Netanyahu visits White House amid rocket attacks in Israel

President Trump welcomes Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the White House, plus Pete Buttigieg's popularity in the 2020 Democratic field spikes.
21:06 | 03/25/19

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Transcript for Netanyahu visits White House amid rocket attacks in Israel
Everybody welcome to the briefing room on this Monday on Devin Dwyer Washington great to have you with this started with our White House reporter from Jordan Phelps a lot to get into today. Including the continued fallout from the big development yesterday with the delivery of attorney general bill bars summary. A special counsel Robert Muller's 22 month investigation by now you of course have heard. The major conclusions there. No conspiracy. From the trump campaign in the Russians there's a picture of the letter. And of course more nuanced finding on the obstruction of justice. Questioned the special counsel concluding. He can't make a determination on that question which is something that congress is going to dig into. But after the president. We has been swinging at Robert Mahler for months calling him a disgraceful person the leader of a democratic witch hunt. I just a few moments ago in the Oval Office the president saying quite a different tune when our Jon Karl asked him what he thinks of Bob Muller now to Nicholas. Lester a long time we're glad it's it's 100%. The way it should have been Washington got a lot sooner let quicker. There are a lot of people out there that have done some very very evil things very bad things I would say treasonous things against our country. We can never ever let this happen. To another president again after the attorney general I wouldn't bother me at all. All right an honorable man Jordan the president says Bob Muller is in this is someone who. How we expect in the days ahead to next steps here will be potentially be here from Bob Mahler and Bill Maher. Yeah absolutely we now that capital hmmm I want that column map we know that. Bob Mueller is still working with the DOJ now in these final steps is there closing up shop there. Abbott DeVon I've got to tell you at the White House the mood has just been jubilation this is a really good moment for this White House and I would even outside the White House sauce air standards and carrying Connolly embrace in front of reporters. So they are really running with this moment. It does seem that a lot of our viewers a lot of Americans are so sorted it just trying to digest what this means next our Erica Kane was out on the National Mall here talking with people. Visiting Washington from across the country during these historic times wanting to know what's on their mind what questions they have. Here's what we heard from one person air Jordan of Maryland's take a listen. I'd like to know now a bad attorney general William Barr. Has decided not to prosecute the president for any crimes. What recourse does congress have as far as special investigations to look into the president's possible legal activities. Are. Let's bring her Capitol Hill reporter Catherine fall there's Katherine pick up that question Eric Jordan wants to know what congress is gonna do next. A yes so we're still. On the question of what they do as a relates to. Barr and Lawrence Jordan mentioned Democrats appear want to call them up here to testify soon that's what's next seven houses and relates to that but. Democrats are going to seize on multiple other investigations to we already in that chair the Judiciary Committee and nabbed learned he has 81 letters sent to. Various trump officials for the White House in the Trump Organization as it relates to rush they're probing and that. And just to name a few really in the president's contacts with Russia others' questions but the Trump Organization asked questions about those. Hush money and payment that we've been talking about and also the president's tax returns are going to be a big thing on the democrats' agenda so. Even this investigation is over Muller had a narrow scope congress is Arnie said they're going to probe. All of these things that has named a few of them there there's a laundry lists and these investigations are still going to continue up here on Capitol Hill and not to mention other US attorney's offices. They captured and they're also promising at least Democrats are to investigate the investigation they want to know. From Robert Mueller why he chose not to go any further on the question of obstruction. Yet they do in the big question Democrats have up here. Is Mueller didn't make that determination but bill Barr did they want to know why bar came to that conclusion why the trump appointed. Barr and Roseanne Stein took that determination from as a now Laura says two years of work that Mueller has done. And he made that determination in two days they are absolutely looking into that and they're going to continue. We're gonna continue to hear that from them appeared that I'm all right Kathy. Paul this force on the hill thanks so much and of course the president today as we have said at the beginning Jordan taking a victory lap on this you know very quickly here this would be a campaign rally going forward and we are kicking in the campaign season. With a campaign rally on Thursday night. Yet and we expect the president to be ripping into that send one thing that's going to be tricky politics for the Democrats now says they continue to want to probe into all of these matters. The White House is now armed with his political argument that we've already being here and weeping vindicate its so. This is can be tricky territory firm for both sides going. All right moving on the president. Himself pivoting to back to foreign policy. Matters of substance and policy today at the White House hosting the Israeli prime minister just two weeks. Before a major election there in the toughest reelection battle for Bibi Netanyahu in his storied career in Israel on a wanna go. Now bring into the conversation George Anna Miller. I she's ABC news correspondent coming to us live from Jerusalem where on the eve of Netanyahu's visit to Washington here dirt on a there have been a series of rocket attacks. Tape taking place from Gaza into into Israel and I understand some counterattacks are under way right now. That's right this is really supposed to be a bang and Benjamin Netanyahu's moments in front. Of the white house with the president what he thought would. Boost his very troubled reelection campaign he's down in the polls he dogs by. Corruption allegations and all of a sudden rocket fire coming from the Gaza Strip really casting a shadow over his visit. That rocket hitting deep inside is fell a home. Destroying it injuring seven people. And just a few hours ago is wrong caring out airstrikes across the Gaza Strip hitting mostly Hamas targets. Including a military and security headquarters. And recently. Just in the half hour news that Israel has destroyed the offices. And is now honey and now that is the political leader of the Hamas movement. Islamist group that rules the Gaza Strip he was. Not in sight he is in hiding but this certainly. A big hit. And sending a message to the group. Now in response already militant groups have been firing rockets on southern Israel. Sirens going off in just the last thirty minutes a number of those being intercepted by the iron dome. Israeli residents essentially staying close to there to their safe rooms and bomb shelters. And it's still unclear at this moment whether. Where this will go we know that ejection in UN mediators are working hard to pull both sides back from a bigger escalation. We have to wait and see what happens in the hours ahead. CI dangerous. If familiar situation taking place right now in any and certainly. An opportune time for Netanyahu facing reelection battle to come here to show solidarity with president trump and return the favor and I've got to say Jordan Phelps. This is then certainly of romance on full display today in fact Jessica listen. To the president with Bibi Netanyahu just a short time and on the Oval Office. That they sounded like they were best buddies. Under my administration the unbreakable alliance between the United States and Israel has never been stronger. You read things you hear things. It's never been stronger just remember that. Who have shown consistently. Incredible support for Israel. For our right. To self defense. When we exercise that self confidence you know reforms. You always been there. And the president is part of this visit signing a proclamation Jordan Phelps recognizing. And you Israel's occupation the Golan Heights which is territory but very controversial the United States is not taken a position in fifty years. On that end they did in this administration doesn't let the president with this move the embassy move. And pulling out of the Iran deal and the like really seems to be. Cranking towards the him you know most Israel friendly policies of other generation. Absolutely this is domestic politics for the president as much as anything he knows that this place to his evangelical base to be up close to Israel and these two leaders have become dubbed political twins on the international stage because of their closeness because. Add their similarities and styles. And you saw it in there today both men are wearing red tie is the last time Abby was not quite passer that they bought for bearing blue I'm sure just a coincidence. But it does highlight just the similarities between these two men in our certainly. Hoping to drive that message home ahead of Netanyahu is very critical election in just two weeks which is important for Netanyahu but also for president trump as he continues to want to exceed strength in the region. And ensure Donna Miller is so many Americans here are familiar with the numerous. Tried and failed attempts over the years to broker. And mideast peace. We know that this administration has been making a renewed push towards that Jared Kushner of the president's son in law. Spearheading that effort he told me at a dinner just a couple weeks ago that he plans to unveil his. This proposal for peace in April so stay tuned for that but I'm wondering. From your vantage point in Jerusalem what impact does this Golan Heights recognition have is right. Gonna make this peace process this peace settlement even harder. Well I think what it does is for any future. Peace negotiations between Israel and Syria. It essentially takes the Golan Heights. Off the table and remember there were previous Israeli governments that. Tried since it began negotiations. To return part of the Golan Heights in exchange for peace but. What the American president what trot Donald Trump has done essentially. Is to take it off that the table and say that if there's going to be peace negotiations well. The Golan Heights is now already. In Israel's. Territory it's already their their claims of sovereignty but something we stand behind. And when you think about is the Americans are the most influential mideast peace partners. Mediators we could say so this is really a major step. And a blow really to the Arab the Arab states especially Syria which is obviously rejecting this and calling it a violation of international law. That's certainly going to imagine the very least complicate peace talks between Israel and Syria for United States the Palestinians in the whole life but we shall see. When Baghdad your cursor broker plan comes out later next month Giordano Miller. I for us in Jerusalem thank you so much. Our adjourn on an engine Jordan just a button that up when you've been doing some reporting on this with a cushion your team they have been spending a lot of capital. On this peace plan the president has talked a lot about with Bibi Netanyahu and this being perhaps a signature of his foreign policy. And yet time and again it does seem me deeply and it they seem to take steps that would undermine their own efforts here. Do you have absolutely DeVon and part of babies election this peace plan is sort of hinging on that these plans to kind of roll this out in April but what I'm hearing from administration officials. Is they hoped to really take a different approach with this peace plan only in theory small group of people within the administration hadn't even seen. The complete draft and there's going to be a huge economic component to that's to try to. Really develop at that economy for the Palestinian people a sort of a big carrot to come along went. Making some pretty big compromises which as you note they party taken off the table Jerusalem Golan Heights. There just no longer earner negotiate. Going to be fascinating we know the BB Netanyahu's visit here to Washington continues tomorrow so much more on that ahead meanwhile. I turn out to 20/20 politics in the race for president are to challenge president Al trapper John their political reporter joining her homework here to dig into this Johnny. I want to start with a little someone who many of us are considered to be sort of a long shot to be an in this process mayor people who judge. South Bend, Indiana he's helping to sort of a moment right now and I think we need is take note of it. No I think you're right he obviously was someone who came onto the scene and was not very well known is the 37 year old. Mayor of South Bend, Indiana he deftly as having a moment his campaign announced earlier this month that he has not individual donors to make the first democratic debate he's raising. A lot of money he got a very warm reception in South Carolina over the weekend he's traveling all over all over the country. And this is before he's officially even announced his candidacy he still in the exploratory phase you can expect also. To get another bump in interest when he officially announces that he's pitching himself as kind of a pragmatist someone who's been. The leader of a city who comes from the midwest and can kind of appeal to a broader base of the electorate. It isn't pitching himself as kind of a radical progressive these more pitching himself as a problem solver someone who can kind of just get things done industry. He would also be the first ever millennial president one of the youngest presidents and first openly gay president he's someone. We've had here in the briefing room our conversation for a little more people to judge I here's a little bit of that conversation just bottom couple months or so ago where we asked him. I just what experience he has as the mayor of a very small town. Nicholas. Not only be the youngest president ever elected to also be the first mayor since the 1812 how has that experience prepared you to be president when he gets exactly the kind of experience we need more of for -- executive experience I think it shows right now that we have a president with. No government experience coming into it a vice president with the actually less fewer years of executive experience than that I have. And when you run a city of any size I think you understand the responsibilities. Of executive leadership something is a city like. Many in the industrial midwest and faced brutal economic challenges at the beginning this decade Newsweek wrote that we were dying city. Now we're growing again we're seeing our downtown comeback like we've created jobs and new industries and really transformed our economy I think it's a message. That's very different from the story we're being told. By this White House when it comes to industrial parts of the country which is that we're supposed to look backwards there is no going back there is no. Again in an honest politics we can't keep looking for greatness and all all the wrong places I think my experience as mayor shows that. So he's plan. At the mayoral experience Johnny is a plane in Iowa would we know about that critical first day break while you've seen. Kind of a whole host of candidates obviously the San entirely state of Iowa he got a very warm reception and I would to he's been there I think twice now in its first trip to South Carolina was this past weekend. But you saw a ton of candidates there last week in U sub that O'Rourke who now officially announce his candidacy Kirsten Gillibrand was there. Cory Booker and so I think and and I was actually there last week in the people that I spoke to obviously said. It's very early but they're also very encouraged to see someone like when a judge. There's 37 like you send a millennial loose then they really like the fact he's bringing just a new perspective to the race that hasn't really ever been. He's he's leaning pretty heavily on those men midwestern roots well earned her entire campaign exactly. You know that does seem interest in there's not a lot of pulling out their right now at least air worthy opponent we can talk you about in Iowa it's a little bit too early for that. I but there is a lot of rumbling around the edges that. Somebody like going to change is inching his way into that perhaps that upper tier of candidates the big names were all familiar with. What's interesting is the biggest name of all war who hit and Joseph Biden former vice president we don't have any clear indication definitive indication yet right what's the latest that your hearing Jordan and used to come priests to stake out your right Joseph Biden's. Compound just. Famous night and thank Biden is still a big question mark we don't know what he's gonna do we tend to that it. Once now by pat we don't know there's been some reporting that he might consider doing pledging to just a one term he might. And now it's his VP pick early on some different kind employees tag tickets and steam but I. Your guess is as good as my life possibly some trial balloons here and I'm sort of games this out the Los I think we heard from him he said he was about 95%. Toward making decisions hell they will you can tell as you see user Al on sort of on the trail with other candidates you can tell the feel this kind of holding their breath. For Biden to to get in the race and you can tell if he's definitely going through his own consideration process thinking about. Will I have the fundraising operation we'll have the social media operation to really breakthrough. And this can see and I think one thing inching thing to point out was that comment that he made about having the most progressive record. Of anyone he said running and many walked it back a little bit but I think that's setting up what's going to be a really interesting debate trust's entire army which is. What does that term progressive Mena today's Democratic Party ends Joseph Biden's record. Reflect what what voters want to hear him we will wait I'm Joseph Biden and let you know it's one of the things its interest in going to back to peep. And it says is you don't hear the president. Talk about mayor Pete just yet Jordan he's mentioned. Bernie Sanders perhaps Joseph Biden needs that is American service days talk about a Rourke he talks a lot of about Connell Harris. What are you hearing about how they are beginning news size up this democratic field. Well one thing we know is the president has had a few people he'd love to run against he's named a Merck Biden Sanders. Abbott their semi hasn't spoken out on he says he wants to save his attacks from later so all I almost wonder at once he's most worried about are those that he's not talking about. Right and we've seen that time and again when other democratic leaders in this town of people he doesn't attack. Sometimes an indication people he has the most respect for all of you very curious to see you mention anyone by name at a campaign rally I think that would be a clear indication that he's here a little more worried or I don't want to define them very early on or before we wrap up today here in a briefing room we should talk a little bit about the campaign rally and also how this is that you go full circle here how the Mueller report. Is impacting the campaign for 20s40 how we're going for them to get your take and that's Johnny and and Jordan. The president will be back officially in reelection campaign morn on Thursday its first car rally since the mullah report you'll be in Michigan. Expect this'll come up no doubt. If not veto it and tired of the speech what are Democrats sane and how the report. Or its roots in relation to gauge their reaction in the wake of this. And was issued a notice that a lot of their attention now on the top contenders attention now is turned directly to attorney general mark. They say look this four page summary is not sufficient. We need the entire reporter for actually gonna pass judgment on whether or not is whether or not we can really say definitively that the president did not. Have any improper contacts with Russia during the campaign come on Harris has come around said that Bernie Sanders has Elizabeth Warren Cory Booker who all pointed out the fact that. Attorney general William Barr is a partisan officially was appointed by president trump. Approved by the senate but not none of the 20/20 contenders voted to confirm bill are so their whole point is look. If this was an independent process let's get the entire report but the American public to see that report. And then pass judgment on but journalists are not this earlier if they aren't a bit of that of a quandary here because. There are some and then that did go while a bit further and say you know there is improper collusion Revver. But they're in a bit of a tough spot now politically with this whole report. No doubt there's obviously a risk to them focusing too much on its going into trying to honey you know you might if ice and to focus on their own issues instead. But the president on the other side is plain isn't really Smart action he saying that. He doesn't mind that the out in the public it's completely up to is an attorney general now in trade we on the that the president could. I'd make in order to you have the report released he hasn't expressed out willingness yet. I think at this point he can kind of punted over to the DOJ and say that he's gonna. It's really important point that it does give for dropped an upper hand but he has not had before and his political debate you know certainly very significant turn of events for him in his presidency in the past 24 hours. This campaign has been reshaped as well perhaps will be talking we'll read more about policy. He ever policy proposals ahead as well should be an interest in debate great to have torn felt Shawnee were Holbrooke with us today great to have you with us here. In a briefing room as well on this very busy Monday hope we come back tomorrow join us 330. Eastern time right here at ABC news live download the ABC news app for the latest. On all the stories you talked about today on Devin Dwyer and Washington. Thanks for watching we'll see you next time.

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