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tv   At This Hour With Kate Bolduan  CNN  November 21, 2018 8:00am-9:00am PST

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jim has you covered. at this hour with kate bolduan is next. hello. i'm pamela brown in for kate. the president's answers written down and submitted, his legal team waiting for the next move in the russia investigation. i spoke on the phone with rudy giuliani, one of the attorneys representing the president. he says the process is not over and the mueller team could come back with obstruction of justice questions. whether or not the president and the legal team will answer the questions is still an open question. so what was the president asked in this latest round? the statements candidate trump, his own statements under the microscope. >> russia if you are listening, i hope you're able to find the 30,000 e-mails that are missing.
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>> rudy saying the questions were laid out like a law school exam. he said the questions were complex with a lot of subquestions. let's continue this discussion. joining me now defense attorney and former federal prosecute or what is your response to rudy giuliani telling me that basically if there are followup questions from mueller's team that they will decide whether or not to answer them. is the ball really in their court here? >> the ball really is in mueller's court. they have dragged it out as long as they can. it's a good move for them to answer things in writing first. any followup questions will be determined by mueller's team and also the enforcement aspect is
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in mueller's court at the moment. they can claim we will refuse to answer this and then the next step is will there be a legal enforcement issue which ends up in the courts over is there executive privilege. >> that was a big point of emphasis in my conversation with rudy giuliani because, of course, i asked, what is your view on obstruction that the latest round of questions didn't have to do with obstruction. it dealt with all the activities before the inauguruation having to do with collusion. he made clear that they can come back and ask about obstruction but that it would be covered under executive privilege. is it that clear cut to you? >> it's not that clear cut at all. the whole area of executive privilege is an em morfus one.
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it is interesting that giuliani says that. if we assume he is telling the truth about that then it may be that mueller wants to focus first on the campaign aspects of it and for now they are leaving aside the question of will the president answer questions about obstruction or not. >> it was clear that that is not necessarily off the table. there isn't some sort of agreement between the two sides. on that note, it sounds like team trump feels that the president definitely won't sit down with mueller. they keep saying mueller is not going to want to start a subpoena fight. this wouldn't work well for them. is that the final word in. >> we don't know the final word until mueller submits the report or if they move towards subpoenaing the president. we haven't been giving indication that mueller will not subpoena the president if he doesn't cooperate or if they
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will. like with most things with mueller we never know what is going on. we are getting a one sided view that is from the president's si side. so we don't know where things stand. it's a huge step that mueller has the questions finally. we have been waiting for this to happen. we have been waiting for this day. mueller has been waiting for this day. what the next steps are, we just don't know. will there be follow up? will there be a demand from mueller that the president answer the obstruction question? >> what is interesting to me is that some of the questions in this latest batch had to do with the president's then-candidate trump's comments he made when he had the press conference saying russia, if you are listening, when he talked about the fact that there could be something coming out on hillary clinton after the don jr. trump tower
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meeting and that never came to fruition. that could mean that mueller's team is paying close attention to what the president is saying even now about the probe as it pertained to obstruction of justice. >> we laid out the facts that the bulk of the written questions from the special counsel did center on activities during the campaign. according to "washington post" reporting there are a dozen questions so clearly mueller asked about what the president knew about the trump tower meeting, the special counsel asked about what his associates knew about the interactions with russian officials in general. so while the questions may be focussing on the activities of the trump campaign, we don't know how much further mueller will go and i think we will have to wait and see as to the next steps to the special counsel. >> it does make you wonder. we have seen the mueller
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investigation become politicized in terms of public opinion. most view it through a partisan lens. how would a subpoena fight between trump and mueller change things? >> that has been a lot of rudy giuliani's strategy. we have seen once the president brought him on to his legal team that he has taken the aggressive bull dog approach to the campaign to kind of shape the public narrative of the investigation. i think that is also the president's tactic here when he tweets angrily about the corrupt democrats working for mueller's campaign which is also not accurate. you have seen public polling drop in terms of confidence in law enforcement in general and the campaign. i think that is what really congressional democrats are worried about. we remember that the house will be in democratic control next year, protecting the mueller
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investigation will be a major focus for them. don't discount the drama that we will see over protecting the special counsel probe in the coming weeks of this congress. you have senator jeff flake who is retiring but a very vocal critic of president trump willing to block dozens of judicial nominees. and to try to force a vote on legislation to protect the special counsel. so you have this very contentious partisan fight unfolding on capitol hill. we'll see that continue to develop in the coming weeks. >> even if the mueller probe wraps up there is still the threat of investigations on this on capitol hill. what is interesting is you see the pr strategy playing out publically. the president just yesterday saying the mueller probe is a witch hunt. rudy giuliani echoing the same kind of sentiment saying there are angry democrats working for him and so forth. you have to wonder what it is like behind the scenes. rudy giuliani said publically it
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is not awkward, but you have to wonder how it plays out behind the scenes. >> you do. that's a really good point. the issue about whether the mueller probe has become politicized is really important to distinguish that the politics around it, the public opinion is incredibly politicized at the moment. the probe itself is remarkably pristine. they have not spoken to the president or given views to say we never know what is going on. from all indications and from my limited exposure with them, they are extremely professionally focussed without any public interaction and therefore without any politics. i would suspect that behind the scenes in mueller's shop it is still a very intense atmosphere but business as usual. i really don't think they are being affected by the public issues at all, but the public and political sentiment is at an all-time high. >> stick around. i have more questions for you. i know i didn't get to you much. a lot more to discuss including
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bombshell reports that president trump wanted to use the justice department to prosecute hillary clinton and james comey. that's next. fact is, there have been twenty-six in the last decade. allstate is adapting. with drones to assess home damage sooner. and if a flying object damages your car, you can snap a photo and get your claim processed in hours, not days. plus, allstate can pay your claim in minutes. now that you know the truth... are you in good hands? essential for pine trees, but maybe not for people with rheumatoid arthritis. because there are options. like an "unjection™". xeljanz xr. a once-daily pill for adults with moderate to severe ra for whom methotrexate did not work well enough. xeljanz xr can reduce pain, swelling and further joint damage, even without methotrexate. xeljanz xr can lower your ability to fight infections, including tuberculosis. serious, sometimes fatal infections,
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the politics of revenge and the potential abuse of power by a sitting president. this morning cnn learned that the president wanted to repennize the justice department and turn it loose on political rivals. a source telling cnn the president wanted hillary clinton prosecuted and repeatedly raised the issue with top officials in the justice department. according to the "new york times" he also wanted to order the feds to prosecute james comey. i want to bring in my colleague of the justice department. we have been working together on
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this reporting for a couple of days now. set the stage for us. how did this all go and how often did this happen? >> what we now know is what the president has been saying publically for months, calling for investigations into both comey and clinton mirrors what he was saying privately to his then-white house counsel. apparently he pushed back, tried to raise with him the risk of calling on the justice department to do something like this even according to the "new york times" having a memo drafted up saying this could result in possible impeachment. in our reporting we reported according to a source familiar with the matter that this went a step further and the president had direct conversations with the deputy attorney general as well as the man who now serves as the acting attorney general matt whittaker. the president was making inquiries about existing investigations into clinton and the clinton foundation.
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what are those investigations? we know at least one is being probed into by a top prosecutor out in utah who has been looking at the connections between the clinton foundation and a russian nuclear energy agency. while we haven't seen anything founded there, it hasn't produced anything, it is still ongoing. and to put a final point on all of this, his financial disclosures shows that vast majority of income comes from a nonprofit group that has called for an investigation into hillary clinton. >> thank you for breaking it down for us. i want to bring my panel back in. defense attorney and former federal prosecutor, and white house reporter for the "washington post" and cnn crime and justice reporter. former nixon white house counsel john dean told cnn that even nixon would say these requests
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would go too far. put this into context, the idea of the president asking doj officials to investigate his political opponents. what is the significance of that? >> it is hugely significant. given the fact that it is just not done, no president in the history of the united states should be meddling in any kind of criminal investigation by the department of justice. president obama, there is enough evidence to suggest that he did something like this. the fact that the president is having meetings and bringing this up in these meetings with the acting attorney general with the deputy attorney general is a huge conflict. i'm sure there are memos about this. it is highly, highly unethical and should not be done. whether or not it is illegal is a whole other issue. whether or not this is something that could potentially impeach the president is a whole other issue. the optics and the ethics are an issue and is troubling and should be documented by the
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department of justice in some way and some fashion. the other thing, just to make one more point, is that there is no indication that the president is going to stop doing this no matter how many warnings he has been given by attorneys to stop doing this, it seems time and time again that he continues this behavior and there is really no stopping him. >> so on that point, what are the potential legal issues here. what are the protections, if any, in place to prevent a sitting president from ordering investigations into his political rivals? i mean, of course, d.o.j. is under the executive branch, but they are supposed to be independent. >> that is exactly right. the legal aspect of it is a little bit murky because he is the head of the executive branch. theoretically it might not be legal to order them to open the investigation or to prosecute. this is like a juvenile justice clinic. the president has like this third or fourth grader's view of
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what it means to be president. the president can do anything. he completely ignores the structure of the government. this is an unethical situation and the procedures that exist to protect us against it have always been followed. the white house and d.o.j. stay arms length from each other and stay arms length for a good reason because it is an integrity issue. it's the integrity of a political investigation. the president is obviously involved in the investigation as a subject, witness, possibly target so he shouldn't be weighing in on any aspect of other ways to defend himself in the investigation. and then the integrity of the institutions, the reason they stay arms length is because people will not trust the integrity of the law enforcement investigation if it is obviously that it is being directed with political means and political ends, rather. >> i want to go to you, this was a campaign promise of donald trump's -- >> if i win, i am going to instruct my attorney general to
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get a special prosecutor to look into your situation because there has never been so many lies, so much deception. there has never been anything like it. we are going to have a special prosecutor. >> it's just awfully good that someone with the temperament of donald trump is not in charge of the law in our country. >> because you would be in jail. >> so what is the political impact of this latest revelation? >> it's clearly a stunning development, it does fit into the pattern of what the president sees as the role of the justice department that the point made by a lot of critics that he views the justice department as kind of an extension of his own personal legal operation. i think that while we are going back to discussion about the changeover control in congress that while house republicans might be losing control of the chamber next year, he still has
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a lot of allies who are looking into essentially what the president wants to them to look into essentially investigating the investigators. we know that the house judiciary committee which is being led by republicans and have been preparing subpoenas for director comby and loretta lynch about the investigations into matters surrounding the trump campaign. i think it is notable that the incoming senate judiciary committee chairman is most likely lindsey graham of south carolina. we know he was once a trumpny enemy. when we talk about his agenda or plans about what he would do as a judiciary committee chairman, he says he would totally investigate those issues and has consistently called for that second special counsel that the
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preside preside president -- then candidate trump had referenced. >> thank you for your important perspective. coming up, president trump siding with the saudis over the cia on the murder of a washington, d.c. journalist. now even loyal supporters are crying foul. that's next. you could have gone down to the nearby tree lot and picked out a nice little spruce for the holidays... but you've got a ford escape with 4wd, and an example to set. ford escape. built for the holidays. with our best offers of the season.
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president trump is siding with the saudis over the cia about the murder of "washington post" journalist jamal khashoggi. the president has signaled the u.s. will not punish the kingdom or its crown prince even though the cia has high confidence the prince directed the killing. why? trump says he is putting america first. >> because it's america first to me. it's all about america first. saudi arabia, if we broke with them, i think your oil prices would go through the roof. i have kept them down. they have helped me keep them down. >> this morning the president doubled down on that line of thinking. critics of both parties are accusing the president of putting money first over morali morality. i want to talk with kimberly dozier and max boot.
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also with us, cnn military analyst retired major general spider mark. max, i will start with you and how you responded to this on twitter. you said all you need to know about donald trump is that he is tougher on admiral mccraven than he is on crown prince or vladimir putin on kim jong-un. is the president putting u.s. interests over human rights in his response to this? >> i don't think he is putting u.s. interests first here because i don't think it is in america's interest to kowtow to saudi arabia the benefits that donald trump claims are largely an illusion. he just makes up these figures claiming that the saudis are buying $110 billion worth of arms or investing $450 billion in the united states. he pulls the figures out of thin air. he talks about how the saudis are helping us to contain iran.
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that is true. the saudis are doing that because it is in the interest of saudi arabia. they are not buying arms because it's a favor to us, either. they need those arms to defend themselves. they can't just go to the russians or anybody else because they are locked into american systems and the saudis are not dropping the price of oil to be nice to donald trump. this is a result of global fears of a recession. he is inventing -- what it comes down to is it is donald trump first and not america first. he likes the saudis because they rolled out the red carpet for them. they buy apartments from him. he thinks very favorably towards the saudis and doesn't care about the fate of one reporter who was murdered and dismembered. >> it is true that saudi arabia is a key part of his middle east strategy. when it comes to the arms deal he claims it is a 1$110 billion deal. oil is something else he has been emphasizing. just this morning he tweeted
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about that saying oil prices getting lower, like a big tax cut for america and the world. enjoy. 54 was just $82. thank you to saudi arabia, but let's go lower. is it that simple? of course, the president, it is in his interest for oil prices not to go up. would they have gone up if he had taken a tougher stance on saudi arabia? >> opec has called for a drop in oil production because of a looming glut on the market and a fear that oil prices were going to fall lower. there are links to the economy that a possible slow down in economic growth has been signaled by a drop in oil prices. so these are things that have nothing to do with the u.s. government's relationship with saudi arabia. but what the government, what the white house fears is that things that are a hard ask, things like peace between the
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palestinians and the israelis or managing the terrorist situation in yemen, those are things that they need the saudi government's support on. and the crown prince has been the chief architect of the yemen campaign. >> let's not forget the big picture here. there is also a war going on in yemen that saudi arabia is involved in. general marx, to you on that, the u.s. potentially had an opportunity, there were parts of the trump administration that were using the khashoggi killing as leverage to get saudi arabia to pull out. now that the president has essentially exonerated saudi arabia, was this a missed opportunity? >> i think it is a missed opportunity. the key thing to keep in mind as max and kimberly have pointed out is that you view the situation in the mid east through a national security lens but the national security lens is not exclusively a military lens. that is an economic lens, a diplomatic lens.
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there is a portion of it which is military. we have got to be able to balance this very delicate relationship that we have with the saudis. we have to be able to pushback on tehran. we have to have our national security as we as a military try to really reestablish ourselves, migrate away from the focus over the course of the last two decades on counter insurgency operations and really look at the possibility of a peer or near peer competition. we have to be able to have access. in order to have access we have to maintain relationships. we have to maintain a relationship with the saudis but our nation is based on values. we view the world through that lens always. it's important that the united states stand up and say this type of behavior is unacceptable. we should, in fact, say the crown prince's stock is
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collapsing. we need to encourage his replacement to come in, potentially his uncle has returned and could be the next individual who will step up to replace the king. in this mix, the united states needs to have a very strong and very consistent voice. the problem is our president has made this a transaction that's inappropriate and unfortunate because now the filter is an economic one exclusively. now we are viewing this in a way that is not helpful towards the longer term requirements of the united states, our national interests, to have access to the region so we can try to influence activities in that part of the world. >> in the meantime, saudi arabia still involved in the civil war in yemen. they announced that 85,000 children under the age of 5 have died from starvation in yemen. thank you so much. we are unfortunately out of time with so much more to discuss on this important topic. thank you. coming up, facebook ceo mark zuckerburg speaking out in a
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rare interview with cnn and firing back on reports that the social network wasn't transparent about russian election meddling. the cnn exclusive up next. hi. i'm misha. and my favorite bar is crunch. ♪ delicious 100% real chocolate embracing the lightness of crispy rice. crunch. the chocolate bar all americans love.
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it's like a game! (gasps) woo-hoo! got it! which car should we get? all of 'em! ooh, yeah! that one! this one looks nice. yes, and yes. i like this game. i think we're winning! delivery? where? (doorbell rings) (man) it's here! what? (announcer) save $1,000 from carvana black friday through cyber monday. then go see "ralph breaks the internet," in theatres november 21st. in an exclusive interview with cnn, facebook ceo mark zuckerburg defends his leadership and pushes back on the "new york times" investigation that suggests facebook attempted to cover up
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evidence of russian election meddling on its platform. i will bring in cnn senior technology correspondent laurie segall. what else did he tell you in this exclusive interview? >> very interesting time for facebook as we have seen what has happened over the last couple of years. i spoke to him about the criticism. he responded pretty defiantly and responded to specific allegations. take a listen. i want to start with some of the revelations from the "new york times" piece. let's look at russia. did you and other leaders try to minimize russia's role in spreading propaganda on the platform? >> no. here is what happened. in 2016, there is no doubt that we missed something really important. the russian effort to try to have these coordinated information operations on facebook and the internet more broadly was not something that we were expecting. elections are always a very high
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security event. we were expecting certain kinds of cyber attacks. we found them. the russians were trying to hack into specific accounts. we told the people and the fbi and all of that. we weren't on top of these coordinated information operations. we spent a lot of the last couple of years now basically building up our systems and strengthening them to be able to address this. we have been very focussed on this and invested a lot in it. anyone who wants to say that upon learning about this we haven't been very focussed on trying to both address it and that we have -- anyone who says we haven't made a lot of progress, i think that is not right. >> i think folks talk about transparency, this idea that the former chief security officer wanted to publish a transparency paper and every mention of russia was taken out. he was encouraged not to put russia in that transparency paper. do you regret not being more transparent at the time or not being more vocal about it at the
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time? >> you know, i wish that we understood the issues sooner. i wish we understood it before 2016 before the russians tried to do these information operations in the first place. i do think sometimes people say how did you not know this? i think in some of these cases it's a really big deal to say that a nation state is behind something. before our company puts a stamp on somebody saying that i want to be sure that that is the case. >> one reference is the decision to keep up the trump post that many consider fell under the hate speech category. part of it said one reason your team decided to keep it up is because they were worried about a conservative back lash. the government in general, are leaders making decisions based on appeasing political leaders? >> no. in a lot of those cases. >> did they in that situation? >> they didn't. i was involved in those conversations. i think it's very important that
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people have the opportunity to hear from what political leaders are saying. so in those cases i don't think that a lot of the content violated our policies. we also have a specific point in our policies where news worthy content, we give a special deference to which certainly somebody who is a prominent politician making a point fits into that. so i think we did the right thing there. >> i was on the reporter call where you repeatedly denied that you knew about hiring the opposition group pr firm. i have spoken to so many people within facebook and former employees who say this is mark's company. did you know anything about this? >> well, like i said on the call, i learned about this when i read the report. i'm not sure that is the most important point. i think your question is right. i do run the company.
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i am responsible for everything that happens here. i don't think that this point was about a specific pr firm. it was about how we acted. that's why i think it is important not just what we are doing in relation to this one firm, but that we go through and look at all of the different pr firms and folks who we work with and make sure that we are operating in the way that we want to. >> the pr firm was founded by the political strategist and launched a campaign. this is a common tactic used by alt right groups. that's why i think people were so shocked when they found out about it. that is one of the parts of the report that a lot of folks had questions about. does that strike you as stooping low? >> i wasn't particularly happy about that piece of it. that certainly is a big part of when i read about this what made me want to look into this more deeply. the intention was never to
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attack an individual. there are lobbying groups whose primary purpose is to attack the company. i think it is fine to push back. >> in this particular scenario launching -- it's not common for tech companies to necessarily hire these types of firms. many argue it is a way of spreading the conspiracy theory that facebook has worked hard to get on top of. >> from the review that i have done so far, it doesn't appear that anything that the group said was untrue as far as we can tell. but this really isn't about one pr firm. this is about the standard that we want to hold all of the different folks who we work with. we work with a lot of different pr firms and contractors and vendors of the company. we need to make sure that we're comfortable and that all the folks that we work with uphold our values. >> do you approve of the way they went after george soros, of that methodology? >> i don't think this is the type of thing that our company
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should be engaging with. >> what would be your message? >> i know that george soros has been the target of a lot of really horrendous attacks. i think that is terrible. and i certainly wouldn't want anyone who is associated with our company to be a part of that. >> and pamela, you know this "new york times" article also painted cheryl sandberg in an unflattering light. i asked whether her role will change. he said he hopes she will be a partner down the line. i asked mark zuckerburg because a lot of people worry he has too much power as ceo and chairman if he would step down as chairman. he said he wouldn't. he said that wasn't the right thing for him. he doesn't plan on stepping down anytime soon. >> very interesting interview. laurie segall, thank you so
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much. be sure to check out the new series "human code" where he sits down with tech's most influential leaders. that's coming up, the mississippi senate race and republican cindy hyde-smith's continued damage control over recent comments about attending a public hanging. highlights from last night's debate up next. are you on medicare? do you have the coverage you need?
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voters in mississippi head back to the polls on tuesday in a runoff between republican
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cindy hyde-smith and democrat mike espy. last night in a debate hyde-smith tried to tamp down the criticism but also accused others of twisting her words. >> for anyone that was offended by my comments, i certainly apologize. i also recognize that this comment was twisted and turned into a weapon to be used against me, a political weapon used for nothing but personal and political gain. joining me now to discuss cnn political commentator and republican strategist kevin madden and commentator and hillary clinton's former campaign manager patty solis doyle. kevin, what do you make of hyde-smith's opinion polling? was it an apology? >> it was an apology. the problem with apologies,
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especially when you have to do them in a debate, it puts you on the defensive. you never want to be on the defensive. you want to be talking not about your mistakes or comments that you think are being twisted by your opponent, but instead talking about your record, talking about the future. it will be up to the voters in mississippi on whether or not they believe it was heartfelt. but clearly just from a tactical standpoint in this campaign, the mississippi republicans and the hyde-smith republican are definitely on the defense right now. >> on that note, opponent mike espy, who would be the first african-american senator for mississippi since reconstruction chose not hammer her on the comments. he said after the debate he tried not to be too hard on her. what's your advice on how to handle something like this? >> i think hyde-smith has really taken a hit over these really awful comments.
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i agree with kevin, it wasn't really very sincere when you have to read it from notes. when you have to read an apology from notes, especially after a debate, it looks like it wasn't heartfelt or sincere, but more like your political advisers wrote it for you and she didn't want to get it wrong, to make sure not to offend her base or anybody else that she's already offended. in terms of mick espy, look, this race is going to depend on how most of the 2018 midterm races depended on, and that's turnout, and the fact that this election is the tz after thanksgiving is going to be very, very difficult. he really i think needs to focus on getting his vote out and getting his plan out. most voters right now are are midtermed out. they're focused on getting through thanksgiving and the holidays and spending time with family. this is going to be tough. i want to get to this other story out of mississippi, this
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federal judge blocking a law that prohibited most abortions after 15 weeks. the supreme court has struck down similar laws before. do you think, patti, this will discourage any other states passing similar abortion restrictio restrictions, particularly with the new makeup of the supreme court? >> i think democrats picked up a lot of governor seats. i think it was six last count, and that's really important especially when it comes to policies like roe v. wade and decisions like roe v. wade when we have a supreme court that is really tipped to a conservative tilt. i think i'm just very happy that we've got some democratic governors now who will make this an issue. >> kevin, quickly, in his ruling judge reeves made this observation. he said the fact that men, my elf included, are determining how women may choose to manage
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their reproductive health is a sad irony not lost on the court. what is your response to that? >> i think there's a lot of advocates on that side of the issue that believe that as well. as far as the question you posed patti earlier on whether or not this will discourage people from getting involved in this issue or taking fights to the court, quite the contrary. this is an issue that both sides feel so strongly about. if anything, i think it will embolden more activists to get involved and, of course, always make central to their case the importance of the courts and nominating judges that strictly interpret the constitution when it comes to that part of the political debate. >> all right, thank you so much, kevin and patti. we should note a lot going on in mississippi. president trump going there, two rallies planned before the election there. we'll have to wait and see how that goes. really quick, before we wrap,
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what is your reaction to that? what kind of sway could he have? >> goes right back to what patti said. this is going to be one of those races, particularly in a special election where getting out the vote is important. nobody rallies the republican base like president trump. he'll have a huge impact on making people aware of the actual election on the 27th and getting them to the polls. >> okay, thank you. sorry, patti. we have to wrap. i appreciate you coming up and sharing your insights. still ahead, more on the bombshell story that president trump wanted to use the justice department to prosecute hillary clinton and james comey. your insurance rates skyrocket after a scratch so small you could fix it with a pen. how about using that pen to sign up for new insurance instead? for drivers with accident forgiveness, liberty mutual won't raise their rates because of their first accident. switch and you could save $782 on home and auto insurance. call for a free quote today.
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welcome to "inside politics." i'm john king. thank you for sharing your day with us. stunning details of how the president pushed to prosecute hillary clinton and james comey and how his own lawyers warned him such an abuse of power could get him impeached. the president's lawyer shares with cnn some of the questions asked by the special counsel and suggests there could be a fight over executive privilege if robert mueller now has new questions about the presidential transition or after mr. trump took office. a warn tweet praising saudi arabia for lowering oil


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