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Mueller Has 400,000 Documents in Manafort-Gates Case; Trump Points to Booming Economy and Job Market. Aired 8-9a ET
Aired December 10, 2017 - 08:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[08:00:09] NIA MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN HOST (voice-over): A rallying cry from President Trump.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We need somebody in that Senate seat who will vote for our Make America Great Again agenda.
HENDERSON: What Alabama voters are saying in the final push from both parties.
And revealing documents in the Russia probe -- e-mails between two former Trump campaign advisers now in the hands of prosecutors.
Plus, harassment allegations consume the Hill. Three members of Congress, gone.
SEN. AL FRANKEN (D), MINNESOTA: I know in my heart that nothing I have done as a senator has brought dishonor on this institution.
HENDERSON: The accusations, the resignations and the reverberations beyond Washington.
INSIDE POLITICS, the biggest stories sourced by the best reporters, now.
HENDERSON: Welcome to INSIDE POLITICS. I'm Nia-Malika Henderson. John King is off today. Thanks to our viewers in the United States and around the world for sharing some of your Sunday here with us.
It's the final countdown in Alabama's U.S. Senate race. In two days, voters go to the polls to decide between embattled Republican Roy Moore and his Democratic opponent Doug Jones. Moore is accused by multiple women of pursuing sexual relationships with teenager girls while in his 30s.
But controversies, though, didn't quite stop President Trump from fully embracing Moore. The president has taped a robocall for Moore that's set to release. It's yet another high profile Trump move to boost Roy Moore.
The president had this message on Friday for supporters at a rally in Florida, which, of course, is just beyond the Alabama state line.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We can't afford to have a liberal Democrat who is completely controlled by Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer. We can't do it. So, get out and vote for Roy Moore. Do it. Do it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HENDERSON: Democrat Doug Jones has his own form of star power. Several top-tier black Democrats are stumping for him today. Now, the aim of that move is to get African-American voters energized and to the polls.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. CORY BOOKER (D), NEW JERSEY: I'm here to try to help to get some folk woke. Those people that don't understand the opposite of justice is not injustice. It is indifference, it is inaction and it is silence. You have to get some folk woke.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HENDERSON: While each side knows clearly who's in their corner, there isn't as much consensus from voters in Alabama.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DICK KELLER, ALABAMA VOTER: If you look at the ballot, you've got two options. You can vote for Roy Moore or you can vote for the straight Republican ticket, which is Roy Moore.
MICHELLE STANCEL, ALABAMA VOTER: Obviously, in the last month or so, his character has been under scrutiny. I will make my first Democrat vote ever.
REPORTER: How do you feel about that?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HENDERSON: Here to share their reporting and their insight, CNN's Sara Murray, Matt Viser of "The Boston Globe", CNN's Manu Raju, and Eliana Johnson of "Politico".
So much to get to this morning.
Sara, I'm going to start with you. You cover the White House. You covered President Trump as a candidate. What do you make of his all- in embrace of Roy Moore? We saw that on Friday and in this robocall coming out tomorrow.
SARA MURRAY, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, right. So, the White House is a little bit more hesitant when they sort of first started trying to navigate how to deal with these bombshells coming out about Roy Moore. But it seems pretty clear that the president has gotten more and more comfortable, and interesting has brought his aides along with him, and basically saying, like, look, we need this guy, we need his vote, and we're going to go all-in on that.
The president has made a political calculation in this. They need as many Republicans as they can get in the Senate. He wants to try to notch more legislative victories like he's on the cusp of doing with tax reform. And it's very clear he's not going to let a couple of things like, oh, you know, allegations of molesting teenagers --
MURRAY: -- get in the way of that.
HENDERSON: Yes, sort of the calculations that you imagine a lot of voters in Alabama are making, too. The voters in Alabama tomorrow, some of them will hear from the president with his robocall apparently releasing tomorrow. And he's going to say: but if Alabama elects liberal Democrat Doug Jones, all our progress will be stopped full. Roy Moore is the guy we need to pass our Make America Great Again agenda.
And that's basically what we have been hearing from him on the stump there. He's also been framing Doug Jones in a way that essentially says he would be a lap dog, a puppet for Pelosi and Schumer. And I think we have some of that sound.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: His name is Jones and he's their total puppet. And everybody knows it. He will never ever vote for us.
[08:05:01] We need somebody in that Senate seat who will vote for our Make America Great Again agenda, which involves -- which involves tough on crime, strong on borders, strong on immigration, we want great people coming into our country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HENDERSON: Roy Moore sounds a lot like Donald Trump there in terms of what he would do. And one of the things you see for Doug Jones still very ill-defined in a lot of the minds of voters there. That's what we are hearing from the reporters down in Alabama.
MATT VISER, REPORTER, THE BOSTON GLOBE: Yes. I mean, the other interesting thing about it is, this is the first election that will kind of prove a guide on whether Trump's presidency was an anomaly, right? I mean, whether or not voters will overlook the ethical shortcomings of a candidate, whether they like a guy who is sort of plain spoken and upends the establishment of his own party. So, Alabama gives that sort of a test. And you can see, sort of see Trump kind of, you know, he regretted backing Luther Strange --
VISER: -- in the primary, wishing he maybe would have gone with Roy Moore. And now he's really sort of coming out a little bit. I mean, he's not going to the state --
HENDERSON: He basically did, though. He can see Alabama from the --
MURRAY: From the border.
HENDERSON: Yes, yes.
And one of the things, Doug Jones, he has a pretty impressive bio, not very well-known. And we'll put some of this stuff up. He's 63 years old attorney from Birmingham. He never has run for office. In 1997, he was appointed as attorney for the northern district of Alabama. He also prosecuted cases against the KKK.
His move now is to energize the African-American vote down there. But still some mixed messages down there, right, in terms of who he is and isn't trying to fill the gaps in with during the last hours.
MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER: Yes, no question. I think there's a case to be made that he probably would vote more with Donald Trump than he would with Chuck Schumer in a lot of ways he wants, if you were to win and he wants to remain the senator from Alabama, he would have to vote, probably be the most conservative Democrat in the Senate.
RAJU: So -- but these special elections are notoriously hard to determine what the turnout is going to be. This is December, off-year election, we don't know, of course, they are trying to energize the African-American vote. Is that being successful in that? What do all the terms meet to Republican vote?
HENDERSON: Will people stay home?
RAJU: Right. Or they decide to vote for Jones instead. Those are questions we really don't know about. The polling has not been consistent for us to get a really good feel for the race.
It's also interesting that Roy Moore has sort of been nowhere to be seen over the last several days. He's not been campaigning. And his whole strategy since the allegations have come out has been essentially to attack the accusers but not really answer any questions from a reporter on the ground. We'll see if that strategy --
HENDERSON: And to sort of let Donald Trump speak for him, right? I mean, Donald Trump obviously there on Friday. That's been in the local newspapers there and in the robocall as well.
I mean, the Democrats are sort of framing it as a cowardice that he isn't out there. It could also be maybe confidence in some ways.
ELIANA JOHNSON, REPORTER, POLITICO: I think it is strategically savvy. And I think from Trump's perspective there, two factors at work here. The first is he saw the Republican establishment essentially overnight abandon Roy Moore, the senatorial committee cut off funding, the Republican National Committee cut off funding, and I think he saw Roy Moore as a kindred spirit abandoned by the establishment when things got bad and instinctively wanted to come to his defense.
But also, the entire fight on tax bill played out during the Senate race. And that bill only passed the Senate by two votes and drove home to the president how precarious his situation is in the broader political landscape and how important it is to have steady, solid Republican support, setting aside the question of how reliable a Republican vote Roy Moore might be.
In this idea of whether or not it will be -- if Roy Moore wins, do Republicans ultimately lose because they have to deal with Roy Moore in the Senate, Dan Balz has a column on that this morning.
He says: For Republicans, there likely can be no truly good outcome. If Moore wins, the party will have preserved the seat but will be saddle with a new senator under a cloud of allegations. For the Republicans, it's a hot mess. If Moore losses, the GOP would be spared his in the Senate, but the result will have inflamed the anti- establishment forces by former White House chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon, deepening, antagonisms that continue to roil the party.
[08:10:02] Awesome for Dan Balz for using the phrase "hot mess".
HENDERSON: Yes, it's amazing.
And, Manu, I'll go to you. I mean, you cover Congress. There are talks, right, from Mitch McConnell and others that say that, if Roy Moore wins, he will have a cloud around him, an ethics investigation. How will that work if they've got someone who's been so much embraced by the president?
RAJU: Yes, it's going to be very, very difficult. And, look, the issue about ethics investigation, that's going to take some time to play out. You can't just turn around and expel him. If they do, that will be unprecedented.
But expelling someone is also very rare. That's only happened, you know, a handful in history. So, to get to that point, it's going to take an investigation, it's going to take time, they have to build a case. And then they have to go to the floor. So, he could be a senator for some time before we get to that point.
And the concern from the Republican Senatorial Committee is that he -- if he's a senator, that there are candidates and people who are up for re-election are going to have to deal with them. As a senator, you have to distance yourself from. It's going to be an ongoing problem. But as, you know, pointed out there, if they lose the seat, the
Democrats suddenly have a chance to take back the majority, something you thought not possible the beginning of this Congress.
MURRAY: It does seem like, I mean, we're all acting like Roy Moore is this moment for reckoning for the Republican Party. I mean, no, Donald Trump was the moment of reckoning for the Republican Party. He also someone who has elected with a dozen or so allegations of sexual misconduct, of abuse against him.
And some Republicans jumped ship, but a lot of Republicans stayed with him. The RNC stayed with him. The RNC continued to help him through Election Day. And it wasn't --
HENDERSON: Right, and, of course, backing --
MURRAY: Right, and it was not just the allegations of sexual misconduct. It's everything that Trump said from, you know, women to African-Americans to Hispanics. So, the notion that the brand of the Republican Party is on the line, you know, like it might make them feel better to say, oh, we're at this, you know, this ethical cusp.
No. I mean, you were at the ethical cusp with Donald Trump. And I think it was pretty clear where the Republican Party went on that.
HENDERSON: And we're going to discuss more in the next break here.
One of the most conservative men on Capitol Hill tenders his resignation 2amid allegations he offered to pay one of his staffers to carry his child, up next.
[08:16:25] HENDERSON: It was a week of reckoning for Washington as sexual harassment allegations brought down prominent lawmakers on Capitol. The latest, Arizona Republican Congressman Trent Franks resigned Friday after allegations that he asked a staffer to be a surrogate. A prominent conservative who has counseled the women tells CNN that Congressman Franks offered the staffer $5 million if she successfully conceived his child.
Franks is one of the three lawmakers to resign last week after women stepped forward to say that the men had sexually harassed them.
Eliana, every time I read that sentence, it is one of the most bizarre stories, I think, to come out, period. I mean, it just --
HENDERSON: So, I mean, tell me about the Capitol Hill. Tell me about sort of reactions on Capitol Hill around this, and this sense that this could be the tip of the iceberg there.
JOHNSON: Well, this is a jaw-dropping story. I think -- HENDERSON: Yes, unprecedented, yes.
JOHNSON: Obviously. Pretty unlikely that we'll see something like this. But that being said, I do think it's undeniable that reporters on Capitol Hill, lawmakers on Capitol Hill, are bracing for other sexual harassment allegations.
And that the Democratic Party this week, essentially, sacrificed Senator Al Franken at the altar of politics in order to prepare themselves and to arm themselves in this fight. And they are getting ready to be able to prosecute the case that they occupy the moral high ground of getting ready for Roy Moore perhaps to be elected, and to say that they are taking a completely no tolerance position from groping to rape, they won't tolerate it, and really to put Republicans on the ropes.
HENDERSON: And this was Franken earlier this week from the Senate floor talking about his resignation from the Senate.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FRANKEN: There is some irony in the fact that I am leaving while a man who has bragged on tape about his history of sexual assault sits in the Oval Office, and a man who has repeatedly preyed on young girls campaigns for the Senate with a full support of his party.
(END VIDEO CLIP)(
HENDERSON: So, Eliana, talk about the moral high ground that Democrats want to stake out. It's a hard place to be, and sometimes it's a squishy place to be as well if you think about it, still some members on the Democratic side who have some allegations against them.
VISER: Yes, I mean, you saw a shift this past week. I mean, Capitol Hill has been very slow to respond to these allegations in a way that Hollywood was not, the media has not been, in terms of when the allegations come forward, people tend to lose their jobs very quickly.
So, this week was different in that sense where now they are cascading and it has started. And it's kind of unclear where that leads, but to Eliana's point, the Democrats are trying to claim the moral high ground here, where they did not wait for the ethics committee investigation to conclude. You know, women, particularly Democratic women, came forward and said, it's time for Al Franken to go. And that sort of is what caused -- I mean, Franken did not apologize or admit to anything in his speech, aside from the fact he can't do his job anymore because Democrats --
HENDERSON: And was emotional and almost --
MURRAY: Moore didn't apologize to any -- yes, yes.
But I do think this is a moment to sort of give credit where credit is due, on the Republican side and it certainly does seems parse at this moment of Roy Moore.
[08:20:05] But the Senatorial Committee still is not getting back in. They're not backing Roy Moore. Corey Gardner is out there giving interviews this week in which he made it very clear that he doesn't believe Roy Moore belongs in the Senate. And he believes he should be expelled.
Now, this is a small, this is a sliver of Republicans who are standing up still to Roy Moore. We have seen Mitch McConnell essentially say whatever the voters of Alabama are going to do, they're going to do. You know, mimicking what Donald Trump has been saying, but there are some Republicans who are still trying to stake out a moral high ground, but it might be a little lonely.
HENDERSON: Yes, and we have Paul Ryan talked about what's going on now. Here's what he had to say about this moment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: In addition to just better policies to protect women, we also need a real culture change. We need to recognize that this is a pervasive problem that women face, not just here in Congress, but through every industry. And this really is a watershed moment and it needs to lead to lasting and positive change.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HENDERSON: So, Manu, you cover the Hill, it's one thing to say this is a watershed moment, and it's another thing to do kind of watershed moment that is not necessary to make it a watershed moment. What is -- what are folks on the Hill prepared to do? It seems like so far, it's going case by case basis.
RAJU: It has been, and, you know, there's discussion about overhauling the process, particularly on the Hill, which right now is convoluted and secretive in terms of -- excuse me -- actually, filing these complaints and holding the members accountable, the public does not know what happened. There's taxpayer money that's spent to settle these cases. We don't know where these settlements are going. Some of them are starting to leak out.
There's going to be an effort to try to change that to make it more transparent. There are some members who want to see all the settlements that have happened over the --
HENDERSON: It's $17 million, that's part of that, yes.
RAJU: Part of the sexual harassment. So, the question is, does any of that become public? I think we are starting to see leaks make that public. And that is putting pressure on the members by Congressman Farenthold who's in Paul Ryan's conference, who is not yet resigning but is facing some pressure among some of his colleagues to step aside, after reports of his making a settlement in that regard.
And you're seeing some other members decide not to step aside either, like Ruben Kihuen, who is a congressman, Democratic congressman from Nevada, and a swing state district in that state. He's facing calls from Pelosi to step down. He's not doing it.
HENDERSON: He's very been very defiant.
RAJU: He's been defiant. So, you're going to see some of this play out in a rather messy way as well.
HENDERSON: And, Eliana, there ultimately is so much that leaders can do. Short of expulsion, which we haven't really seen in any great length since the civil war.
JOHNSON: Yes, it will be fascinating to watch. I think Farenthold faced pressure from his colleagues, and the Democratic Congressman Kihuen, and whether they eventually bow to the pressure. But we have seen them get increasingly creative with their defensive.
Kihuen's defense was particularly amusing, saying that Nancy Pelosi and other Democratic leaders were aware of his behavior. And as a result, shouldn't have to step down.
HENDERSON: And Farenthold has said he will pay back the money.
JOHNSON: Exactly. So, you know, it's all good.
HENDERSON: We'll see how long that can be maintained that stance, and also, you --
JOHNSON: Particularly if new cases emerged. I mean, I think --
HENDERSON: I'm sure you're talking to sources and the sense is that there probably will be other cases. Maybe there will be strength in numbers, or something. We'll see.
Up next, two former Trump advisers, hundreds of thousands of documents, and they are all in the hands of the prosecutors involved in the Russia investigation.
[08:28:32] HENDERSON: Two former Trump campaign advisers are expected in court tomorrow facing charges stemming from the Russia investigation. The court appearance comes as prosecutors delve into a massive trove of evidence involving Paul Manafort and Rick Gates.
Here's what Bob Mueller's investigators have collected by the numbers. They have 4,000 documents. Now, 2,000 of those documents have been labeled as hot by investigators. And there's also information from 36 electronic devices including laptops, phones, thumb drives.
And so far, Mueller's team obtained 15 search warrants. Prosecutors also revealed some of the e-mails between Manafort and Gates about ways to combat political attacks over Manafort's foreign lobbying work.
According to the court filings, those -- they discussed how to frame Manafort's work in Ukraine, suggesting that he, quote, never worked in Russia or for the Russians. And that for his other work, they, quote, need to beat back the idea that this was nefarious work.
Manu, what is Mueller after here in this document. This is an investigation that's gone on for about five months, cost $7 million. What is he up to?
RAJU: Well, obviously, one, there are several efforts here. There's one to build up a case against Manafort and Gates in court. These are documents that are going to be turned over as part of the discovery process.
People have -- the other side will have a sense in knowing exactly what they have. But it also shows really the aggressiveness of Bob Mueller's investigation. We have known for some time that this has been an exceptionally or rather aggressive investigation. They have really done what they can to try to turn over every leaf here.
Clearly, they have an enormous amount of information that did not appear in the court -- initial court filings that they know about that presumably could fuel their investigation in other ways to look into other people.
And we do know that Hope Hicks, the White House communications director, also was interviewed by the special counsel. This investigation is still ongoing. There's still more people they're interviewing despite -- even though Gates and Manafort are going to be in court tomorrow.
There's a lot more people that the special counsel has to interview. And we'll see where it goes. It could go in a lot of different directions.
HENDERSON: It certainly goes with Trump wherever he goes. He was in Florida and in some ways came up in chants from some of his supporters and then his response.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Look, it's being proven we have a rigged system. It doesn't happen so easy. But this system, there will be a lot of changes. This is a rigged -- this is a rigged system. This is a sick system from the inside.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HENDERSON: Sara -- you have been to a lot of Trump rallies, locker (ph) up familiar refrain. A little ironic -- ironic at this point often it's led by Michael Flynn -- some of his own issues here. What do you make of what's going on there. It seems to be Trump trying to, in some ways, talk about the deep state and discredit what is going on? SARA MURRAY, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Well, first, that
catch phrase kind of came back around to bite. But yes, I don't think that it should be a surprise to us at this point that the President is still stewing over the Russia investigation. That he believes it's unfair.
He had called it a witch hunt so sure, I mean the rigged state could be -- the rigged system could be referring to a deep state. It could be referring to the investigation. You know, it could be referring to a lot of things.
But we know that this is something that the President can't move past and that he does feel like it has an actual impact on his ability to do his job.
He felt like it was the kind of thing that could undermine his relationships with foreign leaders when he was abroad. Make it harder to strike deals with them. But he also believes that it's the kind of thing that makes it harder for him to just get done in Washington --
MURRAY: -- because people are so focused on the Russia investigation. And of course, you don't need to look further than his Twitter account to understand his frustration with this.
HENDERSON: And this week we heard from a family member of someone involved in the Russian investigation -- George Papadopoulos' fiancee.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SIMONA AMANGIANTE, GEORGE PAPADOPOULOS FIANCEE: George Papadopoulos is everything that (INAUDIBLE) -- I think they wanted to disassociate from the first person who decided to actively cooperate with the government on the right side. And probably the easiest way out is to dismiss his personality and lower him to a low-level volunteer.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HENDERSON: Why in some ways. I mean I guess she wants to get out there and say her man wasn't a coffee boy.
MATT VISER, "THE BOSTON GLOBE": She's not the most unbiased source on the scene -- right.
VISER: So far we have heard from Trump and his adviser sort of down- playing Papadopoulos and his role. So now we have the fiancee saying he's a really important guy in the campaign.
I mean I think this gets to back to Mueller and why his investigation is so key and why he's being seen as being fairly through in requesting documents and having interviews. And you know, there's just this cast of players here. You have Papadopoulos and you have Flynn and Hope Hicks, you know, which is -- that, I think is a very key interview with Hope Hicks because as we know she is so close --
HENDERSON: So close to the President -- inner circle.
VISER: -- to the President. She's been there throughout the campaign and throughout the White House which you can't say for many people who've been around Trump. They play these bit parts and then they're out of the orbit whereas Hope has been there throughout.
HENDERSON: You can say that for Don, Jr. who also talked to folks on the Hill. And here are some comments about what he said and whether or not he's been forthcoming.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JACKIE SPEIER (D), CALIFORNIA: He has a very serious case of amnesia. And he was pretty nonresponsive on a lot of issues that frankly, he would have a recollection of considering it was just a year ago that many of these events took place when Donald Trump was the candidate.
He was by his father's side. He was campaigning with his father. And you get the impression in listening to him that he didn't spend much time talking with his father.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HENDERSON: Questions, Eliana, there about the June 2016 meeting apparently in some of his testimony there and in statements he claimed attorney-client privilege.
ELIANA JOHNSON, POLITICO: Yes. Let me address the Papadopoulos thing for one second.
[08:35:00] JOHNSON: I mean it's not really a matter of opinion. I don't think -- you know, all of us covered the campaign and I think it's fair to say he was not an integral player in the campaign. It doesn't mean he was a coffee boy, but he was a member of the foreign police advisory committee that itself was kind of a mess and did not -- was not central to the Trump campaign. But Donald Trump Jr., on the other hand, was the central player on the campaign and the fact that he's signing an absurd attorney-client privilege --
JOHNSON: -- because there was an attorney present in the room and it does seem ridiculous on its face. That being said --
HENDERSON: It's very clever in some ways but --
JOHNSON: I mean -- it seems like a desperate measure to avoid answering questions which is somewhat troubling if as he and the president say this meeting was completely inconsequential.
RAJU: And the question of an attorney-client privilege thing is whether or not Donald Trump Jr. will eventually tell the committees exactly what happened because apparently he did tell both sides that he's willing to go back and look and discuss this with his attorneys if he can share this information -- the Republican committee so far, well, let's let them discuss this first before we push it. That's what Mike Connolly (ph) told me last week.
HENDERSON: We'll see if he comes back.
RAJU: We'll see if he tells the committee what happened. We'll see.
HENDERSON: We'll see.
Coming up for us, a promise made, a promise kept. We're taking stock of some of the President's biggest campaign promises. Has he lived up to this memorable promise?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I'm very good for jobs. In fact, I will be the greatest president for jobs that God ever created, that I can tell you. I'm very strong on jobs and the economy.
[08:36:40] (END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: By the way, how are your 401(k)s doing? Not too bad, right.
We have created 2.2 million new jobs. Factories are coming back to our country.
We have factories pouring back into our country. Did you ever think you would hear that? I used to tell you that's going to happen.
Consumer confidence is at a 17-year high. Think of it.
It was not like that in your last administration.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HENDERSON: That was President Trump on Friday night reminding the crowd that in case they missed it, the economy is booming and things are going awesome. By many measures, he's actually right. Unemployment is at a 17-year low. The stock market is at record highs. And for the first time, it appears that Americans are starting to agree with the President about who deserves the credit.
According to new numbers from Quinnipiac University, just as many Americans credit President Trump with the state of the economy as President Obama, and for President Trump he was there on Friday and fresh off of the Twitters this morning. He's tweeting about his accomplishments.
He had this to say. "Things are going really well for our economy. A subject the fake news spends as little time as possible discussing. The stock market hit another record high. Unemployment is now at a 17-year low. And companies are coming back into the U.S.A. Really good news and much more to come."
Also tweeted about the tax cut bill, "Getting closer and closer on the tax cut bill, shaping up even better than projected. House and Senate working very hard. And smart end result will not only be important but special."
Matt -- I'm going to you. You wrote a special article on Donald Trump and the promises he's made. And one of the sentences from your article you said, "In deeds if not in words, he's proved a lot more billionaire and a lot less blue collar."
Talk about what you have seen from this president over these many months?
VISER: Yes. I mean he came into office on a very populist message. And that quote was in reference to his son, Donald Trump Jr., frequently calling him a blue collar billionaire, you know.
And he did kind of adopt (ph) to that sort of style in the campaign, talking about the forgotten men and women of America. And he was going to lift them up.
And I mean no doubt, the economy is doing well. But the question a lot of times is, who is it doing well for? And in the tax bill and in a lot of the things that he's done as president and his governing style has benefited more of the wealthy than it has the middle class.
And so I think this notion of him being a populist as a governing president is not true. And he has not necessarily lived up to a lot of that aspect.
HENDERSON: One of the things he also promised was to be the world's greatest deal maker. And here he was talking about deals that are coming up in terms of avoiding a government shutdown and funding the government.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We are all here as a very friendly, well-unified group. It's a well-knit together group of people. And we hope that we're going to make some great progress for our country.
SENATOR CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY), SENATE MINORITY LEADER: So we're hear in the spirit of let's get it done.
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), HOUSE MINORITY LEADER: We are here to make progress.
SENATOR MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), SENATE MAJORITY LEADER: We are here to reach a bipartisan agreement to finish out the year.
REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: I'm glad we're here to resume the conversations.
MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm grateful for the leadership of both political parties.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HENDERSON: And that was bipartisan Trump in some ways here was partisan Trump just the next day.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: It's time for Democrats in Congress to drop the threats of shut downs of government. And support a clean appropriations bill that fully supports and funds our military. We can't play games anymore.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HENDERSON: And Sara -- the deal around funding the government not only can he prove maybe to be a good dealmaker but there are also some promises he can keep, right. I mean if, in fact, there's a wall in there, if there's increased funding in terms of the military. What are you hearing in terms of the strategy?
[08:44:59] MURRAY: Well, look, I think this is kind of an interesting moment for the President because the last time he struck a deal with Chuck and Nancy, as he likes to say, he caught a lot of criticism from Republicans. He said look, he basically just took what they brought in to the room --
HENDERSON: Yes, he gave away the story, yes.
MURRAY: -- and agreed to it. And so the President is at sort of a different point mentally. He's been thinking a lot more about shoring up his base and protecting the promises he made to the people who brought him into office.
He's also been thinking about that Kate Steinle case. The fact that the person who went to trial in her murder has been --
HENDERSON: It's the radio address, I think from this --
MURRAY: He was not found guilty.
MURRAY: So I think these are all elements in the President's brain right now as he's trying to push for things like wall funding. He may be sort of less willing to back down on some of these issues than he was just a few months ago.
HENDERSON: And Manu -- how much of a -- to borrow a phrase from Dan Balz (ph) how much of a hot mess could this be, the kind of deal making that will have to go on?
RAJU: You know, the question here is whether or not -- how they deal with the next deadline which is December 22 when if they don't reach a deal the government will shut down. They were all talking nice at the White House to essentially lead to a two-week agreement.
HENDERSON: Yes. Bravo to that.
RAJU: The question is, the next time around. And most likely, the expectations are probably another short-term extension into the next year because of immigration being such a hot issue. Democrats want to deal with dealing with DACA, these dreamers coming into the country -- who came into the country at a young age.
They're not going to be able to do a year-end spending bill, that means that the deadline is from March to deal with them -- that means that they're going to have to punt -- agree on a short term bill, sticking taxes on funding bill next February instead.
HENDERSON: Punt, punt, punt -- right.
RAJU: Punt, punt, punt -- that's probably what they're going to end up happening here. We'll see if the President gets his wall money because right now Democrats say they won't vote for that.
HENDERSON: Yes. We'll see how that goes. It does sound like a hot mess.
And Eliana -- I want to ask you this. You bring about this. He did make news on Israel. Quickly -- talk about that.
JOHNSON: The President --
HENDERSON: And that was one of his promises.
JOHNSON: -- absolutely. He did fulfill a major campaign promise. Interestingly it's been a campaign promise of most Republican and Democratic Presidents to declare Jerusalem, the capital of Israel and to move the U.S. embassy --
JOHNSON: -- from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and Trump actually did it earlier this week. And against -- pushing back against the advice of most of his advisors in something that played out very similar to his decision to decertify the Iran deal.
HENDERSON: And the evangelicals are very happy about that, of course, a big part of his base.
Our reporters share from their notebooks next to tell you what they're hearing from their sources including a headline about President Trump's deputy national security advisor's exit and the key question behind her departure. [08:47:53] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
HENDERSON: Let's head around the INSIDE POLITICS table to see what our reporters are hearing from their sources.
Sara -- I'll start with you.
MURRAY: Well, we learned this week that Dina Powell, the President's deputy national security advisor is going to be leaving the White House after about a year serving there. And now we expect that she's probably the beginning of what's going to be a wave of departures.
Not unusual in any administration, but certainly in a tumultuous Trump White House, this wave could be even bigger. One thing to watch is not just who is leaving, but how does the White House fill these positions.
This administration has struggled since day one to staff its west wing. And it certainly isn't getting any easier as the Russia investigation looms even larger over the Trump White House.
HENDERSON: We'll see where that goes and what kind of new faces we'll see around the White House.
VISER: There's been a lot of chatter about Orrin Hatch and what he's going to do. There are some signs pointing to him deciding to run for re-election.
He's got President Trump in his ear pushing him to do so. He's got a fund-raiser scheduled for January. But time is almost up for him to make a decision. So watch that.
And also watch Mitt Romney. He has been much rumored to want that seat if Hatch does not run. But if Hatch decides to run, Romney still wants a role. And so watch him and sort of what he may do if Hatch runs.
HENDERSON: And that conflict between Mitt Romney and Donald Trump -- it's real.
RAJU: And a big question this week is what will Devin Nunez do in the Russia investigation on the House side. The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, he had stepped aside in April amid concerns that he may have mishandled classified intelligence. This is after he went to the White House and briefed the President on concerns that he had about whether individuals were improperly unmasked in intelligence reports.
But on Thursday, the House Ethics Committee cleared him of any wrongdoing. So now the big question among members is what will he do? Will he come back and take charge of this investigation that he had stepped aside and he let Mike Conaway, the Republican of Texas run it. Now, for months Nunes has widely wielded influence behind the scenes.
He's retained subpoena power and he has launched his own investigation. But what he has not done is attended these classified hearings.
He also has led negotiations over what witnesses to come -- Conaway and the top Democrat in the committee, Adam Schiff. So the question is if he does decide now to run the investigation, how that impacts things -- Democrats undoubtedly would be upset about that. It could further inflame tensions in this already very bipartisan committee.
HENDERSON: Yes. We look for how that resolves itself.
JOHNSON: In mid-November when the White House was first asked to respond to the allegations leveled against Roy Moore by several women they put out a statement and then the President was in Asia. And the first line of that statement said, that like most Americans, the President doesn't believe that mere allegations, in this case decades old, should be allowed to ruin somebody's life and career.
[08:54:51] And recently White House aides have indicated to me that that first line of that statement really does represent the President's true feelings about Roy Moore but also kind of broader -- this broader wave of sexual harassment allegations.
And I think it helps to explain the shift we've seen in the President's stance on Moore and his candidacy. But also may preview some comments that we may see him make sort of a broader wave of sexual harassment allegations that we've seen coming out of Congress and, you know, broader American life.
HENDERSON: That will be interesting to watch.
That's it for INSIDE POLITICS today. Thanks for sharing some of your Sunday with us.
Jake Tapper is next with an exclusive interview with Senator Richard Shelby from Alabama with more on that senate showdown between Roy Moore and Doug Jones.
"STATE OF THE UNION" is up right after the break.
[08:55:44] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)