A rush transcript of "This Week with George Stephanopoulos" airing on Sunday, July 28, 2019 on ABC News is below. This copy may not be in its final form, may be updated and may contain minor transcription errors. For previous show transcripts, visit the "This Week" transcript archive.
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, HOST, THIS WEEK: Impeachment post-Mueller.
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: We will proceed when we have what we need to proceed.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We either need to take action or it needs to be dropped.
STEPHANOPOULOS: The Special Counsel contradicted the president.
REP. JERROLD NADLER (D), NEW YORK: Did you actually totally exonerate the president?
ROBERT MUELLER, FORMER FBI DIRECTOR: No.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Quietly rebuked Trump's actions.
REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D), CALIFORNIA: I gather that you believe that knowingly accepting foreign assistance during a presidential campaign is an unethical thing to do.
MUELLER: And a crime.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And sounded the alarm on Russia. But with no game-changing moment, the president claimed victory.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You could say it was a great day for me.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Mueller’s performance pained his supporters, frustrated Democrats and energized Republicans. Is the push for impeachment effectively over? Is partisanship preventing us from protecting the next election from more foreign attacks? And --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The president attacked another member of Congress.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Trump calls the Baltimore district of a black Congressman Elijah Cummings ‘a rat and rodent-infested mess.’ The fallout now from his latest racist tweet. We tackle it all with the Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee Jerry Nadler, Republican Will Hurd from the House Intelligence Committee. Plus Rahm Emanuel and Chris Christie on our powerhouse roundtable. And 2020 Candidate Bill de Blasio ahead of this week’s debate. 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.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHANOPOULOS: Good morning and welcome to THIS WEEK. There was no cancer on the presidency moment, no “have you no decency, sir”. Robert Mueller's report detailed ample evidence of disqualifying behavior by President Trump but his testimony this week failed to drive that point home. It was a constrained, circumspective, at times confusing presentation from a man determined above all to avoid the political debate over the word he refused to utter. Impeachment. Perhaps that outcome was inevitable with a Congress and a country so divided by tribal partisanship. And our new ABC News/Ipsos poll out this morning confirms that divide, a nearly perfect split.
Twenty-seven percent say Mueller's testimony made them more likely to support impeachment, 26 percent less likely. Nearly half say it makes no difference at all. Meantime, Russia is sowing more division with continued attacks on our democracy. And we are reminded yet gain this week that exploiting those divisions is at the heart of President Trump's re-election strategy. The latest evidence, another racist attack on an African-American member of Congress and the city he represents. A series of tweets from Saturday morning through midnight and early again this morning.
We're going to cover it all today. We begin with the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Congressman Jerrold Nadler. Mr. Chairman, thank you for joining us --
NADLER: Thank you.
STEPHANOPOULOS: -- this morning. You know, there’s been a fair amount of second-guessing since Wednesday’s hearing. We all know that Robert Mueller was clearly a reluctant witness. Was it a mistake to force him to testify?
NADLER: No, I think it was very important that he testify because he established very clearly that the -- that the -- he broke the lie that the president, the attorney general have been saying to the American people for the last, I don’t know, seven, eight weeks.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But that was already in his report, wasn’t it?
NADLER: Yes, but since his report was issued, the attorney general and the president have misrepresented that report, lied to the American people about it, said that the report said -- found no collusion, no obstruction and totally exonerated the president. Now, all those three statements are lies. It was very important for Mueller to get up there and say just that and to say the report found that the Russians -- remember the heart of this -- the Russians attacked our election and tried to influence our election to help elect Trump.
The report found and Mueller stated that -- just that. He also stated that the Trump campaign welcomed that help and -- and planned its messaging strategy around the -- the -- around the Russian information that was brought out, that the president lied about it, that the president committed -- presented substantial evidence that the president committed obstruction of justice on at least five occasions, that he lied to the American people, lied to investigators in an attempt to cover up what he had done.
STEPHANOPOULOS: He didn’t --
NADLER: It’s very important that that information get out to the people and that we can now build on that.
STEPHANOPOULOS: He didn't appear to move the ball politically at least on impeachment. Your committee, you filed a judicial filing on Friday requesting grand jury information. And you made it pretty clear in that filing that the House Judiciary Committee is investigating impeachment. I want to show it up on the screen right now. The committee has repeatedly made clear that it is assessing whether to approve articles of impeachment with respect to the president. So -- so how much of this debate over whether or not the House is pursuing impeachment is a semantic debate? You have an impeachment inquiry going, don’t you?
NADLER: We are examining -- I’ll just repeat what we have said in our court filings -- we are -- we have impeachment resolutions before the committee. We are conducting investigations to determine whether we should report those impeachment resolutions to the House or whether we should draft our own and report them to the House.
We are considering those resolutions and we will make a determination after we get more evidence as to the president’s crimes that we had from the Mueller report, but also as to other things, as to his violations of the Emoluments Clause, his failure to defend the – to defend the constitution against continuing Russian attacks.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So that is an impeachment investigation?
NADLER: We are investigating whether to report – whether to approve articles of impeachment that’s – that are before the committee, and we will make that determination.
STEPHANOPOULOS: One of the questions is how much stronger your filings would be if indeed the House on – the full House specifically authorized an impeachment inquiry. That’s what happened back in the Watergate days, they had already approved one which is what got the grand jury information released.
NADLER: Well I don’t think it would be any stronger, the history of impeachments is that sometimes the House has authorized the Judiciary Committee to begin impeachment inquiry.
Sometimes the Judiciary Committee has done it on its own. And some – and period. I mean and remember, impeachment is not a binary on off process, impeachment is something you look into and you determine whether to report impeachment resolutions to the House, whether to improve – whether to approve impeachment inquiry in the – improve impeachment resolutions in the committee and report them to the House, which is what we’re doing.
STEPHANOPOULOS: We showed your colleague Jackie Speier say basically if the full House hasn’t released some kind of consensus or at least Democrats haven’t reached some kind of consensus on how to proceed on impeachment by September, the whole effort is null and void. Is she correct?
NADLER: Well we know how we are proceeding, I mean we’ve reached that conclusion and that is that we are – the committee is investigating impeachment resolutions and whether to report them to the House or not.
That is what we’re doing now.
STEPHANOPOULOS: I want to ask you about the president’s tweets over the last 24 hours as well, his attacks on your colleague, your fellow Chairman, Elijah Cummings. Not only is he taking on Baltimore, he seems to be suggesting that Congressman Cummings is somehow corrupt.
One of the tweets says where is all this money going? How much is stolen, investigate this corrupt mess immediately.
NADLER: Well the president is, as he usually is, or often is, disgusting and racist. He makes these charges with no base at all and they are designed to distract attention from the very serious allegations about his conduct that came from the Mueller – from the – from the committee hearings this week.
The fact is the president accepted help from the Russians to attack our election, work – his campaign worked with the Russians. That is undisputed. And he worked hard to cover up those crimes, committed more crimes and working to cover them up and lying and urging other people to lie to investigators.
And so he’s just trying to change the subject, which is what he usually does.
STEPHANOPOULOS: When he attacked Congresswoman Omar and AOC and the other members of the squad, the House passed a resolution condemning him. Will they do that again?
NADLER: I don’t know, it wouldn’t be a bad idea.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Chairman Nadler, thanks for joining us this morning.
NADLER: Thank you.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Let’s bring in now Will Hurd, Congressman Will Hurd from Texas, the only African American Republican in the House. And Congressman Hurd, thank you for joining us this morning, I want to begin by getting your reaction to the president’s tweets and what you just heard Congressman Nadler say, they’re racist.
REP. WILL HURD (R-TX): Well I think these tweets are different from the ones from a few days ago or a few weeks ago, I forget how long ago it was now. When he tells someone to go back to Africa or whatever country, that’s in essence telling someone because you don’t look like them, that you are not American and that you do not have self worth.
That’s why, you know, I was one of the first Republicans to come out and question those. My style is to talk about what unites us, not what divides us. I think that is something that’s better for the long run and also is more helpful when it comes to trying to win elections.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But to focus on an entire city, calling it ‘rat and rodent infested,’ you see no problem with that?
HURD: Well of course, he shouldn’t, you know, I don’t think they’re going to invite him to throw out the first pitch at a baseball game anytime soon. You know, one of the things that we should be doing is talking about those things that bring us together.
And we should be talking about how should we be doing in bringing opportunity zones to Baltimore to help the community and opportunity zones is something that we passed in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act to make sure that economically distressed areas are seeing, you know, some of the investment that other parts of the country are.
That would be a better opportunity to talk about our message and the fact that we have record unemployment and things like that. I think that’s where those kinds of conversations should be going.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But to be clear, you're drawing a line here. You condemned the ‘go back’ tweets, but you do not condemn these tweets by the president?
HURD: I wouldn't be doing those. I wouldn't be tweeting this way. But I think they're different.
And also, Elijah Cummings and Chairman Cummings is someone who I worked with closely on all kinds of legislation. He is someone that cares passionately about his community and has been working tirelessly his entire adult life on behalf of his country and his community and he is someone -- he can defend himself.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Let's talk about the hearing, Robert Mueller's testimony before your committee on Wednesday.
I want to show some of the closing colloquy between your chairman, Adam Schiff, and Mr. Mueller.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ADAM SCHIFF, (D) CALIFORNIA: Knowingly accepting foreign assistance during a presidential campaign is an unethical thing to do.
MUELLER: And a crime.
SCHIFF: And a crime.
MUELLER: ...circumstances, yes -- and a crime given circumstances.
SCHIFF: We can agree that it's also unpatriotic?
SCHIFF: And wrong?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHANOPOULOS: From your reading of the Mueller report, do you believe the president and his associates acted unethically and in an unpatriotic fashion during the campaign?
HURD: I think there's -- the Mueller report identified a number of behavior that was unbecoming of an occupant of the White House.
But one of the things Bob Mueller also said during the questioning on the Judiciary Committee by the ranking member of judiciary that the investigation was not impeded. It was not hindered. And it was not stopped. And he made that very clear.
And I also think that Chairman Schiff made the comment about there was possibly no provable crime that was uncovered by the investigation.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But I think his broader point was -- whether it was criminal isn't the only standard. One of the things, and we just heard Chairman Nadler say the same thing, that the Trump campaign welcomed the help from Russia, they worked with Russia in many different ways, several contacts during the campaign. The president was pursuing a Trump Tower in Moscow, his financial interests at stake, and then he lied about it.
So whether or not that information is criminal is of it concern?
HURD: Yes, it is of concern. And ultimately Bob Mueller was allowed to turn over every rock, investigate every lead. And he made it clear that the Russians -- this wasn't a one-time event, the Russians are trying to do it even as we sit here was his words. And so I wish the focus and the attention that has been spent on white gloving the Mueller report goes into how do we counter disinformation. And this is a strategy by the Russian government to undermine trust in our democratic institutions. And when we don't focus on dealing with the strategy on how to prevent that, then we are letting Vladimir Putin win and so that's why we should be talking about how do we fix it.
And disinformation is in essence propaganda that is being used in order to have a desired result. And they've been doing this, the Russians have been doing this, ultimately for decades. Disinformation is a part of covert action. A covert action is the responsibility of the CIA. But unfortunately in the National Security Act of 1947, the CIA is not allowed to do covert action in the United States of America.
So, who should be responsible for dealing with disinformation? I think that's where we should be having hearings and conversations to talk about this. I tried to get Bob Mueller to make some suggestions on where he thought it was. He was unwilling to do that.
STEPHANOPOULOS: It starts with the president, though, doesn't it? As you know, the president told me just last month that he might accept foreign assistance again. There have been reports from inside the administration that he's been downplaying discussions of what to do to protect our election systems right now.
Is the president doing enough to defend against another Russian attack?
HURD: Well, George, as you know, I spent nine-and-a-half years as an undercover officer in the CIA. I wouldn't accept help from any foreign government.
But here is what I do know, I know the CIA is focused on this. I know the FBI is focused on this. I know the Department of Homeland Security is focused on this issue, not only hardening our election infrastructure -- the vote counting machines, the networks that aggregate those votes, they are working on trying to understand how groups like the Internet Research Agency is using social media and tools of social media to propagate this disinformation.
There's a growing narrative it seems like in the press that things haven't been done. You know, I had the first hearing back in 2016 on election interference before the elections were over. You had under Jeh Johnson, the Department of Homeland Security took election infrastructure as critical infrastructure. And at the time, Secretaries of States around the country were hesitant to accept that level of support, but now they realize that’s important. And we codified the Department of Homeland Security as the entity that should be working with the over 100,000 voting systems across the United States of America.
So and – you know – go ahead.
STEPHANOPOULOS: I’m sorry, you didn’t mention the president in that answer. Just a final question, why do you support the president’s reelection?
HURD: I’m – my plan is to – is to support the Republican nominee. I believe the way we help solve problems in the future is by empowering people, not empowering government. I believe that the way you help people move up the economic ladder is through free markets and not socialism.
And ultimately I think the way we’re going to – you know, maintain and achieve peace in our world is by being nice with nice guys and tough with tough guys. This is a message that I’ve been talking about so the five years that I’ve been in Congress and something that I know resonates not only with Republicans but Independents and Democrats as well.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Congressman, thanks for your time this morning.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Round Table’s up next, we’ll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VINCE BLACKWELL, ANCHOR, CNN NEW DAY WEEKEND: -- the president says about Congressman Cummings' district, that no human would want to live there. You know who did, Mr. President? I did. From the day I was brought home from the hospital until the day I left for college. People get up and go to work there, they care for their families there, they love their children who pledge allegiance to the flag, just like people who live in districts of Congressmen who support you, sir. They are Americans, too.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHANOPOULOS: Vince Blackwell there on CNN. The president’s latest tweets have set off another firestorm over the weekend. Let's talk about it now on our roundtable. Our all star team of ABC analysts. Chris Christie, the former governor of New Jersey. Rahm Emanuel, former Mayor of Chicago, White House chief of staff. Yvette Simpson, CEO of Democracy for America. Chief Political Analyst Matthew Dowd. And Meghan McCain, co-host of THE VIEW. And let me begin with you, Chris.
I mean, the president started this about 6:30 yesterday morning through 12:17 last night into this morning again. If he called you up right now and said, should I be doing this, your answer?
CHRIS CHRISTIE, ABC NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Bad idea. And I agree with Governor Hogan. You know, Larry Hogan put out a statement --
STEPHANOPOULOS: Of Maryland.
CHRISTIE: -- yes -- put out a statement earlier today that just said, you know, angry rhetoric doesn't fix problems. And again, I think that, you know, the president here has some beefs with Congressman Cummings, I understand that. But I don’t think that’s the way to fix them.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And Yvette, we just saw Congressman Hurd say he sees a distinction between the go back tweets about the squad and these tweets, suggesting these ones are not racist.
YVETTE SIMPSON, CEO, DEMOCRACY FOR AMERICA: I don't think so. I mean, he referred to both times them being infested places. You know, he's really, really close to using one of those really, really bad words. And I think, you know, when you think about the president uplifting dictators and the way he treats American citizens, particularly black Americans, it's shameful, there is no excuse for it, and it is the same thing.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And meanwhile, Rahm, front page of the Washington Post this morning, I want to show you the headline right now. Trump campaign sees political advantage in a divisive appeal to working-class white voters. Even some advisors defending the tweets right there. Is this a winning strategy? There’s some evidence the president seems -- certainly thinks it is.
RAHM EMANUEL, FORMER CHICAGO MAYOR: It's a strategy. I wouldn't call it a winning strategy when you’re the president of the United States. Three things I would say really quickly about this. One, this is exactly what he wants. Us to discuss this rather than the Mueller report. So we're playing his game of (inaudible) -- of his change-up. Two, notice every one of the Trump investments are in urban American, which is what he constantly takes on. So he doesn’t follow his money. He only invests in urban American.
Third, which is if you really want to do something, pass your infrastructure bill. You’re all rhetoric with no resources. Do something that would actually invest and create economic growth. And then fourth, which I’d really think is important, every piece of his rhetoric -- which is why they call it winning -- every piece of his rhetoric is about divisiveness. Have you ever looked at all the ads that the -- the -- the Russians do? They're all about playing American divisiveness. And so even though the Mueller report came out, the Trump and Russian media connection is quite there at the nexus.
They actually advertise the same thing, using our diversity against us rather than for us.
MEGHAN MCCAIN, CO-HOST, THE VIEW: Look, the Mueller testimony wasn't the big win that Democrats wanted it to be and now Democrats are trying to decide whether or not they’re going to go forward with impeachment. When the president puts out tweets like this, it just fumbles over his own narrative and instead of talking about the things like infrastructure bill, how well the economy’s doing, instead he seems to be race-baiting and moving on top of the incendiary comments about sending the congresswomen back from last week, and there’s, quite frankly, a lot of pain in the country right now.
I think when you’re seeing CNN hosts getting outwardly emotional on air -- I know on our show there’s been a lot of pain, we can tell just on-air and from people coming into the studio as well. And this is not a winning narrative that's going to move Republicans forward in this election and what I worry about -- I’m 34 years old -- what are we going to do with the next generation of conservatives? Because this is what they’re going to see. They’re going to see these headlines and as you say, instead of talking about the substance that really matters, we're talking about whether or not the president is racist or not.
MATTHEW DOWD, POLITICAL ANALYST, ABC NEWS: To me this is an incredibly dangerous moment and thing the president is doing, is -- if you think about this, Baltimore specifically, a few miles from here, the Madison Square Garden, there's a statue of Joe Gans, who is probably considered one of the best boxers of all time, sirst African-American to win a world championship in boxing in early 1900s. African-American from Baltimore.
Baltimore was the site of Ft. McHenry, which is where the Star Spangled Banner was written, which is our national anthem in this.
This president is not only divisive, and it's not only not a winning political strategy, there is -- he knows there's an element in America today that this appeal to racial divisiveness, racist language has been successful. It was successful to a degree with George Wallace. It was successful to a degree with many other people that have run -- Strom Thurmond -- and around this country. And when we do this, we don't unify together as a country and it puts African-Americans, Latinos, Muslims, any group that you can see as not white Christian, and probably male, creates an incredible battle in our country. And it's one of the things that, to me, is dangerous to our democracy.
STEPHANOPOULOS: What kind of a campaign are we looking at over the next year?
CHRISTIE: Well, I don't think we're looking at a campaign that will be significantly different than the one we saw four years ago. I think that -- everyone has their uniforms on. I mean, you saw -- you showed earlier the reaction to the Mueller testimony -- I know we're going to talk about that later, but basically, most of the country wasn't moved by it, or almost half of the country wasn't moved by it.
And, you know, equal percentages were moved toward impeachment or moved away.
I think the structure of the political climate right now is, people have their uniforms on and if they see something that their team does they like it, and if the other team does it, they don't. And I think you're going to see the same kind of campaign now.
And I'd say one other thing, you can't ever forget that the president does respond to things in a personal nature. So, this is not I think just about the things you're talking about politically in terms of trying to pit people against each other. Congressman Cummings is coming after the president on a number of different things from oversight. It's not a coincidence he picked him out. It's not a coincidence that he did that, you know, he makes things personal.
EMANUEL: Chris, I think you're putting a veneer on this -- I didn't mean to cut off, you're putting a veneer on this. This is about what it is.
And George, campaigns tell you the future of governing, he ran a campaign based on divisiveness, on either race or faith or gender, and he governed based on divisiveness in that capacity. This is a veneer.
SIMPSON: Well, let's be clear. One, it's racism. We know that. And he feels like he has the liberty to throw a temper tantrum and say what he wants to say about not only Rep. Cummings, but the Baltimore community. And he was speaking about black people, let's be clear. He was not speaking about white people in Baltimore.
Beyond that, he has a history of taking heroes, people who we love and making them, you know, to be horrible people. I mean, he has no -- they call him a patriot, he's not a patriot, right. So, when you think about Rep. Cummings who has been working hard in Congress for over 20 years, Baltimore has been through -- it’s a very resilient city, it's been through its ups and downs, and he has been there every single day, the fact that the president doesn't acknowledge that, doesn't have respect for his leadership, and would say those words in Twitter about him shows he has no regard for the people who made our country really great, let's say.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Got to take a break. More roundtable will be coming up. We're going to look ahead to this week's Democratic debates. And candidate Bill de Blasio joins us live next.
STEPHANOPOULOS: New York City Mayor and 2020 candidate Bill de Blasio is here and all week long you can get the latest on politics on the ABC News app. We’ll be right back.
STEPHANOPOULOS: The next Democratic debates are this week, a dozen are scheduled through April of 2020, so this week we want to dig into how much they really matter. Will they be the decisive factor in the nomination fight? We asked FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver do you buy that?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NATE SILVER, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF AND CEO, FIVETHIRTYEIGHT: Could the debates determine the nomination? Well let’s start with some reasons for caution, first polling bounces after debates often fade.
Kamala Harris initially got a big boost after the debates in Miami last month. Our polling with Morning Consult showed Harris getting almost nine points after the debates in fact. But since then in polling averages she’s fallen from a peak of 15 percent back to 12 percent now, where as Joe Biden has recovered from a low of 26 percent up to 29 percent today. Next, it’s harder than you would think to come up with examples of past campaigns where a primary debate decisively changed the outcome.
Some famous debate moments actually reinforced existing trends rather than changing the momentum. For instance, Rick Perry’s income this moment in November 2011 came after he’d already fallen to fourth place in polls of Republican voters.
But let’s not get too carried away in doubting the impact of the debates. A recent study by The Economist Magazine found that the two weeks after the debates are about six times more likely to produce big swings in the polls as compared to an average week during the primary campaign.
And that makes sense given how many people are tuning in. About 27 million people watched the second Democratic debate last month, either on TV or online. That’s almost as many as the 31 million people who voted in all the Democratic primaries and caucuses in 2016.
And the debates certainly matter for candidates who are struggling to stay afloat. The higher qualification threshold starting in September could effectively cut the field in half, and it may be tough to stay in the race without being on the debate stage.
And just one more thing, The Economist’s research finds that debates produce bigger polling swings as the election goes along. So the debates in January and February could really be make or break as well as making the final decisions in early states.
So yeah, I do buy it, the debates could determine the nominee. Still it’s not as easy as you would think to turn a big moment in the debate into sustained momentum, sometimes slow and steady growth in the polls does the job instead.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
Thanks to Nate for that. We’re joined now by a man who’s going to be on the stage Wednesday night, New York City mayor – New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. Thanks for joining us this morning, Mayor.
I want to get to the debate in a second, but first your reaction – this series of tweets by the president over the last 24 hours.
MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO (D-NY), 2020 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Look, this president is trying to distract people from the larger reality of this country. So he uses the racist appeal, he uses a bait and switch.
You know, you’ve watched him for a long time, I’ve watched him for a long time here in the context in New York, there is a con man reality to Donald Trump. It’s a classic bait and switch maneuver every time.
The real issue in this country is that working people are stuck economically, there’s tremendous frustration out there in working America. The folks aren’t getting ahead, they think the next generation is actually going to do worse than they did.
What Donald Trump has done is actually given away the store to the folks who already have a lot. He literally made the rich richer with those tax cuts for the wealthy and the corporations.
He wants to keep attention off that, so with a racial appeal, the constant controversy with a – something that we all go chasing after, the Democrats do it as much as Republicans, media, everyone goes chasing after those tweets.
He keeps the attention off the thing we should be talking about.
STEPHANOPOULOS: How do Democrats counter that?
DE BLASIO: Democrats can’t fall into the trap, and sometimes, bluntly George, we are too much. I’m someone who does believe there should be impeachment proceedings for example, but I don’t think we should obsess about it.
The best way to impeach Donald Trump, the way I want to impeach Donald Trump is at the ballot box. That’s what I intend to do. And to talk about the issues of working Americans.
Look, Democrats lost in 2016, why? We should be asking ourselves this question. This is really what these debates should be about in Detroit. Why do we lose and what do we do differently?
Well I say it’s simple, we stopped talking to working people, we lost their allegiance, a lot of them stayed home, some of them migrated to Trump. Why? Because the Democratic Party seemed to be the party of the elites, not of working people.
The Democratic Party became the party of NAFTA and I’m fearing that’s going to happen again, there’s too many Democrats ready to vote for a new NAFTA. Democratic Party did not seem like the party of labor unions, the party that would fight for the working man and woman.
And so we lost the allegiance to a lot of people who have been with us for generations. We can’t let that happen again.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Isn’t that the pitch that Joe Biden is making?
DE BLASIO: Here’s the problem with Joe Biden, and I respect his public service, but Joe Biden needs to back up that warm folksy rhetoric with action, with a vision that will actually help working people.
This week, I put out a working people’s bill of rights. I said we need to do things like guarantee card check neutrality so it’s easier to get into a union. I said we need to make sure that folks in the gig economy have benefits and wages that are protected.
We need to make sure folks can’t just be fired in this country without just cause which is the truth right now. We need to do things like ensure a $15 minimum wage and paid vacation days. Every country in America – excuse me, every country on Earth, every major country on Earth provides paid vacation days as a matter of law.
Doesn’t happen in this country, we’re going to pass a law in New York this year, two weeks paid vacation for every working person. Those are the kinds of changes that say to working people we’re on your side.
What I fear about Joe Biden is here’s a guy who voted for NAFTA, here’s a guy who told wealthy donors not much is going to change for them when he becomes president, he’s got too much of a track record of being part of the status quo that actually Americans don’t want anymore.
They want to break out of that status quo. And Donald Trump very artfully, I got to give him credit, artfully is keeping attention off that central issue. Do you want a change in your family’s life, in your economic reality? Do you want something different, or are you going to accept the status quo?
Most Americans do not want the status quo. Donald Trump actually doesn't want that conversation. And I fear Joe Biden is not well positioned to have that conversation.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You face a practical problem. You broke through, you're able to grab some time in the first debate. You have another debate coming up. But you’re far short of the polling thresholds and the fund-raising thresholds to make it into the third debate. So is Wednesday night your last chance to break through?
DE BLASIO: George, look, that first debate, you're right I was able to get a lot of information out. I talked about putting working people first and it got a really strong response.
There is something powerful and democratic, with a small D, in what the DNC has set up here. The people are going to get to decide in the polls and with those grassroots donations -- and I say if people believe in the message I'm putting forward, go to billdeblasio.com and help me stay on that debate stage. It's literally going to be people voting with their feet. If they do those small donations, they're going to decide who gets to debate in September.
So, I believe this is going to be one of those moments of truth, where I'm going to be able to present a progressive vision that's actually been put into action. Look, in New York City, we've done pre-k for every child for free. We have done $15 minimum wage. We've done paid sick days. We're giving those two weeks paid vacation to every working person. We're literally guaranteeing health care for anyone who does not have health insurance. These things are happening in the nation's largest city.
My good opponents, and I respect them, they're going to have ideas and they're going to have position papers, I'm someone who can say I've actually put these things into action. And I think people at this point in history, they want action more than words.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You're going to tout the experience of New York City. You recently said that President Trump won't be welcome back into New York after the presidency. What did you mean by that?
DE BLASIO: George, I was speaking from the heart. This is a guy, not only did he lose New York City overwhelmingly in the 2016 election, this is a guy who's created tremendous pain and division in his own city. There are so many people who feel affronted and hurt and degraded by what the President of the United States has said and done. He has to understand this is place if he comes back to it, he's going to hear the anger and the frustration of the people -- he doesn't understand the very people he theoretically grew up with.
But, look, he's the child of a millionaire, I don't think he actually ever understood New York City to begin with, it's real life. But think about that, think about going back to your home and no one wants you there. That's the reality he's going to face.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Mayor de Blasio, thanks for joining us this morning. We'll be watching Wednesday night.
DE BLASIO: Thank you, George.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Up next, the roundtable takes on the Democratic debates. We're back in just 60 seconds.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN, (D-MA) 2020 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I read the Mueller report the day it came out. And I concluded first that is a man who has broken the law, and he should be impeached.
SEN. KAMALA HARRIS, (D-CA) 2020 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He said everything that he said in that report, and it is that there is no exoneration.
JOE BIDEN, 2020 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Mueller said that there's enough evidence to bring charges against the president after he is president of the United States when he is a private citizen. That's a pretty compelling thing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Democratic presidential candidates weighing in after the Mueller hearings. Let's get some analysis now from our roundtable.
Matthew Dowd, let me begin with you. Your big takeaway from watching that five hours on Wednesday from Robert Mueller, after he faces both the Judiciary Committee and the Intelligence Committee.
DOWD: A couple of things, first I'll agree with Chris Christie on the fact that whatever looks like happened is, anybody with a blue jersey on watching those hearings was impeach the guy, red jersey on defend the guy in the middle of this, with independents -- probably most independents in the country not watching it, not observing it, that's the first thing.
The second thing, I was incredibly disappointed in the coverage of it, actually. I thought there were substantive things that Robert Mueller testified to that were very important. But much of the coverage on it was all about optics or entertainment value.
And one thing I’ve learned in life is many things are entertaining, but they’re not important and many times things are important but they're not entertaining. And to me, if any viewer out there wants to know exactly what's going on and what happened and what the president did or did not do, just read the report. I know it's hard, it's 400-plus pages. Read the report. Because there are serious allegations and problematic things in that report for the president of the United States.
EMANUEL: I give back my time to Matthew Dowd to go another two minutes on that.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But one of the -- one of the things that Matt brings up, Meghan, is it was pretty striking to see the divide between the Democrats and the Republicans. Neither side, frankly, talked all that much about the Russian attacks on our democracy. The Democrats seemed most concerned with bringing out the evidence on obstruction of justice. Republicans most concerned with investigating the investigation.
MCCAIN: Well I think the problem is it was hyped so much. It was supposed to be the movie version of the book and I think a lot of people were expecting more fireworks. Look, he showed up and he, you know, had problems remembering whether or not he had met with Rosenstein, he had problems remembering details of the report and I think depending on, as you said, which lens you’re viewing the testimony is how you believe we should go forward with impeachment. Listen, it got less ratings than Robert Cohen did during his testimony and I just don’t think one way or the other it moved the needle in the way Democrats wanted it to.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So let me ask you the question that I asked Congressman Nadler early on. Given the fact that Robert Mueller was so reluctant to appear, given the fact that the report itself is in many ways more damning than the testimony he delivered on Wednesday, was it a mistake to push for him to appear?
EMANUEL: Not a mistake for him to appear but he should have had the entire legal team up there. And then you would have had the entire breadth of the legal team and their view. I do think this -- you walk away -- two things. One, I would keep coming after McConnell on that election integrity bill. Number two, the attorney general was a total disservice in the way he interpreted this report. And you know, we all know this from having worked on many investigations. If the testimony is more than two months from the report, which is what Barr tried to do, it actually loses its -- it actually loses entire velocity, and that's what happened here.
And unfortunately, you got a shot clock -- 24-second shot clock, and we're down to three or four seconds and -- on the impeachment issue and I think the clock is running out on that effort-- from a political standpoint.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Did the attorney general make the difference politically?
CHRISTIE: I don't think so. I think in the end, you know, Democrats overreached on this. I think -- as I’ve said before, I think they overreached on obstruction. And I think if -- everybody would be a lot smarter if they focused on what Russia has done and continues to do. And I -- you know, we were together all day on Wednesday. I said a number of times that, you know, my party has been the national security party since Ronald Reagan and we should have more conversation by members of the -- both those committees about what we're going to do going forward in terms of trying to prevent Russia, China and others from doing it.
And listen, I’ll -- I’ll answer the question that -- that -- that you asked Rahm, too. It was a mistake to bring Mueller forward. Bob Mueller’s a patriot and when Bob Mueller kept saying, I don't want to come, there was a reason he didn’t want to come. He stood behind his report and he -- as you said, the report was -- was vivid and detailed and laid out all the facts that he found. When he said he didn't want to come, there were reasons he didn't want to come and I think we saw them on display at that hearing and I think the Democrats made a huge mistake by doing it because what they did was empower the president to be able to go out there and say, nobody cares, it doesn't matter.
And there’s nothing that Jerry Nadler’s going to do, with all due respect to him, over the next couple of months that’s going to change that dynamic. We're getting into the campaign now, people want to settle this at the ballot box, not in the House.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So how do Democrats walk this line now that we just heard Bill de Blasio talking about? Many are for impeachment, they don't want to be obsessed by it, they don’t want it to overtake the entire election debate, perhaps backfire.
SIMPSON: Right. Well, I think you have to proceed and I think you proceed the way you are. I mean, I think the -- the issue with now doing all of this work and not moving forward is people now know that he did things and if you don’t go after it, there's no accountability. It is literally Congress’s job to hold this president accountable. And we were talking earlier about the election and the fact that there were a lot of folks in the wave of this last ’18 election who were specifically elected because the public -- the American public wanted Trump held accountable.
And so I think you have to move forward. I do think it was a mistake to have Mueller testify and I think the second mistake was making it sound like it was going to be a movie. It was never going to do that. If we’re going to produce a movie, let's get, you know, Lin-Manuel Miranda, let’s get Shonda Rhimes on that right now two-hour special. Right? So it was not going to be that. But I do agree with what Matt said. Look at the report and listen to what he said. He said he is not exonerated. He said that there are at least 10 types of obstruction that were committed --
STEPHANOPOULOS: Evidence --
SIMPSON: -- evidence of construction -- obstruction. He also said that he could not prosecute the president because he is the president. And he said if he were not the president he could be prosecuted. I think that was all compelling --
STEPHANOPOULOS: He didn’t necessarily say he would, but he said he could.
SIMPSON: He said he could, which I think is compelling considering the fact that a lot of his co-conspirators and campaign members have been prosecuted.
DOWD: But going to something where people actually took off their jersey when you looked at the thing, all of that ground there, he should be held accountable, is something that Chris Christie and Rahm said, which was that Russia attacked our election and there’s vast amounts of evidence for it. And within the time of 48 hours of that, the Election Integrity Bill was stopped in the United States Senate by Mitch McConnell here. Think about this metaphor. If Japan attacked us -- when Japan attacked us in World War II in Pearl Harbor and we did nothing in response of that, that's problematic to begin with. But if we were warned Japan was going to attack us again four years later and we still did nothing about it, that’s unconscionable.
EMANUEL: Can I say one thing is first of all, don’t assume that the Russians are attacking just in the election period of time. They’re active right now.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Well that’s what he said.
EMANUEL: And that’s right, and that’s – so it’s not just in election season perhaps, what’s ironic here is that you have a situation where because of the law you cannot prosecute a guy who broke the law. And that’s what’s the irony of this situation. And the fact is in this case, I would as Senator Schumer has got to keep coming at this because McConnell has unease in his caucus. And –
STEPHANOPOULOS: Over election security.
EMANUEL: Yes, election security, and you keep coming at this and it also sets up the Russian case, because they’re not stopping and they’re not the only – and they’re not going to stop just – and only start coming after the primary season – they’re not waiting for us to have a nominee.
MCCAIN: But I also think they need to start holding Silicon Valley accountable for their role in all of this, because as you said it is absolutely petrifying the amount of, you know, control and access Russia has over our technology.
Congressman Tulsi Gabbard right now is suing Google for suppressing her campaign ads during the first debate because she was the most Googled candidate at the time and also is accusing Google of putting her campaign emails into spam folders.
So I think we should be having Jack Dorsey, Mark Zuckerberg, everybody from Silicon Valley come out and say what are you doing to protect us going forward? What safeguards have you put in place since now we have shown and evidence has proven that the – Russia is in fact influencing our election and using the most lethal weapon possible to do it.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Chris, it is kind of stunning that you don’t see all 435 members of the House, all 100 members of the Senate united in doing something.
CHRISTIE: Because they’re – so many of them, George, are so completely distracted by the stuff that we’ve been talking about all morning this morning. They’re not focusing because they don’t think that helps their electoral chances.
They – neither side thinks that this moves their electoral ball down the field. And on the Mueller stuff as well, I thought the silence – I thought the silence from all the Democratic presidential candidates was deafening after the Mueller hearing.
I think that tells you what a non-event it was and what a mistake it was, because if it – if it moved the ball at all, those presidential candidates would have been all over it and talking about it and they were not.
EMANUEL: Sorry, go ahead.
SIMPSON: On the election security issue, I mean you’re absolutely right, everybody should be singing the same tune. But what we know is that one, Senate majority leader is compromised based on money that he’s taken recently from, you know, organizations that, you know, make and process voting machines.
Not only that, but we know that the Republican Party is afraid that without Russian interference, this president can’t win.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But there’s no guarantee it’s –
CHRISTIE: That’s just ridiculous, it really is. That’s the kind of stuff – that’s why things don’t get done, because people like you say things –
SIMPSON: Well then let’s have a free and fair election.
CHRISTIE: -- well look people like you say things like that and imply that somehow that’s what moved the election and you have no evidence of that.
SIMPSON: -- let’s have a free and – let’s have a free and fair election then.
CHRISTIE: You have no evidence of that and that’s –
CHRISTIE: -- it’s what we were before, let’s – I want that conversation to continue. Let it continue between now and the election and it will guarantee the president –
SIMPSON: There’s a reason that Republicans aren’t on board here.
CHRISTIE: -- it will guarantee the president’s reelection.
EMANUEL: I can’t believe I’m acting like the middle child here, but let me try. But what Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi should do is have a single letter that goes out to the CIA, FBI, NDI with a series of 10 questions about the election security and what they think the Russians are doing now and set up so as soon as we come back from Labor Day, you put another vote on the – on the floor.
Nancy does it in the House, Chuck forces the issue in the Senate, and make the Republicans continue because President Trump does not want it and we have known one thing, there are a bunch of lemons going over the cliff at this guy, make sure that they have to continue to vote on the same issue repeatedly which is about the security of the election and Democratic process.
MCCAIN: That’s all well and good but Mark Zuckerberg just had to pay a $50 million fine because of privacy –
CHRISTIE: $5 billion.
MCCAIN: $5 billion, excuse me, thank you very much.
DOWD: There’s a couple more (inaudible) –
STEPHANOPOULOS: Real money.
DOWD: It’s not real money to him.
MCCAIN: To me that’s (inaudible) –
EMANUEL: We’re watching it all.
MCCAIN: But I do think these people should be held accountable for their role in this as well and no disrespect to our government, but –
DOWD: This election security bill, I mean in the end why – you asked why Republicans aren’t doing this and why Mitch McConnell is doing this, because they’re afraid of the president. If the president stood up and said I want election security, I want to protect us from Russia, I want to –
EMANUEL: I want to play you got to keep coming at it.
DOWD: Every single one of them would fall in line, but they don’t know – they’re afraid that if they vote for this bill, they are questioning Trump’s (inaudible) –
EMANUEL: And elections are won by forcing divisions on the other side, not unity.
STEPHANOPOULOS: I think that’s probably right. I want to – let’s talk about Democratic debates coming up on Wednesday night, and we’ve seen a little bit of a preview of what Joe Biden could be in for.
He’s going to be between Kamala Harris and Cory Booker on Wednesday night, take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. CORY BOOKER (D), 2020 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I’m disappointed that it’s taken Joe Biden years and years until he was running for president to actually say that he made a mistake.
JOE BIDEN (D), 2020 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: His police department was stopping and frisking people, mostly African American men. If he wants to go back and talk about records, I’m happy to do that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHANOPOULOS: We could be seeing another race debate coming up on Wednesday night on the Democratic side. Since the last debate, Nate was getting to this and it’s – there’s some polling information backing it up this week, it seems like Joe Biden has stabilized his position and basically Kamala Harris has gone back. She’s still – she’s up in the top tier right now, but her rise was stopped. Everything kind of reverted to the mean. What are you expecting Wednesday?
SIMPSON: I expect fireworks in Detroit. And I expected, particularly because now you've got Cory Booker that's on the same stage. And I think they're actually on either side of him. They're supposed to be surrounding him. So, that's going to be a great little, you know, clip of his reactions to what they say.
You know, I think Joe Biden would benefit by just focusing on Trump and not trying to kind of respond to these attacks from Cory Booker and Kamala Harris, because they will come. And he needs to be prepared to defend his record. I mean, he has a really challenging record. We talked about this earlier, on racial issues and on women. And I think he needs to focus on the things that are most important to him...
STEPHANOPOULOS: On racial issues?
SIMPSON: Oh, yeah. I mean, we were talking about busing. We were talking about his relationship with segregationists. You know, I think Cory Booker now is talking about the crime bill and the impact it's had on the African-American community and mass incarceration. It's a challenging position for him. So, for him to push back on Cory Booker and Kamala Harris, it looks like he's having a fight with them about what is -- what the black community really believes.
DOWD: I agree with one of the things Yvette said, which is I think the Democrats should spend more time saying how they're different from Donald Trump instead of saying how they're different from each other.
But one of the things about Joe Biden, Joe --
STEPHANOPOULOS: That's kind of wishful thinking in a primary.
DOWD: But I think it would be the smartest thing, because the most amount of energy is how are you going to hold Trump accountable? And so I think -- and the most amount of energy is not the differences, but how are you going to hold Trump accountable?
CHRISTIE: None of them gets to run against Donald Trump unless they win the nomination.
And this is incredible to me, that Joe Biden -- Joe Biden, I’ve watched him my entire life -- is now being questioned about whether he's a racist or not? I mean, this shows how far left the Democratic Party is going. And why people like Rahm are concerned that -- talk about going off a cliff...
EMANUEL: I appreciate you being concerned about my feelings.
CHRISTIE: ...you know, you know that this is not the way to win this election. You're too smart. You know that. And that kind of stuff and Booker ending the love campaign now to come after Joe Biden as a racist is really -- it's beneath Cory.
EMANUEL: Here's what happened in Miami, and you can't have it in Detroit -- we can't have Miami 2, which is you cannot win the primary that forecloses the general election, neither President Obama nor President Clinton did that, they were able to win the nomination and make their...
EMANUEL: It's a series of things -- listen, we have -- just take one issue, we have a 25 point advantage over President Trump on health care. We're talking about taking away 150 million people's private health care, and the first thing we're going to do is we're going to give undocumented people the health care, how about the 35 million Americans who work, who are one illness away from financial bankruptcy? Talk to them. Focus on them. They're going to vote.
And if we do that, we won't give away -- which is why President Trump is constantly trying to figure out from prescription drugs to other issues how to cover himself because his record on health care is about taking health care away. He has the largest cut in Medicare -- Medicare cuts for all is his position. He has the largest cut of any president ever proposed in a budget. And what are we doing? We're talking about taking people’s health care away.
MCCAIN: Yeah, and giving it to illegal immigrants and talking about open borders.
DOWD: The biggest problem I think for -- the biggest problem is not for Joe Biden. Joe Biden is back exactly where he was in March, polling at about a third of the vote. The biggest problem that faces the Democratic Party, or the candidate, is Bernie Sanders. Bernie Sanders got 66 percent of the vote in New Hampshire and now is polling at 15 percent. He's polling at 14 nationally. He is the one that's been dwindling.
EMANUEL: No, but his problem is he's driving the agenda.
CHRISTIE: See, Rahm is concerned.
STEPHANOPOULOS: He is concerned. We are out of time.
EMANUEL: To quote my grandmother...
STEPHANOPOULOS: We are out of time, sorry guys. We've got to cut it off. That's all for us today, check out World News tonight. I'll see you tomorrow on GMA.