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'This Week' Transcript 4-14-19: Sarah Sanders, Rep. Bennie Thompson and Rep. Tim Ryan

This is a rush transcript for "This Week" airing on Sunday, April 14.

ByABC News
April 14, 2019, 9:42 AM

A rush transcript of “This Week with George Stephanopoulos” airing on Sunday, April 14, 2019 on ABC News is below. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated. For previous show transcripts, visit the “This Week” transcript archive.

ANNOUNCER: THIS WEEK with George Stephanopoulos starts right now.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Border battle.


DONALD TRUMP, U.S. PRESIDENT: They want more people in their sanctuary cities, we can give them an unlimited supply.


STEPHANOPOULOS: President Trump pushes a plan to bus migrants to sanctuary cities dominated by Democrats.


NANCY PELOSI, SPEAKER OF U.S. HOUSE OF REPS: This is just another notion that is unworthy of the presidency of the United States …


STEPHANOPOULOS: As more migrants flood the border. It’s now a genuine crisis. As President Trump demands extralegal actions resisted by his own administration, Democrats condemn the moves. But can they come up with effective policies to address the crisis? That debate with White House press secretary Sarah Sanders and the House Democrat in charge of Homeland Security, Bennie Thompson.

And, Attorney General William Barr in the hotseat …


ATTORNEY GENERAL WILLIAM BARR: I think spying did occur.

REP. ADAM SCHIFF, D-CALIF: I’m sure that was music to Donald Trump’s ears.


STEPHANOPOULOS: After releasing his redacted version of the Mueller report this week, is the attorney general set to investigate the investigation? Will Mueller’s full report validate Barr’s findings for Democrats who believe the president abused his power? Inside an analysis from our powerhouse roundtable with Chris Christie and Rahm Emanuel.

Plus, as the 2020 field continues to grow …



REP. TIM RYAN, US PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I’m running for president to bring this country back together.


STEPHANOPOULOS: Can this moderate Ohio Democrat make his move? Congressman Tim Ryan joins us live. We’ll break down the politics, smoke out the spin; the facts that matter, This Week.

ANNOUNCER: From ABC News, it’s This Week. Here now, Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Good morning, and welcome to This Week. It was the defining issue of his first White House run, but as the president gears up for 2020, his promise to secure America’s southern border is a promise unfulfilled. No wall paid for by Mexico, no stemming the flow of migrants to our borders. The numbers are growing by the month, overwhelming the system.

And the president is responding to this political and humanitarian crisis with increasingly incendiary rhetoric and policies; threatening to close the border before backing off, cleaning house at Homeland Security; and, Friday, contradicting his own White House by confirming his desire to bus migrants to sanctuary cities run by Democrats.


TRUMP: California certainly is always saying "Oh, we want more people." And they want more people in their sanctuary cities. Well, we’ll give them more people and let’s see if they’re so happy. They say "We have open arms." They’re always saying they have open arms. Let’s see if they have open arms.


STEPHANOPOULOS: Only hours before, White House officials said the idea had been rejected. Immigration experts noted it was impractical, costly, possibly illegal. Democrats called it callous and cynical politics. But as we come on the air this morning, the president defiant; his staff refining the proposal and that’s where we begin with White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders. Sarah, thank you for joining us again. So, where does this idea stand right now?

SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Look, this is an option on the table. I mean, we talked about a number of different things over the last two years that we’d love to see happen. Certainly this wouldn’t be our first choice because ideally we wouldn’t be dealing with the massive influx of illegal immigrants coming across the border, the crisis that we have both from a national security and humanitarian standpoint.

If Democrats would step up and help the president fix the laws, this all could go away, we wouldn’t be having this discussion, and that would be the best thing for the country and that would certainly be the best way to solve this crisis and fix this problem …


SANDERS: If Democrats continue to be unwilling to do that, then we’re going to look at all of our options and we don’t want to put all of the burden on one or two border communities. And Democrats have stated time and time again they support open borders, they support sanctuary cities. So, let’s spread out some of that burden and let’s put it in some of those other locations if that’s what they want to see happen and are refusing to actually help fix the problem.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But, as you know, when this story broke on Thursday, White House officials said flatly that the idea had been rejected. We know that President Trump called the former Homeland Security secretary, Kirstjen Nielsen, and she told him that her legal team reviewed it; simply not legal. So, how can you continue to push this?

SANDERS: Look, we have – that was brought up at a staff level and it was determined at that time that, logistically, there were a lot of challenges and it probably didn’t make sense to move forward and the idea did not go further …

STEPHANOPOULOS: Not just logistically, legally.

SANDERS: … The president heard the idea, he likes it, so – well, we’re looking to see if there are options that make it possible and doing a full and thorough and extensive review. The president likes the idea and Democrats have said they want these individuals into their communities so let’s see if it works and everybody gets a win out of it. Again, this is not the ideal situation. The ideal solution is real simple; it’s for Congress, particularly Democrats in Congress, to sit down with the president, do their jobs, and help us stop this awful crisis that’s taking place at our border.

It can’t be denied or ignored anymore. Democrats, including Obama’s secretary from Homeland Security, are now acknowledging that this is a crisis. They can either deal with it at the border and stop it from getting worse or they’re going to have to take on some of that burden in their communities if that becomes an option. Again, that's not our first choice, probably not even our second or third choice, but we have to look at all options as long as Democrats refuse to do their jobs and fix the problem.

STEPHANOPOULOS: I don't understand why the president's attracted to it at all. It actually could encourage more immigrants. It’s -- would be easier for these migrants to put down roots in the U.S. in sanctuary cities so it seems to run counter to his objectives.

SANDERS: Again, this isn't the president's plan. His top priority is to stop the flow of illegal immigration coming into our country to begin with. Democrats and courts, frankly, keep tying the president's hands and stopping him from being able to do that. We have a massive number of people that are already here. We need to take away some of that burden on all of the communities that are along the border like San Diego and El Paso and look at other options. Again, not our first choice. Ideally, Congress would fix the problem. They continue to kick the can down the road and not deal with the problem in front of them.

They’d rather spend all of their time attacking the president and -- on these baseless and taxpayer-funded investigations instead of doing what they were elected to do, and that's actually solve problems. We hope that they will find at some point over the course of their next several days, weeks and months to do their jobs and help the president solve real problems, whether it’s this one, whether it’s healthcare or whether it’s the other hundred things that we’re trying to work on that they seem to want to just continue to ignore.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You know, The New York Times and CNN also reporting that on his trip to the border last week, the president -- Trump urged Kevin McAleenan, now the acting secretary of Homeland Security, to close the border and that he told border agents there not to let -- to not let migrants in. According to CNN, the agents were told by their leader they had to follow the law and they’d be personally liable if they did what the president said. Homeland Security officials were pretty alarmed by what they heard down there at the border last week.

SANDERS: Homeland Security pushed back on this as has the president. They both pushed back, Secretary Nielsen as well as the president. Look George, I don’t know about you, but CNN isn't usually my first stop for a good source, particularly not when it comes to this president. The president is actually the president trying to enforce laws not go around them. We're a country of laws and we have a president who supports that and is not asking anybody to do anything outside of those bounds. In fact, he's asking Congress to step up and give greater legal standing so they can do more to stop this crisis. No one’s trying to skirt the law and certainly not being encouraged by the president to do so.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You took on CNN there. The president also took on the The New York Times last night in this tweet about this story and he said that they never even called to check for the truth but the reporter, Maggie Haberman says they actually sent e-mails to the White House Press Office, three e-mails that were acknowledged and they simply refused to comment. So who’s telling the truth there, the president or Maggie Haberman?

SANDERS: Look, The New York Times regularly steps out of bounds. Even when we respond and tell them something’s not true they still run with the story. I'm not sure the particular story that's in question on this front. But again, I’m going to take the word of the president versus CNN or The New York Times any day of the week.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But the Times did call and check, correct?

SANDERS: Again, I’m not sure about this particular story. I'd have to look back to see what story they're talking about. We do talk to them regularly and a lot of times we push back on a story and that's simply not enough for them. They like to run with anonymous sources on the regular basis about this president, it’s an unprecedented amount of negative coverage that not only them but a number of other outlets spend over 90 percent of the coverage about this president is negative despite the fact that our country is doing extremely well, our economy is booming, ISIS has been defeated in Syria, we’ve gotten rid of countless regulations that have allowed our economy to grow, that have allowed more jobs to pour in, that have made us an energy-dominant country again.

The country is doing extremely well yet if you looked at the media and the coverage you would think the whole place is falling apart. I think that is a real problem and certainly something the president’s going to continue to call out.

STEPHANOPOULOS: I think every president feels -- feels they get subject to unfair coverage every once in a while, the question is whether or not that was accurate.

SANDERS: You would know, George, you’ve certainly been there yourself.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Absolutely. But the question --

SANDERS: Sitting in this position.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But the question -- yes, but that’s the question, though, is that -- who's telling the truth about whether or not they were contacted. But I do want to move on right now. The president has been sending out those tweets about Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, attacking her for how she characterized the 9/11 attacks. And included in that tweet, those images of the towers burning. And you know, that’s drawn a lot of criticism from Democrats including the House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

And this from former Congressman Beto O’Rourke.


BETO O’ROURKE, FORMER CONGRESSMAN: This is an incitement to violence against Congresswoman Omar, against our fellow Americans who happened to be Muslim.


She was subject to a death threat last week.

SANDERS: Certainly the president is wishing no ill will and certainly not violence towards anyone, but the president is absolutely and should be calling out the congresswoman for her not only one time but history of anti-Semitic comments.

The bigger question is why aren’t Democrats doing the same thing? It’s absolutely abhorrent the comments that she continues to make and has made and they look the other way.

I find what her comments to be absolutely disgraceful and unbefitting of a member of Congress and I think that it’s a good thing that the president is calling her out for those comments.

And the big question is why aren’t Democrats doing it as well? And not just doing it, but doing it by name. They do these watered down push backs that frankly they feel like give them enough cover, but aren’t really getting the job done.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Sarah Sanders, thanks for your time this morning.

SANDERS: You bet, thanks so much, George, I appreciate it.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Thank you, Democrat response now from the chair of the House Homeland Security Committee Bennie Thompson. Chairman Thompson, thank you for joining us this morning.

I want to get to immigration, but let’s begin where we just left off there with Sarah Sanders. She says Democrats should be condemning the remarks of Congresswoman Ilhan Omar.

REP. BENNIE THOMPSON, D-Miss.: Well I saw the speech she gave and I saw nothing wrong with it. I saw the president’s manufactured tweet where he put pieces in there.

But George, we are a nation of laws, a democracy, free speech is here, and again I saw nothing wrong with the congresswoman’s speech.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You say you saw nothing wrong with it but she did characterize, you know, the most deadly attack ever on American soil – terrorist attack ever on American soil, a cold blooded mass murder as “some people did something.”

That does seem to downplay the importance or what happened on 9/11, doesn’t it?

THOMPSON: Oh, there’s no question about it, we had over 3,000 people who got killed at that event. So there’s nothing to downplay on it. But again, she spoke to it, I think the president is just seizing that moment, manufacturing what he said and then moving forward with a traditional speech.

So I think there are other issues we have to deal with in this country.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So just to be clear on that though, you agree that characterizing it as “some people did something” is not the proper way to characterize 9/11.

THOMPSON: Well no question about it, but again, if I look at what the president says on a daily basis, we could criticize him almost by the hour. So for him to take the congresswoman on is just another one of his what I think real simplistic attacks.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Let’s move on to this proposal perhaps that the president’s thinking about to move migrants to sanctuary cities. Do you see any way to do that legally?

THOMPSON: No I don’t. More importantly, this is again his manufactured chaos that he’s created over the last two years on the border. This remain in Mexico, the media ring, the zero tolerance put in by the attorney general, all those things have just created this crisis.

Before Donald Trump took office, we had a situation that was manageable, we had spikes but it also went down. But what we have now is a constant pushing of the system so that it doesn’t work.

This notion that you take foreign aid away from the Northern Triangle countries, clearly that was an investment that had proven to work. So now you take that investment away and obviously those people in those countries have to leave because of the crime and other things that’s occurring.

So rather than being punitive, the president has to step up and provide real leadership, which he’s failed to do on immigration.

STEPHANOPOULOS: He says he needs Democrats as a partner, and right now as you point out, the numbers are really climbing, more than 100,000 apprehensions last month, a massive increase to almost a million asylum cases right now.

What can be done to get this under control?

THOMPSON: Well first of all, everybody talks about Democrats, Republicans getting together. We are absolutely, Democrats, ready to sit down and talk. But we won’t be lectured to by the president, let’s sit down and talk.

I chair the Homeland Security Committee, I’m prepared to sit with the White House. If we can get somebody in the leadership at DHS so that we can sit and talk, but right now we have eight senior vacancies at the department, so we're kind of in a rudderless situation. We are supposed to meet the secretary on May 1 at the committee. We're not certain now with the acting person whether we'll be able to do that.

So the individuals tasked with the responsibility of carrying forth the administration's policy, they're just not soundly in place for this to occur.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But you know we're also seeing these series of reports from coming out of Homeland Security, and of course your committee has jurisdiction over Homeland Security that they've been pushed by the White House, by the president, by White House staffers, including according to some reports by Steven Miller, to put in place policies that bend the law if not break the law. Are you developing information that backs up those contentions?

THOMPSON: Well, we don't see Steven Miller as an expert. He's a young man who has some novel ideas that most Democrats disagree with, but the point that I'd like to make, George, is Democrats are prepared to address this situation. Every financial resource that has been brought forth, Democrats have supported it. We've supported adding more men and women to the border patrol. We've made sure technology was available.

But the challenge is when you interpret existing law, or when a judge rules against you, the president talks about how bad the judge is. As a nation of laws, co-equal branches of government, the judiciary has a role.

So, if the president would like to work this out, I'm saying here on your show this morning, we're absolutely ready as Democrats, but he can't decide I'm not going to talk to Speaker Pelosi, I'm not going to talk to Chairman Nadler, I'm not going to talk to Bennie Thompson, I'm going to talk to somebody else, that's not how it plays. Democrats elected us as leaders, and we're the ones to expect -- that are expected to go forward with this.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Final question, do you believe he's upholding his oath to faithfully execute the laws of the United States?

THOMPSON: I think it's a real challenge, at this point. When I've seen the president talk about violence toward Americans, when I've seen him talk about women, when I've seen him do a number of things that belittle the office of the presidency, I'm real concerned.

I have a grandson. I almost have to send him out the room when the president comes on TV,. because I don't know what's going to come out of his mouth.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Congressman, thanks for joining us this morning.

THOMPSON: Thank you.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Coming up, how Congressman Tim Ryan, one of the newest candidates for 2020. Can he break out from a crowded pack? He joins us live next.



REP. TIM RYAN, D-OHIO: My daughter called me crying from school because her friend was crying to her, her dad just got transferred at the local General Motors plant, the kids had to move.

RYAN: And my daughter called me and she said, you got to do something. And I said, I’m going to do something and I’m going to run for the president of the United States and we're going to make sure it doesn't happen again.



STEPHANOPOULOS: He’s running now. Congressman Tim Ryan from Ohio and he joins us live this morning. Congressman, thanks for joining us this morning.

RYAN: Thanks.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Let's pick up where you -- you left off on The View. There’s a lot behind the closing of plants like Lordstown, long term trends in -- in the global economy. President Trump made those same kind of promises. What can you do that hasn’t been done?

RYAN: Well we need an industrial policy in the United States. We need to sit down with the -- the business community, we need to sit down with the educational community and use the tax code and figure out how we rebuild the industrial base in the United States. There's plenty of opportunities out there. Take electric vehicles for example. We’ve made one to two million electric vehicles today. There’s going to be 30 million made by 2030. Who's going to make them? I want those made in the United States, George. I want the batteries made in the United States, I want the charging stations made in the United States.

It's the president of the United States who needs to convene, sit down with the big three, sit down with the Department of Energy, put a big plan together and then cut the workers in on the deal so they could actually make a middle class wage. China today dominates the electric vehicle market, they control 40 percent of it. So we’ve got some work to do and it starts in the White House.

STEPHANOPOULOS: That’s -- that’s one -- that’s one sector of the economy. When you look at the overall economy right now, several months of straight -- of job growth -- years of job growth, actually, lowest unemployment we’ve seen in a generation right now. Most polls show that a majority of the country believe the economy’s doing well and giving President Trump some credit. So is this the best ground to challenge him on?

RYAN: Well, it's not doing well where I come from and it’s not doing well in a lot of places around the country. You know, we talk about increasing the minimum wage, George. People used to make $30, $40 bucks an hour. Yes, the unemployment rate’s low, people are working, you know, one, two, three jobs to try to make ends meet. The average family, 40 to 50 percent of families in the United States can’t withstand a $400 or $500 emergency.

My campaign and my behavior as president is going to be to rebuild the middle class in the United States. People are tired of just getting by. They're tired of just surviving. They want to thrive. They want their kids to thrive. And we've got to stop talking about the minimums, we got to figure out how we create an economy in health care, in energy, within manufacturing, where people can make $30, $40, $50 bucks an hour, that's the American dream. We've got to rebuild it.

So, yeah, the unemployment rate’s low, the stock market is high, but yet the national stress level is probably as high as it's ever been, the national anxiety level is about as high as it's ever been.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You support the Green New Deal. You support Medicare for all. We heard the Senate Republican leader this week, Mitch McConnell say they're going to make the election a referendum on socialism. Are you worry that policies like that will make Democrats vulnerable?

RYAN: Not at all. Look, we need a public option for people to be able to get health care in the United States, so we've got to fix that. And when you talk about Green New Deal, I support a green new deal, which means we've got to reverse what's happening with our climate, and that could mean jobs in places like Youngstown, Ohio, and the industrial Midwest because there's so much that needs to be manufactured, again, electric vehicles, solar, wind, where there's 800 component parts to a wind turbine, that's manufacturing jobs. And an agenda that can both reverse global warming and climate change and create manufacturing jobs is something I'm going to support.

And making sure people have access to affordable health care is something that I'm going to be for, too.

But, look, I think this health care is actually the wrong discussion. 75 percent of health care costs today come from chronic diseases that are actually preventable. So, we need to completely transform our health care system where we're incentivizing doctors and patients and health care providers to actually keep people healthy. We just don't want health care for people when they get sick, of course we want that, we want a health care system that actually keeps people healthy, and that's the transformational approach I'm going to take.

And I would just say if people are supportive of this, go to, because we're going to build a new agenda for this country and rebuild the middle class.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You got the plug in there.

You know, you failed in your bid to take on Nancy Pelosi as Democratic leader after the 2016election, initially opposed her bid for speaker as well. Was that a mistake? And what did you learn from it?

RYAN: No, I don't think it was a mistake. Let me say, Nancy Pelosi is a historic figure. I think she's running circles around Donald Trump right now, and not just protecting the interests of the people of the country, but really protecting the integrity of Article I of the Constitution, the House of Representatives. She's making sure that the power remains in that chamber, which I think is really important.

And my pitch two years ago, and again this year, was that the Democrats, we need a new generation of leadership. We need new people to come in and be leaders in our party. And I will say that, we have had a lot of success over the last two years. We now have Hakeem Jeffries in House leadership, great young leader, Katherine Clark, we've Cheri Bustos, Ben Ray Lujan; we've got a variety of -- Dan Kildee -- a bunch of new, younger leaders who have emerged, because we pressured -- it was a family discussion. I've got the utmost respect for Nancy Pelosi, and now we have got new leaders in place, too. So, we're ready to turn the page and move on.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Congressman Ryan, thanks for your time this morning.

RYAN: Thanks for having me, George.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Roundtable is up next. We'll be right back.


STEPHANOPOULOS: Roundtable’s all here ready to go. And all week long, you can get the latest on politics with breaking news alerts on the ABC News app. We’ll be right back.


WILLIAM BARR, UNITED STATES ATTORNEY GENERAL: I think spying on a political campaign is a big deal, it’s a big deal.

SEN. JEANNE SHAHEEN, D-NEW HAMPSHIRE: So you’re not – you’re not suggesting though that spying occurred?

BARR: I don’t – well – I guess you could – I think there’s – spying did occur. Yes, I think spying did occur.


STEPHANOPOULOS: And boy that got some attention this week, Attorney General William Barr testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee as prepares this redacted version of the Mueller report, expected to come this week.

Let’s talk about it on our round table joined by the former governor of New Jersey, Chris Christie, Democratic mayor of Chicago for at least a couple more weeks, Rahm Emanuel, Republican strategist Alice Stewart, also CNN political commentator, Democratic strategist, Stefanie Brown James, co-founder of The Collective PAC which helps recruit and elect progressive African American candidates and our chief White House correspondent Jonathan Karl.

And Jon let me begin with you, the White House liked what they heard from Barr in that exchange right there. But it also appears now, he wouldn’t comment on it that the White House has been briefed on this overall Mueller report.

What do they know, how worried are they?

JONATHAN KARL, CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, ABC NEWS: George they have been briefed, but I’m told it’s in broad brush stroked. Emmet Flood in the White House Counsel’s office has been briefed on the logistics, the timing of the release.

They’ve been briefed enough to know that the White House will not invoke executive privilege to try to get further redactions. But George, there is significant concern by the – on the president’s team about what will be in this report and will be un-redacted.

The good news is already out there.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Even stuff that will be un-redacted?

KARL: Yes, yes. The good news is already out there, broad conclusion, no finding of conspiracy between the campaign and the Russians on the hack or on the interfering in the elections.

But there is significant concerns about what will be in here, new information on the obstruction justice question, on what the president was doing regarding some of the big questions, was he trying to – how much – how far did he go down the line of trying to fire Mueller or talk about firing Mueller, situations surrounding the Comey firing.

And what worries them most is what Don McGahn told the Special Counsel . It was –

STEPHANOPOULOS: Former White House Counsel.

KARL: Former White House Counsel Don McGahn has visibility on all of this. It was reported earlier that he spent 30 hours before the Special Counsel. George, I’m told that significantly more than 30 hours, and here’s the astounding thing.

After all of that time before the Special Counsel, nobody on the president’s legal team debriefed McGahn about what he was asked by the Special Counsel or what he told the Special Counsel.

So the bottom line is they really don’t know.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And what people also don’t know, Chris Christie, is how exactly Mueller characterized his – his – that one sentenced we’ve seen he doesn’t exonerate the president. What did he intend? Did he intend for this to go to Congress? Did he intend for Barr to make this decision on obstruction that Barr apparently did make?

FORMER GOVERNOR CHRIS CHRISTIE, R-NEW JERSEY: Well my guess is that he didn’t care that, you know, he was not going to take a position on that because for him to take a position on that is contrary to what prosecutors do, George.

I mean in the end, we don’t exonerate people when we’re prosecutors, we either charge them or we don’t.

STEPHANOPOULOS: That’s in criminal law though, it’s different when you’re dealing with a president, isn’t it?

CHRISTIE: Well I don’t think so, this was – this was a counter intelligence criminal investigation and what Bob Mueller was, was a special prosecutor for the Justice Department, conducting himself as any assistant United States attorney or a United States attorney would conduct themselves.

Remember, he didn’t have any special responsibility to Congress in the statute and regulations doesn’t give him a special relationship with the Congress as the last statute did.

So this is totally different, he reports to the attorney general, he sends the report to the attorney general, and then in the end the attorney general is the one who has to advise Congress that he’s received a report.

So this is very different than what we’ve experienced in the past and I think Mueller took the position – listen, we don’t exonerate people, we investigate, if we have charges we charge, if we don’t, we say nothing.

Now this is contrary of course to Jim Comey’s conduct – conduct of it – you know, in 2016, but it is the norm and what’s accepted by prosecutors.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So what do Democrats do now?

MAYOR RAHM EMANUEL (D), CHICAGO: Well I think two things that I would say, one is the White House is going to rue the day that it was only a four page memo because everything is going to be measured now that comes out against that four pages.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So that was the high point?

EMANUEL: Yes, that was their good day. And everything else is going to be a problem for them because everybody basically drew one conclusion, that four pages is not a summary. The thing that Democrats should have done a long time ago was not ask for the whole report. Every section has a summary. They should have said while you’re redacting, we want all those summaries out, so they could have kept it going for the three weeks, not just waiting. They could have actually gotten those summaries. I actually think -- and one thing I would bring up here because about what was just said by the attorney general.

It was a counterintelligence investigation, it was approved by the courts. There was no spying. This was approved by the courts here and --

CHRISTIE: Rahm, that is spying.

EMANUEL: No, no, no, what he --

STEPHANOPOULOS: That's not spying.

CHRISTIE: Wait, George, if you --

EMANUEL: Well let me -- let me say this, having sat through national security briefings, having sat through -- in the situation room, this was a loaded term used for loaded impact and this is not what that was explained for. This is all approved by the courts, by -- the Supreme Court makes that appointment and what -- they're going to rue the day -- now what I would is as Democrats, constantly in this tone has got to be, we're just looking at and see where the facts take us. I think the bigger worry for the White House isn't the Mueller report, it's going to be what's going on in New York.

CHRISTIE: There's legal spying and illegal spying, by the way. There’s legal spying and illegal spying. The attorney general didn’t make any opinion on that, George, on whether --


STEPHANOPOULOS: I guess spying generally has a negative --


EMANUEL: The term was selected -- selected Trump term.


CHRISTIE: -- it’s electronic surveillance that the person who’s being surveilled doesn't know that they're being surveilled. I mean, what do you call that? It’s -- it’s -- it’s another adjective. Now, if he said it was illegal spying he would have been out of line because he doesn’t have the conclusion to do that yet. But that’s what it is.


STEWART: I think the Democrats are so busy being word police on this they're losing sight of the fact -- as to what the governor said, there's legal and illegal types of spying and that’s the question that Mueller -- that Barr wants to get to and others want to get to. And look, we can all agree Attorney General Barr has a tremendous reputation, he has a tremendous history of his work in the law. He is not going to jeopardize his legacy by mischaracterizing the Mueller report. Surely I think this four-page report may have been glossed over a little bit but he is not going -- he is not going to jeopardize his legacy and mischaracterize information that American people want to know.

I think he is right to redact the information that needs to be redacted. It’s going to be very careful. It will never be enough for the Democrats but he is doing this the right way, taking our time, and I have always said we don't need to prejudge the Mueller report and let’s wait and see what it comes out.

BROWN JAMES: Well you're right about Barr's legacy which is why a number of civil rights groups and progressive groups did not want him in office, because he has a legacy of not being fair to a number of communities and to -- and on a number of issues. And so, one thing that I am excited about is that this is actually an issue that most Americans can agree on, that we want to see the report. Democrats and Republicans say we want to see the report. Now, I think we’re going to get a lot of information in there that is going to perhaps give us a glimpse into the future. Are there more -- is there more information out there that shows that Russia still has an influence over the president?

I don't know. I think we’ll find out soon. But I'm just looking forward to that report coming out this week.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Let’s hope it’s this week. Meantime, there was a lot of focus, as we know, on the border this week. And Jon, you actually addressed this with the president on this whole family separation policy. Let’s take a look.


KARL: You wouldn't start separating the children again, would you, Mr. President?


TRUMP: -- separate the children, by the way.

KARL: Would you consider it doing again?

TRUMP: Just so you understand, I'm the one who stopped it. President Obama had child separation. Now I'll tell you something, once you don't have it, that's why you see many more people coming. They’re coming like it's like a picnic, because let’s go to Disneyland. President Obama separated children. They had child separation. I was the one that changed it.


STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, actually -- and factually that's not true. But the president, Jon, does seem to be more and more frustrated by what he's seeing on the border. And you just saw from Sarah Sanders earlier in the program, he is going to look at this idea of sending migrants to sanctuary cities.

KARL: Because here's the bottom line, George, they're on track to see 150,000 migrants cross the border illegally in the month of April. That’s the number they’re tracking.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Which we also saw in March.

KARL: The detention -- which we also saw in March. The detention facilities are full on the border. So what is happening right now on the border -- president won't say this but this is what I am told this is happening on the border, is the policy he always derided, it is catch and release. They cannot detain anybody so they are releasing the people they are catching coming or they’re turning themselves in across the border. They are being released. So that's why you see the president, you know, going about with so many different ideas, floating one day back to child separation, closing the border down entirely, and now this idea of shipping the migrants off to sanctuary cities.

None of those ideas are going to fly but they do not have a solution to this right now and they are releasing migrants across illegally right now.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Chicago is a sanctuary city?

EMANUEL: Yeah, we’re a welcoming city. Always have been. I took it as executive order, passed it as an ordinance. I would just say America was always a sanctuary country before Chicago became a sanctuary city. That is exactly what’s at the bottom of the Statue of Liberty. You can see it from New Jersey. The fact that …


CHRISTIE: You can not only see it from New Jersey, it’s in New Jersey.



EMANUEL: … You can read the base of it, it says send us your hungry, your poor …

CHRISTIE: We’ll welcome you anytime, you’re retiring, now come – come, we’ll show it to you…

EMANUEL: The other thing I would – the other thing I’ll show you is, the fact is, everything that he’s built has been built by undocumented people and people that staff it, including his golf facility in New Jersey. And third, here’s what he’s really trying to do, George; he introduced a budget which had the largest cut in Medicare and Medicaid. He’s trying to hide that because seniors are his most loyal voters and he’s having a debate about – not that there’s not a problem at the border. There’s a problem.

But it’s not a problem that measures up to the – his problem. He is trying to stop – there’s no writing, there’s no reporting, we’re not going to bring up Medicare. His budget has the largest cut in Medicare and Medicaid of any presidential budget. And what he’s trying to do is make sure that seniors don’t know. And if I was the speaker, if I was Chuck Schumer, I’d pull that out of his budget and put it up just like Medicare for All …

STEWART: The key – the key with this is, this is his effort to really try and make some impact and inroads on his signature campaign issue, which is immigration and securing the border. He has addressed the Flores Amendment which is a big problem with – of this, illegals coming into this country and – and having just a limited amount of time where we can process them. He has made it clear that he wants to look at catch and release, the problems with catch and release. He wants to look at ending chain migration, the visa lottery.

And this proposal of sending them …

EMANUEL: He wants an issue, not a solution.

STEWART: The – the idea of sending them to sanctuary cities was floated and rejected. It’s not going to happen. But here’s the question …



BROWN JAMES: But that’s the problem right there …

STEWART: It’s – it’s – we can’t afford it and it’s legally not going to pass. But why are Democrats …

STEPHANOPOULOS: But you just said – you just said what White House officials said Thursday night that the president contradicted on Friday morning.

STEWART: Exactly, but here’s – my question is, why are Democrats who – Mayor, with all due respect, you’re – you’re – you probably say that you welcome them with open arms and you introduce this policy in 2012. Now, all of a sudden, the opportunity …

BROWN JAMES: Here’s – here’s – where’s what …

EMANUEL: And I said – I said I would – I said I would welcome them …

STEPHANOPOULOS: Let’s let Stephanie in.

BROWN JAMES: You welcome real, comprehensive immigration reform which we don’t have. Do you all remember a few months ago when, I don’t know, the government shut down over this issue? That still has not been resolved. It’s like this president has this stall and scare tactic. We don’t have any real sense of us moving forward to a real solution. This is a schizophrenic process to where this day, this may work and this day, this may work.

And look, let me say this about the Democrats. I think the Democrats need to be more vocal on what their plan is as well. Americans are getting tired of not having any real movement and especially as we continue to use like a shutdown to try to work on this situation …

STEPHANOPOULOS: And – and Chris, I wonder if this proposal – I mean, these ideas have the same power – political power for the president that they had back in 2016, now that he’s responsible for the border.

CHRISTIE: Well, I – but I think what he’s doing here is – is to try to show that he can’t do it by himself. And that he floats these ideas out that he could do by himself, which most people think would not be legal and wouldn’t be doable, to show that, without Congress being willing to – to step in here and work with him, get to some solution, he can’t be held responsible for it. I think that’s part of what he’s doing here.

But second is, this is why I’m so glad Rahm is going into retirement, because …


Because you see what Democrats should be doing.

EMANUEL: What’s it like, Chris?

CHRISTIE: It’s great.


It’s really good. It’s really good. You – here’s the thing, he’s doing what Democrats should be doing, which is, he’s pivoting off the immigration issue. Rahm said what he needed to say on it and then he said, now let’s get to Medicare and Medicaid. Because what he knows is that for Democrats, traditionally, that’s a winning issue for them. But …

EMANUEL: It also plays off the president from his base with the seniors …

CHRISTIE: Well, of course – well, that’s why it’s a winning issue for you, right?

EMANUEL: Thank you.

CHRISTIE: But here’s the problem. The problem is that no other Democrats that are in leadership or who are running for president are nearly as smart as he is.

EMANUEL: Can you tell my mother?

CHRISTIE: Of course, I will.


EMANUEL: OK, it’s that second phone call. OK?

CHRISTIE: And both your brothers.


I’ll tell them both, I think you’re real smart. You’re the best one. The point is that, politically, that’s what Democrats should be doing. But instead, they’re continuing – because they hate Trump so much, they want to vilify him …


… This is a winner for him.

EMANUEL: This is the one thing …

CHRISTIE: $150,000 border is a winner for him.

EMANUEL: Donald Trump wants to talk about Trump. Democrats want to talk about Trump. Somebody’s going to win if they start talking about the American people.


EMANUEL: And that’s what we should do. We should say "OK, you want to talk Medicare for All? You want to put it up for a vote? We’re going to talk about your $800 billion cut in Medicare. Let’s put it up for a vote and see where the Republicans are."

STEPHANOPOULOS: We’re going to take a quick break, come back and talk about that 2020 campaign. We’ll be right back.



SEN. CORY BOOKER, (D-NJ) 2020 DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Now critics are going to tell you, and tell all of us, that a campaign powered by grace and love and a deep faith in each other can't beat that. But I say, it's the only way we win.


STEPHANOPOULOS: There's Cory Booker in Newark yesterday, second launch of his campaign. Mayor Pete is getting in officially today.

Stefanie Brown James, we were talking about the 2020 constellation of issues right now. And one of the things we have actually seen out there from Democrats on the trail is they haven't talking all that much about President Trump.

BROWN JAMES: Well, and they actually also haven't been talking enough about specific policies they want to see move forward as candidates. You know, it's funny, a few months ago, we all thought that, you know, there this was this white guy who was very relatable, you know, he had a four letter word name, first name, and we all thought it was going to Beto, who was the person that was going to really kind of spur forward, and yet we see Mayor Pete, who has really focused on policies that he can tout that people can get behind, how he is the antithesis of Trump, be able to have movement in the polls, and I think that's because he's doing a great balance of being both a person who is relatable, but also can give some suggestions on how he wants to move the country forward.

STEWART: And he's doing well. And there is a nice article in The New York Times this morning that outlines his strategy, which I think a good strategy for someone with not a lot of money and name ID at this point, is telling his personal story first and then policy later. Because if you really look at the large field of Democrat candidates, they're similar on policy -- Green New Deal, Medicare for All, college tuition, and these types of issues. So, I think Buttigieg is doing well in that he's letting people get to know who he is, where he stands on the issues is really taking a backseat at this point, because really the Democrat field in my view is very similar.

And at this point they are unfortunately moving so far to the left, they're going to be broken and broken by the time they get to the general election. But at this stage, they are very strong on the issues, very similar, but in the view, moving too far to the left.

STEPHANOPOULOS: How big of a danger is that, moving too far -- the Democrats moving too far to the left, giving Mitch McConnell the referendum on socialism he wants?

EMANUEL: Look, here is the basic lay of the land, as I see it. The president's every policy, including immigration, is to trying to drive a wedge between urban and suburban voters for Democrats. Our strategy has got to be keep suburban and urban together and drive a wedge between suburban and rural voters, that's basically the paradigm that we're in.

The immigration issue, everything that he's bringing up, is to drive further and further suburban and urban divisions, ours is bring that metropolitan majority together.

And I think that in this case, going too far to the left on a number of issues takes our suburban majority that actually created the congressional majority and breaks it up. I think it's nuts.

Now, I personally think that what I would do here, and I think we should all take a caution, and I will take my advice to myself, which is very hard, this is a marathon, not a sprint. We're measuring everything every 100 yards, and we're all -- let's be honest, we're all sick, OK. We need help here, OK. And I'm in line Blue Cross, Blue Shield will take it, OK.

So, the fact is, this is a marathon. Every part of President Clinton and President Obama's journey, and you can go back, is a personal story first and then you build on it. When people get to know you, because unlike being a legislator, you have to represent somebody's views. And a chief executive has to something about their character and that revelation of your background, what led you to this point, is more important, and we underestimate that all the time.

STEPHANOPOULOS: In a field this big, though, that's a real challenge to get your personal story out.

CHRISTIE: Oh, sure. And listen, you just have to be relentless about it. I mean, I was in a big field like that three years ago. And you just have to be relentless about it. And the good thing about Iowa and New Hampshire, there's lots that aren't as good about it for people in a big field, but the good thing is, that you can go and sell your personal story in a retail way.

And I think in New Hampshire, we certainly did that, and went from 3 percent to 19 percent by the time we got to January 1 without a lot of money. You can do that.

But like Rahm said, it's -- we're sitting here in April of 2019, so no one has enough time yet todo that. And by the way, the voters are not nearly as focused.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And in the meantime, one of the things we're seeing the president do, John, and it goes to this Ilhan Omar tweet that he sent out this week, it's clear that the Republicans and the president leading the party have a strategy of defining the Democrats by the voices they consider the most extreme voices.

KARL: I mean – I mean this is going to be the referendum on socialism, you’re going to see that over and over again from the president and, you know, you’ve seen Mitch McConnell is going to try to kind of help with what he’s doing with the agenda in the Senate.

But they will try to portray this as a far left field way out of – way out of step. And the president’s good at labeling, I mean he’s – he’s good at attacking, he’s good at labeling and there’s a lot of material to work with.

EMANUEL: I think, you know, if the Democrats were organized, and Perez should pull everybody together, the president – the presidential candidates will go out and define themselves, the speaker and the Senate minority leader need to define the president.

And we have to have a division of labor strategically, that is why I would do and I’ll say it again, Medicare cuts. That is why I would go back to a series of things that he has done domestically on education, lack of a transportation bill and all the other efforts because those – and environmental – and what’s happened on EPA, because what the House and Senate should be doing.

CHRISTIE: Yes, it’s great theory Rahm and it would work, it would work, except that that’s not what Nancy Pelosi is permitting to happen. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Representative Omar are now the voices of the Democratic Party on the Hill.

And you’re –


KARL: Well I don’t know if that’s true, but certainly –


CHRISTIE: Listen, Pelosi is scared to discipline these people.

KARL: Certainly if you turn on Fox News that’s what you’re going to see.

CHRISTIE: They should be – by the way, they should be disciplined –

BROWN JAMES: I don’t think she’s scared, I think that she’s trying to govern while also trying to manage –


CHRISTIE: Govern and do what? They’re not doing anything.


BROWN JAMES: -- and quite frankly I do think it’s distracting for the Democrats. There’s so much that can happen, there’s so much that needs to get talked about, but yet we continue to go back to comments that were made, that tweets that were made, and I’m sorry the president was dead wrong when he put up the image of Congresswoman Omar and an image with the towers behind her.

That is inciting violence –

STEPHANOPOULOS: But is it a trap-- to fall in and have this full boar response that we saw?

BROWN JAMES: And I think the Democrats continue to fall into the trap to where they are not able to both say yes this was wrong but yet we still stand behind our colleague quick enough to where people understand that the Democrats still are a unified front.

CHRISTIE: Hate is always bad, hate is always bad and hate of Trump is bad and it’s making the Democrats make mistakes.

EMANUEL: Don’t swing at – don’t swing at every pitch. Every tweet is a pitch and you don’t swing at every – and what he is doing is throwing little cat nip at them –


CHRISTIE: They’re throwing at the bases and the dirt to swing at.

EMANUEL: That’s right and we’re swinging at them.

STEWART: The outrage – the outrage by the Democrats over President Trump’s response to that is really disturbing, they should be more disturbed at what the congresswoman said, “something that someone did” when 3,000 people died in the terrorist attacks.

They should be outraged at her constant anti-Semitic attacks, they should be outraged by her attacking people who support Israel, they should be outraged at that and come out in full force and denounce her statements –

BROWN JAMES: What she said –

STEWART: -- instead they continue to allow her to do so.

BROWN JAMES: What she said was definitely something that can be seen as downplaying a very serious episode. However, this is a woman who is also currently facing death threats.

And look, this is a president who also has a problem with attacking black women consistently, and to use that by inciting violence with these images behind her face is not – is not a good stance for the president to have.


CHRISTIE: And then congresswoman (inaudible) –


KARL: But look at what the president’s managed to do, though, he’s managed to put the Democrats in the position of effectively being seen as defending what she said about 9/11.

CHRISTIE: And Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez then tries to bring George W. Bush into it, by saying well he used similar words to try to make American people who watched it at the time think that George W. Bush was somehow downplaying 9/11.

George W. Bush, I remember the 2004 campaign, what was it that Joe Biden said? A noun, a verb and 9/11. Right, so –


-- but that’s what she’s doing, it’s stupid politics, George.

STEPHANOPOULOS: We’re out of time.

CHRISTIE: I’m offended by stupid politics.


STEPHANOPOULOS: Sorry guys, we are completely out of time. I’m going to say good night over you guys – well good morning over you guys. Thanks for sharing part of your Sunday with us.

Check out "World News Tonight" and I’ll see you tomorrow on "GMA".