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tv   Inside Politics  CNN  August 13, 2018 9:00am-10:01am PDT

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welcome to "inside politics." i'm john king. thank you for sharing your day with us. breaking news today. the fbi fires the agent whose text messages are exhibit a to president trump and his allies who claim a deep state bias in the russia meddling investigation. plus, talk about a jury of your peers. the president, who lies constantly, and the top aides who lie constantly for him today say the former apprentice star omarosa, you guessed it, is lying about a white house culture of mistrust and back
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stabbing. and nancy pelosi says bring it on. she fires back at republicans who are making her a big campaign issue and has this message for democrats in tough midterm races. >> i won't let the republican ads which are just flooding these districts -- and i say to candidates, do whatever you have to do. just win, baby. i know one in five children in america lives in poverty. we must win this. when the caucus decides, it will decide whose name they will send to the floor. then, only then, after the election will i ask people for their support. >> we begin with news that broke last hour. a major player in president trump's witch hunt conspiracy theory now ousted from the fbi. peter strzok, the agent who slammed the president and promised to stop his bid for the white house in a series of text messages, has now been fired. "the washington post" was first to report this news, and strzok's lawyer confirms it to cnn. that attorney says the fbi's deputy director overruled the bureau recommendation to suspend
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strzok and personally ordered the firing on friday. now, this agent earned infamy and the president's scorn for his exchanges with an fbi lawyer with whom he was having an affair, which included talk of, quote, an insurance policy, and stopping then-can did the trump's election. the texts and his animus toward trump earned strzok a recurring role in the president's tweet attacks. shimon prokupecz joins us with the significance of this. >> it really is. really coming at -- there's never really a good time, but really coming at a peculiar time when this russia investigation is still going full steam ahead. the president obviously has continued to attack the fbi, has continued to attack peter strzok. the question is why did this happen on friday. this is when his attorney says he was fired. it happened friday afternoon. the question that we all have is why. we know the political issues surrounding this investigation, surrounding him. but the real question as to why
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he was fired, we have not heard from the fbi. now, this happened all on friday afternoon. his lawyer was notified, and peter strzok, who lost his clearance, had been removed essentially from the fbi building, was not allowed to return to his desk, was let go, as we said, on friday afternoon. now, really, i think the whole big thing and what this really means for the fbi, what this means for this russia investigation, you know, peter strzok has been someone who's been at the center of it, was a key player in this investigation and also the hillary clinton investigation. obviously this is going to help those attacks against the fbi, the idea this is somehow a rigged witch hunt, the idea that somehow the fbi was tainted. he was the lead guy on this investigation. certainly unprecedented. you do not see this often from the fbi, for someone to be fired in this way. >> and shimon, i'm putting you on the spot. i question i don't think you can
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answer yes, but if you're the relatively new fbi director, christopher wray, and you've promised to put these questions of integrity behind you, why would they get flat footed? why would they not get ahead of this if they knew it was going to be a national discussion? >> right, that's a great question. we know the fbi director has said himself he was disgusted by some of this conduct. there's no excuse for this conduct, but people are entitled -- the argument from peter strzok's lawyer, from his side, is people are entitled to their own personal opinions. that's what they were essentially -- kind of that's what the texts were about. what we don't have is what regulations were violated here, what exactly was the cause for the firing. that's what we're sort of waiting to hear. it's also, i think -- you're right, why not get ahead of this. this got out. this happened on friday. we're just learning about it today. that's interesting, i think, as well. now i guess ultimately we wait to see how the president responds to all of this. >> i was just going to say, it would be great to hear from mr.
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wray explaining this decision. i can bet that soon enough we will hear from the president. shimon prokupecz, appreciate the reporting there. now, if you're the president, you say, i told you so, right? now they finally fired this guy who's part of this conspiracy, part of the bias against me. i assume if you're chris wray, you're going to say, no, we fired this guy because we need to turn the page and the texts were reprehensible and it has nothing to do with anything forward going. i just don't get it when smart people do -- leave this big opening now. >> it is so striking this happened on frud aiday and we'r only learning about it now from peter strzok's lawyer. there hasn't been an official announcement from the fbi. in that vacuum, i think you're right. we can expect the president to fulfill it. he's created characters,
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villains in this mueller investigation and in the fbi. peter strzok is really at the center of them. just before we came out here, i was seeing on twitter and social media the response from a lot of trump allies. they are taking this as a scalp, that they won here. i do think it's going to be incumbent on chris wray to come out and give a fuller accounting of what happened here. >> and peter strzok's lawyer, he doesn't like this at all. the president did just tweet, we're told. agent peter strzok was just fired from the fbi finally. the list of bad players in the fbi and doj gets longer and longer based on the fact strzok was in charge of the witch hunt, will it be droppe? it's a total hoax, no obstruction, no collusion. i just fight back. again, the front half of the tweet, the president celebrating. the back half, the president spinning. if robert mueller found out about these texts, he removed peter strzok. robert mueller doesn't speak publicly, but in court when the challenges to his investigation has been made, he's laid forth the evidence. if you're the president and making a political argument, you just saw there, this is tee
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ball. >> absolutely. we should also remember what the inspector general said. it's in his rather extensive investigation about this. he said the ultimate decision not to prosecute hillary clinton was not biased by anyone's personal feelings, including all these text messages he looked at between peter strzok and lisa page. he said he believed one decision late in the investigation, he was not confident it was, quote, free from bias. that was the decision to focus on the russia investigation and not the clinton investigation at that time. strzok, of course, has pushed back on that. and strzok himself said under oath, look, he had his own personal feelings, but there were multiple layers above him about how these investigations ultimately happened. and we also don't have an actual full assessment from the inspector general about how the russia investigation itself was carried out. the president wants to conflate these two issues. we still don't have any evidence from anyone investigating this, that peter strzok did anything to influence how the russia investigation was conducted.
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>> i think the interesting thing is i don't think there's a political kind of official that you can imagine who wouldn't take advantage of what happened with strzok and the text messages and the sort of evidence of bias in terms of looking backwards, right, and saying this is problematic and this person needs to be dealt with. what is so dramatic is the way the president always crosses over the line, you know, as ma ne nu said, conflating with the investigation and challenging the integrity of an ongoing investigation by suggesting meddling, that he's going to meddle with the fbi or that jeff sessions should take action. it's really the forward looking use of these incidents to put pressure on the justice department going forward that really is something that i think other presidents wouldn't do. >> peter strzok, for example, not at the june 2016 trump tower meeting with the president's son and all the campaign people. so peter strzok has nothing to do with a lot of this, but the
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fact he was an idiot, forgive me, and texting his personal opinions while in charge of a sensitive investigation -- >> on a government device. >> on a government device, great point. that before the president g to - tweeted. his attorney says this should be deeply troubling to all americans. he's saying peter strzok was fired, punished for political speech protected by the first amendment and the fbi is carrying out some political vendetta against him. let's listen to some of the testimony when peter strzok was on capitol hill in july. it was brought up by trey gowdy, i believe, that robert mueller removed him. trey gowdy says he was removed for bias. strzok answers back saying, no, he was removed because his texts gave the appearance of bias. >> i'm stating to you it is not my understanding that he kicked me off because of any bias. that it was done based on the appearance. if you want to represent what you said accurately, i'm happy
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to answer that question, but i don't appreciate what was originally said being changed. >> i don't give a damn what you appreciate, agent strzok. i don't appreciate having an fbi agent with an unprecedented level of animus working on two major investigations during 2016. >> you don't like donald trump, do you? >> fair to say i'm not a fan, sir. >> and that's how it went for about ten hours. this was a really contentious hearing. i think people were surprised in the way that peter strzok struck back in many ways. you could see his emotion there. it has been interesting the way that the president sort of looks back and pitches for it. also interesting the way that people have rallied around him. republicans very much rallying around him basically thwarting and advancing the arguments he's making that this is a tainted investigation. to the extent there ever was a smoking gun in the tangle of conspiracy theories that trump has advanced and his supporters have advanced, it's peter strzok with that text saying we'll stop it. so you gave, i think, a lot of cover and a lot of ammunition to
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a lot of folks supporting trump. >> one of those things in that initial exchange between gowdy and strzok is strzok had said when mueller learned about these texts, they had a very brief meeting about it and mueller didn't necessarily investigate the texts themselves. that led republicans to say, well, why isn't mueller investigating whether or not the investigation was biased, influenced in any negative way by strzok. >> and to the point we made about the tee ball here, again, the justice department inspector general looked into this question and said he found no evidence of bias in the decisions to close the clinton investigation to make the decision not to prosecute hillary clinton. here's the president of the united states. he's on a working vacation, if you will. tweeting just moments ago. just fired agent strzok. formerly the fbi was in charge of the crooked hillary clinton sham investigation. it was a total fraud and t-- on
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the american public and should be properly redone. >> even though that thing has been wrapped up. >> so you have the manafort trial under way. you have continuing developments in the mueller investigation. mueller winning a round in court by a trump-appointed federal judge, refusing a challenge to mueller's authority. but peter strzok gets fired, and the president, understandably -- i mean, he's the president. the president probably shouldn't do this, but you can understand the political argument that you have this firing, now use it to your advantage. >> right. but if there's anything that's going to bolster the case of strzok's lawyer that this has been a politically motivated firing and not kind of the normal bureaucratic process, it's the president himself and the president's tweets who have been on kind of a complete rampage about peter strzok. that's the evidence the lawyer is going to use to say this was politics. >> it's also the push for a second special counsel. rudy giuliani tweeted that this morning. that's what the president's allies have been saying all along. name a second special counsel to investigate the investigators. i'm sure you'll hear the president start to push that.
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>> it means we're going to be living with the 2016 election for the rest of our lives. >> just to make the point, the house is not in town this week. otherwise, we would hear from the trey gowdys and jim jordans and other people who have been with the president in raising questions about the credibility of the fbi. i suspect we'll hear from them later in the day but not as quickly as normal. up next, more drama. a former white house aide says the west wing is full of liars, but the white house says no one should believe her. yeah, this one is fun. who's telling the truth? at saf, we really pride ourselves on making it easy for you to get your windshield fixed. >> teacher: let's turn in your science papers. >> tech vo: this teacher always puts her students first. >> student: i did mine on volcanoes. >> teacher: you did?! oh, i can't wait to read it. >> tech vo: so when she had auto glass damage... she chose safelite. with safelite, she could see exactly when we'd be there. >> teacher: you must be pascal. >> tech: yes ma'am. >> tech vo: saving her time... [honk, honk] >> kids: bye! >> tech vo: she can save the science project. >> kids: whoa! >> kids vo: ♪ safelite repair, safelite replace ♪
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welcome back. from law and order to reality tv and a whole lot of bridges now engulfed in flames. the former white house aide and estranged trump confidant omarosa making explosive claims against her former employer, even linking a conversation she recorded with the president after she was fired unbeknownst to him.
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>> omarosa, what's going on? i just saw on the news you're thinking about leaving. what happened? >> general kelly came to me and said that you guys wanted mane leave. >> no, nobody even told me about it. they run a big operation, but i didn't know it. i didn't know that. >> yeah. >> damn it. i don't love you leaving at all. >> we should note, this morning while omarosa was sounding off on the "today" show, the president's lawyer at the very ta same time was giving an interview on fox news. it seems the president was paying closer attention to the woman he is now calling a low life. omarosa, who got fired three times on "the apprentice," now got fired for the last time. he continued, i would rarely see her but heard really bad things. nasty to people and would constantly miss meetings and work. when general kelly came on board, he told me she was a
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loser and nothing but problems. a little fact check of the president quickly. you saw the president in that tweet saying he rarely saw or heard omarosa. as you can see there, that's just six examples. she was frequently by his side and often with premium seating in meetings with the president. this whole thing is from a parallel universe. the fact the president tweets she was fired three times on "the apprentice," that's fake. that's fake. he knows that, right? it's fake. it's scripted. it's reality television. >> but all of it sort of explains why she was in that white house. >> please explain why she was in that white house. >> they go back to 2004 when she was on "the apprentice." i think she was really responsible for the success of that show in many ways. at some point, donald trump told her, you know, that she was the one to make him a star. if you think about the president wanting to surround himself with people he knows, people he's familiar with, security blankets in the white house, omarosa, as hard as it is to believe, fits in that category. she's been in that orbit.
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certainly not as close as some other people, but she's been in that orbit for quite some time. >> right from the start of this administration, you. people like reince priebus, who was the first chief of staff, and others just desperately trying to push omarosa aside. they knew she was a problem. they knew she was going to be leaking. they knew she saw this as a bit of a reality show dance. and it was the president, trump himself, who was her protector. every time she had an issue, every time she felt like she was blocked out of a meeting, blocked out of oval office access, it was the president who got that access back for her. he has no one to blame but himself. >> the president hires the best people, getting one of his own pills again, yet again. he's tweeting as he goes. mr. president, if you're watching, you can call in. he tweeted, whacky omarosa already has a fully signed nondisclosure agreement. this is one of the issues. the fact that a month from now most of this won't matter, there's this conversation. she says, like others who have left the white house, she was
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offered $15,000 a month paid by the trump campaign if she signed a nondisclosure agreement and said nothing bad. it is a fact that there are several former white house officials who get $15,000 a month from the trump campaign. that is interesting, to use a polite word. >> and that's not normal. other administrations have not done this to essentially buy her silence and not really give her any real role in the campaign. though, nondisclosure agreements are interesting too. the beginning of the administration, that was something broached. it was in the white house, whether some officials ultimately signed that remains to be seen. it's also interesting, too, the president talking about firing a lot of people, but he doesn't do the firing himself. whether it's james comey or david shulkin or here in omarosa's case, the president claims he didn't know. it was kelly doing the firing, not the president. >> so the firing here was done by john kelly. it was done in the white house situation room, which some find to be -- kelly has his own office. why would he take her in the situation room? she says she was quote/unquote
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locked in. she brought a recording device into the situation room. you're not supposed to bring any electronics into the most -- what's supposed to be the most secure room in washington, d.c. some people think it's a pen, some sort of recording device. here it is, the voice of john kelly, the white house chief of staff, firing omarosa. >> i mean, as someone who's covered the white house for a decade almost, i just cannot tell you how stunning it is to hear recordings from inside the most secure parts of that
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building. i just can't. previous white houses have had staff leave amid disagreements. there have been clashes inside. sometimes every now and then they write books. never can i imagine secretly, illicitly recorded conversations that get out. >> you're being fired because of use of government vehicles and other integrity violations, as the chief of staff is calling them. another integrity violation, secretly recording the white house chief of staff in the situation room as you're fired for integrity reasons. >> and she says there are more tapes. she's taking a classic page out of trump playbook, which is to dribble out revelations, in this case to sell a book. if she did record the president, general kelly, you can only imagine who else she was recording. >> a classic page out of her own playbook. she's a reality show villain. that's what she does. >> she learned from the master or he learned from her or they learned from each other. again, mr. trump is a businessman, known to listen in
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on conversations happening within his building. michael cohen has recordings of the president. omarosa has recordings. this is a culture. this is not a unique thing. this is a culture. up next for us, rudy giuliani says he didn't say that thing he said about the president's conversation with james comey. jb from any one else. why accept it from an allergy pill? flonase relieves sneezing, itchy, watery eyes and a runny nose, plus nasal congestion, which most pills don't. it's more complete allergy relief. flonase.
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consequences. the president's top lawyer, recording device recordi rudy giuliani, is asking you to pay no attention to the very clear words of rudy giuliani. giuliani now says never happened. >> the president says he never told comey that he should go easy on flynn. comey says the president did. he put it in his memo. there was no conversation about michael flynn. the president didn't find out that comey believed there was until about, i think it was february when it spoupposedly tk place. >> you're saying president trump and james comey never discussed michael flynn? >> that is what he will testify to if he's asked that question. >> got it? that's what the president will testify to. no conversation. well, that's hard to square with
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this from rudy giuliani just last month. >> he didn't direct him to do that. what he said to him was, can you give him a break. >> comey says he took it as direction. >> that's okay. by that time, he'd been fired. he said a lot of other things, some of which have turned out to be untrue. the reality is as a prosecutor, i was told that many times. can you give the man a break? either by his lawyers, by his relatives, by friends. you take that into conversation, but that doesn't determine not going forward with it. >> hum-de-dum-de-dum. >> and when jake tapper presented that clip to him, he said he was arguing in the alternative. giuliani has said something similar to jake tapper in july and also on fox news. three occasions where he's said the president has said this about james comey. why it's significant is because comey has testified under oath
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to the senate intelligence kmooet th committee that the president did ask him to ease from the flynn investigation and undoubtedly has told the special counsel that. he has a contemporaneous memo about this. he has people who back up his account, andy mccabe for one. that's the real concern for the president if he does say it didn't happen. others are saying it did. >> and it comes in the final days, if you believe rudy giuliani's calendar, testifying with robert mueller. mueller wants to talk about obstruction. if the president said give him a break, that's a legitimate avenue for an interview about obstruction. only the president can answer his mind set. that's what bob mueller is telling rudy giuliani. rudy giuliani is now trying to make that conversation go away. >> the public negotiating that rudy giuliani has been doing about this potential interview is really astounding, in part because bob mueller stays silent. rudy giuliani just keeps kind of spinning these different versions of events. he did the same thing involving michael cohen and the stormy
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daniels payment where it was giuliani who then put forward the notion that trump actually knew about this after trump said he didn't. obviously what giuliani is trying to do is muddy the waters here, trying to paint this almost as though he's on equal footing with mueller in these negotiations. i think it's an open question as to whether that's true. i think giuliani is trying to pretend like there are more conversations happening, more real negotiating happening than is going on. >> is it also a fair question that is rudy giuliani a good lawyer? i want you to listen to him. this selleriis earlier today on. if you're the president of the united states, this is a very serious investigation. even if you did nothing wrong, this is a serious investigation. listen to this. >> here's what happened. the president says i never said to flynn anything about -- >> i never said to comey. >> i never said to comey anything about flynn. comey says, and adds this at the very end, comey says he told me to see if i could give him a break, basically. so we have three defenses to
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that. under article ii of the constitution, you can't really question why the president would say something like that. number two, what he was saying is perfectly justifiable. he didn't say, you must, you have to, i'll fire you if you don't. he said, consider it. number three, he never said it. lawyers argue like this. we call it arguing in the alternative. >> number four, you can say whatever you want on television. you can say whatever you want on television, but if you're in a court of law or in a negotiation with a man who has the power of the attorney general of the united states, which is what bob mueller has, that's all over the map crazy stuff. >> if rudy giuliani is a mirror of his client, and i think it's true that the kind of lack of discipline and being all over the map is the way donald trump would also answer these questions, you can see why they don't want him to go in and face questioning. you can see why mueller wants to question. >> i think that's right.
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every time giuliani speaks, he makes the argument that you want -- what is the official, under oath story of this? you want somebody under oath because you would hope they would tell the truth so that they wouldn't incur the wrath of the folks who they're being interviewed by. >> i think he's helping the case mueller needs to talk to the president. he keeps saying different things. if nothing rudy says can be believed, you need to talk to the president. all right. we'll keep an eye on that. rudy giuliani telling "the wall street journal" we won't do an interview after september 1st. this has be before we go to break, the special counsel now 4-4 in court when faced with challenges to his legal authority. this judge appointed by president trump ruled today that robert mueller has constitutional authority to pursue his case against russia social media propaganda. this from a trump appointed
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judge, saying it is and was legal. up next, senator elizabeth warren and dewayne "the rock" johnson exchange tweets. could it be a 2020 ticket on the horizon? >> i like to watch a little tv. "ballers." now t-mobile has unlimited for the rest of us. unlimited ways to be you. unlimited ways share with others. unlimited ways to live for the moment. all for as low as 30 bucks a line. unlimited for you. for them. for all. get unlimited for as low at 30 bucks per line for four lines at t-mobile. -morning. -morning. -what do we got? -keep an eye on that branch. might get windy. have a good shift. fire pit. last use -- 0600. i'd stay close.
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topping our political radar today, president trump wrapping up his working vacation. just moments from now, the president leaves new jersey, heading to upstate new york, where he'll sign the national defense authorization act. after that, he attends a fu fundraiser for new york republican congresswoman. she's running for re-election in one of the country's most
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competitive house races. cnn currently rates it a toss-up. the republican governor of ohio throwing shade at the president today. the president went after john kasich this morning on twitter, calling him, quote, very unpopular, and accusing him of hurting republican congressional candidate troy balderson. kasich replied merely with this. a little context on popularity. a recent quinnipiac poll showed kasich's approval among ohio voters as 52%. in the same poll, the president's approval below it, just 43%. here's one for you, especially if you're a democrat. could senator elizabeth warren and the rock team up in 2020? social media are sure hoping so. the senator and start of the hbo show "ballers" trading tweets over the weekend about the show's season premiere. senator warren tweeting, why do i love "ballers" so much? it's the rock. that caught dewayne johnson's attention. i appreciate the love, senator warren. enjoy our new season want ttoni and you have a big rock-size hug
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coming when i see you. not the first time, believe it or not, the senator has given the show a shoutout. >> it's actually a story about hard work. it's a story about perseverance. it's a story about having to reach within yourself and find something that you're not 100% sure is there. >> we're talking about "ballers." >> all righty then. up next for us, nancy pelosi gets an unlikely advocate, even as she struggles to get off the ropes. ay... school.. grade.. done. done. hit the snooze button and get low prices on school supplies all summer long. like these for only a 25 cents at office depot officemax.
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welcome back. today's big number, 35. that's how many democrats are on the record to cnn saying they won't support the minority leader nancy pelosi for speaker of the house. other news organizations say they have the number even higher than that. this is all theoretical. democrats would need to retake the house before there's any vote on pelosi for speaker.
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but the pre-emptive pelosi rebuke, as you might call it, feeds into a critical midterm debate. is she still the best person to lead the democratic party? ask leader pelosi, she says all this hubbub is a conspiracy. >> first of all, let me just say this. i know nbc has been on a jag of this as one of their priorities, to undermine my prospects as speaker. but putting that aside, i have not asked one person for a vote. i haven't asked a candidate or an incumbent for a vote. i do not think our opponents should select the leaders of our party. the republicans are spending millions, tens of millions of dollars against me because they're afraid of me. because i outraise them in the political arena. because i outsmart them at the negotiating table. and because i'm a woman who is going to be a seat at that table. >> cnn's phil mattingly live on capitol hill. nancy pelosi has been throughout her career a fighter. you would be an idiot to underestimate her. but is the fact that she's out
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there publicly fighting like this proof that even she understands she's got a problem? >> yeah, even her harshest critics would tell you nancy pelosi is one of the best vote counters in recent history. she's keenly aware of where numbers stand here. i think that's why you've seen her take the current position. look, if you want to get to the genesis of where the kind of is nancy pelosi in trouble as leader of house democrats comes from, it's really twofold. first and foremost, you obviously see the millions of dollars which she referenced being spent by republicans, making her an issue in the campaign. when you look at the numbers of democrats who have come out and said they need leadership, a lot of them are candidates, not incumbents. some of whom won't be making it to washington almost certainly based on what happens in november. there's a little bit of that there. i think there's frustration when you talk to sitting members, that that's being used against them. they feel like it's being used effectively. it's not new. we saw it in 2010 when the rnc was rolling out fire pelosi buses. this has been a constant refrain
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of theirs. for a lot of democrats, they're frustrated it's still an issue they have to deal with. the other is generational. a lot of house democrats i talk to, a lot of younger, kind of generally acknowledged talented democrats are looking at their leadership ranks saying we've been in the minority for all these years. we haven't seen our members, our caucuses, our groups of people move up in the leadership ranks a win would like that to change. here's the reality. there are a lot of things that have to happen before this is even a real question. one is, how big is the majority if democrats win the house? that will likely dictate whether or not leader pelosi staying or goes. the biggest alternative is who else would take that spot? does anybody else know how the caucus is made up? the different groups pelosi has worked so well with, both as speaker and democratic leader. you know this as well as anybody. when nancy pelosi wants her caucus to vote one way, the caucus votes that way. until that changes, it's kind of tough, especially when you don't see a clear alternative
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candidate out there, to see her not as the leader of the party, but the numbers right now, they are real. the worries are real. the skittishness inside the democratic caucus is real. will that turn into anything? it really depends on if democrats win the house and the size of that majority. >> i think how she works it between now and the election. phil mattingly, thank you. let's bring it into the room. let's listen to more of nancy pelosi. this is on nbc where she's saying she understands republicans are trying to make her an issue, and she's telling democrats out there in a tough race, if i'm an issue, say what you need. >> now, i do believe that none of us is indispensable, but i think i'm the best person for the job. i won't let the republican ads which are just flooding these districts -- and i say to the candidates, do whatever you have to do. just win, baby. when the caucus kdecides, it wil decide whose name they send to the floor. only then will i ask people for their support. >> just win, baby.
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>> pelosi is not wrong in the initial clip you played. there are reasons why she has become such a target for republicans. she's a tremendous fundraiser. when you do get on to the floor, she gets her members in line. you don't have these splits in the democratic caucus publicly the way we've seen in the house republican caucus. but the big question for democrats is playing out in this potential speaker race. they don't really have a next generation right now. it was a struggle under the obama administration. it's a struggle now. they don't know who comes next. either at the presidential level or house leadership. in some ways, it seems what she's trying to do is hang on to let that happen in the party more organically than it could potentially this fall. >> her gamble is they're going to win back the house and she can tell the naysayers, look, they tried to use me as an issue. they failed. i helped bring you back into the majority. the one thing she's going to determine is the way it works is there's a closed-door caucus meeting, a secret ballot meeting that the democrats will nominate the candidate for speaker.
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then a public vote on the house floor. when that initial vote happens behind closed doors, she'll know if she has the support in order to become speaker. at that point, she can determine whether to move forward. i think that's what she's going to do. that's what she's betting, that ultimately members will come to her side at that time. >> and he's proven it in the rearview mirror of being a supremely good organizer. >> yep. >> so her question is, i think, can she by election time come up with -- look, i get it, you want generational change, you want leadership change. you're not ready. let's do a transition. i stay for a certain period of time. we shake up the team. over the weekend, she got this unlikely, i'm going to call it, assistance, i'm joking, from the president of the united states. democrats, please do not distance yourself from nancy pelosi. she's a wonderful person whose ideas and policies may be bad but who should definitely be given a fourth chance. she's trying very hard and has every right to take down the democratic party if she's veered too far left. >> the thing is she might withstand all of this criticism. it's not clear how many more rounds of beating up on nancy
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pelosi will be effective. we've seen it be effective in the past. the real question is who is next? we were trying to toss around some names. tim ryan, i guess he got about 60 votes last time. she's typically had a lock on the congressional black caucus. >> i don't think a white man is going to take her place. >> exactly. that's the thing. and probably shouldn't, especially if this is the year of the woman and the democratic caucus is so diverse. do you bring stephen ny hoyer i there? not exactly a generational shift either. >> if democrats take back the house, they're going to owe that majority to a lot of minority voters. i think it's going to be very difficult for them to put a white man into the speakership after asking those voters to really work hard for them in a midterm year. >> but if they don't take back the house, the knives are going to be out. she's going to get squarely blamed for this. it's going to be a huge problem. >> it's a whole different calculation if they don't take back the house. i suspect that will be the end of her career as well. if they do, we got some fascinating -- that's why she's out there publicly now doing this.
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she gets it. she's doing the math and she's trying to build. up next, democrats have 100,000 pages, but they want a million. next, how do you define a thorough vetting of supreme court nominee brett kavanaugh? oh!
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the 2000s, but so far no big bombshells. democrats are pushing for more. millions of pages still held in the national archives from kavanaugh's time as president bush's staff secretary. that's the person who controls what goes in and out of the oval office. the republican chairman of the judiciary committee, senator chuck grassley, calls those records, quote, the least relevant, compares them to the inbox and outbox of the oval office. we've kept cnn's manu raju here with us. democrats keep looking. there's this to argue and that to argue. there seems nothing huge at the moment. is that fair? >> yeah, that's fair. even democrats i was talking to yesterday say they have not been able to find anything in these documents so far. there are more coming. not just from his time -- mostly from his time in the white house counsel's office. they're not going to get those documents from the staff secretary time because, as grassley said, that's not relevant to this. however, what the democrats are saying is that they believe -- they're wondering whether or not
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some documents have been withheld because they've been questioning the process. the bush team has used its own lawyers to determine what constitutes privilege, what can be provided to the senate judiciary committee. there's no evidence that the bush team is doing anything nefarious, but democrats are raising that specter and expect that process argument to continue to play out. >> can the democrats make this case? we just showed you some numbers. brett kavanaugh, 103,000-plus pages. neil gorsuch, 182,000. elena kagan, 171,000. these are documents before they became judges. what republicans are saying is brett kavanaugh has been on the bench for 12 years, you don't need this stuff. democrats are saying, no, this is part of his life, too, we want to see what's in there. >> they say the paper trail may be bigger, but it's because he's had a longer time in office. there are other things that we're learning about his view points. we reported today about his extensive praise that he had towards justice antonin scalia. of course, the late conservative
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justice, the icon on the bench. speaking very glowingly about his past rulings, past praises, things he's done. one thing he's singled out in his speeches is his dissent on abortion, gay marriage. we'll see what he says about that. >> two big meetings with democrats this week as they start to meet. we'll continue to track. thanks for joining us on "inside politics" today. hello, everyone. i'm jim sciutto in for wolf. thanks for joining us. the fbi fires the agent who sent anti-trump text messages and was once part of the mueller investigation. now the president is responding with a big suggestion. the west wing drama, the president now firing back at omarosa after she reveals another tape, this one of a call that she had with president trump himself one day after she was fired. was any of this illegal? and giuliani


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