spying, it's not spying. it's disgusting. i don't care whose campaign this was. help me out here, we shouldn't be using the government in a presidential campaign. shouldn't be using the agencies to try to pick a winner or loser. mr. strut, you talk about this earlier. >> wish we weren't out of time right now. we are. you laid out a lot that requires some answers. we have a lot to pack in today. thank you all very much. that's all for us today. thanks for sharing part of your sunday with us. check out "world news" tonight. i'll see you tomorrow on "gma."
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