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tv   Deadline White House  MSNBC  September 6, 2018 1:00pm-2:00pm PDT

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i'll see you back here tomorrow at 11:00 a.m. eastern with stephanie ruhle and 3:00 p.m. eastern. thanks for watching. "deadline white house" with nicolle wallace starts right now. /s >> hi, everyone. it's 4:00 in new york. a real witch-hunt to talk about. donald trump is on the hunt for a witch in his own ranks, someone with the audacity to share with the nation and the world the president's own cabinet discussed removing the president from office by invoking the 25th amendment. at this hour, no one is presumed innocent. the vice-president taking the extraordinary step of denying that he was the author of that anonymous op-ed published by "the new york times" almost exactly 24 hours ago. here's the list of other administration officials who sought to get on the record today saying that they had not written the piece that claimed, among other things, that the president is essentially unfit for the office he holds. republican senator bob corker
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who was the first republican senator to say that trump lacked the fitness for the presidency had this to say last night. >> i mean, i think this is what all of us have understood to be the situation from day one. so, again, it's not -- it didn't reveal much to me. i understand this is the case. >> this is the case. the president is reportedly in a volcanic move over the op-ed. that's based on reporting from nbc news and the washington post. he's lashing out on twitter saying, quote, the deep state and the left and their vehicle the fake news media are going crazy and they don't know what to do. but his own aides are sounding a very different tune. axios reporting under the headline, snakes are everywhere, quote, two senior administration officials reached out to say the author stole the words right out of their mouths. one told axios, a lot of us were wishing we'd been the writer. i suspect, i hope trump knows,
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maybe he does, that there are dozens and dozens of us. washington post reporting, quote, the phrase, the sleeper cells have awakened circulating on text messages among aides and allies. it's like the horror movies when everyone realizes the call is coming from inside the house said one former official in chose contact with coworkers. proving the guardrails will be tested. donald trump issued this threat. quote, if the gutless anonymous person does indeed exist, the times must for national security purposes turn him or her over to the government at once. here to help us sift through the new normal, some of our favorite reporters and friends. white house bureau chief at the washington post phil rucker. at the table jim mussina, former deputy white house chief of staff to then president barack obama who i'm sure never sent a text that says the sleep e cells have awoke en, referring to anyone here. tim miller a republican strategist who is a
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communications strategist for jeb bush's 2016 campaign. nbc news and msnbc national affairs analyst john heilman is here. and msnbc political analyst zirlina marks well, director of programming at sirius xm and hillary clinton campaign joins us. phil, let me start with you. your by line is one of the most extraordinary pieces i've read. we kept broadcasting a picture of the white house yesterday, a picture, a live shot of the west wing because we could only imagine what was going on when this op-ed dropped. you got to the bottom of a lot of what was going on among the staff and the president. take us through it. >> well, first of all, nobody knew this was coming. so as soon as it landed and i think peter alexander, our friend, is actually the one who brought it to the white house's attention in the first place. there was a scramble to figure out what was going on. there's been rampant speculation
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ever since then who the leaker -- not the leaker, who the author is, the senior official is. and the president is determined to get to the bottom of that. he's been in a volcanic mood according to people who have talked to him. he was furious last night and he's very concerned about who he can trust. you know, he's disappointed. he feels a sense of personal betrayal and he's used it more than perpal betrayal but active treason. he wants to get to the bottom is, there is an effort to get to who the leaker is -- the author is. there seems to be a consensus among the white house staff not one of the sort of west wing officials whose names are so well known to all of us in the news, but rather someone who may be a little lower profile, somebody who works perhaps in an intelligence or national security area. we simply don't know. but this is what the president is speculating about and guessing about at this hour. and we'll have to see what he's going to do in terms of using his executive power and the
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power of his government to try to get to the bottom of it and identify this person. >> that sounds very scary. we're trying to figure out what he's going to do, using his executive power. we know he's not above using his department of justice or his fbi to settle political scores. this seems like the ultimate political score that he'd want settled. any talk of using the fbi or the justice department to achieve what you described to be his aim of rooting out the leaker. >> nicolle, i don't know. i've not heard that specifically, but i wouldn't put it past this president. he's somebody who sort of wants to exercise power when he chooses to. and he's most determined to exercise power sometimes for these sort of personal issues. and so i'm not aware of anything. it would be extraordinary, for example, if he did try to do -- did try to instruct people in the skbrus advertijustice depar intelligence agencies to hunt for the author of this piece. we simply don't know, but he's somebody who has wanted in the
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past to use his full power. >> you also describe the paranoia. you use that word. i know the president is not a student of american political history. but is there anyone there that is talking openly about the nixon presidency? >> well, it's such an obvious parallel and it has been for sometime. bob woodward's book actually describes how right after mueller was named, the special counsel in may of 2017, shell shocked aides in the white house were recalling the final days of president nixon, or at least what they've read about it in history and drawing parallels between their boss and nixon. you can see the parallels today with this outburst, but this is not really new behavior. wean seen his mood, his determination, his hunt for leakers or people who betray him or people who he doesn't trust at various moments of the presidency including now. >> there is something remarkable, john heilman, about the press being the guardrail
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here, that this person, a political appointee inside the trump administration describing cabinet level meetings invoking the 25th amendment, the need to turn to the media to me reveals the weakness of the congress. i think in the old days, a person like this might have felt they could go to the bipartisan senate intelligence committee or the foreign relations committee, or if you're worried about the president's competence and he serves as commander in chief in a country with men and women in iraq and afghanistan, all over the world, in korea, that you might go to the armed services committee. but congress is so broken, this person went to "the new york times." this is a republican. they went to "the new york times." >> the failing "the new york times." you made this point, i saw you on television, i was nodding my head when you said it. it's obvious you raise the question yesterday, repeat your question, if you're a whis many blower in this administration, where do you go? there's no doubt that it's another sign -- a salutary sign
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of the nightmare we've been through. the paper has risen to the challenge, washington post and a lot of our colleagues. it is an incredible thing. your party, for years, sometimes probably even you for years be up on "the new york times." time tested republican strategy to be in "the new york times." now you have this person who is clearly if not a movement conservative because there are some betrayals in the text that suggest the love for john mccain, some things he or she doesn't focus on in the text makes you suggest this is a slightly different kind of republican, not necessarily a movement conservative, but still someone whos in the broad 10, clearly not a liberal, someone proud on some of the things policy donald trump has done. it is amazing that's where they sought to reach out. i do think, though, in the end that this person really does owe the country to now come forward because i think there is a cynical read of this which is this is someone who right now is trying to put in a hedge against donald trump failing and
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eventually when trump falls they will come out and say, i was the one who wrote the op-ed piece. not good enough right now. thank you for your service by put thing out yesterday, now the next step is to come forward, say who you are and do the country a real favor by speaking your mind openly and to the rest of us. >> tim, i'm struck by the lack of options these people have. we have sat around this table and we're happy to have you around this table today. we sat around this table on the day that donald trump said good people on both sides of the kkk rally in charlottesville, we've said as former white house staffers, as former campaign staffers, we've said how do they stay? i think we have our answer in this op-ed. they stay because they're shared bleepless he's going to start world war 3, as secretary mattis has had to explain to the president we do things to avoid world war iii. i know you ran a vladimir yant effo -- valiant effort to best donald trump ahead of jeb bush. is this worse than someone who tried to stop the presidency?
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>> i have dark expectations of the many presidency. i don't know about worse. i have a less generous view than maybe you and john do of the whistleblower here, so-called whistleblower. i think there are a lot of other options and there are a lot of things that nobody has seemed to try. there seems to be a lack of imagination among those who oppose donald trump, both in congress, but also within this administration. no one has left the administration, not rex tillerson, not my former boss reince priebus and come forward with what is really happening inside the white house. we don't know what the impact would be if whoever it was that wrote this op-ed signed their name to it, or if the people who whispered to jonathan swan at axios would give their name. we're not sure whether that might result in congress springing to rackaction. we're not sure if that would hurt donald trump's approval rating and make him weaker in a primary. i think these folks have an obligation to do it. either the president is so
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dangerous, so amorale, the words they used he cannot serve as president and you need to speak up or he's not that amorale and dangerous and you're trying to make yourself feel better. >> i get your point. i had this dream last night that this person would leave in protest because the president would out him. the fbi might refuse to investigate him, but get devin nunes to investigate him. they leak classified -- yet this person might end up an msnbc contributor. who knows. but this person would end up being another sort of drop in the bucket of criticism. but then i thought, maybe not. maybe criticism from within will be the thing that breaks through to his base. what do you think? >> see, i don't agree with the last two comments. john, i think the issue here, as you said, the reporters have done amazing work the last 18 months because they've had sources inside the administration willing to do this. you know, you and i worked in the white house. the national security apparatus
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is really a political. >> it doesn't leak usually. >> it doesn't leak. these people are trying to do what they think is the best thing to do. i think this person is staying in the administration and continuing to fight and continuing to say i'm going to stay here and try to stop this mad man from doing bad things. i think that's patriotism. >> there are other things to stop him as tim suggested. >> noun of those aren't working. that's not true. people have gone to the hill, people have gone to the house and senate intelligence committee. people is have done a bunch of this stuff. congress is absent. they're clueless, their oversight capabilities are not working. this is the only way this person had to do it. if that person came out tomorrow, john, you know what's going to happen. the entire republican establishment is going to take them apart, in 48 hours we're going to be talking about something else. >> do you think that would happen if it was dan coats? >> i do. >> throw out another name. jim mattis? what would happen? >> they would destroy him he
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wouldn't it to saturday. >> hopefully the cleegds will convince his hearings to hold hearings. the number two in the senate, dick durbin, one of the senators questioning judge brett kavanagh this week and today we're so grateful for your time. let me bring you into this conversation we're having. did the op-ed yesterday in "the new york times" from a political appointee of donald trump that told all of us that the cabinet has talked about invoking the 25th amendment change things in your view? >> i can tell you that 25th amendment is a steep hill to climb. to have the vice-president as well as a majority of the cabinet notify the congress, both the house and the senate that the president is unable to continue in office is a pretty steep request against any administration. and then a two-thirds vote in both chambers to move the vice-president into the operating position, that, too, is a big high hill to climb. we have with this "the new york
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times" piece an indication that within this administration there is a genuine fear that this president is going to go too far. i've had that fear for a long time, and hope there would be saner people around him. >> senator, is the fact that -- i understand the difficulty and the high bar, and that's by design. but the fact that there are people who now have told us that the president's own cabinet thinks -- thought that the 25th amendment was a reasonable path, do you want to bring the cabinet in? do you want to have a session -- do you want to bring them into a closed session and under what the concerns are the president's own cabinet thought that invoking the 25th amendment might be necessary? >> i would guess those who would attend would be former cabinet members the next morning. i don't believe that you could make that appearance on capitol hill without eliminating the possibility that you'll be part of this government going forward. and what about the vice-president? he is supposed to be part of this conversation. i don't think anything is going to happen because of the high bar that is set by the 25th
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amendment using that approach. >> with men and women serving our country in the military, is it your obligation to find out what the cabinet was concerned about they would go to the step of talking about the 25th amendment? >> well, of course. i'm concerned not just for the machine and women in uniform, but for everyone in the country. this president is still the commander in chief. he has within his grasp the tools to really make life and death decisions, not just for the military, but for innocent people in the united states and around the world. so, yes, we need to take that seriously. >> and one of the life and death decisions depending how you look at the united states supreme court is the selection of judge kavanagh to serve on the supreme court. does anything that you've learned in the last 24 hours recalibrate these hearings this week? >> i can tell you that we've talked about the big issues pending before the court that could be decided by one supreme court justice, roe v. wade, preexisting conditions under the affordable care act. we seem to always return to one
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theme, and that is this judge's decision, judge kavanagh's decision to support what they call the unitary executive, which gives the president extraordinary powers under our constitution. at this particular moment in history, with this particular president, it is clear that many of us on our side of the aisle very concerned about that possibility. >> let me ask you about something that your colleague senator kamala harris raised with judge kavanagh this morning. she asked him if he had had any conversations with anyone at mark kazowitz on the topic of the mueller probe. take me through your analysis and your understanding of that exchange and its significance. please tell us what does senator harris know about brett kavanagh and his conversations with someone at that firm? >> i've not spoken to my colleague about her knowledge. we've had some conversation over lunch about what the possibilities may be. she raised it last night and
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it's clear that she caught judge kavanagh flat-footed. he wasn't quite sure how to answer that question and it showed. he came back on this morning after some preparation and volunteered an answer. the answer is not ironclad. there are some elements of it that raise questions. the good news for those interested in the issue, senator harris gets a checked chansecon. later this afternoon she'll be before judge kavanagh. i'm sure this question was asked with specifics. >> was it your impression or do you believe it was her impression that judge kavanagh was hiding something? >> well, it really caught him by surprise and that was clear last night. but when he came back this morning, as i said, he made a pretty complete declaration, although it wasn't ironclad, as to any relationship or conversations. he used the phrase, as best i can recall, of course you have to take with a grain of salt when a witness is using it. but having said that, she is going to have her second chance. as a former attorney general of california, i'm sure she's going
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to zero in for more specific answers. >> let me ask you about some reporting in "the new york times" today about judge kavanagh's views on roe v. wade. the times reports that kavanagh was considering a draft opinion piece that supporters of one of mr. bush's conservative appeals court nominees hoped could persuade antiabortion women submitted under their names. it is widely accepted by legal scholars roe v. wade is settled law. i'm not sure legal scholars refer to roe is settled law. calling into question his own views about whether or not roe is settled law. where do you stand at this hour on judge kavanagh's views on roe? >> well, first let me tell you, the reason that we've been making so much noise and pointing so much attention to the disclosure of documents specifically to that type of e-mail, it goes to the fact that we were held back because of something called committee confidential, from are sharing that e-mail with the public until just late last night. and now that it's been shared,
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the american people can see that brett kavanagh, before he was even judge kavanagh, was given this op-ed piece and made it clear from his point of view that it wasn't settled law, that it could be overturned by the supreme court. we're hearing a much different side of the story from judge kavanagh aspiring to the supreme court. it raises credibility questions when it comes to a critical issue before the supreme court. >> what is your broader concern about documents? i know there was a back and forth between senator booker today and then bill burke who is handling some of this documentary lease responded to senator booker saying he had authorized the release of some of the documents. what is the broader concern about all that you haven't seen, all that hasn't been released to the public in terms of judge kavanagh's documents? >> my broadest concern is this. we live in a different age than we've lived in before when supreme court nominees came before us. in old days there were written memos for sure, but a lot of telephone conversations. now virtually everything is being tracked with e-mails and
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digital exchanges and there's a lot of writing out there. and the case with judge kavanagh, some six or 7 million documents that are at stake here. why is it important? because if we have decided we will let any nominee come before the american people and specifically this committee and only disclose 10% or less of the documents that are relevant to their service in their position on issues, then we are basically tying the hands and blind folding this committee when it has to pick a lifelong appointment to the u.s. supreme court. >> senator dick durbin, thank you for spending some time with us on what we know is a very, very busy day for you. we appreciate it. >> thank you, too. >> what do you make of where things stand with this committee? a valiant effort from kamala harris. we have kazowitz coming out and denying -- the senator talking about the fact judge kavanagh had a more complete answer. on the question of judge kavanagh's writings while he served in the administration on abortion. it seems like there are a lot of
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limits to what the democrats can do other than raise attention around these issues. >> that is exactly right. where they are at right now, all they can do is raise attention. i thought an interesting point this afternoon when kavanagh referred to contra ception. it's a fire bomb and allow democrats to go throughout and say this is exactly what we've been saying about this guy. he's saying one thing and doing another. we're 59 days before the election here. this is adding real fire to the democrats' base at a time when republicans are in real trouble politically. >> are you -- i was surprised that they weren't more focused on what they had in that op-ed yesterday. i was surprised that democrats haven't sat with that document and sort of mined it for all of the devastating new information they now have at their disposal. not from a democrat, not from someone from "the new york times," not from someone who worked for a republican opponent, but from a donald trump political appointee
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working at the highest levels of government. i felt like they were -- he was flat-footed in terms of bringing the cabinet in, asking questions, trying to understand why they would have talked about invoking the 25th amendment. >> i think that yesterday was a game changer in a number of ways, right? we weren't talking about the 25th amendment before. at the very least, we were talking about impeachment. >> they're not talking about it now. >> or possibly if the democrats took back the house might start an impeachment proceeding. we were not talking about the 25th amendment. this is a new day in this country because we've never been here before. so the question for citizens, i think, is what do we do next as citizens. what kind of mobilization is necessary in order to get our congress who represents us to do something about the fact that the president may be unfit or may be doing things that are damaging to the national interest. and i think that that's where this conversation needs to go because i don't think that this ends without the mobilization of millions of americans. >> and i think we need to sneak in a break.
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from the senator, this is someone that breaks through. this is the president's own advisors. this breaks through senator durbin. >> first words out of his mouth, the 25th amendment is a steep hill to climb. that is not the attitude that is going to mobilize democrats or bring an end to the donald trump presidency. >> all right. we need to sneak in a break. when we come back, as the mole hunt in the west wing continues, the president thinks he can only trust his kids. also, steve schmidt joins us on the topic of fitness to serve. the threshold that every man or woman who seeks the presidency must pass to serve as our country's commander in chief.
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a quick question, what do you make of the anonymous op-ed in "the new york times"? >> you know, i don't know how to tra talk about it yet. i'm still processing it. it's so similar to what so many of us here from senior people around the white house, you know, three times a week. so it's really troubling and yet in a way not surprising. >> the most shocking part of that "the new york times" op-ed suggesting the president may be unfit for office is that those in the know aren't surprised at all. the panel is back. what am i missing? they all knew that he was so crazy we needed the 25th amendment. what is happening? >> look, when the michael wolff book came out and everybody talked about the 25th amendment -- >> steve bannon. >> that's obviously kind of exaggeration. it can't be that every -- he claimed every senior person has had a discussion about the 25th amendment. now it turns out that if people believe the op-ed, it's true. to hear corker yesterday and now
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ben sass, well, you know, i don't know how to process it because we all talk about this all the time. he's obviously nuts. how can you say that in this blase way? you, if you are bob cork error ben sass, the principled members of the republican party, if you've been hearing that fofrt last 18 months, you should have been screaming it from the rooftops and not three days a week splash of courage for the camera. how about have real courage to do something about it every day five days a week, seven days a week if necessary. >> courage or something else. what about the fact that corker did try? he held a hearing on trying to limit a president's nuclear arsenal. corker did sound the alarm. he called the west wing adult day care. he went -- he was the first senator to say that he lacked the fitness to serve as president. i think we have that tape. we'll try to find it. but it fell on deaf ears. >> better than nothing, i think that we can expect more. it goes back to kind of jim's
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defense of the whistleblower sake it's better we have people in there doing this than not. but i wonder why couldn't they go out and -- put themselves out there more? if it's senator corker with the supreme court hearing, even if you support brett kavanagh, even if you want him to be confirmed, why not get a pound of flesch in exchange for your vote? demand a hearing where donald trump has to show his financial records, why not demand a hearing about the concerns inside the white house. the people inside the white house, why don't any of them leave and say they think he should be challenged in a primary in 2020. you want to talk about can coward as in we're three months away from every one of these people who say he's amoral and we can't trust him support him for reelection. >> i'm thinking of people, i'm going to name them, dean a powell, h.r. mcmaster, folks that left the white house, can confirm or deny every word that of op-ed. what condition are they in? >> the worst. the entire press core is going
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after them, what do you know, how do you know it. i'm surprised no one else is doing it. this is how much trump scared these guys. think about what you just talked about, flake gone, corker gone. ben sass is the first person who is not leaving to say anything like this and he didn't even really full throat do it. the people saying this stuff have already left, except for -- >> dina is not running for any office any time soon. >> what does donald trump have that should intimidate rex tillerson? >> that's the point. >> who is worth north of $100 million? who is retired, ran exxon, what is it -- what does he have to risk? >> let me just say, we all know people in this white house who stay because they don't -- let's just put it out there. they don't want the kids giving them a hard time. they're afraid of their liabilities in the mueller investigation. we know why they stay. they're afraid of the character assassination and the potential legal problems they'll have if they go and we could all name people who are in that position
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and who have been, and who have not left after charlottesville for that very reason. but there are people like gary cohn, like dina powell, mcmaster who could confirm or deny. why doesn't congress call -- why not get to the bottom of whether the president is unfit? >> cowardice is an extreme level. a tweet? >> they've hidden the codes. >> we're talking about an xi extension crisis that is a national security threat to the entire planet and they are afraid of a tweet. >> let me read some of the "the new york times" reporting. let me bring everyone up to speed. from yesterday to today, there's been some reporting that puts together everything this white house staffer is dealing with. between bob woodward's book and the anonymous op-ed, the collective portrayal mr. trump may not be fully in charge of his own white house, surrounded by advisors who consider them so volatile and temperamental they swipe documents from his desk
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and hope to keep him from issuing rash orders. it is notable they take documents from his desk, the larger problem ask they don't trust him with paper. >> i don't think it's noble. this is gary cohn going to bob woodward and awarding himself the medal of honor for stealing a paper off the resolute desk. i don't understand that. we live in a democracy. donald trump was duly elected. either you go to serve him, you give him advice, he takes it or leaves it, or you think he's so mentally incapable of taking your advice he needs to be removed. in that case it's your job to do everything you can to try to remove him, not steal paper off his desk every now and then. one day you're not going to be in front of his desk. gary cohn isn't in front of his desk now. >> he doesn't have anything to worry about, his livelihood or his future. when the woodward book comes out, they're going to say this is a devastating portrait of donald trump. this is a devastating portrait of all these people around him, all of whom come across like the
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most craven weak willed enablers. a quote of john kelly in there talking to kohn. if it had been me, i would have taken that resignation letter and shochld it up his rear end. you're still working there and then you come out the next day and deny the things that are attributed to you in the book. all these tough guys talking about -- >> you're not the president, garn i co gary cohn. you weren't elected. >> he didn't leave for a purpose, he left because he didn't get a bigger better job. zmn who someone who has been there before, steve schmidt and i will talk about it next. t. when you start sleeping on a tempur-pedic, the difference you feel is night... and day. t. feel the difference at our labor day sales event, purchase a tempur-pedic luxe, elite, or breeze mattress and enjoy up to $550 off. or get a free adjustable base upgrade. find your exclusive retailer at tempurpedic.com. these digestive issues can start in the colon and may be signs of an imbalance of good bacteria.
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test test test but what you feel when you worry about some, as steve said, you can teach someone who hasn't been a part of the debates about where iraq is. and i'm betting that sarah palin wasn't the first -- maybe the first one on a presidential ticket, but not the first politician ticket had to be shown where iran or iraq is. i'm sure there are ding dongs that don't know doctor i'm happy to claim them. >> half the candidates tim has worked for.
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>> but when you worry about someone's psychological condition, you feel anguish on their behalf. what's so stunning about the trump example and what's so stunning about the reporting that the only people he trust is family, why don't they feel anguish for him? why didnisn't there a call for ? why don't the people who know him best put aside the politics? he won, it's over, he won, he's got the job. but if he isn't up for it -- and i guess that's the purpose. that's the teachable moment of rehashing any of this, which nobody wants to relive. not the mccain family, not steve, not myself. but the idea of seeing someone who is clearly not fit for the job -- and i don't know if any of this was detected from the other side, but the idea that what we saw had nothing to do with her political performance. she was a political rock star when she was on. but when she was down, there was anguish and concern. >> i remember the first public event she had after being nominated, she was a rock star. we all looked and we had this call that night among senior advisors, there was real
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panic -- john, this was in your book. oh, my god, they just nominated this rock star. i remember senator obama saying, wait a second. i think of myself as the smartest guy i know and it took me a year to figure out how to run for this office. this is not going to work for her. and ten days later she was basically, you know, beginning of the end. so it is a -- >> wasn't that fast? those were ten really long days. >> ten worst days of your life, right. steve is right, after the economic crisis, that election was over. and it was all just about how big the win was. you didn't have to face this. now back to modern day, we do have to face this because i don't know how many more times we need to come on this show and have you say to the american public, there is a problem here. we've got a president who isn't up to this job. and the question is we can argue who the patriots are. someone has to stand up and it doesn't seem like it's going to be the hill. i agree with you, it's got to be us. >> what can obama do? what can bush do, what can former presidents do? >> look, i think, you know,
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obama is taking a lot of grief for what he's doing, sitting back and saying -- >> so is bush. >> right. and i think that's their role, right? one of the things barack obama loved most about george bush is he let him become president. he never criticized him. he did -- he held the office to the regard it should be. and that's what the president is trying to do with this president. but this is also an election season and barack obama is doing his first events this weekend. he's going to be out there a bunch and we'll see about michelle's involvement. we're 60 days out and it's time to campaign. that's what people are going to do. >> steve, let me give you the last word here. >> the emergency in the country is a psychologically unfit president. but the crisis is a crisis of coward ice. cowardice and the elected political class, people just don't get t. teddy roosevelt, jr., the son of a president, one-star general, demanded he be the first man off the landing
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craft on utah beach to lead the men ashore. who will defend the republic? every one of these people took an oath of office, not to their careers, not to their ambitions, but to the constitution of the united states, to the republic. everybody knows. and the political elected class, you saw durbin do it, you saw corker do it, everybody -- you saw sass do it. it's a bipartisan problem. they're not america's parents. the american people have a right to know. they have an responsibility to talk openly and honestly about what they know, what they're seeing, and about the danger of it. this election is a referendum on trumpism. it is a fundamentally -- it is the most important midterm election this nation has ever had because if this is validated, we're going to be living in a different america and it is going to be difficult to recover from it. and there is danger when someone
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is mentally ill and mentally unfit and they command an arsenal of thousands of nuclear weapons, if you had an unfit commander of a ballistic missile submarine in the united states navy, they would haul him out of it in a straight jacket. even though there are two keys, one by the executive officer and one by the captain to launch the missiles. but the guy who commands all of the nuclear weapons, nobody, no senator, no governor, no congressman seems willing to say to the american people the nature of the crisis. it's wrong. they are not doing their duty. >> we want to get tim in on this, but we have to sneak in a break so we can keep paying for steve schmidt's satellite time. don't go anywhere. we'll be right back. i'm alex trebek here to tell you
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>> and they are ready to act, which they are not, but to date, i think what to expect in the next few weeks is a lot more sad tweeting.
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so we're sort of tuning in every day to see what ridiculous things he does and tweets, but he's dangerous. it's not funny, nothing about this is amusing or entertaining, because -- >> people died. >> the incompetence of his administration, the cruelty through which he fails to rally the nation to calamities has consequences. >> yeah, look, people have died and, you know, the consequences of the supreme court nomination that many people see as illegitimate, just because of the way that the previous supreme court nomination was handled, when president obama was denied his choice of merrick garland.
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he's doing things that have consequences. what he's not done so far, and tim is right, he's mostly blustered around the -- he's demonized the justice department, he's demonized the fbi, he's demonized them, but he's always just right at the edge of actually doing the thing that we're all afraid he's going to do. i think that the answer for -- is that -- the thing steve thinks he's right about, the consequence of the midterms could not be more stark. a world in which republicans maintain both houses of congress is a world in which i would expect donald trump will fire bob mueller and will make the entire -- will feel in the wake of everyone saying a blue wave is coming and trump's ridiculous red wave claim turns out to be true, he will feel empowered and emboldened to go across all of those red lines and neuter the justice department, neuter the russia investigation. so that's a big -- if you think that's important -- >> that will be the end of his presidency. >> but that would be a big moment. with republicans keeping control of both houses of congress, you think that would be the end of his presidency examine. >> 51 republican senators, 52 republican senators, that would
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be the end of his presidency. >> but i do think, in the other world, the other world is democrats take control of one house of congress. and whatever that leads to, it doesn't lead to the thing i just described, right? so that's, that's a very black and white. the president recognizes that those are the stakes in the midterm, i think, in his moments of lucidity, he recognizes those are the stakes and that's why he's going to campaign the way he's going to campaign. for people who care about this, on either side, these midterms matter. people need to vote in a way they normally don't in midterms. >> i know a lot of strategists, democratic strategists say, the russia investigation doesn't always connect because there's no message, there's no -- mueller is silent. this op-ed from someone inside the republican ranks, highest levels of conservatism, working for donald trump, this seems like it has a potential to connect. >> i don't think it does. >> no. >> and this is my moments of democrats need to be very focused here. let me be a little bipartisan optimism. i agree with tim. i'm actually optimistic, because i think in 60 days, the country
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is going to do exactly what john is going to talk about. democrats will take the house, they're going to say, we're very worried about this guy, we want some bipartisanship. and what voters care about, i've been watching for these voters voting for obama and trump in the midwestern states. >> i know most of them. >> they had to have voted for obama twice, clinton once if they're old enough, they live in wisconsin, michigan, wi pennsylvania, erie, they're great. >> i'm having a weekly conversation online with these people and none of this is moving. what they care about is their own economic fortune and trump spending all this time doing this stuff is scaring them, because they want him to focus on doing the job he's elected to do. and they see no evidence that he's doing it. and that's the pat fall that democrats can be in. now, you and i would agree there needs to be real enthusiasm among our own electorate. and what you're seeing in some of these early vote numbers and the amazing win for gillum in florida is explosive democratic turnout, and that's a big moment. >> i'm curious the corruption -- >> hang on! >> does the corruption message cut with those voters?
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>> i think it can, absolutely. especially if you give real examples of how the corruption affects normal voters. >> all right. we have to sneak in our very last break. don't go anywhere. we will all be right back. don't forget that the past can speak to the future. ♪ ♪ i'm going to be your substitute teacher. don't assume the substitute teacher has nothing to offer... same goes for a neighborhood. don't forget that friendships last longer than any broadway run. mr. president. (laughing) don't settle for your first draft. or your 10th draft. ♪ ♪ you get to create the room where it happens. ♪ ♪ just don't think you have to do it alone.
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♪ ♪ the powerful backing of american express. don't live life without it.
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my thanks to steve schmidt, jim messina, tim miller, and zerlina maxwell. that does it for hour. i'm nicole wallace. mtp daily starts right now. >> let's start our beverages starting tomorrow. >> i didn't say until what, i said we're changing. >> fair enough. fair enough. we'll find out. i'm sure it will be fun on friday. >> start handing off 20 minutes early, you'll know what. >> i'll know why you're doing that. >> hardly anybody knows who everybody is talking about. >> good evening. i'm chuck todd here in washington. welcome to "mtp daily" and

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