The Briefing Room: In defining speech, Obama takes shots at Trump

Former President Barack Obama gives call to action ahead of midterm elections.
17:46 | 09/07/18

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Transcript for The Briefing Room: In defining speech, Obama takes shots at Trump
And. Welcome to the greater amount Devin Dwyer in Washington ABC news Rick Klein political director just official White House unit great to have you with us on a Friday. Little extra gain kid themed music to get it's this week here. A big week again in Washington from the Supreme Court hearings there the president making news New York Times dropping bombshells. Former presidents coming out of the woodwork and Rick we will start there former president Barack Obama. Hitting the stopped in way we have never seen a former American president take six. And we haven't seen this president to either for all of the barbs that he has suffered at the hands of president trump President Obama has kept his mouth shot. In fact we don't believe he actually uttered the words Donald Trump. And a public events or any appearance since president trump has been in office so almost two years now. And today's speech he did not hold back he went very specifically. And aspects of fox behavior at Trump's agenda i.'s conduct in office this was a speech that was in meticulous takedown attempt to take down of his immediate past. So let's take a listen to some of it that first. Let's listen to President Obama on the stage in Illinois university her Champaign Urbana explain why he's breaking the precedent. That all of his predecessors had followed with. Us. As citizens of the United States. Need to determine. Just who what is that we are. It is what it is that we stand for. And as a fellow citizen. Not as an ex president. But as a fellow citizen I'm here to deliver a simple message and that is that you need to vote because our democracy depends. And Rick the president sort of saying what a lot of Republicans have been saying that this is sort of a crisis moment and he. The whole speech seemed to go back to the Republican Party his time in office. It seems to have certainly more and answered a call to action to Republicans as well of course is base. I think this was in an attempt by President Obama to be claimed the norms of democracy is he sees them that says the American tradition has shown until this presidency. And I think that's where the potential power in this is this week coming off the McCain funeral last week and this moment where you remember. That things weren't always like this President Obama tried to come back but I'll tell you it's also risky strategy talk to one top Republican strategist at this today is that look. Pres Obama when he's run in mid terms and point ten and 2014. We like it bring it on if you want you wanna run and he's already shown an inability get people out in congress and in present complex have a foil. And Lindsey Graham Republican of South Carolina even suggesting that they would be happy with this as well yes sure and of course. You know what this means now now that that that Obama has broken the Preston. Years went when when when when trump leaves the White House whenever that may be. He's back or go way that you know he's gonna see he's on this moment the second he's out of office and they let they did it. I'm hard to have a lot of fun in store let's stick with the speech today another highlight from that. Not only need go after president trumpet he waded into. One of the hottest controversies to rock this town this week that anonymous op and then other times here's President Obama. And everything. Turn out okay because there people inside. The White House who has frequently aren't following the president's orders. Bennett not a check I'm being serious here that's not how our democracy is supposed to work. And we're not accountable. Not doing off of service. We promoted 90% of the crazy stuff that's coming out this White House and then. Said don't worry were preventing the other 10%. Our right to the president blasting in the op Ed for similar reasons. Then that this White House is of course. They're frustrated and a different way let's bring in our White House reporter toward Phelps is over there she's been tracking the fallen this story Jordan. Any reaction from. West wing staff to president Obama's speech in what is the latest you're hearing. On the hunt for the anonymous writer of that up. Yeah in fact we have for every action from president from his south and south he said heat watch this speech but he actually. Fell asleep high end seven not me wonder whether the president's palace sleep before app President Obama started taking meters whites at hand. I because that reaction is really pretty mild app from president we know he wants. To attack back so I think this is just the start of the reaction from president Ron. I and and we can expects to hear more. Now as it relates to that search president prompt is now calling on attorney general tax sessions to launch an investigation to find out. Who did it adds that this is an escalation in the White House's efforts to find whoever. Such rate the president in this way but the president on the hands not ruling out that this person. Doesn't exist at all saying the New York Times has been known to make up phony sources and maybe that's what happened. Here aren't locked on packed their Jordan standby in addition to Richard prior knowledge the app that let's go back to the present speeches but not. On that front Rick this is. Part of what's going to be a pretty broad campaign said the president is getting some good sleep from a couple of Obama's speeches he's getting a lot of good rest this fall. At present pres Obama going to be on the campaign trail tomorrow in Southern California over this budget competitive house races next week in Ohio where the gubernatorial candidate. Out worked for him in the lobby administration. I felt like that the trump reaction the mild this of the truck reaction that's just me that you Hasselhoff apartments. Watch Twitter overnight let's see what happens in the next Trevor round of rallies. He I don't think expected Allen anyone really expected the TV the personal animus that the President Obama showed in this. How strongly when after a one indeed tell fashion. I was of there was a reason speech but it was a strong and passionate 1 and I am curious to see how trump used to digest that because Obama V trial will be the story line for the next couple days. Indeed he does respect people he said as much that stand up to him that punch when they are part we have. We had it has taken months of punches from president from. Aaliyah Aaliyah and we know the president agree with you I think he has a -- digested yet either because we know he was talking to the presence on the road. Nine money haven't had a chance to digest it yet when he does he will punch back we know this president says. Does not accept anything now that punching. He's got a long flight home the Dakotas to watch the replay is not Fox News. Let's bring wreckage or Phelps was at the White House shall be there to greet president trop when he returns a little bit later. I do want to get back to this idea an investigation you mentioned it Jordan. Pretty extraordinary let's listen to the president in his own words on Air Force One just a little while ago calling. For Justice Department investigation I Jeff Sessions. Into the New York Times in this anonymous writer people. Or. Should be investigating plug there. I really believed. We hear that time and again Jordan national security. Treason potential treason conspiracy. Has the White House really pointed to any law that they think was broken here yet they started to lay out a legal case that they might bring against this person. Now there's not a legal case here for treason and Alan testing Ellington and the work that definition of what actually treason is doing is looking it's back earlier today. I'm but it turns of that national security argument with them that the case they're making here is that this could have been a person high level clearance. I you know there have been other things that this person is leaking time and they're posing a danger to the country in that sense that this is a person. He'll have access to this country's most guarded secrets. And they are not friends to the president. And I and I think one of the big questions. Up about this decision. For the New York Times published it for the person to individuals decisions. What purpose did it serve and and what that in fact counterproductive because. If you were to believe what this person said that their mission is to protect the nation from the president's worst inclinations. This person out exposed. What would be a network to to me it exposes on mission and therefore if he is somehow out it. You will see the president not only attacking remove this person but go after whatever network is a part of going through his emails doctor's phone called. Whoever this person talks to. They're all gonna use yeah. Abbas are told us yesterday here and ABC news live they will go in and smoke out the malls network of malls and if this person. Has been on line if there's eighty email trail a wolf. They already reportedly to New York Times they have a list of twelve people they think it could be. So that they are it with the popular don't trust that means that I think. He went want to be an analyst whether or not you. You were responsible for the and it's a little surprise that wasn't gonna in the week not know who it was a part of me thought he weekly final when he learned hours that would now what for that reason I explained I I. I think this person is going to remain anonymous and then and the New York Times doctor give them. We shall see John Kelly has that list of twelve names their starter at bargain. Crept. And it's pocket moving on though two the other big story it's happening today related to the Muller investigation. Over federal court in Washington the first sentencing. Of a trump associate going likely going to jail. For good that it's time George Papa apple with the level campaigning we see right now. It picture here in coming into the courthouse earlier today. Guy's turf proper topless. Was someone nobody was really talking about during the campaign but became a central figure. Once this investigation started again away. Right he told investigators that he you know that he'd heard about. Dirt on Clinton before he joined the campaign was just just a coincidence that turned out to be alive he's being sentenced that may face much six month jail. And you know it's funny because the present point to him today as a reason he doesn't want testify. Because he feels he could so easily get trapped in a lie. And and and and that's apparently the plot why he should. Test but. Yeah enemies you think John Dean is testifying in the capital here earnings this afternoon but it's the cover up enough that primal over aunt. But still with unknown about Papa golf course is what he's told Voller and what he's told a hot tactic at a campaign because. I get what makes this different. In palm out of work. Or Michael Paula for that matters this was a campaign aide is the summit was on the campaign. Was involved in this in setting up the meetings with the Russians the one week the Russians that we know the public record so. We still don't know what he's actually said to today. Closes a bit of a chapter but this a lot to be written on or off. In the room and some of the pictures you've been seen with Donald Trump with Jeff Sessions there's that famous picture. So if there was collusion he was sort of would've been privy to it in the middle of it perhaps. And pictures like these no doubt. Will be studied by Bob Mueller. Possible we await that sentencing. For George pop it up let's were also wrapping up a big week on Capitol Hill with the Supreme Court. A confirmation hearings for judge for Kavanagh we were up there are Rick and I all week and were up there yeah there we were anchoring live from up there. Rick wouldn't what do we learn that we didn't know at the beginning this process about church Kavanagh. What sort of unless we learned about about the politics does recognize that the Democrats the backbone of started to deliver on the fight that they didn't really agreeing. I'll win when they had a chance with the courts which last year so backbone protest about documents that were actually these are well well I I in with the Cory Booker I think a lot of excellent explain that you in the early it was funny fascination. I think the we learned as we learned not about capitalist judicial philosophy is the answer. Any questions there is still not. But I thought a lot of the details about the preparations heated in the Bush Administration is he's been hinting that it views and Roe vs. Wade is document that there are racial profiling. And even his role in in a bizarre sort of hacking scandal from the early to mid two thousands in polite and Ingraham and any rented the strange little side story to all this that. I feel like the Democrats at the Beagle with it to find the votes the plot in aiding the I think we can agree the no smoking. Gun in these emails that they leaked out none of that you must apply orbit than anybody what was your big take away from Portland but it wouldn't you take away while Democrats aside from that some of the politics request America's talking about a lot of auditions for twenty point that was of the tape where shore. But. Its centrality of Kavanagh in any future Supreme Court case involving the president in this investigation this was front and center are all week. And even things as little as having conversations with lawyers at president Trump's attorneys firm. Were asked about he didn't answer of course it was difficult to pin him down but. Democrats were certainly Smart to try to drag him into some sort of answer that could. Complicate his ability to to have a fair hearing challenger John team Nixon's former White House turn it was. Today thing firm whose expect he will be it will be the most presidential powers friendly quirk. His life they also mentioned Republican friend. Because the his role as it partisans the partisan battles of the 19 thousands so evident. And I think all we talk about independence of the judiciary east they are not. They're not fully formed beings when they arrive on the court they have their passage not surprised by that but still. The degree to which he's been he was involved Ken Starr and through the bush error wars against Democrats the he was a political figure through. And yet he insisted. He would be an independent. Fair minded person back pointed to an I didn't of this fact that's what we're wrap up on this topic. That Nixon. US forces Nixon was actually an 80 decision in pristine including some justices on the court appointed by Nixon. And Jones Jones V Clinton had the same situation Bill Clinton had some nominees on their who again. Were were against cancer and in college while worked out that way it did that they history shows that he won't necessarily be right friendly devices this fight the fire yes exactly. And finally we wrap up on this Friday first week of September with the world in the fact check etc. yeah Friday. Anchors and check out our weekly factor it's not up yet it comes at the end up Friday today and it does that leave you. Because then with on the hill all weekend that it put more work on me but down. The first thing we do the first a fact check we do is from the woodwork book. Trump using really offensive language of described Jeff Sessions calling him dumb southerner mentally retarded. The president denied that and tweed I think we have that week. And he says. Look I don't use language act. In the double down again today said on their fourth one I don't use that type of language how to use that type of language when I'm president but. He unfortunately does use that type of language and it's on he. And you know he's on the Howard Stern Show. Describing a golf pro an acquaintance of is who gave him good business supplies advised that mentally retarded he says that. So om and we've seen the President's Day. Use vulgar language before. So. That is the first fact checked not too far fetched perhaps from veteran journalist Bob Woodruff stands bias reporting we should know and more death count and on its books. The analysis and storm the other one was common EU was on Air Force One today. Going on about mop a Y Muller doesn't. Appoint more Democrats to his team. Where all the Republicans Herbert it wasn't planned are Republicans where all the Republicans think Mueller of course as a Republican om and and he said. That a member of Muller's team with at Clinton's election night party. New York city's connection lost crime in the it's. Now we know oddly. He's right one of Muller's team members was at Clinton's election night party. And there were people in the audience crying but. There is no evidence that this individual was there prize to think. He kicked it. And did you get a chance the fact check weather news and in fact all this week to president fox theater critics I don't I that I don't think he sought but he did say he's awake right now because on the plane you know there's little doubt. Very early flight with. I'm doing my are it. Much more check out fact check Friday and abcnews.com. Rick Smart analysis up from a very busy week there as well be sure to follow and subscribe to the note. The great political daily newsletter. Makes you download the EBC news apathy don't have you can watch us and all of our live coverage on your phone. For Jordan Phelps just official recline on Devin Dwyer Washington.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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