Transcript for Top moments from ABC News' President Trump, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez interviews
Welcome to the investigation on senior executive producer Chris plus Stowe and I'm joined here by Johnson Tucci the senior investigative reporter covering trump. And our special guest Mary Bruce senior congressional correspondent. ABC news had a big interview over the last week. With Donald Trump and George Stephanopoulos and it was a big special on Sunday night for the network. And we're gonna talk more and listen to some of the blades from the interview with our team. Know what nobody even brings Russia pretty much what bothers me is when you did nothing wrong. And they have a phony witchhunt that others. Then Muller who hate strong peas and never dropper and then it quickly adding if you have a huge huge. When really hates me. I think it puts eighteen people on toward Democrats. Not all Democrats they're very close and they were contributor to Hillary and some of them even worked for Hillary Clinton who called him his home Robert Mueller honorable white and that why the switch. I'm not switching or anything I've I would hope he's honorable put. You don't want. He gave us no collusion was a very big thing he didn't have friends and frankly he did say that he sits easily could look at who released a really don't know I didn't said that he'd there was initially missing evidence is surrealism conspiracy. Maria every conclusion of the report. What do you make of that Mary. The president's answer to them. I do think it's interesting how many times he clearly wanted to bring up the Muller report an esteemed in watching our special and John knows this better than he was there for all thirty of those hours but. It just that the president even on prompted just couldn't let it go he just wanted to constantly. You know bring it up really of this history and in some ways it seemed accused trying to set his record straight. It's funny one of the things that we got. No live obviously when you ere he specials everybody's got an opinion. And as the special was airing on Sunday nine. We were getting reel her reaction from the trump world and one of the things they said it is several people said to me you know to our credit. We let those moments play out that you were able to see that he be talking about topic excludes George and somehow it would go to. Spinning the commerce Haitian too well the media hates me meany is terrible the fake news Carla defeat which are armed with Russia and he just took the conversation Mahler. It happened multiple times on multiple days we are within Tuesday and Wednesday last week. Common to see those moments play I think he just get a feeling that this is still gnawing on him because the fact that congress is still moving cocaine. He's the one is pivoting to that she ready obviously George had a plenty of questions on this topic but it was interesting even you know when they were in the car when there they're out on the road is he's campaigning. Did he the president was the one who was pivoting off just yet. And I do think the part of the themes and seemed to to your point is that. George at some moments with saying he won't rule we're gonna get to yeah we'll get to it because obviously that is a huge topic that you wanna spend the right amount of time on. And to Georgia's credit when the president went there with us in the Oval Office which we didn't really be we're gonna talk about it at that point in time 'cause we had. So much more time with him to calm George was like all right let's do it. It is interesting because on one hand the president is trying to argue look case closed east you have repeats very often no collision no obstruction even if we had I not drills. But the president is trying to move past state in yet on on the other hand it's very clear that it is still a thorn in his side and he's not quite ready let ago. That he seems to not. Listen to the actual facts when George brings that up he he he's unfazed by. The world time George tried to correct them that's not in the report that's not true that's not what he said and good but he just keeps going he just tries to you know save these are the facts and. I believe. Right well listen I mean he increased you remember that long weekend we had here waiting. For the summary report or summary letter to come out from the attorney general. As soon as we saw all the way the attorney general can escape that was the way the Donald Trump was going to spend that was the narrative that he won to put out there are so for trump. It doesn't matter if the story changed if heat down the version he likes that's org many here on a repeat over and over again and guess what. For thirty hours last week. That's exactly what we heard. I actually think though that there were worse some interesting comparisons we were able to get at a this interview and one of the things that George. Spoke to the president about was comparing Richard Nixon. A lot of evidence including the episode. Were you ask your White House counsel John McCain tellem Mahler has to go you column twice convincing Mueller has to go. Call me when it's done and it now the sewer and the very simply. Number one I was able gunfire moment. I never suggested firing moment. Do what he excuse I don't get witty sense does it matter. That was to show everyone what a good council he was now he may have gotten confused with the fact that I've always said and I said it Kuna said it to anybody that would listen. Robert Mahler was conflict at it why would god we had all this good lying under oath to do why would you answer wanted to make himself look like a good lawyer or. All or he believed it because I would constantly tell anybody that would listen including you including the media. That Robert Mueller was conflict it. Robert Mueller had eight total current have to go office. I notice I didn't say that if I. Look article two I would be allowed to fire Robert Mueller that was not assuming assuming I did all of the things I said I want to fire him. Number one I didn't he wasn't fired. OK number one very important but more importantly article two allows me to do whatever I want article two would have allowed me to fire him. That's how I wasn't going to far you know why. Because I watched Richard Nixon go around firing everybody and that didn't work out too well. So very simply article two would allow me to do now. Article two of the constitution outlines the powers of the presidency. And the president's defenders argue he cannot commit obstruction of justice while exercising those powers. You talk about article to see your position is that you can hire or fire anybody stop or start that is instigation of a lot of great lawyers that's a position of some of the most talented lawyers. And you have to have a position like that because you the president. But without even bringing up article to which absolutely gives you every writes a president can't obstruct justice. A president can run the country. And that's what happened Cilic I run the country and I learned it well when the president does it is not illegal. I'm just saying a president under article to its very strongly that give article to read it. You know what's funny about that is that he contradicts himself in some ways or not really contradicts he says he listened Yeltsin circle right because he says. OK no I didn't want to fire Robert Mueller. But even if I did. Yeah I can do it because and under our dog Toto. So he wants his cake and eat it too its it's actually fascinating instead of just saying listen item one affirmed dom against a liar no but and just in case. Article two. We he's clearly trying to have it both ways right now ease insisting that he didn't do what again and others have said he did. But saying that he could if he wanted to and then at the end their mean leaving me at very clearly not answering George's question about whether or not he thinks a president. Essentially you know has has brought legal authority to to even obstruct the debate's not illegal if the president does it. Truck notably not answering but it's also interesting going mattress that earlier about the things that he was bringing up that he brought up Nixon. I mean I was certainly comparison that we could have me but to hear him say I saw what happened to Richard Nixon. While aware that could come from all very clear that he does not wanna go down in the history books in the same way that Nixon did out and that that is what's influencing some of his decision making is your it actually fast. Totally and but now but there's other sides though he does seemed but Robert Mueller. Does get under his skin Bryant Young I think the I mean it and even though he buddy in one breath would say there's no collusion and know this and feel vindicated he still can't Politico and I just don't know why. I think he I think it has to do with the fact that I mean listen. It's the legacy it's the brand end. That the Muller investigation the mullah report has been a dark cloud hanging over his presidency and he believes that and and the fact that. It's still there it's still being talked that Democrats wanted to bring Mueller are there keep the probe going he knows that and that irks him to know when. He's never going to be able to escape it that he just testified way to move past it and the question is whether or not he's going to be able to do that -- and it's interesting because on one hand his administration Democrats feel. You know did that the drug administration that they're gloating and Democrats to try to impeach did that he's the one who's trying to keep up this conversation in some ways by. Not complying with all their requests for subpoenas not letting people come and testify all of that. But on the other hand the president is clearly trying to move past it so widget to your does he want them to impeach him does he want to keep this conversation going. It is you want to move on to others. And why do you think he did this interview John you spent a lot of time trying to get this interview in new book good what was the motive I think that. The motive here it was that. There had been any recognition. Amongst many of his senior staff that we've got to get out of the Fox News Bobble. I'm he is only done interviews with friendly media he did the Lester holt interviewing 2017. Its two years ago. Com he's done little things with us and CBS he did something. With George in Singapore and the North Korea's side but it was small it is something with CBS around the Helsinki summit with prudent. But beane knew that now going into the election the way Donald Trump one. In 2016. Is it starting in June 2015. He flooded the zone there is a trump interview every single day in the oaks at a deal said. Com they were full owners they were coming up to the tower so. This is the beginning of a new trend you know we'll. Ironically we had the first interview in 2015. When the president launched his campaign I think we have the first of this re launch which he set to do data Florida. And that timing here. Network interview easily that's what he treated the other day bait but I think you're actually right he knows he's got to start looking beyond. Sort of his usual Bob and the other thing I would just note is that you know. He knows that the machinery to dumbing the zone of Twitter every morning is getting stale people are not. Buying into it the way they want to work out he's got a mix it up and from what I heard from needs Chris over the last several days is that the fact that he had to see himself. Physically on television going back and forth with George. He likes that he likes feeling like these shows focused on him there's nothing better Donald Trump and deceit. Flipping the channels and he's on every single one that's what he loved in 2016. It was clearly effective for him many would argue. So that's what I think we're gonna scene now well and also I. Found it compelling in the special on Sunday that those people the voters in Iowa. You know his supporters were saying who like him then we're saying they don't like the Twitter they don't like the attacks on Twitter. So maybe this is the trump maybe they want to see maybe it's not. I'll pull it teak but at least he's making his case the way he wants to do. I mean an end and so I'm sure that resonates with her mom maybe maybe not who knows. I don't that means he's gonna cut at the tweets that their I would I would know and get jabs about that I'm now but I think now you're gonna see a different. A different tact adding it's not just going to be fighting back on Twitter or just calling the press pool in for the occasional event to talk or. Chatham and labs the helicopter he's gonna try to create more moments that he dominates the field. Okay let's take a quick break can we come back we're gonna take to view from the hill. Welcome back to the investigation I'm senior executive producer Chris cost and I'm joined here by Johnson Tucci and senior congressional correspondent. Mary Bruce. Over the weekend. Congresswoman Alexandria our cows who Cortez. Was on her first Sunday show and she was talking about impeachment let's hear what she had two sacks. So what's yours that you you watched that whole interview play out this is change the calculus on impeachment. Why I think. Every day that passes full pressure to impeach growth and I think that it's justifiable I think the evidence continues to. Coming and I believe that with the president now saying that he is willing to break the lock to win reelection and that and that goes that transcends partisanship that transcends party lines and this is now about the role of flying United States of America. Merry what do you think about a OC and do you think congressional Democrats are grasping at straws are. Just wishing for impeachment you think the calculus is changed at all. I do think she is right that every single day the pressure is building. On democratic leaders and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. The president's comments to our George Stephanopoulos last week ratchet up the pressure even more him saying that he. Would be open he would take a listen. If that foreign adversary came to him with dirt on one of his opponents in 2020 all of these things. Do increase the pressure that the issue here is that Nancy Pelosi is listening she hears that she's. Occasionally throwing some red meat to the base and to the Democrats in her caucus who are calling for impeachment but she's also making very clear that she's not. But she's not changing her capsule as a matter what the president says an anti pastors exact question last week based on what she heard from the president. In our interview with George. Does why is she not moving to impeach and she said look one single comment is not all of a sudden going to change her game plan she's insisting. That they continue to quote follow the facts as we continue to hear say over and over and over again. And she is ultimately it seems hoping. That the best way to beat this president is at the ballot box not through impeachment that is not. What many progressives like a OC wanna hear it's not what a growing number of Democrats want to hear but it is also important I think. First of what happened number you know have a little more than sixty are believed to house Democrats. We're calling for impeachment that is not enough of the critical mass on the hill to force pulled Lucy's hand. Just yet. So if it's none it in one statement that's going to change her direction and the moment. What will because the committee so far have been the moving rather slowly I mean there's only been the one blockbuster hearing we've talked at this ad nauseam just Michael Carlin. We know that hope hicks said the president's longtime personally is going up the hill this week that's going to be another mean lost count Mary coming closed door hearings as there have been. A lot yeah so I mean what are they train in do you because if you think about. The activist out there that are pushing for impeachment. We have Tom's dire aren't your long time ago and he was saying. You've got to build people up in you've got to do something in public. Why aren't the dreaming thing for the view Tennessee. Well they are they're trying right to build a compelling case and it's Y last week for instance we saw Democrats on the hill have these hearing. With some of those stars from another political air they brought up John Dean and some other others over an Arab Mary I was like five decades decades. Another political scandal not the only personalized. He's going when reached at all but. But but they that is because of course they can't get the blockbuster hearing that they want right Democrats wanted. Mueller to come up and testify they wanted that big public airing of the Muller reporting they're not gonna get it. And that's because this administration is doing a very good job Democrats will say it's stonewalling all of their request so makes it hard. For Democrats as they try to build this case publicly but what they are still doing is trying to build a compelling piece case against the president cheer question Giovanni and Johnny what is it gonna take. While Democrats have made very clear it's going to take two things public by an and bipartisan support. And those are two incredibly tall order was in the quinnipiac poll that came out last week PM dep basically said 60% of the American people are not. Supporting impeachment isn't that what may have to close who's looking out. I'm sure it would be surprised abandoned that plays a role and remembered overshadowing all of this is the political risk of impeachment and our Jon Karl asked across your Cortez about this on the Sunday show. We'll try at least open an inquiry so that we can look at what is going on and that is what opening equip an impeachment inquiry. Rule since the terrorist and I I'd take your point about not wanting to do this for politics the politics of her real here. If it even if you open inquiry there's a vote. The president is impeached obviously that's thought to be. Convicted it in in the senate in the senate with a supermajority that's not going to happen right on so that the what you risk handing him a political victory here. So I think there's a couple of scenarios here one there's always the possibility that you open impeachment inquiry and it does not. Resulting in a referral. I'm that would open inquiry would not be a victory look at everything broke through them I think that this is about us doing our jobs when. If where talking about what's gonna be a victory for tramp and what's not going to be a victory for trump. Then we are politicizing. And we are told teen this process which again should be removed. From politics that being said Lindsey Graham himself set a very low bar for impeachment in nineteen little pain in the late nineties. With the impeachment of Bill Clinton. That impeachment did not result in handled by the senate. But I think for cats what will need to really realize is are we doing our job as a member of the house. And the San. Has their entire responsibility Mitch McConnell has over a hundred bills he hasn't brought election security to his feet and lets not forget. That he's involved in this mess tilt his his wife at second and transportation secretary Elaine Chao. We just was revealed by the near times for having. As a whole. Well and Doug of potential conflict of interest and as it relates to bringing out projects to Kentucky as well. I think there's a whole other separate set of issues in the senate but I think we need to be concerned with our top in house. So what do you make of all that I'm does she have a point. Mary well there couple different things to unpack here right. She's making the argument that Democrats and she is in good company in thinking this didn't get that they have a responsibility that they should be. Holding this president accountable if that means moving to impeach then so be it. The problem is you can't ignore the politics of all of this day there is no political vacuum in which this is occurring. And while she's trying to draw a distinction between launching an impeachment inquiry even if it doesn't ultimately lead to impeach or because you're never gonna get Republicans in the senate on board. The problem is that the set you go ahead and use that I word officially launch that impeachment inquiry. I of the public draws a distinction. And he can't put that back in the box. And politically it is going to be seen as if Democrats are teaching the president and the concern from democratic leaders is that that's a political gift to the president. There is an argument on both sot it's right what while democratic leaders are very scared that this could politically back fire on them. There's also a question of why this is gonna energize the Republican base could mean. Just as easily energize the democratic bases well and do Democrats have a responsibility. Given what they see is mounting evidence against this president. To do what anti closing is said and follow where those facts lead even if that is. Impeachment in a politically risky presidential election but isn't it and it's my last question you Mary but isn't it true there aren't really any new facts to come. Full don't we know everything and then the rest is just theater I don't think we can say that for sure we don't know everything. Will there certainly are a lot of questions that came out of the Muller reports that still have yet to be answered without George seven obelisk posing many of those questions of the president. In his interview and Democrats say there is still a lot for them to unpack. They just don't wanna go ahead and use that I word until they're they're down on packing Smart man will. Thank you both very much thanks for joining us today be sure to have subscribed leave us a rating or comment we welcome your feedback. Thanks to our producers Trevor Hastings street when former only return ski and we'll see you back here next week on another episode of the investigation. Did.
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