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tv   Inside Politics  CNN  August 12, 2019 9:00am-10:00am PDT

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welcome to "inside politics," i'm john king. thank you for sharing your day with us, the trump administration imposing dramatic new limits on legal immigration. the new rules make it easier to reject green card and visa applications from low-income people on grounds they could end up on public assistance. plus, a big iowa weekend for the 2020 democrats. joe biden raising questions with another gaffe. elizabeth warren proves our organizing prowess and kamala harris is on a bus tour to make clear she plans to make a play in the state that votes first. from friend to tfoe in a reality tv minute.
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anthony scaramucci says he can no longer support president trump because of his racially charged rhetoric. and the mooch says republicans should make a change for 2020. >> it is a responsibility of people in the republican party okay to say, hey, man, we need to put a relief pitcher in here. you pitched six strong innings but you're throwing it up against the backstop now. i really believe that. let's see what happens. i'm a loyal republican. i tried to be loyal to him, but let's face it, he's gone off the rails so we just have to call it for what it is. >> we begin the hour, though, with the attorney general talking for the first time about jeffrey epstein's apparent suicide. this morning in new orleans william barr calling epstein's death a, quote, failure. >> i was appalled, and indeed the whole department was, and frankly angry, to learn of the mcc's failure to adequately
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secure this prisoner. we are now learning of serious irregularities at this facility that are deeply concerning and demand a thorough investigation. >> the mcc is the manhattan correctional center. there guards discovered epstein, an accused child sex trafficker, in his cell unresponsive early saturday morning. the medical examiner has yet to certify a kaucause of death, bu early reporting has exposed missteps that are especially head scratching after epstein was found last month with marks around his neck. attorney general barr and prosecutors in new york promise their work on this case is not over. shimon prokupecz is with us in new york. shimon, the attorney general voicing his outrage but what more do we know about what went wrong and what happens next in this case? >> reporter: well, we know a lot that apparently based on our reporting went wrong in this facility while jeffrey epstein
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was there. it's very clear that based on what we now know that the guards were not doing what they were supposed to be doing. so let's look at that. first of all, according to our reporting, the guards were supposed to check on jeffrey epstein every 30 minutes. it appears that that did not take place in this case. the other thing that we've learned is that jeffrey epstein, because of his previous suicide attempt, he was not supposed to be in the jail cell alone. he was supposed to be there with another inmate. and for whatever reason, the jail had him alone in this cell. so these are two big irregularities, i suppose, concerning the attorney general and concerning what he said this morning. we don't know what else perhaps the attorney general knows and what else the jail may not have followed. but these two things certainly stand out to people we've talked to. they say that it appears that the guards were not doing what they were supposed to be doing. now, some of the people are saying that the prison, the jail, that is, they don't have
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enough guards. the guards there, the employees are overworked. we know that at least one of the guards that was overseeing jeffrey epstein was on overtime, mandated overtime over several days, so fatigue perhaps could have been a factor here. so we don't know a lot of what else was going on. we don't know if these guards simply fell asleep or something else was going on there. but two big glaring issues that i think the department of justice is going to investigate. the other concern here, obviously, is why was jeffrey epstein taken off suicide watch? within a week after his attempt the last time the guards decided, the jail decided that they were going to, you know, take him off suicide watch. they say that they had daily assessed him, they talked to him, he seemed fine so they took him off suicide watch. we don't know why that is. so that is another big question in all of this, john. >> shimon prokupecz in new york, appreciate the new reporting. epstein's apparent suicide does
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deserve serious investigation, but the president never one to wait on the facts. the president retweeting a conspiracy theory alleging the death wasn't a suicide at all but a murder orchestrated by the clintons. now, there is absolutely no evidence of that, absolutely no evidence of that and no evidence that implicates the clintons in any of the heinous crimes attributed to epstein. with me today to share their reporting and their insights, julie pace, evan perez, shawna thomas and karen demersion. i want to come back to the president and his behavior, i'll leave it for now. let's listen first to the attorney general. he says we'll get to the bottom of this and someone is going pay. >> we will get to the bottom of what happened, and there will be accountability. but let me assure you that this case will continue on against anyone who was complicit with
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epstein. any co-conspirators should not rest easy. the victims deserve justice and they will get it. >> what do we know about that, in the sense that epstein's victims very much wanted this trial. >> yes. >> for closure. and to have him held accountable for his heinous reprehensible crimes. that doesn't happen. he obviously can't cooperate now and name names, so what happens? >> right, exactly. so he is obviously -- was a very valuable witness in this case. you know, it is the nightmarish scenario for prosecutors because at the very least they were hoping that perhaps over time working with his lawyers they could perhaps reach an arrangement whereby he could plead and then name names about everybody else. one of the first things people at the justice department thought when we learned about this over the weekend was, you know, this is going to make this a lot harder. the idea that you have co-conspirator who say might be breathing easier because of this is outrageous to the prosecutors
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here. so i think they're going to try their best, but, you know, make no mistake, this is a devastating blow to this case. >> and for the attorney general, that investigation -- you know, there are a lot of conspiracy theories out there included some retweeted by the president. we'll get to those in a second. is this simply a case of incompetence at this correctional center or is it worse? >> we don't know yet but at the very least it's embarrassing. this is an incredibly high-profile man who was in jail who we know attempted suicide at least once before. this is not a situation that people were not aware of. it's not a situation that you shouldn't have had really intense attention on and made sure that you were following protocol to the letter. regardless of what we eventually find out, it's clear that didn't happen. >> he was getting daily psychological evaluations after the first alleged attempt, right? so i mean there's multiple failures of the system here. and the mcc as it's called is
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supposed to be the gem of the system. the most high-profile terrorists, el chapo is there. there's a lot of high-profile prisoners who are brought there, and they're brought there for a reason because of the tight security and because of the conditions. it is viewed as a very secure, very safe facility. and so for this to happen is the worst. >> it seems in some ways insane. epstein is the reason a cabinet secretary had to step down, so there has been all of this attention on him. you said we're going to get to the president later. there are things the president could have called other attention to. like is there a problem with staffing in prisons in the bureau of prisons? there is a problem with staffing, we know that. there are so many other things we could be tackling with this but apparently we're going to tackle the clintons. >> he's been president for more than two years now so he's accountable for that. he is accountable. the attorney general short on the job, he is accountable even though he's been at the justice department a couple of months.
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instead the president retweets a whack job conspiracy theory. it's not the first time. we all know the history, president obama was not a citizen. president obama wiretapped the trump tower. hillary clinton had all these illegal immigrants come out and vote for her. the list goes on, we could spend the hour on it. i ask this question yet again knowing there's not a good answer. why? >> it's too easy not to when it's staring you in the face on twitter and the president likes to gravitate for anything that looks bad for what he considers his long-term political opponents. this is not a shocking thing but it's not that surprising of a thing if you consider that the president had "lock her up" cheers. >> is that our fault, that because it happens so often, there he goes again. imagine barack obama doing this, imagine hillary clinton doing this repeatedly, imagine george w. bush, george h.w. george w. bush, ronald reagan, any american president doing this. >> we are still covering it and
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therein lies the rub in this. should we be covering it because are we helping spread the conspiracy theory but also our president is putting this out here. so i do have some ideological issues in my brain right now about what is the right way to talk about this. >> are we supposed to ignore it because he's crazy or because he's the president of the united states and this is an official government statement when he uses twitter. >> the american voters knew this was a reality tv show star that we put in the white house. so again, i don't watch a lot of reality tv but i'm told that it's a thing you do. you stir stuff. i'm not going to use the word, but that's what you do to get more attention. >> the crazier the better. >> the crazier the better. >> it works. he's the president of the united states. an employee of his, a senior official at hud, housing and urban development department, lynn patton, tweeted hillaried. vns foster part 2. most days i wouldn't mention that. but this is a person who gets paid by the taxpayers. if anyone at this table did
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this, we would be fired like that. >> to evan's point, one of the complications in all of this is that this is a -- this is something that the president and people around him have been doing for years, before he came into public office. people are aware of this. do they care? i mean that -- i think that is a very real question. do people care that the president of the united states traffics frequently in conspiracy theories? the results of the 2016 election show that enough people didn't care and he is going to do this going forward in 2020 probably do an even greater level. it's not just conspiracy theories, it's general misinformation. i do think we have a responsibility to call that out. but to shawna's point i think there is inherent tension on this on how much calling this out spreads it even further. >> this case does present some very unusual circumstances. jim comey's daughter is a prosecutor who is on this case so it just adds to do -- all of the circumstances for conspiracy theories to just launch. and the president is just going along for the ride.
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>> but unlike the time when the original vince foster conspiracy theory came out, but two, social media is so big and spreads so fast. there is a valid conversation about social media's role in this. what is the responsibility of these companies to stop this kid of stuff. that is a larger conversation happening with congress right now. but at some point we will turn to, wait, what is their responsibility? >> i can't even speak the words. it would be nice if the president decided to lead the effort not contributing to the mess. as the 2020 democrats descend on iowa, questions emerge about joe biden an his gaffes. if you have a question for any of the reporters at the table, tweet us using #insidepolitics. we might answer your question at the end of the show. we'll be right back. and swimming pools, public cafes, bars and bistros even pet care services. and there's never been an easier way to get great advice.
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so call now. . welcome back. it was to say the least an eventful weekend in iowa for the 2020 democratic presidential hopefuls, stops at the state fair, a forum on gun violence and the wing ding, a democratic fund-raising event. kamala harris is still there today finishing up a bus tour meant to show she plans to make a strong play in the kickoff caucus state. >> this five-day bus tour has been about just five continuous days of being able to, frankly, go to places where there may not be an airport but there are people who deserve to be heard and seen. i'm really enjoying it. >> one big takeaway from the
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busy weekend are new questions for joe biden. he made several verbal gaffes during his iowa visit and the debate is whether it's just joe being joe or whether it could undermine his standing atop the field. jeff zeleny is joining us now from des moines. jeff, what is the take out there in iowa? is it just biden being biden or are there serious questions about his viability? >> reporter: john, there's no question that every democratic voter we talked to, and we've talked to a lot of them out here for the last several days, they all admire joe biden. they talk in very positive and glowing terms about joe biden. but there is a divide about whether he is the strongest nominee for the party to take on the president. i mean he is supported by about 30% of voters here, according to the latest monmouth university poll here in iowa. that of course is the front of the pack. that also means that 7 in 10 voters choose some where else. so i think the assessment here, when you talk to voters, they do not mention the gaffes nearly as much as the party officials, as the chattering class, if you
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will. the people that like joe biden really like him and are committed to him. there are others frankly who are looking for younger candidates, a new generation, new ideas, a woman. many democratic voters say now is the time for that. of course there are many options. so i think people who like biden are not bothered by these gaffes at all. others are concerned about is he going to be the strongest candidate to take on the president. but, john, when you do talk to voters who have seen joe biden, they are not nearly as focused on these individual word things. they all bring up what about the president? what about president trump and what he says? but there's no question if the biden campaign has to continually apologize every time he has a whirlwind trip out here, that's going to occupy a lot of space. for now, john, i think it's more of a chattering class story. voters, the ones who like him, they really like him. john. >> six months till the first votes. we shall see how it plays out. appreciate the live reporting. are you ever coming back? we'll see. >> reporter: we'll see.
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>> we'll see is right. josh joins our conversations. welcome to the program. people say, well, he's 76, is he just slipping up a little bit, or is it a guy when he ran for president back in the late '80s was doing things like this. >> you had people like margaret -- excuse me, you had people like the former chairman and leader of the party in germany, you had angela merkel stand up and say how terrible it was. >> we had this notion that somehow if you're poor, you cannot do it. poor kids are just as bright and just as talented as white kids, wealthy kids, black kids, asian kids. i really mean it. i watch what happened when those kids from parkland came up to see me when i was vice president. and some of you covered it. you watch what happened when they went up in the halls of congress. >> he was gone from office when parkland happened. he did meet with some of the
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victims, the survivors of parkland, but it was after he was out of office. what do we make of this or do we not know? >> i don't think we know. like jeff was saying, we talk to voters all the time and they do want to get past -- they don't bring up the gaffes. when he bring it up to them, they have responses like jeff said. but there were people clapping in that room when he mentioned poor kids are just as good as white kids line. it reminded me in chicago right after the first debate when he said something about kids in hoodies could be nobel laureates. the people that really like him are willing to look past some of these statements. >> we mentioned the chattering class is often wrong. good reporters at the table. 2016 trump can't win the nomination, trump won't run, trump can't be president because that's what's before you. david axelrod who knows joe biden very well, part of the
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process that got biden on the ticket as vice president. he's always been prone to gaffes. that was true in his 40s, 50s and 60s. the difference is people are looking for signs of potential deterioration. gaffes that could be written off as joe being joe can become much more damaging to him. is that an age issue there or is it more to me, to jeff's point and josh's point about voters don't process the individual gaffes. is this the guy i want on a debate stage with trump? >> i think that's the thing that voters are focused on. we all hear this when we talk to voters. they care much more about who can beat trump, who will be best on the debate stage than any one policy or any one real moment. the challenge that biden faces, right now if you look at polling, he is shown to be the person that most democrats think can beat trump. do these moments chip away at that over time? is there going to be a tipping point for him on this? and i do think that the age question, again, when you talk to voters, there is some concern about age.
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he is 76 years old. do they think that at some point on a debate stage with trump in a rally that he says something that gives trump that opening, and they are so desperate, democrats are so desperate to put the best candidate up and they are weighing all of these factors. >> and looking at the polling, he is atop the field but the monmouth poll has biden at 28. elizabeth warren a huge jump up to 19%. harris at 11%. sanders at 9%. buttigieg at 8%. if you look at the history, iowa is quicksand for front-runners. you can ask hillary clinton that question and other democratic front-runners. if you're biden, that's a good number now but you've got to grow or at least hold. if you're having conversations about, oh, did i mess this up or saying i'm sorry, that doesn't help. >> one of the things that's hard for joe biden is that a lot of the country has decided how they feel about joe biden, which is part of why we're not seeing his numbers move that much. but if they are going to move, it's hard to believe they won't move down because someone has decided, oh, i'm more interested
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in elizabeth warren's message or i haven't considered bernie sanders or something like that. so he has to be careful of that. the gaffes play into the narrative that president trump wants to tell about joe biden. and that's something that one of our reporters for, he heard a democratic operative in iowa sort of say that to him. the question and what i'm looking for is do the other candidates on the democratic side start to hit joe biden over this or is that a step too far for them? if that starts to happen, then he really does have to deal with it because you can push off trump for a little while and say you also said toledo last week. >> one of the things that makes this hard for the democratic candidates is joe biden does have a reservoir of good will. you have to walk a really fine line if you're a democrat. he's an elder statesman, a beloved figure in this party who people have watched through through tragedy in this life. for other democrats to take him on is really tricky. >> kyung lah asked senator
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harris and she said ask joe biden about that. the other candidates are hoping that gravity takes hold. you saw harris out there on a five-day bus tour. senator warren going like. this you're watching warren do this and thinking, whoa, she's well organized in iowa. if she can somehow win or be in the top one or two in iowa and move on to home territory, new hampshire next to massachusetts, that's the most interesting dynamic in the democratic race right now. >> yeah. it's very interesting that we started off this race saying, oh, warren might be too polarizing for the general election and biden is definitely the best person. that was based on assumptions and conjecture, what we know about them from the past and where their basic bases lie. in the interim, we've seen the shift happen in those polls since they have been speaking on those debate stages and actually been challenging each other and warren has had better debate appearances than joe biden has. she's gotten a rise whereas biden is not the master debater. i think people were picturing him on a stage against trump appeared you've seen that
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reflected somewhat. not everybody is watching poll numbers but if you have a ground game and personal appeal that happens to match up with that debate presence and that continues into iowa, then we could see things shift dramatically and those presumptions at the beginning of the race be challenged. >> it's hard for any candidate, any candidate to sustain momentum for four or five months into iowa. it will be snowing before we can answer any of these questions. up next, the trump administration targets legal immigration in a new move that could drastically impact green cards and visas. ♪ applebee's handcrafted burgers now with endless fries starting at $7.99. now that's eatin' good in the neighborhood.
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the trump administration is widening its crackdown on immigration today, this time targeting legal immigration. a new regulation released this morning advances the administration goal of restricting new legal immigration, making it easier to reject green card and visa applications if the government deems it unlikely applicants can support themselves. immigrants already here in the united states legally could be denied permanent status if they accept food stamps or government housing assistance. critics have filed a lawsuit to challenge the new rule. at the white house today the act acting director, ken cuccinelli, defended it. >> if people are not able to be self-sufficient, then this negative factor will bear very heavily against them in a decision about whether they'll be able to become a legal permanent resident. a poor person can be prepared to be self-sufficient.
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many have been through the history of this country. so let's not look at that as the be all and end all. it's not the deciding factor, which is why we continue to use the totality of circumstances test. >> priscilla alvarez joins our conversation. help me through the details here. if you are legally in the united states and you are applying for permanent status and you accept government assistance, general assistance, welfare, supplemental security income, supplemental nutrition assistance program, medicaid, subsidized housing, the government can say, never mind, you're not self-sufficient, you've got to go? >> we've got to break this down because it's an incredibly complicated regulation that they put out today. it is more than 800 pages. as you mentioned, it really widens the scope of who is considered a public charge. both in the u.s. applying for these different visas, green cards and those coming to the u.s. it really gives a lot of discretion to the officers to decide who is going to be a public charge. so who is going to rely on
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government assistance to be here in the u.s. really cuccinelli's remarks is the crux of the administration's argument here, which is they want immigrants to be self-sufficient. public charge has existed in the current regulations that we have dating back three decades. but what we're doing here is widening it. so there are more programs, for example, housing vouchers that will play into and factor into whether an immigrant is going to be relying on government assistance. >> public charge has existed. now they're widening number one. number two, it's always the case, it's the emphasis. what does any given administration at any given time want to emphasize. which rules do they want to enforce. >> basically what this does, it changes -- could change the face of legal immigration in this country where it would put the emphasis on people who are able to be in this country who would be wealthier, who would be better educated, who would stand a better chance of having a job that could -- where they could provide all services for themselves or their family.
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what you hear from immigration advocates is that really goes against the foundation of this country, which is to be a place where people can come and seek -- legally to seek, to move here to immigrate here if they are coming from a place where they didn't have as many economic opportunities, where they are poor, where they are looking for a better home for their families. so it is a really, i think, what you do hear from immigration, it could undercut the foundation of immigration in this country. >> this has long been a goal of stephen miller, the president's white house advisor on domestic policy issues, primarily immigration is his calling card. it's going to question who's in charge because of the turnover at all these agencies who's calling the shots. in this case is it fair to say stephen miller is calling the shots? >> it seems to be. they have been working on the public charge and magnifying that rule for a while. this is something that stephen miller definitely, definitely wanted to do. but this puts a focus on who we want in this country and who do
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we not want in this country. at a week where latinos were targeted at a walmart and we had 600 people swept up in the mississippi raids and then this, one, there's real fear in the latino community right now just in general that they are targeted, whether by the administration or someone else. and, two, if you feel that way, then you start to believe that you're not wanted here. and that is an impression that this administration seems to be giving over and over and over again. i think that cannot be denied. >> to that point you have this new rule now which could potentially change dramatically the face of legal immigration and affect people who are in the country legally to get status. and then you have raids. the moment that went viral was this 11-year-old girl talking about her dad. and on sunday mark morgan, acting customs and border patrol was defending it. let's just show the moments. >> i need my dad. my dad didn't do nothing. he's not a criminal. >> i understand that the girl is upset and i get that.
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but her father committed a crime. and just so the american people know also is that girl, her mother was home and she was reunited with her mother within a few hours that night. >> a tough moment. >> yeah. one of the things that i think is interesting is we're seeing kind of laid out thing after thing after thing that we're seeing play out in the immigration space and on the campaign trail when you look at these democratic candidates, it's moved them from a place of not just looking to draw that moral contrast with what the president is doing but they're actually starting to put out robust plans on what they would do. elizabeth warren, you know, running as the queen of policy didn't have an immigration plan rollout until a few weeks ago. you saw cory booker come out with an idea about ending detention facilities as we know it. so i do think that the candidates, the democrats running for president are starting to move a little bit. just in march they were not offering -- >> and to that point it's fascinating. the republicans want to focus on those democrats who support giving health care to the
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undocumented because they believe that's unpopular. apallishing i.c.e. now a couple of the presidential candidates have said that. if you look on the numbers should the government's top pry tore tee be to develop legal pathways for those in the country or deport them, develop legal pathways tests off the charts. you would think very safe ground for the democrats. however, the president believes that it motivates his base to vote. that that may be universal public person, 80%. 80% in america that's a wow. but he believes it motivates his base to turn out and that's one of the reasons. they believe, some of them in the administration believe in these policies. but the reason they're happening now is connected to the calendar. >> and to that end as you mentioned, public charge is something that they proposed months ago and had to work through the process to get it where it is today. we'll continue to see the administration roll out immigration policies and the raids, work site enforcement raids that we saw last week and that will ramp up. >> again, some of the numbers, you have to be a contrarian to
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understand their view. but the president believes it motivates his people other than the other side. up next, anthony scaramucci says a trump meltdown is happening before our very eyes, and he says republicans better do something about it. did ow you can save mon by using dish soap to clean grease on more than dishes? try dawn ultra. dawn is for more than just dishes. with 3x more grease cleaning power per drop, it tackles tough grease on a variety of surfaces. try dawn ultra. ...and it's now on sale fors and just $59.ories. it can lead you on an unexpected journey... discover your heritage. get your dna kit (now) for just $59 at today's senior living communities have never been better,
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topping our political radar today, the attorney general, william barr, says the trump administration next month will propose legislation that would make mass shootings a capital crime. speaking at a policing conference in new orleans today, barr says the new law will also make killing a police officer punishable by death. the attorney general says he's been directed by president trump to develop strategies and measures to address mass
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shootings, that in the wake of last week's deadly attacks in dayton and el paso. those tragedies in ohio and texas have much of the country demanding action from the congress. various proposals for curbing gun violence are on the table but it's not clear which ones have a realistic chance of going anywhere when lawmakers return from their august recess. one of the latest from chuck schumer. he says anyone who tries to buy body armor should have to pass an fbi background check. manu raju joins us now from capitol hill. manu, what's real and what is talk in the idea of will congress vote on specific proposals? >> reporter: well, there's going to be a lot of push to get bills voted on. the house judiciary committee will come back a week early but that's not until early september to take up bills. probably most of them will not become law. one bill that does have a chance of getting through both chambers is so-called red-flag legislation. that's legislation, different versions of that particular bill, but one that's being talked about would give grants, federal grants to states and localities to give them the
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authority to develop laws. so law enforcement and others could come in and prevent people from getting access to guns if they are considered safety risks. but other issues such as background checks legislation, which is going to be pushed on, is very uncertain its future. the democrats in the house have been trying to get senate republicans to take up a bill that they passed in their chamber to provide universal background checks. that bill may get a vote in the senate eventually, but that is almost certainly likely to fall well short of the 60 votes needed to overcome a republican filibuster. there are other background checks, the manchin-toomey bill which is narrower than the house-passed bill but the manchin-toomey bill has had its problems in the past and did not pass in the aftermath of the sandy hook massacre and failed in 2013. so what they can get behind remains to be seen. this chamber is in recess and there's no indication the
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republicans will come back and so this will not materialize until the fall session so it could take weeks and weeks to play out and the outcome of these bills certainly unknown. >> in the past those weeks and weeks have dropped the impetus, if you will, the political will to get it done. manu, appreciate that. the former trump communications director, anthony scaramucci, is taking his spat with the president up a notch by comparing the president's tenure to the world's worst nuclear disaster. scaramucci says he no longer supports his former boss's bid for re-election and republicans should consider replacing him on the 2020 ticket. their predicament not unlike the one depicted in the hbo series "chernobyl" when soviet party bosses tried to cover up how serious that crisis was. >> how are we all tolerating it? to me a couple more weeks like this, i really do believe there will be a groundswell in the party where people say, hey, the policies are great, but you're setting us up the way jimmy
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carter set up the democratic party where they went into the wilderness for 40 years. if you saw the chernobyl series, it did not end well. we're in the first two episodes now. let's see how this thing unfolds. >> huh? >> not to challenge his wisdom, but it's kind of the opposite way. we were talking about that earlier in the show. there's so much that's out there that we're inured to the impact of anything trump says. it's kind of the opposite of when the ussr was keeping everything very close. but the fact that he's saying anything -- >> he wants to be on television which is why he says provocative things. he was once in the inner circle now on the outs. i don't think the republican party will listen to anthony scaramucci. when we come back, there was one democrat conspicuously missing this weekend, at home in el paso because of tragedy. ♪ boom goes the dynamite, ♪ feels like i'm taking flight. ♪ [sfx: poof] [sfx: squeaking eraser sound effect.]
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beto o'rourke skipped iowa this weekend to stay at home in el paso. the former congressman is struggling in the democratic race so skipping big events in iowa was a risk, but he said it was much more important to be home, to help el paso deal with the horrific mass shootings. a presidential candidate whose campaign was stalled was suddenly back in the spotlight but only because of a tragedy in a city that is core to his personal and political identity. o'rourke's response to the shooting includes very harsh criticism of president trump. >> people in el paso told me they didn't want to see the president and didn't want him to come here. donald trump is dangerous to the future of america and will destroy what makes us so unique and so special and the genius that we represent to ourselves
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and to the rest of the world. so i appeal to my fellow americans to choose a candidate who will bring this very divided and highly polarized country together. >> it's a somewhat awkward conversation in the sense that you don't want to minimize for a second the pain in el paso and the former congressman's i think decent decision to be at home, to be part of these events. whether you support him or not, he wanted to be at home, not in iowa giving a speech. but it comes at an interesting moment for a guy who is running for president and a lot of people whispering in his ear why don't you drop out and run for senate. >> absolutely. el paso is so core to who beto o'rourke is, what his political career has been about, this idea of a city that is majority minority city. in some ways what appears to be the motivation behind this shooting also really goes to that whole ethos. this idea of someone who went there, drove to el paso, to
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target immigrants, to target mexicans. it has given o'rourke, though he certainly wouldn't have wished for this opportunity, it has given him this opportunity to really reclaim that core message of his campaign as somebody who would campaign and govern as someone who is more respectful to immigrants, more tolerant of immigrants and more just understanding of the idea of immigrants' place in this country than certainly president trump. >> but i think some of what we're seeing working here for him is that he authentically feels something about el paso and what happened, and sort of in that first 24 hours, there was that interaction with the media where someone asked him about president trump and he kind of went off. like you were like, oh, that's the real beto o'rourke that we saw in the 2018 election during his senate race. that is a real human being. and this authenticity, this is one thing that president trump has made very, very clear, is people appreciate authenticity. and even if you don't believe everything the president says, you feel like that is him.
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i feel like the beto o'rourke i've been seeing in all of these interviews is him. it's also why the andrew yang moment worked this weekend too. >> that's an interesting point. the numbers are the numbers so that's what's hard for beto o'rourke. in national polls he's at 2%. in iowa he's less than 1%. in south carolina he's 1%. there is a growth, you've seen all these retirements from house republicans in texas. there's this thought that maybe beto, after coming close against ted cruz, could beat john cornyn. he says no, i'm running for president when asked to respond to those pushing a senate bid. this community holds so much for the rest of the country, whether it's immigration, whether it's our safety, whether it's our connection. whether it's the fact that we're on the front line of so many issues that can and will define america. to both of your points, he believes el paso is the future of america and he's very authentic and passionate about it. he has until december 9th to make a decision about texas, but he seems pretty adamant. >> and that gives him a lot of time. if he becomes the candidate that
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takes the gun control message on as his character now and on the debate stage, if he becomes the candidate that becomes the most listened to one on immigration, maybe he does have a catapulting moment off of this. it could give him that sort of moment. he has a few more times to test that out and see if he's able to deliver that message on a national stage in a way that people hear it that makes his numbers bump up. if it doesn't work, he still has time. the irony is, though, for the democratic party to talk about the gun control message, to talk about the immigration message really, really works. unclear in a state that's as mixed politically as texas, if those are the same messages that would play to his advantage in a senate race. >> i'd also like to say he also said he wasn't running for president too. >> things change. up next, we asked you to send some questions. next we answer them. my insurance rates are probably gonna double.
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welcome back. we asked you to tweet us some questions. let's try to get to them quickly here. i feel cory booker is a very strong candidate to face off against president trump. why are his powing numbers so low and what can he do to bring up his polling numbers? >> i think he's got a pretty impressive iowa operations. the two with impressive iowa operations are elizabeth warren, cory booker. maybe he'll get a shot. >> this from tyler payton. assuming the 2020 field will be whittled down by the third deba debate, who in the lower tier of the field are you looking for make a big splash.
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now, we mentioned beto o'rourke. he has confidence. maybe he gets a splash if the field shrinks. who else? >> i think booker is a good one to look at. i think we're looking at him in the bottom tier. i'm looking to see if there's another moderate, maybe michael bennett, maybe amy klobuchar. there is part of this party that leans towards the moderates and joe biden has taken up that space all to himself. >> and if to joe biden's point, nathan price tweets if biden has a big stumble in the next debate, who's in the best position to get some of his voters? >> i think it depends on what those voters are looking for, but we've seen his numbers drop slightly and elizabeth warren's go up. bernie sanders and elizabeth warren are competing. but i think if biden stumbles, what happens is people start looking around. so i'm not sure it's one person gets it but everyone starts to get another consideration. >> no? >> shawna is absolutely right on that one. i think the first people to grab at it are the ones in the second and third place and that is sanders and warren.
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but as we see -- >> that's why harris is in iowa for five days. thanks for joining us for "inside politics." see you back here tomorrow. brianeannianne brianne -- brianna keilar starts right now. i'm brianna keel are live from cnn's washington headquarters. under way right now, he was one of the most high-profile inmates in america, so how could jeffrey epstein die by suicide behind bars, and what happens to his sex trafficking case now? president trump's former attack dog now the latest loyalist to make a public break from the commander in chief, saying republicans should replace him on the 2020 picket. plus, it's being called one of the worst nuclear accidents since chernobyl. did it happen during a nuclear missile test by russia designed to evade american defenses? in the wake of two mass shootings, a


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