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tv   This Week With George Stephanopoulos  ABC  May 1, 2022 8:00am-9:00am PDT

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"this week with george stephanopoulos" starts right now. breaking news -- >> our commitment is to be there for you until the fight is done. >> speaker pelosi meets ukraine's president in kyiv as president biden requests more aid and russia deploys more troops. >> the cost of this fight is not cheap. but caving to aggression will be more costly. >> ian pa annell is live. ukrainian ambassador oksana markarova, usaid administrator samantha power and congressman mccaul. elon musk's buying twitter is without exaggeration the most important development for free speech in decades. >> the world's richest man set to buy the social media giant. what wilpolisc >> the president has long been
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concerned about the power of large social media platforms. >> we break down the impact with "new york times" podcast host kara swisher and chief legal analyst dan abrams. and -- >> right now our job is to try and keep this on the rails until hopefully we get reinforcements in november. >> six months to the midterms, the first primary vote's about to be cast. this morning our brand-new abc news/"washington post" poll. plus all the week's politics on our powerhouse roundtable. >> from abc news it's "this week." here now george stephanopoulos. good morning and welcome to "this week." we're coming on the air this morning as our brand-new poll with "the washington post" shows president biden and the democrats closing the gap with republicans ahead of this year's midterms. they still face huge challenges. biden's jobs approval just 42%, a five-point improvement since february. and democrats have pulled even with the gop in projected mid-term ballot.
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both numbers still in the historical danger zone for the incumbent party. inflation, the key driver of discontent. the president is drawing better ratings for the handling of the war inhe wbeth thebrkis nancy pelosi and several other house democrats have toured kyiv with president zelenskyy, the first congressional delegation since the russian invasion. senior foreign correspondent ian pannell starts us off. good morning, ian. >> reporter: george, good morning from kharkiv, ukraine's second largest city. the russian border is only 15 miles away. they've occupied territory around kharkiv and they've been shelling the city pretty much indiscriminately since day one. ukraine needs all the help it can get in this war, and this morning america answered that call once again with a bold and really quite brave show of support from house speaker nancy pelosi who, as you say, came to kyiv. this morning in an unannounced visit house speaker nancy pelosi
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led a congressional delegation to meet with ukrainian president volodymyr zelenskyy in kyiv. in a show of solidarity pelosi, the highest ranking american official to visit ukraine since the start of the war, affirmed u.s. support for ukraine. >> -- your fight is a fight for everyone, and so our commitment is to be there for you until the fight is done. >> reporter: russia's all-out assault on eastern ukraine intensified this week but there are growing signs this may not be going to plan. this was the week the war returned to the capital, kyiv. russian missiles striking the heart of the city. there haven't been scenes like this in kyiv for weeks, fires raging as rescuers rush in to help the wounded. kyiv had been relatively quiet, calm enough for u.n. secretary-general antonio guterres to see the atrocities
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of war firsthand. >> there is no way a war can be acceptable in the 21st century. look at that. >> reporter: but just hours after guterres walked the street, russia fired multiple rockets into civilian areas. in the southern port city of mariupol civilians hiding out in the azovstal steel plant still under siege. the chaos after russians attacked a hospital inside the plant. citizens trapped amid intensive fighting. we saw demining teams in liberated villages near kyiv. more than 80,000 explosive devices have been found across ukraine since the war began. you can see here there are grenades, shells. these are anti-tank mines. these guys are working around the clock now to try to find them, collect them and detonate them and allow the people to come back into their homes. the trucks take the munitions deep into the woods and then this.
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the west military support for ukraine has been a leveller. the pentagon shipping more than half the howitzer long-range artillery guns pledged to ukraine. president biden asking congress for an additional $33 billion over the next five months. >> the cost of this fight is not cheap, but caving to aggression will be more costly. if we allow it to happen. >> reporter: while putin ramped up his rhetoric warning of strikes against arms shipments and making a thinly veiled reference to russia's arsenal of nuclear weapons. can isesa boast of having. this week the kremlin abruptly cut off natural gas supplies to poland and bulgaria, a move european leaders and president biden call blackmail. tensions now so high between the cold war adversaries it made a prisoner swap all the more extraordinary.
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former u.s. marine trevor reed held captive in russia nearly three years walking to his freedom on a tarmac in turkey. but the swap doesn't seem to be the start of a thawing relations. russia showing no signs of easing aggression. a u.s. defense official saying eastern assault is days behind schedule. ukraine may be going on the offensive. a series of mysterious explosions inside russia in three cities near the border. there was no claim of responsibility but an adviser to president zelenskyy saying simply calmer is a cruel thing. i think this war has entered a different phase. it looks to be a long, drawnout battle. progress is slow. it's described as plodding. there seems to be no realistic hope of any kind of breakthrough in peace talks perhaps because, above all, both sides sincerely believe they can win the war and neither side is ready to make any kind of concessions. george? >> ian pannell, thanks.
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we are joined by the ukraine ambassador to the united states, oksana markarova. thank you for joining us this morning. we've seen those reports of explosions in russia. should russia expect more attacks from ukraine? >> good morning, george, and thank you for having me. the 67th day of this brutal war and 67 days of our heroic resistance, and i think we would like to see russia withdrawing from ukraine. so when they bring to the country i don't know what they should expect. they definitely should consider leaving ukraine. >> so this war is going to go on for some time. they're not leaving. >> not yet. we only see that even after defeats in the north of kyiv, after all the war crimes became evident to everyone, rapes, tortures, destroyed cities, besieged mariupol, and even after everyone saw it and even after the courts as early as the
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16th of march, mandated to russia to stop the separation and leave, we do not see the change of their behavior. they are doubling down in the south and east of the country. they are still not letting civilians out or the wounded out of mariupol. unfortunately, we do not see the change of their behavior yet. >> are the russian forces turning the tide in this war? >> i don't think any of the objectives they have declared either in 2014 when they attacked ukraine for the first time or declared on the 24th of february when they started this bloody phase of the war and attack on ukraine, none of their objectives are met. they are trying to scare ukrainians. they are trying to scare the world. the fact and the truth is that ukrainians are not afraid and our president and all ukrainians are bravely defending our country, and the world is not afraid. we have seen how the u.s. has
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been leading the support, how all the democratic worlds united around ukraine. for us there is no question that they will win. we have to win and we will win. the question is how many of the brave ukrainians will we lose winning this war. >> one sign of that support from the west is the visit of house speaker nancy pelosi and the congressional delegation with president zelenskyy today. what more can you tell us about that visit? >> well, we're very happy that right after a visit of secretary blinken and after the visit of our prime minister here, it was a special delight to see madam speaker with the delegation in kyiv meeting with our president. i think it's yet a sign of a very strong support that ukraine has here in the united states. we feel and we know that americans, our brothers and sisters in this fight for freedom for democracy, and as we
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review in the united states the next package of support to ukraine, which president biden submitted recently to congress, i believe it's very symbolic that speaker pelosi visited ukraine. >> there appears to be support for that $33 billion aid package. what more do you need? >> well, we need all the assistance we can get in defensive weapons, in military support, in financial support, but also in humanitarian support. and i think this request covers all of this area. so we look forward to discussing it. we look forward to congress approving it because this is everything we need on the ground very much. we're counting on the u.s. in this. >> we're now in the third month of this war. when this began, did you believe it would go on this long? >> well, you know, this attack from russia, our country eperienced for the past 400 years. sometimes it was full-fledged
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wars like now. sometimes it was occupation and oppressions. so this is not something unfamiliar to us but i think it has been an eye opening two months for the world. so, of course, we are trying and we're doing everything possible on the battlefield but the diplomatic front to stop this war as soon as possible. but as this war was started by russians, it has to be ended by russians, and we really hope they will make the decision faster but regardless of when they will make a decision ukrainians will not surrender. ukrainians will not give up. we're tired after this horrible destruction. we're mourning the people we have lost. but we will not stop and we will defend our country to the victory. >> based on what you said at the beginning of this interview, does any diplomatic solution require russia to completely withdraw from ukraine? >> well, i don't think there could be any other solution.
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it's a very black and white situation. it's russia that crossed the border first in 2014 and now in 2022 again, and ukraine is a peaceful sovereign country and we are fighting. we don't need anything that is not ours but we need to restore the territorial integrity and the sovereignty of our country and we owe it to the people who bravely defend our country and the people who have fallen defending our country. >> ambassador, thanks very much for your time this morning. >> thank you very much, george. and thank you to all journalists for bravely helping us. >> thank you. we are now joined by the usaid administrator samantha power. thank you for joining us this morning. you heard ambassador markarova say she believes the ukrainians are holding their own against the russians right now. i know you're just back from the region. your impression? >> well, i mean, the courage is breathtaking and has inspired the world, mobilizing a degree
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of solidarity not only among democratic nations but among countries that the last time around when russia invaded back in 2014 stood on the sidelines. you see that reflected in the overwhelmingly lopsided u.n. general assembly votes condemning russian aggression. i think our job as humanitarians is to make sure that the massive numbers of people who have been displaced by russian brutality and by this aggression that those people have their food, their medical and other needs met. we're doing that, of course, when they cross borders into europe through unhcr and the support of those frontline nations, but also in the slightly more peaceful parts of ukraine that have not suffered the hand-to-hand combat we saw in places like kyiv and now liberated areas, those areas the ambassador mentioned, when the kyiv.nians won the battle of -
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lots of destruction, mines and all kinds of food and medical needs were left in their wake. and being sure we can support organizations to sweep in there and get markets up and running as quickly as possible so they can resume what passes for normalcy even as the fight now moves to the east and remains in the south. >> can ukraine's neighbors handle this influx? >> they're handling it remarkably well. part of that, george, the european union has rallied with massive financial support, but they basically said you have access to schools, to health care, to benefits. come. we'll take care of you. you're european, we'll treat you like europeans. the bigger challenges lie within ukraine. it goes without saying that in places like mariupol that haven't been reached by meaningful humanitarian assistance in two months where you have people dying of starvation, of dehydration,
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where you have seen images this week of babies wearing diapers that are plastic bags taped together as diapers and women in the steel plant wearing the uniforms of steel plant workers, shaking, having been injured, no access to trauma care. those are the true horrors that are being perpetrated right now. i think in europe, again, where there's more infrastructure and where you don't have that destruction, the key is it's women and children who have crossed over leaving their men behind so the longer term questions how those individuals are integrated or choose to go back to ukraine sooner or later is what we're watching. >> we're seeing the impact spread beyond ukraine, beyond ukraine's neighbors, beyond europe. global food shortages around the world. as the administrator for u.s. agency for international development, what can be done to address those shortages? >> thank you for posing that question. it is just another catastrophic
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effect of putin's unprovoked invasion of ukraine. i mean, as if the harms in ukraine weren't enough, you have countries like in sub-saharan africa and in the middle east who get maybe 80%, 930% of their wheat or grain overall from russia and ukraine. and you see massive spikes in food prices. food prices right now, george, globally are up 34% from where they were a year ago. aided substantially, again, by this invasion. we've gone to congress asking for a substantial increase in humanitarian assistance and to be able to meet those needs we're also active, of course, in more than 80 countries around the world, well and apart from this crisis. so we're working with farmers to also increase their production so that you actually have more supply brought on market. fertilizer shortages are real now because russia is a big exporter of fertilizer. even though fertilizer is not
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sanctioned, less fertilizer is coming out of russia. as a result we're working with countries to think of natural solutions like manure and compost and this may hasten transitions that would have been in the interest of farmers to make anyway. never let a crisis go to waste but we do need this financial support from the congress to be able to meet emergency food needs so we don't see the cascading deadly effects of russia's war extend into africa and beyond. >> listening to you lay out these consequences it's hard not to conclude that in some respects this has become something of a world war. >> certainly in terms of effects, not confined to the horrors the ukrainian people are suffering. but our job is to look at it globally. we want, also, to maintain the global unity i mentioned at the beginning and that everybody has seen and russia tries to take advantage of this and say, oh, it's the sanctions that are causing the high food prices.
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not at all. it is russians' invasion of ukraine for no reason and its unwillingness to come to the negotiating table and get out of ukraine and get back to russia. that is what is causing these cascading effects. we want to meet those effects but continue to ensure that pressure is put on the russian federation through economic sanctions and through the security assistance so they finally negotiate a peace. >> ambassador power, thanks for your time this mornings. >> thanks, george. we are joined by the top republican and the house foreign affairs committee, michael mccaul. i want to start with the speaker's visit to ukraine this morning with the congressional delegation expressing support for the aid package. i know you expressed your own support as well. do you expect this to pass relatively quickly through the congress? >> yes, i do. i think time is of the essence. the next two to three weeks are going to be very pivotal and very decisive in this war and i
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don't think we have a lot of time to waste in congress. i wish we had this a little bit sooner, but we have it now. if i were speaker for a day i would call congress back into session, back into work as we're not -- we won't be in session next week. but every day we don't send them more weapons is a day where more people will be killed and a day where they could lose this war. i think they can win it, but we have to give them the tools to do it. >> i was just going to ask you that question. do you think they can win the war? i guess i'll follow up by asking, what does winning mean? >> the narrative initially, george, it would be over in four days and they would have a puppet government in kyiv. putin went for everything. he miscalculated. and we saw the ukrainians win there. and then it was, well, we can help them defend themselves. now the narrative is, everyone i've talked to and i've been to
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the region twice, they can actually win this war. and i think that should be the goal. i was pleased to hear secretary austin and blinken echo that thought. they can actually win. i think a win would be to go on the offensive in donbas with this artillery we're giving them, the howitzers and lethal drones and push them out. they're trying to also bomb odesa this is an attempt to seal off the black sea, you know, all the way from the donbas/mariupol crimea into odesa and then cut off the black sea and choke ukraine. we have to stop that. the uk has done a great job with anti-ship weapons in odesa. they actually downed a russian warship with their own neptune, which is really phenomenal and has been inspirational. i do think the fighting spirit and morale of the ukrainians is
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far superior to the morale of the russian soldier right now. >> how about the concerns these attacks on russia could have maybe even retaliation with nuclear weapons? >> that's always a concern. the short range tactical nukes, we discussed that with nato when i was there. they brought the butcher of syria in to fight the second phase of this war. he's a very frightening man. he dropped barrel busting bombs in syria on civilians and chemical weapons with assad in syria to kill civilians. what would happen if a chemical weapon was dropped on ukraine and/or a short-range tactical nuke? the question there is would the world idly sit back and watch that happen without doing anything? >> what should we do?
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>> i just find it hard to believe when i talk to the secretary-general of nato, their job is really to defend nato not trigger article 5. but in my judgment that's beyond the pale, that crosses a red line. and i think if that happens, we would have to respond in kind. >> congressman mccaul, thanks for your time this morning. >> thank you, george. roundtable is coming up. plus, as elon musk moves to take over twitter, what changes are in store for the social media giant? kara swisher and dan abrams weigh in next. see him? he's not checkin' the stats. he's finding some investment ideas with merrill. eyes on the ball baby. digital tools so impressive, you just can't stop. what would you like the power to do? ( ♪♪ ) ( ♪♪ )
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twitter is without exaggeration the most important development for free speech in decades. big tech is an existential threat to free speech and free and fair elections in america. >> what all this boils down to is power. who is going to have the power in our country? is this going to be elon musk all by himself off in a room a bazillionaire who plays by his own set of rules? >> the world's richest man set to take control of twitter, promising big changes for the platform's free speech policies, we discuss what this means for the company, its users, and our civic discourse with kara swisher and dan abrams after this report from business and economics correspondent deirdre bolton. >> reporter: it's a $44 billion bet from the world's richest man sparking both delight and disdain from his more than 80 million followers. in just a matter of weeks elon musk pursued and closed a massive deal to buy twitter. the ceo of tesla motors and
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spacex selling $8.5 billion of his personal stock in tesla to help finance the takeover. on friday twitter stock closed at $49.02, lower than musk's offer of $54.20 per share, a sign wall street believes he's overpaying for the platform. >> i think everybody's question initially is elon musk serious about this? is this a joke? >> reporter: his plans for twitter anyone's guess. reports suggest he's considering layoffs or a move to a subscription model. musk describes himself as a free speech absolutist and if all guardrails are removed from twitter many say that will not work for the company's bottom line. >> there's all these questions that social media companies have been confronting the past 15 years of what does it actually mean to promote free expression but also create a place where everybody can truly have a say and also feel free. >> reporter: twitter co-founder
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and former ceo jack dorsey spent years trying to improve what he calls the health of the conversation on the platform. >> there's a reason why jack dorsey has run twitter the way he has. you cannot simply abandon moderation. >> reporter: in the political sphere twitter serves an important function. many conservatives expressed frustration several right-leaning public figures like former president donald trump have been banned from the platform. trump has already indicated he will not return to twitter even if allowed under musk's leadership. legal experts say the definition of free speech is key. >> if he wants to do it that way, if he wants to open up the public square to even false or misleading or harmful information, there are some limits on that. >> reporter: another question is how musk's international ties will affect the social platform. tesla operates a large assembly plant in china where twitter is banned and the internet is under heavy government censorship.
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the uk and the eu have already warned that twitter must continue to comply with their content rules protecting users from harmful content such as hate speech. oddly at the end of the day the new twitter may end up looking a lot like the old twitter. >> i would guess that even though musk wants to expand speech a lot on twitter he's going to end up closer to what twitter does now. >> reporter: for "this week" deirdre bolton, abc news, new york. >> let's get more on this from kara swisher host of the sway podcast, our chief legal analyst dan abrams. kara, let me begin with you. as a journalist you probably know elon musk and interviewed him about a dozen times. what do you think he's up to? >> he wants to own twitter. he thinks it's an interesting business. i think he thinks it's good for his business. he's an active user and he feels like it was going the wrong direction. that's sort of an outside story. i think he thinks it's an underleveraged asset and it certainly is. no one has been able to make the
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kind of money other tech companies have made that are in that space like facebook or snapchat and tiktok and he thinks it's an opportunity and he also likes the attention. i don't know if you noticed. >> i want to press that first point, though. you believe he believes he can make money here. this isn't like jeff bezos for a far, far lower price buying "the washington post." >> yeah, there's lots of ways to make money. if you go into other countries like china or any country across the world and you also happen to be the owner of twitter, it doesn't have -- there's other ways to make money with this thing in terms of owning it. jeff bezos certainly has put a shine on his reputation by owning "the washington post" and leaving it alone. there's a lot more going on here than just owning twitter. if he can make enough money to keep up the debt payments, which are significant, it's not a bad thing to have to be the owner of twitter across the globe. >> dan, i showed ted cruz and elizabeth warren, two senators
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up at the top, talking about the importance of this move. i have to admit, as an outsider i'm agnostic on it. i'm not sure what it means. are we seeing a little too much hyperventilating on both the right and the left? >> i think absolutely. you are seeing many on the right who are prematurely celebrating as if this is going to be necessarily a fundamental change. maybe it will be and there will be changes around the edges how twitter does what it does. the fundamental question is elon musk in this because he wants to create a better business and have something of a different philosophy in that, or is this philosophy first? and elon musk has been suggesting that, well, it's about philosophy. it's not about the money. that's very hard to believe. i think you are also seeing on the flip side of that many on the left who have become, i think, prematurely concerned about all of the changes that
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could occur. there's no doubt that a lot of things could happen. the question is whether they will. >> and i want to then follow up on that, how much is he constrained by the need to preserve what is known as section 230 that provision of the law that gives the social media companies liability protection for what users say on their platforms? >> i mean, look, that's a fundamental protection for something like twitter, right? it's basically saying that twitter can't be sued for something that a user says, and there are two sections of it. one which protects them for things they don't take down and another section which protects for just the opposite. that's still going to be very important for elon musk in owning twitter. and there is opposition now from both the right and the left to aspects of 230, but they differ on exactly what the problem is. so you're going to see a
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continued legal fight on 230 i think as the owner of twitter that elon musk is going to have to support keeping 230 in place in some very significant way despite the calls on both sides to restrict it. >> so, kara, do you agree with the analyst we had at the end of deirdre bolton's piece because of all the constraints, the change elon musk wants to make, the new twitter will end up looking much like the old twitter? >> well, probably. it's a very difficult thing to maintain all these social media sites. as to legislation, there will not be legislation. congress has abrogated its responsibility. the u.s. government hasn't shown up here in any way except to protect these companies. i don't think he's worried about it whatsoever. there's some legislation in europe just pass that had is problematic for all of the
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social media platforms, but, you know, i think maybe it will be. i think it will be more freewheeling. there's going to be a lot more yelling. we have to listen to ted cruz tell us about the internet more and things like that. it's going to be more of a melee. he'll probably let donald trump back on if he wants to come, but that was going to happen anyway if he runs for president. that would have been a very difficult thing for twitter to keep the permanent ban on him. it's going to be the same. it's going to be more yelling. >> final quick question for both of you. is twitter as important as we make it? dan, you go first. >> look, it's not as important in a macro america sense but it's very important among the chattering class and that matters meaning the people who influence policy are very attune to what twitter says, people in the media are very in tune to twitter. i think 23% or so of americans use twitter. it is certainly not something that impacts every american's
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life but when it comes to the influencers in society it does remain incredibly significant and amplified. >> kara? >> no, no. it's an addiction of the media and politicians and everyone else. it's not used by most people. it's not used by most people around the globe. it's a terrible business. if you want to talk about important businesses, facebook, increasingly tiktok, snapchat even. i think it's just that the people who use it really like it and just like elon musk, and he is addicted to twitter, they like using the product to sound off. in general i don't think it does have effect. it did have effect with donald trump for sure, and that's what brought all the attention to it was donald trump. i don't know if that will be replicated again. who knows what the next medium will be. people sort of lose their minds around twitter because of how much they like to use it especially the media and politicians. we'll see where it's going to go. in this case it's all about elon musk, and that's what elon musk likes which is attention on him
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and his companies and his thoughts and this is what he wants to buy. he's rich and wants to buy it. >> and he's getting the attention. kara, dan, thanks very much. roundtable is next. thanks . roundtable is next. - i like him! - c'mon ? nooooo... nooooo... quick, the quicker picker upper! bounty picks up messes quicker and is 2x more absorbent, so you can use less. bounty, the quicker picker upper. i don't just play someone brainy on tv - i'm an actual neuroscientist. and i love the science behind neuriva plus. unlike ordinary memory supplements, neuriva plus fuels six key indicators of brain performance. more brain performance? yes, please! neuriva. think bigger. (vo) verizon is going ultra! with 5g ultra wideband in many more cities, you get up to 10x the speed at no extra cost. plus six premium entertainment subscriptions, included! like disney+, music, gaming, and more! (mom) delightful. (vo) saving you over $350 dollars a year. and for a limited time get a 5g phone on us!
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kevin mccarthy has kept it together. as far as i'm concerned, he's the guy for me. >> i don't have a problem with what he had to say. >> this is a distraction by the left trying to drive a wedge in a very unified republican party. >> we have a responsibility to have an ethical standard here. people have to make a judgment about how the republicans in congress hold their members accountable. house republican leader dealt with comments he made on a new book "this will not pass." he seems to have support among his colleagues. we'll talk about that on the roundtable joined by chris christie, donna brazile, "usa today" washington bureau chief susan page, and jon karl, i do want to talk about kevin mccarthy. let's begin with our new poll i reported on at the beginning of the program. president biden's approval
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rating up a tick. democrats doing a little better in the generic race for the congressional midterms but still facing huge challenges especially inflation. >> the two most important domestic issues right now are inflation and crime, and those are where the democrats are, and the president in particular, is way upside-down. so unless he can move those numbers significantly between now and november, it bodes really poorly for them. we know that the republicans are going to gain on average 27 seats. they're the out of power party. for the last 60 years, those kind of numbers on inflation and crime are things that could take from 27 to 40 and that's what we're talking about. the republicans are going to take the house. the question is how large is the win going to be and will it help them to sweep some governors and senators in as well? >> donna, as i said, there has been some improvement for the democrats the last couple of months. what do they need to do to add to that? >> first of all, stop worrying about the polls because we have
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192 days and if democrats are not focused on voters and taking care of them and making sure people understand what democrats are up to, look, republicans still have an uphill battle. they are running candidates -- >> uphill battle for republicans? >> they still have primaries, george, whether they are deciding they want a far right radical candidate who has taken an oath of loyalty to the former president versus an oath to the constitution. voters want real results. they don't just want to see republicans run because trump said you have to go out there and tell the big lie. they want to see candidates who are going to tackle inflation like democrats. they want to see candidates who are tackling crime like democrats. tackling student debt forgiveness like democrats, lowering insulin prices like democrats. that's what voters want to see. i think a lot depends on what happens in the primaries starting this tuesday. >> george, one second, though, i have to. that's donna's wish list. but let's look at georgia. clearly the most important state
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in this country for both parties right now politically. new poll out this week governor kemp is beating the trump acolyte david purdue by 28 points. he may avoid a run-off altogether. and so we're not seeing the things donna is wishing for across the country. in fact, four republican governors are being primary, all four will beat the trump challenger and so we're not seeing that same fight. we're united on inflation and crime and not on the things donna talked about. >> susan, in the state of ohio, that primary comes up, j.d. vance. the former president's hand-picked candidate. appears to have the lead but it's a close race. >> they're clustered together but vance was not even in the top rank when he got the endorsement of donald trump, the surprise endorsement since he had been very critical of trump in the past. and now he narrowly leads the field.
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if j.d. vance, he'll have donald trump to thank and it will be a sign of trump's continued influence in the republican party. >> jon karl, what do you make? >> an improvement for joe biden but he is headed towards a potentially disastrous mid-term election. if you look at his approval rating, george, it is roughly where barack obama was going into the 2010 election which obviously was a huge republican wave and it's not far off where bill clinton was going into the 1994 election, also a big republican wave. some improvement -- i think the important point on ohio you will see a split decision in ohio. you have a governor's race, mike dewine, who has stood up to donald trump, who donald trump has attacked, hasn't gone so far as to endorse his opponent but made it clear he wasn't with mike dewine. mike dewine is likely to win. it will be a trump republican,
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j.d. vance may pull it off with this help from a trump endorsement but if he doesn't win, the candidate who will win, perhaps josh mandel who is in second in that poll, is campaigning by saying he's more pro-trump than the guy endorsed by trump. split decision in ohio. i don't think we're going to know trump's pull on the party until the end of this primary season. >> okay. let's switch gears and talk about kevin mccarthy. chris christie, i have to admit i was surprised. kevin mccarthy caught lying about what he said about donald trump and his own republican colleagues on tape in that book by jonathan martin and alexander burns, yet seems to have come out as strong as ever. >> look, we've talked about this before. as i've said previously i can't stop being a former prosecutor when i hear stuff like this, talking about tapes. it brings me back to that part of my career. and i listened to the tape rather than read the coverage, george.
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he gets asked about the 25th amendment by liz cheney. when you listen to that tape he's walking his way through, the different possibilities of what can happen. what he said was if the senate has the votes to convict then i would recommend to him that he resign. it's the same advice given to president nixon by barry goldwater. he didn't say i was telling him to resign, if he has the votes. i think it's a much different thing than what he's being characterized. kevin was angry. no doubt he was angry at the president and he made that really clear. i don't think he ever told the president he should resign. >> but he also talked about having some of his own members taken off twitter. >> that's true. jonathan karl may have some more news. jonathan, i believe, there's more audio. we know kevin mccarthy essentially said he was going to confront the king but when he got there he melted like butter
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on a hot skillet. he was afraid to talk about the wrongs he had done. it's on audio. while speaker pelosi is in ukraine meeting with zelenskyy, kevin mccarthy is behind back doors trying to reassure his caucus he's not trying to take them off twitter and facebook. >> mccarthy is benefiting from the fact the working assumption in washington is republicans will take the house. kevin mccarthy likely to be elected as the speaker. republicans have their eye on that prize, and they are willing to overlook little offenses like making this tape that's very critical of trump and of some of his own members and also lying about it in public. >> chris gave a good explanation of what he said on tape but to come out and act like he didn't say what he said, isn't that a bigger problem? >> and for members of congress to say, well, maybe it was deceptively edited, no evidence that was the case. maybe it's from "the new york times" the hub of fake news. it is willing to adopt some of
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the strategies president trump adopted when you have unpleasant news to deny it, say it's false even if it's true, and to survive. and that is the path kevin mccarthy is on. if there's, for some reason, a narrow republican majority in the house, maybe this rebounds to create some problems for ken mccarthy but it sure hasn't happened yet. >> jon, do you believe his hold on the speakership assuming the republicans do gain seats in the midterms is as strong as it appears today? >> i think we don't know, george. the honest answer is we don't know. the republicans are united. going into the mid-term elections. the republicans want to win the house. mccarthy will be the leader but what happens after when they come together to elect a speaker in january. all donald trump has to do is come out solidly against mccarthy and all bets are off. mccarthy is -- it's like a blackmail where everybody knows the blackmail material because it's been out for the world to
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see. donald trump knows that mccarthy has to have -- that he has basically control over mccarthy's future. i have to say with all due respect, governor christie, i don't think you're characterizing what was on the tape accurately. there's no way to listen to that tape and think kevin mccarthy told the truth. that tape you hear kevin mccarthy say i've had it with that guy. referring to donald trump. you hear kevin mccarthy saying he is going to call donald trump and his recommendation would be that he resigns. it is true. >> that's not what he said. jon, that's not what he said. >> can i please finish? >> no, no, look, i've heard you point. >> he didn't say what you said. >> yes, he did. >> no. >> what he said was if the senate has the votes to convict. >> that's not a quote. that's not a quote from the
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tape. >> i would tell him to resign. that's what the conversation was. and, look, you know who cares about this? maybe five people in washington, d.c., the voters could care less about this. this is the rear-view mirror stuff when they're paying $5 for gas, 8.5% inflation and can't buy their groceries and there's crime all over the streets in our major cities. they just don't care, jon. that's why the story doesn't get any traction outside washington, d.c. >> but the point is there is a credibility issue here, chris. these reporters, jonathan martin and burns, reported what mccarthy said. and it wasn't just he was going to call and suggest he resign. it was the whole gamut here, the stuff about twitter, where he said i've had it with this guy. mccarthy comes out and issues a flat denial. this is fake news. they've made it up. it's not true. and then you have the tapes. every quote in that original story is backed up by the tape.
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every single quote. and mccarthy has come to the world and said it was all fake news. it's not true. now maybe, maybe you think that doesn't matter. maybe it doesn't matter politically, but there is a question of credibility, the denial was not accurate. the denial was, in fact, a lie. >> it certainly didn't seem to matter to most house republicans. >> not yet. and maybe never. and that reflects -- you know, there's all kinds of things happening in washington now based on the assumption of what will happen in the midterms. that is shaping fractures in the democratic party between moderates and progressives about what to do about student loans, immigration at the border. you see it in the calculation of so many democrats, a couple dozen democrats decided not to run again for their house seats. you see it reflected in the calculations about republicans measuring the drapes. >> you also see it, donna brazil, the possibility several
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cabinet members could be impeached, maybe even president biden. >> this is why we can't just say the american people are not interested in the rearview mirror. they are looking ahead and this is an opportunity to have a political party tackling these big issues. inflation is a big issue. i'm glad the fed is going to sit down this week and decide what they can do to set a better table for us because they were the ones sleeping at the switch not joe biden. i do believe the american people care about the future and that democrats will continue to debate these critical issues because we know that at the end of the day it's about what you're planning to do for us tomorrow. >> we only have about a minute left, jon, before we go i know you were at the white house correspondents dinner and received the award for reporting under deadline pressure. first white house correspondents dinner in two years. the first with the president since 2016.
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just give us your impression. was this could be the biggest e- superspreader event in washington, d.c., >> that definitely hung over it. i have to say it was great to see the white house correspondents dinner come back, great to see a president back at the white house correspondents dinner, to see journalism honored. there was a seriousness to this this time because we have seen democracy under attack. we've seen the idea of a free press under attack. i thought the most moving and important part of the dinner, george, was the tribute to the journalists who lost their lives in ukraine. very moving tribute. you saw austin tice's family, a captive in syria since 2012. a reminder journalism is important work and it's work that has come under assault here in the united states and, of course, around the world. >> boy, it certainly has. i hope everybody who went to the dinner last night comes out healthy. congratulations on your award. thanks for your time. we'll be right back.
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that is all for us today. thanks for sharing part of your sunday with us. check out "world news tonight." i'll see you tomorrow on "gma." " i'll see you tomorrow on "gma."
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