tv CNN Newsroom With John Berman and Poppy Harlow CNN August 17, 2018 6:00am-7:00am PDT
i'm poppy harlow in new york, president trump is defiebt, despidefiebant defiant. the white house is poised to strip additional security clearances from top officials, many tied to the russia probe. at risk, those names press secretary sarah sanders listed this week. what ties them together? they have either been publicly critical of the president or tied to the russia probe in some way. at the same time, 13 former intelligence officials both from democrat and republican administrations have written a letter backing up former cia director john brennan and slamming the president's move calling it "an attempt to stifle
free speech." among those calling the president out is general petraeus whom you know the president has repeatedly praised. and if the white house was hoping this clearance fight would overshadow the feud with ex-aide omarosa manigault-newman, they were wrong. it's believed the white house aide has as many as 200 tape recordings of her time in the white house. also we're on verdict watch. minutes from now a jury reconvenes to deliberate in the trial of ex-trump campaign chairman paul manafort. we'll take you live to the courthouse in moments but let's begin at the white house on this clearance battle. abby phillip is there. we knew a laundry list of people were at risk of losing their clearance. but now we know more about why. >> the reason we know more about why is that the president himself knows why. he believed all these people are
involved with the russia investigation. now we're learning the president is interested in moving forward with this list of nine individuals in addition to john brennan who they identified as being at risk of losing their clearance, the president feeling emboldened by the situation. however he's getting pushback including from people who have not criticized him. one of those is admiral william mccraven, involved in the bin laden raid. a respected figure on both sides of the aisle and he wrote this in an op-ed for the "washington post." i would consider it an honor if you would revoke my security clearance as well so i can add my name to the list of men and women who spoke up against your presidency. through your actions you have embarrassed us in the eyes of children, you have humiliated us on the world stage and divided us as a nation. if you think your mccarthy era tactics will suppress the voices of criticism, you are sadly mistaken so you're seeing strong words from someone who is not used to being so outspoken on
matters like this. but we posed this issue the white house councilor creak in a gaggle and she was also similarly defiant. listen. >> reporter: what's your admiral to admiral mcraven. >> he's a former cia director who has shown no interest in helping this administration. >>kellyanne ignored the question about mcraven and attacked john brennan who said he was being paid of his opinion even though there's no evidence that brennan is being paid for the things he's seeing and writing but this is an issue the white house is leaning into and we can expect to hear more about in the the coming days. >> she's probably talking about the fact that he's a contributor for another network but you're right, she did not answer that question at all about the relevant point which was mcraven. abby, thanks for the reporting. let's get an intelligence take on this. cnn national security analyst and director of communications
sean turner who is with me. when you hear words like that, sean, like from mcraven who, you know, who led the takedown of osama bin laden, words from a true american hero, a patriot, do you think they will have an impact or cause him to dig in? >> well, unfortunately the history suggests the president will further dig in but i think it's the case that we have to understand that what admiral mcraven did with his op-ed and what these 12 senior national intelligence officials is they sent a clear message is that this isn't about security clearances, this is about the right of informed private citizens to be able to speak out when they feel as though there's aspects of a president's governance that are problematic and they want to send a strong message that just because you have left government and maintain a security clearance doesn't mean that you should lose your right to do that.
so while i think the president is going to dig in, i think he's in for a real fight because i don't think these individuals will back off. >> i did find this part interesting when you read further down in mcraven's opinion piece. he says, quote, the criticism will continue until you become the leader we prayed you would be. so in essence it does show he hopes they can affect change in the president. he's not writing off change my come. >> that's an important point. look, poppy, i have been -- i have defended the president when he made national security decisions that i thought were in the best interest of the safety and security of this country and like a lot of the individuals on that list, i've been critical of him when he made decisions that i thought were not in the best interest and what i think people need to understand 1 that what admiral mcraven and these other individual s a individuals are saying is that we have a right to do that. it's in the best interest of all of us if the president is
successful and despite the fact the president is threatening these individuals and doing so in a way that is problematic, they want them to succeed and to govern and lead us. so sean, let's take the case of brennan because the other people on this list, it's just threats at this point. there are security clearances. it seems likely from the "washington post" reporting, from our report iing but when i comes to brennan and you look at the op-ed in the "new york times" where he said yes there was collusion on part of the trump team. he said it's hogwash to say there was no collusion. that's before mueller's team has come out with their findings. is that reason to be critical of brennan and say this has gone too far? >> look, i think that as was indicated in the letter, there are a lot of people in the national security space who are of the opinion that on occasion maybe john brennan has gone too far with regard to the degree or the type of pushback, but that's
his right to do that. i don't read it as someone who came from the intelligence community or him forecasting on insight knowledge but i see it as someone who is very forward-leaning in his criticism of the president and you see degrees with other people on that list. >> it's nice you to have that opinion. thank you. all right, let's hear more about this now. amber, the "washington post" reporting as you know, josh dawsey is that the president thinks this makes him look good, that he is strengthened in this fight with brennan among his supporters. how do you read the president's confidence right now? >> the president seems like he has found an effective boogieman in john brennan in this week
when they're concerned about other things happening in the white house and officials going rogue. i think that one of the reasons the president wants to, as abby phillip said lean in to brennan being a critic of the president, it's because he has been exponentially critical of trump over the past year. i went back and looked at a may congressional hearing where brennan was sitting before the house and didn't even want to say the word "collusion." he said i don't know, i don't know. that's up for an investigation to look at. now he's outright accusing the president of such so there's an argument to make that brennan is being political here. it's an easy one to make whereas brennan's is more nuanced, that the facts compel him to speak out. >> i'm glad you looked that up. that's an important point, however, sabrina, being political, being critical, the counterargument is that's not a reason to strip someone of their security clearance. the reason they have security
clearance is to help current intelligence officers in areas where they may have expertise from their work and can be of assistance on current issues. listen to what senator lindsey graham, republican senator of south carolina, here's what he said that struck me. >> when you look at cia policy about how former directors should behave, they indicate that a former director should act if they're still a member of the organization. mr. brennan has gone way over the line in my view and i think restricting his clearance, pulling his clearance makes sense to me. he's reached a conclusion on collusion that i haven't reached and, you know, he's using the aura of his past job in a political way that i think is unsavory. >> fair point, sabrina? >> as you point out, one question that's been raised throughout this controversy is why john brennan kept his security clearance and others who've left the law enforcement or intelligence communities continue to retain clearance and
it is because they continue to consult on matterings of national security. now nothing precludes them from speaking out as private citizens and there's been little doubt that the president's action was intended to be more punitive to try and retaliate against his sharpest critics and so there is an aura of attempted to silence those who have expressed disagreement with his tenure in office. i think we've become immune to the ways in which the president has broken from the norms and traditions of governance but it is notable that throughout his presidency he had been willing to go to war with the intelligence community and this is another example of him doing that. i don't think the criticism is going to deter him, as we pointed out. he tends to dig in in these moments and lindsey graham's comments are notable because i think a lot of the republicans are clin have shown that they are willing to stand behind the president time and again and
their reaction to brennan reinforces that they don't intend to take action to limit his authority to strip security clearances. if anything, they expressed widespread support for the way in which he took action against brennan. the question becomes what if he were to target other officials and depends of course on the way he goes about it but if he was to suddenly strip several security clearances then perhaps this would be a controversy that merits some sort of response. >> amber, let me get you on the optics. the other "washington post" reporting reporting is that there was so much drip drip from omarosa with these recordings but now we know from the times reporting there would be 200 tapes. you would think she'd put the most persuasive but there may be 200 tapes. have the optics turned out
better with the talk and the controversy over the brennan issue versus omarosa? >> it's hard to say because we're talking about both simultaneously. it does suggest both the fact that the white house on wednesday afternoon had sarah huckabee sanders come out and dropped this brennan security clearance that they are worried about these omarosa tapes. the tape themselves and reporting in the "washington post" and "new york times" suggest they're unnerved by this. the question i have is whether they're unnerved by the general anxiety of having someone tape them in their private conversations for months and not knowing what could come of that or where there's concerned something specific could come out so i'm going to wash whether there are other arguable
distractions the white house drops as omarosa draws more attention toward her. that suggest there is might be something specific in those tapes that they want to bury in the news. >> ladies, sabrina, amara, thank you for being with me today. have a good weekend. president trump says he is cancelling a military parade -- a military parade he asked for. what's the reason behind it? also verdict watch, day two kicks off in just minutes. jurors in the paul manafort trial sending the judge four questions, and they're fascinating. we'll find out what they mean. should deported parents be brought back to the united states to be reunited with their children? that's a key question playing out in court right now. do you want the same tools and seamless experience across web and tablet? do you want $4.95 commissions for stocks, $0.50 options contracts? $1.50 futures contracts? what about a dedicated service team of trading specialists? did you say yes? good, then it's time
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instead the president says he'll go to two other event this is year and work on planning the event for next year. so what happened? barbara starr joins us from the pentagon. it might make sense to spend money on other things other than a parade, especially veterans. but he wanted the sprayed so what happened? >> that's right, poppy. this was the president's idea. the pentagon didn't ask for this or propose a military parade for mr. trump. last year hearse in paris on bastille day, he saw the french military parade through paris which is an impressive sight, said he wanted something like that. so the military follows orders, they began planning and for them they came up with a cost estimate of some $90 million to put on something that would be somewhat like that. a lot of that, maybe less than
half, would include security costs -- federal security costs, the washington, d.c. police department. you have to be able to cover security not just for the parade, for any protests, any damage to city streets, that sort of thing. but how it was canceled is what's so interesting. mr. trump cancelling it this morning. yesterday defense secretary james mattis said the $90 million estimate was more the media's fault. have a listen. >> i'm not dignifying that number with any replay. i would discount that and anybody who said that i almost guarantee you one thing, i need to stay anonymous, no kidding because you'll look like an idiot. >> well, he's saying that, you know the media who writes these things needs new sources. let me say that it was very clear that the estimate was about $90 million and it turns
out several hours after secretary mattis was on the airplane in south america on a trip that's when the pentagon came out and said they were postponing the whole idea. >> barbara, we're also learning about an important new report about china and what the chinese military is preparing its pilots for through its training. what are your sources saying? >> this is a report the pentagon delivers to congress on a regular basis looking at chinese military capabilities. budgets what they're spending and what they are saying now is that the chinese are developing the weapons capability -- and capability is important, no one says the chinese are attacking us -- to be able to reach out and attack u.s. targets in the region if they wanted to. this is something where they talk about that they are training their pay lots for missions, pursuing a nuclear capability for long-range
bombers and adding additional long-range bombers so beefing up that capability to expand their influence, expand their military capability so they can reach out hundreds if not thousands of miles beyond their shores. it's what you see nations do. the iranians and north koreas, russias, this is what nations do, china is doing it. a lot of countries looking to have that global military power reach. it worries the pentagon a good deal. poppy? >> thank you for the reporting on both of those fronts. have a good weekend. the jury in the paul manafort trial begins day two. in just a few minutes it begins. they had interesting questions yesterday. so what do those questions point to -- a good sign or bad sign for paul manafort? we'll discuss. it's absolute confidence in 30,000 precision parts,
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the defense team seized upon in their closing arguments. they stressed to the jury and reminded them prosecutors have to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt. if you are to find paul manafort guilty, it has to be beyond a reasonable doubt. also the defense team in their closings laid pressure on the jury. they said look at paul manafort. they pointed to him in the courtroom and they said right now paul manafort sits here an innocent man. only you. 12 members of the jury, can decide whether or not he's guilty and they pressed upon the jury this reasonable doubt standard so yesterday before 5:00 p.m. the jury said can you please lay out for us this standard of reasonable doubt. it was the one question this judge answered and he put it this way. he said reasonable doubt is not beyond all possible doubt. you could perhaps have a little bit of doubt, it's just beyond reasonable doubt here. who knows if that clarified anything for the jury and the
big question is was this a good sign for the defense or prosecution? the defense took it as a good sign. they came outside the courthouse yesterday and said they were pleased with the questions from the jury. that's probably because it shows perhaps this might not be a slam dunk case. that there's still some questions these jurors might be asking, can i have a little doubt and still convict or how much doubt is too much doubt so that could be playing out in the jury room. the defense team feeling confident at the way the jurors asked these questions yesterday, poppy. >> they certainly are. jess, thanks for the reporting, let us know what you hear. let's talk about this with former u.s. attorney michael moore. the defend said on camera yesterday this is good news. this is great news for us. they took a big risk. they didn't call any witnesses or present a case. they just are betting the prosecution didn't make its case. how do you see it?
>> i don't think there's anything unusual about a jury asking questions like this. and these are aren't questions that tell chief justice way the jury may be leaning nor is there much to be read into the time it takes. there's administrative a jury has to do, they select a foreman, talk about breaks and schedules and they have a lot of documents and evidence 20 go through at this time, some of the things they have not had a chance to see. they have to prioritize and categorize their case and decide which evidence matches up with exhibits and counts so the questions on reasonable doubt, i think that can cut two ways. number one, the prosecution will say we don't have to prove this beyond all doubt and you have a basis, not just a hinky feeling somewhere in your stomach. the defense is hoping that the jurors hang on to this hollywood definition like there will be a "matlock" moment where there will be a great confession or signed document and removes all possibility and that's not the law so i can see why the defense
wants to spin it that way but i don't think it's indicative of where the jury is headed. >> what about the other questions getting into the nitty-gritty detail of what rick gates testified. two things, they had a question on when a person is required to file a foreign bank disclosure because there's a 51% threshold and we know manafort and his wife held 50%. then there's the question about the definition of shelf companies. what's your read on those two? >> i think these cases are tough for lay people who serve on a jury. these aren't tax folks who have some idea of the companies so again they're in a room and table to talk about the case for the first time and now they're saying okay the judge told us this, the evidence was this, this was the crime and the indictment we can read it here so what evidence matches that
count to see if the government met its burden of proof. so these are definitional questions. they're looking for clarification. it can be one person in the room saying i don't understand if it's 50% or 5 1%. it could just be one person who needs affirmation. >> i think a lot of us know what shelf companies are when it comes to the cypriot bank systems as well. this is not the only trial for paul manafort. in three weeks he is set to -- in a few more weeks he's set to have a case in washington, d.c. about foreign lobbying and money laundering charges in which we have learned that the special counsel, mueller's team, has three times the amount of evidence to present. >> that's right, in this case the judge has been hard on the prosecution wanting to keep the evidence at a minimum. i think bob mueller has laid out in his mind that this is the first chapter of the book and he's explaining to people who the characters are, laying out the fact that this will be a
money case at the end of the day and this is -- he's talked about the money. i don't know that this is necessarily a bellwether case for the government or for manafort. this is just the first step. and the evidence is ooempling, when you think about it, manafort would have had to know nothing when he sat around wearing his ostrich coat and looking at the gardens in the shape of an "m" while he claims he was broke and that isn't a rational or reasonable position but there are other cases going to go forward and here we've got one case. i'm sure bob mueller and his team have thought about evidence in the next case and next case so this is just the beginning of a long tale. >> it is, michael moore, thanks for the expertise. >> good to be with you. ahead for us, to immigration, a federal judge temporarily stopping reunited families from being deported from this country while also considering if parents who have already been deported can come
back to the united states to be reunited with their children as they fight for asylum. one of the lead attorneys from the aclu fighting this will be with me next. by funding scientific breakthroughs, advancing public policy, and providing local support to those living with the disease and their caregivers. but we won't get there without you. join the fight with the alzheimer's association. ♪ ♪ let your perfect drive come together at the lincoln
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about whether or not they need to bring these importants who have been deported back to the u.s. to be with their kids. what is your team going to argue here? >> we are going to argue as well as other lawyers in other cases that parents need to be brought back. that they were unlawfully deported with their kids remaining here and that they need to be brought back to have proper asylum hearings and to also assist their children in the children's asylum hearings. i don't know the judge will decide anything but that issue will be raised in court and it's a critically important issue because -- sorry, go on. >> it is a very important issue but here's what -- as you know and your team is praying for. the government will point to the june 26 order by the u.s. district judge and in that order it says "the government would refrain -- the government would
remain free to enforce its criminal and immigration laws and to exercise its discretion in matters of release and detention consistent with the law." so the department of justice will say in this agreement from earlier this sumpter court said that we as the government have the discretion to continue to enforce our immigration law. >> he also said no parent gives up the rights of their case or child's case without a knowing waiver so he could not have been clearer. we don't believe that's what happened. >> that's interesting whether or
not they knew they couldn't be able to fight for their child n children. give me a timeline on where we are right now on these families being reunited aside from this issue because the government put a lot on the aclu to help the government find these folks. >> that's absolutely right and the judge said it's the government's responsibility so give the information to the aclu to have them help you so we are calling parents abroad and hopefully we'll reunite every one of these children. we hope within the next month we'll reunite these families.
>> what evidence do you have that the government -- or do you have evidence that the government is making this a priority or do you want to see them do more expeditiously. >> we would like additional information from the government but i think now that the judge has told them you cannot shift responsibility to the aclu they will help you but you need to give them information. the information has been more forthcoming. i hope that it continues but i think the judge made clear he doesn't want to hear from the government, that they are washing their hands of this. >> that's an important point. the government has been more forth coming. >> they've had to. the judge said he won't stand for them being more forth coming so now we have phone numbers, we need additional information but at least we're on the right track. >> appreciate the update, lee, thanks for being with me. >> thanks for having me. ahead, the year of the woman
or the year of the democratic woman? in the era of trump, female republican candidates facing an uphill battle in the midterms. we'll dive into that with two female republican strategists. also, the president set to depart from the white house in a few minutes. will he talk to the media about the headlines including revoking the security clearance of cia chief john brennan or the controversy surrounding his former white house aide omarosa? we'll see. stay with us. u wouldn't accept an incomplete job 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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overall a record breaking number of women are running for office. you know that. that nickname appears to be one sided. so far this primary season, 229 women have qualified for the november ballot in the house or senate. of those, 73% are democrats. just 22% are republicans. in a fascinating piece this week, some of the republican female candidates say they have been encouraged by members of their own party not to run. with me now to talk about this, two very smart, well-connected republican women, tara stepmeier -- i hear tara can't hear me. she worked on the hill. alice stewart is here, our cnn political commentator and republican strategist. thank you very much. i was fascinated by this piece in "the times." alice, it begins with diane harky who is running in california. this is what she told "the times." the energy is on the other side. she said, president trump
doesn't make women really comfortable. then she said, i want all voters, i like men, too, i don't think it helps much to talk about gender. what's your read? >> i think that's a smart play. she's a strong candidate. she's well funded. she's doing very well so far in a tough district. it's important to focus on the issues. it's not a secret that president trump is not popular in california. he had the lowest gop number since 1936 in the presidential race. this district right here is one where harky can do well. the president does have support in that area. maybe not along the coast, but throughout the district. she is wise to stick to the policies, stick to issues that that district is concerned with and many of the congressional candidates this year, all politics is local. while they are looking at the issues that are imperative to their voters, if trump is popular there, they will hug up
to trump. if not, they will focus on the issues and grass-roots campaigning. >> that tip o'neill reference, all politics is local, until it isn't. i hear your point. tara, megan malloy, the co-founder of republican women for progress, says about this year and the midterms for republican women this year, that group has told a number of female candidates, quote, don't run this year. you are a great candidate if it were any other year, you would win. what do you make of that? >> that was a fascinating aspect of this article. i have been involved in republican politics for over 20 years. i can't remember ever a time during an election cycle where anyone would have discouraged women from running. that has been part of the republican candidate recruitment strategy for as long as i have been around. get good quality women to run anywhere. so it was -- that was a
fascinating aspect of it. it goes to show you how the dynamics have changed considerably in the era of trump. if you just look at women like kathy mcmorris rogers in washington state -- >> she didn't get 50%. and she's in leadership in the republican house. she's, i believe, number four. she's a conference chair. martha robey in alabama, she didn't -- she underperformed in her primary because she criticized, god forbid, trump after the "access hollywood" tape which you would expect anyone should have, but even for a woman to come out about that, that still carried her over, even though she supported donald trump in 90% plus of the policies in the house. the fact that these dynamics have changed this way and that any republican woman who is not 100% in the -- on the side of donald trump, any criticism whatsoever, is something that's potentially a negative. alice is right that all politics
is local. in election -- congressional elections, a lot of times they are not nationalized as much as we in the media like to make them. it does come down to what's going on in those specific districts. >> i would say, alice, one point that we saw in wisconsin this week. leah vukmeier was very anti-trump and she pulled it off. the fact that you look at, for example, minnesota. you look at southern minnesota. you have carla nelson running there. she told "the times" all the good old boys begged me not to run. >> that's a mistake, because one of the things that harky pointed out is that men are warriors. they tend to go to war. women are more consensus builders. women are naturally, in my view, better at building consensus, which is key here in washington. they are able to connect. if they get out there and do the hard work of retail politics, they are able to connect better. i can say for a fact that the
nrcc, the national republican congressional committee, they have specifically recruitment efforts to recruit solid candidates like we see in minnesota and across the country. they have one-third more women running for office than they did back in 2016, because they do see this can be a critical year. unfortunately, the president's approval ratings amongst women in the cnn poll this week, women view approval about 35% and disapprove by two-thirds of that. so that's the challenge. the challenge is to stand by the policies. if you have to, if the president is not popular in those districts, then you have to separate yourself. >> just really quickly, the challenge also with women, college-educated women and women in suburbs, is going to be turnout and who is going to go where. what we saw in ohio 12, in that district, which was solidly republican, that the president
won, you saw -- it became a lot closer than it should have been. is that potentially because more democratic women are inspired to come out and vote against trump or what they see as the incivility in politics, voting against what trump is doing? or is that something -- is it something different? that's a key demographic to watch. there are 68 other districts that are less republican than that one was that are up for grabs in the house. that demographic of suburban women is key in the midterms. >> that key 14% of white suburban educated women that voe voted for the president is now the key part on the line, that is so important for the midterms and for 2020. alice, as a republican strategist, i have to get you on this. as a republican, you might not like alexandra ocasio-cortez. you may think this 28-year-old latino who stunned everyone winning against joe crowley, you
might not like her policies, but here is what the rnc did in an e-mail overnight. they said that she is a mini- mini-madora. a bridge too far? >> i'm not a fan of comparing folks to dictators and the like. you cannot deny that she is someone that is electrifying her constituency and people across the country. she won tremendously in her district, which overcoming the odds against someone who had a lot of experience. her problem is she has a tremendous learning curve. there's a lot you have to learn. she has made some mistakes out there on the campaign trail and in a lot of the interviews. it does open her up to these types attacks.
she would be better served going out there doing retail politicking in her area and trying to avoid some of the bigger issues. it's a tremendous learning curve. >> when you have republicans -- i disagree with democratic socialism. i think her ideas are against american values. when you start comparing women candidates to dictators and when the president goes out and calls former staffers dogs and does the things he does, that does not help the republican side of things. it only energizes democrats. >> ladies, thanks for being here. interesting discussion. have a great weekend. >> you too. quick break. i'll be right back.
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top of the hour. good morning. i'm poppy harlow in new york. minutes from now we will see the president. he is heading to a fund-raiser in the hamptons. the big question, will he address the growing criticism over his decision to strip former cia director's security clearance? 13 former intelligence officials, who worked in republican and democraticed aminu aadministration, come to brennan's defense. they are contenders to lose their clearance are involved in the russia investigation or have been critical of the president. let's begin at the white house. abby philip is there. what are you hearing from white house aides? i know we don't know if and when these others will be stripped. as to the why. >> reporter: the